Fun fact: Barbie’s awesome wardrobe wasn’t what made her cool. Her sweet dream house didn’t make her cool, her friend Ken didn’t make her cool, and her absurd, unattainable, and potentially psychologically debilitating body proportions certainly didn’t make her cool either. What made Barbie cool was her hot pink convertible. A quick Google search indicates that Barbie has owned a wide range of convertibles in her lifetime, all of which were hot pink. Yes, she went through the regrettable VW Beetle phase, and it looks like at one point she was driving around in a Suzuki Cappuccino, but she also had one with a distinctly Aston Martin grill – if pressed, we’d guess it’s a one-off Vanquish, customized by Mattel.
The 2015 New York International Auto Show will come to a close this weekend, and as usual, automakers packed the Javits Center with beautiful new vehicles in hopes of making as big a splash as they could during the crowded hypefest. We attended last week’s 2-day press preview, and we have to say it was a very fun but exhausting trip; the automakers like to keep the press moving around the venue. But we moved quickly and made it to nearly all the press conferences with help from plenty of free coffee and some life-saving free chairs.
Some of the biggest names in the business were there to show off what the next year of production has to offer the market. Automakers all more or less stressed the same common themes throughout the preview, but some of the more unexpected themes included fuel cells, semi-autonomous-driving features, and affordable luxury (with the exception of Land Rover and Jaguar, who touted their models’ steep price tags). Dozens of reveals took place at the press conferences, and we thought we’d share our impressions on some of the biggest.
It’s that time of year again. Well, not really, but we can certainly start looking forward to it. As the days get longer, the air gets warmer, and the smells get a little sweeter, it’s hard not to dream about one thing: convertibles. The snow hasn’t completely melted here in Boston, but what’s on the ground now is a far cry from the over 8 feet we’ve gotten this winter, and that completely justifies our looking months into the future.
Regarding the possibility of an entry level roadster, Porsche North America’s CEO Detlev von Platen recently said,
We’re not talking about entry models at Porsche. Our entry model is our pre-owned program.
Those words have dashed the dreams of many Porsche hopefuls who had hoped to get into a new Porsche for the price of a loaded Honda.
Sorry folks. If you want a new Porsche, you’re going to have to work a little harder; which is the way it should be.
Some people, though, disagree.
There has never been a mid-engine Corvette and, most people believe, Chevrolet will never build one.
A Corvette with power coming from behind the driver just isn’t American. We like our cars with ferocious small block V8 engines taking up the space between our feet and the horizon and we like those engines covered by hoods long enough to land a Boeing 747.
That’s why news of a potential mid-engine C8 Corvette, currently dubbed the “Zora,” is staggering.
Little is known about this car, and given that the Z06 chucks out 650 bhp and costs just south of $80,000; anything turned up to 11 should cause quite a scene. The revisions to the chassis will not be updates to the C7, but major changes to be realized in the C8. For this highly tuned version, the price may start around $150,000 and production numbers will be limited to C6 ZR1 levels, somewhere around 1,500 copies.
If this is true, Chevy isn’t building a Corvette, it’s building a Ferrari.
Can a performance car use a 4-cylinder engine and still be a performance car?
More specifically, can a Porsche use a 4-cylinder and still be taken seriously as a Porsche?
If I’m not mistaken, the last 4-cylinder Porsche was the 1995 968. It’s been said that no other car in history has inspired more conversations with the Lord, especially at highway speeds in the rain. A bit underpowered yet a challenge to control and with a ride that could graciously be described as “harsh,” the 968 soon gave way to the now-legendary Boxster. That’s the car that established the flat-six as the engine of choice for Porsche enthusiasts.
On its website, Forbes listed the cars it believes are the most beautiful of 2012. It got some right, but in my opinion, missed some real lookers and included some serious head-scratchers.
For some reason, the Jaguar F-Type, which hasn’t had its official reveal and won’t even be available until sometime in 2013, made the list. Odd, right? Also, the awkward Ferrari 458 Spider got the nod, which isn’t nearly as good looking as the coupe version or its arch-nemesis, the McLaren MP4-12C Spider (which also made the list). Most suspicious to my eye was the inclusion of the Bentley Mulsanne, which looks like a droopy old man.
There are no mass-produced cars on the list, either, which I find remarkable. So, here are some of the cars I’d place on a list of the most beautiful of 2012:
The rumors about a new Porsche roadster, alternately based on the 550 or the VW BlueSport (above) or something else are still rumors. But now, Porsche has confirmed that it is building an engine to power it—whatever “it” is.
Our guess, after reading tons of tea leaves, is that it will be a variation of the BlueSport, which tgriffith and I have been writing about and hoping for for two years.
The engine is a 4-cylinder, horizontally opposed “boxer,” based on a cut-down version of the present 911 flat six-cylinder and using “a combination of light-pressure turbocharger induction and piezo-guided direct injection.” Look for 2-liter and 2.5-liter versions, the latter supposedly outputting 380 hp.
The new engine is also reported to be part of the third-generation Boxster offering—maybe Cayman as well—outputting 70 more hp than the Boxster S at a much lighter weight. One assumes the result would be lots better fuel economy, helping Porsche’s CAFE average in the U.S.
Both are overpriced. For that kind of money, you can buy a Porsche Boxster or Cayman with real handling and sports-car performance. Audis like this have always struck me as just a little too frou-frou, a little too Teutonic slick. These are cars for the sports-car poseur, not the real enthusiast.
That said, the new TT RS, going on sale this summer, will please those who like 5-cylinder power, Quattro all-wheel-drive, a 6-speed manual, “magnetic ride control” and of course all the goodies—electro- and otherwise—like 10-way power seats.
According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, a corvette is a small, maneuverable, lightly armed warship used by the French Navy since 1670.
When General Motors needed a name for its all-new, small, maneuverable two-seat sports car, a photographer reportedly suggested the Corvette name, thus transforming the term into an American icon nearly overnight.
When the first Corvette arrived back in 1953, though, there wasn’t much about it that could justify the “sports car” label. While current iterations of the ‘Vette might be described as “firebreathing,” the original inline 6-cylinder was hardly more powerful than the pilot light on my aging furnace.
Obviously that all changed when Chevrolet introduced a small-block V8 engine in 1955 and embarked on nearly six decades of continuous improvement to America’s sports car.