By now most people have heard about the Porsche Mission-E all-electric supercar that Porsche is working on. They know that the automaker is shooting for a 300+ mile range for the car, while making something that’s going to be a blast to drive and that’s going to be very quick. If Porsche can deliver on all these things it’s going to have a pretty successful vehicle on its hands, but the automaker isn’t content to just stop there. Porsche also plans on releasing a car that is upgrade-able over the air, and that might be capable of automated driving with a simple over the air update.
Over the Air Upgrades
Much like Tesla did with its Roadster, Porsche wants to be able to make enhancements to its Mission E with wireless software changes to the vehicle. It wants to be able to adjust the tune of the engine, increase or decrease power output in the future, and maybe add in additional tech features like improved automated driving features over time as well.
By simply turning your vehicle on, it could connect to the Internet and receive the updates that it needs to put new features into place using the existing technology. This is something that software companies do all the time today, but not something that is as common in automobiles currently. If Porsche can incorporate this feature into is Mission E, and we’re confident that the company can, buyers will be able to get more life out of the supercar before wanting to upgrade to the latest model.
Automated Driving Features
Porsche, once fully against automated driving, stated that it plans on releasing the Mission E with some self-driving features. For instance, the car might be able to pilot the driver through congested traffic on a straight road, and tackle other simple tasks like that that would otherwise be dull. The Mission E might come with pretty limited self-driving features, but over time as the tech improves, Porsche should be able to make software updates to the vehicle to make it more capable than before. Owners will notice their vehicle getting smarter, the media system getting new features and the vehicle improving over time. That’s the benefit of over-the-air updates, and it’s an exciting feature that Porsche owners could really benefit from.
Porsche is planning on releasing the Mission E in different power levels, so its possible that buyers will be able to change from one power level to the next with a paid update to the vehicle, but there’s no word if that’s going to be the case for the Mission E or not.
Porsche is betting big on this electric supercar and is sinking more than 1 billion Euros into research and development for it. The automaker is planning on selling 20,000 models each year, which would be significant for the luxury automaker, making it account for approximately 10 percent of all sales.
The features set to come with the Mission E are not set in stone, but so far the specs are exciting and something to look forward to. Serious Porsche fans that want to get into electric vehicles should seriously look at this option.With a 300 mile range and a 15 minute charge time the Mission E could be a convenient daily driver that replaces a gas-powered vehicle with ease.
Enthusiasts weren’t happy when the Porsche Macan was released, becasuse let’s be honest, a small crossover doesn’t seem fast or sporty. Of course Porsche proved most of those people wrong by showing the crossover off on the track. Even the base model came with a very capable V6 engine capable of burning out and tearing up the track. Now Porsche is releasing a less powerful Macan still that comes with a four-cylinder engine. That sounds pretty tame on the surface, but this turbocharged engine actually offers a lot of very real benefits to the vehicle and many Macan lovers are going to enjoy the new change, and even if you don’t like it the more powerful engines are still available.
A Four Cylinder Base
The latest Macan comes with a power drop courtesy of the four-cylinder base engine, but thanks to a very nice turbo setup, it still manages to give you 252 HP and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, giving you more than enough power to burn out at a stoplight, or to accidentally speed without even noticing that you’re doing it.
Opting for the smaller four-cylinder engine will help you save as much as $4,745 off the base price of the Macan versus the base from last year. It comes with a base price of $48,850, which is pretty affordable for a sporty Porsche crossover.
Though the Macan comes packed with less power than last year’s base model, it makes up for that decrease a bit by dropping its weight by 210 lbs. Those weight savings are all pretty much from the smaller engine too. The base model weighs in at just 3,902 lbs without additions.
That lower engine doesn’t just drop the Macan’s weight down, it curbs fuel usage as well. You can reasonably expect to get between 20 and 25 MPG while tooling around in the Macan, a nice bump up from the 17, 23 offered by last year’s model. When you consider that it comes packed with a 19.8 gallon fuel tank, you’ll realize that you can travel pretty darn far on a single tank of gas in this mid-sized SUV.
Overall it’s the same SUV, it just comes with less power, less weight and at a lower cost. There’s a lot to love about the latest Macan and it’s something to get excited about.
Family cars are one of the most popular ways to get around these days if you’re not in a crossover, and mid-sized sedans are the most common way to do it. Among these sedans, the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata are two major contenders that people are always comparing to one another. To help out all those families trying to pick between these two vehicles, we’ll take some time to consider the different features and what each has to offer overall.
