All posts by Eric J. Leech

This is What the Most Expensive (and heaviest) SUV Looks Like

It is called the Karlmann King.

It features ballistic armor, a Nespresso machine, compact fridge, pop out table, and a 6.8 liter V10 powerplant – and we haven’t even got to the list of customizable stuff yet.

The King has been designed and crafted by 1800 dedicated folks, who also like to get a paycheck from time to time. And because of that, you will be offering up several months of employee checks with each purchase of just roughly $2 million.

The interior can be customized with lighting, appliances, and just about anything else you can dream of. But dreams can get awfully heavy when they come unlimited, and in the case of the Karlmann King, your dreams will likely weigh this down to about 13,000 pounds. This will put a big limit on your top speed, which will top out at around 87 mph.

But who needs to go fast when you’re behind a stack of stealthy, armor plating like this. And there is more we could say about the King, but unless you’ve got the cash in hand, this is really all most people will ever need to know.

Sports Electric Cars Coming Soon

By the year 2023 it is predicted that most big automotive manufacturers will have around 20 All-electric models in their lineup. That is just five years away. And while one of the motives behind the change will be to meet stricter government standards – the other side of this change is the awesome torque happiness that allows a true sports EV to really put a smile on your face.

Within an electric motor comes the possibility for massive torque, instantaneous throttle response, and a controlled drivetrain that takes all the guesswork out of being a good driver. And while we still have a couple of years until the sport electric car is everything it can be – these next two years promise a couple of pretty close examples.

Such as:

2019 Porsche Taycan

Imagine one of the hugest charging systems an EV has carried (800 volts), combined with a max range of 300 miles per charge. And this Super EV should be in production towards the end of the year, and you can expect to pay less than $100,000 for the privaledge of ownership.

2019 Electric Mini Cooper

The Mini Electric is a looker in concept shoes. But may not be much of a performer if you go by the rumors that BMW’s 5th generation technology will be bypassing Mini and heading straight to the iX3. What a shame.

2020 Tesla Roadster

10 years ago an EV Roadster was released that rocked the world. It was new, funky, sleek, sexy… and more fun to drive than most people would have thought possible. Technology has advanced a lot since the original Tesla Roadster, but the revamped concept is still just as sexy as ever. However, this time they are gunning to make this the fastest production car ever made… period. We like that kind of gumption.

2019 BMW 8 Series – Sexy, Phone Compatible, and Massive Tailpipes

The BMW 8 Series coupe has been extinct for what may seem like centuries. However, BMW has rediscovered and harvested its original DNA, modernized it, gave it an aggressive stance, and slapped a pair of massive tailpipes that look more like a torpedo launcher. This is the 2019 BMW Concept 8 Series in production ready clothes, and yes, it has not changed a whole lot from when it was teased earlier last year.

It comes with LED headlights, an optional carbon fiber roof, and an underbody that is so smooth, you might mistake it for a fighter jet undercarriage. It has been designed to reduce drag, reduce weight, and with its 523 horsepower 4.4-liter V8, it is also designed to interest the sophisticated performance driver that might normally opt for something, like say… the Mercedes Benz S-Class. Would you care to step inside?

This is where all the magic happens, including adaptive cruise control, lane control, a 16 speaker Harmon Kardon stereo system, Merino sports seats, ambient lighting, and the ability to use your smartphone instead of a clumpy pair of keys. This is a winning move for BMW we suspect, and we can gloat on how we were right later this Fall when this classy beast finally hits dealerships.

Byton K-Byte Electric Sedan Gets a 49-inch Big Screen

We don’t make it a habit to shop for our electric sedans based on the size of their screen, but if we did – the electric car startup, Byton, and their concept car K-Byte would be at the top of our list. The Chinese company is looking to become a fierce competitor to Tesla, and to accomplish this, they are going to be ignoring much of what Tesla has done in the past and just doing their own thing.

