Best Engine Coolant In 2023

Coolant protects your engine from overheating, so it’s pretty important. Your engine deserves good coolant, and we’ve picked some of the best engine coolant for your car.

We know that coolant is there to prevent your engine from overheating, and keeping it topped up is essential car maintenance. However, it does so much more than that. It contains antifreeze to prevent your engine from freezing solid when temperatures plummet. It also lubricates the parts it comes into contact with. This means it helps to protect your water pump, head gasket, cylinders and pistons. As it’s so important for a healthy engine, you don’t want to scrimp when it comes to coolant. There is an awful lot to choose from, but we’ve picked a handful of the best engine coolants to help you buy the right one.

How we chose these products

Although I haven’t had the chance to test each of these products directly, I’ve owned and maintained cars for many, many years. As such, I know which brands have a good reputation in the automotive scene, and crucially what sort of specifications are important for coolant to have.

Best Engine Coolant

Prestone engine coolant

Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze

RRP: $10.38 (1ga). Buy now.

Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze is an excellent choice of engine coolant. Available in 1-litre and 4-litre bottles, either ready-to-use or concentrated, it delivers superb performance. Prestone can safely be added to existing coolant/antifreeze without causing damage. This means it’s perfect whether you’re flushing your coolant, or just topping it up. Rigorous testing means Prestone Coolant/Antifreeze delivers corrosion protection for 150,000 miles/10 years. And it protects from -37°C all to way to 129°C. It’s easy to see why this is such a popular engine coolant, and you can’t go wrong.

Evans engine coolant

Evans Waterless Engine Coolant

RRP: $51.95 (1ga). Buy now.

While it might be more expensive than traditional coolant, Evans’ waterless range has a lot of benefits. These engine coolants contain no water, which eliminates the problems caused by water-based coolants, increasing reliability and extending engine life. The Evans Waterless range protects from -40°C up to 180°C, eliminating the risk of overheating and boil-over you get with water-based coolants. Waterless coolant also generates 75% less vapor pressure, significantly reducing strain on hoses, seals and gaskets. It also reduces cavitation erosion by 75% compared with water-based coolants and eliminates oxidation corrosion.

Finally, Evans Waterless Coolants eliminate pre-ignition and detonation caused by overheating, increasing combustion efficiency and delivering more power. If you’ve got a high-performance car and are looking for a coolant upgrade, you need to check out the Evans Waterless range.

Comma Xstream Engine Coolant

Comma Xstream

RRP: £15.77 (not available in the US). Buy now.

The Comma Xstream range of coolants has something for every engine. Suitable for petrol and diesel engines, it’s a superb choice of coolant for your car. This advanced Organic Additive Technology antifreeze and coolant uses an advanced silicate additive package. It works from exterior temperatures of -36°C up to 45°C, and protects your engine against corrosion, erosion, overheating and freezing. Delivering year-round protection and peace of mind for up to five years, Comma Xstream is a superb coolant.

Zerex

Valvoline Zerex G05

RRP: $20.99 (1ga). Buy now.

This extremely popular engine coolant is an excellent choice to keep your engine happy. Suitable for both petrol and diesel engines, its original long-life chemistry is specially formulated with the highest-quality virgin ethylene glycol and Hybrid Organic Acid Technology. Zerex has been designed to deliver exceptional protection against corrosion, leaking, and deposits as well as freezing and boiling. The low-silicate, reduced pH, phosphate-free formula protects all cooling system metals from corrosion.

Zerex contains nitrites that protect diesel-engine cylinder liners from cavitation, while deposit control additives guard against hard-water deposits and scale. This means that radiators, water pumps and other metal cooling system parts stay clean and your antifreeze flows properly. Whether you’re just topping up your system, or performing a full flush, Zerex won’t disappoint.

Carplan

CarPlan Premium Red Antifreeze & Coolant

RRP: £11.99 (not available in the US). Buy now.

Premium Red Antifreeze is a concentrated antifreeze and summer coolant. It is Ethylene Glycol-based and incorporates the latest in Silicate Organic Acid Technology. CarPlan Premium Red Antifreeze & Coolant uses a synthetic process and additive package. This means it offers superior corrosion resistance over extended service periods. According to CarPlan, it can be left in as a coolant and rust inhibitor for up to five years. It can be diluted 1:3 for summer use or 1:1 to deliver protection down to -36°­C. A good-value choice of coolant that does a good job.

The post Best Engine Coolant In 2023 appeared first on Fast Car.

Best Dash Cam: Top Car Cameras Tested For Every Budget

In today’s world, video recorders are a common tool for streetwise road-users. So, join us as we search for the best dash cam for your car, including products from the likes of Garmin, Nextbase, and Thinkware.

Dash cams – I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that they’re all pretty much alike, but honestly, you’d be surprised how different they can be. Naturally, image quality is a big deal – are you happy enough with 1080p resolution, or will you not settle for anything less than 4K these days? And what about frame rate? Then you need to consider the actual functionality of the dash cam; do you want GPS data, driver assistance, or SOS software? Maybe you want a package that records out the rear window, as well as the front. Heck, if you’re reading Fast Car, you might even want your dash cam to help you achieve faster lap times at your local track.

By now, hopefully you’re getting the idea. Unless you’re clued up about what’s available and what you truly want, it’s easy to end up buying the wrong dash cam. This article will hopefully help you avoid that disappointing fate, as I’ve managed to test out a whole bunch of items first-hand. You can find all the best ones in the compilation below, along with all the key tech info and links to more in-depth reviews. So, happy dash cam hunting!

How we reviewed these products

With each of the products I tested, I wanted to make sure that I was able to portray a comprehensive ownership experience. That meant reporting on everything from the installation process, to the effectiveness of included extra features. I’ve even embedded footage from each dash cam into their own individual reviews, so do make sure to click through if you want to see that with your own eyes.

Naturally, having come into contact with a variety of dash cams while doing this job, I’m well-positioned to assess them against each other and figure out what type of ownership they’d suit best.

Which type of dash cam is right for me?

I’ve decided to collate an array of dash cams, each best suited to different specialized purposes. So, have a look at the list below, and see which category applies best to you. Hopefully, you’ll find something that’s just right!

Best Overall Dash Cam

Nextbase 622GW

Nextbase 622GW

RRP: $399.99, buy now. £269.00, buy now.

Pros: excellent image quality, more features than I thought possible with a dash cam, easy installation.

Cons: quite expensive.

The Nextbase 622GW stands out to me as one of the best overall dash cams on the market. For a start, it offers up to 4K resolution videos, or if you’re more of a frame rate nerd, you can bring the resolution down in the settings to claim up to 120fps. Its Click&Go PRO mount is the best mounting system I’ve come across so far – super easy to adhere to glass, and thanks to its strong magnets you can connect the camera one-handed. The 622GW is also packed full of cool features. The basics like GPS and parking mode are there, but you also get Alexa compatibility, and can even set up What3Words-enhanced SOS messaging if you have a serious crash.

If you want to learn more, make sure to check out my full review of the Nextbase 622GW here.

Tech Specs:

  • Resolution: 4K at 30fps, 1440p at 60fps, 1080p at 120fps
  • Field of View: 140 degrees
  • GPS Speed & Location: Yes
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Best Wireless Dash Cam

Wireless dash cams aren’t necessarily what you may think they are. While it would be nice to be fully rid of power cables, in reality, ‘wireless’ dash cams simply refer to dash cams which can upload footage via the cloud, rather than needing a physical connection to your PC. So, they’re still better and more efficient than a ‘wired’ dash cam, but they’re not quite as good as you might have hoped. Sorry. Better to set things straight first though, right?

Garmin Dash cam Live

Garmin Dash Cam Live with LTE Connectivity

RRP: $399.99 / £349.99, buy now.

Pros: great image quality, easy installation, good app support.

Cons: subscription service is costly in the long-run.

Garmin make some top quality automotive tech products, and you can feel that when using the Garmin Dash Cam Live. It’s equipped with a 1440p HD resolution camera that records in 30FPS, with a 140-degree lens. Those specs amount to a pretty good picture quality, but at this price point you would probably hope for slightly better (see the options below for more). It’s wonderfully easy to install though, and the accompanying Garmin Drive app offers a great deal of functionality. Unfortunately, to gain access to all of those functions, you’ll need to pay a subscription fee which starts from $9.99/£9.99 per month. Overall, it’s a good product but there are certain flaws you need to assess before buying to decide if it’s the right dash cam for you. To find out more, read our full in-depth review!

Tech Specs:

  • Resolution: 1440p
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Field of view: 140 degrees horizontal
  • GPS Speed & Location: Yes
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Best Budget Dash Cam

Nextbase 222 in box

Nextbase 222

RRP: $99.99, buy now / £79.99, buy now.

Pros: affordable, good daytime image quality.

Cons: No GPS, underwhelming night performance.

As with the Thinkware mentioned above, this Nextbase 222 proves that you don’t need to buy from an obscure brand to get a competent dash cam on a tight budget. The 222 records in 1080P at 30fps and has a 140° viewing angle. The 6G lens, meanwhile, provides you with high-quality images. You can then view your recordings back directly through the camera thanks to its 2.5” high-resolution IPS screen. One neat feature which isn’t often seen is the 222’s Click&Go powered windscreen mount. This means the power cable goes directly into the mount rather than the camera itself, making it easier to install and remove inside the car.

