Mazda planning electric Miata, Wrangler Xtreme Recon package, quartet of vintage Quattros for sale


Welcome to The Manifold, our fresh daily digest of news and what’s happening in the car world.

Mazda Miata to be electrified by 2030

Intake: By the end of the decade Miata will be the answer if you’re looking for a roadster with electric power. Mazda recently announced that it will be releasing five new hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, and three pure EVs between 2022 and 2025. Although the world’s favorite roadster was not on that list, the Japanese brand has now confirmed that the little sports car will have added electrons by 2030. A statement by the company said it is “is seeking to electrify the MX-5 Miata in an effort to have all models feature a form of electrification by 2030. We will work hard to make it a lightweight, affordable, open two-seater sports car.”

Exhaust: While adding batteries to the Miata is likely the only way to secure the fan favorite’s continuation, the extra bulk is at odds with Mazda’s featherweight strategy. The tiny range-extending rotary from the MX-30 can’t weight much though can it? Hint, hint…

Surf and turf: Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette partner for another-special edition boat

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series and Cigarette 41' Nighthawk AMG Black Series
Mercedes-AMG/Cigarette Racing

Intake: Boat number 13 to come from the longstanding partnership between Mercedes-AMG and Cigarette Racing took to the water today. The 41-foot Nighthawk AMG Black Series special edition boat features five—yes, five—4.6-liter Mercury racing 450R outboard engines, creating a whopping 450 horsepower each. The 2250 combined horsepower is capable of propelling (nice) this carbon-fiber-decked marine cruise missile up to a top speed of more than 90 mph.

Exhaust: I mean, sure, why not? The boats that have come to fruition as a result of this 14-year partnership are exactly as insane as you’d expect. Honestly, the thought of 90-mph in a boat has our eyes bulging a bit; at least on terra firma, the surfaces we normally find ourselves doing 90 on at flat and (mostly) predictable. But, as we’ve previously noted, the internal combustion engine is alive and well out on the open seas.

This quartet of Quattros is up for auction

Intake: Four fabulous Audi Quattros, including an original pre-production prototype, are going up for auction this weekend at Classic Car Auctions as part of the London Classic Car Show. The 1982 Tornado Red prototype is one of just 17 right-hand-drive cars built, yet is is estimated to fetch just $35,000 – $42,000. A 1985 Zermatt Silver Ur-Quattro B2 is expected to yield $33,000 – $39,000, a 1988 Quattro Turbo B2 is anticipated to fetch $42,000 – $49,000, while a 1992 Titan Gray Quattro 20v should fetch the biggest price at a $69,000 – $83,000.

Exhaust: We’ve already tipped the Audi Ur Quattro as an appreciating modern classic, with only 664 sold in the U.S. and now changing hands for as much as $61,600. Four lucky Brits look like they might soon be getting quite the Quattro deal.

Jeep’s Xtreme Recon package will add 35-inch tires

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Rubicon EcoDiesel

Intake: Jeep will unveil a new Xtreme Recon package at the Chicago Auto show next month, along with a new Compass crossover, according to a report from Automotive News. The package will fortify the already-capable Wrangler with massive 35-inch tires, matching the Ford Bronco’s Sasquatch package. It will be the first time that a Wrangler is offered from the factory with tires of that size, which will improve those all-important off-road metrics like approach, departure, and breakover angles, as well as water fording. Perhaps even more impressive: this package will also introduce the industry’s first 100:1 crawl ratio.

Exhaust: Consider this the good type of competition. Ford introducing the Sasquatch package—headlined by massive 35-inch tires—meant that it would only be a matter of time before Jeep had to come up with a package of its own to keep up. This is like the off-road version of the towing war in pickup trucks. Frankly, we’re extremely here for it. On an unrelated note, Jeep choosing to unveil this package at the Chicago Auto Show will mark one of the first instances of an in-person reveal since the COVID-19 pandemic forced nearly everything to go virtual. We’re looking forward to checking the package out for ourselves.

Speedkore builds road-going version of mid-engine Charger from Fast & Furious

Intake: Speedkore, the carbon-fiber muscle car gurus responsible for some of the coolest custom Mopars of late, have built a road-going version of the mid-engine Charger that made its debut in F9, the latest film in the Fast & Furious franchise. The custom chassis mounts a 707-hp Hellcat behind the driver, linked to the rear wheels with a Graziano manual transaxle pilfered from a Lamborghini Gallardo. Sean Smith designed the widebody look, which, like many of Speedkore’s previous Chargers, was brought to life in carbon fiber.

Exhaust: Plenty of the flashy cars you see on screen aren’t what they seem. Most are utilitarian, slapped together on a budget to get the shot done on time. Speedkore, however, is known for building gorgeous muscle cars, so this custom build is no doubt well-sorted. Besides, the company built nine examples for filming—sufficient prototyping to iron out kinks, right? 

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