All posts in “electric”

Driving the GMC Canyon, and pour one out for the Camaro | Autoblog Podcast #812

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They start by discussing the the cars they’ve been driving, including the 2023 GMC Canyon AT4, ECD Jaguar E-Type EV, ECD Land Rover Defender 110 and the Genesis GV60. Next, they hit the news starting with the Chevrolet Camaro production ending. Rumors about the Hyundai N Vision 74 are bandied about, and then the two discuss the latest McLaren iteration named the GTS, which is a refresh of the GT. Lastly, the pair discuss who they think were the most influential leaders in the automotive industry throughout 2023

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Autoblog Podcast #812

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President Biden says he took a Porsche up to 171 mph

President Joe Biden went on Conan O’Brien’s podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” recently, and he had a lot to say about cars. There’s plenty to unpack from the clip that you can watch above, but at one point he mentions that he recently took a Porsche up to 171 mph on the Secret Service’s private test track. Now that’s the kind of gearhead stuff we like to hear from politicians!

“I got a Porsche up to 171 mph,” Biden says while explaining how launch control works to O’Brien. Biden didn’t specify which Porsche model he was driving, but we’d bet it’s likely a 911. Of course, plenty of other Porsches are capable of 171 mph, so we don’t really know, but if any White House correspondents are reading, we wouldn’t mind if you asked Biden next time you see him.

In addition to Biden enjoying a Porsche at high speed, he said that he’s done the same with his 1967 Chevrolet Corvette, reaching 132 mph on the Secret Service airstrip test track. Biden even said that Jay Leno offered to buy his Corvette from him at one point for $144,000, but that he had to turn him down.

“They take me out to the Secret Service test track, which is an old runway. I got my Corvette up to 132 mph. It’s only a 327,” Biden remarks to O’Brien.

And speaking of Corvette news, we’ve already heard Biden spill the beans once on this topic, but yet again he makes the claim that an electric Corvette is on its way, and says it will do the 0-60 mph run in 2.9 seconds. That’s what the gasoline-powered C8 Stingray will do now with the performance exhaust, but we’re betting an electric Corvette would obliterate that time and be somewhere in the 2.0-2.5-second range.

It wasn’t just an electric Vette that Biden took to talking about, though, as he also claims to have driven an electric Ford Bronco.

“Oh and by the way, I drove one of those big Ford Broncos, electric. 4.9 seconds. Mine is 5.2,” Biden says making the comparison to his old Corvette.

We’re not exactly sure what he means by claiming to have driven an electric Ford Bronco. Such a vehicle does not exist from Ford currently, but there are restomods of original Broncos converted to electric power. There’s also the vague possibility that Biden has some inside scoop from Ford execs about future products, but it’s unclear from the interview. Regardless of the product implications, watching President Biden talk cars with O’Brien is an entertaining watch, so make sure you check out the video at the top of this post.

Mercedes-AMG halo EV due in 2025 could make 980 hp from two motors

Mercedes-Benz plans four platforms to carry it into an all-electric future. There’s the Modular Mercedes Architecture (MMA) for entry-level vehicles like the production version of the Concept CLA. Then there are the three EA platforms: MB.EA for midsize and large Mercedes passenger vehicles, VAN.EA for the commercial haulers, and AMG.EA for hyper-potent stuff from the Mercedes-AMG division, the first of which is due in 2025. Engineers in Affalterbach showed what an AMG.EA brainchild could look like with the Mercedes Vision Concept from May of last year, a four-door exuding vibes of a beefier Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX Concept while also clearly in the AMG One family. Autocar reports that the performance vision for the first pure-electric EV developed by AMG could bring close to 1,000 horsepower to the table, if not more.

The potential output comes courtesy of axial flux electric motors developed by UK company Yasa, a startup incorporated in 2009 to commercialize innovations made at Oxford University. In its short life, Yasa’s axial motors have appeared in the Jaguar CX-75 Concept, record-breaking electric racers at Pikes Peak, the Konigsegg Regera and the Ferrari SF90 Stradale. Mercedes bought Yasa two years ago, the company tasked with high-energy motors for AMG. Mercedes hasn’t spoken of figures yet, but Yasa founder and CEO Tim Woolmer has said one motor planned for AMG weighs 53 pounds and is capable of a peak 480 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. This is the “exceptionally powerful and advanced” unit Mercedes hinted at when speaking on the sidelines of the One-Eleven Concept debut.

If Woolmer’s figures are representative of the motor going in the electric AMG, that’s a possible 960 hp and 1,180 lb-ft. assuming AMG restrains itself to just two motors, one on each axle. These aren’t heady numbers for luxury electric carsthe hybrid AMG One makes 1,049 hp, BMW’s quad-motor electric M3 prototype is rumored to be capable of 1,341 hp — and 2025 is a long way away in terms of electric developments, so AMG adding a third or fourth motor won’t raise eyebrows.

