All posts in “Rides”

The 32 Best Car Features Ever: Exposed Gear Levers, $160K Clocks and More

When automotive designers and engineers get together and put forward the best they have to offer, cult followings and icon statuses just come naturally. For era-defining cars, influences from highway safety rules and crash protection regulations play just as big of a part in the final product as culture and societal trends.

If global warming wasn’t a thing and if fossil fuels weren’t going the way of, well, the dinosaurs, the Tesla Model S might not have even been a scribble on a napkin, let alone the seismic shock to the auto industry it’s become. Had it not been for the flash and excess of the ’80s, we might never have seen the V12 Ferrari Testarossa or Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV. But what these cars make us feel and think of when we hear them wailing their way towards their redline or simply sitting quietly in a parking lot is a product of all the little things that make up the big picture.

Some of the best automotive details come from form following function or vice versa, from exercises in excess and/or minimalism. Some serve no purpose whatsoever, but the car wouldn’t be the same without. Regardless of their initial intention, these are our 32 favorite car quirks of all.

Ferrari Testarossa Side Intakes

Testarossa-Vents-Gear-PatrolTestarossa-Vents-Gear-Patrol
As big as they were, the Testarossa’s gills were completely functional. The massive intakes and long strakes served to organize turbulent air and use it to cool radiators and channel hot air through vents in the engine lid, creating downforce, and thus negating the use of a massive spoiler. Form and function, hand in hand.

Spyker C8 Exposed Gear Lever

Spyker-Gear-SHift-Gear-PatrolSpyker-Gear-SHift-Gear-Patrol

Seeing the mechanical linkage of the shifter exposed is like looking into a grandfather clock. It’s absolutely mesmerizing to see that sort of precise engineering at work.

Porsche 930 ‘Slantnose’ Whale Tale

Porsche-Whale-Tail-Gear-PatrolPorsche-Whale-Tail-Gear-Patrol

It might have been more of a necessity on Porsche’s part to keep drivers from consistently coming out of turns the wrong way forward, but damn it if it doesn’t suit the 930’s powerful personality to a T.

F50 Transparent Rear End

Ferrari-F50-Gear-PatrolFerrari-F50-Gear-Patrol

It’s almost a forbidden feeling catching a glimpse of the F50’s mesh rear end — like you weren’t supposed to see that glorious V12, but you can’t look away.

Pagani Zonda R Exhaust + Exhaust Note

Pagani-Zonda-Exhaust-Gear-PatrolPagani-Zonda-Exhaust-Gear-Patrol

A Mercedes-AMG hand-built V12 mated to Pagani’s even-length exhaust headers and stacked quad pipes would put the current F1 grid to shame in a sound comparison.

Koenigsegg CCX Dihedral Doors

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The CCX dihedral doors only serve to highlight Christian von Koenigsegg’s delightfully mad way of going about simple functions.

LFA Tachometer

Lexus-LFA-Dash-Gear-PatrolLexus-LFA-Dash-Gear-Patrol

The only way Lexus could get the tachometer to keep pace with the speed with which its V10 could rev was to go digital.

Volkswagen Phaeton Trunk Hinges

Phaeton-Hinges-Gear-PatrolPhaeton-Hinges-Gear-Patrol

There’s something to be said for beautifully milled and wonderfully complex trunk hinges on a Volkswagen.

Bentley Bentayga Breitling Mulliner Tourbillon

Bentley-Bentayga-Gear-PatorlBentley-Bentayga-Gear-Patorl

The world’s most expensive in-car clock ($160,000) in the world’s most expensive SUV ($250,000) creates a wonderful exercise in excess.

Original Mini Exterior Weld Seams

P90045991P90045991

Putting the weld seams on the outside meant Mini didn’t have to fit the welding machine in the car during assembly, meaning they could build the Mini even smaller. Brilliant.

Jaguar XJ220 Hidden Headlights

XJ220-Lights-Gear-PatrolXJ220-Lights-Gear-Patrol

When pop-up headlights were regrettably being phased out, the drop-down shields of the XJ220 made for a worthy continuation of the concept.

Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic Suicide Doors

Bugtti-57c-Gear-PatrolBugtti-57c-Gear-Patrol

Picking one aspect to highlight from the Bugatti Type 57 is a herculean task, but the way the suicide doors open up — as if they are welcoming you into its warm embrace — may be the most beautiful detail of all.

Jaguar D-Type Speed Hump

Jaguar-D-Type-Gear-PatrolJaguar-D-Type-Gear-Patrol

The spiritual connection to Jag’s storied Le Mans racer just oozes legendary performance and panache.

Alfa Romeo Grille

Alfa-Grille-Gear-PatrolAlfa-Grille-Gear-Patrol

Most cars on the road today have some sort of rectangular cop-out for a grille, but that’s because few cars have the style and elegance required to sport one like Alfa Romeo’s signature fascia.

Porsche 918 Top Exit Twin Exhaust

918-Exhaust-Gear-Patrol918-Exhaust-Gear-Patrol

It had to be done to make sure the engine and hybrid system could fit in the 918 and still be low enough not to compromise the handling or design. But when fire starts spitting out of the the twin exhausts, you can’t help but applaud Porsche for “going green.”

Bugatti Chiron Side Intake

Bugatti-Chirion-Gear-PatrolBugatti-Chirion-Gear-Patrol

Very rarely do a concept car’s lines make it to the production model; when the side intake mimics the company founder’s signature, it deserves recognition.

BMW i8 Laser Headlights (EU only)

BMW-i8-Laser-Lights-Gear-PatrolBMW-i8-Laser-Lights-Gear-Patrol

The design alone makes every other headlight on the road look like a gaslight lantern.

Porsche Targa Top

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Simply put, it’s the better way to do a convertible.

Aston Martin Vulcan Tail Lights

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Like nothing else on the road. In fact, you’d have to be aboard the Millennium Falcon at light speed with stars streaming by to see anything similar.

Mercedes 6×6 Third Axle

Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 Showcar, Dubai 2013Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 Showcar, Dubai 2013

The only way to describe it: necessarily unnecessary.

2016 Ford GT Rear Quarter

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Between the separated intakes, massive flying buttress and the tail light doubling as a hot air extractor, the GT’s butt comes together as one fantastic piece of design.

Alfa Romeo TZ3 Zagato Cam Tail

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One of Zagato’s signature design elements incorporated into one of the most beautiful cars of the modern era.

BMW M4 GTS Roll Cage

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Roll cages in road cars usually seem out of place, no matter the performance or intentions of the vehicle. But the M4 GTS’s copper webbing of high-strength protection looks like a work of art.

Audi A4 Clamshell Hood

Dynamic photo, Colour: in crystal effect paint finish Ara BlueDynamic photo, Colour: in crystal effect paint finish Ara Blue

Hood shut lines can make or break a car’s design, so for a mass-production car like the new A4 to receive the extra attention and engineering to hide the necessary surface break is commendable by all accounts.

Porsche GT3 RS Fender Vents

GT3-RS-Vents-Gear-PatrolGT3-RS-Vents-Gear-Patrol

Usually when vents are put on cars for performance gains, they stick out like the dorsal fin on a sailfish. But the new GT3 RS fender vents sit just below the body panel surface as a subtle call to performance rather than an obnoxious aerodynamic catcall.

Lamborghini Aventador Ignition

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Unleashing 700+ horsepower with the flip of a switch that looks at home on an F-22 Raptor just makes sense.

Citroen DS Steering Wheel

Citroen-DS-Gear-PatrolCitroen-DS-Gear-Patrol

Absurd. Ridiculous. Unbelievably stylish. All the reasons we love Citroen.

Shelby Cobra 427 Side Pipes

Shelby-Side-Pipes-Gear-PatrolShelby-Side-Pipes-Gear-Patrol

When there’s a 7.0-liter engine shoehorned into a car barely big enough for two people, anything other than side-mounted exhausts would be doing it a disservice.

Porsche Carrera Beechwood Shifter

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It’s an homage to the Porsche 917 race car, which is fitting for the Carrera GT considering its V10 may have started life as F1 engine development project.

Audi Virtual Cockpit

Audi-Virtual-Cockpit-Gear-PatrolAudi-Virtual-Cockpit-Gear-Patrol

In an age where infotainment systems stick out of otherwise well-designed dashboards like technological afterthoughts, Audi’s virtual cockpit gets the job done and with a stunning, customizable display.

