Mercedes-AMG’s first four-pot C-Class, Dodge’s Chief Donut Maker, and Hot Wheels’ new movie
Meet AMG’s first four-cylinder C-Class
Intake: A new age has dawned for Mercedes-Benz’ C-Class, and you’re looking at its first emissary. As announced in February of 2021, all variants of Mercedes’ compact sedan will use a four-cylinder powertrain—including the high-performance AMG models. That four-pot story starts with the C 43 AMG that debuted yesterday. It’s powered by a 402-hp version of the AMG-tuned, 1991-cc, turbocharged inline-four (M139) that first appeared in summer of 2019 boasting 208 hp per liter. In the C 43, the engine boasts a fancy new turbocharger design and makes 402, rather than 416 hp. That’s still enough to improve over the 2021 C 43’s 385 hp, though torque drops from 384 to 369 lb-ft. This newest C 43 has two fewer cylinders and one turbocharger instead of two, but it compensates by using a shaft-mounted electric motor to spool the single turbo more quickly. Like many Benzes in recent memory, the 2023 C 43 uses a 48V mild-hybrid system that essentially subs for the alternator and, in this car, can even produce a temporary 13-hp boost. You’ll need to wring the thing out, though, to achieve those higher output numbers: peak hp at 6750 rpm rather than 6100, not 2500, and max torque now arrives at 5000 rpm.
Exhaust: We had suspected that the C-Class prototypes running around the Nürburgring previewed the range-topping C 63 model, which is currently powered by a twin-turbo V-8 and, like all other C-Classes, is set for a four-pot transplant. However, Mercedes has made the advent of four-cylinders a bit more palatable by starting with the C 63’s little brother, whose outgoing model is a twin-turbo, V-6 affair starting around $57K. The C 43 is traditionally the bargain performance play of the C-Class lineup, aimed at those who want real performance gains (not just some AMG-Line appearance package) but don’t want to stretch to the roughly $70K top-of-the-line model. There’s no denying that the M139 is a potent little mill … but much weighs on its proverbial shoulders. Can it court enough newcomers to replace the alienated AMG faithful?
Dodge’s Chief Donut Maker is the coolest executive position in the industry
Intake: While an all-wheel-drive, all-electric muscle car may be in the works at Dodge, the folks who were wild enough to stick a Hellcat V-8 in just about everything with four wheels aren’t letting gas-powered, tire-smoking machines go out with a whimper. After receiving more than 173,500 applicants for its newly founded Chief Donut Maker position, Dodge announced a winner on April 26, fondly known as Hemi Day among car enthusiasts. Preston Patterson of North Carolina will earn $150,000 over the next year, along with the keys to a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat that he’ll bring to some of the industry’s biggest events, such as Detroit’s Roadkill Nights later this summer. Patterson won out over nine other finalists from all over the country, all of whom were flown out to Radford Racing School in Arizona for a series of elimination challenges that ranged from driving exercises to Dodge trivia.
Exhaust: Only Dodge could come up with a position as wild as Chief Donut Maker and be taken seriously. The Mustang has morphed into a track-slaying sports car, and the Camaro—wait, does Chevy even still sell it? Dodge has kept the spirit of muscle cars front and center with models like the Challenger Hellcat Redeye, the Demon, and even the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. Kudos to Patterson, who seems appropriately geeked about his gig. We’re looking forward to seeing him fly the muscle flag amid clouds of vaporized rubber.
Live-action Hot Wheels movie will be produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company
Intake: Mattel, Inc. and Warner Bros. Pictures have announced that J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot will produce Hot Wheels, a live-action motion picture featuring the iconic toy cars. Mattel describes the project as a “high-throttle action film [that will] showcase some of the world’s hottest and sleekest cars, monster trucks, and motorcycles.” Mattel Films and Warner Bros. Pictures are also partners on the upcoming motion picture featuring another Mattel icon, Barbie. Abrams has written, produced, or directed a long list of motion picture blockbusters, including a pair of Star Wars films and the Mission: Impossible franchise.
Exhaust: Even if we don’t know much about this production beyond that the details above, count us in on any live-action film that promises awesome cars—especially with J.J. Abrams involved. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine if this becomes Warner Brothers’ answer to Universal’s Fast and Furious movies. If that’s the plan, WB and Bad Robot will likely pull out all the stops. Buckle up and bring it on.
This LaFerrari Aperta set a BaT record on its first day
Intake: A 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta took just a day online to set a new price record for auction site Bring a Trailer. Originally sold for $2 million between 2016 and 2018, just 210 Apertas were made, and this Rosso Corsa example saw bidding rapidly rise to $4 million. It has just 161 miles on the clock so the 6.3-liter V-12 isn’t yet run in, the Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes show no wear, and the electric powertrain has barely buzzed into life. The combined forces of internal combustion and electricity send 950 hp to the car’s rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and electronic differential. Electromagnetic dampers suspend the car at each corner, it wears 19- and 20-inch alloy wheels on Pirelli P Zero tires, and the Aperta’s extra party piece is its removable carbon roof panel, providing a potential for 200 mph wind in the hair moments—not that this car has ever seen such action.
Exhaust: If ever there was an example as an automobile as a pure investment vehicle, this it. Despite its minuscule mileage, the car has had three owners; it was delivered new to The Collection of Coral Gables in Florida, then registered in Ohio before the current seller took ownership, with each owner profiting nicely along the way. Why can’t they just buy NFTs instead and leave cars to drivers?
Nismo pipes up for the 2023 Nissan Z
Intake: The U.S. launch of the Nissan Z may be delayed until summer, but that just gives you a little more time to choose your spec wisely. As it happens, Nismo has announced a stainless steel exhaust system which you’ll definitely want to add. The Nismo sports muffler is designed to provide “a light and comfortable exhaust note from normal driving to high-speed driving,” according to Nissan’s in-house tuning brand. The system does reduce the Z’s ground clearance by 0.2 inches, but that’s a small price to pay for the extra aural pleasure and sweet looks of the new pipes. The upgrade is already available in Japan, priced at an equivalent of around $2,400.
Exhaust: No doubt this is just the first of many Nismo parts for the Z, proving that Nissan truly understands the needs of its customers to personalize and add performance to their cars. If these pipes make the Z sound better than it looks, a few more months of waiting will be worth it.
Justin Lin steps down as director of Fast X, stays on as producer
Intake: The Fast and Furious franchise has delivered plenty of on-screen spectacle, but theatrics usually end when the credits roll. Unfortunately, the drama appears to have spilled over into the real world as filming for the Fast and Furious franchise’s final saga, Fast X, gets underway—Justin Lin has stepped down as as the film’s director, citing “creative differences” as the reason behind the move. He will stay on as a producer, but the move certainly comes as a surprise. Lin co-wrote Fast X, and has held the director role for four of the franchise’s prior films. A report from Deadline indicates that while some second-unit shooting will continue, the main portion of production will undergo a pause while Universal executives search for Lin’s replacement. Fast X is expected to debut in May 19, 2023 and as of this writing, no news of delays due to Lin’s role-change have been announced.
Exhaust: A director walking away from a film is hardly new, but when someone so tightly tied to a franchise like Lin is to the Fast and Furious films makes the move, it’s hard not to get worried. We can only hope that the final product still includes Dom’s black Charger, even if it has to be morphed into a spaceship to fight aliens.