A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird:
Electric Boxsters and Caymans on the way
This week, with gas prices at an all-time high and projected to go even higher, I thought it’d be a good idea to skew the news towards the greener side of things. But that doesn’t mean boring.
Instead, let’s kick off by taking a look at what Porsche’s got in the pipeline for relatively affordable two-seater fun. The 718 Cayman and Boxster are the ones you want in the Porsche range for the purest feel (assuming you can’t find an air-cooled classic that’s to your liking), and coming soon, they’ll be combining that purity with cleaner-running technology.
Expected to launch as early as 2022, the full electric Cayman and Boxster will come with a range of around 300 kilometres. Likely, that range will drop if you start booting around as if you’re at the wheel of, well, a Porsche.
Thus, Porsche is also working on a hybridized version, potentially plug-in hybrid, that’d be connected to the current four-cylinder turbocharged engine. With the Boxster/Cayman not due for a full model change until 2023, this’d be a way for Porsche to jump through emissions hoops while still offering an entry-level sports car.
Given how thunderingly quick the long-named Panamera Turbo S e-Hybrid is, a hybridized Boxster will likely be perfect for blending urban commuting with the odd early morning jaunt up to Pemberton.
Mind you, if you can afford the insurance on a modern Porsche, perhaps paying a little extra for fuel is not such a pain. If so, Porsche is also introducing a carbon offset program that lets owners fund projects like solar or wind generation to offset the emissions of driving around in something like a 911 GT3 on the weekend.
Volkswagen to electrify Nürburgring
Volkswagen, the people’s car. Well, not this thing: the ID R is a 680 horsepower carbon fibre monster that blitzed the Pikes Peak hill climb record last year. Now, VW’s looking to take it to the most famous racetrack in the world.
What good’s a Nürburgring record? Not much really, apart from the bragging rights. Still, when a pure electric car can take on one of the longest and most challenging tracks out there, all the everyday complaining about range and so forth tends to go out the window.
Secondly, VW intends to use its massive quick-chargers to minimize pit stop times between runs. These can charge the ID R back up to maximum in about 20 minutes. Racing technology often eventually trickles down to road car use, so perhaps you might be able to do the same in your e-Beetle some day.
And last, any time a driver, a fast machine, and a team of engineers try to take on a record, it becomes a pretty great story. You don’t even have to like EVs to cheer on VW’s attempt at getting into the record books.
Jaguar I-Pace wins world car of the year
An all-electric British car? The jokes write themselves. Short jokes, mostly.
However, for all the stereotypes out there, the Jaguar I-Pace is a very good take on what the electrified present can offer. It’s as luxurious as a Range Rover, as quick as an F-Type, and produces no emissions like your neighbour’s V-12 XJS project car that hasn’t run since 1996.
Now, a team of 86 jurors from 24 countries have voted to give the I-Pace the award for being the best car in the world. High praise indeed, and they certainly have a point.
However, the I-Pace is also eye-wateringly expensive, and I absolutely can’t recommend owning any Jaguar-Land Rover product without an ironclad warranty. The I-Pace can have the glory, but perhaps cast your own vote on something like an ordinary Nissan Leaf, humble, but affordable and faithful.
Charger Widebody bound for production
And now, as John Cleese would say, for something completely different. Yes, commuting in an EV is the best way to ease your wallet at the pump and be very sensible and grown up. Eat your vegetables, only drink water, and get eight hours of sleep every night. Or....
Or, he said, check out this wheeled bazooka, the Widebody variant of the Dodge Charger. Essentially the same boneheaded recipe that Dodge has been cranking out with its Challenger coupe, the Charger Widebody gets big flares, fat tires, and a supercharged V-8 that sucks down dino juice like it itself was a dinosaur. Expect nearly 800 h.p. and seating for five.
Is it childish? Yes, like Chuck E. Cheese on methamphetamines. However, since the Charger is based on an old Mercedes-Benz E-Class chassis, could we claim that this is actually recycling? What if we also bought an e-bike and just lit up the dragstrip on weekends? Maybe get it painted F8 Green so we can claim it was the green choice?
Watch this space for all the week’s best and worst of automotive news, or submit your own auto oddities to email@example.com.