Powering those motors will be a pack from U.S. outfit Sila Nanotechnologies that replaces graphite anodes in the typical lithium-ion battery with silicon. The result’s said to be less expensive and more powerful, Mercedes citing a 40% increase in density for the same battery size. Along with the AMG.EA platform’s design, AMG vehicle designers will use the battery’s benefits to draw a car Autocar says will be about as long as the 199-inch AMG GT 4-Door but sit “much lower than … the EVA platform” used by the AMG EQS 53. The lowest point on the AMG GT 4-Door sits 4.6 inches off the ground, the EQS 53 limbos under that by three-tenths of an inch. A car “much lower” than that is going to qualify as a reptile.

The One-Eleven Concept provided clues to tech like a full-width high-def screen in AMG’s electric car. The AR headset necessary to engage with the complete vehicle interface will, hopefully, remain a few more years in the future.

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Watch Rimac Nevera set a speed record of 171 mph — in reverse

The Rimac Nevera is an absolute beast. This 1,914-horsepower electric hypercar has been setting records left and right, from becoming the world’s fastest electric car, to tackling the Nürburgring in just over 7 minutes, and many more. So the folks at Rimac have had to get creative to find a new challenge, but find one they did. This time, the Rimac Nevera has set a Guinness World Record for the fastest speed in reverse.

This harrowing feat saw the Nevara back up at a top speed of 171.34 miles per hour. In the onboard footage below, you can see the view from the cockpit as the landscape recedes into the distance faster and faster. The vehicle data is interesting to watch, too, with the torque being distributed between the front and rear wheels, and the steering correction as the car drifts ever so slightly off the centerline. It’s all a bit disorienting.

So how did Rimac find itself aiming the rear end of the Nevera toward such a record? “It occurred to us during development that Nevera would probably be the world’s fastest car in reverse, but we kind of laughed it off,” said Nevara chief program engineer Matija Renić. “The aerodynamics, cooling and stability hadn’t been engineered for traveling backwards at speed, after all. But then, we started to talk about how fun it would be to give it a shot. Our simulations showed that we could achieve well over 150 mph, but we didn’t have much of an idea how stable it would be — we were entering unchartered territory.”

It’s hard to imagine driving in reverse at such speeds, and as Rimac test driver Goran Drndak can attest, it’s an odd experience. “On the run itself, it definitely took some getting used to,” Drndak said. “You’re facing straight out backwards watching the scenery flash away from you faster and faster, feeling your neck pulled forwards in almost the same sensation you would normally get under heavy braking. You’re moving the steering wheel so gently, careful not to upset the balance, watching for your course and your braking point out the rear-view mirror, all the while keeping an eye on the speed. Despite it being almost completely unnatural to the way the car was engineered, Nevera breezed through yet another record.”

The $2.2 million Rimac Nevera is powered by four individual motors, giving it a total of 1,914 horsepower and 1,740 pound-feet of torque. Driving forward, it’s capable of 0-60 in just 1.7 seconds, 0-100 in 3.21 seconds and 0-200 in just under 11 seconds. It set a top speed record of 256 mph. Its 120-kilowatt-hour battery is good for 350 miles of driving range on Europe’s WLTP testing cycle.

Autoblog’s Editors’ Picks: The Complete List

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Ride along with Rimac on a flying drone tour of its factory and offices

Croatian automaker Rimac has developed some of the world’s most impressive EVs, and the automaker’s joint venture with Bugatti promises to bolster that innovation with more money and engineering resources. As you might imagine, building mind-blowing cars doesn’t often happen in a makeshift factory, and Rimac recently released a stunning drone-shot tour of its manufacturing facility that shows its home base is as advanced as its cars.

Similar to the all-in-one factories used by Formula 1 teams, Rimac’s factory houses offices and administrative functions in addition to the production lines. That said, we’re not talking about a traditional auto factory here. Rimac’s factory floor is bright and spotless, with more of an operating room vibe than anything to do with auto manufacturing.

Though short, the drone tour gives us a surprising level of access within the facility. Some of the shots bring the drone awfully close to freshly built multi-million-dollar cars, of which a handful were shown in the video. We also get shots of the company’s dynamometer facility and quality control efforts.

Rimac is currently shipping the Nevera, a 1,914-horsepower electric hypercar with two gearboxes and a boatload of performance records that include a 0-62 mph time (100 km/h) of just 1.81 seconds and a top speed of 256 mph. It also set records at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Nürburgring this year, achieving the fastest production EV titles at both locations.

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale revealed, Dodge Challenger Black Ghost driven | Autoblog Podcast #796

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor John Beltz Snyder. John has been driving the 2024 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, while Greg has been making noise in another last call from Dodge, the 2023 Challenger Black Ghost. John, along with Associate Editor Byron Hurd, recently tested the 2023 Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage hybrids for an upcoming comparison review.

