All posts in “2010s”

Blast from the past: Aston Martin announces limited run of V12 Vantage V600

The old adage goes the customer is always right. In the case of the Aston Martin Vantage V600, we think they got it very right indeed.

Aston Martin recently released the new Vantage, a lithe, neon green sports car that looks like something out of a sci-fi comic book. Despite the futuristic impression it gives off, the Vantage pays its dues to its roots; that shape is unmistakably Aston.

The company has never been afraid of looking to its past for design inspiration – look at any model in the Aston Martin lineup today and you can trace elements of its design and execution back to the DB5 and even the original 2-Litre Sports released under David Brown back in 1948. That car is so influential to the Aston bloodline that his initials grace the company’s grand tourers to this day.

For the V600, Aston Martin customers commissioned the return of another historic namebadge for the company, with V600 having adorned a bonkers limited-run twin-supercharged 600bhp Vantage built without ABS – a last hurrah for that incarnation of the Vantage before tightening emissions regulations edged it out of the lineup.

Fast forward to 2018: the new Vantage V600

Aston Martin says the spirit of that original car from 20 years ago carries on in this new incarnation. Based on the outgoing ‘VH’ Vantage, the 2018 Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600 features the charismatic 6-litre Aston V12 up front, upgraded to produce 600bhp, much like its namesake.

Just fourteen examples of the new V600 will be produced, with Aston promising the ultimate analogue Vantage, which should appeal to nostalgic fans of the brand who seek the on-edge feel of supercars from the brand’s history but without the danger, age-related issues or risk of breakdown that come with it.

To that end there is no semi-automatic ‘box – the V600 comes with a seven-speed manual transmission, connecting the driver directly with the experience of shoving that 600bhp to the rear wheels.

Keeping the V600 on the road is front and read dual independent wishbone suspension with three-stage adaptive damping for a sporty feel when required and a more comfortable ride when not.

While the body shape is that of the old model, aggressive styling cues let the in-the-know observer know that this is no ordinary Vantage. That bodywork is fully carbon fibre, with a strake along the side hinting at the menacing potential of the car. A darkened grille adds to the V600’s presence while providing cooling to the V12, while at the rear a quad exhaust juts from a carbon-fibre diffuser.

Aston Martin says the V12 Vantage V600 is available on request, with the fourteen models slated for delivery in the autumn.

How much do you want to be among the fourteen lucky souls to get behind the wheel of the V12 Vantage V600?

Outdoor Activities with the new Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster

Some people play Badminton in their leisure time. Some play ping pong, and some play chess. The Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster is for those who like to jet ski.

Bear with me on that analogy – with the GT S Roadster that Mercedes-AMG has just announced, you get all of the kicks of the AMG GT S coupe, but you get to enjoy them out in the fresh air.

Slotting in between the current lineup of the AMG GT Roadster (for those that enjoy lycra-ing up of a weekend and heading out on a road bicycle) and the AMG GT C Roadster (for full-on lunatics who enjoy bobsledding in their spare time), the GT S Roadster gets the same twin-turbo AMG 4-litre V8, though in this instance it’s tuned to produce 515hp at 6250rpm and 494 lb-ft of torque between 1900 and 5000rpm.

That means it’s got the edge on the 469hp, 465 lb-ft GT Roadster, though isn’t quite as ballistic as the 550hp, 502 lb-ft AMG GT C Roadster.
b Mercedes-AMG GT S

b Mercedes-AMG GT S
Like all the best AMG Mercs, the GT S should still be able to get slidey at will thanks to that power being sent straight to the back wheels via an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

The driver will get the full cacophonous AMG soundtrack as we’ve come to expect, too, with the roof down-experience allowing the sound to carry direct from the performance exhaust system also offered on the AMG GT C to their ears – up to a certain point on the way to the car’s 192mph top speed at least before the wind does its thing.

0-60 is dispatched with in 3.7 seconds – which should be fast enough for those seeking thrills but not all-out speed. That time still brings it within a tenth of a second of the more speed-focused GT C Roadster, though.

Stopping power isn’t bad either, with that limited-slip diff combining with composite brakes – 15.2 inch fronts with six-piston calipers and 14.2 inch rears with single-piston calipers – that AMG say will provide exceptionally short stopping distances and an outstanding resistance to fading.

