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Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Dear Lincoln and BMW, Please Stop Being So Pathetic

Man, this has been a rough week. Automotive-wise. The Los Angeles Auto Show sucked on so many levels. I haven’t seen so many crossovers in one place since the Soccer Mom Annual Meeting. Oh wait, that doesn’t sound right. Give me a minute here… Since the… uhm… wait, I got it… since the… Ah, screw it, I’m not in a mood for jokes. It just sucks! Then there’s the Urus, which isn’t a real Lamborghini and everyone gets excited as if they just launched the second-generation Miura. Do millennials even know what a Miura is? But the worst thing about this year’s L.A. show is that some automakers were set to remind me that press releases have more bullshit than a dairy farm.

Stop calling mild facelifts “brand-new,” you half-baked hippies! You’re not fooling anyone.

Yeah, they’re at it again. Especially Lincoln and BMW. The American brand, which is struggling to stay afloat these days, just launched a mid-cycle facelift for the MKC with a new front grille. That’s it, a new grille! And they call it “new” with a “commanding new design.” Hello?! It’s a new grille, not a new car. Now repeat after me: a new grille doesn’t make the entire car new. But wait, there’s more. Lincoln also introduced the Nautilus, a brand-new SUV according to the company’s PR division. Except it’s not new. It’s the MKX with a new grille and a new name. Hey, I like the fact that you’re using actual names now Lincoln, but it’s not a brand-new car! I can’t change my name and pretend I’m a new person. Okay, I can actually do that, but I may be spending my final years in a nuthouse. And trust me, the nuthouse isn’t good for business; there’s no room for a car production line in there.

But Lincoln isn’t the only company pretending customers are stupid. BMW also called the facelifted i8 new. Sure, the Roadster version is new indeed, but the coupe is identical to the car launched in 2014, save for the wheels, mildly revised headlamps and taillights, and the 12 extra horsepower. This is the most pathetic facelift I’ve seen in years. It’s not a new car, just a BRAND-NEW way to be lazy and pathetic! Go home BMW; you’re drunk!

References

Lincoln MKC


2019 Lincoln MKC - image 746611

Read our full review on the 2019 Lincoln MKC.

Lincoln Nautilus


Lincoln Updates MKX at L.A. Auto Show, Renames it Nautilus - image 747903

Read more about the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus.

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748136

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8.


2018 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748125

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon The Urus Is Cool and All, But It’s Not a Lamborghini!

The much-anticipated Lamborghini Urus is finally official. It looks like a Lambo, it’s fast as a sports car, and it’s more aggressive than any SUV out there. Whoopee! But there’s a tiny problem: the Urus is not a Lambo. Yeah, I know it has a bull badge, but this doesn’t make it a Lamborghini. A Prius with a Lambo badge is still a Toyota, right? “But this SUV was designed and built by Lamborghini,” you might say. Well, I can’t argue with that, but the Urus simply doesn’t feel like a Lambo. It’s brutal and delivers outstanding performance, but it needs more than that to be a Lambo.

For starters, it needs to sound like one. And the Urus doesn’t!

Of course, the responsibility for the SUV’s underwhelming exhaust note falls on the shoulders of the 4.0-liter V-8. It may generate an exciting 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque and help the SUV hit 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds, to go with a top speed of 190 mph, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive sounding as the Huracan or Aventador. It doesn’t come as a surprise. We’re talking about a twin-turbo V-8 versus naturally aspirated V-10 and V-12 units. Turbos may be good for fuel economy and all that jazz but they won’t make a V-8 sound as terrifying as a V-12. And, let’s face it, a Lamborghini needs to sound terrifying. It’s what makes a Lambo a Lambo.

Continue reading for the full story.

I’m Not Ready for Lambo’s V-8 Future

The fact that it fits into the lineup by design kinda saves it a little bit. Unlike theLM002, Lambo’s first utility vehicle and a miserable failure, the Urus was designed to do just that. Fit it with the Huracan and Aventador but provide more passenger and luggage room, two features that the supercars have in very limited supply. As an SUV, the Urus is just what the doctored ordered, and it will probably sell like hotcakes (the Porsche Cayenne story all over again). But, it lacks one vital element: the exhaust note.

Just check out this video:

Kinda sounds like a Mercedes-AMG C63. Not kidding, just hit the 7:00-minute mark below:

I’m pretty sure a BMW M5 sounds just as aggressive, but I’m too lazy to look for videos.

So yeah, the Urus is just a cool SUV. It’s as cool as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. And, there’s a big change: it’s a bit slower. Ratings for the new Turbo S aren’t yet available, but given that the previous model needed 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph, the updated model should be at least two tenths quicker. See, you don’t even need a Lambo badge to make a cool SUV.

References

Lamborghini Urus


2019 Lamborghini Urus - image 749811

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.


2012 Lamborghini Urus - image 451044

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Urus Concept.


1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 - image 737272

Read our full review on the 1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002.

PostHeaderIcon The Urus Is Cool and All, But It’s Not a Lamborghini!

The much-anticipated Lamborghini Urus is finally official. It looks like a Lambo, it’s fast as a sports car, and it’s more aggressive than any SUV out there. Whoopee! But there’s a tiny problem: the Urus is not a Lambo. Yeah, I know it has a bull badge, but this doesn’t make it a Lamborghini. A Prius with a Lambo badge is still a Toyota, right? “But this SUV was designed and built by Lamborghini,” you might say. Well, I can’t argue with that, but the Urus simply doesn’t feel like a Lambo. It’s brutal and delivers outstanding performance, but it needs more than that to be a Lambo.

For starters, it needs to sound like one. And the Urus doesn’t!

Of course, the responsibility for the SUV’s underwhelming exhaust note falls on the shoulders of the 4.0-liter V-8. It may generate an exciting 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque and help the SUV hit 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds, to go with a top speed of 190 mph, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive sounding as the Huracan or Aventador. It doesn’t come as a surprise. We’re talking about a twin-turbo V-8 versus naturally aspirated V-10 and V-12 units. Turbos may be good for fuel economy and all that jazz but they won’t make a V-8 sound as terrifying as a V-12. And, let’s face it, a Lamborghini needs to sound terrifying. It’s what makes a Lambo a Lambo.

Continue reading for the full story.

I’m Not Ready for Lambo’s V-8 Future

The fact that it fits into the lineup by design kinda saves it a little bit. Unlike theLM002, Lambo’s first utility vehicle and a miserable failure, the Urus was designed to do just that. Fit it with the Huracan and Aventador but provide more passenger and luggage room, two features that the supercars have in very limited supply. As an SUV, the Urus is just what the doctored ordered, and it will probably sell like hotcakes (the Porsche Cayenne story all over again). But, it lacks one vital element: the exhaust note.

