Electric Boxster, Cayman due mid-decade, build your own DeLorean, Integra buyers want manuals
It’s official: Boxster, Cayman EVs due mid-decade, hybrid 911 to follow
Intake: Porsche has confirmed that the next-generation 718 Cayman and Boxster will only come in battery-electric form, while the 911 is set to go hybrid. At the company’s annual conference Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said the electric 718 replacement would arrive “by the middle of the decade.” That means it will follow the Macan in Porsche’s rapid shift to electrification. There’s a stay of execution for internal combustion in the 911, but the brand icon will be hybridized in its next iteration. Already 40 percent of Porsche’s European sales are electrified (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EV) while the firm predicts that by 2030 80 percent of all sales globally will be pure electric. In a bid to make life easier for buyers Porsche is also set to roll out its own network of high-power charging stations, with the first installations set for Germany, Switzerland, and Austria in 2023.
Exhaust: “The future of Porsche is electric,” Blume told media, but there is some good news for fans of the firm’s famous flat-six, because its “flexible engine strategy” will allow internal combustion to continue for a while yet. Porsche is also pinning hopes on climate-neutral e-fuels to drive its cars into the future.
Sought-after Superleggera 328 for sale
Intake: A stunning streamlined 1940 BMW 328 Roadster with bodywork by Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera is for sale for $795,000. Offered by specialist DriverSource of Houston, Texas, the car is said to be one of the very first examples built, and one of only a handful with a dry-sump engine. Two liters in capacity, with triple Solex downdraft carburettors, the straight-six motor produces 80 hp, and can propel the car to 93 mph. The wonderful wind-cheating styling would certainly help with that and only six Touring-bodied cars are said to have been built before World War II ended production. This particular car has a rather interesting history, having had its chassis replaced by a Simca platform during the 1950s, but then, fortunately, being restored back to originality later in life. It has since undergone a complete rebuild by coachbuilder Fran Roxas.
Exhaust: This has to be one of the most beautiful BMWs ever built. With “regular” 328 Roadsters selling over $700,000, the price for this Bavarian unicorn doesn’t seem too ambitious, but will its checkered past put people off?
As Trax exits, the sub-$20K Chevy is no more
Intake: 2022 is the final model year for Chevrolet’s tiniest crossover, reports GM Authority. Essentially a Sonic on silts, the Trax arrived in North America in 2015 and gradually proved popular: Sales grew from 63K in its initial year to 116,817 in 2019. In 2020, the dinky SUV managed to sell over 100K units despite Chevrolet making zero changes from the previous model year. It’s likely that internal competition is squeezing out the Trax. The larger and far more handsome Trailblazer crossover, which launched for the 2020 model year, made an immediate splash with 90K sales in 2021. GM Authority reports that the Trax, and its Buick counterpart, the South Korean–built Encore, will cease production later this year. With the cancelation of the $14,990 Spark this August, the end of the Trax leaves the Trailblazer as the cheapest Chevy, with a bare-bones price of $22,995 including destination.
Exhaust: Our experience in a rental Trax revealed it as a low-quality, noisy little thing. While the short wheelbase is a boon in the city, it produces a rough highway ride and the high center of gravity makes cloverleaf on-ramps a little nerve-wracking. We’re far more sad about the discontinuation of the Spark.
Lego takes us Back to the Future with this Time Machine DeLorean
Intake: Like the Beatles, Elvis, and Michael Jackson, the hits just keep on coming for Lego. The master of plastic building blocks has announced the release of a Back to the Future Time Machine DeLorean. Based on the star car from the 1985 blockbuster movie, the 1872-piece set features the famous DeLorean that Doc Brown built to facilitate time travel. Among its features is a full interior (including a light-up flux capacitor), opening hood and doors, and transforming functions such as wheels that tuck into the body so the car can fly—which it can’t really do, kids. The 14-inch-long DeLorean will be available online beginning April 1 with a price tag of $169.99 in the U.S., $219.99 in Canada, and £149.99 in the U.K.
Exhaust: Lego has always had way of taking us back to the happy times of our youth, when playing with toys and exercising our imagination stoked our spirit of adventure. That’s why adults continue to shell out big coin for the latest Lego block creations. Don’t think so? Watch how quickly this Back to the Future DeLorean sells out. Better grab yours as soon as it’s available or you’ll need an actual time machine to get one for its original price.
Honda adds Dax to minimoto fleet
Intake: The motorcycle market has seen an interesting return to small displacement fun in the last five years, spurred mainly by Honda’s minimoto fleet, which is comprised of the Grom and Monkey. Now the Dax joins the fold and brings new flair to the 125cc party. The Dax shares the main components with the Super Cub, including a 125cc fuel-injected four-stroke engine mated to a four-speed transmission with a centrifugal clutch. The recent announcement only concerns the Dax’s launch in Europe, but we expect that in time this too will come stateside.
Exhaust: The Dax will likely be a great choice for riders who like the idea of a Grom but feel too cramped on the smaller chassis. If you are willing to sacrifice the manual clutch in favor of the centrifugal one, we’d suggest waiting for a U.S.-spec Dax to get your minimoto kicks.
Felicity Ace is gone forever, but VW Group CEOs promise cars for customers
Intake: After the VW group lost approximately 4000 vehicles on the now-sunken Felicity Ace cargo ship, we are learning how some of their premium brands ensure their customers will be made whole. Automotive News reports that CEOs for Lamborghini, Audi, and Bentley went on the record stating so. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann says the marque will replace the roughly 1800 cars lost, noting that “it will take some time, but we will do our best.” Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann noted that 85 vehicles were destroyed, and 15 of them were among the 600-unit run of Aventador Ultimae Editions, which had already ceased production. Lamborghini successfully reopened supply lines to reproduce the 15 units lost, however, and the last of its kind, V-12 powered supercar will be remade for customers just like the other lost Lambos. Winkelmann admits the process was “tricky”—with the current supply chain situation, we can only imagine it was nightmarish. Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark says it has a plan to replace more than half of the 189 Bentleys lost on the ship, and all customers will be made whole within six months: “We’ve promised those customers, and we’re doing some clever things with dealers to keep [those customers] mobile, which I won’t talk about.”
Exhaust: While Porsche wasn’t part of the discussion, Bentley’s CEO is likely tight lipped for good reason: There’s a good chance customers of sunken Bentleys are offered free loaner cars from the selling dealership (be it routing inventory into the service loaner fleet or offering temporary use of a vehicle from their pre-owned inventory). Such luxuries are usually unavailable for lower-tier products. No word on how many Volkswagens were lost on the Felicity Ace, or whether their intended owners will get anything but a new delivery date and a sincere apology.
Integra pre-orders are skewing heavily toward stick-shift A-Specs
Intake: Immediately following a host of pricing and options details released last week, Acura opened the preorder books for the reborn 2023 Integra. With the availability of the six-speed manual transmission was limited to the top-trim Integra A-Spec, we hoped that the cost jump wouldn’t ward off interested customers. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case: 70 percent of existing Integra reservations are for manual-equipped models. Though we’re still talking reservations and not confirmed orders, that take-rate is substantially higher than the average over all of the previous generations from 1986 to 2001, which was only around 50 percent.
Exhaust: Our hats are off to all those who spec’d the six; it’s the only way to enjoy a car like this. That said, if we’re reading between the tea leaves: It’s more likely that an enthusiast would pre-order a car like this, and by extension, get the manual. We’d be curious to see what the manual vs. CVT rate is in 2025— will it balance out a bit more? Honda has a learning opportunity on its hands: Its most devoted enthusiasts are still willing to pony up for a manual transmission.