All posts in “hybrid”

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.

This is McLaren’s new carbon fiber tub it will use for future hybrid supercars

Look! It’s a big hunk of carbon fiber! Specifically, it’s McLaren’s new hunk of carbon fiber, and it’s high tech to the max. McLaren says this new structure will be the basis of all hybrid supercars it produces in the future, with the first of those launching in 2021.

There’s no fancy name for the new architecture yet. “MonoCell” was McLaren’s name for the previous chassis, and it was introduced for the 12C many years ago. The new chassis is a clean sheet redesign that was designed “specifically to accommodate new hybrid powertrains.” McLaren developed it in-house at its Composites Technology Center. The chassis are molded and put together at this tech center, then transported 173 miles to McLaren’s production facility in Woking, Surrey. Once there, the rest of the vehicle is assembled around it.

McLaren boasts of “world-first processes” that allow them to strip out excess mass while also improving safety attributes, but specific details are still light on the ground.

“This new, ultra-lightweight carbon fibre chassis boasts greater structural integrity and higher levels of quality than ever before with our new MCTC facility quickly becoming recognized as a global center of excellence in composite materials science and manufacturing,” says Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren.

If you were curious about how McLaren goes about making the carbon fiber tub, it’s included a convenient flow chart to follow. We’ve pasted it below.

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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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Hybrid Sián Roadster becomes Lamborghini’s most powerful convertible

Lamborghini chopped off the Sián’s top to create its most powerful convertible model to date. The limited-edition Sián Roadster features an innovative hybrid powertrain and a wide panoply of customization options.

Viewed from the front, the Roadster is nearly identical to the Sián coupe introduced at the 2019 edition of the Frankfurt auto show. Its long, low nose wears a carbon fiber splitter and Y-shaped LED headlights. It’s the same story out back, where the shape of the lights again draws a subtle parallel between the Sián and the Countach built between 1974 and 1990. The engine remains visible through a horizontal wings made with carbon fiber, but they’re flanked by deep scoops that start right behind the occupants and flow into a set of air vents.

Surprisingly, the Roadster is just as aerodynamic as the coupe. Autoblog learned it will not come with any kind of roof.

Technology reigns supreme in the cabin. The driver sits in front of a digital, configurable instrument cluster, and a touchscreen integrated into the slanted center stack displays the infotainment system Lamborghini designed in-house. The air vents are 3D-printed, and buyers can customize them by adding their initials. Nearly every part of the interior can be personalized, including the upholstery and the type of the materials used to make trim pieces.

Mitja Borkert, the head of Lamborghini’s design department, previously promised no two examples of the Sián coupe will be identical. It’s reasonable to assume that every Roadster will be equally unique.

The Sián lost its top without losing any of its mechanical panache. The Roadster is identical to the coupe, meaning it’s equipped with Lamborghini’s first production-bound hybrid system. The powertrain consists of a mid-mounted, naturally-aspirated V12 engine and an electric motor integrated into the transmission. It draws electricity from a supercapacitor to inject 34 horses into the driveline, bringing the setup’s total output to 819 horsepower. Lamborghini quotes a 2.9-second sprint from zero to 62 mph, and a 217-mph top speed.

Using a supercapacitor instead of a lithium-ion battery pack is not the easiest or cheapest way to build a hybrid, but engineers claim it’s the best solution. It’s three times more powerful than a battery with a comparable weight; put another way, it’s three times lighter than one with a similar power output. It stores enough electricity to let the motor power the Sián at ultra-low speeds, like when parking or backing up. More important, the jolt of electricity it sends to the wheels ensures the car continues to accelerate even when the transmission is changing gears.

Engineers found ingenious ways to cool the drivetrain. For example, the cooling vanes integrated into the rear end are made with a patented material that reacts to heat. They gradually rotate open as the exhaust gets hotter.

Lamborghini will make 19 examples of the Sián Roadster, and they’re all spoken for. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the coupe model (which is sold out, too) allegedly starts at $2 million before options. Enthusiasts who want to add the Sián to their collection will need to wait until a used example comes up for sale. In the meantime, they can pick up a 23-inch long, 3,696-piece Lego Technic replica, or they can spend $3 million on one of the 63 Sián-inspired, 4,000-horsepower yachts an Italian shipbuilder named Tecnomar will launch starting in 2021.

