Acura sold all 300 of the NSX Type S, reportedly in 24 hours

If you were hoping to nab one of the last Acura NSX supercars, Acura has confirmed to Autoblog that it has already sold out the entire allocation of 300 NSX Type S models that were slated for America. However, you might still have a remote chance.

“We have seen tremendous interest in the 2022 NSX Type S following its debut at Monterey Car Week. At this time, confirmed orders have far surpassed the 300-unit allocation for the U.S. market, and new orders received are being added to a waitlist,” an Acura spokesperson told us. That might be an understatement, as Motor1 is reporting a Black-Friday-esque rush that cleared the shelves in 24 hours and a waiting list of more than 100.

While Acura has never planned to assign the NSX to the role of moneymaker — there are RDX and MDX crossovers for that — sales of the hybrid supercar have been shockingly low. Year-to-date sales figures for July 2021 (the last metric prior to Acura’s August announcement that the NSX would be canceled) crawled along at just 67 examples sold, not too far off from last year’s 70. The year-to-date number for August leaped up to 98, a significant jump from last year’s 73.

A personal anecdote may explain why the sellout occurred so quickly. My brother, owner of a 1993 NSX, went to a Los Angeles-area Acura dealer to inquire about the 2022 Type S. The salesperson told him that the dealer was only getting one and that it had already been spoken for — by the dealership’s owner. With 273 Acura stores in the U.S. and only 300 cars, if other owners are similarly minded it may be almost impossible for the average buyer to get a Type S without paying a premium over the $171,495 price tag.

Hopefully, though, buyers won’t have to pay more than the $1 million bid that someone made for the first NSX Type S. The Type S has 600 horsepower and 492 pound-feet of torque, a 27 pony and 16 pound-feet bonus over the standard NSX, in addition to a 58-pound weight reduction and GT3 race car-derived tuning. While that alone could compel some buyers to spring for the Type S, we’re willing to bet that it’s the limited production and end-of-run factors that are contributing to demand. If you miss out, though, you can always wait for the third generation.

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Tom Cruise’s Porsche 928 in ‘Risky Business’ sold for nearly $2 million

UPDATE: The Porsche 928 sold this past weekend for a final price of $1,980,000. The text has been updated to reflect this.

A high-school senior is left home alone when his parents go out of town. He offers to drive his dad’s prized Porsche 928 while they’re gone, “just to charge the battery.” Dad says, no, he’s not insured to drive the car. Mom says, “Just use the station wagon.” Does he listen? Of course not.

Taking dad’s 928 out is just the beginning of the “Risky Business” that Joel Goodsen engages in. But the scenes with the Porsche 928 are among the film’s most memorable. Now the car from the movie is coming to auction at the Barrett-Jackson Houston sale in September.

To be clear, there were multiple 928s used in the film, and this is not the car that took a swim in Lake Michigan. That scene might be one reason why Porsche declined to supply cars to the production. (Word is that the car that ended up in the drink was one that had been leased.)

This car is the one that was used in most of the driving scenes, including the one where Tom Cruise as Joel is being chased by Guido the killer pimp in a Cadillac Coupe DeVille. This 928 is a 1979 model finished in gold (it was originally green) with a brown leather interior and powered by a 4.7-liter V8 paired with a stick shift. Fun fact: Tom Cruise had to learn to drive a stick, and did so on this car.

The car reportedly was found in dilapidated condition, stored outside by an owner who was unaware of its movie history. It has since been restored to its on-screen condition and was shown as part of “The Porsche Effect” exhibition at the Petersen Museum.

Arguably the most famous 928 of all time — and the subject of its own documentary, “The Quest for the RB928” — this car was offered at no reserve and sold for $1,980,000. As Joel Goodsen might say, “Porsche. There is no substitute.” That certainly seemed to be the case for the winning bidder at least.

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2022 Toyota Tundra: What do you think of the TRD Pro’s unique design?

I walked away thinking that there are a lot of interesting design details worth discussing after spending a day with the all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra. There’s the massive grille with a chromed-out mustache-shaped highlight on some trim levels. Then there are the lighting elements that look like they’ve been pulled taught in several different dimensions, sort of like toffee that’s being stretched in a candy shop. There are blacked-out A- and B-pillars that give the roof a sort of helmet-shaped look.

