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2020 Kia Telluride By Brandon Maxwell

An unexpected guest just crashed a show during New York Fashion Week 2018. Attendees who looked forward to a catwalk lined with models dressed in the latest trends also caught a glimpse of something exciting. We are talking about the 2020 Kia Telluride that flaunted its wares on the runway. It only seems fitting that it made its debut during the event. That’s because this SUV just got a fresh coat of style courtesy of Brandon Maxwell.

According to sources, the Texas-born fashion designer claims that he always loved the brand. Therefore, he collaborated with Kia on a unique project. What we have is an exclusive variant of the eight-seater that any Texan would undoubtedly line up to own. Going with a theme that purposely reflects Maxwell’s state of origin, the SUV is adorned with a lot of materials that border on the impractical from a carmaker’s standpoint. However, when it comes to haute couture, practically anything goes.

Let’s start with the interior. The roomy cabin receives a healthy dose of natural wood trims that just looks perfect along with the liberal patches of leather all over. It doesn’t stop there—even the exterior components such as the side mirrors, grab handles, and the straps that hold the spare tire all feature brown double-stitched hide. This bespoke 2020 Kia Telluride definitely throws everything that Brandon Maxwell believes best showcases Texas. We hope it will be offered as an optional trim when the SUV officially arrives in showrooms next year.

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Photos courtesy of Kia

Porsche 918 successor needs to do the ‘Ring in 6:30

When TopGear.com spoke to Porsche Motorsport chief Frank-Steffen Walliser at the LA Auto Show, Walliser provided the primary benchmark for brand’s next hypercar: a 6:30 ‘Nürburgring time. That would cut 27 seconds from the 6:57 time set by the 918 Spyder in 2013. Walliser’s so focused on that particular benchmark that he said, “I don’t care about the drivetrain, 6m 30s is the target. Sports cars are defined by their performance, then we have to look how to achieve it.”

The 918 Spyder used a 4.6-liter V8 with 608 horsepower, aided by two electric motors contributing another 281 hp, for a total system output of 887 hp and 944 pound-feet of torque. Since that lap in 2013, four regular production cars have gone faster: a Porsche 911 GT3 RS did 6:56.4 earlier this year, a Lamborghini Huracán Performante did 6:52.01 in 2016, the 911 GT2 RS took the record in September last year with a 6:47.25, outdone in July of this year by the current production-car record holder, a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ with a 6:44.97.

Unofficially, a 911 GT2 RS prepared by Manthey Racing ran the ‘Ring in 6:40.33 at the beginning of November. Last year, a road-legal McLaren P1 LM prepped by Lanzante pulled off a 6:43.2, and in 2015 a Pagani Zonda Revolucion supposedly tore off a 6:30. The 6:30 mark is also the target for the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 003 Stradale.

Officially, none of the four faster vehicles are hybrids, making Walliser’s powertrain-agnostic position interesting. We’d be shocked if Porsche’s coming hypercar weren’t hybrid; that would counter the general thrust of Porsche and the industry, and refute the last three OEM hypercars. Don’t expect something all-electric, either, Walliser admitting, “An electric car in 6m 30s is quite a challenge.”

The sports car maker will get a lot more practice finding what goes fastest with the launch of the GT2 RS Clubsport (pictured). Porsche expects the new customer race car to grace numerous tracks around the world, and the carmaker plans a trip to the ‘Ring next year. Walliser figures the new competition coupe can get down to around 6:35.

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Opinion: Can We All Please Agree That These Just Aren’t SUVs?

Americans are buying SUVs, crossovers, or whatever one wishes to call them with reckless (for the environment) abandon. Big Three automakers are jettisoning models in other non-truck segments. Even for super niche luxury and sports car brands, the financial future rests on SUV sales.

Rolls Royce debuted the Cullinan. Bentley offers the Bentayga. Lamborghini created the Urus. Former Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne pledged someone would have to shoot him before Ferrari produced an SUV in 2016. The hybrid Purosangue was already in the works before his untimely death last summer. Even freaking Pininfarina is considering making a Crossover-type thing.

Building such vehicles makes financial sense. Many of them are, to be fair, beautiful looking and fun to drive. The trouble is they aren’t SUVs. They are engineered to meet that minimum threshold. But they are SUVs in name only, SUVINOs if you will. They should not have the same moniker as the Jeep Wrangler.

Consider the upcoming Aston Martin DBX or the Jaguar I-Pace. Companies will market both as SUVs. Photographers will capture both “off-roading” through manicured stretches of dust or perched on a “rock formation” a VW Golf could handle. But, look closely. Both are sleek and low to the ground. Both have the barest of distinctions between what are technically C and D pillars. Drop them an inch, put less aggressive tread on the tires, or even just view them head on and you will see hatchbacks.

There’s nothing wrong with hatchbacks. They are practical. They hold lots of stuff. You can get them with AWD for the winter (even if you only need a good set of winter tires). Luxury and sports car brand should make them. There’s no reason for Aston Martin to turn away the customer who needs to drop their kids off at school. But, call them hatchbacks and Americans won’t touch them.

Why they won’t is unclear. Perhaps “commanding ride height” is just that seductive. Maybe we’re just a nation of preppers, preoccupied with the 4-5 days we might need an SUV versus the 360 where owning one is unnecessary. It could be a snowball effect. More SUV/Crossovers on the road means more customers seeking a vehicle that height to see around them. Whatever the reason, that preference seems unlikely to change. Faux-SUVs can be fuel efficient. If customers opt for smaller cars, manufacturers can tempt them with ludicrous compact baby SUVs. Cute little convertible, anyone?

Arguing how the I-Pace would be even more remarkable as a purpose-designed road car is swimming against too strong of a current. But, if we’re going to live in the brave new SUV/Crossover/Whatever reality we need more precise terminology for what is fast becoming the entire non-truck automotive market. Our most gratuitous seven-seater orchestra chiming land-yachts and our sports cars of the future can’t both be “SUVs.”

Terming the road dwelling sportier variants designed for the road “sport activity vehicles” is even less precise. Stop trying to make SAV happen, BMW and others.

Subaru Was Overlanding Before it Was Cool

Right now, there’s an undeniable swell in the popularity of overlanding, recreational off-roading and adventure in general. At any given motorcycle expo, almost every brand is showing off its new scrambler, dual sport or adventure bike. On the four-wheeled side of the industry, if the SUV, pickup truck or even the wagon in a manufacturer’s lineup doesn’t have a version that can tackle a rocky road and take you that much further, it’s almost written off.

