Best Quick Detailing Spray In 2024

Quick detailer is an essential part of anyone’s detailing kit, and it’s an incredibly versatile product – here’s our guide to the best quick detailing spray in 2024.

Do not underestimate the power of a good quick detailer. If you need to know anything about car detailing, it’s that this do-it-all wonder product is handy to have in just about any situation.

What is a quick detailing spray?

Put simply, it’s a mild solution that has the ability to clean any surface. It’s especially good for maintenance washing, as well as wiping away fingerprints and light dirt. It’s ideal for adding gloss and protection and giving your car that freshly-washed look. Use it as a drying aid, to enhance the look of rubber and plastics, or use it on your wheels. It’s incredibly versatile, and no keen detailer should be without it. Here’s our guide to the best quick detailing spray you can buy.

Best Quick Detailing Spray In 2024

Chemical Guys Hydrospeed Ceramic Quick Detailer

RRP: $29.99 / £27.99. Buy Chemical Guys Hydrospeed Ceramic Quick Detailer here!

Chemical Guys quick detailing spray

Versatile and easy to use, Hydrospeed is exactly what you want from a quick detailing spray. Special hydrophobic polymers and SiO2 nanoparticles deliver shine, protection and beading in an instant. You can use Hydrospeed on your car’s bodywork, glass, wheels, headlights and more. Hydrospeed’s ceramic makeup gives it self-cleaning properties to keep your car cleaner for longer. Use it between washes, at shows, and get your paintwork looking dazzling in an instant. It’s a little pricey, but this quick detailing spray really performs.

Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Detailer

RRP: $18.99 / £24.00. Buy Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Detailer here!

Meguiar's quick detailing spray

This SiO2 quick detailing spray offering from Meguiar’s doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect way to keep your car clean between washes while adding ceramic protection. It effortlessly removes light contaminants and dust, giving your paint that just-washed look. At the same time, it puts down a protective ceramic layer that delivers incredible beading. It’s easy to use and gives instant results, leaving your paintwork glossy and gleaming. A superb quick detailing spray.

Bilt Hamber Auto-QD

RRP: $20.72 / £16.95. Buy Bilt Hamber Auto-QD here!

Bilt Hamber quick detailing spray

We love Bilt Hamber products, so it’s no surprise to see the company’s quick detailing spray on our list. Auto-QD is designed to safely clean your paintwork between washes. It features unique charged polymers that suspend contaminants to protect the paint from marring. It’s water-based, safe for all paint finishes and won’t stain rubber or plastic trim. It also delivers impressive gloss that makes your car look stunning. Best of all, it’s highly concentrated, so one bottle goes a long way. Use it at 1:1 for maximum gloss, as a waterless wash and plastic trim shine. Or dilute it all the way down to 1:20 for use as a drying aid and no-rinse wash. It’s versatile and offers excellent value for money, making it a fantastic quick detailing spray.

Gtechniq Quick Detailer

RRP: from $7.95 / £5.99. Buy Gtechniq Quick Detailer here!

As you’d expect from Gtechniq, its quick detailing spray delivers on performance. It effortlessly removes fingerprints and light dusting. It’s also great at removing water marks and smears left after washing, leaving your paintwork looking perfect. Use it on bodywork, plastic trim and wheels. It’s simple to use, effective, and a quick detailing spray you will love using.

Griot’s Garage Best Of Show Detailer

RRP: $13.99. Buy Griot’s Garage Best Of Show Detailer here!

Griot’s Garage is very popular in its American homeland, and the company makes some superb detailing products. We’re big fans of its Best Of Show Detailer, and it’s one we always have a bottle of to hand. First of all, it smells lush, while advanced polymers improve paint gloss and slickness. It boosts color, depth and clarity between washes, leaving your paint looking sensational. Meanwhile, its high-lubricity formula safely wipes away dust, light dirt and fingerprints.

That’s all very impressive, but it’s not even our favorite thing about Best Of Show Detailer. What we love most is that it’s been formulated to flash fast enough to be used in direct sunlight. This makes it our go-to summer show detailer of choice. Being able to safely use it on hot, sunny days and get perfect results is the icing on the cake. This is a quick detailing spray well worth getting your hands on.

Autoglym Rapid Detailer

RRP: £14.50. Not available in the US. Buy Autoglym Rapid Detailer here!

Autoglym quick detailing spray

Autoglym’s Rapid Detailer is a great quick detailing spray that does it all. It will remove light dirt from paintwork, restoring shine and leaving behind a layer of polymeric protection. It’s perfect for maintaining everything from rubber and plastic to chrome and carbon fibre. You can also use it as a clay bar lubricant. It’s ideal for use at shows to get your car looking spotless. Rapid Detailer is a superb all-rounder, and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.

How the best quick detailing sprays were chosen

While each of these products haven’t gone through my rigorous testing process, I have used all of them over the years. I’ve found each of the products to be brilliant additions to your detailing kit. Some, like the Chemical Guys offering deliver on extra features such as a hydrophobic layer, but in truth it doesn’t help it stand out from the crowd. For me, each of these represents a balance of quality and price point.

The post Best Quick Detailing Spray In 2024 appeared first on Fast Car.

Best Single DIN Car Radio

Looking for a single DIN car radio to upgrade your onboard audio? Here’s a selection of some of our favorite options currently on the market.

We’ve already had a look at some of the best overall stereos and head units available on the car audio aftermarket, but this guide is specifically for owners of vehicles with a classic single-DIN aperture in their dashboard.

As modern car design has moved towards a more integrated style of radio/head unit, the humble but mighty single DIN setup often gets overlooked by the audiophiles of today. However, that’s not entirely a bad thing. With attention and demand now largely focused elsewhere these days, those of you in need of single DIN solutions to your audio upgrades are staring at fantastic value for money. Features once rare are now nearly everywhere, like FLAC file decoding – the fab high resolution ‘open source’ music coding format.

Another cool thing is the way that digital media have got faster and fatter. It used to be an issue as to what size of SD card or USB stick a unit could read. It separated the digital donkeys from the racehorses. But these days a single DIN unit can handle huge storage – my expert installers said they like to keep it ‘small’ at 64GB or 128GB! Even bigger will work, but the unit will slow down is all.

Anyway, enough chat. Here are several of the best single DIN car radios that the modern aftermarket has to throw at you:

At a glance:

Best Single DIN Car Radio


Sony DSX-A212Ui;  Best Value For Money

RRP: £64.99. Buy it here.

Before we get into the best value for money single DIN system I could find, did you see the ‘Ten Quid Car Radio’ review? It got to 80ºC upon testing! I sent it to a chum who has a dune buggy. Nothing but GRP panels and a dash! I suggested boxed 6x9s strapped to the rollover bar behind him. Good luck mate!

Anyway, this Sony unit is the sort of thing you should consider instead when searching for a quality – yet affordable – aftermarket stereo. It is priced significantly below all the others here and yet is from a top brand. But it has only a fragment of that £10 unit’s features. That is probably due to having to print six-language manuals and pay for licenses rather than just not care. Tenner-boy had an SD card slot, also read FLAC, and had Bluetooth telephony and streaming!

In operation, the DSX-A212Ui got no hotter than the normal 45ºC most units get to and it looks really cute. The demo sequence was worthy of videoing. It only has an analogue radio and USB reader, with an Aux plug hole in the front. I really liked the USB slot cover. Caliber use a plate that dangles on a little filament, Blaupunkt use a door that opens. This one slides open. For all it is an analogue tuner, there is some fun to be had on LW. Ever see the movie “Gravity?” Tune to Long Wave and you might pick up weird foreign broadcasts. The tuner in this has two bandwidth settings. You have to pick Europe or Russia. Inadvertently topical…

The face comes off yet no case is provided. This is the new norm. The ‘EQ10’ system is lovely. Each curve is well designed and the Karaoke setting is for singing like a fool. I love that.

DSX-A212Ui played my USB tunes a treat. The tuner is not too sensitive but the radio sounds good. Utterly perfect if you already have a Parrot-type handsfree/DAB. You can pop its output into the aux socket. For more info, check out the full review here.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN mech-free face-off FM/AM/LW radio with USB & Aux
  • One pair of RCA output sockets, steering wheel remote output socket
  • Reads MP3, WMA, FLAC via the 1.0A front mounted USB
  • Extra Bass, EQ10 equaliser with presets and custom and Karaoke setting


Grundig GX-4308;  Editor’s Choice

RRP: £150.00. Buy it here.

