Porsche releases an America-themed 911 GTS, Lada sends safety standards back to the ‘90s, Ford issues a strange Mustang recall. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Porsche Gets Tacky
As sort of an homage to the 1953 356 America Roadster and the 1993 964 America Roadster, Porsche has decided to take 115 brand new 911 GTS Cabriolets and push the off the cliff of visual taste. Welcome to the red, white, and blue 2023 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet America edition, quite possibly the tackiest way of celebrating a 70-year lineage.
Let’s start with the paint. Dubbed Azureblue356 (all one word according to Porsche’s press release), Porsche claims that it’s a unique tribute to the 356 America Roadster not shared with any other car. See, the 356 America Roadster was really the precursor to the 356 Speedster, a stripped-out weekend toy that helped cement the early days of Porsche’s legacy. There’s just one problem – I’m not sure if I’m buying the color tribute story. Porsche 356 America Roadsters were also produced in white, and green, and red, and silver, so it really seems like Porsche went with blue on this new special edition 911 so it could plaster on the white and red accents.
[Editor’s Note: I once spun one of these really valuable 356 America Roadsters on a wet track! Luckily, nothing was harmed, save some underpants that had it coming, anyway. – JT]
Take the wheels, for example. White with silver accents and red pinstriping seems quite horrifically tasteless, although these wheels definitely take focus off of the white and red stripes that run down the doors. I’d be lying if I said that things toned down on the inside, with massive amounts of red and white stitching that can be expanded to the seats, steering wheel, and shift knob by way of a $7,500 option package. Shift knob? Oh yes, if there’s one thing this special editions gets right, it’s what’s under the skin. Mandatory manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive, adaptive dampers, lower springs, 473 horsepower, and a sports exhaust system. Good stuff, but all stuff that’s available on a regular 911 GTS. While the 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet America may have collectible status, I’d truthfully rather have a regular 911 GTS.
[Editor’s Note: It’s not that bad, jeez. – JT]
Lada Strips Out The Granta
Russia has been scrambling to get new car production back online. According to Reuters, Russia’s Industry Ministry predicts a slump of car sales in 2022 to 51 percent of normal levels due to sanctions against the state. On June 8, production of the 2022 Lada Granta Classic came online so Russian citizens can get a crack at buying a hastily re-engineered car meant to minimize use of components with non-localized production.
So what sort of components are being tossed by the wayside? Well, some rather important stuff, if I’m being honest. The Granta Classic has no seat belt pretensioners, no anti-lock brakes, no traction control, and no modern emissions equipment. It also only gets one airbag, so think of it as a brand new early-’90s small car without any hope of EPA certification. If this sounds like a little bit of a deathtrap to you, you’re probably right. To satiate buyers put off by the lack of safety equipment, Lada’s piled on the glitz with color-keyed trim, power steering, and power front windows. Wow. Pricing for this rather basic Granta starts at 761,500 rubles, or around $13,200. I don’t know about you, but that seems a touch expensive considering how little car you get for the money.
BMW Hikes M Car Pricing
A new model year usually signals price increases of a few hundred dollars across the board to keep up with inflation. However, BMW’s decided that a few hundred more dollars isn’t enough for its high-performance M cars. In a press release issued on Friday, pricing for M cars is set to rise by four figures come the 2023 model year. Let’s break things down.
Starting in July, basic M3 sedans and M4 coupes with the manual gearbox are seeing a price increase of $2,700, while M3 sedan and M4 coupe Competition models throw another grand on top for a price increase of 3,700. The M4 Competition xDrive Cabriolet falls somewhere in the middle with a $3,200 price hike. Moving up to the M5 midsize sedan, it gets a much more substantial price hike of $4,200 come July. Rounding out the car lineup, the M8 coupe and four-door Gran Coupe see price hikes of $4,100, while the M8 cabriolet adds $4,200 to its MSRP. Switching lanes to the SUV side of things, the base prices of the X3 M and X4 M rise by $2,800 in October, the X5 M gets a $2,800 price hike in August, while X6 M pricing rises by $4,100 in August.
If this all seems a bit ridiculous, there’s a good chance that it is. Lower-trim models typically see much more minor price hikes, so it really feels like BMW’s trotting out four-figure price increases on M cars because it can. Honestly, if you’re looking at pulling the trigger on a new M car, it might be best to do so before these new prices take effect.
Ford Recalls The Mustang For Gear Confusion
Automatic rev-matching is a nifty convenience feature great for tight first-gear autocross hairpins and loafing about town alike. However, it requires a bit of programming to make right and sometimes programming gets things a bit wrong. Such is the case with 25,032 2019 and 2020 Mustang GTs with the manual gearbox under recall for a powertrain fault.
According to NHTSA recall documents, the gear position sensor may send a bad signal to the powertrain control module, which then may deactivate driver assist features, the backup camera, and/or the reverse lights. Honestly, that seems about janky to me. Thankfully, triggering this issue likely requires some weirdness. Extended periods of reverse driving, certain clutch slip scenarios, and vehicle modifications may play a role in exposing this bug. While the fix is a simple software update, it’s worth noting that Ford reports 102 warranty claims relating to reversing hardware and 92 warranty claims relating to driver assist malfunctions. Owners are expected to be notified of this recall starting Monday, with the software update fix reportedly already available.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. I hope everyone’s having a great Monday and got up to some quality car stuff over the weekend. To mark the start of the work week, let’s play a game. Imagine that you’re a traveling sales representative for some company selling printer ink in 2003. You’ve managed to shift so many toner drums and ink cartridges that you’ve won employee of the year, granting you first pick of a new company car. Your options are as follows: 2003 Dodge Intrepid ES, 2003 Chevrolet Impala LS, 2003 Ford Taurus SE sedan, 2003 Hyundai XG350. Choose wisely.