Buy a real-life “Sally” built by Porsche and Pixar, NYC proposes congestion fees, Acura recycles 2016 name for EV SUV concept

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Real-life “Sally” by Porsche and Pixar could be yours on August 20

Intake: Last March we told you about the Porsche 911 Sally Special from the movie Carsa real-life version of the animated car that would be auctioned during Monterey Car Week to benefit young girls through Girls Inc. as well as USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Now we know the date: It will be sold by RM Sotheby’s on Saturday, August 20.

A joint effort by Porsche and Pixar Animation Studios, the special Porsche was inspired by one of the most beloved 911 models of all—Sally Carrera, from Disney and Pixar’s Cars. Named the “911 Sally Special,” the car is unique: Only one 911 Sally Special will ever be made, and its creation marks the first time Pixar has collaborated on such a project. “My own daughters grew up watching Sally, and so it’s a special moment to be working so closely with Pixar on a project that has meaning and will directly help a new generation of children to both realize their potential and, in the case of the UNHCR, find safety and start new lives,” said Kjell Gruner, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. The project, which began in November 2021, reunited members of the original Cars team who created both the movie car and the life-size Sally Carrera based on a 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera two decades ago. That team included Jay Ward, creative director of the franchise at Pixar Animation Studios, and Bob Pauley, who, as production designer for Cars, sketched Sally for the first time 20 years ago. They were joined by key members of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur’s Sonderwunsch team in Stuttgart plus designers from Style Porsche in Weissach and Porsche Cars North America. Over a span of 10 months, the team worked together to create just one unique car. “The 911 Sally Special has been so much fun to create and is truly a first for us and for Porsche,” said Ward. “We decided early on that we wanted to make a drivable 911, inspired by but not a direct copy of Sally Carrera. After all, she loved to drive—and this helped guide us. If Sally Carrera was built today in life-size, for the road, what would she look like?”

Exhaust: “The Sally Special is based on the fastest, most engaging, and agile 911 Carrera there is—the 473-hp 911 Carrera GTS—equipped with a manual gearbox to appeal to those who love driving, just like Sally Carrera,” said Boris Apenbrink, director of Porsche’s Manufaktur vehicles. The “Sally Blue Metallic” Porsche is not only a cool collector item you can drive, but it benefits two worthwhile charities. –Steven Cole Smith

Low-drag Brabus EQS goes farther

Intake: German Benz (and Porsche and Rolls) fettler Brabus has improved the efficiency of the all-electric EQS sedan with an aero package that can extend the car’s driving range. In typical Brabus style there’s a new front spoiler, rear diffuser, and air deflectors—all fabricated in carbon fiber, of course. Fine-tuned in the wind tunnel, and combined with the brand’s SportXtra suspension and 22-inch Monoblock forged alloy wheels, Brabus’s pacakge cuts the drag coefficient by 7.2 percent and reduces aerodynamic lift by 40 percent. Brabus says that this extends the range of the EQS by seven percent—no mean feat on a car built with a .2 cD and an EPA-certified range of 350 or 340 miles (for the 450+ and the 580 models, respectively).

Exhaust: For electric vehicles, range is really the performance feature that counts, so for Brabus to tailor its tuning of the EQS to efficiency rather than speed makes total sense. Will AMG and BMW’s M division follow this lead? — NB

