All posts in “future”

Porsche’s follow-up to the 918 Spyder hypercar turns up in the rumor mill

It’s been nearly a decade since Porsche introduced its last hypercar, the 918 Spyder, and a recent report claims the model’s long-awaited follow-up is almost ready. It’s so close that the firm has reportedly started taking orders.

Spike Feresten, a former Seinfeld writer and a Porsche enthusiast, spoke about the mysterious car with comedian and noted collector Jerry Seinfeld on his podcast. “Right now, if you’d like to, you can put a deposit down on a Porsche GT1,” he revealed without citing sources, according to Drive. “The rumor is, they’re going to announce this in August. There is going to be a new Porsche GT1 mid-engined special car that will follow in the footsteps of the Carrera GT and the 918,” he added. None of this is official, but some of it might not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

Porsche has vaguely discussed the 918’s successor on several occasions, though it significantly hasn’t confirmed it’s releasing the model, let alone provided a precise idea of when we’ll see it. If it’s indeed around the corner, we’re not surprised to find out the order book is already open. Carmakers routinely show new limited-edition models to their most loyal (and wealthiest) clients before revealing them to the public. That’s why many hypercars are sold out by the time they break cover. And, we have every reason to believe production of the next 918 will be limited.

Presenting the car in August makes sense, too. Monterey Car Week is back on the calendar, after all. Porsche could hold a private unveiling, or it could introduce the model at one of the dozens of high-octane events, like The Quail.

What the rumored GT1 will look like is still up in the air. It could be related to the 911, like the 1996 911 GT1 was, or it could be an entirely different beast. One inspired by the 680-horsepower hybrid prototype Porsche will enter in endurance races starting in 2023, perhaps? Or, something along the lines of the 919 Street built in 2017 and first shown in 2020? It’s too early to tell. However, we know Porsche wasn’t out of ideas when it came to improving or replacing the 918, it shed light on four never-before-seen hypercar prototypes in late 2020, and some of their genes could get spliced into the new project. What’s seemingly certain is that it won’t be purely electric; the German firm hinted in 2020 that it’s not interested in following companies like Lotus and Rimac into the EV hypercar segment.

At this point, anything is possible, including Porsche steering well clear of the hypercar segment in the foreseeable future. If the report is accurate, additional details about the flagship will undoubtedly emerge in the coming weeks.

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Everrati and Superformance team up to build an all-electric GT40

Britain’s Everrati and America’s Superformance are teaming up to build all-electric continuation models of the iconic GT40 race car. Everrati, which has developed electric overhauls for the Porsche 911 (964), Land Rover Series IIA and Mercedes-Benz SL Pagoda, will take the lead on the powertrain, with Superformance supplying the body. 

Superformance’s licensed replicas may conjure images of America challenging the best from Italy at Le Mans, but that was a trans-Atlantic effort as well; the body for the original was built in Coventry. The roles may be reversed, but the pairing is as old as the idea of dethroning Enzo Ferrari. 

“The Everrati and Superformance partnership will allow enthusiasts to drive an electric-powered GT40, with development of this first model already underway,” the two said in their announcement. “A prototype chassis has been built and is being comprehensively adapted from ICE power to advanced electric propulsion at Everrati’s UK development centre in Upper Heyford, a former U.S. air base in the English Cotswolds.”

Neither provided any details regarding the GT40’s potential powertrain or its ultimate performance, but Superformance has pretty much always left such things up to the end customer, letting them choose from existing vintage and modern powertrains for its licensed replicas. There likely won’t be as many options for the electric GT40, but we sincerely doubt it will be a one-size-fits-all setup. Stay tuned. 

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Aston Martin Valhalla is ready to Ragnarok with 937 plug-in horsepower

The Aston Martin Valhalla is here. The company’s first series-production, mid-engine monster packs 937 plug-in hybrid horsepower in a lightweight carbon fiber chassis. This 217-mph hypercar is expected to run a 6:30 lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

Originally, the hopeful Ferrari killer was referred to as Project 003. It was later renamed Valhalla and was on track to make its debut with an in-house, 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 – the first engine Aston developed in-house since a 5.3-liter V8 entered production in 1969. After Daimler increased its stake in the British luxury builder in 2020, those plans went out the window. 

Rather than an in-house V6, the Valhalla will now be powered by a customized AMG Black series V8 plug-in hybrid powertrain. The twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter flat-plane-öcrank V8 makes a respectable 740 horsepower all on its own. Two electric motors combine for an additional 201. That should add up to 941, not 937; we’re assuming a few stray horses drowned crossing the Great Sea of Unit Conversion. 

The engine and motors are paired to a unique eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox that has no physical reverse gear. Instead, the electric motors are run the opposite direction to simulate a backward gear, saving both weight and complexity in the gearbox. This is mated to an advanced torque vectoring all-wheel drive system can send 100% of available electric power to either the front or rear axles.

Aston Martin says it will do 0-60 in just 2.5 seconds on the way to a 217 mph top speed. Around town, it can also cruise in electric-only mode for up to 9 miles up to a speed of 80 mph, but we suspect you’ll deplete the battery much more quickly than that if you floor it up to its top EV speed. 

