All posts in “Rides”

The Cheapest Off-Road SUV to Own Is Also One of Our Favorites

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practicality be damned


The traditional two-door Jeep Wrangler is an automotive icon, but the more family-friendly four-door version — originally known as the Wrangler Unlimited — has made it a threatened species. The take rate for the two-door Wrangler is only around 10 percent — about the same as the manual transmission. It’s fallen so far from grace, Jeep didn’t even think there was a business case for pairing its best off-roading engine with anything but a four-door body style.

There may be a compelling argument for sticking with tradition, however. Kelley Blue Book recently ran the five-year cost-to-own figures for America’s off-road SUVs, and the two-door Wrangler came out as the most affordable, with a predicted five-year ownership cost of $39,045. The cheapest Wrangler option is the V6 with a manual transmission — which is to say, the most economical Wrangler to own is also the purest example of the breed.

That said, the four-door version was estimated to cost $40,020 over five years. In real life, saving $975 in predicted ownership costs over half a decade is unlikely to preclude anyone from getting the more practical four-door version of the Wrangler.

Both Wrangler versions are more affordable than the third-place Toyota 4Runner, which is estimated to cost $46,254 over five years. Though, if you’re buying the legendarily durable Toyota SUV, you may be thinking about ownership on a 10-15-year timescale.

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

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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The $5M track-focused Pagani Imola isn’t supposed to be elegant

The Pagani Imola, a track-focused version of the Pagani Huayra, first broke cover in September, 2019, at an event, but official information was nowhere to be found. It took a few months, but today, Pagani released the first batch of real images and gave fans the specs they’ve been waiting for. 

With a pre-tax price tag of $5.4 million by today’s conversion rates, the Imola will be limited to only five examples, and Pagani says every car is already spoken for. The car is named for the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack in Imola, Italy, outside Bologna. There, the car logged roughly 3,728 miles during testing and validation, which the company says was the most severe tuning process ever conducted for a Pagani vehicle. 

Immediately noticeable are the car’s aerodynamics and fierce looks. A rear spine gives the Imola a new technical profile, several new deflectors and inlets interrupt any hope for smooth lines, and the rear could double as a geometric abstract drawing. Founder and Chief Designer of Pagani Automobili Horacio Pagani even admitted in the press release, “We can’t say that it’s an elegant car. We wanted an efficient vehicle.” 

Pagani bills the coupe as a technology test lab for its entire operation. Some of the innovations have already been applied to the Huayra Roadster BC, while others will be implemented in future vehicles. As with any high-performance vehicle, the focus was on weight savings, a balance between feel and control, and power. 

To increase rigidity and strength while keeping weight at bay, Pagani reformulated its Carbo-Titanium HP62 G2 and Carbo-Triax HP62 used in the monocoque. The Imola introduces Acquarello Light, a new painting process that saves 11 pounds, and the car was built with roughly 770 forged or CNC-machined components. All said, Pagani claims the Imola weighs 2,747 pounds, slightly heavier than the 2,685-pound Huayra BC coupe but significantly lighter than the 2,976-pound regular Huayra coupe. 

Under the hood, the Imola has a 5,980-cc Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo V12 that makes a claimed 827 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque. It works with an Xtrac 7-speed transverse automatic transmission, a triple-disc clutch, and an electro-mechanical differential. That output, which represents increases from the BC Roadster’s 791 horsepower and 774 lb-ft of torque, is sent to the rear wheels.

Pagani redesigned the suspension for better power transfer and reduced brake dive, and the Imola has a new Smart Gas system. Basically, the engine, differential, transmission, and suspension talk to each other and work together to reduce shift times and sharpen driving feel. The system has interconnected electronically controlled dampers that change ride height depending on the driving characteristics. This is in addition to an active aerodynamic system that was introduced on the original Huayra.

Additionally, the Imola has a custom carbon-ceramic Brembo braking system with six-piston monoblock calipers up front and four-piston monoblock calipers in the rear. Twenty-inch wheels up front and 21-inch wheels in the rear are wrapped with bespoke Pirelli Trofeo R rubber.

For Pagani, the man, the Imola circuit was a no-brainer when it came to testing, as the track’s history is equally as important as its racing characteristics.

“Imola is a sacred place for car enthusiasts,” he says in the release. “It’s a fast, difficult, technical circuit that has always separated the wheat from the chaff, in terms of both men and machines. A circuit that has made the fastest drivers faster, one that has given rise to fierce duels between opponents and gentlemen, and where the sweetest victories and bitterest tragedies have been witnessed. A circuit in the Motor Valley of Emilia Romagna. A place that has given so much to the automotive industry. That has given so much to Pagani. The Imola circuit became a second home while the car was being developed. This is why project code PS-01 was dubbed Pagani Imola, as a tribute to the track where the vehicle was created and which is part of its identity.”

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VW’s Coolest New Golf Is About to Debut, But America Won’t Get It

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are we sure we don’t want diesels?


Americans have all but stopped buying the Volkswagen Golf hatchback — to the point we probably won’t even receive the new Mk8 version, at least in any form beyond the GTI and Golf R. Likewise, the fallout from the Dieselgate scandal likely means Volkswagen will never try to market a diesel vehicle in the U.S. again. So we will almost definitely miss out on what may be the coolest Golf variant, the GTD, which VW will unveil at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The GTD is exactly what it sounds like: a diesel version of the iconic GTI. Volkswagen promises it will be the “cleanest TDI engine ever to be installed in the Golf.” It will use twin dosing technology with two SCR catalytic converters to reduce harmful nitric oxide emissions.