In the news, Felipe Massa seeks to overturn the 2008 F1 Championship in his favor through legal means; Ford might return to the street-performance truck scene with the F-150 Lobo; Volkswagen has been hinting at something interesting at the Munich show by tweeting a mysterious video of a rabbit (the animal); and while the podcast recording was underway, Alfa Romeo unveiled its beautiful 33 Stradale supercar.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Autoblog Podcast #796

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Woodward Dream Cruise 2003: Mega gallery of classics, off-roaders and more

We just spent the entire day in and around the Motor City enjoying the automotive sights and sounds of the Woodward Dream Cruise. According to the event’s website, the Dream Cruise attracts over a million people every year to see a collection of “more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles.” That’s a lot of people and a lot of vehicles. And if you couldn’t be there this year in person, perhaps our galleries from this year’s festivities are the next best thing.

We kicked things off up above with muscle cars, classics and hot rods, since those make up the largest part of the collection. But below you’ll see galleries of modern performance vehicles, trucks and off-roaders and, finally, the strangest sights we were able to point our camera lenses at. Enjoy!

Pininfarina B95 revealed, costs $4.8 million, 0-60 in 2 seconds

The art of exaggeration is a highly refined exercise in Italy, especially among those who promote the revered Italian automobile industry. In the case of Automobile Pininfarina and its just-announced B95 “hyper” electric car, the hype is probably deserved.

Francesco Cundari, the brand’s director of interior design, said in a statement that “driving the B95 will be an immersive experience like no other. It will feel like a cross between driving a modern F1 car and piloting a vintage fighter plane.”

See what we mean?

At any rate, the name Pininfarina conjures up the canals of Venice and spaghetti carbonara and peerless automotive design and engineering. And today the Monterey Car Week hosts the world premiere of the pure electric B95, the all-electric “Barchetta” (that’s the “B” in the name) supercar that will put our 1,900 horsepower. 0-60 is specced at less than two seconds, top speed 300 kph (186 mph). It will be a limited edition of 10 units in 2025, each to sell for 4.4 million Euros ($4.8 million). (The 95, btw, refers to the 95th anniversary of the Pininfarina SpA design house.)

And another BTW: “barchetta” means “little boat” in Italian and originated in the Forties with a Ferrari. It often refers to an open-top two-seater.

The B95 is supposed to go on display alongside the recently previewed Pininfarina Pura Vision concept, another element in the company’s agenda to become a full-fledged car company. An early look showed this electric crossover riding on 23-inch wheels and measuring about 205 inches long, 85 inches wide and 65 inches tall.

There will also be on show the Battista Edizione Nino Farina, which made its world dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Britain in July.

In a statement outlining the B95’s design, the company noted that “viewed from above, the Pura design DNA is instantly recognizable. With no vehicle glasshouse, the Automobili Pininfarina design team has defined the cabin space with a surrounding loop, which incorporates the seats.”

Again touching on the fighter jet reference, the car incorporates what Pininfarina says are the first adjustable aero screens and the domes behind each passenger. “Taking inspiration from vintage fighter planes, the clear polycarbonate designs feature intricately engineered and exposed aluminium supports and can be raised and lowered to improve comfort.”

Some other details worth noting about today’s launch car:

  • The main body is finished in metallic Bronzo Superga (how Italian is that?}, “providing a dramatic contrast to the distinctive Giallo Arneis gloss section at the front and atop the driver’s dome,” itself featuring Black Gloss ‘95’ lettering. The body finish features gold metallic flakes
  • B95 has new 20″ front / 21″ rear forged aluminum wheels finished in Matt Black and contrasting with exposed aluminum matt precision-polished outers. The brakes are Brembo carbon-ceramic 390 mm discs with six-piston calipers front and rear.
  • Inside, the dashboard is upholstered in “Tan Sustainable Luxury Leather” with bespoke embossing, which contrasts with the brushed black aluminum anodised finish that features elsewhere. The seats, also finished in the Tan Sustainable Luxury Leather, “are designed to curve around the occupants.” The headrests, with “electro-welded” Pininfarina logos, are finished in a Pied de Poule Houndstooth Luxury Textile.

Said company CEO Paolo Dellachà of the Car Week events, “It is a pivotal period in the evolution of Automobili Pininfarina. Our ambition when we launched the company in 2018 was to become the world’s first creator of purely electric luxury cars. Envisioning, designing, and delivering on the dreams of our clients. I am incredibly proud to now share what we have carefully prepared for our customers and fans in 2023.”

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Lamborghini previews electric concept ahead of Monterey unveiling

Lamborghini will preview its first series-produced electric car (and the fourth member of its range) with a concept scheduled to break cover on August 18. It’s keeping details about the model under wraps, but it published a dark teaser image that hints at what’s in the pipeline.

Posted on the Italian brand’s social media channels, the picture shows what looks like the top of either a low-slung sedan or a big coupe. We’re not 100% sure what we’re looking at yet, but we’re nearly certain that it’s not a crossover. Instead, the silhouette vaguely reminds us of the Estoque, a close-to-production design study that could have morphed into a high-performance sedan but ultimately remained a concept.

