All posts in “Cars”

The BMW 5 Series’s 2021 Facelift Avoids the Awkward Grille, Adds More Tech

When it comes to midsize luxury sedans, few pack the panache and reputation of the BMW 5 Series. It, along with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, have been the standards by which every other car of similar size and price — the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS and Lexus GS just the most notable among many — have been judged for decades.

So when a new one rolls out — even just a mid-life facelifted version — we take notice.

The 2021 BMW 5 Series doesn’t look drastically different from its predecessor, but it’s changed enough to be distinguishable from the pre-facelift version at a glance. The headlights and twin kidney grilles have been redesigned to be more similar to the current 3 Series; thankfully, the massive grille-ification that’s affected the current 7 Series and the upcoming 4 Series doesn’t seem to have affected the 5er. Surprisingly for a midlife update, the car has grown 1.2 inches (though the wheelbase appears to remain the same), giving it a sleeker profile.

Inside, the Live Cockpit Professional digital instrument panel now comes standard, as well as a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen display for the iDrive infotainment system. Apple CarPlay, blessedly, comes standard, as do navigation and Android Auto. For those who prefer to go without leather, new perforated SensaTec leatherette brings contrasting stitching for a bit more panache (though you can get leather upholstery if you want, of course).

The biggest changes, however, come under the hood, where added electric assistance comes to both the six-cylinder 540i models and the four-cylinder plug-in hybrid 530e sedans. The 540i has been upgraded to mild hybrid status, thanks to a new 48-volt electrical system connected to a starter-generator that can supplement the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with up to 11 horsepower; more importantly, though, it enables a more seamless stop/start system, which can kill the engine as the car decelerates at speeds of up to 9 mph. It also enables the gas engine to be turned off while coasting at speeds from 16 to 99 mph, both in Eco Pro and Comfort modes.

The 530e and 530e xDrive PHEVs, in turn, now combine a 181-hp turbocharged inline-four with an electric motor that’s integrated into the eight-speed automatic. A new feature called XtraBoost enables the electric motor to punch up an extra 40 hp above its sustained max of 107 hp for up to 10 seconds; so implemented, the 530e can summon up 288 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque for that ten-Mississippi burst.

In addition to the four-cylinder plug-in hybrid 530e and six-cylinder 540i, both of which come in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive forms, the 2021 5 Series also offers a twin-turbo V8-powred M550i, which only comes in AWD xDrive form. (We’ll have to wait for another day for updates to the M5.) Sadly, we still don’t get many of the versions available in other markets, like the 5 Series Touring station wagon body style or the 340-hp 540d turbodiesel inline-six version. But short of starting a revolution in favor of getting Americans to love diesel-powered station wagons, we’ll just have to be happy with what we have.

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.

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

Toyota’s Toughest Truck Could Turn Into a Ford Raptor Rival, Thanks to the Next Land Cruiser

The Tundra may be a capable beast and the Tacoma renowned for its durability, but when it comes to Toyota’s toughest pickup, there’s no disputing which truck gets the honor: the HiLux. The midsized rig has been kicking ass and taking names all around the world for more than 50 years; while it was replaced by the Taco here in the U.S. back in 1995, elsewhere on Earth, its rugged, simple nature and nigh-on indestructible build quality means it serves as the de facto default vehicle for people in tough trades and lands with rough roads — or no roads at all.

And thanks to the next-generation Land Cruiser, it could even turn into a rival for the Ford Ranger Raptor.

That’s the word from Australia’s CarsGuide, at least. (And the Aussies know their HiLuxes and Land Cruisers.) According to CarsGuide, Toyota has at least kicked around the idea of a GR HiLux — a high-performance off-road version of the truck — even going so far as to trademark the name Down Under.

“we are not ruling truly out any model from GR modification,” a Toyota spokesperson said, according to CarsGuide. “We race the HiLux in Dakar, so it’s definitely not out of the question that we could see a vehicle like that some time in the future.”

Toyota, though, has also said such a truck would require a powerful diesel engine that could fit under the truck’s hood. Right now, no such engine exists.

But the upcoming 300-Series Land Cruiser is expected to ditch its existing gas and turbodiesel V8s for turbocharged V6, and according to CarsGuide‘s sources, that SUV’s new six-pot turbodiesel is expected to make its way into the HiLux. Assuming it cranks out at least as much power as the existing Land Cruiser‘s oil-burning V8 (which spits out 268 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque), it should be grunty enough to blow away the Ranger Raptor; that truck only comes with a turbodiesel inline-four, after all, and makes 210 hp and 370 lb-ft.

Of course, even if the Toyota GR HiLux does come to pass, will we ever see this badass Toyota here in the United States? With the HiLux gone from our shoresfor a quarter-century, the odds would be slim even if Toyota knew there was a niche for a diesel-powered high-performance midsize pickup here. Ford doesn’t even bother bringing the Ranger Raptor here, after all. Still, never say never; at the very least, maybe we’ll get lucky and see Toyota slot some go-fast off-road bits onto the next Tacoma.

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.

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

Jeep Could Be About to Make Its SUVs Even Tougher, Starting With the Wrangler

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desert rated, desert approved


Back in the 2000s, Jeep debuted the “Trail Rated” badge on its SUVs, signifying that the model boasting said badge was the most off-road capable version (and implicitly acknowledging Jeep made some SUVs that were not). But the march of progress means even Jeep can’t rest on its laurels, so this year, the company introduced the Desert Rated badge on the new Gladiator Mojave, signifying that the truck boasting it is even more off-road capable. Now, according to reports, that badge is set to make its way to the Wrangler — followed by much of the Jeep lineup.

The Desert Rated badge is meant to show extreme competency across five broad categories: ride control/stability, sand/dirt traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, and desert prowess (resistance to heat and sand). It’s meant to signify that the vehicle boasting it is more of a Baja 1000-style high-speed desert cruiser like the Ford F-150 Raptor vs. a low-speed rock climber like the Wrangler Rubicon.