Tesla Model 3’s Front End

Model-3-Fascia-Gear-PatrolModel-3-Fascia-Gear-Patrol

With Tesla’s “skateboard” battery pack, Elon Musk could have made the Tesla Model 3 look any way he wanted. By completely removing the grille from a car that will undoubtedly sell well, Tesla is deliberately challenging the status quo of car design.

Ferrari 599 Gated Shifter

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As it’s the last analog manual V12 Ferrari ever built, we’re glad Maranello decided not to cover up its beautiful simplicity with a leather boot.

The First 5 Things You Should Do When Buying an Electric Car

So, you’ve finally decided to do it: You’re getting an electric car. You’ve weighed the pros and cons, debated the advantages of plug-in hybrids versus pure EVs, and determined that a vehicle that forgoes internal combustion for electrons, batteries and motors is the right fit for you.

First off, congratulations. For most buyers, electric cars are likely to be more pleasant to drive than gas- or diesel-powered ones. Their powertrains aren’t just more quiet, they also deliver all their torque immediately, without a need to rev up like ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles do, so they feel peppier from behind the wheel; their powertrains are simpler, so maintenance is generally easier and less frequent; their fuel is cheaper and, depending on where it’s sourced from, likely more eco-friendly than the fossil juice squeezed out of the ground.

Still, de-ICE-ing does involve making a few changes to your life. So to help, we’ve pulled together a guide to the first few things you should do once you’ve decided you’re going to buy an electric car.

1. Get a home charger.

Charging at home is by far one of the biggest advantages of owning an electric vehicle. But to really capitalize on this, you’ll need more than a three-prong 110-volt outlet, which only adds roughly four miles of range for every hour on the socket. You’ll want to install what EV nerds call an SAE J1772 — or, as it’s more colloquially known, a Level 2 charger. Depending on the car, these can deliver between around 12–60 miles of range per hour, though 25 miles per hour is a fair average. Still, even that’s enough to add 200-plus miles of range overnight, which can fill up an Audi E-Tron or a Jaguar I-Pace.

Installing a charger for your home can seem a bit intimidating; unless you’re an electrician or electrical engineer, it’s the sort of task best left to a professional. Luckily, the folks at Amazon have this under control; not only do they offer a bevy of EV chargers, but they also offer electric car charging installation through their Amazon Home Services department. (Angie’s List also provides references for EV charging station installers.)

A Level 2 charger. (Photo: Michael Hicks)

If you’re feeling particularly industrious or green, you might also want to consider adding some solar panels to your roof, so you can charge that EV for free. (And, unless you live on Dracula’s schedule, a big home battery like Tesla’s Powerwall to store that power until you plug in at dinnertime.)

2. Learn about the charging networks (and download their apps).

Refueling at home may be way easier with an EV than with a gas-powered car, but the opposite holds true once you’re out of your driveway. Unlike the 168,000 gas stations found across America, electric car chargers aren’t abundant in every town, they’re not always easy to spot — and they’re not all the same.

You’ll need to learn the differences between types of chargers. While all cars sold Stateside can use the SAE J1772 Level 2 charger, Level 3 charging — also called DC fast charging — uses three different types of plugs. The best-known is Tesla’s Superchargers, which only work with the California-based company’s cars and can be found at 685 locations across the U.S. Then there’s the CHAdeMO style of charger, used solely by Nissan and Mitsubishi and found at 2,282 spots across America. Finally, there’s CCS, a.k.a. the SAE Combo Combined Charging System; this is used by all the rest of the EVs currently on sale, from the Porsche Taycan to the Smart ForTwo, and found at 2,043 sites in the U.S. (All figures via the Department of Energy, and valid as of December 2019.)

These Level 3 chargers can pump electrons into cars at far greater rates than in-home ones, with the fastest currently out there recharging even EVs with large batteries to an 80-percent state of charge or more in roughly half an hour. That said, charging speeds can vary wildly, even within this tier; some CCS chargers max out at 50 kW, for example, while others can deliver a stunning 350 kW.

A Porsche Taycan at an Ionity charging station. Ionity is a cross-European charging network.

Different electric cars can also slurp up energy at different rates. The Taycan can take on power at levels of up to 270 kW, while the E-tron can only handle up to 150 kW, and the Nissan Leaf tops out at 100 kW. Other factors such as weather and equipment can also affect how fast the electrons flow.

The easiest way to suss out chargers is, as you might expect in this day and age, through an app or website. There are plenty of them to choose from, such as PlugShare, ChargeHub and Chargeway, with the latter notable for using a color-coded system to help you find the right type of charger for your vehicle. (Most of these apps will also tell you what level of power you can expect from a given plug.)

Many electric car charging stations are tied into networks, which allow you to set up a single account to quickly and easily pay for power from them. Tesla employs its own network, which only works with its vehicles; the other big three ones — Electrify America, ChargePoint and EVGo — are brand-agnostic. (They all also have their own apps, of course, which you can use to find chargers and pay for electricity.) As with gas prices, rates vary by region — but it’ll still almost always be cheaper than refueling an equivalent ICE vehicle.

All that said, remember: no matter how fast your car charges, it’s going to seem glacial compared to refueling an internal-combustion vehicle. Plan accordingly. (We suggest keeping a good book in the car.)

3. Look into tax breaks and other benefits.

The federal government hands out tax credits of $7,500 for the first 200,000 EVs a carmaker sells, with the credits tapering off after that figure. As of January 1, 2020, every electric car other than those made by Tesla is still eligible. (You can find out more about the forms you need to fill out here.)

In addition, many states offer their own tax credits or other financial incentives for going electric, ranging from the waiving of sales tax to as much as $5,000 in their own tax credits, in the case of Colorado. That rebate, for the record, means a Boulder resident could buy a $38,085 Hyundai Kona EV for just $25,585.

A number of municipalities, utilities and businesses also offer other benefits to EV ownership, such as the ability to drive solo in carpool lanes, credits on owners’ home electricity bills or rebates on home chargers, access to exclusive parking spots and exemptions from emissions testing. That last one, to be fair, just seems more like common sense than a perk.

Always crank up your jams before searching for EV ownership benefits.

4. Get a rental car or car-sharing membership.

Sooner or later, you’ll likely come across a task that your EV isn’t quite right for. Maybe it’s taking a long road trip through remote areas where chargers are hard to find; maybe it’s hauling home an amazing couch that won’t fit into your Tesla Model 3. When that happens, you’ll probably need a reliable way to grab a spare ride.

If you think you might need gas-powered wheels on the regular (say, every week or two), a car-sharing service like Zipcar likely makes the most sense. If you figure you’ll only need an alternative a few times a year, it’s better to stick with traditional car rental companies; just be sure to join a rewards program like Hertz Gold Plus or Enterprise Plus, so you can earn free rentals.

5. Buy some good gloves.

Since running the car’s heater exacts a much larger toll on range in an EV than in a gas-powered car (internal combustion engines spew out heat as a waste product, same as the human body; electric motors are far more thermally efficient), a good pair of gloves can be the difference between easily finishing a trip and having to seek out a charging station. Toss a nice pair like Filson’s full knit ones in the glovebox on day one and leave ’em there until you need them.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by wcourtney | Follow on Twitter · Email

The Mercedes-AMG One sounds just like a Formula One car

Billed as the closest thing to a road-going Formula One car, the Mercedes-AMG One, unveiled as a close-to-production concept at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show, is still under development. Mercedes-Benz’s go-fast division released an update on the project that shows the hypercar in action.

Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton took a break from winning races around the world and trying to save the planet to check in with the team developing the One. Designing a groundbreaking hypercar is an expensive and time-consuming process, and the One stands out from its peers because it uses a street-legal version of the powertrain found in AMG’s championship-winning Formula One car. This explains why development has taken so long. Deliveries are now tentatively scheduled to begin in 2021, about two years later than originally announced, but it sounds — literally — like AMG’s most powerful street-legal model will be worth the wait.

“The sound is pretty much exactly the same as it is in the race car,” Hamilton pointed out. Video footage of the One going around a track hints it will take a turn like a race car, too.

The turbocharged, 1.6-liter V6 is the One’s main source of power, and its main source of delays. Getting it to comply with emissions regulations was easier said than done. It idles at 1,200 rpm, which is high for a road car but low for a Formula One car, which turns at a stratospheric 5,000 rpm when it’s waiting on the starting grid. The electrified part of the powertrain consists of four electric motors, including two that zap the front wheels into motion, and they also need to be fine-tuned for road use. All told, the One will put over 1,000 horsepower under the driver’s right foot. The tradeoff is that the powertrain will require a major overhaul after about 30,000 miles.

