All posts in “Cars”

Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is an 830-horsepower track weapon

Following in the footsteps of the likes of the Diablo GTR and the Miura Jota, the new Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is the latest limited-run, uber-performance GT car that offers more power than any other naturally aspirated V12 model Lamborghini has ever produced.

To say the Essenza SCV12 is purpose-built would be understating it. From the carbon fiber monocoque and the adjustable aerodynamics to the structurally integral gearbox, everything about the Essenza SCV12 was engineered expressly for speed by Lamborghini’s motorsports division. Lamborghini says the V12 actually makes more than 830 horsepower, but didn’t offer us anything more specific.

Its multi-function wheel was even inspired by the control interfaces found in Formula One, and the rest of the cockpit is similarly racecar-spartan, down to the FIA-homologated carbon-shell seats. The exterior bodywork comprises just three sections to facilitate quick repair and replacement. All four wheels are magnesium alloy and the brakes were developed by Brembo.

“Essenza SCV12 represents the purest track driving experience that our brand can offer, an engineering feat that highlights the inextricable link between our cars and the asphalt of the track,” said Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali in the company’s announcement. “Lamborghini is a brand constantly looking to the future and searching for new challenges, but we never forget our roots and who we are: Essenza SCV12 is the perfect combination of our unconventional spirit as a super sports car manufacturer and our true passion for motorsport.”

The Essenza SCV12 puts all 830 horsepower to the ground via the rear wheels. The aforementioned structural gearbox is a six-speed sequential unit and the mounting point for the rear pushrod suspension. The aero elements, which were borrowed (with modifications, of course) from Lamborghini’s racing cars, produce more than 2,600 pounds of downforce at 155 MPH — more than you get from the aero on a GT3 race car. 

Making the deal even sweeter is the fact that purchasing one of these 40 Essenza SCV12s also confers access to a series of exclusive track events along with storage space in a new building (a hangar, Lamborghini says) that the company has built at its facility in Sant’Agata Bolognese. 

“We wanted to elevate not only performance and driving pleasure but also the experience off the track,” said Giorgio Sanna, Head of Lamborghini Motorsport. “Customers can take advantage of exclusive and highly customizable services to fully experience the best of Italian hospitality and become part of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse family.”

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2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Gets New Safety Tech!

The steady drip-feed of information about the upcoming Mercedes-Benz S-Class has continued today. Known for its innovation, it is no surprise that Mercedes-Benz is packing the latest technology into its flagship sedan.

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is expected to be the most advanced luxury sedan yet. Previous generations of the S-Class have debuted airbags and three point seatbelts. These days, innovation moves much faster and so, keeping the S-Class on the cutting edge has been a challenge for Mercedes-Benz.

Among the features which debut on the S-Class is a new E-Active Body Control suspension system. The optional package uses a 48-volt system, with control units which analyse the driving situation 1,000 times per second, to regulate the damping and spring forces individually at each wheel.

Road surface scan returns too, using stereo multi-purpose cameras to monitor the road surface. Curve driving mode is also available, carried over the outgoing model, which allows the vehicle to lean into bends.

A new pre-safe function adds “Impulse Side” which detects when a side impact might occur and raises the suspension within a few tenths of a second.

Inside, occupants are protected by the world’s first frontal airbag for passengers in the rear seat. Mercedes-Benz has illuminate the belt buckles too.

An internal MBUX Interior Assistant camera can now be used to detect a child seat and display a custom belt fastening message.

Rear-axle steering is something we have seen from other manufacturers. It makes its debut on the S-Class, reducing turning circle by up to 2 metres and improving agility.

Driver assistance is improved too. Active blind spot assist and active steering assist are too programs that have been upgraded.

Stay tuned for more information!

Prototype Drive: 2021 Porsche Panamera Facelift

Okay, perhaps Porsche should have skipped the camouflage: It draws more attention to our Panamera than it would have received without the attention-grabbing stickers. We are behind the wheel of the facelifted Porsche Panamera, to be launched in late August; it is fine-tuned in every respect – and still by far the sportiest entry in the luxury car segment.

