All posts in “Cars”

Most Popular Lamborghini Urus Bodykits in 2020/2021

It’s the most popular super SUV in the world right now. The Lamborghini Urus is by far the best selling Lamborghini ever made, over 70% of the Urus sales are from buyers new to the brand according to the company figures. That said, tuners did not waste any time with this model either. Most Urus owners want to take it a notch higher by having a different-looking car from the crowd. This is where real money is made – the aftermarket scene.

While most owners only touch the basics (wheels and a wrap just to name a few), a significant number will invest in a whole makeover kit. Below are the most popular Lamborghini Urus bodykits in the market right now.

Novitec Lamborghini Urus – Novitec Esteso

Novitec Lamborghini Urus Esteso by Nino Hooymans Exclusive
Photo by Bas Fransen

As wide as they get. The Novitec kit will come with widebody parts, 23-inch wheels and a new exhaust system. It is aptly known as the Novitec Esteso kit. They will also tune your engine to 782hp and up to 1,032nm!

Mansory Lamborghini Urus – Mansory Venatus Evo

Mansory Lamborghini Urus
The Mansory kit needs no introduction either, the entire front apron has been restyled before the application of a widebody kit. You have the option of all types of carbon fiber materials including naked carbon, forged carbon and painted carbon. Engine tuning will bump up the power all the way to 810hp. They call it the Mansory Venatus Evo.

Price Gross: €556,800
Price Net: €480,000

1016 Lamborghini Urus

If you come across a widebody Urus in North America, chances are it’s equipped with a 1016 Industries bodykit. A quick #urus search on instagram will reveal several of them in different shades. The pricing is also friendly with a start price of around $30k.

TopCar Lamborghini Urus

TopCar Urus
TopCar has been active for quite sometime now and when the Urus was launched they jumped on board with their unique offering. They particularly specialize in carbon fiber parts, don’t be surprised to find your Pagani sharing the same quality of carbon fiber as a TopCar Urus. The bodykit is also priced fairly with prices starting around 40,000 euros.

Manhart x TopCar

They also teamed up with performance specialist Manhart for extra power. This combo will give you an all round package with 800hp and 1040nm torque. Your sound will also improve thanks to the Manhart Slip-on Exhaust with Valve Control, Downpipes Sport with 300 Cells HJS Catalytic Converters. The 4 x 100 mm tailpipes can either be finished in Carbon or Ceramic Coating.

Prior Design Lamborghini Urus

Prior Design Urus
European widebody specialists with bases around the world. Prior Design has been known to create widebody kits for almost all performance sports cars. Their Lamborghini Urus is no exception. The kit has everything from modified air intakes, diffusers, side skirts and spoilers. The kit is designed by Roberto Geissini.

Urban Automotive Lamborghini Urus

Urban Automotive Urus
UK based aftermarket design company is not only known for their G Wagon kits, but their extensive line of kits covering other brands. They became the first to offer a bodykit for the new Land Rover Defender. Their Urus kit is designed by Nero Design LTD and it comes with items such as Carbon fibre rear diffuser, Carbon fibre wide arch add-on, 2 piece carbon fibre rear wing, vents, intakes and more.

Reyvany Lamborghini Urus

Keyvany Urus
Relatively new in the scene, the company was founded in 2018 by experts in the world of vehicle customization. Their Lamborghini Urus kit was an internet sensation, extreme with a full interior overhaul. They call it the Keyrus. The outside begins with a $50,000 widebody kit made entirely out of carbon fiber. Other parts include a straight pipe exhaust system, carbon hood, carbon roof spoiler and more.
Keyvany Urus front

Zimbabwean Investor Reveals a 1048hp Hypercar: The Naran

The Naran is the latest of a series of sports cars created by start up companies looking to build a name for themselves in the car industry. It’s built around the BMW M8 super GT with an entirely new design. The company calls it a hyper-coupe and is meant to give thrilling experience of a GT3 car in 2+2 configuration. The company behind it is Naran Automotive, started by Ameerh Naran. Ameerh was raised in Zimbabwe and has experience in the private jet industry which he currently runs in Africa and Asia.

The Naran takes the BMW M8 to new levels, all the parameters from BMW have been maxed out. The 4.4L S63 twin turbo V8 has been bored out to 5.0 liters. It now produces 1048hp and 1036 nm of torque. The sprint from 0-60mph is achieved in 2.3s according to the company’s estimations.

Further to the transmission, The Naran borrows the clever BMW “4×4 mode” found on the new xDrive systems, where one can switch from AWD to RWD using a button, the 8 speed automatic transmission is in play here too but with modifications in order to accommodate the added power.

The company has a mission too: to make the fastest four seat hypercar around the Nurburgring. The Naran will be limited to 49 cars only. Now in design and/or prototype phase the hyper coupe shares a common designer with the Apollo IE and P72 – Jowyn Wong of Wyn Design.

Further reading

In just a span of 3 years we have witnessed cars like the Apollo IE, DeTomaso P72, Aspark Owl, Rimac One and more go from concept to realization. Confirming further the demand for ultra exclusive cars among supercar collectors.

In the past, the supercar market was dominated by the likes of Bugatti, Ferrari and Lamborghini. Exclusivity was the cash cow for most of these brands, but with some going public and others changing their marketing strategies, the concept of exclusivity shifted from producing a few hundred cars to producing thousands of units. While this makes more money for them, it dilutes the exclusivity feeling among these high end collectors – ultimately forcing them to seek products elsewhere. This was the success base for Pagani and Koenigsegg who understood these needs better. Bugatti’s strategy for example involves numerous limited editions of the Chiron, while Ferrari no longer numbers their limited cars (Pista for example), they instead call it “limited by production time” which basically means they will produce as many as possible within a given time frame – as long as the orders keep coming in.