Programs like Backcountry Discovery Routes — an initiative to let off-roaders and adventurers explore the natural beauty of our country’s national parks and forest using as few paved roads as possible — are seeing massive growth and expansion because people are demanding it. How else are people supposed to cover their shiny new off-roaders in a fresh coat of dirt, dust and mud? Professional off-road racing is benefiting too. But where brands like Ford, Chevy and Ducati are just now leaning into more dedicated off-road models fueled by the rise in the popularity of the outdoor lifestyle, Subaru has been doing it for decades.

Rally racing has had its ups and downs in this country. Depending on who you talk to and what decade you reference, rally racing, like the type of events the American Rally Association puts on — where small hatchbacks, sedans and vintage cars go from one gravel and dirt trail to another seeing who can finish in the quickest time — either feel like a national pastime or are nonexistent.

Bill Stokes, Subaru Motorsport Manager, wants to use the current overland craze to boost the sport’s popularity and, at the same time work with overland enthusiasts to help open up more land for recreational off-roading. “We’re hopeful we can find some way of distributing the series so more people can find out about it and watch it and work with the organizers to achieve that.” And as far as expanding where the ARA can hold events? Well, the types of fire roads and forest service trails the overlanding community loves so much are ready-made rally stages too. “There’s this whole movement for people to go out and use these roads for UTVs; therefore, its easier to then say ‘hey, we want to use these roads, but we’re also going to drive cars on them as well.’ It’s a natural fit.”

Subaru’s relationship with adventure and rally racing is more than just marketing, says Stokes. “To be involved in rallying as a manufacturer, there has to be a product to sell that makes sense in that environment. And we’re seeing more rally fans getting involved in more overland-style vehicle modification. There are more folks seeing the adventure angle of rallying and appreciating it for what it is, so we see a lot of support from a grassroots level.” And where motorsports tend to attract a niche crowd, the rally racing-overland relationship is more inclusive. “It doesn’t just fit for our performance owners; it caters to all of our outdoor adventure-focused owners. It’s just more of a fit now than its ever been. Even if we’re racing the WRX sedan, people show up with Crosstreks, Outbacks and Foresters, so it makes a ton of sense to continue to support the sport.”

Rimac goes in-depth on the C_Two’s ultra-tech aero testing

Today, performance vehicles more closely resemble complex computing machines than they do the traditional automobile. Building supercars requires supercomputers, as well as an army of human intelligence, both of which Rimac Automobili has been using for the past two years as it’s been building its C_Two electric supercar. Rimac recently dropped a behind-the-scenes video giving the public a look at just how thorough and detail-oriented the process is.

The C_Two is one of the most impressive vehicles to hit the auto show circuit in recent memory. It debuted at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show with absolutely insane claimed stats: 1888 horsepower, 1696 lb-ft of torque, 258-mph top speed, 0-60 time of 1.9 seconds, quarter-mile time of 9.1 seconds and a 404-mile single-charge range on the New European Driving Cycle.

Building a car to that level of world-eating power requires not only a state-of-the-art propulsion system, but an exterior design that works with the air rather than fighting against it. Although the C_Two has certain evolutionary design features that call back to the Concept_One, it was built from scratch to ensure everything was crafted with the most up-to-date technology.

Like most cars these days, the design and aerodynamics of the car were concocted through computer programming before taking real-world physical form. Once a satisfactory starter shape was figured out on screen, Rimac built a model with parts that can be changed, altered and adapted to further findings and advancements throughout the testing process.

Supercars are no longer inanimate objects, however, and Rimac’s wind tunnel model included the active parts on the car, such as the massive rear wing, the diffuser flap and flaps in the hood and nose. According to Rimac, the air around the vehicle splits into more than 70 million parts, each of which factor into how the vehicle is affected and reacts. This is where computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations help to solve complex equations that are far too complicated for simpleton bloggers to comprehend.

Essentially, it’s a game of trial and error. Change a tiny thing here, and see how it changes the car’s dynamics. Rimac says the lowest coefficient of drag it achieved with the C_Two was 0.28. Watch the video to learn more about how that was realized and how computers play just as much of a part in development as humans do.

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LA Auto Show 2018: Mercedes-AMG GT R PRO

GTspirit are live at the LA Motor Show 2018 and the wraps have just been pulled off the Mercedes-AMG GT R PRO. When you buy a Porsche RS car you have the option of ticking a box for something called the Weissach Package. This adds an extra track focus you the already crazy fast GT3/2RS that you are buying. Now AMG have cooked up something similar for the bonkers AMG GT R – meet the GTR PRO.

The new PRO shares its powertrain with the AMG GT R. It differs in what it offers for the suspension, aerodynamics and weight reduction packages. The PRO gets a new coilover suspension system which can be mechanically adjusted by the driver depending on the circuit they are driving. The front axle gets an adjustable carbon fiber torsion bar, the rear steel unit is also adjustable. Dynamic engine and transmission mounts have been re-tuned specifically for the PRO.

Cars delivered outside of the Chinese, US and Canadian markets will get the option of a track pack. This adds roll over protection, a four point safety harness and a 2 kg fire extinguisher. Ceramic brakes are fitted as standard in the PRO as well as AMG bucket seats. Aerodynamics are taken care of with a variety of unique carbon fiber pieces. These include two front flicks, a larger front splitter, a larger rear diffuser and rear air vents.

This culminates, along with the new facelift lights and dashboard, to make the AMG GT R even more angry and menacing. This really is a racecar for the streets that holds the title of being the fastest front engined production car ever to lap the fearsome Nurburgring.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Review

My ears pop as the elevator shoots up from the 9th floor entrance to the 103rd floor lobby 425 meters above sea-level. I’m at the highest hotel in the world – the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong. The hotel occupies the top 17 floors of the 484 tall ICC tower in the Kowloon area of this intriguing city.

The hotel is easily reached from the airport with the clean and efficient MTR express train to Kowloon station. Club guests enjoy a complimentary limousine service around Kowloon. Hotspots on Hong Kong Island can be reached with a taxi, ferry or underground.

The 302 rooms and suites are spread are located on floors 104 through to 117 with the incredible 2,800 m2 presidential suite taking up a large part of the 117th floor. All rooms offer spectacular views of Hong Kong and the South China Sea with the view of Hong Kong Island being the most desirable one.

I have booked a club room giving access to the Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge on the 116th floor. Here it is also possible to check-in, so on the 103rd floor lobby I head straight to the guest elevators taking me up to the 116th floor. The Club Lounge is the perfect all-day hang-out and meeting place. Even though the hotel has 302 rooms and runs close to full occupancy the club lounge is fairly quiet most of the day.

My deluxe queen room 115-20 is on the 115th floor with perfect views of Hong Kong Island and parts of Kowloon. A little bench below the window allows guests to sit and just take in the world down below. The hotel is so high up that helicopters and small airplanes pass by below. The street more than 450 meters is so far away that you feel disconnected from it all.

