Best Car Pressure Washer In 2023

With a pressure washer, cleaning your car becomes so much easier – here’s our pick of the best car pressure washers you can buy.

With car detailing, it’s all about making life easier for yourself, and a car pressure washer will do that. Not only will a pressure washer blast dirt off with ease, but they also use less water than a normal hose.

A pressure washer makes the pre-wash process much more effective, and you can read our pre-wash guide here. Car pressure washers rinse better and help you wash better, and that means your car will be cleaner. You can spend a fortune on a car pressure washer, but there’s really no need. We’ve picked four that are very reasonably priced, deliver impressive performance, and suit a variety of needs. You’ll be very happy with any of these, and they’ll really improve your washing experience. 

Best Car Pressure Washer In 2023

Kärcher car pressure washer

Kärcher K3 Power Control

RRP: $179.99, buy now. £149.99, buy now.

For many people, Kärcher is pressure washers, and the company has an overwhelming array of products. Prices and performance vary greatly, but we didn’t want to go for something over the top. The K3 Power Control hits the sweet spot in terms of performance, features and value for money.

First of all, it’s small. It’s just 68cm tall, has wheels, and a telescopic handle and weighs just 4.4kg, making it very easy to move around. The generous 7-metre-long hose means you’ll have plenty of reach when washing your car. You get two spray lances, and the power is adjustable, with an LED readout on the handle. It delivers up to 120 bar and a flow rate of 380lph. There’s no hose reel, but that’s about the only negative. Small, light, and powerful, the K3 Power Control is an excellent choice of car pressure washer.

In fact, I currently own a K3 Karcher and can personally recommend it. With multiple pressures available, it’s easy to use and has lasted me around 5 years so far without fault. The only issue I had was the small hose length, this was fixed by purchasing a longer hose. Simple.

Nilfisk car pressure washer

Nilfisk Core 130 Power Control

RRP: £164.99, buy now.

Nilfisk makes some exceptional pressure washers, and its Core 130 is very impressive. We like the integrated hose reel, while the 6-metre Ultraflex hose is durable and reduces the risk of kinks and knots. You also get a rotating lance and gentle and rough nozzles. The Power Control dial allows you to quickly and easily adjust the pressure.

At full power, you’ve got 130 bar of pressure and a 462lph flow rate. The Core 130 also features a durable aluminum pump, a big selling point. This is an impressive and very well-designed car pressure washer that performs very well.

Turtle Wax TW110

RRP: £63.24, buy now (not available in the US).

If you’re short on space and are looking for a compact car pressure washer, this is a great choice. The diminutive Turtle Wax TW110 has a footprint barely bigger than an A4 piece of paper. It weighs just 3.6kg too, making it super easy to carry. But just because it’s small in stature doesn’t mean it’s small in performance.

With 110 bar of pressure and a flow rate of 330lph, it can handle all your pressure-washing needs. It comes with a 5-metre hose, a power lance and a spray nozzle, with onboard storage for everything. Throw in a very affordable price, and you can’t go wrong with the Turtle Wax TW110.

Titan TTB1800PRW

RRP: £99.99, buy now.

Big on power and low on price, this Titan car pressure washer is great value. The stats are impressive, with 140 bar water pressure and a 440lph flow rate. This means it’s got some serious power and will tackle whatever you throw at it with ease. It comes well equipped, too, with an extension lance, adjustable and rotary nozzles, plus a mini patio cleaner. There’s also a 6-metre super soft PVC hose and a quick lock and release anti-tangle system. If you want a pressure washer that gets the job done and done well, the Titan is what you need.

How to buy the best car pressure washer

There are a couple of things you need to look out for when buying a pressure washer. The first of which is its ability to control and adjust pressure. What is suitable for your garden patio won’t be suitable for your car’s paintwork. You don’t want to damage paint here, however you do want enough pressure to be able to remove dirt. Next, you want a pressure washer that can deliver this pressure consistently.

How were the best car pressure washers chosen?

While not all of the pressure washers above have been tested by a member of the Fast Car team, they have been recommended based on features that we know are essential for car detailing. In fact, I currently own a Karcher K3 pressure washer and have found it to be one of the better pressure washers on the market. That being said, I have used products from each of the brands above and have found them all to be great, which is why I haven’t picked any winners here. They all come with good customer reviews, have features that allow them to be suited more to car detailing and above all, offer comprehensive warranties for peace of mind, too.

The post Best Car Pressure Washer In 2023 appeared first on Fast Car.

Best Snow Foam Lance In 2023

We picked six top snow foam lances and pitched them against each other to see which is best for the pre-wash stage of cleaning your car.  

Snow foam makes not only makes car detailing so much easier, but it’s also an essential part of the pre-wash stage. To do it right, you need the right tool for the job. A snow foam lance or cannon is essential for applying snow foam to your car’s bodywork. There are a few different designs out there, so it can be tricky to choose one. They range from cheap and cheerful to quite expensive. But that’s why we’ve put together this test to help you pick the best snow foam lance.

About the tester

I am Fast Car’s Detailing Product Tester, and I have been into cleaning cars for many, many years. In that time I’ve tried more detailing products than most, and have a huge array of personal favorites in my collection. I’ve tested and used everything from great detailing products to the ones that no one should be using. Pitting products against each other means I know what works and what doesn’t. The best products in these tests are the ones that I will personally be using, so you know they’ve really impressed me.

I’ve chosen six of the most popular snow foam lances on the market. Every snow foam cannon on our list promises good performance, but some are better than others. I’ve picked a selection that includes the cheapest lance you can buy, well-known lances, and expensive lances. There is something here to suit every need and every budget. Remember that snow foam lances have specific connectors for different pressure washers. Make sure you choose the correct fitting for you. 

Best snow foam lance group test

Best Snow Foam Lances at a glance:

  • Best Overall and Editor’s Choice: MJJC Foam Cannon Pro V2.0. RRP: $89/£46.95.Buy Now.
  • Best Value: Amazon/unbranded Snow Foam Lance. RRP: $26.20, buy now. £18.99, buy now.
  • Approved: Hydro 360 Snow Foam Lance. RRP: £20.99. Not available in the US. Buy Now.

MJJC Foam Cannon Pro V2.0 snow foam lance

MJJC Foam Cannon Pro V2.0 – Best overall and Editor’s Choice

RRP: from $89 / £46.95. Buy MJJC Foam Cannon Pro here


  • Fantastic horizontal and vertical nozzle adjustment
  • Soft pick-up hose with weighted filter
  • Excellent foam


  • Measurements only go up in 100ml increments and are only numbered at 500ml and 1000ml
  • Expensive

MJJC Foam Cannon Pro V2.0 snow foam lance in action

While every snow foam lance here performs well, there had to be a winner, and it’s the MJJC Pro V2, by a clear margin. This snow foam lance starts off strong thanks to its wide base for stability and a decent-size filler neck. It feels solid, and I like that the foam adjuster makes it clear which way to turn it for more or less foam. It also has the best pick-up hose in the whole test, as it’s soft and flexible and comes with a weighted filter at the end. This means that whichever way you tilt the MJCC snow foam lance, it will always be able to suck in snow foam solution.

It offers horizontal and vertical adjustment, and the foam spray pattern has a wide range of adjustment. It also produces plenty of foam and is just excellent to use. The only negative point is the measuring gauge, which only goes up in 100ml increments, and only has numbering at 500 and 1000ml. But honestly, that was me looking for something I didn’t like. The MJJC Foam Cannon Pro V2 is the best snow foam lance here, a clear winner, and the one I will be using from now on.

Read our full review of the MJJC foam cannon here.

Amazon snow foam lance

Amazon/unbranded Snow Foam Lance – Best Value

RRP: $26.20, buy now. £18.99, Buy now.


  • Great value
  • Detailed measurements


  • No horizontal or vertical adjustment
  • Falls over
  • No pick-up hose filter
  • Narrow filler neck

Amazon/unbranded Snow Foam Lance in action

Ever since I started using snow foam, this has been my personal snow foam lance of choice. It’s definitely a no-frills experience, but for the money, it’s hard to complain, even though it’s not got much in the way of features. It feels cheap, there’s no pick-up filter, there’s no horizontal or vertical adjustment, and it falls over constantly. It also has a narrow filler neck. But the measuring scale starts at 100ml and gives you numbered increments all the way to 1000ml, which is nice. It’s incredibly easy to use and delivers decent foam. Crucially, you can pick these up for a little over $/£10 if you shop around. Mine has never let me down, and if you’re on a budget, I can absolutely recommend this snow foam lance.

Be sure to read the full review on the Amazon Basics lance here.

Hydro 360 Snow Foam Lance

Hydro 360 Snow Foam Lance – Approved

Price: £20.95. Not available in the US. Buy the Hydro 360 lance here


  • Textured neck indent for extra grip
  • Chunky nozzle grip with horizontal and vertical adjustment
  • Pick-up hose filter


  • Very stiff nozzle adjustment
  • Measurements start at 200ml and only go up to 800ml

Hydro 360 Snow Foam Lance in action

The Hydro 360 was the snow foam lance I had the highest hopes for. I expected it to win, but ultimately it just fell short. There’s a lot to like here – there’s a nice-sized filler neck, and I really liked the hand grip indent in the bottle. The nozzle feels nice and chunky and is easy to grip with wet hands. You also get an intake hose filter, though the hose is a little stiff. There’s also horizontal and vertical adjustment. Foam levels are impressive, and it has the biggest spray angle adjustment range of any snow foam lance here.

Unfortunately, the nozzle adjustment is incredibly stiff. This makes it hard to adjust just the spray pattern without also moving the horizontal/vertical adjustment portion. This makes it a little frustrating to use, and you really need a firm grip on the nozzle when adjusting. Also, the measuring markings don’t start until 200ml and stop at 800ml, which is annoying when one liter is the norm. But it’s still an excellent lance overall.

For more advice, check out our full review on the Hyrdro 360 foam lance.

Auto Finesse Snow Foam Lance

RRP: $62.95 / £39.95. Buy the Auto Finesse Snow Foam Lance here.


