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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.

2020 BMW M8 Competition Revealed in Coupe and Convertible Shapes

BMW’s M8 has been a long time in gestation. We have been hearing about it for quite some time. Leaked images were also discovered late last year. Yet the official release has only just taken place.

The BMW M8 Competition Coupe and Convertible versions have been released at the same time. Both models get some additional styling. The front bumper is completely new with larger air intakes and carbon fibre surrounds. The kidney grilles have been replaced with a new black piece.

At the rear, the BMW M8 gets a new rear diffuser, larger rear wheel vents and a boot lid spoiler. The tailpipe surrounds will please those that prefer the conventional look, four large traditional style exhausts.

The BMW M8 gets the 4.4-litre V8 engine tuned to 600 hp in the BMW M8 Coupe and BMW M8 Convertible, 625 hp in the Competition models. The power is routed through an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, and an M-specific xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The xDrive system is the latest with configurable 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD.

The M8 sprints to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds, the M8 Competition Coupe hits the same benchmark in 3.2 seconds, the convertible is 0.1 seconds slower.

The chassis gets new performance optimised damper and suspension settings together with new bracing elements. The engine mounts are stiffer and there is increased camber at the front. The braking system features two selectable settings, Sport and Comfort.

Inside, BMW offers the latest M-Sport steering wheel, stainless steel pedals, M-Sport seats, a unique M-Sport digital instrument display, M-specific graphics for the infotainment system and a new M-sport gear lever to replace the crystal version in the standard M850i.

Costs are yet to be announced, however, expect this to be the most expensive M car yet!

Gordon Murray T.50 V12 Hypercar: McLaren F1 Successor to Debut in 2022

Gordon Murray’s T.50 hypercar will be the successor to the McLaren F1. It’s the car we have been waiting for all these years. Designed to the engineering standards that made Gordon Murray a household name, the Gordon Murray T.50 is a greatest hits of Murray’s design elements. Screaming V12, central driving position, extreme focus on weight reduction, it is all there.

The T.50 was announced earlier today. It is expected to debut in 2022 at a price in excess of £2 million (before taxes). 100 lucky customers will get the opportunity to purchase this extreme hypercar. The draw is that Murray has positioned it away from the current trend of hybrid or fully electric cars.

The press release describes the T.50 as the “purest, lightest, most driver-focused supercar ever built”. The design revolves around a naturally-aspirated, all-new V12 engine. Supplied by Cosworth, the 3.9-litre unit revs through to an extraordinary 12,100 rpm. It produces power of 650 hp and 450 Nm of torque. A roof-fed ram-air induction system increases power up to 700 hp.

Sounds interesting so far. Yet it is the combined elements of the package that make the Gordon Murray T.50 such an exciting prospect. Weight, despite such a large engine, is stated to be 980 kg. It uses a sandwich-panel carbon monocoque with carbon composite panels and double wishbone suspension front and rear.

One of Murray’s most famous innovations, which featured on the unique Brabham BT46B Formula 1 car, also makes a return. Gordon Murray’s ground-effect returns with an all-new underbody airflow system which incorporates a 400mm fan at the rear.

Inside, there are three seats. To keep the focus on the purest driving experience, Murray has also opted for analogue instruments and driver-centric controls. It will be interesting to see how this project develops. The release confirms that T.50 is in the advanced stages of development.

De Tomaso Re-Born During 60th Anniversary Year – Debut at Goodwood!

Italian supercar manufacturer De Tomaso is set to make a return later this year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019. The Italian brand went into administration in 2005. Several attempts have been made to re-launch the brand since, however, these have failed to materialise. The latest re-launch follows the purchase of the rights in the De Tomaso brand by Ideal Team Ventures.

Ideal Team Ventures are the company behind the re-birth of Apollo Automobil. They have some experience in re-launching defunct supercar brands! The company appears to be financed by Hong Kong businessman Sung Fung Choi and lawyer, Neil Baylis who was formally involved with the re-launch of the AC Cars brand.

De Tomaso has some serious history behind it. The company was founded in 1959 by the Argentine-born Alejandro de Tomaso. De Tomaso was a race car driver, competing for two years in Formula 1 with Scuderia Ferrari and OSCA. The company he founded would later go on to produce cars like the Mangusta and the iconic Pantera.

The company attempted to re-launch in 2009 when it was bought by Gian Mario Rossignolo. That venture ended in disaster after Rossignolo and his son were convicted in Italy of fraud and embezzlement having failed to produce a single customer car.