The Panamera has two faces: Built in two wheelbases and with a Sport Turismo station wagen derivative, it offers all the room of an Audi A8, a BMW 7-series or a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. And since a new, technologically stunning S-Class is just around the corner, Porsche needed to do something to make the Panamera an even better, more comfortable long-distance cruiser.

That’s why it is a bit softer in the comfort-oriented driving modes, and that’s why the infotainment system has been vastly upgraded: It is faster than before, it features a higher-resolution display screen and it has a superior voice recognition system. The Panamera, if so desired by the driver and passengers, offers a serene environment ideally suited to long-distance travel.

But the upgraded chassis and tweaked driving modes can swing the other way, too: Improvements to the adaptive damping system, the anti-roll system, the torque vectoring system and the noticeably sharper steering turn the Porsche Panamera into an even better performer. And that’s important as well, as new competitors such as the four-door AMG GT and the BMW M8 Gran Coupe have arrived on the scene.

Porsche Panamera Facelift Review

Changes to the exterior are rather minimal: The rear light strip now runs in an unbroken line from side to side, the Sport Design package is henceforth standard, and there are the obligatory new wheels and colors. Inside, there is a new steering wheel and new available wood trim. And we praise Porsche for keeping the traditional gated gear selector that allows the driver to up- and downshift with the flick of the wrist. Alternatively, there are solid and beautifully executed shifter paddles.

The powertrain lineup is significantly upgraded, with two conventional 2.9-liter V-6 models, two 4.0-liter V-8 models and three plug-in hybrids, of which two are based on the V-6 and one on the V-8. The battery is bigger than before, electric range grows by 30 per cent. All-wheel drive is standard with the exception of a few select markets, where Porsche offers and entry-level model with rear-wheel drive, and all models are fitted with a quick-shifting eight-speed dual-clutch automatic, affectionately known as Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S Engine

The six-cylinder lineup consists of the Panamera 4 with 330 horsepower and the Panamera 4S with 440 horsepower; the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid will make around 460 horsepower, while the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid – a new addition to the lineup – is rated at 560 horsepower.

The V-8 lineup begins with the GTS, which climbs from 460 to 480 horsepower; the 550-horsepower Turbo is killed off in favor of a 630-horsepower Turbo S, and there is only one hybrid here: The Turbo S E-Hybrid, which gets another 70 horsepower to crack 700.

But enthusiasts should know that the Turbo S is fitted with a more interesting engine than the Turbo S E-Hybrid: While the hybrid’s V-8 carries over unchanged and is largely identical to the electronically detuned unit on the GTS, the 630-horsepower unit is significantly fine-tuned with unique pistons, crankshaft and timing chain, larger turbochargers, new injectors and even higher-performance spark plugs. Add to this the fact that it is very significantly less heavy than the hybrid, the enthusiast’s choice should be clear: Pick the regular Turbo S, and it’ll likely be faster on the track, too.

Porsche Panamera Facelift Rear

If it’s comfortable long-distance cruising you’re after, the choice is less clear. The hybrids are economical only when driven over short distances and duly plugged in after each drive. Meanwhile, Porsche has missed the opportunity to bring back the fabulous 4.0-liter V-8 diesel that was briefly available on the pre-facelift model and commands sky-high prices on the used-car market. Our choice would therefore be the GTS: You can’t beat the V-8 rumble – it’s just so soothing.

We loved driving the facelifted Panamera. Look for the cover to come off in late August.

Dix Mille Tours du Castellet 2020

This weekend historical motor racing shook the dust off with the Dix Mille Tours du Castellet that took place under a glorious Provençal sun at Paul Ricard circuit after a long stop due to the world pandemic. The event launched the start of the 2020 season of the séries by Peter Auto. As this meeting was originally scheduled in April, the resumption was all the more appreciated by those who were able to take part – drivers, team members, services, the organisation and the public – with the health measures in force being respected by one and all.

Ten grids told the history of motor sport out on the track: Fifties’ Legends, Sixties’ Endurance, 2.0L Cup, Classic Endurance Racing I & II, Endurance Racing Legends, Group C Racing, Heritage Touring Cup, The Greatest’s Trophy and guest grid, the Eric Offenstadt Cup (F1/F3).

