All posts in “coupe”

Aston Martin V12 Vantage shows off sound, will return in 2022

According to Aristotle’s fourth-century History of Animals, swans “are musical, and sing chiefly at the approach of death.” Scientists still debate the accuracy of this statement, but we don’t think anybody is going to argue with the melodic tones of the swan song that is Aston Martin’s V12 Vantage. Listen for yourself in the video up above.

We’ve been expecting this. We saw spy shots in August of a hardcore Vantage mule out testing on the Nürburgring that was fitted with all manner of enhancements that led us to believe a twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12 may be under its vented hood. Later, the rumormill was aflutter with reports that the British marque was planning to bestow its smallest car with big power courtesy of a V12 tuned to deliver a reported 670 horsepower. That’s 20 ponies fewer than the Speedster’s twelve-cylinder, which spins out 690 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque.

We don’t know much more than that, for now. Aston Martin’s teaser says the V12 Vantage returns in 2022, we’d guess as a 2023 model, and that it will be labeled a Final Edition. We’re certain the number produced will be limited, so if this is the beautiful swan song you’ve been waiting for, now would be a good time to get your finances in order.

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ItalDesign begins delivering exclusive 710-hp Nissan GT-R50

Italian design house ItalDesign has reached a major milestone. It has finished building the first five examples of the GT-R50, a limited-edition supercar based on the GT-R and developed jointly with Nissan, and it has sent the initial batch of cars to customers around the world.

Unveiled as a concept in June 2018, and introduced as a production model in December of that year, the GT-R50 was created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of both ItalDesign and the GT-R. It’s clearly an evolution of Godzilla, but it wears a specific design that gives it a more futuristic look than the regular-production car. Each coupe is tailor-made by hand in Turin, Italy, and the firm notes that it won’t build two identical units. Customers are invited to configure their car by selecting the exterior paint and the interior materials, among other details.

One of the first cars draws inspiration from the GT-R show car presented in 1972; ItalDesign developed a paint color called Verde Kenmeri specifically for it. Two of the others look a lot like the concept presented to the public at the 2018 edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Production is limited to 50 units globally; it will be interesting to see how the rest of the series is configured. And, while we’re not expecting to see a GT-R50 with 200,000 miles cross the auction block in 2030, it’s a model that meets the same standards as the regular GT-R. Nismo notably participated in the development process to ensure the GT-R50 delivers performance and reliability on par with the GT-R. This was easier said than done: about 12% of the parts that make up the 710-horsepower engine are new, including the turbochargers, the pistons, the connecting rods, and the crankshaft. Lessons learned from years of racing in the GT3 category helped shape many of the changes.

ItalDesign hasn’t revealed if there are build slots left. If you’re interested, keep in mind the GT-R50 carries a base price of $1,126,799.

Aston Martin Valkyrie begins production in dashing green dress

A new era of hypercars is officially born today, as the first production Aston Martin Valkyrie rolls off the line. That’s right, the Valkyrie is officially starting its extremely limited production.

The Valkyrie entering production now also means that Aston Martin has beaten Mercedes and its competing hypercar, the AMG One, to production — both cars saw their “debuts” in 2017. Last we heard from Mercedes on that front, the AMG One was still undergoing testing. Updated timing on the car’s production release was not detailed in this announcement that took place over a year ago. Perhaps those who ordered the AMG One have more insight on when their specific cars will be built, but for now, the production car is still floating out there in the ether.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin says the first Valkyrie, pictured in green here, is awaiting delivery. Aston does not say who the first owner is or detail the spec of the car, but we applaud the dark green paint chosen.

Aston Martin Valkyrie production start

“It is an immensely proud moment for us to complete our first ever hypercar,” Aston Martin CEO, Tobias Moers said. “The Aston Martin Valkyrie program has tested everyone who has worked on it to the limit but the commitment to the dream has produced a truly incredible car, an F1 car for the road.”

Production for the Valkyrie is taking place in a special Valkyrie-only area of Aston’s Gaydon headquarters. A small team of technicians spend over 2,000 hours total to build each car, and there will be 150 total Valkyries produced.

If you want to know all the nitty gritty details of Aston’s hypercar, make sure to check it out in our previous Valkyrie coverage. And enjoy the sound of its Cosworth V12, too. It’s downright magical to hear.

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Original Lamborghini Countach designer wants no association with 2021 remake

The designer of the groundbreaking 1974 Lamborghini Countach, Marcello Gandini, has issued a remarkable statement to the press regarding the recently released Countach LPI 800-4. In it, he repeatedly affirms that he had nothing to do with the revived Countach that Lamborghini revealed at Monterey Car Week on the occasion of the model’s 50th anniversary.

Gandini alleges that Lamborghini may have misled the public into thinking he had something to do with the Sián reskin, and he wants to make it clear that he had nothing to do with it.

“The external public, seeing and reading what has been communicated by Automobili Lamborghini and consequently by the media during recent weeks, may be led into believing that Marcello Gandini was a part of, or was involved with, or the project may have had his blessing. It is therefore appropriate to clarify the facts and reiterate that he did not participate in, nor was he aware of the project in any way.”

