When Jack Baruth took the Scion FR-S to the track and pronounced it the least desirable among its chief rivals, some readers were despondent. How could the car that would supposedly provide good care for the sick and slow the rise of the oceans be ranked dead last against a hairdresser’s car and a Korean Pony Car?
Tens of thousands of vehicles are up for auction every week in nearly every state in this country.
With that much variety, you’re sure to find something interesting. A 30 year old Lebaron Convertible from the bad old days of Chrysler (now mine). A 38 year old Chevy stuck in the noxious funk of the malaise era (mine too).
And of course… an endless array of decade plus old Panthers. Sometimes they are taxis. Other times you find one that came straight from a livery service.
Lotus CEO Dany Bahar’s 14 day suspension is set to expire on Monday. We have no idea what will happen next. He may get the boot, taking his ambitious five-year product plan with him. Or he may not. Putting the pieces together since Lotus was taken over by DRB-Hicom has painted an interesting picture, while still leaving the future of Lotus up in the air.
Let me be frank: I’m not a very good driver. Now, I don’t mean that I careen from lamppost to lamppost like a drunken pinball, nor that I have to spend my afternoons picking teeth out of the bumper and pressure-washing old-ladies and kittens out of the undercarriage; no, I’m merely pointing out that I’m not a racecar driver in real life, only on the podium of my own imagination.
I’ve had some professional driver training, so I know how to position a seat, how to set my mirrors, how to use peripheral vision, how to look through the corners and so on, but the fact remains that my driving skills are fairly average. At best.
My fingers are of purest butter. When clenched, they form fists of finest Virginia ham. My right foot is composed of an amalgam of the entire bottom row of the periodic table of the elements, alloyed with lead for extra heft. All these appendages are fastened by spindly arms and legs to a buffoon with a block of wood for a head and a pea-sized amount of cotton wool for a brain.
Luckily, none of these considerable drawbacks matter, because I am currently the greatest driver in the history of the universe, better than Senna, better than Vittel, better than Zaphod Beeblebrox. Ladies and gentleman, the Mitsubishi EVO.
When you think of Mitsubishi, what do you think of? Chances are, one of the first things that runs through your mind when Mitsubishi gets a mention, is the turbocharged, AWD, rally-car-for-the-road Lancer Evolution series. For decades now, the Evo has provided Mitsu with some desperately-needed sense of identity, although it never really reflected a brand philosophy the way Subaru’s WRX/STI series did for its AWD lineup. And now, it seems, Mitsubishi is done trying to build a brand on a rally replica. Autocar‘s Matt Prior recently sat down with Motsu’s global product director Gayu Eusegi, and he heard some rather jarring news:
The Lancer Evolution X, Eusegi told me, will be the last Evo. “There is still a demand [for the car],” he said, “but we must stop.” Eyebrow up.
“Our influence now is EV technology,” Eusegi said, adding that the decision was a “policy change”.
It seems Mitsubishi, which is going to introduce eight full electric or hybrid cars by 2015, has decided its image is about lowering CO2, not making lurid replicas of rally cars that don’t go top-level rallying any more.
Eusegi said that customers would find it “easier to understand” what Mitsubishi was about if it was no longer in this motorsport-inspired market.
Eusegi goes on to apparently confirm that the Evo X will be the last of the line, until such time as rally racing goes electric. Which means that if you’ve always wanted to buy a new Evo, you might want to think about picking one up soon. After all, an EV-heavy strategy may not be the silver bullet for Mitsubishi, but the Lancer Evolution has had its chance at playing halo. Change can be painful, but it is the only constant… and Mitsu has to evolve or die. Even if that means the Evolution dies first.
Europe’s Euro 5 emissions standard has already killed off Mazda’s RX-8; is it any wonder that the Impreza STI is running scared? Autocar reports that the next-gen STI, due sometime in 2012 will not offer another version of the 2.0 turbocharged gas engines that have powered the car since it got a reputation for bargain thrills. Instead, a two-liter turbodiesel is likely to be the main engine on offer, as Subaru strives to keep the STI grunty without blowing its emissions limits.
The auto enthusiast community is far too fragmented to ever achieve real consensus on any issue, but if there’s a single authority on performance-oriented cars, it’s Britain’s enthusiast bible evo Magazine. So when evo bashes an enthusiast-targeted model, it’s usually worth taking note of. The latest print issue of evo includes a Chris Harris review of Audi’s range-topping RS5 coupe [online summary here], the 444 hp, V8-powered flagship of its A5 lineup, and from line one the reader can tell that something is rotten in the state of Quattro GMBH. Harris describes an attempt to blow the doors off a 328 hp S4 camera car, only to find that, three gears later, his $15k more expensive coupe had barely gained any ground on the supercharged V6-powered S4. So, what gives?
Forget car design awards. Forget internet polls. The perfect automotive barometer is the filling station. And if barometers could wet their pants, this one would need its jeans urgently back in the washing machine, as our oranger-than-orange Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart (that’s a handful) pulled into the fuel station. The second time this hour, actually. Faster than you could say ‘Premium Unleaded’, the fuel attendant stormed our tester with cries of joy and wonder, proceeding to proudly recite its technical specification better than we could. After failing to receive a positive answer for his honest attempt for a ‘short spin’, he documented this automotive phenomenon with enough photos to create a 3D rendering and proclaimed that we should fill ‘er up with Regular Unleaded.