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Pops' Rants: Skoda Just Ruined the "RS" Badge

Pops’ Rants: Skoda Just Ruined the "RS" Badge

You’re dead to me!

I really can’t remember when an automaker used the "RS" badge on a car for the first time, but I recall some Porsche and Alpine race cars from the 1950s and 1960s. You shouldn’t expect me to remember this kind of stuff anyway. Ya know, old people tend to forget a lot. Anyway, I specifically remember that RS-badged cars, be them road-legal or race-ready, have always been synonymous with performance. Well, Skoda just ruined that with the Kodiaq vRS.

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Pops' Rants: I told you the Nissan Leaf Nismo will suck

Pops’ Rants: I told you the Nissan Leaf Nismo will suck

Didn’t I?

Hello there! You’re probably asking yourselves where I’ve been lately. Well, it’s none of your business. But since you’re reading this, I just came here to tell you that I told you so! Oh, wait, that’s not very specific. I told you that the Nissan Leaf Nismo would suck. I did that in October 2017, when Nissan launched the concept car. Now it’s July 2018, and we have a production model that looks like the concept but sucks where it matters most.

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Pops' Rants: Your complaints about the new Chevrolet Blazer are invalid

Pops’ Rants: Your complaints about the new Chevrolet Blazer are invalid

Evolution is a pain in the arse

This just in: Chevy revived the Blazer after 13 years! That’s pretty cool, but this new crossover makes a few people unhappy. Because it’s not a boxy hunk of metal and it doesn’t ride on a body-on-frame platform. And it’s wrong!

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Pops' Rants: Nurburgring Records You Should Know About

Pops’ Rants: Nurburgring Records You Should Know About

Marketing for the win!

Oh look, we have a new Nurburgring record for seven-seat SUVs. Nope, it’s not a super-fast benchmark set by BMW or Audi, companies that have actual performance seven-seat SUVs, but a boringly slow record set by... wait for it... Skoda. Yes, a company with limited global availability drove a diesel-powered, somewhat performance-oriented SUV on the ’Ring to set a record for a class that no one cares about. And it’s damn slow too at 9:29.84 minutes. I bet SUV enthusiasts will take the showrooms by storm to buy the 236-horsepower Kodiaq RS later this year.

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BMW Screwed Up Big Time with the New X5

BMW Screwed Up Big Time with the New X5

Smaller trunk? Are you insane?

Hey, look, the brand-new BMW X5 is here! I know, it’s yesterday news, everyone has seen it. Well, I’m not exactly anxious to get up early in the morning so yeah, I’m usually late on the news. But here’s something no one appears to have noticed yet: the SUV’s trunk is now smaller. And not by a little bit, it’s significantly smaller, despite the X5 being slightly bigger.

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Pops' Rants: Tesla Should Change its Name to "Fix It Again Elon"

Pops’ Rants: Tesla Should Change its Name to "Fix It Again Elon"

Leave Tony alone, Fiats are actually nice nowadays

Hey folks, it’s Friday again, and I’m here to say "I told you so!" Yes I know, you need more than that. Here it is: I told you Elon Musk has a hard time admitting that Tesla cars have certain issues that take several months to fix.

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Pops' Rants: The Abominable Snowman Is Real! It's Called the Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Pops’ Rants: The Abominable Snowman Is Real! It’s Called the Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Skoda Yeti who?

Last week I wrote a big rant about how the BMW M5 with the Competition Package is an abomination. I take that back. The new Rolls-Royce Cullinan is the supreme abomination. A luxurious, boxy abomination on wheels. And the perfect example of how to be lazy in the design process. Okay, I’m not taking that back actually, I still think that the M5 Competition Package is a useless piece of junk, and you should buy a proper sports car instead, but the Cullinan is my all-time favorite automotive abomination. Until Boeing builds an airplane-shaped SUV that is!

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Pops' Rants: The BMW M5 Competition Package Is a Useless Abomination

Pops’ Rants: The BMW M5 Competition Package Is a Useless Abomination

Stop buying powerful but extremely heavy sedans!

The BMW M5 is an abomination. There, I finally said it. If you’re a diehard fan, you can now have an aneurysm, take a deep breath, and continue reading. Or you can yell "you know nothing" and go complain on your crappy BMW forums. Because that’s what true BMW fans do. Either way, the M5 sucks, and I’m going to explain why because it’s way too hot outside to go for a bike ride.

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Pops' Rants: And the Award for the Worst Car Design of 2018 Goes to Mercedes-Maybach

Pops’ Rants: And the Award for the Worst Car Design of 2018 Goes to Mercedes-Maybach

Now this is one awful concept car!

I know we usually hand out awards for the best and worst of the auto industry at the end of the year, but I’m going to start early in 2018 and give Mercedes-Maybach a medal for the worst car design of the year. And the award goes to the Vision Ultimate Luxury, which made its debut among a handful of China-exclusive vehicles at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. Yes, it’s that ugly!

Continue reading for the full story.

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Pops' Rants: GM's Decision to Fire Johan De Nysschen Might Have Been a Big Mistake

Pops’ Rants: GM’s Decision to Fire Johan De Nysschen Might Have Been a Big Mistake

You can’t become successful over night

Cadillac just fired president Johan de Nysschen, four years after it brought him in from Infiniti to revive the luxury brand. The news made headlines all over the world and sparked debates on whether the brand will do better without de Nysschen. The consensus seems to be that he made a string of bad decisions and that Steve Carlisle might be the man who will make things right. Well, I disagree.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Pops' Rants: Is the BMW M4 Worth it with the M2 Competition around?

Pops’ Rants: Is the BMW M4 Worth it with the M2 Competition around?

When the Germans are trying too hard

Back in 2015, BMW did something really cool for old-school enthusiasts by launching the M2. A spiritual successor to the highly acclaimed 1M Coupe, the M2 is a tad smaller than the M4, and although it misses 60 horsepower and 63 pound-feet, it’s only three-tenths of a second slower to 60 mph and only six seconds slower on the Nurburgring. The M2 is the modern embodiment of the original M3, a status that the M4 will never benefit from. Things have just become a lot more serious for the M2 now, which climbed another step on the performance ladder with the Competition package.

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Pops' Rants: Bugatti Is Trying Way Too Hard with the Chiron

Pops’ Rants: Bugatti Is Trying Way Too Hard with the Chiron

Improved handing and greater agility. Funny!

The Bugatti Veyron was a really cool car. When it arrived back in 2005, it had never-before-seen power, a crazy engine, and the highest top speed of a production car. But it had one big issue compared to the other extreme supercars on the market and the ones that followed: it wasn’t suited for track performance. At more than 4,000 pounds, it was way too heavy, and the way it was built prevented it from becoming a part-time track car. Bugatti did launch a Super Sport model with more power and better handling, but the purpose of that vehicle was to set a new world speed record. The Veyron was replaced with the Chiron after ten years on the market, but sadly Bugatti did not change its strategy. If we ignore all the new tech and the revised drivetrain components, the Chiron is just a beefed-up Veyron that still sucks on the race track.

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Pops' Rants: Lazy Car Design Auto Show Edition

Pops’ Rants: Lazy Car Design Auto Show Edition

Geneva Motor Show fun

Oh wow, the 2018 Geneva Motor Show was so much fun. So many concept cars that won’t make it into production, so many supercars that we can’t buy. Scratch that, and we’re left with the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 508, Volvo V60, Toyota Yaris, and some special-edition models that aren’t all that special. Oh wait, this year’s show was also about quite a few good examples of laziness in the design department. Nissan takes the cake with two different cars, but Mercedes-Benz also made the list with its latest performance car.

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Pops' Rants: Yup, Ferrari Can No Longer Be Trusted

Pops’ Rants: Yup, Ferrari Can No Longer Be Trusted

But you will still pay heavy premiums for its cars

Like many business relationships, that between carmakers and customers should be one of trust and respect. Automakers should make sure that they deliver a solid product as they cash the check, while customers should use the cars accordingly. Unfortunately, recent events prove that car companies can’t be trusted. Volkswagen was caught cheating on their emission tests for diesel cars, while many other brands have admitted to lying about MPG figures for some vehicles. Mercedes and BMW have been accused of testing dirty diesel engines on monkies, and some reports claim that they used human volunteers as well. Now, it turns out that Ferrari can’t be trusted either. Ferrari! An automaker that asks between hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars for its cars and has strict rules for potential customers.

I’m not saying that Ferrari should stick to the rules more than any other automaker out there, but it’s massively ironic that Maranello cheated its clients. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, it has been revealed that Ferrari allowed its dealers to roll back odometers on used cars in the U.S., a move that inflates prices for used models artificially.