The room itself is well equipped with a desk, large double bed and large bathroom with double sinks, a large marble rain shower, separate toilet and bathtub. I could spend all day relaxing in the room and taking in the jaw-dropping views but there is so much more to explore in the hotel and Hong Kong that I end up spending hardly any time in the room.

Opposite the Club Lounge you can find the Spa with several treatment rooms and men and women dressing rooms with a sauna. From the spa take the elevator up to the 118th floor for a swim in the highest pool in the world with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the South China Sea and parts of Hong Kong Island. There is also a jacuzzi and terrace where guests can do yoga or other sports. On the same level is also a well equipped gym.

Also on the 118th floor, but well separated from the guest-only spa and pool area, is the Ozone bar serving cocktails and tapas. More restaurants can be accessed from the 103rd floor lobby with Italian restaurant Tosca and Chinese restaurant Tin Lung Heen both awarded by Michelin. The Almas Caviar Bar, Cafe 103 and The Lounge & Bar wrap up the wide range of dining options. Club guests can also enjoy breakfast, lunch, high-tea and dinner in the club lounge.

The facilities and dining options are top notch with the occasional compromise due to the limited floor plan size of the tower. The dressing rooms on the pool level are a bit small per example. But one aspect really stands out during my stay at the Ritz-Carlton and that is the effortless and professional service. No request is too much and there are many little gestures (like bringing a dry towel and hot water with lemon without asking when I started coughing after swimming) which made my stay even more memorable and comfortable. Add the incredible views and unique experience to stay in the world’s highest hotels and this is one of the most desirable hotels to visit around the globe.

Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark explains carmaker’s situation and plan for recovery

In August, we posted on some of the issues plaguing Bentley at the moment, namely the large loss the carmaker’s posted this year. The same Autocar piece we referenced, carmaker CEO Adrian Hallmark said Bentley would not be making more sports cars. Bentley wrote to us to clarify that a single year’s loss isn’t a calamity, that “it is a mistake to suggest that sports cars are the same as GTs,” and that the brand “will continue to design, engineer, and craft” GT cars. We must note, though, that at the time, Hallmark himself said, “The sports car sector – like our own….” More recently, Hallmark expounded on some of the factors slowing the company down this year, from delayed launches to exchange rates.

Through the first nine months of the year, Bentley sold 6,654 units, an 11 percent decline from the 7,498 units sold through the first nine months of 2017. In addition to other matters like huge investments in new technologies, that helped the Crewe carmaker to a $44.7-million year-over-year drop in revenue, and a $156-million overall loss, compared to a $35 million profit over the same period last year.

On top of declining sales overall, the nine-month delay in launching the Continental GT, the brand’s second-best seller, was the first of two big issues causing red finances. Hallmark said the Continental GT “just wasn’t ready for launch. But we’d paid for it – we’d paid all the money out, but not got any money back in.”

Bentley dévoile la nouvelle Continental GTC

Having got that sorted, the second issue arose: WLTP certification. Unlike the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) before it, the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure requires every model variant get tested for certification. Hallmark told Automotive News Europe, “We were not quick enough unfortunately to book capacity or prioritize our derivatives within some of the group processes to get them certified on time.” Bentley wasn’t alone in this; Volkswagen had only managed to get seven of its 14 models approved by September 1 when the WLTP rules took effect.

Bentley’s much smaller scale exacerbated the problem, turning the situation “close to catastrophic.” Hallmark said the snafu robbed the Bentayga of 300 to 400 sales – a gigantic number with respect to a $200,000 vehicle – and pushed the Bentayga plug-in hybrid launch back to March 2019 so Bentley could get volume models certified.

Furthermore, preparing for Brexit hasn’t been easy on any of the UK’s manufacturers. For Bentley, which sources many components from The Continent, uncertainty around a Brexit deal has weakened the pound sterling against the euro. That makes parts more expensive.

The carmaker’s already on the road back, led by the uncorked Bentayga V12, V8, and Continental GT, and just-revealed GTC. The CEO said Bentley be back in black in Q4 of this year, but 2019 is the real measure. “This year is a conversion year to a better business model,” he said, “and next year you will start to see significant growth and a return to normality in terms of profit.”

Bentley dévoile la nouvelle Continental GTC

The phrase “significant growth” doesn’t just apply to sales figures of the current lineup. Hallmark intends to grow the range, and Bentley’s interests beyond cars. Plug-in hybrid versions of current models will help build the bridge to a battery-electric offering by 2025. Engineers are aiming for substantial EV range in the hybrids, eventually around 60 to 70 miles. It seems Bentley turned down the chance to build its own car on Porsche’s Taycan platform, because a GT car isn’t a sports car, and it won’t be until the mid 2020s that “the [battery] technology will meet the needs of the bigger cars we need to build.”

The other bridge-builder will be a new nameplate “that will probably be… the transition between conventional products and battery electrical products.”

On the subject of conventional products, the Bentayga will evolve with a facelift and a coupe-ish sub-model, but Hallmark wouldn’t be drawn on that latter point. With an eye on launching something new every year, Mulliner will be drafted into creating more “limited or special editions, slightly different body styles or limited-run cars.” Next year being the centenary, we already know there’ll be something special for every current nameplate.

Once the traditional sheetmetal business is back on track, Hallmark wants more involvement in brick-and-mortar businesses. The firm designed 26 apartments in Miami’s Porsche Tower and will provide on-demand Bentleys for residents, there’s a Bentley furniture collection, a re-upped agreement with watchmaker Breitling, and plans for more jewelry. We’ll see how it turns out, but this could be the road map to that makes The Flying B soar.

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2019 Audi R8 Performance Review

There are a number of cars that aim to serve more than a single defined purpose. Bear with me. We live in a slightly strange world with blurred lines where Lamborghini build a 4×4, Ferrari build a hatchback and Rolls-Royce build Black Badge limousines with enough torque to transform rubber into smoke at an alarming rate. All of these cars try to be more capable and versatile than ever before. Many insist that these cars have come into existence to make money and cater for the likes of the Russian and Chinese markets, both of which seem to have insatiable appetites for these unconventional motor vehicles.

Then there is a camp of drivers that would not be seen dead in these Frankenstein like machines and would rather just have cars such the Porsche 911 to drive to work in and take on fun drives – a car that is able to serve more than a single purpose, but not at the cost of seeming incongruous. They are likely to have a second car for the boring stuff like school drop offs and IKEA collections. Where there used to be a 911 Turbo S as a go to option, there are now a host of alternatives to the daily supercar. A decade ago another German manufacturer burst onto the scene with a mid-engined supercar that blew the game open – the Audi R8. Now there’s an updated iteration and I’ve been driving it to see what’s what.