Just check out this video:

Kinda sounds like a Mercedes-AMG C63. Not kidding, just hit the 7:00-minute mark below:

I’m pretty sure a BMW M5 sounds just as aggressive, but I’m too lazy to look for videos.

So yeah, the Urus is just a cool SUV. It’s as cool as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. And, there’s a big change: it’s a bit slower. Ratings for the new Turbo S aren’t yet available, but given that the previous model needed 3.8 seconds to hit 60 mph, the updated model should be at least two tenths quicker. See, you don’t even need a Lambo badge to make a cool SUV.

References

Lamborghini Urus


2019 Lamborghini Urus - image 749811

Read our full review on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.


2012 Lamborghini Urus - image 451044

Read our full review on the Lamborghini Urus Concept.


1986 - 1993 Lamborghini LM002 - image 737272

Read our full review on the 1986-1993 Lamborghini LM002.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Tesla Needs to Learn that Hype and Fast Cars don’t Pay the Bills

2020 Tesla Roadster

I don’t know about you, but I had way too much Tesla Roadster in my feed this week. If I read one more of those “oh my god, 1.9 seconds to 60 mph” I will probably puke. Heck, I actually feel like puking right now, but I popped in to say “I told you so!” In my previous rant, I slammed the second-generation Roadster and its incredible performance features for being Elon Musk’s desperate attempt to bring in some cash without actually giving something in return. Although the Roadster won’t be available until 2020, Tesla is asking $50,000 for preorders of the regular model and a full $250,000 down payment for the Founders Series. With the latter limited to 1,000 units, we’re talking at least $250 million from preorders for a car that’s three years away. And I’m not even including the Semi truck.

Tesla is in big trouble financially, and making matters worse is the fact that it can’t deliver new products. The Model 3 is behind schedule a few months, with orders for non-Tesla employees opened this month. But customers who have already ordered one won’t get it anytime soon, with full production to commence in March. If we are to believe Tesla of course because more delays are very likely. And the company is losing money big time. What’s more, according to Bloomberg, Tesla spent no less than $4.2 billion over the past 12 months. That’s $8,000 a minute or nearly half a million bucks an hour!

Keep reading for the full story.

The Massive Hemorrhage Behind the Hype


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746110
“Tesla may be all bells and whistles when it comes to performance figures, but a carmaker cannot survive on numbers”

Tesla may be all bells and whistles when it comes to performance figures, but a carmaker cannot survive on numbers. Likewise, it can’t survive on unveilings and rolling prototypes or concept cars. Tesla needs to roll out cars and needs to do it fast. And things are going as planned. While some customers complain about quality issues with the Model S and Model X, the Model 3, the company’s much-promised affordable EV, won’t be available until next year, despite initial plans to offer it in 2017.

And this is why Tesla is basically trying to survive with the hype that surrounds it and by previewing impressive, high-priced vehicles with expensive preorder tags. Elon Musk is effectively trying to keep the company afloat until the Model 3 arrives in dealerships and starts bringing in the much-needed cash. Sure, this strategy is far from unusual. It’s what most automakers do, and it’s precisely how many carmakers survive. But while giants like GM and Chrysler have managed to survive a bankruptcy, Tesla may not.


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746106
“Tesla's current cash reserves won't last beyond August 2018”

Another problem is that at the current spendings rate, Tesla’s current cash reserves won’t last beyond August 2018. Of course, the Model 3 might bring in more cash until then, as will preorders for the Roadster II and Semi truck, but if something goes wrong and the Model 3 is again delayed, Tesla may run into a lot of trouble financially. But assuming that things will go as planned over the next few months and the Model 3 rolls out on time and saves the company, Tesla may have similar issues when the Roadster and the Semi need to go into production. The company is obviously trying to do more than it can at this point, and this strategy could prove disastrous at some point.

Unless things pick up fast, Tesla may have the same fate as Fisker Automotive. And it would be tragic for the auto industry to lose a carmaker that has made tremendous progress in the EV field. But Musk needs to realize that hype and impressive performance figures won’t pay the bills.

References

Tesla Roadster


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 745807

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Roadster.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon The New Corvette ZR1 Is the Mel Brooks of Sports Cars

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

When you’ve been around as long as I have, you realize that cinematography is going downhill. Yes, I know, new movies have a ton of cool special effects and CGI is getting better and better, but movies have been lacking substance for decades now. The fingers on my two hands are enough to count the great movies I’ve seen in recent decades. The rest of them… well, the same cliches and expensive struggles to make up for the lack of originality with fancy special effects and computer-generated imagery. This might piss you off, but all those superhero movies, the James Bond franchise, and the latest sci-fi stuff suck. Things get worse in the comedy business. I can’t say I laughed too much during 2017’s best-rated comedy films. Mel Brooks and John Cleese may still be alive as of 2017, but comedy screenwriting is as dead and stiff as a doorknob.

Oh, you’re probably wondering what’s with all the movie hate in a Chevrolet Corvette article. Well, it’s all Chevy’s fault. Don’t know if you noticed this, but its press release for the Corvette ZR1 end with the phrase “it’s good to be the king!” As in the new ZR1 is the king of the Corvette reign. Or maybe even the king of the sports car business. That’s cool for marketing, but what you might not know is that the phrase is taken word by word from “History of the World,” an anthology comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks. It was launched in 1981, and it became a classic. And, in case you haven’t seen it yet, which is very likely if you think the “American Pie” series is funny, the “it’s good to be the king” phrase is used in its final sketch, “The French Revolution,” by King Louis of France, played by Mel Brooks.

Continue reading for the full story.

Corvette with a mustache

The king is depicted as a pervert. A smug person that’s only interested in his own well-being. He’s playing chess with real people on a huge board in the yard and makes up his own rules to win games. He gropes women living in and around his castle and requests sexual pleasures to fulfill his duty as king. Oh, and he has a tiny mustache, a mole on his right cheek, and a wig. And like any king out there, he wears a golden crown. Here, have a look at some highlights from the said scene.

Granted, the Corvette ZR1 doesn’t come with a mustache or a mole, but it comes with a bad attitude.

It will grope pretty Japanese sports car on the race track before leaving them behind in a trail of smoke. And it’ll yell “it’s good to be the king” as it crosses the finish line. Giving a crap about others would be the last thing on its mind. It’s the king of the Corvette dominion and a solid candidate to rule the sports car market. And that’s what kings do. They are smug, vain, and arrogant. And needless to say, the Corvette ZR1 is definitely a pervert by way of exterior design, drivetrain, and performance.

