All posts in “Cars”

Volkswagen Unveils 8th-Gen Golf GTI

Volkswagen has just rolled out the latest iteration of its iconic Golf GTI. This is the 8th Generation of the compact performer and it’s powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the power, GTI branding, and plaid interior accents, a red LED strip under the grill makes clear this is no stock Golf. Sadly, the new Euro-tuned 4-door won’t reach American dealers until the end of 2021.

2019 Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk HPE1000 First Drive | Sounds like war, goes like hell

LOS ANGELES — To get our hands on Hennessey’s 1,000-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk HPE1000, we agree to meet Vinny Russo in an alley across the street from the practice facility of the Los Angeles Clippers. Noon sharp.

We hear the Hellcat-powered SUV before we see it, its raspy idle reverberating off the concrete buildings and expanse of fence. It rounds the corner and comes into view, its thunder growing as it slowly approaches over the dirty broken asphalt. It sounds like my big-block ’69 Camaro: thump, thump, thump.

Russo climbs out. “Sorry I’m late,” he says before reaching back in and shutting down the Jeep’s blown Hemi. The silence seems to hang in the air along with the Grand Cherokee’s spent hydrocarbons. It smells like an old-school big block, too.

“This is John’s personal truck,” he says handing me the SUV’s red key. “It’s the one on the internet going 181 mph with a Christmas tree on top and all that other cool stuff. It’s got 20,000 miles on it of …”

He pauses for a second. I’m sure he wants to say abuse. That the Jeep has seen 20,000 miles of abuse. But he’s a good PR man so he stopped himself. I can see him searching for another word. Any other word. He clears his throat.

“It’s got 20,000 miles on it of R&D,” he says. “Just make sure you have it pointing straight and have a good grip on the wheel the first time you go to full throttle. It’ll shock you.”

John, of course, is John Hennessey, and his company Hennessey Performance down in Houston offers up an extensive range of 1,000-hp machines, from McLarens to supercharged Camaros, Corvettes and Hellcats. It’s a good place to drain your 401(k).

After modifying his personal Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4 and driving it to a class record at Bonneville in 1991, he built his first Dodge Viper in 1992, the Venom 500, opened Hennessey Performance and paid the bills cranking out disgustingly powerful Vipers for the next decade and half. Then he built his own supercar about 10 years ago, the Venom GT. Steven Tyler famously bought one.

At some point he began turning up the wick on pickups and SUVs. Today Hennessey says it has built more than 10,000 specialty vehicles, and last year trucks and SUVs made up about 50 percent of its business. There’s the usual fare on the menu, including 600-hp Navigators, 650-hp Escalades and 800-hp Tahoes, but the company’s products can get pretty wild. Its V8-swapped Ford Raptors are popular. Or how about a Chevy Silverado with two rear axles? Not into a 6×6? Maybe I can interest you in a $225,000 1,000-hp Hellcat-powered Jeep Gladiator called the Maximus?

Last year we drove its least powerful and least expensive model, the 360-hp VelociRaptor Ranger. So this time we asked for something more extreme. Hennessey offers three versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the HPE850, HPE1000 and the HPE1200, which the company says makes 1,200 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque at the crank on 109-octane fuel. We settled for the one with only 1,000 ponies.

Hennessey says the modifications it makes to the Jeep’s supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 increases its output from 707 hp at 6,000 rpm and 645 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm to 1,012 hp at 6,500 rpm and 969 lb-ft torque at 4,200 rpm. And trust me when I tell you, meeting a guy at a gas station with a new ZR1 Corvette and telling him your SUV has 245 horses more than his supercar is a hoot. You should have seen his face.

With the Trackhawk’s all-wheel drive, 20-inch Pirelli Scorpion All-Season Run Flats and launch control putting the power down, the guy’s Corvette didn’t stand a chance and he knew it. Hennessey says the Jeep hits 60 mph in 2.6 seconds and blows through the quarter mile in 10.2 seconds at 133 mph — and it really does feel that quick. According to Jeep, a stocker hits 60 mph in 3.5 and runs the quarter in 11.6 seconds.

So how do you make a Grand Cherokee that weighs 5,363 pounds accelerate like a Lamborghini Huracán Evo? Hennessey basically adds boost and fuel. The size of the factory-installed IHI root-type supercharger is increased from 2.38 liters to 2.65 liters. It also spins faster than before thanks to a smaller pulley, up from 14,600 rpm, and generates a maximum of 18 psi of boost, up from 11.6 psi.

A Kenne Bell Boost-A-Pump is installed to increase fuel pressure and volume to the Fuel Injector Clinic 1,000cc injectors, which supply fuel at a rate of 110 lbs/hr. Hennessey also adds tubular headers, an open element air filter and reflashes the ECU, raising the engine’s rev limiter from 6,200 rpm to 6,500 rpm in the process.

That’s all there is to it. The SUV even looks pretty much stock under the hood, and Hennessey doesn’t touch its suspension, brakes, all-wheel drive system or its ZF-supplied 8HP90 eight-speed automatic. And it can all be yours for $34,950, not counting the cost of the Jeep, of course.

Hennessey backs the package with a one-year / 12,000-mile warranty. Unfortunately it does void the Grand Cherokee’s factory warranty, and Hennessey doesn’t guarantee any of its kits are CARB legal. So California residents may have a problem at the smog check. “The rest of the states haven’t been an issue,” Russo told us.

Around town you can’t help but feel like you’re the king of the hill in this thing. How can you not? You’re driving one of the quickest SUVs on earth. A mommymobile that runs with hypercars. And it’s a serious sleeper. Hennessey removes the Trackhawk badge from the tailgate and the Supercharged lettering from Jeep’s doors. Unlike Saleens and Roushes, which are covered in branding, he adds a single and subtle Hennessey script to the left side of the SUV’s rump. Either you know, or you think it’s a V6 with a (very loud) exhaust leak.

