All posts in “luxury”

Maserati teases MC20 prototype again reminiscing about the Targa Florio

Maserati spent its weekend reminiscing about victory in the 1940 Targa Florio, putting an MC20 prototype to work enhancing the gravitas of the anniversary. After winning the Targa in 1937, 1938, and 1939 with the Maserati 6CM and its 1.5-liter supercharged inline-six throwing 175 horsepower, the House of the Trident showed up in 1940 with the brand new 4CL powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder cranking 220 hp. Luigi Villoresi, who’d driven the 6CM to triumph the year before, crossed the line first in the 4CL to close out European racing until the end of World War II.

With a return to racing on the automaker’s mind, Maserati took a camouflaged MC20 to the same Favorita Park roads that hosted the Targa. The soft-focus spy shots were taken in front of the Floriopoli stands, a stretch of bunting and banners not far from the Targa start line as historic competitors headed into the Sicilian mainland.

The MC20 is as photogenic in these shots as all the others, and as mysterious. The automaker seems intent on making everyone wait until the September debut to for any details that the prototype doesn’t put on display. Prime among enthusiast interest is the powerplant. With Ferrari shutting down its supply of engines to the fellow Modenese sports car maker, Maserati says its new mid-engined coupe will be “the first car to use [its] new engine, brimming with innovative technological contents, developed and built by Maserati in-house.” Short odds figure on a molto potente twin-turbo V6 sending power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the long money isn’t afraid to bet on a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8  to replace the F154 V8 that Ferrari provides.

With race engineers undoubtedly sorting out a version for sports car racing as we speak, Maserati will certainly hope the competitive version matches the exploits of the 4CL. The vintage race car took pole in its first race, earned its first victory two races later, snatched up a bag of silverware before WWII, won the first race held in Europe after the war ended, and continued winning in 4CL and 4CLT trim until 1951 to take 31 total victories — nine more than the MC12 race car.

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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 Lamborghini Urus Luggage Test | Loading the bull

A Lamborghini was recently at my house, which is sort of like the queen dropping in. And though I assiduously avoided carrying anything that could spill, splash, smudge or muss, one aspect of the 2020 Lamborghini Urus we wanted to check was just how much luggage it can carry considering the limitations imposed by the SUV’s extremely sloped roofline.

So I hopped onto the Lamborghini Store’s website to order up just the right stuff, co-branded by Lamborghini and TecknoMonster — hmm, perhaps the carbon-fiber small trolley case for $4,904, or the carbon-fiber Bynomio big trolley case for $7,874, or the Bynomio Hold Maxi carbon-fiber suitcase for $17,388. Perhaps the whole set. Now you might be saying to yourself, “That’s sure an expensive way to haul my clean underwear.” But rest assured these suitcases emerge from the autoclave after a cutting-edge aerospace process that merges two different types of carbon fiber and ensures “top performance and excellent mechanical properties, requiring extreme accuracy in all manufacturing steps.” Pity the fool who has a suitcase that’s anything less.

But tragically, there’s at least a 20-day lead time in ordering, and the Urus was only here for the weekend. So I guess that fool is me, having to resort to the same old world-weary, beat-up suitcases I usually use, which share space in the garage with the lawn tractor and cat litter box.

Six suitcases were at my disposal. Three would need to be checked at the airport, and one of those is particularly ungainly (29x19x11 inches, 26x17x10, 25x16x10). Three others would be small enough to carry on (24x14x10, 23x14x11, 22x14x9), if we were getting on airplanes anymore. Several of these bags have four wheels that jut out and were counted in the dimensions. It’s a shame not to have Riswick’s wife’s fancy bag for such a fancy car.

The Lamborghini Urus is pretty big. At 201 inches long and 79 inches wide, it is 2 inches longer than a Ford Explorer, and the same width. It’s 4 inches shorter than the big Mercedes-Benz GLS, but 2 inches wider. Plus, those are vehicles with third-row seating; the Urus has two rows and seats five. (Four if you get the backseat buckets and console.) Yet its cargo hold is 21.75 cubic feet, which is only about 3 cubic feet bigger than the others’ space behind the third row. It’s also much less than various five-seat, midsize SUVs.

We’re told it is wide enough to fit a couple bags of golf clubs, which looks feasible. In fact, it’s a pretty square space, and a set of clubs might even fit longitudinally. The problem is not the footprint. The volume is so little thanks to the sloped roof. Nothing boxy is ever going to fit in the back of the Urus.

