2018 Subaru WRX STI 50th Anniversary Edition
Subaru made its first foray into the U.S. market in the late ’60s, and now, it’s celebrating that momentous occasion with a slew of special edition models. Introduced in a blitz of debuts at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, the six-star brand is calling it the 50th Anniversary Edition, and it includes revamped iterations of just about every model in the lineup. Chief among these is the rip-snortin’, extra-wing-havin’, hood-scoop wearin’ WRX STI, the quickest of Subaru’s lineup, which gets new exterior paint, a unique wheel finish, and new badges to mark half a century of the Six Stars in the States.
Continue reading to learn more about what makes the Subaru WRX STI 50th Anniversary Edition special.
2018 McLaren MSO X
Launched in 2015, the McLaren Sports Series is the automaker’s most affordable lineup yet and already includes a handful of different variations. There’s the entry-level 540C, the more powerful 570S, the comfort-oriented 570GT, and even a spyder version. In 2016, McLaren also launched two race-spec variants, the 570S GT4 and 570S Sprint. Come 2018 and the British firmed introduced yet another version of the highly acclaimed sports car. But unlike its predecessors, this one was crafted by the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division for the company’s largest U.S. importer. It goes by the name MSO X, and it’s essentially a road-legal 570S GT4.
Commissioned as an MSO Bespoke project by McLaren Newport Beach, the MSO X was designed to emulate the look and feel of the GT4 race car, but retain a fully road-legal status and some convenience features. It was unveiled at a special McLaren customer event near Las Vegas in late January, where all ten units were handed over to their customers. Yup, if you thought that the regular 570S was rare, the MSO X is a car you might not even see on public roads unless you attend McLaren meetings or certain open track days.
Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren MSO X.
2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Edition
Ram has introduced the Laramie Longhorn trim level on its all-new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup. Like on the outgoing truck, the Laramie Longhorn is western-themed luxury trim filled with high-end materials. However, thanks to the vast improvements made on the 2019 Ram 1500, the Laramie Longhorn trim sees equally impressive advancements.
Designed to compete against the Ford F-150’s King Ranch and the Chevrolet Silverado’s High Country trims, the Laramie Longhorn goes above and beyond with real barn wood accent trim, full leather seats with contrast piping, brushed-nickel badging and accent trim, and Ram’s new 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen engulfing the dashboard. There is even the Laramie Longhorn badge branded into the wood trim above the glovebox – branded, like with a hot iron. That attention to detail continues through the cabin and onto the exterior.
Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn.
2018 McLaren 720S Zenith Black By MSO
Introduced earlier this year at the Geneva International Motor Show, the McLaren 720S is the second addition to the Woking brand’s Super Series line, offering high-end exotic performance and styling in a more accessible package. Indeed, a daily driver supercar makes for a great fit in a place like Dubai, and as such, McLaren just dropped the above-featured one-off as the piece de resistance for this year’s Dubai International Motor Show. Built by McLaren Special Operations (MSO), the brand’s in-house tuners and creative customization team, it’s dubbed the Zenith Black, and its got a careful selection of styling upgrades both inside and out that are sure to get noticed, even when the local police force consists of hoverbikes and Bugatti Veyrons.
All told, this is an utterly unique creation, as indicated by the “1 of 1” placard inside the cabin. MSO spent an extra 120 hours on top of the usual production process to bring it to life, and overall, we think it looks great. The theme pays homage to the idea of “achievement” in a distinctive fashion – read on to learn exactly what that means.
Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren 720S Zenith Black By MSO.
2018 Bugatti Chiron "Number One" Edition
In case you’re still in the market for a Bugatti Chiron, now’s as good a time as any to bring out the checkbooks because one particular example of the Chiron is scheduled to go up for auction at the RM Sothebys event in New York City this coming December 6. Even better, this isn’t just a “standard” Chiron; it’s been decked out in a special livery, has only 250 miles on the odometer, and hasn’t even been registered for road-use here in the U.S. All that and I still haven’t gotten to the best part as this Chiron is also the very first production Chiron and the first ordered for the U.S. market. There’s a reason, after all, why it’s called the Bugatti Chiron Number One.
