All posts in “Cars”

Aston Martin confirms its third mid-engine hypercar

Consider the rumors confirmed. Aston Martin will build a third mid-engine hypercar that’s currently codenamed 003, following the Valkyrie (code 001) and track-specific Valkyrie AMR Pro (code 002). Aston Martin says 003 will borrow lots of technology from its forebears, including hybrid electric propulsion and carbon fiber-intensive construction. But there are some significant changes being baked into this third hypercar that will set it apart from the first two.

First up, Aston Martin will use a turbocharged engine in 003. Both versions of the Valkyrie used naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V12 powerplants co-developed with Cosworth. We don’t have any power specifications for the turbocharged hybrid drivetrain of 003 yet, but we know the Valkyrie’s V12 puts out as much as 1,130 horsepower from its gasoline-burning engine and electric motors. We can’t say for certain, but we wouldn’t bet against Aston pushing that figure further into the stratosphere with the turbo-enhanced unit that will power 003.

Aston Martin also promises “active aerodynamics” that provide “outstanding levels of downforce in a road-legal car” to go along with “active suspension systems.” Sounds like there’s a good chance double-oh-three could be more advanced than its older siblings. That said, Aston says its third mid-engine hypercar is being designed for use on the road in addition to the track, with “more practical concessions to road use, including space for luggage.” And all of that has our interest piqued.

Something conspicuously absent from Aston Martin’s latest hypercar announcement are any mentions of partnerships. Both Valkyrie models were designed with plenty of input from Red Bull Racing and its famous technical director, Adrian Newey. There’s also no mention of Mercedes-Benz or its AMG division, from which the British automaker sources its current lineup of V8 engines.

How much input will Red Bull have in 003? Will its turbocharged V8 be sourced from Mercedes-AMG? We’ll just have to wait and see. What we do know, though, is that the FIA’s Hypercar Concept racing series is sounding more interesting by the minute. And, if the sketch above is at all indicative of 003’s actual production design, this third hypercar will be quite a bit different from the first two.

Project 003 is expected to hit the road late in 2021. Global production will be capped at 500 units. Pricing, naturally, is not yet known, but if you have to ask, well, you know the rest.

Related Video:

Everything You Need to Know Before Buying the Unloved Porsche 911

Almost everybody who loves cars loves the 911. Unless, of course, we’re talking about the 996 generation, made from 1997–2004 and perhaps one of the most vilified performance machines in all of car-dom. The 996 was the car that killed the air-cooled flat six, usurping the far more desirable 993 that preceded it. The 996 replaced the 911’s iconic round headlights with a shape vaguely reminiscent of a runny fried egg. The 996 came from the factory with a fatal flaw that could result in catastrophic engine failure.

I’m probably not making a great case for the 996 right off the bat, and on the surface, the odds are stacked against it. The thing is, though, that despite its faults, the 996 wasn’t as bad as many make it out to be. Today it represents pretty good value on the used car market, especially while air-cooled cars continue to trend upwards in price. As long as the significant issues with the car have been resolved, you have a relatively reliable, relatively practical and relatively affordable version of one of the most iconic cars ever made. Haters be damned.

Performance

This wasn’t just the first water-cooled 911, it was the first 911 since the model’s inception to roll on a completely brand new chassis and suspension. That means a larger — but sleeker — body and of course those new headlights. You know what it also means? Better handling. While earlier 911s tended to dangerously oversteer under heavy cornering, this was something engineered out of the 996.

In fact, in a 1998 review, The New York Times compared the 996’s handling more favorably to the earlier 993. Their analysis? “The [993] was substantially noisier at all engine speeds, and its handling characteristics, as good as they are, proved far inferior to the new car’s… By every measurement, on or off the track, the new 911 is superior to the old one.”

And that doesn’t even get us to power. Yes, Porsche switched to a water-cooled engine design to meet increasingly stringent emissions standards, but it also allowed them to add four valves per cylinder and to generally squeeze out more power. The base 993 Carrera, for example, was making 268 horsepower out of a 3.6-liter flat-six, while the comparable 996 made nearly 300 horsepower from just 3.4 liters; the later car, thus, was 0.7 seconds quicker to 62 miles per hour form a standstill.

That sort of progress is meant to be expected as time marches forward, but it illustrates just how much of a leap the 996 was. Yes, air-cooled Porsches will always be lusted after, but the 996 is very clearly not without its merits. What’s more, it’d make a reasonable daily driver, too. A long-term test of a 1999 Porsche 996 from Car & Driver lauded its “everyday practicality and reliability” even after accumulating thousands of miles of winter driving.

Problems

No discussion of the 996 is complete without mentioning the infamous intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing. The shaft connected the crankshaft to the camshaft by a ball bearing. The problem was that there was no way to lubricate this bearing and, in time, it would dry out and fail. Well, sometimes it would; a class action lawsuit cited that the failure rate was somewhere around 10 percent on 2000 to 2005 model years. What’s more, it would happen seemingly at random, with no warning signs. When it went, the fix was to replace the entire engine.

So, when searching for a 996, search for a model that’s had the IMS bearing issue resolved (and the paperwork to prove it). If you find a car that you like but hasn’t had the IMS bearing replaced by a more effective aftermarket upgrade, use that to your advantage when bargaining the price and budget for a fix after the transaction. According to Jalopnik, two proven replacement bearing kits both cost around $1,000, and you can even install a sensor that detects bearing wear.

IMS bearing issues aside, most purport the 996 to be fairly reliable, at least for a German sports car. One more thing to consider checking, though, is for any signs of the cylinder head and liners cracking. When getting the car inspected before purchase, make sure a borescope inspection is done to see if there’s any sign of this.

Trims

The beauty of the 911 is that they made more versions than you can shake a stick at. The cheapest versions today remain the more basic Carrera and Carrera S, which you can still find under $20,000, though better examples are in the low twenties. Expect to pay more of a premium for the 4 and 4S models, the latter which is prized not just for its AWD and higher engine output but its wider hips at the back. Expect those to run in the high twenties and low thirties. And do you want to know what’s really crazy? You can still get the batshit Turbo model for under $60,000. The coveted GT3 version will set you back somewhere around $70,000, but that’s still cheaper than later generations. There’s also the GT2, which has held its value well and still sells for well over $100,000 today.

Key Specs:

Engine: 3.4-liter flat-six; 3.6-liter flat-six; 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six
Transmission: 6-speed manual; 5-speed “Tiptronic” automatic
Drive: RWD; AWD
Horsepower: Between 296hp and 476hp
0-62mph: Between 5.4 seconds and 3.6 seconds

At $33K, the Lexus UX Is the Premium Brand’s Most Affordable Car

Updated September 19, 2018: The Lexus UX, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show last March, will be the brand’s most affordable vehicle yet. It’s a compact crossover that will be offered in both hybrid (the UX 250h base MSRP is $35,025) and non-hybrid guise (the UX 200 base MSRP is $33,025). It’ll be less expensive than its Mercedes-Benz (GLA 250) and BMW (X1) competition. Only the hybrid is offered with all-wheel drive (the UX 200 is FWD), and both models are less powerful than their rivals. However, the UX 200 utilizes the very good transmission found in the shockingly fun new Toyota Corolla. The UX will be available in December; the Hybrid will bow in January 2019.

Lexus UX 200 Specs:
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmission: CVT; front-wheel drive
Horsepower: 169
Torque: 151 lb-ft

Previous Coverage:

It’s no secret that the Geneva International Motor Show is, essentially, the premier car-launch event of the year. Thanks to a mixture of timing and location, the early March mega-show is a new-car Mecca where dozens of exciting metal goes on display. We’re looking forward to seeing fresh cars, refreshed cars and much more next week ahead of the public unveilings. But among all the sport sedans and hypercars and 4x4s is one vehicle in particular that stands out: the all-new Lexus UX compact crossover. The UX is a tiny version of the NX crossover set to compete with the Audi A3 and Mazda CX-3, among many others. It’s also a massive deal.

Nevermind the dubious moniker Lexus is giving the car — the brand’s “first urban crossover” — what matters here is that the UX is poised to check off the right boxes for a boatload of customers. At the turn of the millennium, Lexus was on top of the premium segment in the US and remained such for over a decade. When the NX crossover was launched in 2015, the brand regained traction lost to Mercedes and BMW in the interim. I’m guessing that the UX may nudge Lexus even closer to the top again for two reasons.

First, the ‘compact crossover’ is, for all intents and purposes, a wagon. It’s a little taller and a little dumber, but it’s at least a wagon/hatchback hybrid. Wagons are, objectively, the most practical overall car choice around, but consumers prefer their taller SUV relatives, which is why ‘compact crossovers’ do so well: they represent wagon practicality and SUV-ish height.

Second, Lexus styling continues to be remarkably distinctive in a world of lookalikes. While most other premium makers are relying on design language inspired by underbaked clay introduced to a wind tunnel, Lexus doubles down on aggressive, sharp styling. I think consumers will be attracted to edgy, new cars in this segment, especially when alternatives are the relatively stale German competition and otherwise derivative contenders from Infiniti.

(Not for nothing, the name “UX” is a clever play too — there’s a high probability of tech-minded folks coming across this little car when Googling things like ‘new UX’ and ‘best UX’.)

My prediction is that we’ll see a multitude of UX crossovers materialize very quickly once the car is officially launched, that most of them will be mid-to-high trim levels and that, seeing success, Lexus will edge back up as a major threat in the US premium segment. And who knows? Maybe the UX will be a great car too.

Porsche Just Revealed its Maniacal 2019 911 GT3 RS

The latest non-turbo, race-ready 911 variant, freshly facelifted and very green, has finally arrived. Read the Story

Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2

The new Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 were unveiled yesterday at the Capital Market’s Day at the factory in Maranello (Ferrari also announced 15 new models you may want to check out). These limited-edition special-series Ferraris are the first in a new category that Ferrari calls ‘Icona’, essentially custom cars made for collectors. The company has experience with building special edition and one off Ferraris for collectors so this seems like a natural extension. The Icona cars will essentially be cars that look like classic yesteryear racers, underpinned with the latest chassis, electronics and engines. Think of classic Ferraris of the 1950s coupled with the most advanced sports car technology available today and you pretty much nailed it.

The first iteration of the program is the Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2. Reminiscent of racing barchettas of that late 1940s and early 1950s, both cars look amazing. The Ferrari Monza SP1 is a single-seat sports car with no windscreen while the Ferrari Monza SP2 is a more classic two-seater. Both cars feature no roof, no windscreen and no side air bags.

Both the Monza SP1 and SP2 are based on the Ferrari 812 Superfast and come with a 6.5 liter V12 engine with 810 hp to the rear wheels. Aluminum chassis and carbon fiber body make for a lightweight car and absurd power to weight ration. Expect sub 3 second sprint from standstill to 60 mph and scintillating 7.9 seconds to 125 mph. Top speed will be around 186 mph.

We don’t think these cars will be approved for road use, so expect them to be track-day only machines.  Maybe that is why Ferrari said buyers will get a racing jumpsuit designed by Italian high-end luxury brand Loro Piana. Speaking of buyers, only a maximum of 500 units will be produced although we expect that this is slightly inflated and that we will only see a few hundred units max.