By the way, that black bag contains Lamborghini roof racks.

Here’s what the cargo space is like with the package shelf removed (it easily slides out) and the second row dropped. Long cargo would fit well. It just can’t be tall.

OK, let’s try some luggage. Here’s the first attempt. Getting all six bags in is probably not in the cards. The hatch wouldn’t close on this, coming in contact with both of the upright red bags. Furthermore, there is a small, secondary section of package shelf that’s attached to the inside of the hatch and would need to be removed. But do that, and tilt the second-row seats upright, and you might jam this in. Just don’t expect to see anything.

This next arrangement is slightly less overburdened, and the hatch will definitely close if you remove that section of package shelf and nudge the seat up a little. The three biggest bags make the cut, with the biggest on its side, and two smaller ones to boot. Shift the smaller ones into the middle, and you’d preserve a sliver of rear view, though smaller than the sliver that you normally get. It’s not ideal, though.

Here’s a closer look at the accent-stitched Alcantara cargo shelf, which slides out easily. Ooh, soft …

Finally, in this configuration, you get to keep the cargo shelf, thereby denying the riffraff a chance to size up your fancy luggage. Four suitcases will fit this way — two large and two carry-ons. And thanks to an indent in the left cargo-bay wall, the Lambo roof racks fit, too. Or, leave those in the garage and you can get a small bag on its side, and all five passengers will be able to dress up for whatever fancy rich-people party they’re going to.

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The Toric Tourbillon Slate is an elegant minimalist watch from Parmigiani Fleurier

After looking at a lot of high-end timepieces, it’s evident that those with several elements are traditionally chunky. That’s right, in order to fit all of the components inside, its either going to be thicker or wider. Hence, it’s absolutely amazing when watchmakers are able to cram everything and still keep a slim profile. In a display of exceptional craftsmanship, Parmigiani Fleurier introduces the Toric Tourbillon Slate. A remarkable wristwatch for those who want to marvel at the beauty of its intricate complication without distractions.

Some might recognize the brand for its lineup of examples in collaboration with Bugatti. Although there were some models sporting unique configurations, most were showcasing a more traditional aesthetic. Nevertheless, moving on to the Toric Tourbillon Slate, it is a fine specimen that boasts a round 42.8-mm 18-karat red gold case which is 9.45 mm thick.

Protecting the contents of its intricate guilloche dial is a sapphire lens. Meanwhile, buyers can also turn it over to view the exhibition case back with a sapphire cover as well. This allows you to see the hypnotic movements of the tourbillon located on the 7 o’clock position. The hands, indices, and the border surrounding the tourbillion appear to be red gold as well.

The Toric Tourbillon Slate runs on an in-house Calibre PF517 automatic movement. This is a perfect timekeeping companion for those who prefer a minimalist design. Finally, for those wondering, the second hand is integrated into the tourbillon. Parmigiani Fleurier pairs it with an Hermès alligator strap for that extra essence of luxury.

Purchase it now – $130,000

Images courtesy of Parmigiani Fleurier

Bugatti walks us through the Chiron Pur Sport’s testing process

Bugatti is emerging from weeks of lockdown loudly, and sometimes sideways. Its engineers have started testing the Chiron Pur Sport unveiled in March 2020 on the Blister Berg track nestled in Germany’s Teutoberg forest.

Blister Berg is a private track, so the team only has three days to fine-tune the Pur Sport’s chassis, steering, suspension, and gearbox — the latter isn’t the same unit that’s found in the Chiron because its gear ratios are shorter in order to deliver quicker acceleration. Engineers are also monitoring wear-and-tear items, like the tires, and keeping an eye on the model-specific engine components. That’s a lot to cram into three days, especially since Bugatti had to reduce the size of the team it sent to the track in order to comply with the social-distancing measures that remain in effect throughout much of the world. Germany’s dense, fairytale-like forest is no exception.

Luckily, sensors aren’t affected by health-related restrictions, and there’s no limit to the number Bugatti can stuff into the two pre-production prototypes tirelessly lapping the Blister Berg track. They’re monitoring a variety of parameters, including the exhaust temperature. They’re also helping engineers set up the new Sport+ driving mode that relies on gyro-based technology to make the Chiron more eager to drift. Creating this profile requires a tremendous amount of calibration work. Testers download data after each run, analyze it, and make changes if needed. Bugatti told Autoblog the Chiron can already drift, but the new mode makes it a little bit easier.

Going through this costly, time-consuming process is a way for the firm to demonstrate that its definition of performance doesn’t end at straight-line speed. It wants to show a lesser-known side of its personality.

