The Alfa Romeo 4C is among the cheapest of the mid-engined sports cars to be sold in America since the demise of Toyota's MR2. Sitting at $55,900 in the USA, the 4C occupies a price point in the middle ground between sports cars for us commoners, such as the Ford Mustang and Toyota 86, and the realm of supercars demanding six (or more) figures, like the Nissan GT-R. In its realm, the 4C used to be the lonely champion of the four-cylinder engine, as it has a 1.8-liter turbo four making 240 horsepower (though it now has the Porsche Boxster to keep it company).
No Google searches have turned up any automotive publications requesting more cylinders, but if more power and sound is what you need, you sometimes have to abandon your factory engine and go with something punchier. YouTube channel 19Bozzy92 has uploaded a video of a 4C hillclimb car that has been modified to accommodate the 3.0-liter Zytek V-8 from a Formula 3000 car. For those unaware, Formula 3000 is a now-defunct open wheel single seater class that was situated between Formula 3 and Formula 1. According to 19Bozzy92, the engine is making 450 horsepower, and the entire car weighs a mere 700 kilograms, or approximately 1,540 pounds. This car is still well under a ton even with a driver and full load of fuel, giving it a power-to-weight ratio approaching that of hypercars.
This is not the only instance of ex-Formula racing engines making their way into hillclimb cars. Last month, we shared a BMW powered by an Indycar V-8; even more well-known is the BMW 134 of Georg Plasa. It is good to see the trend of repurposing these rev-happy engines for further use is still happening, long after the series from which the V-8s originate are gone.
Redondo Beach Police Department has proven to be a forward-thinking department with their strong community impact through social media, beach patrol and an overall "behind the badge" kind of vibe. Their motto is "we are the community, leading the way in law enforcement," and given that choice of words they feel driven to explore new forms of policing. Since Redondo Beach is located, well, on the beach, the department has utilized motorcycles and side-by-sides to effectively police hard-to-reach areas, seeing as how a patrol car isn't exactly a good fit for soft sand.
Several years ago, Honda Community Relations donated a pair of side-by-sides to the RBPD to help protect the community, and their partnership proved to be beneficial. In recent years Redondo Beach has utilized Honda ST1300 motorcycles to police their community, but according to Chief Keith Kauffman, the department is looking to invest in a more agile unit.
That is where the Honda Africa Twin comes into play; the 998cc adventure motorcycle is smaller, lighter and more nimble than the conventional police motorcycle, perfect for a place like Redondo Beach. There is no question that this motorcycle can quickly respond to incidents and tackle stairs with ease.
Another unique feature is that the Africa Twin is equipped with an automatic dual clutch transmission, so officers can focus on other tasks like radio use and pursuing a suspect. In order to better suit the department, RBPD will be sending the two motorcycles to bike customizer Roland Sands for further upfitting.
And if all goes well, there is a good chance the department will invest in more of the adventure bikes. Good luck with the new motorcycles Redondo Beach Police Department, and stay safe.
Losing a wheel at any speed can have serious consequences, but having it happen on track when you're hauling ass is pretty much the worst-case scenario. A video shared on YouTube shows what that scene could look like when a BMW E36 3 Series race car and a populated race track are involved.
The video, shared to YouTube by grassroots racer and former Pirelli World Challenge driver Van Svenson shows how the incident went down. Svenson was behind the wheel of a BMW E36 race car at New Jersey Motorsports Park's Thunderbolt track when the studs on one of the car's four corners broke.
"I had a wild ride when the studs on my left rear wheel failed in T4 at Thunderbolt," Svenson wrote in the video description. "Luckily, I didn't hit anyone or anything."
Yeah, and it was a damn close call.
After the wheel came off, the E36 can be seen spinning in circles uncontrollably. It's amazing that the car wasn't struck by one of the race cars out on track.
The horsepower wars of the past decade have spoiled us all. With tuning shops coaxing quadruple-digit power figures from stock-looking cars and production engines knocking on their door, it takes something truly eye-popping to break through the clutter and really knock us dead. But a world-record, 250 mile-per-hour half-mile run in a twin-turbo Lamborghini Huracan at an airstrip in North Carolina? Yeah, that'll do the trick.
Tuned to heck by the team at Underground Racing, this Huracan's 5.2-liter V-10 is likely packing something close to 3,000 horsepower at the crank. UGR is known for their ability to more than quintuple the Huracan's factory power numbers with their twin-turbo kits and accompanying engine upgrades, resulting in what they claim to be the fastest street-legal Lamborghinis in the world. It looks like the same car they showed off at TX2K17 last month, where it made short work of the quarter-mile competition.
That's impressive enough, but what makes this yellow Huracan (and frankly, most of their builds) really cool is the stock appearance. Any old shop can throw together a stupid-fast drag car with a big hood bulge and even bigger slicks, but it takes real skill and precision engineering to build a car capable of safely hitting 200-plus mph speeds without any ornamentation like this. It doesn't even need a parachute.
