Aston Martin Vantage N430 Coupe (2014) CAR review

The ‘N’ stands for Nurburgring, and the 430 for the power output. The Aston Martin Vantage N430 signifies the next top-level version of the V8-powered coupe and Volante, taking over from the N420 and before that, N400 series of Nurburgring-inspired models.

Read on for our full Aston Martin Vantage N430 review.

Why does Aston name its Vantage N430 after a race track in Germany?

Aston Martin Racing celebrates 10 years in 2014, which has its base at the famous Nordschleife circuit, and the sportscar maker has just had two strong weekends of motorsport. Two weeks ago at Le Mans, it spanked Ferrari for a class victory, while yesterday at the Nurburgring 24-hour, its GT3 entry fended off a feisty BMW Z4 to claim an impressive fifth outright. Also on track, the N430 made its competition debut at the event, and finished second in its class.

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What about the Aston Martin Vantage N430 for the road?

Tear off the stickers, remove the roll-cage and the racecar is near identical to the new road car. There’s still the lipstick on the nose, and the coloured mirrors and pillar to set the N model apart, as well as graphite-finished forged alloys inspired, says Aston, by its CC100 concept from 2013. The metal grille and window surrounds are painted flat black, and the same exterior colour combos – green and yellow, red and blue, white and grey, plus two other ‘livery’ choices – are reflected inside with contrasting stitching in that shade, too.

With its alcantara steering wheel, Aston says that this is supposed to be a sports car, not a grand tourer, so has started with the short-wheelbase Vantage and its 4.7-litre V8. It’s upped the power by 10bhp through a valved airbox and changes to the fuel ‘strategy’, firmed up the suspension and shed 20kg with lightweight sports seats. There’s a choice of the six-speed manual we’re driving here, or a seven-speed robotised-manual ‘Sportshift II’ with black magnesium paddles for £5500 extra.

Aston Martin N430: performance, spec

On the road, the Vantage N430 is a treat. From the delicious warble at idle, the Vantage opens its lungs at around 3000rpm then all the way to the 7500rpm rev limiter, with a metallic rasp that has your right foot subconsciously staying flat a little longer, and you’ll hang on to lower gears from more noise, too, as it’s so encompassing. The response off the mark in the ‘Sport’ setting is solid, but not earth-shattering for the class of 2014: 0-62mph takes 4.8sec, and it continues pulling all the way to its 190mph top speed.

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This manual Vantage N430 suffers from a heavy clutch and dilutes the driving experience with the characteristically odd placement of the stubby shifter. It’s too far back from the otherwise good driving position (we chuckled at the weight-saving seats still having electric adjustment). As you accelerate, with the delivery smooth rather than brutal, the awkward body twist for the next gear makes you not as smooth as you could be. It’s a simple glitch which would annoy us every day…

Around town, you can be slow, delicate and make changes that cannot be felt, but the shifter’s woes are magnified when you’re tackling a winding road. Here, the N430 is a delight: its ride on the fixed (non-adaptive) suspension is compliant yet relatively supple, although we reckon it’ll be a bit hard on our rough UK roads, while the steering is superb. It has a little on-centre play, and needs a fair amount of lock to make things happen, but it means that at high-speed, it’s in its element. You’re not constantly tweaking the wheel to reposition the Vantage N430 in a corner, because it’s so composed, so stable and so obedient that the creamy steering is spot on.

That hydraulic steering might be a little heavy at slow speeds, but the N430 is best when having its neck wrung – this is a brutally fast point-to-point machine. That steering adds to the agile feeling, quick response and chuckability of the V8 Aston into a corner. There’s loads of lateral grip from the 295-section rear Bridgestones, and power down out of corners in the dry is near sublime.

The handling balance is quite neutral: you have to do all of your braking in a straight line, otherwise you can actually make this thing understeer, as the front end could do with more bite. Yet that composure, agility and powerful six-piston front brakes will have you pushing hard with full confidence that the show won’t fall apart should you need to pull up, or if a corner tightens up a little more than you expected.

The downsides of the Aston Vantage N430?

Take this either way: this model is not limited to 400 coupes and 400 Roadsters like the previous N models. That’s good – because if you want one, you can have one – but that means it’s not so exclusive.

