2023 Acura Integra, Nissan Z and a special 4Runner | Autoblog Podcast #731

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They lead off with a discussion of the cars they've been driving, including the 2023 Acura Integra, 2023 Nissan Z and 2022 Mercedes-Maybach S 580. After that, they move on to the news of the week. This section touches on the 2023 Toyota 4Runner 40th Anniversary Edition, 2023 BMW 3 Series mid-cycle update, the new 2023 BMW M4 CSL and rumors about the Sonata's demise.

After the pair wrap up the news section, they toss it over to a sports car roundtable where multiples editors chime in on a number of new sports cars they've been driving. These include the 2022 Toyota GR86, 2022 Subaru BRZ, 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata and the 2022 Toyota GR Supra 2.0. Features Editor, James Riswick leads the discussion, and it's one you'll want to hear.

The podcast wraps up with a mailbag segment where a reader has a spring beer recommendation. Plus, Greg and Zac give their own spring beer recommendations that will hopefully serve you well in the Memorial Day holiday to come.

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

Video Transcript

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GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to the "Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have a great show for you today. Buckle up. It's going to be a little bit longer, I think, for the Memorial Day weekend. Lots of things to get to. Here is our drive section. The Acura Integra first drive, the Nissan Z first drive, and then just as our third review, the Mercedes Maybach S 580. So the third string car is $156,000. So I'm telling you, it's a big show.

We're going to talk about the 4Runner at 40. You guys probably saw that special edition that came out this week. If you're a certain age, you're going to love this. If you're a foreigner fan, you're going to like it. It's pretty rad. Let's put it that way. We're going to talk about some BMWs, like the 3 Series refresh, the M4 CSL. Is the Hyundai Sonata done? Well, we're going to talk about that.

And we also-- supersized-- we have a sports car roundtable where we're going to talk about the Mazda Miata, Toyota Supra, Subaru BRZ, and the Toyota GR86. This is where Zac, James, Joel, and Byron are going to debate the strengths and weaknesses of this definite stable of enthusiast cars. With that, I'm going to bring in road test editor Zac Palmer. What's up, man?

ZAC PALMER: Man, this is a seriously, seriously stacked show. It's kind of a show that, I mean, you just get too excited to do because it's just like constant enthusiast, car enthusiast, car enthusiast, car. So hope that you guys are excited. I know that I am.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, yeah. So let's go. Let's drop the flag here and get it in gear, if you will. See how many cliches I throw off the top here. Well, just right off the top, I'm dying to hear more about the Integra. You did this last week. You are an Integra owner, actually, yourself.

ZAC PALMER: Indeed.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's always interesting. I always let the viewers, the listeners in on, like, the sausage making here. I always kind of have a little bit of pause when I'm assigning, like, well, this person really knows this car really well. Might they be a little too into it? On the other hand, they might be, like, I guess, even more critical. It could go either way. Let me put it that way.

And obviously, Zac, you're an impartial journalist. You went to Syracuse. You know, you can check your, you know, preferences at the door, if you will. But that's a long-winded way of saying that you know the Integra very well. You've seen its predecessor. I mean, just to cut right to it, I mean, did it live up to the hype?

ZAC PALMER: I think that it did live up to the hype. And I think that the successor to the Integra is well and truly a proper spiritual, practical. Everything about it is a successor to the original Integra. That's funny that you say that though, because I had the same thoughts rolling through my head, you know. Like, when you assigned this to me, I'm like, oh man. I'm the Inegra guy.

And I honestly think of myself like maybe more of a tough critic than anything, just because, you know, I have this whole thing built up in my head. Like, all right. I've owned this car for so many years, and, you know, now they're coming back with a new one two decades on. So you have pretty high expectations going in.

And yeah, you know, the Integra has always been pretty much as good as the Civic has been. It has always relied on a really, really good base Civic. So going into it, having driven the base Civic sedan, hatchback, you know, I knew that Acura was going in on, you know, sort of a step ahead, just because the Civic today is so, so very good.

And yeah, they had us out in Austin, Texas where we got to drive two different versions of it, the manual and the automatic. Manual transmission is probably going to be a theme in this whole podcast here. Nearly every single car that we've driven and are going to talk about is offered with a manual transmission. Not that Mybach, though. That is not.

But yeah, so I drove that. And honestly, so, like, stepping foot right in, like, the first thing that hit me with the manual was like, wow. I feel like I'm in an RSX Type S, just the way that the shifter feels, the way that it shifts through gears. I mean, you really cannot beat any sort of a Honda manual transmission. For its price point, you'd have to step on up to, like, a Porsche to try and get a manual transmission that feels is good and it is as satisfying.

But yeah, man, just going and taking a step back with the Integra here, you know, I think that Acura's goal here was really to bring back a fun, sport compact car that, you know, has that retro name, but is also faithful to what a lot of people thought of with, you know, when you have the Integra, because they haven't had that in a while.

We have the ILX for a long, long time. And that, honestly, was just a bit of a disappointment. And I think that Acura really ramped it up a level when they came back with the Integra here. And there, all right. We're serious. We have to make something good. It has to be fun to drive. It has to be offered with a manual, has to have a great engine.

And honestly, like, I came away thinking that this new Integra is basically better than any base standard Integra that we've ever had in the past. I mean, in previous Integras, you know, we've had the base RS, LS, GS trims that are fairly pedestrian cars, honestly.

They're sort of like, say, like a Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 or like an Audi A3, just very, you know, standard stroke, simple luxury cars. And then you had to hop up to the GSR or the Type-R to get something that was actually really fun to drive.

Now, this new Integra, having borrowed the Civic SI engine, the limited slip diff from the Civic SI, adaptive dampers, all of these things make sort of this just entry level Integra, you know, more so like that GSR of the past, so there's really no, like, base boring model to be all that upset about.

now there is one caveat to that because you have to get the manual to get a lot of those great things. I also did try the CVT, which I must say, I was fairly disappointed with when they announced that it was going to be a CVT. I would have loved that they would have actually given us a proper enthusiast transmission, something like the eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission out of the outgoing ILX.

It's a bit of a disappointment to see that we haven't developed something for it, but obviously, that costs money. And like I said at the top of this, the Integra is only as good as the Civic. And the Civic right now is rocking a CVT. So therefore, that is what we get here.

As far as CVTs go, honestly, it's one of the better ones, but, you know, if you're an enthusiast going after the Integra, the answer is absolutely the manual. And it'll be a really tough decision if you're between that and the Civic SI.

I sort of see it like, all right, if you want, like, a daily driver with no compromises, perhaps the Integra is the way to go because it has so much more utility. It has so much more luxury than the Civic SI. They drive very similarly, but if you want something that's more back to basics, bare bones, than maybe the Civic SI is the way to go.

I just think that it's really cool that we have these multiple options now. So that's my short take on Integra. I could honestly ramble on forever, but I don't want to. You can read my review. I know it should be live when this is actually posted.

GREG MIGLIORE: So definitely some good long holiday weekend reading. Dive into it. We've covered the Integra pretty thoroughly in the last few months in the ramp up to this first drive, and the production is starting. It's interesting to me that-- a couple of things. I think it looks great too. I think they did a good job of making it just an extension of the current Acura design language, which our long-term TLXA spec, I really liked how it looked. We had some other issues with that.

If you'd like to know more about that, check out Zac's long-term wrap up. But I think their cars look really good right now. I think bringing the name back is a brilliant move because it gets people fired up. You're at a time now where people who maybe remember the Integra the first time around perhaps are stepping up into a luxury brand.

But it's also a very accessible price point. So it's not something that you, like, really have to, like, have made it in the world, if you will, to try to go after this car, especially with all these crazy financing deals that are out there. So on those fronts, I think it's definitely strong. I think it's also a much stronger play than what Acura has been doing at the lower end of the luxury segment, with cars like the ILX, which was, to me, it was OK for what it was, but it was also very mediocre.

You know, you had the RSX in there for a few years. The Integra name has actually been gone for quite some time in the US. So it's like this to me is the perfect time to bring it back too. You don't want to name to be gone for too long. And it seems like they've offered up all of the-- like, the chops here are in evidence to make this what is the enthusiast we want it to be.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. You know, it handles like you want it to handle. One interesting thing that I actually noticed and was a little surprised by. Old Integras are really known for being quite happy on lift off, oversteer, and being able to steer the rear end of the car, just lifting off the throttle mid-corner there. It's really, really nicely balanced in that way. And I got the same thing and in this Integra.

I was like, wow. Looks like these people were really paying attention to the driving characteristics of the old one because you don't always get that in new cars these days. A lot of them are very much tuned to understeer and safety, but this one was absolutely a little playful in that way. And I really, really liked that.

And, you know, some of that might be because in Acura's presentation to us, there are a bunch of engineers, a bunch of people who worked on the original Integras who are still in the company, and they were on the Ingegra project this time around. So you have a lot of great stored knowledge there from Honda and Acura, from people who worked on the original car, who worked on this one.

And I think that just that, you know, transfer of knowledge is really great for, you know, you when you're trying to bring back something that, you know, somebody has very fond memories of from so long ago, to get those people on the same new project. Probably helped them a lot, honestly, in making this new one live up to the hype and what the Integra name is and means to a lot of people.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very excited to drive one of these with a manual transmission. The A-spec package looks spot on. Yeah, I'm excited about this car. I feel like a recurring theme of the podcast for me has been going through the different vehicles I'm very excited to get into this year.

It seems like I thought last year was a great year for cars. This year is shaping up to be just as good, with the launches we're going to see. I mean, you know, we could go through them, but it's just-- I mean, I am super excited to get through all these different cars that we've been talking about in recent weeks.

