All posts in “Cars”

1,600-hp Bugatti Mistral roadster marks the end of the line for the W16 engine

Bugatti’s mighty W16 engine will retire in the coming years, but it’s not sailing off into the sunset quietly. It will power one final street-legal car: a roadster named Mistral that stands proud as the first convertible of the Chiron era. Built due to customer demand, the Bugatti Mistral is a striking, limited-edition model that looks ready to add another speed record to the French firm’s trophy case. I sat down with some of the people who created it, including Bugatti design director Achim Anscheidt and head of design Frank Heyl, to get the droptop’s full story.

“For the final road-going appearance of Bugatti’s legendary W16 engine, we knew we had to create a roadster. Well over 40% of all Bugatti vehicles ever created have been open-top in design,” said Bugatti-Rimac CEO Mate Rimac. Heyl added that customers “begged” Bugatti to create a Chiron-derived convertible, and that granting them this wish was a “bucket-list” item for the members of his team.

Power for the Mistral comes from the same 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged 16-cylinder engine that propelled the Chiron Super Sport 300+ to a record-breaking 304.773 mph in 2019. It’s rated at 1,600 horsepower, and it spins the four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Bugatti estimates that the Mistral’s top speed will check in at approximately 261 mph (420 kph). Will this number get verified? Hell, yes! “There can only be one goal in mind: to become the fastest roadster in the world once more,” Bugatti pledged in a statement.

While the Mistral is Chiron-based, Bugatti made several important structural changes to offset the inevitable loss of structural rigidity caused by chopping off the roof. Heyl explained that the monocoque’s sills and transmission tunnel were reinforced and that the a- and b-pillar structures are new, though the front crash structure is the same. And, the two models intentionally share no exterior styling cues.

“We had the pressure of creating something that is precious and valuable in a car collector’s garage. It’s not just a fashion statement: ‘Oh, let’s do a roadster!’ Or, even worse, ‘Let’s take a Chiron and just cut it open,’ which would have looked terrible. This burdens us with the responsibility that this is the last of its kind of that generation and how that’s going to sit in those collections,” Anscheidt told Autoblog.

Up front, the Mistral wears a redesigned rendition of Bugatti’s horseshoe grille and headlights with four LED strips (a configuration chosen as a tribute to the four-wheel-drive system and the four turbochargers) while the X-shaped lights characterize the rear end. There’s a lot more to the design than initially meets the eye, however. Heyl explained that his team added air curtains behind the headlights, for example. And, they separated the intakes that feed air into the engine from those that feed air into the oil coolers to avoid making the Mistral too wide. The former are now right above the front passengers, while the latter remain on the quarter panels. This setup brings a few unexpected benefits.

“The driver hears the air intake system and the turbo blow-off valves, and it’s very nice stylistically; it reminds us of the Vitesse,” Heyl said.

Interior designers kept the Chiron’s basic layout with a handful of exceptions such as new, more ergonomic seats. Check out the gear selector, too: It’s made of wood and features an amber insert with a replica of Rembrandt Bugatti’s “dancing elephant” sculpture. Bugatti told me this part is “just a proposal for the show car,” though it added that it will find a way to bring it to production if customers request it.

What if it rains? Act fast; The Mistral will come with what Anscheidt described as an “emergency roof” but it will not feature a fixed top.

Bugatti will cap Mistral production at 99 units, though it will build an additional car for testing purposes. Pricing is set at €5 million before taxes and options are factored in (about $5 million at the current conversion rate) and the entire production run is already spoken for. And, while many hypercars are only street-legal via loopholes, Bugatti went to significant lengths to fully homologate the Mistral around the world.

Is the Mistral the end of the W16? Sort of. It’s the last W16-powered street-legal car, Anscheidt explained that ever-stricter regulations are escorting the big engine off the stage, but the engine will also power the limited-edition Bolide that was developed exclusively for track use.

“To be honest, I can do all of the design talking that I want, but if we didn’t have the W16 engine [these cars] would not be worth half the money,” Anscheidt said. “The W16 is the ultimate [unique selling proposition] for the modern-day Bugatti brand, from 2005 to today. It means something to us. [The Mistral] is a tribute to this engine, and now we go on to the next generation and think about something else,” 

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Koenigsegg CC850 shown with 1,185 horsepower, fascinating gated manual

This is a big year for Koenigsegg. It’s the 20-year anniversary of the Swedish supercar builder’s first production car, the CC8S. It’s also the 50th birthday of the founder, Christian von Koenigsegg. To celebrate, the company has put together the CC850, which is a reimagining of that original supercar, but using modern technology. It looks very much like the old car, but packs way more power and some wild features.

The exterior is quite close to the original. The biggest changes are the switches to more flowing LED lighting up front and in the rear. It has reworked wheels with the phone-dial round openings and has a smooth, uncluttered design. Part of that is due to the hidden rear wing that deploys at speed. The car has the signature tumble-forward doors, powered hood and engine cover, and it has a removable top that can be stowed in the car just like the CC8S. The interior is much more modern Koenigsegg, and the highlights include the beautiful analog instrument dials and the gated shifter in the middle. That shifter features a wood knob with a Swedish flag, again like CC8S.

As is often the case with Koenigseggs, the parts that make it go are as interesting if not more so than the swoopy shell. The CC850 is powered by a twin-turbo 5.0-liter V8 that makes 1,185 horsepower and 1,022 pound-feet of torque on gasoline. Put E85 ethanol in it, and power climbs to 1,385. Christian von Koenigsegg noted that these numbers are a bit lower than for the Jesko, which provided the base for much of the CC850. The reason is because the company went with smaller turbos for better response and less lag, since the car has a manual transmission, sort of.

Ok, so let’s talk about the transmission. It’s a version of the Light Speed Transmission, which has a set of seven clutches and nine gear ratios and can jump from any gear to any other gear, unlike most dual-clutch transmissions that have to shift sequentially. In the Jesko, it’s an automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Here, it has an automatic mode, but it also has a manual mode, complete with clutch pedal. The clutch pedal does actuate the transmission’s multiple clutches, and it is possible to stall the car if you’re not balancing your clutch and throttle inputs. And the shifter will tell the car which gear you want. Curiously, there are only six gates for the manual mode. Christian von Koenigsegg said that having to pick through nine gates would be complicated, so the company stuck with six. Depending on what drive mode you’re in, though, the different gates will get you different ratios. So hypothetically, you could have a set of closer ratios for a track mode, and more widely spaced ones with a tall top gear for street and highway driving.

Naturally, the CC850 is also light. With its carbon fiber construction, it weighs in at just 3,053 pounds. It actually has the same power to weight ratio as the Koenigsegg One:1 when measured in metric with the ethanol output. The car also features adjustable ride height and damping.

Only 50 CC850s will be built. No price was given, but we’re sure buyers don’t care. We also imagine that the car will be sold out very soon after this reveal.

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Koenigsegg livestreaming debut of ‘latest family member’ at 12:00 EDT Friday

On January 1 this year, Koenigsegg teased a new vehicle on Instagram with the caption, “Dear 2022, here’s our New Year’s resolution – More ultimate performance through clever engineering and optimal design.” The company broke its ensuing silence Thursday night by teasing a live debut to begin at 12 p.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. Pacific in Pebble Beach. The teaser image boasts a silhouette that looks like the CC8, the Swedish manufacturer’s first car, with the addition of a roof scoop. Beyond that, we have nothing more than gathered speculation as to what it could be.

