Germans, Brits and Ferrari's new V12 SUV | Autoblog Podcast #748

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Associate Editor Byron Hurd. With the Detroit Auto Show now in the rearview, focus shifts to news that crept up outside of the North American spotlight. The two talk about the new Ferrari Purosangue SUV, then pivot to a discussion about the future of the Dodge Charger and Challenger based on rumors of a new assembly facility. Next, they discuss what they've been driving recently. Byron leads off with anecdotes from his trip to Spain to drive the 2023 Range Rover Sport and his weekend with the VW GTI SE. Next, Greg talks about the ups and downs of the BMW X3 M Competition and Mercedes-Benz GLE450 Coupe. After that, they spend your money; this week's is a whopper.

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Video Transcript



GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to "The Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have a great show for you today. There's a new Ferrari SUV crossover soft roader. What exactly is it? It looks pretty good, and it has a V12. And we're going to talk about it. Some news about the potential future of the Dodge Challenger and Charger. Not confirmed, but we're seeing something that suggests that it may move to a different factory. And what that actually might mean for its product future, how it might be based, what the car might look like. We'll see, but it's something to talk about.

We have been driving a lot of interesting things, some very interesting SUVs, Range Rover Sport in Madrid for Byron, the GTI SE. That's a fun one. And I've been driving the Mercedes GLE and the BMW X3 M Competition. We will spend your money, of course. It's a good one. So with that, I'll bring in associate editor Byron Hurd. How are you, man?

BYRON HURD: Doing pretty well. Looking forward to what looks like the end of hot weather today with this system that's moving through. It's going to be fall in Michigan, and that's always a good thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Should we make it like a limited run day, stick a V8 in it, maybe some interesting packages? Like, Dodge is doing-- I don't know.

BYRON HURD: Yeah, there you go.


BYRON HURD: It can't be Last Call. It could be-- I mean, Last Fall is a bit--

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go, Last Fall.

BYRON HURD: --so it doesn't really sound right, but OK.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh boy. Oh boy. But yeah, it's going to be nice. I'm looking forward to it. It's that time of year right when the season starts to tip, and it would be right on schedule because we're recording this on Wednesday. Fall starts tomorrow on Thursday. We should probably talk about fall beers here at the end of the show. But the Ferrari Purosangue, I guess is the way to pronounce it I think. I've heard it a number of different ways, probably most of them incorrect. But a beautiful, melodic name for-- I think it's a pretty handsome crossover.

It reminds me a little bit of when they rolled out the Ferrari California probably 12, 13, 14 years ago now. And it was a little bit of a different car for what they were building at that time, thus the styling was a little bit different. And I think those ethos are also reflected in this crossover. A little bit surprised that they are sticking with the V12. I think-- I mean, good on them. I think that's great Ferrari is always going to probably sort of march to the road beat.

But you know, to me, this all sort of reminds me a little bit of the Ferrari FF, too. It's sort of like a crossover, like hatch shooting brake sort of thing. It's not a Ford Explorer. When you say SUV, that's not what this is. It's not even really a Lamborghini Urus, I don't think. I think it definitely has more car-like proportions.

But that's my initial impressions. What do you think of this thing?

BYRON HURD: I agree with you for the most part. I mean, I think sticking with the V12 is really what kind of saves this for me. Like, it-- it would have been going just a little too far if they'd done both a transition to a crossover kind of style and ditched the V12 entirely and said this is going to be a futureproof car. We're only going to do electrified. We're only going to do something, you know.

So I think the fact that they didn't try to do too much at once is what really saves it for me. And honestly, the more I look at it, the better it looks. Like, my favorite Ferrari right now is the Roma, bar none. Like, the Roma is just gorgeous. I love the classical lines.

But looking at this, I see the Ferrari in it, which, I mean, it's Ferrari so that's not surprising. But it hits in a way that I didn't really expect it to, especially, like, going in, I just-- I-- I had no reason to want to like it.

So you know, with-- with the bar being set that low, it didn't take a whole lot to impress me. But-- but yeah, I think I'm on board, tentatively, cautiously. But I think I'm on board.

GREG MIGLIORE: They had to do this. I mean, I think literally everybody has done a crossover, from Rolls-Royce to Aston Martin. You name it. I don't think there's really any controversy at all when a brand, even a brand like Ferrari, which probably still views itself as a racing team, 16-time Constructor champions, that happens to make cars. You know, I still think it's not even that controversial at this point.

I mean, we just put it out there. It was just like another Ferrari reveal. There wasn't a lot of consternation. People weren't-- like, the comments didn't light up. It just-- it, kind of, was what it was.

I also think, a little bit of a hot take, it reminds me a little bit of a Kia EV6, if you look at the-- the silhouette--


GREG MIGLIORE: --which is a credit to both cars. Kia EV6 is a good looking car-- crossover, I should say. And there's only so many ways you can, sort of, make your crossover look.

So interior, the front part, straight out of central casting, as far as a Ferrari, sort of, GT car. But hey, it's got a back seat. And it's actually a pretty good-sized back seat, too. So this is going to be a pretty usable-- usable thing for Ferrari owners who, you know, want to, you know, do weekend things with this.

My guess is they'll-- they'll sell as many as they can make. And yeah, I mean, it's, again, 715 horsepower. I mean, dry-sump V12-- like, OK. In 2022, you don't necessarily expect to hear that too much. So I mean, I think that's-- that's a good thing.


GREG MIGLIORE: All right. So that is the Ferrari-- the Ferrari Purosangue. Check it out. Get into the comments. Let us know what you think. Comments on of this post itself-- that sounds good-- if you don't want to go all the way back to our story from a couple of weeks ago. But definitely a landmark vehicle for Ferrari.