Prince’s 1984 Purple Rain Tour Bus is For Sale

Forget that fat Winnebago camper you’ve been eyeing when you could seriously rock out in Prince’s 1984’s Purple Rain tour bus. That’s right, the 1983 Eagle Model 10 Motorcoach is big, purple, and up for…

Bugatti will Collect Over $800 Million from Buyers of these 7 Models

If you read our most recent post on the most expensive cars in 2020/2021, then you know Bugatti dominated that list. After introducing the Chiron, Bugatti had ruled out special edition models as seen in the previous model, the Veyron. However, shortly after Stephan Winkelmann took over the presidency he laid out a plan meant to make Bugatti more money than initial projections. A successful strategy that he oversaw while at Lamborghini.

That said, it’s clear that Bugatti makes the most expensive cars in the world. Within a span of two years the company revealed over 5 limited edition models each with just a handful of production units. A few lucky buyers will then have to spare a significant amount of coin before claiming ownership of these unique models.

Here is the breakdown of how Bugatti will collect over $800 million for these limited edition models. Worth noting these are just start prices excluding some very expensive options.

1. Bugatti Chiron Sport 110 Ans

Bugatti Chiron Sport 110 Ans

1 of 20
Price: $3,260,000
Sub Total: $65,200,000

2. Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport

Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport

1 of 60
Price: $3,500,000 est.
Sub Total: $210,000,000 est.

3. Chiron Sport Noire

Bugatti Chiron Sport Noire Price
Bugatti Chiron Sport Noire

1 of 20
Price: $3,300,000
Sub Total: $66,000,000

4. Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+

Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300 Price

1 of 30
Price: $3,900,000
Sub Total: $117,000,000

5. Bugatti Centodieci

Bugatti Centodieci Price

1 of 10
Price: 9,000,000
Sub Total: $90,000,000

6. Bugatti La Voiture Noire

Most Expensive Car

1 of 1
Price: $12,500,000
Sub Total: $12,500,000

7. Bugatti Divo

Bugatti Divo Wallpaper

1 of 40
Price: $6,000,000
Sub Total: $240,000,000



NB: this amount is not the profit.

The Elation Freedom is a 1,414-horsepower electric hypercar

The 2020s seem poised to become a golden age of hypercars, particularly electric ones like those from Rimac and Aspark. Granted, the “hypercar” label is kind of undefinable nonsense, but it persists because mere term “supercar” pales before the stats of this latest wave of road-going machines — both their performance and their lofty prices. The latest hopeful competitor to hit our inbox is the Elation Freedom, a 1,414-horsepower EV.

That power figure, by the way, is with the standard, three-motor configuration. If that’s not quite enough, the company also plans to offer a four-motor version with 1,903 horsepower.

A T-shaped 100kWh structural battery pack within the carbon fiber monocoque chassis feeds those motors and is expected to provide 300 miles of range. An optional 120kWh pack would stretch that to 400 miles. Cascadia Motion, an electric drive company that has developed Formula E motors, is contributing to the Elation powertrain, which includes a single-speed transmission that sends power to the front wheels and a two-speed unit that sends drive to the rear. Interestingly, the company also plans a conventionally powered variant, the Elation Freedom Iconic Collection, that utilizes a 5.2-liter V10 and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission powering all four wheels.

The Elation will be built in northern California, convenient to its presumed customer base of Silicon Valley plutocrats. Founder Carlos Satulovsky and chief technical officer Mauro Satavia Acosta, however, hail from Argentina, where the car is being engineered by a team that is said to have experience in Formula 1 and endurance racing.

According to its maker, the cars are to be hand-built and the company is aiming to start production by the end of 2022. The electric version will cost $2 million, while the Iconic Collection gas model will go for $2.3 million. That’s a considerably sum, but the EV, at least, may be subject to a federal tax credit. Consult your tax advisor. 

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Khyzyl Saleem Toyota RAV4 Rally Car Concept

Ever since its release in the early 90s, Toyota’s “Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-wheel drive”–aka the RAV4–has been a classic because of the combination of SUV performance with compact car maneuverability and fuel economy. Concept artist Khyzyl…

1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Convertible from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”

Talk about an obscure Bond vehicle that might be more under-the-radar than the actor who co-starred with it. This XR-7 comes from the sole 007 flick with George Lazenby in the starring role. Driven by…

Hemi-Powered V8: Jeep’s 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392

Powered by a 6.4-liter Hemi engine that pumps out 470 horsepower & 470 pound-feet of torque, Jeep’s 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392 marks the return of the V8 Wrangler. One that tears from 0 to 60 in 4.5 and sounds like a beast with its throaty dual-mode exhaust. Available only in four-door & finished in Unlimited trim, it offers full-time Selec-Trac 4WD & an 8-speed automatic transmission. Pricing for this desert-ready rig has not been released but being the most powerful Wrangler yet, it’s sure to be the priciest.

Lamborghini Huracan STO revealed as the most extreme Huracan yet

Mercedes-AMG just snagged the Nürburgring production car lap record from Lamborghini, but the Italians might already have an answer. It’s called the Lamborghini Huracán STO, with the STO being short for Super Trofeo Omologata. And yes, this one is even more extreme than the already bonkers Huracán Performante.

