All posts in “coupe”

McLaren Senna GTR LM cars created by MSO to honor the F1 GTR’s Le Mans success

The McLaren Special Operations division has outdone themselves again. Today, we get to present to you five McLaren Senna GTRs that were commissioned in a group. Their design and liveries are meant to re-create the five McLaren G1 GTRs that raced in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. McLaren took first place in that race, with the remaining four cars finishing third, fourth, fifth and 13th. 

These five Senna GTRs are much more than just Senna GTRs with stickers on them, too. The (faithfully re-created) liveries were hand-painted on every one of the cars. McLaren says each car took approximately 800 hours to paint, with some taking far more than that. All five are kept as close to the originals as possible, as McLaren coordinated with the Le Mans organizer to get permission to re-create every last detail of the logos and trademarks on the cars. The only sticker you’ll find on the exterior is a replica of the scrutineering sticker.

It isn’t just the appearance that received all the attention, though. McLaren has found a way to give the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 a small power boost. It went from making 814 horsepower to 833 horsepower. The rev limit has also increased from 8,250 rpm to nearly 9,000 rpm. This is accomplished through metal matrix composite valve spring retainers (65% lighter), higher grade steel for the valve springs and CNC ported cylinder heads. A recalibration of the whole powertrain takes advantage of these new parts, leading to the increase in power.

Small changes abound elsewhere in the car, too. OZ Racing designed a bespoke set of wheels for these cars; the suspension wishbones are made in an anodized version of their previous selves, and the brake calipers are finished in satin gold. New exit pipes are bent for the Inconel exhaust (for a new look), and the interior gets a small work over, too.

There’s a new racing steering wheel with anodized gold paddles and control buttons, titanium nitride pedals, carbon fiber racing seats with a bespoke headrest embroidery, leather door pull straps and an MSO six-point racing harness. We’re afraid to know the prices for these five cars, but we won’t know anyway, because McLaren hasn’t released that information.

All five owners will be allowed to take a lap of Circuit de la Sarthe on the day of the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, which only seems right given their Le Mans re-creation provenance. 

2020 Acura NSX Road Test | The cerebral supercar

The 2020 Acura NSX is the kind of car you’re pumped to drive. You think about it the night before. You read up on it. You tell your friends and family. You notice passers-by admiring it in the driveway. They try to be sly. Some gawk. There’s anticipation.

But is there satisfaction? The NSX immediately raises two questions. Where does it fit among its contemporaries and does it measure up to its legendary predecessor?

Seeking the answers, I slip behind the wheel on a sunny morning. The NSX is a welcome respite from the cares of the world and concerns of the coronavirus. I’ve got a few hours ahead of me in a $203,000 supercar. It’s a good time to reflect.

Immediately, I have a sense of déjà vu. I drove an NSX in 2017 at Pebble Beach, but my senses take me farther back, to the fall of 2014 when I drove a 1991 NSX. I had the same anticipation, nerves even, as I prepared for that drive. Getting situated in the 2020 model, I’m struck by the simplicity of the NSX. A McLaren or a Lambo take a minute to figure out, but everything is easy to read and use in the Acura. Like the ‘91 NSX, it looks striking on the outside, but the inside is almost plain. I’m OK with that. Simple works for Porsche, which will happily sell you a six-figure 911 with a spartan interior.

I’m underselling the NSX’s cabin — which is actually quite nice inside — understated yet cool. My tester has a black interior with carbon-fiber accents and semi-aniline leather seats with Alcantara, though the big steering wheel is the focal point. Looking to my right, the infotainment anchors the center stack, and there’s a knob for tuning the drive modes and the push-button gear selector. The outward visibility is outstanding. Driving a supercar can be intimidating, and being able to see things is helpful, especially when you’re inches off the ground.

I accelerate onto a surface street where the speed limit is 45 mph. There’s a low growl, and then the NSX gets a bit angrier. It’s never quite uncouth, even when the revs spin up on the expressway. It’s surprisingly gutsy low in the band, around 2,000-3,000 rpm, and the soundtrack gets louder and better from there. Anticipation building, I near the onramp to Interstate 75 in Detroit’s northern suburbs, where I run into cones. And blockades. Construction work is a staple of summer in Michigan. More time on the suburban slow road, and I find myself growing more comfortable in the NSX. Unlike the Lamborghini Huracán, Audi R8 or even some Mustangs, the Acura is civilized, docile even. It reminds me of my first time in that ‘91 NSX, where my nerves gave way to cockiness. The old NSX was so drivable, agreeable even, that I’ve long believed it made the cliché “everyday supercar” a real notion.

Acura tightened the suspension, retuned software for the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive and made the steering more responsive for the 2019 model. It feels more buttoned-up than the car I drove in Pebble Beach before these updates. There’s more feedback in the steering, which previously felt a little light. The Continental SportContact 6 tires provide plenty of grip. The brakes return stopping power with little pedal travel — not as immediate as McLarens I’ve tested, but more balanced for daily driving. This NSX is equipped with the optional carbon-ceramic rotors, which look great with the silver calipers visible through the gray Y-spoke wheels.

The other 2019 updates changed the grille accent to match the body color (it was silver before) and added gloss black trim in place of matte. Those sports seats I like so much and the tech package are now standard equipment.

The NSX is a striking car, especially in Valencia Red Pearl with the optional carbon-fiber elements, including the decklid spoiler, front chin spoiler, engine cover, rear diffuser and side sills. It’s beautiful, and in this shade it reminds me vaguely of recent mid-engine Ferraris. While I like the silhouette, the NSX is also a little angular and even busy, which is in contrast to the original NSX.

The expressway opens up as I make my way across town, sampling the driving modes. Sport mode is the basic setting, and Sport+ tightens up the chassis and makes the exhaust louder. I spend a decent amount of time in Quiet mode, which is actually all electric at speeds of less than 50 mph for brief periods. A couple of neighbors on bikes didn’t see me coming, then did triple takes trying to process what exactly was coming at them.

That stealthy capability belies the NSX’s raw power. Between the 3.5-liter V6 and electric motors, the NSX puts out 573 total horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque, enabling sprints to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 191 mph. The sequential paddle shifts summon all of this power into your fingertips, and pulling the paddles at high speeds while gripping the steering wheel with traffic parting gives even the novice performance driver a bit of a Senna streak.

The NSX is a car that you discover as you drive. There are layers to its personality. I learned a lot about the NSX, and Acura, simply by running errands. That’s not something every car gives you. Critics point to the “everyday supercar” label as a discredit, that the NSX is somehow watered down. It’s not. It’s cerebral yet passionate. What it lacks in flash it makes up for with a breadth of capability.