Rarely has a designer of Gandini’s stature and repute so publicly refuted a company they’ve worked for. Though Gandini penned cars from the humble Renault 5 to the masterful E12 BMW 5 Series to the incredible Lancia Stratos, it is Lamborghini — where he was responsible for the legendary Miura, Espada, Marzal and Countach, among others — that Gandini is historically most closely associated with. 

Some of the confusion Gandini references stems from a video published by Lamborghini earlier this year. In it, Gandini talks about his design philosophy (which, ironically, includes breaking new ground with every design) and current Lamborghini head of design Mitja Borkert presents Gandini with a scale model of the then-upcoming Countach LPI 800-4. The latter believes that his presence in the video equates to tacit approval of the new design.

“Neither earlier, nor during the interview was it stated that the car was scheduled for limited series production. With the elegance and kindness that have always distinguished Marcello Gandini, when Mitja Borkert presented the scale model during the interview, the former did smile and acknowledge as would be customary to do so.”

Gandini believed that the model was the end of it, but after Lamborghini pulled the wraps off of the LPI 800-4, he says he received “countless requests for clarification” from press and colleagues in the auto design field. He decided to issue the statement to make clear he had nothing to do with the remake. Furthermore, he wants the public to know that he’s against the idea altogether. And though he doesn’t criticize the design itself, he skewers the notion of a remake.

“Thus, Marcello Gandini would like to reaffirm that he had no role in this operation, and as the author and creator of the original design from 1971, would like to clarify that the makeover does not reflect his spirit and his vision. A spirit of innovation and breaking the mould which is in his opinion totally absent in this new design: ‘I have built my identity as a designer, especially when working on supercars for Lamborghini, on a unique concept: each new model I would work on would be an innovation, a breaker, something completely different from the previous one. Courage, the ability to create a break without sticking to the success of the previous car, the confidence in not wanting to give in to habit were the very essence of my work’, explains Marcello Gandini. ‘It is clear that markets and marketing itself has changed a lot since then, but as far as I am concerned, to repeat a model of the past, represents in my opinion the negation of the founding principles of my DNA.'”

For its part, Lamborghini has issued its own response to Gandini, which Top Gear published. The company explains that the Countach LPI 800-4 was the work of designers at their Centro Stile and R&D department.

“The Company has never attributed any role to Marcello Gandini in the realisation of the Countach LPI 800-4. Instead, Automobili Lamborghini have invited Mr Gandini to take part in an interview that took place in June 2021. This was a conversation with the designer and Head of Centro Stile Lamborghini about the comparison between the old model and the new one.”

It’s understandable that Gandini wants to protect his legacy and name, but it also seems obvious that Lamborghini never meant to mislead the public about his involvement. However, it must be said that all 112 units have already been sold out, so someone out there does appreciate them.

All in all, it’s a regrettable misunderstanding that has marred what should otherwise be a golden anniversary celebration of one of the most famous and beloved cars of all time. Perhaps we should just ignore it and revel in the Countach LP500 concept rebirth instead.

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Lamborghini Huracan STO First Drive Review | No shortage of show

Malibu, Calif — There’s no shortage of show in LA. From studio moguls rolling in ultraluxe sedans to wannabe racers using freeways as their own personal circuits, the city of Angels explodes with vehicular energy— much of it, inauthentic.

And then there’s the 2022 Lamborghini Huracan STO.

Slathered in scoops, spoilers, and ducts, the Huracan STO looks like every go-fast visual cliché brought to life, a caricature of real deal racecars. This one is even finished in blue and orange, a sort of flamboyant take on Gulf livery. But the STO’s story is actually authentic.

The last Huracan variant approaching this level of hardcore was the Huracan Performante (2017-2019), which many (including this author) credited as the brand’s first credible track weapon. The subsequent Huracan EVO was launched at Bahrain’s F1 circuit and loaded with ambitious tech. However, its chassis setup, which combined four-wheel steering and a variable steering ratio, lacked the consistency and edge needed for serious track driving. 

This time around, the STO draws legitimate inspiration from Lambo’s Super Trofeo and GT3 race cars, which have helped the brand claim more than 100 GT3 wins and three outright Daytona 24 Hours victories in a row. Not a bad starting ground in a bid for relevancy. The STO’s intricate skin is 75% carbon fiber, helping shed some 95 pounds over the Performante. And while it claims 37% more aerodynamic efficiency over its predecessor, the STO’s massive, three-way adjustable rear wing manages a staggering 926 lbs of downforce at 174 mph, which is 53% more than the Performante. Aiding the effort are magnesium wheels and a 20% lighter windshield. Though Lamborghini only publishes dry weight figures (and the STO claims a mere 2,950 lbs without fluids), it’s fair to say that featherweighting has been aggressively pursued. The suspension is more aggressive due to stiffened bushings, revised stabilizer bars, and an updated magnetic adaptive damper setup. Oh, and the frunk? In yet another motorsports nod, it’s designed to accommodate a full-face helmet.