The company has been re-born during its 60th anniversary year with the latest model set to debut at the Goodwood Motor Show 2019. It is code-named Project P for the time being and the story will unfold over coming months using the hashtage #DTprojectP. We will bring you further information as and when we know more!

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS: 2nd Gen Flagship SUV Revealed

Full-size SUV’s sell well in the US. This is why Mercedes-Benz have chosen the New York Auto Show 2019 as the stage to debut the second generation Mercedes-Benz GLS. The US is likely to be the biggest market for this particular SUV. Indeed, the first generation GLS sold very well stateside.

The updates applied to the Mercedes-Benz GLS could be predicted. The silhouette remains recognisable with small changes to increase comfort and space. The interior gets the latest infotainment system, MBUX, and the range debuts with new engine options.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS grows in size with a 60 mm longer wheelbase. Those dimensions translate to a 77 mm longer body and an additional 22 mm in width. Space inside has grown for second row occupants while the three-row layout offers either seven or six seat layouts. The boot space, with the third row collapsed into the ground, is now in excess of 2,400 litres.

Being the “S-Class of SUV’s”, the Mercedes-Benz GLS comes kitted out with the latest technology. The chassis, for example, uses E-Active Body Control which is hooked up to the 48-volt system to control body handling characteristics. Coupled to this is the gratuitous Carwash function which moves the suspension to its highest system, reducing tack width, fold the exterior mirrors, supresses various sensors and closes the side windows and sunroof.

A new model has also debuted, the GLS 580 4MATIC comes equipped with a ## V8 engine featuring Mercedes-Benz’ EQ Boost, 48-volt system. It puts out 489 hp and 700 Nm of torque with a further 250 Nm of torque and 22 hp available through the short-term EQ Boost system. An integrated starter-generator is responsible for the hybrid drive and for energy recuperation. The GLS is also offered as a GLS 450 4MATIC with the same EQ Boost technology applied to a six-cylinder inline engine (367 hp and 500 Nm of torque).

In Europe, Mercedes-Benz will offer a familiar six-cylinder in-line diesel engine in the form of the GLS 350 d 4 MATIC (286 hp and 600 Nm of torque) and GLS 400 d 4MATIC (330 hp and 700 Nm of torque). Both engines are Euro 6d- standard compliant.

That MBUX system sits pride of place in both the front and second row. The rear comfort package extends the infotainment system to the rear through a 7-inch Android tablet which gets its own dedicated docking station in the second row centre arm rest. From here, the user gets maximum control of the rear seat entertainment, radio, TV, media and web browsing. The MBUX system fitted to the front is the most advanced yet with two 12.3 inch screens.

We are currently hearing more about the new Mercedes-Benz GLS. Feel free to check out our social media pages and check back to our front page for more from the official unveil in New York!

NYIAS 2019: 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster

We are live at the New York International Auto Show 2019 and the star of the show is undoubtedly the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster.

The press conference confirmed the rumours that a GT3 engine would be used in contrast to previous Speedsters that utilised standard Carrera engines and not the GT engine we see here. In the standard GT3 there is 500 horsepower, the Speedster achieves 502 horsepower and 346 pound feet. The modest bump comes courtesy of the race-bred powerplant which has been enhanced with individual throttle bodies that make the throttle response even sharper, just like in the 911 GT3 R race car.

The 2019 911 Speedster shares a chassis derived from the 911 GT3 models with a specifically-calibrated rear axle steering system and dynamic engine mounts to deliver a maximum amount of stability and precision. Unlike the GT3, the Speedster will only be offered with a six speed manual gearbox. The 4.0 litre flat-six engines still has a redline up at 9,000 rpm and will hit 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. The weight saving measures, including the 9 pounds saved with the manual transmission result in the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster weighing just 3,230 pounds.

The 2019 911 Speedster is planned to be available for order on May 7, 2019 and is expected to reach U.S. dealers in late 2019. The MSRP is $274,500, not including a $1,250 delivery, processing and handling fee.

Official: 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster

The Porsche 992 generation was unveiled last year, the media have driven the S and 4S and the first customer cars are delivered – lucky people. What is a little strange is that the 991.2 generation GTS, GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS models are still rolling off the production lines. The bottle still is not empty – for the 70th anniversary the brand, we saw of iterations or what Porsche called the 911 Speedster Concept, the latter appearing to be very close to production ready.

The wait is finally over and the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster celebrates its world premiere in New York at the New York International Auto Show – to celebrate 70 years, 1948 units will be produced. The Speedster, shown and detailed in US specification, bears a remarkable resemblance to the concept cars we were weak at the knees for.