All in all, more than 350 cars took part in the races on the famous Paul Ricard circuit. The presence of the many clubs that traveled to Le Castellet added excitement behind the scenes. Over 380 historic cars turned up and were driven to the inside of the circuit where they went on display and took part in track runs.

We hope that this glorious weekend could be just the first one of many other that can be saved from the unlucky 2020 calendar.

Enjoy the photo gallery! Photos by Yaron Esposito IG: aaronandcars

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Pricing Revealed

Pricing has been revealed for the new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series. The flagship model of the GT range costs a staggering 335,240 euros before you add options.

The price includes German sales tax of 16 % VAT. In the UK it would translate to a little over £310,000 including 20% VAT. In the US, just short of $400,000.

The price tag is a steep increase over the Mercedes-AMG GT R which retails in Germany at 165,474 euros.

For the money though, customer will get a highly-sorted front-engined supercar, the fastest Mercedes-AMG has ever produced.

The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series debuted with the most powerful AMG V8 of all time. The 4.0 litre V8 produces 730 hp and 800 Nm of torque. In contrast, the GT R ‘makes do’ with just 585 hp.

The Black Series hits 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, 200 km/h in under 9 seconds and a top speed in excess of 325 km/h.The Power is put to the rear wheels through an AMG 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

Pricing on options has yet to be revealed, however, you can bet that the attractive AMG magma beam paint finish will add a fair amount to the entry price.

Gordon Murray T.50: V12 Supercar Detailed, F1 Engine for the Road

Gordon Murray Automotive today released further details of its T.50 supercar powerplant. It has been known for a while now that Gordon Murray is working with Cosworth to bring his vision of a McLaren F1 successor into focus.

The press release promises the “world’s highest revving, fastest responding, most power dense, and lightest naturally aspirated V12 road car engine”. The specifications which follow do not disappoint!

The Cosworth GMA V12 engine is bespoke built. It measures 3.9 litres, small capacity but with character and power. It delivers 663 PS at 11,500 rpm, with a torque figure of 467 Nm at 9,000 rpm. As a result, it should beg to be thrashed.

It is capable of up to 28,400 revs per second (the F1 engine’s equivalent is around 10,000 revs per second). Which means that from idle to its 12,100 rpm redline takes just 0.3 of a second.

Although peak power is delivered at dizzying rpm’s, Cosworth has designed the engine so that 71% of its torque is available at 2,500 rpm.

To fill some of the performance gap, an additional 50 PS will be generated through a 48-volt integrated starter-generator.

Of course, the engine is expected to be delivered within Gordon Murray’s design brief. His vision for T.50 is a sub-1,000 kg total vehicle weight.

The Gordon Murray T.50’s low weight is achieved through the use of ultra-lightweight components and intelligent packaging. The T.50’s engine has no belts, it’s all gear-driven. All-in, the V12 weighs just 178 kg.

There are innovative touches in terms of experience too. The cold-air ram intake, which sits above the drivers head, acts as a loudspeaker, amplifying engine sound in the cabin.

The power is delivered through a six-speed manual Xtrac gearbox which weighs just 80.5 kg. Both gearbox and engine are completely bespoke to the T.50.

Gordon Murray said: “Above all else, I wanted it to look clean like the BMW S70/2 engine, which had no carbon or plastic covers. It was just inlet trumpets, cam covers, exhaust block and heads, and a few belt-driven ancillaries that I managed to squeeze out of sight. In designing the T.50 V12, I wanted it to be the antidote to the modern supercar where you can’t see the engine beneath carbon covers.”

The global premier of the Gordon Murray T.50 supercar will be on 4 August 2020 at 17:00 UK time.

2021 Maserati Ghibli Hybrid: Brand’s First Electrified Model

The Maserati Ghibli Hybrid debuted yesterday, the Italian brand’s first attempt at a hybrid model.

It’s easy to forget the Ghibli. In the UK at least, they are a rare sight on the roads. Maserati’s latest press release confirms it has sold 100,000 of them since 2013.

By comparison, BMW sold 107,000 5-Series in Europe, in 2013 alone. The Ghibli hasn’t sold in huge numbers, however, it has a certain subtle draw to it. With the addition of a Hybrid, Maserati has hopefully tapped into a profitable market.