After driving it for a couple of days, you start getting cocky. I remember passing a guy in an SRT Grand Cherokee and thinking, “Man, what a loser. He only has 475 hp to play with. Must be frustrating.” 

Quarter throttle at any speed leaves traffic in the dust. Half throttle and you’re at 100 mph before you know it. Full throttle is simply violent. Use the launch control, which unleashes the SUV at 2,800 rpm, and the thrust is so brutal it ripped my kid’s sunglasses from the top of her head, sending them from backseat into the cargo area and up against the tailgate.

And the entire time the Hemi spits a cacophonous mix of exhaust thunder and high-pitched supercharger whine. It isn’t just supercar fast, it’s supercar loud. At wide-open throttle, it sounds like the Tasmanian Devil, its eight-speed grabbing gears at 6,000 rpm, still 500 rpm below the engine’s power peak. At red lights, people in Teslas and Priuses roll up their windows in a feeble effort to escape its ruckus, sealing in their smug. One man’s noise is another man’s music, and the Jeep is playing Extreme Metal.

Unfortunately there’s a metallic resonance between 1,500 and 2,000 rpm, which is a problem when you’re putting around town. “It sounds broken,” my wife said. But above 2,000 the tone levels out and the engine is pretty quiet on the highway. At 80, the Jeep cruises like a stocker, but the big blown Hemi’s presence is always felt. Even at a steady 2,200 rpm, it sends a slight thump through the Grand Cherokee’s chassis like an elevated heartbeat. 

In perfect comfort, with the family and dog onboard, we cruised this 1,000-hp beast a few hours to grandma’s, averaging 13.6 mpg on the highway and just over 12 mpg in about 400 miles of mixed driving. Honestly, we were expecting worse.

Maybe Hennessey should consider a 6×6 version.

Related Video:

2020 BMW M235i Gran Coupe Review

The BMW M235i Gran Coupe is a little difficult to wrap your head around if you’re a traditionalist. For one, it is not very closely related to the outgoing, and soon to be replaced, M240i which is a coupe driven by its rear wheels and a 3-litre 6 cylinder engine. Instead, it’s more of a stretched M135i sharing the same 2-litre 4 cylinder engine and front wheel drive biased all wheel drive system (boo hiss). There will be a new M240i Coupe that will feature a 6 cylinder engine and will have the correct number of doors to wear the coupe name. Gran Coupe seems to skew more than just the number of doors in this instance.

The M235i and other 2 Series Gran Coupe models are, obviously, the result of the successes of the Audi A3 Saloon and Mercedes-Benz CLA models. Mercedes-Benz seem to have an appetite for niches and recently added an A Class Saloon to the range that makes no sense in my mind given that it looks like a slightly podgy CLA with no significant space gains. I’m sure the researchers at MB have their justifications…

Visually BMW were quick to flash up profile images of the, to my eyes, gorgeous 8 Series Gran Coupe overlaying sketches of the 2 Series Gran Coupe at the evenings press presentation. Again, to my eyes, one of these cars looks taught, sharp and rather tasty. Unfortunately the scaled down 2 Series doesn’t seem to wear the lines so well, they aren’t striking and melt away into the large and aesthetically heavy rear end.

Maybe it is a peach to drive? Well, the 1 Series is not available in China or the United States of America so it is up to the 2 Series Gran Coupe to whet the appetite of American and Chinese buyers. As a result, this is not just a stretched 1 Series. The suspension set up is softer to better accommodate poorer surfaces. The road route set up by BMW features a variety of road surfaces which the M235i I am piloting takes in its stride.

Make no mistake, the car is very good for doing the tasks that the vast majority of buyers will use their cars for, daily commutes and school runs. It is relatively spacious inside, comfortable, features tech that you would find in a 7 Series and it even feels plenty quick off the line with all wheel drive traction. 0-100 is done in 4.9 and accomplished courtesy of 306 horsepower and 450Nm.

My gripes relate to feedback and feel: there is, literally, none. Yes, the steering rack is quick and BMW have fitted a Torsen limited-slip differential in addition to the BMW Performance Control which ‘intelligently applies the brakes at the wheels on the inside of the bend before the slip threshold has been reached’ a bit like a McLaren does. As great as this sounds, the M235i GC is not engaging or particularly exciting to chuck into the bends.

Understeer still plagues the driving experience and when the front end is not pushing on, the car remains neutral and does not have you lusting to explore your favourite twisty roads with zeal. The M badge typically denotes more dynamic, and adrenaline fuelled drives. The synthesised exhaust noise is very clearly fake, more so than in other BMW models.

By no means does this mean that the 2020 M235i Gran Coupe is a bad car. If you are looking for a car to ferry your family around on short city journeys in comfort with great connectivity and convenience, this could well be the car for you. The M235i variant looks more imposing that lesser models and is well equipped. But if you’re looking for something with a little more zing, the Golf R is more dynamic and the Mercedes CLA 35 AMG is equally well appointed and feels more alive.

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The Polestar 1 Is the Sexy Plug-In Hybrid You Never Knew You Wanted

If Volvo (and parent company Geely) has their way, you’ll talk about the Polestar brand in the same way you do Tesla come 10 years from now. The car-making conglomerate’s new brand is as dedicated to pure electricity being the fuel of the future as Elon Musk’s NASDAQ-boosting brand, and taking the fight straight to them; the company’s forthcoming sedan is basically aimed straight at the Model 3, while the following model will be a sleek SUV with its sights set on the Model Y.

So, of course, this electric-only brand of tomorrow is launching with a plug-in hybrid — the same sort of joint gas/electric powertrain Chevrolet rolled into mass production 10 years ago in the Great Recession-era Volt.