If you’re looking for a 1950’s style design with modern technology underneath and you like to track your cars, this may be the Ferrari for you. All you have to do is pony up the more than a million dollars these cars will cost.

We stated the obvious earlier, that the SP1 is a single seater, while the SP2 is a two-seater. That is the biggest design difference as it impacts other parts of the car. The Monza SP1 has a tonneau cover while the SP2 gets rid of the cover to make room for the second passenger. There is small windscreen and a second roll bar hoop in the SP2 which further differentiates the designs.

At the front, both cars have carbon fiber front slitter which resides below a wide grille and protruding LED daytime running lights. Bigger changes occur further back as the windscreen has been removed and this promises to give owners a taste of the “blistering speed” that Formula 1 drivers experience.

Further back, the models have been equipped with unique half-doors that open upwards. They provide access to a compact cabin which features a three-spoke steering wheel, special switchgear and plenty of exposed carbon fiber components.

Getting back to the windscreens for a second, Ferrari says they have developed and patented an innovative “Virtual Wind Shield” technology which is integrated into the fairing ahead of the instrument panel. While it doesn’t look like much, Ferrari says the virtual windscreen deviates enough air to maintain driving comfort.

Ferrari was coy on additional details, but the Monzas have a 6.5-liter V12 that is the “most powerful engine Maranello has ever built.” It produces 799 hp (603 kW / 810 PS) and 530 lb-ft (719 Nm) of torque. This enables the cars to accelerate from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 2.9 seconds and 0-124 mph (0-200 km/h) in 7.9 seconds. If the driver is brave enough, they can hit a top speed in excess of 186 mph (300 km/h).

Press Release

THE FIRST MODELS IN A NEW CONCEPT OF LIMITED-EDITION SPECIAL SERIES CALLED ‘ICONA’
The Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 unveiled – Iconic cars whose sophisticated design and engineering is inspired by legendary Ferrari Sports cars of the past

Maranello, 18 September 2018 – The new Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 have been unveiled on occasion of the company’s Capital Market’s Day at the factory in Maranello. These limited-edition special-series cars are the first in a new segment called ‘Icona’ and draw inspiration from the most evocative Ferraris of the 1950s and feature the most advanced sports car technology available today.

Aimed at dedicated clients and collectors, the Monza SP1 and SP2 reference the iconic Ferrari racing barchettas of the past, not least the 1948 166 MM, which originally inspired the name ‘barchetta’, and the 750 Monza and 860 Monza. Designed with the sole aim of winning, these uncompromising models helped build the Ferrari legend in the 1950s by delivering numerous victories in the World Sports Car Championship.

The Ferrari Monza SP1 was designed as an uncompromising single-seat road car that offers a truly unique experience behind the wheel. The second configuration, the Monza SP2, thanks to the elimination of the tonneau cover and the addition of a second protective screen and a second roll-bar, is instead a two-seater enabling the passenger to share the same driving sensations.

The Monza SP1 and SP2 feature a unique design, the best weight-to-power ratio of any barchetta, thanks to the extensive use of carbon-fibre in construction, and distinctive details, such as head-and tail-lights, wheels and interior, which further enhance the cars’ exclusivity. Equipped with the most powerful engine Maranello has ever built, a 810 cv V12, they can sprint from 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds and 0-200 km/h in 7.9 seconds.

The architecture of the two cars is based on a monolithic form with an aerodynamic wing profile where the complete absence of a roof and windscreen gave the designers the freedom to create unique proportions that would not have been possible on a traditional spider.

The result is the feeling of blistering speed normally only experienced by Formula 1 drivers, which derives from the concept of a cockpit carved from the car’s very volume that wraps around the driver.

The Ferrari Design Centre has sought to create a very pure design, as though born of a single pencil stroke, to convey an ideal of timeless elegance, minimalist form and refined detail. Visually complex solutions, such as those seen on recent racing cars, have been avoided, giving way to a more understated formal design language. Never has a model expressed such a narrative power, highlighting its appeal as a driver’s car where the link between man and automobile becomes symbiotic.

A radical choice was made for the design of the cars’ compact doors which open upwards. Equally important is the all-carbon-fibre one-piece bonnet-wing assembly which is hinged at the front to showcase the imposing V12 engine once open.

As with racing models, the bodyshell of both cars is made entirely from lightweight carbon-fibre. The entire interior is trimmed in the same material with a natural finish to enhance the sporty impact of the design. Weight reduction and the ‘barchetta’ configuration guarantee unique vehicle dynamics: perfectly balanced with no roll whatsoever for pure, uncompromising sports-car handling.

Because these are authentic “en plein air” sports cars, one of the greatest challenges in their design was managing the aerodynamic flows inside the cockpit in the absence of a windscreen. The solution was the innovative patented “Virtual Wind Shield” which has been incorporated into the fairing ahead of the instrument panel and the steering wheel. The “Virtual Wind Shield” deviates a part of the air flow to maintain driving comfort.

Especially for Monza SP1 and SP2 owners Ferrari, in collaboration with two leading luxury brands, Loro Piana and Berluti, has created elegant gentlemen-driver-inspired apparel and accessories. The driver’s selection includes racing overalls, jersey, helmet, gloves, scarf and driving shoes. These feature a number of technical solutions to guarantee a comfortable fit and ensure freedom of movement while driving.

Engine & Specifications

While Ferrari were a little light on the specs for the Monza cars, we did manage to find the following information on the cars.

ENGINE
Type V12 – 65°
Overall displacement 6496 cm3
Max. power output* 603 kW (810 cv) at 8500 rpm
Max. torque* 719 Nm at 7000 rpm
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
Length 4657 mm
Width 1996 mm
Height 1155 mm
Dry weight** 1500 kg (SP1), 1520 kg (SP2)
PERFORMANCE
0-100 km/h 2.9 sec
0 -200 km/h 7.9 sec
Max. speed >300 km/h
FUEL CONSUMPTION/CO2 EMISSIONS
Under homologation

Photo & Image Gallery

Ferrari Monza SP1 Pictures

These open-top Ferraris are absolutely stunning. We pulled all the press images and photos of both the Monza SP1 and SP2. The SP1 has the single seat old-school LeMans racer about it. We love the silhouette and simplicity of its design.

Ferrari Monza SP2 Pictures

With its two-seat layout the SP2 is a more traditional set up. Despite the two-seats it still is stunning and sexy from every angle. These photos of the SP2 in black with that red interior really make it stand out. For me this is my favorite of the two.

Ferrari Monza SP1 & SP2 Unveiling

[embedded content]

A Mazda With a $30,000 Steering Wheel

Of all the facets and accouterments in your car increasingly growing more complicated, the steering wheel is leading the charge. At first, the steering wheel was tasked merely with turning the wheels, then buttons and dials started populating the small space to control radio volume, cruise control, phone calls and even change the way the car handles. The design tactic certainly clutters the real estate and is done in the interest of safety — the less time your hands are off the wheel, the better. But if you think the steering wheel in a modern road car is overpopulated, slide into the Mazda RT24-P IMSA prototype race car and belt your self in front of its $30,000 direction changer.

Modern top-tier race cars are exponentially more electronically complicated than their forebearers. Before the advent of traction control, the driver’s right foot took care of managing grip. Before shifter paddles were bolted to the back of the wheel for quick shifts and seamless gear changes, drivers were doing it all manually. Engine revs and speed, those were on the dash. Now, cars like the Mazda RT24-P put all of those operations and more on the wheel solely on the steering wheel.

If you really want to trace this trend back as far as you can go, you can argue it started in the ’60s when Jackie Stewart taped a wrench to the steering wheel of his BRM Formula 1 car so he could get out if he crashed. Mazda driver Tristan Nunez doesn’t have a box end wrench strapped to the wheel of his RT24-P, but he says “this is by far the most complicated steering wheel I’ve ever raced with — more so than even an Indycar.”

With a set of shifter lights, two shifters on the back, 11 buttons, four scroll wheels, four dials and one LCD screen for basic readouts like lap times and speed and to see all the settings he’s changing with all those dials and buttons, it’s easy to see why. Throughout any race in the IMSA, Nunez and the other drivers he shares the car with are constantly adjusting and alter the settings on the car to fit their specific tastes and to best suit the conditions on track.

Nunez can dial in how much weight he wants in the power steering and he can fine-tune the level at which the traction control intervenes. And like most road cars these days, the RT24-P has a few driving modes, but where your typical ‘comfort’, ‘eco’ and ‘sport’ modes suffice for your daily driver, Nunez has a dial with 11 different engine map settings. Oh, and his steering wheel also has a button to dispense a drink, through a tube going into his helmet. Consider the fact that this tiny little supercomputer steering Nunez’s Mazda race car is made from carbon fiber and magnesium and it starts to make more sense why it costs as much as a brand new Miata.

McLaren Completely Changed Supercar Design With the “Boundary-Breaking” 720S

It has become an eye-rolling trope of automotive marketing to claim that extreme supercars offer “everyday drivability” or “accessible performance.” Part of that reaction is a kind of resentment from the overwhelming ranks of enthusiasts (like me) who will never come close to owning a half-million-dollar supercar and instead daily drive a truly “everyday” vehicle. Additionally, it seems to be an obscene lie to say that a 700-horsepower carbon fiber tub hovering two inches about pavement is in any way practical. Consider that claim from a relative point of view, however, and you’d be correct to say that McLaren — quirky, nutty, outrageous McLaren — has mastered the art of the everyday supercar.

I spoke with Dan Parry-Williams, McLaren Chief Designer, about what separates the physics-defying 720S supercar different from its competition, and the answer is, plainly, that the McLaren 720S is engineered that way. Thanks to a strong focus on ergonomics, the 720S is just as easy to park in a garage as it is to take on a road trip as it is to scream around a race track. And that’s not entirely marketing speak.

“It was a driver from the onset to go above and beyond in terms of ergonomics,” Parry-Williams told me. “We decided right from the get-go to actually break a new boundary for a supercar. If you like, when the 12C (made from 2011-2014) came out, and later became the 650, it had surprisingly good vehicle dynamics in terms of comfort and track performance, and I think previously that had been an area that had been a poor compromise for supercars. That car represented a big step forward in terms of being able to have both comfort and dynamics.”

This is where ergonomics come in to play. McLaren designs its cars to be more physically accessible and approachable from an everyday perspective, doing away with the notion that a supercar — say the Lamborghini Aventador — needs to be a squinty-eyed cave from the driver’s perspective. A driver must be able to get in and out in normal settings and see where he’s pointing his car — reasonable enough notions, but a significant departure from the rest of the fray.

“When we came to do the 720, we wanted first of all visibility to be amazing from the driver’s perspective,” said Parry-Williams. “So we slimmed down all of the [windshield] pillars, we worked out how we could have almost 360-degree visibility. The rear window is much lower than other supercars [and] visibility in the mirror is much better. Over the shoulder visibility too — we’ve glazed the quarter panels. That means that when you’re driving the car it’s not intimidating. You can park it, you can see what’s behind you, you can see all around you.”