The STO’s 5.2-liter V10 produces the same 640 metric horsepower as the Huracan EVO (that would be 631 in the horsepower you’re more familiar with). For reference, that figure is actually more than Lamborghini’s GT3 and Super Trofeo race cars, which are both rated at 620 metric horsepower — though the GT3’s engine is limited to 550 metric hp in order to conform to the FIA’s balance of power regulations. The STO’s torque drops from the EVO’s 443 pound-feet to 417 lb-ft, with the upside of greater throttle response and quicker shift times from the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The torque reduction is also counteracted by ditching the all-wheel-drive powertrain for a rear-drive configuration, saving valuable weight.

Special six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo CCM-R brakes borrow F1 tech for quadruple the amount of thermal conductivity over standard carbon ceramic stoppers. Maximum braking power also improves by 25%, and a dashboard display offers a brake temperature monitoring readout. Interestingly, the Pirelli P-Zero’s sidewalls were deemed too soft for the STO’s elevated downforce and cornering loads, which led Lamborghini to develop a special street and track compound with Bridgestone tires.

Our tester’s optional trim packages lend it an extravagantly customized feel inside, with contrasting black and white blocks of leather and Alcantara. This particular example flaunts a laundry list of trim options including “Full Livery Exterior Pack” ($37,800), “Contrast Pack” ($4,000), “Full Exterior Carbon Pack” ($21,600), and “Dark Chrome and Carbon” ($8,600). And that’s just for starters. In fact, the options list is so lengthy on our borrowed sled that already had the hefty starting price of $327,838 balloons to a remarkable $442,033 thanks to the sky-high pile of extras.

Ameliorating the dizzying expense is the heady blast of the naturally aspirated V10, which alerts neighbors and friends blocks away that there’s a braggadocious bad boy in town. There’s still nothing quite like sitting in a Lamborghini and firing up a big naturally aspirated V10, even if its doors open this way –>, not that ^^ way. The Huracan’s seats still sit surprisingly tall within the cabin, but the lack of floormats and bare carbon fiber door panels drive home the racecar theme. The digital dashboard and centrally positioned touchscreen add a techy touch. That said, the extreme reductionism annoyingly removes the volume knob. You have to dig into the touchscreen to adjust the sound level.

As before, drive modes are controlled via a small red toggle at 6 o’clock on the steering wheel, managing the behavior of the engine, transmission, traction control, stability control, rear-wheel steering, torque vectoring, and ABS. In this case, the modes are named STO, Trofeo, and Pioggia— street, race, and rain— and each delivers a palpably different character. Pull away in Pioggia, and the STO plays docile and soft, responding to inputs like a purring pussycat. Tap into Trofeo, and the Lamborghini turns into an easily angered predator, with a razor throttle response and sharp immediacy to steering inputs. This is the mode that makes the STO feel most consistent with its aggro looks: it begs you to jam the throttle, which in turn can kick the tail out with dramatic tirespin. Trofeo isn’t the mode you want if you’re seeking the quickest lap times, but it’s arguably the most fun, uncorking the fiery personality of the STO’s sonorous V10, and its disarming effects on yaw angle. While it’s not the torquiest at lower rpm, the engine winds itself up to produce a satisfying rush of power as the virtual tach climbs to a satisfying 8,500 rpm redline. STO mode minimizes the drama in the interest of lap times, trading tire spin for forward motion and curtailing slides in order to more effectively clip apexes. It’s a less fun, but more effective way to maximize this Lamborghini’s elevated abilities.

Piloting the STO through Malibu’s most challenging canyon roads reveals staggering reserves of performance beneath its (mostly) carbon fiber skin. Unlike the EVO, there’s no second guessing the intentions of the chassis, just a direct, linear relationship between driver inputs and vehicle dynamics. The STO meets and exceeds speed limits with staggering ease. And its outrageous appearance would make pleading your cause to an officer of the law all but impossible. This is a supercar that looks fast, and goes even faster— especially when delving towards its indicated 8,500 rpm redline, where the cabin is blasted with the brain rattling roar of the V10.

Despite the considerable sound and fury, there isn’t much learning curve needed to manage the STO’s capabilities, primarily because its machinery feels more analog than digital. Credit the linearity of the naturally aspirated engine, which lacks a turbocharger’s ramp-up under boost. However, the bigger differentiator here is the chassis: the steering, with its fixed ratio in the STO, feels intuitive and offers good feel, the connection to the road yields (mostly) predictable results. The exception is when the throttle is mashed and the sticky Bridgestones are overcome, and at higher speeds it feels like the aero’s considerable downforce is helping keep the wedgy two-seater in contact with tarmac. Brakes? We barely tapped into their capacity on the road despite heavy application, lending credibility to Lamborghini’s claims of their trackworthiness.