They plan on relying on simple advertising and usable features that will amplify sales by word of mouth. And this is not an electric car for the business elite, but rather the average Joe and Jolene. It isn’t a car you can only dream about, but rather one to save up for at an estimated price of $45,000. And that isn’t $45,000 right now, it is $45 grand come 2021 when the company estimates it can unleash these electric sedans onto American soil.

And just look at the size of that dash screen. It is huge at 49-inches and will offer plenty of information and entertainment for its driver and passenger who have better things to do other than drive. This will be a level 4 autonomous vehicle, which means you will be in command of the surface streets, but can sit back and relax into passenger status the moment your K-Byte hits the highway.

And you also get a tablet-like device in the center of the steering wheel. We’d like to assume this is to tone down the arguments that may ensue when one passenger wants to watch Rosanne, versus another who prefers Modern Family. But that is only our guess.

Refreshed Maserati Ghibli Granlusso Proves Worthy of its Name

Maserati has always been a name that stood for speed, legacy,  luxury, fame, and a nice pot of money in the bank (or huge loan). And while a 345 horsepower turbocharged powerplant may not seem like a worthy opponent to today’s German engineering, in the hands of a lean and mean (practically autonomous) driving machine, it proves itself more than capable.

As of 2018, the Ghibli received a fresh facelift and beyond a few nips and tucks, what really stands out is its line of safety devices which take us about as close to an autonomous vehicle as we’re ready for. The 2018 Ghibli now has lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, highway assist, blindspot assist, and active lane keeping.

The Ghibli also has an updated set of LED headlights, electric power steering (that is not numb, but rather active). And speaking of activity, the optional 430 horsepower twin turbo SQ4 turns this luxury sedan into an orchestra of exhaust note delight, which is not a common affliction among twin turbo V6 supercars.

And this updated Maserati is also incredibly refined and comfortable, for a car that is actively working to be so many things. Where most luxury cars offer the option of speed or cushioning in the form of a ‘sport’ button, the Ghibli offers both without the necessity to choose between one or the other.

We can’t wait to see what Maserati’s next big update of the Ghibli will bring to the table (in 2020 perhaps).

Cool Concept Cars We Love


The beautiful thing about a concept car, such as the Ford GT90 above, is that one is not always designed out of practical need, but rather a want – call it a desire. You could even say that a concept car is an expression of “I dare you”.

Concept cars are a sign of the times, a hint of the future, and if you study them long enough – you’ll likely catch yourself getting a strong case of the “I wanna’s”. But you’re not alone, as these are just a handful of concept introductions that we would have preferred to see conclude with a strong production run.

Ferrari F80 Ferrari F80 - Concept car

Infiniti Vision GT Infiniti Vision GT - Concept car

Hyundai Genesis New York genesis new york - concept car - hyundai

Jaguar C-X75Jaguar C-X75 - concept car

Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 Lamborghini Asterion LPI 910-4 concept car

Peugeot Fractal Peugeot Fractal - concept car

Porsche Mission E Porsche Mission E - Concept car


Renault – Alpine VisionRenault - Alpine Vision - Concept Car

Aston Martin DB10Aston Martin DB10

Buick Avista Buick Avista - Concept car

2017 BMW Z4 Concept Forges Jason Statham Out of Ryan Seacrest

The 2009 BMW Z4 was beautiful, soft, and flashy – much like Ryan Seacrest. But BMW’s new 2017 Z4 concept offers a much more rugged appeal.

The  Z4’s previous smooth lines have been replaced with precision edges and purposeful angles. Its wedge-like profile is now aggressive, masculine, and muscular, in a Jason Statham sort of fashion.

And when BMW talks about a “driver car”, this concept takes those words very seriously. The Z4 concept features a blacked out cockpit that is very much set apart from the passenger’s side orange living room tea area.

But all business and no play make Jason a dull boy, which is why those cool silver domes in the rear that will offer great rollover protection – will also look fantastic doing it. And I’m rarely one to comment on an ass, but this Z4 concept certainly has a nice one.

