All posts in “Cars”

2020 Will Be the Electric Car Tipping Point

Tesla revealed its mass-market Model 3 in 2016. The company promised an affordable, $35,000 pre-federal tax credit price tag. Buyers went berserk. Tesla received about 400,000 Model 3 reservations, a number higher than Mercedes’ total U.S. sales in a year.

The Model 3 launch showed how strong the potential demand was for quality electric vehicles. Tesla’s struggles to meet that demand since highlight how challenging it is to produce an affordable EV. Tesla finally, sort of, got the Model 3 base price down to $35,000 this year, by stripping down the car among other measures.

We know gasoline is on its way out. We know, at least in the short and intermediate term, electric vehicles will be the replacement. What we’ve been waiting for is the “tipping point.” This will be the point where all manufacturers are bringing EVs to market. Component costs start to come down. Range and charging infrastructure grow to make mass market adoption convenient. The future materializes. We should come close to hitting that tipping point in 2020.

The luxury market will be a beachhead for EV adoption. Tesla’s success has terrified those companies into action. We’ll see results, beyond the already extant Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron in 2020. Porsche is releasing its Taycan EV for the 2020 model year. Porsche already has doubled its production plans due to high interest and is reevaluating the gasoline future of its best-selling vehicle.

Volvo and Geely’s electric performance brand Polestar is set to become a thing. The Polestar 1 sports car is due to begin production for the 2020 model year. The company just unveiled the Model 3-battling Polestar 2. Neither will have Volvo’s speed-limiting tech.

Mercedes (EQC) and BMW (iX3) are launching luxury EV crossovers. Aston Martin is bringing the RapidE, more powerful than the Rapide S V12, to market in 2020. Maserati may finally be (fingers crossed) bringing the Alfieri into production as an EV supercar in 2020 as well. That’s before we get to the stupidly powerful EV hypercars unveiled in Geneva and six-figure classic EV conversions.

Even the full-sized truck and three-row SUV markets are in for a jolt of electricity. Rivian has a planned 2020 launch for the R1T truck and R1S SUV. If Rivian can meet the price targets, those will be competitive with the top end of those markets. Rivian’s performance will exceed anything in those markets.

The next and tricky step is having enthusiasm at the top of the market trickle down to the masses. Base-level EVs are relatively affordable. The Nissan Leaf Plus, the Hyundai Kona Electric, and Chevy Volt will offer a 200-plus mile range and a price tag of around $37,500, dropping to $30,000 with the federal tax credit.

These vehicles do make EVs affordable. But, they don’t provide the same value as internal combustion. The Kona Electric, for instance, is $10,000 more than the base model Kona that gets about 30 mpg combined. It will take years of driving before the fuel savings cover the purchase premium. The same general price point in the gasoline realm will get you an efficient, luxurious Mercedes A-Class.

2020 should see some developments at the lower end of the EV market. Though the details remain nebulous. Volkswagen has an I.D. crossover and hatchback that should start production by 2020. The hatch may have a base version for less than $30,000 (unclear when VW would start selling the cheaper one). There are also reports of VW entering the market with a super cheap (sub-$23,000) subcompact EV. Mini should be launching an electric version of the Mini Cooper hatch to begin sales in 2020.

We won’t all be driving EVs by 2020. The best-selling American vehicles will still be three full-sized trucks traveling less than 20 miles on a gallon of gas. But, buyers, particularly on the luxury end, will have a range of EV options. Buying one should feel far more normal than niche.

The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Shouldn’t Be This Good

For most city-dwellers, the idea of owning more than one vehicle is laughable. So what’s an enthusiast urbanite to drive if not something that is both sporty and practical? Weekend getaways out of the city require cargo space, ground clearance and all-wheel-drive, even if the vehicle rides on performance-oriented summer tires. Just about any midsize SUV will tick those boxes, but high-performance examples seek to deliver a genuinely enjoyable driving experience on top of the practicality.

Not a tall order if going fast in a straight line over and over is your idea of a good time. However, when the road gets twisty, a legitimately powerful vehicle should scare you a little just before that big smile arrives. The GLC 63 is capable of shaming a few sports cars, yet it will happily swallow up all your ambitious adventure gear. It’s one of those rare vehicles that is comprised of contradictions, yet works oh-so-well as a whole.

Like any AMG product, attention first goes to the engine. The GLC 63 makes use of the exceptional 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 used in other Mercedes-AMG products where it has to pull less weight. In this application, it cranks out 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. What’s more, is that all that torque is available from 1,750 rpm to 4,500 rpm. The sprint from 0-60 mph happens in 3.8 seconds, and that’s in a vehicle which weighs 4,462 lbs and boasts 56.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats down.

Impressive numbers and systems are certainly integral parts of any performance vehicle, but take most modern cars, strip away the tech and the luxury and you’re left with something pretty dull. The GLC63 is a different story. Underneath all the accouterments that come with a Mercedes-Benz, there’s still an AMG hot rod. Few companies do the V8 engine justice like AMG.

One necessary option box is the AMG performance exhaust system. It announces the engine starting up with a bark, settling into a burbling rumble at idle. Perhaps most enjoyable is the crack-of-lightning that comes when downshifting high in the rev range.

With a push of a button, however, “utterly ridiculous” turns to “mild-mannered” and you can fly under the radar of anyone who doesn’t appreciate the eight-cylinder symphony broadcast at full blast. The GLC 63 is many vehicles rolled into one excellent package, and it’s worthy of praise in its own right.

