2018 The Focus RS Heritage Edition is Here to Bid Farewell to the Current Generation
The current-generation Ford Focus RS has enjoyed an eventful life since it was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. But like all good things, the Focus RS’s time in the sun is about to end. Weep not, though, dear friends, because Ford is giving the hot hatch the proper swan song with the release of the Focus RS Heritage Edition. Limited to just 50 units, the Focus RS Heritage doesn’t dabble in the subtleties. It’s got enough goodies and equipment to make even hardened hot hatch fans tremble in excitement. And, if that little tease isn’t enough to persuade you, maybe the hatch’s bright orange exterior will do the trick.
2018 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
When it unveiled the 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4 in February 2015, Porsche finally did what gearheads had been asking for a very long time: it allowed the mid-engined Cayman to live up to its true potential, which had been kept leashed to prevent it from being faster than the base 911. Now that the first Cayman GT4 has come and gone and the mid-engined sports car it was based on received its mid-cycle update, it’s time for a new track ready coupe.
Ever since the first GT4 was announced, enthusiasts have been asking themselves whether Porsche will take things up a notch and develop a GT4 RS. But, despite favorable rumors and the fact that an RS version would make sense, a more powerful GT4 has yet to happen. This could change with the upcoming model. And even though there’s no confirmation whether it will be called the GT4 or GT4 RS, the new coupe will definitely pack a significantly beefed-up engine. So I’m tempted to go with an "RS" badge.
Updated 02/13/2018: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche Cayman GT4 out for a new testing session during cold winter conditions. New details suggest that the GT4 will be unveiled on March 6, at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS.
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.
2018 Lexus RC F 10th Anniversary Special Edition
Launched in 1989 as a luxury division of Japanese carmaker Toyota, the Lexus brand is getting ready to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019. But until that happens, Lexus has another event to celebrate. In 2008, the Japanese firm introduced its first F model, thus entering the performance-rated luxury market. A decade later and Lexus is throwing a party for the sub-brand with two anniversary models. One of them is the RC F 10th Anniversary Special Edition and made its debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
Much like most special-edition Lexus models, the RC F 10th Anniversary coupe isn’t radically different compared to the standard model. Updates include special paint and wheels on the outside, a unique trim for the leather interior, and a few extra standard features. It also comes in limited numbers, so this coupe won’t be around for a very long time. Let’s find out more about it below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus RC F 10th Anniversary Special Edition.
2019 Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder
Introduced in 2016, the current-generation Porsche Boxster gained a couple of major changes compared to its predecessor. While the styling and interior didn’t change much compared to the previous roadster, the new Boxster changed its name to the 718 Boxster, a tribute to a sports car from the late 1950s, and switched to turbocharged engines for the first time ever. Come 2018, and it seems that Porsche is finally working on a new version of the Boxster Spyder. First introduced in 2009 and relaunched in 2015, the Boxster Spyder is a modern tribute to the 718 Spyder of the 1960s, and the upcoming will be the first to actually wear the iconic "718" badge next to the "Spyder" lettering.
There isn’t a lot of information to run by as of this writing, but the spyder configuration is pretty obvious in the spy shots. The soft-top roof is different toward the back, while the engine hood features the famous flying buttresses. I also spotted a few changes front and rear. They’re not massive, but they do make the Spyder a bit more aggressive. Under the hood, it should get the most powerful engine ever fitted in a Boxster, but the nameplate’s switch to turbocharging makes things a bit complicated. We should find out more later this year, but until then let’s have a closer look at the spy shots in the speculative review below.
The new 718 Boxster Spyder could break cover in the summer of 2018.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 718 Boxster Spyder.
2018 BMW Z4
Announced in early 2013, the BMW-Toyota partnership is beginning to take shape with a couple of cars that will share underpinnings and drivetrains. Many rumors have circulated since the two automakers announced the collaboration, a lot of which has been centered on the revival of the Toyota Supra and the development of the next-generation BMW Z4. At one point, reports said that the iconic roadster will be replaced by a new nameplate called the Z5, but it turns out that the Z4 is here to stay. This was confirmed by the Z4 Concept that BMW unveiled in 2017.
After more than three years of unconfirmed speculations, the Z4 has made several public appearances as a camouflaged prototype. Our paparazzi caught the roadster during cold weather testing in early 2017, which suggests that BMW has been working on this new model for quite some time. Come early 2018 and the Z4 was caught stretching its wheels alongside the BMW 3 Series and the new Toyota Supra. The thin camouflage is a strong hint that an unveiling will take place very soon. The roadster will ride on a brand-new platform but it will share engines with other BMW models. Have a look at my speculative review below for more information and stay tuned for updates.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW Z4.
2019 Hyundai Veloster N
Introduced in 2011, the Hyundai Veloster replaced the Tiburon (known as the Coupe in other markets) in the United States. Essentially a hybrid between a hatchback and a coupe, the Veloster is available in a three-door configuration only and uses small-displacement four-cylinder engines exclusively. Offered in base and Turbo trim, the Veloster gained an N version with its second-generation redesign. The higher-performance variant crafted by the still-new N division will be the first beefed-up Hyundai to cross the pond to the U.S.