If anything, experiencing the Huracan STO on public roads reveals the striking difference between its stratospheric performance envelope, and the stifling limitations of the real world. The STO can have your license yanked quicker than you can say Super Trofeo Omologata, its namesake which indicates its homologation from racing. But what a way to go: this latest Lamborghini samples the best of what its winning race cars have to offer, while offering navigation, Bluetooth, and a sound system that’s almost decent enough to overpower the plaintive wail of its V10. In spite of the creature comforts, the roadgoing STO manages to lap the Hockenheim circuit in 1:48.86, a mere 2 seconds behind its racecar counterpart, which wears slicks.

Its maker calls this Huracan a “celebration of the combustion engine,” which couldn’t be a truer statement since all Lamborghini model lines will be hybridized by 2024. Until then, savor the STO, which achieves its mission of putting a racecar on the road with stunning totality.

Lamborghini Countach LP 500 prototype reconstruction baptized on track

After making a static debut at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the reconstructed 1971 Lamborghini Countach LP 500 prototype has met the track for a proper shakedown. A banner day for all involved, no doubt, Pirelli loaned its Vizzola Ticino test track to Lamborghini, collector Albert Spiess from Germany and the contributors who helped create the car from scratch.

Spiess said he saw the original prototype at the Geneva Motor Show and then put a Countach poster on his wall as a kid, determined like so many other children for the next 15 years to have one. With the Geneva show car destroyed during crash testing, Spiess eventually determined to convince Lamborghini to build one anew. It likely didn’t take him more than 25,000 hours of cajoling to get a “Si” from the principals in Sant’Agata Bolognese, but that’s how long the carmaker’s historic division, Polo Storico, spent on the reconstruction. Polo Storico chief Stefano Castricini said it took “mad and desperate” research through archival materials, on top of the interviews with original workers and help from suppliers like Pirelli and PPG.  

It doesn’t look like they worked the LP 500 too hard on track, but it’s not like they needed to. In a world awash in seven-figure customs and restomods from manufacturers, and smaller makers putting out cars with specs to make your eyes go googly — there will probably be three more announced next week — this one is special at any speed. For any who’d like to see it for themselves, this very item will be on display at Lamborghini’s MUDETEC Museum of Technologies in Sant’Agata Bolognese until November 15, alongside the bare tubular chassis of the production LP 400 (the customer cars got a more reliable 4.0-liter 12-cylinder instead of the prototype’s 5.0-liter unit), the second production LP 400 to go down the line, and a Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole.

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Bugatti begins winding down Chiron production

Bugatti’s stunningly powerful Chiron has almost reached the end of the line. While the standard model is sold out, there are still some Pur Sport and Super Sport build slots available for buyers who want to add the hypercar to their collection before it sprints off into the sunset.

Developed to replace the Veyron, the Chiron was unveiled at the 2016 edition of the Geneva auto show with a 1,500-horsepower, quad-turbocharged W16 engine mounted behind the passenger compartment. Deliveries started in March 2017, and the 100th unit was delivered to a customer in the Middle East in May of the following year. Bugatti reached the 250-car milestone in February 2020, and it built the 300th Chiron in March 2021. It said that the final examples of the Chiron and the Chiron Sport are either being built or scheduled to be built.

What’s left, then, are less than 40 build slots split between the Pur Sport and the Super Sport (pictured) variants, though Bugatti told Autoblog some of those are slotted for production but haven’t been configured yet. The curtains will close when the final units are built. 

There’s no word yet on how long it will take to fill the remaining build slots; Bugatti stressed that demand for the Chiron has increased significantly in 2021. Sales doubled and even tripled in some regions during the third quarter of the year. As for what’s next, your guess is as good as ours. Bugatti is now controlled by Rimac so rumors sketching the outline of an electric model are rampant, though nothing is official. We’ve also heard vague details about a second model line, one that could slot below the Chiron, but those reports also remain speculative.

What’s certain is that something will take the torch from the Chiron.

“We will not just recycle what we have — not restyle the Chiron or hybridize the Chiron. We’re developing a completely new product from the ground up. Everything, because we think that’s the best way to go. That product will have an internal combustion engine,” said Mate Rimac.

In the meantime, Bugatti’s factory will stay reasonably busy: the French brand will soon launch production of the EB110-inspired Centodieci, which is limited to 10 examples, and it’s planning to build 40 units of the Bolide, a track-only two-seater that weighs less than a Subaru BRZ.

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Bugatti’s EB110-inspired Centodieci is one hot step closer to production

Bugatti’s heritage-inspired Centodieci is related to the Chiron, but it’s different enough to require its own set of validation tests. After taking on the Nürburgring, the limited-edition hypercar was put through its paces in the scorching heat of the American Southwest’s deserts.

“Testing in the hot, dry desert is a huge help for us in the development process,” explained Stefan Schmidt, an engineer in Bugatti’s overall vehicle development department. “Every model has to run flawlessly in all weather and in all traffic conditions,” he added.

