Porsche 911 GT2 RS may be hybrid, the 10 new cars under 25K, BMW M5 wagon rumors


Next Porsche 911 GT2 RS will be a 700-hp hybrid: Report

Intake: In typical style, Porsche is saving the best for last; the final iteration of the 992-generation 911 will be the most powerful ever made. According to Autocar the GT2 RS will arrive in 2026 with a new hybrid powertrain that uses technology from the German firm’s 963 LMDh endurance race car. It will be a mild hybrid, says Autocar, with an electric motor boosting the turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-six engine to more than 700 horsepower. The system is focused on “performance enhancement with an absolute minimum increase in weight” and will use a 400-volt electrical system which is lighter than the 800 V setup used in the Taycan and the upcoming Boxster/Cayman and Macan EVs. Battery charging would come via regenerative braking and from the turbocharger, and this electrical energy would then be deployed to boost acceleration. The battery is also said to be mounted behind the seats to maintain the 911’s rear weight bias.

Exhaust: If the 911 has to be electrified then this sounds like the way to do it. Porsche reckons the weight penalty will only be around 220 pounds with a Weissach Package featuring carbon for the roof, frunk lid, rear wing and mirrors, and that will be more than compensated for by the increase in power. We can also expect the hybrid tech to trickle down into the rest of the 911 range before the decade is out. —Nik Berg

BMW executive hints at M5 wagon for America

BMW M5 CS rear spoiler and badge

Intake: At The Amelia this past weekend, we had dinner with a number of BMW executives, including Head of Product Communications Ingo Wirth. Though these suit-and-tie types are rarely willing to let slip anything about future product, we nonetheless probed about recent reports of a wagon version in the pipeline for the next-generation BMW M5. When asked if such a vehicle could make it to North America, Wirth turned to us, raised an eyebrow, and said, “You never know.”

Exhaust: In these situations, the answer one normally receives is “we do not comment on future product,” delivered in robotic corporate monotone. A specious “you never know,” is about as close to a real response as an executive can give without outright blabbing. According to veteran journalist Georg Kacher, the upcoming M5 wagon (codenamed G99), will pack the 735-hp/735-lb-ft plug-in hybrid powertrain from the XM. It’s rumored to go into production in late 2024, but even if an M5 wagon happens there is a chance it won’t ultimately come to America to do battle with the Audi RS 6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E 63. BMW, after all, opted not to bring the new M3 wagon to our shores. —Eric Weiner

Tesla whacks prices of S and X models

Tesla Model X rear driving action bike rack

Intake: Tesla cut prices of its Model S sedan and Model X crossover  Sunday by $5,000 and $10,000 respectively ‘as the company seeks to goose demand in the final month of the quarter,” says Automotive News. The Model S dual-motor is now $89,990, down 5.2 percent from $94,990, according to the company’s website. The Model S Plaid is now $109,990, down 4.3 percent from $114,990. The Model X all-wheel drive is now $99,990, down 9.1 percent from $109,990. The Model X Plaid is now $109,990, down 8.3 percent from $119,990. “Tesla sells its cars direct to consumers and often tweaks its pricing. The latest moves come even though Tesla drastically cut prices in January in a broad bid to boost sales,” Automotive News says.

Exhaust: Tesla is clearly feeling some pressure from other manufacturers. Will there be another price drop, or is this the optimum time to buy a Tesla? Your guess is as good as ours is. —Steven Cole Smith

Ford patents technology that would allow cars to repossess themselves

Courtesy Argo AI

Intake: “Imagine it’s the near future,” says NPR, and “you’ve bought a new car with a self-driving mode. But hard times hit and you fall behind on loan payments. Then, one day you find your car has driven itself away to the repossession lot.” That’s the vision of a new Ford patent published last month that describes a variety of futuristic ways that Ford vehicle systems could be controlled by a financial institution in order to aid in the repossession of a car. That said, the company told NPR that Ford has no intention of implementing the ideas in the patent, which is one among hundreds of pending Ford patents published this year by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. “We don’t have any plans to deploy this,” said Wes Sherwood, Ford spokesperson. “We submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business but they aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans.”

Exhaust: In the new world of 84-month, and even 96-month new-car payments, dealers tell us that more repossessions are definitely in the future. Seem like Ford is thinking ahead, despite shuttering its Argo AI autonomy division late last year. —SCS

Only 10 new cars under $25,000?


