The Ultimate Lightning McQueen, from Sphero, is licensed to thrill.

This one-of-a-kind race car swaps out a traditional controller for Bluetooth technology enabling a hands-on drive like no other. Kids can steer Lighting straight from the app on a  smartphone by hitting the gas button on screen. McQueen will respond to your commands to do cool moves, such as donuts or hairpin turns. Along the ride, he’ll keep kids company as he lights up and runs his mouth just as much as his engine.

The app contains multiple activities for Lightning, such as a Pit Stop Panic, where kids can practice their racing strategy in pit practice rounds; and an acting studio, where kids can sequence animations and scripts for Lighting to perform. The app also features a Drive-In activity where kids can watch any Cars movie with Lightning (you have to actually cue the movie up on your TV) and he’ll react alongside you. The more kids drive Lightning, the more new tools, racetracks, and achievements they can unlock.

The Ultimate Lightning McQueen takes two hours to charge for a 40 minute drive. He can go 6 mph and has a 30 meter range. Lightning McQueen comes to life entirely with the six motors under his hood: One for his mouth, two for his emotive suspension, two for his front tires, and one for steering. 

He has also has five touch panels. Tap his roof, his hood, a side door or his rear window and he will physically respond, making him an incredibly interactive for kids, instead of just a “watch me” toy. If your kids are looking to cruise all around the house, his tires are very versatile,  allowing him to brave hard surfaces and carpets, at both fast and slow speeds, so that kids can drive him all over, despite the surface. Plus, his head and tail lights are censored to adjust based on the light on the room. Yes, he’s a pretty smart toy.

The most unique thing about Lightning is his windshield eyes, which are powered by an LCD screen, allowing for live animation.

But besides his impressive driving technology, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a toy with more personality—it’s like a pet toy car! With animated eyes, an animatronic mouth, and emotive suspension, Lightning is unpredictable. It’s like he has a brain of his own whenever the app is open. I left him alone for a few minutes and he chimed in informing me he was going to fall asleep soon if we didn’t start racing. (WOW, such attitude, Lightning!) He kept pestering me to drive so I let him race around the office a little. But don’t worry, I put him to sleep in the settings tab afterward. A few hours went by and sadly, I was kind of missing my talking toy car friend.

Bottom Line: The Ultimate Lightning McQueen is a top-end racing machine. He’s pretty smart, pretty fast, and pretty friendly.