New Model News

New 2021 Porsche 911 Targa design hints at heritage, will set you back over $100,000

Porche has debuted the latest models in its 911 lineup, the Targa 4 and 4S.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche has debuted another pieces of its 911 trio just in time for summer. The 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 ad Targa 4S models feature the company's signature Targa look with a touch of nostalgic flare and will sit alongside the 911 Carrera and Turbo models in the Porsche 911 (992) lineup.

The part that makes the Targa different is what makes it stand out to Porsche enthusiasts with a penchant for the model style. It features a fully automatic roof system with a wide roll hoop, movable roof section that tops the front seats, and a wraparound rear window - just like the 1965 model. Porsche says that the roof goes from open to closed in 19 seconds.

2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4 & 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche has given the model the exterior highlights of the rest of the 911 lineup - LED headlights, wide spoiler, and. aluminum skin (with the exception of the front and rear).

Powering both model is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six engine that is already a well-known part of the Porsche lineup. It produces 379 horsepower in the Targa 4 and 443 horsepower in the Targa 4S. This makes it about eight percent more powerful than its predecessor.

The engine is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in both models but those desiring a seven-speed manual transmission can swap it out as a factory option at no cost on Targa 4S models. When you opt for the manual, you also get the Sport Chrono package added on.

The car features some new tech including Porsche InnoDrive, which includes adaptive cruise for the first time. There's a Smartlift function, which programs grounds clearance into the system for daily use. Every model comes equipped with all-wheel drive.

The German automaker has refined its drive and handling systems. The Porsche Active Suspension Management system (PASM) comes standard on the 911 Targa models and features Normal and Sport drive models. Also standard one the Targa 4S is the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) system, which includes an electronic locking rear differential with variable torque distribution. PVT Plus is available on the Targa 4. Targa models also get Porsche Wet standard, which senses water on the roadway and prompts the driver to switch to the car's Wet drive mode.

Porsche equips the Targa 4 with 235/40 ZR front tires on 19-inch alloy wheels while 295/35 ZR tires on 20-inch wheels shoe the rear. Those cars also get 330-millimeter brake discs with black four-piston monobloc fixed callipers.

Targa 4S models get 245/35 ZR tires up front on 20-inch wheels and 305/30 ZR tires on its 21-inchers out back. They also get red-painted brake callipers (six pistons at the front, four at the rear) that pair with 350-millimeter brake discs. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) are an option.

Interior design takes its notes from 911 models of the 1970s and today. A compact switch unit with five buttons sits below the 10.9-inch infotainment touch screen. The standard features list for that system includes navigation and Apple CarPlay.

Further, owners wishing to splash out on a more customized Targa can opt for the long list of personalization from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.

As for price, Porsche hasn't released that info yet, but it's very likely that the new 911 Targa 4 and Targa 4S will not be cheaper than their predecessors, which had starting prices of $110,300 and $124,300 respectively for the 2019 model year.

Porsche is already teasing the next trick up its sleeve- a special edition of the 911 Targa, which will debut in June.

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Electric vehicles

Three new EVs we can't wait to see

The F-150 Lightning is just one of several new EVs we'll see soon.

Ford

With all the crazy news coming out of the auto industry this year, it'd be easy to believe that the rollout of new models is slowing to a snail's pace. The pandemic and ongoing microchip shortage have slowed vehicle production, to be sure, but they haven't put the brakes on automakers' push to roll out exciting new electric vehicles. In the next few months alone, we'll see several new electric trucks, cars, and SUVs hit the market, some of which will break new ground and help define their segments. We're on board with this trend 100 percent, and to help you get excited, we've rounded up a few of our favorites.

Here are the three upcoming electric vehicles we're most excited to see.

Ford F-150 Lightning

One of the world's best-selling and most popular vehicles is going electric. The Ford F-150 Lightning is set to arrive in 2022 with a fully electric powertrain, forward-looking technology, and a familiar style that will make any truck lover feel at home. We don't have full details on the truck, but Ford has shared some awe-inspiring performance numbers. The Lightning will offer around 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, which should push the truck to 60 mph from a standstill in just four seconds. Payload capacity comes in at up to 2,000 pounds, and towing will reach 10,000 pounds for specific configurations.


Ford F-150 Lightning The Lightning will offer impressive capability in a familiar package.Ford


The Lightning's starting price will come in under $40,000, but don't get your hopes up about actually buying one for that amount. Ford says the entry-level Lightning is a commercial truck that will be a stripped-down work-ready vehicle, which likely means features like vinyl seats and far fewer of the desirable tech goodies that you'll want. To get the truck you and your family will want to drive, you'll need to spring for the XLT model, which starts just shy of $53,000. That's quite a bit more, but it is still a somewhat reasonable price to pay for what will surely be a capable electric pickup.

