2016 - 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe
We had been waiting for a replacement for the W204-based Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe, and what we got was this, the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe. It is still based on the sedan, but the aggressive appearance is new sleeker with the elegant coupe body. It has slimmer taillights, and it is actually more than 2.5-inches wider than its four-door sibling. The inside is pretty much identical to the C-Class coupe, so it does benefit from having an absolutely beautiful cabin with elegant and sporty design cues to go with excessively high-quality materials. Under the hood, you’ll find the same 4.0-liter V-8 that powers al of the new Mercedes-AMG vehicles. The standard model delivers 469 horsepower while the C 63 S delivers 503 horsepower – numbers that are identical to that of the Mercedes-AMG GT.
Putting it lightly, Mercedes just served the competition in fashionable style, targeting models like the BMW M4, Lexus RC F, and anything with an Audi badge. The model is set to arrive in dealerships in the summer of 2016 as a 2017 model. Before that happens, we have put together a detailed review below to tell you everything you need to know about AMG’s new powerful coupe.
Update 6/1/2017: The Mercedes C63 is up for a facelift in 2019, and we’re getting the first round of spy shots of the coupe doing some warm-weather testing in Europe. Check out the spy shots section below to see what’s up with the upcoming facelift.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe.
2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series
Unveiled back in 2011, the second generation of the 1 Series is now part of a growing family of BMW compact models, having been accompanied by the 2 Series Coupe, Cabriolet model and Active Tourer variant back in 2014. Available in either three-door or five-door guises, the smallest BMW model is rivaled by the likes of the Audi A3, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Lexus CT, but unlike any of the aforementioned models it is the only car in its segment to be based on a rear-wheel drive architecture. Its engine lineup consists of a host of turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines, paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF, while all-wheel drive xDrive traction is available on selected models.
With the model now a little over three years old, the Bavarian carmaker has recently facelifted its five and three-door range, restyling much of its controveral exterior design and refreshing the entire engine lineup. Bringing a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 12 percent, new 1.5-liter three-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines now constitute the base models, having been borrowed from the latest MINI. The model with the lowest fuel consumption in the entire range will now be the 116d EfficientDynamics Edition, whose 116 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque are paired with a combined fuel economy of just 69.2 mpg. The biggest surprise comes on the outside though, as the new BMW 1 Series Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) shows an completely different look. Gone are the "Angry Birds" headlights, having been replaced by restyled ones that are more in line with the current BMW design theme. Small improvements to the front and rear bumpers have also been made, while the square-ish taillights are now L-shaped, just like on pretty much every other BMW model.
Update 5/9/2017: BMW will update the current 1 Series Hatch one last time before it ushers in a new-gen, FWD model to replace it. Check out our special section below to see the new spy shots and to learn more about it.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 1 Series
Ford introduced the first ever Focus RS in 2002, reviving the RS (Rallye Sport) badge after having popularized it before with rally homologation specials like the Escort RS 1600 or the Escort RS Cosworth. Despite looking like a road-going version of the WRC model, the car was FWD and offered a little over 200 horsepower. Almost seven years later, another generation of the Focus RS arrived with an even more pronounced rally look and a Volvo-sourced five-cylinder with 305 horsepower sent to the front wheels. While torque-steer was kept to a minimum via a standard LSD from Quaife and a MacPherson front suspension strut called RevoKnuckle, the car was still far from offering WRC-like performance for the road.
Ford wants to change all that with the recently unveiled, third-generation Focus RS, as the model will be offered with an innovative all-wheel-drive system. Set to be manufactured at the same German plant as its predecessors, this will also be the first RS model to be sold around the world, including the U.S. With a Mustang-sourced, 2.3-liter, EcoBoost engine that has been engineered to deliver in excess of 300 horsepower, the all-new Focus RS seems to really up the ante for Ford in the performance-hatch category.
Update 07/13/2013: The Ford Focus RS is finally arriving at U.S. dealerships and is priced at $36,605 including destination and delivery charges. Hit "play" to see who was the first U.S. lucky owner of the RS.
Continue reading to learn more about the new Ford Focus RS.
2017 Acura NSX Type R
The second-generation Acura NSX was introduced in 2015, eight years after the Japanese firm announced that a new supercar is under development. The new NSX succeeds the original sports car that was produced in Japan from 1990 to 2005, but unlike its predecessor, the second-gen car uses a hybrid drivetrain and a significantly more upscale interior.
Despite the new 2016 Acura NSX having been somewhat outshined by the 2017 Ford GT at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, the model’s sleeves are still filled with a few more aces. The most important one will obviously be the expected Type R variant, which was somewhat officially confirmed by Ted Klaus, the chief engineer in charge of the second-generation Acura NSX. Set to arrive in late 2016 or early 2017 at the latest, the new Acura NSX Type R will probably give nightmares to the engineers in charge of the Nissan GT-R R36, which is also currently in development.
The "regular" 2016 NSX puts out a total of 573 horsepower and 623 pound-feet of torque. The mid-mounted V-6 mill delivers 500 ponies and 406 pound-feet, while the electric motor between the engine and transmission cranks out an additional 47 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. Two motors on the front axle each generate 36 horsepower and 54 pound-feet. With the additional power that would come with the additional of a Type R badge, the Type R should be one hell of a ride.
The 1991 to 2005 NSX spawned a Type R version about two years into the product-cycle, first as a Japan-only Honda and then as an Acura in the United States as well. With over 250 pounds of weight removed compared to the standard NSX, the Type R offered blistering track performance but a much more low-tech cabin due to its lack of air conditioning and less sound-deadening materials. The new NSX Type R will probably not be as barebones as the first generation though, with most of the performance additives coming from the improved hybrid technology sported by the model.
Updated 06/28/2016: Based on the recent rumors, we decided to create a rendering for the upcoming NSX Type R. Let us know in the comments section below what do you thin about it.
Continue reading to find out more about the Acura NSX Type R.
2016 Cadillac CT6
After years of leaks, spy shots, and endless rumors about its feasibility, the Cadillac CT6 has finally become a reality, in time to make its debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show. Don’t think of it as a long-awaited answer to the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series though, because Cadillac wants the CT6 to battle smaller German models as well, with a larger CT8 to be positioned directly against the aforementioned trio.
Even so, the odd positioning strategy makes the CT6 similar in size to any European luxury car, as its length and wheelbase are on par with those of a BMW 7 Series short-wheelbase. On the other hand, thanks to an aluminum-intensive platform, the model weighs about as much as the smaller CTS, which is lighter than a 5 Series. Whether Cadillac’s strategy will work in the long run remains to be seen, but the CT6 seems to tick a lot of right boxes.
Update 06/14/2016: Cadillac has announced two additions to the CT6’s bevy of technology. First, new HDMI and USB ports allow rear passengers to use video streaming devices like Google Chromecast though the cars’ on-board Wi-Fi connection in combination with a paired smart phone or tablet. Second is a video recording system that operates off four exterior cameras, allowing the driver to preserve the video footage. The system can also begin recording should the vehicle’s security system becomes armed, catching criminals or hit-and-run drivers in the act.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Cadillac CT6.
2016 Acura NSX
The Nissan GT-R is definitely the hottest thing to come from Japan nowadays, but when it comes to mid-engined supercars, the Honda/Acura NSX set all the benchmarks. At least it did until 2005, when Honda decided to pull the plug on the sports car it had developed with input from Ayrton Senna, a man regarded by many as the best Formula One driver of all time. The NSX went on sale in 1990 with a 270-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 behind its seats. The engine was later updated to a 3.2-liter V-6 that cranked out 290 ponies. While its output wasn’t exactly impressive compared to contemporary supercars, the NSX was still incredibly fast thanks to its low curb weight. Zero to 60 mph took 5.1 seconds when the car was first released, but the benchmark dropped to 4.5 seconds by the late ’90s. The NSX ceased production in 2005, when Honda announced plans to develop a successor. Fast-forward to the 2015 North American International Auto Show, where after years of teasing and concept reveals, the 2016 Acura NSX finally became a reality.
A quarter of a century after the original NSX debuted, the second generation couldn’t be more different, apart from the number of cylinders and engine configuration, of course. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 75-degree V-6 engine paired with three electric motors and a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), the 2016 Acura NSX is here and it means business.
"Our global team embraced the challenge to create a new sports car experience, leveraging new technology to deliver incredibly vivid performance in a vehicle that responds intuitively and immediately to the will of the driver," said Ted Klaus, chief engineer and global development leader for the model. "The NSX delivers pinnacle supercar performance, with zero-delay acceleration and exhilarating, confidence-inspiring driving dynamics."
Unlike the rear-wheel-driven first generation, the new NSX comes with SH-AWD, with the front wheels powered by two of the three electric motors. Despite being a globally developed sports car, the 2016 NSX was largely designed by a team led by American engineers from Honda’s development center in Raymond, Ohio, while production took place in Marysville, Ohio.
Updated 05/25/2016: Th first Acura NSX rolled out of the production line at the new Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio. The first unit went to Rick Hendrick whom will receive a custom-ordered NSX, after a winning bid of $1.2 million at the Barrett-Jackson auction in January. Hit "play" to watch the video from the event.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Acura NSX.
The first generation of the C-Class Coupe appeared out of the blue, when the previous C-Class was facelifted in 2011, to replace the CLC-Class — a three-door hatchback Mercedes marketed as a coupe. Four years have passed since the C-Class received a true coupe version, and the second-generation C-Class Coupe is here ahead of its announced official debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Internally-codenamed C205, the new C-Class Coupe has grown in size quite a bit, which in theory should create a rather tasty dilemma for some customers. In short, the new C-Class Coupe should actually offer more interior space than the theoretically larger and more expensive E-Class Coupe, not to mention the fact that it will also be lighter and have a more modern interior.
But until we find out more about that, what’s obvious here is that the 2017 C-Class Coupe is a shrunken S-Class Coupe with styling cues taken from the C-Class Sedan, which makes it quite the sexy proposition compared to compact coupes such as the 2015 BMW 4 Series and the 2016 Audi A5.
Updated 05/16/2016: Mercedes announced prices for the 2017 C300 Coupe which is now on sale at dealers nationwide. Check the "Prices" section to see how much it will cost you.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe.
2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack
It’s been a full year since Volkswagen showcased the Golf SportWagen Alltrack in prototype form at the 2015 New York Auto Show, and the production model is finally set to make its global debut at the 2016 edition of the same event. In essence, this is a compact station wagon version of the Golf we all know and love, only this time it’s on stilts. With a higher ground clearance, wider wheel arches and a Haldex-based all-wheel-drive system, it is probably the most adventurous-looking Volkswagen that isn’t an SUV.
Unlike the European version that debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the American one features the "SportWagen" nameplate, but other than that it is identical. The Golf SportWagen Alltrack will go on sale in fall 2016, offering a non-SUV alternative to the slightly larger Tiguan.
“We heard from dealers and customers that they wanted to see a Golf SportWagen with the all-terrain capability that comes from an all-wheel drive system,” said Joerg Sommer, Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy of Volkswagen of America. “We are excited to introduce the Golf Alltrack to meet the active lifestyle needs of our customers.
Updated 03/21/2016: Volkswagen announced it will bring the production version Golf SportWagen Alltrack at the 2016 New York Auto Show. The model is set to go on sale later in the fall.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack.
The Koenigsegg One:1 was extreme, but Koenigsegg took it one step further with the Koenigsegg Regera. The Regera is what you would consider the ultimate evolution of the automobile, boasting 1.1 megawatts of power, or 1488.52 ponies in horsepower terms from its hybridized drivetrain and V-8 engine. In comparison to cars like the Agera RS and the One:1, the Regera is more luxurious and has more technology but is significantly lighter with a dry weight of 3,130 pounds and a curb weight of 3,589 pounds. It also showcases a number of firsts for the Koenigsegg brand; it is fully robotized via lightweight hydraulics and has the world’s first fully foldable, active, top-mounted rear wing. Only 80 examples of the Regera are slated for production with an estimated price tag of $2 million.
Aside from the firsts associated directly with the Regera, it also entered production while Koenigsegg was still in the production phase for another model – marking the first time that the company has had more than one model in production at one time. That’s a pretty big deal for a small manufacturer like Koenigsegg. Either way, the Regera is Koenigsegg’s latest model as of 2017. Considering the power improvements and weight reduction over the One:1, we’re already starting to wonder what Koenigsegg will do to one-up itself again with something better. Until that happens, let’s take a closer look at the Regera and what makes it such an amazing vehicle.
Updated 03/02/2016: Koenigsegg dropped the final specifications figures for the production version Regera at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Koenigsegg Regera.
2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet
Although the C-Class has always been Mercedes’ answer to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, it was never available in as many body styles as its competitors. Merc only offered it as a sedan, station wagon, and coupe, but now, that all changes, as the latest generation will include a convertible in its lineup. Mercedes didn’t just chop the roof off the coupe – rather, this cabrio was developed from the ground up to be topless. Now, with the veil dropped on the regular 2016 C-Class two-door, the C-Class Cabriolet makes its official debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show.
Pre-production prototypes of the C-Class cab were spotted on the road as early as 2013, which goes to show just how long it’s been in development. Mercedes frames it as an accessible entry into the world of refined luxury with unlimited headroom, and endowed the compact with all the goods you’d expect along the way.
Updated 03/01/2016: Mercedes dropped full specs on the new C-Class Cabriolet. Read on for all the details!
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet.
Among the many premieres hitting the spotlights at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the biggest news coming from the Jaguar booth is the arrival of the F-Pace, the carmaker’s first-ever SUV. The new model is expected to heavily complement Jaguar’s existing lineup beginning in 2016.
For those unsure about the "Pace" part of the name, they should be reminded that one of William Lyons’ maxims about the car brand he co-founded. He said that all Jaguar models had to have "grace, pace and space," something that the SUV adheres to. As expected, the SUV’s styling is heavily inspired by the C-X17 line of concept cars that were presented back in 2013. A big reason for that is the overwhelmingly positive response to the 2014 Jaguar C-X17 concept. Knowing it had a hit prototype on its hands, Jaguar continued down that path for the F-Pace.
The result is an SUV that prominently features Jag’s current design language and is complemented by a series of high-powered engines. The company hopes it will serve as a successful springboard as it enters the increasingly competitive SUV segment.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2019 Jaguar F-Pace.
While the GTS moniker used to be reserved for only a handful of Porsche sports cars in the past, starting with the mid-2000s it began to transform into a trim level. So it happens that, aside from the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder and the 2015 Porsche Macan, every modern Porsche has a GTS version now.
