How usable is the back seat of small luxury coupes?
All sub-$50,000 luxury grand touring coupes these days have a seating capacity of four, which means they can theoretically carry two additional people in the rear. The manufacturers usually show a smiling young couple blasting through the countryside in the press photos, and rarely, if ever, four people having a blast. In fact, you wouldn’t even know there were people in the back of most of the cars on the list below.
There are five names on it: the names of the five most important models in the segment and the purpose is to compare their ability to cosset rear occupants... or not, as the case may be. Spoiler alert, none of them are particularly apt at doing it, even though they do have actual full-sized back seats, but if you were to pick yours based on this alone, this is how they stack up - I’ve arranged them in order from least to most spacious.
2008 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP Le Mans Prototype
The 908 HDI FAP was Peugeot’s first top-flight Le Mans prototype in over a decade and was designed to take on the might of Audi in sports car endurance racing on both sides of the Atlantic. It was a 750-horsepower diesel beast with over 850 pound-feet of torque that requires an army of men to run even today.
The mid-‘00s heralded the introduction of the LMP1 category at the top of the FIA/ACO prototype endurance racing ladder. This set of rules came in effect in 2004 as a replacement to the LMP900 rules, but older LMP900 machinery was to be grandfathered in Europe and the U.S. until 2006. The Peugeot 908, announced in 2005, debuted in 2007, one year later after Audi’s own diesel LMP1 car, and became the former’s biggest nemesis as the only other diesel prototype until the end of this era.
The 908, which changed quite a bit during its five-seasons-long racing career, was vastly quicker than the Audis almost anywhere, beating Team Joest and Audi Sport North-America both in the European Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series on numerous occasions. However, Le Mans glory was achieved only once, in 2009, when Peugeot Sport Total scored a historic 1-2 finish ahead of the brand-new Audi R15. Peugeot abruptly ended their involvement in global endurance racing before the kick-off of the new-for-2012 World Endurance Championship, although their hybrid 908 was already in testing and seemed to come together as a fine piece of kit.
Regardless, the French board decided that enough was enough and the P1 program was canned before the 908-HY could turn a wheel in anger. This led the way to Toyota’s hurried entry into the WEC midway through 2012, one year earlier than originally intended.
1963 Bentley S3 Saloon
The Bentley S3 Saloon, along with the Rolls-Royce Phantom V, represented the standard of luxury in Europe. The S3 marked the end of an era as it was the last production luxury sedan from Bentley with body-on-frame construction.
The Bentley S3 was the last model of British manufacturer’s S Series which was in production for a decade. The S3 replaced the S2 in 1962 and, in turn, was replaced by 1965 with the T-Series Bentley that was also a close relative to the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The S Series came as a replacement for the antiquated R Type which had been in production since shortly after the war but was largely based on pre-war designs.
The S3 is, thus, the last of the truly classic Bentleys, so it’s only fitting that the car is one of the most elegant ever to come out with the Flying B on the hood. Performance is not that relevant on such a car but what matters, the comfort of the ride, is there aplenty. You won’t feel a bump in the road aboard the S3 even if you want to.
2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC
Triumph Motorcycles bills its new Scrambler 1200 XC as an “all-road” machine that’s got what it takes to tackle everything you throw at it. Not quite as off-road-tastic as its sibling, the 1200 XE, it nevertheless delivers top-shelf performance by anyone’s standards. Adjustable, long-stroke suspension components join a “scrambler-tuned” engine and wire wheels for the brown-top work, and for the blacktop, there’s a whole slew of electronic safety goodies that give the “XC” its split-personality. Bonneville power and classic looks come together in the XC, so today I want to dive into the details of this Gemini ride.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Scrambler 1200 XC.
2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid
Honda’s first electrified crossover for the European market is the new CR-V hybrid which it introduced at the 2018 Paris motor show. It is the second powertrain option that Honda offers on the Old Continent, after the 1.5-liter turbo shown at the Geneva motor show, and it promises decent performance with excellent economy thanks to its combination of a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and two electric motors - it also does away with a conventional gearbox.
Instead, it uses a single fixed-gear ratio that sounds quite similar to what the Koenigsegg Regera uses, albeit in a less fancy package - one gear and plenty of electric boost at lower speeds before the engine starts to pick up. Honda offers the CR-V hybrid in both front- and all-wheel drive configurations with the latter only incurring a minimal fuel efficiency penalty.
The North American version of the vehicle will be nearly identical in terms of specs and look to the one revealed in Paris.
1320 Video Features Brutal Diesel Truck Dragster: Video
Now, let’s all take a short break from being eco-conscious and just enjoy the sight of this ludicrous 1937 Chevrolet pick-up truck which is one of the fastest diesel-powered trucks in the world. And yes, it has 3,000 pound-feet of torque.