Earlier this summer, I borrowed a 720S from McLaren for a long weekend, during which time I confidently wound through Manhattan with ease, parked in narrow garage spaces and easily cruised, passed and navigated all manner of highway driving. In many other vehicles – even massive G-Class SUVs and many passenger cars – I wouldn’t have felt as confident.

In terms of engineering tweaks, perhaps most significant in the 720S’s pursuit of ergonomics is the engine location. The topmost point of the entire car clocks in at about 47 inches tall — for comparison, a Toyota Camry is about 57 inches tall. You can imagine, then, that space is precious. “We decided to actually lower the engine — we redesigned the entire plenum of the engine to be about three and a half inches lower,” Parry-Williams explained. “There’s space inside the car for two [duffel bags]. You’ve got room in front for two … and we created this big luggage space over the top of the engine.”

Aside from its alien design, the one aspect of any McLaren that almost any 10-year-old is most excited about are the doors which, of course, open upwards. Certainly, the upward-swinging doors give the car an even more exotic look, but they are truly a practical addition, says Parry-Williams. “We set ourselves a target: if you park the car between two other standard cars in a parking bay, can you fully open the doors? You can’t even do that in a compact.” That’s another area where supercars haven’t been particularly brilliant. We decided to go back to the door concept we did for the F1 — the previous generation of McLaren — where the door cut into the roof like a Ford GT40. Not because it was cool, but because what it does is create a different axis which throws the door over the top of the roof.”

Like I said previously, I squeezed the mega-wide 720S into a garage parking space from which I had no right being able to physically escape. The 720S is over 80 inches wide; compare that again to the Camry at just under 72 and you’ll begin to see what I mean. Inside there’s an astounding amount of room for a car that moves as though it’s mostly engine. “When you take the door across into the roof,” Parry-Williams continues, “you no longer have that restriction so the thickness of the door through that whole area can be like an inch thick instead of maybe three inches thick. Which means that in the 720 it meant that we could have this beautiful teardrop shaped glass house. It pulled the external surface inside where the driver’s head is considerably further than it was in the 650 but there’s actually more room inside. So we had an aerodynamic benefit, we had a design benefit from an aesthetic point of view and better ergonomics. That’s the kind of cool solution we really like: when there’s two or three things.”

It’s not only ergonomics that set apart the 720S. As one can imagine, its level of performance borders on indecent. I cannot fully explain in words what it feels like to accelerate at full tilt in a 720S. The best I can do is to say that it is a lot like one of those barf-inducing, magnet-driven roller coasters that accelerate faster than they should, only with less barf. Mashing the throttle from a docile 30 or 40 miles per hour conjures enough adrenaline in the next four seconds to revitalize a corpse and make you see stars. I say this without irony: it is enough to make me afraid. The sound from behind your head — whooshing turbos and air being sucked into that lowered plenum — sounds nuclear, like a cheesy sci-fi movie about rocketships that can somehow make noise in the vacuum of space. In short, the physics of an accelerating 720S feel as though they simply should not happen.

I didn’t take the 720S anywhere near its limit, but on a track, it is a formidable weapon. “We’ve evolved the suspension concept,” Parry-Williams tells me. “The system we use, where it constantly monitors what the car is doing and then uses real-time to calculate optimize the damping. The roll of the car is [managed] with gas springs and hydraulic lines and not with mechanical roll bars. Which gives us this kind of characteristic of zero warp stiffness (where the body twists as the front and rear suspensions lift and drop at different rates). Normally when you go across a road where you’ve got changes in camber, it destabilizes a sports car because a car has to be stiff in roll. But the characteristic that this creates is one that just cuts through these reverse camber, combination corners. That’s grip and that’s performance.”

Did McLaren set out to evolve the supercar with the 720S? I think probably, but Parry-Williams suggests otherwise. “We just wanted to make it a big step up. We didn’t really have a benchmark. We felt that we had already achieved our benchmark target with the 650. We just wanted to see how far we could push it beyond that to evolve the dynamics and ergonomics and the design.”

Reading back, maybe this does all sound like marketing speak. But I swear to you on all that is automotive and holy, that I have never been in a machine that moves and feels like the 720S. It does things you don’t expect — like move as though it is part of a lightning bolt, or carry four duffel bags, or deftly park in between Camrys. Purposeful or not, McLaren has pushed and broken the boundary of what a supercar can be, not simply by going faster or being wilder, but being smarter.

Audi Introduces All Electric e-tron SUV for 2019

Audi just took the wrapper off the e-tron, the German automaker’s first all electric SUV.  Two electric motors power the all-wheel-drive e-tron. A 95 kWh battery gives it what Audi says is “well over 400 kilometers” of estimated range, or more than 248 miles on a full charge.  It comes equipped with LED lighting, air suspension, and 20-inch wheels. The 5-seater luxury SUV will hit dealerships in mid-2019.

Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 are its most powerful road cars of all time

Ferrari just pulled the wraps off the limited-edition Monza SP1 and SP2, and successfully reminded the world that it still knows how to make a jaw-dropping car. We saw the supercars and learned a few details about them earlier today when someone posted pictures on Instagram from a private Ferrari event. Now we have all the details and official photos from Ferrari.

Providing the thrust is the most powerful engine Ferrari has ever built for a road car. It took the 6.5-liter V12 from the 812 Superfast and eked out a few more ponies to get it to 809 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque. Ferrari says that’s good for a 0-62 run in 2.9 seconds – oh yeah, there’s no windshield either.

The SP1 is a one-seater and the SP2 is logically a two-seater. They were designed to take us back down Ferrari’s memory lane, namely those of the 1940s and 1950s era where the name “barchetta” grew from. In decidedly not-old news, though, both are made of carbon fiber and go over 186 mph. They’re light, but not crazily so with the SP1 coming in at 3,307 pounds. The pair are also part of a new segment Ferrari is calling ‘Icona,’ which, as you may have guessed, translates to Icon.

Ferrari thinks it solved the windshield delete issue too. Apparently the fairing ahead of the steering wheel and instrument panel is designed to disrupt part of the airflow when traveling at speed. We’d imagine a helmet might still be the smart option though. Ferrari only plans to build 500 of these cars and hasn’t publicly announced a price, but it’s safe to assume that they won’t be cheap and your chances of snapping one up are slim to none.

Featured Video:

Ferrari to launch 15 new models by 2022 (including its most powerful road car ever)

Ferrari Unveils Ambitious Plans In A New Model Assault – Special Editions, Hybrids, Hypercar and SUV

We don’t normally talk about news but this is too tasty. Ferrari had is Capital Markets Day where they basically sell investors on their future plans. It is unique for Ferrari since the company has only been public for a short time. While some readers may be investors, we really care about the cool new cars the company is working on.

The best Ferrari ever is the one that has yet to be builtEnzo Ferrari

Ferrari’s 5 Year Plan Is a Model Onslaught

The headline news is that under a new five-year strategy under a new boss Ferrari will launch 15 new models by 2022. Those kinds of model numbers sound like McLaren, maybe Ferrari is learning from its newest production car competitor. As long as the cars are awesome, we’re excited.

Ferrari broker out its model range into a clearer four pillar set up. The Sport range are the cars we know as today as the 488, 812 Superfast. The Sport range will confirm Ferrari as a leader in performance and future models will feature hybridization as well as a track-oriented human machine interface. In particular, the automaker said we can expect a “two tier mid rear engine product range” and a “full hybrid range by 2021.” Ferrari went on to say the 488 successor will be focused on being fun to drive and hinted the Sport range could be expanded in the future.

The Gran Turismo range includes the GT4Lusso and Portofino. The lineup of GTs will grow in the future and there are already plans for plug-in hybrid variants. Sticking with the GT theme, Ferrari hinted at the return of an elegant model which has a “unique design inspired by the classic and refined Ferrari Gran Turismo of 1950s and 1960s.” Yes please Ferrari, make it happen.

Next up is our favorite Special Series range, with cars like the 488 Pista (historically included 458 Speciale, F430 Scuderia). Special Series vehicles will also be sold in limited numbers. Not surprisingly these models are all about driving emotions.

They will now be joined by an Icona range which will apparently include highly customized vehicles like the Monza SP1 and SP2. The name has been chosen to reference the firms famous racing cars of the 1950’s. The SP1 has only one seat while the SP2 allows for one passenger. The company has had great success with limited edition and custom Ferraris over the years so it is no surprise they are investing more here.

Announcing the Ferrari Monza

Ferrari announced a new limited-edition open-top racing-style supercar. Called the Monza it will come in single-seater and two-seater versions as part of the new range called Icona. Ferrari will build fewer than 500 of the two models combined and all have already been sold.

The Monza is intended as a successor to the classic Barchetta, a racing car made by the firm in the 1940s and 1950s. Ferrari claims they are fitted with the most powerful engine ever built by the Italian car maker. It will have an 810-horsepower V-12 engine.The Monza’s bodyshell is built entirely from carbon fibre and neither model comes with a roof or windscreen. Ferrari said a “virtual wind shield” is placed behind the instrumentation panel to push air flow above the driver who is sat in a Formula 1 style cockpit. The car will take just 2.9 seconds to reach 60 mph. Think more than a $1m for this tasty treat and you’re close.

The luxury sports car maker took the wraps off the Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2 at the firm’s famous Maranello factory in Italy on Tuesday.

A New Supercar to Replace LaFerrari

Ferrari’s replacement for LaFerrari hypercar is three to five years from launch, according to chief technology officer Michael Leiters. A new hypercar, or replacement for the LaFerrari, is not in the brand’s mid-term plan but the company did confirm work is under way on the technology that will feature in its successor.

Set to be ‘born from fresh innovations’, the LaFerrari’s limited-edition replacement is set to be revealed before 2022.

Selling Mostly Hybrids

Ferrari expects that Hybrid powertrains will make up the majority of its sales at the end of 2022. Clearly the company is investing in a world where the majority of its well healed buyers will want low emissions performance cars.

“By 2022, nearly 60 percent of the models we produce will be built around hybrid powertrains,” new CEO Louis Camilleri said. Ferrari is focused on hybrid petrol-electric powertrains and expects its new SUV will feature this hybrid set up.

The company will increasingly make hybrid cars “as the years unfold to meet specific regulatory requirements but also to satisfy customer desires for significantly improved emissions while retaining the driving emotions that render Ferraris simply unique,” said Camilleri (new CEO).

Ferrari SUV On Its Way

In the worst secret ever Ferrari is launching its first SUV, called the Purosangue. It is going to arrive at the end of the five-year strategic plan period, around 2022.

Announcing the SUV, former Philip Morris boss Camilleri said he hated the idea (didn’t we all): “It just does not sit well with our brand and all that it represents,” he admitted, but guaranteed investors that the new design will “redefine expectations”. Describing it as “elegant, powerful, versatile, comfortable, spacious… worthy of the Ferrari badge,”. Lets hope so.

The Purosange will sit in Ferrari’s GT range and be based on a new front-mid engine architecture compatible with plug-in hybrid technology. The GT line-up is designed to ‘expand the Ferrari family’ and cover ‘growing market segments’.