Lamborghini says two of its race cars inspired it to make this road-legal high-po Huracán — the Super Trofeo EVO and the GT3 EVO. As we’d expect, it’s still powered by the 5.2-liter V10. The good folks in Sant’Agata have found 10 more horses above the Performante, meaning the STO makes 640 horsepower. Torque sits at 417 pound-feet, which is actually down quite a bit from the 443 pound-feet of the Performante. There’s no lack of acceleration, though. Lamborghini claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.0 seconds and top speed of 192.6 mph. Those numbers are great, but they’re not what the STO is about. No, this Lamborghini was designed to set fast lap times, meaning aerodynamics and weight were the two key areas that were enhanced.

The STO is 95 pounds lighter than the already light Performante. We imagine the bulk of that can be attributed to Lamborghini making the STO rear-wheel drive, not all-wheel drive. Yes! A rear-drive Lamborghini — we love to see it. But there’s also a greater use of carbon fiber for exterior panels (75% are made of carbon now). Additionally, the windshield is 20% lighter than a Performante, and it’s riding on magnesium wheels as opposed to aluminum alloys wheels. On the inside, Lamborghini uses carbon fiber sport seats, full carbon door panels, removes the carpeting (replaced with bare carbon fiber) and coats other surfaces with its Alcantara-like Carbonskin. All this combined results in a car with a dry weight of 2,952 pounds.

Pushing it into the ground is an impressive downforce package. Lamborghini has added air ducts in the front hood for better airflow to the radiator and to generate downforce. A new front splitter better directs air to a totally new underbody meant to create greater downforce. And the front end’s new design better directs air around the front wheels to reduce drag. New front brake ducts enhance cooling to the improved “CCM-R” brakes (new design drawing on racing brakes for even more thermal durability than standard carbon ceramics). Lamborghini calls the new front end “cofango,” which is a fancy mashup of Italian for “hood” and “fender.”

The new rear fender design decreases overall drag, but a new NACA air intake integrated into the fender also serves as the engine’s intake. Lamborghini says this shortened duct allows for “a 30% decrease in status pressure losses.” A revised rear engine cover features another integrated air scoop for cooling purposes. There’s a shark fin on that rear cover that helps straighten and direct airflow to the wing, thereby increasing downforce in corners. Speaking of the giant wing, it’s a manually adjustable piece with three settings. Lamborghini didn’t quote any figures on total downforce, but it does say downforce is increased by 53% over the Performante, and “overall airflow efficiency” goes up by 37%.

Underneath, Lamborghini has increased the wheel track, fitted stiffer suspension bushings, model-specific anti-roll bars and its MagenRide 2.0 dampers. You get rear-wheel steering, a new fixed steering ratio and quicker gear changes from the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. A new “STO” drive mode is also available to select for enthusiastic road driving, but you’ll want Trofeo mode for the best track performance.

Lamborghini says the STO will go on sale in spring 2021, and prices will start around $328,000.

New Ferrari SF90 Spider puts a 211-mph hurricane of wind in your hair

The new Ferrari SF90 Spider has been unveiled as the open-top sibling to the Prancing Horse’s SF90 Stradale. The SF90 Spider thus becomes Ferrari’s first plug-in-hybrid roadster, and with nearly 1000 horsepower on tap and four driven wheels, performance is solidly in the supercar realm. The new Spider maintains the Stradale’s  211-mph top speed, and it rockets from 0 to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds.

Like other Ferrari Spiders dating back to the 458, the SF90 is a retractable hardtop. The top is made of aluminum, which saves a claimed 88 pounds over more traditional materials, although the Spider’s stated dry weight (3,682 pounds) is still 220 more than the Stradale. The retractable roof can be lowered or raised in 14 seconds and can even be operated when the car is moving at low speeds. A power rear window that can be raised even when the top is stowed provides a measure of wind-buffetting protection for the cockpit. Additionally, the center section of the cockpit has been redesigned to help manage airflow: A central trim piece between the seats channels air away from the occupants’ heads and shoulders and into a double-layered trim piece at the top of the tunnel. The rest of the cabin mirrors that of the SF90 Stradale, with a 16-inch curved display screen, a head-up display, and a steering wheel with haptic-touch switches on the spokes.

The SF90’s plug-in-hybrid powertrain is unchanged from that of the SF90, which means a mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (which alone makes 769 horsepower), supplemented by a trio of electric motors fed by a 7.9-kWh battery pack. One motor, located between the engine and the gearbox and making 157 horsepower, directly bolsters engine output, while two other 97-hp units each power one front wheel, giving the SF90 all-wheel drive as well as torque vectoring across the front axle. Total output stands at 986 horsepower, and the engine’s grunt is dispatched via Ferrari’s latest 8-speed DCT transmission.

Because the Spider’s roof stows where the engine-heat vents are in the Stradale, Ferrari engineers had to redesign the heat-management system for the powertrain. They introduced transverse louvers in the rear screen to exhaust engine heat. Compared to the coupe, the Spider also has a specially designed rear spoiler with both a fixed and a movable element, which allows it to either minimize drag or maximize downforce.

Impressively, the engine remains visible in the SF90 Spider even when the top is retracted. Ferrari designers also reworked the car’s B-pillars to seamlessly integrate the removable top. 

The Spider, like the SF90 Stradale, can be had with the optional Assetto Fiorano track pack, which includes Multimatic shock absorbers, a carbon-fiber rear spoiler, other lightweight carbon fiber and titanium elements that shave 46 pounds, ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, and, most critically, an available two-tone livery “that further underscores the car’s racing vocation.”

