With the world’s automotive sector quickly transitioning from internal combustion engines and interim hybrid-electric models to fully-electric battery-powered vehicles, some of the automotive industry’s…
With the world’s automotive sector quickly transitioning from internal combustion engines and interim hybrid-electric models to fully-electric battery-powered vehicles, some of the automotive industry’s most cherished styling elements have not only become redundant, but in fact detrimental to an electric vehicle’s efficiency.
First and foremost is the front grille, which was previously necessary to cool the engine, yet now impedes aerodynamics. Certainly, some cooling is needed, particularly for the battery, but battery-builders and automakers are resolving such issues with every new generation, which means frontal openings are now only needed for cabin airflow and possibly brake cooling on performance models.
Balancing aerodynamics with design character
The issue for designers comes down to character. If automakers simply removed their cars’ grilles to enhance aerodynamic efficiencies, every new car would look faceless, like a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y. Like others in the industry, such as Volvo and its Recharge EV models, new Genesis X Speedium Coupe Concept deals with this challenge by creating a frontal grille outline filled a body panel, but the creative way it extends its unique signature “Two Lines” headlamp/side marker lighting elements around that grille in a “V” shape, similar to the equally gorgeous Genesis X Coupe Concept that came before, is innovative.
Anyone guessing whether the new Speedium is destined to be a personal luxury coupe or something with serious performance credentials only needs to look at the aggressive fender flairs and windswept Kamm tail that juts up out of the rear deck lid as if it came straight off a Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe. Yellow/green-painted brake calipers further hint at the Speedium’s go-fast personality, not to mention the massive rims and wafer-thin rubber surrounding them.
Could a four-door coupe be in the cards?
Back to personal luxury, an unusual greenhouse design shows this coupe is at the very least a 2+2, but more likely as accommodating inside as today’s four-door luxury coupes, and could very much receive rear doors, like Porsche’s Taycan, Audi’s E-Tron RS, and others before it heads to production, but it’s nice to believe a two-door variant might get the nod as well, so it could offer a potent BEV alternative to Mercedes’ S-Class Coupe, BMW’s 8 Series Coupe, Lexus’ LC, or, a bit further down the pecking order, Infiniti’s Q60.
The side profile and rear design pays a great deal of respect to the aforementioned X Concept, and being that Genesis hasn’t shown any interior images of the new Speedium, some shots of its predecessor were added to the gallery for your perusal. It’s a stunning interior, which places a visual priority on the driver via camel brown-tanned hides and equally earthy composites, compared to stark anthracite grey elsewhere. Photos of the previous concept have been included in the gallery as well, as well as videos below, just so you can see the transitional differences and similarities.
Genesis has yet to announce a production version of either the Concept X or X Speedium Coupe Concept, but we expect something bold from the Korean brand in this segment soon.
The Genesis X Concept Reveal | Genesis (1:43):
The Genesis X Concept Reveal Event in LA | X Concept | Future Vehicles | Genesis USA (17:31):
The Genesis X California Film | X Concept | Future Vehicles | Genesis USA (1:31):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Genesis
Good news! The VW van is actually coming back, and it looks like this visual blast from the past design might also be one of the most practical competitors in the all-electric space. But before delving…
Good news! The VW van is actually coming back, and it looks like this visual blast from the past design might also be one of the most practical competitors in the all-electric space. But before delving into the details, some history.
The original 1949–2013 Volkswagen Van, as it was simply called in our market (specifically the old-school version with the rounded edges, otherwise known as the T1 and T2), was also dubbed the Kombi in Brazil, where it was produced from 1957 until finally being put to rest in 2013. Additionally, it was called the Bulli at home in Germany, where it ruled the family roost until the larger, squarer Vanagon (T3) arrived in 1979, and has been on the comeback trail at least as long as this journalist has been covering the automotive sector.
The Transporter wasn’t just a Jason Statham movie franchise
Before too much confusion transpires, Volkswagen didn’t stop building its T (Transporter) series of vans when the T3 departed. After that incredibly accommodating model enjoyed a reasonably popular run as a family conveyance here in North America, it was replaced by the front-engine, water-cooled T4 in 1990, which also graced our roads with the Eurovan nameplate. After a fairly long stint on our side of the Atlantic, VW Canada discontinued the Eurovan in place of the embarrassingly rebadged Dodge Caravan dubbed Routan (2009–2014) that the automaker probably hopes we’ll forever forget (sorry, VW).
No doubt, many T series-faithful, that never accepted DaimlerChrysler’s watered-down facsimile of the real deal, would love to get their hands on the all-new 2022 Multivan T7 that debuted last June, but we most likely won’t see that sizeable model unless Volkswagen decides to enter something larger in our commercial sector (can you imagine how the RV aftermarket would go wild with this near full-size family hauler?).
VW microbus has been the comeback kid for decades
Back to the comeback, a very enticing Microbus concept debuted in 2001, causing everyone already in love with the New Beetle to salivate over the possibility of a much more accommodating retro alternative, but alas it never materialized. A decade later the 2011 Bulli electric concept arrived to less fanfare. It probably would’ve hit the EV market too soon to have had any serious sales success if produced anyway, although the all-electric BUDD-e van that showed up in 2016 might’ve found more traction. None of that matters now that the ID. Buzz, introduced last month, has been slated for production this year as a 2023 model, in Europe at least.