This, then 2019 Audi R8 Performance, is a facelift of the Plus so things aren’t vastly different from what they used to be. That being said, the changes are big enough to warrant a flight to Spain…bedsides, I was not going to turn down the opportunity to drive a naturally aspirated V10 as such chances are rarer than a spelling error free Trump tweet. It is not fake news that the V8 R8 is yet to be updated because it is not going to return, a hybridised V6 will take its place and who knows if we will we see an NA V10 in a road car again.

Enough of the future, let’s enjoy the here and now whilst we have it. There is a lot to enjoy, but the list is topped by one stand out feature, or ten. The engine is the headline and it is a masterpiece. Everyone needs to experience an empty racetrack and a 5.2-litre V10 because this things HAULS and makes turbo charging look like the Grinch on Christmas morning. The redline is up at 8,500rpm and you WILL chase it to the line because it sounds like nothing else. It will also be pushing out 614 brake horsepower (up 10 from the Plus). This power hike is significant as the new figures matches some serious metal, including the McLaren 570S. The Mac is, however, 200 kilograms lighter, and having spent significant time behind the McLaren, I am confident that the R8 would struggle to see where the 570S went in anything but wet conditions. That being said, the R8 is far from being a slouch. 0-100 is accomplished in just 3.1 seconds and it won’t stop accelerating until it hits 330. Supercar standards are certainly met.

So, it is fast enough to mix with supercars, but can you really live with an R8 everyday? Comfort is fundamental to being able to live with a car – this is where the R8 tramples the likes of the Porsche GT3 and the aforementioned McLaren. The usual Comfort, Auto and Dynamic modes are available from the Audi Drive Select switch. Annoyingly, you are still required to prod a single button to cycle through the modes. Miss the one you desire and the cycle begins again. I digress, the driving modes really do make a difference to the way the car responds to inputs. Leave it in Comfort and it is all very serene. The engine is quiet and the transmission keeps the shifts smooth. The suspension is supple, the steering (still an annoying variable rack, albeit an improved one) is light. It really does behave like a plush Audi saloon to the extent that one bank of the ten cylinders will deactivate at a cruise and the supercar becomes a frugal five cylinder. The seats are comfortable (do not spec the buckets unless you really think you will be on track days) and there are host of cubby holes and storage spaces, in addition to the front truck, to stow you phone, chewing gum et al.

Chances are that if you are in the market for such a car, you can handle the fuel, insurance and any other ownership costs. It may have a V10, but it is still and Audi so maintenance should not be that steep – you can really drive this car everyday.

On the topic of phones, the R8 is just as well connected as any other Audi, however, the lack of a central control screen means it is all controlled via the Virtual Cockpit and the buttons on the steering wheel. This means there are complex menus and submenus to navigate. On the move, where you inevitably need to turn, this is often quite a testing task, but one I am sure would become less challenging as you spend more time behind the wheels. Ahh, behind the wheel…there are two paddles and things go downhill.

It’s been a bugbear that has plagued every R8 generation since the inception of the model – the paddles used to shift manually are constructed of plastic that feel horrible to touch and even more woeful to shift with. This is seemingly something that should not be difficult to address, but has not been despite the many facelifts the R8 has been subject to.

It is hard not to be impressed by the R8 V10 Performance. The drivetrain and bonkers fast gearbox present a package that is excellent and appealing in a world of turbocharged, downsized engines. It also must be noted that I did not have to chance to drive the car on the road to asses its street manners.

Driving on track was not exactly smooth sailing – the brakes (carbon ceramic options) struggled with the harsh braking at Ascari. They were left smoking and struggling to bring the car to a swift halt after just three laps. When you pick up the pace understeer creeps in, this can we neutralised and overcome with a slower corner entry speed and heavier right foot post apex. Truth be told, learning how to drive the car was an enjoyable challenge, but one I think will not be much of a concern to potential owners that I suspect will ever drive it on a circuit. Subsequently, the R8 maintains its reputation as being on of the best all rounders and daily drivable supercars available today.

Top 5 Sports Cars Girls Will Totally Like

Cars and Women. Women and Cars. Many men think that finding the right sports car can make a woman’s heart beat faster. We know it isn’t any woman, but a special car loving kind will certainly appreciate a ride in a fast, flashy ride.  Check out these sports cars that are sure to top the list of any girl and then try Snapchat dating to find a special girl who loves sports cars.

1. Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster

The first place on the list of the best sports cars rightfully goes to Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster, one of the most expensive and unique.  This year, the Italian manufacturer pleased fans of high speeds by presenting the sports car on the Frankfurt motor show – the modernized Aventador S Roadster. A distinctive feature of this sports car is the availability of removable roof panels. Under the hood, in the engine compartment, a V-shaped engine with 740-hp is installed. With such performance, the Italian sports car can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a couple of seconds. The maximum speed is 217 mph. Its price starts at $460K. 

2. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

The second place is taken by Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, a car primed for the under 30 crowds. The premiere of the long-awaited car from the American company was waiting for a long time, and recently, at the New York Motor Show, the manufacturer presented the sports car – Demon. Let’s note that the brand kept the information concerning technical and dynamic characteristics of the car a secret until the last moment. Under the hood of the car, the engine is combined with an eight-band automatic transmission. This engine allows the American sports car to gain speed in just 2.6 seconds. The maximum speed is 208 mph.

3. Bentley Continental GT

The third spot in the TOP-5 of the best sports cars goes to Bentley Continental GT. At the international exhibition in Frankfurt, the British brand introduced the third generation of the GT coupe. The sports car is built on a new platform developed by German engineers from Porsche. The car received a four-wheel drive. In the engine compartment, there is a bi-turbo six-liter W12 engine with a power of 635 horses. With this arsenal, the British sports car accelerates in 3.7 seconds from 0 to 60 mph, and the maximum speed is 207 mph. We promise you that no woman in the world can resist such a car.

4. Ferrari Portofino 2018

The fourth position is occupied by Ferrari Portofino with its modern style, reliable technology, and efficiency. The model line of the Italian company Ferrari was updated by an absolutely new sports car called Portofino. This name was given to a cabriolet in honor of the proud resort located in Italy. The global debut of the car took place in autumn, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. And sales began at the beginning of this year. The Italian car is offered with a V-shaped twin-turbo engine with a working volume of 3.9 liters with a power output of 600 horses. With this performance, the Italian sports car accelerates to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds; the top speed is 198 mph.

5. Audi R8 V10 RWS 2018

Women love the style and status that invariably distinguish Audi R8 RWS. Last year, a new front-wheel-drive, mid-engine model RWS was added to the German sports car lineup. A future car owner can choose between two types of cars – coupe and roadster. The global premiere of the car was held at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In the engine compartment, there is a 5.2-liter, 540-horsepower V10 FSI engine which is aggregated with a seven-speed robotic transmission. The maximum speed is 198 mph.