The Next Bond Car Will Be an Electric Aston Martin and That’s Okay

At the behest of director Cary Fukunaga, Daniel Craig will be driving the forthcoming all-electric Aston Martin Rapide E sedan as his “Bond car.” That’s right, James Bond is going electric, and it will be played up like a momentous occasion with scandalized headlines, as though it’s Bob Dylan going electric. But, in reality, Bond driving an EV is fitting, natural and the right thing to do.

The upcoming Bond car isn’t a first-gen Nissan Leaf. The Aston Martin Rapide E will have north of 600hp, which is more than the V12 gas-burning Rapide S. So the Rapide E should have more than enough power in short bursts to extricate the secret agent from one of his henchman run-ins.

A limited-edition Aston Martin deploying the most cutting edge technology the company has to offer is about as Bond as you can get. Hijacking the series for BMW product placement in the ‘90s was a far greater sacrilege.

James Bond, as a silver screen character, is more than 50 years old and Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel came out nearly 70 years ago. Britain, in the interim, has gone from a global Empire to an island of loveable eccentrics. The Bond character has always evolved with and reflected the times. Sean Connery’s Bond was a thoughtless and rampant womanizer. Daniel Craig’s Bond is a chiseled, brooding action hero weighed down by the existential meaning of his own actions and loyalty. About the only common thread through the Bond films is ordering a wrongly made martini.

The 2020 iteration of James Bond would drive an EV. A Tesla would be a bit too common, while a Jaguar E-type Zero would be too delicate. But the Aston Martin Rapide E? It’ll do just fine.

This Mercedes Wagon Is a Future Classic — And a Total Steal

Modern cars take a lot of flak for being soulless, uninspired or simply “not built like they used to be.” So, when a real future classic comes around, they tend to stand out — even if it’s a gray station wagon like this Mercedes-AMG E63.

Wagons once roamed American highways as much as today’s breed of crossovers and SUVs, but they’re a much rarer sight, which is why the Mercedes E-Class wagon feels so special. Not only does Mercedes continue to bless our shores with its wagon, but it gives us the cream-of-the-crop AMG performance model. It’s difficult to come by a better example of perfectly balancing performance and practicality, not to mention style.

The E63 S wagon owes a lot of its “future classic” status to the monster twin turbo V8 under the hood. For 2011, Mercedes swapped out the naturally aspirated 6.2-Liter engine and put the all-new 5-5-Liter twin-turbo powerplant in its place. Good for 577 horsepower with 590 lb-ft of torque, the new AMG engine helps get the wagon to go from 0-60 mph in a super car-teasing 3.4 seconds and carries it on to a top speed of 174 mph. Not bad for a family-focused grocery-getter.

This particular E63 S Wagon only has 25,000 miles on the clock, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, being just five years old. When it was new, this German power wagon ran with a base price of $103,295, but easily flirted with $115,000 once all the options boxes were ticked. As of this writing, this wagon is going for around $50,000. Even if the winning bid ends up close to the original MSRP, the new owner can rest easy knowing they have one of the most desirable wagons in the U.S. and no doubt a future classic.

Classic Car Studio 1971 Land Rover Defender Series II

As excited as we are about all the upcoming variations of the new Ford Raptors, electric SUVs and supertrucks, it’s the classic vintage SUVs like old school Land Rovers that really tickle our fancy. In…

The Lister Knobbly Sports Car Looks Absolutely Amazing

What We Were Hoping For

The original Lister Knobbly sports car from the 1950s were serious racing machines of the time. Their prowess on the racetrack was known internationally. Now the company has a new Knobbly. A teaser was released on Twitter and now we have an even better shot of the new car.

Lister did the old one justice, giving the new car some sensuous curves and a large mouth not unlike the original car. Is it as beautiful as the Knobbly’s of old? No, but it’s pretty close. For a modern car, it does a good job of translating that unique 1950s racecar style.

This new shot in conjunction with the image Tweeted out by the company’s boss sent out previously gives us a pretty good idea of what the new Lister will be. It’s a low-slung speedster with a hood that goes on for days. It’s a unique and absolutely gorgeous car.

The vehicle, like the Ferrari Monza SP, has an open cockpit with a tiny windscreen and side mirrors. It’s a throwback and a big move forward all at once. The company released the new image and confirmed officially that the car will be built. However, there’s not much known about the vehicle in terms of engine or performance. Speculation is that it will come with a Jaguar-derived engine, either a V6 or V8. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the Jaguar’s 5.0-liter supercharged V8.

Ares Design Panther a worthy tribute to the DeTomaso Pantera

Ares Design finally has its Panther ready. Codenamed Project 1 because it launches the Italian coachbuilder’s Legends Reborn series, the Panther prowls as a modern interpretation of yesteryear’s DeTomaso Pantera. Based on an all-wheel drive Lamborghini Huracán, the Panther does well to mimic the fat-back wedge of the original, and restores pop-up headlights to the 21st century performance cars.

The specs go some way beyond DeTomaso’s effort. Thanks to an ECU tune, sports catalytic converters and a new exhaust, the 5.2-liter V10 is rated at 650 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. That’s 300 hp and 110 lb-ft away from the Ford-sourced 5.8-liter Cleveland V8 in the 1988 Pantera GT5 S. It’s also 20 hp beyond the current Huracán Evo. The bodywork’s been spun from carbon fiber, yielding a 3,138-pound dry curb weight, which is 91 pounds more than the Huracán Performante, four pounds more than the Evo version.

