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2020 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 GranSport Review

“My Maseratti does 185, I lost my license, now I don’t drive” ~ Joe Walsh

The hit song “Life’s Been Good To Me (So Far)” by Joe Walsh is probably the extent of the average American’s understanding of Maserati. It’s doubtful the average American could pick a Maserati out of a line-up but they’re familiar with the name and the name has become associated with “rare, fast automobile” over the years. Which is true, though they’re getting more common on American streets. At the time Joe wrote his song, there was only one, maybe two Maserati models. Today they offer five models: The Ghibli, the Quattroporte, the Levante, and the Gran Turismo coupe and convertible. Next year the upcoming sports model MC20 will further round out their growing line-up.

Maserati recently offered us some seat time in their newest model, the Ghibli, and we – of course – took them up on their offer. It’s a Maserati, for crying out loud. You don’t turn down a Maserati. Ever. They delivered to us a striking Ghibli S Q4 GranSport in Emozione Blue. I speak a little Maserati, so please allow me to translate for you. The Ghibli is the model, the S means it’s of the sporting persuasion, the Q4 is the designation for their AWD system, and the GranSport is the trim level of the Ghibli S Q4 – the top trim level in fact. Emozione Blue is the absolutely stunning shade of bright blue that it came in, which is a nice change of pace from the blacks, whites, and grays they typically come in.

The body of the car is undeniably Italian. It looks muscular and dressed in a tailor-cut suit all at once. The standard Maserati styling cues are present: the Trident grille, the Trident badge on the hood, the engine heat vents on the flanks, and the muscular rear haunches. I think it looks terrific and a lot of people agreed with me because they told me so.

The interior is even nicer. Red leather seats and dash accents color-block the otherwise black interior with aluminum and carbon fiber bits accentuating everything. Wait, you’re saying, red seats in a blue car? That sounds hideous. It’s not though. It really works, probably due to the red being a nicely muted shade. A lot of people commented on how surprised they were that it worked that well and not one person said they disliked it.

Under the hood is Maserati’s twin-turbo 3.0L V6, which makes 424 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. Not quite the excitement that the Ferrari-built 3.4L TT engine generates but that’s not available in the Ghibli. Yet. Nonetheless, it makes all the right noises, snarling and growling and popping on deceleration, and when the boost comes on at around 2500 rpms it rockets the Ghibli up the road like you’d expect of a Maserati. We thoroughly enjoyed the boost coming on and the push back into the seat and experienced a lot of it. Uh, for purely professional reasons of course.

Maserati Ghibli S Q4 GranSport Front

Hooked to the engine is an 8-speed transmission with large, serious-looking aluminum paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. You can drive the car as either an automatic or a manual through use of the paddles. Unlike most systems out there, these manual shifts are immediate and precise, providing delightful shifting fun during performance driving. The Italians do this manual shifting thing better than anyone.

As great as the engine is, we encountered one issue that caused us some mild consternation. Below the point when the boost kicks in, there didn’t seem to be any power from the V6. For example, when starting off and waiting to turn through oncoming traffic, we let the car start rolling forward, then as a break in traffic came, we gave it a little throttle to make the turn. But the response was so weak that we had to give it a little more throttle and just as we did, the boost would hit all at once, catapulting us through the turn and ruining our attempt at smooth and composed driving. A 3.0L V6, even pre-boost, should provide decent power down low in the rev range, so were surprised to get such a minuscule amount of power in response to our throttle actuation. We’re wondering if the electronic throttle programming was mis-calibrated or the throttle position sensor was an issue. We asked Maserati and they were surprised to hear about it and concerned enough to look into it so we’re guessing it’s not a common issue. Mind you, it only happened in the sub-boost rev range. Everywhere else, it was fine and once the boost came on, you tended to try to stay in it.

The Q4 AWD system is essentially invisible, as a good AWD system should be. In normal operation, it’s largely a rear-wheel drive car that send up to 25% of it’s power to the front wheels when accelerating or cornering. If it wasn’t for the little icon in the dash that shows how much is going which axle, we’d never have been able to tell. Nicely invisible but reassuring.

Maserati Ghibli S Q4 GranSport Rear

The suspension is Maserati’s Skyhook suspension system which is electronically controllable. Press the “Sport” or the suspension button and the shocks firm up for increased body control and handling. Sadly, unlike the Levante Trofeo we drove last year, there is no “Corsa” button but “Sport” definitely improves the ride and there’s a distinct personality change from luxury to sport when you press the button. Steering is direct and intuitive. There’s no awkward lack of feel or vagueness about it.

The brakes consist of massive drilled and ventilated disks and enormous Brembo calipers with “Maserati” printed on them. They stop the heavy-ish car better than they have any right to and pedal feel is fabulous. There is no sponginess or dead travel anywhere. You can easily modulate the pressure of the clamping caliper and the car stops quickly from even stupid speeds.

Inside, those red seats are incredibly comfortable to sit in for long periods of time. They’re both heated and ventilated, with electric adjustments for just about every height and leg length. The rear seats have limited leg room but are also heated. Our car came with the upgraded Pieno Fiore leather, which I’d recommend. It felt and smelt wonderful. On the center console next to the electronic shifter are a series of button that alter the car’s behavior: Traction Control Off, Auto-Start Off, I.C.E. for stability in weather, Sport, and Suspension. Below those are two knobs to control the infotainment system. On the center stack are manual HVAC controls and above that the large touchscreen. Radio, phone, and cruise controls are all located on the steering wheel. The gauges are, surprisingly, not digital but analog. They’re easy to read but they can be obscured by the small steering wheel.

