All posts in “Cars”

2018 Moab Easter Jeep Safari Concepts

Just like they do every year for the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab (Utah), Jeep has unveiled another great batch of mud-loving vehicles.

A total of seven cars, the 2018 Moab Easter Jeep Safari Concepts include trucks for every preference, from a Baja racing-inspired model to a lightweight Wrangler dubbed 4SPEED, or a modern Jeepster. The star of the bunch seems to be the Wagoneer Roadtrip, a restored 1965 model which now has a longer (an extra 5-inch) body and sports custom fender flares, revamped wheel wells & bumpers, and a mean razor grille.

The old-school beaut rides on new 17-inch steel wheels with BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain tires and is powered by a new 5.7-liter V-8 engine. Other details include a boxed and reinforced frame, Dana 44 axles, four-link suspension, original bench seats covered in oxblood leather, wicker ceiling, and ultra cool-looking Bottle Green architectural glass. Feast your eyes on the rest of the concepts below!

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A Quick Guide to Selling Your Car

Next to your house or apartment, your next most significant earthly possession is probably a car. And, unless it’s a complete heap of junk, your car is probably worth a sizeable chunk of change, which begs the question ‘how do I sell my used car?’ If and when you decide to dive into the used car market to offload it, either to upgrade or make a lateral purchase, you’ll want to get every penny for it that you can. But it’s not as simple as uploading a camera phone photo, listing its mileage and sitting back to watch bids flood your inbox.

Randy Nonnenberg, founder of Bring a Trailer, one of the fastest-growing online car auction communities, has seen his fair share of success stories and failures. At any given moment on BaT, you may see a 1967 Toyota 2000GT listing at $560,000 next to a 2002 Volkswagen Eurovan Westfalia Weekender going for $5,000. However, as stunning and jaw-dropping as your car may be, it more than looks to sell. Nonnenburg stresses, “it’s not just about the car magazine glamour shot, with the sun going down behind it.” He explained the nuances that go into listing and selling a car, regardless of whether it’s a gem or a junker.

Photos, photos and more photos. They don’t necessarily have to be professional photos. We have a tutorial on the site about how you take great photos of your car with lighting and pretty low-tech cameras. The presentation is important, but on BaT we also ask for photos underneath the car, the technical details, under the hood, under the carpets and all through the car. Our bidders love to see that stuff and we place a high bar on the seller being able to do that.

Keep detailed service history. Given that a lot of these cars transact long-distance, the more information out there, the better. You don’t want any mystery or weird questions remaining — bidder confidence is what makes the price go up. Historical records are really important. Paperwork, more photos are key in BaT listings. They’re not really glamorous, but they provide a lot of information about maintenance, accidents, repair work or restoration.

Did the car live an interesting life? Sharing a lot about what the ownership of the actual car was like is really important. Stories that go along with the car do amazingly well on BaT too, like the old lady who bought a ‘Vette brand-new and owned it for 60 years. That backstory went across and people go totally wild for those and bid those cars really high when they have a seller story to go with them. So digging into the history and story of a car is helpful, if it has one.

Where has your car been? Has your car been in a salt belt area or is it a California or Arizona vehicle? It’s ok, wherever the car has been, but if it’s been in more rust-prone areas, taking extensive photos and learning where your car might be particularly susceptible to rust [is necessary]. And showing it. Because if you can show that you car is either rusty or clean, it really helps with bidder confidence.

Transparency and friendliness are key. Once contacted, the seller needs to have an open attitude, to be responsive. We have the comment section, and we coach and encourage sellers to be in there all the time and just be friendly and available because potential buyers usually pull back from mysterious or absent sellers. Being a cool, even-keel person is something the car industry needs more of these days. Engagement is paramount, which is why eBay auctions can be shady and Craigslist is super scary. You don’t know who the seller is.

In the Market for a Brand New Car?

Choosing one among the endless many is no easy task. Moreover, since the average price for an SUV 2017 was just under $40,000, it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. To cover all the bases, we bumped the budget up to $50,000 and chose the best new SUVs you can buy in 2018. Read the Story

Cadillac’s New Offensive on Audi, BMW and Mercedes

The slow-selling Cadillac CT6 just received the upgraded performance and styling it deserved from get-go. From the ATS and CTS to the behemoth Escalade, it’s generally accepted that Cadillac can make an outstanding car, but for some reason, they can’t steal sales away from Deutschland. Now, with a healthy amount of design language borrowed from the Escala concept introduced at Pebble Beach in 2016 and an all-new 4.2 -liter twin turbo V8 engine, the CT6 now has a fighting chance.

The refreshed flagship sedan now comes in a V-Sport trim to sit above the standard version. Let’s be clear though, the ‘standard’ version comes with 500 horsepower, but it’s the upgraded V-Sport engine putting 550 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels making all the headlines.

Giving credit where credit is due, it’s about time Cadillac is more aggressive putting the stunning styles of its concept cars into production. On the other hand, the inside-V twin-turbo might be all-new to Cadillac, but BMW, Audi and Mercedes have been using that architecture for quite some time and with incredible success. However, it just goes to show that engine layout is the way forward and it’s also worth noting this is one of the first high-profile instances in a long time that GM gave Cadillac some juicy engineering before the precious Camaro and Corvette.

Speaking of the Corvette, its home in Bowling Green, Kentucky is precisely where Cadillac is assembling the all-new engine, and by hand no less. Similar to the AMGs coming out of Affalterbach, the Caddy engines will be stamped and signed by the factory worker who built it too. I also want to point out this is just one more dot to connect with my theory about Cadillac testing the top-secret next-generation Corvette engine, but I’ll wait a little longer to say “I told you so.”

Is the Next Generation Corvette Engine Right In front of Us?

The new engine for the secretive C8 Corvette may be hiding in plain sight and it’s not outrageous to think so. Read the Story

Pininfarina becomes automaker brand, plans to launch electric lineup

A little while ago we wrote about ItalDesign’s Zerouno supercar, which is sold under the company’s own brand name. Another design house, Pininfarina, will also become a carmaker brand, as it prepares to launch a hypercar with Mahindra investments backing it up.

Pininfarina’s approach matches the plan mapped out by so many specialty carmakers: There will be a hypercar to bring in fame, and the fortune part will be covered by SUVs introduced underneath the halo vehicle. The difference is that they will all be electric.

Autocar says Pininfarina’s electric hypercar, codenamed PF-Zero, will be based on a modular platform developed together with Croatian manufacturer Rimac and Mahindra’s Formula E outfit. It’s directly aimed at the Bugatti Chiron, only with electric power instead of an internal combustion engine, and the power output is targeted beyond the Chiron’s 1,479 horsepower.

The SUVs will also be powerful, as the Urus-rivaling PF-One could get 940 hp. Two smaller crossovers to be introduced would have less power, but still enough to challenge the benchmarked Porsche Cayenne and Macan.