Volkswagen did not release performance numbers for the new GTD, but rest assured, they’ll probably make you wish it was available Stateside. The last version had 181 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque, the same amount of the latter as the Golf R. (A leak found by Autocar pegs the new GTD as making 197 hp, but makes no mention of other specs.) The previous version also earned about 60 miles per gallon under European testing methods, which would probably translate to somewhere in the 40-mpg range in the EPA’s more realistic tests.

You can add the Golf GTD to the list of great Volkswagens we won’t get in the United States. If you need something to brighten up your day, however, remember that we may get a production version of the electric ID Space Vizzion wagon concept — albeit presumably with a different name.

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

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Ball and Buck Is Whipping Up a Line of Gorgeous Vintage Jeep Trucks

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and it won’t cost six figures


When compared to old-school Land Rover Defenders, Ford Broncos, and Toyota Land Cruisers in the luxury restoration and modification market, Vintage Jeeps have been given short shrift. Outdoor menswear manufacturer Ball and Buck wants to rectify that, however. The company has announced it is going to produce a custom line of resto-modded Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler pickup trucks.

Jeep manufactured the CJ-8 from 1981 to 1986. It’s an extended wheelbase version of the Jeep CJ-7, the immediate predecessor of the Wrangler, with a truck bed tacked on — in effect, the same basic idea as the new Jeep Gladiator. It was the last truck Jeep manufactured before getting back in the game with said Gladiator. Noted off-roader aficionado Ronald Reagan used one on his ranch — at least, when he wasn’t tooling around in his Subaru BRAT.

Buyers can choose from four color options: Coronado Sand, Everglades Green, Chesapeake Grey and Sutton Black. Those can be paired with two trim options, Polished Stainless and Matte Black. Ball and Buck will fit the CJ-8 with three different engines: the original 4.2-liter AMC inline-six, a GM-sourced 6.2-liter LS3 V8 or a 2.8-liter Cummins turbo diesel.

Compared to luxed-out Defenders, Ball and Buck’s line of CJs will be pretty affordable. The Jeeps will range in price from $65,000 to $95,000. Builds will take 3-6 months to complete.

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

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

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Czinger preparing 21C hybrid hypercar for Geneva debut

Kevin Czinger — with a silent C — has spent the past 11 years that we know of trying out various automotive concepts in Southern California. The Yale Law School graduate who built hot rods as a youth in Cleveland co-founded Coda Automotive in 2009, which tried to get off the ground with a re-engineered Chinese sedan converted to an all-electric powertrain. Coda went under in 2013. In 2014. The next year, Czinger started Divergent 3d, which revealed the Blade supercar in 2015. Czinger’s point with the Blade was to convert automakers to novel production techniques, the Blade’s chassis and body created with 3D-printed aluminum alloy. In 2019, Czinger formed an eponymous company taking the Blade as the inspiration for the Czinger 21C hybrid hypercar. In a previous interview with Road and Track, which deserves a read, Czinger said, “We’re looking to combine computing power, science, and additive manufacturing into one system.”  

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The 21C could be that blend, having clearly come a long way from the Blade. We don’t know much about the coupe, Czinger preferring to wait for details until its debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month. The moody reveal video shows off the suite of hypercar cues like diminutive overhangs, the fulsome fenders, angry LED headlights, plenty of vents, center-lock wheels twirling around giant carbon ceramic rotors and beefy calipers, a serious wing hanging off the back, and what looks like a top-mount dual exhaust. Tandem seating — passenger behind driver — carries over from the Blade, and the copious exposed carbon fiber bodywork hides plenty of 3D-printed components. The brace connecting the carbon fiber steering column housing to the instrument panel, for instance, looks a prime culprit for additive manufacturing. The full-width roller coaster brake light ensures everyone behind the 21C will remember what they’ve just seen. 

The powertrain is an unknown beyond the descriptive that it’s a “strong hybrid” developed in-house to deliver “dominating performance.” Strong would be the correct word if the video can be trusted; at the 0:28 mark, the digital rev counter shows a redline beyond 10,000 rpm. We’ll know more come Geneva.

Related Video:

Lister Storm II hypercar teased, with a switch from V12 to electric

Two years ago, the revamped Lister Motor Company dished out sketches for a Storm II hypercar. The name was a nod to the 1993 Le Mans race car and road derivative created by another incarnation of Lister in 1993, which housed a Jaguar XJR-9-derived 7.0-liter V12 amidships producing 546 horsepower. The tentative plan in 2018 was for the Storm II to get a Jaguar-derived 7.8-liter V12 spooling up something like 1,000 horsepower and pointing its snout at the likes of McLaren, Pagani, and Koenigsegg. That was all so two years ago, though. Lister CEO Lawrence Whittaker recently tweeted another image of the Storm II, this time a profile drawing, with the captions, “A glimpse into the future of Lister … the Storm II,” and, “Lister EV super car research.” The EV part is what matters here, Whittaker apparently changing tack on the powertrain and the competitive set.

The side shot offers a look at the vanishing point rear end, a look calling to mind either a truncated McLaren Speedtail, or Speed Racer’s Mach 5 with the fender fins combined into a single shark fin down the centerline. Our best attempts to enhance and enlarge make it seem there’s a deployable spoiler behind the shark fin. The backside’s other big prominent feature is a deep diffuser. In the photo, the carbon fiber floor extends beyond the trailing edge of the bodywork, almost never seen on a car outside of a race track, and even then that car is most likely on a trailer. That makes symmetry, the carbon fiber front splitter jutting beyond the yellow-rimmed intake at the other end.