“Bugatti has always proven it can build fast cars in terms of top speed,” the company told Autoblog, pointing to cars like the Chiron Super Sport 300+. “However, we also have a history of building cars devoted to agility. This is often forgotten or overshadowed by the incredible top speed feats. We, as did some of our valued customers we talked to about this, felt we should complete the spectrum of performance of the Chiron lineup.”

Validation testing will continue in the coming months; Bugatti will notably take the Pur Sport to the Nürburgring. Jachin Schwalbe, head of chassis development, explained every part of the car needs to work perfectly on its own, but also as part of the broader package. While that’s par for the course when it comes to developing a new car, the Pur Sport needs to work perfectly over a much larger speed range than the average car.

Pur Sport production is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2020. Sixty units will be built, and pricing starts at €3 million, a figure that makes it slightly more expensive than the Chiron. In the meantime, the company’s factory in Molsheim, France, is assembling the first examples of the limited-edition Divo introduced in 2018. Bugatti’s lineup has grown considerably in a few short years, which adds a level of complexity to its production.

“We are currently building the Chiron, the Chiron Sport, and the Divo. And, we’ll be building the Chiron Pur Sport, the Chiron Super Sport 300+, the La Voiture Noire, and the Centodieci as soon as their development has concluded. We naturally had to adjust or optimize our structures and processes, not only in the production or in R&D, but also in the design, procurement, and logistics departments — in all departments, really. We have successfully done so, and the team is proud to see the portfolio grow.”

Although it couldn’t share more details about what’s next, the company assured us it’s not idling in neutral. “We can’t disclose what we are working on, but our team doesn’t know boredom.”

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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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Lotus Evija’s wild aero setup is detailed by chief aerodynamicist

The Lotus Evija is a car of firsts for Lotus. To that end, the company has spent a lot of time talking over the details. Today, we get to learn about the wild shape’s aerodynamics and what Lotus engineers were trying to accomplish. Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist for Lotus takes a dive into all the details, and the video at the top of this post offers a great visual.

“Most cars have to punch a hole in the air, to get through using brute force, but the Evija is unique because of its porosity,” Hill says. “The car literally ‘breathes’ the air. The front acts like a mouth; it ingests the air, sucks every kilogram of value from it – in this case, the downforce – then exhales it through that dramatic rear end.”

We can see what Hill means as we look at the Evija in photos. Instead of a regular front bumper, this one has pass-throughs that direct the air back into the side of the car. Lotus hasn’t released the all-important coefficient of drag figure yet, but we have to imagine it’s very low. The front splitter (below, left) is responsible for a few different things.

The opening in the center takes in air to cool the battery pack that is mounted behind the seats. Then, the outer section of the splitter channels the air to the “e-axle” for cooling of the electrical components. And finally, it also produces downforce. 

There are a couple more tunnels for air to pass through in the rear. These “holes” are likely the most distinctive design feature, especially when accentuated with the LED taillights. Hill says that these are also fully functional and help to reduce drag.

“They feed the wake rearward to help cut drag,” Hill says. “Think of it this way; without them the Evija would be like a parachute but with them it’s a butterfly net, and they make the car unique in the hypercar world.”

On top of all these porous body structures, there are pieces that move. The rear wing can elevate upward from its flush body position and deploy into clean air above, creating more downforce. And then there’s an F1-style drag reduction system. This uses a horizontal plane that deploys from the car to make it slipperier through air.

The final big piece of this puzzle is the underbody sculpting that directs air into the massive rear diffuser. This causes an upwash of air, in turn creating a massive amount of downforce. Hill sums it up quite nicely.

“It’s about keeping the airflow low and flat at the front and guiding it through the body to emerge high at the rear,” Hill says. “Put simply, it transforms the whole car into an inverted wing to produce that all-important dynamic downforce.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Urwerk honors C-3PO with its limited-edition UR-100 Gold Edition

Star Wars fans like us normally look forward to a particular month each year. Aside from big movie releases from the beloved franchise, May the 4th is where the action is at. We love how geeks were able to create a clever pun for “may the force be with you.”With several companies cashing in on the craze, one stands out among the rest this 2020. Urwerk presents the UR-100 Gold Edition – a highly exclusive version for a cause.

