2022 Ford Bronco Raptor and Everglades driven | Autoblog Podcast #737

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. Jeremy recently drove the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor in the desert, while Zac took the Bronco Everglades for some serious off-roading in Northern Michigan. In the news, the BMW i3 hits the end of the road, as does the Hyundai Veloster N. The editors take some time to talk about some of the personal vehicles our staff owns, and discuss an upcoming t-shirt collaboration with Blipshift. Finally, they reach into the mailbag to help a listener replace a 2018 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Convertible in the Spend My Money segment.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Video Transcript

[THEME MUSIC]

GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to the "Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have a great show for you today. We're going to talk about two of the spiciest, I don't know, flavors of the Ford Bronco. We're talking Everglades and Raptor. If you want to go through the desert or through basically underwater, these are the two versions of the Bronco that you probably want. With that, I'm going to bring in Senior Editor for all things consumer oriented. That's Jeremy Korzeniewski. What is up, man?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Just living the dream down here in Columbus, Ohio, dodging the thunderstorms.

GREG MIGLIORE: My grass got a little bit greener. I'm happy for that. I think I'm going to take the Volkswagen Taos and go get a little bit-- a few bags of wood chips later in the day. We'll see. Store closes at 5:00. Better get this podcast going, I guess. With that, I'll bring in Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. What's up, dude?

ZAC PALMER: Oh, just been diagnosing some air conditioning problems on my car, same as Jeremy, I know. Actually, we're sort of living the same life this week-- old '90s cars with air conditioning problems. Yah. [LAUGHS]

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Potentially more to come on that. Foreshadowing, huh?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Foreshadowing. OK.

ZAC PALMER: [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. All right. All right. So that's-- that's what we're going to talk about for a good chunk of this show. We will spend your money. That's podcast@autoblog.com. Get your questions in to us. We love to spend your money or answer any other questions you might have and, of course, any feedback you have about the show.

We had a feature that went up right around the 4th of July. In case you missed it, check it out. It's The Cars We Own. We're going to talk about those. Hopefully, they're all functioning. They're not, as you may have heard. And a little bit of news going on-- a couple of cars are going to the automotive afterlife. We will talk about that.

Also, check out our site if you're interested in voting in the newest Autoblog Blipshift collaboration. We've done Autoblog t-shirts with Blipshift in the past. They're a great partner. If you want to like vote and say, hey, how do you want the shirt to look, get in there. Cast the poll. You just click on it. It takes you right through to Twitter.

The one that gets the most votes-- that's the one we're going to make. And then you can go ahead and buy it. So if you have any suggestions, jump in the comments-- colors, things like that. With that, let's talk Bronco, though. I'm going to start with you, Zac. You drove it slightly more recently, although what a cool roughly, like, month, six weeks. You guys both drove some of the real, like, tips of the spear of the Bronco range.

You drove it on Drummond Island, maybe through Drummond Island. Because it really looked like you had quite some intense gear here-- or gear there, for it. And it's-- it's pretty wild. Drummond Island, for those of you that don't know, is in the Eastern most part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. You're basically in Canada. I have done fishing charters out there. You are out there. Are farther north than a huge part of Canada.

It's funny. They went to about as far north in the Continental United States as you could go to test a vehicle named the Everglades. But I dare say you went over tougher terrain. And I've been to the Everglades, just no gators.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. No. Your comments about it being very close to Canada is very true. When I got up there, my phone pinged me. It says, welcome to Canada. Here are your international data rates. So, yes, you are-- you are out there in the absolute middle of nowhere.

And, yeah. Honestly, this was an amazing place to test a Bronco called Everglades. Because most of the time I was probably in water more than I was on land, which was just really cool. Drummond Island is full of a lot of really, really neat off-road bogs, creeks, rivers, and whatnot that you can wade through. And that is basically what I spent my entire day doing up there. You know, we drove one Bronco there, hopped in the Bronco Everglades, did about eight hours of off-roading, which if--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Wow. OK.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, that is-- it was a lot of off-roading. It was a long day. We woke up around 5:00 AM and did not get back until around 6:30, 7:00 PM. So, yes, a long, long day of off-roading. But, yeah, the Everglades is definitely the best Bronco to try and do this sort of off-roading with.

You have a higher fording depth than any other Bronco. That is due to it having the big ol' snorkel. And they also raised the vents for a number of under body vitals. So you end up with a 36.4-inch wading depth. That is better than even the Wrangler Extreme Recon's depth of 33.6 inches.

You know, you'd think maybe, like, an inch there isn't that impressive. But, you know, this is like, a 3-plus-inch advantage you have here with the Everglades. And it certainly felt like I might have needed it at times. When you feel that water start to lap up, like, halfway up the door handles, slapping up against the-- the floor panels, it's pretty deep stuff.

And Ford knew that we were going to be going through that. They actually gave us waders for-- for the whole day, just in case we get stuck in water up to our waist. Because, yeah, it was-- it was pretty high out there. But, yeah, I mean, over the day I just pretty much gained more and more confidence with thing-- with this thing as I was going.

It's that sort of, like, slope, plotting, sort of off-roading where we didn't really get above 10 miles per hour most of the day, just weaving your way through rocks and very tight trees. It was pretty much the opposite of what I assume Jeremy was doing with the Bronco Raptor, hitting high speeds, jumping around in the desert. This Bronco Everglades is definitely not for that.

But if you're doing off-roading in the Midwest, East, that sort of region, I think that this is a really, really cool option for that. And it has the sweet Everglades look, too. It has that-- that neat little graphic on the side, so you get a little appearance cred in addition to the extra capability.

