All posts in “Car News”

IAA Frankfurt 2019: Mercedes-Benz EQS Live Photos

The IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 is underway. We caught up with the Mercedes-Benz EQS on the show floor.

The Concept debuts a new set of Digital Light headlamps which use two holographic lens modules. The LED’s in the rear also create a light belt across the car. The digital front grille uses 188 individual LED’s to create a light matrix, repeating the Mercedes-Benz star continuously.

Inside, the cockpit uses a long dashboard, combined with armrests and a centre console to envelop the driver. The surfaces are finished in sustainable material, Dinamica microfibre in crystal white and maple trim. The roof liner is made from recycled PET ocean waste plastic.

The powertrain is integrated into the floor of the EQS Concept. An electric all-wheel-drive system distributes approximately 470 hp (350 kW) of power with 760 Nw of torque on demand. 100 km/h is dispatched in just 4.5 seconds. The batteries in the show car perform well enough to offer a 700 km range with a 350 kW charge offering 80% battery in just 20 minutes.

For more from the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2019, check out our dedicated news feed. For more from the Mercedes-Benz EQS, take a look at our earlier article.

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Audi AI:TRAIL quattro – Electric Off-Roader to be Revealed at IAA 2019

The bi-annual Frankfurt Motor Show is getting closer. We are starting the heat about what to expect. One of the concepts to be unveiled is the Audi AI:TRAIL quattro, an all-electric off-roader concept.

The Audi AI:TRAIL quattro is the last of four concepts unveiled since the Frankfurt Show in 2017, which preview Audi’s future. These included the Aicon concept car which debuted at the 2017 Frankfurt Show, the PB18 e-tron sportscar and the Audi AI-ME Concept which debuted at Shanghai earlier this year.

The Audi AI:TRAIL quattro is very experimental. It features a boxy shape with short overhangs and a set of massive off-road tyres. It’s no thinly veiled production model! Instead, it provides an insight into how the off-road segment might evolve in the future.

When the Audi AI:TRAIL quattro makes its debut in Frankfurt next month, it will be on display alongside the other three concepts.

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Thanks to Urus, Lamborghini Now Valued at $11 Billion

Bloomberg recently published a report on the Italian brand Lamborghini. Long seen as a competitor for Ferrari, the two have moved further apart in recent years with Ferrari pursuing a public offering while Lamborghini has remained under the wing of parent company Lamborghini.

As a result, Lamborghini has been able to benefit from group platforms with the release of an SUV, the Lamborghini Urus. The Bloomberg report focuses on the sale effect that the Urus has had. Last year, Lamborghini saw sales rise 51% to 5,750 units, including more than 1,700 Urus models.

This year, further improvements are expected with the U.S. leading the charge. The US market accounts for three times as many car sales as any other region.

These successes mean that Bloomberg’s analysts have placed a valuation of $11 billion. Of course, this means nothing in circumstances where Volkswagen Group has no plans to sell the Italian brand, yet it makes for some interesting comparison.

Ferrari closed on Friday with a market capitalisation (the value of all of its shares) of €26.83 billion making it more than two times as valuable as its competitor. Aston Martin, on the other hand, closed at £1.08 billion. With Volkswagen’s market cap at €71.53 billion, Lamborghini appears to have some value to the German behemoth!

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Pikes Peak Collection: 6 McLaren 600LT Spiders Delivered in US

We have seen before how McLaren’s dealership network creates unique collections for its customers. All manner of special editions are possible through MSO, McLaren Denver recently took full advantage. This special edition run of McLaren 600LT’s has been named the Pikes Peak Collection and consists of 6 600LT Spider’s.

Each example is different to the next. The cars were revealed a month ago, inspired by the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Each car is finished in MSO Bespoke or MSO Heritage paintwork – Black Gold, White Gold, Nerello Red, Volcano Red, Aurora Blue and Midas Grey. All 6 get a gold and matte black vinyl stripe over the hood and roof, as well as Satin Speedline Gold Wheels.