There’s the entry-level Koenigsegg that founder Christian von Koenigsegg has said for a while that he wanted to release. There’s the CC12 project with Swiss retailer and supercar garage Carage, which appears based on the CC8S production prototype and would satisfy the note about “ultimate performance and clever engineering,” but the timing is off; in April, Carage owner Kim Struve said the CC12 would “be released in a year’s time.” The Supercar Blog has heard this new thing could be Christian’s 50th birthday gift to himself, called the Annira or the CC850S, packing more than 1,300 horsepower into a 1,300-pound curb weight and fitted with a “magic transmission.” Some surmise it’s Koenigsegg finally reckoning with a battery-electric vehicle, but we think that’s the longest shot of all. He told CarBuzz two years ago, “It actually would be much easier for us to just do a pure electric car, because we could throw away complexity but add weight. But I’d rather have complexity in the super expensive sports car than add weight.”  

That seems to us to be enough guessing for today. The only other rumors we’ve heard that we would believe true are that there will be a tiny production run and every unit is already sold out. We have but a few hours to find out what’s really happening. Based on the company’s products since, oh, ever, it will probably be special.

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Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster has coupe power, removable roof

As promised, the Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster was revealed during Pebble Beach week. It’s also nearly identical to the coupe it’s based on, albeit with a removable roof and a few subtle tweaks here and there to make it more unique.

The roof is of course the centerpiece, and Hennessey wants that to be the case whether it’s on the car or not, since it comes with a fancy carbon fiber display stand for when it’s removed. There also is a soft travel bag for it, just in case you insist on bringing it along. The insulated top is made of carbon fiber and features an Alcantara lining. It weighs just 18 pounds.

Hennessey also fiddled with the exterior. Most notable is the new engine cover. Instead of a simple vented carbon fiber panel, the Roadster gets large piece of glass framed in carbon fiber and aluminum to make the twin-turbo V8 visible. The aluminum panels and carbon fiber surround are both vented, with holes in the carbon surround formed to match the rear heat extractor. The Roadster also gets unique wheels. They’re milled from forged aluminum billet and have the Hennessey logo cut into one spoke on each wheel.

Mechanically, the F5 Roadster is basically identical to the coupe. It has the same twin-turbo 6.6-liter V8 making 1,817 horsepower and 1,193 pound-feet of torque with a seven-speed automated single-clutch sequential transmission. No 0-60 mph time was given, but Hennessey is still aiming for a 300 mph top speed. At the very least, the company expects it to top the 265-mph top speed of the Venom GT Roadster.

Hennessey will build 30 examples of the roadster, 6 more than the coupe. Each one will come in at $3 million and can be customized to the customers’ desires. The company expects the model to sell out quickly after this reveal. Production will start later this year.

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2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS hits the track with 518 horsepower

Porsche’s track-focused 911 GT3 RS returns for 2023 with more power and tech than ever before – at a correspondingly eye-popping price point. The Turbo S may be the flagship 911, but to many car geeks, the GT2 and GT3 RS represent the true pinnacles of 911-ness thanks to their back-to-basics focus on extracting performance at the expense of virtually everything else. They may not be the quickest in a straight line, but when it comes to on-track composure and raw human-machine interaction, they simply can’t be beat. 

It would be easy to argue that the RS is basically a race car. The 992 GT3 RS is as close as you can get to a 911 Cup car while still being street-legal, but as a street car, it’s unhindered by series regulations or classifications. In other words, Porsche’s engineers can turn the performance dials up just as high as they please without running afoul of a sanctioning body while simultaneously sanding off some of the Cup car’s sharper edges so as to preserve the internal organs of customers who will never drive their RS models at the track. Yeah, you know they’re out there. 

To wit, while the 992 Cup car makes do with 510 horses and a six-speed sequential gearbox, the 2023 GT3 RS extracts 518 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque from its naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six and puts it to the ground through a far more refined seven-speed PDK. Porsche says that’s good for a 0-to-60 time of 3.0 seconds flat. From here, Porsche reaches into a different motorsports parts bin for some aerodynamic cleverness. Trickling down from the 911 RSR and GT3 R is a new center-mounted, single-piece radiator that clears way on either side for a new active aerodynamics package. 

This new active aero system utilizes continuously adjustable wing components front and rear to allow for fine control over performance no matter the situation. In combination with the rest of the RS’ air-channeling fixtures, it can provide 900 pounds of downforce at 124 mph and a whopping 1,895 pounds at 177 mph. Flip it over to drag reduction mode and the wings go flat, helping the GT3 RS achieve its 184 mph top speed. The wings can also be deployed in max-drag mode to act as supplemental air brakes

The RS gets a brake upgrade over the standard GT3, with larger (by 2 mm) front pistons grabbing 408 mm discs; the rear axle retains the GT3’s 380 mm discs and four-piston fixed calipers. An optional carbon ceramic (PCCB) package returns with larger rotors (410 mm up front; 390 in the rear). Center-locking wheels also return (20 inches up front; 21 in the rear) wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s in 275/35R20s and 335/30R21s, respectively. Weight is kept to an athletic 3,268 pounds thanks to a generous helping of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body and interior components.

The popular Weissach package also returns with its forged magnesium wheels, carbon exterior panels and an even more extensive CFRP regimen (front and rear anti-roll bars, the rear coupling rods and the shear panel on the rear axle). Porsche says the mag wheels alone knock off nearly 18 pounds of unsprung weight. 

But while some may still view the 911 as the everyman’s supercar, the GT3 RS is far from a bargain even at sticker price. For 2023, that’s $225,250 (including $1,450 for destination) — roughly 20% more than the “suggested” price for the old 991-generation GT3 RS. Not that it matters much in a market that treats sticker price like the Pirate’s Code. Look for the RS to arrive stateside in the spring. 

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Pininfarina Battista First Drive: Meet the 1,900-hp electric hypercar

MALIBU, Calif. — The all-electric Pininfarina Battista throws around some impressive numbers. Power output in the 1,900-horsepower neighborhood. A 0-to-60 time of less than 2 seconds. A range estimated to be 300 miles. A starting price of $2.2 million. All of that might invite the names hypercar or supercar, but that would imply it’s harsh and unforgiving. Instead, Pininfarina defines the Battista as a hyper GT, giving it the otherworldly power and performance of a hypercar while remaining comfortable enough to take on a road trip.

That’s a tall order for any vehicle, let alone the first car produced by a new manufacturer. After spending an afternoon with the Battista on some of our favorite roads above Malibu, we can definitively say that their boldness has paid off.

Automobili Pininfarina is the new manufacturing offshoot of the Carrozzeria Pininfarina design firm that has penned some of the most iconic cars in history. These include the 1947 Cisitalia 202, which is regarded as the first car that integrated fenders into the rest of the bodywork. Then there are icons such as the Fiat and Alfa Romeo Spiders (above right) along with the nouveau-classic Cadillac Allante. But it’s Pininfarina’s association with Ferrari that is most notable, including most of the 250 GT line (above left), Daytona, 512 BB, and wild 1980s Testarossa.