The press conference confirmed the rumours that a GT3 engine would be used in contrast to previous Speedsters that utilised standard Carrera engines and not the GT engine we see here. In the standard GT3 there is 500 horsepower, the Speedster achieves 502 horsepower and 346 pound feet. The modest bump comes courtesy of the race-bred powerplant which has been enhanced with individual throttle bodies that make the throttle response even sharper, just like in the 911 GT3 R race car.

The 2019 911 Speedster shares a chassis derived from the 911 GT3 models with a specifically-calibrated rear axle steering system and dynamic engine mounts to deliver a maximum amount of stability and precision. Unlike the GT3, the Speedster will only be offered with a six speed manual gearbox. The 4.0 litre flat-six engines still has a redline up at 9,000 rpm and will hit 60 miles per hour in 3.8 seconds. Porsche are keen to highlight that this is the first time a Speedster has been developed by the Porsche Motor Sport department, but that it is also instantly recognisable as a Speedster. The iconic low-cut front windshield and side windows as well as the manually operated lightweight fabric top are characteristic for a Speedster model and make the car stand out immediately. The two streamliners atop the rear decklid made from carbon fibre are another design highlight rooted in the model’s history.

In the cabin there are lightweight door panels with storage nets and a black leather interior as standard. The interior can optionally be trimmed with red stitching for the dashboard and the “Speedster” designation in the headrests. With this option, the door pulls are also fitted in red, and the GT Sport steering wheel is decorated with a red 12 o’clock centre marker. Air conditioning is omitted as standard in the interest of weight savings, but can be added as a no-cost option.

Back on the outside, the motorsport and GT car traits are clear – the front luggage compartment lid, front fenders and rear decklid are all made from carbon fibre composite material, while the front and rear fasciae consist of lightweight polyurethane. Standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) save around 50 percent from the system weight with grey cast iron rotors. The roof mechanism continues the lightweight focus with no automated mechanism other than the latches to lock into place. These weight saving measures, including the 9 pounds saved with the manual transmission result in the 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster weighing just 3,230 pounds.

The 2019 911 Speedster is planned to be available for order on May 7, 2019 and is expected to reach U.S. dealers in late 2019. The MSRP is $274,500, not including a $1,250 delivery, processing and handling fee.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R PRO Review

The AMG GT family is a well established gaggle of sports cars that arrived on the scene and quickly proved that they were worthy of competing with the mighty Porsche 911 with their caricature like proportions and preposterously charming V8s. Every model from the base GT, to the Beyoncé hipped GT C and batshit GT R brute – there is a GT model for everyone.

The latest addition has clearly been targeted at the fiend that eats blue steak for breakfast, small children for lunch and lion flesh for dinner – a little unhinged. Meet the Mercedes-AMG GT R PRO. This is the new poster boy for Mercedes-AMG until the Black Series arrives and scares us all half to death. It is no more powerful than the GT R, but that isn’t the point of the PRO. The PRO is for the track…pro that is set on shaving milliseconds off their Nordschleife PB lap time.

Ahh yes, the Green Hell. The GT R was broke built to, and broke, the production car lap record and was branded ‘The Beast of The Green Hell’. It has since been beaten by the GT2 RS and Huracán Performante – the PRO is six and a bit seconds quicker than the boggo GT R, an impressive feat given that the powertrain is identical. This highlights just how significant the changes to the rest of the car are.

So there is still 577bhp and 516lb, how is it so much quicker and how much does this PRO cost? Well, it costs £188,345, some £40,000 more than the GT R. You must consider that the Track Pack (4 point harnesses, roll cage and fire extinguisher), Carbon Ceramic Brakes and Carbon Aero Kit are all included in the base price of the PRO where they are options on the GT R. What else does the price hike include? Well, there is some serious race tech borrowed from the GT4 car that is based on the AMG GT. There are adjustable dampers, a plethora of weight reduced parts including carbon fibre antiroll bar at the front, carbon fibre shear panel on the rear underfloor to stiffen the structure and the fixed lightweight carbon buckets. However, it does not make the GT R PRO a straw weight fighter like the Porsche GT3 RS as it has only burnt off 25 kilograms (1,575kg dry).

The aero is where you start to see your moneys worth – there is a chunk more aero action over the front half of the car bringing the PRO closer to the 50/50 aero balance that race cars aim to achieve. There is an additional 99kg of downforce at 250km/h, a lot of which is working on the front half of the car – AMG did not divulge exactly how much but it can be felt through the steering and overall balance in the high speed sections.