With no less than 27 engineers in tow, the Bugatti team started the hot-weather test in California and meandered east for about 500 miles until it reached Arizona, where temperatures sometimes climb to over 120 degrees. The convoy included eight cars: a Centodieci prototype, three examples of the Chiron Pur Sport, and four examples of the Chiron Super Sport. Each one was fitted with approximately 200 sensors that record various parameters that get sent to the engineers traveling with the convoy and to the development team in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Heat takes a toll on cars in normal driving conditions, but Bugatti went the extra mile to torture its prototypes. It subjected them to low-speed stop-and-go traffic, it reached nearly 200 mph (on a closed track, of course), and it left them sitting in the sun with the air conditioning on. The aim is to see how different components (ranging from the fuel delivery system to the materials used to build the cabin) hold up to extreme heat. The data gathered during the tests was compared to the numbers obtained through simulations to identify areas of concern.

Taking the Centodieci to the American desert was important; it’s notably fitted with an additional air intake near the oil cooler.

“The Centodieci’s newly-developed bodywork, airflow changes, and its engine bay cover manufactured from glass mean the temperature behavior is quite different, especially in such extreme heat conditions,” said André Kullig, the manager of few-off projects at Bugatti.

The firm notes that the Centodieci passed the hot-weather tests with flying colors. It has one final hurdle to clear before it enters production: nearly 20,000 miles of high-speed and endurance testing in Europe. When that’s over and everything checks out, the project will be signed off and production of the 10 examples planned will begin in Molsheim, France. Deliveries should start in 2022, and the model is sold out.

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Officine Fioravanti Testarossa is subtle and sensational

In May, Swiss design and engineering outfit Officine Fioravanti showed its work-in-progress, a camouflaged Ferrari Testarossa restomod. Shy about giving too much away at the time, all we learned was that there was more horsepower and torque from the 4.9-liter flat-12, and a top speed of something like 200 miles per hour. All of those figures were healthy improvements on the original 1984 icon. The people behind the project are finally ready to show it off, and by all appearances, they’ve pulled off a special piece of art. 

Part of what’s special is that you’d have to be a Testarossa connoisseur to tell anything has been done from the outside. The most apparent change is the larger wheels, the first-gen 16-inchers replaced with a set of staggered center-lock alloys, 17 inches in front, 18 inches in back, shod in Michelin Pilot Sport rubber. The first few years on sale, the original Testarossa sat on magnesium center-lock wheels that were either 16 or 16.33 inches in diameter, a little too exotic for then, but not now. Behind those wheels sit Brembo brakes, six-piston calipers in front, four-piston in back. The other tell is the quartet of titanium exhaust tips poking out the back. The rest is by the book, down to the pop-up headlights and high-mounted driver’s side flying mirror. That mirror was the ultimate in cool for anyone who didn’t need to drive the car.

Upgrades are hidden under that stock-standard skin from stem to stern. The 12-cylinder puts out 500 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, a bonus of about 120 horses and 96 pound-feet. That’s thanks to changes like an improved block, new intake and exhaust systems, a new fuel injection system developed in-house, and a redline that’s been raised from 6,800 rpm to 9,000. Officine Fioravanti worked with Ohlins to develop an electronic adaptive suspension with remote reservoirs and six-way adjustable roll bars, then went further with a front-lift system to get up unkind inclines. The exhaust, traction control, and ABS are also adjustable, and those latter two driver aids can be turned off. These tricks, plus a flat floor and a 267-pound diet compared to the original, increase top speed to 201 miles per hour, which is 16 mph more than Road & Track managed in 1987.

No one would accuse a stock Ferrari Testarossa interior of not being nice, but this one is much nicer. Officine Fioravanti replaced a lot of plastic with aluminum, added a lot more stitched leather, and kept the built-in Gordon Gecko phone but turned it into a Bluetooth unit. Ferrari’s car in the 1980s could be optioned with a six-piece set of Schedoni lugguage, the Swiss restomodders made their own. And, yes, there’s a premium audio system that works with Apple CarPlay, and built-in navigation.

Officine Fioravanti says there will be an official debut later this year. When that happens, perhaps we’ll find out where this outfit sprang from. It appears to be connected to Leonardo Fioravanti, the longtime Pininfarina designer who penned so many legendary Ferraris that it would be fair to suspect he made a deal with the devil, including the 1984 Testarossa. That Leonardo maintains an office in Milan and works with automaker clients, whereas Officine lists its HQ in Coldrerio, a town 40 miles away from Milan just over the Swiss border. We should find out how much this jewel is going to cost and how many will be made, our guess as to the answers being, “A lot, and a few.”

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Tour the Venom F5 with Hennessey’s design director

We’ve watched the Hennessey Performance Venom story for 14 years now. When the Lotus Elise-based Venom GT ran an unofficial 270.49 miles an hour at the Kennedy Space Center and that wasn’t enough to convince the Guinness Book of World Records, Hennessey decided to start over on a speedster built on an in-house platform. That turned into the Venom F5, the F5 designation taken from the Fujita Scale used U.S. from 1971 to 2007 to measure the strength of tornadoes. The strongest twisters were designated F5, with winds estimated at anywhere between 261 and 318 miles per hour. The one-word descriptive the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used for such phenomena applies equally to the weather and the car: Incredible.

