All posts in “Cars”

Here’s the last Dodge Viper

The last Dodge Viper has rolled off the line.

Ralph Gilles, FCA’s Head of Design since April 2015, posted a photo gallery on Instagram with the caption “So long… #Viper.” The gallery includes multiple photos of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the Dodge Viper has been built since 1995. In the gallery, we see a yellow unit with black stripes coming down the line, and Gilles is posing in front of it with Dodge/SRT Head of Design Mark Trostle. The yellow Viper is followed by a red car, with nothing else behind it on the line. That red Viper is “the ultimate last one,” according to Gilles, adding that the automaker will be holding onto that unit for the company’s heritage collection.

You can click through the gallery here:

When asked in the comments if the Viper was discontinued because of low sales, Gilles replied, “Not really as it sold well over the last couple of years at a great mix of mostly ACRs in the last 15 months. It has more to do with a new ejection mitigation regulation airbag that simply won’t fit in our package.”

Despite the solemnity of the post, Gilles is upbeat about the Viper in general, saying “The Gen5 had a great 5 model year run and the Viper platform which has not changed that much over the years had a great 25 year run!” He says he has great memories with the car, and that “they are relatively robust so they will be around making memories for generations to come!”

Still, we hope to see something that lives up to the Viper’s wild, raw spirit come from FCA in the near future.

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McLaren F1 25 years later: Designer Gordon Murray reflects on his classic creation

It’s been a quarter century since the introduction of the McLaren F1. In honor of this anniversary, McLaren caught up with Gordon Murray, the car’s designer, to talk about it and the development process. In the above video, Murray reveals a number of fascinating facts about the freakishly fast F1. For instance, the center seat placement wasn’t solely to evoke the feeling of being in an F1 car. It was also done to avoid having the pedals offset strangely as with other supercars of the era.

Some of the most interesting facts concern the F1’s top speed. Murray says that when the car was being developed, he never set any sort of performance or speed target, which seems odd for a car that immediately became the fastest street-legal car on Earth. Rather, Murray said, “I just tried to do the best car I could from an engineering point of view.” The fact that the F1 was so fast was just a pleasant result.

When the topic of the the McLaren F1’s top speed comes up in the video, there is some fantastic footage of the car setting its top speed record. Apparently, according to Murray, the company had to disconnect the rev limiter in order for the car to set its record of 240 mph, and even climb to 243 mph (391 km/h). The driver, Andy Wallace, also exhibits textbook British understatement as he reaches 391 km/h. When he tops out he says, “It will not go anymore than 391. But anyway, 391’s quite fast, isn’t it?”

Sure is. The video is definitely worth a watch.

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Kode 0 is a new one-off supercar from Ferrari Enzo designer Ken Okuyama

Ken Okuyama is famous for his time as lead designer at Pininfarina, and specifically known for penning the Ferrari Enzo. He now has his own design house in Japan. Last year, he wowed the world with a one-off supercar, called the Kode57, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. That car will return to The Quail this year, but will be joined by a new stablemate, a wedge-shaped supercar called Kode 0.

We don’t have a lot of details about the car yet, but what we do know is enough to excite us. The Kode 0 is powered by a V12 situated amidships. We’re not sure what the output is, but the 6.0-liter V12 in the Kode57 produces about 600 horsepower, if that’s any indication. The Kode 0 features a carbon fiber monocoque, which helps the car save weight and provides structural rigidity. The photo of the car in a magazine ad posted to Okyuama’s Facebook page says the Kode 0 is inspired by Italian supercars from the 70s, like the Lancia Stratos Zero and Lamborghini Countach.

In addition to the magazine photo, Okuyama has posted the following teaser shots of the car:

According the Ken Okuyama Design website, the Kode 0 will be unveiled at The Quail on Friday. We can expect to learn more details then.

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Aston Martin reveals Vanquish Zagato Speedster, confirms Shooting Brake

Today is a big day for fans of Zagato-bodied Aston Martins. The company has revealed the production version of the Vanquish Zagato Volante, a soft-top version of the beautiful Vanquish Zagato Coupe. It has the same 580-horsepower V12 as every Vanquish Zagato has, as well as a customized interior covered in so many “Z”s you’d think it was actually an Aston Martin Zoro. It’s in production now, but every example has already sold out. It isn’t the only open air Zagato to be shown today, though. Aston announced it is expanding its line of limited production Vanquish Zagatos with a Speedster and an upcoming Shooting Brake.

The Speedster makes its full debut this week, and unsurprisingly it looks both gorgeous and very similar to the Zagato coupe, and especially the Zagato Volante convertible. The key difference is that this open-top Zagato has dual cowls finished in exposed carbon fiber that flow back from the seats. Zagato says these are reminiscent of the “double-bubble” roof the company is known for, but seeing as this is also a traditional speedster cue, it seems more like marketing serendipity. That doesn’t make it less beautiful, of course. It’s also the rarest example of the Vanquish Zagato, as only 28 examples will be built, while the Coupe, Volante, and Shooting Brake will each be made in batches of 99. Like the Volante, all Speedsters have been sold.

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

There’s yet one more Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato that hasn’t entered production, and presumably hasn’t sold out yet: the Shooting Brake. As one would expect from a car with the Shooting Brake moniker, it will be a sporty wagon. It will still be a two-seater, which means it should have an impressive amount of cargo space. That storage can be accessed via a powered hatch, and it can be filled with custom made luggage from Aston Martin. The long swooping roof also features the double-bubble design, and consists of plenty of glass to let in light. Though the car hasn’t had a real-life reveal yet, Aston Martin has provided a rendering shown above to illustrate what it will look like. We’re rather smitten with the look. We also expect to see the production car revealed next year when production begins.

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Pebble Beach historic: 2018 Ford GT ’67 Heritage edition

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The new Ford GT will show up at Pebble Beach/Monterey Car Week in 1967 heritage livery, celebrating 50 years since Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The GT Heritage ‘67 will come in red with white stripes featuring a race number sticker and special interior colors and materials.

“In creating a worthy successor to the 2017 Heritage edition, we logically looked at our next historic Le Mans victory with the all-American team of Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt,” said Dave Pericak, global director Ford Performance. “The 2018 Ford GT ‘67 Heritage edition pays homage to that win, with a modern take on one of the most important vehicles in Ford’s storied history of racing.”