Power doesn’t matter to many drivers that are just looking for a car to get them to work and back, but it’s an important consideration for some. This is an area that both vehicles are very close in at the base level. They both offer about 178 HP at base, but the Sonata incorporates direct injection into the system, making it more powerful and responsive. If you don’t mind spending extra for a more powerful vehicle, the 2017 Camry can be found with power levels as high as 268 HP, while the Sonata only goes to 245, making the Camry the clear higher range winner when it comes to power.
When you’re commuting regularly or you have many driving demands, it’s important for your vehicle to be fuel efficient. The best bet overall between the two vehicles when efficiency is important to you is the hybrid Camry that offers up to 38 MPG. If you don’t want to deal with a hybrid vehicle though, the Sonata is slightly more efficient than the base Camry, offering about 36 MPG highway and 28 MPG in the city.
One of the biggest factors that people consider when deciding on a new car is how it feels while turning. The steering wheel should be responsive while offering plenty of road feel at the same time. This is exactly what the Camry has to offer, which is one of the reasons that many people prefer it to the Sonata. The Hyundai Sonata comes with a soft steering wheel that isn’t as responsive and doesn’t offer the same level of road feel as the Camry. This creates a less satisfying driving experience.
A good reliable car is a joy to drive around and more affordable to own as well. Toyota vehicles are known for their reliability and can be counted on in most instances. Sonatas are known as good quality vehicles as well, but don’t have the same reputation for reliability as the Camry, this means it will likely cost a bit more to maintain over time.
After considering the features of a vehicle, it’s also important to think of the economics of owning one. While the Camry and Sonata are priced similarly, the Camry becomes considerably more affordable when you factor in resale value most of the time. That’s because the Camry holds its value longer than the Sonata does in most tests. If you plan on selling your car later on down the road, you will most likely get more for your money if you decide on the Camry.
There’s a lot to consider for both the Camry and the Sonata. If you care most about drive feel, efficiency, resale value and upper power levels, the Camry is likely the best option for you. If you’re more interested in base power or base fuel efficiency, the Sonata has a lot to offer.
Toyota put together a special edition of its 86 sports car, known as the Toyota 860. It’s an improved variation with nicer features, performance enhancements and some aesthetic improvements to help it really stand out. Just 860 copies of the sports car will be produced, they’ll be split between orange and white paint jobs, and they’ll be sold throughout the month of April. Below is an overview of what the special car has to offer and why it’s worth the added price tag over the base 86.
The car gets quite a few improvements all around, but there were a couple different changes to spice up its look. The first is transformed fascia at the front and rear of the vehicle. There are also restyled vents around the fenders that give a slightly more aggressive look to the front end while still supplying air to help cool the brake system. The 860 also comes with a thin spoiler at the rear, similar that was comes on the European Toyota 86. It also comes with a set of 17 wheels coated in black chrome and some LED fog lights to help modernize the look even more. Overall this special edition looks very similar to the base model, with a few nice improvements that really do stand out.
Sports Information Output
It’s clear that these special editions of the 86 are meant for driving enthusiasts, which is why they come standard with a 4.2″ display showing off sports specs like horsepower, temperatures for coolant and oil, a g-force meter and a stop watch to measure your sprints and lap times. It’s a pretty cool little package that helps the 860 standout.
The Toyota 860 comes with heated seats up front, a smaller steering wheel, leather seats, and a leather wrapped shifter and hand brake. There’s also heated mirrors to give you a nice clear view on freezing days, and there is dual-zone climate control to keep everyone comfortable during a ride. There’s also push-button start, giving it a more modern feel within.
All the tech and appearance enhancements are nice, but it wouldn’t be a sports car special edition without at least a few performance enhancements as well. The Toyota 860 comes with a handful of improvements that should help the way that it rides, making it into a more fun and reliable vehicle to take around corners at speed. It comes with an underbody panel to improve aerodynamics. The car has a stiffer chassis that responds to fast direction changes a bit more capably. It’s offered in both manual or automatic transmissions, and both are fitted with a six-speed. The manual transmission adds on 5 horsepower and the automatic comes with paddle shifters and rev management technology to give you a sporty feel when you want it and convenient handling when you don’t. Overall the Toyota 860 is a capable vehicle and it has a lot to offer compared to the stock model.