“Preserving the essence of an exceptional concept car is vital when meeting the challenge of bringing it into production,” said CEO Tobias Moers. “With Valhalla not only have we stayed true to our commitment to build a world-beating supercar, but we have exceeded our original aims. The result is a pure driving machine — one which exists right at the cutting edge of performance and technology yet allows the driver to feel the emotion and thrill of complete connection and control.”

Its carbon fiber body construction makes it ultra-light (just 3,417 pounds, which is nothing for a PHEV) and super rigid. Its adaptive spring and damper suspension was developed with Multimatic, and like most modern supercars it offers adjustable ride height and a front-axle lift system for clearing troublesome obstacles. The aero was inspired by (and in some ways borrowed from) F1 and produces 600 kg (1,322 pounds) of downforce at 150 mph. 

While this may be a series-production model, don’t expect to see too many of them around town. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re all already spoken for. Stay tuned for more details as Aston Martin ramps toward production and reveals more details about the Valhalla’s driving experience. 

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Lamborghini’s Aventador replacement will receive a new V12 engine

Lamborghini is about to close one of the longest and most significant chapters in its history.

It announced the Aventador Ultimae unveiled in July 2021 is the last non-electrified, V12-powered street-legal model it will build. The car’s successor, whose name hasn’t been revealed yet, will inaugurate a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain built around a new V12 engine. Company boss Stephan Winkelmann filled us in on some of the details.

Sending off the non-electrified, V12-powered supercar is a big deal for Lamborghini, so a lot of time and resources went into increasing the engine’s output for the grand finale. It develops 770 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 531 pound-feet of torque at 6,750 rpm, figures that eclipse both the Aventador S and the Aventador SVJ. Winkelmann told Autoblog that 770 horses was “the best possible power output we could get” out of the 6.5-liter engine.

It’s the end of the road for this V12, because the Aventador’s replacement will receive a new engine. Winkelmann said it’s too early to reveal specific details, like its displacement, but he stressed it’s not something we’ve seen before. And the hybrid system is notably not related to the technology that powered the limited-edition Sián.

“The technology is different, it’s a completely new engine, a completely new drivetrain, a new battery, everything is completely new. There’s nothing out of the Sián or out of the Aventador [in the next flagship],” he said.

Some things won’t change. Winkelmann cited carbon fiber construction, four-wheel-drive, active aerodynamic technology, and a four-wheel steering system as attributes from the Aventador that are worth keeping. And, adding a turbo (or two, or three, or four) to the new V12 was never considered — forced induction adds weight and puts unnecessary stress on an engine. Besides, the V12 has “horsepower en masse.” Natural aspiration is here to stay.

Regulatory hurdles are part of what’s driving Lamborghini towards electrification, so the Ultimae truly is the last of its kind. However, the non-electrified V12 could live on in some few-off models built for track use, like the Essenza SCV12.

“For homologated cars, it’s a no. For the others, we will see. It’s not planned so far, but there could be an opportunity,” Winkelmann replied when asked if future V12-powered race cars could eschew a hybrid system.

This is it, then. Lamborghini will build 600 units of the Aventador Ultimae, a number split 350-250 between coupes and roadsters. One will join the firm’s museum at its headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, but officials haven’t decided how they will configure it, or which one they’ll keep. It won’t necessarily be the last Aventador. In the meantime, there are still build slots left if you want to add a slice of Lamborghini history to your collection.

Looking ahead, the Raging Bull isn’t out of ideas. Winkelmann told us its 2022 books are full of projects that need to reach production (either limited or series), so there’s a lot to come from the company in the next few years. 

“You have to always give the maximum to succeed in the market. The effort is never enough,” he said. “You have to start working when the others stop. This is one of the things that’s part of Lamborghini’s way of thinking.”

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Maserati teases us with its MC20 testing in the snow

It may be feeling spring-like here in parts of the United States, but there was still plenty of snowpack in Livigno, Italy, when Maserati took its forthcoming MC20 supercar out for a photo session during some cold-weather testing at Ghiacciodromo Livigno. 

“During its cold-weather mission, the super sports car was tested to evaluate engine cold starting, the low-temperature performance of its elastic components and the car’s handling on cold and low-grip asphalt surfaces,” said the accompanying release. “The test is also performed to verify correct functioning of the Climate Control System in cold conditions; tests were also conducted on the battery, suspensions and brakes.”

Just reading that, you’d think their trip was all business. Indeed, this is the latest stop on the MC20’s worldwide durability testing tour, but from the playful scenes we see here, it’s pretty obvious that the engineers had their share of fun giving the MC20’s suspension and powertrain a workout in the low-grip environment. 

The MC20 is a mid-engined, 621-horsepower, mid-engine super-coupe that was built with the race track in mind. Power comes from a new V6 that is the first in the company’s new “Nettuno” (Neptune) engine series. The twin-turbocharged mill produces 210 horsepower/liter, making it one of the most power-dense engines in the world. It was designed, developed, and produced in-house by Maserati’s engineers despite sharing some of its fundamental design with other performance engines in its corporate family. 