The ID. Buzz looks more like that 2001 Microbus than any concept since, although it houses front lighting elements similar to those found on the current all-electric ID.4 compact SUV, even including a thin LED light strip that connects the two headlamps. The taillight cluster is one single unit too, but the circular “VW” badge isn’t integrated within the centre reflector strip on the Buzz like with the 4, instead positioned on its own just below in traditional microvan fashion.
Only one 201 hp rear-drive version has been shown so far
This said, the ID. Buzz we’re looking at is a European version, so our variant may see some slight changes. The 82 kWh (net) base battery pack, which doesn’t use cobalt, and the entry-level power unit shouldn’t change, however, as its 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque should be enough for budget-conscious families, although it’s possible VW will leave this powertrain in Europe where an EV’s ability to travel long distances isn’t quite as critical. On that note, VW hasn’t announced any range estimates for this new power unit, only saying it’ll propel the ID. Buzz up to an electronically limited top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph). Fortunately, Volkswagen promises powertrain upgrades for both markets, which will likely include all-wheel drive. That model should be popular here, so stay tuned.
As for underpinnings, the ID. Buzz utilizes the same MEB platform architecture as the ID.4. In its Buzz application, it will be offered with two wheelbases, the longer for a seven-seat option, although VW only shared wheelbase measurements of the standard model that spans 2,988 mm (117.6 in). This makes the Buzz’ shortest wheelbase a significant 223 mm (8.8 in) longer than the ID.4’s wheelbase, while the new van stretches 4,712 mm (185.5 in) from nose to tail no matter which wheelbase is chosen, which is 128 mm (5.0 in) greater than VW’s crossover EV.
ID. Buzz Cargo van might make an ideal camper
Additionally, both ID. Buzz body styles measure 1,985 mm (78.1 in) wide without the side mirrors, while the new van is also 1,937 mm (76.3 in) tall. Of note, just like T series vans, an ID. Buzz Cargo van will be offered as well. It will be fractionally taller at 1,938 mm, thanks to a heavier duty chassis.
Volkswagen claims up to 1,121 litres (39.5 cu ft) of cargo capacity behind the rear seats of the two-row version, or 3,900 litres (137.7 cu ft) behind the first row with the passenger van’s rear seats removed, or you’re filling up the cargo van. The latter, incidentally, gets a front bench seat for up to three abreast, just like the original.
Could a modern-day VW “Westfalia” be in the cards? We can only hope. The ability to tread softly into the woods or desert with AWD via an all-electric powertrain is tantalizing, although we’d recommend a potent solar charging unit on top.
ID. Buzz interior looks positively appetizing
Inside, the ID. Buzz cargo van is more business-like, with mostly muted grey tones other than the very colourful and large digital displays (the standard digital cockpit measures 10 inches diagonally, while the centre-mounted infotainment system is 10 inches in base trim and up to 12 inches, with navigation, optionally), whereas the passenger van carries the exterior’s “organically based” colour scheme into the cabin.
Yummy looking lemony Lime Yellow and downright festive Energetic Orange interiors were chosen for the press photos, with both looked totally “fab” thanks in part to all the cream-coloured surfaces surrounding the body-colour dash and door trim. Bay Leaf Green and Candy White (the only non-metallic base colour) are on the “menu” too, as are Mono Silver and Starlight Blue (also available in two-tone) amongst metallics, plus Deep Black featuring a pearl effect.
The colourful door panels continue rearward to the side-sliders, while the seat upholstery is shown in a cream recycled leatherette, in the yellow model, and burnt orange cloth made from reclaimed and recycled plastics in the orange model.
Gear selection in the original vans was done from a classic stick on the floor, but the new model utilizes a column shifter in order to free up space on the modular centre console. In the ID. Buzz’ press release, VW expends a lot of ink describing the various USB ports and cupholders, which are aplenty due to its family orientation, but safety is a key selling point in this sector as well.
Safety and convenience are key in the family class
To that end, VW promises all the usual driver assist and safety systems, of course, including an updated version of the brand’s Travel Assist, now featuring automated lane changes at highway speed, plus the ability to manage autonomous driving on country roads without centre markings.
Both ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo models will be built by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hanover, German, with production on target to start during the first half of 2022, advanced sales taking place in May, and European deliveries beginning in the third quarter of this year. The North American debut of the long-wheelbase Buzz will occur sometime next year, with sales following in 2024. The long-wheelbase van will also be offered in Europe, but so far VW has said nothing about offering the regular-wheelbase, five- (and also six-) person model here.
Now, check out the World Premiere of the ID. Buzz, with actor Ewan McGregor sharing his love of the Beetle and impressions of the new ID. Buzz:
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Volkswagen
Porsche Design, the quintessential sports car brand’s (and performance crossover maker’s) in-house design department, is celebrating 50 years in 2022, so it only makes sense they’d commemorate such…
Porsche Design, the quintessential sports car brand’s (and performance crossover maker’s) in-house design department, is celebrating 50 years in 2022, so it only makes sense they’d commemorate such an important occasion with a special version of the only model still made that was available back in 1972, the legendary 911.
The new 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design, based on a 2022 911 Targa 4 GTS, features plenty of stylish upgrades along with a nice package of bundled features, including dark-silver and satin-black exterior accents on the Targa bar, a similar treatment on the centre-lock Turbo S wheels, and a set of “Porsche Design” badges, while four gloss-black painted brake calipers and a “50 Years” plaque atop the engine cover finish off the retro look.
Subtle details enhance posh interior
Inside, a dash plaque commemorates the Porsche Design division’s 50th anniversary as well as each car’s placement in the 750-unit limited edition series, while the 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design cabin also benefits from a special steering wheel badge, and the signature of Ferry Porsche’s son Ferdinand Alexander (the Porsche Design division’s creator), atop the centre console lid.