Mercedes-AMG will cap One production at 275 units, and pricing starts at $2.7 million. That’s an eye-watering sum, but the hypercar market is stronger than ever, and every build slot was spoken for before the model made its official debut. Don’t expect to bag a used example shortly after deliveries begin; AMG is going to great lengths to ensure reservation holders don’t flip their car for a profit.

Why You Should Care About the Audi E-Tron

Brand: Audi
Product: E-Tron
Release Date: May 2019
Price: $74,800+
From: audi.com

Gasoline’s supremacy hasn’t ended yet, but it’s starting to wane. After many years existing on the periphery of the automotive world, electric cars are at long last starting to find purchase. Tesla has carved out an impressive cultural and sales niche selling nothing but EVs, while mainstream manufacturers from Hyundai and Chevrolet to Porsche and Jaguar at the high end have all begun selling full-scale production cars that have no need for fuel tanks.

Into this growing category now steps Audi, leading the charge alongside the Taycan for the entire VW Group. That automotive Goliath has pledged to unleash 22 million new EVs on the planet’s roads by 2028, a plan involving no fewer than 70 new models. And the first one of those wearing the four rings on its nose is this five-person SUV.

What exactly is it?

A midsize crossover that also happens to be Audi’s first true electric car.

Which means…?

No internal combustion engine, no gas tank, no transmission, no tailpipe. No idling, no fumes, no oil changes, no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. No atmosphere-thickening greenhouse gases. Just pure, seamless electric power running everything from the wheels to the heater.

All of that comes in a high-riding hatchback body of the sort that drives buyers these days wild. At 193 inches long, the E-Tron lands roughly between the Q5 and Q7 in Audi’s SUV size spectrum; there’s no third row, but the two leather-wrapped rows that are present both offer ample, if not abundant, space. Somewhat surprisingly, the 1,540-pound battery that makes up an integral part of the floor doesn’t cut into the interior much at all.

What’s special about it?

Well, there’s that whole lack of a place to stick a fuel nozzle. The E-tron’s powertrain consists of a pair of electric motors: one for the front axle, one for the rear, thus enabling the all-wheel-drive capabilities Audi has become known for. They source their flow from a 95-kilowatt-hour battery that sits beneath the passengers, though just 83.5 kWh of that is available, in the interest of long-term battery preservation. The total output of all that comes to 402 horsepower, though that’s only with the shifter in Sport mode, and only for spurts of up to eight seconds.

That said, considering it only takes 5.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, eight seconds is precisely enough time to get you up to extra-legal speed almost anywhere in America. Plus, the instant-on action of electric motors means there’s no need to rev up for full power; it’s all there the instant you breathe on the pedal. As a result, the 5,754-pound E-tron can dust practically anything short of a V8 Mustang at a stoplight in the real world.

You’d never know about its futuristic powertrain from looking at it, though. Audi played things cautious with this first foray into mainstream electrification; inside and out, it looks every bit in line with the rest of the carmaker’s lineup. (Contrast that with the Jaguar I-Pace, which wears its Tomorrowland tech proudly with unmistakable styling that looks like nothing else on the road.) It drives with the same sort of smoothness and tautness of every big Audi, be it a crossover or sedan. There’s not a whole lot of feel through the steering, but it’s well-weighted and immediate enough that you don’t mind much.

Indeed, the entire mission brief seems to have been to minimize the electric-car aspects as much as possible, in order to make it seem as unthreatening as possible to electric-curious soccer moms. Unlike Tesla, Nissan and Jaguar, for example, the E-tron doesn’t offer one-pedal driving (where the power-regenerative capabilities of the electric motors kick in as you reduce pressure on the throttle, causing it to slow down without pressing the brake).

And like the styling inside and out, the infotainment, materials and controls all seem interchangeable with any other Audi. The only time outsiders would be aware how different it is from its siblings is when they hear the odd science-fiction warble it makes at low speeds to let pedestrians know it’s nearly.

What the hell is “E-Tron,” by the way?

E-Tron is Audi’s branding for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The name dates back more than a decade, first appearing on a sleek, R8-esque concept car ostensibly driven by four electric motors that Audi claimed made a combined 309 hp and 3,319 lb-ft of torque. (No, that’s not a typo.) The moniker continued to show up on a series of concept cars until 2013, when it finally reached showrooms — not as an EV like the concepts, but as a plug-in hybrid version of the A3 hatchback that could go all of 31 miles on electricity alone. So aside from an effectively inconsequential run of all-electric R8 E-trons that existed as much to make Tony Stark look cool in Iron Man 3 as anything else, this five-person crossover is the first Audi to truly live up to the E-tron brand.

What does it compete against?

The aforementioned Jaguar I-Pace is its closest competition. They share a lot in principle: they’re around the same size and start around the same price, mark their makers’ first real foray into true EVs, and are forced to deal with the infrastructural issues that challenge any non-Tesla EV. Speaking of Elon Musk’s car company: the Tesla Model X also stacks up right against the E-tron in price, though it’s a bit larger and goes much farther on a charge.

Any downsides?

The biggest issue is the current lack of current, so to speak. Right now, there’s no expansive network of easily-accessible fast chargers for Audis the way there is for Tesla drivers in the form of the Supercharger network. Audi claims the E-Tron can chug electricity at up to 150 kW, enough to add 54 miles of range on a 10-minute charge. Sounds great, in theory. In practice, it proved more difficult. I managed to find a Level 3 charger at an Audi dealership north of NYC and plugged it in with 111 miles of range remaining — only to be told it’d take an hour and 46 minutes to bring it back to max charge. That’s still faster than a Level 2 charger — those take about nine hours to replenish the battery — but it’s enough time to put a serious kibosh on the flow of your day.

(Also, a minor aside: when I tried to detach the charger, it was jammed. An Audi tech at the dealership was able to pop it loose by opening the hood and yanking the emergency release; he claimed it’s been a problem with E-trons. I can’t speak to other units, but I would recommend making sure you know how to use that emergency release before you leave the dealership.)

That wouldn’t be quite as much of a problem if the E-tron could go farther between plugs. The 204 miles of range drops to 196 with the climate control on, which makes it a more relevant number for most people. That’s a fine number for a commuter car or a weekend jaunt to a country house, but it effectively means you’ll need to budget for a lengthy charging stop every three hours or less on a road trip — and again, that’s if you can find a charger along your route.

Volkswagen’s Electrify America network of EV chargers, once fully operational and rivaling those Superchargers in scale, should help out quite a bit. For now, though, that web of plugs only has 2,000 fast chargers in 500 locations around America — compared with 168,000 gas stations across the land.

TL;DR — why should I care?

Because it’s the future — even if, like the players on Saturday Night Live in the ’70s, it’s Not Ready for Prime Time. The E-tron is Audi’s statement of intent, proof of concept for the next decade. As EVs evolve and places to plug in become more prevalent, the disadvantages will fade, leaving only the good parts: the thrilling power delivery, the lower amounts of maintenance, and of course, that whole “save the planet” thing.

The limited range and current dearth of charging stations make it hard to recommend choosing this Audi as your sole vehicle right now, unless you never, ever conceivably seeing yourself driving more than 200 miles in a day (and have a dedicated place to park every night). But if you’re looking for a second car and also thinking about trying to find an easy way into the EV pool…the E-tron will do right by you.

Audi provided this product for review.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by wcourtney | Follow on Twitter · Email

The Next Land Rover Defender Could Destroy Ford’s Baby Bronco

Land Rover recently unveiled the new 2020 Defender, and as you’d expect from the brand these days, it’s pricey. Taking the most stripped-down Defender 90 out of the box will still cost more than $50,000. That’s a spicy-enough meatball to price out many potential buyers. But Land Rover might have plans to push the nameplate further downmarket: Autocar is reporting that a cheaper Defender with styling based on the classic model will arrive in 2021.

That said, think more “Baby Bronco fighter” than “spartan Jeep Wrangler competitor.” The new Defender will reportedly be an entry-level four-door vehicle, slotting below the Discovery Sport in the Landie lineup. It would start in the U.K. at a little less than $33,000. The base engine will reportedly be a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder, connected to the front wheels alone or all four; a plug-in hybrid version will allegedly also be in the cards.