Mopar Insiders says the next Jeep vehicle to become Desert Rated will be the Wrangler, with a Wrangler Mojave version coming out in 2021. (Interestingly, the report claims it could come with a manual transmission connected to the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, which has not previously been offered.) After that, according to Motor Trend, the badge may also make it to a new Deserthawk trim of the upcoming 2021 Wagoneer, Grand Cherokee and, potentially, the Cherokee.

Is this badge mostly marketing? Maybe. We’d suspect most Jeep owners won’t be testing their vehicle’s heat resistance or performing high-speed maneuvers during a school run. But knowing your vehicle could do those badass things has always been an inherent part of the Jeep appeal —  as is having your Jeep looking the part. So expect all those Desert Rated models to be popular.

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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Is Nissan About to Reveal the Electric Car Everyone Really Wants?

Update, 5/29/20: Earlier this week, Nissan released a video previewing all the new and refreshed vehicles coming to its showrooms. The all-new Z was the main attraction, but the first vehicle to be glimpsed was what appeared to be the much-anticipated electric compact crossover (as seen in the screenshot below). Given the letter “A” in the background, we’re guessing it’s the new Ariyawhich, according to Financial Express, will be revealed this summer.

nissan ariya electric crossover everyone wants

nissan ariya electric crossover everyone wants

Look out, Tesla: It seems Nissan will launch its second electric car very soon. According to Automotive News, Nissan secretly revealed the new vehicle to dealers last month. The new car, reportedly, is a lively but practical compact crossover — exactly the sort of vehicle the American EV market has been waiting for. It will arrive in late 2021, according to the report.

The new EV crossover, allegedly based loosely on Nissan’s 2017 IMx concept, should resolve many of the major drawbacks of Nissan’s first EV, the Leaf. The new crossover’s range should be more than 300 miles, which would roughly match Tesla’s models. It should also offer much sportier performance than the Leaf, accelerating from 0-60 miles per hour in less than five seconds.

Nissan’s new crossover should also be more practical than sub-compacts like the Hyundai Kona EV. Per Automotive News, it will have the interior space of a midsize Nissan Murano within a compact Nissan Rogue-like footprint.

Why is this so important? Well, compact crossovers are the cars Americans buy. The three best-selling vehicles that aren’t pickups in the U.S. are the Toyota RAV4, the Nissan Rogue and the Honda CR-V — all compact crossovers. You’ll also find the Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape and Jeep Cherokee within the top 20.

Yet in spite of this, manufacturers have yet to bring an electric compact crossover to market. The battery packs required to produce reasonable range are large and heavy, so most EVs so far have been either super small and light to offset that, or large and heavy enough to incorporate them seamlessly. Aside from Tesla, EV startup Rivian is perhaps closest to the goal, but it has focused on full-size trucks and three-row SUVs, not smaller crossovers.

There’s a tremendous opportunity for the first manufacturer to bring to market a practical, affordable and fun medium-sized EV. Nissan’s new crossover could be that vehicle. Of course, that market’s potential means it won’t be alone; the car will have fierce competition from the Tesla Model Y, Volkswagen ID.4, and a Ford Mustang-like crossover EV, among others.

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

Ford’s Newest Mustang Bears a Familiar Name: Meet the 2021 Mach 1

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the most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever


One of the most iconic names in Mustang lore is coming back. On Friday, Ford announced that it will offer a Mustang Mach 1 for the 2021 model year. It will be the fifth Mustang Mach 1 in Ford history, and the first to wear the badge since 2004. Ford says it will be the “most track-capable 5.0-liter Mustang ever.” (The Shelby GT500 and GT350 both have 5.2-liter V8s, with the former’s being supercharged.)

Historically, the Mustang Mach 1 has been a bridge model for Ford, sitting between the standard Mustangs and those super-high-performance Shelby editions by offering a upgraded suspension components and a racier appearance package. Like the Mach 1’s last debut in 2003, Ford will likely use it to replace the Bullitt edition Mustang, which currently occupies a similar role.

Ford didn’t offer any specifics about the Mach 1 yet, beyond the engine being a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 and it packing a set of Brembo brakes. One of the big questions on our minds, though:  whether the engine will receive a bump up to 500 horsepower. The standard GT currently puts out 460 hp, while the Bullitt reaches 480 hp. 500 seems like a nice round number — and a reasonable target.

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

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

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

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The Best Car Books to Get Your Dad for Father’s Day

Let’s face it: your dad can be one of the toughest people to shop for. If you ask him what he wants for Father’s Day, there’s a good chance  tell you not to get him anything (even though he definitely wants something).

While getting your father a great bottle of whiskey or a reasonably-priced watch would go down well, you could also help fuel your dad’s love of cars with some great non-fiction books. Below are five of our favorite car books featuring underdog stories, humor, and even outspoken corporate insight that your father is all but certain to love.

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

There’s a good chance your dad saw the film Ford v. Ferrari and loved it. But that flick about the story of Ford’s epic quest to take down Ferrari at Le Mans was actually based on a fascinating, informative book by A.J. Baime that’s well worth the read, too.

Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business

Bob Lutz is both a confirmed station wagon enthusiast and one of the most experienced and outspoken executives in the automotive industry. Here’s his take on what went wrong at General Motors back in the day, and how he tried to fix it while an executive there.

The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit

The 1950s and early 1960s were some of the most formative (and exceedingly dangerous) days of automotive racing. In this book, Michael Cannell tells the story of American Formula 1 driver Phil Hill — and the tragic end of his 1961 championship season.

Faster: How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best

Neil Bascomb’s new book tells the story of how French/Jewish racing legend René Dreyfus, barred from the best German teams in the 1930s, teamed up with French manufacturer Delahaye and American heiress Lucy Schell to upset the Nazi-backed German teams of the time.