  • Looks and feels great to use
  • 1500ml capacity
  • Pick-up hose filter


  • No horizontal or vertical adjustment
  • Measurements start at 250ml and only have markers every 250ml

Auto Finesse Snow Foam Lance in action

The Auto Finesse Snow Foam Lance is arguably the nicest-looking lance I tested. This snow foam lance feels expensive and is very nice to use. It has the wider filler neck I want to see and a nice stable base. It also has a filter on the pick-up hose, which, again, is nice to have. It’s the biggest snow foam lance in this test and will hold 1500ml of liquid, which is another selling point. This makes it great if you need to wash something big and you want as much snow foam as possible. There’s no horizontal and vertical adjustment, though, which it gets marked down for. Also, the measuring scale is vague, only starting at 250ml and only having markers at 250ml increments, which is annoying. But otherwise, it’s a solid choice, it performs well and is ideal if you have larger vehicles to wash.

Check out the Auto Finesse Snow Foam Lance full review here.

Autoglym Polar Blaster Snow Foamer 

RRP: £46.00. Not available in the US. Buy Autoglym Polar Blaster here.


  • Feels great to use
  • Widest filler neck on test
  • Neck indent makes it easy to hold


  • No measurement scale
  • No horizontal or vertical adjustment
  • No pick-up hose filter

The Autoglym Polar Blaster is a snow foam lance I have been using personally for a while now. It’s a very well-built snow foam lance, and Autoglym has made the effort to make sure it stands out. I like the adjuster knob design, and the nozzle is easy to adjust, with good grips ideal for wet hands. The bottle, meanwhile, has the largest filler neck of any snow foam lance in this test. It’s nice and stable, and I like the hand grip around the neck, as well. There’s no filter on the pick-up hose, but it is soft and flexible, which is nice.

However, there’s no horizontal or vertical adjustment, which is unacceptable at this price point, really. Also, as Autoglym intends it to be used with its own Polar Series products, there is no measuring scale. That’s really annoying, and I actually drew my own with a marker pen. So, while it’s nice to use and delivers impressive foam, it can’t compete with the best snow foam lances here.

For more info, read the full Autoglym snow foam lance review.

MTM Hydro PF22.2

RRP: $84.99, buy now. £54, buy now.


  • Lovely action on adjuster knob and nozzle
  • Horizontal and vertical adjustment
  • Measurements in 50ml increments


  • Narrow filler neck
  • Bottle feels cheap
  • No pick-up hose filter
  • Narrow spray pattern
  • Expensive

The MTM Hydro PF22.2 is a snow foam lance that promises a lot. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the most disappointing foam cannon to use. That being said, it does have some very nice features. I love the action on the adjuster knob with its soft clicks. It also has the nicest nozzle of any snow foam lance in this test. The spray pattern adjuster is easy to turn and shows you which way to twist for a narrow or wide spray pattern. The horizontal and vertical adjuster is equally well-designed. It clicks into place beautifully and has markers for horizontal and vertical spray orientation.

The scale is also very comprehensive, with markers every 50ml. The bottle has a wide base and a textured section for extra grip. However, there’s no filter, and the pick-up hose is stiff. The bottle looks and feels cheap and has a narrow filler neck. But worst of all is the spray pattern. It has a tiny range of adjustment, and even its widest setting delivers a disappointingly narrow spray pattern. Add in the high price, and it’s hard to recommend this snow foam lance.

For a closer look at its pitfalls and potentially redeeming features, read our full review of the MTM Hydro PF22.2.

How Each Product Was Tested

I assessed each snow foam lance on several criteria. Size, functionality, ease of use, features, and price were all considered. I checked how well each snow foam lance performed in a variety of key areas. The amount of foam, the spray pattern, and what it was like to use were also taken into consideration. I have been using various snow foam lances for years, so I know what makes a good one, and I’ve found some new favorites among this selection.

What To Look For When Buying The Best Snow Foam Lance

The perfect snow foam lance will have several useful features. You want a nice, wide filler neck, which makes life easier. A wide base means it won’t topple over when you’re not using it. You want a wide range of spray pattern adjustment as well. This allows you to quickly coat the whole car or just spray a small section.

Horizontal and vertical spray pattern adjustment is also very nice to have. A measuring scale on the side of the bottle is essential for ease of use. Finally, soft pick-up hoses and filters are a nice bonus that’s well worth looking out for. This can make all the difference between a good snow foam lance and a great one.

Looking for the right products to use in your new lance? We’ve got you covered with our guide to the best snow foam in 2023.

The post Best Snow Foam Lance In 2023 appeared first on Fast Car.

The BMW M3 CS Is A Flawed Daily Driver But A Perfect Track Toy

It’s hard to fathom how BMW could improve on the already excellent M3 Competition, yet two letters make all the difference. The CS badge has graced the backsides of BMW performance cars since the late 1960s, and more than half a century later, they’re still winning enthusiasts over with their track prowess.

It starts with the engine. The 3.0-liter inline-six’s two turbochargers get a boost from 24.7 to 30.5 psi, and some extra tuning results in 40 more horsepower than the M3 Comp and 70 more than the standard M3. The final output is 543 hp and 479 pound-feet, which doesn’t sound like much these days (especially with an unchanged torque figure) – but it feels like a lot.

Quick Stats2023 BMW M3 CS
EngineTwin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter I6
Output543 Horsepower / 479 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH3.2 Seconds
Top Speed188 MPH (Electronically Limited)
Base Price$119,695

The M3 CS absolutely hauls down the back straight of the track at BMW’s Performance Driving School in Greenville. It takes just 3.2 seconds to reach 60 mph, two-tenths of a second quicker than the M3 Comp. And if you find a long enough road it’ll race to a limited top speed of 188 mph.

The one downside is that the only available gearbox is an eight-speed automatic. If you want the manual, you’ll have to settle for the standard M3. But since the eight-speed uses the same mapping as the more hardcore M4 CSL, it’ll fire off shifts quicker than you ever would.

2023 BMW M3 CS First Drive Review

All-wheel drive is also standard, but the M3 CS has excellent rear-drive bias. BMW’s Active M differential allows you to move most of that power to the rear – or all of it if you’re daring – with the 4WD Sport mode and the Dynamic Stability Control disengaged.

But this car is excellent in the corners, regardless of where that power ends up. The electronic power steering is still as lightweight as it is on the M3, but thanks to some subtle retuning for better responsiveness, it does a better job of telling you exactly what the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires are doing. You barely have to flick the steering wheel to put this car exactly where you want it; it’s like the M3 CS knows exactly where it needs to go.


See 2023 BMW M2 Hit 180-MPH Top Speed On The Autobahn
BMW M3 And M8 Competition Meet In Family Drag Race

And there’s zero body movement. The M3 CS stays flat in even the tightest turns thanks to that ultra-stiff suspension counteracting all 3,915 pounds of this vehicle. That said, the M3 CS is actually 75 pounds lighter than the M3 Comp thanks to a healthy heaping of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic on the hood and roof that actually does make the car feel lighter in corners.

2023 BMW M3 CS First Drive Review

You barely have to flick the steering wheel to put this car exactly where you want it; it’s like the M3 CS knows exactly where it needs to go.

Stomping hard on the optional carbon-ceramic brakes brings the M3 CS back down to speed as quickly as it sets off. But for a track car, offering carbon ceramic brakes as an $8,500 option is an odd choice – they should come standard. Otherwise, the CS has traditional steel brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.

​​On the road there are definitely some drawbacks to the CS compared to the standard M3. The additional suspension tuning for track use means you’ll have to settle for a backbreaking ride. The M Performance seats with the built-in crotch bumper don’t help soften the blow, either, but they do at least have power adjustability and heating. And while the steering feels pinpoint-accurate on the track, it borders on too twitchy around town.

2023 BMW M3 CS First Drive Review

But that’s to be expected of CS, considering it’s the most hardcore M3 money can get you. And at $119,695 (with destination), the M3 CS definitely isn’t cheap, costing $34,400 more than the M3 Competition. If you’re a regular weekend racer or a pro at the autocross course, the subtle performance upgrades to the M3 CS make it the Bimmer sedan to get for shaving lap times. If all you’re looking for is a fun daily romp, save yourself the $35K.

Competitor Reviews

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Mercedes-Benz C63


What’s The Difference Between The BMW M3 Competition and the M3 CS?

The BMW M3 CS has the same engine, transmission, and all-wheel-drive system as the Competition, but with more boost from the turbochargers and revised tuning, it makes 30 more horsepower, for a total of 543. Stiffer bushings improve handling response, and carbon fiber exterior bits cut some weight from the package too. Finally, it only seats four, while the M3 Competition seats five.

How Fast Is The BMW M3 CS?

The BMW M3 CS zips to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 188 mph. That’s two-tenths of a second quicker and 8 mph faster than an M3 Competition xDrive.

How Much Is The M3 CS?

The BMW M3 CS starts at a heady $119,695 including destination.

2024 BMW
EngineTwin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter I6
Output543 Horsepower / 479 Pound-Feet
TransmissionEight-Speed Automatic
Drive TypeAll-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH3.2 Seconds
Maximum speed188 Miles Per Hour
Efficiency15 City / 22 Highway / 18 Combined
Weight3,915 Pounds
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Volume16.9 Cubic Feet
Base Price$76,000 + $995 Destination
Trim Base Price$119,695
As-Tested Price$128,195

Best Four Channel Car Amplifiers

Adding an amplifier is a big step when it comes to upgrading your car audio, but the results make it wholly worthwhile. Here are some of the best four channel car amplifiers on sale today.

The addition of an amplifier is the Big Step of the audio upgrade world, capable of powering upgraded speakers and subwoofers in your car. That’s because you need to make a hole between the engine bay and the cabin for a thick power wire, around which you must install a grommet too – a circular rubbery armor-ring. That wiring is a significant install cost-effort, so before you dive straight in, you need to learn about the power you have available on your car’s electrical system. For that, we’d recommend checking online forums or even YouTube – there’s bound to be someone out there who’s done this on your car before.

