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Archive for the ‘sedan’ Category

PostHeaderIcon “The City Rallyist” Attacks The Night In A Subaru WRX STI: Video

When the sun sets, the city comes alive. The pedestrians are in bed, but street lamps and neon glow provide the backdrop as growling internal combustion monsters begin their nightly prowl. If that’s the sort of stuff you’re into, then this 2-minute, 16-second video from TeamRoad Studio is sure to delight. Shot in the South Korean capitol of Seoul, the video features the high-speed exploits of a modified blue GDB “peanut eye” Subaru WRX STI, complete with gold wheels, a massive rear wing, and a rumbling exhaust note. The Scooby looks amazing blasting around the city, flashing between the shadows in a flurry of atmospheric blow-off valve chirps.

Granted, some of the footage is sped up, and it doesn’t look like the production team broke any laws to capture the shots (maybe that little bit at the very end is an exception). Regardless, the editing really gives you a sense of speed, and the Six Star icon we all know and love is glorified to satisfaction. Good stuff, no doubt about it. We can’t wait to see what TeamRoad Studio comes up with next.

References

Subaru WRX


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 700139

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda6

The Mazda6 is the Japanese brand’s mid-size flagship sedan, offering customers premium appointment inside the cabin and a somewhat sporty driving experience behind the wheel. Originally offered in 2002 as a replacement for the 616 and 626, the Mazda6 is now well into its third generation, which dropped in August of 2012 at the Moscow International Motor Show. Now it’s time for a substantial mid-cycle refresh, and Mazda just provided a preview of things to come for the forthcoming 2018 model year. Working off the concept of “Mature Elegance,” the new Mazda6 adds premium interior and exterior features, plus new safety technology, all of which helps to elevate the four-door to a more upscale position. However, the biggest news here is the inclusion of a new-for-the-model turbocharged powerplant, which will definitely add a considerable amount of zoom-zoom to the package.

That’s great news for the Mazda faithful – this is, after all, the brand’s flagship sedan, and more power is a most welcome boost to the car’s fun factor. A full reveal is scheduled for this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, but in the meantime, read on for what we know so far.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mazda6.

Exterior

  • Reshaped front fascia
  • New 3D grille and insert
  • Extra chrome detailing
  • Looks similar to the new Mazda CX-5 crossover

2018 Mazda6 - image 745323
“The grille insert for the central intake is new, with a 3D mesh design that breaks from the old model’s horizontal slat design”

For the moment, all we’ve got is a single teaser image of the new Mazda6’s front end, but right away, there are a few minor styling changes we can pick out. For starters, the grille insert for the central intake is new, with a 3D mesh design that breaks from the old model’s horizontal slat design. The headlights also look like they got a subtle reshape with slimmer housings, and now come underlined by chrome lines that start at the bottom lip of the grille.

The lower intake and fascia are also different, with a sharper shape for the former and fresh creases in the corner edges of the latter. The chrome detailing of the old model’s fog lights is now moved to the lower part of the bumper lip, which will most likely add some extra visual width to the vehicle.

Overall, the changes echo those seen in the new Mazda CX-5 crossover, and we think they pretty good on the sedan as well:


2017 Mazda CX-5 - image 695608
“The new Mazda CX-5 gets similar styling updates as the Mazda6.”

Indeed, Mazda has really been racking up the points when it comes to styling as of late, especially with concepts like the RX Vision, and more recently, the Kai.

And although we have yet to see the rear end, we’d expect the usual nip and tuck back there as well. Something like reshaped taillight housings and a shapely lower bumper should fit the bill nicely.

“Mazda has really been racking up the points when it comes to styling as of late, especially with its concepts.”

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that that Mazda offers the 6 in a wagon bodystyle overseas. We don’t think we’re alone in saying we’d love it if Mazda decided to bring the wagon version stateside, but so far, the probability of that happening is pretty low.

Interior

  • More high-end materials than before
  • Small changes to overall layout
  • Premium Japanese Sen Wood as optional trim
  • Latest safety technology included
  • Adaptive cruise control and around-view monitor

2018 Mazda6 - image 745322
“The updates do a good job in enhancing the car’s premium feel. One good example is the unique Japanese Sen Wood trim option.”

Like the exterior, the Mazda6’s interior gets a few tweaks here and there, but most of the layout is a carryover. Broad, horizontal surfaces dominate, with straight and smooth lines throughout.

Compared to the previous model, the new Mazda6 looks to get a new digital infotainment screen, which appears to stand taller and more upright than the previous screen. The midline and air vents were also changed, with a square shape for the vents and a solid unbroken form for the midline trimmed in shiny metal. Below the vents is another layer that looks to be covered in some kind of soft touch material, presumably Alcantara. The next level after that contains the HVAC controls, below which you’ll find the central tunnel, shifter, and a rotary knob.

We think it still looks good, and we’re glad Mazda didn’t change too much. However, the updates that are included do a good job in enhancing the car’s premium feel. For example, there’s now unique Japanese Sen Wood as a trim option, which Mazda says is used in traditional Japanese instruments and furniture. Looking at the provided press shot, we think that midline on either side of the air vents looks like it gets the new wood treatment.

Further exclusive premium trim will likely include high-end leather, aluminum, and similar stuff.

However, these days, you can only go so far with just premium materials. To really get those luxury points, you’ll also need to toss in some of the latest technology to boot.


2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 684539

Note: 2017 Mazda6 pictured here.

“To really get those luxury points, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with the brand’s suite of i-Activsense safety technology.”

As such, the 2018 Mazda6 comes with the brand’s suite of i-Activsense safety technology. Chief among these is Mazda’s Radar Cruise Control, which tosses in stop-and-go traffic management that will bring the vehicle to halt if the car ahead is stopped, then set off again all on its own.

That’s a good start, but we’re hoping for a full range of features for the new Mazda6 – automatic high beams, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and all the other stuff that comes as standard on high-end sedans should be considered fair game.

Finally, Mazda says a 360-degree view monitor was added as well, which is especially helpful when maneuvering through tight spaces.

Drivetrain

  • Base model gets naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder
  • Cylinder deactivation tech for the NA powerplant
  • 2.5-liter turbo now added to the lineup
  • Six-speed manual and automatic for gearbox options

2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 684554

Note: 2017 Mazda6 engine pictured here.

Nestled into the nose of the 2018 Mazda6 is the same naturally aspirated Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder as before. Peak output for the four is rated at 184 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque in the previous model year, and the 2018 iteration is expected to match those figures going forward. The same goes for the gearbox lineup, which includes either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, both of which route output to the front axle exclusively. Put your foot down, and expect to see 60 mph in roughly 7.6 seconds with both transmission options.

Mileage figures for the previous model year’s NA four-cylinder is rated at 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the manual, and 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for the automatic. However, Mazda says the 2018 model now comes with new cylinder deactivation technology that will undoubtedly pad those figures substantially. We think more than 40 mpg on the highway for the auto gearbox is definitely within reach.

“The 2018 model now comes with new cylinder deactivation technology that will undoubtedly pad mpg figures. However, if you prefer driving fun over efficiency, the new turbocharged four-cylinder should fit the bill.”

That’s great for the eco-conscious, but what if you’re looking for a little extra zoom-zoom instead of efficiency, then Mazda has you covered there as well. Joining the all-atmosphere four-cylinder is a Skyactiv-G 2.5T engine option, which means yes, the Mazda6 finally gets a turbocharger. Plucked out of the nose of the most recent Mazda CX-9 crossover, this boosted four-banger features direct injection, and according to the manufacturer, torque levels that are “on par” with a 4.0-liter V-8. While the brand declined to give us exact specs, we do know that the turbo four in the CX-9 makes a substantial 250 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, which is a huge improvement over the old NA four. If the 2.5T finds its way into the Mazda6 without substantial tuning changes, we wouldn’t be surprised if that 0-to-60 mph time drops into the 5-second range.

“If the 2.5T finds its way into the Mazda6 without substantial tuning changes, we wouldn’t be surprised if that 0-to-60 mph time drops into the 5-second range.”

The big question on the minds of enthusiasts is whether or not Mazda will offer a MazdaSpeed6 iteration, with a six-speed manual transmission, bigger brakes, more aggressive exterior styling, sharper suspension tuning, and possibly even AWD. We’d love something like that…

Prices


2018 Mazda6 - image 745754

As of this writing, Mazda has yet to reveal full pricing information for the 2018 Mazda6. However, we wouldn’t expect any big changes for the base model’s price tag, which currently starts at $21,945. Higher trim levels obviously throw in additional equipment and require extra outlay, with the current mid-grade Touring starting at $24,195 and the top-trim Grand Touring going for $30,695. We’re excited to see where the 2.5-liter turbo will slot into the mix.

Competition

Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 700685

When it comes to Japanese commuter sedans, it doesn’t get much more ubiquitous than the Toyota Camry. Building on well-established reputation for offering great value and reliability, the Camry just saw a generational update for the 2018 model year, with big-time updates across the board. The exterior styling is far more interesting this time around, while the interior was equally redone with an attractive new design and tons of premium features. Engine options include a four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and even a hybrid.

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.

Honda Accord


2018 Honda Accord - image 735545

The Honda Accord also just got a generational changeover, and now enters its tenth production cycle for the 2018 model year. To keep it fresh, the H Badge added new Jewel headlights and glossy black trim pieces to the front end, plus lots of heavy creases leading to the rear. The interior layout feels fresh too, and gets tons of technology to keep passengers entertained. Making the go is a selection of four-cylinder powerplants, as well as a new 10-speed automatic transmission.

Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord.

Conclusion


2018 Mazda6 - image 745323
“The real draw for 2018 has to be the new turbo engine.”

We’ll update this article when we get the full rundown of the 6’s specs, but so far, we like what we see. The exterior styling was already quite the head-turner, and this latest refresh looks to be the same. The interior also seems to be even more impressive, while the chassis and handling should remain surprisingly nimble for a mid-size four-door. But the real draw for 2018 has to be the new turbo engine. We can’t wait to get our hands on the figures, and we’re expecting some impressive stuff from the front-wheel-driver. Nice work there, Mazda.

The only thing that has us worried is the car’s price. The top trim is already kinda pricey, and tossing in the 2.5T might bump the 6 a little too high in the food chain. Granted, the features and premium interior do well to justify the outlay, but can the Mazda badge back that asking price for consumers? We’ll have to wait and see. Look for full details later in the month.

  • Leave it
    • Some competitors offer more features
    • Will pricing be too high with the new turbo engine?

References

Mazda6


2016 - 2017 Mazda6 - image 578922

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda6.



Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Stinger

2018 Kia Stinger

When Korean manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia came to the U.S., they were fighting an uphill battle against American, Japanese, and German cars that were often regarded as having nicer materials and better build quality, among other things. Fast forward to today, and Hyundai has spawned its own performance/luxury brand called Genesis and Kia has finally jumped on the bandwagon with a premium and performance-based fastback that is derived from the GT Concept. Going by the name Stinger, it’s set to bring some insanely stiff competition to German rivals like the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback, among others. At Launch, it will be available with a 255-horsepower four-banger or a 3.3-liter, Biturbo, V-6 with some 365 ponies on tap. But, that’s not all. It’s extremely spacious with a longer wheelbase than that of other competitors like the Lexus GS, and even the Infinity Q50 while the chassis itself is composed of 55 percent high-strength steel for superior stiffness and excellent ride handling. Inside, it offers high levels of comfort and an absolutely striking design with technology that rivals that of high-end models way outside the Stingers expected price range.

Those two engines I just mentioned, well there’s already word of a diesel powertrain being available for European customers. And, while it hasn’t been officially planned or confirmed, interviews with Albert Beirmann – the Executive VP of Vehicle Testing and High-Performance Development for Kia – has said that there have been talks of electrification, a move that could pit the Stinger against the likes of the Tesla Model 3 or even the Model S, depending on how much electric muscle Kia can come up with. Beyond that, the Stinger is said to be able to handle much more power than that offered by that Biturbo 3.3-liter, so an even brighter future could be on the horizon for Kia’s new halo car.

But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself as we already have a lot to talk about, and the Stinger isn’t scheduled to hit showrooms until later on in 2017. So, grab a beverage and join me farther down the page to see what the Stinger will offer when the order books officially open.

Update 11/16/2017: Kia has announced pricing for the 2018 Kia Stinger just weeks before it rolls into dealers. Pricing starts at an exceptionally low $31,900, nearly $10,000 less than its main competition. Check out the pricing section below to learn all about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Kia GT.

Exterior

  • Revised “Tigernose’ grille
  • Functional air dam
  • Fastback like design w\ Large panoramic glass panel up front
  • A refreshing design from the Korean Automaker
  • Rivals the look of cars like the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 with Elegance

2018 Kia Stinger - image 734759
“I was kind of expecting the Stinger to be a modified version of the latest Optima or Cadenza, but boy was I wrong.”

When I arrived in Detroit on the first day of the Detroit Auto Show, the No. 1 car that was on my list was the Kia Stinger, and boy was I surprised when I got to Kia’s show floor. What did I see? Three different production Stingers that not only looked amazing but offered a little secretive nod to the U.S. with one finished in red, one in white, and one finished in a gorgeous blue. I was kind of expecting the Stinger to be a modified version of the latest Optima or Cadenza, but boy was I wrong. Of course, Kia still gave it that Tigernose grille, but it’s the best iteration that we’ve seen so far. Refined and chrome plated the grille defines the sporty nature of the new Stinger and is accented perfectly by that large, functional air dam down below and the deeply recessed vent on each corner.

Moving farther up the front clip, it’s hard not to notice the unique headlights with double LED running lamps and the tightest fit to the body of anything its German rivals offer at this time. But, it’s the little details that really add to the car’s overall appearance. After all, look at the weird arrangement of dots on the bottom of the headlamp lens, or that vertical chrome stripe inside the corner air vents – it’s all about attention to detail, and Kia nailed it.
The most interesting thing about the front is that Kia opted for a smooth hood, with mildly muscular lines on the fenders and front fascia – something that’s somewhat unique in this segment. Those hood vents look really nice, but don’t be fooled; they aren’t in any way functional from what I could tell. Upon opening the hood, you’ll notice they are covered up underneath.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 734752
“For the most part, the side profile is smooth, but if you look closely, you’ll see a very light body line running from the corner of the headlight all the way to the rear, crossing the doors just above the door handles”

Moving on to the side profile, you’ll find that the name of the game was elegance and style as opposed to aggressiveness or muscularity. For the most part, the side profile is smooth, but if you look closely, you’ll see a very light body line running from the corner of the headlight all the way to the rear, crossing the doors just above the door handles. The windows get chrome trim that matches the vent ahead of the front door, while the mirrors match the door trim between the two side windows. Finally, there’s another mild body line at the bottom of the doors that feeds from that front vent and disappears into the side skirt ahead of the rear wheels. What really emphasizes the car’s sporty characteristics, however, is the large glass roof above the front seats and that downward slope above the rear seats that gives the Stinger the fastback look. A smaller corner vent adds just a little more character on the side of the rear fascia, and those unique wheels with their five split spokes offer a path of view to those Brembo performance brake calipers. Nice!

