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Genesis GV80: Luxury SUV Revealed to Rival the Germans

Launching to synthetic sounds and a futuristic light show at the Kintex Center west of the Korean capital Seoul, the Genesis GV80 is the first SUV model from Hyundai’s upscale subsidiary Genesis. It is due to celebrate its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March – and it comes across as a success at first glance.

After all, it has all the ingredients required in the premium SUV category: a sophisticated vehicle architecture that is based on a rear-wheel drive concept; a luxurious interior – and a body that offers room for up to seven passengers (even if few customers will ever use the third row).

The typical rear-wheel drive proportions were already visible on the first sketches that were sent out two weeks ago; they are highlighted with a light signature with narrow, double light strips up front and in the rear. “These two lines will always shape the design of Genesis,” said the Hyundai Group’s chief designer Luc Donckerwolke at the presentation.

The wheel sizes up to 22 inches underscore the sophisticated appearance of the GV80; there is an unusual range of colors and materials both outside and inside, ranging from classic to modern – and certainly outshining the competition.

Hyundai’s head of research and development, Albert Biermann of M GmbH fame, made sure the GV80 meets the elevated demands of sporty drivers. Under the hood, the GV80 sports a 278-hp 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine, and there will be a 370-hp 3.3-liter V6 petrol engine as well. Entry-level models are likely to get a four-cylinder turbo. The GV80 comes with rear and all-wheel drive, an automatic transmission is standard. The relatively light body is largely made from thermoformed high-strength steels, doors and hoods are executed in aluminium.

The interior is characterized by a futuristic two-spoke steering wheel, a classic instrumentation, an ultra-wide 14.5-inch central screen and a touch-sensitive surface that can recognize handwriting, making it easy to enter commands and destinations.

Augmented reality functions help finding your lane, and a new generation of counter-sound technology will cut unwanted noise sharply. The driver’s seat – another world first – is equipped with seven air cushions. A camera system scans the road surface and informs the electronic chassis, which prepares accordingly.

Other technology highlights include a cruise control system that analyzes the owner’s driving style and can emulate it when driving autonomously. It is another world first that documents that the Hyundai Group no longer sees itself as a follower but as a pioneer of new developments.

The Group’s more entry-level brands, Hyundai and Kia, have begun to set themselves apart from other international mass producers. With Genesis, it’s an even more ambitious game. And the Genesis GV80 emphasizes that Korea is clearly aiming at the German premium brands – and on track to reach beyond them.

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Sony Unveils Vision S Full Electric Car in Surprise Move to EVs

Sony surprised the automotive industry earlier today with the debut of its Sony Vision S. It happened at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 (CES) which began today in Las Vegas. The release is less about the fact that is a remarkably production-close car, more about the technology that is packaged within.

What really interests us is the car elements though. So we’re going to talk about those first! With the Vision S, Sony has been helped by Magna Steyr, Bosch, Nvidia and others. Magna Steyr, in case you weren’t aware, is the company that produces Mercedes-Benz’s G Class, the BMW 5 Series and the Toyota Supra.

Sony Vision-S Rear Seats

Sony says it is powered by a pair of 272 hp electric motors. These give it enough power to hit 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 240 km/h.

The Sony Vision S prototype incorporates the latest in Sony’s imaging and sensing technologies. It’s packed with sensors to start with, 33 sensors to be exact, including CMOS image sensors and ToF sensors. The sensors detect and recognise people and objects inside and outside the car.

Sony Vision-S Seats

On the audio side of things, “360 Reality Audio” provides a unique audio experience through speakers built into each seat. The front dash also features a massive panoramic screen that extends the entire length of the dashboard. It underlines Sony’s intentions in creating the ultimate mobile entertainment space.

Other than the above details, little is known about the Sony Vision S, least of all whether Sony has the intention to put it into mass production.

Sony Vision-S Front

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2020 Porsche Taycan 4S Review

The Porsche Taycan has landed and made not just a splash, but tsunamis in the automotive world. The model was unveiled and released in Turbo and Turbo S forms at first, models that boasted tremendous power and stats aimed at dethroning Tesla as the king of AC/DC power. The Turbo models are astonishing and fulfil the brief of being high performance vehicles that sit as flagships of the range; as a result the pricing was a breathtaking as the acceleration. 750 bhp does not come cheap.

To broaden the appeal of the Taycan Porsche unveiled this, the 4S and I was shipped over to the -19 degree icebox that is Kittilä, Finland to experience the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S. The 4S is, of course, down on power compared to the Turbo and Turbo S. As standard 523bhp is available on overboost with a range of 405 kilometres. One option that I suspect will be ordered by all customers is the Performance Battery Plus that increases power to 563bhp and the range to 462 kilometres for around €5,000. 0-100 with either battery is done in 4.0 seconds.

At this point I would love to share my driving impressions with you. I will, but it must be noted that it was horrifically cold, this really was a winter wonderland and there is no tarmac in sight, just icy surfaces and standard winter tires to connect with it. There were no spikes in sight. As a result, any feedback in muted and power statistics are almost irrelevant as traction management is far more important.

That being said, I have driven a handful of cars in similar conditions so am somewhat familiar with how cars typically handle when dancing on ice. The first part of the program was a 90-minute road drive in the darkness of the Finnish winter. First impressions are all about traction and the mighty impressive Goodyear winter tires. Although absent of spikes, traction under gentle braking and acceleration. The Taycan 4S felt balanced and incredibly quick, even on the slippery ice. The 992 steering rack that feature in the Taycan still felt well weighted, of course, there was very little feedback on the ice. Braking was still reasonable although the weight became evident when braking harder and the ABS cutting in.

