If you want a high performance SUV today, you’re left with relatively little choice. GM hasn’t dabbled in the market since their Trailblazer SS / Saab 9-7 Aero and Ford never even gave it a try with the old Explorer. That means your only options for ridiculously fast boxes on wheels come from BMW, Porsche, Mercedes… and Jeep. Is it possible that the “bat-shit-crazy” Chrysler that I remember and love is back?
In December of 2011, through an unfortunate chain of events, I became the not-so-proud owner of a 2007 Malibu. True to its origin as an ex-fleet car, it is saddled with the miserly 4-banger engine rather than the still-slow-but-adequate V6. The only positive attributes of this car are its cheap cost to own and excellent fuel economy for its size. It presently has about 80,000 miles on it – I expect to get another 40K out of it before the transmission implodes (domestic automatic – you get what you pay for). (Read More…)
Good news for performance fans from The General; a new twin-turbo V6 will debut on the next generation CTS and XTS, good for 420 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque.
Yes, the Model S can fit eight… just not legally. Meanwhile, those are some pretty small kids in the old-school, rear-facing jumpseats (they’re only approved for passengers under five feet tall). But hey, it’s Elon Musk’s party, and he’s free to say whatever he likes until the car is actually on sale.
Speaking of which, it seems that the multiple versions of the Model S will not only be differentiated by range (with 160,230 or 300 miles of range) but Autocar reports there will be a performance version of the 300-mile car as well, which will hit 60 MPH in 4.6 seconds instead of the standard 5.5 seconds. The 160-mile version is reported to cost around $50k, the 230-mile version about $60k, the standard 300-mile version around $70k and the performance version will hit $80k. For a taste of the Model S’s performance, hit the jump for a brief, chauffeured test ride video.
Last fall, the first tests of the new Chevy Caprice PPV, Dodge Charger Pursuit and Ford Taurus Interceptor generated quite a bit of interest here at TTAC and beyond, as three all-new contestants battled to replace the outgoing Crown Victoria as America’s cop car. At the time, the Caprice seemed like the clear performance favorite, but as Sajeev Mehta has pointed out, there’s more to the cop-car equation than pure speed. Although good luck trying to tell the Detroit Three that, as all three are cherry-picking performance stats in the wake of the latest round of Michigan State Police testing.
I’ve personally never seen a Mercedes SL driven in anything close to anger. In fact, most of the time I see an SL, it seems as though the driver is in no rush at all to return to pulling teeth or fixing braces. But, as with the “low-flying” forthcoming Mercedes ML AMG, the boys from Affalterbach are driving the new SL AMG like it’s meant to be… so you don’t have to. After all, that AMG badge does supposedly stand for more than “a little extra respect from the valet”…
With Chevrolet already offering a Cruze Eco, WardsAuto reports that the forthcoming Cruze diesel made a case for itself based on attributes that go beyond mere efficiency. Which is interesting because a GM source tells Wards that the Cruze diesel will get around 50 MPG on the freeway… and unlike the Eco, it will achieve that high number with an automatic transmission (the Cruze Eco’s 42 MPG highway rating is only for manual transmission models). Equally importantly, the oil-burning Cruze will return better performance alongside better efficiency, with 147 HP and 236 lb-ft, compared to the 1.4T engine’s 138 HP and 148 lb-ft, which would make it the performance model of the range… which some say is just what the Cruze needs.
Joseph Lescota, chair of the Automotive Marketing Management Dept. at Northwood University in Midland, MI, thinks a diesel Cruze will draw buyers.
“Chevrolet has a great price-point vehicle that has tremendous eye appeal and options but may not meet the performance needs of a select market group,” he tells Ward’s.
A diesel version would hit that group between the eyes by adding a sturdy engine, extra torque and top-end performance to the mix, he says.
GM executives meanwhile highlight the diesel option’s value as what GM North America boss Mark Reuss calls “a hedge against the unknown.” Only three percent of current US sales are of diesels, but as American brands start rolling the oil-burning options out, and as Americans are exposed to their higher performance and efficiency, that segment could just grow. After all, who doesn’t want more performance and more efficiency for a mere $1k-$4k premium?
So, you want something with four-doors, blazing speed and sharp handling? Germany has got you covered. Photos have leaked of the next generation of Teutonic supersedans, giving an insight into a new wave of four-door performance. First up is the BMW M5, which is set to debut at the forthcoming Shanghai Auto Show, displaying the 560 HP sedan in remarkable detail. In response, Audi has let its own turbo-V8 luxury sedan be snapped in testing, even though the S6 shown here won’t be a true M5 competitor, offering “only” around 440 HP. A twin-turbo version making an M5-rivaling 555 HP is said to be waiting for the RS6, as well as a Bentley Continental GT V8. [Gallery after the jump]
Despite breaking new ground in the field of brand leverage with its Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park, Ferrari does seem to have lost the plot a bit in relation to its “other” business building expensive sportscars. Ferrari’s abandonment of the manual transmission might be justified by faster lap times at Fiorano, and the lightning-fast, dual-wet-clutch transmissions that replace them certainly seem to help keep the Scuderia at the bleeding edge of technology (even if they’re designed and built by Getrag). But underlying the faster times, higher speeds and “digital supercar” honorifics from the motoring press, there’s a sense that Ferrari’s progress must accommodate an ever-more ambitious business plan as much as design the world’s most capable and emotive sportscars. And it’s starting to bear some troubling fruit.
I know that they have to cut the car open to take the engine out. To make an engine in that configuration, you know, it doesn’t go around corners. When we did the race in Abu Dhabi, we beat it off the line so many times that the film crew was getting frustrated because the outcome was supposed to be for the Bugatti to win. So we had to do that whole thing about ten times before it managed to get off the line cleanly and catch us up. Because every time they dropped the clutch it bogged down and we were gone.
McLaren’s Ron Dennis lays into the Bugatti Veyron at the Middle East launch of his firm’s new MP4-12C [Arabian Business via Wired Autopia]. What Dennis leaves out is that the Bugatti has a (computerized, sequential-shift) automatic transmission, so it’s difficult to know what he means by “they dropped the clutch.” Besides, it sounds like the former Formula 1 boss is spewing bile, rather than objectively critiquing the Veyron… which there’s plenty of room for.
Autoweek apparently got an interview with GM vice president of global vehicle engineering and former chairman of Holden, Mark Reuss. Apparently, because their write-up takes a light hand with the quotation marks, using them to fill in the gaps between the author’s breathless interpretations of the topic at hand: Chevrolet’s SS line.
From 1960s Chevelles to modern Camaros, speedy Chevrolets have always been indentified with two letters: SS. But does the tradition-laden performance designation have a future in the new General Motors, which is under pressure to cut costs, make money and meet stricter fuel-economy regulations? “Absolutely,” Mark Reuss, GM vice president of global engineering, told AutoWeek. In fact, the SS line could be better–or at least more clearly defined. Reuss envisions cars outfitted on a case-by-case basis, rather than somewhat generically adding horsepower and red-letter stitching to Chevys across the board. Or as he put it, “Not trying to peanut-butter SS for everything.”
And though the intent of Reuss’s proclamation was clearly to encourage, the SS brand may be one of GM’s most-damaged. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few of the reasons why.