Hot-rod Tahoe cribs cop kit, “King Daytona” Charger tops 800 hp, GranTurismo officially shown

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Grace Houghton

Chevrolet’s hot-rod Tahoe cribs cop brakes, suspension

Intake: The 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe RST Performance Edition has rolled all of the road-hugging suspension from its police-pursuit cousin and paired it with an intake and exhaust system from Chevrolet Performance for a total of 433 horsepower and 467 lb-ft of torque. That’s an additional 13 hp and 7 lb-ft of torque over the standard 6.2-liter V-8, making this the most powerful Tahoe yet. The RST Performance Edition raided the police pursuit Tahoe for its beefy Brembo brakes and 275/55R20 Firestone Firehawk Pursuit tires as well as its springs, dampers, and chassis tuning. It results in a ride height that’s 0.4 inches lower in the front and 0.8 inches lower in the rear. The added power drops 0-to-60-mph sprints by almost two-tenths to 5.78 seconds, while the quarter-mile elapsed time comes down a full two-tenths compared to the standard RST with a 14.2-second time. Further, the big Brembos and grippy Firestones shaved more than six feet of the SUV’s 60-to-0 stopping, now measuring just 133 feet. To cap it off, the RST Performance Edition comes with the same 7600-pound towing capacity as the standard 6.2-liter RST.

Exhaust: This new package is giving us Tahoe Limited vibes from the end of the GMT400 days, and that’s a good thing. Unlike that short-lived option set, this one adds real power gains. We’re all for performance packages that actually boost output and aren’t just cosmetic. Blues Brothers jokes aside, the slightly lower stance should also improve handling, and stopping a few feet shorter thanks to brakes that are 25-percent larger in diameter could make a big difference in panic halts. —Brandan Gillogly 

IndyCar’s Alex Palou sticks with Ganassi for 2023

NTT IndyCar Series Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix Qualifying alex palou ganassi mclaren
August 13, 2021: Alex Palou of Spain, driver of the #10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, prepares for qualifying for the NTT IndyCar Series Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Intake: Two for one isn’t that bad for the McLaren IndyCar and Formula 1 teams. McLaren team principal Zak Brown went after Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou, and on the Formula 1 side, sought Alpine’s Oscar Piastri for one of its F1 cars. McLaren got Piastri, but lost out on Palou, who Wednesday said he decided to stay with Ganassi. A bonus for Palou: He claimed on Twitter that he might get to test McLaren F1 cars.

Exhaust: It was an off year for 2021 IndyCar champ Palou, with his only victory of 2022 coming at the finale last Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with the season ending in a fifth-place points position, well behind the 2022 champ, Team Penske’s Will Power. It’s thought that Palou began listening to McLaren’s offer when he became convinced he wasn’t getting the best equipment, but apparently Chip convinced him otherwise. Still, it made for an odd victory lane ceremony. –Steven Cole Smith

Corvette’s “build your own engine” is back

Brandan Gillogly

Intake: During the 28th anniversary celebration at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Corvette owners got a surprise during Corvette Director Kai Spande’s final announcement: The LT6 (that’s the Z06 motor) Engine Build Experience would resume next spring. The program will allow buyers to help build their own 670-horsepower, flat-plane crank V-8 at the Performance Build Center. “We’ve done some things the customers who build their engine will appreciate,” said Spande; rather than join in with the assembly line builders, the plant will have an area only for enrolled customers, where they will work on their engines alongside Corvette engineers.

Exhaust: No price has been set for the Experience, but Corvette Blogger says that when the program applied to C7-generation buyers, it cost $5000. It’s expected to be considerably more than that this time around. But we’d think going hands-on with your own car is worth it. –SCS

Very orange “King Daytona” Charger takes Hellcat Redeye to 807 hp

2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona
Stellantis | Dodge

Intake: Dodge has announced its fifth of seven “Last Call” models that commemorate the outgoing Charger and Challenger. It’s the 2023 Dodge Charger King Daytona, which traces its lineage to a West Coast drag racing icon, “Big Willie” Robinson, who nicknamed his 1969 Dodge Charger “King Daytona.” The King Daytona, essentially a Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody with more muscle, has Go Mango paint, orange accents and an 807-horsepower V-8. The Dodge Charger King Daytona follows the previously announced Dodge Challenger Shakedown, Dodge Charger Super Bee and Dodge Challenger and Charger Scat Pack Swinger models.