Land Rover reportedly sees the vehicle slotting in the crossover segment between cars like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Jeep Compass and the Volvo XC40 and Mercedes GLB on the luxury end and expanding to markets outside Europe. A high-volume, lower emission crossover would also help Jaguar Land Rover meet emissions standards.

While Land Rover may be broadening the brand, they won’t leave the buyers looking for exclusivity unattended. Autocar also says Land Rover may take on the pristine resto-mod Defender market with a super-luxe member of the Defender family, arriving in 2023. This Defender would have an all-electric powertrain to start, finishings to match the Aston Martin DBX and Bentley Bentayga, and a price tag well north of $100,000. Sadly, reports suggest these Defender models will arrive at the expense of a much-less-sensible (from a profit standpoint, at least) rugged Defender pickup.

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The McLaren 620R is revealed as a road-legal 570S GT4 race car

Perhaps you missed out on the limited-run McLaren Senna race car for the road. Those were all snapped up immediately, so it’s understandable if you did. Don’t fret, though, because McLaren just unveiled another road-legal race car that it plans to sell 350 of. It’s called the McLaren 620R, and it’s even more exclusive than the 500-unit Senna.

The 620R is truly a road-legal 570S GT4 race car at its core. McLaren simply homologated it for road use, and then took advantage of the total lack of racing regulations to make it even quicker than the race version. The end result is rather enticing.

To make it road legal, McLaren attacked a laundry list of items. The massive rear wing gained a brake light. McLaren says that cars will be delivered to customers in the most roadworthy low-downforce setting, but a McLaren retailer is able to adjust it to one of the two other more aggressive settings — in maximum attack, it can contribute 408 pounds of downforce. The front bumper and splitter were redesigned with “more pronounced aero blades” on the splitter. Dive planes were added to help accelerate air flow along the sides of the car and aid brake cooling. Then, the redesigned carbon fiber hood has two nostrils to clean up the air flowing over the top of the car and aid downforce. The full frontal aero package is able to produce up to 143 pounds of downforce.

As expected, it uses an unshackled version of the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 out of the GT4 race car. In this spec, it produces 612 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a 0-60 mph sprint in 2.8 seconds and a maximum speed of 200 mph.

The dampers are straight off the GT4, too. They’re manually adjustable, and actually contribute to a 13-pound weight savings over the road version of the 570S. Still, these dampers are meant for the track, so expect them to be brutally stiff on our pockmarked roads. Lightweight aluminum wishbones and uprights are used, plus stiffer anti-roll bars as well. Carbon ceramic rotors and forged aluminum calipers are used to stop. McLaren says stopping power is spectacular with the standard Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, but it’s taken to an entirely new level with the optional full slicks.

Buyers in the U.S. are allowed even more goodies than those elsewhere with this car. You’re able to spec an MSO upgrade package that features a carbon fiber roof and roof scoop for the car’s intake. The McLaren Track Telemetry system comes with this package, allowing you to record your lap times and analyze them later. The starting price is $299,000, and production will begin in January 2020.

Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII Gets New Look from Spofec

Spofec recently released a set of upgrades for the latest Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII. The most expensive luxury sedan gets a new body kit to set it apart from the serial model. The design adds to the boxy nature of the limousine, with all components manufactured from hgih-quality carbon fibre.

The components include a new front bumper, machined from carbon fibre. Other additions include a carbon fibre part for the fender Rolls-Royce badge, a set of side skirts, a new rear bumper and a spoiler lip.

As well as the visual upgrades, Spofec also offer a Can-Tronic control module for the suspension, lowering the car by 40 mm up to 140 km/h. Spacers are also added to the front and rear track, 20 mm and 25 mm respectively. These couple with a new set of 24 inch Vossen wheels.

A plug and play system allows for power upgrades to the twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre V12. It boosts power from 571 hp up to 685 hp and 1,010 Nm of torque. Increases of 114 hp and 110 Nm respectively. Sprint times are reduced too with 100 km/h arriving in just 5.0 seconds, although, due to the weight, the top speed remains electronically limited to 250 km/h.

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The New Cars We Can’t Wait to Meet (and Drive) in 2020

2019 is almost in the metaphorical books, and it’s been quite a year in the automotive world. Toyota launched the new Supra. Land Rover unveiled a new Defender. Ford produced a Mustang electric crossover. Kia offered the potentially brand-redefining Telluride SUV.

With the year ending, it’s natural to look ahead. Here are 12 cars we’re excited to meet and/or drive for the first time next year.

2021 Ford Bronco

It’s been almost three years since Ford first teased the all-new Bronco. Ford gave us a pretty good preview with this badass race truck earlier this year, but 2020 should be when we get to see the real deal. Whether it’s the “Baby Bronco” compact crossover or the honest-to-God Jeep Wrangler competitor, something with a Bronco nameplate should show its face by early 2020.

Next-Gen Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling passenger vehicle. The last generation set a high bar for competitors, making widespread use of light-weight materials like aluminum and utilizing turbocharged V6 powertrains in place of big V8s. The next generation could offer even more radical changes for the truck, including hybrid and pure electric powertrains.

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Chevrolet’s all-new, all-different Corvette was revealed to the world earlier this year, but it doesn’t formally go on sale (and we don’t get to drive it) until next year. We’re looking forward to trying out both its supercar-rivaling performance and its unusual interior.

2021 BMW M3 / M4

BMW has long purported to sell “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” The purest distillation of that vision, historically, has been the M3 (and its coupe version, now called the M4). BMW is making some dramatic changes for the next generation — although BMW purists will still be able to get a stick shift and rear-wheel-drive.

All-New Cadillac Escalade

Lincoln came on strong with the awesome new Navigator for 2018. Now, we wait for Cadillac’s retort, with its new flagship SUV expected to arrive for the 2021 model year. It should look…well, like an Escalade. Though the underpinnings will be significantly changed, even perhaps including an electric powertrain.

2020 Land Rover Defender

Opinions on the new Defender were mixed before it came out, and they’re still mixed now that we’ve seen it in the flesh. The real question, however, is what it’ll be like from behind the wheel — something we’ll find out in 2020.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen is going all-in on electric vehicles. Europe is getting the stunning ID.3 Golf successor hatchback, but the first Volkswagen EV to arrive in America will likely be the crossover-based ID.4. Early camouflaged images are encouraging, to say the least.

All-New Alfa Romeo Tonale

Photo via www.autocar.co.uk

Alfa Romeo’s reintroduction to the American market has gone much better than Fiat’s did. The Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV are among the best-looking, most compelling driver’s cars in their segments (at least, when they’re not in the shop). Let’s see what Alfa can do with the small crossover category.

All-New Jaguar XJ

Jaguar’s iconic XJ nameplate will return in 2021. But it will be powered by electricity, not a V8. It may not even be a traditional? sedan.

2021 Tesla Roadster

Tesla has been promising to revive the Roadster since 2017. Elon Musk has been touting a sub-1.9-second 0-60 mph time, a top speed of 250 mph and an astounding 620-mile range. We’re guessing not all of those things can happen at the same time.

All-New Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The S-Class represents the pinnacle of Mercedes technology. It often defines where Mercedes (and the rest of the car market a few years later) will be heading. How will Mercedes reinterpret its flagship for these interesting times?

2020 Audi RS6 Avant

It’s a 592-hp, all-wheel-drive super sports car that also happens to be a capacious five-seat station wagon. Better yet, it’s also being sold in the U.S. for the first time. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Even in a year that’s been packed with controversial new models, few cars have drummed up as much of a stir as Ford’s electric crossover wearing the iconic Mustang name. We’re looking forward to seeing if the performance lives up to its moniker.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Hennessy Performance Is Tweaking A 2020 Chevrolet C8 Covette Into A 1,200 Horsepower Beast

After seeing their previous projects, we can say that anything that Hennessy Performance touches will exceed expectations. This tuning outfit really knows how to turn any impressive ride into something even better. Some of the examples we can give you are a McLaren 600LT, Dodge Demon, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and others that were given the works. As such, these high-performance rides turned into jaw-dropping monsters on the road. Now, the shop is messing around again and this time it’s a 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette that will be undergoing an operation. After all the upgrades, they’re calling it the HPE1200 Twin Turbo.

Let’s head straight to the good stuff and find out what’s under the hood this time. According to the American tuner, they’re equipping the HPE1200 Twin Turbo with a beast of an engine for this build. The engineers are taking the 2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette’s 6.2-litre LT2 V2 power plant giving it a makeover. We’re talking about improved internals such as aluminium pistons and forged steel connecting rods. To maximize the enhancements, Hennessy Performance is also reinforcing the stock 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.