And on That Bombshell: Inside the Madness and Genius of Top Gear

In the 2000s, the BBC series Top Gear blossomed into one of the world’s most popular and profitable TV shows of all time. The show’s script editor (and eminent automotive humorist) Richard Porter tells the behind-the-scenes story in this tome.

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

This Is Our Best Look Yet at Nissan’s New Z-Car

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look out, Supra


News has been trickling out very, very slowly about the long-awaited Nissan 370Z replacement. We’ve seen a new trademarked logo, and received word of a a reported name: the 400Z.

Now, however, Nissan has basically confirmed this new sports car is en route. The company released a preview of its lineup called from “A to Z,” showing off all the new and improved vehicles coming to the carmaker’s dealerships in the near future. And most notable among them was an all-new Z-branded sports car.

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Judging from the silhouette, the car looks like it has taken its styling cues from Nissan’s iconic 240Z, which should elicit a standing ovation and resounding slow clap from enthusiasts waiting for the new version. The badge that shows up prominently matches up exactly with the trademarked logo, as well, though those old-school proportions and cues have us doubting that it’ll go by “ZX” instead of “Z.”

If the previous reports are true, the new Nissan 400Z should be positioned quite well to take on the Toyota Supra. Per that info, the new Z car would have about 400 horsepower, more than the 382 hp in the 2021 six-cylinder Supra. It will reportedly start below $40,000, which would make it cheaper than that Supra. It may also get something the Supra does not have: a six-speed manual transmission. Here’s hoping we’ll find out more soon.

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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These Are the Most Reliable Lightly-Used Full-Size SUVs You Can Buy

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reliable rides


Full-size SUVs are popular as hell, and with good reason: they’re one of the most versatile family cars money can buy. Thing is, though, that it takes an awful lot of said money to bring one home new, especially if you want all the features that make these largely-truck-based monsters as capable as comfortable as you want; even an entry-level Ford Expedition XLT can be hard to snag for less than $60,000 once you add on four-wheel-drive, the towing package and the upgraded interior.

Luckily, there’s a way around that: buy a lightly used version. And even more luckily, the folks over at Consumer Reports have just put together a list of the most reliable three-year-old full-size SUVs you can find in used car lots today.

As Trucks.com revealed, CR chose to study vehicles from the 2017 model year as they would be new enough to still offer many modern safety features, like blind-spot warning and automatic emergency braking, yet would have been around long enough for many major issues to begin to arise. To collect all the data, CR surveyed the owners of more than 420,000 vehicles to find out what worked well and what didn’t over the course of ownership — and came up with the following list of the most reliable rides from that year, which we’ve listed below.

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe

2017 GMC Yukon

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2017 Buick Enclave

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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

2017 Lexus LX 570

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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.

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

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Ram’s New Hellcat-Powered Truck Looks Ready to Eat the Ford Raptor

<!–Ram’s New Rebel 1500 TRX Is Set to Attack the Ford Raptor • Gear Patrol<!– –>

700 horsepower…in a pickup truck


We’ve known for a while now that Ram is planning to produce a Ram 1500 Rebel TRX to take on the Ford F-150 Raptor. (Its Raptor-fighting mission is right there in the TRX name.)

At the heart of the Ram TRX will be Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’s supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat Hemi V8 engine found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, among others. Recent reports from Allpar and Mopar Insiders offer further details on what to expect.

The Rebel 1500 TRX will look an awful lot like the picture above

Allpar sourcing says the Rebel TRX will resemble the drawing above from FCA’s Drive for Design flier, with flared arches for a wide stance and a dual vent hood. It’s not all that dissimilar from the Rebel TRX Concept truck revealed a couple years back.

The Rebel 1500 TRX will offer more than 700 horsepower

Both Allpar and Mopar Insiders note that the Ram 1500 Rebel TRX will have more than 700 hp. Mopar Insiders confirms it will be the full 707 hp found engine in other vehicles with that engine. The original TRX Concept, by contrast, offered a mere 575 hp.

Ram isn’t shy about the truck’s intended target: the Ford F-150 Raptor

The folks at The FastLaneTruck caught a glimpse inside the TRX’s interior recently. In addition to the usual Easter eggs found in a Ram, they found an additional one of the truck in profile next to a human and a Tyrannosaurus rex for scale. But the T. rex is also next to a Velociraptor…and reminds us that the King of the Tyrant Lizards is small enough to munch a raptor for an afternoon snack.

The Rebel 1500 TRX will borrow from Alfa Romeo

Mopar Insiders says the Rebel TRX will get extended versions of the aluminum paddle shifters used in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It will also use the precise eight-speed ZF automatic transmission used on a wide range of European luxury cars.

The Rebel 1500 TRX will be fancy — and expensive.

Mopar Insiders says the truck will load up on fanciness and tech for the interior; the as a result, the base price is expected to be around $70,000, comparable to the F-150 Raptor with its optional luxury package.

The Rebel 1500 TRX will arrive soon.

Mopar Insiders pegs the launch date for Sept. 8, 2020.

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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Which 2021 Toyota Supra Should You Buy: Cheaper or More Powerful? We Drove Both

Brand: Toyota
Product: GR Supra
Release Date: 3.0: Q2 2020; 2.0: Q3 2020
Price: $TBD
From: toyota.com

When the Toyota GR Supra launched last year after years of waiting, we fully expected the carmaker to sit back and let the car carry its weight for a while before any updates rolled along. After all, this is a carmaker for whom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a governing mantra; witness how long the 4Runner, the Land Cruiser, the Tacoma and Tundra have been trucking along (no pun intended), and it certainly hasn’t hurt any of those models.

Nooooooope. For its second year of life, the new Supra is receiving not one but two new engines: a more powerful turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, bumped up from 335 horses to 382 hp and also gaining three more pound-feet of torque, for 368; and a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, whose 255 horsepower seems low in comparison but whose 295 lb-ft of torque make up for much of that.