Okay okay, I might like Mel Brooks’ work a tad too much but there’s must be a reason why Chevy ended its press release the way it did. Either the person who wrote it is also a “History of the World” fan or Chevy is trying to prepare the competition for what’s coming when the ZR1 hits the streets and the race tracks. Fear the mustache! And supercharged V-8 engines!

References

Chevrolet Corvette


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744530

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Tesla’s Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate

Boy, these past two weeks have been all about high-speed and high-power action. I barely had time to get over Koenigsegg’s new world speed record and Chevrolet launched its monstrous Corvette ZR1 yet. Now, with the weekend upon us, Tesla took the wraps off its new semi truck and the second-generation Roadster. Neither are ready to go into production just yet, but the preliminary data hints at tremendous performance and new benchmarks for the electric car market. The Roadster’s 0-to-60 mph sprint only 1.9 seconds probably caused a few heart strokes over at Ferrari quarters. And I have a feeling that the guys working on the next-generation Nissan GT-R Nismo aren’t feeling better either. But behind Tesla’s new tour de force hides Elon Musk’s fear that his automobile brand may not succeed as planned.

It may seem that Tesla is simply pushing the envelope and presenting the world with revolutionary electric cars, but there’s more to this showcase. Tesla is actually struggling to keep its promises. The new Model 3, which is supposed to become the affordable electric car everyone is dreaming about, is late to the party. Production isn’t going as planned and it seems that the Model X fiasco is happening all over again. On top of that, the Model S isn’t getting the best reviews and Consumer Reports isn’t very optimistic about the Model 3’s reliability. So Tesla needs to find a way to keep all the hype alive, and the upcoming Roadster is the perfect car for this. The strategy is simple, unveiled a cool looking prototype, claim it will hit 60 mph in less than two seconds, set a big preorder price, and wait for the cash to fix ongoing problems.

Continue reading for the full story.

From Affordable to $200K


Pops' Rants: Tesla's Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate - image 746100

Yup, that’s all it takes. A couple of incredible but fictional performance figures, and everyone will get excited. And some of them will even agree to pay $50,000 reservations for a car they won’t get to drive until 2020. Assuming that Tesla manages to roll the new Roadster out by then. If the Model X and Model 3 are any indication, it won’t happen sooner than 2021, or even 2022.

But that’s not the only issue. Let’s say that I’m wrong and Tesla will get production sorted and everything will be fine and on time. And quality control will improve and Consumer Reports won’t upset Elon Musk ever again. In this perfect scenario, the new Roadster is still a meaningless car. Let’s not forget that Musk’s objective was to deliver an affordable EV for the average Joe. It was supposed to be the Model 3. But it’s not. The Model 3 costs some $30,000 before options, and the nice extras will actually push the sticker beyond the $40,000. At this point, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt are the better options.

And while I can understand that expensive, $200,000 supercars like the upcoming Roadster are used to fund affordable vehicles, it seems that Elon Musk is out to prove that Tesla can make the quickest production car before anything else. With this car, Tesla is basically moving farther away form its professed goal and slowly becoming a disappointment for the electric car industry. The fact that Tesla is the leading automaker in this field makes things that much more frustrating.

PostHeaderIcon Koenigsegg’s New Speed Record Doesn’t Mean Squat

I wasn’t planning to blab about cars again anytime soon, but something amazing happened this weekend: someone actually smashed Bugatti’s world speed record for production cars after a whopping seven years. If you’ve been living under a rock, a Koenigsegg Agera RS averaged 277.9 mph on a two-way run on a highway in Nevada, beating the record set by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in 2010 by 10 mph. An impressive display by the Swedish automaker, achieved with a production model that was actually borrowed from a customer. The record has yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records as of this writing, but whether it qualifies or not, the Agera RS’s run will remain an important page in high-performance automotive history. However, I still think that all this ludicrous speed stuff for production cars is absolute nonsense.

Before I move any further, I want to make it clear that I’m not questioning Koenigsegg’s big achievement. I’ve already seen all sorts of comments questioning whether the record was set using a stock car with stock parts and a production setup. Those are made by morons. First, Koenigsegg isn’t the type of company that would risk damaging its relationship with its customers by lying to the extent that most automakers do when setting records, especially track records at the Nurburgring. Second, I don’t think it’s a record that the Swedish firm was actually dying to own. It just happened, and it didn’t make a big fuss about it. And, it was very entitled to make a big fuss given that the Agera RS hit a top speed of 284 mph. That’s just a hair away from the magic 300-mph mark. But I digress…

Continue reading for the full story.

The Top Speed You’ll Never get to Experience

“It's cool to have it on a piece of paper or as a YouTube video to wank to, but it's not something a customer will achieve”

So why do I think this record means squat? Well, it’s simply not a feature that defines a production car. It’s cool to have it on a piece of paper or as a YouTube video to wank to, but it’s not something a customer will achieve. There’s no way you can hit that top speed on a public road, and even if you find a traffic-free road, it’s illegal. Not to mention dangerous, because every little bump may cause you to lose control at high speeds. Other hazards, including wild animals, could put your life at risk too.

Now I know what you’re thinking, you could take the Agera RS to ludicrous high speeds on a race track. Well, you can’t actually. There aren’t any race tracks with a long enough strip to allow you to go well past the 200-mph mark. If you watch Koenigsegg’s video, you’ll notice that it took the driver around seven miles to hit maximum speed. It can probably be done faster since he wasn’t in a hurry to accelerate to 150 mph, but it would still need almost six miles to get there.


Koenigsegg's New Speed Record Doesn't Mean Squat - image 736455
“Much like the Bugatti Veyron and the Chiron, the Agera RS comes with a top speed that's useless in the real world”

And, once you get there, you also need to brake, so it’s safe to assume you need a couple more miles to get to a safe speed. This basically means that you need a track with a straight run of around eight miles, which is impossible to find on any permanent race track nowadays. The Nardo Ring, where Koenigsegg set a record with the CCR many years back would be an option, but the oval track isn’t opened for public days.

So, much like the Bugatti Veyron and the Chiron, the Agera RS comes with a top speed that’s useless in the real world. Much like all those cars that set fast laps at the Nurburgring. You’ll never get to lap the Nordschleife as quick as Lamborghini did with the Huracan Performante. You don’t have the skill, and you’ll never have the track to yourself. And, assuming that a carmaker used some tricks to score its awesome lap, like Nissan did with the GT-R Nismo, you won’t be able to do it as quick no matter how good you are. Sure, you can brag in front of your friends and at the local sports car meeting, but this is where it ends.

