All posts in “Rides”

Ford’s Overlanding Ranger Concepts Will Make You Forget the Ranger Raptor

As you may not be surprised to learn, overlanding and off-roading have been two of the strongest market forces behind the midsize truck segment‘s resurgence. This fact has not inspired Ford to bring the Ranger Raptor sold abroad to America. But the company has heard the call for aggressive pickup truck modification: Ford added a dealer-installed lift kit to the Ranger’s options suite in September.

That pales in comparison to these new rigs, however. The company will also display five overlanding-modified Rangers (and one street-oriented model) at the 2019 SEMA show in November. None has a V6, of course, but all will have you itching to hit the trail. Check out those off-road-ready Rangers below below.

RTR Rambler Ranger

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The RTR Rambler Ranger is an overlanding vehicle that includes a two-inch lift, a SkyRise roof tent and an integrated snowboard support capsule, among other features.

Yakima Ford Ranger

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This Ranger, produced with Yakima, is an overlander outfitted with racks for all manner of outdoor sports equipment.

Advanced Accessories Concepts Ford Ranger

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The Advanced Accessories Concepts Ford Ranger is another overlander with a 3.5-inch lift, an array of armor plating on the underbelly and a 50-quart refrigerator.

Hellwig Ford Ranger

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The Hellwig Ford Ranger is for the eco-conscious performance truck enthusiast — if that’s not an oxymoron — and includes a Goal Zero solar power system to help off-set the carbon footprint you accrued getting to the campsite.

Ford Performance Parts Ranger

This Ford Performance Parts Ranger includes — you guessed it — a range of Ford Performance Parts add-ons, including the aforementioned two-inch lift kit.

The Tjin Edition Ranger

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Designers Neil and Collin Tjin created a slammed, pavement-oriented Ranger lowered on an air suspension. It’s no good for off-roading, but it sure looks distinctive.

The Complete Midsize Truck Buying Guide

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Tacoma, Ranger, Gladiator or ZR2? Here’s all the information you need to decide. Read the Story

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 Artefact Hybrid Yacht Has Built-In Solar Panels

What makes the Artefact Hybrid Yacht stand out from most combustion-engine builds is that it can run on its battery alone for a bit, without relying on fuel to push the hull forward.

The new 262-foot Artefact Hybrid Yacht boasts five decks and green-centric design elements that aim to provide silence and stability. As of this writing, the boat is undergoing sea trials before it eventually reaches delivery period next summer.

In making this new build, the goal for German shipyard Nobiskrug was to make something that could be operated as silently as possible. As a result, the design comprises a steel hull and composite superstructure, courtesy of maritime architecture legend Gregory C. Marshall. You’ll find 248-feet sundeck-mounted solar panels and a large battery storage system, both of which enable Artefact to operate silently for short bursts. That is, without relying on any combustion engines.

Also worthy of highlight is its DC-bus diesel-electric variable-speed Azipod-propulsion and dynamic-positioning systems. These advanced elements negate the need to drop anchor onto the fragile seafloor, while ensuring efficiency and lower emissions.

Custom six-blade propellers minimize noise and vibration as it maximizes performance. Moreover, you’ll find a wastewater-recycling system onboard, which filters and refreshes water for use in technical systems.

All these design choices have enabled the Artefact Hybrid Yacht to pass the International Maritime Organization’s Tier III emissions regulations. It arrives as one of the very few superyachts to achieve this feat. As for living quarters, you get eight staterooms and 12 crew cabins. And you’ll find all guest social areas in low-acceleration zones for more serene cruising.

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Photos courtesy of Nobiskrug

2019 BMW M5 Competition Review: Return of the King

Once upon a time, the list of sport sedans began and ended with one car: the BMW M5.

Sure, there were other fast four-doors; those dated back to the days of Duesenberg and Dillinger. But back in 1984, apart from a handful of limited-run special editions rarer than hen’s teeth, the M5 was the only car that delivered true all-around sports car performance — not just straight-line speed, but powerful brakes and nimble, delightful handling — in a family car package.

Things done changed, as they say. These days, the ranks of true sport sedans number so large, you’d need to borrow fingers and toes from a friend or two to count them all. They range from as small as the Honda Civic Si to as large as the Mercedes-AMG S65, some packing engines that crank out more firepower than many supercars. And that’s not even counting the high-performance crossovers that have picked up the fast family car torch and taken it in increasingly physics-defying directions.

In the midst of all this chaos and competition, some might say the M5 lost some of its edge in recent years. With the E39 generation version practically canonized in enthusiasts’ eyes, any successor was liable to be looked upon skeptically, but the E60 M5 made things worse with its clunky single-clutch automated manual gearbox and awkward Chris Bangle design. But it least it was unique — a beast unlike any other on sale, thanks to the F1-inspired screamer of a V10 engine. Its F10 successor, in contrast, seemed all too ordinary by comparison; with a twin-turbo V8 in its engine bay and inoffensive corporate styling, it seemed more like a tuned-up regular 5 Series than the true bearer of the iconic badge.

When the sixth-gen version arrived in 2017, it seemed, well, somewhat same-same, an 11/10ths version of its immediate predecessor. It was a bit larger than its already-large forebear, and it still packed a twin-turbo V8; even worse, now it was connected to the same sort of ZF-sourced torque converter automatic found in almost every other Bimmer, and sent power to all four wheels. One glance at the car at the Gamescom video game convention (it was starring in a new version of Need For Speed), and it wasn’t hard to see this being the M5’s death knell.

But something delightful happened: It turned out it didn’t suck.

Early driving impressions were unexpectedly positive. Instrumented testing revealed it was quicker and more powerful than BMW said — quicker off the line than sports cars that cost two, three, four times as much. It started winning over cynics just as easily as it won comparisons against its key foes.

Then, as if that weren’t enough, BMW made the new M5 even better with the M5 Competition.

The Good: If the idea of “One Car to Do It All” holds any appeal to you, you’ll likely find everything about the M5 Competition good. It’s 95% as fast as a Porsche 911 Turbo and 95% as comfortable as a 7 Series, at a lower price than either of them. All-wheel-drive means it’s two pairs of winter tires away from being a four-season car anywhere short of the Arctic Circle. There’s room for four adults to sit comfortably inside, with a trunk big enough to hold their carry-on luggage and a checked bag or two. The tech features and Bowers & Wilkins stereo could make our Tech desk jealous.

And on top of all that, it’s actually a blast to drive.

Who It’s For: Drivers who crave a three-car garage but only have space in their life for one ride; BMW loyalists who need their faith in the brand restored, have children between the ages of 10 and 20, or both; really, anyone who can handle a lease payment of $1,449 per month.

Watch Out For: The M5 does admittedly take a little warming up to, especially if you’re getting to know it in the city. With its myriad drive mode adjustments tuned to their most conservative settings, it’s almost too lethargic for dealing with aggressive traffic. And like many super sports cars wielding similar amounts of power (and similar electronic reins to make that power usable), you need plenty of open road to make the most of it. Don’t be surprised to find yourself accidentally cracking past double the speed limit from time to time.

Alternatives: Mercedes-AMG E63 S ($106,350+); Cadillac CTS-V ($86,995+); Porsche Panamera Turbo ($153,000+)

Review: In all honesty, the differences between the M5 and M5 Competition are fairly minimal. Power rises by a mere 17 horses — a rise of 2.8 percent, if you’re keeping track — and torque stays the same. The suspension has been subtly yet substantively stiffened, with everything from the engine mounts to the springs to the anti-roll bars beefed up a touch. Unless you wheeled the Competition and the base model along the same section of road back-to-back in immediate succession, odds are good you’d never know what you were missing.

Then again, the delta in price between the “cheap” M5 and its Competition-badged big brother is slim enough to be barely worth mentioning: a mere $7,300, less than the optional carbon ceramic brakes available on either car. (Unless you’re planning on hot-lapping your M car on the track, you’re better off saving that money, anyway.) Considering both variants of the sedan start above $100,000 and can easily climb past $130,000, the difference between them means there’s little reason not to go for the better, faster Competition.