Originally, Toyota had planned to host automotive media down near Atlanta in order to experience the 2021 car for the first time, where we’d “have the opportunity to experience the 2021 GR Supra on beautiful Georgia roads, as well as a closed circuit at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.” Then came COVID-19. With travel practically banned and states closing down left and right, Toyota instead sent me both four- and six-cylinder versions for almost-back-to-back loans in New York, giving your humble author a chance to test them on his home turf.

The case for the four-cylinder Supra:

The four-cylinder Supra — or, in Toyota parlance, the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 — is new to America this year, though it’s been kicking around other markets since the car’s debut. But the engine is an old, familiar friend: it’s the same 2.0-liter turbocharged-four that graces much of the BMW lineup these days, including the BMW 330i that we found a better choice than the six-cylinder M340i.

In a sports car, though, those 255 horsepower don’t feel quite as fulfilling as they do in a zippy compact sedan. Still, the Supra 2.0 is actually more fun than you might expect, thanks in large part to the thick slug of torque that manifests from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm. That happens to be the range where most real-world driving takes place, be it around town or open-road highway driving, so the four-cylinder car feels peppy and quick in almost every scenario.

Plus, as in the 330i, this engine means its host car can rack up some impressive fuel economy numbers. I saw an average of 35 miles per gallon over the course of a couple hundred miles, and I wasn’t babying it; that was puttering around New York City, keeping up with the New York State Thruway’s 80-plus-mph fast lane and carving up a couple winding Catskills two-lanes. Some credit must go to the 2.0’s lesser curb weight (it;s about 200 pounds lighter), but more of it goes to the clever engineers at BMW.

And until you rev it and that four-cylinder engine note comes out the tailpipe, nobody will ever know you went for the cheaper Supra. Externally, 2.0 and 3.0 are identical, from their aggressively manga-ready noses to their svelte, turned-up tails. If you’re planning on using your ToyoBimmer for flossin‘, as the kids say, you’ll be just fine with the smaller, lighter car.

The case for the six-cylinder Supra:

Yeah, it’s more fun. Most of that comes down to that sweet inline-six, which hauls the little Supra around with verve. 2020 Supra buyers don’t need to feel too cheated; while it no doubt will turn in slightly quicker times on the track, on the street, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference the extra 47 horses make.

The Bimmer-sourced engine not only enables rip-snorting acceleration off the line and from a roll, but it also makes it easier to kick the tail out. The Supra 3.0 is an oversteer-happy maniac, ready to twerk at the slightest overindulgence of throttle when the stability control is clicked to its loosened setting; the 2.0, however, takes a concerted effort to swing the rear out under those circumstances.

The 3.0 is also the only way you can score some of the car’s more involving performance features, such as the active dampers (the 2.0 uses passive ones), the 348mm four-piston front brakes (the 2.0 uses 330mm single-piston ones) and the active electronic limited-slip differential (the 2.0 has a reactive mechanical LSD). And if you live and die by the luxury accoutrements in your mainstream-brand sports car, you’ll want the bigger-engined car, as it’s the only way to get power seats.

The cars you might consider instead:

The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are the obvious alternatives, each of which comes sports-minded coupe versions in varying engine sizes. The Mustang EcoBoost HPP with Handling Package and the Camaro V6 1LE both would stack up nicely against the four-cylinder Supra, while the Mustang GT Performance Package Level 2 and Camaro SS 1LE have what it takes to charge the six-cylinder Toyota.

Anyone considering the Supra 3.0 might consider stretching to a Porsche 718 Cayman, though they’d have to accept a stripper model if they wanted a price anywhere close to the Toyota’s. The Nissan 370Z may be stunningly dated, but it’s still entertaining to drive, and the pick-of-the-litter 370Z Sport with the stick shift starts at just $33,820. And, of course, anyone considering a four-cylinder sports car would be remiss not to at least look at a Mazda Miata.

Verdict

Of course, there’s one missing piece of the equation that keeps up from solving it: price. In what was either an unfortunate coincidence or a deliberate attempt to keep car reviewers from writing a bevy of pieces with titles like “THE 4-CYLINDER SUPRA IS A BARGAIN / A RIPOFF” before they’d driven it, Toyota has yet to release pricing for any of the 2021 Supras. (That’s expected to arrive in mid-June, at least according to Car and Driver.)

Considering that the six-cylinder model has seen relatively minor upgrades, it seems unlikely that the price would rise too much above the 2020 model’s MSRPs of $49,990 to start and $53,990 for the well-equipped 3.0 Premium. The starting price of the 2.0, though, is the bigger question. If Toyota dropped it square between the Supra 3.0 and the 86 with an MSRP of $38,000, it would be a bargain; if the company decided to offer it for just a few thousand less than the six-cylinder, it’d be overpriced.

Once we know how much both versions cost, we’ll be able to better say. But for now, know that if you wind up having to go for the four-cylinder Supra, you certainly won’t regret it. At least, not until you have to drag-race a Ferrari F355.

Toyota provided this product for review.

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

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

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

Would You Believe an Electric Jeep Wrangler Could Be the Best Wrangler Yet? One Jeep Exec Does

<!–Jeep Design Boss: An Electric Wrangler Could Be the Best Wrangler Ever • Gear Patrol<!– –>

Stay Tuned


The Jeep Wrangler is sort of like the character of James Bond. It’s cool, it’s timeless — and one of the biggest secret to its success is subtly evolving with its fanbase as the decades go by. A hybrid Wrangler is due to arrive very soon. And, according to recent comments from a prominent Jeep exec, there’s no reason to fear an eventual full-electric one.

Jeep’s head of design Mark Allen recently spoke to the Australian website CarAdvice. He didn’t confirm Jeep plans to produce a full-electric version of the Wrangler. But he did note that, if Jeep were to deliver an EV Wrangler, they will go all-in — and create a better off-roader than the present model.

“I truly believe that if we do an electric Wrangler, sometime in the future, that would actually be a better Wrangler,” Allen told CarAdvice. “It would be more capable off-road. It has the ability to do things that we can’t do now.”