Six-piston Brembos up front and four-piston units in back clamp carbon carbon ceramic discs behind a sweet set of staggered bronze wheels, 20 inches ahead, 21 inches astern. Those brakes will come in handy considering the 202-mph top speed.

The interior can be dressed up any way an owner wishes, naturally. The demo model smothers the Lamborghini interior in even more carbon fibers, leather, Alcantara and cross-stitching.

Ares Design will build only 21 Panthers, with first deliveries in May. The conversion takes three months, the price opens at 615,000 euros before options, or $696,300 in U.S. specie. None of those figures have any bearing on you, though, because all 21 build slots have already been paid for. So enjoy the gallery.

One of the Worst Automotive Trends Ever Is Making a Comeback

For better or worse, two related automotive truisms – “fashion is cyclical” and “history repeats itself” – are both in full force. Callbacks to the ’80s and ’90s are the rage: resurfaced nameplates like the Toyota Supra and Ford Bronco steal headlines with vintage style, and turbos are very popular again. However, more so than any other style or technology trend, the most significant callback is the resurgence of Malaise-Era dullness from American ars and exciting, lively cars from Asia.

From the early ’70s through the early ’90s, American car manufacturers consistently produced some of the most unloved and undesirable cars in the world – the Malaise Era. The combination of the oil and energy crises in ’73 and ’79 forced U.S. brands to adapt to sky-high oil prices and new legislative regulations mandating safety and emission standards. Instead of spending money to innovate, U.S. manufacturers lazily complied and found the easiest workarounds.

The resulting cars and trucks were mostly uninspired, underpowered, front-wheel-drive mechanical messes with no attention to detail and every expense spared to cut costs. Meanwhile, European and Japanese manufacturers, well-versed in small cars and efficient engines, saw a boom in popularity in the states. By comparison, the imports were undeniably better.

Fast forward to 2019, and we’re not exactly in an oil or energy crisis, but we’re witnessing the hybridization and electrification of almost every manufacturer lineup, due to increasingly strict emission standards and tightening safety standards. In terms of those changes, the U.S. automakers are pinching pennies again. On the bright side, manufacturers from Japan and the rest of Asia are pumping out some of the most exciting cars we’ve seen in decades.

It’s clear that SUVs and crossovers make up the bulk of automotive sales these days, so you can’t fault companies for leaning into the growing segment. On the other hand, Ford and GM have said repeatedly sedan sales are dead, coupes aren’t earners and the only way forward is awkwardly shaped CUVs with milquetoast handling, designed purely for profit and meeting emissions requirements.

Take a look across the pond and you’ll see Toyota focusing more energy into making the Avalon, Camry and Corolla Hatchback fun, desirable cars. Kia also deserves applause for coming out with a stellar sedan in the Stinger GT as does Hyundai with Genisis, its luxury sub-brand.

In the ’70s, the lack of desire to spend capital meant that reputations sagged as much as product quality, putting Ford, GM, and their respective subsidiaries in the multi-decade slump. They’re falling into the same stock-holder-interest-fueled trap today. Toyota knows the Supra will be somewhat of a loss leader just like Honda knew the new NSX wasn’t going to rake in cash, but they made them anyway. And brands like Kia and Hyundai know if they make high-quality, fun-to-drive cars, people will buy them. We’re at a time where the cycle of fashion and history are coming back around, and the stateside car makers happen to be on the wrong side of it.

TAG Heuer Autavia 1972 Re-Edition

Most watches have some sort of heritage built into them. But the TAG Heuer Autavia 1972 Re-Edition has more than most. The name Autavia comes from TAG Heurer’s history in auto racing and aviation — “AUT” from “auto” and “AVIA” from “aviation.” The 42mm 1972 Re-Edition is fashioned after the iconic 1972 Heuer Autavia 1163V Viceroy but contains modern updates like a two-register dial layout, a sapphire case back and a date window at 6 o’clock. This modern automatic chronograph update is a commendable addition to the Autavia family. Learn More: Here

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5 Cool VWs We Can’t Get in the U.S.

Volkswagen is Europe’s best-selling car manufacturer. Europeans live different sorts of lives; consequently, VW offers them a different array of cars. Some of those VWs not offered in the United States are awesome – so awesome one might term them forbidden fruit. Here are five we wish were available stateside.

up! GTI

No, that’s not a typo. The name of the car employs both mandatory lowercase and a punctuation mark. The quirky name belies the up!’s quality though. It’s worth the exclamation point. The up! is a super-tiny European Class A hatchback. There’s a GTI version of that hatchback. It has a torque-heavy 1.0-liter 3-cylinder (113hp, 170lb-ft). It has a top speed of 122mph. Considering size, power and handling, it’s close to the legendary Mk1 GTI. It also has a six-speed manual, gets 37mpg combined and retails for less than $20,000. If you believe to have found a better city car, you are, simply, wrong.