Maserati has only unveiled the street-legal variant of the MC20 seen here so far, but we expect it won’t be long before we hear more about its competition aspirations. 

How McLaren is rewriting the electric supercar formula

HEADLEY DOWN, England — There’s nothing quite like the roar of a revving McLaren engine to set a petrolhead’s pulse pounding, or the full-throated scream as it tears across the tarmac.

Yet new gas-fueled engines like McLaren’s could be illegal in many countries by 2030. The supercar maker, like all automakers, has to go electric — but that’s easier said than done for a niche player that can’t compromise the performance, and racing experience, that supports its rarefied pricing and exclusivity.

McLaren could probably produce a fully-electric vehicle tomorrow, said Ruth Nic Aoidh, the British carmaker’s executive director for purchasing. But the weight of today’s batteries “would kill all of the attributes that make a McLaren a McLaren”.

So instead, Nic Aoidh says McLaren is taking more time to rethink the way it builds vehicles from the wheels up. It is also looking to overhaul its business model, to generate revenue from selling some of its new technology to other automakers.

The people it ultimately has to keep happy are affluent enthusiasts like Steve Glynn, who make up McLaren’s base.

A racing driver, Glynn teaches others how to drive their supercars around private tracks, where the combination of raw speed and precise handling separate McLarens and Ferraris from cars that cost a tenth as much.

Glynn just bought his fourth McLaren, a black 620R, in January. He declined to say what he paid for it, but the 620R starts at around 250,000 pounds ($346,000).

“I’m a petrolhead through and through, but I think we have to accept the future of electrification beckons everyone,” he said at his home in Headley Down, a village in southern England less than hour’s drive from McLaren’s Woking headquarters.

“But an electrified McLaren would still have to put that same smile on your face.”

Even for deep-pocketed behemoths like Volkswagen AG, developing electric vehicles is an expensive proposition that is taxing their capital resources.

Other smaller premium carmakers like Volkswagen unit Bentley or Tata Motors Ltd’s Jaguar Land Rover, which both plan to electrify their model lineups by 2030, can rely on their owners’ financial backing to make the switch.

But for niche manufacturers like McLaren, lack of scale is a major challenge. Last year McLaren said it would cut 1,200 jobs – more than a quarter of its workforce – as it dealt with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLaren’s cars start at around 120,000 pounds and range up to 750,000 pounds. It sold 4,662 vehicles in 2019, but thanks to pandemic shutdowns the company said in November its 2020 sales would hit around 1,700 cars and its revenue could fall by up to half.

McLaren will reveal some of its progress toward it electric ambitions with the Artura, a hybrid model, launching on Feb. 16.

ALL ABOUT THE WEIGHT

Weight is of paramount importance to customers.

To cut cost and help reduce its vehicles’ weight 15% in order to carry heavy batteries, McLaren has developed a new in-house process to make a carbon composite chassis, or “tub”, in minutes at a 50 million pound site in Rotherham, England.

“If McLaren are going to take the electrified route to a supercar, they’ll need to maintain the light weighting as much as possible,” said Andy Abbosh, who owns a pearl white McLaren 650S Spider.

McLaren’s new chassis will be used in the Artura, and by 2026 all its cars will be hybrids using this chassis, Nic Aoidh said. The carmaker aims to have fully electric models on the road towards the end of this decade, she added.

The process has brought mass production of carbon composite parts a step closer and McLaren is talking to other carmakers and manufacturers in other sectors on how to monetize the technology, according to Nic Aoidh.

“The way companies like ours will find our way to electrification is through innovation,” she said. “That will potentially open up doors for return on investments.”

McLaren will also develop its own batteries, which could also generate fresh revenue streams, she added.

‘WE’RE SELLING EMOTION’

Electric hypercar maker Rimac, which aims to bring its C-Two model to market later this year, plans something similar.

The company plans to build four of the cars per month and has its first year of production sold out, according to founder Mate Rimac.

He said the market for these vehicles was limited and would probably hit a ceiling of around 100 vehicles per year, worth several hundred million euros.

But where he sees a far greater business opportunity is to operate as an auto supplier, where it licenses, develops and manufactures systems and components for other carmakers, as it does already for Aston Martin and a number of others.

“We want to showcase with our cars what’s possible, then help carmakers build exciting electric cars and make the transition to electric faster,” Rimac added.

But it remains to be seen whether supercar makers like McLaren, with reputations forged on gas-guzzling race tracks, can successfully reinvent themselves for an electric era.

Pietro Frigerio, dealer principal at McLaren Newport Beach in southern California, worries a McLaren electric car without the famous throaty growl of a combustion engine could get lost in a crowd.

“What we’re selling here is emotion,” Frigerio said. “When you come to spend $300,000-plus on a car, you want it to look different and feel different.”

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Nissan GT-R (X) 2050 envisions what a GT-R of the future could look like

Most of our Nissan GT-R thinking energy these days goes toward wondering about what the R36 has in store. Nissan is out here thinking about what the GT-R will be like in 2050. If we continue along at the R35’s production timeline pace, it might still be the R36 then. We kid, but hey, the R35’s been out for over a decade now with no end in sight.