Having said all that, the Chiron Number One’s estimated selling price sits at $3.5 million to $4 million. It’s a premium price compared to the supercar’s retail price of about $3 million, but don’t be surprised if it surpasses its own estimate, owing to the significance of this particular model as the first of its kind to come out of production. Should any of you be interested, you’re going to need to give yourselves some kind of latitude as far as how much you’re willing to bid for the car. I can’t speak for everyone else, but if I had the money to spend for this potentially historic Bugatti Chiron, I’d be all over it considering its historical potential as the first-production unit of its kind. And I’ll be honest. The 1966 Batmobile-inspired colors look pretty cool too.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Bugatti Chiron Number One
2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport
It’s no secret automakers have found big success in special edition versions of conventional models. Nowhere else is that truer than in the pickup market. Ram’s latest special edition is this, the Hydro Blue Sport, and it will be the last special edition of the 2017 calendar year. Then after 2018, the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 will be hitting showrooms. But before that happens, expect Ram to continue offering dolled-up versions of its current pickups in 2018.
Mike Manley, the head of Jeep and Ram brands, says, “The custom look and high-impact colors have been well received in the marketplace and this new Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport will surely stand out on dealers’ lots and in customers’ driveways. Enthusiasts demand that their trucks get noticed and our Ram 1500 Sport lineup delivers a durable, powerful alternative with great visual appeal.”
Naturally, General Motors says the same about its special edition Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks, too. And truth be told, they’re right. We recently spent a week with the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition and found plenty of people staring and making approving comments. Will the Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport have the same effect? Tell us in the comments after reading all the details down below.
Continue reading for details on the 2018 Ram 1500 Hydro Blue Sport.
2018 BMW M3 CS
Introduced in 2014, the latest-generation BMW M3 set new benchmarks in the premium compact sedan segment. However, things changed when Mercedes-Benz launched the AMG C63, which unlike the Bimmer still had a V-8 engine and arrived in dealerships with significantly more power. And while the M3 fell behind the competition in terms of performance, the M4 was enabled to keep up and even raise above its rivals thanks to the GTS and CS limited-edition models. Fortunately, the M3 also received the attention it deserves in 2017 with the CS package, a club sport-style upgrade that makes it more suitable for track use, but without taking it over the top with the extreme rear wing of the GTS.
Essentially an M4 CS with the extra door and the longer rear roof, the M3 CS is a slightly more practical proposition in the CS lineup. Not only it misses the roll-cage available with the coupe, it also provides seating for up to five people, which maintains it in the family car market. Of course, no one will really buy it as a family car, but it doesn’t force customers to use it a two-seater only. More good news comes from the availability department, as the M3 CS is slated to come to the United States. On the other, production will be limited to a little over 1,000 units, with less than half set to cross the pond to North America. And much like the M4 CS, it will be significantly more expensive than the the standard M3. But more about that in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M3 CS.
2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate
We’re stepping out from the madness going on at SEMA to bring you some important news from across the pond. Aston Martin, creators of some of the finest super GTs in the business, is all set to say goodbye to one of them. Yes, folks. The Aston Martin Vanquish is getting ready to say adieu, as production of the model is set to end soon. But, before that time comes, the British automaker is giving all of us one last treat in the form of the Vanquish S Ultimate, a last hurrah special edition model that will serve as a fitting swan song for the beloved Vanquish line.
The special edition model is limited to just 175 units and, as many of you might expect, it comes with plenty of exclusive features, none more important than the three exclusive color schemes that Aston has prepared specifically for the model under the “Designer Theme” banner. In addition, the automaker is also offering specially created color and trim packages that are unique to the Vanquish S Ultimate, so if any of you decide to get one, you’re getting treated to some design elements that no other Aston Martin has, presumably including the Valkyrie hypercar. That’s a pretty sweet selling point, isn’t it? Given the limited quantity, it would be ideal if you place your orders now because Aston’s already taking them. Should you luck into one, you can expect to take delivery of your Vanquish S Ultimate sometime in the first quarter of 2018.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate
2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake
Redesigned in 2012, the current Aston Martin Vanquish is set to retire in less than a couple of years in order to make way for a brand-new model, and the British firm is doing whatever it takes to spice things up before pulling the plug. In 2016, it unveiled a re-bodied version of the grand tourer made by Zagato, but the coupe was soon followed by a Volante version. 2017 brought a Speedster model as well, and with 2018 just around the corner Aston Martin and Zagato launched a new body style, the Shooting Brake. The wagon model will be as exclusive as its sibling and likely extremely expensive, but it’s an important milestone in a market where shooting brakes have almost gone the way of the dodo bird.