Beside that, we all know that the Vantage has been on sale since 2005, and that every Aston is showing its age – and lack of cash investment – in the cabin’s equipment levels. It’s also exquisitely thirsty, with figures that reflect a small jet rather than something that’s still on the ground. A tank larger than 80-litres would help, but can hardly be packaged and will add heft.

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At £89,995, there’s a smaller hop from the Vantage V8 to this N430 than previous N models, and that also means it’s £5k more than the much younger Jaguar F-Type R Coupe.

Verdict

The N430 is a solid proposition: we reckon that it’s more fun on a winding road than an F-Type, and more civilised around town – but we’ll see who wins the stoush when we have them together on the same road, at the same time. The Aston is not as sharp as a Porsche 911, but Stuttgart’s legend is arguably more mainstream than the Aston. So while it’s admittedly showing its age, the N430 Vantage can still make you smile when you look at it, hear it, feel it and exploit it. It’s also not a big upsell from a regular V8 Vantage for something that little more special, making that price not so bad after all.

2014 Honda Odyssey

In retrospect, it was crystal clear. When Honda released an image of the Odyssey Logo created entirely from Cheerios to tease the debut of this refreshed 2014 model, every single family man in the office should have made the obvious connection. Curiously, it was one of young bucks in the office that realized what Honda was up to: “I bet they’re gonna have a built-in vacuum in there,” he said. The collective indifference was palpable.

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As it turns out, our super-dad in training was spot on. When Honda pulled the wraps off the refreshed 2014 Odyssey in its top-spec Touring Elite trim, the appropriately named HondaVAC was installed, ready to inhale all the errant cereal, dog hair, and pocket change your brood can dish out.

Developed in conjunction with Shop-Vac, a noted expert in suckage, the vacuum employs a replaceable filter and canister bag just like the full-size one in your garage. Nozzle accessories fit neatly into a dedicated storage space located on the driver’s-side bulkhead of the rear cargo area. You get enough hose to reach each and every nook, cranny, and corner of the Odyssey’s cabin. It’ll suck indefinitely when the engine is running, and for up to eight minutes when the 3.5-liter V-6 is off.

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All Honda Odysseys receive minor exterior enhancements for the 2014 model year, including a re-sculpted aluminum hood, new aluminum fenders, a new grille, and a reworked lower fascia with chrome-ringed fog lights. The projection-beam headlight housings get a darker finish, and the mirrors get a two-tone treatment. New LED taillamps and a fresh badging motif finish off the look.

Many structural improvements have been made, which Honda speculates will help the Odyssey achieve top marks in safety tests, although no one’s yet run the 2014 into anything to gather official ratings. The Odyssey Touring Elite also will get standard nanny systems like forward collision warning and lane-departure warning, and the vacuum is standard here, too.

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Interior trims have been updated, and a bevy of standard and optional features are available for dad to geek out on, including HD radio, keyless entry and start, a text-message reading function, and HondaLink, which uses an occupant’s smartphone to access internet radio, Facebook, Twitter, and other apps.

Pricing will be released closer to when the 2014 Honda Odyssey goes on sale this summer.

The 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Gas and Diesel Cars for Sale Today

This sounds like a simple exercise—head to the EPA’s fuelconomy.gov site, copy, paste, and you have a list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles for sale in America, right? Not so fast.

We decided we needed some ground rules. First, yes, the list is based on the 10 highest EPA-rated highway-mileage figures. Unfiltered, however, the cars on that list are all EVs, and even removing the electrics reveals mostly hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and all of those vehicle types generally cost more and just aren’t fun to drive. So those were out. Being enthusiasts, we instead focused our lens on the most frugal gas- and diesel-burning cars, breaking ties at a given mpg figure by selecting the car we would recommend most highly to our friends and family members, taking into account both driving dynamics and value. So without further ado, here are the 10 most fuel-efficient cars for sale in America today, with a Car and Driver twist.