The Pebble Beach display car will sport number “1” on its gumball, plus 20-inch aluminum wheels with black lug nuts, red calipers and silver mirrors.

Inside the GT gets unique leather trim with red accent stitching, red seatbelt webbing and anodized gray paddle shifters.

Finally, all Heritage editions will come with a serial number plate, matte carbon-fiber doorsills, air register pods and center console.

The limited edition will be labeled a 2018 model. There’s no pricing info yet, nor a number on just how limited this limited edition will be. If you have the cash, call Ford now.

Hillclimb organizers fined $5,000 for Richard Hammond’s Rimac hypercar crash

Organizers of a Swiss hillclimb event have been fined and suspended over the crash in which Richard Hammond lost control of a Rimac Concept One in a curve. The $5,000 fine is a drop in the bucket compared to the loss of the $1 million electric hypercar, which was incinerated.

The Rimac left the mountain road, cartwheeling down a steep incline and narrowly missing a house before landing on its roof and burning. Hammond crawled from the wreckage and suffered a fractured knee.

Hammond was not a participant in the Swiss Hillclimb Championship. He and his co-hosts of Amazon’s “The Grand Tour” were there filming a segment. Jeremy Clarkson was driving a Lamborghini Aventador S, and James May was driving a Honda NSX. Clarkson said on Twitter that Hammond’s Rimac accident “was the biggest crash I’ve ever seen and the most frightening.”

From the video, it appears that Hammond entered the curve too hot on the Hemberg Bergrennen hillclimb, and simply lost control. He later did a video interview that gave his take on the crash. The Swiss sporting authority, Auto Sport Schweiz, in levying the fine, said the event had violated the FIA’s code of conduct. It’s a little unclear exactly wha’s meant by that, but the FIA had started looking into the crash immediately after it happened back in June, basically on the grounds that it made racing look bad.

“This accident tainted the reputation of motorsports in general and mountain races in particular, and the FIA has been forced to demand an opinion from [us],” Auto Sport Schweiz said in a statement at the time.

In addition to the fine, the hillclimb director and three stewards were suspended for six months. Motorsport.com says the future of the event is in question. Surely we’ll learn more about the circumstances of the crash when “The Grand Tour” second season begins in October.

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2018 Ford GT ’67 Heritage Edition honors Le Mans legacy at Pebble Beach

In 1967, the all-American team of Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt claimed victory at Le Mans in a Ford GT40 Mark IV. Both drivers went on to become racing legends, and the GT40 has been continually celebrated, inspiring the Ford GT that the company sells today. As a tribute to that famous victory 50 years ago, Ford will honor the 1967 Le Mans car with the 2018 Ford GT ’67 Heritage Edition, which will be on display at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The limited-edition GT boasts glossy Race Red paint with white stripes, as well as the same No. 1 that the winning car wore at Le Mans half a century ago. It also features an exposed carbon package, silver 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, red brake calipers, and silver mirror caps. Inside, the car’s carbon fiber seats are trimmed with leather with red accent stitching. Steering wheel stitching and seat belt webbing are also red, and the paddle shifters are anodized gray. The door sills, air vents, and center console all sport matte carbon fiber. A serialized identification highlights the car’s rarity.

The ’67 Heritage Edition follows the ’66 edition of the GT that Ford debuted last year. That black and silver car honors the GT40 Mark II driven to Le Mans victory by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon. We wouldn’t be surprised if Ford continues to make special editions in 2018 and 2019 as well, to honor the GT40’s 1968 and 1969 Le Mans victories.

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What to expect at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show: Hypercars, EVs and (even more) crossovers

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The 2017 Frankfurt motor show, aka the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, or IAA, will take place this Sept. 14 to Sept. 24. Much of the buzz around the event earlier this year involved the major automakers — including Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot, Volvo and Nissan — that were skipping the exhibition, and indeed, even some of the automakers slated to be at the German event pulled the covers off their flagship models well before September (we’re looking at you, Audi A8).

But a ton of important reveals are set to take place. Many of the cars from the likes of Seat and Dacia are less than relevant to American buyers, so here we’re focusing on the cars that will eventually be sold in North America. We’ll update the list as we get wind of more impending reveals — and we’re hoping for a few surprises, too.

2018 Porsche Cayenne spy video

New Porsche Cayenne: Here’s what we expect

The 2018 Porsche Cayenne will debut later this year with an evolutionary look and a new platform, CAR magazine reports. Prototypes of the all-new Cayenne, which will enter its third generation, have …

Aston Martin: We may see the new Vantage minus camouflage as soon as the show.

Bentley: The Continental GT is finally getting a ground-up redesign.

BMW: BMW has the busiest debut lineup so far, including the all-wheel-drive M5 sedan and 6-series GT. Additionally, we could see a 3-series electric vehicle or at least a concept; a “surprise” of some sort is said to be in the works as well, though whether that’s an i8 Spyder, an X7 crossover or the upcoming 8-series coupe remains to be seen.

Mercedes AMG Project 1 powertrain details

Hyundai: We expect to get another look at Hyundai’s Kona subcompact SUV, and the Korean automaker will show off some of its N-badged performance products (which aren’t headed to our shores just yet).

Jaguar: Jag revealed the E-Pace crossover (the internal-combustion-powered one) in July, but keep an eye out for a production version of the I-Pace (the all-electric one).

Kia: Kia’s Stonic, a compact-crossover platform-mate of the Hyundai Kona, will likely be in Frankfurt in production guise.

2018 Volkswagen T-Roc teaser

Mercedes-Benz: We’ll get another look at the production X-class pickup, which is interesting even if it doesn’t head to the North American market. Another EV concept — a follow-up to the EQ C crossover — is likely in the cards.

Mercedes-AMG: We should see AMG’s unreal Project One hypercar, perhaps the most hotly anticipated car of the show.

Porsche: We might get a look at the upcoming third-generation Cayenne SUV.

Volkswagen: VW signals its desire to jump into the subcompact crossover fray with the T-Roc concept.

Graham Kozak

Graham Kozak – Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they’re doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.
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Is a Mercedes-Maybach 6 convertible headed to Pebble Beach?

