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    Volkswagen’s New Multivan Is More Carlike, Comes in Plug-In-Hybrid Version

    This is Volkswagen’s new Multivan for the Europe market, and it’s finished in a sweet two-tone paint job. The Multivan is built on VW’s MQB architecture and is available with a choice of two gas engines, a diesel, or a plug-in-hybrid powertrain. There are seven seats, and the five in the rear can be configured into different layouts. We often envy Europeans and their sports cars and hot hatches that legislative hurdles of the auto industry deny us. But this is a different vehicle we’d love the chance to buy, but almost certainly won’t get: Volkswagen’s stylish new Multivan.

    Volkswagen

    Replacing the Caravelle van, which is based on the Europe-market Transporter, the new model has made the transition to a car platform and will exclusively be available as a passenger-carrying vehicle. The new Multivan sits on the familiar MQB architecture that underpins pretty much all of the Volkswagen Group’s small and mid-size offerings. VW says that there won’t be a commercial version, and all Multivans will have a full set of windows. (The work-grade T6 Transporter will be sold alongside it in Europe for several more years, before being replaced by a van on the same platform as the next Ford Transit.)The Multivan looks great in these first images. We’ve always been suckers for a two-tone Volkswagen bus. Two lengths will be available, with the regular 195.8 inches long and the extended version 203.7 inches, which is longer than most European parking spaces. To compare with U.S.-market vehicles, it fits between the Ford Transit work van, which starts at 217.8 inches in length, and the Transit Connect, the longest version of which measures 190.0 inches.

    Volkswagen

    Seven seats will come standard, with the ability to move the five seats in back into different configurations or remove them entirely. The Multivan’s second row can also be turned 180 degrees to create conference-style seating. There is a central fold-up table that can be moved along a floor track between the different rows. This makes use of the increased space at the front of the passenger compartment from the lack of any floor console or gearshifter.

    Engine options will include an entry-level 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower and a 2.0-liter TSI with 201 horsepower. Europeans will also get the chance to buy it with a 148-hp 2.0-liter diesel engine. The range-topping powertrain will be a plug-in hybrid combining a 1.4-liter engine and electric motor powered by a 13.0-kWh lithium-ion battery under the van’s floor. This will give a peak system output of 215 horsepower and will allow local trips under pure electric power. DSG transmissions will be standard on all versions: a six-speed for the hybrid and seven-speed for the other engines.The switch to the MQB platform and Volkswagen’s latest electronic architecture means the new Multivan will offer much more technology than any of its predecessors, with conventional buttons largely abolished from the center console. A 10.3-inch digital instrument display and a 10.0-inch central touchscreen will be standard, and the Multivan will also get Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive system, which includes radar cruise control with active lane keeping.Prices haven’t been released yet, but the new Multivan won’t be cheap. The current generation Caravelle starts at the equivalent of $44,500 in Germany, and you can bet Volkswagen will charge a supplement for the many extra features of the swish new model. U.S. sales look unlikely, although we will be able to take consolation with the retro-looking electric ID.Buzz Microbus. Eventually.
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    Here's Your Chance to Buy a Perfectly Legal Midnight Purple R34 Skyline GT-R

    The R34-generation Nissan Skyline GT-R is the one everyone wants. Made famous in the U.S. by Brian O’Connor (played by Paul Walker) in 2Fast 2Furious, it commands the most value out of any Skyline variant, despite not being legal for import into the U.S. for another two years. There are a handful of exceptions, though. One such example has just popped up for sale on Bring a Trailer. This Skyline, a 1991 GT-R V-Spec painted in a stunning shade of Midnight Purple, was imported into the U.S. in 2020 under the “Show or Display” exemption. The rule, set up by NHTSA, allows certain relevant or important vehicles to be imported by anyone regardless of when they were built, as long as the cars in question are driven a maximum of 2500 miles per year. The list of exempt vehicles has grown to 61 at this time of writing. The 1991 Skyline GT-R V-Spec is one of three Skylines on the list, the other two being the 1990 Nissan R32 Skyline GT-R NISMO and the 2002 Nissan R34 Skyline GT-R M-Spec Nür.

    If you’re prepared to buy this car, be ready to pay the price. Legalized R34 GT-Rs go for big money in the U.S., no matter the condition. This one is in great shape, judging by the photos. It just received a whole bunch of maintenance work and a set of Öhlins coil-overs. There’s only 64,000 kilometers (around 40,000 miles) on the odometer. As of this writing, the high bid sits at $207,034, with the auction ending on Tuesday, June 22.Should you win this auction, taking ownership of the Skyline in question isn’t as easy as having a title signed over. Show or Display cars must have ownership transfers approved by NHTSA, and new owners must apply for a new Show or Display approval of their own. It’s a complicated process, but if you’re a GT-R fan, it’s probably worth it for you. Bring a Trailer is also owned by Road & Track’s parent company, Hearst Autos.