Sounds like you had a go at testing the high speed stability? Well, yes. I was only allowed to drive the car on track – Hockenheim, an ideal venue with its scary fast bends that require you to push hard to make the most of. It is on the circuit when pushing hard that the quality of the dampers over kerbs and under hard braking that the changes are felt. Cup 2 tires are flattering out of the slower corners with immense traction firing you onto the next straight.

The long sweeping left hand bend sees speeds of 250km/h on the speedo and the car feels supremely stable – still sounds fabulous too. It inspires confidence and trust and that is perhaps what lacked in the standard GT R. The aero and suspension have cut the floating feeling that the GT R often unnerved me with on track last year.

Sounds like the dream package? Better than an GT3 RS? Well, the GT R PRO is still based on the AMG GT. This means that it is BIG and there is a lot of car ahead of you. I wish it was a little smaller and a tad more nimble. In some of the slower corners there is a smudge of front end push that the magicians at Porsche have eliminated – perhaps it is a weight issue that the Black Series will manage to address. The Porsche is still a sizeable 10 or so seconds quicker around the benchmark ‘Ring time that we all pine about – AMG are quick to say that the PRO lap time was not set in optimal conditions.

What I could deduce from my quick stint at Hockenheim is that the GT R PRO is just as much of a laugh as the rest of the AMG GT family – it is up for having a bit of a fun. Set the ESP to Sport or OFF and pick a level of traction control using the stubby yellow knob and the GT R PRO will still have you laughing out loud. A GT3 RS might be more pointy and focused, but the GTR PRO is still a worthy of being held in equally high regard as a track day weapon. The GT R stops and goes hard, the PRO takes the on track abilities to another level.

2019 BMW 750Li Review

Since I was a small boy (still am) I’ve always been envious of the person driving me around – I am forever curious about how it feels to drive the car in which in sat in, whatever it is. There have, however, been a handful of exceptions – I’m sure the reasons speak for themselves. These anomalies include a Rolls-Royce Phantom, Bentley Mulsanne, Mercedes-Maybach S600 and the BMW 7 Series.

These are cars that, in my mind, are meant to be enjoyed not from behind the wheel, but from behind the front seats. The rear seats are lounges, spaces that are designed to take you away from the reality of being stuck in the horrendous LA traffic or the ugly concrete clad surroundings of the M25 in London.

Chances are that if you find yourself in the rear cocoons of the aforementioned limousines you have a few more cars that you drive for pleasure or to flex at the golf club. The limousine is for the Micky Mouse gloved driver, not the owner, to put miles on.

It just so happened that I recently drove an S600 Maybach, Phantom and Mulsanne and I found them to be remarkable to drive, not just to be driven in. When the invitation to pilot the new BMW 7 Series popped into the inbox my childish curiosity had me hitting accept.

A couple of weeks later I found myself in the back of the BMW 750Li and it was a phenomenal place to be sat. Just a week before I was in the back seats of the Mulsanne and the BMW felt as plush, equally special and even more technologically advanced. The loungers were sublime, the cabin whisper quiet and the fit and finish something that would not be out of place in the Sultan of Brunei’s living room. Once again, I found myself enjoying the opulence of soft leathers, massage seats and near silence – I almost fell asleep.

Then my driver pulled over, chucked me the keys and disappeared. I would be lying if I said it was not a little intimidating, the 7 Series is, I think it is fair to say, an utter enormous car. Let’s get one thing out of the way from the outset – those ginormous grilles. The kidneys have over the years evolved into a plethora of shapes and sizes – on the X2 they appear to be fitted the wrong way up, on the X7…well let’s skip past that, but on the 7 Series face lift they are big enough to swallow small children and other cars alike.

Confession time – I did not like them before, I hated them when I saw them on a M760Li at Geneva and I still do not like them on the M Sport trimmed cars. However, on the Design Pure Elegance package cars, the swooping lower section of the bumper combined with the slender laser lights and that imposing pair of grilles looks mighty impressive to my eyes, something akin to a majestic and proud cruise ship.

The rear continues the design language I first saw on the 3er and Z4 with the L shaped lights, this time presented with the horizontal connecting light beam that you can find on most Porsches…and the Bugatti Chiron. Unless you are reading this is China, your opinion in the styling is somewhat irrelevant as that is where 40% of 7 Series cars are delivered and the new status promoting styling is very much catered to the Chinese market…and me apparently.

