All posts in “Car News”

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!

AWD Hyundai i30N Coming to Rival Golf R and A35 AMG

The Hyundai i30N has received significant praise and admiration ever since its release in late 2017. It was seen as one of the ultimate ‘bang for your buck’ car with prices starting at around €30,000 in the EU. The South Korean made hot hatch provides nifty performance in a pretty package, whilst drastically undercutting the price of similar cars in the segment. Evidently, its price tag also meant that the performance wasn’t going to be dethroning the ultimate hot hatch paradigm: the VW Golf R. Until now, that is. Apparently Hyundai has an all-wheel drive Hyundai i30N in the pipeline with the intentions of boasting some impressive performance.

According to the global head of the Hyundai N sub-brand, Albert Biermann, sending power to both axels has been a serious plan for the N lineup for some time now. In addition to an AWD system N-badged cars may also receive a dual-clutch transmission in the near future – a DCT-equipped i30N is rumoured for a late 2019 release. Although nothing concrete has been confirmed at this point, it would be a logical step for Hyundai to continue the success of the i30N by entering into the next echelon of performance.

The standard i30N boasts 247 horsepower, which can be amped up to 271 with an additional performance package. Under the hood lies a four-cylinder 2.0-litre T-GDI turbo engine delivering 353Nm torque to the front wheels. The standard i30 N does the 0-100 km/h dash in a mere 6.4 seconds before attaining a top speed of 250 km/h. Upgrading to the performance package reduces the 0-100 km/h time by three tenths of a second to 6.1, though top speed remains at the electronically limited maximum of 250 km/h. This only makes you wonder: what figures will the AWD model have?

2020 Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 Leaked on Configurator

Mercedes-AMG recently made a mistake. The mistake resulted in a brief glimpse of the upcoming Mercedes-AMG CLA 45!

Released earlier this year, the new CLA has already received a mild Mercedes-AMG CLA 35, AMG’s new entry level model. Fans of the compact sedan are waiting for the more potent Mercedes-AMG CLA 45.

The 45 engine is expected to be released with the A Class later this year. Figures leaked by a German insurance firm early this year suggest that the A 45 will get a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder unit with a slightly improved 382 bhp power unit. Mercedes-AMG will also offer an S variant which looks set to become the most powerful hot hatch, rated at 416 bhp. We are expecting some form of hybrid assistance.

The photo shows a car that looks visually similar to the recently released A 35. The rear boot lid gets a small spoiler and there are large rear wheel vents. What gives it all away are the quad tailpipes.

The photo is an early view of the CLA 45. It isn’t expected to debut until later this year, certainly following the A 45.

Special Report: Unfiltered Driving Pleasure and The Morgan 3 Wheeler

I am a rather odd 25 year old. I carry a pocket watch, read leather bound Charles Dickens novels, send wax sealed letters and spend my Sunday mornings in quiet coffee shops turning the pages of The Financial Times. I am repulsed by the notion that the youth of today meet on inelegant apps to fulfill their lower desires before waking up next to a stranger attempting to remember their consorts name whilst watching vacuous Love Island – take a bow Tinder.

Oh how I yearn to be from days past. That being said, I will always use the latest generation of iPhone, not to use aforementioned dating applications, but to revel and take advantage of the greatest things of this era. I am a sucker for social media, not to share selfies (or nudes) but to share a bisected smudge of a recent escapade overseas where details are left scarce and the best memories remain to be shared over dinners and re-run in the minds of those that inspired such journeys and whom I had the immeasurable pleasure of creating moments to cherish for my remaining days on earth. My social media channels are a dot-to-dot, the gaps between the black blots are not for news feeds, tweets or snapchats.

Old school thrills are what I want, but with the added comfort of modern tech to clean up the spills. I want to walk through a forest with my phone on airplane mode to free myself of the shackles to instant contact before getting peckish and switching my 4G on to location the nearest boutique Gelataria. It’s so easy to forget the best things are far removed from the comforts of technology and the bustle and noise of the rat race.