New V6 Engine Range

On the topic of new models, Ferrari confirmed plans of a V6 engine family. There are also plans for a “Turbo Hybrid” family of engines which will produce 394+ hp (294 kW / 400 PS) per liter and have zero turbo lag. Under the guidance of new CEO Louis Carey Camilleri, 60 per cent of the Italian firm’s products will feature hybrid technology within the next four years. Key to that will be the development of a new V6 hybrid powertrain, which Ferrari has confirmed is under development.

Ferrari bosses would not be drawn on speculation that the V6 engine is for a new generation of Dino, but did say that the engine will be used as a lower performance entry point for models such as the Portofino.

Higher Prices

Chief marketing officer Enrico Galliera said new Ferrari models would come with a “significant” increase in the average price. Boo to that we say. May need to focus on my affordable used Ferraris list then.

Learn More

If you want to dig into the details, download the Presentations from the Capital Markets Day:

Ferrari reveals limited-edition Monza SP1, SP2 sports cars in Italy

Ferrari has revealed a pair of retro-inspired new vehicles to loyal customers at a private event in Maranello, and thanks to Instagram user Ferrari Icona, we know what they look like, and can discern a few details.

The open-topped, limited-edition sportscars are the Monza SP1 and Monza SP2, a one-seater and two-seater done in the classic barchetta (Italian for “little boat”) style of lightweight open-topped or convertible two-seaters. Per Reuters, they’re part of a new segment dubbed “Icona,” inspired by past Ferraris like the 250 Testa Rossa and based on the 812 Superfast. That car, a souped-up replacement for the F12 Berlinetta, features a 6.5-liter V12 that makes 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque, though there’s no word on whether the engine specs for the new speedsters have received any upgrades.

Seating in both models is snug, with the driver and separate passenger compartments (the latter in the SP2 only) surrounded by carbon fiber, a console of controls to the right of the steering wheel, a yellow tachometer, racing seats and shoulder harnesses.

We last heard the SP1 name back in 2008, when it debuted as a one-off built for a wealthy Japanese Ferrari collector. Ferrari Icona, who is not affiliated with Ferrari but was at the reveal event, reports the cars both have lightweight aluminum chassis. We’ll have to wait for more details about the cars to emerge from Ferrari itself.

Related Video:

The Best Family Car Under $30,000 Shootout: Honda vs Subaru

Parenthood alters the car buying calculus. Procreating does not consign you to bland, kid-transporting purgatory necessarily. But, your priorities change. Active safety features supplant horsepower. Your cargo bay must hold more than a couple weekender bags and a bottle of rosé. Value becomes paramount. You want the best car that meets your family’s needs. But, with miscellaneous and escalating child expenses, money will be tighter. The question, for parents who can’t afford to pop over to the Mercedes or Volvo dealership, is what is that best value family car?

Before answering, let’s define the “family car.” For our purposes, a family car is a vehicle that fits a family of four on a road trip comfortably. That means practical seating for five and significant cargo capacity. Sardining your wife, two small kids and a tiny cooler into a Porsche 911, while admirable, does not a family car make.

CRITERIA

I used four broad parameters to narrow down our “value” field:
• First, monetarily, it had to be a value purchase. The sticker price had to be less than $30,000. The car needed strong reliability, good gas mileage and high resale value.
• Second, it had to be safe. Any car without a five-star NHTSA crash test rating and IIHS Top Safety Pick status was excluded. The trim had to include the manufacturer’s active safety features at that price.
• Third, the car must have family utility: cargo space, versatility, all-wheel drive, family-friendly tech etc.
• Finally, we considered style and performance. Being decent to drive helped.

THE CONTENDERS

The choice came down to what, in this price braket, is a classic debate. The Honda CR-V (base MSRP: $24,250) is the preeminent budget crossover. But, do you buy that over the Subaru Outback (base MSRP: $26,345), the ultimate reliable utility wagon?

VALUE

Advantage: Push

Both cars met the sub-$30,000 sticker price requirement. For the CR-V, that allowed an upgrade to the EX trim to include the Honda Sensing safety features. That plus AWD, mats and an accessory or two still put the price a hair under the limit. For the Outback, that meant either sticking with the base 2.5i trim starting at $26,395 or the 2.5i premium trim with nothing but floor liners.

Both cars are cheap to own. The CR-V gets best-in-class gas mileage (27 city, 33 hwy) for an SUV. That’s a slight edge over the Outback (25 city, 32 hwy), which is still quite efficient. Both the CR-V and the Outback received 10/10 mechanical quality ratings from J.D. Power, limiting the maintenance costs. Edmunds’ five-year True Cost to Own figures for the CR-V and the Outback are within $500 of each other. Both are under $40,000.

Both cars maintain their value. Mechanical quality (and Honda and Subaru’s reputation for it) mean a high residual value for leases and a high resale value. True ownership can be much longer than a five-year proposition. Both the CR-V and the Outback can go well past 100,000 miles before their value dips into the four-figures. AutoTrader is rife with examples of both cars still kicking well past 200,000 miles.

We wanted to include the VW Golf Sportwagen here. With its peppiness and precise handling (and cheaper manual transmission option), it is a treat to drive. But, it was hard to make the “value” work. 4Motion is only available in the base S model. The active safety features are in the SE model. To get both, you need an AllTrack SE which will take you north of $30,000.

SAFETY

Advantage: Push

Both cars have five-star NHTSA crash test ratings and the highest IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. The CR-V includes Honda Sensing, which brings a collision mitigation braking, a road departure migration system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

Subaru is doubling down on safety (and hastening the manual transmission’s demise) with its dual camera EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. That includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and pre-collision braking and throttle management. Both systems strive to avoid the avoidable collisions and to mitigate the impact of the unavoidable ones.

The CR-V has a blind spot and cross-traffic monitor standard on the EX-trim. A similar feature on the Outback requires the 2.5i Premium trim and a $1,100 package, pushing the sale price just north of $30,000. However, with the CR-V that feature is a must-have. The Outback, with boxy styling, thin pillars and large windows, offers excellent visibility. The CR-V with thick pillars, headrests, and a sloping rear window permits less than ideal rear visibility.

UTILITY

Advantage: Outback

Dimensions for the CR-V and Outback are similar. Both are spacious enough for five people and a large amount of stuff. The CR-V (39.2/75.8 cubic feet) edges the Outback (35.5/73.3 cubic feet) for cargo capacity. However, the Outback has slightly more generous passenger volume (108.1 cubic feet) to (102.9 cubic feet) for the CR-V EX trim. The Outback also offers roof rails with retractable cross bars. Roof rails for the CR-V are available on the high-end Touring Trim.

The Outback gets the edge for versatility and off-road capability. The CR-V did increase its ground clearance (up to 8.2 inches), though it still trails the Outback by a bit (8.7 inches). There’s still a difference between being a specially designed all-wheel drive, all-weather, all-terrain vehicle like the Outback and being a pavement dweller that can withstand some dirt, even if you add a lift kit and off-road tires.

Tech-wise, Honda’s infotainment system euphemistically would be described as “quirky.” Tellingly, one of the most praised features for the latest CR-V is the return of the manual volume knob. The CR-V EX does have a push-button start. That’s only available on higher Outback trims. With the Outback, you need the 2.5i Premium trim to get dual-zone climate control and rear USB ports. The Subaru offers 4G-LTE Wifi. Both are compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, which is what most customers want.

Slight edge to the Outback here for its off-road capability.

PERFORMANCE AND STYLE

Advantage: Push

Driving impressions for the Outback and CR-V will read similarly. Both handle decently. Both accelerate slowly with four-cylinder engines. The 1.5L turbo on the EX is the upgraded option for the CR-V. Outback buyers can upgrade from the 2.5L four-cylinder boxer (175hp) to the 3.6L six-cylinder (256hp) for more oomph, but that shoots up the price (the 3.6R Limited starts at $35,970) and comes at the expense of fuel economy (20 city, 27 hwy). The CR-V gets the nod here, as its acceleration is merely slow. On the Outback it is glacial. Reviewers also think the CVT transmission on the CR-V behaves better.

Give the Outback the edge for style. It’s not cool per se. But, it’s rugged and, in theory, a cool, outdoorsy person could own one to facilitate his or her cool, outdoorsy lifestyle. You’re heading to soccer practice, not loading up your kayak for a Saturday in the wilderness. But, the point is you could. One might term it “New England college town chic.” The CR-V doesn’t earn its plaudits with appearance. It’s a crossover, without much distinction in the style department.

VERDICT

The Subaru Outback is the choice.

Yes, the Honda CR-V is the gold standard for budget crossovers. There are many reasons it is one of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. It’s a great crossover, but it’s still a crossover. It blends right into the background in its natural habitat, the elementary school parking lot. You may have to hit the lock button on your key fob a few times to remember which one is yours.

The Outback brings more versatility, utility, and possibility. It offers distinction and an endearing blend of toughness and dorky charm. It’s the car you would choose to extricate your family from a random calamity, which is something you now consider. Would the Outback win a point-by-point road test with the CR-V? No. But, that’s not how you choose a life companion, which your Outback could be for the next 10-15 years.

Subaru Outback Specs:

Engine: 2.5L four-cylinder
Transmission: CVT
Horsepower: 175
Torque: 174 lb-ft
Weight: 3,624 lbs
0-60: 9.3 seconds

Honda CR-V Specs:

Engine: 1.5L turbocharged inline-four
Transmission: CVT
Horsepower: 190
Torque: 179 lb-ft
Weight: 3,358 lbs
0-60: 7.5 seconds

Best SUVs – The Fastest, High Performance SUVs Money Can Buy

Updated: August 2018

At last count there are about 138 SUVs and trucks available for sale in the United States. Almost all of them have non-exciting engines, are slow accelerating and are so boring that many of them have sleep sensors to alert you when you inevitably fall asleep or die of boredom behind the wheel.

It looks like bad news for car fans, especially as SUVs continue take market share according to car sales data published each month. If you dig further into the data is looking like luxury SUVs are the fastest growing segment and account for almost 60% of luxury vehicle sales. Each month it seems there are new luxury models and they get gobbled up by the car buying public.

We get it. SUVs give you elevated driving position, all-wheel drive (often), lots of space, they look good and are practical for families. For car people, the true fanatics of automotive performance, we need more. We want our SUVs to be fast, agile and fun. We want the fast SUVs whether they are small, medium or large. Whether entry level or luxury level, they need to have performance in mind. We want them to line up at the lights against our sports car friends and shock them at their ferocity off the line. Yes, that is the SUV we want.

With that in mind we started by going through every SUV you can buy today to find the fastest, most powerful, agile and fun. We were pleasantly surprised to find almost twenty SUVs that we considered “not boring”. The criteria wasn’t just straight line speed or engine size or horsepower. It had to be special and it had to be considered a true performance machine when compared to a sporty sedan. No free passes.