Some news yesterday, out of-- well out of automotive news from just across the river, an analyst is, sort of, predicting that Stellantis is going to move the Dodge Charger and the Dodge Challenger from Brampton, Ontario to Windsor, Ontario. Now what does this mean? Is the-- are the-- you know, is the beer a little bit better at Windsor? Why? Why are they doing this?

It's a little closer to Detroit. Red Wings fans in Windsor. Maybe Leafs fans in Brampton. I don't think any of that applies.

The point appears to be, this analyst mentions, that it looks like Stellantis may be looking at using the former LX cars on the same chassis as a minivan. Now, don't get all up in arms. It sounds like it could be more like an EV situation, where it's just kind of a generic platform that's used for multiple vehicles.

Platforms, especially in this day and age, are much more generic than they used to be, especially when talking about, like, the LX cars, which still ran that old Mercedes e-class chassis until-- well, they're still doing it as we speak. So it's-- this is definitely inside baseball. You know? It's a little bit to unpack.

But I think it offers a little bit of a preview about where we could see, you know, these-- these muscle cars going and what shape they may take, because right now we don't know. We don't even actually know for sure if they're going to do a Charger and a Challenger after the third generation goes out. They've been very tight lipped about it.

So yeah, I don't know. I mean, what do you think this means, Byron?

BYRON HURD: Well, I think it's probably a good sign that they're even talking about it. Like, just the fact that it looks like there is a future is good news. And also, I mean, we say it could be, you know, a minivan chassis, like you said, modern platforms being what they are. That's a pretty meaningless thing.

But the beauty of it is, like, if they are moving toward a chassis that could be shared with minivans, that probably means we're talking about a midsize car at biggest, rather than a kind of in between mid and full-sized car that's, sort of, been shrunk down from a full-size European car but upsized from a midsize American car to, kind of, some Frankenstein thing that doesn't really make a ton of sense as a coupe. So I think it's good news pretty much all around. And I-- you know, having owned a Challenger, I would love to see them do another one.

I would love to see another generation of these cars. I mean, it's-- all my, kind of, bluster about the demise of the Hemi despite that, I actually like these cars. I enjoyed driving my Challenger. I didn't sell it because I didn't like it. I just sold it because I wasn't driving it.

So it's one of those situations where anything that-- that indicates that there's a future for them is good, especially given what's happening to a lot of the sports cars and-- and other enthusiast models, at this point. So I-- I'm cautiously optimistic. I guess that's the theme of the day. I'm cautiously optimistic about-- about Ferrari SUVs and Windsor-based muscle cars.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, it's-- it should be interesting. And just to be very specific here, it's Sam Fiorani, who's the VP of Global Forecasting for a local, sort of, analytics firm, AutoForecast Solutions. That's what I was looking for. He tells Automotive News Canada. So that's-- that's the story. Check it out.

You know, like you, I-- I still do own a Charger. And I kind of do need to sell it because, like you, I don't drive it anymore. It's not that I like it. I just don't feel like getting all the recalls fixed and, you know, slapping some new tires on it. It's like, I'd probably get it done in two days. I really should. But where does anybody find two days of their life, at this point, right?

So like, like you, I'm just intrigued. Every little sort of kernel of news about what might come next for these cars, I'm very interested in. And again, we're kind of grasping at straws and tea leaves here because we don't really know. This is like what one guy is telling, you know, a Canadian version of Automotive News. But, I mean, they're also usually right. They tend to know where, like, you know, manufacturing, like, footprints tend to go.

So-- and I also, you know, to your point, the Charger and Challenger are big vehicles. An a minivan-like vehicle is also going to be a big vehicle. So I mean, to me, that's-- that seems like they're sort of staying the course.

And if there is some level of electrification, you know, all that could mean is that it'll be, like, all-wheel drive or something like that. You know? It's hard to say about the rear-wheel drive portion of it. I don't see the minivan being rear-wheel drive.

But I mean, with electrification, though, sometimes they can literally-- not sometimes-- they can send the power almost any direction they want. So these could still be rear-wheel drive. And we'll see. You know, I'm sure it'll look like a Charger, when the time comes, and the Challenger, when the time comes.

BYRON HURD: Yeah. With this new inline-six architecture, too, I mean, they have plug-in options on the table. So you figure they could start with just a Turbo 6 as a-- as a base engine and then work up from there, sandwiching the electric motor the way they do in the 4xe for Jeep. And suddenly, you've got more power, more torque, and electric range built into a vehicle that didn't have it before.

So the new system gives them a lot more flexibility. It's much more modular. So even in a-- in a situation where, you know, it's not a pure EV, they don't have to go-- you know, you don't need to have all-wheel drive. You don't need to, you know, add all that weight if you don't want to. It's just the batteries you have to worry about.

So a lot of options there. And-- and, you know, the fact that it's so flexible, I think, really just opens up doors for enthusiast models that otherwise may not get the chance to shine because it's just-- you know, it used to be a lot more expensive to knock out a bespoke chassis just for a sports car. Now, you can, you know, take something you've got for something else and just shrink it appropriately and you're good to go.

So I'm not going to say the same two words again. But I feel pretty good about it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I think it's-- and like, if you're a Mopar enthusiast, an LX enthusiast, like, I think-- I think you're going to want to stick around and, like, you know, see how this all shakes out. You know? Yes, maybe try and snap up one of these last call or-- I don't know. That 300C really was speaking to me last week at the Auto Show.


GREG MIGLIORE: So-- but I mean, the future might be OK. So--


GREG MIGLIORE: Let's talk about what we've been driving. You went to Madrid, the area surrounding it, to drive the brand new Range Rover Sport. Correct?