As an answer for what the future of Nissan performance looks like, Nissan has brought an intern’s thesis project to life. It’s called GT-R (X) 2050, and it’s a fresh take on our dystopian future of sports cars. Jaebum Choi, a former student at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., set forth to design a vehicle for car enthusiasts in the age of self-driving cars (whenever that may be). Instead of leaving the project on paper and computer renderings, Nissan Design America decided to bring it to life in the form of an official Nissan concept vehicle.

The GT-R (X) 2050 is a tiny car — two feet high and 10 feet long — meant for just one person, and most of the details require some stretching of the imagination. For starters, the operator “sits” in the car in a prone position, laying on their stomach with their limbs in an X position. The exterior design is meant to mimic the body in this position, which explains why it looks like an X from an aerial perspective. Of course, there are some GT-R elements tossed in there, too. The distinctive quad circle taillights sit in back. It uses a very broad, slab-sided design like the R35, and the V-Motion front end style is noticeable from head-on. The rest of the vehicle has a very tenuous grip on what we might typically envision a vehicle to be.

The driver “sees” out via a special VR helmet that you connect to the car’s extensive camera system. There is one window, but it’s at the top and doesn’t provide a view forward. It’s not a fully autonomous vehicle either. Choi told media in a presentation that he envisions drivers steering via controls operated by moving your hands and arms that are splayed outward. You’re meant to “wear” the car to the extent that it feels like an extension of the body.

“Exo-skeletons today make people stronger by wearing mechanical structures. I tried to fit the size of a person’s body as much as I could, as if I were wearing a car,” Choi explains.

As for what makes it go, Choi says he took inspiration from Iron Man when he envisioned an “arc reactor” type of power source. This would create electricity for the motors. Nissan didn’t provide performance figures, likely because the powertrain is far too nebulous to even make any predictions. Being a GT-R concept, though, it’s meant to be extremely quick. Choi says it’s meant to be more supportive than a superbike, but not much more than that. All design priorities go toward making it a pleasing and fun time for the operator after all.

You might be wondering about the wild looking wheels, and Choi has an answer for those, too. The wheel/tire combo is a one-piece unit that, due to its shape, allows the car to turn 360 degrees. Its design is meant to help the wheel cool down quickly when driven hard. It even has an active wing that pops up to promote more downforce.

We turn further to fantasy land with Nissan’s Brain-to-Vehicle technology it showcased at CES a few years ago. Choi believes that the GT-R (X) 2050 would use this technology that interprets signals from a human’s brain to make the vehicle an even better self-driving car than ordinary computer-controlled ones. But you wouldn’t be forced to use the autonomous mode all the time.

“Choi has essentially envisioned a new mode of transportation that people could experience like clothes, “wearable,” instead of a traditional vehicle “carriage,” says David Woodhouse, Nissan Design America (NDA) VP. “It is the kind of breaking-the-mold thinking that has always been encouraged here at NDA. We’ve been honored to help bring Choi’s vision to life.”

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Lucid Air and Maserati MC20 unveiled | Autoblog Podcast #644

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Associate Editor Byron Hurd. Before they get to the juicy news of the week, they chat about the cars they’ve been driving, including a Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, Audi A6 Allroad, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Niro. It’s been a busy week in the news department, with GM investing in Nikola, Lucid Motors launching the Air electric sedan, Maserati unveiling the MC20 mid-engined supercar and a farewell to the Lexus GS. Then they talk about having a newfound respect for the Fox Body Mustang and the Mazda CX-9.

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Henrik Fisker interview, and driving the Polestar 2 | Autoblog Podcast #643

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. They’ve been driving the updated 2021 Honda Odyssey, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and the new Polestar 2 electric sedan. After reviewing those, they talk about how the Chrysler 300 appears to be withering on the vine. Next, they take time to talk to legendary automotive designer and eponymous Chairman & CEO of Fisker Inc., Mr. Henrik Fisker himself, about jeans, horses and, of course, electric cars. Finally, they help a listener pick a $100,000 supercar in the “Spend My Money” segment.

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What’s hiding beneath this mystery BMW M8 mule?

Spy photos of a mystery BMW M8 mule being tested at the Nürburgring could be our first glance at BMW’s rumored 600-horsepower plug-in hybrid. The demise of BMW’s mid-engine i8 plug-in hybrid with no news of a direct replacement led us to wonder what BMW really has in store for the future of the formula, but if this early prototype is anything to go on, it may be alive and well. We’re not sure what BMW plans to call its next round of all-electric and plug-in variants, but whatever it ends up being called, the prospect is certainly fascinating. 

Let’s start with what we’re looking at. At first glance, this appears to be a fairly run-of-the-mill BMW M8 with some camouflage over the front and rear, which is about what you’d expect to see from a company that is likely developing alternative bodywork for a mid-cycle update or a new appearance package. Looking more closely, however, we see the strategic tinting of the rear window glass along with very obvious air intake vents where the rear side windows should be. Translation? There’s something back there that 1) needs air flow and 2) BMW doesn’t want us to see. 