In the 911 lineup, the GTS models had the same engine as the standard Carrera S, but with the normally optional power package fitted in standard, giving them 30 horsepower extra. Now that both the 2016 Porsche 911 Carrera and the Carrera S facelifts have switched to a turbocharged, 3.0-liter, flat-six, the 911 GTS 991.2 is more than likely to jump on the same bandwagon. If the same strategy as the one used on the pre-facelift model is kept, the new GTS will probably deliver approximately 450 horsepower, which, along with the massive torque increase, should make it almost as fast as the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 in a straight line.
Naturally, a new powerplant won’t be the only difference between the 991 GTS and the 991.2 GTS, which is why I decided to speculate further in the following review. The model should be only a couple of months away from its official unveiling, and a non-camouflaged prototype has already been spotted on the Nurburgring.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Porsche 991.2 Carrera GTS.
The first production open-top model wearing the trishield logo since the 1990 Reatta Convertible, the all-new 2016 Buick Cascada, has just been unveiled at the North American International Auto Show. Europeans and Australians may feel like they are having a deja-vu while looking at the new model, but that is completely understandable since the Cascada has already been selling under the Opel, Vauxhall and Holden badges since 2013. Even though the new convertible was unveiled in January 2015 for U.S. consumption, the production variant will take some time to reach showrooms, with Buick announcing that it will actually go on sale in early 2016, or the same year that its European counterpart may be heading toward a mid-cycle facelift.
Nevertheless, the simple fact that Buick is finally getting a cabriolet model in its lineup again may actually lift some spirits. "The new, 2016 Buick Cascada is a beautiful, engaging convertible that represents the very best of the brand’s global development practices," said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick. "It’s a car that will delight customers with its fun spirit and help drive the momentum that’s fueling Buick’s success." Despite being almost as long as the Buick Regal/Opel Insignia, the all-new Cascada is actually based on GM’s Delta II platform, which is shared with the Buick Verano/Opel Astra/Chevrolet Cruze.
Still, the car offers a 2+2 seating arrangement that should prove satisfactory for four adults, especially if they are on the smaller side. Its electro-hydraulic soft-top can be retracted in just 17 seconds and at speeds up to 31 mph, making for a rather classy way of exposing its interior to the sun, while the only engine available so far is a turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder that develops 200 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque.
Updated 09/23/2015: Buick announced that the all-new Cascada will be put on sale at a starting price of $33,990. According to the company the 2016 Cascada is $3,535 cheaper and offers more standard features compared to German cars like the Audi A3 Convertible.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Buick Cascada
Porsche decided to unveil all the major details about its 2016 Porsche 911 mid-cycle refresh approximately one week before the range will have its public debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. As expected, both the 911 Carrera and the 911 Carrera S have received an all-new, turbocharged, boxer engine. This is the first time that a non-GT2 or Turbo 911 will have a turbocharged six-cylinder in over half a century.
With a displacement of 3.0 liters, the new flat-six delivers 370 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque in the standard 911 Carrera, an increase of 20 horsepower and 44 pound-feet over the pre-face-lift model. The updated numbers translate into a 0-62 mph acceleration of just 4.2 seconds for a 911 Carrera Coupe equipped with PDK and the Sport Chrono Package. Those that find themselves wanting more can opt for the face-lifted 911 Carrera S, whose turbocharged, 3.0-liter flat-six deliver 420 horsepower and 369 pound-feet, also an increase of 20 horsepower and 44 pound-feet over the previous model. They are also responsible for giving the face-lifted 911 Carrera S with PDK and the Sport Chrono Package a 0-62 mph time of just 3.9 seconds – the first time that a 911 Carrera goes under the four-second mark from the factory.
Continue reading for the full story.
Since the 2015 Volvo V40 has been off to a pretty good sales start, Volvo seems to be in the mood to expand its lineup in the small-car segment, with the next generation of the V40 to become a larger family of models. Work on the future small Volvos has already started at the new China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT) center that has been built in Gothenburg, Sweden.
The modular platform engineered by CEVT will be used for both Geely models and the V40 replacement, which will be accompanied by the 2020 Volvo XC40 compact crossover, and possibly by other models as well. According to Autocar, who had a look at the jobs currently availabale at CEVT, at least one hybrid powertrain will be found in the new architecture. Apparently, the models using the platform will be FWD or AWD, except the hybrid versions using an electrified rear axle, rendering them AWD-only.
On the Geely-side of the deal, it is not yet clear what kind of cars will use the new architecture, but the report says they will probably be aimed at European and Chinese markets. Either way, any new models based on the Volvo-Geely platform created at CEVT are at least two and a half years away, so the XC40 will probably be the first. Strangely enough, the CEO of CEVT is Mats Fagerhag, who was the lead engineer for the now-dead Phoenix platform, which was supposed to underpin a new Saab lineup before the Swedish company ran into trouble.
Continue reading for the full story.
A spiritual successor to the Honda S600 and the Pininfarina-designed Honda Beat, the S660 Kei-roadster has gone on sale in Japan. The petite model was previewed by a funky-looking concept car at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, so reaching mass-production status in under two years is probably a first, even for Honda.
Even though it has a retractable roof, which normally adds weight, the tiny mid-engine roadster is part of the Kei car category in Japan, weighing less than 2,000 pounds and measuring under 11.2 feet in length. Being part of that special category also means that the 660cc engine has its displacement restricted to that figure by law, but unconfirmed reports suggest that a hotter model sold outside Japan may benefit from a turbocharged, 1.0-liter engine, with its handling developed in cooperation with Mugen.
Updated 08/11/2015: A new report from Edmunds indicates that Honda is considering offering the S660 on the U.S. market too. Of course there are some questions that need answering first, like "It’s got to be commercially viable. It’s got to serve a purpose from a brand standpoint. What does it do for the brand?" - Honda. But a decision should come down soon.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Honda S660.
Launched at the same time as its station wagon variant, the new C450 AMG Sport 4Matic is part of a new brand spin-off called AMG Sport, and it will apparently sit between the regular Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the full-blown C63 monster. In essence, the car is actually the second AMG Sport variant to be unveiled, after the GLE450 AMG Coupe crossover introduced the new sub-brand to the world a couple of months before the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Based on the C400 4Matic, the new model has been thoroughly re-engineered by Mercedes-AMG to offer better performance and aims to introduce a larger group of Mercedes-Benz customers to the magic of AMG.
Although an unprecedented move for the three-pointed star, both Audi and BMW have been offering sporty performance sub-brands for years now, with Audi being the most experienced in this area with its large array of "S" versions sitting under the fully-fledged "RS" models. Even though they are paired with different transmissions, the two Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport 4Matic variants (sedan and station wagon) and the GLE450 AMG Coupe 4Matic share the same engine. An all-new, twin-turbocharged, three-liter V-6 offering 367 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.
Connected with a seven-speed automatic transmission instead of the nine-speed found in the GLE Coupe, the C450 AMG Sport 4Matic can hit 62 mph from a standing start in just 4.9 seconds, making it quicker than any of its rivals from this perspective. As it also comes with a 4Matic all-wheel drive system massaged by AMG to have an even more pronounced rear-biased torque split, the new C-Class model is following in the footsteps of the Audi S4 in terms of all-weather performance.
Updated 08/04/2015: Mercedes announced prices for the C450 AMG which will arrive at U.S. dealers in September. Prices will start from $50,800.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport 4Matic.
Even though at first glance the 2016 McLaren 675LT seems like a consolation prize for the folks who couldn’t get their hands on a 2014 McLaren P1, the truth of the matter is all 500 units of the not-so-long-tail 675LT have been sold even before all examples have been built. In other words, it really doesn’t matter what Chris Harris says about it in the above "first drive" review, you won’t get to order one afterward.
Harris’ typically understated observation of the 675LT during his test drive is that "it’s a bit fast." Yeah, Chris... just a bit.
Technically based on the 2015 McLaren 650S, the 675 PS (666 hp) supercar is around 220 pounds lighter than its less-powerful brother, resulting in downright terrifying performance on the track. According to the Harrismonkey, the feeling behind the wheel is that it’s faster than some race cars out there.
Toward the end of the video we can watch Chris explain some of the aluminum, titanium, carbon-fiber and plexiglass bits and pieces that were specifically designed for the 675LT. Let’s just hope that no one at McLaren saw him pinch those titanium wheel nuts at around the 7:40 minute mark. While the scene was obviously staged for comic relief, it is possible that he completely forgot about them afterward and ended up stealing from McLaren. I’m continuously checking eBay just to make sure, they may come in handy for a coffee table I’m planning to build.
Continuously produced since 1966 and now in its eleventh generation, the Corolla has not only become Toyota’s most popular product, but also the best-selling automotive nameplate in history. The model snatched that title from the Volkswagen Beetle back in 2013, with no less than 40 million Corollas manufactured up to then and plenty more since. With the 2015 Chicago Auto show right around the corner, Toyota decided to bring a number of limited-edition models to the event to accompany the refreshed Avalon, among which will be a Corolla Special Edition.
While Toyota hasn’t said what the special occasion is, the upcoming 50-year anniversary of the Corrolla nameplate makes sense. Based on the sporty Corolla S Plus trim level, the 2016 Corolla Special Edition will have a number of unique features as standard, most of which improve either comfort and functionality or add a slightly sportier flavor to the otherwise bland compact model.
Updated 07/17/2015: Toyota revealed prices for the 2016 Corolla Special Edition, which will be produced between August 2015 and January 2016 and will be limited to approximately 8,000 units. Prices will start from $20,635.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Toyota Corolla Special Edition.
Now in its third generation, the smallest model in the Mercedes-Benz range has just received its mid-cycle refresh. The timing may seem odd for some people, as the latest A-Class was only unveiled back in 2012, but recent reports have made it clear that Mercedes-Benz is pushing for a slightly shorter shelf life for its models, down from the regular seven years to only six. The 2016 A-Class comes to confirm that Stuttgart is already making use of this strategy.
Even though this is the third-ever A-Class, it actually represents the first time that Mercedes-Benz has ventured into the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series segment, unless you also count the ill-fated C-Class SportCoupe or the 2013 Mercedes-Benz CLC and the subsequent CLC. Based on a platform called MFA (Modular Front-Wheel-Drive Architecture), the latest A-Class shares most of its underpinnings with the entire compact lineup from Mercedes-Benz, namely the B-Class, GLA-Class, CLA-Class and CLA Shooting Brake.
Essentially sporting a front-wheel-drive architecture, some of its versions also offer a 4MATIC-badged AWD system, something which it desperately needs in its higher-powered variants like the awesome A45 AMG. As expected, the mid-cycle refresh did not change much in terms of exterior or interior design, while most of last year’s engines are carried over with slight improvements.
Updated 06/29/2015: Mercedes dropped the official details on the new generation Mercedes A-Class.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
With the European version of the latest-generation Civic having been launched in 2011, it sure took Honda long enough to bring out the Type R model. After countless teasers and what seemed like neverending testing sessions in various types of camouflage, the new Civic Type R has been finally launched at the Geneva Motor Show, along with the first official information about the model.
In case you were expecting an outrageous body kit, more than 300 horsepower and more torque than any other previous Type R model in history, your assumptions have been more than met by Honda, making the long wait until the reveal almost worth it. If anyone can truly make a sporting front-wheel-drive model that would be the engineers from Honda, and at least on paper the new Type R looks like an impressive piece of kit.
Updated 07/02/2015: The new Civic Type R went into production at the company’s European car manufacturing facility in Swindon, UK.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Honda Civic Type R.
The current A-Class shares its platform with the GLA, a crossover; the B-Class, a small minivan; the CLA, a four-door coupe; and the CLA Shooting Brake, a sporty station wagon, thanks to the modularity of the MFA (Modular Front-wheel-drive Architecture) platform. What the A-Class no longer has is a three-door version, unlike its previous generation. That may change with the second generation of the MFA platform, when the three-door A-Class will finally get a replacement in the shape of a small coupe ready to take on the Audi TT.
Oddly enough, when Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Concept A-Class, it chose to use a three-door body, even though the production A-Class only came as a five-door. Merc decided to keep it more simple with the latest A-Class, probably fearing that such a model might take sales form the "baby-CLS", a.k.a. the CLA. Now that the CLA is coming of age and everyone sees it as a standalone model, Autocar thinks that Mercedes-Benz will introduce a two-door coupe to accompany it against both the TT and the future BMW 2 Series Coupe.
The British magazine says that the plan is currently at the drawing board stage, even though Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s CEO, is allegedly a fervent supporter of such a model. Sporting a 2+2 configuration with either front-wheel drive or AWD for the more powerful versions, the small Mercedes-Benz coupe could also spawn a roadster version to go against the TT Roadster and an unconfirmed BMW Z2 Roadster.
Continue reading to learn more about the future Mercedes entry-level coupe.
You would think that with hardcore models like the 918 Spyder, 911 GT3, and more recently the 911 GT3 RS, most Porsche aficionados would have forgotten about what used to be the big dog in the carmaker’s lineup, the 911 Turbo S. But it still is the 911 version with the most horsepower. EVO’s Jethro Bovingdon, who recently took the Turbo S around the scenic Anglesey Circuit in Wales for a couple of hot laps, is certainly more than excited with the model. Did I say "hot laps?" Because they were downright scorching if we take a look at the resulting times.
Consider yourself spoiler-warned, but the completely stock Turbo S is apparently faster on the Anglesey Circuit than the more track-focused Ferrari 458 Speciale, despite delivering 45 horsepower less and carrying around 500 pounds more. It seems that its intelligent all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-steering system, coupled with active engine mounts and a lightning-fast, seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission, can work wonders with the porkier and slightly less-powerful Porsche.
Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter, flat-six, the 911 Turbo S delivers 560 horsepower and up to 553 pound-feet of torque thanks to an overboost function. According to EVO, those numbers translate into a 0-60 mph time of 2.6 seconds and a 0-100 mph time of 6.2 seconds, or enough to keep you pinned into its seats into triple-digit speeds. Jethro concludes that the 911 Turbo S could be "the best all-purpose, all-weather car that’s ever been," and I am more than inclined to agree, at least until the facelifted version arrives.
Most Bentleys are known for huge amounts of power and torque, high top speeds, lavish interiors and elegant designs, so seeing one getting wrung out on a test track is nothing short of spectacular. This is exactly what Chris Harris did recently with a Continental GT3-R, and the video is mesmerizing.