The Battista is named for Battista “Pinin” Farina, who founded Carrozzeria Pininfarina in 1930. A lot of its battery, chassis and motor componentry comes from Rimac, the nascent Croatian electric supercar maker that recently paired with Porsche to take over Bugatti.

The Battista’s exterior styling certainly has echoes of Ferrari, and really, can you think of a better compliment? As an all-electric vehicle, it doesn’t have the same kind of cooling and air intake needs as the gasoline-powered Ferraris and results in a cleaner and more elemental shape. The design is still aggressive as hell, but less shouty, and that plays well with the hyper GT positioning.

Once you pop the dihedral driver’s door, you’re greeted by a rather narrow passage between the dash and seat. Getting in takes a bit more stooping and maneuvering compared to conventional sports cars, but there are certainly exotics that are more difficult to access. Pulling the door down doesn’t take much effort, but you have to give it a strong slam to get it to fully shut, making it a strong candidate for soft-close doors.

The seats are firm and have excellent side bolstering to keep you in place when cornering. There are also more aggressive racing shell-type seats available, but in our estimation, unnecessary. Your feet can extend mostly straight ahead since front wheelwell intrusion is minimized. We haven’t even moved yet and the Battista is already fulfilling part of its hyper GT promise.

The cockpit is modern and minimal, with two horizontal touchscreens flanking the steering wheel and a phone-like display in the middle that displays speed and other primary information. Off to the sides, at the 5- and 7-o’clock positions, are two dials. The left selects drive modes and the right is the start button and gear selector. The cabin is cozy but not confining, and has a good amount of lateral space.

The Battista is already activated as we get in, a fact indicated by the subtle high-pitched whine and fan noises, much like a jetliner running on its auxiliary power unit as you find your seat. Foot on the brake and a quick spin of the right dial puts it in drive. A little pressure on the throttle and the Battista starts to roll forward on the gravel valet circle. Once on the broad, sweeping roads in the Santa Monica Mountains, it’s striking how well-mannered a 1,900-hp car can be.

We’re in the Pura (Pure) drive mode, which seems equivalent to a default comfort mode. It’s easy to drive, with no fear that you’ll accidentally overdo it and spin into a ditch. At the same time, it’s way more potent than most drivers will ever need. In this way, it’s as approachable as a 911 Carrrera 4S and we fantasize about an alternate reality where this is our daily driver.

The ride is stiff, but not punishing. There’s a lot of jostling over the pavement’s undulations, but the smart suspension keeps potholes from sending sharp jolts into your backside. You also hear every tire impact and slap over seams, along with the frequent ricochets of pebbles and debris off the undertray. There’s just enough harshness to remind you of its sporting potential and just enough compliance to consider driving it six hours somewhere.

Now that we’re acclimated, it’s time to turn up the performance. We skip the Calma (Calm) and Carattere (Character) drive modes, which equate to eco and individual modes, respectively. The Energica (Energetic) mode is what can be considered the sport mode. The ride gets firmer, the throttle response more immediate and the steering seems livelier. The synthetic driveline noises also get louder as you muster enough courage to give that pedal a proper stomp.

The Battista instantaneously obeys, launching forward with unstoppable determination. In a time when sub 3-second acceleration to 60 mph is considered increasingly normal, the all-wheel-drive Pininfarina still manages to impress as it’s estimated to hit 60 a whole second earlier. On the rougher sections of winding pavement, the suspension is just a bit too stiff. Mid-corner bumps will keep you alert and the larger whoops will have you thanking your racing school coaches.

Selecting Furiosa activates an equivalent race or track mode, unleashing the full power output and relaxing the driver assists. It’s every driving trope wrapped up in one. It goes to 11; face-warping acceleration; you’ll see the grim reaper and he’ll give you a thumbs up; pick your favorite exaggeration and it applies here. Off the line, the Battista launches hard enough that your vision gets blurry. There’s a slight side-to-side squirm that also indicates you have indeed found a limit and you should proceed at your own peril. It’s unyielding and unforgiving when provoked, and that’s precisely what we wanted on the high end.

The range of comfort and performance afforded by these drive modes is vast. The Battista does indeed warrant the new hyper GT classification. But it’s also so much more. The details could keep us yammering on for days, but we’ll try to pare it down to a few paragraphs.

The interior features an abundance of impeccable leather surfaces, and those hides are sourced close to the Cambiano, Italy, factory. They’re tanned using more environmentally friendly methods that somehow involve local olive leaves. There aren’t any vegan alternatives as Pininfarina says production of those materials have their own chemical drawbacks. The aluminum trim elements aren’t cast, they’re machined from solid billets. They’re attractive while not going as over-the-top as in a Pagani.

On the outside, the charge port is at the center of the tail, a move that Chief Design Officer Dave Amantea lobbied for and won. It keeps charging cables from being draped over the carbon fiber bodywork and is easily accessible. A Pf logo between that port and the trunk (yes, there’s a trunk) illuminates when charging and the outer frame of the badge shows the charge state so you can know with a quick glance how much juice is left.

The glass trunk lid is power deployed and closed. Its stepped floor makes it difficult to load even a paper bag full of groceries, but Pinifarina offers a custom set of luggage that fits perfectly and can be upholstered to match the rest of the cabin. The price? Try $20,000, or the equivalent of a new Nissan Sentra.

There’s even a pragmatic side to the Battista, as you can add a five- or 10-year maintenance program and extend the warranty coverage for the massive 120-kilowatt-hour battery pack to 10 years. Then there’s the Eterna program that offers a replacement body parts kit that is painted at the same time as your Battista. Take a moment to let that soak in because we’re already imagining the most amazing garage wall art.

As Paolo Dellachà, Pininfarina’s Chief Product and Engineering Officer was eager to point out, these programs enhance the ownership experience and also increase the value of the Battista. Considering production is capped at 150 examples and no two will be allowed to be identical (unless, we suppose, you buy two!), there’s no doubt it’s an instant collectible that should only increase in price. As a fully electric hyper GT, may also be more future proof than the current raft of internal-combustion supercars.

Trying to remain impartial and objective during this review is a challenge, but with a sub-orbital price of $2.2 million, most normal sensibilities are obliterated. This is one of those cars that have you questioning past life choices or pondering how much you could sell a kidney for (you can’t, it turns out). The few nitpicks are limited to the hard-to-shut doors, a distracting reflection from the dash top in the windshield, and the tedious infotainment screens that you have to use to even adjust the seats. These drawbacks are as easily dispatched as any vehicle trying to keep up with the Battista.

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Aston Martin DBR22 is a retro roadster for the lucky few

It’s Pebble Beach Concours week, and you know what that means: high-end automakers showing new exotic machinery. Kicking things off is the Aston Martin DBR22. Aston calls it a concept, but that’s more of a stretch than Honda with its “prototype” car reveals. The company has said it will build some. The exact number hasn’t been given, but don’t expect many. The company highlighted a couple of its previous special models such as the Vulcan and V600, each of which were made in numbers below 30 units.

