James Wolfcale

If you had asked James Wolfcale what he wanted to do with his life after he began formulating words, he would have told he wanted to be a race car driver. He fell a bit short on that front, but car journalist has proven to be a pretty good fall back. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, Georgia with a media studies degree, his work has appeared on Road & Track, Drive Cult, Jalopnik, Motor Authority and now Top Speed. Now living San Diego, he spends his time exploring the canyon roads of Southern California in his Mini Cooper S, yelling at professional athletes through his television and cycling. He’s also allergic to fish.

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2016 Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

2016 Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

After a few cryptic teaser shots of wings, engine covers and some objects we weren’t quite sure about, Bugatti has unveiled its contribution to the Gran Turismo 6 Vision GT project. The Bugatti Vision GT is the virtual expression of how a real quasi-racing Bugatti could look. It also provides us with a preview of Bugatti’s next Veyron replacement, working-titled 2018 Bugatti Chiron.

As outrageous as it looks, the Bugatti Vision GT isn’t quite as extreme as some other cars in the Vision GT garage — the 2,590-horsepower 2015 SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo for instance — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Bugatti designers and engineers wanted keep things in the realm of what’s possible now. That said, Bugattis by their very nature are extreme cars. “We wanted to create a project as realistic as possible for our fans and put a real Bugatti in the virtual world of the PlayStation video game franchise,” explained head Bugatti designer Frank Heyl. “Every design characteristic is defined by its function. Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is the perfect symbiosis of engineering and aesthetics.”

If you’re not familiar with it, the Vision Gran Turismo project allows designers and engineers from real-world car companies to create cars for the virtual world without the limitations created by regulations, budgets, and in some cases, even reality. The results are then uploaded to Gran Turismo 6 on PlayStation 3, where they can be enjoyed by gamers everywhere. Several other car companies have already made contributions, and it’s always fascinating to see what they come up with. It also functions as a preview of what might be next for some of these companies.

In addition to its digital form, Bugatti will also reveal a full-size show car at the 2015 Frankfurt International Motor Show, at which point it will simultaneously be added to Gran Turismo 6. But until then, let’s take a closer look at the Bugatti Vision GT.

Updated 08/22/2016: Created exclusively for the PlayStation videogame series Gran Turismo Sport, BUgarri Vision Gran Turismo made its American debut at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Check the picture gallery for a series of images taken during the event.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo.

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2016 Lotus Evora 400

2016 Lotus Evora 400

Lotus is at a crossroads, as it needs to keep expenses low but it also needs to update its aging lineup before the public forgets it even exists. And when the British automaker was forced to stop selling the Evora in the U.S. because of noncompliant airbags, the company had to redesign its only U.S.-spec model or essentially die in the American market. And redesign it did, with the introduction of the more-powerful 2016 Evora 400.

With a hefty power boost and refreshed fascias, the new Evora 400 appears primed to do battle with the newly released 2015 4C and 2016 Cayman GT4. But the real test is whether the world will notice that the Evora 400 even happened, or if buyers will continue flocking to Porsche and Alfa dealers for their lightweight sports cars.

Updated 11/05/2015: Lotus dropped a new video showing its latest Evora 400 in action on the track. Being 92 pounds lights and 55 horsepower more powerful than the previous Evora, the new 400 version lapped the test track at Lotus HQ, Hethel in just 1 minute and 31 seconds — a full 7 seconds quicker than the previous model.

Continue reading for my full review to see what I think.

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XCAR Reviews The 2016 Porsche 911 Targa GTS: Video

XCAR Reviews The 2016 Porsche 911 Targa GTS: Video

The 2016 911 Targa might have the craziest, most over-engineered roof mechanism of any car we’ve ever seen. Previous Targas had roof panels that were removable by hand or, more recently, glass roofs that slid under the rear glass. But like a Transformer that’s possessed the greenhouse of 991-generation 911, this new Targa’s roof is lifted up and back in series of mechanical gymnastics that beggar belief and then stowed under the clamshell rear glass.

Our friends at XCAR got their hands on a new Targa in GTS trim, and found that in addition to its amazing roof, it’s also an exceptional car that can be just about anything to anyone. Thanks to the Targa’s standard all-wheel-drive, it’s nearly as surefooted on snowy roads as it would otherwise be on the Pacific Coast Highway in June, and the bump in power over the Carrera S to 430 horsepower put it almost on par with the GT3 in terms of straight-line pace. But, it’s also comfy, cosseting and does pretty good impressions of both a convertible and a hardtop. XCAR also points out that (next GT3 aside) this is also one of the last normally aspirated new 911s that we will ever see. The entire range of 991.2 911s is getting turbochargers.

Checkout the video, and then check it out again to can comprehend how that roof works.

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2015 Porsche 911 GTS Club Coupe

2015 Porsche 911 GTS Club Coupe

The first official Porsche Club of America meeting was organized by founding member and commercial artist Bill Sholar in September of 1955 in Washington D.C. Unofficially called “the gripe group,” the club agreed to have its first official meeting at a local spot called Blackie’s House of Beef. Thirteen prospective members rolled into Blackie’s parking lot, but one was asked to leave because he was driving a Volkswagen. Fast-forward 60 years, and the PCA now has 140 local regions in the U.S and Canada and boasts well over 100,000 members, making it the largest single-make car club in the entire world. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Porsche, and in recognition of the PCA’s continuing loyalty, Porsche has introduced the extremely blue 911 GTS Club Coupe at its brand new U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

It’s the spiritual successor to the 997-based 911 Club Coupe introduced back in 2005 to honor the club’s 50th anniversary, but this time it’s based on the swifter, sportier Carrera GTS. It uses the same 430-horsepower engine as the Carrera GTS, but has several visual upgrades, some more obvious than others, which I’ll get to shortly.

Only 60 examples of this very special GTS Club Coupe will be built and all are destined for North American shores. PCA members will have first dibs to buy 59 of them through a lottery, while the remaining example will be given away to one lucky PCA member in a contest, the details of which are forthcoming.

Updated 10/05/2015: Five lucky owners - members of the Porsche Club of America had the chance to take delivery of their five brand new GTS Club Coupe directly from the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen. Take a look at the delivery event in this new video!

Click past the jump to read more about the Porsche 911 GTS Club Coupe.

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2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S By Brabus

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S By Brabus

No matter how fast and well-rounded a car is, there will always be those who want to make it faster and… uh… rounder. Take the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT for instance — by all accounts an outstanding sports car with a powerful and sonorous V-8 under its long hood and spot-on looks. It’s a car just about any of us would love to have in our driveways, and Mercedes-AMG have spent hundreds or millions of dollars and invested countless man hours to make sure that’s the case. So, you sort of have to give the side-eye glance to tuning outfits claiming they can improve upon the product of a multi-billion-dollar multi-national corporation.

But Brabus has been at this for nearly 40 years now. Just like Mercedes-Benz’s own in-house tuning arm AMG once was, Brabus is an independent tuning company that’s become known for turning out some ridiculously powerful Mercs with sinister characters fit for a Jason Bourne antagonist. How ridiculous? The 720-horsepower CLS-based 2012 Brabus Rocket still holds the title as the world’s fastest street-legal sedan at 227 mph.

Now Brabus has turned its attention to the new Mercedes-AMG GT S, and while it’s not quite as off the wall as the Rocket, it does look like a pretty complete package. The Brabus AMG GT S boasts several performance enhancements over the stock GT, including a significant boost in power, and a few visual and aerodynamic updates that add a bit of aggression without coming off as too over the top. Let’s take a closer look.

Updated 09/29/2015: We’ve added a gallery of original photos from the Frankfurt Motor Show. Enjoy!

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT S By Brabus.

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Christian Von Koenigsegg Drives The Bugatti Veyron Against Koenigsegg CCXR: Video

Christian Von Koenigsegg Drives The Bugatti Veyron Against Koenigsegg CCXR: Video

We would never accuse Koenigsegg founder Christian von Koenigsegg of sandbagging, but if ever there were an opportunity, this would be it. During its 2Fast Touzani Tour, online tech retailer Trust brought its 1,000-horsepower Bugatti Veyron to Koenigsegg headquarters in Sweden for some hypercar drifting antics and an impromptu rolling-start drag race between the Bug and a 1,000-horsepower (on E85) 2007 Koenigsegg CCXR. The twist? Christian von Koenigsegg was the one driving the Veyron! Surely, Christian isn’t the kind of guy who would use less than 100 percent of the Veyron’s power to let his own car win. Or is he?

Actually, the somewhat unscientific race was of little consequence and probably just for fun. Mr. Koenigsegg is one of nicest, most affable guys in the auto industry, and seems up for just about anything involving cars. Both the Veyron and CCXR are a few years old now, and had Koenigsegg brought a 2015 Koenigsegg One:1 to the fight, then the Bugatti would have been a spec in its rear-view mirror, and the same would probably go for the CCXR it had gone up against whatever Bugatti has next in its product pipeline.

Still, it’s always fun to see two incredibly fast cars go at it on a long strip of tarmac. So, place your bets and click through to see which comes out on top.

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GM To Pay $900 Million Settlement

GM To Pay $900 Million Settlement

General Motors will pay out $900 million to the federal government to settle the case brought by the U.S. Justice Department’s involving faulty ignition switches that affected 2.59 million vehicles. The case charged GM with wire fraud and conspiracy to conceal life-threatening defects from federal regulators. No individuals were charged. The settlement comes just weeks after GM admitted to 124 deaths that were direct results of the defect. Over 4,300 claims were filed, 338 of which were death claims.

In exchange for the payout, the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to defer prosecution of charges involving the defective ignition switches for three years. During that time, GM will be required to cooperate with federal regulators and establish an independent monitor that will continually review the company’s policies and procedures concerning safety and recalls. If the terms are met, federal prosecutors have agreed to seek dismissal of charges after three years.

“The mistakes that led to the ignition switch recall should never have happened. We have apologized and we do so again today,” said GM CEO Mary Barra in company press release. “We have faced our issues with a clear determination to do the right thing both for the short term and the long term. I believe that our response has been unprecedented in terms of candor, cooperation, transparency and compassion.”

“The worst part of this tragedy is that it was entirely avoidable,” said Troubled Asset Relief Program inspector general Christy Romero, according to Bloomberg Business. TARP bailed out GM in 2009 to the tune $49.5 billion, cash that Romero says, “could have significantly reduced the risk of this deadly defect by improving the key design for less than one dollar per vehicle.”

Continue reading for the full story.

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Forza 6 Game Review

Forza 6 Game Review

Right now I’m incredibly thankful for Forza 6’s rewind feature. I’ve been trying to figure out how to negotiate a puddle that spans the entire width of Sebring International Raceway at turn nine. You’ll know it when you see it. There’s no way around it, but no matter which angle of attack I choose, my 2016 Volkswagen Golf R is sent spinning off into the wet grass over and over again. It sounds frustrating, but I’m actually having a blast trying to figure it out. Finally, I manage to emerge facing vaguely in the right direction and continue trying to keep my all-wheel-drive hot-hatch on the wet Florida tarmac.

I’ve emerged on the other side of a weekend filled with delivery pizza, Funyuns and virtual race binging, having played through much of Forza 6, Turn 10 Studio’s most recent entry in what has become the flagship sim-racing franchise for Microsoft’s Xbox and the second Forza game to be released for the Xbox One. Its predecessor, Forza 5, was a solid and polished racing game, but was fairly light on tracks, cars and other content — somewhat understandable considering it launched simultaneously with the Xbox One, which probably limited its production timeline.

But with over 450 cars and countless track configurations in 26 different locations, Forza 6 is real return to form for the franchise. New features, including 24-car races, a new mods system, a ‘spin’ rewards system, feature events and night and wet-weather racing, further add to the experience. And it’s all delivered at a smooth 60 frames per second in stunning 1080p resolution.

Continue reading for my full review of Forza 6.

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BMW M - 40 Years Of History: Video

BMW M - 40 Years Of History: Video

BMW’s M division was originally established in 1972 to oversee the company’s motorsports activities, but on-track success soon translated into customer demand. The 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL didn’t have an ‘M’ in its name, but as a homologation special, it was the first consumer products from the M division. It’s also the first car in this fantastic video that celebrates 40 years of M cars (1972-2012) in the best way possible, driving them on the Nürburgring.

People like to throw around the phrase “race car for the road,” but the 3.0 CSL was the genuine article. With an enlarged engine designed to compete in the over-3.0-liter class, and lightweight body panels, there was little that separated the class-winning cars at Le Mans from the ones available in the showroom. Its giant spoiler and wing over the rear window were so extreme that they weren’t legal on European roads, so BMW M stowed them in the trunk to be fitted at owners’ discretion.

BMW M cars have gotten a bit more road-friendly since then, but they definitely haven’t gotten slower, and this video features most of the more notable ones. The mid-engine M1 follows the 3.0 CSL, and everything from the E30 M3 and 2010 BMW M3 GTS E92 to the 2016 BMW M6 F12 is covered — all on the Nürburgring against the gorgeous backdrop of the Eifel Mountains, and with no goofy dubstep soundtrack.

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Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Its Electric Drive Module Technology

Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Its Electric Drive Module Technology

Now that Tesla has proven there’s a market for premium electric vehicles, more established manufacturers are scrambling to develop new platforms and drivetrains for electric cars. Mercedes-Benz recently confirmed it has a full-electric luxury car in the works, and Audi’s electric 2017 Audi Q6 E-Tron SUV is imminent. Now Jaguar Land Rover is getting in on the action with three new Concept_e research demonstrators that incorporate electric power.

The first of these is the Concept_e MHEV, a “Mild Hybrid” built on a 2016 Range Rover Evoque. It uses a 90-horsepower prototype diesel engine that works with a 15-kW (about 20 horsepower) electric motor integrated into the crank between the engine and a nine-speed transmission. A 48-volt electrical system and 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack supply power to the electric motor.

Next is the 2014 Range Rover Sport-based Concept_e PHEV, which uses a plug-in hybrid system that incorporates a 300-horsepower gasoline engine and an eight-speed transmission. The electric motor delivers an additional 150 kW (roughly 200 horsepower) and also functions as the starter motor. A 320-volt battery pack supplies power to the electric motor. Both the ICE and the electric motor send power through the gearbox to a full-time four-wheel-drive system.

Lastly, the Concept _e BEV is what JLR calls a “bespoke research demonstrator.” It’s built using JLR’s aluminum vehicle architecture and uses a full electric drivetrain. A 70-kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery is mounted on the underbody and sends power to two motors, one at each axle. The front motor produces 85 kW (114 horsepower) and works through a single-speed transmission, while the other is a 145-kW (195 horsepower) motor that sends power to the rear axle through a two-speed transmission.

Continue reading for the full story.

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BMW Built Its 10 Millionth 3 Series Sedan

BMW Built Its 10 Millionth 3 Series Sedan

When it came time to replace the 2002 in 1970s, BMW probably didn’t have expectations of creating an automotive icon, much less an entire class of car that would still be relevant over 40 years later. Now, after starting production in 1975, BMW is celebrating the construction of its 10 millionth 3 Series sedan. BMW has now built a total of over 14 million 3 Series.

The 10-millionth 3 Series sedan was completed at BMW’s Munich plant, and is an Imperial Blue 320d. The Munich plant was originally built in 1922 and is the only plant that has produced all six generations of the 3 Series. The plant currently produces 1,000 cars per day, about half of which are 2016 BMW 3 Series.

“The success story of the BMW 3 Series started here in Plant Munich and is now reaching a very special highpoint here as well,” said BMW Munich plant director Hermann Bohrer. “The fact that this landmark vehicle was produced at our plant is a particular honor for us and makes me very proud indeed of my team.”

Continue reading for the full story.

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2015 Audi R8 LMS

2015 Audi R8 LMS

After first entering the GT3 fray with the R8 LMS in 2009 and following it up with the slightly improved R8 LMS Plus a few years later, Audi is recommitting to its GT3 customer-racing program with the all-new 2016 R8 LMS. Based on the redesigned 2016 R8 road car, this thing looks positively ferocious.

Though GT3 cars are intended to be factory-supported customer race cars, and are for the most part, the class has become the stage for a global proxy battle between an unprecedented number of major manufacturers. BMW, Ferrari, Bentley, Aston Martin, Mercedes-AMG, Lexus, Porsche, Lamborghini, Nissan and McLaren are all major players, and most either recently introduced new GT3 cars or have new ones on the way.

Despite all that competition, the first-generation R8 LMS excelled in the class, collecting 26 GT3 Championship wins and 23 titles in other international classes. It won seven 24-hour races, including two wins in the torturous Nürburgring 24. With 130 cars sold to customer teams worldwide, it’s arguably the most successful and popular GT3 car in the world. So, the new one has a lot to live up to.