Read my full review of the Nextbase 222 here.

Tech Specs:

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Field of view: 140 degrees horizontal
  • GPS Speed & Location: No
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Visit our guide to the best budget dash cam in 2023 for more cheap dash cam advice. 

Best Compact Dash Cam

Garmin dash cam mini 2

Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2

RRP: $129.99, buy now. / £119.99, buy now.

Pros: compact & discreet, good value for money.

Cons: lacks features.

The Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 is delightfully compact and super simple to install. Video footage is pretty decent quality – 1080p resolution at 30fps with a 140-degree field of view, to be precise. Dark conditions are where it falls down slightly though, with finer details such as license plates being hard to pick out. Overall, while it may lack some of the extra features and gimmicks that bigger, more expensive dash cams provide, the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2 represents great value for money if you just want a competent, discreet dash cam.

For a much more in depth look at the Garmin Dash Cam Mini 2’s strengths and weaknesses, be sure to read our hands-on review of it.

Tech Specs:

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Field of view: 140 degrees horizontal
  • GPS Speed & Location: No
  • Parking Mode: No (unless you buy additional OBD2 power cable)

Best Dual Cam Package

Thinkware X1000

Thinkware X1000

RRP: $299.00, buy now. £269.00, buy now.

Pros: equal picture quality at front and rear, excellent night performance.

Cons: no GPS as standard.

The Thinkware X1000 is a really solid dual cam setup. What I really like about it is the fact that both the front and rear camera have the same picture resolution and field of view. Plus, Super Night Vision really does help the camera to reduce glare at night. I did find that its G sensor was a little oversensitive, but it’s better for that to be the case (and then turn it down in the settings) than to have a sensor which isn’t sensitive enough. The one thing that lets it down the most for me is the lack of GPS as standard, but in my opinion the core ingredients are good enough for that extra cost to be forgiven.

Read my full review of the Thinkware X1000 to find out more.

Tech Specs:

  • Resolution: 1440p
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Field of view: 156 degrees
  • GPS Speed & Location: Not as standard
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Best High-End Dash Cam

Thinkware U3000 on hood

Thinkware U3000

RRP: $699.99 / £529.00 for dual set. Buy now. Can also be purchased as a front camera only for $549.99 / £399.00.

Pros: very good image quality at front and rear.

Cons: expensive, clunky mounting system.

The Thinkware U3000 is a high-end option, boasting 4K UHD footage up front, and 2K QHD footage at the rear. In standard guise it performs well, however Thinkware also throws in a CPL filter and boosted night vision at no extra cost, so you can upgrade it without paying any extra. As well as being a camera, it’s also a driver assistant too, using radar technology to offer lane departure warnings, collision warnings, and a sensor to prioritize recordings when impacts occur. If that sounds good to you, check out my in-depth review.

Tech Specs:

  • Resolution: 2160p front, 1440p rear
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Field of view: 152 degrees front, 128 degrees rear (horizontal)
  • GPS Speed & Location: Yes
  • Parking Mode: Yes

Best Dash Cam For Track Days

Garmin Catalyst Driving Performance Optimizer

Garmin Catalyst Driving Performance Optimizer

RRP: $999.00 / £899.00

Pros: the ultimate robot tutor for weekend track day warriors.

Cons: expensive.

The Catalyst Driving Performance Optimizer has to be one of the best dash cams for track days around. When you’re on a circuit, you’ll be recording footage for one of two reasons – either as a keepsake to watch back, or as a way of assessing how you can improve as a high-performance driver. Happily, this Garmin is packed full of tech which is ideal for either of those reasons.

Endorsed by Motorsport UK, this little camera is a bit like having a silent race engineer. It’ll record your lap times and offer all kinds of analytical data, even going as far as to suggest ways that you can go faster. For instance, it might advise you on whether to take an early or late apex at any given corner. Frankly, this camera and its supporting software has far more up its sleeve than we thought possible from a dash cam. And that’s why it costs as much as it does.

Tech Specs:

  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Frame rate: 30fps
  • Field of view: 140 degrees horizontal
  • GPS Speed & Location: Yes
  • Parking Mode: No
Best Wireless Dash Cam In 2023

No PC? No problem. If you don’t have a computer, you can still get your hands on a great dash cam and still view your footage. Here’s our selection of the best wireless dash cams you can buy.

Even if you think you’ve got the best dash cam already, getting to your recorded footage can be a hassle if it’s a traditional wired model. Not everyone has a computer or even access to one. Even if you do, getting the memory card out of your dash cam is more effort than anyone needs. A wireless dash cam makes life so much simpler.

With built-in Wi-Fi, you can quickly and easily connect your phone to one of these dash cams. From there, you can access your video recordings, download them and share them. This means you can get a dash cam without a screen, which takes up a lot less windscreen real estate. Basically, having a wireless dash cam will just make things that much easier and better. We’ve picked five of the best wireless dash cams that are well-specced but still affordable.

How we chose these products

While not all of the products below have gone through our usual rigorous testing, they have been selected based on a number of features you should expect to find in the best products.

The cameras which have been tested first-hand have been recommended by James, who’s overseen all of the dash cam reviews on our site so far. As such, he’s got a good understanding of which ones are worth your time and money.

How we tested the products

For those which we’ve been able to test first-hand so far, we felt it was important to get a well-rounded view of what ownership with each of these cameras should be like. That meant covering everything from installation, to user ergonomics, and of course product performance. We’ll give you an overview of our findings here, but we’ll also include a link to each individual review so that you can learn about each camera in more detail.

At a glance:

Best Wireless Dash Cam In 2023

Garmin Dash cam Live

Garmin Dash Cam Live

RRP: $399.99, buy now. £349.99, buy now.

At the moment, the Garmin Dash Cam Live with LTE connectivity (catchy name, eh) is probably the most capable wireless dash cam on the market. Its app not only allows you to remotely access video footage stored on the cloud, but also to view all sorts of data which could be vital in a legal or criminal situation. Speed, location, and time data validates your account when you make a claim or defend yourself in court. Plus, if you hook it up to a constant power source, the Garmin app will let you view a direct feed of the dash cam’s view when you’re away from the car. That remote live video feature could prove to be especially useful in conjunction with live location tracking, should your car ever be stolen.

As for the image quality, the camera records in a resolution of 1440p at 30fps, through a 140-degree angle lens. So overall, the footage you get holds up very well in day and night. There is a catch though. And that’s the subscription fee. Yep, if you want to retain full access to remote live video and vehicle tracking, you’ll need to pay $9.99 per month, or more, depending on which tier of subscription you fancy. To learn more, read the full review here.

Z-Edge wireless dash cam

Z-Edge Z3D-2K

RRP: $99.99, buy now. £143.99, buy now.

The Z-Edge Z3D-2K gives you two cameras in one great-value package. The front camera offers 2K 30fps recording with a 155° viewing angle. The rear camera records in 1080p at 30fps and has the same 155° viewing angle. That means you’ve got four lanes of camera coverage front and rear. The Wide Dynamic Range means clear recording in all lighting conditions. Meanwhile, the Superior NTK96670 CPU boosts low-light settings for improved image quality at night. The Z3D-2K also comes with built-in GPS, plus a G-sensor and parking monitor. Packed full of features, the Z3D-2K is an excellent wireless dash cam.

Thinkware U3000 on hood

Thinkware U3000

RRP: $549.00, buy now. £399.00, buy now.

The Thinkware U3000 is firmly on the other end of the price spectrum compared to the Z-Edge above. So, what has it got to show for it? Well, the app that comes with the U3000 is pretty cool. As well as being able to remotely access your files, you can also tune into a livestream taken directly from the dash cam when you’re away from your car (assuming you’ve hardwired it, or are feeding it power through the OBD2 port). That means that, like a baby monitor, you can check in on your car at anytime to make sure it’s still where you left it, and isn’t in any sort of peril.

The camera quality is good – it records in 4K Ultra HD ensuring you get a crystal clear image, and if you opt for the rear camera add-on, that’ll record in 2K. If you didn’t like the sound of Garmin’s subscription service, you’ll be glad to know that there are no additional costs with this high-end item. So although you pay a lot up front, that’s *all* you pay. Read the full review to find out more.

Rove wireless dash cam

Rove R2-4K

RRP: $173.99, buy now. £289.99, buy now.

With Ultra HD recording, the Rove R2-4K is an impressive piece of kit. You only get one camera, but it records 2880x2160P at 24fps and has a 150° viewing angle. The six-glass lens ensures superb clarity aided by the Wide Dynamic Range. Meanwhile, the combo of NT96660 and Sony IMX335 sensors delivers excellent nighttime recording. There’s also built-in GPS, plus a G-sensor and parking monitor. The Rove R2-4K is a compact wireless dash cam that delivers impressive performance at an excellent price.

Nextbase 622GW

Nextbase 622GW

RRP: $399.99, buy now. £269.00, buy now.

Nextbase dash cams are consistently excellent. The 622GW in particular packs an impressive punch. The camera records 4K at 30fps, but you can turn the resolution down in favor of up to 120fps if you wish. It also has a 140° viewing angle and the 6G glass lens ensures you get crystal-clear video quality. What we really like is the built-in polarizing filter, which reduces glare and reflections. This really improves video clarity in bright conditions, and helps out in urban environments at night too. There’s a 3” touchscreen IPS display, and the powered Click&Go windscreen mount makes attaching and removing the 622GW so easy. There’s GPS, an intelligent parking mode, and an adjustable G-sensor.