On top of the work done on the drivetrain, the HPE1200 Twin Turbo is getting a CarbonAero bodywork. As the name implies, this will involve a lot of carbon fibre replacements for the front splitter, air dam, side skirts, and rear wing. Now that it’s capable of up to 1,200 horsepower, the shop is adding Brembo brakes and a Penske suspension system to keep this monster in check. Hennessy Performance has yet to reveal the price, but we’re sure some people will be lining up already.

Check out more details here

Images courtesy of Hennessey Performance

McLaren Senna GTR Review | Driving the track-ready, race-banned hypercar

Reviewed by J.R. Hildebrand for TechCrunch. Hildebrand is a professional racing and test driver, nine-time Indianapolis 500 competitor and adjunct lecturer for The Revs Program at Stanford University.

SNETTERTON, England — The McLaren Senna GTR shouldn’t exist.

This feat of engineering and design isn’t allowed on public roads. It’s built for the track, but prohibited from competing in motorsports. And yet, the GTR is no outlier at McLaren . It’s part of their Ultimate Series, a portfolio of extreme and distinct hypercars that now serve as the foundation of the company’s identity and an integral part of its business model.

The P1, introduced in 2012, was McLaren Automotive’s opening act on the hypercar stage and was an instant success for both the brand and its business. McLaren followed it up with the P1 GTR, then went on to chart a course toward the Ultimate Series of today and beyond.

Since 2017, the automaker has added the Senna, Speedtail, Senna GTR and now the open-cockpit Elva to the Ultimate Series portfolio. While the GTR is certainly the most extreme and limited in how and where it can be used, it follows a larger pattern of the Ultimate Series as being provocatively designed with obsessive intent.

Automotive takes the wheel

Purpose-built race cars that call on every modern tool of engineering and design have historically been produced for one purpose: winning. This objective, nourished by billions of dollars of investment from the motorsports industry, has led to technological and performance breakthroughs that have eventually trickled down to automotive.

The pipeline that has produced a century of motorsports-driven innovation is narrowing as racing regulations become more restrictive. Now, a new dynamic is taking shape. Automotive is taking the technological lead.

Take the McLaren Senna road car, the predecessor to the GTR. McLaren had to constrain the design of the Senna to make it road legal. But the automaker loaded it with active aerodynamics and chassis control systems that racing engineers could only dream about.

McLaren wasn’t finished. It pushed the bounds further and produced a strictly track-focused and unconstrained race car that expands upon the Senna’s lack of conformity. The Senna GTR might be too advanced and too fast for any racing championship, but McLaren said to hell with it and made the vehicle anyway.

The bet paid off. All 75 Senna GTR hypercars, which start at $1.65 million, sold before the first one was even produced.

The Senna GTR is the symbol of a new reality — a hypercar market that thrives on the ever-more-extreme, homologation standards be damned.

Two weeks ago, I had a chance to get behind the wheel of the Senna GTR at the Snetterton Circuit in the U.K. to find out how McLaren went about developing this wholly unconstrained machine.

Behind the wheel

Rr-rr-rr-kra-PAH! The deafening backfire of the GTR’s 814-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine snapped me to attention and instantly transported me to the moment earlier in the day that provided the first hints of what my drive might be like.

Rob Bell, the McLaren factory driver who did track development for the GTR, was on hand to get the car warmed up. Shortly after he set out, the car ripped down the front-straight, climbing through RPMs with an ear-protection-worthy scream that reverberated off every nearby surface, an audible reminder of how unshackled it is.

As Bell approached Turn 1, the rear wing quickly dropped back to its standard setting from the straightaway DRS (drag reduction system) position, then to an even more aggressive airbrake as he went hard to the brakes from 6th gear down to 5th to 4th. The vehicle responded with the signature kra-PAH! kra-PAH! and then promptly discharged huge flames out the exhaust as the anti-lag settings keep a bit of fuel flowing off-throttle.

I thought to myself, ‘Holy sh*t! This thing is no joke!’

Sliding into the driver’s seat, I feel at home. The cockpit is purposeful. The track was cold with some damp spots, and the GTR is a stiff, lightweight race car with immense power on giant slick tires. Conventional wisdom would suggest the driver — me in this case — should slowly work up to speed in these otherwise treacherous conditions. However, the best way to get the car to work is to get temperature in the tires by leaning on it a bit right away. Bell sent me out in full “Race” settings for both the engine and electronic traction and stability controls. Within a few corners — and before the end of the lap — I had a good feel for the tuning of the ABS, TC and ESC, which were all intuitive and minimally invasive.

As a racing driver, it’s rare to feel a tinge of excitement just to go for a drive. As professionals, driving is a clinical exercise. But the GTR triggered that feeling.

I started by pushing hard in slower corners and before long worked my way up the ladder to the fast, high-commitment sections. The car violently accelerated up through the gears, leaving streaks of rubber at the exit of every corner.

Once the car is straight, drivers can push the DRS button to reduce drag and increase speed for an extra haptic kick. The DRS button is now a manual function on the upper left of the steering wheel to give the driver more control over when it’s deployed. After hitting the DRS, the car dares you to keep your right foot planted on the throttle, then instantly hunkers down under braking with a stability I’ve rarely experienced.

The active rear wing adds angle while the active front flaps take it out to counterbalance the effect of the car’s weight shifting forward onto the front axle, letting you drive deeper and deeper into each corner. It’s sharply reactive; the GTR stuck to the road, but still required a bit of driving with my fingertips out at the limit on that cold day. I soon discovered that the faster I went, the more downforce the car generated, and the more speed I was able to extract from it.

Tip to tail

In almost any other environment, the Senna road car is the most shocking car you’ve ever seen. Its cockpit shape is reminiscent of a sci-fi spaceship capsule. The enormous swan neck-mounted rear wing is one highlight in a long list of standout features. The Senna road car looks downright pedestrian next to the GTR.

The rear wing stretches off the back of the car with sculpted carbon fiber endplates and seamlessly connects to the rear fender bodywork. The diffuser that emerges from the car’s underbody — creating low pressure by accelerating the airflow under the car for added downforce — is massive. The giant 325/705-19 Pirelli slicks are slightly exposed from behind, giving you the full sense of just how much rubber is on the ground, and the sharp edges of the center exit exhaust tips are already a bluish-purple tint.

The cockpit shape and dihedral doors are instantly recognizable from the road car. But inside, the GTR is all business. The steering wheel is derived from McLaren’s 720S GT3 racing wheel, a butterfly shape with buttons and rotary switches aplenty. The dash is an electronic display straight out of a race car; six-point belts and proper racing seats complete the aesthetic.

Arriving at the front of the car, the active front wing-flaps are as prominent as ever, while the splitter extends several inches farther out in front of the car and is profiled with a raised area in the center to reduce pitch sensitivity given the car’s much lower dynamic ride-height. In fact, nearly the entire front end of the car has been tweaked; there are additional dive-planes, the forward facing bodywork at the sides of the car have been squared-off and reshaped, and an array of vortex generators have been carved into the outer edge of the wider, bigger splitter surface.

All of these design choices in the front point to the primary area of development from the Senna road-car to the GTR: maximizing its l/d or ratio of lift (in this case the inverse of lift, downforce) to drag.

McLaren pulled two of its F1 aerodynamicists into the GTR project to take the car’s aero to a new level. The upshot: a 20% increase in the car’s total downforce compared to the Senna road car, while increasing aero efficiency — the ratio of downforce to drag — by an incredible 50%. The car is wider, lower and longer than its road-going counterpart, and somehow looks more properly proportioned with its road-legal restrictions stripped away to take full advantage of its design freedom.

This was the car the Senna always wanted to be.

The development process of the GTR was short and to the point. When you have F1 aerodynamicists and a GT3 motorsport program in-house attacking what is already the most high-performing production track car in the industry, it can be. There were areas they could instantly improve by freeing themselves of road-car constraints — the interior of the car could be more spartan; the overall vehicle dimensions and track width could increase; the car would no longer need electronically variable ride heights for different road surfaces so the suspension system could be more purposeful for track use; the car would have larger, slick tires.

All this provided a cohesive mechanical platform upon which to release the aerodynamic assault of guided simulation and CFD.

The GTR benefits from the work of talented humans and amazing computer programs working together with a holistic design approach. What was once a sort of invisible magic, aerodynamics has become a well-understood means of generating performance. But you still have to know what you’re seeking to accomplish; the priorities for a car racing at Pikes Peak are much different than those of a streamliner at Bonneville.