The Maserati Ghibli Hybrid uses mild hybrid technology. The powertrain combines a 2.0 litre, 4-cylinder engine with a 48 volt alternator and an additional electric supercharger (e-Booster).

It makes 330 hp and torque of 450 Nm with a top speed of 255 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds.

The battery pack has been placed at the back of the car for weight distribution. It weighs about 80 kg less than the diesel model.

To distinguish the exterior, blue accents cover the side air ducts, the brake calipers and the thunderbolt on the rear pillar Maserati log. The same blue colour also appears inside the car, in particular on the embroidered seams of the seats.

Maserati Ghibli Hybrid Wheels

The Maserati Ghibli Hybrid includes a new front grille, with bars redesigned to represent a tuning fork. At the rear of the car, the light clusters have been completely restyled, with a boomerang-like profile inspired by the 3200 GT and the Alfieri concept car.

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced. Yet, the press release does confirm that Maserati’s first all-electric cars will be the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio, scheduled for 2021.

The New Porsche 992 Turbo Is The Outgoing Turbo S Reborn!

Hot on the heels of the 911 Turbo S, Porsche has revealed the ‘standard’ Porsche 911 Turbo.

Alongside its S counterpart, the Porsche 992 Turbo is one of the most anticipated models in the revamped range. The 992 Turbo makes such progress that acceleration, power and torque are on par with the previous generation 911 Turbo S.

Compared to the previous generation, the Porsche 992 Turbo gets a 40 hp power boost. In total, its 3.8 litre, six-cylinder boxer engine now produces 580 hp and manages a 100 km/h sprint in just 2.8 seconds.

Power is routed through an eight-speed PDK transmission. Options such as a sports or lightweight package, sports suspension and sports exhaust system are available for the first time.

Visually, it is no different to the Turbo S. It measures 45 millimeters more at the front and 20 millimeters more at the rear. LED headlights with PDLS Plus are standard and adaptive aerodynamics are incorporated into the bodywork.

Two new option packs are available. The lightweight package reduces vehicle weight by 30 kilograms, making use of light full bucket seats, the elimination of the rear seats and reduced insulation.

Porsche 911 Turbo Interior

The sport package includes the sport design package as well as other applications in black, carbon elements and an exclusive rear light design.

The Porsche 992 Turbo is available to order from July 16. The Coupé costs 180,811 euros including VAT in Germany. The Cabriolet is priced at 194,035 euros.

Demand for Bugatti’s Chiron Pur Sport is exceeding expectations

Bugatti’s handling-focused Chiron Pur Sport should have been one of the stars of the 2020 Geneva auto show, but the event was canceled at the last minute due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Although customers weren’t able to see the firm’s newest model in person, demand has nonetheless been exceptionally high.

Geneva is a major event for brands like Bugatti because it’s one of the last shows where customers go to spend money, not just to sit in cars and play around with the infotainment system. Members of the company’s sales and marketing team consequently had to find other ways to present the model; some potential buyers were shown the Pur Sport online, while a handful have seen it in person as it tours Europe. All have given it a warm welcome.

“Feedback from customers that have seen the car, online or in person, has been positive. It’s exceeding expectations,” a spokesperson for the company told Autoblog. Bugatti will continue showing the car to loyal customers in Europe, and it will soon set sail across the Atlantic to make its debut on American soil.

Sixty units of the Pur Sport will be built by hand in Bugatti’s Atelier in Molsheim, France. It’s the latest member of the Chiron family, which also includes the standard model introduced at the 2016 edition of the Geneva show and the record-breaking Super Sport 300+ unveiled in 2019. Frank Heyl, the company’s deputy design director, told Autoblog that customer requests play a big role in shaping the different directions his team takes the Chiron in. 

“We have customers who really demanded a more reactive, more emotional car. This was, of course, one idea. We said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’ and we started developing this car,” he said. Heyl stopped short of telling us what’s next, but his team won’t run out of ideas — and customers won’t run out of requests — anytime soon.

In the meantime, Bugatti’s team of intrepid road testers is fine-tuning the Chiron Pur Sport by putting it through its paces on various tracks, including the Nürburgring. Production is scheduled to start in the second half of 2020.