Maserati Ghibli S Q4 GranSport Interior

Fasten your seatbelt, push the red Start button and the V6 fires to life, snarling and growling. This ain’t no Toyota or GM V6. Pull the trigger on the electronic shifter and pull it back until “D” lights up on the dash and you’re off. Just that simple. Inside, the car is quiet. Wind and tire noise aren’t an issue. You can still make out the growling exhaust quietly burbling away back there and it sounds good. The ride is surprisingly soft, absorbing bumps and bad pavement with ease. Nothing harsh comes through to the interior. Pressing the Suspension button or the Sport button firms up the suspension but it still feels softer than you might expect. Pressing the Sport button also opens up the valves in the exhaust and makes the engine much louder. This is not a bad thing as the engine makes wonderful noises – the kind you want to hear from an expensive Italian car.

Out on the road, speed is just a throttle-stab away. It comes on fast too. The turbos whoosh you up to illegal speeds in the blink of an eye, winding the tach needle around to it’s 6250-rpm redline. It’s right at home on main thoroughfares and freeways. It takes freeway cloverleaves easily and quickly, catapulting you around them with surprising speed and stability. It’s a blast to drive and we certainly enjoyed our time with it. On back country roads it does okay, although the relatively soft suspension keeps you from getting to cocky. We felt the suspension bottom out on a couple of dips and there’s more body movement than we like but we were also driving much, much faster than we usually do on those roads so maybe it’s just the extra speed needing a bit more suspension under it.

The average American may not know a Maserati when they see one but they certainly know when they see something special and the Ghibli got a fair amount of attention. Having “Maserati” spelled out in chrome script certainly helps. It wasn’t at all uncommon to have someone pull up close behind you at a light and lean forward to read that script. You could actually watch them mouth the name then quickly pull their cell phone out and snap a picture.

We found that besides the experience of driving a Ghibli, the next best thing was telling everyone that you were driving a Maserati. “Well, it’s time for lunch. Time to exercise the Maserati!” Or while talking to friends, “Yeah, that show is awesome. I love it. Did I mention I’m driving a Maserati this week?” Or in the elevator at work, “Second floor, please. I sure wish my Maserati had a second floor, haha!” Frankly, I think after a week of driving it, those around me were kind of glad to see it go so I’d stop namedropping it.

We came away from our time with the Ghibli S Q4 understanding that it was more of a sporting luxury car than a luxury sports car. It’s too soft to be a serious sports car, and while it was fun to throw around corners on backroads, it wasn’t where the car shined. It’s more an everyday driver and a freeway missile than it is a track-ready supercar. That may change next year when Maserati offers a Ghibli Trofeo with a Ferrari-built 590 hp 3.4L twin-turbo V8 under the hood. If the current Levante Trofeo is any indication, the suspension will be upgraded to not only handle the immense power increase but also deliver stellar handling.

The Ghibli S Q4 GranSport starts at $86,490. Ours, with a few options, stickers at a cool $98,040. While that may seem like a fair amount of money, the Ghibli feels like it should be more expensive yet. Everything about the car has a feeling of quality and substance. And it’s beautiful. Did I mention that?

Italian car builders, better than anyone, understand what effect design and emotional character have on the human psyche. We relate strongly to these traits in an inanimate object. The Ghibli certainly benefits from that. The design, the engine, the ride, the sound – it’s all undeniably Italian and it affects your emotions more than most other cars can.

Most cars we test come and go and we don’t miss them much afterwords, but a few capture our emotions while we drive them and we hate to see them go. The Ghibli S Q4 was one of those cars. I’m generally an all-out performance and experience kind of guy. I like my cars small, fast, and raw, but I found the Ghibli to be an enjoyable everyday driver and was truly disappointed to see it leave. That says something to me about Maseratis. Joe Walsh had to stop driving his, but I’ll bet he didn’t sell it either.

Chevy Corvette Z06 rumor suggests 9,000 rpm redline from flat-plane crank V8

It’s time to head back to Rumor Town with the Chevrolet Corvette. This time, Motor Trend says it has a scoop on the upcoming Z06 and ZR1 versions of the mid-engine sports car. Although, if what MT claims is true, we might as well just call them supercars.

We’ll start with Z06. Motor Trend’s unnamed source says it will reportedly be packing a 5.5-liter naturally aspirated flat-plane crank V8. And yes, it will be a double-overhead-cam design. Redline will be 9,000 rpm, which would make it one of the highest-revving engines in the world. Chevy has foretold that it would use a road-going version of the C8.R’s engine in a future Corvette variant. Packing it into the Z06 would make perfect sense and bring the Z06 back to its naturally-aspirated roots. There is one aspect of the report we’re skeptical of: the horsepower figures. The source claims this 5.5-liter V8 will make 625 horsepower, which seems mighty high for a naturally aspirated engine. That’s 113.6 horsepower/liter, which is a big step up from the Mustang Shelby GT350’s 101 horsepower/liter. Put simply, it’s Ferrari and Lamborghini territory for a vehicle that will cost a mere fraction of those cars. We’re not saying GM can’t do it, but we sure will be wildly impressed if it can.

The sound of one heavily camouflaged Corvette running around with an exotic scream trailing it is indication enough that GM is cooking something rather devilish up. Torque is rumored to be well over 400 pound-feet, but not more than 500 pound-feet. This will be a high-revving affair, after all. Motor Trend’s source said “it’s going to be a screamer.” The engine in the racecar makes just 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, but racing restrictions don’t have to be abided by on the street car. That said, the street car must also pass emissions and run on pump gas, so it’s a two-way street. Previous rumors have suggested that this engine comes aboard the Z06, and they’ve offered even more info including wheel/tire packages, active aero and a possible center-exit exhaust system.