The car is more specifically from Aston’s “bespoke” division, Q, and it’s a celebration of the division’s tenth anniversary. It takes its design inspiration from far longer ago, though. The DBR22’s dramatic curves, lack of a windshield and towering cowls are all based on the company’s 1950s race cars, particularly the DB3S and DBR1 (which already inspired another low-production Aston). The grille is even based on the latter’s. The entire exterior is unique to the DBR22, down to the headlights and full-width tail light bar. It’s all made of carbon fiber, too. The interior is also unique with leather wrapping most surfaces including the carbon seats. And being a product of the Q division, the handful of buyers will be able to customize pretty much every facet of the exterior and interior to their preferences.

No matter how an individual’s DBR22 looks, they should be the same under the skin. Aston’s twin-turbo 5.2-liter V8 sits below the vented hood and makes 705 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. It sends power through an eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. Top speed is 198 mph, and it will hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. No mention was made of what platform the DBR22 is built on, but it likely shares similarities with the DB11 and DBS. It boasts upgrades, though, such as shear panels front and rear for greater rigidity, plus unique tuning for the adaptive shocks. Most interesting is the rear subframe. It’s made of multiple 3D-printed aluminum parts that have been bonded together. It’s a preview of future Aston Martin production techniques and the company says it has allowed them to make a lighter subframe than normal with the same rigidity. It also lets the company more easily produce custom parts for low-production models.

Aston Martin made no mention of when it will start building customer DBR22 models or when it will take orders. We wouldn’t be surprised if the company has already lined up buyers. And if not, well, potential buyers surely know whom to contact. For everyone else, the DBR22 will be on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this weekend.

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Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster headed to The Quail

Monterey Car Week is like a debutante ball for supercars, each high-horsepowered hopeful announcing itself to be of good age, etiquette and parenting, and looking for a worthy home. Next up for a planned introduction to the suitors who will crowd the Monterey Peninsula next week is the Hennessey Venom F5 Roadster. The debut happens August 19 at Monterey Car Week’s The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. The teaser image gives us a clue of what to expect, filling in the blanks should tax too much of the imagination.

Behind the airier cockpit is the same 6.6-liter twin-turbo V8 apparently based on GM’s LS architecture. With a redline at 8,000 rpm, the mill nicknamed “Fury” will spin out 1,542 horsepower and 1,193 pound-feet of torque on regular premium gas, 1,817 hp when given E85 to drink. Those prodigious mechanical facts are shunted through a seven-speed automated manual transmission to the rear wheels only. In the coupe, that results in accelerating acceleration up to 124 miles per hour; it takes 2.6-seconds to get to 62 mph, 4.7 seconds to hit 124 mph. Assuming enough runway and courage, 15.5 ticks of the second hand can see a driver to 250 mph. Hennessey claims a 311-mph practical top speed for the hardtop and a theoretical 328-mph terminal velocity, but so far as we know, prototypes have “only” touched 271.6 mph to now. 

The Texas car creators began delivering the Venom F5 coupe late last year, the entire run of 24 examples already sold. According to Top Gear and Autocar, the Roadster will field a more populous run of 30 units, around seven of which are claimed at a rumored price of $2.75 million apiece. If that’s true, shoppers who like their hair mussed the natural way are paying a $1.15 million premium over the Venom F5 coupe’s price to have that done. We’ll get all the details from the source next week. Also, with a high-downforce version of the F5 supposedly planned after the Roadster, there’s probably a dais at next year’s Quail already reserved.

First Bizzarrini 5300 GT Corsa Continuation reclaims the road

Consider the legendary cars gifted to the world because of people trying to get revenge on Enzo Ferrari. The Ford GT40? Revenge after a falling out with Enzo. The founding of Lamborghini? Ditto. The Monteverdi 375S? Ditto. The Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada and 5300 GT Corsa? Ditto. That’s four, which isn’t all of them. Italian engineer Giotto Bizzarrini has the distinction of making this list twice. An in-house coup led to Enzo firing a number of key personnel, Bizzarrini included. Where did the engineer who’d worked on Ferrari icons like the 250 GTO and the Breadvan go? To Lamborghini to help develop the 3.5-liter V12 in Ferruccio’s first car, the 350 GT. Then Bizzarrini set up his own shop, designing the 5300 GT Strada for the road and the 5300 GT Corsa to beat Ferrari at Le Mans.

The overall win proved elusive, but the 5300 GT won the Over 5.0-Liter class in its first-ever attempt at Le Mans, finishing ninth overall. If that sounds lackluster, remember that the entire might of the Ford Motor Company couldn’t get the GT40 to the finish line in that car’s first two years competing at Le Mans in 1964 and 1965, representing nine DNFs.

As is the thing to do nowadays, a group of monied-up enthusiasts resurrected the Bizzarrini name in 2020 in the UK and committed to building 24 continuation examples of the 5300 GT Corsa that triumphed in 1965. The outfit finished the first prototype for testing in April of this year, delivering the first customer example this month. As was done with the original Lamborghini Countach prototype, engineers tracked down figures who’d worked on the original, designed the continuation using original blueprints, and sourced materials and components from original suppliers. The changes were made either to employ better technology in the spirit of the original, or for safety. So instead of the glass fiber body of the 1965 car, the modern versions get single-piece carbon fiber bodywork over a steel tube frame. And instead of a fuel bladder running through the door sills, an FIA-approved 95-liter fuel cell was designed to fit behind in voids around the cockpit. 

The result is smashing. When companies designing new sports cars say they want to channel the spirit of the 1960s, this is what they’re after.

Each example comes drenched in Rosso Corsa Bizzarrini 222 red, accented with a white roundel. Under that lengthy hood lives a 5.3-liter V8 breathing through four twin-barrel Weber carbs to pump out more than 400 horsepower. In a car that weighs about 2,700 pounds, that’ll do for giddy-up. Although the car has been built for track duty, the company says clients can get a road-legal version if they prefer.

The 5300 GT Corsa continuation is meant to herald the overall continuation of the brand as well. It’s expected that all 24 versions will be delivered by next year, a company exec saying that now “we are refining initial engineering and design proposals for our modern supercar.”

Bentley Batur is the next Mulliner creation after the Bacalar

Bentley’s Mulliner personalization division launched the Balacar Speedster in 2020 — named after Laguna Bacalar in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state — and sold the limited run of 12 examples almost immediately at about $2 million per. With just four Bacalars remaining to be delivered to customers, and since the first rule of having a hit is having a follow-up ready, it’s no wonder that Mulliner will introduce its next small-batch, bespoke car in 10 days: At 8 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday, August 20, during Monterey Car Week, the Crewe automaker will unveil the Batur.

We know a couple of things about the Batur. It’s not clear what vehicle the model is based on, but we’re told it will be a “hand-built grand touring Bentley.” We’re going to guess this means the Flying Spur chassis gets the nod, because the next thing we know about the Batur is it “showcases themes and forms that will define Bentley’s future range of Battery Electric Vehicles.” Bentley’s first EV is anticipated to be a high-riding sedan sitting on Volkswagen’s SSP battery-electric platform, the even more luxurious follow-up to the Audi Artemis electric sedan that will introduce upscale versions of the SSP architecture. The short video shows a very Bentley diamond grille laid in with burnt orange accents.   