GREG MIGLIORE: All right. All right. I always mix up Sport versus regular Range Rover, which is ironic considering I was the one who sent you the email and made the assignment, then forget what it was. But yeah, I mean, what is it? Does it live up to, you know, your notions of what this should be?

How was Spain? What did you eat? Did you get some olives? You know, how the hell was it?

BYRON HURD: That-- well, I mean, the location was spectacular. We were told by people who go there more frequently-- I've never been there. It was actually-- Spain was the reason I had a passport.

As a teenager, we were supposed to go on a school trip there in college. The trip fell through. I never went. So now, this became my first trip to Spain.

Yeah, we actually-- one-- one leg of the trip, on our second day of driving, as we were coming into our little rest stop, they actually just had olive trees along the side of the road that were actually fruiting and ripe. So you could just pull up and stick your hand out the window and pick olives right off the tree and, just like, throw them in your cupholder and cruise on down the road. And there were people in our convoy who were doing exactly that, much to the consternation of some of the locals who didn't think anyone should be driving on that road at all because Europe has a very different attitudes towards cars, and especially large ones, than we do.

Which was probably the-- the real salient point for that whole trip was just, you know, a Range Rover Sport is based on the same chassis as a Range Rover. It has been for a while now. It's the five passenger version of the Range Rover.

So it's quote unquote the smaller one, which just means it's not the three row. There's nothing unique about the chassis or anything like that. It's-- it's the less expensive, the slightly less ostentatious, but also, kind of, flashier, in a way, version of the Range Rover.

And yeah, I mean, obviously it definitely lives up to the hype. I mean, especially in a place where big cars, big trucks just don't exist. I mean, apart from the Range Rovers, the largest vehicles we saw were basically Toyota RAV4s and Hyundai Tucson's and stuff like that.

It was really strange for us, as Americans, being there driving and being in these cars that we would consider to be kind of like midsize SUVs and being seen by everyone on the road there as this just ridiculous show of wealth and just oversized ostentation, which to me-- you know, to us, like, you know, you pull this thing up next to a Ford F-150, and it's 2/3 the size. Like, you-- it's a completely different-- different world driving over there.

And it kind of played to our strengths a little bit because we were comfortable driving such large vehicles. And people would see us coming and think they had to get out of the way. And it's like, no, we got this. We're fine. Just-- just stay where you are. We can-- we can cruise right by you.

But it was a very different experience. And one I enjoyed a great deal. I had obviously wanted to go to Spain for many, many years. It was nice to finally get the chance.

And doing it in a Range Rover is a pretty fantastic way to do it, especially-- I mean, people treated us like celebrities, good and bad. Like, there were some gestures that were thrown at us just for existing. And I won't even try to articulate what they were because there's just no clean way to do it.

But you know, it was-- people were taking pictures of us. You know, like, they just made a scene, even though, you know, we're-- we're looking at each other, like, you know, we're nobody. We're just-- we're here doing this on somebody else's dime. But everyone, you know, was treating us like rock stars.

And it's-- it's strange, like, even around here, you know, living in the Western Detroit suburbs, a Range Rover just, kind of-- I won't say it blends in. But it doesn't make a splash. I mean it's just one of many expensive SUVs. You know, we're surrounded by Escalades and, you know, you name it.

And you know, around here, yeah. OK. That's a Range Rover. Cool. It's the new one. Nice. Over there, it's like, oh, my God. They're seven people in a row rolling in here in Range Rovers. It must be a football team. Like, what's going on? So get out your cameras. Let's see what's happening.

But it was-- it was quite an experience, quite a-- I mean, the Range Rover, absolutely it lives up to the hype. I mean, you're getting the peak of luxury and just enough capability to know that, like, yeah, you can basically do what a Jeep Grand Cherokee can do. But you don't have to be in such a lowly vehicle. You know? That kind of attitude.

But it's certainly not for me, personally. But I get the appeal. It's a heck of a car.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I-- I get the appeal. It's always been one I have, you know, I just-- I like that it's different from the Germans. Just it's-- it's a different attitude. It's a different vibe. You know? And I've always liked that.

I drove the Range Rover, like, the bigger one, extensively earlier this summer. This summer, it's-- we have like 18 hours of it left. But-- and I liked it. You know, it had that sort of champagne-like metallic finish.

So I think they're on the right track with these, sort of, the final days of these big powerful SUVs before-- like, Range Rover does have a long-term electrification plan. I think in their case it's a little more long term than, you know, some of the other companies that are, like, we're going to be electric by 2025. Range Rover is, like, we'll see in the 30s or something like that.



BYRON HURD: Yeah. We'll have an electric by 2025.


BYRON HURD: But we're not going to be electric by 2025.

GREG MIGLIORE: Right. Right. Right.

BYRON HURD: Let's not get crazy.

And the timing of the trip turned out to be, kind of, unfortunate, in a way, because the day we landed in Spain was the day that the queen died. And of course, Land Rover and Range Rover has a very long and close relationship with the royal family.

So our day of driving would usually start with, like, a tech briefing and, you know, all this rah, rah, brand stuff. And instead, they read a statement. Everyone on the team was dressed in black.

And they said, OK, we're going to take you out to your cars now. And you just, kind of, figure it out as you go. And we'll ask you not to share anything on social media or, you know, be too flashy about it. I mean, we-- and then we walked out and got into a bright red V8-powered Range Rover Sport first edition that costs $135,000. But we did it very sedately. (LAUGHING)

It was-- it was unexpected, of course. I mean, we all knew that she was in poor health. And it's not, like, it was a surprise at that point. They'd been saying for days that the end was coming.