While the Vantage Zagato wagon arrived unexpectedly, it’s not exactly surprising that Aston Martin created a shooting brake. The British firm is no stranger to this body style, and it has released quite a few wagons in the past. Harold Radford built such versions of DB5, DB6, and DBS back in the 1960s, but Aston Martin made its very own production run of the Virage in the early 1990s. More recently, Bertone transformed the Rapide in a shooting brake, but these are just a few examples. We definitely need more shooting brakes on the market today, and even though the Vanquish Zagato is limited to very few examples, it will be great to see one more sports wagon hit public roads.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.
2018 Porsche 911 Carrera T
The Porsche 911 has gone through some big changes in the last couple of years, with the most important being Porsche’s decision to replace all naturally aspirated engines with turbocharged counterparts. While this was rather disappointing to some die-hard fans, it brought enhanced performance and fuel economy across the entire lineup. Porsche also revived the GT2 nameplate after a long absence and created the 911 R, essentially a limited-edition, wingless version of the GT3 for purists. Come 2017 and the German firm is offering yet another model aimed at purists and 911 Classic enthusiasts, but this time around is a significantly more affordable package. It’s called the 911 Carrera T and slots between the base Carrera and the GTS.
Inspired by the 911T, the company’s entry-level 911 between 1967 and 1973, the Carrera T is essentially a base Carrera with features taken off the more performance-oriented GTS. Fitted with a unique design elements inside and out, the Carrera T is also the first Carrera to get full bucket seats and rear-axle steering. The Carrera T is also lighter than the standard model, which makes it the lightest 911 available outside the GT3 and GT2 range. The added features and the lighter curb weight also makes it a tad quicker than the entry-level Carrera, placing it just below the Carrera S model in terms of performance. So while it’s not the least powerful and most affordable 911, as the 911T was back in the late 1960s, it’s a solid proposition for customers who want a no-nonsense Carrera but also desire access to the performance-enhancing features usually offered with the GTS model.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 911 Carrera T.
2018 Subaru WRX STI S208
Subaru is going all-out at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. It’s bringing three “concept” cars to show off design plans for the future. It’s bringing a special edition BRZ that’s been infused with STI know-how. It’s also bringing the WRX STI S208, a special edition version of the performance sedan that’s dripping in aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades. It, too, is limited to just 450 units and will be only be sold in Japan, but that’s ok because we do have something of similar ilk in the form of the WRX STI Type RA.
Most of the improvements featured in the S208 revolve around the goal of making the sedan lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, the S207 that Subaru released in limited quantities (only 400 units) back in 2015. It does look like the automaker accomplished that goal because it’s touting the S208 as having an “improved engine output” compared to the S207, among other notable features. As far as a release date is concerned, there’s been no indication of that from Subaru, though we can at least expect to hear more details about the new performance sedan when it makes its debut in Tokyo next month.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Subaru WRX STI S208
2018 Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package
Say what you will about Porsche’s tendency to get a little carried away with its niche variants for the 911, but credit should be heaped on the company for being aware of what customers want. Take the Porsche 911 GT3 for example. By every sports car metric, the 911 GT3 is a shining example of the best of Stuttgart engineering. The only problem with it is that it’s far from being the most understated 911 in the market, no thanks to its attention-grabbing aero bits. Then there’s the 911 R, the answer to prayers coming from Porsche purists who were crossing their fingers for a manual transmission 911. The 911 R was the answer to those prayers, except it was limited to just 991 units. Enter then the Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package. Think of it as the love child between the 911 GT3 and the 911 R, carrying elements from both models and wrapping them all up in one scintillating package.