Once you understand what will and won’t drain your battery, you can start to think about which four-channel amp to invest in. There are three main forces at work with any car audio system design: your car, your budget and your taste in music. These four channel amplifiers are about the upgrade with sanity, you want more and better and you want it in all four corners of your car. There may not be more than the one spend planned – this may be about that simple sound power increase. Nonetheless, choosing a four channel amplifier, one with more than just basic features, will be an investment in future upgrades. One or two of the options listed here are able to get a bit flash later down the line, if you do end up as a bit of an audiophile.

They vary from value for money with grunt, to a slice of quality power, to the absolutely latest, newest thing. An amplifier that will fit into a modern stock system like never before. Even if your car has a stop-start system that would switch off normal aftermarket equipment. So, without further ado, here are the best four channel car amplifiers that you can buy today.

How we chose these products

Normally, we’d like to test every product that we recommend first-hand, but in this case, that’s not possible. Instead, I’ve compiled this list based upon my knowledge of the brand landscape, but more importantly, my understanding of the technical specifications which make certain amplifiers stand out above the rest. You can be sure that each of the products listed below are something that I’d be happy to install in my own project car.

Editor’s Note:

Adam is one of the world’s most prominent voices in the car audio industry, a voice which carries with it an impressive reputation. If there’s one person you want to take audio advice from, it’s Adam Rayner.

Be sure to also check out our guide to the best two channel car amps.

Best Four Channel Car Amplifiers

Sony XM-N1004

Sony XM-N1004

RRP: $159.99 / £110.00. Buy it here.

Put simply, the Sony’s MOSFET power supply transistor means better musical muscle. A more expensive device than standard ones, this used to be a feature of costly products. Now available on entry level stuff, it gives a good solid set of watts for the money. You only get a simple up, down or off choice of crossover, fixed at 80Hz per set of channels, but you don’t actually need to use them. You could just run all four corner speakers louder, or feed a woofer from 80Hz downwards, (lowpass) bridged on one channel pair, with your main speakers on the other. These mains can have the deep bass below 80Hz kept from them (highpass) so they go louder before breaking up. A switch costs less than a potentiometer or knob, so this is a simple but effective way of keeping the price down.

The signal to noise ratio is the CEA compliant one, as Sony claim a 100dB one. The main thing is, it will be a good clean sound quality. A high value for money solution, even if Sony still use the peak rating in publicity saying you have 1,000W. The two panel mounted 25A fuses say 700W RMS, even if you have 14V of Direct Current in your system.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 70W, 2ohms 4 x 85W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 175W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 2 x 25A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 93dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable 80Hz highpass or 80Hz lowpass filters, one for each channel pair: Subsonic filter (no freq. stated); input 0.3V to 6V

JBL Club704

JBL Club 704

RRP: $145.99 / £159.40. Buy it here.

The design brief for the ‘Club’ car amps was for them to fit into smaller spaces, and as such, they have a smaller footprint and lesser depth of chassis for the given wattage. The mighty Harman Industries folks have owned JBL for a long time and offer some clever OEM features.

The main one is the RJ45 telephone style ADAS input socket, which overrides your audio when connected to an Advanced Driver Assistance System. To achieve this, you connect a T568B wire to the ADAS output. It will then interrupt your tunes with any warning messages, and you even get to pick which of the four corners you want the announcements to emanate from, with a knob. The Harman HALOsonic® systems of some vehicles can work with CLUB amps as well. That feature is a form of complex sound cancelling, like with headphones. There is an adjustable level control on the Club 704 just for that.

The amp comes with four bare-wire to RCA adapters included to connect speaker wires to the RCA sockets directly. There is a pair of dedicated RCA pre outs, but no subsonic filter. The adaptors mean the amp doesn’t need a separate high level socket-and-loom, albeit at the cost of greater expense. The reason for doing this is to achieve a robust input stage that can take signals from 0.2V to a whopping 20V speaker level. They use a three-level power switch to pick ‘Lo’ or Hi1 or Hi2’ to do it.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 70W, 2ohms 4 x 100W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 200W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 2 x 30A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 85dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable 32Hz to 320Hz highpass/lowpass filters, one for each channel pair: Speaker level or RCA input: RCA line output: ADAS connectivity and HALOsonic® noise cancelling where compatible

Kicker CX 360.4 amplifier


RRP: $/£219.99. Buy it here.

Uniquely, this Class A/B amp comes with vertical mounting hardware as an option. It has a red circuit-protection LED to tell you if there’s anything wrong as well as the green power LED. There’s a 3.5mm socket for an optional CXARC remote bass knob and a pair of push buttons on the panel. One is about low level (0.125V to 5V) or high level (0.25V to 10V) signals, the other is marked ‘fader’. The first is about RCA wires or else speaker-to-RCA convertor wires being used to feed at speaker level. The fader one means leave it in the ‘Off’ position and you can use all four channels on one feed.

Kicker’s very name is about visceral bass, so it is no surprise to learn they have a special 40Hz bass boost. Not just a stated Q factor of say 0.5, which is about the breadth of frequencies lifted. Rather, it is their own little humpy curve, actually registered, like the PunchEQ is by Rockford Fosgate. Called KickEQ™, you get a dedicated adjuster per channel pair to take it up to as much as +6db. This is power hungry as its based 5Hz below most boost circuits’ choice-point. Deeper and humpier! So you use it with care and ideally, add that plug-in remote bass control on a wire.

A well thought out piece of kit. Kicker’s CXA360.4 makes efforts to be as widely compatible with different power levels of input as possible.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 65W, 2ohms 4 x 90W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 180W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 95dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable highpass/lowpass filters for 50Hz to 200Hz and KickEQ™ 40Hz Bass boost adjustable 0 to +6dB: Hi/Low level switch for RCA input: Remote bass control jack socket

Alpine S-A32F four channel amplifier

Alpine S-A32F

RRP: $319.99 / £249.00. Buy it here.

Alpine have always had an escalating series of products, from affordable but still good to state of the art. The top end products get the new technology while the lesser ones get the clever stuff later. This is called filtering-down of technology and is the highest value for money way to buy in. What starts in F1, ends up in posh cars, then cheaper ones. ABS braking is a good example. The S-Series amps feature technology that was once only in the higher R and X-series. S-Series amps offer three models. A four channel, a five channel and a mono model, so no two channel. A Class D amp, with many years of Alpine development behind it.

This means the S-A32F is a keen price for the always-lovely Alpine looks and has some cool features. There’s an optional RUX-KNOB2 bass control you can plug in for channels 3 and 4 when bridged into a woofer. There’s a high/low input level switch for the four RCA sockets. High is from 0.5V to 10V for speaker level. You’ll need to get some RCA connectors with open cable leads to add the speaker wires for that application. The low level input for normal RCA feeds is from 0.2V to 4V. Signal to Noise Ratio is excellent at 98dB and means that this is another top value sound quality tip. You are best to pair this with Alpine S-Series speakers. They are available as 6×9 ovals, coaxials in 6.5in, 5.25in and 4in as well as 6.5in components.

Looks good, sounds good. Because #Alpine!

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 55W, 2ohms 4 x 80W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 160W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio:98dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable highpass/lowpass filters for 50Hz to 400Hz, one per pair of channels: Speaker level input with auto power-on (adapters) or RCA input: CH3/4 level control socket

Audison SR 4.300 four channel amplifier

Audison SR 4.300

RRP: $289.99 / £349.00. Buy it here.

Another small footprint Class D amplifier with proprietary tech (company’s own smarts) in its guts. Each company’s take on the smaller Class D-with-quality amp seems to do this. Audison love an Acronym and call theirs ADT for Audison D-class Technology. It’s a dense little amp and has the fine controls hidden under a top panel, rather than on one end.

The crossover point for each channel pair can be chosen between 50Hz and a very high 3.2kHz. That’s because the SR4.300 is also designed to work for running active component speakers. It’s when you have a pair of channels for the tweeters and feed them only highs. Another pair of channels runs the mid-bass drivers, on their own crossed-over set of watts – no highs, though. An accepted much higher end way to run a set of high quality components and is louder and clearer. You need a very serious class of component driver though and it’s closer to professional audio than home hifi.

Audison have their BIT- control system that can be used with this amp. When connected, it bypasses the whole control panel, allowing an unsurpassed choice of upgrade path possibilities for this amplifier. A lot like the Wāvtech, this too has some cunning when it comes to OEM integration. If you plug in via the speaker wires, the amp has what Audison call USS or Universal Speakers Simulator. This pretends to be the low impedance load often engineered into stock systems’ amplifier self-protection circuits. That’s so that if a stock speaker blows, you don’t want the OEM amplifier cooking in its hidden spot.

A serenely clever item that can do ‘high end’.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 85W, 2ohms 4 x 130W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 250W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 100dBA
  • Features Rich? Two switchable highpass/lowpass filters for 50Hz to 3.2kHz, one per pair of channels: Speaker level input sockets and RCA inputs: RCA line output: ART auto remote turn-on feature button

WAV Tech 300.4 amp

WĀVTECH link300.4mini

RRP: $/£299.95. Buy it here.

An installer’s dream, brand new in concept and for those who want results, without having anything on display. Best of all, it will make fab music from one tiny box, in brand new cars that stop and start. Made for OEM integration, the new Wāvtech range is designed by audio nutters who are true hardcore tech types. The low signal to noise ratio quote is because they use the tougher qualified version of the spec. A-weighted, it is about human hearing rather than a flat measurement. The link300.4mini is Wāvtech’s baby super compact Class D 4×50 watter, but there is a bigger one and also two monoblocks available too. Despite being such a small unit though, the link300.4mini needs a four gauge power wire.

The amp accepts RCA signals from 0.2V to 5V on ‘low’ setting, or 0.4V to a whopping 10V on ‘high’: a deeply cool feature if you do have a mad-end front music unit. On speaker level, for taking OEM speaker wire feeds, it is quietly insane. For one, no matter the power of your car’s OEM set up, it will cope. It will also look like the stock system to the car’s amp’s impedance-sensing, which causes the factory speakers to run at funny low impedances, thus sucking a few more factory-amp watts. Essentially, it cons the car’s own amp into thinking this extra wattage is all normal, and best of all, you can take wires from your car’s tweeter and mid-bass driver’s wires and ‘sum’ them. We’ll admit, it’s a bit complex in concept but it means you get the best of everything.

