All posts in “hybrid”

Mercedes-AMG One sets Nurburgring record, could’ve gone faster: Watch the run

In September 2018, Mercedes-AMG claimed it didn’t see the point of using the One to set a new record on the Nürburgring. It has obviously changed its mind: The Formula One-derived hypercar just set a new record for street-legal production cars on Germany’s grueling track.

DTM pilot Maro Engel lapped the Green Hell in 6.35.183 on October 28, though the record wasn’t announced until now. In comparison, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR logged a time of 6:38.835 in June 2021, and the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series took 6:43.616. It sounds like the One could have been even quicker in better weather conditions: AMG explained that the track was damp and slightly dirty.

Mercedes made no modifications to the One to set the record; if it had, it wouldn’t be eligible to claim the production car crown. The company notes it dialed in the maximum camber values before letting Engel loose on the track, however. The car’s gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain consists of a turbocharged, 1.6-liter V6 engine and four electric motors. The system is closely related to the one that powers AMG’s championship-winning Formula One car, and it delivers 1,063 horsepower in this application. While setting a record with this much power might sound easy, Engel stresses it’s quite difficult. He notably had to make the most of the brake energy recuperation system.

“We tried to find the optimal deployment strategy during the pre-tests. Like Lewis Hamilton and George Russel on their race weekends, I also had to deploy the electrical energy of the hybrid drive in the best possible way. That’s not easy, especially with this length of track,” he said. He ultimately selected the “Race Plus” driving mode that provides the best possible aerodynamic profile and lowers the ride height.

Records are meant to be broken. While the One’s is seriously impressive, we can’t help but wonder who will manage to beat it.

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Driving the GMC Hummer EV and Mercedes-Benz EQS, EQE, EQS SUV | Autoblog Podcast #750

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. This week, they talk about driving Mercedes‘ fleet of EQ electric vehicles, including the EQE Sedan, the AMG EQS Sedan and the EQS SUV. They also talk about piloting the Acura NSX Type S. Next, they discuss the reveal of the 2024 Maserati GranTurismo, including the all-electric Folgore trim, as well as the Ferrari SP51 roadster. Finally, they talk about some of the best (including some unusual) car features for kids.

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

Autoblog Podcast #750

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Williams Advanced Engineering reveals EVR electric hypercar platform

Deus announced its Vayanne electric hypercar earlier this year as conceived in Austria, designed in Italy, and electrified in the UK. That last bit refers to the battery-electric powertrain sourced from Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE), which we now have more information on. WAE took its new EVR turnkey electric vehicle platform to the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle Show for a full reveal. Designed specifically for hypercars, the targets were versatility, lightness, power and speedy recharging. It appears the only fixed element for the time being is the 85-kWh battery set into a carbon housing between the wheels, and two motors. WAE says it can be refilled in less than 20 minutes, and powers a range of up to 279 miles. After that, OEMs and boutique makers can choose rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, hardtop or targa body styles, and road-legal or track-only configurations.    

Peak output is 2,213 horsepower from the dual motors, explaining Deus’ publicized target of more than 2,200 horsepower for the Vayanne earlier this year. Depending on body style and aero, WAE believes the platform could push a hypercar to 248 miles per hour given an ideal form. We’re told it will be possible to build a finished product with such specs that weighs less than 3,637 pounds, carbon being used for everything from the pack enclosure to the double wishbone suspension. For comparison, the 640-hp Porsche 911 Turbo S weighs 3,636 pounds.

The list of in-house innovations on the EVR chassis includes a Scalable Battery Module that opens up flexibility for custom packs and sub-pack systems, controlled by battery management software that rationalizes the amount of electronics needed to run the powertrain. The company says each module has a capacity of 1.08 kWh at 50 volts maximum or 43 volts nominal, and an energy density greater than 240 Wh/kg. The individual cells are wrapped in carbon fiber, too, claimed to improve crash resistance. Battery cooling is run through the energy-absorbing side sills.

Theoretically, a purchaser could cut prototype development time to 12 months, and entire vehicle development time to 24 months. The Vayenne will provide the first test, Deus having said it will go into production in 2025. WAE has a hydrogen fuel cell version of the EVR on the way next.

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Aston Martin Valhalla interior debuted in Monterey

Aston Martin began releasing estimated specs for the Valhalla supercar last summer. The figures described the thoroughly overhauled car, redrawn with just as dramatic yet smoother lines than the original concept from 2019, and repowered with a plug-in hybrid V8 sourced from technical partner Mercedes-Benz instead of the in-house straight-6. The quick summary describes a mid-mounted 740-horsepower flat-plane-crank V8 with an e-motor in back and another in front contributing 201 horsepower. The front electric motor can pull the coupe for up to eight miles of pure electric running, reversing is also done under electric power, not via the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Curb weight of 3,417 pounds pairs with a top speed of 217 miles per hour, the firm hoping its charge can lap the ‘Ring in 6:30, which would be a record for a production car. Deliveries are expected to commence toward the end of next year.

We still hadn’t seen the inside of the car last summer, though. Aston Martin finally lifted the dihedral doors on the show inside during the recent Monterey Car Week. Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman described the cockpit as being “pure,” “about driver focus” and “concentration,” and “dedicated to the mastery of driving.” So despite an exterior update that injected “a more mature” road-going road ambience into the Valhalla’s silhouette, the cabin makes strong ties to the F1-inspired and track-consuming Valkyrie. These are seats that emphasize the “bucket” in “bucket seats,” supporting driver and passenger such that their heels lie above the level of their hips. The driver grabs a square wheel that’s jettisoned the central display in the Valkyrie’s square wheel. In fact, for those decrying the explosion of screens lately, here is your safe space. A slim rectangle ahead of the driver serves as dash display, and the infotainment screen can be hidden away, which it is in the short Twitter vid. We can see it staying stowed more often than not, in fact. Even if the V8 doesn’t pour its 7,200-rpm flat-plane note into the cabin — along with roof scoop inhalations and rubber-band-thin Michelin thrumming — the passenger quarters cannot be the kindest space to design a stereo for.

We’d been wondering about the production run, Autocar suspects Aston Martin won’t make more than 1,000 examples of the Valhalla. The potential good news for the few who’ll get to own it is that the carmaker might have reduced the price; Autocar heard that instead of costing somewhere around £1 million ($1.3M U.S.), MSRP could fall somewhere between £600,000 ($725,866 U.S.) and £700,000 ($846,844 U.S.).