The main event was the Porsche Experience set on a frozen lake, the ideal place to exploit instant torque from the 800volt batteries powering all four wheels. First up was a tight twisty circuit. The aim if the game was to understand the torque split front to rear and swing the car into delicious drift angles. It is harder than you would imagine, opposite lock doesn’t help and you have to be gentle with the power or the car does what it is meant to do and drags itself into a straight line.

Next on the list of activities is a slalom where the weight and its distribution would be tested. The 4S weighs in at 2,215 kilograms and often had me questioning just how thick the ice on this frozen lake was. It is still some 200 kilograms lighter than the Turbo S model but it is still a substantial mass for anything that is considered ‘sporty’. The slalom test highlights the impressive agility that comes courtesy of the antiroll and stability systems.

The third and final test was the drift circle. Again, this is a test of balance and the torque split and where feedback and feel are key. This is a Porsche and at times the Taycan really did feel comparable to a 911, it is spooky, but there is just a level of disconnect that you would never find in a conventional petrol burning 911. The instant torque is spectacular, the acceleration, even on ice, takes you by surprise despite this being the 4S and not a Turbo or Turbo S. The Taycan in 4S is an extremely capable car. If the greater power is not of paramount importance to potential customers, I would strongly argue that the 4S is the pick of the bunch.

The case for the 4S is further heightened by the significant saving over the Turbo models. In the United Kingdom, the 4S starts at under £90,000, a considerable £50,000 less than a base Turbo S. The 4S is the electric car that offers significant steps forward in the industry at a realistic price point with stats and prestige that make it capable and desirable in equal measure. Let’s hope Porsche can build them quickly enough.

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Lamborghini Lambo V12 Vision Gran Turismo Unveiled in Monaco

At an event in Monaco yesterday, Lamborghini announced its contribution to the Gran Turismo Sport world! Gamers will be able to get the Lamborghini Lambo V12 Vision Gran Turismo in game, very soon!

The single seater concept was produced by Lamborghini Centro Stile in Sant’Agata Bolognese. While the design work is out of this world, the drivetrain is firmly based in reality, lifted from the recently-announced Lamborghini Sián FKP 37.

The Sian uses Lamborghini’s preferred engine, the V12, and couples it to a hybrid drivetrain. The V12 is said to produce 785 hp with the addition of titanium intake valves. The electric element is run from a 48 volt system and uses a “supercapacitor” to store power from an e-motor. The e-motor produces an additional 34 hp for an overall total of 819 hp.

In terms of design, everything runs to a point at the front, as with all Lamborghini’s. A large wing housing a significant Y-taillight dominates the rear. The main body is disconnected from the fenders, and the hexagon-inspired theme in the side windows is inspired by the Lamborghini Marzal from 1968.

The Lamborghini Lambo V12 Vision Gran Turismo weighs just 819 kg, 1 horsepower for every kilogram of weight. The fighter jet inspired monoposto styling clearly helps with this! Inside, a holographic display is on offer.

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Exclusive: V12 Will Return in Next Generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class in 2021

Good news for fans of the V12 engine. During an exclusive interview with GTspirit, today at the Guangzhou Auto Show 2019, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius confirmed that the V12 engine will return in the next generation 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Doubts about the return of the V12 engine were raised when Mercedes-Benz released the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 earlier this week. 600 modes normally receive the iconic V12 power plant, yet the GLS features a V8 unit instead. It has now been confirmed that, in the S Class at least, the V12 will live on.

Official details for the V12 version of the Mercedes-Benz flagship limousine will be announced next year. It is likely that Mercedes-Benz will develop the current V12 engine, found in the S 600 and Mercedes-Maybach S 600, will be updated to comply with strict upcoming emission standards.

During our interview, we also spoke with We also spoke with Kallenius about the brand new Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 luxury SUV:

GTspirit: Exclusively available in China, the six-cylinder Mercedes-Maybach S 400 is the top selling Maybach model. Is there any chance we can expect a Maybach GLS with a six-cylinder any time soon?

Kallenius: “We launched the new Maybach GLS 600 with a V8 engine first but it is possible there will be a six-cylinder version of the GLS Maybach in due time. The AMG developed 4.0 liter V8 fits the GLS Maybach very well and was the obvious choice for launch of our first Maybach SUV.”

Asked about a possible Mercedes-Maybach GLS V12, the Daimler CEO is short and clear: “We have no plans for a Maybach GLS V12.”

Read more about the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

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New Tesla Cybertruck Reinvents the Pickup Truck

At an event, away from the ongoing Los Angeles Auto Show 2019, Tesla unveiled its highly anticipated Cybertruck. The next stage in building a model range, the Cybertruck is Tesla’s most controversial design yet.

In true Silicon Valley style, Elon Musk took to the stage on Thursday to unveil his latest model. Things didn’t go entirely to plan though. During a part where Musk intended to demonstrate the “armour glass”, he invited Tesla’s head of design, Franz von Holzhausen, on stage to throw a metal ball at the side windows. The idea was that it would just bounce off, causing no damage. The Cybertruck is supposed to protect occupants against bullets and sledgehammers The armour wasn’t as strong as it perhaps should have been as the window cracked on impact.

Of course, the biggest story is the pickup truck itself. Tesla rips up the rule book, as you would expect. The design features lots of straight lines, seemingly inspired by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works or the classic DeLorean than by any conventional pickup truck. It has proved controversial.

The exterior bodywork is milled from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel using Tesla armour glass for the windows. This is said to make it extremely strong. The glass, which we suspect will be redesigned before the market launch, gets a polymer-layered composite skin for its strength.

