All posts in “Convertible”

2020 Ferrari F8 Spider First Drive | Al fresco driving without compromise

LOS ANGELES — Humanity may be hermetically sealed off by facemasks and lockdowns, but the 2020 Ferrari F8 Spider is ferociously gulping gallons of atmosphere into the cabin as I dice through Malibu’s canyon roads. At least the al fresco exotic can button up in a pinch: Give it 14 seconds at speeds up to 28 mph, and the two-piece hardtop envelops the cockpit, shielding the Giallo Modena two-seater from breathy bystanders.

Microbes were the last thing on my mind while piloting Maranello’s roadster du jour, especially in the remote confines of the coastal Santa Monica mountain range. With a 710-horsepower twin-turbo V8 tucked behind me, it’s easy to see why: this $396,994 prancing horse absolutely rips, ticking off a claimed 62-mph time of 2.9 seconds (figure around 2.7 clicks to 60 mph). With a long enough leash, it should whisk to 211 mph.

Ferrari says Spider customers are more likely to have a passenger and less likely to visit a race track. Sounds about right. In this application, emotion does hold more sway than outright performance stats, especially when you’re traversing the perfect road with sunlight kissing you and your co-pilot. When behind the Spider’s steering wheel —  which, like an F1 car, crams buttons, switches and dials for turn signals, wipers, high beams into a concentrated space — the sense of occasion is palpable. The Spider still manages 0-60 mph and top speed numbers identical to the coupe (though .4 seconds are sacrificed on the sprint to 124 mph). But some stats still matter: The open-air model is 154 pounds heavier (though 44 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the 488 Spider), and any convertible is inevitably flexier and less responsive than its closed-roof counterpart. For those keeping score at home, there are also some nitpicky stylistic concessions that come with the cabrio. For instance, the juncture of the C-pillar to the rooftop isn’t quite as fluid, and the gorgeous, red-headed engine isn’t on display like it is in the coupe, but rather is relegated to visual anonymity.

At least the powerplant is still raucous, though its acoustic imprint is less clear in this form since the folding hardtop mechanism is nestled above it like baffled layer cake. Though the 3.9-liter V8’s thrum is still loud enough to broadcast its presence for miles, the effect is incrementally less intoxicating within the cockpit. However, the mill does become more vocal when the centrally positioned tachometer gets within sneezing distance of the 8,000-rpm redline. In both coupe and convertible form, the F8’s twin-turbo power is inarguably engaging, even if you miss the wonderfully aural experience of the late, great 458’s naturally aspirated V8. While the old model had a sensory advantage, it can’t compete with the F8’s power production, which peaks with 710 hp at 8,000 rpm and 568 pound-feet of torque at a low 3,250 rpm. Not bad for its relatively diminutive, 3.9-liter displacement.

Clicking the small, steering wheel-mounted manettino alters your driving experience dramatically. Sport, the mildest setting next to Wet, curtails power quite a bit, and keeps the F8’s tail tucked in through corners. While straight-line acceleration is breathtaking — especially when the tires are warm enough to properly hook up — in Sport mode, one could quickly forget that the mid-mounted V8 churns over 700 horsepower. It’s even easier to be deceived in the corners since the electronic aids subtly curtail engine output in order to keep things tidy. But dial the clicker up to Race, or especially TC Off (which disables traction control), and the powerplant’s furious energy unleashes with tire-spinning gusto. Despite the considerable 58.5% of weight over the rear axle, the drivetrain is simply more tenacious than the rubber, yielding easily modulated slides when the throttle is goosed. The Michelin Pilot Super Sports are exceptionally sticky, but they’re simply no match for the monster power of the blown V8.

But it’s not all mechanical grip and rear-drive brawn: this Ferrari has a few electronic tricks up its sleeve, among them a brake vectoring system that was first introduced in the 488 Pista. By braking individual wheels when necessary, the F8 feels light on its feet, ready to juke its way through the twistiest of corners with eye-opening agility. Surprisingly little of my tester’s $94,494 worth of optional equipment is dedicated to performance, though the carbon fiber steering wheel (part of a $7,593 package) does impart a feeling of steering precision by reducing rotational inertia, and the optional carbon racing buckets ($9,112) convey a more direct link between my seat-of-the-pants and the road. These are incremental (and arguably aesthetic) improvements. But hey, if you’re already window shopping a sports car that starts at $297,250 (before the $3,950 destination fee and $1,300 gas guzzler tax), what’s another $100k for bits and baubles?

Getting into a high-speed rhythm proves surprisingly easy once you’ve acclimated to the F8’s sense of athleticism and immediacy. Though not quite as manic as special performance variants like the 488 Pista (or dialed-to-11 spinoffs like the F12 TDF), you’re best off managing this bad boy with a heightened attitude of mindfulness. Velocity accumulates nearly instantaneously, especially since the tachometer needle seems to find the 8,000-rpm redline quicker than you expect. The rev limiter feels surprisingly soft, but if you’ve decided the smooth, quick-shifting, dual-clutch seven-speed transmission isn’t for you, you’d better keep an eye open for those rapidly approaching revs. At least the LED-equipped steering wheel (part of the aforementioned $7,593 package) flashes red and blue to alert you of the impending power crescendo — and perhaps a subtle nod to law enforcement eventualities? Every Ferrari on the market comes equipped with standard carbon ceramic brakes, and the Spider’s operate with a bit of pedal effort, but outstanding feel and stopping power. At least they feel easier to modulate once they’re properly warmed up. And speaking of temperature, my F8 was spec’d without creature comforts like cooled/heated seats, though it did, thankfully, come with a $4,219 (!) Apple CarPlay option, which displays phone mirroring on the small dashboard-mounted screen next to the big, yellow tach.

If you’re obsessing over the skimpy standard equipment list and moaning about the real estate-like cost of entry, allow me to state the painfully obvious: The Ferrari F8 Spider probably isn’t for you. But if you’re a zealous (and spendy) driver with a hunger for stunning Italians, meandering roads, and healthy doses of Vitamin D, this open-air Ferrari just might be what the doctor ordered.