The development team for the GTR sought to maximize the total level of downforce that the tires could sustain, then really kicked their efforts into gear to clean up airflow around the car as much as possible. Many of the aggressive-looking design elements that differentiate the GTR from the Senna are not just for additional downforce but to move air around the car with less turbulence — less turbulent air means less drag. You can’t see it or feel it, but it certainly shows up on the stopwatch, and is often the difference between a car that just looks fast and one that actually is.

I hadn’t asked how fast the car was relative to other GT race cars before I drove it. I think a part of me was fearful that despite its appearance and specs it might be wholly tuned down to be sure it was approachable for an amateur on a track day. And that would make sense, as that’s the likely use-case this car will have. After driving the GTR, I didn’t hesitate for a second to ask, to which they humbly said that it’s seconds faster than their own McLaren 720S GT3 car, and still had some headroom.The Senna GTR is another exercise in exploring the limits of technology, engineering and performance for McLaren, enabled by a market of enthusiasts with the means to support it. And this trend is likely to continue unless motorsports changes the rules to allow hypercars.

McLaren’s next move

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has been working for years to develop regulations that could include them. While these discussions are gaining momentum, it remains to be seen whether motorsport can provide a legitimate platform for the hypercar in the modern era.

The last time this kind of exercise was embarked on was more than 20 years ago during the incredible but short-lived GT1-era at Le Mans that spanned from 1995 to 1998. It saw McLaren, Porsche, Mercedes and others pull out all the stops to create the original hypercars — in most cases comically unroadworthy homologation specials like the Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion (literally “street version”) and Mercedes CLK GTR — for the sole purpose of becoming the underpinnings of a winning race car on the world’s stage.

At that time, the race cars made sense to people; the streetcars were misfits of which only the necessary minimum of 25 units were produced in most cases, and the whole thing collapsed due to loopholes, cost, politics and the lack of any real endgame.

Today, the ACO benefits from a road-going hypercar market that McLaren played a key role in developing. Considering McLaren’s success with hyper-specific specialized vehicles in recent years, I’d bet the automaker could produce a vehicle custom-tailored to a worthy set of hypercar regulations. Even if not, McLaren will continue to develop and sell vehicles under its Ultimate Series banner.

And there’s already evidence that McLaren is doubling down.


McLaren shows off the open cockpit Elva.

McLaren’s Track 25 business plan targets $1.6 billion in investment toward 18 new vehicles between 2018 and 2025. The company’s entire portfolio will use performance-focused hybrid powertrains by 2025.

The paint had barely dried on the Senna GTR before McLaren introduced another new vehicle, the Elva. And more are coming. McLaren is already promising a successor to the mighty P1. I, for one, am looking forward to what else they have in store.

The Sherp ATV Might Look Funny But It’s A Serious Outlanding Monster

Leave it to the Russians to come up with ambitious builds and machines that can either look stupid or insanely awesome at times. Previously, we featured a crazy project wherein a group of friends modified a Bentley Continental GT in a way nobody could imagine. This is Russia we’re talking about hence the luxury vehicle ended up becoming a tank. We’re not kidding, there are actual tank treads on the thing and we hate to admit it but it does look badass. Speaking of badassery, check out his ATV called the Sherp and you’ll know what we’re talking about.

At first glance, it looks a little odd with the oversized set of tires flanking the body. However, it serves a clear purpose in all this madness. This setup gives the Sherp 23 inches of ground clearance. Moreover, the manufacturer reveals that the self-inflating rubber adds versatility to the ATV. Along with the pneumatic circulating suspension system, it can practically traverse on almost every surface imaginable.

We found out that the Sherp is amphibious as well. The tires along with the hermetic craftsmanship of its aluminium body let it float and travel over water. Powering this unique ATV is a Kubota V1505-t engine producing 44.3 horsepower, giving it a maximum speed of 24.5 miles per hour. Don’t laugh just yet, because this vehicle can tackle inclines with a gradient of up to 35 degrees. We would gladly choose this over regular ATV for the sheer fun it can offer. The company also offers a pickup configuration for those who want one.

Order yours here

Images courtesy of Sherp

McLaren hybrid tech will create one of the quickest cars in the world

McLaren’s entire range of models will be electrified by 2023, and hybrid technology will help the British firm build one of the quickest cars in the world. The company’s chief executive outlined an unnamed upcoming model that will boast an organ-displacing zero-to-60-mph time of 2.3 seconds.

Speaking about the firm’s future with Car & Driver, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt provided crunchy new details about the next-generation platform and the gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain the firm plans to unveil in early 2020, possibly during the next edition of the Geneva Motor Show. The 2.3-second car’s secret ingredient will be an electric motor that will zap the front wheels into motion. It will work with a mid-mounted engine, likely a twin-turbocharged V8, to deliver through-the-road all-wheel drive. We expect a generous serving of carbon fiber will keep the model’s weight in check.

Though there’s much more to a sports car than an impressive zero-to-60-mph time, 2.3 seconds would put McLaren’s looming hybrid on par with the sold-out Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, and ever so slightly ahead of hypercars like the Bugatti Chiron (2.4 seconds). McLaren’s limited-edition P1 hybrid took 2.6 seconds, and the hardcore Senna (pictured) is a tenth of a second slower.

Looking ahead, McLaren will gradually replace the current members of its range with new models built on its next-generation platform. The cheaper, less powerful ones will surf the downsizing wave sweeping across the industry by adopting a V6 the company hasn’t unveiled yet, while the bigger cars with higher horsepower ratings will carry on with a twin-turbocharged V8. All of the upcoming models will come standard with hybrid power, and they’ll be capable of driving for up to 20 miles on electricity, yet they’ll weigh as little as 65 pounds more than the supercars they’ll replace. The weight difference will likely increase when all-wheel drive, a V8 engine, or both enter the equation. 

McLaren has talked about building an electric car for years, and it even turned the 720S into a test mule to put the drivetrain though its paces, but Flewitt reaffirmed the technology isn’t ready. While solid-state batteries expected to merge into the mainstream halfway through the 2020s could make an electric McLaren more feasible, Flewitt warned the firm might not completely ditch gasoline for another three decades. Profitability is a deciding factor, too, especially as the company eyes an IPO.

Finally, Ferrari’s contentious but seemingly inevitable move into the SUV segment hasn’t changed his mind about launching a high-riding model. No means no, regardless of what rivals are doing. Instead of seeking additional ground clearance, McLaren is developing the first supercar it plans to release on its new platform. The model will make its debut in late 2020, and it will go on sale in early 2021.

The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Concorde Edition Is An Exciting Tribute To Supersonic Flight

Aston Martin is a brand that makes some of the world’s sexiest supercars. Not only that but the British marque also has ties with the James Bond franchise. This makes its machines some of the most desirable ones out there. Once in a while, carmakers create limited-edition models that become highly collectible for certain individuals. We’re happy one was recently in the news and it surely does not disappoint. This is the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Concorde Edition and it looks ready to go supersonic.

For our readers who can still remember a little bit of history behind this awesome tribute, good for you. Meanwhile, let’s get the others up to speed, shall we? Aston Martin is dedicating this exclusive ride in memory of the only supersonic passenger plane that was in service. This remarkable airliner had a seating capacity of up to 128 passengers and boasted a maximum speed of double the speed of sound.

Aston Martin pays homage to the aircraft that was eventually grounded for good in 2003. What the designers came up with is to give the interior and exterior a familiar detailing that resembles the livery of the turbojet. While it’s mostly in white, there are other elements such as British Airways colours that add a little contrast.

Meanwhile, a silhouette of the Concorde sits on top of the carbon fibre roof. Moreover, the diffuser and strake likewise bear the same outline of the passenger aircraft. Finally, the cabin features luxurious Alcantara on the headliner, Mach Meteor embroidery, and a special pair of paddle shifter. According to Aston Martin, these are fashioned from titanium sourced from the compressor blades of the Concorde. Only 10 examples of the DBS Superleggera Concorde Edition will be available for purchase.

More details: here

Images courtesy of Aston Martin

You can still buy a million-dollar Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign

Almost a year ago to the day, Nissan revealed the GT-R50 in its final production form, declaring the order books open for business. We have our first update from Nissan on how the super exclusive and rare GT-R is doing today. Turns out, you can still order one!