An eventual electric Wrangler makes a lot of sense. Electric vehicles translate well to off-roading, providing a ton of torque and a lower center of gravity than many gas-powered vehicles. Allen notes that an electric powertrain would give Jeep even greater control over individual wheels, improving off-road maneuverability and traction. Off-road EV startups like Rivian (when it finally begins production), could place further pressure on Jeep to both reduce emissions to zero and improve performance.

It’s also a change the Wrangler diehard will likely accept. The powertrain has never been essential to the Wrangler’s appeal; the standard engine is the 3.6-liter V6 Chrysler puts in pretty much every vehicle. Jeep enthusiasts accepted the four-door version with gusto; if an electric Wrangler looks like a Jeep and climbs rocks like a Jeep, expect enthusiasts (and cool parents) to arrive with their checkbooks open.

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

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

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

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The 6 Weirdest Cars GM Ever Made

The automotive Goliath known as General Motors has been around for more than 110 years, in one form or another. For much of that time, it has been the world’s largest automaker (or damn close to it), with a host of different brands under its corporate umbrella.

The company has whipped up more than its fair share of landmark automotive achievements over the decades…but it’s also safe to say not every vehicle the American conglomerate has produced has been a hit. There have been quite a few sales stinkers over the years, with many failing to take hold for a variety of reasons. Some of those cars, though, have been downright weird, from their conception through their execution.

Below, we list six of the weirdest.

Chevrolet SSR (2004-06)


The Chevy SSR was a hot road convertible roadster/pickup thatused the body-on-frame truck/SUV platform from the Chevy TrailBlazer. It looked even more bizarre than that billing makes it sound.

It was also crazy expensive, with a starting MSRP above $55,000 in 2020 dollars. At the end of its run, GM gave it a C6-gen Corvette engine and a six-speed manual, because…well, why the hell not?

Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Rampside (1961-64)


The Corvair was Chevy’s infamous, exceedingly dangerous rear-engined 1960s car that inspired Ralph Nader’s classic “Unsafe at Any Speed.” There was also a van/truck version called the Greenbrier, and one of the pickup truck variants was the “rampside.”

Now, rear-engined trucks are inconvenient for doing, y’know, truck things, as the engine sits where the cargo bed needs to be. Chevy worked around this with a side ramp to load cargo into the deeper front part of the bed. Other manufacturers noticed this…and kept on not making rear-engined trucks.

General Motors EV1 (1996-99)


GM produced the first mass-produced EV in 1996: the EV1. Its styling was a fusion between the car from The Jetsons and a 1990s Chevy Cavalier. (At least it had enclosed rear wheels, as all cool, futuristic vehicles do.)

Initial lead-acid battery versions had an estimated range of between 70 and 100 miles. GM leased a little more than a thousand of them in select locations. Eventually, they killed the program, collected all the cars, and crushed them — against the will of dozens of owners.

GMC Envoy XUV (2004-05)


GM created a variant of the Envoy SUV, the Envoy XUV, in 2004. Essentially, it was a GMC Envoy with a retractable roof over the cargo area to permit it to function as a sort-of truck and carry tall items you couldn’t fit in a standard Envoy.

You’re probably asking, who would want that — besides maybe a GM product-planning exec who had to move a grandfather clock? The answer turned out to be, not many people. GM dumped it after 2005.

Saab 9-7X (2004-08)


Saab’s trademark was delightful, quirky cars. General Motors, after buying Saab outright, could not quite capture the brand’s ethos, so innovation over Saab’s final decade basically meant rebadging other vehicles as Saabs then charging a premium for them.

There was the 9-2X, which was a rebadged Subaru Impreza — but even weirder was the 9-7X, which was a Saabified, body-on-frame Chevy Trailblazer with a starting price north of $50,000 in today’s dollars.

Pontiac Aztek (2001-05)


Yes, the Aztek is an obvious choice, but it’s hard to leave off this list. The Aztek is one of the ugliest SUVs ever made.

To their credit, GM execs foresaw pretty much every trend that would be forthcoming with adventure vehicles over the next couple of decades. They just combined them into an unsightly, off-putting car that somehow manages to be both wantonly aggressive and boring.

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

Want to Build the Ultimate Overlanding RV? Start With This Award-Winning Off-Road Bus

<!–Want the Ultimate Overland Camper RV? Start With This Award-Winning Off-Road Bus • Gear Patrol<!– –>

move over, unimog


My two-year-old son has this toy: an off-roading school bus with a lifted suspension and enormous off-roading tires. The notion seemed crazy to me…but it turns out something like that vehicle very much exists in reality.

Czech manufacturer Torsus has built the Praetorian, a four-wheel-drive off-roading bus built to conquer “any terrain, in any conditions, anywhere in the world.” You don’t have to take their word for its impressive nature; in fact, the vehicle just won a Red Dot Design award for 2020.

Torsen based the Praetorian on a MAN Heavy Duty TGM truck chassis. It’s powered by a 6.9-liter diesel engine producing 240 horsepower and 629 lb-ft of torque. It’s very much ready for overlanding activity, with 15.7 inches of ground clearance and a 66-gallon fuel tank. The interior can accommodate up to 35 passengers with three-point seatbelts and their gear — though presumably, you’d strip all that out to create a living area if you were building your dream off-road RV. (We’ll also presume the setup will be a bit more dependable than the actual Praetorians were.)

According to Slash Gear, the price tag for a Torsus Praetorian starts around $154,000. Considering a tricked-out overlanding van can cost nearly that much, that may not be such a bad deal.

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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1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing”

Bring-A-Trailer continues to bring the automotive goods, and this pristine Mercedes 300SL Gullwing is clad in slick Graphite Grey on light grey leather. The comprehensive restoration that this beauty received is worth noting. Rudi &…

       

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The 2020 Porsche Macan Turbo Represents Maximum Value, Porsche Style

Few phrases crush the automotive soul more than “entry-level compact crossover” — even if that vehicle happens to be wearing a Porsche badge. The Macan is not the lust-inducing Porsche that graces posters on bedroom walls, but the Macan is the company’s most important car  — at least, from a financial perspective. The Macan is the Porsche most people buy (and consequently the best deal to buy used).