And I guess the last thing I should mention, yes, it does have a winch. And before you guys ask, yes, we did use it on multiple occasions-- once to scale up a big rock scale, and another time when-- well, some of us just sent it a little too hard through a bog and got it stuck. But you're not off-roading hard enough if you don't get stuck. Am I right?

GREG MIGLIORE: Jeremy, what did you do with the Bronco Raptor?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: OK. So Zac drove the Bronco Amphicar edition--

GREG MIGLIORE: Basically

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: --for wading through the water. I drove the Bronco Aerocar edition for soaring over the obstacles. Bronco Raptor is like the off-road desert rock crawling Raptor. So, as Zac said, if you live in the Midwest and you're-- or, you know, a coastal area and you're-- you're wading through swamps with your-- with your off-road machine, the Everglades package might be the one that you would want to look at.

If you live in the desert areas or inland, where there's not a whole lot of water, the Bronco Raptor probably is your off-road Bronco of choice. Like the Everglades, it builds upon the already capable Bronco platform with a bigger engine, twin turbo. I think it's 418 horsepower, 440-pound feet of torque, if I'm remembering off the top of my head-- not quite as much as something like a Wrangler 392, but it is the most powerful Bronco available.

It is lifted quite a bit over a standard Bronco. It gives you 13 inches of ground clearance-- a little bit greater than 13 inches, actually. The entire underside is covered in thick steel skid plates, which isn't a given on off-road models-- looking at you, Toyota, who uses aluminum and even composite skid plates even on some of their TRD Pro off-roaders. But everything's big and beefy on a Bronco Raptor.

But the number one thing that you can tell that this is not a normal Bronco when you walk up to the Raptor is the width. It is about 9 inches wider than the regular Bronco. Even, like, the Bronco Sasquatch package, this has a much larger track width necessary for bombing over the kind of terrain that the thing is designed for. They need a very stable platform to be able to go through the whoops and the off-camber off-roading that you do in the desert at speed.

And that's the number one thing of Bronco Raptor is-- speed. It's capable of hitting just absolutely ridiculous obstacles without missing a beat-- no need to slow down, no need to worry about breaking it. I think I wrote in the piece in our article on "Autoblog," at some point, someone's going to break one of these. But they had to be doing something really harebrained and driving in a very ham-fisted way to do it.

Because we drove-- we drove these things at 70 miles an hour off-road. I personally hit a jump at about 60, landed on all four. And you can see photos and videos of those jumps that we did out in Johnson Valley, California, which is outside of Palm Springs.

Yeah, someone's going to eventually break one, but that's-- that's their own fault. It's no fault of the vehicle. It's highly, highly capable, even more so than F-150 Raptors that I've driven, more so than RAM TRX's, Gladiator Mojaves. Just the feeling of invincibility that the Bronco Raptor gives you is extremely impressive.

Last thing I'll mention is it's not just for high speed off-roading. It's also for extremely low speed rock crawling, has rock crawling modes. Like I said, a great deal of-- of ground clearance and more articulation-- more suspension articulation than any other Bronco, as well. We went up definitely the most difficult rock crawling courses that I've ever done on a press trip. And, you know, I've done all the Jeep trips. I've done all the Land Rover trips.

It shows you how confident Ford is in the Bronco Raptor's ability. Now, I will mention that the rock crawling Raptors that we used did have the side steps removed, which leaves a standard set of rock sliders, which are the big off-road bars that protect the vehicle's rocker panels underneath. And, yes, we did scrape those.

As Zac so eloquently put it, if you don't scrape your-- your skid plates and rocker panels on the rocks, then you're not trying hard enough. You're not in heavy enough terrain to put the vehicle to test. And it also, like other Broncos, has the-- the trail turning, where you can lock the inside rear wheel. It allows you to kind of pivot on a tight axis-- yeah, axis for particularly tight driving.

And that leads me to the one potential downside to the Bronco Raptor, that width. There are certain trails that I've been on-- certain obstacles that a Bronco Raptor would have a really difficult time just fitting through, the same way that a lot of full sized pickup trucks have a hard time fitting through obstacles. A stock Wrangler or a stock Bronco will kind of slither right through with a little bit of clearance on either side, or a Tacoma maybe.

You get something like an F-150 Raptor or a Ram TRX or now this Bronco Raptor, and the sheer width of it is a little bit of a liability in very tight and technical off-road conditions. Barring that, and also barring swamps like the-- like Zac did with the Everglades, the Bronco Raptor is the most capable off-road Raptor that-- or, excuse me, off-road Bronco that Ford builds.

GREG MIGLIORE: So I'm curious. We've mentioned just how, like, sort of niche these are for both you guys.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Mm-hmm.

GREG MIGLIORE: How many do you think of the general, like, Bronco population-- what is it, like, maybe 5% for each of these, probably even less? Like, did Ford say how many they think they're going to sell? We'll start with you, JK.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Ford is not talking. They-- all they've said is that they're confident they'll sell every one that they can build.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: And that prophecy was, you know, self-fulfilling. It was probably sold out before-- you know, before the-- before our review even ran. It is officially sold out. So if you want one, you'll be waiting another model year. You can place an order, but it won't be for this year.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: How about you there, Zac?

ZAC PALMER: So the Everglades is actually a weird one, in that it's only available to people who had a previously placed order for the Bronco for the 2022 model year. Just like Jeremy, I actually asked Ford like, hey, how many do you think are going to be Everglades. And Ford wouldn't really give a number, but they just said that they were confident that they could make as many as people wanted.