Nissan says it has received a “significant number of deposits,” but didn’t specify what the current number is. The company goes on to say that a “limited number of reservations for the remaining models are still available.” As of now, Nissan appears to be sticking to the 50-car limited production run of the Italdesign collaboration anniversary model.

With such limited supply, it may seem surprising that enough rich GT-R fans haven’t swooped in and picked these up. Let us remind you of the price, though. A single GT-R50 will run you north of $1 million — the base price converted from euros is $1,126,799. Make a little more sense why some are still available now? The GT-R50 looks like a superb car in every way, but it’s easy to see why Nissan could be having some difficulty selling a car that’s $1 million more expensive than the vehicle it’s based on.

For those who have already put money down on a GT-R50, Nissan says it’s in the process of working with those clients to finalize their custom builds. Owners can expect to see the cars delivered between the end of 2020 and the end of 2021.

The last bit of interesting news today comes in the form of the photos at the top. Nissan made some new renderings to show off the GT-R50 in different paint colors (we’re loving the green). If you want to see the prototype in person, Nissan says it’ll be on display at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.

Le Mans Hypercars 2020: First Set of Rules Revealed

With the 2019 Motorsport season now over, FIA WEC fans are now gearing up for the 2020 season which will see the debut of the Le Mans Hypercar category. Today, the FIA World Motor Sport Council has revealed the initial ground rules for the category which will sit above LMP2.

The good news for this new class is that the first year will have no restrictions in regards to testing (as was with LMP1). This is to give teams as much time as possible to prepare for the start of the season. Restrictions in testing will come into effect during the second year. Homologation on the other hand will be conducted under the name of the marque.

For a team entering 2 cars, a maximum of 40 team members will be allowed, and if a team has 2 hybrids, then the maximum number of team members allowed will be 43.

LMP2 teams will now have one single tire supplier and power will be reduced by 30kW starting next season to manage the running costs.

As for the title of the FIA World Endurance Champion, it will go to the winning Le Mans Hypercar drivers.

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The Jeep Gladiator Is the Best New Car of 2019

This story is part of the GP100, our annual roundup of the best products of the year. To see the full list of winners, grab the latest issue of Gear Patrol Magazine.

Americans love pickup trucks. They buy one every 12 seconds. And Americans love Jeeps. In 2018, the company just had its best sales year ever, moving almost a million vehicles in the U.S. alone. So clearly, the nation hungers for big vehicles with a commanding road presence and four-wheel-drive grip.

Yet in spite of a blatantly obvious opportunity to merge those two trends, Jeep went almost three decades without producing a vehicle with a metal bed hung behind the passenger seat — which explains why the company’s fans howled with delight when they glimpsed of the all-new Gladiator at the Los Angeles Auto Show at the end of last year, all but preemptively thrusting cash in Jeep’s direction. But it was only this spring that the truck finally launched, finally giving them the chance to do so.

The Gladiator’s five-foot-long bed may be shorter than most pickup trucks’ beds, but it still provides incredible versatility.

Rather than attempt to build a new truck from the ground up, Jeep’s product planners and engineers chose to keep it simple, taking the four-door Wrangler — specifically, the all-new, more-refined JL generation — stretching out the wheelbase and affixing a metal box to the end of it.

The Wrangler-based design means all the parts and features that have elevated that model into an icon over the last few decades come along for the ride. Removable top? Present, in both soft and three-piece hard-top forms. Removable doors? Also in attendance, and every bit as easy to doff as they are on the Wrangler. A waterproof interior, designed to be easy to clean and boasting one of the most intuitive, convenient layouts in the industry? Standard on every one.

Jeep even offers the choice between manual and automatic gearboxes, making the Gladiator one of the last trucks sold in America to give drivers the option of rowing their own gears.

Further Reading
2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel Review: The Wrangler, Enhanced
We Go Off-Roading in the All-New Jeep Gladiator Overland Pickup

But being a pickup truck means the Gladiator also can accomplish things its SUV sibling can’t — like towing up to 7,650 pounds (the Wrangler maxes out at 3,500). The five-foot-long bed boasts more cargo space than the trunk of its two-box brethren; plus, even with two or three adults aboard, it can still take on half a ton of gear. And options like an integrated 110-volt plug in the bed and an integrated Bluetooth speaker that charges from the car makes the Gladiator among the best tailgating rigs out there.

It wouldn’t be a badass Jeep without flared fenders.

The added space between the axles does dock the Jeep’s off-road capability a tad. It’s easier to wind up high-centered on unfortunately placed hillocks and the breakover and departure angles of 20.3 and 26 degrees respectively mean it won’t be able to keep up with the Wrangler when the going gets really rough.

Still, that’s not enough to keep it from being every bit one of the most capable trucks on sale — especially in trail-conquering Rubicon form, which builds on the model’s inherent prowess by adding features like locking differentials, an electronic sway bar disconnect and a lower low range better suited for rock crawling.

The red tow hook is a hallmark of the Rubicon trim, Jeep’s most off-road-ready version of the truck.

On the road — where, let’s face it, Jeeps spend most of their time — the Gladiator drives even better than the latest-generation Wrangler, which redefined on-road comfort for the model. Its long wheelbase gives the Gladiator delightful stability on the highway, making it a superior choice for long slogs behind the wheel. Added convenience features like radar-based active cruise control, blind-spot warning and parking sensors bring the sort of comfort not traditionally associated with trucks or Jeeps in particular. Hell, you can even pick one up with leather seats.

Granted, it’s easy to price this truck up to a total near $60,000 if you go buck wild on the options sheet or spend extra on official aftermarket accessories like lift kits and off-road lights. But play it smart, and you can snag a well-equipped one for around $45K — only a few thousand dollars more than the average new-car price nowadays. Considering you’re scoring an off-roader, a five-seat family car, a convertible and a pickup truck in one for that price, it’s hard to see that as anything but the deal of the year.

Powertrain: 3.6-liter V6 or 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6; six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 285 (gasoline); 260 (diesel)
Torque: 260 lb-ft (gasoline), 440 lb-ft (diesel)
Price: $33,545+

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The 10 Best Cars & Motorcycles of 2019

This story is part of the GP100, our annual roundup of the best products of the year. To see the full list of winners, grab the latest issue of Gear Patrol Magazine.

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about a car, truck, SUV or motorcycle. Each one is inherently full of compromises. Safety or speed, efficiency or comfort, style or capability — the needs of passenger vehicles are governed by opposing forces. The year’s best new motorcycles and cars were chosen because they blend those qualities in ways that play up their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses. They push transportation into the future. They combine the abilities of multiple vehicles into a single package. They reestablish future generations’ love of legacy brands. And above all else, they’re machines we’d be proud to park in our driveways.

Products are listed alphabetically.

Audi E-Tron

Competition in the electric vehicle world is heating up, and it was Audi that delivered the first EV with a truly premium experience and high-end build quality, even if the E-Tron’s 204-mile range doesn’t compete with EVs from other makers (like Tesla and Jaguar). Still, the crossover is exceptionally well-engineered, delivering its own brand of sporty performance. It moves the ball forward — for customers, for parent company VW and for the world we live in.

Powertrain: Dual asynchronous electric motors; all-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 402
Torque: 490 lb-ft
Price: $74,800+

Further Reading
Why You Should Care About the Audi E-Tron
Audi E-Tron Review: Simply Put, This Is a Great Car

Bentley Continental GT V8

When a car costs as much as a house, it has to work hard to justify its price tag. The Bentley Continental GT makes the job look easy. Slide into the leather-laden cabin, fire up the twin-turbo eight-cylinder engine, and the Conti takes off like a shot, hitting 60 miles per hour just four seconds into its run up to 198 mph (all while weighing two and a half tons with you onboard).

Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8; eight-speed dual-clutch automatic; all-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 542
Torque: 568 lb-ft
Price: $198,500+

Further Reading
2020 Bentley Continental GT V8 Review: A Continent Crusher Steps Up Its Game
2019 Bentley Continental GT Convertible Review: Road Trip Wonderment

Watch Now: The 10 Best Cars, Trucks and Motorcycles 2019

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Bird One

Shared electric scooters lead hard lives — which means good companies build them tough. Bird’s first conveyance built for purchase, the One, has tubeless wheels to prevent flats and a steel-reinforced aluminum chassis that’s four times tougher than its shared brethren. GPS and Bluetooth connectivity lets you use your phone to lock and track your scooter. Plus, you can score deals on Bird’s network of public scooters when you’re away from your personal wheels.

