Ranger Raptor teased for Baja duty, Dodge “grenades” 7 test Hellcat engines, a flying car from China?
Ranger Raptor unveiled in Baja race truck form
Intake: Ford of Australia is teasing another look at the upcoming Ranger Raptor truck, this time in race form. Set to do battle at the Baja 1000 on November 18th, we see how Ford turned a production truck into something worthy of motorsport. After stripping the interior accoutrements worthy of mall crawling with the family, the crew-cab pickup began initial testing with Kelly Racing in the Australian Outback. Final testing was with Lovell Racing in Johnson Valley, California, just a few hours away from the main event in Ensenada.
Exhaust: While not legal for road use, this race truck is likely very similar to the Ranger Raptor we will see next year, as specifications available on Ford of Australia’s website, complete with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 similar to the one found in the Bronco Raptor. Considering how much Ranger engineering is in the Bronco’s template, there’s a very good chance that the Ranger will now raid the Bronco’s parts bin for bespoke Raptor parts that are ready (and legal) for road use. —Sajeev Mehta
Chunky Chinese flying car takes off
Intake: China’s Xpeng has successfully flown a flying car for the first time. The AeroHT looks like a fairly unassuming electric SUV with a hefty roof box in ground mode, but as it readies for flight it deploys eight rotors just like a scaled-up consumer drone. It can then take off and land vertically, hover and fly forward and backwards. Weighing in at more than two tons, it can’t fly very far at the moment, however. A single charge will only take it “a few dozen kilometers.” Despite the AeroHT’s size it only has room for two travelers—and they need to weigh less than 400 lbs between them. The driver/pilot uses the steering wheel for direction changes in the air as well as the road, plus an additional lever for vertical and horizontal movement. “We believe it will be the first car that can both drive and fly and is fully electric and intelligent,” says an Xpeng spokesman.
Exhaust: How many times have we been promised flying cars in the past only to be presented with machines that may take to the skies, but would be pretty useless on the road? It might look a bit ungainly, but Xpeng’s effort does genuinely appear to be potentially both roadworthy and airworthy. There’s clearly much work still to be done, but maybe we’re a step closer to a genuine flying car future. —Nik Berg
Ducati Diavel gains two pistons, sheds 29 pounds
Intake: The Ducati Diavel is big muscle that just got a bit bigger thanks to the V-twin that gained 100 percent more pistons to become a V-4. The 1158cc Granturismo engine pumps out 168 horsepower and 93 foot-pounds of torque which combines with an established chassis to create a machine that is sporty yet can happily cruise main street and let the exhaust note tell the story. It’s a deeper exhaust note thanks to cylinder deactivation that runs only the front cylinders when under light load. Open the throttle and bring all four pots online and you better be holding on tight.
Exhaust: It’s an amount of performance no riders really need, but don’t call it unnecessary. The Diavel is the picture of a muscle bike and also is known to be quite comfortable. A V-4 in a cruiser chassis is total overkill but we are here for it and thoroughly enjoy the idea of ripping off shifts through the factory quickshifter as the 240mm rear tire grapples for traction between Launch Control interventions. What more could you want out of a main street bruiser? —Kyle Smith
This 911 GT3 has a sacrilegious Subaru engine swap
Intake: Whether it’s built for speed or just to cause consternation this Porsche 911 GT3 will definitely be a talking point at SEMA this year. Instead of its 3.6-liter normally-aspirated flat-six motor, the 2007 997 has a turbocharged EJ25 four-banger boxer from a 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI installed over the rear axle. Built by DevSpeed for Japanese oil firm ENEOS from a crashed and stripped donor car, the Scooby-Stuttgart mashup gets a BorgWarner 7064-C turbo, a Vibrant intercooler, Deatchswerks injectors and fuel pumps to help it on its way to 550 horsepower. That’s a major hike from the original Porsche’s 415 horses, plus the engine alone is some 170 pounds lighter than the factory unit. A Subaru STI six-speed transmission is installed, along with BC coilovers and Rotiform alloys. Wider bodywork comes from VAD Design in the U.K. and to cap it all off the car is finished in the famous blue and yellow livery worn by Subaru to numerous World Rally Championship victories.
Exhaust: Maybe it’s been born to troll, but the power and weight advantage this car has over a standard GT3 does mean it should stand up to scrutiny. See it for yourself at SEMA or just wait for the Twitter storm. —NB
Bentley announces limited-edition hybrid Bentayga
Intake: Move quickly if you want one of the just-announced Bentley Bentayga Odyssean Editions — the company is only building 70 copies of what it’s calling “the most sustainable Bentayga.” The first Odyssean Edition was launched in 2021 on a Flying Spur, and similar to the Flying Spur Odyssean, the new Bentayga limited edition takes advantage of the benefits provided by a hybrid powertrain, specifically a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 and a “new and improved” 18.0 kWh battery coupled to an electric motor, allowing for a range of 28 electric-only miles. Total horsepower is 456, and Bentley claims a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds, and a top speed of 158 mph. The SUV’s Odyssean Edition is available for orders this month, with production starting in early 2023.
Exhaust: We didn’t know that there was a cry among Bentley customers for more sustainability in their special editions, but maybe there is. Seventy customers, anyway. No price has been announced but we’d guess it will be one of the less expensive special Bentaygas at about $168,000 for a base hybrid, and we figure adding on at least $25,000 for the Odyssean Edition. —SCS
Dodge “grenaded” seven engines en route to special edition
Intake: In direct opposition to Bentley’s “most sustainable” special editions, Dodge’s “last call” for special-edition Chargers and Challengers ran into a rocky patch when the company was putting its final Hellcat engine on the dyno, running a grueling certification test for what is believed to be the most powerful Hellcat engine yet, which was to go in an as-yet undisclosed car for the SEMA show. Unfortunately, according to a conference call with Tim Kuniskis, Dodge CEO, they lost seven engines as they tried to complete the certification process, so the SEMA car will be delayed. “It’s not so easy to do,” he said, speaking of the certification process. “We run these things on wide-open throttle for hours and hours on end, 24-7. The testing on these things is just brutal. So far we’ve grenaded seven engines, but I think we’ve got it figured out.” The horsepower output is likely north of 850, since Dodge already hit 840 horses for the Demon.
Exhaust: The Hellcat engines have been surprisingly reliable, even though customers have often run them to the maximum and beyond. You have to love a CEO that not only admits it when his engines blow up, but is committed to making the engine work at what is likely an unexpected, and substantial, cost. Oh, yes, of course, we also love the Bentley Hybrid, too; after all we aren’t Neanderthals— but we really love those big Dodge V-8s. —SCS
Uber shares “surge” as company forecasts profitable quarter
Intake: Finally some good news for the rideshare company: Reuters says Uber Technologies forecast fourth-quarter operating profit above Wall Street estimates, sending its shares up 10 percent. With the pandemic trending downward, it has opened up a need for travel that Uber is addressing. “Consumers are shifting their budgets to services, Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said, compared to the two years of COVID-led lockdowns when they had limited spending to basic needs,” according to Reuters. Revenue in Uber’s rideshare segment rose 73 percent in the third quarter.
Exhaust: Uber is a valuable resource when those of us who can’t stop driving, have to stop driving briefly, anyway. Good to know we have a reliable ride to our mechanic’s shop to pick up our cars. —SCS