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Aston Martin bringing two surprises to Pebble Beach

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

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

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

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Lexus LFA II could get TTV8 from LC500 endurance racer

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

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

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

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

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

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Lamborghini Huracan could become an 850-hp PHEV next year

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

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

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

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

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Lamborghini supercar prototype shows angry face in spy photos

Lamborghini made it clear last year that it’s working on a new supercar to replace the V12-powered Aventador. And the car shown above is definitely a new Lamborghini of some sort. However, we don’t think this is the Aventador replacement. Instead, we suspect this is another limited-run Aventador-based special model.

The key tipoff is the greenhouse. All the glass looks just like the pieces found on the Aventador, the Countach, the Sían and plenty of other special Aventador models. Similarly, the proportions of the car match those models, too. And Lamborghini has said that its full Aventador replacement will be a completely new car with a completely new powertrain. So nothing leftover from its predecessor.

There are of course styling features not shared with other Aventador-based cars, so it will still probably be a unique model. The front end has particularly angry eyebrows over the lights, and they appear to intersect with the lower grille openings. Interesting aerodynamic panels behind the windows also show up. The rear is the most distinct with high-mounted quad-exit exhaust right in line with slim taillights. Note, the “lights” lower in the rear are just printed on the camouflage.

This prototype also tips us off to the powertrain. On the outside are high-voltage warning stickers. And since it seems to be a special Aventador-based model, we bet it’s using the same hybrid V12 used in the Countach and Sían. Output should be around 803 horsepower, maybe a little more from the naturally aspirated V12 and a small electric motor powered by a supercapacitor.

We’re expecting the car will be revealed within a year, since it looks pretty far along in development, and it’s based on a car whose days are numbered. We don’t have a name yet, but Lamborghini recently trademarked the name Revuelto, which could be used on this model, or on that planned Aventador replacement.

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Red Bull RB17 to be a $6.1M, 1,250-hp track hypercar due in 2025

Following the Mercedes-AMG Project One and the Delage D12, the burgeoning era of Formula 1 cars for the street has another entrant. Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT) and head designer for the Oracle Red Bull Racing F1 team Adrian Newey have decided to pick up where they left off with the Aston Martin Valkyrie, announcing the Red Bull RB17. A summary of the design philosophy is: “All the tricks we’ve learned in F1,” “Adrian’s greatest hits,” a combination of the “performance-enhancing technologies that have subsequently been banned in F1.” That means carbon tub, active suspension, side skirts, ground effects tunnels, blown diffuser, hybrid energy recovery system, and around 1,250 horsepower — everything but the fan, really. It also means a limited production run at an F1 price: 50 examples costing £5,000,000 each ($6.1M U.S.).

Here’s the background. In 2016, when Aston Martin was the primary sponsor of the Red Bull F1 team, both parties announced development of the AM-RB 001, which would become the almost-no-holds-barred Valkyrie road car and no-holds-barred Valkyrie AMR Pro track car. In 2020, two years after the Valkyrie was meant to be delivered to customers, Lawrence Stroll’s takeover of Aston Martin had the carmaker cozying up to new partner Mercedes on the road and the track, securing Mercedes engines for passenger cars and the Aston Martin F1 team. Aston Martin and Red Bull separated in the F1 paddock, and although both said they were committed to finishing the Valkyrie, eventually Aston Martin took charge of completing the project.

Six months before the first Valkyries were delivered to customers at the end of last year, Newey was already saying of RBAT, “Yes, absolutely, we would like to do another vehicle. Exactly what that is and what it’s targeted at is subject to debate.” While it could be that the Valkyrie AMR Pro didn’t go as far as Newey wanted, it’s definitely true that the eight-year-old technology arm RBAT was looking for more commercial outlets for its knowledge. Red Bull team principal and CEO Christian Horner said that with the sport’s current budget cap, “If you want to retain resources, there have to be projects that can justify their existence.”

Enter the RB17 to fill all the gaps. The name is a bit of inside baseball; when F1 made rule changes to save money in 2020 during the pandemic, teams used mainly carryover chassis’ in 2021. Red Bull’s naming convention began in 2005 with the RB1, representing the constructor’s first year in the sport. The team’s 2020 car was the RB16, this year’s car is the RB18, the 2021 car should have been the RB17. But because the 2021 car was so similar to the 2020 car, RB called it the RB16B. That left RB17 lurking in limbo like the 13th floor. Here is the alphanumeric’s escape hatch from the ghost world.

All we have are snippets for the moment about a track car said to be in “advanced stages” and due in 2025. Power will come from a twin-turbo V8 of undisclosed displacement, working with that mild hybrid system to develop 1,250 hp. Both are expected to be built by an unnamed third party to RBAT’s specs. This is speculation, but F1’s rumormill has Porsche already paired with Red Bull come 2026, and Porsche is coincidentally running a hybrid twin-turbo V8 in its 963 LMDh car. Newey said the hybrid system won’t just be about filling in the ICE power troughs, as the energy recovery system “also helps in other areas, which I don’t really want to go into at the moment.” Almost everything else about the car will be developed and built in-house at a rate of 15 RB17s per year, meaning a production run of more than four years. The purchase price — which is an estimate, by the way — will also pay for service and maintenance, access to Red Bull simulators, and on-track instruction.

Newey said the only limits will be physics, the need to use standardized tires, and the need to fit two people, “at least one being quite tall.” Otherwise, “it’s effectively a no-rules car” that worships the god of lap times, “which is ultimately all that counts.”

Oh, well, there is one other thing that counts, as Horner said: “It will sound fantastic, like a track car should.” 

McLaren Artura First Drive Review: Twinsies with Ferrari

MALAGA, Spain — Back in the early 2000s, when my mother was still rapidly spending down the proceeds of a profitable divorce from her second husband, she would occasionally send gifts to me and my boyfriend. One Hanukkah, she mailed us a pair of matching flannel robes from L.L. Bean. At least three other male couples we knew received this gift from a mother that holiday season, so perhaps there was some osmotic zeitgeist wafting in the ether, but this did not make it any more appropriate. Not only do I feel about robes the same way I feel about sweatpants — that they epitomize the most tragic abdication of human effort — but, following a one-time visit to Saugatuck, Michigan, a haven for Midwestern queers in matchy-matchy polos and Bermuda shorts, my partner and I had developed a strict policy: No Gay Twinning.

Decades later, Ferrari and McLaren have both released six-figure, mid-engined, entry-level, 180-inch, rear-wheel-drive sports coupes featuring twin-turbocharged 120-degree V6 engines combined with an electric motor and an integrated battery pack that can be plugged in. I just completed a road drive and track time with the McLaren Artura, and it raises the question: Is this some more of that osmotic zeitgeist, or are the companies twinning each other?