Either way, though, you’re in for a treat. Especially considering how enjoyable the M5 is once it’s out on the open road. The Bimmer plays the part of gran turismo better than most cars, crushing long highway slogs the way frat brothers do cases of Natty Ice after finals. The seats are comfortable enough to fall asleep in, especially once you crank up the massage function that, unlike most cars, doesn’t time out after a few minutes. Active lane-keeping and cruise control systems enable the car to practically drive itself — at least, for 30-60 seconds, until the system starts yelling at you to grab the steering wheel. Left in a relaxed state like this, the M5 feels every bit as luxurious as a 7 Series, so long as you’re occupying the front seats instead of the back.

Still, it may not be as big as the biggest Bimmers, but this 5er ain’t no E39. The car’s dimensions mean it can feel a bit large-and-in-charge, compared with the nimble, lithe rides the M division became known for. That’s easier to swallow, however, once you experience the supercar-level acceleration. Independent tests have shown the newest M5 can reliably crack off a 0-60 mph run in three seconds or less, then zip through the quarter-mile in 11 seconds or so at a trap speed of 130 miles per hour — just a skosh behind the absurd Lamborghini Aventador SVJ.

In the real world, that sort of underhood force translates to the ability to shrink straightaways and pass slower-moving traffic under circumstances that would seem foolhardy in other sedans. When told to be sporty and left to its own devices and, the eight-speed automatic snaps to the right gear with every nudge of the throttle, pushing the engine deep into the sweet, seemingly-bottomless well of turbocharged power and slinging you forward like a catapult. Should that ever grow wearisome — not sure if it could — you can always slide the shifter into manual mode and use the metal paddles to hold gears as desired. Eight speeds is one too many to personally shift through every time you take your car for a spin, but opting for your choice of cog is delightful for exploring and exploiting the nuances of the engine.

It’s not just good on the straights, though. Find a stretch of winding road, and it’ll claw through every turn with grip and speed that defies logic; the mass may still be there, but it feels like the Bavarians have found some way to neutralize it, as though they worked out how to make the sort of inertial dampening system that kept Captain Picard and Co. from being turned into jelly every time the Enterprise-D went to warp. The steering is a return to form for the company, especially after sampling the likes of the M850i; it feels confident, accurate and immediate, imparting the sensation of connecting road to driver that Bimmers have largely lacked in recent years. It is, indeed, fun.

The M-tuned all-wheel-drive system offers a three-way choice when it comes to delivering power: the standard layout, which splits power fairly evenly between the two axles; 4WD Sport, which biases the power towards the rear wheels; and full-blown hooligan mode, which sends every kilowatt of power to the back axle and only works with all the electronic safety nets disengaged. That one’s best left for doing donuts and burnouts in the nearest parking lot; for everything else, the Sport setting is the ideal balance, delivering rear-biased power delivery along with the four-wheel drip needed to make the most of that herd of thundering Teutonic thoroughbreds.

Of course, that’s only one of the many, many driving mode options to play around with. The gearbox offers six different shift speeds (three for automatic mode, three for manual shifting); the suspension, steering, and throttle pedal all offer their own choices, as do the exhaust and traction/stability control systems. Luckily, once you finally dial the systems in the way you’d like, you can save them via steering wheel-mounted bookmark buttons; even more luckily, you can actually save two separate settings using the two different buttons, in case you prefer to optimize the car in different ways for, say, commuting and back-road carving. Unfortunately, no matter how you program them, the car’s systems will always default to their tame settings when you start it up, so you’d best grow used to thumbing one of those buttons as the first thing you do after starting the 4.4-liter V8.

Still, that’s a minor tradeoff given the car’s breadth of capabilities. The M5 has always managed to master both sports-car speed and sedan space, but many times, those capabilities haven’t been baked together into a harmonious package as entertaining as it should have been. The latest version manages to be fast, fancy and fun, all at once.

Verdict: With the M5 Competition, BMW has finally reclaimed its post at the top of the sport sedan heap. At least, until the next round of contenders comes along.

2019 BMW M5 Competition: Key Specs

Powertrain: 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8; eight-speed automatic; all-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 617
Torque: 553 lb-ft
Top Speed: 190 mph
EPA Fuel Economy: 15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway

BMW provided this product for review.

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Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story
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Lamborghini could be sold or spun off from the Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen is reportedly considering a sale or stock listing for its high-end Lamborghini brand. The German automaker is looking to fold the Italian supercar brand into a separate legal entity, reports Bloomberg, which cites “people familiar with the matter” who don’t want to be identified “because the deliberations are confidential and no decisions have been made.”

Any of this sound familiar?

The goal of spinning off Lamborghini would be to stockpile more cash and other resources for VW’s massive planned push into electric vehicles. Back in March, reports circulated that Volkswagen’s “Vision 2030” corporate plan might include plans to focus on the brand’s core brands — VW, Audi and Porsche. That means the futures of fringe players like Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, motorcycle brand Ducati and design firm Italdesign (and note this isn’t a comprehensive list of brand’s under the expansive VW Group umbrella) are up in the air.

VW, according to the report, is targeting a market value of $220 billion, which is a big jump from the brand’s current $89 billion valuation. Bloomberg pegged Lamborghini’s valuation at around $11 billion back in August, buoyed by sales and profits generated by the introduction of the Urus sport utility vehicle. On the flip side, Lamborghini is currently grappling with how best to update its supercar lineup in the face of ever-increasing emissions regulations.

The Best (Mostly Affordable) Classic Cars You Can Buy from 1985-1995

Enthusiasts are constantly on the hunt for the best classic rides you can get your hands on for a reasonable price. And who can blame us, as the classic car market continues to suggest that some bubbles may never actually burst? Of course, classic car investing isn’t an exact science, or else everyone would be doing it. But if you’re looking for the best combination of affordability, performance and personality without sacrificing modern tech comforts and old-school simplicity, the cars of the ‘80s and ‘90s are calling, grasshopper.

Specifically, the period from roughly 1985 to 1995. Horsepower figures from the era won’t blow anyone’s socks off these days — but that’s never really been the point, has it? During that era, American automakers were busy making up for the shortcomings (or trying to) of the Malaise era, Japanese brands were riding a wave of cash towards their peak years and the Germans were doing what they always do: making great cars. The Italians, Swedes and Brits were also getting in on the fun, churning out some of the best-loved models these companies ever produced.

Don’t get me wrong: there was a lot of crap produced in this era, especially here in America. But the highlights are impossible to ignore, so let’s take a trip down memory lane.

United States

The ’80s and ’90s saw traditional muscle cars take new forms, an unexpected contender become king of the quarter-mile overnight, and some sought-after SUVs take on new identities and capabilities.

Ford Mustang


Ford’s underpowered “Fox Body” Mustang has been a favorite of tuners and drag strip amateurs for decades, and they’re still pretty darn cheap. The 1987-1993 version, also the last of its kind, featured the venerable 5.0-liter (really 4.9-liter) V8 which made 225 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque — small numbers these days but easily pushed higher with some simple modifications. Here’s a Mustang GT convertible for just $8,995. Cheap drop-top speed, thy name is Fox Body.

1987 Buick GNX

Want the true ’80s muscle car king of the hill? You won’t find it from Ford, Chevy, Dodge or Pontiac. Nope, the decade’s most powerful, most kickass drag strip monster was a Buick. Specifically, the 1987 Buick GNX, which came in any color you wanted, so long as it was black. Nicknamed “Darth Vader” by die-hard enthusiasts, 547 examples of this blacked-out, turbocharged 1987 Regal Grand National were sent off to McLaren — yes, that McLaren — for some serious tuning, and returned with 300 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque from the boosted 3.8-liter V6.