U.S. pricing has not been announced, but we’re told the Spider command a tariff about 10 percent more than the Stradale, currently $507,300. Besides a shopping bag full of money — or, perhaps, bitcoin — SF90 Spider buyers will also need a good bit of patience. U.S. deliveries aren’t set to begin until about a year from now, at the end of the third quarter 2021.

Spy photos reveal mystery Ferrari prototype

European spies caught a mystery Ferrari hypercar mule testing on public roads this week. This prototype, which is based on a LaFerrari, seems to indicate that Ferrari is working on a successor.

Though it may not seem like that long ago, it has been two years since Ferrari closed the books on the LaFerrari halo car with its run of open-top Aperta models. Though all LaFerrari models were said to be pre-sold, it technically remained in production through 2018. We have no reason to believe Ferrari is planning to produce continuation variants of the LaFerrari, which leads us to suspect that this is a powertrain mule for what might be a next-generation, range-topping hypercar. 

There are quite a few visible differences between the production LaFerrari and this mule, though some of them could be products of its extensive disguise. The front fascia appears to be different, with narrower side intakes and a missing winglet on the lower lip. The rear glass is smaller on this prototype too, stretching only about halfway to the end of the rear deck, with what appears to be an air intake sitting where the glass would have extended toward the tail. The intakes on the flanks also appear smaller than on the production LaFerrari. 

A few things can be pinned down as more than mere vinyl-induced hallucinations, including the conventional five-lug wheels (rather than the LaFerrari’s center-locks). The blue triangle aft of the driver’s side window indicates that this is an electrified model, which would point to this being yet another high-performance hybrid

It remains to be seen what Ferrari has in store for this early prototype, but a new hypercar introduction in 2022 or 2023 would match the company’s typical 10-year gap between halo car introductions, so we probably won’t have to wait too much longer to find out more. 

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Pagani builds the 100th and final Huayra Roadster

Pagani has remained relatively quiet in the past few years. It has steered clear of the horsepower and top speed races, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t stayed busy. It published a video on its social media channels to announce it has built the 100th and final example of the Huayra Roadster three years after introducing the model.

The anonymous Hong Kong-based collector who will soon take delivery of the final Huayra Roadster explained he fell in love with the brand after seeing a C12 in a showroom. He added that he ordered his Roadster after unsuccessfully trying to buy a Huayra coupe, which is a relatively small problem to have in the grand scheme of things. And, an open-top hypercar with a screaming V12 engine isn’t terrible as far as consolation prizes go.

Like most Huayra buyers, the man worked directly with the company to customize his car.

“When I was shown the Mamba Black exposed carbon, that’s when I knew that I wanted this. It’s far richer in depth, and it really does look considerably different from the normal carbon fiber,” he explained. Pagani even designed a special fin for the rear end of the car. It’s inspired by the ones fitted to the Zonda Tricolore, and by a shark fin.

The owner played a role in designing the interior, too. Rather than keeping it all black, like the body, he requested yellow accents on the seats, on the door panels, and on the dashboard, and matte carbon fiber on the center console.

It doesn’t sound like the buyer requested any mechanical modifications, meaning power comes from a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 6.0-liter V12 that’s twin-turbocharged to 753 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Mounted behind the passenger compartment, the 12-cylinder spins the rear wheels via a seven-speed automated manual transmission. It’s 40% lighter than the dual-clutch transmission used in the Huayra coupe, Pagani explained.

Pricing for the Huayra Roadster started at $2.4 million before options entered the equation, and all 100 units were spoken for by the time the car made its debut at the 2017 edition of the Geneva auto show. Selling 100 cars for a seven-digit sum is a big achievement, but building them and delivering them is even more impressive.

What’s next?

As of writing, Pagani’s future plans are relatively vague. Mercedes-AMG confirmed plans to phase out its V12 in the wake of ever-stricter emissions regulations around the world, so the Italian firm will need to either find another engine to power its cars, or design one from scratch. Which route it plans to take hasn’t been revealed yet. Regardless, the Huayra’s successor remains tentatively scheduled to arrive before the end of 2021.

In 2019, it said it hoped to release its first electric model by 2024, though company founder Horacio Pagani also admitted there is absolutely no demand for one. “None of our customers or dealers want to know about an electric car. They don’t want to know anything about it. They’re not interested. It’s a huge challenge for us, because no one is asking for it,” he affirmed. Another upcoming Pagani model that will undoubtedly generate more interest among the super-rich is a $3.3 million SUV, which could break cover before 2025.

Ferrari F8 Spider Review – Roofless Driving Perfection

It is 9.30 sharp when I walk through the gates of the Ferrari factory in an eerily quiet Maranello. In one of the two parking spots in front of the iconic factory building a Giallo Modena yellow Ferrari F8 Spider is waiting for me. Following one of the quickest and easiest test car handovers in years I’m out through the gate as fast as I came in. 

The Ferrari F8 Spider is the successor to the 488 Spider launched in late 2015. The 3.9 liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine internally known as F154CD delivers the same output as the 2018 488 Pista Spider. While delivering 720hp and 770Nm of torque the F8 Spider can sprint from 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 8.2 seconds and continue to accelerate until the top speed of 340 km/h. Weighing in at just 1,400 kilograms the F8 has a power-to-weight ratio of less than 2 kg per hp. It is the most powerful and possibly last non-hybrid Ferrari V8 produced to date. 