And we won’t have to wait long to see if it will. Entries during the 2015 season have already been confirmed for the Nürburgring 24 in May and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in July, with more likely to come. We can also expect to see it racing on our shores, possibly in the Pirelli World Challenge series and in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship after the GTD class fully embraces the FIA’s global GT3 specifications in 2016.

Updated 09/09/2015: The new Audi R8 LMS can now be ordered by customers, and the first deliveries will be made by the end of the year. Audi’s GT3 sports car is priced at 359,000 euros (plus VAT) - $400,000 at the current exchange rates, with a starter and parts package increasing the total price up to 398,000 euros (plus VAT) - $444,000 at the current exchange rates.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Audi R8 LMS.

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The Mrs Drives Her Ferrari FXX K At Fiorano: Video

The Mrs Drives Her Ferrari FXX K At Fiorano: Video

You’re probably familiar with Ferrari’s XX program. It allows customers to purchase track-only prototypes to assist with the development of cutting edge technology at circuits around the world. It started with the Enzo-based 2005 Ferrari FXX and was followed by the 2009 Ferrari 599XX. Now there’s the LaFerrari-based 2015 Ferrari FXX K, which is the fastest ever non-race car Ferrari around the company’s Fiorano test track.

Christine Sloss recently received this yellow and black example as birthday gift from her husband. She didn’t waste much putting her new birthday present to good use, as shown in this hour-long video of her driving the wheels off her new FXX K at Fiorano. The screaming V-12 sounds particularly fantastic, so crank those speakers. According to the video uploader, she posted a fastest time of 1:20.6, which is about 6.5 seconds off the fastest ever posted by an FXX K. Pretty damn good for non-professional racing driver, not to mention a girl, and not a bad way to spend a birthday, either.

The FXX K’s gas-electric hybrid drivetrain consists of an atmospheric 6.3-liter V-12 producing 860 horsepower, plus Ferrari’s HY-KERS electric motor and battery pack, adding another another 190 horsepower for a total of 1,050 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque. It does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, tops out at 217 mph and has a sophisticated active-aerodynamics package that keeps it nailed to the track. Only 40 are being built, each costing around $3 million.
Continue Reading.

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1 Millionth Corvette Restoration Done

1 Millionth Corvette Restoration Done

When the depths of the earth opened up beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, swallowing eight irreplaceable Corvettes in 2014 (actually it was just a sinkhole), it appeared that many of the cars damaged were beyond repair. But shortly after, General Motors stepped forward and volunteered to restore three of the ‘Vettes that weren’t too far gone. One of these was the 1 millionth Corvette, which after 1,200 man hours at GM’s Design Center now looks better than new.

The 1 millionth Corvette is a white 1992 convertible — a fairly common car aside from its milestone status — but the restoration was by complicated by one significant aspect. When the restoration team first started disassembling the car, they found that employees involved in its construction at the Bowling Green Corvette Factory in 1992 had each signed parts of the car. A very cool feature, but it also meant many parts would need to be restored rather than replaced.

Amazingly, the team was able to salvage all but three of the signed parts. Two of the signatures were scanned and reproduced on the replacement parts. For the third, the team tracked down its owner and had her provide a new signature. Other replacement parts, including the hood, front fascia and the panels between the front wheels and doors, came from other Corvettes of the same color and vintage.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 Cadillac ATS-V vs 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S: Video

2016 Cadillac ATS-V vs 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S: Video

The 2016 Cadillac ATS-V and 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 S both aspire to the throne of the 2016 BMW M3, which has been the go-to sports sedan (despite the sedan skipping the E46 generation) for several years. But now it has more competition than ever. Both the ATS-V and C63 have proven themselves to be fast and incredibly capable performance cars.

AMG has always had the engine thing figured out, but now it has the handling too. Similarly, Cadillac has also figured out how to make a truly great sport sedan that doesn’t need to make excuses for itself. So, the Motor Trend Channel has pitted the two against each other to see which can best take the fight to the M3.

After a few benchmark acceleration and handling tests, Motor Trend’s Jonny Lieberman takes to duo to the canyon roads above Los Angeles. Impressively, he calls the Caddy one of the best-handling sports sedans he’s ever driven and perhaps the best ever, which is not an attribute typically accorded to Cadillacs. The 455-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 produces plenty of shove, but takes a hit for its lack of characterful noise. It could also apparently do with a dual-clutch transmission instead of the slush-box auto.

The C63 S’s 503-horsepower twin-turbo V-8, meanwhile, has loads of character and the power to match, and despite also having an automatic transmission, several generations of honing the Mercedes seven-speed have made it better than the Cadillac’s. The C63 S is an outstanding handler too. Even having called the ATS-V one of the best handling sport sedans ever just moments earlier, Lieberman suggests the C63 might be even better.

After that, it’s off to Willow Springs Raceway (where there are precisely zero springs and zero willows) to let professional racer Randy Pobst vaporize some tires and determine which is fastest. Watch the video to see which comes out on top.

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Marchionne Won't Let Go Of a Merger With GM

Marchionne Won’t Let Go Of a Merger With GM

This just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne really wants to see his company merge with General Motors, and he’s made precisely zero effort to keep the discussion discreet. His aggressive tactics have ranged from emailing GM CEO Mary Barra directly to contacting “rouge investors” at GM to explaining his reasons to industry analysts.

“I think it is absolutely clear that the amount of capital waste that’s going on in this industry is something that certainly requires remedy,” Marchionne said in and analyst conference call according to The New York Times. “A remedy in our view is through consolidation.”

More recently, Marchionne spoke further about his intentions with Automotive News, which is when things got even weirder. “It would be unconscionable not to force a partner,” he said. AN countered by asking if he was suggesting a hostile takeover. "Not hostile," explained Marchionne. "There are varying degrees of hugs. I can hug you nicely, I can hug you tightly, I can hug you like a bear, I can really hug you. Everything starts with physical contact. Then it can degrade, but it starts with physical contact."

Continue reading for the full story.

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The DeLorean Marty Might Not Go Back To The Future In

The DeLorean Marty Might Not Go Back To The Future In

Legend has it that Robert Zemeckis’s first script for Back to the Future was written with the time machine as a refrigerator with a time-travel device strapped to it, in place of the now-familiar DeLorean DMC-12. Instead of the clock-tower-lightning sequence, the final scene would have had Doc Brown driving a truck into a nuclear test explosion with Marty McFly inside the refrigerator on the back. The time-traveling refrigerator would then harness the power of the blast, sending Marty back to 1985.

All that sounds preferable to spending more than five minutes in this Back to the Future time machine replica. Actually, calling it a "replica" is pretty generous. "Caricature" is probably more accurate.

This Citroën BX has been fitted with all of the famous time machine’s hallmarks, including the DeLorean’s gull-wing doors, rear nuclear-reactor vents, DMC badging, exterior wiring and even the Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor it was fitted with when Doc Brown first traveled far into the future to the year 2015. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been approved for road use, and it’s wheezy four-cylinder would struggle to get it to 88 mph on the highway, much less a mall parking lot, but it does have two “new” tires and two that are “very good.” It’s currently for sale in France for €300 or about $340.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Forza Motorsport 6 - Launch Trailer: Video

Forza Motorsport 6 - Launch Trailer: Video

If you’ve been pondering the purchase of an Xbox One, then this incredible new launch trailer for Forza Motorsport 6 should push you over the edge. In addition to looking utterly gorgeous, the new trailer shows off a good chunk of Forza 6’s car roster and a several tracks, some new to the series and some familiar to long-time Forza devotees.

With muscle cars, Formula 1 cars, rally racers and supercars, there really is something for everyone here. Forza 6 launches with more 450 cars, with many more on the way via post-launch downloadable content. Newer cars, including the 2017 Ford GT, 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R, 2016 Mazda MX-5, 2015 Tesla Model S P85D and 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S, ensure this roster is refreshingly bang up to date.

With 26 locales, 10 of which are newly built, Forza 6 also boasts the series’ largest collection of tracks. Several configurations will be available in each locale, meaning players definitely won’t be left wanting for variety. New additions include the Circuit of the Americas, Watkins Glen, Lime Rock Park and a new fictional track in Rio De Janeiro. Old favorites, like Sebring, Road America, Spa Francorchamps and the Nürburgring, will also return.

Continue reading for more info.

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Final Death Toll From GM's Defective Ignition Switches is Debatable

Final Death Toll From GM’s Defective Ignition Switches is Debatable

General Motors has claimed that 124 deaths were the result of faulty ignition switches. The number is almost 10 times more than the 13 deaths the company admitted to about a year ago, but 214 short of the total 338 death claims filed. The findings come from an internally appointed review team that considered over 4,300 death and injury claims.

As you might expect, not everyone is satisfied with GM’s findings. The Detroit News spoke with the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, Clarence Ditlow, who said the “burden of proof on the individual consumer was always too high,” and that it was impossible for some would-be claimants to produce sufficient documentation.

“The entire program was designed to get [sic] help get Congress and the Justice Department off GM’s back,” Ditlow told The Detroit News. “The one thing is clear that we will never know how many people were killed or injured because it goes back so far.”

In addition to the death claims paid, the General Motors compensation fund will also pay out 274 injury claims, but says there are still a few left to review. Of the 4,342 total claims filed, 338 of which were for deaths, about 91 percent were rejected. So far, GM has paid about $280 million in claims and expects that number to climb to $625 million. Several claims have been rejected or not yet accepted.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Venturi VBB-3 Achieves Land Speed Record, Doesn't Reach Top Speed

Venturi VBB-3 Achieves Land Speed Record, Doesn’t Reach Top Speed

The quest to set the first new electric vehicle land-speed record since 2010 is ongoing. The 2014 Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 hit a one-mile average speed of 240 mph, which was good enough for a new category record, but well short its estimated top speed of 373 mph.

The attempt took place at the Bonneville Salt Flats where conditions have been difficult for the last three years or so. The long-running SpeedWeeks event was cancelled this year due to heavy rains in July, which left standing water on the track. Conditions didn’t improve much in August for VBB-3 and driver Roger Schroer. "In eleven years here I have never driven on such a difficult track,” said Schroer in a press release. “The car was sliding on the surface from one side to the other due to soft spots and bumps."

Preparations at the track started on August 15th, with speed testing beginning a few days later. Poor conditions caused by flooding meant the track was shortened from 12 to 10 miles, but even the shorter distance was still wet and bumpy in places. Initial runs were hampered by severe vibrations, causing components to rattle loose and disrupt the drivetrain. Finally, during the last attempt on the 21st, the front cooling system tank was punctured, and the team decided to pack it in and try again another day.

The Venturi Buckeye Bullet is a joint project between Venturi Automobiles in Monaco and the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research (hence ‘Buckeye’ in the name). VBB-3 is the fourth electric streamliner built by the two partners, and is powered by two electric motors that produce a combined 3,000 horsepower, making it the most powerful electric car in the world.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Paris Bans All Cars For a Day in September

Paris Bans All Cars For a Day in September

The city of Paris is trying an interesting experiment next month. ‘Une Journée Sans Voiture’ translates to ‘A Day Without a Car,’ and on September 27th Paris will prohibit all motorized vehicles from taking to the streets. With roots that stretch back to the third century B.C., it’s a chance for residents and tourists to see the city as it was before the arrival of the automobile.

“Paris will be completely transformed for a day,” explained Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo in March. “This is an opportunity for Parisians and tourists to enjoy the city without noise, pollution and therefore without stress.” Une Journée Sans Voiture coincides with European Mobility Week and a United Nations climate change summit, both of which will also be in Paris.

Restricted areas will include the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, 10th and 11th arrondissements (neighborhoods) and popular landmarks like the Champs Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, Place Stalingrad, Place de la Republique, Place Bastille and the Bois de Vincennes and Boulogne. Of course, exceptions will be made for ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles, but other than that, commuters and tourists will have to hoof it or take the Paris Metro.

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Lexus Overtakes Mercedes-Benz in U.S. Customer Satisfaction Study

Lexus Overtakes Mercedes-Benz in U.S. Customer Satisfaction Study

Since its launch in 1989, Lexus has worked hard to through its dealer network and post-purchase programs to be among the best when it comes to customer satisfaction, and this year Lexus has finally surpassed Mercedes-Benz to stand at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Automobiles Report for 2015.

The Toyota-owner luxury brand scored 84 out of 100 percent, good enough to top Mercedes’ score of 83, which was down by three percent from last year. BMW, meanwhile, improved by three percent to 82, and Acura was the most improved of any company in the world, posting a whopping eight-percent gain to tie Mercedes and Lincoln at 83.

BMW and Acura were actually the only two companies to improve on their score from 2014. On average, customer satisfaction ratings decreased by 3.7 percent to 79. It’s the lowest average score the ACSI has recorded since it started in 2004, but it might not necessarily be because of bad dealership experiences or poor customer service.

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Hyundai Bringing Vision GT Concept and "N" Performance Sub-Brand To Frankfurt

Hyundai Bringing Vision GT Concept and "N" Performance Sub-Brand To Frankfurt

Hyundai is gearing up to make a big impact at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, with the introduction of its new N high-performance sub-brand. Now that Hyundai has delivered on quality, it wants to be seen as a purveyor of performance cars as well, and like BMW M and Mercedes-AMG, it plans to so through its N sub-brand. To launch N, Hyundai is introducing its new 2016 i20 World Rally Championship car and the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo concept, which will appear exclusively in Gran Turismo 6. Hyundai is also bringing the mid-engine 2015 Hyundai Veloster RM15 concept from earlier this year.

The new i20 rally car will be one of the first WRC cars we’ll see that conforms to new rules for 2016. That means a much wider body, more aero, less weight and a 1.6-liter engine producing around 380 horsepower. Hyundai is eager to tie N to its motorsport activities, so expect an i20 N hot-hatch for the road in the near future.

The N Vision Gran Turismo has only been teased up to this point, but it appears to be track-day car, similar in concept to the 2016 BAC Mono, with a Le Mans prototype-style fin over the rear body work. Hyundai says it “highlights sustainable technology and race car design,” which means it will probably have a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain of some kind. Styling looks pretty promising from what we can see, and it will likely point the way forward for future N products. We’ll have a full review soon.

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Next-Gen Charger and Barracuda Convertible Shown to FCA Dealers

Next-Gen Charger and Barracuda Convertible Shown to FCA Dealers

The next-generation Dodge Charger and a new Dodge Barracuda convertible have reportedly been shown at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealer presentation in Las Vegas. If the rumors coming out of Vegas are accurate, the next Charger will resemble the dramatic Dodge Charger concept car from 1999, while the existence of a new Barracuda is corroborated by a name trademark that FCA recently filed in June with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Formerly a Plymouth product, the new Barracuda will be built on the same rear-wheel-drive platform that underpins the new 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia, according to Automotive News. It was shown as a convertible, but if it gets the green light, it will likely be available as a coupe as well. It’s also reportedly smaller than the Challenger. It’s not clear if both cars will be sold simultaneously, but the Barracuda could represent both a lighter pony-car alternative to the Challenger and a competitor to the smaller, more-nimble 2016 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

Like the Barracuda, the next Charger will also be built using the Giulia’s underpinnings. That being the case, expect it to be a slightly smaller than the current sedan. The comparisons to the 1999 Charger Concept are interesting considering it’s now over 15 years old, but if the reports are accurate, look for a sleek, coupe-like profile similar to the current crop of four-door coupes.

Both cars (again, if green lit) will probably arrive in either 2019 or 2020 with a range power by both four- and six-cylinder engines, including the 505-horsepower turbocharged V-6 from the Giulia. An even more powerful V-8 Hellcat option could also be offered.

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Bugatti Teases Vision Gran Turismo Car For GT6

Bugatti Teases Vision Gran Turismo Car For GT6

Gran Turismo’s Vision GT program has been a runaway success. Even since it was introduced as part of Gran Turismo in 2013, new real-world car manufacturers are still clamoring to have their outrageous creations converted to polygons and added to the game, and the latest company to do so is Bugatti, who recently confirmed its involvement with the cryptic image you see above.

After staring at the object for a while, and ruling out the possibility that it’s a snow sled from the future or a garden shovel, I think I’ve determined that we’re looking at an engine cover. The narrower area to the right extends over the roof and includes what appears to be an aerial. It’s also where the LM P1-style tailfin starts and extends out over the rear deck. Two bodywork clips can be seen just under the elevated wing element. Then there’s an open section for rearward visibility and air intakes and extractors for the engine.