Keep in mind that this is pure speculation; Lamborghini’s image doesn’t show shut lines so we don’t know whether the concept — whose name hasn’t been revealed yet — has two or four doors. Officially, company executives have described the car as “a grand tourer with a 2+2 seating layout” developed to fill the gap between super-sport cars like the Revuelto and the Urus SUV. It will offer “comfortable” rear seats.

If it’s a coupe, the fourth model will land in a very small segment. While two-door models with a 2+2 layout were reasonably common in the 1960s and the 1970s, even in the Lamborghini range, they’ve all but disappeared in recent years. Some of the more notable torchbearers left include the second-generation Maserati GranTurismo, which is also offered with an electric powertrain, and the Bentley Continental GT.

As for the drivetrain, we’ll need to be patient to find out how Lamborghini plans to deliver an electric model that’s as engaging to drive as its gasoline-powered cars. The brand has stressed that its fourth model will arrive as a standalone car, so it won’t land as an electrified version of, say, the Huracán’s replacement. We’re betting it will be electric-only; we’re not expecting this Bull will offer several powertrain options.

More details about Lamborghini’s next concept will emerge in the coming days, and its unveiling will take place on August 18. However, note that what you’ll see in Monterey in a couple of days isn’t necessarily what you’ll see in showrooms when production starts later in the 2020s.

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Electric Lamborghini concept headed to Monterey Car Week: Think ‘spaceships’

In a press release tracing the history of Lamborghini concept cars, the Sant’Agata Bolognese automaker let us know it will debut “the prototype” of its coming battery-electric car during Monterey Car Week. The word “prototype” is interesting here because Lamborghini touched on the transition from one-offs and concept cars to “few-offs” — those being “a limited run of cars for the most loyal customers that pre-empt or enhance the most advanced technical solutions that will be used on production cars in later years.” We’re told, “The same formula will be repeated in just a few days,” suggesting that whatever goes on show could end up in a few driveways before long.

We’re still not sure what’s coming, though. Autocar reports the EV is “expected to draw light inspiration from the Estoque saloon concept,” pictured above from its reveal at the Paris Auto Show in 2008. The same report also throws “high-riding,” “2+2 seating and GT proportions,” the idea the car might have two doors, and a tip from head designer Mitja Borkert that future products will “look like spaceships.”

That’s quite the combo. Most modern cars considered 2+2 have two doors and diminished rear quarters; the Estoque was a proper sedan with four proper seats. Know what was a 2+2? The hybrid Asterion LPI-910 from 2014, which could be considered a coupe-ified Estoque, design-wise.      

The automaker says the EV is “due to enter production by the end of the decade.” It’s anticipated that by then, the EV will join the battery-electric successor to the Urus, creating an electrified lineup for four cars when counting the hybrid Revuelto and the hybrid Huracán successor. It’s then we’ll find out what electrification the Lamborghini way really means, the brand still coming up with those answers.

CEO Stephan Winkelmann said, “There are definitions that I think no electric car in our sector has yet resolved sufficiently: not just acceleration and handling behavior but also responsiveness, braking feel and multiple acceleration protocols. These are unproven in high-performance EVs and things we must spend the next years working out.”

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Pininfarina Battista Edizione Nino Farina honors the first F1 champion

Design house-turned-carmaker Pininfarina took a trip to the heritage well to create its latest limited-edition model. Named after Giuseppe Farina, the first Formula One champion, the Battista Edizione Nino Farina stands out with several edition-specific styling cues inside and out.

Giuseppe “Nino” Farina’s ties to the Italian automotive industry aren’t limited to winning the first Formula One Driver’s Championship in 1950. He’s also the nephew of Battista “Pinin” Farina, who founded the design house that bears his name. Pininfarina honored the driver by giving the Battista edition-specific Rosso Nino paint with contrasting Bianco Sestriere and Iconica Blu accents, wheels finished in Glorioso Gold, and “01” graphics on both sides. The Furiosa Pack, which adds carbon fiber exterior trim pieces, comes standard.

The interior is characterized by a two-tone design. The driver’s seat is upholstered in black leather and has the “01” logo embroidered into the headrest. The passenger’s seat gets beige leather and the Pininfarina logo embroidered into the headrest. Production is limited to five examples, and each one will receive a specific aluminum door sill plate engraved with a date that commemorates Farina’s life and career; 1906 celebrates the year he was born, for example, and 1950 corresponds to the year he won the Formula One Driver’s Championship.

Mechanically, the Edizione Nino Farina is identical to the regular Battista, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing; few could argue that it needs a higher output. Power comes from four electric motors (one per wheel) that jointly develop 1,900 horsepower and 1,726 pound-feet of torque. The company quotes a zero-to-62-mph time of 1.86 seconds, a top speed of 217 mph, and up to 300 miles of driving range.

Pininfarina will present the Battista Edizione Nino Farina at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed that opens in England on July 13. Pricing information hasn’t been announced, but keep in mind that the standard Battista (which is limited to 150 units) starts at about $2.2 million.