Ferrari F8 Spider

Despite my test drive taking place at the beginning of November the sky is blue and the outside temperature already passed 15 degrees this morning. So it is time to drop the folding hardtop by pressing the button in the center console. In around 14 seconds the roof drops down and this can be done up to speeds of 45 km/h. One of my favorite features of this kind of roof is the small rear window you can open while the roof is up; it keeps the wind noise out but let’s all the beautiful tunes of the mid-engined V8 in. 

Design-wise the new F8 Tributo and F8 Spider continue in the footsteps of the stunning and incredibly sexy Pista. The S-Duct dominates the front of the car and the new side intakes and slimmer, longer LED lights give the front a wider and more aggressive appearance. The large air intakes are moved slightly further back to improve the airflow to the engine. The sideskirts taper outwards towards the rear wheel. It is a part of the car you will want to clean after every drive as they seem to catch a lot of dirt coming from the front wheels and seemingly the only part where form and function don’t go hand in hand. 

Ferrari F8 Spider front

For the first time since the F430 quad tail lights returned. Photos don’t do justice to the level of depth these LED lights provide in real life. The lower part of the rear is very similar to the Pista with a wide diffuser and two large exhaust pipes. Being a spider the engine is hidden mostly below the foldable hard top. 

Ferrari F8 Spider LED Rear Lights

The quality of the design continues beyond what you can see on first glimpse. Under the front bonnet beautifully sculptured carbon covers the inside around the actual trunk. It is details like this that set Ferrari apart from the competition. 

Ferrari F8 Spider Front bonnet luggage space

The inside of the F8 Spider is dominated by leather and carbon fibre. The carbon fibre racing seats are a perfect fit. And although the convertible has slightly less space than the F8 Tributo there is enough space to sit comfortably even for taller people. Being 1,90m tall myself I struggle to sit well in many mid-engined sports cars but in the F8 Spider I had no issues at all. This also thanks to the extremely low and elegant center console that provides both excellent leg space as well as a general sense of space. 

Ferrari F8 Spider Interior with Carbon Racing Seats

Ferrari’s have always been extremely driver oriented and the F8 Spider makes no exception. All vital controls are located directly on the steering wheel; including indicators (takes some getting used too), big beam, engine start / stop, dampers, voice control and phone, wipers and last but not least the Manettino which allows quick and uncomplicated change of drive programs from Wet and Sport to Race, TC off and finally ESP off. 

Ferrari F8 Spider HMI Passenger display

Unlike most other new cars the only touch screen is solely for the passenger. The driver can control everything by the touch of a button and I wish more manufacturers would follow this example. Key driver information is displayed only on two displays on either side of the rev counter. 

Ferrari F8 Spider Des

Time to find out what it is like to drive the F8 Spider. Normally I head South from Maranello straight into the mountains but this time I want to go East and find some new locations. The first part of the journey takes me via the truck heavy SP467 with its dense traffic and destroyed road surface. Not ideal for a 720hp V8 supercar but with the soft damper setting the F8 copes well. 

Ferrari F8 Spider

Leaving the main road and the traffic behind me as I head into the hills I can let the engine howl a bit more. The V8 packs an incredible punch and presses me firmly into my seat as I sprint from bend to bend on the first empty mountain road. The audible drama is not quite as it used to be but this is mainly due to the EU and their emissions (OPF) and sound restrictions that Ferrari has to comply with.

What is remarkable is the balance and predictability; the throttle, braking and steering are all equally easy to dose and give you a perfect sense of control. This makes that the Ferrari F8 Spider doesn’t feel like a 720hp supercar, and all the glitches that normally come with it, when you are cruising in town or in traffic but as soon as you find that perfect bit of road or hit the track it morphs into a breathtaking razor sharp machine within a split second.

Ferrari F8 Spider roof down

By chance we find a mountain road with sunlight peeking through the trees for our photographer Philipp Rupprecht to work his magic on the Ferrari F8 Spider. 

2021 Ferrari F8 Spider Rear

Ferrari F8 Spider

Ferrari F8 Spider GTspirit 86

On the second part of my journey the roads straighten and are much smoother, yet the F8 is so incredibly fast that it is hard to enjoy the full potential on any public road. From an engineering perspective we live in incredible times that you have to take a mid-engined convertible on track to utilize it to its maximum. Nonetheless I can think of few things more enjoyable than driving through the Italian hills with a prancing horse while the wind rushes through my hair.  

Ferrari F8 Spider GTspirit 91

A day with a Ferrari is always too short. If it wasn’t just for the experience itself, it is for the wonderful things that just happen when you travel through Italy in such a car. A restaurant owner obliging you to park on the no-parking space directly in front of his locale, to kids smiling from ear to ear when they see the car.   

Ferrari F8 Spider Giallo Modena Yellow

After returning the Ferrari F8 Spider at the same place where I picked it up this morning it is time to reflect. The F8 Spider is incredibly close to automotive perfection. Stunning design paired with a driver-oriented cockpit without touch screens which is a relief for true drivers. The available performance is more than sufficient in all situations except maybe at a hypercar trackday. All of my comments sound like whining at the highest level, only the lack of volume in the soundtrack is something that impacts the otherwise perfect score.

Buy a private jet, get a matching Porsche 911 Turbo S

Here’s an opportunity for the top 0.01% earners in the world. Porsche and Embraer are collaborating on a limited-edition project in which you buy a Phenom 300E private jet and get a matching Porsche 911 Turbo S to go with it.