The interior features 6 seats. 3 in the first row and 3 in the rear together with a 17 inch display. The passenger cell is separated from the rear bed. From the side, you wouldn’t guess that it was a pickup truck. The rear bed is hidden by a gently sloped rear panel. It’s 1.98 metre rear bed has a payload capacity of 1,580 kg and 2,830 litres of space.

Under the chassis sits Tesla’s battery system. In its highest specification, it should hit 60 mph in a blistering 2.9 seconds with 500 miles of range. Tesla will in fact offer the Cybertruck in three options. The single motor, rear wheel drive option will manage a 250 mile range with a 6.5 second 60 mph sprint. The dual motor, all wheel drive model cuts the sprint time to 4.5 seconds and increases range to 300 miles. It is the triple-Motor, all whee drive model that gets the blistering pace and huge range.

Tesla Cybertruck Interior

At all four corners, the Cybertruck uses air suspension. This allows Tesla to program some convenience features, including a program which drops the ride height for entry and exit.

The Cybertruck is available to order immediately with a $100 deposit. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2021 with tri-Motor versions to follow on 2022. A full self driving mode costs extra. Pricing of the range starts from $39,900 for the entry level, rising to $49,900 for the mid range and $69,900 for the top of the range model.

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2020 Ford Mustang Mach-E: All Electric SUV Coupe Revealed

The onslaught of electric cars continues with the release of Ford’s first all-electric model. A little late to the game, Ford has finally revealed its first EV, an SUV which uses the famous Mustang badging. The Ford Mustang Mach-E!

The Mustang Mach-E is Ford’s first departure from the two-door, rear-wheel-drive setup which made the name famous. Without a big V8, the Mustang’s links to the Coupe are tied only to its blistering performance!

Design

2020 Ford Mustang Mach E Side

The Mustang Mach-E is distinctive. It uses a long, powerful hood, much like the Coupe. The rear arches are suitably bulging and the side panels, finished in black, narrow the body panels to create the illusion that the body is smaller than it is.

The headlights are long and thin, similar in style to the Coupe. The rear lights use a tri-bar setup which has become synonymous with the Mustang in recent years.

Overall, the silhouette is more Coupe than a full-size SUV. The shape is not boxy! One interesting element is the lack of conventional door handles. The Mach-E dispenses with convention, using buttons and small holds protruding from the front doors. For the fully digital experience, owners can use their smartphones as keys.

Drivetrain

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is powered by a completely new drivetrain. It is available in two versions, the standard-range with a 75.7 kWh lithium-ion battery, and the extended-range with a 98.8 kWh battery. It should achieve a respectable range of at least 300 miles in rear-wheel-drive configuration.

The standard model uses a single motor driving the rear wheels. It produces 255 hp or 282 hp in the extended-range version. The twin-motor model produces 255 hp in its lowest spec, 332 hp in its highest. The rear-wheel-drive models should hit 100 km/h in under 8 seconds while Ford are targetting a sub-7 second 100 km/h time in the twin-motor versions.

The batteries are fitted on the floor between the two axles, secured inside a waterproof battery case and surrounded by crash-absorption protection. It is slightly larger than the I-Pace, with weight stated to be between 1,993 kg to more than 2,218 kg.

The platform is all-new. Called Global Electrified 2, Ford has reworked the latest Focus and Kuga architecture.

Interior

2020 Ford Mustang Mach E Interior

Inside, Ford has gone high-tech. The Ford Mustang Mach-E seats five adults comfortably. It offers 820 litres of luggage space, 1,680 with the rear seats folded.

Ford will offer a Bang & Olufsen sound system. A panoramic fixed-glass roof is an option, with a special glass coating for enhanced infrared protection.

The Mustang Mach-E uses the latest version of Ford’s SYNC system. It operates through a massive 15.5-inch touchscreen which rivals Tesla for size. The dashboard is largely free of buttons with a narrow 10.2-inch digital cluster for the driver.

Competition

If you know the market, the competition should be obvious by now! At the moment, Ford has Jaguar’s I-Pace, Audi’s E-Tron and the Mercedes EQC to compete with. Pretty soon though, electric SUV customers will be spoilt for choice.

We expect Tesla to launch a Model Y soon which will compete directly with the Mach-E. There is the unknown quantity of the Byton M-Byte too. Infiniti, Porsche and Rivian are also known to be interested in the segment.

As far as what’s available at the moment, the Jaguar I-Pace appears to be the closest competition.

Gallery

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Ferrari Roma: New V8 Coupe Revealed with 620hp

The covers have been lifted from the latest Ferrari Coupe. The Ferrari Roma packs a V8 under the front bonnet with a 2+2 setup. Designed with a simplistic, 50’s style, the Roma was revealed this evening at a Ferrari client event in Rome!

The release is not quite complete. Ferrari is teasing us with details of the powertrain and photos of the exterior. There is little else by way of detail though. A message on the company website suggests that this will be revealed at 13:30 CET tomorrow. The photos appear to be CGI renders.

Design

Ferrari Roma Side

Despite its classic design cues, the Ferrari Roma is a modern front-engined GT car. The engine is mounted as far back as possible such that Ferrari describes it as “mid-front-engined”. It has a shorter front bonnet as a result, with short overhangs.

In contrast to some of Ferrari’s more fussy, aerodynamic designs, the Ferrari Roma gets a more minimalist design. The front features a sharp front nose with a futuristic front air intake and a prominent lip spoiler. The headlights are split by a daytime running light. The nose is extremely low, probably made possible by mounting the engine so far back.

