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First Drive: 2018 Audi S5 Sportback

There’s compromise in the automotive world. Some of it is bad, but some of it is the good sort of compromise. The 2018 Audi S5 Sportback is that good kind. Yes, we’re hopelessly dreaming of a day when wagons will return in large numbers to roam the roads. That day isn’t today, so that’s why we have a vehicle like the S5 Sportback.

It’s a sedan, that is kind of shaped like a coupe, and has some of the utility of a hatchback. It’s also packing a 354-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine, an available sport rear differential, and adaptive suspension. So yes, the S6 Avant would be our real dream machine in this space. But that doesn’t exist.

We can choose from a bunch of other cars that dance around the fact that America doesn’t want a wagon… thankfully, most of them are good and the S5 Sportback is no exception.

[Disclaimer: Audi flew me up to Seattle, put me up in a hotel, and gave me food and booze. They did not take me seriously, however, no matter how many times I said to reduce model count to just coupes, sedans, wagons, and real SUVs.]

Car Bros brings us… The Final Race

The Car Bros are back with a new video, and this one goes deep. It’s a peek at street racing battle between a Ford Mustang and a Subaru WRX STI. There’s clear tension between the two drivers. Yet there is also respect… and lots of shifting.

Power shifting. Slap shifting. The ole automatic back and forth. The manual gearbox caress. The two-handed mega shift. It’s all in here, and more. So many shifts you’re going to need to get a big notebook and fill its pages with new names for shifts you’ve only dreamed one could pull off.

It’s not a happy ending though, as in racing there is always a winner and a loser. Maybe there all losers, but they’re winning because of it. The world will never know. All we do know is that you have to click play and take in… The Final Race.

Clarion built a better OG Acura NSX

The original Acura NSX is something special. It’s a real driver’s car that managed to stun the world, not with tremendous power but instead by providing a truly world-class driving experience. Still, there’s room for improvement with any car and Clarion has plucked an old NSX out from the crowd and turned into a stunner.

Check off another excellent build for the folks at the Clarion Builds program. The audio company is cranking out excellent project machines, letting folks get to sample them for a bit, and then auctioning them off for charity.

This NSX is following that same path, and its ultimate owner is going to wind up with a supercharged delight. Behind the cabin sits a 3.2-liter engine that is paired with a supercharger. It’s not putting out somewhere in the neighborhood of 465 horsepower.

Clarion had the suspension swapped out for KW units. Stoptech provides the braking force. Rays wheels look excellent wrapped in sticky tires, and the whole package brings the car to another level. Oh there’s also the one-off exhaust and carbon fiber airbox provided by AEM.

For a different type of sound, you of course have the full audio system provided by Clarion, and it sounds almost as wicked as the exhaust note.

Ride along at Le Mans with Townsend Bell …on a CXC simulator

Townsend Bell can drive a wide range of vehicles, and he can do so very quickly. Like most top-tier racers, Bell started with karts before moving to more powerful open-wheel racing series. He’s tested for Formula One teams, as well. Additionally, he’s finished as high as 4th in the Indy 500 and led the race for a handful of laps back in 2016.

You can watch Bell doling out his knowledge of motorsports for NBC Sports when he’s not behind the wheel. Right now thought you can watch him display some serious knowledge about one particular track that will have all eyes focused on it come this weekend.

Townsend Bell jumped into the seat of a CXC Simulator rig to take a Ferrari 488 GTLM around the Circuit de le Sarthe. That would be the racing circuit where the 24 Hours of Le Mans is held. Last year, Bell and teammates Jeff Segal and Bill Sweedler took the top spot in the GTE Am class. 

They’re looking to do it again this year. Before that happens, Bell shows us around the circuit and drops some great knowledge of the track while doing so.

These 9 steps will help you tune the SR20 engine

Nissan produced a wonderful powerplant when it gave the world the SR family of engines. The SR20ET, specifically, is an excellent engine that you’d find under the hood of S13, S14, and S15 Silvias. The power output, depending on the application ranges from around 201 horsepower on up to 250 horsepower.

