The Ford Bronco Raptor posts some truly awful fuel economy figures, Toyota celebrated 40 years of the 4Runner, Mercedes-Benz comes up with new ways to separate the rich from their money. 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.
The Ford Bronco Raptor Gets The Fuel Economy You Expect
While the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor packs 400 horsepower from an Ecoboost turbocharged three-liter V6, it seems like the Eco part of Ecoboost is silent. EPA fuel economy figures are in for the hopped-up SUV and they’re not shocking at all. The Hi-Po Bronco’s only good for 15 mpg city, 16 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined. For context, let’s have a look at two V8-powered competitors, the Jeep Wrangler 392 and the Land Rover Defender V8.
The Jeep may get worse city and combined fuel economy than the Bronco at 13 mpg and 14 mpg respectively, but it ekes out a slight freeway advantage at 17 mpg highway. As for the Landie, it gets 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined from a 500-horsepower supercharged V8. Look, I know the Defender can’t crush whoops like a Bronco Raptor can, but for looking tough and merging quickly, it gets the job done beautifully. If you do want something that can crush whoops and get better highway fuel economy than a Bronco Raptor, step up to an F-150 Raptor.
No, seriously, as long as you have stop-start and don’t option the 37-inch tires, the F-150 Raptor ties the Bronco Raptor in the city at 15 mpg and ekes out a win on the highway with 18 mpg. Still, it’s not like 15 mpg combined will stop Bronco Raptor buyers any time soon. They know exactly what they want and they know how to get it.
[Ed Note: Yeah, I don’t think anyone is really shocked the Bronco Raptor isn’t a fuel-economy champ. Engineering is compromise! Don’t sell those Geo Metros yet, hypermilers. — JT]
Toyota Unleashes A Wave Of Nostalgia
Look, I’m a sucker for a killer vintage-inspired graphics package. Not like the Porsche 911 Heritage Design Edition, which is just a pair of gumballs and some really basic stripes. Oh no, I’m talking about graphics like this! Say hello to the 2023 Toyota 4Runner 40th Anniversary Special Edition, half retro tribute and half reminder we’re all getting older.
Wait a second. The first-ever 4Runner dropped in 1983 for the 1984 model year. Rather than wait another 12 to 17 months to be on-time with the first model year, Toyota’s roughly going with start-of-production, a pretty solid move. Things have changed a lot since that first 4Runner, although the current model’s still as old-school as it gets in the fixed-roof midsize SUV segment.
So what about this special edition? Well, it’s based on the SR5 Premium model which means it lacks the sheer capability of the TRD Pro, but it shouldn’t be as eye-wateringly expensive either. I won’t lie, a locking rear differential would’ve been nice, but I’ll take what we can get here. In this case, what we get is an absolutely sick graphics package that’ll tug on the heartstrings of anyone who dumped too many quarters into Ivan ‘Ironman’ Stewart’s Super Off Road at the local arcade. Triple yellow, orange, and deeper orange stripes that plunge down the beltline before making a hard turn and rocketing up the C-pillar, plus a bonus stripe set on the front grille and the Toyota wordmark instead of a modern logo emblem. All good stuff. For those concerned about trailside tree branches making this 4Runner’s black paint look like it was washed with a Brillo pad, Barcelona Red and White are also on the color menu.
Other than the stripes and emblems, there’s nothing truly massive going on with this special edition 4Runner. Sure, a moonroof is standard, the tires come wrapped around a lovely set of bronze wheels, and the seats get bronze stitching to match, but there aren’t any killer off-road or tech options on board here. Still, that’s not necessarily a bad thing as not everyone needs lockers and extra skid plates. Expect 4,040 of the special edition 4Runners to start rolling into American dealerships sometime this year. 39th anniversary, 40th anniversary, who’s counting?
BMW Announces Another Mouthful Of A Model Name
While it seemed for a second that BMW would dial back its ridiculous naming scheme after dropping the BMW Individual M760Li xDrive Model V12 Excellence THE NEXT 100 YEARS, it seems like they’ve only slightly dialed back the wordiness with the BMW M3 50 Jahre BMW M. While the name has a hint of “Bond, James Bond” to it, this special edition is both a tribute to past M3s and a very questionable value proposition. Let me explain.