I haven’t yet driven the Ferrari 296 GTB, but I can speak to the ways these cars don’t precisely match. Unlike the Ferrari, which is among the Italian brand’s most potent regular production road cars, with a combined ICE/EV output of 818 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque, the McLaren Artura makes do with a paltry 671 hp and 531 lb-ft of twist, placing it downrank in the brand’s lineup. But whereas the Ferrari has 3,700 pounds to motivate, the McLaren has just 3,300. This means that their 0-60 times are evenly matched, at around the 3 second mark, and their top speeds are identical at 205 mph.

McLaren achieves this parity the same way it usually does, via a monomaniacal focus on weight saving. This includes such lunatic wizardry as utilizing an all-new carbon fiber and aluminum sub-structure, thinner front windshield glass, an electric motor light enough to wear as a bracelet, and the aforementioned compact V6. It also implements an ethernet-based electrical system to reduce the weight of all the wiring contemporary vehicles require for their innumerable infotainment features.

With its short wheelbase, overall compactness and all that power, the Artura actually feels lithe on its tires — which, by the way, feature Pirelli’s first production iteration of its sensor and Bluetooth-based Smart Tire, allowing the car to instantly know exactly which type of 235/35/ZR19 (front) and 295/35/ZR20 (rear) tires are on the car — street, track or snow — how warm the rubber is inside the sidewall as opposed to at the rim, and precisely how much air is contained within. George Orwell said ignorance was strength, so I’m not certain why we’d want to know all of this, and the one time I actually got to use the feature on the track, the McLaren tech who was present overruled the red warning light and deflated the rubber to a pressure he deemed more appropriate. Progress!

Because of, or despite, all this engineering effort, the Artura accelerates with commanding alacrity, and very little drama, particularly in manual (paddle-shifted) mode. And its combination of a very stiff carbon fiber structure and softer suspension settings, common to the brand’s grand touring-focused vehicles, gives it a compliance that is missing from other more hardcore supercars. Though it lacks the trick hydraulic body control system featured on other McLarens, its hydraulic steering, something of a rarity in modern cars, provides excellent feedback. Or maybe it was the smart tires communicating with the smart steering wheel, which now moves, along with the instrument binnacle, as the one on my 1977 Porsche 928. Progress, again!

In addition, big carbon ceramic discs provide excellent braking, handy when chunks of the local geology appear suddenly in a blind corner on a spaghetti-twisted mountain roadway. However, achieving bite, like getting into the forbidden fruit of a candy apple, requires some initial firmness, followed, oft-unpredictably, by a crunch or a squish.

The Artura’s ability to motivate itself, if only for 11 miles, solely on electric power, provides a kind of “oh, neat” factor, useful for gotcha sneak-ups on pedestrians or silent escapes to or from extramarital trysts after sneaking down the drainpipe. But I couldn’t detect as much of the “infill torque” that the tiny electric motor is meant to provide at very low rpm, particularly, as referenced above, when the transmission was in automatic mode. The Artura, like some other six-figure hybrids, has so much technology baked in that it has a tendency to hunt, meanderingly, for its algorithmically-derived ideal of potency and efficiency, especially in city driving or during aborted highway passing maneuvers — Second gear! Sixth gear! No gear at all! This results in a hiccup here and there, as frustrating as when your phone refuses to take a command, but perhaps a bit more dangerous. (Also, your phone doesn’t cost $233,000.) Shifting the new eight-speed transmission manually, or driving flat-out on the track, cures the car of this issue. So, just do that, whenever possible.

Fortunately, you kind of can with the Artura, because for an exotic supercar, in this age of outrageous power and performance, the whole package felt rather livable, every day. This is a brand attribute for McLaren, and reminded me of the company’s first production road car in its modern iteration, the MP4-12C (from the era when McLaren named cars after their own license plate numbers). It even looks kind of mild for a supercar, walking (or running) the line between anodyne and AI generated. It’s a supercar for those who don’t want to stand out. Is that a market segment?

I’m not going to attempt to answer this question. It’s rhetorical device, like the aforementioned red herring of comparing the McLaren to a car I haven’t driven. I ask that you indulge me, however, even if this piece may resemble the Zen-like sound of one robe flapping.

Related video:

Acura Integra to make its racing debut at Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Acura is headed to this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with a bevy of race cars. Most notable of all is a Pikes Peak-prepped Acura Integra — yes, Acura is already getting the Integra out there for some racing.

Beyond the new hatchback making its motorsports debut, Acura is also bringing two TLX Type S race cars and two NSX Type S racers. For the icing on the cake, an NSX Type S will be serving as the official pace car for Pikes Peak this year, too. This particular running of Pikes Peak is special, for it’s the 100th running of the event. The first hill climb at Pikes Peak took place all the way back in 1916; the race went on hiatus during the world wars.

As for the cars themselves, Acura provided the greatest detail on the Integra. Modifications include upgraded brakes, new suspension, an HPD differential, wider (and lighter) 18-inch HRE wheels and 245-section-width Pirelli slick tires. The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and six-speed manual transmission remain untouched, so it’ll be heading up the hill with the stock 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. However, we’ll note the this Integra is sporting some extra-large exhaust tips out the rear, so Acura has clearly done something with the exhaust.

The livery for the Integra is an homage to Acura’s first endeavor into motorsports where the first-gen Integra competed in IMSA and won the 1987 and 1988 championships. Pikes Peak rookie Paul Hubers will pilot the Integra up the hill for Acura.

As for the other cars, Acura says that both the NSXs and TLXs are fully prepped for Pikes Peak with plenty of modifications, but doesn’t go into detail about them. The NSX Type S will be trying to beat the previous record set by an NSX in the hybrid fuel class.

All of these Acuras, and the rest of the field, will be running up the hill on June 26.

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Mercedes-AMG One finally here with 1,049 hp of awesome

Dieter Zetsche and Lewis Hamilton presided over the debut of what was then called the Mercedes-AMG Project One at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Back then, “the hottest and coolest car” Mercedes-AMG had ever attempted was going to be released in 2019. Then the 11,000-rpm, 1.6-liter V6 engine and its dislike for low-speed urban driving met increasingly strict emissions regulations, and it took the carmaker’s engineering might five years to overcome that hurdle and others. Five years on, the delay provided AMG the chance to launch what is now the Mercedes-AMG One on the 55th anniversary of AMG’s first building, the foundation stone for which was laid on June 1, 1967. 

