2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris: Same van, more tech – Roadshow

Discuss: 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris: Same van, more tech

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Rolls-Royce’s Black Badge cars get lit with Neon Nights series – Roadshow

Discuss: Rolls-Royce's Black Badge cars get lit with Neon Nights series

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You should definitely get a neon Rolls-Royce – Roadshow

This is so cool.

Rolls-Royce

OK, rich people, hear me out. Rolls-Royce debuted its super-exclusive Neon Nights series of cars on Tuesday, and you should absolutely get one. You might find them ostentatious, but I promise they're actually rad. And since only four examples of each car will be sold around the world -- the US gets just one of each -- it's pretty much a guarantee that you'll never, ever see another one. That's hella exclusive.

These vibrant new paint colors are available on the Black Badge examples of the Cullinan SUV, Dawn convertible and Wraith coupe. Yes, they might look a little glow-in-the-dark laser-tag chic, but what's neat is that all of these colors legitimately exist in nature.

The Cullinan is offered in Mirabeau Blue, modeled after the vibrant wings of the Rhetus periander butterfly that's found in Central and South America. Inside, the Cullinan has Arctic White leather with Lime Rock Green accents.

This color mimics that of the Australian green tree frog.

Rolls-Royce

Lime Rock Green is the color you see on the Wraith Black Badge, found on the Australian green tree frog. Scivaro Grey leather covers the Wraith's interior, with Lime Rock Green stitching and piping.

Finally, the Dawn Black Badge is painted in Eagle Rock Red. No, it's not named after the neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles, but rather the 'Ohi'a lehua evergreen tree native to Hawaii. The interior of this one is done up in Selby Grey, with Koi Red details.

All of the cars have neon designs on the dashboard, too, in what Rolls-Royce calls the Technical Fibre fascia. "The paint effect provides an intense neon glow and depicts the distortion of artificial light with speed," according to the British automaker, which is a division of BMW.

Rolls-Royce has had some success with other unique paint options. Last year, the company brought a trio of pastel-colored cars to Monterey Car Week, and Rolls-Royce has created many a one-off hue at the request of a specific customer. I'm all about the wealthy folks of the world getting a little crazy with the color wheel, and it's awesome to see Rolls-Royce embracing that wild side, too.

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The Porsche Taycan just drifted its way into the Guinness World Records – Roadshow

Porsche Taycan drift record

The drift was completed in a Chinese-spec, rear-wheel-drive Taycan.

Porsche

The Porsche Taycan set a new mark recognized by Guinness World Records on Monday for the longest drift with an electric vehicle. Completed at the Porsche Experience Center at Germany's Hockenheimring, instructor Dennis Retera held a drift in a rear-wheel-drive Taycan for 55 minutes, covering 26.2 miles at an average speed of 28.6 mph.

The rear-wheel-drive Taycan is not currently on sale in most countries, so the car Porsche used for this record was a Chinese-spec model. The roadworthiness of the RWD Taycan was verified by Denise Ritzmann from European vehicle inspection company Dekra, herself a former drift champion.

Guinness World Records judge Joanne Brent officially certified the attempt, which took place on the PEC's wet skid pad. "GPS and yaw rate sensors within the vehicle were used for documentation purposes, as was a camera installed on the roof of the track's control tower, with which the record ride was filmed," Porsche said in a statement.

Impressive as this is, it's sort of a hollow victory. According to the Guinness World Records website, there is no current record for the longest drift with an electric vehicle, so the Taycan earns this honor simply because it's the first to try. But again, this is still a pretty great feat. I struggled like hell to get an all-wheel-drive Taycan to drift for even 30 seconds during my recent stint at the Porsche Experience Center in Los Angeles, let alone holding a slide for nearly an hour. Of course, the technique for drifting the AWD Taycan is different from that of the RWD Taycan, but that just makes me want to hit the skid pad in one of these Chinese-spec cars for some tail-out fun.

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2022 Subaru BRZ: Evolutionary changes for a simple sports car – Roadshow

There's a new 2.4-liter flat-four engine under the hood, producing 228 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.

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Published:Caption:Photo:Michael Shaffer/Subaru

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The Taycan Turbo S hits the track at Porsche’s Experience Center – Roadshow

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The Taycan EV is now part of the lineup at the Porsche Experience Center in Carson, California.
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WTF, mate: Here’s the GMC Hummer EV’s Watts to Freedom launch mode in action – Roadshow

There's plenty to talk about following the GMC Hummer EV's debut on Tuesday. GMC says this electric giant makes 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 pound-feet of torque (which is super misleading), which allows the Hummer EV to accelerate to 60 mph in just 3 seconds. That's damn quick folks, and it's achievable thanks to the truck's oddly named Watts to Freedom mode.