10 Best Cars of the 2018 LA Auto Show

The 2018 LA Auto Show kicks off this weekend, and there are head turners and important launches all over the show floor. If you’re heading to the convention center, pick up tickets and read up on the whole show here. Check out our top picks below whether you’re heading to the show or not.

Porsche 911 992

2020 will herald in the eighth generation Porsche 911 and by all accounts, the namesake continues to honor its heritage while pushing into the 21st century. The new 911 Carrera S will come with a turbocharged rear-mounted flat-six and produce 443 horsepower. This makes for a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds; opt for the Sport Chrono package with launch control and that time drops to 3.3 seconds. The 4S will incorporate an all-wheel-drive system and claims a 0-60 time of 3.2 seconds.

This new 911 might look similar to previous 911’s on the outside but the interior boasts a more horizontal and minimalist aesthetic. Buttons, switches and the upright shifter appear trimmed and refined.

The 2020 911 Carrera S and 4S will eventually be available in manual transmission but not immediately.

Pricing for the 2020 911 Carrera S begins at $113,200 and the 4S will run you $120,600. These bad boys will hit the showroom floor come summer 2019 so break out that checkbook or American Express now and put down a deposit.

Rivian R1T and R1S

The world of electric vehicles are taking over and Rivian aims to carve out an undeveloped piece of the market. Electric adventure trucks. Built in Illinois in a former Mitsubishi factory, the new electric Rivian is proud to be assembled in America.

With a large platform to house big batteries, the R1T and R1S expect a range of around 400 miles. Which would be necessary if you are to seek out adventure and roam the world off-piste.

Four identical electric motors in each wheel operating off a single-speed gearbox are responsible for putting power to the tarmac (or dirt). Each motor is rated for 147 kilowatts or 197 horsepower each, which equates to 788 total combined horsepower. Each motor and the battery sled are reinforced with composite materials and kevlar to minimize damage from rocks and debris. Also, important, the battery casing is fully waterproof.

The interior is svelte and minimal with two large screens and a healthy helping of leather, wood, and metal. Both vehicles will also incorporate high-level driver safety aids but Rivian remains tight-lipped on what that will include.

Both vehicles will utilize DC fast charging up to 160 kilowatts and obtain 200 miles of charge in as little as 30 minutes.

The R1T will start at $69,000, or $61,500 with a $7,500 federal tax rebate, though pricing will vary depending on battery pack and various options. Rivian has yet to announce R1S pricing. The R1T will be available for purchase in 2021.

Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator brings the pickup truck back to its lineup after almost 26 years. With four-wheel drive standard and featuring a six-speed manual transmission standard and an eight-speed automatic transmission available as an option, the Gladiator will know no bounds.

The first runs of 2019 Gladiators launching in Q2 of 2019 will be powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that pumps out a 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. In 2020, the Gladiator will see the introduction of a 3.0-liter diesel V6 which will pump out 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The diesel will only be available with an eight-speed automatic.

All Gladiators will come standard with four-wheel drive and have a tow capability of 7,650 pounds and a payload capacity nearing 1,600 pounds.

Pricing on the Jeep Gladiator has yet to be announced.

Mazda 3 Hatchback

Mazda continues to make bold and beautiful vehicles across its entire line up. The Mazda3 Hatchback and sedan are no exception to the rule. Along with minor exterior changes which push the bounds between concept and production, it continues to be one of the best-looking entry level cars on the market. Both Mazda3 hatch and sedan will come with a 2.5-liter inline-four, with either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions and feature Mazda’s SkyActive-X compression ignition engine which utilizes a supercharger and hybrid motor assist for added performance.

Mazda3 pricing begins at $18,990.

Nissan Kicks

You might be wondering why the Nissan Kicks is on this list. It came out earlier this year and not much about it is fancy, but for under $20k it’s one of the best entry-level cars for younger and older-generation drivers. The 125 horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine won’t win you any races but it’s perfectly capable of getting you through the city and taking you to far off places. But that’s not where the glory of this CUV lies. The headrest mounted Bose audio takes the Nissan Kicks from an average car to one of greatness faster than you can turn the volume dial up to 11. With an EPA average of 31 city / 36 highway, spacious and minimalist inspired interior, I consider the Kicks one of the smartest and most satisfying automotive purchases you’ll ever make. Especially if you are balling on a budget.

Audi E-Tron GT

The Audi E-Tron GT is only a concept for now, but Audi claims the vehicle will go into production in 2020. What it looks like in its final production form remains to be seen. Utilizing a 90-kilowatt hour battery Audi estimates the E-Tron GT will get around 248 miles to charge. With an equivalent output of 590 horsepower the E-Tron GT will stamp out a 0-60 time in 3.5 seconds but outright speed and acceleration is nothing without agility and to increase stability and handling, the E-Tron GT will include rear-axle steering.

Honda Passport

Honda looks like it might finally have a rugged and fun SUV back in their lineup. The Passport is back after a 16-year hiatus and is built on the very same Global Light Truck platform used for the Pilot and Ridgeline. Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine pumping out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, the Passport will certainly have enough punch for ambitious explorers and will be capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds. No adventure SUV would be complete without a set of roof racks and utility basket. Expect to get this Passport stamped every time you cross state lines.

BMW X7

BMW is doubling down on luxury with the final production of the 8-Series hitting shores, and now the X7 rounds out their full-size ultra-swank SUV category. The X7 bolsters itself beyond the X5 in both size and opulence. It carries more passengers thanks to its third row, includes more cargo space, and the interior is unabashedly luxurious with two-tone leather interior, second row passenger displays, a new driver focused digital gauge cluster, and updated iDrive system.

As plush and luxurious as the interior might be, the exterior holds onto many of the design cues introduced in the concept version from last year’s LA Auto Show.

The X7 won’t be a slouch when it hits the road either. Buyers will have two options when it comes to their choice of powerplant: an in-line six-cylinder xDrive40i which pumps out 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque or the V-8 xDrive50i which pumps out 456 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. Both will only be available with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Pricing on the BMW X7 begins at $74,895 for the six-cylinder and $93,595 for the V8.

Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro

The Mercedes AMG GT R Pro is a slightly reworked version of the current GT R. While the GT R Pro sees no noticeable power increase from the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 which puts out a lovely 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, the GT R Pro receives a number of external and internal performance upgrades that hone the already savage GT R. The GT R Pro will receive a revised coilover suspension, lightweight construction, carbon-ceramic brakes, adjustable anti-roll bars and re-tuned dynamic engine mounts. Mercedes also includes an update to the AMG Dynamics stability control system which includes Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master driving modes.