But you know, for-- for me, being a-- you know, a filthy unwashed American, it never occurred to me that-- that was going to have an impact on that program, when of course it would because, you know, this is a family who reaches out to-- to Land Rover to have their funeral procession vehicles custom designed. It's not just, like, oh, yeah, we use them because they have the right badge. Like, they have-- they have a genuinely close relationship with the royal family. So it was-- it was a big deal.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No. That's-- that's a very interesting, you know, moment, I guess, where, you know, history, sort of, you know, interjects with your life. And I mean, if anything, the last few years have taught us is these are different times than, just say, the 90s or the 70s or something. You know, it's-- I don't know, picking a-- pick a moment in the last few years and something has happened it seems like, you know, on some scale.

But yeah. Any-- any other thoughts about the car? What did you think of the interior? Yeah. I think, like I said, I drove the regular Range Rover. My guess is this is about the same.

BYRON HURD: Yeah. I mean, it's fabulous. I mean, you figure it's, you know, it's, quote unquote, the cheap one because the base model is 20 grand cheaper. And it comes with a less impressive engine.

But of course, you know, you still have the autobiographies and all the-- all the other loaded up models. And that sound system is fantastic. And it's something that you appreciate even more, especially now that one of the models we were driving was a plug-in hybrid.

And it was frequently in battery electric-mode because, when you're in the inner city areas in Europe, most of them ban internal combustion. So you have to at least have a hybrid that can operate as an EV for brief periods of time or a full-blown battery electric to even be allowed to drive in certain sections. And so the-- the car-- the navigation system could even talk to the powertrain and say, OK, you need to conserve this much battery power in order to reach your destination within the city without using the gas engine.

And when you're cruising around at, you know, 25, 35 kilometers an hour, you're not going very fast in a city. In an electric car, the car is not masking any of its own noises. It's not doing a good job of-- of keeping the world out because there's no engine noise.

So they had to engineer all of that back into the chassis. They have to do all of the noise control with the chassis, instead of trying to use the engine to, kind of, smooth some of that out-- get rid of some of the unwanted vibrations and harmonics. So it was impressive that they did such a good job.

And then on top of that, just, you know, being able to, you know, fire up that 3D sound system and kind of put the entire world another 50 feet farther away from you. It's very plush. We'll put it that way.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. I-- like you, Spain was on-- on my bucket list. I was fortunate to make it there about, let's see, six years ago. Wow. Has it been six years?


GREG MIGLIORE: That's crazy. And I drove the Audi TT RS.


GREG MIGLIORE: We were in Spain. And then we took it to the Jarama, the--


GREG MIGLIORE: --the track nearby, which was very cool. Very cool. Really cool track.

Yeah. Ate dinner at about 10:30 at night, which was kind of wild, you know, as you would expect.


GREG MIGLIORE: It was memorable, definitely memorable. Really glad to get to Spain.

BYRON HURD: Yeah. Oh, man, and the food there was just fantastic. I mean, you know, you can get tapas anywhere. But they know a thing or two about it.

And the beauty of it is, too, is, like, you know, again, as an American, you go someplace like that, where they have very different ideas of what constitutes a portion, and the fact that they just keep feeding you completely makes up for it because I was like, oh, my God, like, I-- I've eaten more in the past 24 hours than it feels like I've eaten in a week. And this is supposed to be light. You know?

And of course, our-- our meal on the final night was the family style paella, so we had, you know, the seafood paella and then, like, the farmer paella and the vegetarian paella and would, just, you know, going up and down the table, taking scoops of this, that, and the other thing. It was wonderful. I'd-- I-- I wouldn't trade that one for-- for any of the other programs I've been on. I think that one now tops the list.

GREG MIGLIORE: I will say this-- when you, like, there's tapas that you do here at, like, downtown restaurant, like, you know, Detroit has a bunch of good places, New York, of course, the coasts. But then there's, like, go to Spain and have tapas. And it's, like, a different ball game. Like, just-- the food is so good there.

Well, I think I do remember I didn't actually like what I ate. I had this, like, pork dish and, like, as much as driving in, like, Jarama, and driving this five-cylinder Audi, I still remember the waiter was, like, yeah, the pork's not really our strength or something. And I was like, well, why didn't you tell me that, man. Like, that's not-- like, OK.

But I think it was one of those things where, like, they ordered for the table. And it was just one of the courses. The red wine was outstanding, as you might imagine.

And yeah, like you, driving in some of those small towns in the Spanish countryside, it gets a little hairy. With the TT RS, that's a, like, highly maneuverable car, little bit easier than a Range Rover. But yeah, I mean, I was going through my old notes here in the story where I was like, you know, flying out onto the A-1 near Madrid. So it's a memorable place to drive. And you know, Europe is a challenging place to drive, I think actually.

Cool. Well, let's shift over. I have a couple of SUVs, so let's kind of intersperse them here. First one is the BMW X3 M Competition. Very nice crossover.

Got a lot of attention in my neighborhood. The weather is still nice, so a lot of the kids are, sort of, playing on the front lawns. Literally everybody's, like, so hey, what's up with that Bemmer over there. What's-- what's-- that's pretty nice. What is that?

So definitely fits the bill as far as, like, trying to impress the neighbors, if that's what you're doing with your X3. X3 M the Competition package-- it's a $7,000 option. You can do that if you like.

This one had-- I believe, the paint shade was like a glacier white. I may be wrong on that. Because it had this, like, gorgeous, like, sky-blue grayish tint to it, everybody was stopping it asking about the color.