Hennessey design director Nathan Malinick takes us on a tour of everything the Texas car builder has done with the F5 in an attempt to reach the speed of the fastest tornado winds. Without giving everything away, there are fine engineering details like the badge at the front of the car, a slice a aluminum just eight microns thick. There are aesthetic details like headlights designed to mimic the shape of an F. There are combined engineering and aesthetic flourishes like the rear spoiler, its sinuous bends a pleasure to behold at the same time as it channels air into the turbos and over the rear of the car. And there are engineering firsts like the rear bumper, which Malinick says is the largest single piece of molded and milled carbon fiber in the car industry.

There are plenty more whats and whys in the video, so check it out. All 24 examples of the Venom F5 planned for production have been sold, so this could be the closest you ever get to it.

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James Bond’s latest Aston Martin is coming to ‘Rocket League’

It wouldn’t be a new James Bond movie without a few tie-ins, and No Time to Die is clearly sticking to that rule. Psyonix and Epic Games have revealed that Bond‘s Aston Martin Valhalla, the first hybrid car in the game, will be available in Rocket League (complete with matching audio, decal and wheels) for 1100 Credits starting October 7th. You’ll also find three in-game challenges to unlock a Bond-themed avatar border, banner and player title.

Completists will have the option of buying a Bond 007 Collection between October 7th and October 13th that includes both the Valhalla and the classic DB5 for 2,000 Credits. The DB5 was released in July, but this could represent a better deal for Bond aficionados.

The expansion isn’t a surprise when Epic has lots of money to throw at promotional deals. This could boost interest in Rocket League among either diehard Bond fans or newcomers looking for more real-world cars. If nothing else, it should be amusing to watch 007 score a flying, upside-down goal or two.

Reporting by J. Fingas for Engadget.

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1971 Lamborghini Countach LP prototype 500 lives again

On March 11, 1971, Lamborghini unveiled the Countach LP 500 prototype at the Geneva Motor Show on the Carrozzeria Bertone stand. Lamborghini had also brought the reworked Miura P400 SV to the show, and believing it would be the star, had placed the Miura at its own stand and dispatched the Countach to the design house stand. Admittedly, Lamborghini had done the same thing in 1966 when the Miura debuted in Geneva. The Countach ruled the 1971 show and was soon on magazine covers around the world. The Italian house spent three years developing the prototype for production, putting the Countach LP 400 on sale in 1974. The prototype sacrificed its life during crash testing for the production model.

Now the prototype is back, or the best facsimile thereof. Lamborghini says “an important collector” approached the firm in 2017 asking if they could recreate the yellow shock that started the 50-year craze for V12 engines and scissor doors. That customer might have got his idea from the 1971 Miura P400 SV prototype that Lamborghini restored in 2017 using archival documents. So the automaker’s classics division, Polo Storico, went back to the archives for drawings, documents, meeting notes and pictures; interviewed people who were there at the time; and contacted suppliers like Pirelli for an updated version of the Cinturato CN12 and paint maker PPG for the Giallo Fly Yellow Speciale color.

It took 2,000 hours for the design house, Lamborghini Centro Stile, to reproduce the bodywork, all of it hand-beaten as it was in 1971. It took more than 25,000 hours to recreate the entire coupe with parts that were either original, restored, or fabricated from scratch ranging from the platform frame (instead of the tubular frame in the production car) to the partially electronic instrumentation. Lamborghini didn’t mention the engine, though. The prototype contained a 5.0-liter V12; the production model downsized that for a more reliable 4.0-liter unit. We’ll guess a collector committed enough to pay for 25,000 hours of Lamborghini work wouldn’t compromise on the heart of the matter. Whatever’s back there, it sounds righteous in the video. 

The result is now on display in the concept class at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Lamborghini didn’t mention a price, either, not that it matters; there’s enough money in the world that the company brought back the Countach, it might as well revive the true original.

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2022 Genesis GV70, raging at VW ID.4 tech and thoughts on a new Lexus LFA | Autoblog Podcast #696

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor James Riswick. This week, they talk about driving the Genesis GV70, VW ID.4 and VW Taos. They talk about ways Chevy could “fix” the Camaro. James ranked all the James Bond films based solely on their starring cars. Next, they reach in the mailbag and discuss the question, “Do you think Lexus will make a successor to the LFA and, if so, what do you guys think it would be like?” After ruminating on that query, they dip into the mailbag a second time to recommend a sporty crossover to a listener in this week’s Spend My Money segment.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at:

Autoblog Podcast #696

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Autoblog is now live on your smart speakers and voice assistants with the audio Autoblog Daily Digest. Say “Hey Google, play the news from Autoblog” or “Alexa, open Autoblog” to get your favorite car website in audio form every day. A narrator will take you through the biggest stories or break down one of our comprehensive test drives.

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Radford Type 62-2 John Player Special takes the coach-built sports car even higher

Radford revealed its Type 62-2 a month ago, and today the coach-building company is releasing its first 62-2 variant. It’s simply called the JPS, short for John Player Special. You’d be able to guess that just by looking at the car, though, as it’s completely done up in the traditional John Player Special black and gold livery.