Moving along the side. The Ferrari Roma features a side shape similar to that of the classic Ferrari 612. The resemblance is accentuated by a small circular side reflector mounted behind the front wheel. The doors get recessed door handles, similar in style to the Jaguar F-Type.

Towards the rear, a styling line crosses the entire length with narrow quad taillights. The bumper gets a set of quad tailpipes and a deep rear diffuser. All in, the design is classic and unpretentious.

Power

Ferrari Roma Rear

The detail we do have include the powertrain. It uses Ferrari’s 3.9-litre V8 power plant. Fitted with twin-turbochargers, it produces 620 hp and 760 Nm of torque. It’s enough for a 3.4 second 100 km/h sprint, a 9.3 second 200 km/h sprint and a 320 km/h top speed.

Tipping the scales at 1,472 kg, it weighs slightly more than the Aston Martin Vantage but less than cars like the Mercedes-AMG GT and Jaguar F-Type SVR. The power is coupled to a new 8-speed DCT gearbox which will also be used in the Ferrari SF 90 Stradale.

Ultimately, the Roma is a re-worked version of the Portifino, fitted with a fixed roof and updated styling.

Interior

Ferrari Roma

There is only one photo of the interior which shows a tightly packaged interior with a high centre console. A display handles most of the inputs for the air conditioning and comfort settings with a number of conventional switches retained below.

The passenger seat gets a display incorporated into the dashboard. On the driver’s side, the steering wheel includes the trademark Ferrari manettino dial. The dashboard is an up to date digital display.

Competition

Aston Martin Vantage AMR

Without an idea on pricing, it looks as though the Roma is designed to compete at the lower end of the market with cars like the Aston Martin Vantage, Porsche 911 Turbo and Mercedes-AMG GT R.

We know that Bentley is working on something which might also give the Ferrari a run for its money. Maserati is known to have something in the pipeline, perhaps taking inspiration from the Roma.

Gallery

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Official: Sterckenn Reveals Carbon Parts for BMW 8 Series

Tuning company, Streckenn, has revealed a new set of carbon fibre parts for the BMW 8 Series. Applied across a 50:50, satin:gloss black demonstrator model, the parts add a subtle, but sinister twist to the latest BMW. The 8 Series has never looked so good!

Steckenn’s take on the BMW 8 Series was revealed at the Automobilia Auto Salon in Connecticut, USA. The changes include a carbon fibre front lip spoiler. The high-quality carbon fibre part is easily installed as a bolt-on component to improve the looks of the 8 Series.

The demonstrator model also gets a number of special touches. The most obvious is the wheels. On the right side, this 8 Series wears Vossen S21-01 21 inch monoblock wheels finished in gold. On the left, a set of ANRKY An38 21 inch wheels get a matte black finish with rose gold inners. Both sides make use of a custom airbag suspension setup that incorporates an Accuair Endo CVT air management system.

Sterckenn’s demonstrator is an M850i which means it has a 4.4 litre V8 producing 530 hp and 750 Nm of torque. It hits 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds. The looks are matched by the performance!

The 8 Series parts are available at Sterckenn’s dealership network worldwide, including in Europe, the US, Japan, Korea and Australia. As well as the 8 Series, Sterckenn also offers components for the M2, M3, M4, M5 and 5 Series models.

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2019 BMW M8 Competition Coupe and Convertible Review

The BMW M8 Competition is a difficult car to place. The replacement of the M6 is tagged by BMW as being a luxury GT car, but one that packs 625 horsepower and 750Nm of torque. Those aren’t numbers that are used to waft from the country estate to the golf course, something I learnt when I went to The Algarve to put the most powerful series production M car in BMW’s history to the test.

After an evening of being inundated with stats and filled with the finest prawns I’ve ever eaten, it was time to see how the figures felt in the real world. Exploiting 625 horsepower on the street isn’t exactly easy, the infamous Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, colloquially referred to as Portimao, had been booked out for us to put the M8 Competition through its paces (the base M8 was not on offer to test on this occasion). Boy, oh boy there was pace. BMW claims 0-100km/h in 3.3 and it feels every bit as fast. 3.3 isn’t a number typically attributable to a wafty GT car, and neither is the way the M8 Competition handles itself around what is one of the most testing tracks in Europe. Stability and control were a focus for the M division and can be directly linked to three innovations that have been created with sharp handling characteristics in mind: M xDrive, Active M Differential and M-specific Adaptive suspension. They each do what they say on the tin and each element takes the poise of the M850i and turns it up a notch to far more serious, track usable levels.

Yes, the car still feels all of two tonnes when you really start to hustle it into bends and quick direction changes, but you’ve got to be forcing it into such a scenario. I suspect 98%, if not more, of owners will never venture onto a track with their M8, but it’s spectacular to know how capable the car can be. The xDrive system deserves a special mention as it allows you to apply power extremely early after an apex, you feel it dragging the car out with terrific grip and speed. That’s not to say that there isn’t fun to be had, with the traction and stability systems in MDM, the rear end comes in to play and is easily adjustable on the throttle.

The 4.4-litre V8 revs to 7,200 but peak power is done at 6,000. The 750Nms come courtesy of two turbochargers that are nestled between the two cylinder banks for a sharper response and less lag. This unit teams up with an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission which is as good as any dual clutch setup on sale today, you are never left helplessly tugging at paddles for downshifts multiple times before they are delivered.

