By on August 17, 2017

2017 BMW Z4 Roadster Concept - Image: BimmerfileThis is not the next BMW Z4.

But it’s very likely an accurate portrayal of what the production version of BMW’s third-generation Z4 (and successor to the Z3) will look like when it goes on sale next year.

Love it or hate it, the BMW Roadster Concept that BMW will officially unveil in Pebble Beach later today is an eye-catching followup to the departing Z4 that appeared eight years ago. Now we wait to see whether the next Z4, which shares its underpinnings with the reborn Toyota Supra, will attract any buyers.

U.S. sales of the Z4 plunged by more than 90 percent between 2003 and 2015.  (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2017

2017 McLaren 720S - Image: McLarenOn the one hand, you have Horacio Pagani, founder of Pagani Automobili, who builds some of the world’s most exotic supercars but says of the Porsche 918, “Porsche is the greatest — beyond a doubt. I own a 918.”

Speaking of his own Ferrari F12 tdf’s arrival, Pagani says, “When I uncovered the car and saw the Ferrari logo, I had the urge to kiss it.”

“I was the first to order it in Europe,” Pagani says of the new Ford GT. “I like the fact AMG is making a car with F1 technology,” Pagani says of the Mercedes-AMG Project One. “I will buy one.”

Pagani’s openness toward competing supercars is refreshing.

On the other hand, McLaren’s chief engineer for the brand’s “entry-level” Sports Series cars, Paul Burnham, tells CarAdvice, “At McLaren, we like to think we’ve got the only authentic sports car setup in the market.”

They wear their Union Jacks with pride in Woking. (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2017

Ferrari Dino 206 GT - Image: Ferrari2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Ferrari’s V6-engined Dino, an entry-level Ferrari that never actually wore Ferrari’s prancing horse badge.

With challenging regulatory environments and emissions targets to meet, 2018 surely seems like a fine time to resurrect the Dino name and concept. Yet it appears far more likely Ferrari will look to burst through its 10,000-unit annual production barrier with an FUV, rather than a Dino that, Automotive News reports, would likely be priced 20-percent below the current entry-level Ferrari.

The California T stickers from $202,723.

“We need to explore ways to attract customers to traditional values of the brand such as style, performance and engine sound before downgrading the entry level price for the brand,” Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne told analysts.

Downgrade. Pfft. Downgrading is for Porsche and McLaren.
(Read More…)

By on August 1, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT - Image: FordLike a good neighbor, Ford Mustang is there.

We noticed last week that Ford’s more costly 2018 Ford Mustang GT offers an $895 Active Valve Performance Exhaust option. Only now, however, do we know just what that performance exhaust system entailed.

Sure, it can be loud, but the 2018 Mustang GT’s optional exhaust is more than just a baffle that opens under heavy throttle. Now you can hush your Mustang at the crack of dawn to avoid waking Dan and Mary next door; the pesky neighbors who mow their lawn at 8 a.m. on Saturdays but hate everything about your all-American muscle car. (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2017

2018 Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition previewed at New York Internat - Image: NissanNissan has revealed that modest improvements to the 2018 Nissan 370Z will not result in any increase to the 370Z’s base price.

In the United States, 370Z pricing will start once again at $30,875, including an $885 destination and handling charge. But Nissan believes the 2018 370Z, while still very much the same sixth-generation car it’s been since the 2010 model year, is better than the 2017 car.

You can’t get a manual transmission in a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS. You can’t get a manual transmission in a Ferrari 488 GTB. Yet for its ninth model year, Nissan saw fit to improve the 370Z’s manual experience.

How ’bout that? (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

2017_mazda_mx5_rf_soul_red_7Got $2,755?

That’s how much extra coin Mazda wants in order to swap out the 2017 MX-5 Miata’s soft top, install a pair of buttresses, and replace the soft top with a foldable, targa-style hard top.

You’re not just paying $2,755 extra for the seasonal benefits of a hard top. At least half of those two-thousand-seven-hundred-and-fifty-five additional dollars are surely attributed to the RF’s sense of style. Love it or loathe it, the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF is a far more eye-catching car than the regular, fourth-generation MX-5.

Nevertheless, the MX-5 Retractable Fastback, which isn’t a fastback and doesn’t have a retractable roof, would be a distinctly more enticing proposition if it could save Miata buyers $2,755, rather than cost Miata buyers an additional $2,755. (Read More…)

By on June 30, 2017

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS - Image: PorscheIf you’re going to spend $294,250 on a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS, revealed today at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, you undoubtedly are a Porschephile with high expectations.

That’s why Porsche, having already jettisoned the six-speed manual transmission for a faster-shifting, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, has removed the concept of shifting altogether. What can shift faster than a continuously variable transmission, which doesn’t have to shift at all?

911 GT2s have always been a handful in the wet because of Porsche’s need to distinguish the GT2 from the all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo. That’s unacceptable now, so Porsche has made the CVT-equipped 911 GT2 a front-wheel-drive car. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang GT V8 - Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company, in a tremendously public product planning moment, revealed at the beginning of 2017 that the automaker would produce an F-150 Hybrid, Transit plug-in hybrid, and a Mustang Hybrid by 2020.

Then-CEO Mark Fields said at the time, “Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles.” But now that Ford revealed plans for the 2020 Mustang Hybrid, the Blue Oval has a three-year gap in which to talk about a car that doesn’t yet exist.