Infiniti Prototype 10

The Infiniti Prototype 10 is more of an honorable mention on this list because it’s a pure prototype and there are no future plans to bring this vehicle into production. However, if Infiniti did announce the Prototype 10 as an ultra-rare limited run, I am sure they would sell out before the press conference was over. Granted it had some kind of supercar level powerplant and handling system. The Prototype 10 is impressive to behold and Infiniti says it is an attempt to “recapture the spirit of early speedsters” from the early years of racing. It definitely stands out on the show floor.

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Ferrari SP3JC one-off channels vintage roadsters with a color-wheel twist

Not long after we posted on rumors of a Ferrari 812 Spider, we get this, the Ferrari SP3JC. This is no 812 Superfast, though, it’s a one-off commission based on running gear from the limited edition F12 TDF. John Collins, owner of classic Ferrari dealer Talacrest in the UK, provided the dream, the funds, and therefore the “JC” in the open-top’s name. We’ll assume this being Ferrari’s third Special Project this year contributed the rest of the alphanumeric. Collins said the project took 3.5 years from dream to completion, and Ferrari said the design process consumed two of them.

While there have been at least six special editions and commissions based off the F12, this is the first one-off to use the F12 TDF. The Italians say the SP3JC is “designed to pay homage to company’s classic 1950s and 1960s roadsters.” A much wider power bulge in the hood falls all the way into the grille of the redrawn front fascia. New vents appear at the corners of the bumper. Above, instead of the F12 TDF’s small hood vents, two large, transparent panels provide views of the 6.3-liter V12.

At the side, instead of the modern rising fender line from front wheel to cowl, the fender descends on its way rearward akin to Ferraris of old. The redrawn panels move the donor car’s vent to above the rocker panel, and erases the three vents over the rear wheels. In back, 812 Superfast taillights preside over a layered fascia with three full-width vents and a jutting diffuser. The 812 Superfast also donated its wheels.

Roll hoops stand guard behind the seats. According to a poster on Ferrari Chat, the SP3JC doesn’t come with a roof.

About that paint scheme: There were plenty of vibrantly hued classic Ferraris, but we don’t know of any that put so many hues on one body. Ferrari says the mashup here was inspired by Collins’ “passion for Pop Art.” Bianco Italia mixes with Azzuro Met and Giallo Modena, right down to the yellow pinstripes on the wheels and the matching blue and white leather inside.

Personally, we’d rather jump off with the F12 TRS when imagining what an 812 Superfast Spider could look like, but this is probably a better place to start.

Related Video:

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R PRO Officially Revealed

The new Mercedes-AMG GT R PRO has been officially announced at the Los Angeles Motor Show 2018. The two seater will serve as the GT for the race track, taking lessons learned by Mercedes-AMG through its customer racing programs in GT3 and GT4 and applying them to a barely road-legal track day tool.

The official release of the GT R PRO model coincides with the release of facelift AMG GT’s. With four years in the market, it was about time for a fresh look. The AMG GT gets light clusters that closely resemble the four door coupe launched earlier this year. The cars also get new rear diffusers with tailpipes to resemble the four door, the GT and GT S get new sill covers and new alloy wheel options are also available.

The AMG GT retains the 4.0 litre AMG V8 throughout the range. In the standard GT it now produces 476 hp, in the GT S it is boosted to 522 hp, the GT C gets 557 hours and the GT R a healthy 585 hp. On all models, the AMG Dynamics program is increased to add more adjustability to the ESP programs. In conjunction with the normal drive programs, AMG now offers four new settings, ‘basic’, ‘advanced’, ‘pro’ and ‘master’.

Inside, The AMG GT gets a new AMG Performance steering wheel and the centre console and display buttons from the AMG GT 4-Door Coupé. The dashboard is now fully digital with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch multimedia display on the centre console.

The new PRO shares its powertrain with the AMG GT R. It differs in what it offers for the suspension, aerodynamics and weight reduction packages. The PRO gets a new coilover suspension system which can be mechanically adjusted by the driver depending on the circuit they are driving. The front axel gets an adjustable carbon fibre torsion bar, the rear steel unit is also adjustable. Dynamic engine and transmission mounts have been retuned specifically for the PRO.

Cars delivered outside of the Chinese, US and Canadian markets will get the option of a track pack. This adds roll over protection, a four point safety harness and a 2 kg fire extinguisher. Ceramic brakes are fitted as standard in the PRO as well as AMG bucket seats. Aerodynamics are taken care of with a variety of unique carbon fibre pieces. These include two front flicks, a larger front splitter, a larger rear diffuser and rear air vents.

While there are no Nurburgring records to report, Mercedes-AMG have confirmed that Maro Engel completed a circuit of the North Loop in exactly 7.04.632 minutes. An impressive time for the front engined GT R PRO!

1963 Porsche 356 B 1600 Coupe

Ferdinand Porsche truly believed he could fuse a generously powered engine and a small body together and create the ultimate “fun” driver. And as the Porsche 356 proves, he was right.

A bit of a history lesson: This lightweight rear-wheel-drive, rear-engine sports car was first built in 1948 in Austria. Two years later, Porsche swapped out the aluminum body for a Reutter-built steel-shell, and moved production to Germany. Then, the 356 won its first Le Mans, giving Porsche some much-deserved street cred. With the model still popular, Porsche followed up with the “B” series in 1959. Nearly 31,000 units were built before the “C” series arrived in 1963.

Fast forward to today and you’re now looking at this bad boy, which came straight out of Porsche’s factory in 1963. It comes with an unrestored sunroof, Becker radio with speakers, and black leather seats. Plenty of things to gush about here, like the Leitz luggage rack and deluxe horn ring. There’s also a tinted windshield and Rudge knock-off wheels. A thing of rarity in vintage car circles.

Everything inside is untouched. In fact, the radio suppressor and original voltage regulator are still tethered to the engine. A family in the Hamptons used to own it, but only drove 27,317 miles so it still has plenty of kick left. It also retains more than 50% of its original paint, and mind you, it’s still in excellent running condition. The engine has apparently never been overhauled, although the current owner, a Porsche devotee, will provide receipts for reconditioning if need be.

SEE MORE AT SOTHEBY’S

Photos courtesy of Sotheby’s

Ford and GM Are Investing in a Post-Automobile Future

Detroit gave the world the mass-produced automobile. With torn up rail lines, anemic public transit, and a broad metropolitan expanse, Detroit may bet the major city least suited to living without the personal automobile. With that context, it feels discordant for Big Three automakers to get into the “mobility” game. But, that’s what’s happening.