Autocar‘s information predicts the PF-Zero to be launched in 2020, and that the plans will be officially announced in a month. Mahindra is investing over $500 million into the Pininfarina lineup, with the four vehicles introduced over a span of five years.

At Geneva, Pininfarina displayed its H2 Speed hydrogen fuel cell supercar with 653 horsepower (pictured). Thirteen examples will be built, for track use only.

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Essential Gear For an Overland Adventure

Last Updated March, 2018: This post has been updated with new picks for 2018. Prices and links have also been updated.

“It’s not about the destination, but rather the journey” — or something like that — is the age-old maxim. If that’s true, and if you’re a gearhead, really there’s no more satisfying way to journey than via expedition-ready overland rig. And as manufacturers continue to offer up off-road-ready vehicles straight from the factory, the call of the overland trip grows louder, and adventure arrives more easily.

If you’re ready to answer the call, there are a few things you should put on your shopping list. Aside from your basic camping gear, survival tools and your standard vehicle maintenance essentials, you’ll want an array of gear that will keep you high and dry (in a good way) and your truck or SUV from getting stranded. The list quickly becomes expensive, but it’s better to invest now than be stuck later.

Rhino-Rack Base Tent 2500

“Home is where you park it” — a timeless adage that Rhino-Rack Base Tent 2500 takes seriously. The Base Tent 2500 can be used as a free-standing tent or in conjunction with the Sunseeker 2500 Awning to create a full-on ‘back porch’ setup off the side of your overlander. There are four doors for easy access, plus the tent acts as a thermal barrier from the sun when it’s hot and has a PVC waterproof floor for when the weather gets wet.

WARN M8000


The value of a good winch is immeasurable, and WARN has been making some of the finest recreational off-road winches since 1959. The M8000 has become a mainstay in the off-road community for decades for its value, effectiveness and simplicity. WARN suggests you pick a winch with 1.5 times the pulling capacity as your vehicle’s GVWR, so while the M8000 is great for smaller off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler or Nissan Xterra, if you’re driving something a bit more burly you should consider jumping up in capacity.

WARN Medium Duty Winch Accessory Kit


Your winch won’t do you much good if you don’t have the right accessories. This kit from WARN comes with everything you need: D-shackles, a tree protector, a 30-foot tow strap, a snatch block, gloves and a heavyweight bag with room for more winching accessories you amass over the years.

BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2


The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 makes for one hell of a winter tire, but its off-road accolades are not to be forgotten. The BFG All-Terrain tire was the original all-terrain tire and has remained a favorite since its debut in late ’70s. The latest generation combines both on-road manners and off-road capability with a sturdy sidewall construction and long-lasting tread.

ARB ARB505 E-Z Deflator


It’s likely you’ll encounter rock or sand at some points on your overland excursions. For maximum traction you’ll want to let out air from your tires. This deflator from ARB will remove the valve core from the tire for quick deflation.

ARB CKMA12 Air Compressor


Because you won’t want to run on deflated tires for the entirety of your journey, you’ll want to add an air compressor to your shopping list as well. This unit (also from ARB) is light, compact and can be easily installed under the hood of your truck or SUV.

H3R Performance HG250R


Though rare, vehicle fires do happen, and be they caused by fuel or electronics, you want to be covered for both. H3R makes some of the best extinguishers for vehicles of all types and are rated for “Class B” (liquids) and “Class C” fires (electrical).

ARB Deluxe Bull Bar


A bull bar is not just a menacing aesthetic enhancement (let’s face it, that’s a big part of the draw), but it also makes for a mounting point for any extra lights or winch you want to add to your rig. But a well-built bull bar will also help protect your truck — you do not want to hit a deer or tree and deal with the resulting damage. Once again, off-road powerhouse ARB comes in with a solid accessory that is available for a variety of popular overland vehicle choices.

KC Pro-Sport Gravity LED


If you need to tackle terrain at night, you’ll want as much visibility as you can get. KC has long been a go-to for off-roaders in need of a little more light, and their LED option should not disappoint — they’ll give you the extra visibility you need to see upcoming obstacles without drawing much power from your vehicle.

Hi-Lift XT-485 Jack


We’ll let Expedition Portal explain at great length why the Hi-Lift Jack is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have on an overland trip, but it boils down to this: in addition to being used as a jack, it can be used as a heavy-duty clamp, as well as a “come-along” for winching your vehicle out of trouble in case your winch is out of commission.

MaxTrax MKII


There’s an old trick that you can use some old carpet or your car’s floor mats to get unstuck in the snow and ice. The MaxTrax uses the same principle of temporary traction but is more durable in case you get stuck in something more harrowing than a little snow and ice.

Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade


Lightweight, compact and sturdy, this folding survival shovel from Gerber is ideal for digging your way out of sticky situations without taking up too much room in your truck or SUV.

Wavian NATO Jerry Fuel Can


A good jerry can (or two) is a necessity for increasing your range out in the middle of nowhere. This modern take on the classic metal jerry can retains the solid build quality of the original but is also EPA and CARB compliant.

Husqvarna Curved Handle Hatchet


Aside from basic fire-building duties at camp, a good hatchet will be useful for clearing any fallen trees and excessive vines on the trail. This option from Husqvarna is compact, lightweight and is made from hand-forged steel and a hickory handle. In a pinch, the flat side of the head can be used as a hammer.

Magellan eXplorist TRX7


Magellan has been in the GPS game for 30 years, but the TRX7 is the brand’s first foray into hardcore 4×4 navigation. It comes preloaded with maps, over 44,000 off-road trails from National Parks and public lands as well as other points of interest. In addition, it allows you to record your own trails and data (which Magellan also uses to improve its maps) and see ratings of trails from other explorers, who can log information like incline difficulties and the depths of water crossings.

Midland MXT115 2-Way Radio

Getting to the campsite is only half the adventure. Hiking, mountain biking and kayaking all await once you get there, but when you leave your base camp, it’s always a good idea to have a line of communication open. The Midland Midland MXT115 2-Way Radio keeps a line open with the walkies you brought and even has NOAA weather channels with alert and weather scan to keep you informed and ready.

McMurdo Fast Find 220


While it’s a good idea to have your overland rig outfitted with a HAM Radio, as a backup or last resort, a personal locator beacon (PLB) is a no-brainer. While it lacks the messaging service of higher-cost PLB devices, the McMurdo Fast Find is simple, and will alert a search-and-rescue team via COSPAS-SARSAT of your location within minutes of activating.

Best SUVS Under $50,000

Deciding on a single SUV is no easy task. And since the average price for an SUV 2017 was just under $40,000, it’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Read the Story

The Used Cars We’d Buy Right Now For $10K

It’s not an insignificant amount of cash, 10 grand. In the world of used cars, though, it can be a fortune if you find a hidden gem — a feat easier said than done. It helps if you have a team of car-crazed writers doing the searching (and if they’re not actually spending any money). We combed the internet again to find our dream cars of the month: what we’d pick up if we had a budget cap of 10 large and were able to follow our dreams. If you do pick up one of the cars below, drop us a line so we can arrange a ride?