I think it's definitely even more of a niche than the Raptor is. It's only available with a 4-cylinder, only in a 4-door, and only with the 10-speed automatic. So you really have to be a very, very particular buyer to actually want the Everglades. And, yeah, Ford-- Ford thinks that they'll have enough.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Sounds good. Both these vehicles, I think, are super cool. I probably wouldn't own either one of them. I would definitely go with more of, like, a-- a more basic Bronco. And, in general, I like the Bronco and its basic trims, because I think it offers you some of the things that maybe that I like, like the steel wheels and things like that, and the manual transmission.

But both-- you know, these are for like, when you brought-- when they brought the Bronco back. And they essentially built a business case for it as almost a sub-brand, basically. Because you do have the Bronco Sport, and then I'm sure Ford would count these as sort of little, air quote, "models" of the Bronco lineup.

The plan was to sell a bunch of like 4-doors and 2-doors to different, like, people who-- who just like how they look, to more hard edge enthusiasts. And then you really get into it. And you're like, for the Bronco to, like, sort of fulfill that mission as a Wrangler fighter, you got to have this sort of, like, heavy artillery, if you will, in that range, to really compete with the Rubicon and the Mojave and some of the other more, like, really serious, you know, off-roaders that Jeep can make. So any Easter eggs either of you guys came across in either of these rigs?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: There are. There's Easter eggs all over them, actually. That's true of all Broncos, though. One of the cool things that is on the-- the vented hood of the Bronco Raptor-- they've got-- they call out, like, 1968, 1969, 1971, whatever. They call out every year that a Bronco won its class or the overall victory in the Baja. So that's a cool one that stands out.

But I think-- these aren't Easter eggs, but the cool thing about the Bronco Raptor is the sheer number of modifications that they had to make to the chassis and the suspension underneath. If you just pop your head under and just look at the intricacies of the suspension system-- now, these are not Easter eggs. They're just really cool engineering details.

The one that stands out specifically-- the-- the FOX shocks-- the Live Valve shocks are position-dependent damping. So they've got these-- these sensors so that the car's computers or the suspension's computers know how much travel you've used and how much travel you have left, so as to adjust the damping. And they look-- like, when I first saw them I was like, oh, those-- those don't look strong. But they totally are.

There's these, like, little arms and pivots underneath that attach to the suspen-- or, excuse me, attach to the axles or-- or trailing rods or, you know, depending on where youre-- which corner of the car you're looking at, and then they connect to the frame. And then there's a pivot point in the center, and that's how it knows how much travel is left.

Those kinds of engineering details are almost cooler than Easter eggs. Well, they-- I mean, they are cooler than Easter eggs to me, because they're functional and really neat. But to answer your question, yes, there's a lot of them. The one that stands out, like I said, is the years-- the dates on the hood for Baja victories.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Sounds good.

ZAC PALMER: As far as Everglades Easter eggs-- Ford didn't point out any on the trip itself. The one intriguing thing that I noted when I was there is that the actual graphic on the side that says Everglades is an actual map of the Florida Everglades, which I think is neat. So you can look on there and probably line that up with a map on your phone, or maybe an actual paper map and go, oh, OK, cool. Everglades. You know, just a random, small, little thing that's-- that's cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: Nice. Nice. Who would you recommend these for? Like, we did mention these are for the most severe, most aggressive off-roaders. I mean, you know, we're-- somebody wanted us to spend their money on a Bronco, I mean, would you recommend this for like anybody who is just kind of, like, sort of in that gray area? Or, I mean, I guess this has got to be, like, the most, like, intense off-roader for these. I mean--

ZAC PALMER: I--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Go ahead, Zac.

ZAC PALMER: OK, yeah. So I would think I would recommend the Everglades to somebody who, you know, is sort of thinking about buying a 4-door Bronco and then modifying it a little. So you want some bigger tires, a winch, a snorkel-- you know, just sort of like, a-- a light build. Because this gets you that, but it gets you that with, like, a Ford-backed engineering process.

Because you get your winch and you get your snorkel. But Ford actually crash tested the Bronco with that stuff on it to make sure that it still stood up to their regular crash test standards. And they also did some retuning of the sensors for the driver assistance stuff to make sure that all of that still works with your winch and the higher fording depth, just to make sure that everything gels correctly. You won't really get that if you go and buy these parts on the aftermarket and then just stick them on yourself. So you--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Correct me if I'm wrong, too. Go ahead.

ZAC PALMER: I was just--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Well, I was going to say, yeah, correct me if I'm wrong on this. But the price of the Everglades-- I remember reading maybe it was a little bit more than if you were just to buy a Bronco in a similar configuration, but not so much more that you shouldn't just choose that right off. Like, if you want a Bronco 4-door 4-cylinder with an automatic, it's almost like, to me, it sounded like a little bit of a no-brainer to upgrade to the Everglades.

Because you're getting the-- you know, the cool details on it. You're getting the winch, which whether you ever use it or not, you know, a lot of people put those kinds of things on their-- on their daily drivers anyway, because they're cool. Like, there wasn't-- price-wise, it seemed like there wasn't a big downside to choosing it.

ZAC PALMER: There isn't. I actually did the-- the math as I was going through my first drive here. And you're paying-- you know, if you were to spec a Bronco 4-door Black Diamond the same way as an Everglades, without all of the Everglades stuff on it, you're paying essentially $2,500 less than the Everglades.

So pay an extra $2,500, you get the winch, the higher fording depth, the snorkel. And there's a few small interior things, as well-- some green accents. And that really doesn't sound like a bad price to pay for everything you get. So, yeah, if you are going to go with that kind of a build, I think it definitely makes sense to at least consider the Everglades.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah. I would agree with that. The Raptor-- Bronco Raptor is a little bit of a different story. It's-- they start just shy of 70 grand. You add the whatever it is, $1,500, $1,700 for destination, and you're over 70. I would recommend it to absolutely nobody for absolutely everybody. And here's why I say that.