The last thing we know about the Batur is that it’s named after another body of water, this time Lake Batur in Kintamani, on the island of Bali in Indonesia.

There looks to be quite a span between the Batur’s EV-forward design and the first Bentley EV. A report out of Germany in July said the VW Group continues to struggle with software for the swarm of battery-electric product the brand wants by 2030, pushing launches back potentially by years — issues that cost former VW Group CEO Herbert Diess his job. Audi’s retail version of the Grandsphere concept might not show until 2027 instead of 2024, and the first Bentley EV that was due in 2025 might face a similar delay.

Aston Martin bringing two surprises to Pebble Beach

Aston Martin has at least three treats planned for its “strongest-ever presence” at this month’s Pebble Beach shindig. Two are surprises, including a “very special, ultra-exclusive” vehicle that will celebrate the first decade of the company’s Q by Aston Martin personalization service. The department that turns individual taste into automotive reality has done something said to “encapsulate the brand’s winning track bloodline, with a nod to success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.” We don’t know what the model will be based on. Some muse it could be another limited-run special like the V12 Speedster DBR1. The cynic in us won’t be surprised to find a DBX with special colorways, leather embossing and checkered flag motifs resting on a northern California plinth.  

The second surprise is a “high performance model” — as if Aston Martin makes anything else — that will go into series production, expected to be the V12 Vantage Roadster. The coupe dropped in March, a wild sendoff to the littlest 12-cylinder, front-engine sports car in the company’s lineup and the last Vantage to get the twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12. The note about series production wouldn’t mean unlimited production, though. There will be only 333 examples of the V12 Vantage, Roadster numbers could be even further restricted. Whatever it is, this one’s going to be revealed on Friday, August 19 at the English maker’s private Aston Martin Club 1913 that’s been relocated to provide a better view of the lawn during the Concours. 

The final goody is an update on the progress of the Valhalla, the mid-engined hybrid supercar with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and three electric motors producing 937 hp and 738 lb-ft. We hear there will be a mockup of the revised interior that potential buyers will be able to sit in, experiencing the driver-focused, F1-like seating arrangements. Assuming nothing has changed since the Valhalla prototype exterior made its U.S. debut at last year’s Pebble Beach, the coupe will be limited to 999 examples, first deliveries planned for just two years from now.

Related video:

Corvette electric sedan rumored for C9 generation

GM President Mark Reuss already said that a battery-electric Chevrolet Corvette is on the way, telling CNBC in April, “In addition to the amazing new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and other gas-powered variants coming, we will offer an electrified and a fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future. In fact, we will offer an electrified Corvette as early as next year. Details and names to come at a later date.” The next big question is when. Muscle Cars & Trucks thinks a battery-only Corvette won’t arrive during the current C8’s generation, as the Y2 platform might need too much tinkering for an ideal conversion. Instead, MCT believes “the C9 Corvette EV feels more or less like an inevitability.” The outlet also figures that electrification will induce expansion of the Corvette nameplate that’s been water cooler talk for years, especially with the example of the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Which is to say, they’re talking about an electric Corvette sedan. In MCT‘s words, “Here’s what we understand to be happening: GM is indeed making an electric performance sedan, but it’s with a Corvette badge, and it will be in showrooms by mid-decade.” Same as with every two-door Corvette for the past few decades, the electric family car would target Porsche, which means putting the Taycan in its sights. By then, though, the segment will be home to new performance-focused electric four-seaters from a gaggle of makers not in the segment now, such as Alfa Romeo, BMW, Dodge and Maserati. The Cadillac Celestiq would provide its bones for this sedan, built at the Lansing Grand River Assembly facility instead of the Warren Technical Center. Were that true, it would also mean the expansion of Corvette production beyond the Bowling Green, Kentucky home that’s been the sole source of ‘Vette manufacture since June 1, 1981

The expectation is that there’d be an electric Corvette SUV further down the road, which we’d guess is a challenger for the Macan or Cayenne. And if this is how everything plays out, MCT believes it eliminates any chance of the electric Camaro sedan that some predicted could arise from the ashes of the current Camaro’s retirement in 2024.

Until then, the thinking goes, the market will make do with electrified Corvettes. That means the E-Ray hybrid due next year, expected to introduce a 650-horsepower all-wheel-drive powertrain to the Corvette lineup, and a small electric range. After that, the full-fat Zora hybrid lurks in the mist, some suspecting the homage to the father of the Corvette will make near 1,000 horsepower.

Related video:

McLaren F1 with unique headlights ready to make auction headlines

With Monterey Car Week coming up, we’re entering the high season for high-dollar auctions. It was just last August when a 1995 McLaren F1 with just 242 miles on it set a record at the Gooding & Co. Pebble Beach auction, selling for just under $20.5 million all-in. And we all know that in the past year the price of used cars has skyrocketed (OK, that’s a joke, we’re talking about an F1 here). But seriously, what price will RM Sotheby’s secure for what it’s billing as a “one of one” F1 that’s headed for the block Aug. 18?

The “one of one” aspect has to do with the car’s headlight configuration. Sotheby’s says chassis 059 of the 64 road cars built was the only F1 to leave the factory with this slimmer headlight arrangement that was meant to increase output. The auction house says headlights were the F1’s Achilles heel: “In night-time driving, output of the stock headlights was noticeably poor, not something that one wants to contend with at 240 mph.” This car was intended to rectify that, with headlight internals borrowed from a BMW Z1. McLaren later fixed the problem in other F1s by swapping and improving lamps within the original headlight housing, but leaving this example as you see it today. 

Now, is that enough to make this F1 truly unique? We’ll find out. The difference is subtle, if you compare it with last year’s sale, F1 No. 025, shown here:

The silver Sotheby’s F1 is a two-owner car. (The original buyer already owned F1 No. 017 but traded that one in for this car in April 1998; the second owner has had it for 10 years.) The car has less than 16,400 miles, which of course is a lot more than last year’s barely-even-sat-in example. Still, you don’t see one of these up for sale every day. Just, mostly, every August. 

Almost as interesting as the car itself is how Sotheby’s plans to sell it. The F1 will be sold “alongside” the Monterey lots, but instead of public bidding, it will be open to sealed bids, somewhat along the lines of the Bring a Trailers and Cars & Bids of the world. Once you’ve submitted, the house’s sealed-bid site will let you know where you rank. Minimum accepted increments for bids on a car in this stratospheric price bracket will be $50,000. Bidding will take place for 48 hours starting at 4 p.m. PDT Aug. 18. All in all, it’s not quite as dramatic as a gaveled live auction — but then again, a lot can happen, and a lot of money can be brought to bear, in 48 hours.

As for the more traditional auction, do check out the rest of the Monterey Sotheby’s catalog, which includes a perfectly purple 1993 Jaguar JX220 among its other delights.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Road Test: Exactly the hero you expect it to be

DETROIT – “Whoa, that’s a GT3,” shouts a kid from the truck next to me as I roll to a stop on Woodward Avenue. At the next light, happy Woodward watchers — yes, people just sit on the side of the road and watch cool cars go by here in Michigan — enthusiastically gesture to rev up the engine. Approving thumbs-ups seemingly rain down from everywhere. Sometimes, it’s fun being the center of attention.