So you know, it definitely had some, you know, gravitas to it, if you will. These had the-- looks like it had the 21-inch black wheels, which were pretty cool. It started about 73 and with some of the options, it got into the ballpark of about 80 grand.

So again, you know, had some crossover. I think it's one of those things, too, where you-- you know, you, kind of, have to ask yourself is, like-- is this what you want? You know, do you want this much power? Do you want it to be in an X3? Do you want to be, like, you know, driving-- what's more powerful than many M cars, like Hall of Fame M cars?

But it's also, like, you know, we used it to go get groceries and just run errands. So there was a lot of, sort of, cognitive dissonance going on for me with this thing. You know, it's, like-- it's reasonably high off the ground.

But it's a little bit lower because you're doing the competition thing. Super powerful. But it's also an X3. Just-- there was a lot going on there.

And it's-- that's not really unique to BMW, although BMW and Mercedes are-- and Audi to a certain extent, they're the ones who do these sort of like fire-breathing SUVs. You know? Not everybody does that. Like, there is no, like, you know, Cadillac V-Series crossover or something. You know? And the Aviator, for example, is an entirely different thing, even with, like, the big engine in it.

So these things are a little bit unique. But it's certainly a paradigm that's been around for a while. So it was a lot of fun. Try not to overthink it. The BMW, like, steering was there. You know? You know what I mean? That-- just that kind of meaty feel with that steering wheel. It was a fun weekend. So I mean, that's--


GREG MIGLIORE: --that's the X3 M Competition. The market, I got to think, is fairly niche because-- for this specific vehicle-- because an X3, I mean, they'll sell those all day. But how many people need to throw on the, like, the competition pack and want to spend this much money at this price point? You know? Because really, even for my, like, relatively small family, like X5 is the territory we'd want to be in. So-- but the X3 is bigger than it's ever been. So yeah. I don't know. Have you driven any of the X3s lately?

BYRON HURD: Yeah. Actually, I drove-- I want to say it was also a Competition-- maybe last year--


BYRON HURD: --or the year before. And I-- when I drove it, I-- I-- I said almost everything that you just said to a friend of mine who commutes in an older, I want to say it's either a 325 or 328i X all-wheel drive sedan.

And he was talking about some builds he'd seen of people who are putting bigger turbos in the X3 M's and the power they were getting for it. I was like, I mean, but why would you spend all that money doing it in that car? He said, well, to me it makes perfect sense because I've got two kids who no longer have accessories that I need to carry along with us. So if the four of us want to go out for, like, a fun drive somewhere, something like an X3 M makes sense because it'd be, kind of, a splitting the difference between an M3 and-- I think he and his wife have a couple of Highlanders or something like that as their-- as their get around vehicles.

So this way, you know, get an SUV. But it's fun. And I like, I mean, it's never going to be me. It's just-- I'm never going to be shopping that kind of compromise just because of the lifestyle choices I've made.

But at the same time, I can kind of understand why, you know, if you feel like you're kind of pigeonholed into a certain category but you want to get that-- that same feeling that you used to get from your fun cars, there's that balance there. But I mean, it's BMW. They do the chassis very well. So it's-- it's-- in that car, it's sometimes hard to remember just how tall it really is. Like, when you're really pushing it, it kind of starts to creep in around the periphery.

But for the most part, It really does drive like a car. And I mean, same is true of, like, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the C60 or GLC 63. Like, you know, like you said, the Europeans know how to do this. And the SUV package is usually pretty impressive.

But again, I'm with you in that, like, if I'm shopping for that kind of performance, I'm not shopping for that kind of car. And if I'm shopping for that kind of car, I'm probably not bothering with that kind of performance.

GREG MIGLIORE: Exactly. That's, I think, that's the best way to say it. But I mean, just closing thoughts here-- with the competition package, you're looking at over 500 horsepower or 503 horsepower, which is, kind of, just mind boggling. You know, that was, like, a high-powered Mustang or Challenger like six, seven years ago.


GREG MIGLIORE: So I mean, hey, if this is what you're looking for, it's there for you. I'm a big fan of wide variety of the automotive segment.

BYRON HURD: Yeah. And to your point earlier, I'm actually kind of surprised that Cadillac hasn't bothered with--


BYRON HURD: --with a smaller V crossover, like, a legit option, like, something based on-- they've got Alfa, the platforms there. They might as well do something with it, instead of just watch it die with these last two internal-combustion models. But who knows?

GREG MIGLIORE: It's funny, too, that-- just to really get out of this rabbit hole-- if there is one company that doesn't do it, that could probably do it really well, it's Cadillac. Like, they could definitely do a small to midsize crossover with a black-wig badge on it. And I think you could do some really good stuff. They have the chassis. They have the motor. I'm sure they could style the hell out of it and make it look pretty-- like it's supposed to look. So yeah. Cadillac guys, if you're listening, that might be a good idea.

All right. Let's shift gears back over to the GTI. This is a little more of a, you know, odd brand on Autoblog type of vehicle. What did you do with this?

BYRON HURD: So I actually took this one on a road trip.


BYRON HURD: I drove a manual one earlier in the year. It was an Autobahn, I believe. So it was as loaded as they get. I really enjoyed driving that and just hated interacting with the car. That was-- that was a big problem.

And taking the SC-- I took it on a road trip. I actually went down to Cleveland. A friend of mine had come out for a family wedding. And he was coming out from the East Coast. I haven't seen him in almost a year and a half. So I was, like, yeah, we'll come down and meet you for lunch.

So drove the GTI down. And honestly, as a vehicle to drive, it's wonderful, which is not surprising. I mean, the GTI has always been great. It's-- it's the jack of all trades.