A truly leading edge future-now product for modern cars.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 50W, 2ohms 4 x 75W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 150W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A external fuse required
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 80dBA (if measured ‘flat’, would be well over 100dB)
  • Features Rich? Two switchable lowpass/highpass filters 50Hz to 500Hz: Summing speaker or RCA input: Auto turn-on by remote wire, DC offset or audio signal: OEM stop/start compatible, Input from 0.2V to 40V, five sets of protection circuitry and LED peak light

The post Best Four Channel Car Amplifiers appeared first on Fast Car.

Best Double DIN Car Radio

Got a relatively modern car with a thick dash stereo/head unit? Here are some of the best Double DIN car radio upgrades available on the aftermarket.

The double-DIN head unit is the pinnacle of dashboard electronics for aftermarket car radios. In cars with the DIN standard aperture, a single-DIN space always used to be the most common design. However, bigger vehicles and especially Japanese imports and vans started to sport the Double DIN, double width platform, and over time the Single DIN went out of fashion across the board. The physical volume of the unit that can fit in a Double DIN hole is impressive. It means that radios can have a lot more features and electronics packed inside. They can also get luxurious with the size of their front displays; there can even be a screen, without it needing to be an expensively motorized hideaway like in premium a single-DIN effort.

That whole DIN thing is a set of standards to help car makers and their suppliers. The Euro-standard, it covers stuff like the wiring loom plugs for power/speaker wires, so the trade uses the term ‘DIN’ to refer to these plugs and these head unit sizes.

A long time ago, car radios all had to be removable, in the days before face-off decks. There were car radio racks at restaurants, where you’d park your radio while you ate. The double DIN started in Japan, where they simply didn’t have the same crime levels. Folks didn’t steal radios from cars in Japan. A white-hot fueled-by-theft insurance replacement business supported a huge chain of UK shops. They had a central office with forty telephone operators. Nowadays, many cars have their radios embedded deeply into the fabric of the car, so that you cannot replace them. They are not DIN-sized, not even a separate module. Thus, you can now buy into a fresh double-DIN head unit for your ride with less worry about theft.

We have some top quality units here, from entry level to fabulous, all with that double-DIN luxury.

How we chose these products

Although I haven’t experienced each of these products first-hand, I’ve got a good knack for extracting the meaning out of long spec sheets. As such, I’ve compiled this shortlist based on the tech and capabilities that will really make a difference once installed into your car.

Editor’s Note:

Adam is one of the world’s leading voices in car audio tech. With decades of experience in the field, you can be sure to trust his recommendations in the following article.

Best Double DIN Car Radio

Blaupunkt PALMA-200DAB-BT double DIN radio

Blaupunkt Palma 200 DAB BT

RRP: £110.00. Not available in the US. Buy it here.

Blaupunkt are famed for their Euro-minimalist car radio fascias. They once made a lot of awfully cheap OEM radios that were made down to a price, but their tuners were always really good. So when Blau had a little flex in the direction of posh, it still looked plain and unfussy. The Palma has a big liquid crystal nine-digit display and just a few buttons.

There are two radio tuners: Blaupunkt’s tremendous old FM tuner with features like dual sensitivity and interference cancellation and a DAB+ one as well. It will Bluetooth-stream and hook up for your phone for hands free calling. The microphone to do that is built in – I reckon it is behind the tiny hole top left. There’s an oblong door bottom right that opens up which reveals the SD card slot, the USB socket and the 3.5mm aux audio input jack. Around the back, there’s a second antenna socket for the DAB+ aerial and single pair of RCA outputs. You could expand a system from this unit using these by feeding a single-input amplifier.

Although the files it can read are limited compared to some – just MP3 and WMA, it has some real smarts. The ability to read your files fast and pull out the one you want, quickly. You can stream anything you own and can play to Bluetooth, but this is about your own jukebox, served rapidly. One USB stick or just one decent SDHC card can hold a serious heap of music, after all. You get a bit of EQ via X-Bass plus “Pop, Rock and Classic” (or flat) settings, and bass/treble controls. A shallow-body unit, it will fit lesser dash spaces, like certain BMWs.

  • Double DIN mech-free FM/DAB+ radio with USB/Aux and SDHC card playback
  • Onboard Power: 4x40W @4ohms
  • Single pair RCA outputs at 1.5V
  • Bluetooth streaming; fast-reads MP3 and WMA files

JVC KW-M565DBT Double DIN car radio


RRP: $/£344.90. Buy it here

A lot more sophistication for the money, this JVC jumps upwards in features and tech. Another shallow-chassis radio that manages to cram all the good stuff into a shorter case. It’s got a 6.8in WVGA capacitive touch screen on the front, but it’s what’s behind those cool user interfaces for our phones that is so clever. The Bluetooth allows dialing by voice recognition – if your phone supports it – and the microphone is supplied on a long wire. So, instead of shouting louder, your installer places the mic in the headlining near your face.

A thirteen band graphic EQ with seven presets and three user memories and time alignment, means real audio smarts. There are also crossovers in there to play with.

You get a nest of rear connections. FM and DAB+ antenna sockets. Two sets of Fr/Rr RCA audio outputs plus a yellow RCA video output for headrest screens. There’s another yellow composite RCA, which is a reversing camera video input, and a final single subwoofer RCA output socket on a cord, for a bass amplifier. The box also contains over a meter of cable and a USB A socket, for Apple Car Play/Android Auto via wired phone connection.

Lastly, as well as the microphone socket, a 3.5mm socket that’s not just audio, like an ‘aux’ socket. It’s a full A/V input. The sort that would come from a camcorder, 3.5mm tip-ring-ring-ring-sleeve, with video too. Said cord would have three RCA plugs on the end, in red, white and yellow. All that and trigger wires to allow it to operate your steering wheel control system. The USB charges at a goodly 1.5A rate.

  • Double DIN mech-free with 6.8in touch screen, Android Auto and Apple Car Play
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W @4ohms
  • Two pairs RCA outputs plus Subwoofer RCA socket on a cord at 2.0V, two RCA camera inputs
  • Reads MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC and FLAC audio files. Plays WMV and MPEG 1/2 /4 and AVI

Pioneer AVH-Z3200DAB

Pioneer AVH-Z3200DAB

RRP: $/£399.00. Buy it here

The AVH-Z3200DAB starts with a CD/DVD mechanism slot at the top, so you can play normal discs. Then it can display JPEG images, or DivX video files as well as play all audio formats. It can read MP3, WMA and AAC files from your own discs. Then, after eating all disc-kind to retro-compatibility, it has a rear USB socket-ended extension wire. You connect the included male-to-female cord and then offer up the USB-A socket where you wish, to connect your phone. It can deal with both Android and iOS telephones, but only has Apple Car play – no Android Auto. Android Auto requires a 6.8 screen or bigger. The resistive touch screen is a 6.2 inch having given some real estate over to the disc slot.

The audio quality is quietly understated but this bristles with hub-power. To start, there are three sets of RCAs at a fat 4.0V of signal to drive amplifiers with vigour. Then, you get more RCA connections for optional front and rear cameras, and a 3.5mm jack socket audio input. It can be part of one heck of a system.

The control within offers a thirteen-band graphic EQ with an auto EQ feature. You can adjust the audio curve to fit your car. Auto Time Alignment is possible when you use the supplied wired microphone to set up. You can also do Time-Alignment manually. It’s all about perceived position of the music; tiny delays to speakers depending upon where you are sat, versus being in the middle. There is a highpass and lowpass crossover and even a three-way active crossover network you can apply to the outputs. This is for running high end active speaker systems with multiple amplifier channels.

  • Double DIN fronted CD/DVD deck with 6.2in touch screen, FM/DAB+ radio, USB/Aux, Apple Car Play
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W @4ohms
  • Fr/Rr/Subwoofer RCA outputs at 4.0V; 3.5mm rear Aux audio input, Fr/Rr RCA cam inputs, RCA AV out
  • Bluetooth streaming; reads MP3, WMA, AAC and FLAC audio files; plays DVD, DivX and MPEG1/2/4

Sony XAV-AX5650 Double DIN car radio

Sony XAV-AX5650

RRP: $/£540.00. Buy it here

Strictly, this is a slightly cheeky ‘Double-DIN’. For while it requires that size slot in the dash to live, the behind portion is only a single-DIN chassis. When seen naked, XAV-AX5650 has single DIN sized guts with a big screen on the front. It thus fills a whole double-DIN fascia and it means you can have a whopping 6.95in screen. A beautiful unit, the screen is bezel-free so it looks like it was born in your dash, once installed. The big new thing on this is the HDMI connector on the rear, on the lower screen housing. You can connect a FireTV stick or other telly box. Another cool feature is Weblink™ – a system to mirror your phone’s display on the screen. This works for both Android and iPhone.

The RCAs run at 5.0V which is huge. This is about producing a far better signal to noise ratio than a regular level output signal, which means you can have an expert adjust the gain structure of your amplifiers for very high quality sound. You get a ten band graphic EQ and the Sony Extra Bass control. DSO means ‘Dynamic Stage Optimizer’ and is a digital signal processor which lifts the perceived stereo image to seem like it is in front of you.

The dual corded USB ports hanging from the rear mean flexibility: you can plug in your phone and still have a spare place for a USB stick. If you don’t add amplification, the onboard Sony 4x55W MOSFET chip amp is one of the bigger ones around, so it will still sound good.

  • Double DIN mech-free with 6.95in capacitive touch screen, Android Auto and Apple Car Play
  • Onboard Power: 4x55W @4ohms
  • Fr/Rr paired and single Sub RCA 5.0V outputs, rear cam input, 2x corded rear USB ports, HDMI socket
  • Bluetooth streaming; reads MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC audio, MPEG4, AVC, WMV, MKV, XviD video

Alpine INE-W987HD

Alpine INE-W987HD

RRP: $1339.95 / £999.99. Buy it here.