Let’s return to my original questions. How does the NSX compete against modern exotics, like Audi, McLaren, Ferrari and the like? It’s a peer. And that’s enough. It’s not the best of the bunch, but it’s competitive and interesting.

More weighty, how does the 2020 NSX measure up against the first generation? It does not break new ground in the way its predecessor did, which is not necessarily a demerit. When the New Sportscar eXperimental debuted in 1989, Ferrari and Lamborghini were making erratic cars that were at times as dangerous as they were exclusive. The notion of actually driving your supercar as I did on this bright Saturday was inadvisable. The NSX changed all of that. In that era there was room for improvement. Now the market is more mature, and even mainstream American brands like Chevy and Ford offer mid-engine performance.

It’s tough to compete against your younger self, but that’s not the point. The point is Acura chooses to make an NSX, and it’s excellent in the ways a modern supercar should aspire to be. The NSX crashed the party once. Now it’s simply accepted as part of the establishment.

Lucid Air and Maserati MC20 unveiled | Autoblog Podcast #644

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Associate Editor Byron Hurd. Before they get to the juicy news of the week, they chat about the cars they’ve been driving, including a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Audi A6 Allroad, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Niro. It’s been a busy week in the news department, with GM investing in Nikola, Lucid Motors launching the Air electric sedan, Maserati unveiling the MC20 mid-engined supercar and a farewell to the Lexus GS. Then they talk about having a newfound respect for the Fox Body Mustang and the Mazda CX-9.

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2023 Maserati MC20 Folgore planned with three-motor electric powertrain

Maserati’s first new model of the 2020s, the MC20, strays from the path that’s leading carmakers towards electrified and connected vehicles. The brand is nonetheless headed in this direction, and Autoblog can reveal it’s planning to release a range of battery-powered cars called Folgore, a name which means thunder in Italian.

Developed in-house, the 800-volt Folgore powertrain consists of one electric motor mounted over the front axle, and two electric motors installed over the rear axle. Sandro Bernardini, the man responsible for the second-generation GranTurismo, told us this configuration is not going to be reserved for high-performance, high-end cars. It will be the norm. And, although the rear motors are bolted into a single unit that’s about the size of a modern four-cylinder engine, there is no mechanical connection between them, meaning Maserati’s electric models will benefit from true torque vectoring. Ditching gasoline isn’t an excuse to stop chasing performance.

As we’ve previously reported, Maserati’s first series-produced battery-powered model will be the next GranTurismo, which is tentatively due out in 2021. Motorists who don’t want or need an electric car will be able to order the coupe with a version of the 3.0-liter Nettuno V6 engine that powers the recently-unveiled MC20. Speaking of, the mid-engined coupe will become a mid-motored, zero-emissions coupe a little bit later in its production run. It was developed with both electricity and gasoline in mind from the get-go.

Bernardini couldn’t share concrete technical specifications, but he noted his team is designing the powertrain to achieve maximum range. Engineers notably went to significant lengths to make the motors smaller, lighter, and more efficient, we’re told, and the technology will be compatible with 300-kilowatt fast-charging. While performance details are also under wraps, Autoblog learned the electric version of the MC20 will “absolutely be more powerful” than its 621-horsepower gasoline-burning counterpart. It will be heavier, too, but the power hike will more than make up for the weight gain, and its handling won’t be adversely affected.

Chassis mock-ups confirm the MC20 Folgore will share its basic underpinnings (including its carbon fiber tub and its subframes) with the gasoline-powered model. Its front motor will occupy the space normally reserved for the frunk, while its rear motor will slot neatly between the two wheels. Maserati is putting the lithium-ion battery pack directly behind the firewall for weight distribution reasons; it will be the heaviest part of the car, after all.

Does an electric MC20 need a low-mounted grille, or air vents chiseled into the rear end? Not necessarily.

“Going electric is the next logical step. We are trying to avoid unnecessary air openings and air outlets, in contrast to some of our competitors that seem to depend on them to convey a message. In our case, it’s about the purity of the body. We can further purify the car by reducing the amount of air intakes and air outlets, which will help us tell the design story even better,” explained Maserati head of design Klaus Busse in an interview with Autoblog.

Francesco Tonon, the head of Maserati’s product planning team, told us the MC20 Folgore will make its debut by 2022, and its debut is penciled in after the Spyder-badged convertible model’s. When it arrives, it will join the aforementioned second-generation GranTurismo and a new SUV positioned below the Levante in Maserati’s family of electric models. Production will take place in Modena, Italy, on the same assembly line that began making the gasoline-powered MC20 in September 2020.

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Gordon Murray Automotive T.50s revealed as track-only, even more extreme T.50

It’s been one month since the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 was fully revealed. We’re still reeling from learning about how stupendous it is, but Gordon Murray has gone and one upped himself again today. In addition to the road-going T.50, there will also be a track-only T.50s. 

The name “T.50s” is only a codename for now. GMA says that a proper full name will arrive when the car is officially unwrapped. Only one photo of the T.50s was shown, and you’re looking at it above. However, we do have plenty of details to share alongside the single photo.

What we’re dealing with is essentially a race car. It’s not legal to drive on any type of road, unless that road happens to be a closed course. The T.50s has more power, weighs less and produces significantly more downforce than the standard T.50. It also costs a great deal more at £3.1 million. Adjusted to U.S. dollars, that’s just over $4.1 million. Alright, yes, the price goes well beyond the realm of silly and ridiculous. But Murray will also argue that nothing else in the world can match it. So, what all do you get for the extra $1.1 million over the standard car?

Somehow, the Cosworth 3.9-liter V12 makes more power. With the new ram-induction, it’s going to make approximately 720 horsepower. No turbos or supercharger necessary. That’s a 66 horsepower increase. Murray says that revised cylinder heads and camshafts, higher compression ratio and a free-flowing exhaust all contributed to the power gains. It doesn’t even attempt to meet emissions or noise regulations anymore, which is a boon for power. In all, over 50 components in the engine have been changed. Murray specifically attributes a 30 horsepower gain to the new roof-mounted ram-air induction system.

Since this model is being built for pure speed on a racetrack, Murray has gone away from a traditional manual transmission. Instead, it uses a bespoke six-speed Xtrac transmission that is shifted via steering wheel-mounted paddles. It has new drive ratios and is optimized for track performance.