Inside, the theme continues. A Satin Gold centre band is applied to the steering wheel, extended paddle shifters and contrast stitching. The headrest features the Pikes Peak logo in gold embroidery, and a dedication plaque reading “Pikes Peak Collection 1 of 6”. All 6 cars get the MSO Club Sport Pack, which features carbon fibre cantrails, carbon fibre front fender louvres and titanium wheel bolts, as well as the Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing seats found in the McLaren Senna.

The rest of the package is identical to the rest of the McLaren 600LT Spiders. This means power is provided by a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 which produces 600 hp and 620 Nm of torque.

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VW ID.R Goes to China for Big Gate Road Record Attempt

Not content with the record’s it has already managed to secure, Volkswagen has announced a date for its Tianmen Mountain, Big Gate Road, record run.

The Volkswagen ID.R has been travelling the world breaking records at the hands of Romain Dumas. In recent years it has secured the overall record time for the spikes Peak International Hill Climb, the electric car record for the Nurburgring and the overall record time for the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb.

The Big Gate Road

Each time, Volkswagen has adapted the ID R for its record breaking runs. The secret to its success lies within its 680 hp electronic motors which give it a 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time of 2.25 seconds. It is Volkswagen’s first electric race car with the chassis co-developed by Norma, French Sports Prototype and hillclimb specialists.

The challenge this time is to set a competitive time up China’s Heaven’s Gate (or Big Gate) Mountain road. The road opened in 2006 and has since been the scene for many feats of endurance. Very few cars have been allowed to race up the 11 km (7 mile) road with its 99 bends. While the resulting run will likely prove impressive promotional material, ultimately, Volkswagen will be setting a benchmark rather than attempting to beat one this time around!

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Special Edition Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT Celebration Revealed

Lamborghini have unveiled a second special edition model for Pebble Beach this weekend. The Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT Celebration debuts as a celebration of Lamborghini’s recent successes at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The design pays hommage to two successful Lamborghini customer Racing Teams, the GRT Grasser Racing Team and Paul Miller Racing. GRT scored a first in class at Daytona for two years running and a class win at Sebring this year, while Paul Miller Racing secured the class win at Sebring last year. Both run cars in the GTD class.

Both teams use the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo which also inspires this special edition. The models will be completed through Lamborghini’s Ad Personum program with this example wearing Verde Egeria green and Arancio Aten orange. A total of nine design combinations are possible.

Hexagons on the doors and front hood frame the number “11”. Customers will also be able to personalise the body with the Lamborghini Squadra Corse shield. Laurel wreaths placed on the rear fender proudly display Lamborghini’s racing wins.

Inside, the upholstery comes finished in Alcantara with contrasting stitching in the same colour as the livery. A hexagonal plate with shield, flags and laurels is displayed between the new racing seats.

Otherwise, this special edition features the same running gear as the recently updated Lamborghini Huracan Evo. This means a 5.2 litre, naturally aspirated V10 engine with 640 hp and 600 Nm of torque.

The Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT Celebration is available exclusively for the US market.

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Novitec Rework Ferrari 488 Pista to 800 hp

Novitec have applied their expertise to the latest Ferrari, the Ferrari 488 Pista. The Pista is the most extreme variation of the 488, yet it is not extreme enough for Novitec it seems. Novitec package adds some significant power gains, aerodynamic parts and a set of cosmetic tweaks.

The Ferrari V8 receives an ECU tune and a new Inconel exhaust system. These small changes release a 82 hp and 128 Nm of torque. In total, the Novitec 488 Pista now produces 802 hp and 898 Nm of torque. The improvements boost performance such that it takes just 2.7 seconds to reach 100 km/h and top speed increases to 345 km/h.

Alongside the Novitec performance package, a set of hi-tech forged wheels have been provided by American manufacturer Vossen. They measure 22 inches on the pictured model but further options are available.

The front facia receives a Novitec spoiler blade and a new front hood moulding. New rocker panels have been fitted and carbon coverings are available for the side mirrors and the window triangles. A new spoiler lip at the rear and carbon surrounds for the taillights finish the look.

Black details have been added to the side indicators, reflectors and third brake light. A new hydraulic suspension system lowers ride height by 35 mm, this can be raised by 40 mm at the touch of a button, automatically retracting at 80 km/h.