The record run was performed by speed freak Gidi Chamdi, who previously set the half-mile record at 240 mph in an Underground Racing-tuned Lamborghini Gallardo last summer. He was then passed by a Huracan (247 mph) in September and later a Nissan GT-R (248 mph) just two months ago, so he was eager to take back the crown at WannaGoFast's shootout at Stanly County Airport in New London, North Carolina this weekend. And take it back he did, reaching an insane 250.27 mph.
Putting that in perspective—at that speed, the Huracan is covering more than the length of a football field every second.
Of course, when we say "record," we're talking about street-legal road cars—a top fuel dragster could certainly put this Lambo away, though running one for a half mile versus the standard quarter mile would probably destroy the engine in the process.
Underground Racing also brought out an Audi R8 V10 Plus for a few runs, which managed "only" 244.80 mph. But again, we're all spoiled at this point. It's hard to see how they'll be able to keep topping themselves in perpetuity, but we're eagerly awaiting the next installment.
The new 50-acre, carbon-neutral facility sits near the company's existing battery plant; when it opens next year, it will quadruple the battery production space of the facility and double the current number of staff, creating more than 500 jobs.
And Daimler needs all the batteries it can build. Mercedes intendeds to launch at least 10 purely-electric cars between now and 2022. The carmaker has created a new sub-brand, known as Mercedes-Benz EQ, that will specialize in selling EVs alone. The company revealed the first EQ model in show car form last fall, in the form of the Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ Concept—a midsized EV SUV making roughly 400 horsepower and offering a maximum range of roughly 310 miles.
Long ago, back in the dark ages before the Earth cooled and Chrysler invented the minivan, families often traveled together in this mysterious contraption known as the "station wagon." These were typically full size sedans (another dying breed) with the roof extended over the entire trunk area. This could be used for more cargo room for all the stuff that goes along with kids, or in some cases for people if there was a third row seat. If you think this sounds like the modern SUV/crossover, you'd be right. When you think of Ford's lineup, you think of the Explorer, Escape, Edge, Expedition - something starting with E. You probably don't think of the Flex, with its modern yet simultaneously retro brick-on-wheels styling. But in my opinion, this is Ford's best SUV/crossover, because it's not really a crossover. It's a station wagon in disguise.
My wife bought a 2012 Limited model two years ago. It's been the perfect compliment to our fleet. It excels at mommy-mobile kid hauling duties. It's quite comfortable and easy to drive long distances. The middle row seats are actually more spacious than the front seats. I wouldn't want to ride too far in the back row, but it's a good size for kids. Its spacious interior saved us when we moved into our house after our Jeep Comanche project bit the dust mid-move. Folding down all the seats gave us just as much cargo room as the old pickup truck.
These are all things a station wagon does well. So do crossovers, but they often have swoopy curves in their design that make look good but sacrifice usable interior space. It's amazing how small some crossovers are on the inside. But the Flex is hip to be square, like an old station wagon, and is that much more practical because of it. Crossovers and SUVs also tend to have a good deal of ground clearance thanks to their truck-based history. People like the high, commanding view of the road an SUV provides. Yet the Flex only has 5.9 inches of ground clearance. That's only an inch more than my Subaru WRX. An off-road beast, this is not.
The downside of station wagons is that, like the minivan, they are typically uncool. But there are exceptions to that. The Dodge Magnum rewrote the book on wagons, being a throwback to the classics with modern styling and an available V8 under the hood driving the back wheels. The Flex isn't that - it's better. Instead of a roaring V8, ours has the optional 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6, sending 355hp (365hp in new models) to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. It more than gets out of its own way. It handles more like a car than a crossover. Sure, it's no corner carver, but you can put the transmission in manual mode and use the paddle shifters to actually enjoy a twisty back road. It's no Miata, but it's far more fun than any crossover should be.
That's because the Flex is no crossover. It's a classic station wagon wearing a crossover disguise. It's too bad that Ford is discontinuing the Flex in 2020. If you need a vehicle of this type, the Flex is a highly underrated gem.
According to a Reuters report this morning, General Motors has decided to stop selling cars in India. This effectively cancels "most" of the company's billion dollar plan to build and sell low-cost cars in the country, first announced back in 2015. Currently, GM only markets and sells Chevrolet cars in India, but those operations will cease at the end of the year. The country has a population of 1.3 billion and is set to overtake Japan as the third-largest market in the world within the next ten years.
However, this decision comes as much less of a surprise upon learning that after twenty years in the market, Chevy holds less than one percent share of passenger car sales in India. But GM isn't pulling out of all of its Indian operations entirely. The American automaker is keeping its Bangalore tech center open and turning its Talegaon assembly plant into an export-only affair.
The company's other assembly plant in Halol is set to be sold to China-based SAIC Motor Corp—a joint venture partner of GM's. In an interview, GM Chief of International Operations Stefan Jacoby said, "We are not giving up benefits India offers as a local cost manufacturing hub with an excellent supplier base which is extremely competitive."
GM's Indian exports—primarily to Mexico and Latin America—almost doubled to nearly 71,000 cars in the previous fiscal year. Considering the Talegaon plant has a capacity 130,000 vehicles per year, its recasting as an export plant should be feasible for the foreseeable future. In addition, Jacoby assures that the move will not impact GM Korea's existing role as Chevy exporter to North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Pakistan.