This brings me onto a machine like no other – the Morgan 3 Wheeler. I refer to it as a machine as I do not see it as a car, but a mode of transport that not only moves you from one place to another, but into a different era. Modern cities are choked by articulated lorries, buses and so many Prius Ubers that you would need an abacus to keep count. Cars these days are a commodity that are used not for pleasure, but for convenience.

The romance of the automobile is dead. Think back to the 1900s, specifically France – there were less than 3,000 cars in the entire country. Tyre manufacturer Michelin wanted to encourage the use of the motor car so created the infamous Michelin Guide. It was first published in 1900 and was designed to get people onto the roads and drive to restaurants and hotels. It was the introduction of driving pleasure in a bound book, and it was free until 1922.

Imagine reading about a spectacular hotel or Michelin starred restaurant, calling out to your spouse to get ready to go for a drive and just driving. I need not imagine, this is something I try to do as frequently as possible, as I said – I’m a rather bizarre 25 year old.

Back to that machine – the Morgan 3 Wheeler. When you have such a car you don’t think about taking the Morgan to nip into the office, or to drive to the local supermarket – it’s back to basics pared back approach leaves no space for groceries and the lack of a roof means this isn’t a car for your daily commute. No, the Morgan 3 Wheeler is the machine you reserve for those special escapes to the country to enjoy a drive to a picnic in a lavender field, ice cream by the seaside or an anniversary dinner in town. It is the ultimate mode of transport to whisk you to the weekend treat you indulge in for no purpose other than merriment.

I spent a week with the Mog and such a short amount of time meant that I did not have the luxury of being able to check out the weather forecast and pick and splendid day to enjoy the Mog in. I commuted to work in it for four consecutive days through rain, hail, lightning and sleet. I imagine I would receive fewer glances, requests for photos and questions if I wore a tutu and ballet pumps around central London than I did driving the 3 Wheeler around town in a hail storm. What’s bizarre is just how happy and friendly spectators are to the driver of such a thing. I’ve driven a plethora of supercars on the same commute and people look but never want you to notice that they’ve looked as if they feel you do not deserve the satisfaction. The stark opposite is experienced in the Morgan. There are thumbs up, smiles, approving nods and pedestrians jostle for the best selfie angle with the car at traffic lights.

The attention could only be akin to an a-list celebrity strutting to lunch during London Fashion Week. It really had people tripping over one another to catch a second glance.

Driving to work in changeable conditions was surprisingly pleasant, but as I mentioned, it is by no means the primary focus of such a toy. The weekend came and it was time to escape the big smoke for greener pastures and rolling hills of the country. I called up a couple of friends and told them we were going for a drive. Country roads are where you can really put the 3 Wheeler through its paces – unfortunately for me there is a lot of motorway driving to get to such exciting roads.

I’ll be lying if I said that the Morgan was in its element on a motorway cruise – it’s bone shakingly hard and the wind noise and chill above 60 miles per hour is enough to have to down with a cold for months to come. The harsh winds of the motorways care not for you layering attempts.

Mercifully, the motorway trundle with the two-cylinder S&S motorcycle blaring away at 3,500rpm ceased before tinnitus set in and all my fillings had rattled into the passenger footwell.

Empty ribbons of sweeping tarmac awaited. Before basting in at 100 miles per hour I took stock of the driving aids…or thereby lack of. Power steering, nope, traction control, absent, ABS, only the ones you earn in the gym. There really are no driver aids and you feel it in a raw and unfiltered driving experience. You quickly bond with the Morgan and learn that the steering inputs must be massive – there is a tiny turning circle, that you cannot take liberties on down shifts or the single rear wheel with lock up and scare the shit out of you. Don’t think about compensating for this by braking harder, you’ll lock up and see the giant bicycle tyres doing so in front of you. There’s a way to drive a three wheeler and it doesn’t take long to learn it.

You get into a flow, a rhythm and suddenly you forget about the frostbite you’re earning and that your girlfriend in the passenger seat is inevitably going to use this drive against you when she nexts suggests you visit her parents.

It is a magnificent experience and one that you’ll be able to access doing 40 miles an hour, not 100 as you need to be doing in a supercar on the same roads.