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The annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has turned into a small luxury auto show right before the Frankfurt or Paris motor shows, with luxury automakers filling the increasingly jammed Concept Lawn with dramatic concepts created just for the concours. This practice has noticeably picked up in recent years, and automakers now use the concours for gauging customer interest in front of those with the money to buy just about any car in the world.

A recent Instagram video posted by Mercedes-Benz design boss Gorden Wagener is now teasing, via some intended misdirection, a new Mercedes-Maybach concept expected to take to the concept lawn at Pebble this year, with Mercedes designers shuffling around sketches of past concepts including the Vision Maybach 6 concept coupe that debuted at Pebble in 2016.

Autocar reports the concept due at Pebble will be a drop-top version of the Mercedes-Maybach 6 but hasn’t cited firm production plans for the model.

The four-wheel-drive 2+2 EV seen last year produced a total of 738 hp through its four electric motors, drawing juice from an underfloor battery, and it was said to be capable of sprints from 0-60 mph of under 4 seconds while boasting a range of more than 200 miles. The sleek 18.5-foot-long coupe sat on 24-inch wheels, as if intending to crowd out other Pebble concepts through sheer square footage alone, and featured a chrome grille said to have been inspired by pinstripe suits. The concept also featured a number of classic Mercedes and Maybach design elements along with gullwing doors, plus a Star Trek-style interior.
 

The second-most-recent revival of Maybach never actually produced a convertible version when the W140-generation Maybach lineup was its own separate brand, only offering what we’ll graciously call a president-for-life Landaulet model. The Landau retained the C-pillars and rear doors of the Maybach 62 sedan, with the only open section being a retractable canvas roof for the rear seat passengers (permitting them to wave at adoring throngs of citizens). Maybach was criticized at the time for not offering a simple two-door cabriolet priced akin to the short-wheelbase 57 sedan, which could have helped sales in the sunnier tax havens.

It remains to be seen whether Mercedes-Maybach will field a production cabriolet, but with the S-Class Cabriolet already on the market, it will surely be easy for the automaker to develop an even more luxurious model based on it.

Maybach M62 Landaulet

The earlier iteration of the Maybach brand produced the lavish 62 Landaulet for a short period of time towards the end of the model run, but Maybach had not fielded a true drop-top at the time. Photo by Mercedes-Benz

Watch 280,000 Lego bricks become a McLaren 720S in just a minute

At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, McLaren brought a bright orange 720S constructed almost entirely of Lego bricks. The only parts not obviously made of the little plastic pieces were the wheels and tires. As cool as the finished product is, one of the most fun things about building with Lego bricks is building it, and seeing everything come together. Fortunately, McLaren let us get a peak at the process by releasing this time-lapse video of the process.

According to the video, the final model used 280,000 bricks, and it took a whopping 2,000 man hours to finish it. It’s all condensed into a one-minute video. One of the impressive things to note during the build is that the vast majority of the car really is made of the plastic pieces. Only a metal base and two structures on which to mount the wheels and tires weren’t made of Legos. The Lego 720S also is clearly quite sturdy, as there are a number of times when builders are sitting on the hood section without any issue. It’s a fun way to spend a minute of your day, so check it out above.

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There are 12 unsold Lexus LFAs left in the U.S. Want one?

While we were digging through automaker sales figures for July, we found a few odd sales of discontinued cars, but the strangest by far was the inclusion of the Lexus LFA in Toyota’s numbers. Apparently, a dealer sold one in July, and even more amazingly, six were sold last year. This is remarkable because production ended for the LFA way back in 2012, and there weren’t many examples to begin with. So we reached out to Toyota for more info, and we have good news, sort of, if you missed out on buying a new one when the car was, well, really new.

According to a Toyota representative, there are currently 12 LFAs around the country that are officially classified as dealer inventory. We also asked about overseas cars, but apparently those numbers weren’t available. Still, 12 technically new LFAs is a shocking number. The representative also gave us a detailed explanation from Lexus International on how this might have happened.

Basically, for the U.S. market, Lexus said the company intended to only take purchase orders on LFAs from customers to avoid price gouging and speculation. However, in 2010, orders started to drop off, and to make sure cars weren’t sitting at the factory, the company allowed existing LFA holders to order a second car, and also allowed dealers and executives to order cars for themselves or for selling at dealerships, and some of the dealer-ordered cars still come up from time-to-time as new sales.

So the cool news is that you might be able to still buy a new LFA if you really want to. But that’s a big might. These dealers have already held on to their cars for five years after the end of production, so they’re clearly not in a hurry to sell, and they may be holding them for all kinds of reasons, possibly as a collector’s item, or possibly as a display car, such as at Lexus Torre, a dealer in Puerto Rico owned by Purdy Motors. Lexus International said, “Some of these cars may never be sold, except perhaps by the dealer’s heirs.” So if you want one of these unsold LFAs, you’d better be a serious charmer with buckets of cash, and even that’s no guarantee. Good luck.

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The best of Gordon Murray comes together in November

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If you’ve designed some of the world’s best supercars and F1 race winners over the past 50 years, why not bring examples of each together? That’s what British car designer Gordon Murray will do for a week in November to celebrate the opening of a new, bigger design studio for his Gordon Murray Design company.

Murray is also promising to make “an exciting announcement concerning an all-new, groundbreaking vehicle” at the opening.

Murray plans to put 40 iconic race and road cars on display at Dunsfold aerodrome in southern England, including a 1978 Brabham BT46B “Fan Car,” 1981 Brabham BT49C championship winner and 1988 McLaren MP4/4 championship winner. The latter was the car driven by Ayrton Senna to his first F1 title.

“It will be a very proud and emotional day to see all these cars brought together,” said Murray, “as they chart my professional life as well as my perspective over the decades on complex challenges in vehicle design and engineering.”

1978 Brabham BT46B ‘Fan Car’

1978 Brabham BT46B ‘Fan Car’ Photo by Wikimedia Commons/edvvc

Race versions of road cars in the exhibition will include at least two examples of the McLaren F1 — the 1995 GTR Le Mans winner and a 1996 LM — although it’s reasonable to expect a few other examples of the F1 surfacing from various collections.

“Making this event happen presents a huge logistical challenge, as many of the vehicles are in private collections all around the world, and I’m hugely appreciative of their owners,” admits Murray.