Of course, the 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design model just wouldn’t be right without a set of embroidered or embossed headrests, with the latter getting the nod, while this handywork gets added to the model’s top-level 18-way Adaptive Sport Seats Plus, while Slate Grey seat belts can be found to either side. Additionally, Porsche’s much-lauded Sport Chrono Package comes as standard equipment, with a unique Porsche Design chronograph clock placed in the usual centre position on the dash-top.
Watchmaking has long been an important part of Porsche Design’s business
Important to understand, this unique chronograph clock face has more significance in this special edition Porsche Design model’s than it would in other 911s, because the in-house styling house has been designing timepieces from its onset. In fact, Porsche Design has now reissued its first wristwatch, the 1972 Chronograph 1, limiting it to a mere 500 units. To be clear, Porsche Design watches are respected much more than the quartz-powered pieces you might find in a dealership’s parts department. The original Porsche Design watch, powered by a Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph (Valjoux is now owned by Swatch group’s ETA, while now defunct Orfina, once a highly respected Swiss watchmaker, produced watches for Porsche Design as well), was also the watch industry’s first fully black timepiece (other than some of its details), a feature, like the dials in a car’s gauge cluster, designed to minimize glare during racing.
At $7,700 USD, the new 1972 Chronograph 1 reissue is hardly inexpensive, although the price is not over-the-top for a high-quality mechanical chronograph with Porsche Design credentials, so it should sell out quickly, while a second Porsche Design chronograph, dubbed Porsche Design Chronograph 1 – 1972 Limited Edition, a more modern take on the original design, will be included with every 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design purchase.
Each of the 750 timepieces feature an all-black design, like the 1972 Chronograph 1, with bright white used to make the sharply printed indices and sub-dial markers easy to read. Ditto for the white hour and minute hands, although Porsche Design has once again bowed to history by providing a bright red seconds hand and red lettering above the 6 o’clock position. No doubt, each 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design buyer will cherish this unique timepiece, which will more than likely appreciate over time.
Porsche’s future is all about marrying the past to the present
Along with the special-edition Targa 4 GTS and two Porsche Design watches, Porsche Design chose to commemorate its 50-year celebration by commissioning a completely restored 1972 911 S 2.4 Targa, which can be seen in the photos. Turning to Porsche Classic, the brand’s in-house restoration division, made sure it would receive original and hand-made components, resulting in an almost completely new version of this 50-year-old example of rolling art and celebrated performance.
The fact both new and old Porsche’s share many of the same styling details is no coincidence either, but as much as you might want to put the two 911s in a garage side-by-side, you’ll only be able to see the classic on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, alongside one new 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design, as well as the two Porsche Design watches.
New 911 Edition 50Y Porsche Design available now
The new model is available now, ahead of arriving in Canada this spring, for the tidy sum of $217,200, and while it may already be sold out, it probably wouldn’t hurt to contact your local Porsche retailer to make sure.
50 years of Porsche Design with a special edition 911 #Shorts (best viewed on phone or tablet):
The 911 Edition 50 Years Porsche Design (1:00):
Porsche Design presents the Sport Chrono Collection (1:31):
Porsche Design Chronograph 911 GT3 with Touring Package (1:14):
The new 1919 Globetimer UTC from Porsche Design (1:48):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche Design
After the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group morphed into Stellantis last year, all 16 brands were promised enough funding to prove their viability as money-making…
After the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group morphed into Stellantis last year, all 16 brands were promised enough funding to prove their viability as money-making enterprises. This, at a time when many industry critics were predicting some of the less profitable brands’ demise, such as Lancia in Europe and Chrysler in North America, should allow the creation of some significant contenders.
Where the second-generation 300 is now almost a dozen years old, making it geriatric in automotive lifecycles (as much as we still like it), the minivan threesome came to market in 2016, and therefore has six years under its collective belt. Therefore, Chrysler’s freshest product is already beyond its due date, while the brand’s overall image is so weak that it felt the need to “reintroduce” itself in the “2022 Chrysler Airflow | Our First Battery-Electric Vehicle” video below.
Airflow concept points Chrysler in a new crossover EV-based direction
All said, Chrysler has a long, storied history worthy of delving into, if not preserving in the modern day. The brand has long been a leader in automotive electrification as well, thanks to the world’s first plug-in hybrid minivan, so segueing into a full EV seems natural for Chrysler, and the realization of something like the new Airflow concept would not only deliver such a clean, green alternative, but also give the winged brand the crossover SUV it’s long needed.
Other than a short three model-year stint with a more upscale version of the Dodge Durango dubbed Aspen (MY 2007–2009), we need to look way back to the original Pacifica (MY 2004–2008) for a Chrysler-badged crossover, that near-luxury model somewhat ahead of its time, albeit short-sightedly short-lived as well. The automaker, which had its once-full coffers run dry by Mercedes during the DaimlerChrysler era, has been limping away on life support over the past decade, possibly making this new Airflow, which is likely close to the production model, a make-it-or-break it scenario.
Airflow concept points Chrysler in a new crossover EV-based direction
The Airflow concept was introduced last January at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It’s sized similarly to Ford’s very popular Mustang Mach-E crossover, which itself was designed to go head-to-head with entry-level versions of Tesla’s mid-size Model X. Whether eventually dubbed Airflow or not, Stellantis has promised a new mid-size Chrysler crossover EV for 2024 as a 2025 model.