To further grease the skids, our spies tell us that the engine in this car did not sound anything like the V8 found under the hood of either the BMW M8 or its racing variant, the M8 GTE, which carries over the former’s front-engine layout. In fact, the spy even referred to the sound as “unusual,” which could just be good salesmanship, but the fact of the matter remains that whatever is under there, it’s not from an M8, or any other 8 Series derivative currently known to us. 

Conveniently, all of the things that make this an unlikely M8 variant, from the mid-engine layout to the unconventional exhaust note, make a compelling case for it as a revival of BMW’s plug-in flagship. Even the wheels appear strikingly similar to those on the BMW Vision M Next concept the company showed at Frankfurt last year, which was said to be a plug-in hybrid with a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine making 600 horsepower. BMW claimed it could do 0-62 mph in 3.0 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph and boasting 62 miles of all-electric range. 

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How design follows function in the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport and Super Sports 300+

As the successor to the world-beating Veyron, the Bugatti Chiron had big shoes to fill, and by every measure it has succeeded. With its 304-mph top-speed run last fall, the latest Bugatti hypercar has handily beaten all expectations, and Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann has even publicly stated that the company will no longer chase speed records. One could argue that the Chiron’s work here is done, and yet it’s merely half way through its projected lifecycle. What more could it possibly accomplish?

Bugatti’s answer: Go faster on a road course. To accomplish this, the Chiron Super Sports 300+ formula would have to be cast aside for something entirely new. After all, the things that make a car fast in a straight line are only part of the equation when it comes to conquering a race track, and with that mission, the Chiron Pur Sport was born. These two models’ diverging missions necessitated distinct design. To learn more about just how differently they were formed, Autoblog attended a virtual round-table with Frank Heyl, Bugatti deputy design director, and Jachin Schwalbe, Bugatti head of chassis development.

The distinctions are most evident in their profiles, where the longtail design of the Super Sports 300+ radically alters the Chiron’s entire rear “box,” making the Pur Sport’s sharp rear cut-off seem almost inelegant by comparison. The slow, clean taper of the longtail design accomplishes the same thing aerodynamically that it does aesthetically. When the car is in top-speed mode, the rear spoiler even remains stowed.

This design significantly shrinks the low-pressure zone behind the car, reducing the resulting drag, but that absent spoiler also detracts from the Chiron’s stability. To compensate for the lack of spoiler deployment, Bugatti’s engineers altered the flow beneath the car and through the rear diffuser. Heyl describes this as “free” downforce, because there’s no corresponding penalty in drag from gains found with these underbody features.

With the Pur Sport, Bugatti went the other direction. This track-focused car gives up a ton of top speed to its sibling in exchange for nimbleness and acceleration, so being able to cut the minimum hole in the air is far less important. Think of design as a zero-sum game, Bugatti’s team says. With the Pur Sport, top speed was less of a priority, which allowed engineering and design to explore other capabilities. 

The short rear deck and pronounced rear diffuser pair with the Pur Sport’s massive rear wing to produce significantly more downforce, significantly improving the car’s high-speed handling. It may “only” hit 218 mph, but the trade-offs allow for far greater flexibility on tighter, more technical tracks. These design changes go hand-in-hand with the Pur Sport’s extensive chassis and braking system overhaul to create a total package that is more than merely a stock Chiron with 110 pounds yanked out of it. 

In the end, this divergent pair of new Chirons should provide more than enough incentive for customers to justify and/or desire plunking down a few more millions on one of the few remaining Chirons set to be made (less than 100). Basically, how and where do you want your second Chiron to be faster?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McLaren Sports Series model with V6 hybrid delayed to 2021

In the middle of May, the McLaren Group began the hunt for up to $335 million to endure the downturn caused by the coronavirus, with the conglomerate ready to put every sacred asset on the block for collateral. A few days later, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt told Automotive News Europe, “This will have cost us probably two years. [In] 2020, we’re going to do very little. I think it’ll take us the whole of ’21 to climb back [to] where we are.” Even though the Woking firm had already moved to cut supply in anticipation of lower sales, a 67% sales drop in Q1 this year led to McLaren laying off 1,200 employees — a quarter of the workforce — across Automotive, Racing, and Applied Technologies divisions. Another casualty of current events is the timeline for the anticipated plug-in hybrid model reported to replace the 570S in the entry-level Sports Series tier. Chatter had suggested McLaren would debut the car this summer and begin deliveries in some markets before the year ended. But Evo magazine reports the coupe will be on the tardy list, a company spokesperson telling PistonHeads the schedule has slid back “a handful of months.”

The PHEV represents a big step, being a volume model built on a brand new platform, powered by a brand new engine at the heart of a brand new powertrain. The twin-turbocharged V6 said to sit behind the cockpit inaugurates a life beyond the small-displacement V8 that has powered every McLaren Automotive product since a 3.8-liter twin-turbo unit entered service in the MP4-12C. We don’t know much about the V6, but spy shots appear to show that it will rev 500 rpm higher than the V8, to 8,000 rpm, and its peak output with electrical assistance will exceed the 570 horsepower in the 570S. The plug-in hybrid component contributes an Electric driving mode to Comfort and Sport modes, the powertrain supposedly able to go 21 miles on battery power. As for looks, the compact body seems to crib from the 720 S in front, the GT in the midsection, and add a lot of cooling apertures in the rear.