So final takeaway. I mean, one little thing about the car, like, if this is on maybe your top five list, maybe you might want to cross shop it with some of the, you know, sports cars we have coming up in our sports car roundtable. You're balancing it against, like, a Civic. Like, what is your sort of parting advice?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, man, I kind of see this as being a direct competitor with something like a Volkswagen GTI and also just the Civic SI because you kind of have to compare it to that. But no, GTI, I mean, I'm sure that people will cross shop it with a new WRX as well, and maybe even like the Elantra N and Veloster N.

This thing, I think, if you're looking for a do-it-all daily driver that is both really fun, super engaging, doesn't skimp on any of the luxury features, and has pretty much every piece of tech that you might want, I think that the Integra is probably the way to go.

The GTI kind of really frustrates me with its infotainment system. It's not anywhere near as luxurious as the Acura is. Does it have more horsepower and is it perhaps a little more fun to drive? Yes it is. But as far as, like, a car that, like, literally does everything really well and really competently, it's really tough to say no to the Integra, I think.

It's really a one-size-fits-all. If you can only have one car, this is a really, really great daily driver, especially for manual enthusiasts since the manual trim is one trim only. It comes with every single possible feature on it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Wow.

ZAC PALMER: So yeah. I it like it a lot.

GREG MIGLIORE: No, you know what I like too about just the, like, the way they've packaged it up, it's simple. You get basically, whatever you want. There's not all of these like a la cartes or confusing trim levels that overlap. I think that's a really good approach, not only for this car, but cars in general. Like, please OEMs, like, simplify your trim levels sometimes.

So excited to hear that. I honestly hope I'm not building it up too much because I hope I am not disappointed when I get behind the wheel, but our TLX, our long-termer, I was very impressed with the two things I wanted to be impressed with, which were the handling characteristics. I loved how it steered and the suspension tuning and of course, the looks. I thought it looked great. Some other problems, but that's how I'm going to benchmark the Integra.

ZAC PALMER: I can knock it down a little bit in your mind by saying a few of my complaints.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Yeah, yeah. Please do.

ZAC PALMER: One, needs to be louder. It's very quiet. You know, they have this weird coil type exhaust that they developed uniquely for the Integra. You can't really hear it from the cabin.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a problem.

ZAC PALMER: So yeah, there's that. And then, you know, is a hatchback and all, but it also shares the flaws from the previous Integras and RSX in that it has, like, that insanely high lift over height, like, higher than any SUV crossover because the liftback only-- well, it comes down halfway down the bumper. So it is, like, annoyingly long to lift anything big and heavy out of there.

And man, beyond that, I'd just love a little more power, I suppose. It's good, but I assume that they're leaving room for something like a Type S down the line. But yeah, there's a lot of good here, a few things that I'm sure the aftermarket would even go after, but yeah. There's definitely a lot to build it up in your head. So I don't want to shortchange it, but yeah, expectations should be medium to high.

GREG MIGLIORE: 200 horsepower, 192 pound feet of torque. I think that does say it all right there, as in it's not a crazy number.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: So and yes, they left quite a bit of room for, say, a 240 to 260 horsepower Type S variant to get in there. Or they could go even wilder if they wanted to, but for this car, I don't think you need to.

ZAC PALMER: Nope.

GREG MIGLIORE: But there's room for another 50 or so horsepower if they wanted to, and do some of the Type S treatments, which again, we like that on the TLX. So let's shift gears over here to the New Nissan Z-car. This is a very important car for Nissan. They are sort of really, like, reiterating that the Z-car is their sports car. This is the, like, the one that you can get. Like, it's obviously different than the GT-R.

For a while, we were very unclear what they were going to do with this. There were rumors it would be all electric, that it would be some sort of crossover. But then they really held serve and even used some of the existing components from the outgoing car for this one to bring it all together.

I think it looks great. It looks very contemporary. They did a good job of kind of sculpting it, even making it look very cutting edge. I'm seeing a lot of commercials for it during, like, football and baseball games. It really seems like they they're trying to market it to a wide variety of people.

I kind of like their theme too, like, hey, the future is going to be electric, but hey, right now, we have a pretty great sports car for you. At least that seems to be how they're positioning it. So yeah. Where did you drive this one? Was this on track? Where was this one?

ZAC PALMER: So I got to drive it both on track and on the road.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK.

ZAC PALMER: I was out in Vegas for that, and they had us on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very cool.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, it was my first time on that track, and I ended up liking a good bit. So yeah, we were out there driving both automatic and manual Zs. And you know, I can just hop right into it here, so just like you said at the top there, there is a lot in this Z that is very similar to the previous Z. It actually shares the same platform.

However, Nissan has gone through and they've changed some things here and there in the suspension. Obviously, it's a totally new exterior design. The interior is finally updated. I know that when the 370 Z was at its end here, it didn't even have an infotainment system. It was literally just--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that was rough.

ZAC PALMER: --just like a double din-- or single din, sorry-- radio in there. Yeah, rough. Rough is the right way to put it. Now it has a big infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a big digital instrument cluster. It looks modern. It feels modern. There's no more sort of caveats about like, oh, drives great, it's a decent engine, but the interior is, like, straight out of 2005. That's no longer the case.

It even has driver assistance systems aplenty, adaptive cruise control, blind spot. And all that's even on the manual version too. But honestly, so, like, when I first got in it, my first time was on the track. And this thing, it handles a lot like the 370 Z handled, I think, but just a little bit better.

I think that they've tightened things up a bit. It's a little bit more focused. And I think that-- so they switched from old twin tube dampers to nanotube dampers. No adaptive dampers here or anything. It is still passive. And I think that's helped both the ride and handling a good bit.

They've also made the car more rigid with additional body bracing. And just the new exterior design itself has lent itself to being a more rigid car. So handling-wise it's better. Does it feel a whole lot different from the previous Z? No. Like, the actual, like, handling feel itself is going to feel very similar to what you had in your 370 Z, just amplified.

Now, where it does feel extremely different is when you hit the gas because that new 3 liter twin turbo V6 engine is-- well, it's rather potent. 400 horsepower, 350 pound feet of torque. And it feels nothing like the old 3.7 liter V6.

We actually got to do some back-to-back acceleration runs out at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Nissan actually had us set up in pit lane. It was kind of funny doing top speed runs in pit lane, where there's normally a heavy speed limit. But yeah, we got to do that. And there's a new launch control mode for the new Z. And it gets up and goes. It gets up and goes. And it sounds excellent.

This is the engine for people who are into Infinities and Nissans, the same one that's out of the Q50 and Q60 red sport. So we've driven this engine before. However, there's a few changes that make it a little better. It has better throttle response from a new boost recirculation valve. Really, really helps throttle response versus those Q50 and Q60s if you're sort of benchmarking it there. Don't expect it to exactly feel like that.

And yeah, man. It's a burnout machine. It has more power than it does tire, honestly. In that way, it feels a little bit like the Super 3.0 in that, you know, this just has a bountiful amount of horsepower and all being sent to the rear wheels. It's very, very playful.

And yeah, man, it's just so much fun to drive. It's just a great big ball of fun to drive, both on the road and on the track. Just like the Integra, like we were talking about earlier, the manual is still the way to go here. It is a new nine-speed automatic. So it's considerably better than the previous transmission. You can actually hit the paddles, and it responds relatively quickly.

Is it as good as, say, like, a lot of performance transmissions, say, like the eight-speed in the Supra or any other high-dollar performance car? Not really. It's still sort of a small step behind. And just because of that, I would absolutely have to go with the manual.

Nissan has actually improved the manual transmission for the Z, one of the more notable improvements, I think. Because Nissan transmissions, at least their manuals have been a little shaky, not super great in feel, pretty clunky. This one, new Synchro, a new shifter design. It's a lot better and a lot more fun to shift.

And they've really made some changes here that I think are going to make enthusiasts happy. And it's all for a really good price. I'm sure that you've seen the prices here, Greg. $41,000 for the base model, $51,000 for the performance model, which is honestly probably the one you want. So you probably want to spend $51,000, to be honest. But hey, that's a really good price for how much car you're getting here. It's all a lot of car. It's a lot of fun.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think that's a great way to put it. There's not much I need to add, frankly. The price, I think, is aggressive. And I think that's good. I think they really-- for $41,000, you could get a Z-car. That's great. I mean, to me $41,000 is the new, like, $29,000.

I remember when they marketed the Z-car at, like, just under $30,000. And then Mercedes was trying to get the-- at the time, it was the CLA and I think the GLA. They were trying to keep them under $30,000. And, like, that's what all the automakers were trying to do because that was apparently just some magical price point. And they very quickly became 31,000, $32,000 like, within a year.

So I hope, you know, Nissan can at least hold the line a little bit on this one. I do think the Z car is-- you know, I think there's a little bit of, like, almost like an aspirational element to it. I think if you want this car, it's different than a Mustang or a Camaro or a GTI or some of the other things that, again, we'll talk about.

Not to say it's necessarily better or worse than some of those things, but it's definitely different. Nissan does not sell as many Z-cars as Ford does Mustangs. The styling is-- again, they took a very aggressive approach to, like, I wouldn't say revolutionize, but definitely, like, evolve it. So it's a great look. I think it's a very sporty looking car, to put it simply.

So I think it's something that's going to stand out and give its owners a little bit of a halo, a little bit of a prestige factor, which is cool. So, you know, I'll be interested to see what the strategy is with this car going forward. You know, will there be some different variants? Probably. There always is.

ZAC PALMER: NISMO.