Not since the McLaren F1 have we seen a road car work so hard to adhere to Formula 1 principles, and in fact, the AMG One (and the Aston Martin Valkyrie) go further. Much has changed since the show car — Zetsche and Moers are no longer Mercedes execs, for instance — but not the vital hardpoints. The root is the E Performance powertrain, which is that 1.6-liter V6 boosted by two turbochargers. The 121-hp MGU-H turbo works off exhaust gasses but gets help spinning up to speed with an electric motor. The 161-hp MGU-K turbo is connected to the crankshaft via a spur gear. There’s 1,049 system horsepower. AMG declined to peg a torque figure, saying, “Specification not possible due to complex drive train.” AMG also declined to list an actual rev limit; the engine’s been designed to spin to 11,000 rpm, but the engineers decided “for longer durability and use of commercial super plus petrol, [the engine] deliberately stays below the F1 rev limit.” Engine output is marked as 566 horsepower at 9,000 rpm, so owners won’t be walled off far away from the physical limits. 

Output runs through a new seven-speed manual transmission with shift rods and four carbon clutches instead of the eight-speed manual in the Frankfurt show car. The fully locking differential is integrated into the gearbox.

Two more motors each contribute 161 hp to drive the front wheels, providing fully-variable all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. They also provide the car a pure-electric range of 11.2 miles thanks to an 8.4-kWh liquid-cooled lithium battery that mimics the unit from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 car, but with more cells. This being a PHEV, the charge port is on the rear left of the car, opposite the fuel filler cap for the 14.5-gallon tank. 

Getting access to the ICE power means pressing the red start button between the front seats. That activates the electric motors immediately. The driver must then wait for the exhaust aftertreatment subsystem to reach operating temperature. The subsystem consists of four metal catalytic converters, two ceramic catalytic converters, and two gasoline particulate filters, and it was the circuit that pushed engineers to their limits.

Once the engine’s given the okay to commence combustion, and given enough road, the 3,737-pound AMG One gets to 62 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds, 124 mph in seven seconds, 186 mph in 15.6 seconds. Maximum velocity is 219 mph.

There are six driving modes. Race Safe is the default on startup, using the electric motors and on-demand hybrid power once the ICE kicks in. EV mode does just what one would expect. Individual combines the driver’s personal preferences. Race keeps the 1.6-liter running constantly so as to keep the battery charged. Race Plus, only available on the track, lowers the AMG One a little more than an inch and tightens the adaptive suspension. A second track-only mode called Strat 2 is equivalent to qualifying setup, optimizing the active aero and firming up the suspension further. That active aero allows a further three settings depending on mode, either Highway, Track, or Race DRS. ABS and a three-mode ESP come standard, for drivers who favor prudence when finding the limit. 

As standard, the package sits on 10-spoke, 19-inch forged aluminum center-lock wheels in front, 20-inchers in back. They can be swapped for nine-spoke forged magnesium center-lock wheels. Both sets are hidden behind carbon covers, and themselves hide a carbon-ceramic braking system with six-piston fixed calipers in front, four-piston clamps in back. Rubber stock is a quartet of specially developed Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2Rs.    

Dimensions are 15.6 feet long, 6.6 feet wide, and a hair over four feet tall. In the middle of all that is a cockpit built for two people and not much more. The seats are built into the monocoque, their backs able to recline at either 25 or 30 degrees, and an electrically adjustable steering wheel and 11-position pedal box are used to find a comfortable position. Mod-cons like air conditioning, power windows, and mini-USB ports are the most occupants will get for luxury. Luggage capacity is limited to the “high quality stowage compartment” atop the center tunnel.

The announced production run of 275 units is sold out at $2.75 million per. The patient owners and the public get the first glimpse of the coupe driven hard at this month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. AMG’s latest will be winding its way through the horde of BMW M cars celebrating M’s 50th anniversary. Customer deliveries are expected to begin sometime after that, before the year is out.

Related video:

SSC will make a hybrid, all-wheel-drive hypercar alongside the Tuatara

Washington-based SSC announced it will expand its range of hypercars with a hybrid, all-wheel-drive model in the next few years. The limited-edition car is currently being developed, and it’s one of two new models that the firm plans to launch in the not-too-distant future.

Speaking to Motor Authority, company founder and CEO Jerod Shelby hinted that the hybrid model won’t necessarily be part of the Tuatara line. It’s too early to tell how many units will be made, but they won’t be part of the 125-car run that SSC is planning for the Tuatara. And, the gasoline-electric car might not even wear the Tuatara nameplate; SSC could use another name to dial in a further degree of differentiation.

Power will come from a hybrid drivetrain consisting of a gasoline-powered engine mounted behind the passenger compartment and a pair of motors integrated into the front hubs. This setup will give the car through-the-road all-wheel-drive, meaning that there won’t be a mechanical connection between the front and rear axles. SSC has chased speed records in recent months, but electrification isn’t a way to go faster.

“The electrification of the car will make it a more well-rounded vehicle,” Shelby told Motor Authority. He added that going hybrid will notably improve acceleration, on-track performance, and lower-speed characteristics. There’s no word yet on how powerful the model will be, but we’re expecting a significant amount of power: the Tuatara is powered by a 5.9-liter V8 that’s twin-turbocharged to 1,750 horsepower.

Meanwhile, the carmaker also hopes to open a bigger factory in about 2025 to manufacture a smaller (and presumably more volume-oriented) model that Shelby envisions as “a little brother” to the Tuatara. It sounds like SSC has its work cut out for the 2020s.

Delage D12 prototype coming to tour the U.S. this summer

We’re sure someone can count how many plans were deranged by Covid over the last two years, but that someone isn’t us. What’s important is that we know the Delage D12 was one of those kicked off the tracks for a bit, but the revived French brand is still here and says its F1 car for the road is shortly headed for production. The outfit finally has a working prototype, and it’s already been sampled by potential European buyers. The wild blue looker was meant to take an honorary lap around the Miami Grand Prix circuit during last weekend’s festivities, but we’re not sure that happened. The south Florida city is home to one of Delage’s two dealers in the U.S., Specialty Car Collection. The other is Southern California Delage in Newport Beach. The D12 runner is planned to make another trip to Monterey Car Week in August this year, the same venue where Delage pre-sold a few units in 2020. 

Picking up where things left off in 2020, CEO Laurent Tapie unveiled the vehicle he wants to break the Nürburgring’s passenger car lap record. There are two D12 trims, both powered by a 7.6-liter naturally aspirated V12 developed in-house, putting out 960 horsepower and shifting through an eight-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission. In the GT trim, the ICE gets help from a 110-hp electric motor, making a total 1,100 hp. In the track-focused Club trim, the e-motor makes just 20 horses, but the vehicle loses 200 pounds and is faster around a track than the GT. The Club’s electric motor is really just used for street driving, reversing and parking.

And yes, this is a passenger car. Two occupants sit in tandem in the cockpit, the bubble canopy opening like that of a fighter jet — two traits that make the Delage D12 similar to the Czinger 21C, four if you count the carbon fiber body panels and alliteration. Tapie says the D12 separates itself from all other road cars by having a pushrod suspension. French engineer Mauro Biancchi is said to hold the patent on the pushrod design, and gave his blessing to Tapie’s team. When we get a chance to speak to Tapie, we’ll ask how his pushrod design is different than the pushrod setup Lamborghini has used in the Aventador for a decade.