2005 Land Rover LR3 SE

The best thing about used Land Rovers is how cheap they are. The Land Rover LR3 (called Discovery everywhere besides North America) is one of the finest off-road vehicles in existence, and still has the old design language from when Land Rovers were boxy and utilitarian. Most can be had for less than $10,000 — why are they so cheap you ask? Well, although they’re extremely capable at overlanding, they’re still British, and therefore quirky and unreliable. My father had one of these back when they were new and I remember how notoriously scary the air suspension could be. Generally, riding in the LR3 felt smooth, like gliding on a cloud of comfort, but at any given moment the air suspension had the potential to fail and the car would be clapped out and dragging ass. Ideally, if I were to own one of these, the first thing I would do is replace the air suspension with conventional shocks and springs. — Hunter Kelley, Associate Designer

Mileage: 74,749 miles
Original MSRP: $46,750

1981 Datsun 280ZX 2+2

A hatchback Japanese sports car with four seats for under $10k? Plus fuzzy seat covers? Count me in. The 280ZX is just quirky enough to be endearing while still bringing plenty of performance to the table —- all with room for the dog. A 2.8-liter inline six is mated to a five-speed manual transmission and was good for 138 horsepower when it rolled off the showroom floor. Sure, the navy blue interior is less than desirable, but just look at that gauge cluster! — AJ Powell, Assistant Editor

Mileage: 112,183 miles
Original MSRP: $11,299

2007 Dodge Magnum R/T

I actually said “oh, baby” out loud when I found this ad. When this sucker debuted in 2005, I was in heaven too: the allure of a HEMI-powered wagon was hilarious and awesome to me. And when my five-foot-nothing sister-in-law drove one as a service loaner, I couldn’t believe her luck; in fact, I was super jealous. The V8 underhood is rated at 340 horses and scooted the big guy to 60 in under six seconds — no slouch for an all-wheel-drive station wagon. (The high-performance SRT-8 topped out at 425 horses, however.) This one would be great if you want huge amounts of space and a lot of grunt but don’t care much about good looks. — Nick Caruso, Associate Editor

Mileage: 77,827 miles
Original MSRP: ~$31,000

1990 Volkswagen Corrado G60

I’m not usually a FWD advocate but I’ll make an exception for the Corrado. It’s not far-fetched to think it’ll be a collector car sometime soon seeing as how it only existed for a few years between the second and third generation Sciroccos, and it was an affordable performance car to boot. Especially a rare, Nugget Yellow supercharged G60 model like this one. It was pretty much a hot-rod Golf GTI and, dare I say, a better car than the smaller hot Golf. – Bryan Campbell, Staff Writer

Mileage: 79,600 miles
Original MSRP: $17,900

2012 Volvo C30 T5

When I graduated college, I drive my two-door Focus (no ABS, five-speed, SVT suspension) out to LA, where I lived in squalor for nigh on half a year. I wanted a lot of things then, chief among them the then-new C30. I’d see them zipping around the city, and allowed myself the humble daydream of a hatchback upgrade. More recently, I had the pleasure of driving a P1800E owned by Volvo themselves, to which the C30 is a spiritual successor. The brand has always done safety right, and its styling philosophy has been sufficiently quirky as well. In back are two seats that fit adults and lay down for copious storage. This T5 version features a turbo five-cylinder example with around 220 horsepower, hustling the coupe to 60 in the mid-six-second range, which is enough to make it somewhat of a sleeper too. — Nick Caruso, Associate Editor

Mileage: 103,237 miles
Original MSRP: $25,000

2002 Mercedes-Benz CL600

Yes, a nearly $110,000 discount. That’s depreciation of over 90 percent. The 5.8-liter V-12 is good for 362 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, which shoved this 4275-pound cruiser to 60 in under six seconds. A computerized, hydraulic suspension system stains to keep it level in the turns. There’s enough expensive stuff under the hood that something is guaranteed to go wrong, and when it does it’ll be outrageously costly. (Probably why the original asking price was “14,500 or best offer.”) But the allure alone of a V12 luxury coupe is so, so tempting… — Nick Caruso, Associate Editor

Mileage: 135,799 miles
Original MSRP: $120,000
The 10 Best SUVs Under $50,000

Boost your budget and follow our advice. Read the Story

McLaren 720S on a rutted dirt trail presents many questions

Supercars are capable of many amazing things, but those generally require pavement. Anything other than glassy smooth tarmac is liable to end in disaster for low, stiff speed machines. And yet, this Dutch duo defied the odds, taking a McLaren 720S where probably no 720S has gone before. Or really, should go.

As seen above, this McLaren 720S somehow ended up on a somewhat rutted, undulating dirt road, and one of those ruts halted its progress altogether. As such, the passenger hopped out, and revealed that he should be a professional off-road spotter. He seems to be giving directions on where to maneuver the sports car so that the dangerously low front spoiler doesn’t get wedged in the dirt and snapped off. It’s amazing to see it come through without so much as a light scrape across the dirt.

The thing is, as impressive as this feat is, we’re left with so many questions. Where were these guys going that required driving on a dirt road like this? And if they knew they were going to be on a dirt road like this, why drive a McLaren 720S? Surely a person with the means to own a 720S owns other vehicles with greater ground clearance. Also, was this the only obstacle they had to overcome? Did they make it to their destination with an unscathed car? Is this actually the Netherlands’ answer to the Rubicon trail?

We may never know the fate of the marvelous mystery McLaren crew, but we hope the best for them.

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Porsche 911 GT3 RS Exclusive Testing

One of the best sports car to drive on a race track, the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS is stripped to the bone to save weight, with magnesium roof, carbon-fiber hood and trunk lid, carbon-fiber seats and a rollcage. Because of that cage, it’s only 22 pounds lighter than the GT3, with a curb weight of 3130 pounds. It uses a 4.0-liter flat-six engine making 500 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque, not turbocharged, mated to a racing dual-clutch seven-speed transmission. It will hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, 124 mph in 10.9 seconds, and more than 200 mph.

7 Design Insights from McLaren Automotive Design Director Rob Melville


ob Melville has been on his feet and on his game all day at the Geneva Motor Show, doing interview after interview inside McLaren’s large, luxurious lounge next to the Roll-Royce booth on the Palexpo convention center floor. It’s mid-afternoon and we’re sitting in a small room tucked in a hallway off the bar area, and he seems glad for a moment of quiet. But when we start talking design, Melville launches in with gusto — he’s proud of his craft, and for good reason.

I’d spent the three days prior to our conversation driving a caravan of McLarens across five countries in a 900-mile road trip from the UK to Switzerland, admiring the countryside as much as the sinewy beauty of the various cars at our disposal. The 570S, 570 GT, 570S Spider and 720S we drove are all Melville’s designs, as are the new Senna and wild Senna GTR Concept at the show. In a world awash with curvy and aggressive supercars, their shapes and lines stand out as something different — something purposefully, functionally beautiful. As I spoke with him about his design philosophy and what it takes to create the insane shapes for the British brand, Melville, in an eloquent lilt, waxed on about classic cars, architecture, running shoes and virtual reality.