GREG MIGLIORE: What will the pricing strategy be? Yeah NISMO. I think there's a ton of opportunity for them to play there, you know. And then we'll see what the future might hold for the GT-R. And that, actually, I think could sort of work hand in hand with just how capable the Z-car could end up being.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. And honestly, I think that there is room on top of this for something more aggressive because it is rather streetable. I mean, on track, it was good, but there's definitely room for a more aggressive, stiffer suspension, bigger brake package, more power, more tire especially. I hope whatever NISMO has more tire because I feel like that was really one of the limiting factors to getting around the track as fast as you could hear.

So yeah, man. Nissan Z. I'm excited it's back because we have quite a bountiful selection of Japanese sports cars to choose from. And I really think that this is a key one that you need out there, very affordable, super high power, great handling, rear wheel drive sport coupe.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well said, well said. Let's segue over to the Mercedes Maybach. This is the S 580. We both drove it. You dropped it off at my house a couple of weeks ago now at this point. Had a lot of fun. I took it to a wedding where it got a fair amount of attention, you know. People just-- you know, you always get those questions. What do you do? Are you the limo driver? Like, what is this? Do you own this golf course? All sorts of different blitzing the spectrum, if you will.

The sticker, I believe, was $156,000 and some change, no not cheap.

ZAC PALMER: It was definitely more than that.

GREG MIGLIORE: It was more than that? Wait, $211,000? Is that right?

ZAC PALMER: It is. I've got it pulled up right here. $227,900.

GREG MIGLIORE: Whoa. OK, so I'm kind of glad I'm finding that out after the fact. In my head, it was $156,000, which is not cheap. But yeah, once you cross $200,000, I mean, man, that's expensive.

ZAC PALMER: Well, before options, it was only $184,900.

GREG MIGLIORE: Got it. Got it. What a junker. OK. Yeah, we'll have to make do, but yeah, with the options-- you got to get some of these options-- the silver flutes were not in there. They were removed from a COVID precaution.

If you're a fan of Maybach, you may know that they offer a service. I think it's, like, a silver service, or I forget what they call it, but it's one of the options that this car had. But they weren't included simply because, swapping cars, you know, we found out how we could do that pretty well on the age of a pandemic.

We are actually sharing dishes that can't really be cleaned easily. Like, you know, silver is a material that I believe we've stopped eating off of in our daily ware about-- you know, people don't use that very much. We don't get out the silver.

It hasn't been a go-to material since, you know, I don't know, the Silver Age, which I assume was before after the Bronze Age. You know, it's just not something we use. So I imagine it'd be tough to clean, but I would have liked to have drank out of one of those silver chalices.

ZAC PALMER: Me too. It's a $3,200 option. That would have been the most expensive glass I would have ever drank and out of probably in my life up to now and maybe after that. Who knows?

GREG MIGLIORE: I am trying to remember if I actually drank out of the Stanley Cup. I have held it, and I feel like I kind of like stuck my head in it. But it was, like, one of those, like, events you know back in the day when it seemed like the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup every other year. And you know, you could go see the Stanley Cup. It actually wasn't that hard to see.

Talk about how privileged we are in Michigan. We had a hockey team that just destroyed everybody, which is not the case these days, but yeah, I think it was an event my dad took us to. He used to work for the organization that owns the Red Wings and Tigers. And it's like hey, here's the Stanley Cup. So silver plates, I guess, but we should talk about the car here more than our experience with fine silver. What did you do with this thing?

ZAC PALMER: Oh man, I just drove it all over because I just kind of wanted to keep driving it. It was sort of like a surreal experience, driving this thing. I think it's A, the most comfortable car I've ever driven, B, like, the most feature-packed car I've ever driven.

I also just spent some time literally just hanging out in the backseat. Just had the car on, hanging out with the fully recline mode, with the foot rest up, seat massage going. It's more comfortable than my couch so-- [CHUCKLES] yeah, I was just hanging out back there, enjoying the Burmester 4D surround sound.

That was one of the wildest sound systems I've ever felt, where it literally uses a vibrator in the seat to vibrate the bass into you. It was pretty intense. I've never-- it honestly felt like I was at a concert where you're, like, really close to speakers and it's just, like, berating your body. It was different.

It's a new audio system from Mercedes, and I think that BMW is doing the same thing in the new 7 Series. I don't know. I'm excited about that. But yeah, just cruised around feeling super, super rich. People stare constantly.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh yeah.

ZAC PALMER: The two-tone paint that this thing has on it--

GREG MIGLIORE: It was nice. I liked it.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, it was nice, and it caught everybody's eyes. And I think just the sheer length of this thing too, seven inches longer than a normal S-class, which is already ginormous. So all of those things just combined. And obviously, the Maybach logo's everywhere. You're not going to hide anywhere in this car.

So yeah, I just cruised around Woodward feeling like a CEO, you know, because this is how you live when you're very, very rich. And yeah, it's great. I mean, I don't really have any bad things to say about this thing. Plenty of power, incredible ride, so quiet, whisper quiet.

I think one of my favorite things even was the Maybach drive mode. It's meant to help your chauffeur drive extra smoothly, so it really dulls down throttle inputs to where, like, everything is just so silky smooth. It even felt like the brake pedal was even smoother than any car I've ever driven before. It's so easy to come to just the smoothest of stops.

And yeah, just a very, very comfortable car to the n-th degree. I know that you've probably driven a lot more cars like this and maybe even Maybachs previous, so maybe you have some even more better perspective on this than I do. I'm curious to hear.

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, it's interesting. The two-tone paint, I thought, was gorgeous. It really looked the part. That's for sure. I was impressed too with just how well it handled. The steering, the chassis was set up really nice for supreme comfort. So that was very pleasing. Super comfortable car.

Easy to drive. I found myself, like, throwing it into corners as I kind of, like, would whip through, like, just tight spaces because it could handle it, you know? And the dynamics were very true, if you will. Like, you know that the car was going to do this. It was predictable, which it's still an S-Class. The S-Class is set up very well, obviously.

And you know, it seemed like what's interesting is when you think of how expensive the car is, but then you contextualize it with, this is a Mercedes. It's designed with 140 years of their know-how, all of that engineering. They build their cars to be tanks. So, like, that, to me, almost is confidence-inducing. Like, you're not afraid to break it because you know how strong it is.

Now, are there a lot of nice things in there? Like, you know, you don't want to, like, get mud more than you have to on certain things or scratch that beautiful, like, wood veneer, it was, like, pinstriped. But overall, I think it's very cool how it reminded me how good the S-Class is. And it also, I think, sort of crystallizes the strategy that they laid out over 10 years ago where we kind of wondered, like, what are they doing with Maybach? It was kind of its own thing.

Then they're like, we're to call it Mercedes Maybach. And I think we were all kind of like, well, OK. Let's see how that works. Does anybody even care? But they really did. They've done good work to make the Maybach something like above the normal S-Class class, which is saying something. And you know, it definitely feels special.

The speakers you mentioned, those bugged me, man. They gave me, like, a headache. I don't know. It bothered me. Like, I was trying to figure out how to turn them off, and I actually never could.

ZAC PALMER: Oh, it's so buried in menus. It's so buried.

GREG MIGLIORE: It bugged me. Yeah. I man, it's good to criticize some of these cool things we've been driving. And the infotainment was pretty dense. You know, it was not obvious how you could stop the buzzing speakers in your brain, let's put it that way. Because it's like, that's what it feels like when it's, like, coming through the seats. But I mean, I guess that's my one complaint too.

I really like the interior of this one too. It didn't have the-- it didn't have-- like, all of the, like, the infotainment screens that you might see, perhaps, like, in like, the EQS, it still had a very prominent screen, but you did get a beautiful look at some of the interior treatments.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a good looking car.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. No, they don't do the hyperscreen in the S-Class. You can only get that in the EQS, I think, and now the whatever the EQS SUV is. I think that it's in that one too.

But for whatever reason, they don't do it in the S-Class. They're like, all right. The S-Class customer wants wood trim. They don't want screens. They want this beautiful, beautiful veneer and whatnot. And I honestly found the same thing as you, being so easy to drive.

I think the four-wheel steer is a huge component of that. I was giving a friend a ride, and I was like, watch this. I was pulling a random U-turn just on a residential street. And I was able to do it without doing a three-point turn. I just cranked the wheel 100%, and it's like it has the steering radius of a Honda Civic or a Supra C-Class.

GREG MIGLIORE: Same. Yup.

ZAC PALMER: It's unbelievable. And that right there is luxury, you know. That's extreme luxury. You can have a beast that is this big and not have to stress about having to do a three-point turn in traffic or anything. Just turn, the wheel go, and you're off on your way. Just small things like that all throughout the car just makes life a lot easier.

GREG MIGLIORE: One thing I was, you know, I would say not impressed with, another criticism was the massaging feature.

ZAC PALMER: I agree.

GREG MIGLIORE: It was not much of a massage.

ZAC PALMER: I agree, actually. Yes. There were, like, 10 different programs in there. And I don't think I liked any of them all that much.

GREG MIGLIORE: 100%. 100%. The Jeep massage is way better.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, no. I tried all of them. There's like a weird vibrating one that just literally, like, vibrates the crap out of the seat. I'm like, this isn't soothing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: And none of them are actually all that great. It's weird. Like, you'd think they'd have at least one that is super great. I don't know. Maybe they're nicer in Germany. Maybe Germans prefer those sort of massages. I don't know, but it's weird, because there should be much better massage programs. Like you said, a lot of other cars have better ones.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I don't know what-- you probably don't remember this, but there was an episode of "Friends" where Monica and Chandler are-- Monica gives these, like, massages and Chandler's, like, cringing. He's like, this is not what I want. And she was, like, saying, well, OK you know, this is hurting my feelings or whatever. And he's like, well, I'll give you a compliment. This is the best bad massage.