This fall, the two-seater enters a production run of just 30 examples, 10 for the U.S., the remainder for the rest of the world. First deliveries are scheduled for early 2023, and buyers will get the chance to sign up for driving lessons from Delage’s development driver, ex-F1 Driver’s World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. All it will take is €2 million ($2.1M U.S.) for a base D12 before options, and getting on that list of 30 customers. For everyone else, check out Tapie’s lengthy interview with Maxim to know more about how he got the idea for the D12, why he insisted on a naturally aspirated V12, and why he wanted a racing driver over an engineer to tune the dynamics.  

Related video:

2022 New York Auto Show Roundup | All the reveals, reviews, pictures

NEW YORK — In case you missed it, the New York Auto Show took place this year after being canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to Covid. A lot of manufacturers showed up in force, but not everybody did. No matter, we were there, and we brought you news, photos and scoops from the floor throughout the show. All of our New York-related stories can be found at our central hub here, but if you’d rather just get a small taste of everything in a quick and digestible format, keep scrolling.

Kia revealed the Telluride’s first major refresh at New York, and it makes the three-row crossover a little bit more desirable without screwing up what we liked about it before. There’s a new X-Line and X-Pro trim for someone who might want a little more off-road capability, and a number of tech improvements. Most notably, a newly-designed dash features new and bigger screens.

The Telluride’s sister car from Hyundai was treated to a similar refresh. Like the Telluride, Hyundai gave the Palisade a slightly revised look, a new off-road trim (called XRT in the Palisade’s case), more tech inside and a new dash design with full-width air vents. If we had to choose, we’re a little more impressed with the Telluride’s refresh, as a number of us on staff actually prefer the pre-refresh Palisade styling over the new one.

This one was inevitable. Jeep revealed the longer, roomier versions of its Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer in New York, and they’re designated with an “L” at the end of their names. Total length grows by a foot, and the wheelbase goes up by 7 inches versus the standard Wagoneer models. Jeep has essentially allocated all this extra room to the cargo area, as it now offers a staggering 44.2 cubic-feet of space behind the third row.

Besides the L, Jeep announced that its new Hurricane inline-six engine would find its first home in the Wagoneer. Efficiency gets a small boost, and power is more than sufficient at either 420 horsepower (standard output) or 510 horsepower (high-output version) from the twin-turbo I-6.

The Stellantis party continues with Chrysler and its slightly revised Airflow. Re-styled for the New York market after initially debuting at CES in Las Vegas, the Airflow Concept gets new paint, changed accent colors, a slightly changed interior design and a new interpretation of the Chrysler logo.

This was our first chance to get a good in-person look at the new Kia Niro models headed our way, and we were impressed. It gets a totally new design, massaged powertrains in all three variants and an EV6-inspired interior. We even got to take a little deep dive into the standout Aero Blade design feature seen on all new Niros.

This was one of the minor debuts of the show — Subaru didn’t even hold a press conference. But the Outback was there on the show floor, and it was showing off its new Wilderness-inspired looks. The cladding is much more prominent, it has new lights up front, and Subaru packed it with a number of new tech features.

One year on from the Pathfinder being all-new, and Nissan just added an off-road-focused Rock Creek trim. It gets a slightly revised suspension, more power when run on premium fuel, all-terrain tires and a fairly comprehensive styling package. We liked the looks of it on the show floor, and while it may not be a super-capable SUV, having the option of a more rugged-looking SUV is seemingly a good thing to have in dealers these days.

The Leaf is getting outpaced by EVs with far more range, better tech and more power, but that hasn’t stopped Nissan from giving it a small nip-and-tuck. It gets a new grille, light-up Nissan logo, wild new wheels and a couple of aero enhancements.

This special-edition Ford GT pays tribute to the third-place car at the 1966 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It re-creates that car’s look via matching paint, red accents and a number of other small details. Ford put it on display next to the car that raced at Le Mans back in 1966, making it an excellent display for any racing history geeks.

A collaboration between Williams Engineering, Italdesign and Deus, this electric hypercar is planned for super-low production, but incredibly high performance. Output is meant to be “more than 2,200 horsepower” and it has a claimed 0-62 mph time of 1.99 seconds. Only 99 are meant to be built, but we know that will be a tough, uphill battle to accomplish. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll see a Deus outside of the N.Y. Auto Show stand one day.

Yes, it’s another Huracán variant. This one steals a lot of the go-fast STO parts, but pairs them with a much more subdued appearance. It does well to make the appearance stand out as different from other Huracáns, and the 631 horsepower being sent to the rear wheels sound like Italian supercar bliss.

2023 BMW X7 M60i

BMW didn’t bring it to the show floor, but we still got to see the refreshed X7 in New York this week. The design both inside and out gets a heavy revamping. Its look certainly isn’t for everyone, but nobody can deny that the car is turning heads. We’re impressed with the new interior, and the base xDrive40i powertrain gets a huge performance boost, giving the entry-level X7 a whopping 375 horsepower.

Debuting alongside the regular X7 was the Alpina XB7 that received its own styling tweaks to keep it current. It also adds 8 horsepower, bringing it up to 621 ponies from the twin-turbo V8.

Genesis X Speedium Coupe

It wasn’t on the show floor, but Genesis still revealed it in New York during auto show time. The X Speedium Coupe Concept is far and away the most beautiful thing there. Its shooting brake/fastback design is long and wide, and its proportions make it a total stunner. The concept is electric, and while Genesis hasn’t committed to putting it into production, we can hope to see it on the roads one day.

Random other musings

Fiat 500 Electric

For whatever reason, Fiat brought the Europe-only electric 500 to N.Y. Our Joel Stocksdale took a close look at it, and made a case for why Stellantis should bring the little EV to America.

Radwood showed up with a large collection of epic cars from the 1980s and 1990s. They were easily the coolest part of the show, and if you’re in town, it may be worth going just to see this group of cars at the Javits Center.

Lastly, Alfa brought the Tonale for us to check out in a gorgeous Montreal Green paint. It’s a sharp little crossover in the flesh, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how this Alfa drives.

