When you mention Porsche, the 911 usually comes to mind first. It’s a dream car for many gearheads, the one car that they salivate over and long to own, but ownership usually comes with a budget-busting price. But there is a very affordable alternative for those wanting to join the club, the 914 the subject of this week’s car spot.
The 914 used to be the fourth cousin-twice removed from the Porsche universe because of its ties with VW as it originally was intended to be a replacement for the Karmann Ghia. It was sold as the Porsche 914 in the US and as the Volkswagen-Porsche everyplace else. This led to many diehards stating that it was not a “real” Porsche.
Introduced in 1969, the standard 914 was powered by Volkswagen’s horizontal four-cylinder engine, producing a meager 80 hp. Later a second version: the 914/6, was powered by a six-cylinder engine with, total power output exceeding 100 hp. But in the “more hp means more bucks” universe, the extra cost made it almost as expensive as a standard 911. When production ended in 1976 almost 120,000 914s had been sold worldwide.
The basic 914 is a very affordable entry into the collector market and the Porsche club with daily drivers available in the mid-teens to low $30s however there are some that will take serious cash such as a homologation special, the 914/6 GT is a very sought-after collector vehicle as only 3,300 examples were made. Race versions of the car pumped out a heady 205 hp.
How pricey can they get? A 1970 sold at an RM Auction in Monterey, Calif., in August of 2021 for $665,000! A 1970 with just 30,000 miles and a Certificate of Authenticity sold recently on BaT for $120,000. And, there are other examples sold in the $80-ish range on the site.
The 914 has long been looked down upon by the Porsche elite as a lawnmower surrounded by a metal shell, not supposed to be worth anything — fun to drive for an hour, maybe, but entry-level at best. Still, it’s a Porsche!
Thanks for stopping by and checking out this blog entry. Come back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with some of the history behind it. Have a great weekend.
Superlatives sometimes ring hollow, and years of writing car reviews has proven to me it’s a lot harder to go gaga over a new vehicle and not sound like I’m on the car company payroll than it is to whine and moan about a vehicle that falls flat.
But here goes anyway.
Kia’s EV6 GT-Line AWD gets nearly everything right to entice buyers who may be leaning toward an EV, as in electric vehicle. The EV6 looks fabulous with its slim lights and sleek nose, handsome sporty profile and muscular haunches that could, at a younger age, stir frisky thoughts.
While many electrics look like overstuffed perogi, the EV6 looks trim and sporty, even more so than its cousin, the nearly as fantabulous Hyundai Ioniq 5 tested last week, or the lovely Genesis GV60 tested earlier this summer, all electrics
Thankfully Kia starts with bold futuristic styling, but on the more practical side, the interior is well thought out and beautifully executed, fast charging is possible, the drive is spirited and range is the best of the electrics I’ve tested this fall.
Kia’s EV6 GT-Line AWD could be the best electric car I’ve driven yet as it scores on the main points, looks, power, drivability, range and charging efficiency. I’ve already drooled over the looks, but power?
Yes, like all EVs the acceleration from its torquey twin electric motors (one front, one rear) is impressive. The AWD model boasts 320 horsepower and a torque rating of 446 delivered via three drive modes that allow a driver to go with Eco to save juice, Normal for peppy takeoffs, and Sport for kicking the booty of most non-Porsches. Remember too, it’s AWD, so traction is good in the wet and winter slop.
EV6 drops its battery packs between the front and rear wheels just below the vehicle’s floor so the center of gravity is low and well spread out. Cornering is sporty although steering feedback could be more precise. Sport mode helps that some yet there is some push in high-speed turns due to that battery weight. After a few days behind the wheel that becomes less noticeable.
Ride is firmer than in the longer-wheelbase Ioniq 5, so can become a bit thumpy on really rough roads. But control is good so in normal or highway drives it’s pleasant enough, certainly better than any SUV or large crossover.
Inside, this brilliant Runway Red (bright metallic red) Kia delivers a clean yet stylish dash and seating. A highlight is the twin 12.3-inch screens that are linked as one, so visually pristine. Functionality is good too, swipe the screen for a full menu of options.
Seats are a black suede-like material trimmed in white vegan leather. In fact, the seat material is made of recycled plastic, but one would never know it to see it as the material feels like suede. The black door panels include white armrests and satin chrome door releases, again fresh and modern. That satin chrome is used elsewhere for trim too, including the flat-bottomed steering wheel’s hub and lower section.
The dash is enlivened by a gray textured trim that insinuates modernity and then there’s the huge flat console that sticks up from between the seats like an aircraft carrier deck, yet not connecting to the dash. Under it is a large cubby perfect for a purse and there are plastic side hooks there to snag small plastic grocery bags. Smart interior design.