Ah, but the Polestar 1 is not just any plug-in hybrid. It’s a sleek gran turismo with a gorgeous two-door carbon-fiber body, as much torque as a heavy-duty pickup truck and a price tag that sets it against some of the best luxury coupes on sale today. So to see if it deserves to be praised or forgotten, we took it for a day and a half of driving around New York and New Jersey. Here’s what we learned.

The Polestar 1 is an odd duck, but you wouldn’t know it to look at it

One glance at the Polestar 1 is enough to make its Volvo heritage apparent; indeed, it’s basically the spitting image of the Volvo Concept Coupe of 2013, just without the Austin Powers necklace in the middle of the grille. But while losing the logo would make most cars look like they escaped from a bank commercial, it actually helps the 1. The Polestar’s design is a true work of minimalist beauty, the sort of simple, clean automakers rarely turn out anymore. Muted shades — black, silver, gray and dark blue — are the only ones on offer, and they fit the car’s lines to a T. This is Scandinavian luxury done right.

If the surface seems every bit suited for a continent-crushing grand tourer, though, the power plant is a big surprise. That long hood that seems suited for a V12 or giant V8? Yeah, there’s a mere 2.0 liters and four cylinders of gas-burning engine below, the same inline-four that serves as the backbone of Volvo’s lineup. Like in Volvo’s top-tier models, it’s boosted by a turbocharger, a supercharger and electric motors. In the Polestar 1’s case, the gasoline engine (along with a small electric motor that adds a bit power but doesn’t work alone) sends energy to the front wheels alone, while two electric motors handle propulsion to the rear.

The result: a combined 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. The latter is what feels the most prominent in everyday driving; the car zips forwards softly and instantaneously with an EV-like rush that presses you back in your seat. But the Polestar 1’s character changes even more than most hybrids based on what driving mode you’re in. You can leave it in EV-only mode (here dubbed “Pure”) more than most hybrids, as the 34-kWh battery provides enough range to cover 50-plus miles on electrons alone. The default is Hybrid, and it does what you’d think — toggling between powerplants as needs to balance thrust and economy. There’s another mode to lock it into AWD — a logical addition, given the brand’s Swedish roots — and finally, Power mode, which uncorks everything for maximum go.

The combined powertrain may sound hacked-together for a gran turismo, but the end result is a vehicle that seems perfectly suited for that task. The average daily commute can be knocked out on electric power alone, and it recharges fast enough — a 50-kW Level 3 charger gets it from 0 to 80 percent in less than an hour, while a Level 2 charger can fill it from empty in less than four — that you can top up every night with ease. Fuel economy on longer trips will likely be far better than any conventionally-powered GT, too — but the Polestar 1 still has the power to keep up when it’s time to hammer down.

The interior likely looks very familiar

If you’ve ever sat inside one of Volvo’s higher-end models, the Polestar 1’s interior should look plenty familiar. Indeed, the switchgear and infotainment setup are basically identical to what you’d find in the V90 or XC90, all the way down to the crystal shifter, booming stereo and impressive-but-slightly-laggy portrait-oriented touchscreen.(An advanced Alphabet-developed touchscreen system is coming to the Polestar 2 and subsequent models.)

The further back you go, however, the different it’ll look. Unlike any current Volvo, behind the comfortable thrones up front lie just two small seats, better suited to packages and small pets than humans. Walk back further to the trunk, and inside, you’ll see some of the Polestar’s thick orange electricals on product display, hidden behind transparent panels. It’s a nice little feature to remind you of your virtuous choice whenever you’re dropping cubic feet of Charmin into the back at Costco.

Even if you have the money, good luck getting one

The Polestar 1 lands at a well-equipped starting price of $155,000. (The only option: matte paint, at $5,000.) That effectively puts it right up against both other high-end hybrid speed machines like the Acura NSX and BMW i8 and conventionally-powered GTs like the Aston Martin DB11 V8 and the Mercedes-AMG S63.

Of course, you’re less likely to come across a 1 than you are any of those others, because this halo car is being sold in very exclusive numbers. numbers. Only 1,500 will be made over the course of three years, with the entire world — from China to Europe to Canada to the United States — sharing that pool of cars. So if it seems like the sort of car you want to park in your garage, we suggest booking your online reservation pronto. Once it formally hits the streets here later this year, it may be too late.

Price as Tested: $155,000
Drivetrain: Hybrid 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged inline-four and dual electric motors, eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: 600 hp, 738 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: Not Yet rated
Seats: 2, with 2 spares in the back

Title TK

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Acura’s super sports car is a dynamic, entertaining speed machine with styling worthy of a supercar. So why is no one taking it home? 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.
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.

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Watch Chris Harris in the electric VW ID.R waste a McLaren 720S

The Volkswagen ID.R doesn’t have much in common with a McLaren 720S, other than the fact that they are both performance-crazed cars. One gets its power from batteries, the other from gas. One uses electric motors, the other a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. One is a halo prototype vehicle, the other is a road-legal supercar available for purchase. So when Chris Harris and “Top Gear decided to “race” the two against each other, it was more of a demonstration of the VW’s unreal capabilities than any sort of real competitive faceoff.

In episode five of Top Gear‘s 28th season, which just aired February 23, the trio of Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness welcomed Youtuber KSI on the show and ventured out on a luxury sports car road trip with an Aston Martin, Porsche, and Ferrari. Separately, Harris took to the track to test out Volkswagen’s golden egg of the moment, the ID.R.