Related video:

2022 New York Auto Show, and Subaru Solterra driven | Autoblog Podcast #725

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Ferrari 296 GTB First Drive Review | Design and technical showpiece

Seville, Spain – Even when its founder Enzo was a pup, Ferrari was famously wringing maximum performance from miniscule engines. Today, that spirit lives on in the Ferrari 296 GTB plug-in hybrid – the first real V6 road car in Ferrari history – and a blistering track romp and road trip through Andalusia, Spain, proves again that automotive brilliance often comes in bite-sized packages. That talent, now combined with the modern shove and zero tailpipe emissions of electricity (in short distances) is coming in handy as regulators demand gasoline engines be downsized or eliminated entirely. When downtown Rome finally says basta to internal-combustion cars, the 296 GTB will get a free pass and a proud salute from locals.

This Ferrari will draw its share of wolf whistles as well. New tech aside, the 296 GTB is more old-school Ferrari in styling; a swoopy object of lust from its flying buttresses to a carved-out Kamm tail.

Press the haptic e Drive switch on the 296’s exotic steering wheel and it can cover 15.5 miles on pure electricity at up to 84 mph. Its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 is sidelined via an electric clutch, and a ghostly hum emanates from within. No, that’s not the sound of Enzo turning in his grave. Just the opposite, I’d say. That dude loved to win, even (or especially) when people called him crazy, and said his tiny 12-cylinder jewels (Phrasing? -BH) would never work (Oh, it got worse -BH).

So if you assume the 296 GTB is the Ferrari customers must “settle for,” think again. This short-wheelbase, mid-engine Ferrari is gorgeously evocative of classic models like the 250 LM, including roller-coaster haunches that seem extruded from a fast-flowing body. With a ridiculous 819 rear-driven horsepower, the 296 GTB is also faster and more reactive than every larger V8 car in Ferrari’s lineup, including the 488 Tributo and wicked 488 Pista. How fast? Well, this six-cylinder warrior circles the Fiorano factory track in less time than LaFerrari — the seven-figure hybrid wonder of just a few years ago. “But it doesn’t have a V8,” your say? Well, fine: The 488s, Roma coupe and Portofino convertible remain eminently defensible choices. Just get used to the 296 GTB wagging its saucy tail in your face at track days (with its signature, high-mounted single exhaust outlet), while you mumble something about the “Good Old Days.”

I’m mumbling something else after storming through Andalusia on HU 4103, a two-lane, EU-funded fantasy road that resembles a private/public racetrack in the countryside: All mirror-smooth pavement, double-stacked guardrails, helpful bright-blue turn arrows and a dearth of other drivers. The 296 GTB bullets from corner to corner, as fast in full Automatic mode as when using the rabbit-eared, carbon-fiber paddle shifters. Braked with my left foot for balanced pendulum swings against the throttle, the Ferrari’s eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox self-downshifts as low as second gear at roughly 6,000 rpm.

Incredible by-wire brakes create a fierce double-whammy of engine braking and electric regen, and then the Ferrari is off again. On a long ascent and descent, the regen brakes slurp so much energy that the battery remains fully stuffed, even at maximum attack. This is a hybrid that basically never runs out of electric breath, a kind of junior F1 car for the street.

A “Qualifying” mode summons maximum performance for shorter bursts, but also fully recharges the 7.5-kilowatt-hour battery (with 80 lithium-ion cells) in less than 15 minutes in my hands. The 296 is also super-satisfying in Hybrid mode, cruising gasoline-free at a brisk clip, but ready to fire up the engine and lunge ahead with a firmer press of the throttle. After a perspiring 115-mile drive, the all-digital instrument panel, descended from the SF90 hypercar, informs me that I’ve used gasoline for 80% of the trip, electricity for the rest – and saved 1 liter of fuel in the process. Every little bit, si?

Seemingly limitless front-end grip is amplified with joyful, high-pitched 8,500-rpm shrieks from an engine that Ferrari engineers call the “piccolo V12” — “little V12.” That’s not all Italian hyperbole, as I’ll explain later. As for the “first Ferrari V6” claim, recall that the six-cylinder, mid-engine Dinos – sold from 1967 to 1974, named after Enzo’s tragically fated son – were intended as a “son-of” sub-brand, and never wore a Ferrari badge. Ferrari, of course, has enjoyed racing success with V6s in multiple eras, from Mike Hawthorn’s 1958 F1 championship to the 1982 campaign that saw the 126 C2 become F1’s first turbocharged title winner.

These Spanish roads wind through the Rio Tinto (“Red River”) whose mineral-infused waters flash a striking crimson, though our convoy of Ferraris may have created some spillover effect. Regarding red Ferraris, I’ve never been a fan of that too-obvious choice, but the 296 GTB’s Rosso Imola definitely works, a smoldering lipstick shade for this Italian supermodel. And while I do love me some 488 Pista, our long road-and-track day convinces me the 296 GTB is the smarter, better all-around sports car. The 296 – the name combining the 2,992-cc engine, and “6” cylinders – feels even more responsive, less high-strung and demanding, thereby more appealing as a daily driver. And that’s without getting into the electric advantages; including a redesigned electric motor, sandwiched between the engine and gearbox, that supplies 122 kilowatts (165 horsepower) and 232 pound-feet of torque, filling in all the low-rev and shifting gaps until there’s no chink in the armor.

Quicksilver handling recalls a Lotus by way of Maranello, but with double or triple the power. Its electric steering is immediacy personified, with a lightness that underlines the wrongheadedness of sports cars and sedans that confuse burly effort with actual road feel. A highway blast on the Autovia lets the 296 GTB demonstrate its searing pace and stability, surging to 150 mph and more as boggled drivers pull to the right to watch the Ferrari soar past. 

The craziest part is how a sports car can send 819 horsepower to the ground through rear wheels, effortlessly, without ever feeling like a handful of dynamite. Credit in part the specially developed, 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, or the available Pilot Sport Cup 2s that nearly match the dry grip of racing slicks but remain DOT-legal.

Actually, this may be the craziest part: Company executives and engineers define the 296 GTB as the most “fun-to-drive” Ferrari, by intent and design. That may come as a shock to people who plunk down at least $523,000 – $200,000 beyond the GTB’s $323,000 base price – for its philosophical parent, the SF90 AWD plug-in. But Ferrari executives are nothing if not confident, saying there’s a Ferrari for every type of buyer, and obviously big enough garages that some can avoid making a choice altogether. While “fun to drive” has a subjective element, engineers insist there are objective parameters, including lateral/longitudinal response to throttle and steering inputs; shift times and sensations; brake pedal feel and response; and sound level and quality in the cabin. Designers and engineers parsed, mapped and quantified everything that makes a Ferrari “fun” – price tag didn’t make the list – and sought to elevate the 296 GTB to new highs, for owners who prize pure sensation and immediacy.