Car buffs hope an example of the tandem two-seat Light Car Company Rocket from 1991 will make a rare appearance at the exhibit.

Murray was born and studied engineering in South Africa and moved to the U.K. in 1969 in search of a job as a race-car designer.

He had already built and raced the IGM Ford, a car to his own design, a replica of which has just been completed. The 1967 IGM was the starting point for Murray’s 50-year career as a car designer.

1981 Brabham BT49C Championship Winner

1981 Brabham BT49C Championship Winner Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Pereira, Fernando / Anefo

The IGM was given the code-name T1, and Murray has given all his designs a T-number since. The MP4/4, for example, was T19 and the latest design, the flat-pack Global Vehicle Trust OX utility truck is T34.

The exhibition also marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of Gordon Murray Design, set up after Murray finished with the team that created the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

GMD has designed a three-seat city car — the T25 — designed around a new low-cost manufacturing process called iStream.

The T25 and iStream have spawned a project with Yamaha for a compact city car, and the T26 concept will be at the exhibition.

Murray is also consulting on the revival of TVR and a two-seat sports car powered by a Cosworth-modified Ford Coyote V8. Although it’s unclear if the new TVR will be exhibited.

The location of the new studio is interesting, too — Dunsfold is also home to the Top Gear TV track and studio.

Once the exhibits return to their collections, GMD will install new design, development and production equipment.

1983 Brabham BMW BT52 World Championship Car

1983 Brabham BMW BT52 World Championship Car Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Anefo/Antonisse, Marcel

Cars confirmed:

  • 1967 IGM Ford Special (T1)
  • 1978 Brabham BT46B “Fan Car” (T9)
  • 1981 Brabham BT49C Championship Winner
  • 1983 Brabham BMW BT52 World Championship Car (T15)
  • 1988 McLaren MP4/4 Championship winner (T19)
  • 1995 McLaren F1 GTR Le Mans Winning Car
  • 1996 McLaren F1 LM
  • 2013 Yamaha City Car (T26)
  • 2016 GVT OX (T.34)

1988 McLaren MP4/4 Championship winner

1988 McLaren MP4/4 Championship winner Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Bahnfrend

McLaren 720S vs. motorcycles: Watch this Cars and Coffee clash

Cars & Coffee events are a nice way to gather enthusiasts together to appreciate a common passion. Plus, sometimes you get to see rarities like the McLaren 720S. Any time you get motor vehicles together, whether it’s at an event or just a routine commute, there’s a potential for drama, and that’s what appears to have happened at this Cars & Coffee gathering in Palm Beach. The video above shows the aftermath of a situation where a McLaren 720S hit a motorcycle after leaving the event.

The video shows a rider picking up their motorcycle to the side of the McLaren, while another biker walks around the car yelling, at one point telling another person filming to call the police. As the shot moves toward the front of the car, we see a second bike laying on its side in front of the McLaren, and the biker moves to the front of the car and continues yelling. The driver of the car, whose driver’s side door is still open, pulls away from the scene and turns right through the intersection, while the biker yells, “I got your license plate!”

The video description, as well as a post on Reddit, tells a larger story. According to those accounts, the motorcyclists cut off the McLaren, blocking it in. The driver of the car stepped out to talk to them, but forgot to engage the parking brake. The car rolled into the bike in front of it. The bikers, the accounts say, responded by punching and kicking the McLaren, with one taking a swing at the driver, who then drove away to call the police from a safer location.

The person who posted the account on Reddit also says the bikers claimed the McLaren came close to hitting them as it left the event, which is how the incident began. Of course, we don’t see what happens leading up to the beginning of the video, so we can’t verify any of the accounts. It doesn’t appear that anyone was hurt, but this doesn’t look like fun for anyone involved.

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This used to be a Ferrari 430 Scuderia

We know, it’s hard to believe this mangled, charred chunk of metal could be a Ferrari 430 Scuderia, the lightweight, more powerful, and generally extra sporty version of the already fun F430. But it certainly is, and sadly for it and the owner, this happened not long after they were united. According to the South Yorkshire Police Department’s Facebook page, when they responded to the emergency, the driver told them he had only had it for an hour before crashing.

The police report that the car was found roughly 150 feet down an embankment where it caught fire, which is how it ended up in such a sorry state. Based on the post, the road was wet, and the implication is he may have been driving more aggressively than he should have based on road conditions, but not at illegal speeds.

The police reported that the driver only suffered a few cuts and bruises, which is remarkable considering the severe damage. And while we’re sure the driver is grateful he came out ok, it’s probably hard for him to focus on the positive after losing a dream car so soon after picking it up. But with any luck, insurance will cover the car and he’ll be in a different Ferrari soon enough. Hopefully he’ll be more wary in wet weather with the next one, though.

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2017 Bugatti Chiron gets EPA fuel economy rating

There’s no doubting that the new Bugatti Chiron is a beautiful marriage of beauty and brawn. But for a cool $2.998 million there are, shall we say, more practicalsupercars (stop laughing) to whisk you to Davos or South Beach.

Put simply, the Chiron’s fuel-economy ratings, released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency, are absurd.

Sure, the 1,500-horsepower roadster’s quad-turbocharged, 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine delivers 1,180 foot-pounds of torque, has a top speed of 261 mph and does 0-to-60 in 2.3 seconds (watch it run up to 218 mph, here). Certainly impressive. But there’s a tradeoff: a measly 11 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving. That’s 9 mpg in the city and a whopping 14 on the highway.

That equates to an estimated annual fuel cost of $3,800, averaging $6.26 in gasoline — premium gasoline, no less — for every 25 miles driven. With a 9.1-gallon fuel tank, you’d be hard pressed, while zooming down the PCH or Autobahn, to squeeze out 100 miles before you’d need to find a filling station.

Still, it’s a slight upward tick from the Bugatti Veyron, which the EPA rated at 10 mpg combined. Bugatti says the W16 engine represents a 25 percent increase in performance compared to its predecessor, with nearly every single part of the engine examined and newly developed. Included are four turbochargers that are 69 percent larger than on the discontinued Veyron.