The “little” that Flewitt said McLaren would do this year means focusing on the Elva roadster, 765LT, and Speedtail. A spokesperson said testing and development have resumed, and “dealers are [also] already opening for appointments.” Since we’re still not halfway through 2020, it’s hard to imagine what anything will look like when — hell, if — the dust settles. It’s good bet, though, that McLaren could need to recalibrate the two dozen or so remaining models in its Track 25 strategy that envisions 18 new models by 2025.

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

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

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

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

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

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Maserati teases MC20 prototype again reminiscing about the Targa Florio

Maserati spent its weekend reminiscing about victory in the 1940 Targa Florio, putting an MC20 prototype to work enhancing the gravitas of the anniversary. After winning the Targa in 1937, 1938, and 1939 with the Maserati 6CM and its 1.5-liter supercharged inline-six throwing 175 horsepower, the House of the Trident showed up in 1940 with the brand new 4CL powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder cranking 220 hp. Luigi Villoresi, who’d driven the 6CM to triumph the year before, crossed the line first in the 4CL to close out European racing until the end of World War II.

With a return to racing on the automaker’s mind, Maserati took a camouflaged MC20 to the same Favorita Park roads that hosted the Targa. The soft-focus spy shots were taken in front of the Floriopoli stands, a stretch of bunting and banners not far from the Targa start line as historic competitors headed into the Sicilian mainland.

The MC20 is as photogenic in these shots as all the others, and as mysterious. The automaker seems intent on making everyone wait until the September debut to for any details that the prototype doesn’t put on display. Prime among enthusiast interest is the powerplant. With Ferrari shutting down its supply of engines to the fellow Modenese sports car maker, Maserati says its new mid-engined coupe will be “the first car to use [its] new engine, brimming with innovative technological contents, developed and built by Maserati in-house.” Short odds figure on a molto potente twin-turbo V6 sending power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the long money isn’t afraid to bet on a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8  to replace the F154 V8 that Ferrari provides.

With race engineers undoubtedly sorting out a version for sports car racing as we speak, Maserati will certainly hope the competitive version matches the exploits of the 4CL. The vintage race car took pole in its first race, earned its first victory two races later, snatched up a bag of silverware before WWII, won the first race held in Europe after the war ended, and continued winning in 4CL and 4CLT trim until 1951 to take 31 total victories — nine more than the MC12 race car.

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Ferrari mule lapping Fiorano could house V6 hybrid

Ferrari spoke of plans to add a V6 to its lineup two years ago, without dropping its two other trademark motors. The brand’s SVP of commercial and marketing, Enrico Galliera, told Australia’s WhichCar last year, “So the technology we are going to have, V12, V8, V6 turbo. Hybrid will give us the possibility to have a platform that we can mix to achieve emissions targets.” There’s been much chatter around when and where the V6 in turbo and/or hybrid form would show. We still don’t know, but it’s possible that we’ve had our first sound check for it, thanks to four brief videos on Instagram.

Instagram user simonemasetti_photography, a regular around Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in Maranello, captured the vids, while Instagrammer cochespias uploaded them. The camouflaged 488 mules lapping the circuit wear camo similar to that on a 488 mule spotted on Maranello roads with an electricity warning sticker on its frunk.

We can’t be certain of what engine lurks behind the cabin of the test cars, but all the cars are much quieter than one would expect Ferrari’s 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 to be. In the first video, the coupe accelerates so hard that a long lick of fire shoots out the exhaust, with only a gentle ‘whoosh’ — no wail or roar — to accompany it. The third vid makes the best comparison, the one that opens on two 488-looking coupes in the far distance, one black and one camo’d. When the camo’d car takes off, moving away from the camera, we hear the sound we’d expect from a charging Ferrari V8. However, when the car we suspect is a hybrid V6 passes right in front of the camera, even under acceleration it makes hardly any noise compared to the car in the distance.

These cars, in fact, sound just like the car Masetti caught testing at Fiorano last September, which he believes is the V6 hybrid.

No matter what’s being tested, we know little about Maranello’s V6. One origin story says the mill has been developed from the 2.9-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder in the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which itself is suspected to be derived from the 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 in the F8 Tributo. Another origin story figures the V6 is a brand new engine. No matter where it began, consensus is that the hybrid unit will enter production around 2022 and produce more than 720 horsepower.

