Chevy’s 1004-hp big-block, spiciest Cayman yet, shred of hope for Saab
Chevrolet Performance drops a 632-cubic-inch, 1004-hp gauntlet with the new ZZ632 crate engine
Intake: Chevy’s big-block crate offerings just got meaner. Just announced, the massive 10.3-liter ZZ632 churns up 1004 hp at 6600 rpm with 876 lb-ft of torque at 5600 rpm—Chevrolet Performance’s most powerful crate motor in history. The previous ZZ572 has stood for years as the king of old-school crate motors, culminating in the 727 hp unit that’s familiar to most, and the ZZ632 builds upon this same block. The cylinders are bored an extra .040 to 4.6 inches and stroke was increased by .375, to 4.75 inches. To take advantage of that extra displacement’s airflow, Chevrolet Performance introduced its own symmetrical port aluminum heads, which revise the valvetrain and port geometry so that each runner is equal in length, shape, and volume, putting to good use every cubic inch of air that the motor breathes. Compression comes to 12:1—spicy, but streetable.
Exhaust: This old dog learned new tricks, adopting some of the best changes the aftermarket can make to the big-block platform to create this 1004-horse wonder. The peak numbers are striking, sure, but look at the torque curve that’s breaking 600 lb-ft by 3000 rpm. Dodge may have been there first with the Hellephant, but GM tends to keep these ZZ crates well stocked and says that they should be available at dealers in early 2022.
The first Cayman to wear the RS badge is coming
Intake: Porsche is about to slap the coveted Renn Sport badge on its 718 Cayman, for the first time ever. The 718 Cayman GT4 RS is concluding its track and twisty-road testing, and Porsche has unveiled the first official photos of this mid-engine road course weapon. It’s lighter, more responsive, and more powerful than the standard GT4, according to Porsche. The lightly disguised production car wears a gnarly rear wing for added downforce and a new front fascia with large intakes for enhanced cooling and airflow management. No details were given about the engine, but we’d expect an upgraded version of Porsche’s 4.0-liter free-breathing flat-six to sit just aft of the driver’s seat. Just how much quicker are the improvements? In a PDK-equipped version, Porsche development driver Jörg Bergmeister lapped the 12.95-mile Nürburgring Nordschliefe in 7 minutes, 9.3 seconds. The shorter 12.8-mile configuration—the previous benchmark for lap times—was completed in just 7:04.511, some 23.6 seconds faster than Porsche achieved in the regular 718 Cayman GT4.
Exhaust: We’ve been pining for an RS version of the Cayman ever since the GT4 first became a reality back in 2015, and we’re thrilled to see it finally come to fruition. Judging by the onboard lap below, this car looks more than worthy of the RS badge. “During development, we gave the 718 Cayman GT4 RS everything that characterizes a genuine RS,” says Andreas Preuninger, father of the GT model line. “[That means] lightweight construction, more downforce, more power and, of course, an even higher level of responsiveness and feedback to driver inputs. The fantastic lap time of the Nordschliefe is impressive proof of how clearly noticeable these improvements in driving dynamics are.”
The remnants of Saab might be for sale—again
Intake: The tattered remains of Saab—the brand “Born from Jets”—might be for sale again, according to a new report from Automotive News. This gets tricky, but stick with us. The Swedish EV unit—dubbed National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) and currently owned by the massive Chinese property developer China Evergrande Group—is supposedly in talks with American and European venture capital firms and a few industry partners to possibly find new ownership. NEVS purchased Saab’s assets back in 2012, and has owned them ever since. Evergrande is in the midst of a financial free-fall and at risk of defaulting on more than $300 billion in debts, so the sale appears to be an effort to raise cash by selling off fringe assets. While NEVS CEO Stefan Tilk declined to comment on possible valuation of the firm, a source close to the matter told Reuters the unit could net a value somewhere in the $1 billion range. Tilk did disclose that potential suitors include several European and U.S. firms, although he declined to name them.