Built in a limited edition of just 300 units – all of which have been sold already – the Bentley Continental GT3-R is essentially the road-going version of the Continental GT3, although it doesn’t share as many features with the race car as Bentley would like you to believe. Chris Harris found that out while trying to make the four-wheeled elephant tap dance, but in his words that is not exactly a bad thing. The Conti GT3-R is probably a much better grand tourer than the Conti GT V8.
Sure, because of the shorter axle ratio it has a much lower top speed ("just" 170 mph, compared to 188 mph for the GT V8), but that has never stopped a grand tourer from showing its best bits in other areas. It seems that the GT3-R, despite its 4,839 pounds, is a lot more agile and just as comfortable as its V8-powered brothers. I’m still not too comfortable with the look of its rear wing and those stickers though, maybe next-year’s more hardcore version will look a bit less weird.
This isn’t the first time that a sports car has been pitted against a jet fighter for the sake of marketing, but I’m pretty sure it is the first time that this specific type of comparison has been done. Porsche Netherlands came up with the idea of measuring the neurotransmitter dopamine secreted by a subject’s brain while first being a jet fighter passenger and then riding shotgun in a Porsche 911 GT3.
The fighter jet in question is none other than the Aero L-39 Albatros, the most widely used jet trainer in the world, and you can be sure that it’s able to deliver a lot more G-force to its passenger than any Porsche 911, even in GT3-spec. As it happens, G-force levels aren’t the only reasons for a person’s rising dopamine levels while being thrown around. Excitement does it as well. According to the results of the two rides, the airplane won overall, but the Porsche’s numbers were mighty close for something whose wing is supposed to keep it on the ground, not in the air.
According to the footage above, the funky-looking red cap that the test subject was wearing is actually an EEG monitor, which recorded his brain activity during both rides. As the "scientist" in the video concludes, "taking a hard left in a fighter jet is similar to taking a hard left in a Porsche." Or something like that. Either way, the 911 GT3 is probably the last Porsche to actually need this type of marketing, don’t you think?
Officially unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the EXP 10 Speed 6 was also in Bentley’s booth in New York and is currently at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show as well. The concept car’s world tour will not end there, as Bentley’s chairman Wolfgang Dürheimer wants the luxury carmaker to build a database of customer opinions about the model’s styling. In turn, this would help create a feasibility study concerning mass production. So far, it seems that feedback is positive, but this doesn’t mean that the EXP 10 Speed 6 will reach production without any design changes.
"What we already received as a clear indication after Geneva, the message was ‘don’t change anything, just do it.’" Dürheimer told Autocar. "There are only little tweaks that need to be done. Our present intention is to make the front section look a little bit faster. The grille will not be as upright, it will be a little bit more laid down. We will probably look again at the headlight configuration. They look a little bit awkward from different angles. For a Bentley face, circular shaped headlights are what our customers like. This type of headlight you find in the Mulsanne and in the forthcoming SUV, and our customers say this is what we like from Bentley," he continued.
Surprisingly, Dürheimer didn’t mention any styling tweaks regarding the concept’s lavish and new-retro interior, which means that it may actually end up in the production version. There was also not a single mention of powertrain options, even though the Speed Six name would presumably require something with six cylinders.
Continue reading to learn more about the production version EXP 10 Speed 6.
Even though the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe hasn’t been unveiled yet, as its official launch is expected at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the model’s 2017 AMG version has already started testing. A camouflaged, pre-production prototype was recently spotted near a Mercedes-Benz testing center in Stuttgart, Germany.
Despite the heavy camouflage, most of the extra design features are easily distinguishable, and if my eyes don’t deceive me you are looking at a pretty beefed-up C-Class, even compared to the C63 sedan. There is a touch of extra aggressiveness thanks to the lower suspension and the wider front fenders, while those with a keen eye can also check out the traditional, A-shaped, front bumper with larger air intakes, an oversized brake system with cross-drilled rotors, and a quad-tip exhaust system.
Oddly enough, the spied prototype features different front and rear wheels, with the front ones identical to those found on the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and Edition 1 models. At first glance, the rear wheel-and-tire combo seems slightly larger than on the C63 sedan, where 265/35 R19 is the largest option. Like the sedan, the 2017 C63 Coupe will come in two flavors initially, both powered by different versions of the same powerplant — a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 that is nearly identical to the one from the Mercedes-AMG GT. The "regular" model will deliver 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, while the C63 S Coupe will feature 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, both versions making it the most powerful coupe in its segment.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe.
It’s likely that there are few better times to be had than spending your birthday while driving a McLaren P1 and a McLaren F1 back-to-back in the south of France. This is how EVO’s Henry Catchpole spent his birthday, and the resulting comparison between the two titans is nothing short of amazing. EVO actually spent months orchestrating a get-together between the two McLarens and at one point it looked like it was never going to happen.
Fortunately, a very lucky owner of both a 1995 McLaren F1 and a 2015 McLaren P1 stepped in and kindly offered his two prized possessions for a test drive in France, on a winding road not far from the Paul Ricard Circuit. Catchpole obviously jumped at the opportunity, and the resulting video is breathtaking. To make everything even more interesting, both models sport "chassis number 046" plates and both are painted in the McLaren-only Genesis Blue Metallic.
Despite the 20-odd years separating the two supercars, the F1 still features a higher top speed than the P1, and kept the "world’s fastest production car" title for over eight years, until it was finally snatched by the Bugatti Veyron. I couldn’t help but feel jealousy toward the owner’s taste in both exotics, car colors and even license plates, as you can see that all are related between the two models. In the end, it seems that despite the obvious progress in terms of cornering speeds, acceleration and drivability achieved by the P1, it is the mighty F1 that remains the overall winner, mostly thanks to its more analog approach to performance.
Despite certain rumors suggesting otherwise, and Mercedes-AMG reportedly upgrading the A45 AMG to deliver over 400 horsepower in the facelifted model from 2015, Audi doesn’t seem too keen on offering a more powerful version of the recently unveiled 2015 RS3 hot-hatch. Top Gear recently sat down with the Manager of Technical Development at Quattro GmbH, Stefan Reil, and discussed the topic of an Audi RS3 Plus version, which would mirror the old R8 V10 Plus and the upcoming 2017 TT RS Plus in terms of horsepower credentials.
"We are at the limit of the size of the turbocharger. We have durability limits and our warranties to consider, which we learn from summer and winter testing." said Reil when asked about the possibility of a hardcore RS3 Plus. When questioned about 400+ horsepower versions of the previous RS3, made by aftermarket tuners, he said: "Yes, but the tuning companies do not have to comply with our durability and service limits." Top Gear mentioned the 525-horsepower A3 Clubsport Quattro Concept from 2014, but Reil responded by saying that "the turbo in that car was one-and-a-half times bigger than the one in the new RS3."
In other words, an RS3 with more than 400 horsepower from the factory is currently a no-go, despite Reil not officially denying such a model. On the other hand, German carmakers have denied a "horsepower war" with almost every new model generation, but their newest products keep contradicting them.
Continue reading to learn more about the Audi RS3 Plus.
Less than a year away from its official reveal, the 2017 Audi TT RS is expected to really up the ante as far as power goes. According to the Aussies from Motoring, who recently chatted with some Audi sources, the next-generation TT RS will develop more than 400 horsepower, which would make it more powerful than both the 2012 TT RS Plus and the recently unveiled 2015 Audi RS3.
Don’t expect this amount of power to come without some mechanical hurdles though, as the General Manager of Quattro GmbH, Stephan Reil, says that turbocharged, five-cylinder engine in the RS3 and TT RS is already at the limit from some perspectives. "If you look at the performance curve, there are not many engines out there that can deliver this much torque (465Nm) at such a low (1,625) rpm," Reil said. "But to do that the car is at the limit of the speed of the turbocharger now. The turbocharger is a relatively small one, for reasons of throttle response, and the performance in the RS 3 is at the limit of the rpm the turbocharger wheels can do in production," he continued.
In other words, the new Audi TT RS will probably get a larger turbocharger, meaning that the increased power will go hand in hand with a bit more throttle lag. Usually, that goes with the territory, but if the model will switch to a lightning-fast, dual-clutch transmission exclusively, than the lag may appear less obvious.
Note: Standard Audi TT pictured here.
Continue reading to learn more about the next Audi TT RS.
A strange Ferrari model was recently spotted on TT Circuit Assen, the Netherlands, where it did a couple of hot laps. Contrary to what some may think, this chopped-off Ferrari F40 is not the work of a madman, but came to be thanks to the idea of a Belgian-born billionaire and part-time racer named Jean Blaton. Since he often raced under the alias Jean Beurlys, the car is also known as the F40 LM Beurlys by some aficionados, but no matter what you call it, it’s the only one of its kind.
Based on the insane Ferrari F40 LM, this yellow beast is probably the fastest F40 in history, mostly thanks to its lack of restrictor plates. It was built by Michelotto, who also worked on the LM, and Tony Gillet, the creator of the Gillet Vertigo. There are few parts that remain from the original car, as the F40 LM Barchetta/Beurlys uses a motorsport-derived, push-rod coilover suspension system that is not unlike most modern race cars. The chopping of the roof was not as simple as it sounds, since it involved creating other body molds for the rear and installing a tubular roll cage around what was left of the cabin.
As you can see, the exhaust system was also re-routed to each side of the body, a solution which is likely to give its own benefit to the 760 horsepower that the car’s twin-turbocharged, 2.9-liter, V-8 engine develops. Despite its uniqueness, the F40 LM Barchetta is worth much less than an original F40, since a few years back it was appraised at anything between $190,000 and $245,000.
Fetching over $10 million in 2014, the red 275 GTB above is no "ordinary" rare Ferrari (one of only 280 units made), since it belonged to none other than the "king of cool," Steve McQueen. Apparently, the car was owned by him during the period he was filming Bullit in San Francisco, the movie for which he also did most of the stunt driving. The folks at The Aficionauto were tasked by RM Auctions with shooting a video of the rare 275 GTB in 2014, and the footage above was the original opening scene for the auctioned car.
Sadly, it was turned down by RM Auctions and didn’t make the final cut, but The Aficionauto kept the video and recently uploaded it for your enjoyment. There is little music, most of the sounds coming from the 3.3-liter V-12 as it purrs along one of the most scenic roads in the U.S. — the famed Mullholand Drive.
The car was restored from the ground up by Ferrari Classiche in Italy, after one of its previous owners had chopped off the roof and painted it yellow for some unknown reason. Its current condition is obviously top notch, which is one of the reasons it’s worth so much.
Although its name would suggest otherwise, the annual Secret Supercar Meet is a not-so-secret event in the U.K. The 2015 edition brought together more than 200 supercars, most modern, but with the occasional 1980s or 1990s model appearing out of nowhere in the middle of the Aventadors and Audi R8s. The show’s organizer, The Supercar Driver Club, put together a short video with most of the four-wheeled beauties that attended the event, and it makes for some pretty good eye-candy.
Despite the torrential rain and cold temperatures, almost all supercars that were invited arrived at the Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome and Proving Ground just in time for the get-together, which also included another edition of Vmax200. "The turnout from members was staggering considering the forecast which was heavy rain all day. You would be lucky to see any one of those cars out in the height of summer, let alone the full group in less than ideal conditions. It is testament to our members who had committed to the event and have bought their cars to use them, whatever the weather." Adam Thorby, the event’s organizer and owner of the Supercar Driver club, told The Daily Mail.
The combined worth of the supercars present is said to be over $30 million, with some of the more expensive ones fetching well over $1 million each. The short video above doesn’t go through all of them, obviously, but those with a keen eye can spot rarities like the MG Xpower SV, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL restomod made by AMG and a Jaguar XJ220S..
Normally, watching two people discuss cars in a static environment can be a bit boring, but not when those people are Chris Harris interviewing McLaren’s chief test driver and former racing driver Chris Goodwin. The subject at hand is obviously the new 570S, McLaren’s latest weapon against established carmakers like Porsche and Ferrari. Filled with insider information, the video above goes to great lengths at explaining the new McLaren model, from its raison d’être to the technical bits that comprise the car’s package.
As most of you know, McLaren now has a three-tier product lineup, enthusiastically called Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series. Unveiled at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the new 570S is part of the Sports Series and it will soon be accompanied by the lower-spec 540C. The Ultimate only consists of the P1 and P1 GTR, while the Super Series comprises the 675 LT, 650S and 650 Spider. Getting back to the 570S, which like the others is based around a carbon-fiber tub and a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter , V-8 engine, it seems that the new model will be the best of the bunch at combining daily-driving activities and circuit-carving.
Even though it features a more conventional suspension, smaller turbochargers and less power than its siblings, the 570S is not something to be played with, as Chris Goodwin eloquently explains in the Chris Harris interview. It even overlaps the 650S from some perspectives, so don’t think of it as a baby McLaren, but one that simply occupies a more attainable niche. Chris Harris can’t wait to drive one, and I can’t really blame him.
Remember the Sublime Green Challenger Hellcat that got its revenge and spanked a Tesla Model S P85D a few days ago? Well, it’s back, this time going head-to-head with a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 at the same drag strip as before. Unfortunately, especially for those expecting a nail-biting race and maybe even a photo-finish, the drag race didn’t quite go as planned.
It seems that although both cars jumped the lights, the Hellcat did it much sooner, while the Corvette ZR1 driver appeared to be asleep at the wheel for the first second or so. Apart from not launching at green, the Hellcat got an almost perfect run, in the end doing the quarter mile in 10.933 seconds at 125.3 mph. It seems that fitting the car with drag radials and practicing his launches was worth it for the Challenger driver.
As a refresher, the Challenger Hellcat is the most powerful production muscle car ever, its supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 delivering no less than 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. The model also carries a lot of weight though, which is why the less-powerful and much-lighter Corvette ZR1 shouldn’t have been such an easy prey at the drag strip. The ZR1 is also powered by a supercharged, 6.2-liter, V-8, but it outputs "just" 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque. It should make up the power deficit with a curb weight around 1,000 pounds less than the Hellcat though, so a future rematch may come with different results.
A pre-production prototype of the first ever open-top C-Class has been recently spied wearing a lot less camouflage than previous ones. The lack of hardcore body armor makes its overall appearance much more obvious, and we can finally get a better glimpse of its canvas roof. Even though it started testing in early 2013, long before its coupe sibling, the upcoming Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet will be unveiled after the new C-Class Coupe, sometime in early 2016. This is the first time that the C-Class receives a convertible version, as that role was first met by the CLK Cabrio and then by the C-Class-based E-Class Cabrio.