ZAC PALMER: [LAUGHING] Oh my god.

GREG MIGLIORE: And that to me is, like, how I would put that in $220,000 car is it's a massage, but it's not great. It's the best bad massage, if you will. So I don't know.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. So that was our week in the limousine, if you will. We should probably run through some news. We've got a lot to talk about here. The 4Runner at 40. This definitely, I think, resonated with a lot of car people when it showed up on the 24th. So if you're listening to this over the weekend, get back on Autoblog. Story should still be fairly visible. Commemorates the 40th anniversary of the 4Runner.

This is sort of reminiscent of what they did with the Land Cruiser final edition a few years back, only that was on its way out for the Land Cruiser. This is, obviously, the 4Runner isn't going anywhere. It's just more kind of a fun addition. You get some very '80s-themed decals, if you will, when you look at it.

You know, whenever you've got like yellow, orange, and red, nothing is more, like, rad style, rad with that kind of a look. Nothing says 1982 then that sort of color scheme. But I think it looks pretty good. And otherwise, I mean, that's about it. There's some light updates for the 2023 4Runner, some more standard safety features and things like that.

The 40th anniversary edition, I should mention, also gives you bronze wheels, 17 inchers, which those do remind me a bit of the Land Cruiser bronze wheels. And you get a heritage grille, which I don't really see that, but it's body colored, which is kind of a good look. It's cool. I mean, it comes in four wheel drive. You get the sunroof. And fittingly, they're going to build 4,040 of these. I think this is rad. I got to go there with that.

It's nice. It's a nice way to maybe kind of get a little more enthusiasm about the 4Runner for people who maybe were like, oh, I'll try and get a used one or I'll keep using my existing one from a few years ago. I think it's just a fun play to the base.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Honestly, I think this would be the version of the 4Runner that I would go for, not as though Toyota needs any help trying to sell 4Runners or anything. I actually just pulled up the sales here.

GREG MIGLIORE: Nice.

ZAC PALMER: This car is probably what? When did this generation come out? Like, early 2010s? Mid 2010s? And it has done the opposite of what, basically, every other model in the history of cars does is it gains in sales as it gets older.

Like, in 2016, they sold 112,000. Last year, they sold 144,000. The previous year to that, 2020, they sold 129,000. This car is getting older and older, and they just keep selling more and more of them. It's kind of like a little pot of gold for Toyota, I guess. And I presume that this 40th anniversary edition is going to be under heavy demand, especially in today's fast car market where it's tough to find anything.

And yeah, just like you. Huge fan of colors. Give me more colors. Let's do more heritage editions. I'm sure that Toyota will have no problem selling them for the 4Runner because yeah, this is sweet. I'm not always, like, a huge fan of black paint but, the black paint with the contrasting colors and bronze wheels, I'm all about it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, I think it's a good look, and 4Runner keeps on trucking. It really-- it's eternal at this point.

ZAC PALMER: It really is. Everybody wants a body-on-frame SUV.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's funny because I-- we could get into this a little bit here because this is sort of the reason we're talking about it, but I mean, isn't the space for these types of, like, vehicles just incredible right now? Bronco, Wrangler, 4Runner, you know, take your pick. You know, we're hearing about a Scout in a few years--

ZAC PALMER: Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: --which will be electric, apparently, but I mean, it's impressive. Honestly, I can't believe General Motors doesn't bring back-- we talked about this last week-- like, a K5 or a Jimmy or something and get in there as well. They did bring back the Blazer, but it's not at all what you would benchmark against these dinosaurs.

What do you think the future holds for the 4Runner? Do you think they're going to keep powering through with, like, this literally, until, say, 2030 when the world is more electric? You think we see another generation for this? We haven't really heard much about it. And frankly, they haven't had to do much, you know.

ZAC PALMER: I think they're going to do another generation that looks a lot like this, is a gas only 4Runner. And you know, if we're lucky, maybe they'll give us, like, that hybridized i-FORCE engine that we see in the Sequoia and Tundra, but I wouldn't really hold out any large amount of hope for that.

I bet it's just going to be like-- they're going to iterate on this. It's going to be a new body, probably more tech, look fresher, and they're going to sell a ton of them. And that's probably fine for the foreseeable future.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting because you know, obviously, I agree with you. I think that's kind of spot on for an approach they would take, sort of like an incremental change. They don't have to change it much.

ZAC PALMER: No.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think part of its appeal is how it looks, its dynamics. And the last time I drove one, I think, was last summer. Even that, like, the transmission is not good. It's a five-speed, you know.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. It's ancient.

GREG MIGLIORE: Ancient, yeah. Yeah. And like, the engine is not good. Like, it's a little bit of work to drive, but it's also fun to drive. It feels like how you would drive, like, an off roader, you know. And you don't expect it to be fast. I don't even know if I'd want it to be hybrid, you know. When you talk about how they could upgrade the engine, I'm like, I don't know. I think I kind of like this, you know?

And it's very much a paradox. It's not how I, like, look at almost any other car. You know, we used to criticize the Frontier and the Z-car until very recently. And I mean, it's also kind of stunning to think when you throw in, like, the Pathfinder, just how much Nissan let its lineup kind of like just wither on the vine in multiple segments for years. I mean, that's really something to think about.

But outside of maybe the Z-car, we didn't really find those things charming, you know? And even the Z-car, we had some pretty heavy criticisms of things, like there's no infotainment in this thing. Like, what are we doing here?

The Frontier, maybe you could somewhat forgive just because, whatever. It's a truck. You don't expect it to be a Tesla, but you know, that was a different thing. So I don't know. To me, it's, like, mind bending to see just how people like the 4Runner, you know?

I mean, contextually, I guess if you look at the Wrangler, the Wrangler isn't super evolved, you know? Other generations have gone on for seemingly forever. They ran that old four liter engine for years and years. So I mean, that is sort of the playbook in the segment.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. New vibe.

GREG MIGLIORE: I hope they don't change it too much in the near term, to be honest.

ZAC PALMER: New body, sort of looks the same, hopefully maybe a few more speeds to the transmission.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah.

ZAC PALMER: And I don't know. I mean, I could get down with something like a turbocharged four cylinder for this thing if it had similar power and torque to the 4 liter V6 that's in there now. But yeah, they really don't need to do much, just keep it the same proportionally. And I think it's just going to continue to sell like crazy because they don't do anything, and sales increase. It's kind of wild.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's funny because if I had to pick, like, a large sort of SUV like this, like, metrically, as a journalist, like, it would be maybe the Bronco or maybe the Wrangler, depending on which powertrain I wanted to go with.

But, like, emotionally, I really enjoy driving 4Runners. You know, I've always had a good time in them. I mean, I like how they're set up, which is pretty jouncy and bouncy sometimes. I mean, if you're asking me which emotional one I would probably put my money on, it might be the 4Runner, which defies all logic. so yeah, that's the 4Runner at 40.

Let's run through a couple of BMW's here. The 3 Series refresh, kind of a nip and tuck, just some very light changes here, just kind of a mid-cycle refresh. I mean, I think the 3 Series is holding serve right now for BMW. I wouldn't say this is, by any stretch, my favorite generation, but I mean, it's doing what they need to. You know, what do you think?

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, I mean, I feel like the big change here is that they gave it the new iDrive 8 infotainment system and their fancy curved screen. I still haven't tried iDrive 8, so it's tough to have, like, a real hot take on this thing until I try that new system because I'm personally, like, a huge fan of iDrive 7 and I have been for a while.

The exterior, I think, looks largely the same. There's, like, a few small changes in the front grille and the rear bumper, but it still looks like a 3 Series, really doesn't change a whole lot. So I guess, you know, we'll see. I'm not just going to say that it's going to be better because it's newer just because I kind of really do like that iDrive 7 infotainment system.

So we'll see. I guess the one thing that has me a little-- just not totally sure is that they've dropped a lot of the physical controls in the actual dash. That's one thing that I really love about the current 3 Series.

And even our long-term 330e is, like, you can control all the climate, radio, and everything with very great feeling physical controls. And there's still a volume knob, but now it looks like all of the heated seats, the climate, fan adjustment, everything is just within the infotainment system.

GREG MIGLIORE: Interesting.

ZAC PALMER: And that just feels like a step back in some way, just because I really think that BMW got those physical controls, like, as right as you can be. Just super, super easy to use, and they look good too, but I won't knock it till I try it. We'll see. We'll see when we actually get one in if the interior experience is more tech for tech's sake or if it's actually better.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Let's shift gears over to the M4 CSL. As Byron Hurd wrote in his headline, "More power, less weight, fewer seats." It's sort of like the ZL1 treatment, you know, that Chevy did for the Camaro a few years back. That's kind of like what they're doing here.

And it's definitely kind of the muscle car version of the M4 even more so. It's another anniversary. This is 50 for BMW M division, loses a little bit of weight, gain a bit more power. I mean, 543 horsepower in, like, a 4 Series, that to me, sounds ridiculous. That reminds me almost of like Hellcat dynamics, you know. So actually, oddly, I'm kind of psyched about driving this one, whenever we get the opportunity. We may not because it's a relatively limited edition one.

ZAC PALMER: I bet we will

GREG MIGLIORE: You think so?

ZAC PALMER: BMW is pretty good about getting their limited edition cars out there for us.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, that's a good point. I drove the, like, the Glacier edition of an M3, like, probably this is 10 years ago. It was a BMW trip. It was like an M trip. We went to their headquarters, really awesome trip. Saw the museum, saw the M headquarters.

And I drove the Glacier edition in, like, the foothills of the Alps, so you know, that's a little chapter in my novel. At the time, I didn't even realize what I was doing. I can't even like-- I look back, and I'm like, holy cow, man. I can't believe I did that, you know? But they do their special editions well, is my point here, rather than these sort of humble brags or whatever this is.