Exhaust: The prospect of Saab—or what’s left of it—finding new ownership gives us the slightest glimmer of hope that we may once again see the quirky automotive brand on the road. In 2010, General Motors sold its majority stake in Saab to Spyker, who then attempted to sell the stake to a group of Chinese investors in 2012, but the sale fell through over GM’s objection. Instead, the stake was sold to Sweden’s NEVS. The last new Saab automobile came in 2014, at which time NEVS lost the license to sell vehicles under the Saab name. Might Saab emerge from the ashes to reinvent itself as an EV brand? Such a move would certainly be en vogue, but we simply don’t have a crystal ball here. It’s just as likely that NEVS (and the Saab assets) find a business case to become a supplier to existing marques, and Saab as we once knew it remains dead in the ground. But hope is free, and we’re here for more of the Born from Jets schtick.
Here’s a glimpse of the next Range Rover
Intake: Land Rover has released this blurry image of the new Range Rover ahead of its global reveal on October 26. It’s hard to make out much from the image other than that the car’s profile is rather familiar, even as it moves into the era of electrification. Based on Jaguar Land Rover’s MLA platform, the new Rangie will be offered with a familiar V-8 engine and a plug-in hybrid V-6, while the first ever all-electric Range Rover will follow later. We’ll have the full story next week.
Exhaust: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, we say, and it looks like JLR’s chief creative officer Professor Gerry McGovern OBE agrees. “Informed by creative intellect and a desire for perfection, it doesn’t follow fashion or trend, but by a modernist design philosophy, combined with over 50 years of evolution, it is quite simply the most desirable Range Rover ever created,” he says.
IWC and Hot Wheels create a limited edition boxed set with a $10K price tag
Intake: International Watch Company (IWC) and Hot Wheels have teamed up to create a limited-edition tribute to the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The “Racing Works Edition” box set includes a special-edition Pilot’s Watch Chronograph and a detailed 1:64 replica of the 300 SL that Formula 1 legend David Coulthard drove to victory for the IWC team at Goodwood in 2019. Both the Hot Wheels car and the watch have several custom racing-related tweaks, including the number 68, a nod to IWC’s founding in 1868 and Mattel’s introduction of Hot Wheels cars in 1968. The first of 50 boxed sets is already up for auction through Bonhams, with proceeds going to charity. Online bidding ends October 22. The remaining 49 boxed sets are priced at $10,000 apiece. (If the car looks familiar, it should. IWC and Hot Wheels first released it in stores in 2020, along with an accompanying transport truck. That combo can be found on eBay for a much more reasonable $20–$25.)
Exhaust: Although a Hot Wheels car is included in each Racing Works Edition boxed set, we’re guessing none of those vehicles will ever leave their protective case, let alone make their way into the hands of a peanut-butter-fingered kid. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At $10K, we’d be more content to stare at it through smoked glass.
Britain accelerates towards gas and diesel ban
Intake: The British government already announced a ban on the sale of new gasoline and diesel powered cars in 2030, but now it’s also saying that car makers will have to sell a proportion of zero-emission vehicles from 2024 on. As is pretty standard for the U.K. government, the exact details are murky—bordering on undefined— but the the plan is to make all manufacturers start to introduce pure EVs from 2024 with fines for those who don’t meet the targets set. A strategy paper from the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy states, “Our zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate will guarantee greater number of zero emission vehicles on our roads, unlocking the transformation of our road transport.” Alongside this is a pledge to invest in charging points and the prospect of charging drivers by the mile driven to make up for lost revenue from taxes on fuel.
Exhaust: The U.K is dead-set on driving motorists away from gasoline and diesel and into electric cars. This latest strategy paper does discuss investments in hydrogen as well, but the only mention of e-fuels is related to aviation, so nobody knows what the future holds for Britain’s combustion-powered classics.