That was good for a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, almost half a second faster than the Ferrari F40 and Porsche 911 Turbo of its day. It also boasted a faster quarter-mile time than those two European legends, setting it in 12.7 seconds at 113.1 mph. That’s seriously fast, even by today’s standards, and was only bested by Chevy’s own Corvette ZR1 on its own soil. The cheapest GNX available to buy on Hemmings is sitting at a cool $75,000 — but you can have a similarly badass, albeit less powerful, Grand National from the same year like this one for a fraction of the cost.

Jeep Cherokee, Grand Wagoneer and Wrangler

Boxy muscle cars not your style? How about some of the most beloved Jeep models ever made? Both the Jeep Cherokee XJ and Grand Wagoneer were either born or totally revamped in the mid-1980s, and remain some of the most sought-after SUVs amongst both classic car fans and serious off-roaders. The fan-favorite CJ7 (later dubbed Wrangler) also reached its last and best year in 1985, with 80s-tacular variants like this one before going all square-headlight with the YJ model in 1986 until 1995.

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Japan

Supra. RX-7. NSX. Samurai. 4Runner. These were all born or heavily improved from 1985 to 1995. Need I say more? Japan was riding an economic boom in the 1980s, boasting four percent average annual GDP growth. Without boring you with an economics lesson, that means that Japanese companies were exporting more than ever, and had lots of cash to play around with. So, thankfully for us all, they decided to have some fun with it. And all of these are U.S.-market examples. There’s a whole new world of Japanese performance now opening up thanks to cars from the era becoming eligible for import to the U.S., as we’ve covered extensively.

Toyota Supra

The rear-wheel-drive Toyota Celica gained a Supra variant, then the Supra spun off on its own, got two turbochargers to play with, and had a final act as the legendary Mark IV in 1994. That’s why “Supra” is often the first and last name in Japanese performance, and why so many people are so excited that a new one is finally coming around. While Mark IV prices are skyrocketing, you can have a clean Mark II or Mark III example for less than $20,000.

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Mazda Miata and RX-7

Mazda was hitting its stride in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which led to the debut of the world’s favorite roadster, the MX-5 Miata. How about a clean example of one of the most famously fun-to-drive cars of all time with a heaping helping of Japanese reliability for less than $7,000? No problem.

The little Japanese brand that could was also at peak crazy at the turn of the decade, replacing the forgettable (but still fun) second-generation rotary-powered RX-7 with the legendary third-generation from 1993 onwards. The latter RX-7 (FD, as it’s known by enthusiasts) is riding the same ’90s Japanese performance car wave as the Supra, but clean, second-gen examples can be had for chump change — and come in a convertible, to boot.

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Toyota 4Runner and Tacoma

The ’80s and ’90s also saw the introduction of some fun off-roaders from the Far East, namely the Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Pickup. The 4Runner merged off-roading fun with a removable hard-top and room for five, now both available for less than $13,000 easily. Even Toyota’s humble Pickup, which morphed into the best-selling Tacoma, can be found for a similar price. And if you get one in black, you can live out all your Back to the Future fantasies  — minus the DeLorean and Christopher Lloyd.

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Honda CRX and Acura NSX

How could we forget to mention Honda? The little moped maker that could put out such fan favorites as the frugal-but-fun CRX Si and the world-beating NSX (under the new Acura marque) within a few years of each other, proving there was almost no car they couldn’t make. This CRX Si is currently selling for $7,350, and while original, unmolested NSXs can push six figures, you can still find a solid early example for a decent price.

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Europe

While America was busy finding itself and Japan was in the midst of a coke-fueled performance fever dream, Europe was doing what they’ve damn near always done: building solid, well-engineered cars with an established pedigree.

Porsche 944 and 928

Don’t want to chase after insanely high-priced examples of the last air-cooled 911 ever made? That’s fine — have a front-engined Porsche instead and you’ll have 90 percent of the driving fun for a fraction of the price. Porsche took all the cash it had made from the popular 911 over the years and spun off a series of sports cars, none of which lasted beyond the 1990s. Clean examples of the ‘80s-tastic 944 can be had for less than $10,000 (though Turbo models are spiking in price). And if you’re lucky, the opulent, V8-powered 928 Grand Tourer can be yours for less than $15K. Not a bad entry point to one of the world’s most storied sports car brands.

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BMW 325i and Mercedes-Benz S-Class

If a Bimmer or Benz is more your speed, how about the E30 3 Series, the most celebrated affordable enthusiast car in the world behind only the Miata? Forget the over-valued original M3 and opt for the inline-6-powered 325i (now legal to import from Europe in wagon form!) or all-wheel drive 325ix, a perfect starter rally car. If a three-pointed star has always guided your dream car inclinations, give the S-Class, still the large luxury sedan king, a spin for cheap.

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Ferrari Mondial

There are still awesome, unique cars to be had from elsewhere in Europe beyond Germany. If you really, really need to have a Ferrari, you can have the Mondial for less than $50,000. Sure, it’s easily the worst Ferrari ever, but that’s like being the worst player on Real Madrid. You’re still up there, baby.

Volvo 240

Sweden was also tinkering with and perfecting two of its most iconic nameplates, though neither is likely to set your hair on fire with outright speed straight out of the box. The charmingly honest and unbeatably reliable Volvo 240 was reaching its twilight (and best) years by the turn of the decade, and if you’re looking for something old, slow, and filled with personality, there’s hardly a better car for pennies on the dollar, like this super clean 1991 sedan for $6,800.

Saab 900 Convertible

The same period also saw the twilight years of Saab’s best model ever. The 900 Turbo was the first mass-produced turbocharged car — a format that many modern vehicles have adopted — and remains one of the quirkiest, most beloved cars of all time by its many devoted fans. Late models like this 1993 convertible provide the best combination of Saab weirdness and modern performance and amenities, making up to 185 horsepower by the time it was retired in 1994 and replaced with a new model.

BMW 530 MLE Fully Restored: First M Model Unofficially

At the start of the year, we brought you a story about how BMW South Africa had located one of 110 Type 1 530 MLE. The MLE is an important part of BMW Motorsport history. Built to homologate a BMW race car, it was the first road-going BMW built by BMW Motorsport and the first ‘M-car’.

The restoration is finally complete with the restored BMW 530 MLE unveiled at the “Home of BMW Legends”, BMW Group Plant Rosslyn. The grand unveiling of the MLE took place in front of four BMW Group South Africa employees who were on hand to build the original more than four decades ago.

The BMW 530 Motorsport Limited Edition was produced on the southern tip of Africa as part of a limited production run. BMW were keen to compete in the flagship Modified Production Series in South Africa. Starting in 1976, BMW South Africa ran a car in the Series, achieving fifteen wins from 15 consecutive starts and 3 championship titles in three consecutive years. BMW eventually retired the 530 MLE in 1985 as the most successful racing BMW 5 Series in history.

In order to compete in the series, it was necessary for BMW to homologate the 530 MLE. 110 units of the Type 1 530 MLE were produced in 1976, with a further 117 versions of the Type 2 530 MLE built on the production line at the BMW Group Plant, Rosslyn in 1977. Very few of these cars are still on the road.

The car is quite special in its own right. It has a 3.0 litre straight six which originally produced around 197 bhp together with 277 Nm of torque, a 208 km/h top speed and a 0 – 100 km/h sprint time of 9.3 seconds. In the context of modern performance, this might not seem a huge amount of pace, in the mid-1970’s it would have been class-leading! The BMW 530 Motorsport Limited Edition also featured weight-reduction measures that included bodywork and pedals drilled by hand, manual windows with no air conditioning, and Mahle wheels.

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Aston Martin’s 2020 DBS GT Zagato Takes Your Breath Away

Aston Martin knows luxury and it sure knows how to surprise its fans. Consumers were not expecting anything else aside from the DB4 GT Zagato Continuation, hence the impact is much bigger. The original announcement was directed at collectors who want to own an official tribute to a beloved vintage automobile. However, the homage was missing something else, because the automaker is adding the 2020 DBS GT Zagato to sweeten the deal. Willing buyers can now own the classic and the future thanks to the development.