The Vision GT program has turned into a virtual arms race. Dodge SRT, for instance, introduced the 2015 SRT Tomahawk X, a 2,590-horsepower supercar with a top speed of 404 mph and insane active-aero body panels. But, Bugatti plans to bring something more realistic to the table.

“With the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo, we have not developed a fantasy product of the type which is normally seen in this category of the game,” says Bugatti design boss Achim Anscheidt. “We had the clear goal of developing a vehicle which could also be driven on a real race circuit if it left the virtual world. ‘Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo’ stands for authenticity.“

Whatever it is, we should find out more when its revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Updated on 08-26-2015: Bugatti tweeted two new teaser images. Check out the gallery.

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Daimler AG Boss Would Welcome Partnership With Apple, Google

Daimler AG Boss Would Welcome Partnership With Apple, Google

Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, says he’s open to cooperating with tech companies like Google and Apple on the next generation of connected cars. Car companies have historically had a difficult time developing in-house operating systems that live up to the standards set by tablets, smart phones and other devices, and that consumers expect. Understandably, they’ve also been reluctant to cede control of their products to outside companies, but rhetoric like this from Zetsche and others within the industry mean this philosophy is changing.

"Google and Apple want to provide system software for cars and bring this entire ecosystem around Apple and Google into the vehicle," Zetsche told German publication Deutsche Unternehmerboerse. "That can be interesting for both sides."

But, ‘cooperation’ is the operational word here. Zetsche is willing to work with tech giants outside the car industry, but will not be outsourcing software development to Silicon Valley. "We don’t want to become contractors who have no direct content with customers any more and supply hardware to third parties," he continued.

Zetsche’s comments come shortly after Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn urged more cooperation between tech and car companies, and the recent acquisition of Nokia’s HERE digital mapping service by the BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi trifecta.

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World's Largest Porsche Auction to Be Held in the UK

World’s Largest Porsche Auction to Be Held in the UK

An incredible collection of Porsches is set to cross the auction block at the Coys event on September 6th at Castle Hedingham, England, during the Porsche Classics weekend. There are some seriously desirable lots here, including a Porsche mono-cylinder Junior tractor, a 6,300-mile Carrera GT supercar and just about every other flat-six- and flat-four-powered thing in between.

About that tractor. Around about the time he was designing the Volkswagen Type 1, more widely known as the Beetle, Ferdinand Porsche was also working on tractors. He built three prototypes in 1934, but the plans were put on hold when the German government started making some questionable choices, eventually leading to World War II. By the time the war has ended, Porsche had perfected his tractor design and licensed it out to Allgaier GmbH in Germany, Hofherr Schrantz of Austria and later to another German company called Mannesmann AG.

This particular Porsche tractor is one of the later models built by Mannesmann, and is one of the single-cylinder, light-duty Junior series models. Other tiers included the two-cylinder Standard, three-cylinder Super and four-cylinder Master. With an 822 cc diesel that produced 14 horsepower, this red 1958 Junior probably one of the slowest Porsches ever built, but try tilling a field with a 918 Spyder.

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Jodie Kidd Explains Why She Won't Host Top Gear

Jodie Kidd Explains Why She Won’t Host Top Gear

The ongoing search to fill out Top Gear’s next host lineup continues. One name that had been floated was Jodie Kidd, but the professional model turned television personality and car collector recently confirmed that she would not be joining the world’s most popular car show. If she had, she would have joined Chris Evans, the popular radio host who recently signed on to fill one of the positions left open by the departure of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond.

“If I were to accept Top Gear it would be completely all-consuming,” Kidd told The Telegraph. “I love doing all the different things I am doing in my life at the moment. Top Gear is the most brilliant show on this planet but it would just take over your soul. That would be it. Through ups and downs and lefts and rights I have got to an amazing place where everything is finally balanced, and balanced for my family too.”

Kidd, who currently hosts The Classic Car Show, said there were “conversations” about her joining Top Gear, but didn’t elaborate much beyond that. She was recently spotted having lunch with Evans, which further stoked rumors that she might be joining the show, but said the occasion was nothing more than two old friends catching up over a drink.

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2017 Hyundai i30 Begins Testing: Spy Shots

2017 Hyundai i30 Begins Testing: Spy Shots

The Hyundai i30, or the Hyundai Elantra GT as it’s called on U.S. shores, is entering its third generation for the 2017 model year, and it appears that testing for the new car in well underway at Hyundai’s European test center in Germany. Our photographers spotted this test mule recently, and though its wearing several layers of camo, there appears to be a fully realized car under it all.

Overall, the next i30 appears to have a more upright stance than the current model. Its new nose appears to be more blunt, and the new horizontally situated headlamps are dramatically different from the current ones. The creased accent line just below the side windows appears to be toned down as well. Like the current car, the next i30 will be available in several body styles, including a five-door (pictured here), sedan and possibly three-door and coupe configurations too.

The engine lineup will consist of an updated range of turbocharged, four-cylinder, gasoline and diesel engines. Current rumors also suggest the 2017 i30 will be the first car to get some sporty upgrades from Hyundai’s newly created N performance division. The i30 N variant should get more power (over 200 horsepower seems likely), firmer suspension and some visual tweaks to differentiate it from normal i30s.

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Geely-Owned Company Buys Miller Motorsports Park Circuit

Geely-Owned Company Buys Miller Motorsports Park Circuit

Toole County, Utah commissioners made a surprise announcement on Tuesday, that Miller Motorsports Park has been sold to Chinese company Mitime Investment and Development group for $20 million. You may not have heard of Mitime, but you’ve probably heard of its parent company, Geely, which is China’s largest car company and current owner of Volvo.

Originally constructed in 2006 by Salt Lake City billionaire and Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller, the track was left to Toole County in 2014 after the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (Miller passed away in 2009) decided not to renew its lease on the property. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, county commissioners opted to sell the track rather than shut it down.

That being the case, all track operations will continue as they were and all 90 employees at Miller Motorsports Park will keep their jobs. The 23-turn, 4.48-mile track currently hosts several sports car races, including a round of the Pirelli World Challenge, and motorcycle races. Its also home to the Ford Performance Racing School and formerly hosted rounds of the American Le Mans Series.

MMP’s new owners also a have a few updates and additions in mind. Both an oval test track and drag strip are planned, as well as a new hotel that will house Geely drivers, mechanics, and any other personnel with business at the track.

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Christian Bale To Play Young Enzo Ferrari in Upcoming Biopic

Christian Bale To Play Young Enzo Ferrari in Upcoming Biopic

A Ferrari biopic has been in the works in some form or another for about 15 years. A fake version was made in the HBO show Entourage in which superstar actor Vincent Chase played Enzo Ferrari, but that’s about as close as we’ve gotten. But now it looks like the project is moving ahead and actor Christian Bale is reportedly being tapped to play the young Il Commendatore.

Currently most well known for his starring role in the most recent Batman trilogy, Bale could co-star with veteran actor Robert De Niro, who’s involvement with the film was confirmed in April of 2015. The working theory seems to be that Bale could play a young Enzo during the company’s founding as a racing team in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and De Niro would play the same character towards the end of his life in the 70s and 80s.

“For me it is an honor and a joy to tell the life of an extraordinary man who revolutionized the automotive world and across historical periods,” De Niro told Italian outlet Il Messaggero in April. “The film will go into production soon, mostly in Italy, and has absolute priority over all my other projects.”

The film is reportedly in the hands of director Michael Mann. The Ferrari film is thought to be a passion project for the director, who with movies including Ali and The Insider is no stranger to the biopic genre. He also worked with De Niro on the crime epic, Heat, and more recently with Bale on Public Enemies. His attention to detail and long-form storytelling style should appease car geeks like us.

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Next Ferrari California Could be More Track-Focused

Next Ferrari California Could be More Track-Focused

As good as they are, the Ferrari California and updated 2015 Ferrari California T that replaced it have never really been able to get past being perceived as the boulevard-cruising, entry-level (despite costing around $200,000) Ferraris for people who really only want to be seen in a Ferrari. The reality is quite different, but nonetheless the next California will be a much more performance-oriented, hardcore sports car.

According to a new report from Automobile, a new California will arrive in 2017 with a more aggressive attitude. With a new emphasis on on-track performance, the new car will be lower to ground and powered by a new front-mid-mounted 2.9-liter V-6 with around 600 horsepower, which could also power a new 2018 Ferrari Dino. It will also usher in Ferrari’s next-generation design language, which is expected to be even more radical and flamboyant than the company’s current offerings.

Like the current California, it will also get a folding hardtop, but it will be lighter and take up less trunk space. A fixed-roof version could be offered too. It will be built on Ferrari’s new modular matrix aluminum space-frame architecture, which will accommodate both front- and mid-engine next-generation Ferraris.

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Cooling Challenges For The Bloodhound SSC's Engine

Cooling Challenges For The Bloodhound SSC’s Engine

With 1,000 liters of High Test Peroxide onboard to power its rocket engine, the 1,000-mph, 2014 Bloodhound SSC could become a bomb if temperatures within its tightly packed fuselage get too high. Each liter of HTP has roughly the same explosive force as a stick of dynamite when it starts to decompose at 40°C (just 104°F). That means cooling the system is not only hugely important, but also massively challenging, when you consider that ambient temperatures routinely hit 100°F at the Hakseen Pan in South Africa where the Bloodhound SSC’s initial trials will begin. The fact that the supercharged Jaguar V-8 — which pumps 900 liters of HTP to the engine in just 20 seconds — is situated right next to the HTP tank further complicates matters. Oh, and temperatures inside the hybrid rocket engine will hit 3,000°C.

To solve the heat problems, Bloodhound SSC engineers have sourced some innovative insulating coatings from a company called Zircotec. The Jaguar exhaust has been coated with a substance called Thermohold, which is plasma sprayed on to surfaces at twice the speed of sound (Did they hear a bunch of tiny sonic booms?), and reduces surface temperatures by 30 percent.

In the past, most land-speed-record car bodies have been made of steel or aluminum instead of carbon fiber, which melts at much lower temperatures, but that’s not the case with Bloodhound SSC. To prevent both its jet and rocket engine from turning it into a steaming puddle of plastic, its carbon body panels have been coated with Thermohold for Composites, which is sprayed on at 10,000°C (about 18,000°F) in a way that doesn’t damage the panels and lowers temperatures by about 100°C (over 200°F). Zircotec has also supplied special heat shields, called Zircoflex, which are flexible, adhesive panels just 0.3 mm thick and can withstand temperatures up to 500°C.

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EVO Reviews the Porsche Boxster Spyder: Video

EVO Reviews the Porsche Boxster Spyder: Video

The 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder is the fastest Boxster to date by some margin. Its 3.8-liter flat-six produces 375 horsepower and is the same engine found in both the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 and 2015 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS. It’s also the first Boxster to be faster than a base model 911 Carrera, so our pals at Evo Magazine decided to drive one on some spectacular roads in Northern Italy to see what the new, range-topping Boxster is all about. They were also nice enough to document the entire thing on video.

First, a roof demonstration. Unlike the standard Boxster, which has an auto-folding soft top, the Spyder has a much more rudimentary top that needs to be manually fitted and removed from outside the car. It’s stored under the rear deck, which includes two speedster humps, and saves a bit of weight over the standard Boxster’s auto roof. But, you don’t buy a Boxster Spyder because of its roof, you buy it for open-top driving awesomeness. The lack of roof makes the 3.8-liter that extra bit more vocal from within the cabin — a trait put on display here when Henry Catchpole drives it through a tunnel — and provides a panoramic view of gorgeous environs like Northern Italy.

The Spyder is sort of the roofless equivalent of the Cayman GT4, but unlike the GT4, it wasn’t honed by Porsche’s ‘GT’ division. It doesn’t have the same front axle assembly and is a bit down on power to the 385-horsepower GT4, but it does retain an honest-to-God six-speed manual transmission and typically excellent Boxster dynamics.

Check out the video and then read our full review of the Boxster Spyder.

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2016 Challenger And Charger Hellcats Get Price Increases

2016 Challenger And Charger Hellcats Get Price Increases

“It’s like the ’71 Hemi all over again.” That’s a pretty good way to sum up the wildfire sales success of Dodge’s 707-horsepower Hellcat twins, and it’s how Dodge and SRT CEO Tim Kuniskis explained it when asked about that success. Now, Dodge is responding to the laws of supply and demand by giving the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat a price increase of $2,500 and the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat an increase of $1,950 for 2016. In return, customers get new standard equipment, including Laguna leather and navigation.

Kuniskis also spoke with Detroit News about broader plans for the Hellcat brand. Dodge has sold roughly 4,500 Hellcats so far in 2015 and plans to double production next year. The previously limited supply meant several customers spent months on waiting lists, which often led to dealers taking deposits for orders they weren’t certain could be fulfilled. In response, Dodge has cleared orders of 2015 Hellcats and reset them for 2016, though customers who initially ordered 2015 cars will get a 2016 at the same cost. A new ordering system also ensures that dealers can’t take deposits for cars they can’t deliver.

The production bottle neck was apparently caused by a limited number of dynamometers at the factory. Each Hellcat engine requires a rigorous 42-minute test, and Dodge has remedied this with expanded dynamometer capacity. Now that Dodge has the capacity to meet demand, expect continued Hellcat sales growth, even despite the minimal price increase.

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2017 Acura NSX GT Car

2017 Acura NSX GT Car

Even though it hasn’t hit the streets yet, the 2016 Acura NSX is already in its second season of competition in the GT500 class of Japan’s Super GT series (where it races as a Honda), and now it’s looking increasingly likely that the NSX could race elsewhere, in either the GT3 or GTE classes or possibly both. But to understand Honda’s intentions, it’s also important to understand the sometimes confusing world of GT racing.

GT racing is currently in the middle of renaissance, and Honda isn’t the only company getting in on the action. The FIA’s GT3 class in particular has exploded in popularity, with countless series in Europe, Asia, North America and South America. There are no factory teams. Instead, the cars are sold directly to racing teams, but the corporate proxy battle between Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Lamborghini, Nissan and McLaren has been raging for years, with Bentley and Lexus joining the fray more recently. The cars are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, which makes them ideal for privateer teams.

The FIA GTE class, on the other hand, is more often the reserve of factory-backed racing teams, and includes the 2014 Chevy Corvette C7.Rs and 2013 Porsche 911 RSRs that compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the GTLM class in the United SportsCar Series. Despite having a similar appearance, they’re more complex and expensive than GT3 cars. They’re thought to be bit quicker too, but that’s far from certain, since the two classes rarely compete at the same venue.

Sportscar365 recently asked Honda Performance Development VP and COO Steve Erikson where he thought the NSX GT will end up. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said Eriksen. “It was one of the reasons I was at a recent race at Road America, to try and get a sense of what the options are and how well those options fit with American Honda’s plans of promoting the car.”

Acura currently runs its 2015 Acura TLX-GT in the Pirelli World Challenge series. Several GT3 cars currently compete in the series, but it’s slated to adopt full GT3 rules for the 2016 season, which would make the all-wheel-drive TLX-GT ineligible. With a new GT3 spec NSX, the company could continue to compete in that series and potentially even sell a few to customer teams. A GTE NSX, on the other hand, would be eligible to compete in high-profile endurance races, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other World Endurance Championship rounds.

So, with that in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into what we might expect from an NSX GT race car.

Continue reading to learn more about the Acura NSX GT Car.

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2016 Lexus GS

2016 Lexus GS

First introduced for the 2013 model year, the fourth-generation Lexus GS represented a new direction for the mid-size luxury sedan. Positioned as an updated answer to the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E Class and 2017 BMW 5 Series, it was built on an entirely new platform, powered by a range of more powerful, fuel-efficient engines and featured new styling that included one of the first iterations of the polarizing Lexus spindle grille.

In the past, we praised the GS for its menacing looks, high-quality interior and versatility, but dinged it for its dated infotainment system, lacking performance (though, this was largely remedied with the 2015 GS 350 F-Sport) and pricey options list. Overall, a very competent car in a very competitive segment.

Now it’s mid-cycle refresh time for the fourth-generation GS, and Lexus has tweaked things for the 2016 model year with some new styling updates, including a distinctive new take on the spindle grille that’s gone full Predator mouth, and an updated range of engines that adds a new turbocharged, four-cylinder option.

Updated 09/22/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Lexus GS.

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Formula E IS Changing

Formula E IS Changing

Formula E was pretty much a spec series for its inaugural season, meaning all the cars participating were identical 2014 Spark-Renault SRT_01Es, but that’s set to change for the 2015-2016 season, when manufacturers will compete using their own electric motors, power inverters, gearboxes and cooling systems. Teams have already started preseason testing for their new drivetrains, which can be seen and heard in action in this recent video, with each sounding like a slightly different variation of a very unhappy cat.