If you can’t afford the approximately $10 million jet, then you won’t have the opportunity to buy a Porsche in this spec, either. Porsche and Embraer are calling this collaboration “Duet,” as the Porsche was specifically designed to pair with the jet’s styling and color scheme. There will only be 10 of these 911s ever made, which is probably a fine number considering the price of entry is about 50 times higher than that of a standard 911 Turbo S.

Porsche painted the upper part of the 911 in the same Platinum Silver Metallic as the jet is painted in. However, the two-tone jet necessitated the lower portion of the 911 be painted in Jet Grey Metallic. The Porsche also has the same strips of chrome and blue running along the lower portion of its body. All of this paint work and trim work is done by hand, similar to the painting process of the jet. Embraer and Porsche collaborated on a special logo for this pair, which the Porsche wears proudly. Its rear wing takes inspiration from the jet, too, as Porsche painted the underside blue and added the jet’s tail number to it: N911EJ.

The thoughtful and special touches don’t end there. Unique wheels are painted in Platinum Silver Metallic and have a blue rim line that was put there using laser technology. Even the chrome surround on the side air intakes are reminiscent of the chrome surround on the jet’s engines.

Inside, Porsche developed a special black/Chalk two-tone color scheme to match the seats in the jet. Even the steering wheel is two-tone, which is meant to copy the plane’s yoke design. More blue accents abound; the special logo is placed in a few spots, and the entire interior is hand-crafted. Porsche also placed an illuminated “No step” plate on the door sills to reference the same lettering seen on the plane’s wings.

There isn’t one aspect of this build that hasn’t been worked over with a fine-tooth comb. You get a special key painted in blue with the jet’s registration. The car cover says “Remove before flight” on it. You even get a custom watch and luggage set that perfectly matches the car. It all sounds fit for a billionaire or a multi-millionaire who likes to live large.

And in case you were wondering about the jet, it’s about the best you can get for a five-person, single-pilot private jet. With a range of 2,010 nautical miles and a cabin fit for a king, it’s about as dreamy as air travel gets.

2021 Audi RS e-tron GT Prototype Review

New electric cars seem to be breaking cover at an astonishing rate at the moment and here is the latest offering from Germany, welcome the 2021 Audi RS e-tron GT. This is not Audi’s first foray into the world of fully electric vehicles, you can current buy an array of fossil fuel free hatchbacks and SUVs from the Ingolstadt based manufacturer. However, although still a prototype, this is the first to wear the fabled RS badge and I really think it looks incredible.

I travelled to Greece to see what the near finished product was like to drive. The platform of the e-tron GT is shared with the Porsche Taycan – no bad thing as praise for the Stuttgart produced EV has been universal. The plan was to land and drive the RS e-tron GT under the darkness of the night, however, the Greek weather Gods had other plans and a storm scuppered the plans. The next morning I rose bright and early to experience the prototype on the tarmac of a disused military base. Being an EV it seemed rude not to put the RS into its sportiest modes and feel the instant torque of the electric motors.

The acceleration is mind blowing, unsurprising when you consider that the car has over 640 horsepower and hits 100km/h in under 3.5 seconds – supercar speed in a luxurious GT car. One element I was not expecting to be so impressed by was the sound. Engineers Rudolf Halbmeir and Stephan Gsell conceived and designed the progressive electronic sound – on the computer, in the sound laboratory, inside the moving car, and in customer studies.

As with every electric car, the e-tron GT also features the statutory acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS), although embedded within a broader acoustic spectrum. A loudspeaker fitted in the front of the vehicle emits the AVAS sound. Furthermore, there is an optional sound package, a second, large loudspeaker is added in the rear. In parallel, two loudspeakers in the interior provide an emotional sound experience. Two control units continuously remix the e-tron GT sound based on variables such as speed or accelerator position. The Audi drive select system allows drivers to set whether and how intensively they wish to experience the sound. This hugely impacts the driving experience as the sensation of speed and acceleration is reflected in this deeply immersive sound.

Away from the airstrip, it was time to put the RS e-tron GT through its paces on the road. This is where the prototype began to shine. The way the car handles is impressive and not just by electric car standards. It is set up to be softer than an Taycan and it feels it.

There is a pliancy and comfort to how it flows down a road. The steering well weighted and the acceleration feels endless. As daily drivers go, this would work fantastically. The cabin in spacious and is well appointed. The full details, including range and price are yet to be released but we hope to share these with you soon!

2021 BMW iX3 Review

I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of electric cars. Having experienced battery powered offerings ranging from the Renault Zoe to the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, I can categorically say that I am not ready to drop my addiction to fossil juice for the volt life. That being said, there are a few applications in which I can picture myself driving an electric car – short, mundane and preplanned journeys. I have suffered from the stress and anguish of range anxiety on road Trips on which I’ve spent more time staring at the battery percentage and range than I did enjoying the views or fabulous roads.

The BMW iX3 is not intended to be used for cross country cruises or for blasting up mountain passes. This is a car for the school run, weekly shop and the odd trip to visit friends and family on the weekends. That is not to say it cannot cross continents, it can but there are other X3s better suited to such applications. This is the first BMW model to be available with petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid or full EV powertrains to choose from.

With ‘the power of choice’ in mind, I hit the road in the iX3 to see what this 286 horsepower ‘Sport Activity Vehicle’ with a claimed WLTP range of 460 kilometres felt like. I tried to be sensible and drive in a fashion I imagine a buyer of such a car would, but as with all electric cars, I immediately engaged sport mode and floored it. The instant torque was amusing, the way that 2.2 tonnes shifted was impressive and the accompanying, configurable ‘drive sound’ added some character. 0-100km/h is dispatched in a respectable 6.8 seconds with the top speed capped at 180.