What sets the 622GW apart from its rivals, however, are the extra features it offers. There’s Amazon Alexa built-in, which allows you to get directions, play music, check the weather and lots more. There’s also an Emergency SOS function, that will contact the emergency services in case of an accident. It might be more expensive than some of the lesser-known brands, but the 622GW makes up for it in lots of ways. This is a very impressive wireless dash cam that doesn’t disappoint. Check out our in-depth review of it to learn more.

Wired vs Wireless dash cams

If you’re unsure what the difference between a traditional wired and wireless dash cam, we’re here to help. Technically speaking, no matter what dash cam you opt for, it will most likely need powering by a wired connection.  Without a wired power connection, a internal battery would only be able to record a limited amount of footage without running out of power. The “wireless” part is referring to how the footage is stored. There are two methods here:

  • Store the footage locally on a memory card
  • Upload footage automatically to a cloud storage service

If the dash cam only supports storage locally on a memory card, then this would be considered a wired dash cam. You need to plug the dash cam into a PC in order to obtain your footage. If the latter option, whereby footage is upload to the cloud, this becomes a wireless dash cam, as you don’t need to connect your dash to a PC via a data transfer cable. It’s important to note that a dash cam can feature both, the ability to store locally on a memory card as well as provide a backup on a cloud service for the best of both worlds.

What are the benefits of a wireless or internet-connected dash cam?

The first, and arguably most important, is that you can access footage in real-time. This means that if you’re involved in a collision, you can quickly access your footage for evidence should you need it. Often, dash cams can detect rapid deceleration in the event of a collision instantly and upload a period of footage to the cloud without you needing to do a thing.

The second benefit is that the footage uploaded to the cloud is saved securely in one area, meaning you don’t have to search around for the memory card, or a device to connect to the dash cam. It also means that older footage of an incident can be accessed quickly and securely should you need the footage as evidence. Often, the cloud databases are encrypted, meaning you and only you can access the footage.

And finally, a wireless dash cam has much greater storage capability. While a wired dash cam is limited to the physical space on a memory card (or set up to overwrite older footage automatically), a wireless dashcam is only limited to the cloud storage available, which is usually multiple GBs of footage. It also means you don’t have to compromise on camera quality. While you might be encouraged to only record at 720p on your wired dash cam to save space on your memory card, a cloud service allows you to record in full HD or even 2K/4K resolution to ensure the truest picture is painted.

Words by Elizabeth de Latour and James Bowers.

The post Best Wireless Dash Cam In 2023 appeared first on Fast Car.

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma Adds Some Polish But Keeps The Fun

Verdict

8.6 / 10

– Malibu, California 

During my zillionth rewatch of The Simpsons, I’ve arrived at the episode when Marge starts working at a real estate agency owned by the unscrupulous Lionel Hutz. In an attempt to counter Marge’s vigilant honesty, he advises her to describe dilapidated homes as “rustic” and small ones as “cozy.”

That clip pops into my mind every time I drive a previous-generation Toyota Tacoma, a vehicle I really like in spite of its obvious drawbacks – think “charmingly vintage” driving dynamics and a cramped interior that meets Mr. Hutz’s excessively euphemistic standards for comfort. Thankfully, the 2024 Tacoma is here to make good on its predecessor’s failings while still maintaining an affable, Toyota-spec fun factor behind the wheel.

The old truck’s underpowered engines are replaced by a 2.4-liter turbo four in three states of tune. The Taco’s new platform (TNGA-F, shared with the Tundra) is much stiffer to the benefit of capability, handling, and comfort. The cabin finally has space for folks taller than 5-foot-10, and the tech suite is contemporary. Like real estate, the mid-size truck market is hotter than ever, but the new Tacoma is ready to deal.

Quick Stats2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road
EngineTurbocharged 2.4-Liter I4
Output270 Horsepower / 310 Pound-Feet
TransmissionSix-Speed Manual
Ground Clearance11.0 Inches
Price As Tested$44,500
On SaleDecember 2023

Outdoor Living Space

As always, Toyota takes great pains to ensure its pickup truck lineup is adventure-capable, and in the case of the Tacoma TRD Off-Road I drove, that means trim-specific monotube Bilstein dampers with remote reservoirs, robust 32-inch all-terrain tires, a few key frame reinforcements, and an optional front sway bar disconnect system. With 11.0 inches of ground clearance, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road has little trouble tackling rock gardens and desert washes, and the commendable 32.2-degree approach, 24.7-degree breakover, and 26.6-degree departure angles are at or near the top of the class for mid-sizers (excluding more expensive, harder-core trims like the Colorado ZR2 and Ranger Raptor).

The TRD Off-Road comes standard with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch infotainment display, but my tester had the optional 14.0-inch center touchscreen that looks much more appropriate in the Tacoma’s modern cabin. It also had a manual transmission, which isn’t available with the low-speed Crawl Control and hill descent assistance that come standard on autobox-equipped trucks, but the pickup I drove did have the aforementioned sway bar disconnect system that improves articulation over off-road obstacles.

Approach/Departure/BreakoverGround Clearance
Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road32.5 / 26.6 / 24.7 Degrees11.0 Inches
Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss30.5 / 22.4 / 21.0 Degrees9.5 Inches
Ford Ranger FX430.2 / 25.8 / 23.0 Degrees9.3 Inches
Jeep Gladiator Willys40.8 / 25.0 / 18.4 Degrees10.0 Inches
Nissan Frontier Pro-4X32.3 / 23.0 / 19.6 Degrees9.5 Inches

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Exterior Front Quarter 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Exterior Rear Quarter

That combination of features led to a surprisingly easy, yet still involving driving experience on the 30-minute off-road trail Toyota set up in the Santa Monica Mountains. Thanks to a short first gear and the low-range transfer case, I was able to simply remove my foot from the clutch and let the torque multiplication idle the Tacoma through rocks. That low gearing also helped me tackle steep ascents and treacherous downhills with barely any braking or throttle application. Some credit surely goes to the engine, which makes all of its 310 lb-ft at just 1,700 rpm – automatic-equipped trucks boast 317 torques at the same revs, for the record.

And with the sway bar disconnected, the Taco’s front axle bobs and floats over all but the largest dips, improving stability and driver confidence in low-speed off-road situations immensely. But even with it fully engaged, the Tacoma’s softly sprung suspension gives it decent comfort in the rough, with a short, maneuverable wheelbase adding to the fun in coastal California’s tight scrub oak confines. As expected, the Toyota is one of the more entertaining entries in the mid-size truck segment when dirt and rocks are involved. But to my surprise, its off-road talent doesn’t come at the expense of on-road competence.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Exterior Rear Quarter 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Interior Front Seat 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Interior Rear Seats

Great Flow For Entertaining

Out on the highway, the TRD Off-Road’s well-tuned Bilstein shocks and stiff TNGA-F platform give it better control and ride comfort. Wind noise is decently hushed, and although there’s some predictable thrum from the BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A rolling stock, it never rises to an unacceptable level. On Los Angeles’ famously unkempt freeways, the Tacoma resists porpoising motions well, but uneven pavement does elicit some jiggling from the live rear axle. The Chevrolet Colorado does a better crossover imitation in that respect, as does even the previous-gen Ford Ranger.

Handling on twisty roads isn’t particularly athletic (again, squishy all-terrain tires), but while the old Tacoma would start to feel out of sorts on a cloverleaf on-ramp, the new one maintains its composure even hurtling down a curvy descent into coastal Malibu at highway speeds. The torque-rich engine works well going back up the same incline, allowing the Tacoma to pass slower traffic in fifth gear while the old one would be screaming away in third and still losing speed.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Exterior Front Quarter

As expected, the Toyota is one of the more entertaining entries in the mid-size truck segment when dirt and rocks are involved.

Speaking of, the manual gearbox may be ropey in feel and long in throw, but it’s still fun to stir the gear lever around – suddenly I’m 22 again, taking a stint behind the wheel of my buddy’s 1992 Toyota 4×4 during a long weekend camping trip through Yellowstone. It’s great that Toyota offers a stick shift, even if it’s only on certain trims of the four-door Double Cab. Only the Jeep Gladiator offers as much DIY fun, and that truck is far more expensive and far less composed on-road.

Unfortunately, while the Tacoma’s front seats offer the space and support that us 75th-percentile adults need, the rear of the Double Cab is still the stuff of mini-truck legend. With the front row set for my 32-inch inseam, I couldn’t get particularly comfortable in back, with my knees either brushing the front seat or splayed out to the side like a leapfrog. Headroom is acceptable, and the Tacoma’s passenger quarters are marginally more spacious than the Nissan Frontier’s, but the domestic competition is better still.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Interior Shifter

Built-In Theater System

The new Tacoma continues to treat its front-seat passengers with a vastly improved infotainment system relative to the old one. Displayed on my tester’s 14.0-inch screen, the software is far easier to use, with simpler menu structures and crisper graphics than its predecessor. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both wireless, regardless of screen size. The system’s touch response leaves a little to be desired, and it’s difficult to swap between native and smartphone apps without multiple inputs – a simple home button would solve that issue. Otherwise, the tech suite is finally up to the mid-size standard.