But, in my opinion, the most controversial styling element is found solely on the TRD Pro edition. Where other trim levels of the new Tundra get body-color or black plastic trim in places like the wheel arches and tailgate in either matte or shiny finish, the TRD Pro gets a unique finish with molded-in detail that, for lack of an official term, I’m calling “urban camo.” The pattern is mimicked inside, with leather seating surfaces dyed and pressed with a matching look. I saw the leather in both black and red, and I’m not sure if any other colors are in the works.

I’ll get my own thoughts out of the way first. I really like the black leather interior with this “urban camo” pattern. I’m not so sure about the black plastic exterior trim — maybe it will grow on me over time. As for the red leather, well … let’s just say I’d never choose to buy it. It’s loud, it’s borderline obnoxious, and I don’t think it’s going to age well. But I bet some people are going to absolutely love it and completely disagree with my own personal assessment. 

Hence, this poll. I’m not asking about the overall look of the new 2022 Toyota Tundra. I’m specifically narrowing the design focus to this “urban camo” (again, my term, not Toyota’s) pattern featured inside and outside of the TRD Pro edition. Do you love it? Hate it? Can’t decide until you see it in person?

Let us know what you think, and feel free to flesh out your viewpoint in the Comments section down below.

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2022 Honda Civic Hatchback priced and headed to dealers now

Pricing is out for the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback, and as expected, it’s more expensive than the sedan. Your entry-level model is the LX, which is combined with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a CVT. It starts at $23,915, including the destination charge. That’s $1,220 more than the LX sedan.

For your troubles, the Hatchback features a “sportier driving character” than the sedan, much more utility in the cargo area, and especially slick exterior styling. For those who like to row your own, you can also spec it with a six-speed manual transmission. Three-pedal enthusiasts will be looking at a $25,115 starting price for the Sport trim. And in case you wanted an automatic Sport, it’s the exact same price as the manual at $25,115.

All of the above comes with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, but if you want the meatier 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, you’ll need to step up to an EX-L. This trim is only available with the CVT, and it starts at $27,615. Thankfully, Honda offers a manual option with the turbo engine, which is available with the fully-loaded Sport Touring. This top-of-the-line model will run you $30,415, and just like the 2.0-liter Sport trims, the CVT-equipped Sport Touring is the same MSRP as the manual.

The manual-equipped Sport Touring model will be the driver’s choice of Civics until the 11th-gen Si and Type R variants make their eventual launches. Its most obvious competition is the Mazda3 Hatchback, which is also available with a six-speed manual and exclusively paired to the model’s top trim. Before options, the Mazda will run you $28,995, making the Civic the more expensive choice. Of course, you can add options to the Mazda and get it much nearer to the Civic’s final price.

In addition to the pricing information revealed today, Honda says the Hatchback is going on sale … starting today. If you’re lucky, you might see some on your dealer lots soon. We’ll be driving this version of Civic soon, too, so look out for first drive impressions next month.

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Chevy Bolt battery production resumes; battery replacements get priority

There’s good news for Chevy Bolt EV and Bolt EUV owners and prospective buyers. General Motors announced that battery production is resuming for the little electric cars. Apparently GM and battery manufacturer LG have revised their manufacturing processes to avoid the issue that was causing the battery fires. The automaker said the fires could occur when a battery cell had both a “folded separator,” which separates the cathode and anode, and a “torn” anode.

With the manufacturing procedures updated, GM is resuming battery production. The first batteries will be delivered in mid-October. Those batteries are going right to replacing existing battery packs. GM is aiming to get them to owners of Bolts that own a car built when most of the defects were appearing. All of these new batteries will also come with an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty, and Chevy will reach out to owners to let them know when their replacement pack is ready. The company has recalled more than 140,000 cars, which is the entire Bolt production run, and the total cost of the replacement program could be $1.8 billion. GM plans to have LG reimburse it for the costs. As for when production of new Bolts will start, the company hasn’t said.

Furthermore, GM has an update for Chevy Bolts that adds battery diagnostic software. It keeps an eye on the battery’s status and can spot if it’s doing anything when charging or discharging that could be caused by a problematic cell. This will also be able to let GM know if and when a car should be prioritized for replacement. Owners can schedule a time to go to their respective dealers for the software update in about 60 days.

In the meantime, GM recommends owners continue following previous instructions for their Bolts. They should set the target charge level to no more than 90%, and avoid discharging the car to a range below 70 miles. Related to that, owners should charge more frequently rather than charging when the battery is really low. And owners should still park the car outside the garage and at a distance of at least 50 feet from other cars or nearby structures.