No One shy of a King of the Hammers competitor needs to choose a Bronco Raptor over some other high-end Bronco model. With the big, huge 37-inch tires, and the extra track width, and the drag of the body work, and all that, my guess is it's not all that much quicker than-- than any other turbocharged 6-cylinder Bronco. It is more powerful, but it's also pushing a-- you know, just a crazy thing.

It might be-- it's probably quicker, like 0 to 60, but I bet you it's not in the quarter mile, all things-- all things considered. Definitely not quicker than a Wrangler 392, either. However, here's what I would say to everybody. Nobody needs it, but everyone can find it fun. So if you've got, you know, the bank account that can pull off a $70,000 fun toy, you are-- even in daily driving, you are going to feel benefits from the Bronco Raptor.

I drove it on-- if you-- if any of our readers have ever been near or in Palm Springs, I think it's CA-74, California Highway 74. It goes up the side of a mountain, goes through a whole bunch of little towns like Idlewild, and then back down the other way. It's an extremely curvy road with lots of elevation change.

And, I'll tell you, the Bronco Raptor was actually a blast to drive even on those twisty asphalt roads. The old adage, "It's fun to drive a slow car fast"-- this isn't a slow car. But it also-- I've done those roads in things like Corvette Stingrays. And I took a Chevy SS on that drive once. And just the fact that Ford felt confident enough to put a bunch of automotive journalists on those kinds of twisty, fun roads in an off-road intended vehicle shows you that they didn't-- they didn't leave out on-road fun entirely.

Of course, those 37-inch tires with the blocky tread are not going to have huge skidpad grip. But the grip that's there is easily exploitable. The thresholds are relatively low-- low enough that you can actually have fun with it at, you know, the kind of speeds you're likely to drive, and it's actually a blast.

If I were to drive a-- I said this in the review. But if you were to hand me the keys to a Wrangler all the way up to a 392 and told me to have fun on those roads, I mean, it's fun because the scenery is cool. But it's not a fun-- it's not a fun vehicle to drive on those kinds of roads. The Raptor is.

Everything is buttoned down. Threshold's low, still a heck of a lot of fun. So nobody needs it. So would I recommend it to anyone? Not really. But if someone comes in and they're just like, yeah, I've got money to spend. I want to throw it at a fun toy. I'm like, hey, you could do a heck of a lot worse than a Bronco Raptor. It's fun on-road and off--road, so sure. I mean, if it appeals to you, absolutely buy it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Sounds good. Sounds like you guys both had epic trips. These are chapters in your memoirs, I would think, in your novels at some point. Zac, I saw some of the pictures on Instagram from the different PR folks. Looks like-- did you actually get to eat the chef who is making, like, a beach-- not eat the chef.

[LAUGHTER]

I know it's rough.

ZAC PALMER: So tasty.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know, we're--

ZAC PALMER: I wasn't going to say a word.

GREG MIGLIORE: No cannibalism, but it looks like he was preparing stuff, like, on the beach. That looked pretty cool. Did you-- did you get to partake?

ZAC PALMER: It was, yeah. So our lunch stop we-- we just pulled up to Lake Huron on this sort of rocky-- like, half the beach was rocky, half of it was sandy. And Ford had one of their Bronco Experience chefs that I guess are probably at some of their-- their big Bronco centers that they have all around the country now. And, yeah, he-- he prepared a-- he prepared us some food right there on the beach over the fire.

Really-- I mean, it didn't feel like I was roughing it. But, you know, we were-- we were eating food that was prepared over-- over a campfire, and just hanging out there by the water. It-- it was pretty awesome.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Sounds good. Any flavors of life from your adventure there, JK?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Well, not-- I mean, not really. We did not have any camp side barbecues, sadly. Can't win them all. I got to say, Zac got the-- the cooler experience out of these trips. We just ate normal food in restaurants and stuff. But, hey, one thing that I can say that I did that Zac didn't do is I launched a Bronco at 60 feet-- or at 60 miles an hour in the air. So he might have-- he might have submarinered his and I might have Kitty Hawked mine. But, either way, pretty much a blast.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds pretty good. Sounds good. All right, well, that's it for the Drives section. Pretty epic kickoff to the podcast. Let's run things over to news real quick. We'll keep things a little newsier, if you will. The BMW i3 is ending production. You guys have both driven this car. I'll use that term loosely, correct?

I drove it up North and I had to fill up-- I think there was an issue with the car we were testing. But I literally had to fill up, like, twice or something because there was some sort of thing going on. You were probably there, Jeremy.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah. That was for--

GREG MIGLIORE: And it's a fun little car, but yeah, Tech of the Year.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Tech of the Year. Yeah, exactly. And I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Those-- those first generation i3s has the smallest battery pack. And I don't think they had worked out all the kinks, necessarily. And they have a very-- the range extender, like ours, has a very small gas tank. I don't-- I don't remember off the top of my head what it is, but it's very, very small.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's just over 2 gallons.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Just over 2 gallons?

[LAUGHTER]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: So you've got two milk containers worth of gas. So, yeah, you're-- you're stopping quite often. Its-- it wasn't as bad on the later versions. I've driven all three generations of i3, actually. The first generation, which-- I don't know. I think the battery capacity was in the 60-- between 60 and 70 kilowatt hours. And then they upgraded it with the 94-amp hour, which is when they came out with the S model, as well.

I think-- I want to say that was 2017. I did the first drive on the-- I think it was a 2017 BMW i3 S in Portugal, oddly enough, which is not the kind of place I would think we would test a BMW i3, but we did. And then I've driven, just in press fleet, the final edition, which I think is 120-amp hour. And, every time, that additional battery capacity has greatly improved the overall usability of the vehicle.