Back to my driving experience – I’m behind the wheel and the space upfront is impressive, the width of the car continues to make itself known in a good way. The view from the side mirrors accentuates the the length. Into drive and away I…sail. It is just as quite up here, you would never know that the engine under the hood is a hefty great V8. The 750Li xDrive I am piloting packs a supercar worthy 530 bhp and a twisting 750 Nm of torque. Considering that it weighs the same as a small cottage it is impressive that it will shift to 100km/h in 4 seconds.

As I pull out of the hotel onto the baked Spanish tarmac my eyes are drawn to something in the aforementioned wing mirrors. I stop turn the wheel and discover that it is the rear wheel steer system the I can physically see turning the rear wheels. It helps explain why I only had to apply a marginal amount of steering lock to navigate the 90 degree turn. The steering was so light that it could have been done with a single finger. Innovations like this are only the start of the list of things that make driving the car as much of a breeze as it is to be the VIP passenger in the back of it.

All of the controls are light – yes, this translates to a total absence of feel in a number of aspects, but this is not exactly a car you drive to the Nordschleife on a Sunday. As with the steering input, everything is effortless, simple and does not require much concentration. The gigantic length and width of 7 Series soon becomes less frightening and, as is the passenger experience, it is very soothing.

The raft of tech aids such as active cruise control and lane assist means that the 7 Series is essentially able to drive itself on the highway and the rest of the technologies packed into the cabin further sooth the driving experience. The new iDrive system still proves itself to be the best in the business, gesture controls are far more useful than I first imagines and there is still a lovely, tactile wheel to use to control the screen in addition to the touch screen feature (take note every other manufacture in the world. #SaveTheControlWheel).

All in all it is very easy to summarise the BMW 750Li xDrive. The car is an incredible place to be sat, whether it be in the front seat or the rear. It is a calming, enjoyable place to be and one that I think challenges and proves itself to be worthy of the best in the segment. I am sure you will be seeing those imposing grilles in a capital city near you very often indeed.

Ferrari P80/C: One-Off Racecar Took 4 Years to Complete

A new Ferrari Special Project was recently released. The Ferrari P80/C uses the Ferrari 488 GT3 as its base. Built exclusively for the track, the P80/C is a one-off, built by Ferrari for a special client.

Being a race car, don’t expect to see this special edition lapping Knightsbridge anytime soon! Ferrari say that the design has been inspired by iconic models from Ferrari’s history: the 330 P3/P4 and the 1966 Dino 206 S particularly. Ferrari have been working on the design aspects since 2015.

Unlike other special projects, this race car needed some special consideration. Changing the setup of the 488 GT3 so dramatically meant that aerodynamics needed a complete revision. The result is a 5% improvement in efficiency. The large buttresses encase a greenhouse. The effect is that of visor with the glass spread horizontally across the middle.

Due in part to the GT3’s 50 mm longer wheelbase, the P80/C looks more can-forward than anything Ferrari has produced to date. The rest is a modern take on the wedge design, not dissimilar to the look of the new Ford GT. Interestingly, the front is wider than the rear.

No details have been released about the engine. The 488 GT3 uses a 3.9-litre turbocharged V8. We suspect that Ferrari have fitted this version with a de-restricted version of that engine!

Pagani C10: Huayra Successor to Get V12 Manual and Electric Version

The Geneva Motor Show 2019 set the stage for a huge amount of news. In the case of Pagani, while the 20 year anniversary of the Pagani Zonda took centre stage, it was clear that the Huayra’s successor is what they wanted to talk about. In an interview with Road & Track magazine, Horacio Pagani spilled a few details about the highly anticipated third generation hypercar!

Codenamed the C10 for the time being, Pagani are working on a 2021 launch date. Pagani revealed that plans are afoot to offer two versions. The first C10 will feature a V12 engine, a new unit sourced from Mercedes-AMG. These cars will have a manual gearbox as standard with the option of an automatic box. The second version is said to be fully electric.

The second version is said to come about through necessity. Pagani confirms that he has not had a request from owners or dealers. Nonetheless, Pagani believes that the time is right. Of course, the electric Pagani will require huge amounts of research and development. Pagani are aiming to offer something that combines lightweight performance with the visual art of its carbon fibre design.

Pagani also confirmed that there are no plans to hybridise the Pagani C10’s V12 engine. Instead, the company will work with Mercedes-AMG to ensure that it meets ever stringent emissions regulations. First, Pagani will unveil the Huayra BC Roadster, due to emerge during the summer!