Somehow we doubt that the miserly fuel economy ratings will hurt the supercar’s prestige. Back in November, Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt told Autoblog that the Chiron’s uber-exclusive clientele owns an average of 42 cars in their impossible-to-imagine garages (plus 1.7 jets and 1.4 yachts, to boot).

With that many hot wheels, it’s safe to say the Chiron wouldn’t rack up the miles too quickly.

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Report: McLaren P15 road-going track weapon is coming

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With a new fleet of hypercars coming from Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz, it looks like McLaren is determined not to get left out of the mix. According to the folks at Autocar, the next addition to McLaren’s Ultimate Series will be a road-going but track-focused monster that’s currently called P15.

The team at McLaren won’t confirm the development of the car, but Autocar claims customers are already trying to get on a list to buy one of these limited-production hypercars. There could also be a reveal as early as this year but at a private customer event, with an auto show debut potentially happening in Geneva.

Powering this track weapon, according to Autocar, will be McLaren’s 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8, but the new 4.0-liter V8 that debuted with the 720S might make more sense considering the car’s track-oriented performance demands. The 720S supercar’s 710-hp 4.0-liter V8 is close to the projected 789-hp target.

Aston Martin Valkyrie

The car’s rear wing will be, reportedly, “huge” in the standard version of the car, with a GTR version likely doubling down on the car’s aggressive aerodynamics. If you’re unfamiliar with how creative McLaren is getting with its aero, check out the unbelievable details on the 720S in the gallery above.

Of course, by the time this car sees a McLaren dealer, the name won’t be P15. The rumored internal name is a play on McLaren’s most recent hypercar, the P1, which McLaren derived from the legendary F1. The Ultimate Series will also feature an F1-inspired three-seat hyper GT.

Autocar expects the car to start around 700K pounds, which at current exchange rates is $913K; hopefully, it’ll show up for the 2019 model year.

McLaren reportedly has another Ultimate Series car in the works – the P15

Automotive publication Autocar is reporting that McLaren has another new Ultimate Series hypercar in development that will be quicker than the P1. The publication says the car is called P15 and will be bare bones with a focus on function and lightweight to make it a monster on the track. The estimate Autocar gives for weight is under 2,900 pounds, and it estimates power to be about 789 horsepower from a version of McLaren’s ubiquitous 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8.

The publication doesn’t say whether the P15 will use some kind of electric assist. If it’s as basic and light as implied, there’s a decent chance it won’t be electrified. But McLaren has previously said it wants to have electrification in all of its cars within 10 years, and that was back in 2014, plus the P1 and the upcoming BP23 had and will have hybrid powertrains. So it would seem natural to give this P15 some form of hybrid motivation.

There are reasons to believe this rumor. Back in 2014, McLaren did confirm to us a report, brought up by Autocar, that it was working on a car with the P15 designation. At the time, it was predicted that this car would fit between the top level Super Series car, which is now the 720S, and the P1, and cost roughly half a million dollars. That would at first seem to contradict this new rumor that the P15 will be quicker than P1, but perhaps McLaren will still position it lower if it’s as bare bones and stripped out as Autocar suggests.

Additionally, Autocar was right about a rumor that McLaren was working on a three-seat F1 successor. which turned out to be the aforementioned BP23. McLaren’s CEO confirmed the car’s existence and three-seat layout along with a few other details. Specifically, it will be the fastest, most powerful McLaren yet, it will use a hybrid powertrain, and McLaren will build only 106 units. Not long after came an official sketch revealing a sleek, slippery profile.

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McLaren 570S Spider first drive: Lose nothing but the top

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So maybe the McLaren 570S Spider was inevitable. Maybe McLaren’s designers penned it a few years ago, right alongside the coupe, knowing from the start that the carbon-fiber MonoCell II tub underpinning the company’s Sport Series cars could shrug off a fixed roof without going all wet-noodly in the corners. Maybe they had fun, keeping us waiting.

So what?

With this new arrival, the 570 trio is complete at last — it can now be said that there is a McLaren Sports Series offering for everyone in the market for a space-age $200,000-ish two-seater. You’ve got the coupe, the luxury-oriented 570GT and now, the open-top toy that is the Spider…

…except that the Spider is more than an open-top toy. We know that convertibles traditionally come with a certain set of penalties: They’re heavier and often also slower. They creak and groan and sometimes flop their way down the road. They cost more. Yet the new McLaren dodges most (though not all) of these bullets, asking you to make very few real-world compromises to get that open-air experience.

And it even gains an extra 52 liters of cargo space over the coupe with the top up. Practical!

On paper, it looks a lot like the rest of the 570 family. Specs are similar to the coupe: 3.8-liter turbocharged V8, seven-speed dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive. Double-wishbone suspension with adaptive dampers and three selectable drive modes (each one noticeably different). Responsive electrohydraulically assisted steering.

McLaren 570S Spider first drive rear 3-4 doors open

It’s fine to be this showy if you can back it up with performance.

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Summer is in full swing, and that means it’s time for some top-down driving with uncomfortably warm wind in your hair and a gallon on sunblock on your face. One could always re-enact the Vanilla …

True, the 570S Spider weighs 101 pounds more than the coupe (all in the hardtop mechanism, not structural reinforcements). Yet McLaren still says it’s eager to take on all comers in a battle for lower curb weights, probably because it knows that’s the sort of battle it can win. Thanks to its maker’s mastery of lightweight carbon-fiber construction techniques, the 570S Spider is, at 3,302.5 pounds, a few hundred pounds lighter than the Audi R8 Spyder (which, granted, has a pair of extra cylinders and a quattro system to haul around) and even shaves a few dozen pounds off the Ferrari 488 Spider’s curb weight. Totally dry, it manages to come in at under 3,000 pounds.

A lower curb weight might not be as scintillating a spec as acceleration (for the Spider, still 0-60 in 3.1 seconds) or top speed (204 mph top up, 196 mph top down). But less mass makes for a livelier car no matter the output of its engine or number of driven wheels, and McLaren’s obsession with weight is heartening — a sign that remains focused on building driver’s cars, roof or no.

McLaren 570S Spider drive review extra cargo space

Who could say no to extra cargo space?

The Execution

In our tester’ eye-searing coat of Lamborghini-esque Curacao blue rounded out by McLaren orange brake calipers — a sort of deconstructed Gulf livery — the 570S Spider comes dangerously close to feeling frivolous. Something you cruise around a resort town in, stuck in second gear so everybody notices you.

