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

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 Classic The 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 Polaris Slingshot is one of the most unique vehicles on sale today.

Polaris

The Polaris Slingshot is an interesting beast. It is, by far, one of the most unique vehicles you can buy in the U.S. today, though depending on where you live, it may require a motorcycle license. However, in most states, you can buy and drive one just like a normal car, albeit one that should only be driven while wearing a full-face helmet.

I recently spent a week with a 2021 Polaris Slingshot R and came away from the experience more than a little conflicted. On one hand, it's too much for me on a personal level, as I think it's too wildly styled and costs too much money. On the other hand, it's impossible to ignore the charm of the thing. It's loud, too quick for its own good, and a totally crazy driving experience that lands somewhere between being a complete riot and terrifying, depending on how and where it's driven.


2021 Polaris Slingshot There's no ignoring this when it's next to you in traffic.Chris Teague


However, for many, the Slingshot remains a complete mystery, so here are three things you need to know.

It's Loud

No, I don't mean loud in the sense that you can hear it coming – though that's part of the deal, too. I mean loud in the visual sense. Like, 1990s ugly sweater loud. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the one thing that isn't up for debate is that the Slingshot is eye-catching. Add a couple of people wearing full-face helmets and it's nearly impossible to look away from the thing.

It's a Crazy Driving Experience

It's true that this isn't a motorcycle, but the way the Slingshot puts its passengers' rear ends just a couple of inches off the road surface and not all that far away from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine creates one lively experience. Every bump, crack, and sound can be felt and heard, though it's not unpleasant at all and adds to the experience. Couple that with the open-air driving experience and giant tires communicating it all into the steering wheel and the Slingshot is a wild ride.

It's Surprisingly Quick

I tested the Slingshot R, which is one of the flashier and more expensive models Polaris makes. Its in-house four-cylinder engine checks in at 2.0 liters and delivers 203 horsepower, 144 pound-feet of torque, and a whole lot of noise. The advertised 0-60 mph time for the R is 4.9 seconds, which is quicker than some sports sedans, though it feels much more violent and faster than that in person. The optional Autodrive five-speed gearbox is an automated manual, which means that it will shift itself when asked, but is happiest with the driver firing off shifts with the steering wheel-mounted paddles.



The Slingshot is one of the few vehicles that defies almost everything to be what it is. It doesn't make sense for people who want a motorcycle and it's not particularly appealing to someone wanting a convertible or roadster. You have to be in the market for a Slingshot to end up buying a Slingshot, and for those that are, they've never been better than they are now.

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A long roof with a V8. What could be better?

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Spend enough time reading car reviews, and you'll probably notice a trend among writers. We all love wagons, despite the fact that almost nobody in the United States buys them anymore. If there's a wagon that could appeal to almost anyone, however, it's this m2003 BMW 540i M Sport with a very special engine swap. It's up for auction right now and could be yours – or mine.

It doesn't get much better for a car nerd than this. The 2003 540i Sport Wagon has had its engine swapped for an S62 4.9-liter V8 and a six-speed manual transmission. For those of you not obsessed with E39 generation 5-Series cars, that's the engine from the M5 of the time. Here, it sounds every bit as raw and powerful as it does in the car it originally came from, and the six-speed manual gearbox makes this an enthusiast's dream.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon The car has been upgraded with all the right M5 components.Bring a Trailer


Inside, the black leather appears to be in great shape, considering the car's advanced age and mileage, though this wagon is lacking the in-dash navigation system that the M5 carried at the time. It's probably for the best, given that an 18-year-old computer would feel absolutely ancient compared to even the cheapest infotainment system today.

This auction is a little more than halfway through and the current bit is just over $20,000. There's quite a bit of time left for that to climb substantially, but at even twice the price it'd hard to feel cheated if you won.


2003 BMW 540i M Sport Wagon There's no navigation here, but 20 years haven't been kind to the M5's system, anyway.Bring a Trailer

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