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Maserati switching to in-house twin-turbo V6 and turbo four

Automotive News has been able to put some output figures to the two primary engines that will power Maserati’s renaissance. Last year the Italian luxury brand sent notice that it would terminate its deal to with Ferrari to use the Maranello-sourced F160 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and F154 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. As new Maserati models appear and current models are overhauled, the brand will begin installing either Maserati’s own 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, or an FCA-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The V6 will greet the world from the middle of the MC20 supercar poised for debut in September, assuming nothing goes worse with the world than it already has.

Rumor from Mopar Insiders and Allpar forums is that Maserati began building its V6 based on Alfa Romeo’s 690T V6. Alfa Romeo puts the 690T in the Stelvio and Giulia Quadrifoglio, the engine’s development having started seven years ago with Ferrari’s F154 V8 as its heart. Tuned for speed, peak output could reach 542 horsepower. After making its home in the racy coupe, the V6 will also serve a new midsize Maserati crossover coming next year, as well as the next GranTurismo coupe and GranCabrio convertible. In the crossover, power is apparently limited to no more than 523 horses.

In Maserati’s new V6, one piece of technology that permits such high output and emissions friendliness is turbulent jet ignition (TJI). German supplier Mahle has been developing the technology for at least 10 years, and put it to use in Ferrari’s Formula 1 engine about five years ago, after which Japan’s Super GT manufacturers picked it up. Instead of a spark plug igniting fuel directly in the combustion chamber, TJI places the spark plug and an injector nozzle at the top of a “jet ignition pre-chamber assembly.” The injector shoots a mist of gasoline into the pre-chamber, the spark plug fires, and the force of ignition in the pre-chamber sprays the combustion through tiny holes at the bottom of the pre-chamber into the cylinder as the piston rises. Mahle says the shorter burn and improved combustion spread means cleaner-burning gas engines that emit fewer emissions.  

AN says that the “new V-6 engine will be ‘electrified’ in some form.” It’s not clear if that means all versions of the V6 will get some sort of hybrid assistance, or if — as had been thought — there will be a non-hybrid unit. The last report we got on motivation for the MC20 strongly suggested a non-hybrid V6 at launch making around 600 hp, followed by a hybridized V6 with all-wheel drive good for 700 horsepower. The hybrid form is said to eventually replace the TT V8 in the upper-tier Ghibli and Quattroporte, but not before the Ferrari-sourced engine steps up to 582 hp later this year.

When AN writes that “Electrified versions of new V-6 eventually will replace 3.8-liter Ferrari-built turbocharged V8 in Maserati Levante, in two versions with 523 hp and 572 hp,” the opening adjective and the higher output lead us to believe in the chances of a non-electrified V6. 

The second engine will be the Global Medium Engine (GME) 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. That engine does duty right now in other group products such as the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee, and Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, topping out at 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The mill makes its Maserati debut in the Ghibli hybrid that launches online on July 15.

McLaren 600LT Spider Segestria Borealis is a spider edition of a Spider

It’s been a year and change since we drove the McLaren 600LT Spider, and McLaren has just wrapped up building the last few of this car’s run for North America. To celebrate, McLaren Special Operations (MSO) put together 12 Segestria Borealis special edition 600LT Spiders. They will be the last 12 available for sale in the U.S.

As a quick reminder, the 600LT Spider is at the very top of McLaren’s Sports Series. At its heart is a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that makes 592 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph. The 600LT Spider turns heads without a wild paint scheme, and the Segestria Borealis just makes this car stick out even more. McLaren says the design was inspired by the Segestria Florentina, a venomous spider pictured below for your nightmares. Since it’s a spider edition of a Spider, McLaren jokingly named this car the “Spider Spider.” How fitting.

The twin Napier Green stripes that run from the nose of the car to the top-exit exhaust are meant to symbolize the spider’s fangs. The spider it’s based on is black, which the Borealis Black paint is meant to represent. It’s a fairly special black that features deep green and purple undertones depending on the light. Yeah, sounds intimidating to us. There’s Napier Green pinstriping found all over the car, most of which can be seen lining the aero bits to make them stand out. The Napier Green paint also covers the brake calipers hiding inside the forged, gloss black wheels.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a spider-themed car without webbing. McLaren has used a web motif on the rear wing, side mirrors, seat headrests and the seats themselves. Yes, it is slightly childish, but it fits the theme. There are additional Napier Green accents found throughout the cabin, as well.

McLaren says each of the Segestria Borealis cars are equipped with the MSO Clubsport Pack, which includes carbon fiber racing seats, carbon fiber interior trim, titanium wheel bolts and glossy carbon fiber fender louvers. McLaren also threw in (for free!) the Bowers and Wilkins audio system, McLaren track telemetry, nose lift system, parking sensors and an alarm system upgrade. Fancy.

All of this will cost you $275,500. The Segestria Borealis 600LT Spiders should be arriving to a few McLaren dealers soon where they’ll be made available to purchase.

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Lamborghini turns the Huracán EVO into a tail-wagging rear-wheel-drive roadster

The latest evolution of the Lamborghini Huracán Evo loses its top and its front axle to deliver a wind-in-your-hair driving experience whether it’s going forward or sideways. The company proudly explained the newest addition to its line-up relies on hardware — not software — to make driving as engaging and thrilling as possible.

Lamborghini added Amazon Alexa integration to the Huracán earlier in 2020, but there’s no guarantee the digital assistant will hear your voice commands when you’re driving flat-out with the roof down. The two passengers sit low in the Huracán, and they’re merely inches away from a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-liter V10 that screams and shouts as it develops 610 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 413 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm. These figures are a little bit lower than the ones posted by the 10-cylinder when it powers the all-wheel drive Huracán Evo.

The rev-happy V10 spins the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that’s quick when it needs to be, and docile when the occasion calls for it. Hitting 62 mph from a stop takes 3.5 seconds, meaning it’s there before you’ve reached the end of this sentence, and its top speed checks in at 201 mph.