Braking performance is often a point of criticism on BMW M cars, even the carbon ceramic setups of the past have been known to find themselves in a spot of smokey bother after a couple of intense laps on track, not in the M8. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, the brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions are brought together within a compact module. The brake pressure required is triggered by an electric actuator, which means it can be generated more dynamically, pedal feel is optimised and the interventions from the stability control system are significantly faster and more precise. The driver can choose between two pedal feel settings: one more comfort-oriented and the other a particularly direct, instantaneous setting. I can report that the feel remains remarkably consistent even after a pounding on the track.

As I said, I can never imagine myself seeing an M8 on track except for in special circumstances such as a motoGP safety car. The road is where M8s will be used and that’s where the real world consumer testing needs to be done.

Weighing in at 2.1 tonnes, the convertible M8 Competition is around 100 kilograms more than the Coupe and is the variant assigned for the road testing element of the test. It is 0.1 seconds slower to 100 (3.4 seconds) but with the roof retracted the sensation of speed is heightened.

With every new car review I write, I seem to drone on and on about the crippling OPF that has restrained the exhaust noises that enthusiasts so crave. The story is the same here and the soundtrack is not what you would traditionally associate with a 4.4 V8. That being said, M have worked hard to give the M8 some serious bass. It’s not great, it’s acceptable.

On the billiard table smooth tarmac of the track the steering felt numb, there is more weight in the sportier modes, but the feel is absent. The same can be said for the steering on the road. So not very good then? Hold your horses, the M8 really surprised me on the deserted, tight and twisty roads away from the circuit. The coupe was great on track, the convertible continued to exceed expectations on the street. The xDrive system means you can use the power and mammoth torque without fearing for your life, the systems mentioned before, particularly the suspension and diff shine and come together to make the M8 not only savagely fast, but also very easy to drive at speed.

Then you slow down to admire the scenery and stick everything into comfort and the character of the car completely changes – it demonstrates an impressive breadth of ability. The cabin is comfortable, the seats could be a little more supportive but are well suited to long drives. The back seats are usable for adults too, perhaps not for longer journeys but certainly suitable for children. The infotainment system remains one of the best in the business and there are new M displays to separate this from the rest of the 8 family. Gone is the questionable crystal gear selector from lesser 8 series models.

This brings me back to my opening statement: the M8 is a difficult car to place. Is it a 911 competitor? I feel it’s not sporty enough and lacks feel in comparison to the Porsche. Maybe the Bentley Continental GT or DB11? I feel the M8 is not premium enough. The Aston Martin Vantage or AMG GT could be in the sights of the M8, but neither of those can demonstrate the soft, supple cruising abilities of the M8 Competition. Regardless, the M8 Competition stands tall and proud as the current head of the BMW M table with the ability to cruise quietly or attack a road with seemingly endless torque and power. A mighty fine M car.

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2020 BMW X5 M Competition: Ultimate BMW SUV Revealed

BMW have announced a refreshed versions of the BMW X5M today. The super-SUV’s are refreshed for the latest generation, both have been fitted with a powerful V8 engine and the latest in BMW technology.

Now in its third generation, the X5M is available in standard and Competition specification for the first time. BMW have carried out testing at Miramas and Arjeplog as well as at the Nurburgring. A world away from these harsh locations, the X5M will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show 2019 next month.

Both versions use the 4.4 litre V8 engine. Power outputs increase by 25 hp and 50 hp respectively over the outgoing model. The standard models now put out 600 hp while the Competition versions generate 625 hp and 750 Nm of torque. New engine mounts, cooling and oil supply systems and a sports exhaust release the additional power.

That power is transferred to the M xDrive system via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission. Both cars feature an Active M Differential to optimise traction. The standard M-cars take 3.9 seconds to hit 100 km while the Competition models hit the same speed in 3.8 seconds. This makes it 0.4 seconds faster than the outgoing model.

The suspension has been re-inforced to cope with the additional power. The X5M receives electronically controlled dampers, active roll stabilisation, M Servotronic steering and Dynamic Stability Control. Competition models get 21 inch rims at the front and 22 inch rims at the back. Large M-specific brakes are essential.

To look at, you would not mistake the M models from the rest of the range. BMW designers have included large air intakes at the front, a new kidney grille with double bars, M gills at the side fenders, a new roof spoiler, rear apron and a new diffuser. The exhaust system is also all-new with a set of twin tailpipes.

Inside, a head up display is fitted as standard. An M-specific display is also included together with a leather steering wheel. The seats are multifunction with integrated head restraints. Merino leather is available throughout to enhance the luxurious feel. BMW Live Cockpit Professional is included as standard together with BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, and the Parking Assistant.

Both cars will be available from April 2020.

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2020 Audi RS4 Avant Updated with a Fresh Look

The Audi RS4 Avant has fallen out of favour in recent years. There was a time when the RS4 was the darling child of the Audi Sport range. In recent years, it is the Audi RS6 Avant which has driven the fortunes. Audi will be hoping that its latest update to the baby Avant will push sales back to where they belong.

The Audi RS4 Avant gets updates that mirror those applied to the Audi A4 range earlier this year. The front has been completely redesigned. It gets a wider and flatter single-frame grille, similar in style to the version found on the recently released Audi RS6 Avant. It is fitted with black gloss, three-dimensional honeycomb, typical of RS models.

The LED headlights also receive a refresh. Optional matrix LED units get darkened bezels. They complement the gloss black, matt aluminium and carbon fibre styling packages which add sill inlays, exterior mirror housings and elements to the front and rear bumper.

The side profile remains unchanged. The wheel arches are 30 mm wider at the front and the back compared to the A4 Avant. At the rear, a new twilight design should make it clear to the rest of the world that you are driving the latest and greatest. New air vents next to the tailpipes are also evident. Otherwise, everything else appears untouched.