Although we know little about the new Airflow concept’s details, Chrysler made clear that its powertrain consists of front and rear electric motors that make 201 horsepower apiece, and while Chrysler has yet to provide specific output numbers, the new prototype boasts all-wheel drive along with a large battery pack mounted below the floor.
Scroll through the press images in the gallery and you’ll see one that suggests a 118.0-kWh battery, plus a range of 400 miles (644 km). During the launch, Chrysler added that the range will be between 350 and 400 miles (217 and 644 km), which could be translated to mean that two or more output levels will be offered, the lesser capability for a base model. This said, being that Stellantis is an Amsterdam, Netherlands-based corporation, we can’t be certain this estimate corresponds to the U.S. EPA cycle or not, but at least the latter number appears to be within acceptable EV market expectations.
Airflow combines Chrysler’s penchant for elegant luxury with loads of new-edge tech
Inside, the Airflow appears roomy enough for four adults to stretch out comfortably, the second-row seats divided into individual floating buckets with a large floating console in between (the production model may see a rear bench in lower trims), while the crossover’s overall design layout lends to an even greater air of spaciousness, thanks to a wide, horizontal dash layout that visually extends into dark grey door uppers to encircle the cabin. This is dramatically offset by the concept’s white and bright metal interior colour scheme, enhanced further by an extremely long front windshield and open, airy glass roof overhead.
The details of that wide dash design are even more notable, being that the entire surface appears to be a combination of inky black glass/composite and touch-sensitive digital interfaces, one even ahead of the front passenger. The large driver’s display is fully digital too, of course, and extends outwards to the left of what is normally the main gauge cluster with controls for interior temperatures plus driver’s seat heating and cooling, whereas the large centre screen is complemented by an additional display further down the centre stack, this showing navigation mapping and seat controls in the supplied images.
Chrysler claims the Airflow’s driver display and infotainment touchscreens incorporate a completely new system dubbed STLA cockpit and STLA Brain respectively, and all feature over-the-air update capability. No doubt the latest backend technology will make these systems quick and responsive, while Chrysler’s older demographic will insist on a user-friendly digital environment, so therefore the choice to mirror a smartphone/tablet experience with simple touchscreens makes more sense than complicated knobs and buttons, or even more complex touchpads.
Elegant Airflow interior appears practical too
Rear passengers haven’t been left out of the infotainment loop either, thanks to large horizontal touchscreens filled with entertainment prompts on the backsides of each front seat, while a handy pull-out cargo shelf provides easy loading and unloading of the spacious luggage compartment.
Back up front, Chrysler’s usual rotating gear selector is perched atop the lower centre console. It features a start/stop ignition button on top and beautifully faceted crystal sides, while the fact that it’s connected to an electric powertrain means it only needs to be turned clockwise for Drive or counter-clockwise for Reverse, plus likely pushed in the centre when parked.
Also important for this class of car, the upcoming Chrysler crossover will feature Level 3 autonomous driving capability, the feature named STLA AutoDrive. Such will allow it to compete directly with the Tesla Model X, new Cadillac Lyriq, and others that are touting similarly advanced autonomy.
Styling is key to the Chrysler EV’s success
Of course, if buyers don’t like what they see from the outside they probably won’t ever step inside, so getting the upcoming Chrysler crossover’s exterior styling right is critical for success. For this reason, we’ve included every available image of this concept in the photo gallery above, plus included two videos below, so you can judge their efforts for yourself.
While arguably a bit generic from the front end, at least when compared to something as bold as the 300 sedan, the Airflow’s uncluttered, minimalist design represents a clear departure for the Auburn Hills-based brand. It’s obviously not trying to flex any pseudo macho muscle, like so many other wannabe off-roaders that are merely less convenient minivans under the skin, so something along the lines of the Airflow should appeal to those looking for a classy, upscale, near-luxury alternative to pricier crossover EVs like the aforementioned Tesla and Caddy, as well as Jaguar’s I-Pace, the latter sharing a similar roofline.
Pricing in mind, the Airflow will probably need to undercut Ford’s more performance-oriented Mach E in order to lure in new buyers, but such is the effect of relegating the Chrysler brand to “minivan company” status.
Classy crossover features sporty alloy wheels and beautifully complex lighting elements
Back to the Airflow at hand, its twinned six-spoke wheels are massive at 22 inches, and quite aggressively styled when compared to the rest of the vehicle, while the frontal lighting elements include narrow eye-like LEDs up top and triple-stacked sets of LED fogs at each corner down below. At the other end, the single-piece taillight cluster encompasses the entire width of the body, and while infused with attractive LED lighting elements at each corner, houses unique white “AIRFLOW” lettering at centre. Remove that name, however, and the entire SUV might be mistaken for Porsche’s Cayenne Coupe from behind, but at least its design team kept the Airflow in good company.
All said, there’s once again nothing distinctively “Chrysler” about this new crossover, so, while undeniably good looking, the Airflow could easily get lost in a barrage of new crossover EVs slated to hit the market over the next few years.
Entire Chrysler lineup to be fully electric within six years
Looking into the future, Chrysler will most likely continue forward with its various minivans, as this trio fills a market niche only otherwise serviced by handful of Asian brands. The Grand Caravan and Pacifica models remain quite popular too, so EV variants of both will need to surface in order to meet Chrysler’s goal of being fully electric by 2028.
After that, future Chrysler models are only known to Stellantis’ inner circle, and as noted earlier, the success of the new Airflow will determine which market segments, if any, get the nod. Both smaller compact and larger three-row Chrysler crossovers are likely bets, but competing directly in these highly competitive categories is a daunting prospect.