First, the tribute side of things. The BMW M3 50 Jahre BMW M is built to celebrate 50 years of BMW’s M division. Based on the M3 Competition xDrive, it should be blisteringly quick in a straight line and roughly as heavy as an E39 M5. Yikes. More importantly, aside from gray wheels, special door sill trims, a plaque in the console, special M tri-color stitching, and a special suitcase, there really isn’t much that’s special about this special edition.
The good news is that the M3 50 Jahre BMW M is an awesome visual package if you can get over the grilles. Five color choices are on deck, and they’re almost all actual colors. Cinnabar red from the E30 M3, Techno Violet from the E36 M3, Interlagos Blue from the E46 M3, Fire Orange III from the E92 M3 Lime Rock Park Edition, and Limerock Grey from the F80 M3 CS are all available as options. The trouble is, only Interlagos Blue and Daytona Violet are exclusive color options. Everything else is available through BMW’s Individual program, including even more heritage colors like Daytona Violet from the E36 M3 and Imola Red from the E46 M3.
Also on the menu for other M3s? All the carbon fiber bits can be had as M Performance accessories. If I were in the market for a very fast manual sedan and couldn’t get my hands on a Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing, I’d be taking a serious look at securing an Individual order on a base manual M3.
If you do happen to fancy the BMW M3 50 Jahre BMW M, 500 are coming to America all priced at a rather stiff $96,695 including destination charge. The only extra-cost options are the M bucket seats (worth it) and carbon ceramic brakes (not worth it).
Mercedes Milks The Rich For Profit
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Flex offenders and famous people assemble, Mercedes-Benz has new ways of draining your wallets. Hot off the heels of the Mercedes MYTHOS announcement of even more exclusive cars than Maybachs, chief designer Gordon Wagener has taken to Instagram with a pair of dim teaser shots that appear to show a special luxed-out version of the SL Roadster and an upcoming Maybach SL concept model. Let’s dissect them a little.
Starting with the MYTHOS SL, the most notable change is the apparent disappearance of the rear seats. Hey, I get it. The previous-generation SL didn’t have rear seats and the new SL’s rear seats seem unsuitable for anyone over the age of five. As such, they’ve been replaced completely with a bubble-style tonneau cover, a bold move but not exactly an unprecedented one in the high-end convertible space. Just as important is the addition of chrome trim along the A-pillar and possibly along the bottom of the car. There’s definitely something light and highly reflective catching the light on the bottom edge of the front bumper and on the bottom of the side skirt. While silver trim on the side skirt definitely isn’t anything new, this front bumper treatment isn’t like anything we’ve seen on the new SL, so expect a revised front fascia.
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Moving on to the Vision Maybach SL, it seems like Mercedes is a fan of Louis Vuitton. The Maybach logo is printed all over the hood in various orientations while the front end appears to be somewhat revised. Of course the Mercedes-Maybach grille is on full display here, but that’s not the entire story. While the standard SL features a small Mercedes emblem on the top of the front bumper, that’s been shaved to push a Mercedes-Benz hood ornament back onto the actual hood. Why not a Maybach hood ornament? Who’s to say for sure. Keep in mind that this is a concept vehicle we’re talking about and production spec will likely vary. Either way, I’d kind of be alright with the rich getting back into SLs. There’s something very old money about them, a bit of Hollywood, a bit of The Hamptons. While a supercar may offer shock and awe, there’s nothing quite like the comfort and open-sky views of a grand touring cabriolet.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. You know, this whole concept of special edition cars seems a bit strange. Most of the time they seem to be a parts-bin affair meant to add margin or celebrate some sort of corporate milestone. Sure, there are a handful of cool examples like the Coach Door Lincoln Continental and the Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia, but I’m not sure about the value in most special editions. Have you ever bought or considered a special edition car? If so, what car was it and what drew you to it?
Lead photo credit: Ford