It is, however, quite open to tuning. Our friends at Drifted.com have a guide to walk you through the steps of taking this engine and turning into something greater. You’re going to go down the standard walk of swapping items like the intake, injectors, and engine tuning.

There’s a bit more detail to dive into here. Head on over to Drifted to see what they believe you should do if you want to bump up the juice on the SR20.

Also, yes… that is a Lada shown above. And yes, it is packing SR20DET power under the hood.

Forza 7 revealed at E3

Turn 10 Studios is back at it with the latest installment in the Forza franchise. This time we’re eyeballing the trailer for Forza Motorsport 7, which takes things a bit more seriously than the Forza Horizon series. This will be a launch game for the also-recently announced Xbox One X. That’s the name of the latest version of the Microsoft console system, and it looks to bring super smooth 4K graphics to your television…

You don’t have one of those yet? Better start shopping if you want the cleanest looking games when everything comes to market this fall. We don’t know much about the latest Forza sim at the moment, but we will be interviewing the car-loving Creative Director at Turn 10 Dan Greenawalt later this week on the podcast.

… Continue Reading

“We run the night” is your automotive visual awesome for the day

Some folks are really good at pointing the camera at a subject and capturing that focal point for all its worth. The Lowdown and Hartnett Media teamed up to do that recently when they shot a group of cars taking over the late night roads in a section of Australia. Visually, this is an epic short video that encapsulates what it’s like to meet up with like-minded friends and just set off on a drive. There are no words, just stunning visuals and appropriately paired music.

It works well, and it’s a perfect escape for your Friday afternoon doldrums at work.

[Source: Reddit /r/Cars]

Range Rover Evoque Convertible: Who is it for?

Land Rover has created …something interesting. It’s called the Range Rover Evoque Convertible. It’s a drop-top version of Land Rover’s compact SUV, and it comes bearing 2.0-liter turbocharged power under its hood. It also has Terrain Response, a halfway decent wading depth for a mall crawler, and a few other bits and bobs that show its very much still a Range Rover.

Still… it’s an odd duck. No one praised Nissan when it built the Murano Cross Cabriolet. The Jeep Wrangler is pretty much the main contender when it comes to the idea of pairing top-down motoring with off-road adventure.

So who exactly is the Range Rover Evoque Convertible for? Let’s try to find out…

[Disclaimer: Land Rover tossed us the key fob to the Evoque Convertible and included a tank of fuel. We used that tank trying to figure out who would buy this thing.]

Become a Mopar magnate with this Craigslist trifecta

Are you looking to add a bit more Mopar into your life? Of course you are! We all are, right? No? Just shut up and listen for a second please. I said please.

Someone on Craigslist has a trifecta of Mopar machines that might interest you. We have a 1974 Dodge truck, 1984 Dodge truck, and an unrestored 1970 Dodge Challenger. That last one has no running gear, which is a bit of a bummer but it does leave you with quite the open canvas.

The vehicle in the best shape of the three is the truck from 1984. It apparently has just 66k miles on its clock and is a one-owner truck. The 1974 truck doesn’t run at the moment but it does have a 318 V8 swapped in, as opposed to the 360 that used to leave betwixt its fenders.

So are you ready to tackle two of these projects while driving the third to pickup your parts? There’s no price offered but you can make an offer of your own and see what the owner needs to part with all three.

[Source: Craigslist]

Hot Wheels Deora restoration will relax and impress you

One of our favorite YouTube channels is baremetalHW. It’s all about Hot Wheels. More specifically the hands and voice behind the channel is quite skilled at breathing new life into old, tired, beaten up Hot Wheels vehicles.

Today’s video shows the restoration of a classic Redline Deora. It’s from 1968. There are years of abuse clearly visible, and baremetalHW brings it to a whole new place. The old blue cracked and pitted paint work is removed and the refreshed Deora goes purple and black. A pair of surfboards once again ride in the bed space, and the glass is cleaned up as well.

It’s great to see such care applied to these scale dream machines. If you’re ready to get lost down a rabbit hole of this stuff, then you need to hit play and see where it all leads.