2020 is the wrong year to launch a car, but Czinger is moving full speed ahead

Los Angeles-based startup Czinger has remained relatively quiet since it unveiled the 21C, a 3D-printed plug-in hybrid hypercar, in February. Its plans to present the model at the 2020 Geneva auto show were derailed when the event was canceled, and it decelerated its operations to comply with California’s COVID-19-related lockdowns, but work never stopped behind the scenes. We caught up with the brand to get a better idea of where it stands.

Jens Sverdrup, the young brand’s chief commercial officer, told Autoblog engineers began testing prototypes on the road and on the track in August 2019. “This is not one of these stories where you see new companies coming out with a mockup or a computer rendering; we have fully functioning cars, and we’ve spent a significant amount of money on them,” he said. Testing abruptly stopped in the spring, fine-tuning a 1,233-horsepower car wasn’t considered an essential activity, but the data gathered in late 2019 and in early 2020 was encouraging.

“We know enough about the car’s performance to say our numbers are conservative,” he explained. “We have a lot of work to do in the area of refinement, but we haven’t experienced any major issues. Our car is well designed and well thought-out. We have test rigs, so the chassis had gone through [about 280,000 miles] of testing before we even started test-driving the car,” he added. Building a car that goes really fast in a straight line and around a bend is relatively easy compared to making it comfortable and docile to drive around town. Czinger wants the 21C to tick the speed and refinement boxes, because the market for bludgeon-like supercars no longer exists.

On-road testing stopped, but development continued. Czinger’s engineers didn’t spend the lock-down period playing Mario Kart on the Wii. Sverdrup revealed the company’s research and development department made several small changes, like improving the 21C’s downforce and shedding weight. It’s too early to tell how these tweaks will affect the car’s zero-to-60-mph time, which is pegged at 1.9 seconds, or its 268-mph top speed. However, he stressed the firm funds product development on its own instead of using deposits to pay for it.

“We’ve not been chasing deposits to fund our R&D. This approach makes us very different from many of the other brands we tend to be compared to. It feels really good not to [rely on deposits]. It means we believe in what we’re doing, we’re not fishing for interest, and we’re committed to doing this. We’ve invested the money up front; this is serious,” he noted.

Czinger should have shown the 21C in motion for the first time at the 2020 edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and it had invited a handful of journalists to take it for a spin, but the event was canceled. What’s next depends largely on the pandemic’s evolution, and whether lock-downs are once again enforced around the world. Production likely won’t start in 2021 as planned, Sverdrup told Autoblog 2022 is more likely, and the delay was inevitable considering the circumstances. Rivian — which has the keys to Amazon’s bottomless purse — had to push back R1T and R1S production until 2021 for the same reason, and even established companies like Chevrolet are struggling to deliver products on time. It won’t have time to build every 2020 Corvette ordered.

2020 is the wrong year to launch a car, or really anything that’s not a vaccine or a mask. Czinger takes comfort in the fact that most of the enthusiasts and potential customers who have seen the 21C so far have liked it.

“Response to the 21C has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen some skepticism, of course. We’re a new brand. It’s up to us to be consistent, prove ourselves, and keep pushing to deliver good cars,” Sverdrup stated with a dose of realism we’ve rarely heard echoing through the automotive industry’s start-up corner.

Czinger will cap 21C production at 80 examples, but it doesn’t plan to stop there. It’s in the process of recruiting dealers, and they wouldn’t be doing that simply to sell 80 cars. While Sverdrup stopped short of telling us what’s next, he confirmed there are follow-up models in the pipeline. All will be quick, light, and exclusive, though some will be positioned below the 21C, which carries a base price of $1.7 million. “It’s not hypercar pricing, but it’s also not the Ford Mustang,” Sverdrup said.

And, regardless of what the company builds next, it will be manufactured using a 3D-printing technique developed in-house. It saves a tremendous amount of time and money by eliminating the need to design and manufacture tooling before launching production of, say, a suspension arm.

“It’s the future,” Sverdrup said. “I would be very surprised if, in 20 years, this is not the way cars are built.”