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Bentley Corniche Lost in France During WW2 Brought to Life by Mulliner

With emission and safety regulations increasingly dictating the design and function of modern vehicles, there has been renewed interest in classic models. Companies such as Jaguar have capitalised with continuation models of the D Type. Others offer restoration services. Bentley are the latest to announce work carried out on a classic model, the 1939 Bentley Corniche.

Bentley are calling this particular car “the missing link”. It seems to be a model that was lost, the only 1939 Corniche ever made. The original Corniche was lost during the outbreak of World War II. Bentley had sent the only version across the channel for testing. It was crashed in August 1939 and, while making its way back to Derby, got caught in a bombing raid on Dieppe.

The chassis made its way back to Derby but the bodywork was lost in France. Using the original technical drawings, Milliner were able to recreate the bodywork down to the smallest detail. While both chassis and bodywork are entirely new, the project is said to be identical to the original 1939 Bentley Corniche.

It is of course the first project Mulliner has undertaken in the classic arena. Traditionally reserved for Bentley’s modern vehicles, Mulliner’s expansion has allowed it to undertake the project. It was originally started by a dedicated external team in 2001, before money ran out and Bentley made an offer to bring it in house. The project has been run by Ken Lea; Robin Peel, Head of Heritage; Ian Broomhall, Mulliner Operations Manager and Glyn Davies, Mulliner Special Projects leader.

It is described as Bentley’s missing link due to the step change in design language. It is the link between the highly successful pre-war racers and the style icons that followed; the R Type Continental for example. It will make its debut at Salon Prive next month.

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Top 9 Cars of the Chantilly Concours d’Elegance 2019

The Chantilly Concours d’Elegance took place this weekend under the record-breaking June sun. In the middle of a heatwave which has seen France record its highest temperatures since records began, a carefully curated field of Concours cars were wheeled out for a grand celebration.

The Chantilly Concours Arts and Elegance is a relative new Concours first organized in 2014. Celebrating its 5th anniversary this year the organizers Peter Auto have announced it will be an bi-annual event from next year onwards taking turns with Classic Le Mans which also takes place every two years. It was my first time at the Chantilly Concours and the location at the beautiful Chateau du Chantilly just North of Paris and the fantastic line-up of cars from all eras was quite surprising. The Chantilly Concours is much larger than Villa d’Este and Salon Prive without any dilution in quality. You will struggle for time to see all there is to see in one day.

The show is split into two parts with the modern Concours running under the banner of “Chantilly Concours d’Elegance” while a historic Concours event runs in tandem, named “Chantilly Councours D’Etat”. With over 100 entries the Concours D’Etat offered a glimpse in over 100 years of motoring history. We particularly liked the Gandini designs and the Avions-Voisins with the unique Aerodyne from the 1930s among others.

Chantilly Concours d’Elegance Nominees

The entrants in the Concours d’Elegance category contains nine concept cars from a range of different brands. Some are very close to production; like the Lexus Concept LC Cabriolet which will hit the market nearly unchanged and the McLaren Speedtail of which 105 cars will be produced. Others are more visions for the future which we will probably never see on the road like the DS X E-Tense with its asynchrone design and the Renault EZ-Ultimo with its yacht like interior design.

We decided to rank the nine contenders based on design, innovation and market significance.

9. Lexus Concept LC Cabriolet (2019)

The Lexus Concept LC Cabriolet is last in our ranking as it lacks innovation and market significance. Going into production virtually unchanged it is just another convertible with a few design gimmicks. Not a car that will stand out in a few years time.

Lexus Concept LC Cabriolet

8. Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Continuation (2019)

Aston Martin’s continuation project is an interesting one. Recreating their most successful, significant and stylish cars of the past is something we enjoy. But since we rank the cars by a strict set of parameters it ends second to last.

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Chantilly 2019

BMW Vision M Next (2019)

With the last two positions out of the way the competition stiffens and the top 7 contenders all score decent points. The BMW Vision M Next is unveiled only last week at the BMW Next conference in Munich. It continues the concept introduced with the BMW i8; a small combustion engine combined with a battery powered electric drivetrain. The front looks great but the rear design reminds us too much of a Lamborghini even though inspiration is said to be taken from the M1.