As for the ZR1 also mentioned by Motor Trend, its source says the 5.5-liter V8 will gain a pair of turbochargers. The rumor is approximately 800 horsepower for this version, but we won’t put much stock into this prediction just yet. A hybrid Corvette isn’t out of the question either, with the possibility of adding an electric motor to the ZR1 for an ultimate Corvette. We’re fairly certain this version will have enough power to escape Earth’s gravity. The last bit of info gleaned from this report is on a Grand Sport model. MT’s source claims that there will be no Grand Sport, which is a real shame to hear. The Grand Sport was arguably the best version of the C7 Corvette in many ways.

Timing for all of this is totally up for debate, but we wouldn’t put it past Chevy to introduce the Z06 within a year from now. The rumored 9,000 rpm redline already has us swooning.

Related video:

This is McLaren’s new carbon fiber tub it will use for future hybrid supercars

Look! It’s a big hunk of carbon fiber! Specifically, it’s McLaren’s new hunk of carbon fiber, and it’s high tech to the max. McLaren says this new structure will be the basis of all hybrid supercars it produces in the future, with the first of those launching in 2021.

There’s no fancy name for the new architecture yet. “MonoCell” was McLaren’s name for the previous chassis, and it was introduced for the 12C many years ago. The new chassis is a clean sheet redesign that was designed “specifically to accommodate new hybrid powertrains.” McLaren developed it in-house at its Composites Technology Center. The chassis are molded and put together at this tech center, then transported 173 miles to McLaren’s production facility in Woking, Surrey. Once there, the rest of the vehicle is assembled around it.

McLaren boasts of “world-first processes” that allow them to strip out excess mass while also improving safety attributes, but specific details are still light on the ground.

“This new, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before with our new MCTC facility quickly becoming recognized as a global center of excellence in composite materials science and manufacturing,” says Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren.

If you were curious about how McLaren goes about making the carbon fiber tub, it’s included a convenient flow chart to follow. We’ve pasted it below.

Related Video:

What’s hiding beneath this mystery BMW M8 mule?

Spy photos of a mystery BMW M8 mule being tested at the Nürburgring could be our first glance at BMW’s rumored 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid. The demise of BMW’s mid-engine i8 plug-in hybrid with no news of a direct replacement led us to wonder what BMW really has in store for the future of the formula, but if this early prototype is anything to go on, it may be alive and well. We’re not sure what BMW plans to call its next round of all-electric and plug-in variants, but whatever it ends up being called, the prospect is certainly fascinating. 

Let’s start with what we’re looking at. At first glance, this appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill BMW M8 with some camouflage over the front and rear, which is about what you’d expect to see from a company that is likely developing alternative bodywork for a mid-cycle update or a new appearance package. Looking more closely, however, we see the strategic tinting of the rear window glass along with very obvious air intake vents where the rear side windows should be. Translation? There’s something back there that 1) needs air flow and 2) BMW doesn’t want us to see. 

To further grease the skids, our spies tell us that the engine in this car did not sound anything like the V8 found under the hood of either the BMW M8 or its racing variant, the M8 GTE, which carries over the former’s front-engine layout. In fact, the spy even referred to the sound as “unusual,” which could just be good salesmanship, but the fact of the matter remains that whatever is under there, it’s not from an M8, or any other 8 Series derivative currently known to us. 

Conveniently, all of the things that make this an unlikely M8 variant, from the mid-engine layout to the unconventional exhaust note, make a compelling case for it as a revival of BMW’s plug-in flagship. Even the wheels appear strikingly similar to those on the BMW Vision M Next concept the company showed at Frankfurt last year, which was said to be a plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine making 600 horsepower. BMW claimed it could do 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph and boasting 62 miles of all-electric range. 

Related Video:

McLaren unveils all-new, innovative lightweight vehicle architecture

25 Aug 2020

Mike Flewitt, CEO of luxury supercar maker McLaren Automotive, today confirmed the introduction of the brand’s all-new, flexible, lightweight vehicle architecture which will underpin its next generation of electrified supercars.

The new architecture, designed specifically to accommodate new hybrid powertrains, has been entirely engineered, developed and produced in-house in the UK at McLaren’s £50m state-of-the-art McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in the Sheffield region.

The new flexible vehicle architecture utilizes innovative, world-first processes and techniques to strip out excess mass, reduce overall vehicle weight, while also further improving safety attributes.

It will underpin the next generation of McLaren hybrid models as the supercar company enters its second decade of series vehicle production.

The first new McLaren hybrid supercar to be based on the all-new architecture will launch in 2021.

“The new ground-breaking vehicle architecture is every bit as revolutionary as the MonoCell chassis we introduced with the company’s first car, the 12C, when we first embarked on making production vehicles a decade ago.

“This new, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before with our new MCTC facility quickly becoming recognized as a global center of excellence in composite materials science and manufacturing.

“Our advanced expertize in light weight composites processes and manufacturing combined with our experience in cutting-edge battery technology and high-performance hybrid propulsion systems means we are ideally placed to deliver to customers levels of electrified high-performance motoring that until now have simply been unattainable.”
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

Mr Flewitt said the new architecture would enable McLaren to transition to 100 per cent electrified supercars.

“For us, light-weighting and electrification go hand-in-hand to achieve better performance as well as more efficient vehicles,” he said.

Ends

Notes to editors:
A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the McLaren Automotive media site – cars.mclaren.press

 

About McLaren Automotive:
McLaren Automotive is a creator of luxury, high-performance supercars.

Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England.

Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group.