Atop the black gloss console is a rotating satin chrome gear shift dial (I’d prefer a lever, but I’m getting old), plus at the front edge buttons for the standard heated and cooled seats and a heated steering wheel. Excellent, no screen tapping and sliding to search for these basic functions!
A wireless charger is embedded atop the console too, along with dual cup holders and a small covered storage box. Extra plugs are on the floor up near the firewall and each seat back includes a plug for rear-seat gamery.
Rear outer seats are heated and all seats are comfy with good hip and lower back support. The driver’s seat is powered, naturally.
Overhead EV6 features a small sunroof that powers open and includes a shade, plus the GT-Line adds a Meridian surround sound system with 14 speakers. Nice.
A minor interior complaint, the steering wheel (for me) partially blocks the speedometer located on the far left of the digital instrument screen. However, the GT-Line comes with a heads-up display, which cures that. It may remain a problem in the lower Light and Wind trims.
In back is a power hatch and oodles of cargo space, although a touch less than the Ioniq 5 had when the rear seats are lowered.
What about the electrics, the charging and battery range?
It’s excellent too in that the 77.4 kWh lithium ion battery pack accepts fast charging at 800 volts, so a 10% to 80% charge can happen in about 18 minutes. That’s great when traveling, plus the range is rated at 274 miles, but my full charge registered 278. Kia seems to underestimate ranges so you’re pleasantly surprised by the real deal.
This IS the real deal because I just have a 120Vt outlet in my garage and still got about a 20% charge overnight. For practical purposes that meant I could run errands around town, about 30 miles, then plug in before dinner and was back to a full charge in the morning. The Ioniq 5 would not do that, despite being able, like the Kia, to do a quick charge from a high-volt charger. Not clear on why the Ioniq was so resistant to a 120V charge.
Currently (get it?), Kia also supplies buyers with a card for 1000 kWh of free charging over three years at Electrify America outlets across the country. That’s said to be worth about $3,000, so free juice for a road trip, if you can find an Electrify America charging station en route. There’s but one in our area, in West Allis.
Naturally EV6 is chock full of safety equipment such as smart cruise control, forward collision avoidance, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic, lane-keeping, parking sensors and such. Most of these not only warn you, but help maneuver the car to avoid accidents. Oh, and there’s a 360-degree camera.
Cost remains a concern, at least for the top-shelf GT-Line. List price is $57,115 with delivery. Just the suede seats were added here for $295 to bring the total to $57,410. Note that 2023 models run about $1,000 more.
If economy is more your style, for 2023 the entry-level EV6 is the Wind trim, starting at $49,795 for front-wheel-drive and $53,695 for AWD. The lower cost Light trim was dropped for 2023. The rear-drive Wind trim features a single electric motor creating 225 horsepower, but with a range is 310 miles, so roughly that of a Tesla Model Y.
Wind also adds gloss-black lower front fascia, the power hatch, vegan leather seat trim, cooled front seats and the Meridian sound system. Another plus, for campers, there is a vehicle-to-load (V2L) external power port so a person can charge another electric device, or run a lamp or computer at a remote camping site, etc.
GT-Line basically loads everything aboard. Its second motor delivers that extra 362 hp, plus there are automatic pop-out door handles, body colored wheel arches, the sunroof, flat-bottomed wheel, suede and vegan leather seat trim, rear parking sensors, Highway Driving Assist 2 (a partially autonomous driving system with automatic lane changing), HUD, 360-degree camera, an enhanced version of the forward-collision avoidance system, and deluxe scuff plates.
Other stuff you might care to know:
EV6 offers Smartwatch connectivity so you can start it and more from your watch.
A heat pump uses waste heat from the coolant system to keep the battery warm in cold weather, like in Wisconsin. That avoids the cold sucking down your battery power in winter. Kia claims at 20 degrees the battery is at 80% of what it would be in mid-70 degree summer weather. Bingo!
Paddle shifters on the steering wheel provide four levels of regenerative braking to let you drive with one pedal, the accelerator. I liked the most severe level in that it slows the vehicle quickly and regenerates battery power best. After a day of driving, you find you’re rarely using your brake pedal, except in an emergency.
The AWD model weighs about 250 pounds more than the RWD models.
Yes, there’s a tiny frunk in front, so you can hide valuables, etc.
The digital screens are glare resistant, a major positive.
Last amazing fact, the 114.2-inch wheelbase is the same as for Kia’s Telluride mid-size SUV, which explains why there’s so much room and why ride quality is as good as it is.
This is the top performing electric of the year, and there’s not much year left. Plus, while some electrics aren’t sold in Wisconsin, the EV6 is.
Note too that some electrics are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, and some states also offer incentives. Wisconsin does not. However, Wisconsin adds a surcharge of $75 for hybrids and $100 for EVs to make up for lost gas tax revenue from electrics.