You certainly can do that, and people certainly will notice you. But as soon as you escape the gridlock and find an open stretch of road, you’ll discover that this car is wasted on low-speed displays. McLaren brought us to sunny Barcelona for the 570S Spider launch. The program didn’t include a track drive component (though the car would have been up to the challenge). The area’s beautifully constructed and perfectly maintained roads were a great substitute — a series of flowing, winding ascents and descents peppered with tight switchbacks that failed to elicit even a hint of cowl shake.

The car isn’t 4C-sized, but it does shrink around you. Tucked behind the wheel, you’re low to the ground and feel immediately connected to the road; McLaren is known for building techy cars, but they are predictable, intuitive cars at their cores. The low mass, precise electrohydraulic steering system — exactly zero slack on center — and punchy engine (provided you’re on boost) give the car a sense of immediacy we’ve never quite felt in in the competition, no matter how competent it may be.

The brake pedal, which controls a set of carbon ceramic discs, is almost the opposite — it’s very stiff and responds to pressure more than it does travel. It takes a little mental recalibration to get on top of it, but the setup is ultimately intended to provide linear, predictable stopping power whether you’re tearing up a track or touring the back roads. You may or may not like it, but it’s a McLaren thing.

2018 McLaren 720S first drive review

Of course, nothing here couldn’t also be said about the 570S coupe, but we did it all with the top down. Sunscreen was provided.

All of our test cars came equipped with sport exhausts, which might as well be mandatory; when it comes to discovering its voice, the twin-turbocharged soundtrack can use all the help it can get. Wind it up to toward that 7,500 rpm horsepower peak and it screams, especially in those rocky tunnels blasted out of the Pyrenees (why can’t we drive in tunnels all the time?). Below 3,000 rpm or so, it doesn’t have much to say. A Ferrari V8, this motor is not.

But even if it isn’t the most progressive, organic-feeling V8 in the world, the twin-turbo 3.8-liter excels at delivering more than ample blasts of power, and the seven-speed dual-clutch is very good at handling it. Automatic mode is effective and generally pretty difficult to throw off-kilter. Switch to manual mode and use the wheel-mounted shifter paddles, and it is possible to bog yourself down while exiting a corner if you don’t set yourself up in a low enough gear. That’s partly a function of the motor’s powerband, but we actually like the fact that the car’s computer brain won’t override your poor decision-making — it makes manual mode feel more, well, manual, and less like a thin veneer of control.

(There’s one other complaint, so small in the grand scheme of things that we almost feel bad mentioning it. But here it is: The center-mounted infotainment screen is effectively rendered invisible by polarized sunglasses, which wealthy prospective buyers have been known to own and wear, and even if you take them off, the glare from the sun hitting its high-gloss surface makes it impossible to read anyway. Maybe an anti-glare screen protector would help?)

McLaren 570S Spider drive review interior

McLaren is proud to note that all of the switchgear in its cars’ cabins is custom-made — no parts bin sifting here.

The Takeaway

Unless you have some philosophical objection to the concept of convertibles, or you plan to spend a lot of the time at the track where every superfluous ounce is an enemy, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t opt for the 570S Spider over the coupe. We didn’t have the chance to probe vmax with the top down (or up, for that matter), and if you hadn’t told us about the extra weight, we wouldn’t have known it was there.

There is the matter of cost: With a starting price of $208,800, the 570S Spider carries a $20,200 premium over the coupe. That’s a lot to pay for an extra 52 liters of cargo space, but since they threw a folding top in with the deal, we’ll say it’s a bargain.

Be warned that if a 720S rolls up next to you, it will make your 570S Spider feel a little bit dated; the more expensive Super Series car wears such a radically different look that it makes the rest of the McLaren lineup — to say nothing of the competition — seem last-gen. We hope McLaren’s fresh design language and growing expertise cycles down to the Sport Series when the 570S’ replacement comes around.

But that’s potentially years away. The 570S Spider is an excellent car right now, whether or not you’re typically the convertible-buying sort. Like the coupe, it has a few imperfections but no worrying flaws. It’s versatile — with its folding hardtop, arguably more versatile than any other 570S — but still feels like an occasion to drive; there’s something special about the 570S’ combination of almost delicate lightness and rigidity and meaty, raw power, and not a bit of that specialness is lost in the translation to the Spider. It feels distinct from the competition. It feels like a McLaren.

McLaren expects that maybe 50 percent of 570S sales going forward will be Spiders. Considering how little you have to give up over the coupe to get the open-sky experience, that should come as no surprise.

Graham Kozak

Graham Kozak – Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they’re doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.
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Base Price: $208,800

Drivetrain: 3.8-liter turbocharged V8, 7-speed dual-clutch auto, RWD

Output: 562 hp @ 7,500 rpm; 443 lb-ft @ 5,000-6,500 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,302.5 pounds

0-60 MPH: 3.1 seconds

Fuel Economy: 16/23/19 (EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Great handling, low weight and everything we liked about the 570S Coupe, now served al fresco

Cons: Curious brake feel; the 720S makes it feel somewhat last-gen

2018 McLaren 570S Spider First Drive | A sweet breeze

The McLaren 570S Spider is madness. Not the car itself, which is a cogent convertible design based on the already handsome coupe. What is crazy is that a 562-horsepower machine that hammers to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds is only considered a sort-of, kind-of supercar. The Spider will be McLaren’s volume model in its lowest-priced, lowest-tier Sports Series designation. As such, it is the company’s starter supercar.

Should you have $208,800 in your Venmo account, you won’t give up anything except that fixed roof. There’s no perceivable performance demerit when it comes to this retractable hardtop, as it was developed alongside the regular 570S from the onset. The 0-to-60 time is a non-discernable one-tenth of a second slower, and it still gets to a 204-mph top speed when the roof is up. If you insist on a top-velocity hurtle with wind bathing the cabin, it would only limit you by 8 mph.

So, yes, madness.

​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider

It gains only 101 pounds, bringing it to 2,895. One assumes that the real-world difference is negligible. To find out, we flew to Barcelona, enjoying a full day scuttling over gloriously curvy roads in an otherwise remarkably unpopulated part of the world. I recently spent a week with the regular 570S, so my ass was as calibrated as one could hope. Would there be any failings of the Spider over the coupe?