This isn’t a car you’ll buy with your logical adult mind. It’s a toy that your inner child will beg you have in the garage and take out on a sunny day for a sunrise blast on your favourite B road. You’ll also need a few other cars in the garage and I suspect the typical 3 Wheeler owner has a serious collection for the Morgan to join. It is a real enthusiasts dream – a machine with no real purpose other than putting a giant blinding smile on your face – there are few cars in production today that are as pure or demanding than the 3 Wheeler and for that we must applaud Morgan and celebrate this little gem.

Aston Martin ‘DBS 59’ Pays Homage to 1959 Le Mans Win

The Aston Martin DBS has been a resounding success, that much is sure. The revived DBS has drawn acclaim from all quarters, holding its own against esteemed competition from the Italian stables of Ferrari. To capitalise on this success, Aston Martin have been offering limited edition models. The latest pays homage to the company’s 1959 win at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

As with most special edition Aston Martin’s, this one has been ordered through the Q by Aston Martin service, on Commission by Aston Martin Cambridge. The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera ‘DBS 59’ will be a limited run of 24 special edition DBS Superleggeras.

The special edition model honours Aston Martin’s historic 1-2 finish in the DBR1 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Aston Martin fans will recall that Roy Salvadori and Caroll Shelby drove the DBR1 to an overall victory. The ‘DBS 59’ is said to honour the DBR1 through “specially engineered styling cues”.

The DBS 59 Arrives finished in Aston Martin Racing Green. Carbon fibre hints at the thoroughly modern nature of the DBR1 while bronze details emulate the winning car, details such as the ‘Superleggera’ bonnet badging, bespoke front grille, brake callipers and 21” forged Y spoke satin duotone wheels. Further bespoke touches include the individually numbered roundel painted on the fender, and the bespoke tyre wall arrow decal.

Inside the cabin, the DBS gets Obsidian Black and Chestnut Tan leather as its main surfaces. Q by Aston Martin also had the opportunity to analyse the original seat material used on the DBR1. It recreated that same weave with each seat back and door insert trimmed in heritage style material. The bronze details continue on the inside too, with unique bronze shift paddles and a bespoke ‘59 Edition’ logo embroidered on the seatback.

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 BMW M850i Cabriolet Review

The BMW 8 Series was a car of huge significance for the German titan. It represented a vast step up for its coupe game, the mildly opulent 6 Series became a full bodied GT car – well I thought so anyway. BMW are adamant, stubborn, nigh on hellbent on insisting that the 1955 kilogram, 4.8 meter long hunk is a ‘sports car’. In my mind, you say sports car and a 911 pops into my head, not the 992, but that is a story for another time.

The M850i Coupe is the only 8 Series I had driven until I landed in sun soaked Faro, Portugal – the other option being an 840d that many claim suits the cars character far better than the V8. BMW had lobbed the top off the coupe and I was here to put the M850i Cabriolet through its paces.

In my mind I was pleased that I would have the opportunity to drive the 8 Series as a Cabriolet, not because I like the wind passing over my balding scalp, but because I imagined it would feel even more like a GT and not a sports car.

So what are the headlines? Very similar to the coupe – there’s the same new 4.4-litre, twin turbocharged V8 pumping out 523bhp. As the name suggests, the M850i xDrive is all-wheel drive, so it will fire you from 0-100km/h in 3.7sec, identical to the coupe despite weighing 125kg more. 

 

Sounds sporty enough? What are you moaning about? On paper, yes – it is very sporty. Start it and you still get the same vibes courtesy of some V8 roar and artificial yet amusing pops. It has certain sporting elements, but they do not come together to make this something you want to fling around a mountain pass or even a wide racetrack. The sheer size and weight juxtapose the sport touches by making you feel a little nervous that, in Cabriolet form, the 2,105 kilogram mass will not make a corner or stop where you would like it to. Don’t get me wrong, it will, but it does not feel like that is what it was built to do. 

 

It contradicts itself and removing the roof only makes you want to cruise instead of attack a pretty sweeping road. So I found myself in Faro driving roads I had previously enjoyed in an M2 Competition just cruising and topping up my brown boy tan instead of attacking apexes and chasing the redline as I had done previously. 