The top-tier version is the Macan Turbo, which returns for 2020 with a smaller twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 and about 34 more horsepower than its predecessor. Now, “Turbo” can be a confusing word in the Porsche world. Almost every modern Porsche employs a turbocharged powerplant, but the company reserves the word to denote the stupid-fast versions of its cars. The Macan Turbo is undoubtedly that, with nearly 200 more horsepower than the base model and a 0-60 mph time as quick as 4.1 seconds when equipped with the Sport Chrono package.

The compact crossover may not deliver the visceral thrill of a 911 Turbo, but it’s still a superb, relentlessly competent vehicle for the driver who may only have room for one Porsche. Even with a price tag approaching six figures, you can still argue it provides solid value.

The Macan Turbo drives like a genuine Porsche

While the Macan exists to make money, it is no afterthought. Porsche engineers built a legitimately great, Car and Driver-10-Best-list-caliber Porsche. The Macan may be a compact crossover, but it embodies the brand’s commitment to making the ultimate driver’s car. Someone thought about everything.

The seats are supportive. The cockpit is an ergonomic wonder. Its three driving modes — Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus — are perfectly tuned. Its compact engine doesn’t exhibit more than a whiff of turbo lag. It’s stable and agile in corners. The launch control is simple, and works over and over again without complaint. And the Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PCSB), which were a little touchy when introduced in the Cayenne, were absolutely spot-on in this car.

Okay, the exhaust note may be a touch too civilized. That’s the only driving-related complaint I could muster up.

The Macan Turbo offers good value…by Porsche standards

Value and Porsche don’t often appear in the same sentence. The starting prices aren’t cheap, and the brand is notorious for charging extra for things — air suspension, lane keep assist, Apple CarPlay, etc. — other companies offer as standard in their competitive cars. Still, you could consider the Macan Turbo a reasonable deal…at least, within a Porsche context.

The Macan Turbo is the cheapest way to score this level of straight-line performance in the Porsche model tree. A 911, Cayenne or Panamera with 400-plus horses and a low four-second 0-60 mph time will command a price tag north of $100,000. A 414-hp Cayman GT4 starts a hair under six figures, at $99,200. From that perspective, $83,600 to start doesn’t seem so bad.

Porsche would also point out that the Macan Turbo trim includes some pricey items, such as the aforementioned PSCB ($3,140), 20-inch high gloss black wheels ($3,140) and a sport exhaust ($2,930) –all of which would cost a fair amount to add à la carte to a Macan S.

The Macan Turbo has all the buttons

Porsche worked wonders with the performance of the Macan Turbo. But the interior — largely unchanged since 2014 — feels a bit dated to this reviewer. The shifter feels comically large for such an agile and capable car. That’s surrounded by a vast sea of analog buttons and switches. I counted more than 70 buttons, knobs, and switches the driver could adjust — not counting the turn signal and wiper stalks.

It doesn’t feel upscale or aesthetically pleasing; indeed, it can be sort of a nuisance. At one point, I inadvertently turned on the heated steering wheel, had no idea how to turn that off…and ended up pulling over the car and shutting it off to do it because I couldn’t figure out any other way to do it.

Price as Tested: $94,120
Drivetrain: twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6, 7-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: 434 hp, 405 lb-ft torque
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Seats: 5

Porsche provided this product for review.

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

The Next BMW M3 Might Be Overpowered By Another New 3 Series

<!–The Next BMW M3 Might Be Overpowered By Another New 3 Series • Gear Patrol<!– –>

after all, “i” comes before “m”


By now, we’ve spilled enough virtual ink about the upcoming BMW M3 and M4 to fill a digital Exxon Valdez. The new high-performance versions of the current-generation 3 Series are expected to make their debut sometime in 2020, with the fresh twin-turbo inline-six from the X3 M and X4 M beneath their hoods and a ginormous beaver-tooth grill in front. A so-called “pure” version packing a manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive will be on offer, as an alternative to the increasingly ubiquitous automatic/all-wheel-drive combo of BMW M products.

But we just learned a twist that made us sit bolt upright in our home office chairs: the new BMW M3 and M4 may not be the most powerful member of the 3 Series lineup.

According to the well-connected folks at Autocar, the beefiest member of the broader 3 Series family — which, BMW’s shifting nomenclature be damned, includes the 4 Series coupes, convertibles and four-door Gran Coupes — will actually be the all-electric BMW i4 due to enter production in 2021 (and pictured above in concept car form). That battery-powered Tesla Model 3 fighter will reportedly crank out a maximum of 523 horsepower — enough to edge out the 503-hp M3 and M4. Thanks to the instantaneous torque of its dual electric motors, it should feel even faster than that output suggests.

Still, the internal-combustion M3 and M4 should remain the enthusiasts’ choices, thanks to the whole package of upgrades the BMW M crew always brings to the table. In the case of the new cars, that will allegedly include more variants than ever; for the first time, the M4 will come in a four-door Gran Coupe variant as well as two-door hardtop and soft-top versions. If this seems liable to create some heavy intramural competition with the M3, keep in mind Bimmer already does this with the M5 and M8 Gran Coupe…as well as with the X3 M and X4 M, and the X5 M and X6 M. If anything, we’re surprised it took this long for BMW to pull this lever.

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.

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

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The BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe Is a Sexier, Arguably Better M5

Once upon a time, BMW’s nomenclature was fairly simple: three numbers, with the first signifying the size of the car and the latter two announcing the engine’s displacement, followed by the occasional letter or two to signify body style, drive wheels or specifics about the power supply, like electric assistance or fuel injection. Separate from all those stood the M models, which were even more simple: the 13th letter of the alphabet, followed by the number representing the body style.