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    2022 Lexus NX Redone with New Engines, New Infotainment, and a New Look

    The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX features a broad powertrain lineup including a new plug-in-hybrid model.The versions comprise gasoline NX250 and NX350 models, and NX350h and NX450h+ hybrids.The new NX will go on sale in the U.S. this fall.The NX is the second best-selling Lexus model after the RX, so it’s no surprise that the company is pulling out all the stops for the new 2022 NX. This second-generation model will arrive this fall with a new design, a new infotainment system, and a significantly broader range of powertrain options including a new turbo four-cylinder gas engine and a newly available plug-in hybrid model.
    The NX lineup starts off with the base NX250, which has the same naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four from the RAV4, producing 203 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive. In terms of power output, the next step up is the NX350h, which combines a 2.5-liter gasoline engine with two electric motor-generators for a total of 239 horsepower—20 hp more than the RAV4 hybrid. Lexus claims up to 36 mpg for the hybrid model.

    The nonhybrid NX350 features a new turbo 2.4-liter inline-four with 275 hp and 317 pound-feet of torque, which should make it significantly quicker than the previous NX300 and its less powerful turbo 2.0-liter engine. It also has an eight-speed automatic transmission. And sitting at the top is the NX450h+ plug-in-hybrid, which shares its all-wheel-drive 302-horsepower drivetrain with the surprisingly quick RAV4 Prime. Lexus claims the plug-in model will have an estimated electric driving range of 36 miles, compared with the RAV4 Prime’s EPA-estimated 42-mile range.The NX’s new exterior design isn’t revolutionary, but we think the spindle grille design is better integrated than before. Out back, the NX incorporates a new “Lexus” script across the tailgate with a different font in place of the typical oval “L” logo, which remains in front.
    The biggest changes are seen inside, as the NX debuts a completely new infotainment interface for Lexus. We’re glad to see the old touchpad controller disappear, and the new system uses a centrally mounted touchscreen and a few physical knobs. A 9.8-inch screen is standard, while a huge 14.0-inch touchscreen is optional and incorporates many of the climate controls into the screen. Lexus claims that the new model has more rear-seat room and cargo space than before, but hasn’t yet provided specific dimensions for the 2022 NX. An F Sport package will be offered for both the NX350 and NX450h+ models that adds appearance tweaks—including dark trim and black 20-inch wheels—along with adaptive dampers. New options include a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, and upgraded driver-assistance features including a system that prevents you from opening the door from inside the car if it senses that a bicyclist or another vehicle is approaching.
    We assume that the NX will cost a bit more than the current car, which starts at $38,635 for the base front-wheel-drive NX300 model and $41,185 for an all-wheel-drive NX300h hybrid. We’ll find out more information closer to its on-sale date this fall.
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    Cars About to Jump in Value: Window Shop with Car and Driver

    Every car lover has a story about that one that got away, a car that they wish they’d bought when it was still affordable. To avoid having those sorts of regrets in the future, the Window Shop team challenged themselves to find cars listed online that are right about to jump in value. We set a budget of $30,000, which for the first time in a long time, no one exceeded. Now, let’s go make some money.After a few weeks off, senior editor Joey Capparella returns to serve up a 2003 Nissan Xterra that makes up for its high mileage with a manual transmission and the optional supercharger. The crew quickly spots what appears to be a sagging front suspension, but the choice is a good one since Capparella posits that one the reasons that particular cars increase in value is due to a lack of anything like it in the new-car market. There’s certainly nothing like the body-on-frame Xterra today, which may drive values skyward. C/D’s newest hire, senior editor Elana Scherr is back again this week and her 1996 Camaro Z28 SS offers up 305 horsepower, a ram-air intake, and T-tops. The shoppers ooh and ahh over the pristine condition of her 19,000-mile find while they consider the questionable interior design and the two-spoke steering wheel. Scherr’s pitch includes a rather flattering comparison of her Camaro to the new Ferrari SF90 that isn’t nearly as crazy as you might think. Still reeling from Elana’s comparison, Road & Track senior editor John Pearley Huffman steps in and shares his 2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1. His Grabber Blue example wears its 60,000 miles well, but it strikes a few of us as all the money for an SN95 Mustang, even if it was only offered for one year and has a shaker hood. The last two cars come from deputy testing director K.C. Colwell and deputy editor Tony Quiroga. Colwell picks a once-common and now-rare first-generation Nissan Pathfinder that looks like it has the potential to shoot up in value. Quiroga presents an unloved Mopar machine that could out accelerate a period Mustang GT, but he can’t escape that at its core, it’s a K-Car, and K-Cars are a tough sell in the collector world. As always, there’s plenty of bickering, interrupting each other, and laughs. Let us know in the comments what cars you think are on the cusp of increasing in value.