This is something I think is cool. The grille is a little bit smaller, slightly. I'm going to put it out there. I've said this. I will fight on this hill. I like the new grille. I think it works in a lot of different cars, more BMW than it does not work in, let me put it that way.

They tweaked it a little bit here, to be honest. I could see it. I honestly think it's a little bit more of a moderate taste. It's still very big. And they made the, like, the horizontal bars a little bit different, which I think is a good look. This one, unfortunately, has the European license plate going across, which I think looks OK. It looks better than, like, a lot of, like, US states license plates.

The better look is just not to have the license plate there, which here in Michigan, you don't have to put the front plate on your car. You get a pretty awesome look, I think. But I can be OK with a German plate on it like that. I don't know. I think you agree with me. I mean, tell me if I'm wrong here, but I like this grille. I really do.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. So I'm definitely a huge fan of just, like, the regular M3, M4 grilles. You know, I was a little suspect of them when they first came out. Then I saw them in person. I was like, you know what? This actually works. And I think it works more than anything in the M3 because it feels very proportional to the car. The car's very upright. It very strong lines all the way through, it so that very strong, aggressive grille, it just felt right for the car.

This one, like you said, it's, like, slightly smaller and the actual frames to it are not quite as obvious. It's more of just, like, a big black expanse in there than anything. But at the same time, it's also, like, weirdly aggressive because instead of just, like, a black frame or, like, no frame around it, it's got, like, hot red paint going around both of the kidneys, which really, really accentuates it.

And I guess it's a very CSL thing. So there's no mistaking when a CSL is coming towards you because it has these giant red accents around the big kidney grilles. You know, and the general design of the grille itself is fine. I would have loved to see what it looks like without the red accents, honestly.

That might be a little bit more style, just because I really do like the M3 and M4 grilles that are just completely blacked out, especially on, like, a dark painted car. So yeah, that's sort of my take on this one.

I'm going to reserve judgment until I see it in person again because that's really what it took for me to get on board of these new M3, M4 grilles was to see it in person, proportionally with the car. It had made a lot more sense then. Maybe my favorite part of this whole thing is these new yellow DRLs. It's the same thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Those are cool.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Like, same thing as what was on the M5 CS. And while I was at that M5 CS drive out in Palm Springs, I was like, hey, you guys need to do a lot more of these because these yellow DRLs are really, really cool.

And yeah, so I'm super, super happy to see it on another car. I'm guessing it's going to be, like, a special BMW limited edition thing. We'll see, like, a CS or CSL model that'll have these yellow DRLs, which just reminds me of Lamar racing and just random endurance racing.

So yeah, I mean, I'm excited to try this out. I'll be curious to see, like, how much stiffer and how much more aggressive it is versus, like, a regular M4. But I think the best thing about it is, like, them cutting out the weight. Like, those 240 pounds are going to be huge because the M4 is-- well, it's a pretty beefy car these days. It's right around near 4,000 pounds, so this diet, it's going to help it a lot.

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. Maybe they made the grille just a little bit smaller, and that's where all of the weight came off.

ZAC PALMER: Oh yeah, that's it. That's it.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's it.

ZAC PALMER: The previous grille was, like, 500 pounds. It was just a massive leaden weight.

GREG MIGLIORE: That was it.

ZAC PALMER: Just so big.

GREG MIGLIORE: This is a fun one. This is a fun special edition. I think it really builds on BMW's heritage and makes this car look super sharp. And I think, you know, again, I like how we're seeing that larger grille roll out across the lineup. I think it works. I like it. This specific version, the way it's tailored, it's just a teensy bit smaller. It works on this car.

And frankly, I think that might even be a better treatment than some of these enormous grilles BMW is using. But on the X7, it works.

ZAC PALMER: Oh, yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: I mean, I'm willing to-- like, a lot of people are just like, no. It's ugly. And I'm like, well, no. It's not. Maybe it's a little bit of a clunker application in some of the BMW vehicles, but I think it's better on more of them than it's not.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of times we forget, like, it's OK to be, like, ostentatious and nonfunctional and just, like, crazy to be crazy with car design. I mean, look at cars from the '50s and even some from the '60s. Like, so many things on those cars that we, like, revere today, and you know, they're just wild design for wild design's sake.

And I think that that's completely valid and cool to do today. And I think that BMW is doing a lot of that. And it's fun to see something different. So yeah, I'm certainly a proponent of what BMW is doing with most of their cars, honestly. Not every single one of them, but most of them, I think, have been on the plus side of design.

GREG MIGLIORE: Let's talk about a car that, I think, has been on the plus side of design for most of its life. That's the Hyundai Sonata. Some rumors came out this week that the Sonata may be done after this generation. Haven't confirmed that, obviously, but we did report on those, and you know, it's definitely out there. This would be the ninth generation that may not happen.

I don't know about this one. I think it's one of the better sedans you could get on the market right now. Reportedly, it may not arrive until say 2025, so there's a little bit of time here to see what would happen. We are seeing a huge shift, obviously, and we have been for 10 years now away from sedans.

You know, I don't know. I think they have something here. I think not every car company invests in sedans, and Hyundai has made one that's very good, and you can get it with a variety of different powertrains. For me, I guess we'll just see how the sales figures shake out in the next couple of years. And they've got a tough call to make, but I mean, I've always enjoyed driving a Sonata. I think it looks good. I think they're another brand that has taken some risks with their design.

And in the case of the Sonata and the Elantra, when they get it right, they really pull it off. To me, when they're being risky, that's when they're actually doing it right. When the Sonata got a bit more conservative a couple of generations ago, to me, that was not what I was looking for from them. So we'll see.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. You know, honestly, I think the fate of the Sonata will eventually just evolve into the fate of the Hyundai Ioniq 6 because I know that that electric sedan is coming. And that is basically, like, the same size as like a Sonata, what they're going to come out with.

And I honestly bet that that is-- you know, we're just going to be like, all right so-- if this rumor is true, like, the Sonata would go away and be like, all right, goodbye, Sonata, but we're coming out with an electric sedan that pretty much fills the same space, and it's going to be the Hyundai Ioniq 6.

And honestly, I'd be kind of fine with that. If Sonata sales, like, for gasoline sedan are just not there, I understand shifting to electric, it makes a lot of sense with Hyundai's electrification plan too.

Since I think that the Sonata still has a number of years left in its current life, we could be at the point where Hyundai is like, yeah, we're just going to phase out this this old gasoline engine car and just go fully B with the Ioniq 6, which I would honestly be pretty fine with. It's really tough to compete right now in that segment.

You get the Honda Accord, which is pretty much our favorite in almost every single circumstance. And the Toyota Camry obviously eats up a whole lot of volume too. So if Hyundai can come out with the really great Ioniq 6 sedan, fine. Go ahead and take the Sonata. I won't be too disappointed, I don't think.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Sounds good. So that's our new segment, pretty robust, if you will. Now we're going to shift gears. We have extensive sports car roundtable. Why don't you just preview it here real quick, Zac? You were a member of this roundtable.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, exactly. So you're about to listen to myself, James Riswick, Byron Hurd, and Joel Stocksdale talk about four sports cars that we've all been sharing time in for the past few weeks here. It's been a fun few weeks, to say the least. So yeah, hopefully you have some fun, enjoying us argue with each other about which one's better, which one we might take home to buy.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Sounds good. Let's have a listen.

JAMES RISWICK: I'm West Coast editor James Riswick, and we are going to be talking about one of our favorite collective topics, small, rear wheel drive Japanese sport coupes slash roadsters.

Now, because in the past two to three weeks or so, four of us have been driving some combination of the Subaru BRZ, the Toyota GR86, the Mazda MX 5 Miata, the Toyota GR Supra 2.0-- so don't get your hopes up about manual impressions just yet-- and even the new Nissan Z, although at this point only Zac has driven that. So we'll be keeping that a bit to a minimum.

So we're basically just going to chat about them as we would if we were all sitting in the same room together, as opposed to thousands of miles apart, at least on my end. And I don't know. Detroit's really spaced out, so what? 100s, right? But it'd still only take you 25 minutes to get there because you'll drive 90 no matter where you are.

So before we do, let's go around the virtual room and introduce who you'll be listening to. So again, I'm James Riswick, West Coast editor.

BYRON HURD: Hey, I'm Byron Hurd, associate editor.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I'm Joel Stocksdale, news editor.

ZAC PALMER: And I'm Zac Palmer, road test editor.

JAMES RISWICK: All right. Roll call. Now, let's start this off with a very fundamental question to the entire thing. It has been said that Miata is always the answer. Now, Byron, you have driven the Miata most recently, and you own one. Although, of course, I think in some way-- Zac, have you ever owned a Miata?

ZAC PALMER: Never owned a Miata. That's one I haven't hit.

JAMES RISWICK: OK. So my father has owned two, and I learned to drive a manual transmission on one, so I think I kind of count in that. OK, so 75% of us have owned one. So Byron, you have driven the Miata most recently, the new one. So is Miata always the answer?

BYRON HURD: Yes, of course it is. I mean, we wouldn't say that if it wasn't true, right? I got to say, this was the first time I've actually been behind the wheel of a brand new Miata since 2016 or so, whenever the first ones that are kind of being filtered out, the fleets after the new launch. And so I haven't had a chance to drive one with the bigger-- well, not bigger, but with 181 horsepower engine or anything like that.

So that and the new kinematic control system where the two things that were new to me on this car. And it's still amazing. Honestly, the KPC, it's great. It's a gimmick that reduces the body roll and theoretically, the pitch and dive in the car a little bit too. The whole point is supposed to make it feel like it's flatter, make it feel like it's not a soft little roadster that's trying to hide the fact that it doesn't have a roof.