Grundig is a brand that hardly ever showed up in the UK as car audio. And that’s despite being one of the huge domestic affordable names in stuff like TVs. German in ‘origin’, this bears an uncanny resemblance to the JVC KD-X561DBT. That too has the wee 3in TFT 1080p TV screen. It also has a camera input on the back. This makes it a fabulously cheap way to add a reversing camera to your car. The OEM front and rear video in my car was the thick end of two grand retail! (I paid less…)

In an old fashioned way, this is a face-off unit. The front can be taken with you in an included hard case. There is a wire out the back to connect to the ‘parking brake’. You cannot play video files while you drive, unless you put that wire to earth instead. Then, it is up to the driver to decide to pay attention. Another wire is an output to feed an OEM adapter to drive steering wheel remote controls. A final one selects camera input from sensing the reversing light loom wire. There are Fr/Rr paired RCA outputs and one subwoofer RCA. Digital and analogue radio aerial sockets and a microphone jack complete the plug holes. One cool feature is ‘Virtual Subwoofer’. You can cross the treble out of your rear speakers from the speaker wire feeds. Cool!

The sound is not quite as lovely as the Blaupunkt Frankfurt I tested last, and yet it is clean and powerful. The looks are a little old hat but that screen is gorgeous. The DSP is stupidly capable for the price. Bass boosters, several preset EQs and a 13-band user one. There’s even time alignment!

A low cost total powerhouse that is ‘German Design, German Technology’. I love it! Read the full review here.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN mech-free DAB+/FM/AM radio with USB/Aux/Bluetooth (V4.1) streaming and calls
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W MOSFET, FM settable to Europe, Asia, M. East, Oceania, Latin, N. America frequency bands/steps
  • 2V Front, Rear and Sub RCA out, front USB and Aux, rear camera input, panel case, DAB antenna and wired microphone included
  • 0in 1080p TFT TV screen, 24 bit ‘HiRes’ DSP audio processor with time alignment! DAB Antenna inc.


Kenwood KDC-BT960DAB;  Best for Big Systems

RRP: £189.99. Buy it here.

There’s lots that the KDC-BT960DAB has in common with other units. But I adored it. The classic 1-DIN CD deck. Add a USB slot with Aux to the right and you have lot of input possibility. And even though locked into 44.1kHz sampling rate, CD still sounds awesome. KCD-BT960DAB has all the digital smarts it needs. The internal DSP stuff is similar to a lot of the units here, like the 13-Band EQ. What is different (apart from the EQ presets and their names) is the sheer power of the RCA outputs. What once started as a standard 500mV ‘signal’ or half a Volt, got bigger. In the old days, we were impressed at 4V pre-outs and these are 5V.

And that’s one more, like Nigel Tufnel said in Spinal Tap. It means huge, clear musical thrust right up your amp inputs.

The CD drive is top end quality and more cunning than others. As well as commercial and computer-burned CDs, it will also read other file types as stored data. This means up to 150 MP3 files can fit one CD.

But you really want to be using this as the basis of a big sexy system with amplifiers. The amount of signal is so prodigious that any extraneous ‘noise’ is utterly irrelevant. You need turn it up less to drive the amp inputs and it sounds fabulous. Incredible clarity and purity, fit for sound competitions. You just need the right CD. I totally went into one, enjoying it.

Stanton Warriors. Starts track one with a bloke getting into a car with him tuning on the radio. We hear the disc jockey suggest we turn it up. Track two starts 12dB louder. It blows your balls off.

I love this deck’s looks too, especially that clear USB/Aux door. To find out more, read my full length review of it.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN CD Tuner with DAB+, FM, AM, USB (2.0 high speed), Aux, Bluetooth (V4.2) streaming and calls
  • 0V Front, Rear, Subwoofer high power RCA outputs
  • Plays CD, CD-R/RW, MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV and FLAC files from USB and CD
  • DSP has sound/bass enhancement, Time Alignment & 13-Band EQ, works with Kenwood Remote App

Caliber RCD 120DAB-BT-b

Caliber RCD120DAB-BT/B;  Best for Updated Old School

RRP: £199.99. Buy it here.

After all the brand new lightweight short-bodied digital file-handling car radios, this was a treat. A throwback to the old school days of CD. When you drove your Lamborghini Countach around London with a CD stuck ostentatiously in the dash trim! (I wish…) Yes, a full size, full-weight car radio with a removable, flip-down face and weighty CD mechanism inside.

Starting there, we find the eject button below the CD slot and next to the SD card slot. I popped a classic 1990’s Bass CD in and wondered why it wouldn’t load? Then, I removed the transit screws all CD mechs always ship with (murr!) and tried again. It loaded rapidly. Then, I inserted the SanDisk 32GB MicroSD in an adapter case, into the SD slot. Snapped it shut, inserted a USB into the front and the Aux got the the Panasonic voice recorder plugged in. Added an FM aerial, and the included DAB+ antenna was Blutacked to my window. That’s five sources. CD, SD, FM, DAB, AUX.

I fired it up and had a play with all sources and tune files. Yes, it only plays MP3 and WMA, and not M4A. The Aux analogue input was quieter than other units, needing high gain to hear well. CD was crisp and lovely. The DAB didn’t work! So I finally did the RTFM. I like to see if a moron can work it out without a manual, at first, with myself as moron. The included antenna needed to ‘see’ metalwork. I moved it and it worked!

This looks really cool, plays so many sources including your beloved CDs, even your own recorded ones. It sounds clean and clear and is beautiful in black chrome. Oh and that 16GB limit? I used a 32GB card. And, undeclared, it plays FLAC32 files. For even more info, read the full review.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN CD-Tuner with DAB+/FM & USB/SD/Aux/Bluetooth streaming and calls
  • Onboard Power: 4x75W MAX, this is what others call ‘4X50W’ and likely to be 4x22W RMS
  • 2V Front and Rear RCA out, front USB and Aux, SD & CD slots under faceplate, DAB+ antenna and wired microphone included
  • Plays CD, CD-R/RW, MP3, WMA and plays FLAC32, despite not being rated for it.


JVC KD-X561DBT;  Best For Digital Nomad Vloggers

RRP: £244.99. Buy it here.

A major selling point of KD-X561DBT is the reversing camera input that can feed that dinky 3in LCD screen. When you connect the little rear-dangling wire to the reversing light loom, the camera screen fires up upon selecting reverse gear. There is also a button on the front, marked ‘camera’. Now here’s the thing to deal with immediately. This is all but identical to the Grundig GX-4308. Every last engineering detail matches. From the release keys, to the blue panel back-lighting. From the total matching of the digital functions, to the layout of all the major parts. The panel buttons are a bit different and it looks posher and more up to date than the Grundig. But if the guts are not the same, I am thin.

The JVC bears a ‘Made For iPod/iPhone logo while the Grundig does not. The Grundig does not have a direct ‘camera’ button whereas KD-X561DBT does. The strange thing is how the graphics look just boring and flat and even a bit low resolution, versus the Grundig. The screen is the same. I’d warrant that the guts are the same. The subcontracting manufacturer both used, has only changed the front panel and the graphics files between the two.

Differences? The Grundig is intuitive and has a basic pictorial manual that an idiot can follow, KD-X561DBT doesn’t. The USB socket is mounted the other way around. The JVC can use the RM-RK258 remote and the Grundig cannot. I bought one and tried!

The Grundig is rare and all but sold out and their brand is not remotely ‘cool’. JVC still has that awesome branding and yes, you can watch video. So digital nomads can plug their camera’s output into the USB and passengers can control playback, the driver can listen, as their journey continues. For a closer look, check out the full hands-on review.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN mech-free DAB+/FM/AM radio with USB/Aux/Bluetooth (V4.1) streaming and calls
  • Onboard Power: 4x45W MOSFET, FM settable to Europe or Middle East frequency bands/steps
  • 2V Front, Rear and Sub RCA out, front USB and Aux, rear camera input, wired microphone included
  • 0in 1080p TFT TV screen, DSP audio processor with time alignment,


JVC KD-DB922BT; Best For Alexa

RRP: £149.99. Buy it here.