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How design follows function in the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport and Super Sports 300+

As the successor to the world-beating Veyron, the Bugatti Chiron had big shoes to fill, and by every measure it has succeeded. With its 304-mph top-speed run last fall, the latest Bugatti hypercar has handily beaten all expectations, and Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann has even publicly stated that the company will no longer chase speed records. One could argue that the Chiron’s work here is done, and yet it’s merely half way through its projected lifecycle. What more could it possibly accomplish?

Bugatti’s answer: Go faster on a road course. To accomplish this, the Chiron Super Sports 300+ formula would have to be cast aside for something entirely new. After all, the things that make a car fast in a straight line are only part of the equation when it comes to conquering a race track, and with that mission, the Chiron Pur Sport was born. These two models’ diverging missions necessitated distinct design. To learn more about just how differently they were formed, Autoblog attended a virtual round-table with Frank Heyl, Bugatti deputy design director, and Jachin Schwalbe, Bugatti head of chassis development.

The distinctions are most evident in their profiles, where the longtail design of the Super Sports 300+ radically alters the Chiron’s entire rear “box,” making the Pur Sport’s sharp rear cut-off seem almost inelegant by comparison. The slow, clean taper of the longtail design accomplishes the same thing aerodynamically that it does aesthetically. When the car is in top-speed mode, the rear spoiler even remains stowed.

This design significantly shrinks the low-pressure zone behind the car, reducing the resulting drag, but that absent spoiler also detracts from the Chiron’s stability. To compensate for the lack of spoiler deployment, Bugatti’s engineers altered the flow beneath the car and through the rear diffuser. Heyl describes this as “free” downforce, because there’s no corresponding penalty in drag from gains found with these underbody features.

With the Pur Sport, Bugatti went the other direction. This track-focused car gives up a ton of top speed to its sibling in exchange for nimbleness and acceleration, so being able to cut the minimum hole in the air is far less important. Think of design as a zero-sum game, Bugatti’s team says. With the Pur Sport, top speed was less of a priority, which allowed engineering and design to explore other capabilities. 

The short rear deck and pronounced rear diffuser pair with the Pur Sport’s massive rear wing to produce significantly more downforce, significantly improving the car’s high-speed handling. It may “only” hit 218 mph, but the trade-offs allow for far greater flexibility on tighter, more technical tracks. These design changes go hand-in-hand with the Pur Sport’s extensive chassis and braking system overhaul to create a total package that is more than merely a stock Chiron with 110 pounds yanked out of it. 

In the end, this divergent pair of new Chirons should provide more than enough incentive for customers to justify and/or desire plunking down a few more millions on one of the few remaining Chirons set to be made (less than 100). Basically, how and where do you want your second Chiron to be faster?

BMW iX3: Full Electric BMW X3 Revealed

BMW pioneered many electric car segments. Yet it’s not until now that it reveals a competitor for the most popular. The BMW iX3 marks BMW’s first attempt at an all-electric SUV.

It is also the first time BMW has applied BMW I technology in a model from the BMW core brand. Of course, the BMW iX3 is a variety of BMW’s X3 model range. As such, the X3 is now available with a petrol or diesel engine, plug-in hybrid drive system or all-electric drive system.

The BMW iX3 is the first BMW to be produced for export at its Shenyang manufacturing facility in China. The majority of BMW’s X3 range is built elsewhere at its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, United States.

The BMW iX3 benefits from progress with BMW’s core electric systems. Power density is increased by 30 per cent over the BMW Group’s existing fully electric vehicles. Operating range, weight, installation space requirement and flexibility are all improved.

BMW has worked on packaging of its parts. Electric motor, power electronics and transmission are all arranged in a central housing for the first time.

The electronic motors produce 286 hp and 400 Nm of torque. It hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). The majority of the power is routed to the rear for a proper BMW experience.

The batteries carry the iX3 a respectable 460 kilometres (285 miles) in the statutory new WLTP test cycle (up to 520 kilometres (323 miles) in the NEDC test cycle).

2021 BMW iX3 Rear

It uses Active Recuperation too, alongside Brake Energy Regeneration. At the suspension end, Adaptive suspension comes as standard.