A standard T.50 (pictured in the gallery above) is a featherweight at 2,174 pounds, but the T.50s weighs even less at 1,962 pounds. The completely stripped interior contributes to much of the weight savings. Murray has deleted the air conditioning, infotainment, storage compartments, carpets and instrumentation. The seat to the right of the driver has been removed, but the seat on the left was retained for co-drivers or a single passenger for fun. The two seats that remain are both new carbon fiber racing seats fitted with six-point harnesses. A new steering wheel in F1 style (minus the buttons) is swapped in, and there will be a racing display that shows the vitals for racing only. Forged magnesium wheels also contribute to reducing the car’s mass. They’re wrapped with Michelin Cup Sport 2 tires.

Added aero is another big focus with the T.50s. A massive 69-inch delta wing is mounted to the top of the car as the shining crown, a design that was inspired by Murray’s 1983 Brabham BT52 F1 car. Other aerodynamic improvements include a new ground effect underbody airfoil, new front splitter, adjustable diffusers and an aero fin that runs from the top of the roof to the rear lip of the car. Of course, the fan remains, but it now permanently runs at 7,000 rpm. Murray says the car generates 3,306 pounds of downforce. It would be capable of driving upside down at 175 mph or more with this amount of downforce, according to Murray. We’ll just take his word for it. Murray also claims that the car is capable of generating about 2.5G-3.0G under braking. For some perspective, F1 drivers experience about 5G of braking force during races.

The brakes themselves are carbon ceramic units from Brembo. New ducting around each wheel helps them handle the increased heat they’ll be feeling from the extreme braking. Both the engine and transmission oil cooling systems are relocated for better airflow. As for the suspension, GMA re-tuned the dampers, spring and front anti-roll bar for racing. It also rides 1.57 inches lower in front and back. Customers will be allowed to tailor the suspension setup to their liking, though. In fact, everything about the T.50s will be customized to the customer’s desire. Murray really wants owners to track the cars, so the team will be working closely with every owner to set the car up properly for such an event.

“I’d like to organize a series of racing events as part of our Trackspeed package to ensure the T.50s is driven regularly by owners,” Murray says. “There will be nothing like the experience of driving this car. And hearing it … well, that will be something else! I’d like each of the 25 cars to be completely unique from setup to paint finish.”

That’s right, only 25 will be made in T.50s spec. Murray says that half of them are already spoken for, so there isn’t much time left to secure a spot. The GMA team says it will supply a “full range of pit, garage, and support equipment for the T.50s” for those who take it racing. Production for the T.50s will commence after the 100 road-spec T.50 models are built. The current estimate for T.50s production start is the first quarter of 2023.

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2020 Chevrolet Corvette Road Test | The hype is legit

The $59,995 2020 Chevrolet Corvette exists. This one isn’t it. Chevy sent me the complete opposite of a base Corvette, as the sticker on this Accelerate Yellow 3LT model came to $86,860. Yet, after a week in the tight bucket seat, I’m convinced it’s still a bargain.

Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Pick three, because combining all four of these elements in a sports car or supercar is like trying to find Waldo when he’s been torn out of the page. Chevy is turning this conundrum upside down with the new Corvette. Equipped properly, the C8 checks all four of the boxes emphatically.

Performance is a no-doubter. The 6.2-liter V8 makes 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque in this Z51 pack car, rocketing it to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds via an excellent launch control system. The magnetic dampers make for a sophisticated ride and handling balance. It can go from forgiving and plush to racetrack stiff at the twist of a dial. The interior is more luxurious and tech heavy than anything else GM makes, save for a loaded-up Cadillac. And then there’s the price. How Chevy priced this car below $100,000 still baffles me. Almost nothing is missing, but let’s dive in a bit deeper, starting from the best place to be: the driver’s seat.

Reaching beyond the highly-bolstered suede, leather and mesh Competition GT3 seats in this C8, everything I touch feels of quality. Yellow accents are splashed about the interior in thoughtful locations. Even the removable roof has yellow stitching woven in. Before I even get on the road, this attention to detail and level of customization reminds me of Porsche — the Chevy options are just cheaper. The spectacular view forward over a low nose keeps the Porsche theme on track, but it trails off when I begin to take in the interior design language around me. 

No car takes the jet fighter cockpit theme as seriously as the Corvette does. I’m cocooned in my own bubble, completely walled-off from the passenger, and the passenger from me. Wide, swooping armrests are swathed in suede and placed at perfect elbow-resting height. The square-shaped suede-covered ($595) steering wheel isn’t weird to use, but spokes at 9 and 3 would be preferable over their current 8:30 and 3:30 positions. My passengers kept accidentally adjusting my seat and temperature controls on the vertical climate control stack (driver on top, passenger on bottom), but I became accustomed to the design quickly. It beats putting the climate controls in a touchscreen. There’s a general feeling of busyness inside with all the sharp angles and its multi-tiered dash design. GM may be trying a little too hard to make it exotic, but functionality doesn’t suffer for the styling, so I accept the flair. 

The push-to-start button presses in with a satisfying click, but even more satisfying than that is tapping the remote start on the keyfob when standing near the loud pipes. Since the Corvette saves its drive mode from the last engine cycle, you can remote start your engine with the exhaust in Track mode (thank you to the engineers who did this). It is thunderous and guttural and all the things you want the startup to be.

The drive mode dial has proper heft, and the digital instrument cluster quickly animates through layouts with each new mode. Ergonomically, the interior is brilliant. My seating position is spot on with the seat set to its lowest point. Being able to see out the back with a standard mirror would be nice, but the digital rearview camera mirror on this car is a revelation for a mid-engine layout. You can see everything, and glare from taller cars’ headlights in the dark is a non-issue — even the driver-side mirror is auto-dimming. All this, and my butt and back are cool via the ventilated seats.

Setting out in Tour (comfort) mode, GM’s Small Block LT2 clacks away quietly behind my ear, sounding every bit like a Camaro or the previous Corvette. A thick piece of glass separates the cabin from the engine bay, allowing driver and passenger to look back at the pretty V8. It’s far more sedate and normal to cruise around in than you might imagine. The steering wheel flies left or right with ease at low speeds, the brakes are comfortable but not touchy, and those magnetic dampers are damping out the bumps. The big engine and eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox never fully fade into the background when casually driving around, but there’s no drama at low speeds. Ferraris or Lamborghinis never stop telling you what they are when cruising through town. If it weren’t for the incessant staring and pointing, I could’ve forgotten I was driving the hottest, most-anticipated car of the last several years. Credit to Chevy for making this beast so livable on a day-to-day basis.