Original specs were for the V12-powered Storm II to hit 60 miles per hour in under 3 seconds, on its way to a top speed beyond 250 miles per hour, all for a price starting at £2 million ($2.6M U.S.). Lister’s hometown competition, the Lotus Evija, has restrained its top speed references to something “beyond 200 mph,” and the just-announced Apex “hyper-EV” runs out at 174 mph. The Rimac C-Two and Pininfarina Battista, though, have proved Lister’s trio of targets achievable with far less aggressive looks. We won’t be surprised if Lister has a terminal velocity in mind well beyond the Rimac’s 258 mph.

We hope Lister can show us something more than another rendering come 2022. For now, the company seems busy building the F-Type-based LFT and F-Pace-based LCP, various versions of the continuation Lister Knobbly race cars, and selling classic and performance cars out of its new dealership in Blackburn, England.

Retromobile 2020: The Highlights & Gallery

Retromobile 2020 took place at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles between Feb 5th and 9th, a show celebrating key marques that shaped the current face of the automotive industry. From major French brands such as PSA, Renault and Bugatti to German brands which were represented by VW and Porsche. Others like Skoda and Alfa Romeo kicked off their anniversaries, with both celebrating over 100 years of existence.

Bugatti attended the 45th edition of Rétromobile with cars like the Type 35, the EB110 SS and more recent models like the Veyron. Meanwhile from Italy, Alfa Romeo kicked off their 110th birthday celebrations at the Paris show. Heritage models such as the Alfa Romeo 24HP (the first Alfa made), the 2020 Giulia and the 6C 1500 SS were on display. Last year at Retromobile, a 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta sold for 16 million euros!

Aston Martin represented the British side with 3 cars namely the Aston Martin DBS, the DB4 Series I and the sensational AMV8 Vantage X-Pack. Polo Storico was launched last year by Lamborghini, a special department for maintaining heritage models. At Retromobile 2020, they showcased newly restored Miuras.

Porsche is currently fast tracking their electrification process and the Taycan is just the beginning. At Retromobile 2020, they showed the first ever hybrid car, the Semper Vivus which was revealed at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition. Of course the Taycan was also present to complete the centenary gap. Meanwhile, Classic meets Motorsport was the theme Porsche Classic used in an internal competition among classic workshops from Stuttgart. Each had a different model to showcase, restored to their own understanding of the competition.

Skoda is marking 125 years of existence and the anniversary celebrations kicked off at Retromobile 2020. The show would however not be complete without a series of VW Kombi buses, from the T1 to the T4…including a T2 Coca-Cola.

Photos by Yaron Esposito

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The Safest American Cars You Can Buy for 2020

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The 2020 Mazda 3 Makes You Wonder Why You’d Ever Buy a Civic

Since the all-new generation arrived for 2019, the Mazda 3’s styling (especially in hatchback form) could best be described as tasteful. The exterior is, to this reviewer’s eye, a beautiful mixture of flowing lines and sharp, decisive cuts. A thread of minimalism runs through the car, inside and out, from the lack of ornamentation to the pared-back interior. It’s a car that, like Volvo or Saab (R.I.P.), seems to announce to the world, “I could have bought something else, but I didn’t — for very specific reasons.”

Put far more bluntly, the all-wheel-drive 2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback is deeply desirable. It presents a decisive alternative to the well-established mainstream universe of Civics and Corollas.

The core details of the car go a bit like this: It’s available in either a hatch or sedan body style, with all-wheel drive optional and front-wheel-drive standard, and a variety of trim levels up for grabs. Prices start out with the base model at $22,420 and climb to the fully-specced Premium Package model we tested…at an eye-watering $31,470.

The interior is well-equipped, and the technology suite is surprisingly good on the base level; adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist all come standard, while Apple CarPlay comes in the higher trim levels. All of this is to say, the 2020 Mazda 3 looks premium, feels premium and has premium features. It’s also priced at…a premium. So is all this thoughtful design and useful tech worth it?

Spritely, not sporty

Mazda and driving dynamics tend to go together like peanut butter and jelly, and the 3 is no exception. You won’t mistake it for a hot hatch, but the car does a lot with a little. The 186-horsepower 2.5 liter inline-four will take the hatch from 0 to 60 mph in around seven seconds. That isn’t quick — nominally or relatively; the similarly-priced Civic Touring will do it in 6.8 — but out-and-out power has never really been Mazda’s thing.

As you’d expect, though, the 3 handles great. The heavy-ish steering and slightly-hard ride combine with responsive inputs and classically-Mazda snappiness to make a car that’s probably more fun than it has any right to be.

A place for everything, and everything in its place

So that’s one modern Mazda hallmark ticked. How about design? I’ve already raved to some degree, but let me reiterate: it’s very, very good.

The exterior is striking (maybe less so with our tester’s flat gray paint), but the interior is even more of a standout. The controls are minimalist; you get the sense that designers asked what they could take away, instead of what they could add. The result is that it’s a very pleasant place to sit. It reminded me of a car from 1995, just with better quality — and a big screen in the middle of the dash.

High cost, but justifiably

So, does this Mazda justify the lofty asking price? For the top-tier Premium Package version…maybe not. It’s a lot of money for not a ton of additional benefit when compared with other trims. But if you can get the AWD version in the Preferred or Select trims, you get a pretty impressive amount of car for between $24,000–$27,000.

The best of Mazda shows through with the 3: it’s fun to drive, it looks striking, and everything about it feels considered and thoughtful. On spec sheets, the Mazda may appear to be a step behind its competitors, but behind the wheel, opinions can change dramatically.

