2018 Dodge Durango SRT Tested: Better at VIR Than on the Rubicon Trail


Anyone who thinks hot-rod SUVs are just big-engined and aggressively styled versions of their civilian counterparts should have a chat with the folks at SRT. They strive to make complete packages. Case in point: While developing the Dodge Durango SRT, engineers ran the SUV around Virginia International Raceway (yup, the same one we visit annually) with and without an intake in the lower left corner of the front fascia. The difference was 1.2 seconds per lap in hot conditions, so the production model has the intake. READ MORE ››

Latest Spy Pics of Mid-Engined 2019 C8 Corvette: Best View Yet of Cabin and Overall Proportions

2019 Chevrolet Corvette (spy photo)

Chevrolet engineers are hard at work testing the upcoming mid-engined C8 Chevrolet Corvette, which provides opportunities for industrious spy photographers—and further delicious teasing for the rest of us. The latest images captured of the mid-engined Vette give us our best view yet of the passenger compartment and the homegrown exotic’s overall shape.

These snaps captured the C8 in a moment when the camouflage had peeled away from its roof, revealing the tall, dramatically curved windshield and the tapered roofline. Through the camouflage, we can discern the outline of the large rear glass under which sits the small-block V-8. The view of the open doors confirms that they’ll operate conventionally. We also get a good sense of the long wheelbase, the short rear overhang, the defined front fender tops, and the rounded tail.

We expect the mid-mounted small-block to send as much as 500 horsepower to the rear wheels, distilled via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission supplied by Tremec. A hybrid variant, expected to use the trademarked name Corvette E-Ray, likely will follow later. The C8’s regular powertrain will get an upgrade, in the form of a four-cam 32-valve V-8, approximately a year after its debut.

The C8 Corvette, code-named ZERV, is expected to finally shed its camo in January with a debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show. Production begins later next year. Meantime, we’ll keep mulling over these spy photos, because January is a long way away.


Sweet W116: We Take a Spin in the First-Gen Mercedes-Benz S-class

Mercedes W116

On the occasion of our first drive of the revised 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class, we also were afforded the opportunity to drive an example of the first Mercedes to use that model designation, a W116 version, and the contrast was marked. A shiny, well-sorted car from the factory’s Classic Center in Stuttgart, the W116 our hosts rolled out was an S350 from 1979, a car from late in the production run that in its home market stretched from 1972 until 1980. Looking dapper in understated dark-blue metallic with generous chrome accents and MB’s classic color-matched wheel covers, the S350 also sported a matching dark-blue interior with houndstooth-checked cloth upholstery.

In many ways, the W116 represented a leap into the modern era, with pull-type exterior door handles, bucket seats bisected by a center console, the familiar gated floor shifter for the automatic transmission, power windows, and—most welcome on a blistering hot summer day—working factory air conditioning. The huge steering-wheel rim of wrinkly black vinyl was a Benz mainstay for years; its extra-large diameter was designed to provide the driver additional leverage should the power assist fail.

The S350 indicates a 3.5-liter engine in this example, this being from the days when the model designation still related to engine displacement. Under the hood was a V-8, smooth-running although with a rather lazy idle—it spun so slowly that it seemed almost on the verge of stalling, yet it never did.

Mercedes W116

When stirred, however, the engine could get this stately sedan up and moving. The three-pointed star at the end of the hood would rise in response to a determined prod of the accelerator. Body roll is generous, but even after nearly four decades, the big Benz exudes a hewn-from-metal solidity that many of its contemporaries lacked. We would have driven it happily all the way to Bonn, perhaps to take a meeting with German chancellor Helmut Schmidt—were he still around.

The sensation of driving—or even that of being in a moving vehicle—is so much greater here than it is in today’s car. The latest S-class, its vast, pillowy cabin suffused with computer screens and colorful mood lighting, is nearly capable of driving itself. It feels as if the model is taking another historic turn, one in which autonomy and isolation rise to the forefront. The W116 S-class was all about making the best-driving luxury car; the new S-class seeks to be the best possible luxury conveyance for an era in which driving is perceived more as a chore than a joy.


Ford F-22 Raptor Goes for $300,000 at Auction

Inspired by a fighter jet, a one-off Ford F-22 Raptor commanded $300,000 at auction recently.

The one-off truck, named after the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, features a Whipple-intercooled 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 good for 545 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque.

Other modifications include a Modified Addictive Desert Design front suspension and bump stop kit, upgraded Alcon six-piston calipers with oversized rotors and high-friction pads, cat-back Borla exhaust system, Innov8 Racing custom forged beadlock wheels, and Falcon Wildpeak tires.

In addition to an off-road LED lighting system, the model also features DeBerti carbon fiber fender flares, hood, and fender vents.

With $300,000, you can very easily buy five regular Raptor trucks. The standard Raptor produces “just” 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque from its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6.

The auction took place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at the Experimental Aircraft Association Gathering of Eagles. Since 2008, Ford has raised more than $3 million at the annual event that benefits youth aviation programs.

Appropriately, the lucky new owner of the Ford F-22 Raptor is an Honorary Commander/Ambassador for the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The post Ford F-22 Raptor Goes for $300,000 at Auction appeared first on Automobile Magazine.