As you can probably guess, this is a tribute everyone’s favorite protocol droid – C-3PO. As such, Urwerk gives its 41-mm 2N yellow gold case a satin polish to emulate the golden finish of the titular character. Aside from its clear reference to Star Wars, the company is auctioning the first production piece of the UR-100 Gold Edition to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Owners of previous UR-100 watches are aware of the small plate with an engraving of the number of examples on the side. For the C-3PO model, Urwerk is changing it into FIGHT C19, to honor those working in the front lines amid the pandemic. Bidding starts on May 8 at 4 PM and ends on May 10 4 PM. Meanwhile, all proceeds will then go to the charity of the lucky owner’s choosing.

For those who are wondering how the unique satellite complication works, let us give you an overview. The hours are shown by the circular discs that spin on their own axis around the carousel. For the minutes, users can use the retrograde pointer at the bottom. The Urwerk UR-100 Gold Edition finally gives C-3PO the respect he deserves.

Bid for it here

Images courtesy of Urwerk

This 900-horsepower Audi SUV is the RQ 900 from Manhart

Not content with the Toyota SupraGR-450 that was recently headlining our page, Manhart is back with another custom ride. This time, it is shifting from a Japanese marque into a label that a little more local. This German tuning outfit is now doing what it does best with an SUV from Audi. With its impressive work on various marques such as Land Rover, Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz among others, this project should be equally remarkable. This here is the RQ 900.

Gearheads who have been closely following Audi’s catalog knows that it is an RSQ8. This machine is already a luxury-tier SUV in its original configuration. However, after Manhart lets it run through a gauntlet of upgrades, the result is absolutely mesmerizing any way you look at it. Starting with the stock 592-horsepower 4.0-liter V8 bi-turbo engine, the RQ 900 is ending up with a wicked boost.

How crazy you ask? Well, how about a whopping 900 horsepower and 796 lb-ft of torque at its disposal. Manhart makes it possible through an ECU mod, carbon fiber body kits, a transmission tweak, and new exhaust system. We recommend taking it for a run on the tracks to experience everything it has to offer. This is one souped-up SUV that nobody will want to mess with.

The Manhart is not limiting its work to performance only. Thus, the RQ 900 gets an exclusive decal treatment to give its stealthy exterior some contrast. You end up with a stylish black and gold colorway that stunning. If this is something you want, then hurry up because only 10 examples are available.

Make it yours here

Images courtesy of Manhart

Bell & Ross presents another stylish timepiece called the BR 03-92 HUD

If you’re in the market for watches with a tactical military theme, the Bell & Ross catalog should be your go-to list. One of its latest additions to the lineup is the BR 03-92 HUD. A quick glance and it’s evident that the aesthetic is inspired by fighter planes and choppers. Those who are familiar with the instruments inside the cockpit will immediately recognize where it gets the aesthetics from.

As the name suggests, the HUD stands for Heads Up Display. It is where military fighter crafts show crucial information directly in the field of view of the operator. Owners of other Bell & Ross timepieces will still find the circle within a square case form factor. The matte black ceramic case of the BR 03-92 HUD measures 42 mm and sports black dial.

Meanwhile, the sapphire crystal comes an anti-reflective coating with a green tint that emulates the glow of the aircraft’s instruments. You can spot the hour hand set in a central disc, while the minute and seconds are more traditional pointers. For reliable visibility in low-light conditions, most of the elements flaunt a coat of SuperLuminova C3.

These all combine to give the BR 03-92 HUD a digital appearance. However, we assure you that this is a mechanical model. It runs on a Bell & Ross BR-CAL.302 calibre automatic movement. Completing the look is a choice between a black silicone strap or a synthetic fabric also in a dark finish. Only 999 examples will be available and should ship out to buyers in June 2020.

Pre-order now: here

Images courtesy of Bell & Ross

Ferrari to gradually restart operations from Monday

MILAN — Luxury carmaker Ferrari said on Thursday it would restart operations at its Maranello and Modena plants on May 4, when Italy is set to start lifting coronavirus lockdown measures.

The two facilities, both located in Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna region, have been closed since mid-March when Rome imposed curbs on people’s movements and froze manufacturing activities deemed as non essential, to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The sites will resume operations “gradually” and return to full production on Friday May 8, Ferrari said.

Ferrari said that before resuming operations it was organizing training sessions for workers — focused on precautionary measures they must take — as part of its “Back on Track” program, unveiled earlier this month and aimed at preparing for a safe working environment at the sites.

Under this program, Ferrari staff, families and suppliers will first take blood tests and will then be given an app which will alert them if they’ve been in close contact with any of the people taking part in the scheme who had contracted COVID-19.