Golf Estate R

I pushed for VW to produce a GTI version of the Golf Sportwagen. VW takes that idea one step further in Europe with the Golf Estate R, a wagon version of the Golf R. It has 295hp from the 2.0L TSI engine and 4Motion AWD. It can accelerate from 0-60mph in less than five seconds. It has a “race mode” and a “Sport Human Machine Interface” with all sorts of performance data to maximize your school run times. Before you expatriate to buy a Golf Estate R, however, there is one caveat. It only comes with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

T-Roc R

Americans get the bulky, soft-handling, trying-to-be-third-row Tiguan. Europeans also get the T-Roc, a subcompact crossover that slots under it. Volkswagen just released an “R” version that’s basically an elevated version of the Golf R. It gets sportier styling. It draws 296hp and 295lb-ft from the 2.0-liter I-4 Turbo. It gets Golf R suspension and brake components. It accelerates to 60mph in under five seconds. VW does have a separate subcompact SUV coming to America. But, given the bonkers Tiguan and Atlas sales, don’t expect it to be tuned for hard driving.

California

#VanLife is an aspirational dream. Cast your student loans and unfulfilling gig employment aside. Embrace the open road, waves, and an aging VW Vanagon Westfalia. Spend hours per day hunched over a phone choosing just the right Instagram filter. VW offers Europeans a modern take on this with the California, ironically not available for sale in California. It has a pop-top bed space to sleep four comfortably. An LCD panel controls battery, water and heat systems. It stows removable camping chairs and a table. It has driver and parking assists. Trade that wheezing engine and nervy hill climbs for a 2.0-liter I-4 Turbo, 4Motion and a manual transmission. Need more room? There’s a Grand California on the way.

The European Passat

Volkswagen offered Americans a new Passat, which was the same Passat available since 2011, only with new bodywork. In Europe, VW builds on the possibility of a midsize, just-below-luxury vehicle. Europeans get an 8th-generation Passat running on the MQB platform. They get a sophisticated aesthetic, even more Audi-like than the American version. They get to choose between a sedan and a wagon. While VW canceled a Passat GT in the U.S. market, Europeans can level up to a diesel engine with 237hp and 369lb-ft of torque that can bring the 0-60mph time close to six seconds. There’s also a plug-in hybrid.

The 2020 GT500 Will Be One of the Most Advanced Ford Mustangs Ever Built

The Shelby GT500 is always one of the most anticipated iterations of every Ford Mustang, and the 2020 GT500 is no different. When Ford unveiled the most powerful production Mustang at the Detroit Auto Show this year, the intriguing and still unknown horsepower figure made headlines, but it was clear there was more to it than total brute force. Today, Ford proved those suspicions right by releasing the computer models they used to develop the new Shelby’s cooling and aerodynamics — and the 2020 GT500 is easily the most advanced Mustang ever built.

Ford still won’t release the exact power figures, but we do know this GT500 will have over 700 horsepower and a top speed limited to 180 MPH. The problem with all that power and all that speed is the desperate need to keep it under control. The amount of heat produced by an engine capable of 700 horsepower is immense, as is the task of keeping all four wheels on the ground when it gets put to use and the car builds up speed.

To help Ford develop the most effective design, it used supercomputers and computational fluid dynamic software to construct the cooling system and sculpt the GT500’s body to not only produce downforce, but also to aid in dissipating the heat from under the hood. The result? With the Carbon Fiber Track Package, the GT500 produces 550 lbs of downforce at 180 MPH. Ducts and intakes up front funnel airflow to six heat exchangers and intercoolers. A number of vents then channel the hot air out around the car, the largest being the six-square-foot hood vent which feeds over the hood and to the rear wing.

The days of the GT500 being a one-trick, straight-line pony are over. Manipulating airflow for cooling and downforce screams a race track mentality. Sure, it’ll be exciting and entertaining to see the new Shelby thunder down a drag strip, but it’s safe to assume Ford have much more in mind for the most powerful Mustang ever.

More Fast Fords:
2017 Ford GT
2018 Mustang GT Performance Pack
2017 Ford Focus RS

Ferrari V6 hybrid said to arrive in May with as much as 723 horsepower

Ferrari has five debuts planned this year, one of which we’ve seen in the F8 Tributo. The next four will add to and update the mid-engined sports car range as well as the front-engined GT range. Car magazine thinks it has a bead on the long-awaited Ferrari six-cylinder engine that will sit in the middle of some new sports car definitely not named Dino. According to Car‘s sources, the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 works up 610 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque by itself. Given plug-in hybrid assistance and an e-motor between the engine and transmission, the numbers grow to 723 hp and almost 800 lb-ft.

The magazine says there’s also room for an e-motor powering the front axle “at a later stage.” Since Ferrari CEO Louis Camillieri nixed the Dino name, it’s said the moniker 486 could get a call-up when Ferrari reveals the powerplant, expected to happen in May.

We just need to see where that engine is going to go, since the carmaker’s V8 hybrid is also due this year, and also rumored for a May reveal. The V8 hybrid will fit inside a new flexible platform and power a mid-engined model above the 710-hp F8 Tributo in the range and more profitable than the 812Superfast. The F8 Tributo sits on a heavily updated version of the 488 platform, which itself was a heavily updated version of the 458 platform from 2009. The new mid-engined model will focus on track performance. Ferrari has confirmed that its new mid-mounted platform will be able to adopt the V6 family.

The brand’s SVP of commercial and marketing, Enrico Galliera, told Australia’s WhichCar, “So the technology we are going to have, V12, V8, V6 turbo. Hybrid will give us the possibility to have a platform that we can mix to achieve emissions targets.” Since the other three Ferrari debuts are predicted to be in the GT and ultra-luxe categories, it’s possible the V6 will introduce an entry-level option for a model like the Portofino.