Melville’s McLaren designs are informed directly by biology.
When we grow up we’re surrounded by nature — and you have this intuition for why a bird’s wing works or why a teardrop is the way it is. The way stones are formed by the sea — hydroformed — or formed by the air.

When we talk about biology in the P1, 570 and 720 it’s [as though] you have the chassis — that’s the skeleton — or the lungs, which are the radiators. Then you’ve got the skin and the aerodynamic profile. Senna is [the result of asking] “how do you bring every last drop of performance out of a road car?” Our ability to analyze [the laws of aerodynamics] and understand them have informed our decisions on the car.

The Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale

They just don’t make ’em like they used to.
I think within the automotive [industry] it’s hard to find other examples [of the biological approach]. You’d probably have to go back in time, I think, to find them: Facel Vegas, my favorite car of all time the Alfa Romeo 350 Stradale. Really just so shrink-wrapped … so muscular, but big, bold, simple volumes. And you can see that intuition with the lines and profiles is based on [designers] growing up and being surrounded by nature.

In the modern day [this approach] is kind of gone in terms of that visual intuition. I’m sure they’re equally as efficient. I bet if you were to measure them the old cars are higher up; the tires are tucked up into the body. As a pure basic approach, I don’t think [the industry as a whole] is as close as they were. I think McLaren stands out for that alone.

Nike Allyson Felix Track Spike; photo by Nike

Nike and other shoe designers have directly utilized biological designs in concepts.
In terms of product design, I find some of the things Nike have done quite interesting. They’ve done some concept track shoes about two or three years ago. They were 3D printing the soles to take weight out — ultra lightweight. The actual structure goes up around your foot so you don’t have any lateral slip. It’s got a whole bone structure thing going on [after] you’ve taken all the weight out of those studs or spikes around the bottom. That’s probably the best example I can think of in terms of products where you can see a clear connection.

If you go around design colleges you see a lot of people working on [things like] high heel shoes. [Architect] Zaha Hadid did some based on that principle. You can see it’s carved away, completely abstract volume of what a shoe is. Everything [on top] was all blocked in; everything [on the bottom] was all open. It’s kind of like reversing the graphics.

Zaha Hadid’s architectural designs employed an inside-out philosophy.
Zaha Hadid has inspired quite a lot of the cars we’ve done. She was quite artistic in her approach. Shapes are kind of really fluid with integrated functionality. So one of my favorite buildings is the cultural center in Baku, Azerbaijan. The steps that lead up to it eventually become the building itself, and it’s based on the italic writing of the region so it’s got a cultural context. At the same time it blends out into the public landscape, so you’re already walking on the building and eventually, it peels up and you’re walking inside. There’s this beautiful depth.

Heydar Aliyev Center — Baku, Azerbaijan; photos by Iwan Baan & Helene Binet

Then when you’re inside that theme continues and … on the floor molds up into the ceiling and lights go from the floor all around. Very thin LED strip lights. You have this seamlessness, blurring the boundaries and it’s engaging. Kind of makes you go “wow.” I’ve never been, but I’ve done virtual tours and things. I never get out of the office. [laughs]

There are two ways to begin a car design.
The definition of design is ‘people who make drawings of things to explain how they work.’ To me, design is where art and science meet. I think you can approach it from either end. Sometimes, when we draw something it just looks stunning — people go, “oh we could make that work; how do we engineer it?” The other way is to come up with a complete package first and very quickly envision what the attributes are. You can approach it that way and say, “okay, can we make it look beautiful?” At McLaren, we try to do both, because … they’re all supercars. They [need impressive] downforce, feedback, grip, dynamics and needs to be beautiful. It can be brutal and functional or it can be beautiful and functional. Both can have an appeal.

The Ferrari F40

Go back to the [Ferrari] F40 in the past and … it was as aerodynamic as Ferrari could make it at the time. And I think with McLaren, the F1 was also as aerodynamic as we could make it at the time. It had a lot of great attributes — low base of screen (windshield), low cowl so you had great visibility.

So you can approach it from either side. Again, we’re trying to blur the boundaries. We don’t want to be a silo of “well, this is a beautiful drawing,” because to me that’s styling — [then] we’re just drawing shapes. We could do some ergonomic studies; a lot of the design studios will have an ergonomist to engineer some aero. But at McLaren we work so close together – we literally sit next to the engineers. It’s far more holistic.

Aerodynamics dictate that McLaren radiators are oriented sideways. Isn’t that inefficient?
You need a lot of air. Ideally, I’d have [the radiator] positioned perpendicularly to the airflow; direct into the airflow. As a designer you want it to be efficient, simpler but better. Any opportunity to square them up, we say, “let’s do it if it’s more efficient.”

The McLaren Senna GTR Concept; photo by Nick Caruso

If you break it down into two parts, one is ‘where do you start in terms of design thinking’? They can come from either way: a measured approach or an artistic approach. Then there’s ‘where does is start in terms of a toolset’? If we’re going to start in the studio, ideally we’d have a basic package: does [the car] have two people? Does it need one seat? Three seats? We can do that with studio engineers.

The McLaren design studio is extremely advanced, right?
The latest technology we’ve gotten in is being installed as we speak: the VR headset. [That technology] has] been in the news for years now. But what we’re doing differently is we’ve developed a tool that’s just for McLaren. The question was ‘how do you redefine what a designer’s desk should be for this day and age’? You’ve got a headset on your desk.

The McLaren Senna; photo by McLaren Automotive

Ultimately, we need to get from an idea to a surface. Where we’re really strong too is that intuition. My aim is to give everyone the tools to maximize creativity.

You plug yourself in, and get the engineering package in 3D in real time. [You can see] every nut and bolt; you can go all the way down through the steering column if you wanted to. In the old days, we’d do a tape drawing. [In VR] you can sketch, build up the center lines, curves and sections of the car. Then click and go full size and stand outside, looking at the car full size then go back down to the scale model. I’m just in my little world.

Talking Watches, Cars and Hi-Fi with Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer lives the life of a charmed gearhead: he owns and races Astons, travels the world talking about cars and under his watch, Aston Martin has become one of the fastest-growing automakers in the world. Read the Story

5 Cars That Are Great For Camping

Editor’s Note: We love scouring the internet for reasons to spend money we don’t have on cars we daydream about owning, and these are our picks this week. All prices listed are bid amounts at the time of publishing.

To go overlanding is one thing. To go overlanding and actually be comfortable the entire time, sequestered in a mobile base camp, is another level. To achieve the missions, you could take a Jeep Wrangler and pack it with camping gear until the weld seams start to burst, or you could get an overlander that’s ready to be camped in right from the get-go. It’ll save you the trouble of worrying about heat or shelter. (By my count is two of your top three priorities in the wild, but you can always haul a jug of water to take care of number three.) These five used cars are raring and ready for a weekend in the mountains, the desert or wherever you want to take them.

