Honda eyes 2023 “bagger”

Also in the news concerning two-wheeled motivation is Honda, and if you can’t find a suitable road bike after perusing the affordable-bike pioneer’s 2023 model lineup, all we can say is that you must have some really unique needs. Honda will offer no less than 11 road bikes of various trims and displacements for 2023. The highlight is this motorcycle, the Rebel 1100T DCT. The alphabetized name means that the Honda “T'” designation is being extended to the Rebel line for 2023, which in turn means that the Rebel line now gains a “bagger” variant, with much-improved capabilities for wind protection and luggage capacity.

The low saddle, angled tank and relatively high handlebars give the be-bagged version of the Rebel an unmistakable cruiser stance. Also on the attribute list is Honda’s in-house DCT, the name bestowed on its advanced Dual Clutch Transmission. A large windshield is standard, as are the bags, which combine for some 35 liters of cargo capacity.

Aston Martin’s new hyperbike

One of the grandest performance names out of the United Kingdom, Aston Martin has already had one experience in allying with another British legend, Brough Superior, to produce a bespoke superbike that’s worthy of both names. The strategy worked once, so the protagonists are joining forces yet again, this time to unveil the AMB 001, a track-only two-wheeler just introduced at the motorcycle salon in Milan. With a displacement of 997 cubic centimeters, the new bike is directly inspired by Aston Martin’s vaunted Valkyrie AMR Pro hypercar.

This is one super-trick two-wheeler, with production to be limited to 88 units worldwide. The engine, machined from a solid aluminum billet, will produce 225 horsepower, 25 percent better than the previous collaboration between the manufacturers. Downforce is aided by winglets strategically placed on the cycle’s fairings. The bike’s power-to-weight ratio works out to 1.28 kilograms per horsepower, which is basically a Formula 1-wild number.

Built in America: Genesis expands with electrified GV70 SUV

Genesis, the halo brand of the South Korean mega-manufacturer, Hyundai, achieved a couple of milestones last week. First, it expanded its portfolio of premium EVs to three models, by debuting its electrified GV70 luxury SUV at the ongoing Los Angeles Auto Show. Next, Genesis disclosed that the electric GV70 will be assembled in the United States at the huge Hyundai-operated plant in Montgomery, Alabama, making it the first Genesis-badged vehicle to be built on these shores: Indeed, it will be the first Genesis assembled outside South Korea.

Production of the electrified GV70 is expected to commence at Montgomery in December. While no particulars were immediately disclosed, buyers can expect high luxury and a robustly powerful EV driving experience from the new Genesis, plus the chance to wrap themselves in the dramatically themed styling that’s come to typify vehicles from Hyundai, Kia and Genesis.

Tobias joins Lost Speedways consortium at Saratoga

The first thing you need to know is that there’s an excellent automotive museum located in Saratoga Springs, New York. Next, realize that the Saratoga Automotive Museum is home to the permanent exhibition on the vast history of stock car racing in the Empire State. Taken together, they join up on the Saturday of each Thanksgiving weekend to present the live historical retrospective known as Lost Speedways, and hosted by our longtime friend and fellow Speed Sport contributor, Ron Hedger, himself a child of upstate New York. Lost Speedways is a daylong journey into New York’s racing past as recounted by a series of presenters, which always include the heroes of racing’s yesterdays, buttressed by a bevy of knowledgeable historians and their artifacts, which are also on display.

The photo shows the longtime Holy Grail of racing in New York, Super DIRT Week at the lamented New York State Fairgrounds mile in Syracuse. The Lost Speedways program has just added 1992 Syracuse winner Richie Tobias Jr., part of the fabled Pennsylvania racing dynasty, to the list of presenters, who will bookend with another champion of the mile, Kenny Tremont Jr., the native of Rensselaer County, New York and a prolific champion at both Albany-Saratoga and Lebanon Valley speedways. Other New York luminaries making appearances will be past Syracuse winners Rob Yetman and Rocky Warner, both still active drivers. Panel discussions will include racer interviews, a look at drag racing in the infield of Fonda Speedway (where the Top Fuel legend Shirley Muldowney, who grew up in Schenectady, got her start), and even on the evolution of the Soap Box Derby in New York, which launched its share of racing careers. Lost Speedways 2022 will take place at the museum on Saturday, November 26th. Memorabilia displays will open the event at 10:30 a.m., with presentations getting underway at 12:30 p.m. We can personally vouch for the excellence of this program.

Pricing set for M-B EQE sedan

Mercedes-Benz already has an electrified analogue to its vaunted S-Class sedan series with the start of its EQ series of EVs. That universe is about to be expanded by the introduction of the EQE sedan lineup, which essentially puts an electron-fueled powertrain into a package that mimics current E-Class proportions and appointments. Built on the dedicated EVA2 platform for premium electric vehicles, the EQE will be offered in three broad model ranges, with three trim levels available for each, once deliveries to U.S. showrooms commence about a year from now.

Prices are currently set to begin at $74,900 for the base EQE 350+ model. Any such purchase will include the use of a nationwide charging-station network via the Mercedes me Charge system, which will allow for 30-minute fast charging. Among the niceties offered in the EQE line will be a passenger cabin that can be remotely purified using the key fob before the occupants climb aboard.