A bit of a jump to luxury. Alpine are legends in high end car audio and this is pure Alpine DNA. For one, you can actually take the faceplate with you when you leave the car, being removable. For another, this has its own navigation inside as well as a bonkers set of audio controls, a long way above most other brands. And all in another not-really-double-DIN chassis. Like the Pioneer, the guts all go in a single DIN chassis backstage as it were.

The EQ is a sophisticated nine band parametric. You choose the parameter, as in the frequency the adjustment is set at and also any boost or cut. The subwoofer output can be controlled not just for frequency but also phase. You get a choice of crossovers. Eleven frequencies to choose from, either lowpass or highpass and you can adjust how hard they work. The steeper the ‘slope’ the harder the filter. Choose from 6dB, 12dB, 18dB or a whopping 24dB slope. That’s a brick wall and gives you real power over peaks and troughs on your car’s cabin effect; the way our cabins amplify the bass end by acoustics.

The time alignment is posh. It has 0.0 to 9.9 ms adjustment in 0.1ms steps. Translated, at a millisecond per foot, sound arrives at different times at your ears from speakers at different distances. If you hold up a speaker by the tiny bit because it is closer to your ears, then you hear true stereo. Your ears perceive sounds as directly in front of you if they arrive at the same time – it’s called psychoacoustics and Alpine are past masters of it.

  • Double DIN fronted CD/DVD with 7in capacitive touch screen, FM/DAB+ radio, USB playback
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W @4ohms
  • Three pairs of RCA outputs at 4.0V; HDMI input and output
  • Bluetooth streaming; reads MP3, WMA, AAC, DivX files; onboard GPS

Kenwood DNR9922RVS

Kenwood DNR-992RVS

RRP: $/£1499.99. Buy it here.

Kenwood know car audio and they know sound quality. This unit is their new daddy-piece. It has a huge 10.1in touch screen on a floating mount. The main unit is a double-DIN and the screen is on a three-position moveable mount. It’s a chunk of kit. They are justifiably proud of the new range in general but this is the top one. It’s one heck of a price for a Kenwood. It can decode and play more digital audio formats than you are likely to have heard of. The RCAs are at a serious 5.0V and the control features for iPhone and USB playback are comprehensive.

The unit has specialized navigation software from Garmin. It means that this luxury unit will be the cherry on the top of expensive motorhomes. That’s because the navigation can be set for bigger vehicles. It won’t direct your camper up certain roads in the Lake District. Whereas Apple Car Play and Android Auto are normally only accessed by connecting your phone to a USB cord, this unit will do both wirelessly by WiFi. To do this with other units is an Android or Apple add-on box. Very posh indeed.

You get a thirteen band EQ, a time alignment system and a digital sound processor inside. There’s an optional steering wheel remote control available and you can input information from your vehicle by another multi-pin. This means you can have information from your vehicle’s parking sensors and so forth included. An absolute tour de force.

  • Double DIN fronted CD/DVD with 10.1in floating panel touch screen, FM/DAB+ radio, USB/SD playback
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W @4ohms
  • Fr/Rr/Sub RCA outputs at 5.0V; rear USB socket, HDMI input, 3x camera inputs, AV input and output, dashcam input
  • Bluetooth streaming; reads MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis and DSD audio. MPEG1/2/4, WMV, H264, MKV, JPEG, BMP and PNG stills!

The post Best Double DIN Car Radio appeared first on Fast Car.

The 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N Is So Good It’ll Make Enthusiasts Like EVs

In an age where electrified performance is as easy as moving a slider or turning a knob, where speed is a question of how quickly you can shuttle ions from anode to cathode, it’s honestly a little hard to get excited about yet another big, heavy, dual-motor electric vehicle with an ungodly amount of power.

Take the Kia EV6 GT, for example. Great as it is, it feels a bit disconnected at times. It’s stupidly fast, sure, but it’s also a bit boring. Kia added the power but forgot about the rest of the experience, the special touchpoints and tweaks that brands like BMW’s M division or Mercedes-Benz’s AMG have turned into cottage industries.

Given that, I didn’t know what to expect from the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N. More power, sure, but would it feel special? Or would it just feel like a bigger hammer? As it turns out, Hyundai N’s performance engineers went way above and beyond to create a car that legitimately does feel special — rowdy even. And it still delivers all the excellence of the base Ioniq 5.

Quick Specs2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
Output641 horsepower/545 lb-ft of torque
Battery 84.0 Kilowatt-Hours Lithium-Ion
0-60 MPH3.2 Seconds
Top Speed162 Miles Per Hour (Electronically Limited)

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

The Complete Package

Let’s get the numbers out of the way first because, impressive as they are, they’re the least interesting part about this car. The Ioniq 5 N is officially rated at 641 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque. That power figure is exactly twice what the base Ioniq 5 puts down, a fact that can’t be a coincidence.

That power comes courtesy of new electric motors front and rear, 223 hp to the front and 378 at the rear, each able to go into an overboost mode for 10 seconds to get up to that 641 hp figure.

They’re powered by a wholly new battery pack rated at 84.0 kilowatt-hours. That’s up about 7 kWh over the base car, a figure that seems hardly worth the effort of designing a wholly new pack. But then there are many aspects of the Ioniq 5 N that seem like they’d deliver dubious amounts of return on investment, like the extra seam welding and adhesive to boost chassis rigidity or the reinforced axles. And while Hyundai hasn’t given us range or efficiency estimates yet, you can be sure both will be less than a standard Ioniq 5.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

As it turns out, Hyundai N’s performance engineers went way above and beyond to create a car that legitimately does feel special — rowdy even.

Taken in isolation, each of these minor tweaks feels a bit unnecessary, fiddling for fiddling’s sake, but if nothing else, it shows the microscopic attention to detail brought to the table by Hyundai’s engineers in creating something more than the aforementioned bigger hammer.

The Ioniq 5’s suspension has also seen comprehensive revisions, with larger dampers fitted at every corner to provide a broader spread between soft and firm. An electronically activated, clutch-type, mechanical limited-slip differential at the rear ensures that the 282.0 kW motor at the back doesn’t liquidate the inside tire coming out of corners.

The front diff is open, but the car’s stability and traction systems have been comprehensively revised to enable it to do some basic torque vectoring by braking the inside wheel.

Wonderful Toys

The software changes extend throughout all the systems under the proverbial hood, but they present themselves in numerous extra features available to the driver. It starts with the steering wheel, which features not only a drive mode button on the upper-left but also two more mode buttons, both labeled N.

The left N button cycles through a few different performance-minded driving modes. You can configure all these to your specifications – so long as your specifications entail a raucous, rowdy experience. The right N button dials up the societal nuisance factor even further by toggling through one of three fake engine noises, played not only inside the cabin but outside the car, too. There’s even a fake shifting experience.

Finally, there’s a shiny red button that sits tantalizingly close to your right thumb. A beautiful, shiny button labeled NGB: N Grin Boost. Press this, and you get those 10 seconds of maximum power, in which the car becomes most aggressive, most angry, and lightning quick. Tap this to get to the launch control quickly, but make sure you warn your passengers to put their head on the headrest before you take your foot off the brake.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

The customizations continue through to the touchscreen interface, where a specific N page lets you cycle through endless configurable parameters, with toggles for enabling a track-oriented regen mode called N Pedal, an N Race section where you can toggle between maximum power for a single lap or more endurance, and even the N Drift Optimizer, for those who need a little help getting sideways.

The most tantalizing thing on this page, though, is the N Torque Distribution slider that lets you control the car’s power distribution. Leave it in the middle for maximum power from both motors. Want a FWD Ioniq 5 N? Slide it to the left. Want a taste of RWD action? Slide it all the way to the right — and get ready to do some sliding of another sort.

All these toggles and buttons are initially overwhelming and disorienting, way too many options to get through on your first drive. Honestly, though, I love it. This was my biggest complaint about the EV6 GT: There just wasn’t a single iota of performance-oriented customization to the car’s user interface. If anything, Hyundai’s gone a little too far in throwing a kitchen sink full of sliders and options at the Ioniq 5 N. Still, tech-obsessed buyers, those who’ve spent more time than they like to admit fiddling with setups in Gran Turismo, will adore the reconfigurability.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

Behind The Wheel

If you’ve never had the chance to drive in Korea, let me assure you that you’re not missing much. Terminally slow speed limits (30 kph, or 19 mph, in many towns) enforced by endless speed cameras popping away at endless gridlock make for an underwhelming place to helm the wheel. Given that, I learned little about the Ioniq 5 N’s more performance-oriented on-road dynamics while in Korea.

However, I did learn that it’s still a perfectly civilized way to get from A to B, just like its non-N variant. Ride quality isn’t terribly compromised by those low-profile 275/35R21 Pirelli P Zero tires, though they bring more road noise to the party. The suede microfiber seats are still quite comfortable for big miles (and we did a lot of miles), while the latest version of Hyundai’s Highway Drive Assist works well on the highway, keeping the car centered in the lane and automatically stopping and resuming when stuck in traffic.

Thankfully, the destination of our long grind of a journey was Korea International Circuit, home of the doomed Korean Formula One Grand Prix from 2010 to 2013. Mother Nature is clearly reclaiming this massive, ill-fated track. Vines crawl up many of the disused grandstands. Sun-faded banners feature the distinctive, walrus-tusked F1 cars of the era, which thankfully haven’t been seen since.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

Under-used though the circuit may be, it was a great chance to finally turn up the wick on the Ioniq 5 N. While my time on the track was too brief to know whether the car delivers on its promised endurance. It was enough, however, to determine that the 5 N has a delightful, playful character to it.

In the default mode, Normal, the Ioniq 5 N is fast but ultimately a bit tame and quick to reign in things whenever you start to have a bit of fun. Just give a tap to the N button and everything changes.

Now, the car wants to play. The accelerator is more eager, naturally, but the stiffer suspension imparts more urgency when you head for the apex, and it all culminates in much more fun on the way out. Even with the stability and traction controls well and truly enabled, the Ioniq 5 N gladly wags its tail under full-throttle acceleration, and that’s a delightful thing.