Lamborghini re-tuned the Performance Traction Control System (P-TCS) to give the driver as much grip as possible in a wide variety of situations. If you don’t want grip, however, the Huracán Evo is more than happy to go sideways thanks to clever, gyroscope-based technology that allows its rear end to break loose and limits the engine’s torque output if it detects the oversteer angle crosses a pre-determined threshold. This function works when the driver selects Sport mode using a steering wheel-mounted switch; it’s off in Strada (or street) mode.

Even supercar manufacturers need to inject a generous dose of connectivity into their cars, and Lamborghini is no exception. There’s an 8.4-inch touchscreen in the center stack that displays an infotainment system the firm developed in-house. It allows the front passengers to browse the internet on-the-go, make hands-free phone calls, and load Apple CarPlay. Android Auto isn’t available, so motorists without an Apple device are out of luck.

The 3,326-pound rear-wheel drive model stands out from its all-wheel drive counterpart thanks to model-specific front and rear ends shared with the hardtop variant. Lowering or raising its power-operated soft top takes 17 seconds, even at speeds of up to 30 mph. The rear window can be lowered to better hear the V10, too.

On sale now, the Lamborghini Huracán Evo Rear-Wheel Drive Spyder (yes, that’s its full name) carries a base price of $229,428 in the United States before taxes enter the equation. Deliveries will begin in the summer of 2020. Enthusiasts can work directly with Lamborghini’s Ad Personam program to personalize their car.

Lamborghini resumed production in its historic Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, factory after a brief coronavirus-related hiatus, and 2020 is nonetheless going to be a busy year for the firm. It’s preparing to introduce a track-only, V12-powered supercar with 830 horsepower on tap, and it told Autoblog it will take the Urus — its only SUV — racing before the end of the year. Meanwhile, another team within its research and development department is busily working on a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid variant of the Urus due out sooner rather than later.

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Ferrari SF90 Stradale Spider spied out testing for the first time

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is the most powerful and most tech-forward road car to come out of Maranello ever. It’s a plug-in hybrid that puts out a combined 986 horsepower between the boosted V8 and three electric motors. So, of course it’s getting a convertible variant.

These spy shots are our first look at what is likely the SF90 Spider. It’s not exactly clear that this heavily covered up Ferrari is a convertible at a glance. However, the shark fin antenna has been moved from the roof to the rear deck, indicating to us that it might not work on the roof anymore. The bump for the new location is around where we’d expect the engine cover to be. As for the rest of the car, Ferrari does a hell of a job making this supercar look like a shapeless blob. The dual exhaust exits in the same place as the coupe, mounted high up on the rear fascia. Its big, scalloped side air intakes are also semi-visible.

We can’t see the taillights, but Ferrari has left part of the headlight element uncovered. These closely resemble the look of the standard SF90 Stradale. They’re relatively small, horizontal in shape and have small, powerful-looking LED beams.

Expect the Spider to be nearly as quick as the coupe that’s rated to go 0-62 mph in just 2.5 seconds. The all-wheel drive Ferrari is equipped with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Ferrari estimates an electric range of 15.5 miles when the battery is fully charged, so it’ll only be useful for short trips. Deliveries for the coupe are expected to begin this year. We haven’t heard any hard timing for a convertible yet, but expect a reveal sometime in the next year or two.

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2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo has the biggest price discount in America

Right now, buyers of the 2020 Lamborghini Huracan Evo are paying an average of $248,000 to drive the brand-new supercar off the dealer lot. That’s a hefty chunk of change, but it represents $16,269 off the car’s average $264,969 retail price, according to data provided to Autoblog by Truecar. That’s the largest discount in America on a new vehicle for the month of April, 2020 when judged by the dollar amount in savings off the sticker.

It’s not all that uncommon to see a lot of money taken off the sticker price of expensive luxury cars. This month, right behind the Lamborghini sits the 2019 BMW 8 Series with a few bucks shy of $11,000 in savings, which is hardly surprising. Though it’s a very sleek and entertaining car in some of its various incarnations, it hasn’t exactly proven to be a hot seller for the German automaker. The fact that there are a total of 15 (!) possible configurations probably doesn’t help. Two other BMWs, the 2020 7 Series ($10,164 in savings) and the 2019 i8 ($10,145) are also on the top 10 biggest discounts list.

In between that BMW sandwich are the 2019 and 2020 editions of the Acura NSX. It doesn’t really matter which one a buyer chooses to drive off the lot, either way lopping off more than $10,000 off the sticker price means the electrified supercar will cost just under $150k.

For a look at the best new car deals in America based on the percentage discount off their suggested asking prices, check out our monthly recap here. And when you’re ready to buy, click here for the Autoblog Smart Buy program, which brings you a hassle-free buying experience with over 9,000 Certified Dealers nationwide.

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McLaren Elva production cut from 399 units to 249

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt revealed the production quota for the new Elva speedster will drop from 399 units to 249. The boss explained lopping volume by 38% with, “the feedback from our customers is that they think the car should be more exclusive than that, so we’ve capped it at 249.”

While it’s to be expected that owners investing $1.7 million in a specialized road car would promote exclusivity — and thereby residual values — it seems dubious that McLaren would return 150 down payments if the automaker had 399 orders. More likely, the global market for windscreen-less roadsters, no matter how technologically advanced, couldn’t absorb all 399 Elvas on top of 500 total Ferrari SP1 and SP2 Monzas, 88 Aston Martin V12 Speedsters, 40 Pagani Huayra BC Roadsters, and 12 Bentley Bacalars.   

The production revision puts the Elva in company with the McLaren F1. Ron Dennis would have built more F1 road cars, but the market (just 20 years ago!) wasn’t ready for a supercar that cost $810,000 before special requests, so production ended after 106 road and racing chassis’ and a complete set of parts for another. The Elva represents technical high points for McLaren, too, being the company’s lightest-ever car outside the F1, able to hit 62 miles per hour in under three seconds, and announcing its presence with the dual-exit “Nirvana” titanium exhaust. The handling, designed to be less intense than that of the Senna but more supple than that of the Speedtail, kept engineers up late due to the Elva being lighter than the Senna yet more powerful.