Borrowing from some of its predecessors, the 2016 C-Class Cabrio is expected to feature the often-copied AirScarf, a passenger neck-heating system, and maybe even the AirCap, a funky-looking wind-deflector that reduces interior draft to a minimum. Unlike its rival, the BMW 4 Series Cabrio, the C-Class will stick to a canvas roof for a more traditional look and to keep the weight down.
Speaking of weight, the model is expected to be the lightest car in its segment for two reasons. First, it is based on the aluminum-intensive MRA (Modular Rear-wheel-drive Architecture) platform and second, it was developed separately from the C-Class Coupe, despite sharing its architecture. This means that intsead of chopping the coupe’s roof and adding chassis reinforcements that increase rigidity but also add weight, the C-Class Cabrio has been developed from the ground up as a stand-alone, convertible car.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mercedes C-Class Convertible.
Just a couple of months away from the model’s official unveiling, pre-production prototypes of the Mercedes-Benz GLC are still being tested around the world. A camouflaged prototype was recently spotted on a German highway near Stuttgart, Mercedes’ home ground. While the model has a lot of body camouflage, its overall appearance can be deduced quite easily, especially when it comes to its rear and side design. The boxy look of its predecessor is history, as the GLC will use the same design language as the newest Mercedes-Benz models, its overall appearance being similar to a C-Class Wagon on stilts.
As some of you already know, the GLC is actually the second generation of the GLK crossover, but Mercedes-Benz has opted to change its designation to make its platform connection with the C-Class more obvious. Unlike the GLK, the new GLC will be available with both left- and right-hand drive, as the model will be based on the more flexible MRA (Modular Rear-wheel drive Architecture) platform.
The same powerplants found in the new C-Class will make their way into the GLC, including the twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter, V-8 engine from the Mercedes-AMG C63. A plug-in hybrid version should arrive in 2016, powered by the same drivetrain as the new C350 e. The GLC is expected to be unveiled sometime in July, while the first public appearance will probably take place at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, in September. A four-door coupe version of the GLC was recently confirmed as well, but we won’t be seeing it until the end of 2016 at the earliest.
Even though the rumor mill has been churning out speculations about a Mercedes-AMG hypercar and a successor to the SLS AMG possibly in development, Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers has dismissed both reports. Speaking with the Aussies from Motoring at the Mercedes-AMG GT S Edition 1 press drive event, Moers was quite clear in saying that neither of those speculations were accurate.
"No. A hypercar is nothing what we have. There is no discussion. There’s nothing under study - nothing," he said. "Maybe in the future, yes, but not in the next five, six, eight years. Not this decade. I think it’s not necessary." Despite that, Moers also mentioned that Mercedes-AMG is technically able to work on such a project, but the only reasons keeping it from starting is the lack of a business case, which is strictly connected to AMG not being "at that level as a brand yet."
Although the Mercedes-AMG GT is in some ways a spiritual successor to the SLS AMG, Moers was adamant in reiterating that a true replacement for the modern Gullwing is not yet on the radar. "Honestly, there’s no [MkII SLS] program running. Our homework for the next years is so much, so we took the decision to not replace directly the SLS because SLS has to stand by its own and the Gullwing is an iconic car.[...] If it takes 50 to 60 years to have a Gullwing replacement coming out of the 1950s then we can wait a few more years." he continued.
Continue reading to learn why Mercedes does not want a hypercar just yet.
Volvo’s first successful sports car, the P1800, looks a lot fancier than it actually is, and the latest Petrolicious video is an illustrative example of that. "It’s not expensive, it’s a Volvo." says P1800 owner John Patterson, who drives his 1964 model almost every day on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
Living on a small exotic island is not all fun and games though, and comes with its own disadvantages, such as the lack of a classic car garage and not that many roads to enjoy driving a classic car. A watchmaker by trade, John Patterson doesn’t have a problem with that, as he does maintenance work on the old Volvo himself and drives the car on a 58 mile-long, "U"-shaped road, almost everyday. Petrolicious’ story on his Volvo P1800 is uplifting, to say the least, but it also gave me a bittersweet taste toward the end, when Patterson says that the craftmanship of hand-built things, whether cars or watches, is slowly becoming extinct. Because he’s right.
The P1800 was actually Volvo’s second sports car, although only 68 units were sold of its predecessor, the P1900. Depending on year, the model was powered either by a carbureted, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, or a fuel-injected, 2.0-liter engine. The car was unveiled in 1960 and was built in various specs until 1973, when the last P1800ES (Shooting Brake version) left the factory. Fans of "The Saint" TV series probably remember the P1800 as Simon Templar’s official ride, since he kept it throughout the 1960s era of the show.
Listening to the 911 GT3 RS in an official Porsche promotional video is a pretty good way to spend the time, but hearing it in the real world is on a whole other level. This is what happened to known car-spotted NM2255, who recently had the chance to be around a 911 GT3 RS in GT Silver Metallic. His encounter obviously resulted in a must-see video, as the Porsche driver frantically revved and briefly launched the car hard on more than one occasion.
Given the license plate, I suspect this is a press car and the driver is probably a Porsche test driver that was kind enough to do a couple of parking lot laps at full chat for the car-spotter. While the car doesn’t looks as glamorous as in the official Porsche videos, its hair-raising exhaust note more than makes up for it.
As a refresher, the 911 GT3 RS is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six that delivers 500 horsepower at a stratospheric 8,250 rpm and 339 pound-feet of torque. Sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch, transmission and a limited-slip differential, those numbers are enough to catapult the model from 0-62 mph in just 3.3 seconds. The 911 GT3 is more than some dry performance figures though, and the video above gives a small taste of what is like to be in the presence of such a special car. The only thing missing was probably a bit of paint detailing or a good car wash to enhance the look of that silver paint.
FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) finally wants Alfa Romeo to get back to where it once was, and the only way to do it is by launching a new model lineup, powered by new engines. Among the new powerplants there is a Ferrari-derived V-6, along with a number of high-output four-cylinder engines. FCA will invest more than 500 million euros ($539 million as of 4/6/2015) in the next six months to create the capacity to build 200,000 engines annually at Alfa Romeo’s plant in Termoli, Italy.
Although the company didn’t give further details on the engines, it seems that the Ferrari-derived V-6 will be based on the 3.0-liter unit that Ferrari currently builds for the Maserati Quattroporte and the Ghibli. In Alfa Romeo-spec, the twin-turbocharged powerplant is said to deliver up to 480 horsepower and it will probably debut in the upcoming Alfa midsize sedan, which is currently codenamed Giulia.
The Giulia will also receive a range of turbocharged, four-cylinder engines that include both gasoline and diesel units, meaning that the twin-turbo V-6 is likely to power a range-topping, GTA version. Both the car and its powerplants are expected to be manufactured exclusively in Italy, despite Alfa Romeo planning to sell its cars globally. The carmaker’s global relaunch has already started with the 4C and 4C Spider, but it will take more than a mid-engine niche model to sway buyers away from rivals like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. It is expected that some of the engines debuting on the Giulia will trickle down to other FCA models in the future.
Continue reading to learn more about Alfa Romeo’s future engines.
You may want to keep a jar of salt nearby for this one, as it is based on pure speculation. According to a number of media outlets from Germany, Mercedes-AMG could be thinking about a stand-alone sedan. Since this would be pretty big news, the Aussies from Motoring recently had a chat with Tobias Moers, the head of Mercedes-AMG, about this peculiar subject, and to everyone’s surprise it seems that Moers didn’t deny the rumors.
He didn’t confirm them either, but he did add more fuel to the fire. "We could have a stand-alone four-door sports car that isn’t shared with Mercedes-Benz. We could. Using a GT platform is not feasible for that, though. From the space frame concept, everything we need in a car like a four-door is not feasible." he told Motoring at the 2015 New York Auto Show. "Is there a business case, yes or no. That is all the four-door GT has to answer. Is there a potential buyer group worldwide for that kind of car?" Moers continued.
Pressured to answer more technical questions about a four-door GT, the Mercedes-AMG boss was reluctant to give an explanation, but adding two more doors and a back seat to the model is obviously easier said than done. The GT has a front midship engine and a transaxle transmission, which would severely limit interior space in the rear. Then again, a similar configuration didn’t stop Aston Martin from upgrading the DB9 into the Rapide.
Continue reading to learn more about Mercedes-AMG’s stand-alone sedan.
Normally, a Tesla Model S P85D would pretty much mop the floor with any stock sedan in a drag race from a dig, whether RWD or AWD. As a confirmation, a P85D demolished even a mighty Challenger Hellcat on the drag strip a couple of months ago. Now it’s time for a rematch between the two cars, although it comes with a twist. The Hellcat’s owner has added a set of drag radials to his RWD ride in order to at least pose a slight threat to the all-wheel-drive Tesla, so the race result is quite a bit different than the first time.
As some of you remember, the Challenger’s main issue in the first race was the lack of traction off the line and its driver’s lack of experience with the car. In the footage above, this is no longer the case, as the Hellcat hooked up much better thanks to its stickier tires, while the driver has had a lot of time to practice its launches since he lost to the P85D driver at the same strip.
In case it isn’t obvious by now, the improved Hellcat won the rematch against the Tesla. Both cars launched almost perfectly, but the Challenger’s better gearing and higher power proved to be decisive factors. Since the score between the two is now equal, another rematch is likely on the horizon, as I’m sure the Tesla driver will not let this one pass so easily.
Porsche’s problems concerning the availability of the Macan started since the crossover was launched in 2014, but certain markets have had it much worse than others. Following a promise it made in early 2015, Porsche will increase its U.S. allocation for the Macan, and extra cars will begin to arrive in May.
"We do not want to continue to have a situation where we have a waiting list of five to six months," Porsche Cars North America CEO Detlev von Platen told Automotive News. "This is the reason we have decided to jump on the allocation for the United States and increase this for this year." Even though Porsche managed to sell 9,841 Macans in the U.S. since the model went on sale in May 2014, Van Platen has said that the demand is closer to 18,000 cars annually, the reason behind the long waiting lists.
This is not good news for everyone though, as the extra cars that will now go to the U.S. market will be shifted from others, albeit Porsche Cars NA did not disclose which markets will lose their allocations. The huge Macan demand has translated into Porsche reaching its goal of 50,000 cars sold annually in the U.S. four years earlier than it had originally prefigured. A number of North American dealerships have said that they can’t even keep one Macan as a demo car per dealer, since customers want them so badly.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Macan.
Even though all 918 units of the Porsche 918 Spyder have been sold, the hybrid hypercar is still making headlines. After it demolished the Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record for production cars in 2013, the tremendously fast 918 Spyder has recently set an unofficial lap record of 1:38:02 at the Phillip Island grand prix circuit. Porsche has also uploaded a video of the record-breaking run on its official YouTube channel, and the hair-raising exhaust sounds from that high-revving V-8 are probably even more impressive than the record itself.
Piloting the car was ace driver Matthias Hoffsümmer, who is the head instructor for the 918 Spyder, while the car used for the run was equipped with the optional Weissach package and stock Michelins. The Weissach package features stuff like magnesium wheels, even lighter brakes, ceramic wheel bearings and titanium bolts to shed around 90 pounds from the 918 Spyder’s curb weight. This translates into less unsprung weight and better braking performance, while the model’s top speed remains identical, at 214 mph.
As most of you know, the 918 Spyder is one of three hybrid hypercars that took the world by storm in 2013, and it has already beaten the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari on the Nordschleife, Laguna Seca and now Phillip Island. The 918 is powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that consists of a 4.6-liter V-8 and two electric motors. Its combined output is 887 horsepower and 940 pound-feet of torque, sent to all four wheels.
And I want one.
This year’s World Car Awards were pretty much a Mercedes-Benz affair, after the German carmaker snatched three of five awards. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe was declared the 2015 World Luxury Car during a press conference at the New York Auto Show, continuing in the same vein as the S-Class sedan, which won the inaugural edition of the category in 2014.
"The S-Class Coupé lives up to the claim ’The best or nothing’ in every detail and in an exceptionally exclusive fashion: in terms of aesthetics, technology and quality. A brand ambassador par excellence. And the entire Mercedes team is proud that the World Car Of The Year jury takes a similar view." said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The 2015 World Luxury Car winner was first selected from a list of 12 nominees and then from a short list of three finalists, which included the BMW i8 and the Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB. No fewer than 75 international automotive journalists comprised the 2015 World Car Awards jury panel, who normally test each new car model as it arrives on the market. Available exclusively with twin-turbocharged V-8 and V-12 engines and featuring even more high-tech technology than its sedan brother, the S-Class Coupe apparently convinced most of the jurors in this highly disputed category. The three-pointed star also took home the 2015 World Car Award and the 2015 Performance Car Award for the C-Class and the Mercedes-AMG GT, respectively.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe
The 2015 New York Auto Show came packed with lots of great cars, but this article will not be discussing those. Instead, I will be focusing on the vehicles that premiered in New York, that maybe should have stayed home. It was pretty tough to choose five less-than-stellar premieres, mainly because there were so few of them.
Some carmakers chose to bring their finest recent work to New York, while others either introduced some fancy new colors and called them concepts – I’m looking at you, Volkswagen! — or their premieres weren’t even ready for prime time – the Lyons M2 Streamliner comes to mind. Without further ado, here’s the list of vehicles that weren’t exactly my favorites at the 2015 New York Auto Show.
Continue reading to learn which cars I did not like at this year’s New York Auto Show.
After going against an initial entry list of 12 cars and then inching past fierce rivals like the BMW M4 Coupe/M3 Sedan and the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, the Mercedes-AMG GT was crowned winner of the 2015 World Performance Car Award. Mercedes-Benz was on a roll at the "World Car Awards 2015," winning three of the five categories. Voted by an an international jury of over 75 journalists, the Mercedes-AMG GT apparently won the hearts of most, whether in standard trim or as the GT S.
"Its on-road presence alone is almost enough to qualify it as a ‘Top 3’ finalist. But in addition to its ruggedly handsome looks it has an impressive spec sheet comprising biturbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, seven speed dual-clutch transmission, 456bhp (minimum)...and much, much more." noted the World Car Awards jurors.
As the second model to be developed
in-house by Mercedes-AMG, the GT is largely based on a modified platform borrowed from its predecessor, the SLS AMG. While it’s shorter, lighter and about as fast, the Mercedes-AMG GT is much less expensive, being positioned in a lower segment. Its arch-enemy is the Porsche 911, but it also goes against models like the Jaguar F-Type R or the upcoming Maserati Alfieri. The U.S. 2015 lineup only offers the GT S version, which is packed with a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter, V-8 engine with 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The less-powerful GT version will hit showrooms by the end of 2015, while the GT3-inspired hardcore model is expected to be unveiled in 2016.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT.