Eight manufacturers, ABT Sportsline, Andretti, Mahindra, Motomatica, NEXTEV TCR, Renault Sport, Venturi Automobiles and Virgin Racing Engineering, have signed up to develop new drivetrains, which should make the competition more interesting on both the track and at teams’ headquarters. The regulations will continue to open for the 2016-2017 season, when manufacturers will also be allowed to develop and modify their batteries.

“The gradual opening up of the regulations will promote innovation, while at the same time keeping costs under control. The solutions chosen by the manufacturers will hopefully lead to rapid development of the future-focused technologies at the heart of Formula E,” said FIA president Jean Todt when discussing Formula E. “In terms of the manufacturers chosen, we are satisfied with the quality of the applications received, and the number of manufacturers becoming involved reflects the huge interest generated by Formula E.”

The test took place at Donington Park in England, where Sebastian Buemi topped the time charts in his Renault e.dams. Sam Bird of DS Virgin Racing, Daniel Abt of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, Nick Heidfeld of Mahindra Racing and Nicolas Prost of Renault e.dams rounded out the session. Each drivers’ best times were within almost a half-second of each other, so it doesn’t look like any one manufacturer has found a tangible advantage. So far.

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Chris Harris Drives The Aston Martin Vantage GT12: Video

Chris Harris Drives The Aston Martin Vantage GT12: Video

With the 2016 Vantage GT12 Special Edition, Aston Martin has pushed the Vantage platform to the outer limits of what’s acceptable in a road-going Aston. Its wider stance, lower front air damn, huge rear wing and howling V-12 make it about the closest thing you can to street-legal GT3 race car, and now everyone’s favorite YouTube tire slayer, Chris Harris, has finally gotten a go in one of only 100 examples that will ever be built.

Without giving away too much, he seems to like it. Really like it. It’s a simple formula, but rear-wheel-drive, V-12-powered, analog sports cars are becoming increasingly rare in the current age of turbocharged engines and all-wheel-drive. Obviously it’s devastatingly fast, but it’s also surprisingly compliant on the road in the softest of its three damper settings. It’s also an absolute weapon on the track, which is on full display in the second half of the video.

It’s actually not the first time Chris been behind the wheel of an Aston Martin Vantage GT12. He also drove a race-ready version in this year’s Nürburgring 24 hour race. Aside from a set of slick tires, safety equipment and an air restrictor to conform to class rules, it was almost identical to the road car. He made a video of that too, which is also well worth your time to watch.

When it’s not restricted, the GT12’s 6.0-liter V-12 produces 592 horsepower at 7,000 rpm, which is sent to the rear-wheels through a (somewhat obsolete) single-clutch, paddle-shift transmission. It does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and will go on to top speed of about 185 mph. Prices start at about $390,000, but that doesn’t really matter, because all 100 have been spoken for.

Harris suggests that he’ll soon pit the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 against the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS. That should be a lot of fun, so stay tuned. In the meantime, crank up the hi-fi for an earful of V-12 heavy metal.

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1998 McLaren F1 LM Specification

1998 McLaren F1 LM Specification

Any McLaren F1 is a unicorn, but the ultra-rare F1 LM-Specification cars are unicorns among unicorns. How rare? Only two were ever built. On average, ‘standard’ F1s routinely clear $10 million at auction, which is nothing to sneeze at, but the two LM-Specification cars could each be worth north of $15 million. In other words, you don’t have enough kidneys.

You’re probably familiar with the ultra-rare 1995 McLaren F1 LMs — five F1s built at the factory (plus one XP1 prototype) with upgraded engines, stripped-out interiors and McLaren’s Extra High Downforce Package. The ‘LM-Specifications’ are a bit different. Both chassis numbers 018 and 073 started life as a road-specification F1s and were later fitted with the more-powerful V-12 and high downforce aero package from the LM at the McLaren factory, but unlike the purebred LMs they retain the road car’s more-livable interior.

Chassis 073 never actually left the factory in its original specification. Originally built in 1998, its owner specified AMG Green Velvet paint with a two-tone tan and green interior, but instead of taking delivery of the car, the owner asked that it be kept at McLaren’s factory in Woking to be fitted with new LM bodywork, unique multi-spoke 18-inch wheels and upgraded engine. It was also painted in the brilliant orange metallic color pictured above.

Less is known about the origins of 018, but this metallic-silver example was originally built in 1994 and is fitted with the same five-spoke wheels as the LM. It currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

Updated 08/14/2015: This very rare McLaren F1 LM was sold at an auction in Monterey for a staggering $13.75 million, representing a new record for the car. This special F1 LM is part of the Pinnacle Portfolio collection, which will be sold off during the weekend in Monterey.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Next Stage Of Its Global Expansion Plan

Jaguar Land Rover Reveals Next Stage Of Its Global Expansion Plan

Running out of production capacity is a good problem to have when you’re a car company. It usually means people are buying cars faster than you can build them. It’s a problem Jaguar Range Rover is facing right now, so the company has signed a letter of intent with the country of Slovakia to start a feasibility study for new plant in the western city of Nitra.

If built, the factory will join facilities in the U.K., China and one currently under construction in Brazil. JLR also recently entered an agreement with manufacturing and engineering giant Magna Steryr to outsource production of a yet-to-be-determined model at its facility in Austria.

The Slovakian factory will have a capacity of about 300,000 cars over 10 years and will be tooled with equipment for aluminum construction, helping JLR deliver on its promise for lighter, more fuel-efficient cars. If it gets the green light, the new factory could start turning out cars as early as 2018.

"With its established premium automotive industry, Slovakia is an attractive potential development opportunity for us,” said JLR CEO Ralph Speth.
But, Speth also assured that JLR’s global expansion would not come at the expense of jobs back home in England. "The expansion of our business globally is essential to support its long-term, resilient growth. As well as creating additional capacity, it allows us to invest in the development of more new vehicles and technologies, which supports jobs in the U.K."

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Newgarden Introduces Forza 6 Rain: Video

Newgarden Introduces Forza 6 Rain: Video

Now entering its sixth edition, Forza Motorsport has become the preeminent racing simulator for XBOX, but it’s lagged behind the competition in one important regard. While racing is pristine weather is ideal, sometimes you want a curveball that tests your driving skills and strategic prowess. That’s why Forza 6 is introducing both rain and day-night cycles to the series.

This new video, featuring IndyCar ace and Forza player, Josef Newgarden, takes a quick look at the complex matter of adding rain to a previously dry video game, which is far more than just reducing grip and adding a few rain drops.

Forza developers, Turn 10 Studios, have developed 148 different racing surfaces, each with slightly different traction characteristics, and each include wet-weather variables that change depending on conditions. More porous surfaces, for instance, might not pool water as quickly as smooth ones, but water that does accumulate can cause aquaplaning. Speed, tire selection and angle of attack are factored in, and even tire temperature can affect wet-weather grip.

Puddles also form where they actually form on a track’s real-world counterpart. For instance, the first turn at Brands Hatch in England (where it’s been known to rain sometimes) has a massive, three-car-wide puddle on the driving line that’s also represented in the game.

Then there are visuals to take into account. The track surfaces become more reflective as they become saturated and look absolutely fantastic in the video. Both precipitation and mist are represented by virtual particles (which requires an enormous amount of computing power) that land on car surfaces, including the windshield where they can be swiped away with functioning windshield wipers.

Wet weather isn’t new to racing games, but Forza’s implementation looks like it could take things to whole new level. We can’t wait to give it go on September 15th, at which point I might fall ill and have to take a few days off.

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Nissan Will Delay Its Return To FIA World Endurance Championship

Nissan Will Delay Its Return To FIA World Endurance Championship

It’s Friday, the day of the week companies like to unload all their bad news because fewer people are paying attention, or so goes that line of thinking. Today’s bad news comes courtesy of Nissan, which announced that it’s delaying its return to the World Endurance Championship, following the many technical issues that plagued the 2015 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo’s debut at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The problems centered around the GT-R LM’s non-functioning energy recovery system, meaning the three cars entered were powered solely by their 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6s, putting them at a significant disadvantage compared to the Audi, Porsche and Toyota hybrid prototypes. The power deficit meant the Nissans were getting overtaken by LM P2 cars on the Mulsanne Straight, and because the ERS wasn’t functioning, the front brake pads also had to be replaced more frequently than planned. The ERS was to power the rear axle as well, but Nissan quietly shelved those plans in the lead-up to the race.

“We know people will be disappointed, but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us,” said Nismo boss Shoichi Miyatani. “We are racers and we want to compete, but we also want to be competitive. That is why we have chosen to continue our test program and prepare the GT-R LM NISMO for the strong competition we face in the World Endurance Championship. When you innovate, you don’t give up at the first hurdle. We are committed to overcoming this challenge.”

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BMW Preps Racing Wheelchair for U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Athletes

BMW Preps Racing Wheelchair for U.S. Paralympics Track and Field Athletes

High-end racing wheelchairs are seriously high-tech devices. Shaped like miniature Top Fuel dragsters powered by arms instead of methanol, they use cutting-edge materials and technology for the sole purpose of getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Now BMW North America is contributing its technological expertise for the design of a new racing wheelchair to be used by Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rid de Janeiro, Brazil.

Developed in conjunction with Designworks in California, the new racing chair will be built around a redesigned chassis that uses advanced carbon-fiber construction. The German company has also applied its aerodynamic expertise to the project, resulting in a sleek, minimalist shape. Athlete restraint, braking and steering systems will also be improved.

The high-tech wheelchair has been in development for about a year and will be delivered to Team USA athletes in early 2016. Until then, BMW and Designworks will work closely with coaches and athletes on fine-tuning the wheelchair in preparation for competition.

BMW’s recent track record for developing equipment for United States Olympic competition has been pretty good. You might remember BMW also helped develop the bobsleds used by Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Driver Steve Holcomb and brakeman Steve Langdon used one to end the United State’s 62-year Olympic bobsled medal drought when they won bronze in the two-man event.

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Zenvo ST1 Catches Fire At Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix

Zenvo ST1 Catches Fire At Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix

When you’re a startup company offering a supercar with a $1.8 million dollar price tag, having said car catch fire at a very public event is generally sub-optimal. But, that’s exactly what happened when this 2010 Zenvo ST1 recently took to the track at the Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix in Denmark. Luckily, the driver made it out unscathed (and then flailed around like a lunatic while trying to get the attention of a safety crew) before the Dutch supercar completely self-immolated.

It’s actually the second time a Zenvo has spontaneously combusted in the public eye. One also caught fire while in the hands of Top Gear after a cooling fan quit, and because of this (along with the ST1’s crude steel chassis and less-than-great drivability), then-host Jeremy Clarkson didn’t have the nicest things to say about it. Zenvo was nonplussed with Top Gear’s impressions and went into damage-control mode. The company blamed their suppliers for the faulty intercooler fan and Top Gear for excessive and extended high-speed testing, which of course is a load of fish.

According to a news post from Zenvo, this particular ST1 was a development car and was brought to the event to give charity rides to raise money for a children’s program at one of Denmark’s largest hospitals. We certainly can’t ding Zenvo for trying to do some good (though I guess it’s really a good thing there wasn’t a crippled kid in the car), so let’s hope the company gets this fire problem under control.

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BAC Mono Unofficially Breaks Goodwood Road-Car Record

BAC Mono Unofficially Breaks Goodwood Road-Car Record

The Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb is a pretty informal event — more celebration than competition. Most drivers showboat their way up the hill to please spectators. Donuts, drifting and bouncing engines off rev limiters are all acceptable forms of self-expression, but every once in while, someone will really go for it on Lord March’s 1.16-mile driveway.

That’s what Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) test driver Oliver Webb did at the 2015 event in the company’s 2016 BAC Mono track-day car, and in the process set an unofficial road-car record of 47.9 seconds, according to the BAC Mono’s onboard telemetry system. The Mono was running in the ‘First Glance’ class, for which times are not officially recorded, but it was much faster than the winning official time of 51.33 seconds set by Anthony Reid in a 2011 Noble M600. It was also faster than the overall road-car record set by Jann Mardenborough in a 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo.

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Tesla Reveals Robotic Charger Prototype

Tesla Reveals Robotic Charger Prototype

We’ve heard about Tesla’s plans for an articulating charging cable that automatically finds its way to the Tesla’s charging port with no human assistance, but seeing a working prototype is the stuff of future-cybernetic-overlord nightmares. This is almost certainly how those human-hunting sentinel robots from the Matrix movies first came to be, so thanks, Tesla.

If you can look past the possibility of being enslaved in your own home by a 240-volt robot snake, Tesla’s charger prototype is actually pretty cool. Shown doing its thing in this video, the segmented, metal, snake-like cable could potentially be used at Tesla’s supercharger stations or in home garages. Tesla drivers would just pull their cars up next to it and let the automated cable do the rest.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted about it in December of 2014 saying, “Btw, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall & connects like a solid metal snake. For realz.”

It starts out pointing straight up in the air, and then wakes up when the 2015 Tesla Model S’s charging port pops open. It wobbles around for a split second before catching a whiff of the port and then slowly starts bending towards it. It then locks on to the port’s location, engages and the port light begins flashing to let you know its working.

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Shelby GT350R Mustang Carbon Fiber Wheels Priced At $30K

Shelby GT350R Mustang Carbon Fiber Wheels Priced At $30K

The 2016 Ford Mustang GT350R’s carbon-fiber wheels are the stuff of hypercars, and they’ll carry a price tag to match. According to newly leaked dealer invoice quote at Mustang6G, a new set of the 19-inch wheels will cost over $30,000 dollars after sales tax. Or, roughly 40 percent of the GT350R’s guesstimated price or about $7,000 more than a base-model V-6 Mustang.

To put it another way, watch out for curbs and invest in a top-of-the-line wheel lock kit.

Until now, Swedish hypercar builder Koenigsegg was the only company fitting carbon-fiber wheels to production cars. Somehow, the technology skipped several levels in the sports car hierarchy,including Ferrari, Porsche and the like, and went straight to the Ford Mustang. It’s sort of poetic, considering early Koenigseggs were powered by supercharged modular Ford 5.0-liter V-8s.

Expensive as they are, the benefits of carbon wheels are numerous. Ford says each wheel weighs just 18 pounds, or about half that of an aluminum equivalent. That’s a net savings of over 60 pounds of un-sprung weight, which translates to vastly improved grip and suspension response. Ford actually had to recalibrate the GT350R’s Delphi MagneRide dampers to cope with the faster suspension movement. Braking and acceleration are also improved, thanks to less rotational inertia.

As you (and your insurance company) would hope, Carbon Revolution, the Australian carbon-fiber experts tasked with fabricating the wheels, have coated them with a special gloss black paint that protects them from extreme brake temperatures, road salt, corrosive chemicals and curb strikes. They’re also held to the same standards as every other wheel Ford sells.

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Koenigsegg Says Top Speed Is Not Top Priority

Koenigsegg Says Top Speed Is Not Top Priority

Despite habitually building cars that produce well over 1,300 horsepower and can theoretically smash past 250 mph with the ease of a Saturn 5 rocket, Koenigsegg CEO Christian von Koenigsegg says top speed isn’t necessarily a priority for the company. He recently explained that customers are far more interested in excitement, drivability and overall performance. Yes, Koenigseggs are brutally fast in a straight line, but von Koenigsegg wants his company to be known for more than largely irrelevant top-speed figures.

“We would like to do such a test, but I have to say it’s not a super-high priority for us,” explained von Koenigsegg in a recent AMA on the company’s website. “It’s nice to be able to say you’ve got the fastest driven road car in the world and we believe that the One:1 could take the current record but for us, it’s a matter of priorities.”

He went on to elaborate on the challenges and logistics of top speed runs. Hypercars like the 2015 Koenigsegg One:1 are now so fast that it’s become a real challenge to find a strip of tarmac long enough to accommodate such a run. Von Koenigsegg estimates that a closed straight at least 10 kilometers long would be needed.

“VW’s Ehra-Lessien test track would be ideal, but they are not likely to allow a Bugatti competitor to use it,” said von Koenigsegg. “So far we have not found any airfield in the world long enough, the longest we found was around 5 km and this is about half the distance needed.”