Nevertheless, even without sharing its rear lights with an Italian bus, as the F1 did, the Elva may have had a hard time convincing shoppers it deserved to be the second-most-expensive model in the carmaker’s Ultimate Series range, at the same time as being the least practical. The Elva runs about $700,000 more than the Senna and $500,000 less than the Speedtail. A lightly used P1 can be had for as low as $1.2 million.

Autocar writes that build slots are still open for the model Flewitt called “a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements,” and if you’re in the market, their values just went up. McLaren will begin building Elvas when Speedtail production ends later this year or early next.

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Bentley designers show off how custom the custom coachbuilt Bentley Mulliner Bacalar can be

One of the draws of the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar, besides its gorgeous two-seat roadster style, is that it’s a unique custom coachbuilt car. The company touts the fact that not a single piece of the exterior is shared with another Bentley. It will always be particularly rare, too, since only 12 will be built. But the unique, custom nature of the car extends beyond that to giving customers nearly free rein with interior components and colors. To show this off, Bentley designers created six gorgeous example models that have us wishing the company would make a few more than 12 Bacalars.

Speaking broadly, customers will get to choose unique exterior paint, but the interior is perhaps the most interesting, as choices will include bespoke fabrics, piping, stitching and dash materials. The first of these shown in the gallery is one of our favorites, named Clerkenwell. It features two shades of green leather, and some contrasting green tweed fabric on the seats and the dash, and it’s matched with huge swaths of a light wood veneer that stretches from the dash to the doors. The Greenwich interior that follows is also eye-catching with its oxblood leather, gray tweed, and two kinds of 5,000-year-old Riverwood veneer, part of it left as open pore, and the other part given a gloss finish.

The other trims in order of appearance are Fulton, Menlo, Brickell, and Randwick. These show additional variations on leather color, and some of them swap the wood veneer for carbon fiber, or the tweed for Alcantara. And of course, all six of these cars get their own corresponding paint colors. Let us know in the comments which ones you like the best, and here’s hoping Bacalar buyers get really creative with their cars.

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McLaren Elva gets another retro paint scheme from McLaren Special Operations

You may have noticed that McLaren’s official brand color is a bright shade of orange. That dates back to Bruce McLaren’s M6A Can-Am race car of 1967, the first to feature the all-orange paint scheme and the car that helped him win his first Can-Am championship that year. So what better way to honor a wild open-top race car than by painting the wild open-top McLaren Elva supercar in the same color?

The McLaren Elva M6A Theme is the second race car-themed Elva to come from McLaren Special Operations (MSO). The group offers customization services to McLaren customers, particularly unique paint and carbon fiber finishes. The special was revealed on Twitter, and it is quite faithful to the 1967 car. It’s finished in a unique orange that looks a little less bold with more of a pearl finish than the glowing solid orange of the race car. It’s paired with big simple number circles featuring the number “4” like one of the race cars. On the sides, a metallic stripe is added to mimic the chrome divider between the top and bottom sections of the Can-Am car. It also gets the same “McLaren Cars” logo and Bruce McLaren’s signature down the side. As cool as this is from a historical standpoint, the orange really shows off how the body blends right into the interior, something McLaren did to evoke the feeling of being outside and exposed to the world, rather than hidden inside the car’s cabin. The dark launch color was far less effective at conveying that feeling.

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As previously mentioned, MSO did another race car-themed Elva, a black and white car inspired by an older 1964 McLaren M1A race car. Clearly there will be one of each, but McLaren hasn’t put any limits on the designs, so it’s possible there may be multiple examples in the car’s 399-unit run. We also wouldn’t be surprised if McLaren rolls out some other motorsports-inspired liveries in the future, as it has many famous racecars to pull from. The reddish-orange and white Honda-powered Marlboro F1 cars of the late 1980s and the black and silver Mercedes-powered F1 cars of the early 2000s both seem like strong choices. Or if McLaren doesn’t do it themselves, maybe a rich reader could commission one painted as such. Though we wouldn’t want to tell that person how to spend their $1.69 million (or more) on their car.

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2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S dressed up with Exclusive Manufaktur parts

The last time the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur overhauled a 911 Turbo S, the result was a more powerful limited edition called the Exclusive Series, with carbon fiber racing stripes and carbon wheels. Stuttgart’s couturier is at it again with the 2021 911 Turbo S, this time to show off what’s possible with off-the-shelf Exclusive Manufaktur components, the same way it did recently with the Taycan’s SportDesign Package Carbon.

The makeover begins with a coat of Indian Red paint. As far as we can tell from perusing Porsche forums, Indian Red has a long and convoluted history with, but little difference from, Guards Red. The naming seems dependent on international market, model year, and which Porsche factory built the car. We make the point because the Porsche USA configurator offers Guards Red but not Indian Red. 

The configurator does, however, present the choice of the staggered, center-lock Exclusive Manufaktur wheels that were fitted to that low-volume 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. The rims add $2,490 to the price. Normally painted Platinum Silver, for this application the wheels receive a silver and black finish that could cost more. The exterior comes with additional alterations including black-rimmed LED Matrix Design headlights for $970, clear taillights for $990, and rear side air intakes in high gloss black for $600.

Plenty of Indian Red has bled into the cabin, the hue running along the doors, the length of the instrument panel, and around the center console. That is a no-cost option, which is pretty special from a carmaker that charges $370 for a rear windshield wiper and considers the $900 painted black brake calipers an exterior performance option. There are no such gimmies for the extended red accents in the tachometer ($420) and dash-mounted Sport Chrono clock (also $420). Deleting the “S” logo on the seat headrests in order to put the Porsche crest there requires $290. In case that switcheroo causes occupants to forget the particular model they left the garage with, embossing the center console lid with the Turbo S logo can be done for $340.