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    2022 Chevy Corvette Gets Engine Improvements, Costs $1200 More

    The 2022 Chevrolet Corvette will have a new fuel pump and injectors and an improved engine management system.Chevy is also offering an appearance package that honors the C8.R race car’s inaugural season, which is limited to only 1000 cars. The 2022 Corvette will be available to order on July 1, and pricing starts at $62,195.UPDATE 6/11/21 2:30 p.m.: Chevrolet has provided additional pricing information on the 2022 Corvette. It starts at $69,495 for the 2LT coupe and $74,145 for the 3LT coupe.Chevrolet has recently added a few new color options for the 2022 C8 Corvette, and now it is offering a limited appearance package inspired by the 2021 IMSA GTLM champion C8.R race car. Chevy also improved the mid-engine sports car’s fuel and engine management systems, but the Corvette is not making any more power than before. Its starting price is also increasing to $62,195, which is $1200 more than the previous model year.

    The 2022 Corvette’s naturally aspirated 6.2-liter LT2 V-8 is equipped with a new fuel pump and fuel injectors that allow for running higher fuel pressures. Output is unchanged at 490 horsepower (495 with the performance exhaust) and 470 pound-feet of torque. It’s equipped with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. In our testing, the C8 reached 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and raced through the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph. The improved Active Fuel Management system allows the cylinder deactivation to be engaged at lower speeds, though fuel-economy estimates have not yet been announced. The new IMSA GTLM Championship Edition package, which is limited to 1000 cars, starts at $6595 and is available on 3LT models equipped with the Z51 Performance package. Two colors are available: Accelerate Yellow with gray accents or Hypersonic Gray with yellow accents. The spoilers and mirrors are finished in Carbon Flash, and the wheels are black with the Corvette Racing “Jake” skull logo on the center caps and yellow brakes.

    Chevrolet

    These special-edition cars have a unique Strike Yellow and Sky Cool Gray interior with the GT2 bucket seats with yellow seatbelts. The Competition seats can be selected as well, and there’s a C8.R Special Edition numbered plaque between the seats. They come with a unique car cover that mimics the look of the Corvette C8.R race car.

    Chevrolet

    Additionally, Corvettes not equipped with the track-ready Z51 package can now be ordered with a new low rear spoiler (pictured) and a Z51 front splitter. The 2022 Corvette, including the IMSA GTLM Championship Edition package, will be available to order on July 1 starting at $62,195. The C8.R will race in Detroit for the first time tomorrow, June 12, at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
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    HBO Series 'Hacks' Doesn't Quite Get How Electric Cars Work (or Sound)

    Hacks, a TV show on HBO Max, features several electric cars.The only problem is, we can hear these EVs making gasoline-engine sounds in several scenes.The Chevy Bolt EV, Audi e-tron, and first-generation Nissan Leaf each appear in various episodes.Electric cars are becoming more and more of a thing each day, and the new HBO Max show Hacks is full of them. The Chevy Bolt, Audi e-tron, and first-generation Nissan Leaf each make appearances in multiple episodes. But it seems that the show’s sound mixers are unaware that EVs don’t make the same sounds as gasoline cars.

    The biggest misstep comes in episode seven, when the character Ava, played by Hannah Einbinder, chauffeurs DJ (Kaitlin Olson) and her fiancé to a drive-through wedding chapel in her gray Chevy Bolt EV. At one point, Ava accidentally puts her foot on the gas in park and a loud engine roar briefly interrupts the proceedings. But in reality, tapping the accelerator in a Bolt would do nothing of the sort, as there’s no gasoline engine under the hood, and its quiet electric motor wouldn’t be capable of producing such an interruption, especially not while parked.