We can say that one look will immediately hook your senses as the design oozes sleek luxury. On top of this already breathtaking vehicle is the Centenary Specification, which adds another layer of exclusivity. The combination of the Supernova Red paint and carbon fibre elements alone will turn heads anywhere. Nevertheless, the set of bespoke two-tone Satin Black and Gold wheels appropriately contrast the body’s shade of crimson.

The jaw-dropping details do not end there as a peek inside flaunts the trio of colours in spectacular fashion. We also have word buyers can choose between Aluminum, Carbon, and Gold PVD for the interior configuration. Moreover, Aston Martin is reportedly using innovative 3D-printing technology for the cabin.

Beyond all of its aesthetics, the 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato is a high-performance automobile. Thus, under the hood is 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 engine mustering around 760-horsepower with 664 lb-ft. Expect a speedy 0-60 mph sprint of 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 211 mph. Overall, a beautiful and powerful coupe from an iconic marque.

Check it out: here

Images courtesy of Aston Martin

The Complete Midsize Truck Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

Midsize trucks are the smallest pickup truck class currently sold in the United States. We call them “midsize” because…well, no one wants to buy a “compact” truck.

Midsize trucks use less powerful engines than their full-size peers, and generally offer reduced towing capacity. But they are also nimbler and better-suited for recreational off-roading, which happens to be one of the most popular and profitable trends in the automotive market right now.

After abandoning the midsize market en masse earlier this decade due to poor sales, American manufacturers have jumped back in recently. Ford rejoined just this year with the Ranger, while FCA did so with the Jeep Gladiator. (Toyota, Nissan and Honda, meanwhile, have stuck around the market for years.) As a result, midsize trucks have become the hottest segment in the American automotive industry not involving the words “sport” or “utility.”

Midsize Truck Terminology

Aftermarket: Parts and accessories manufactured by a third party.
Body-on-frame: A traditional truck platform in which the body is mounted onto the chassis. This construction is heavier than unibody building used for cars, and perceived as more durable for off-roading.
Bro Truck: A truck that has been lifted and modified heavily with off-roading gear, for fashion rather than for function.
Crew Cab: A Full four-door cab with sedan-like interior room.
Extended Cab: A four-seater cab, but with smaller rear doors and a reduced back seat.
OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer. Parts and accessories produced by and for the manufacturer.
Payload: The amount of weight a vehicle can carry, including passengers and cargo.
Snorkel: A device that raises the air intake level to permit traveling through deep water. It performs the same function as a human snorkel. (Mostly, it just looks cool.)
Taco: Nickname for the Tacoma.
Towing Capacity: The amount of weight a vehicle can tow.
Unibody: This is the construction type used by crossovers and cars where the body and chassis are a singular unit. It allows the car to be lighter and improves on-road ride quality.
TRD: A.k.a. “Toyota Racing Development.” This is Toyota’s in-house tuning company. They do off-road tuning on the Tacoma. The “TRD Sport” is more of an appearance package, while the “TRD Off-Road” and “TRD Pro” have off-road upgrades.

Buying Guide

Toyota Tacoma

The Tacoma is the benchmark for the midsize segment, in perception if not performance. With stellar off-road capability, sharp looks and Toyota build quality, the Tacoma is unfailingly popular with off-roaders, outdoors enthusiasts and many others who fall under the loose designation of “bro.” It’s the best-selling midsize truck by far, and it has the best resale value of any vehicle in the U.S.

The drawback for the Tacoma compared to its competitors is its on-road driving character. It handles heavily and its ancient-feeling six-speed automatic shifts slowly and counterintuitively. Fortunately, Toyota still offers a manual in the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro trims.

Body Styles:

• Access Cab
• Double Cab

Box Lengths:

• 5’1”
• 6’2”

Trims:

• SR
• SR5
• TRD Sport
• TRD Off-Road
• Limited
• TRD Pro

Engines:

• 2.7-liter inline-four (159 hp, 180 lb-ft)
• 3.5-liter (278 hp, 265 lb-ft)

Max Towing Capacity: 6,400 lbs

Max Payload: 1,155 lbs

Base MSRP: $26,050

Chevrolet Colorado

Chevy was the first American manufacturer to return to the midsize segment in 2015 with a revamped Colorado. It was a major hit, winning back-to-back Motor Trend Truck of the Year awards in 2015 and 2016. The best-known version is the halo model ZR2, built to be a badass off-road competitor to the Tacoma and Jeep Gladiator.

What distinguishes Chevy in this segment is its engines. The 3.6-liter V6 with 308 hp is the sportiest powertrain in the segment. The 2.8-liter diesel, with an impressive 369 lb-ft of torque, may be the best for doing, y’know, truck stuff.

Body Styles:
• Crew Cab
• Extended Cab

Box Lengths:
• 5’2”
• 6’2”

Trims:

• WT
• LT
• Z71
• ZR2

Engines:

• 2.5-liter inline-four (200 hp, 191 lb-ft)
• 3.6-liter V6 (308 hp, 275 lb-ft)
• Turbocharged 2.8-liter inline-four diesel (181 hp, 369 lb-ft)

Max Towing Capacity: 7,700 lbs

Max Payload: 1,578 lbs

Base MSRP: $21,300

Ford Ranger

Ford brought the Ranger back to the U.S. in 2019 with a modified version of the truck it had been selling globally for some time. Its platform will be the basis for the new Ford Bronco. The Ranger is off to a slow sales start, despite earning great reviews. The two defining features may be what is absent. Ford offers one engine with the Ranger, a turbocharged four-cylinder. Ford also declined to provide the sweet “Ranger Raptor” version it sells abroad.

Body Styles:

• Super Cab
• Super Crew

Box Lengths:

• 5 feet
• 6 feet

Trims:

• XL
• XLT
• Lariat

Engines:

• Turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four (270 hp, 310 lb-ft)

Max Towing Capacity: 7,500 lbs

Max Payload: 1,860 lbs

Base MSRP: $24,300

Jeep Gladiator

Jeep launched the Gladiator for the 2020 model year. It’s the marque’s first pickup since discontinuing the Comanche in 1992. Jeep’s mandate was to build, in effect, the Wrangler of mid-size trucks, and that’s what the company did — almost literally. The truck is expected to rival the Tacoma for best resale value.

What the Gladiator offers are the strengths of the Wrangler in a pickup form. You can pop off the roof, remove the doors, and option the heck out of it. You can also get one with a six-speed manual. It’s formidable off-road, though, as Gear Patrol‘s motoring editor notes, the Gladiator’s longer wheelbase hampers it a bit compared to the Wrangler.

Body Styles:

• Crew Cab

Box Length:

• 5 feet

Trims:

• Sport
• Sport S
• Overland
• Rubicon

Engines:

• 3.6-liter V6 (280 hp, 260 lb-ft)

Max Towing Capacity: 7,000 lbs

Max Payload: 1,600 lbs

Base MSRP:$33,545

Nissan Frontier

The Nissan Frontier is the midsize segment’s venerable elder. The second generation has been in production since 2004 and was last facelifted in 2009. The Frontier is outdated compared to competitors and can be lacking in modern style and amenities. What it still offers is value, which has helped it outsell the likes of the Ranger. It’s a reliable, capable truck, and the base model starts under $20,000. And because Nissan is still partying like it’s the early 2000s, you can buy it with a manual transmission.

Body Styles:

• King Cab
• Crew Cab

Box Length:

• 5 feet
• 6’1”

Trims:

• S
• SV
• Midnight Edition
• Desert Runner
• Pro-4X
• SL

Engines:

• 2.5-liter inline-four (152 hp, 171 lb-ft)
• 4.0-liter V6 (261 hp, 281 lb-ft)

Max Towing Capacity: 6,500

Max Payload: 1,505

Base MSRP: $19,090

GMC Canyon

The Canyon is GMC’s version of the Chevy Colorado. It’s more expensive and offers more premium trims and options. The Canyon, like the full-size GMC Sierra, offers the luxurious Denali trim;  a high-end AT4 off-road trim should debut next year.

