Porsche drops ducktail nostalgia bomb, Ford’s second electric truck, manual Supra details
Porsche’s 2023 911 Sport Classic is a limited-run ’70s throwback
Intake: Porsche has raided its archives yet again to create a second model in its Heritage Design collectors’ editions. Like the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Edition, this one—dubbed the 911 Sport Classic (SC)—blends an enticing menu of components into something worth lusting after: widebody rump, double-bubble roof, ducktail spoiler, mighty 543-hp engine, rear-drive, and a seven-speed manual gearbox. The Sport Classic is based on the Turbo S, utilizing its extra width while slightly reducing the non-S 911 Turbo’s 3.7-liter, twin-turbocharged engine’s overall output so that the rear tires don’t get vaporized and the seven-speed manual transmission can cope. Ceramic composite brakes, rear axle steering, dynamic chassis control, active suspension, and the Sport Chrono Pack all come standard.
Carbon fiber is used extensively to save weight and sculpt the car’s throwback bodywork. The hood, roof, and that killer ducktail spoiler are all made of the stuff and depict shapes first seen on the 1972–73 911 Carrera RS 2.7. The center-lock alloy wheels are styled to resemble Porsche’s iconic Fuchs alloy wheels, although at 20 and 21-inches in diameter they’re huge compared to the car’s inspiration.
Inside there’s a mix of semi-aniline leather in black and cognac, with Pepita cloth seat inserts and dark Paldao wood trim. A numbered plaque on the dashboard will mark each car in the 1,250-unit run. Buyers will also be encouraged to spring for a Porsche Chronograph watch that matches their new ride. Prices for the car and timepiece will be announced at a later day for the 2023 model year, although both are probably already sold out.
Exhaust: Retro doesn’t always work, but when you throwback to a car as stunning as the Carrera RS, it’s hard to go wrong. The Carrera RS 2.7 was the first 911 to be truly part race car and part street car, as well as the first 911 to use the “Carrera” moniker. That significance to the Porsche story as well as the RS 2.7’s rarity and performance make it the most collectible early 911. Manual aside, this new SC is more of a tribute than a reincarnation, but the nostalgia play still plucks at our heartstrings.
There’s more than Lightning in Ford’s electric truck forecast
Intake: At an unveiling event for the F-150 Lightning pickup, Ford CEO Jim Farley disclosed that another truck of the electric variety is also in the works, stealing a little bit of the Lightning’s thunder as a result. “We’re already pushing dirt down in Blue Oval City in Tennessee for another electric pickup truck that’s different than this one,” Farley hinted during a livestream event at the Rouge Electric Vehicle center in Dearborn, Michigan. While the tease remains a tight-lipped topic, Ford officials made it clear that this new truck will be different from the F-150 Lightning—and its F-series electric plans for that matter. Speculators are hedging their bets on an electric Ranger, as it’s the only logical model due for a next-gen refresh. The Maverick can’t be counted out, but Ford is having no issues selling the current hybrid and ICE models, which are still relatively new offerings on the market.
Exhaust: With an affordable F-150 Lightning (the only full-size electric pickup currently available with a sub-$40k base price for what Ford calls “a commercially-oriented variant”) headed to customers soon, Ford’s next move is likely a downsized electric truck. If the Blue Oval team delivers both a F-150 Lightning that can inherit the regular F-150’s dominant sales lineage and a new kid on the block that comes close to the consumer demand of the Maverick, the competition is going to have some serious catching up to do.
Only the six-cylinder Supra will get a stick shift
Intake: Toyota has dished more details on its upcoming manual GR Supra, and buyers of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder car will be out of luck. Only 3.0-liter six-cylinder models will be offered with the six-speed stick shift, which Toyota dubs iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission). The new gearbox comes with additional software to optimize engine torque for upshifts and for “consistent performance” on downshifts. The system is on by default, but drivers can switch it off for analog rev-matching. Manual models have a shorter final drive ratio than the automatics and weigh 86 pounds less. Between those two factors and a revised traction control system to aid launches, we may have a rare case where the manually-shifted sports car is quicker to 60 mph than its automatic counterpart. Other driver-oriented goodies include a Hairpin+ feature that allows more rear wheel slip on tight mountain roads, and a new anti-roll system designed to avoid snap oversteer. Though it sounds somewhat counterintuitive, the Supra’s track mode has been stepped up to make drifting even easier. These tricks, along with retuned suspension, will also be available on automatic editions.