Not to say the Corvette is quiet inside (it’s not), but that level of refinement in the cabin in casual driving isn’t always conducive to noise and personality when the right pedal is flat. Even with the supplemental exhaust noise being pumped into the cabin via the speakers, the Corvette isn’t as loud inside as I imagined it would’ve been with the performance exhaust. It’s opposite what’s going on out back, too. This Corvette sounds like NASCAR thunder from the roadside as it pounds through the forest, barking and snapping at each quick gear change. Problem is, the driver is only getting a fraction of this in their eardrums. I have a certain expectation for theater and aural wonder from a mid-engine car. The Corvette could use a tinge more of both.

Now, enough with the nit-picking. Power (so much of it) is simply here. It’s like a light switch. The speed at which this updated V8 revs — get the full download in our First Drive — is one pivotal aspect that stands out. Whether you’re banging through first and second or free revving for a demanding onlooker, it goes from idle to 6,500 rpm (redline) in a flash. The steady increase in shove keeps coming all the way to the top despite peak torque hitting at 5,150 rpm. 

There isn’t much fuss in the power band. Everything is business as usual if you’re accustomed to GM’s Small Block V8. It’s glorious in its simplicity, and brings a sense of normalcy to the gob smacking acceleration. I’m not wanting for any more forward thrust — there is zero letup at legal speeds — but I’m already looking forward to the shriek of the flat-plane crank Corvette headed our way soon. This engine is an ode to the traditionalists, but the flat-plane crank ‘Vette will be an ode to people like me who love high-revving, exotic engines.

Once I make it out to some proper driving roads, the brilliance of this chassis comes into plain view. It doesn’t feel like a company’s first go at a mid-engine supercar. No, it’s well-tuned and strikes a wonderful ride and handling balance the likes of which Porsche has been perfecting for years with the 911. The magnetic dampers on this car deserve many thank you notes. Turn-in is crisp and quick. The nose is happy to be pointed in a different direction at a moment’s notice, and there’s zero uneasiness coming from the rear end. As the Gs build, the Corvette remains a wonderfully balanced rock. I’m waiting for the rear end to step out on me as I apply more and more throttle coming out of turns, but it wriggles, then sticks with the weight of the engine keeping it planted. This car will happily go sideways if you intentionally goose it, but it’s incredibly well-behaved when speed is the priority.

The steering weight is just about perfect in Sport mode, but turns a smidge too heavy in Track mode. Bumps and bigger undulations in corners are shrugged off. I can feel what’s going on at the wheels through the seat and steering wheel, but the Corvette reassuringly trucks on without skipping a beat. Lesser chassis will bound around and send the car skipping on my testing roads, but the Corvette handles them like a champ. The $1,895 you spend on these dampers will be the best $1,895 you ever spend.

A manual transmission is the only item missing. My tester car may be supercar-quick, but it’s not too much of a handful that a manual would ruin the experience. Take the three-pedal version of the 911 Carrera S as an example. It may be slower to 60 mph than the PDK, but the car is still plenty drivable and doesn’t turn into some hot mess with too much horsepower. I think there’s room for a manual to work the same way in the Corvette. This is no condemnation of the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in the Vette today, though. It’s as quick to respond as the best of them. If Porsche held any advantage here it would be in smoothness, as the Corvette is less refined in manual mode when you’re not pushing. I’d move the paddles up by about an inch, too, since they’re just out of reach at my preferable 9 and 3 hand position.

It’s staggering what Chevy put together here — nothing less than a generational milestone. The last no compromise supercar that truly shook the segment up was the 1991 Acura NSX, but even the NSX was pricey. Chevy’s new Corvette is just as important, but in a different way. McLaren and Ferrari buyers will keep buying McLarens and Ferraris. Lamborghini isn’t going to make a budget model. This car won’t force the old guard to change what they did the way Honda did in the 1990s. No, what the new Corvette does is bring that exotic level of performance to a price bracket that’s never had this opportunity before. It’s a supercar for the people, assuming the people have over $60,000 for a toy. But don’t worry; in three years depreciation will have them down in the $40,000 range.

Raw performance, sophistication, luxury, price. Somehow, all four deliverables are present and accounted for. At $59,995, nothing can beat it. At $86,860, nothing can beat it. The Small Block isn’t holding this car back from greatness — it’s already great with it. But this chassis, and the car as a whole, begs for more. More character, more revs and an exotic yowl that matches the chassis’ greatness. When Chevy adds such an engine, the Corvette can transcend beyond the performance bargain moniker to being one of the greatest of all time. It’s nearly there already.

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Ferrari 812 Superfast variant spied, could be a GTO

The chance to buy a new, naturally aspirated V12-powered Ferrari is closing, and the camouflaged 812 Superfast we’re looking at here is likely going to be one of the last. Our spy photographer caught two 812s running around, but the changes are similar (not identical) among the two.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a potential 812 variant, either. Ferrari is rumored to be producing some special editions of the 812 before it goes out of production, and this one looks like it has the potential to be the most potent version. The changes we spy on these two prototypes suggest that Ferrari is prepping an 812 GTO, or if we use the F12 as perspective, a tdf. Either way, this car will likely have even more power and better handling than the current 812 Superfast.

Ferrari manages 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque from the 6.5-liter V12 today, so we fully expect to see a number north of 800 horsepower for this special edition. The crude, mesh front grille and gaggle of wires coming from the engine bay suggest some powertrain development is underway. How much power Ferrari ends up with is anybody’s guess, but a redline over 9,000 rpm sounds pretty good to us — the current 812 stops at 8,900 rpm.

There’s some camouflage along the side sills, reaching up into the front fenders. Ferrari is very obviously doing some work with the rear aero, as we see two different designs on the two test cars. They both look unfinished, but one is filled in with venting, while the other is wide open on the edges. Whatever secrets Ferrari is trying to keep, it has kept for the time being. The looks of these camouflaged prototypes are obviously in an unfinished state of business. Ferrari managed to differentiate the standard F12 from the F12 tdf substantially, and we expect its next front-engine masterpiece to receive the same treatment for production.

Just like the tdf, we’ll expect this version of the 812 to be made in limited quantities and cost a small fortune. As for timing, Ferrari could very well reveal the car this year as it continues its new product offensive.

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Chevy Corvette Z06 rumor suggests 9,000 rpm redline from flat-plane crank V8

It’s time to head back to Rumor Town with the Chevrolet Corvette. This time, Motor Trend says it has a scoop on the upcoming Z06 and ZR1 versions of the mid-engine sports car. Although, if what MT claims is true, we might as well just call them supercars.