I think if you're-- I think the i3s are really cool used by the-- I mean, they really have-- before-- before everything that gets good gas mileage rocketed up in price due to gas prices, they were an especially exceptional bargain. They're up, you know, 30%, 40% so far in 2022 in the used market. Kind of a bad time for BMW to be killing an electric vehicle. Right?

It seems like there probably-- there's more interest in something like an i3 now than there has been in its entire life since 2014, when it debuted. But, yeah, it's-- I'm sad to see it go it's such a unique, and interesting, and cool vehicle.

ZAC PALMER: It is.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: It's-- it's really been, you know, just this really, really weird oddity, I feel, for such a long time. But, at the same time, it's had my favorite interior of any BMW pretty much since it came out. Just their, you know, very, very open space, recycled materials, just a lot of really weird, weird trim and color combinations has-- has just really entrenched it as, like, one of these, you know, all time greats as far as interior design goes.

And I feel like it hasn't been since the-- the BMW iX came out that I've liked an interior in any BMW as much as I like this one. And it's funny that you mention that it's a good used buy, because my dad actually bought one of these about, like, a year ago, got the racks. That first model year, this was pre--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: '14, right?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Pre-DC charging, so it does not have the fast charging capabilities. That was actually an option the first year, then BMW went and smartly made its standard after. But, yeah, just really sad to see it go. But what a cool vehicle, and I will-- I will definitely miss it.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah. I think the sweet spot is 2017, 2018 right now. We're recording this in July of 2022. '17 was the first year of the 94-amp hour pack, which greatly increased its around town driving range. But even beyond, that the car was pretty steadily improved its entire-- its entire run. I think, what, this is the last model year, right? The final one.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Once you get up to the biggest battery, the 120-amp hour, on the used market, it makes a little bit less sense. You might as well buy one new, because they haven't really dropped far enough in value. But that '17, '18 is actually on my radar as a fuel-efficient next vehicle purchase.

You get over 100 miles per-- per charge on the 94-amp hour-- or, excuse me-- yeah, the 94-amp hour, over 100 miles of range. And you'll get that extra two gallons of gasoline to charge up the battery in those rare instances where I am going to drive more than that in a single day. And for all the other time, I've got a big, inefficient but versatile sport utility.

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. There you go. We'll get to that in just a minute. Yeah, i3. I guess I'm sorry to see it go. I don't know. To me, it's just a trivia question. It was sort of one of the initial parts of BMW's, like, electrification efforts. I was actually at the launch of the whole i program, if you will. They launched it-- I guess it must have been in Germany about 10 years ago. And this is like, the tip of it. And then more and more of these things were to come, which did, in fact, happen.

It didn't exactly happen how they said it was going to be. It was going to be almost like, a standalone company. There was this thing called, like, iNext, which didn't-- I don't know what happened to that. But, I mean, you look at some of the other electrics they've rolled out, and this will go down as the-- you know, the vehicle that did start it all. You know, we had the i8, and it was-- you know, give them a lot of credit.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: A couple-- couple points just to conclude this thought process, at least on my end-- some other cool things about the the i series and the i3 specifically is it gave BMW a chance to kind of rethink automobile construction in general. And the major structure of the BMW i3 is actually this really cool carbon fiber-- like, almost like a monocot construction method.

And then it's got the, you know, composite body work on the outside of it. So, you know, rust isn't going to be an issue over time. The-- like, the entire thing is made out of composite high-end plastics and high-end carbon materials, which is really, really cool. And the other thing is the spirit of the i3 continues to live on and the MINI brand-- the MINI E, the electric MINI, uses basically the same powertrain and battery setup as the i3 does.

It's set up quite differently, but the motor makes the same, you know, roughly the same power. It's got basically the same capacity of battery. So I know they're not one to one, apples to apples vehicles in any way, shape, or form. But, like, kind of the lessons learned in the i3 are still being applied in the electrified MINI. So, you know, not a total loss, not something that BMW didn't get a lot of-- a lot of research and development dollars out of.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Totally different car here, although not much larger, I suppose, maybe if it even is-- the Hyundai Veloster N. This is one of the hottest of hot hatches that is about to be no more. I always liked the Veloster, though it was kind of a fun little thing. It had three doors. I guess it still has three doors. It is still with us at the moment.

But I guess they didn't quite find the market for it that they thought. I've been really excited in the last, probably, I mean, really 10 years. If you're an enthusiast, there has been almost everything for you. You know, whether it's electric, whether it's high horsepower, whether it's a hot hatch, take your pick. It's out there.

You know, right in between these two sort of eras of still, like, you know, late stage ice versus the the leading edge of EVs-- and that's where we got things like this. You know, Hyundai was able to find a business case and, you know, they made it. It's fun to drive, you know, for sure.

But, I mean, for me this was-- also wasn't really my car. So I don't shed a lot of tears for it, if you will. But it was pretty competitive, you know, with some of the other things out there. And we always would recommend it if somebody was in the market for something like, well, hey I'm thinking of a GTI or, like, a used Mazda Speed 3. We'd say, well hey, don't forget about this thing. And, apparently, a lot of people did.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. The-- the Veloster N is always going to hold some special place in my heart, I feel, just because it's-- it was, like, the first Hyundai N model that we had here. And it really was, like, the first performance car that has really, really hit home for me that Hyundai made. So to see it go is like, all right, so that's-- that's sort of like, the start of Hyundai N leaving the building. But, at the same time, we have the Elantra N and and the Kona N coming.

And I'm sort of foreshadowing this because I actually have a Veloster N final drive that I know is going to publish next week. It's weird. I actually drove this car before they announced it was-- it was going to be gone. And then in between that and our-- our actual publishing of this story, they went and announced that it was dead. So I sort of drove it expecting there to be another model year.