Most people would never have guessed that BMW’s first mid-engine sportscar since the M1 would go on to win a "World Green Car Of The Year" award, but the i8 actually did it at the 2015 edition of the event. The i8 is the second BMW model to win the award in a row, after the smaller i3 cliched victory in the World Green Car Category in 2014, and the third model if we also include the title won by the BMW 118d in 2008.
"I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of the team in Munich," said Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing BMW, speaking at the Award Ceremony in New York. "The BMW i8 represents the future with its unique lightweight construction and unrivaled connectivity. To win this award for the second year in a row shows that our BMW i products are truly leading the world."
Even though it is touted as the first plug-in hybrid built by BMW and it features low-rolling resistance tires, the i8 is also a sports car at heart. The model is powered by a turbocharged, 1.5-liter, three-cylinder with 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. An electric motor delivers an extra 129 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, essentially making the i8 all-wheel-drive and giving it a combined output of 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough for a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds and a 155 mph top speed.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW i8.
This is not the first time that Mercedes-Benz has tried its hand at bicycle design, and it isn’t the first time a Mercedes-AMG model was used as inspiration either, but the Rotwild GT S mountain bike is surely a premiere from a lot of perspectives. While the full-suspension Rotwild R.X45 AMG from 2013 was linked with the A45 AMG Edition 1 in terms of style, the new bike’s name and livery are based on the Mercedes-AMG GT S. As some of our bike-loving readers know, the high-performance carmaker is the official sponsor of the AMG Rotwild mountainbike racing team, and the two companies have had a marketing partnership since 2013.
Painted in AMG solarbeam, the Rotwild GT S is constructed mainly from carbon fiber, and has a number of features that probably only make sense for an MTB connoisseur, such as a Shimano DI2 XTR-2 front derailleur and a 180/160mm AL-Spyder rotor. Only 100 bikes will be manufactured, each having a whopping starting price of 9,990 Euros (approx $10,900 as of 4/6/2015).
While that sounds a bit pricey, the Rotwild GT S was not built for your daily commute. This is a hand-built, carbon-fiber, professional MTB that comes with a package that only dedicated mountain bikers require, including a transport bag, a damper setup pump and basic repair tools. In other words, it’s like the Mercedes-AMG GT S of mountain bikes, and that price is not that different from a Porsche Design or BMW bicycle.
Continue reading to learn more about Mercedes’ new ROTWILD GT S Bike.
Paul Walker’s final film will forever be remembered for two reasons: one is obviously Walker himself and the other is likely the incredible amount of automotive carnage that takes place in Furious 7. GoPro cameras were on set when every car stunt was filmed for the movie, and a "behind the stunts" video for YouTube was recently uploaded. Apart from the CGI scenes, which involved talented visual artists instead of armies of stunt men, most of the car chases and crashes that take place in Furious 7 were done with real drivers and real cars.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but all those cars jumping, crashing and even falling out of planes in the footage above kept me glued to the screen until the end. To put it into perspective, the countless teasers and trailers prior to this "Making of" video did almost nothing for me, as they seemed way too similar to almost every other movie from the Fast and Furious franchise. Obviously, part of the appeal of this GoPro video is its lack of CGI, so the actual movie should be nothing like it on the whole.
Either way, Furious 7 has arrived in theaters as of today and is expected to break all records established by its six predecessors. Whether you will want to watch it for Paul Walker’s tribute at the end, the camaraderie between most characters or simply for the amount of vehicular destruction, I have a feeling that you will enjoy it.
The Fiat S76 is the poster child for the "there’s no replacement for displacement" crowd. Developed over a hundred years ago to break the land speed record, its engine develops no less than 300 horsepower and 2,000 pound-feet of torque, and those aren’t even the most hair-raising figures. The Fiat S76 achieved those specifications using a four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 28.4-liters – which is over three times more than Bugatti Veyron or Dodge Viper powerplants.
Duncan Pittaway, the car’s new owner, and Lord March are two brave souls for having the courage to ride in the four-wheeled monster up the Goodwood Hill recently. Only two S76s models were built in 1911, and after finding the remains of one chassis, Pittaway mated it with the surviving engine from the other car. Nicknamed "The Beast of Turin" for obvious reasons, the S76 is probably the most insane vehicle that was ever built by Fiat, or any Italian carmaker for that matter.
Despite having been developed over a century ago, the humongous engine features multi-spark ignition, four valves per cylinder and a single overhead cam, and it’s simply amazing that it doesn’t disintegrate the chassis upon acceleration. The footage above is both breathtaking and terrifying, especially for the poor duck that almost gets run over at the 1:43 minute mark. If this behemoth of a vehicle doesn’t sound like the end of the world, then I don’t know what does. Perfect for showing up at an "Earth Day" picnic.
Even though neither James May nor Richard Hammond have said anything about their departure from the Top Gear show, a recent design change on the Top Gear website has left people wondering. Instead of featuring the mugshots of Jeremy Clarkson, who was recently ousted from the BBC, May, Hammond and The Stig, the website’s banner only shows a new version of The Stig.
Somewhat surprisingly, all three presenters’ columns are still featured on the website’s front page, but there is no official news regarding the show’s future lineup. Both Hammond and May have hinted that they wouldn’t want to continue presenting without Jeremy Clarkson, so an announcement from the BBC will probably arrive soon.
Adding more fuel to the fire, The Stig’s helmet on the updated banner seems mildly different than the old one. To some, that may hint that the "tame racing driver" could be either upgraded to full presenter – highly unlikely, considering he never speaks – or that The White Stig could be replaced with a Chrome Stig of some sort. Either way, considering that the banner change took place on April 1st, it could mean anything, really. Until the BBC puts together a new show for 2016, the current Top Gear season still has three unaired episodes, which are said to be in limbo indefinitely, since the studio bits haven’t been filmed and likely never will be.
Continue reading to learn more about the Top Gear show.
Always on the hunt for interesting head-to-head comparisons, Motor Trend recently pitted the McLaren P1 against the Porsche 918 Spyder on the track, with racing driver Randy Pobst testing each model on the Laguna Seca circuit. Initially, the Ferrari LaFerrari was expected to complete the hypercar trinity, but Ferrari allegedly refused to allow a LaFerrari customer to lend his pride and joy for the comparison.
Even so, McLaren and Porsche decided to contribute to the shootout. While Porsche simply said yes, McLaren flew in an entire team of technicians and spare tires for the P1, even though it didn’t make any difference to the end result. That is, indeed, a spoiler, because not many people — Porsche and McLaren included - expected the heavier and less-powerful 918 Spyder to simply mop the floor with the P1 on the circuit.
Both hybrid hypercars have carbon-fiber bodies, dual-clutch transmissions, high-revving V-8s augmented with electric motors and can reach 60 mph in under three seconds. But there are plenty of differences between them,
which is why they are very different in both power delivery and lap times. In the end, the 918 Spyder beat its own lap-record on Laguna Seca, while the P1 only managed to finish about a second later on each run. Although all three hypercars are already sold out, the Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari will be part of or collective memory for years to come.
And this video shows why.
Following a press conference hosted right at the New York Auto Show, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was declared the overall winner of the "World Car Of The Year" competition in 2015. The C-Class received the award over 24 other vehicles; first short-listed to 12 and finally to just three finalists: the Ford Mustang, the Volkswagen Passat and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
"Taking its design and technological cues from the S-Class, the C-Class employs an all-new aluminum/steel hybrid platform and updated rear-drive powertrains that delivers levels of refinement, luxury, safety, ride and handling that challenge best-in-class." said the World Car Awards jurors about the model. Speaking of which, the international jury panel consisted of 75 car journalists from 22 countries around the world, and the World Car Awards program is now in its 11th year.
Mercedes-Benz also won the award for "World Luxury Car," for the S-Class Coupe, which was chosen over the BMW i8 and the Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB. The Mercedes-AMG GT was named "World Performance Car" after having been chosen over the BMW M3 Sedan/, M4 Coupe and the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe. Mercedes-Benz pretty much stole the entire show, since the S500 Plug-in Hybrid came close to winning the "World Green Car" award, while the C-Class was also short-listed for the "World Car Design Of The Year" trophy.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes C-Class.
Despite being a global company, Hyundai still cares deeply about its home market, which is probably why the funky Enduro Concept was unveiled at the 2015 Seoul Motor Show and not in New York, along with the 2016 Tucson. Esentially a "lifestyle urban crossover," as per Hyundai, the Enduro looks like a sporty, three-door coupe on stilts, or maybe how the Veloster would have looked if it had been a crossover. The model’s fullname is HND-12 Enduro and is derived from "Endurance," although the Korean carmaker has also mentioned the Enduro type of rally bikes as a source of inspiration.
Although just a concept, the model could preview Hyundai’s upcoming move into the growing "compact crossover/SUV" segment, spurred by the success of other carmakers in recent years. Unlike cars like the Nissan Juke or the Fiat 500X, the HND-12 Enduro comes with the twist of not only looking like a coupe, but removing the rear doors completely.
Continue reading more about the Hyundai Enduro Concept.
About six months away from its official unveiling, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is still testing in various parts of the world. The latest pre-production model spotted was found all the way in Northern Sweden, where most German carmakers have established winter testing bases. There are few things in life more satisfying for a gearhead than drifting a car in the snow, and the test driver in charge of this C-Class Coupe prototype can probably vouch for that.
Two interesting details make these spy photos different than other "2016 C-Class Coupe on snow" images. First of all, if you look closely you will notice that the model features U.S.-style, amber turn signals on the headlamps, so it’s kind of odd for Mercedes-Benz to test an American-only model all the way in Europe – what’s wrong with Alaska? Second of all, the car paparazzi who sent us the spy pictures mentioned that the prototype appeared to furiously spin all four wheels while powering out of the drifts, meaning that it is an AWD model.
Personally, I’m divided between thinking that the Mercedes-Benz tester was simply having some fun on a frozen lake or that he was testing how the model’s AWD system works in conjunction with the electronic stability control. Either way, I’m more curious to find out how many lines from the S-Class Coupe will be featured on its smaller, C-Class-based, brother. Since the C-Class sedan already looks like a miniature S-Class, the C-Class Coupe should follow a similar approach.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mercedes C-Class Coupe.
Although I’m terrible at guessing colors, I’m pretty sure that the Volkswagen Beetle Pink Color Edition concept looks more magenta or mauve than pink, but maybe that’s just me. Either way, the near-production concept car was unveiled at the 2015 New York Auto Show out of necessity, according to Volkswagen. While the second-generation New Beetle has been styled to appeal to a more masculine audience compared to the first one, Volkswagen says that its U.S. and Chinese dealers frequently get requests for a pink Beetle.
In other words, the Beetle Pink Color Edition is not necessarily an attention-seeking car, but simply an answer to the high demand that such a model benefits from. Volkswagen says that if the feedback from the show is positive, the model will get built as a limited series, perhaps as both coupe and convertible.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Beetle Pink Color Edition.
It’s not everyday that you see a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 do a bunch of smokey donuts, but this is even more unusual, for a couple of reasons. This is no ordinary Gallardo but an Italian State Police, car, with "Polizia" livery, a number plate recognition system and a lightbar on the roof. And the guy thrashing this Lambo is an actual Italian policeman, not a racing driver. The short donut session didn’t take place in traffic but on a wide stretch of asphalt near a circuit, where the Gallardo’s livery, lightbar and police siren probably scared the bejezus out of regular track participants.
Over the years, Lamborghini has donated a number of Gallardos to the Italian police, but its most recent donation consisted of that model’s replacement, the Huracan LP610-4. Don’t be quick to judge though, as Lamborghini cop cars are not just for show, but are also used for real police work, and then some. For example, the car is fitted with a defribillator, and the trunk compartment is equipped with a refrigeration system for the transportation of donor organs, for when the defibrillator doesn’t do the job.
It is said that only 30 police officers are permitted to drive the Gallardo Polizia models, and it seems that at least one of them is a fan of hooning the Lambo as hard as its carmaker intended. As long as he keeps it on the track and not on public roads, there shouldn’t be any problem with that. Until his boss sees the tire requisition form, that is.
The three-year-old Mercedes-Benz A-Class is about to receive a mid-cycle refresh, even though it has been on the market for such a short time. A facelifted prototype of the model has been spied inside and out, and some parts of its refreshed interior are obvious under the light camouflage. As you can see, the refreshed model will feature a new design for the steering wheel, and some parts of the center console will receive improved trim and new interior LED lighting.
The model’s exterior will have fewer restyled features though, as Mercedes-Benz decided to operate on the A-Class’ specifications and overall technical package instead of going for an overly visual refresh. Since the Audi RS3 has recently dethroned the A45 AMG as the world’s most powerful hot-hatch, it is expected that the the Merc will get a more powerful version of the turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder it is equipped with.
Keeping in line with the recent Mercedes-AMG strategy, when it comes to both nomenclature and model lineup, the facelifted A45 AMG will likely get two versions, along with a name change. The base model will be renamed Mercedes-AMG A45 and will feature an engine that develops around 380 horsepower, while the more-powerful A45 S is expected to come with over 400 horsepower, just like AMG boss Tobias Moers hinted in 2013. Both the AMG and the regular A-Class should be unveiled in September, at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Continue reading to learn more about the revised Mercedes A-Class.
Despite what some people may think, supercar ownership comes with both ups and downs, since it’s not exactly a walk in the park to use an insanely powerful vehicle on public roads. Chris Harris recently had the chance to spend a whole weekend with a McLaren P1, documenting almost every step of his short "ownership" of the model for our enjoyment. As some of his avid fans may remember, Harris chose the P1 as his "car of the year" in 2014, after having driven the McLaren, the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Ferrari LaFerrari back-to-back.
As you can guess, the resulting video of his shenanigans with the P1 consists of plenty of sideways action on the track, but it also raises other important points, such as drivability on the open road, creature comforts, and what is like living with a stupidly fast hypercar. In short, Chris crammed as many details as possible in the close to 19-minute video, so there is lots of never-before-seen information in there, including an "attack" of the Goodwood Hillclimb with the P1 in electric mode and a very wet drag race against an Audi RS6 Avant.
As a refresher, the McLaren P1 is packed with a twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter, V-8 engine and an electric motor that deliver a combined output of 903 horsepower and 722 pound-feet of torque, sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. It can get from 0-62 mph in 2.8 seconds and from 0-124 in a scarcely believable 6.8 seconds.