Or it could grace a new, more traditional model. There’s a new “front-engine hybrid architecture for host of new cars, including Purosangue SUV,” the SUV not due now until 2022. Galliera also told WhichCar, “We are developing some products that are designed to give the same emotion as a Ferrari.” They will be sports cars, “but with this design that it is more elegant that is more for everyday driving in order to attract those people that maybe are not considering to buy a Ferrari, because they are not willing to have a highly sporty car. So in a way, we are trying to have an offer that is capturing both opportunities.” Late CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned that kind of model two years ago.

Don’t be surprised by another entry in the Icona line this year, too. Bloomberg reported that Camillieri “will remain focused on revenue and margins, rather than volumes,” and high-dollar one-offs like the $2 million Monza are key to the strategy.

The Forgotten Generation of BMW M5 Is the One You Want

Last September, some nut job paid $176,000 for an early 2000s BMW sedan. To be fair, this was an E39 M5 — BMW’s greatest sports sedan, ever — and it had fewer than 500 miles on the clock. But $176,000 is $176,000.

If you’re looking for a Bavarian bargain, consider aiming instead for the forgotten generation of the M5: the E34, produced between 1988 and 1995. For decades, the executive-sized powerhouse has flown under the radar, largely due to the fact that it was iterative, not innovative — an evolution of the original E28 M5. But it was also the last M car assembled by the hands of actual Germans. Today’s BMW performance cars are all put together by machines.

The upshot of all this is that you can buy a certifiable classic M car for well under $20,000. But as with the purchase of any old performance car, there are a few things you should know in advance.

Performance

As an evolution of the E28 platform, the E34 was the second (and last) M5 in the lineup to make power from one of BMW’s vaunted inline-six cylinder engines. The displacement increased from the former car’s 3.5 to 3.6 liters, and it produced about 310 horsepower. It would also churn all the way up to 7,000 rpm.

Power went up, but so did its weight: the E34 packed on roughly 600 pounds. Still, the car managed a 0-60 sprint in 5.9 seconds, bordering on supercar territory at the time.

As heavy as it was, reviews praised the E34’s handling. In 2007, Evo did a retrospective and described the car’s handling: “There’s just a bit of understeer at the limit, and even when you deliberately provoke it the M5 seems happier to adopt small oversteer angles than mighty power-slides … It’s an astonishingly wieldy, nimble car. Only slow steering slightly spoils the picture, but you soon forget about that and revel in the engine’s response and the chassis’ remarkably tweakable balance.”

Core to the car’s fantastic handling was a super modern (for the time) suspension system, comprised of a self-leveling suspension on earlier cars and an Electronic Damping Control system on later cars, a first for the M5. Also aiding handling was a limited-slip differential, receiving power through a five-speed manual and, later, a six-speed gearbox. The result was an extremely-balanced car providing plenty of feedback and power from a rev-happy, motorsport-derived engine but with a soft, luxurious interior.

Problems

Many consider the E34 to be a relatively robust chassis, but it’s still an old BMW, so adjust your expectations on “reliability” and set some money aside for maintenance and repairs. The car’s electronic dampening system, for example, can have electronic glitches or malfunctioning actuators. Similarly, the self-leveling suspension on earlier models can leak; many owners often chose to simply replace this with conventional spring suspension.

The S38 engine that powers the E34 is considered by many enthusiasts to be a gem of an engine, as long as it’s taken care of properly. Make sure the seller has a comprehensive service history and up to date with maintenance records. Valvetrain and timing chain adjustments are some of the most common jobs on these engines, and they’re also expensive to do. And, s with any older car, check for rust. The big problem area on the E34 chassis was at the bottom of the doors, where water gets trapped by the trim.

Different Versions

BMW continued to update the E34 M5 through its production run, so later models tend to have the more desirable features. The self-leveling suspension, for example, yielded to the Electronic Damping Control system in 1991, while the 3.6-liter engine was upgraded to a higher-output 3.8-liter unit for the 1992 model year. Manual-equipped cars came with five-speed transmissions until 1994. Pricing varies based on year and condition, but expect to pay somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000 for a nice example of any of these.

If you want something a bit more special than what we got in the U.S., though, turn to Europe where the engines had a higher power output. What’s more, there were several hundred Touring wagons made, though they tack on a hefty premium. You can also look for any one of the few European special editions, including the lightweight Winkelhock Edition, or the super rare Touring Elekta. Both of these will be admittedly very expensive, given that one of that latter recently sold on Bring a Trailer for $120,500.

TAG Heuer Autavia 1972 Re-Edition

Most watches have some sort of heritage built into them. But the TAG Heuer Autavia 1972 Re-Edition has more than most. The name Autavia comes from TAG Heurer’s history in auto racing and aviation — “AUT” from “auto” and “AVIA” from “aviation.” The 42mm 1972 Re-Edition is fashioned after the iconic 1972 Heuer Autavia 1163V Viceroy but contains modern updates like a two-register dial layout, a sapphire case back and a date window at 6 o’clock. This modern automatic chronograph update is a commendable addition to the Autavia family. Learn More: Here

Get This Affordable Alternative to the Porsche Boxster

As far as the best bang-for-your-buck mid-engine sports cars go, the Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman are tough to beat. At $56,900, however, the entry-level Porsche is still out of reach for some, but the Toyota MR2, like the one above, is a perfect affordable alternative.