The sheer volume of buyers choosing these segments make them impossible to ignore, but Chrysler may choose to boldly break the mold with something altogether different, just like the brand once did in years past with innovative models the 2005–present 300 sedan and the similarly ground-breaking cab-forward LH-based 300M (and Concorde) that came before, plus the previous Sebring/200 Convertible that filled an open-top niche, the shockingly successful (at least initially) PT Cruiser that completely rewrote the book on affordable compact conveyances, and of course the original 1934–1937 Airflow that helped change the way the world looked at automotive aerodynamics.
Until some more concepts arrive, however, the upcoming Airflow EV is Chrysler’s “Hail Mary pass”, a vehicle that absolutely must succeed for the beleaguered brand to continue. As enthusiasts, we’ve got our fingers crossed.
2022 Chrysler Airflow | Our First Battery-Electric Vehicle (3:16):
2022 CES | Chrysler Airflow Reveal (12:22):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Chrysler
Not everyone’s favourite 911, but nevertheless the 1997 to 2006 996 is now the most affordable iteration available, yet it was one of the more notable for ushering in Porsche’s first water-cooled…
Not everyone’s favourite 911, but nevertheless the 1997 to 2006 996 is now the most affordable iteration available, yet it was one of the more notable for ushering in Porsche’s first water-cooled flat-six, riding on the first updated chassis platform since the original 911 came on scene in 1963, improving interior refinement, and completely changing the face of the world’s most iconic sports car.
The latter was almost as traumatic to Porschephiles as reformulating New Coke was to cola fans, hence the quick return from “fried egg” shaped headlights to more classic ovoid lenses, but the notorious L-shaped clusters, initially introduced on the first-generation Boxster that, being codeveloped alongside the 996, also shared much of its frontal underpinnings, have a charm of their own when combined with bespoke bodywork and a cool retro-modern paint scheme.
How to make a 996 look a whole lot better in only 30 months
The 996’ more raked windshield and overall sleeker body reduced wind resistance while aiding downforce and interior quietness, but that didn’t stop the in-house Porsche Classic workshop from tweaking the front spoiler, modifying the side skirts, adding a double-bubble roof, and completely reworking the rear deck lid with an ultra-cool 1972 911 Carrera RS 2.7-inspired ducktail.
Many of those changes paid tribute to a special 911 that came before, albeit not before this 1998 996, which incidentally was found in rough shape on a dealer lot in Colombia, Virginia. Vu Nguyen, executive director of the Porsche Club of America (PCA) spotted it, and then contacted Porsche with his idea of modding it to levels way beyond its original stealth Carrera ways.
The task took the Porsche Classic team 30 months to complete, and we think it was well worth the effort. First off, we doubt anyone has ever seen a better looking 996, GT3 and Turbo trims included. Speaking of GT3, Porsche located an original 3.6-litre engine from a later model 996 GT3, good for 381 tuned horsepower, not to mention suspension and brake components to make sure this lowly Carrera responded similarly to the much-vaunted track racer.
Beautiful 2009 911 Sport Classic was used for design inspiration
As for the design, much of the aforementioned aerodynamic bodywork was visually inspired by the fabulous 911 Sport Classic (997) of 2009, including the roof bulges, awesome rear wing, which were honed in Porsche’s wind tunnel, and much of the paint scheme. The latter a remix of Porsche’s Sport Grey Metallic, although a lighter Sport Grey was used for the twinned centre stripes, that run the entire length of the car, as well as the rocker stripes down below.
The big differentiator are the Club Blue pinstripes highlighting the outer edges of the lighter Sport Grey stripes, which just happens to be PCA’s official livery. Finishing off the look is a sweet set of 18-inch Fuchs black-painted alloy rims, designed in classic ‘70s Carrera style. The stick fitted rubber no doubt helped keep it locked onto the track at the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, Germany, where it underwent testing prior to being released to PCA.
Where the 2009 911 Sport Classic benefited from a limited run of 250 units going to Porsche customers, the new Classic Club Coupe is a one-off for one customer only, albeit one very big customer. PCA is Porsche’s oldest and largest ownership club, so while very few members will be able to drive it, all will adore it during club meets.
Porsche Classic updated the interior too
No doubt these members will appreciate the level of detail the Porsche Classic team went into when designing and executing the interior, which also features PCA’s signature Club Blue colouring in key areas, such as the stitching on the leather key fob, and even more noticeable blue thread on the upholstery. The seats even sport embroidered “911 Classic Club Coupe” script on the front headrests, while the centre panels of the front and rear seats, plus each door panel, feature a classic Pepita houndstooth pattern woven from slate grey and black leather. The special car also gets a new steering wheel, an updated Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system, and last but hardly least, a plaque on the dashboard that reads, “911 Classic Club Coupe No. 001/001”.
Will this new one-off cause the prices of 996 models to rise? Porsche might want to consider making some of the new body panels available through its parts division, not to mention a few of the interior upgrades, because we could imagine that owners of this particular model might be eager to make them look prettier. Kits have long been available to convert their headlights from fried eggs to ovals (which are arguably more fried egg-shaped as it is), but we think a kit that actually celebrates the oddity of the 996 would be an even more welcome option.
Presenting the exclusive Porsche 911 Classic Club Coupe (1:13):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Lucid? For most Canadians, the name Lucid won’t ring any bells, but those who keep a keen eye on the electric vehicle scene will already know much about the new Air, a mid-size E-segment luxury sedan…
Lucid? For most Canadians, the name Lucid won’t ring any bells, but those who keep a keen eye on the electric vehicle scene will already know much about the new Air, a mid-size E-segment luxury sedan that directly rivals the popular Tesla Model S.