Our friends have an interesting (although not surprising) approach. Take AMGs twin-turbo V8/V12 engines and stuff them into their SUVs. Good plan. Same goes for the folks at BMW who never met a twin-turbo V8 they didn’t want to shoehorn into the X5M and X6M. Both AMG and BMW have SUVs easily in the high 500 horsepower range. These horsepower monsters are great straight line performers, but are also surprisingly good in corners when thrown around. If you want your performance SUV to handle like a sports car, don’t worry because there are some genuinely great canyon carvers on the list too. Alfa Romeo arguably has the most fun SUV around in this regard, taking their cracking twin-turbo 2.9 L V6 with 505hp, adding it to the Stelvio to create the Quadrifoglio version and it is as good as the sedan in the twisty stuff. If you want ultimate performance then look at Lamborghini Urus (yes, Lamborghini also makes an SUV these days) or Cayenne Turbo, both very serious solutions if you want to destroy anybody in a race.

While we’re on performance, I was shocked when I looked at some of the performance numbers and had to fact check to make sure there were not mistakes. Sure, I have come to expect big horsepower numbers these days, but I did not expect sub 4 second 0-60 mph times in 2+ ton SUVs. Nuts. For instance you can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds in the Lamborghini Urus and the Tesla Model X P100D with ‘Ludicrous Speed’ upgrade does it in 2.8 seconds. Holy crap. Speaking of electric SUVs we found some tasty performers in the Model X and the Jaguar I-Pace S, a good sign for electric SUVs and serious performance fans.

Price wise this is an expensive segment. We focused on the top of the performance heap so as expected there are a lot of luxury brands on our list. If you want the fastest SUVs expect to pay well into the six-figure range. In fairness, these SUVs have beautiful interiors, are loaded with tech and safety equipment. The interior materials and build quality are off the charts. If you want performance on a budget, then cars like the Jaguar I-Pace S or the Audi SQ5 (not on our list) can be had for under $70,000.

So here it is. The fastest, more powerful and highest performance SUVs you can buy today:

The 10 Most Powerful SUVs (Horsepower & Torque Figures)

# Name Price Power Torque
1 Tesla Model X P100D ‘Ludicrous’ $140,000 762 hp 791 lb/ft
2 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk $86,000 707 hp 645 lb/ft
3 Lamborghini Urus $200,000 641 hp 627 lb/ft
4 Maserati Levante Trofeo SUV $169,980 590 hp 538 lb/ft
5 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4Matic $126,295 577 hp 561 lb/ft
6 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 4Matic $111,860 577 hp 561 lb/ft
7 Range Rover Sport SVR $113,600 575 hp 461 lb/ft
8 BMW X5 M $102,695 567 hp 553 lb/ft
9 BMW X6 M $102,695 567 hp 553 lb/ft
10 Rolls Royce Cullinan $350,000 563 hp 627 lb/ft

The 10 Fastest SUVs (0 – 60 mph Acceleration and Top Speed)

# Name Engine 0-60 mph Top Speed
1 Tesla Model X P100D ‘Ludicrous’ Electric 2.8 sec 155 mph
2 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Super 6.2L V8 3.5 sec 180 mph
3 Lamborghini Urus Turbo 4.0L V8 3.6 sec 190 mph
4 Maserati Levante Trofeo SUV Turbo 3.8L V8 3.7 sec 187 mph
5 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S Turbo 4.0L V8 3.7 sec 174 mph
6 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Turbo 4.8L V8 3.8 sec 176 mph
7 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Turbo 2.9L V6 3.8 sec 176 mph
8 BMW X5 M Turbo 4.4L V8 3.8 sec 160 mph
9 BMW X6 M Turbo 4.4LV8 3.8 sec 156 mph
10 Rolls Royce Cullinan Turbo V12 4.0 sec 155 mph

The Best SUVs In Detail

Lamborghini Urus Lamborghini Urus 

Lamborghini Urus

  • Price: From $200,000
  • Power: 641 hp
  • Torque: 627 lb/ft
  • Engine: Twin-turbo 4.0L V-8
  • 0-60 mph: 3.6 sec
  • Top Speed: 190 mph

Lamborghini calls the Urus is the world’s first Super Sport Utility Vehicle. “Luxury, sportiness and performance meet comfort and versatility”. Ok then. We can tell you that the Urus is exactly what you expect from an SUV made by Lamborghini. It has the driving dynamics and performance of any SUV we have driven. It looks aggressive and stylish and is clearly a Lambo (including bright colored paint jobs). Wild styling and ferocious performance in an SUV package. Yep, its a Lamborghini ok.

Mercedes-AMG GLS

Mercedes-AMG GLS

Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4Matic

  • Price: From $126,295
  • Power: 577 hp
  • Torque: 561 lb/ft
  • Engine: Twin-turbo 5.5L V-8
  • 0-60 mph: 4.3 sec
  • Top Speed: 165 mph

If you need more room and three rows, then the top of the range Mercedes GLS SUV is the one for you. In AMG GLS spec you get twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 with 577 hp. A great seven-speed automatic with all-wheel-drive system helps make the GLS genuinely quick for such a large SUV.

Land Rover Range Rover SVAutobiography

  • Price: from $208,200
  • Power: 557 hp
  • Torque: 502 lb/ft
  • Engine: 5.0L Supercharged V8
  • 0-60 mph: 5.2 sec
  • Top Speed: 155 mph

It isn’t just that the Range Rover SVAutobiography Long Wheelbase has 557 horsepower and accelerates like a sports car; it’s that it does it all with a sense of effortlessness and composure, owed in part to the 516 pound-feet of torque, standard all-wheel drive, and eight-speed automatic transmission. This is a vehicle that weighs almost three tons yet can reach a top speed of 140 mph. And despite the 22-inch wheels and low-profile tires, its ride is smooth and comfortable.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

  • Price: From $350,000
  • Power: 563 hp
  • Torque: 627 lb/ft
  • Engine: 6.75 L twin-turbocharged V12
  • 0-60 mph: 4.0 sec
  • Top Speed: 155 mph

This is Rolls-Royce making an SUV. We still don’t know many details, but we do know it will be the pinnacle of effortless performance and luxury. The new standard for an SUV.

Tesla Model X P100D ‘Ludicrous Speed’ Upgrade

  • Price: From $140,000
  • Power: 762 hp
  • Torque: 791 lb/ft
  • Engine: 100 kWh 350 V lithium-ion electric
  • 0-60 mph: 2.8 sec
  • Top Speed: 155 mph

The Model X is the quickest SUV ever. With standard all-wheel drive, loads of storage and seating for up to seven adults it ticks all the must-have SUV attributed. With 762 horsepower and 791 lb-ft of torque, a 100kWh battery powering all 4 wheels, the Model X P100D hits all our performance requirements. The performance in a straight line is astonishing.  Standstill to 60 mph is over in a barely believable 2.8 seconds. That makes it one of the fastest accelerating cars ever and easily the fastest SUV on our list. Sign me up for the electric car revolution if this is what we get.

Maserati Levante Trofeo SUV

  • Price: from $169,980
  • Power: 590 hp
  • Torque: 538 lb/ft
  • Engine: 3.8 L V8
  • 0-60 mph: 3.7 sec
  • Top Speed: 187 mph

We went all the way to the top of the  Maserati Levante range. This year in March, at the New York International Auto Show, Maserati elevated the model by introducing the Levante Trofeo.

It is the fastest variant in the brand’s budding SUV lineup and a vehicle built specifically for overseas markets. Whereas the original Levante’s three-liter, twin-turbo V-6 engine churned out a maximum of 430 hp, the Trofeo’s 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8 delivers 590 hp (at 6,250 rpm) with 538 ft lbs of torque (at 2,250 rpm). The Trofeo sprints to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and produces a top speed that is more than 23 mph faster than the entry level Levante.

Bentley Bentayga

Bentley Bentayga

Bentley Bentayga

  • Price: From $229,100
  • Power: 600 hp
  • Torque: 664 lb/ft
  • Engine: Twin-turbo 6.0 L W-12
  • 0-60 mph: 3.6 sec
  • Top Speed: 187 mph

This is an ugly SUV but boy is it world class in every other department. It has a powerful twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 that makes 600 hp and 664 lb/ft of torque, rocketing the heavyweight to 60 in 3.6 seconds. The interior can be configured a number of ways and is chock full of the most sumptuous leather and high end elements you could ever want in a car. Luxury SUV at its best.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

  • Price: From $81,390
  • Power: 505 hp
  • Torque: 440 lb/ft
  • Engine: Twin-turbo 2.9 L V6
  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 sec
  • Top Speed: 176 mph

This is the most fun car on this list. Period. The end. Its 505-hp engine is the same as the coupe QV and it is an absolute masterpiece. Couple the cracking engine with the sexiest of all SUV designs we have seen in years and you know you are looking at something special. No doubt about it, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio raises the performance bar. It is just awesome. Alfa Romeo claims it’ll go from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds and having driven it I believe it. Can’t say I hit the claimed top speed of 176 mph but given how hard this thing pulls all the way to 100mph it wouldn’t shock me if they were being conservative.

The fantastic thing about the Quadrifoglio is that it really is a driver’s SUV. It’s no less capable than any high-end sport sedan and it’ll go up against the best on the market – all while carrying more cargo in the back and providing you with a more elevated view of the road ahead. Ultimately, this is more than just a high-performance street SUV. This is a fully-trackable SUV that would probably embarrass some highly regarded performance cars at a track day event. In fact, it recently destroyed the record for an SUV at the Nurburgring with a time of 7 minutes and 51.7 seconds. That’s not just impressive, that’s mind-boggling.

Jaguar I-Pace

  • Price: from $69,500
  • Power: 394 hp
  • Torque: 512 lb/ft
  • Engine: Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 sec
  • Top Speed: 124 mph

The Jaguar I-Pace is an electric SUV that blends luxury and performance – exactly what you’d expect from the British automaker. The key performance advantage from electric engines is the lack of a torque curve, meaning all 512 pound-feet are available at all times. That, plus standard all-wheel drive, makes the I-Pace quicker than many conventional vehicles with significantly more horsepower. The I-Pace has a range of 240 miles from its 90-kWh battery.

Macan Turbo (With Performance Package)

  • Price: From $87,700
  • Power: 440 hp
  • Torque: 442 lb-ft
  • Engine: 3.6 L V6 twin turbo
  • 0-60 mph: 4.2 sec
  • Top Speed: 169 mph

The Macan Turbo (with performance package) is a compact SUV that is all about performance. Five doors, five seats, decent space for the family and a 440-hp twin-turbo V-6 mated to a seven-speed transmission with all-wheel drive. The $10k performance package gets you an additional 40 horsepower and 36 lb-ft of torque over the Turbo Macan and we say it is totally worth it.

It is crazy fast and we guarantee that any purist will fall in love with this diminutive Porsche daily driver. For that extra money you also get lower ride height, 5mph higher top speed, standard sport exhaust, Sport Chrono package and bigger front brakes. The interior is handsome but small. As with all Porsches, performance comes at a steep price; if you want to blend serious performance with versatility, however, the Macan Turbo has few peers.