We’ll start with Z06. Motor Trend’s unnamed source says it will reportedly be packing a 5.5-liter naturally aspirated flat-plane crank V8. And yes, it will be a double-overhead-cam design. Redline will be 9,000 rpm, which would make it one of the highest-revving engines in the world. Chevy has foretold that it would use a road-going version of the C8.R’s engine in a future Corvette variant. Packing it into the Z06 would make perfect sense and bring the Z06 back to its naturally-aspirated roots. There is one aspect of the report we’re skeptical of: the horsepower figures. The source claims this 5.5-liter V8 will make 625 horsepower, which seems mighty high for a naturally aspirated engine. That’s 113.6 horsepower/liter, which is a big step up from the Mustang Shelby GT350’s 101 horsepower/liter. Put simply, it’s Ferrari and Lamborghini territory for a vehicle that will cost a mere fraction of those cars. We’re not saying GM can’t do it, but we sure will be wildly impressed if it can.

The sound of one heavily camouflaged Corvette running around with an exotic scream trailing it is indication enough that GM is cooking something rather devilish up. Torque is rumored to be well over 400 pound-feet, but not more than 500 pound-feet. This will be a high-revving affair, after all. Motor Trend’s source said “it’s going to be a screamer.” The engine in the racecar makes just 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, but racing restrictions don’t have to be abided by on the street car. That said, the street car must also pass emissions and run on pump gas, so it’s a two-way street. Previous rumors have suggested that this engine comes aboard the Z06, and they’ve offered even more info including wheel/tire packages, active aero and a possible center-exit exhaust system.

As for the ZR1 also mentioned by Motor Trend, its source says the 5.5-liter V8 will gain a pair of turbochargers. The rumor is approximately 800 horsepower for this version, but we won’t put much stock into this prediction just yet. A hybrid Corvette isn’t out of the question either, with the possibility of adding an electric motor to the ZR1 for an ultimate Corvette. We’re fairly certain this version will have enough power to escape Earth’s gravity. The last bit of info gleaned from this report is on a Grand Sport model. MT’s source claims that there will be no Grand Sport, which is a real shame to hear. The Grand Sport was arguably the best version of the C7 Corvette in many ways.

Timing for all of this is totally up for debate, but we wouldn’t put it past Chevy to introduce the Z06 within a year from now. The rumored 9,000 rpm redline already has us swooning.

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What’s hiding beneath this mystery BMW M8 mule?

Spy photos of a mystery BMW M8 mule being tested at the Nürburgring could be our first glance at BMW’s rumored 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid. The demise of BMW’s mid-engine i8 plug-in hybrid with no news of a direct replacement led us to wonder what BMW really has in store for the future of the formula, but if this early prototype is anything to go on, it may be alive and well. We’re not sure what BMW plans to call its next round of all-electric and plug-in variants, but whatever it ends up being called, the prospect is certainly fascinating. 

Let’s start with what we’re looking at. At first glance, this appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill BMW M8 with some camouflage over the front and rear, which is about what you’d expect to see from a company that is likely developing alternative bodywork for a mid-cycle update or a new appearance package. Looking more closely, however, we see the strategic tinting of the rear window glass along with very obvious air intake vents where the rear side windows should be. Translation? There’s something back there that 1) needs air flow and 2) BMW doesn’t want us to see. 

To further grease the skids, our spies tell us that the engine in this car did not sound anything like the V8 found under the hood of either the BMW M8 or its racing variant, the M8 GTE, which carries over the former’s front-engine layout. In fact, the spy even referred to the sound as “unusual,” which could just be good salesmanship, but the fact of the matter remains that whatever is under there, it’s not from an M8, or any other 8 Series derivative currently known to us. 

Conveniently, all of the things that make this an unlikely M8 variant, from the mid-engine layout to the unconventional exhaust note, make a compelling case for it as a revival of BMW’s plug-in flagship. Even the wheels appear strikingly similar to those on the BMW Vision M Next concept the company showed at Frankfurt last year, which was said to be a plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine making 600 horsepower. BMW claimed it could do 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph and boasting 62 miles of all-electric range. 

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Historic French brand Delage returns with the D12

We’ve seen several ways so far of resurrecting a dormant car brand. There’s been the continuation build, like at Alvis, with period vehicles created from new-old-stock or parts created from original blueprints. We’ve seen brands wrap modern technology in historically-themed bodywork, as with the new Hispano-Suiza, or put that technology inside brand new bodywork said to channel the spirit of the original, as at Maybach or Bugatti. ü Called the Delage D12, CEO Laurent Tapie says it fulfills the dream of Adolphe Louis Delage, who campaigned a 2.0-liter V12 in the 1923 and 1924 Grand Prix seasons, supercharging the engine in 1925 and winning two races. Delage took the crown of World Champion of Car Builders in 1927 with the Type 15 S 8 and its supercharged 1.5-liter straight-eight, then returned to a V12 formula in 1938 in a car lost to fire before it could race.

The original Delage insisted on technical excellence, its 1914 Indy 500-winning car benefiting from a 4.5-liter four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and desmodromic valves, a five-speed gearbox with two overdrive gears, a metal clutch, and brakes at all four wheels plus a transmission brake. On public roads, some of the finest coachbuilding of the era sat on top of a Delage chassis; the brand has won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance three times between 1996 and 2010.

Echoing the dual thrust of those vintage cars, the D12 is road-legal, yet designed to be “the closest to the sensation of driving a Formula One car that has ever been experienced in a street legal car.” Tapie wants the D12 to claim the record for the fast street-legal car around the Nürburgring. There will be two D12 trims, both powered by a naturally aspirated 7.6-liter V12 with 990 horsepower, developed in-house and aided by an electric motor mounted in the eight-speed, single-clutch, automated manual transmission. In the GT version, which weighs 3,086 pounds, the e-motor produces 110 hp for a total of 1,100 horses. In the track-focused Club model that weighs 2,888 pounds, the e-motor contributes a gentle 20 horses for 1,010 hp and is used mainly while driving on the streets, reversing, and parking. Delage says the GT is quicker, but the Club — which can hit 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and tops out at 233 mph — is faster around a circuit.

Delage technical director Benoît Bagur has a résumé including years at Citroën Sport, Seat and VW Sport, and Ligier, the entire technical team said to have been involved with 16 FIA World Championship titles in various series. Bagur claims two in touring cars, the head engineer is responsible for six, and one of those titles is claimed by Jacques Villeneuve, the ex-F1 pilot being one of Delage’s test drivers.