After a few accelerations the novelty wore off and I set about driving the car the way it was intended to be. I turned my attention to the braking regeneration options starting with ‘one-pedal’ driving. This was surprisingly good fun, I challenged myself to not use the brake pedal at all, it took some focus but was achievable after a few minutes of experimentation. I could not get comfortable with was the ‘adaptive’ mode where the braking force would automatically adjust itself using the navigation system to bring the car to a standstill without using the brakes. The level two autonomous systems worked brilliantly, only requiring assistance at traffic lights, roundabouts and coming to a stop with no car ahead of you on the road. I found myself trusting the systems almost immediately. The steering was accurate and did not have iX3 bouncing between the white lines.

When the twisty roads between towns presented themselves, I took control and engaged sport mode with maximum regeneration and found myself having much more fun than expected. Yes, the inherent feel and feedback in minimal, but the steering is quick and sharp and when applying max power out of bends there were noticeable rear-wheel-drive characteristics to be felt. Back to real world testing – the iX3 handled its weight with grace, the ride was firm in sport but the adaptive dampers meant this could easily be remedied. Being electric meant that wind and road noise could be intrusive at higher autobahn speeds, but not to uncomfortable levels. The cabin was well appointed and the usual BMW iDrive goodies are all you could want from an infotainment system. You could never tell this is a BMW that had been built in China. There was almost as much space as in a conventionally powered X3, the only difference was the marginally shallower boot as the electric motors hid beneath the boot floor.

As mentioned in the opening of this review, I can see the application and allure of having an electric car and this 150kW offering which can be charged from 0-80% in 34 minutes on an IONITY fast charger, certainly makes a case for itself. It is as comfortable and capable as I hoped with an added sense of humour. If you’re in the market for an electric family car that can take care of your simple commutes this may well be the car for you!

Ford GT Road Test | Driving is believing

I finally got to drive the latest Ford GT. And everywhere I went, people were just as excited as me to see one – on the road, not on auction stages where the Faberge-rare Ford has fetched as much as $1.5 million.

Driving Ford’s 660-horsepower, 216-mph missile in New York was like being a street-corner dealer, handing out potent, “Code Orange” capsules of automotive bliss to car fans. People pulled cars over or formed eager knots every time I stopped. Two questions were on every quivering lip: “Where’d you get one?” and “How’d you get one?” And that was before the inevitable queries of what the car cost.

“I can’t believe it’s a Ford GT!” said one young man, just after I’d rocked the Ford on cliff-hung roads overlooking the Hudson River near West Point. These crazy reactions and the hypercar-style performance also softened my heart toward the GT. 

Many people, including me, had only ever seen a third-generation GT during its surprise, daylight robbery of the Detroit Auto Show in 2015. Auto scribes scoured the Internet thesaurus for superlatives. But like the only sober person in a room full of drunks, I was strangely unmoved. A $450,000 Ford? With an Ecoboost-branded V6, and its whiff of Eau de Dearborn?

Also, my heart still belonged to the second-generation GT of 2004-2006, pictured above. The retro-style, V8-powered GT nailed the underdog charm and Motown menace of the LeMans-winning racers. That included the Ford’s one-two-three podium sweep in 1966, the feel-good story given (finally) its mainstream due in last year’s Ford v. Ferrari. The crowd-pleasing film paid sepia-toned homage to car builder Carroll Shelby and British racer Ken Miles, breezing past the fact those original GT chassis were built in Britain. But following Miles’ death in August 1966, it was Shelby’s all-new Mk IV car that A.J. Foyt and Dan Gurney piloted to 210 mph on the Mulsanne Straight to win LeMans in 1967. That Mk IV, powered by a Ford 427, remains the only all-American entry – design, build, engines, drivers – to win the 24 Hours. It also birthed the first street-going version: The oddball Mk III, with 306 horsepower from a Holley-carbed, 289-cubic-inch V8. With a 2,200-pound curb weight, the Mk III could still rip to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

Only seven GT Mk III’s were built, ostensibly “priced” around $18,500 (or $138,000 in 2020 money). But there seemed a direct line between all previous GTs and the 2004-2006 model, with 540 horsepower and 205-mph peak from a supercharged V8. Ford asked me to drive that one from Detroit to New York in 2005. And its proud American-ness came in handy when I got pulled over in Pennsylvania for making mincemeat of the local speed limit. The Ford-driving cop totally let me slide, too busy enthusing over the car. It helped that this GT was priced from $143,000 – rich for a Ford, yet comfortably in Porsche 911 Turbo territory – and that the company built a reasonable 4,308 units.

Today’s GT seemed to break that historic link, psychologically and financially. To Ford’s credit, as with the latest Mustang, it didn’t simply rehash past glory with another retro take. Admittedly, the interstellar, carbon-fiber catamaran on display in Detroit looked amazing, from its scissor doors to its racing stripes. But when Ford started talking a $450,000 price, a 1,350-unit production run, and vetting buyers like fathers grilling a daughter’s prospective date, they kinda lost me. I thought Ford wanted to beat Ferrari, not join them.