BMW Vision M Next Chantilly 2019

6. Honda E Prototype (2019)

6th place goes to the Honda E-prototype. A new close-to-production compact electric cars with a cool retro design, good proportions and a clean interior.

Honda E Prototype Chantilly 2019

5. DS X E-Tense (2018)

The asynchrone DS X E-Tense is the Ferrari SP1 and SP2 merged into one. Add an electric drivetrain and autonomous functionality and you have the weirdest concept we have seen in years. But it is weird in a funky good kind of way.

DS X E-Tense Chantilly 2019 (3)

4. Renault EZ-Ultimo (2018)

Another concept car from Chantilly’s home soil. The Renault EZ-Ultimo is a full autonomous luxury car that reminds us of the Mercedes-Benz F015. It is by far the biggest car here and features a luxurious yacht-style interior with a combination of wood, leather and marble.

Renault EZ-Ultimo

3. Bugatti La Voiture Noire (2019)

One of Bugatti’s highlights this year celebrating the company’s 110th anniversary. La Voiture Noire is inspired by a particular 1930s Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic with the same name whose whereabouts and fate are unknown to this day. The one-off is the world’s most expensive new car with a price tag of 11 million euro excluding taxes. Design highlights include OLED lights and an elegant side silhouette with aggressive front and rear styling.

Bugatti La Voiture Noire

2. Volkswagen ID. Buggy (2019)

The most eye-catching and fun car of the nine nominees is the Volkswagen ID. Buggy. This full-electric beach buggy has a very clean and functional design inside and out. It is inspired by the Volkswagen Buggys of the 1970s. Like its predecessor VW can imagine providing the chassis to third party companies so they can create the ID. Buggy based on VWs new electric MEB platform like the original buggys who were built by third parties as a kit car based on the Kafer chassis.

Volkswagen ID. Buggy

1. McLaren Speedtail (2018)

McLaren Speedtail

The McLaren Speedtail is the modern reincarnation of the legendary McLaren F1. It comes with three seats and will be the McLaren with the highest top speed (403 km/h). Shown for the first time in a new paint called Saragon Quartz it looks absolutely stunning.

Photo: Yaron Esposito

Official Chantilly Councours d’Elegance Winners

McLaren Speedtail

‘Best in Show’

McLaren Speedtail Rear

Volkswagen ID. Buggy

‘Spectators Choice’

Chantilly Councours D’Etat Winners

Bentley 8 Litre Foursome Coupé (1931)

Best of Show (Pre-War)

Bentley 8 Litre Foursome Coupé

Photo: New Atlas

Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé (1948)

Best of Show (Post-War)

Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé

Photo: New Atlas

Additional Photos by: Yaron Esposito

New BAC Mono R Unleashed at Goodwood 2019

British lightweight specialists Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) has officially launched an all-new model, the BAC Mono R. Revealed yesterday at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019, the single seater is an extreme evolution of the iconic Mono design. It adds performance, a weight reduction and advancements in aerodynamics to refine the Mono platform.

Cutting straight to the chase, the Mono R sheds 25 kg from the standard Mono. That figure might not seem impressive at first glance, however, considering that the Mono weighed just 580 kg to begin with, the weight reduction amounts to a 4.3% weight saving!

Power from the 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine is also increased from 305 bhp up to 340 bhp. The improvements have been realised with the help of Mountune who set about increasing the cylinder bore size and reducing the billet crankshaft stroke. Maximum rpm is now increased from 7,800 rpm to 8,800 rpm. The power boost helps to deliver 136 bhp per litre wit a power to weight ratio of 612 bhp-per-tonne.

All body panels have been redesigned with 44 carbon parts restyled for a more aggressive look. The front includes a sharper nose with new LED headlights mounted centrally in the nose. The most obvious change is the Formula-inspired ram-air inlet system which boosts performance. The Mono R sits 20 mm lower and measures 25 mm longer than the standard Mono.

The body panels use a new graphene-enhanced carbon fibre which is said to be stronger and lighter with “improved mechanical and thermal performance”. Parts have also been 3D printed in high-performance polymers to create complex shapes. Select magnesium chassis and transmission components help remove 2.55 kg’s of weight from each corner. A new titanium exhaust system and a set of AP Racing brakes finish the modifications.