The selling point of this JVC is Amazon Alexa. I know a bloke who has an Amazon Echo and four DOTS. He has four lighting circuits and a Hive-heating system and uses a Ring doorbell and an Amazon Firestick! You won’t be using the Internet Of Things in your car. You might in a high-tech camper van, but the car use is limited to certain things. The Alexa functions include, Weather, News, Wikipedia, Spotify, Deezer, TuneIn, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Kindle audiobooks. Timers and alarms and ‘play music’, as well as asking daft stuff are there too. I stuffed everything with tunes and then decided to Wiki my mama! I have a basic Amazon account, so I added Amazon Music and the Alexa app to my Android Samsung Galaxy S20.

Everything sounded good. The Aux was loud, the volume knob really is fast and the output woke up the speakers. Programming both analogue and digital radio is intuitive and the display has two lines. It looks great and sounds lovely.

Hardware pairing problems

I had a white box sample unit and Alexa kept asking different questions. I said “Alexa: Claire Rayner, Wikipedia” and was immediately served the first few lines of my mum’s listing! It kinda threw me! But despite getting it to work one more time, that was it for the test rig. I ended up angry and frustrated if I am honest. It may have been a firmware update but I failed to make it work again. The unit kept telling me to download the app and pair bluetooth until I shouted at it. But that is almost certainly an app/sample unit issue, or simply Alexa being an idiot on my phone. It kept failing to find the unit, although it did initially. Then the radio refused to ‘see’ it. To read about that in more detail, have a look at my full review.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN CD Tuner DAB+/FM/AM radio with USB/Aux/Bluetooth (V4.2) streaming and calls
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W or 2x50W + 1x50W to 4ohm subwoofer
  • Works with Amazon Alexa, also uses JVC Smartphone wifi remote app
  • Variocolour illumination with optional Music Sync. that pulses to the music rhythm

RetroSound San Diego

RetroSound San Diego Ghia; Best For Classic VW

RRP: £355.00. Buy it here.

Try saying “Fluffy’s Vee-Dub collection” into Google. You will find yourself watching a video of Gabriel Inglesias’ Volkswagen bus collection. It is worth $3m, or was back in 2019! The point is that the VW bus is more adored than just about anything. But just because the van is old and classic, doesn’t mean you have to stick with ancient audio. You can hide high quality speakers in the places they normally live and feed them good things!

This is the most complex to assemble car radio I ever worked with. Because of the dual active ‘spindles’ with their bracketry that can fit into any spindle-mount dashboard ever made. No matter how weird and odd, it can fit. And you can choose the knobs and front panel to fit your car best. What we have here is a delicious match for any Karmann Ghia or lovely old VW bus.

I admit that I had preconceptions that crumbled. The sheer solidity, quality, fit and finish and totally precise tooling, is top end. Made to last and last for the whole life of your classic. The main guts box is the thing and we got the best one, “Motor 6”. It was intuitive to use and has some really lovely features like the little non-volatile memory for settings once disconnected.

Audio quality and tuning potential

The FM tuner can be set to range for different territories worldwide and the illumination can be set to match whatever colour you want. They say on the box, “Modern Sound For Your Classic” and it’s a simple truth.

The sound quality is very high. Crisp, detailed and that 4x25W on board MOSFET amp is a ‘TrueRATING™” so is what most others call 4x45W. Massively features-rich, delicious in operation and looks absolutely stunning. If you want to know more, check out my full review of it here!

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN mech-free DAB+/FM/AM 30-preset radio with USB/Aux/Bluetooth (V5) streaming and calls
  • Onboard Power: 4x45W @4ohms FM settable to USA/EUR/AUS/JAP/RUS frequency bands/steps
  • Front, Rear and Sub RCA out, 2xUSB on cables with socket caps, wired microphone included
  • Fully modular design system that can be configured to fit any car of any era



RRP: £149.99. Buy it here.

Like many here, the MVH-S5200DAB, can connect two phones simultaneously. The unit’s bluetooth version isn’t quoted but can have ten devices programmed into it. A full-size unit, despite having the stuff in its guts that fits into other brands’ short-body units. Perhaps it is about the real estate space being expected and used to keep the thermal control efficient? It didn’t get above 45ºC in use, unlike the short bonkers ten quid thing that got hot enough for well-done steak at 80ºC

The display can show 200,000 colours. The idea is to match it to your dash, but I like to leave it scrolling prettily. I plugged in the Fusion USB, Aux and both antennae. I found that I was able to confuse it and so powered down and started again. It tuned itself on DAB and has FM and MW too. I loved all the menus that were so easy to get into and reveal a wealth of features. You can set the RCAs to serve as three-way crossover outputs! There is time alignment and speaker type selection to go with the 13-band EQ. Two user memories for your own curves. A bit less easy to operate and set than the prettier graphics on some others. This uses frequency in numbers rather than a bar display with Hz labels.

It paired up fast and I could play bluetooth music and scroll the titles of YouTube videos from the phone. That included Spotify.  The supporting Pioneer SmartSync app offers detailed graphics and control and MVH-S520DAB can then launch navigation software on that phone.

A beautiful looking unit, potent sounding and very adjustable. Easily Fast Car Approved. Read the full review to find out more.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN mechless DAB+/FM/MW radio with USB/Aux/Bluetooth streaming and calls
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W MOSFET, or 2x50w + 1x70W @2 Ohms sub drive. Fr/Rr, Sub, RCA outputs
  • Works with Spotify, also uses Pioneer SmartSync app, works with iPhone 5 to iPhone X
  • 200,000-colour customisable illumination, plays MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC

Blaupunkt Frankfurt RCM82

Blaupunkt Frankfurt RCM82;  Best Retro

RRP: £479.99, Buy it here. $514.90, Buy it here.

Blaupunkt have played a blinder here. I know of a top car audio executive that has been nagging for ‘RETRO’ product from his HQ, for years. He has not really been believed by head office, possibly because they are so far away and this is Euro-cultural. But you can rely on Blaupunkt to get a grip of Euro culture, and the Frankfurt RCM82DAB is the result. I love the BUTTONS! Real, clicky buttons that tell you they have been pressed, with some biofeedback.

They have tried doing this with touch screens in the past but it has never taken off. One was called ‘Pulse Touch’ and was an Alpine thing. The screen tickled when you pressed it. The other is Haptics, relying upon tiny tweeters to tickle you with ultrasound waves! Used in Jaguars, and nowhere else, I think. A simple button with what it does, printed upon it, is always a boon. And it looks like a cassette deck.

Then, you realise that the little cassette slot is not a slot, but a door. You flip it open to reveal a tiny MicroSD slot, just like in a mobile phone (or used to be!). Then, a USB socket as well a classic 3.5mm Aux socket. Hanging out of the back are a few cords, one of which is another USB socket. I spent an age making new media and stuffed something up every plughole. I had tribulations, which you can read about in the in-depth review.

The Blaupunkt Frankfurt RCM 82 is a monster. The tuner is world-wide settable. Frankfurt reads everything including FLAC and even stuff it shouldn’t. Like deleted video and image files! The sound quality is top notch and it didn’t get terribly hot, (45C) even with the on-board amp absolutely spanking. For a closer look at what it can offer, make sure to read my in-depth full review of it.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN short body mech-free DAB+/FM/AM radio with 2xUSB/Aux/MicroSD/twin-connect Bluetooth (v4.1)
  • Onboard Power: 4x50W @4ohms; Front, Rear, Subwoofer RCA outputs, wired steering wheel control port
  • Fr & Rr 14-Band EQ, plus ‘Rock’, Pop’ & ‘Classic”; Subwoofer output adjustable for Gain, Hz and slope
  • Internal electronic crossovers: 50, 63, 80, 100, 125, 160 or 200Hz, front and rear HPF/LPF @ 6/12dB

Alpine ILX-F905D

Alpine iLX- F905D; Best High End & BEST OVERALL

RRP: £899.99. Buy it here.

