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En Route: Mid-2014 & Early 2015 Auto Debuts (cont.)

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BMW i8


Admittedly, the 2015 i8’s hefty price is beyond the reach of most consumers. However, some of the electric coupe’s technology will show up in other BMW models in the near future, particularly its lightweight construction and the 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine that powers its rear wheels. The gasoline engine supplements electric motors that drive the front wheels. BMW couldn’t tell us about future models, but the engine is being used in BMW’s small-car division, MINI, for its redesigned 2014 Cooper Hardtop. The i8 keeps its weight down via aluminum and thermoplastic body panels, a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic passenger compartment and an aluminum drivetrain housing. The car is similar in size to the Cadillac ELR extended-range electric vehicle—but 772 pounds lighter and 3.7 inches wider. Based on those specifications, we anticipate nimble handling and good elbow room.
You can see it in showrooms: July 2014
MSRP: $135,700

Ram Power Wagon


When it absolutely, positively has to be hauled out, hitched up or climbed over, the 2014 Power Wagon can get it done because of its 6.4-liter, 410-hp Hemi V8 engine and new coil-spring suspension, front and rear. Based on the heavy-duty Ram 2500 four-wheel-drive Crew Cab pickup that has a 6-foot bed, the Power Wagon is built for access to extreme terrain. This pickup has a towing capacity of 11,000 pounds, which compares with 8,000 pounds for Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor, which is the only other extreme off-roader that’s in production. Unsurprisingly, the Power Wagon’s fuel economy is abysmal, even with the inclusion of revised gearing and cylinder deactivation, which switches between four and eight cylinders. Our testing of the previous model was in the range of 9–10 mpg combined.
You can see it in showrooms: Now
MSRP: $50,000 (estimated)

Porsche Macan


As Porsches have become bigger, more powerful and more expensive, the Macan compact crossover SUV might bring a return to simpler sportiness. This 2015 model will be sold in two all-wheel-drive versions. You’ll have a choice of two twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder engines that have automatic stop-start at idle and a seven-speed dual-clutch (automated manual) transmission. The base Macan S has a 3.0-liter, 340-hp V6 engine that’s said to be capable of delivering a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.2 seconds. The company says the 3.6-liter, 400-hp V6 Macan Turbo will get to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, or 4.4 seconds with the Sport Chrono option. The Macan is a stout package, weighing 4,100–4,600 pounds, depending on the engine choice, the tire and wheel options and accessories. It’s 6.5 inches shorter and 363 pounds lighter than Porsche’s midsize Cayenne crossover SUV is. We anticipate that this stance will deliver sharper handling when compared with that of the Cayenne. All in all, the Macan should live up to its name, which in Indonesian means “tiger.”
You can see it in showrooms: Mid- to late May 2014
MSRP: $49,900

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