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 Sports Series model with V6 hybrid delayed to 2021

In the middle of May, the McLaren Group began the hunt for up to $335 million to endure the downturn caused by the coronavirus, with the conglomerate ready to put every sacred asset on the block for collateral. A few days later, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told Automotive News Europe, “This will have cost us probably two years. [In] 2020, we’re going to do very little. I think it’ll take us the whole of ’21 to climb back [to] where we are.” Even though the Woking firm had already moved to cut supply in anticipation of lower sales, a 67% sales drop in Q1 this year led to McLaren laying off 1,200 employees — a quarter of the workforce — across Automotive, Racing, and Applied Technologies divisions. Another casualty of current events is the timeline for the anticipated plug-in hybrid model reported to replace the 570S in the entry-level Sports Series tier. Chatter had suggested McLaren would debut the car this summer and begin deliveries in some markets before the year ended. But Evo magazine reports the coupe will be on the tardy list, a company spokesperson telling PistonHeads the schedule has slid back “a handful of months.”

The PHEV represents a big step, being a volume model built on a brand new platform, powered by a brand new engine at the heart of a brand new powertrain. The twin-turbocharged V6 said to sit behind the cockpit inaugurates a life beyond the small-displacement V8 that has powered every McLaren Automotive product since a 3.8-liter twin-turbo unit entered service in the MP4-12C. We don’t know much about the V6, but spy shots appear to show that it will rev 500 rpm higher than the V8, to 8,000 rpm, and its peak output with electrical assistance will exceed the 570 horsepower in the 570S. The plug-in hybrid component contributes an Electric driving mode to Comfort and Sport modes, the powertrain supposedly able to go 21 miles on battery power. As for looks, the compact body seems to crib from the 720 S in front, the GT in the midsection, and add a lot of cooling apertures in the rear.

The “little” that Flewitt said McLaren would do this year means focusing on the Elva roadster, 765LT, and Speedtail. A spokesperson said testing and development have resumed, and “dealers are [also] already opening for appointments.” Since we’re still not halfway through 2020, it’s hard to imagine what anything will look like when — hell, if — the dust settles. It’s good bet, though, that McLaren could need to recalibrate the two dozen or so remaining models in its Track 25 strategy that envisions 18 new models by 2025.

Related Video:

Acura NSX, a pair of 2 Series Gran Coupes and a time machine | Autoblog Podcast #628

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’re driving a 2020 Acura NSX, two versions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (M235i and 228i) and the updated 2020 Honda Civic Si. Then, the gang gets to talking about what they’d drive in 1975 and 1985, along with plenty of other tangents. Finally, they wrap it up with news about the upcoming 2021 Acura TLX Type S and the fate of this year’s Woodward Dream Cruise.

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2020 Acura NSX Suspension Deep Dive

The Acura NSX has been a special car as long as I’ve been in the business. The first one came out in 1990, the same year I started my career in automotive engineering. I vividly remember driving one briefly back then when we brought one in for benchmarking. I’d drive it again 22 years later when my previous employer bought a used 1991 example for a long-term test. Reader interest was sky-high and the car was still gorgeous, but the march of time and automotive engineering had clearly left it behind.

Then, in 2016, a second-generation NSX emerged, and it was packed with bleeding-edge thinking. It has a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, but this new NSX is a hybrid with an electric motor-generator sandwiched between the engine and its nine-speed DCT transmission. Two more electric motors – one for each wheel – power the front axle. There they can add traction, regenerate electricity under braking and dole out hyper-accurate levels of torque vectoring.

The car’s tire package was changed from Continental SportContact 5 to SportContact 6 tires in 2019, and numerous suspension re-tuning tweaks came along with them. The result is a lively and well-balanced car that is relentless when driven hard and a pussycat around town. Let’s see what they’ve got going on under there.

At first glance the 2020 Acura NSX appears to have dual wishbone front suspension. But we can’t tell for sure because that big two-piece brake rotor is in the way. The coil-over shock looks obvious, but a few odd details are apparent even from here.

This view also seems to indicate double wishbone suspension. But the pivot axis (green arrow) between the upper and lower ball joints looks wrong – it’s far too vertical. We’re missing something.

But I would be remiss if I failed to point out a few other things before we moved on. For one, the front drive axle confirms this to be an all-wheel-drive machine. Second, the forged aluminum damper mounting fork (yellow) that envelops the axle is mounted to the lower arm about 75% out from the arm’s inner pivot. The spring and damper motion ratio would be 0.75-to-1 relative to wheel movement, with a tiny reduction due to its lean angle.

Lastly, just look at the huge cast aluminum upright (white). Beautiful. Normally these are called hub carriers or steering knuckles, and I use the terms interchangeably. But the motorsports-derived term upright is normally applied when the piece is tall and, well, upright like this one.