 

For such a purpose it is fabulous. The V8 burbles away, the steering (void of almost any feedback) is light and the whole experience is very soothing, sedate – peaceful. They you find the spec and price list and things are not so peaceful anymore. It is a very expensive piece of kit – the M850i Cabriolet starts at £107,045 before you start adding options such as the Bowers & Wilkins HiFi that you will want and special paint options that make the sensual lines of the 8 Series look their best. 

One thing you get as standard is the the roof that retracts elegantly in just 15 seconds whilst driving up to 50 km/h. The roof is also well put together, BMW claims that the Cabrio is just 2% less stiff than the Coupe, a the weight increase being a fair price to pay. 

It all comes together to make the M850i Cabriolet something that is indeed special as it feels like a premium product the cossets and makes you feel comfortable cruising whilst basking in the suns warmth.

I maintain that it is a fantastic cruiser and not a sports car. It is premium, but cannot be likened to a Bentley Continental GT C or Aston Martin DB11 Volante. Those cars warrant such price tags as they are super GT cars that sit in different leagues to the 8 Series Cabriolet. I imagine the M8 and its variants to be the bonafide sports cars that will wear an even more inflated price tag, and for good reasons. Until then, the M850i Cabriolet is there to be enjoyed as a Cabriolet to saunter to the coast or a nice dinner in.

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.

All 125 Koenigsegg Jesko Sold Out in Days

The Koenigsegg Jesko was announced only a few weeks ago at the Geneva Motor Show 2019. Koenigsegg plans to produce 125 as part of a limited production run beginning in 2021. Until that time, there is plenty to do by way of development. One thing Koenigsegg don’t need to think about is customers!

The Koenigsegg Jesko officially sold out before the was even Geneva Motor Show over! The sold-out Jesko, named after Koenigsegg founder, Christian’s father, means that Koenigsegg have nothing further to sell. Both the Jesko and the Regera are completely sold out!

Those who made the order list will be getting something very special. 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. Never short of an innovation, Koenigsegg have tackled turbo lag in the most innovative way. An air-injection system pre-spools the turbocharger for instant response.

That engine produces 1,280 hp running on regular fuel with the flexfuel E85 option allowing 1,600 hp in some markets. The power is routed to the rear wheels through a 9-speed multi-clutch gearbox unit that dispenses with traditional synch rings. Active aerodynamics are also a very part of the package.

The cost of each Jesko has yet to be announced, it is safe to assume that it exceeds 6 figures!

Upcoming Lister Knobbly Teased and Confirmed for Production

Listed has been a company of mixed fortunes through the years. Dominant through the 1950’s, the company petered into obscurity in the following years. It’s competition cars from the 1950’s are highly sought after. A few years ago, Lister was revitalised with an injection of cash from a father-son team. Since then, the company has announced production of several new models, the latest, the new Lister Knobbly!

The Lister Knobbly is purely concept at this stage, although the company have announced intentions to see it into production. Lister have released a few renderings to gauge interest. The designs show a characteristics similar to the Knobbly of the 1950’s. The front is incredibly low with a set of round headlights. The looks hint at a front-mounted engine and rear wheel drive.

Lister Knobbly

Technical details are yet to be announced. Given the history Lister maintains with fellow British marque Jaguar, we suspect the underpinnings are from the F-Type. This is unconfirmed.

The name harks back to the 1950’s race cars. While not quite as successful as the Jaguar D-Types upon which they were loosely based (using the same engine and gearbox) they were distinctive at the race track. Lister have been producing continuation versions of the original Knobbly since 2014.

2019 Porsche 992 911 Carrera Cabriolet Review

It is March in London, the pathetic fallacy of Brexit is reflected in the rainy scenes I can see from my equally dreary office desk. I’ve spent so much time indoors hiding from precipitation, I’ve started to lack vitamin D (insert lack of D joke). The doctor has prescribed sunshine and less stress. Before I have time to scurry over to the Pharmacy, Porsche call with a cure of their own – the 992 Cabriolet and a flight to Greece. Just what the doctor ordered…

A couple of days later I find myself in Attica, a short drive south of the history festooned city of Athens with the keys to a 992 Cabriolet. My expectations are high, fuelled by the logic that the Cabriolet will be just as good as the Coupe that I drove in January. Porsche engineers have a habit of sprinkling magic and witchcraft on everything they touch as of late, the 992 Coupe was a prime example of this – the Carrera S & 4S represent the bulk of sales and as a result, they’ve made them both so bloody good that it’s difficult to imagine just how magnificent the GTS and other future models are going to be.