This car needs no introduction. It’s the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, and the world already knows it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. You’ve been fed exactly this from every single written story or video you’ve consumed about it. That’s why it garners the attention and awe that it does from even the youngest car enthusiasts just setting out into the world of automobiles. This Guards Red coupe isn’t just a Porsche 911. It’s a GT3, and that’s all it takes to move it into an entirely different level of relevancy and awe.

I too felt starstruck upon first laying eyes on it. Yes, I put the car journalist cap on tightly before entering the driver’s seat, but it would simply be inhuman to not have a visceral reaction to knowing you’re soon going to be driving a 911 GT3. It’s cliché, but this is a bedroom poster car, the likes of which any young enthusiast — like that kid at the stoplight — grows up hoping to drive one day. If my experience driving other Porsches is any indication, it’s that meeting your heroes isn’t a problem if they wear Porsche crests.

And so, I go about meeting this particular hero. Despite the massive GT3 aero on the outside, looking out from the driver’s seat of a GT3 isn’t a life-shattering experience. At its core, it’s everything that’s good about all the other 911s. The seat sits low to the floor. Its small-diameter steering wheel nestles into your hands just right. Porsche’s slick manual gear lever is placed ergonomically in the center console, and the view out the windshield is stupendous. Visibility is one of the most underreported elements of sports cars and supercars, but you’ll never complain about your sightlines in a GT3. That is, unless you look out the back. Porsche’s downforce-inducing new wing may push up to 840 pounds down onto the back end of the car, but it blots out most of the 911’s otherwise useful rear window. Of course, considering how cool it looks, I can’t complain. Plus, there’s a solution: Just buy the GT3 Touring if it’s that bothersome.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 shifter2022 Porsche 911 GT3 instruments2022 Porsche 911 GT3 rear interior2022 Porsche 911 GT3 dashboard

It’s when you look closer around the GT3’s interior that the specialness of this car begins to sink in. Number one on the list is the analog tachometer with its 9,000 rpm redline. Then there’s the lack of a rear seat, which is a big omission for a vehicle like the 911 that can double as a family car if said family is limited to two small kids, two small dogs or just two folks up front who routinely like chucking shopping bags in the back. And finally, there’s the yellow “GT3” badge that sits just south of the shifter that subtly reminds you this 911 costs more than most folks’ homes. It was $177,780 as tested, and yes, it would probably be more than that given the state of the car market, but even before today’s madness, GT3s were difficult to scoop up.

Twist the big key fob-like protrusion to the left of the steering wheel, and the 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six with its new individual throttle bodies awakens with a smooth but violent stir. Tap down on the Sport Exhaust button, which you should do before every drive, and the octave being emitted from the stainless-steel exhaust drops a bit at idle. This driveway performance doesn’t venture into obnoxious territory, but the neighbors will definitely notice something special has been awakened next door. And if they have a keen ear, they won’t need to see it to know what kind of car it is – there’s nothing quite like the deep, thunderous clatter of a Porsche flat six.   

Muscle the shifter left and up into reverse, and a pitiful backup camera pops up. Somehow, Porsche fit a potato cam to the 911 GT3, while all the other 911s get a high-res and eminently more useful backup camera. Perhaps Porsche saved a few grams of weight by using a worse camera? At least you can still get the front axle lift system to save the low front end from scraping. The memory lift control worked like a charm for every location I frequented, and it’s a perfect backup in case you forget to hit the button coming home late at night to your steep driveway.

Making the left turn off my street and onto the main road is when the GT3-ness of this car really slaps me in the face. The front end darts to where I point it with an alacrity I wasn’t prepared for. As I trundle along uneven neighborhood streets, the rigidity of the chassis can be felt in every bump and pothole. Little rocks ping on the wheel wells thrown up by the GT3’s massive rubber. 

I’ve always felt that particularly special cars reveal themselves and their potential in the first mile, and the GT3 fits this bill. The cabin is practically buzzing with sensations from all over. Each gear shift clicks into place swiftly and simply. The rise and fall of revs from the 502-horsepower flat-six is enticing and beckons for more at low speeds. Against logic, the electric power steering system is full of feel. That can admittedly be said of any 911, but only GT3 has a double-wishbone front suspension adapted from the Le Mans-winning 911 RSR, plus ball joints in place of various rubber suspension pieces. The result is a car that reacts to the road and communicates back unlike any other electric steering system I’ve used.

The harsh ride smooths out around cruising speeds above 40 mph, but the sense of oneness with the car and cohesiveness of the chassis never departs. Between the steering, rev band and noise coming from the rear, the GT3 starts to feel much less like its Carrera siblings, and more like its own beast entirely.

If you’ve never been behind the wheel of a GT3 before, there’s almost no way that you make it to the end of the tachometer the first time giving it the beans. Plenty of cars do the 0-60 mph sprint around the 3.0-second range these days, but very few do so with an engine that revs and builds power like this one. There’s a recalibration period the brain needs to go through as you wind past 7,000, 8,000 and then 8,500 rpm. The high-pitched symphonic yowl coming from behind you is telling you it’s time to shift. Your brain is really saying it’s time to shift. But you’re still rushing forward with a downright brutal sense of accelerative Gs.

I hated physics, but the best way to describe this engine is by utilizing it. Plenty of cars — namely turbocharged ones — will smack you off the line with a totalitarian rush of acceleration, and then continue along through a gear offering a similar amount of high G forces till it’s time to shift. However, the sense of increasing acceleration subsides, as your actual acceleration rate doesn’t feel like it’s constantly escalating. Meanwhile, the GT3’s accelerative force never seems to settle into a maximum. Until the next shift, that sense of acceleration — the force pushing your head back into the headrest — never has interest in slowing down as you gain speed. It’s simply spectacular.

Arcing the GT3 into a corner can be described with the same word: spectacular. The 992 generation of 911 is genuinely large and takes up a lot of room on the road, but the GT3 is remarkably light at just 3,126 pounds with this tester’s manual transmission. Add in the quick steering, and you can flick the GT3 through corners with the speed and confidence of a much smaller sports car. That double-wishbone front suspension design, and the endless list of other changes Porsche makes to the GT3 versus a Carrera, result in a very different 911 in the corners. You can swap the dampers between “Sport” and “Track” modes, but no street surface necessitates stepping up to Track. All four tires stay glued to the ground around corners as though you couldn’t break their contact if you tried, and while I feel like I’m driving briskly, the GT3’s limits can’t even be touched on the road. You need speed, beyond what our speed limits allow, to use that giant rear wing to compress the chassis into the pavement and truly exploit the car. 

Even without a racetrack, though, the sheer sense of stability and agility afforded by this chassis is second to none. Every 911 grants you an unnatural amount of grip as you accelerate out of a corner, but the GT3 just makes it even better. The predictability of the engine’s torque, a dummy-proof rev-matching downshift feature, and this sophisticated and unflappable chassis make pushing the GT3 both easy and a nonstop joy. That is, so long as the roads are indeed roadworthy, which isn’t something Michigan is always adept at providing. Find yourself on some less ideal pavement, and the aggressive wheel/tire setup and alignment results in tramlining that you just can’t do anything about. It’s the only thing that’ll break a smile in the cockpit of this car. 

Practically beaming from corner to corner with the revs never falling below 6,000 and 7,000 rpm, and that Formula 1-like wail echoing off the forest around you, is what the GT3 is all about. It’s a tall bottle of pure performance and another tall bottle of pure joy combined, and the result is a driving enthusiast’s cocktail of choice. And while you may not know it to be your cocktail of choice today, I can promise that one taste of GT3 will be all that’s needed to make it so.

Related video:

McLaren Artura Trophy lets loose the GT4 race car

McLaren already showed off the new Artura GT4 race car this year, but now there’s another Artura racer being added to the stable. This is the McLaren Artura Trophy, and at its core, it’s an Artura without any Balance of Performance (BoP) restrictions taken into consideration. 

Without having to limit power, add weight or reduce downforce, the Artura Trophy is said to have similar performance to a GT3 class race car as opposed to the GT4 that it’s based on. Just like the Artura GT4, though, the Trophy throws out the road car’s hybrid system in favor of gasoline power only. However, the 120-degree twin-turbo V6 outputs a strong 577 horsepower all on its own. It features an enhanced exhaust system to improve sound, too.

The Artura Trophy was designed with a single-make race series in mind, and that’s exactly where it will compete next year. Independent teams will be able to purchase and run the Artura Trophy in a series called “McLaren Trophy,” and they’ll be eligible to field both amateur and Pro-Am pairings. This series will serve as support to the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe and follow them along to the iconic tracks they’ll race at around Europe. Five total races are planned for 2023, and the tracks include Paul Ricard, Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps, Misano and Barcelona-Catalunya. Those who have a McLaren 570S Trophy will also be eligible for entering into this series.

After the McLaren Trophy races are done, though, McLaren says it’s easy to turn the Artura Trophy into a GT4 class race car. Engine management software allows you to re-map it for Balance of Performance compliance, and you can remove aero elements to get it into spec, too.

When you buy an Artura Trophy, McLaren rolls out a whole concierge package for you. This includes hotel bookings, transportation to and from the track and a luxurious paddock that McLaren says is inspired by what you see at Formula 1 races.

Related video:

Ferrari 296 GT3 brings V6 power to Ferrari sports car racing

This is the Ferrari 296 GT3 race car, and it’s here to succeed the 488 GT3 racer in sports car competition. Yes, this means that Ferrari’s mid-engine racer will no longer by powered by a V8. Instead, the 296 GT3 uses a racing version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 found in the road-going 296 GTB.

Since the 296 GT3 is exclusively for racing purposes, Ferrari deleted the plug-in hybrid system, meaning that this 296 is gasoline-powered-only. Balance of Performance (BoP) will dictate how much power this 296 is running in competition, but Ferrari quotes 600 horsepower and 524 pound-feet of torque as the baseline figures. That’s a smidgen down from the road car’s engine-only horsepower figure of 654 ponies. The GT3’s engine is also positioned further forward and lower down versus the road car. Ferrari says its goal was to make an engine with maximum performance, but also provide maximum reliability and driveability — this car will compete in 24-hour races, after all. The engine is connected to a bespoke gearbox developed for this car. It’s a six-speed single-clutch Xtrac system that now features electric clutch actuation via the steering wheel as opposed to a foot pedal.

The 296’s design and the new aero work done for the GT3 result in 20% greater downforce than the outgoing 488 GT3 race car. Ferrari says it worked to make the car more drivable even when in the slipstream of other cars. It’s not the prettiest Ferrari racer we’ve ever seen, but it sure doesn’t look like it’ll be lacking for downforce with the massive wings and appendages protruding every which way from it. If the 296 GT3 is damaged mid-race, Ferrari promises easier replacement of the front and rear aprons to get back on the track quicker.

Ferrari 296 GT3

Ferrari designed a new chassis using learnings from the 488 GT3. It’s made of aluminum, and Ferrari says its lightness will allow for better and more efficient ballast placement for BoP restrictions. The wheelbase is longer than the road-going 296, and the suspension is changed from the 488 GT3 to offer a wider range of adjustment for different styles of driver and different tracks. A new (and larger) braking system is integrated, and shrouding those brakes is a new wheel from Rotiform that was made specifically for the 296 GT3.

The interior is totally new versus the 488 GT3. Drivers will have an easier time getting comfortable with adjustable pedals and an adjustable steering wheel. Most controls have moved to an F1-style steering wheel. Plus, an air conditioning system combined with improved ventilation should help keep drivers cooler.

Ferrari says it’s already put thousands of miles on test cars to prepare for competition. The 296 GT3’s debut race will be next year’s Daytona 24 Hours.

Related video:

Lexus LFA II could get TTV8 from LC500 endurance racer

We are thought to be three years away from the successor of the Lexus LFA arriving in showrooms. We are thought to be less than a month from the debut of a pre-production version of Lexus‘ coming supercar, which could take place at next month’s Monterey Car Week. Persistent reports say Lexus is preparing two versions, one with a hybridized twin-turbo V8, one with a battery-electric powertrain; the former is thought to be the one on show in California in August, the latter not ready for primetime until around 2030. One of the many questions has been, “Where is that V8 coming from?” CarBuzz had its feelers out in Japan, picking up a report from Japan’s Mag-X (translated) that Lexus will use the 5.0-liter TTV8 in the LC500 endurance racer for the super coupe being referred to as LFA II.

This particular engine has been a specter, rumored for ages to make production but never seen. Way back in 2014, rumors that were already a year old posited a trio of engine options for the coupe still known as the LF-LC concept. Paramount among the powerplants was a twin-turbo 5.0-liter V8 with around 600 horsepower. The scuttlebutt continued even after the LC launched in 2016, we saw no truth of it on the street. Even when Lexus launched an endurance racing program with the LC500 in 2018, no one knew what was under the hood. It wasn’t until a year later that the brand officially announced the TTV8 engine with a release that included one aim being “to complete the [Nürburgring 24-hour] race without any trouble by adopting a variety of new technologies, including a newly-developed V8 twin-turbo engine destined for use on future road cars such as sports cars.”

At the time, almost everyone expected the “sports cars” reference to indicate the coming of an LC F.  That could still be the case. But Mag-X says the racing engine will be used in the LFA II. The LC500 is still in competition, finishing 49th out of 94 finishers at last month’s four-hour race at the Nurburgring, Mag-X noted that Gazoo Racing put out another release indicating the race car would be “probably introducing [components] to utilize in future commercial vehicles, focusing on high rigidity, aerodynamic development, suspension technology.” The outlet didn’t say much else about the engine in its online post, but noted it “found the contents of the LC were ridiculously promising.”

It also said the LFA II will “be put on the market as a substitute for the GR010 Road Going version.” The Gazoo Racing GR010 is Toyota’s entry in the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, powered by a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 hybrid system. rated at an unrestricted 938 horsepower, though race regulations cap its total output at 670 horses. At the moment, Hypercar class rules mandate that participants sell at least 20 road-going versions of their entries within a two-year period, so we’re not sure how the LFA II supplants the GR010 with a different engine. 

As for that on-again-off-again LC F, in April of this year Lexus Racing USA teased a shaded LC in front of the brand’s blue F logo with the caption, “Highest expression of performance.” Leaked Toyota product plans from 2020 indicated this is the year for the model’s appearance. We know Lexus likes to show off in Monterey, we could be in for two surprises next month.