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Volkswagen’s SSP vehicle architecture back on track for 2026 debut

Volkswagen execs would tell you some very unfunny things happened on the way to electrification: Design decisions wrought years of damage, vehicle platform and software catastrophes scotched launch timelines for not just one but at least three brands, and chaos piled high enough to unseat a CEO. Those execs might not be correct about that middle one, though, if Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume is telling the truth. During a presentation laying out the conglomerate’s ten-year plan at the annual capital markets day, Blume said the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) will launch on time, in 2026. This counters recent reporting as well as complaints from individual brands late last year and this year. Due to ongoing problems with the software needed to make the SSP work, Automotive News Europe reported last July that Audi’s first vehicle with the new software had been delayed up to three years, to 2027. A few months later, Autocar reported that Porsche updated its IPO prospectus with a warning that software holdups might delay the battery-electric 718 twins and Cayenne

We don’t know how the company got things back on track, but investors will be pleased and customers should be, too. Blume’s presentation made clear that VW expects to launch a platform even more potent than the one we were told about two years ago. Previous CEO Herbert Diess gave a similar presentation in 2021 explaining that the SSP would serve every group brand, and serve every kind of vehicle from city cars with as little as 114 horsepower to supercars with as much as 1,140 hp. Blume, however, said the SSP will be able to power drivetrains making as much as 1,700 hp — 560 hp more than the last projection.

But wait, there’s more. SSP development will break down into three paths: Urban city cars for Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Cupra; compact and mid-size vehicles for VW, Audi, Porsche and Skoda; and large vehicles for Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini. Note the absence of Bugatti.

This one skateboard chassis will eventually replace the current MQB, MLB, MSB and MMB internal combustion platforms, the present MEB, PPE and J1 electric platforms, and the MEB+ arriving in 2025. It will be powered by new “unified” batteries of various chemistries developed in-house and running on an 800-volt electrical architecture. The charging time to take the batteries from 10% to 80% SOC will be 12 minutes, compared to the 35 minutes needed for the current MEB battery-electric platform; the interim MEB+ platform will lower that time to 21 minutes. The fleshed-out software dubbed 2.0 will enable Level 4 hands-free driving. 

To get a sense of scale and return on investment when this is all put together, the current MEB platform sits under about ten models total, from the ID.3 to the Audi E-tron GT. The large SSP will support 14 models from Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche by itself. According to Blume, those 14 SSP-based models are predicted to sell about 1.14 million units between debut and 2038, netting the group more than 150 billion in revenue, with profit margins above 20%. For comparison, Porsche’s 2022 operating profit was 18%. 

It’s not clear which vehicle will introduce the world to the SSP in 2026, but we do know the second-generation all-electric Audi Q8 E-Tron, Audi’s Project Artemis and Volkswagen’s Project Trinity have all been penciled in around that time. If Blume’s assertions still hold weight at that time, then a line from Herbert Diess’ 2021 presentation could still come true: That come 2030, VW will make more money in the EV business than the ICE business.

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2025 Lamborghini Urus to drop gas-only model, go PHEV-only

After introducing the first hybrid to the brand this year in the Revuelto, Lamborghini’s transformation takes two more big steps next year. Autocar reports that toward the end of 2024, the Urus will switch to a PHEV-only powertrain. We’ve known for a while there was an electrical cord headed to the Urus’ flanks, but we didn’t expect Lamborghini would give up the pure ICE variant. Brand honcho Stephan Winkelmann confirmed to Autocar the engine will be a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, but didn’t give output figures. A 2021 report in Car magazine — back when the purported Urus PowerHybrid was due in 2022 — predicted the engine in question is coming from Porsche and would produce about 660 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque. The horse count would rise with help from a 168-hp electric motor in the transmission. However, the gearbox’s internals wouldn’t allow any more than 660 lb-ft. That’s still a perfectly fine number; the 6.5-liter V12 and three electric motors in the new Revuelto “only” throw a combined 783 lb-ft.

Today’s Urus romps with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 making 657 horsepower and 627 lb-ft. in both S and track-focused Performante trims. Theoretically, the Urus PHEV could crank that to about 830 hp and 660 lb-ft. The additional power would be partially offset by additional weight, as much as 551 pounds if Car is correct. This SUV would carry on until 2029, when an all-electric version ushers in a second generation.

The Lamborghini Huracan successor is expected to debut before the PHEV Urus but go on sale about the same time as the Urus. Since that successor will use an adapted version of the engine headed to the Urus mated to the transmission in the Revuelto, we expect the release of vital details to begin as soon as the new baby coupe makes its introduction, thought to be around next spring. 