Body Styles:

• Extended Cab
• Crew Cab

Box Length:

• 5’2”
• 6’2”

Trims:

• SLE
• SLT
• All-Terrain
• Denali

Engines:

• 2.5-liter inline-four (200 hp, 191 lb-ft)
• 3.6-liter V6 (308 hp, 275 lb-ft)
• Turbocharged 2.8-liter inline-four diesel (181 hp, 369 lb-ft)

Max Towing Capacity: 7,700 lbs

Max Payload: 1,470 lbs

Base MSRP: $29,100

Honda Ridgeline

Honda launched the second-generation Ridgeline truck for the 2017 model year. It’s a distinctive (or weird, to some) departure from the rest of the pickup market. Honda builds it on a unibody crossover platform. It has a fully independent suspension and full-time AWD, rather than the usual part-time 4×4 system. It earns praise for its on-road handling, but has significantly less towing capacity than competitors.

Body Styles:

• Crew Cab

Box Length:

• 5’4”

Trims:

• RT
• Sport
• RTL
• RTL-T
• RTL-E
• Black Edition

Engines:

• 3.5-liter V6 (280 hp, 262 lb-ft)

Max Towing Capacity:5,000 lbs

Max Payload: 1,499 lbs

Base MSRP: $29,900

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

Lamborghini NA V12 swan song a track-only 830-hp Aventador SVR?

According to a poster on a McLaren Life forum and picked up by The Supercar Blog, Lamborghini is preparing a small-batch, track-only model to begin deliveries around 2021. At the end of last month, user Champagne612 wrote that he (or she) was “Going to spec next week and test drive the SVR V12 track version of AV.” In the words of Champagne612, this Aventador SVR is the last hurrah for Lamborghini’s naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12, a flourish before hybridization becomes necessary on the brand’s iconic powerplant. Supposedly, only 40 SVRs will be made, each one producing 830 atmospheric horsepower. That would give the SVR 60 more horses than the road-legal SVJ.

Lamborghini’s only made two other SVR models. In 1968, there was the one-of-one Miura Jota SVR, a customer-request Lamborghini brewed with a mix of outsourced parts. More relevant to this latest car, in 1996 Lamborghini built 31 examples of the Diablo SV-R — based on the Diablo SV — to form a one-make race series. It’s not clear if the coming SVR will be just a customer track-day car, a la the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS-based 935, or if Lamborghini has larger plans, a la the Ferrari FXX-K program. The Sant’ Agata brand has leaned even more into the customer racing vibe of late, with a Urus one-make series planned, and the customer-request, road-legal Aventador-based SC18 Alston unveiled last year (pictured).

Based on that, there’s chatter that an Aventador SVR could be a feint at the so-called hypercar class opening next year in the World Endurance Championship. The connection seems more than tenuous, but it’s not impossible. Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali said at the Goodwood Festival of Speed that the carmaker was perusing the hypercar regulations taking effect in 2020 until about 2025, and told Autocar that the SC18 Alston “shows that we have internal capabilities for such a [Le Mans] project.” Those rules require a minimum weight of 1,100 kilograms, maximum combined output of 750 hp — an optional hybrid system can contribute no more than 270 hp — and a minimum of 20 production versions built over two years. Save for the fact that committed entries from Aston Martin and Toyota are much more slippery than any Lamborghini, the rules on paper put an Aventador-based model firmly in the mix, and unresolved regulations limiting downforce and mandating a minimum drag figure could inch an Italian competitor closer to the mark. We’ll know more whenever Lamborghini decides to make an Aventador SVR official.

Volkswagen’s Sexy New Golf Could Get Americans to Buy Hatchbacks Again

On October 24th, Volkswagen will debut the new eighth-generation Golf. Spy shots have already caught the hatchback practically in its birthday suit, giving us a good look at this new hatchback — but Volkswagen isn’t letting that slow down its PR campaign. The brand has released some official preview images to whet everyone’s appetite for what — globally at least — remains the brand’s most important car. And based on those drawings, the new Golf looks as spectacular as ever.

The exterior appears to be a modern and straightforward evolution from what came before. The most significant difference will be the lighting: Volkswagen continued the Golf’s slow progression from round to sharply-angled headlights. It will also have a new light bar running the length of the front. (Let’s assume there will be a less aggressive wheel option than the one shown.)

A more dramatic change comes on the inside, where VW appears to have delivered its promised transition to a “digital cockpit.” The touchscreen has subsumed many of the buttons, and it will sit above, rather than below, the air vents. Volkswagen interiors tend to feel expensive for what you’re paying, and the drawings suggest this new Golf will be no different.

If Volkswagen does not muck up the car’s traditional superb handling, the eighth-generation Golf should retain its status as the best all-around affordable car on the market. It could be the sort of car that gets Americans to consider hatchback vehicles other than crossovers again.

Question is, will Volkswagen give the base model a shot here in the U.S. after the previous model’s sales downturn? We know the next-generation GTI is coming, and Volkswagen promises it will be “cool as hell.” We also know the next generation of Golf wagons won’t make it Stateside. The regular Golf, though…well, we’ll just have to cross our fingers and wait.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Review: Don’t Fear the Future

The guaranteed power for both the Turbo and the Turbo S is 616 horsepower, but thanks to the “overboost” function, the Turbo S can briefly shove a staggering 750 horsepower to the wheels along with 775 lb-ft of yank, while the Turbo temporarily offers 670 horses with 626 lb-ft of twist. On winding country roads, both cars are heaps of fun to hammer. The adaptive air suspension adjusts based on your selected driving mode; Sport Plus, Sport, Normal, and Range (for maximum efficiency) are on offer, with Sport and Sport Plus tightening everything up and making the twisty bits a snap to devour.

The 5,132-pound car does well to hide its largess. It’s composed, offering sporty responses even under moderate throttle and wheel inputs. It’s a mite smaller than the Panamera, and despite being heavier, the Taycan feels tidier and not as unwieldy. Rear shoes that are one foot wide (305/30/21, to be precise) don’t hurt in giving the Taycan absurdly stable footing.

Whenever there’s a bit of straight road, it becomes almost obligatory to stop and perform a few savagely intoxicating launches. The ability to rinse and repeat this feature is a point of pride for the Porsche engineers and a testament for their ability to thermoregulate the powertrain. Relentlessly flog a Tesla, and you’ll see the car quickly begin to reduce power in a bid to maintain charge and battery life. The Taycan, on the other hand, doesn’t care how hard you push: So long as there’s juice in the battery, you’re free to dance all the way up to its limits as often as you’d like.

On the autobahn in Germany, V-max runs proved pupil-dilating. Porsche claims a top speed of 162 mph, but we were hitting an indicated 167. Engineers were excited for this portion of the drive, as they’d spent a chunk of time ensuring it would deliver peak performance here. Indeed, burning up the autobahn, the Taycan feels very comfortable at those extreme speeds. At full tilt, it is loud inside the cabin, however. Wind noise seeps in despite the heavily-laminated windows and other sound-deadening measures. But that’s a trivial complaint, and common to most cars at those speeds.

The Turbo S uses ten-piston carbon-ceramic stoppers that are 5mm larger up front than the Turbo’s iron discs; both have four-shots in the back. Porsche claims 90 percent of the braking is done with energy recuperation rather than with the hydraulics; regardless, the system will slow either car in a hurry. However, diving into the Turbo’s brake pedal provides a more linear feel than in the Turbo S.

As for regenerative breaking, your choices are only on and off; there aren’t multiple degrees, available as in other electric cars. This may be a slight miss because, while you may not want to do one-pedal driving, a little more resistance at your disposal wouldn’t be the worst thing. (In Sport Plus and Sport, the regen from the throttle lift-off is marginally more substantial than in Normal or Range, but it’s nothing special.)