GMC describes Watts to Freedom as "a driver-selectable immersive experience that unleashes the full acceleration capability of the EV propulsion system." In other words, it's launch control. Selecting Watts to Freedom lowers the Hummer's ride height by 2 inches and puts the three-motor electric drivetrain on full attack.

Considering the Hummer EV's huge size, a 3-second 0-to-60 time is no small feat. For comparison, a Tesla Model X with Ludicrous Mode will hit 60 mph in a manufacturer-estimated 2.6 seconds, but that's a much smaller vehicle.

We can't help but ponder the Watts to Freedom name. The play on "WTF" is obvious, but we're assuming the suits at General Motors wouldn't let that one fly without a backronym.

Watts to Freedom is just one of a number of neat tricks the GMC Hummer EV has up its sleeve. The big electric truck also has a four-wheel CrabWalk function and the latest version of GM's Super Cruise driver-assistance technology. You can read all about the new Hummer EV here.

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The GMC Hummer EV’s 11,500 lb-ft torque number is misleading, here’s why – Roadshow

GMC's Hummer EV will be powerful, but likely not that powerful.

GMC

The GMC Hummer EV won't officially launch until fall 2021, but it's already throwing down some impressive numbers -- most notably, 1,000 horsepower and a whopping 11,500 pound-feet of torque. Thing is, that second number isn't necessarily an accurate representation.

It all comes down to what specification you use. GMC's massive number appears to correspond to wheel torque, which is traditional motor torque multiplied through the transmission's drive ratio. Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained has a great video that spells out the difference, a piece he published following Tesla's claim that the Roadster 2.0 will produce more than 7,000 lb-ft of torque. Fenske used a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon as an example. That model produces 972 Newton-meters of engine torque (770 lb-ft). However, multiplied through its gear ratios, you get 14,000 Nm of wheel torque (10,325 lb-ft) in first gear.

"Most EVs have a final drive reduction ratio of about 8:1 (Tesla Model X is 8.28:1, for example)," Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Navigant Research, told me. "With 11,500 lb-ft and 8:1, that would translate to motor torque of a bit over 1,400 lb-ft, which sounds right with 1,000 hp. [Chevy's] Bolt has a final drive of 7.05:1, while [Tesla's] Model 3 is 9:1, so 8:1 is a reasonable guess until we know more about the Hummer."

When I asked a GMC spokesperson to clarify, I was simply told the final, SAE-specific number would be released closer to the truck's on-sale date, and that the 11,500 lb-ft spec is what the company is sticking with for now. GMC also said the Hummer EV will be able to accelerate to 60 mph in 3 seconds. The truck will be produced at General Motors' Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which is being retooled to only produce electric vehicles.

I recently experienced this torque disparity firsthand. While testing an electric BMW prototype in Germany last summer, an engineer told me the modified 5 Series sedan was producing "around 10,000 Nm on the axles," which equates to 7,357 lb-ft. Then I asked a different engineer for the actual torque coming from the electric motors, and was told "1,150 Nm," a still-not-insubstantial 848 lb-ft.

Unfortunately, there's no direct conversion for these two torque figures, so it's hard to say with any certainty how much power the production Hummer EV will offer. My best guess is that it'll still be a pretty big number -- more than 1,000 lb-ft, most likely -- but nothing in five-digit territory.

When the Hummer EV goes on sale, it'll compete with a number of other still-in-development electric trucks , none of which claim a torque figure as high as GMC's. Tesla is estimating an even 1,000 lb-ft for its Cybertruck, Bollinger quotes 668 lb-ft for its B2 (which looks a bit like an old Hummer H1, coincidentally) and Rivian says the R1T will have 829 lb-ft.

The problem here isn't that the 11,500 number is incorrect, it's just very misleading (but hey, a big number looks better in a commercial). Of course, there's always the outside possibility the truck will actually have 11,500 lb-ft of torque, but I'm not holding my breath. Either way, I'm pretty stoked to see what's in store for this reborn, electric Hummer. 

Originally published Jan. 30.

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Acura MDX Prototype is a preview of luxury to come – Roadshow

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While it's technically a prototype right now, this SUV previews Acura's next-generation MDX.
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The supercool Aston Martin V12 Speedster is almost ready for production – Roadshow

Discuss: The supercool Aston Martin V12 Speedster is almost ready for production

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