The company’s product portfolio of GT, Supercar, Motorsport and Ultimate models are retailed through over 85 retailers in more than 32 markets around the world.

McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries. In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1.

Then in 1993  it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car – the company has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™.

In 2018, the company launched its new £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre in the Sheffield region in the North of England that will innovate and produce the next generation all-new lightweight carbon fibre architecture.

2019 saw McLaren launch the 600LT Spider as well as the new GT, the track-only Senna GTR and unveiled the 620R and the McLaren Elva.

To support the development, engineering and manufacture of its range of innovative supercars, McLaren Automotive partners with world leading companies to provide specialist expertise, technology and solutions. These include AkzoNobel, Ashurst, Dell Technologies, Pirelli,  Richard Mille, and Tumi.

McLaren Group:
The McLaren Group is a global leader in luxury automotive and technology and comprises three businesses: Automotive, Racing and Applied.

Further information:

Roger Ormisher
Vice President, Communications & PR | McLaren North America
Phone: +1 714 501 8137
Email: roger.ormisher@mclaren.com

Lauren Dowdy
Press Officer– North America McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 241453
Mobile: +44 (0) 7818 537845
Email: lauren.dowdy@mclaren.com

Media website: cars.mclaren.press
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mclarenautomotive
Twitter: www.twitter.com/McLarenAuto
You Tubewww.youtube.com/mclarenautomotivetv

London Concours 2020 – One of the Few Car Shows in 2020

London Concours Aston Martin

London is Back! The London Concours 2020 presented by Montres Breguet opened its door for the public on the 19th and 20th of August becoming the first major automotive event to take place in the UK since February.

The HAC Artillery Gardens, a five-acre oasis of green close to Bank, played host to a world-class collection of vehicles, covering million-pound Aston Martins, vintage Hot Rods and a display dedicated to the Ferrari Dino.

In total, over 100 cars were on display across nine classes and three major features. The main concours event classes include ‘Speed of Sand’ –dedicated to the world of hot rods – ‘Convertible: The Golden Era’, ‘The Pursuit of Speed’ and ‘Lancia Legends’. Each of the classes was packed with rarities, including a line-up of four Lancia 037 competition cars, one of just 54 Lamborghini Silhouettes ever built and an ex-Stirling Moss Jaguar XK120.

The judges, led by members of the London Concours Steering Committee, not only awarded an overall winner, but a winner of each class, too.

These are the London Concours 2020 winners:

• The Pursuit of Speed – Jaguar XK120 FHC
• Convertibles: The Golden Era sponsored by Montres Breguet – Ferrari 330 GTS
• Great Marques: Aston Martin sponsored by Nicholas Mee – Aston Martin DB2/4
• Great Marques: Lamborghini – Lamborghini Espada
• The Era of the Supercar sponsored by Drivers Union – Lamborghini Diablo VT
• Lost Marques sponsored by Footman James – Facel Vega HK500
• Speed of Sand sponsored by VHRA and Ace Cafe – Ford V8 Streamliner Flathead V8
• Lancia Legends sponsored by Thornley Kelham – Lancia Stratos HF Group IV
• Best in Show – Ferrari 330 GTS

See you in September for the The Concours of Elegance at Hamptons Court Palace!

Photos and words by Yaron Esposito – @Aaronandcars

For 2021 Porsche Juiced Up the Taycan Turbo S

With an upgrade that makes it even faster for 2021, the all-electric Porsche Taycan Turbo S features Launch Control technology to rip down a quarter-mile in just 10.7 seconds. There’s also a new HUD & a “plug & charge” feature for convenient, secure universal charging. 7 fresh color choices will also be offered for the new model year.

2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition Revealed – 40 Cars Only

A new round of heritage edition Ford GT’s were released recently. The latest Heritage Edition commemorates the original GT40’s maiden endurance win at the 1966 Daytona 24 Hour Continental.

Released in 2017, the Ford GT shows no signs of nearing the end of its production run, although an official end is planned for 2022.

Next year, it will be 55 years since Ford secured its victory at Daytona. To celebrate, Ford will cover the Ford GT in frozen white paint with exposed carbon fiber and race red accents.

The Heritage Edition models debut alongside the Ford GT Studio Collection which is Ford’s customisation program for the Ford GT.

These special edition models also honour co-drivers Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby who led a 1-2-3-5 Ford domination at Daytona. Those with a working history of the GT will remember that the win kicked off a magical season for the Ford GT40 MK II, with additional 1-2-3 wins at Sebring and Le Mans.

This Ford GT Heritage Edition is the first to feature a livery famous for a race other than Le Mans.

This Ford GT Heritage Edition gets asymmetrical race red accents on the front fascia and roof edge, driver’s side door and underneath the rear wing. Exposed carbon fiber shapes the signature 98 roundel graphics.

2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition Rear

Unique Ford graphics feature on the lower rear-quarter panels. One-piece Heritage Gold 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels paired with red lacquered Brembo monoblock brake calipers complete the new exterior livery.

Inside, black Alcantara suede wraps the instrument panel, headliner and steering wheel rim, while anodized red paddle shifters and red Alcantara suede performance seats add dramatic contrast to the interior.

An optional Heritage Upgrade Package includes 20-inch exposed carbon fiber wheels with a unique gloss red-painted inner accent barrel, while monoblock brake calipers are lacquered in black and detailed with Brembo lettering in red.

Ghosted 98 roundels provide a subtle contrast on both driver and passenger carbon fiber door panels, finishing the latest version of the Ford GT Heritage Edition.

Goodwood Speedweek: New Event Announced for October 2020

Goodwood Speedweek was recently announced to fill a deep void left by the cancellation of the the Goodwood Members Meeting, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and the Goodwood Revival.