You might as well buy a Jaguar XF and argue that that the British firm had the fastest car in the world back in 1949. Because it did, and it’s worth as much as having a spec sheet with a top speed you’ll never be able to experience.

References

Koenigsegg Agera


Koenigsegg's New Speed Record Doesn't Mean Squat - image 657709

Read our full review on the 2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS.



Read more Koenigsegg news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Here’s What’s Wrong with the Awesome Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

So Aston Martin just launched a new version of the Vanquish Zagato with a shooting brake body. Pretty cool, eh? Actually, it’s more than that. Cool is something I would use to describe a Toyota 86 with an extra 30 horsepower. This thing is exciting, to say the least. The sporty cues of the Vanquish, the more aggressive styling of Zagato, and all that carbon-fiber make for a great combination, especially if the end result is a shooting brake. Yeah, I’m crazy about wagons, and I like shooting brakes even more. But despite my feelings toward long-roofed vehicles and the fact that the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is brilliant in just about any department, I still have a big rant to shoot out of my system.

Why would I complain about a seemingly perfect car (from my point of view)? Well, it’s not exactly the car I want to complain about. It’s about Aston Martin’s marketing strategy, and the fact that this Vanquish Zagato run is too damn exclusive. And it’s like Aston Martin is going against the tide, which isn’t exactly what it needs at this point as it has yet to reach that safe point after years of struggle. Let me explain what I mean.

Continue reading for the full story.

Make the Zagato a Full-Time Lineup


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740279
“These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup”

Yes, that’s what’s wrong with the four Vanquish Zagato model that Aston Martin launched since 2016. They’re way too exclusive, with just 99 coupes, convertibles, and shooting brakes each and only 28 speedsters. These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup and an upgrade for more than just the Vanquish.

Specifically, Aston Martin should find a way to turn Zagato into a higher-end offering for at least the Vanquish and the DB11. Granted, making Zagato some sort of luxury or performance division isn’t the easiest thing, as the Italians seem to enjoy being an independent company, but a collaboration of sorts is definitely possible in today’s market. But Aston Martin could also start thinking about creating its own division. With every important carmaker out there having either a performance or luxury division at its disposal, Aston Martin would make quite an impact with something a little different. And by that, I mean products similar to these Zagato-upgraded Vanquish. Keep the interior similar, but add extra features, uprate the engine, so it stands out compared to the standard unit, but revise the exterior completely for a unique design. What’s more, the speedster and the shooting brake could remain exclusive to this high-end brand, prompting customers to take the big financial step for something entirely different.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604
“The speedster and the shooting brake should remain exclusive to this high-end brand”

Definitely more appealing than the larger vents and different wheels you get with the “AMG,” “BMW M,” and “RS” badges.

As for pricing, there’s a reason why I haven’t labeled the Vanquish Zagato as overpriced, despite the fact that the Speedster is rumored to cost more than $1.5 million. If these cars become full-time production models, Aston Martin would be right to charge way in excess of $500,000 or even $1 million, given that factory output remains limited and the cars are built by hand with tremendous attention to detail.

Seriously now, it may sound difficult to achieve, but it’s not. At least not for a company like Aston Martin. It may require some serious funding, but the Brits are getting back on their feet. Actually, an SUV might solve that problem. And in an era where every automaker is annoyingly predictable and we get similar products from every direction, a full-time lineup of Zagato-designed cars would finally add some excitement.

Revive the Great Coachbuilders

This would also be a great opportunity to save the famous coachbuilder that have entered bankruptcy or have been sold to other firms recently. If more carmakers adopt the idea, we could see Pininfarina and Bertone return to their former glory. Ghia and Vignale could also roll out more intriguing designs instead of Ford trim lines. And why not, maybe we could witness rivals of iconic coachbuilders like Frua, Karmann, Gurney Nutting, Vanden Plas, and Fleetwood.

I can dream, can’t I?

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Volvo Shamelessly Reheated an Old Concept to Revive Polestar

As much as I’m in love with the 1950s and 1960s when it comes to car designs, the automotive industry is living a golden era as we speak. The variety is incredible, there are plenty of attractive offers at dealerships, and nearly every car, no matter how affordable, packs a ton of tech that makes life behind the steering wheel easier. But this golden era also comes with a lot of bullshit, ranging from fancy and unnecessary PR talk to bragging about performance figures that aren’t that great. And of course, trying to justify overpriced special-edition model with extra features that are either barely noticeable or useless. Which brings me to the latest car that’s getting everyone excited: the Polestar 1.

A while back Volvo decided that Polestar should also make its own cars besides tuning what’s already available in dealerships. Polestar delivered and announced the 1. I mean the Polestar 1, because the “1” nameplate doesn’t make much sense by itself. Everyone got excited! Oh my God, pretty coupe, powerful hybrid drivetrain, shut up and take my money! Well no, the Polestar 1 doesn’t deserve all the attention. And it doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money. Let me explain.

Continue reading for the full story.

Can You Handle the Truth?


2013 Volvo Concept Coupe - image 520429
“It's just a mildly revised and renamed version of a concept car that Volvo unveiled in 2013”

Because it’s a reheated concept car from 2013!

There you go.

Now you know.

My mission here is done.

Have a nice weekend!

Damn it, I can’t do this. I can’t stop writing unless I rant for a while, so you’re getting the long version.

I’m not trying to say that you’ve been living under a rock or anything, but if you’re among those that got really excited about the Polestar 1, you probably are! Because the Polestar 1 is anything but new. It’s just a mildly revised and renamed version of a concept car that Volvo unveiled in 2013. It’s called the Concept Coupe and even though it had only two doors, it was used to preview the S90 sedan and the company’s current design language. And yes, people got excited and began wondering whether Volvo will actually make a coupe version of the then-upcoming sedan. It didn’t happen, but Volvo obviously had a plan to give Polestar more autonomy and a lineup of its own.

Good idea? Definitely! But everything died when the Polestar 1 was unveiled. Because it’s a Concept Coupe with a new grille, reshaped front bumper, new wheels, and larger side mirrors. Or should I say a Volvo with a Polestar badge and grille?