Blistering acceleration, sports-sedan handling, athletic silhouette. At the test track, its 3.7-second zero-to-60-mph run and 12.4-second quarter-mile beat those of the already blistering Macan Turbo by 0.5 second each. A relatively low seating position gives it a sports-sedan feel from behind the wheel, and the Macan’s weight transfers fluidly and predictably through corners.

Sure, you won’t confuse this Porsche’s steering feel with that of a Boxster or a 911, but its precision is unimpeachable and for a 4500 pound crossover is way better than you imagine it should be. This is a daily driver that goads you into driving harder, with sky-high cornering limits and progressive controls that instill confidence no matter the speed. Pin the throttle while exiting a corner and the car squirms for a beat as the all-wheel-drive system and the optional torque-vectoring system quickly work out the best way to send all that power to the ground.

Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S

Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S

Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S / AMG GLC 63 S Coupe

  • Price: From $80,750
  • Power: 503 hp
  • Torque: 516 lb/ft
  • Engine: Twin-turbo 4.0L V-8
  • 0-60 mph: 3.7 sec
  • Top Speed: 174 mph

The twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 from the C63S makes its way into the GLC and GLC Coupe. You will need to opt for the S version to cross the 500 horsepower mark. With 503hp and 516 lb-ft in Mercedes mid-sized SUV it hustles to 60 in a rapid 3.7 seconds. Not bad for an SUV that is used every day to ferry kids around.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 4Matic / GLE 63 S Coupe 4Matic

  • Price: From $111,860
  • Power: 577 hp (GLE63 S)
  • Torque: 561 lb/ft (GLE63 S)
  • Engine: Twin-turbo 5.5L V-8
  • 0-60 mph: 4.1 sec
  • Top Speed: 155 mph

The GLE63 gets a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 that makes 550 hp (577 hp in S trim) and a seven-speed auto; all-wheel drive is standard on all. Handling and braking are surprisingly athletic, too, despite the SUV bodywork.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Porsche Cayenne Turbo / Turbo S

  • Price: From $124,600
  • Power: 550 hp (570 hp for S)
  • Engine: Twin turbo 4.8L V-8
  • Torque: 590 lb/ft
  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 sec
  • Top Speed: 176 mph

Despite their size and weight, the Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S are quicker than ever. The Cayenne gets a new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that has the turbos inside the V of the cylinders of the engine. Porsche says that shortening the exhaust paths into the turbochargers on this engine made the engine more responsive and improved power delivery. It reaches 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Package.

Read more about the Turbo.

BMW X5 M

BMW X5 M

BMW X5 M

  • Price: From $102,695
  • Power: 567 hp
  • Torque: 553 lb/ft
  • Engine: Twin-turbo 4.4 L V-8
  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 sec
  • Top Speed: 160 mph

The BMW X5 M is a heavy SUV with a military grade twin-turbo V8 generating 567 hp that helps propels it from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Given its size and weight this is also a great handling SUV that feels more like a sports car to drive.

BMW X6 M

BMW X6 M

BMW X6 M

  • Price: From $102,695
  • Power: 567 hp
  • Torque: 553 lb/ft
  • Engine: Twin-turbo V-8
  • 0-60 mph: 3.8 sec
  • Top Speed: 156 mph

The X6 M is just like the X5 M with its own unique style. Just like the X5 M it is fast and handles amazingly well for a 5000+ pound SUV. Definitely less practical than the X5 M but it looks cooler.

Dodge Durango SRTDodge Durango SRT

Dodge Durango SRT

  • Price: From $62,995
  • Power: 475 hp
  • Torque: 470 lb/ft
  • Engine: 6.4-liter V-8
  • 0-60 mph: 4.4 sec
  • Top Speed: 180 mph

New for 2018, the SRT package allows the Durango to do things rarely seen in the midsize SUV class, though it comes at a luxury price. It has a 475-hp 6.4-liter V-8, driving all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic. It hits 60mph in 4.4 seconds and tops out at 180mph. The eight speed auto works well and handles the abundant 470lb/ft of torque very well. Bonus for parents with four kids, there is room for six. Its a muscle-car SUV in a family-friendly package.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVRLand Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

  • Price: From $113,600
  • Power: 575 hp
  • Torque: 461 lb/ft
  • Engine: 5.0 L V8
  • 0-60 mph: 4.3 sec
  • Top Speed: 162 mph

We love the Range Rover Sport and have been big fans of its supercharged 5.0-liter V8 for a long time. The eight-speed automatic is silky smooth and helps the big SVR haul in 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Dripping in style and luxury this is an SUV can also handle the rough stuff.  As Car & Driver said: “No rival better mixes handling prowess, off-road talent and an SUV sense of functional plushness. But more importantly, none comes close the lewd sense of fun it keeps so amply on tap”.

Jaguar F-Pace SVRJaguar F-Pace SVR

Jaguar F-Pace SVR

  • Price: From $79,990
  • Power: 550 hp
  • Torque: 502 lb/ft
  • Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8
  • 0-60 mph: 4.1 sec
  • Top Speed: 176 mph

A Jaguar sports car by Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) the F-Pace gets a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 and a top speed of 176 mph. The F-Pace is the most stylish and fast Jag you can buy for your family. It turns the great F-Pace into a real performance machine. It comfortably seats five and has more than enough cargo space when compared to others in the small SUV segment. The ultimate Jaguar performance SUV.

2018-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-Performance-Trackhawk-Vs-SRT-Trackhawk-Red.jpg.image.14402018-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-Performance-Trackhawk-Vs-SRT-Trackhawk-Red.jpg.image.1440

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

  • Price: From $86,000
  • Power: 707 hp
  • Torque: 645 lb/ft
  • Engine: 6.2 L V8
  • 0-60 mph: 3.5 sec
  • Top Speed: 180 mph

This is a Jeep with a supercharged 707-horsepower engine and 645 lb/ft of torque – what is there not to love? The V8 is the same unit used in the Hellcat Challengers and Chargers by Dodge and it transforms the Grand Cherokee. While you would be just as happy opting for the Cherokee SRT, we say go all the way and order the Trailhawk. It is a good looking, rugged SUV, has comfortable seats and nice enough cabin. The infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and works really well. Add that 707hp engine, all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic, and a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and this may be the one for me. America’s answer to high-performance SUVs from Europe surprised us and made us smile from ear to ear.

Lamborghini LB48H: Upcoming $2.5 Million Hybrid Supercar Previewed Privately

Lamborghini appear to be working on something very special. Invitation cards have confirmed that the new hybrid supercar is currently being previewed to prospective clients in Italy under the tag line “The Power to Shape the Future”.

The car in question is known internally as the Lamborghini LB48H and will be Lamborghini’s first foray into the hybrid supercar world. Rumours suggest that the prototype is based on the Terzo Millennio Concept revealed a few years ago.

Early information suggests that 200 clients were invited to the event with 63 copies of the Lamborghini LB48H up for grabs. Some are suggesting that the LB48H will be a pre-cursor to the Aventador replacement. It is certainly expected to launch before the Aventador replacement which is still a couple of years down the line.

Information posted on forums suggests that the :B48H will use a naturally aspirated V12 engine coupled with a regenerating hybrid system. The V12 will put out 789 hp and the hybrid drive will add an additional 49 hp.

The Best Cars You Can Finally Import to the US in 2018

US auto enthusiasts have long been shortchanged. Because our emissions and safety regulations differ from the rest of the world, a car being sold by a foreign marque must be developed to meet the US’s regulations. For many niche cars, automakers know that the cost of federalizing them just isn’t worth the trouble and the cost. That means that there are many, many weird and/or wonderful cars that never make it to our shores. If you grew up watching Top Gear or playing Gran Turismo you’ve been painfully aware of this for some time.

The good news is that if you’re patient enough you can import your dream car from overseas. Once a car reaches 25 years of age based on its production date (and not its model year) you’re free and clear to bring them on over. That means that every year, a new wave of cars will become legal here. This year, cars first introduced and produced in 1993 will finally make it to the USA for the very first time. The field this year is interesting — most are certainly unconventional (at least as far as American tastes are concerned) but therein lies their charm. And at the very least, performance-wise, there really isn’t a dud in the bunch.

Mazda Lantis Type R

Debuting in August 1993, the Lantis was Mazda’s compact “four-door coupe” (a term Mazda used more than a decade before Mercedes popularized the concept with the CLS) that competed amongst seemingly countless other quirky compact cars in the Japanese market in the early ’90s. While the basic, four-pot Lantis was nothing more than a somewhat zany-looking econobox, in Type R guise it was a tiny sleeper thanks to a 168-horsepower, 2.0-liter V6 (with an 8,000rpm redline!) shoved into the front, sending all the power to the front wheels.

Mazda even made an adorable rally-inspired floating rear wing available. Perhaps because the Lantis had to compete with other JDM heroes from the early ’90s, it’s not particularly well remembered today which means they can be picked up in good shape for just a few thousand dollars when they pop up for sale.

Renault Clio Williams

Though the competent Clio 16V had arrived two years before, Renault didn’t truly earn the hot hatch crown until 1993 when it debuted the Clio Williams. Built as a homologation special for Renaults rallying efforts, only 3,800 were planned for 1993 (well beyond the FIA’s 2,500-car requirement) but the car was so popular another 1,600 were made before the end of the year, and 6,000 more were made in the following two years.

The Williams was bestowed with a 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated four-pot, putting out 148 horsepower and received intensive suspension upgrades including a front subframe borrowed from the Clio Cup race car. Unsurprisingly, the car was praised for its handling prowess (not to mention its propensity to lift a rear while under heavy cornering) and has since become an icon of the early halcyon days of the hot hatch.

Fiat Coupé

In an era ripe with “sporty” compact front-wheel-drive coupes, the aptly-named Fiat Coupé stood out for its charmingly distinct exterior penned by Chirs Bangle, whose portfolio of work is…somewhat questionable. Still, there’s no denying the Coupé is wonderfully distinct, and if it’s any consolation the clean, semi-retro interior was designed by the not-in-any-way-questionable folks at Pininfarina.

The Coupé was a modest performer for its time, thanks to Fiat’s excellent twin-cam four-cylinder (derived from the legendary Lancia Delta Integrale) available in both naturally-aspirated and turbo guises (a turbo five-cylinder was eventually made its way into the engine bay, too). While the Coupé went on sale in early 1994, there were over 100 cars built in 1993, so if you can find a very early production car you can bring it over at the end of this year.

Nissan Skyline (R33)

You’ll have to wait another two years to get this generation’s beastly GT-R (though the special-edition R32 V-Spec becomes available this year for all you Gran Turismo lovers), but more basic iterations of the R33 Skyline — the GTS, GTS-4, GTS-25 and GTS-25t — will finally start to trickle in stateside this year. That’s no concession. These cars were fitted with a 2.5-liter inline-six in both naturally aspirated and turbo guises, the latter putting out around 247 horsepower in the GTS-25t. These lower-spec versions all sent their power to the rear wheels (except for the AWD-equipped GTS-4) and featured Nissan’s HICAS four-wheel steering system, making them all exceptional handlers.