It does a perfectly adequate job, but frankly, I don't think it really needed any extra gimmicks. It's a great little car. The Roadster's kind of flimsiness is sort of part of the Miata's character. It's not something you need to try to delete by pretending it doesn't exist.

And that was really pronounced. Like you said, we've all been driving a lot of these different cars over the last couple of weeks. They've just all been rotating through. And getting in the Miata after being in a BRZ or an 86, you feel how much flimsier it is, for lack of a better word. But you don't care. Like, you drive it and all that shimmy and shake just kind of fades into the background.

It's part of driving a convertible. I mean, you get it even in a Porsche Boxster. It's not like it's exclusive to inexpensive convertibles. All convertibles are a little flimsy. So I love that car. It's as engaging as it has been since the day they first introduced it. There's really nothing bad to say about it. I could, you know, do with a better infotainment system and things like that, but Mazda has been struggling to figure that out with all their cars. That's not a Miata thing. So yeah, Miata is definitely still the answer.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. I would say to be fair to the Miata, when you're talking about, like, rigidity, it has improved over the years.

BYRON HURD: Sure.

JAMES RISWICK: It's not like my old Z3, which is like loose linguine and definitive cowl shake. But yeah. The other thing with the Miata, like, body roll. Like, I've read your upcoming road test on the thing, and it's interesting because I did not notice that, honestly. Maybe it is because I am not used to driving, you know, more firmly sprung vehicles as much.

But I mostly notice the fact that when you immediately pull away from the car, I want to do, like, just a donut. I was like, donut immediately. First gear, even, like, if you drive the automatic, you're just like, OK. I'm going to gun it, and I'm going to turn the wheel to the left. And I don't care. I'll just deal with the black circles in front of my house for a while.

And handbrake turns. I want to do them all the time. And even, like, you don't get that the same with the Toyobarus. They're just a little more-- not grown up, but just that the Miata is so teeny tiny and so, so fun, and just everything just feels like you just sneeze, and it'll just do a donut. It's just wildly amusing.

BYRON HURD: Well, yeah. As soon as I bought my original and put new tires on it, the very first thing I did was drive to the library parking lot at the entrance to my community-- and I'm sure the statute of limitations expired on this by now.

But I did probably what was about, like, a $15,000 tire mark there, just, you know, judging by all the recent donut shenanigans that have gotten people in trouble out West, just randomly calculating based on how much those lines cost to paint on pavement. I probably did about that much. So sorry about that.

JAMES RISWICK: But it's a Miata so like, yeah, you're doing donuts, but you're not coming with, like, very loud, obnoxious engine and exhaust noises and waking up old ladies and things. No, you're doing fun, but very, like, in a small confined area. It's a very personal hooliganism, which is just very polite. Very polite.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Relatively classy donuts. I too--

BYRON HURD: Yes.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: The first Miata I drove, it took me all of, like, an hour and a half to get to a parking lot, and I did exactly the same as you, Byron, donut after donut after donut. This one wasn't actually-- it didn't have any lines on it or anything, so there were no lines to screw up, but no. Just like you guys describe, just constantly kicking the rear end out for no good reason.

And you know, I honestly noticed the same thing as you, Byron. You know, it has that sort of playful body roll, but I like it in that car. And yeah, it's just such a fun little thing to play around with all of the time.

BYRON HURD: I have a little bit of a theory that some of the body roll in the Miata is not so much a problem in the sense that it helps communicate a little bit, like, what the car is doing. And it also kind of makes it feel a little bit more dynamic. But also the fact that the car is so light, it can shift its position much more quickly. It's not a sudden snap if you have to suddenly make a steering correction.

Like, we had a couple of electric cars a couple of weeks ago, and those things are really heavy. And the Ioniq 5 in particular, I noticed quite a bit of body roll. And that thing was a little bit-- you could feel that weight, and it was a little bit disconcerting when it would shift directions.

But in a Miata, it's so light that that body roll, it just is kind of a little bit of seasoning to the cornering. It doesn't affect how it corners. It still feels very stable and responsive, even with a little bit of that body roll.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah, absolutely.

JAMES RISWICK: And also, let's not forget that-- I'll be the old man here and say that, you know, body roll also does equal suspension compliance to a certain degree, which means that you can actually drive it without, you know, you wanting to just park the car immediately a block down the street because you've grown so tired of the damn suspension.

Speaking of the GR86, so it looks like we can get back to the Miata in a bit, because honestly, I think we could just talk about a Miata for 30 minutes. And it's the oldest car here and probably the least updated. So let's talk about the Toyobarus because they are new-ish, same platform, but very thoroughly and successfully overhauled, I would say.

I had them back-to-back. And in fact, I had them on for one day, the same day, BRZ first and then the GRE 6. And I was expecting-- so you know, because it's just me out here, I can't, like-- you know if I lived in Michigan, I could just, like, meet up with Zac on some-- well, no, you don't have mountains, do you? Some flat, winding road and you know, we can go back and forth, like, on some twisty bit and make it very easy to notice differences.

But here I'm alone, so that means I have to, like, park the car at my house and then go a half hour to that mountain road and then come back. And so I figured, like, figuring out the nuances between the two would be kind of like picking between, like, pinot noirs you've drank, like, an hour apart from each other. It'd be kind of difficult.

As it turns out, it was not. I was very surprised at how different the Toyobarus are from each, other specifically suspension tuning. They really are quite a bit different in terms of the actual hardware that goes into them. You know, the BRZ has firmer springs up front and softer springs in the rear, and there's differences in roll bars.

And also knuckles-- the Toyota are iron, and the Subarus are aluminum. And as a result, the GR86 has a firmer ride. Just I did not need to go that far. I just turned the corner and lots of bumps on 45th Street, and I was done after three blocks. I was like, the GR86 is tiresome, and I would grow tired of driving this every day.

Meanwhile, the BRZ, no problem. Fine. Did not notice that at all in the week I had it. And that also translates-- besides me sounding like an old arthritic man-- it does translate into when you're out on that winding mountain or flat winding road, mid-corner bumps and being able to maintain composure, you do have a little more compliance.

And maybe that goes back to what we were talking about with the Miata, it actually being beneficial. Because if you have a firm unforgiving ride in suspension, the car has a greater tendency to get out of whack when the pavement isn't perfect. And you know Michigan, Oregon, I can't imagine pavement not being perfect, my god.

So I was really surprised at, you know, that fundamental difference and how easy it was for me to say, yeah, I'd pick the BRZ easily. There wasn't, like, a level of nuance. It was easy to figure it out. And I don't actually remember who has driven both of them recently, but definitely, it's not just me.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. Yeah. I was actually really happy that you were able to confirm that for me because when I-- so I drove the BRZ the back in fall. So it had been, like, four or five months. And then I got into GR86 here about three or four weeks ago. And I felt like the rear end was a little stiffer than before. It was a little more uncomfortable versus the BRZ And mind you, this was a few months apart.

And you know, it was even so much stiffer that my girlfriend, Rachel, who rarely notices when cars are stiff actually said something about it as we were going down a particularly poor road, like, this thing rides really stiffly. And yeah, it's because of those stiffer rear springs in the GR86. And you know, so I'm glad to know that I'm not crazy. James, you drove them back-to-back. And yeah, the BRZ is definitely the more comfortable one to cruise around and.

I know I didn't experience the same thing on our winding flat roads around here, just because I think the ones that I drove on were pretty smooth, honestly. So it didn't feel very jittery over that, was still pretty smooth and planted. But yeah, just like you, I would much rather cruise around in a BRZ on the daily versus the GR86.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, and the other thing is, again, like, I drove them back-to-back, and maybe there would be nuances between the two, you know, when driven aggressively, but it's a nuance thing. It's not so obvious. And it's not just a matter of springs in the back because they're firmer up front. And then now I have it in front of me.

And yeah, aluminum knuckles rather than cast iron for BRZ. It's a hollow rather than a solid front anti-roll bar. And the rear anti-roll bars mounted directly to the body rather than to the subframe. So there's actually different things going on here for the two cars that could actually also affect handling as well. So it's perfectly plausible that the BRZ is superior in certain environments than the 86.

Nevertheless, the GR86 is still a massive blast. It's a tremendously fun little car. It is rear wheel drive. And the two cars from a powertrain standpoint are the same. And that's good because now the engine isn't a soggy bag of old salad. It is substantially, substantially, substantially better. I don't know. Byron, why don't you talk-- because you went on the first drive for the Toyota.

BYRON HURD: Yes. Yeah, I was on the 86 drive, and we actually did that in New York. The focus of it was really Monticello. So we got it out on track. And in fact, they didn't give us a road loop that really took us beyond the roads immediately around the track, which might have been perhaps somewhat strategic, to keep us from seeing just how stiff that thing actually felt on real roads. So there's something to consider.

But having driven the BRZ just a couple of weeks ago, right before everything else we've been driving recently, I was surprised how comfortable that car was driving around on pavement here in the Detroit area. So I also noticed that it was surprisingly comfortable. I felt, actually, the same way about the war WRX. So either Subaru you want to go with, whether you want rear wheel drive or all wheel drive, both are actually very livable.

But yeah the 86, I mean, it was incredibly responsive on track. Like, you could turn that thing in, know that the rear end was going to come loose, and just do everything you needed to do up front to get yourself kind of pointed the direction you wanted to go before you let the back end slide into place. Like, it's still a great precision instrument, but yeah, you'll pay for it a little bit on the street.