In a world with PDK dual-clutch transmissions it seems completely irrational to want a manual. After all these transmissions are better in every way possible. They’re faster and more efficient. They allow you to keep both hands firmly on the wheel, and they make it easier to go faster around a track. Each of those things are important to Porsche drivers, but there is still a large portion of those drivers that want to be able to control the shifting of the vehicle. For that reason Porsche is still incorporating manual transmissions into its vehicles, even though they don’t make any sense.
The 911 GT3 Comes with a Manual
To many Porsche owners the 911 GT3 is the crown jewel of enthusiast driving. It’s a sporty car that looks great, performs better and is engineered to take corners like a dream. It’s a beautiful piece of engineering and it’s a thrill to drive around. It’s the car that enthusiasts want to pick up above all else, and they want it for the experience. That’s exactly why Porsche is offering the GT3 with a manual transmission. The automaker understands the manual tranny is inferior to the PDK, but that it adds to the experience of some drivers. Porsche is in the business of offering experiences to enthusiasts, which is why the big Porsche centers exist around the world, and it’s why Porsche will continue to go out of its way to make the dreams of drivers come true.
The 911 GT3 RS will Not
Even though the GT3 is coming with a manual transmission, to the excitement of all those purists out there!, the GT3 RS will not have the option. Instead it comes equipped with just the PDK transmission. Porsche’s reasoning behind this decision is that there are different types of customers for the two vehicles. The stock GT3 is more of a purist, auto enthusiast group of drivers that just want the thrill of going fast around windy roads and driving a quality engineered sports car. The GT3 RS guys are the ones that want to beat up tracks and get the best possible lap times.
For the guys going for the best lap times the PDK is really the only option. A PDK is more efficient and a whole lot faster than a manual. Not only that, but it allows you to maintain better control while going around the track, and those are all pretty compelling reasons, even if operating a race car with a manual transmission is more satisfying to some drivers out there. For that reason there really isn’t any point to offering a manual transmission with the GT3 RS.
Even though it’s a bummer that the 911 GT3 RS isn’t being offered with a manual, after reading the explanation behind the decision we get it. Still, it’s pretty hard to complain when Porsche is cool enough to make the 911 GT3, a potent sports car with 500 HP and a flat six engine, with a manual transmission that offers that silky-smooth shifting satisfaction so many drivers are looking for.
Few people associate Volkswagen with sporty vehicles, and the Passat (while sporty and somewhat powerful) is probably one of the last vehicles that you would think to bring to the track. It looks pretty tame after all. The smart people at Volkswagen saw the potential of the Passat though, and decided that it deserved to go fast and to get enthusiasts excited about driving again.
Top Notch Media
The R-Line comes with a 6-speaker audio system hooked to a very capable media setup as standard. You’ll enjoy USB connectivity, satellite radio, voice controls, and a slew of cool safety features when you opt for this upgraded performance Passat. That alone is enough for some buyers to consider going for this variation of the Passat.
Power without the Cost
The Passat R-Line is an interesting model from the lineup because it’s relatively affordable, but it packs that turbo power in as well. That means if you want a high-powered car that’s fun to drive around, the R-Line makes a lot of sense. You’ll get a 1.8 liter turbo-four engine that pumps out 170 HP and 184-lb.-ft. of torque. That’s not an insane level of power, but it’s certainly enough to make it a fund drive and to give you a reason to want to slam on the accelerator now and then.
A Pure Joy to Drive
There’s a lot to love about the Passat R-Line, but the best thing about the vehicle is how it handles on roads. The car hugs the ground, it whips around corners with ease and it has very precise steering. It feels a lot like a top-notch sports car in terms of handling, and that’s all you could really ask for out of a performance sedan.
Slight Exterior Enhancements
The R-Line also receives a few changes on the outside to make it look sportier. There’s the air intake to help power the turbocharger. There’s also grille, bumper and trim enhancements that all make it clear that it’s an R-Line edition of the Passat.
When you climb inside the Passat you’ll notice right away that there are special trim and doorsill sections specifically for the R-Line Passat. Not only that but the car is equipped with V-Tex leatherette seats that are heated up front.
Overall the Passat R-Line is a high-performance version of the sedan that’s much more enjoyable to drive around. It offers a lot for the sub 25k price tag that it comes with, and is an obvious choice for drivers that need a sedan, but want better performance out of it at the same time.