And the Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 active safety features take their spot at the top of the class. Like most of its competitors, every Tacoma comes with automatic emergency braking, forward collision monitoring, and lane departure prevention. But Toyota goes further, giving even the utilitarian SR model full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and automatic high beams for the LED headlights. TSS 3.0 works very well at keeping the pickup well-spaced from surrounding traffic, even in heavy traffic and through construction zone lane shifts.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Interior Infotainment 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Interior Rear Power Points

Now Accepting Offers

Unlike real estate, we seem to be at the end of the era when dealerships could charge over MSRP for new vehicles, which may help prospective Tacoma owners swallow a slightly larger pill. For 2024, the base Tacoma SR Access Cab 4×2 costs $31,500 plus $1,495 destination, up $2,900 over the outgoing pickup. There’s a more powerful 228-hp engine – up from a paltry 159 – and the SR does offer a lot more technology than its immediate predecessor. But nearly 34 large still feels like a lot for a work-grade two-seater (the extended-cab Taco no longer offers a bench seat, rear jump seats, or rear-opening doors).

Move into a volume model like the SR5 Double Cab and all of a sudden, you’re staring down a $38,695 barrel for a 4×2 or $40,095 for a 4×4. A manual-transmission TRD Off-Road like the one I spent my day in demands $43,295 before options, which in the case of my tester should add about $1,500 to the bottom line.

Base PriceComparably Equipped
Toyota Tacoma$32,995$45,000 (est.)
Chevrolet Colorado$30,965$42,340
Ford Ranger$34,160$45,595
Jeep Gladiator$41,515$56,960
Nissan Frontier$31,265$43,975

Is 45 large too much to ask for a midsize pickup? My inner Grampa Simpson says yes. But then again, Chevrolet’s four-door-only Colorado costs only about $2,000 less, both at the bottom end and comparably equipped. The newest Ford Ranger demands a bit more than the Tacoma, and the base Jeep Gladiator Sport is a $41,515 proposition before any options at all. And let’s not forget that while most of Toyota’s primary competitors are limited to a single four-door, 5-foot-bed body style, the Tacoma adds an extended cab and a crew-cab long-bed layout to the mix – so does the Nissan Frontier, to be fair.

Honestly though, Toyota trucks could sell a bajillion units on their cool-cat reputation and sterling reliability alone. But unlike its predecessor, the 2024 Tacoma deserves to be as desired as it is, thanks to a comfortable ride, quiet cabin, easygoing engine, and personality-stuffed driving character. Charming indeed, no quotation marks needed.

Check Out These Tough Trucks:

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X Review: Just As Tough, Better Than Ever
2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison First Drive Review: Zimply The Best

Tacoma Competitors

Ford Ranger Chevrolet Colorado GMC Canyon Jeep Gladiator Nissan Frontier

FAQs

Is The 2024 Toyota Tacoma A Hybrid?

The new Tacoma will offer a so-called I-Force Max hybrid powertrain in some trims, with a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine and electric motor producing 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet. At first, however, Tacomas will offer a non-hybrid turbo four that makes 228 hp on the base SR, 270 hp on Tacomas with the manual gearbox, and 278 hp on all automatics except the entry-level truck.

Can The Tacoma Go Off-Road?

All Tacomas get a limited-slip rear differential for more traction, but if you go for the TRD Off-Road, you’ll get strategic frame reinforcements, remote-reservoir monotube shocks, and 32-inch all-terrain tires. The TRD Pro and Trailhunter trims should be even more capable, but we haven’t driven them yet.

How Much Does The Toyota Tacoma Cost?

The 2024 Toyota Tacoma starts at $32,995 with destination, making it one of the more affordable entries in the mid-size pickup segment.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road
EngineTurbocharged 2.4-Liter I4
Output270 Horsepower / 310 Pound-Feet
TransmissionSix-Speed Manual
Drive TypeFour-Wheel Drive
Efficiency18 City / 23 Highway / 20 Combined
Weight4,485 Pounds
Seating Capacity5
Towing6,400 Pounds
Payload1,705 Pounds
Ground clearance11.0 Inches
Base Price$31,500 + $1,495 Destination
Trim Base Price$43,295
As-Tested Price$45,000 (est.)
The Spyker C8 Is the Coolest Car For The Money, Period

Analyzed at a dollar-to-cool ratio, is there a car that tops the Spyker C8? Sure, a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale or a Ford GT of the same era currently cost about the same as this car. However, parked alongside one another, could you really say that either of those are cooler?

I was very fortunate to grow up in a relatively affluent part of Ohio that loved cars, and there were TWO Spykers in my hometown – a Spyder and a Laviolette. I remember my first time seeing the latter, asking exactly what everyone does: “What is that?” The owner, having experienced this interaction before, kindly explained that it was built by a Dutch company that historically made airplanes and racecars. It was easily the coolest car I’d ever seen, definitely more spaceship than road car.

I recently drove one for Cars & Bids, and I was overly eager to do so. Doug DeMuro mentioned to me that it’s fun to drive, but I wasn’t that concerned about the driving experience – I just wanted to be around a Spyker to soak in the whole thing, one-on-one.

Its design is spectacular wherever you encounter it, and it still captivates attention to an absurd degree. While filming this one, I moved it outside to get some B-roll in the sunlight, and it caught the attention of some construction workers, who wandered over to check out this peculiar machine. It was my turn to answer, “What is that? Is it some kind of Ferrari?” No one knows – but they want to know, and it was fun to be the one answering this time.

After a brief explanation, a press of the button located behind the mirror opens the scissor door, and everyone peers inside. The machine-turned dashboard, the polished shift linkage, the non-airbag “Aeroblade” steering wheel – it’s all fascinating to look at. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” states one of the workers – yep, you’re not alone, sir. From the gasket-less edge of the windshield to the toggle switches on the dashboard, everything is beautiful and intriguing. You just marvel at the theater of it all.

Then you start the thing, which is a process on its own. You put the Audi-sourced key into the ignition slot in the glovebox to disarm the car. Next, you flip the toggle switch to turn on the ignition, and then you press ‘Engine Start’ – the C8 burbles into life. The R8-derived, 40-valve V8 is superb. Because it has five valves per cylinder, unlike the RS4 and R8, it sounds distinctly different at high RPMs. A special sound for a special car.

The shifter action is so slick and direct, too, with virtually no play in-gear. I had always wondered if it’d be odd to use, but really, it’s just like any other linkage with a shift rod – you just get to see the shift rod in the cabin. It’s all really pretty conventional. The clutch is very grabby, however, and the brakes have no assist, requiring firm pressure to engage.

More on the Spyker C8

Spyker Bids Adieu To C8 Aileron With LM85 Special Edition
Rare Spyker C8 Laviolette With Audi V8 For Sale

The ride quality is very stiff. The spaceframe chassis and the inboard Koni suspension certainly amplify the rigidity. However, it doesn’t make you want to rip it on a back road. It makes you want to cruise around and occasionally get on the throttle to enjoy the fruits of that fifth valve. After a while, you become accustomed to these nuances, and it’s as easy to drive as any other modern car.

Some parts really feel dated, though. The gauge design is as mid-2000s and creamy beige as Tony Saprano’s home interior decor. The flat exterior badges also share the graphic design language of the mid-2000s, and the taillights are shared with the Lamborghini Diablo. But who cares? The holistic view of the car is that it’s cool – a “car you wear more than drive.”

The car still captivates people as strongly now as it did when I was a kid. It’s an unusual blend of aluminum, leather, and glass, topped with a V8 burble and a shifter from another planet. The best part is that it’s fun and easy to drive, and it makes you feel very special. To get a car of a similar ilk, we’re talking about getting something like a Zonda, examples of which now reportedly trade hands for around $10,000,000. For roughly three or four percent of that price, the Spyker C8 Spyder unquestionably holds its own. It’s so very cool – just be prepared to answer some questions every time you use it.



Source: Cars & Bids

The Porsche Panamera's Trick Suspension Is Unlike Anything We've Driven

– Leipzig, Germany

When it first debuted, the Panamera was derided for how it looked but praised for how it drove. Porsche’s first sedan was simply brilliant, even if it was designed by someone imagining a 911 backed into a shed. The second-generation car wasn’t only great to drive but looked pretty as well. Now, we have this, the G3 generation. It takes the last gen and makes it more aggressive, while also doing some truly innovative developments under the skin.

Set to launch in 2024, the G3 Panamera will hit showrooms with two engine variants. The entry-level car starts at $101,550 and comes with a turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 packing 348 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque, which’ll be enough to see off 0-62 miles per hour in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph.

Quick Specs2024 Porsche Panamera (Base)
EngineTurbocharged 2.9-Liter V6
Output348 Horsepower / 368 Pound-Feet
0-62 MPH4.8 Seconds
Top Speed168 Miles Per Hour
Base Price$101,550

Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review

If you want all-wheel drive, that’ll set you back $108,550. The range-topping Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid is even wilder. There’s no price yet, but the headline figures are eye-widening: turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, 670 hp, 685 pound-feet, 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds, and a 195 mph top speed.

