2017 Fiat 124 Spider

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Episode 3602
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While Fiat is well known worldwide for their diminutive 500, or cinquecento; it’s the 124 Coupe and Spider that first introduced most Americans to the brand back in the late 60s. And after using the 500 to re-introduce themselves here in the states, Fiat has now launched an all-new 124 Spider for us to enjoy. But this is no throw-back two seat Italian sports car!

Up to now, the cars making up Fiat’s U.S. return have indeed been diminutive, mostly economy-minded affairs. But, the overall effect of Fiat’s return has been anything but small, merging with Chrysler in 2014 to create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. And now things get a whole lot more exciting with the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. 

Now this is where we tell you that this 124 is actually built on the same chassis as the Mazda MX-5, and further, comes out of the same Japanese plant. But this is far from a story about international badge engineering. They really do look a lot different, at least outside, especially when parked next to each other. Where the MX-5 has gotten meaner looking over the years, the 124 looks classy; with a nicely modern update of 60’s Italian-style.

The 124 Spider certainly has a sporty character; but instead of begging you to seek apexes, it yearns for mountain passes, and a more relaxed Grand Touring pace. It’s less edgy and more compliant; a kinder, gentler, and softer MX-5 if you will. Very reminiscent of the first Miata.

The engine is another clear departure. In place of the Miata’s naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter is the same 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo-4 found in other current Fiats, including the raucous 500 Abarth. Here it spins up 160–horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. 

It winds up quickly. But, despite more horsepower and torque, an increase in size and weight makes the 124 a tad less spirited off the line than the MX-5, though the exhaust note adds to its much enjoyed Italian flair. 

And it surely fits in with the character of the original 124 Spider, which was an everyman’s take on a Ferrari. 

We hit 60 in 7.6–seconds, and cleared the ¼-mile in 15.8-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour. Refreshing!

Our tester came with the optional 6–speed automatic in place of the standard 6-speed manual. It worked well enough, with smooth shifts; but really could use some paddle shifters for truly living out the Italian dream. Yes, you can shift manually with the shifter itself, but it’s just not the same. 

After taking a few trips through the cones, our early impressions were confirmed; the 124 Spider does respond softer than a Miata. 

Steering is numb feeling, but accurate; and there’s always the possibility of snapping the rear loose; as even with the cushier feel, the car remains plenty responsive. 

But while unique outside and under the hood, the interior is another story. It’s almost a direct MX-5 copy, including dash-top infotainment screen that responds to touch and a console-mounted controller. To get navigation, you have to opt for Lusso trim and then add the Premium Collection Package. 

The 124’s gauges look great and steering wheel placement is just about perfect. 

Also there’s still no dash-mounted glove box, rather a storage bin in between the seats, but you do get an outside trunk release. And, with 5 1/2 inches more length, there’s more room in the 124’s trunk, 4.9 cubic-ft. versus the MX-5’s 4.6.

And we love the fact that top operation is still 1-hand fold down simple; thank you Fiat for not complicating that. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 36-Highway, and 29–Combined. We averaged just 27.1 miles-per-gallon, and this tiny turbo does require Premium.

The Energy Impact Score is still good however, at 11.4-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 5.0-tons. 

There are 3-models of 124 to choose from, starting with Classica at $25,990. For what it’s worth, that makes it the lowest-priced turbocharged convertible in America, but also $240 more than a base MX-5.

So overall, if you like the MX-5, you’ll like the 124. Though, while clearly not politically correct, we do think the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will easily appeal more to female buyers; though it will certainly attract fans of the original 124 as well.

Mazda says that without the Fiat partnership for the 124, a new MX-5 might not have happened. Now that would have been a calamity. So, we’re ecstatic that Fiat decided to bring back the 124 Spider, for a global tie-up that everyone who loves to drive should go out and celebrate.

Specifications

  • Engine: 1.4 liter
  • Horsepower: 160
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.6 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.8 seconds @ 91 mph
  • EPA: 25 mpg city / 36 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.0 tons/yr
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT

It’s An SUV On A Track, Deal With It

Episode 4325
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When we started testing cars 43-years ago, hot rod SUVs like this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT were not on our radar. Back in those days, utility vehicles were trucks and Porsches were cars. But times have changed, and the only place to make sense of it all is at a racetrack, so hop in and join us for some high-performance haulin’.