Mercedes-Benz EQS

The S-Class is a unique model in Mercedes-Benz's lineup. The car typically showcases the automaker's latest technologies and design techniques and offers a glimpse of the features that eventually trickle down to the rest of Mercedes' vehicles. Soon, we'll see the EQS, a fully electric flagship sedan that paves the way for the brand's other electrified offerings. The car will have a range of well over 400 miles on a charge, up to 516 horsepower, rear-axle steering, and breathtaking technology.


Mercedes-Benz EQS The EQS will usher in a new electric era at Mercedes.Mercedes-Benz


The EQS is expected to land sometime late in 2021 and will carry a price tag that matches its premium brand name and top-notch feature set. Pricing for the "entry-level" EQS 450+ will come in at around $100,000, while the top EQS 580 4MATIC will land well north of that number. Remember, though, that Mercedes offers a long list of ultra-desirable options for its cars, so you'll likely shell out more than the base price to get the features you want.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

The Hyundai Ioniq name is nothing new, but the way it will be seen in the automaker's lineup will change significantly going forward. Rather than being a model name within the Hyundai catalog, Ioniq will split off and become its own sub-brand, covering a line of electric vehicles of all types. The Ioniq 5 is the first such vehicle and will be offered in single- or dual-motor configurations that generate 225 or 320 horsepower. The car's futuristic design is attractive and features a pixelated look for the front-end, lighting features, and rear. Inside, the vehicle is clean but comforting and offers the features buyers expect in a family crossover.


Hyundai Ioniq 5 The Ioniq 5 is the first in what will be an entire line of new EVs from Hyundai.Hyundai


The Ioniq 5 should go on sale in late 2021 and is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000.

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Family driving

Can your family live with a convertible?

Convertibles are fun, but can your family handle the size and driving experience?

BMW

Testing convertibles is always great fun, but they sometimes show up when the weather isn't ideal. Here in Maine, our drop-top driving season is fleeting, which can make for a tricky time driving with the top down. This year, however, a 2021 BMW 430i Convertible showed up in early August and I had an entire week of sun to soak up in the open air. I have two children, however, and own a three-row SUV to haul them, their friends, and all the accompanying gear. Squeezing into a convertible is possible and even fun at times, but it got me thinking: Could a convertible be a car we could live with on a daily basis? The answer for me is no, but there's more to the story, and I'm certainly not ruling out a drop-top purchase for my family at some point in the future.

Of course, none of this came as a surprise to me. Last year, I tested the BMW M850i Convertible, and while it was a blast, there was nothing about it that screamed "family car." This BMW is no different, but my younger daughter's shift to a booster seat from a full-size harness car seat made the back-seat fit for both of my kids much easier. Now, it's a little easier to see how the 430i Convertible could be a perfect weekend or summer car for a family that is already set with roomy daily drivers.

Here's how owning a convertible might play out for your family.


2021 BMW 430i Convertible The BMW 430i Convertible is premium, inside and out.BMW

Open-Top Fun – At a Cost

This BMW's price tag lands in the mid-$50,000 range with a few desirable options, which is about right for a premium brand convertible. There are much cheaper options to be had, however, in the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro. Both cars come in a convertible format and can be found for around half the price of the BMW. There are performance and luxury penalties when moving to the less expensive options, but for most people the draw of a convertible is the open-top experience itself. You don't absolutely need screaming performance or a top-notch interior to get the full convertible experience.

Good in Small Doses

My kids are over the moon about riding in a convertible for a while, and then spend the rest of the time complaining about noise, bugs, and wind. Rolling the side windows up helps, and models with a retractable rear windscreen are even better, but the reality is that some kids are not the best at dealing with outside-the-norm car experiences. More often than not, we'd end up driving for half an hour or so with the top down, a few more minutes with the windows up, and then the rest of the time with the top closed. That's no fun in a small car that feels even smaller with the top up.


2021 BMW 430i Convertible If your kids are like mine, the open-top experience comes with some tradeoffs.BMW

Weather Woes

I get that most of you don't live in Maine like I do, and that your spring, summer, and fall months extend longer throughout the year. You're able to enjoy the open-top driving experience more often than those of us in New England, but there will still be times that driving a convertible is less than enjoyable. If you live in Florida, for instance, how often are you going to want to drive with the top down when it's 90 degrees with 80 percent humidity under the bright sun? Even with the wind in your hair, that will get old. Keep this in mind if you're shopping for a convertible.

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