This explains everything. The lower end of the upright is located by two forged aluminum links, each with its own outer ball joint. This type of suspension is often called Double Wishbone with Dual Lower Pivots even though we’re not technically looking at a wishbone.

That plastic piece is a fence that guides cooling air for the brakes. This will be your last look at it because I’m about to unbolt it.

The apparently too-vertical steering axis we saw earlier was a false first impression. The real lower pivot is a virtual point that lives in a physically impossible place where the lines of each link intersect. The angled forward link (yellow) locates the wheel in the fore-aft direction and absorbs longitudinal forces, while the rear lateral link (green) manages the camber angle and takes up cornering forces.

As you might expect, that virtual point moves about. Here’s what it looks like in action with the wheel off, and with the wheel on I can scrub the tire (and the driveway) to show where the pivot axis intersects the contact patch.

The point of all of this is to put the steering axis in a more favorable position relative to the tire’s contact patch in order to improve steering feel and lessen kickback and torque steer from the electric motors.

The actual pivot points do not reside where the nuts appear at the bottom. They live within the rubber bellows and the aluminum link. The two link ends are stacked and angled because they want them to be closer together than they could be if both were arrayed side-by-side on the same horizontal plane.

The arms and links of the front suspension are bolted to the chassis with what I call tie-bars, but I like the term dogbone used internally by Acura. The rear lateral link’s dogbone is spaced from the chassis by color-coded shims of varying thickness to achieve the desired camber angle.

The forged aluminum upper arm uses a low-mounted “in wheel” ball joint (yellow) similar to what we saw on the MX-5 Miata. That choice was made here for many of the same reasons: keep the hoodline and center of gravity low.

It’s mounted with a pair of dogbones, but the oddest bit may be that it serves as the attachment point for the front stabilizer bar’s end link (green). It’s mounted about 60% of the way out from the pivot for an approximate 0.6-to-1 motion ratio.

That non-standard link position does make it easy to locate the stabilizer bar itself in a quiet corner.

The NSX uses magnetorheological dampers (MR, but Mr. Dampers makes me smile) that are controlled by a system of suspension height sensors (yellow) at each corner, a steering angle sensor and g sensors. Probably others. The MR damper itself is made by BWI – the current patent holder – but Acura has developed its own control software and sensor suite.

MR dampers are continuously variable. The valving is fixed, but the viscosity of the damper fluid that passes through that valving can be varied proportionally by the application of an electrically-generated magnetic field. This gives them exceptionally quick reaction times.

Meanwhile, the upper mount pokes up to where we can see daylight and the yellow-painted underside of the hood.

The upper mount is laterally bolted to the chassis so the hoodline can be as low as possible. But it’s not a simple single-shear mount. Hidden stepped dowel extensions make it so the bolts aren’t doing everything on their own.

The brake master cylinder is mounted sideways and is operated by a stepper motor (yellow). This is common on hybrids and electric vehicles because they seek to prioritize magnetic “regenerative” braking for routine stops before using the pads and rotors. The brake pedal is attached to a smaller hydraulic cylinder to generate authentic feel and a pressure signal the system can use along with pedal position sensor data to calculate its response.

If this sounds like brake by wire, it absolutely is. And the feel is fantastic. Acura engineers told me the feeling can be so consistent that they had to program in an artificial “long pedal” to let an aggressive track-day driver know when the brakes were getting hot and losing effectiveness. If the by-wire system utterly fails – an exceedingly unlikely event – that smaller hydraulic cylinder attached to the pedal becomes the back-up system.

The brakes are made up of six-piston Brembo fixed calipers and two-piece rotors. Steel rotors are standard, but long-lasting lightweight ceramic ones that save 52 pounds of total unsprung mass are available as an option.

The calipers use an open-window design, but they have a bridge bolt stiffener (yellow) that must be removed before the pads can be extracted.

The initial view of the rear looks similar to what we first saw up front, except there are two calipers back here.

There’s another forged aluminum upper arm back here, and it’s mounted with dogbones that are deep-set into a vast ablation-cast aluminum section of the rear chassis.

The lower end of the rear damper (yellow) is mounted directly to the knuckle, which gives it a 1-to-1 motion ratio. This is a high mounting point above the rear axle, and the mounting bolt itself also anchors a bracket for the stabilizer bar end link (green), which means it has a 1-to-1 motion ratio, too.

Meanwhile, the rear position sensor’s strut (white) and its upper arm attachment are clearly visible.