The Model S, who’s Canadian sales peaked in 2017 with 2,400 units and have since tapered down to 602 deliveries last year, remains one of the strongest selling electric cars in its segment (only beaten last year by the new Porsche Taycan, in a segment that also includes the Audi E-Tron GT and Mercedes-Benz EQS), and while all sales in the four-door luxury sedan category gradually slowed over the past decade due to more popular crossover SUVs (even Mercedes’ mighty E-Class has seen its deliveries slide from a high of 4,083 units in 2012 to just 1,828 last year, albeit still maintaining top-of-class status), it’s still garnering new entries, such as the new Lucid Air.
Lucid Motors (LCID), which was valued at $24 billion USD as of March 10 (about 60 percent off its highs), has only just arrived on the scene. The 1,111-horsepower Air Dream Edition debuted in the U.S. last spring at the lofty price of $169,000 USD, with orders opening up north of the 49th in September.
Aggressive base pricing could cause luxury EV buyers to take a closer look at Lucid
Pricing for all trims of the Casa Grande, Arizona-built car was recently announced for Canada, starting at $105,000, which makes the Air $15,700 more affordable than the Tesla Model S that starts at $120,700. That’s a significant discount for a similarly positioned car that offers a lot more modernity than the now 10-year-old Californian.
That base Air, dubbed Pure, features 480 horsepower and 653 km (406 miles) of range, which is one km more than Tesla’s base Model S claims, although to be fair, the old-timer comes standard with all-wheel drive. Some of the extra coin required for the Tesla goes toward yet more standard features, while both cars are capable of reaching stratospheric price points when options are included.
Four trims provide more variety to Air buyers than those considering a Model S
Lucid offers four Air trims in Canada, compared to the Tesla Model S’ two. These include aforementioned Pure, plus Touring, Grand Touring and Dream Edition, priced at $105,000, $129,000, $189,000, and $229,000 respectively, while the latter trim can be optioned out in either Range or Performance versions, the former providing 933 horsepower and 836 km (519 miles) of potential range, and the latter available with 1,111 horsepower and 758 km (471 miles) of range, plus a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 2.5 seconds and top track speed of 270 km/h (168 mph).
Comparatively, the top-line Model S Plaid is good for an estimated 637-km (396-mile) range from a 1,020-horsepower drivetrain, which has the ability to scoot from standstill to 100 km/h in about the same 2.5-second timespan. To be clear, Tesla’s official 2.1-second claim was not achieved from the usual standing start, but in fact included a one-foot rollout estimated at about 8 km/h (which after some tricky math makes both cars equally quick), while the Model S’ 322 km/h (200 mph) top speed requires $4,500 USD of optional wheels and tires that unfortunately limit range to 560 km (348 miles). Without those wheels and tires the Model S Plaid’s top speed is also limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). So therefore, the Lucid Air Dream Edition provides stronger performance than the Tesla Model S Plaid out of the box, as well as greater range.
Quick-charging Lucid Air is the most efficient EV in this class
Regarding efficiency, the Lucid Air managed a second-place spot in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) latest running costs estimations, at 131 MPGe compared to 120 MPGe for the Model S (which came in sixth), the former estimating yearly costs at $500 USD ($635 CAD) instead of $550 USD ($700 CAD) for the latter. The Air actually ties with the first-place Tesla Model 3, which is a very impressive score (see the full story here).
While both models offer very quick charging, the Air is capable of being charged to a 483-km (300-mile) range in just 20 minutes, via 300kW peak charging power, which is currently the fastest charging capability in the industry, claims Lucid. The Level II and Level III capable car also provides up to 19.2 kW of AC charging, and up to 1,931 km/h (1,200 mph) peak charging speed (250Wh/mi consumption).
Model S still wins on the practical front
They’re both sized almost identically, however, which was no accident on Lucid’s part, their wheelbases in fact sharing 2,959 mm (116.5 in) apiece. The Model S is slightly larger in all other key dimensions, with a gargantuan 793-liter trunk accessible via a hatchback instead of the Air’s more conventional 456-litre (16.1 cu-ft) trunk, plus an additional 850 litres (30 cu ft) of available space when the rear seatbacks are folded down. The Air’s 202-litre (7.1 cu-ft) frunk claws a bit of that cargo space back, however, because the Model S’ front trunk only measures 141 litres (5 cu ft).
Where the Model S has a lead in most practical measurements, the Air appears to deliver more luxury, higher-end materials quality, and better fit and finish, at least at first glance. The Model S has long been criticized for not measuring up to its conventionally-powered mid-size rivals when it comes to these types of touchy-feely details that luxury customers crave, but such issues will most likely be addressed when the car’s long-overdue update finally arrives. Nevertheless, for now the ultra-luxe Air leads, and therefore could get the nod in its upper-crust segment.
In the end, however, Tesla’s unparalleled charging network gives its customers a level of convenience that makes it hard for any upstart competitor to compete against, no matter the segment at stake.
Lucid retail network is taking shape
Currently, Lucid Motors only has two showrooms in Canada, the first to arrive situated within Pacific Centre mall in downtown Vancouver, with visibility to busy Georgia Street passersby, and the second just about to open on March 26th in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre (next to Roots, Samsung, Canada Goose, and Starbucks). Of note, there’s a Tesla dealership in this mall too, although word has it now Texas-based automaker is planning to move this location to a larger standalone facility. A recent job posting for a Service Manager in Montreal shows the company is planning a new facility in Canada’s second largest city too, but that would have been a no-brainer without the handy tip.