Range: 30 miles on a charge
Charging Time: 4–6 hours
Top Speed: 18 mph
Price: $1,300

Further Reading
Look Out E-Bikes, This Scooter Wants to Replace You

Indian FTR 1200

Indian’s FTR 1200, its first all-new bike in half a decade, may be based off the brand’s modern FTR750 racer, but it draws the most inspiration from the Minnesota company’s rich history in flat track racing. A clean-sheet design meant engineers could start from scratch, and they optimized airflow into the potent V-twin by placing the airbox directly above the engine where the fuel tank would go. The effect? A lower center of gravity for superior agility.

Powertrain: 1203cc V-twin
Horsepower: 123
Torque: 87 lb-ft
Price: $13,499+

Further Reading
2019 Indian FTR 1200 Review: Out With the Old, In With the New
The Complete Indian Motorcycle Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

Jeep Gladiator

Editor’s Pick

Americans love pickup trucks, and Americans love Jeep Wranglers. So rather than attempt to build a new truck from the ground up, Jeep’s product planners and engineers chose to keep it simple, taking the four-door Wrangler — specifically, the all-new, more-refined JL generation — stretching out the wheelbase and affixing a metal box to the end of it. You can snag a well-equipped one for around $45,000; onsidering you’re scoring an off-roader, a five-seat family car, a convertible and a pickup truck in one for that price, it’s hard to see that as anything but the deal of the year.

Powertrain: 3.6-liter V6 or 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6; six-speed manual transmission; four-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 285 (gasoline); 260 (diesel
Torque: 260 (gasoline), 440 (diesel)
Price: $33,545+

Further Reading
2020 Jeep Gladiator Review: A Truck for the People
We Go Off-Roading in the All-New Jeep Gladiator Overland Pickup

Mercedes-AMG G63

New versions of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class come around less frequently than new popes. So when this year’s Gelandewagen arrived, it did so with roughly as much fanfare. For all the commotion, it takes a keen eye to tell the new “G-Wagen” from the old, at least from the outside; no such trouble occurs once you open the door, as the new G-Class finally boasts an interior worthy of a six-figure price tag. The AMG-tuned G63 version also cracks off mind-bending acceleration times without sacrificing the off-road ability that lets the G-Class be mentioned in the same breath as Land Rover and Jeep.

Powertrain: 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8; nine-speed automatic; four-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 577
Torque: 627 lb-ft
Price: $147,500+

Further Reading
2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 Review: The Automotive Multi-Tool, Now Better Than Ever

Porsche 911 Carrera S and 4S

Today’s 911 is many things the original was not. The cabin is decidedly high-tech, replete with touchscreens and a toggle-switch shifter. The extra-wide rear houses a turbocharged version of the traditional flat-six, mated to a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. (Porsche even says a hybrid 911 is in the works.) Change is the only constant here — well, that and round headlights. Perhaps that’s why every new version of the 911 keeps Porsche at the head of the sports car pack.

Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six; eight-speed dual-clutch automatic; rear- or all-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 443
Torque: 390 lb-ft
Price: $113,300+

Further Reading
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Review: Better In Literally Almost Every Way
A Definitive Ranking of Blue Porsche 911s

Ram 2500 and 3500

Heavy-duty pickups have become big business but maximum capability is only half the equation; today’s buyers want the same comforts they’ve gotten used to in other vehicles. In top-trim form, both the 2500 and 3500 are as tech-packed and comfortable as a luxury sedan. That’s not to say they can’t pull weight: the giant Ram 3500 cranks out 1,000 pound-feet of torque, giving it enough towing capacity to pull a small herd of elephants.

Powertrain: 6.4-liter V8 or 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-six; six- or eight-speed automatic transmission; two- or four-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 410 (gas), 370–410 (diesel)
Torque: 429 lb-ft (gas), 850–1,000 lb-ft (diesel)
Price: $33,645+

Further Reading
The 2019 Ram Power Wagon Is the Most Capable Pickup You Can Buy

Toyota GR Supra

Building a sports car is an expensive proposition, especially if you want it to be good. To create the fifth-generation Supra, Toyota got by like Ringo Star, with a little help from its friends: the folks at BMW. The spec sheet may have far more in common with the rides of the Bavarian Motor Works than with anything alongside it in the Toyota showroom, but that’s a feature, not a bug. With the fifth-generation Supra, Toyota chose not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good — and it delivered a great car as a result.

Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six; eight-speed automatic; rear-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 335
Torque: 365 pound-feet
Price: $49,990+

Further Reading
2020 Toyota Supra Review: Check Your Judgement At the Door
2020 Toyota Supra Revealed: Return of the King

Zero SR/F Electric Motorcycle

When an electric bike promises cost savings, environmental friendliness and one-of-a-kind thrills, you pay attention. Zero Motorcycles has been at this game for 13 years, outlasting fly-by-night competitors and even impacting Harley-Davidson, which just rolled out its first electric model, the LiveWire. The Zero SR/F flies contrary to the hallmarks of classic motorcycling: there’s no engine to purr, no gears to shift, no neutral to pop it into at a light. But any doubts whoosh away the moment you twist the throttle; try going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than two seconds. Green means go, baby.

Range: 161 miles in town; 99 on the highway at 55 mph; 82 on the highway at 70 mph
Horsepower: 110
Torque: 140 lb-ft
Price: $18,995+

Further Reading
The All-New Zero Will Be the Most Modern Motorcycle On the Market
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Our first look at the Peugeot hypercar for Le Mans

Peugeot is returning to Le Mans with Rebellion Racing, and the French automaker just dropped the first photo of what its car will look like in the hypercar class. We normally wouldn’t get too worked up over a race car rendering, but this one has certain … implications.

Homologation rules require manufacturers to both build and sell at least 20 production versions of the race car for it to be competition-legal in this class. That means Peugeot is ultimately going to have to sell a road-going version of this wild-looking race car, but only a few of them. Whether this potential Peugeot hypercar ends up looking anything like this rendering is still up for debate, but it’s an interesting idea to toy around with.

Peugeot has never produced a supercar or hypercar before, so the news that it would enter the WEC in this fashion was a bit shocking last month. The FCA-PSA tie-up just makes it all the more interesting now that Peugeot will be part of a massive company producing cars for the U.S. We’re still waiting on details about how much involvement Peugeot Sport will have in the car, as a previous report suggested Peugeot would hand much of the project off to Oreca and Rebellion Racing. Today, Peugeot made the Rebellion Racing partnership official, but the rest is still a bit hazy. 

The racing program is scheduled to kick off in 2022 with the Swiss Rebellion Racing team. We dig the jagged edges and concept design of the hypercar rendering Peugeot released today, which leaves us hopeful for an awesome final product in a couple years.

Hennessey planning a 1,200-horsepower C8 Chevy Corvette

It was bound to happen at some point, but now we’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. Hennessey has designs on giving the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette much more performance than it has from the factory. The Texas-based company says it plans to offer a 1,200-horsepower version of the C8 called the HPE1200.

Hennessey claims it’s going to make this massive amount of power with specially built twin-turbo LT2 V8 engines. The engines will have upgraded internals such as forged aluminum pistons, forged steel connecting rods and other unspecified upgrades. To handle the power, Hennessey says it’s going to “incorporate an upgraded and fortified factory dual-clutch automatic transmission and a full Brembo brake system” among other chassis upgrades.

The pictures you’re looking at are only renderings, courtesy of Hennessey, so the car doesn’t exist yet. It’s a menacing look, if this is what Hennessey ultimately ends up with. We’re in love with the roof scoop, which may become necessary as Hennessey attempts to keep 1,200 horsepower cool. That wing may be a bit overkill, but this car is bound to be ridiculously quick.

Hennessey doesn’t offer up a price or expected sell date for this HPE1200 kit, but it does detail a few other upgrades it’ll put on sale first. New C8 owners can expect a stainless steel exhaust system, a supercharger upgrade good for 700 horsepower and possibly more “once computer tuning becomes available for the new C8 platform.” Hennessey is taking suggestions from the crowd, as well. An online questionnaire is available to let them know exactly what you want to spend your many thousands of dollars on. More power in a car that does 0-60 mph in under three seconds from the factory sounds a bit mad, but that’s what Hennessey does.

One last interesting stat from this news comes from John Hennessey himself. He says they’ve modified over 500 C7s so far. We’ll be interested to hear what the true demand might be to make the already bonkers quick C8 go faster in a straight line.