Back to the present and the Cabriolet – the car I’m filling with my bags, and bananas, is a 4S – I saw this car yesterday evening and laughed at it’s gold wheels and the idea that there was a German with a sense of humour in the PR department that specced this Indian Red 911 with wheels that would look more at home on a Ferrari or classic Lotus. The very jester that configured the car reciprocated my jibe by making sure it was the car I would be driving for the rest of the trip…touché.

Enough clowning around, what is this 4S packing? Well, as you would imagine, this is essentially the same as the coupe just with the roof lobbed off. That means in S & 4S guises, the only currently available, there is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six pushing out 444bhp and 391lb ft. 444bhp doesn’t sound huge, but the numbers are eye opening.

0-100 is abolished in 3.7, or 3.6 if you check the Sport Chrono box (this takes off a tenth and adds the essential driver mode rotary dial on the steering wheel and the iconic stopwatch/clock). Three point six. That is supercar quick.

Traction in this 4S is mind bending and altered my driving style. You can enter corners with speed that is frankly ridiculous and there isn’t any understeer. You have to be an utter Neanderthal and completely misjudge a slow speed corner to make the front axle push away from the apex. Like I said, magic. The handling is spot on, as is the driving position, steering and brakes.

One criticism is the PDK gearbox – yes, it is lightning fast and handles multiple shifts with ease, but when it is in sport mode and auto, you merely brush the throttle pedal it fires in a couple of downshifts with a spike in the revs. It’s is a little nervous and makes you weary. Drive it in manual and you start to fathom why it has been calibrated with such a nervous disposition – turbo lag. Yes, this really is knit picking, but when you choose which gear you want and you pick one that leaves the analogue rev counter below 2,500 rpm, you start to feel the lag. Again, this is me trying to find fault and the gearbox will almost instantly fire the revs above this laggy layer when left in auto or if you drive it as it should be driven in manual.

Would I have the Cabriolet or the Coupe? This is a tough call and one I suspect will come down to personal preferences. Where the Pista Spider, Huracan Performante Spyder and new AMG GT R Roadster are topless track hardened supercars that make no sense to me given structural rigidity loss and added weight (take a bow McLaren with your carbon tubs), having a Carrera Cabriolet is far more understandable. Carreras are not cars for setting lap times in. The appeal of cruising and enjoying the drive is infinitely more alluring. The added wright in strengthening is far less relevant.

The interior is sublime as it is in the coupe, my gripes with the infotainment and lack of buttons and reliance on the touch screen still stand firm. It still feels alien and difficult to navigate a touchscreen whilst driving. Whether this will be alleviated over time and experience with the system is yet to be seen.

With the roof down the cabin is still comfortable and well shielded from the elements. The innovative wind deflector puts cars like the Bentley Continental GTC to shame as there is no manual labour required, just the touch of a button. The roof can be lowered or raised on the move up to 50 km/h in just 12 seconds. You can also enjoy the turbocharged whooshes and whistles far more clearly.

If I was in the market for a convertible sports car that had large luggage space and rear seats, tiny ones at that, there is only one car for the job – the 992 Porsche Carrera Cabriolet.

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: Pininfarina Battista Electric Hypercar

This is the new Pininfarina Battista, a full electric hypercar and the most powerful car to ever come from Italy.

The Battista shares its powertrain with the Rimac C_Two which is also in Geneva this week. Although the skeleton of the drivetrain is essentially the same, it has been tuned with its own unique acceleration amplitude and the drive mode characteristics. Four electric motors at each wheel combine to produce 1,900 hp. It will manage a sub-2 second 100 km/h sprint, a 300 km/h print of under 12sec and a top speed of around 350 km/h.

Only 150 units of the Battista hypercar will be made, 50 will go to the US, another 50 for the EU and the final 50 for the Middle East.

For more information on the Pininfarina Battista, See 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!

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!