Turn on the N Pedal mode, which amps up the regen to add a sort of permanent trail-braking, and things get even more lurid. Here, I was able to get the car into a properly good slide coming out of the tightest bend on the circuit. This, again, was with the stability control still enabled.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

The car definitely had a strong tendency towards understeer. That at least partly comes down to weight. Hyundai didn’t quote a formal figure for the 5 N but did say it weighs more than a regular Ioniq 5, which clocks in at around 4,000 pounds in AWD trim. Given that mass, you can’t expect much in the way of nimbleness on the track. Still, the 5 N was remarkably playful, a legitimately good time.

Every little drift was effortless to catch, just a quick twist of the quickened steering. Braking, too, is precise, despite having no mechanical connection between your foot and those calipers. It’s a full brake-by-wire system, so the car’s ECU decides how much braking to apply in response to your command.

The 5 N can pull up to 0.6 G under regeneration alone, which gets you most of the way there. But, when you ask for more, the car seamlessly brings in the four-piston monobloc calipers at the front and more modest single-piston units at the rear to help reign things in. It’ll even let you brake and throttle at the same time, a useful technique for low-grip racing that I’ve never been able to deploy on an EV before.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

Every little drift was effortless to catch, just a quick twist of the quickened steering.

So the new N is fast and competent, and that’s all great, but what’s more important is its endurance. Too many high-power EVs can deliver amazing performance numbers only over short intervals. But, push them hard, and they soon start cutting power.

Hyundai N technical advisor Albert Biermann (formerly of BMW M fame) promised two full laps of the Nurburgring before the Ioniq 5 N needed to start dialing back the power. That, he said, was about 16 minutes of full-throttle action.

The goal, he said, was for you to do a 20-minute session at your favorite track, hit the pits, and spend 20 minutes on a fast charger, then be back out for another 20-minute session with no loss in power at all. That, sadly, we didn’t get to test, but it’s the kind of promise that should open the eyes of many a weekend warrior to the joys of electrification.

The Cost Question

There’s no way to hide the fact that the Ioniq 5 N is a big ol’ car. Its weight and girth are considerable obstacles to overcome in making it a legitimate track-day performer. Yet that’s just what Hyundai has done. The Ioniq 5 N is a real joy on the track, and yet also a pleasure to commute through the worst of all the copious traffic that Korea has to offer.

Many of the added features here are of dubious usability, but even the most gimmicky ones are fun, and fun is what Hyundai’s N division is all about. The Ioniq 5 N takes a great car and makes it a proper grin machine.

2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N First Drive Review

There is, however, one huge question that Hyundai has yet to answer: price. The Ioniq 5 N is clearly a specialized machine. Hyundai’s current Elantra N and Kona N both carry a roughly $10,000 premium over their base counterparts, representing a nearly 50 percent boost in price. Meanwhile, the approximately $63,000 Kia EV6 GT comes in about $20,000 more than a base EV6.

Given that, it seems unlikely that you’ll get into an Ioniq 5 N for less than $70,000, and I fear the final price will be even higher than that. We at least won’t have to wait long to find out. The Ioniq 5 N hits dealers in March 2024.

Competitor Reviews

BMW iX M60 Kia EV6 GT  Tesla Model Y Performance

The Electrifying Alternatives:

2023 Kia EV6 GT First Drive Review: White Smoke, Green Cred
2023 BMW iX M60 Driving Notes: Excellent In Theory


What will the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N cost?

Hyundai hasn’t confirmed pricing on the Ioniq 5 N, but expect it to come in higher than its performance-oriented sibling, the Kia EV6 GT, which will set you back around $63,000.

What is the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N’s range?

Hyundai hasn’t given any range estimates for the performance-oriented Ioniq 5 N. It has a bigger battery pack than the current Ioniq 5 AWD, which is rated for 260 miles. But, with its worse aerodynamics, more weight, and more power, there’s a good chance it’ll come in lower.

Will the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N qualify for EV tax credits? 

Unfortunately, since it is currently made in Korea, it will not. Like other EVs made abroad, the tax credit is still available if the car is leased.

2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
MotorTwo Permanent Magnet Synchronous
Output641 Horsepower / 545 Pound-Feet
Drive TypeAll-Wheel-Drive
Battery84.0-Kilowatt-Hour lithium-ion
Speed 0-60 MPH3.2 Seconds
Charge TimeTBA
Charge Type238 Kilowatt-Hours DC
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Volume27.2 / 59.3 Cubic Feet
Base PriceTBA

The Ferrari F8’s Engine Is A Star

I love engines. Electric cars are incredible, but there’s something primal about how an internal combustion engine delivers performance. It doesn’t seamlessly accelerate like an electric car, but that’s not relevant – it’s about the journey to the performance that’s exciting. Gasoline engines achieve that emotional thrill in a way electric cars can’t. When it comes to engines, one manufacturer emphasizes them like no other, idolizing the engine above every other aspect of the car – and that, of course, is Ferrari.

This Ferrari F8 Spider is for sale on Cars & Bids. Go check it out and bid here

I adore Ferrari, I have since I was a kid. But the F8 Spider I recently drove left me totally bewildered. According to Ferrari, this is the final, non-hybrid member of the V8 sports car lineage, which makes it very special and historically relevant. Newer models (like the SF90) will be more powerful, but they will also be heavier and more complicated.


As a car enthusiast, I generally agree that you probably can’t ever have too much power; most would usually prefer too much over too little. However, even without hybrid power, the F8 really makes you ask, “Is this too much for the road? Am I actually enjoying this?” The conflicting feelings all begin with that engine.

More From Cars & Bids

Driving The Honda S2000 CR Will Change Your Life
The Nissan Stagea 260RS Autech Version Is A Skyline GT-R Wagon

At the heart of the F8 lies Ferrari’s 3.9-liter F154GC twin-turbocharged V8, producing 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. It propels the F8 Tributo to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, with the Spider following right behind – really think about that for a moment. This standard production Ferrari can embarrass almost all of Ferrari’s past halo supercars, falling only .4 seconds short of the LaFerrari’s 0-to-60 mph time. F50 – not a chance. F40 – not even in the same league. Enzo – close, but no cigar. That is how insane the rate of progress has been for Ferrari.

The secret to this engine’s performance comes from its cooling. Ferrari raked the radiators at a more relaxed rearward angle compared to the 488 to avoid heat soaking into the intake, resulting in a 27-degree Fahrenheit (15-degree Celsius) change in air temperature of the air entering the plenum chamber. Coupled with Inconel headers, a revised intake system, and the intercoolers, the result is a dramatic increase in specific output over its predecessor.

Aerodynamics were another area that Ferrari improved. Up front lies the famed S-Duct that was iterated upon from the 488 Pista. It generates 15% of the overall 10% downforce increase over the 488, giving the front end even greater stability. At the rear, the F8 has an integrated spoiler that generates 25% of the total increase in downforce over the 488. Three little fins within the spoiler help to clean up the airflow and move turbulence further away from the rear, improving drag by two percent. These may seem like insignificant tweaks to a design clearly related to the 488 Pista, but they all add up.

The result is a car with two personalities. Honestly, you can relax and cruise around in automatic mode and never once realize that this car is anything special. The normality with which it handles daily usage is striking – it’s just not what you might expect from a Ferrari. But that all ends in an instant when you tickle the throttle.


It’s manic. The engine positively dominates the experience; there’s no escaping it. Such power through two rear-driven wheels is simply insane and often terrifying. It requires deliberately honed concentration, even with all the downforce and the great driver’s aids turned on. Most F8 customers likely won’t get anywhere near the limit of this car, so that question creeps in again, “Is this too much?”

That depends. If you’re after a celebration of all Ferrari has learned with their mid-engine V8 family, this is absolutely that car. It’s fast and beautiful, modern and usable, and it will be viewed as something extraordinary over time. But if you actually want to enjoy a sports car on public roads, there might be older Ferraris that scratch that itch more satisfyingly for mere mortal drivers. Regardless, that depends on what you want.

As someone who loves engines, I’m saddened knowing we’re witnessing an end, even for Ferrari. However, if this truly is the conclusion of non-hybrid power for one of the world’s most celebrated engine manufacturers, what a finale.

This article was produced as part of our editorial partnership with Cars & Bids, the online auction marketplace to buy and sell modern enthusiast cars. 

The 2024 BMW 5 Series Is Still Great With A Gas Engine: First Drive Review

– Greenville, South Carolina

Most of the headlines this year have been about the all-electric BMW i5. And why not? Bavaria’s first battery-powered 5 Series is a wonderful EV that neatly packages performance, range, and luxury under the iconic roundel (as we’ve learned firsthand).

But don’t forget about the gas 5 Series.

Built on the same platform as the electric i5, the standard gas 5 Series is still alive and kicking for 2024 – and it’s pretty excellent. With a new range of powertrain options starting at the base model and moving up to the 540i and M trims, the ICE 5er is still an excellent mid-size sedan for those who aren’t ready to go electric.

Quick Specs2024 BMW 530i
EngineTurbocharged 2.0-Liter I4 Hybrid
Output255 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH5.8 Seconds
Base Price$57,900 + $995 Destination
As-Tested Price$68,445

2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive Review

If you want to read about the BMW 540i and its slick new inline-six, though, you’ll have to wait; BMW only offered me keys to the base 530i. The 530i and its new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist will be the volume seller of the gas-powered range. That gives the base 5er an extra boost to 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque – seven more horses than the outgoing model and 37 additional lb-ft.

The new powertrain is ultra-efficient. The 530i gets 27 miles per gallon in the city, 35 on the highway, and 30 combined. That’s two mpg better in every category than the outgoing 5 Series, and right up there with notorious fuel-sippers like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, both with 32 mpg combined.

Granted, the focus on efficiency does sacrifice speediness. But for most buyers, the 530i still has enough oomph for hurrying away from a stoplight or around an onramp thanks to that extra electric kick off the line. It takes 5.8 seconds for the 530i to reach 60 miles per hour – perfectly adequate, and equal to the base i5.

2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive Review

The new powertrain is ultra-efficient.

Most 530i drivers won’t be too concerned with 0 to 60 times – that’s what the M-badged versions are for. Where the base 5 Series feels most at home is on the highway. Cruising down I-85 near Greenville at 70 mph, the engine settles to a nearly silent rumble and the 48-volt system still offers enough torque for seamless overtakes.