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Pops' Rants: All This Hype about Tesla Outselling German Luxury Cars in Europe Is Misleading

Pops’ Rants: All This Hype about Tesla Outselling German Luxury Cars in Europe Is Misleading

Check these facts!

Tesla has been offering mass-production electric cars for six years now, and it’s safe to say that Elon Musk’s company is doing great. Sure, the Model X came a bit late and Tesla is still struggling to put the Model 3 on the assembly line, but the carmaker’s EVs are becoming increasingly popular, especially in Europe.

Norway continues to be Tesla’s second largest market after the U.S., where the Model S actually climbed atop the all-popular Volkswagen Golf. More recently, the Model S also began outselling German luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series in Europe for the very first time. It’s a big deal, and I can understand why most outlets are going crazy about it, but all this talk about Tesla ripping the Germans to shreds is misleading.

For starters, this has happened before in the U.S. I know, the U.S. is Tesla’s home turf, and it’s easier to sell cars here rather than export them to Europe, but it’s a valid precedent. Second, and what everyone seems to be missing, the Model S is not a competitor for the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. It’s actually more the size of theE-Class, 5 Series, and Audi A6, something Elon Musk himself stressed a while back. Here’s why this is important.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Pops' Rants: The Chicago Auto Show Is Proof that Lamborghini Is Schizophrenic

Pops’ Rants: The Chicago Auto Show Is Proof that Lamborghini Is Schizophrenic

Is there a doctor in the house?

Remember how Lamborghini staged an U.S. debut for the Urus at the Museum of Contemporary Art and then ditched the Detroit Auto Show, leaving just a Huracan at the Cobo Center? And how the Italian firm thought that the SUV was too special for the first major auto show of 2018? You probably do, but Lambo apparently forgot all about it, as the Urus is now on display at the Chicago Auto Show. It’s just sitting alone in the corner waiting for visitors that are there for mundane cars they can buy. Makes a lot of sense, right?

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Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People?

Why Are Automakers Getting Away with Cheating Devices and Gassing People?

The auto industry is a sick place

There’s something terribly wrong with the auto industry today! And reading this week’s news is enough to notice it. Assuming you’re a sane person that is! While the folks over at Jalopnik uncovered how Goodyear hid evidence of a tire that caused at least nine deaths over nearly 20 years, other outlets are reporting how certain German carmakers paid scientists to gas monkeys and humans with toxic diesel fumes. Yeah, I know, it sounds like an overinflated conspiracy theory, but it’s all true, unfortunately.

Goodyear, one of the world’s most biggest tire manufacturers, is now under scrutiny for an issue that dates back to the early 2000s and is linked to more than 40 lawsuits and at least nine deaths. In short, the brand approved the G159, a tire designed in the mid-1990s for lower-speed delivery vehicles, for motorhome use. Motorhomes usually run at higher speeds than the said tire can handle, which resulted in numerous crashes and deaths. On top of that, it turns out that Goodyear managed to keep complaints and claim data sealed from auto safety regulators for all these years. It’s only now, in 2018, that a proper investigation was launched. Check out Jalopnik’s story for the full details.

Then we have all the big media outlets reporting about German scientists having gassed human volunteers with toxic diesel fumes in tests funded by big car manufacturers. Commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), these tests were backed by Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. In the U.S., then monkeys were gassed with exhaust fumes from a VW Beetle in 2014 by the U.S.-based Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

The EUGT was dissolved in 2016, and it remains unclear whether the carmakers were aware of monkeys and humans being gassed, or at least that’s what many reports claim. Be that as it may —, and I must say I have strong doubts that VW, BMW, and Daimler were unaware of what happened behind closed doors — it’s still a sick thing to do in the name of science. And the big problem is that the carmakers will get away with it.

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Nope, the New Mercedes G-Class Isn't Cool. It's Just Stupid

Nope, the New Mercedes G-Class Isn’t Cool. It’s Just Stupid

The 1970s called and they want you back

I’m old enough to remember when the Mercedes G-Class was originally introduced back in 1979. It was heavily based on its military counterpart, it was heavy and underpowered, and it was far from luxurious. But it became an instant hit, and I loved it. And it remained one of my favorite SUVs for decades. The boxy hauler was significantly revised in 1990, and it remained largely unchanged since then, despite technology and drivetrain upgrades. Almost three decades later and Mercedes launched the third-generation G-Class. And the Germans almost ruined it.

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Here's Why the Volkswagen Jetta Is a Big Mess Design-Wise

Here’s Why the Volkswagen Jetta Is a Big Mess Design-Wise

I know Audi is owned by VW, but this is ridiculous

Volkswagen just unveiled a brand-new Jetta at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show and it’s a good example of how automakers should design interiors for compact cars. Brands that want to move upmarket should take notes. On the other hand, the sedan’s exterior design is a complete mess. For three reasons.

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Oh Look, BMW Brought Its Pathetic i8 Facelift to Detroit

Oh Look, BMW Brought Its Pathetic i8 Facelift to Detroit

Not again...

Remember how BMW brought the i8 Roadster, a facelifted i8 with the roof chopped off, at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show and called it "new?" Well, it’s happening again. It’s been a little more than a month and BMW unveiled the "new" i8 Coupe at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. The same car they first introduced in 2014, but with revised headlamps and taillights, a bit more horsepower, and a marginally improved range. BMW is either shameless and pathetic or is simply using the i8 to troll us at every auto show throughout the year (don’t forget about those "special-edition" models with "custom" paintjobs).

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Pops' Rants: Karma Just Kicked Elon Musk in the Nuts

Pops’ Rants: Karma Just Kicked Elon Musk in the Nuts

A middle finger with a Hyundai badge on it

Another day, another carrot. I just dropped by to tell you that I love karma. Nope, not the Fisker Karma. That karma. The principle that Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. It’s the concept that keeps all life in a perfect balance. And the same concept made Elon Musk look pretty dumb after Hyundai launched the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell SUV at the Consumer Electronics Show. Yup, gotta love karma!

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Pops' Rants: The Automotive Sausage Fest Is Real!

Pops’ Rants: The Automotive Sausage Fest Is Real!

Oh, the horror!

And how are you folks doing in the new year? Any new year resolutions for 2018? Nah, don’t bother, I don’t care. It’s not like these resolutions last more than a few weeks anyway. But hey, since we’re allowed to make wishes I’m gonna blow the candles and say it: I wish automakers would stop making all their cars look the same. I hate the corporate look strategy. I used to only hate Audi for doing it, but this thing spread like the Black Plague in recent years. Mercedes is also doing the "same sausage, different lengths" thing and BMW is very close to implementing it across the range. It will be complete once the 6 Series is phased out. It’s a sausage fest I’m telling you, and it just got worse!

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2017 TopSpeed Christmas Wishlist

2017 TopSpeed Christmas Wishlist

Is the fat man listening?

Christmas 2017 is upon us, and Santa is surely busy making his list and checking it twice. Of course, here at TopSpeed haven’t exactly been good, but that hasn’t stopped us from sending out our wishes. Naturally, as a group of car guys (we do have a few women working behind the scenes, but as you might expect, they were too stubborn to get in on the fun) we all wish for the one special car that sticks in our mind. Some of us are hoping to find that old-school muscle in our driveway Christmas morning, one of us is looking for a new Porsche, and of course, we’ve got the Jeep guy too. Oh, and let’s not forget about Pops’ grumpy ass. He had to give his two cents as well. With that said, check out our wishes below then us know what car you want for Christmas.

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Pops' Rants: Dear Lincoln and BMW, Please Stop Being So Pathetic

Pops’ Rants: Dear Lincoln and BMW, Please Stop Being So Pathetic

I’m sick of automakers misusing the "brand-new" label

Man, this has been a rough week. Automotive-wise. The Los Angeles Auto Show sucked on so many levels. I haven’t seen so many crossovers in one place since the Soccer Mom Annual Meeting. Oh wait, that doesn’t sound right. Give me a minute here... Since the... uhm... wait, I got it... since the... Ah, screw it, I’m not in a mood for jokes. It just sucks! Then there’s the Urus, which isn’t a real Lamborghini and everyone gets excited as if they just launched the second-generation Miura. Do millennials even know what a Miura is? But the worst thing about this year’s L.A. show is that some automakers were set to remind me that press releases have more bullshit than a dairy farm.

Stop calling mild facelifts "brand-new," you half-baked hippies! You’re not fooling anyone.