Around back, the sexy hits just keep on coming. The thin and sleek taillights reside primarily in the rear quarters, however, the LED strip on the hatch offers a visual connection between the wo. The lower corners of the taillights wrap around the rear quarters to provide a rectangular side marker on each side – yet another unique feature. The rear quarts and rear hatch and a slight upward swoop to create a built-in lip of sorts. Down below, there’s a mild line that runs the width of the rear fascia, but what’s more important is the massive, full-width insert at the bottom that houses the twin, dual exhaust outlets and offers up a diffuser-like look in the middle.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 734755
“The exterior look of the Stinger just goes to show what kind of talent Kia has required over the years”

All told, the exterior look of the Stinger just goes to show what kind of talent Kia has required over the years. It proves that a brand can step away from the boring, lackluster designs that made it a go-to for affordable but dependable vehicles and jump in the ring with the big boys. The design is well thought out and strategic in every sense, based on looks alone, the German three – as well as other premium and luxury manufacturers – have a lot to worry about in coming years.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 114.4
Length (Inches) 190.2
Width (Inches) 73.6
Height (Inches) 55.1
Track front/rear (Inches) 62.8/64.8

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

So, once the Stinger hits dealer showrooms, it will be the new kid on the block that has to battle extreme brand loyalty and models that have been established in the market long before the Stinger was even conceived. Kia has named a number of models that it considers competition, but the more prominent ones include the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and the Audi A5 Sportback.


2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupè - image 540334

When it comes to the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, it’s still in its first generation, being introduced as a 2014 model when BMW decided to split the 3 Series into two lineups. Be that as it may, the 4 Series will actually be nice and fresh when the Stinger goes on sale as it was just refreshed for the 2018 model year – something that might make it just a little harder for the Stinger to get a foothold in the market. In terms of exterior styling, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is sexy and stylish, and has more muscular definition than the Stinger. Up front, you’ll find that the hood has sharp and well-defined lines while the front fascia carries on with BMW’s typical aggressive design that makes use of a large, fake vent in each corner. The vents are larger than those on the stinger, while the air dam is smaller.

The Bimmer does feature some chrome, but it’s nowhere near as flashy as the stinger. The same story holds true for the side profile where two distinct body lines add character and a less-noticeable fender vent resides between the front wheels and the front door. The side skirts of the Bimmer are also far more aggressive. In the rear, you’ll find the 4 Series is more defined, featuring aggressive styling on the rear fascia and a rear insert that sits in between. The upward swoop on the decklid provides a bit of downforce in the rear while the exhaust outlets sit closer to the center of the fascia than they do on the Kia.


2017 Audi A5 Sportback - image 702793

If you fancy yourself as an Audi person, you’ll find that Audi has made some pretty big strides in recent years to ditch the bland, boring designs of the past. The A5 is clear and uncut proof of that in many ways. It has a muscular front hood that features four sharp body lines, with the outside lines curving inward to terminate at the upper corners of the front grille. That grille, by the way, has evolved in recent years and is now thinner, wider, and flashy. The upper corner edges run almost parallel with the inner-most edges of the headlight units and, down below, you’ll find a pair of aggressive but fake air vents that serve as a permanent home for the fog lights, when properly equipped. Instead of having a wide-open air dam like the 4 Series and the stinger, Audi kept with a short nose with the corner vents linked together by a splitter like design. It’s actually unique in this segment (in a weird kind of way) and fairly pleasing to look at.

To the sides, you’ll find that the headlights serve as a starting point for a somewhat wavy body line that curves slightly above each wheel well and runs between the door handles and waistline before terminating at the taillights. Down below a slanted body line that is positioned between the front and rear wheels helps give the illusion that the A5 as a slightly raked stance. The side skirts, are rather uneventful, and the A5 is the only one of the three that doesn’t have a vent or trim element on the front fenders. Around back, the rear quarters flare out a bit to give a muscular appearance, while sleek taillights sit below a tiny overhang that visually links the rear quarters and decklid together. Down below, the rear fascia has a few body lines that run the full width of the rear, but there is no massive insert or diffuser hear, just a single exhaust outlet, a pair of reflectors, and a small vent for a little extra character.

If you’re motivated by looks alone, it’s going to boil down to how much you like aggressive looks. The Stinger, while fairly flashy is the least aggressive of the three, while the Bimmer and Audi bring significantly sharper lines and a more commanding presence. Both German models have been updated recently and will carry on through the end of the decade, as will the Stinger.

Exterior Dimensions

left
right
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Audi A5 Sportback
Wheelbase (Inches) 110.6 111.18
Length (Inches) 182.6 186.33
Width (Inches) 71.9 72.55
Height (Inches) 54.7 54.56

Interior

  • Luxurious interior far above any Kia that came before it
  • Soft touch surfaces
  • Instrument cluster includes oil temp, navigation, g-forces, and a lap timer
  • Advanced HUD system
  • Low-siting driver’s seat for more support
  • Spacious rear seats unparalleled by BMW or Audi

2018 Kia Stinger - image 745698
“When you sit down inside the Stinger, you’ll find yourself feeling an immediate and intense sensation of bliss as your mind goes into slight overload as you try to convince yourself that this is really a Kia”

When you sit down inside the Stinger, you’ll find yourself feeling an immediate and intense sensation of bliss as your mind goes into slight overload as you try to convince yourself that this is really a Kia. Not that Kia hasn’t made drastic improvements to its interiors over the last 25 years (Kia Motors America came to be in 1992,) but there is much more going on here than anyone expected. First off, there are soft-touch surfaces everywhere including the entire dash and the door trim panels. The dash itself is elegantly designed with that slight overhang that casts a small shadow on the nose of the dash. Mixed HVAC vents keep things interesting with trio circular, eight-spoke vents in the center and almost rectangular vents in the corners. A bright trim strip runs from both sides of the dash’s face, leading the way to a small control panel that houses the hazard light switch as well as a few audio controls.

Oddly, there isn’t a flat-bottom steering wheel here, but it’s sporty nonetheless and features red contrast stitching that matches the seats and door trim inserts. There are thumb control buttons on each side spoke, and the bottom spoke features a gloss black finish with the GT logo at the bottom. Ahead of the driver sits a semi-digital instrument cluster with two analog gauges that are outlined in metal trim to go with bright red needles. In between sits a wide TFT display that provides information like engine oil temperature, navigation, cornering G-forces, and lap times, but also serves as the home for the driver settings menu and onboard diagnostics system. Sitting just to the right, is a hint toward the Stingers German rivals with that large display that is perched prominently atop the center stack. And, you can’t see it in the pictures we have here, but there is also and advanced HUD system that is height adjustable and displays information on the windshield, including speed, navigation, audio settings, cruise control settings, and blind spot detection information.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 734761
“The dash itself is elegantly designed with that slight overhang that casts a small shadow on the nose of the dash.”

Moving lower in the front of the cabin, you’ll find metal plated pedals and a metal plated foot rest. In the center, that tall transmission tunnel serves is covered up by that high-sitting center console that offers a central armrest with a storage pocket underneath to go with dual cup holders and a gear shifter that’s ergonomic, comfortable, and easy to use and understand. Further ahead is a smaller storage tray that offers wireless phone charging for smartphones with the capability. Sitting above that tray are the HVAC controls that are positioned for easy access from either front passenger. As you can see, the front seats offer amazing side support top and bottom and feature a nice stitching pattern. The models at the Detroit Auto Show were wrapped in the optional Napa leather, and while we don’t know what that option will cost yet, it’s definitely something you want to consider if you decide to give Kia’s new Halo car a chance.

There is one thing here, that’s very important to know but isn’t really represented in any of the images here. The driver’s seat actually sits really low in the car, bringing the driver’s hip point significantly lower than that of the Stinger’s German rivals. This gives it a snugger and sportier feeling, and to test this theory I went straight from Kia to BMW and sat down in the new 5 Series – the difference was night and day. The seat was more comfortable and offered much more support in all of the right places. It was shocking and hard to believe, but if you don’t believe me, I suggest you take the test for yourself – you’ll be surprised as well.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 745697
“The driver’s seat actually sits really low in the car, bringing the driver’s hip point significantly lower than that of the Stinger’s German rivals.”

Sitting in the rear of the Stinger is just as surprising as sitting up front. Of course, it’s void of anything like a rear infotainment system, but rear passengers do get their very own HVAC vents and controls to keep things kosher and a pair of power sockets to keep devices charged on those longer trips. What really caught my attention, however, was how spacious the rear of the cabin really was. Despite the sloping roof and fastback design, there’s more than enough headroom for anyone shorter than 6’4, while legroom can easily accommodate those of the taller persuasion as well. The doors even open wide to accommodate those with a larger frame. The rear seats offer support in all of the right places with an emphasis on the lower back and shoulder blades. While I couldn’t spend too long in the rear, I did find that the rear seats did ease the tension in my back – something you don’t normally find happening in the rear of a smaller sedan. The rearward tilt to the seat cushions help keep your legs in a comfortable position without hampering blood flow to the lower extremities.

I know a lot of this might come off as PR talk to those of you who haven’t had a chance to see the Stinger in the metal yet, but I promise you it’s not. In the short time I spent inside this crazy sedan, I found myself highly impressed and even a bit confused that Kia hasn’t brought this quality of materials or the superb and meticulous fit and finish to other models in its lineup. For the brand’s first go at the luxury segment, it did pretty damn well, and it’s only fair to give them props. Not everyone can jump in the ring with the big boys and go a full 15 rounds.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 745739

Interior Dimensions

Headroom front/rear (Inches) 38.3/37.0
Leg room front/rear (Inches) 42.6/36.4
Shoulder room front/rear (Inches) 56.4/54.8
Hip room front/rear (Inches) 55.5/56.1
Passenger capacity (cu. ft.) 93.8
Cargo area capacity, rear seats up (cu. ft.) 23.3
Cargo area capacity, rear seats folded (cu. ft.) 40.9

Design, Function, and Comfort

At this point, you know that I practically fell in love with the Stinger’s interior, but that doesn’t mean the competition doesn’t stack up well. When BMW updated the 4 Series, it also did quite a bit to the interior to help keep it on point for the next few years.


2018 BMW M4 Convertible - image 702101

Looking at the full dash shot of the BMW 4 Series above you can see that it’s quite stylish in its own regard. I haven’t had a chance to sit in the updated 4 Series, but the pre-facelifted model offered very comfortable seats and a spacious alternative to the Stinger. Kia made it a point to say it benchmarked the Stinger against the 4 Series a lot, but some of the similarities between the two are uncanny. Take the door trim panels, for example. The both have their own designs and all, but the design of the armrest, pull handle, and the location of the middle speaker in the middle of the insert prove that Kia smuggled in some cues from the 4 Series – a tactical and strategic choice, but risky.

The seats in the Stinger offer a little more side support (unless you look at the M4, for instance) while the Bimmer has a more intuitive operating system built into its infotainment system. The screen in the Bimmer isn’t as tall, but it’s wider and responsive. Both models make use of a semi-digital instrument cluster, however, the TFT screen in the Kia is just a bit wider and offers better graphics. As far function goes, both offer similar safety technology while the controls for the Bimmer’s infotainment system are a little more intuitive. The Driver’s seat in the Kia does sit a bit lower in comparison, however, so it has a sportier feel and should offer a little more support during more extreme maneuvers.


2017 Audi A5 Sportback - image 687428

And, we finally get to the A5, which I tend to favor more than that of the BMW and find to be a little more advanced than that of the Stinger. Now, the Stinger wins hands down as far as comfortability goes, but on the technology and design front, the A5 is hard to ignore. It can be hard with a 12-inch, digital instrument cluster that provides all necessary information and as a home for the navigation system – a feature that helps keep your eyes on the road. I prefer the navigation in the BMW as far as looks and function goes, but I’d be willing to sacrifice if it meant getting that digital instrument cluster. The A5’s infotainment screen is also the larger of the three and actually looks like it is floating above the dash instead of being mounted to it.

The Audi features HVAC vents that run the full width of the dash and the seats sit higher than those of the Bimmer and Kia. The center console features a semi-floating design with
storage area located underneath and, while it has the slightly elevated edge on the passenger side, it’s not as intrusive as that of the BMW. The seats in the Audi look almost identical to those found in the 4 Series while the door trim is more refined. Like the other two models, it comes with a similar list of safety and technology features, including the option of a 4G LTE hotspot and various semi-autonomous safety features.

Interior Dimensions

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Audi A5 Sportback
Headroom front/rear (Inches) 39.9 39.92/37.28
Legroom, front/rear (Inches) 42.2/33.7
Shoulder room, front/rear (Inches) 54.8/54.3
Cargo Space (cu. ft.) 17.0 17.0

Drivetrain

  • Base model: 2.0-liter; 255 HP & 260 LB-FT
  • GT model: 3.3-liter, 365 HP & 376 LB-FT
  • 0-to-60 could be as fast as five seconds flat
  • Fuel economy as good as 22/29/25
  • Euro customers get a 2.2-liter with close to 200 HP
  • Automatic transmission only 
  • Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber torque converter
    – a first for Kia
  • RWD standard; AWD $2,200 option
  • AWD gets dynamic torque vectoring
  • RWD models get a mechanical LSD
  • More than half of chassis composed of higher-strength steel
  • 3,615 LB in base for or 3,968 with the V-6
  • Could go hybrid in the future
  • Chassis can handle much more power

2018 Kia Stinger - image 734762
“The entry-level model comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-banger known as the Theta II that has 255 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 260 pound-feet of twist at a very low 1,400 rpm.”

Unfortunately, I wasn’t afforded the option to take one of the three Stingers on display for a spin, but as they say, good things come to those who wait, right? Even without getting to hear that 3.3-liter Biturbo roar or feel how this thing really handles in a tight corner at high speed, I find myself impressed and intrigued by the specs. The entry-level model comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-banger known as the Theta II that has 255 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 260 pound-feet of twist at a very low 1,400 rpm. But, if you’re like me, and have a true thirst for power, you’ll jump up to the 3.3-liter, Biturbo, V-6 that is available in the GT model. It pumps out a cool 365 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 376 pound-feet at an even lower 1,300 to 4,500 rpm – this should make for some very fun and powerful burnouts when you turn off that traction control.

Of course, Kia has yet to release official performance specs thus far, but the 60-mph sprint should come in as low as five seconds with the 3.3-liter. Fuel economy for the four-cylinder is rated at 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined. If you opt for all-wheel drive, fuel economy drops by one mpg in the city and combined. Meanwhile, the 3.3-liter delivers 19 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mph combined in rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive configuration.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 701499
“Fuel economy for the four-cylinder is rated at 22 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 25 mpg combined.”

On a side note, European customers will have the choice of a diesel-powered Stinger that is powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder. It is said to deliver 197 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque. With this engine in tow, the Stinger will be able to hit 62 mph in 8.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 139 mph. This sounds more like all looks and no go to me, but something tells me the fuel economy will be amazing, so it may be fair trade off.

Unfortunately, those who prefer to row their own gears will find themselves largely disappointed as the Stinger isn’t to be offered with a manual transmission. In fact, it has now been exposed that Kia engineers didn’t even try to develop and manual gearbox for the sports sedan, so don’t get your hopes up for the future either. With that said, shifting duties are scheduled to be handled by the second-generation eight-speed auto that comes from the K900 sedan. It was designed by Kia engineers and makes use of a Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber torque converter, a first for any vehicle that sports a Kia badge. The plus side to this is that the transmission will handle shifting all on its own, but if you’re feeling the need to get better acquainted with those corners on the way home, you can engage manual shifting and cycle through the gears with the paddle shifters that are attached to the steering wheel. At least you’ll have that option.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 745710
“When it comes to the driveline, the Stinger can be had in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with a rear-biased torque distribution”

When it comes to the driveline, the Stinger can be had in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with a rear-biased torque distribution. The latter features dynamic torque vectoring that allows the car to monitor conditions and deliver just the right amount of torque to each wheel for just about any given condition, ultimately resulting in the best traction possible in most scenarios. In adverse conditions, automatic braking will take charge of each wheel individually to keep things from getting wild. Those equipped with rear-wheel drive come with a mechanical limited-slip differential which should help evenly distribute power to the rear wheels.