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SCG 007 hypercar to swap twin-turbo V6 for twin-turbo V8

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus began the long tease to its SCG 007 LMP1 hypercar with a set of sketches in June 2018 that clearly incorporated cues from the SCG 003. Refining that original sketch for 18 months produced a longer, smoother design with pontoon-like front fenders and a rear wing seamlessly integrated into a more tapered rear end. The first powertrain mentioned for the 007 was a twin-turbo V6 with 800 horsepower and a 200-hp hybrid component. In the WEC’s Hypercar class where SCG will try to win Le Mans outright, regulations cap maximum combined output at 740 horsepower, and electric assistance can only power the front wheels above 80 miles per hour. Late last year, Jim Glickenhaus told us SCG decided to shed the hybrid portion, since “We can make max allowed HP from our ICE, and our powerplant will be lighter and less complex.” A new announcement last week means the end of the V6, too, SCG partnering with French engine developer Pipo Moteurs on a “whole new custom V8 twin-turbo engine.” 

Pipo Moteurs opened for business in 1973, and has a track record of wins mainly in World Rally Championship with teams like Peugeot and Ford, and European hillclimbing with BMW. We expect the 007 to mark the first time SCG takes a V8 into top-level racing; the SCG 003 road car was powered by BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8, but the road car housed a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 from Honda

SCG plans to get the 007 down near the WEC’s minimum weight of 1,100 kilograms (2,425 pounds). Evo reports that the first wind tunnel tests are finished, the engineering program scheduled to continue through to summer 2020. Subsystems should enter production in August 2020, the first shakedown runs happening a month later. The math so far shows the hypercar regulations enabling laps times of three minutes and 30 second around the Circuit de la Sarthe, about 15 seconds off the best qualifying lap for the pole-sitting Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid at Le Mans last year, 13 seconds adrift of the fastest lap set during the race by the second-place Toyota.

Next year’s a long way away, though. The hypercar class only has three entries for the moment, Toyota, SCG, and ByKolles scheduled to run after Aston Martin dropped out, and many wonder if that will be enough to keep a top-level worth running. The ACO and IMSA announced a new class to integrate the former’s LMP1 with the latter’s DPi into a new category possibly called LMDh, the first race the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Lamborghini had been examining a hypercar entry and Peugeot had committed, but Peugeot pulled out after the LMDh announcement. Being able to race internationally and run Daytona, Sebring, and Le Mans with one car is a huge lure to automakers. It’s not clear yet if the hypercar rules can be shoehorned into the new category, of if ACO will want to try. 

Assuming the 007 makes it to Le Mans at some point, SCG will produce at least 20 roadgoing versions to satisfy homologation rules, priced around $2.1 million, roughly the same price as the SCG 003. 

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Gordon Murray’s T.50 gets a soundcheck and a website

Gordon Murray Automotive isn’t slated to begin building the T.50 supercar until late next year, with deliveries scheduled for early 2022. Thankfully for us, the next step on the march to that goal is a website and a soundcheck of a portion of the 3.9-liter V12 which will power the three-seater coupe (watch that video here). We say “a portion” because Cosworth — the engineering firm developing the mill — put just three of the 12 cylinders on the dyno to verify emissions output and ensure the components can handle 12,100 rpm, said to be 300 rpm short of a 12,400-rpm “hard limit” redline. That figure is 1,400 rpm beyond the north wall of the 6.5-liter V12 Cosworth built to propel the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Murray told TopGear that the air pulses sucked into the ram-air intake above the cabin will result in magnificent sound. The English engineering legend tuned the thickness of the roof panel on the McLaren F1 to enhance the engine sound, and he’s done the same thing on the T.50. Based on the short snippet of the dyno run, the free-breathing V12 will excite blood and bone.

Output checks in at 650 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, meaning ten hoses more than the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S but 184 lb-ft less. Unlike just about every other supercar out there today, the T.50 will weigh no more than 2,161 pounds, a stunning spec that’s 1,475 pounds less than the Turbo S, 899 pounds less than the Lotus Evora 400 Lightweight, 180 pounds less than an entry-level Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport. The V12 will utilize two engine maps, one that loads up torque at the bottom of the rev range for potting about town, dropping the redline to about 9,500 rpm and horsepower to roughly 600, the other unlocking every rev and joule. A 48-volt mild hybrid system powers the 15.7-inch rear fan and active aero panels, and employs a small electric motor to add 30 ponies in certain aero configurations. Power in the 100 units of the T.50 road car is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual with an exposed linkage; the 25 units of the T.50 track-only car will use paddle shifters. 

The coupe serves up five aerodynamic maps, two automatic and three driver selectable. Auto mode moves the under-floor and diffuser panels and active rear spoilers automatically as needed. Braking mode — as on a Bugatti Chiron or any McLaren — stands up the rear spoilers and powers the fan to suck air from under the car, improving downforce and therefore traction. Selectable High Downforce mode is made for the track and wet roads, boosting downforce by 30% over Auto mode. Streamline goes the opposite direction, closing aero inlets to reduce drag by 10% compared to Auto mode, and it “activates the fan at high speeds to extend the trailing wake of air behind the car, in effect creating a virtual long-tail.” VMAX mode starts with Streamline and kicks in extra boost from the 48-volt system to get to about 680 hp. Murray said the T.50 tops out somewhere around 220 miles per hour.  