If you drive a Honda Civic or a Chevrolet Volt you’re surely not going to enjoy the huge puffs of black, coal-like, smoke coming from this old school pick up known as ’The Outcast.’ Built by Tony Rizzi, this thing has upwards of 2,300-horsepower, and it revs all the way to 7,500 rpm. A diesel that revs to 7,500 rpm. Let that sink in.
Best Electric Cars of 2018
Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular these days, and manufacturers are responding by pouring in the investment and releasing oodles of new models. As such, competition between EV’s is growing, and 2018 was no exception. But the question is, which of these machines is the “best”? To find out, we lined up the usual suspects up and looked at all the critical specs, including range-per-charge, battery capacity, charge times, interior space, interior tech, and more. Read on to see which EV came out on top!
Team O’Neil Rally School Explains Heel Toe and Clutchless Shifting: Video
In the never-ending quest to be a better driver, there’s a few techniques and terms you’ll run into time and again. Heel-toe and clutchless shifting are two very common examples, offering a way to execute buttery-smooth gear changes that won’t upset the drivetrain or the car’s balance at speed, both of which are critical when driving at the limit.
Luckily, there’s the Team O’Neil Rally School, which not only offers hands-on experience with in-depth driving classes at its facility in New Hampshire, but also these helpful videos to give you a basic understanding of what these techniques entail and why they’re important.
First up is heel toe, which is a way to efficiently downshift under braking without upsetting the car’s balance. Essentially, heel toe involves putting the clutch in with your left foot and braking with your right, then moving the shifter to neutral. From there, you use the side of your foot (or “heel”) to “blip” the throttle, bringing up the engine rpms to match those of the rest of the drivetrain and wheels. Properly executed, the shifter should slide into the lower gear with ease, and when you let out the clutch, there should be no jerking in the drivetrain, giving you a smooth downshift under braking. The throttle blips also sound pretty cool.
Next up is clutchless shifting, which is all about feeling out where the engine and drivetrain match up in terms of rpm, then sliding the transmission into gear at just the right moment. This is a good technique to use if you have some kind of clutch failure, or for you simply don’t want to mess about with trick heel toe shifting, but be warned, it can be pretty hard on your transmission if improperly executed.
Finally, it goes without saying that if you want to try these techniques for yourself, make sure to do them in a safe environment!
13 Astonishing Facts About The New 2019 BMW 3 Series
With more than 15 million units sold since its introduction in 1975, the BMW 3 Series has become a drivers’ favorite. It is a benchmark among sedans and, in its seventh generation, the 3 Series does not disappoint. Not only did BMW fill it with tech that was unimaginable only a decade ago, but the company also improved all the important pieces - it’s lighter, it’s stiffer, it’s faster, it’s nimbler. Yet, with all of that, the 2019 3 Series is bigger than ever. Like BMW E39 big, as we have discussed in this article.
As with every new benchmark German car, the 3 Series also comes with a multitude of astonishing tech and advanced features. I compiled a list of advancements and equipment that make the new BMW 3 Series far more impressive than ever before. When you learn about this, you will more likely forgive its Peugeot-looking front lights and the massive increase in size. This is an impressive car.
Grab a Helmet - Jet Suit Racing May Be a Thing Next Year
A lot of innovations in real life have come from movies, like the flip phone that was derived from the first mobile communicator in Star Trek, for instance. The next big thing, that surprisingly took long too come, is an iron-man inspired suit. Richard Browning, the creator of this suit that allows you to take flight, and is powered by jet engines, said he would launch a new racing series over water next year featuring men and women from different sporting backgrounds.
Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison vs Ford F-150 Raptor
There are few things in this world as resolutely badass as a hugely capable off-roader pickup truck. These are the machines you want with you when there’s a forest, mountain, or desert between you and your destination. With a go-anywhere attitude and the right stuff to walk the walk, the street-legal off-roader used to be something cobbled together in a shed. Now, you can get one direct from the factory, be it the Colorado ZR2 Bison from Chevrolet, or the F-150 Raptor from Ford.
These purpose-built, highly specialized variants offer tons of good stuff for those who prefer the trail to the street. For example, the Bison was created in collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), an aftermarket off-roader company that knows exactly what’s needed when the going gets rough. Then there’s the F-150 Raptor, which Ford developed into a full-blown Baja racer with a license plate. But how do these two stack up against one another? Read on to find out.
2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk by Hennessey
Hennessey is at it again with another demented tuning creation, this time for the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Apparently, the Texas-based tuner isn’t satisfied with an SUV that already boasts 707 horsepower. So in keeping with its identity as a creator of tuning programs that border on insanity, Hennessey dropped the mother lode on the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, turning it into a 1,200-horsepower monster that’s capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in a jaw-dropping 2.3 seconds on its way to a quarter-mile time of 9.66 seconds @ 145 mph.