BMW has opted to install a sound generator, named BMW IconicSounds Electric. The press release claims it has been developed in collaboration with Hans Zimmer. It will be interesting to see hear what this sounds like.

Thankfully, the BMW iX3 also gets a more conventional look than some of BMW’s other contemporary models. Key features include a new grille, re-designed front facia, blue accents and a re-designed rear apron.

Otherwise, the BMW iX3 contains all of the usual interior refinements. BMW Live Cockpit Professional with BMW Maps cloud-based navigation system and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, all standard.

5 Things Car Makers Can Learn from the New Ford Bronco

New Ford Bronco is here. This is a people’s car, popular American icon produced for a period of 30 years before they put it to bed in 1996. The 6th generation was launched today and it was easily the most anticipated car in 2020. A lot to say about it but for now we will focus on a few things that other car makers can learn from the new Bronco.

Key rivals include the new Defender and of course the Jeep Wrangler. So it’s fair to say that this is a very niche category but that does not mean we cannot pick a few tricks that can be applied across the industry in general. Here we go.

2021 Ford Bronco Side

1. Don’t Overprice Cars

A people’s car should be affordable and at the same time pop up as a bedroom poster. It’s should not be all glory with no personal experience. Ford knows this well given that they already house a world best seller; the F150. The new Bronco starts at $29k for the 2 door version (which we absolutely adore), this price is in line with rivals like the Wrangler. While production costs and materials ultimately determine the pricing points, any iconic + people’s car should be priced within reasonable reach.

2. Keep the History Alive

In recent times we have witnessed the deaths of many iconic cars, the Bronco was one of them but the revival of this model has already proved to be a hit. Ford’s ultimate goal is to outsell the Wrangler by taking the top spot in the rugged 4×4 segment. Heritage names that have been in production for decades or brought back to life hardly fail to impress. We could name a few, the Nissan Skyline range (now simply GT-R), Supra family (recently re-continued), VW Beetle (the original one ended production in 2003, a new one came under “New Beetle” name even though it did not get the same attention as the original).

Ford Bronco Old and New

Some models like the Jimny and 911 have been in constant production, their history is the main sales backbone. This whole history thing tends to work well especially if a popular model is put to bed for a decade or so then revived. Ferrari twists it a bit with special edition models; adding tags like “GTO”, “tdf” all which reflect past models with notable history.

3. Stop Killing the Manual Unnecessarily

Now, it’s reasonable to have the manual disappear in modern day SUVs but doing the same in sports cars is simply harsh. Manufacturers argue that the modern automatics or dual clutches are faster and more efficient than the manual, true. But a good number of buyers just want some physical human-to-car engagement. The new Bronco does not disappoint as it has been offered with a 7-speed manual gearbox from Getrag and a 10 speed auto as well. BMW and Porsche are fighting to keep manuals alive too, on future models too, kudos to them.

Bronco Manual Gear Shifter

Point here is, give us both options to choose from (manual + auto) especially on popular models…the peoples’ cars. They include entry level sports cars, sports hatchs and even some sporty grand tourers.

4. Don’t Complicate Things

Simplicity is key sometimes, and you may be wondering; what is simple about the new Bronco? Well, if you are an avid GTspirit reader then you know that most of the cars we focus on are largely tech oriented or feature complicated powertrains. Honestly sometimes we only need a car with modern day basics like a good AC, sun/panoroof, simple media interface and so on. A 911 4S is simple but Porsche takes it further and they will give you a 911 T for pure driving. I mean, you want a Bronco to drive to the beach on a Sunday afternoon with your two dogs, roof off too for some open air driving. You want to drive around the B-roads on a Sunday afternoon in well balanced sports car of your choosing without having to fight a million buttons. If you want complicated, there is a time and car for that, a Maybach or a Cullinan for example where you get champagne glasses and picnic tables, but those two are hardly peoples’ cars.

5. 2 Doors Still Worth It

What is happening to two door cars? We even stopped categorizing Coupes as cars with 2 doors, thanks to what we now call 4-door coupes. Hot hatches from 2019 moving forward have also killed the 2-door (also known as 3 doors) concept with the exception of limited ones like the Yaris GRMN.