Yeah, they’re at it again. Especially Lincoln and BMW. The American brand, which is struggling to stay afloat these days, just launched a mid-cycle facelift for the MKC with a new front grille. That’s it, a new grille! And they call it "new" with a "commanding new design." Hello?! It’s a new grille, not a new car. Now repeat after me: a new grille doesn’t make the entire car new. But wait, there’s more. Lincoln also introduced the Nautilus, a brand-new SUV according to the company’s PR division. Except it’s not new. It’s the MKX with a new grille and a new name. Hey, I like the fact that you’re using actual names now Lincoln, but it’s not a brand-new car! I can’t change my name and pretend I’m a new person. Okay, I can actually do that, but I may be spending my final years in a nuthouse. And trust me, the nuthouse isn’t good for business; there’s no room for a car production line in there.

But Lincoln isn’t the only company pretending customers are stupid. BMW also called the facelifted i8 new. Sure, the Roadster version is new indeed, but the coupe is identical to the car launched in 2014, save for the wheels, mildly revised headlamps and taillights, and the 12 extra horsepower. This is the most pathetic facelift I’ve seen in years. It’s not a new car, just a BRAND-NEW way to be lazy and pathetic! Go home BMW; you’re drunk!

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The Urus Is Cool and All, But It's Not a Lamborghini!

The Urus Is Cool and All, But It’s Not a Lamborghini!

Yup, it needs a V-12!

The much-anticipated Lamborghini Urus is finally official. It looks like a Lambo, it’s fast as a sports car, and it’s more aggressive than any SUV out there. Whoopee! But there’s a tiny problem: the Urus is not a Lambo. Yeah, I know it has a bull badge, but this doesn’t make it a Lamborghini. A Prius with a Lambo badge is still a Toyota, right? "But this SUV was designed and built by Lamborghini," you might say. Well, I can’t argue with that, but the Urus simply doesn’t feel like a Lambo. It’s brutal and delivers outstanding performance, but it needs more than that to be a Lambo.

For starters, it needs to sound like one. And the Urus doesn’t!

Of course, the responsibility for the SUV’s underwhelming exhaust note falls on the shoulders of the 4.0-liter V-8. It may generate an exciting 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque and help the SUV hit 62 mph in just 3.6 seconds, to go with a top speed of 190 mph, but it’s nowhere near as aggressive sounding as the Huracan or Aventador. It doesn’t come as a surprise. We’re talking about a twin-turbo V-8 versus naturally aspirated V-10 and V-12 units. Turbos may be good for fuel economy and all that jazz but they won’t make a V-8 sound as terrifying as a V-12. And, let’s face it, a Lamborghini needs to sound terrifying. It’s what makes a Lambo a Lambo.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Pops' Rants: Tesla Needs to Learn that Hype and Fast Cars don't Pay the Bills

Pops’ Rants: Tesla Needs to Learn that Hype and Fast Cars don’t Pay the Bills

Musk needs to wake up before it’s too late!

I don’t know about you, but I had way too much Tesla Roadster in my feed this week. If I read one more of those "oh my god, 1.9 seconds to 60 mph" I will probably puke. Heck, I actually feel like puking right now, but I popped in to say "I told you so!" In my previous rant, I slammed the second-generation Roadster and its incredible performance features for being Elon Musk’s desperate attempt to bring in some cash without actually giving something in return. Although the Roadster won’t be available until 2020, Tesla is asking $50,000 for preorders of the regular model and a full $250,000 down payment for the Founders Series. With the latter limited to 1,000 units, we’re talking at least $250 million from preorders for a car that’s three years away. And I’m not even including the Semi truck.

Tesla is in big trouble financially, and making matters worse is the fact that it can’t deliver new products. The Model 3 is behind schedule a few months, with orders for non-Tesla employees opened this month. But customers who have already ordered one won’t get it anytime soon, with full production to commence in March. If we are to believe Tesla of course because more delays are very likely. And the company is losing money big time. What’s more, according to Bloomberg, Tesla spent no less than $4.2 billion over the past 12 months. That’s $8,000 a minute or nearly half a million bucks an hour!

Keep reading for the full story.

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The New Corvette ZR1 Is the Mel Brooks of Sports Cars

The New Corvette ZR1 Is the Mel Brooks of Sports Cars

It’s good to be the king!

When you’ve been around as long as I have, you realize that cinematography is going downhill. Yes, I know, new movies have a ton of cool special effects and CGI is getting better and better, but movies have been lacking substance for decades now. The fingers on my two hands are enough to count the great movies I’ve seen in recent decades. The rest of them... well, the same cliches and expensive struggles to make up for the lack of originality with fancy special effects and computer-generated imagery. This might piss you off, but all those superhero movies, the James Bond franchise, and the latest sci-fi stuff suck. Things get worse in the comedy business. I can’t say I laughed too much during 2017’s best-rated comedy films. Mel Brooks and John Cleese may still be alive as of 2017, but comedy screenwriting is as dead and stiff as a doorknob.

Oh, you’re probably wondering what’s with all the movie hate in a Chevrolet Corvette article. Well, it’s all Chevy’s fault. Don’t know if you noticed this, but its press release for the Corvette ZR1 end with the phrase "it’s good to be the king!" As in the new ZR1 is the king of the Corvette reign. Or maybe even the king of the sports car business. That’s cool for marketing, but what you might not know is that the phrase is taken word by word from "History of the World," an anthology comedy film written, produced, and directed by Mel Brooks. It was launched in 1981, and it became a classic. And, in case you haven’t seen it yet, which is very likely if you think the "American Pie" series is funny, the "it’s good to be the king" phrase is used in its final sketch, "The French Revolution," by King Louis of France, played by Mel Brooks.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Pops' Rants: Tesla's Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate

Pops’ Rants: Tesla’s Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate

What about those affordable EVs?

Boy, these past two weeks have been all about high-speed and high-power action. I barely had time to get over Koenigsegg’s new world speed record and Chevrolet launched its monstrous Corvette ZR1 yet. Now, with the weekend upon us, Tesla took the wraps off its new semi truck and the second-generation Roadster. Neither are ready to go into production just yet, but the preliminary data hints at tremendous performance and new benchmarks for the electric car market. The Roadster’s 0-to-60 mph sprint only 1.9 seconds probably caused a few heart strokes over at Ferrari quarters. And I have a feeling that the guys working on the next-generation Nissan GT-R Nismo aren’t feeling better either. But behind Tesla’s new tour de force hides Elon Musk’s fear that his automobile brand may not succeed as planned.

It may seem that Tesla is simply pushing the envelope and presenting the world with revolutionary electric cars, but there’s more to this showcase. Tesla is actually struggling to keep its promises. The new Model 3, which is supposed to become the affordable electric car everyone is dreaming about, is late to the party. Production isn’t going as planned and it seems that the Model X fiasco is happening all over again. On top of that, the Model S isn’t getting the best reviews and Consumer Reports isn’t very optimistic about the Model 3’s reliability. So Tesla needs to find a way to keep all the hype alive, and the upcoming Roadster is the perfect car for this. The strategy is simple, unveiled a cool looking prototype, claim it will hit 60 mph in less than two seconds, set a big preorder price, and wait for the cash to fix ongoing problems.

Continue reading for the full story.

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More Proof that Donald Trump Is a Moron When it Comes to Cars

More Proof that Donald Trump Is a Moron When it Comes to Cars

Why is this guy our president?

It’s been exactly one year since Donald Trump was elected president and we already know he’s the world’s greatest buffoon. Unfortunately, he’s not as amusing as he is toxic and extremely uneducated. Trying to compile a list of awful mistakes he’s made in one year in office is a daunting job, simply because they’re way too many. We already know he’s a complete idiot when it comes to global warning, that he’s a racist, a misogynist. He also has no idea where U.S. troops are located around the world and went out of his way to give many of the country’s allies the middle finger. But, where does it stop? I’m afraid it doesn’t, but now we have proof that Trump is a moron when it comes to cars and the American automobile industry too.

If you haven’t been following the (*cough* obviously fake *cough*) news, Trump just visited Japan, mainly to discuss the recent threats coming from North Korea, which has tested numerous missiles above and around the Asian island. He also had a few things to say about the auto industry while speaking to a group of business leaders in Tokyo. And, he made a fool of himself by telling the Japanese to build their cars in the United States instead of shipping them over the Pacific. Yes, he has no clue that Japanese companies have been building vehicles in the United States for decades now, and they’re building millions of cars in their U.S. plants each year. Good thing the folks over at Jalopnik and Reuters put together a few figures for America’s worst president ever. Let’s check them out below.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Koenigsegg's New Speed Record Doesn't Mean Squat

Koenigsegg’s New Speed Record Doesn’t Mean Squat

Hurray for outstanding specs we can’t enjoy!

