Marc UrbanoCar and Driver
Let’s start with what matters: speed. This week, we published our test data for the 6866-pound Ram 1500 TRX, which we measured at a stunning 3.7 seconds to 60 mph. Late last week, our test of the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S showed that to be the second-quickest car we’ve ever tested, at 2.2 seconds to 60 mph. There’s a new fastest production car, too. What a time to be alive.
This Week in Sheetmetal
- We finally saw the first full-body shots of the 2022 Hummer EV. It’s big and boxy with a removable roof, 1000 horsepower, and a launch mode that promises a 3.0-second zero-to-60 mph time. GMC has dubbed that launch mode Watts to Freedom, or WTF. Heavy eye roll.
- Mini announced that it was bringing its affordably-priced Oxford trim to the Countryman for 2021. The company also announced a 1499 GT edition of its Cooper hardtop, designed to offer the looks of Mini’s John Cooper Works performance models without the cost (or, sadly, the performance enhancements).
- Porsche shared details on three 2021 Panameras, the Turbo S E-Hybrid, 4 E-Hybrid, and 4S. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is the most powerful of the bunch, with a combined 689 horsepower from its gasoline and electric motors.
- Mercedes unveiled the Maybach-ized GLS600, which will have two rows instead of the GLS’s usual three, can come with rear recliners, and, at $161,550, will cost less than either variant of the Mercedes-Maybach S-class. That’s practically a bargain.
- Ford showed off a wildfire-fighting Bronco concept, a Sasquatch model fitted with a front winch, a roof rack, and a 50-gallon water tank. Oh, and the Bronco configurator finally went live.
Price Subject to Change
The beta test of Tesla’s Full Self Driving software that Elon Musk promised last week has indeed begun, and with it (and the miniscule possibility that your Tesla could take part), Tesla said it would raise the price on its self-driving tech by $2000 to $10,000 starting on October 26. Musk hopes the feature will be in wide release by the end of this year.
Car, No Driver
GM-owned Cruise had its own victory when it received a permit from the California DMV to test automated cars on the streets of San Francisco without a human back-up driver. Cruise has been testing a fleet of 180 automated cars with human back-ups in the city. This permit allows five of those cars to go human-free. But hey, progress is progress, right?
Perhaps emboldened by that success, Cruise also said it’s seeking permission from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to deploy vehicles without pedals or a steering wheel on public roads.
Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, Americans are learning how to live with the coronavirus pandemic. And what better way than to buy an RV so that you never having to go inside a gas station restroom again? All summer, we read stories about the increased demand for campers. Now the numbers are in. Winnebago’s revenue went up 40 percent in the June-through-August period. Airstream, if you’re reading this: We’ve got just the spot for a Flying Cloud.
Speaking of van life, we suggest this article from the New York Times about a man who became a quadriplegic in 2009 but has driven 45,000 miles across two continents in a 2017 Ford Transit anyway.*
If you’ll permit us a White Paper of the Week (we promise not to make it a habit), consider this study from researchers at MIT and Boston College that says car seat laws are stopping a significant number of women from having a third child.*
And if you’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask, read our story on how to jump a truck. Also, we jumped the TRX when we put it up against the F-150 Raptor in a comparison test. We jumped the Raptor, too. Read all about it.
*Did either of these come out this week? No. Are we going to let that stop us? Also no.
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