But the biggest shock is the total lack of 2/3 door SUVs. Man oh man, remember when Toyota offered 2 door Rav4s, Land Cruisers and so on? or Mitsubishi with the Pajero Coupe? and Mercedes with the G-Cabrio?…my my my. These were not only practical but also beautiful to look at. But the world now wants big cars, can’t blame the car makers here but we still appreciate those who continue offering the 2 door SUVs like the Bronco, Wrangler and Jimny. The size of hatches for example continues to grow such that 3 door versions would probably look a bit off.

Improvements across the industry

While we pointed out a few short comings in the industry, we would also like to highlight one major improvement made by most automakers. With the Bronco for example, you have the option to order 35 inch tires from the factory. This will prove to be cheaper than buying them aftermarket. Across the industry, car makers now offer exclusive cost options that would otherwise be available as aftermarket parts only. While some of them are not extreme as those on the aftermarket, its still cheaper and fair to buyers who are not looking to go all out on mods.

Toyota has some OEM parts for the Supra including body kits, most hot hatch makers now offer the option to get 19 inch wheels and if you have been on the market for wheels…then you know anything 18 inches and above is big money, especially if you are after quality. Audi for example offers 22 inches for the RS6/7, most buyers will not need anything bigger than this and the pricing for 22 inch aftermarket wheels is not light either.

Koenigsegg made a short film, so you obviously need to go watch it now

Somebody get the Academy Awards on the line. Koenigsegg makes films now

The short film above (which you should absolutely watch) was produced, scripted, cast and made entirely in-house by Koenigsegg employees. Seriously, is there anything these people can’t do? It stars Christian von Koenigsegg (the CEO himself) and a number of other Koenigsegg workers trying their hand at acting.

It’s called “Time to Reign,” and Koenigsegg even came up with a name for their production company: A Spare Time In-House Koenigsegg Production. Frankly, that’s an apt name for everything Koenigsegg does, and it all ends up being stupendous. We’re glad to see Koenigsegg found something to do to keep them all busy during quarantine. It appears to be shot in Angelholm, Sweden.

We won’t spoil the fun, so give the film a watch. Oh, and keep watching to the end, because there is a post-credits scene. 

Related Video:

10 V8s Sports Cars Slower than the A45 S AMG – Boy Racer Edition

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 S Specs

Do 0-100 km/h (62mph) times matter in real life? Hardly. Do manufacturers emphasize on them? Largely.

While fast acceleration aids in safe overtaking and at times safe lane changes, the need to measure how quick our cars hit 100km/h from stand still is almost non existent esp on day to day driving. But they form a large basis for marketing sports cars, an open space where car makers spread their bragging rights based on acceleration times.

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 S has the most powerful 4 cylinder engine in a production car, it’s quick and extremely potent – 416hp and 500nm. That torque is a foreign figure in this segment and with a 0-100km/h time of 3.9s, this is easily what we now call a super hatch. Drift mode on these work like magic too…its equal rivals are even a notch higher in terms of engine capacity, like the turbo 5 Audi RS3.

Now that we have established our fan boy level on the A45 S is pretty solid, why not look at some V8s that are slower to 100km/h (62mph) than this pocket rocket? Again, these times are useless and the V8s listed here are in different categories altogether not to mention the weight differences. We will try to stick to manufacturer given 0-100km/h times.

2020 Mercedes-AMG A45 S: 3.9s


Engine: 2.0L I4 Turbo
Output: 416hp / 500nm

2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350: 4.5s

2020 Shelby GT350

Engine: 5.2L Flat Plane Crank V8
Output: 526hp / 582nm
This one is even cheaper than an average spec A45 S AMG…and it comes with a manual.
Price: $60,440

2019 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe: 4.0s

2020 C63 S Coupe AMG

Engine: 4.0L V8 Biturbo
Output: 503hp / 700nm

Ferrari F40: 4.6s

Engine: 2.9L V8 twin-turbo
Output: 471hp / 577nm

BMW E92 M3 GTS: 4.4s


Engine: 4.4L V8 N/A
Output: 444hp

Audi R8 V8: 4.6s

Audi R8 V8

Engine: 4.2L V8
Output: 424hp / 430nm

Corvette C7 Stingray: 4.5s

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Engine: 6.2L V8
Output: 461hp / 609nm