I loved driving the thing. It's so much fun. And then, boom, all of a sudden no more Veloster. Though I suppose I probably should have guessed that this was coming, because they wouldn't get rid of every other Veloster trim other than the N for this year. So no more place for a cool little 3-door. [CHUCKLES]

GREG MIGLIORE: You're just getting old.

ZAC PALMER: Apparently.

GREG MIGLIORE: You know you're getting old when you're driving a car and it gets killed.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: Like, you've always been, like, relatively the younger guy on staff. But now I've-- that's happened to me, like, three times at this point.

ZAC PALMER: [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: I was driving the Volt when, like, GM kicked out a press release. And I was like, whoa. OK. That's it for this. So, yeah, now you're getting old, man. Get some gray in that beard--

ZAC PALMER: [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, when suddenly you're waxing, you know, nostalgically about cars that you used to drive-- I don't know.

ZAC PALMER: That's the thing.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Jeremy, how many cars have--

ZAC PALMER: Like, this thing is only four years old. Like, it came out 2019.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's true.

ZAC PALMER: [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's true. It's a little not fair for you, too. How many cars have you killed, Jeremy?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: You know the one that stands out? I had a-- I did the last press drive of the Chevy SS.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, that's cool.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: I did-- yeah. I did the roads-- the CA-74 roads near Palm Springs in that. And then I did have that car, too, when it was-- when it was announced that-- it had already been announced. It didn't happen while I had it. But I had a press loan for one in the final year and I was like, man, I'm sorry to see this car go. Such a-- such a great sport sedan, definitely a memorable one. Yeah, I don't know if I had-- I'd have to stop and, like, actually really think about--

Well, I mean, OK. So going way back, one of the first press loans I ever had was for a Suzuki SX4.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, man, yeah.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah. I mean, I'm certainly dating myself by saying I actually had one of those in my working career as a press vehicle.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think I can one-up you, though, but continue that real quick.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Well, so I had an SX4, I had a Grand Vitara, and I had a Suzuki Equator.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, yeah. That's-- I was going to go down that road. Yup.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah. I actually did a press drive in a Suzuki Equator, too. And, you know, they tried to tie into their off-road heritage with that. They had, like, the-- the RMX or RMZ editions or something, which is the-- those are the numbers and letters they use for their motocross bikes. And I'm like, nobody's going to buy that. You know? [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: It's not even a Suzuki, really. It's a Nissan.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, which to your point, that was on sale until very recently. That was the Frontier that just kept going.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: It was the Frontier that just-- yeah, the Frontier that would not die. And, yeah, I had all those-- I had all three of those as as press vehicles. And then the one that really stands out as sad was the-- and you got me talking about Suzuki now-- the-- oh, what was-- the Kizashi.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes. Definitely.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Everybody at the time on the "Autoblog" staff loved the Suzuki Kizashi. It felt like it was just the right size. Like, you know, every midsize sedan was getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger, like the Accord, and the Malibu, and the Camry. They were all getting bigger. And then here Suzuki comes in with this right size mid-size sedan, like the size that you-- the Honda Accord you grew up as a child.

It was sized like that, just enough room for four adults and just a blast to drive. And then, dead. Gone. And not just dead-- Suzuki completely pulled up stakes and left the entire-- left the entire United States market. So, yeah, that-- that stands out as-- as a loss to me, yeah, that I remember.

GREG MIGLIORE: That is-- so I think I can throw down, like, the trump card here. I had the Pontiac G8 when it was killed. So when you use the word Pontiac, you're really dating yourself. Because that brand has been gone for a really long time.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: I also was in the Solstice right after it was killed, too.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Especially sad to see the Pontiac brand go, for me. Just how much history was wrapped up in Pontiac brand was-- that was the saddest one. You know, I know Oldsmobile, that hit home for a lot of people. A lot of people loved Saturn. We were actually just talking in our online Slack conversation in the staff, Saturn, earlier this morning.

But, yeah, the one that hit home to me-- I mean, my family had a great lineup of awesome Pontiacs growing up, starting with a '64 GTO, and and we had a '70 Trans-Am RAM Air III. That was, like, my absolute favorite car growing up. And so when they pulled Pontiac, I was-- I was a little heartbroken by that. And the G8 was actually a great car.

ZAC PALMER: It was. They're probably worth almost as much today as they were when they were new. Same thing with that Chevy SS you mentioned earlier-- those prices are out of this world right now.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah, totally.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. I think we've talked about the epilogue of two different cars here. Why don't we talk about cars we own, since we're talking about old cars here? In case you missed it, this is something you definitely want to, like, go back, check it out. Cars we own-- we updated this-- it had been at least a year, maybe two since we'd last updated it.

There's some interesting things out there. People bought some really interesting, kind of quirky things during the pandemic. Check it out. But since you two are here, what did you buy, Jeremy? You mentioned you needed a daily driver that's not an i3. You went in the total opposite direction. What do we have?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Yeah. So we had a Lexus GX 460 SUV. And we decided we were going to sell that when values had skyrocketed. And at the time, at the beginning of the pandemic, gas was really cheap. And efficient vehicles were were extremely inexpensive. So we did some math and figured out we could buy something like an i3 and an older versatile SUV, and kind of come out ahead by getting rid of our-- our modern-- our modern SUV, the Lexus.

So that was the path that we took. I did sell the Lexus. The first vehicle I bought, only because it's the first one that came around, was a 1993 GMC K2500 Suburban. This is the-- you know, the quintessential soccer family mobile that I grew up with in the 1990s. It's the OBS, original body style GMT 400 Suburban.