As VW fully launches into its electric-vehicle push, the ID.R is meant to exhibit what battery-electric technology is capable of. With two electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear axle, the 2,425-pound ID.R has four-wheel drive and makes a claimed 670 horsepower. As Harris notes in the video, the ID.R. was not built for a specific regulation-bogged racing organization or competition, and thus, it’s only held back by the rules of Mother Nature and Father Physics. Since the car’s debut, it has been annihilating records around the world, including at Pike’s Peak, Goodwood, the Nürburgring, and Heaven’s Gate.

Chris Harris didn’t set any records in the ID.R., but he certainly showed how outrageous this machine is. The 710-horsepower 720S can go from zero mph to 62 mph in less than three seconds, and the ID.R has a sizable lead within that same time. Again, this wasn’t an instance of test-and-conclude, it was a show of perspective. The ID.R is a race car, so even though the 720S is one of the best supercars in the world, it never stood a chance. See for yourself above.

Related Video:

Watch Rimac test the C_Two’s active aerodynamics on track

The founder of electric sports car builder Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac, when not helping create new cars, creates YouTube series about those cars. They include series such as Discover Rimac Today and Mondays with Mate. One of the more intriguing series is the documentary-style look at the C_Two electric supercar‘s ongoing development, and the latest episode shows two C_Two prototypes testing new upgraded suspension and active aerodynamics as part of testing announced back in December

The two vehicles seen sharpening their senses at the Automotodrom Grobnik track outside Rijeka, Croatia, look similar but have significant differences underneath. One has an old suspension setup and no active aerodynamic technology, while the other has an upgraded and improved suspension and Rimac’s full active aero kit. The most noticeable feature of the system is the rear wing that moves up and down. Meanwhile, hearing the cars whir about is fascinating in its own right.

If you’re craving more footage of the C_Two, Rimac has you covered. The EV builder has captured the car’s aerodynamic wind tunnel testing, the crash testing, as well as the computational methods used throughout the process.

When the C_Two finally launches, it will immediately become one of the most advanced vehicles on the market. At its conceptual debut in 2018, Rimac claimed the C_Two would have four electric motors at each wheel and would be powered by a 120-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. In total, the C_Two is said to make 1,888 horsepower and 1,696 lb-ft of torque, and it still claimed 404 miles of range on a single charge (by the New European Driving Cycle standards). The four-digit power pushes the car from zero mph to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, down a quarter-mile in 9.1 seconds, and all the way up to a 258-mph top speed. Only 150 examples of the car will be produced.

Czinger releases full specs on 21C hybrid hypercar

A week ago, LA-based Czinger teased its 21C hypercar with a video and a promise of “dominating performance.” Now that all the specs are out before the coupe’s reveal at the Geneva Motor Show, on paper at least, it appears “dominating” was the correct choice of words. We’ll start with the performance: Zero to 62 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds — making 0-60 perhaps faster; the quarter-mile in 8.1 seconds at 170 mph; zero to 186 mph and back to zero in 15 seconds; zero to 248 mph and back to zero in 29 seconds, which would eclipse the Koenigsegg Regera’s record of 31.49 seconds set last September.

Assuming the 21C can bring those numbers to life, how does the coupe do it? There’s a 2.88-liter twin-turbo V8 with a flat-plane crank stowed amidships driving the rear wheels, good for 950 horsepower. (To get a sense of the march of progress, the 2.855-liter twin-turbo V8 in the 1984 Ferrari 288 GTO produced 350 hp.) Each front wheel gets a high-powered electric motor, serving up all-wheel drive and a combined output of 1,232 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque at 10,500 rpm, 500 rpm short of redline. The 21C in standard road guise without the big rear wing has a curb weight of 1,250 kilograms (2,756 pounds), and with a metric horsepower rating of 1,250 hp, we’re talking about a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. The 21C Lightweight track-focused car with the big rear wing weighs just 1,218 kg (2,685 pounds). Shifting through a seven-speed automated manual transmission, the road car maxes out at 268 mph, the track car produces more than three times the road car’s downforce so its top speed comes in at 236 mph.

The e-motors get juice from a lithium-titanate battery, the same pack composition used by the Mitsubishi i-Miev and Honda Fit EV, an integrated starter-generator helping to deliver power where needed. Czinger says the entire powertrain was designed and is built in-house, and it’s flex-fuel — owners can fill up with Vulcanol, described as “a renewable methanol made from captured carbon dioxide,” assuming they can find it.

Czinger is only making 80 examples of the 21C, using its proprietary “vertical assembly,” 3D-printed build processes that combine carbon fiber, high-performance alloys, and other materials, topped off with book-matched carbon fiber bodywork. Road & Track has a good writeup on the production system. Company founder Kevin Czinger explained that the 3D-printed parts are expected to last the lifetime of the car, but if any need to be replaced, they can be dissolved into their original powder and reconstituted to serve a different purpose.

Each 21C comes with a reported price of $1.7 million before the obligatory options and fripperies. We look forward to checking this one out in Geneva, and we’ll take the one with the wing, please.

Meet the Face of the All-New VW GTI

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it’s almost here


Volkswagen will launch the Mk8 generation of the iconic GTI hot hatch at the Geneva Auto Show in March. This car is coming to America, and it will have a manual transmission option. The company has promised the new performance car will be “cool as hell.”

Now, VW has offered a teaser image of the front end ahead of the launch. For those who have seen the new Mk8 Golf, there won’t be that much that surprises here. Volkswagen went with more aggressive-looking lighting than on the outgoing Mk7 generation. The classic red “lipstick” detailing and the honeycomb grille, on the other hand, are the changes one would have expected a GTI to receive to elevate it above the standard Golf.

The whole car should not be a dramatic aesthetic departure from the last GTI, which we firmly believe is one of the best cars Volkswagen has ever made. We hope the plaid seats, golf ball shifter, and spectacular blue paint from the Rabbit edition carry over. The GTI will receive Volkswagen’s new digital cockpit, however.

