By on March 7, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Tesla, the upstart electric automaker who reminds your author of that person you knew in high school who existed in a perpetual cloud of drama, wants Tesla owners to juice up their cars in a hurry. Recharging times are one factor behind the slow adoption of EVs in North America (cost, range, and recharging availability being the others), so the automaker plans to ensure their time at the Supercharger station doesn’t go overlong.

Expect 75 miles in 5 minutes, Tesla claims. (Read More…)

By on February 18, 2019

It wasn’t too long ago that four-cylinder engines were the domain of miserable econoboxes. Look no further than the wretched-but-reliable Iron Duke for proof of four-pot motoring misery.

These days, it’s a very different story. Four-bangers are found in everything from high performance sports cars to burly half-ton pickup trucks. We’re already in the realm of 400 hp examples of the breed (the new AMG A45, et al), so for today’s question let’s go one step further: who’ll be the first to build a 500 hp four-cylinder engine for the general public?

(Read More…)

By on October 31, 2018

It’ll have not escaped your notice that the performance arm of FCA is currently going all-in on horsepower. Numbers cresting the 700 mark currently reside in SUVs, while the march towards the stratosphere continues in the Challenger. I firmly believe that, even at 840 horsepower, they haven’t yet reached the upper limits of what a speed-crazed Mopar fan can buy right off the showroom floor.

If that same fan is willing to deal with the “some assembly required” mantra, they can now treat themselves to Mopar’s new Hellephant engine — a supercharged beast making 1,000 horsepower.

(Read More…)

By on September 17, 2018

2000 Mercedes-Benz C230 in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

During my junkyard travels, I see plenty of highzoot European luxury sedans, as once the owner of one of these complex masterpieces of technology stops getting every problem fixed, they depreciate down to hooptie-Sentra price levels in a hurry.

Today’s Junkyard Find is a fairly clean 21st-century C-Class with some rough edges, discarded because it’s not worth spending $2,500 for some minor mechanical repair on a car that’s worth $1,800. (Read More…)

By on December 19, 2017

[Image: Tesla Motors]

I didn’t learn about the “California No” until I started writing about cars. I was raised on the East Coast, where people have no trouble saying “No” whatsoever. There’s even a song about it. In Ohio, people might be apologetic about it but they will still forthrightly tell you, “I’m sorry, I’m not going to buy from you,” or “I don’t want to meet with you about that.”

That’s not how California works. The so-called “California No” is simply a drawn-out pas de deux in which someone avoids responding directly to your question because they are unwilling to directly refuse or reject you. Supposedly, the California No and the Asian No are related. I couldn’t say. All I can tell you is that I have zero patience for the California No, particularly when it comes from people working in the automotive PR or journalism “spaces,” and I will make attempts to California-No me as uncomfortable as humanly possible, without exception.

To this fine Golden State institution, you can now add the related “California Prohibit,” which is best exemplified by Tesla’s new directive regarding “commercial” use of its Supercharger facilities.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2017

Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine produces 707 ho

Dodge dropped another Demon teaser today and many are theorizing that the license plate shown in the video might confirm all-wheel drive for the new high-performance car. The speculation is being fueled by confirmation that the Demon will wear the same size tire on all four corners, as well as a license plate displayed at the end of today’s teaser video.

The plate shows “#[email protected]”, which Car and Driver speculates to mean the Demon will produce 2,576 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm at each driven wheel. While that’s a fair assumption, I believe the plate tells us something entirely different.

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2015

Porsche Mission E

Porsche announced its all-electric four-door concept sedan at the Frankfurt Auto Show, complete with 15-minute charging (to 80 percent) and 310-mile overall range. There’s also some holographic and emoticon blather, but we’ll get to that later.

According to Porsche, the Mission E will use two electric motors with a combined output of 600 horsepower to power the car up to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The car’s 800-volt charger would be a first for electric cars, and would help the car charge up to 80 percent in 15 minutes. According to Tesla, the Model S takes about 30 minutes to charge up to 80 percent for similar range.

Porsche didn’t say when (or even if) the car would make it into production, but it’s likely that something very much like it will be heading our way soon. Maybe this will be a new Panamera?

(Read More…)

By on July 1, 2015

2016 Mazda MX-5

First it was the Toyobaru triplets. Now it’s the MX-5.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto, program manager for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, has crushed the dreams of those looking for more factory horsepower from the fourth-generation roadster. In short, if you want to “get hung up on numbers,” look elsewhere.

(Read More…)

By on June 8, 2015

Top-Gear-Live-Richard-Hammond-and-James-May

As Richard Hammond and James May wrap up the “lost episodes” of Top Gear sans Jeremy Clarkson, the three are rumored to be heading to Netflix with the unsuspended pair turning down deals worth 4 million GBP.

Here’s what caught our eyes over the weekend.

(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2015

03 - 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

We had Volkswagen Junkyard Finds all last week, and this week we’re going to have 21st Century Junkyard Finds. To start things off, how about a genuine, numbers-matching, 240-supercharged-horses-havin’ sixth-gen Pontiac Grand Prix? (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2014

Tesla Supercharger Night Party

Hyundai’s head of U.S. product planning Michael O’Brien may have written a check his mouth can’t cash when he claimed Tesla’s Supercharger network was paid with taxpayer dollars.

(Read More…)

By on May 2, 2014

img-0219

Here’s a blunt statement for you: If you don’t have at least a 240V charger in your home, or plan on getting one very quickly, or live very near (10 minutes or less) to a Supercharger, do not buy a Model S. I hate to say that because I love this car. But charging without having a charger at home is frustrating and/or expensive.

I live in San Francisco and commute to Mountain View. For all the talk of this being the official car of the Bay Area Tech Douche, there are few convenient chargers available in the Palo Alto or Mountain View area. The nearest Supercharger is in Fremont, which is 30-40 minutes away – more if there’s traffic.

(Read More…)

By on April 22, 2014

Model S - Tesla Motors China

Though Tesla is now just delivering new vehicles to China, CEO Elon Musk predicts his company will build luxury electric vehicles in the burgeoning market within the next three to four years.

(Read More…)

By on February 10, 2014

tesla-model-s-03

During a Tesla townhall meeting at the automaker’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, CEO Elon Musk announced to owners that an all-wheel drive version of the vaunted S would arrive in showrooms by the early months of 2015 at the latest.

(Read More…)

By on January 29, 2014

Volvo Drive-E Engine, 2.0L twincharged, Picturre courtesy of Volvo

Engine downsizing is all the rage. Making the engine smaller increases fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and cuts vehicle weight. With ever tightening fuel economy legislation in the United States and CO2 emissions regulation in the European Union, mainline manufacturers are turning to turbochargers like never before. In 2009 just 5% of cars sold in America sported turbos, and that 5% consisted largely of European brands like Volvo and BMW with a long history of forced induction. By 2013 that number had more than doubled to 13%. Honeywell expects the number to rise to 25% in the next four years and the EPA tells me that by 2025 they expect 90% of cars sold in America to sport a turbo engine. With turbos becoming so ordinary, what’s a turbo pioneer like Volvo do to keep a competitive edge? Add a supercharger of course.

(Read More…)

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