Hottest Boxster ever, GM to Norway, Alpine’s feisty hatch


493-hp Spyder RS is Porsche’s most powerful Boxster ever

Intake: Porsche just unveiled the gnarliest-ever version of the Boxster: the 718 Spyder RS. (The name recalls the late 1950s, when Porsche first used the “718 RS” moniker on a race-car derivative of the 550 Spyder.) The convertible blends many goodies from two high-performance siblings, the 911 GT3 and the 718 Cayman GT4 RS. Power comes from the same engine that you’d find in the 911 GT3, a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six that’s been detuned here to make 493 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. It soars to a sonorous 9000-rpm redline and sings through a stainless-steel sport exhaust. A seven-speed PDK automatic is the sole transmission choice. Performance figures are appropriately nuts: 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, top speed of 191 mph. Suspension is derived from the 718 Spyder and the Cayman GT4 RS, with standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) that lowers the car 1.18 inches. The 718 Spyder RS will start at $162,150, including a $1450 destination charge, and it should reach dealers next spring. Order one, and you’ll also get a custom chronograph watch by Porsche Design that matches the spec of your car.

Exhaust: You can expect three things about a high-powered, flat-six Porsche these days: potent chassis, potent waiting list, potent price. Relative to the normal 718 Boxster Spyder, which starts right around $100,000, the Spyder RS gets 79 additional horsepower, a half-second faster 0-to-60-mph time, 59 fewer pounds, and a 5-mph-higher top speed. We can’t wait. — Nathan Petroelje

No way! Norway gets GM Europe’s first EVs

Cadillac Lyriq front three quarter

Intake: As soon as this autumn, GM will re-enter the European car market on the back of an “all-electric” portfolio of vehicles, GM Europe president Jaclyn McQuaid told Automotive News Europe yesterday. Those battery-electric cars will come from a slew of brands owned by General Motors. GM is staying mum on its target markets, but a source tells AN Europe that Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden—will get first dibs on the vehicles. GM didn’t really need to be so secretive: Remember that GM Super Bowl commercial from 2021, with Will Ferrell? “No way, Norway”?

Exhaust: Saying you have an all-EV portfolio sounds virtuous, but the business case for GM pursuing Nordic markets is obvious: Based on New York Times data, EVs represent only 20 percent of European new-car sales in 2022. In Norway—because of a truly wild story involving “Take on Me” and unpaid toll fees—that figure rises to a utopian 80 percent.

Here’s Toyota’s next electric car

Next-gen Toyota EV sketch

Intake: Toyota has shown a teaser of its new electric vehicle. Based on the rendering above, it is nothing like anything Toyota has done before. Automotive News says the actual concept will be shown in Tokyo at the end of October. So far, you can expect a very sleek car, with a low nose and a high rear end that could imply a hatch-style trunk. Renderings are usually exaggerated toward sportiness, but this one looks like it could be accurate. CEO Koji Sato said today that Toyota would invest an additional 1 trillion yen ($7.44 billion) into EV development and production through the end of the decade. That brings Toyota’s total commitment, through 2030, to 5 trillion yen ($37.2 billion).

Exhaust: The new EV is scheduled to debut in 2026, Automotive News says. We’re definitely seeing a new, modern design language at Toyota for its battery-electric vehicles, starting with the surprisingly handsome new Prius. — Steven Cole Smith

Alpine announces hot hatch for 2024

Intake: Alpine, the raciest brand under French firm Renault, has revealed its first EV. The A290_β is just a concept for now but heralds a full production version due in the next year. The car is based on its sibling, the Renault 5 show car, but with an added helping of performance and aggressive styling. In silhouette and stance, there are echoes of the classic Group B Renault 5 Turbo 2, but overall it’s a forward-looking design, hunkered down and ready to rip up a backroad. While the exterior appears near-finished, the cabin design, with its central driving position, is clearly still at the concept stage. Alpine hasn’t revealed any stats yet, but we expect the A290 to have a pair of electric motors driving the front wheels, in contrast to the now-common rear-drive setup of many compact EVs.

Exhaust: The A290 will mark Alpine’s move into mass production and build on the French flagship’s global presence, which it is currently boosting through its Formula 1 program. The A290 probably won’t be coming to the U.S.A., however: CEO Laurent Rossi states that the company’s American debut will be in 2027 or 2028 with a pair of sporty electric SUVs. — Nik Berg

Car prices are down a bit, and incentives are up in April

Vitrine Dealership Lincoln of Sugar Land Charging

Intake: The average transaction price (ATP) for a new car dipped in April, says Kelley Blue Book, dropping to $48,275, a month-over-month decrease of 0.03 percent ($14) from an upwardly revised March reading of $48,289. New-vehicle transaction prices in April were up 3.7 percent ($1744) compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, auto manufacturers’ incentive spend rose to the highest level in the last year at 3.6 percent of the ATP in April, averaging $1714. After 20 months of new-vehicle prices holding above the average sticker price, transaction prices are now trending downward. In April 2023, the average price consumers paid fell to $378 below sticker price. For comparison, a year ago, the average ATP was $600 above MSRP. Sales volumes were down month over month by 1.5 percent but up 9.0 year over year in April, higher than most forecasts and fed by higher inventory levels and a healthy dose of fleet deliveries.

Exhaust: “New-vehicle transaction prices are trending downward in 2023, which should feel like a breath of fresh air to buyers following the last few years of low supply and rapidly rising prices,” said Rebecca Rydzewski, research manager of Economic and Industry Insights for Cox Automotive. “Now that inventory levels are starting to climb and manufacturers are increasing incentives, the market will respond accordingly. High auto-loan interest rates are still a major issue for many buyers, but inventory and price trends are a positive in the market right now.” — SCS




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