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McLaren 570S Will Get Spider And GT Versions By 2017

McLaren 570S Will Get Spider And GT Versions By 2017

McLaren has confirmed that its entry-level Sports Series is set to expand well beyond the current 2016 McLaren 570S and 2016 McLaren 540C, with new Spider and Gran Turismo variants. The roomier Gran Turismo is slated to arrive first in 2017, with a folding-hardtop Spider coming later in the year. Both will be powered by McLaren’s seminal 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 and built around the same MonoCell II carbon tub.

According to a new report, the 570S Spider will have a folding-hardtop mechanism similar to the one in the 2015 McLaren 650S Spider, which should only add about 90 pounds to the 570S hardtop’s 2,895-pound curb weight. Like the coupe, expect the Spider’s V-8 to produce 562 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of torque. The minimal additional weight shouldn’t affect performance too much, meaning the Spider should get close to the coupe’s 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds and top speed of 204 mph. Given the difference in price between the 650S Coupe and 650S Spider, expect a premium of about $30,000.

A Sports Series drop-top was pretty much a given, but the Gran Turismo is a bit more of an enigma. Current rumors indicate the new GT body style will make way for more interior space and storage capacity, making it more suitable for long journeys. That being the case, expect the GT’s adaptive damper suspension system to be a bit more compliant, with selectable Normal, Sport and Track handling modes. Performance should be more-or-less on par with the Spider.

According to an earlier report from Automobile, the GT’s additional space will be made possible thanks to an elongated, full-glass roof that stretches over the engine compartment. The interior will also be more opulent, with more leather and Alcantara surfaces and comfier seats. Expected to cost around $185,000, the mid-engine GT could potentially occupy a unique place in a market filled with larger, front-engine grand tourers.

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Former Top Gear Producer Talks About Amazon's New "Top Gear"

Former Top Gear Producer Talks About Amazon’s New "Top Gear"

After striking a new deal with Amazon Prime that will see them thoroughly paid, we’re starting to get a better idea what the Top Gear refugees have planned for their new show. In addition to the former faces of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the new show will also include Andy Wilman, the former producer of Top Gear, who is often credited with creating the voice and format that turned a relatively dull consumer information show into an international hit.

Wilman recently spoke with Broadcast to share his vision for the new show. "Money, freedom and a love of quality. Those three things are what was attractive," said Wilman when asked what drew the former Top Gear crew to the Amazon offer. The deal is thought to be Amazon’s largest-ever investment in original content.

"Everyone we have talked to has said to us: ’They leave you alone to make your show.’ That’s a big one for us – we don’t like interference, we don’t need to be policed," he continued. The new show won’t be beholden to advertisers, which for three guys who typically aren’t afraid to share less-than-glowing thoughts about cars, is important.

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2016 BMW 5 Series Touring Caught Testing Again: Spy Shots

2016 BMW 5 Series Touring Caught Testing Again: Spy Shots

The next 2017 BMW 5 Series will be completely new when it arrives in 2016, and will come with new tech that debuted in the new 2016 BMW 7 Series, along with a new range of engines and less weight. Internally designated G31, our photographers recently caught the five-door touring variant of the next 5 Series testing out in the wild.

While this test mule doesn’t reveal much, it is wearing a bit less camo than other preproduction 5 Series prototypes we’ve seen. Like the G11 2016 7 Series, the next 5 Series’ styling will be an evolution of BMW’s current design language, which consists of subtly contoured surfaces and creased accent lines that hint at the car’s high-tech underpinnings. This test mule also shows a bit more of the headlamps too, which will be larger and conjoin with the signature kidney grills.

The next 5 Series will also be bigger than the car it replaces, with more interior space, and in the case of the Touring variant, more space in the back for dogs, kids, luggage and Home Depot runs. Like the F11 Touring, the G31 Touring also gets a sizable panorama glass roof. Weight will be reduced thanks to carbon-fiber reinforced-plastic body panels, which will continue to proliferate throughout BMW’s entire range.

BMW hasn’t announced anything official, but here’s what we think we know so far about what’s going on under the sheet metal. The engine lineup will consist of more powerful and efficient versions of BMW’s modular turbocharged six-, four- and possibly three-cylinder engines. Other possibilities include the very welcome return of the M5 Touring with a twin-turbo V-8 and a six-cylinder ActiveHybrid 5 Touring.

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McLaren 650S Replacement Rumored To Arrive in 2018

McLaren 650S Replacement Rumored To Arrive in 2018

Employees at the McLaren Technology Center in Woking are currently toiling away developing a replacement for the 2015 McLaren 650S. Internally designated P16 or P14, depending on who you ask, the next car in McLaren’s Super Series will arrive in time for the 2018 model year and could benefit from a new engine and a hybrid drivetrain.

According to Autocar, the new car will produce over 660 horsepower, bettering its rival from Maranello, the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB, and could have as much as 700. Autocar goes on to say it will be powered by a new version of McLaren’s 3.8-liter V-8, but we’ve also heard rumors of an entirely new turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 coupled with an electric motor. McLaren has expressed a desire to see hybrids proliferate beyond the 2014 McLaren P1 hypercar, and it could start with the P16.

It will likely be built around a next-generation version of McLaren’s ultra-light carbon tub, and benefit from advanced chassis systems, including hydro-electric yaw control, anti-squat and dive, active roll control and even torque vectoring, if McLaren goes through with the gas-electric drivetrain idea.

The P16 will also introduce a new styling direction for McLaren and point the direction for future models. McLaren design boss Frank Stephenson (whose credits also include the first BMW Mini, 2004-2005 Maserati MC12 and 2006 Ferrari F430), previously said the new car will be “even crazier” then the P1, which is a good sign. Variants will include a coupe, followed by a folding-hardtop Spider about a year later, and possibly a longtail version a few years after that.

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Audi, BMW and Daimler Officially Bought Nokia's HERE Mapping Business

Audi, BMW and Daimler Officially Bought Nokia’s HERE Mapping Business

Normally three of the world’s most competitive car companies, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have combined forces to purchase the HERE digital mapping service from Finnish telecommunications company, Nokia, for $3 billion.

The three-company consortium will use HERE’s cloud-based maps and other services in conjunction with assisted driving hardware that’s already standard on many cars. The plan is to provide real-time location services and assistance to drivers in the short term, and a platform for fully autonomous car navigation further down the road.

”HERE will be able to offer users a continuously improving product, bringing highly automated driving and location based services a step further,” said Audi, BMW and Mercedes board members in a group statement. “As the volume of anonymized data from the vehicles increases, services will become more convenient, more connected and further tailored to the users’ individual requirements.”

Pending clearance from European antitrust authorities, the deal will see HERE split evenly between the three German car giants, and continue to operate as an independent company with its own autonomous management. The service is currently the largest competitor to Google Maps.

Nokia, meanwhile, has been in the process of successfully pivoting to a service- and infrastructure-based business model, after being thoroughly trounced and driven from a market it once dominated, by Apple’s iPhone and other smart-phone newcomers. Nokia currently acts as a supplier to some of the biggest carriers, including AT&T and China Mobile.

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Mad Men: Draper's '65 Caddy For Sale

Mad Men: Draper’s ’65 Caddy For Sale

Don Draper’s story may have come to an end, but you can pick up where he left off by buying his 1965 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Now that it’s no longer needed on set, the Caddy is up for auction at Screenbid, with a high bid of $26,250 — a price that’s sure to increase many times over before the auction ends on August 7th.

Draper’s daily driver looks to be in excellent condition. The silver paint looks great, the body panels are straight and the red interior appears to be clean, though you might want to get it steam cleaned, considering the number of Lucky Strikes the car inhaled.

The Coupe DeVille was basically a character of its own for the last few seasons of Mad Men. Draper, played outstandingly by Jon Hamm, reluctantly purchased the car at the beginning of season five and used until the end of the seventh and final season.

But why stop with just car? You can embrace the complete Draper lifestyle by also bidding on and winning Don’s playing cards, night robe and slippers, black lace dress shoes, silver and glass set and Ray Ban sunglasses. Just maybe do so without the chain smoking, heavy drinking, womanizing and erratic behavior. Nah...what fun would that be?

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Could This Be The Future Ferrari F12 Speciale?

Could This Be The Future Ferrari F12 Speciale?

A new image has surfaced of what’s believed to be a harder, faster version of the 2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, tentatively called F12 ‘GTO’ or F12 ‘Speciale.’ The un-camouflaged yellow car is also a dead ringer for the one that appeared in leaked screenshots in June, purportedly from a yet-to-be-released online configurator for prospective customers.

The spy pic comes courtesy of Cavallino Rampante and provides a clear, unobscured, rear three-quarters view. As also seen in the configurator image, it has a black strip running between the two circular taillights, a sizable rear diffuser and carbon fiber exhaust clusters that look like they could also have some kind of aerodynamic function.

Moving around to the sides, we see three shark-gill air outlets over the rear wheels, which are inspired by those of the Series I 1962-1964 Ferrari 250 GTO. The doors appear unchanged from the F12, but there are new carbon side skirts and a carbon-fiber accent that cascade over the front quarter panel, aft of the rear wheel. The 10-spoke wheels are completely new too.

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Porsche Boxster Facelift Caught Testing In Stuttgart: Spy Shots

Porsche Boxster Facelift Caught Testing In Stuttgart: Spy Shots

The 2014-2015 Porsche Boxster is about to get a mid-cycle refresh for the 2017 model year, and a new batch of spy shots are giving us our best idea yet of what we can expect. Our photographers recently caught this preproduction prototype driving on the streets of Stuttgart near Porsche headquarters, wearing little more than some transportation protection and foil on the headlamps.

The front fascia has been re-sculpted and appears to jut out more in the lower section. The grill is still partitioned into the three sections, but the middle appears to be blocked off with an optic sensor (likely optional) for assisted driving. The two larger grills on either side now have three horizontal slats instead of two, and redesigned LED strips. The headlights are redesigned too, but unfortunately obscured here.

The new side intakes are the same size, but they’re now surrounded by some new brightwork with two horizontal slats. The door handles are new too.

Moving around to the back we see a pair of redesigned tail lamps with two smaller light housings lower down on the rear fascia. The black lower section has been redesigned too, and, going by this car’s two circular exhaust outlets, this appears to be a Boxster S we’re looking at.

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Amazon Payed $250 Million To Get Clarkson, Hammond And May

Amazon Payed $250 Million To Get Clarkson, Hammond And May

As three of the most recognizable and charismatic television hosts in the world, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were well-paid during their tenures with the BBC and Top Gear, but now they’ve set themselves up for an even bigger payday. Amazon is paying the trio the equivalent of $250 million dollars for a three-year deal.

"I feel like I’ve climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship," said Clarkson in a statement from Amazon. “Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant,” quipped Hammond, with May adding, in his typically dry tone, “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?”

It’s a massive deal for Clarkson, Hammond and May (who could also be mistaken for a ’70s prog-rock band), and it includes long-time Top Gear producer Andy Wilman, who will run the yet-to-be-named show. The new show will air globally on the Amazon Prime video streaming service starting in 2016. The new deal also sidesteps a no-compete clause in their old contract, preventing them from appearing on other British networks for two years.

"Customers told us they wanted to see the team back on screen, and we are excited to make that happen,” said Amazon Prime Video EU vice-president, Jay Marine. "We can’t wait to see what Jeremy, Richard, James and the team will create in what is sure to be one of the most globally anticipated shows of 2016."

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McLaren's Victory Lap at Le Mans: Video

McLaren’s Victory Lap at Le Mans: Video

McLaren hasn’t competed at Le Mans for quite some time, but the pre-race ceremonies at this year’s race were basically one big McLaren party. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1995-1997 McLaren F1 GTR’s victory at the 24-hour race, McLaren pulled out all the stops and brought along all five GTR racers that competed in the 1995 race, a 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail and the new 2016 McLaren P1 GTR for a victory lap of Le Sarthe. Owners from around the world in 2014 McLaren P1s, 2015 McLaren 650Ss and 12Cs were also invited to come along.

Now McLaren has released this outstanding video documenting the occasion. This wasn’t exactly a gingerly paced parade lap. These guys really canned it down the Mulsanne and other fast sections of the track. McLaren Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin took the wheel of the race-winning No. 49 Ueno Clinic car. All three race-winning drivers were there and behind the wheels of other cars: Yannick Dalmas in the P1 GTR, JJ Lehto in the Longtail and Masanori Sekiya in a P1.

You’ll probably want to turn your speakers up for this one. It’s case study in comparing the sound of McLaren’s old, BMW-sourced V-12 and the new turbocharged V-8. (Spoiler: the V-12 sounds way better.)

The F1 wasn’t built as a race car, but interest from customer teams eventually led the company to building the F1 GTR. 1995 was the first year McLaren entered Le Mans, and it didn’t just win its first time out, the five cars absolutely dominated, finishing first, third, fourth, fifth and 13th. It’s also the last road-based car to win at Le Mans. Check out McLaren’s Le Mans Memories video series to learn about McLaren’s extraordinary 1995 race.

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1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II

1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II

Homologation special. It’s not a term that gets applied to cars much anymore, but it’s brought us some great ones. Think, 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, 1981-1991 Audi Sport Quattro, and 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 RS. The idea is to require a manufacturer to build ‘x’ number of road-going versions of whatever car it wants to take racing. It prevents engineers from coming up with anything too crazy and forms a tangible link between what fans see on the track and what they can put in their driveways. Then, a company like Toyota comes along and builds two road-going GT-One Le Mans racers and blows up the entire notion.

Then there’s the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II. Debuting in 1990, the Evo II, as it came to be called, was designed to do one thing: beat BMW in Germany’s DTM touring car race series. Unlike the DTM of today, which is comprised of carbon-chassis, purpose-built silhouette racecars, the DTM of the early ’90s was populated with cars built on road-car platforms and powered by road-car engines.

After getting trounced by BMW M3s and the odd Ford Sierra Cosworth during the 1989 DTM season, Mercedes went to work updating its 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution. The 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show ahead of the 1990 season, with more power and a wild new body kit. All 502 road cars required for homologation sold out before it was even unveiled. At around the same time, AMG (still an independent company) went to work converting an allotment of Evo IIs to race cars.

The Evo II debuted in the third round of the 1990 season at the Nürburgring with Kurt Thiim behind the wheel. Thim went on to finish the season in third behind championship winner Hans-Joachim Stuck in an Audi V8 quattro and second-place Johnny Cecotto in a BMW M3 Sport Evolution. Things went a bit better in 1991, when Klaus Ludwig drove his Mercedes to second overall, again behind an Audi, but the Evo II didn’t hit its stride until the 1992 season, when Mercedes drivers Klaus Ludwig, Kurt Thiim and Bernd Schneider swept the top three championship spots.

Because of its extremely low volume and ridiculously high cost when new (reportedly $80,000 in 1990), the Evo II road cars didn’t enjoy the same exposure as the BMW M3, but those same factors are what make it so desirable and collectible 25 years after it was first built.

Continue reading to learn more about the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II.

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XCAR Reviews The New Ford GT: Video

XCAR Reviews The New Ford GT: Video

Seven months haven’t done much to diminish the initial shock and awe we experienced when the 2017 Ford GT was introduced at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year. Successor to the Le Mans winning 1964-1969 Ford GT40 and the 2005-2006 GT, the new GT is a thoroughly modern supercar that employs lightweight carbon-fiber construction and super-stiff aluminum subframes. Power comes not from a V-8, but a new turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 producing in excess of 600 horsepower. Ford says that it will have “the best” power-to-weight ratio.

The fellows over at XCAR recently got to spend some quality time with the new GT, and they brought a video camera along so the rest of us can pore over some of its finer details: the flying buttress that flank the engine and channel air toward the rear wing; the headlamps, which are somehow both retro and modern, and the tail lamps that exhaust spent air from the radiators. XCAR also rightfully points out that there’s a precedent for a V-6 in a Ford supercar, since the 1970 GT70 rally car also had one. If you’re like us, then you won’t be able to get enough of this stuff.

So, we know the 2016 Ford GT is probably going to be about 30 different types of star-spangled awesome, but we actually haven’t learned that much since the road car’s debut (I say “road car” because Ford confirmed in June that the GT will race in the Tudor United SportsCar Champion Ship and the World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016), but that should change once auto show season fires up again. In the meantime, checkout the video.

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Ferrari Recalls Eight Models For Air Bag Problems

Ferrari Recalls Eight Models For Air Bag Problems

Not even Ferrari owners are immune from the deluge of Takata related airbag recalls. The Italian supercar manufacturer is recalling 2,600 vehicles worldwide to fix driver-side airbags installed at an incorrect angles. The recall covers eight Ferrari models: the 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia, 2012 Ferrari 458 Spider, 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale, 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A, 2015 Ferrari California T, 2012 Ferrari FF, 2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari.

