By on February 21, 2017

2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Sedan at Sebring, Image: © 2017 Jack Baruth

When Mercedes-Benz brought the W201 platform here as the somewhat oddly named 190E 2.3, it was immediately nicknamed the “baby Benz.” The successor to that car, yclept “C-Class” to fit precisely within Daimler-Benz’s new idiot-compatible nomenclature, became known as the “Cheap-Class” at Mercedes-Benz dealerships.

The car you see above, piloted by Danger Girl at Sebring International Raceway in what was not a violation of the Hertz Dream Cars rental agreement, is no longer baby-sized. Nor is it particularly cheap at the as-tested price of just over $74,000. So what is it, exactly?

Well, it’s absurdly powerful; the Pep-Boys-style block “S” at the end of the C63 badge indicates a full 503 horsepower from a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. It’s remarkably well-equipped, although there are a few omissions about which one could gripe and I’ll discuss those below. It’s as competent as you’d expect, being the top-spec sedan version of a car that is surprisingly decent even in its poverty-spec, MB-Tex-equipped four-cylinder form.

Most of all, however, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S is a sharp reminder that AMG isn’t what it used to be, for better or for worse.

(Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

Dodge Demon Crate, Image: [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

The latest video born of the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon teaser saga boasts a “Demon Crate” — a box that comes with 18 components, including parts, spare wheels, a mysterious “Demon Track Pack System,” and tools emblazoned with the Demon logo.

Since we now know how the Demon shed its weight, what extra customization could the “Crate” bring?

(Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

2018 dodge srt hellcat demon

Things are getting downright kooky in Auburn Hills.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has become quite chatty in the past day, with company spokespersons confirming bizarre new details about the upcoming Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Apparently, the beastly LX-platform variant is a real stripper.

Yes, to shed as much weight as possible from the Challenger Hellcat’s considerable mass, the mysterious Demon with make do without many of the things we’ve come to associate with modern automobiles.

Including seats. (Read More…)

By on February 1, 2017

Chevy SS Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — might just be the best choice for that particular model. Here’s a candidate.

The selection for this week’s Ace of Base will likely surprise approximately zero percent of our reading population, given my known affinity for larger-than-necessary engines and interiors which comfortably house Large Persons.

The General introduced the SS arguably as a mea culpa to American gearheads who pined for the dearly departed Pontiac G8 GT. We’ll simply gloss over the missed opportunity which was the G8 ST, an apple pie and bald eagle variant of the excellent Holden Ute in Australia, lest I start weeping onto my keyboard.

(Read More…)

By on January 25, 2017

Ford GT Track

For the longest time, Ford was staunchly resistant to giving up details about the new Ford GT. With the automaker abandoning its 5.4 liter supercharged modular V8 for a 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6, everyone wanted to know the numbers. However, anytime someone asked for definitive specifications, Ford shrugged its shoulders. Then, today, the company gave us some numbers and proclaimed the second-generation 3.5-liter as its most powerful production EcoBoost to date, making the Ford GT the company’s fastest car to date.

Hold the phone. Are you telling us that the extremely expensive supercar that Ford specifically engineered to be the fastest vehicle in the company’s entire history somehow managed to out-perform cars like the Fiesta ST and Focus RS on a racetrack?

Absolutely incredible.  (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2016

money (401(k) 2012/Flickr)

For a company that prides itself on clean performance, a massive lawsuit and public claims of less-than-advertised power wasn’t great PR.

Tesla just swept an annoying bit of litigation into the dustbin of history by promising a different kind of green to 126 Norwegian owners, all the while claiming it did nothing wrong. (Read More…)

By on November 16, 2016

Alfa-Romeo-Stelvio-1

Automakers have an easy way of determining which new model is guaranteed to make the company money. If the answer to the simple question “Is it an SUV?” is a clear, definite “yes,” well, that’s a good enough indicator for most.

Alfa Romeo knows that in this day and age, not including an SUV in its lineup would be the kiss of death, hence the need for the 2018 Stelvio. Revealed in images on the eve of its Los Angeles Auto Show debut, the Stelvio borrows the face, platform and performance characteristics of its midsize sedan stablemate, the oft-delayed Giulia.

Sporting Italian lines that make vehicles built north of the Alps look frumpy and bureaucratic in comparison, Alfa Romeo also hopes the Stelvio temps buyers with what’s underneath its dress. (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2016

Mercedes-AMG E 63 S

The Mercedes-AMG E63 is a notoriously maniacal car, but Americans have been saddled with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive version while Europeans enjoyed the option of rear-wheel drive. That meant no ludicrous AMG-induced burnouts west of the Atlantic for E-Class customers.

Now everyone can have an all-wheel-drive AMG E63, and everyone — with the money — can also do glorious burnouts while proudly waving their various flags out the driver’s side window.

(Read More…)

By on September 29, 2016

New Civic Type R Prototype breaks cover in Paris

Honda has provided a glimpse of the U.S.-bound Civic Type R at the Paris Auto Show, albeit in concept form (though the automaker prefers the near-production term “prototype”).

This Type R — designed in Japan, built in the UK, and destined (at last) for America — uses the Civic Hatchback as a canvas, then adds every visual performance indicator the automaker could get its hands on. Reportedly, it will have the power to back up its looks. (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2016

2017 Nissan Sentra Turbo

Nissan is filling in all the unfilled niches today.

The automaker unveiled a turbocharged variant of the sensible and unexciting Sentra today at the Miami International Auto Show, promising a performance version of a sedan known mostly for its value and grocery capacity.

In doing so, Nissan implies that a hotter NISMO version is around the corner, while closing the casket lid on the IDx concept once and for all. (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2016

2017 Ford Fusion Sport

Ford hasn’t told us when we’ll see the 2017 Fusion Sport on dealer lots, but it does want us to know how the 325-horsepower sedan alters its personality.

The top-shelf performance variant of Ford’s midsize family hauler lets its hair down with the press of a single button, which switches seven settings from “Jekyll” mode to “Hyde.” (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2016

hyundai N Division

Hyundai’s plans to diversify the Elantra lineup continues apace, with the automaker dropping teaser images of the next GT hatch and posting a video of a possible N-badged high-performance variant.

Expect more maturity and style from the hatchback Elantra, and, if the automaker is really serious about its N Division, a turbocharged stick-shift funmobile with room for camping equipment. (Read More…)

By on August 23, 2016

2014 Ford Mustang GT500

Ford Mustangs are hot. They’re hot in America, and they’re unusually hot in Europe, too. People like driving them, and they sure as hell like talking about them. But it’s no secret that Ford thinks the Mustang isn’t hot enough, given its third-place standing in the pony car horsepower wars.

We’ve heard that Ford wants a Mustang to challenge the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, but a new report claims that the next Shelby GT500 will beat them both. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

General Motors just released pricing and performance figures for its 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, and unless Ford comes up with a hotter Mustang, it looks like Dodge still holds the domestic performance crown.

Billed as the most powerful production Camaro ever, the 650-horsepower ZL1 comes with an MSRP of $62,135 for coupe models, $69,135 for drop-tops. Lower-end models stand to benefit from Chevy’s 1LE performance package. (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2016

ford mustang 2017 shelby gt350

Ford plans to add top-shelf muscle to its Mustang lineup and take the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 down a peg.

Spy photos of a camouflaged Mustang variant published by Motor Authority shows a winged, high-performance beast that should appear in 2018. The existing Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is a hot number, but its power output doesn’t measure up to its Detroit competition. (Read More…)

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