At £900, this is still not Alpine’s top single-DIN unit. That would be the ILX-F115D with its whopping eleven-inch screen, for £1,099.00. A 1-DIN space houses the guts and smarts for both models and the screen on the front can be huge. Bigger than would ever fit inside, as it needn’t motorise away out of sight these days. The changes in car theft culture now mean they will steal the whole car via keyless signal theft. But they won’t nick your car radio.

Alpine call this Halo9 and it’s their second generation of these era-defining decks. My doomed TV pilot, The Tackle Room, looks fabulous on the full size screen. The Halo9 mount allows you to adjust the tilt and mounting height of the screen to suit your vehicle. I fitted the sample unit to the desk and fired up the telly. I grounded the parking brake wire. You mustn’t, (obviously) watch video while rolling.

Then I was on another planet.

Audio quality and tuning potential

The screen is sumptuous. All you need ‘learn’ (apart from being an audio expert) is the down arrow at the screen’s headline. Bop that and the Voltmeter with icons appears. Everything is intuitive and can be done by idiots, like me. If, however, you know your stuff, you have a scintillating suite of EQ, crossovers and time alignment. The latter can be used in inches, centimetres or milliseconds for your delay. Awesome.

The 4x50W class D amp within is 70% efficient, rather than a MOSFET’s lower efficiency. So it goes LOUD On internal power.

Alpine’s iLX-F905D is a literal tour-de-force. From the 6V pre-outs, to the stunning screen, it proves the aftermarket has got units that make normal OEM stuff look like a squid versus The Kraken!

Best High End and BEST OVERALL. A breathtakingly desirable piece of equipment. But if you’re still not convinced, maybe my full review of it will sway you.

Tech Specs:

  • 1-DIN body GPS-equipped car radio with ‘floating’ 9in HD capacitative Halo9 screen, twin cam connection
  • 4x50W MOSFET CLASS D internal power amplifier, 24-BIT DAC, Fr, Rr, Sub pre-outs at 6V
  • Wireless remote control ready, HDMI in/out 2xUSB, AUX, DAB+, plays FLAC, AAC, WAV, APE, MP3, MP4, MOV, FLV, MKV
  • Works wirelessly with Apple Car play, Android Auto (USB wired), Bluetooth (V4.2), Made for iPhone

How The Units Were Tested

First, the fun of getting in touch and nagging for physical samples of each unit. It’s how I can brag of knowing folks at most top electronics companies like JVC, Kenwood and Sony. They arrive and each gets plugged in and played with. My desk was originally purchased especially for this use, with eight cubby holes and two desk surfaces. I think it was influenced by a book I had a kid, called ‘365 Things To Do’.

The idea is to test every single function and connection of all ten car radio head units. All the features, without going for an installed drive, which is a much more major enterprise. I have tunes in multiple formats and protocols.

It starts with my DIAWA PS-304II Laboratory 12V power supply at the bottom of the rig. Nothing major, yet has enough muscle for a head unit and my reference power amplifier, a classic Genesis SM60. That’s on the shelf above. A paragon of clean watts, it is easy to tell sound quality of the source through it. The Bowers & Wilkins LM1 Leisure Monitor speakers on the top shelf are likewise of high quality. They were gifted to me on a factory trip, and are supplied via 12Ga StreetWires cable by Esoteric Audio. They can be connected to the SM60, or else re-plugged on quick-release bullets, to use the head unit’s chip-amplifier output. The FM aerial and the DAB antenna on my office window gets plugged in and I can even run dual-zone. I have a roof screen/DVD unit installed in the next cubby to use to test that.

I also have an ugly-big battery for speakers/amps up to a kilowatt in a separate rig in another room. Last of all, the crucial bit.

These ears are able to tell.

How To Buy The Best Single-DIN Radio

When buying any car audio, you start with the same three considerations of vehicle, taste and budget.

When I was a car audio accessories sales rep, we sold a dirt-cheap ‘commodity’ radio. Its purpose was to have a radio in the car when it was sold instead of an empty DIN slot. My boss used to say it was dual-function. It filled the hole and it stopped the draught. You will know what you feel is worth spending. You will have an idea of the system wanted. Is it just the speakers on the watts in the head unit, like normal people? Or are you a fellow amplifier-lunatic fresh from looking at our car wiring kit guide?

Also, you don’t put a brand new-look unit in the dash of a car that is becoming a classic. You want one that looks cool in your BMW, fits like it was a new age hippy in your lovely old VW bus. Maybe you have real needs to play footage you filmed that day, as you vlog off to your next adventure? One drives, the other checks the whole lot as you ride… (by remote control)

The thing is, only get the technology you need. If you don’t have a high end super-resolution streaming service subscription, you don’t need a HiRes certified unit. The plot is to have a firm idea of what you will really play. It might even be that a wallet of CDs is part of your fun. All burned to playlists that will work far from any cellular coverage. If so, get a retro-style CD-disc mechanism. They are out there. The quality is still high, despite retro looks. Some of the priciest here are designed with deep cunning just to pull that con of looking old yet sounding new.

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

The 2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Is All About Give And Take

In typical Mazda fashion, even its largest SUV is fun to drive. The new CX-90 three-row – which replaces the also good CX-9 – brings actual driving prowess to an otherwise lackluster class thanks to a rear-wheel-drive architecture and two new powertrains: An inline-six and a four-cylinder plug-in.

I’m testing the latter; a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a 14.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a single electric motor. Mazda’s first American PHEV has 323 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Quick Specs2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Premium Plus
Engine2.5-Liter Four-Cylinder Plug-In Hybrid
Output323 Horsepower / 369 Pound-Feet
EV Range26 Miles
Charging Time2.5 Hours (Level 2)
As-Tested Price$58,920

Even though this version of the CX-90 weighs 5,236 pounds, it doesn’t feel too bulky. The torque from the electric motors hurries it off the line while the four-cylinder adds more oomph. Don’t call it quick, but the CX-90 gets off the line better than any of its naturally aspirated, V6 competitors.

It’s not perfect. There is some clunkiness at low speeds; the handoff between the electric motor and gas engine isn’t seamless. While the four-cylinder hums around town, it’s loud and a bit rough when you lay your foot hard on the throttle. But that can be expected with a small engine lugging around this much weight.

The good news is that you can drive the CX-90 on battery power for up to 26 miles. That is technically the worst among other three-row plug-ins – the Volvo XC90 Recharge and Kia Sorento PHEV both do 32 miles – but the Mazda will recharge on a Level 2 charger in just two and a half hours while the Kia and Volvo take about three and five hours, respectively. Not to mention the CX-90 also has two regenerative braking modes: Normal and High.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Review

Pros: Torquey Powertrain, Excellent Handling, Fast Charging

The CX-90 has a stiffer suspension than most other three-rows. That extra rigidity does affect ride quality – it feels crashy over broken pavement – but it also yields nice balance and excellent weight distribution in the oft chance you take your three-row SUV canyon carving. The steering is responsive and quick but feels artificially heavy, an odd choice for a family hauler.

The interior is premium – and not just for the class. The CX-90 dips into luxury territory with an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support and a seven-way power-adjustable passenger seat. All three rows wear Nappa leather on this Premium Plus trim, which adds second-row captain’s chairs, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

The second row is plenty roomy for your 6-foot-tall author, with ample amounts of head and legroom, but the third row isn’t as spacious. Clumsily navigate through the narrow entryway and into the third row and the CX-90 only has 36.9 inches of headroom and 30.4 inches of legroom – the latter is a few inches below average for the class. And that extends to the trunk space; the CX-90’s 14.9 cubic feet behind the third row lags far behind its competitors.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Review

Cons: Harsh Ride, Below-Average Space, Pricey

A 12.3-inch screen comes standard on the Premium Plus model versus the still-decently-big 10.3-inch screen on the base CX-90 and lesser trims. Both have wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a good ol’ fashioned central control knob to control it all. Unfortunately, the base screen isn’t a touchscreen and the 12.3-inch screen only functions as a touchscreen when the car is stationary. Mazda says it’s for safety reasons, but it makes for a frustrating user experience. Third-party apps like Spotify and Google Maps require multiple twists of the knob to access basic functions.

