Drive’s Leo Parente is has a lot of experience in the auto industry and in racing, so his take on the new 2015 Ford Mustang is surely an educated one.
As information on the 2015 Subaru WRX has been surfacing before its debut at the upcoming 2013 LA Auto Show, I find myself split between two opposing reactions. On the one hand we have the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, and on the other hand we have the “WTF? It’s exactly the same as the old one!” point of view.
In essence it would seem that Subaru knows they have a great thing going with the WRX, and they don’t see a reason to change much about it. As an STi owner of seven years now, I can attest that the overall package of a WRX makes it one of the best all-round cars that money can buy. It is fast, it handles great, it is practical, it will drive through any weather, it is reasonably priced, and the fuel economy, while not fantastic, is generally tolerable. The 2015 WRX seems to change none of this, and that seems like a sure bet for sales.
The problem I see, though, is that the car is getting a bit stale at this point. There’s nothing really fresh about it, and even with the new body style, it looks the same as the old one. Subaru has changed the engine to a 2.0L flat-4 from the current 2.5L flat-4, but horsepower only increases by a measly 3 ponies for a total of 268hp. Obviously, in real terms, the new WRX still offers a massively fun package, but am I the only one who wanted to see the WRX with at least 300hp by now?…. and the STi with like 400hp?
We all know the Cadillac ATS-V is coming. The rumors have been swirling for some time now, and many people have taken it upon themselves to photoshop what they hope the car will look like (see above). But the issue for me now is, wondering if, and how, GM may go about screwing up this highly anticipated car.
This is not to say that I don’t have faith in GM’s ability to make great cars, they have a number of great cars out right now. However, there are still enough instances of idiotic, old-school GM rearing its head in our post-economic-crisis world to make me worry that they may find a way to drop the ball here. And if there are any cars that the bean counters need to not screw up even one tiny bit, the ATS-V is certainly among them.
It’s like that quote from The Godfather, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me right back in!” GM has shown a lot of promise recently, Cadillac in particular with the new CTS and its turbocharged V6. Of course, in true GM fashion, such applaudable brilliance must be subsequently balanced out by some action of unfathomable idiocy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the $76,000 Chevy Volt, which Cadillac refers to as the ELR.
Lets get this straight, the whole entire reason that the Chevy Volt hasn’t sold well is because it is too damn expensive. Like $40,000 in a world where its competition cost $25,000. So naturally GM’s brilliant marketing people had a meeting and said, “I know what will really sell well. Let’s make a Volt with a Cadillac body on it and make it double the price!”
We got to see Cadillac’s Elmiraj Concept at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and plainly, this is the sort of thing the Cadillac Brand needs right now. Cadillac has not been “the Cadillac of cars” since the mid 1960s in my opinion, and it’s about time they step up and reclaim their original status in the world.
The Elmiraj looks to be a grand touring car of world class standards. It’s design is unmistakably that of a Cadillac, but it has a nice sleek, modern shape. While I doubt it would make it to production in its current form, the Elmiraj’s interior is breathtakingly gorgeous, with gratuitous amounts of wood, leather and metal used throughout.
As far as what’s under the hood, I’ve heard rumors of a twin turbo 4.5L V8 with more than 500hp. That will most likely put the Elmiraj in competition with the Jaguar XKR, Maserati Granturismo, BMW 650i/M6, etc, in the price range around $100,000. That, of course assumes that Cadillac will ever have the guts to actually produce an ambitious concept car such as this.
I think with proper execution, a production version of the Elmiraj would do a lot to put Cadillac back where they need to be as a brand. The ATS, CTS, and the CTS-V have done a lot to show that Cadillac has potential, but they need a capstone, a mighty flagship to lead their assault. I know Cadillac’s track record with concept cars is awful when it comes to anything making it to production, but I am really holding out hope that the Cadillac Elmiraj is not indeed a mirage.