JAMES RISWICK: And to be specific, the new engine is a 2.4 liter from a two liter before. 228 horsepower. It has 184 pound feet of torque from a much lower point in the tech, whereas it was like 156 before. And it was like at a million RPM. And yeah, the mid-range was like-- the definitive-- if you want to know what a lack of mid-range is, what that means, just drive an old BRZ or an 86, and that will be your perfect explanation for it.

And that's why everybody wanted a turbocharger, not just because more power, please, but because the power it delivered was lacking. Now it's not. This does not feel like completely deficient like it did before. Both of them now feel more appropriate for performance application.

It kind of feels like the Miata in that way. Like, you're not going to go home banging on about the engine, but it's also not going to be, like, disappointing. So let's all now discuss with the BRZ and the GR86, how much all of us would clearly pick the automatic, right? We're all picking the automatic?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: [CHUCKLES] Man, you know, so the BRZ that I drove was the automatic. And it's fine if you leave it in automatic and hit the little sport mode button on a windy road it will happily downshift for you. It holds gears, you know, just how you want it to. Just don't really mess with the paddles though because it is nowhere close to as quick as, say, like, a dual-clutch transmission in other cars you could buy for this price.

Yeah, it's not fun to paddle around with, but, you know, it's very much like a torque converter that is just slow and slurry and just not exactly a performance transmission at all.

JAMES RISWICK: Have any of you driven an automatic Miata?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Never. Never.

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, that's worse. That's worse.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: It's worse than this too? Really?

ZAC PALMER:

JAMES RISWICK: Yes. Yes. It does not have the downshifting happily, breaking into a corner that this does it least. Because you're right. It actually does a very good job of downshifting into corners, and also down shifting when you get back on the throttle. My problem is it would, like, upshift too frequently, right? So, like, yes, it's good at it, but it does it too much. So it shouldn't have to.

Because the other thing is, like, yeah, it downshifts. But I found, like, I'm driving on this road, and it keeps upshifting, so the engine's kind of at 3,000 RPM, which is, like, fine, but it doesn't sound great. At least there's-- thank god-- mid-range again, but, like, I found that when I was driving the manual one, I'm driving at, like, 5,000 RPM, because it's more responsive and it sounds better because that engine sounds actually pretty good when it goes up the tech.

So I was just kind of driving along. It was a little quiet. And, like, I don't have that experiential feel to it. So yeah, I would use the paddles just to make it louder. But yeah, in terms of actually wanting to use them because you know the downshifting and up shifting capability of that, yeah. I totally agree.

BYRON HURD: Well, I'll say too, like, they let us drive the previous generation and current generation 86 on track same day. Like, you literally get out of one and into the other. And they had auto and manual both. And the automatic in the updated 86 is significantly better than it was previously.

So while it's still not maybe the one to pick, it is still a lot better than it used to be, to the point where, like, just constantly fiddling with the console mounted shifter versus just, like, actually having paddles and not having-- you get that on lower trims now. They're much easier to use. It is snappy enough on the track, especially compared to, like, just trying to get it to downshift on its own or something silly like that.

But the engine, I think, is actually what makes it more tolerable because it's the additional torque, you know. Torque converter sap a lot of power. So when you have more power to begin with, than the transmission is going to feel a little better. So I think it's a combination of the way they program the new one and the additional torque from the 2.4 liter, but it does make a significant difference at least over the outgoing generations automatic.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, and I could see if you're driving on the track actually, like, an automatic being beneficial because it's just-- like, yeah, 0 to 60, it's slower, but that doesn't really-- so it's just, like, one-- I kind of prefer driving an automatic on a track.

I mean, usually that means like a like a dual-clutch manual, not a six-speed automatic, but still, it's just like you don't have to worry about perfectly nabbing that rev matching downshift. So you just hit a paddle, and you're there and, you know, it's one less thing to worry about. But yeah, I definitely get the manual.

The other thing is that I don't know about you guys, but I kind of like the rev matching downshifting function I like having it available to me. And I think it's kind of unfortunate that these cars don't have one, unlike the new Nissan Z. We're not going to really talk much about it, because only you've driven it, Zac, but that pioneered the thing, right?

ZAC PALMER: Sure did. Yeah. And it's literally the same system on this one as it was before. They even give it the same name, Synchro rev matching. You know, it's actually only available on the high dollar performance trim. It doesn't make any sense, but you don't get rev matching downshifts with the $41,000 one. But yeah, just like you, I am I'm a big fan of having that on track.

And you know, it might be a situation that is somewhat exclusive to our particular set of problems in that we drive a new fresh car on track for, like, 10, 15 minutes so we don't really get to learn it very well. How can you actually perfect those heel toe downshifts? So just having the option to just press a button and have it do it yourself is-- well, it makes actually piloting that car around a brand new racetrack, figuring out the suspension and the engine and all that, that much easier.

I have a feeling, you know, if I actually owned a Z, maybe it wouldn't bother me all that much not having it because I would really figure that car and that transmission out. But yeah, it's just that sort of thing. And I don't know.

How deep do you want me to get in on the Z here? Because I could talk for hours. There's a million reviews out about it now. And I think most of it is good. Pretty much everyone likes it.

JAMES RISWICK: Well, why don't we just catch it there and you kind of reference it in regards to the Subaru because we haven't talked about that yet. And obviously, the Z is powered by a V6 and so it does align with the the Supra 3.0, which is now available with a manual. And isn't that lovely?

ZAC PALMER: Yes.

JAMES RISWICK: None of us have sampled that yet, but I mean, what are the chances it's not going to be some sort of Toyota fettled BMW manual? I honestly don't know. If someone knows that it definitely will be or not, I'm not Joel.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: So basically-- I mean, Toyota's press release said that it is basically an off-the-shelf transmission, which, I mean, is basically PR speak for, like, it's an existing BMW transmission, and they gave it a lighter bell housing and transmission case. And, like, I wouldn't be surprised if they've adjusted, like, shifter cables and bushings and things. But yeah, it's basically-- it'll be like the rest of the Subarus, a BMW that's been tweaked by Toyota.

JAMES RISWICK: Oh, yeah. It's a perfectly cromulent transmission, even if it doesn't feel like a Toyota manual. But does anybody really remember what that is? I guess the BRZ. The BRZ has a Toyota manual transmission that's pretty good. That would kind of feel weird, I think, with that much power.

ZAC PALMER: I was able to shift through the gears of the GR Corolla at the New York Auto Show. And that felt OK. It's no Civic Type R transmission or Porsche manual transmission, but it's fine, you know. I don't think that it's really that big of a deal that it's going to be a BMW manual, because that's sort of how I think about, like, the manual, like the M3 and M4. It's fine. It's not that special of a manual transmission. It's a little rubbery.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah, it's like a German thing.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

JAMES RISWICK: But again, just like the whole Supra. It's like, oh, it's a BMW. It's a BMW! And it's a performance one. It's not, like, a 5 Series. Like, really? We're complaining about that?

BYRON HURD: I mean, well, I'm not exactly the biggest fan of most new BMW, but the Supra--

JAMES RISWICK: No. You're right. That's literally what I'm talking about, you know? The choices now are kind of--

BYRON HURD: But honestly, after spending a lot of time in the Supra 2.0, I was really finding myself enjoying it a fair bit. This was the most time that I've actually had to spend with a Supra, like, in real life, as opposed to, like, very short track jaunts.

And this was the four cylinder, and it felt really peppy. I was actually surprised the steering seems to actually have a little bit of feel and is really precise. And I'm really, really appreciative to Toyota that they didn't use the super fat bratwurst of a steering wheel that BMW sticks in there in their M vehicles.

I was really quite enjoying it. I will say, though, the new Z's base price of just over $40,000 for the 400 horsepower engine, really recontextualizes the four cylinder Supra, and not in a great way. Because for the Supra, you're spending just over $40,000 for a 255 horsepower four cylinder. It's a four cylinder that feels underrated, but you're still going to be working at a pretty big deficit to compare it to the Z.

JAMES RISWICK: Yeah. I'm guessing the Supra 2.0 has more-- I'm thinking it has a lot more equipment on it relative to the Z, but still, like, that's nice. I mean, for the purposes of our conversation, talking about sport coupes, having leather Alcantara upholstery is less important, generally speaking.

BYRON HURD: Yeah.

JAMES RISWICK: And so yeah, the Supra 3.0 with the manual, again, the manual is only available with 3.0 inline six engine. And so that starts over $50,000. Let me check the math. Yeah, that is more than a BRZ and a GR86.

So obviously, we're talking about different cars here. The four cylinder Supra is more than $10,000 grand more expensive than its GR86 sibling. That said, let's just say it doesn't matter cost, throw that out the window. Would you take a Supra, the four cylinder over the GR86, Joel?

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I think-- and I can hardly believe I'm saying this-- but I think I might. I think I would. Something about it, I was finding myself really enjoying it. I like that it's kind of tail happy, like, even more so than the Toyobaru twins.

The torque is really nice. It feels a lot livelier across more of the rev bands than-- because with the Toyobarus, you've still got to really work them to get the power, which can be rewarding, but it can also be tiresome, especially when both of those engines are really loud and not particularly refined.

And the Supra, it's quieter on the highway and stuff. It's a lot easier to live with on a daily basis. And also, like, I really do love the way the new 86 and the BRZ look. I also really love the way the Supra looks. I think the Supra is really cool. And the one that I had was in a really eye-catching bright yellow, which works great with the curves on that car.

But yeah, I was surprised. I was like-- I think I actually came away-- I actually kind of preferred the steering on the Supra too. I was a little bit surprised the BRZ felt-- it felt more numb than I remember past BRZs being. So shockingly, like, I did not expect this. I came away liking the Supra more. Yeah and Byron, you've had both the BRZ and the Supra too. What were you thinking?