Ford has been collecting mobility tech firms like it once did luxury British car manufacturers. The blue oval recently bought Spin, a dockless electric scooter company for nearly $100 million and plans an immediate implementation in Detroit. There’s also the “Ford GoBike” program in the Bay Area, a $65 million investment in the commuter shuttle service Chariot, and Jelly, another electric scooter research project with Purdue University.

GM, not to be outdone, is getting into the e-Bike business. The company has prototypes for compact and folding bike models. GM will award $10,000 to the winner of a naming competition. The company also has Maven, a peer-to-peer car sharing app, which will begin allowing competitors’ vehicles in 2019.

Are Ford and GM earnestly preparing for the post-automobile future? Or, is this two companies, primarily in the business of selling gasoline swilling pickups and SUVs, doing a little bit of PR?

The car ownership model will change in the long term. Urbanization is happening globally, whether or not millennials are “killing the suburbs” this week. The rub with developing autonomous vehicles is they immediately raise the question of why non-affluent individuals would bother owning their own car. But, it’s not clear Ford and GM are positioned to survive the next major recession intact, much less a dramatic recalibration of the industry.

Whatever the long-term benefits, those investments make PR sense right now. Mobility and future-facing tech are where the investors are. While Ford has a much better track record building cars than Tesla, Tesla’s stock sells for $340 per share to Ford’s $10. “Ford Expands Mobility Portfolio” is a better financial headline than “F-150 Sales Down Year-Over-Year.”

Besides shareholders, Ford and GM also need to seem cool and down with sustainability to attract talent. Ford may lob shots at Silicon Valley in ads. But, it’s also expanding its workforce there and reorienting its presence in Detroit to seem as young and tech-friendly as possible. Hey, look, we have e-scooters now!

Just as every oil company invests in an alternative energy future, large automakers will be redefining the future of mobility. Consider such investments a hit of vermouth to make the present reality, profiting from an outmoded, destructive, and still lucrative legacy businessfor decades to come, a little more palatable.

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1972 Citroen DS: Still a Source of Design Inspiration

From Issue Seven of Gear Patrol Magazine.

“It is possible that the Déesse marks a change in the mythology of cars. Until now, the ultimate in cars belonged rather to the bestiary of power; here it becomes at once more spiritual and more object-like.” – Roland Barthes, Mythologies (1957)

Idon’t know if the French philosopher Roland Barthes had ever ridden in the Citroën DS when he wrote the essay “The New Citroën” for his book Mythologies. But I’m sitting shotgun in a gleaming red DS21 Pallas from 1972, rolling at a leisurely pace through a forest some 25 miles west of Chicago’s city center, and all I can think about is that quote. As sure as the sun will rise, Mythologies will be referenced in almost any discussion of the DS (which, by the way, is a phonetic play on the French word déesee, which means “goddess”). Experience one in person and you almost immediately understand why: Barthes fucking nailed it.

It’s the line “more spiritual and more object-like,” that gets me. Cars, at least good ones, can be more than the sums of their parts, but it’s usually because of their driving characteristics. The DS, though, doesn’t need to be driven. You merely need to observe its details and design up close and in person to see what Barthes meant by “object-like,” and why he and the rest of the European populace viewed it as almost otherworldly when it debuted at the Paris Motor Show 1955. “It is obvious that the new Citroën has fallen from the sky,” Barthes went on.

Start at the front where you’ll notice the slim, long chrome hood ornament doubling as a handle. Move to the front quarter and witness the line of the front fender flow smoothly into the beltline of the greenhouse, then ever-so-gently drop off into nothingness at the back, forming a teardrop profile. The chrome strakes that comprise the roofline similarly run uninterrupted and parallel with the bottom of the car, ending gracefully in a pair of rear turn indicators. The pillars holding the lid up are thin, accentuating the glass greenhouse and making the roof appear as though it is floating.

Then open the door and step over the chrome doorsill adorned with subtle, crosshatched texturing. Fall into the plush, cloud-like leather bench, which puts every other car seat ever made to shame. Gaze at the sleek, simple dashboard and the elegant single-spoke steering wheel, which has practically become a minimalist design icon in its own right. Pull the sculpted chrome door handle. Feel the supple leather loop grab handle mounted to the ceiling. Every little detail is a visual and tactile delight.

The DS was so thoughtfully designed, so ahead of its time, that the car remains a source of design inspiration today. In 2009, a panel of influential auto designers crowned the DS — over Ferraris, Jaguars and Lamborghinis — “the most beautiful car of all time.” Giorgetto Giugiaro, the founder of Italdesign, called it “the only example of a car really conceived ‘outside the box’… just impossible to imitate.” Leonardo Fioravanti, who designed some of Ferrari’s most iconic cars, called it “a real road car that, at its time and perhaps still now, has represented the ‘dream’ in its extreme progress.”

Progress. That’s evident in the design, but it’s also prominent in the mechanics. The DS introduced tons of automotive technologies decades before they became mainstream. The European-market version, for example, featured headlights that turned with the steering rack to enhance nighttime visibility while cornering (these were retrofitted to this U.S.-market example). It featured the first disc brakes of any mass-produced car and what’s more, they were actuated by a (very) pressure-sensitive button, rather than a pedal. Most crucial, though, was a self-leveling, hydropneumatic suspension.

When stationary, the DS sits low and flush with the ground, almost as if its wheels are retracted within its body. But upon start-up it slowly, silently and gracefully ascends, rear levitating first and then followed by the nose, until the entire fuselage is level and hovering several inches above the ground. Like a Harrier jet’s vertical takeoff, it’s an effect that feels alien, but it builds anticipation and is irrefutably satisfying to behold.

It also lends itself to a transcendently smooth ride. It simply glides over bumps. It’s not floaty, cushy or wavering like many vintage luxury cars tend to be. You aren’t isolated, either. You feel a connection to the road, yet at the same time, the car effortlessly irons out imperfections as if it instinctively knows where the bumps and potholes are. “Comfortable” is one way to describe it, but there’s more to it than that. The DS provides an idealized feeling of motion, one that lets you feel attuned to the road but without the pesky reality of poorly maintained road surfaces.

You do not have to drive the DS to understand its charm. Just riding in it, even at slow speeds through a serene setting, is a meditative experience. Sitting inside the car, hearing the faint purr of the inline-four engine and gently coasting along is enough to induce pure, relaxed joy. Without fail, people turn their heads and crack a smile as you go by. When you inevitably break down, pedestrians stop and cheerily ask questions as you wait for someone to give you a jump.

Sali Salievski runs Hi-Tech Import, an auto shop just outside of Chicago, and is the owner of this particular red DS. As we drove, he told me about how he’d admired the DSs he saw growing up in his native Yugoslavia, and how he dreamed he would someday own one of his own. He now has three. I asked Salievski the almost reductively straightforward
question, “How does it feel to have and drive this car?” His earnest and succinct response spoke volumes. “It’s such an experience; a pleasure to drive. I am just so happy to have them.”