When it came to the Chassis that supports the beast, Kia focused more of stiffness than it did making a light car. As such, the Stinger tips the scales at as much as 3,615 pounds with the four-banger and 3,968 pounds with that V-6 with all-wheel drive. But, that’s not a bad thing, because this makes the car excessively strong, and with 55 percent of the chassis being composed of advanced higher-strength steel, it can handle much more power than the current range-topping model. This in itself is a hint that the Stinger may, at some point in the future, be offered in a more powerful form with the ability to take on the BMW M4 head-to-head – now that’s a battle I would love to see.

Drivetrain Specifications

Stinger GT
Engine 2.0L Twin Scroll Turbo 4-Cyl 3.3L Twin Turbo V6
Displacement (cc) 1,998 cc 3,342 cc
Bore x stroke (mm) 86.0 mm X 86.0 mm 92.0 mm x 83.8 mm
Compression ratio 10.0:1 10.0:1
Horsepower 255 HP @ 6,200 RPM 365 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 260 LB-FT @ 1,400-4,000 RPM 376 LB-FT @ 1,300-4,500 RPM
Curb Weight
Minimum RWD 3,611 lbs. 3,829 lbs.
Maximum AWD (All Options) 3,792 lbs. 4,023 lbs.
Fuel Economy
Automatic transmission (RWD), city/highway/combined (mpg) 22/29/25 19/25/21
Automatic transmission (AWD), city/highway/combined (mpg) 21/29/24 19/25/21

Rumors

There’s word that Kia has been discussing a future of electrification for the Stinger – there’s no official word and any details at this point, but the conversations have taken place. This means that in the near future a hybrid could come to be. Furthermore, an all-electric variant could but a big damper on the Tesla Model 3 if Kia plays its cards right. I certainly wouldn’t expect that to happen for at least a few years, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

Better Bang For Your Buck

Power delivery and performance is a pretty big deal to a lot of folks, especially when you’re looking at sporty models like the Stinger, 4 Series Gran Coupe, and the A5 Sportback. But, how do they all stack up against each other? Well, the Stinger is actually the most powerful of the three, offering 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque from that biturbo, but that doesn’t mean it’s the fastest. When it comes to the 4 Series, the entry-level model is the 430i, which can be had in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel ($2,000 premium) and is powered by a 2.0-liter with 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That’s not much less than what’s offered by the four-cylinder Stinger, but it’s enough to push the Gran Coupe to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds – likely a bit quicker than that of the Stinger. But, if you upgrade to the 440i or 440i xDrive, you’ll get a 3.0-liter inline-six that delivers a cool 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. It’s less than the Stinger, but thanks to weight savings and aerodynamics, the 440i can hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds or 4.7 seconds with xDrive. That’s at least 0.3 seconds faster to 60 than what the Stinger is expected to do, but in terms of top speed, the Bimmer is limited to 155 mph while the Stinger tops out well above 160.

The A5 Sportback is a little more confusing, but considering it’s not available in the U.S. as of the time of this writing, it shouldn’t be surprising that it’s offered with more diesel engines than gasoline engines. In fact, if you want a six-cylinder model, you have no choice but to get an oil burner. On the gasoline front, there’s a 2.0-liter four-banger that can be had with 187 horsepower and 236 pound-feet or 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet. 62 mph comes in around six seconds, so it’s quite a bit slower than where the Stinger and 4 Series GC sit, but it does pull 47.8 mpg, so at least you get fuel economy if you sacrifice performance a bit. On the diesel front, you can get a 2.0-liter as well, that offers 187 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, which allows the 62-mph sprint to happen in around 7.4 seconds and top speed to sit at 146 mph. It’s a turd in comparison to the Stinger or 4 Series, but it does achieve a combined fuel economy of 67.3 mpg, which could be a major selling point if you do a lot of driving. V-6 TDI models displace 3.0-liters and can be had with 215 horsepower and 295 pound-feet or 292 ponies and 457.3 pound-feet of twist. Performance figures aren’t readily available for all engines, but you can opt for a six-speed manual if you want to row your own, or a seven-speed S Tronic dual clutch with paddle shifters. For those of you who like to cruise and enjoy the luxury without the fun of spirited driving, you can opt for the eight-speed auto that is said to offer smooth shifts.

BMW 430i Gran Coupe BMW 440i Gran Coupe Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI Audi A5 Sportback 3.0 TDI
Engine 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder 2.0-liter Inline four-cylinder 2.0-liter Inline four-cylinder 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine
Horsepower 248 HP @ 5,200 RPM 320 HP @ 5,500 RPM 252 HP @ 5,000-6,000 RPM 190 HP @ 3,800-4,200 RPM 218 HP @ 4,000-5,000 RPM
Torque 258 LB-FT @ 1,450–4,800 RPM 330 LB-F @ 1,380–5,000 RPM 272.9 LB-FT @ 1,600-4,500 RPM 295.0 LB-FT @ 1,750-3,000 RPM 295.0 LB-FT @ 1,250–3,750 RPM
Transmission 8-speed Sport Automatic 8-speed Sport Automatic 7-speed dual-clutch 6-speed manual 7-speed dual-clutch
Acceleration 0–60 mph 5.6 4.8 6.5 7.9 6.4
Top speed 130 mph 130 mph 155 mph 148 mph 152 mph
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 23/2/4/27 21/32/25
Curb Weight 3,668 Lbs 3,799 Lbs 3,240 Lbs 3,306 Lbs 3,615 Lbs

Safety


2018 Kia Stinger - image 734760

If you know anything about the Kia brand, you know it wouldn’t bring a car like this to the market without integrating a fair amount of safety and driver assistance features to keep things safe. As such, the Stinger has a number of advanced features, including an all new (and first for any Kia) Driver Attention Alert system that can determine whether the driver is tired or distracted and deliver audio and visual alerts to encourage a rest stop. But, that’s not all. It also features a forward collision system with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian protection to go with advanced cruise control, lane keep assist, and rear cross traffic alert. While some may have been hoping to see more autonomous features, it’s nice to see that Kia isn’t shoving that crap down your throat with its first real performance offering. Surely, it will come in time, but this car is slated to be a driver’s car.

Pricing


2018 Kia Stinger - image 745714

We originally speculated that the Kia Stinger would command at least $41,000 to sit right in line with its main competition, the BMW 4 Series GC and the Audi A5. That would have been logical from most standpoints, but Kia decided to dial things down a bit more and keep its resident performance car in a price bracket that doesn’t require excessively deep pockets or an outrageous car note. All told, the Stinger will start out at a relatively low $31,900 for the base model. Moving up to the Premium trim increases your entry point by $6,000 to $37,100. The Stinger GT comes in at $38,250 while the GT1 commands $43,250. The range-topping Stinger GT2 comes in at $49,200. Of course, this doesn’t include the $900 destination fee and, like the other guys, AWD will set you back an extra $2,200 on any given model. Still, not a bad price point from bottom to top and lots of value for your hard-earned buck.

2018 Kia Stinger $31,900
2018 Kia Stinger Premium $37,100
2018 Kia Stinger GT $38,350
2018 Kia Stinger GT1 $43,250
2018 Kia Stinger GT2 $49,200
All-wheel drive $2,200
Destination $900

Sometimes It’s All About That Green Stuff


2015 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupè - image 540279

So, maybe you find yourself limited to a budget for your next whip. If so, then you’ll find that pricing is really tight in this segment, so you’ll probably want to look at things like design, and performance to really help you make a decision about which model is best for you. As of the time of this writing, the Stinger has yet to be priced, but journalists everywhere shoot out numbers that range anywhere from $40,000 for the entry-level model up to right around $60,000 for the range-topping stinger. When it comes to BMW’s offerings in this segment, you can get the 430i for as little as $41,950 or $43,950 with xDrive. Going with the 440i, which offers better acceleration than the others will hit the bank for at least $48,300 or $50,300 when equipped with all-wheel drive.


2017 Audi A5 Sportback - image 745741

When it comes to the Audi A5 Sportback, pricing varies a bit depending on the specific market. Over in Europe, however, it’s offered in three different trims. The entry-level model comes with the low-end 2.0-liter TDI and starts out from $40,641 in SE form, but increase to a starting point of $42,978 in Sport trim or $45,007 in range-topping S Line trim. These prices have been converted at exchanges rates as of Jan 18, 2017. It should be noted that the two upper trim levels can be had with any of the engines available, but pricing can increase to more than $50,000 for the S Line with all of the available options.

BMW 430i Gran Coupe $41,950
BMW 430i xDrive Gran Coupe $43,950
BMW 440i Gran Coupe $48,300
BMW 440i xDrive Gran Coupe $50,300
Audi A5 Sportback SE $40,641
Audi A5 Sportback Sport $42,978
Audi A5 Sportback S Line $45,007

Other Options

So, perhaps you’re considering the Kia, but you’re not interested in owning a BMW 4 Series Grand Coupe or an Audi A5. That’s okay, though, because the Stinger has what it takes to be cross shopped with a handful of models, like those listed below.

Lexus GS


2016 Lexus GS - image 640431

The Lexus GS isn’t a noob on the market, with the first-gen model being introduced way back in 1991. Of course, the GS wouldn’t have what it takes to compete with a model like the Stinger if Lexus hadn’t pulled itself together and released the current-gen model in 2015 – the first generation to wear Lexus’ iconic spindle grille as we all know it. On the outside, it features a wildly aggressive front end with sharp points and deep lines while the side and rear profiles are rather toned down in comparison.

Like the Stinger, the GS is offered with a four-banger and a V-6. But, the four-banger displaces just 2.0-liters and delivers 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. With this engine, Lexus claims a 7-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed of 143 mph. Move up to the GS350 or higher will get you a 3.5-liter V-6 with at least 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. In this configuration, 60 mph comes as quick as 5.8 seconds while top speed maxes out at just 130 mph. In this configuration, you can have all-wheel drive if you so desire, but if you really want power, you need to upgrade to the GS 450h and that’ll need you a few extra ponies with an output of 338 horsepower. You’ll get to 60 in 5.6 seconds and top out at 137 mph, but will be limited to all-wheel drive. Of course, these specs are a little lower than those promised by the Stinger, so the only motivation I can think of is not wanting a German or Korean car, and being more interested in aggressive looks than power under the hood. Pricing starts at $46,310 which could be comparative to the four-cylinder Stinger (maybe) but climbs to as much as $69,995 for the range-topping 450h F Sport.

Read more about the Lexus GS here.

Infiniti Q50


2016 Infiniti Q50 - image 665242

The Q50 is a baby in Infiniti’s stable, being introduced for the 2014 model year and updated in 2016 to keep up with the competition. But, you’ve got to be careful when considering the Q50 as you could find yourself paying as much for way less power if the Stinger really starts out around $42k See, the Q50 starts out at $33,000 and climbs to as much as $44,300 in 2.0t form. This model comes with a 2.0-liter four-banger with a meager 208 horsepower on tap – far less than that promised by the entry-level Stinger. So, if you really want comparable power, you need to go with the 3.0t that pumps out 300 ponies from a 3.0-liter V-6. It starts out at $40,650, which could offer more bang for your buck if you’re considering an entry-level Stinger, but can climb to as much as $46,500 when fully loaded with all of the bells and whistles.

Then again, if the Stinger commands more like $60k, you could opt for a Q50 Red Sport 400 with 400 ponies on tap and an enticing exterior package for as little as $48,700. But, if you want all-wheel drive exclusive wheels and other niceties, you’ll be asked to pony up $50,700. Oh, and by the way, as far as looks go, the Q50 takes an approach similar to that of the Stinger – it’s got lines in all of the right places, but isn’t wildly aggressive. It is pleasing to look at, however, and you’ll find that it does compare well in the looks department.

Find out more about the Infiniti Q50 here.

Conclusion


2018 Kia Stinger - image 745718

And here we are at the end, and you have a lot of information to digest. What’s really important, however, is what you take away from what I’ve said here. I’m not talking about my opinion or all of my happy and enthused attitude about the new Stinger, but the fact that it impressed some like me, who can have some pretty harsh words about cars I see on the market today. Of course, I’m no David E. Davis or Brock Yates, so I don’t expect my thoughts and experience to carry much weight with you, but when you lay eyes on the Stinger for the first time, try to let go of all preconceived notions embedded in your mind based on previously released models from the brand. Kia really raised the bar for itself with the Stinger, and I hope that you find it as impressive as I did, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. Just keep an open mind at first and give it a chance – I truly believe you’ll be impressed as well. And, if you’ve already seen it in person, hit me up in the comments section below and fill me in on your thoughts.

  • Leave it
    • No manual transmission
    • Lots of German brand loyalty to compete with

References


2011 Kia GT Concept - image 415886

Read our full review on the 2011 Kia GT Concept.



Read more Kia news.

Update History

Updated 06/14/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Kia GT up for a new testing session, this time somewhere in the Alps.

Spy shot Comparison


2018 Kia Stinger - image 701467

2018 Kia Stinger - image 702784

2018 Kia Stinger - image 701474

2018 Kia Stinger - image 702785
“Kia did a good job at keeping the Stinger prototype covered throughout its real-world testing sessions. We knew it would be sporty, but the world wasn’t ready for it to looks so good when the sheet came off.”

Kia Stinger vs Kia GT Concept


2018 Kia Stinger - image 701466

2011 Kia GT Concept - image 449917

As I mentioned earlier, the new Stinger (left) is based, in part, on the Kia GT Concept (right) that Kia showed off for the first time at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The Concept was significantly more wild and futuristic than the production model it spawned. It took Kia five years to rework the concept into something that could be brought to the masses, but that was time well spent. As you can see, the new Stinger got a similar front grille, however, the front fascia, fenders, and headlights were all largely reworked. As far as the side profile goes, Kia dropped the side view cameras in exchange for aging but effective mirrors, and they solved the issue with the front door glass that made the front end of the concept look a bit awkward. The body lines on the side have been toned down but did carry over to the production model. The waistline is practically the same and Kia did make use of the vent from the concept that is ahead of the front doors, but it’s now chrome and doesn’t extend toward the rear wheels.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 701476

2011 Kia GT Concept - image 449919

In the rear, there’s some significant difference in design, but that’s a very good thing as the rear of the concept was the weakest point in its design. To put it simply, the rear end was boringly flat and uneventful with a weird diffuser-like element providing some character. As far as carry over to the production model goes, the only think you’ll recognize as familiar are the rear taillights. They wrap around the rear quarters in the same fashion and traverse across the rear hatch in the same fashion. The lens layout of the production model is much more attractive as is the exhaust setup and rear fascia insert.


2018 Kia Stinger - image 701488

2011 Kia GT Concept - image 702790

Inside, Kia completely reworked the interior to make the stinger more feasible and ready for a market where judgment and criticism comes at light speed. There are very few similarities here, however, you’ll notice that the Stinger’s steering wheel has a similar design but isn’t anywhere near as flashy. The dash has the same design principal with a nose that extends from the center to house the infotainment system and center vents. Normally, production models don’t look nearly as well as the concepts that led to their existence. But, in this case, the Stinger looks much better than the concept inside and out.

PostHeaderIcon Batteries and Motors: Even the Subaru WRX STI is Gonna Get ‘Em

Evs and hybrids are slowly taking hold and, wouldn’t you know it, an exec from Subaru just hinted that the next Subaru WRX STI could go hybrid as well. That’s the word from David Dello Stritto – Subaru’s Sales and Market Manager in Europe – who told Autocar that the current 2.5-liter, whistling, boxer-four just “can simply not exist in the future.” He didn’t go into detail other than that, really, but did say that “Subaru is looking at market developments” and will “make its future plan with this information in mind.” Does it mean that the Subaru WRX STI as we know it will perish after the end of its current lifecycle? Nope; and all of this hybrid talk could be a very good thing.