The carbon-intense supercar has moved into wind tunnel testing in Silverstone, using the Racing Point F1 team facility. At the same time, Gordon Murray Automotive is finishing its customer experience and service center in Dunsfold, England next to the factory that will build the T.50. Have a listen to the engine and imagine what’s to come for what it’s designer calls the “last and the greatest analog supercar ever built.” We also recommend checking out TG‘s piece on the car, where Murray admits that driving dynamics have been benchmarked against the Alpine A110, power steering will only work at low speed and in parking lots, the V12 flips from idle to 12,000 rpm in 0.3 seconds, and the rear tires are just 295-section (911 Turbo S rubber is 315-section out back). 

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Aston Martin confirms 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 for Valhalla

When the Aston Martin Valhalla hits the scene in 2022 (hopefully), it will be powered by an all-new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine that will be fortified and electrified in a hybrid configuration that we don’t yet know much about. Interestingly, Aston Martin says the V6’s hybrid element will be tuned and sized for each specific vehicle in which it’s installed. In the Valhalla, the dry-sump engine will be mounted directly behind the passenger compartment, and its so-called ‘hot V’ design will allow for relatively compact dimensions. And compact also means lightweight — the automaker says the complete engine weighs less than 440 pounds.

Just the fact that the British automaker is investing the engineering effort to produce a new engine is significant. The company hasn’t engineered its own in-house powertrain since 1969, when Tadek Marek’s 5.3-liter V8 engine found its way under the hood of Aston Martin’s aptly named DBS V8. The new 3.0-liter V6 is codenamed TM01 in Marek’s honor. With that in mind, we expect this powerplant to serve in various Aston Martin models for a number of years.

We look forward to further details in the future, especially the all-important horsepower and torque figures. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the high-resolution image gallery above, where you’ll see intricately milled castings along with the engine undergoing dyno testing and running red hot with the lights down low.

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The Apex AP-0 is a 649-hp EV that weighs 2,645 pounds

Apex Motors sounds like a brand new name in the game, but the Hong-Kong-based company’s been around for more a few years and through a few transformations. In 2015 a maverick outfit of car designers banded together under the name Elemental to reveal the RP1, powered by 1.0-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines. By 2017, the 1,278-pound coupe could produce 2,205 pounds of downforce and was running Goodwood. By 2019, the Elemental RP1 had turned into the even-more-evolved Apex AP1, putting out 400 hp from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and blitzing from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds.

The brand new AP-0 is the follow-up. As the naming scheme suggests, it takes the top spot in the lineup ahead of the AP-1 by having battery-electric power, a single electric motor turning the rear axles with 649-hp and 427 pound-feet of torque, a 320-mile range on the WLTP cycle, and a 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds. Top speed is 190 mph.

Just as remarkable, and even more unusual for an EV, the whole package weighs 2,645 pounds. Compared to a McLaren 720S, the AP-0 is 4.5 inches shorter but 3.4 inches wider, and while the Apex gives up 61 hp and 131 lb-ft to the Englishman, the AP-0 weighs almost 500 pounds less than the 720S. Compared to performance EVs, the Apex weighs about 1,380 pounds less than a Tesla Model 3 Performance, 1,700 pounds less than a Rimac Concept 2, and almost 2,500 pounds less than a Porsche Taycan Turbo S.

The Apex packs a floor-mounted, 90-kWh lithium-ion battery that consumes 1,213 pounds of its curb weight. When plugged into the right CCS charger, the pack can refill 80% of its charge in 15 minutes; on a standard Type 2 charger, filling up from empty takes eight hours.

The chassis and bodywork is entirely carbon fiber, a central carbon tub and modular spaceframes laid on a rigid carbon spine connect the front to the rear. Outside, the Le Mans-like fin houses a retractable LIDAR system up front and a cross-shaped taillight in back. Built as a road-legal racer for gearheads and sitting just 3.7 inches off the ground, there’s an adjustable pushrod suspension with automatic ride-height adjustment, 14-inch carbon ceramic rotors with six-piston calipers in front and four-piston in the rear, and a pair of 19-inch center-lock wheels up front paired with 20-inchers in back. 

Behind gullwing doors, the carbon, aluminum, and leather interior makes every occupant feel like a racer with a single-seater-style, reclined and feet-up seating position. Three displays for the driver sit atop the instrument panel behind a square steering wheel. To help drivers make the most of track days, Apex says the AP-0 can “gamify the way drivers can learn new racetracks and deliver the ultimate immersive racing experience” through augmented reality projection. The software-based “instructor” can be improved through over-the-air updates. To ensure the instructor knows what it’s talking about, Apex said it wants to build an FIA-approved race track, followed by a racing academy, around its Hong Kong HQ. 

The ambitions only begin there. When off the track, that LIDAR unit is intended to provide Level 3 autonomous capability at launch, with the company saying Level 4 potential is already built in. More handily, the AP-0 will come with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. That’s all down the way, though, the AP-0 not scheduled to enter production until the latter half of 2022, costing around $195,000 for U.S. buyers. If all goes well from here to there, Apex plans to build up to 500 units per year in Britain, what it calls its second home, on the way to introducing a wider lineup of offerings.

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