We were very happy to hear that with the sunset of the Scion brand, Toyota was still committed to bringing the C-HR to our showrooms. We had the opportunity for a ride and drive last week in Austin, Texas of the new C-HR, and we think you are going to LOVE this new small crossover.
The C-HR (Coupé-High Riding) slots in just below the RAV4 in overall size and pricing, however, it is very roomy on the inside. The C-HR will be a front-drive only crossover, no all-wheel drive is available, it is offered with a 2.0-liter four cylinder producing 144 horsepower and 139 lb/ft of torque, and this is backed by a CVT transmission with seven simulated gears.
Perhaps in the past, you have experienced a CVT transmission where you put your foot down and the engine seems to rev to a point and never go beyond? With the CVT in the C-HR, that is mostly eliminated by the seven simulated gears. You get all the fuel efficiency of a CVT, yet it feels like a standard automatic transmission, it’s the best of both worlds.
In stop and go driving, and merging onto the highway, the C-HR has plenty of power so that you don’t have to worry about merging with oncoming traffic, nor getting away from stoplights.
On the road is where the C-HR really shines. Built off the same platform as the new Prius, it has a double wishbone rear suspension and SACHS dampers at all four corners. What this means to you is a very connected feeling to the road that is firm and well controlled while maintaining a pleasant ride quality.
On the inside, the quality of materials is much better that you would expect for the price point. There are plenty of soft-touch materials around, a rear vision camera integrated into the rearview mirror, a seven-inch touch screen display with Bluetooth and USB integration, dual zone climate controls on the XLE Premium trim, and a driver’s cockpit layout that will remind you of the Lexus IS!
Toyota is putting a premium on safety with the C-HR. Included as standard on all cars is:
- Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) – Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Electric Parking Brake (EPB)
- Star Safety SystemTM – includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology® (SST)
- 10 airbags — includes driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger and rear seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, front passenger seat cushion airbag, and front and rear side curtain airbags
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) includes lower anchors and tether anchors on
- outboard second-row seats
- Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) – XLE Premium only
- Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC)
- Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS). When the tire pressure drops to a critically low level, a light on the instrument panel alerts the driver.
- Child-protector rear door locks
The styling for the C-HR is a standout! It combines beautiful curves with diamond shaped angles. The more you walk around the car, the more interesting shapes you find, and they all flow together in a fun and sporty package.
In keeping with the Scion heritage, the C-HR does not have any options other than paint color. There will be two trim levels, XLE and XLE premium. Pricing for C-HR XLE will be $22,500 and for the XLE Premium $24,350, with $960 for destination and delivery on top.
Fuel economy for the C-HR is also very good for the crossover market, it is EPA-rated at 27 MPG City, 31 MPG Highway and 29 MPG Combined.
The C-HR will arrive in our showrooms in April, and we can’t wait for you to come in and take one for a drive.
In another effort to improve the planet and expand on its brand-new technology, Toyota just launched a fuel-cell bus. That’s right, the automaker put out a full-sized city bus that’s travelling around Tokyo picking people up and dropping them off. The bus is built out of components that are the same as the Mirai, it just relies on more of them to do the job. This is an exciting step for Toyota and for the planet. By getting hydrogen buses out there the company reduces fossil fuel emissions, proves that the technology is durable and reliable, and helps people become more familiar with hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Easy to Refuel
In order to demonstrate just how simple the bus is to refuel, Yuriko Koike, the Governor, showed up to put fuel into the bus. She had no issues doing so and it was ready to go after being fueled up.
Affordable to Ride
While you would have to pay around $57,000 to get your hands on the Mirai, you can get some experience with hydrogen fuel cell technology for just two Japanese dollars with this bus. That’s the fare to go for a ride on it, and you’ll get to experience one of the great future driving technologies.
Two of Everything
In order to make this beast of a machine move, Toyota had to install two of all the components into the bus, and the automaker put them into its ceiling. The fuel cell stacks, batteries and fuel tank are all mounted in the roof of the bus, leaving space down below for passengers to ride close to the ground. The two systems power two 113 kW electric motors that deliver about 310 HP together and get the bus moving around.
Already in Demand
Even though the bus was just released, there are already 100 orders pending for the buses to be used just in Tokyo. There are 60 additional orders for buses in other areas of Japan as well. That just shows the interest in hydrogen technology and it bodes well for the future of the tech as well.