But that interior is such a pain to live with now. Like it-- you don't even-- this was an SC model. So it was the cheap end, the barebones. And still everything is that goofy, like, you know, touch sensitive interface. And the unlit controls for all the-- the different interior things. The things that you actually need to interact with are, I mean, once the sun goes down, you can't even see them.

It's just the little things that VW used to be so good at, they just left somewhere on-- on the chopping block. It-- it none of it made it into this car. The chassis is wonderful. The manual transmission is wonderful. This one had the automatic. That's also wonderful.

Everything that makes it a car is great. Everything that makes it a daily utility item you have to live with sucks. And I-- it honestly, like, I don't say that about cars very often. Like I'm-- I'm very much in there's an ass for every seat camp.

But I was so mad after driving that car that-- knowing that it could be pretty much perfect if they had just bothered with the interior. And ten years ago, if you'd said that about Volkswagen, people would have stoned you to death because that was just not-- it was just unheard of for them to blow it that badly. So yeah, a frustrating car, honestly.

But just wonderful to drive. If you-- if you don't actually need it to cool you, heat you, answer your phone, do any of the other things that we take for granted in a car, yeah, it's great. So-- but you know, that's-- that's just not what you buy a brand new car to do.

So you know, if it's-- if it's a track rat or something like that you're after, you're buying something cheap. And if it's, you know, a pure enjoyment vessel, then you're buying an actual sports car. You're not buying a GTI. A GTI is too practical to be just a fun car. So I don't know what the point of it is anymore. I want to love it. And I just can't

GREG MIGLIORE: Wow. That is some very mixed emotions. I think it's interesting that you have more mixed emotions about the GTI than I did about the X3 M Competition. And I was pretty all over the place on that too.

Yeah, GTI is, I mean, it's-- I believe the GTI and the Golf R are the only two Golfs you can get. They don't sell, like, a basic, like, Golf anymore, which I-- you know, I get why they do it.

I know we like how well Volkswagen makes their hatches. But the market is tidy. Just people in this country don't buy those cars. Like, you just-- it's not what Americans want. So I get the business case.

I drove one last summer, I want to say, earlier in the year. It was fun. I-- I think it was actually a European model, as I think about it. So you know, it was fun. Zac Palmer drove what on the track. They did some interesting things with the tires, if I recall. Like, they put on the--


GREG MIGLIORE: They put on some better tires than you would normally get-- let's put it that way-- to improve the performance. So it was kind of interesting year last year for Volkswagen, trying to pull some fast ones on a--


GREG MIGLIORE: --number of fronts


GREG MIGLIORE: Volkswagen,--

BYRON HURD: Yes, we remember--

GREG MIGLIORE: --anybody?

BYRON HURD: --those well.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, you've been a part of that.

BYRON HURD: Oh, that was-- that was, ugh. I'd rather forget about that, honestly.


BYRON HURD: That was a disaster.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, good times, right?

All right. So I drove the Mercedes GLE. I actually don't have very many mixed emotions about this. I liked it.

It was the 450. It was a big crossover, plenty of room for the family, the dog, the golf clubs, the t-ball equipment. Everything was fine.

I'm starting to really warm up to the infotainment screen in the Mercedes, just Mercedes in general. This one, I think, is well proportioned. I don't have the exact, like, number of inches. But it-- essentially, it goes 2/3 across the dash.

But it's not, like, a takeover cinematic screen. It's 2/3, 50%, that type of thing. Very easy to use. When I can sit-in the car, open the sunroof, and scroll between the Tiger's game, classic rock, sports talk, and buy podcasts, I'm a happy cat.

And to me, that's, sort of like-- like, most they have in the center console, it just works. It's the opposite of, like, say, the Acura execution, where you're trying to play Windows 95 and make your hand like a scroller-type of thing. This just works.

So you know, as far as, like, doing all the, like, family hauling duties and ease of use, good times. 450 comes with the 362 horsepower turbo inline-six. Yes. That's-- to me, that's exactly what I would want. It's very powerful. I can feel good about myself. It's an interesting engine.

But it's not ridiculous. And it's a big SUV. So you know, if you're asking, like, you know, golf dad Greg what he thinks of it, then, yeah, this is-- this is very well measured. It's a reasonable play.

It's proportional response for, you know, somebody who's looking for a car as they approach, like, their middle ages, if you will. But you still feel good about it. It's impressive. It's a Mercedes SUV. It has presence.

And also, the sunroof thing-- since we're diving into features here, the sunroof, like, it's not air scarf because that's convertibles. But that feature that kind of pops up like a pop-up tent gives you a little bit of lip to keep the wind from buffeting in, they have perfected that. Like, last week when I had this, it was, like-- it was a little hot. It was a little-- we were getting a little bit more of a preview of fall back then too. Absolutely perfect.

A lot of times I'll open the sunroof, and everybody in the car gets annoyed because the wind is whipping through like you're, you know, sailing off the coast of Cape Bay or something. With this, people didn't even notice it. It was outstanding.

And I could get my, sort of, like, you know, good circulation. And it was outstanding as far as that. So to me, this is definitely at or near the top of the segment as far as just, you know, luxury SUVs of this size.

BYRON HURD: I'm with you on that. And honestly, it's so much better looking than the X6. , Like it-- neither one of them is going to win anything for me on the styling front. But if I'm going to be seen driving either one of those, I want it to be the Mercedes.


BYRON HURD: And I drove, I think it was a 63S, last--


BYRON HURD: --like, a year ago January, so almost two years ago. And that-- it was snowing. It was gross outside. And that thing, I mean, it's 603 horsepower, all-wheel drive, never put a foot wrong. I mean, you could-- you could-- you could do really dumb things in that car and not suffer consequences, which I guess is kind of what you're paying for in that situation.

