BMW “clown shoe” returns? AMG’s new entry-level SL, electric Escalade looms


BMW brings back the “clown shoe” with stunning new concept

Intake: BMW caused more than a few ripples on Italy’s Lake Como when it revealed its Concept Touring Coupe at this weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The two-seater shooting brake brings back fond memories of its clown shoe Z3 and Z4 M Coupes, although the company claims that the design was influenced from deeper in the annals of BMW history. “Its proportions and name are reminiscent of the BMW 328 Touring Coupé that won the Mille Miglia endurance race back in 1940,” says BMW. “The functionality of the shooting-brake concept is a nod to the BMW 02 Series model variants of the early 1970s, which featured “Touring” in their name to distinguish them from sedans.” Based on the current Z4 roadster, the Concept Touring Coupe adds a low roofline and trademark Hofmeister kink to the exterior, while the inside has been lavishly trimmed by Italian leather artisans Poltrona Frau and a matching set of luggage is provided by Modena’s Schedoni leather workshop.

Exhaust: BMW says that the Concept Touring Coupe is a one-off, but BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk told BMW Blog that “At least two or three people said ‘I want it.’” He added that a limited run of 50 units, like the 3.0 CSL, would be possible.—NB

375-hp SL 43 marks new entry point for droptop AMG bliss

Intake: Mercedes-AMG has introduced the SL 43, a new entry-level model for the AMG SL roadster lineup, arriving in U.S. dealerships in summer 2023 and starting from $109,900. The open-top 2+2-seater has an AMG-enhanced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder M139 engine featuring an electric exhaust gas turbocharger derived from Formula 1 racing. The new form of turbocharging guarantees instantaneous throttle response across the entire rpm range to deliver an even more dynamic driving experience. The turbocharger is operated via the 48-volt electrical system, which also feeds the belt-driven starter-generator. As a result, the SL 43 has an output of 375 hp and a maximum torque of 354 lb-ft, Mercedes says. The transmission is a 9-speed automatic, with an estimated 0-to-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds.

Exhaust: The exterior of the rear-drive car is differentiated from the AMG SL 55 and AMG SL 63 with its unique front fascia and rear apron, as well as round instead of angular double tailpipe trim accents. The roadster features extensive standard equipment, while numerous options provide customers with a wide range of possibilities for individualization. The AMG SL 43 is fitted standard with 19-inch alloy wheels. Aerodynamically optimized 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels, which reduce air resistance through low turbulence, are optional. “Particularly sophisticated” are the available 20-inch wheels with “aero rings” that save additional weight. — Steven Cole Smith

Escalade IQ: Cadillac announces EV number 3

Cadillac Escalade IQ nameplate teaser

Intake: Cadillac has revealed that the third all-electric vehicle to join its portfolio will be its most famous model, the Escalade. Dubbed the Escalade IQ, the new model “promises the same commitment to craftsmanship, technology, and performance that has helped the Escalade nameplate dominate the large luxury SUV segment for the last 20 years,” says Cadillac. It joins the Lyriq and the Celestiq in the all-electric Cadillac lineup. There are no details about pricing, range, or specific arrivals yet. The car will be revealed in full later this year.

Exhaust: Unlike the Lyriq and the Celestiq, Cadillac did not drop the Escalade name for the new car and create a new nameplate with the “IQ” bit cheekily tacked onto the end of it. (Majestiq, anyone?) That’s because the Escalade nameplate carries such strong brand equity. Since the big body-on-frame SUV at the top of GM’s price ladder is getting an EV version, expect that all-electric versions of the GMC Yukon/Yukon XL and the Chevy Suburban/Tahoe are in the works as well. — Nathan Petroelje

Steve McQueen’s 1940 Indian Four just sold for almost $130,000

Steve McQueen's 1940 Indian Four
Collecting Cars

Intake: A 1940 Indian Four motorcycle owned by Steve McQueen fetched €119,500 ($129,142) on Collecting Cars, proving that King of Cool provenance continues to pack a premium. Although McQueen owned over 100 cars and bikes he had a particular fondness for Indians, as a 1946 Chief was his first motorcycle. “It was my first bike and I loved it,” he recalled. “But I was going with a girl who began to hate riding in the bumpy sidecar. She told me, “Either the cycle goes or I go!” Well, there was no contest. She went.” When this 1940 Four was sold from McQueen’s estate in 1984, his widow Barbara said that he rode it often. The bike was restored by its next owner and remained in the same family for 30 years. Its most recent owner hailed from Belgium where it was put up for auction.

Exhaust: Despite having no paperwork regarding its restoration and now showing signs of age, McQueen’s Indian achieved a rather impressive result. — Nik Berg

10 Dead at race in Baja California

San Vincente empty town baja california mexico

Intake: In what was described as a “massacre,” assassins who wore masks and were armed with long guns attacked rally racers near the town of San Vicente, a municipality of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, leaving at least 10 dead and 10 wounded. “The attack on civilians took place while the fifth edition of the so-called ‘Cachanillazo,’ an off-road racing event with razer type vehicles, was taking place,” reported “[ In] the area, located on the Transpeninsular highway, kilometer 90, of the San Vicente delegation, a gray van arrived, from which several people got out and began to shoot with long weapons against the drivers who were parked.” The immediate concern is that the historic Baja 500 road race starts May 31, and mile marker 330 on the course is essentially located where the killings took place. Cartel infighting is rumored.

Exhaust: So far, Score International, sanctioning body for the Baja 500, has not released any comments pertaining to possible changes in the Baja 500 route. At least 300 racers are entered, including P.J. Jones, the son of Parnelli, and former NASCAR racer Brendan Gaughan. — SCS




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    I’m reminded of a (long ago) former neighbor who said, “I buy my cars by how easy it is to clean the wheel covers.” Otherwise, a beauty.

    This new version of the famous “clown shoe” looks fantastic. However, it will have to sell for less than the $70K the newest Z4s go for and offer an old-school manual transmission if they want someone like me to buy one.

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