2018 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

2018 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

Episode 3745
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When summertime arrives here at Motorweek, convertibles become very popular.  Add the fact that our latest drop top was a Porsche 911 Turbo S, and well… the keys, as well as the car, always seemed to be “gone missing”. Fortunately, we were able to get some work done with it too. So, here’s our latest sun burned jaunt, Porsche style!

There may be more race-ready 911s that you can buy, but the Porsche 911 Turbo S is still the top dog in a lineup that now consists of some 20 911 variants. And this 2018 Cabriolet body style not only allows you to get in touch with nature while you’re streaking around your favorite back roads, but it make sure everyone knows who’s behind the wheel too. Whatever your motivation, you’ll find plenty to love here. 

Of course one of our favorite things about any 911, is launch control. It’s equal parts brutality, simplicity, and rocketry; allowing you to leap off the line no matter where you are, with maximum effect. 

The pure visceral experience starts when you release the brake and slingshot off the line. All-wheel-drive traction gets you going in a haste; but prepare to do some quick steering, as depending on which wheel is getting the most grip, things can get interesting rapidly too. 

60 miles-per-hour arrives in just 2.9-seconds; stupid grins on your face, even quicker. And it all happens with intake, exhaust, and engine noises creating a harmony of awesomeness; as the turbo-6 pushes you down the track like a frightened gazelle. 

No matter how many times you rip off sub-eleven second ¼ miles, it never gets old. This 911 Turbo S can do it in 10.8-seconds at 129 miles-per-hour.

After coming down from that adrenaline high, you can appreciate that all of this happens because of the 580-horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque that pours from the 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-6. Last year saw new turbos added, as well as a Dynamic Boost function that maintains boost pressure even when you ease off the throttle, or when the 7-speed PDK triggers a shift. 

Amazing brakes are nothing new to 911s or Porsches in general, but the way these 6–piston calipers grab the ceramic brake discs that are standard on the S is truly epic. Stops from 60 take just 90-feet. 

Running through a simple slalom course at our drag strip, is truly no test for this 911; but you do get a small taste of the insane grip, sharp turn-ins, and ultra-flat handling that the Turbo S has to offer. Does the fabric roof overhead compromise anything? Perhaps, but not that we could tell here. 

And we all know the Turbo S is no one trick pony; once you’re done seeking low e.t.’s, or slicing up the slalom like a Ginsu knife, it’s just as rewarding heading to your favorite far off place. 

Seeing 911s on the road is not exactly a rare occasion; yet our Guards Red Cabriolet still garnered its fair share of attention. People may not always know why, but they can sense there’s just something special about this 911. 

Top or no top, the look is all classic Porsche; round headlights, smooth body, wide hips, the whole package. This Turbo S of course, rides on 20-inch center-lock wheels. 

Not surprisingly, top operation is as speedy and efficient as the rest of the car.  

Sitting inside, everything just feels right, with all of the important stuff falling readily to hand.    

The up-sweeping center console still hosts plenty of physical buttons. Meanwhile, Porsche’s touchscreen interface has steadily improved…it’s now quite intuitive. 

Seats have a “business first” feel, with that business being keeping you in place at high speeds on a road course; yet they are plenty comfortable for leisurely-long drives through the countryside. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are not painful at all for a car with this much performance; 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined. We averaged 22.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. So that’s an only slightly worse than average Energy Impact Score of 15.7-barrels of yearly oil use, with CO2 emissions of 7.1-tons. 

And then of course there’s the matter of pricing. While the 911 Turbo starts at $162,850, stepping up to the 580 horse S Cabriolet will cost you $204,050.

But, be still that racing heart, as you can get the 911 Carrera Cabriolet…with only 420 horsepower…for about half that.

Still, the 2018 Porsche 911 Turbo S remains our aspirational vehicle, and it has managed to stay relevant despite a new upstart supercar arriving almost weekly. There’s still nothing else on the road quite like it. 

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.8 liter
  • Horsepower: 580
  • Torque: 516 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 2.9 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 10.8 seconds @ 129 mph
  • EPA: 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 15.7 barrel of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 7.1 tons/yr
2024 Lexus GX550

2024 Lexus GX550

It’s A Land Cruiser With A Lexus Badge

Episode 4344
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When most people think of Lexus SUVs, they tend to think of the RX, and for good reason. The RX was a key player in popularizing the luxury SUV market as we know it today. But, the Lexus SUV world is much bigger than that, of course, including something for adventurous, rugged, off-road types.