I wasn’t planning to blab about cars again anytime soon, but something amazing happened this weekend: someone actually smashed Bugatti’s world speed record for production cars after a whopping seven years. If you’ve been living under a rock, a Koenigsegg Agera RS averaged 277.9 mph on a two-way run on a highway in Nevada, beating the record set by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in 2010 by 10 mph. An impressive display by the Swedish automaker, achieved with a production model that was actually borrowed from a customer. The record has yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records as of this writing, but whether it qualifies or not, the Agera RS’s run will remain an important page in high-performance automotive history. However, I still think that all this ludicrous speed stuff for production cars is absolute nonsense.

Before I move any further, I want to make it clear that I’m not questioning Koenigsegg’s big achievement. I’ve already seen all sorts of comments questioning whether the record was set using a stock car with stock parts and a production setup. Those are made by morons. First, Koenigsegg isn’t the type of company that would risk damaging its relationship with its customers by lying to the extent that most automakers do when setting records, especially track records at the Nurburgring. Second, I don’t think it’s a record that the Swedish firm was actually dying to own. It just happened, and it didn’t make a big fuss about it. And, it was very entitled to make a big fuss given that the Agera RS hit a top speed of 284 mph. That’s just a hair away from the magic 300-mph mark. But I digress...

Continue reading for the full story.

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Pops' Rants: Here's What's Wrong with the Awesome Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

Pops’ Rants: Here’s What’s Wrong with the Awesome Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

I love the Shooting Brake and the Speedster but...

So Aston Martin just launched a new version of the Vanquish Zagato with a shooting brake body. Pretty cool, eh? Actually, it’s more than that. Cool is something I would use to describe a Toyota 86 with an extra 30 horsepower. This thing is exciting, to say the least. The sporty cues of the Vanquish, the more aggressive styling of Zagato, and all that carbon-fiber make for a great combination, especially if the end result is a shooting brake. Yeah, I’m crazy about wagons, and I like shooting brakes even more. But despite my feelings toward long-roofed vehicles and the fact that the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is brilliant in just about any department, I still have a big rant to shoot out of my system.

Why would I complain about a seemingly perfect car (from my point of view)? Well, it’s not exactly the car I want to complain about. It’s about Aston Martin’s marketing strategy, and the fact that this Vanquish Zagato run is too damn exclusive. And it’s like Aston Martin is going against the tide, which isn’t exactly what it needs at this point as it has yet to reach that safe point after years of struggle. Let me explain what I mean.

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Pops' Rants: Volvo Shamelessly Reheated an Old Concept to Revive Polestar

Pops’ Rants: Volvo Shamelessly Reheated an Old Concept to Revive Polestar

And Tesla complains too much about too many things

As much as I’m in love with the 1950s and 1960s when it comes to car designs, the automotive industry is living a golden era as we speak. The variety is incredible, there are plenty of attractive offers at dealerships, and nearly every car, no matter how affordable, packs a ton of tech that makes life behind the steering wheel easier. But this golden era also comes with a lot of bullshit, ranging from fancy and unnecessary PR talk to bragging about performance figures that aren’t that great. And of course, trying to justify overpriced special-edition model with extra features that are either barely noticeable or useless. Which brings me to the latest car that’s getting everyone excited: the Polestar 1.

A while back Volvo decided that Polestar should also make its own cars besides tuning what’s already available in dealerships. Polestar delivered and announced the 1. I mean the Polestar 1, because the "1" nameplate doesn’t make much sense by itself. Everyone got excited! Oh my God, pretty coupe, powerful hybrid drivetrain, shut up and take my money! Well no, the Polestar 1 doesn’t deserve all the attention. And it doesn’t deserve your hard-earned money. Let me explain.

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Pops' Rants: Dumb Decisions Made in Japan

Pops’ Rants: Dumb Decisions Made in Japan

Nope, not all things made in Japan are better!

Nothing like a Friday 13th to end your work week, huh? Well, I’m not the superstitious type, but it’s on this day that I found out that Honda isn’t making a baby NSX. And that’s particularly upsetting since the design patent believed to be an upcoming sports car turned out to be just another Vision Gran Turismo thing. Nothing like getting a virtual car for a video game instead of an actual vehicle that could be really cool. Yuck!

In case you’re not familiar with the matter, a design patent that surfaced the web a while back hinted at a new Honda sports car. Its design was based on the bonkers NSX, it had a mid-engined layout, and it was smaller. This also meant it was lighter and more affordable. Like a dream come true, right? Well, it’s not gonna happen. Honda just wanted to make a Vision car for the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport video game. What a sad day...

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Pops' Rants: Here's Why the Nissan Leaf Nismo Will Suck

Pops’ Rants: Here’s Why the Nissan Leaf Nismo Will Suck

I’m sick of badges and stripes...

If you’ve been following me, you probably know that Nissan is my favorite brand. Yeah, I know, why can’t I be a normal person and worship brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Bugatti? Well, I’m not in the mood to write a piece on why I like Nissan, so I’ll explain it in a few simple sentences. I think that cars made by this brand come with a lot of bang for the buck, I love its latest design language, and the massive efforts it makes to keep all motorsport projects alive. I also think that the Maxima, Juke, and Murano are exotic vehicles in their respective niches and that almost every other car or crossover have what it takes to give the competition a run for its money.

But I admit that Nissan has its own flaws. For starters, both the 370Z and GT-R are getting a bit too long in the tooth, which leaves the brand without a solid sports car lineup. Second, the Rogue and Rogue Sport are too damn similar, and the $3,000 price difference between them has cannibalization written all over it. And third, I simply can’t forgive them for giving up on the GT-R LM Nismo project at Le Mans. Nissan just gave up too soon. Which brings me to today’s rant: why can’t Nissan build every Nismo the proper way, as in with a significantly more powerful engine than the standard model? More specifically, why in the hell is the Leaf Nismo Concept — and at the same time the upcoming production car — just a regular Leaf with a nicer appearance? It’s so frustrating!

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Pops' Rants: The Booming SUV Market Is Ruining Racing and it Pisses Me Off!

Pops’ Rants: The Booming SUV Market Is Ruining Racing and it Pisses Me Off!

Make it stop, make it stop!

I don’t know about you, but I love spending the weekend watching some serious racing. Be it turn-left-all-day NASCAR or proper track chasing; I dig just about any motorsport league out there. Yeah, including Formula E, which can be surprisingly spectacular. I also enjoy the Pirelli World Challenge quite a lot, mostly because it features race cars that are closely related to production vehicles. Unfortunately, this competition won’t be the same next year, and it’s all because of the damn SUV craze that’s been going on for a few years.

Nope, I’m not senile just yet. It may seem weird for the SUV market to influence motorsport, but it can happen. In this case, Cadillac’s desire to build more and more crossovers instead of cars is putting an end to its successful run in the Pirelli World Challenge. And it’s not that Cadillac simply decided to call it a day and focus on its DPi program, the ATS-V.R is being discontinued as its road-going counterpart is getting dropped from the lineup in 2019. A rather harsh decision if you ask me, and it’s essentially why I’m pretty mad about it. And why I hate crossovers and SUVs even more.

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Pops' Rants: I Told You the BMW 8 Series Won't Be That Exciting!

Pops’ Rants: I Told You the BMW 8 Series Won’t Be That Exciting!

* yawning *

Remember how you were all excited by the upcoming BMW 8 Series and M8? Do you also remember my rant about why this big revival won’t be as exciting as BMW wants us to believe? Well, it turns out I was right. Yeah, yeah, I’m well aware that both the 8 Series and M8 are still under wraps, but BMW just unveiled the M8 GTE race car, which basically means that the Germans showcased more than 50-percent of the production model. And look, it’s pretty much a redesigned M6!

Come on, did you really believe that BMW was planning to revive the 8 Series nameplate for something completely new like it happened when it was first introduced in the late 1980s? Wasn’t the fact that BMW discontinued the 6 Series before the announcement a big enough hint? How can you be so naive? Well, if you’re still expecting the 8 Series to be a unique model in the lineup and not just a reheated 6 Series soup, keep reading to find out why you should stop being the world’s most optimistic BMW fanboy.

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Pops' Rants: Best and Worst of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Pops’ Rants: Best and Worst of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Bring out the tar and feathers, I’m on fire!

Oh boy, my first auto show as an editor for this outlet! You know what this means? I get to rant about a whole bunch of cars. Yeeey! Okay, so you’re wondering why I am doing a "best and worst" type article instead of the usual weekly rant. Well, it’s what everybody does. Go read every major automotive website, and you’ll find one of these pieces. But, and I mean a biiiiig BUT, they’re doing it all wrong, and they’ve been doing it like that for years! Why? Because every freakin’ article of this kind comes with a "best in show" list that contains mostly supercars, sports cars, and luxury cars. And that’s wrong!

Yeah, they’re fancy and stuff. They’re quick, exotic, and have all the horsepower in the world. We like looking and them and hearing them growl and we like dreaming about owning each and every one of them. But you know what? We will never be able to buy any of them. Because they’re expensive, exclusive, and some carmakers won’t even sell you one unless you already own at least a couple of other models. So why in the name of dinosaur juice are you all listing these expensive lumps of carbon-fiber and metal as best-in-show vehicles over and over again? How about we make a more practical list for normal people who might want to buy a new, regular, mundane, not-so-fancy, and not so freaking expensive car in 2018? Here, I’ll show you how it’s done!

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Pops' Rants: Here's Why the Mercedes-AMG Hypercar Sucks Big Time

Pops’ Rants: Here’s Why the Mercedes-AMG Hypercar Sucks Big Time

217 mph is so yesterday!

Phew, it’s Friday again. The weekend is just around the corner and summer is officially over. Well, the heat will still be around for a while, but at least the temperature is going down, and we’re getting rain on a regular basis. If you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that I hate heat. And summer. And fancy concept cars that scream "I won’t make it into production, haha!" Just like the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo. Seriously now, what’s the deal with all these cookie concept cars that look like they came from the future only to get stuck in the past, with no production model in showrooms? Aren’t you getting tired of that? It’s like automakers have some sort of target to reach. Just imagine some CEO rushing into a meeting to yell "okay folks, it’s 2017, and by 2022 we need to build five fancy concept cars. Don’t worry, we won’t put them into production, but they have to look futuristic and feature fancy gadgets."

I swear that this is exactly how the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept was born. And Mercedes even had the nerve to give it an "EQ" badge to make us believe we will be able to buy one in the future. No, we won’t! I mean, we will be able to buy a better Smart EV at some point, but it won’t like this concept. It won’t be fully autonomous, it won’t have the fancy, lounge seat, and it won’t be able to read your mind. It will be just another cramped, overrated ForTwo with enough luggage room for a head of cabbage, three carrots, and half a cucumber. At least you can make a salad once you’re back from the market...

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Pops' Rants: The New BMW M5 Isn't Worth the Premium; Audi's Naming Strategy is Dumb

Pops’ Rants: The New BMW M5 Isn’t Worth the Premium; Audi’s Naming Strategy is Dumb

Not confusing, just plain dumb!

It’s Friday again, and I’m having a bad day. And I’ll probably have a bad weekend too because I just found out that FCA will shut down the Conner assembly plant in a few days. Why is this a big deal? Because the Dodge Viper will die along with it. Yeah, it’s no big surprise. The Viper had it coming, and we knew it would happen since 2015, but the thought of America’s greatest modern muscle car being killed off is depressing. And please don’t tell me about the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Challenger Demon, this is a sad day for American sports car enthusiasts regardless of what other performance vehicles you can get.

And, you know what bothers me more? The fact that FCA does nothing about it. Yeah, Chrysler claims the Viper has to die due to slow sales, but we all know that’s not the reason. It all has to do with new safety regulations, which require that all production models have side airbag curtains. And, you can’t fit them in the current Viper. It needs a new platform and a new design. So why isn’t FCA making a successor? It’s too expensive obviously, and it would rather go bankrupt with a bunch of crappy cars rather than a performance coupe. So many decades of experience and FCA still doesn’t know that an iconic car requires a lot of work. But enough about the Viper, it’s been a hectic week.

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Pops' Rants: The Tesla Model 3 Isn't That Affordable; Toyota Supra Without a Manual? Yikes!

Pops’ Rants: The Tesla Model 3 Isn’t That Affordable; Toyota Supra Without a Manual? Yikes!

Let’s also have a laugh over Ferrari losing the Testarossa name

If you’ve been reading my rants, you probably know I’m a big fan of the manual transmission, and I hate almost everything with an automatic. Yeah, I’m the guy who went as far as to say that the Dodge Challenger Demon sucks because it doesn’t have a stick and a clutch. Well, bring out the tar and the feathers because I have a big announcement to make: the next-generation Supra will suck too! Why? Well, some leaked documents say that the all three drivetrains fitted in the upcoming model will have automatic transmissions only.

And, here’s the thing. While you might argue that the Challenger Demon needs an automatic to achieve all that amazing performance at the drag strip, the new Supra wasn’t designed to win NHRA races. It’s a freakin’ sports car in which you’re supposed to have fun. And, the best fun can only come by way of a proper shift stick and three pedals. Seriously now, this automotive evolution is ruining a lot of cars, and the Supra is probably the biggest one yet. Stop chasing profits only and give people what they want. Man, it’s so long since I last yelled "shut up and take my money!" toward a carmaker. And this is just the tip of the iceberg this week...

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With Clarkson Out with Pneumonia, The Grand Tour May Finally Live Up to its Potential

With Clarkson Out with Pneumonia, The Grand Tour May Finally Live Up to its Potential

I’m going to hell for this!

Hey folks, did you miss me? Yeah, it’s me, Pops! What? Did you think I only write on Fridays? Although I hate early Tuesdays, I had to get out of my lazy routine over this fracas about Jeremy Clarkson being in the hospital with severe pneumonia. Don’t get me wrong, I think that being sick is awful, but we pay way too much attention to an old man that gets by making dreadful jokes about cars and insulting just about everyone with the sole purpose of getting a bigger audience.

Although I’m a sucker for a good show with solid punchlines and great humor, I’ve never been a fan of Top Gear. And obviously, I’m not a fan of The Grand Tour. And, Clarkson is too blame for this. Yeah, I know, it’s a show that doesn’t take car reviews very seriously and making fun of everything is a big part of the plot, but I just feel as if they’re producing for an audience that’s 16 years old on average. Tops! But I digress. I’m writing this because Clarkson made a joke about how James May is the only "functioning member" of the Grand Tour team (Richard Hammond had a serious car crash in June) and added the caption "God help us." Keep reading to learn why.

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Pops' Rants: The Lexus LFA Is Overrated and Why the Challenger Angel Ain't Gonna Happen

Pops’ Rants: The Lexus LFA Is Overrated and Why the Challenger Angel Ain’t Gonna Happen

Boom!

The Dodge Challenger Demon is a fine piece of machinery, and I can definitely understand all the hype around it. Despite the fact that it doesn’t have a much-needed manual transmission. What I don’t get is this new hype around the fact that Chrysler trademarked the Angel name and that most car enthusiasts already see it as some sort of anti-Demon version of the Challenger. Come on man, what’s this, finger-painting class? I’ve been in the business long enough to know that the Chrysler Angel could very well mean squat. Nothing, nada, zero, just a name on a piece of paper at a trademark agency.

But this isn’t the only thing that grinds my gears this week. Everyone seems to have gone berserk over the fact that some 12 units of the Lexus LFA, which was discontinued in 2012, are still available at dealerships in the U.S. Hey, that’s pretty spectacular, because we’re talking about a supercar that hasn’t been built for five years, not to mention that production was limited to only 500 examples, but I still don’t understand why this LFA thing is such a big deal. But more on this below.

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Pops' Rants: The New Rolls-Royce Phantom Is Already 10 Years Old

Pops’ Rants: The New Rolls-Royce Phantom Is Already 10 Years Old

Everyone seems to be lazy this week

And how are you folks doing this week? I gotta tell you, last week was rough with all that Mercedes X-Class jazz. And awkward and funny at the same time with reports that Jeep is doing better than FCA. And just when I thought that I would take a break from writing this week, Rolls-Royce launched the new Phantom. The NEW Phantom. With new everything. Except for the design. Have you seen it? Well, if not, have a look at the old Phantom because they’re basically identical. Remember how a while back I said that some at Rolls-Royce must be smoking pot at the office? The new Phantom is proof of that.

Seriously now, I wish this was some sort of prank, but April 1st is... ermmm... seven months way? What’s Rolls-Royce thinking? And what with the Pagani Zonda Fanstasma Evo that just broke cover? Wasn’t the Zonda discontinued years ago? And, why would Jaguar waste a more powerful V-8 engine on an XJR that doesn’t have an "SVR" badge? Yup, that’s what’s bugging me today, and it’s exactly what we’ll discuss below. So grab a cup of something and read on.

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Pops' Rants: The X-Class Sucks Because You're a Snotty Elitist

Pops’ Rants: The X-Class Sucks Because You’re a Snotty Elitist

Also in today’s rant: FCA = LOL

Another day, another carrot. Oh wait, scratch that, the folks over at Warner Brothers may not like it. Just like I don’t like the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class. But hey, unlike Warner Brothers, I can’t sue the Germans for launching the most boring pickup truck ever. But you should know that already, because I posted a big rant on the matter yesterday. I simply hate the design. I think it’s uninspired and lacks everything a Mercedes should have, minus the subdued — and incredibly booooring — styling. Both inside and out. And the worst part is that the truck it is based on, the Nissan Navara, looks way better.