The MR2, which stands for “mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-seater,” made headlines at the 1983 Tokyo Motor Show as the SV-3 concept car, Japan’s first-ever mid-engine car. The MR2 went into production in ’84 and promptly won Car of the Year Japan for 1984-1985.

The little mid-engine car ironically started life as a concept for an economy car, but the design philosophy behind the handling and the lack of weight translated into the ideal sports car. Over 23 years, Toyota built three generations of the MR2, and, going against the natural way of most cars, it gradually lost weight from one generation to the next, ending with the W30 at a scant 2,195 lbs in 2007.

This particular MR2 up for auction is from that last featherweight generation and comes with a 1.8-Liter inline-four engine good for 138 horsepower and 126 lb-ft of torque. Now, this doesn’t sound like much by today’s standards, but considering that the MR2 weighs as much as a first generation Mazda Miata but packs more power and comes with the natural balance of a mid-engined car, it does not lack in entertainment.

If you’re on the market for a seriously fun car, the Porsche Boxster should be high on your list. But, if you don’t want to spend nearly $60,000 to own a German mid-engine sports car, the 2002 Toyota MR2 makes a great Japanese substitute at almost one-tenth the cost.

The Best Used Sport Sedans We’d Buy for $10,000 Right Now

A Note on Pricing: The going prices for these cars are accurate at the time of publishing but may change the longer the classified ads are live.

Sport sedans have a unique place in automotive history. They’re either complete flops or absolute legends. The legends end up resigned to “instant classic” status because they’re sleepers (they’re incredibly subtle yet command unabashedly high performance) or their level of class is so legendary, performance takes a notably comfortable back seat.

The problem with used performance sedans is they’re either beat to shit or cost as much as a new “okay” car in good condition. Since $10,000 is a realistic budget for a used car, we set out to find the best, used sport sedans we’d buy, right now. Don’t judge us.

1999 Jaguar XJR

It has 370 horsepower. Three. Seven. Zero. That should be “’nuff said,” but it also has a mere 50,000 miles, copious wood trim and, unlimited Jaguar-level class. For $9,990 it’s hard to beat the value of this 1999 Jaguar XJR. It’s so cheap that us commoners can finally afford it. Any other used sports sedan in this price segment is going to be tired and totally clapped out. Not only are you getting a bargain here but this timeless Jag will technically never go out of style — since they were never in style, to begin with. Just be sure to get friendly with your local Jaguar mechanic. — Hunter D. Kelley, Associate Designer

Mileage: 50,023 miles
Original MSRP: $70,000+

2003 Mercedes-Benz S 600

Is there anything more beautiful than a rear-wheel-drive twin-turbocharged V12 for under $10,000? Maybe, but probably not. From the factory, this beast has just under 500 horses, and a tune could easily put this boat closer to 600hp. Sure, there’s a solid chance that owning this car will bankrupt you through maintenance alone. Plus, if you have some extra money to spend (and want to be the bane of your entire community), you can easily upgrade the exhaust to make it sound like an F1 car, all courtesy of that legendary AMG V12. So throw all rationality and logic to the wind, buy this car, and to quote my hometown used car salesman: “drive it like you stole it!”. — Chandler Bondurant, Associate Staff Photographer

Mileage: 83,637 miles
Original MSRP: $123,805

2007 Subaru Impreza WRX TR

Knowing the previous picks before choosing my own, I almost feel weird, picking a WRX. It might be my adult side bubbling to the surface, but as much as I wanted to go for a luxurious German V12 (it does sound heavenly with that F1-style exhaust), for the price, performance, and practicality, the Subaru is easily the best bang-for-your-buck deal, here. Not only is it in immaculate condition for the mileage, and is bone stock, it’s the “TR” model or “Tuner Ready,” meaning it’s a blank slate, ripe for your own add-ons if you desire. But, keep it just as the factory left it and you’ve got one hell of a year-round daily driver. Not bad for the same going rate as a Mercedes-Benz V12. — Bryan Campbell, Staff Writer

Mileage: 152,005 miles
Original MSRP: $24,620
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Ferrari’s New V6 Hybrid Could Make 723 HP

For the New Dino, Perhaps?

We’ve known for a while that Ferrari is working on a new V6 hybrid powertrain for some of its future vehicles. What exactly those vehicles are is yet to be seen. UK publication CAR Magazine recently reported that the new powertrain could make as much as 723 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque.

That’s quite a lot of power and would be perfect for a new Ferrari Dino that has been rumored for some time. CAR reports that the Dino has been an on again, off again project for the company for some time now. Several people high up with the company liked the idea of a new Dino, especially the late Sergio Marchionne. However, as of yet, nothing has come.

Could a new Dino get a V6 hybrid?

There’s also the chance that a future Ferrari SUV could have the powertrain. That would make it a serious contender with the other SUVs on the market from Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Lamborghini. Ferrari has not said yet what will power its upcoming SUV, though it has said the name will be Purosangue.

It will be interesting to see where the V6 hybrid powertrain lands in the Ferrari lineup. It would make sense for the company to use the powertrain in multiple models, so there’s a chance that it could end up in the Dino and the Purosangue. Only time will tell.

Could Aston Martin’s AM-RB 003 Hypercar Get the Name Valhalla?

