There’s no doubt that the Toyota C-HR is a great little crossover, with aggressive styling that helps the CUV stand out from the competition. Sadly, the C-HR is all show and little go, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 144 HP and 139 lb-ft of torque, and a CVT transmission sending power to the front wheels.
We had a chance to drive the C-HR last year when it first came out, and I praised the crossover for it’s quick steering, tight handling, and lack of body roll, but lamenting that “this excellent chassis doesn’t get utilized to it’s fullest,” and that more power would take the C-HR to a whole other level.
Clearly I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, as Toyota unveiled a 600-horsepower Toyota C-HR R-Tuned concept at SEMA last year, a racetrack-tuned crossover that showed the public what the C-HR was capable of from a tuning perspective, delivering supercar performance for a fraction of the price. The car was the talk of SEMA, and I could only imagine what it was like on the track.
So you can only imagine my excitement when Toyota invited me out to Willow Springs (a track that has long been on my automotive bucket list) to experience the C-HR R-Tuned firsthand on the very same track where it set a scorching 1:25.22 lap time last fall, beating out supercars like the Ferrari 488 GTB, Porsche 911 GT3, Nissan GT-R NISMO, and McLaren 650 S Spyder, to name a few.
After we arrived at the track and signed the necessary waivers, we got to learn more about the Toyota C-HR R-Tuned and what makes it the exotic-slaying track monster that it is. And what we learned is that while this car is still four-cylinder-powered and retains its front-wheel-drive setup, this CUV is far from stock.
Dan Gardner and his team at DG-Spec replaced the stock 2.0-liter engine with a 2.4-liter Toyota 2AZ-FE with Dezod-supplied forged internals, a titanium and Inconel valve-train, and a custom DG-Spec Garrett turbo system that pushes power output beyond 600 horsepower at approximately 23 psi of boost.
The stock CVT was tossed in favor of a five-speed Toyota E-Series manual transmission, with an OS Giken limited-slip differential. Brembo racing brakes with 14″ rotors and 4-piston billet aluminum monobloc calipers up front, and remote-reservoir, triple-adjustable DG-Spec Motion Control Suspension motorsports dampers help in the braking and handling department, along with a host of other custom, go-fast goodies.
Finally, to help augment the mechanical grip made by the massive 275/35R18 Toyo Proxes RR tires, an air-dam, side dams, adjustable front splitter and imposing rear wing with gurney flap were grafted into the body to endow this C-HR with an honest 300 pounds of downforce at triple-digit speeds.
All in all, the C-HR R-Tuned is a pretty bad-ass machine, and honestly photos don’t do the car justice, as it looks even more menacing in person. This was going to be one fun day!
Before hopping into the C-HR R-Tuned, we got the chance to drive some stock C-HRs around The Streets of Willow Springs, with some pro drivers riding shotgun to show us the optimal lines and give us pointers along the way. Surprisingly, the C-HR proved to be very capable on track, even though it could have used an extra 60HP or so to really dial up the excitement.
Later on, I was able to convince them to let me take the C-HR out on Big Willow, and holy crap that was a ton of fun! This course can get you into a lot of trouble if you’re not careful, but the C-HR was perfectly suited for it, and I ran along the back straightaway with my foot to the floor, hitting about 105mph before braking for that long sweeper at the end.
Seriously, who knew a stock CUV could be so much fun at the track?!
Between sessions, I watched as the other group took turns in the C-HR R-Tuned, which they pitted against a brand new Nissan GT-R. As you can imagine, the poor GT-R didn’t stand a chance, with the C-HR R-Tuned passing it halfway through the first lap and never looking back.
After lunch, it was finally my turn to hop into the 600HP C-HR R-Tuned and race it around Big Willow. Sadly, on the previous lap the car started smoking and Dan had to nurse it back to the garage. Turns out a liquid-filled bearing on the C-HR overheated, causing it to throw a belt.
While the timing couldn’t have been worse for me, it’s a race car, and these things happen, it’s just the name of the game. The DG-Spec mechanics worked feverishly to get the car patched up, and while I wasn’t able to do a full lap, I was able to experience the C-HR’s explosive acceleration (0-60 in 2.9s) and braking (1.2g of braking force) before shutting it down and calling it a night.
Overall, I could not have been more impressed with the Toyota C-HR. It’s a well-handling, practical crossover that stands out from the crowd with it’s edgy styling. And as we saw with the R-Tuned version, the platform is ready for whatever modifications you decide to throw its way.
So who’s ready to buck convention and build a tricked out, souped up Toyota C-HR “hot hatch” like no other?
How To Know When It’s Time To Get A New Family Car
Whether you have a sensible sedan, a standard minivan, or a versatile SUV, you place a lot of trust in your family car. However, no matter how reliable your vehicle is, you’ll have to replace it with a new model eventually. How do know when it’s the right time to upgrade? Here are some of the top signs it’s a good time to buy a new family car.
1. You’re Paying Expensive Repair Costs
No matter how well you look after your vehicle, time, wear and tear, and age eventually take their toll. When you find yourself having to make minor repairs often or taking your car into the shop several times a year for substantial and expensive fixes, it may be time to consider moving on.
Keeping a car past its prime can cost a lot of money in terms of repair costs. Older cars are generally less efficient as well, so you could be overspending on gas. Mileage is another important factor to consider. Some makes and models can be reliable past 200,000 miles, whereas others become unstable before this milestone. Do some research on your car to determine how likely it is that you’ll run into constant problems if you continue driving it.
