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2016 Subaru BRZ
Friendlier price with better features08/31/2015
Subaru dropped the price on its BRZ coupe for 2016. The base model will list at $26,190, including destination. That’s $300 less than 2015. That might not seem like a substantial drop in price, but it also includes standard rearview camera that feeds signals to a 6.2-inch single gesture touchscreen display.
Besides the new price and standard gadgets, the BRZ continues with a Torsen limited-slip diff and a sport-tuned front suspension (with a strut brace to keep the flex down).
The 2.0-liter Boxer-powered coupe again pumps out 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque, more than enough to push the 2,764-pound car sideways. The transmissions are either a six-speed manual or a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic. In terms of trim, nothing really changed with the base model, but the Limited comes with a new spoiler, fog lights and heated leather seats with Alcantara inserts.
Look for the 2016 BRZ in Subaru dealerships this fall.
Smart ForTwo goes topless for the Frankfurt motor show08/31/2015
Smart will unveil a cabriolet version of its ForTwo at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Ready for launch as early as 2016, the car features what Mercedes-Benz calls a “tritop.” Essentially, the car has a retractable canvas top, and also has detachable tracks to make the car a true convertible. Don’t worry about having to stuff the roof rails in the passenger seat, either, because Smart made a space in the tailgate to hold them while the top is down. The canvas top can open in 12 seconds (at top speed!) and will be available in three colors: red, blue and black.
The common refrain with the ForTwo is safety, which Smart tried its hardest to respond to. Compensating for the lack of roof, Smart put a steel cross member under the unibody, reinforced the bulkheads at the front and rear of the vehicle, and also reinforced the already-reinforced A-pillars.
2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang first drive08/28/2015
What is it?
“Don’t lift.” That’s been the mantra of race-car drivers, basically since the beginning of race-car driving. The physics being, if you lift midcorner when your mind tells you to, the weight comes off the back end, possibly sending it around in an uncorrectable and uncontrollable skid. With the 2016 Shelby GT350, we’re going to add “don’t shift” to that saying. The 5.2-liter flat-plane crank V8 doesn’t redline at 6,750 rpm like some old muscle cars, and doesn’t redline at 7,250 rpm like some new muscle cars. It only cuts out at an astounding 8,250 rpm. When the active exhaust is wailing, and your mind screams “shift now!” remember, you have about three more seconds of pull before your hand needs to drop off the Alcantara wheel and toward the stubby shifter with the red lettering.
The new GT350, like the first GT350, is the track Mustang to end all track Mustangs. Its V8 is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine the Blue Oval has ever produced, and the chassis is the most track-capable it’s ever produced. Good thing it put them together. Output on the raucous hunk of aluminum is rated at 526 hp at 7,500 rpm and 429 lb-ft of torque at 4,750. A six-speed Tremec manual is the only option for shifting. Power is sent rearward through a Torsen limited-slip differential.
Autoweek in review
Everything you missed Aug 24-2808/28/2015
Autoweek in review is where we bring you the biggest stories in the car world that you might have missed this week. Whether you were actually getting some work done or you stepped away from your computer for a moment, here's your chance to catch up and have something cool to talk about over the weekend.