All posts in “Breaking News”

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!

Geneva 2019: 1 of 1 Bugatti “La Voiture Noire”

Bugatti have taken a very special title with the unveiling of the Bugatti La Voiture Noire – the most expensive new car ever sold. As you would imagine, La Voiture Noire, is based the the Bugatti Chrion.

Under the rear hatch sits an unmodified 1,500 hp, eight-litre W16 engine with 1,600 Nm of torque. Performance figures have not been announced, however, we suspect the owner has no plans to test these. It will likely join a private collection to be seen by the public only on special occasions.

The styling is certainly splitting opinion. There are significant changes to the look of the car with new headlights mounted much further up the body, much like the Divo. The design has been Inspired by Jean Bugatti’s iconic Type 57 SC Atlantic, four of the most beautiful and valuable cars in existence. At the rear there is a curvy light beam, which reminds us of the McLaren P1, and no less that six exhausts!

Geneva Motor Show 2019

For more info on the new 1 of 1 Bugatti “La Voiture Noire”, check our earlier article here. For more from the Geneva Motor Show 2019, click through to our dedicated news channel. Let us know what you want to see in the comments box below!

Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept Officially Revealed

Aston Martin’s Lagonda revival starts in earnest with an all-electric SUV. We know this much from the release that sits centre stage on Aston Martin’s stand at the Geneva Motor Show 2019. The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept carries on the development of this production model, first announced with last year’s Vision Concept.

The production version of the Lagonda SUV will begin production at the new St Athan facility in Wales in 2022. Drivetrain and performance details have not been announced, however, we do know that the Lagonda uses a system similar to the Tesla Model X. A flat ‘skateboard’ style battery pack sits close to the ground and acts as a structural part of the chassis. This gives maximum internal space.

The Concept uses suicide doors in the vein of Rolls-Royce models. To further aid entry and exit into the rear seats, the Lagonda uses a lifting roof section.

The design carries a very distinctive profile. A shorter front bonnet is possible as the Lagonda has nothing to carry in the traditional engine compartment. As a result, the cabin sits further forward than normal. The rear also gets a rakish overhang. In short, it is like nothing we have seen before. It features plenty of gimmicks too. For example, the key is said to float between the front seats “thanks to the wonder of electromagnets”.

Aston Martin AM-RB 003 Hypercar Unveiled!

The Aston Martin Project 003 announcement today at the Geneva Motor Show 2019 confirmed that the British brand will collaborate with Red Bull Racing once again. The project becomes known as the Aston Martin AM-RB 003 for now with the official name to be unveiled at a later date.

The AM-RB 003 makes greater concessions to practicality and road use than the Valkyrie, the model upon which it is based. The idea is to create a car that is less extreme but shares the same basic ethos. It gets a pronounced front keel and large rear diffuser, with the underfloor generating the bulk of the downforce.

Aston Martin has also confirmed next-generation aircraft morphing technology, to create a variable airfoil across the entirety of the rear wing. The application of FlexFoil is a first for production cars. The design allows downforce to be changed without changing the physical angle of the entire element.

The new lamp shapes at the front and rear give the Aston Martin AM-RB 003 a look of its own. The shape is different but the internals are taken directly from the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

AM-RB 003’s design brief includes greater cockpit space. It uses LMP1-style doors to achieve this. They open forwards taking a section of roof with them. The centre console has been widened, while luggage space is provided via a terrace behind the seats.

The cockpit prescribes to something Aston Martin call ‘Apex Ergonomics’. To start with, the centreline of the driver’s back, steering wheel and pedals are all perfectly aligned. A display screen mounted on the steering column allows for the best possible view through the steering wheel and infotainment is delivered through a smartphone. The setup is extremely minimalist.

Under the rear hatch will sit Aston Martin’s new hybrid turbo V6 engine. It is the first Aston Martin engine designed in-house for the modern era. The AM-RB 003 will be strictly limited to 500 coupes worldwide. It should compete with the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder category of hypercars.