This story contains reporting by Reuters.

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2022 Toyota Tundra debuts with twin-turbo V6 and optional hybrid

In the ever-escalating truck wars in America, where the fullsize pickup outsells every other type of vehicle, 15 years isn’t just a long time. It’s practically an eternity. But that’s how long Toyota kept its second-generation Tundra on sale, having debuted all the way back in February of 2006 for the 2007 model year. Back then, the Tundra’s 5.7-liter V8 engine’s 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque sounded impressive, the six-speed automatic was state of the art and its 10,000-pound tow rating was competitive. Today? Not so much.

It’s about time, then, for a thorough redesign. And the 2022 Toyota Tundra is exactly that — there isn’t a single nut or bolt that carries over from the outgoing truck. In place of the old truck’s V8 engine is a new twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, optionally assisted by an electrified hybrid variant that’s both more powerful and more efficient. In standard form, 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque are shuttled through a 10-speed automatic to either the rear wheels or all four.

The real headline grabber, though, is the optional I-Force Max powertrain. Boosted by an electric motor that sits nestled in the transmission bell-housing behind the engine and is wired to a 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack under the rear seat, a total of 437 hp (at 5,200 rpm) and 583 lb-ft (at a relatively low 2,400 rpm) make this the torquiest powertrain in its class, just ahead of the Ford F-150 PowerBoost’s 570 lb-ft. 

At low speeds, the hybrid system is capable of operating solely on electricity, but the gasoline engine will automatically kick on at speeds over 18 mph. Setting the Drive Mode Select dial to Sport or Sport+ (no, we don’t expect the new Tundra to be sporty, regardless of the modes) will maximize performance from the hybrid drivetrain. Tow/Haul (for lighter loads) and Tow/Haul+ (for big trailers or boats) modes lock the engine and electric motor into joint propulsion duty and disables automatic stop/start.

Depending on trim, the ’22 Tundra can tow as much as 12,000 pounds. That’s a strong figure and one that handily outperforms the previous version’s 10,200-pound rating, but it’s bested by GMC, Ram, and Chevrolet. At the top of the heap with up to 14,000 pounds is Ford. On the positive side, Toyota says all Tundra models equipped with a hitch can tow more than 11,300 pounds, so prospective buyers won’t have to worry about adding any tow packages to earn a meaningful rating.

Besides the strong powertrain options, the next major upgrade over the old Tundra is its coil-spring, multi-link solid-axle rear suspension design. Toyota says ride comfort, straight-line stability and overall handling are all improved. Maximum payload stands at 1,940 pounds, an 11% improvement over the older leaf-spring Tundra. The front suspension is still a double-wishbone design, but it’s redesigned and retuned to improve cornering performance.

Those upgraded suspension components are attached to a frame that’s now fully boxed. Just last year, Toyota was still touting the merits of its so-called TripleTech frame, which used fully boxed rails at the front, a reinforced C-channel under the truck’s cab and an open C-channel “beneath the bed for strength, ride quality, and durability.” For 2022, Toyota’s Mike Sweers, who serves as the Chief Engineer for the Tundra’s platform, said his team “had to rethink many things we’d previously done.” The new fully boxed frame boasts improved rigidity and an “overall improvement in capability” over the old version.

Also new for ’22 is a truck bed made from a sheet-molded compound. The composite material is more resistant to dents than aluminum and won’t rust like steel. This, along with aluminum cross members, results in a lightweight and durable bed.

Normal twin-tube shocks are located at all four corners of the majority of 2022 Tundras, but trucks equipped with the TRD Off-Road package are upgraded with Bilstein monotubes. TRD Pro models go further with 2.5-inch diameter FOX internal bypass shocks with piggyback reservoirs that provide a 1.1-inch lift at the front. These high-tech shocks join a unique front stabilizer bar, a beefy looking aluminum front skid plate and Falken all-terrain tires. TRD Pro trucks also get more underbody protection in the form of plastic composite skid plates. Toyota representatives we spoke to weren’t sure if the automaker will offer steel or aluminum alternatives. The Multi-Terrain Select system features low-speed Crawl Control and Downhill Assist Control, among other settings for maximum traction on various surfaces.