I think it's a timeless-- timeless look. I don't think it's ever going to look-- I mean, it's dated for sure, but it's always going to be an attractive, cool vehicle. I actually found exactly the one that I would want. It's the 454 Chevy big block engine hooked to a 4L80E automatic transmission, which if you know anything about GM automatics, that's the creme de la creme of 4-speed automatic transmissions made by General Motors.

If you go back far enough, into the 1960s and '70s, all of their most powerful muscle cars of the era had the Turbo 400 transmission as opposed to the Turbo 350 transmission. The little trivia that probably no one listening cares about-- the Turbo 350 turned into the 4L60E transmission. The Turbo 400 turned into 4L80E transmission, bigger number. And that's because it was capable of handling a lot more power.

Everything is upgraded. Everything is heavy duty in it. I mean, people still search those transmissions out to make drag racing cars because they're so stout. So it's the one that I wanted-- big block, heavy duty, 8-lug wheels, can tow 10,000 pounds.

Now, remember, when I bought it the idea was to replace the one modern SUV with two vehicles-- one extremely efficient that I could plug in, and the other would be a long-distance tour, camp mobile, hauling the family around, that kind of thing. And, shortly thereafter, pricing of efficient vehicles shot through the roof because gas got more and more expensive.

So I'm waiting it out. I'm waiting for the market to kind of correct itself. And when pricing falls back into a what I would consider acceptable range for used vehicles, I will be adding an EV, potentially in i3. I also have my eye on a Volt, Chevy Volt, as a-- or a Bolt, for that matter, one or the other, as an around town efficient vehicle. But that's to come.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Zac, what-- what have you been buying since we last updated this post?

ZAC PALMER: Well, I personally haven't bought anything. I am still rocking my 2001 Acura Integra GSR. Like Jeremy, I am certainly on the lookout for-- for a couple of things, whichever one might wind my way first. But, no, I've since added the vehicles of my significant other to our shared garage. So instead of just the Integra, now we have a 1999 Honda Civic SI and a 2019 Mazda 3 hatchback. It is a manual. So we have three small Japanese manual cars in the garage right now. There's a lot of similar things going on.

But, ultimately, looking at, you know, maybe selling that Civic, picking up something with more cylinders, maybe something like a Porsche Boxster-- an early Boxster S-- or maybe just seeing how much 911 we can get away with. I know that 996es might not be the prettiest thing out there. But they sure do drive well, from what I've heard. I've yet to drive one. So that's a possibility.

And then just really been on the lookout for a really weird Toyota RAV4, the first gen, manual, convertible, 4-wheel drive. It's sort of a unicorn. I have yet to see one that is up for sale. I've seen some that people brag about owning and have posted about. But nobody wants to part ways with them. So those are sort of things that are on the horizon. But, yeah, the garage really hasn't changed since we last did the post, which is a sign that things probably should change. [LAUGHS]

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, I-- it's funny. I scrolled through there and, like, I guess I just assumed everybody-- you had bought one. But a lot of people have. And it's-- it's really quite the list, at this point. I think you need to actually go ahead and get something so we can, one, update the story again, try to get some more traffic. And, two, you got to join the club, buy something new. Right?

ZAC PALMER: I know. You really got to. I need to just get more things rolling in and out of the garage, because I just had the same car for so long. I just need to get some variety in there.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Well, you got to keep the Integra.

ZAC PALMER: That's not going anywhere.

GREG MIGLIORE: You do.

ZAC PALMER: Don't worry about that. That's-- that's going with me. I mean, I've owned it since I was literally 15 years old. So I cannot-- I cannot get rid of it now. [LAUGHS]

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I-- I feel bad right now. Like, I-- I am-- I describe myself as a green leaner. You know, I lean in the direction of efficiency, and I have, like, the most inefficient vehicle on staff right now. And it's not-- that wasn't by design, you know. It's-- people throw stones-- throw stones at SUVs. And allow me to grab a soapbox here for just a minute.

People get real upset at SUVs. The number one thing that, like-- the number one car that got angst from environmentalists was the Hummer H2. I mean, my Suburban is at least as inefficient as the Hummer H2 was, and yet, you know, I park mine in driveways and people walk right past it. You know, a Jeep Grand Wagoneer with the wood siding got 8 or 9 miles per gallon out of its carborated V8 engine.

Removing the soapbox-- somehow I ended up with this gas swilling vehicle. It's not particularly worse than my Lexus GX 460 was. That probably says more about the inefficiency of Toyota's SUV-- aging SUV platforms in the year 2022 than it does about my '93 Suburban.

But, yeah, I went from like, 17 to 18 miles per gallon out of the Lexus. Or if you're driving around town with the air conditioning on and stopping and all that, our lifetime average in around town driving was 15.6. I get about 13 out of my big block Suburban, so I didn't go that far downward. But still, I don't like that that's my only vehicle right now. So as soon as I can, I'll be rectifying that with an efficient option.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, then, I-- you know, it is funny. Yeah, you mentioned you lean green, but you're driving, like, one of the original gas guzzling SUVs that sort of--

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Mm-hmm.

GREG MIGLIORE: --you know, made people aware of, you know, hey, maybe we need to look at smaller cars. Yeah. Oh, and I almost forgot myself. I have a 1973 Chevelle in there, inherited, if you will. But it's-- yeah, it's in a barn in Celine awaiting restoration, and we'll see. It's got the 350 V8, 3-speed transmission, fair amount of rust. We'll see.

As I wrote in my entry in there, my brother and I briefly considered essentially buying a '74 Laguna type S3 and swapping in the bigger-- the big block V8 and some of the other cool parts. Because I kind of like the look of a Laguna from that era. But the deal fell through. I think the guy who owned the Laguna realized that he was selling a far more valuable Chevelle to be even more chopped up.