The CX-90 starts at $40,970 with the $1,375 destination fee included if you go for the absolute base Select model with the 3.3-liter inline-six. The cheapest CX-90 PHEV is $51,915 before options, so not exactly cheap. Opt for the Premium Plus like the one tested here – which has standard Nappa leather, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and ventilated seats – and it’s $58,825 before options.

2024 Mazda CX-90 PHEV Review

The Verdict: Like most Mazda SUVs, the CX-90 is the driver’s choice among three rows. It has ample power, excellent suspension tuning, and a well-sorted steering rack that makes this big heavy SUV decently fun. The 26 miles of range on electric power is an added bonus, and although it does get pricey with the PHEV, the CX-90 is still far more affordable than some of the “luxury” options while feeling just as nice.

The big downside of the Mazda is that families that genuinely need a third row with luggage space may need to look elsewhere. The CX-90 falls short on passenger and cargo room compared to some of the more traditional three-rows.

Mazda’s Other SUVs

2024 Mazda CX-90 First Drive Review: Driving Fun Comes In All Sizes
2023 Mazda CX-50 Review: Big Shoes To Fill

Photos: Jeff Perez For Motor1

Competitor Reviews

Kia Sorento PHEV Volvo XC90 Recharge


Is The Mazda CX-90 Bigger Than The CX-9?

Yes. While both SUVs have three rows of seats, the newer CX-90 is nearly two inches longer than the outgoing CX-90. The CX-90 is 201.6 inches long and the CX-9 is 199.4 inches long.

Is The Mazda CX-90 Gas Or Electric?

Both. The CX-90 is available with a turbocharged 3.3-liter inline-six engine or a plug-in-hybrid powertrain with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 14.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The CX-90 is not fully electric.

Is The Mazda CX-90 A Luxury SUV?

Sort of. While Mazda is not technically considered a luxury brand, the interior of the CX-90 is premium and comes with optional Nappa leather.

2024 Mazda
Engine2.5-Liter Four-Cylinder Plug-In Hybrid
MotorSingle Electric
Output323 Horsepower / 369 Pound-Feet
Transmission8-Speed Automatic
Drive TypeAll-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH5.9 Seconds (est.)
Weight5,236 Pounds
Efficiency56 Combined MPGe
EV Range26 Miles
Charge Time2.5 Hours
Charge Type240-Volt Level 2
Seating Capacity7
Towing3,500 Pounds
Payload1,175 Pounds
Cargo Volume14.9 / 75.2 Cubic Feet
On SaleNow
Base Price$39,595 + $1,375 Destination
Trim Base Price$51,915
As-Tested Price$58,920

Supra Restomod Celebrates 50 Years Of TOM’s

Legendary Japanese tuning firm, TOM’s, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. So, to mark the occasion, it’s built this eye-catching Supra restomod. 

Restomods are as popular as ever, but after a long-standing trend of focusing on Euro and US models, it seems that some JDM classics are now finally getting some love too. This Supra restomod by TOM’s is a key example of that, but before we get into the specifics of the car itself, I’ll give you a brief introduction to TOM’s if the brand has somehow passed you by. Existing simultaneously as both a racing team and a tuning house, TOM’s is to Toyota what Spoon Sports is to Honda. Technically, they’re independent companies, but there are long-standing links with both respective OEMs.

TOM's Castrol JGTC Supra 1997

The TOM’s JGTC Supra racecar that many of us will remember from Gran Turismo video games.

If you’ve ever watched Best MOTORing, you’ll likely have come across one of the many TOM’s creations there. Or, if you played Gran Turismo when you were growing up, you might have memories of the Castrol-liveried Supra JGTC racecar. That glorious machine was run by the TOM’s racing team in real life, and they still compete in the championship today (albeit with the A90 instead). I could go on for a long time about this tuning house’s impact on Japanese and international car culture, but that would make for a whole different article. Hopefully though, you can understand that this 50th Anniversary is one that’s worth celebrating, and what better way to do that than with a special Supra project.

rear of TOM's Supra restomod

Styling Revisions

Now, often when we speak about restomods, the cars involved tend to be ground-up rebuilds. That, however, isn’t quite the case here. Truth be told, the revisions aren’t as comprehensive as what you’d expect from the likes of Singer for example. As such, this car blurs the lines between being a true restomod and simply just being a very lovingly modified car. Nonetheless, if TOM’s wants to call it a restomod, that’s fine by me.

Ultimately, there is still plenty of work that’s gone into this Supra. Let’s start with the visual stuff. First of all, the aesthetic choices made here are certainly bold. That vivid green paintwork will likely be divisive, especially in contrast with the equally eye-catching gold Potenza alloys. As for the actual bodywork, students of JDM tuning lore will be able to identify this bodykit as the TRD 3000GT variant.

TRD 3000GT

The original TRD 3000GT

The backstory behind it is pretty cool – back in 1994, Toyota announced its arrival in the prestigious Japanese Grand Touring Championship (JGTC) with a near-homologation special Supra. That car was called the TRD 3000GT, and it wore a bodykit (this bodykit) that mirrored that of Toyota’s new JGTC Supra racecars. In time, the TRD 3000GT kit became an official conversion option for customers’ road cars, though only 35 examples were ever produced. It’s unclear whether this restomod is wearing legitimate TRD panels, or whether this bodykit is an homage/imitation.

TOM's brake package

Chassis & Engine Upgrades

So, that’s the visuals, now what about the internal updates? Official confirmation of these aspects is fairly limited for now. What we do know is that this Supra restomod benefits from an upgraded Brembo brake package, and interior updates from Bride. Other news outlets have reported that the car’s powertrain remains stock, however I’m not so sure. Again, we’re lacking much in the way of official word, but a glance at Online Auto Salon tells a slightly different story.

On the certified exhibition spec sheet, the car is listed as having an output of 380PS (around 374hp) – which is a fair chunk more than the 2JZ-GTE’s stock capabilities. Admittedly, we all know that the official number of 276hp was knowingly downplayed by Toyota to keep to Japan’s OEM gentleman’s agreement, but even the more realistic estimates of 320 stock ponies fall short of the figure listed by the Tokyo Auto Salon. That extra 50-odd horsepower has got to come from somewhere, right? Plus, with a rumored price tag of 25 million yen (roughly $170,000 or £135,000), you’d hope that you’d be getting more than just a styling package and brake upgrade for your money.

Want to catch up with more from the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon? Be sure to read my show report next!

The post Supra Restomod Celebrates 50 Years Of TOM’s appeared first on Fast Car.

2024 McLaren F1 Livery Revealed Early

The 2024 McLaren F1 livery has been revealed, long before the covers come off McLaren’s actual ’24 racecar. Here’s a closer look.

For the first time in a long while, there’s plenty of hype surrounding the potential success of the McLaren F1 team. At the tail end of 2023, the Woking-based outfit was arguably Red Bull’s closest challenger on pace, so every (non Red Bull-aligned) F1 fan is eager to see whether McLaren can keep that trajectory up. Adding to the buzz in this early part of the year, McLaren has shocked us all with a surprise 2024 livery reveal. Importantly though, the team’s actual 2024 car design remains firmly under wraps, suggesting that this year maybe they really do have something worth hiding for a little longer.

Only time will tell if the optimism translates onto the track, but for now, here’s an overview of the colors you can expect to see McLaren wearing in 2024.

McLaren F1 2024 livery rear

2024 McLaren F1 livery details

Unsurprisingly, the new 2024 McLaren F1 livery isn’t anything radically different to that of 2023. That said, there are certainly some changes to be aware of. For a start, the sky blue accents (which I quite enjoyed) have been axed in favor of more black. I’m sure there are branding explanations that McLaren would be happy to provide, but the reality is that more black in the livery means that they can run more pure carbon fiber and less paint – and that means less weight. It’s a trend which most F1 teams jumped on a few seasons ago, and it’s not something which I expect to change anytime soon.

McLaren F1 2024 livery head-on

Other differences include the finish of the driver numbers. This might seem like an almost irrelevant point, but driver numbers serve an important role of aiding fans at home and at the circuit to identify who they’re watching drive past. Unfortunately, both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri appear set to wear chrome numbers on their cars, which in the renders at least, are a little more difficult to read than is necessary. Perhaps it’ll be different once they’re out in natural sunlight, rather than depicted as pixels on a screen.