As some of you know, the Porsche 911 Carrera will switch to an all-turbocharged engine lineup when the 991’s mid-cycle facelift is introduced later in 2015. More details surrounding the upcoming engines have been spilled by the Aussies from Motoring, who recently spoke to the man in charge of the GT department at Porsche, Andreas Preuninger, and a Porsche Product Line Director. It seems there will be two different turbocharged flat-sixes, one for the base 911 model and the other for the 911 Carrera S.
The current, 3.4-liter, flat-six in the Porsche 911 Carrera will be replaced by a turbocharged, 2.7-liter flat-six that delivers at least 400 horsepower, or as much as the current 911 Carrera S. There is no mention of torque figures, but they are expected to drastically increase while also providing the model with an improved fuel economy. The 911 Carrera S will switch from a 3.8-liter flat-six to a turbocharged, 3.4-liter, flat-six with around 430 horsepower, or about the same as the current 911 Carrera GTS.
Despite going through a mid-cycle refresh as well, the 911 Turbo and the Turbo S will still feature the old, twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter engine, revised for more power and improved fuel economy. While the 991 generation of the 911e has been package-protected to also feature a hybrid system in case the need (e.g. market demand) arises, the upcoming facelift will not feature any type of hybridization.
Continue reading to learn more about the facelifted Porsche 911 lineup.
Besides the GLE, Mercedes-Benz has also unveiled the AMG version for this mid-size SUV, which also brings a change in nomenclature along with the mid-cycle facelift. The new GLE63 is more powerful than it’s predecessor, the ML63 AMG,.
The standard model is called GLE63 (not to be confused with the S version), just like its Coupe brethen. Powered by an engine as powerful as the old ML63 AMG with the optional Performance Package, the 2016 GLE63 is different than the model it replaces in some ways and is exactly the same in others. I say this because, for the first time in three generations, the AMG version for the mid-size premium SUV has gone through a truly massive transformation during the model’s refresh, while also keeping some of the features that made it famous.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63.
If you thought the Continental GT3-R was the ultimate Bentley sports car, you thought wrong, because an even more extreme version of the model is coming in 2016. According to Bentley’s head of engineering, Rolf Frech, the upcoming GT3-R-like Continental will have a rear-wheel-drive layout and be lighter than the original model.
"A lot of people expected the GT3-R to be a proper rear-wheel-drive sports car," Frech told Autocar, "but the problem was timing. We needed the car at the end of the first season of our GT3 racing car, and to do a proper change of the complete powertrain needed longer than we had. But we have the concept in our mind, so why not?" he continued.
The model is to become the first road-going Bentley in over two decades to go under 4,400 pounds, most of the weight loss resulting from the RWD conversion. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 that should deliver more than the 572 horsepower of the GT3-R, the relatively lightweight Continental will likely be faster but a tad less controllable. The usual Bentley design features and interior trim will be kept to a minimum, similar to the Porsche 911 GT3 or Aston Martin GT12 in terms of comfort. There is no confirmation regarding the number of cars to be built, but the hardcore Continental is expected to be part of an extremely limited run and cost even more than the GT3-R.
Continue reading to learn more about Bentley’s future rear-wheel-drive Continental.
Even though the McLaren 650S has enough grunt to go head-to-head with million-dollar hypercars, its exhaust sound has always been a bit too mild for some, mainly because the two turbochargers muffle the sound coming from the 3.8-liter V-8. This is what usually happens with cars that use a smallish engine with a lot of boost, but exhaust manufacturer Armytrix has devised a solution for this problem: a valve-controlled titanium exhaust system with three operating modes.
Known car-spotter Shmee150 recently filmed a 650S Spider fitted with an Armytrix exhaust system, and the resulting sound is louder without making bystanders cover their ears. The system comprises ceramic-coated, decatted down pipes, a valve-controlled titanium muffler, matte-black tail pipes and an OBDII remote control module that can give the option of three "loudness modes." The electronically controlled valve can be adjusted depending on the engine’s rpm. You can control the opening of the solenoid valve with a proprietary app that can be installed on both iOS and Android smartphones.
Apart from the obvious improvement in the exhaust note the McLaren also benefits from the lower weight of the titanium system, while horsepower and torque are apparently improved by an undisclosed amount as well. In fact, Armytrix says that the better exhaust sound is nothing but a by-product, and I’m not one to argue with that, although some cold, hard, numbers would have been nice.
Replacing the long-toothed Gallardo sure took Lamborghini a while, but when the Huracan LP 610-4 was launched, it seemed to have been worth the wait and then some. Unfortunately, not every review of the model was as stellar as Lamborghini had hoped, with some journos praising the Huracan’s design, build quality and performance, but also panning its numb electric steering and somewhat disconnected driving feel. Motor Trend’s recent review of the model is at odds with these though. Both Jonny Lieberman and pro driver Randy Pobst almost unanimously praised the Huracan.
In fact, the only quarrel that Pobst had with the car was its anti-lock brakes, but other than that he proclaimed it the best Lamborghini he has ever driven. The car ran around the Big Willow racetrack in just 1:25.17 minutes, faster than a Corvette Z06 with the Z07 package, and a Nissan GT-R Nismo. From all the sports cars that Motor Trend tested there, only the Porsche 918 Spyder is faster.
Powered by a dry-sumped, 5.2-liter, V-10 engine with 601 horsepower and 412 pound-feet of torque, the Huracan LP 610-4 can hit 0-62 mph in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of over 202 mph. Pobst got it from 0-60 mph in just 2.8 seconds, which is quicker than every other car that MT has tested, sans hypercars like the Porsche 918 Spyder or the Bugatti Veyron.
In case you wondered how the upcoming Focus RS sounds in the real world, as opposed to the edited promo videos that Ford has made public, you are in for a treat. A little one. Ford recently put on a media event starring the 2016 Focus RS at the headquarters of Classic Car Club Manhattan, just a few days before the model premieres on U.S. soil at the New York Auto Show.
As you can guess, some folks took video of the model as it was moved around the premises, recording the exhaust sounds coming from that turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Truth be told, it’s not the longest nor the most exciting video of the Focus RS you will ever see. But it does offer a small glimpse of the model’s U.S.-only features, such as the different turn signals and the lack of a middle taillight on the diffuser.
Unlike its inline-five-cylinder predecessor, the new Focus RS is powered by a turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder that develops "more than 315 horsepower," paired with a six-speed manual transmission. It’s "driftable" all-wheel-drive system is the real story though, since it can send up to 70 percent of the available power to the rear axle. But more on that in our 2016 Focus RS review.
Despite the current "turbocharge everything" trend, followed by Ferrari itself with cars like the California T and the new 488 GTB, Ferrari isn’t yet ready to forget about its naturally aspirated engines. At least not when it comes to screaming V-12s, a prerequisite of almost every Ferrari halo model since the company started making road cars. According to a recent report by Autocar that quotes a mysterious Ferrari insider, the Italian sports car maker will prolong its naturally aspirated V-12 era with a little help from electric motors.
More specifically, the much-anticipated 48-volt electrical systems that a number of German carmakers like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are currently preparing, will abet Ferrari’s new predilection for mild hybrids. In short, the company’s upcoming V-12 engines will not be augmented by turbochargers for better fuel economy, but will get more oomph and improved efficiency courtesy of electric motors. "There will be no turbos on our V12s. Expect instead to see 48-volt systems on the next generation." the unnamed Ferrari insider told Autocar.
Take it with a pinch of salt, since the information hasn’t been verified by an official source, although the idea does make sense and the technology is imminent. A mild hybrid system would keep the high-revving nature of the big Ferrari V-12s, while also adding extra go at lower revs and improved fuel economy – the best of both worlds.
Continue reading to learn more about Ferrari’s V-12 engines.
In a peculiar turn of events, Aston Martin has filed suit against Henrik Fisker, alleging that Fisker copied a number of a design elements on the Vanquish-based Thunderbolt sports car. The suit also states that Fisker is misleading potential Thunderbolt buyers when he says that the model is based on the latest Aston Martin Vanquish, when in fact the car has the underpinnings of an older DB9 or DBS. Truthfully, the single photo of the interior of Fisker’s Thunderbolt does show a more old-school center console.
The news is even more surprising considering that Fisker used to be head of design at Aston Martin and was responsible for the V8 Vantage and the DB9’s looks. On top of that, Aston Martin says that the designer contacted his former employer in the early stages of development for the Thunderbolt, and Aston Martin believed that the final design would look different. After the Thunderbolt was shown at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Aston Martin promptly filed a suit in a California court. "Fisker’s bad-faith intent to free-ride off the tremendous goodwill associated with the famous Aston Martin mark, wings logo, side vent mark, and Vanquish mark could not be more transparent," the carmaker said in the legal filing.
The complaint mentions harsh words like "trademark infringement, false designation of origin, dilution, false advertising, intentional interference with contractual relationship and interference with prospective economic advantage." In other words, the relationship between Henrik Fisker and Aston Martin couldn’t have turned more sour.
Continue reading to learn more about Henrik Fisker’s cars.
Love him or hate him, Jeremy Clarkson is a household name among international car journalists in both print and television. This is probably why Toyota UK has put together a motley collection of Top Gear clips that mainly have one thing in common: Jeremy trying to destroy various Toyota models. The resulting video is actually a heartwarming tribute to Jeremy Clarkson, who was recently ousted from the BBC Top Gear show following an altercation that he had with a producer. With the news that he will no longer be on Top Gear, the show’s future remains in doubt, especially since both James May and Richard Hammond have hinted that they wouldn’t want to continue hosting without Jeremy.
Many credit Clarkson, along with Top Gear executive producer and childhood friend of Jezza, Andy Wilman, as the main drivers behind the resurgence of the Top Gear show, which went from being axed by the BBC in the early 2000s to be completely revamped starting in 2002. That was the year Clarkson’s larger-than-life persona began showing up on more and more T.V. sets, with each episode of the show amassing around 350 million viewers from over 170 countries, not including the millions who illegally stream or download Top Gear.
Over the years, Clarkson has managed to juggle public praise and intense criticism thanks to his highly opinionated and often provocative statements about various subjects, not all of them related to cars. It looks like even though he rarely praised Toyotas on Top Gear, the company is sad to see him go. Perhaps it was because after exhaustive, Herculean efforts, they were unable to destroy its venerable pickup truck.
Mercedes-AMG chief Tobias Moers has made it clear that a more hardcore version of the GT is on the way, but this is the first time that a pre-production prototype of the model has been caught on camera. The track-ready Mercedes-AMG GT was recently spied testing on the Nurburgring Nordschleife in full camouflage, but the extra aerodynamic features are evident.
The model shouldn’t be confused with the Black Series version, since that is at least a couple of years away, but a more lightweight and track-focused option in the GT lineup. Set to go against the Porsche 911 GT3 and the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (now GT12), the hardcore Merc is expected to feature a tad more power, with maybe 550 horsepower and around 553 pound-feet of torque. The more nimble handling, and improved braking and cornering will probably be achieved by shedding around 110 pounds of weight compared to the Mercedes-AMG GT S, along with firmer suspension settings and beefier brakes.
The model’s new bodykit is evident in the spy photos, with the front end featuring a motorsport-derived splitter with small winglets at each end. More interesting are the larger winglets that start behind the front wheelarches and go toward the windshield, likely redirecting air over the exterior mirrors and adding downforce at the same time. The rear end sports a massive wing that should provide ample amounts of downforce on the rear axle. The bodykit has also widened the front and rear wheelarches, but likely they are not as extreme as on the future Black Series.
Continue reading to learn more about the future Mercedes-AMG GT version.
About to surpass 1.6 million units sold since the first generation arrived in 1997, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class is one of the most successful premium SUVs in the world. Launched in 2011, the third-generation M-Class introduced a number of innovations compared to its two predecessors, most of them regarding active safety, comfort features and improved fuel economy. Almost four years later, the mid-size SUV has received a thorough mid-cycle facelift that also incorporates a name-change, to align the model with the latest Mercedes-Benz nomenclature.
The German carmaker has recently rearranged its lineup naming scheme, with almost all its SUVs designations to include the "GL" moniker, followed by a letter that facilitates each model’s orientation in the lineup. The only SUV excluded from the renaming decision is the venerable G-Class. With that in mind, the M-Class has now become the GLE-Class, so let’s see if the mid-life refresh and name-change have resulted in a better model.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE.
With about a week until the 2015 New York Auto Show opens its gates, a surprise Lincoln Continental concept car may be slated to make an appearance, even though nothing official has been confirmed as of yet. Details are scarce at the moment, but some of the folks from the Blue Oval forums got around an odd minisite – which has been taken down since – that offered some details about the model.
"This is the new elegantly styled and boldly distinctive Lincoln Continental Concept. It represents who we are as a carmaker. It’s a culmination of learning, engineering, and envisioning what’s to come. In conceiving it, we left nothing unturned. No question went unanswered. No answer went unchallenged. In designing it, we unearthed the simple truth that elegant design can elicit highly emotive connections. The Lincoln Continental Concept is everything we know about cars, and everything we understand about people. And when you bring the two together, you understand why they should never really be apart." — was the revealing text accompanying the minisite, which should be noted that is part of Team Detroit’s website. Team Detroit is an advertising agency that is a frequent collaborator of both Ford and Lincoln, so the leak is obviously official.
That block of text is not much to go by, but it does reveal that the upcoming Lincoln concept car won’t be named MKS, like almost everyone was expecting, and it could also feature a more upscale design language. Whatever it is, we shall find out in the upcoming days, so stay close!
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Lincoln Continental.
Even though over six decades have passed since the model was unveiled at the 1954 New York Auto Show, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL still looks the business, with some people considering it the primordial supercar. The latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage features a Gull-wing, one which actually belongs to Leno himself and is currently in a restoration process. A ’55 model, the red Mercedes-Benz was picked up by the TV personality without an engine or a gearbox, but since then he’s tracked down most of the missing parts, some still available from Mercedes!
Leno was very happy to learn that the classic divison of Mercedes-Benz is still up-to-date with parts for cars that have been long out of production. That’s where he found the ribbed brake drums for the first step of the restoration process. After offering some interesting insights concerning both the model and his Mercedes-Benz memorabilia – including one of Juan Manuel Fangio’s actual F1 championship trophies – Jay Leno went for a drive with the 300 SL. Without a fresh coat of paint but with everything else in working condition, he proceeded to give it the full beans on Californian roads, and I would advise you to pump up the volume for the full experience. This car sound as incredible as it looks! That straight-six will put a smile on your face or I’ll eat this article.
Most people love the gull-wing doors, but I’m more infatuated with the 300 SL’s technology features, including the fuel injection system – a world first – and the aluminum spaceframe chassis that resulted in the peculiar door-opening solution.