BYRON HURD: Yeah, and I of course-- since I was the one who delivered the BRZ to you, I then drove the Subaru to your house and drove the Toyota home. So I got a good kind of back-to-back feeling there. And yeah, a lot of my thoughts echo yours.

The thing that I think struck me most about the Supra was just that it feels much more eager at slower speeds than the BRZ, does but the BRZ feels much more eager when you're pushing it. So like the more you're revving it out, the more you're actually, like, you know, going deep in the corners and trying to get as much performance out of it as you possibly can, the more it comes alive.

Where with the Supra, it kind of felt like the harder you pushed it, the less at home it was. And I think that was just down to the engine. I mean, you know, it was the two liter engine. It was the-- well, the automatic because it's what you're stuck with. But it also doesn't have the adaptive suspension or anything like that. So you've got, you know, one chassis set up, the smaller engine.

You could tell that the car was built for more. And with the BRZ, you kind of feel like, OK. This is it. This is what this chassis was meant to do. This is the purest execution of the form, if you will. And so the harder you pushed it, the better the BRZ felt. And just driving around town, highway, that kind of stuff, the Supra also kind of presented a little bit more of a sense of occasion.

And also, like you said, it was bright freaking yellow so everybody was looking at that thing. And of course, you know, everybody wants to race too because it's bright yellow Toyota Supra, but you can't say through the window, hey, it's a four cylinder. Please leave me alone. Like, you just can't. You can't do that, especially when you're on a big avenue in Detroit.

ZAC PALMER: Have a sign.

BYRON HURD: [LAUGHTER] I'm a 2.0. Please don't hurt me. Yeah, you just can't. You know, so it was trying a little too hard when it was just cruising around. And it just didn't quite have enough to back it up when you really started pushing it, in my opinion.

But the BRZ would just be the flip of that. Like, it's a much more pedestrian vehicle. You see a lot more of them too, which, you know, kind of takes the edge off spotting one. But it's definitely more of a back road vehicle, not a stoplight vehicle. And I think the two liter kind of undermines one of the things that makes the Supra so great, and that's it's been a straight line hero forever.

JAMES RISWICK: I think one thing between the two, between all of these is that, you know, there is a backseat in the BRZ and the GR86. And that in comparison to not only the Supra but the Miata as well. And while it's, you know, not really useful for humans, as someone who has two small dogs, it's useful. And so I could go someplace with my wife and bring the two little dogs along for, like, a weekend somewhere.

Good luck in the Miata. And I know that because, again, I have a Z3. And that's a reason that gets parked a lot, because these little things, we didn't have room for them, and they're kind of handy for little dogs.

You can also fold down the back seat and you have kind of a comical amount of trunk room for something that's effectively, really a two seater. So you know, you can put stuff in it. It's more easily used as just a weekend car, more usable both as a weekend-only car as well as a daily driver.

So I think that's something to keep in mind with the 86 and the BRZ because it has that back seat. And you know, Toyota specifically did not want a back seat in the Supra, went out of its way to have two doors. The chief engineer wanted a two-seater because that's what a sports car is. So they made their bed, but it does limit its usefulness. So it's something to be reminded of because you might be driving alone a lot.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: I actually kind of wonder how much of that was Toyota insisting on it being two seats and how much of it was, it's going to be based on the Z4 so it's going to only have two seats because every generation of Supra until this one had rear seats.

JAMES RISWICK: You're not wrong, but you know, the guy said it. So either he's lying or-- he seemed very intent. And he was very intent on making the sports car. And he made one that's far more of a sports car than the BMW is.

JOEL STOCKSDALE: Yeah. Well, I do like it. And some of I will say, yeah, like, I've consistently said that if-- because really, the Miata and the 86 BRZ are the ones that are competing against each other. Supra is kind of a whole other tier. And, like, really, if you were looking for a more practical alternative to Z and Supra, you'd be looking at, like, Mustang or Camaro, both of which have backseats.

But with like Miata and the Toyobarus, like, if you need a little bit more practicality, say, if it's your only car, I would definitely say go with the 86 or BRZ. That being said, if you don't have to have that extra space, I would go with the Miata. I think the Miata has a better engine, a better gearbox. I think the refinement, the ride and handling, balance are better on the Miata.

I feel like it mostly kind of boils down to, like, whether or not you need the space and whether or not you have to have, like, a hard top. And I think those are perfectly valid arguments. And, like, either way, you're getting an awesome little sports car. You just have to evaluate, like, what do you need and what do you want out of it?

JAMES RISWICK: Well, that seems like a good point to wrap this up, because I think we can all agree that I'm glad that we have these cars. And I'm really glad that everyone complains or a lot of people complain that Supra is based on a BMW. But you know what? If it wasn't, it wouldn't exist. And we wouldn't have a neat car to talk about and to enjoy and to drive and possibly buy.

Same thing with the Toyobarus. Yeah, they're not on a brand new spanking platform, but they actually, like, have a second generation. I think we are all kind of surprised that that happened. And Miata still exists, and it's still kind of like the heart and soul of that brand, inspiring the eleventy different SUVs that it's going to come out with, but it kind of feels there's always going to be a Miata.

And I wish we all had more of these little cars because they're a blast, and they're fun, and it was fun talking about them with all of you. So that's it from the four of us. And back to you, Greg.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Thanks, guys. That sounds like you guys had a lot of fun with these cars. I cannot wait to have some summertime driving with these vehicles. It really gets me pumped up about you getting out there when the weather's hot and driving these things when the roads are clear and fun.

ZAC PALMER: Go buy sports cars. Do it. Manuals too.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, there you go. There you go. So we don't have a spend my money this week, but we do have an update from the mailbag. A few weeks back we were talking about good spring beers. I think you had mentioned one from an Ann Arbor Brewing Company called-- which one?

ZAC PALMER: The one that I mentioned before was Oberon, which was-- actually, they're based in Comstock, Michigan.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, that's right.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK. Maybe John, our green editor, had brought the Ann Arbor one. Anyways, Jason writes in that he mentions Jolly Pumpkin, the brewery. I like that.

ZAC PALMER: Love Jolly Pumpkin so much.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. There's a few of them. I think there's-- is there one in Ann Arbor?

ZAC PALMER: Yes.

GREG MIGLIORE: OK there's one in Detroit too

ZAC PALMER: There's one in Ann Arbor, Detroit. There's actually one in Royal Oak. It's, like, a five minute walk from my house.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh yeah, yeah. I've been to that one too.

ZAC PALMER: And then there's one in Dexter too. If you're listening to this in Michigan, you have all the Jolly Pumpkin options.

GREG MIGLIORE: The one he recommends is Oro de Calabaza. This is a Belgian strong golden ale with sour and spice. So I will have to try that. I kind of go in and out on, like, Belgians and sours and, you know, just some of those different styles. But this sounds good to me. I would definitely have a pint of it.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, man, I really love Jolly Pumpkin just because they're one of the few breweries out there that really do the old world style of Belgian brewing. I know that there are a few other ones. One-- one notable is Ommegang Brewery.

I learned all this in a beer and wine class that I took back in college, where we talked about Belgian beer for a whole day. And Jolly Pumpkin was actually mentioned in this class that I took in New York, totally, totally away from Michigan where Jolly Pumpkin is. But yeah, anything Jolly Pumpkin, I strongly endorse. It is legit stuff. Really, really tasty.

GREG MIGLIORE: We were at the one in Detroit a few weeks back or a few months ago, actually, probably. I think it was still pretty cold out. And I had the Bam beer, which is a 4.5% farmhouse.

ZAC PALMER: It's a good one.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a good one, yeah. Saison, if you will, just really nice with, like, a burger or sandwich. And if you're going through their menu, they offer a lot of beers in that style, depending on how much of a percentage, like, of alcohol if you want, how strong you want the beer to be. What I like about Jolly Pumpkin-- and not all Michigan breweries do this-- is you can get, like, just a solid 4.5% beer. And it's just a good sipping beer, if you will.

Or you can, you know, really turn up the wick and get something that's, you know, much, much stronger. Like, you know, there's something called a sour here. And it's 8.1%. Or a La Roja is 7.2%, which you know, those are more, like, maybe I like the temperature to be a little colder, I like to maybe be at home when I'm drinking those beers that type of thing, so I could just fall asleep. But thanks for writing, Jason. Do you have any summer beer recommendations, Zac?

ZAC PALMER: Summer beer recommendations. Honestly, I might just keep it with the Bell's Brewery recommendations. No, Yeah. And that's literally--

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a good one.

ZAC PALMER: --my favorite beer, No, Yeah. It's probably my favorite beer when you're sitting out on a boat, just cruising in the sun. Seems perfect for a Memorial Day weekend, honestly. Yeah. No, Yeah. I say that jokingly because here in the Midwest, we're constantly saying "no, yeah. No, yeah" It's kind of--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah, right.

ZAC PALMER: Oh man, I really laughed when they first came out with it, but yeah, it's just like a super easy sipping, low ABV beer that's super tasty. And yeah, you can sip them and enjoy them for a while. So yeah.

GREG MIGLIORE: No, Yeah, that sounds like a good one. Yeah, no, I don't want that one would be the other translation here to speak upper Midwestern, if you will. If you have a summer beer recommendation, send them to us. This is the long holiday weekend.

So hey, it's officially, unofficially, whatever summer. So be safe out there. If you enjoy the "Autoblog Podcast," that's five stars on Apple Podcasts. We're on Spotify. Wherever you get your podcasts, we are there. Send us your Spend My Moneys, your beer recommendations. That's podcast@autoblog.com. Be safe out there, and we will see you next week.

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