10) Ford Focus Sedan 2.0L 6AT – 37 mpg

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There are a ton of cars rated for 37 mpg highway, but the overall value and general goodness of the fun and affordable Focus make it our pick of this large litter. Unfortunately, to achieve 37 mpg, one must spec the PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission, which isn’t among the best of this type of gearbox. Yet all Focuses include as standard the same excellent chassis that helped it garner 10Best Cars awards in 2012 and 2013, and those most interested in this lofty mpg figure—those with long commutes, for example—will find the automatic version acceptable.

Alternatives:
BMW 535d xDrive diesel, Chevrolet Sonic sedan/hatchback 1.4L 6AT, Dodge Dart 1.4L 6AT, Ford Fusion 1.5L 6AT/1.6L 6MT, Hyundai Accent 1.6L 6AT/6MT, Hyundai Elantra/Elantra Limited 1.8L, Kia Forte 1.8L 6MT, Kia Rio 1.6L 6MT, Kia Rio Eco 1.6L 6AT, Mazda 3 hatchback 2.5L 6AT, Mazda 6 2.5L 6MT, Mini Cooper coupe 1.6L 6MT, Scion iQ 1.3L CVT, Toyota Corolla 1.8L 6MT, Toyota Corolla 1.8L CVT, Toyota Yaris 1.5L 5MT, Volkswagen Beetle convertible 2.0L TDI 6AT

9) Mazda 6 2.5L 6AT – 38 mpg

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That the terrific Mazda 6 is both a 10Best winner and is rated for 38 mpg on the highway is perhaps enough justification to make it our pick among cars with similar mileage. But the 6 is also a driver’s delight, with a firm yet compliant suspension, superlative steering and brakes, and styling that shames pretty much everything in its class.

Alternatives:
Audi A6 3.0L TDI Quattro, Audi A7 3.0L TDI Quattro, BMW 535d, Chevrolet Cruze 1.4L 6MT/6AT, Ford Fiesta 1.6L 5MT, Honda Civic 1.8L CVT, Hyundai Accent 1.6L 6MT, Hyundai Elantra 1.8L 6AT, Mazda 3 hatchback 2.5L 6AT, Mercedes-Benz CLA250, Nissan Altima 2.5L CVT, Smart Fortwo coupe/cabriolet 1.0L 5AT, Toyota Corolla 1.8L CVT

8) VW Jetta SportWagen 2.0L TDI Diesel 6AT – 39 mpg

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There are few cars that combine a powertrain and body style as deliciously as does the diesel Jetta SportWagen. With engaging driving dynamics and a meaningful 67 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded, this Jetta offers more sport and utility than any number of so-called sport-utility vehicles. The best news, though, might be that an all-new one is on the way (it will be called the Golf SportWagen), and it promises to be even more efficient.

Alternatives:
Chevrolet Cruze Eco 1.4L 6AT, Chevrolet Spark 1.2L 5MT/CVT, Ford Fiesta 1.6L 6AT, Honda Civic 1.8L CVT, Mazda 3 sedan 2.5L 6AT, Nissan Sentra 1.8L CVT, Volkswagen Beetle 2.0L TDI 6AT

7) Mazda 6 2.5L 6MT – 40 mpg

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Your eyes don’t deceive you—the 6 indeed appears on our list twice, and we’re pleased that the slick-shifting manual version is the most efficient, clocking in at 40 mpg highway when equipped with the i-ELOOP fuel-saving system, which is part of the GT Technology package. Everything we just said a couple of entries back applies here, of course, and are why it’s our pick here.

Alternatives:
Chevrolet Sonic sedan/hatchback 1.4L 6MT, Dodge Dart Aero 1.4L 6AT, Fiat 500 1.4L 5MT, Mazda 3 hatchback 2.0L 6MT/6AT, Mazda 6 2.5L 6AT, Nissan Sentra FE 1.8L CVT, Nissan Versa 1.6L CVT, Toyota Corolla LE Eco 1.8L CVT, Volkswagen Passat 2.0L TDI 6AT

6) Mazda 3 Sedan 2.0L 6AT/6MT ­– 41 mpg

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Take everything we said about its big brother, the Mazda 6, and go right on and apply it to the smaller and equally wonderful 3—including the 10Best accolades. You can think of the 3 as an up-to-date interpretation of the best Alfa Romeos from the 1960s: lightweight and deftly balanced, and with a lithe and responsive chassis. And as for Mazda’s three appearances here, you can credit the company’s Skyactiv engine and vehicle architectures—they’re the main reasons that its cars are both fun and frugal. You can also opt for a more powerful 2.5-liter engine in the 3 without sacrificing much in the way of fuel economy, yet with a bigger increase in performance.