    HBO Max

    A similar problem arises again in episode eight, when the character Marcus, played by Carl Clemons-Hopkins, goes to the valet to fetch his Audi e-tron. Again, we hear the distinct soundtrack of a gasoline engine as the electric SUV drives up. Many EVs, including the e-tron, play a distinctive sound at lower speeds to alert pedestrians of their presence, but it sounds more like a spaceship than an internal-combustion engine.And while we’re on the subject, we can also point out another scene in episode eight involving a gasoline car—an Infiniti QX50. When Deborah Vance, played by Jean Smart, starts to drive recklessly in a parking lot, we hear a roar that sounds distinctly like a V-8, when in fact the Infiniti is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder that doesn’t make nearly the same burble.While there’s much to enjoy in this dark comedy series about a well-established comedian with a residency in Las Vegas (Smart) who begrudgingly hires a young writer (Einbender) to help out, these kinds of errors take car enthusiasts like us out of the fantasy. Perhaps we can help serve as car consultants on Season 2? In the meantime, you can catch all 10 episodes of the first season of Hacks streaming on HBO Max.
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    1020-HP Tesla Model S Plaid Gets Price Hike ahead of 'Delivery Event' Tonight

    Tesla has increased the price of the new Model S Plaid ahead of deliveries that start tonight, which it will livestream here.The price was increased after Tesla canceled the more powerful Model S Plaid+, and now the Plaid costs $131,190. The Model S Plaid uses a tri-motor setup to produce 1020 horsepower, and Tesla claims it’ll reach 60 mph in 2.0 seconds. Tesla will livestream a delivery event for its anticipated Model S Plaid tonight at 10 p.m. ET at its plant in Fremont, California. Ahead of the event this week, CEO Elon Musk tweeted that it canceled the Model S Plaid+ variant, and now the Plaid’s price has increased to $131,190. The increase won’t affect those who have already placed orders, a customer service representative on Tesla’s website told us.
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    Musk commented on Twitter that there was no need for the even higher-performance Plaid+ model because the Plaid is sufficient. The $10,000 price increase could be because there is now only one model (the Plaid+ was priced at $151,190), or due to the semiconductor shortage, which Musk says has been affecting Tesla. Its prices have been steadily increasing recently. The Model S Long Range currently costs $88,190, nearly $18,000 more than the 2020–2021 Long Range Plus.Tesla is claiming that the Model S Plaid will reach 60 mph in 2.0 seconds and run through the quarter-mile in 9.2 seconds at 155 mph. Jay Leno recently said on Spike’s Car Radio that, in the Plaid, he posted a 9.247-second quarter mile at 152 mph, and the drag slip was posted on Twitter. Those times would make the Plaid by far the quickest car we’ve ever tested, and we’ll find out for sure when we do. It’s also said to have a 200-mph top speed, but only with a special wheel-and-tire setup that won’t be available until the fall.

    Tesla Model S Plaid platform.
    Tesla

    The Plaid model has three electric motors producing 1020 horsepower, Tesla says. The Plaid+ previously boasted 1100 horsepower. Tesla estimates that the Plaid will achieve EPA range figures of 350 or 390 miles on a single charge, depending on which wheel-and-tire combination the car is wearing. Previously, Tesla said that the now canceled Model S Plaid + would have a 520-plus-mile range. Tesla recently gave the Model S a redesign, including a refreshed interior with a yoke-style steering wheel, and the Plaid models don’t look significantly different. They are available with a set of 19- or 21-inch wheels.We’ll see more of the highest-performance Tesla soon and will run it through our instrumented testing when we get our hands on one.
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    2022 Nissan 400Z Will Debut August 17 in Production Form

    The production version of the new Nissan Z, likely called the 400Z, will debut on August 17, 2021.It’ll be powered by a twin-turbo V-6 engine, and we’ll know all the performance specs at the reveal. It should make around 400 horsepower.The 2022 400Z is expected to arrive by the end of the year starting at around $40,000. Nissan revealed the Z Proto (pictured) last fall as a production-intent prototype. That car was meant to give us an idea of what’ll be sold in the States, likely as the 400Z. Nearly a year after it showed the prototype car, Nissan will finally reveal the production version of the new Z on August 17, 2021 on its YouTube channel.

    Nissan Z Proto
    Nissan

    Images of what appear to be the production car have already leaked, and they showed that it won’t be far off from the Z Proto we saw last fall. The cars, finished in dark gray and silver, had chrome trim integrated into the grille, slightly larger headlights, different wheels, and a rear decklid spoiler. The Z badge on the C-pillar will also make it to production.

    The new Z will use a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine, and although Nissan hasn’t said anything about its output, we expect it to offer around 400 horsepower. It’s a modified version of the engine found in the Infiniti Q50 and Q60. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but there’s also an optional automatic gearbox.We’ll know the full details in a few months, including all the performance specs, which should create a compelling matchup against the 382-hp Toyota Supra. The 2022 Nissan 400Z should be on sale by the end of the year starting at around $40,000.
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