The rear damper’s somewhat high lower mounting doesn’t indicate a short damper. Like most mid-engine cars, the rear of the NSX has high haunches. And the upper attachment is the same low-profile sideways-bolted mount we saw in the front.

The lower end of the rear knuckle is located by a pair of links, making this a multilink suspension that just happens to have one wishbone. Each carries a plastic brake cooling air deflector that must be removed so we can see better, but an unusual-looking nozzle (yellow) remains.

That noozle is the terminus of a tube that is enclosed within the forward half of the two-piece rear subframe, and the source of its air is a NACA duct located closer to the middle of the car.

The forward link is an angled semi-trailing link that is mainly concerned with the wheel’s fore-aft location. Its high mounting relative to its partner link is a sign of anti-squat rear geometry.

The lateral link’s dogbone attaches to the chassis in an angled orientation that makes its pivot axis (yellow) roughly line up with the forward link’s elevated pivot point.

As we saw up front, the rear wheel’s camber is adjusted via color-coded shims that are sandwiched between the dogbone and the chassis. This view also shows the overlapping interface of the two-piece subframe (green) at a point where both parts share a mounting bolt.

The toe link sits behind the rest, and it is quite a bit longer than its partners. Mid-engine cars are very responsive to steering inputs, so a healthy dose of roll understeer is necessary to keep them in line. This one has a turnbuckle (yellow) in the middle for easy static toe adjustments.

Here’s how this trio of links bolts to what is a tidy cast-aluminum knuckle.

No I didn’t forget about the rear stabilizer bar. Its pivots (yellow) are sandwiched between the rear subframe half and the chassis, and it arcs over the lateral link to meet its own connecting link (green). Try to ignore the bracket, which holds the air deflector I removed.

The main brake is a Brembo four-piston fixed caliper with an open pad-extraction window, while the smaller one is an electronically-controlled parking brake. The extremely flat central hat section of the two-piece brake rotor leaves no room for the in-hat drum parking brakes that less performance-minded cars tend to favor.

For their size, the Acura NSX’s wheel and tire package are admirably light. The 2019 and 2020 versions of the NSX use Continental SportContact 6 tires mounted on Y-spoke rims, a design that was chosen for its superior strength-to-weight ratio. It doesn’t hurt that they look fantastic, too. The 19-inch front rims are 8.5 inches wide, wear 245/35ZR19 tires and the assembly weighs just 41.5 pounds. The 20-inch rears are 11 inches wide, are shod with 305/30ZR20 tires and weigh just 54.5 pounds each.

There’s a lot of fascinating engineering hidden within the wheelhouses of the second-generation Acura NSX. And it all works beautifully. The 2020 NSX is an epic-handling machine that is also quite livable day-in day-out on the street. It is a thoroughly modern supercar, but it also plays homage to the original. It’s a pity we don’t see more of them out there on the road.

Contributing writer Dan Edmunds is a veteran automotive engineer and journalist. He worked as a vehicle development engineer for Toyota and Hyundai with an emphasis on chassis tuning, and was the director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com (no relation) for 14 years.

Read more Suspension Deep Dives below and let us know which cars you’d like to see Dan put up onto the jack stand next …

Mazda MX-5 Miata Suspension Deep Dive

Toyota GR Supra Suspension Deep Dive

Porsche Taycan Turbo Suspension Deep Dive

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Ferrari mule lapping Fiorano could house V6 hybrid

Ferrari spoke of plans to add a V6 to its lineup two years ago, without dropping its two other trademark motors. The brand’s SVP of commercial and marketing, Enrico Galliera, told Australia’s WhichCar last year, “So the technology we are going to have, V12, V8, V6 turbo. Hybrid will give us the possibility to have a platform that we can mix to achieve emissions targets.” There’s been much chatter around when and where the V6 in turbo and/or hybrid form would show. We still don’t know, but it’s possible that we’ve had our first sound check for it, thanks to four brief videos on Instagram.

Instagram user simonemasetti_photography, a regular around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in Maranello, captured the vids, while Instagrammer cochespias uploaded them. The camouflaged 488 mules lapping the circuit wear camo similar to that on a 488 mule spotted on Maranello roads with an electricity warning sticker on its frunk.