Aluminium has been used throughout the bodywork to keep weight to a minimum while ensuring rigidity, and the car’s centre of gravity is kept low thanks to use of a three-layered fabric soft top – for when the noise (or the weather) becomes too much for the occupamnts.

European order books are open now, but US customers will have to wait until later this year when the AMG GT S Roadster will reach US dealerships.

If you were seeking outdoor excitement from your V8 Mercedes, which Roadster would you pick? The GT, GT S or GT C? Let us know in the comments!

A legendary name returns to the track: the Brabham BT62

Does 730ps-per-tonne sound good to you? Keep reading…

There is a history of big names from Formula One using their motorsport heritage to sell cars – some more successful than others.

The moniker of ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ has been employed by some of the greatest names throughout motorsport. Ferrari have been at it since the forties, Porsche, Ford and Audi are among those to have employed the tactic in endurance racing, and McLaren went so far as to name their hypercar the F1 in the nineties, as if the name (and blistering performance) wasn’t enough to turn heads.

Now, another brand has emerged that is looking to capitalise on its motorsport heritage with the launch of a customer vehicle, though the gap from win-to-sell is considerably longer than the accepted norm.

Introducing the Brabham BT62

Packing 700bhp and 492 ft-lbs of torque courtesy of a 5.4-ltre V8 engine, with a dry weight of less than 1000kg all wrapped up in a CARBON FIBRE body that looks like a Bugatti Chiron and a McLaren Senna had a baby, the BT62 is designed to be a mid-engine track weapon.

Gallery: Pictures from the Brabham BT62 launch

As you can see from the pictures, that power-to-weight ratio needs a lot of downforce to keep it on the straight and narrow. Thankfully, Brabham has thought of this and claims the BT62 is capable of delivering over 1200kg of downforce thanks to an aerodynamic package, which, coupled with Michelin slicks to be developed in conjunction with the French rubber specialists should help keep it glued to the track.

Brabham says the car has been designed to ‘demand more from its driver,’ and buyers will be able to join the Brabham driver development programme, which should hopefully mean BT62 drivers keep their very expensive toy on the asphalt.

Prices start from £1 million plus local taxes, but that’s before options have been considered, and production will be limited to just 70 cars – meaning that price tag should at least grant owners some exclusivity.

That production run is a nod to the 70-year heritage of the Brabham name in motorsport; the first 35 examples produced will pay further tribute to the 35 Brabham F1 team victories, earned between 1962 and 1992.

Multiple Le Mans winner David Brabham, son of founder of Brabham racing team Jack Brabham, unveiled the car at Australia House in London, alongside the BT19 racer that took Jack to victory in the 1966 French Grand Prix, with the BT62 being liveried to match its historic counterpart.

What do you think of the Brabham BT62? Would you buy one? If not – what would you have instead?

More Than Just Skin Deep: Porsche Unveils Updated 911 GT3 RS

Porsche has unveiled the 2019 911 GT3 RS ahead of the 88th Geneva International Motor Show, which is taking place from 8th-18th March 2018.

Striking visual updates separate this GT3 RS from the model before it. The 2019 model sports a carbon fibre front hood, with NACA ducts like on the 2018 911 GT2 RS to help with brake cooling without adversely affecting the aerodynamic performance of the body.

The front spoiler lip is larger, helping to increase downforce when paired with the side skirts, which are also enlarged. That massive rear wing works in conjunction with an underbody diffuser, with the whole lot coming together to produce more than two times the downforce of the non-RS 911 GT3 according to Porsche.

Inside is as you’d expect, with full bucket seats featuring carbon fibre-reinforced backrests to hold the driver in place while the car does its best to throw them out using lateral G-Forces and oodles of grip. Further nods to the motorsport potential of the 2019 GT3 RS include lightened door panels, with loops in place of door handles and an Alcantara steering wheel with a motorsport-inspired yellow 12 o’clock marker.

2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS interior

2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS interior

Rear seats? There are none – done away with in the pursuit of keeping the GT3 RS’ weight as low as possible. Even with this, Porsche offer further weight savings, which it says are for ‘particularly spirited drivers.’ With extra carbon fibre for the steering wheel and shift paddles as well as on the sway bars, coupling rods and vehicle roof, and the optional forged magnesium wheels, the $18,000 Weissach package helps the 911 GT3 RS tip the scales at just 1431kg.

At no additional cost, Porsche will also fit the Clubsport package, which adds a roll bar, six-point seat harnesses and a fire extinguisher, for the especially track-focused enthusiast.