Stick Supras will come in three flavors for the U.S. market: 3.0, 3.0 Premium, and the A91-MT Edition, which will be limited to 500 units. A new Stratosphere Blue color will be offered, while the A91 comes in Matte White or CU Later Gray over a Cognac leather interior. Along with 19-inch Frozen Gunmetal Gray wheels, the special edition gets red strut tower braces for added engine bay appeal. Pricing is to be announced this summer with sales to start before the end of 2022.
Exhaust: Our time behind the wheel of the 2021 Supra revealed that the BMW-sourced 3.0-liter engine had gobs of torque on tap, and we can only imagine how much fun it will be to dole that sort of twist out through gear ratios of our choosing. The GR Supra may never live up to the 2JZ-powered missile of prior generations, but at least you can finally row your own. The Supra may be the more nostalgic performance nameplate, but ironically, the recently announced GR Corolla may do more to endear the GR name to enthusiasts—even those who grew up watching Fast and Furious.
Polestar 2 gains minimalist sparkle, Scottish leather for ’23
Intake: One year into its lifetime, Polestar’s cheapest model (the 2) is getting a handful of aesthetic upgrades for the 2023 model year. The subtle changes are befitting of the brand’s minimalist schtick. The darkest paint color in the color palette, a high-gloss black called Void, is replaced by a metallic variant, Space. The beige-adjacent offering Moon cedes its place to Jupiter, a taupe with a red flake. A lighter gray leather option is now available, paired with matching wood trim in Light ash. Like the rest of the leather in Polestar’s 2023 lineup, the hide is sourced from Scottish firm Bridge of Weir, which also supplies Aston Martin. Mechanical upgrades are similarly minimal, including a new cabin air filter and a heat pump that can manage an improved ideal temperature range to keep the battery pack happy in cooler temperatures. Pricing for the 2023 model year, as well as range numbers, will be announced later.
Exhaust: With an IPO expected any month via a merger with Gorges Guggenheim, now isn’t the time for Polestar to make major changes to its most accessible offering, whose single-motor, rear-drive variant stickers at $47,200 for the 2022 model year (that’s with destination but without the $7500 federal EV tax credit). During our first drive, we were majorly impressed by this EV’s clean Google infotainment system and excellent interior ergonomics. As long as tax credits last, even the single-motor, 265-mile version is a solid value proposition.
Drop-in fuel Hellcat pump supports triple-digit horsepower
Intake: Aeromotive now offers drop-in fuel pump modules for 2015+ Challengers and Chargers equipped with Hellcat V-8 engines. The double and triple-pump assemblies drop directly into place and use the factory sending units and lock rings. The dual-pump module uses one 525 lph pump and one 450 lph pump, while the triple pump adds one more 450 lph pump. Both units will require an external regulator and return line, but they will provide fuel to feed tremendous horsepower gains that would come from additional displacement, more boost, or both. The dual pump will feed up to 1610 horsepower when using gasoline on a supercharged application and up to 1120 hp when running E-85. The triple pump will fuel up to 2410 hp in forced-induction, gasoline-fed applications and up to 1670 hp on E-85.
Exhaust: The Hellcat Hemi engine not only helped democratize 700-hp vehicles, it also gave enthusiasts a foundation to go after much more. The engine has proven to be capable of holding up to abuse and turning up the wick on the supercharger is a common modification. Aeromotive has helped eliminate one bottleneck in the quest for more horsepower by making sure there’s plenty of fuel. As it’s not pulse-width-modulated like the factory pump, they will require a return line, but that’s a much easier proposition given the pump’s pluming is built to accept one.