Koenigsegg Jesko: Agera Successor Revealed at Geneva

Koenigsegg have officially announced the replacement for the Agera! The Koenigsegg Jesko has been unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2019 and will be available in two version, a road car and a track car. The car itself has been named after Christian’s father, Jesko von Koenigsegg, who was unaware of the tribute until it was announced at the show earlier today.

The Jesko is built around a re-designed twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It gets a new 180 degree flat-plane crankshaft, intake and larger turbochargers. Flat-plane crankshafts normally suffer from increased vibration which Koenigsegg have addressed with active engine mounts lifted from the Agera. An innovative air-injection system pre-spools the turbocharger for instant response.

The V8 produces 1,280 hp running on regular fuel with the flexfuel E85 option allowing 1,600 hp in some markets. Torque reaches 1,500 Nm at 5,100 rpm. The transmission is another unique design. It is a 9-speed multi-clutch unit that dispenses with traditional synch rings yet allows lightning fast changes between any gear. It weighs just 90 kg in total, lighter than a comparable dual clutch unit.

The Koenigsegg Jesko sits on a carbon fibre monocoque, 40 mm longer and 22 mm taller than the Agera allowing additional head and leg room. The triplex damper returns at the rear wheels and an additional version has been added to the front. Koenigsegg have incorporated rear wheel steering too. Carbon fibre wheels are an option and are larger than those found on the Agera RS.

The Koenigsegg Jesko is a master in aerodynamics too. The rear wing is active, similar to the later Agera models. The front splitter is also deeper than ever before with active under body flaps working to maximise downforce. Even the wing mirrors are optimised to produce 20 kg of downforce each! At 275 km/h, the Jesko produces 1,000 kg of downforce.

The bodywork gets a new Koenisgeg technology called Autoskin. It uses electrics and miniaturised hydraulics to operate the doors and hood. This means that the Koenisegg remote key can be used to open most parts of the car. The roof lifts out of the Jesko, as with most Koenigsegg models.

Inside, a new TFT touchscreen is included, inductive phone charging, Bluetooth connectivity and USB inputs. The infotainment system uses a 5 inch racing display mounted to the steering wheel and a 9 inch central display. Two touchscreens on the steering wheel control other aspects of the car.

Pricing and market launch are yet to be revealed with Koenigsegg hoping to sell the Jesko to customers in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East!

Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster: Hardcore GT R Goes Topless

The Mercedes-AMG GT R was officially unveiled in June 2016 ahead of the Goodwood Festival of Speed that year. Almost three years have passed without a convertible counterpart. We recently saw a facelifted version of that car. Today we finally get to see a convertible version in the form of the Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster!

The new Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster is only going to be available as a limited production model. Mercedes-AMG plans to produce 750 of the hardcore roadsters. Its release extends the count of the AMG GT variants to 16, five two-door coupes, four roadsters, two race cars and five four-door coupes.

Under the front bonnet sits a 4.0 litre V8, bi-turbocharged engine producing 585 hp and 700 Nm of torque. In the Roadster, it allows a 100 km/h sprint in just 3.6 seconds with a top speed of 317 km/h.

As with the coupe, it gets an AMG specific grill. The new LED headlights are also shared with the coupe together with the styling and active aerodynamics incorporated into the front end. As with the C Roadster, the R Roadster sits 46 millimeters wider at the front and 57 millimeters wider at the rear. The rear wing is fitted to the bootlid.

The new model also gets the ‘AMG Dynamics’ settings for the stability control functions with Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master settings. Active rear wheel steering is included as standard.

Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster

The 10 spoke wheels are exclusive to the AMG GT R and measure 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear. The brake callipers are painted in yellow and are hidden under the matt black finish of the wheels.

The three-layer fabric soft top gets acoustic matting to reduce noise. The exterior gets graphite grey magno matt paint, an exclusive colour. There are 14 other colours choices. An AMG carbon fibre package adds carbon fibre elements to various exterior elements.

The AMG GT R Roadster also gets the tech carried over from the facelift models. This includes the new configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument display and a central multimedia display with a new 10.25-inch screen and updated graphics. It gets the new steering wheel with capacitive buttons and TFT screens. The AMG Interior Night Package comes as standard.