Still, this EV will take precautions to make sure it saves itself from dying. After four hours of highway and country road ripping, our Turbo S told us that it would arrive at our planned charging point 20 miles away with 1 percent left in the battery. It then began to shut down some systems, like the air conditioning, and limited the speed to 56 miles an hour. (Floor the accelerator and the car will oblige, though.) The car also began to precondition itself for optimal charging speed — so when we did arrive at the fast charger at 1 percent, the car realized electron transfer speeds of up to 273 kW, and we were back up to 80 percent in about 25 minutes.

Verdict: Tesla’s reign as the makers of the fast electric sedans has been a lengthy one, but only because the likes of the Taycan hadn’t emerged to illustrate the California carmaker’s flaws and show us what we were missing. The answer is a lot — and Porsche’s Taycan represents a monumental leap forward in terms of what a performance electric sedan can be.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S: Key Specs

Powertrain: Dual synchronous electric motors; two-speed transmission on the rear motor; all-wheel-drive
Horsepower: 616 (normal operation), 750 (overboost)
Torque: 774 pound-feet (overboost)
0-60 MPH: 2.6 seconds (manufacturer figure)
EPA Range: Still uncertain, but figure around 220 miles

Porsche hosted us and provided this product for review.

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These Are America’s Top Dream Cars in Every State

What car do residents of your state pine over? A new study by Autowise may provide some insight. The website determined the “dream car” for all 50 states using geotagged Twitter data. Over the course of three months, they tracked mentions of “dream car” and “#dreamcar” and the car mentioned in conjunction with those terms.

Americans, it turns out, really appear to be dreaming about the Tesla Model S and the Ford Mustang. (A full list of the vehicles and states is below.)

While the results may be fun and often intriguing, take this not-particularly-scientific study with a grain of salt. The results likely correlate more strongly with social media usage patterns than widespread state-wide sentiment. Tesla owners, for instance, may be more likely to be tech-savvy active social media users (not to mention particularly enthusiastic about their car choice). Or Camaro owners, for example, may be more fond of that particular “#dreamcar” hashtag than, say, Land Cruiser drivers.

Those caveats acknowledged, the distinction between Michigan people being Ford Mustang people and Ohio people being Chevrolet Corvette people seems surprisingly on point.

Tesla Model S – 20 States

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States: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

Ford Mustang – 13 States

States: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, West Virginia

Range Rover – 6 States

States: Alaska, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming

Jeep Wrangler – 4 States

States: Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee

Chevrolet Corvette – 4 States

States: Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio

Chevrolet Camaro – 3 States

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States: North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas

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

Fourth Lamborghini model could be an all-electric 2+2 GT

It was almost a year ago that Automotive News spoke to Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali about the carmaker potentially adding a fourth model to the lineup. Asked about the potential of a new 2+2 GT model picking up where the Espada left off in 1978, Domenicali demurred on the matter of a bodystyle. Instead, the CEO said the brand is “working hard to combine high performance with interior space and driving comfort in a package that, designwise, should be striking as well as highly efficient in terms of aerodynamics.” A year on, Autocar spoke to Lamborghini R&D head Maurizio Reggiani, who hinted at how ideas have coalesced since. Autocar says a 2+2 GT “is due to be given the green light to arrive by 2025,” and there’s a chance the model could be all-electric.

Last we heard, Domenicali was explaining to AN that buyers weren’t asking for a battery-electric vehicle. With a five- to seven-year horizon for the introduction of a fourth car, however, the CEO allowed that customers could be ready for one by 2027, so Lamborghini should be ready, too; nevertheless, he hedged the battery-only offering by saying it would come “together with a high-performance plug-in hybrid.” According to Autocar‘s story, the brand’s got more bullish on batteries in the interim. Reggiani said, “If you look at the timing for a fourth model line, there is the potential that this will be the right time for a full-electric vehicle” that can do at least 350 miles on a charge.

Not only could such a car make sense by 2025, Lamborghini could likely find some way to fit the model into the Volkswagen Group’s scheme for EV domination. There are two electric platforms floating around the high-performance divisions that could get the nod; the J1 architecture under the Porsche Taycan and coming Audi E-Tron GT that will evolve into the J1 II come 2023, or the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture that will support a range of models and is already rumored for an all-electric Bentley.   

In terms of styling, Autocar repeatedly mentions cues coming from the 2008 Estoque concept (above). The four-door GT unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor Show has been in limbo since then, the heart of rumors ranging from an Estoque range of everyday supercars to becoming a Lamborghini twin for an Audi A9. While it wouldn’t take much to make the Estoque look fresh for a 2025 debut, our primary interest in the four-door would be the hope that it would spawn a production version of the 910-horsepower plug-in hybrid Asterion concept from 2014.  

With 2025 being the earliest we could expect another member of the Sant’ Agata family, Lamborghini still has a couple of years to think about what it wants to do and to monitor progress in battery technology. Before then, Reggiani said, “We first need to establish and consolidate the Urus line,” because the hot-selling SUV will help pay for expansion, and there are the plug-in hybrid Aventador and Huracán replacements to think about.

The carmaker might also need to rethink its production strategy. Domenicali said to AN last year, “We think that we could get to 10,000 [annual sales] only by adding a fourth product.” At the beginning of 2019, the brand said it would cap 2020 production at 8,000 vehicles to maintain exclusivity. That was before Lamborghini sold 4,554 examples of its three-model range in the first half of this year, and shareholders are clamoring for the brand to keep the floodgates open. A fourth model could mean a great deal more pressure — the good kind — everywhere.

Salomé Yachts Proudly Shows Off The Luxurious Atlantic Yacht Tender

Appearing more like an exotic hypercar than a watercraft, the Salomé Yachts Atlantic embodies a racing vibe from bow to stern. Perhaps the reason behind the resemblance lies with the designer’s pedigree with automotive endeavours. Helming the construction of the sleek yacht tender is Etienne Salomé, whose impressive stint with Bugatti is giving us this stunning vessel. This is probably the closest anyone can drive an amphibious version of a high-performance luxury automobile.

According to sources, Salomé is designing the Atlantis with influences from the Bugatti Type 57SC and Formula 1 race cars. The name alone already is an obvious homage to the Atlantic model from the French luxury automaker. Looking at the sleek dynamic curves of its exterior, the yacht tender boasts an aesthetic that demands speed.

The 12-meter vessel’s flow-through hull apparently reduces drag to keep it stable during operation – one of many F1-inspired applications. There is enough room to ferry up to nine passengers wherever they need to go. The Atlantic features a Volvo Penta Glass cockpit system – a collaboration with Garmin – with an optional self-docking technology.

Moreover, Salomé Yachts is equipping the Atlantic with twin Volvo Penta engines at 440 horsepower each for a total of 880 horsepower. Owners can push the yacht tender up to anywhere between 55 to 60 knots. Those hoping to own one now should know that it is still in the concept stages. However, the manufacturer plans to present fully functional units soon. Pricing is not available as of the moment but the announcement might be during the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show.

More details coming soon: here

Images courtesy of Salomé Yachts

A GM Designer Explains Why the 2020 Chevy Corvette’s Interior Looks So Odd

Earlier this year, the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette was revealed  — and the eighth-generation model was most notable for, at long last, being the first-ever iteration of the car to put the engine behind the driver. It’s a mid-engined sports car that punching up against exotics like the Audi R8, but with a starting price under $60,000 for the coupe (or $67,500 for the hardtop convertible seen above, which was announced on October 2nd).

Once the initial hype and surprised died down, though, a pointed discussion of the interior developed. Quite a bit of online discussion focused on the long, sloping vertical strip of buttons extending down the center console. The main point of contention: does the interior call to mind a fighter jet cockpit, built for hands-on convenience? Or is it a wall of controls needlessly slung between driver and passenger?

As it turns out, interior design manager Tristan Murphy would like you to understand one thing before you rush to judgment: it was imperative from the start that the C8-generation Corvette have a very low dashboard.