To hear Winkelmann talk, we’re ruminating now on the last hurrah of old-school, visceral, ICE-powered Lamborghinis. The brand has a high-riding battery-electric 2+2 GT penned in to debut in 2028 with about 300 miles of range. That will be the next big sign of things to come. He told Autocar, “You go with the most difficult legislation, which is the US, and is really California. Other states adopt California’s rules — typically big cities and that’s where we sell cars. …

Even if it [legislation] is not banning EVs, taxation will be a killing factor. Then mega-cities are talking of abolishing non-EVs before 2035 regardless.” And despite the work of sister brand and collaborator Porsche, Winkelmann’s not sold on synthetic fuels yet. For him, they’re “more about keeping alive the current car parc,” not creating new ICE-powered models using said fuels.

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Aston Martin ties up with Lucid, extends deal with Mercedes-Benz

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings is tying up with Lucid Group Inc. on electric vehicle technology, uniting the storied British carmaker and relative automotive newcomer both backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Aston Martin will pay $232 million in shares and cash to Lucid in exchange for battery-electric powertrain components, the companies said Monday. The UK manufacturer also extended a years-long cooperation with Mercedes-Benz Group AG, though it will no longer issue more stock to the German carmaker that already owns a roughly 9% stake.

The announcements sent Aston Martin shares soaring as much as 15%, their biggest intraday jump in over a month, while Lucid advanced as much as 9.1% in premarket US trading.

“The proposed supply agreement with Lucid is a game changer for the future EV-led growth of Aston Martin,” Chairman Lawrence Stroll said in a statement.

Stroll, 63, is three years into an effort to turn around the 110-year-old British manufacturer with a long history of financial trouble. Aston Martin has needed several capital raises since he rescued the company in early 2020, the most recent of which made China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund major shareholders.

The Public Investment Fund, or PIF, owns about 49% of Lucid and 18% of Aston Martin, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Aston Martin’s longstanding financial woes have made it increasingly reliant on partners for technology that other automakers consider core to their products. Models including the DBX sport utility vehicle and DB12 sports car are powered by Mercedes engines.

While Mercedes will continue to provide access to powertrains and electric architectures for current and future Aston Martin vehicles, Aston Martin will pay in cash rather than shares as previously planned.

An Aston Martin spokesman said Lucid’s technology is available now, whereas Mercedes’s AMG electric platform isn’t accessible until late 2025.

The deal with Lucid — which has been producing its lone EV, the Air sedan, since September 2021 — will help Aston Martin toward its ambitious electrification targets. The UK carmaker plans to launch its first plug-in hybrid supercar, the Valhalla, early next year and its first battery-electric vehicle in 2025. By the following year, all new product lines will have an electrified powertrain option.

Aston Martin said it will make phased cash payments to Lucid totaling $132 million and has committed to spending at least $225 million on the EV maker’s powertrain components. Aston Martin also will pay another $10 million to Lucid for integrating its technology into its vehicles.

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McMurtry Speirling Pure track car starts at $1M, preorders now open

With the release of a production version of the McMurtry Speirling, the England-based company has taken the next step in its goal to become “one of the world’s most prestigious and long-standing automotive brands, founded on motorsport innovation.” This version for sale is called the Speirling Pure and is only for track use; a road-legal variant is reportedly in development. This one’s also slightly different than the prototype used to break the record up the 1.16-mile hill at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed. That one was said to clock a time of 39.14 on the day, a benchmark soon revised downward to an even more impressive 39.081 seconds, eclipsing the time set by the Volkswagen ID.R by nearly a full second. That’s a ridiculous delta to achieve in little more than one mile.

When we say this one’s a little different, that means it’s better. There’s a new skirted fan system that weighs 14% less, is 15% more efficient, and is less affected by airflow variation. A new battery weighs 3% less, the battery casing weighs 15.5% less, and the new e-axle that uses two motors to power the rear wheels is 0.5% more efficient. Weight savings continue everywhere from the chassis to the steering and brake systems, wiring loom, and pedal box. The front tires and rear tires are each 60 millimeters wider, wrapped around lighter 19-inch wheels instead of 18-inchers, and tucked under reshaped wheel arches. Buyers can spec antilock braking if they desire, and new gearing takes the top speed from 150 miles per hour to 190.

The changes add about 10 inches to the overall length, but the single-seater is still just 135.8 inches long, roughly 18 inches shorter than a Mazda Miata. We’re told the diminutive dimensions are still able to swallow an occupant up to 6’7″ and more than 300 pounds.

With the weight reduction, output from the motors has come down to an even 999 horsepower. The company says the 60-kwH Molicell battery lasts long enough to power the Speirling Pure to 10 laps of England’s Silverstone track at record pace, then can be fast-charged back to full in just 20 minutes. We still haven’t been given charging specs. The driver would want the rest, the Speirling able to hit peak lateral forces of 3G when that fan kicks in with more than 4,000 pounds of downforce for a car that weighs about half that.

Preorders are open now for the 100 units McMurtry said it will make. The first validation prototype is going on display at next month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Pricing starts at £820,000 before taxes, or $1.04M U.S. at current exchange rates. The firm will spend 2024 completing a testing program, first deliveries anticipated in early 2025.