The carbon fiber body panels are accompanied by carbon fiber wheels engineered to channel airflow to cool the brakes, the body and wheels connected by a visible pushrod suspension. In the cockpit, the steering wheel handles are molded to the driver’s hands, the carbon fiber seat and leg support are molded to the driver’s body. 

Tapie says he’s backed by 10 investors, four of them apparently billionaires, but he’s looking for two more. Tapie’s father is French billionaire Bernard Tapie, but the elder is not invested in the nascent car company. Laurent sees the D12, produced from next year in a run of 30 cars priced at $2.3 million each, as the opener to more products. Two D12s have been spoken for so far, sold through Delage’s West Coast dealer, Newport Beach Automotive Group.

With the brand name licensed for seven years, the deal including a provision to buy the rights to the name in 2022, Tapie already has a second model in mind. The follow-up will further highlight the historical connection at the same time as it’s powered by “a revolutionary turbine that’s been in development for 12 years, and will also take advantage of some innovative aerodynamic technology. We really see ourselves as a technology company.” 

Listen to the Mercedes-AMG Project One romp around Mercedes’ proving grounds

It’s been over three years since we saw the reveal of the Mercedes-AMG Project One, and we’re still waiting on a final production car. Mercedes isn’t keeping us entirely in the dark on what’s going on behind closed doors, though.

Today, Mercedes has dropped a new video and new photos of the Project One testing on track. The company says that testing is entering a new phase now, as pre-production models are running hot laps on Mercedes’ proving grounds in Immendingen. Mercedes also says that this is the first time it’s testing with the engines turned up to their full power potential of “more than 1,000 horsepower.”

For us, this is simply a great chance for us to hear the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 scream around a racetrack. Mercedes says the sound we’re hearing is authentic and what owners will hear from behind the wheel of their Projects Ones. Since this engine is a street-tamed Formula One engine, it sounds very similar to the Mercedes race cars piloted by Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas on Sundays. The sound isn’t exactly the same as what we hear on TV, but there’s no mistaking this engine’s origins. 

In addition to running at full power, Mercedes says it’s working to validate and develop the active aerodynamics. After this bout of testing is complete, Mercedes says it plans to head to the north loop of the Nurburgring. Don’t expect to see a record attempt, though — AMG already ruled that out a couple years ago.

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Maserati MC20 spy photos show supercar in broad daylight

The upcoming Maserati MC20 mid-engine supercar has been teased a number of times, but thanks to new spy photos, we finally get a clear look at the prototype. Our spy photographer caught the MC20 in broad daylight from nearly every angle, and it was wearing relatively thin camouflage.

The nose of the MC20 seems to take a lot of inspiration from past and present Maseratis. It has a slightly more aggressive oval grille that will house a big trident square in the middle. Two smaller grilles flank the center one. The headlights and hood design look slightly reminiscent of the MC12 supercar, which was based on the Ferrari Enzo. The lights have a similar shape that looks like it might wrap down around the sides of the fender. The little vents in the hood also call to mind the MC12.

The sides of the MC20 aren’t too over-the-top. It has two relatively small intakes in the rear fender, one upper and one lower. There’s a small vent in the front fender. The body’s lines are smooth and curvy. The rear pillar is fairly thick and the side skirts are rather deep. The wheels have quite a bit of vinyl covering, but they seem to have some sort of three-spoke or split three-spoke design.

At the rear of the car, there are few wings, spoilers or other aerodynamic paraphernalia besides the simple rear lip to distract from the clean curves. What we can see of the taillights suggests thin, wide units with arrow-like points in the lighting elements. There appear to be plenty of vents for cooling and aerodynamics, and the twin tailpipes exit roughly in the middle and a bit inset to the edges of the car.

While we don’t know all the details about the car, we know a fair bit about what will power it. It will use a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 making 630 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. It’s also an in-house engine, not one built by Ferrari. There have been reports that the engine could see a hybrid version with multiple electric motors appear with over 700 horsepower, but it’s also possible that those reports of an electrified engine could simply be referring to a 48-volt mild-hybrid assist that could be a part of the standard V6. We’re expecting the regular V6 MC20 will be rear-wheel-drive with some kind of dual-clutch or conventional automatic transmission. If the high-output hybrid rumors are true, that version would likely be all-wheel-drive. We should know more when the car makes its debut this September.

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Aston Martin Vantage and DBS Superleggera 007 Editions are shaken and stirred

We’re 25 movies into the James Bond franchise at this point and it’s well established that 007 has developed an unhealthy taste for Aston Martins. To wit, the upcoming film “No Time To Die”, says the British motoring company, “will be released around the world in November 2020 and will feature no fewer than four iconic Aston Martin sports cars: the iconic DB5; the classic Aston Martin V8; the brand’s latest super GT,  DBS Superleggera; and the exceptional Aston Martin Valhalla.”

To herald the occasion, Aston Martin has rolled out two new 007 Editions. We’ll start with the Vantage 007 Edition, which is inspired by the Aston Martin V8 from 1987’s “The Living Daylights.” Cumberland Grey paint joins a unique mesh grille with chrome bezel, a dashed yellow diffuser that the automaker says is “inspired by the hazard stripes on the film car’s rockets” and sun visors with an embroidered radio station frequency of 96.60 FM, which will make sense to diehard Bond fans. A series of optional mock weapons, ski racks, and faux bullet holes round out the package.

Aston Martin’s flagship DBS Superleggera also gets a 007 Edition. Only 25 will be produced, each in Ceramic Grey highlighted by a black carbon fiber roof, mirror caps, splitter, diffuser and rear Aeroblade. Bond-specific emblems join unique 21-inch wheels and an interior finished in black leather with red accents.

Want one? Aston Martin is currently taking orders, with deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2021.

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2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition celebrates 1966 Daytona victory

Ford pulled the covers off the 2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition this weekend, inspired by the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona-winning GT40 Mk. II driven by Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby. Even casual motorsports fans likely remember that Ford’s GT program defeated the almighty Ferrari at Le Mans that year, but the 24-hour Daytona race was just as important of a milestone in the car’s history.

The 2021 Heritage Edition is a tribute to the race-winning car, painted in Frozen White with asymmetrical black (in this modern case, exposed carbon fiber) and red accents. The number 98 is emblazoned across the doors, and one-piece Heritage Gold 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels let red Brembo monoblock brake calipers peek through. Red and black Alcantara fabric covers much of the interior, including the seats and steering wheel. A Heritage Upgrade Package adds carbon fiber wheels with gloss red inner accent barrel and carbon fiber door panels.