According to Bloomberg and documents posted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, the defect was found when Ferrari conducted tests on the 458 Italia’s steering column. Initial reports suggested the defect was caused by a “possible production defect inside the airbags” resulting in airbag cushions installed at incorrect angles and improperly glued leather panels covering airbag modules.

Early reports suggested the problem stemmed from assembly line issues at Maranello, but Ferrari later issued a statement to Car and Driver clarifying the problem originated from fully assembled Takata airbag modules, which Ferrari installed in the 814 affected vehicles.

No injuries or fatalities have been reported as a result of the defect, and stop-sale orders have been placed on cars sitting in dealerships, none of which will be sold until the issue is fixed. The recall is expected to begin on July 30th and Ferrari will, of course, fix the issue free of charge.

The issue is reportedly not directly related to the faulty Takata airbag inflators installed in over 34 million vehicles that have been linked to at least eight fatalities thus far.

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Cadillac Plans To Offer Full Range Of Cars In Europe

Cadillac Plans To Offer Full Range Of Cars In Europe

Cadillac is launching a new assault in Europe that will include an expanded model lineup, right-hand drive, new diesel engines and a new flagship sedan that will sit above the 2016 Cadillac CT6. GM president Dan Ammann confirmed the new strategy to Autocar and said the new approach in Europe will take advantage of its current position as a niche brand in the continent and will include “exceptional service.”

General Motors’ luxury arm has been pretty much phoning it in to Europe over the last few years, and currently only offers the 2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe and 2014 Cadillac ATS Sedan, 2015 Cadillac CTS, 2014 Cadillac SRX and the 2015 Cadillac Escalade, which couldn’t be less appropriate for narrow European streets. What’s more, Cadillac only offers left-hand-drive cars in the U.K., where cars on lots have reportedly been collecting dust. Cadillac is banking that a new right-hand-drive option, expanded lineup and improved service network will help move a few more units in Europe.

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Lotus Evora 400 Driven On The Track: Video

Lotus Evora 400 Driven On The Track: Video

Lotus needs the 2016 Evora 400 to be good, really good, and going by this new video from Sport Auto it looks like Lotus may have pulled off something special. It’s not a new model, but it’s been so heavily revised over the regular Evora that Lotus is pretty much pitching it as one. It’s also one of the first models to be developed under the stewardship of new Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales.

At the hands of Sport Auto test driver Christian Gebhardt, the Evora 400 is a weapon. It stays stable when bouncing over curbs, but is also willing to kick its tail out for some sideways maneuvering fun. And what’s more, that’s a real-live six-speed manual transmission Christian is shifting. Have we really gotten to the point where it’s weird to see manual transmissions in videos like this? Maybe. The Evora 400 is available with six-speed auto too.

Despite the Toyota-sourced engine, the Evora 400 definitely doesn’t sound like your average Camry. The raspy 3.5-liter supercharged V-6 rips, snorts and howls its way around the Lotus test track in Hethel and does a damn good sonic impression of engines with more exotic origins. Rated at 400 horsepower, hence the name, it’s good enough to propel the Evora 400 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 186 mph. It represents an improvement of 0.3 seconds and 8 mph over the old 2013 Evora S. Out on the track Christian manages to hit an impressive 158 mph.

Turn up the speakers for this one, click play, and then continue reading to catch our full review of the 2016 Lotus Evora 400.

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Audi RS4 And R8 Will Get E-Turbo Technology; S4 Just Turbo

Audi RS4 And R8 Will Get E-Turbo Technology; S4 Just Turbo

We’ve been slowly learning more about Audi’s next generation of forced-induction performance engines, and now it finally looks like we have something solid. If previous rumors were to be believed, the finalists to power the small-displacement R8 and next-generation 2017 Audi RS 4 Avant came down to a turbocharged five-cylinder or turbocharged V-6. Now it looks like the V-6 has won out and it will likely be bolstered by an electric turbocharger.

According to Auto Express, the new 3.0-liter engine will produce around 480 horsepower. The electric turbocharger will be the smaller of two turbos, and, because it’s not dependent upon exhaust flow like a conventional turbo, will provide instant boost at lower rpms until the larger conventional turbo spools up for high-rpm duty.

The electric turbocharger will be powered by an electric motor and battery pack, which will be continuously recharged by a regenerative braking system. It’s an expensive and complex system that Audi head of technical development Ulrich Hackenberg says will only be used in top-end models. It’s also why the next-generation S4 will get a less-expensive V-6 with conventional turbochargers.

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2017 Renault Alpine Mule Caught Testing: Spy Shots

2017 Renault Alpine Mule Caught Testing: Spy Shots

Our intrepid snappers recently caught what we believe to be a 2016 Renault Alpine test mule doing its best impression of a 2012-2015 Lotus Exige S. While we can’t draw many conclusions about the Alpine’s final shape from this heavily camouflaged prototype, we can say with utmost certainty that the bulbous rear bumper is definitely not a stock Exige item. That and the vents in the lower portion of the blacked-out rear window indicate the Alpine could have a rear-engine layout like its ancestors.

What engine will be back there is somewhat of a mystery, but we have previously speculated that it will be the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the 2014 Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy.. It’s compact enough to fit behind the rear axle and light enough to not negatively impact weight distribution. It produces 271 horsepower in its hot-hatch application, but it’s mooted to produce around 300 horsepower for the Alpine. Either that or a newly developed 1.8-liter with up to 296 horsepower.

Renault unveiled a concept version of the new Alpine, called the 2015 Renault Alpine Celebration Concept at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, but we also recently put together a rendering of what we think the final product will look like. The 1961-1973 Alpine A110 built between 1961 and 1977 is a clear influence, but it’s not overtly retro. Like the A110, it will have integrated fog lamps in the front bumper, compact dimensions and a sporty fastback profile that flows seamlessly into the rear.

Also like the A110, low mass is likely to be a priority. Expect a sub-2,400-pound weight, which should help provide exceptional agility and acceleration. This is one we’re really looking forward too.

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Lamborghini Asterion Put On Hold; The SUV Moving Forward

Lamborghini Asterion Put On Hold; The SUV Moving Forward

The chances of seeing a production version of Lamborghini’s 2015 Lamborghini LPI 910-4 Asterion concept car are less than great now that the company is moving forward with production of the 2018 Lamborghini Urus SUV.

Lamborghini is in the process of doubling the size of its factory in Sant’Agata, Italy and hiring 500 new employees to accommodate Urus production. The aim is to build 3,000 annually, which would double Lamborghini’s current output. Given the massive investment, the bandwidth to produce the Asterion simply isn’t there, and Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann now says production in unlikely.

"It was built to show what we would do if the regulations forced us to have 30 miles of electric range as well as high-speed performance,” Winkelmann recently told Autocar. “Because of the weight of the batteries, we also took the opportunity to make the car bigger and roomier. We wanted to see customer reactions.”

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Ferrari 458 Speciale Vs. Porsche 911 GT3: Video

Ferrari 458 Speciale Vs. Porsche 911 GT3: Video

Fast Porsche 911s used to be pretty good on-paper rivals for mid-engine V-8 Ferraris. Somewhere along the way that changed when V-8 Ferraris started getting faster and much more expensive, and Porsche continued to keep the GT3 and Turbo 911 in the realm of the attainable — relatively speaking. But, that doesn’t mean comparing the two isn’t a ridiculously fun way to spend an afternoon.

Fifth Gear put ex-racer-turned-television-host Tiff Needell behind the wheel of a 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale and noted tire destroyer Chris Harris in a 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 and set them both loose at England’s Castle Comb Circuit for a knockdown drag-out battle for Italo-German supremacy.

Both cars are faster, more-hardcore variants of the models on which they’re based. The 458 Italia-based Speciale’s high-strung 4.5-liter V-8 produces 596 horsepower at a manic 9,000 rpm. It’s also an entire 200 pounds lighter than the Italia and features an active aerodynamics system that channels air through or around the car, depending on downforce needs.

The GT3 finds itself at somewhat of a disadvantage in face of the Ferrari’s power and tech, but it’s not exactly slow, either. Its 3.8-liter flat six produces 475 horsepower and it weighs a scant 3,153 pounds. Both figures are inferior to that of the Italian car’s, but the 911’s trick rear-wheel steering system endows it with both astounding high-speed stability and low-speed agility. Plus, at about $130,000, it’s less than half what the Speciale costs.

Place your bets, and check out Tiff ’s yodeling skills at 1:50. Seriously, I’ve never seen a car elicit those sorts of mouth noises from anyone.
Nice work if you can get it, huh?

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Alpina Could Develop Hybrid Model

Alpina Could Develop Hybrid Model

Alpina takes BMWs and transforms them into very a specific type of automobile. Comfortable but effortlessly fast. Cossetting but sporty. Discreet but instantly recognizable by connoisseurs. They even put an automatic transmission in a 2000-2003 BMW Z8 for god’s sake. Now the company could be looking to apply its unique formula to BMW’s hybrid models.

“Hybrid technology is advancing quickly. We’re now seeing what I’d call ‘second-generation’ hybrids and EVs, like the BMW i8, and it’s becoming more interesting,” Alpina CEO Andy Bovensiepen told Autocar at the company’s recent 50th anniversary celebration.

Bovensiepen went on to emphasize that performance and daily drivability are still priorities for the company, but that previous concerns about hybrid technology have been all but eliminated. Previous concerns dealt mainly with battery life. Alpina’s are known as long-distance grand tourers, so a flat battery at the end of a 200-mile drive was unacceptable.

Once the decision is made to build a hybrid Alpina, things could start moving very quickly. “If we have a good technical base of a car from BMW and we also see the sales figures taking off, then we could have a car ready within two years,” said Bovensiepen. He also emphasized that Alpina would continue improving its lineup of six- and eight-cylinder gasoline and six-cylinder diesel engines.

Note: Future Alpina B7 rendering pictured here.

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Audi R8 Will Get Turbocharged Engine

Audi R8 Will Get Turbocharged Engine

Speculation has been swirling for months about a possible turbocharged variant of the 2016 Audi R8, and now Audi executives have said the addition of a turbocharged engine is “inevitable” for the second-generation R8. It probably won’t be Audi’s turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, but either the company’s next-generation turbocharged five-cylinder engine or the same twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that will power the next 2017 Audi RS 4 Avant.

"It is inevitable that we will go to a turbocharged motor for it at some point. It would be in this model cycle, to give us a fuller range," Audi’s board member for development Ulrich Hackenberg told Motoring recently at the R8 launch in Portugal.

But he and quattro boss Heinz Peter Hollerweger made it clear that a turbocharged R8 would slot in below the normally aspirated V-10 models as a more affordable entry-level option. "It’s quite unique to build naturally aspirated engines today and our customers love it,” Hackenberg went on to say. “It doesn’t mean we are not going to do a turbo, but naturally aspirated is here to stay as well."

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Honda Says There's Room For Another Sports Car

Honda Says There’s Room For Another Sports Car

A new mid-engine Honda sports car that will slot in between the upcoming 2016 Acura NSX hybrid supercar and the Japan-only 2016 Honda S660 kei car is looking like more of a real possibility. We’ve seen a few patent images of the new car, but Honda is yet to announce anything official, or even mention anything about the new car, until now.

“I can’t tell you anything about the ‘baby NSX’ … I could, but I’d probably get fired.” That’s what Honda of America vice president John Mendel recently told AutoGuide, when asked about the possibility of a new mid-range Honda sports car. That’s not a confirmation, but it’s definitely not a denial either from someone who likely has a pretty good idea of what’s in Honda’s product pipeline. AutoGuide went on to ask if there is room for a dedicated sports car in Honda’s current lineup. “Absolutely there is,” Mendel responded.

So, what shape could this new Honda sports car take? The 2019 Acura ‘baby NSX’ will likely be positioned in Porsche Boxster and Alfa Romeo 4C territory. Styling will echo that of the new NSX, but feature a speedster body with a stowable top. It should get the turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder from the 2016 Honda Civic Type R mounted behind the rear seats and mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Unlike its probable rivals, the ‘baby NSX’ could be a hybrid, with a pair of Honda’s Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive motors powering each of the front wheels. Total system output should be around 400 horsepower.

Reports indicate that the new car will be sold as a Honda, both abroad and in the United States (instead of as an Acura), meaning it could revive the S2000 name.

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 Acura NSX Paces Pikes Peak: Video

Acura NSX Paces Pikes Peak: Video

Honda and Acura weren’t racing in any official capacity at the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, but watching this video of the 2016 Acura NSX pace car charging up the treacherous mountain road, you’d be forgiven for assuming otherwise.

Honda public relations senior manager Sage Marie piloted the NSX and led the field of 140 entrants up the 156-turn, 12.4-mile course to over 14,000 feet above sea level. PR guys (and most automotive journalists despite what they tell you) usually aren’t known for their skills behind the wheel, but Sage is the exception to the rule. He’s won in Pirelli World Challenge B-Spec racing and previously competed at Pikes Peak in 2012 and 2014. He it knows well, because he certainly doesn’t leave much out on the course for this run.

Aside from its unique Pikes Peak pace car livery, this is a near-production-spec NSX, meaning it’s powered by a mid-mounted twin-turbo V-6 displacing 3.5 liters. The ICE is supplemented by three electric motors, two directly powering each of the front wheels and the third mounted between the engine and the nine-speed dual-clutch transmission.

No official numbers have been released, but we’re expecting the NSX to have well over 500 horsepower. The torque-vectoring front motors should also endow it with physics defying handling. Plus, with an estimated price of around $150,000, it should be a good $1 million cheaper than those fast hybrids from Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren. But, the question remains if it’ll be able to teach the exotics a few new lessons like its predecessor did.

Until we find out, enjoy the Pikes Peak video and checkout our full review of the 2016 NSX.

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Alfa Romeo Giulia Will Get More Variants In The Future

Alfa Romeo Giulia Will Get More Variants In The Future

The Alfa Romeo Giulia will get more variants beyond the 503-horsepower 2016 Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio Verde sedan that was recently unveiled in June of 2015. The new variants should be shown at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September and could include a four-cylinder and possibly a diesel V-6. Car Magazine caught up with chief engineer Philippe Krief, who discussed the new variants when asked about Giulia’s twin-turbo V-6.

The new variants are likely to make do without some of the Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde’s sportier elements, like active aerodynamics that change in profile depending on the amount of grip or straight-line speed needed. Other cost-saving casualties could include all-wheel drive (in favor of rear-wheel drive) and the Quadrifoglio’s trick torque-vectoring differentials. The carbon-fiber roof, trunk, seats and prop-shaft will likely be replaced with steel or aluminum items.

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Ford Reveals Details On Shelby GT350R's Carbon Fiber Wheels

Ford Reveals Details On Shelby GT350R’s Carbon Fiber Wheels

It wasn’t all that long ago that carbon-fiber wheels were exclusive to million-dollar Koenigseggs and concepts cars, and then the sub-$70,000 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R came along with its seven-spoke carbon-fiber wheels and democratized them for all.

It’s no gimmick either. At just 18 pounds each, the GT350R’s wheels weigh almost half that of an equivalent aluminum wheel, which represents a net savings of about 60 pounds of un-sprung weight. It’s such a leap forward that Ford engineers had to recalibrate the Delphi MagneRide dampers to respond to faster suspension movement. The lighter wheels also reduce rotational inertia, which has huge positive effects on braking and acceleration.

Ford is working with Australian carbon-fiber specialists Carbon Revolution on the GT350R’s wheels, which are the first of their kind to be mass-produced. As such, they have to meet the same standards of strength and durability as wheels that Ford bolts to a Focus or F-150. As stiff and light as it is, a ding or chip to a carbon-fiber part can compromise its structural integrity. Using a unique resin, Ford has designed its new wheel to be extremely tough. It’s been subjected to the same curb strike, UV, chemical exposure and extreme heat tests as every other wheel Ford sells.

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WRC Announces Updates For 2017 Season

WRC Announces Updates For 2017 Season

Cars competing in the 2017 World Rally Championship will be wider, lighter and more powerful, and have an all-around more aggressive appearance than the current cars. Sounds pretty good to us. While some specifics are still being hammered out between the FIA’s technical department and WRC manufacturers, the FIA World Motor Sports council made the decision to move forward with the new regulations on Friday in Mexico.

According to Autosport, the new regulations will allow the cars to produce 380 horsepower, up from the current 300 horsepower, thanks in part to a larger turbo restrictor, up from 34 mm to 36 mm. Boost pressure, meanwhile, will be limited to 2.5 bar. Other changes to the drivetrain will include the reintroduction of electronically controlled center differentials.