Now, most would say the high-performance SUV is a relatively new phenomenon, but we’ve been testing them for over 30-years now, going back to the GMC Typhoon. If you don’t remember that one, we’d suggest Googling it, purely for the nostalgia of it, as this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is on a totally different level.

This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car… ah la the 911.

Starting with the Coupe version of Porsche’s largest SUV, which benefits from a mid-cycle styling refresh for ’24, the Turbo GT adds a carbon-fiber roof, big wing with side planes, rear diffuser, and a sport exhaust system with titanium tailpipes.

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Front
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1/4 Front
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Profile
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 3/4 Rear
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Rear
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Exhaust
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Carbon Fiber Roof
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Engine
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge 2
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Front2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 1/4 Front2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Profile2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT 3/4 Rear2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dead Rear2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Exhaust2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Carbon Fiber Roof2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Engine2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Badge 2

Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control is also included, making body-roll almost non-existent; and with the help of a new two-valve air suspension setup it was all traction all the time through the high-speed turns of Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. Though unlike last gen, if you’re aggressive enough with the throttle, you can get the rear to step out on you a little. Rear-axle steering is also included and the best praise we could heap on steering feel and feedback through corners is that it feels like a Porsche.

Tires are also wider than before: 315/35 Pirelli P Zeros in back, mounted on 22-inch GT Design wheels. The brakes behind are comprised of enormous carbon-ceramic composite discs with monster yellow calipers…

…and they truly were impressive on track, hauling this 5,000-pound, luxury-minded performance utility down from triple-digit speeds lap after lap without wavering.

This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car... ah la the 911.

Equally impressive is the powerplant that initiates those high speeds, Porsche’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 which cranks out 19 horsepower over last year for a total of 650; torque output remains the same, at 626 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an 8-speed automatic trans, which helps the Turbo GT get up to speed in a hurry; 3.1-seconds to 60, to be exact. That’s a couple of tenths slower than the first-gen Turbo GT we tested 2 years ago, but we’ll chalk that up to testing that one on a well-prepped drag strip versus this trip down Roebling Road’s slippery front straightaway on a 40-degree day. And it gained time back quickly, as our 11.3-second quarter-mile time was only a tenth slower, finishing at 124 mph.

Other notable changes for ’24 include a new dash and control layout for the interior. The highlight is a new 12.6-inch curved digital gauge display; it’s joined by a central touchscreen that sits higher up and is nestled into the dash more than before.

2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Dash
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Front Seat
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Cluster
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Climate Controls
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Center Display
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Rear Seat
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Trunk
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No more actual shifter in the console, as it’s been replaced with Porsche’s toggle switch gear sector which resides on the dash to the left of the touchscreen. That means a new console layout with additional storage space and new controls. While none of that helps lower lap times, it all provides a much more useful and better overall environment than before, for that time spent behind the wheel commuting or just sitting in traffic.

Front and rear seats are comfortable yet sporty feeling; and while it does do a lot of SUV-like things pretty well, the coupe body shape does limit rear cargo capacity to 20.3 cubic feet, expanding to 52.4 with rear seatbacks folded; and the central-mounted exhaust does negate adding a tow hitch.

No matter how you look at it, the Cayenne Turbo GT is an insane vehicle, but it also comes with an insane price tag, starting at $197,950. So essentially, that’s six-figures worth of high-performance hardware jammed into an already impressively capable standard Cayenne… an SUV made much better with comprehensive updates front to back for all ’24 Porsche Cayennes.

It easily remains the standard bearer for luxury-minded utility vehicles, evidenced by recently earning our Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Luxury Utility. But it’s this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT that really impresses the most as the ultimate track-focused SUV money can buy. You may not need it, but you know you want it!

Specifications

  • Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
  • Horsepower: 650
  • 0-60 mph: 3.1-seconds
  • Starting Price: $197,950
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 625 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 11.3-seconds at 124 mph
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 2

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style

Episode 4324
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!

While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.

It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.

This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Front
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Rear
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Wide
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Front Close
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Fascia
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Wheel
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Profil
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dead Rear
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Badge
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It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.

But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.

That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.

It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.

With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.

Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.

We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.

Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.

The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.

2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dash
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Seats
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Shifter
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Frunk
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Engine
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Dash2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Seats2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Shifter2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Frunk2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Engine

We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.

Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.

Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.

For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.

Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

Specifications

  • Engine: 5.5-liter V8
  • Horsepower: 670
  • 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
  • EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
  • Torque: 460 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph