All posts in “performance”

Koenigsegg made a short film, so you obviously need to go watch it now

Somebody get the Academy Awards on the line. Koenigsegg makes films now

The short film above (which you should absolutely watch) was produced, scripted, cast and made entirely in-house by Koenigsegg employees. Seriously, is there anything these people can’t do? It stars Christian von Koenigsegg (the CEO himself) and a number of other Koenigsegg workers trying their hand at acting.

It’s called “Time to Reign,” and Koenigsegg even came up with a name for their production company: A Spare Time In-House Koenigsegg Production. Frankly, that’s an apt name for everything Koenigsegg does, and it all ends up being stupendous. We’re glad to see Koenigsegg found something to do to keep them all busy during quarantine. It appears to be shot in Angelholm, Sweden.

We won’t spoil the fun, so give the film a watch. Oh, and keep watching to the end, because there is a post-credits scene. 

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The Rolls-Royce Dawn leads this month’s list of discounts

If you’re one of the few readers of this site who is in the market for a $350,000 Rolls-Royce Dawn, well, first of all, good for you. And you should be prepared to keep some extra money in your pocket, too, as the drop-top Roller leads this month’s list of the largest monetary discounts with an average of $14,733 taken off the machine’s $359,250 sticker price. That means buyers are paying an average transaction price of $344,517 for the 2020 Rolls-Royce Dawn this month, according to data provided to Autoblog by TrueCar.

An intriguing pair of supercars land in second and third positions this month. The 2019 Acura NSX is selling for an average of $145,174 this month, which represents a 9% discount, or $14,373. With an eerily similar 9% discount of $14,079 comes the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage, which has an average transaction price of $142,002 this month. The Maserati Quattroporte is up next with an average discount of $13,634.

Another Rolls-Royce model lands in the fifth spot, but instead of the aging Dawn it’s the brand-new Cullinan SUV. Although the luxury ‘ute boasts a large discount of $12,427, its staggeringly high retail price of $332,750 means buyers are getting a little less than 4% off the sticker. More interesting to most buyers will be the 2019 Lincoln Navigator, which is one of our favorite full-size SUVs in America. Buyers of Lincoln’s range-topping vehicle are getting average discounts of $11,761. That represents a 13.4% savings for a final price of $75,940.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mansory Ford GT ‘Le Mansory’ brings extra width and power to the supercar

When it comes to automotive tuners, one of the most infamous is Mansory, a tuning firm based in Germany, which has built a reputation on its many garish, gaudy custom cars. Usually it works on European sports and luxury cars, but this time, it has turned its attention to the Ford GT. It has over-the-top bodywork, some extra power and, to top it off, the company gave it a pun name: “Le Mansory.” Get it? Like, Le Mans, but Le Mans-ory? We know, it’s a terrible name. (Well, at least on of us loves it. —Ed)

Anyway, you’ll notice right away that some drastic changes have been made to Mansory’s GT as it loses the stock headlights for custom units from the tuner. They sit deep within a completely new front fascia. But that’s just the start of the changes that touch every panel on the car. There are additional vents and splitters all around the car. Twin air scoops have sprouted from the roof. Carbon fiber blades run down the doors and connect to the roof pillars. Extra intakes have appeared next to the factory radiator intakes. The air channels in the hood also get carbon fiber pieces with a curious square pattern molded into them, almost giving it an alligator-esque texture. The motorized factory wing has been replaced by an enormous fixed version, a third exhaust tip has been added, and the entire car is now two inches wider. The interior also picks up white, blue and black leather and Alcantara to match the outside.

Mansory did give the modified GT extra performance to help back up the bold design. Power has increased from 647 horsepower to an even 700 and torque is up from 550 pound-feet to 620. Mansory claims that top speed has also increased from 216 mph for the factory Ford GT to 220 for the Le Mansory. Mansory doesn’t say anything about suspension changes, so presumably that all remains stock.

If you’re afraid you’ll start seeing a bunch of Ford GTs given the Mansory treatment, don’t be. The company says there will only be three available worldwide. Apparently it’s building one for each decade that the company has been in business. No price is given, but it’s safe to say it will be extremely expensive considering its rarity and the large amount of expensive materials such as carbon fiber, leather and Alcantara.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prototype Ferrari 812 Superfast caught making awesome noises at Fiorano

In January, spy photographers snapped an 812 Superfast prototype testing around Maranello. Bodywork revisions included an open front intake, smoothed-out bumpers, taped-up side sills, covered air extractors behind the rear wheels, and new bodywork around the exhaust outlets with what appeared to be additional venting. The Supercar Blog suspected the prototype was a hardcore version of the 812, possibly earning the hallowed “GTO” appellation. Autoevolution went further with the speculation, writing that a reworked 6.5-liter V12 would produce 850 horsepower, a 61-hp jump over the standard 812, and would rev beyond the 9,000-rpm limit in the Ferrari LaFerrari.

At least one more of these testers has been caught on video around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, giving us a chance to hear what’s going on underneath the patchwork skin. YouTube user Varryx got the footage, doing us the favor of including a regular 812 lapping the circuit for comparison. The differences are clear. The 812 is already praised for its glorious exhaust note. The prototype, which looks to have put on a more finished rear valance, snarls more during downshifts and bellows with a lower, angrier pitch on the flyby. 

We’re still not sure what it is, but perusing Ferrari Chat forums reveals members having a conversation about an “812 VS” for nearly two years now. VS is Italian for Versione Speciale, the thrust here being a track-focused and lighter 812. The Speciale cars began with the one-off 1955 375 MM Berlinetta Speciale — “MM” representing Mille Miglia, another name mooted for the special 812. The denomination has returned a few times throughout the decades, used most recently on the one-off 458 MM Speciale commission shows in 2016.

Keeping in mind that this is all speculation until Ferrari reveals the real thing, one Ferrari Chat poster wrote we’ll get “a somehow more powerful blistering naturally aspirated large V-12 track oriented version of the prodigious 812 Superfast. As one of, if not the last of, its kind this will be a high-priced limited edition. Likely limited to 799 pieces. Probably priced at $750,000 or more and approaching $1 million for Tailor Made cars. Prospective launch date 2020. Confidence level 80%.” That production figure matches the number of F12 TDF units Ferrari built. Another forum member said the 812 VS will make 860 metric horsepower, which comes to 848 of our horsepower.

Supposedly, Ferrari had planned the debut the car at the Geneva Motor Show. As of now, suspicions have settled on Ferrari showing an SF90 Spider in September, and this hardcore 812 VS with “organic and pure” bodywork in October or November. We’re also waiting on the mid-engined hybrid supercar spotted all over Maranello of late, so it could be an especially flouncy year for prancing horses.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S First Drive | Turbo by name, turbo by nature

NEWBURY, England — There are Porsches with turbocharged gasoline engines not badged as such, while electric ones now carry the famous script despite lacking an internal-combustion engine of any sort. There is, thankfully, no such confusion with the new 2021 911 Turbo S and the excesses of power, performance, tech and swagger it stands for.

We were supposed to experience this around Laguna Seca (plus the Central California roads shown in these pictures), where 1,000-plus horsepower turbocharged Porsches of the legendary Can-Am era once prowled. Instead, more modest, localized drives have been arranged. Hence the key to the Turbo S comes wrapped in a Ziploc bag, pushed at arm’s length across a screened counter with firm instructions to be back by 3 p.m. for full decontamination.

With some 200 horsepower and 200 pound-feet more than a 992 Carrera S, the new Turbo S is unequivocal in its superiority over regular 911s, that huge firepower augmented with expanded aero and tech I’d love to have tested at Laguna Seca. Narrow, twisty English lanes don’t hold quite the same romance, but exploring the huge disparity between the Turbo’s abilities and what you can responsibly get away with at road speeds is an interesting challenge in its own right.

There is still plenty to appreciate. The basic format is familiar, given a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo flat-six driving all four wheels through a PDK transmission (now an eight-speed), active anti-roll bars, four-wheel steering and more. Up to 368 pound-feet of drive can now go to the front axle, and the car’s footprint has increased, thanks to a 1.8-inch wider front track and bigger wheels, now 20 inches up front and 21 at the rear. The scope and modes of the active aero have also been greatly expanded, with a variable-position rear wing and three-piece, deployable front splitter. To protect the latter, an optional nose-lift system is also available and will, at a later date, gain GPS-enabled actuation to remember locations of steep curbs encountered on regular drives, be that your driveway at home or the entrance to the parking lot of your favorite morning coffee stop.

The engine is new and based on the 3.0-liter in regular 992 Carreras, employing bigger, variable-vane turbos in a new “symmetrical” layout fed by the scoops on the rear fenders and new, additional intakes ahead of the rear wing. Power is up from 580 horsepower to 640 with torque now at 590 pound-feet, the latter increased by 37 pound-feet. Top speed is still 205 mph, but the car gets there quicker, with 0 to 60 mph coming in just 2.6 seconds, while the quarter-mile is demolished three tenths sooner at 10.5 seconds. So, it’s fast. Really, really fast.

You knew that, though. The important thing for the 911 Turbo is not how fast it goes, it’s how it goes fast. And an area Porsche has been working on since the previous 991. In general, the 992 is more refined and GT-like than any 911 that’s gone before. Does the new Turbo follow this path? Or has it been permitted to retain a little of the rawness engineered into its predecessor?

The answer, thankfully, is both. When cruising, you appreciate the improved refinement and reduction in the tire roar that made previous Turbos a bit of a chore on poor surfaces. As in regular 992s, the new PDK is so slick your only notification of a shift is a twitch in the tachometer needle and slight change in tone. The low-slung cabin is comfortable, expensively finished and full of tech.   

Then you turn the little mode selector on the wheel to Sport Plus and realize the $203,500 MSRP is fair, given that you effectively get two cars for the price of one. Increased tech bandwidth puts greater distance between the extremes of the Turbo’s nature, accentuated further by the optional PASM Sport suspension and Sport Exhaust System on our test car. The former drops the car 0.39 inch closer to the ground while the latter unleashes exciting rasps, gargles and whooshes from the engine bay to remind you the Turbo script represents more than just a trim level.

The swell — and sound — of boost is a thrilling appetizer for the explosive rush of acceleration that comes fractions of a second later, this merest hint of lag actually more exciting than the more binary power delivery of older Turbos. Want it even more hardcore? A Lightweight package saving 66 pounds through removal of the rear seats, reduced sound deadening, thinner glass, fixed buckets and a lightweight battery also will be available (at a price yet to be confirmed).

Even without that, there’s a sense of tension and focus in the sportier modes contrasting with the more relaxed vibe in the normal setting. You know everything is synthesized, augmented and filtered. But it feels so seamlessly harmonized. Any slack to the wheel is instantly dialed out, the response sharp but faithful, the extra range of movement in the rear-wheel steering helping to shrink the car around you, no matter that it measures 6 feet 3 inches across the rear.

It’s now nearly as wide at the front but, through the corners, that characteristic 911 weight transfer endures. Even at street speeds, you get a whisper of hip shimmy under braking, a lightness in the nose if you don’t settle it before turning in, the squat and rotation as you nail the throttle and the violent eruption of boost-enhanced acceleration as the wheel unwinds on corner exit. That Porsche has used tech as a means to communicate these sensations even at relatively modest speeds is a relief to those fearing a digitized Turbo experience. And you know it could deliver the same 365 days a year on any road, come rain or shine.

There is nothing revolutionary about the new 911 Turbo S. But that’s not what anyone wants. Based on more than four decades of rich heritage, there is absolutely no confusion about what Turbo stands for.

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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.

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Gordon Murray T.50 beats weight target thanks to ‘Weight Watchers’ meetings

Gordon Murray is staying on the offensive about his T.50 supercar, working the phones recently to let all know that “This car will deliver — and this is a promise — the driving experience of [a McLaren] F1, but better, better in so many ways,” because he and his team have “fixed the things we knew were wrong with the F1.” As they say in the Westerns, them’s big words. Two factors he credited for the T.50’s estimated performance specs are bespoke parts, and the relentless focus on weight savings they enable. The team behind the supercar doesn’t need to restrict any component to parts-bin sourcing, doesn’t need to check with production or accounting departments, and can create or re-engineer any part to serve a single vehicle. Technology improvements since the creation of the McLaren F1 and the use of a bespoke 3.9-liter Cosworth V12 gives the team even more freedom than Murray had with his icon.

This has led to ruthless weight shaving, helped by what Murray described as “Weight Watchers” meetings. The Cosworth V12 comes in at less than 400 pounds, cutting 132 pounds compared to the 6.1-liter V12 in the F1 — the designer citing the S70 BMW engine as part of the reason he overshot his 2,205-pound (1,000-kilogram) target for the 2,579-pound McLaren. Carbon brake technology wasn’t polished enough in the early 1990s to get the units to work on the McLaren, so the F1 used heavier iron brakes, a setback the T.50 won’t suffer. The Xtrac six-speed manual transmission cuts 22 pounds compared to the six-speed sequential box in the F1. The all-carbon moncoque and body panels are less than 330 pounds, the driver’s seat and frame weigh 15 pounds, the twin outboard passenger seats weigh less than seven pounds each. Murray told his team they wouldn’t be able to take any weight out of the pedal box, since he designed it himself. His engineers cut seven ounces. They shaved the windshield glazing to be 28% thinner than what would be standard for this application. The materials analysis team modeled the stress loads for all 900 nuts, bolts, washers, and fasteners in the T50, designing them with just enough material — titanium, of course — to do their jobs. 

This and more is how Gordon Murray Automotive beat the 2,205-pound target for the T.50 by 45 pounds. That will put the T.50 260 pounds above the hardcore 260-horsepower Lotus Elise Cup 260, 180 pounds under the 181-hp MX-5 Mazda Miata Sport. Yet the T.50 has 640 horsepower in everyday guise, which can be cranked up to 690 hp with ram air induction in certain modes. That lower figure is 22 hp more than the F1, for a car weighing more than 419 pounds less, part of what Murray means when he says the T.50 is “the F1 for the next generation, with all the same targets. But of course my toybox is much bigger now.” Backing that up, Murray said about a third of the deposits received so far come from people who own a McLaren F1, another 40% of deposits come from buyers under 45 who had McLaren F1 posters on their walls in their youth, but who’d been priced out of the astronomical F1 market.  

From now until the end of June, the GMA teams are finalizing details, tooling, and working with suppliers on parts. If all goes well, there’ll be a working prototype ready for road testing in September. Production on the 100 road cars and 25 track-only cars begins in late 2021, deliveries to start in early 2022. About 25 slots remain for the road car, so anyone with a $740,000 to put toward the $2.5 million starting price should send word to England.

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188,000-mile Lamborghini Huracan from Las Vegas rental fleet listed for sale

If you’re shopping for a Lamborghini Huracán, you’re far more likely to find a low-mileage example than one that has covered the planet’s equatorial circumference nearly five times. There is a notable exception to this rule looking for a new owner in Las Vegas, unsurprisingly, and the seller says nearly 2,000 people have driven it.

Houston Crosta, the seller, told Car & Driver the 2015 Huracán was the first car he bought when he founded a business named Royalty Exotic Cars that specializes in renting high-end, high-horsepower machines to Vegas tourists who want to up their bling. If you’ve visited Sin City recently, you may have seen this wedge-shaped bull racing up and down The Strip. Crosta estimated about 1,900 renters have put an incredible 188,000 miles on the Huracán in five years; that’s 302,000 kilometers, if you’re more comfortable with the metric system. Either way, it’s a lot.

If rental-car miles are the automotive equivalent of dog years, rental supercar miles in Las Vegas are like putting wear-and-tear on fast-forward. And yet, Crosta claims the Huracán has been surprisingly reliable. He had to replace the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission at about 180,000 miles but otherwise did “nothing but oil changes and basic service.” Even the interior seems to have held up.

Crosta’s other exotics haven’t fared as well. He has also owned a Lamborghini Aventador that somehow ended up on fire, a Ferrari 458 which went through seven transmissions, and a McLaren 650S that also met a fiery end.

Speed enthusiasts who want to scratch their gambling itch without traveling to Las Vegas can buy the Huracán, which is listed for $130,000 on eBay, and try to take it beyond the 200,000-mile mark. Whether it’s worth that is debatable; Crosta has received offers in the vicinity of $100,000 and shot them down, according to Car & Driver. In comparison, a 2015 Huracán with under 10,000 miles is worth between $180,000 and $200,000.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Alois Ruf details 80 years of history in ‘RUF: Love at the Red Line’

Alois Ruf, Jr. knows the exact moment he and his father Alois Ruf, Sr. realized just how fanatic Porsche people are about their cars. While sitting at a stoplight in their Porsche 356 Karmann hardtop one Sunday afternoon, a stranger knocked on the window and begged for a chance to buy that exact car. The Rufs agreed to follow the person to his house, and the random buyer used cash from a candy box to overpay for the car that same day. After handing the cash over, the trusting stranger then loaned the Rufs a different Porsche to use to grab the necessary paperwork. “These Porsche people, they must be crazy,” Alois, Jr. remembers his father saying. “Everything is different with these people. Something is there that is not normal.” The Rufs went on to use craziness to build an 80-year business that is now engrained in Porsche lore.

Marking eight decades of service, Ruf put together a 30-minute documentary about its own history and recently released the project in full on YouTube. The video is spearheaded by Alois, Jr., and includes several other notable Porsche employees, owners, historians and fans. Ruf remains headquartered at Pfaffenhausen, Germany, where Alois, Sr. first opened a small repair shop.

Senior’s first Porsche was the result of a terrible crash. In 1963, while driving a Mercedes-Benz O 321 HL, he witnessed a Porsche 356 Karmann hardtop pass his slow-moving omnibus. When the Porsche try to correct into the proper lane, it lost control, drove into a ditch and flipped twice. Senior calmed the man down, brought him to the hospital, and explained he had an auto shop that could repair the car. But the owner ended up selling the car to Alois, and Alois sold it about a year later in the previously mentioned scenario. From that seed, a lasting relationship grew.

The car RUF is known for, the Yellowbird, came from an idea that emerged back in 1979. At the time, Junior called it the 945 R, and he planned to give it 450 horsepower with a twin-turbo version of the 935 engine. He ended up building the CTR 1 out of a shell from a 911 Carrera 3.2, and the car’s pure performance characteristics filled a gap left by Porsche at the time. In part due to a popular VHS tape, that car later became a legend.

Learn more about RUF’s beginnings, and how the business progressed, straight from Alois, Jr., in the video above.

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