Motorcycles

2021 BMW R 18 Classic takes nostalgia-inducing modern touring to a new level

The BMW R 18 Classic is a throwback to vintage motorcycle design.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The BMW R 18 Classic is the cruiser sibling in the BMW R 18 family. It's a touring bike that takes vintage cruising motorcycle design, borrowing from the BMW R 5, and makes it thoroughly modern while focusing on what the company sees as motorcycle "essentials".

BMW designers created the motorcycle's pear-drop tank, open-running universal shaft, and double-lined paintwork are reminiscent of the legendary boxer dating back to 1936. Its bodywork is made of metal and the suspension pairs with a double-sided swinging arm and a cantilever suspension strut to further the connection to the R 5.

BMW R 18 Classic

BMW R 18 Classic

Photo courtesy of BMW

It has a double-loop steel frame and a rear swinging arm with an enclosed axle. The telescopic fork and directly mounted central suspension strut allow for 120 mm of suspension travel at the front and 90 mm at the rear. Twin disc brakes give stopping power at the front while a single disc brake at the rear works in tandem with four-piston fixed calipers.

The R 18 Classic gets its power from BMW's newly developed two-cylinder boxer engine, dubbed "Big Boxer". It is the most powerful two-cylinder power plant that BMW has ever used in motorcycle series production and has an output of 1,802cc. It gets 91 horsepower and at 4,750 rpm and from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, 110 pound-feet of torque is available at all times. Engine drag torque control comes standard. Reverse assist and hill start assist are also available.

Drivers can ride their BMW in their choice of Rain, Roll, or Rock drive mode.

The bike rides on spoked wheels (a 16-inch is at the front) and has mid-mounted footpegs, which allow for laid-back driver positioning. Its windshield, saddle bags, and passenger seat are removable. There is an additional LED headlight and standard electronic cruise control.

BMW R 18 ClassicThe R 18 Classic is now configurable on the BMW Motorrad website.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW has designed the bike to be conversion-friendly. It has an easily removable rear frame and a simple-to-dismantle painted part set. The automaker further explains, "Carefully conceived interface points for the hydraulic lines of the brake, clutch and cable harness likewise allow entirely problem-free installation of higher or lower handlebars in conjunction with matching hydraulic lines and cable harnesses. In addition, the visible valve covers (cylinder head covers) and the belt cover (engine housing cover) are designed in such a way that they are located outside the oil chamber, making them very easy to change."

For the new model, BMW Motorrad has worked with suppliers to come up with a variety of high-end aftermarket parts for the motor. Mustang Seat has been enlisted to offer a variety of high-quality hand-made seats. Vance & Hines worked with the exhaust system to make it customizable.

The 2021 BMW R 18 line starts at $17,495. The R 18 Classic has a starting MSRP of $19,495.

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The Supra finally gets a manual transmission for 2023.

Toyota

After an almost nonstop chorus of enthusiasts and journalists asking for a manual transmission in the new Supra, Toyota has gone and done it. The car will get an available six-speed manual transmission that will be available on both variants of the GR Supra 3.0, plus a limited-edition model on the U.S. market next year.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTToyota had to modify the car's interior for the new gearbox. Toyota

The A91-MT Edition Supra will be limited to 500 units, and gets two exterior colors with an exclusive Cognac leather interior. All 2023 Supras come with a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 382 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Toyota says the six-speed manual has been specially tuned to work with the car's engine, and notes that it modified an existing transmission housing to come up with the design. The gearbox's final drive ratio is shortened to improve response and take-off.

Toyota had to modify the car's interior to accommodate a gearshift lever, so the iDrive controller and other buttons had to be relocated. The automaker says that it focused on the feeling of shifting, from the weight of the knob to the ergonomics and location of the component.

2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 MTThe limited-edition A91-MT trim gets an exclusive cognac leather interior.Toyota

A Supra with a manual gearbox is reason to celebrate, but availability is limited to the top Supra 3.0. The "base" Supra 2.0 won't get the transmission. Toyota says pricing and other information will be available later this year.

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New performance sedan

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 on the way with F1 tech

The new C 43 gets engine tech straight from Formula 1.

Mercedes-AMG

It's about time we started considering Mercedes-AMG's 43-level cars in some of the same conversations that include the 53- and 63-level monsters. Today, Mercedes-AMG announced the 2023 C 43 Sedan. But even though it's the "entry-level" C-Class performance car, AMG gave it some serious upgrades, including standard rear-wheel steering, a mild-hybrid system, and plenty of power.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanRear-wheel steering is standard, as is adaptive suspension. Mercedes-AMG

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque - up from last year's 385 ponies. It's paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-biased all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the powertrain is strong enough to propel the C43 to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

The four-cylinder is the first production engine with an electric exhaust-gas turbocharger. The tech came directly from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, who won the 2021 Constructor's Championship. Where traditional turbochargers have to build boost over a short period of time, an electric motor spins the turbo to start before allowing the exhaust gases to take over. The system is driven by the car's 48-volt mild-hybrid system and should reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanThe car's electric turbocharger is a first in a production car. Mercedes-AMG

Five driving modes are available, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Individual. The drive modes alter throttle and steering response, transmission shift points, exhaust sound, and settings for the adaptive dampers. Shockingly, the car comes standard with rear-wheel steering with an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. The system works at speeds of up to 37 mph, and can drastically reduce the C 43's turning radius while improving turn-in and handling.

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