Enjoy the photos
Fuel economy isn’t usually a concern for supercars, but Porsche’s new 918 Spyder will supposedly show a Prius what’s what. Back when Porsche first released the 918 Spyder concept, they claimed it would be able to do 78mpg — the world laughed at the idea. Well now, with the production car finally released at the Frankfurt Motor Show , they are holding fast to that claim, so one must presume they have done a few tests that confirm it is possible.
The 918 Spyder can also produce 887hp, but certainly not at the same time it is doing 78mpg. Yes, the choice will be yours from the driver’s seat. While I’m sure that few will actually bother trying to best a Prius in MPG with that sort of power on tap, it is nice to know you can if you want to. The 918 Spyder allows you to have your cake and eat it too, and that is not something true of most similar such cars.
Just yesterday I was telling a friend of mine how I thought the Tesla Model S was currently the only truly viable electric car on the market. Less than 24hrs after that conversation it would seem things have changed. BMW dropped the details on their production ready i3 city car today, and it looks mighty promising in many respects. That said, it also raises a few questions for me.
The basic details of the i3 are as follows:
- Pricing starts around $41k — before any government discounts
- Range is said to be 80-100 miles per charge
- A full charge takes only 3 hours, or just 30 minutes with the optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charger
- A 650cc range extending gas motor is available as an option
- 170hp and 184ft/lbs of torque go to the rear wheels — from zero rpm
- Performance: 0-30 in 3.5sec, 0-60 in 7sec, and a top speed of 93mph
- The chassis is a carbon fiber reinforced plastic monocoque, a mass production first, which helps keep the weight down to around 2700lbs.
Looking at the details I see a few things that stand out…
Just listen to this thing, it’s epic. We all saw this car in concept form, but now there are actual prototypes that Jaguar is letting the media sample. While everyone seems to maintain that the “C-X75 will never be built”, one has to wonder why Jaguar has continued its development of the car if they really aren’t going to make it. In business, you don’t spend valuable money developing a project that you aren’t going to see through. I see this as a sure sign that the C-X75 is coming to production, and will be meeting the LaFerrari, Mclaren P1 and Porsche 918 in battle. Be excited.
Those of you familiar with this site probably know that my family recently purchased Volkswagen’s new Jetta Hybrid. So far we have loved everything about the car, and it has proven capable of delivering on VW’s MPG claims. I have even seen as high as 53mpg average on some trips, and that means VW has managed to out-do the Toyota Prius. I say that because the Jetta is also an extremely competent performing car in all other respects aside from gas mileage. They’ve used a turbocharged engine in it, so it has enough squirt to get out of its own way. The Jetta Hybrid also happens to handle extremely well because it has the same suspension architecture as the Jetta GLI. Where most hybrids tend to be extremely compromised in all aspects besides fuel economy, the Jetta Hybrid manages to be extremely well rounded while also seeing the same sort of MPG as the hybrid pimp-daddy, the Prius. So now I have to wonder, what could VW do if they really decided to focus a car on fuel economy to the same degree Toyota has done?
It just so happens that VW already has all of the tools it would need to create the ultimate economy car. The answer is a painfully obvious one, yet it the bean counters have been avoiding it because it may upset their current marketing scheme. I am talking about VW making a diesel hybrid.
Porsche just released official details on the new 2014 991 Turbo and Turbo S, and as with any new Porsche there is of course controversy. Reading through people’s reactions, I have seen a lot of “It’s slower than the old 997 Turbo S” comments, and there are tons of complaints about there being no manual gearbox being offered. I’d like to address these concerns.
Regarding the 2014 Turbo S being “slower than the old one”, you have to realize that Porsche official performance claims are always, and I mean always, conservative. For the 997 Turbo S, Porsche officially claimed 0-60 in 3.2sec and 530hp. In reality, the 997 Turbos S could achieve 0-60 in 2.6 sec, the 1/4 mile in 10.6 sec, and its power was more in the region of 600hp.
