Before we get into new EVs with a Prodrive-tuned chassis, wild gear levers, and in-car karaoke (same car), let me first sing the praises of Doug DeMuro, who shines a spotlight into corners of the automotive industry that need to be seen by the car-buying public.
Here in Canada, I took no pride in being a press trip grinch—being in journalism school and testing vehicles at the same time for my college paper meant that turning down freebie gifts was easily adopted from the very beginning of my career.
Paying my own way to press trips, as DeMuro now does, was sadly out of the question. I at least wrote about the trips, talked about it as best I knew on Twitter, donated the “air miles” and began to insist on being flown in coach, where the manufacturer’s staff were also stuck.
I haven’t taken a press trip in at least 5 years; I do miss the relationships built and the wacky stuff that happens sometimes more than I miss poking, prodding, and power understeering the latest, greatest vehicles.
Doug DeMuro commenting on press cars and press trips is like vanilla ice cream on chocolate cake. Decent on their own, but perfection together.
Media and marketing—it’s important. Trust that when I’m analyzing a new vehicle, I try to note interesting marketing campaigns. Sponsoring vocal competitions is nothing new—hello, Ford and American Idol—but Chinese automaker Aiways seems to have evolved the concept significantly with the launch of its U6 electric crossover.
Before getting into this Yangyan Yellow electric crossover, watch the Aiways U6 x The Voice of China launch commercial with the sound off. There’s a lot going on—focus on the car.
My favourite exterior detail has to be what Aiways calls an “F1 style sports surround”, similar to what other automakers fit as air curtains, only outside of the bumper and not integrated within the inlet and wheel well.
BMW just did the exact feature for its M2, only buyers have to pay extra for the Competition Pack to get the boy racer bits. Boo-hiss.
“Playing with practical design, it is composed of front and rear spoiler air knives and rear diffuser, which truly improves vehicle performance in terms of wind resistance, battery life and control,” according to the Aiways website.
I don’t love the looks of the sports surround, I love that a karaoke-forward electric crossover from China takes the wind from BMW’s sails for doing it first, better, and as standard equipment.
Same with the U6 interior: since electronic controls removed the need for a physical link between gear selector / shifter and transmission, Western manufacturers have been on this futile quest to reinvent its driver-facing shape. Credit to Aiways for inventing a clever variation: an easy-to-grab motorcycle-style twist bar scrolls between drive modes.
Name? The Star Cruise Shift Knob. Perfect.
“…electric crossovers like the Nissan Ariya and Škoda Enyaq iV might be in for a tough time. On-the-road price for the U6 is closer to $30,000 Usd.—about $10,000 less than the Nissan and Škoda.”
I can’t comment on final European specs, but its launch suite of a 10-speaker Magnat audio system, Level 2+ (Mobileye) Driver Assistance, Artificial Intelligence-infused battery health monitoring, anti-microbial interior treatments, UV-blocking glass roof and available microphones (Voice edition) are compelling details that could sway new customers.
Range? Between 505–590 km, depending on battery size, on the China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle.
Check out the Wheelsboy walkaround below for a tour of the “concept” car in China, but buckle up—Aiways will be selling the U6 to customers in Europe.
How much of its design and engineering do you feel will translate? I’m not sure an upstart from China will sway a Tesla buyer, but electric crossovers like the Nissan Ariya and Škoda Enyaq iV might be in for a tough time.
On-the-road price for the U6 is closer to $30,000 Usd.—about $10,000 less than the Nissan and Škoda.
see also :: The Aiways U6 Is A Sexy, All-new, All-electric Coupe SUV (Walkaround) • Wheelsboy :: Aiways U6 specifications • Aiways :: Special sponsorship of "The Voice of China 2022" featuring smart music cockpit AIWAYS U6 • Aiways :: Aiways U6 • Aiways Europe :: Magnat audio
I can’t believe I’m talking about Nürburgring records again, since I’d long pledged to leave these anachronisms where they belong. However, with Misha providing colour commentary, it’s less about the actual lap time and more about the variables that could have affected a stopwatch’s view of the 2023 Porsche 911 (992) GT3 RS on a lap of the Nordschleife.
I don’t often get to say this, but I’ve been driven around for a few hot laps by the driver in this video, Jörg Bergmeister. Porsche had added a passenger seat to Hurley Haywood’s 914/6 IMSA race car and they had a few auto writers take turns clinging to its roll bar for tours of Willow Springs in California. 🤷♂️
Anyway, is the car fast? Sure! But consider the tremendous commitment it takes to put a time on the leaderboard: Jörg was driving a street-legal Parsh* at race car speeds. The full onboard is also below.
Staged or not, I’m sharing this antisocial behaviour because it’s making the rounds. Police shouldn’t be chasing cars—it leads to an escalation of power dynamics that makes some drivers think they’re entitled to run, emboldened by a ton of horsepower, turning their lights off, and belief in their ability to drive by the flash of their high beams.
And because it is 2022, here is the Corvette owner’s Instagram, complete with “WILL RUN” license plate inserts. Hmmm…