But yeah, that's-- that's a heck of a machine. And the AMGs sound so good, just so good. But-- but yeah, I mean, the 450's nice and sensible, which has that going for it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah it's a-- you know, it's not cheap. But it's-- I think it's reasonably priced, too, as far as the GLE. You know, it's in the like 56, 57 $58,000 range.

There's a lot of choices in that segment. You know, Genesis GV80, the Cayenne, the X5, the X6, if you want the hatch type of thing, a couple of different Volvos, if want to to go a little bigger with the XC90 or the XC60. It's just a very crowded field, if you will, as far as midsize to large-ish SUVs.

BYRON HURD: I'm looking at the configurator for the AMG right now. And they have an emerald green metallic paint that looks really nice, especially with the red brake calipers.


BYRON HURD: I'm suddenly-- suddenly more excited about this car. Not that I'm ever going to, like, need one. But I can still-- I can still lust after it from a distance.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, I've-- I've had a few, like, forest to emerald green test cars come through the fleet in the last, say, six months. And you know, totally at random aside here, if you're looking for a car, and you're not sure what color to get, and you can actually get said car and it's green, you might want to get it because you don't see too many of them on the road. And most of them look really good. I remember the Chevy Equinox green, from a couple of years ago, was a gorgeous color. So you know, if you're looking to stand out, it's a little bit different.

BYRON HURD: And they seem to be rotating them through pretty quick. Like, they'll introduce green for a model year or two. It'll sell about as well as green ever does. And then it disappears. So if you have a chance to buy a green car, you absolutely should.

GREG MIGLIORE: Really, [? Elpida ?] is the only one that seems to just, like, live and die with, like, a continuous green paint but-- and that's one of their signatures, too. So--


GREG MIGLIORE: Should we spend some money?

BYRON HURD: Yeah. Let's try, at least. This one's-- this one's a doozy.

GREG MIGLIORE: This is a doozy. All right. Matthew in Arizona writes, big fan of the podcast. Hey, thanks for listening. I'm looking for a jack of all trades car, it seems. And I'm going to, kind of, paraphrase this.

Let's see, Matthew and his wife own a meal prep company in Arizona, three kids, five, three, and one, in still car seats. So they basically are looking for something where what they want and what they need don't really correlate, to paraphrase him. They need to replace their 2002 Chevy Silverado that's worked well for our business because of the bed. Makes sense.

The truck is still in decent shape. But it's over two decades old. Issues are starting to creep up. They don't want to wait until they're basically stuck on the side of the road with perishable food wilting away, until, you know, it's too late, essentially. They should have upgraded sooner. Also, they-- sounds like they're getting 13 miles to the gallon with this thing. So hey, that's-- that's an issue.

They need a vehicle that's large enough to hold the family, even though the wife's Sienna is the day-to-day family hauler and the road trip car. Also need it to have cargo space for the business. Think three 150 quart coolers. OK. That's a lot-- that's a big cooler. Plus boxes for dry goods. OK. So all of that stuff.

He wishes he could get two cars, like a cargo van, like a Transit Connect, which is to me one of the obvious plays, or a Ram ProMaster, but also wants this to be fun, like a manual transmission. So I don't know. I'm not sure these two things are going to line up. You've got some of the things, like, he's looking at include-- and he also would like a manual transmission, fun to drive, and cargo space. So my thoughts have been all over the place, he admits. Fair enough.

I get it. It's tough to buy a new car. It's tough to make these things line up.

Willing to sacrifice the manual transmission to go with something like a Ford Maverick or an electric car like a Bolt EUV, Mazda 5 with a manual. I forgot about that. I actually remember driving that.

Or go with something like an Elantra N or an Accord Sport, which you could put everybody in there. It's going to be tight. And there are decent sized trucks than, say, the Accord. I don't know if you get three coolers in it. But it's a good size cooler.

Keep the price around 30 grand-ish, with a little room. So that's it. So Matthew, first of all, thanks for writing. Thanks for listening. Like you said, Byron, this is a doozy.

Yeah. So I guess I'm not quite sure where to start. Couple thoughts-- I would say, my initial impressions are-- he named Maverick. So I mean, it's still going to be a little tight to get everybody in that thing.

But it's-- I think it's fun to drive. It's a truck. It comes with an interesting bed. You can get the hybrid.

I mean, if you're looking for, sort of, like, something that's kind of fun and pretty functional, that's a good place to start. The Venn diagram, sort of, kind of, goes through all parts of it. So I think that's part of my answer, if you will. But what do you think, Byron?

BYRON HURD: I am-- I'm struggling with this one. Honestly, my heart says you need an old German wagon. And by old, I mean, at this point, we're talking about probably, like, mid to late 2000s because you can get a 5 series, you know, 530, 535. And they're honestly not that expensive.

The problem is, I don't know that it solves the potential breakdown on the side of the road, everything goes sideways, kind of, issue, which, you know, it's-- when you're talking about German vehicles that are too old to be purchased certified pre-owned, and you're going to have to go through probably a third party to get a warranty or something like that the-- the advantages of it being a wagon and being more fun to drive start to, kind of, dwindle a little bit in that context. I-- I don't know. I mean, this-- this is-- this is tough because, if we're talking about something that's supposed to be fun enough to drive that it could have hypothetically maybe come with a manual transmission but still offers this much practicality, is tricky.

I mean, he mentioned the Mazda 5. I mean, if-- if you're willing to go to something like that, I mean, why not just go with a-- with a GTI or a Golf R? He could get a used either one of those for a fairly reasonable amount. And sure, you don't get sliding doors, but I mean, the Mazda 5 was just a Mazda 3 with sliding doors and a taller rear hatch area to accommodate the third row, if you actually want to be generous-- generous enough to call it that.