But leaving the X-Class’ design aside for a bit, there’s one more thing that’s been bugging me. It doesn’t have to do as much with the X-Class as with the Navara and with people complaining that Mercedes used a Nissan-Renault Alliance platform for its first pickup truck. I keep seeing this as an argument as to why the X-Class is a big disappointment and I find it ridiculous. And I’m gonna explain why.

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Here's Why the Mercedes X-Class' Design Sucks

Here’s Why the Mercedes X-Class’ Design Sucks

Pops is at it again!

So Mercedes finally unveiled the X-Class somewhere in Africa and everyone is excited about the German brand finally offering a pickup truck. Okay, okay, I’m exaggerating. I’ve noticed a ton of negative comments about this vehicle. How it’s not a true Mercedes-Benz, how it’s design is boring, and how it’s just a Nissan Navara. Well, I hate to break it to you folks, but the X-Class is a freakin’ pickup truck, of course it’s not a true Mercedes. It’s a brand-new body style for an automaker that didn’t make pickups before, of course you’re hating. But you’ll get over it, just give it a couple of months.

I also don’t agree with all the "it’s not a real Merc, it’s a Nissan underneath" commotion. So it’s based on the Nissan Navara, what’s wrong with that? Is there a problem with the Navara? It’s ugly, unreliable, it can’t haul stuff on a trailer? Of course not! But hey, I get it, you wanted Mercedes to come up with its very own truck. Well, tough luck, it’s 2017 and all carmakers are looking to reduce costs by sharing platform. And as long as you yuppies keep buying Mercs for the badge, they will keep borrowing platforms for new cars and bigger profits. Wanna do something about? Buy a Hyundai! But hey, I agree with you on the boring part...

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Pops' Rants: Scam Friday

Pops’ Rants: Scam Friday

You’re welcome!

And how are you folks doing? I assume "just dandy" is the answer. It’s Friday; the weekend is just around the corner, all is good. Well, no! Everything’s not so good. Not when big carmakers are unveiling cool cars that are already sold out. Sounds familiar? Yup, I’m ranting about the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS again. How can I not? How in the hell do you launch a 1,000-example limited edition that’s already sold out by the time you unveil the car to the public?

I totally get that these exotic cars are very popular with collectors and some are willing to pay ludicrous amounts of hard-earned to get their hands on one, but what’s the point of launching an online configurator if you can’t get a car to a potential customer? It’s like giving us a configurator for the Porsche 959. You can’t buy this car anymore, but hey, here’s a nice configurator to play with the options. This is all you get for not buying one in the 1980s. Okay, so maybe having a configurator with Porsche more classic cars would be nice, but you get the point.

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Pops' Rants: Civic Type R Drama and Why the New GranTurismo Sucks

Pops’ Rants: Civic Type R Drama and Why the New GranTurismo Sucks

Goodwood is still good wood though

The 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed is well underway, and I couldn’t be happier. Long live internet video streaming, old track, short but exciting race tracks, and the good people taking care of the Goodwood House. I’m a happy chap, but hey, there’s still room for rants. And boy there’s plenty to talk about this week. You might find it hard to believe, but there’s something about Goodwood that has been bothering me for years. It’s the hill climb record, which stands since 1999 when Nick Heidfeld completed the course in 41.6 seconds in a McLaren MP4/13 Formula One car. Really, now; isn’t there anyone capable enough to put together a car that’s faster than that?

Yes, I know, it’s a Formula One car and these things are really fast and aerodynamic, but the MP4/13 dates back to 1999. That’s 18 years. Eighteen!!! You know what changed in 18 years on the Nurburgring? The lap record was improved by more than a minute. That’s about 15 percent, which makes sense given how fast cars and technology are evolving nowadays. Yet, no one is able to put Heidfeld’s record to rest. Not even the Peugeot 208 T16, which set a seemingly unbeatable record at Pikes Peak, was able to do that back in 2014 when it completed the course three seconds slower.

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Pops' Rants: Hybrids Are Dying, Porsche Is Playing Dumb

Pops’ Rants: Hybrids Are Dying, Porsche Is Playing Dumb

You can never have enough ice

You know I hate summer right? Well, you might as well hear it again. It’s way too hot and it makes me too lazy to go to the fridge to make more ice. And I’m really cranky when I run out of ice for my whiskey. But, there is one thing I do like about summer: the racing! Oh man, June is simply packed with good quality racing. There’s the 24 Hours of Le Mans, there’sPikes Peak, and there’s plenty of action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Yeah I know, Goodwood isn’t a sanctioned racing event, but you get to see a bunch of cool cars going up the hill. Old cars, the kind that Pops likes. Unfortunately, this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was a bit of a disappointment.

And, before all you Porsche fans start yelling that it was awesome because they won again, I’d like to point out that they were extremely lucky and the racing sucks. And yes, I had my money on Toyota this year. Because I like the Camry (yes, it’s irrelevant blah blah) and I think they deserve the title after so many unlucky stints at Le Mans. But, it wasn’t to be. Their cars crapped out and the 919 Hybrids had fun doing donuts around the LMP2 cars. Because Audi is no longer racing in the prototype class and hybrid race cars suck. Yes, I said it, they suck!

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Pops' Rants: Silly Excuses and Subaru BRZ Baloney Edition

Pops’ Rants: Silly Excuses and Subaru BRZ Baloney Edition

Yosemite Sam hates rabbits for no reason

Boy, do I hate summer. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: sun, beaches, bikinis, smoothies, convertibles, vacation, and all that jazz, but I still hate it. I hate the heat (I know, I should move to Alaska or something) and it’s a boring season as far as cars go, unless you like racing. But, you know what I hate more than a hot, sweaty season? Excuses and bologna. The kind that Subaru and Honda have been trying to feed me recently.

And you know what, I haven’t eaten bologna in a very long time.

But I digress.

Remember how I complained about the Honda Civic Si having gained a turbo engine for nothing a couple of months ago? Well, the Japanese just said that the new Si is as powerful as the old Si because they wanted to give customers a more reliable engine. That’s their second excuse for the Si’s meh performance, the first being that a detuned Type R engine would have made it too expensive for the average Joe. Oh my, so much drama. Someone please bring a couch and give Oprah a phone call!

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Pops' Rants: Nurburgring Wood and Covfefe

Pops’ Rants: Nurburgring Wood and Covfefe

Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’, keep them doggies rolling

Yee-haw, Pops is back! Did you miss me? In case you’re wondering, I’ve taken a short vacation last week. Ya know, old people need to rest a lot. But if you don’t care about that, we can assume I was too lazy to do my gibberish routine for the weekend.

Anywho, I came back to the Internet only to find out that we have a new Nurburgring record. Boy, I should definitely spend less time in bed - it’s not the kind of activity that allows you to keep up with those fast Nurburgring runs. And you know what? I don’t care much about McLaren’s new record. And this comes from a man who lived to see McLaren’s glorious Can-Am and Formula One performances back in the day and who’s a tremendous fan of its road cars, especially the F1. Simply because all these records are only about automakers waving their pricks at each other.

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Pops' Rants: Why I Don't Care About Vegans and Nurburgring Laps

Pops’ Rants: Why I Don’t Care About Vegans and Nurburgring Laps

I love rear-engined cars though...

Boy this was a boring week. Not a single automotive event worth mentio... Ah, wait, the NIO EP9 smashed the Nurburgring lap record for production. Mighty impressive given that the benchmark was about eight years old, but there’s a bit of a problem. The NIO EP9 isn’t a production car. I know I’m old and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be, but can you provide me a link from where I can order this car? You can’t! Because this thing isn’t for sale.

Sure, NIO says that six examples have already been sold to company investors and that 10 more cars are underway for the general public, but that’s not much really. Maybe this contest over who has the bigger pecker on the ’Ring should have some additional rules. It’s enough that automakers like Nissan make special tweaks to their cars for these benchmarks, and we don’t need extremely limited runs validated as production models at the track. If it continues like this, carmakers will need to make just the one car to be considered a production vehicle soon. And it’s stupid!

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Pops' Rants: Facelifts are BS; Someone at Rolls-Royce May Be Smoking Pot

Pops’ Rants: Facelifts are BS; Someone at Rolls-Royce May Be Smoking Pot

And I still think there’s too much hype around the BMW 8 Series

Boy, I sure miss the good old days when car updates were more about the update and less about meaningless words in press releases. Things were much simpler back in the 1960s when most cars received yearly updates. No three-year planning, no bullshit. "Welcome to the new model year, have some redesigned features and a few extras," was the norm and it was absolutely brilliant. Nowadays, we just get facelifts with new headlamps and new speedometer needless. Pfeh!