But, you know, that was my entry. Still have the '06 Charger in there, too. If you like Chargers, you should definitely check out associate editor Byron Hurd's future classic "The Dodge Magnum" from the early 2000s. So I think we've hit that pretty hard. Do check that out get in the comments.

The comments on What We Own story are just-- they're gems, you know? Somebody was reaching out to me about their 1973 GMC Sprint, which is-- I totally didn't know about this. GMC did a version of the El Camino. They were just totally rebadged Chevys with GMC logos on them. I couldn't believe that. Talk about footnotes to history-- just because GMC dealers wanted to sell cars, apparently, in the '70s, with pickup truck beds. So check that out. And I guess we should spend some money. Right?

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: Let's do it.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right, sounds good. All right. This comes from Thurston. "Love the podcast, and I've been listening for a long time. I need help. I have a 2018 Mustang GT with the performance pack. It's convertible. I love it, but I'm ready for something new, even though I only have 24,000 miles on it. Huge fan of 4-door performance sedans, so looking for a-- for a '21 or '22 BMW M550," so relatively new, brand new, basically, "or a Mercedes E 53. Trying to stay under $85,000, so a Porsche Panamera is going to be slightly out of reach."

He loves the Mercedes Inline 6. I agree. I think that engine is a gem. But he also loves the Twin Turbo V8 in the BMW. Agreed. "Thoughts? What am I not thinking of?" Let's kick things over to you, Jeremy.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: So he lists some really great options. It's hard to go wrong with the M550i. It's an awesome performance machine. I would probably choose-- I like the interiors of the Mercedes products a little bit better. But if I'm really looking for-- leaning for performance more so than luxury, I probably would go BMW. And the M550i is an excellent option.

A few things that you didn't mention-- I really, really like the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. It is an epically good sports sedan. You can very easily get them in that under $85,000 price range. That won't be a problem if you're, you know, looking at a 2020, 2021 model.

I just-- I did a little bit of searching around my zip code and I found some really nice, good examples. Love that car-- one of the best handling and driving-- driving sedans that I've ever been in. I've also noted that you can save a lot of money by choosing something a little, like, weirder, like something, like say, a Maserati. You could get a-- you could get, like, a--

You guys can't see this, but we can all see each other. Zac just, like, put his hands up and stepped back.

ZAC PALMER: Terrifying.

JEREMY KORZENIEWSKI: And that's because-- yeah. That's because Maserati ownership is terrifying. But if you were to spend $45,000 on a Ferrari engined Maserati Quattroporte with the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, yes, things are going to go wrong with it. However, you're working with $40,000 of wiggle room. And I don't think you're going to have 40 grand worth of maintenance and repairs and stuff. And that's a really cool, fun, different kind of car, too.

Note, I am not recommending that. I just-- it popped into my searches as, like, a huh, that's-- you know, that's kind of neat. That's an out-there option that you probably haven't thought about. Again, not recommending it. I am, however, recommending the Alfa Romeo. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is just an epically good sports sedan, that you should at least take it for a drive.

It's not the same experience as an M550i or AMG E-class. I would argue it's actually-- it's more fun to drive than what-- the other options you're looking at. And it sounds amazing with that Ferrari-built engine. And reliability woes, sure, but within the last couple of model years they have drastically improved in ratings. And now that they've been building them for a little while, they've got a couple of model years under their belt, I feel a little bit-- a little bit better about potential Alfa Romeo ownership today than I did when they first came back to the United States. So just something else to consider. Between the options that you've got, I'd go BMW.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Over to you there, Zac.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. You know, I-- I certainly don't disagree with you, Jeremy, on the M550. But I will throw another option out there, too. The-- now, it's not new. If that is a requirement, then you might not want to take it. But you might be able to find one that's super low mileage that is pretty much like as new. But a Lexus GSF-- they stopped making those after the 2020 model year. So you might be able to find one that's, like, super, super low miles.

It's along the same lines as your BMW M550i or Mercedes E 53 AMG. So it's a big 4-door, lots of space, but it has Lexus's pretty awesome 5-liter naturally aspirated V8. Is it slower than both the Mercedes and BMW? Yes, it is. But I would argue that it sounds better than both. And it certainly has more of an intrigue and rarity factor to me that those ones don't have.

Now, if you want something brand new that is just going to absolutely-- you can drive the wheels off of and is probably going to be even faster than your Mustang, I'd have to go with the M550i. I've driven both the E 53 and M550i. And I think I'm going to take the BMW for all-out performance. It's just a little bit better, just like, a small step below an M5. And you get a little bit more of a comfortable ride with it, too. So Lexus GSF, if you're feeling somewhat adventurous, want to stay away from the Germans. But the BMW if you just want to keep it to those two.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Sounds good. I will jump in and do the hat trick for the 550. I just-- I really like that car. I like the styling. I like the handling. Interior is fine, but I think BMW does a nice job of being-- of doing sort of the sporty premium thing.

The Mercedes E-class, I think, you will love that engine. It's a gem. It certainly is a very complete execution. It feels like, you know, a very holistic, luxurious experience from front to back. I think Mercedes styling is just gorgeous right now. So you're not going to go wrong with either one of these. But I would lean towards the 550.

Yeah. And a couple other good options here-- you know, you want to go with the Lexus or the Alfa Romeo Giulia-- I mean, hey, you can-- there's some variety in here. Let me put it that way. So thanks for writing, Thurston. Thanks for listening, everybody.

It's been a fun show hanging out with you guys. That's podcast@autoblog.com for your Spend My Money entries or other questions. Five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get your podcasts. It helps us get the word out. We hope you enjoyed the show. Be safe out there and we'll see you next week.

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