Regular readers will know that the Goodwood events are among our favourites. Now Goodwood has announced a new event which can be enjoyed at a social distance!

Goodwood Speedweek will take place on 16-18 October 2020. It promises to replicate the magic of all three events ‘behind closed doors’.

The event will take place at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. Free from the constraints of putting on a spectator event, the event promises a greater variety of cars, new racing formats, and a new viewing experience.

Goodwood Speedweek will be available to watch through the Goodwood Road & Racing website with a promise that it will have interactive elements.

The event will include supercar demonstration runs, new car launches, next-generation technology from FOS Future Lab, and an online auction.

Expect vintage racing, Goodwood Gymkhana and a Rally Sprint event. The headline will be a SpeedWeek-exclusive Timed Shootout round the challenging 2.4-mile Goodwood Motor Circuit.

Goodwood’s Motor Circuit has never seen modern race cars set timed laps before. Its current lap record was set by Nick Padmore in a Lola T70 Spyder during the Bruce McLaren Trophy at the 2015 Members’ Meeting. That record is sure to fall.

Stay tuned for more information on the event and a link to the action!

Lanzante LM 25: Specialist Reveals 7 McLarens Tribute to F1 GTR

Lanzante have been teasing a special edition model recently, the Lanzante LM 25. Details were finally announced yesterday. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting!

Lanzante has forged quite a name for itself, particularly with the McLaren F1. As a factory-backed team, named Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing, Lanzante Motorsport won the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans with a McLaren F1 GTR.

Since 1995, Lanzante has acted as a McLaren F1 specialist, servicing road and race cars. More recently, it applied its skills modifying P1 GTR’s and Senna GTR’s for the road. It even created a limited edition run of McLaren Senna LM‘s.

It’s latest project celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Le Mans win. 7 bespoke McLaren models will be made available. Each example will pay homage to F1 GTR chassis number 01R, the car that took the win in 1995.

A variety of donor cars will be used from McLaren’s current Ultimate, Super and Sports series.

The most extreme will be a conversion based on the McLaren Senna GTR. This will get new seats, centre-lock 5-spoke carbonfibre wheels, 01R’s ‘59’ race number, tinted grey carbonfibre trim and a 41 kg weight reduction.

Lanzante LM 25 570S Side

The second will be a road-going Senna which receives the same treatment. Third and fourth are Spider and Coupe versions of the new 765LT, fifth and sixth include examples of the 600LT Coupe and Spider. Lanzante’s seventh model will be revealed in May 2021.

All models share the same colour scheme, dark and light grey Ueno Clinic shades. They also receive F1 GTR seats, 5-lug carbon fibre wheels, gold exhaust tips, extended carbon fibre door sills, gold anodised interior switches and pedals.

Cost to you will be approximately £120,000 plus taxes depending on which model you manage to secure!

Historic French brand Delage returns with the D12

We’ve seen several ways so far of resurrecting a dormant car brand. There’s been the continuation build, like at Alvis, with period vehicles created from new-old-stock or parts created from original blueprints. We’ve seen brands wrap modern technology in historically-themed bodywork, as with the new Hispano-Suiza, or put that technology inside brand new bodywork said to channel the spirit of the original, as at Maybach or Bugatti. ü Called the Delage D12, CEO Laurent Tapie says it fulfills the dream of Adolphe Louis Delage, who campaigned a 2.0-liter V12 in the 1923 and 1924 Grand Prix seasons, supercharging the engine in 1925 and winning two races. Delage took the crown of World Champion of Car Builders in 1927 with the Type 15 S 8 and its supercharged 1.5-liter straight-eight, then returned to a V12 formula in 1938 in a car lost to fire before it could race.

The original Delage insisted on technical excellence, its 1914 Indy 500-winning car benefiting from a 4.5-liter four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and desmodromic valves, a five-speed gearbox with two overdrive gears, a metal clutch, and brakes at all four wheels plus a transmission brake. On public roads, some of the finest coachbuilding of the era sat on top of a Delage chassis; the brand has won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance three times between 1996 and 2010.

Echoing the dual thrust of those vintage cars, the D12 is road-legal, yet designed to be “the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula One car that has ever been experienced in a street legal car.” Tapie wants the D12 to claim the record for the fast street-legal car around the Nürburgring. There will be two D12 trims, both powered by a naturally aspirated 7.6-liter V12 with 990 horsepower, developed in-house and aided by an electric motor mounted in the eight-speed, single-clutch, automated manual transmission. In the GT version, which weighs 3,086 pounds, the e-motor produces 110 hp for a total of 1,100 horses. In the track-focused Club model that weighs 2,888 pounds, the e-motor contributes a gentle 20 horses for 1,010 hp and is used mainly while driving on the streets, reversing, and parking. Delage says the GT is quicker, but the Club — which can hit 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and tops out at 233 mph — is faster around a circuit.

Delage technical director Benoît Bagur has a résumé including years at Citroën Sport, Seat and VW Sport, and Ligier, the entire technical team said to have been involved with 16 FIA World Championship titles in various series. Bagur claims two in touring cars, the head engineer is responsible for six, and one of those titles is claimed by Jacques Villeneuve, the ex-F1 pilot being one of Delage’s test drivers.

The carbon fiber body panels are accompanied by carbon fiber wheels engineered to channel airflow to cool the brakes, the body and wheels connected by a visible pushrod suspension. In the cockpit, the steering wheel handles are molded to the driver’s hands, the carbon fiber seat and leg support are molded to the driver’s body. 