Twelve years since the model was first revealed, the DB9 is finally heading toward its demise, and Aston Martin has already started work on its successor. A development mule for the next DB9 was recently spotted on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, where it was likely testing a new powertrain or platform. I wouldn’t hold it against you if you thought that it looks just like a regular DB9 from the current generation, but a keen eye would notice that the front end is wider and that there is some light camouflage on the lower part of the front bumper. Also, the model’s wheelbase is longer and the hood features two extra closing mechanisms.
Since the next DB9 is expected to be launched sometime in 2016, this development mule will probably be replaced with camouflaged, pre-production protoypes toward the end of 2015. That would make it closer to when the DB10 is featured in Spectre, the 24th James Bond film, though that would be just a coincidence. What won’t be a coincidence is that the 2017 DB9 will probably borrow some design cues from the movie-only DB10.
Despite Aston’s recent tie-in with Mercedes-AMG, from which it will source V-8 engines in the future, the next DB9 is expected to feature a revamped version of the current V-12 powerplant. Attached to a transaxle version of the eight-speed automatic from ZF, the improved 12-cylinder is expected to offer more power and better fuel consumption than today’s version.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin DB9 successor.
The Jeremy Clarkson "Fracas-gate" scandal has finally come to an end, although not in a positive way for the millions who supported the TV presenter. The BBC announced today that Jeremy Clarkson’s contract will not be renewed, following an internal investigation concerning an incident in which JC physically and verbally abused Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon a couple of weeks ago.
Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General issued an official statement regarding Clarkson and his non-existent future with the Top Gear TV show: "It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon. [...] I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved."
Top Gear’s near future remains in doubt, after both James May and Richard Hammond hinted that they would not continue hosting the show without Jeremy Clarkson. Tony Hall made no mention of a replacement for either Jezza or his two sidekicks, but British reports that radio and TV personality Chris Evans was approached by the BBC to take over the show’s helm if Clarkson is ousted. Oisin Tymon’s own statement regarding Jezza’s sacking said: "I respect Lord Hall’s detailed findings and I am grateful to the BBC for their thorough and swift investigation into this very regrettable incident, against a background of intense media interest and speculation."
Continue reading to learn more about BBC’s decision on Jeremy Clarkson.
With about a year until the next-generation E-Class is unveiled, previously unknown details about the midsize Mercedes-Benz model have started to appear. The latest rumor regarding the car involves one of its new inline-six diesel engines, which is expected to feature not one, not two, but four turbochargers. Actually, strike that, because two of the turbochargers will be powered by electricity, not exhaust gases, therefore the term "electric turbochargers" should be better-suited. Electricity from a newly developed 48 Volt battery will help spool them up and thus create lag-free acceleration at low rpm, in a similar way to the Audi RS5 TDI Concept.
Part of an engine family that is currently in development, the six-cylinder diesel will allegedly have a 2.9-liter displacement and feature two power outputs. A twin-turbocharged version is expected to deliver around 313 horsepower, while the quad-charged version (two traditional turbochargers and two electric ones) is said to develop over 400 horsepower. The brawnier version will therefore become the most powerful diesel engine in a production car when it goes on sale, which should happen sometime in 2017.
All V-6 engines from the current E-Class will be phased out, whether diesel or gasoline, with newly developed straight sixes to take their places. The gasoline version will be a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six that should also deliver over 400 horsepower in its most powerful version, although some reports suggest that the same engine found in the G500 4X4² concept will take care of the "over 400 horsepower" area in the next E-Class.
Continue reading to learn more about Mercedes’s future plans.
Leave it to BMW to brag about a technology that goes against its previous "driving pleasure" credentials, but this is how marketing rolls these days. In short, the latest 1 Series facelift commercial showcases the predictive gear shift technology found in the model when equipped with the eight-speed automatic transmission. Using GPS information from the satellite navigation system, the transmission can change gears down before a corner and then back up once through the apex. This happens automatically, to create a smoother driving experience through the twisties.
I’d love to try it, but there are two problems with the ad. The commercial suggests that the technology is new, when in fact it debuted in 2013. And it was initially developed for the Wraith by a Rolls-Royce engineer, and it only recently trickled down to BMW models. In its defense, BMW owns Rolls-Royce, so technology-sharing between the two companies is to be expected.
Both the 1 Series and the Wraith use eight-speed automatic transmissions sourced from ZF, while their satellite navigation systems are very similar, so it was a no-brainer for the tech to be passed onto BMW models eventually. In the Rolls it is called "Satellite-Aided Transmission (SAT), while BMW calls it "Predictive Gear Shift Technology," but they work in the exact same way. Interestingly, an earlier version of the system was developed by a BMW engineer working for the now-defunct Williams-BMW F1 team, but he was since snatched up by Roll-Royce.
Alfa Romeo has slowly but surely become a shadow of its former self after Fiat took over the helm in 1986, but the little Italian carmaker that could is planning a return to its past glory. The first step was a relaunch of the Alfa Romeo brand in the U.S. - currently with just one model, the sexy little 4C. Since the 4C coupe was more than once pitted against the Porsche Cayman, the newly unveiled 4C Spider can only go against the Cayman’s open-top brother, the Boxster.
Both the 4C Spider and the Boxster are mid-engine, lightweight, and have similar specifications, with the higher power of the Porsche being compensated for by the lower weight of the Alfa. But they are still very different, so I decided to see which of the two would come on top when their features are examined closely.
Continue reading to learn which model we like better: the Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder or the Porsche Boxster.
It seems like the postponed Tesla Model X is nearing its official unveil date with heavy steps, as a pre-production prototype was recently caught driving on a Californian highway. The lightly disguised vehicle was spotted near Palo Alto, where Tesla Motors’ headquarters are located, and this is the first time that a Model X prototype has been filmed on a public road.
Previewed by a concept car in early 2012, Tesla’s first crossover was supposed to start production by the end of 2013, but it was rescheduled several times. The latest delivery estimates for new reservations are "early 2016," meaning the the Model X could be unveiled as early as the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, in September. Tesla may even surprise everyone by bringing it to the upcoming 2015 New York Auto Show, although it is less likely.
Based on a modified Model S architecture, the Model X crossover will feature normal doors at the front and so-called "falcon wing doors" for the rear passengers, while the rear luggage compartment will feature a regular hatch. Available as standard with the dual motor and all-wheel drive system from the Model S P85D, Tesla’s crossover will also feature a choice of multiple battery and performance options, while its interior should be at least as accommodating as on the Model S. As seen in the short video above, the overall look is that of a more bulbuous Model S.
Since Mercedes-Benz is not making a hypercar at the moment, the carmaker’s Formula One drivers have to look elsewhere to quench their thirst for F1-derived performance in a road car. Nico Rosberg drove a C63 AMG until recently, but Lewis Hamilton is a bit more flamboyant in his choices of personal cars. After ordering a bespoke Zonda 760 Roadster from Pagani, Lewis bought himself a Ferrari LaFerrari as a present for winning the 2014 Formula One Championship.
Normally, which road car is driven by an F1 driver falls under "celebrity gossip," something that we don’t cover on TopSpeed, but this time it’s different. As most of you know, Ferrari is battling Mercedes-Benz in Formula One, and Lewis is still under contract with the three-pointed star. In other words, the Brit buying a car from its team’s arch-enemy is bound to raise some suspicion, but fortunately it doesn’t seem to pose a problem for his bosses. "Sure, Lewis has had contact with Ferrari," Toto Wolff, Executive Director at Mercedes-AMG Petronas, confirmed to Germany’s Sport Bild. "He has just bought a LaFerrari. We have no problem with that." he continued.
Hamilton is not the first F1 driver to buy a LaFerrari while under contract with one of Ferrari’s opponents on the track. In 2014, Sebastian Vettel awarded himself with a similar hypercar while driving for Red Bull, but his contract didn’t allow him to make it public. A year later, Seb jumped ship to Ferrari, so various media outlets began reporting that Hamilton might do the same.
Continue reading to learn more about Hamilton’s new acquisition.
Arguably the only Jeep Wrangler that is "more show than go" in existence, the Fab Fours Legend made a killing at the 2014 SEMA Show. Its look is about as outrageous as a clown on fire, which is probably why the Legend got the chance to be featured on Jay Leno’s Garage recently. As expected, Leno was very impressed with the concept car, especially since it’s actually street-legal and can be driven (almost) like a regular, lifted Jeep. He went through a detailed presentation of the spectacular vehicle, after which he drove it both on and off the road
The suspension is stock, as is the engine, but the Legend is fitted with 50-inch tires that engulf 24-inch rims, making the car look like a military vehicle from a dystopian future. The gigantic wheels were able to be fitted only after Fab Fours increased the front/rear tracks and the wheelbase. That was probably not the most complicated body modification though, as the roof was also lowered, while the windows were replaced with custom, red-tinted ones.
Jay didn’t seem too ecstatic about the red window tint or the fact that none of the windows can be lowered in case a policeman decides to pull the car over, but he was impressed with how the car drives, especially considering the extensive modifications. The Legend is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, so it has no problem moving those gigantic tractor wheels, although it does have altered gearing.
Similar to how Ferrari is mighty proud of its 488 GTB launch movie, its arch-enemy from Sant’Agata Bolognese has also decided to offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the official footage for its latest creation was filmed. I am of course talking about the Aventador LP 750-4 Super Veloce and its heart-pumping reveal video, for which some of the scenes required a bit more attention than usual.
Despite being a "making of" video, the footage above is not exactly a rough cut, but edited to be more interesting. Unfortunately, the result is a bit too mainstream I think, and the musical soundtrack could have been replaced by actual (exhaust) sounds from the original shoot, but maybe that is just me. Either way, the video’s main character looks and sounds good no matter how the footage is edited.
Powered by a 6.5-liter, V-12 that develops 740 horsepower and 509 pound-feet of torque, the Aventador SV LP 750-4 is the most powerful production Lamborghini in history. Apart from being 50 horsepower more powerful than the base Aventador, the Super Veloce is also 110 pounds lighter, resulting in a 0-62 mph acceleration of just 2.8 seconds. Despite the improved downforce, which usually results in more drag, the LP 750-4 SV can hit at least 217 mph.
Just like Aston Martin has had a life-long connection with the James Bond franchise – even though Ian Fleming’s Bond actually drove a Bentley – BMW products have been featured in so many Mission Impossible films that they are now almost part of the recurring cast. This feeling should be reinforced with Mission:Impossible – Rogue Nation, the fifth movie from the highly lucrative franchise. Tom Cruise’s character, Ethan Hunt, will benefit from at least two BMWs in the upcoming film, one of which is a Silverstone Metallic M3 sedan, which he proceeds to pretty much destroy during an action-packed car chase.
The car is featured in both the first official teaser seen above and in the movie’s trailer, but that is not the only way you will get to see Tom Cruise man-handling a BMW. At least one S1000 RR supersports bike made by BMW Motorrad will also be featured, thus making Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation hark back to Top Gun from some perspectives, while unconfirmed reports mention that the 2017 BMW 7 Series may also make a surprise appearance.
Set to hit theaters on July 31, 2015, the fifth installment of the Mission: Impossible series comes 19 years after the first movie, and filming was completed earlier this month. As with most of Tom Cruise’s films, most of the action sequences involving the actor were filmed without a stunt double, but I somehow doubt that Cruise is driving in every single BMW M3 scene.
With the Elise looking as fresh as ever, it’s pretty hard to believe that the model was unveiled approximately two decades ago, in the fall of 1995. Naturally, it has been through a number of extensive refreshes since then, but the current Elise is basically the same car underneath. If the original 1996 model isn’t a testament to the forward thinking of Lotus engineers, then I don’t know what is. The car’s lightness and nimbleness are still widely regarded as benchmarks for mass-produced sports cars, even though more than a few pounds were gained over the years.
Lotus has decided to celebrate the model’s unveiling 20 years ago with a limited edition. Called the Elise 20th Anniversary Special Edition, the new model has less weight and a host of extra features, replacing the Elise S Club Racer in the Lotus lineup.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Lotus Elise 20th Anniversary Special Edition.
Although for some it may also sound like a cocktail that Ken Block would serve you if he were tending bar, "Gymkhana on Ice" is actually the name of a short video that involves drifting a Lexus on a frozen lake. A bunch of Canadian drifting maniacs known as the Wide Open Drift Team shoed their first-generation Lexus IS300 drift car with studded tires and contracted KSP Productions to develop their frozen lake hooning into a nice video. The end result is not filled with stunts as the famed Gymkhana series, but it looks numerous times more dangerous.
Without spoiling it, the couch scene at around the 2:00 minute mark and the video ending are where the most dangerous bits take place, but please never try anything like this on your neighborhood frozen lake. According to the original footage description, each tire from the Lexus was manually fitted with 175 studs for more snow and ice traction. With the car having been developed for driving sideways on an actual track, the frozen lake took its toll and two flat tires resulted from a day of filming at -7 degrees.
Wide Open Drift Team racer Jeff Laflamme drove the modified Lexus, while Alex-Andre Gingras was in charge of the Polaris RZR that joins in on the fun at one point in the video. The identities of the two fellows that went through a near-death experience at the end are not known, but they may want to consider a change of underpants.
The neverending feasability study for the upcoming Toyota/BMW sports car project is far from completion, despite BMW announcing that the program has entered the concept phase at the end of 2014. I say this because both Toyota and BMW haven’t even decided the models’ basic features, approximately three years after the joint venture began making headlines.The good news is that progress is being made though, according to a recent report by Autocar.
Toyota’s version of the sports car will apparently be positioned above the GT86, resurrecting earlier rumors that a Supra successor may result from the joint venture with BMW. On the other hand, a Supra successor would need to be much larger than the existing BMW Z4,. The common platform is expected to be scalable enough that the two cars can be different in both size and market position.
"The one thing we’re clear on now is that a platform for both companies can work,” said Ian Robertson, BMW chief of sales and marketing. "The cars in themselves don’t actually need to be positioned the same. The platform can spawn two positionings. Gone are the days when one platform was one platform. Most of our platforms are scalable these days," he continued. Both models are expected to hit the market sometime in 2017, 15 years after the last Toyota Supra was produced and just in time for the current BMW Z4 to be replaced by a new generation.
Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota/BMW future sports cars.
It is probably no coincidence that some of the most astonishing cars have been created as a result of personal vendettas. The Ford GT40 is a perfect example, as the racecar was developed mostly out of Ford’s spite toward Ferrari, the only carmaker that had had the audacity to make a fool out of Henry Ford II. RK Motors Charlotte recently put together the first episode of an upcoming series that tries to tell the story behind the GT40 that won Le Mans in 1966 — the car’s raison d’être.