2018 Polestar 1 - image 739271
“Give me some carbon-fiber, some unique trim, and we can talk expensive price tags”

And you know what else is wrong with it? The cabin is identical to the S90. There’s nothing wrong with that, because the S90 has a gorgeous interior, but it doesn’t even qualify as a luxury or performance upgrade over the sedan. I mean come on, the idea is to give customers a higher performance version of the S90, but in a two-door format, right? Something to rival offerings from Mercedes-AMG and BMW M. Well, replacing the badge on the steering wheel and removing the wood veneer from the dashboard and door panels ain’t gonna cut the mustard. Give me some carbon-fiber, some unique trim, and we can talk expensive price tags.

Yes, expensive. This thing is gonna cost a lot of dough. Volvos are already pretty expensive compared to their German counterparts and the Polestar will add even more premium to that price tag. It will probably cost as much as the AMGs and the Ms, if not more, and at this point I think they will be too expensive for what they offer. Then there’s the fact that you won’t be able to buy it as a regular car, but only through the company’s subscription program. But it’s not the program itself that bugs me, but the fact that customers might not be ready to purchase cars this way. It seems that Volvo just wants to make things a bit complicated for the sake of being different. And I like a different approach, but not this time around.


2018 Polestar 1 - image 738878

Look Volvo, I understand what you’re trying to do here. You want to be like everyone else and have a superior line with added performance. And you want a different badge for that, because that’s what’s cool nowadays. And fortunately you have Polestar for that. But this isn’t the way to go. Make something entirely new, innovate. Or at least don’t act like the Concept Coupe never existed.

Tesla Is a Whiny Old Man


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 727971
“Tesla is in fact a whiny old man that can't handle a bit of criticism”

Tesla may be an electric car manufacturer based on the products it sells, but it’s in fact a whiny old man that can’t handle a bit of criticism. It’s been like that ever since the Model S came out, but things got worse when Consumer Reports revoked the maximum rating it gave the all-electric sedan. It’s when Tesla began accusing the publication of singling out its cars for being unsafe and unreliable. Butthurt much? Now, Tesla got upset when Consumer Reports’ reliability scores for the year gave the new Model 3 an “average” score.

Granted, I understand Tesla’s rant over Consumer Reports giving scores for a car its has yet to test (the Model 3 is not yet available), but the outlet has been doing the same with other nameplates too. The Kia Stinger, for instance, received the same “average” score, and I haven’t seen the Korean brand release angry statements so far. And I don’t see why Tesla makes such a big deal out of this. It’s not like customers will cancel preorders based on a statistic made by Consumer Reports. Based on consumers’ experiences with other vehicles from the company, in this case the Model S. After all, it’s true that the Model 3 is using many of the same components as the Model S, so it’s not that outrageous to consider the issues of the latter.


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 727972
“Less complaining on the Internet, more working on improving your products”

I truly believe that Tesla customers are smarter than that and CR’s new report won’t affect Model 3 sales in any way. What’s more, once Consumer Reports gets its hands on the new sedan, which will happen once it becomes available, a more accurate report will be released. Tesla is acting rather silly here and coming up with all sorts of conspiracy scenarios is childish and makes Elon Musk’s company sound whiny as hell. And I don’t want that from a brand that’s supposed to innovate and change the way we view electric cars. Build quality issues are real. When pointed out, you must fix them. Less complaining on the Internet, more working on improving your products. Is it that hard?

References

Polestar 1


2018 Polestar 1 - image 739271

Read our full review on the 2018 Polestar 1.

Volvo S90 Sedan


2017 Volvo S90 - image 658241

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo S90.


2013 Volvo Concept Coupe - image 520468

Read our full review on the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupe.

Tesla Model 3


2018 Tesla Model 3 - image 725394

Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Dumb Decisions Made in Japan

Nothing like a Friday 13th to end your work week, huh? Well, I’m not the superstitious type, but it’s on this day that I found out that Honda isn’t making a baby NSX. And that’s particularly upsetting since the design patent believed to be an upcoming sports car turned out to be just another Vision Gran Turismo thing. Nothing like getting a virtual car for a video game instead of an actual vehicle that could be really cool. Yuck!

In case you’re not familiar with the matter, a design patent that surfaced the web a while back hinted at a new Honda sports car. Its design was based on the bonkers NSX, it had a mid-engined layout, and it was smaller. This also meant it was lighter and more affordable. Like a dream come true, right? Well, it’s not gonna happen. Honda just wanted to make a Vision car for the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport video game. What a sad day…

Continue reading for the full story.

We Want It, Honda Needs It!


2009 Honda S2000 - image 261606
“Come on Honda, we need a new S2000 but with the engine behind the seats”

The NSX is cool and all, but it’s also extremely expensive for the average Joe. And that’s exactly why a baby NSX is a good idea. Let’s say it would be a great competitor for the Porsche Cayman with a price tag between $55,000 to $60,000. Without an electric motor of course. Or at least with the option to get a range-topping hybrid model, but with a gasoline-only base car that delivers around 300 horsepower. And Honda would benefit greatly from such an offering, especially in the U.S.

But no, they’re more interested in having a Vision Gran Turismo car in a stupid video game. Yeah, I know, marketing and stuff, but it’s still an awful idea when you don’t have that many exciting cars on offer. Come on Honda, we need a new S2000 but with the engine behind the seats. Make it happen already!

Lexus Loves to Waste Time


2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition - image 737618
“Why in the hell would you spend 15 years to make a special paint?”

Now listen to this! Lexus just launched a new paint for LC coupe, and it made a big deal about how it spent 15 years to create it. Yup, 15 years. Not weeks or months, 15 freaking years. For paint. That thing that gets scratched and fades away from enduring sunny, hot summers after snowy, freezing winters.

The new paint is called Structural Blue, and you saw it for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show. Granted, it’s gorgeous to look, and it’s not the typical blue you get from other carmakers. But it’s still paint, and it’s still blue. It’s far from amazing. So why the big fuss? Well, Lexus says it spent a lot of time to create a color that’s “more blue” than anything seen before. Much sense, such wow!

“I can live without the bluest blue out there”

Okay, okay, this one’s is more serious to read: Lexus says the specific hue it wanted to create was so complex that it required 40 separate layers. Sounds difficult and expensive to create. So it worked on it until it managed to obtain it with just a seven-layer structure. That’s great progress from a technique point of view, but I’m still missing on what they actually did in those 15 years.

And why in the hell would you spend 15 years to make a special paint? Entire cars need less than that to be designed, built, showcased, and launched. Heck, in 15 years we get two and a half generations of any popular car out there. That’s five models including the facelifts. Maybe Lexus should spend more time on improving some of its design. I can live without the bluest blue out there, but I can’t stand that ugly front grille and headlamps arrangement. Get your damn priorities straight!