The car’s name may not roll off the tongue as smoothly as I’d like, but remember, there is a precedence in Porsche’s history of the “Touring” name being used on a 911, specifically the 1973 Porsche Carrera 911 RS Touring. So we’ve established the roots of the 911 GT3 Touring. But far more than just being a product of Porsches-gone-by and previous iterations of the current-generation 911, the 911 GT3 Touring is a car of its own devices, understated in appearance yet ferocious in performance. In my view, this is the Porsche 911 variant that purists have been waiting for.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Porsche 911 GT3 with Touring Package
Porsche 911 GT3 Goes Stealth Mode In Frankfurt
With its enormous rear wing and track-bred attitude, the Porsche 911 GT3 is not traditionally the sort of car you want if you’re looking to fly under the radar. Now, however, Porsche is offering a stealthier alternative in the form of the new Touring package for its high-strung two-door. Following in the foot steps of the updated 2018 911 GT3 introduced earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, the Touring package promises a purist’s approach to going quick. For starters, the old look-at-me aero in back was replaced with a far more understated trailing lip, drawing its design inspiration from the 911 Carrera. Inside, there’s oodles of leather added everywhere. What’s more, the GT3 Touring is only offered with a six-speed manual transmission. Cue enthusiast celebration.
This latest Touring Package is a nod to the past equipment package offered on the 1973 Carrera RS, but adds a touch of modernization on top. “This variant is aimed at fans of high-quality sports cars who particularly value an understated appearance and classic driving enjoyment,” says Porsche. The GT3 Touring Package is offered in conjunction with practically every other option on the 911 GT3 table, with the exception of the Clubsport and Alcantara lines. That means the branded ceramic brakes, Chrono Package, wheel options, and similar stuff is all fair game. The Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package is available now for 152,416 euros in Germany, or $143,600 in the U.S., matching prices for the standard model.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Package.
Audi Makes a Move to Please Purists with the Audi R8 V-10 RWS: RWD Performance at its Finest
If you’re a fan of the Audi R8, then you know that unless you do some serious modification, you’re stuck with that Quattro AWD system. Not that it’s a bad system or anything, as Audi’s is actually one of the best, but a sports car is just so much more fun to drive when all its power is channeled to the two wheels in the rear. And, Audi knows this, which is why it’s putting out a limited run of the R8 called the R8 V10 RWS. It will be produced in just 999 examples and will be hand built at Audi’s Bollinger Hofe factory. Stephan Winkelmann, the CEO of Audi Sport GmbH, said, “The R8 V10 RWS is made for purists. A limited-edition special model for customers with an appreciation for essential driving enjoyment, the R8 V10 RWS is an absolutely exclusive offer. With its mid-mounted V10 engine and rear-wheel drive, it successfully brings the driving concept of our R8 LMS racing car to the streets.”
Along with the distribution of power to the rear wheels, it also gets a few other extras that include the front grille and vents in the front and rear being finishing in matt black. The coupe gets gloss black side blades while the lower-body blade is now body colored. A red film is available for the hood, roof, and rear end, just like on the R8 LMS GT 4 while the seats inside come wrapped in leather and Alcantara. Bucket seats are available but must be optioned at the time of ordering. More importantly, however, is what Audi did with the chassis to take full advantage of the car’s RWD nature. Basically, without AWD, the car is lighter thanks to the lack of a center differential and the propshaft. As such, the Coupe form has dropped 110.2 pounds while the Spyder sees a drop of 88.2 pounds. The chassis was modified and tuned specifically to make it easier to perform controlled drifts – that’s right: drifts. The load distribution of the Coupe comes in at 40.6 percent up front and 59.4 percent in the back, while the Spyder gets 40.4 and 59.6 – both offering just enough to kick that rear end out on demand. The car is backed by Audi’s dynamic handling system, which will use the ESC system and electromechanical power steering to help keep things under control when you get to the limit of your drift. You’ll be able to order your own soon, so keep reading to learn a little more.
2018 Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus
The second-generation Audi R8 came to life in 2015, when the German firm unveiled an evolutionary design with sharper styling cues and a more aggressive approach. Audi also revamped the engine lineup, adopting an upgraded 5.2-liter V-10 and dropping the base V-8. Instead, it introduced an all-electric version of the R8, which was discontinued only a year on the market. Just like its predecessor, the second-gen R8 also gained Plus and Spyder variants. But for the first time in history, Audi brought the two badges under the same umbrella, creating the R8 Spyder Plus.