Lucid Motors, which is a Newark, CA-headquartered automaker, also had 20 sales and service centres across the U.S. as of 2021’s close, the former dubbed Lucid Studios. After its Silicon Valley Studio, based at its HQ in Newark, these include two Los Angeles Studios in Beverly Hills and Century City, a Los Angeles Service Center in Beverly Hills, a San Jose Studio at Westfield Valley Fair, a Miami Studio in Brickell City Centre, a West Palm Beach Studio in West Palm Beach, a New York City Studio found in the Meatpacking District, and a DC Metro Studio located in Tysons, VA.
Introducing Future | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (0:30):
Lucid Air l Global Reveal Highlights (4:43):
DreamDrive Reveal | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (5:29):
Car of the Year. In Our First Year. (0:25):
Lucid Air Factory Commissioning | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (1:47):
Benchmark Test Drive | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (2:05):
With regular unleaded soaring over $2.00 per litre in some provinces, and expectations for even higher pump prices in the near future, Canadians are starting to get serious about going electric. This brings up the question, which EV is most efficient?
While EVs capable of “going the distance” are impressive, an ability to drive 400 to 500 kilometres on a single charge might not be your best choice unless you plan to travel from Toronto to the Muskokas or Vancouver to the Okanagan on a regular basis. Efficiency, on the other hand, is paramount, because it factors in how much you’ll actually be spending. After learning this, you can compare a given EV to the conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicle you’re driving now.
This formula would normally require the comparison of an EV’s Le/100km ranking to an ICE vehicle’s L/100km rating, but in this case, we’re borrowing info compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so you’ll be seeing MPGe. Either way, it gives us a good indication of the top 5 most efficient vehicles available in a market that’s very similar to Canada, plus, as an added bonus, we’ll also list off how the “losers” fared.
1) Tesla Model 3: Canada’s best-selling electric vehicle for good reason
Most popular doesn’t always translate into most practical, but in the world of electric cars, efficiency seems to matter just as much as style, performance, luxury features and premium status. The Model 3 has it all, along with best-selling BEV stats and sales leadership in its compact luxury D-segment, beating such perennial all-stars as BMW’s 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi’s A4 (see our Tesla Model 3 sales story here).
At a starting price of $45,099, the all-electric Model 3 is just $109 more expensive than the $44,990 base BMW 330e, which is merely a plug-in hybrid, while last year’s M-B C 300 4Matic Sedan (the redesigned one is not yet available) started at $49,500 with no motive electrification at all. Similarly, the 2022 Audi A4 Komfort 40 TFSI quattro incorporates no electric motivation, but at least its $43,800 window sticker saves $1,299 off the top, but that’s no small comfort when balancing off all of these German challengers’ premium unleaded requirement.
So how do the numbers stack up? As per the EPA, the Model 3 achieves 132 MPGe combined city/highway for a cost of $500 USD per year, or about $635 CAD at the time of writing. After seeing countless social media posts of Canadians filling their tanks well beyond $100 per fill per week, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how quickly a Model 3 might pay itself off compared to the just-noted ICE vehicles it competes with.
2) Lucid Air: Gorgeous newcomer offers a lot for the luxury sedan crowd
Lucid what? For many, the name Lucid won’t ring any bells, but those keeping an eye on the EV scene will already be well informed of this Tesla Model S sized competitor. Designed to compete with Tesla’s first practical passenger car (which achieves sixth place on this list), the Air is a much more modern take on luxury, plus its $105,000 entry point is much more advantageous than the Model S’ $120,700 base price.
Still, eclipsing the $100k threshold will make Lucid Motors’ initial model out of reach for the majority of Canadians, even when considering its exceptional 131 MPGe rating and second-place ranking on this list, the latter matching the Model 3 at $500 USD per year, incidentally, or $635 CAD.
3) Tesla Model Y: An even more practical Model 3
For those wanting a Model 3 but requiring more space, the Model Y provides a sporty crossover alternative featuring more cargo space, a handy liftback design and a slight increase in ride height for better overall visibility.
Starting at $75,700, the Model Y brings EV ownership a bit more down to earth than the Lucid, albeit nowhere near as affordable as the Model 3. At 129 MPGe, however, its annual running costs are identical to the aforementioned EVs at about $500 USD ($635 CAD).
4) Chevrolet Bolt EV: Affordable from the get-go
General Motors has been building electric cars longer than the majority of its competitors, giving Chevy a competitive edge that’s resulting in strong sales and low running costs.
The Bolt EV achieves a 120 MPGe rating and $550 USD ($700 CAD) per annum running costs, and when including its initial price of just $38,198, becomes one of the more affordable electric vehicles on this list, especially after factoring in any government rebates.
If you’re wondering how Hyundai’s $44,999 Ioniq 5 fits into the picture, which incidentally is identical under the skin to the less dominant Korean brand’s just-mentioned EV6, a ninth-place standing is respectable, plus 114 MPGe rating and $600 USD ($764 CAD) yearly running cost estimate laudable, the two new Korean models making me wonder how Kia will be able to sell any more $44,995 Niro EVs, which sits 10th on this list. That practical crossover manages 112 MPGe, however, for the same annual cost of $600 USD ($764 CAD).