Tapie says he’s backed by 10 investors, four of them apparently billionaires, but he’s looking for two more. Tapie’s father is French billionaire Bernard Tapie, but the elder is not invested in the nascent car company. Laurent sees the D12, produced from next year in a run of 30 cars priced at $2.3 million each, as the opener to more products. Two D12s have been spoken for so far, sold through Delage’s West Coast dealer, Newport Beach Automotive Group.

With the brand name licensed for seven years, the deal including a provision to buy the rights to the name in 2022, Tapie already has a second model in mind. The follow-up will further highlight the historical connection at the same time as it’s powered by “a revolutionary turbine that’s been in development for 12 years, and will also take advantage of some innovative aerodynamic technology. We really see ourselves as a technology company.” 

Listen to the Mercedes-AMG Project One romp around Mercedes’ proving grounds

It’s been over three years since we saw the reveal of the Mercedes-AMG Project One, and we’re still waiting on a final production car. Mercedes isn’t keeping us entirely in the dark on what’s going on behind closed doors, though.

Today, Mercedes has dropped a new video and new photos of the Project One testing on track. The company says that testing is entering a new phase now, as pre-production models are running hot laps on Mercedes’ proving grounds in Immendingen. Mercedes also says that this is the first time it’s testing with the engines turned up to their full power potential of “more than 1,000 horsepower.”

For us, this is simply a great chance for us to hear the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 scream around a racetrack. Mercedes says the sound we’re hearing is authentic and what owners will hear from behind the wheel of their Projects Ones. Since this engine is a street-tamed Formula One engine, it sounds very similar to the Mercedes race cars piloted by Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas on Sundays. The sound isn’t exactly the same as what we hear on TV, but there’s no mistaking this engine’s origins. 

In addition to running at full power, Mercedes says it’s working to validate and develop the active aerodynamics. After this bout of testing is complete, Mercedes says it plans to head to the north loop of the Nurburgring. Don’t expect to see a record attempt, though — AMG already ruled that out a couple years ago.

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Maserati MC20 spy photos show supercar in broad daylight

The upcoming Maserati MC20 mid-engine supercar has been teased a number of times, but thanks to new spy photos, we finally get a clear look at the prototype. Our spy photographer caught the MC20 in broad daylight from nearly every angle, and it was wearing relatively thin camouflage.

The nose of the MC20 seems to take a lot of inspiration from past and present Maseratis. It has a slightly more aggressive oval grille that will house a big trident square in the middle. Two smaller grilles flank the center one. The headlights and hood design look slightly reminiscent of the MC12 supercar, which was based on the Ferrari Enzo. The lights have a similar shape that looks like it might wrap down around the sides of the fender. The little vents in the hood also call to mind the MC12.

The sides of the MC20 aren’t too over-the-top. It has two relatively small intakes in the rear fender, one upper and one lower. There’s a small vent in the front fender. The body’s lines are smooth and curvy. The rear pillar is fairly thick and the side skirts are rather deep. The wheels have quite a bit of vinyl covering, but they seem to have some sort of three-spoke or split three-spoke design.

At the rear of the car, there are few wings, spoilers or other aerodynamic paraphernalia besides the simple rear lip to distract from the clean curves. What we can see of the taillights suggests thin, wide units with arrow-like points in the lighting elements. There appear to be plenty of vents for cooling and aerodynamics, and the twin tailpipes exit roughly in the middle and a bit inset to the edges of the car.

While we don’t know all the details about the car, we know a fair bit about what will power it. It will use a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 630 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. It’s also an in-house engine, not one built by Ferrari. There have been reports that the engine could see a hybrid version with multiple electric motors appear with over 700 horsepower, but it’s also possible that those reports of an electrified engine could simply be referring to a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist that could be a part of the standard V6. We’re expecting the regular V6 MC20 will be rear-wheel-drive with some kind of dual-clutch or conventional automatic transmission. If the high-output hybrid rumors are true, that version would likely be all-wheel-drive. We should know more when the car makes its debut this September.

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Aston Martin Vantage and DBS Superleggera 007 Editions are shaken and stirred

We’re 25 movies into the James Bond franchise at this point and it’s well established that 007 has developed an unhealthy taste for Aston Martins. To wit, the upcoming film “No Time To Die”, says the British motoring company, “will be released around the world in November 2020 and will feature no fewer than four iconic Aston Martin sports cars: the iconic DB5; the classic Aston Martin V8; the brand’s latest super GT,  DBS Superleggera; and the exceptional Aston Martin Valhalla.”

To herald the occasion, Aston Martin has rolled out two new 007 Editions. We’ll start with the Vantage 007 Edition, which is inspired by the Aston Martin V8 from 1987’s “The Living Daylights.” Cumberland Grey paint joins a unique mesh grille with chrome bezel, a dashed yellow diffuser that the automaker says is “inspired by the hazard stripes on the film car’s rockets” and sun visors with an embroidered radio station frequency of 96.60 FM, which will make sense to diehard Bond fans. A series of optional mock weapons, ski racks, and faux bullet holes round out the package.

Aston Martin’s flagship DBS Superleggera also gets a 007 Edition. Only 25 will be produced, each in Ceramic Grey highlighted by a black carbon fiber roof, mirror caps, splitter, diffuser and rear Aeroblade. Bond-specific emblems join unique 21-inch wheels and an interior finished in black leather with red accents.

Want one? Aston Martin is currently taking orders, with deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2021.

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2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition celebrates 1966 Daytona victory

Ford pulled the covers off the 2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition this weekend, inspired by the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona-winning GT40 Mk. II driven by Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby. Even casual motorsports fans likely remember that Ford’s GT program defeated the almighty Ferrari at Le Mans that year, but the 24-hour Daytona race was just as important of a milestone in the car’s history.