Sensations begin with a 2.0-inch shorter wheelbase and lower center-of-gravity versus any V8 Ferrari, which helps this sports car shrink around its pilot. The engine trims 66 pounds versus the V8. Dry weight is a commendable 3,234 pounds — 70 more than an F8 Tributo, thanks to the hybrid hardware and battery — but with 108 faster-acting horsepower on tap. That gives the 296 a better weight-to-power ratio than any rival. Meanwhile, the feelsome by-wire braking system, the company insists, lets the 296 GTB brake later and deeper into corners than any other Ferrari, allowing owners to attack apexes and just crush the pedal with no fear of upsetting the car.

Extensive aero work includes a “tea tray” doohickey up front to direct air along the underbody. Hidden headlamp ducts cool brakes, themselves fitted with ventilating “aero” calipers. Underbody height is as low as roadgoing rules allow, allowing reworked vortex generators to boost ground-effect suction and front downforce. Greedy cavities in those blush-worthy rear fenders feed turbo intercoolers. An active aero panel, hidden between taillamps, rises in an instant to generate up to 100 pounds of extra downforce, including under braking. I wasn’t arguing after my track drive at the Monteblanco circuit, where a roughly 165-mph straightaway abruptly ends at a near-hairpin corner. An optional Assetto Fiorano package forms that panel from carbon fiber, with stiffer Multimatic shock absorbers and other bits to further boost downforce and trim 26 pounds.

I’ve barely discussed that masterwork engine, discreetly hidden below dark-tinted, three-dimensional glass. Twin exhaust banks provocatively come together in a long, single central exhaust formed from thin-walled Inconel alloy. “Aluchrome” is used for the cavernous, high-mounted rear outlet, an alloy that maintains shine under extremely high temperatures.

Consider Enzo Ferrari’s first solo effort, the 125S racer of 1947, which made 118 horsepower from 12 dainty cylinders that displaced just 1.5 liters. This V6 alone generates 654 horsepower from just twice the displacement. Its 218 horsepower-per-liter becomes a historic high in specific output for any production automobile. The engine cradles a pair of turbochargers in the “hot-V” cleavage of 120-degree cylinder banks. Those turbos spin up to 180,000 rpm, with a huge 24% jump in performance and boost efficiency versus the V8 turbos. This engine is also a testament to high compression (including 350-bar fuel injection) and low inertia. The whistling turbos and a forged, nitrided crankshaft help reduce rotating masses by 11% versus the 3.9-liter V8.

This first in a new F163 engine family also combines two elements that can seem diametrically opposed: The force of turbocharging with the euphonious revving and trebly wail of a naturally aspirated V-2: Hence, “the piccolo V12.” The crankshaft’s 120-degree geometry, symmetrical cylinder firing order and tuned, equal-length exhaust runners deliver both the pressure pulses and harmonic sound orders of a V12. Those natural, odd-numbered harmonic orders are further amplified via a “hot tube” prior to exhaust treatment that push those sweet frequencies into the cabin, even at low revs. If a Mercedes-AMG V8 is basso profundo, this V6 is a La Scala tenor, sailing to 8,500-rpm peaks with enough force and emotional drama to bring tears to one’s eyes. Nobody, and I mean nobody, would guess there are only six cylinders churning below decks.

To all that, add 165 horses of inverted AC juice from the axial, dual-rotor motor. All told, this V6 Ferrari can shriek to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds, and to 200 kph (124 mph) in 7.3 seconds. Terminal velocity is 206 mph. That 0-200 kph figure is especially telling. It’s about 0.5 seconds quicker than a V8 McLaren 720S, and 0.9 seconds quicker than a Lamborghini Huracan Evo with a naturally aspirated V10. 

When I first clapped eyes on the 296 GTB and its stand-displayed V6 in early 2021 during an SF90 drive at Fiorano, I assumed it was some kind of “starter model.” That was before I realized what this crew was up to, and definitely before I experienced the car. The 296 GTB is a design and technical showpiece, like an SF90 Jr., but with the advantage of being smaller, lighter and rear-wheel-drive. As ever, there’s no free lunch in Maranello, even at the newly restored Cavallino restaurant where Enzo dined and did business almost daily. So a plug-in, small-engined showboat that’s faster than a V8 Ferrari must also cost more than a V8 Ferrari.

Thus, the 296 GTB starts from $323,000, a solid $42,000 hike over the 488 Tributo at $281,000; but a skosh less than a 488 Pista at $331,000. Some Tifosi will find that difficult choice keeping them up at night, perhaps counting cylinders. Some will rest easy, and buy one of each. 

2022 Kia EV6 and Acura NSX Type S driven | Autoblog Podcast #715

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. The car chat begins this week with a review of the 2022 Kia EV6, followed by Zac’s drive of the 2022 Acura NSX Type-S. Then they discuss Autoblog’s new long-term loan, a 2022 BMW 330e xDrive. They’ve also been driving the Ford Explorer Timberline and Kia Sorento Hybrid.

In the news, they discuss the soon-to-be-revealed Alfa Romeo Tonale, as well as the recently unveiled Aston Martin DBX707. Finally, Greg talks about a historical Detroit landmark, the old American Motors Company headquarters, which is set to be demolished.

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

Autoblog Podcast #715

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2022 Acura NSX Type S Track Drive | One lap of Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Stadium lights shine their bright white glow on the tarmac as I power out of the infield and up to the banking of NASCAR 1 at Daytona International Speedway in the 2022 Acura NSX Type S. The force of gravity quickly changes from normal to feeling like I’m being shoved down by a compactor. I gingerly arc down from the top of Daytona’s steep 31-degree incline and settle into the middle, right pedal down and holding the wheel steady. That last part, I quickly learn, is unnecessary, as the banking holds the car in place without needing to exert much steering force.

An immersive and sonorous note trumpets through the cabin as I stay in the throttle out of NASCAR 2. The Bus Stop Chicane (just renamed the Le Mans Chicane for this year’s Rolex 24) arrives quickly and with little warning when you have 600 horsepower hustling you there, and it’s perhaps the worst-lit corner on the track — ironic, considering you’re going as fast as anywhere at Daytona before having to apply the brakes. A loud, brap, brap, brap accompanies the slowdown. I smash over the rumble strips while exiting the chicane, and head back onto the oval for another go in the compactor for NASCAR 3 and 4.

And then that’s it, my one flying lap in the one-year-only NSX Type S is over. Rolling back into pit lane, I’m attempting to process what just happened, but am reduced to one-word exclamations from the adrenaline rush. Piloting anything on-track at the Daytona road course at night is a bucket list, dream-come-true moment for a racing enthusiast, and I had just done it in Acura’s mid-engine supercar. Turns out, those hundreds of hours playing Gran Turismo and dreaming finally came in handy.