Holden Commodore (VR)

The brutish, Aussie-built Commodore was starting to hit its stride in the early ’90s, receiving a sleek overhaul in the form of the VR generation in 1993. The Commodore name is something of a catchall name for a range of cars — the standard Commodore sedan, the long-wheelbase Statesman and the truck-like Ute — but each was based upon Holden’s vaunted rear-wheel-drive platform. Many variants were available (including some very mundane offerings) but the best of the bunch were the powerhouses built by Holden Special Vehicles (HSV): the Clubsport, GTS, Maloo and Senator. Each packed either a 5.0-liter or 5.7-liter V8, producing 248 and 288 horsepower, respectively.

TVR Griffith 500

The Griffith of the 1990s launched in ’91, so early examples have been legal here for two years, but in 1993 the car was bestowed with a Rover-based, TVR-modified 5.0-liter V8 good for 340 horsepower, begetting the new Griffith 500 nameplate. Given that the car weighs just over a tonne (thanks to that swoopy body made from fiberglass) and never came with any real safety or traction control equipment, it’s essentially a British Dodge Viper: a preposterous, phallic, bare-bones sports car that will murder you if you aren’t careful. Still, if you can rein it in, you’ll hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in 4.1 seconds — pretty damn good for the early ’90s.

MGB RV8

Though the MGB enjoyed a relatively long production run between 1962 and 1980, the folks at Rover (who owned MG at the time) saw fit to bring the car back in the early ’90s for a limited run. What they cooked up was the ultimate MGB: it featured an updated suspension setup and a body complete with flared fenders and a front-clip design more in line with the era. More importantly, a V8 was added for the first time (in the roadster version, anyway), and while its 190-horsepower output may seem underwhelming, it was enough to catapult the car to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. Production started in early 1993, with only about 2,000 examples made over the car’s two-year production run. Interestingly enough, it seems about two-thirds of them went to Japan.

Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione II

Much like the MGB RV8, the Delta Integrale Evo II was a proper send-off to an icon. Though the second generation Delta arrived in 1993, the rally-derived iteration of the first generation got one final hurrah. Changes included an updated version of the turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood, now making 212 horsepower and 232 lb-ft of torque, as well as cosmetic improvements like new 16-inch alloys, Recaro seats and a Moma steering wheel. It isn’t drastically different from the first Evo but it does represent one of the greatest homologation cars of all time going out on a high note. That’s ought to count for something.

Inside Land Rover’s Coventry-Based Resto Shop

Any owner can send their 10-year-old-plus car in for thoroughly modern service.Read the Story

Badass and Brown: Score This Vintage Bronco (Plus a Jeep and Defender)

Automotive trends, like any other trends, are, for better or worse, hit or miss. Some have proven to have staying power (fake intake vents… why?), some have thankfully fallen into the dark recesses of history and yet others boomerang back with an unambiguously desireable vengeance. Case in point: plain-jane paint jobs. Obviously, the military has rocked beige toned SUVs and trucks for decades, but as far as consumer cars go, black, white red and silver have pretty much been mainstays. Browns and tans, even outside the automotive world, have by and large adorned unoriginal, blend-into-the-background blah-mobiles.

But combine that military inspiration with vintage road cars et voila: tan trucks that exude trend-transcendent style. These three trucks, culled from Bring a Trailer, are all up for auction and feature variations on a tan theme. Please buy them, drive them and never, ever repaint them. (Bid amounts listed reflect the price at time of publish.)

1987 Ford Bronco

The Bronco is both famous and infamous, but its cool cred these days is undeniable. It’s a big truck with lots of room and classically blocky styling. Modest, handsome and simple: the marks of a great vintage 4×4. This example has a clean and well-documented three-owner history and benefits from a now five-year-old repaint of its original Desert Tan Metallic color. There’s some slight corrosion along the roof rail and tailgate, but probably not something that can’t be mended. Its 5.0-liter V8 is a Ford staple, the a/c blows cold and it’s been cared for consistently.

1973 Land Rover 88 Series III

Left-hand drive, Limestone paint and a manual transmission: not a bad start. After a six-month “refurbishment” and adding 10,000 miles, the current owner is ready to part with this beige beast. Regarding its color, “the aluminum body was reportedly sandblasted before receiving a new two-part textured paint” — the frame and chassis were treated to a similar respray. It’s got a row of three bucket seats in front and a few other new parts as well. Probably an excellent buy for whoever pulls the trigger.

1982 Mitsubishi Jeep J37

The seller bought this right-hand drive wagon in Japan and imported it to the States six months ago. It’s got an “older repaint” to replace its original two-tone job that looks great in the picture gallery. A little corrosion and bubbling are apparent, and the rear door doesn’t open fully at the moment, but the aftermarket interior is just about as awesome as you’d hope. This truck needs some work, but as a quick project it might not get better — you’ll have a distinct and decidedly tan vintage get-around in little-to-no time.

These 3 Vintage SUVs Are Beige As All Hell

Automotive trends, like any other trends, are, for better or worse, hit or miss. Some have proven to have staying power (fake intake vents… why?), some have thankfully fallen into the dark recesses of history and yet others boomerang back with an unambiguously desireable vengeance. Case in point: plain-jane paint jobs. Obviously, the military has rocked beige toned SUVs and trucks for decades, but as far as consumer cars go, black, white red and silver have pretty much been mainstays. Browns and tans, even outside the automotive world, have by and large adorned unoriginal, blend-into-the-background blah-mobiles.

But combine that military inspiration with vintage road cars et voila: tan trucks that exude trend-transcendent style. These three trucks, culled from Bring a Trailer, are all up for auction and feature variations on a tan theme. Please buy them, drive them and never, ever repaint them. (Bid amounts listed reflect the price at time of publish.)

1987 Ford Bronco

The Bronco is both famous and infamous, but its cool cred these days is undeniable. It’s a big truck with lots of room and classically blocky styling. Modest, handsome and simple: the marks of a great vintage 4×4. This example has a clean and well-documented three-owner history and benefits from a now five-year-old repaint of its original Desert Tan Metallic color. There’s some slight corrosion along the roof rail and tailgate, but probably not something that can’t be mended. Its 5.0-liter V8 is a Ford staple, the a/c blows cold and it’s been cared for consistently.

1973 Land Rover 88 Series III

Left-hand drive, Limestone paint and a manual transmission: not a bad start. After a six-month “refurbishment” and adding 10,000 miles, the current owner is ready to part with this beige beast. Regarding its color, “the aluminum body was reportedly sandblasted before receiving a new two-part textured paint” — the frame and chassis were treated to a similar respray. It’s got a row of three bucket seats in front and a few other new parts as well. Probably an excellent buy for whoever pulls the trigger.

1982 Mitsubishi Jeep J37

The seller bought this right-hand drive wagon in Japan and imported it to the States six months ago. It’s got an “older repaint” to replace its original two-tone job that looks great in the picture gallery. A little corrosion and bubbling are apparent, and the rear door doesn’t open fully at the moment, but the aftermarket interior is just about as awesome as you’d hope. This truck needs some work, but as a quick project it might not get better — you’ll have a distinct and decidedly tan vintage get-around in little-to-no time.

2007 Porsche RS Spyder Sold for $4,510,000

It looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a good year for car collectors as another exclusive piece of automotive history headed to auction. The vehicle on offer was a marvel of German racing engineering that was built to tackle the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans competition—the 2007 Porsche RS Spyder.

This magnificent machine was specifically designed to run the renowned endurance race. There were only six ever made and this one, in particular, was the last to roll out of the workshop.

The prototype racing car looks astounding with its carbon fiber and Kevlar monocoque chassis. What makes it even more special is the absence of any liveries on its body—that leaves it with the exotic pattern of the composite materials used during the fabrication of its aerodynamic frame.

Under its hood sits a 478 horsepower V8 engine mated to a six-speed electropneumatic sequential transmission. Additionally, the integrated independent pushrod-actuated suspension combined with carbon ceramic brakes delivers unparalleled handling.

Even with several podium finishes under its belt, the RS Spyder’s success was hardly considered a walk in the park. It competed with some of the toughest carmakers around the world and came out on top.

The auction was handled by Gooding & Company and sold for $4,510,000. This race-ready monster was built for the racetrack and is hardly street-legal—but whoever ended up as the owner would be glad to keep it as a valuable showpiece anyway.

Gooding & Company

The Next Big Automotive Revolution Is Almost Here

Take a closer look at the historical timeline of the automobile and, like any other industry, you’ll see a select few innovations not just marking milestones but having long-lasting impacts we still feel today. Henry Ford’s assembly line in 1913, DuPont industrializing rubber for tires in 1920, Volvo inventing the three-point seatbelt and opening the patent in 1959 and airbags and ABS in the ’70s and ’80s — all seismic shifts altering the course of the modern automobile. And according to Henrik Fisker, we’re only two to three years away from the “big boom in electrification.”

Henrik Fisker is most famous for his design work on the Z8 at BMW, the DB9 and V8 Vantage at Aston Martin and, of course, the current iteration of the electric car company that bears his name, Fisker Inc. However, the Fisker EMotion all-electric luxury sedan and the similarly powered Orbit people carrier announced at CES are now just one facet of what Fisker Inc. is looking to accomplish. In Fisker’s own words, “we’re more than just a car company now. I would even consider us a battery company.” Over the past year, along with designing the anticipated cars, behind the scenes, Fisker has worked tirelessly testing and developing the battery technology he thinks will be the next giant leap, not just for electric cars but the automotive industry as a whole.

The “big boom” Fisker refers to is the application of solid-state batteries in mass-market automobiles. Solid-state batteries aren’t anything new — they were developed in the 1950s by Michael Faraday — but it hasn’t been until recently that rapid advancement of the technology has occurred. Solid-state batteries, as opposed to liquid-state like Lithium-Ion batteries that are the current status quo, employ the use of ceramics, glass or Lithium-Sulfide. What that means for the consumer is lighter, quicker-charging batteries.

“It’s pretty clear the current Li-Ion technology is not the final technology that’ll make it into mass-market electrification,” says Fisker. And looking at the spec-to-spec comparison, Li-Ion tech is a steam engine compared to the advancements happening with solid-state batteries. “They only have five percent more that can be improved and that’s not enough to beat the gasoline engine.” The main drawbacks to Li-Ion batteries are a penchant to overheat when fast charging and their notorious flammability.

Parallel to developing its cars, Fisker Inc. has been testing solid-state batteries on a small scale and is soon moving on to larger applications. “We might apply these batteries outside the car industry in applications that don’t require such large batteries. We hope to be producing large formed cells, where each cell is about one kilowatt-hour and put them into a battery pack and in a car for testing by next year.” Fisker Inc. claims that though current superchargers outperform the batteries, its batteries will match or exceed the performance of modern superchargers. “With the current best supercharger we would be able to charge the equivalent of 200 miles in about five to ten minutes, which is pretty fast,” says Fisker.

Fisker says if the maximum-capacity battery pack is used in the EMotion, it’d get up to a 750-mile range. On top of the ‘minutes to fully charge claim’ and Fisker claiming “this technology is at least two times cheaper than current battery technology,” it’s easy to dismiss his mission. Considering his tumultuous past in the industry some may consider his claims to be vaporware, and that’s nothing to say of how many electric car startups have come and gone. But the trend is gaining credible momentum — where the majority of startups are backed by random billionaires and interchangeable tech companies, brands like Toyota, BMW, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company and Nissan are already developing their solid-state battery technology.