See, that 2.5-liter, turbocharged mill is just kind of old school and a little dirty. To put it simply, it can’t keep up with emissions regulations that are getting stricter by the minute (not literally, but they might as well be.) This has caused a number of cars to be axed altogether, and if that happened to the WRX and STI, then you know they would probably come back as an SUV as Mitsubishi has done with the Eclipse name. Thank God that’s not going to happen here. Instead, rumor has it that the next WRX STI, which will be built on the same Global Platform that supports the new Impreza, will get its go-juice from a 2.0-liter boxer engine up front (turbo of course) and a motor-driven axle out back, something that would allow Subaru to maintain its all-wheel-drive setup and keep up with those pesky regulations to are just determined to kill anything and everything that we find fun and enjoyable. Keep reading for more of the good stuff.

Motor-Driver Rear Axle… Are You Serious?


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 702498
“What we could end up seeing is a WRX STI with more power than before and better, more predictable torque distribution”

Yes; Yes, I am. Of course, there’s no telling how well that kind of system will compete against the current Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, but I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting Subaru to drop the ball. They saw firsthand what happens when a brand lets their resident rally car go stale – just look what happened to the Mitsubishi Lancer… sigh. Something tells me that a small battery – just big enough to keep a constant flow of juice to that rear motor with regenerative charging from the brakes and flywheel – will be paired with a decently powered motor. What we could end up seeing is a WRX STI with more power than before and better, more predictable torque distribution… if that’s something you could really beat on the current STI anyway.

Either way, the good news is that the WRX and STI names aren’t going anywhere, and they damn sure aren’t getting stuck onto the ugly duckling with a height problem (Sorry Mitsubishi Eclipse and EVO badges, you deserved better.) The next WRX and STI should arrive for the 2020 model year riding proud on that new Subaru Global Architecture that should make them more rigid and safer than ever. And, even better yet, they will take design cues from the Viziv Performance Concept that Subaru showed off not that long ago. Of course, it won’t have those painfully sharp lines or all that carbon fiber, but we can sure hope, right?

Current Subaru WRX STI vs the Competition


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 702528
Ford Focus RS Volkswagen Golf R Subaru WRX STI
Engine 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine 2.0L inline four cylinder 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder “boxer”
Horsepower 350 HP @ 6,000 RPM 292 HP @ 5,400 RPM 305 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 350 LB-FT @ 3,200 RPM 280 Lb-FT @ 1,800 RPM 290 LB-FT @ 4,000 RPM
0 to 60 mph 4.7 seconds 5.3 seconds 4.6 seconds
Top Speed 165 mph 155 mph 160 mph
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Fuel economy city/highway 19/25 22/31 17/23
Curb weight 3,459 Lbs 3,282 Lbs 3,391 Lbs

References

Subaru WRX


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 702499

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI.


2018 Subaru WRX - image 700158

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX.


Subaru Viziv Performance Concept - image 740460

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru Viziv Performance Concept.

PostHeaderIcon Fisker’s New Battery Patent Promises 500-Mile Range; One-Minute Charging

Fisker, the company that has worked diligently to bring about a dead-to-rights Tesla Model S fighter, has just announced a new battery patent that promises a new technology capable of ranges exceeding 500 miles and one-minute recharging. Let me say that again: One-minute recharging.

Details are still rather thin at this point, but we have learned that Fisker’s new power storage technology will allow the company to build solid-state batteries with lots of surface area in comparison to the current thin-film solid-state electrodes currently in development and use. This ultimately means better conductivity below the shell which, in turn, makes for a battery that works better in cold weather and charges faster. Keep in mind; this is why lithium-ion batteries are the go-to right now for EVs – the current capabilities of solid-state batteries are insufficient and low conductivity levels is a primary cause of this. So, if what Fisker is saying is true, the company could have just solved a very big problem and could, very well, usher in the next generation of battery technology.

Of course, Fisker isn’t the only company gunning for solid-state batteries, and Toyota has even promised its battery would be put to use in electric cars by 2022, just two years sooner than what Fisker claims it can do. Then again, Toyota hasn’t proved its technology, so it still has the same burden that has now be thrust onto Fisker’s shoulders as well. It’s obviously an arms race in which the winner will reign supreme in the EV world. In the end, Fisker if lofting out claims for density 2.5 times that of current lithium-ion batters, which means these babies could charge in minutes and offer up ranges of 500 miles. Just think, you can pull into a “gas station” and by the time you make up your hot dogs, buy a beverage, and take a leak, you’re EV is good for another 500 miles. Range Anxiety? Not in this future. The question now is: Who’s going to deliver on these lofty promises first?

Toyota still has a few years, and the man behind Fisker isn’t exactly working with a full deck of successful resumes either. He hasn’t exactly been the most successful cat on the street, and he promises an advanced battery in the Emotion just to retract his claims. But, for EVs to be truly successful, this is the kind of technology we need, and if we’re really this close – Toyota claims 2022 and Fisker 2024 – we’ll certainly be seeing it happen in most of our lifetimes. And, once that technology is there, there isn’t really a need for the ICE anymore either now is there?

Have something on your mind? Let us know in the comments section below. We’re curious as to what you think about these hefty claims.

References

Fisker Emotion


2017 Fisker EMotion - image 693722

Read our full review on the 2018 Fisker Emotion.



Read more Fisker news.

PostHeaderIcon Buick LaCrosse Avenir

2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir

Launched in 2005 as a replacement for both the Buick Century and Lucerne, the LaCrosse was a big success in its first full year on the market, selling close to 100,000 units. Although sales dropped and the sedan rarely moved more than 50,000 examples per year since 2007, it’s still an important car for the GM-owned brand. Redesigned for 2017 with a more elegant design and a more upscale interior, the LaCrosse is now moving higher on the premium ladder with the Avenir model.

Although the Avenir name was launched with a concept car and gave us hope of a new, luxury-oriented sub-brand, it turned out to be just a trim level. This was confirmed when the Enclave Avenir was unveiled earlier in 2017 as the range-topping model of the company’s full-size crossover. Now, it’s the LaCrosse’s turn to get pampered in a move that’s supposed to satisfy market demand, according to Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick and GMC. “Nine out of ten LaCrosse buyers are choosing one of the top two trim levels — customers are signaling they want more from Buick,” he said. Let’s have a closer look at what the Avenir badge brings to the LaCrosse.

Continue reading to learn more about the Buick LaCrosse Avenir.

What makes the Buick LaCrosse Avenir special?

  • New grille with 3D honeycomb mesh
  • Redesigned bumper intake
  • Wider stance
  • More upscale look
  • Exclusive 19-inch wheels, 20-inch upgrade option
  • Chestnut upholstery
  • Optional Ebony interior
  • Embroidered headrests
  • Standard navigation and moonroof
  • Bose audio system
  • Avenir sill plates
  • Same 3.6-liter V-6 as standard model
  • Optional AWD system
left
right
“The Avenir package adds a three-dimensional grille mesh with a honeycomb design”

Just like on the Enclave SUV, the Avenir package replaces the vertical-slat, “waterfall” grille of the standard LaCrosse with a three-dimensional mesh with a honeycomb design. The same mesh was fitted in the bumper, replacing the horizontal bar seen on the regular sedan. At the same time, the lower grille is now a one-piece element with LED lights at the corners. This gives the car a wider stance, as well as a more upscale look.

Changes aren’t as significant onto the sides, but the sedan did get “Avenir” badges on the front doors and a set of exclusive, 19-inch Pearl Nickel wheels. Optionally, you can get larger, 20-inch rollers finished in Midnight Silver. Around back, the Avenir trim is identical to the regular model. Overall, Buick managed to maintain the LaCrosse’s classy and organic lines while adding subtle and tasteful details. It’s the right way to move a car up the premium ladder without overdoing it.


2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir - image 743451
“The interior gets subtle detailing and new upholstery”

As seen on the outside, the interior gets subtle detailing and new upholstery. The seats, lower dashboard, and parts of the door panels are now wrapped in Chestnut leather, a dark shade of brown that works well with the black upper dash and doors, giving the cabin a classy look. The contrasting stitching and piping seen in the Enclave didn’t make it inside the LaCrosse, but the front seats have embroidered headrests as an extra feature.

Speaking of which, the Avenir model comes standard with a navigation system and a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound premium audio, as well as a panoramic moonroof. These three features are optional on the regular sedan. The upscale interior is rounded off by Avenir sill plates. If you don’t like the Chestnut upholstery and prefer something a bit more sober, Buick has you covered with the optional Ebony interior.


2018 Buick LaCrosse Avenir - image 743454
“Under the hood, the Avenir uses the same 3.6-liter V-6 as the standard LaCrosse”

Under the hood, the Avenir uses the same 3.6-liter V-6 as the standard LaCrosse. This isn’t surprising though, as it’s the only drivetrain option for the third-generation sedan. Although similar to the previous V-6, the unit is actually new, having been launched with the Cadillac XT5 crossover. The mill cranks out 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque, a mild increase over the outgoing unit, but the fact that the new LaCrosse is some 300 pounds lighter makes quite a difference in the performance and fuel economy departments.

The engine pairs to a nine-speed automatic transmission and uses Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and stop-start technology. The Intelligent Twin-Clutch AWD system is optional, as is the Dynamic Drive Package, which adds continuous variable real-time dampening control and a range of advanced safety features. The list of active safety systems includes Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Automatic Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Rear Vision Camera.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 3.6L V-6 DI VVT
Displacement (cu in / cc) 223 / 3649
Bore & stroke (in / mm) 3.74 x 3.37 / 95 x 85.8
Block material cast aluminum w/ cast-in-place iron bore liners
Cylinder head material cast aluminum
Valve train DOHC, four valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing; Active Fuel Management
Fuel delivery direct high-pressure fuel injection
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Horsepower 305 HP @ 6,800 RPM
Torque 268 LB-FT @ 5,200 RPM
Transmission eight-speed, electronically controlled automatic overdrive with torque converter clutch

Pricing information is not available as of November 13, 2017, but the Avenir should become the most expensive model in the range. With the range-topping LaCrosse Premium costing $41,900, the Avenir could fetch at least $46,000 before options. For reference, the base model retails from $32,990.

References

Buick LaCrosse


2017 Buick LaCrosse - image 656227

Read our full article on the 2017 Buick LaCrosse.



Read more Buick news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M5: Old vs. New

BMW M5: Old vs New

2017 brought us the new BMW 5 Series, so it’s only fitting that 2018 brings us a new M5. We must have been good this year because Santa came early, and with him, he brought a whole slew of updates that include an updated V-8, loads of new technology, BMW’s xDrive AWD system as standard (optional outside the U.S.,) a lighter chassis, and better performance. Talk about some good news, right? Truth be told, the M5 dropped as much as 127 pounds, has more aggressive styling, an updated interior with the latest infotainment system, and an extra 38 ponies and 51 pound-feet over the outgoing model – that brings total output figures up to 591 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It can now hit 62 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds and 124 mph in just 11.1 seconds. Of course, top speed is still pinned at 155 mph, unless you get the M Driver’s package, which increases the top speed to 189 mph.

Now, it’s set to take on other established beasts in the market that include the Mercedes-AMG E63, the Audi RS7, and the Cadillac CTS-V – I know, it’s not German, but this thing is seriously a beast, so don’t get caught slipping because it will eat you alive. With all this in mind, we decided to throw together a little infographic for the M5 to help bring its best features and qualities to the forefront. Check it all out in our visual comparison below.


BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742001

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 741998

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742000

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 741999

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 741996

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742002

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742793

References

BMW M5


2018 BMW M5 - image 727404

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M5.



Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline

ABT Sportsline is no stranger to working on performance vehicles of German origin and ahead of the 2018 Essen Motor Show, it’s releasing its latest piece de resistance with a kit for the Audi RS3. The kit is available for both sedan and sportback versions of the RS3 and is packing an assortment of different accessories covering the car’s exterior, interior, drivetrain, and suspension.

The result of ABT’s work on the RS3 gives Audi’s performance sedan a whole new personality. Not that it needs one, but there is something to be said for a car like the RS3 that doesn’t get enough attention as it should. The Audi, after all, has to deal with both the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-AMG C63, two of the most established German performance vehicles in the market today. It’s more than capable of holding its own even without the assistance of ABT Sportsline, but if you own an RS3, this king of aftermarket package is one of those offerings that’s going to be hard to turn down. In the end, improvements come in many forms, and in the case of the RS3, there’s enough of them from this program to justify a good long look at the kit.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Audi RS3 by ABT Sportsline

Exterior

  • Front fender vents
  • Revised front grille
  • Rear skirt set that includes rear muff channel and new exhaust system
  • 19- or 20-inch wheels (available in DR, ER-C, ER-F, or FR designs)

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744357
“The exterior of the RS3 is only good for a number of styling accessories, including front fender vents and a revised front grille”

It goes without saying that when a tuner prepares a program for a car like the Audi RS3, there’s only a certain amount of changes that can be made to improve the car’s aesthetics. That’s not so much a lack of creativity on the part of the tuner, but a testament to the outstanding design quality of the car. That’s what we have here because the truth is, ABT Sportsline didn’t have to dig deep into its chest of exterior upgrades with its program for the sedan and sportback versions of the RS3.

Based on ABT’s description of the kit, the exterior of the RS3 is only good for a number of styling accessories, including front fender vents and a revised front grille. There is an option though to add a glass black rear skirt set into the cart. It’s easy to make out in the photos because the set itself comes with a rear muffler channel and ABT’s exhaust system. The latter also includes a pair of 102-mm double pipes, each finished in a fancy matte black shade.


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744360
“ABT’s offering for this kit revolves around a set of 19- or 20-inch wheels that you can choose in a variety of different designs”

Far more than just being a throwaway addition to the kit, the rear skirt set gives the rear section of the RS3 a more attractive design characteristic. Onto the set of wheels, ABT’s offering for this kit revolves around a set of 19- or 20-inch wheels that you can choose in a variety of different designs. I personally like the “FR” design the best, but the other designs – “DR,” “ER-C,” and “ER-F” – do have their own distinct appeal.

That’s the extent of the upgrades that you can expect for your Audi RS3. It may not be on the same level of other programs in terms of volume, but the quality of what you stand to get speaks for itself. That’s the mark of a true ABT Sportsline tuning kit.

Interior

  • Carbon fiber trim
  • Illuminated door sill plates
  • ABT-branded gear shifter
  • Push-Button ignition
  • Anti roll bars
  • Special floor mats

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690344

Note: Standard Audi RS3 pictured here.

“The highlight of the offerings is a nice carbon fiber trim, generously distributed throughout the interior to give the RS3 a more premium feel to it”

ABT Sportsline has never been the type of tuner to go all-out on the interior of the cars it develops programs for. But there are upgrades in store for the RS3, just not as expansive as you might like. The highlight of the offerings is a nice carbon fiber trim, generously distributed throughout the interior to give the RS3 a more premium feel to it. The ABT-branded illuminated door sill plates add a nice touch of personalization, while the shifter – ABT-branded as well – and push-button ignition add functional improvements to the whole driving experience of the car. Everything else though can be described as standard tuner additions, including the ho-hum special floor mats.

There is one extra offering that’s of particular interest, and it’s quite frankly, a surprising addition to a car like the RS3. Apparently, ABT Sportsline is also offering to install anti-roll bars at your behest, should you at least decide to take the tuner up on its offer. Not quite sure why it’s there, but it does speak to the breadth of tuning options that are at your disposal when you’re talking to a tuner like ABT Sportsline.