The changes allow for a 60 mph sprint in just 2.5 seconds with a 170 mph top speed. The price of such extreme solitude is £190,950. Despite the hefty price, the lightweight Mono R has a sold out production run of 30 model with the first deliveries set to begin during the fourth quarter of 2019!

BitCar: A New Way to Own Rare and Expensive Supercars/Hypercars

A new cryptocurrency recently caught our attention. Named BitCar, it’s founders Gov van Ek, and John Bulich are offering fractional ownership in supercars. The idea is that cars like the Ferrari 599 GTO can be fractionally owned with the fractions traded over a blockchain market. The company is exhibiting at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019 and has recently started on the Ethereum public network.

The car is purchased by the company and used to secure the cryptocurrency. In essence, the cars are security for the currency. If things go wrong then the car can still be sold and the fractional ownership redeemed. It’s not clear who would pay the cost in such a situation though. Clearly, it the value in the market fell significantly the the CAR tokens would suffer a similar loss of value.

In a practical sense, owners will buy into CAR tokens which are purchased using a utility token, BITCAR. Once purchased, the CAR token holders can vote on day-to-day decisions taken in respect of their cars.

The company also appears to offer what it describes as a “live auction platform” which allows users to eventually trade their way through fractional ownership to the point where they can purchase 100% ownership of an exotic which could then be taken out of the platform.

To us, it sounds like a risky venture. At the end of its press release, BitCar warns “Disclaimer: Exotic car values can go up or down and past performance is no reflection of future prices. The BitCar platform will be closed in certain jurisdictions including the USA, Portugal, Singapore and Australia.” Would you consider investing in a car-related cryptocoin?

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.

Audi SQ8 TDI Review

In the wake of the diesel-gate scandal, public scrutiny of Diesel engined passenger vehicles has been intense. It seemed that the diesel engine had been condemned. Both Porsche and Bentley have taken the decision to remove high-performance diesel engines from their ranges. Governments have also moved to make diesel ownership less attractive. It made us wonder whether there was a future for the diesel engine. Clearly, Audi thinks that there is with the announcement of the Audi SQ8 TDI!

Audi has re-geared its range in response to the changing markets. It now offers more petrol alternatives in segments traditionally dominated by diesel. The benefits of a diesel engine have always been superior economy and low-down torque. These qualities are being replicated in with a growing number of clever hybrid models. Using electronic motors, most manufacturers have been able to increase power and performance across the rev-range while also boosting efficiency.

Audi’s SQ8 TDI uses the best of both worlds; a twin-turbocharged, 4.0 litre V8 power unit with mild hybrid technology. The 48-volt system powers an electronic compressor which fills the turbo gap in the same way as Audi’s petrol units. Power is rated at 435 hp and a barnstorming 900 Nm of torque. All told, this makes the SQ8 a very quick machine. Power is routed through an eight-speed tiptronic gearbox. Audi quotes a 100 km/h sprint time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed limited to 250 km/h.

The technology does not take away from the fact that the SQ8 is still powered by diesel. After all, there are downsides. Despite Audi’s best intentions, the sound is industrial, not sonorous. Those quad-exhausts put out a consistent rumble, not a bad sound (and definitely indicative of the supreme pulling power) but it is unable to compete with similarly powered petrol engines. As a result, the SQ8 TDI lacks in the dramatics department. That said, the sound is subtle, something which might appeal to the type of buyers Audi hopes to attract.

The chassis is also helped technology. The SQ8 TDI is a near 2.5 tonne SUV. To control that weight and the new turn of pace, Audi has made air suspension standard all round. Options fitted to our test vehicle included all-wheel steering, the rear sport differential and electromechanical active roll stabilisation. The latter is particularly interesting, carried over from the Bentley Bentayga, the anti-roll bars actively decouple in a straight line to allow a more compliant ride. The combination of features makes for a well-controlled ride.