The current bus is more expensive than a standard diesel bus, and it won’t last as long either. It’s expected to last about six years before requiring replacement parts which is quite a bit worse than the expected 20 years of most buses in use today. That’s something that Toyota is working on, and the automaker expects to get the cost and longevity in line with a standard diesel hybrid bus that’s in use today eventually.
There aren’t any orders from other parts of the world just yet, but Toyota looks forward to the day when it can expand hydrogen buses to other areas of the world and bring the technology to even more cities. It certainly won’t hurt the air quality efforts in other areas of the world.
The Audi RS5 is a lean and powerful racing machine that’s equipped with all the right parts to go fast, whip around corners, and sit in luxury while you’re doing it. It’s comparable to the M4, the Cadillac ATS V and other high powered luxury sedans on the market, but it offers some features that most of them don’t, and that’s why it’s worth talking about.
As with any Audi vehicle, the RS5 comes packed with gadgets and tech that’s wrapped in a simple and refined package. High quality leathers, woods and classy composites are used throughout, and it looks nice and clean throughout. It’s obvious that your inside a high-quality luxury car when climbing in the RS5, and there’s enough badging to help you remember that you’re in the RS5 and not some standard luxury Audi.
The 2018 RS5 comes with more than enough power to throw you back into your seat when you slap down the pedal. It comes with 450 HP courtesy of a 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6 engine that’s tied to a eight speed automatic transmission. This powerhouse of an engine offers 442.5 lb.-ft. of torque, and can make the dash from 0 to 60 in just 3.9 seconds. The car 132 lbs. lighter than the vehicle it’s replacing, and the RS5 manages to get about 27 MPG on the European test cycle, even with all that power.
Stable All Wheel Drive
Not only does the car come packed with power, but that power is split up through a highly usable all-wheel drive system. 40 percent of the power is directed to the front wheels of the vehicle, and 60 percent goes to the back two wheels, giving the car sporty handling characteristics overall. There’s an optional sports differential at the rear of the vehicle, for even more agile handling.
Top Grade Suspension
This car is built to handle excellently under most conditions, and the framework that offers such excellent handling. Both the front and rear of the vehicle are equipped with a five-link suspension to help pad the road and maintain control in rough driving conditions. There are optional addons that add to the handling as well. Adding on adaptive dampers, dynamic steering and carbon ceramic brakes will all help the car handle more like a super car.
The Audi RS5 stands out in its high-powered segment because of its all-wheel drive. It’s the only car in the segment that offers the feature, and that’s going to appeal to a lot of people. The car has a lot to offer, but we’re still waiting for it to become available for test driving to find out how all the top-grade pieces come together when driving.
While Toyota isn’t quite as excited at the prospect of self-driving vehicles as some other automakers on the market are, the auto giant is interested in the potential safety benefits of partially automated vehicles. Toyota would like to create a guardian angel type system that gets people out of trouble when they are about to get into an accident. Similar systems already exist today that wills low your vehicle down and issue warnings to help the driver pay attention, but Toyota wants to take all this a step further to design systems that will actually prevent accidents through more advanced self-driving.
Safety Maneuvers out on the Road
Right now there are vehicles that can slow you down before you rear end someone else. That’s pretty cool, and very helpful, but it’s also pretty basic. Imagine a vehicle that can speed you up when you’re about to be hit from the side to help you dodge the impact. Or a vehicle that can change the direction of your vehicle to help you go around a drunk driver that swerves into your lane. This is the kind of tech that Toyota is interested in and the automaker says there is a lot more that can be done with sensors and automatic driving tools.
Safe Driving Earlier on
While Toyota believes that fully-autonomous vehicles are still quite a ways away, an advanced safety setup might not be that far off into the future. It’s possible to create much more advanced safety features over the next year or two, and they could dramatically help make roads safer for drivers of all types. That’s why Toyota wants to focus on these safety tools before worrying about releasing fully self-driving vehicles. They can bring some benefits to drivers earlier on.
There’s a lot to be said for this type of safety advancement in a vehicle, but Toyota won’t say how long it believes the technology will take to develop before release. There are still some issues to work out, such as creating tech that will function alongside a human driver without causing additional problems. There needs to be a balance between vehicle and driver, and that’s something that must be fine-tuned to avoid causing more harm than good.