Drivetrain

  • 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine
  • 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque (stock output)
  • 4.0 seconds standard 0-to-60-mph time
  • 155 mph standard electronically limited top speed
  • New ECU unit
  • New exhaust system with two matte black 102-mm (4.01) inch tailpipes
  • 460 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque (tuned output)
  • 3.8 to 3.9 seconds tuned 0-to-60-mph time
  • 174 mph tuned top speed

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690352

Note: Standard Audi RS3 pictured here.

“The result of it is an extra output of 60 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque”

Since this is the main focus of ABT Sportsline’s tuning kit for the Audi RS3, let’s first set the table on the German automaker’s standard engine features. At the heart of this proud sedan rests a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot of power for a car like the RS3, but in true aftermarket fashion, “a lot” is never enough when you’re talking to a tuner like ABT Sportsline. Guess what the tuner did then? If you’re thinking about a remapped ECU unit, then give yourselves a pat on the back. That’s exactly what the tuner did and the result of it is an extra output of 60 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque. Decent gains in it of themselves, but when you add it to what the RS3 already has, the total output suddenly goes up to 460 ponies and 390 pound-feet of twist.

ABT didn’t say how the extra muscle contributes to its performance time, but considering that the standard RS3 Sedan is able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a shade over four seconds, it stands to reason that with ABT Sportsline’s influence, this RS3 can now hit the same speed mark in around 3.8 to 3.9 seconds. Gnarly.

As far as top speed goes, the tuner did say that with the remapped ECU in place, the RS3 now has an increased, though still limited, top speed of 174 mph. With that kind of power and performance abilities, it would be a travesty if you don’t add the aforementioned ABT exhaust system with its pair of 102 mm (4.01 inches). Throw that into the equation and you’re looking at an attention-grabbing RS3 that will have no problems waking the neighbors.

Suspension

  • New sports springs
  • New brake system

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744359

At this point, your Audi RS3 already has cosmetic upgrades, a more powerful engine, and fancy carbon fiber trim on the interior. That’s already a trifecta right there. Ok, let’s add the floor mats too. Quad-fecta? Fantastic four? Regardless, why not complete the whole ABT program with the addition of new sports springs and a meatier braking system? The former should be able to help keep the RS performing in peak abilities when its stretching its legs while the latter is always nice to have around in case you need to slow down from the madness. Either way, both options are on the table from ABT and as is most often the case in the tuning business, better to get the whole lot than skip on the underratedly important bits.

Pricing


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744361

The whole kit is scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Essen Motor Show in January of next year so as you might expect, there are still no pricing details about the whole thing. Don’t worry though because ABT Sportsline isn’t the type to be bashful with announcing pricing figures so expect those to arrive sooner than later. Even better, the tuner has a reparation in the aftermarket scene for being reasonable with the cost of its programs so if you’re going to get this kit for your RS3s, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to afford it, at least if you loosen the purse strings a little.

Competition

Audi RS3 8V by B&B Automobiltechnik


2016 Audi RS3 8V By B&B Automobiltechnik - image 678590

Comparing one program for the Audi RS3 opposite another is actually a pretty straightforward thing to do because there are a number of kits that are in the market today. One rival tuner with a program for the RS3 estate comes by way of B&B Automobiltechnik. This program was presented back in 2016 and it came with a four-stage engine kit that offers a number of different output increases. The Stage 1 kit, for example, returns 430 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque, all thanks to a similar remap of the ECU unit. Add an air intake system into the mix and that becomes the Stage 2 kit with 450 horsepower and 483 pound-feet of torque on tap. The Stage 3 kit takes it a step further with the installation of air intake mods, a free-flow sports exhaust system, and a new, in-house, high-performance intercooler and the output goes up again to 485 ponies and 516 pound-feet of torque. Then there’s Stage the Stage 4 kit, which includes every upgrade from the first three stages and adds a bigger and more bespoke turbocharger. The result is an output of 550 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, enough power to propel the RS3 to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph.

Read our full articles on the 2016 Audi RS3 8V by B&B Automobiltechnik.

Conclusion


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744358

The name behind the product says it all. In the world of aftermarket tuning, few are as esteemed and trusted as ABT Sportsline. That reputation was earned and has served the tuner well. It’s new aftermarket program for the Audi RS3 may not offer the most powerful engine upgrades, but what you get in return is quality, and the highest level of it. From the aesthetic mods to the output increase, there’s nothing to worry about should you get this kit from the well-respected German tuner.

  • Leave it
    • More powerful options available in the market
    • Not as extensive as I thought

References

Audi RS3


2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690330

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi RS3 sedan.


2015 Audi RS3 - image 585650

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi RS3 hatch.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche Mission E GTS

2021 Porsche Mission E GTS

In case you hadn’t heard, let me be the first to tell you – Porsche is building a four-door all-electric sports sedan, and it’s called the Mission E. Don’t worry, it’ll have all the go-fast characteristics you’d expect, just without the internal combustion to make it go. In fact, it should draw a good deal of its tech from the hybrid goodness developed for the Panamera and 918 Spyder, so that’s a plus. But, as we all know, Porsche isn’t satisfied to make just a single version of any one model. Multiple variants are required to fill every niche possible, so what about an even-faster Mission E? We’re calling it the Mission E GTS, and we decided to draw up a rendering and put together a speculative review to boot. Upgrades over the standard Mission E should include more aggressive exterior styling, lots of black trim pieces, more performance gear inside, a bigger battery, extra horsepower, and standard performance suspension.

The EV performance market is looking to balloon pretty rapidly over the next few years, and you can bet your lithium-ion battery pack Porsche will be there to take advantage of that growth. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2021 Porsche Mission E GTS.

Exterior

  • Larger aero than standard model
  • Blacked-out trim pieces
  • Lowered ride height

2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743629
“The Porsche Mission E GTS will be a somewhat unique entry in the Porsche model lineup”

From the off, the Porsche Mission E GTS will be a somewhat unique entry in the Porsche model lineup. Of course, the traditional Stuttgart styling will be included, looking like an amalgamation of the 911, the 918 Spyder, and the Panamera. The nose will be rounded, curving downwards toward the pavement, with a wide and low stance to give it a definitively sporty flavoring. The hips will be broad, while the roofline will fall towards the truncated rear end at a gradual angle.

However, as is tradition for Porsche’s hotter GTS line, the Mission E GTS will get a few noticeable aesthetic changes to help it stand out from its standard, non-GTS siblings. Extra aggression will be the primary focus, with features like bigger wings, more prominent intakes, larger swoops, and similar details.


2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743630
“As is tradition for Porsche’s hotter GTS line, the Mission E GTS will get a few noticeable aesthetic changes to help it stand out from its standard, non-GTS siblings.”

The front end will get the Mission E’s unique headlight design, which places the housings high on the fenders with a small teardrop shape framed by a prominent check mark crease. Lower horizontal daytime running lights emphasize the car’s width. LEDs will be the lighting element of choice.

Moving to the flanks, we find large wheels with a black finish, complementing the various blacked-out trim pieces, grilles, and mesh inserts that are so common on Porsche’s GTS models. The side sills get curvy ground effects that bring the car closer to the ground, a characterstic enhanced by the lowered ride height. The fenders will be broad to encapsulate the larger wheels.

In back, we’d expect to see a bigger diffuser element, once again in black, while above will be a larger wing for extra downforce. We’d also expect the wing to be adaptive, rising and falling to provide either more stick or less drag as the situation dictates.

Interior

  • Lots of Alcantara upholstery
  • Sporty seats
  • Steering wheel inspired by the 918 Spyder

2018 Porsche Panamera - image 701991

Note: Porsche Panamera GTS pictured here.

“We’re gonna go with the Panamera GTS as a reference, and we would expect a similar layout and similar upgrades applied to the Mission E GTS.”

While we have yet to actually see the interior of the Porsche Mission E, there’s still a few predictions we could make about a possible GTS version at this early point. First off, we’re gonna go with the Panamera GTS as a reference, and we would expect a similar layout and similar upgrades applied to the Mission E GTS.

For starters, the dash will likely incorporate a broad, horizontal design, with lots of wide lines that add a sense of space. The seating arrangement will include space for up to five passengers, with two up front and three in the rear, plus a little space in the trunk to haul around a suitcase or two. The steering wheel will draw inspiration from the 918 Spyder in terms of design, while digital screens will be used for user inputs and data relays.

“Upgrades for the GTS model will include even sportier seats, with larger side bolsters to keep passengers in place while cornering, plus Alcantara upholstery.”

Upgrades for the GTS model will include even sportier seats, with larger side bolsters to keep passengers in place while cornering. Alcantara upholstery will be the material of choice, and should be added to the seatbacks, the side panels, the doors, and just about anything else Porsche can manage. Finally, brushed aluminum and carbon fiber trim will add that extra bit of gloss.

Drivetrain

  • Four electric motors, AWD
  • Up to 350 miles per charge
  • More power – up to 650 ponies
  • 0-to-60 mph in 3 seconds flat

2015 Porsche Mission E Concept - image 736441
“The Mission E GTS will be all-electric, routing motivation to the ground by way of four individual permanent synchronous electric motors”

Like the standard Porsche Mission E, the Mission E GTS will be all-electric, routing motivation to the ground by way of four individual permanent synchronous electric motors, essentially making it AWD. There will also be multiple drive modes, from eco energy saving to maximum attack sport.

The GTS could enhance this with a special sport mode that throws caution (and range anxiety) to the wind for even greater acceleration. Luckily, the Mission E GTS would also likely get a bigger battery pack, offering both greater range per charge and more horsepower as a result. Once again placed under the floor, the larger lithium-ion pack would provide upwards of 350 miles per charge, a substantial increase compared to the standard Mission E’s 300 or so miles per charge. And, if Porsche delivers on its promise, charge times should be pretty quick thanks to the brand’s forthcoming proprietary 800-volt charging system.

“The Mission E GTS would likely get a bigger battery pack, offering both greater range per charge and more horsepower as a result. We’re thinking 650 ponies total.”

But here’s the important bit – we would expect more power from the GTS, up to roughly 650 ponies compared to the standard model’s 600 horsepower. That would make it quicker, and when placed in its sportiest mode, the 0-to-60 mph time should drop to around 3 seconds flat compared to the standard model’s 3.5-second sprint.

Chassis And Handling

  • Standard adaptive suspension
  • Less weight
  • Faster Nurburgring lap time

2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743629
“The Mission E GTS will utilize a unique chassis made specifically for all-electric applications”

Under those freshened body panels, the Mission E GTS will utilize a unique chassis made specifically for all-electric applications. The platform should provide just the right stuff to make the car enjoyable in the corners, while also taking advantage of the all-electric’s benefits and minimizing its drawbacks.

Unique to the GTS model will be additional sporting elements for the suspension, including standard active components for greater performance in the corners. We’d also expect to see a more advanced torque vectoring system, not to mention four-wheel steering as well.

“Unique to the GTS model will be additional sporting elements for the suspension, including standard active components for greater performance in the corners.”

Extra exotic materials, such as additional carbon fiber and titanium, should also be used, cutting out a few pounds here and there. Nothing major – just enough to maximize the newfound power gains and aggressive suspension.

All told, the GTS will be measured in terms of how it performs on the track. The Nurburgring is the place where these things get the full shakedown – perhaps a time of 7 minutes, 45 seconds could justify the extra outlay.

Prices


2021 Porsche Mission E GTS - image 743631

With the Mission E expected to start at $85,000, a GTS version would likely put the bottom line at well over $100,000. However, if Porsche offers a stopgap between the base model Mission E and GTS model, such as an S iteration at $100,000, a price tag of $120,000 for the GTS would make a lot of sense.

Competition

Tesla Model S P100D


Tesla Model S Gets Upgraded Battery Pack; Now as Fast as LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder - image 686181

If you want a fast four-door EV, Tesla is pretty much the standard these days. Sitting at the top of the heap is the P100D, an AWD crusher of 0-to-60 mph times that manages to complete the benchmark in just 2.3 seconds. That’s seriously quick, and would likely trounce the Mission E GTS. But here’s the thing – Porsche is more concerned with handling than Tesla, and given a proper race track, the Tesla would likely fall short. Same goes for the interior appointment, where Stuttgart once again has the upper hand. However, if balls-out acceleration is all you care about, Tesla is the way to go.

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S P100D.

Conclusion


2020 Porsche Mission E - image 740943

Note: Porsche Mission E test mule pictured here.

While at first glance it might seem absurd to render up a hot-to-trot iteration of a car Porsche hasn’t even released yet, there’s a method to our madness. In case you hadn’t noticed, Porsche absolutely loves offering a wide spectrum of performance versions for their most popular vehicles. Indeed, no stone is left unturned in the quest to satisfy speed enthusiasts, and there’s no reason the same formula won’t be applied to the Mission E.

In fact, it’s practically required when looking at the current EV market. Tesla is obviously one of the biggest names here, and with a variety of model variants on offer for more speed, more range, and more bragging rights, Porsche can’t ignore the obvious.

  • Leave it
    • Might be very pricey
    • Base Mission E will need to see success before a GTS model is a thing
    • What will the EV performance market look like in 2021?

References

Porsche Panamera

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche 911

Tesla Model S

PostHeaderIcon BMW M3 CS

2018 BMW M3 CS

Introduced in 2014, the latest-generation BMW M3 set new benchmarks in the premium compact sedan segment. However, things changed when Mercedes-Benz launched the AMG C63, which unlike the Bimmer still had a V-8 engine and arrived in dealerships with significantly more power. And while the M3 fell behind the competition in terms of performance, the M4 was enabled to keep up and even raise above its rivals thanks to the GTS and CS limited-edition models. Fortunately, the M3 also received the attention it deserves in 2017 with the CS package, a club sport-style upgrade that makes it more suitable for track use, but without taking it over the top with the extreme rear wing of the GTS.

Essentially an M4 CS with the extra door and the longer rear roof, the M3 CS is a slightly more practical proposition in the CS lineup. Not only it misses the roll-cage available with the coupe, it also provides seating for up to five people, which maintains it in the family car market. Of course, no one will really buy it as a family car, but it doesn’t force customers to use it a two-seater only. More good news comes from the availability department, as the M3 CS is slated to come to the United States. On the other, production will be limited to a little over 1,000 units, with less than half set to cross the pond to North America. And much like the M4 CS, it will be significantly more expensive than the the standard M3. But more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M3 CS.

Official video

Exterior

  • CFRP and carbon aero parts
  • New bumper with larger intakes
  • Gurney flap rear spoiler
  • Aggressive diffuser
  • Stainless-steel exhaust pipes
  • Shadow Line black trim package
  • DTM-inspired wheels

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743433
“Not surprisingly, the M3 CS is identical to the M4 CS, save for the extra rear doors and the longer roof”

Not surprisingly, the M3 CS is identical to the M4 CS, save for the 3 Series-specific features such as the extra rear doors and the longer roof. The fact that the presentation model is finished in Lime Rock Grey Metallic, the same color as the M4 CS introduction car, makes the similarities between the two Bimmers that much more evident. So we’re looking at the similar CS updates, which are heavily based on those on seen on the M4 GTS.

Up front, the sedan’s looks and aerodynamics were enhanced by means of a front splitter made from exposed carbon-fiber and a revised apron with larger intakes that improve engine and braking system cooling. The standard engine hood was ditched in favor of a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic unit with a massive bulge in the middle and additional vents. On top of looking more aggressive, it’s also around 25 percent lighter than that of the regular M3. The CS look is rounded off by black trim instead of chrome, which comes with the standard Shadow Line package.