The increase in horsepower also comes with a sizable reduction in weight. The current cars have a minimum weight of 1,200 kg (a little over 2,654 pounds), but at 1,175 kg (about 2,590 pounds) the new ones will be 25 kg lighter.

On the outside, the new cars will be wider (from a current maximum of 1,820 mm to 1,875 mm), with more freedom for aerodynamic enhancements around the production-car body shell. Expect to see new aero devices on the front bumpers, including larger front splitters and dive planes, and larger rear wings. The wider fenders will also be allowed to have holes to reduce pressure within the wheel wells.

“There were three main objectives with these regulations; make the car spectacular, be mindful of costs, and maintain, if not increase safety,” said FIA Technical Director Bernard Niclot in a WRC press release. “The cars will be striking, there is no doubt about that, and there are small but always significant improvements in relation to safety.

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The facts and figures behind the Formula E battery

The facts and figures behind the Formula E battery

Unlike cat memes, rick-rolling and cyber warfare, infographics are among the more interesting and useful things the Internet has brought us, and now we have a new one about the incredibly potent batteries that power each of the cars on the FIA Formula E grid.

If you not familiar with it, Formula E is the world’s first professional racing series powered exclusively by electricity, and now entering its second year, is beginning to find its footing, with top-flight drivers and an impressive lineup of teams, including Richard Branson-owned Virgin Racing.

All the cars are identical (for now, but more on that in a bit). The Spark-Renault SRT_01E has an aluminum and carbon-fiber monocoque chassis constructed by Dallara, a drivetrain developed by McLaren and a battery pack developed by Williams Advanced Engineering, a subsidiary of the Williams Formula 1 team. The battery and electric motors produce 270 horsepower, or 200Kw, which is enough to power an average-sized house for three days.

Click through to the infographic for more geeky facts about the Formula E battery.

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EVO Drives The Jaguar Project 7: Video

EVO Drives The Jaguar Project 7: Video

Jethro Bovington of EVO Magazine recently got some seat time in the 2015 Jaguar F-Type Project 7 to provide a few initial driving impressions on Jaguar’s limited-production sports car speedster (only 250 will be built) for this new video. His impressions? Without giving away too much, we can tell you it’s the fastest F-Type yet, and it’s happy to leave smoking Continental tire residue all over the tarmac.

The Project 7 was originally introduced as a concept in 2013 and now, as a production car, is one of the first models tweaked by Jaguar’s newly formed Special Vehicle Operations division. The name symbolizes Jaguar’s seven Le Mans victories between 1951 and 1990, and its livery pays homage to the Ecurie Ecosse D-Types that won at Le Mans in 1956 and 1957.

But despite all the throwback Easter eggs, the Project 7 is firmly grounded in the now. Its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 puts down 567 horsepower — 25 horsepower more than the F-Type R — and 502 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. At 3,495 pounds, it’s also 176 pounds lighter than the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R. It all translates to a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph. New front suspension knuckles optimize camber and stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars provide a more track-biased setup. It also gets carbon-ceramic brakes at all four corners.

Aside from the lack of roof and driver-side aero element running along the rear deck (another D-Type Easter egg) the Project 7 also gets a body kit with much larger air intakes on the front fascia. Look for this same kit on future SVO F-Types.

Click through for a more detailed rundown from Jethro.

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Lamborghini Has No Plans For Turbo Engines Anytime Soon

Lamborghini Has No Plans For Turbo Engines Anytime Soon

Unlike its rivals Ferrari and McLaren, Lamborghini says it won’t be bolting turbochargers to its supercar engines anytime soon. The upcoming super-crossover 2017 Lamborghini Urus, however, could be a different story. Lamborghini expects China to be the biggest market for the Urus, where tax laws favor smaller-displacement turbocharged engines, but the Aventador, Huracán and their replacements will soldier on with normally aspirated V-10s and V-12s.

"Naturally aspirated engines are still the best engines which are on the market for super sports cars, in terms of acceleration, in terms of sound," Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann recently told Autoblog at the opening of the company’s new plant in Sant’Agata. "And unless there is [something] better, we are going to keep them."

"We are constantly looking for alternatives,” Winkelmann continued. “We are constantly seeing what we can do to make them better, and there will maybe a day when we are introducing turbos, when the turbos are equalizing or being better than naturally aspirated engines."

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McLaren At The 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

McLaren At The 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Only about an hour drive from the McLaren Technology center in Woking, the Goodwood Estate is pretty much right in McLaren’s backyard. So, as a demonstration of British automotive pride and to show its appreciation for fans of the company, McLaren brought several cars from its past, present and future to the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed. It’s all brought together in this brief but excellent video from McLaren.

The event was also the first time we got see the new 2016 McLaren 570S turn a wheel under its own power, with McLaren Formula 1 driver Jenson Button and McLaren test driver Chris Goodwin taking it up the famous hill climb on separate runs. A 2016 McLaren P1 GTR track-only hypercar, special edition 2015 McLaren 650S Le Mans (which was actually an XP1 preproduction prototype) and 2015 McLaren 650S GT3 race car also made runs up the hill. In addition, McLaren brought out a 2015 McLaren 650S, 1997 McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ and a few other cars for attendees to drool over.

As a refresher, the 570S is McLaren’s new entry-level supercar, if $185,000 can be considered entry-level. Like all other current McLarens it gets a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8, which in this car sends 562 horsepower at 7,400 rpm to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Positioned against the Porsche 911 Turbo, it does 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 204 mph. Also present was the 2016 McLaren 540C, in McLaren’s Sports Series, which is expected to expand to as many as five cars soon.

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Jeff Zwart At Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2015: Video

Jeff Zwart At Pikes Peak International Hill Climb 2015: Video

Jeff Zwart is one of those guys you kind of want to be. As co-founder of Radical Media, he’s shot commercials for just about every car company there is. Remember that epic Porsche commercial from a few years ago that showed seemingly every important Porsche ever built charging through the desert? That was his. He’s also a massive Porsche geek, collector and racer.

A regular at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Zwart drove his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo to a Time Attack 1 class victory with a time of 9:46.243 at the 2015 event, and it’s all been captured in high-definition 4k in this stunning video, shot by his colleague, Will Roegge.

The more eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that Porsche doesn’t sell a GT3 Cup with a turbo. Zwart’s 997 Cup car is powered by a twin-turbo flat six from a 2008 Porsche 911 GT2 997, that produces around 600 horsepower. He drove a bone-stock 2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS from his home in California to the top of Pikes Peak for the 2011 event, and then decided to drop a turbocharged engine in a Cup chassis after the route was fully paved ahead of the 2012 event.

In addition to the Cup Turbo, Zwart also owns one of only a handful of early Porsche 356s built in Gmünd, Austria — a rally-prepped 914-6, a 906 Carrera 6 hill-climb car and a 911 that competed in the 1971 East African Safari Rally, among others. These aren’t garage queens either. He drives them all regularly. I told you Jeff Zwart is someone you want to be.

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Noble Wants To Double Production; Can't Find The Staff

Noble Wants To Double Production; Can’t Find The Staff

Looking for a job? If so, then you might want to talk to boutique supercar builder Noble. The company currently builds about 12 examples of its 2011 Noble M600 per year, but wants to see that number grow to 25. In order to do that Noble will need to hire new employees, but that might not be as easy as it sounds. The auto industry is filled with specialists, but very few people have the breadth of knowledge to build a performance car from start to finish.

In a recent interview, Noble Managing Director Peter Boutwood told De Telegraaf Autovisie that very few people in the industry have the requisite skills to build a complete car, and that most are experts only when it comes to small parts. When a small team builds a car they form a sense of camaraderie and pride that’s harder to get when one employee is tasked exclusively with hanging 50 doors every day.

Boutwood went on to say that the despite Noble’s order books being completely full, he didn’t anticipate production surpassing 25 units annually, and that the company won’t sacrifice quality and exclusivity for quantity. Noble is currently happy to sell M600s through agents in England, China, Taiwan and soon Dubai, but there are no plans to expand to North America. Boutwood says that would require sacrificing six cars to crash tests, which is out of the question when you only build 12 cars per year.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2015 Corvette Z06 Rumored To Have Lapped Nurburgring In 7:08

2015 Corvette Z06 Rumored To Have Lapped Nurburgring In 7:08

With a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 and bodywork that wouldn’t look out of place on the starting grid at Le Mans, the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is an $80,000 car that’s fast enough to embarrass cars costing nearly four times as much. We’ve been barraged with 0-60, quarter-mile, top speed, breaking distance and lateral acceleration figures, but there’s still one glaring omission from the Z06’s repertoire: a Nürburgring lap time.

But, according to a new report from Auto Week, it may have already set a blisteringly fast time of 7:08. According to an individual familiar with goings on at the Nürburgring, a Z06 equipped with the Z07 package set the time very recently, but Chevy has been unable to announce it due to the Nürburgring’s current ban on record attempts. The ban however could be lifted soon, at which point Chevy could make the time (or an ever faster one) official.

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Mercedes GLC Coupe Caught Testing In Germany: Spy Shots

Mercedes GLC Coupe Caught Testing In Germany: Spy Shots

Our photographers recently returned from a death-defying mission in Germany with images that give us our best look yet at the upcoming 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. As its name implies, it’s a four-door fastback coupe variant of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC compact SUV and will be positioned against the 2015 BMW X4. The GLC replaces the GLK and adheres to Merc’s new naming conventions.

Mercedes previewed the GLC Coupe earlier this year at the Shanghai Auto Show with the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV, and it appears to be a pretty good representation of what we see here. This pre-production test mule loses the AMG-esque concept’s deeper front fascia and larger wheels, but both will likely be available with higher trim levels. It also keeps that horizontal character line just below the side windows that accentuates the lower roofline.

Our snappers also tell us the GLC Coupe will get the same range of engines as the GLC, which likely means an entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder with 241 horsepower for the GLC300 Coupe and a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 for the GLC400 Coupe with 329 horsepower. A GLC250 Coupe Bluetec diesel model could also be available, as well as a GLC63 AMG with a 468-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 if the demand is there.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes GLC Coupe.

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Ferrari Going Public

Ferrari Going Public

You might not be able to buy a Ferrari anytime soon, but you’ll be able to own Ferrari as a company, at least part of it anyway. An initial public offering of Ferrari shares will be issued before the end of the year, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company will be valued at over $11 billion dollars. To put it in Ferrari terms, that’s 288 1962-1964 Ferrari 250 GTOs, sold at top dollar, or 7,846 2014 Ferrari LaFerraris.

“There are clear expectations from ourselves as Ferrari brand is unique,” Marchionne said recently at the introduction of the new 2016 Fiat 500 in Turin, Italy. “There is also a scarcity value as we are just selling a 10 percent stake.”

It was announced last year that FCA would spin off 10 percent of Ferrari to raise roughly $55 million in capital to achieve the ambitious goal of increasing FCA sales by 50 percent by the end of 2018 to seven million vehicles. The first step in reaching this goal will be to pull FCA out of the red, and things are trending in the right direction. Bloomberg says FCA shares have risen by about 33 percent this year.

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2017 Mercedes SLC Caught On The Road: Spy Video

2017 Mercedes SLC Caught On The Road: Spy Video

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLK is due for a mid-cycle refresh, and this recent video of a test mule spotted in Germany gives us our best look yet at the 2017 model. But, the biggest changes won’t be to the exterior. Rather, the SLK’s name will change to SLC and a whole new range of engines will be available.

Visual updates include a slightly re-sculpted rear fascia with larger exhaust outlets. The uncovered taillight assemblies on this prototype appear to be different from the ones we saw on a prototype back in April, and, with the exception of some reconfigured LED bulbs, are almost identical to the ones on the current SLK. Out front, the SLC gets a new concave grille, re-shaped front fascia and new headlamp assemblies.

Expect the SLC to be available with three new more-powerful, yet fuel-efficient engine options: SLC300, SLC400 and SLC63 AMG. The SLC300 starts things off with Mercedes’ 241-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the SLC400 gets a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 producing 329 horsepower. The SLC63 will sit at the top of the range with the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 from the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT, producing 469 horsepower.

We’ve yet to see any interior shots of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC, but expect it to remain mostly unchanged from the SLK, with some new interior color options and infotainment updates. We’ll be sharing more on the SLC as we have it, but for now, check out the video to see what differences you can spot.

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McLaren P1 Sold Out; Five XP Prototypes Will Make It To Production

McLaren P1 Sold Out; Five XP Prototypes Will Make It To Production

It only took eight months for customers to secure McLaren’s entire allotment of 375 2014 McLaren P1s after it was first shown in 2013, but now customers might have one last chance to buy one of a small run of additional P1s. New reports suggest that McLaren will build five P1 XP Carbon Series Red cars from five prototype P1s that were used in pre-production testing.

According to a report from Blacklist via The Super Car Kids, all five P1 XPs will wear a polished carbon fiber finish with red pinstripes on the front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, rear view mirrors and around the extractor vents on the hood. The black wheels will also have red accent inner rings. Inside, the Alcantara seats will get red stitching and P1 logos, while more red accents are on the dash and center console.

Performance-wise everything is expected to remain unchanged from other P1s, but with a 903-horsepower gas-electric powertrain, they won’t exactly be lacking. Between the 800-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 and 103-horsepower electric motor, it does 0-60 in 2.6 seconds and 0-100 in 4.7. McLaren claims it will lap the Nürburgring in less than seven minutes. All that, with the ability to run for over six miles on electricity alone.

It’s not known exactly how many P1 prototypes were built, but it was almost certainly more than five. Some would have been sacrificed to crash tests and one, called the XP-7, was used for press drives and is said to have over 40,000 miles on its odometer. Its name would also indicate that there were at least seven prototypes built. Other prototypes would have been subjected to extreme temperatures in places like Death Valley and northern Scandinavia.

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Giorgetto Giugiaro Resigns; Audi Gets Remaining Stake Of The Company

Giorgetto Giugiaro Resigns; Audi Gets Remaining Stake Of The Company

Italian car design legend Giorgetto Giugiaro has stepped down from the design and engineering firm he founded in 1968. Giugiaro, 76, recently sold his remaining 9.9-percent stake in Italdesign Giugiaro to the Volkswagen Group’s Audi. Giugiaro sold the other 90.1 percent of stake to Audi via Lamborghini in 2010. The deal makes Italdesign Giugiaro a fully integrated subsidiary of the Volkswagen AG.

A statement from Italdesign Giugiaro says Giugiaro resigned from his position of honorary chairman “...to dedicate more time to his passions and personal interests.” The shares were co-owned with his son Fabrizio, 50, who is also leaving the company.

“The Company’s growth is and will be constant,” the statement continued. “Some 50 new hires are planned within the end of the current year. Since 2010, some 200 new employers joined the Company. Giugiaro’s decision to leave Italdesign, will neither affect the activities, nor the Company’s growth process.”

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Chevrolet Launches Active Phone Cooling - Wow!

Chevrolet Launches Active Phone Cooling - Wow!

Chevrolet has solved a problem that very few people outside of Death Valley, the Sahara Desert or Venus even knew existed: cell phones overheating in cars.

You’ve probably seen spy shots on these pages of camouflaged cars testing in the world’s hottest deserts and above the Arctic Circle. Apparently, Chevrolet quality assurance engineers were testing wireless charging functionality for cell phones in hotter climates when they noticed their phones would frequently overheat and shut down during wireless charging, which potentially stranded them in the desert like Jim Morrison searching for his spirit animal.

That last part probably never happened, but evidently, cell phone manufacturers don’t put their products through the same exhaustive temperature tests as car manufacturers do.

To rectify the issue, Chevy is introducing a new Active Phone Cooling system in a few new cars, including 2016 Chevrolet Impalas, 2016 Chevrolet Malibus, 2016 Chevrolet Volts and 2016 Chevrolet Cruzes equipped the with optional wireless charging feature. An air vent connected to the air conditioner is situated under the wireless charging bin and continuously sends cool air to lower the phone’s temperature.

“Innovation doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel,” Impala engineer Dan Lascu says of the system. “Sometimes simplicity offers the most elegant solution to a problem.”

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TVR Will Start Taking Deposits For Its 2017 Sports Car

TVR Will Start Taking Deposits For Its 2017 Sports Car

TVR is coming back, and because of the immensely positive public reaction to that fantastic news, the company is now accepting deposits for its first new car in over 10 years, due in 2017. Excitement over TVR’s return reached fever pitch last month when it was announced that 1993 McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray would be involved with chassis development and Cosworth would be supplying a new V-8 engine. It was the equivalent of announcing a new band with Jimmy Page on guitar, Stevie Winwood on vocals and Neil Peart on drums.