Previewed by a series of concept cars with mid-engined configurations, the high-performance Veloster debuted alongside the standard hatchback at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Both boast sportier styling, new technology, and improved engines, but the N model also sports a number of aggressive aerodynamic updates, exclusive features inside the cabin, and turbocharged engine powerful enough to give the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST a run for their money.
Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Veloster N.
2020 Subaru WRX
Ever since its introduction in 1992, the Subaru WRX has promised enthusiasts a thick slice of the high-flying, sideways-sliding, gravel-spraying antics that made the six-star brand famous in the World Rally Championship. Thanks to its turbocharged flat-four engine, stout suspension set-up, speed-oriented interior, and wing-heavy exterior styling, the WRX has cemented its reputation as a machine capable of competition-style performance, but at a price that keeps all your internal organs inside you, rather than going to the highest bidder. Over the years, we’ve seen four generations of the ’Rex, with U.S.-based consumers getting their first taste in the early 2000’s with the second-gen “bug eye” iteration. These days, though, the WRX is considered a bit long in the tooth. While still a solid performance buy, the alternatives are plentiful, while the WRX’s updates mostly just spin the tires. In truth, enthusiasts are clamoring for an updated next-generation WRX capable of besting much fresher offerings from the likes of Ford and Honda.
Luckily, it appears as though Subaru is working on exactly that, as previewed by concepts like the Viziv Performance sedan that dropped at the Tokyo Motor Show back in 2017. But we’re impatient, so we decided to create a rendering, put on our thinking caps, and write up a speculative review on what we think the next-gen WRX could bring to the table. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Subaru WRX.
2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet
Introduced in 2011, the current-generation 911 is entering its seventh year on the market in 2018. It may sound like a lot given that most carmakers redesign their models every six to seven years, but the 2015 facelift (called 991.2) managed to keep things fresh. However, the 991-gen 911 is indeed getting a bit long in the tooth, and a brand-new model is under development for the 2019 model year. The German firm has been testing the 992-generation 911 since late 2016, and the sports car’s design moved closer to its production form in the final months of 2017. Come January 2018 and Porsche began testing the convertible version.
Spotted on public roads with the top down, the upcoming 911 Cabriolet sports the same design features as the coupe. Not surprisingly, the visual upgrades are rather mild, with the 992 exterior being heavily based on the outgoing model. The interior is still a mystery as of this writing, but more changes are in store under the skin. The fact that every version of the 911 will be turbocharged is a known fact, but word has it that the next-gen 911 will also get a hybrid variant and maybe even an all-electric model. There’s a big chance that the 992 will be a radical departure from the traditional 911 and the convertible model will follow suit.
An official unveiling is likely to happen in 2018, but I expect more test cars to hit the road over the next six months. So stay tuned for updates and check out the speculative review below for more info on the next-gen 911 Cabriolet.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 911 Cabriolet.
2018 KTM X-Bow GT4 by Reiter Engineering
Launched back in 2008, the X-Bow (pronounced "crossbow") is KTM’s only automobile to date. In 2015, the Austrian firm introduced the GT4, a closed cockpit version of the X-Bow built in cooperation with Reiter Engineering, one of Germany’s most important racing teams. Considered to be a pioneer vehicle of the GT4 category, the X-Bow GT4 has scored numerous victories and titles in the GT4 European Series, Pirelli World Challenge, VLN, China GT, Thailand Superseries, and Australian GT in less than four years. Come 2018 and KTM is updating the race car for the upcoming motorsport season.
While exterior changes are rather mild and the cabin carries over unchanged, save for a few new techy bits, the X-Bow GT4 boasts many new features under the skin. There is a new transmission and some new chassis components, all designed to increase performance, increase mileage, and reduce running costs. "Although we already have a GT4 vehicle that offers one of the best values for money – just take a look at the VLN where there’s no other car that runs faster lap times for less money – we want to further reduce the costs for the teams and the drivers with these updates," said Reiter Engineering boss Hans Reiter.
So what’s new for 2018? Keep reading to find out.
Continue reading to learn more about the KTM X-Bow GT4.
2017 Honda Civic Type R - Driven (Again)
The Honda Civic Type R has quite a legacy to its name, though none of it happened on American soil. Thankfully, that’s changed for 2017 as Honda has finally brought the Type R Stateside. In fact, its turbocharged engine is made in Ohio before being shipped to Wiltshire, England for assembly in the car. That’s right, this Japanese hot hatch has an American heart and is born in Britain. How’s that for multi-cultural? But more than that, the Type R’s appearance on U.S. soil means we finally have the chance to compare it to its fiercest rivals – the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI, and Volkswagen Golf R.