The major outstanding question is how powerful the engine will be. VW says the new turbo engine “will exceed expectations.” It should receive a significant bump over the current 228 horsepower edition, potentially with an even hotter TCR edition.

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.

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Glickenhaus SCG 004C gets its first track shakedown in Italy

It can be hard to keep track of the various Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus vehicles on the way because we read about them for years before seeing them. No matter, when they do show, they are welcome sights. The SCG 004C, hardcore racer that’s successor to the Nürburgring pole-sitting 003C, is the next to make the transition from text coverage to track footage. Developed to ultimately serve as a platform for GTE, GTLM, GT3, and GT4 categories as well as Germany’s NLS series, SCG put the first example to test on Italy’s Cremona Circuit. Years ago, SCG’s plan was to have Nissan’s 3.8-liter twin turbo VR38DETT V6 from GT-R placed amidships. That plan morphed into using a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated pushrod V8 based on GM’s LT4 block, developed by Autotechnica Motori.

Fellow Italian company Podium Advanced Technologies is helping with overall vehicle engineering, SCG saying the 004 chassis — which will get an 004S road version, 004CS road/track version, and the 004C track-specific car — has already been through 35,000 hours of development work. As to the engine, James Glickenhaus told Sportscar365, “It can’t rev very high, but GT3 engines can’t rev very high anyway with the restrictors. You get a very low center of gravity and it’s a very compact engine, so there’s a tremendous amount of space around it to blow air around and keep it cool.” The 003C used a 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged Honda HR35TT V6 built for IMSA’s Daytona Prototype category. Glickenhaus said the change in philosophy with the 004C meant that “with the low-end torque, we’re going to be able to be faster coming out of the turns than we were with the 003C.”

On the first shakedown and improvements compared to the 003C, the owner explained that two more inches of suspension travel in the 004C would translate into softer landings on the high-flying Nordschleife, and the new nose results in improved downforce and better aero balance. The 004C is also about 220 pounds lighter than its 2,976-pound forebear.

The 004C will of course be restricted to series power limits. Since the road-going cars won’t be limited, customers will get about 680 hp out of the V8 in the 004S, and around 850 hp out of the 004CS with the help of a supercharger bolted to that V8. Estimated price for the hand-built, carbon-fiber bodied 004S is $485,000, the 004CS will start around $650,000. As with the racer, all versions will employ a three-seater cockpit with a central driver’s seat, the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; the race car fits an Xtrac sequential transmission.

After its first test at Cremona, the 004C heads to Aragon, Spain, for a 30-hour endurance test. Its first race comes next month in the Experimental Class in the NLS series, before racing again in April, and a tilt at the Nürburgring 24 in May. Check out the sound from the outside in the clip above, and the on-board views below.

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Czinger 21C: Hybrid Hypercar Revealed with 1,250 hp

A new manufacturer will debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2020 a week on Tuesday. The Czinger 21C is all-American, designed and built on the west coast, in Los Angeles. The company was founded by Kevin Czinger and we have seen a similar design before in the form of the Divergent Blade.

What makes the Czinger 21C stand out from the crowd is its revolutionary technology. The Divergent Blade served as a testbed for this production car, using 3D-printed components fused together and reinforced with carbon fibre elements. The result is bodywork that is ultra-strong and ultra-lightweight.

Many of the components are 3D printed, including the chassis. It houses a mid-mounted 2.8-litre V8 engine which works alongside two electric motors which power the front wheels. In total, the Czinger 21C produces 1,250 hp, enough for an 8.1-second quarter mile, 100 km/h in 1.9 seconds, 300 km/h in 15 seconds and 400 km/h in 29 seconds. Czinger uses a seven-speed sequential transaxle gearbox. The 21C weighs just 1,183 kg (dry) with a track specification reducing it down to 1,151 kg.

The design is interesting too. It features a very low front end with vertical headlights. The cockpit is narrow with dual rear spoilers at the back which complement the rear diffuser. Mounted in the middle of the back facia is a large exhaust, similar in style to the McLaren F1.

Speaking of McLaren, the interior takes inspiration from the seating arrangement of the classic McLaren F1. A two-seater, the Czinger 21C includes a central driving position with an additional passenger seat in tandem.

Czinger is planning 80 copies of the 21C.

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One Automaker Produced Most of the Ugliest Cars, Trucks and SUVs of the 2000s

General Motors gets a lot of hate for the Pontiac Aztek, and rightly so. It’s among the ugliest crossovers and SUVs ever made, even if one could argue it was ahead of its time. But it was a different American automotive conglomerate with a distinctive track record of producing ghastly-looking cars in the 2000s: Chrysler.

Whether it was SUVs, sedans, trucks or sports cars, or Dodge, Ram, Jeep, Chrysler or Plymouth — no segment nor brand was immune from a general corporate malaise that produced a range of unmemorable cars with all-too-memorable appearance flaws. Some resulted from too few boundaries. Others resulted from corner-cutting necessitated by too many boundaries.

Below, we list some of the highlights (or lowlights, rather) from that era.

Plymouth / Chrysler Prowler (1997-02)

The Prowler was born in the 1990s, but for some reason, Chrysler kept it alive into the 2000s. It had open wheels, ghastly front bumpers to make it street-legal, an odd matching trailer option and a mediocre V6 that couldn’t capture that hot rod magic. The Prowler had all the weirdness of a Morgan, but none of the coolness.

Chrysler PT Cruiser (2001-10)

If the Prowler was the purist vision of Chrysler’s retro ideals, the PT Cruiser was the attempt to translate those 1930s design cues into a more practical, four-door vehicle. Chrysler tried out wood trim, a convertible version , and…whatever was going on with this two-tone couture edition. Nothing worked. It may have been the least sexy car ever made (unless you wrote for Motor Trend).