VW cops first SEMA EV honor

If it’s early November, that means that SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, has just opened its vast trade show in Las Vegas, the biggest conducted by any industry, where both the $50 billion automotive aftermarket and the OEM manufacturers turn out en masse to tease their latest creations. Full disclosure, I write regularly for the house magazine of SEMA’s subsidiary for hardcore motorsport parts, Performance Racing Industry. The SEMA show is an absolute must for anyone seriously involved in the car business, and the awards for special achievement dispensed there are highly prized indeed.

From its first trade show in Los Angeles way back in 1948, when it mainly displayed hot rod parts, SEMA has always saluted excellence in automotive conception, both among new cars and those tricked up by the aftermarket, often under commission of the industry. For the first time, recognition from SEMA is also being extended to vehicles that don’t have internal combustion engines. To that end, the Volkswagen ID.4 electric vehicle has been named the recipient of SEMA’s inaugural Electric Vehicle of the Year award, marking not only the first time SEMA has honored an EV, but likely also a Volkswagen product. Even the base ID.4, now known as the Standard, has a rear-drive electric motor that delivers the equivalent of 201 horsepower and an EPA-estimate range of 209 miles on a single charge.

Pricing set for Nissan GT-R

When it comes to all-out, go-fast goodness, the skies open up ever time discussion turns to Nissan’s outrageous performance coupe, the GT-R, which was sadly denied to American buyers for too many decades. With the availability issue remedied, and the GT-R now safely available at Nissan showroom, the manufacturer has released 2023 pricing for both editions of this no-compromises spaceship.

Be honest: Can’t you see this coupe rather easily translated into a NASCAR Next Gen car? Coming back to reality, the GT-R is offered as two models. Pricing for the Premium edition will start out at $113,540, which will buy you a GT-R with the base, if that’s the proper word, powertrain, consisting of a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged DOHC V-6 rated at 565 horsepower, mated to a dual-clutch, paddle-shift six-speed manual transmission and Nissan’s ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system. This is the base model, remember? If you’re willing to part with $210,740, you can step up to the 2023 GT-R NISMO, which adds the turbochargers used on Nissan’s GT-class racing engine and boosts output to a robust 600 horsepower.

A Shelby book that delivers

Did the literary world really need another book on Shelby American and its cars, a topic that’s been dealt with endlessly in the past? The short answer is that when it comes to telling a compelling story in the process, the answer is “yes.” One of the more respected automotive authors out there, Preston Lerner, has taken on the subject in fine fashion with a highly literate and compelling take on the iconoclasts who collectively made up Shelby American, starting with its founder. Shelby American makes it clear that a lot of people in the Shelby orbit with freethinkers who didn’t exactly fit with the prototypes for auto executives at the time.

At 326 pages, there’s more than enough heft to the highly personal narrative to keep even knowledgeable Shelby enthusiasts engaged in the story. One element that sets this story considerably apart from the shelves full of Cobra books out there is that Lerner directly engaged the help of our friend Dave Friedman, the original Shelby American company photographer and one of the last of the firm’s surviving employees, whose irreplaceable photos dot the text throughout. For a Shelby fan, or someone just learning about the firm’s glorious history, this is a more-than-worthwhile read.

40 years of Golf GTI is noted

A million times, probably, people who write about cars have used the mutually coined phrase “hot hatch” to refer to a subcompact with a lot of strapped-on performance credibility. The Volkswagen Golf GTI – remember the first German-language “Little GTI” commercials? – embodied the concept in the early days, arguably more than any other single model. It’s been 40 years since that heady rollout, and Volkswagen is coming out with a very limited Golf edition to make sure we’re all aware of the milestone.

The 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Anniversary Edition is coming to market with just 1,500 copies earmarked for U.S. buyers, about half the cars to be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox and the rest sold with Volkswagen’s seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. Four colors will be offered, including edition-specific Tornado Red and Urano Gray. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels with red accents form another part of the package. The equipment level is essentially based on the GTI S but will add performance summer tires, DCC adaptive shock-absorber control and speed-sensitive power steering. Power continues with the EA888 turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 241 horsepower. The MSRPs will get underway at $33,055 when deliveries start midway through the model year.

Sauber is Audi’s F1 partner

Fresh off disclosing its intention to field a works team in Formula 1, Audi has announced that it will commence a technical partnership with Swiss-headquartered Sauber Motorsport AG as a strategic partner in developing the future Audi F1 car for race readiness, a deal that will also see Audi acquire an ownership stake in Sauber. The deal will establish Sauber as Audi’s factory team at the pinnacle of world motorsport. The plan calls for Audi to create the F1 car’s hybrid-based powertrain in an expanded engine-development shop at Neuburg an der Donau in Germany, while the car itself will be brought on line by Sauber from its facility in Hinwil, Switzerland.

Founded by Peter Sauber in 1970, Sauber cut its teeth in European hillclimbs and in the World Endurance Championship, most notably partnering with Mercedes-Benz when the firm finally returned to organized motorsport after a decades-long absence. Sauber was also elemental in the building of the current Alfa Romeo team in F1. That deal runs through 2023, with Audi expected to join Formula 1 full-time, after utterly vanquishing Le Mans for a decade-plus, in 2026.