2. Your Family Is Growing
Your compact car may have worked fine when you had your first child, but squeezing multiple car seats in the back can be a challenge. If your family is growing in number, or simply growing up, chances are you have more car seats, luggage, backpacks, and sports gear you need to fit in your vehicle. If you’re constantly trying to maneuver things around to make riding in your car comfortable, it may be time to consider an upgrade.
If you choose to upgrade your family car, you can look forward to several benefits beyond just having more space. Newer cars generally have more features, and models designed for families (such as minivans) may have numerous helpful additions. You may find that having a new car with more cupholders, configurable seats, automatic doors, and entertainment systems makes your time driving with the family exponentially more comfortable.
3. You’re Moving to a Different Location
If you are moving to a place with a drastically different climate, it could be wise to buy a new family car. For example, if you’re moving to a sunny coastal climate, you may want to trade in your four-wheel-drive for something smaller and more efficient. Alternately, if you’re moving to a mountain state, it’s probably a good idea to consider switching your convertible out for a reliable and maneuverable SUV.
4. You’re Financially Ready
One of the most challenging parts of upgrading your family car is the financial burden. Whether you buy new or used, chances are taking home a new vehicle will require paying a hefty chunk of cash or signing a big loan. Either way, your personal financial status plays a large part in deciding when it’s time to buy a new car.
However, you can look at it the other way as well. If you are in a good financial spot with excellent credit and a comfortable safety net in the bank, you may want to think about investing in a new car. Buying at a time when you can afford a large down payment and qualify for a favorable loan can make more financial sense than waiting until repairs force you to buy a new car quickly. If you wait, you may not be in such sound financial waters as you are now.
Being able to afford a new car or qualify for a good loan also gives you the flexibility to choose the best option for your family. Maybe you want to move to an electric car to save money on gas and help the environment. Perhaps you want to get an SUV to make it easier and safer to spend weekends camping in the mountains. When you have the time and resources to do all the research and choose the best model for your family, it can take a lot of stress out of the whole process.
Deciding when to upgrade your family car can require a lot of thought. However, there are some standard signs that can indicate it’s time to start considering a new vehicle. Mounting repair costs can make it financially more affordable to get a new car. You may also want to consider upgrading when you’re in a good financial spot with the assets to either pay cash or secure a favorable loan.
The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe Will Set You Back $111,900
Last month, BMW unveiled the long-awaited 8 Series Coupe to the delight of enthusiasts from around the world, who have been waiting nearly two decades for the Bavarian car company to bring back the iconic luxury sports coupe.
BMW gave us a full run-down on the the 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe, which is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that puts out 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, launching the car from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155 mph.
The BMW M850i is equipped with xDrive rear-biased intelligent all-wheel drive, mated to an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission that has been updated with wider ratios and sportier gear shifts. Standard performance features include M Sport brakes and Adaptive M suspension with Active-Roll Stabilization.
Standard equipment on the BMW M850i xDrive Coupe includes Full LED headlights with BMW LaserLight technology, BMW Individual Merino leather seats, BMW Live Cockpit Professional, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and more.
That all sounds great, but how much will it cost?
The 2019 BMW M850i xDrive Coupe starts will start at $111,900 plus a $995 Destination and Handling fee, with cars arriving in dealerships nationwide on December 8th.
Naturally, BMW has a plethora of options to push that sticker price much higher, including an optional Driving Assistant Professional, a 1,400 watt Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system, a carbon fiber exterior trim package, just to name a few.
The 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Is The Demon’s Spawn
As you’ve probably heard, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon has already reached the end of its limited-production run, with 3,300 of them produced in less than a year.
Missed out on your chance to purchase one? Well today is your lucky day, because Dodge/SRT just unveiled the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye today, a slightly less powerful Demon spawn, with “only” 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque, with an eight-speed automatic transmission as the only option.
The Hellcat Redeye will rocket from 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, run the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds at 131 mph, with a top speed of 203 mph, earning it the bragging rights as the “most powerful production V8” and “quickest production muscle car” currently in production.
Needless to say, the Mustang Shelby GT500 is going to struggle keeping up with this bad boy. Same with the Corvette ZR1, which comes up short with 755 horsepower.
Like its Demon brethren, the Hellcat Redeye has 25 major component upgrades, including a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, high-speed valve train, fuel injection system and improved lubrication system.
It also has the Torque Reserve system that delivers up to 3.9 psi of boost at launch and up to 55% more engine torque, along with the SRT Power Chiller and After-Run Chiller (which use the air conditioning system to cool the intercooler and reduce engine temps).
And new for 2019, the Redeye offers two final drive ratios, a standard 2.62:1 or an available 3.09:1 for enhanced launch capabilities. Helping put all that power to the ground is a high-strength steel prop shafts and 41-spline half shafts, both of which increase torque capacity.
Furthermore, the SRT Hellcat Redeye is available with the Demon’s Widebody package, which allows for some meatier tires (275mm on the standard body cars, 305mm on the widebody cars). That extra rubber helps shave off 0.3 seconds in the 1/4 mile (10.8s vs 11.1s), so to us it seems like a no-brainer. It also looks pretty bad-ass.
No word on pricing just yet, but expect it to fall somewhere between the Hellcat and Demon. And if that ends up being too rich for your blood, you can always go with a “normal” Hellcat, which gets a modest power bump to 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque.
The 2019 Challenger lineup will roar into dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2018, so you’d better start saving your money now.