1987 Land Rover 110

Mileage: 203,000
Location: Spring, Texas

What we like: Defenders are characteristically bare-bones — this one is no different. It has been restored under the hood and the interior but, it’s still rugged and ready to be beat on, abused and filled with gear over a weekend.
From the seller: “The 2017 restoration is said to have been performed with original specifications in mind. Work included sandblasting, sealing and painting of the frame, repair of the bulkhead and door bottoms, and new paint along the passenger side lower panels and rear of vehicle. The 110 is fitted with an adjustable tow hitch. The full-length galvanized roof rack with rear ladder pictured above is not currently fitted, but will come with the vehicle.”
What to look out for: Normally, rust can be an issue with Defenders of this vintage but this particular example has been sandblasted, repainted and restored, including a rebuilt engine.
Expert opinion: “Off-road, the Defender is enormously capable, but it takes much more effort from the driver than is needed in a modern, electronically controlled off-roader, not least in finding – and selecting – the right gear in difficult conditions. One thing that has made it much easier to drive in extreme situations is the engine’s stall control. At crawling speeds, it is possible for the driver to lift off the pedals altogether and let the stall control inch the vehicle forward..” — Steve Sutcliffe Autocar

1983 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Diesel

Mileage: 139,000 (TMU)
Location: Mount Sidney, Virginia

What we like: The original Westfalia diesel engine wasn’t that great, and even the rebuilt 1.9-liter unit in this camper is fairly gutless, but the extra add-ons might make up for it. The upgraded suspension, tires, kitchenette, 200-watt solar charging system with roof panels, 200 amp-hour house battery, Blue Sky solar controller with maximum power point tracking, NOCO Genius Gen1 10-amp onboard battery charger and ARB awning make this one well-equipped light-overlander.
From the seller: “The North American High Top and custom rack were added by the seller. A 7-foot ARB awning is attached above the passenger side sliding door to provide shade and weather protection. The seller added the solar panels/charging system within the past 10 months. BFG KO2 tires, including a full-size spare, were mounted to Mercedes CLK-style powder-coated wheels in the last 2k miles.”
What to look out for: Poor tune-up condition, malfunctioning oxygen sensor, poor oxygen sensor ground, faulty values from coolant temp sensor, throttle switch and idle control components are among the most common problems but fairly easy to fix.
Expert opinion: “They are strong running, and produce about 30% better fuel economy than a typical gasoline-powered Vanagon. However, these vehicles have many of the shortcomings of all the older Vanagons (the shifter system for example), and the cost and trouble of converting one of these to the newer turbo diesel power plant is formidable.” –

Modified 2004 Land Rover Discovery G4 Challenge

Mileage: 110,000
Location: Denton, Texas

What we like:This Discovery is too good to not include in this week’s Found even though it’s already been mentioned. That being said, when we first saw this excellent off-roader, it was only going for $8,000 — now it’s going for over $15,000.
From the seller: “This 2004 Land Rover Discovery is one of 200 G4 editions produced in conjunction with the G4 Challenge event, and has been modified for off-road use by the current owner. Finished in Tangiers Orange over black vinyl, this truck carries various RTE Fabrication off-road armor components and has been lifted with an RTE Fabrication lift kit, Fox shocks, and numerous owner suspension modifications. Power comes from a 4.6L V8 that is backed by a 4-speed automatic transmission, and upgraded axles, gears, and a locking differential have been added by the seller.”
What to look out for: Discoverys of this vintage can have problematic head gaskets and a few small mechanical problems, but this G4 Challenge special edition has been so extensively redone, rebuilt and upgraded, it’s practically a new vehicle altogether.
Expert opinion: “Discovery’s interior is as distinctive as its exterior. It too was completely redesigned for 1999 to reduce British eccentricity. But British luxury abounds. The seats are comfortable in either Duragrain or leather. The driver’s seat affords excellent visibility and there’s lots of headroom. Land Rover calls its elevated seating the ‘Command Driving Position,’ and it does afford a commanding view of off-road driving situations. .” — Autoblog

1989 Land Rover 110

Mileage: 121,000
Location: Kennebunkport, Maine

What we like:When looking into buying a Defender, you have to understand you are getting the bare minimum of what a car provides. There’s zero luxury. But that lets you and the truck focus on getting where you need to go that much better. It’s a tool — not precision instrument — and it gets the job done the way it is, stock. to have a snorkel, built up roof rack and a refined engine compartment — those are the luxuries of a Defender.
From the seller: “A full-length Front Runner Slimline II roof rack has been added, as well as four new, larger-diameter spotlights to the existing light bar The truck retains the modifications and upgrades installed prior to being sold on BaT in June 2017, including the aftermarket front bumper with the orange-coated 13,000-lb. winch, snorkel, chequer plating, rock sliders and the Cooper Mud Terrain tire and steel wheel combination.”
What to look out for: Sadly, as great as this Defender looks, the engine can be the biggest problem. Cracked bores, camshaft rattling and timing belts can be problem areas.
Expert opinion: “Confined cabin, not enough seat adjustment, appalling on-road dynamics, possibly the worst turning circle outside of an Airbus A380, a removable face CD player from the early 90’s, poor insulation and cabin refinement. My special favourite deserves mention too – the driver’s window needing to be open to properly use the steering wheel. The list of quirks goes on. Few vehicles, however, can do what the Defender can, and even fewer can do it with the same innate sense of style. A Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series is just as tough and just as fit for purpose, but it can’t even begin to match the Defender’s incredible street cred..” — Trent Nikolic Car Advice

2016 Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4×4 Custom Build

Mileage: N/A
Location: Boulder, Colorado

What we like:From the factory, the Sprinter 4×4 makes an incredible camper vehicle. It was, after all the chase vehicle that saved us in along the way from Seattle to Alaska. Even stripped out, the Sprinter makes a great mobile campsite — one look at this Sprinter’s interior and you should know you have a Four Seasons on four wheels, with four-wheel-drive.
From the seller: “Includes: Espar Bunk Heate, two 160-Watt GoPower solar panels, Go Power 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave, inverter/100 amp charger, refrigerator, sink/stove combo, convertible bed and table/couch area, lots of Storage space under benches, full height closet, and in kitchen, designed with re-purposed Barn Wood.”
What to look out for: This model is still young so most ‘problems’ could be circumstantial and hard to detect any ‘common’ faults.
Expert opinion: “Having proved itself a worthy off-roader, we couldn’t help but wonder who exactly might buy the Sprinter 4×4. Mercedes didn’t exactly answer the question, but it did tell us that the vehicle—which starts at $44,475 for a short-wheelbase, low-roof cargo model—is already sold out through September of this year. And while we sort of feared an encounter with a pissed-off ursine or a huge truck full of dead trees headed for the lumber mill, we discovered that this van is a tool essentially without competition. If you have a large family and live in a remote area, or maybe you need huge, weather-tight cargo capability and often trudge through sludgy construction sites, the Sprinter 4×4 is the only way to go..” — Alexander Stokloska Car and Driver

Trailers Great For Camping

Somewhere between the luxury of an RV and the essentials-only tent experience, sits the sweet spot of off-road trailers. Read the Story

Audi R8 spied with a refreshed face

We recently heard that the Audi R8supercar doesn’t have a bright future, with no new generation on the horizon. But it seems like we’re still going to have plenty of time with the current generation, and Audi isn’t going to just let it sit. As the spy photos above show, the company is working on an update of the current model.