Essentially a convertible version of the more extreme R8 Plus, the Spyder Plus finally gives drop-top enthusiasts the option of driving a beefed-up version of the V-10 engine with infinite headroom. Not only a first for the nameplate, the Spyder Plus also gives the company a suitable competitor for the Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, as well as the new-for-2018 McLaren 570S Spider. How does it stack up against the opposition? Find out in my review below.
Updated 06/19/2017: Audi dropped a first promo video for the new R8 Spyder V10 Plus. Continue reading to watch it!
2018 Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series
The Porsche 911 has always been and will always be one of the most coveted sports cars on the market. Badges don’t matter. Names don’t matter. Heck, power and performance don’t matter. There are only a handful of cars that are above all of that, and the 911 is one of them. So, can you imagine what happens if Porsche decides to break out a special edition 911 Turbo S that’s not only super limited in number, but is also described as the “most powerful and unique 911 Turbo S ever created?” Well, the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series is happening and it’s everything the 911 should be, and then some.
On the surface, the timing of the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series’ release is a bit surprising considering the height of auto show season has just concluded. But the beauty of this release is the surprise that comes with the timing. Porsche isn’t launching the limited edition 911 Turbo S for no other reason than to celebrate the renaming of Porsche Exclusive to Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur. Naturally, such an occasion deserves a physical manifestation of its significance and since Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur was heavily involved in creating this limited-run 911 Turbo S, it’s only right that the car is released to coincide with the start of a new era for Porsche’s in-house personalization division. Prepare yourselves, because the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series just might be the most desirable 911 ever created.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series.
2018 BMW M4 CS
Introduced in 2013, the 4 Series is one of the company’s newest nameplates and marked the end of the 3 Series Coupe, which it replaced in the brand’s catalog. The renamed two-door also adopted a new, evolutionary design inside and out, and received a lineup of brand-new and revised engines. The high-performance version was also rebadged from the M3 Coupe to the M4 and ditched the naturally aspirated V-8 engine for a turbocharged, inline-six powerplant. The M4 also brought the GTS badge back into showrooms in the form of a more powerful, track-focused, limited edition model. In 2017, the German brand launched yet another limited-edition, high-performance variant, the M4 CS.
The "CS" badge dates back to the late 1960s, when it was used for a more powerful version of the then-new BMW E9. At first called the 2000 CS, it later evolved into the 2800 CS, 3.0 CS, and 2.5 CS. The 3.0 CS spawned the iconic 3.0 CSL, a lighter, homologation special that went on to become BMW’s most iconic race car. The CSL name returned in 2004 for the M3 Coupe and it was once again brought back into the spotlight in 2015 with the 3.0 CSL Hommage concept car. Word has it that BMW dropped the L (which stands for Lightweight) from the badge since the CS isn’t significantly lighter than the standard M4 (a feature reserved for the GTS). Looks for the new M4 CS to hit dealerships by the end of the year, but don’t expect it to be around for too long. Much like the GTS, it should be sold out in a matter of months, if not weeks.
Updated 05/30/2017: BMW dropped a series of new images for the new M4 CS and we have to admit it looks even better in this cool Lime Rock Grey Metallic exterior paint.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M4 CS.
Mercedes-Benz Launches G-Class Designo Manufaktur Edition And Exclusive Edition
It’s no secret the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen, or G-Class, is an aging beast. First debuting in 1979, this body-on-frame SUV hasn’t changed much in 30 years. However, Mercedes is constantly adding special edition models and potient powertrains to the G-Wagen, keeping it fresh – at least on the surface. The latest examples of Mercedes’ lipstick-on-a-pig just debuted: the designo manufaktur Edition and the Exclusive Edition. Both models add extra flash to the G-Wagen’s body and interior, while leaving the greasy bits alone.
The two special editions are paired with certain models of the G-Class. The designo manufaktur Edition can be had with their the G350 d or the G500. The Exclusive Edition lives up to its name and is only offers on the AMG-branded G63 and G65. Aside from the fashionable add-ons, the G-Wagen is getting the automaker’s “Mercedes me connect” communication services. The free service includes integrated onboard communications for automatic emergency calls (eCall), accident recovery, breakdown management, and a full-time customer service department.
Continue reading for more on the G-Wagen’s special editions.