Continuing the Norse Mythology With Its Names

The Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer had an interview with Automotive News Europe and said, “Valhalla is a name we have registered in our naming book.” Due to the fact that the AM-RB 003 Hypercar is currently without a name, it would make sense for the car to receive Valhalla as its name.

The use of the name Valhalla isn’t honestly too surprising. Valkyrie, which is the car that slots above the AM-RB 003, is a name from Norse mythology, so why not name the car that slots under it something in the same pantheon? The Valhalla name even works from an alliteration standpoint.

The production version of the AM-RB 003 is still under development, but when it arrives it will be a force to be reckoned with. The car should have a V6 hybrid powertrain. The specifics for the powertrain’s output is not yet known. Aston hasn’t shared the information publicly.

Aston plans to build 500 of the model, and the car will cost over $1.3 million, according to Carscoops. The car’s release date is set for sometime in 2021, so Aston still has some time to finish making tweaks with the car, though 2021 is just around the corner.

5 Automotive Truths That Are Rapidly Dying

Technology is making cars more capable. With major transitions afoot with electric powertrains, automation, connectivity and mobility, technology will redefine our relationship with the automobile. Change and the prospect of change are forcing auto manufacturers to react boldly. Many established automotive truisms will no longer be true. Here are five we can cast aside in 2019.

1. A True BMW Being a Rear-Wheel Drive Manual

Picture the platonic ideal of a BMW. It’s a powerful, sporty sedan tuned for driving. It has a manual gearbox. It’s rear-wheel drive with pinpoint steering. It’s “the ultimate driving machine.” Worry about winter when you come to it. Even if you brush aside the “sport activity vehicles,” that’s no longer BMW’s identity.

Consider some BMW icons. The redesigned 3-Series for 2019 has been optimized for performance. It will have an option for a 10.25-inch touchscreen. It won’t have a manual transmission. The latest version of the M5 sedan continues to be an absolute missile. But, it too ditched the manual transmission and converted to all-wheel drive. The 2020 Alpina B7, the world’s fastest sedan, will also be AWD and automatic. BMW has even been dabbling with front-wheel-drive.

Each move makes sense. These BMWs will perform better. They will be easier to drive. They will be what most luxury buyers want. But, ultimate driving and ultimate performance are not the same thing.

2. Crossover SUVs Being Slow and Boring

Crossover SUVs have a poor reputation among car enthusiasts, not entirely undeserved. They have been slow. They have handled worse than a lower-slung car would. Their styling has left something to be desired. In sum, crossovers were boring. That won’t be the case moving forward. As crossovers have become the profit source for luxury automakers, more effort has gone into them. They are getting better styling, sportier handling, and, judging from recent releases, a ton of power.

BMW is bringing out full M car versions of the X3 and X4 for the 2020 model year. Competition variants of the X3 M and X4 M will have more than 500hp. Land Rover has a pricey new edition of the Range Rover Velar with a 542hp supercharged V8 that will reach 60mph in 4.3 seconds. Audi reportedly has an RS version of the Q3 coming with more than 400hp. Chevy resurrected the Blazer as a “surprisingly sporty” crossover. Even the new three-row Ford Explorer will have a 400-plus horsepower ST version to pair with the Edge ST launched the previous year.

Yes, you can still buy a robust, hulking, body-on-frame Mercedes G-Class. But, even that redone car for the 2019 model year has an AMG G 63 version with 577hp that will propel itself from 0-60mph in only 4.5 seconds.

3. Volkswagen Being a Small Car Manufacturer

The Golf is the car that defined Volkswagen’s brand. It’s practical. It’s affordable. It’s fun. There may be no better entry-level car. The vaunted “MQB” platform exists to spread as much Golf-ness around the Volkswagen AG lineup as possible. The Golf remains a bestseller in Europe. But, Americans just don’t want to buy it anymore.

Base Golf sales in the U.S. declined 51 percent year-over-year in 2018, fewer than the outgoing Beetle Coupe. Sales for the entire Golf family fell 39 percent. Meanwhile, Volkswagen SUV sales more than doubled in the U.S. in 2018. VW cars went from outselling SUVs 3-1 to being about even in one year. When VW unveiled its three-prong strategy for American domination at NAIAS, the three prongs were the Tiguan, the Atlas and the Jetta. In America at least, Volkswagen is in the stylish, slightly upmarket three-row SUV business.

Some of the Golf’s decline may be model fatigue. The current generation debuted in the 2012 model year. The new generation will come out in 2020. Still, it’s hard to ignore the Volkswagen paradigm shift.

4. The ICE Truck Having a Decades-Long Future

In November, GM’s VP of global strategy predicted gasoline trucks would be the company’s core business for decades to come. Already, that statement looks shortsighted. Electric alternatives are coming. Rivian looks poised to disrupt the high-end luxe-truck market with the 400-plus mile range, supercar-esque off-road beast R1T. Tesla has a truck coming out later this year. GM’s chief competitor Ford announced it will come out with an EV F-150.

Internal combustion pickups won’t be able to keep up on performance or efficiency. We seem to be hitting the wall for how efficient a full-sized gasoline truck can be. Chevy tried introducing a four-pot turbo. EPA efficiency disappointed. In real life testing, it was less efficient on the highway than GM’s 5.3-liter V8. Whatever the engine displacement, it has to burn gas to move a heavy load.