It comes with a new PDK gearbox that can handle more torque – a good thing considering the Turbo E Hybrid has loads of it – and the electric motor is integrated within. The E-Hybrid’s electric motor, incidentally, is rated at 187 hp and 331 lb-ft, which, in conjunction with a new 25.9-kilowatt-hour battery means it can cruise emissions-free 70% further than before (the G2 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid premises 31 miles of EV range). With an 11-kilowatt charging capability, it’ll top its battery in 2:18, too.

Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review

Although the cars we drove were camouflaged, the redesign takes the lovely looking last-generation car and adds an aggressive edge. Its front wings are higher to give a chunkier stance, while simultaneously extending the wheels further out to the corners. There’s a giant nostril front and center to help feed the engine.

Turbo cars get key details in the firm’s new Turbonite (an incredible name) colorway, ‘turbo’ badges in strategic places, and the option of having center lock wheels akin, just what you need on a luxury sedan. Porsche’s already made a big deal about the new car’s interior – at first glance, it doesn’t appear to be a huge leap over the outgoing car, but a clutter-free center console and a slicker 10.9-inch infotainment screen tidy things up.

So, it looks good and has plenty of power, but what’s really new about it? The suspension. Porsche’s engineers were jumping with glee to show off the Porsche Active Ride.

Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review

Using a single chamber suspension setup, paired with a two-valve damper and a pump unit, Porsche Active Ride (PAR) is akin to having a psychic at each corner. Depending on what you’re doing with the car, it’s ready to react and smooth out the ride on the fly.

For example, if the road is looking rough, it’ll prime each wheel to react differently to smooth out imperfections. In corners, it’ll keep the car balanced, and when you open the door it’ll raise the ride height by a couple of inches for easier ingress. That, or variations thereof, has been seen before. What hasn’t been seen is how it reacts to acceleration and braking.

Porsche’s theory here is that when you mash the gas, it’ll dip the nose to counteract the effects of physics – usually a car will lift its nose under acceleration as weight shifts rearwards. When you brake, it’ll raise the front. The aim is to eliminate passenger discomfort.

Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review

Porsche Active Ride is akin to having a psychic at each corner.

At Porsche’s Leipzig factory, where the new Panamera will be built, we got the chance to take heavily camouflaged Turbo E-Hybrid cars out on the road to see how the system worked, as well as see how the new V8 feels. It was interesting.

The power on offer in the Turbo E-Hybrid is incredibly entertaining. If you’re in the mood to be a hooligan, stabbing the throttle will build numbers on its beautifully clear digital dash at an Autobahn-friendly rate. A powerful car being fast is hardly a shocker though, is it? Porsche’s usual mix of drive modes is out in full force, too.

In its most inert tune, the car’s a smooth, comfy ride that doesn’t feel as though it’s got enough grunt to throw you across counties in mere seconds. Dial it up to Sport and Sport Plus, and you’ll get more urgent power, heavier steering, and a harder ride. You can take the kids to school, then throw a decent lap of the ‘Ring in on the way to work.

Playing with the PAR, we were told to accelerate hard to really feel its effects. I mashed my foot and felt the rear of the car rise when I expected to be tilted backward. It felt truly bizarre, like walking onto a broken escalator – you expect upward movement but don’t get it. I tried again, the rear lifted and I was being pitched gently forward with the acceleration.

Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review

Braking is when it got really strange. For 20 years, every time I’ve braked, the car I’m in leaned on its nose as kinetic energy and mass did their thing. It’s what cars do. PAR does not let that happen. Instead, the nose noticeably lifts. It felt, if you’ve ever had the pleasure, like falling off a skateboard – your feet go forward rather more quickly than the rest of you. I tried it a few times to make sure I’d not been drugged, but the results were the same – I was slowing while falling off a skateboard again and again. Of the two, braking felt stranger.

Cornering always felt smooth, and the ride top-notch to the point of being pillowy, but going and stopping left me feeling decidedly strange. As the Panamera is still a way off, perhaps there’s time to make it a touch less extreme.

Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review

It felt truly bizarre, like walking onto a broken escalator – you expect upward movement but don’t get it.

For contrast, I had a ride in a car with the standard air suspension. It felt, well, normal, and did what you’d expect it to do. It felt less composed over rough surfaces, though it’s not quite as advanced as its Tony Hawk-aping sibling.

As early impressions go, the new Panamera is a strong package. It looks great, and will surely cut a fine figure against its rivals’ more challenging designs. Speed isn’t an issue either. PAR is a true highlight, if a little strange. Perhaps it’ll be something to get used to? We’ll see how it fares when the production car is ready next year.

More On The Panamera:

2024 Porsche Panamera Prototype First Drive Review: Luxe And Lively
2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Review: A Case For Everything

Competitor Reviews

Audi A7 BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe Mercedes-Benz S-Class

2024 Porsche Panamera (Base)
EngineTurbocharged 2.9-Liter V6
Output348 Horsepower / 368 Pound-Feet
TransmissionEight-Speed Dual-Clutch
Speed 0-62 MPH4.8 Seconds
Maximum speed168 Miles Per Hour
Seating Capacity5
Base Price$101,550
On SaleEarly 2024
Best Snow Foam In 2023

If you’re hunting for a seriously powerful pre-wash for your car, our eight-way snow foam group test will help you pick the best one.

Work smarter, not harder is a phrase that applies to car detailing. Squaring up to a particularly mucky machine may be daunting, but the right tools make the job so much easier. Snow foam is an essential part of the pre-wash process, and a powerful snow foam will remove loads of dirt on its own.

This way, there will be less work involved in washing it, which makes your life easier. As a bonus, if your car is cleaner when you start washing, there’s less chance of damaging the paint. The 10 minutes or so that snow foaming takes is absolutely worth it.

Best Snow Foam group test

There’s a huge range of snow foam out there to choose from. As Fast Car’s Detailing Product tester, I’ve done the hard work to make it easier for you to choose. I’ve picked eight popular snow foams and pitted them against each other in a group test.

I’m looking for snow foam that delivers impressive cleaning performance first and foremost. I will take value for money into account as well, but I want something that will do some serious cleaning. There are some very impressive products here, so read on to see my picks for the best snow foam.

Best Snow Foam At A Glance

  • Best Overall and Editor’s Choice: Bilt Hamber Touch-Less. RRP: $59.95, buy now! £19.13, buy now!
  • Approved: Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam. RRP: $21.95, buy now! £13.99, buy now! 
  • Approved: Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash. RRP: $21.99, buy now! £24.99, buy now! 
  • Best Value: Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam. RRP: $30.99, buy now! £17.72, buy now! 

Bilt Hamber snow foam

Bilt Hamber Touch-Less – Best Overall and Editor’s Choice

Size tested: 1.32 gallons/5 liters. RRP: $59.95, buy now! £19.13, buy now!

Pros:

  • Exceptional cleaning performance

Cons:

  • Working out panel impact ratio is fiddly

Bilt Hamber Touch-Less is about maximum cleaning, pure and simple. It’s not pH-neutral, there’s no fancy smell and doesn’t make a mountain of foam. It’s been designed to get your car as clean as possible in the pre-wash stage. And it does. Using it for the first time is a little tricky. To get the correct dilution ratio, you need to work out the panel impact ratio for your foam lance. Bilt Hamber provides instructions on how to do this, thankfully. And you don’t have to worry about it unless you use a different foam lance.

You will find that you need more product than with other snow foams because of this. But that’s why Touch-Less comes in such a large container. The cleaning power is second-to-none, and it pulls dirt from your car’s panels like you won’t believe. Bilt Hamber Touch-Less is the definition of work smarter, not harder. This is my go-to snow foam and the best on the market.

Take a look at our full review of Bilt Hamber’s Touch-Less snow foam here.

Gtechniq snow foam

Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam Approved

Size tested: 33.8 fl oz/1 liter. RRP: $28.95, buy now! £13.99, buy now! 

Pros:

  • Impressive cleaning power despite being pH-neutral

Cons:

  • Just not quite as good as Touch-Less

Gtechniq’s W4 Citrus Foam snow foam is a coating-safe pH-neutral formula. That would normally suggest it won’t perform that well, that’s not the case here. The secret to W4’s impressive performance is that it combines a citrus degreaser with a foaming agent. A citrus pre-wash is something you can use before applying snow foam. By integrating it into the snow foam, Gtechniq has upped its cleaning power significantly. At the same time, it’s still pH-neutral, which means it won’t degrade any wax you’ve got on the paint.

W4 Citrus Foam comes out a little watery but clings well. It really impressed me, and the combo of citrus degreaser and foaming agent cuts through the dirt with ease. Using 3.38 fl. oz (100ml) of W4 as per the instructions means you’ll get 10 washes, which is not bad. The combination of impressive cleaning power and pH-neutral formula is a real winner. Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam is another snow foam that I will be adding to my collection.

For more advice, rear our full review of the Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam.

Griot's snow foam

Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash Approved

Size tested: 35 fl oz/1.034 liters. RRP: $21.99, buy now! £24.99, buy now! 