Henry Ford II had become infatuated with the Le Mans 24 Hours race in the early ’60s, pledging to either win the endurance event or buy a carmaker that was able to do it for him. After having received word that Ferrari was willing to sell its road-going cars division, Ford invested a large amount of money in auditing Ferrari’s factory assets and negotiating the sale. Surprisingly, after a few short weeks, "Il Commendatore" broke off all talks with the American carmaker, after learning that Ford wouldn’t allow Scuderia Ferrari to race at the Indy 500 after the sale was completed, despite Enzo remaining the owner of the motorsport division.
This angered Henry Ford II so much that he decided to create a car that would beat Ferrari fair and square at the Le Mans 24 Hours. With the help of a chassis built by Lola and development entrusted to Carroll Shelby, the Ford GT40 managed to not only beat Ferrari, but also dominate Le Mans in four consecutive years. The video above discusses the history behind the famed endurance racer and American icon, and subsequent chapters will document the restoration itself. Stay tuned!
British Vmax 200 events have recently started getting better coverage from the media, mostly thanks to the range of exotic cars that usually participate in the event. Known car-spotter Shmee150 has been present with a camera at just about every edition in the last few years, filming the most interesting supercars while they go at it. He was also on deck at the latest Vmax 200 event, which was hosted at Dunsfold Park — also known as the Top Gear test track.
The car-spotter got the chance to ride shotgun in a Lexus LFA while the supercar went head-to-head with a Porsche 918 Spyder. As you can expect, the win was a walk in the park for the 918 Spyder, since there is a huge difference in numbers between the two cars. On the other hand, the Lexus LFA is actually more exclusive, with only 500 units having been built, compared with 918 units for the Porsche. On top of it, the Yamaha- tuned, 4.8-liter, V-10 engine in the LFA sounds like a Formula One V-10 from the early 2000s.
The plug-in hybrid Porsche hypercar is in another league though, since it features a high-revving V-8, derived from a Le Mans Prototype racing car engine, that works in tandem with two electric motors. Thanks to a battery that can be also recharged from the exterior, the 918 Spyder is pretty much the best of all worlds, combining dramatic performance, unbelievable fuel economy and huge driving fun into a bonkers package.
During the company’s annual accounts press conference that took place yesterday, the BMW Group had two important points to make clear, both confirmations of already known plans. First, BMW will switch to a single rear-wheel-drive platform in the near future, starting with the upcoming 2016 BMW 7 Series. Second, an array of plug-in hybrids is expected in the next couple of years, starting with the recently unveiled X5 eDrive.
"The new rear-wheel-drive architecture is virtually ready for series production and will be implemented in our future models." said Dr. Friedrich Eichiner, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Finance, during the presentation. In translation, the aluminum-intensive platform used by the upcoming 7 Series will trickle down to the 2017 5 Series, the next-generation 3 Series, and large BMW SUVs. In short, BMW will base its entire lineup on just two architectures – RWD-based models on the same platform as the upcoming 7 Series and FWD-based models on the UKL platform from Mini.
BMW is preparing a series of plug-in hybrids following the X5 eDrive. A 3 Series eDrive will follow by the end of the year, and the next-generation 5 Series and 7 Series after that.
Continue reading to learn more about BMW’s future plans.
Even though the 911 GT3 RS probably stole some of its glory at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the Cayman GT4 remains one of the coolest road cars that Porsche will launch this year. Multiple rally champion and former Porsche test driver Walter Röhrl certainly thinks so, which is probably why he is now the biggest brand ambassador for Porsche. Röhrl recently had a yellow Cayman GT4 at his disposal, and the resulting video of his road and track adventure is obviously promotional in nature, but it’s still fun to watch.
The track footage seems to have been taken on the Portimao circuit in Portugal, while the road-driving scenes were probably shot in the surrounding hills. Since this is a promo video, you shouldn’t expect too much Chris Harris-like hooning, although Röhrl does get the GT4 sideways a few times. His main opinion about the model is obviously positive; that it is a real track weapon when you want it to be, yet is civilized on the road.
As some of you know, the GT4 is the most powerful production Cayman ever, its 3.8-liter flat-six a detuned version of the 911 Carrera S engine. The 385 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque are transmitted via a six-speed manual to the rear wheels, and 0-62 mph takes just 4.4 seconds. Of course, the Cayman GT4 is more about having fun on the twisties than on a drag strip, and Walter Röhrl certainly seems to agree.
Even though the Zonda has been officially out of production since 2011, and replaced by the Huayra, Pagani seems to have a hard time saying no to all the special edition Zondas that have been commissioned in the years since. Presented at the end of 2014, the Zonda 760 RSJX was considered to be the last Zonda, built after the car was supposed to go out of production.
That said, yet another Zonda has appeared on the horizon in 2015. Called ZoZo, the latest Zonda was built for Japan’s youngest billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, who is the founder of an online fashion mall called ZoZoTown, hence the supercar’s moniker. Featuring an evolutionary design that blends old-school Pagani features with a couple of motifs inspired by early sketches for the Zonda R, the new Zonda 760 ZoZo is quite similar to Lewis Hamilton’s 760 LH in specifications.
Continue reading to learn more about the Pagani Zonda ZoZo.
Despite the six-wheeled behemoth going soon out of production, with Mercedes-Benz having sold over 100 units, the G63 AMG 6x6 still demands respect. Which is probably why Mercedes-Benz decided to make yet another promotional video of the model, this time showing it tackling a mountainous region of beautiful Tuscany, Italy. The video goes to show that even when the G63 AMG 6x6 isn’t jumping over sand dunes at high speeds in an Arabian desert, the model’s off-road prowess is still unquestionable at lower speeds.
To quote Mercedes-Benz, "even the rocky terrain of the Tuscany is negotiated with all the agility of a mountain goat." Naturally, that goat would need to weigh the better part of three tons and possess six wheels instead of four legs to be comparable. Keep in mind that the G63 AMG 6x6 is equipped with six-wheel-drive, five differential locks, 37-inch all-terrain tires with an on-board inflation and deflation system and portal axles. In theory, if it has enough room, it can tackle just about any type of terrain.
Also part of the model’s appeal is its twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter, V-8 engine that delivers 544 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque, delivered to all six wheels through a seven-speed, automatic transmission. If the G63 AMG 6X6 isn’t a rolling declaration of independence, then I don’t know what is, and the footage above illustrates that.
Introduced as a modern-looking replacement for the more-traditional S-Type at the end of 2007, the Jaguar XF is nearing the end of its cycle. The next-generation XF will be unveiled on March 24 in London. That’s not overly exciting, you might say, but the really interesting bit is how the model will be unveiled. Jaguar has contracted an expert stuntman, known for action stunts in movies from the James Bound, Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones franchises, to perform a dramatic high-wire water crossing with the new XF.
Details are limited at the moment, but the 2016 XF will apparently drive across two steel wires, suspended above water, with Jaguar saying that the feat should emphasize the "lightweight and agile credentials" of the new model. "I believe the all-new XF will be the best looking car in its class. Elegant, handsome and with proportions that imbue a great sense of integrity – the all-new XF will be true to the strong tradition of sporting Jaguar saloons while being completely of its time." said a none-too-modest Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar.
The next-generation XF will be the second Jaguar to be developed on the company’s new aluminum-intensive platform, which is shared with the new XE and the upcoming F-Pace crossover. With lower weight, the 2016 XF will likely have improved fuel economy and will extract more performance from its engine lineup, which will consist of four-, six- and eight-cylinder powerplants.
Continue reading to learn more about the next Jaguar XF.
Although a twin-turbocharged monster had been expected for some time, when Ferrari unveiled the 488 GTB it took most people by surprise. Some of the car’s sheer lunacy is evident in Ferrari’s official promotional video for the 488 GTB, which features track footage and on-road driving scenes. Ferrari seems to be so proud of that promotional footage that it recently uploaded a behind-the-scenes recording, which shows how much work was put into achieving the spectacular end-result.
Professionally controlled drones with GoPro cameras, Russian arms dangling from blacked-out, high-speed camera cars and a large number of crew members cooperated to create one of the coolest promotional videos from Ferrari, especially since it features very few CGI (Computer-Generated Images) for a 2015 product. The track footage was shot at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, while the on-road driving scenes were filmed around Saragozza and Tortosa in Northern Spain.
As a reminder, the Ferrari 458 GTB is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 3.9-liter V-8 with 661 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. The model’s name and some bits of its exterior design are a nod to Ferrari’s first mid-engine V-8 model, the 308 GTB, but the 488 GTB’s performance is very much from the future. With the 0-124 mph acceleration taking just 8.3 seconds and lapping the Fiorano track in 1:23 minutes, the 458 Italia replacement is even faster than the Enzo, which is no mean feat.
With the last of the 450 Bugatti Veyrons having been unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, this would be as good a time as any to remember what is probably the main reason behind the supercar’s enormous success: it’s 16-cylinder engine. Bugatti isn’t the first – although it will probably be the last – to fit a 16-cylinder powerplant in a production car, but it was the first to use a W-16 configuration.
If you ever wondered how the W16 monster is built, Carscoops recently came across an older YouTube video of the assembly line in Molsheim, France, where each of the 450 Veyrons were hand-built, including their powerplants. The footage was most likely taken closer to the model’s launch in 2005, which is why it’s probably not as glamorous-looking as you would expect. The most interesting part is probably around the 2:30 minute mark, where you can see that cylinder no. 3 was initially tagged with a different number.
Essentially composed of two W-8 engines united with a single crankshaft, with each four cylinders being fed by a turbocharger, the W-16 powerplant delivers between 987 horsepower in the original Veyron and 1184 horsepower in the Veyron SuperSport. Despite using a good deal of aluminum and titanium parts, the sheer size of the engine translates into a weight of around 900 pounds. With the seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission adding another 550 pounds or so into the equation, you can probably see why the Bugatti Veyron is such a heavy car.
Although a number of media outlets have always pitted the Audi TT Roadster against the Mercedes-Benz SLK, the truth is that Mercedes-Benz has never had a direct rival for the FWD-based Audi TT. That is expected to change in less than five years, since Mercedes-Benz may choose to expand its compact lineup to feature both a coupe and a small roadster, both aimed at the TT. The report comes from Autobild and is far from having been officially confirmed, so you should take it with a pinch of salt.
According to the German magazine, the second generation of the MFA (Modular Front Architecture) platform will spawn at least two more compact models. One of them will be a coupe in the style of Audi’s TT, which in some ways could also be seen as a two-door CLA. Just like the TT, the model would be available with either FWD or FWD-based all-wheel-drive for the more powerful versions.
The second model would be a convertible/roadster version of the coupe, which would subsequently rival the Audi TT Roadster. FWD and AWD versions could be also available for the model, while both coupe and roadster are likely to get AMG and AMG Sport versions of their own. The second generation of the MFA platform should debut with a new A-Class in 2018, so don’t expect the two Audi TT fighters to be unveiled sooner than 2019.
Continue reading to learn more about Mercedes’ possible Audi TT competitor.
With the second-generation X1 less than a year away from its official unveiling, BMW is hard at work testing pre-production prototypes of the car in various locations around the world. In fact, two similarly camouflaged X1s were shot by spy photographers on the same day – one doing cold weather testing in Northern Sweden and the other one being thrashed around a sunny Nurburgring Nordschleife.
As most of you know, the 2016 X1 is BMW’s second FWD-based car, after the 2 Series Active Tourer (and Gran Tourer, more recently). Don’t think that all versions will be FWD though, as the U.S. is expected to only get xDrive all-wheel-drive models, and top of the range versions will be AWD regardless of the market. That said, the new all-wheel-drive system will still behave primarily like a FWD system, with power being diverted toward the rear axle only during hard acceleration or when the rear tires begin to lose traction. The 2016 X1 is likely to use a classic Haldex differential to handle the output going to the rear wheels, so expect the model to handle pretty much like a larger Mini Countryman, to which it’s related anyway.
Though not officially confirmed, BMW could be also working on a "five-door-coupe" version of the X1, to be named either X2 or Urban Cross, depending on which source you believe. More on that when and if BMW starts testing the model on public roads.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 BMW X1.
For those of you who can’t wait for the sixth-generation Camaro, Chevrolet decided to alleviate the wait by starting one of those dreadful teasing campaigns that almost everyone hates. Part of it is a short YouTube clip that features the 2016 Camaro being revved – without actually showing the car. Judging by the sounds, the teaser is likely depicting a V-8 model, with my prediction being the Camaro SS, as it sounds good but not as good as a ZL1 or a Z/28.
As a refresher, the 2016 Camaro will be unveiled during a special event in Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, on May 16th, where an impromptu Camaro museum and track laps with pro drivers will take place during the day-long celebration. The model is expected to switch from the current Zeta platform to the Alpha architecture, shared with the Cadillac ATS and CTS. Also shared with the ATS will be a new turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that should give the Camaro a rival for the Mustang 2.3-liter EcoBoost.
The sixth Camaro is expected to shed a couple of hundred pounds compared to the current model, translating into better handling and improved fuel economy, but those waiting for an entirely new design language will probably be disappointed. As it became evident from recent teasers and purported leaks, the 2016 Camaro will largely look like a refreshed 2015 model, at least from a distance. Hopefully, at least some of those monstrous blind spots from the current model have been addressed.
Although a more-powerful and track-ready Cayman version had been expected since Porsche started testing pre-production models in 2014, the GT4 took most people by surprise. After hardcore models like the 911 GT3 and now the 911 GT RS switched to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission exclusively, not too many enthusiasts were expecting the Cayman GT4 to come with a manual, but it did.
Not only that, but the new entry-level GT model pushes the boundaries in other ways as well, with its 3.8-liter flat-six making it more powerful than a 911 for the first time. Essentially a detuned version of the same 3.8-liter from the 911 Carrera S, the Cayman GT4’s powerplant delivers 385 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel the model from naught to 62 mph in a reasonable 4.4 seconds using the six-speed manual gearbox.
Autocar’s Matt Prior recently had the chance to attend the GT4’s international media launch, which also included some track time on the Portimao circuit with Walter Röhrl in a lead car. The resulting review has its up and downs, with the first 2:30 minutes or so being almost incomprehensible likely because of some problems with the audio equipment. The on-circuit part is delicious to watch, but Prior’s monotonous explanations will probably make you want to mute the video. The best part is that there is virtually no music, so the flat-six howl and tire shrieks kind of make up for all the negatives.