Porsche claims the 991 Turbo and Turbo S have 513hp and 552hp, respectively. Add 10-15% to each of those numbers and you can estimate the more realistic power output. The EU has a tax on manufacturers relating to horsepower numbers, so most European cars are a bit underrated on paper. With around 560hp in the Turbo and around 620hp in the Turbo S, I think it is safe to assume these cars will not lose ground from their predecessors in terms of all out, Bugatti Veyron rivaling, performance.
This brings us to the transmission issue. The new 991 Turbos are available with PDK only. Many people are against not having a manual option on pure principle, but having actually driven a 997 Turbo S myself, I’m going to have to side with Porsche on this one. The pace of these new 911 Turbos has gotten ridiculously rapid, everything from raw acceleration to lap times. The simple fact of the matter is that a manual transmission would be a major weak point in every aspect of the car’s performance at this point. An Achilles heel-toe… if you will.
Also, I would venture to say that most people complaining have never sampled a Porsche with PDK for themselves. It is a phenomenally good transmission, in my opinion the best dual clutch gearbox on the market. It feels a lot more mechanical, and connected than a standard automatic gearbox, and it offers a level of versatility that a traditional manual cannot. In reality, most 911 Turbo owners use their car as a Grand Tourer, so this versatility (auto or manual modes) is important. I have sampled PDK on a few different Porsches, and it really is a “do everything” sort of transmission, great for both tearing up corners and sitting in rush hour traffic. The 911 Turbo has long been hailed as the supercar you can use everyday, and PDK only makes it better in that regard.
That said, I do love a Porsche with a manual gearbox, but at this point I think it is better to have it just on the “more pure” naturally aspirated models. In all honesty, I am far more pissed about there being no manual option on the new GT3 because that is supposed to be the “purest” Porsche driving experience.
As for the rest of the 991 Turbo, I think it is exactly what it should be. I love how it looks, and I’m sure the performance will be truly staggering. I cannot wait to get my grubby little paws on one for a road test.
There have been rumors for a while now that Porsche will be replacing the six cylinder engines in their lower-end models with turbocharged four cylinders. This would follow their recent downsizing move with the Panamera S models, where they replaced the 4.6L V8 with a twin turbo 3.0L V6. Porsche already has a history with four cylinder engines from their 912, 924, 944 and 968 models, so this move would be far from unprecedented. I myself have a lot of personal experience with the topic at hand. I learned to drive on a Porsche 944 S2, the 7 years I have owned my Subaru STi have given me a lot of insight into the performance merits of turbocharged engines, and I have also sampled many modern Porsches through my work for this website. So putting all of this together, I feel I can offer a very well rounded opinion on this issue. I also have some wonderful ideas for where it could take things in the future.
I don’t want to mimic what everyone else has been saying because I think Fisker’s problems lie deeper than everything you’ve seen on the news. Sure batteries catching fire, faulty management, government money, and all of that is very exciting, but for me it is all just the icing on top of the cake which is their true fundamental problem. So for this article, just forget all of the recent news you’ve heard regarding Fisker, and let’s take a look at the car itself. Let us inquire as to who exactly would buy a Fisker Karma to begin with.
To start with, we should look at the Karma for what it is: a luxury sedan with a base price around $100,000. It has a gorgeous, sleek design, but its interior, while very eco-friendly, doesn’t match the level of quality found in other cars in its segment. The back seat is also pretty cramped, compromising its viability as a four door sedan. The Karma uses the same extended range hybrid design as the Chevy Volt, just with a lot more to give. On paper it would seem it has some serious grunt, with 402hp and 960ft/lbs of torque on tap. However, its performance is compromised both by its 5300lb curb weight and its traction control system constantly having to keep the reins on that astronomical torque figure. The result is a relatively lackluster 5.9 second 0-60 sprint, and a top speed of 125mph. With a full charge, the Karma can go 50 miles without using any gas, but once the gas motor is active it will see around 30mpg. Objectively, that is what the Karma is, and that is what your money actually buys you.