FAST STATS: 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD
Hits: Refined futuristic styling inside and out, excellent acceleration + 3 drive modes, easy handling, and AWD. Clean stylish dash, big dual screens, heated/cooled supportive front seats, heated outside rear seats, flat-bottom wheel, HUD, opening sunroof, solid safety systems, Meridian stereo w/14 speakers, wireless phone charger, power hatch. Fast charging and sufficient overnight charge on 120 outlet, nearly 280-mile range.
Misses: Heavy feel in turns, firm ride, rotating shift dial, steering wheel partially blocks speedometer portion of screen, GT-Line is costly.
Made in: Hwasung, So. Korea (builds starting in 2025 in new Georgia plant)
It was an off-road capable off-road capable supercar. The 959 was produced from 1986 to 1993 and only 345 were built. The Porsche 959 was the most technologically advanced car in the 1980s and it took years for other cars to share similar technologies. Just like the fabled 911, the 959 has a flat-6 behind the rear axle. The engine can produce 444 horsepower which is the same as a brand new 911 Carrera, proving how advanced in performance the 80s 959 was. Mated to the flat-6 is a 6-speed manual transmission and could do 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, could reach 197 mph.
Its all-wheel-drive system included adjustable hydraulic suspension that could perform perfectly on the road or off-road. Yup, you could take your $300,000 Porsche off-road. Especially since it was equipped with two adjustable differentials and weighed around 3,100 lbs. thanks to its kevlar body panels and hollow-spoke magnesium wheels, the flooring is made of Nomex. A flame-resistant and light material.
This one I spotted most likely never saw any off-roading and it’s even rarer because it made it here to Wisconsin thanks in part to Bill Gates. Yup, the Microsoft guy. He imported it under the Show and Display Rule which allowed non-approved cars to be imported into the US under tight and strict conditions. The cars could only be driven so much and you had to prove the car’s significance historically. The cars also have to pass emissions and the 959 was never produced with a catalytic converter. Porsche eventually provided a catalytic converter system for US owners if you sent that car back to Germany for installation. Not a cheap deal but neither is the car. If you could get the owner to part with it, you would have to write a check for just under 1 million bucks.
My ar spots are published on SavageOnWheels.com every Friday. Have a great weekend and Happy New Year.
Toyota’s LeMans hybrid racer looks good in 1/18 scale …
LeMans prototype racers press the envelope of styling and power to compete at the highest levels of the World Endurance Championship that includes the famous 24 Hours of LeMans in France.
Audi has dominated that race for the past decade and Porsche has had its run too. But a few years back Toyota decided to enter the fray and take on the big boys with its TS030. But it took two years to work out the bugs and the hybrid model TS040 won the WEC manufacturer’s championship in 2014.
Toyota’s foray into prototype racing for the endurance title started in 2012 with the TS030 hybrid. But it was the TS040 that finally moved the Japanese car maker to the top of the LMP1 podium. The TS040 used a naturally-aspirated V8 that featured a supercapacitor system, or energy-retrieval system, on the rear and front axle to give it 58% more power than its predecessor. This also gave the racer 4-wheel-drive, a major benefit in an endurance car that often has to race in lousy weather.
Some cars are sexy, some are nasty, some are fast. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer is all of the above, a lawn dart of an automobile with a long nose and a monster rear wing. Looks like it could nail any competitor to the pavement.
Autoart creates a beautiful 1/18 scale version of the GT3 racer as it was presented to the media a couple years back in a gorgeous matte metallic gray paint scheme with yellow racing stripes and a No. 1 on each door. Who’s to argue with that?
If you’re deep into NASCAR or IndyCar racing you may not know much about GT3 cars. But Group GT3 cars are Grand Touring (get it?) cars that race in various series around the world. The GT3 designation started in 2005 under rules set by FIA, the international racing rules group.
In essence GT3 cars must be based on production GT cars and have 500 to 600 horsepower and weigh between 1200kg (2,645 lbs.) and 1300kg (2,866 lbs.). They also feature ABS, traction control and include built-in air jacks to facilitate quick pit stops. Currently about 40 cars have been approved, or homologated to race in GT3, including the likes of Audi, Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Ford (GT), Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, along with the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper.
The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is built in conjunction with Mercedes’ AMG performance unit in Sindelfingen, Germany. Under its massive hood is a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 that creates 622 horsepower, while the production model has a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that tops out at 577. The older naturally aspirated engine is simpler and more reliable for racing, hence the difference. Oh, and top speed is 206 mph. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Mercedes-AMG GT3→
Not much in the car world is better than a sexy sports car, except maybe one that offers four engine choices and a wide span of prices so more folks can afford said sexy beast.