This car is exceptionally quiet at these speeds. The interior of the 5 Series can best be described as “evolved.” Most of the fits, finishes, and features carry over from other BMW models, but with thoughtful updates that add to the upscale atmosphere. There’s a new center console with a tiny glass shifter, a matching infotainment dial, and other various controls that emulate the iX SUV, but with gloss black fixtures instead of fancy matte wood.

The center touchscreen and digital cluster are now bigger than before – and standard – measuring 12.3 inches and 14.9 inches respectively. The latest BMW iDrive 8.5 infotainment display is projected atop both screens, and it offers a seamless experience with crisp graphics and boxes arranged neatly in a smooth-scrolling home screen. Things get messy when you start digging deep into the options – and there are many – but nothing that a “Hey, BMW” voice assistant can’t help with. Just say something like “I’m cold,” and the system bumps up the temperature to something toastier.

2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive Review 2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive Review

The interior of the 5 Series can best be described as “evolved.”

Once I’m off the highway and onto some of the moderately twisty roads around Greenville, the 5 Series shows more signs of life. Unlike the i5 with its complicated (but necessary) anti-active-roll, self-leveling, air-ride suspension, the 530i keeps things simple. It has a good ol’ double-wishbone front and five-link rear setup with the optional M Sport suspension on this car giving it more aggressive dampers.

I’m pleasantly surprised putting the 530i into the first corner. The power steering is excellent, with a lovely heft and a good amount of feedback to tell you exactly what this big-bodied sedan is doing. There’s some body roll, sure – the new 5 Series is longer and wider than the previous car, after all – but the suspension is wonderfully balanced and does an excellent job of keeping lateral movements in moderation.

The 5 Series experience as a whole is genuinely pleasant. The ride is quiet, the suspension is composed, and while it certainly isn’t the most powerful thing in the world, the electrified powertrain doles out low-end torque with decent purpose.

2024 BMW 5 Series First Drive Review

The 530i starts at $58,895 (with destination) if you go for the rear-drive model, while the all-wheel-drive version starts at $61,195. That’s firmly in line with the $58,990 Audi A6, and should be close to the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class when pricing for that model is officially announced.

So if you’re not ready to get into the electric i5, that’s fine. BMW’s gas 5 Series is still an excellent option.

BMW’s Other EVs:

2023 BMW i7 Review: The Rolls-Royce Of Bimmers
2022 BMW iX Review: Building Block

Competitor Reviews

Audi A6 Mercedes-Benz E-Class


Is The Gas BMW 5 Series Discontinued?

Not at all. BMW now offers an electric i5 alongside the traditional gas model, which comes with both four- and six-cylinder engine options.

Is The BMW 5 Series Available With All-Wheel Drive?

Yes, the 2024 BMW 5 Series is available in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations. Buyers can option xDrive to any of the new 5 Series models.

Is The BMW i5 Quicker Than The 530i?

The base BMW i5 and 530i gas model are equally quick. The 530i can reach 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds while the EV gets there in about 5.7 seconds. Both the gas and EV models have quicker variants.

2024 BMW 530i
EngineTurbocharged 2.0-Liter I4 Hybrid
On Sale255 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
Drive TypeRear-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH5.8 Seconds
Efficiency27 City / 35 Highway / 30 Combined MPG
Weight4,041 Pounds
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Volume18.4 Cubic Feet
Base Price$57,900 + $995 Destination
As-Tested Price$68,445

The McLaren 750S Will Make You A Better Driver

– Lisbon, Portugal

The 720S’s 2017 debut started a new era for McLaren. Its carbon monocoque – a version of the one from the P1 – and twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 didn’t just create a brilliant car, but they formed the base for limited-production icons like the Senna, Elva, and Sabre. Its design, with its sinister eye-socket headlights and aerodynamic curves, marked the beginning of a brand design language. McLaren is rightfully proud of the 720S.

Replacing a car that important is a delicate process, which is why the 2024 750S doesn’t abandon its predecessor’s formula – or even its platform. While the two share 70 percent of their parts, the 750S makes very good use of that remaining 30 percent. Some key engine tweaks provide 30 extra horsepower and 22 more pound-feet of torque – totaling 740 and 590, respectively. A meticulous weight-loss program cuts 66 pounds, while revised dampers promise greater comfort and performance. Finally, whether from the hypercar-chic center-exit exhaust or newly standard Apple CarPlay, the 750S sounds even better.

With such extensive and detail-oriented changes on the docket, I’ve got a few hours of Portuguese cobblestones and 30 minutes of track time to figure out two things: Did McLaren achieve its goal of making the 750S better all around than the 720S? And could I possibly hope to match its pace?

Quick Stats2024 McLaren 750S
EngineTwin-Turbocharged 4.0-Liter V8
Output740 Horsepower / 590 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH2.7 Seconds
Top Speed206 MPH
Base Price


2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

Crowd-Pleasing Commuter

My first chance in the 750S came in the picturesque Portuguese countryside. The more refined nature of the 750S is plainly apparent on the freeway. Like the smaller Artura, suspension and powertrain get their own drive mode toggles mounted atop the hooded gauge cluster (the folding unit from the 720S is gone), making alterations an easy finger-stretch from the steering wheel. Set up for maximum comfort, the 750S is a smooth operator, with genteel throttle tip-in and a well-damped ride. Long-distance trips in a 750 seem like a reasonable proposition.

That is, if your body agrees with the seats. The comfort seats are comfortable in name alone, offering very little thigh support, and I constantly felt like I was sliding off the front. And the standard carbon fiber sport buckets are far too narrow and heavily bolstered for easy entry and exit, much less the pressure points on my hips after about three minutes of seat time.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

All that said, the 750S is still pretty comfy for a supercar. McLaren’s prescribed route took me through brick-paved towns and over robust raised crosswalks, and the 750 never exhibited any harsh behavior in exchange for its exceptional body control. Its best low-speed feature, however, is the attention it grabs. It’s an instant win any time a car can get a throng of schoolchildren to demand engine revs while waiting for the bus. The improvement program hasn’t forgotten to be a little bit immature, thank goodness

Spidey Sense

My first, poorly timed stint behind the wheel was in a 750S Spider just as the early autumn skies started to open over Portugal. I dropped the retractable hardtop anyway – gotta hear that new exhaust sing, right? – and set off. Even at a pace dictated by weather rather than emotion, the Spider is a thrill. That center-exit exhaust angles upward from the rear deck, and it sounds incredible if you spend time near the 8,500-rpm redline, but even heavy-throttle blasts to the speed limit inspire goosebumps.

The engine’s added power is thanks to a set of lightweight pistons borrowed from the 765LT, as well as more boost from the pair of twin-scroll turbochargers, a freer-flowing auxiliary fuel pump, and cooling upgrades to support that power increase. A shorter final drive ratio also improves response out on the road, making the already sharp throttle and minimal turbo lag feel even snappier. The sprint to 60 miles per hour is done in 2.7 seconds, a tenth faster than the 720S, and yet, the 750S gets marginally better fuel economy.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review 2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

Some thanks might go to the 720-to-750 lightweighting process, which cut 66 pounds (30 of it unsprung) via revised suspension components, new wheels that weigh just 16 pounds each, a thinner windshield, and the fixed-in-place instrument cluster. The overall package comes in at 3,062 pounds for the coupe and 3,170 for the Spider – both the Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica and Ferrari 296 GTB are around 200 pounds heavier, and the McLaren benefits from incredible lateral and longitudinal reflexes as a result.

Making the 750S even more involving and enjoyable is its sharp steering, which feels a bit light for my tastes but is nevertheless incredibly accurate and quick. The electrohydraulic rack also transmits abundant information to the wheel, which proved very useful on the drizzly mountain roads surrounding the town of Sintra. The Pirelli P Zero tires had excellent lateral grip, with very little slip even when dive-bombing into tight corners, but every time I eased onto the throttle, I was met with a flashing traction control light and a little wiggle from the rear end – since these aren’t avowed track tires, I’d have expected a bit more wet-weather grip.

I toned my pace back and treated the drive as a reconnaissance run, an attempt to memorize the curves for my stint behind the wheel of a coupe. Luckily for me, the drizzle stopped and the sun peeked through the clouds to dry the roads for my second lap around the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

Hard-Charging Hardtop

With the suspension and powertrain set to their middle-ground Sport mode and the transmission in manual mode, the 750S hardtop is probably 95 percent as exciting to drive quickly as the 765LT, with most of the thanks going to that shrieking exhaust. While the Spider is commendably stiff and nimble, the coupe feels even sharper. With the steering chatting to my palms and the rigid bucket seats delivering information into the base of my torso, the McLaren provided me with non-stop data. And as I learned in college intramural athletics, “Open and honest two-way communication is the key to success in any relationship or volleyball team.”

That made it easy to exact tons of control over (and extract an equal amount of thrills from) the car. Even on slightly drier roads, the Pirellis still wanted to create rubber pebbles with every throttle application, but the 750S let me know exactly what was going to happen beforehand, giving me time to adjust my attitude and fall in line. Luckily the on-board stability controls are pretty unobtrusive, the throttle is easy to modulate, and the twin-scroll turbos provide linear and predictable power delivery. Dialing in exactly the amount of power to lunge forward – but not so much as to overwhelm the rubber – became a flattering exercise in traction management.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

My inner control freak also fell in love with the seven-speed “Seamless Shift Gearbox.” Like most dual-clutch transmissions, it evinces a little snarl from the exhaust when shifting at high revs, which combines with the McLaren’s flat-plane countertenor engine note for one hell of a thrill. I wish the paddle shifters were mounted to the column rather than to the wheel, but McLaren does it this way to ape F1 cars, and thank goodness the car responds to paddle inputs smoothly and instantaneously – truth in branding.

That Type A sensation continues to the left pedal. The coupe I drove was kitted out with the standard carbon ceramic braking package – McLaren offers a track setup with monoblock calipers for the truly hardcore – and it boasted strong initial bite that felt like it could extract a loose tooth if I pushed hard enough. And yet the pedal was pretty easy to modulate, making mid-corner corrections much easier and less dramatic. The 750S’ active rear spoiler is also larger than it was on the 720S, pivoting upward during hard braking to improve stability and grip.