Aston Martin Vantage Roadster finally doffs the cap

Two years after the hardtop Aston Martin Vantage redefined the Vantage nameplate yet again, the coupe has dropped its top. Below the shoulder the Vantage Roadster holds true to nearly everything that compelled us to label the coupe “a significant milestone.” Above the shoulder, a fabric top envelops an “ultra-compact” Z-frame that drops in 6.7 seconds and unfurls in 6.8. The carmaker says it’s the fastest fully electronic mechanism out there, and operates at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour. Thanks to the frame’s compact design, the car’s lines don’t differ much from the hardtop. Nor do the performance specs: The convertible gains 132 pounds over the fixed-roof, needs 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph instead of 3.5, and maxes out at 190 mph, five miles per hour less than the coupe. Losing the rear hatch takes a bit out of luggage space, though, which declines from 12.4 cubic feet to seven. Aston Martin says the cubby will still swallow a full-sized golf bag and related paraphernalia.

The Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers the full 503 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque. Engineers tuned the suspension, differential, driving aids, and driving modes specifically for the convertible. The carmaker has made its seven-speed manual transmission newly available on the coupe this year — it was offered previously only on the Vantage AMR — but the droptop is barred from the row-your-own party. The Vantage Roadster sticks with the ZF eight-speed automatic. Convertible buyers can avail themselves of other additional kit introduced this year to celebrate 70 years of the Vantage name, said first applied to a more powerful version of the 1951 DB2 called the DB2 Vantage. The potential extras include Aston Martin’s historic vane grille as well as new wheel designs.

Deliveries begin in Europe during Q2, U.S. shoppers can expect summer delivery. Pricing starts at $161,000, an $8,000 premium over the coupe.

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The Coolest Foreign Cars You Can Import for the First Time in 2020

Every new year brings with it new blessings and curses, as life burns through its eternal cycle and civilization shifts under the accumulate weight of the past and the eternal promise of the future. For car enthusiasts in the United States, however, the calendar’s relentless churn also brings with it an extra bonus: a whole new batch of vehicles than can be imported Stateside for the very first time. 

See, as you may know, the United States has something commonly called the “25-Year Import Law,” which basically says that once a car is a quarter-century old, it’s legal to import it to the U.S. even if it wasn’t cleared to be sold here new. It’s this law that’s helped foster the current market for Land Rover Defenders, but it’s also led to many a funky Bring a Trailer listing as enthusiasts haul over Japanese and European oddities.

So with the 2020 calendar still freshly opened, we figured it was a great time to pull together a list of cars from 1995 that you can finally park in your very own driveway here in the 50 states. Check ‘em out below.

MG F

Photo: Steve Glover via Wikipedia

Roadsters were enjoying something of a renaissance in the mid-1990s; perhaps unsurprisingly, MG –a brand known best for, well, roadsters — was keen to capitalize on it. The MG F that debuted in 1995 is hardly a barnstormer by modern standards (the most powerful version made just 147 horsepower), but its light weight meant it could scamper from 0 to 60 mph in seven seconds or less when new, and its unusual Hydragas suspension gave it an impressive ride/handling balance.

Regardless, like the Miata, it’s a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive two-seat convertible — a combination that spells fun in any decade. Just be sure to watch out for head gasket issues.

Honda Integra Type R

Photo: TTTNIS via Wikipedia

These days, you can grab a brand new Honda Civic Type R straight from your local dealership. Americans in 1995 weren’t so lucky; its predecessor, the Integra Type R, wasn’t sold here. (It’d eventually make its way Stateside as the Acura Integra Type R, but not until 1997.) A 1.8-liter inline-four cranked out 200 horsepower at a screaming 8,000 rpm (well after the VTEC just kicked in, yo), while a titanium shift knob helped choose which of the five close-ration forward gears would be used to steer that power through a limited-slip differential to the front wheels.

A sportier suspension and significant lightweighting made it even more agile than other Integras, but you’ll probably need to spend some tine getting used to the right-hand-drive layout before you take full advantage of that.

BMW M3 (E36 Euro)

Photo: Vauxford via Wikipedia

Yes, you could buy a new BMW M3 here in 1995. But you couldn’t buy the good M3. When the E36-generation M3 received an update in 1995, American versions were given a new 3.0-liter inline-six making 240 horses; Europeans ones, however, used a different 3.0-liter I6 cranking out a much nicer 321 ponies. The facelift — which also brought the stick shift from five to six gears and a few other changes — kicked in for both the sedan and coupe models in late 1995; convertibles wouldn’t get it for another year, but who’s really looking to import an E36 M3 ragtop?

Alfa Romeo GTV / Spider

Photo: Gold333 via Wikipedia

The words “Alfa Romeo Spider” may make you (or your parents) think of Dustin Hoffman listening to Simon & Garfunkel, but in 1995, it meant a four-eyed, front-wheel-drive convertible. Alfa also offered a coupe version, dubbed the GTV. Power for basic models came from a 150-hp 2.0-liter inline-four, while V6 powerplants offered more grunt for those willing to risk a dance with torque steer.

Regardless, you don’t buy this car to go fast, at least not in 2020; you buy it to make heads turn with its arresting, Pininfarina-designed styling.

Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33)

Photo: Tennen-Gas via Wikipedia

The all-new R33-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R the early 1990s held true to the formula that defines the model to this day: wild Japanese styling on a two-door body and a powerful turbocharged engine spitting power to all four wheels to deliver supercar-rivaling acceleration. The 2.6-liter twin-turbo inline-six pounded out 301 horsepower (though Nissan claimed it made a mere 276 as part of a gentleman’s agreement among Japanese carmakers to keep power outputs down), and routed that through a five-speed manual. Four-wheel steering helped improve maneuverability, while standard Brembo brakes helped haul speeds back down. Car and Driver found that a V-Spec version could cook off a 5.3-second 0-60 mph dash; just don’t think about the fact that a base Mustang can beat that, and you’ll love R33 GT-R ownership.