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You have less than 2 days left to win a 2022 McLaren GT

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. No donation or payment necessary to enter or win this sweepstakes. See official rules on Omaze. 

Enter this sweepstakes today and get 50 bonus entries by using the code AUTOBLOG50 at checkout.

Let’s not bury the lede: you have a chance to win a 2022 McLaren GT. That would instantly improve almost anyone’s garage game tenfold. All you have to do is enter here.

Here are the specs for the McLaren GT, according to Omaze:

  • Max Seating: 2
  • Powertrain: Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
  • Exterior Color: Ember Orange
  • Interior Color: Black
  • Horsepower: 612 hp
  • Torque: 465 lb-ft
  • Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds
  • Top Speed: 203 mph
  • Fuel Consumption: 15/21/17 mpg city/highway/combined
  • Fuel Capacity: 19 gallons
  • Approximate Retail Value: $243,875.00
  • Cash-Alt: $182,906.25
  • Special features: Dihedral “butterfly” doors; 20″ and 21″ MSO wheels; 12.3″ instrument screen; 7″ portrait infotainment screen; 12-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system

Here’s what we thought about it, the last time we drove one:

“As the winter settles in, I find myself reflecting on the most memorable cars that I’ve tested this year. Chief among them, the McLaren GT.

“I drove the GT on a damp midsummer evening. After a lengthy heatwave, temperatures dipped into the low 60s and it was raining lightly. Not the ideal time to drive a $263,000 supercar. And yet, it was impossible not to be excited and curious. 

McLaren has come a long way in a short time. With a decade under its belt as a standalone automotive operation, the company is delivering on ambitious growth plans and now counts four product lines in its portfolio, ranging from the Ultimate to this GT.

“It’s a surprising trajectory considering McLaren is best known for making shooting stars, like the 1990s F1 that captured the zeitgeist for supercars of that era. The F1 was followed by the indelible Mercedes-McLaren SLR from 2003-2010. 

“It wasn’t until 2011 that McLaren Automotive — freshly spun off from the racing team — attempted a credible road-going car that could actually be purchased and driven by normal enthusiasts. That car, the 12C, was a first step that ultimately led to proliferation of vehicles and technology for McLaren.

“After a few hours of spirited driving the GT, my conclusion boiled down to one word: maturity. It over-delivered as a grand tourer, though the car is about as much of a GT as the Ford GT, which is to say, not much. My back was a little tight when I returned home, fatigued but not abused. The McLaren GT is a driving workout on par with an Audi R8 or Lamborghini Huracán.

“Performance? It has plenty. But also notable, the fit-and-finish is solid, the looks are striking and it felt like the product of a company that’s been doing this for awhile, which McLaren hasn’t. Certainly competitive with Ferraris and Lamborghis and interesting in its own way. A small shop like McLaren is always going to face challenges achieving scale and consistent prosperity, and the pandemic wreaked havoc on the automaking and racing units. Still, the GT is indicative the company can expand without overreaching.”

According to Omaze, “no donation or payment is necessary to enter or win this sweepstakes.” Donations benefit Make-A-Wish. Per Omaze, “Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Not only can these wishes help kids build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness, they also restore hope for families, volunteers, medical teams and entire communities. Right now, for every wish granted, there are three more that need financial support. Your generosity will help Make-A-Wish grant even more life-changing wishes for children when they need it most.”

If you want this head-turning McLaren in your driveway, enter here. The deadline to enter is July 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. 

Aston Martin updates its logo for the eighth time in its history

Whoa, easy on the squinting there, folks. We know, the new Aston Martin logo looks basically the same as the old one. But we promise, it has changed. Here, take a look at the old one (below, left) next to the new one (below, right).

Aston Martin Badge 2003Aston Martin Badge 2022

There, now do you see it? Aston dropped the single vertical line at the bottom and the inverted arch. Also, the lines are thicker. It’s like Aston Martin highlighted the badge and clicked “bold.” It also happens to be the eighth redesign of the logo. The original appeared on Astons in 1920, with subsequent designs launching in 1927, 1930, 1932, 1954, 1984, 2003, and now. You can see all of them in order below.

Aston probably wouldn’t be that put off by us describing the new logo as the old one, but “bold,” because the company’s new tag line follows suit: “Intensity. Driven.” Yes, the tag line is basically a synonym for “bold.”

Aston Martin ValkyrieAston Martin Valhalla

Aston says the new branding is part of a new focus on providing luxury cars with maximum performance. It also seems to reflect the brand’s upcoming roster of mid-engine sports cars with the F1-inspired Valkyrie (above, left), now in production, and the less extreme Valhalla (above, right), the latter of which will start deliveries in 2024.

The new badging will appear on the Aston Martin F1 cars, and will also appear on these new-generation Aston sports cars.

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Lamborghini Huracan could become an 850-hp PHEV next year

So far, Lamborghini is celebrating 2022 with record sales and odes to the internal combustion engine thanks to a raft of special editions. The Italian automaker’s plunge into electrification starts next year with the next-generation Huracán and its plug-in hybrid powertrain. Lamborghini’s head of research and development said, “The engine will be bespoke for Lamborghini. On the final details we can’t yet communicate this, but I would say more than six and less than 12 cylinders for the combustion engine.” The easy (well, easier…) option would be to tweak one of the Volkswagen Group’s twin-turbo V8s to work with a pair or trio of electric motors. Auto Express says its sources suggest two bits of intel on that engine, the first being that it could be an in-house design “not sourced from VW Group,” the second that combined output might exceed 850 horsepower. Such a theoretical coupe would be 169 horses more potent than the Huracán STO and easily satisfy Mohr’s assertion that the new generation “from the performance point of view … will again be a big step.”

Lamborghini is spending $1.8 billion on its path to an electric future. It’s possible the firm could take part of that money to develop a V8 for itself, instantly setting itself apart from the other high-dollar brands in the VW Group. Naturally, we’d love to see that, or even a hybrid V10; what a monster that could be, although heavy, and engineers have been clear about waging a war against weight. The Wolfsburg parent is known to be a huge fan of scale, though, and a V8 or V10 that only serves two vehicles — the Aventador will continue with a V12 even as a plug-in hybrid — seems like a stretch to get approval. Parsing this also depends on how the automaker could define “in-house design.” We’ve seen massively revised engines built around an existing block considered “all-new.”

The Huracán could debut as soon as next year, one year ahead of the automaker’s commitment to electrifying the whole three-car lineup. Autocar says that looking ahead from there, we’ll finally get eyes on the battery-electric Lamborghini in 2028. Last year, the predicted window was sometime between 2025 and 2027, and an interview with Lamborghini chief Stephan Winkelmann has clarified a few bits. Autocar says the EV will “be an all-new, radically styled 2+2 crossover” that looks back to the 2008 Estoque concept for “light inspiration” but “significantly more dramatic styling” than anything else in the range so it’s understood as an EV on sight. Within two years of its launch, Lamborghini will introduce a battery-electric Urus.

If things stay as they are, that would mean a four-vehicle lineup consisting of two PHEV-only models, one electric-only model, and the Urus offering both.

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