Things done changed. These days, BMW’s naming convention is a wild mess of terms. Take, for example, the M8 Competition Gran Coupe. The number 8 might make you think this car is based on the 7 Series, the way the 4 Series is a spinoff of the 3; in fact, however, the 8 Series is based on the midsize 5 Series. The word Competition might make you assume this is a car meant for the race track, but in fact, it’s simply a slightly more powerful, ever-so-slightly sharper version of the potent-yet-luxurious M8.  And “Gran Coupe” may suggests a large two-door, but a quick glance will clearly indicate that this car has four fully-functional doors — and a very large back seat.

So let’s strip away the jargon, and admit what the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe really is: a better-looking version of the incredible BMW M5. Which, this reviewer would argue, makes it a better M5…even if it costs an extra $33,000.

The M8 Gran Coupe is quite the looker

BMW’s M8 Competition Gran Coupe occupies a very similar niche to the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S — the hardcore version of a four-door-coupe variant of a midsize super-sedan. But while the AMG may be ever so slightly harder-edged, as befitting its nominal status as a member of the GT sports car family, the Bimmer has it beat on appearances. The GT 4-Door is handsome, sure, but its front end and rear sometimes seem like they came from two separate cars; the M8 Gran Coupe, on the other hand, boasts a coherent design that’s both elegant and muscular, from its bulging bulldog snout to its taut haunches.

Indeed, in spite of the extra nine inches of length, the Gran Coupe can be confused with the regular two-door 8 Series at a glance from certain angles. I found myself stealing over-the-shoulder looks at it more than once when walking away, and I clearly wasn’t alone in finding it appealing; while driving through New Jersey, a couple guys in a McLaren took after me for a spell in order to check out the Bimmer (punctuated with a hearty thumbs-up).

Like the M5 Competition, the M8 Comp GC is a great drive

The M8 Competition Gran Coupe is a genuine delight of a driver’s car. Not just in the ballistic-missile sense you’d expect of a large, uber-powerful German luxury sedan, either; it’s actually fun at real-world speeds. The steering is miles better than the M850i’s, with an immediacy and natural nature that, if not quite the equal of electric power steering masters like GM and Porsche, comes close. Pitch it through corners like a Miata, and it feels like it’s having a ball in a way you don’t expect from a car of this size and power.

But the 617-horsepower engine is a wonder, too. Between the mighty horsepower that manifests up high in the rev range and the 553 lb-ft of torque that comes on as early as 1,800 rpm, the twin-turbo V8 hits like Mjolnir. At one point, I found a winding stretch of desolate back road, so I hammered it, zipping back and forth from legal to extra-legal speeds over and over again. The push left me wowed…then I realized I’d been accidentally left it in fourth gear the entire time. Let it shift for itself, and in the most aggressive mode, the transmission clicks off gears exactly where you want when tearing up a back road. Granted, you can’t hammer it for too long at a single go — 0 to 60 mph comes in three seconds or less if you launch it — but the fun lies in doing it over and over and over again.

And in case you’re wondering: yes, like the M5, the M-tuned all-wheel-drive system lets you switch to rear-wheel-drive if you want to hoon around. I made donuts. It was delightful.

It’s worth taking the time to get to know the settings

These days, most cars of the M8’s sort of performance ilk offer up preset drive modes that control their many adjustable systems — throttle mapping, suspension, exhaust, etc. — as one. Not BMW. Like other M cars, the M8 Competition Gran Coupe makes you pick and choose individually between manual and automatic shift modes, three levels of shift speed, two levels of steering weight, two levels of brake feel, two levels of exhaust noise, three suspension stiffness settings, three levels of engine responsiveness, and three different power distribution choices (4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD). Most of them are controlled through the iDrive screen, not via buttons — though the shift speed is shifted via rocker buttons on the shift lever.

If this sounds like a lot to deal with every time you jump into the car, well, it is. That’s why BMW gives the car two bookmark buttons: red tabs on the steering wheel labeled M1 and M2 that are a couple inches from your thumbs when at 9 and 3. Each can be programmed with its own combo of all those features, enabling you to create your own personal presets.

What BMW doesn’t tell you is that there’s also, effectively, a third preset: the most conservative settings for all of the above, which it returns to every time you hop in. Default mode, which I took to calling “M0,” is generally fine for most commuting; even with everything set to Comfort or Efficient, it’s hardly slow or numb. I made M1 a moderately aggressive setting and M2 a full-blown attack mode, but the beauty of BMW’s system is that you can tweak them as you want: a street mode and a track mode, an urban mode and a country mode, a city mode and a highway mode, etc.

And once you start fiddling around with the car’s setup, you realize just how many features can be adjusted as you see fit. The active safety features, like blind spot alert and emergency automatic braking, can be adjusted to different levels of sensitivity and saved as an Individual mode (which, blessedly, the car does not default out of upon restart). The delightful optional Bowers & Wilkins stereo, the colors of the mood lighting, even the gesture control that lets you control the infotainment with a wave of your hand — they can all be adjusted to your exact wants. It’s a level of control that rewards those willing to get to know their car properly…and when you’re getting a car this remarkable, you absolutely should do that.

Price as Tested: $150,300
Drivetrain: 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8, eight-speed automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: hp, torque
Fuel Economy: 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway
Seats: 5, but 4 in comfort

BMW provided this product for review.

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

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

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

For Singer Vehicle Design, Every Detail on a Classic Porsche Is Truly Important

This story is part of our Summer Preview, a collection of features, guides and reviews to help you navigate warmer months ahead.

A little more than a decade ago, “Singer” didn’t mean much to gearheads. The nerdiest among them might have known it as the surname of a talented Porsche engineer whose friends called him Norbert, but generally speaking, it brought to mind sewing machines, not speed machines. Accelerate to 2020, though, and “Singer” has become shorthand for the créme de la créme of automotive restoration and modification.

