A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird:
World's oldest running car for sale
Got two-and-a-half million bucks burning a hole in your pocket?
You could buy a lot of cool cars for that amount of scratch. How about two Bugatti Veyrons? That's more than 2,000 horsepower!
Alternately, you could buy something a little more sedate. And . . . er . . . rickety.
It's the 1884 De Dion Bouton Et Trapardoux Dosa-Dos Steam Runabout and in the time it took you to read this sentence, it could rocket to . .
. well . . . walking pace anyway. The De Dion is a steam-powered, three-wheeled car and while six remain of the original 20, this is the only operating model, and the oldest running car in the world.
Top speed? 60 kilometres per hour, and I hope you brought a book while it accelerates to terminal velocity. However, in spite of the lowly performance figures, the De Dion Runabout is just about the coolest thing ever simply because it's 127 years old and it still works.
Nissan gives the Juke a Godzilla heart transplant
Of any new vehicle you can buy, the Nissan Juke is probably the most polarizing when it comes to styling. You either love the little frog-eyed beast or you hate it: there is no middle ground.
Personally, I adore the weirdly little Pokemon-ish toadlet, but that's just because it's so much fun to drive. With a 1.6-litre turbo that's similar to the one in the Mini Cooper S and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, it'll plant a big goofy grin on your face every time.
However, as per usual, if some is good, then more must be better.
Most Nissan engineers may be hard at work improving and refining the all-electric Leaf EV, but some of the boffins have been allowed to wander off unattended. One of them appears to have been hanging around the parts bin holding an enormous shoehorn. Uh oh.
And here's the result: the Super Juke. Massively flared out wheels and a giant spoiler might advertise something special, but it's the - still unofficial - powertrain that's the surprise. The 480+ h.p. engine out of a Nissan GT-R has somehow been crammed under the Juke's tiny hood.
A production model? Probably not. This is bound to be one of those one-off, out-there concept cars. Still, do I very much want to drive a 480 h.p.
Juke? Oh good heavens yes! New M5 equipped with V-8 stereo
For decades, the BMW M5 has been the paragon for the sporting sedan; it's a big comfortable saloon, and it just happens to be faster than most sports cars. My favourite generation is the E39 chassis designation, preferably an '02 or '03. What's yours?
Some would argue that the last generation M5, with its bellowing V-10 and plethora of "M" badges, was a bit over the top for the M5's brawlerin-a-business-suit image.
Luckily, here's the new one, and while it's lost two cylinders and gained a few MPGs in the efficiency department, it's faster and more polished than ever.
With 553 horsepower from a 4.4-litre, twin-turbocharged V-8, the M5 rockets to 100 km/h in a little more than four seconds. Problem is, it does so in comparative silence, although I'm sure the effect of the g-forces of such a blast on your internal organs would hardly be considered restful.
Still, BMW feels that a little extra theatre is needed.
That's why they've outfitted their new M5 with something called Active Sound Technology. Basically, drive your M5 nice and slow and you won't notice the difference. Put the big bimmer in Sport mode, stamp on the accelerator and the stereo will fill the cabin with V-8 noise, tuned to match the revs and speed of whatever the car's currently doing.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this new tech. On one hand, who doesn't love the soundtrack of a mighty German V-8? On the other, artificially generated noise is a pretty far cry from the ideals that produced the original M5. Can't I just put the window down instead?
BARNSTORMING LEXUS SUPERSEDAN SPOTTED
One thing about manufacturers testing their concept cars at the NÃ¼rburgring, it sure has made life easier for your average spy photographer. All you have to do is grab your folding chair and your zoom-lensed SLR and hang out trackside with a flask of coffee until something interesting comes along. Oh look, here comes a Lexus. . . .
And what a Lexus!
Based on the LS-series sedan, this prototype sedan is a pretty far cry from the wafting rides that Lexus is known for.
Great big vents in the hood and a carbon fibre roof shoutily exclaim, "I may be big, but I'm fast!"
The LS is a bit too large to be a direct competitor for the aforementioned M5, but consider this an example of Lexus going after the Mercedes market again, this time chasing down that company's AMG division. Need proof? They've dubbed the thing the LS TMG - TMG standing for Toyota Motorsports Gmbh.
Specs? 641 h.p., 322 km/h top speed and a 0-100 km/h time of 4.2 seconds. Grandpa's going to get one whopper of a speeding ticket.
Follow Brendan on Twitter: @ brendan_mcaleer, or submit your own auto oddities to firstname.lastname@example.org.