The changes are subtle, but together they make a significant change to the car’s look. The hexagonal center grille at the front has had the lower sides brought in toward the bottom, and the upper sides have been widened. This gives the main grille a bit more shape than the old one, which in contrast looks like a beveled rectangle. The grilles that flank the center one no longer meet the headlights and are a little smaller and diamond-shaped. Along the side, the skirts now seem to have a bit of a scoop in contrast to the closed-off version on the current model. Together, these changes make the nose of the new R8 look lower than it does now. They also give the car a look closer to its more mundane cousins such as the A8, A7 and A6.

The back of the R8 has some significant tweaks, too. Instead of only having vent grilles directly below the taillights, the grille stretches across the entire backside. The taillights and rear diffuser look mostly the same. The rectangular quad-tip exhaust outlets are gone, though. Instead, this R8 has two enormous oval tips that almost don’t seem to fit the rear bumper. A move back to oval tips wouldn’t be too strange since Audi has used them on every RS model, which are handled by Audi Sport.

We’re expecting to see this updated Audi R8 sometime this year. This is based on a leaked product plan that showed a new R8 appearing in 2018, but also the fact that this is a fairly light facelift. If that plan is to be believed, which considering that it predicted the recent reveals of A8, A7, RS5, A6 and E-tron (C-BEV) Audi will offer a V6 powerplant with the car, too. We doubt the V10 engines will go away, though.

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No Audi R8 planned after current generation ends

Another Volkswagen Group icon looks headed for the River Styx. A few days after Autocar reported that the VWBeetle won’t live past the current generation, Car and Driver reports “there are no current plans for a direct replacement” of the Audi R8. That information came after chatting to Audi R&D boss Peter Mertens at the Geneva Motor Show. Responding to a suggestion that the carmaker didn’t have a next generation planned for the striking supercar, Mertens replied, “I would say so.”

That doesn’t mean imminent demise. Audi just released the rear-wheel drive R8 RWS, and there’s a V6-powered R8 on the way. That car will use the 2.9-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder already working for the RS4 Avant, RS5, Porsche Panamera and Cayenne. That’s why Mertens also said, “It has a long life, and it’s doing OK.” The sales success of the V6 trim might decide the definition of the word “long,” but no matter what, “long” probably won’t mean the same 10-year span of the first generation. Audi has a bunch of other plans to flesh out and pay for, and a fading star that can’t spread development costs doesn’t make sense.

This isn’t the first account of the R8’s demise. Last December, Automobile reported that the R8 would be “phased out in 2020” as the new Lamborghini Huracán arrives; the R8 and Huracán share the same platform and are built alongside one another in Audi’s Neckarsulum, Germany, plant. Then, the 650-horsepower RS Q8 would take over as the new conventional flagship for Audi Sport, while the E-Tron GT four-door due in 2020 will make all-electric waves.

The R8 moved 772 units in the U.S. last year, placing it only just ahead of the more expensive and more exotic McLaren 570S, and just behind the more expensive and more exotic twin-brother Lamborghini Huracán. In the competitive set, the Mercedes-AMG GT sold 1,609 units. The Porsche 911 Turbo drubs them all.

If any car can be said to have done its job as a halo offering, though, the R8 is that car. The first R8 put all eyes on a brand that sold half as many cars in 2006 as it does today. The V8 coupe mixed everyday manners with supernatural high-speed handling, the V10 gave up a few tenths in suppleness in return for bonus payouts of sound and fury. The coupe was also stupendously efficient at winning races the world over, both for factory teams and privateers who might soon struggle to find an equivalent replacement. And we wouldn’t have the word “sideblades” without it.

Mertens did make sure to caution, “Never say never; performance cars are good for Audi.” But if you look at the sales numbers and Audi’s planned future, and then look at the wall … you’ll probably see some writing.

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The Fantastic-Looking Arteon Fastback Sedan Nearly Outdoes Audi’s A4

It’s not so easy to tell the difference between economy and luxury car brands anymore. Sure, sit in a Hyundai Elantra and a Mercedes-Benz C-Class back-to-back and you’ll probably be able to discern which is which, but automakers have shown an increased motivation to step out of their corners and into segments they previously had no business being in, largely in the name of brand building or profit-chasing. That’s why we’ve got a $30,000 Mercedes and a $70,000 Kia both for sale in 2018. Strange times we’re living in.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle. Traditionally a maker of not-quite-economy cars and SUVs, they’ve fluctuated in the last decade between cheaping out on the U.S. market Jetta and Passat and offering insane, expensive options like a 12-cylinder executive sedan with Bentley parts (the defunct Phaeton) and a twin-turbo diesel V10 luxury SUV (for now, the Touareg still exists; the diesel V10 does not). The first two were relative successes despite their abandonment of VW’s core customer group, and the latter two were spectacular sales flops despite their bravado and relative value for what you got.

So where does that leave the legally-beleaguered brand in 2018? Well, it’s still not quite so clear, as evidenced by the all-new Arteon, Volkswagen’s replacement for the gorgeous but flawed CC. To find out if this Vee-Dub is worth buzzing about before its U.S. market introduction, I took a weekend road trip up Sweden’s snow-covered Eastern shore in a top-of-the-line Euro-spec model.

Verdict: Volkswagen’s budget grand tourer is an all-around impressive package — one that looks fantastic, rides comfortably and competently, packs impressive technology and proves VW can make a luxurious car (almost) as well as its corporate sibling Audi. But despite offering a decent discount over the more prestigious luxury brands, the question remains: who in the U.S. is going to shell out $40K or more to buy one?

The Good: It’s hard for any car to stand out from the crowd when finished in dark gray paint with dark gray wheels, but my goodness the Arteon does its darnedest. Volkswagen’s designers have penned a truly fantastic-looking fastback, one that’s more reminiscent of an Audi A5 Sportback ($42,600) or Tesla Model S ($74,500) than it is of a Passat.

Subtle touches add to the overall appeal of this big VW, such as the gorgeous LED running lights that flow seamlessly into the massive grille, and the aggressive stamped metal of the hood. The Arteon also uses Audi’s sequential LED turn signals, a feature I hope makes it to the U.S.-bound version because it’s a neat party trick for those lucky enough to sit behind the Arteon’s wide, confident rear end in traffic.