References

Acura NSX


2019 Baby Acura NSX - image 634346

Read our full review on the 2019 Acura Baby NSX.

Lexus LC


2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition - image 737617

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LS Structural Blue.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Here’s Why the Nissan Leaf Nismo Will Suck

If you’ve been following me, you probably know that Nissan is my favorite brand. Yeah, I know, why can’t I be a normal person and worship brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Bugatti? Well, I’m not in the mood to write a piece on why I like Nissan, so I’ll explain it in a few simple sentences. I think that cars made by this brand come with a lot of bang for the buck, I love its latest design language, and the massive efforts it makes to keep all motorsport projects alive. I also think that the Maxima, Juke, and Murano are exotic vehicles in their respective niches and that almost every other car or crossover have what it takes to give the competition a run for its money.

But I admit that Nissan has its own flaws. For starters, both the 370Z and GT-R are getting a bit too long in the tooth, which leaves the brand without a solid sports car lineup. Second, the Rogue and Rogue Sport are too damn similar, and the $3,000 price difference between them has cannibalization written all over it. And third, I simply can’t forgive them for giving up on the GT-R LM Nismo project at Le Mans. Nissan just gave up too soon. Which brings me to today’s rant: why can’t Nissan build every Nismo the proper way, as in with a significantly more powerful engine than the standard model? More specifically, why in the hell is the Leaf Nismo Concept — and at the same time the upcoming production car — just a regular Leaf with a nicer appearance? It’s so frustrating!

Continue reading for the full story.

What’s Wrong with the Leaf Nismo Concept?


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735737
“Nismo means more power and enhanced performance, and this is exactly what I can't find in this concept car”

I could say nothing because it has a cool, sporty exterior packed with Nismo-specific features. Seen from the outside, it says what a proper Nismo should say: “I look cool, and I’m faster, more powerful than my standard sibling.” The interior isn’t bad either with all that contrast stitching and the sportier seats. I could spend hours in that cabin with a big smile on my face every day. But it all becomes disappointing under the hood, where the Leaf Nismo Concept is just a regular Leaf.

Am I being picky here? Some would say yes because the new Leaf is significantly more powerful than the outgoing model, it has a better range, and it has many new features that make it more exciting to drive. But, I’m not. Nismo means more horsepower and enhanced performance by tradition, and this is exactly what I can’t find in this concept car.

Why Is This a Problem?


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735736
“A production Leaf Nismo with the same specs as the standard Leaf wouldn't do much to help Nissan in the current EV market”

For starters, I’m pretty certain that the production Leaf Nismo will be 99-percent identical to the concept car. Just look at it, it’s basically ready to go on the production line. The design add-ons are similar to those seen on production Nismo models, and those interior updates are definitely doable, simply because they aren’t such a big deal. And, the drivetrain… well, the drivetrain is already in production and a revised suspension isn’t something that Nissan and Nismo couldn’t develop immediately.

The big issue is that a production Leaf Nismo with the same specs as the standard Leaf wouldn’t do much to help Nissan in the current EV market. Sure, some would pay the premium to get that sexy exterior so sales wouldn’t be bad, but the issue here is that Nissan actually needs a more powerful version of the Leaf. With an output of 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet, the standard Leaf falls behind the Chevrolet Bolt (200 horsepower, 266 pound-feet) and it will probably do the same compared to the upcoming Tesla Model 3. The same happens in the range department, with the Leaf being able to deliver 150 miles, whereas both the Bolt and Model 3 are returning in excess of 200 miles.

A proper Leaf Nismo version would reduce that deficit — and maybe even deliver matching performance — but for some reason, Nissan doesn’t want that yet…

It Already Happened


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735735

Sadly, the Leaf Nismo won’t be the first Nismo to lack proper engine/motor upgrades. While the GT-R and Juke received notable drivetrain updates with the Nismo badge, cars like the Sentra, Patrol, Note, and Micra didn’t. And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Nismo as an appearance and suspension package, but it’s been a while since Nissan launched a proper Nismo car with a noteworthy engine under the hood.

References

Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 735734

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: The Booming SUV Market Is Ruining Racing and it Pisses Me Off!

I don’t know about you, but I love spending the weekend watching some serious racing. Be it turn-left-all-day NASCAR or proper track chasing; I dig just about any motorsport league out there. Yeah, including Formula E, which can be surprisingly spectacular. I also enjoy the Pirelli World Challenge quite a lot, mostly because it features race cars that are closely related to production vehicles. Unfortunately, this competition won’t be the same next year, and it’s all because of the damn SUV craze that’s been going on for a few years.

Nope, I’m not senile just yet. It may seem weird for the SUV market to influence motorsport, but it can happen. In this case, Cadillac’s desire to build more and more crossovers instead of cars is putting an end to its successful run in the Pirelli World Challenge. And it’s not that Cadillac simply decided to call it a day and focus on its DPi program, the ATS-V.R is being discontinued as its road-going counterpart is getting dropped from the lineup in 2019. A rather harsh decision if you ask me, and it’s essentially why I’m pretty mad about it. And why I hate crossovers and SUVs even more.

Continue reading for the full story.

The End of an Amazing Effort. And for What?


2015 Cadillac ATS-V.R - image 577721
“The ATS and CTS are the only production Cadillacs that made it onto the race track”

Cadillac says it’s retiring from the Pirelli World Challenge to focus on its IMSA DPi campaign, where the carmaker has already won the championship in its maiden season. But this isn’t the only reason. The company’s current model strategy is programmed to axe both the ATS and CTS in 2019, and replace them with one model called the CT5. As you may know, the ATS and CTS are the only production Cadillacs that made it onto the race track.

The CTS-V made its debut as early as 2004, winning the title in 2005 and 2007, while the second-generation CTS-V Coupe stepped in as a replacement in 2011. It won two more championships in 2012 and 2013 before it was replaced by the ATS-V.R for the 2015 season. The smaller car debuted with a win in 2015, but missed the championship in the following two seasons, even though it finished second and third in the drivers’ standings.

In all, these two cars took part in 332 races, scored 25 pole positions, and won 33 events. On top of the seven manufacturers’ championships, they also claimed five drivers’ titles. All of them in 13 years. The CTS-V.R and ATS-V.R are by far the most successful race cars Cadillac has ever built. So you can see why I’m pissed off that the ATS-V.R is being retired.