Those aren’t the only upgrades being prepared for the new GT. CarBuzz found early photos of a new SportDesign Package and Aerokit designed for the Turbo S. On the Carrera Coupe, the optional SportDesign Kit costs $4,890 to add a new lower front bumper and splitter, deeper, body-colored side sills, and new rear bumper with a matte black diffuser. Carrera buyers can also get just the SportDesign front fascia for $3,240, while the Aerokit includes all of that and adds a fixed, high-rise rear wing for $6,910. We don’t have detailed info yet on the breakdown of the Turbo S packages, but combined, they install the new lower front fascia, sharp side sill extensions, new rear fascia with a reshaped diffuser, two large oval exhaust pipes instead of the four square pipes, and a new active rear wing design with curled-up edges.

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GFG Style evolves Giugiaro design in the Bandini Dora and Vision 2030 Desert Raid

Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro, the father-son duo who paired up to create automotive company GFG Style, have been swept up in the wave of the times and gone all-in on electric. In the past four months, GFG Style unveiled three new concept vehicles, all of which use batteries and electric motors for propulsion. The Vision 2030 and Vision 2030 Desert Raid offer new perspectives on off-road-ready supercars, and the Bandini Dora evokes Italian history in a stylish barchetta.

GFG Style started in 2015 and has been hard at work envisioning the future of the automobile. Since opening its doors, the design and consultation firm has crafted seven concept cars, including the Kangaroo, an electric all-terrain supercar that was one of the coolest and most interesting vehicles at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. It seems Fabrizio and Giorgetto couldn’t get the core conceptual nature of the Kangaroo out of their minds, as they debuted another all-terrain EV called the Vision 2030 in November 2019 at the Riyadh Motor Show in Saudi Arabia.

Vision 2030

Pegged as a zero-emission all-wheel-drive hypercar designed for Saudi Arabian roads, the Vision 2030 is named after Saudi Vision 2030, a plan to help the country diversify its core businesses and move away from an independence on oil. “Saudi Arabia asked us to design a model that would perfectly adapt to their region, made up of completely new and decidedly wide roads, but also of deserts with dunes and rough terrains,” Fabrizio said in a press release. Fabrizio continued that the point of the car was a design study in wheels and suspension, which largely dictated the shape of the carbon fiber and aluminum car.

To accommodate the multiple types of terrain, the car’s suspension automatically adjusts based on driving conditions. The Vision 2030 also offers three driving modes, Race, Road and Off-Road, which change the ground clearance between 5.5 to 8.7 inches. Inside, six different digital screens ensure the car is properly connected and the driver is properly informed.

GFG Style says the two-seater Vision 2030 has a 90-kWh battery pack and a single-charge electric range of more than 280 miles. It makes a claimed 510 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-62-mph sprint in 3.8 seconds. 

Vision 2030 Desert Raid

The Desert Raid is one of two concepts that were originally intended to debut at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show before it was canceled due to precautions surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. As indicated by the name, the Desert Raid is an alternate variation of the Vision 2030. GFG Style says the Desert Raid underlines “the true capacity of this project: not to become a hypercar but a hyperSUV.” 

The Desert Raid has the same battery, power, and general performance specifications as the Vision 2030, as they share the same electric powertrain setup. The bodywork, save for the rear, is also the same, but small tweaks make this vehicle specialized for off-roading. Whereas the Vision 2030 had multiple driving modes, this version only has one setup skewed toward handling rough terrain. Thus, it remains at 8.7 inches of ground clearance at all times. It also has a wider track, smaller wheels, new carbon fiber mudguards, and a visible spare tire integrated into the top rear portion of the car. 

Bandini Dora

The second prototype meant for Geneva is the Bandini Dora. Like the other prototypes, it has a space frame aluminum chassis, carbon fiber bodywork, and a 90-kWh battery pack that provides a claimed range of more than 280 miles per full charge. Compared to the Vision 2030 cars, however, the Dora is slightly more amped up. Two electric motors, one on each axle, account for 536 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with all-wheel drive, the Dora has a claimed 0-62-mph time of 3.3 seconds.

Riding on 21-inch wheels, the Dora is the work of a collaboration with Bandini, an Italian manufacturer founded by Ilario Bandini that originally ran from 1946 until 1992. The company was resurrected as Bandini Automobili s.r.l, thanks to Ilario’s great grandson Michele, and this car is meant to be an ode to Bandini barchetta race cars of decades past. GFG Style’s Geneva stand was planned to include a Bandini 750 Sport Internazionale from the Mille Miglia Museum.

The Bandini Dora is an open-top two-seater, but its clever design is unlike anything of the past or present. Look closely, and the lines reveal that the windshield and encapsulated cockpit are entirely separate from the car’s roof arches. This was the result of blending old design with new safety standards.

“Today, it is difficult to conceive a Barchetta without considering the evolution there has been in the car concerning safety,” Giugiaro was quoted in the press release. “Inspired by the Halo of Formula One, we thought about creating a car that had a clean windshield as it used to be used with no reinforcements, thus being as linear and light as possible. To solve this need, I thought of an out-and-out superstructure that would integrate into the style with an accentuated structural and protective function for both the driver and passenger.” 

To properly appreciate the affect this design has on the car, it must be looked at from all angles. The prominent lines extends from the front bumper, curve over the front wheels, and swoop inward toward the rear to become part of the active aerodynamics. Because they don’t connect with the glass at any point, they creates all types of negative spaces, intersections, and design features that you just don’t see on normal cars. From the front, it almost looks as if one car has overtaken another car that lives beneath it.

For now, all three vehicles are just prototypes. The video below shows a press conference in which GFG Style announced the new designs.