We can’t be certain of what engine lurks behind the cabin of the test cars, but all the cars are much quieter than one would expect Ferrari’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 to be. In the first video, the coupe accelerates so hard that a long lick of fire shoots out the exhaust, with only a gentle ‘whoosh’ — no wail or roar — to accompany it. The third vid makes the best comparison, the one that opens on two 488-looking coupes in the far distance, one black and one camo’d. When the camo’d car takes off, moving away from the camera, we hear the sound we’d expect from a charging Ferrari V8. However, when the car we suspect is a hybrid V6 passes right in front of the camera, even under acceleration it makes hardly any noise compared to the car in the distance.

These cars, in fact, sound just like the car Masetti caught testing at Fiorano last September, which he believes is the V6 hybrid.

No matter what’s being tested, we know little about Maranello’s V6. One origin story says the mill has been developed from the 2.9-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which itself is suspected to be derived from the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 in the F8 Tributo. Another origin story figures the V6 is a brand new engine. No matter where it began, consensus is that the hybrid unit will enter production around 2022 and produce more than 720 horsepower.

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McLaren Speedtail reveals its hybrid powertrain secrets, and of course it’s impressive

Until now, McLaren has been keeping secrets about its three-seat Speedtail hypercar. We’ve known it’s packing a hybrid powertrain that produces a combined 1,055 horsepower and 848 pound-feet of torque, but that’s about it. Today, McLaren is spilling the beans, and what impressive beans they are.

The combustion engine is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, rated for 747 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque on its own. Its output is nearly identical to that of the 765LT (rated for 755 horsepower and 590 pound-feet). And yes, the two are both equipped with McLaren’t M840T engines. However, the Speedtail’s hybrid powertrain is named M840TQ, since it features an electric motor to help it along.

And help the Speedtail along it does. McLaren says the single electric motor generates 308 horsepower on its own, which is an astounding figure for its application. The tech on display here is derived from Formula E, and McLaren is claiming it’s the “highest performing installation — including cooling and integration — of any electric motor currently in use in a production road car.” 

McLaren is also bragging about its new battery unit. It’s a 1.647-kilowatt-hour (mighty precise there, McLaren) cylindrical-shaped unit that’s “arranged in a unique way.” What way? McLaren doesn’t say. However, it’s an extremely compact unit, and McLaren claims it’s able to provide the best power-to-weight ratio of any high-voltage battery available today. It says the power density of the battery is four times that of the McLaren P1, the company’s only other hybrid vehicle

As for the cooling system, it’s also state-of-the-art. McLaren says the cells are “thermally controlled by a dielectrical cooling system and permanently immersed in a lightweight, electrically insulative oil which quickly transfers heat away from the cells.” This cooling technology is also being claimed as a first in a production road car. The benefit? It’s highly efficient, and will “allow the cells to run harder and for longer.” All of this is great news for future hybrid McLaren supercars, which are coming soon.

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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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Czinger 21C comes in 1,331-hp widebody version, too

Two months after Czinger introduced its 21C tandem-seater hypercar in regular and track-focused trims, there’s already another variant on the table. Jens Sverdrup, the company’s chief commercial officer, told Pistonheads that Czinger wanted to have a widebody derivative with a higher output ready for the Geneva Motor Show, but that didn’t happen. Sverdrup detailed the new version, explaining that engineers tweaked the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V8 and the twin high-power electric motors to increase output by an extra 98 horsepower, from 1,233 hp to 1,331, without increasing the weight of the 992-pound entire hybrid powertrain. This makes what was already the most power-dense V8 engine in the world even more power-dense. The widebody component shows itself in new bodywork over a wider track and wider tires, and it gets its own chassis tune. Said Sverdrup, “Anybody who buys one of our 80 21Cs can tick for a widebody version on the options list, giving them a hypercar that might not be the best for narrow Scottish or Welsh roads, but will definitely be great for the race track.”

Czinger’s spending the time before deliveries begin in 2021 honing engine characteristics to ensure tractability throughout the V8’s 11,000-rpm rev range. We’ve been promised a coupe that’s tame around town, Sverdrup saying, “With the hybrid system you can lean more on the batteries at low revs for more refinement at low speed.” Get above 6,000 rpm, however, and it apparently sounds like “an old F1 engine.”

The California company’s vision for life after the 21C is also in the works, with three models slated to launch starting in 2023. These could be more practical than the opening act, adopting 21C philosophies from the powertrain to the build, and continuing the push toward synthetic fuels. With Czinger backed in part by 3D-printer Divergent 3D and Hong Kong venture capital, engineers are already considering how to design a monocoque with built-in cavities for wiring and fluids, and “complex internal structures that enhance crash safety.” 