Audi SQ8 TDI Review

The Audi drive select system allows a variety of different settings from comfort through to dynamic modes. As with most setups these days, we found individual mode to be the best of all. Being able to isolate the characteristics, combining a comfort chassis setup with dynamic steering in traffic on a country road, gives the SQ8 an impressive range of skills. Our one criticism is that Audi’s drive select function can be a little difficult to navigate, buried in the central infotainment system. Switching between settings requires diverting your attention away from the road. At times, individual buttons might seem to provide greater accessibility.

No amount of chassis wizardry can help the SQ8 TDI escape the fact that it is a very heavy car, not much suited to narrow mountain roads. The combination of torque vectoring systems and all-wheel steering gives the SQ8 a fair run into the corners with little body roll. Grip is available but is limited by the laws of physics! Truth be told, most SQ8 TDI owners will use their vehicles on the highway or in the city. The majority won’t see this as a limitation.

The SQ8 TDI is instantly recognisable from the outside. Traditional Audi S-badge traits are present. These include a set of silver, brushed aluminium-effect wing mirrors, quad-exhaust pipes, larger wheels and a lower stance. The single-frame grille gets the same silver colouring applied to the frame. It is the traditional blend of subtle changes which are important to the overall feel of the car.

Interior comfort is typical of Audi. Very few changes have been made over the rest of the range. This is for good reason. The Audi interior works very well with comfortable seats incorporating air conditioning, heaters and massage functions. It has a head-up display and plenty of space in the rear. The only noticeable addition comes in the form of optional carbon fibre trim.

The Infotainment system is superb. The digital dashboard is clear with two views and information customised to preference. The traditional dual disks can be replaced at the touch of a button to reveal a full-sized sat nav screen. This frees the central display for something different.

Audi SQ8 TDI Review

The Audi SQ8 TDI will be available in Europe, Australia and Taiwan only. Demand dictates that Audi will not sell the SQ8 in other markets. German pricing starts from 102,900 euros and grows considerably, once you add some of the must-have options to the list (rear wheel steering, electromechanical active roll stabilisation).

Diesel is alive and kicking at Audi. The SQ8 TDI is proof of that. If you are after the fastest diesel-powered luxury SUV on the market then it is the best option.

New Audi S8 Revealed with 571 hp V8

The Audi S8 has been officially revealed. Details have been released for the performance model, confirming that the range-topping limousine uses V8 power once again. The combination of power and technology is likely to place the S8 close to the top of the pile when it comes to sports-focused limousines!

The engine fitted to the S8 should be familiar by now. It featured in the Porsche Panamera Turbo two years ago and can also be found under the bonnet of the Bentley Continental GT. A 4.0-litre TFSI unit, it uses Audi’s favoured bi-turbo setup with the turbochargers mounted inside the V, supplemented by a belt-alternator started and a lithium-ion battery. The setup allows Audi to counter turbo-lag whilst also offering strong fuel efficiency through the use of coasting and cylinder on demand.

In the S8, the power unit is rated to 571 hp and 800 Nm of torque. This is enough for a 250 km/h top speed with performance figures yet to be announced. The S8 gets iron-lined cylinder barrels and actuated flaps in the exhaust system which should mean that the sound will match to sledgehammer performance.

As with other Audi models, the A8 also runs a sophisticated suspension setup. Predictive active suspension, which features as an option on the standard A8, is now delivered as standard equipment, in combination with the adaptive air suspension. The former uses cameras to determine the road surface. The Audi drive select system differs slightly from other Audi models with five profiles, including a new “Comfort+” mode. As you would expect, the suspension parameters in this mode contribute to the smoothest possible ride with the body actively leaning into curves by as much as 3 degrees to reduce lateral forces.

All-wheel steering features on the Audi S8. A sport differential is fitted to the rear wheels which pushes power to the outside wheel under heavy cornering. Both systems are fitted as standard. The ceramic brake discs are an optional extra, measuring 420 mm at the front axle and 370 mm at the rear.

Visually, the S8 gains a set of 21-inch wheels. The front bumper is enhanced, together with the side sills. Audi’s characteristic silver mirror housings and quad tailpipes are also included as part of the package. Nine exterior colours arena option with carbon trim available inside. HD matrix LED headlights with Audi laser light and OLED rear lights are optional extras. New seats are fitted with ventilation and massage functions.