Mustang Mach-E is a strong seller despite being less efficient than many EV peers
Considering its success on the sales charts, Ford’s Mustang Mach-E should seemingly be ranked higher on this list, but its 103 MPGe and $650 USD ($827 CAD) annual running cost estimate won’t allow, although it’s more or less matched to its main competitor, Tesla’s Model X that achieves the same yearly electrical costs, albeit just 102 MPGe. The sharp looking new Volkswagen ID.4 ranks the same for running costs too, but with a 99 MPGe fuel economy estimate.
Stellantis, the company most Canadians have never heard of, is planning to build 25 new electric vehicles for North American markets by 2025. For those who don’t follow all things automotive, Amsterdam,…
Stellantis, the company most Canadians have never heard of, is planning to build 25 new electric vehicles for North American markets by 2025.
For those who don’t follow all things automotive, Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Stellantis is the new (as of last year) multinational automotive manufacturing corporation formed to combine all brands from the now dissolved Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with additional French PSA Group brands under one umbrella. This means that longstanding American brands like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Mopar auto parts are now part of the same ownership family as 11 European brands including Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, DS (Citroën’s luxury division), Fiat, Fiat Professional (a commercial division that makes Fiat and Ram vans), Lancia, Maserati, Opel (previously part of General Motors), Peugeot, and Vauxhall (ditto re GM).
Upon the amalgamation of both automakers within the new Stellantis group, all brands were promised the opportunity to shine (a.k.a. become profitable) before potentially being axed, which was a much-welcome lifeline thrown to a few once revered marques, such as Chrysler, Dodge and Lancia, which had been whittled down to just a few models prior to this new lease on life.
While we may never see Lancia return to Canada, or for that matter Citroën, Opel or Vauxhall (that are little more than Opels rebadged for the UK), let alone any 2022 models from Fiat, a Chrysler crossover SUV would certainly bolster that beleaguered brand’s lineup, let alone something new for Dodge. Chrysler deserves kudos for its plug-in hybrid Pacifica minivan, and for its nifty renaming strategy that turned a first-generation Pacifica into a brand-new Grand Caravan, thus providing a third wing-badged model, whereas Dodge has three totally unique models, albeit nothing close to the range of alternatives that Japanese or Korean competitors offer.
Stellantis promises new electric crossovers, pickups and even an EV muscle car
Earlier this month, Stellantis’ announced a comprehensive plan that will impact everything from financials to future products right through to 2030, with some of the latter including fully electric models for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Where the Ram 1500 EV was merely a graphic teaser designed to show Ford, Chevy, GMC/Hummer, Rivian, Tesla and other EV truck producers that Ram is taking the sector seriously, the bright yellow Jeep EV concept already looks promising.
It would be the go-anywhere division’s first electric vehicle, although take note that Jeep currently offers their plug-in hybrid 4xe powertrain for the new Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, with Hemi V8 performance from an electrified V6 that puts out 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Such numbers should make any auto enthusiast excited about the Dearborn-based automaker getting hold of a pure electric drivetrain, thanks to a history of cars, SUVs and trucks with tire-scorching straight-line acceleration.
The Jeep EV shown here, which is expected to launch in early 2023, most likely rides on the STLA Small platform, which is capable of accommodating between 37 and 82 kWh of capacity, resulting in as much as 483 km (300 miles) of range. Jeep promises a larger electric “lifestyle family SUV” too, as well as a more off-road capable EV, both for 2024.
Chrysler will get an EV as well. It’s based on the Airflow concept introduced last January at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and sized similarly to Ford’s very popular Mustang Mach-E. Due in 2024 as a 2025 model, the new crossover should be good for up to 644 km (400 miles) of range, while also capable of Level 3 autonomous driving capability.
Stellantis to make up to 75 unique electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles worldwide
Stellantis’ EV push also includes a hydrogen fuel cell contingent, which, together with all of the above and more, combines for a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2038. This means all European vehicle sales and half of U.S. sales (which will likely include Canada) will be electric by 2030, resulting in 75 new electric vehicles in production by the latter year, with at least 25 on their way to North America.
Just ahead of the Ram 1500 EV mentioned a moment ago, which is scheduled to arrive in 2024, Stellantis’ dedicated truck brand will launch a fully electric ProMaster van in 2023, which will simultaneously debut a Fiat Professional version. We’ll also see an electrified Dodge muscle car prototype later this year, all ahead of the aforementioned Airflow hitting the market.
Chrysler will be fully electric by 2028, so therefore all internal combustion engine (ICE) enthusiasts can give a collective sigh of sadness for the fabulous Hemi V8’s demise, while Italian luxury car brands Alfa Romeo and Maserati (also known for their formidable and sonorous ICE’s) will completely change over to electric by 2030.
Stellantis sees a future for hydrogen fuel cell tech in the commercial sector
As for hydrogen fuel cell models, Ram is planning a large, ProMaster hydrogen van for 2025, while the same brand should have its heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks hydrogenized shortly thereafter. Hydrogen offers lighter weight than battery-powered EVs, benefiting ultimate cargo capacities, plus quicker refueling than recharging a battery, so H2 may become a better alternative for commercial vehicles as long as an extensive hydrogen refuelling network is made available to support its plan.
Serving both commercial and consumer markets, Stellantis’ is continuing to work on autonomous driving aids, such as hands-free cruise control, as well. The automaker is lagging behind others in this sector, but, together with strategic partner BMW, plans to introduce an advanced system in 2024 that won’t require a driver to continuously monitor the steering wheel, which is currently the case for most competitive systems.
2022 Chrysler Airflow | Our First Battery-Electric Vehicle (3:16):