2015 Cadillac ATS-V.R - image 577720
“The ATS-V.R should have lived on. Its achievements deserve another two seasons on the racetrack”

But it’s not just Cadillac’s strategy to replace the ATS and CTS with a single model so it can launch more SUVs. The replacement is set to take place in 2019, so the ATS-V.R might have had another two seasons in the Pirelli World Challenge. And while I can understand that Cadillac wants to focus on DPi racing, for now, it should at least offer the ATS-V.R to private teams. More upsetting is the fact that the Pirelli World Challenge program is being dropped for IMSA, a championship that sees many rule changes each year and a lot of teams and carmakers choose to retire because of them. So while Cadillac is very excited about IMSA DPi right now, there’s no telling how long it will last.

Just look at Porsche, which joined the FIA World Endurance Championship only a few years ago, has a very competitive 919 Hybrid race car, and it’s looking to retire at the end of the year. The same could happen with Cadillac. Sooner than we might imagine. The ATS-V.R should have lived on. Its achievements deserve another two seasons on the race track. But Cadillac doesn’t agree. Because money. I’m so disappointed I can’t even joke about it…

Waaaaait!

I think I got one.

What does it take to bring an Escalade to the track and race it? Nothing, yo mamma is so fat that when she… oh wait. Wrong joke. Oh well, let’s just say that the Escalade sucks!

References


Pops' Rants: The Tesla Model 3 Isn't That Affordable; Toyota Supra Without a Manual? Yikes! - image 726175

Read more Rant news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: I Told You the BMW 8 Series Won’t Be That Exciting!

Remember how you were all excited by the upcoming BMW 8 Series and M8? Do you also remember my rant about why this big revival won’t be as exciting as BMW wants us to believe? Well, it turns out I was right. Yeah, yeah, I’m well aware that both the 8 Series and M8 are still under wraps, but BMW just unveiled the M8 GTE race car, which basically means that the Germans showcased more than 50-percent of the production model. And look, it’s pretty much a redesigned M6!

Come on, did you really believe that BMW was planning to revive the 8 Series nameplate for something completely new like it happened when it was first introduced in the late 1980s? Wasn’t the fact that BMW discontinued the 6 Series before the announcement a big enough hint? How can you be so naive? Well, if you’re still expecting the 8 Series to be a unique model in the lineup and not just a reheated 6 Series soup, keep reading to find out why you should stop being the world’s most optimistic BMW fanboy.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Styling Isn’t All that Great


BMW's M8 GTE Le Mans Competitor Previews Production M8 Model - image 731266
“The next-generation 6 Series would have looked the same”

What, were you under the impression that you’ll get that sleek concept car on the road? Nope! All you’re getting is a very toned down version of the M8 GTE race car. And that’s the M8 we’re talking about. The 8 Series will be even more boring. And just look at it. Haven’t you seen those headlamps and taillights somewhere else? Sure, the grille is big and juicy, but there’s really nothing new to see there. The new 6 Series Gran Coupe has a similar kidney grille, the only reason why the GTE’s looks so menacing is because there are no vertical slats.

Shape? Same thing. It’s a two-door coupe. It’s just as sleek as any other coupe out there. Okay, so maybe the rear glass is flatter and the quarter windows are a tad more aggressive, but I bet the next-generation 6 Series would have looked the same.

Same Size


BMW's M8 GTE Le Mans Competitor Previews Production M8 Model - image 731261
“What's the point of competing with the S-Class if you're not making a slightly bigger coupe?”

The M8 GTE is 4,980 mm long and 2,046 mm wide. That’s only 86 mm longer and 152 mm wider than the outgoing 6 Series. Not a lot bigger for a flagship luxury coupe. And given that the GTE has a few extra aero bits that alter its dimensions, there’s a good chance that the production model will be a tad smaller and basically identical to the old 6 Series.

Now, a well-informed BMW fan would tell that the first-gen 8 Series wasn’t bigger than the first-gen 6 Series it replaced in 1989. And I would agree, the numbers speak for themselves. But you see, we can’t compare 1989 with 2018. Supposedly BMW is reviving the 8 Series in order to save its ass in the big luxury coupe segment. Read that as in “it desperately needs a competitor for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe.” And guess what, the Merc is a tad longer. So what’s the point of competing with the S-Class if you’re not making a slightly bigger, which could mean more comfortable, coupe?

Again, I’m not saying the 8 Series is a bad idea. I’m just saying that Munich could have easily redesigned the 6 Series into a better competitor for the S-Class Coupe. Marketing money is money well spent, but we need great cars and a bit less hype.

We might as well put a 2002 badge on the 1 Series and call it a day…

References

BMW M8 GTE


BMW's M8 GTE Le Mans Competitor Previews Production M8 Model - image 731266

Read our full review on the BMW M8 GTE.

BMW 8 Series


2019 BMW 8 Series - image 688342

Read our full speculative review on the next BMW 8 Series.

BMW M8


2019 BMW M8 - image 718202

Read our full speculative review on the next BMW M8.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Best and Worst of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Oh boy, my first auto show as an editor for this outlet! You know what this means? I get to rant about a whole bunch of cars. Yeeey! Okay, so you’re wondering why I am doing a “best and worst” type article instead of the usual weekly rant. Well, it’s what everybody does. Go read every major automotive website, and you’ll find one of these pieces. But, and I mean a biiiiig BUT, they’re doing it all wrong, and they’ve been doing it like that for years! Why? Because every freakin’ article of this kind comes with a “best in show” list that contains mostly supercars, sports cars, and luxury cars. And that’s wrong!

Yeah, they’re fancy and stuff. They’re quick, exotic, and have all the horsepower in the world. We like looking and them and hearing them growl and we like dreaming about owning each and every one of them. But you know what? We will never be able to buy any of them. Because they’re expensive, exclusive, and some carmakers won’t even sell you one unless you already own at least a couple of other models. So why in the name of dinosaur juice are you all listing these expensive lumps of carbon-fiber and metal as best-in-show vehicles over and over again? How about we make a more practical list for normal people who might want to buy a new, regular, mundane, not-so-fancy, and not so freaking expensive car in 2018? Here, I’ll show you how it’s done!

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Here’s Why the Mercedes-AMG Hypercar Sucks Big Time

Phew, it’s Friday again. The weekend is just around the corner and summer is officially over. Well, the heat will still be around for a while, but at least the temperature is going down, and we’re getting rain on a regular basis. If you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that I hate heat. And summer. And fancy concept cars that scream “I won’t make it into production, haha!” Just like the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo. Seriously now, what’s the deal with all these cookie concept cars that look like they came from the future only to get stuck in the past, with no production model in showrooms? Aren’t you getting tired of that? It’s like automakers have some sort of target to reach. Just imagine some CEO rushing into a meeting to yell “okay folks, it’s 2017, and by 2022 we need to build five fancy concept cars. Don’t worry, we won’t put them into production, but they have to look futuristic and feature fancy gadgets.”