One thing none of us can argue with, though: This electric supercar is fast as hell.
(One note: At the end of the video, Nio quotes the "previous lap record" as 6:48.00. It's not quite clear to what Nio is referring—the closest lap to that on the Wikipedia page is the non-street-legal Pagani Zonda R's 6:47.50, but given the company's apparent dedication to hundredths of a decimal, you'd think they'd be more precise if that were the case.)
Here's a scene that will become more common over the next 20 or 30 years: Electric cars dominating their gas-powered forebearers at the drag strip. It's no secret that electric motors put out incredible amounts of torque off the line, but someone forgot to tell that to the five racers beaten by a mostly-stripped Tesla Model S P100D at a "cash days-style" eighth-of-a-mile showdown at 710 Dragway in Rowland, North Carolina earlier this month. And just when you think everyone's learned their lesson, a sixth challenger appears for an extracurricular grudge race and doesn't take too kindly to the obvious result.
YouTuber Tesla Racing Channel has been building up his new Tesla Model S P100D into a drag racing demon since taking delivery last September. The car already boasts one of the fastest 0-60 times ever for a production car—possibly even quicker than the official 2.5 seconds—and TRC has lightened the load even more by stripping out the interior and swapping the stock wheels for a lightweight 19-inch-by-10-inch BBS set. Throw in some Mickey Thompson drag-focused tires and electrical upgrades by noted "Tesla hacker" Jason Hughes, and it's hard to imagine much short of that 2,700-horsepower Nissan GT-R besting this beast in the 1/8-mile run.
To test it out, TRC took the Model S P100D to a "cash days-style" night meet at 710 Dragway, where the cars take off from the far end of the strip to simulate an illegal street race. The pavement down there is in pretty poor shape, plus there's a man with a flashlight giving the signal instead of the usual Christmas tree. 19 cars entered at $100 a pop, and over the course of five runs the P100D handily beats two Ford Mustangs, a G-Body Monte Carlo, an S-10 (yes, really), and a fourth-gen Camaro to win the top prize.
Though the it beats everyone off the line, both the fifth-gen Mustang (at 4:10) and the Camaro (at 11:00) come flying back near the finish line and would easily defeat the Tesla in a quarter mile race. All the instant torque in the world can only take an electric car so far, so quickly without multiple gears. Perhaps that's why another cocky Camaro driver saunters up at 14:20 and challenges the Tesla to a final run with $600 on the line.
After a little back-and-forth, Mr. Camaro agrees to give our electric hero the break. In street racing terms, that means the Tesla driver can take off whenever he wants to, and the Camaro driver has to react to his start. This is monumentally stupid for a number of reasons—the Tesla has AWD, launch control, and boundless off-the-line torque—and the results at 18:00 bear that out.
In the aftermath, the final three minutes of the video are where the magic happens. One of the organizers informs the Tesla driver that a few people in the crowd are upset with him. Why exactly? Well, it's hard to hear much between the drunken yelling and macho posturing, but you can make out a few choice phrases: That was a shitty-ass poor-ass excuse for a race! I work on electric cars, you know that was a bullshit run! Sure you do, bud. The Camaro driver is also pissed, calling the Tesla driver "scared" and complaining about the head start that he willingly gave him.
There are a few morals to this story. One, don't pound a beer between runs at the drag strip like several of these geniuses do. Two, don't challenge an AWD electric car AND give it a timing advantage on the 1/8 mile. And three, don't react to losing $300 by ranting and raving about how it doesn't matter to you. Then everyone knows it does.
We’ve all been there. You’re shopping for your next $300,000 luxury car, but just can’t find one with an interior that complies with your animal goods-free lifestyle. What is a vegan millionaire to do? Well, according to Auto Express, Bentley has heard your cries, and the carmaker is exploring alternative (but equally luxurious) materials to use in its swank interiors.
“You can’t sell an animal-containing product like a Bentley, with, 20 leather hides, to someone with a vegan lifestyle,” said Bentley design boss Stefan Sielaff at a Financial Times event. “We've been talking to these customers, in California especially, and they're asking us what can we give them. We do a lot of custom-made and coach-built solutions, and therefore we want to satisfy these customers because they are the peak of a trend.”
You might be wondering what Bentley could possibly use that could match the leather in their industry-topping interiors. According to Sielaff, “We will shortly present a Bentley with a vegan interior; it'll give you a luxury sensation but with a different way–protein leather, mushroom leather, jellyfish material.”
“Protein leather” is a fancy way of saying “pleather.” It’s faux-leather like what you’d find on cheap jackets, but presumably the finest fake leather available if it’s going to be up to Bentley standards. Mushroom leather is just that—leather extracted from mushroom caps instead of animal hides. Jellyfish material is a biosynthetic compound that may not jive with Bentley buyers who want to protect the noble jellyfish.
No word yet on when you’ll be able to get your cruelty-free Bentley. Until then, you’ll have to keep settling for cloth seats in some car for commoners...or suck it up and try to enjoy your 600 horsepower W-12 despite the leather.