MTA’s proposed Manhattan congestion fees as high as $23

NYC lower manhattan financial district aerial
Unsplash/Brandon Jacoby

Intake: New Yorkers who have been complaining about traffic congestion in the city may soon get what they’ve been hoping for. But the cost of reducing that traffic has also provided something new to complain about. According to NBC, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority environmental assessment that proposes “congestion pricing” in Manhattan will have not only a positive impact on air quality (with an 11 percent reduction in pollution) but will negatively affect drivers and businesses. NBC says that motorists entering Manhattan below 60th Street would be charged a toll electronically, excluding the West Side Highway and FDR Drive. The estimated $1 billion annual revenue from the tolls would be used to back borrowing for capital improvements to the MTA’s subway and bus systems. The MTA released seven different scenarios for the tolling plan, with peak-period toll rates to enter the “Central Business District” of anywhere from $9 to $23, depending on the version implemented. (By comparison, most vehicles that venture inside London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone pay £12.50, the equivalent of $15.14. Driving a non-zero emissions vehicle into central London costs an additional £15, or $18.17.) In virtually all configurations of the NYC plan, NBC reports that “peak” would run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. While the MTA says the plan would reduce traffic and congestion, shorten trip times, increase economic productivity, increase MTA bus reliability, and minimize energy consumption, opponents of the proposal say the fees will negatively affect motorists and businesses during a time of economic uncertainty.

Exhaust: On its face, the proposal has its merits, but for New Yorkers and commuters from New Jersey, the timing couldn’t be worse. Owning a car in the metropolitan area is an expensive endeavor, as residents already pay tolls to use bridges and tunnels in the city, garage space is costly, and gas prices are high. Adding additional fees will make it even more difficult to own a vehicle—impossible for some—which may be the idea. Perhaps in an attempt to quiet critics of the plan, governor Kathy Hochul says, “This process is not finished; there’s still time for public input.” We hope there’s also room for compromise. 

This TAG Heuer smartwatch talks to your Porsche

TAG-Connection-Porsche
TAG Heuer

Intake: TAG Heuer and Porsche have a decades-long link, but only now are their two products actually connected through smartwatch technology. The new Calibre E4 Porsche Edition chronograph by Tag Heuer links to a wide range of late-model Porsches to display car data on its face, and control certain systems from its dial. Linking via the MyPorsche App on your smartphone the Calibre will show your Taycan’s remaining range or your ICE car’s mileage, while you can also adjust the cabin temperature from your wrist. The watch incorporates a heart rate monitor, GPS and accelerometer so can act as a health tracker as well. Design-wise the Calibre features a black titanium case and ceramic bezel, a sapphire glass screen, and a rubber-carbon strap. The electric blue crown, pushers and strap elements match the Taycan’s paint hue. The cost of connectivity? $2750.

Exhaust: The watch to car connectivity seems pretty limited. Where’s the button to remote park your Porsche or the feature that links your lap times to your heart rate? Maybe there’s scope for these and other actions in the future but for now we’d rather stick to a more traditional Carrera chronograph. —Nik Berg

Acura recycles title of 2016 concept for electric SUV

Acura Precision EV Gif
Acura

Intake: Acura has announced that it will debut a new Precision concept on August 18 at Monterey Car Week. The teaser for the electric concept depicts the same angular styling that we’ve come to know from the premium arm of the Honda family. In place of the trapezoidal mesh grille on the gas-powered or hybrid models offered currently, this new concept has a flat grille illuminated by blue diamonds and a light-up Acura badge. (It’s common for established OEMs to simply fill-in existing grilles since electric motors and batteries need far less cooling than today’s ubiquitous turbocharged engines.) The roofline, though barely visible, seems to depict an SUV of sorts—perhaps a taste of what’s to come from the impending electric SUV that’s being built on GM’s Ultium battery platform as part of a partnership between Honda and GM. That SUV might be called the ADX, according to a filing with the United States Patent Office in late December of last year. Elsewhere, the same slim headlights and angular front end are visible, signs that although the underpinnings of these future models will be entirely different, their visual presence will still be instantly recognizable as an Acura. Details beyond the image above are nonexistent, but we won’t have to wait long to see what else this new concept has to say.

Exhaust: This isn’t the first time Acura has used the “Precision Concept” idea to signal a major change in the brand. At the Detroit Auto Show in 2016, Acura debuted an achingly gorgeous sedan under the same title to highlight the angular design language that would go on to define all Acuras until today. As market tastes clearly shift away from beautiful sedans and towards SUVs, it’s logical that the concept will take form as the latter. While still another SUV has us a little bit exasperated, take heart: Although it will almost certainly be all-electric, there is another NSX in the works, too.

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