Lexus happily does just that with its RC sports coupe, which offers two versions of its 3.5-liter V6, plus a rockin’ 467-horsepower V8-powered F model for the serious racer wanna-bes or guys overcompensating for something.
The tested base RC 200t lists at $39,995 while the V8 version starts at about $64,000.
I tested the RC 350 more than a year ago and found it powerful, stylish, nimble and well, pretty much a hoot to drive. The 200t is less of the same.
Still stylish with its distinctive spindle grille and edgy overall looks, the RC 200t features a good looking interior too and all the handling and fun of the 350, but with less power and one major stumbling block, an annoying hesitation for that power to kick in when you first tromp the gas pedal.
Subaru’s Forester remains one of my favorite small SUVs because of its handling, spunky power, smooth CVT, quiet interior and sure-footed AWD capability.
That doesn’t even get at its other attributes, like reasonable starting price, good gas mileage, comfortable interior, top-notch safety rating and its overall usefulness.
The Forester was redesigned for 2014 and just keeps getting better with little tweaks. The handsome metallic (Venetian) red test model was the mid-level Limited that includes leather seats, an automatic climate control system, and power hatch.
Like its stablemates (there are four trims, plus the XT models that include a gutsier 2.0-liter turbocharged engine), the Limited delivers good interior space with wide comfortable seats and one of the quieter small SUV interiors.
The 2.5-liter boxer (horizontally-opposed) 4-cylinder engine is strong, delivering 170 horsepower and 174 ft.-lbs. of torque. While some small SUVs and crossovers may offer more pony power, few feel as spunky as this Subaru engine. Touch the gas pedal and the Forester jumps away from stoplights. In fact, it takes a couple days to get the feel of the pedal. You can startle yourself a bit the first few times you accelerate. Continue reading 2016 Subaru Forester Limited→
Lexus cars always look luxurious, rarely racy, until now. Lexus stylists have cranked up their angular mojo to create their first truly sporty looking sports coupe – the RC 350.
I’ve read or heard all sorts of jawing from other car writers that the RC isn’t racy enough, sits too high, has too big and bulgy of wheel wells, won’t break the sound barrier, etc. Let me tell you that’s hogwash – except the sound barrier thing.
First, the RC is exceptionally good looking with a rakish stance, sleek sloping windshield and roofline, extreme spindle grille that Lexus has made its trademark of late, and slim beautifully sculpted lights front and rear along with fins on the lower rear bodywork. Plus those twin exhausts sound pretty sweet. Yes, this baby would look fast in a car wash!
Speed, handling, ride and performance are all first rate.
One could argue that this isn’t as track worthy as an off-the-truck Porsche, but it’s a street racer of distinction. And by that I mean it’s plenty fast, sounds like it means business and handles like a high-end sports coupe. It’s not an $80 to $100 grand racer, it’s a $42,700 sports coupe and as tested with the F Sport package and other goodies, hits $54,815. That’s not cheap, but it’s not so pricy you’ve got to sell the house and kids.
Power is generous. A typically smooth Lexus 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing and direct and port injection gives the RC 350 its oomph. Officially it creates 306 horsepower and 277 ft.-lbs. of torque. Because the Lexus is refined, not a beast, its engineers provide it with Drive Mode Select, allowing the driver the option of Eco mode to save fuel (it drinks premium), Normal, or Sport. The later keeps rpm up as it holds lower gears longer to boost acceleration. Continue reading 2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport→
Supercars are exciting because they embody the auto world’s future technology, they are, to some degree, like the old auto show concept cars, the Futurama vehicles.
Today we immediately think of brands such as Lamborghini, Pagani and McLaren, swoopy cars with scissor or gullwing doors that ooze speed and aerodynamic prowess. Certainly the McLaren MP4-12C, now known primarily as the 12C, fits this bill. No wonder Autoart chose it for a terrific 1:18 scale version in its Signature Series.
Personally I love the sleek smooth lines of a Lamborghini better, but there’s no denying the 12C looks like a racer. Certainly it has the pedigree, what with Bruce McLaren, the firm’s founder being one of the premier Formula 1 racers of the 1960s and with the McLaren race team’s continual success through the years.
The 12C looks a little like a Porsche from the front and Ferarri in profile, but with big gills carved behind the doors to let plenty of air into its swagger-inducing McLaren M838 twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8. As with all supercars, the engine sits amid ship, just behind the driver and powers the rear wheels. Horsepower? How do 616 ponies sound?
Like many supercars, which favor light weight and high horsepower, the 12C starts with a carbon fiber composite chassis, what it calls a Carbon Monocell, that weighs just 176 lbs. Heck, overall the car weighs just about 3,100 lbs.
Unlike the funky, but speedy, 3-seat McLaren F1 before it, this sports car has the standard 2-seat, side-by-side interior and scissor-style doors that fold up and forward.