Speaking of Pixel, Google is once again a prominent sponsor on the car, its wheel rims painted in the colors of the tech giant’s logo. This familiar little styling cue is quickly becoming one of the most ‘iconic’ elements of modern F1 liveries, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.

As mentioned earlier, it’s not worth trying to analyze the details of the aero, as this is not what the McLaren MCL38 will look like.

What can the team achieve this year?

As we all know, what the car looks like isn’t hardly as important as how it performs. So far, the outside world’s optimism is being mirrored by Zak Brown and Andrea Stella, the team’s two leading lights. However, that optimism is also tempered with a sense of caution. As worrying as it might be for all the other teams on the F1 grid, the reality is that Red Bull aren’t going to stand still. The question, therefore, is whether McLaren et al. can make enough of a leap to the point where Red Bull’s own gains don’t matter. To me, that seems like a tall order…

The post 2024 McLaren F1 Livery Revealed Early appeared first on Fast Car.

Porsche’s Record-Breaking 911 Rock Crawler Is Proof Carmakers Can Still Do Cool Things

Porsche put more effort into its heritage than any other manufacturer. You’ll find no shortage of its past highlighted at the events it holds, the museums it curates, and the cars it produces. But Porsche doesn’t just look back at its past accomplishments. It strives to create new milestones too.

The company’s most recent world record is proof. Back in December, the highly modified 911 Carrera 4S you see here was sitting on the peak of the west ridge of Ojos del Salado, the world’s highest volcano, located in the mountains of northern Chile. With three-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas behind the wheel, it was able to climb to an incredible 22,093 feet — a new altitude record for vehicles.

The idea for this record-setting 911 was born in 2019 in a conversation between then Porsche North America president Klaus Zellmer and Frank Walliser, a vice president on the vehicle dynamics side and lead project manager for the 918 Spyder. They figured such a record would be the perfect way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 964 Carrera 4, the first all-wheel drive 911.

Quick SpecsPorsche 911 “Rock Crawler”
EngineTwin-Turbo 3.0-Liter Flat-Six
Output443 Horsepower / 390 Pound-Feet
Top Speed~60 Miles Per Hour
Transmission7-Speed Manual
Ground Clearance13.7 Inches

Porsche 911 Altitude Edith record off roader 569 Porsche 911 Altitude Edith record off roader 561 Porsche 911 Altitude Edith record off roader 566

Engineers built two of these rock-crawling 911s. The first car, affectionately nicknamed Doris, served as more of a proof of concept. The second car, nicknamed Edith, is the car that set the record. Both use a patented suspension system originally destined for the 919 Hybrid Le Mans racer, while only Edith got Porsche’s first steer-by-wire system. There’s also a serious amount of weight-saving material present on Edith that isn’t on Doris.

Porsche wanted to keep the drivetrain as factory-fresh as possible, meaning both use the Carrera 4S’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six making the same 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque as they do in the standard car. Both cars use the 4S’s optional seven-speed manual transmission, also unmodified. The only real changes come at the power transfer level, after the transmission. Instead of working automatically, power distribution between the front and wheels is controlled manually through switches on the dash, with the driver being able to choose between rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The locking rear differential is one you’d normally find in a PDK-equipped Carrera 4S, while the front locking diff is bespoke.

The gigantic 34-inch mud-terrain tires dominate the aesthetics of both cars. They sit on 16-inch wheels and help to raise ground clearance to 13.7 inches — more than a Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram 1500 TRX. Also helping with the height are a set of portal axles built into each hub. The gearing, supplied by German off-roading firm Tibus, uses a 1:3.6 ratio, effectively turning first and second gears into crawler gears. Porsche says top speed in 7th is about 60 mph. So you could say this is the slowest factory-built Porsche 911 ever made.

Porsche 911 Altitude Edith record off roader 5676 Porsche 911 Altitude Doris record off roader 25

Speed isn’t the point, obviously. This 911 was designed with a singular purpose in mind: To scale the side of a rock-covered mountain while fighting against thin high-altitude air. While a short 15-minute jaunt around a medium-difficulty off-road course in Malibu wasn’t exactly representative of Ojos del Salado’s west ridge, it was enough to show off how a factory-designed rock crawler designed by Porsche could perform far outside the 911’s usual comfort zone.

Aside from the abnormally high position relative to the ground, the Altitude 911 cabins are a familiar place. The seating position is perfect, with the steering wheel, pedals and shifter all in places you’d expect them to be. Doris, the prototype car, still has most of its dashboard, including the central touchscreen. There’s even a working radio with at least one working speaker in the cabin. Edith is a bit more purpose-built, with motorsport-style switches in place of the screen, a real racing bucket, and radiators located right behind your head, complete with electric fans blaring a high-pitch whine directly into your ears.

This 911 was designed with a singular purpose in mind: To scale the side of a rock-covered mountain while fighting against thin high-altitude air.

Setting off in either of these cars is easy thanks to the portal axle ratios. You can creep in first gear at what feels like 2 mph, while redline comes at about 10 mph. That jumps to 20 mph in second gear. It’s only when you get to third and fourth gear do you start to feel like you’re driving a normal car. It’s a jarring sensation, especially if you’ve never driven a car with ratios like this before.

Even more jarring is the suspension. It’s an extreme departure from the standard 911’s setup, and required extensive modification to the unibody to make it fit. Called the Warp Connector, it eschews the idea of independent suspension for a fully interconnected setup. There are two main springs and dampers, one set per axle, that live inboard and connect the wheels left to right. Then there’s a longitudinally mounted bar — the “connector” in Warp Connector — that allows the front and rear to enact force on each other.

Porsche 911 Altitude Doris record off roader 42

This system was supposed to make its debut in 2014 inside the 919 Le Mans racer, but it was shelved. Adapted specifically for crawling over large rocks on a loose surface, it does a fantastic job of making the 911 feel more like a true rock crawler than a sports car. It reacts quickly to imperfections with quick motions, and manages to keep the body stable, even over jagged or severely uneven surfaces. But it also feels nothing like a road car, with lots of micro reactions and a serious sense of urgency at any speed.

That’s not to say these Porsches don’t feel like 911s. Doris, especially, has some stark reminders you’re still behind the wheel of a 992. The steering rack in that car is completely unmodified from stock, and while over a foot of wheel and tire between you and the ground certainly dampen feedback, the bones of what makes modern Porsche steering so great are still there. It’s the same sensation, muted and subtle.

The record-breaking car and its steer-by-wire system, on the other hand, is totally alien in nature. Not because it feels different, but because it feels like nothing at all. There’s less feel here than in some sim racing setups I’ve used. But in this case, that’s not a detraction. Engineers purposefully wanted to dial feel away from the steering wheel for Dumas so he could keep the car pointed straight while the wheels bashed against rocks of different sizes. Specifically, they wanted to eliminate as much of the “kickback” that occurs when you slam into a rock with either of your front wheels. The last thing you want to happen is the steering wheel jolting away from your hands while you’re trying to climb up a mountain hundreds of miles away from the nearest hospital.

Porsche 911 Altitude Edith record off roader 5660 Porsche 911 Altitude Edith record off roader 56147

The system, called SpaceDrive, works well to point the wheels where you want the car to go, but don’t expect anything when it comes to feedback. It performed exactly as advertised in some of the tougher sections, staying steady inside the cabin without needing many corrective inputs. Engineers told us the feedback could be adjusted as needed, though they didn’t give us a chance to try the different levels.

More than the steering, the car’s rear-engine layout will always remind you that yes, this is still very much a 911. It proved exceedingly difficult to break traction anywhere on the course unless you really went out of your way to do it, thanks to all of that weight on the rear end. The entire course could be done in rear-wheel drive because of the car’s weight distribution. Not once did it feel like this Porsche didn’t belong, a testament to the 911’s sheer versatility.

Weight between the two cars is something you notice more and more as your angle of approach and descent increases. Doris, the prototype car, has a curb weight of 4,651 pounds — 1,249 pounds more than a standard 4S. In addition to the widebody panels, meaty tires, and portal axles, things like a full roll cage and steel underbody protection are big contributors to the extra heft.