"We’ve been totally blown away by the reaction to the new car,” said Operations Director of TVR John Chasey in a recent press release. “Our phone lines and online enquiry system went into meltdown when the news was announced, and we decided that we must begin to bring a structure to the enquiries and build a delivery pipeline well in advance of production. Volumes in year one will be limited as we ramp up production, so this allows us to reward those individuals prepared to make a financial commitment at this early stage."

Prospective owners can put down a £5,000 on a new TVR starting on July 7th, and CEO Les Edgar recently told Autocar that hundreds of people have already done so. Additionally, the company is offering a limited number of £2,500 deposits to long-time TVR Car Club members. No new information was released on the car itself, but TVR has previously said we’ll get our first look in late 2015.

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Jaguar Land Rover Will Produce Cars At Magna Steyr's Factory

Jaguar Land Rover Will Produce Cars At Magna Steyr’s Factory

Times are good at Jaguar Land Rover; so good in fact, that the company has announced a partnership with manufacturing and engineering specialist Magna Steyer to outsource production of future vehicles at its factory in Graz, Austria. JLR has successfully doubled sales in the last five years, to over 462,000 units, and its three factories in England are approaching capacity. New factories in Brazil and China will be coming online soon as well, but JLR is projecting the need for even more production capacity.

"The U.K. remains at the center of our design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Partnerships such as this will complement our U.K. operations and engineering," says JLR CEO Dr. Ralf Speth. "Today marks another step towards building our global footprint. This agreement will allow us to expand our award-winning model range as customers around the world demand ever-more innovative vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover."

JLR hasn’t announced which model(s) would be built in Austria, but if the agreement is similar to the ones Magna Steyer has with other companies, it likely means one or two models will be exclusively outsourced. For instance, every Mini Countryman, Mini Paceman and Peugeot RCZ on the road was constructed at Magna Steyer’s facility. Additionally, the company has built every Mercedes-Benz G-Class since its introduction in 1979. In short, it’s a fairly common practice within the industry.

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Mercedes-AMG GT4 Rumored For 2018 Debut; Will Get Three Trims

Mercedes-AMG GT4 Rumored For 2018 Debut; Will Get Three Trims

A new Mercedes-AMG four-door model, purportedly called GT4, is beginning to seem like less of a rumor and more of a real possibility. Like AMG’s SLS and GT models, the four-door would be exclusive to AMG, and new insider information suggests that it will be built on the same platform as the CLS and positioned against the Porsche Panamera. It would be sold alongside the GT, making it the first time two AMG-exclusive models are sold concurrently.

A new report from Automobile suggests that when it arrives in 2018, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT4 model will come in more than one flavor, offering an entire range of both trim levels and drivetrain configurations. The three trim levels will include AMG, AMG S and AMG Sport, while engine options will consist of two 2.9-liter, inline-six diesels producing 300 and 400 horsepower, a turbocharged gasoline inline-six that produces 455 horsepower with the help of a 20-horsepower electric motor, and two V-8s (presumably the same twin-turbo 4.0-liters from the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT and 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63) producing 557 and 585 horsepower.

Automobile goes on to say that styling will be markedly different from GT, but the GT4 will share a few design themes, including a similar grille and body kit. It will share the CLS’s low, coupe-like roof line, but differentiate itself with a new lighting system, wheels and body panels, including new quarter panels, doors and bumper covers. Like the Panamera, the GT4 will also have a fifth-door hatch. A source at AMG head quarters familiar with the project says it will be priced somewhere between the CLS ($66,000) and GT ($130,000), and go up from there depending on trim and engine options.

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Dodge Hellcats and Viper Will Be Featured In New "Predators" Campaign: Video

Dodge Hellcats and Viper Will Be Featured In New "Predators" Campaign: Video

How do you feel about 700-horsepower muscle cars? What about Phil Collins? If these are both things you appreciate, then you’ll probably find a lot to like in Dodge’s latest marketing campaign, entitled ‘Predators.’ The sinister new spot features a 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat, 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat and a 2015 Dodge Viper GTS executing a few smoky donuts and skidding around the deserted nighttime streets of Miami. Phil Collins’ 1981 hit ‘In the Air Tonight’ provides the soundtrack — which science has proven to have the greatest drum-fill in the history of music.

The new commercials, both 30- and 90-second versions, highlight Dodge SRT’s halo products and how they shape Dodge’s image as a whole. “We don’t build Hellcats or Vipers for high volume, we build them as brand positioning statements,” says Dodge, SRT and FCA boss Tim Kuniskis. “These vehicles may be a small percentage of our overall sales but they send a very strong message about the brand personality and attitude.”

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Volkswagen CEO Confirms Hybrid Bugatti And Budget VW Models

Volkswagen CEO Confirms Hybrid Bugatti And Budget VW Models

As the CEO of Volkswagen AG, Martin Winkerkorn has a fairly vast purview, and as if to demonstrate just how vast it is, the VW boss confirmed two new developments on complete opposite ends of the Volkswagen family spectrum. First, the upcoming Bugatti Veyron replacement will get a new hybrid powertrain and second, Volkswagen is developing a new $10,000 budget car aimed at the Asian market.

Speaking with German outlet Bild, Winterkorn says the Bugatti Veyron replacement, tentatively called Chiron, will have a gasoline-electric powertrain to enhance performance, similar to the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder, but his language suggests that it will be offered alongside a gasoline-only version.

Expected to arrive in 2018, not much is known about the 2018 Bugatti Chiron at this point, but current rumors suggest it will be powered by a new version of the W-16 from the Veyron, which with the help of four electric turbos, will produce 1,500 horsepower. Previous reports have the Chiron’s 0-60 time at two seconds flat and top speed at 288 mph. And they said the Veyron would be the last car of its kind…

Moving all the way to the bottom of the Volkswagen family, Winterkorn also discussed a new budget car with a target price of about $10,000 (specifically €8,000 to €11,000). Currently in development, the new car is said to be a priority within Volkswagen and will be offered in SUV, hatchback and sedan body styles. The yet-to-be-named car will initially be built and sold in China, with wider sales dependent on its success.

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Millen's Record-Setting Pikes Peak Drive: Video

Millen’s Record-Setting Pikes Peak Drive: Video

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like driving a gigantic cordless power tool on four wheels to over 14,000 feet above sea level, then this video should give you a pretty good idea. Here we ride along with Rhys Millen on board his one-megawatt Drive eO PP03, which he drove to a new electric vehicle record of 9:07.222 and an overall win at this past weekend’s 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Perhaps due to unusual circumstance that saw the finish line move 3,000 feet down the mountain due to bad weather for the fastest classes, it also marked the first time an EV took overall victory at Pikes Peak. Despite losing power to the rear wheels before halfway, Millen’s time was good enough to beat hill-climb legend Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima in his Tajima Rimac E-Runner. However it was still far adrift of the overall record of 8:13.878 set by Sebastian Loeb in 750-horsepower 2013 Peugeot 208 T16.

While Millen was happy to snag the Pikes Peak electric vehicle record, he says he could have gone as much as 30 seconds faster if he had full power for the full distance. But, half a megawatt is still a decent amount of power and more than enough to scare the bejesus out of you, even if you’re watching on a computer. If you have a big screen, take some dramamine.

Check out our recap for a full report on the 2015 Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

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Next Ford Shelby GT500 May Get Twin-Turbo V-6

Next Ford Shelby GT500 May Get Twin-Turbo V-6

In a move that is likely to cause exploding heads among muscle car traditionalists, Ford could decide to ditch V-8 power for the next Mustang GT500 in favor of the new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 found in the upcoming 2017 Ford GT supercar. A forced-induction version of the flat-plane crank V-8 from the 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 is also a possibility, but given that Ford has been championing its EcoBoost V-6 in halo products, including the GT and 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, there might be something to this.

The news comes courtesy of Automobile Magazine, which says whatever engine the GT500 ends up with, we can expect it to produce over 700 horsepower. The new engine is undergoing development both in Dearborn and on the track in the Ford-powered 2014 Ford Riley Daytona prototype race car in the Tudor United SportsCar Series. The block, heads, pistons and intake are all new, and it uses a dual fuel-injection system that combines port and direct injection. Ford hasn’t shared much more than that, but promised that it will be virtually lag free.

With a startling 662 horsepower, the previous GT500 was a 200-mph muscle car that could be had for about $56,000. The only problem was that it didn’t go around corners so well due to its live rear axle and a heavy supercharged V-8 anchor under the hood. Combined with the Mustang’s newfound independent rear suspension, a lighter, smaller displacement V-6 could improve handling dramatically, making the GT500 more than just a straight-line threat.

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Ford Mustang Outsells Camaro For The First Time Since 2009

Ford Mustang Outsells Camaro For The First Time Since 2009

Since going on sale in late 2014, the sixth-generation Mustang has been a massive sales success for Ford, and for the first time six years, sales have surpassed the Chevrolet Camaro. It wasn’t even close either. In the first five months of 2015, Ford moved 56,571 2015 Ford Mustangs, an increase of 56 percent, while Chevrolet sold 33,982 2014-2015 Chevrolet Camaros. Dodge, meanwhile, came in third with 30,166 2015 Dodge Challengers.

Detroit News says the success can be attributed to its ground-up redesign, which, for the first time, includes independent rear suspension and the new 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine option, which is appealing to millennials who value fuel economy. Ford says millennials make up 35 percent of nationwide sales, while in the all-important Southern California market, where sales have increased by 117 percent, that number jumps to 40 percent.

If the Mustang stays on its current sales trajectory, it will finish out 2015 on top of both the Camaro and Challenger, though that might be easier said than done. The sixth generation 2016 Chevrolet Camaro goes on sale later this year, and, like the Mustang, it will also have a turbocharged four-cylinder engine option.

However, Ford says V-8s still make up 40 percent of Mustang sales, and reinforcements are on the way in the form of the new 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 and 2016 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R, which both get a race-bred chassis and an incredible new, 5.2-liter flat-plane-crank V-8 that revs to 8,250 and puts down 526 horsepower. Chevy, of course, will counter with a sixth-generation-based Z28 soon after.

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 Chris Harris Drives Aston Martin GT12 At Nurburgring 24H: Video

Chris Harris Drives Aston Martin GT12 At Nurburgring 24H: Video

Forget the Monaco Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Indy 500. The Nürburgring 24 is absolutely the greatest racing spectacle in the world. The Nordschleife and GP circuits combine to form a 15.5-mile course that was built to break cars. It attracts a field of nearly 200 teams that run everything from purposed-built GT3 cars to hatchbacks to a vintage Opel Manta with a raccoon tail dangling from its aerial.

Then there are the fans, who are as passionate about racing as they are about swilling the local brew, Bitburger. A friend of mine once described the N24 campgrounds as Jurassic Park. The partying is non-stop for the entire week leading up to the race, with techno and metal blaring against a backbeat of race engines. If going to this race isn’t on your bucket list, it really needs to be.

But, if you can’t make it, then this video might be the next best thing. Chris Harris was invited by Aston Martin to drive a new Vantage GT12 in the 2015 N24, and other than its slick tires, required safety equipment and 50-horsepower drop to meet class requirements, it was a street-legal road car with a racing livery. Chris proves it by taking it for a spin on the roads around the Nürburgring before the race. Check out the video to see how he and the GT12 fare during the race.

Without restrictors, the 2016 Aston Martin GT12’s 6.0-liter V-12 produces 592 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 460 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm. In the sports car tradition of paying more for less, it features a stripped out interior that helps save 220 pounds. It does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, but outright top speed is sacrificed in the name of downforce-generating aero add-ons that make it look like a GT3 racer for the road.
This is a wonderful video.

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Alex Roy and Mike Spinelli Enjoy The New Mercedes AMG GT S: Video

Alex Roy and Mike Spinelli Enjoy The New Mercedes AMG GT S: Video

There are more than a few good reasons to live in Southern California. Watching winter on television, awesome Mexican food, and outstanding driving roads all come to mind. Once we figure out that drought and traffic stuff, we’ll be set. In this latest video from Drive, Mike Spinelli and Alex Roy stretch the legs of the new 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S on the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu and nearby canyon roads in the Santa Monica mountains.

Of all the cars on sale today, there aren’t many better suited for the area than the Mercedes-AMG GT S, though with a starting price of just $130,000, well-heeled Malibu residents might take you for a charity case. Even so, its drop-dead gorgeous shape fits right in with the scenery and its agile chassis devours twisty roads. The 503-horsepower, twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 creates a wonderful cacophony that probably sounds pretty good bouncing off canyon walls.

If you’ve never been there, it really is an amazing area to explore. The PCH offers incredible ocean views and the real estate in Malibu is absolutely gobsmacking. While you’re there, check out Malibu Seafood (Pro tip: It’s BYOB. Do we need to tell you not to drink and drive?) and The Getty Villa for some culture. Traffic can get pretty bad on weekends, but the scenery is spectacular to the point that it’s impossible to get frustrated. Besides, you can always peel off to one of the excellent canyon roads, like Deer Creek, Latiga Canyon or Topanga Canyon, and head over to Mulholland Highway. Stop at the Rock Store while you’re there for possible Jay Leno sightings.

On a personal level, these are some of my favorite roads in the country, right up there with the Lewis and Clark Highway in the Columbia River Gorge and Route 129 ‘The Tail of the Dragon’ straddling the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Visit all three if you can.

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Dozens Of LaFerraris Caught In The Same Place: Video

Dozens Of LaFerraris Caught In The Same Place: Video

Imagine the frustration. After dropping about $1.4 million on it, you’ve just taken delivery of your new 2014 Ferarri LaFerrari. You lay awake at night anticipating the moment when you roll up to the 2015 Ferrari Cavalcade in your 963-horsepower hypercar and finally get to show up that scoundrel Marco and his silly 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale. But on meeting day you arrive to find out that everyone else you know has also bought a LaFerrari, including Marco and even that weird guy who works at the dog groomer’s.

As much as I like to think that’s the scenario that played out in the video, it’s probably not entirely accurate. YouTube exotic car impresario, Marchettino, went to the 2015 Ferrari Cavalcade in Rome where, for a few days in June, LaFerraris were as common as wine bars. A total of 15 were registered for this year’s Cavalcade and 12 were on hand the day Marchettino attended.

The Cavalcade is an official gran turismo event organized by Ferrari and this year took participants through the medieval cities that surround Rome, the hill climb at Mount Terminillo and the Vellelunga circuit. In addition to the LaFerrari, just about every other newish Ferrari was there as well, including several 458 Italias and Speciales, F12 Berlinettas, F430s, 2011 Ferrari 599 GTOs, Californias and FFs. Not a bad way to spend five days.

To refresh, the LaFerrari is the latest in a line of Ferrari halo cars that includes the 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, 1987-1992 F40, 1995-1997 Ferrari F50 and 2003-2004 Ferrari Enzo. As the first Ferrari gas-electric hybrid, it pairs a 6.3-liter V-12 with an electric motor to produce 963 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque. It does 0-60 in less than three seconds and will go on to a top speed of 217 mph. Only Ferrari’s weekend cars driven by Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are faster.

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McLaren Plans To Go Hybrid

McLaren Plans To Go Hybrid

McLaren wants to bring performance hybrids to the masses, as long as the masses can afford to spend over $300,000 on a supercar. Speaking at a recent shareholders meeting, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt said he wants to see 50 percent of McLaren models incorporate hybrid power with in the next 10 years. Of the three tiers that make up McLaren’s lineup, only the Ultimate Series cars, which include the $1 million-plus 2014 McLaren P1 and 2016 McLaren P1 GTR, use hybrid drivetrains. The new plan would likely see this technology extended to the Super Series 650S replacement, which is due in 2017.

“I have said in 10 years I expect half of our cars to be hybrids, but I actually think it will be faster. And I think it could be more than half,” Flewitt told Auto Express. “Will we put that on all vehicles? If I could get the cost and weight right I absolutely would. Our strategy is to use technology to produce the best driving cars.”

Currently in development and internally designated P16, the next Super Series cars will be entirely new from the ground up and will replace the 2015 McLaren 650S, 2015 McLaren 650S Spider and 2016 McLaren 675LT, all cars originally spawned from the 2011-2013 McLaren MP4-12C first introduced in 2011. Look for the 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8 to be replaced with a new, downsized, twin-turbo V-6 coupled with a new hybrid system that will produce more than enough power to compensate for the smaller-displacement engine. Like the 650S, expect the P16 to be priced between $250,000 and $300,000, with drop-top Spider and lighter, more-powerful variants to be spun off as well.

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