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Past Heritage Edition Ford GT’s honored the black-and-silver GT40 Mark II that won at Le Mans in 1966 driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, the Le Mans-winning #1 Ford GT40 Mark IV from 1967 driven by Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt, and the iconic Gulf livery of the 1968 Le Mans winner from the JW Automotive Engineering team.

In addition to the Heritage Edition, Ford also announced a customizable Studio Collection graphics package for the 2021 GT. “The combination of the stripes and accents invokes the emotion of speed and draws your eye to some of the most prominent features of the GT,” says Garen Nicoghosian, design head at Multimatic, the company that assembles the GT for Ford. “The fuselage, buttresses and signature features on the headlights provide visual anchors for the graphics, guiding your eye across the vehicle.”

Only 40 Studio Collection GTs are planned for the 2021 and 2022 model years. See the Heritage Edition in the gallery up above, and various possible Studio Collection schemes just below.

2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition teased ahead of Sunday debut

Ford dropped a brief teaser video for its 2021 GT Heritage Edition Friday afternoon, giving us our first glimpse of a car that will honor the legacy of the #98 Ford GT40 Mk II that won the inaugural 24 Hours of Daytona in 1966 in the hands of Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby. The car will be formally unveiled Sunday night to kick off the Peterson Automotive Museum’s Car Week.

The video flashes brief images of the 2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition overlaid on the silhouette of the #98 GT40, followed by a message that reads “2021 Ford GT Heritage Edition — Coming Soon.” Ford’s GT Heritage Edition cars all sport throwback liveries representing the GT40’s dominant racing years.

The 2017 Heritage Edition wore the black-and-silver livery of the GT40 Mark II driven by Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon at Le Mans in 1966. That year, the No. 2 car came in first place, followed by the No. 1 GT40 of Ken Miles and Denis Hulme and the No. 5 GT40 driven by Ronnie Bucknum and Dick Hutcherson.

The 2018 car honored the all-American team of Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt, who claimed victory at Le Mans in the #1 Ford GT40 Mark IV in 1967; for 2019, Ford brought back the Gulf livery with a car honoring the 1968 Le Mans victory by the JW Automotive Engineering team. 

On any other car, these would be nothing but sticker packages; on something as prestigious as the GT, they’re unique, low-production-number configurations that will surely make them highly desirable collector’s items down the road. 

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Hyperion unveils XP-1 hydrogen fuel cell supercar

Did you hear that? It didn’t sound like much, did it? Pretty quiet. Did you feel it? Just a whiff of passing vapor? Either that’s the emissions of a fuel cell supercar, or a big entrepreneurial dream not long for this world. When you see it, though, it’s hard to miss. That’s the Hyperion XP-1, which, after a little teasing, was officially revealed in the video above.

We don’t have a lot of details yet. Hyperion says the hydrogen hypercar can travel 1,000 miles between refueling — a process that takes mere minutes — and that it’ll do 0-60 miles per hour in a blistering 2.2 seconds. Its side aero elements not only help provide high-speed cornering stability, but they house solar panels, “which can articulate to follow the trajectory of the sun.” Hyperion, which also has aerospace and energy arms in addition to its automotive business, plans to produce the XP-1 in the U.S. starting in 2022.

Sure, I was a little flippant in my lede with the vaporware insinuation. We’ve seen a lot of high-tech, green cars come and go without making much of a splash or nary a ripple in the marketplace. We’ve seen it go the other way, too, and we’re still waiting on sure signs of success from others. Hyperion CEO Angelo Kafantaris called the XP-1, in part, “an educational tool for the masses.” He added, “Aerospace engineers have long understood the advantages of hydrogen as the most abundant, lightest element in the universe and now, with this vehicle, consumers will experience its extraordinary value proposition. This is only the beginning of what can be achieved with hydrogen as an energy storage medium. The potential of this fuel is limitless and will revolutionize the energy sector.”

It’s easy (maybe even lazy) to be dismissive of hydrogen with all the gains battery electric vehicles are making, but I still believe hydrogen has a place in the green energy ecosystem, and I’m not alone. Look at Toyota, Hyundai, even a number of countries that see a big future for it in their economies. It currently has its challenges (and listen to our Green Episode of the Autoblog Podcast for more about that) but also plenty of promise, if you know how to look at it. Furthermore, Hyperion says it has a “plan to revolutionize the hydrogen refueling industry.” If that’s the case, it gives the XP-1 — and hydrogen cars in general — a better shot at success.

Anyway, check out the cool fuel cell car from Hyperion in the video and photos above, and debate about it — and about hydrogen — in the comments.

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Driving the McLaren GT, Audi S7 and Vintage Electric Cafe bicycle | Autoblog Podcast #639

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they’ve been having some fun in the McLaren GT and the Toyota 86 GT. James has spent some time with the very lovely Vintage Electric Cafe e-bike. They’ve also been driving the Ford Ranger and Audi S7. In the news, Ford gets new leadership, and Micro Machines are back, baby!

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2022 Gordon Murray T.50 revealed as the ‘greatest analog driver’s car’

Over the past year or so, the Gordon Murray Design T.50 has been taking shape, from its F1-inspired V12 to its wild fan-assisted active aerodynamics. Now the car has been fully revealed as the machine Murray says is meant to be the “greatest analog driver’s car” ever. And based on the feature set, we’d say it has a good chance of meeting that goal.

The body and chassis are entirely made of carbon fiber, and as a whole, the car is similarly sized to a Porsche 718 Boxster. The design has some clear McLaren F1 cues, which is unsurprising since Murray was responsible for that supercar. The headlights, front fascia, roof scoop and split engine access panels are particularly reminiscent of the F1. The roof scoop also has a function where certain panels will conduct intake noise into the cabin, but they’re only engaged under heavy throttle to keep the cabin civilized when cruising. There’s significantly more glass area around the cockpit, though, and the rear fascia is unique, particularly with the big round fan opening, which we’ll return to in a minute. The whole car is incredibly light, too, at just 2,174 pounds.