How to talk about it now, three years prior to launch? Ford Canada is placing promoted ads on Twitter that are endlessly popping up in my feed.

The Mustang Hybrid is not shown. But the future earns a prominent mention. (Read More…)

By on June 20, 2017

2017 Audi TTS profile - Image: © Timothy CainAs an automobile journalist, I’m supposed to qualify certain statements.

This car is gorgeous, I might say, but only with an asterisk that denotes beauty being in the eye of the beholder. This car is gorgeous, I might say, but not as gorgeous as its predecessors, and then I’d draw your attention to the fine print where I describe my lack of a fine arts degree.

Whatever.

The 2017 Audi TTS is gorgeous. Even more stunning than the exterior is the interior.

Yet just because the third-generation TT continues to major in the arts doesn’t mean Audi completely forgot to educate the TT in the modern STEM curriculum.

The Audi TT has always been focused more on style than substance. But the 2017 TTS is more than just a pretty face. (Read More…)

By on June 16, 2017

2017 Toyota 86 sunset - Image: ToyotaFive years have passed since the Scion FR-S — known elsewhere as the Toyota GT86 and known now in America as the Toyota 86 (and at Subaru as the BRZ) — arrived in America. Buyers, never particularly numerous to begin with, are few and far between. Toyota now sells 62 percent fewer Toyota 86s in America than the Scion FR-S managed during its first year.

You expect to see sports cars peak early and then gradually fade. The degree to which the Toyota 86 née Scion FR-S has faded, however, has been more than a little striking. FR-S/86 sales have fallen so far, so fast, that U.S. car buyers are now ten times more likely to acquire a new Chevrolet Camaro, three times more likely to acquire a new Volkswagen Golf GTI, and twice as likely to acquire a new Mazda MX-5.

But is the Toyota 86 deserving of such rejection? Not according to a just-completed CAR Magazine comparison test in which the five-year-old Toyota claimed victory — ahead of the Mazda MX-5 RF and BMW 2 Series. (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2017

2017 Ford Mustang RHD Australia - Image: Ford Australia

Thanks to the appeal of a modern independent rear suspension and the availability of right-hand drive, the sixth-generation Ford Mustang has encountered far greater global appeal than any Mustang before it.

The latest country to take a real liking to the Mustang is Down Under, where Australians are buying more Mustangs than any other Ford save the Ranger.

And it’s a good thing they are. While U.S. sales of Mustang plunged 28 percent in the first five months of 2017, production at Mustang’s Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant hasn’t been forced to slow down nearly that much. Through the first-third of 2017, Ford built only 4-percent fewer Mustangs than in the same period last year.

Put another Mustang on the barbie, indeed. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

tvr griffith

It’s exciting times for the independent British automaker. TVR, which reappeared on the automotive scene in 2013 after an absence of seven years, plans to unveil a production sports car in September.

Apparently, many TVR aficionados were itching for an opportunity to get their hands on a boutique vehicle from the low-volume automaker, money in hand. When the company showcased a prototype at a private event, hundreds ponied up deposits for a vehicle that might appear bearing a familiar name. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

2015-Corvette-Z06-rear-spoiler

Maybe the answer’s a no-brainer, but perhaps it’s more complicated than that. We’re living in an era where traditional norms no longer apply to the auto industry.

Yesterday, we told you how ex-General Motors product man Bob Lutz is totally open to the idea of turning Corvette into its own brand — a progression of an opinion he’s held for years. Corvette needn’t offer just two-seat hardtops and convertibles, at least not in this day and age, he claims. SUVs are simply too big to ignore, and everybody’s doing it, don’t you know?

Maybe Corvette aficionados don’t want to leave those checkered flags in the garage when they pick up the kids at soccer practice. And what about those times when Home Depot is closing in 14 minutes and you really need that slab of particle board? (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2017

All Porsche 911 Turbos - Image: Porsche

Meet the new Porsche 911, Porsche will say in two years, same as the old Porsche 911. Same as the 911 before that, which was same as the old 911 before that and, well, you get the picture.

If you’re looking for the kind of revolutionary design changeover seen when Ford introduced a new Mustang in 2005 or Dodge unveiled a new Ram for 1994 or Hyundai debuted the 2011 Sonata, you’re looking at the wrong automaker.

This is the Porsche 911 we’re talking about, the car that causes other automakers to believe they, too, can merely tinker with existing models to please loyalists and protect their resale values. (We’re looking at you, Chevrolet Camaro.) This is the Porsche 911, a car that still carries its engine where Camrys carry groceries. This is the Porsche 911, a vibrant $90,450–201,450 ode to success that sells more often than budget-minded Toyota sports cars and Buick convertibles.

There’s absolutely no reason to change it. As a result, the Porsche 911 that will drop in 2019, CAR Magazine has revealed, will scarcely be distinguishable from the outgoing 911. (Read More…)

By on February 4, 2017

2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO, Image: Nissan

Nissan is finally ready to give us a look at the next-generation Z sports car — and just in time, too.

According to a report from Japan’s Best Car magazine, the Japanese automaker will unveil a Z concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show in October. Earlier rumors suggested a next-generation Z car could take the form of a crossover, based on Nissan UK’s Gripz Concept, but it seems it’ll be a traditional rear-wheel-drive coupe with similar proportions to the current car.

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