Exhaust: No price or ordering info yet; that will happen this fall. The next “Last Call” model will be announced September 21, and the last at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, which runs from November 1-4. It will be interesting to see how strong the buyer interest is for seven models spread across the Dodge performance spectrum. So far, this is the most powerful and most orange. –SCS

The last 16 new OG Defenders are for sale

Twisted final 16 Defenders
Nick Dimbleby

Intake: British Land Rover tweaker Twisted ordered 200 Defenders in 2015 to fuel its business and now the final 16 are up for grabs after being stored in a barn for the last six years. With less than 30 miles on the odometer these Defender 110s were some of the last off the production line, and were hand picked by Twisted founder Charles Fawcett: “I went to the Defender production line at Solihull to meet the men and women building the vehicles. These 16 110s were hand-picked for their chassis numbers and build dates. They were all registered in 2016 —after production ceased—identifying them among the last off the line and, arguably, more collectible. They’re special, and when Twisted, each one will be unique. All of the 16 will be Twisted, but exactly how depends on the lifestyle and tastes of the customer. The Twisted way isn’t to tell people what their Defender should be; it’s to work with them to create a Defender that’s the best fit for them.” Prices start at £135,000 ($155,600) plus taxes and build slots open in 2023 to mark 40 years since the 110 was launched.

Exhaust: Fawcett is clearly a man with foresight. Hiding these Defenders away for the last six years can only have added to their value, even before they get a signature Twisted treatment. —Nik Berg

Ford to dealers: Stop fleecing our customers, upgrade your facilities

ford mach-e f-150 lightning ev Vehicle-to-Vehicle Charging
Ford

Intake: Ford told its dealership network how the brand is operating in the future, most notably that all Ford EVs must be sold at “non-negotiable” prices. While not applicable to fossil-fuel powered Fords, another change is an upgrade to support EV charging. Ford has two tiers of compliance: The “Model e Certified Elite” dealership requires a $900,000 investment (including the installation of two DC fast chargers, at least one public-facing) to get the benefit of receiving EV inventory and demonstrator models. The “Model e Certified” dealership requires a $500,000 investment (mostly for a single, public-facing DC fast charger) with less available inventory and no dealer demos. The upgrade is intended as a cooperative effort, as Ford CEO Jim Farley told Automotive News: “We’re not so excited or dogmatic that we want a certain number of people to take it that we’d look past the financial viability of it.”

Exhaust: This news comes as no surprise to some, as Ford took a lot of heat online when journalists and EV influencers found examples of dealers gauging would-be customers with “market adjustments” to F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E. While we can thank Tesla’s one-price business model for changing how the game is sold, those who wanted to be the first Ford EV owner in town via pen stroke to checkbook will be sorely disappointed. Considering the positive momentum of EVs across the country, dealers will be wise to upgrade their facilities to fall into compliance, even if its harder for the smaller, rural, and family-owned dealers in the short term. At least Ford knows to be flexible to its diverse dealer body. —Sajeev Mehta

Shown in full, GranTurismo gets in-house Nettuno V-6

Intake: Having revealed the electric Folgore version in its natural habitat of California, Maserati has headed back home to showcase the new GranTurismo with gasoline in its veins. Shown on the streets of Modena, and powered by a version of the twin-turbo Nettuno V-6 that made its debut in the MC20, and has since been installed in the Grecale SUV, the GranTurismo will be offered in Modena and Trofeo specifications. The Modena version is expected to offer up 523 hp while the racier Trofeo will get the full 621 hp as delivered in the MC20. From the outside it doesn’t look much different from the car that first entered showrooms in 2007, but clearly its under the skin where all the effort has been put in.

Exhaust: Maserati has had a GranTurismo-sized gap in its lineup since 2019 and, much rides on its success. The Nettuno is an epic engine that will provide the power and aural stimulation GranTurismo buyers have always enjoyed, however ultimate speed will come from the electric Folgore. Which will prove more popular? —NB

Maserati Nettuno Engine 1
Maserati
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