As it turns out, I’ve driven each of the competitors. Each are immensely fun and worthy of loads of respect over their engineering and outright impressive performance. The Type R joins those ranks with the same impressive level of technical wizardry and high-tech manufacturing techniques. I’ll dive into some of that, along with comparing it to the RS, Subi, and Golf R. It will be a fun ride, so read along.
Continue reading for more on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.
2018 ATS GT
Revived in 2012, almost 50 years after it was originally established in Italy, ATS, short for Automobili Turismo e Sport, returned to the market with a couple of open-cockpit, race-inspired sports cars. These prototype-style vehicles were followed by the Leggera roadster in 2015, but not much happened since then. Now, ATS is making a new comeback to the market, this time around with a potent supercar that promises to give Ferrari and Lamborghinis a run for their money. It’s called the ATS GT and pays tribute to ATS first road car, the 2500 GT, launched all the way back in 1964.
If you haven’t heard of ATS before, it was established in 1963 by former Ferrari employees Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini after the "great walkout" of 1961, when Maranello lost some of its most valuable engineers. ATS was established as both an automobile constructor and a Formula One race team, but it survived for only two years. Its only road car, the 2500 GTS, wasn’t exactly successful either, but it remained in history as the second mid-engined sports car ever produced. Come 2017 and ATS is trying to recapture its former glory with the GT, a supercar that employs state of the art technology, a premium interior, and a powerful engine. It’s also the first ATS to join the small niche of exclusive supercars with high price tags and limited production runs.
Continue reading to find out more about the ATS GT.
2018 BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car
BMW M GmbH has been the partner of MotoGP organizer Dorna Sports for nearly two decades now, and is recognized as the “Official Car of MotoGP.” That means every time the top-rung motorcycle racing series needs something four-wheeled to help out on tack, Bimmer is there to provide the ride. Now, BMW has revealed a new safety car for the series, pulling the sheets at the 2017 MotorGP finale at Valencia. Based on the brand-new F90-generation M5, which was revealed earlier in 2017 at the gamescom trade fair in Germany, this spiced-up four-door is destined for duty in the 2018 MotoGP series scheduled to kick off March 19th. Rocking the same 4.4-liter V-8 as the road-going variants, this is also the first BMW Safety Car to run the M xDrive AWD drivetrain, and it’s got a good deal of M-branded Performance Parts to go with it. Read on for the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M5 MotoGP Safety Car.
2020 Nissan Silvia S16
Between the 370Z and the GT-R, you could make the argument that Nissan already has a pretty solid lineup of sports cars. However, the more discerning enthusiasts out there will be quick to point out just how much more could be done. After all, the current Z car is practically ancient by modern standards given its introduction dates all the back to 2009, and at six figures, the current GT-R is just way too expensive for the average speed lover. That said, there’s one nameplate that desperately needs to be brought back into the discussion – the Silvia. The last time we saw this two-door beauty was in 2002 with the S15, and we think the time is right for a follow-up S16 generation to round out the Japanese automaker’s performance offerings. We know we’re certainly not alone in that respect, and indeed, the next-gen Silvia was expected to show in concept form at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Alas, such a creation never surfaced, but fear not, because we did a little chin scratching, drew up the above-featured rendering, and wrote up the following speculative review to help bridge the gap.
It’s been over 15 years since the S15 bit the dust, so any follow-up has a bit of catching up to do. However, we think Nissan has the right stuff to make it work. Read on for our take on it.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Nissan Silvia S16.
2017 Spyker C8 Aileron LM85
The C8 Aileron has been around for about seven years now, first making the scene at the 2010 Salon International de l’Automobile in Geneva. As the automaker points out, the debut “marked a significant milestone in Spyker Cars’ history,” but with the production cycle soon ending and a third-generation vehicle on its way, Spyker is giving the C8 Aileron a proper send-off with this – the LM85 special edition. Inspired by Spyker’s racing and aviation history, the C8 Aileron LM85 will be limited to just three examples, and come with new enhancements for the exterior and interior, plus a solid supercharged wallop from the mid-mounted 4.2-liter V-8 engine.
Continue reading to learn more about what makes the Spyker C8 Aileron LM85 special.
2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 By Hennessey
The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 is the fastest and most powerful Corvette ever created. It has 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque on tap, and when used to its potential, it’s capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in a staggering 2.6 seconds. These numbers are more than enough to leave people breathless, but one tuning company isn’t impressed. Not one bit, actually. Welcome, then, to the world of Hennessey, where 755-horsepower cars are shrugged off in favor of tuned versions of the same car, dialed up to as much as 1,200 horsepower.
There’s nothing surprising or shocking about this because we’re talking about Hennessey. This is the same outfit that gave birth to the mental Venom GT. It’s also the same company that served up an even more monstrous follow-up in the Venom F5. Oh, and we can’t forget about its tuning programs. There’s been a lot of them. But now, it’s the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1’s turn in the spotlight, and in true Hennessey fashion, it doesn’t disappoint. Not by a long shot.