This JPS Type 62-2 isn’t just a livery either. It’s the most extreme version of the car, even more so than the Gold Leaf version of the standard Radford that improves matters over the “Classic” model. Engine output sees a sharp turn upwards from 500 horsepower to 600 horsepower in the JPS. It’s still using the 3.5-liter supercharged V6 you’d find in the Lotus Evora (an engine Lotus borrows from Toyota), but this one is heavily modified. Radford says it uses upgraded pistons, new connecting rods, camshafts and an upgraded supercharger. Plus, it’s running a more aggressive engine calibration.

Hauling it to a stop are upgraded brakes — Radford uses carbon ceramic rotors and AP calipers. New and larger carbon composite wheels (18-inch front and 19-inch rear) from Dymag are fitted and wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.

Plenty of appearance and aero changes are made to separate the JPS from the other Type 62-2s. Radford says it’s either lightly massaged or made big changes to every area of the bodywork. You’ll notice a giant new splitter up front, larger side air intakes to cool the more powerful engine and a more extreme diffuser in back to produce more downforce. We’ll also note that the JPS “livery” is not a sticker package; it’s all painted on, requiring hours and hours of work by hand.

Pricing for the JPS hasn’t been revealed, but it’s guaranteed to be expensive. This special model will be sliced out of the total production of Type 62-2s. Only 12 of the 62 total cars will be the John Player Special cars, so they’ll be incredibly rare — Radford says it’s currently taking build slot applications, so you still have a shot at buying one. If you want to see the JPS in person, Radford says it will be on display at this year’s Goodwood Revival.

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Aston Martin appears to be testing a V12 Vantage in these spy photos

For a few years now, the Aston Martin Vantage has been without V12 power. It’s technically been without Aston Martin power, too, since its twin-turbo V8 comes from Mercedes-AMG. But that may change in the near future based on these spy photos from the Nürburgring. They show a Vantage, but one that’s wider and with exhaust that suggest it may get a few more cylinders like its close cousin, the V12 Speedster.

Staring us down is the prototype’s enormous front grille, taller and wider than standard Vantage units. It’s flanked by two smaller inlets and underlined by an aggressive front splitter. The whole front seems to be wider, as evidenced by the mismatch around the front fender and hood. Speaking of the hood, there’s a big mesh “V” sitting on top to cover what are likely heat-extracting vents, which would probably be important for handling the heat from a twin-turbo 5.2-liter V12.

Changes at the back are a bit more subtle, but only a bit. The rear fenders have large fender flares, suggesting the production car will also be wider at the back with correspondingly larger tires. There’s a little gurney flap on the rear spoiler, so we may see a more aggressive spoiler in production. We also see a center exhaust instead of each of the dual pipes on the ends of the rear diffuser. This exhaust looks a lot like what Aston used on the V12 Speedster, itself based on the Vantage, but without the roof section. This is probably the strongest evidence that the car has the extra cylinders.

With Aston clearly knowing how to shove a V12 into a Vantage chassis, and the high-end sports car market’s never-satiated desire for more powerful and rarer items, a V12 Vantage seems like a slam-dunk product. The question will be, what output will it make. The V12 Speedster made 700 horsepower, but it was a limited-production special edition. The V12 Vantage could get the DB11‘s 630-horsepower variant to give the Speedster a bit of breathing room. And that would still be a nice power increase over the 503 horsepower of the regular Vantage. Based on these spy shots, we’d bet we have around a year before we see the production model, maybe a little less, maybe a little more.

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Virtually attend ‘The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering’ via our high-res photo gallery

While the description of the yearly “Motorsports Gathering” at the Quail may sound a bit odd to many of our readers at first blush — it’s basically a huge garden party for wealthy automotive enthusiasts to get a look at vintage and newly available vehicles targeted at their healthy checking accounts — there’s no arguing that the vehicles on display are worthy of attention. And since most of us either weren’t invited or couldn’t afford to attend (or both), the next best thing to being there is scrolling through our high-res gallery of live photos taken at the event.

Visitors to this year’s event were treated to the usual grade of high-end machinery that we’ve come to expect, which is to say the best, most desirable and most expensive in the world. Our gallery is filled with vintage racers from Ford, Ferrari and Jaguar, classic Trans Am competitors and even a gaggle of Volkswagen-based dune buggies. More modern machinery was also on display from Lotus, Pagani, Koenigsegg, Pininfarina and Acura.

Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace at high-end events, and this year’s gathering at The Quail was no exception. In addition to a strong showing from Rimac and Lotus we mentioned earlier, Lucid was in attendance as was Gateway Bronco (see here for more on that). We also got shots of things you may never have heard of like the Delage D12 and Radford Type 62-2. Oh, and the return of the Lamborghini Countach, too.

For those who keep track of such things, this year’s Best of Show winner was a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster. You’ll see all that and more in our high-res gallery above. Enjoy!