Holden HSV Maloo

Photo: OSX via Wikipedia

It might be tough to find one of these V8-powered, sport-tuned utes that’s ready to import; a mere 173 examples were made that year. Still, if there’s one car worth questing after under the 25-Year Import Law, it’s a sporty V8-powered car with a pickup truck bed that’s been massaged by Holden’s Special Vehicles division — the equivalent of AMG for Australian GM cars. The 5,0-liter V8 churns out 248 horsepower, but if you think that’s not enough to roast those rear tires, you’ve got another thing coming.

Fiat Barchetta

Photo: M93 via Wikipedia

See what we mean about the roadster renaissance? Like its Italian cousin the Alfa Romeo Spider, the Barchetta was a two-seat, front-wheel-drive roadster powered by a four-cylinder engine — in this case, a 1.8-liter inline-four making just 129 hp and 121 pound-feet of torque.

It’s not quick, sure — but this roadster is more about living the all fresco life than screaming through turns at high speed. Besides, a curb weight of around 2,500 pounds means it’s not a complete slug. And hey, at least you won’t have to worry about torque steer.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III

Photo: Kenardeez via Wikipedia

These days, Evos are easy to find on the used car market here in the States, but back in the ’90s, all we could do was gaze across the oceans and dream. The new-for-1995 Evo III squeezed a claimed 270 horsepower out of its turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, shunting that power to all four wheels through a five-speed stick. Those aggressive-yet-simultaneously-subtle looks weren’t just to grab attention; the side skirts and rear wing helped add downforce, to keep the car stuck to the pavement at high speeds.

Will Sabel Courtney

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 Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Forget the Gladiator. This Is the Jeep Pickup We Want

The all-new Jeep Gladiator was a significant departure for the modern Jeep SUV brand when it launched last year. But pickup trucks have been an integral part of the Jeep lineage from the beginning. The Willys Jeep Truck, a one-ton pickup based on the original CJ-2A Willys Jeep, was first built in 1947 as a go-anywhere-do-anything pickup…and a gorgeous 1961 example just popped up for auction on Bring a Trailer.

This Jeep Truck had the Super Hurricane 3.7-liter inline-six engine, which was rated at 105 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque when new. That engine is paired with a three-speed floor-shifted manual and a multi-speed transfer case. Overdrive should be able to help this truck up to reasonable highway speed. In fact, if you enjoy peacocking your stick shift prowess for passengers, there are four different levers for you to manipulate.

Consider this Willys Jeep Truck well-cared-for, rather than meticulously restored. It’s an Arizona car and has had just two owners since 1961. The non-functional odometer shows 1,600 miles and is presumed to be far from accurate. Judging from the video on BaT, the engine appears to run well, which is about as much as one could hope for from a 59-year-old workhorse.

Added charm for this truck includes the two-tone white and brown color scheme and the ultra-minimalist gauges consisting primarily of a tachometer (or maybe a speedometer?) that simply reads from 0 to 9.

As of this writing, the bidding for this truck is still below $5,000, which is a steal in vintage off-roader terms. Of course, snagging a piece of Jeep heritage tends to be more affordable than grabbing some Land Rover Defender heritage…barring the odd $50,000 Cherokee Laredo.

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

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He’s based outside Detroit.

More by Tyler Duffy | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Lamborghini’s 830-hp V12 hypercar speaks out for the first time

Although the future of the brand includes electrification and hybrid technology, Lamborghini is still here in 2020 displaying the wonder of its brash V12 engine. Following the release of its first solo project called the SC18 Alston, Lamborghini Squadra Corse (LSC) is preparing to debut a limited-edition naturally aspirated track car with a hearty amount of power. A new teaser video gives fans a first listen as to what the car will sound like.

LSC first teased this car in October, 2019, and it unveiled a surprising amount of the design (seen below). Sporting a shape that fits the bill of a rumored entry into the Le Mans Hypercar arena, the new Lambo has a carbon fiber monocoque with an aluminum front frame, an airscoop on the roof, a motorsport-focused hood with dual air intakes, and a massive fixed carbon fiber wing. It will be powered by an 830-horsepower version of the 6.5-liter V12 engine, it’ll be stopped by big Brembo brakes, and it will have an “innovative self-locking type differential.”

Like the Alston, the Sián, and the V12 Vision GT that came before it, the upcoming hypercar wears the number 63. Additional style comes from White Peacock wheels wrapped in Pirelli color edition tires. As mentioned, the video below gives multiple views of the car and it appears the rear features a spine similar to that seen on the Sián, and it will wear tri-point graphics that seem to be inspired by the Sián’s headlights.

Get a glimpse of the internals in the new teaser video above, and listen to its exhaust, as it works the dyno. The car will debut “before the end of the year.” 

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Believe the Hype: The Porsche Macan S Is Every Bit a True Porsche

When Porsche introduced its first SUV, the Cayenne, in 2002, enthusiasts lost their mind over the idea of the archetypal sports car company betraying its heritage by serving up a jacked-up soft-roader. (Not helping matters: the fact that it looked like a bloated fish carcass.) But the crossover proved a gold mine for the company, providing the funds that helped enable the continued excellence of the 911 and Cayman / Boxster, as well as projects like the 918 Spyder and the company’s return to the top tier of endurance motor racing.