2020 Jaguar F-Type P450: 4.5s

2020 Jaguar F-Type P450

Engine: 5.0L V8 Supercharged
Output: 450hp / 580nm

2019 Lexus RC F Track Edition: 4.8s

Lexus RC F Track Edition

Engine: 5.0L V8
Output: 480hp / 536nm

Some Sporty GTs below make the list too

2020 Aston Martin DB11 V8: 4.2s

DB11 V8 Rear

Engine: 4.0L V8 Biturbo AMG
Output: 510hp / 675nm

2020 Bentley Continental GT V8: 4.0s

2020 Bentley Continental GT V8

Shouldn’t even be here…almost as heavy as its W12 counterpart, 500kg heavier than our A45 S here, blimey.
Engine: 4.0L V8 twin-turbo
Output: 542hp / 770nm

Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale: 4.5s

Maserati Gran Turismo MC Stradale

Engine: 4.7L V8 N/A
Output: 454hp / 520nm

Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series Photos Spoil Surprise

Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series Photos

The Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series has leaked online. New photos show the hotly anticipated Black Series model sitting in a workshop completely uncovered.

Positioned above the Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro, the Black Series will be the most extreme version of the AMG GT to date.

Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series photos show its Aerodynamics

The leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series photos show extensive modifications to the wide-body of the supercar. Starting from the rear, the Black Series gets a new rear diffuser with rear wheel vents sitting either side of massive quad exhaust tailpipes.

The twin rear spoiler looks adjustable in the photos with an interesting mount which sits towards the central of the rear end. The rear boot lid is also replaced with a more distinct lip than any other GT model.

The sides include a new skirt and a new front wheel vent. Towards the front, the bonnet is all-new, incorporating carbon fibre accent panels and a set of fender vents to cement the extreme new look.

The front bumper has a comprehensive redesign too with a new grille, deeper front splitter, carbon fibre flicks and a set of canards.

Its not clear if the dual tone finish is the release colour, or whether the parts are exposed to show where Mercedes-AMG has made modifications. Regardless, it seems clear that we weren’t supposed to see the finished product just yet.

What else do we know about the Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series?

Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series

What these leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series don’t confirm is what hides underneath. It’s almost certain that the 4.0 litre V8 will receive some work. Reports in other publications have confirmed that the tune will likely push power up to 720 hp and 850 Nm of torque.

We also expect Mercedes-AMG to make the Black Series limited edition.

The Rolls-Royce Dawn leads this month’s list of discounts

If you’re one of the few readers of this site who is in the market for a $350,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn, well, first of all, good for you. And you should be prepared to keep some extra money in your pocket, too, as the drop-top Roller leads this month’s list of the largest monetary discounts with an average of $14,733 taken off the machine’s $359,250 sticker price. That means buyers are paying an average transaction price of $344,517 for the 2020 Rolls-Royce Dawn this month, according to data provided to Autoblog by TrueCar.

An intriguing pair of supercars land in second and third positions this month. The 2019 Acura NSX is selling for an average of $145,174 this month, which represents a 9% discount, or $14,373. With an eerily similar 9% discount of $14,079 comes the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage, which has an average transaction price of $142,002 this month. The Maserati Quattroporte is up next with an average discount of $13,634.

Another Rolls-Royce model lands in the fifth spot, but instead of the aging Dawn it’s the brand-new Cullinan SUV. Although the luxury ‘ute boasts a large discount of $12,427, its staggeringly high retail price of $332,750 means buyers are getting a little less than 4% off the sticker. More interesting to most buyers will be the 2019 Lincoln Navigator, which is one of our favorite full-size SUVs in America. Buyers of Lincoln’s range-topping vehicle are getting average discounts of $11,761. That represents a 13.4% savings for a final price of $75,940.

For a look at the best new car deals in America based on the percentage discount off their suggested asking prices, check out our monthly recap here. And when you’re ready to buy, click here for the Autoblog Smart Buy program, which brings you a hassle-free buying experience with over 9,000 Certified Dealers nationwide.

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