Alternatives:
Dodge Dart Aero 1.4L 6MT, Ford Fiesta SFE 1.6L 6AT, Honda Civic HF 1.8L CVT, Volkswagen Beetle/Beetle convertible 2.0L TDI 6MT

5) VW Golf 2.0L TDI Diesel 6AT/6MT – 42 mpg

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If it seems as if the fun-yet-practical Golf has been around a long time, well, it has. With roots on these shores going back to the 1977 diesel Rabbit, the Golf TDI proves VW has perfected the art of compression-ignition cars. The 10Best-winning Golf makes a convincing argument for being everything you could want in thrifty hatch—and we love that the involving manual is rated as highly as the automatic on the efficiency meter. Like the Jetta SportWagen, a new one of these will be arriving on our shores soon, too.

Alternatives:
Chevrolet Cruze Eco 1.4L 6MT, Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec Diesel 4MATIC, Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2L 5MT, Toyota Corolla LE Eco 1.8L CVT, Volkswagen Jetta sedan 2.0L TDI 6AT/6MT, Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen 2.0L TDI 6MT

4) VW Passat 2.0L TDI Diesel 6MT – 43 mpg

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Are you starting to see a pattern here? VW owns the U.S. diesel market. In 2013, almost three out of four diesels sold here wore a VW badge, and we imagine the trend will continue with fresh versions of many diesel models on the way, along with a new diesel engine, later in 2014. The Passat TDI, which is slated to receive the new powerplant, offers a heap of torque and a range of around 600 miles between fill-ups. Even better: You can get it with a stick.

Alternative:
BMW 328d xDrive sedan/Sports Wagon

3) Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2L CVT – 44 mpg

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The good news? The bite-sized Mirage gets 44 mpg on the highway. The bad news? It’s the only car on our list that gets 44 mpg, so it’s the default choice at this level of efficiency. Our advice? Pick a car that gets 45 mpg or 43 mpg. Or even 10 mpg. Getting 44 mpg just isn’t worth driving one of these.

2) Ford Fiesta SFE 1.0L 5MT – 45 mpg

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When it comes to price, cars that return 45 mpg highway represent some extremes. At one end sit two German diesel luxury sleds: the BMW 328d and the Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec. But the fuel-frugal Fiesta SFE starts at roughly $17,000, while the Bimmer runs $39,525 and the Benz $52,325. The 328d and E250 are good cars, but what good is saving money on fuel just to blow all of the savings as part of your monthly payment? OK, we get it—sometimes cars are worth taking an mpg hit. Case in point: This Ford’s hot-rod sibling, the 10Best-winning Fiesta ST.

Alternatives:
BMW 328d RWD, Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec

1) Chevrolet Cruze 2.0L Diesel 6AT – 46 mpg

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Perched all alone at the top of our list, the Cruze goes from acceptable economy car to mpg hero once a diesel is under the hood. Thus equipped, you can expect to go 700 miles or more on the highway with prudent driving habits. Try to engage in anything resembling spirited driving, however, and you’ll be thwarted by a recalcitrant transmission and a basic lack of communication between you and the car. Still, unless you go hybrid, plug-in, or EV, you’re not going to top this Chevy for mileage bragging rights.

Changing the Course of Car Style: 1941 Chrysler Newport

Walter Chrysler was a visionary. In a time of boring, bulky vehicles (the 1920s and 30s), he envisioned sleek new automobiles that would test the limits of existing technology, giving drivers a level of performance and sophistication they never knew could exist. Unfortunately, people tend to resist change, even when it’s beneficial. This led to some unfortunate fiascoes, like the 1934-37 Airflow, which bombed despite offering huge advantages over other vehicles of the time. However, it also led to amazing triumphs, like the 1941 dual-cowl Chrysler Newport Phaeton, one of the most innovative and beautiful automobiles ever built.