2022 Gordon Murray T.50

In the engine bay is a 3.9-liter V12 developed and built by Cosworth. It’s completely naturally aspirated and makes 654 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque. Redline is 12,100 rpm, and peak power arrives not far from it at 11,500 rpm. Peak torque is available at a (slightly) more accessible level of 9,000 rpm. The engine can go from idle to redline in just three tenths of a second. The engine is apparently the lightest V12 ever used in a road-going car at 392 pounds, something that was achieved with the aluminum block and titanium connecting rods, intake and exhaust valves and clutch housing, as well as entirely gear-driven camshafts and accessories. Furthermore, the engine is the most power-dense naturally aspirated engine with 164 horsepower per liter. The engine is paired with a lightweight six-speed manual transmission and powers only the rear wheels.

The aerodynamics are equally impressive. The centerpiece is the aforementioned fan that pulls air through different ducts in the car. When pulling air through the lower ducts, fed by vertical intakes with filters to keep debris from damaging the fan, downforce is increased. It can also pull from upper ducts that combine with the fan’s rear exhaust to, aerodynamically-speaking, lengthen the car’s body and reduce drag. There are also adjustable diffuser valves and spoilers that are all controlled via different aerodynamic modes. The Automatic and Braking modes operate automatically depending on driving situations. High Downforce mode activates the fan and lower ducts and angles the rear spoilers more for 50% more downforce over Automatic. Streamline mode activates the upper ducts and fan at high speed, partially closes some of the diffuser valves and lowers the spoilers to instead reduce drag by 12.5%. There’s also a V-Max Boost mode that uses the Streamline settings, but also has the 48-volt electric starter/generator power the fan briefly to reduce parasitic losses on the engine. When using this mode at high speed, engine power climbs to 690 horses.

The suspension and brakes of the T.50 are comparatively simple. Double-wishbone suspension is used at all four corners and is made with forged aluminum components. Steering is a rack-and-pinion setup and only has power assist at low speeds, dropping the assist at higher speeds for maximum road feel. The Brembo brakes are carbon ceramic all around with six-piston calipers and 14.5-inch rotors at the front and four-piston calipers with 13.4-inch rotors at the back. Forged, center-lock aluminum wheels are fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires.

2022 Gordon Murray T.50

The interior is yet another throwback to the McLaren F1 with its center driving position flanked by two passenger seats. The driver has an analog tachometer smack dab in the middle with screens on either side and aluminum knobs and buttons for various controls. To the right is a little console jutting out with the shifter mechanism made of titanium. The clutch and brake pedals are made of aluminum and the throttle pedal is made of titanium. All three seats are formed from carbon fiber. The cabin isn’t a completely barebones, uncompromising affair. It features a 700-watt 10-speaker sound system and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Each customer also gets a fitting session to have the seats and pedals placed in the most comfortable location possible.

Only 100 Gordon Murray T.50s will be built. Last we heard, there were still a few vehicles available, but you’ll need 2.36 million pounds to buy one, or $3.08 million at current exchange rates. Production begins in January 2022 with deliveries happening a little later. And the whole car, including its engine and various components, are all developed and built in Britain.

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Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is an 830-horsepower track weapon

Following in the footsteps of the likes of the Diablo GTR and the Miura Jota, the new Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is the latest limited-run, uber-performance GT car that offers more power than any other naturally aspirated V12 model Lamborghini has ever produced.

To say the Essenza SCV12 is purpose-built would be understating it. From the carbon fiber monocoque and the adjustable aerodynamics to the structurally integral gearbox, everything about the Essenza SCV12 was engineered expressly for speed by Lamborghini’s motorsports division. Lamborghini says the V12 actually makes more than 830 horsepower, but didn’t offer us anything more specific.

Its multi-function wheel was even inspired by the control interfaces found in Formula One, and the rest of the cockpit is similarly racecar-spartan, down to the FIA-homologated carbon-shell seats. The exterior bodywork comprises just three sections to facilitate quick repair and replacement. All four wheels are magnesium alloy and the brakes were developed by Brembo.

“Essenza SCV12 represents the purest track driving experience that our brand can offer, an engineering feat that highlights the inextricable link between our cars and the asphalt of the track,” said Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali in the company’s announcement. “Lamborghini is a brand constantly looking to the future and searching for new challenges, but we never forget our roots and who we are: Essenza SCV12 is the perfect combination of our unconventional spirit as a super sports car manufacturer and our true passion for motorsport.”

The Essenza SCV12 puts all 830 horsepower to the ground via the rear wheels. The aforementioned structural gearbox is a six-speed sequential unit and the mounting point for the rear pushrod suspension. The aero elements, which were borrowed (with modifications, of course) from Lamborghini’s racing cars, produce more than 2,600 pounds of downforce at 155 MPH — more than you get from the aero on a GT3 race car. 

Making the deal even sweeter is the fact that purchasing one of these 40 Essenza SCV12s also confers access to a series of exclusive track events along with storage space in a new building (a hangar, Lamborghini says) that the company has built at its facility in Sant’Agata Bolognese. 

“We wanted to elevate not only performance and driving pleasure but also the experience off the track,” said Giorgio Sanna, Head of Lamborghini Motorsport. “Customers can take advantage of exclusive and highly customizable services to fully experience the best of Italian hospitality and become part of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse family.”

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2021 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Xago is all about the hexagons

Every modern-day hypercar needs to have loads of limited-production special editions. Even the most exclusive cars such as the Bugatti Chiron aren’t exclusive enough. And as a result of needing to satiate the demand for special hypercars, there are some odd limited editions. The latest is the 2021 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Xago Edition. It’s special because of hexagons.

Well, it’s not just hexagons. It also celebrates Lamborghini’s Ad Personam customization program and the fact that customers can now participate in the program virtually instead of flying out to Italy. As it so happens, this special Aventador can only be ordered through the virtual version of the program.

So what’s the connection between an online customization program and hexagons? We have no idea. And the connection is more tenuous when you see that Lamborghini says its hexagonal patterns for the car were inspired by the hexagonal clouds on Saturn’s north pole. Yes, you read that right. Oh, and the name? We also don’t know, but it might just be that they’re the middle letters of Lamborghini’s design theme called “hexagonita.”

Among the hexagon details are silver patterns that fade in and out on the paint. The interior upholstery features a hexagonal pattern all the way down, too. Outside of that, the customer gets to pick the paint colors, which will also be reflected by contrast panels on the seats. Otherwise, it’s a regular Aventador SVJ, which is still pretty exciting with a blistering Nürburgring lap time and 770 horsepower.

Only 10 of these hexagonal Aventadors will be built, and that leaves us a bit vexed. Shouldn’t Lamborghini build a number of these cars divisible by six? A very mild hex upon the person that missed the opportunity to sextuple down on the hexagon theme.

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