The 80 planned builds for the 21C should keep the company busy for the next few years, each car said to take 3,000 to 4,000 man-hours to print and assemble. As for the question of whether Czinger will be around that long, of course, one never knows, but the company supposedly has funding for the next three projects already and, unusual in this space especially, Czinger isn’t asking for deposits for the 21C in order to pay for production. Seeing the dealer network is planned to include “20 established supercar sellers in Europe” by the end of this year, further insight into what’s ahead shouldn’t be long in coming.

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McLaren hybrid sports series prototype spied, possible 570S successor

McLaren has repeatedly said it plans to go hybrid with all of its vehicles in the future. The latest rumors out of Britain point at plans to reveal the first of this new hybrid lineup sometime this year. This heavily camouflaged prototype could be the one we’re waiting for — it even says “hybrid prototype” on the side sill.

Its size and general shape means it’s likely part of McLaren’s Sports Series. The camo does an excellent job of disguising what the sheetmetal underneath looks like. If we had to guess, this car looks like it’d be a replacement for the 570S model. Assuming we’re right about that, it’s probably hiding McLaren’s yet-to-be-revealed twin-turbo V6 engine. Add the electric power into the equation, and it’s likely going to be making much more combined power than the twin-turbo V8 is able to produce on its own now. McLaren’s hybrids are also rumored to be of the plug-in variety, capable of driving about 20 miles off electric power.

The camouflage over top of the engine bay appears to be tented, and it looks a bit like the McLaren GT because of it with the gently sloping line to the back. We don’t even get to see how large the side air intakes are since McLaren has covered these up quite well, too. The high-mounted dual exhaust has us giddy. Its placement reminds us of the 720S exhaust pipes. Under all that is a giant diffuser and wide rubber pushed to the edges of the car.

Last we heard, McLaren was going to release a hybrid model this year, and it would go on sale in 2021. We wouldn’t be surprised if these targets are pushed back due to delays stemming from the coronavirus.

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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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Koenigsegg Gemera and Jesko Absolut strut on the supercar maker’s runway

The world seems like a pretty terrible place right now, but there are good things in it, like the two monster Koenigsegg supercars the company revealed a month ago. The Koenigsegg Gemera four-door supercar and the Jesko Absolut high-speed hypercar were showstoppers from the Geneva Motor Show that didn’t happen. And now Koenigsegg released more photos of each at the airfield where its headquarters is located.

Leading the galleries is the Gemera, the newest of the two cars. Besides its unusual shape, a result of having four seats all suitable for adults but still just two doors, it has remarkable technology backing it up. It’s a plug-in hybrid using three electric motors and a turbocharged three-cylinder engine with no camshafts. And it makes a total of 1,700 horsepower. It even has heated and cooled cupholders for each passenger. It’s brilliantly outrageous.

The Jesko Absolut is also wild. It’s aiming to be the fastest car in the world, which would mean a top speed in the 300-mph range. It has potential with the same 1,600-horsepower twin-turbo V8 from the regular Jesko, but is more aerodynamic by losing the rear wing and other drag reductions. It also gets the nifty automatic transmission that can shift to any gear immediately, even out of sequence.

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Aston Martin confirms 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 for Valhalla

When the Aston Martin Valhalla hits the scene in 2022 (hopefully), it will be powered by an all-new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that will be fortified and electrified in a hybrid configuration that we don’t yet know much about. Interestingly, Aston Martin says the V6’s hybrid element will be tuned and sized for each specific vehicle in which it’s installed. In the Valhalla, the dry-sump engine will be mounted directly behind the passenger compartment, and its so-called ‘hot V’ design will allow for relatively compact dimensions. And compact also means lightweight — the automaker says the complete engine weighs less than 440 pounds.

Just the fact that the British automaker is investing the engineering effort to produce a new engine is significant. The company hasn’t engineered its own in-house powertrain since 1969, when Tadek Marek’s 5.3-liter V8 engine found its way under the hood of Aston Martin’s aptly named DBS V8. The new 3.0-liter V6 is codenamed TM01 in Marek’s honor. With that in mind, we expect this powerplant to serve in various Aston Martin models for a number of years.

We look forward to further details in the future, especially the all-important horsepower and torque figures. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the high-resolution image gallery above, where you’ll see intricately milled castings along with the engine undergoing dyno testing and running red hot with the lights down low.

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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.