The power unit is what really matters with the RS4 Avant though. The 2.9 litre V6 receives some work. It now produces 450 hp and 600 Nm of torque, sprinting from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds. Audi engineers the twin turbochargers to act on each individual side of the cylinder bank, mounted within the V.

Power is routed through the quattro system via an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. A torque vectoring system is on offer too, assisting with handling on difficult surfaces. An optional quattro sport differential provides an even better response.

Inside, the latest 10.1 inch MMI touch display welcomes the driver with the option of the Audi Virtual Cockpit with unique RS displays showing information on tire pressure, torque, power output and other performance-oriented details.

The Audi RS 4 Avant will make its debut at the DTM finale at the Hockenheimring on 4 to 6 October 2019. Sales in Germany and other European countries will start in October 2019. Prices for the RS4 Avant should start at 81,400 euros.

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2020 Audi RS7 Sportback Review

There forever has been and, hopefully, will always be an inexplicable level of cool associated with a fast German saloon car. Perhaps it is that they are based cars on which are typically a little beige, boring and, more often than not, diesel barges that trundle down the autobahn minding their own business. Then the skunkworks departments at the likes of M, AMG and RS get to work and the results are snarling hulks that both look and feel like swollen hulks of the timid cars they once were.

Since the turn of the millennium, there have been a couple of personal highlights: the E60 BMW M5 saloon and estate which both featured derivatives of the Williams F1 V10 that howled like nothing else, and the Audi RS6 Avant that also featured a mighty large V10 taken from the Lamborghini Gallardo. The recently replaced Audi RS6 is also up there nestled amongst the best. The pressure is on for the new one to deliver, but the opportunity to drive the RS6 is a few months away. To whet the appetite, Audi asked if I would like to drive the RS7, a car that seems to have been somewhat overshadowed by the mass hankering the market had for the RS6, despite both cars sharing the same mechanicals underpinnings. Could the latest iteration steal the hearts of many as the RS6s of the past had? To find out, I flew to Frankfurt.

Let’s get the numbers bit out of the way: at the heart of the package sits a 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 600 hp and 800 Nm of torque. 100 km/h is dispatched in just 3.6 seconds with a 250 km/h top speed. The Dynamic package removes the limiter, pushing this up to 305 km/h.

A 48-volt system runs a belt alternator starter with car recover 12 kW of power for use between 55 and 160 km/h. The system is meant to provide instantaneous power to the drive while offering the ability to coast on electrical energy with the engine switched off. The cylinder on demand technology further aids fuel consumption. Power is fed to a Quattro permanent all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed tiptronic transmission. The RS7 gets a launch control function with torque control provided through a sport differential, part of the optional Dynamic and Dynamic plus packages.

That’s that, what does this all feel like off the paper and on the tarmac? Well, that depends on one decision that owners will have to make, it makes a rather considerable difference: suspension. The RS7 can be optioned with either the standard, more comfortable, RS adaptive air suspension or an optional sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, that is the one you want. Why? The optional DRC set up is harder and, yes, it is touch harsher on the road. Make no mistake, it is still comfortable when you’re cruising, but when you get a hustle on, the body control and the limit before understeer and tyre squeal become a factor, is far higher.

I am no track day magician, but I was finding the handling limits of the car in the air suspension fitted cars remarkably easily. The conventionally sprung car felt far more up for a good time, and as a result, I feel it is worth the comfort trade-off. All cars tested rode on massive 22 inch wheels all around.

What about the performance? My first thoughts on the autobahn were ‘oh, it’s not THAT quick’, I then looked down and noticed I had hit the top speed. In gear acceleration in first, second and third in particular, is astonishing. It feels every bit 592bhp quick. At speed, the sensation of power is somewhat stymied by the lack of a certain characteristic: sound. There is a huge 4.0-litre V8 under the hood, but you would have no idea judging by the sound in the cabin. It is a little depressing, but it is a sign of the times in a world muzzled by the legislative necessity for the awful OPF. Audi combated my comment stating that they wanted to keep the noise authentic and refused to pipe fake sounds into the cabin…if you listen carefully you can hear BMW M retreating into the bushes.

Back to the bends, there is a lack of something here too, steering weight and feedback. This is a gripe that I’ve had with Audis for years, the chances of this being remedied in the RS7 were slim, it is a little difficult to understand what the front tires are doing and where the limits of adhesion are when there is such an absence of palpable communication coming through the wheel. That being said, there is good news too. The car is savagely fast out of bends and the 48 volt antiroll system masks the weight as well as you could ask from a car that weighs in at 2,500 kilos. As previously mentioned, the DRC suspension is where the car is at its best. It must also be noted that the gearbox is fine on the way up, but hesitates on downshift – third to second, in particular, seems to take an age.

Inside there are a few niggles, but on the whole, the interior is a very pleasant place to be. There are lashings of leather, alcantara and plenty of room in the front and rear. There are also walls of screen. The dash is impressive and there and a multitude of configuration options to display as much data as I’ve seen in a machine this side of an F16. For me, the two stacked central touch screens are a little fiddly on the move and require more concentration than I would like to give them when pushing on or trying to focus on a twisty stretch of tarmac. This, I guess, is personal preference and others may love them as much as I loathe them. On the whole, I feel there could be more going on in the interior to set the RS apart from the series A7 to reflect the changes to the exterior. It lacks a special touch.