The interior is slightly less “whelming” than the exterior, but still a handsome and well thought out place to spend ample time. Anyone who’s been in a European Passat in the last few years will recognize the full-width vent design with a slightly cheap-looking clock placed front and center, but the rest is a masterpiece in (relatively) affordable quality. Soft touch plastic, metal and genuine leather line every surface you’re likely to touch, and the cabin is incredibly spacious for a car with such an aggressive roofline, especially in the rear seats, where even above average height adults have decent headroom and almost S-Class levels of legroom.

Another high point is Volkswagen’s suite of technology available on the Arteon, which you may notice borrows heavily from Audi. The optional full-width “Digital Cockpit” (not to be confused with the “Virtual Cockpit” of the four-ringed brand) is stunning to look at and to use and keeps your eyes firmly in front. I wish the same could be said about the massive central touchscreen, but thankfully the clumsy volume controls will be replaced with real knobs and buttons on the U.S. version. There’s also a garrison of active safety features that work smoothly, such as lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and more.

2019 Volkswagen Arteon

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (eight-speed automatic for U.S. market)
Horsepower: 268
Torque: 258 lb-ft
Weight: 3696 lbs
0-60: 5.5 seconds

Once again, the Volkswagen Group’s tried-and-true powertrain delivers, as the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission offer decent power (268 horsepower) and familiar usability, including sharp shifts and a 0-60 time of less than six seconds. It’s a shame the U.S. only gets the traditional eight-speed automatic as a gearbox, as the DSG is well-suited to this car.

Who It’s For: The Arteon is for a very specific, very important buyer: the Chinese businessperson.

Its long wheelbase, vague name and sharp looks make it perfect for the modern Chinese market, but savvy U.S. buyers will be getting a heck of a deal on a new car if they opt for the Arteon. This is a great-looking, German quality grand tourer aimed at those who couldn’t care less about badge snobbery, all for the price of a certified pre-owned Audi.

Watch Out For: Though the powertrain provides ample thrust and quick shifts, it’s devoid of almost any character, including sound and that indescribable “it” factor that some engines just have. This is no sports sedan, no matter what its low, wide, aggressive stance suggests. Handling is competent but lackluster: this is a car better suited to long highway routes and meandering country roads than it is to your favorite set of switchbacks.

Though VW has promised me the U.S. market Arteon will be “much cheaper” than the European version, you should still be wary of trim and option prices sending this car easily into Audi territory. The Swedish market car I drove stickered at over $60,000 USD at current exchange rates. If you’re paying that much for a VW… well, maybe don’t.

Alternatives: An estimated price of $35,000 to start puts this VW among some tough competition, most notably the luxury fastback sedans such as its cousin the Audi A5 Sportback ($42,600) and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe ($43,300). I’d also throw the new $70,000 Kia Stinger into the ring, which offers a better driving experience than the VW (and many luxury cars) for a very enticing price. The excellent but humble Honda Accord ($33,010) could be an extremely reasonable competitor too.

Pro Tip: For the best (and most value-conscious) result, skip the optional all-wheel-drive system if you live anywhere with decent weather, and instead spend on tech and style options. The Arteon is at its best when being sat in and looked at, so put your money there. Also, skip the multiple preset driving modes and use the individual settings to set the steering to sport and the adaptive suspension to comfort. You’ll thank me later.

What Others Are Saying:

Car and Driver: “The Arteon’s best face is quite literally that: a coupe-like mug that looks as if it could grace a new Scirocco rather than a largish sedan to sit above the Passat in VW’s lineup.”
Automobile Magazine: “For those more tempted by substance rather than badge, the Volkswagen Arteon, which can be outfitted with enough kit and caboodle to challenge those luxury alternatives, is sure to be a strong alternative when it arrives the U.S. in 2018.”
Motor Trend: “Things get stiffer in Sport mode, but overall this is a car meant for long-trip comfort. It isn’t really a performance sedan, so the mode can’t perform magic. The weight of the steering is good, but actual feel leaves a bit to be desired.”

You Could Get an Audi A4, or You Could Buy the New Volkswagen Passat GT and Save $7,000

Based on a concept Volkswagen brought to Automobility LA in 2016, Wolfsburg gave the new sporty Passat GT the green light. Read the Story

McLaren granted trademark for ‘McLaren GT,’ but is even a car?

Last year McLaren Automotive Limited applied to trademark the name “McLaren GT” in the U.S. and the UK. Last week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the request. It’s tempting to wonder if we’re looking at the name of the new McLaren monster car, the three-seat road-going Ultimate Series offering so far known as BP23. McLaren has, after all, called the coupe a “Hyper-GT” in an official press release.

There are two hitches to making that connection, though. The first and weakest hitch is that last month, Autocar reported that McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt said he wanted proper names for the company’s Ultimate Series cars, “rather than an alphanumeric designation.” The Senna was the first under that regime. Yes, we could consider “GT” a name, and there are no numbers involved. Yet that would be a pretty bland follow-up to the Senna, especially a follow-up that’s meant to be the new capstone on what McLaren can do, faster than the 243-mile-per-hour F1 and more powerful than the P1.

The second, more compelling hitch comes in the line describing what the trademark is for: “Retail store services featuring motor land vehicles.” That pinpoints a different use than a road car trademark. McLaren’s P1, 650S, 12C Spider, Spider, and Longtail trademark applications are all for “Motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles, and structural parts therefor.” McLaren GT, on the other hand, appears to be some kind of storefront that will sell those cars. The trademark for “Jaguar Racing” is also for stores selling cars, among other things, and the trademark for McLaren Qualified applies to “Retail store services featuring pre-owned vehicles.” Perhaps this is part of a future dealer initiative or rebranding effort. Or maybe it’s nothing, you know how trademarks go.

Does this mean the new hypercar won’t be called “McLaren GT?” No. But we’ll need more clues and a stronger case to make the call either way.

You Can (and Should) Now Reserve The Unbeatably Stunning Polestar One for $2,500

If Volvos Were Gorgeous Mutants

You Can (and Should) Now Reserve The Unbeatably Stunning Polestar One for $2,500

After an attention-grabbing European debut at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show last week, Volvo‘s standalone performance offshoot Polestar has opened the floodgates for potential customers to claim their very own limited-run Polestar One grand touring coupe. In person, the Polestar One is so good looking, smooth and well-proportioned that it seems to bend space-time; I stood in one spot staring at the show car, hypnotized for longer than I care to admit. The thought of driving one is mesmerizing as well: with a combined 600 horsepower, the clever powertrain promises to move the car with the best of GTs.

Actual pricing stats are still unavailable, but it has been suggested that the car will elicit a ~$175,000 price tag on the upper end when it finally hits roads, allegedly in 2020. That price, however, is quite dubious, since Polestar is said to be considering leaning heavily into a subscription model, according to Autoblog. (Volvo has already launched a car-subscription program, Care by Volvo, available now on its exquisite XC40 compact SUV, which I reviewed late last year.) In the meantime, potential customers in 18 countries can now make fully-refundable $2,500 deposits to secure an example.