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Bugatti Bolide gets a 40-unit production run

At some point in the past couple of years, Bugatti asked itself, “What if we built a radically light vehicle around the legendary 8.0-liter W16 engine?” Keep in mind that “radically light” is in comparison to the Chiron, which weighs about 4,500 pounds. The luxury firm from Molsheim, France, answered its question with a concept it called the Bolide, a track-only two-seater with an appetite for aero and downforce. Scooped-out bodywork, intense massaging, and throwing luxuries out the wraparound canopy dropped its weight to 2,737 pounds. That’s less than a Subaru BRZ for a car producing 1,824 horsepower on 110-octane race fuel. Bugatti called the Bolide a one-off, but guess what happens in a car market where someone throws $140,000 at a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser? Potential buyers made Zoom calls to Molsheim from their bank vaults while sitting on pyramids of money like the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” So now Bugatti is making 40 Bolides, the same number it made of its last track superstar, the Divo.

CEO Stephan Winkelmann was at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering to announce the production version. Bugatti said it is honing the Bolide’s aerodynamics and handling, and adding FIA-standard safety systems. The center-lock wheels will see production, as will a fuel bladder and pressurized refueling, a six-point safety harness with HANS compatibility, and an automatic fire extinguishing system.

There are prices to pay beyond MSRP for making dreams come true, though. The production vehicle gains some weight, coming in 460 pounds over the concept at 3,197 pounds. Changes to the engine tune mean horsepower takes a hit, too. The concept got its 1,824-hp puissance from 110 octane. The production W16 will drink far more accessible 98 RON gas, which is about 94 octane in the U.S., topping out at 1,577 hp and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. That drops the power-to-weight ratio from 0.67 to 0.49 — just behind the track-focused Koenigsegg Jesko at 0.51. Oh, the humanity.

The company says Bolide development and production will take place over the next three years, the first example scheduled for delivery in 2024. The price: 4 million euros, or roughly $4.7 million U.S. at the moment, and a million euros less than the street-legal Divo. What’s the French word for “bargain?”

Hyundai Santa Cruz, Kona N and Elantra Hybrid | Autoblog Podcast #691

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor, James Riswick. They’ve been driving a lot of new cars, including the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup, 2022 Hyundai Kona N, 2021 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, 2021 Acura TLX Type S and 2022 Hyundai Genesis G70. Lamborghini revealed a modern interpretation of the Countach, for better or worse. Finally, they heelp a listener replace a 2013 Ford Edge in this week’s “Spend My Money” segment.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at:

Autoblog Podcast #691

Get The Podcast

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  • RSS – Add the Autoblog Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator
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Autoblog is now live on your smart speakers and voice assistants with the audio Autoblog Daily Digest. Say “Hey Google, play the news from Autoblog” or “Alexa, open Autoblog” to get your favorite car website in audio form every day. A narrator will take you through the biggest stories or break down one of our comprehensive test drives.

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2022 Acura NSX Type S is revealed as the most powerful NSX ever

The 2022 Acura NSX Type S is here, and it’s the most impressive NSX the company has created. It now makes 600 horsepower and 492 pound-feet of torque, increases of 27 ponies and 16 pound-feet. But that’s only the tip of the many little changes Acura has done to make this the ultimate NSX.

Gaining that extra power involved quite a few little changes. The engine now gets larger turbochargers borrowed from the GT3 race car. The various intakes have been changed for improved cooling and airflow. The main front grille has been enlarged to allow more air into the radiators, and the outboard grilles now feature ducting for air curtains that help direct air to the side intakes. Those intakes feed more efficient intercoolers. The batteries even feature greater capacity.

Power isn’t the only area to receive upgrades. The Type S gets a carbon fiber roof for slightly less weight and a lower center of gravity. The aerodynamics have been tweaked with a new carbon fiber splitter, side skirts, rear spoiler and a GT3 race car-inspired rear diffuser, all of which help with downforce. The adjustable suspension, all-wheel-drive system and transmission have all been retuned for sportier driving. The latter shifts faster now and has a Rapid Downshift mode that allows you to shift to the lowest possible gear with one half-second paddle pull. Even the tires are stickier Pirelli P-Zeroes designed specifically for the NSX Type S. All of these improvements mean that the Type S is a full two seconds faster around Suzuka than a regular NSX.

And if you need just that little bit more in the performance department, there is a Lightweight Package. It costs an extra $13,000 and adds carbon ceramic brakes, a carbon fiber engine cover and carbon fiber interior parts. Total weight savings is 58 pounds.

Acura did pay some attention to styling, too. On top of the more aggressive aerodynamic bits, the grille has a new shape that has hints of the corporate pentagonal grille. The grille mesh is even steel instead of plastic now. The lights get dark lenses, and all the badging, mirrors and door handles are finished in black. Type S decals adorn the rear fenders. Inside, there’s an Alcantara headliner and NSX and Type S logos embroidered in the seats and dashboard. One of the cars in the gallery at top is painted in an exclusive Gotham Gray matte metallic color, which will only be applied to 70 cars.

To get into an NSX Type S, you’ll need to be ready to fork over $171,495 including destination charge. Acura is taking orders now. You’ll want to be quick: 350 units are on offer, and 300 of those are for the U.S. You can put in your order at this link.

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