You can thank Singer Vehicle Design founder Rob Dickinson for that.

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“We’re fascinated by making something as good as it can be,” Dickinson says. “I think the fact that we’ve watched this idea that began in the corner of a workshop ten years ago find a home across the world is testament to the importance of that mission.”

Singer Vehicle Design rebuilds and restores — or, as Dickinson puts it, “reimagines” — Porsche 911s. While the company keeps many specifics close to the vest, it’s willing to admit that it’s worked on about 150 vehicles since 2009. Every Singer is whipped up from an example of the generation of Porsche 911 known as the 964, manufactured from 1989 to 1994.

While every Singer-customized car is still legally (and clearly) a Porsche, each one shares about as many pieces with its original self as the Six Million Dollar Man. Once an owner brings his or her old Porsche 964 to the company’s California shop, it’s then stripped down to its bones and remade piece by piece with upgraded components. The body panels are subbed for carbon fiber; the trim nickel-plated; the vinyl dashboard reupholstered in woven leather that’s designed to pay homage to an original Porsche pattern. Even the engine is yanked loose and transformed into one of Singer’s blueprinted masterpieces, ranging from 3.8 to 4.0 liters and delivering up to 390 hp.

From start to finish, a restoration takes about two years to complete. The company’s motto is “everything is important,” and it’s no empty slogan.

The lines say “Porsche 911,” but the attention to detail proves it’s something special.

Given the time, cost and depth of personalization that goes into making each Singer-customized Porsche 911, Dickinson and his team welcome client feedback throughout the process.

“The relationship Singer has with their customers is the most special relationship of a high-end brand,” Singer client Drew Coblitz says. Singer enables soon-to-be-owners to work closely with the company as the car progresses, making them feel more like proud parents than customers. “The process [of working] with [Singer’s employees] wound up being almost as much fun as when the car [was] finished,” Coblitz adds.

Almost being the operative word. Coblitz’s dark blue car, which he describes as “the café racer version of a Singer,” was finished last year, complete with custom dark nickel trim and fog lamps for spotting the deer that dot the roads where he lives outside of Philadelphia. A ride through those farmlands demonstrated not just how meticulously built the company’s modified 911s are, but how engaging they are to drive; they respond with a directness and connection to the occupants that few cars — new or old — can match.

Pictures can’t capture the quality handiwork of Singer’s interiors.

And while its roots may lie with cars of the past, Singer’s future is poised to be bright. The company has already expanded into watchmaking, and is working with renowned racing supplier Williams on a new varietal of customized Porsche 911 that’s lighter, faster and more advanced than the machines Singer has been rehabbing for the last 10 years.

“The Singer philosophy is to distill the essential elements of an experience like driving — what makes a car deliver an emotional connection, whether it’s visually or dynamically,” Dickinson says. “Our work in the future will be built on insisting that all these elements are recognized and preserved, so that truly engaging, jewel-like machines are around for a long time yet.”

A version of this story originally appeared in a print issue of Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today.

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.

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

This Classic Ford Bronco Is Vintage SUV Perfection, and You Could Have It

<!–Could This Be the Vintage Ford Bronco of Your Dreams? • Gear Patrol<!– –>

we’re also green, but with envy


Restoring and modifying old Ford Broncos has become extremely popular. That popularity is the reason Ford opted to revive the SUV, dormant since the mid-1990s. There are many exquisite Bronco builds out there. But few will look as stunning as this 1973 Bronco that just popped up for auction on Bring a Trailer.

The Bronco is a custom rebuild by Illinois-based Maxlider Brothers Customs. The seller says it was a custom project and not one of their package builds. The Bronco has a 347ci V8 Stroker crate engine from Blueprint Engines, which puts out 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. That engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission. The new powertrain has about 4,000 miles on it since the build.

That paint job is a fetching Norway Green, a variant of the British racing green that will be the best color option on just about any car. The interior strikes the perfect balance, being clean and premium-looking but not to the point where you would have an aneurysm if your dogs get in there.

Bidding for the 1973 Bronco is already up to $45,000, with a couple of days remaining and multiple bidders coming in hot. So don’t expect it to go cheap. But if your frame of reference is an exquisite custom Bronco from Icon 4×4 or Gateway, it could still end up being a relative bargain.

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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One of the Best SUVs of 2020 Might Be About to Get a Cool Off-Road Version

<!–The Kia Telluride Could Soon Add an Off-Road X-Line Trim • Gear Patrol<!– –>

to make you want one even more


When it comes to crazy automotive sales successes of 2020, few vehicles can come close to Kia’s Telluride SUV. It was one of our favorite new vehicles of 2019. It just took home the 2020 World Car of the Year award. In fact, Kia dealers sell Tellurides off so quickly, that its internal nickname is the “Selluride.”

Now, in news that will likely cause buyers’ ears to perk up even more, there may be a more rugged-looking off-road version coming soon.

Recently, CarBuzz talked to Kia’s director of corporate communications James Bell, who confirmed that a new update to the Telluride is coming. He did not give details, but did say that we can expect it to be “more of an image play than up-marketing it” — i.e. pushing into the luxury realm, along the lines of the just-announced, not-for-America Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy. Based on that statement and others past CarBuzz expects it to be an “X-line” off-roading trim. Picture more of an off-road appearance package like the VW Atlas Basecamp, rather than an actual expansion of al-terrain capability that would let it go after Jeep or Toyota.

Going the adventure route with the Telluride would make sense. Off-road-slash-overlanding is one of the hottest trends in the automotive world; heck, Kia was basically already aiming for that market by naming the Telluride after a Colorado ski town. Vehicles at the launch were fitted with roof racks, bull bars and snorkels to suggest their capabilities; it was only later when it became apparent that Kia was in fact offering a great-driving, de facto luxury SUV at a mass-market price point.

If the rest of Telluride sales are anything to go by, Kia’s only issue with the Telluride X-Line may be producing them quickly enough.

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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