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“The forged, light-alloy wheels with ten-spoke design is inspired by DTM racing”

Onto the sides, the CS retains the usual M3 design elements, but the same Shadow Line package adds black window trim, lower mirror caps and door handles. In addition, it rides on special forged, light-alloy wheels with a ten-spoke design borrowed from the M4 DTM race car. Finished in Orbit Grey Matt, they blend almost seamlessly with the exterior paint and probably provide a great contrast with the other color options.

Around back, there’s a Gurney lid spoiler made from carbon-fiber. The aerodynamic element, which helps reduce rear axle lift, is taken from the M4 CS. Although not as aggressive as the big wing seen on the M4 GTS, it’s better suited for the sedan’s classier, Club Sport look. The CS also shares the OLED taillights, the rear diffuser, and the carbon-fiber-reinforced (CFRP) diffuser with its coupe counterpart. The four exhaust pipes are made from stainless-steel.


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743431
“The Gurney lid spoiler made from carbon-fiber helps reduce rear axle lift”

As far as paint options go, the M3 CS is finished in Alpine White as standard. However, customers can also opt for either San Marino Blue Metallic, Lime Rock Grey Metallic (pictured), Frozen Dark Blue II Metallic or Black Sapphire Metallic.

All told, the M3 CS is nearly as aggressive as the bonkers M4 GTS, missing only the race-inspired rear wing. It’s by far the most aggressive iteration of the current 3 Series and it’s definitely more menacing to look at than the already iconic M3 CSL.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 110.70
Length (Inches) 183.89
Width (Inches) 73.89
Height (Inches) 56.06
Track, front/rear (Inches) 62.16/63.14

Interior

  • Two-tone Merino leather
  • Alcantara inserts
  • “CS” graphics and lettering
  • Gray contrast stitching
  • M sports steering wheel
  • M sports seats
  • No roll-cage like the M4 CS
  • Standard Harman Kardon sound system

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743435
“The interior of the M4 CS was transferred inside the sedan with all of its exclusive features”

The interior of the M4 CS was transferred inside the sedan with all of its exclusive features. The cabin is almost entirely black, draped in Merino leather and Alcantara. The upper dash if wrapped in black leather with grey stitching, but the area above and around the center stack is dressed in Alcantara. Light gray “CS” lettering adds exclusivity to the dashboard. More light gray stitching is found around the glove compartment and trickles down into the center console, which features a good amount of Alcantara. The seats are the only features that aren’t completely black. Here, the black side bolsters are complemented by Silverstone center sections. That’s light grey with a dash of silver.


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“Unlike the M4 CS, the sedan doesn’t have a roll cage fitted in the back”

The seats are M sports units and are borrowed from the M3 Competition Package. The steering wheel is of the same variety and features exclusive, anthracite-colored Alcantara and a silver stripe at the 12 o’clock position. The door sills feature special strips with “M3 CS” lettering. Despite being a track-oriented model, the sedan is equipped with a full range of convenience features, including automatic climate control, a navigation system, and a Harman Kardon surround sound system. Unlike the M4 CS, the sedan doesn’t have a roll cage fitted in the back. So you get a bit more everyday practicality.

Drivetrain

  • Beefed-up six-cylinder engine
  • 453 horsepower
  • 443 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds
  • Top speed increase from 155 to 174 mph
  • Standard M Driver’s Package
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
  • Optional M Carbon Ceramic brakes

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743437
“Output was increased to 453 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque”

Just like the M4 CS, the M3 CS gets its juice from a beefed-up version of the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six engine found in the standard sedan. Output was increased to 453 horsepower (460 PS) and 443 pound-feet of torque, which accounts for an extra 28 horses and 37 pound-feet over the regular M3. All that oomph goes to the wheels through the proven, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and enables the sedan to hit 60 mph from a standing start in 3.7 seconds, two tenths quicker than the stock model. Top speed increased from the standard 155-mph rating to 174 mph thanks to the M Driver’s Package, which comes standard with the CS badge.


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743443
“The six-cylinder engine features BMW latest drivetrain technology, including high-precision direct injection”

The six-cylinder engine features BMW latest drivetrain technology, including high-precision direct injection, Valvetronic variable valve lift, and Double-VANOS fully variable camshaft timing control. As a result, it has a maximum engine speed rated at 7,600, close to GT-spec race cars. The oil supply system is another technical highlight, having been designed with input from motorsport engineers. The magnesium oil pump keeps the engine lubricated under longitudinal and lateral forces of up to 1.4 g, enabling the M3 CS to tackle extreme driving maneuvers at the race track. The new exhaust pipe provides lower back-pressure for enhanced power, while a new system of flaps provide optimum feedback on the engine’s load state for a sporty exhaust note.

Just like the M4 CS, the sedan comes standard with the Adaptive M Suspension. This puts three modes at the driver’s disposal – Comfort, Sport, and Sport + — each using different damper and steering settings. There’s also an Active M Differential, a limited-slip unit that further enhances stability and traction. It’s pretty obvious that the M3 CS is largely an M3 Competition Package underneath, but there are a few extras to consider, including more rigid axles and revised double-joint front spring struts and five-link rear axle.


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“The forged wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires for increased grip”

The forged wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires for increased grip, while stopping power is provided by BMW M compound brakes with four-piston calipers at the front and two-piston units to the rear. However, these can be updated to BMW M Carbon Ceramic brakes, which feature six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers at the rear.

There’s no word yet on whether the M3 CS completed blistering Nurburgring lap – the M4 CS did it in 7:38 minutes, but it’s safe to assume that the sedan was also tested on the German track. And I’m sure it would be almost as quick, which would put it on par with cars like the Lexus LFA and the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera.

Drivetrain Specifications

Config/No of cyls/valves Inline/6/4
Engine technology M TwinPower Turbo technology: two mono-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve lift, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
Effective capacity 2,979 cc
Stroke/bore 89.6/84.0 MM
Compression ratio :1 10.2
Horsepower 453 HP @ 6,250
Torque 443 LB-FT @ 4,000 – 5,380 RPM
Transmission 7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) with Drivelogic
0 to 60 mph 3.7 seconds
Top Speed 174 mph

Prices

  • Limited to 1,200 units
  • Only 550 to be sold in the U.S.

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743434

Pricing information for the M3 CS is not yet available, but BMW did say that order books will open starting May 2018. The German carmaker also said that production will be limited to approximately 1,200 units worldwide, with “approximately 550 units coming to the U.S.” It’s a bit awkward that production numbers aren’t specific at this point, but hey, I’m not here to comment on BMW’s marketing strategy. Expect the sedan to retail from around $100,000 before options, a hefty increase compared to the standard M3, which retails from $65,500.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG C63


2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 - image 569746

Unlike BMW, Mercedes didn’t bother to make limited-edition versions of the AMG C63. At least not the kind that brings more power and improved aerodynamics to the table. However, because the C63 is available with two power outputs, one of which is significantly more powerful than the M3 CS, the Stuttgart-designed sedan qualifies as a solid competitor for this Bimmer. More specifically, while the standard C63 uses a 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, which is still more than the M3 CS, the C63 S has it engine uprated to 503 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. The extra horsepower makes up for the lack of motorsport-style aerodynamic as they push the Merc to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, a tenth-second slower, but top speed is rated at 155 mph. But while you don’t get the performance and the extra features of the M3 CS, you do get an aggressive looking sedan with a fancy interior and state-of-the-art tech. What’s more, the AMG C63 S is significantly more affordable, retailing from $73,700.

Read our full story of the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63.

Conclusion


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743431

With the M4 having already spawned GTS and CS versions, it was a bit surprising that the M3 didn’t get a limited-edition variant in all these years on the market. But BMW finally did the right thing and gave the sedan the higher performance treatment. It’s a bit late to the party, but at least the German firm didn’t completely ignore the nameplate. Granted, most higher performance upgrades are associated with the coupe version of the previous M3 generations, but the sedan is just as important and ignoring it won’t be good for business. The fact that the Mercedes-AMG C63 significantly more powerful than the stock M3 in both trim shouldn’t have been enough to motivate BMW to act in this direction, more so with Audi still not offering a sedan version of the RS4. But, as I said, better late than never. I’m still a bit disappointed that there’s no M3 GTS to talk about, but I can understand that a high winged sedan isn’t a priority for BMW right now. What matters is that the M3 CS is more exclusive and more track oriented than any of its competitors. And this should keep enthusiasts happy.

  • Leave it
    • Awfully expensive compared to regular M3
    • Limited production run
    • The AMG C63 is still the more powerful choice

References

BMW M3


2015 BMW M3 - image 554300

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW M3.

BMW M4


2018 BMW M4 CS - image 718414

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M4 CS.



Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 BMW M3 CS Unveiled

BMW just unveiled its latest special edition for the M3. Dubbed the CS, the new German rocket seeks to combine everyday driveability and luxury with even greater performance potential courtesy of its M Division boffins.

Kicking it off is more muscle from the 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline six-cylinder. Peak output is now rated at 453 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm, an increase of 28 ponies and 37 pound-feet respectively. Redline is set at 7,600 rpm. All told, the CS is both quicker and faster than the standard M3, doing the 0-to-60 mph shimmy in 3.7 seconds and topping out at an electronically limited 174 mph. Making the good noises is an M Sports exhaust system with special sound tuning exclusive to the CS model. Routing the muscle to the rear is a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox with launch control and paddle shifters.

Outside, you’ll find a generous helping of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), which was added to the roof, front splitter, rear diffuser, and Gurney flap, cutting as much as 110 pounds from the car’s curb weight. That makes it sprightly, especially with the unique tuning for the springs and dampers. Standard spec includes Adaptive M Suspension components, which offer a variety of driving modes ranging between Comfort and Sport. An Active M Differential was added as well. The wheel design was inspired by DTM racers, and come staggered at 20 inches in back and 19 inches in front. Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires make the traction, while optional carbon ceramic brakes haul it down.

There’s new stuff inside as well, with Alacantara upholstery and two-tone Merino leather in Silverstone and black. M Sport seats, automatic climate control, and a Harman Kardon stereo keep it civil.

The 2018 BMW M3 CS will be offered globally, but is limited at 1,200 units total, only 550 of which will come stateside. Order books open May of 2018. Pricing is thus far unannounced.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!!

The Subaru WRX has been on the market for about 25 years now, and Subaru has made constant updates to the model over the years.
This time, Subaru has launched the Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition at the Tokyo Motor Show. Will it be enough to take on its chief rivals – the Honda Civic Type-R, VW Golf GTI, and Ford Focus RS? Let’s find out:


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734536
“The roof and rear spoiler get carbon-fiber treatment”

Now, what makes this limited-edition beauty special? Well, to start off, the roof and rear spoiler get carbon-fiber treatment which takes the handling up by a notch. On the braking front,18 inch ventilated disks by Brembo have been deployed. Along with it, 24 additional horses have been added to the existing 305 under the hood.

The interior gets a set of Recaro seats with black leather and silver stitching, among other changes. There is also a performance muffler, front under-spoiler, and air vents on the rear bumper to aid aerodynamics. But, there is a catch – there are going to be just 450 of these beasts for the taking!

The Subaru WRX made its debut in 1992 when the WRX series was first launched. It had one of the best rivalries in the performance sedans segment with another legend – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Two decades later, the WRX has somewhat lost its charm to the likes of VW Golf R, Ford Focus RS, and Honda Civic Type-R; to name a few. Despite this, the car is still desired by many around the globe.

Our Take


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734538
“This car doesn't stand-out from the competition, save for the legacy and long history associated with it”

Showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show a couple of days back, the S208 does seem drool-worthy. But, the limited numbers up for production are a clear indication of the hefty price tag this car will carry. This car doesn’t stand-out from the competition, save for the legacy and long history associated with it. The performance sedan market is flooded today, and there are numerous rivals the S208 will have to take on. And, to make matters worse, this Subaru will serve only to the Japanese market. It is just a matter of time before we know if the S208 was worth the hype or a dud as most people expect it to be.

References

Subaru WRX


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734537

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI S208.


2016 Subaru WRX STI S207 Limited Edition - image 653293

Read our full review on the Subaru STI S207.

Subaru WRX STI


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 700139

Read our full review on the Subaru WRX STI.

PostHeaderIcon NASCAR Champ Truex Jr. Designs All-Black Toyota Camry for SEMA

Toyota got really busy for the 2017 SEMA Show and its lineup for this year’s event included a handful of bespoke Camry sedans designed by NASCAR drivers. Among those who created their own race-inspired Camry was Martin Truex Jr., who recently clinched the Sprint Cup title behind the wheel of his NASCAR-spec Camry. Built as a homage to his track-prepped car, the production Camry was modified with help from Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Center (MTC) and Misfit Industries.

Much like the race car he used this season, the SEMA-bound Camry is finished in black. But the color is far from being a Toyota palette standard. Crafted by Misfit after going through six different shades, the final paint is covered with a satin top coat for a unique, nearly matte look. What’s more, all existing chrome trim was refinished in durable cobalt Cerakote, which turned the exterior of the Camry completely black. The wheels, which are based on those of Truex Jr.’s race car are also finished in black. But NASCAR’s new champion didn’t stop at new paint, trim, and wheels. The Camry also sports a front splitter, a ducktail spoiler with visible rivets, and a new diffuser with redesigned exhaust pipes with three holes on each side.

The interior matches the sober look of the exterior with black leather with black stitching on the seats and Truex Jr.’s initials stitched on the headrests. Under the skin, the Camry gained an AEM intake system, a TRD exhaust, a custom Tein coilover suspension for lowered ride height and bigger brakes from StopTech. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric high-performance tires also add to the sedan’s improved performance.

Needless to say, Truex Jr.’s options for this Camry are a bit too serious as far as exterior updates go, but I must admit I would like to see this package offered on a limited-edition model. High-performance features and black matte paint are the perfect combination if you like subtle looks on beefed-up cars. Of course, a few engine upgrades would be nice too. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section.

References

Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 703838

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition II

2018 Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition II

One of the best-selling sedans in the United States in recent decades, the Camry is known mainly for its solid quality, good bang for the buck, and excellent reliability. It was never among the best looking vehicles in its niche and needless to say, Toyota received a lot of heat for that. This changed with the latest-generation Camry, which arrived with a decidedly sportier exterior design that borrows a few cues from the premium Lexus brand. The new styling was immediately transferred onto the NASCAR race car, which was used by four different teams and driven by more than 15 drivers during the 2017 season. Among them is Kyle Busch, who designed a custom Camry for the 2017 SEMA Show.

In second place in the Sprint Cup standings as of November 1, Busch teamed up with Chuck Gafrarar of Chuck G Fabrication, who collaborated with NASCAR race teams since 2002, to give already eye-catching sedan a bit of a twist design-wise. Busch also delved into the Toyota parts bin for performance-enhancing upgrades and called his creation the “Rowdy Edition II.” If you’re not familiar with the term, Busch uses the nickname “Rowdy” after Days of Thunder character Rowdy Burns. He’s actually nicknamed “Shrub,” as the younger brother of Kurt Busch (a shrub is a smaller bush, get it?), but let’s face it, the Camry Shrub Edition doesn’t sound as appealing.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota
Camry Busch.