If you haven’t been reading the news, BMW just upgraded the 2 Series and M2. And, by upgraded, I mean that it launched a big press release about nothing and made fewer improvements than the number of cups of coffee I have each morning. And trust me, I don’t drink too many. That’s slightly revised headlamps and taillights, new dashboard trim, and some minor changes to the instrument cluster. Facelift? I think not! You know what this is? Removing a mole off your nose and calling it a rhinoplasty.

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Excited about the new BMW 8 Series? Here's Why You Shouldn't Be

Excited about the new BMW 8 Series? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be

Meh!

The BMW 8 Series is making a comeback after two decades. Yey! No, stop right there. No need to yay. The new 8 Series won’t be of the yay variety. It will be just another expensive, heavy, nanny-packed Bimmer made for those rich enough to throw at least $100,000 at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. And, for those BMW fans waiting for the 8 Series to return, of course, but the rich enough statement applies here as well. Bottom line, if you can’t afford it, you’re yaying just because the name of a cool car from the 1990s is coming back.

But it’s just the name, not spirit.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of the 8 Series. But, much like the Shelby Cobra and the DeTomaso Pantera, it’s a car from another era and needs to stay there. Otherwise, we’ll end up with yet another modern Maserati Ghibli, which has nothing in common with the outstanding grand tourer from the late 1960s. But isn’t it a bit too early to bash a car that won’t be here until 2018? Nope. It’s never too early to be a hater. And, let’s not forget we’re talking about BMW here. Keep reading to see what I mean.

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Pops' Rants: The Mitsubishi Lancer Needs to Die Already

Pops’ Rants: The Mitsubishi Lancer Needs to Die Already

and Darth Vader doesn’t fancy Mustangs

So I was minding my business yesterday — primarily being annoyed about all the "May the 4th be with you" nonsense everywhere — when I stumbled across a tiny press release from Mitsubishi about a new limited-edition version of the Mitsubishi Lancer. I stare a the screen for a few seconds thinking "what the hell, wasn’t this thing discontinued some two years ago?" I snap out of it, I ask good ole’ Google a few questions, and it hits me: the Lancer is still going strong.

That’s good news for rally enthusiasts (and an endless source of jokes for Subaru WRX fans), but it’s the kind of news that ruins my day. Why? Well, this thing is still in dealerships after two years of special, "this is the last Lancer ever" editions. Come on man, I know it’s an iconic car and all, but let’s seal the coffin once and for all and let the Lancer name die peacefully.

Wait, I’m not done yet!

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This Nincompoop Is Trying to Sell a 2018 Honda Civic Type R for Porsche Money

This Nincompoop Is Trying to Sell a 2018 Honda Civic Type R for Porsche Money

Too much Internet for today...

Remember the smartass who started a campaign to raise money from Internet users so he can buy a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon? Well, here’s another idiot that should be banned from the Internet. This one made his way to Craiglist and is trying to sell a 2018 Honda Civic Type R for $85,000, claiming he has already placed a large deposit down at a Honda dealership ahead of the car’s official market launch in June.

Why is this a problem?

For starters, the $85,000 sticker is nearly a 150-percent premium over the estimated starting price of a Civic Type R. For that much cash, you can buy an optioned-up Porsche Cayman or add $6,000 for a base Porsche 911. You can also order a Chevy Corvette Z06 and spend another $5K on options. And I could go on for a while. The second issue is that the seller claims he doesn’t know the color of the car. Seriously now, how can you expect to get that much money for a compact hatchback without being able to provide basic information like that?

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Pops' Rants: Carmakers That Need a New Hobby and Why You Shouldn't Feed Internet Trolls

Pops’ Rants: Carmakers That Need a New Hobby and Why You Shouldn’t Feed Internet Trolls

The Mercedes SLC is being discontinued and I couldn’t care less!

Hello Topspeeders, did you miss me? I haven’t been around much these days, but it’s not because the last "Fast and Furious" movie is so bad that it almost killed me. Nope. I just signed up to a couple of social media platforms and got sucked into it. It’s amazing how much crap you can find and how easy it is to promote tasteless, meaningless content. Like the fact that "The Fate of the Furious" might be a good film. Yeah, I know, the FF8 jokes are getting a bit old, but I just love to see the look of annoyance on people’s faces.

I’d like to start this week’s rant by reminding you that BMW thinks we’re a bunch of losers that would buy anything with a fancy badge. In case you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve already discussed why the new M4 CS is a glorified M4 for suckers with fat wallets. It’s only slightly lighter than a big-ass Mercedes E-Class and it costs more than true sports cars like the Porsche 911 Carrera, Alfa Romeo 4C, and Caterham Seven. BMW should definitely find a new hobby, but the German carmaker isn’t alone in this.

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Find Out Why "The Fate of the Furious" Stinks In Three Minutes

Find Out Why "The Fate of the Furious" Stinks In Three Minutes

Get a freakin’ TV series already!

I like movies with cars, especially if they’re packed with chase scenes. Who wouldn’t, right? But I’m old enough to consider "Bullitt" and "Gone in 60 Seconds" (the 1974 film, not the cheesy remake from 2000) masterpieces and "The Fast and the Furious" franchise highly overrated. I admit that the original movie was interesting and the idea somewhat fresh, but it went downhill from there. And, the saddest part is that the producers don’t know where to stop. Things got pretty ridiculous with Tokyo Drift, but they just kept making movies. Paul Walker’s death didn’t change a thing, and even before Furious 7 was out, it was confirmed that an eighth installment is underway.

I watched it the other day and boy, a tutorial on how to change headlamps on an AMC Gremlin is far more entertaining. "The Fate of the Furious" has no logic, defies physics (and not in a fun way like Looney Tunes’ Road Runner character), and has awful CGI effects compared to recent releases like "Mad Max: Fury Road." I don’t know what the specific audience for this movie is, but based on some of the rave reviews, they settle for soooo little. And, you know what, I’m not even going to bother coming up with a proper review for this piece a crap. It’s not worth my time. FF8 stinks, and that’s that! If you want authentic car action, give "Bullitt," "The Italian Job," and "Gone in 60 Seconds" (again, I’m talking about the original 1974 movie) a go. Or, watch some drag racing. Heck, just rewatch all those teasers for the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, they’re far more entertaining.

As for the Fast and Furious production team, get a freakin’ TV series already!

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The BMW M4 CS Is a Glorified M4 for Suckers with Fat Wallets

The BMW M4 CS Is a Glorified M4 for Suckers with Fat Wallets

Buy a Porsche 911 instead

So BMW finally unveiled the M4 CS. Big whoop! I simply cannot get excited about this glorified M4. And here’s why.

While the M4 is a great sports coupe that’s capable of great things on both the road and the track, it’s still far from being the iconic M3 coupe we all love. There are many reasons for that, but I’ll keep it short and mention the one that’s bugging me the most: it’s too damn heavy. This thing weighs nearly 3,500 pounds, only some 50 pounds lighter than the lightest version of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Let me say that again: 50 pounds lighter than a four-door sedan that’s significantly longer.

So the M4 CS is a tad lighter (but not light enough for BMW to add the "L" for "lightweight" to the "CS" badge), the engine boasts an extra 35 horsepower, and it’s a tenth-second quicker to 60 mph. Let’s say it’s not that bad given how difficult it is to make performance cars increasingly quicker nowadays, but for all of the above, you have to pay the equivalent of an M4 and a half. So 35 horsepower, a tenth-second, a carbon splitter, and a decklid spoiler for an extra $30,000+ over the base price of an M4.

How is this possible? What kind of deal is this?

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Pops' Rants: New York Auto Show Special

Pops’ Rants: New York Auto Show Special

BMW thinks wheels are a big deal and I still hate the Ghibli

Oh my, this was a busy week with the New York Auto Show and all. It was a bit disappointing compared to Geneva, but hey, still a good show with plenty of interesting cars. But, like any major car event throughout the year, it was also loaded with major flops and car’s I’d rather forget even exist. Yeah, I feel like ranting again so continue reading this at your own risk.

I guess we can all agree that the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was by far the most spectacular unveiling in New York. But, as you may have already found out, I hate that it doesn’t have a manual transmission. I want to stress out that I’m perfectly fine with the eight-auto and I know that the Demon’s tremendous performance wouldn’t have been possible with a manual, but I think Dodge has no excuse for not offering an optional stick and clutch pedal.

I mean, how bad could it be? The 2.3-second 0-to-60 sprint and sub-10-second quarter-mile would definitely fly out the window with a manual, but hey, Dodge can still brag about the performance it gets with the automatic. Nothing would change as far as records go. Just look at how BMW advertises the M4 with the performance figures of the dual-clucth model, even though the manual is slower.