Pros:

  • Good cleaning performance while also being pH-neutral

Cons:

  • Just falls short of matching the top two

I’ve tried a few of Griot’s products in the past and have been impressed. I was therefore looking forward to seeing what Foaming Surface Wash was like. I have to say, this is another Griot’s product that impressed me. This milky liquid has a very pleasant coconut smell, for starters. Following the instructions for the Griot’s The Boss Foam Cannon is best as it’s like a normal snow foam lance. That means using 1.6 fl. oz (47ml) per wash. That means you get 20 washes per liter, which makes it good value, despite the higher price.

The foam had a nice consistency and stayed on the panel for a long time. Despite its pH-neutral formula, Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash delivered impressive cleaning power. It was one of the best foams here, and this is another snow foam I will be using personally.

Read the full review of Griot’s Garage Foaming Surface Wash.

Koch Chemie snow foam

Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam – Best Value

Size tested: 33.8 flz oz/1 liter. RRP: $30.99, buy now! £15.85, buy now! 

Pros:

  • A little goes a long way

Cons:

  • Cleaning performance is only average

Yet another multi-purpose product, Koch Chemie GSF doubles up as a snow foam and shampoo. It’s got a nice cherry scent and is pH-neutral so it’s coating-safe. With it being German, I had high hopes for this snow foam. You only need 0.7 fl. oz (20ml) of product in a 1-liter snow foam lance, which means if you’re looking for value for money, this is your champion.

At that dilution ratio, you’ll get 50 washes from your 1-liter bottle. That makes it the cheapest snow foam here per wash by some margin. It delivered plenty of foam and stuck to the panel for a long time. Unfortunately, its cleaning power was only average, and this is, ultimately, a test of cleaning power.

Read full review of Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam here.

Masterson's snow foam

Masterson’s Mystic Snow Foam Auto Wash

Size tested: 16 fl oz/473ml. RRP: $14.99 / £10.95, buy now! 

Pros:

  • Dual-purpose foam can be used in direct sunlight

Cons:

  • Cleaning power is not that impressive

Masterson’s Mystic Snow Foam is another dual-purpose product. You can use this as a regular shampoo, or put it through your foam lance as a snow foam. I love the marzipan smell, it’s pH-neutral and coating-safe, and it can also be used in direct sunlight. That’s a big deal, as it promises to leave behind no streaks or spots. If you clean your car in direct sunlight, this is the snow foam for you. 

However, its performance wasn’t that impressive. We used it at its lowest dilution of 1 fl. oz (30ml), and it was okay. It took a reasonable amount of dirt off the panel, and it’s a mid-position foam in this test. At 1 fl. oz dilution, it is very good value for money, though, which might sway your decision.

Want to know more about Masterson’s snow foam? Check out the Mystic Snow Foam Auto Wash review here.

Auto Finesse snow foam

Auto Finesse Avalanche

Size tested: 16.9 fl oz/500ml. RRP: $16.95, buy now! £9.95, buy now!

Pros:

  • pH-neutral with decent cleaning performance

Cons:

  • Vague dilution instructions

Auto Finesse Avalanche is another snow foam with a pleasant whiff of citrus. However, there’s no mention of there being any degreasing action at work here. There’s also no mention of pH level, but Auto Finesse says Avalanche is coating-friendly. It delivered some lovely foam that really clung to the panel. After rinsing it was clear that Avalanche had done some work on the dirt.

I will say I don’t like the vagueness of the instructions. Auto Finesse says you should use 1-2” of product in a 1-liter bottle. I measured this on the six snow foam lances I tested, and it ranges from around 3.38 fl. oz (100ml) to over 17 fl. oz (500ml). I would much rather have a clearer dilution ratio. No one is going to be using 17 fl. oz in one go, so 3.38 fl. oz per wash will give you 10 washes per liter. That makes it a little expensive here, but it’s not a bad snow foam.

Read our full review of Auto Finesse’s Avalanche snow foam here.

Chemical Guys snow foam

Chemical Guys Sticky Snowball

Size tested: 16 fl oz/473ml. RRP: $12.99 / £15.99, buy now! 

Pros:

  • Can be used as a shampoo and snow foam

Cons:

  • Poor cleaning performance

Chemical Guys Sticky Snowball is advertised as being both a shampoo and a snow foam. I like the versatility because it means you don’t necessarily need to buy a separate shampoo. But I care about performance, and sadly, Chemical Guys Sticky Snowball did not deliver as well compared to others here. It made lots of very thick foam, and it stuck around on the panel, as its name suggested it would.

However, it performed poorly here and didn’t seem to do much cleaning at all. It’s well-priced, at least. At 1 fl oz (30ml) per wash, you’ll get just over 15 washes from 16.9 fl. oz (500ml), which means 30 per liter. Even the higher concentration of 2 fl. oz (60ml) will give you 15 washes per liter of product. However, considering its performance at 1 fl. oz dilution, which is how I tested, you’d have to use 2 fl. oz each time. Maybe it would work better then, but I’d rather stick with something that I know performs really well.

For a closer look at Chemical Guys’ Sticky Snowball snow foam, read our full review of it here.

Angelwax snow foam

Angelwax Fastfoam

Size tested: 33.8 fl oz/1 liter. RRP: $16.99, buy now! £12.45, buy now! 

Pros:

  • A decent all-rounder

Cons:

  • Just a bit average across the board

Fastfoam is billed as the British detailing company’s professional detailing snow foam. There’s not a lot of specific information about the formula or anything else, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I didn’t get the thickest foam, but it’s not about that when it comes to cleaning – it’s the performance that matters. It did cling to the panel nicely, though. Post-rinse, I could see that it had taken some dirt off the panel. At the recommended dilution ratio, you’ll get 10 washes from the 1-liter bottle. It’s decent value and not a bad choice of snow foam.

Want to know more? Read our full review of Angelwax Fastfoam.

How Each Product Was Tested

I first performed a swipe test using a cotton pad on a section of the car’s panel. Then I applied each snow foam at the lowest suggested dilution ratio onto the dry panel. Some foams tell you to pre-rinse the panel, while others don’t. Tests have shown that snow foam generally performs better when applied to a dry panel, so that’s what I did. The snow foam was allowed to dwell for its suggested time, then rinsed off. The panel was allowed to dry, and then I carried out another swipe test from the same area. This allowed me to directly compare the amount of dirt remaining after using the foam.

What To Look For When Buying The Best Snow Foam

The most important thing is cleaning power and performance. This is why you are buying snow foam. There’s no point buying something that smells nice or delivers mountains of foam if it doesn’t clean properly. A large amount of foam does not automatically mean strong cleaning power. A pH-neutral foam is also worth looking at, as it won’t strip your wax or other coatings you might have applied to your car. If you like to apply wax regularly or use a wash and wax shampoo, then that won’t matter so much to you. But if you want your coating to last, it’s nice to know which snow foam won’t cause it to degrade.

The post Best Snow Foam In 2023 appeared first on Fast Car.

Best Car Pressure Washer In 2023

With a pressure washer, cleaning your car becomes so much easier – here’s our pick of the best car pressure washers you can buy.

With car detailing, it’s all about making life easier for yourself, and a car pressure washer will do that. Not only will a pressure washer blast dirt off with ease, but they also use less water than a normal hose.

A pressure washer makes the pre-wash process much more effective, and you can read our pre-wash guide here. Car pressure washers rinse better and help you wash better, and that means your car will be cleaner. You can spend a fortune on a car pressure washer, but there’s really no need. We’ve picked four that are very reasonably priced, deliver impressive performance, and suit a variety of needs. You’ll be very happy with any of these, and they’ll really improve your washing experience. 

Best Car Pressure Washer In 2023

Kärcher car pressure washer

Kärcher K3 Power Control

RRP: $179.99, buy now. £149.99, buy now.

For many people, Kärcher is pressure washers, and the company has an overwhelming array of products. Prices and performance vary greatly, but we didn’t want to go for something over the top. The K3 Power Control hits the sweet spot in terms of performance, features and value for money.

First of all, it’s small. It’s just 68cm tall, has wheels, and a telescopic handle and weighs just 4.4kg, making it very easy to move around. The generous 7-metre-long hose means you’ll have plenty of reach when washing your car. You get two spray lances, and the power is adjustable, with an LED readout on the handle. It delivers up to 120 bar and a flow rate of 380lph. There’s no hose reel, but that’s about the only negative. Small, light, and powerful, the K3 Power Control is an excellent choice of car pressure washer.

In fact, I currently own a K3 Karcher and can personally recommend it. With multiple pressures available, it’s easy to use and has lasted me around 5 years so far without fault. The only issue I had was the small hose length, this was fixed by purchasing a longer hose. Simple.

Nilfisk car pressure washer

Nilfisk Core 130 Power Control

RRP: £164.99, buy now.

Nilfisk makes some exceptional pressure washers, and its Core 130 is very impressive. We like the integrated hose reel, while the 6-metre Ultraflex hose is durable and reduces the risk of kinks and knots. You also get a rotating lance and gentle and rough nozzles. The Power Control dial allows you to quickly and easily adjust the pressure.

At full power, you’ve got 130 bar of pressure and a 462lph flow rate. The Core 130 also features a durable aluminum pump, a big selling point. This is an impressive and very well-designed car pressure washer that performs very well.

Turtle Wax TW110

RRP: £63.24, buy now (not available in the US).

If you’re short on space and are looking for a compact car pressure washer, this is a great choice. The diminutive Turtle Wax TW110 has a footprint barely bigger than an A4 piece of paper. It weighs just 3.6kg too, making it super easy to carry. But just because it’s small in stature doesn’t mean it’s small in performance.