Chrysler Pacifica (2004-06)

As a practical, mid-height crossover with a third row of seats, the first Chrysler Pacifica was a vehicle ahead of its time. You can spy a bit of the PT Cruiser’s influence on the front end, but the rest of the design is amorphous and bland. Chrysler gave the Pacifica a bold line down the door handles to give it…we don’t know why they did it, actually.

Dodge Ram SRT-10 (2004-06)

What if you put the 8.3-liter V10 from the Viper in a full-size pickup? For a brief, beautiful few years, Dodge decided to find out. It packed a large power dome hood with a scoop, a mug that looks like it’s jutting out its lower lip, and a jumble of vents on the front, usually highlighted by the ever-popular racing stripes. And, oh yeah: it had a spoiler.

Jeep Grand Cherokee (2005-10)

This Grand Cherokee warrants inclusion for those rounded headlights that distort the shape of the hood alone, especially as they come paired with turn signals clearly intended to go with square headlights. The car looks like someone Photoshopped round lights on it — and not well. The execution of the taillights was not much better, and the unimaginative body did little to salvage matters.

Dodge Nitro (2007-12)

Dodge decided it needed an edgy, street-oriented compact SUV in the lineup. Thus, we got a lowered Jeep Liberty with chunky fenders and an ugly Dodge mug. Off-color cladding on the base models made the lower fascia like a hipster beard. And in case buying a car called the “Nitro” wasn’t extreeeeeeeme enough for you, you could opt for trim levels called “Detonator” and “Shock” to drive the point home.

Jeep Compass (2007-10)

The current Jeep Compass is pleasant enough to look at. The first-gen Compass was a complete eyesore. It had bug eyes, big jowls, oddly squared-off wheel arches and a C-pillar door handle for pizzazz. And what was going on with that triangular D-pillar?

Dodge Caliber SRT4 (2008-09)

The Caliber was the epitome of mid-2000s-era Chrysler sadness. Massive fenders and lower fascia; a grille and headlights that got lost on their way to the bigger SUV they were bound for; and plastic everywhere, including the door handles. Then Dodge decided to make a hot hatch version…with a hood scoop and a spoiler.

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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.

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Zero’s New Electric Motorcycle Is Designed to Change Your Mind

“We didn’t just put a fairing on an SR/F.” So said Abe Askenazi, CTO of Zero Motorcycles, at the unveiling of the all-new SRS in New York City on Wednesday afternoon. And thanks to some critical differences between this new bike and its incredibly fast and fun older brother, we’re inclined to agree.

Having spent a little time with Zero’s first fully faired ride, we’re most excited about the following distinguishing features of the SR/S.

1. It’s Comfier

Whereas the SR/F is an F-16, Zero likens the SR/S to a private jet. Toward that end, it features lower pegs and higher handlebars for a more upright and relaxed riding position. Even passengers benefit from lower pegs and a bigger seating area. The SR/S also integrates with luggage for those who like to travel with more than a backpack.

But that’s not to say this thing is a rolling sofa. With advanced aerospace design as its inspiration, the bike’s fairing boosts efficiency and range by 13 percent, promising to top 200 city miles — with the addition of Zero’s Power Tank — when you lean forward and tuck into the cockpit. A new mirror position (below the handlebars, rather than popping out the top) encourages this aerodynamically optimized position, whether you’re zipping through city traffic or flying down the highway.

2. It’s Smarter

On test rides of the SR/F, we were duly impressed with its touchscreen and app-pairing capabilities, which enabled us to monitor range, change ride modes, track our trips and more. The SR/S is even more advanced, offering the four standard ride modes plus up to 10 fully customizable ones. The Cypher III computer taps into all the Bosch stability control system has to offer, maximizing ABS, cornering, traction and drag torque control.

As we lalso earned at the unveiling, the battery is also optimized for Level 2 charging (by far the most common option for EVs), and the Rapid Charge System can take the bike from 0 to 95 percent in an hour.

3. It’s Value-Packed

Just because it’s all dressed up doesn’t mean the SR/S is all show and no go. Like the SR/F, it offers 140 pound-feet of torque, 110 horsepower and a top speed of 124 miles per hour, not to mention the mind-blowing pickup that makes the SR/F such a blast.

You might think it would all add up to a painful price point, but that’s not the case. The premium model with 6-kW Rapid Charger, heated hand grips and aluminum bar ends starts at $21,995 (versus $21,495 for the SR/F). The standard model with 3-kW Rapid Charger starts at $19,995 (versus $19,995).

Zero’s Power Tank, available March 1 for an additional $2,895, adds 3.6-kWh for an extended city range of 201 miles. Both models are available in Skyline Silver and Cerulian Blue colorways.

Our big takeaway? The SR/S should be able to deliver all the thrills of the SR/F in a more luxurious, approachable package. But we can’t wait to give it a thorough test ride to find out for sure.

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

Steve Mazzucchi is Gear Patrol’s outdoors and fitness editor. Outside the office, you can find him mountain biking, snowboarding, motorcycling or sipping a dram of Laphroaig and daydreaming about such things.

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Toyota and Nissan, Not Porsche and BMW, Should Be Launching Car Subscriptions

The new car buying process is one that’s ripe for disruption. The current car-buying experience is a pain, usually involving several parties (buyer, bank, dealership), multiple visits to a dealership and an endless amount of paperwork. And that’s before we get to traditional financing and fixed lease deals — which are often unsuited for the fluid labor market of tomorrow.