“The whole point of [getting] that engine behind you is it allows you to have a much lower cowl…you no longer have to sit above the engine, and you can get these really great sightlines,” Murphy said. “And that’s what a mid-engine car does. The last thing we want to do was have this amazing downvision, then have this typical tall instrument panel. It was about, how do we change the game and how do we reconstruct a dashboard here to be as low and as thin as possible? That was the mission statement of the whole car.”

A close inspection of the interior reveals Murphy wasn’t kidding about keeping things low and thin. Take the air vents for an example. “[The C8] has the thinnest air vents in the production world,” Murphy said. “We’re 19 millimeters tall, and we had to invent that. Then we had to do a brand new HVAC system that controls that velocity [at that vent height]. Normal vents are usually about 36 to 40 millimeters tall, but every single millimeter that goes up the instrument panel, the dash has to go along, right?”

“For your typical stack — I use the Toyota Supra as a good example — they’ve got a big bank of buttons with your knobs and your HVAC, that’s about 30 millimeters tall,” Murphy said. “Then, you have an audio bank, that’s usually 15–20 millimeters tall. Then you have your screen. Before you know it, [the dashboard] is almost an inch and a half or two inches taller because of those decisions of how you stack up audio and HVAC button controls.”

“[Corvette designers] discussed very early, “Okay, how do we remove [audio and HVAC buttons] off the center line and still have some hard controls?” Murphy said. “And that’s when we went to looking back at jet cockpits. These guys literally have controls wrapping around them.”

There is an alternative to hard controls, of course: putting controls in the touchscreen. Murphy said this wasn’t up his alley.

“If we would’ve buried [controls] in the screen, you would now be going through menus to get them, which is really annoying. The reason that works for Tesla or the new Volvos is they have a tall portrait screen,” Murphy said. “We wanted to do a low, wide-aspect ratio screen.”

Murphy says there were months of discussions, design reviews and clay models that helped them reach this conclusion. He and the design team also sat in a number of cars, including LaFerraris, Porsche 918s and McLarens, for inspiration.

“Obviously, these are million-dollar hypercars,” Murphy said. “But you just get in and it feels special, right? So that was the whole thing: how do we make [the C8] feel special?”

“I never felt confined [by other departments]. If anything, we felt very intimidated…we need to still come in and surprise people. They need to get inside this thing and be like, ‘Holy shit.’”

Lamborghini’s First Electric Car Could Be an Absolute Shocker

The Raging Bull might seem like it would be the last automaker on the planet to embrace electric cars. After all, Lamborghini’s stock in trade is screaming engines and high-performance, high-speed machines. Then again, that’s exactly what we might have said about Porsche a few years ago; smash cut to today, however, and that company is pushing a game-changing electric sports sedan into showrooms and plotting an EV replacement for its most popular model (and possibly one of the best sports cars on sale as well).

So maybe it’s not all that surprising to hear that Lamborghini may be planning to dive into the electric car space as soon as the middle of next decade.

According to a report by Autocar, Lamborghini may planning on releasing a fully-electric grand tourer in 2025, with room for two adults to spread out up front and two smaller people to cram into little seats in back. (This arrangement is often called a “2+2,” but let’s face it, four seats are four seats.) The car will allegedly serve as the long-awaited fourth model in the company’s lineup, joining Lambo’s existing portfolio of SUV, super sports car and supercar (roles currently filled by the Urus, the Huracan and the Aventador, respectively).

The car, Autocar claims, will be inspired by the Estoque sedan concept of 2008. Don’t be surprised to see some technical bits and ideas inspired by this year’s limited-run Sian (pictured above) reach the car as well; that car, which combines the Aventador’s V12 with a small electric motor to whip up a total of 774 horsepower, is Sant’Agata’s first dalliance into hybrid technology — which, obviously, is an important stepping stone on the path to full electrification. Interestingly, the Sian uses a supercapacitor in lieu of a battery to hold its juice, allowing it to hold more power in a lighter package.

The new Lambo EV GT should still source its power from good old-fashioned batteries, however. In fact, the car may source quite a bit of its bones from the familiar Volkswagen Group parts bin; the PPE platform being developed by Porsche and Audi for future models after the Taycan and E-tron has been suggested as a basis for this new Lamborghini. (That platform could also be used by Bentley for its first electric vehicle.)

Of course, 2025 is still a long ways off, even in automotive development terms. It’s possible that Lambo could choose a more conventional powertrain for its GT car, such as a plug-in hybrid setup (like the one soon to arrive in the Urus) or even a more traditional V10 or V12. But with Lambo parent VW AG pushing hard into the electric car space, it seems hard to believe the Italian sports car company could manage to avoid adding an EV to its portfolio.

“If you look at the timing for a fourth model line, there is the potential that this will be the right time for a full-electric vehicle,” Lamborghini R&D head Maurizio Reggiani told Autocar. Sounds like a big hint to us.

It’s Not Too Early to Brush Up on Winter Driving Tips

Though an affordable older car is a great way to spare your shiny performance car the pains of driving through winter, it can also make for fun and safe winter conveyance. Ironically, beaters make great winter cars because they lack many of today’s standard safety features.

“ABS brakes can take twice as long to get a car stopped on snow than a halfway decent driver without them,” says Wyatt Knox, special projects director at Team O’Neil Rally School and Rally America 2WD National Champion. “Traction control will cut your engine power or apply brakes when it senses spinning wheels, such as when you try to drive up a hill, meaning you might not make it and could potentially go sliding back down. Without these systems, you know what you’ve got. You know exactly what the car will do when you give it a specific input, you quickly learn what it can and can’t do, then just operate within those boundaries and you’re fine.”

Knox also notes that while four- and all-wheel drive are great advancements, they aren’t the be-all-end-all for winter driving. Proof positive is his personal choice of car, a 1996 Mazda Miata, which he uses year-round — yes, even in the winter, in New Hampshire.

“I guess I’ve always just liked the challenge of getting around with only two-wheel-drive. It makes you think more, work harder, plan ahead, be smooth, and you really don’t get away with too many mistakes. It’s great training,” said Knox. “You also slide around more, which is always good entertainment.”

Should you decide to tackle winter in an older car, it’s best to be prepared. Understand the importance of knowing how your car reacts in the snow, and, equally importantly, be open to doing a little wrenching (or pay for someone to do the wrenching for you). Knox shared some tips for getting any old car ready for the imminent snowfall.

First and foremost: tires. “Number one will always be acquiring the best possible winter tires that you can find and afford, mounting them to all four wheels,” says Knox. Winter tires are thinner, taller sidewalls and rubber compounds that offer more grip in low temperatures — if you’re going to do one thing for winter, make it a tire upgrade. But Knox notes traction goes beyond just having the right tires. “Tire pressure changes about one psi per ten degrees, so if you set your tires at 32 psi on a 60º day, you might be surprised to see that on a 0º degree morning they only have 26 psi in them. If you take a corner hard or get right up to highway speeds, that tire could easily have a catastrophic failure.”

Winterize your car. There are tons of little things you can do to make your car operate optimally in low temperatures. Knox suggests topping off the anti-freeze, swapping oil to a thinner viscosity, mounting winter windshield wiper blades and adding de-icing washer fluid. Knox also highly recommends making sure the car is caught up with regular maintenance before wintertime. “If your car breaks down at night on a back road, it can turn into a legitimate survival situation pretty quickly. ”

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Pack a survival kit. In case you do get stranded, pack a duffle with some essentials: a first aid kit, blankets, extra winter clothes, matches, flashlight, tow straps, jumper cables, an extra phone charger, road salt and/or traction mats and water and snacks. “The peace of mind alone is worth the effort,” says Knox.

Change up your suspension. “If you’re going to be driving quickly in the snow and ice, there are a number of things you can do to have more fun and get around a little better. You really want more ground clearance and much slower, more exaggerated weight transfer in the winter,” said Knox. When turning and accelerating or decelerating the weight of the car can affect the amount of traction the wheels get. But with slower and smoother weight transfer, the risk of sudden added (or removed) traction from the wheels reduces the likelihood of spinning. To achieve this, Knox recommends adding a taller, softer suspension, and fitting lighter sway bars (or removing them completely).