I swear that this is exactly how the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept was born. And Mercedes even had the nerve to give it an “EQ” badge to make us believe we will be able to buy one in the future. No, we won’t! I mean, we will be able to buy a better Smart EV at some point, but it won’t like this concept. It won’t be fully autonomous, it won’t have the fancy, lounge seat, and it won’t be able to read your mind. It will be just another cramped, overrated ForTwo with enough luggage room for a head of cabbage, three carrots, and half a cucumber. At least you can make a salad once you’re back from the market…

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: The New BMW M5 Isn’t Worth the Premium; Audi’s Naming Strategy is Dumb

It’s Friday again, and I’m having a bad day. And I’ll probably have a bad weekend too because I just found out that FCA will shut down the Conner assembly plant in a few days. Why is this a big deal? Because the Dodge Viper will die along with it. Yeah, it’s no big surprise. The Viper had it coming, and we knew it would happen since 2015, but the thought of America’s greatest modern muscle car being killed off is depressing. And please don’t tell me about the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Challenger Demon, this is a sad day for American sports car enthusiasts regardless of what other performance vehicles you can get.

And, you know what bothers me more? The fact that FCA does nothing about it. Yeah, Chrysler claims the Viper has to die due to slow sales, but we all know that’s not the reason. It all has to do with new safety regulations, which require that all production models have side airbag curtains. And, you can’t fit them in the current Viper. It needs a new platform and a new design. So why isn’t FCA making a successor? It’s too expensive obviously, and it would rather go bankrupt with a bunch of crappy cars rather than a performance coupe. So many decades of experience and FCA still doesn’t know that an iconic car requires a lot of work. But enough about the Viper, it’s been a hectic week.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes Let Us Down with the Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet

Now that we’ve seen Mercedes’ “latest” concept, I have to say that I’m not impressed in the least bit. When we first saw the teaser video back at the beginning of August,(art177208) I thought for sure we would get the “big surprise” that Chief Designer Gorgon Wagener promised us. This concept was supposed to be an “icon for the brand,” but all I see is a lazy concept that was thrown together just a few weeks before it was set to debut… Did you forget there was a concept lawn at Pebble Beach, Mr. Wagener? Now I’m wondering if that teaser video from within the bowels of the Advance Design Center was actually the very first meeting to discuss the new concept.

With that said, I will say that the Vision 6 looks good as a droptop, but it definitely falls short of what was promised. In the video, it was even mentioned that the front end would be “different.” Of course, they were talking about in comparison to the Concept IAA, but still. In the end, the Vision 6 Cabriolet is every bit the Vision 6 with a standalone windshield and no roof. Of course, they did change the interior a bit to account for a slightly revised dashboard with a set of HVAC vents in the center – that’s something the coupe doesn’t have. It is also a bit less futuristic in comparison but still far on the red side of my “never-gonna-see-production” meter. The car itself is attractive, and I even love the scheme of the interior, but when I saw the similarities in Merc’s second teaser video, I should have known. But, I don’t want to be all negative, so let’s move on from this rant and talk about something good that comes from this specific concept.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: The Tesla Model 3 Isn’t That Affordable; Toyota Supra Without a Manual? Yikes!

If you’ve been reading my rants, you probably know I’m a big fan of the manual transmission, and I hate almost everything with an automatic. Yeah, I’m the guy who went as far as to say that the Dodge Challenger Demon sucks because it doesn’t have a stick and a clutch. Well, bring out the tar and the feathers because I have a big announcement to make: the next-generation Supra will suck too! Why? Well, some leaked documents say that the all three drivetrains fitted in the upcoming model will have automatic transmissions only.

And, here’s the thing. While you might argue that the Challenger Demon needs an automatic to achieve all that amazing performance at the drag strip, the new Supra wasn’t designed to win NHRA races. It’s a freakin’ sports car in which you’re supposed to have fun. And, the best fun can only come by way of a proper shift stick and three pedals. Seriously now, this automotive evolution is ruining a lot of cars, and the Supra is probably the biggest one yet. Stop chasing profits only and give people what they want. Man, it’s so long since I last yelled “shut up and take my money!” toward a carmaker. And this is just the tip of the iceberg this week…

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon With Clarkson Out with Pneumonia, The Grand Tour May Finally Live Up to its Potential

Hey folks, did you miss me? Yeah, it’s me, Pops! What? Did you think I only write on Fridays? Although I hate early Tuesdays, I had to get out of my lazy routine over this fracas about Jeremy Clarkson being in the hospital with severe pneumonia. Don’t get me wrong, I think that being sick is awful, but we pay way too much attention to an old man that gets by making dreadful jokes about cars and insulting just about everyone with the sole purpose of getting a bigger audience.

Although I’m a sucker for a good show with solid punchlines and great humor, I’ve never been a fan of Top Gear. And obviously, I’m not a fan of The Grand Tour. And, Clarkson is too blame for this. Yeah, I know, it’s a show that doesn’t take car reviews very seriously and making fun of everything is a big part of the plot, but I just feel as if they’re producing for an audience that’s 16 years old on average. Tops! But I digress. I’m writing this because Clarkson made a joke about how James May is the only “functioning member” of the Grand Tour team (Richard Hammond had a serious car crash in June) and added the caption “God help us.” Keep reading to learn why.

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PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: The Lexus LFA Is Overrated and Why the Challenger Angel Ain’t Gonna Happen

The Dodge Challenger Demon is a fine piece of machinery, and I can definitely understand all the hype around it. Despite the fact that it doesn’t have a much-needed manual transmission. What I don’t get is this new hype around the fact that Chrysler trademarked the Angel name and that most car enthusiasts already see it as some sort of anti-Demon version of the Challenger. Come on man, what’s this, finger-painting class? I’ve been in the business long enough to know that the Chrysler Angel could very well mean squat. Nothing, nada, zero, just a name on a piece of paper at a trademark agency.

But this isn’t the only thing that grinds my gears this week. Everyone seems to have gone berserk over the fact that some 12 units of the Lexus LFA, which was discontinued in 2012, are still available at dealerships in the U.S. Hey, that’s pretty spectacular, because we’re talking about a supercar that hasn’t been built for five years, not to mention that production was limited to only 500 examples, but I still don’t understand why this LFA thing is such a big deal. But more on this below.

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