Of course, you're getting no cargo space if you're using the third row. So it's still effectively a two-row. And I don't even know if there's enough cargo space in the Mazda 5 with the-- with the third row folded, not deployed-- however you want to call it-- to suit their needs in this situation. So you're probably better off not bothering with something that tries to have an auxiliary third row.

This is tough. I-- I like, for me, I would love the BMW wagon, even-- even a three series wagon, since, obviously, you can go compact, if he's considering cars Mazda 5 size. But I'm a-- I'm struggling with this one. I-- I-- I don't know that there's any one answer to this.

GREG MIGLIORE: I don't think there necessarily is a one answer. I think to, sort of, augment what I said earlier, you could look for, like, maybe a used Volvo wagon. I'm seeing on Kelley Blue Book, there is a used V60 with the T5 that seems to be shockingly low. There's a listing for 23,500. You know, again, the V60 is going to be a little on the small side. You know, you might want to look at the CrossCountry even or something. So I mean, there's, like, you know, it's-- it's a little bit different than, say, a German wagon. But it's sort of the same mission, if you will.


GREG MIGLIORE: So I would maybe look at it like a fun Volvo or something that might, you know, keep you interested for a while. Looking-- stepping up to, like, a V90, you're going to get above north of 30. Like, here's the 2017 one for about 38. That could be kind of fun. It looks like you're generally-- well, here's a 2018 CrossCountry with 61,000 miles for 33-- 32. So it's doable. I mean, I would say, depending on where you want it to, like, sort of-- want the experience to be, how you want to spend your 30 grand, like, a wagon could also be fun-ish. And like, a Volvo wagon-- those are great looking cars. You know? So I would say check out a V90, maybe CrossCountry. And that could be interesting. A used one-- three, four, five years old. So that and a Maverick. And then, if you can find a good older German wagon, definitely could work as well.

BYRON HURD: And I'll throw in, too, thinking about less enthusiast wagons, but still wagons, Buick Regal TourX.


BYRON HURD: It exists.


BYRON HURD: And of course, you know, no manual. But they're a decent automatic. Works just fine. And I mean, it's an Opel Insignia overseas. So it's not like it isn't European. It's just not as European as a BMW or Mercedes.



GREG MIGLIORE: No, that's true. I mean, it's an Opel, so underneath genetically. So yeah. I mean, this is-- this is definitely one of those parts of life where, like, you know, what you desire or what you believe and then what you gotta do, don't exactly line up, to paraphrase. I believe that's a [INAUDIBLE].

What, you know, your philosophy of car buying-- it's just-- it's a tricky part, you know, everything doesn't quite line up here. So let us know where you land. You know, it's-- this will be an interesting one. Let's put it that way.

You know, what also is interesting? By the time this drops, it will be officially fall. What beer are you going to crack open this weekend with your weekend football? You did see the Washington Football Team the Commanders, I guess, did lose to the Lions.

BYRON HURD: They did.

GREG MIGLIORE: So you know, I-- believe me, there's no gloating on this part. The Lions will-- may not win another game. But we did look pretty good. So--




GREG MIGLIORE: What are you drinking to soothe the pain of losing to the Lions?

BYRON HURD: I-- I'm-- I'm a simple guy when it comes to this stuff. Give me a-- give me just a Sam Adams Octoberfest and I'm feeling pretty good. But I mean, any-- honestly, any of the local brew Oktoberfest will work for me, too. I've had Bell's a few times. And I want to say, I've had a Short's Octoberfest, maybe, and a couple others.

I'll never turn down a decent, even halfway decent, [INAUDIBLE] of some kind. So send-- send any one of those my way and I'm happy. What about you?

GREG MIGLIORE: I like the Short's Autumn Ale. I have liked this for, geez, going on 10 years at this point. It's just a very well rounded beer. It has-- let me see if I can see the IBU rating. I can't find it.

But it's-- it's a good one ABV is 5.75. So it's got a bit of a hit. It's bitter-ish but still fairly smooth. I like it. Check it out if you go to, like, Beer Advocate. They have a pretty good, like, you know, write up of what this is.

Apparently, there's a Short's IPA, Autumn IPA, which I did not know about until this very moment I would be interested in trying that.

Pumpkin beers-- like those as well. I have been off of them for a few years because honestly, they give me a headache a little bit. They're a little too sweet. They're a little too-- sometimes the ABV gets up there pretty quickly, too.

There was, like, a Jaw-Jacker one. I forget who makes it. It's got, like, a pumpkin with, like, sharp teeth on it.

But fall is going to be around for a while. You're going to hear a lot from me this fall about Bell's Amber Ale.

BYRON HURD: I do love Bell's Amber. That's-- honestly, that's, kind of, my go-to around here. If I'm at a restaurant, pretty much guaranteed that they'll have at least a couple Bell's.

And usually they'll-- they'll consider that one-- because it's not technically a seasonal. I believe that's one of their year rounds. So usually, you can find it just about anywhere, just about any time, which is nice. But it's-- it's reliable, which I appreciate.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's great on tap. It as a nice caramelly body. It's foamy. I highly recommend it. But yeah, it's good all year round, too.

So if you join the podcast, you have a fall beer you'd like to recommend, please drop in the comments, tweet at us. Send them to us,

Or send us your Spend My Moneys. We love to spend your money. Matthew in Arizona, let us know what you're thinking of doing.

And also, everybody, please give us five stars on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you get the show. Be safe out there. And we'll see you next week.