It’s clear, as Fisker says, solid-state batteries are the next avenue for all-electric vehicles. Jaguar already announced its lineup will be all-electric and hybrid by 2020 or 2021 and Porsche is releasing the Mission E sometime next year. Where does Fisker think he can come out ahead in such a cutthroat industry? “As a new company, we start with a clean sheet of paper. We can develop an all-electric car from the ground up and not worry about building around a gasoline engine. We can be more radical in or innovation and capture the consumers’ attention.” The ‘big boom’ is inevitable. It’s just a matter of whether Fisker’s strategic positioning has put the company in a prime spot to supply the resulting wave of demand.

2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Review

It’s a revelation having Alfa Romeo back in the United States. Unlike other car companies doing business in the US, every single car and SUV it produces and offers here in North America is focused on performance and driving. As such, each car they’ve delivered to us has been a terrific experience, from the tiny but engaging 4C to the new Stelvio Quadrifoglio. As someone who loves driving good cars, this is encouraging.

Earlier this year we reviewed the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport. We found it to be a very capable SUV; comfortable for the driver and passengers, with a peppy engine and sharp handling. It was on the sportier side of the SUV market and we felt it was a great addition to Alfa Romeo’s line-up. However, as much as we enjoyed it we couldn’t help but wish we were driving the then-new Quadrifoglio version – Alfa Romeo’s high-performance version of the already impressive Stelvio.
With a twin-turbo 2.9L V6 engine producing 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque and a performance all-wheel drive system, it presented a tantalizing opportunity to further explore Alfa’s engineering prowess as well as Alfa’s idea of what an SUV should be.

So we begged and pleaded and offered bribes and wept bitterly and tried asking with fake angry Russian accents and at long last – after a few torturous months of waiting – Alfa Romeo was able to deliver a Stelvio Quadrifoglio for us to play with for a few days.

They delivered to us a Vulcano Black Stelvio Quadrifoglio with dark grey wheels. It was nearly a blacked-out package, which made the aluminum V-grille and the almost neon yellow brake calipers pop against the black background. White triangular badges with green four-leafed clovers (“quadrifoglio”) on them decorated the fenders. The wheels were wide and wrapped with equally wide Pirelli performance tires. It looked mean. It looked intimidating. It looked fast.

Inside, the interior was black too. Black leather and suede seats, black carpets, black plastics, and carbon fiber trim. Aluminum accents were the only brightwork, and Alfa Romeo made sure to use them liberally to offset all the darkness. The seats were plenty comfortable though and well-bolstered. They were also electrically adjustable in several ways. Legroom was plentiful in front and acceptable in back. The backseat also folded flat to increase cargo area. All the controls were laid out logically. Alfa’s D.N.A. selector that controls the drive mode was on the center console, in front of the electronic shifter by the infotainment selector and volume knob. The leather and carbon fiber wrapped steering wheel hid two of the largest aluminum paddle shifters you’ve ever seen. They’re like aluminum artwork behind the wheel. It comes loaded with just about every conceivable luxury option. Like the standard Stelvio, it feels like a quality interior and you get the impression that it’s a prestige-level car. As it should be.

The Quadrifoglio version means increased power but it isn’t just all about the motor. There’s a lot more to it. There’s a torque-vectoring differential to send power to the wheels with better traction. There’s active suspension that adjusts at the turn of a knob – from All-weather to Normal Conditions to Dynamic, which ups the ante performance-wise, and finally to Race, which promises nothing but sweet goodness. There’s also the optional CCM (Carbon-Ceramic Matrix) ultra-high performance brakes that our car had, which come in at a hefty $8,000 but stop this SUV right NOW! and can do so repeatedly all day long without fade. The bright yellow calipers with “Alfa Romeo” in black script look sublime. Plus the carbon look of the disks just exude cutting edge awesomeness.

So what’s it like to drive? I’m glad you asked. Climb in.

Reach for the start button on the dash aaaaand….there isn’t one. It’s on the steering wheel instead. Press it and the engine whirrs to life. Oddly, the 2.9L V6 engine idles roughly, as if it’s unbalanced. Not something you expect in a $80,000 SUV, let alone the base $40,000 Stelvio we drove earlier this year. However, once in motion it smooths right out and you don’t notice it anymore. It behaves like a race car engine, tuned so highly for speed and high rpms that it struggles to idle. You never get the sense that it’ll stall though, and it never did for us.

Put your foot on the brake and making sure to press the button on the back of the shifter, pull it back towards you until “D” lights up on the shifter and on the dash display. Let your foot off the brake slowly and the release of the CCM brakes will feel different from standard steel brakes. It comes across as a slight drag of the pads on the rotors, then it’s fine. At low speeds around town, it’s perfectly comfortable stopping and starting and sitting in traffic for extended periods of time. As I said, the brakes feel a little different but don’t operate any differently and don’t require any special maneuvers. The suspension is firm but not harsh, even in Dynamic mode. It absorbs bumps and potholes well while instilling confidence in it’s abilities. It would be a great car for commuting or running the kids to soccer practice.

And if you come to a stoplight and some dude in a muscle car lines up next to you, revving his engine to signal his desire to race, or if some woman is tailgating you because she thinks she’s faster, well…you might have to drop the hammer on them and show them the error of their ways. If the rough-idling engine was meant to emulate a race car engine, giving that right pedal a good solid poke will have you believing it really is a race car engine. The turbocharged 2.9L V6 absolutely rocks this platform, driving it up the road like it’s on an aircraft carrier catapult. The suspension keeps things flat and level and in control and the all-wheel drive system gets enormous purchase on the road beneath you, the meaty Pirelli summer tires twisting against the hot asphalt to push you out ahead of everyone in the blink of an eye. The 8-speed electronic transmission quickly snaps off shifts as rapidly as the needle can reach the redline, which is amazingly fast. With each shift, the wastegates dump huge amounts of air with a loud “Whump!” While some may find this annoying, it’s the sound of pressurized power and it immediately reminded me of the 4C with the race exhaust (a car at the top of my wishlist) and I was immediately smitten with it. The effect of all this power and performance leaves other drivers in a state of shock. “What the heck just happened?!? you can almost see their lips mouthing in the rear-view mirror. Nobody expects an SUV to have this level of performance and it’s quite entertaining to gauge people’s reactions when you demonstrate it.

Hit an entertaining secondary (or tertiary) road and you’ll quickly realize that it’s not just a straight-line muscle car. The suspension makes the Stelvio Quadrifoglio a very stable and agile platform. It effortlessly follows the twisting, winding roads, never getting caught out by a curve or off-camber section or patched and rough road sections. The steering is direct and intuitive, pointing the Stelvio exactly where you want it, with the rest of the car eager to follow. With the D.N.A. selector set to Dynamic or Race, the turbo engine is always ready to provide a tidal wave or torque to shoot you up the road even faster, making the scenery out the windows even blurrier. And should you find yourself in over your head, with too much speed and too little asphalt, a reasonable application of the Brembo CCM brakes will reign everything back into compliance. At speed, the CCM brakes feel more natural, although their abilities are borderline supernatural. Really stomp on the brake pedal and you’ll hang yourself in your seatbelt. They’re extraordinary.

Engage the paddle shifters and you can take control of the transmission too. The long wide aluminum paddles (left for downshifts, right for upshifts) are almost as tall as the steering wheel so it’s almost always available to your fingers, no matter what angle you have the wheel turned to. There’s nothing worse that a slow-shifting electronic transmission when you’re trying to go fast and Alfa agrees. In Dynamic or Race mode, the shifts are rapid-fire fast and really enhance the performance capabilities of the car.

Gas mileage is rated at 17 in the city and 23 on the freeway. I don’t think I witnessed those numbers, but I have to confess that when i have a 505 hp turbo engine at my disposal, I tend to use it hard and often. I think I was regularly getting 14-15 in the city and I think I may have managed 21 on the freeway. Again, that’s with hard driving.

The performance is simply unreal. Alfa Romeo claims it’ll go from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. I have experienced that. They also claim it’ll top out at 176 mph. I completely believe that too. It’s one fast machine.

The fantastic thing about the Quadrifoglio version is that it really is a driver’s SUV. It’s no less capable than any high-end sport sedan and it’ll go up against the best on the market – all while carrying more cargo in the back and providing you with a more elevated view of the road ahead. Ultimately, this is more than just a high-performance street SUV. This is a fully-trackable SUV that would probably embarrass some highly regarded performance cars at a track day event. In fact, it recently destroyed the record for an SUV at the Nurburgring with a time of 7 minutes and 51.7 seconds. That’s not just impressive, that’s mind-boggling.

While we really liked the Stelvio Ti Sport, we completely fell for the Quadrifoglio. Alfa Romeo has done a magnificent job of planning and building a top-tier performance car. That it’s an SUV is even more impressive. Now let’s go find a fun backroad to push this thing on. Or a race track.

My 8 Gear Essentials For Surviving an Off-Road Race Across Nevada

Going by the way of smooth, paved asphalt and piloting a modern, road-legal car, it’ll take you just under seven hours to get from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada. Your luxurious, climate-controlled cocoon of leather and carpet can effortlessly glide over the ribbon of road connecting those cities regardless of the searing sun, triple-digit temperatures and gusts of wind carrying buckets of desert dust. It’s almost too easy. But try to get from one of the casino-laden cities to the other without using any roads at all, as fast as you possibly can, while fighting off dehydration, silt beds waiting to swallow wheels, blind turns preceding cliffs and suspension arm-hungry boulders… that’s a different story. Coincidently, The Best in The Desert Vegas to Reno, which at 540 miles is the longest off-road race in the US, puts on just such show. I attempted to finish it in a relatively stock Polaris RZR Turbo S.

By “stock,” I mean the only things added to the RZR were to make it race-safe and compliant — an extensive, reinforced roll cage, race seats and safety belts, removable-steering wheel, race fuel cell, radio, safety lights and fire extinguisher system. Other than what the regulations deemed necessary, everything on the Turbo S was factory-spec — there were no mechanical upgrades. Meaning the suspension, engine, transmission, ECU and basic chassis rolled up to the starting line the same as they were on the showroom floor. My co-pilot and I, on the other hand, were in need of necessary optional extras. Fireproof suits, gloves and driving shoes and a ventilated race helmet were baselines; on top of that, we needed a way to communicate to the pits and, as we found out 50 miles into the 580-mile race, food and water, just in case we got stuck out in the desert. This is the gear we brought along to attempt America’s toughest off-road endurance race.

Polaris RZR XP Turbo S

Pyrotect Pro Airflow Helmet

PCI Race Radios Offroad Helmet Wiring Kit

Alpinestars GP Race Suit

Alpinestars Tech 1 Race Glove

Oakley Race Mid Boot

CamelBak Ratchet 6L Backpack

Cliff Bars

Country Archer Beef Jerky