Our test car was outfitted in a new hue, a deep Vega blue, with a dark finish on the roof and body accents. The Spider retains the same roofline as the hardtop and it is instantly recognizable as a variation. McLaren has finally settled into its own design language, with highly identifiable rear tail lamps and those unique 3D “tendon” doors first seen on the 570S coupe and which have now migrated to the 720S. It’s an architectural-leaning language that translates beautifully into a roadster.

With the top down, the Spider gets more attention than the coupe, and perhaps even more than the 720S, which I tested recently in Rome. Perhaps people simply feel drop-tops are especially exotic. Around the summer bustle of Barcelona, kids jumped up and down and attractive women on scooters gave us the thumbs up. There’s worse places to be noticed. The top goes down in a snappy 19 seconds at speeds of up to 25 mph.

​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider

We charged away from the nude beaches near the port and headed northwest, toward the elevations of the Castelltallat mountain range. The EU has laid mile upon mile of excellent tarmac throughout this remote countryside, where traffic lights are nearly nonexistent and most of the traffic is of the tractor variety. It’s the kind of place you dream of driving a convertible, sun browning your nose as you scroll through miles of rolling roads. We never saw a police car.

Under light throttle loads, the 570S is a chilled-out supercar. Like its coupe brother, the Spider is easy to live with. The damping is forgiving in every suspension mode. Even mid-corner bumps won’t unsettle the chassis. You can roll over speed bumps without scraping the underside and a resultant heart attack. The 570S is simply not strung as tightly as Secretariat, so it handles real-world roads in a real-car fashion. It flows over ridges in the road without tramlining or any chatter. I could imagine commuting to work in this thing – if I worked as a Hollywood agent.

The driving position is excellent and the interior materials good. Still, it’s the regular car conveniences where McLaren stumbles. The idiosyncratic seat controls, wonky sport/chassis mode controls, and the dodgy and slow infotainment. If you owned the car, you’d get used to them, but they irritate. The Spider does introduce a new problematic wrinkle as the digital screen washes out when exposed to direct sunlight. It’s even worse if you’re wearing polarized sunglasses. You need a navigator to help parse the navigation.

But when it’s time to get supercar serious, the Spider is remarkably prepared. Rigidity comes from the carbon-fiber tub, which McLaren dubs the MonoCell II and weighs only 165 pounds. This means that the Spider doesn’t need any extra body stiffening. Everything below the beltline is exactly the same as the coupe, including dampers and springs. Only the calibrations were tweaked due to the roof mechanism’s greater weight and slightly higher center of gravity.

​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider

The car wears either Pirelli P Zero or P Zero Corsa tires, and carbon-ceramic brakes are standard. The carbon stoppers are wondrous in full-attack mode, but can feel dull and resistant before they’re warmed up, especially around town. None of the Sports Series models get the hydraulic chassis treatment that comes with the higher-tier cars like the former 12C or 650S. The 570S isn’t likely to see a track day, however, so the system is not missed. The adaptive dampers and standard anti-roll bars do just fine. It also retains true-to-god hydraulic steering, something that’s highly welcome and that McLaren says isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

And of course, the powertrain is the same. The rear wheels are powered by the 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V8, with the aforementioned 562 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque, working with an Italian-produced seven-speed double-clutch. It lacks the absolute linearity of a naturally-breathing engine such as the one in the Lamborghini Huracan, but it’s as close as a turbo setup gets.

When gorgeous roads appear before us – a mix of sine-wave esses, closing-radius turns pinching around cliff walls and fourth-gear sweepers – the 570S gets down to business. I found that the best setup is manual mode, sport suspension and track powertrain. The middle chassis setting allows enough travel for choppy road surfaces, and the amped-up powertrain mode means the engine responds with gusto, but never feels temperamental or jumpy, like too many modern sports cars. McLaren is unbeatable when it comes to these minute calibrations.

And man, you can just slam through roads, choosing to either maximize rolling speeds and smoothness or grab-it-by-the-scruff and lob it through corners. The car’s balance abets the former driving style; its power-and-brake combo the latter. Either way, it’s a delight.

​​2018 McLaren 570S Spider

As for the question of coupe versus convertible, my ass-o-meter couldn’t discern a handling difference, and I’m decently keyed into what’s going on underneath me. In most ways, the top-down Spider simply enhances the experience. The aural extravaganza blossoms behind your head and you get a more visceral sense of speed and the roads – and the occasional whiff of flowers or cow shit, too.

But the very best thing is the 570S’s mortal nature. This is no race car for the road, which you could never hope to exploit. Rather, the McLaren is fit for real-world enthusiasts who drive in the real world. You don’t need an extra 200 horses. In the right setting, you can get 8/10ths from the 570S and still know that your talent will run out before the car does.

In this sense, I like it even better than the 720S. That car has the hydraulic suspension and 710 hp, and it is a handful under full throttle on a legal street. Frankly, it’s a handful on a racetrack, best approached studiously and conscientiously.

In comparison, the 570S is carefree and insouciant. A starter supercar? Hardly. But definitely one geared to taste the wind.

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Of V12s and 48 volts: Five questions with Mercedes’ director of R&D

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Ola Källenius has been a member of Daimler AG’s board of management since January, 2015, and he’s currently director of Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Källenius is also widely expected to be heir-apparent to Daimler Chairman and CEO Dieter Zetsche, when the 64-year-old Zetsche’s current contract expires in December, 2019.

That could bode well for auto enthusiasts generally and Mercedes loyalists in the United States in particular. Källenius, 48, has spent six-plus years at the Mercedes assembly plant in Alabama, where he became a loyal fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team and ended his run as president & CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International. His credits include a stint as director of operations at McLaren Automotive Ltd during development and launch of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren hyper-car, managing director at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines Ltd. in Brixworth, U.K., and managing director of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. He’s also an impressive driver in the seat of an E63 AMG.

Källenius sat down with reporters at the recent launch of the updated S-Class and covered topics ranging from the return of the inline Mercedes six to the coming of autonomy to the staying power of V12s.