What makes the Toyota
Camry Busch special

  • Standard black paint
  • Chrome roof and front grille accents
  • NASCAR-inspired Ducktail spoiler
  • “Rowdy” badges
  • Soft leather upholstery
  • Chrome and carbon-fiber trim
  • Red contrast stitching
  • AEM cold-air intake
  • TRD exhaust system

2018 Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition II - image 741839
“The roof, and front bumper trim are finished in chrome, which provides a great contrast with the black exterior”

Despite being modded by a NASCAR driver, this Toyota Camry is not significantly more aggressive than the production model. Sure, it has just enough features to stand out, but it’s more like the kind of sedan Kyle Busch would drive to the supermarket rather than a track-prepped four-door. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting take on the sleek, new Camry. Although Busch decided to go with the factory black paint instead of a fancy hue, the A-pillars, the roof, and front bumper trim are finished in chrome, which provides a great contrast with the dark appearance of the car.

The only significant change to the production form of the new Camry is the custom, ducktail-style spoiler on the trunk lid. The element is obviously inspired from NACAR and has visible mounting rivets. The exterior is rounded off by oval “Rowdy Edition II” badges on the trunk lid and front doors.


2018 Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition II - image 741846
“Busch updated the interior too, adding smooth leather instead of the Camry's standard upholstery”

Busch updated the interior too, adding smooth leather instead of the Camry’s standard upholstery. The sedan also has brushed-metal trim on the dashboard, center console, and door panels, as well as silver accents on the seats. The contrast created with the overall black cabin is similar to the exterior. However, the interior sports an additional splash of color through the red stitching and the red “Rowdy” lettering and stripes on the seats. The sedan also features carbon-fiber trim, which is rather unusual for a Camry.

As far as performance updates go, Busch kept things simple and added just an AEM intake and a TRD exhaust. So there aren’t any horsepower and acceleration gains, but it’s likely that the sedan now has a more aggressive exhaust note.

Although not as spectacular as other SEMA Show concepts, the Rowdy Edition II is one of those cars that blends flashy and motorsport-inspired elements in a subtle and cool way. I’d definitely like to see this show car make it into production as a limited-edition model for NASCAR fans.

References

Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 703838

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Flying Spur

Launched in 2005 and updated in 2013, the Bentley Flying Spur is getting a little long in the tooth. As a result, the British firm has already begun testing the next-generation model and we have already received the first spy shots of the upcoming luxury rig. Don’t let the Panamera body fool you, this is actually a Bentley mule, and the fact that Bentley is using a Porsche body is by no means surprising. As you may recall, the first Bentayga prototype hit the road with an Audi Q7 body. Also, keep in mind the Bentley, Porsche, and Audi are all under the same Volkswagen Group umbrella. If you’re still in doubt, our paparazzi have already checked the British plates with the DVLA, which revealed that the prototype is indeed registered as a Bentley.

Likely to break cover in late 2018 or early 2019, the next-generation Flying Spur will bring major improvements to the nameplate. Arguably the most imporant is the MSB-F platform, which already made its debut in the new Porsche Panamera. The redesign will also spawn a new styling language, a more luxurious interior, and give the sedan more powertrain options. Official data is virtually non-existent, but I gathered all existing rumors in a speculative review that should keep you covered until a Bentley-bodied prototype shows up in 2017. Make sure you stay tuned for details.

Updated 11/02/2017: The upcoming Bentley Continental Flying Spur was caught testing once again, still wearing a great amount of camouflage.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Flying Spur.

Spy Shots

November 2, 2017 – Bentley Flying Spur caught testing once again


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2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 742210

June 6, 2017 – Bentley Flying Spur caught wearing its real body prototype


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March 20, 2017 – Next Bentley Flying Spur caught testing


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 710796

2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 710802

Exterior

While the Panamera mule provided no details as to how the next-generation Flying Spur will look like and the more recent test cars wore camouflage that resembled the outgoing model, that’s not to say we are clueless on its exterior design. Much like the current model, the upcoming sedan will be a four-door version of the Continental GT. And before you say that the Conti has yet to show itself in public without camouflage, we already know that the coupe will borrow numerous features from the EXP10 Speed 6 concept. And the latest spy shots confirm just that.


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692539

2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 711162
Mule of the upcoming Bentley Flying Spur Next generation Bentley Continental GT
“Much like the current model, the upcoming sedan will be a four-door version of the Continental GT.”

That being said, I expect the Flying Spur to share most if its front fascia with the Continental GT. Notable features will include the quad headlamp layout with smaller lamps toward the sides, a lowered nose, and a wider grille placed lower into the fascia, as well as a sportier bumper with big side openings. A sculpted engine hood is also on the table, but with more subdued, elegant lines compared to the Continental GT.

Onto the side, the front fenders and doors will be identical for the most part, but most features will change toward the rear. Naturally, the Flying Spur will get a second pair of doors, a longer wheelbase, and redesigned rear fenders. The latter will continue to sport a muscular design, but this is where the sedan will stand out as a more graceful version of the Conti GT. The rear end is a complete mystery, but I expect Bentley to retain the rectangular taillight configuration, albeit in a longer and slimmer shape. The long decklid, raked D pillars, and imposing bumper should round off this area.

Rendering


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 718772

2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 - image 619492
Bentley Flying Spur rendering Bentley EXP10 Speed 6 concept

As mentioned above, we used many of the EXP10 Speed 6 concept’s features to design the next-generation Flying Spur. This is most visible up front, where the main headlamps flanking the grille are joined by smaller lights toward each corner. These are smaller than the ones seen on the outgoing model and now have their center sections covered, meaning they look like thin LED rings. The main grille retains the already traditional shape, but it now sits closer to the ground, thus lowering the nose for a sportier stance. Below, the Flying Spur should feature a three-piece grille configuration with two wing-like elements separating the cooling vents in the upper corners. The profile of the rendering is very similar to the current model, but we can see a revised fender vents, redesigned side windows, and more muscular rear haunches.

Interior


2015 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 - image 619477

Note: Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept interior pictured here.

“With the Continental's interior set to take inspiration from the EXP10 Speed 6 concept, the sedan could go a similar way.”

Our paparazzi didn’t manage to get close enough to snap shots of the interior, but given the Panamera body, there a big chance that the cabin is also made of Porsche parts as of this writing. However, with the Continental’s interior set to take inspiration from the EXP10 Speed 6 concept, the sedan could go a similar way. If so, the Flying Spur will get a sporty yet elegant cockpit with a wide instrument cluster, a wrap-around dashboard that extends into the door panels, and maybe even the tall center console that separates the front seats in the concept car. The latter could also include the vertical-oriented center display screen.

Eye-catching details will be all over the place, starting with the two-tone upholstery, contrast stitching, and the diamond-quilted seats. Being a Bentley, the upcoming Flying Spur will also get plenty of ludicrous luxury options such as a watch holder, sterling silver atomizers, a refrigerated compartment in the middle seatback, and a set of bespoke champagne glasses. These will be joined by a long list of options from the company’s Mulliner division.

All told, no one will have a reason to complain about the car’s interior, whether they’re driving or resting in the back seat.

Drivetrain


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692544
“Word has it the Flying Spur will share some engines with the Panamera”

The redesign should also bring a few changes under the hood, but given the new platform, these are mostly unknown as of this writing. Word has it the Flying Spur will share some engines with the Panamera, which makes sense given the Volkswagen Group’s current strategy. The most likely candidate for the Flying Spur is the revised 4.0-liter V-8 offered in the new-for-2018 Panamera Turbo. The twin-turbo unit cranks out 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque and it could make it into the Bentley with minor changes. For reference, the current 4.0-liter V-8 pumps 521 horses and 502 pound-feet in the Flying Spur V8 S.

It’s not yet clear whether or not Bentley will get the 2.9-liter V-6, but if it does, it will generate around 450 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque in the base Flying Spur.

Now that Bentley has already launched its first-ever diesel model in the Bentayga lineup, the Flying Spur could also get an oil burner. Naturally, the sedan will share the 4.0-liter V-8 with the SUV, which currently benefits from 429 horses and 664 pound-feet.


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692548
“The W-12 engine will likely continue to be an option.”

The W-12 engine will likely continue to be an option, but the current unit will be replaced by the redesigned engine that debuted in the Bentayga. Also displacing six liters and using two turbochargers, the W-12 cranks out a massive 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. This configuration should push the four-door from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds and toward a top speed in excess of 200 mph.

Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Flying Spur also gets the Panamera’s hybrid drivetrain. The combo pairs a twin-turbo, 2.9-liter V-6, an electric motor, and a lithium-ion battery and delivers 462 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of twist. It can also travel for 31 miles on electric power alone. This drivetrain will most likely find its way in the Bentayga first, and that’s when we will find out more about the configuration Bentley is planning to use.

Prices

With the production model set to arrive in late 2018 or early 2019, it’s definitely way too early to talk about prices. However, it’s safe to assume that the base model will cost in excess of $200,000, while the range-topping W12 version will fetch at least $250,000 before options.

Competition

Rolls-Royce Ghost


2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II - image 544479

The Ghost is the Flying Spur’s traditional rival as it can offer the same amount of opulence and performance. On the market for six years as of 2016 and updated in 2014, the Ghost will most likely receive a complete redesign by 2019. The next-gen Phantom is already scheduled to arrive in 2018, so it’s safe to assume that a new Ghost will follow suit. Unlike the Flying Spur, the current Ghost is a V-12 machine only, as both the standard and V-Specification models are powered by a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12. The first version comes with 562 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, while the latter benefits from 592 horses. The next-gen model should come with a revised V-12, but a hybrid or even an all-electric version are on the table too. Likely to retail from around $300,000, the Ghost will be a much more expensive proposition, especially when compared with the less powerful, non-W-12 Flying Spurs.

Find our more about the Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II.

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class


2016 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class - image 599556

Discontinued in 2012, the Maybach brand returned in in 2015 as Mercedes-Maybach. Now selling mildly revised S-Class models equipped with far more luxurious interiors, Maybach has two vehicles on offer. The base model is called S500 and uses a 4.7-liter V-8 rated at 455 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The second, more expensive version, goes by the name S600 and uses the larger, 6.0-liter V-12 with 530 horses and 612 pound-feet of twist. While the exterior of the Mercedes-Maybach is identical to the S-Class, the cabin is a different story, sporting the most luxurious features Mercedes-Benz has to offer. The wheelbase is also longer, providing more room for rear-seat passengers. It’s also more affordable too, with the range-topping S600 starting from $189,350 in the U.S. However, Maybach offers plenty of options to take that sticker beyond $300,000.

Learn more about the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

Conclusion


2019 Bentley Flying Spur - image 692540

It’s definitely too early to draw a conclusion here, but based on what Bentley did with the Bentayga, the next-generation Flying Spur should bring improvements in just about every department. The sedan should get more power, more luxury, some of the most ludicrous and expensive options on the market, and a sportier design. More importantly, it will also become more fuel efficient with either a diesel or hybrid drivetrain. Or both.

  • Leave it
    • Still an expensive choice
    • Still a couple of years away

Update History

Updated 06/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Bentley Flying Spur out for a new testing session this time wearing a real body prototype.

Updated 06/01/2017: Based on the recent spy shots and rumors, we created a rendering for the upcoming Bentley Flying Spur. Let us know in the comments section below what do you think about it!

PostHeaderIcon Kia Cadenza Obsidian

2017 Kia Cadenza Obsidian Concept

For the 2017 SEMA Show, Kia teamed up with iconic custom car builder West Coast Customs for two unique versions of its existing production models. One is based on the awesome Stinger GT, which will arrive in the U.S. for the 2018 model year, while the second one is based on the Cadenza, the company’s second-largest offering in North America. Called the Cadenza Obsidian, the concept car brings together features usually found on luxury cars and flashy color accents that define most aftermarket builds.

In typical West Coast Customs fashion, the Cadenza gained a custom paint job with contrasting highlights and a new set of wheels. Inside, the sedan became a tad more luxurious thanks to soft leather and hand-stitched suede. To top it off, the tuning firm added dark window tint and a lowered suspension for a gangster look. It definitely looks like something Kia should put into production in limited numbers, but I don’t think it’s going to happen very soon. But keep reading to see what makes the Cadenza Obsidian a cool sedan.

What makes the Kia Cadenza Obsidian special

  • Custom metallic black paint
  • Cosmic Copper accents
  • Bespoke 20-inch wheels
  • Dark window tint
  • Hand-stitched suede dashboard
  • Leather seats with suede inserts
  • Suede door panels
  • Premium sound system with booming subwoofer
  • Lowered suspension
  • Stiffened sport springs

2017 Kia Cadenza Obsidian - image 741795
“The black paint doesn't make the car stand out as much, but the copper accents do the job well”

A quick look at the car’s exterior is enough to notice that we’re not dealing with a regular Cadenza. Sure, the custom metallic black paint doesn’t stand out as much as West Coast Customs would want, but the copper accents do the job well. Up front, the gold-like color adorns the “tiger nose” grille and extends under the headlamps to complement the lower LED stripes. The foglamp trim in the bumper is finished in the same color for a proper contrast.

More Cosmic Copper highlights can be seen on the sides, as both the window trim and the door handles are painted in this flashy hue. Same goes for the side skirt insert, while the custom 20-inch, gloss-black Keen wheels have similar detailing on each spoke. The ultra-dark ceramic window tint makes the copper trim stand out even more while keeping the cabin out of sight. Around back, there’s gold detailing on the trunk lid and above the taillights and on the exhaust pipes.


2017 Kia Cadenza Obsidian - image 741800
“The cabin was upgraded with soft leather, suede inserts, and a premium sound system”

Inside the cabin, the sedan was upgraded to a hand-stitched suede dashboard top panel and brown leather seats with suede inserts. Matching brown suede was used on the door panels for a consistent look. West Coast Customs also added a Harmon Kardon 630-watt premium sound system and a booming integrated subwoofer. This one’s for the audiophiles!

The drivetrain carries over from the production model, so power is probably supplied by the 3.3-liter V-6 engine rated at 290 horsepower. There is a lowered suspension with stiffened sport springs under the skin, but no other performance features have been added. But, given the fact that the Cadenza is by no means a sporty sedan by default, it’s a good setup for a show car.

References

Kia Cadenza


2017 Kia Cadenza - image 670466

Read our full review on the 2017 Kia Cadenza.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood

2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood

Racing analyst and former Top Gear USA presenter Rutledge Wood is known for his affinity with plaid t-shirts. He’s also known for having a deep-seated passion for the automotive industry. So, when Toyota was looking for individuals to take the lead in building custom Toyota Camrys for the 2017 SEMA Auto Show, Wood’s name inevitably turned up. So Toyota tapped him to work on his own custom version of the Camry, and the result is a car that reflects the man’s boisterous personality.

I’m not one to pass judgment on something I know little about at this point, but I can tell all of you that Wood’s work on the Camry is the most impactful of the bunch. It’s certainly the most colorful of all the custom Camry’s we’re seeing at SEMA, and the story and the process behind its creation involves the use of certain techniques that you can expect from someone like Rutledge Wood. He may be the only non-NASCAR driver to get a chance at customizing a Camry for this year’s SEMA, but all told, Wood vindicates Toyota’s decision to tap him with a creation that has as much going for it as some of the Camrys that were customized by actual NASCAR racers.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Toyota Camry by Rutledge Wood

What makes the Toyota Camry Rutledge special

  • ”Blurple” paint finish
  • 3D-printed body panels
  • 20-piece body kit
  • 20-inch Rose Gold Rotiform wheels
  • Continental ExtremeContact tires
  • Baseball glove leather interior
  • Focal sound system
  • Megan Racing suspension kit
  • Wilwood Dynalite brakes
  • Custom floor mats with cartoon caricature of Rutledge Wood

Not a NASCAR racer? Not a problem


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 741820
“The car’s exterior certainly looks at home at SEMA”

So what if Rutledge Wood isn’t a NASCAR driver? I get it that all other custom-built Camrys at SEMA came at the hands of guys like Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, and Kyle Busch, but when it comes to building a SEMA-worthy Camry, you don’t need a racing license to get the job done. And for what it’s worth, Wood’s Camry is, in my opinion, the flashiest of the lot, owing to its aerospace inspiration. The car’s exterior certainly looks at home at SEMA, thanks in large part to eye-catching aftermarket body panels that were created through the process of 3D printing by Real-Time Automotive Solutions. The result is that a lot of the significant body panels of the Camry are now 3D-printed, including the hood, front and rear bumpers, rocker panels, headlight buckets, and the rear diffuser.