Am I becoming a better driver, or is the McLaren just that good of a car? Time to head toward Estoril Circuit to find out.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

Right On Track

I would have three chances to prove myself. Each stint behind the wheel would encompass five laps of Estoril, which inspires fear via a high-speed sweeper and complicated uphill hairpins on the backside, leading into a terrifyingly long front straight that ends in a hard 120-degree right turn with precious little runoff. My long-suffering instructor, a handsome McLaren tester named Jack Barlow, would be sitting next to me the whole time, barking orders in my ear to help me put down a clean lap. Spoiler alert: I wouldn’t be successful, but he did get me close.

My first go-round was largely a disaster through no fault of either the car or Jack, and at the end, the pro driver told me in no uncertain terms to trust two things – his instructions and the car’s high levels of performance. On the second run, I took his advice to heart. The McLaren could handle it, after all – the 750S relegated for track duty had those monoblock calipers derived from the Senna and even more aggressive track-day seats.

That second attempt was somewhat successful on all but the complicated Turns 9 and 10, better known as Curva Gancho. This set of left-right chicanes climbs an average 7 percent grade from entry to exit, and the early braking zone repeatedly caught me by surprise. In my worst stint, I scrubbed off way too much speed on the entry, then ham-fisted my way through the second apex with too much throttle in an attempt to recover some time.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review 2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

“What didn’t you do there?” Jack asked with a tone that said he wasn’t mad, just disappointed.

“I didn’t brake hard enough.”

“That’s right,” he replied. “You didn’t brake hard enough.”

One last stint, and this one’s for all the marbles. After a couple of corners, Jack’s exhortations became far less frequent and urgent, yet the moment I entered the front straight’s braking zone at nearly 170 mph, I remembered his advice to trust the car, trust the brakes, and trust the aero more. I hit those carbon-ceramics with every muscle in my leg as we slowed with zero drama or wiggle from the rear end. I was finally braking hard enough.

The next three-and-a-half laps finally felt natural and zenlike. Track mode gave the McLaren a stiff ride over Estoril’s varying surfaces, but with limited bump steer and track-spec P Zero Trofeo tires, the 750S had no trouble maintaining its grip on the pavement.

Track also uncorked one of the car’s most interesting electronic features – the limit downshift. When slowing down from high speed (that long front straight, for example) the driver can command a downshift via the paddle, and the car will carry it out as soon as the speed falls to the point that it won’t overrev the engine. That feature proved most useful as I planned ahead for Gancho, my nemesis.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

Once again, the early braking zone caught me out, but I recovered a bit by trusting the carbon-ceramics to do their job and applying more pressure. Lined up for the entry, I ever-so-slightly trail-braked into the corner – a Barlow no-no that he let slide – then waited, waited, waited for the apex before squeezing onto the throttle. Cresting the second apex, the McLaren’s downforce kept us planted into the pavement, and I sped my way into the final constant-radius corner named for Ayrton Senna.

I didn’t quite achieve my goal of matching the 750S’ capabilities, because let’s be honest, it would probably take months or years of training to get to that level of driving proficiency. But the middle-child McLaren is a brilliant piece of engineering, improving on its predecessor in every quantifiable way. The changes might only amount to 30 percent, but the emotions they inspire add up to far more than that.

2024 McLaren 750S First Drive Review

Fast Macs:

2023 McLaren Artura First Drive Review: An Uncommon Combination
2022 McLaren 765LT Spider First Drive Review: Check Your Brain At The Door

Competitor Reviews

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Ferrari F8 Tributo


How Fast Is The McLaren 750S?

The McLaren 750S will hit 60 miles per hour in just 2.7 seconds and has a top speed of 206 mph.

What Is The Difference Between The McLaren 720S And 750S?

The McLaren 750S is lighter than the 720S by 66 pounds and gets a 30-horsepower increase from its updated twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. It also has a slightly updated exterior design, and more technology inside.

How Much Does The McLaren 750S Cost?

The McLaren 750S is slightly pricier than the outgoing 720S – this new model starts at $329,500.

2024 McLaren 750S
EngineTwin-Turbocharged 4.0-Liter V8
Output740 Horsepower / 590 Pound-Feet
TransmissionSeven-Speed Dual-Clutch
Drive TypeRear-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH2.7 Seconds
Maximum speed206 MPH
Weight3,062 Pounds
Seating Capacity2
Cargo Volume5.3 / 7.4 Cubic Feet
Base Price $329,500

Best SEMA Cars 2023 – The Wildest Modified Cars Of The Year!

Want to catch up on the best SEMA cars of 2023? Well, luckily for you, we’ve put them all together in one place!

Every year, the biggest names in the automotive aftermarket gather together in Las Vegas for one big convention, known as SEMA. Amongst the live action displays and static demo cars, you’ll often find some of the best modified cars of the year all together under one roof, or in one courtyard. Since we were in attendance, we figured we’d put together a fun compilation of our favorite builds from this year’s show. So, enough chatting, let’s get into the motors, shall we? Here are the best SEMA cars of 2023!

Best SEMA cars of 2023

BMW Z4 GT3 with V12

BMW Z4 GT3 V12

The Toyo Tires Treadpass is always a good place to look to find some SEMA gems. Amongst this year’s crop of contenders on the Treadpass was this mad BMW. It began life as a Z4 GT3 racecar, and if you follow racing as closely as I do, you’ll know that those had V8s under the hood. This one, however, does not. Instead, the owners have transplanted a Mercedes-Benz V12 into its cavernous bay, as well as a massive great supercharger on top!

Liberty Walk Nissan Z

Liberty Walk Nissan Z

After a lukewarm debut, the new Nissan Z is belatedly getting some aftermarket love, it seems. There were a significant number of Zs floating about at SEMA this year, including this example which was wearing Liberty Walk’s brand new widebody kit. Get used to seeing these lines and arches on every social media platform in 2024…

Air Lift DeLorean

Air Lift DeLorean

DeLoreans were always better to look at than they were to drive, so that makes them prime ‘show car’ material – even if they’re a bit rare. This bagged widebody example is packing a twin-turbo LS3, and sat at Air Lift’s stand as part of their 75th anniversary celebrations. That makes the company nearly as old as Midge and Jules!

Merkur XR4 Ti show car on display

Merkur ‘RS4Ti’

Arguably one of the biggest crowd-pleasers at SEMA 2023 was this heavily modified Merkur XR4 Ti – that’s a Ford Sierra, to you and me. If you want to learn more about what makes this thing so special, do yourself a favor and have a read of our full article on it!

Pandem M3 E36 Touring

Pandem M3-engined E36 Touring

Have you spotted the problem yet? Yeah… BMW never made an E36 M3 Touring, but this guy has! As you can see, it’s fully caged out and even has a Pandem widebody for good measure.

BMW E30 Touring with M3 engine

BMW M3-engined E30 Touring

Same trick, different style. This E30 Touring is also masquerading as some sort of alternate reality M3, and even has a mad hood-exit exhaust… not that there’s much left of the hood. The retro BBS disc rims and plaid Recaro interior work perfectly on old Euro cars like this.

green A90 supra

Bagged A90 Supra

You’re guaranteed to see a bunch of modified GR Supras at any high-end modified car show these days, not that we’re complaining! Of the batch at SEMA this year, Jules picked out this wasabi green example as his favorite. It’s got wide arches, split rims, silly camber, and air suspension. What more do you want?

Kevlar Porsche 356

Kevlar K20-powered Porsche 356

The Porsche 356 is a classic, but by modern standards it’s pretty weak. The owner of this example decided to change that though, in every way imaginable. The body has been completely redone in Kevlar, while under the hood its ancient heart has been replaced by a screaming Honda K20.


Eneos Jaguar E-Type

Faruk Kugay’s Jaguar E-Type is British on the outside, but has German bones and a Japanese heart. Want to know what I’m on about? Read our full article on this mad Frankenstein build next!

twin engine Nissan 350z

Twin Engine Nissan 350Z

Eneos sponsored a few cars at SEMA this year, including this mad 350Z as well as the Jag. Again, you’ll have to read our full showcase for all the juicy details, but I’ll give you the headline – it’s got double the amount of engines you’d normally expect…

Gas Monkey Testarossa EV

Gas Monkey Testarossa EV

Richard Rawlings and the folks at Gas Monkey Garage have created something really rather unique for SEMA this year. This Ferrari Testarossa has had its roof chopped off, but more notably than that, has seen its flat 12 tossed aside for an electric powertrain instead.

Liberty Walk Super Silhouette RX7

Liberty Walk Super Silhouette RX-7

Another transformational build is this Liberty Walk FD RX-7, beefed up considerably by arches and wings reminiscent of the ’80s super silhouette racecars. It’s not the first time they’ve pulled off something like this though – remember this ER34 from a few years back?

KE25 Corolla

KE25 Corolla

Would you spend £250,000 on an old Corolla? Well that’s how much this build cost to make over 9 months. It’s got a 4A-GE engine, gorgeous interior and equally attractive split rims, as well as a whole mountain of other mods. This one was proper clean.

Auto Finesse S15 in pink livery

Auto Finesse Nissan S15

This 900hp super silhouette-kitted S15 has gone through a whole load of visual iterations recently, but I’m a big fan of its latest look. The folks at Auto Finesse shipped it out all the way from the UK, plus, our very own Midge worked on this car about a year ago! So, for that alone it’s got to make the list, right?

crazy SEMA Lamborghini

Street Aero Lambo

Is it a Huracan or a Gallardo? Whatever it is (or should I say, was), it’s bloody cool! Street Aero have gone all ‘cyberpunk’ with this project, enhanced by the brutal body alterations and Rotiform aero disc rims. And, as you’d expect with a build on this scale of insanity, the turbo in the back of it is about the size of my head.

Prefer to watch rather than read? No problem, Jules and Midge will show you around each of the cars listed here (and many more) in the YouTube video below!

The post Best SEMA Cars 2023 – The Wildest Modified Cars Of The Year! appeared first on Fast Car.