The car went on a massive diet for the record attempt. Edith got carbon fiber widebody panels, carbon doors lifted from the 911 GT3 R race car, a plexiglass windshield, perspex side windows, a lighter roll cage, a carbon hood, a carbon dashboard, and Kevlar underbody protection, totaling 793 pounds of weight savings. It’s the biggest and most obvious difference between the two cars, and felt most apparent on the steep downhill portions where you have to rely on the ultra-low first gear to keep you from tumbling down the mountain.

Porsche 911 Altitude Doris record off roader 5

Not once did it feel like this Porsche didn’t belong, a testament to the 911’s sheer versatility. 

In Doris, you have to use the brakes a bit to maintain a slow crawl down. But in Edith, engine braking is enough. It’s the same story climbing upwards. In both cars you lean on the rear-engine architecture to keep the rear wheels from spinning, but in Edith, everything is lighter and easier. Both cars had no trouble through this test course, but when you’re more than 22,000 feet above sea level, this engine is only making between 100-200 hp, so every pound saved counts tremendously.

As you read this, both Doris and Edith are in transit back to Porsche’s headquarters to claim their well-earned places at the company’s museum, where they’ll likely sit for decades to come. Still covered in the Chilean dirt they picked up from their ventures into the sky, the cars will tell the story of how even in the year 2023, carmakers and the people behind them can create new legacies we can look back on fondly.

More Record-Setting Porsches

New Porsche Taycan Buries The Tesla Model S Plaid With 7:07 Ring Lap Record
Porsche 911 Turbo S Sets New Pikes Peak Production Car Record

Porsche 911 “Rock Crawler”
EngineTwin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter Boxer Six
Output443 Horsepower / 390 Pound-Feet
Transmission7-Speed Manual
Drive TypeRear-Wheel Drive Or All-Wheel Drive
Maximum speed~60 Miles Per Hour
Ground clearance13.7 Inches
Weight4,651 Pounds (Doris), 3,858 Pounds (Edith)
Seating Capacity1

Tougher Laws On Car Tuning & Modifying

The law on car tuning and modifying is being firmed up – and a recent DVSA court case and subsequent conviction may have sweeping effects for our scene. Here’s the lowdown…

Let’s face facts; there isn’t a car out there that doesn’t sound infinitely more impressive, or perform significantly better than once it’s had the benefit of a decent exhaust system and remap. This trusty pairing are the very foundations on which the car tuning scene is built. Sure, stance and wheels get you kudos, but extra horsepower and the right soundtrack? That’s when your car really becomes yours.

In the mad old, bad old days, anything went. Want to remove your fully catalysed exhaust system and replace it with a swiftly bent length of scaffold tube? Be my guest, son! Fancy a remap that sounds like a machine gun attack in ‘Nam? Not a problem. And there would always be a friendly MoT station that would help get you through the test when the time came.

Now though, things are a little different, and a recent landmark case by the DVSA, or Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, to you and me, saw a respected tuner taken to court and significantly fined for the crime of fitting a decatted exhaust and ‘pop and bang’ map. Two mods that can be seen at pretty much any car meet you care to mention.

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Car Tuning

So why is this important? Well, it means the DVSA is looking at what the tuning industry is doing, and then looking to enforce it to the very letter of the law. To do this it has created a Market Surveillance Unit, and these crack investigators are scouring every website, every social media feed and even every magazine, to find tuners that perhaps are supplying things that are a little bit questionable. In the case of this successful prosecution, they achieved this by actually ‘mystery shopping’ the tuner in question with the Fiesta ST that they had bought specifically for the purpose! Safe to say that they’re not playing at it.

Rear 3/4 shot of flame shooting Liberty Walk Nissan GT-R

How does the law effect car tuning?

So does this mean we should all hang up our modifying spurs and quit messing about with cars for good? Absolutely not, I’m delighted to report, but it does mean that all of us can and should take a few sensible steps to protect the future of our scene. For drivers, that means buying mods and kit that won’t fall foul of the law. And for tuners and suppliers, making sure that customers know what they can and can’t fit to stay legal.

De-cats are a really simple one; if you want to take the catalyst off any car and replace it with something else, that ‘something else’ really needs to be another kind of catalyst. If the car is registered after March 1st 2001, it also needs to be EC marked and type-approved. If it’s registered before that date, it doesn’t need to have the EC mark, but it does need to pass the relevant emissions test come MoT time. Put simply, either way, the only option here is to run a sports cat. It’s going to hurt a little compared to the far more reasonable price of a de-cat alternative, but the smug feeling you’ll get come the annual test, and the warm and fuzzy glow that you’ll get from saving all those polar bears and ice caps the rest of the time will make it all worthwhile.

And what about remaps?

As for your choice of remap, it’s worth thinking a bit laterally here, too. Having a vehicle equipped with a ‘pop and bang’ switchable option isn’t illegal in and of itself, as long as you don’t choose to use that option on the road, or in an area that might cause a public order offence. If you can go for software that allows you the extra torque and power for road use, perhaps combined with a gentle over-run burble, you’re going to be golden – then save the noises for the showground. That said, it’s probably not going to do an awful lot of good for your lovely new sports cat…

Police Ford Ranger Raptor chase

What are the repercussions if caught with an illegal modification?

Those are the two biggest DVSA bugbears at the moment, and it’s worth getting on the right side of them. The fine for the driver of an uncatalysed car is £1000 – and if the copper that stops you is having a bad day, then they’re also within their rights to impound and tow your car there and then. It is, technically, un-roadworthy, after all…

How to buy legal car modifications

How do you choose the right parts for your car, when there’s so much choice out there? The good news is, the biggest names in the industry grouped together over a decade ago to form the Performance Automotive Aftermarket Association. An Avenger’s style collective of the great and the good that are here to see you right.

All of the brands that form this trade association will be marking ALL products that will get you the right side of the law with their distinctive SMART mark, going forward. This stands for Safe Modification And Responsible Tuning – and if you see it on a product you know you can fit it to your motor with impunity. As long as you’re driving sensibly and within the speed limit, those lovely police officers are going to leave you well alone. And as for your MoT tester? They’re going to greet you like a long lost relative.

It’s fair to say that the eyes of the legislators are on our scene – and it’s probably a good time to play along. If we do, they’ll probably leave us alone to concentrate on problems elsewhere. Or, if we continue to try their patience, we’ll end up like Switzerland… where you have to fill out forms in triplicate just to add a bumper sticker… and nobody wants that.

Head over to and you’ll be able to find the companies that have all signed up to a DVSA-friendly code-of-conduct, and they’ll also be able to sell you SMART-marked products that will make your insurance company love you even more than your local 5-0 will. It really is easier than you think to future-proof that ride – and buying and fitting the right gear is ALWAYS cheaper than the points and fine in the long run.

Words: Paul Cowland.

The post Tougher Laws On Car Tuning & Modifying appeared first on Fast Car.

2024 Tokyo Auto Salon Report

The Tokyo Auto Salon is one of the premier modified car culture and trade shows on the planet. Here are some of the highlights from the 2024 edition. 

If you’re a modified car enthusiast – particularly if you like cars of a Japanese variety – then the Tokyo Auto Salon is an event that you look forward to every year. The biggest OEM and aftermarket names from the Asian automotive scene flock to the show to unveil their latest products and demo cars, some of which inevitably go down in JDM folklore. So let’s get straight into it shall we? Here are some of the headlines from this year’s event.

Tokyo Auto Salon 2024

Mad Mike's FURSTY 808-RX-3

Mad Mike’s FURSTY by TCP Magic

If you’re a veteran of the modified scene, Mad Mike Whiddett is someone that needs no introduction. The Kiwi drifter has had success from driving sideways all over the planet, exclusively behind the wheel of a Mazda. Each of the cars in Mad Mike’s fleet have a story to tell, but this one in particular will make you go, “aww.”

See, this RX-3 facelifted Mazda 808 wagon was Mad Mike’s first ever competition car, but decades ago, he had to sell it in order to fund the FD RX-7 drift car that would put him on the map. However, the wagon has miraculously stood the test of time, and recently Mike was able to buy it back. Not only that, but it’s had a full overhaul by the folks at TCP-Magic. As the icing on the cake, Mad Mike will compete with it in the 2024 D1 GP drifting championship. Talk about full circle, eh.