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McLaren Elva M1A Theme by MSO channels Bruce McLaren’s 1964 race car

McLaren Special Operations hit up Twitter to show a version of its new Ultimate Series speedster, christened with the full name of Elva M1A Theme by MSO. The Elva takes its design cues from the M1A race car that Bruce McLaren developed for sports car racing in the 1960s. McLaren first entered his black #4 racer in the 1964 Canadian Grand Prix and put everyone on notice; the M1A equaled the lap record at Mosport Park four times and broke the record seven times. As buyers lined up, McLaren commissioned English firm Elva to build replicas for privateers. Although the historic M1A was an advance on the McLaren’s “Jolly Green Giant” Cooper-Oldsmobile, the M1A inaugurated the McLaren lineage that would soon dominate sports car racing. This modern Elva M1A goes about as far as it can to channel its inspiration, adopting the black exterior and red seats of the original — but not the 4.5-liter Oldsmobile engine.

Instead of painting the speedster black, MSO took the much better option of coating the carbon fiber bodywork in clearcoat. The only touches of paint are the silver slash and red pinstripe running front to back, splitting into a low runner along the sills, and the white roundel with the race number. We’re not sure what’s going on with the wheels, though — they’re the same design as those on the Elva that launched in November, but in mirror image. The other big splash of color appears on the seats, topped with crimson Alcantara. 

MSO didn’t mention any limitations on this theme, so it’s possible there could be more than one among the 399-unit Elva production run; Bruce McLaren built three works versions of the original M1A, and Elva produced 24 customer cars. And yes, the historic car was powered by an all-aluminum 3.5-liter Oldsmobile V8 that Traco bored out to 4.5 liters, producing 310 horsepower breathing through four Weber carbs. Oldsmobile not being an option anymore, the Elva homage goes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 804 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which helps ensure buyers get their $1.69 million worth.

Related Video:

Maserati MC20 appears in artsy, blurry teaser

Maserati said it’s entering a new era. Judging by these teaser shots of the a camouflaged MC20 prototype supercar, it’s clear Maserati plans to strut its way into that new era con il coraggio and braggadocio. Maserati took its future flagship to the Piazza degli Affari in Milan, for a set of mostly blurry photos in front of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s sculpture called “L.O.V.E.” Maserati called the artwork “a symbol of Italian audacity in international contemporary art,” for the sake of clarity, we’ll call it a giant marble bird flipped at anyone who might ask, “You talkin’ to me?”

The MC20 is thought to be built around the carbon chassis laid up for the 4C, stretched lengthwise and across to create an overall larger package. We can’t tell much about the real masterpiece in the photos, but it is clear the MC20 prototype has shed its gawky bodywork borrowed from the Alfa Romeo 4C to slip into something more comfortable. A very Maserati nose leads with a large grille and sits prominently ahead of the other bodywork. Behind that, an Italianate supercar form combines plenty of intakes, deep side skirts, a seamless rake to the backlight, and a short rear overhang.

In back, powertrains developed at Maserati and for Maserati should make all sorts of lusty noises. The top powertrain is expected to be a hybrid V6 with three electric motors and around 600 horsepower, there’s hearsay about an all-electric model, and rumors of a turbocharged V8 won’t die. The only gearbox mentioned so far is an eight-speed dual-clutch shooting power to the rear wheels. Autoevolution believes the hybrid engine will translate into a sprint to 62 miles per hour in around two seconds and a top speed beyond 186 miles per hour, just the kind of giddy-up one would expect from a challenger aimed at the Lamborghini Huracán Evo. If anything, 600 hp sounds conservative seeing as the Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA gets 540 hp from its 2.9-liter turbocharged V6 without electric help. The MC20 will take on Lamborghini’s championship-winning finest on the track, too, the MC20 — for Maserati Corse 2020 — surely headed for an FIA entry in track-only form.

For now, the MC20 continues its driving program to prepare for its debut in May. The coupe version should come first, going on sale in Europe late this year and in the U.S. sometime next year, followed by a convertible variant.

Aston Martin V12 Speedster is a $950,000 exotic dream that’s wild as the wind

The roofless, windshield-less, ultra-rare, ultra-expensive supercar space is getting busy. We had the Ferrari Monza SP1 and SP2; then we got the McLaren Elva, and now the Aston Martin V12 Speedster is joining the ranks. McLaren will let you add a windshield to the Elva, but there’s no mention of glass when it comes to the Aston. Invest in some sturdy goggles.

Revealed at Aston Martin’s Gaydon HQ (instead of the canceled Geneva Motor Show), the V12 Speedster is designed to provide the most visceral driving experience in the Aston lineup. There will only be 88 of them, and pricing starts at $950,000. That’s an absolute bargain compared to the Elva, which has a base price of $1.69 million. But if you’re considering buying one of these, its price is likely the last question you’ll have.

Aston says the V12 Speedster is powered by its 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12, making 700 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. That’s mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic, sending power to the rear wheels. It’ll hit 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph — get some heavy duty headgear for that trip. The platform itself is made by combining elements of the DBS Superleggera and Vantage. It has 21-inch forged, center-locking wheels, huge carbon ceramic brakes and adaptive dampers. But the design is what really caught our eye.

It’s billed as “a living show car,” and we completely agree. The body is made almost entirely from carbon fiber. Miles Nurnberger, director of design at Aston Martin, detailed the design’s inspiration in a statement.

“There’s clear lineage from the 1959 Le Mans winning DBR1 to our Centenary celebratory CC100 Speedster Concept in 2013,” Nurnberger says. “There is also a bit of 1953 DB3S in the mid-section, so it really is our latest incarnation of the Speedster concept. It’s also inspired by fighter jets as much as it is by our history, and it has been created to deliver an incredibly visceral experience, hence why it is a V12, rather than a V8.”

The front hood nostril is especially eye-catching. Aston hasn’t implemented this design touch on a car in a long while, and we love seeing it on a new vehicle like this. Nurnberger says it allowed for some extra space under the long hood that it needed for the V12, too.

That interior is similarly stunning. It’s separated into two distinct cockpit areas by a slab of carbon fiber, but it still allows for interaction between the two people in the car below that piece. The design, like so many supercars and sports cars before it, is said to be inspired by fighter jets. This specific spec is a special F/A-18 spec that Aston says will be available to order. It features a number of fighter jet touches throughout. You’ll get to hear the car’s roar better than other Aston’s, too, as the company developed an especially loud stainless steel exhaust system for the V12 Speedster. Its lack of a roof should make it even more audible for those in the cockpit.