We’re not about to claim that there’s some kind of body-on-frame SUV resurgence happening, but it’s clear that car-like crossovers haven’t fully taken over the SUV world just yet; and more than any other brand, Toyota seems on a mission to make SUVs truly great again. Even when it comes to their Lexus brand with this new 2024 Lexus GX550.

When the first gen GX arrived for 2003, it seemed to go out of its way to disguise its substantial off-road capabilities behind some very soft-roader sheet-metal, but those that knew… knew that underneath, the GX was based on the rugged J120 Land Cruiser. Fast forward to this third-gen GX, and it looks like Lexus is fully embracing that Land Cruiser kinship going boxier and bolder than ever before. Square lines, chunky fenders, wide track, short overhangs, highly vertical windshield; all hallmarks of serious off-roaders.

The GX is also the first Lexus to benefit from their Overtrail Project which encourages Lexus owners to get out of their comfort zones and experience what their luxo-ute is actually capable of. So, Overtrail models are outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, a locking rear diff, and an Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can independently unlock both front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.

2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front
2024 Lexus GX550 3
2024 Lexus GX550 Profile
2024 Lexus GX550 5
2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear
2024 Lexus GX550 Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Badge
2024 Lexus GX550 Grille
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Just like the recently released Toyota J250 Land Cruiser, the GX is built on Toyota’s Tundra truck frame, but instead of a four-cylinder turbo-hybrid, it’s launching with a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 with 349-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 48-horsepower and 150 lb-ft over the previous GX’s V8. Max tow rating shoots up from 6,500 to 9,096-lbs. The GX works exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel-drive and a two-speed transfer case standard. Lexus says a hybrid option will be available later, but no word on if it’s the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-liter I4 hybrid or the V6 hybrid that’s currently available in the Tundra pickup.

It doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to appreciate the high seating position and great visibility of the GX; as rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too. There’s a big control center in front of the dash with a high-mounted 14-inch touchscreen, and dedicated knobs for temperature and volume just below. A third row of seating is available in most trims, providing space for six or seven passengers. But if you go Overtrail, Lexus assumes you’re not the big family type and would rather have the space for packing adventure gear, so it’s the only trim that is five-passenger only.

As rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too.

While the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension of this Overtrail is clearly off-road inspired, it held up well enough in our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course. Slow and steady definitely won the race here, as the GX felt big and heavy, with notable weight shifting on transitions through the cones, and light steering. Stability systems were eager to kick in well before things could get out of sorts.

Buyers can add Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension for smoothing things out on the highways without sacrificing off-road capabilities. It launched quite aggressively off the line in acceleration runs; again, sturdy and truck-like, with all four wheels biting into the pavement and propelling us forward harder than we were expecting, hitting 60 in 6.5 seconds.

2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard
2024 Lexus GX550 Steering Wheel
2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment
2024 Lexus GX550 Shifter
2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat
2024 Lexus GX550 Second Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Third Row Seats
2024 Lexus GX550 Seats Down Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Trunk
2024 Lexus GX550 Engine
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Lots of grip and no drama, as this turbo-six puts plenty of power down instantly. It sounds good too; powerful, with a nice throaty exhaust note that was more of a V8 rumble than V6 trumpet. Quarter-mile completed in 14.9-seconds at 94 mph.

Braking runs were a little inconsistent, with the off-road tires seemingly gripping and pulling us in different directions. But stops averaged a great 114-feet from 60 mph, so we’ll accept the slightly unsettled feel.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg of Premium. But it garners a worse than average Energy Impact Score of 17.5-barrels of yearly oil use, with 8.3-tons of CO2 emissions.

Pricing starts with Premium grade at $64,250, ranging to Luxury at $77,250, with Overtrail in between at $69,250. All trims can be plus sized for additional features.

The 2024 Lexus GX550 is clearly not just another luxury saturated soft-roader. It’s a real deal Land Cruiser with a Lexus moniker, and this Overtrail is the most off-road capable Lexus ever. That not only makes it appealing to traditional Lexus buyers, but to a whole “range” of new conquests as well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 349
  • Torque: 479 lb-ft
  • EPA: 15 City | 21 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.9 seconds at 94 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 114 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg (Premium)
  • Max Tow Rating: 9,096-lbs