The 2021 Heritage Edition is a tribute to the race-winning car, painted in Frozen White with asymmetrical black (in this modern case, exposed carbon fiber) and red accents. The number 98 is emblazoned across the doors, and one-piece Heritage Gold 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels let red Brembo monoblock brake calipers peek through. Red and black Alcantara fabric covers much of the interior, including the seats and steering wheel. A Heritage Upgrade Package adds carbon fiber wheels with gloss red inner accent barrel and carbon fiber door panels.

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Past Heritage Edition Ford GT’s honored the black-and-silver GT40 Mark II that won at Le Mans in 1966 driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, the Le Mans-winning #1 Ford GT40 Mark IV from 1967 driven by Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt, and the iconic Gulf livery of the 1968 Le Mans winner from the JW Automotive Engineering team.

In addition to the Heritage Edition, Ford also announced a customizable Studio Collection graphics package for the 2021 GT. “The combination of the stripes and accents invokes the emotion of speed and draws your eye to some of the most prominent features of the GT,” says Garen Nicoghosian, design head at Multimatic, the company that assembles the GT for Ford. “The fuselage, buttresses and signature features on the headlights provide visual anchors for the graphics, guiding your eye across the vehicle.”

Only 40 Studio Collection GTs are planned for the 2021 and 2022 model years. See the Heritage Edition in the gallery up above, and various possible Studio Collection schemes just below.

2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition teased ahead of Sunday debut

Ford dropped a brief teaser video for its 2021 GT Heritage Edition Friday afternoon, giving us our first glimpse of a car that will honor the legacy of the #98 Ford GT40 Mk II that won the inaugural 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966 in the hands of Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby. The car will be formally unveiled Sunday night to kick off the Peterson Automotive Museum’s Car Week.

The video flashes brief images of the 2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition overlaid on the silhouette of the #98 GT40, followed by a message that reads “2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition — Coming Soon.” Ford’s GT Heritage Edition cars all sport throwback liveries representing the GT40’s dominant racing years.

The 2017 Heritage Edition wore the black-and-silver livery of the GT40 Mark II driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon at Le Mans in 1966. That year, the No. 2 car came in first place, followed by the No. 1 GT40 of Ken Miles and Denis Hulme and the No. 5 GT40 driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson.

The 2018 car honored the all-American team of Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt, who claimed victory at Le Mans in the #1 Ford GT40 Mark IV in 1967; for 2019, Ford brought back the Gulf livery with a car honoring the 1968 Le Mans victory by the JW Automotive Engineering team. 

On any other car, these would be nothing but sticker packages; on something as prestigious as the GT, they’re unique, low-production-number configurations that will surely make them highly desirable collector’s items down the road. 

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2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Premium Review

Ford Mustang EcoBoost

The Ford Mustang is one of Americas strongest automotive icons and has been since it was first unveiled back in 1964. Besides the Corvette, no other car produced in North America is more famous or more recognizable. Now in it’s sixth generation, today’s car has come a long way from the classic original – more rigid, more agile, and more powerful. Over the last decade, Ford has worked particularly hard to keep the car fresh and competitive.

It’d been a long time since I’d driven one. I believe it was back in 1989 or so that I got a chance to drive a 1984 Mustang convertible automatic four-cylinder. While driving with the roof folded down was a new and enjoyable experience, the rest of the drive was memorable for all the wrong reasons – the car, making under 100 hp, was painfully slow and the steering wheel seemed almost disconnected from the front wheels, to the point that it seemed dangerous in the curves. Hey, it was from the early eighties – a time not known for producing good cars. But by the late eighties, Ford was offering cars like the Mustang GT, which came with a 5.0L V8 and made a then-mighty 220 hp. It was the car that I and all the other gearheads in high school wanted. So with 30 years under the bridge since my last drive, I figured it was time to revisit the Mustang.

Ford was kind enough to loan us an Ecoboost Coupe version of their iconic muscle car. For those of you not in the know, the Ecoboost is Ford’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine. While it wasn’t the high-power V8 that made the model famous, this four-cylinder already had more horsepower than the V8 car I wanted back in high school and the turbocharged four-cylinder engine is not without precedent. In the mid-1980’s, when all of America wanted a 5.0L V8 Mustang, the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) team released the Mustang SVO – a four-cylinder Mustang turbocharged to the hilt and loaded with performance goodies. To those in the know, it was a much more potent sports car than the GT. So I was eager to check out the 2.3L Ecoboost.

Our car came with all the performance packages you could get on the Ecoboost model: the 2.3L High-performance Ecoboost Engine; the 2.3L High-Performance Package, which consisted of a limited-slip differential, active-valve performance exhaust, summer performance tires, and some decorative trim pieces; Recaro seats; and a 10-speed automatic transmission. That all sounds promising, right?

Our car showed up in a color called Magnetic Metallic, a metallic gray color. Understated but very attractive. The car was undeniably a Mustang. Classic design cues integrated seamlessly throughout the muscular body. From the classic grille shape and the shape in the body around the headlights to the two sets of louvered red taillights; from the long vented hood to the fastback roofline, it’s all classic Mustang. Styling may have been hit and miss over the last few decades but the current design is truly a winner. It adheres to it’s design tradition and looks strong and athletic – like a certain wild horse.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Seats

The inside is also classic Mustang, though it too has some beautiful modern updates. The very first thing you notice when you open the door is the beautiful optional Recaro seats. The seat face is a beautiful red leather – aptly named Showstopper Red – while the rest of the seat is black. They feel and fit as good as they look. The bolsters are small enough not to impede your ingress or egress while still providing good body support in corners. The rest of the interior is a mix of black, gray, and silver decor while a Showstopper Red stripe run through the door skins to match the Recaro seats. The dash is a traditional Mustang double-cockpit design like the original model, with slight elevations on the dash before each seat to create the design of a cockpit feel on each side. Most of the switchgear is modern and tactile but some classic toggle switches in the center stack give it a historical throwback feel. There isn’t much legroom in the back seats, but then there never has been in a Mustang. Seating in back is limited to dogs and legless children. The trunk is sizable – at least a 3-body trunk.