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In ‘41, car design was just emerging from the “boxes on wheels” approach that reflected the staid, tradition-bound values of the 1930s. GM’s Harley Earl had unveiled the Buick Y-Job four years before, and Ford was pouring its own considerable resources into similar efforts. Chrysler, anxious to prove it could hold its own, turned to arch-designers Ralph Roberts and Alex Tremulis of LeBaron coachmakers, for help in building its own highly styled vehicle.

The LeBaron team threw itself into the project in earnest, ultimately turning out five examples of one of the greatest approaches to car building in automotive history. The 1941 Newport was a “phaeton,” or open-top design. Among its distinctive features were separate front and rear seats, each with its own windshield.

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Under the hood was a 143 hp 322ci engine, with eight cylinders lined up in a row. The front seat had a cloth top that folded into the car’s bodywork. The rear seating area, or “cowl,” was covered by a metal boot raised and lowered by electric controls.

The body was crafted from aluminum, with a sleek, curving shape that would have made Marilyn Monroe green with envy. Two of the five Newports that were actually built (the original order called for six) featured hidden headlights, also known as “flip-up” lights to those unfortunate enough to remember the Pontiac Fiero. Unlike the 80s sport car, however, the motors that controlled the Newport’s lights actually worked.

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The Newport was a huge hit for Chrysler. One served as the pace car for the 1941 Indianapolis 500. Actress Lana Turner purchased one as well. Unfortunately, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th of that year shelved whatever plans Chrysler may have had for the vehicle. The automaker spent the next four years building weapons for the Allied war effort.

Of the five custom-built Newports, three were sold by RM Auctions in recent years, including the unit that served as the pace car for the 1941 Indy 500. The buyer paid $687,500.00 for it in 2009. Whoever he is, he got a helluva deal.

2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 Door Unveiled

Mini took the wraps off a four-door variant of the Cooper Hardtop this week. Mini says its new model “combines the legendary go-kart handling that MINI customers love with newly added utility in the form of two new added doors.”

The Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 door will cost $20,950 before destination and delivery charges, which is $1,000 more than its two-door counterpart. At that price, the new Cooper Hardtop 4 Door has the second-lowest base price in Mini’s lineup.

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According to a press release, the new Hardtop 4 door features three rear seats (the two-door variant seats two in the rear) and there is a bit more rear-seat shoulder room and headroom, as well as slightly more cargo space behind the rear seats compared with the two-door model.

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As with the two-door Cooper Hardtop, the base Cooper Hardtop 4 door is powered by a 134-horsepower, turbocharged, 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine. The Cooper S Hardtop 4 door has a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that generates 189 horsepower. With either engine, a six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional.

The Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 door will be available with features like a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, front and rear collision and pedestrian warning, automatic braking and automatic parallel parking.

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Like the new Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 door, the Mini Countryman also seats five and has four passenger doors. The Countryman offers about 7 more cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats than the Cooper Hardtop 4 door and is longer, wider and taller. Both the Cooper Hardtop 4 door and Countryman come standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available on the Countryman. Although test drivers say the Countryman’s added size over other Minis makes it feel a bit less playful, most say that it is still quite fun to drive. The Countryman starts at $22,100.

The New York Daily News says the added space of the new Cooper Hardtop 4 door means “this could actually be a Mini that’s family-friendly.”

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That family-friendliness may get more customers into Mini showrooms to buy their next vehicle. The Los Angeles Times reports, “The move to four conventional doors on the Cooper is largely to make Mini’s cars more mainstream and therefore boost sales.”

The 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop 4 door is slated to hit dealerships in January 2015.

2015 Ford Mustang Priced from $24,425

If you’re a fan of Ford’s redesigned 2015 Mustang, you’ll be able to drive off with one of your own for $24,425 (including $825 for destination) when it hits showrooms this fall. That base price gets you into a fastback (coupe) model that is powered by a 3.7-liter V6. Compared with the base 2014 Mustang, you’ll have to pony up $1,090 more for the base 2015 model.