During the closure period Ferrari has produced parts to convert snorkel masks into respirators for treating patients with coronavirus and to protect medical workers, using its 3D printing technology at its Maranello plant.

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari, editing by Giulia Segreti and Susan Fenton)

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11 Ravens and Rolls-Royce collaborate to give us the Stealth pool/ping-pong table

With the situation we’re facing right now, you’re probably staying indoors even more than before. We’re guessing that you might have taken a tour around your home and spotted some areas that could do with some enhancements. If your man cave is missing something that would add a level of luxury that others can only dream of, a pricey solution could be on hand. To match your mansion, exotic cars, yacht, why not add the 11 Ravens x Rolls-Royce Stealth pool table?

If the brand seems familiar, we recall featuring one of the snazzy products previously on our pages. Now, the company is reworking its Stealth series in partnership with the British luxury carmaker. Given that 11 Ravens already offers a wealth of customization options, this one, in particular, appears to be the most lavish yet. As such, what we have here is precision engineering at its finest that oozes with style from any angle.

Instead of the name implies, this masterpiece does not fly under the radar. Instead, it will immediately grab your anyone’s attention the moment it is within view. The 11 Ravens x Rolls-Royce Stealth is an exclusive collaboration that is available for the elite few. The set features LED lighting and even comes with custom billiard balls with cue sticks.

While most elements of the pool table are in an elegant black finish, another color adds a beautiful contrast. Using 14-carat solid gold sheets and black Lucite panels, the combination is a mesmerizing sight to behold. Talk about versatility, the 11 Ravens x Rolls-Royce Stealth even doubles as a dining table. With an insane $250,000 price tag, we can only dream of having one.

Check out more from 11 Ravens

Images courtesy of 11 Ravens

Novitec revisits the Lamborghini Huracán EVO with its latest project

Just when we thought that the COVID-19 pandemic will wreak havoc on the automotive industry, we are glad to be wrong. While sales might be on a slump right now, carmakers continue to hype up their upcoming wares. Thus, we still regularly spot rides that immediately stand out from the rest. On the other hand, we have some shops that provide stellar customization services. Take for example Novitec, who is up to no good once more as it messes with a Lamborghini Huracán EVO.

It might sound nasty, but this German tuning outfit specializes in some of the most insane automobiles out there. Recently, we have featured their work on McLarens, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis. This should put your mind at ease as these guys know their way around exotic supercars. To set expectations properly, the team will unleash the potential of these machines for a price.

Since most owners have the resources to purchase these vehicles, aftermarket splurges are not beyond their capacity. The Lamborghini Huracán EVO is already impressive in its stock form. Nevertheless, Novitec shows us how it takes performance seriously as approaches the upgrades from every angle. The 5.2-liter mid-mounted V10 engine is already a beast of its own. Hence, the tweaks this time around revolve around reducing weight.

The company presents a carbon fiber overhaul as it replaces most of the components with the lightweight material. These include the mirror covers, end plates, air scoops, and side window intakes among others. The Lamborghini Huracán EVO also gets a set of Novitec NL4 forged wheel with 245/30 ZR 20 Pirelli P-Zero tires.

Learn more about it from Novitec

Images courtesy of Novitec

The Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto celebrates the a major milestone for Hublot

One of the most popular colorway and finish combinations that look good on almost any product is matte black. We think it conveys a stealthy, mysterious, and stylish vibe that just appeals to men in general. Hublot seems to agree with the idea as it presents the Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto in all its glory. Every surface and component on this alluring timepiece is as dark as it gets.

It is a highly collectible version of a popular collection in its catalog with only 50 examples on offer. Hublot reveals that the Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto serves to mark a special event. As what you can probably surmise from the iconic Japanese fashion designer’s name, it is exclusive to his country of origin.

That’s right, Hublot is commemorating the exciting debut of its flagship boutique in the Land of the Rising Sun. To be specific, consumers can find it on Chu-Dori Street in Ginza, Tokyo. Thus, the Manufacturer is tapping into the brilliant and avant-garde mind of the model’s namesake. While most of the Swiss luxury watchmaker’s products are intentionally loud to draw attention, this one is the opposite.

The 45-mm case, case back, and bezel are all crafted out of micro-blasted black ceramic. Meanwhile, the dial features black sapphire keeps the color scheme in order along with the hands, indices, and other elements. It runs on the HUB1251 UNICO Manufacture automatic movement, with a 72-hour power reserve. Overall, the Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto is one of the best variants to come from Hublot.