But enough about how it looks. How does it drive? Well, it has a lot of potential. Let’s run down the details first.

The 2.3L turbocharged Ecoboost engine makes an impressive 310hp and 350 ft-lbs. Redline comes at 6500 rpms but the engine revs easily and pulls strongly from 3500 rpms to 5500. While it’s not 5.0L V8 power or 427 Cobra Jet V8 power, it makes excellent power for a four-cylinder engine. It bucks the current trend of utilizing small-displacement 1.8L or 2.0L engines and instead uses a larger 2.3L one. It revs pretty freely and the turbo generates a strong rush of torque. Wind it out over 3500 rpms and the turbocharged mill happily kicks you in the back as it dashes for the horizon. It feels strong and flexible and eager to play.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Engine

That engine is hooked to either a 6-speed manual or Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission with shifting switches behind the steering wheel for some manual control. Our test car came with the new 10-speed auto, which Ford is no doubt eager to show off. It’s designed to shift early and at low rpms in order to decrease fuel consumption and increase efficiency. With the engine generating decent torque even down low, the transmission shifts quickly and frequently while propelling the car quickly up the road. The shifter buttons behind work acceptably but aren’t as quick to switch gears as we would have liked.

The brakes were large 12.5” discs in front clamped by 2-pistons calipers. They feel solid and reliable, always stopping the car with little fuss, no matter the speed. They were very easy to modulate and we had no complaints with them during out time with the car. There was no grabbiness or sponginess issues with them.

The suspension was firm and sporting, a good balance of sporting firmness and bump-absorbing compliance. It leaned little through corners, and provided a sense of confidence in it’s handling while soaking up bumps. The independent rear suspension that is now standard on all Mustangs is a welcome addition and brings the car into the 21st century.

I’m pleased to report that they fixed the steering feel issues from 1984 and that there was superb feel and intuitive response throughout the duration of our loan. The car was easy to drive and entertaining through curves and corners.

The acceleration was strong and quick. There are a couple different drive modes available to you: Snow, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, Track, and Drag Strip. While we didn’t notice much difference between Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus; we found Track to be an improvement over the others, turning traction control off, letting the engine rev more freely, and tightening up the shifts a bit. With traction control turned off, you can kick the back end out a little going through corners, so that shows you that it’s got some cahones. The brakes were reassuring. The steering felt direct and well-weighted. I could have really enjoyed this car…if it wasn’t for the transmission and the exhaust note.

The 10-speed automatic is the Achilles heel of the platform. We understand why Ford selected it for this car – it’s immensely efficient and quite the technological marvel – but it neuters the performance aspect of the car, removing the sporting nature and essentially making it feel like an economy car. First, the transmission shifts as quickly as it can, usually somewhere down between 2000-3000 rpm, where the exhaust note is the absolute worst. Higher in the rev range (anywhere above 3500 rpm) the exhaust note sounds great – sporting and powerful – but down below 3000 rpm it reminds us of a 1980’s underpowered econobox. It’s just a bad exhaust sound down there and unfortunately that’s where the 10-speed is designed to keep the rpms to save fuel. Not only that but you quickly realize that the transmission is *always* shifting. It rarely takes a break, hunting up one gear, down two gears, up two gears, down one gear, always trying to optimize fuel efficiency. The busy-ness of it gets tedious and when mixed with the lousy exhaust note, just makes for a very unsporting driving experience. The average four-cylinder Mustang buyer probably won’t notice or care, but if you’re a driving enthusiast you’re going to notice it and it’s going to bother you.

Ford Mustang EcoBoost Interior

Well why don’t you use the shifter buttons on the back of the wheel? you ask. That should help. You’re right, it actually does help some. By controlling the shift points, you can let the motor wind out to where the exhaust sounds much better and enjoy a more performance-oriented exhaust note. I spent a lot of time in Track mode, using the shifter buttons and it helped. However, the speed of the shifts through the shifting switches are too slow to feel sporting. While it’s true that it only takes a fraction of a second to shift, the delay between your clicking the button and the shift happening lacks any kind of sporting speed and will leave you frustrated, especially if you’ve ever experienced a better shifting system and know how good they can be. Additionally, working through 10 gears is an exercise in awkwardness. Too often you find yourself caught out and needing to downshift four or five gears to get to the one you want to be in – an impossible task in the short amount of time you need in order to make it flow. While we liked keeping the engine in the range where it sounded good, we found it easier to simply leave the transmission in auto and let it do all the work for us.

I think the 6-speed manual would be a *much* better choice for driving enthusiasts. This car was loaded with all the performance packages one could select and with all the capability and promise in the suspension, brakes, and engine, this could be a really good driver’s car if it simply had a proper transmission.

Towards the end of the loan, I found myself wondering how much different the driving experience would have been if it had a manual transmission and I think the improvement would be shocking. It has all the essentials in place to be a really good sports car. It just needs a more sporting transmission to save it. I was actually a little sad that I wasn’t able to try that combination out. Maybe Ford will let us have a do-over with it, but with a manual. I’d really like that. It’s SO close to greatness.