By on May 14, 2019

In today’s episode of Surprising Bedfellows, we find the corporate duo of Hyundai/Kia throwing money in the general direction of Rimac. Technically titled Rimac Automobili, it’s the Croatian high-performance EV company known for making the outrageously fast Concept One supercar, a vehicle thrust into the public eye when Richard Hammond binned one at a Swiss hillclimb. That was a wreck from which he mercifully has recovered. Legend has it that the subsequent media exposure helped the company sell three units that same day.

Today, the EV company announced a $90 million partnership with the Korean giants. They’ll be working together to develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle.

Wait, what?

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2019

There’s no shortage of F Sport models populating the Lexus lineup, but those efforts amount to little more than an appearance package designed to foist some of the aura of the brand’s F performance division onto pedestrian models. There’s no additional power.

While the brand already has two F models in the form of the GS F and RC F, there’s groundwork afoot to identify the right crossover for F duty. Surely you’re not surprised. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2018

 

There are plenty of performance cars from the pages of history whose greatness has been recognized — Integra Type R, Focus RS, anything with GTI appended to its name. A few, however, have slipped through the cracks.

Time is kind to some cars, with their stock rising only long after they’ve gone out of production, but a few never get the recognition they deserve. I’ve got two examples right here … and they’re both from Detroit.

(Read More…)

By on September 20, 2018

Something needs to carry Cadillac’s performance banner into the future, and, with three of its four sedans slated for execution within the next year, GM’s luxury brand has decided the sole remaining car should be it. Tough decision, that one.

At least it’s not the XT5.

Late Wednesday, Cadillac announced the flagship CT6 V-Sport, bowing for the 2019 model year, will henceforth be known as the CT6-V. In the Cadillac stable, V-Sport models see a significant uptick in power, with the real scorching stuff carrying a -V signifier. Luckily, the CT6 V-Sport stands to gain an engine of considerable output when it arrives in the spring. (Read More…)

By on August 20, 2018

Hyundai has spend the majority of its life as a value company. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not a role that comes with a lot of prestige or upmarket appeal. It’s ready to grow up. However, for an automaker, part of growing up includes a performance line. Because you can’t be a serious carmaker if you don’t have an iconic brooch for specially designed vehicles — and the emblem that sporting Hyundais will wear is the mighty N.

Last year, Hyundai revealed the i30 N for the European market. This caused an uproar in North America because it appeared as if the company was producing something created for the sole purpose of besting the industry standard for hot hatchbacks — Volkswagen’s GTI. Fortunately, the South Korean brand decided to throw us a juicy bone by unveiling the Veloster N a short time later.

The model takes the i30 N’s 271-horsepower 2.0-liter engine and places it inside of a slightly different (more aggressive) body. Hyundai is confident it will be a success and, based on how things are playing out in Europe, it has every right to feel that way.  (Read More…)

By on July 18, 2018

Ford promised a gutsy middleweight crossover that it hopes will satisfy enthusiasts after the automaker finishes eliminating the majority of its sporting passenger car segment. For 2019, the Edge ST replaces the standard Sport trim — resulting in added performance and a higher price.

However, it seems like the inflated MSRP will be worthwhile. At $43,350, the Edge ST plays host to a specially tuned 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that generates 335 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque — a not immodest improvement over the Sport. It also gets a new eight-speed transmission, all-wheel drive, performance seats, and implements a specially tuned suspension. Considering all of that comes in at roughly $1,500 more than the trim it’s replacing, we’d say the Edge ST is looking like a bargain. (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2018

The final 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon rolled off the production line at Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton Assembly Plant on Wednesday. While the Ontario facility continues building the Chrysler 300, as well as Dodge’s Charger and Challenger, the drag-focused Demon’s time on Earth has passed.

Currently a black-on-black beast, the car will be repainted “Viper Red” before joining the last Dodge Viper ever made at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction. The duo will be part of a packaged lot, representing the final chance to own either vehicle with no miles on the odometer, with all proceeds from the sale benefitting the United Way.  (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2018

tesla model 3

If you had nothing better to do with your Saturday night than sit in front of the computer, you’re already well aware that the Tesla Model 3 — revealed in 2016 with a base price of $35,000 — will gain a $78,000 dual-motor performance variant, a speedier companion to the existing $44,000 Long Range model.

