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Looking at the current automotive landscape, especially from German makers, you quickly get the impression that less definitely isn't more. BMW alone offers its 3 Series platform in practically every segment possible, including the regular sedan and 4 Series Gran Coupe, which would seem to be direct competitors. Porsche might be the winner, though, with 20 different variants of the 911 listed for sale on its US website. However, some of this model madness might be reaching an end as companies begin cutting back spending or shifting money to other priorities.
According to Yahoo Finance, the offerings from the German automakers are up 25 percent over the past three years to over 200 models in Europe. The peak is expected to come around 2018 at 230 separate vehicles, according to consulting company PwC.
Amazingly, BMW, which is among the poster children for this model explosion, might be changing its tune. "I'm sure there will be points in the future where we look at certain cars and say, 'Maybe we need to think differently now,'" said head of sales Ian Robertson in an interview, according to Yahoo Finance. The statement certainly sounds shocking coming from a company rumored to have 23 front-wheel-drive vehicles all using a single platform on the way.
We live in a high-tech supercar renaissance, with the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari all duking it out for performance supremacy. All three members of this power trio place the engine behind the driver and use some kind of hybrid assist. However, each one finds a slightly different way to make that setup work. While all of the tech is insanely cool, let's just admit that we are all really wondering which one is the quickest and which is the fastest. Autocar aims to find out in a new video pitting two of them against a surprise challenger in the standing mile.
Unfortunately, the race is missing the Ferrari, despite Autocar's best efforts. So instead, it has another limited-edition, high-performance vehicle from Italy in the form of the Ducati 1199 Superleggera. The bike has just two cylinders, but at 1.2-liters of displacement, it makes over 200 horsepower, and all that gumption is packaged into a magnesium monocoque body with carbon fiber bodywork to keep weight low. Granted, the cycle is going up against the 875-hp Porsche and 903-hp McLaren, but traction, aerodynamics and gearing all play a part in this fascinating video.
There's no sense in ruining the winner before watching, but Autocar teases that the finish is one of its closest drag races ever. Check out the video to find out just what that means.
Just as they did in the Initial Quality Study, Porsche and Hyundai have taken the premium and non-premium crown, respectively, for the 2014 J.D. Power APEAL study. This is the tenth consecutive year for that Porsche has been rated the best premium make in the APEAL study, which attempts to figure out how pleased owners are with their purchases. For 2014, it asked 86,000 owners of MY2014 cars to rate their vehicles in 77 different categories 90 days after their initial purchase. The resulting figures were plugged in deliver the APEAL score, which is rated on a 1,000-point scale.
The industry average sits at 794 points for 2014, although that's a one-percent decline over last year's rating. In this year's study, premium brands averaged 840 out of 1,000, while non-premium makes average 785. For their part, Porsche netted an impressive 882 points, while Hyundai earned an 804. Interestingly, only four non-premium brands (Hyundai, Ram, Volkswagen and Mini) finished above the industry average for 2014.
It's also interesting to see the clear delineation between premium and non-premium brands, with an eight-point gap between the non-premium champ, Hyundai, and the lowest-rated premium brand, Volvo.