It’s been the smaller Macan, however, that’s turned out to be the company’s true cash cow. The compact crossover has perched high on Porsche’s sales charts ever since it arrived six years ago, in spite of the fact that it shares some of its bones with the lesser Audi Q5. Still, its comparatively proletarian roots apparently haven’t caused it harm: enthusiasts and journalists alike have been singing its praises ever since it arrived.

But as the old saw goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the proof of the car is in the driving. So we nabbed a Macan S for a few days of highway and byway driving around the greater Detroit area to see how it really feels to drive Porsche’s pocket crossover.

It feels every bit like a Porsche from behind the wheel

Porsche has long been a master of giving vehicles off shared VW Group platforms a unique brand feel, and the Macan is no exception. From the moment you twist the key (mounted, of course, to the left of the wheel), every control serves up the distinctive connectedness and directness that every car designed in Zuffenhausen these days serves up.

The steering is far sharper and more involving than any crossover’s rack has a right to be; the brakes grab decisively; the suspension keeps the SUV level and balanced even while dissecting tight turns. The 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 may be the base engine in the larger Cayenne and Panamera, but it doesn’t feel one iota like a cheapo choice; its 348 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque are more than enough to let this cute ‘ute rip around like a hooligan.

If you snap the Macan S into Sport or Sport Plus modes, the gearbox holds the revs closer and closer to the meat of the power band; left in Comfort, it promptly shuffles up to the highest cog for better fuel economy, although slamming the gas pedal to the firewall will, as in most VW Group cars, spur the engine into the lowest possible gear. (You can also always switch to manual mode and shift with the paddles, too.)

It’s the looker of the carmaker’s SUV lineup

The Cayenne may be newer and more expensive, but the Macan has it beat when it comes to visual appeal. Unlike the taller, chunkier Cayenne, the Macan is lean, low and muscular, with curves that channel the company’s famous sports cars.

The corporate face works better here, too; it has less sheet metal to be stretched across, and the matte black trim pieces make it look more ferocious, evoking bared fangs. It all adds up to one of the most attractive SUVs on the market — at least, if you prefer them more svelte and car-like, rather than boxy and brutalist.

An old interior isn’t always a worse interior

The Macan also whups the Cayenne (and the new Panamera) when it comes to interior usability. Unlike those newer Porsches, it has yet to move over to an almost-all-glass touchpad control, instead sticking with a combination of a 10.9-inch touchscreen display and a series of hard buttons and dials below it and around the shift lever. The resulting combination of physical controls and crisp, clear touchscreen may be one of the best infotainment and car control setups to be found today, bringing the best of the iPhone/Android world and merging it with the muscle memory-optimized realm of tactile controls.

Sadly, other new Porsches like the 992-generation 911 and the all-electric Taycan suggest the carmaker is pretty much all-in on glassy touchscreen interiors for the foreseeable future. But with the current Macan expected to stick around for at least another few years — likely being sold alongside its electric replacement for a while — there’s still time for Porsche to change its mind before it ditches this delightful control system for good.

Will Sabel Courtney

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 Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

GM Could Be About to Fix the Biggest Problem With Its Pickup Trucks

The white-hot battle for full-size pickup truck supremacy in America took a slightly unexpected turn when General Motors revealed the latest versions of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Sure, the new trucks had plenty of expected features — new tech, added cargo- and people-carrying capability, and bold new styling that might have been a little too bold in the case of the Chevy.

But if the exterior was wild, the interior was mild. GM left the insides almost unchanged when compared with the past generation, leaving the big rigs looking outdated compared with the likes of the Ram’s revolutionary interior. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but it’s likely no coincidence that Ram sales edged past the Silverado for the first time in the same year both new trucks went head-to-head.

The fates of GM’s trucks might be about to change, though. According to GMC Trucks and SUVs senior marketing manager Stuart Pierce, the rigs will soon receive updated interiors much like those found in the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and the GMC Yukon.

“You’re gonna see some similarities” between the pickups and the SUVs, Pierce told Muscle Cars & Trucks. “Our customers are looking for very premium appointments in a very capable truck.”

While there are plenty of smaller differences between them, the Yukon/Suburban/Tahoe interiors’ biggest difference from the pickups is their infotainment layout — a vitally important piece of equipment for tech-obsessed new car buyers these days. The Silverado/Sierra’s small touchscreen looks even smaller than it is due to its awkward layout sandwiched between air vents; the SUVs’ screen, in contrast, stands tall and proud above the vents.

Above: The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban’s interior.

The Silverado’s somewhat controversial front end might see itself tweaked, as well. “We’re working on some projects that will grab exterior design on one, and grab interior design on the other,” Chevy Trucks marketing director Bob Krapes told MC&T.

What forms those projects may take, of course, remains to be seen — though MC&T speculates it could involve using the badass front end of the SUVs’ Z71 trim levels on the Silverado. One thing’s for certain, though: with the new Ram still grabbing accolades and an all-new Ford F-150 set to appear this year, the time is prime for GM to upgrade its big pickup trucks.

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Will Sabel Courtney

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 Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

First production 2020 SSC Tuatara unveiled at Philadelphia Auto Show

Last summer, SSC North America announced that the first production Tuatara was introduced to its owner during Monterey Car Week, yet no photos of the handover were provided. The Washington-state-based carmaker was oddly low key about the event, having spent 10 years getting the Tuatara into production and delivering chassis #1 at America’s glitziest auto event. Now we know why. Dr. Larry Caplin wanted to debut his car in his hometown of Philadelphia. Caplin founded CF Charities, a nonprofit that supports underserved students interested in health and STEM careers, and CF Charities is sponsoring a supercar pavilion during the Philadelphia Auto Show. The star car is the doctor’s Pearlescent Black Tuatara with Gloss Black and Red accents, dressed in SSC’s high-speed configuration. There’s a chance it’s sharing the stage with its predecessor, a white 2011 SSC Ultimate Aero that also forms part of Caplin’s collection.