Currently, the LR is the only version rolling off Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly line.

So, what does this additional coinage get you? (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2018

2017 Hyundai Tucson - Image: Hyundai

Hamstrung by Chinese animosity towards South Korea and a crossover lineup that wasn’t sufficiently buffet-like, the Hyundai brand missed its global sales target by nearly 600,000 vehicles last year. It’s a well-reported slump, and we’ve told you about the automaker’s strategy to get its mojo back.

Crossovers, man. Lots and lots of crossovers.

While fleshing out its lineup of two- and three-row haulers seems like a perfectly reasonable plan in a world addicted to cargo volume, it looks like Hyundai’s not stopping there. Some buyers will surely want more power, and Hyundai’s prepared to deliver it. (Read More…)

By on February 7, 2018

Hyundai Veloster N

BMW has M, Mercedes-Benz has AMG, Cadillac has V, Lexus has F, Volkswagen and Honda share R, and Hyundai now has ownership of the letter N for its performance sub-brand.

The second-generation Hyundai Veloster, bowing for the 2019 model year, gains a hot, 275-horsepower N variant later this year, but it won’t be the only Hyundai model with that letter affixed to its sheetmetal. While the automaker hopes to use the Veloster N’s athleticism to brawn up the lineup’s image, don’t expect any additional N models just yet.

Expect N Sport. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2018

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Image: Ford/YouTube

Ford Mustang fans won’t have to settle for 526 horsepower for much longer. That’s currently the model’s headiest output, churned out by the 5.2-liter V8 found under the hood of the Shelby GT350.

In 2019, however, a new snake slithers into Dearborn. Rumored endlessly, the Shelby GT500 will return as “the most powerful street-legal production Ford ever,” the automaker claims. (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2018

With the Focus RS out of production and the Fiesta ST heading off into the sunset, Ford’s attainable performance stable was starting to look a little bare. Maybe it still is, depending on your reaction to the vehicle pictured above.

Regardless of how you feel, it’s happening. For 2019, the Blue Oval is slapping its performance badge onto the midsize Edge crossover, cranking up the power, swapping the transmission, and sending the model to the plastic surgeon for a facelift. It’s 2018, and this is apparently what we want. (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2017

Most readers of this site know exactly what an octane rating is and how it relates to the bang it provides in an engine. Hauling up to the pumps and being presented with a choice of everything from 87 to race gas is one of the benefits of living in America.

Higher octane fuel is more expensive than other grades and the gulf between regular and super-duper-extra premium is steadily increasing. Is it worth “treating” your car to a tank of high octane every now and then? The American Automobile Association says absolutely not — and they have the testing to back it up.

(Read More…)

By on October 30, 2017

2017 Honda Civic Type R - Image: Honda

Between Mopar’s 707-horsepower Hellcat engine and Honda’s 306-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter from the Civic Type R, the crate engine gods have smiled on both axles today.

Like Mopar, Honda took advantage of this week’s SEMA show in Las Vegas to announce the availability of the front-drive monster’s engine in standalone form. No doubt this news immediately inspired visions of the cobbled-together HR-V Type R you really wanted, but be warned. This engine comes with an asterisk. (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2017

toyota prius phv gr sport

Toyota is attempting to morph itself into an edgier, bolder, and sexier brand — to varying degrees of success. However, much of the company’s makeover has been purely cosmetic. The exception is Gazoo Racing, the automaker’s motorsport division and new in-house performance arm behind Toyota’s GR-series passenger cars.

Interestingly, Gazoo literally means “image” in Japanese and some of the upgraded models have been about little else. Still, some of the limited edition cars look like hoonable maniacs when compared to the base unit. The supercharged Yaris GRMN (Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring) with over 200 horsepower is a prime example.

Aiming to go more mainstream, Toyota has decided to unfurl a range of GR and GR Sport models that won’t be handicapped by limited production numbers. Among them is the bewildering Prius Prime GR Sport, a hot hatch variant of the economy-minded hybrid. Toyota has officially lost its mind.  (Read More…)

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