Aston Martin says its order books are open now for the V12 Speedster, so it’s not completely sold out yet. Deliveries are slated to begin in the first quarter of 2021. All 88 cars will be hand-built and made to the spec you desire.

Related Video:

New BAC Mono launches, and it’s even lighter than before

There’s a new BAC Mono in town, folks. It’s running under the same name as before, but the car is now entering its second generation. The ethos and purpose of the Mono hasn’t changed — it’s still a single-minded track machine with room for one. However, the design is new, and so is the powertrain.

BAC says each and every body panel was redesigned from scratch for this new model. The height was reduced by 0.79 inch, and its length was reduced by 0.98 inch. This Mono has a smaller frontal area, too, making for better aerodynamics. It has new LED lights front and back; the rear spoiler is larger, and the new design makes for a sleeker looking Mono.

Street legality was still a priority for the BAC team, and that prompted a switch to a new turbocharged engine. Keep in mind, we’re talking street legality in Europe and other countries, not the U.S. That new engine is a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that was developed for this car by Mountune. It makes 332 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and it also features a new dry sump oil system. BAC claims the engine meets the latest European emissions regulations and every other regulation necessary for it to be driven across the European continent. BAC says the transmission and chassis components were also updated, but didn’t specify in what way.

In true Mono fashion, though, the weight has been reduced. It now weighs 1,257 pounds, a 22-pound reduction from the previous-gen car. Thanks to its featherlight weight, performance is startling. It’ll get to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 170 mph. BAC admits that meeting the new European emissions targets ended up adding weight to the car, but it was able to win all that weight back by shaving grams off elsewhere. It uses the lighter carbon fiber floor, AP brake calipers and carbon ceramic brakes from the Mono R. Panels are also made using graphene-enhanced carbon fiber (like the Mono R), which BAC says also reduces weight. Even the wheels are significantly lighter, with each corner saving 2.7 pounds over the previous design — each wheel weighs only 4.9 pounds now.

The Mono’s center of gravity was lowered even further, as BAC managed to lower the fuel tank and place the battery directly under the driver. Suspension geometry was “optimized,” reducing pitch under braking and maximizing rear traction. Pirelli Trofeo R tires are also fitted as standard now.

Its price is steep. You’ll be able to pick up a new Mono in the UK for £165,950. Converted to U.S. dollars, that’s about $212,000.

Related Video:

Aston Martin Vantage Roadster finally doffs the cap

Two years after the hardtop Aston Martin Vantage redefined the Vantage nameplate yet again, the coupe has dropped its top. Below the shoulder the Vantage Roadster holds true to nearly everything that compelled us to label the coupe “a significant milestone.” Above the shoulder, a fabric top envelops an “ultra-compact” Z-frame that drops in 6.7 seconds and unfurls in 6.8. The carmaker says it’s the fastest fully electronic mechanism out there, and operates at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour. Thanks to the frame’s compact design, the car’s lines don’t differ much from the hardtop. Nor do the performance specs: The convertible gains 132 pounds over the fixed-roof, needs 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph instead of 3.5, and maxes out at 190 mph, five miles per hour less than the coupe. Losing the rear hatch takes a bit out of luggage space, though, which declines from 12.4 cubic feet to seven. Aston Martin says the cubby will still swallow a full-sized golf bag and related paraphernalia.

The Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers the full 503 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque. Engineers tuned the suspension, differential, driving aids, and driving modes specifically for the convertible. The carmaker has made its seven-speed manual transmission newly available on the coupe this year — it was offered previously only on the Vantage AMR — but the droptop is barred from the row-your-own party. The Vantage Roadster sticks with the ZF eight-speed automatic. Convertible buyers can avail themselves of other additional kit introduced this year to celebrate 70 years of the Vantage name, said first applied to a more powerful version of the 1951 DB2 called the DB2 Vantage. The potential extras include Aston Martin’s historic vane grille as well as new wheel designs.

Deliveries begin in Europe during Q2, U.S. shoppers can expect summer delivery. Pricing starts at $161,000, an $8,000 premium over the coupe.

Related Video:

Top 5 most expensive cars at the 2020 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction

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Zombie cars: 9 discontinued vehicles that aren’t dead yet

  • Image Credit: Dodge

Like zombies, these dead cars still sell among the living

Car models come and go, but as revealed by monthly sales data, once a car is discontinued, it doesn’t just disappear instantly. And in the case of some models, vanishing into obscurity can be a slow, tedious process.

That’s the case with the nine cars we have here. All of them have been discontinued, but car companies keep racking up “new” sales with them.

There are actually a lot more discontinued cars that are still registering new sales than what we included here. We kept this list to the oldest and most unlikely vehicles still being sold as new, including a couple of supercars. Every car on this list was discontinued at least two years ago. We’ve ordered the list in order of fewest vehicles sold. Click on the image above to get started.

Last updated January 2019

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2014 Dodge Avenger: 1 sale

Wow. We’re truly amazed. Someone actually bought a brand new 2014 Dodge Avenger in 2019. The Avenger was uncompetitive when it was new, and it’s woefully uncompetitive now. Here’s hoping the sole individual who parked a new Avenger in their driveway in 2019 got a smoking deal.

Dodge Avenger Information

Dodge Avenger

  • Image Credit: Lexus

2012 Lexus LFA: 3 sales

The first supercar on this list (which otherwise is full of highly lackluster automobiles) is the Lexus LFA. It’s an exhilarating car to drive, and is packed full of interesting technology. Lexus sold a total of 3 LFA coupes last year to what we have to guess are very satisfied customers. By our count, there ought to be 5 more unsold LFAs sitting somewhere on dealer lots in America.

It’s also worth noting that Lexus only sold the LFA for two model years, 2011 and 2012, which means it is by far the oldest new vehicle on this list.