Full-sized pickups remain the best-selling and most profitable vehicles in the U.S. But, gas will get more expensive. Battery technology will cheapen. There will be a point where gas means paying a premium for a worse product. If the consumer market diminishes, Amazon won’t be powering its delivery vehicles with a 6.3-liter V8. The truck conversion may come sooner than previously thought.

5. The Car Being An Intimate Space

Driving once meant digital disconnection. Text and emails had to wait. Ad content could not reach the cockpit. Driving was a time for quiet contemplation, belting out Eagles songs you secretly love and picking your nose without scrutiny. Apple Carplay and Android Auto pierced the inner sanctum. Tech firms stressing “connectivity” plan to take things much further.

Location tracking is a given. One can’t release a new car without a touchscreen. Actually touching the screen is now passé. Your new vehicle will be listening to you so you can yell at the screen and watching your every move so you can control it with goofy gestures. It will have some form of home assistant permitting you to surf the web (if that’s still what the kids are calling it), shop and, most importantly, continue producing a stream of metadata. Think you can ignore all this digitalia? Here’s a 48-inch digital display stretching the length of the dashboard.

None of this is meant to enhance driving. It’s preparation for the world where you are not operating the vehicle, and you may not be its sole owner. The automobile may still offer you some alone time. But, your car and tech firm algorithms (not to mention your office) will know what you’re up to.

Watch the Ferrari F8 Tributo in its first official videos

The Ferrari 458 Italia has played a core role for the Italian brand since its debut all the way back in 2009 and has been in a perpetual state of improvement throughout the 10 years. It has evolved through numerous stages and earned a new name at each step, from the Speciale to the 488 GTB to the Pista to the newest model, the F8 Tributo. Although each car has the same genes, every one has a slightly different look due to numerous aerodynamic tweaks and subtle bodywork changes. The new angles are obvious in the Tributo’s first official videos released this week.

The video above premieres the car in a mountainous environment with all the curvy roads one could ever need. It flips between close-ups of the car, driving shots, and hazy smoke-filled displays of power. The only negative is the super-quick cuts don’t allow much time to stare.

The videos below put the F8 Tributo’s aerodynamics and power on display. Several parts of the Tributo’s salacious body is functional, including the front S-Duct, the front splitter, the underside vortex generators, the beefier rear spoiler, and the rear diffuser. It also has some hidden tricks using active features. Overall, Ferrari says it has 10 percent better efficiency than the 488 GTB.

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Power comes courtesy of a different 458 family member, the 488 Pista. They share Ferrari’s twin-turbo 3.9-liter V8 that makes 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. It’s the most powerful V8 Ferrari has ever put in a car that wasn’t part of a special series. Get more familiar by watching all three clips.

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If You Beat This Drift in a 2JZ Converted New Supra, We’ll Pay You $500

Can You Do It?

With all the new Supra news and multiple people putting the 2JZ engine in the new car, the Supercars.net team thought it best to get involved. We don’t have our hands on the new Supra yet. If we did, it’d be hard for us to not want to pull out the BMW-sourced engine and drop in the 2JZ engine that made the Supra so legendary.

To that end, we want to offer to you some incentive to make the conversion and then use it exactly how you should. If you can beat the righteous drift seen in the gif below in a new 2020 Supra that’s undergone the 2JZ engine conversion, then we’ll give you $500.

The $500 will go to the first person who pulls this off. If you can provide us photographic evidence of the 2JZ engine in your new Supra and video evidence of you performing a drift that beats the one above, then the money is yours.

The new 2020 Supra has spurred some vitriol from many enthusiasts due to the fact that it borrows so much from BMW. Despite this, it’s a killer car, and the fact that people are removing the BMW engine and putting in the 2jZ straight-six engine is amazing and hilarious. It’s a clear indicator of how important the Supra has become, and we want to be a part of that rich legacy if only peripherally. $500 is yours for the taking. Go smoke some tires and get back to us.

You can watch the whole video of the Supra doing its thing on the track below. The drift begins at the 2:40 mark.

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The Most Unloved BMW M3 Is a Performance Bargain

When ranking the greatest BMW M3s of all time, the E36 generation tends to land low on the list. In production from 1992 to 1999, the E36 suffered somewhat from middle child syndrome, produced between the iconic E30 and legendary E46 generations. It also didn’t help that the E36 M3 took on a bit of a cut-rate reputation, featuring cheaper parts and materials, and employing less-radical, toned-down styling. But that’s not to say the most unloved BMW M3 of all is worthless when you show it a few turns — its lack of popularity earns it lower prices, but that’s what makes this 1996 M3 a performance bargain.

Four years into its production run, BMW gave the M3 a slight upgrade, bringing the engine up from a 3.0-Liter inline-six to a 3.2-Liter powerplant and installing a reinforced subframe and more aggressive front suspension. While horsepower didn’t change at 240 hp, torque increased from 225 lb-ft to 236 lb-ft.

Ultimately, the E36 gets a bad rap because BMW went out of its way to make it more affordable, plaguing it with numerous reliability issues. Because BMW opted to use plastic parts in critical components throughout the cooling system — like the thermostat housing, water pump, and coolant container — overheating can be an issue if and when those parts fail. While this E36 has an extensively documented history, it doesn’t show any of those problem parts were replaced, meaning it’d be smart to swap in better, more durable metal replacement parts.

At 113,000 miles, you should go into this with your eyes open. Some maintenance will be required to avoid larger problems. But at going bid of $6,900 this 1996 E36 M3 an affordable entry point into the world of M performance.