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 742081
“There’s also a new set of 20-inch three-piece custom Rose Gold wheels from Rotiform”

In addition to getting these panels literally recreated, Wood’s build also features a 20-piece custom widebody kit with most of the items located in the Camry’s quarter sections. There’s also a new set of 20-inch three-piece custom Rose Gold wheels from Rotiform, all of which are wrapped in Continental ExtremeContact tires measuring 275/30R20 in the front and 285/30R20 at the back. All these modifications on the exterior make way for one of the real showcase pieces of this particular Camry build. Officially, the paint finish on the Camry is called “Blurple.” It’s easy to see, though, that it’s some kind of mix of blue and purple. Wood sought the help of PPG and Crew to create this paint cocktail, and the result is striking, to say the least.

Batter up in the cabin!


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 741824
“The interior gets re-upholstered with a baseball glove-like leather treatment”

Just as the body of this Camry is flashy, so too is the interior. Personally, I don’t know if Wood was inspired by this incredible World Series, but it does look that way with the interior getting re-upholstered with a baseball glove-like leather treatment, complete with contrast stitching. Photos of the Camry’s interior show significant use of the leather as most of the cabin’s surface is covered in the material. Less conspicuous from a visual standpoint is the Focal sound system, though if you look closely, you will notice that the floor mats actually feature a cartoon caricature of Wood and his glorious flowing beard.

No engine upgrades, but no matter…


2018 Toyota Camry Rutledge Wood - image 741821
“Expect the Rutledge Wood Toyota Camry to feature any one of the sedan’s engine options”

There are no engine upgrades to speak of here so at the very least, expect the Rutledge Wood Toyota Camry to feature any one of the sedan’s engine options. The base engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that spits out 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The other gas-powered engine option is a 3.5-liter six-cylinder that produces 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of which engine is sitting underneath that Blurple hood, the program does include a new suspension kit from Megan Racing and new brakes from Wilwood Dynalite.

Overall, this is a Toyota Camry build that actually looks a lot better than what I expected. It may not have the NASCAR racer DNA that other Camrys have, but Wood did well for himself by not only giving the Camry a unique and personable look but also by doing it through processes that we don’t get to see enough in the aftermarket scene.

References

Toyota Camry


2018 Toyota Camry - image 703838

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Stinger GT Wide Body

2018 Kia Stinger GT Wide Body

Unveiled for the 2018 model year, the Kia Stinger not only proved that the Korean brand had what it takes to give the German companies a run for their money but also signaled its intent to become more active in the high-performance market with the GT model. Powered by a high-revving V-6 with more than 350 horsepower and sporting an aggressive design, the Stinger GT could mean trouble for the likes of the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63. With the sedan just a couple of months away from arriving at U.S. dealerships, Kia paired up with iconic customization shop West Coast Customs for a unique take on the Stinger GT.

Displayed alongside other modified Kia models at the 2017 SEMA Show, this bespoke Stinger GT stands out thanks to a sporty-looking wide body kit and an array of carbon-fiber body parts. It also has a customized interior and a lowered ride height, demonstrating that the sedan has plenty of potential for aftermarket add-ons. Whether Kia is planning some sort of body upgrade in the future remains a mystery, but there’s been a lot of talk about a higher performance Stinger GT. Until we find out more, let’s have a closer look at this widebody version of the sedan.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Stinger GT Wide Body.

What makes the Kia Stinger GT Wide Body special

  • Inspired by racing GT cars from the 1970s
  • Wide body kit
  • Carbon-fiber front splitter
  • Carbon-fiber side skirts
  • New diffuser with quad-pipe exhaust
  • 21-inch wheels
  • Pearl blue metallic paint
  • Blue seat piping
  • Hand-stitched leather dash panel
  • Alcantara steering wheel
  • Lowered suspension

    2018 Kia Stinger GT Wide Body - image 741791
    “The Stinger GT isn't as wide as a full-fledged race car, but it definitely stands out when compared to the production model”
  • Kia says that the widebody model is inspired by racing GT cars from the 1970s, which probably explains the wider fenders. The 1970s was a cool era for production-based race cars, many of them featuring extreme aerodynamics and impressively wide fender flares. Granted, the Stinger GT isn’t as wide as a full-fledged race car, but it definitely stands out when compared to the production model – especially since the Stinger GT has a rather narrow waist. But, changes don’t stop to wider fenders designed to accommodate fatter tires.

    The sedan also received a carbon-fiber aerodynamic kit that includes a big splitter below the front fender, side skirt extensions, and a sportier rear diffuser with a quad-exhaust pipe layout. It also rides of large, 21-inch forged wheels wrapped in high-performance tires. The rollers are quite flashy by finish and design, but this doesn’t come as a surprise given that the project was made in cooperation with West Coast Customers. The revised exterior is rounded off by a pearl blue metallic paint that works great with the chrome and black accents.


    2018 Kia Stinger GT Wide Body - image 741789
    “Inside the cabin, West Coast Customs added custom blue leather seat piping to match the exterior paint”

    Inside the cabin, West Coast Customs added custom blue leather seat piping to match the exterior paint and a distinct, hand-stitched gray leather dash panel. The steering wheel was wrapped in Alcantara for a motorsport-inspired loo, while the center console received gloss black.

    As far as drivetrain upgrades go, West Coast Customs didn’t do much beyond lowering the suspension by 1.4 inches up front and 1.2 inches to the rear. The engine remained unchanged, so this show car uses the same twin-turbo, 3.3-liter V-6 rated at 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic moves all that power to the wheels. In all, it’s an interesting project that shows what you can do with the already appealing Kia Stinger GT.

    References

    Kia Stinger


    2018 Kia Stinger - image 700374

    Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Stinger.


    2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

    Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

    PostHeaderIcon Kia Stinger GT Federation

    Brembo Brakes

    South Korean automaker Kia just introduced the hot-to-trot Stinger GT five-door earlier this year at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, with sales slated to kick off in December of this year. When it was introduced, enthusiasts just about wet their pants with delight, and for good reason. Not only does it look fantastic, but it’s got the performance credentials to back the aesthetic. And that makes the speedy mid-size luxury machine a fantastic fit for the customized glitz and gloss of the annual SEMA show. As such, Kia is introducing a variety of bespoke examples, including this tasteful rendition you see before you. Upgrades include a few body mods, new paint, minor engine enhancements, and complementary suspension pieces.

    SEMA attendees will have a chance to experience the Kia Stinger’s cornering prowess first hand on an autocross course, as Kia will be offering ride-alongs with professional drifters at the show. Meanwhile, those of us admiring from afar can gaze upon customized offerings like the GT Federation and anticipate a forthcoming deluge of parts and accessories, which Kia acknowledges as confirmation of its move towards further performance offerings. In fact, Kia says interested buyers will be able to pick up these performance parts via specific suppliers following the car’s launch. Read on for the details.

    Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Stinger GT Federation.

    What Makes The Kia Stinger GT Federation Special

    • Mild build
    • Cream Orange paint
    • Minor body mods
    • Breathing upgrades for engine
    • Lower suspension

    2018 Kia Stinger GT Federation - image 741781
    “The GT Federation manages to make improvements without any radical changes”

    When we first saw the Kia Stinger GT, we were impressed. We liked the sporty body style, with its wide, low stance, aggressive fascia, large wheels and low-profile tires, and copious cuts and vents spread tip to tail. To this solid foundation, the GT Federation manages to make improvements without any radical changes.

    As you can see, the aesthetic differences are few but effective. New body pieces include a new rear spoiler, a new rear diffuser, and new hood vents, all from the California-based parts supplier Air Design USA. There’s also a new front lip spoiler, and the whole thing is slathered in an eye-catching shade of Cream Orange paint. Just in time for Halloween, too.

    Lest it gain the ignominious title of “all show, no go,” the GT Federation also delves under the hood for its list of upgrades, adding a new intake from K&N, and a new high-flow exhaust from Borla. Making its appearance in the rear, the Borla pipes terminate in a quartet of tips in the new diffuser.


    2018 Kia Stinger GT Federation - image 741777
    “All told, the new breathing mods help to liberate approximately 15 horses from the otherwise stock twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 powerplant.”

    All told, the new breathing mods help to liberate approximately 15 horses from the otherwise stock twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 powerplant, with peak output coming to around 380 horsepower total. And yeah, we would have loved it if the stock snails got tossed for bigger boost makers, but that would mean it would need the supporting mods to go with it.

    As is, this is a mild build, down to the suspension parts, which include new lowering springs from Eibach, as well as larger anti-roll bars. Rounding it off are impressive 20-inch wheels from TSW, with Falken providing the tires.

    All in all, it’s a good-looking piece of kit, and should provide anyone interesting in buying and modifying a Stinger of their own with a good idea where to start.

    References

    Kia Stinger


    2018 Kia Stinger - image 700374

    Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Stinger.


    2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

    Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

    PostHeaderIcon BMW M5 with M Performance Parts

    2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts

    Unveiled only a few months back (August 2017), the new M5 is arguably the most aggressive and technologically advance midsize sedan BMW has built to date. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. And BMW used the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas to showcase a range of M Performance parts that enhance the M5 inside and out, as well as under the skin. It may seem a bit ridiculous to showcase performance- and visual-enhancing parts only a couple of months into an already awesome sedan’s life, but this is how the market works nowadays. While some will be more than happy to take a stock M5 home, others will pay for a few extras and a slightly customized appearance.

    The new BMW M Performance parts for the still-fresh M5 are mostly about aerodynamics and weight saving on the outside. Both are achieved through extensive use of carbon-fiber, a lightweight composite that’s more than welcomed on any BMW wearing the M badge. And with the German firm usually using carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) on its cars, this is a breath of fresh air for carbon enthusiasts. The interior also received its fair share of upgrades, while the chassis and the exhaust system have been modified to better suit the enhanced aerodynamics of the sedan. But more on that in the review below.

    Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M5 with M Performance Parts.

    What makes the BMW M5 with M Performance Parts special

    • Carbon-fiber aerodynamics package
    • Carbon-fiber grille and mirror caps
    • M-style stripes
    • Race-spec steering wheel
    • Carbon-fiber shift paddles and lever cover
    • Custom floor mats
    • New telemetry system
    • Sportier coilover suspension
    • Carbon-ceramic brakes
    • New exhaust system

    2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741712
    “The already aggressive stance of the M5 is further enhanced by the M Performance aerodynamics package”

    On the outside, the already aggressive stance of the M5 is further enhanced by the M Performance aerodynamics package, which includes a range of handcrafted, carbon-fiber parts. Up front, this package adds only bumper side vent surrounds, but the aero feature is complemented by carbon-fiber kidney grilles. The latter is a cool touch in terms of looks. Moving over to the sides, we can see carbon-fiber side sill extensions, also part of the aero package, and carbon mirror caps, a separate option.

    Around back, the M Performance bundle includes a carbon-fiber rear spoiler (or the spoiler Pro upgrade) and a carbon-fiber rear diffuser. All told, these options not only optimize the sedan’s aerodynamics, but also reduce curb weight and enhance looks. Finally, you can also opt for the stripe package, which adorns the lower front bumper and lower doors in the traditional blue, purple, and red colors of the M division.


    2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741719
    “The package also features new carbon-fiber shift paddles and a carbon shift lever cover”

    Plenty of interesting features to talk about inside the cabin too, starting with the M Performance steering wheel with distinctive geometry, pronounced Alcantara grip area, and carbon-fiber cover. The package also features new carbon-fiber shift paddles and a carbon shift lever cover. The motorsport-inspired looks are rounded off by M Performance floor mats.


    2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741716
    “Those who wish to capture their performance on film can opt for the Trackfix action camera holder”

    Moving over to what’s not immediately noticeable, BMW developed the M Performance Drive Analyzer, which is described as an “innovative tool for recording and evaluating all important vehicle dynamics data.” The system analyzes and determines a range of performance factors such as engine data, speed and peak values, engaged gear, use of accelerator pedal and brakes, and lateral acceleration, working pretty much like a telemetry device. When recorded, the results can be directly shown on the smartphone as videos or graphic representations via the M Performance Drive Analyzer App, which is available free of charge to BMW customers. Those who wish to capture their performance on film can opt for the Trackfix action camera holder, which can be mounted in the threaded bush of the towing lug either at the front or rear end of the vehicle. This way you can make your own Nurburgring record attempt videos.


    2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741730

    M Performance unveiled under-the-skin upgrades too, starting with a coilover suspension with even sportier setup, which provides a more direct connection of the chassis to the road. The red coil springs. There’s also carbon-ceramic brakes with motorsports-derived pads, as well as an M performance sports exhaust system. The latter is available exclusively in the U.S. and Canada and features a titanium rear muffler, carbon-fiber tailpipe trim, and an optimized exhaust gas routing for enhanced engine roar. While the engine remained unchanged, BMW did introduce a new, handcrafted carbon-fiber cover.

    Most of these parts will become available when the new M5 arrived in showroom in the spring of 2018, while some of them will hit the market in July.

    References

    BMW M5


    2018 BMW M5 - image 727588

    Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M5.


    2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

    Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

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    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 11:45:00 PST
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    1967 Chevrolet C-10 HORT BOX RESTORED V8 MANUAL PS PB DISC HOT ROD 71 72 stepside STREET ROD 69
    $5,000.00 (1 Bid)
    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:02:01 PST
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    2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupe 2-Door 2016 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 5.2L 6-SPEED TECH NAV 2K #522266 Texas Direct
    $5,400.00 (4 Bids)
    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 12:14:27 PST
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    2004 Chevrolet Other Pickups 2004 Chevy Colorado truck 5 speed manual transmission
    $1,900.00
    End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 13:58:19 PST
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    1957 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1957 Chevy 3100 Chevy 4X4 Pickup Restomod Short bed
    $14,201.01 (13 Bids)
    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 19:29:41 PST
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    1991 Ford Mustang GT 1991 Mustang 5.0 GT
    $8,500.00
    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 17:11:46 PST
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    2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium Like New 2015 Mustang GT Premium *2100 Miles, Recaro Seats, Loaded!
    $34,500.00
    End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 15:35:40 PST
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    1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 1967 Marina Blue 427 Convertible
    $50,100.67 (5 Bids)
    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 18:43:21 PST
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    2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 20800 Miles Black 2D Coupe 5.0L V8 Ti-VCT 6-Speed A
    $18,998.00 (0 Bids)
    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:14:19 PST
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    1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1969 Camaro RS SS 396 4-Speed Black Frame-Off Restored
    $27,600.00 (23 Bids)
    End Date: Tuesday Nov-28-2017 14:30:00 PST
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    2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2-Door 2014 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe 2SS RS NAV Extras SLP TVS2300 Supercharger
    $29,995.00
    End Date: Thursday Dec-7-2017 13:58:59 PST
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    2014 Chevrolet Corvette 3 LT 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible, Z51, 3 LT, Nightrace Blue with Blue Top
    $25,200.00 (9 Bids)
    End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 17:48:00 PST
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    1968 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 1968 Ford Mustang Factory GT Coupe 302 J-code w/ Powersteering
    $9,230.00 (32 Bids)
    End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 19:02:35 PST
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