Ex-Pininfarina designer Jason Castriota drew the exterior shapes. SSC says the skin and carbon fiber monocoque below are fashioned from aerospace-grade carbon fiber, the company tapping the manifest aerospace materials suppliers in the Pacific Northwest for the glossy stuff. Castriota says that lots of wind tunnel tuning has resulted in a 0.279 drag coefficient, and active aerodynamics means the Tuatara exhibits “identical aero balance from 100 mph to well over 300 mph.” We’re looking most forward to seeing if the Tuatara has the gumption to hit 300 mph, never mind go “well over” that mark.

It’s been given the powerplant to do so, on paper at least. Developed with Nelson Racing Engines, the 5.9-liter twin-turbo V8 with the flat-plane crank and 8,800-rpm redline produces 1,350 horsepower on 91 octane, 1,750 hp on E85. Torque maxes out at 1,280 pound-feet at 6,800 rpm, all to move a car that weighs 2,750 pounds dry. A CIMA seven-speed automated manual gearbox manages shifting, swapping cogs in less than 100 milliseconds in Track Mode before sending power to the rear wheels.

Daily driver intentions are fulfilled by push-button dihedral doors, a large, vertically-oriented infotainment touchscreen with controls and readouts for the expected mod-cons as well as vehicle data and telemetry, rear and blind-spot cameras, and a Front Lift Mode that raises the nose 1.6 inches when traversing obstacles. The flat-top-and-bottom steering wheel and digital cluster look properly slick. The adjustable suspension flips between the default Sport Mode and Track Mode, a 1.25-inch ride height difference between the two; at the track, the Tuatara sits just 2.75 inches off the ground at the front, 3.25 inches at the rear. SSC also says tall drivers are invited to the Tuatara party, claiming that occupants as tall as 6-foot-5 will fit comfortably, “even sporting a race helmet.”

Assuming all goes well, SSC plans to build only 99 more examples before shutting down production. The company still hasn’t revealed a current price — last we heard, in 2013, MSRP was $1.3 million. That plus a touch of inflation should get a buyer well on his way to what’s being billed as “America’s Hypercar.”

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Winter Special: Saalbach-Hinterglemm White Pearl Mountain Days

Saalbach-Hinterglemm is one of our favorite ski resorts in the Alps. Continuous expansion and modernization of the ski resort has resulted in 270 kilometers of connected slopes and more than 70 lifts. We spend a weekend in Saalbach-Hinterglemm to find the best places to ski, eat, party and sleep and check out the annual White Pearl Mountain Days.

Saalbach-Hinterglemm lies in the Glemmtal valley about 85 kilometers from Salzburg Airport. The ski resort is not the highest in the Alps with only a few peaks above the 2,000m mark including the Schattberg at 2,097m. However the valley is known to have a good snow guarantee. The core ski area spreads along the both sides of the valley which allowed the resort to create a few really cool ski routes and circuits. The longest includes a tour to Leogang and Fieberbrunn which both have been added to the Saalbach ski area in recent years. The latest extension is a connection with the Schmittenhöhe ski resort in nearby Zell am See adding another 77 kilometers of slopes.

Our favorite slope is without a doubt the run from Schattberg West to Vorderglemm. This run follows slope 7, 4 and 2a all the way down from 2,096 meters to 853 meters.

Where to Stay

Saalbach-Hinterglemm and Leogang / Fieberbrunn are home to a large number of hotels and places to stay. We checked out a few properties and here you can find our favorites:

Hotel Wiesergut

This chic and modern design hotel in Hinterglemm is located directly next to the World Cup slope. It features modern rooms, a restaurant using ingredients from the hotel’s own farm and a spa with indoor- and outdoor pools. If you are looking for luxury and design this is the place to be.

Hotel Oberschwarzach

Next to the slopes in Hinterglemm you find the family-friendly hotel Oberschwarzach. The hotel features cozy alpine-style rooms, a restaurant and wellness center with pool. The ski school and ‘Der Schwarzacher’ apres-ski is right next to the hotel. Another nice feature is the night-ski piste in front of the hotel which is included in the regular ski pass and open from Monday until Saturday until 21:30.

Hotel Glemmtalerhof

For some reason we keep coming back to the Glemmtalerhof. This hotel in the center of Hinterglemm (a few minutes walk from the main ski lifts) provides great value for money with modern alpine rooms, a large restaurant, cozy bar and in-house apres-ski bar. It also has a wellness area with an indoor pool and several saunas and a steam room.

Puradies Hotel & Chalets

The 4-star superior hotel Puradies in Leogang is a new and modern hotel which offers stylish rooms and a range of private chalets with hotel service. The ski-in, ski-out property is located only a few minutes from the Asitzbahn gondola and the village of Leogang. The wellness area has several saunas, in Summer guests can swim in the swimming pond. In winter the lack of indoor-pool is compensated by the great food and alpine panorama.

The best (apres-ski) huts in Saalbach-Hinterglemm

There are many places to stop for a drink or a bite to eat in the Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski resort. To make your choice a bit easier here are our favorites:

Walleggalm

The Walleggalm is also known as the Megaalm and home to several legendary apres-ski parties during the ski season. This year apres-ski DJs and artists showing up at the Walleggalm include Mickie Krause, Mental Theo and Micaela Schäfer.