With 110 bar of pressure and a flow rate of 330lph, it can handle all your pressure-washing needs. It comes with a 5-metre hose, a power lance and a spray nozzle, with onboard storage for everything. Throw in a very affordable price, and you can’t go wrong with the Turtle Wax TW110.

Titan TTB1800PRW

RRP: £99.99, buy now.

Big on power and low on price, this Titan car pressure washer is great value. The stats are impressive, with 140 bar water pressure and a 440lph flow rate. This means it’s got some serious power and will tackle whatever you throw at it with ease. It comes well equipped, too, with an extension lance, adjustable and rotary nozzles, plus a mini patio cleaner. There’s also a 6-metre super soft PVC hose and a quick lock and release anti-tangle system. If you want a pressure washer that gets the job done and done well, the Titan is what you need.

How to buy the best car pressure washer

There are a couple of things you need to look out for when buying a pressure washer. The first of which is its ability to control and adjust pressure. What is suitable for your garden patio won’t be suitable for your car’s paintwork. You don’t want to damage paint here, however you do want enough pressure to be able to remove dirt. Next, you want a pressure washer that can deliver this pressure consistently.

How were the best car pressure washers chosen?

While not all of the pressure washers above have been tested by a member of the Fast Car team, they have been recommended based on features that we know are essential for car detailing. In fact, I currently own a Karcher K3 pressure washer and have found it to be one of the better pressure washers on the market. That being said, I have used products from each of the brands above and have found them all to be great, which is why I haven’t picked any winners here. They all come with good customer reviews, have features that allow them to be suited more to car detailing and above all, offer comprehensive warranties for peace of mind, too.

The post Best Car Pressure Washer In 2023 appeared first on Fast Car.

The BMW M3 CS Is A Flawed Daily Driver But A Perfect Track Toy

It’s hard to fathom how BMW could improve on the already excellent M3 Competition, yet two letters make all the difference. The CS badge has graced the backsides of BMW performance cars since the late 1960s, and more than half a century later, they’re still winning enthusiasts over with their track prowess.

It starts with the engine. The 3.0-liter inline-six’s two turbochargers get a boost from 24.7 to 30.5 psi, and some extra tuning results in 40 more horsepower than the M3 Comp and 70 more than the standard M3. The final output is 543 hp and 479 pound-feet, which doesn’t sound like much these days (especially with an unchanged torque figure) – but it feels like a lot.

Quick Stats2023 BMW M3 CS
EngineTwin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter I6
Output543 Horsepower / 479 Pound-Feet
0-60 MPH3.2 Seconds
Top Speed188 MPH (Electronically Limited)
Base Price$119,695

The M3 CS absolutely hauls down the back straight of the track at BMW’s Performance Driving School in Greenville. It takes just 3.2 seconds to reach 60 mph, two-tenths of a second quicker than the M3 Comp. And if you find a long enough road it’ll race to a limited top speed of 188 mph.

The one downside is that the only available gearbox is an eight-speed automatic. If you want the manual, you’ll have to settle for the standard M3. But since the eight-speed uses the same mapping as the more hardcore M4 CSL, it’ll fire off shifts quicker than you ever would.

2023 BMW M3 CS First Drive Review

All-wheel drive is also standard, but the M3 CS has excellent rear-drive bias. BMW’s Active M differential allows you to move most of that power to the rear – or all of it if you’re daring – with the 4WD Sport mode and the Dynamic Stability Control disengaged.

But this car is excellent in the corners, regardless of where that power ends up. The electronic power steering is still as lightweight as it is on the M3, but thanks to some subtle retuning for better responsiveness, it does a better job of telling you exactly what the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires are doing. You barely have to flick the steering wheel to put this car exactly where you want it; it’s like the M3 CS knows exactly where it needs to go.

M-Pressive:

See 2023 BMW M2 Hit 180-MPH Top Speed On The Autobahn
BMW M3 And M8 Competition Meet In Family Drag Race

And there’s zero body movement. The M3 CS stays flat in even the tightest turns thanks to that ultra-stiff suspension counteracting all 3,915 pounds of this vehicle. That said, the M3 CS is actually 75 pounds lighter than the M3 Comp thanks to a healthy heaping of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic on the hood and roof that actually does make the car feel lighter in corners.

2023 BMW M3 CS First Drive Review

You barely have to flick the steering wheel to put this car exactly where you want it; it’s like the M3 CS knows exactly where it needs to go.

Stomping hard on the optional carbon-ceramic brakes brings the M3 CS back down to speed as quickly as it sets off. But for a track car, offering carbon ceramic brakes as an $8,500 option is an odd choice – they should come standard. Otherwise, the CS has traditional steel brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.

​​On the road there are definitely some drawbacks to the CS compared to the standard M3. The additional suspension tuning for track use means you’ll have to settle for a backbreaking ride. The M Performance seats with the built-in crotch bumper don’t help soften the blow, either, but they do at least have power adjustability and heating. And while the steering feels pinpoint-accurate on the track, it borders on too twitchy around town.

2023 BMW M3 CS First Drive Review

But that’s to be expected of CS, considering it’s the most hardcore M3 money can get you. And at $119,695 (with destination), the M3 CS definitely isn’t cheap, costing $34,400 more than the M3 Competition. If you’re a regular weekend racer or a pro at the autocross course, the subtle performance upgrades to the M3 CS make it the Bimmer sedan to get for shaving lap times. If all you’re looking for is a fun daily romp, save yourself the $35K.

Competitor Reviews

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Mercedes-Benz C63

FAQs

What’s The Difference Between The BMW M3 Competition and the M3 CS?

The BMW M3 CS has the same engine, transmission, and all-wheel-drive system as the Competition, but with more boost from the turbochargers and revised tuning, it makes 30 more horsepower, for a total of 543. Stiffer bushings improve handling response, and carbon fiber exterior bits cut some weight from the package too. Finally, it only seats four, while the M3 Competition seats five.

How Fast Is The BMW M3 CS?

The BMW M3 CS zips to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 188 mph. That’s two-tenths of a second quicker and 8 mph faster than an M3 Competition xDrive.

How Much Is The M3 CS?

The BMW M3 CS starts at a heady $119,695 including destination.

2024 BMW
EngineTwin-Turbocharged 3.0-Liter I6
Output543 Horsepower / 479 Pound-Feet
TransmissionEight-Speed Automatic
Drive TypeAll-Wheel Drive
Speed 0-60 MPH3.2 Seconds
Maximum speed188 Miles Per Hour
Efficiency15 City / 22 Highway / 18 Combined
Weight3,915 Pounds
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Volume16.9 Cubic Feet
Base Price$76,000 + $995 Destination
Trim Base Price$119,695
As-Tested Price$128,195
Best Four Channel Car Amplifiers

Adding an amplifier is a big step when it comes to upgrading your car audio, but the results make it wholly worthwhile. Here are some of the best four channel car amplifiers on sale today.

The addition of an amplifier is the Big Step of the audio upgrade world, capable of powering upgraded speakers and subwoofers in your car. That’s because you need to make a hole between the engine bay and the cabin for a thick power wire, around which you must install a grommet too – a circular rubbery armor-ring. That wiring is a significant install cost-effort, so before you dive straight in, you need to learn about the power you have available on your car’s electrical system. For that, we’d recommend checking online forums or even YouTube – there’s bound to be someone out there who’s done this on your car before.

Once you understand what will and won’t drain your battery, you can start to think about which four-channel amp to invest in. There are three main forces at work with any car audio system design: your car, your budget and your taste in music. These four channel amplifiers are about the upgrade with sanity, you want more and better and you want it in all four corners of your car. There may not be more than the one spend planned – this may be about that simple sound power increase. Nonetheless, choosing a four channel amplifier, one with more than just basic features, will be an investment in future upgrades. One or two of the options listed here are able to get a bit flash later down the line, if you do end up as a bit of an audiophile.

They vary from value for money with grunt, to a slice of quality power, to the absolutely latest, newest thing. An amplifier that will fit into a modern stock system like never before. Even if your car has a stop-start system that would switch off normal aftermarket equipment. So, without further ado, here are the best four channel car amplifiers that you can buy today.

How we chose these products

Normally, we’d like to test every product that we recommend first-hand, but in this case, that’s not possible. Instead, I’ve compiled this list based upon my knowledge of the brand landscape, but more importantly, my understanding of the technical specifications which make certain amplifiers stand out above the rest. You can be sure that each of the products listed below are something that I’d be happy to install in my own project car.

Editor’s Note:

Adam is one of the world’s most prominent voices in the car audio industry, a voice which carries with it an impressive reputation. If there’s one person you want to take audio advice from, it’s Adam Rayner.

Be sure to also check out our guide to the best two channel car amps.

Best Four Channel Car Amplifiers

Sony XM-N1004

Sony XM-N1004

RRP: $159.99 / £110.00. Buy it here.