Garage Active Full Drycarbon-R


You’d be forgiven thinking that the DRYCARBON-R’s exterior shell was its sole party piece, but peak under the hood and you’ll find that this R32 GT-R is a formidable beast inside and out. Equipped with a HKS ‘RB30’ bored-out block, the car’s powertrain is capable of putting out 931 kilowatts (1248hp!) and is hooked up to an ATS triple-clutch system and OS Giken six-speed sequential gearbox. Due to its comprehensive list of mods (which I recommend you seek out in detail), the Salon’s team of judges crowned this car as the winner of the 2024 International Custom Car Contest Tuning Division.

Forte C8 Corvette

Forte Chevrolet C8 Corvette

A C8 Corvette isn’t exactly what you’d first expect to be featuring so prominently at the Tokyo Auto Salon, however there’s good reason for it. This C8 won the event’s Import Car segment honors, within the International Custom Car Contest. Yes, it does feel quite alien to call a Corvette an import, but the logic tracks. Boasting forged wheels, air suspension, and a valved exhaust system, Forte’s widebody ‘Vette makes for a pretty spectacular show car.

Kuhl Prius 60R GTW widebody

Kuhl Toyota Prius 60R-GTW Widebody

Kuhl’s Prius demo car won the ‘Dress Up Sedan Division’ of the overall awards, giving the much-loved new Prius (imagine saying that phrase a few years ago) a flashy, aesthetic. Colored gold, the Prius has an array of outlandish styling mods. From the six-exit exhaust, to the radically concave alloys and double-decker splitters, the more you look at the car, the more unique details you find.

Kazama Auto Services carbon GR86

Kazama Auto Services GR86 Carbon Spec/Drift

The final award winner I’m going to cover is Kazama Auto Service’s fully carbon-bodied GR86. This mad little coupe won the show’s ‘Dress Up Sports Car’ category, probably because this isn’t just any old carbon body. Instead of being made from either wet or dry carbon, this GR86’s bodywork was constructed from an ‘infusion’ method known as VaRTM. Ultimately, I’m not clever enough to get a grip on the science, but the main idea is that it provides a comparable level of rigidity and strength to that of dry carbon, while keeping costs down closer to that of wet carbon.

Aside from the complex body, this GR86 is also packing some serious ponies. Under the hood, the original motor is gone in favor of a 2JZ-GTE, tuned up to 1000 horsepower. Nice.

Hyundai NPX1

Hyundai NPX1 Concept

Hyundai is committed to the cause of pushing its N performance division. It’s present in both the FIA World Rally Championship and international TCR touring car racing, and in the latter half of last year the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N enjoyed a prominent PR campaign. The effort hasn’t stopped there though. In fact, it appears as though it’s only just begun.

At this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, Hyundai has unveiled the NPX1, which is an Ioniq 5 N that’s been kitted out with all of Hyundai’s new factory performance parts. Essentially, these are aftermarket upgrades that you can buy to help personalize your N car. The Ioniq 5 kit includes: a carbon front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, rear wing spoiler, lightweight hybrid carbon wheels, high-performance brake pads and lowering springs. The NPX1 also gets Alcantara furnishings and bucket seats on the inside.

Lexus LBX Morizo RR concept

Lexus LBX Morizo RR Concept

Toyota and Lexus also had a factory presence at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Amongst the OEM’s show cars was the updated GR Yaris and previously-seen Lexus RZ Sport concept, but the one that intrigued me the most was the Lexus LBX Morizo RR. On face value, you might wonder why. The new Lexus LBX is the marque’s smallest ever car, which in the past would’ve meant that it was a compact hatchback or supermini. In today’s reality though, everything has to have a tall ride height for some reason, so it’s actually a Puma-esque crossover.

Still, underneath the skin, there is promise. The engine and powertrain, for example, are the same as what you’ll find in the updated GR Yaris. That means this LBX is outputting just over 300hp. You also get a torsen LSD and GR Yaris-derived suspension. Overall, there’s some genuine potential there, and dare I say I even quite like the styling. Fortunately, this concept car might not stay a concept for long. Toyota spokespeople suggest that the LBX Morizo RR is “under development for release in the summer of 2024.”

Liberty Walk Countach

Liberty Walk

Liberty Walk always puts on a good show at the Tokyo Auto Salon. This year, the company’s headline act was its brand new Lamborghini Countach demo car, but you’ll have to read my individual report on that to learn more about it. The same goes for Liberty Walk’s new Abarth 595 kit.

Mugen FL5 Group B

Mugen FL5 Type R

Pseudo-factory Honda tuning house, Mugen, displayed its Group A and Group B (pictured) FL5 demo cars at the show this year; the names reflecting the level of aero involved, with the Group B being the more extreme of the two. On top of those elements, the Group B also wears a carbon hood, and there’s plenty else going on underneath the skin.

At the back, the stock exhaust has been replaced with a straighter single-exit. Mugen has also developed its own bespoke suspension setup and braking system, which hides behind a set of 19-inch BBS alloys at each corner. Inside, there’s more change, including a fresh steering wheel design, bucket seats, and reworked shift knob, all to aid the driver’s ergonomic experience behind the wheel. That all being said, Mugen will be hard pushed to improve upon what was already an excellent base car. Check out our Civic Type R FL5 review to see what I mean.

Truth be told though, I’m only scratching the surface of what was on show at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. So, hop over to Online Auto Salon to browse through the show’s entire range of exhibition cars at your own pace. Or, head over to the Tokyo Auto Salon YouTube channel.

The post 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon Report appeared first on Fast Car.

Liberty Walk Countach Turns Heads At Tokyo Auto Salon

You can always count on there being some mad LB Works projects at the Tokyo Auto Salon, and this year we were treated to a wild Liberty Walk Countach.

Let’s face it, even by modified aftermarket standards, Liberty Walk is a company which isn’t afraid of being bold. Its fabricators will happily cut into original fenders and replace them with visually extreme wide arches, flares, and (mostly cosmetic) aero. Partly inspired by the bosozoku, it’s a company fueled by rebellion – the people involved are the kind of enthusiasts who will gladly cut up a Ferrari F40 without thinking twice. And so, it makes perfect sense that the latest ‘LB Works’ creation uses a Lamborghini Countach as its base.

The Lamborghini Countach is a rebellious car by nature – you only have to look at it to understand that. From the factory, its styling was all about eye-catching bravado, so anything done to it to enhance that aesthetic would be in keeping with the Countach’s core DNA. In fact, when a company like Liberty Walk dares to touch a classic vehicle, people like myself will often write throwaway phrases about ‘angering purists’. But, for once, that doesn’t apply here. There was nothing pure about the Countach to begin with.

aerial shot of Liberty Walk Countach

What does the kit involve?

The obvious place to start when analyzing this new made-to-order kit is the fenders. They’re suitably beefy with a bolt-on aesthetic, which is in contrast to the smoother blends found on LB’s other recent project, the Abarth 595. Liberty Walk has also been known for its line of ‘Super Silhouette’-style kits recently, but this one is much more back to basics.

Widebody Countach

The wider arches flow into stocky sideskirts and bumpers, complete with ducting and canards. At the front, you’ll find a splitter attached to the bumper for extra ‘racecar’ points, and the same can be said for the motorsport-style diffuser at the back.

rear of LB Works Countach

Of course, a build like this demands a large chassis-mounted rear wing, and Liberty Walk hasn’t disappointed in that department either.

rear quarter of LB Works Countach

Elsewhere, you’ll find touches like a redesigned rear light bar, upwards-facing quad-exit exhaust tailpipes, and a modern-style intake on the front bumper. Liberty Walk has even added classic circular wing mirrors.

rear of Liberty Walk Countach

There’s a lot going on with this car; some of it you might love, some of it you might not. Ultimately though, it doesn’t really matter what you or I think about it. As Wataru Kato, Founder of Liberty Walk, reasoned on his official Instagram page, “We are doing whatever we want.”

The post Liberty Walk Countach Turns Heads At Tokyo Auto Salon appeared first on Fast Car.