Learn more from Hublot

Images courtesy of Hublot

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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R-Reforged Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage TWINS proves that two is better than one

We believe that it would be difficult to find what could be better than an Aston Martin with aftermarket tuning. Sure, other supercars or hypercars could possibly surpass the performance and luxury of the British marque. However, the pedigree that comes with winged emblem is generally like no other. Therefore, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage TWINS from R-Reforged is for those who want more than one automotive masterpiece in their garage.

This bespoke project comes from a Swiss shop with a penchant for Aston Martins. Thus, it is clear that a lot of love and care is going into each pair. The company is paying homage to the Italian coachbuilder’s outstanding work on the Vantage V12 in 2011. Thus, what we have here is an international blend of craftsmanship sure to attract attention anywhere.

The Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage TWINS features two versions of the Vantage V12 – a Coupe and Speedster. It’s a great way for owners to flaunt their extravagance with a top-down or more traditional experience. R-Reforged is tuning the stock 5.9-liter V12 engines up to 600 horsepower, which is an 85 hp bump.

Production by hand will be in R-Reforged’s new U.K. assembly line with several customization options available. The available images of the pair show a silver and gold colorway. Nevertheless, buyers can probably personalize the paint job to suit their tastes. The Aston Martin V12 Zagato Heritage TWINS will ship with intricate aesthetics based on the automotive designs of the 1950s and 1960s. Only 19 pairs are heading for production.

Reserve yours now: here

Images courtesy of R-Reforged

The Quail joins the Pebble Beach Concours, cancels for this August

Another of the major Monterey Car Week events has announced it’s canceling this year’s festivities. The latest is The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, which is a show and road rally that precedes the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (also canceled) each summer. While classic cars are featured, the show also highlights high-end sports cars and supercars, helping do differentiate itself from the Pebble Beach Concours. Previous notable debuts at the event include the Bugatti Divo.

The rally, which would have taken place Aug. 10-12 and the show on August 14, will not happen. Like with the Pebble Beach Concours, The Quail will simply run this year’s event next year, letting participants keep their spots and not have to pay additional fees. The same goes for visitors with tickets to this year’s show. Anyone who can’t or doesn’t want to attend the event next year also has the option to get a full refund. Next year’s rally will run Aug. 9-11, and the show will be on Aug. 13.

Closely related to The Quail is the Bonhams auction that would be held there. That auction was held on the grounds of The Quail starting the day before the main show. While it won’t be held in the same place, Bonhams will have an auction of its planned cars somewhere else in California with details to come, and Bonhams will return to The Quail next year. Meanwhile, Gooding and Company announced that it would postpone its Pebble Beach auction to next year alongside the concours.

With The Quail and Pebble Beach postponing their events, only one major pillar of Monterey Car Week is left, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion held at Laguna Seca. The event hasn’t announced plans to postpone yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

This Bugatti Chiron 16 Cylinder Tourbillon from Jacob & Co. is for automotive enthusiasts

Those who are lucky enough to own a Bugatti know that there is nothing like it. Now that you own one of the most coveted automobiles in the world, there might be something missing. If driving around in your extravagant and powerful ride is not enough Jacob & Co. could have something up your alley. Inspired by the luxury marque’s hypercar, the Bugatti Chiron 16 Cylinder Tourbillon is a mechanical masterpiece that matches the machine.

At $280,000 this is an exclusive timepiece for clients who desire matching essence of what’s in their garage and on their wrists. Meanwhile, the Bugatti Chiron 16 Cylinder Tourbillon boasts a unique construction with 578 components. It’s clear that this is an homage to the massive engine that powers its namesake. Additionally, much like the one the vehicle’s signature paint job, it sports an attractive Electric Blue and Black colourway.

The collaboration between Jacob & Co. and the carmaker started last year. Some of the limited-edition models already available are the Twin Turbo Furious and Epic X Chrono. Both are equally sophisticated and impressive, but the Bugatti Chiron 16 Cylinder Tourbillon is by far the most attractive in our opinion.

What immediately draws your attention is the functional replica of the twin-turbo W16 engine. Gearheads would likely keep staring at for hours and it emulates the mesmerizing movements of the pistons and crankshaft. On the other hand, owners will likely forget that the Bugatti Chiron 16 Cylinder Tourbillon is actually a premium wristwatch. Jacob & Co. ensures that owners can view the inner workings from any angle. As such, sapphire crystal viewing windows give you a peek of complications within the titanium case.

Learn more about it here

Images courtesy of Jacob & Co.