Hardly gets more spiritual than that.

2020 Bentley Continental GT Convertible

Bentley’s Latest Drop-top is Everything You’d Expect and More   

Earlier this year Bentley released a totally redesigned Continental GT, which was the recipient of worldwide acclaim and fanfare. More recently – at the 2018 LA Auto Show taking place in late November – Bentley debuted the drop-top version of the aforementioned, formally known as the  Continental GT Convertible.

Overall the Continental GT Convertible isn’t far off from it’s coupe counterpart, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The convertible shares the same 6.0L twin-turbocharged W12 engine which produces 626-horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque and is mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, delivering power to its all-wheel-drive system. This allows the Convertible to achieve 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 207 mph.

Due to the extra hardware required for the drop-top mechanism, the Convertible does end up weighing in at 5,322 pounds, which is about 375 pounds more than the metal-top. However, this is still an improvement over the previous iteration of the drop-top, coming in at about 250 pounds lighter and with a much more powerful engine to boot. Ultimately I doubt customers will find much, if any significance in the car’s performance relative to its weight, with such differences between the coupe and convertible being virtually negligible anyway.  

Things remain identical with major chassis components as well, with the three-chamber air springs, 48-volt-controlled active anti-roll bars and enormous 10-piston and 4-piston calipers in the front and rear respectively.  Yup, that’s 28-pistons to make sure your modern day Cinderella carriage stops like a thoroughbred race horse.

Moving on to what really makes the Convertible different; its drop-top, of course. In expectedly Bentley fashion, the materials for the roof as well as its folding mechanism are extraordinary in themselves – the canvas Z-fold roof will be available in seven colors, with one being a ‘contemporary interpretation of traditional British tweed’ and can be raised or stowed in just 19 seconds with the car moving (up to 30 mph).

Designer-in-chief Simon Blake describes it best, remarking that “We’re Bentley. It’s fair to say (the roof cost) ‘a lot.’ Not just a couple dollars”.

Inside, the car remains opulent as ever with a rich serving of wood panels and high-grade leathers. The Convertible comes standard with 12.3” rotating touchscreen display, and a 2,000 watt Naim stereo is available as an option. Still important – but almost forgettable thanks to plethora of offerings on hand – are the standard neck warmers, and heated seats, armrest and steering wheel for those nippier top-down moments. Customers may commission a bespoke configuration with Bentley’s Mulliner division, should the standard catalogue be deemed insufficient.   

According to Bentley, they are slated to begin taking orders for the 2020 Bentley Continental GT Convertible early next year, with the first deliveries to be made soon after. Pricing will start at $236,100 USD.

Novitec N-Largo McLaren 720s boasts big presence to match big power

If a carbon tax referred to a penalty based on how much carbon fiber were used to build a car, specialty tuner Novitec Group would be looking at a hefty bill for its most recent creation. The Novitec N-Largo adds not just a styling kit, not just a performance upgrade, not just a suspension adjustment, but all three to the already massively talented 720s supercar.

Based in Germany, Novitec has made a name for itself tuning elite performance and luxury cars, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Maseratis, Teslas, and McLarens. In the past, Novitec has offered its takes on McLaren’s 540C, the 570S, the 570GT, and even a different example of the 720s. But this new build has a much more assertive personality than the previously subtle makeover.

Limited to just 15 examples, the N-Largo gives the 720s a look similar to that of the McLaren Senna. Using molded carbon fiber, the N-Largo ditches the soft and suave curves of the stock car for a more aggressive demeanor. The car can been lowered 1.3 inches with sport springs, and it sits on staggered Vossen MC2 forged center-lock wheels, 20-inch in the front and 21-inch in the rear, wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero rubber.

Novitec notes that the new bumpers completely replace the original McLaren parts and bolt to the secure original connection points. The styling kit was not devoid of practical thought, either, as the kit maintains the aerodynamic and cooling bits that help make the 720s such a deadly performance vehicle. The N-Largo also adds a new rear airfoil attachment that is claimed to increase downforce.

Most importantly, Novitec crafted three different levels of performance tunes for the 720s. According to Vossen, an auxiliary control unit plugs in and adapts to the electronic engine controls on the car. In the most powerful stage 2 configuration, which includes a performance exhaust, the N-Largo shows up to the tune of 794 horsepower and 648 lb-ft of torque, 84 more horses and 80 more lb-ft than the standard 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque from the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. According to Novitec and Vossen, this gives the N-Largo a 0-62 time of 2.7 seconds, a 0-124 run in 7.5 seconds, and a top speed of about 215 mph.

There’s no word on pricing or availability, but we can tell you this: Novitec is already working on an interpretation of the McLaren 600LT. We have a feeling it might be even more braggadocious than the 720s.

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This High-Performance Hatchback Should Be a BMW But It’s Not

At the 2017 LA Auto Show, Mini parked the John Cooper Works GP concept front and center on its show stand. The GP concept looked like a championship rally car with the number of wings, turning vanes and its massive diffuser hanging off the back. It seemed there was no way Mini was going to greenlight it for production – we stand corrected. Mini just confirmed John Cooper Works GP for 2020. It’s fantastic to see Mini bringing something a wild, race-bred hot hatch to the market, and you can certainly see the influence of BMW bubbling to the surface with an injection of old-school ‘ultimate driving machine’ bloodlines.

The massive front splitter is big enough to eat lunch off of, and a cavernous rear diffusor and an imposing rear wing bookend what’s essentially a road-legal race car. Flared fenders are louvered with a handful of wings and on the inside, the cabin is stripped out and replaced with racing bucket seats and a roll cage. Keep in mind this is still all just a concept, so how much Mini decides to translate to the production version is still up in the air. The bare-metal race car interior might be a bit much, but all fingers crossed the bodywork gets the go-ahead.

As for the engine, the JCW uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 228 horsepower. With a lightened chassis and tuned suspension, you wouldn’t need more than that but a little more push couldn’t hurt. If the new JCW GP goes over well, it’d be nice to see BMW cherry pick a few elements and apply them to the 1- or 2-Series, purely for entertainment reasons. BMW does own Mini after all, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the Germans to get a little envious of its British hatchbacks.

Porsche Debuts New 911 at LA Auto Show

Lots of new rides being rolled out at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. Including these bad boys: the 2020 911 Carrera in both the S & 4S models. Both are powered by the rear-mounted turbocharged flat-six engine that churns out 443 horsepower. The new aluminum body is slightly wider and longer than the outgoing model and the bumpers have been extended for an updated look. Fresh tech features include automatic emergency braking, water-detecting Wet Mode, and a night-vision camera.