Lotus Evija X track special appears in spy photos at the Nurburgring

Few people would say the Lotus Evija is lacking in performance. It’s meant to make just shy of 2,000 horsepower and is light for an electric car at around 3,700 pounds. But apparently Lotus wants to go further. These spy shots reveal a wild track-only special that’s clearly labeled the Lotus Evija X testing at the Nürburgring.

We’re assuming this X will be substantially lighter than a regular Evija. It has a bare carbon body with seemingly fewer individual pieces. The headlights are gone and so are the rear windows. The interior appears gutted, too.

That carbon body is far from stock, too. It’s much wider and has all manner of downforce-producing add-ons. The front has a massive front splitter and canards and cutouts above the front wheels. The sides even have wide splitters with struts. And the X’s crown aero accessory is that enormous wing that rises well above the roof. 

The wide body also encompasses fat slick racing tires that are almost certainly not street legal. They bear the Pirelli P Zero name on the sidewalls, and they’re wrapped around center-lock wheels. AP Racing brakes are tucked inside.

There are of course plenty of questions surrounding the Evija X. It’s definitely a track-only machine, but is it a one-off, or is it going to be sold in extremely limited numbers to select buyers? Maybe Lotus wants to take the Evija racing? Though it seems more like a rules-be-damned type of car like the Pagani Zonda R.

Or maybe the Volkswagen ID.R, the fastest electric car to lap the ‘Ring, would be a closer analogue to the Evija X. The spy photographer that provided these photos said the track was rented out for the day by Lotus, and some sort of notary was on hand, likely to certify a lap time. If Lotus is gunning for an EV lap record there, the Evija R is going to be outrageously fast. The ID.R’s time sits at a shocking 6:05.336. And if the Lotus tops it, it would become the second fastest overall car at the ‘Ring. We’ll definitely be looking forward to more details and an eventual lap time.

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Porsche Mission X concept points at brand’s next hypercar

Frequent interviews with Porsche CEO Oliver Blume include a question as to when we’ll see another Porsche hypercar. He once answered the queries with some version of “not until the middle of the decade at the earliest least.” His most recent answer, from April of this year, pushed that back toward the end of the decade; Blume and R&D chief Michael Steiner say current battery technology isn’t prepared to satisfy the demands a Porsche hypercar would make on it, so everyone will need to wait for next-gen cells due in four or five years. So the car you see here, the Porsche Mission X concept, isn’t the next Porsche hypercar and at the moment isn’t planned for sale. However, the battery-electric two-seater with the “ultra high-performance” powertrain is full of indicators about what might be down the road.

Dressed a specially created Rocket Metallic with satin carbon fiber accents, dimensions 177 inches in length and 78.7 inches in width fit the concept into same rough footprint as the 2003 Carrera GT and 2013 918 Spyder. The 20-inch wheels in front and 21-inchers in back eat up nearly half the two-seater’s 47.2-inch height. Since this concept counts as one of the brand’s 75th birthday presents to itself, historic cues mix with modern ones. The illuminated DRLs in the photos rework the four-point signature seen on the automaker’s road cars. At the same time, the DRLs and the four LED main beams buried in the lattice support structure call back to the stacked double headlights that sat inches off the ground on Le Mans racers like the 906 and 908. Passengers enter through doors that swing up and forward like those on top-class Le Mans prototypes going back decades, then sit under a glass dome built around a skeleton of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. And the Mission X marks the debut of Porsche’s new crest.

It’s all modern in back. A horizontal lattice supports thin, ornate LED taillights that bracket floating, illuminated Porsche logotype. When charging, the “E” pulses in white. 

The cabin begs even onlookers to hit top speed. The carbon-backed seats and their six-point harnesses appear largely built into the tub. Both feature Andalusia Brown lowers, the driver’s throne additionally signified by the Kalahari Gray upper. There are four paddles behind the steering yoke — we’re not sure what they control other than the obvious guess of regen braking. The ornate stopwatch in front of the passenger is a removable unit clipped into a bayonet system on the instrument panel, created by Porsche Design. At the track, the stopwatch could be used in conjunction with the multiple built-in cameras. One imagines other accessories, like a screen, could go here when not on the track.   

Porsche calls it a “reinterpretation of a hypercar,” but we don’t know enough about the Mission X yet to understand what that means. Drivetrain and output specs weren’t included with the reveal. We’ve been told the battery sits behind the cockpit in a way that mimics mid-engined dynamics, the setup called “e-core.” The automaker said that were the street-legal coupe to get a production run, it would aim to “be the fastest road-legal vehicle around the Nürburgring Nordschleife; have a power-to-weight ratio of roughly one hp per 2.2 lbs.; achieve downforce values that are well in excess of those delivered by the current 911 GT3 RS; offer significantly improved charging performance with its 900-volt system architecture and charge roughly twice as quickly as the current Porsche frontrunner, the Taycan Turbo S.”