Automakers have been seeking out better ways to do things. One option, taking a cue from the tech world, is a subscription plan. We’ve seen almost every luxury manufacturer running a pilot plan version through dealers in certain cities, whether it’s Porsche Passport or Access by BMW. But the subscription plan model seems like it would work better with a mass-market manufacturer — especially one like Toyota or Nissan, with a lineup large and versatile enough to make such a plan worth the money for middle-class customers.

Younger, less-well-off buyers, after all, may be more concerned about committing to a longterm financial arrangement, or swapping out cars to reduce emissions. And many people living in urban environments may want to explore non-traditional ownership arrangements — extensions of services like ZipCar and Share Now.

Besides, luxury brands don’t offer the flexibility in vehicle types that makes a subscription plan particularly valuable. If you buy a Cayenne because you have children, the times where you can swap it out for a 911 Carrera S to go cruising won’t happen often. Ditto with the reverse scenario; few Porsche customers seem likely to be swapping a 718 Cayman out for a Cayenne to help a friend move.

Toyota or Nissan, on the other hand, offer a much more extensive range of options. (Titus Adventure Company in Colorado, for example, has built a business plan around renting Toyota off-roaders to people who don’t want to live with their fuel-efficiency.) Buyers could get a Tundra to move their boat once a month, then drive a Prius the rest of the year. Parents could snag a super-practical Sienna for the road trip, but swap out for something sexier in everyday life. And a big selling point for Nissan’s perfect electric crossover could be swapping it out for an Armada for a long road trip.

In fact, Nissan is showing early signs of embracing this logic; the company has announced a pilot program in Houston called Nissan Switch. Buyers can make up to one car switch per day. The base $699-per-month Select plan offers access to the Altima, Rogue, Pathfinder, and Frontier. Paying $899 per month for the Premium plan adds the Leaf Plus, Maxima, Murano, Armada, Titan and 370Z to the mix. Premium plan users can also take out a GT-R for an additional $100 per day for up to a week.

Toyota is doing better on the sales front than Nissan, so it makes sense that they would be a bit more conservative. The company did inform Gear Patrol that they’re learning from their subscription pilot program, and considering expansion opportunities for the future. That pilot program, however, is a luxury-brand one — with two Lexus dealerships in Seattle allowing customers one monthly switch between the ES, IS, NX and RX for $995 per month.

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.

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Bugatti Chiron Sport Edition Noire Sportive marks the production halfway point

For Bugatti, possibly only for Bugatti, a 1,479-horsepower coupe with a quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W16 is just the starting point. Bugatti unveiled the Chiron in 2016 with the intent of building 500 examples, and four years later, 250 units and numerous extraordinary limited-editions have been crafted. To mark the occasion, Bugatti will show No. 250, a Chiron Sport Edition Noire Sportive, at the 2020 Geneva International Auto Show, where it all began.

Near the end of 2019, Bugatti announced two new blacked-out Chirons, one called the Chiron Noire Elegance and the other called the Chiron Noire Sportive. The Elegance model exhibits a reflective gloss, while the Sportive has a muted matte exterior. Backing up the Noire designation, the Sportive model goes completely black, with nearly nothing left to show off any sort of metallic sparkle. The Elegance, however, looks a bit more dressed up with aluminum and silver accents. Both feature Noire script graphics, including on the underside of the rear wing. The Noire models are limited to 20 examples total, and No. 250 will surely be one of the most interesting of the bunch.

The Noire Elegance and Sportive follow in the footsteps of Bugatti’s (and the world’s) most expensive release, the Bugatti La Voiture Noire. A coachbuilt homage to the Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic, the La Voiture Noire reportedly cost more than $18 million, with fees and taxes factored in. It was limited to only one example, and it was only one of numerous special launches that spawned from the Chiron.

In addition to the base Chiron, Bugatti has also released the lighter and sharper Chiron Sport, on which the car seen here is based. Then there was the Chiron-based Divo “for the bends,” and then came the Chiron Super Sports 300+ to honor the car that broke the 300-mph barrier. Other special editions included the 110 ans Bugatti Chiron to honor the company’s history and the Bugatti Centodieci that honors the Bugatti EB110 supercar. So much honor.

For only having one car in its lineup, Bugatti sure has made a lot of different vehicles, and we recently found out it could have been more. In an Autoblog exclusive, we learned Bugatti also planned two never-before-seen coupes that would have been marketed alongside the Chiron. Unfortunately, they never made it through to see production.

With 250 produced, only 250 remain, and their availability is getting increasingly more scarce. Bugatti says 150 Chirons are already spoken for, which means only 100 are left to be claimed. We fully expect some of those to debut new bespoke features, new special editions and hopefully more coachbuilding.

Related Video:

Honda Finally Made the Perfect Civic Type R, But There’s a Catch

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a type r for adults


Honda’s Civic Type R may be the hottest of hot hatches, at least among those we can buy in the U.S. It’s an impressive automotive achievement — one of the purest driver’s cars on the market, in spite of its front-wheel-drive powertrain. But the Civic Type R still polarizes car people with its aggressive looks. The hatchback confronts you head-on with its giant rear wing and bright red accents. For skeptics, it’s not a car that a serious adult could own.

Honda has resolved that problem for 2020 with the new Civic Type R Sport Line. This new trim tones the car down by reducing the wing to a small spoiler, swapping red highlights for gray and ditching the red bucket seats for more sensible black ones. The trim also delivers more comfort features; it drops down to 19-inch wheels from 20-inch ones to offer a more forgiving ride, and adds back insulation (stripped out of the standard Type R to reduce weight) to make the cabin quieter.

In short, the Sport Line trim makes the Civic Type R perfect. There’s just one slight catch: this trim will only be available for European customers. Honda told Autoblog that the company saw no reason to bring it to America, since the standard Civic Type R is selling so well. That sound you hear? That’s a sad trombone.