24 Hours of Le Mans - Race

It all seemed a hermetically sealed marketing stunt. Was Ford out to satisfy real customers, or to bask in its own nostalgic reflection? That sense grew when Ford sent the GT back to LeMans for a dominating class win in 2016, its skids so greased by race rulemakers as to seem nearly pre-ordained. Ford decreed that owners would be prohibited from reselling their cars for two years. But it was Ford that poured gasoline on the secondary market and lit the match in the first place, via the air of unobtainium. Suddenly they were shocked (shocked!) that buyers might consider selling their appreciating cars to the highest bidder? Ford even sued Mecum Auctions and a few rogue owners to halt transactions, even as it trumpeted its own, track-only GT Mk II edition – a mere $1.2 million, limited to 45 copies. Hurry, billionaires, before they’re gone! Apparently, seven-figure GT sales are fine, as long as the money is going into Ford’s pocket.

It all seemed reminiscent of Lexus and its $375,000 LFA, another unreasonably exclusive, overpriced supercar that was more like a theoretical particle: Flashing into view like a Higgs-Boson, then disappearing back into the shadowy, quantum realm of collectors’ garages, never to be seen again.

And yet. The 2020 Ford GT I drove was the kind of wicked, transgressive fun that few modern supercars deliver. This press car, with nearly 16,000 miles on the odo, felt like a racecar that got lost en route to LeMans. The twin-turbo V6, now with 660 horsepower (up from 647), throbs with raw promise at idle. After a beat of turbo lag, it catapults the GT with thrilling focus, making occupants feel like a baseball from Clayton Kershaw’s hand. It fills the cabin, with its 43.7-inch-low roofline, with a thrash-metal shriek that drowns out conversation and human thought. The engine may as well be in your lap. The seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission isn’t the most sophisticated, but it still snaps through gears, as LEDs in the steering-wheel rim signal the 7,000-rpm redline, at which point the GT seems bent on sampling that 216-mph apogee. The rear-drive design helps handicap this car to a relatively modest 3.0-second sprint to 60 mph, despite sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. But a 10.8-second catapult through the quarter-mile, at 134 mph, tells the truer story.

Acceleration is a given among hypercars – yes, hypercars, as the GT reminds me far more of early Koenigseggs than run-of-the-mill Ferraris and Lamborghinis. What separates the GT is steering and handling. In an era of electronically mediated performance, the Ford’s is beautifully pure and unfiltered: Quicksilver steering guides the GT with millimeter-accurate precision, while transmitting every pavement ripple and nick through its Alcantara-wrapped wheel. Yet the car never feels darty or hair-trigger. Tire adhesion is ridiculous. The faster you go, the more the Ford bolts itself to the road, including its burly aero wing that pops up above 70 mph, and also acts as an air brake, in cahoots with carbon-ceramic stoppers. That rear wing, on hydraulic stanchions thick enough for service-bay duty, can be fixed in up or down positions. The adaptive suspension, with its trick Multimatic spool-valve shocks, is taut, yet it didn’t pound car or occupants to jelly through the gantlet of Brooklyn and Manhattan. It’s Multimatic that actually builds the GT in Markham, Ontario, including roughly one copy per month of a new Liquid Carbon edition. Its exposed carbon-fiber body adds $250,000 to the price.

After an epic driving day, I was simultaneously spent and giddy from sensory overload. Then, one last sensation: A firecracker boom as I wound through Harriman State Park, so loud that I thought the engine had blown. Ears ringing, I hopped out and found the glass panel, separating the engine bulkhead from the cabin, cracked in multiple places. I restarted the car, and though it limped the remaining 48 miles home to Brooklyn, it had almost no boost, and emitted a moan like a tubercular cow. I suspected the GT was running on one turbo or less, and the hunch seemed right: Ford later said a boot connecting a throttle body to a turbo had come loose. Violently, in terms of that busted window, but no lasting harm done.

The accessible, “everyday” supercar is the new industry target, from the Acura NSX and Porsche 911 Turbo to the various Ferraris and McLarens. That is not this car. Sensation aside, the Ford GT doesn’t care about your tender feelings. A shower of pebbles and road schmutz, kicked up by near-slick performance tires, churned through wheel wells, sounding like 100 rainsticks taped inside the cabin. The cabin, with its aggressive teardrop shape, is more like a space capsule. Strapping on a helmet would have forced me to scrunch down in the Sparco racing seat to fit my noggin inside. Press a switch to lift the bumper to clear steep driveways, and instead of the usual elevator hum, the Ford snaps crudely upward like the head of a Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robot. It does the same when dropped into aero-boosting Track mode, so low that a squirrel couldn’t limbo underneath. It looks badass, and unlike many “Track” modes, Ford’s really is for track only.

The interior is mostly crap for a $500,000 car. It proudly exposes the carbon-fiber monocoque, but it also has Garmin-like displays, an afterthought infotainment system and some switches that might pass muster in a Mustang. Seats are carbon-fiber buckets with no fore-and-aft or height adjustment, only a fabric strap that yanks the foot pedal box into proper range. And there’s essentially zero cargo space, only a bin aft of the engine that might fit a backpack, if it wasn’t already half-filled with a tire-inflator kit. The hardcore GT makes a Lamborghini Huracan seem like the family Audi in terms of luxury, comfort and versatility.

For all that, I now absolutely understand why a filthy-rich guy would park a GT next to his vintage racers, the Riva yacht and fourth wife. The GT drives like a Hollywood dream, one in which Ken Miles looks like Christian Bale, and Matt Damon was born in a Stetson. It’s a track toy no other boy has, an Ariel Atom times 10, but with a better backstory and a potential investment upside. I just hope said guy actually drives his GT, at least on fourth-wife anniversaries.

Is Ford’s “pinnacle of performance” really worth $500,000-and-up? The market says yes. Should Ford feel even a little bit ashamed of itself? I’ll let you answer that one.

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