Optional on certain higher grades (we’ll have to wait to find out which trims specifically) will be an all-new air suspension system. It will automatically keep the rear of the truck level but can also be manually controlled with Low, Normal and High modes. That last mode is designed for low-speed off-roading; passing 18 mph will send the truck back into its Normal ride height. Similarly, Low mode is designed to ease loading and unloading, automatically reverting to Normal height over 8 mph. Adaptive Variable Suspension damping will also be offered, featuring shocks that continually adjust based on driving conditions.

Inside, Toyota has drastically improved the overall look and feel compared to the old Tundra. A new 14-inch touchscreen is the standout optional feature, offering standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a new voice-operated virtual assistant activated by saying something like, “Hey Toyota.” Depending on trim, the gauge cluster is either analog with a 4.1-inch screen between dials or fully digital with a 12.3-inch panel. There’s a bevy of upholstery options that vary by trim level, including one with colored perforations on Platinum trucks or a sort of digital camouflage pattern on TRD Pro models, including one in bright red leather. That embossed camo is mimicked on the exterior plastics around the wheels and elsewhere. We have a feeling that’ll be a controversial addition.

A Multi-Terrain Monitor is included on TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro models to show obstacles to the front, side or rear using the truck’s onboard cameras. There are also cameras to show a 360-degree overhead view, a look at the truck bed, a hitch view and a split view to look at each side of a trailer. Owners who tow will likely appreciate the new power extending and folding side mirrors, Trailer Back Guidance for electronically enhanced maneuvering and Straight Path Assist, which keeps the truck backing up in a straight line.

So, there’s obviously a lot that we know about the new 2022 Toyota Tundra. But there’s still some extremely important details we’re waiting on, not the least of which are how much it will cost, how efficient it will be and how it, you know, drives both on- and off-road. But perhaps the biggest question of all is whether or not this new Tundra moves the needle far enough to compete on equal footing with the best fullsize trucks from Detroit. 

Toyota seems content not to chase class-leading capabilities, relying instead on its strong (and well-deserved) reputation for durability, uniquely in-your-face designs and its superior experience with hybrid powertrains. Fortunately, we expect to get the answers to most questions within the next month or so.


Tesla needs to address ‘basic safety issues’ before expanding semi-autonomous tech

Before Tesla considers rolling out a further expansion of its semi-autonomous driving technology, the automaker should take a hard look at what it’s already released, according to Jennifer Homendy, head of the National Transportation Safety Board. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Homendy said, “Basic safety issues have to be addressed before they’re then expanding it to other city streets and other areas.”

Homendy further suggested that Tesla “has clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology.” It seems Homendy is referring in part to what she calls “misleading and irresponsible” naming and marketing of the automaker’s technology, which includes provisions to automatically steer, accelerate and brake but requires the full attention of a licensed driver who is ready and able to take over if and when the software encounters a situation it can’t handle. Tesla calls some of its technologies “Full Self Driving” and “Autopilot,” despite the fact that the vehicles are not actually capable of autonomously driving themselves.

Tesla chief Elon Musk said earlier this month on Twitter that the automaker would launch the 10th version of its Full Self Driving (FSD) tech this month, which sounds good since Musk said the current Beta version 9.2 is “actually not great.” For those not keeping track, Musk and Tesla have been talking about FSD for a couple of years now and the current cost for new buyers is $10,000. Still, Tesla only activates the software needed to run the semi-autonomous tech on a case-by-case basis for certain owners who are part of the automaker’s early access program.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating Tesla’s Autopilot technology following an alarming number of crashes with stationary emergency vehicles. Two U.S. senators have similarly called on the Federal Trade Commission to probe Tesla for misleading statements about its semi-autonomous tech. 

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What the ID.Life concept reveals about Volkswagen’s design direction

One of the stars of the 2021 Munich auto show was the Volkswagen ID.Life, a concept built to preview an entry-level electric car aimed at a relatively young target audience. While it might not reach production exactly as you see it in our gallery, it illustrates the direction that the German firm’s design language will take in the coming years.

What stands out when you look at the ID.Life is that it shares no styling cues with Volkswagen’s existing electric cars, like the ID.4. It’s its own thing, with a handful of subtle retro touches if you look hard enough. Jozef Kabaň, the company’s head of design, told Autoblog that was intentional; his team’s aim was not to make a smaller ID.3. It was to create a crossover with a timeless design, and this was especially important due to the technology packed in it.

“Cars these days are technologically always on air, they get over-the-air updates so your car is always fresh, so it would be a shame if the design becomes [outdated]. We wanted to work on that even more,” Kabaň explained as he described the train of thought that shaped the ID.Life. He noted making a car with a strong character doesn’t always mean overloading it with unnecessary styling cues and add-ons, and the Life illustrates that well inside and out.

