It was a momentous week at the Gear Patrol motoring desk this week. We reviewed the Porsche 911 Turbo and a bunch of other cars; we welcomed BMW's electric version of the M3; we unpacked an interesting Toyota trademark and informed you about the Lucid Air's revolutionary new sound system.
Alas, there was much more to discuss from the automotive world this week — and too little time to address it. Here are some of the interesting tidbits we didn't quite get a chance to write about.
Hyper-luxury hypercar maker Bugatti's place in the greater VW Group has always been a little awkward, sitting above such almost-competitive brands as Porsche, Lamborghini and Bentley but remaining a small presence with a big reputation. Now, as part of a reorganization, Bugatti is likely being moved under Porsche's control, as VW CEO Herbert Diess revealed this week — and they're planning on setting up a joint venture with Rimac. The more 1,800-hp electric hypercars, the merrier, right?
Jeep's new plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe points towards the brand's future, where electric motors make off-roaders more efficient and more powerful while enabling near-silent driving through nature. Now, the EPA has revealed how far you can go on electrons alone: the Wrangler 4xe offers 21 miles of electric range. During that time, it'll get 49 mpg equivalent; once the gas engine kicks in, you'll average 20 miles per gallon.
As we all likely know by now, Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous driving aid is an incredibly capable system — but one that also can invite abuse in the wrong hands, leading to crashes. On Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed it's currently running 23 active investigations into Tesla crashes,including two this week: one in Texas and another in Michigan, where a Tesla on Autopilot collided with a parked state trooper's car.
The Mustang Mach-E may be the first electric crossover from Ford, but it damn sure won't be the last. Ford Authority learned this week that two more midsized EV SUVs — likely a Ford and a Lincoln — will be built alongside the Mach-E at Ford's Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico. Expect them to arrive in late 2022 or early 2023.
Brackets are all the rage in March, as we know very well. (Remember to vote in our Bourbon Bracket on March 22!) This year, Porsche is getting in on the action with the "Tournament of Colors," where the carmaker's iconic shades are pitted against one another in a bracket based on Twitter polls. Round 1 has already gone by, but keep your eyes on Porsche's Twitter for the next round if you want to play.
This week, EV startup Alpha Motors unveiled the Wolf, which is a small, retro, off-roading pickup. It will deliver 250–275 miles of range and purportedly start around $40,000 before the federal tax credit...and we already want one. Alpha Motors is currently taking reservations on its website.
We drove Acura's superb new 2021 TLX sedan earlier this year. Now, Acura has given us the details about the even hotter Type S version, which will go on sale in May. It will bump up to a 3.0-liter V6 with 355 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. Acura says starting MSRP will be in the low-$50,000 range.
Like the idea of the TLX Type S, but need a bit more space for the fam? Acura also has a Type S version of the all-new MDX crossover coming later this year too.
Hyundai has revealed the design details of its new multi-purpose vehicle (a.k.a. minivan), the Staria. It looks like, well, the minivan of the future. It will offer expansive windows, high luxury and configurations seating between two and 11 passengers. Alas, Hyundai confirmed to CNet that the Staria will not be sold in America.
This week, Mini became one of the latest brand to announce it will cease selling combustion vehicles when the British ban on them goes into effect in 2030. The brand's last combustion vehicle will debut in 2025.
Mini's German parent company BMW, meanwhile, said it's taking a different approach. They definitely plan to sell electric cars, but will continue developing hybrids and combustion engines while there is a market for them.
Tesla added some official company titles in a filing with the SEC. Musk, in addition to being CEO, is now formally known as the "Technoking of Tesla." Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn is also now the "Master of Coin." We presume Musk's devoted Internet denizens will find this hilarious.
Love the idea of a vintage Defender, but not so keen on the poor fuel economy? Well, Himalaya, one of the best custom Defender builders out there, built an electric one, and it's being given away in an Omaze sweepstakes. Every donation supports the African Community & Conservation Foundation.
The global chip shortage has left the car industry in a pickle. To keep cranking out profitable pickups, Chevy and GMC will sell 5.3-liter V8 without their Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM) software.
DFM allows the engine to operate up to 17 different cylinder patterns for better fuel economy. Not having the technology will cost the affected trucks about 1 mpg. Many buyers were already going to the aftermarket to disable the technology, so it's not clear if this will affect sales.
Kia revealed a first look of its new electric car, the EV6. The reveal was exceptionally short on details about the crossover, which should be a sporty Porsche rival...but Kia will be delighted to tell you everything you want to know about its new "Opposites United" design philosophy. Here's hoping one of the higher-numbered EVs ends up being an electric Telluride.
Lordstown Motors and its Endurance pickup received a lot of publicity during the presidential campaign. But Hindenburg Research, the firm that investigated apparent fraud at Nikola, has released a report detailing a number of allegations against Lordstown Motors...and the SEC is investigating the claims.
Windshield wipers may be the biggest afterthought on your car — but among the most important safety features.