Power to match its racing pretensions

Beneath the rear bonnet and that huge spoiler sits Porsche’s 4-litre, naturally aspirated flat-six engine putting out 520 horsepower and 346 lb ft of torque – good for a 0-60 time of 3 seconds flat, 0.2 seconds faster than the GT3 with PDK and one tenth of a second quicker than the previous-gen GT3 RS. This GT3 RS tops out at 193mph, with Porsche’s main focus being to get it round a track as quickly as possible, not on straight-line top speed.

2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS

That power is delivered to the track (or road – don’t forget this thing is road legal) via 325/30 Ultra High Performance tyres, wider than those fitted to the 911 GT3, to help those horses do their stuff in the most effective way possible.

Keeping that power in check and helping the driver harness the car’s potential is the motorsport-derived chassis of the GT3 RS, which features Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), active engine mounts, rear-axle steering and an electronic locking rear diff with torque vectoring as standard.

The suspension is adjustable to suit the preference of the driver, with ride height, toe, camber, caster and sway bar settings all able to be altered.

Porsche is accepting orders now for the 2019 911 GT3 RS, with prices starting from $187,500 plus a delivery, processing and handling fee. Options include the aforementioned Weissach Package ($18,000) and magnesium wheels ($13,000).

Is the 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS hardcore enough? Let us know on Twitter.

Form Follows Function: the McLaren Senna

McLaren has announced the official performance figures for its Senna Hypercar and they just might offer a helping hand to people who were struggling to see past those polarising looks.

The Senna is the latest vehicle in McLaren’s Ultimate Series, the second vehicle in the series after the ballistic P1. The British luxury sports car manufacturer revealed its performance stats ahead of the car’s public debut, which is due to take part on March 6 at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show.

Performance without compromise

From earlier information, we know that a 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine will power the Senna, producing 789bhp and 590 lb ft of torque – McLaren’s most powerful internal combustion engine fitted to a road car. While those power figures are actually less than the previous Ultimate Series car, the plug-in hybrid McLaren P1, that’s no reason for concern.

Thanks to its teeny 1197kg weight, the Senna will reach 62mph from a standstill in 2.8 seconds according to McLaren, with 124mph coming up just 4 seconds later. It will cover the standing quarter mile in 9.9 seconds, and top speed is 211mph. By comparison, the P1 weighed 1547kg, though it had a hefty electric motor and batteries to lug around.

The McLaren Senna, in Victory Grey. All 500 examples of the British luxury sports car manufacturer's latest Ultimate Series vehicle have been assigned to their owners.

The McLaren Senna, in Victory Grey. All 500 examples of the British luxury sports car manufacturer's latest Ultimate Series vehicle have been assigned to their owners.

McLaren’s true focus with the Senna is on bestowing it with razor-sharp handling and, as well as the aforementioned lightness, those looks that caused such a stir when it was unveiled last year are all a part of this.

Built around a carbon fibre monocoque, which McLaren says can trace its roots back to the 1981 McLaren MP4/1 Formula 1 car, all of the shapes and wings on the Senna contribute to downforce of up to 1763.7lbs on-circuit, with the aim of delivering a pure connection between the car and driver.

A huge amount of effort has been put into ensuring the Senna’s aero all works together to provide downforce and sufficient cooling. The rear of the car’s distinctive slashes and diffuser may look somewhat jutting at first glance, but every single part of the design is there to do a job.

The McLaren Senna, in Victory Grey. All 500 examples of the British luxury sports car manufacturer's latest Ultimate Series vehicle have been assigned to their owners.

The McLaren Senna, in Victory Grey. All 500 examples of the British luxury sports car manufacturer's latest Ultimate Series vehicle have been assigned to their owners.

McLaren says it is impossible to follow a single body line from the front to rear of the car without it passing a functional intake or vent.

On sale and on the road

While the Senna has been designed to provide the ultimate sensation for the driver on track, McLaren say that it has kept the car road-legal. Another figure recently released was the price – $958,966 US.

All 500 examples of the Senna have already been assigned to buyers, with the final model having been auctioned off at a private McLaren customer event for £2 million. Proceeds from that sale went to the Ayrton Senna Institute – a non-profit set up in the name of this car’s namesake that provides education for unpriveleged children and youngsters in the F1 legend’s native Brazil.

Do you think the McLaren Senna will live up to its namesake? Let us know!