Starting from the top, the Mission X has the Mercedes-AMG One in its sights, the other Stuttgart hypercar maker owning the Nordschleife record with a time of 6:35.18. That’s about 22 seconds faster than the 918 Spyder ran the lap, the 918 the first production car to break the seven-minute barrier

The power-to-weight ratio is measured in metric horsepower, so 0.986 of our American ponies per kilogram. The 918 Spyder weighed about 3,650 pounds, or 1,656 kilograms. Given the weight of an electric hypercar — the Rimac Nevera weighs about 5,070 pounds or 2,300 kg — we might think a Mission X comes in at 1,700 hp on the extreme low end to as much as 2,300 hp.

The GT3 RS produces as much as 860 kg (1,896 pounds) of downforce but uses a giant wing and other aero addenda to do it, meaning the undisturbed Mission X concept’s glasshouse and upper surfaces are hiding an underbody full of chicanery.

And the Taycan Turbo S maxes out at 270-kilowatt charging to go from 5% to 80% state of charge in a little more than 20 minutes. Read: The Mission X concept should fill-up quick.

As for the chances of a version you can buy, Porsche says Mission X “production to be decided in due time.” We have no doubt the phones at HQ have been ringing with “name-your-price” offers all day. We don’t see why Porsche would miss the chance to celebrate its birthday with a cool new concept, some treats for its best clients, some icons for posterity and a stupendous haul of loot.   

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Pagani is developing an EV but says batteries remain too heavy

Like many of its peers and rivals, Pagani has spent the past couple of years experimenting with electric technology. While the project is ongoing, the Italian company explained that it likely won’t launch an EV in the near future because battery technology remains far too heavy.

“Our goal is to create something that has to be lightweight. Looking at Pagani, what you see that is common with all the vehicles that we produce, they have to be lightweight,” said Christopher Pagani, the son of company founder Horacio Pagani, in an interview with Top Gear.

He added that the brand’s EV project started in 2018, and “there is no need for us to stop that,” but weight remains the biggest hurdle. “So, probably, nowadays with the existing technology we cannot create the Pagani the way that we would like to do,” he clarified. His comments echo those made by his father in 2022. At the time, Horacio Pagani also noted that his team has “never found interest in the supercar market for an EV” and added that forcing small carmakers to go electric doesn’t make sense when “90% of energy is produced in a bad way.”

Electric technology has improved in the past decade, but Pagani explained that delivering the level of performance its customers want would require building a car with a 1,300-plus-pound battery pack. For context, the V12-powered Utopia (pictured) has a dry weight of about 2,822 pounds while the electric Lotus Evija weighs around 3,700 pounds. The EV is quicker, but there’s more to a supercar than flat-out speed.

Pagani plans to continue using a Mercedes-Benz-sourced V12 engine modified in-house for the foreseeable future. Interestingly, the brand revealed that Mercedes-AMG floated the idea of using a V8-electric hybrid drivetrain during the Utopia’s development process. Pagani held its ground and launched the car with a big V12. “We, let’s say, ‘challenged them’ to keep the V12 and they accepted,” the company said.

What’s next depends largely on regulations in various markets. “We know that for small manufacturers can have [the V12] at least until 2035. But, we’re not afraid of approaching another powertrain in the future. We just have to know what the rules are,” Pagani told Top Gear.

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Watch a Rimac Nevera set two dozen speed and acceleration records in a day

Rimac is no stranger to ultra-quick EVs, but its latest model is on a different level entirely. The Nevera recently recorded 23 new performance records, setting a new 0-400-0 kilometers-per-hour record and many more.

Rimac took the Nevera to a German test track, where it took just 1.81 seconds to reach 100 kmh (62 mph) and ran the quarter mile in 8.25 seconds. The standing mile flew by in 20.59 seconds, and Rimac set several other staggering records for acceleration between speed markers, such as 1.74 seconds for 0-60 mph and 3.21 seconds for 0-100 mph.

One of the more impressive numbers put up by the car was its 0-400-0 km/h (0-249-0 mph) time of 29.93 seconds. The assessment tests the car’s acceleration, aerodynamics, top speed, and braking, and Rimac said the Nevera did it more than a second faster than the previous record holder. A Koenigsegg Regera ran the test in 31.49 seconds in 2019.

Rimac equipped the car with street-legal Michelin Cup 2 R tires and ran the tests on a non-prepped surface. Testing took place at the Automotive Testing Papenburg facility, and Dewesoft and RaceLogic verified the records. Speed records sometimes run into trouble when doubters question the validity of testing, so having two independent testers on site is understandable.

While impressive, the records seem like a requirement for a $2 million-plus electric hypercar. Rimac began production on the car in late 2022, and the 1,914-horsepower electric powertrain uses four electric motors to generate its prodigious output. Surprisingly, the battery can support way more horsepower, but the car’s well-heeled buyers will have to make do with “just” 1,914 horses. Rimac claims a 258-mph top speed for the car, and the EPA estimates a 205-mile cruising range, though using more than a few horsepower at a time will likely shorten that distance by quite a bit.