On the whole, the RS7 is a mighty fine piece of kit. If you’re in the market for an M5 to E63, the RS7 really is a viable alternative. It is a little softer and quieter than the aforementioned cars, but is by no means slower. It features all the tech you could ever need, is spacious and in plenty fast. Audi claim 0-100 in 3.6, I saw 3.2 time and time again with the deeply effective launch control activated. To answer my opening question, yes, I really think this car deserves adoring fans as there is plenty to love in this new RS7 as there has been in every RS6 to date. Now we need to see just how impressive the new RS6 is.

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450hp Manual: Details Leaked on 2020 BMW M2 CS

Details on the BMW M2 CS are beginning to emerge. Alleged leaks apparently confirm key aspects of the hardcore 2 Series model. The details allegedly arrive through attendees of a private event in Belgium last week.

The Bimmerpost insider confirmed that BMW’s 3.0 litre straight six engine will get a boost up to 450 hp. The power will be fed to the rear wheels through a manual gearbox with the automatic DKG gearbox an option.

BMW will also fit active suspension And updated sports brakes with red calipers. Carbon ceramic brakes will be optional. The M2 CS will be offered with 763 M wheels in gold or black, with regular or sport cup tires.

Plenty of carbon fibre components will complement the looks. A new hood, roof, outside mirror covers, trunk lip spoiler, front spoiler lip, rear diffuser, central console and door handle will all feature carbon fibre elements. The M2 CS badge is apparently finished in chrome and Alcantara also features heavily in the door and seat design.

The seats are lifted straight from the M4 Competition seats and feature red stitching. The back seats are now fixed so cannot be folded. BMW are expected to offer just 4 colours for the M2 CS; Alpine White, Misano Blue, Hockenheim Silver and Saphire Black.

We are expecting to see the BMW M2 CS very soon with production of the 2,200 models to begin in April.

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Video: Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid vs Half Built Racetrack

A few weeks ago I headed to Dusseldorf to drive the latest iteration of Porsche Cayenne in Turbo S E-Hybrid guise. Having driven the 676 brake horsepower super-SUV in anger across the border into Belgium, I settled down and talked all things Porsche with the team behind the Cayenne. As per the norm, we exchanged stories of amazing road trips and shared pictures of our adventures.

A gentlemen from the Porsche team then trumped all of our tales with a few images of a Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid drifting on full lock on a race track. Today I can, finally, share the story with you. It is not just a Porsche SUV going quickly around a racetrack, that would be far too mundane. Instead Porsche decide to send the new car to set a lap time on a half built racetrack. While the 3.2-kilometre northern section of the Gotland Ring is already asphalted and in operation, the 4.2-kilometre southern section is still only gravel.

The hybrid SUV ran on used road tyres and was driven by the German racing driver and TV presenter Tim Schrick. Mighty impressive we are sure you will agree and a record that will stand for the rest of time!

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De Tomaso P72: Legendary Marque Brought Back to Life

De Tomaso has returned, just in time for the company’s 60th anniversary. The Italian brand has a chequered history with the sorts of highs and lows you would expect from a low volume sports car manufacturer. It’s latest owner is hoping that it can revive those fortunes with a brand new, hypercar-level Concept car.

The Company has revealed few details about the specific engineering highlights of the vehicle. We do know that it uses the same carbon monocoque chassis as the Apollo IE, the two companies are part of a group and the design is being handled by the same sub-contractor. De Tomaso have not yet decided on an engine, yet they have, for the purpose of presenting something that moves, shoehorned a Ferrari V12 into the engine bay for the time being. We also know that the power will be routed through the rear wheels via a manual gearbox.

The interior is also impressive. The De Tomaso P72 gets traditional dials and makes do without an all-singing infotainment system. A blend of carbon fibre, tanned leather, and exposed metal work gives it a look to rival Pagani. We are told that many of the elements are polished copper. The leather gets a diamond pattern and the gear shifting mechanism is also exposed.

The De Tomaso P72 takes its inspiration from endurance car racing in the 60’s and 70’s with a low slung, mid-engined design. This is no mistake. The inspiration for the P72 can be traced to the stillborn P70 prototype racer. That particular model was a collaboration between the company’s founder, Alejandro de Tomaso and Carroll Shelby. It was never mass produced and only one example is know to exist. De Tomaso will be hoping that the P72 does not suffer the same fate.

Costing has also been announced. De Tomaso plan to produce 72 copies at a price of 750,000 euros. If you are interested, the company are accepting expressions of interest.

BMW Vision M NEXT Revealed with 600hp Hybrid Engine

BMW M has this morning set out its vision for the immediate future. The BMW Vision M Next Concept previews what BMW considers to be its future, past the ageing BMW i8. The i8 has been a game changer in many respects, however, it now faces stiff competition with most manufacturers keen to muscle in on its eco-performance niche.

The BMW Vision M Next Concept uses a traditional petrol engine coupled with an electronic motor to produce power. The petrol unit is turbocharged and four-cylinders. Combined with the electric motors, it produces an impressive 600 hp. This, BMW states, is enough for a 300 km/h (186 mph) top speed and a 3 second 100 km/h sprint time. That power is not available all the time though. It is accessed through a BOOST+ mode, although it is not clear how long the boost is provided. It should do 100 km on battery power alone.

The looks are very similar to those of the existing i8. The BMW Vision M Next Concept remains a two-seater with a low slung, supercar type shape. It uses carbon fibre bodywork and a throwback exterior design. Looking closely at the concept, the rear view is heavily inspired by the BMW M1. Inside, things are very futuristic with a curved driver display and a dragster style steering wheel.

The replacement for the BMW i8 is expected debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 in September. The i8 is part of a wider BMW program called ‘Strategy One Next’ which aims for up to 25 electrified BMW models to be on sale by 2025. 