Learn more from BMW here.

2017 Audi RS3 – Say Goodbye to Summer, And Hello to Winter

We welcomed summer because of the release of the 2017 Audi RS3, but as the shadows grow long and the leaves start to yellow, we have found several more reasons to fall in love with the RS3 all over again.

400 Horsepower and Quattro on Tap

It is not often that you can enjoy the thrills of a muscle car far into the depths of Winter, but with the 400 horsepower turbo powered Audi RS3 – it won’t be a problem. It features a refined Quattro AWD system that has been proven to bite at the track (0-60 – 3.9 seconds), but can also handle itself in plenty of bad weather.

Yes, it is true that its onboard system tends to favor the rear tires, but its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic will keep its 354 lb-feet of torque in check for the most part.

While the RS3 sedan may have been built to handle the track, Audi has not forgotten that it needs to first get its driver there safely, and we’re not talking about in a covered trailer. This may be an insanely fun car to thrash in the corners of dry tarmac, but it is also impressively practical on a snowy back road.

Tire Monitoring and Ceramic Brakes

Its tire pressure monitoring system will come in handy as the temperature extremes begin to test the flexibility of your grandpa’s outside thermometer. And despite the track focus of the RS3’s front ceramic brakes (Dynamic Plus Package), these brakes are also extremely capable in extreme temperature and terrain.

The Audi’s ceramic brakes offer quick heat up, reliable stopping power, and their minimal dust will keep you out of the car wash facilities a bit longer than most folks. Our only stop will be at the tire shop for some all-season performance radials.


Ford GT V6 Supercar – What You Need to Know

2017 Ford GT Supercar

The new Ford GT Supercar is a technological marvel, but anytime you start messing with tradition, you’re going to alienate a few long standing fans. Okay, so we’re hip and we have no problem with the fact that the new Ford GT comes with an EcoBoost V6, but we might have preferred a more macho engine name like the ‘Alienator V6’ or something along those lines.

We understand the government restrictions weighing down on automotive manufacturers, and can certainly respect any car with over 600 horsepower, no matter how those numbers are achieved. But it takes more than horsepower to make a great supercar. It actually begins with a competent chassis and lightweight body and frame.


Ford plans to take care of the weight problem by using hand-laid carbon fiber body panels throughout. And these panels are not only lightweight, but also painstakingly designed to move with the drivers needs to produce just enough cool air and down force to keep its over 600 horsepower in check. And speaking of power to weight, Fords design team claims the new GT will have the best power to weight ratio of any production car available today.  Yes, ‘the best’.

That is a gutsy claim to make for a supercar that the Ford team has only been working on for around one year. And if you believe these boasts and put two and two together – we can deduce that the new Ford GT must be awfully light (carbon fiber wheel rim possibility included). But what about the chassis and suspension? Clearly there must be something special about it.

2017 Ford GT Supercar rear

Well, Ford will be running plenty of electronics to its four wheels, enabling the GT to adjust its own ride height depending on how it is being called to use. And yes that means making it over large parking lot speed bumps without damage to those sleek carbon ground effects. And while its show is all carbon and its go is a twin-turbo Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, its stop will be all ceramic carbon,  thanks to a collaboration with Brembo.

Some fans might suspect that a rear-powered V6 would pair rather nicely with a front wheel electric engine, but Ford has no intention of making the GT a hybrid just yet. In fact, Ford would have a bit of a difficult time branding their ‘EcoBoost’ flagship with the addition of a electric motor, so rather than gum up the production release with excuses, Ford is going all petrol power for now. But what’s the hurry, you might be asking?


Well, Ford does plan on entering the  Le Mans in 2016 and needs a good ‘homologation’ excuse to take on Ferrari – again – just like old times. And while these prototype images are fairly fresh, Ford has no intention of making us wait unnecessarily until a production version is caught by the spy photographers. In fact, by our calculations, those spy photos should start to emerge this Spring.

Ford, we sure do love it when a plan comes together!