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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Aston Martin spars with WEC over Valkyrie’s exit from racing

Confirming an earlier rumor, Aston Martin announced it has stopped developing the track-going version of the Valkyrie it planned to enter in the World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) new Hypercar category. It blamed its decision on a recent change in the regulations, but the sanctioning body responded that’s not the full story.

The British company explained it’s unhappy with the WEC’s decision to harmonize the Hypercar class with the LMDh category and the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship during the early 2020s. Without providing additional details, it declared the Valkyrie will not make its racing debut at the Silverstone track in August 2020 and it will not challenge Glickenhaus, Toyota, Peugeot and others in the 2021 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It added it’s considering canceling the program altogether, meaning the Valkyrie would never race.

Aston Martin isn’t quitting racing; far from it. It will continue to enter the Vantage GTE in WEC events around the world, and the Racing Point Formula One team will be rebranded Aston Martin after the 2020 season. The sudden and unexpected entry into Formula One led by investor Lawrence Stroll may have played a role in convincing executives to cancel the Hypercar program. Racing is expensive, and Aston isn’t doing well.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) that regulates the WEC doused cold water on Aston’s explanation. It opined the harmonization doesn’t impact the category, and it pledged to prove this claim when it releases additional technical specifications in March 2020. It instead blamed the decision to withdraw the Valkyrie from racing on the highly-publicized financial issues that have plagued Aston since 2019.

“The decision announced by Aston Martin is very regrettable but perhaps not unexpected in light of the persistent rumors over the last six months concerning the fragility of the brand’s exposure in the rapidly-evolving automotive market,” it wrote. As of writing, executives haven’t responded to these allegations.

Aston Martin and the FIA both noted they’re open to working with each other to find a solution, but the carmaker’s statement is highly ambiguous. It affirms Aston’s future presence in the racing world will be “defined by its activities at the highest level of both single-seater competition and endurance GT racing” and glaringly leaves the Hypercar category behind. To us, it sounds like the program has already been consigned to the attic.

The 2020-2021 WEC season begins in August 2020, so Aston Martin and the WEC need to quickly find a common ground if they want to salvage the Valkyrie’s racing career. Even if the car doesn’t race, the street-legal version remains on track for production, and the first deliveries are tentatively scheduled for late 2020.

Related Video:

Lotus Evija EV supercar is charging toward series production

It’s almost time for Lotus to begin production of real Evijas bound for customers, but first, it must go through its final round of testing. To accomplish this task, Lotus had to prep its brand-new production facility to build the final prototypes. New photos and video give a glimpse of what the Lotus assembly hall looks like. 

The Evija, which means “the first in existence,” is an all-electric supercar that Lotus hopes will be the most powerful production road car ever made. The supercar uses electric motors for four-wheel drive with torque vectoring and has a battery pack rated at 70kWh. Lotus claims it has 1,973 horsepower and 1,254 lb-ft of torque, can go zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds, can do zero to 186 mph in less than nine seconds, and has a top speed of 200 mph. All of that, with a weight of 3,704 pounds. 

Possibly more impressive are the claimed battery stats. The Evija, which is the first Lotus developed with new majority shareholder Geely, can supposedly fully charge in less than 10 minutes and has a range of 250 miles. With a 350-kW charger, it’ll fill up in 18 minutes.

Lotus says the Evija has been an extremely collaborative effort, as 20 specialist contractors and 50 experts have been on site for the past six months. They’ve been hard at work in the new facility, which is located next to the 2.2-mile Hethel circuit in Hethel, in Norfolk, U.K. Check out the new state-of-the-art light tunnel, the vehicle lifts, the gantry crane, and more above and below.

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7 Essential Apps Every Driver Should Have On Their Phone

The smartphone has become an integral part of the driving experience for many Americans. Nearly every manufacturer incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto into their infotainment setups (and thankfully, they do it without making it part of a subscription plan). An array of apps on offer have rendered road trip staples like the map, the guidebook, and decades of accrued local knowledge outmoded, if not obsolete.

Here are seven essential driving apps you should download right away to improve your drive.

Waze

The Apple Maps vs. Google Maps navigation war can be tough to follow. Instead, try Waze, which is now compatible with Apple CarPlay. It delivers turn-by-turn navigation as the others do, but its strength is user-submitted data, which permits real-time rerouting to avoid traffic. Other so-called “Wazers” can flag good-to-know hazards like hidden police cars and potholes — as well as less-helpful things, like every single dead animal on the Canadian stretch of your drive home from Nantucket (true story).

Parkopedia

Navigation apps help you get where you need to go. But when you get there, where do you park? Search for spots and rates easily with Parkopedia’s database of more than 70 million parking spots in 15,000 cities.

RoadTrippers

RoadTrippers streamlines the road trip planning process. You can plan and save itineraries, collaborate with other users, find off-beat destinations and get reviews for millions of destinations along your route.

GasBuddy

Every penny you save counts. The GasBuddy app allows users to find and share the best gas prices in their area. You can also join the app’s Pay with GasBuddy and Pay with GasBuddy Premium plans to save five cents (or more) per gallon, as well as get services like roadside assistance.

Plugshare

Perhaps you need to plug in your car, instead of fill up a gas tank. Plugshare provides comprehensive data for more than 300,000 charging points from every major charging network worldwide. Users can also get station ratings and real-time availability.

Privacy4Cars

New cars interact with your smartphone — which means you’re leaving a personal data trail in every vehicle you use. The Privacy4Cars app saves you time (and frantic Googling) by providing simple, step-by-step instructions for deleting your personally-identifiable information from any car.

MileIQ

The best apps are simple, perform a cumbersome task automatically — and save you a boatload of time. Microsoft’s MileIQ lets you easily track and report your work driving and travel expenses to make it easier when it comes time to file your taxes.

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