Sonnalm

It is all in the name at the Sonnalm. Their sunny terrace invites for a lunch or a drink in the sunshine. It is also the perfect place to stop on a tour from Hinterglemm to Vorderglemm and back.

Wieseralm

This authentic but chic mountain restaurant belongs to the Wiesergut hotel. It is located next ot the Reitkogel gondola mountain station so also accessible for people that don’t ski. Delicious food is paired with a quality selection of wines. A great place for a long lunch.

Xandl-Stadl

The Xandl-Stadl describes itself as a gourmet-restaurant and winebar. Located close to the World Cup slope in Hinterglemm it is a great place for lunch or a drink after a long day at the slopes. The cozy wooden interior and friendly service always made us come back.

White Pearl Mountain Days 2020

Once a year Saalbach-Hinterglemm + Leogang Fieberbrunn become the location for a two week mountain festival called the White Pearl Mountain Days. During the festival locations throughout the ski resort are home to parties, culinary events and shows. This year the White Pearl Mountain Days take place from 20th of March until 5th of April. Visitors can book several packages that include VIP treatments, Mercedes-Benz shuttle services and a concierge.

Beyond the daily live performances and parties there is also an emphasis on a healthy lifestyle with several fitness programs; how about Pearl yoga or ‘jumping & zumba’?

We attended the White Pearl Mountain Days last year and had the best time of the entire ski season. Towards the end of the season the slopes are getting quieter so it is perfect for skiing and the summertime makes that you can apres-ski in the sun until 6pm. The several events are spread across the entire resort so there is always a lounge with live music or apres-ski party with international DJ nearby.

Overall Saalbach-Hinterglemm is among the absolute top of our ski resorts in the Alps. Few resorts manage to please so many different audiences; families with kids, singles, couples and the party crowd all feel at home here. It is not the highest resort in the Alps but even late season the snow is still pretty good – and if it gets to slushy just rent a pair of wide free ride skis and you will see you can still have a tonnes of fun.

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Liquid Carbon Ford GT Revealed with Full Exposed Carbon

Chicago – Following their invitation-only unveiling of the exposed carbon fiber GT supercar, Ford rolled it out onto the floor of the Chicago Auto Show to give everyone a better look. Still as stunning as it was when unveiled, the brighter spotlights highlighted the intricate carbon fiber weave and made it even better. The look, known as “Liquid Carbon”, is one of two new available decorative schemes, the other being an updated Gulf Racing Livery with the number “6” rather than the number “9” to acknowledge the other LeMans winning GT-40. The Liquid Silver exposed carbon fiber appearance will be limited to 12 cars per year as a result of the handbuilt effort that has to go into it, getting the weave to line up and match everywhere.

The 2020 GT features several engine improvements carried over from Ford’s GT Mk II program. New aerodynamics increase airflow through the intercoolers by 50%, allowing them to run much longer at peak power, and engine updates and modifications that broaden the torque curve, making it more responsive. These changes increase the horsepower level by 13hp to a total of 660hp.

Suspension changes increase body control during dynamic transitional changes when the car is in Dynamic mode.

The run of the updated GT’s will end in 2022.

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Race a Type S Concept and an 8-bit 1991 NSX in Acura’s new video game

Acura has unveiled a new mobile video game that features a variety of the brand’s notable cars from throughout the past three decades. The game is a spin-off of the brand’s “Beat That” commercial, and each level is programmed to look how video games looked when the different cars were in production. Players have the option to drive a race car, new and old Acura sports cars, or a crossover.

As part of the “Less Talk, More Drive” advertising campaign, Acura has released a series of commercials with the catchphrase, “Beat That.” They’re meant to demonstrate the company’s competitive spirit, and now Honda’s luxury brand has brought about a new way to get those fiery juices going. In the same week as the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, Acura has launched “Beat That” the mobile video game.

The game has six levels, each of which features a different car. Each race is a time trial, and the graphics are designed in a way that they match the years of the vehicles. Level 1 takes place at the 8-Bit Beach and features the 1991 Acura NSX. Level 2 takes place at the Warehouse Complex and features the 1998 Acura Integra Type R. Level 3 features a Snowy Summit stage an includes the 2020 Acura RDX A-Spec, while Level 3 is at a Grand Prix Circuit with the ARX-05 Daytona Prototype racecar. A 2020 NSX drives on the Super Skyway in Level 5, and the Type S Concept can be driven in a Cyber Tunnel in Level 6. 

The only way to reach the next level within the game is to beat a specific lap time designated for each level. Users can play against themselves, or they can send challenges to friends through social media or other chat platforms. To compete against the best of the best, users can click on a leaderboard time and compete against ghost cars from the previous record laps. 

To play the game on a mobile device, click here.

Ford Mustang Mach-E Live from Chicago Auto Show 2020

Chicago – After showing off and giving rides in their 2021 Mustang Mach-E concept, Ford placed a white one on the Chicago Auto Show floor. Bathed in heavy blue light, the white model showed off the lines of the new concept.

That the Mustang Mach-E is a new addition sharing the Mustang name speaks volumes about Ford’s expectations for it’s performance. After a quick acceleration run on a polished concrete floor, we can see why they’re excited about it.

The Mach-E will come with a standard-sized battery or and extended-range battery, promising 210-230 to 270-300 miles of range respectively, depending on whether one opts for the RWD or the AWD version.

Higher performance versions are planned in the near future, offering faster acceleration times and higher top speeds.

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