Lexus LFA Information

Lexus LFA

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2016 Chrysler Town & Country: 5 sales

The Chrysler Town & Country was already an old vehicle when it was officially killed off in 2016. The basic van was introduced for the 2008 model year, and saw only refreshes until its conclusion eight years later. Some of those updates were helpful and kept the car at least somewhat competitive.

Still, we’re thankful Chrysler replaced it with the Pacifica, a superb van that is arguably the best in the segment. And if you do happen to really like Chrysler’s older minivan offering, the Dodge Grand Caravan is still on the market.

In any case, Chrysler managed to sell five of these minivans so far this year. Here’s hoping the buyer scored a great deal.

Chrysler Town & Country Information

Chrysler Town & Country

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2017 Dodge Viper: 5 sales

The second supercar on our list out is one that we love. We don’t think there are a bunch of unsold Dodge Viper coupes sitting on dealer lots all across America. Nevertheless, five lucky individuals managed to bring new Vipers home in 2019.

At least we know those buyers are out there having fun!

Dodge Viper Information

Dodge Viper

  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: 8 sales

Mercedes-Benz sold the B-Class Electric Drive in the United States from 2013 through 2017. Though the rest of the world gets other versions of the B, only the electrified variant was sold here in the States. And it was never a big seller — just over 3,500 were sold over its production run in America. Now that 2019 has come to a close, we can add eight more to the total.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Information

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2016 Dodge Dart: 25 sales

Dodge discontinued the compact Dart back in 2016, just three years after its launch. The automaker just wasn’t able to compete with the segment leaders like the Honda Civic or the sales juggernaut that is the Toyota Corolla. Despite the fact that it’s been dead for several years, Dodge managed to sell 25 Darts in 2019.

Dodge Dart Information

Dodge Dart

  • Image Credit: Jeep

2017 Jeep Patriot: 27 sales

The Jeep Patriot initially launched back in 2007 alongside its more car-like Compass sibling, but while that vehicle got a redesign and is still on sale in Jeep dealerships, the boxier Patriot ended production in 2017.

Apparently there are a handful of Patriots still collecting dust on dealership lots in America, because the automaker tallied 27 total sales last year.

Jeep Patriot Information

Jeep Patriot

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2017 Chrysler 200: 48 sales

The Chrysler 200 is actually a pretty nice sedan, with good looks and decent driving dynamics let down by a lack of roominess, particularly in the back seat. Chrysler never really found its footing in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, but apparently has a bunch of leftover 200s floating around in America with a total of 48 sold in 2019.

  • Image Credit: Volkswagen

2017 Volkswagen CC: 58 sales

Volkswagen discontinued the CC in 2017, and the slinky coupe-shaped sedan recently got a replacement in the form of the 2019 Arteon. Here’s hoping last year’s 58 CC buyers managed to get a good deal on their new old sedans.

Volkswagen CC Information

Volkswagen CC

Lamborghini Huracan Evo gets Amazon Alexa tech at CES 2020

In-car technology is a must, Lamborghini development boss Maurizio Reggiani told Autoblog as he unveiled the Huracán Evo‘s touchscreen-based infotainment system in 2019. Amazon Alexa integration announced at CES 2020 is the next part of the march towards supercars that are as smart and connected as they are quick.

By programming the voice assistant directly into the native infotainment system, rather than adding it as a third-party app, Lamborghini claims it achieved seamless integration that lets drivers control an extensive list of functions in the car, and in their home. If your butt is cold, you can ask Alexa to turn on the heated seats. You can also make calls, turn the map lights on or off, get directions, check the weather at your destination, and set the A/C, among other things. And, because Alexa speaks to connected devices, you can raise the temperature in your living room while doing hot laps at Watkins Glen, or turn on the porch lights as you pass a Porsche. The catch is that Alexa goes on strike if the Huracán isn’t connected to the internet.

Lamborghini and Amazon plan to deepen their cooperation in the coming years, though they didn’t reveal precisely what they’re hoping to achieve. They could teach Alexa new functions, but don’t expect the Italian brand to release a car with an entirely button-free cabin in the near future. The driver still has to manually switch between the driving modes, for example, and the ignition button remains under a fighter jet-like red flap positioned on the slanted center console.

Amazon Alexa will be available across the entire Huracán Evo range — which will grow to include a rear-wheel drive model developed to replace the 580-2 — by the end of 2020. Lamborghini told Autoblog it hasn’t decided whether the feature will be standard or optional yet.

Related Video:

Top Gear magazine climbs all over the McLaren Elva

Top Gear deputy editor Jack Rix took a camera crew to McLaren’s Technology Center for a closer look at the Elva roadster. Not only did Rix provide his usual, thorough once-over and explanation of design features, but thanks to the magic of moving pictures, we get graphic demonstrations of how the Elva’s most interesting feature works. McLaren engineers needed to figure out a way to protect helmetless occupants from getting their faces painted with bugs and detritus at speed. Their solution is the Active Air Management System (AAMS), composed of a deflector and a network of vents that create a “bubble of calm” around the passenger cell. Unlike the rest of the Elva, the AAMS ain’t pretty, but beauty always loses tie-breakers to effectiveness in Woking. 

For a vehicle with so little to it, including the number of body panels, there’s a ton going on all around the open-top. The rear mesh is 3D-printed titanium. Short seat squabs combined with a moving steering wheel and gauge cluster improve ingress and egress. Four high-flow exhaust pipes are placed in two locations and pointed two directions in order to separate tones as if the exhaust were an audio system – because, in truth, it is. And there’s more, but we’ll let Rix explain. 

As an aside, for all the Elva does have, we think it’s a shame the roadster doesn’t have a roofed version. Digital artist Nikita Aksyonov drew up an Elva Coupe, and we’re fans. Better looks than the McLaren GT, in a package that appears more compact than the 720S, with a more powerful engine than the Senna? Yes. All day yes.

But we digress, so check out Rix’s take in the video.