Put simply, the Sony’s MOSFET power supply transistor means better musical muscle. A more expensive device than standard ones, this used to be a feature of costly products. Now available on entry level stuff, it gives a good solid set of watts for the money. You only get a simple up, down or off choice of crossover, fixed at 80Hz per set of channels, but you don’t actually need to use them. You could just run all four corner speakers louder, or feed a woofer from 80Hz downwards, (lowpass) bridged on one channel pair, with your main speakers on the other. These mains can have the deep bass below 80Hz kept from them (highpass) so they go louder before breaking up. A switch costs less than a potentiometer or knob, so this is a simple but effective way of keeping the price down.

The signal to noise ratio is the CEA compliant one, as Sony claim a 100dB one. The main thing is, it will be a good clean sound quality. A high value for money solution, even if Sony still use the peak rating in publicity saying you have 1,000W. The two panel mounted 25A fuses say 700W RMS, even if you have 14V of Direct Current in your system.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 70W, 2ohms 4 x 85W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 175W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 2 x 25A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 93dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable 80Hz highpass or 80Hz lowpass filters, one for each channel pair: Subsonic filter (no freq. stated); input 0.3V to 6V

JBL Club704

JBL Club 704

RRP: $145.99 / £159.40. Buy it here.

The design brief for the ‘Club’ car amps was for them to fit into smaller spaces, and as such, they have a smaller footprint and lesser depth of chassis for the given wattage. The mighty Harman Industries folks have owned JBL for a long time and offer some clever OEM features.

The main one is the RJ45 telephone style ADAS input socket, which overrides your audio when connected to an Advanced Driver Assistance System. To achieve this, you connect a T568B wire to the ADAS output. It will then interrupt your tunes with any warning messages, and you even get to pick which of the four corners you want the announcements to emanate from, with a knob. The Harman HALOsonic® systems of some vehicles can work with CLUB amps as well. That feature is a form of complex sound cancelling, like with headphones. There is an adjustable level control on the Club 704 just for that.

The amp comes with four bare-wire to RCA adapters included to connect speaker wires to the RCA sockets directly. There is a pair of dedicated RCA pre outs, but no subsonic filter. The adaptors mean the amp doesn’t need a separate high level socket-and-loom, albeit at the cost of greater expense. The reason for doing this is to achieve a robust input stage that can take signals from 0.2V to a whopping 20V speaker level. They use a three-level power switch to pick ‘Lo’ or Hi1 or Hi2’ to do it.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 70W, 2ohms 4 x 100W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 200W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 2 x 30A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 85dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable 32Hz to 320Hz highpass/lowpass filters, one for each channel pair: Speaker level or RCA input: RCA line output: ADAS connectivity and HALOsonic® noise cancelling where compatible

Kicker CX 360.4 amplifier

KICKER CXA360.4

RRP: $/£219.99. Buy it here.

Uniquely, this Class A/B amp comes with vertical mounting hardware as an option. It has a red circuit-protection LED to tell you if there’s anything wrong as well as the green power LED. There’s a 3.5mm socket for an optional CXARC remote bass knob and a pair of push buttons on the panel. One is about low level (0.125V to 5V) or high level (0.25V to 10V) signals, the other is marked ‘fader’. The first is about RCA wires or else speaker-to-RCA convertor wires being used to feed at speaker level. The fader one means leave it in the ‘Off’ position and you can use all four channels on one feed.

Kicker’s very name is about visceral bass, so it is no surprise to learn they have a special 40Hz bass boost. Not just a stated Q factor of say 0.5, which is about the breadth of frequencies lifted. Rather, it is their own little humpy curve, actually registered, like the PunchEQ is by Rockford Fosgate. Called KickEQ™, you get a dedicated adjuster per channel pair to take it up to as much as +6db. This is power hungry as its based 5Hz below most boost circuits’ choice-point. Deeper and humpier! So you use it with care and ideally, add that plug-in remote bass control on a wire.

A well thought out piece of kit. Kicker’s CXA360.4 makes efforts to be as widely compatible with different power levels of input as possible.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 65W, 2ohms 4 x 90W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 180W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 95dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable highpass/lowpass filters for 50Hz to 200Hz and KickEQ™ 40Hz Bass boost adjustable 0 to +6dB: Hi/Low level switch for RCA input: Remote bass control jack socket

Alpine S-A32F four channel amplifier

Alpine S-A32F

RRP: $319.99 / £249.00. Buy it here.

Alpine have always had an escalating series of products, from affordable but still good to state of the art. The top end products get the new technology while the lesser ones get the clever stuff later. This is called filtering-down of technology and is the highest value for money way to buy in. What starts in F1, ends up in posh cars, then cheaper ones. ABS braking is a good example. The S-Series amps feature technology that was once only in the higher R and X-series. S-Series amps offer three models. A four channel, a five channel and a mono model, so no two channel. A Class D amp, with many years of Alpine development behind it.

This means the S-A32F is a keen price for the always-lovely Alpine looks and has some cool features. There’s an optional RUX-KNOB2 bass control you can plug in for channels 3 and 4 when bridged into a woofer. There’s a high/low input level switch for the four RCA sockets. High is from 0.5V to 10V for speaker level. You’ll need to get some RCA connectors with open cable leads to add the speaker wires for that application. The low level input for normal RCA feeds is from 0.2V to 4V. Signal to Noise Ratio is excellent at 98dB and means that this is another top value sound quality tip. You are best to pair this with Alpine S-Series speakers. They are available as 6×9 ovals, coaxials in 6.5in, 5.25in and 4in as well as 6.5in components.

Looks good, sounds good. Because #Alpine!

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 55W, 2ohms 4 x 80W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 160W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio:98dB
  • Features Rich? Two switchable highpass/lowpass filters for 50Hz to 400Hz, one per pair of channels: Speaker level input with auto power-on (adapters) or RCA input: CH3/4 level control socket

Audison SR 4.300 four channel amplifier

Audison SR 4.300

RRP: $289.99 / £349.00. Buy it here.

Another small footprint Class D amplifier with proprietary tech (company’s own smarts) in its guts. Each company’s take on the smaller Class D-with-quality amp seems to do this. Audison love an Acronym and call theirs ADT for Audison D-class Technology. It’s a dense little amp and has the fine controls hidden under a top panel, rather than on one end.

The crossover point for each channel pair can be chosen between 50Hz and a very high 3.2kHz. That’s because the SR4.300 is also designed to work for running active component speakers. It’s when you have a pair of channels for the tweeters and feed them only highs. Another pair of channels runs the mid-bass drivers, on their own crossed-over set of watts – no highs, though. An accepted much higher end way to run a set of high quality components and is louder and clearer. You need a very serious class of component driver though and it’s closer to professional audio than home hifi.

Audison have their BIT- control system that can be used with this amp. When connected, it bypasses the whole control panel, allowing an unsurpassed choice of upgrade path possibilities for this amplifier. A lot like the Wāvtech, this too has some cunning when it comes to OEM integration. If you plug in via the speaker wires, the amp has what Audison call USS or Universal Speakers Simulator. This pretends to be the low impedance load often engineered into stock systems’ amplifier self-protection circuits. That’s so that if a stock speaker blows, you don’t want the OEM amplifier cooking in its hidden spot.

A serenely clever item that can do ‘high end’.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 85W, 2ohms 4 x 130W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 250W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 100dBA
  • Features Rich? Two switchable highpass/lowpass filters for 50Hz to 3.2kHz, one per pair of channels: Speaker level input sockets and RCA inputs: RCA line output: ART auto remote turn-on feature button

WAV Tech 300.4 amp

WĀVTECH link300.4mini

RRP: $/£299.95. Buy it here.

An installer’s dream, brand new in concept and for those who want results, without having anything on display. Best of all, it will make fab music from one tiny box, in brand new cars that stop and start. Made for OEM integration, the new Wāvtech range is designed by audio nutters who are true hardcore tech types. The low signal to noise ratio quote is because they use the tougher qualified version of the spec. A-weighted, it is about human hearing rather than a flat measurement. The link300.4mini is Wāvtech’s baby super compact Class D 4×50 watter, but there is a bigger one and also two monoblocks available too. Despite being such a small unit though, the link300.4mini needs a four gauge power wire.

The amp accepts RCA signals from 0.2V to 5V on ‘low’ setting, or 0.4V to a whopping 10V on ‘high’: a deeply cool feature if you do have a mad-end front music unit. On speaker level, for taking OEM speaker wire feeds, it is quietly insane. For one, no matter the power of your car’s OEM set up, it will cope. It will also look like the stock system to the car’s amp’s impedance-sensing, which causes the factory speakers to run at funny low impedances, thus sucking a few more factory-amp watts. Essentially, it cons the car’s own amp into thinking this extra wattage is all normal, and best of all, you can take wires from your car’s tweeter and mid-bass driver’s wires and ‘sum’ them. We’ll admit, it’s a bit complex in concept but it means you get the best of everything.

A truly leading edge future-now product for modern cars.

  • Power Output: 4ohms 4 x 50W, 2ohms 4 x 75W, Bridged 4ohms 2 x 150W
  • Current Draw/Fuse Rating: 40A external fuse required
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 80dBA (if measured ‘flat’, would be well over 100dB)
  • Features Rich? Two switchable lowpass/highpass filters 50Hz to 500Hz: Summing speaker or RCA input: Auto turn-on by remote wire, DC offset or audio signal: OEM stop/start compatible, Input from 0.2V to 40V, five sets of protection circuitry and LED peak light

The post Best Four Channel Car Amplifiers appeared first on Fast Car.