Ola image 2

Q: Your new 3.0-liter inline six is the first production engine we’ve seen that generates 48 volts. Do you expect a fairly rapid roll-out of 48 volt technology going forward? Not just for Mercedes, but in the industry as a whole?

Källenius: Absolutely. As far as Mercedes is concerned, 48 volts in the S-Class is the first car of many. The road ahead will see much, much broader coverage–really from top to bottom on 48 volt technology, paired with plug-in hybrids as well. As we are approaching lower and lower CO2 regulations in all relevant regions –Europe, North America, China—it’s the combination. That means 48 volt in very large volumes, plug-in hybrids in significant volumes and then battery electric vehicles. For us, it’s an all-of-the-above scenario, and I think you’ll see it across the industry as well. There are just too many things you can do with 48 volts to ignore it.

Q: And yet we’re not getting the inline six in the updated S-Class in the States. A lot of in-tune people were convinced we would, and at face value it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Källenius: Let me talk about the engine and then I’ll talk about the rollout strategy. We’re trying to achieve superior performance with silk-like NVH. You know the benefits of an inline six, and an engine without the belts, and it’s the first application that I know of with an integrated starter-alternator, which makes better start-stop and host of advantages. It’s very power dense, and there’s a big pay-off in CO2 (reduction). The inline six is the first of a new breed. That technology will find itself in two other engines over the next few years.

With regard to the American markets, good things come to those who wait. When we introduce a brand new technology we often start with one car, we start in a region, and then step-by-step we kind of proliferate that technology into other regions and cars. Eventually, it will get to the US, as it will to all other big and relevant markets. Obviously, I know which car it is, but that’s a different press meeting. To tell you that I would have to reveal a few things that are not yet known to the public. I’ll throw you at least one bone: The S-class will not be the first car in the U.S. with the 48-volt six.

Why Mercedes new inline six matters even if no one is sure when well see it

Q: Nor is there a plug-in hybrid as you launch this S-Class, as there was with the previous generation. We thought we might see the inductive charging you’ve been working on.

Källenius: The plug-in comes this fall. We’ve extended (the electric-only) range on that, to about 31 miles in the European cycle, and the plug-in take rate is steadily growing. We started the inductive charging project relatively early and we will go to market with it next year, as a 2018 feature, though I’m not sure the line-up is set. The way it works is relatively simple for the user. Technically for us, it was a medium challenge to get there, but we’re close.

You basically just put a plate on the ground on your driveway or in your garage. You plug that in and then you have the corresponding plate underneath the car. When you drive in you can see in your instrument cluster how you’re driving over the plate, and it gives you directions so that you stop in the right place. If you have an electric tooth brush you know you put it on the little thing, it’s the same principle. Then you just step out of the car and that’s it.

It’s relatively expensive technology, so it’s an option. It’s about (35 percent) of the charge rate of a Level II plug-in charger, but this is the first generation and that will improve, and for a lot of people it might be worth the convenience.

Nissan Leaf plugless charger

Q: This S-Class has some of the most sophisticated self-driving technology we’ve seen—as if it could almost deliver Level 3 autonomy. How far off is Level 3?

(Ed. note:  In Level 3 autonomy, the operator is able to completely shift “safety-critical functions” to the vehicle, under certain traffic or environmental conditions. The driver is still present and will intervene if necessary, but he or she is not required to monitor freeway travel, for example.)

Källenius: If you look at what the S-class can do … I would call it the Level 2-plus or a Level 2-plus, plus. If we would take the inhibitors out then it could do Level 3 in many, many, many driving situations. The problem is that the regulatory environment is still heterogeneous on Level 3 and above. At the moment we’re in discussions with authorities literally around the world to nail that down and try to create as a homogeneous set of requirements as possible, because for consistency reasons and also engineering reasons the closer those regulatory frameworks are the better.

You can in general terms say that Level 3 is a system by which you can let the car drive and you can look the other way, and you’re not responsible for a certain use case, but not all the time. When the regulatory environment is clear and when we feel it is absolutely safe–we’re carrying the star on the hood and it’s crucial that we don’t take a slightly reckless, maybe technologically optimistic position—we can introduce that technology, and it’s not that far away.

Ola image 3

A job opportunity for motorheads? Even autonomous cars need drivers during development.

In parallel, we have a Level 4 and 5 effort going. Is that something completely different or is it just more of the same? It’s both. I’m just going to bundle those in one bucket and call it a robot car that drives itself. And the most obvious use case for that in the beginning is a robot taxi.

Why? It’s phenomenally expensive to do this. The number of sensors you have to put on the car, the computing power and so on adds tens of thousands of dollars once you get it into production. Where do you have a business case for something like that? You have it in a robot taxi scenario, where you can take a city or a part of the city and say “okay I’m going to put a hundred, two hundred, three hundred, a thousand, robot taxis into this area.” The amortization comes through not paying the driver. You could have a very quick amortization, so our effort on Level 4, 5 is robot taxi first. In our case the commercialization of that happens between 2020 and 2025 where we start rolling that out—either through our own mobility services that we’re building up or as a partner with other mobility services. We’re pretty open-minded on that.

That, and on the truck side. It might be platooning in tandem with another truck with a driver. Or perhaps the driver in the second truck can be resting while the system is active, which would then lead to a total longer working time for that truck. Which is of course an economical benefit. The truck needs to make money for its owner. In an ideal case the truck is running 24/7.

Ola image 4

It will not be resting in peace anytime soon.

Q: You’re talking a lot about autonomy and efficiency, yet V12 engines continue with this updated S-Class. Will the next full re-do bring the end of the S600 or S65 AMG?

Källenius: The V12 is around here for the foreseeable future. It’s a small clientele of connoisseurs, granted, but strong. I once met a very big AMG customer, and we had a new V8 that we wanted to demonstrate. I asked, “Why don’t you go for a ride?” and he goes “No, no, no, no, no, no! I only get in V12s.” And he was serious. Turns out he had 35 Mercedes V12s in different versions and colors. That’s an extreme example, but for some customers the V12 is the only choice, and that’s not easy to walk away from.

We will cater to that clientele with a very, very capable V12 for the foreseeable future. Whatever the regulation, we’ll meet the regulation. There can always be a technical answer to any technical challenge. Twenty, 30 years–how long that segment has legs I don’t know precisely, but we have no plans to give up on it.