The Audi S8 will be made available in China, the US, Canada and South Korea, exclusively as a long wheelbase model. Pricing has not yet been announced.

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.”

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.

Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato: Off-Road Concept Supercar Revealed

Surprisingly, Lamborghini has some history when it comes to the off-road supercar. In 1973, it released a Jarama Rally, followed by the 1974 Urraco Rally. Both cars were one-off design concepts undertaken by Lamborghini’s test driver Bob Wallace. Neither car competed in any racing at the time; this brand new Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato will likely be the same too.

Lamborghini has released a surprise concept car. This particular one-off is called the Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato and is based upon the recently-released Lamborghini Huracán EVO. The Sterrato appears to be a design concept, drawing attention to Lamborghini’s latest Huracan model, and to its two historic heritage models.

The photos show a car that gets refined ground clearance and all of the characteristics of a race car. It sits 47 mm higher up, with the car’s front approach increased by 1% and the departure angle enhanced by 6.5%. The track is wider by 30mm at both the front and rear.

The bodywork includes new bolt-on wide-body wheel arches with integrated air intakes. Underbody reinforcements and body protection have been added including a rear skid plate that acts as a diffuser, protection for the front frame and special protective composite bodywork around the engine, air intakes and mudguards.

The 20-inch rims get a new set of tyres with increased side walls and, to help the driver see through those dark rally stages, Lamborghini has equipped this concept with a roof-mounted LED light bar and LED bumper lights. Inside, the Sterrato gets a new lightweight titanium roll cage, four-point seatbelts, carbon bi-shell sports seats and aluminium floor panels.

Will we ever see a production version? The answer is almost certainly no. However, the thought of a new rally class with the addition of the Jaguar F-Type Rally Car and perhaps something special from Ferrari and McLaren has us daydreaming!

Niki Lauda Passes Away Aged 70

Niki Lauda, the iconic Austrian Formula 1 driver, passed away yesterday at the age of 70. Lauda defines an era in Formula 1, winning three world titles and, in later years, contributing to the success of the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team. He died peacefully on Monday.

Lauda first rose to fame following his 1975 Formula 1 title win. He led the 1976 championship until the 10th race when a severe accident at the Nurburgring resulted in severe burns. His story was dramatised in the film Rush which depicted Laura’s stunning return to the Formula 1 championship after just 6 weeks.

Niki with Senna just hours before fatal crash
Niki with Senna just hours before fatal crash

In later years, Lauda returned to Formula One in a managerial capacity at Ferrari. In 2001 he joined the ill fated Jaguar Formula One team. In 2012, he was appointed a non-executive chairman of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.

Lauda was also active outside of the world of Formula 1. He was a figure in the world of air travel too. He founded Lauda Air which he sold to Austrian Airlines in 1999. He moved on to found a new airline named Niki which was merged with Air Berlin in 2011. His latest venture, LaudaMotion which later took back the Niki brand followed the collapse of Air Berlin in 2017. Rebranded as Lauda, the low cost airline still runs in Austria.

Portugal 1984, Niki Lauda beats Alain Prost to F1 title.
Portugal 1984, Niki Lauda beats Alain Prost to F1 title.

Lauda had been experiencing health problems in recent years. He was subject to a lung transplant in August and was hospitalised with Influenza in January. He leaves 5 children.

Rimac to Develop Two Electric Sports Cars for Hyundai and Kia

Electrification is big news these days. A push for action on climate change has resulted in a sharper focus on fossil fuel alternatives. Most car company’s are looking to electric technology to achieve strict new emissions targets set by government. You will hear no complaints from company’s like Rimac.

The Croatian company has gone from strength to strength, focusing on producing some of the highest performance battery drivetrains on the market. Rimac have announced a strategic partnership with two of the biggest names in the industry this week. Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation have invested 80 million euros to collaborate on the development of high-performance electric vehicles.

For those unfamiliar with Rimac, the Croatian company has established itself as a leader in high-performance electric vehicle technology since opening its doors in 2009. It has worked with the likes of Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, Jaguar and Pininfarina in recent times, alongside the production of its own vehicles.

The collaboration will see Rimac develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. Continuing Rimac’s tradition of working on limited production, high-end models!

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!