Ford’s new EcoBoost-powered Mustang, which features a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, starts at $25,995, while the Mustang GT, powered by a 5.0-liter V8, starts at $32,925 for the fastback. Opting for the base 2015 Mustang convertible costs $5,500 more than the base Mustang fastback. Both the Mustang EcoBoost and Mustang GT convertibles are only available in the top Premium trim.

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With all models, a six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional for a price of $1,195.

All 2015 Mustangs come standard with a rearview camera, push-button start, an audio input jack and Ford’s voice-controlled SYNC system, which includes Bluetooth and a USB port. A 50 Years Appearance Package, in honor of the Mustang’s 50th anniversary, is available on Premium trim Mustangs, and EcoBoost and GT models are available with a performance package that adds sport-tuned suspension components, larger brakes and 19-inch wheels.

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Other optional features include adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation, rear parking sensors, navigation, the MyFord Touch infotainment interface, a 12-speaker Shaker audio system and Recaro front sport seats.

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Ford still has yet to announce final power figures for each of the Mustang’s engines. The only information provided thus far is that the V6 Mustang will have “at least 300 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque,” the EcoBoost model will have “more than 305 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque” and the Mustang GT will have “more than 420 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque,” according to Ford.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is the all-electric anti-hog

Imagine a Vincent Black Shadow that doesn’t try to kill you, a Moto-Guzzi that starts reliably and doesn’t leak oil, a Harley-Davidson sans thumping V-twin, sans assertive exhaust note, sans internal combustion itself — a Harley-Davidson powered by electricity.

It sounds like a ludicrous idea. Heck, it probably is a ludicrous idea. But Harley’s doing it anyway, and it’s called the Livewire. Right now, it’s just a concept — you can check it out on the Project LiveWire Tour, but they don’t plan to sell it just yet.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Consequently, we’re not sure about how much it would cost. But photos give us a good idea of what it looks like: a streetfighter with a retro profile resembling something from the Storz Performance garage, without the scrambler pipes — no fire, no smoke. Its exposed frame terminates in a monoshock swing arm rear suspension.

It is a radical departure for Harley and that’s before you even get to the powertrain. According to Asphalt and Rubber, it packs a three-phase induction motor good for 55 kW — slightly less than 74 hp for us old-school types. Torque sits at 52 lb-ft; 0-60 is estimated at a rapid 4 seconds.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Range is paltry — a disappointing 50 or so miles. That’s probably OK for this concept, but it won’t fly on the market. Part of the Harley fantasy is hopping on your bike and leaving your problems/alimony payments behind as you cruise off into the night.

We suspect the LiveWire will generate a lot of buzz but not among Harley purists. Maybe the purists are Harley’s biggest problem. With its current lineup, the motorcycle manufacturer is having a tough time reaching the youth. Part of it is the Harley image — half Hell’s Angel, half weekend-warrior poser. The other part is money, especially for the next generation of debt-ridden young riders. Harleys aren’t cheap, although the new Street 750 aims to remedy that.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire

What remains to be seen, though, is who would put a substantial down payment on a production version of this piece of machinery. Electric motorcycles can be blisteringly fast – you’ll find no shortage of ambitious electro-crotch rockets out there.

Yet Harley, at least in its current incarnation, has never aimed to be the fastest, super-efficient cutting-edge thing on two wheels. And that’s fine — just as you would be off base criticizing a Miata for not putting down 600 hp stock, you would be wrong to criticize a Softail for not being an Isle of Man TT contender.

It’s a gamble for a brand battling high costs — a brand known and loved for its deliberately old-school appeal — to make a splash with what would certainly be a costly, performance-driven model–if it ever makes it to production.

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire

But remember: Harley didn’t always used to be about the so-called biker lifestyle. Harley-Davidson made its name building rugged bikes that could win races — in 1921, in fact, a Harley was the first to win a race at an average speed of more than 100 mph. Perhaps Harley is willing to swap its trademark brap-brap for a Jetsons-esq whirring if it allows them to contend once more for a spot at the head of the innovation pack, at the very least.

Viewed from that perspective, maybe the LiveWire represents Harley’s attempt to return to its groundbreaking roots. Or maybe they’re just jumping on a trend, trying to grab headlines (and succeeding).