Looking ahead, this approach to design will permeate the rest of the Volkswagen range to varying degrees.

“Volkswagen’s design language always has to move in a more timeless direction. It fits the brand,” Kabaň said. “We want to be authentic and clear and use real materials; there’s no fake of any kind or trying to look like something else. Fake exhaust outlets, fake wood, and so on. We want our cars to be well balanced,” he added.

This isn’t the first time that Volkswagen has built a concept to showcase the fun side of its modular MEB platform. It wowed us with the ID.Buggy, a heritage-inspired design study unveiled in 2019 that put a modern spin on the concept of a dune buggy — and previewed a new world of coachbuilt cars. Production was tentatively planned to start with the help of a third party until obstacles put the project on hiatus but the Buggy isn’t dead yet. Ralf Brandstätter, the CEO of the Volkswagen brand, told Autoblog that the concept car’s future is “still in discussion.”

As for the Life, the production model it will morph into is scheduled to land in showrooms in 2025.

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Junkyard Gem: 1991 Lexus ES 250

When the Lexus LS 400 first appeared here in late 1989 (as a 1990 model), sellers of German-made luxury sedans broke out in the shaky sweats and car shoppers flocked to see — and buy — this well-built statusmobile that retailed for about 60% of the price of the cheapest S-Class. Not attracting nearly as much attention at the time was the other introductory vehicle of the Lexus brand: the ES 250. Sold here for just the 1990 and 1991 model years, the first-generation ES was the most Camry-like of its kind and the hardest to find today. Here’s a ’91 in a San Francisco Bay Area yard.

All of the ESs for the model’s first couple of decades were based on the Camry, so they benefited from the Camry’s famous reliability while suffering from its not-so-exciting image.

Toyota made a good effort to make the 1990-1991 cars look something like their LS big brothers, but their Camry origins are quite obvious from most angles. Later ESs got more distinctive body panels and sales got stronger when that happened.

Power came from this 2.5-liter V6, which was the hairiest engine available in the 1991 US-market Camry. 159 horsepower, which was pretty good for a car like this in the early 1990s.

A five-speed manual transmission could be had in the ES 250 and ES 300 through the 1993 model year, but those early-1990s American car shoppers wishing for a midsize luxury sedan with three pedals generally opted for an Audi or BMW, with most of the rest settling on the Acura Legend. I’ll keep looking out for a five-speed ES in a car graveyard, of course, but finding any first-gen ES has been a tough challenge in itself.

This one got within 252 miles of the 200,000 mark, not bad for a typical 1991 car but also not especially impressive for a member of the Camry family.

The interior was much nicer than what you got in any Camry, but junkyard shoppers have hit this one hard and its opulence no longer shines through.

Toyotas had some variation of this switch from the late 1970s and into our current century. This version comes straight out of the Cressida.

That Lexus noise-testing room sure is impressive!

Good in the rain, too.

The ES 250’s closest Japanese-market relative was the Camry Prominent. Sadly, only Nissan was selling Broughams by that point, so there were no Camry Prominent Brougham Landaus made.

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Tesla kills referral programs for cars and solar panels

If you were hoping to score a few thousand Supercharging miles from Tesla referrals, we’re afraid you may already be too late. In a notice on its website spotted by Electrek, Tesla said that “vehicle products and solar panels are no longer eligible for Referral awards” as of September 18th. The company’s only active program at the moment is for the Solar Roof, which awards referrers with monetary rewards of up to $500 and free Powerwalls. 

Tesla’s referral program has changed tremendously over the years. The automaker used to promise new Roadsters for top referrers and up to six months of free Supercharging. That eventually became too expensive to be sustainable, so the company decided to axe the program. Tesla introduced a new one with more reasonable rewards shortly after that, though, promising at least 1,000 miles of free Supercharging.

When it relaunched the program with updated terms, the company said that it “heard from… customers that the Referral Program was one of their favorite reasons to tell their friends about Tesla.” It’s unclear if it would come back again this time for the same reason, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it does. Take note, however, that Tesla has yet to fulfill some of its bigger promises to referrers. As Electrek notes, it hasn’t delivered the Roadsters its top referrers earned yet, and people have been complaining on online forums about not receiving free Powerwalls and other rewards from years ago.

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