So yeah, stop it with the "automatic transmission makes it as fast as it is" argument. I don’t want a manual Demon that’s as fast as the automatic. I just want a stick. I like sticks. And I like Bill Jenkins. And poor old "Grumpy" would be very disappointed with the Demon. Get it?

But the Demon issue is nothing compared to BMW’s approach in New York: a couple of sets of wheels. I’m not kidding, BMW came to New York with two sets of freakin’ wheels and a bunch of old cars. Sure, it’s nice to have new wheels, they’re an important design (and sometimes performance) element of a vehicle, but I have this feeling that BMW came to New York only because it couldn’t find any entertaining shows on TV this week. It’s okay to miss the occasional auto show guys. Better than making a fool of yourself anyway.

Since we’re talking German cars, here’s something silly coming from Audi. So the luxury brand unveiled two R8-based cars in America: the LMS GT4 race cars and the special-edition R8 Audi Sport. The last one is a road-going car with a cool livery in Audi’s racing colors. I like it a lot, even though I’m no fan of Audis and R8 isn’t the kind of sports car I would invest in. But, here’s the annoying part. The Audi Sport Edition was launched in the States and they only pricing information that comes with it is for the German market. Much logic, such blockheads, wow! (cue the Doge meme).

Moving on to concept cars, I getting tired of Nissan putting tracks to its crossovers. At first it was the Juke, then we had a Rogue. Now Nissan built yet another Rogue on tracks instead of wheels, wrapped it in a hipster, artsy army camo livery and called it the Trail Warrior. It’s cool and all because you can swim through snow and sand with ease, but it’s still a concept car. Just build a production model already or stop it with the teasing. For a company that has quite a few nameplate updates to make nowadays, Nissan is wasting quite a lot of time. Not good!

Then there’s the Toyota FT-4X concept. Now that’s my kind of SUV. It’s real body, it has vintage, Jeep-ish looks, and it has a straightforward interior without all the fancy tech that I would probably use once every few months. I’d be more than happy to have this thing for long trips and I would definitely give up on the idea of restoring an old Bronco. On the other hand, the production model might not be this cool and Toyota could add all that annoying technology I try to stay away from. But my biggest gripe with this concept is that it kinda says Toyota isn’t exactly happy with the FJ Cruiser no longer in dealerships. It’s like they want the FJ Cruiser back but don’t want to seem desperate. Well, this is what happens when you make bad decisions. "But... but... sales were slow." Well, at 13,000 units a year, there was still a market for the FJ Cruiser.

Finally, I’m not at all happy about the limited-edition Maserati Ghibli Nerissimo. I mean I like the murdered, Mafia-style look, but I simply hate the Ghibli. A four-door can’t be a Ghibli. The Ghibli is a two-door grand tourer. One that’s gorgeous, loud, fast, and built in the late 1960s. Maserati was so desperate to capitalize on one of its greatest nameplates that it made a mess of it by putting the badge on a four-door. I don’t like that a bit, and a black exterior plus a few extras inside doesn’t make it any better. Rename it the Piccolo Quattroporte and I might actually like it.

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Here's Why the Challenger Demon Isn't as Great as it Could Be

Here’s Why the Challenger Demon Isn’t as Great as it Could Be

You kinda blew it, Dodge!

So the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is all official now and everyone is drooling over the spec sheet. I can’t blame you for doing that. The Demon is an incredible machine and pretty much gives both Ford and Chevrolet the finger, but there’s a bit of problem. Once you’re done with the champagne over the juicy 840-horsepower rating and the ridiculous 0-to-60 and quarter-mile times, go check the transmission section. See? There’s no manual. Now why would you build the ultimate road-legal dragster and sell it with an automatic transmission only?

Why???

Okay, I get that the eight-speed auto makes the damn thing go faster and inexperienced drivers may do some damage to the drivetrain with a manual, but at least give enthusiasts an option. Let’s face it, many Demon customers will probably buy it so they can finally have that road-legal Drag Pak they’ve been dreaming about. Not giving them the option for a stick and a clutch pedal is like selling burgers without the meat. Sure, they could be really tasty and have the most exclusive ketchup in the world, but they still lack the essential ingredient in a burger: the juicy meat!

The Demon is a throwback to the 1960s, the golden era of factory-made drag cars. That’s when GM, Ford, and Chrysler rolled out NHRA-spec hot rods on a regular basis and output was just as insane. But unlike 50 years ago, Dodge offers a unique vehicle that won’t get a proper competitor from Ford or Chevy anytime soon, which makes it plain silly not to offer a manual option alongside the automatic. Cars like the Demon are meant to be driven fast and hard, with a stick. Just like Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins used to do back in the day.

Now watch the video and tell me you don’t want to abuse a stick shift in a Demon!

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Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing

Pops’ Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing

Darn it, the Chevy SS is no more!

Have you noticed how today’s automotive strategy is built around gibberish? I swear cars are more about PR talk than anything else. Take Cadillac, for instance, which spent recent years blabbing about how it will get back on the horse in the luxury market with new vehicles with better everything. Well, it’s 2017 and Cadillac still sucks. It sucks so bad that the XT5 crossover outsells the company’s entire sedan lineup. In march, it sold 5,280 XT5 crossovers compared to 4,701 ATS, CTS, XTS, and CT6 sedans combined.

Yeah, I know, crossovers are a big deal now. But you know what? The XT5 isn’t much of a Cadillac. It’s just a bigger hatchback Chevrolet thingy with fancier styling and extra features inside. The CT6 is a true Cadillac, but 1,000 units a month ain’t gonna cut the mustard. But hey, 1,000 CT6s sold in the U.S. in one month is definitely better than sales of 761 examples in Europe in 2016. Even Lamborghini sold more cars on the old continent. A better chance of running into a Lambo then a Cadillac in Europe, now that’s how you know you have a problem buddy!

Another thing that grinds my gears these days is the hypocrisy surrounding Ferrari. Just a few days ago Sergio Marchionne said an all-electric Ferrari may become reality in the future, with the brand looking to join the Formula E series. This comes from the same man that labeled the Ferrari EV as an "obscene concept" a while back. He also said "you’d have to shoot me first" before such a supercar would be developed. Well, he just pointed a shotgun at himself. It goes to show that you can no longer trust company executives these days. And what’s the deal with banning the pink color from the lineup? It’s not fitting for your "whole ethos" you say? What does that even mean? Are you talking about the same ethos that sold Ferraris to Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton? In that case, pink would definitely hurt the ethos. And a few butts...

Speaking of which, what’s the deal with the new Civic Si? Is this thing supposed to fill the gap between the regular model and the Type R? Sounds like a fine idea, but this isn’t something you can do with 205 horsepower. Especially when the Type R has 306 horses. The really annoying thing is that the new engine is only as powerful as the one in the previous Si. And we’re talking about a turbocharger here. Yeah, so the new Civic is lighter and performance is better, but come on Honda, give people that can’t afford the Type R something to work with. It’s like the executives voted to frustrate Civic Si owners with just a mild improvement on a car that’s significantly better chassis- and tech-wise. For the first Si to use turbocharging, this car is a big disappointment. I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with this strategy of keeping things tempered. A 250-horsepower Si wouldn’t kill the Type R, but it would make customers happier and render the Golf GTi and Fiesta ST useless.

If I wouldn’t be so lazy in the morning I’d definitely accept heading Honda’s market strategy department.

You know what else seems cool but we won’t get to enjoy it to its full potential? Lynk & Co.’s new concept sedan. Lynk & Co. is a Chinese brand own by Geely, the same firm that acquired Volvo a few years ago, and it’s about to unveil this crazy four-door. When it comes to Chinese products I’d rather stick to Zhajiangmian (Google it!), but this concept sedan is one I’d very much like to drive. Just look at it! It’s got so much muscle, suicide doors all around, and a sporty silhouette. And it’s all built around Volvo’s latest architecture. But you know what? I won’t get to drive this thing and neither will you. Because concept cars either remain concepts or go into production looking like crap. And like Trump likes to say, you can’t trust the Chinese anyway!

Finally, the healthy discounts that Chevy is offering for the SS nowadays remind me that the sedan has been discontinued and there won’t be a successor since the Holden Commodore it is based on is dead. Well screw you Chevrolet! You finally had THE performance sedan and you just screwed things up. "But, but Holden is no longer building cars in Australia," you might say. Shut up, that’s a lame excuse! There’s plenty of ways to develop one here in the States, but no, GM would rather do a Corvette SUV instead. And don’t get me started on the new front-wheel drive Commodore... It’s a good thing Dodge keeps milking the Challenger and Charger to deliver no-nonsense muscle cars.

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