Intake: At the end of 2017, there were three dozen models with manufacturer-suggested retail prices (MSRPs) typically below $25,000, according to a report from Cox Automotive, a research and consulting firm. Fast forward five years and only 10 remain, according to Money. The average price of a new car is now close to $50,000, up from about $36,000 in 2017, according to Kelley Blue Book. The prices used are not the bare MSRP, but the price of the average sale. They are:

  • Chevrolet Spark: $17,244
  • Kia Rio: $18,962
  • Mitsubishi Mirage: $19,300
  • Hyundai Accent: $19,503
  • Nissan Versa: $20,262
  • Kia Forte: $23,005
  • Kia Soul: $23,349
  • Hyundai Venue: $23,714
  • Nissan Sentra: $24,098
  • Toyota Corolla: $24,978

Exhaust: As mentioned, Money points out that the MSRPs in this list are the average sticker prices of the vehicles that were sold in December, meaning they’re the typical prices when factoring in trim and option packages. This is not a list of starting MSRPs, which would be lower. Few people buy the absolute stripper models, assuming you can even find them on a dealer’s lot. —SCS

Ford boosting production of electric vehicles

Rouge Electric Vehicle Ford Lightning pickup production

Intake: The manufacturer is increasing production of the electric Mach-E and F-150 Lightning “to meet strong customer demand. “We have had a strong start to 2023 sales and we are moving to fast-track quality production,” said Kumar Galhotra, president, Ford Blue. “Increasing production benefits both our customers and our business.”

Ford began increasing production of the Mustang Mach-E this week. Changes at the plant will allow Ford to nearly double its hourly production and bring its annual manufacturing run rate to a targeted 210,000 units by year’s end. In Michigan, production of the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is on track to triple this year, targeting an annual production run rate of 150,000 by the end of 2023. The F-150 Lightning, the best-selling electric truck in the U.S., had sales of 3600 through February, in addition to the 15,617 sales recorded in 2022. F-150 Lightning production will resume March 13 after a battery fire halted the assembly line. Overall, for the F-150 Lightning production increase, Ford is investing $2 billion across three plants in Michigan and adding 3200 union jobs.

Exhaust: Of all the U.S. manufacturers, Ford was arguably the first to genuinely embrace EVs, and the reward has been strong sales. Ford was number two in U.S. EV sales in 2022, behind Tesla, and is bringing new customers to the brand: more than two-thirds of customers come from other makes. —SCS


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    “Exhaust: Tesla is clearly feeling some pressure from other manufacturers. Will there be another price drop, or is this the optimum time to buy a Tesla? Your guess is as good as ours is. —Steven Cole Smith”

    Honestly, the only pressure TESLA might be feeling from other automakers, is to open it’s charging network to them. I’m just wondering if bookies are taking bets yet on which Legacy will fold first…

    Seems pretty crafty of Elon. Open the supercharger network to other EVs to help pay to expand the network while exposing non-Tesla drivers to the supercharger network thereby enticing some to trade their non-Teslas for Teslas. Time will tell.

    Why the many poor reviews on Consumer Reports?
    I’m Considering insurance with you.
    Would really appreciate a response.
    Additionally… one of the complaints is poor customer response and follow-up.

    The GT2 RS to me should be without hybrid. A hybrid gt2 is almost another model on it’s own. Some shades of the 918 Spyder in this setup but with turbos and rear engined.

    Ford doesn’t have to worry about me missing a payment, I will never by anything they produce anymore. I have been a Ford owner since my first 68 Torino convert in 73 to my current 94 F150 short box and 97 Thunderbird. I have zero interest in anything they build these days.

    “Ford is the first manufacturer to embrace EVs”….well I don’t think so. GM built electric cars for customers in California almost 40 years ago. The cars could only be leased but for a variety of reasons, the program failed miserably. I spoke with Ford’s largest dealer network in Florida who told me of the dismal range and performance of the F-150 Lightning. October 2022, they had only sold one unit. They received another unit which they use as a demo. Now Electrify America, with very few charging stations, has raised their charge rates to $0.48 per Kwh and $0.18 per minute. The advantage of having an EV is quickly disappearing.

    We are unfortunately entering the Era where automobile manufacturers think their rights are more important than the customer’s. From over the air updates and changes to subscription charges for features, your ownership of you’re vehicle is taking a backseat to manufacturer’s interests.
    It won’t be long until the New Green Deal folks can change your car and stop you from servicing or altering your car. California where all bad things come from is already doing this.
    A lot of this started with the Tesla business model. We need laws like the RPM law and a Right to Repair Act to combat these trends.

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