Read About the Polestar One’s Grand Tourer Competition
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Today in Gear

The best way to catch up on the day’s most important product releases and stories. Read the Story

Brabham reveals name and exhaust note of new sports car

Last month, racing driver David Brabham, son of successful racer Jack Brabham, announced that he had some big plans for his family name, including returning it to an F1 team and starting a road car company. The latter is named Brabham Automotive, and its first car finally has a name: BT62. It’s not particularly exciting, but that seems to be the case with British racing firms that build road cars, just look at McLaren.

Perhaps more exciting than the name is the way the car sounds. The company released a sound clip that can be heard in the embedded video above. It’s mostly of the car at idle, with a couple of light blips, but it sounds serious. We can make out some lope in the exhaust note, and it sounds as though it’s barely muffled, if at all. We can’t wait to hear it at full throttle.

We shouldn’t have long to wait, either. The company’s homepage has a countdown to the car’s reveal that, as of the publishing of this post, has just 51 days left. That puts the reveal at the start of May.

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Aston Martin working on mid-engine Valkyrie ‘brother’ to rival McLaren P1

We know about the Aston Martin Valkyrie and the Valkyrie AMR Pro (pictured). And we know Aston Martin is planning a mid-engine rival for the Ferrari 488 and McLaren 720S. Now Autocar reports that the English luxury maker is working on yet another mid-engine model, a hypercar to outdo the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari and stand up to the coming McLaren BP23. The newest addition to the small carmaker’s grand plans is said to be known internally as “brother of the Valkyrie,” and came about because of the sellout success of both the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Both “brother of Valkyrie” and the 488 competitor are expected to use a carbon monococque with aluminum subframes. Both will use lessons from Aston Martin’s tie-up with the Red Bull Formula 1 team, especially in packaging. Both are due to hit the market around 2021. And both will be products of the carmaker’s Performance Design and Engineering Centre, a base of 130 engineers set up at Red Bull F1’s Milton Keyes headquarters. However, the former car will fight in the £1M-plus price bracket ($1.4M-plus) where various manufacturers have made amazing hay with warp-speed daily drivers, and will be a limited edition “in order to add to its desirability.”

We remain in the dark on powertrains for both cars, but outsiders expect both to use a V8. When it comes to the “brother” car, Aston Martin’s working relationship with Mercedes-AMG means it could tap the 4.0-liter V8 used by the DB11 and the Vantage. Apparently that engine can be wrung out to 800 horsepower with help from an ultimate EQ Boost setup. That still wouldn’t be enough to compete in the segment, though, so the “brother” could become a demonstrator for Aston Martin’s electric know-how — a rolling showcase that could turn its halo light on a potential electric sports car. Or perhaps there’s another option that turns to Cosworth, the company helping develop the 1,000-hp 6.5-liter V12 in the Valkyrie.

Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer wouldn’t say much more about the junior supercar powertrain than, “In our portfolio today, we don’t have an engine capable of giving us the output we require. Whether through collaboration with AMG or whether by ourselves, we have to find an answer.” He told Australian outlet Motoring that it would involve hybrid assistance with power as the aim and “a fringe benefit on efficiency.” That sounds a much more likely case for the AMG motor, where an 800-hp ceiling gives Aston Martin room to tone things down and still bare fangs at rivals. As an aside, the Vanquish is expected to “move into true front-engined supercar territory,” which will make brand space for every offering in the lineup.

Aston Martin raided its main competitors’ personnel departments last year to give it the best chance of beating those competitors. Last year Max Swaj, who was head of innovation and body structures at Ferrari and Maserati, and Joerg Ross, who was head of advanced engines at the two Italian camakers, jumped ship for England along with a third, unnamed engineer. Then it nabbed Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s test driver of 20 years, to provide the kind of feedback that’s made superstars of the 675LT and 720S, and who was last photographed in the McLaren BP23 due next year.

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Mansory at the Geneva Motor Show 2018

Mansory always create a talking point at the Geneva Motor Show. This year’s show is no different. There are tuned Veyron’s, Ferrari’s, the latest Rolls-Royce and the McLaren 720S. It’s a what’s what of the latest supercars and hypercars all with some form of weird and wonderful modification!

Rolls-Royce Phantom

The Phantom has been on the market for such a short period of time it seems incredible that Mansory could customise one so comprehensively. Yet they have! The facelift Phantom has received its first tuning package pushing power to 610 hp and adding a bespoke colour and bodykit!

McLaren 720S

The McLaren 720S receives a huge amount of carbon composite parts ranging from a redesigned front end with P1 style nose intakes, wing extensions and side skirts. At the back, the rear gets a new aggressive diffuser and a rear wing. The interior is completely new, upholstered in a unique Mansory design.

Engine power has been improved by optimizing the engine management software and adding a special exhaust system. Power is increased to 755 hp at 7,300 rpm and 780 Nm at 5,600 rpm, from 0 to 100 km/h happens in 2.8 seconds and the top speed is increased to 345 km/h.

Porsche Panamera Sport Tourismo

Mansory’s take on the Porsche Panamera Sport Tourismo adds a new front splitter and intakes, vented hood and fenders, side skirts a two-piece roof spoiler and a diffuser. The Porsche also benefits from an optimized control unit, a sports air filter, and a high-performance exhaust system pushing the twin-turbo V8 performance up by 35 hp and 40 Nm of torque.

Aston Martin DB11 “Cyrus”

The new Cyrus is not quite as extreme as the old one! It is based on the Aston-Martin DB11, it gets a new carbon fibre front fascia with a more aggressive front splitter, larger air intake and multiple vents in the custom hood. New side skirts, a carbon rear evacuate hot air from the engine bay. New side skirts give the Cyrus a lowered, stretched appearance. At the back, a large carbon fibre wing and new rear fascia and huge diffuser help develop more downforce at the back of the car and nicely frame the rear exhaust outlets.

The engine has a new mapping system. In conjunction with a new stainless steel exhaust system and low-restriction air filter that produce an incredible engine sound, it allows the twin-turbo V12 to reach a peak output of 700 hp (515 kW) and 850 Nm of torque between 1,500 – 5,000 rpm. The additional power allows the 2+2 to reach 100km/h in 3.6 seconds. Its new top speed is 330 km/h.

Ferrari 812 Superfast “Stallone”

How Mansory manage to create a bespoke bodykit so quickly is anyone’s guess. Star of their Geneva Motor Show display is a brand new iteration of the Stallone bodykit based upon the Ferrari 812 Superfast.

In true Mansory fashion, the carbon fibre components turn the visual impact of the Stallone up to ’11’. A deeps front splitter and a massive rear wing create an extreme look. Mansory also promise performance updates, although these have not yet been finalised.

Bugatti Veyron 16.4 “Vivere Diamond Edition by Moti”

The carbon composite Bugatti Veyron 16.4 “Vivere Diamond Edition by Moti” has been controversial with its carbon composite body transplant. The bodywork has been completely replaced with a marble-effect Vivere bodykit. This particular Veyron was comissioned by a Mansory customer. It will be a one-of-one bespoke project!

Bentley Bentayga (new parts)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Facelift (new parts)