Tag: Turbo

By on January 19, 2016

2016 Lexus IS 200t Exterior

Lexus has tended to prefer conservative design in almost every aspect of product development. Words like reliable and dependable usually spring to mind before sporty or exciting.

Yet, the brand has been trying to change that over the last few years with love-it-or-hate-it designs; in particular, Lexus’ new “Predator mouth.” The changes aren’t simply skin deep. The current-generation IS sedan also stepped outside the luxury brand’s comfort zone with sharp handling and a focus on dynamics. Of course, this is Lexus we’re talking about, so this change in a more aggressive direction is happening at, you guessed it, a conservative pace.

Now in its third year of production, the third-generation IS isn’t getting a refresh like we’d typically see in from ze Germans. Instead, Lexus has decided to focus its attention under the hood with a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a de-tuned V-6 for mid-level shoppers.

Can a refreshed drivetrain help the IS stand out in a crowded segment? Let’s find out.

(Read More…)

By on January 11, 2016

00 - 1991 Dodge Shadow in California junkyard - photo by Murilee Martin

The Dodge Shadow was one of many, many versions of the Chrysler-saving K Platform, and it sold in fairly large quantities before being replaced by the Neon. As recently as five years ago, Shadows and their Plymouth Sundance siblings were among the most numerous Chryslers in American wrecking yards, but massive numbers of Sebrings have replaced them nowadays. I ignore most of these cars when I see them, but I can’t resist photographing examples with excessively 1990s tape stripes and decals or super-stripper no-option packages.

Today we’ll be looking at a car that puts turbocharging, overwrought 1990s tape graphics, a convertible top, and fire damage all in one K-car package. (Read More…)

By on December 1, 2015

911 Turbo S und 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

Proving that all turbo Porsches aren’t created equal, Porsche announced Tuesday its eye-wateringly expensive 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S hardtop and droptop versions that make up to 580 horsepower and dropkick the car from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds.

In the trunk is Porsche’s 3.8-liter flat-six married to twin turbochargers that spin up 540 horsepower in the Turbo and 580 hp in the Turbo S (20 more than the outgoing models). The Turbo produces 523 pound-feet of twist (553 pound-feet on overboost in the Turbo S) on the way up to its 7,000 rpm redline (7,200 in the Turbo S). Porsche didn’t directly specify its gearbox, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the new 911 Turbo will only come with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic because of course it will.

Both cars for the first time feature a quasi-antilag turbo system that reduces delay from the turbos by interrupting the fuel injection during changes in throttle position, according to the automaker.

(Read More…)

By on November 20, 2015


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Adios Amigo…

Farewell to our Ford Sierra’s reasonably adequate, high compression and emissions free 2-liter Pinto motor because it’s time to visit Lima, Ohio — not Peru — with a bonus question for the truly tech-savvy among the B&B.

(Read More…)

By on November 11, 2015

1983 Volvo 240 GLT Turbo

It seems we have a theme this week on the Digestible Collectible/Crapwagon Outtake beat. IT’S SWEDEN WEEK! Throw back some akvavit, heat up some meatballs, plug in an ABBA 8-track, and let’s look at another sweet Scandinavian hotrod of the ’80s.

No, I really didn’t plan this. I don’t think I can come up with another Swedish car for Friday anyhow, unless someone can find me a barn-find Koenigsegg, or perhaps a couple BILLY bookcases powered by a Husqvarna chainsaw engine. I have been looking for a clean Volvo wagon to feature for some time, as I have occasional fond memories of the 745 I briefly owned before my wife attempted to set a Great Lakes record in the conrod toss.

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s two of my cars my dearest has obliterated via external combustion.

(Read More…)

By on November 9, 2015

2016 Kia Sorento Limited Exterior

Kia gained a well-deserved reputation in the ’90s for cheap and nasty transportation, but lately they are the greatest social climber since Cinderella. “2016 Kia” and “1996 Kia” are totally different from one another. Even “2006 Kia” seems like a distant memory.

Unusual for a car company, Kia doesn’t shy away from its troubled beginnings in America, which can be seen both in its marketing toward the press and in its product portfolio.

The 2016 Sorento is a perfect example. While the model we were lent for a week is a solid contender to the Ford Edge, Toyota Highlander and even the Acura MDX, Kia also sells a model priced at $24,900, just above the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape.

Does this make the Sorento conflicted? Or is the Korean born, German designed and American built crossover the “just right” CUV?

(Read More…)

By on November 9, 2015

1988 Saab 900 SPG

The contrast was so stark, it was breathtaking.

Dad was driving his company car, some sort of GM A-Body, as we pulled into the parking lot of a golf course north of Columbus. Golf, of course, is another hobby my dad introduced me to that is as sure as car collecting to drive me into debilitating debt. Anyhow, we were meeting a friend of his for a weekend round, and we parked next to his new Saab.

I was blown away. Of course, I read all of the car magazines, so I knew what a Saab was, but dad’s buddy had a 900 SPG — the high-performance, limited edition hot Swede. Black, with grey three-spoke wheels just like the car shown above. The buff book photos did not do the car justice. It’s such a vivid memory of a not-that-exotic car that is so overwhelming.

(Read More…)

By on October 19, 2015

2016 Volvo XC90 Exterior-001

Many of you have asked why we bother to review a car we’ve already reviewed based on a few hours at a launch event. The all-new 2016 Volvo XC90 is a textbook example of why more time with a car allows for a more complete review.

At launch events, you have no time to perform acceleration or brake tests of a vehicle (and, of course, you aren’t testing the car on the same circuit that the rest of the cars have been tested upon) and you have no ability to drive the competition back-to-back to get a sense of comparison. There is a reason that first drive reviews tend to be fact based: it’s hard to review a car in a vacuum.

So why is the XC90 a textbook example? Because of my own biases. Biases are interesting things. They can blind you to a car’s faults, or they can lead you to overcompensate and find fault.

After digesting my time with the XC90, I started falling into the latter camp. Edmunds 0-60 tested the XC90 and found it slower than expected. I started wondering if I had been wearing rose-colored glasses and asked myself: “Was it really that good?” Therefore, I had to get my hand on one again so I could run it through our battery of tests and drive it on my own for a week to find the answer.

The answer: It is better.

(Read More…)

By on October 19, 2015

15 - 1984 Mitsubishi Starion Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

Many of us laugh at the Starion now, but it was considered genuinely badass by me and my high-school peers back in 1983 or 1984. It looked fast and mean and had the magical-in-the-1980s word “TURBO” on every possible surface.

Of course, it was also a flaky, breakdown-prone money pit, but it took a few years for that to become clear to everyone. Still, Starions show up in self-service wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a battered ’84 that I saw in the San Francisco Bay Area a while back. (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2015

2016 Honda Civic Sedan Touring

While Honda has traditionally been a company of engineers pushing the boundaries of their know how, the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine in the 10th generation Civic almost didn’t happen for 2016 due to some reluctance within the company, reported Automotive News on Sunday.

The new mill was initially slated to be offered as part of a mid-cycle refresh in 2017 or 2018 (possibly for the 2018 or 2019 model years), but with the Civic getting such a thorough overhaul, key people involved in the Civic project made a case for the turbo engine to be offered earlier.

“The thinking was that the new Civic needs this engine to go where we want it to go, to make this model such a leapfrog event, such a strong competitor, not just in North America but around the world,” Gary Evert, the Civic’s chief engineer and North American development leader, told AN.

(Read More…)

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