Adjust your brake bias. Normally, your car’s braking power is biased towards the front on dry pavement because when you stop, the vehicle’s weight transfers towards the front, thus more braking power at the front means quicker stops. However, when on slippery surfaces like snow and ice, less weight transfers to the front in the absence of traction, which means less braking power. When setting up a car to perform better on slippery surfaces, a brake-proportioning valve can be used to send more brake fluid to the rear brakes than usual, increasing stopping power at the back. Knox notes this technique really only works properly on cars without antilock brakes. ABS, generally, is a great safety feature to have in inclement weather, but should you disable it or drive a car without it, be prepared to master threshold braking.

If you want to go the extra mile, install a limited-slip differential. When you execute a turn in a car, because the outside wheel is covering more distance, an open differential makes it turn at a faster rate, which in turn facilitates stable cornering. But on cars with open differentials, it allows all driven wheels to continue to spin in the absence of traction, while the other wheel with traction remains stationary. The fix here is a limited-slip differential, which will provide more power to the wheel with more traction. While it’s ideal to have a car already equipped with a limited-slip diff, according to Knox, “You can usually find limited-slip or other replacement differentials pretty easily and have them replaced.”

Be a better driver. Knox’s final point: if you really want to drive safely in the snow, take the time and effort to learn from professionals how to master driving in bad conditions. “If you do get into a skid and start to lose control, there’s always something you can do to either regain control or, at the very least, minimize the damage to your vehicle if you know it’s going to crash. Our specialty is training drivers to see these things ahead of time and to take action before a bad situation occurs, and also giving them the skills they need to get out of those bad situations when they are absolutely unavoidable.”

Well, that was expensive: Pagani Huayra BC and Porsche GT2 RS collide

Various European outposts of Top Gear magazine host an event called GTCup at tracks on the Continent throughout the year. The Monza Grand Prix circuit welcomed this year’s third GTCup over the weekend, as well as a very unwelcome crash. Instagram user Varryx caught video of a Porsche 911 GT2 RS plowing into a Pagani Huayra BC Coupe at Prima Variante, Monza’s tricky first corner that comes at the end of an exceptionally long straight. 

It would be funny to quote one of the Instagram commenters and say, “Gran Turismo passing didn’t work in real life,” but we don’t know the setup. The Huayra BC didn’t look in a hurry, and crossed from the outside of the track to the apex. It’s possible the GT2 RS driver thought the Huayra BC driver would stick to the outside of the turn; in that case, even if the Porsche driver was coming in too hot, he might have avoided the Pagani. This is the same kind of bang-up that’s snagged a few of the best Formula One drivers, especially at tracks like Monza and Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps. In spite of an impact hard enough to spring the Pagani’s passenger door open and ruin the Porsche’s front left, viewers said neither driver was injured. 

Another commenter said the Huayra BC is Pagani’s test car. If so, that would explain the Pirelli stickers and hood script when a different Instagram user caught the Huayra earlier in the day. Varryx got a shot of the GT2 RS under a tarp afterward, and it looks… sad.

Based on video YouTube user LV R4cing took of the GTCup’s assembled supercars, we’re submitting this crash as automotive version of the Buttered Toast Phenomenon: Somehow, among a large field of Porsches, Mustangs, Ferraris, GT-Rs, WRXs, and the Frangivento Asfani DieciDieci, the Porsche driver managed to hit the one car costing six times more than anything else there.

These Great Cars We Love Are Being Killed Off for 2020

The 2019 automotive model year is ending, and as usual, automakers have been trimming their model trees as the leaves fall. Many of the vehicles vanishing, well, are no great loss — but some are simply delightful ones that we’re sorry to see go. So we’ve picked six new cars that will not be coming back for 2020 that we’re really going to miss.

That said, if you like any of these, keep an eye out for any 2019 models sitting around in your local dealer inventories. You may be able to snag a great deal.

Fiat 500 Abarth

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The classic Fiat 500 was a work of art. With this 21st Century version, Fiat put forth a solid remake with a manual transmission for a reasonable price. The Abarth was the tuned-up version with aggressive styling and a tuned-up 160-horsepower turbocharged engine. The 500’s main drawback was that it was horrifically impractical for American requirements, unless you were Charlie Sheen shredding tires under house arrest.

Jaguar XJ

The XJ is Jaguar’s iconic four-door sedan. Famed designer Ian Callum reinvented it for the modern era. But luxury buyers stopped wanting sedans in recent years, and the XJ is now departing after more than 50 years in continuous production. Expect Jaguar to revive the XJ nameplate next year, though the car should have electric propulsion like a Tesla, and may not even be a sedan.

Volkswagen Beetle

After two generations and more than 20 years in production, New Beetle nostalgia has run its course. The second-generation (also known as the A5) New Beetle was the beneficiary of a less-cutesy, more-macho redesign. It put up a strong fight for the manual transmission, holding onto it until 2017. Sadly, VW is now looking toward its vibrant future of electric cars, Tiguans, and having far fewer Golf options in the U.S.

Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen

Speaking of fewer Golf options: Volkswagen is eliminating its entire wagon lineup from the American market. That means the Golf Sportwagen, one of the best-value cars on the market, is departing after this year. Guess Americans didn’t want a superb-handling long roof with great gas mileage and a six-speed manual.

Cadillac ATS-V

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Cadillac regrouped after the GM bankruptcy last decade and built a badass performance sedan/coupe — precisely when Americans stopped buying them. The ATS-V had 464 horsepower, an available manual transmission, 0-60-mph acceleration in under four seconds, and was a legitimate competitor to cars like the BMW M3, but with a lower sticker price. Goodnight, sweet prince.

Mercedes-AMG S65

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Mercedes-AMG is ditching the V12 engines. That’s costing us perhaps Mercedes’s purest testament to extravagance, the AMG S65. The AMG S63 is already a 600-plus-horsepower implement of destruction; for an additional $83,000,  the AMG S65 “upgraded” buyers to a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 putting out a dash more horsepower and a stunning 738 lb-ft of torque. Sure, it was nearly $100,000 more for a car that was less efficient and the better part of a second slower from 0-60 mph, but you got to make this noise.

The Complete Full-Size Truck Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

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F-150, Ram, or Silverado? Here’s all the info you need to decide in one place. Read the Story

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This Peugeot Boxer 4X4 Concept Is A Full-Fledged Van

The Peugeot Boxer concept varies greatly from most 4x4s in that it doubles as a fully functional van. It’s great if you’re serious about going to different adventures, less so if you like your 4x4s slick-looking.

This doesn’t have the world’s greatest design, to be sure, but surely most people can let aesthetics fly by in favor of optimum utility. Even still, the Peugeot Boxer campervan concept probably has everything you’d ever need for all your off-roading shenanigans.

Underneath, you’ll find a BlueHDi 165 engine and a six-speed manual, which translates to 273 lb-ft of torque. You also get a part-time four-wheel-drive system, which makes this beastly monstrosity able to climb up any terrain, even the most unforgiving ones. The Peugeot Boxer stands a bit taller with 1.18 inches of extra height and 1.97 inches in the rear. It sits on BF Goodrich off-road tires, which offer great traction under any condition.

Inbuilt LED lighting makes it perfect for camping trips, you’ll find them just above the windshield. Go inside and you’ll find 107.6 square feet of living space, complete with Alcantara upholstery. This area includes a sleeping area, kitchenette, and bathroom. You even get a Peugeot eM02 FS Powertube electric mountain bike on the mounted rack out back. Plus, a canoe on the roof rack will surely give you more amazing outdoor adventures.

The only downside is that this is just a concept at the moment. There’s no telling when this beastly overlander will enter production, if it’s ever headed there, that is.

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Photos courtesy of Peugeot