Seized Hypercars of Teodorin Obiang to be Auctioned in Geneva

Bonhams has reportedly announced a new auction, to take place at the Bonmont Golf & Country Club in Switzerland, which will facilitate the sale of a staggering collection of hypercars amassed by Teodorin Obiang. The cars were seized by Swiss authorities in 2016 as part of an investigation into the embezzlement of Equatorial Guinea’s state funds.

The collection includes a white Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, a Koenigsegg One:1, a McLaren P1 and a Bugatti Veyron. A collection of 25 cars will apparently hit the auction block with news sources suggesting that these will include models from “Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes-Maybach and Porsche”.

The news has been widely reported and ties up with earlier articles which confirmed that the cars would be sold. Nonetheless, Bonhams website is silent about the proposed auction (at time of writing). So there is no confirmation that it is definitely taking place.

Obiang’s car collection was seized in two tranches. The first cars were seized by French authorities in 2012 with the second set following in 2016. It is widely believed that the cars include a Ferrari Enzo, LaFerrari, Aston Martin One77 and Ferrari F12 tdf.

Teodorin Obiang’s collection is expected to $13 million. The proceeds are to be given to a social programme in Obiang’s home country.

Gemballa Announces Development for their Own Supercar

Gemballa has announced that it is looking to build its own, bespoke, supercar. The German tuning company has been quiet in recent years. It has a rich history, producing some of the most iconic tuned Porsche models. It fell into a dormant state in recent years but now seems to be pushing to revitalise its fortunes with a new supercar!

Gemballa has been listed as a registered car Manufacturer in Germany since 1985. Far from being lightly modified Porsche models, the company are able to certify their cars as Gemballa’s, in much the same way as RUF do. Since the untimely death of its eponymous founder, Uwe Gemballa, the company slowed down. It has only recently announced plans to produce new products.

Over the years, Gemballa has produced some truly memorable machines. Cars such as the Gemballa Avalanche, a highly modified version of the Porsche 911, and the Gemballa MIG-U1, a bespoke tuned version of the Ferrari Enzo.

The new car will be a completely new development with an aggressive design and a power output in the region of 800 bhp. Gemballa plans to have the car ready as early as 2020 with production to begin in 2022. The stand-alone project will supplement a new range of Porsche modifications.

The photo gives us a brief idea as to what the new car will look like. Clearly, the Gemballa supercar will be mid-engined with a focus on downforce through the aggressive rear wing. It’s not clear whether Gemballa will stick to its routes by using a Porsche 911 as the basis or whether the chassis will be entirely bespoke.

Steffen Korbach, owner and Managing Director of Gemballa GmbH, said:

“We’re planning a thoroughbred super sports car with a unique, aggressive design and engine power considerably over 800 bhp. As part of this, we’d like to reference the existing GEMBALLA legends, and implement a range of innovative concepts. You can expect an uncompromising vehicle, radical, pure and luxurious. At the same time, we would also like to establish Gemballa in future as a stand-alone small production run manufacturer, but also launch as an exclusive modification company for extreme, complete conversions of Porsche cars. The first designs will be presented to selected clients soon, and the first prototype should be on display as early as 2020. We currently plan to start production in 2022. The capital required to finance the project will be raised through private equity and venture capital companies. Concrete discussions are already underway.”

3rd Gen Bentley Flying Spur Revealed with 333km/h Top Speed

Bentley’s Flying Spur has today been revealed. Updated off the back of a successfully updated Continental GT platform. The mid-range sedan will get many of the same technical features alongside its new look. The Flying Spur is all-new with a new chassis, suspension, W12 engine and eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Bentley has torn apart the old model and started from scratch. The launch engine will be the twin-turbocharged W12 engine which was recently refreshed for the Bentley Continental GT. it packs performance figures of 635 hp and 900 Nm of torque. The limo gets a top speed of 333 km/h and a 100 km/h sprint time of 3.8 seconds as a result. An entry-level V8 will be added to the range at a later date, followed by a V6 petrol-powered plug-in hybrid at some point in the future.

The engine sits within the MLB structure which also underpins the Porsche Panamera. All-wheel steering is key to the Flying Spur package, together with an active system that favours rear wheel drive until it feels that the front wheels need to get involved. Improvements have been made with the addition of Bentley’s version of the 48V electric active roll control system and a new three-chamber air springs suspension setup.

In terms of design, the Flying Spur is longer than the outgoing model with shorter overhangs. The grille is the first difference you notice. The Flying Spur does not share the matrix grille of its smaller family members. Instead, Bentley has fitted veins which shroud the matrix. The Flying B mascot has been redesigned with illuminated wings, it sits on an electronically retractable plinth. The design lines are longer and lower than before with the rear arches noticeably dominant.

It’s on the inside that the differences need to be felt though. Bentley has not disappointed. Bentley has fitted a new set of seats finished in 15 hide colours. The traditional round ‘bullseye’ vents have been moved from the centre of the dashboard to a slightly lower location and re-shaped to sit either side of the Bentley clock. There is plenty of diamond quilted leather, a new Crown Cut Walnut veneer and a range of 7 other alternatives.

The dash has been redesigned using the centrepiece of the rotating display. The main display is a 12.3in touchscreen with the option of a single display or 2:1 split showing the functions of the car. Three audio systems are on offer, a standard 650-watt system featuring 10 speakers, a Bang & Olufsen 1,500-watt system with 16-speakers and illuminated grilles. The top of the range option, unique to Bentley, is a Naim, 2,200-watt, 19 speaker system.

The Bentley Flying Spur is available to order, except in EU28 countries, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine where it will launch later this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.