This brief and high-speed track drive is our first go at the new-for-2022 NSX Type S. Acura says that more seat time is coming in the future, but we’re to make do with this quick taste for the time being. That said, even if you wanted to at this point, the chances of buying a new NSX Type S are next to zero. The NSX swan song — yes, this is the NSX’s last model year — sold out in mere minutes, and all that’s left is a waiting list. Acura is building 350 total, and 300 are allocated for the United States. There will be no “standard” NSXs for 2022 either, so it’s either the $171,495 Type S or nothing.

Despite the rarity and short life, it’s surprising how much effort Acura put into enhancing the NSX’s complex engine and three-motor hybrid system. The standard car’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is upgraded with turbochargers yanked directly from the GT3 Evo racecar. To supplement that, it also gets new fuel injectors with a 25% higher flow rate and new intercoolers with 15% more heat dissipation capability. The engine is now contributing 520 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque to forward motion, increases of 20 and 37, respectively.

Acura then upgraded the NSX “Twin Motor Unit” that powers the front wheels by lowering the gear ratio from 10.38:1 to 8.05:1. This effectively gives the car more torque directly off the line, which means even harder launches than before. Those electric motors yank the car through and out of Daytona’s Horseshoe with the secure and reassuring show of visceral force we’re used to from the NSX. The battery powering these motors is also upgraded with a 10% greater output and 20% higher usable capacity. Due to this drive’s nature, I didn’t get a chance to test out the Type S’ improved battery-only hybrid operation, but the upgrades should lead to less engine use in the efficient “Quiet” mode.

Total system output is now rated at 600 horsepower and 492 pound-feet of torque, and even in just one lap, the difference in forward thrust is perceptible. I don’t expect a drastic change in acceleration times (Acura only specified “under 3.0 seconds” despite the standard NSX being estimated at 2.9 seconds), but putting your foot down leaves little doubt that the Type S charges harder from corner-to-corner than the regular NSX does.

Another key upgrade made for the Type S concerns the transmission. The nine-speed dual-clutch automatic is re-tuned, and it engages the clutch 50% faster upon paddle press. This means a more instantaneous response and snappier reflexes to your paddle prodding. In addition to quicker gear changes, the Type S gains a new “Rapid Downshift” mode that automatically drops you into the lowest-possible gear when you hold the downshift paddle down. New programming also quickens downshifts in automatic mode when you apply brake pressure — say, when you’re coming in hot on the curved entry to turn 1 — and the rev threshold for pulling manual downshifts is increased by 1,500 rpm, letting you pull quicker downshifts that zing the needle higher up the tachometer.

Most noticeable out on track is how smart the transmission sets itself up for every situation in automatic mode. It bangs off shifts with what sounds like an extra bit of violence in the form of staccato pops. This in-cabin volume increase is the most obvious new experience in the Type S from the get-go, too. A lack of emotion and drama from the V6 was one of the standard NSX’s most common complaints. It’s not mended with a new exhaust, but Acura says it’s re-done the car’s “Intake Sound Control” (basically funnels real noise into the cabin) and “Active Sound Control” (artificially creates and/or enhances noises inside the cabin). Anyone who’s driven a regular NSX will notice the more audible intake wailing and extra volume inside the cabin both on-throttle and with every shift.

Last up in the realm of upgrades for the NSX’s powertrain is a re-tuned SH-AWD system that takes advantage of the front motors’ and engine’s additional thrust and power. Of course, this all-wheel-drive system is so closely tied with the NSX’s handling capabilities that you can’t talk about one without the other. The Type S is truly a whole-car job, so of course Acura’s engineers went to work on the suspension, wheels/tires, drive mode tuning and more.

Unfortunately, the limited track time made it impossible to come to any grand conclusions about the improvements. That said, the breadth of the changes leads me to believe that we’re going to experience a noted difference in road behavior once we drive one outside the racetrack.

For the time being, know that the Type S gets recalibrated dampers with a greater range of stiffness depending on the mode. That means it’s still designed to be comfortable in the on-road modes, but is stiffer than before in Track Mode. New forged alloy wheels are set with more negative offset that in turn widens the front track by 0.4 inch and the rear track by 0.8 inch. The wheels are then wrapped in a Pirelli P-Zero summer performance tire made exclusively for the Type S that wasn’t previously available on the standard NSX. Acura claims the track increases and new tires allow for 6% more lateral grip. To quantify that and the extra power, Acura says the NSX Type S is 2 seconds quicker around the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.

There’s one main performance package available, the $13,000 Lightweight Package fitted to our track car that drops the curb weight by 57.8 pounds from an unannounced figure. The 2021 standard NSX tipped the scales at 3,878 pounds. Much of those savings (and the hefty price) comes from the carbon ceramic brakes, but the Lightweight Package also gives you a carbon fiber engine cover and carbon accents on the steering wheel and instrument cluster hood. All of the other carbon fiber optional extras on the regular NSX come standard on the Type S, most important of those being the carbon roof that reduces the center of gravity. The Type S-exclusive Gotham Gray Matte paint (pictured above) adds another $6,000.

The new Type S front end ensures that everybody knows this NSX is different from the rest, and its new design is functionally better than before. Acura says the more angular intakes, front spoiler and larger diffuser do a better job at minimizing lift and making the Type S more stable at high speed. Airflow to the intercoolers is also enhanced, ensuring proper cooling of the more powerful engine.

Of course, the one lap at Daytona does not even come close to testing the heat capacity of this car. It does, however, provide convincing evidence that this NSX Type S is truly the best performing NSX in every way while still remaining true to its purpose of being an everyday supercar. Navigating pit exit just inches from the Wall of Champions is an objectively stressful situation, but the NSX’s expansive forward visibility makes it easier. Daytona’s walls on the infield loom in the darkness at track-level, but the NSX makes driving a stupid-quick car at this big track remarkably easy with its essentially fool-proof all-wheel-drive system. It’s the most point-and-shoot supercar in the game, and it’s going to make 350 people grin from ear-to-ear once they get behind the wheel. 

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McLaren Artura hybrid supercar delayed until second half of 2022

The new hybrid McLaren Artura is officially delayed. A report from Automotive News broke the news on the electrified supercar.

When McLaren officially revealed the Artura, it promised that deliveries would begin in the third quarter of 2021. The third quarter of this year has long since gone, and we’re about to head into 2022, and there are still no Artura deliveries taking place. The new target date for initial deliveries is set for July 2022. 

Automotive News heard confirmation of the delay from a McLaren spokesperson.

“We held on longer than everybody else in terms of stopping production, but unfortunately, our semiconductor supply dried up,” the spokesperson said. “That made us have to reduce production across the board.”

So, there’s your reason for the delay, too. McLaren is blaming the chip shortage that is currently plaguing the entire automotive industry. It’s unfortunate, because McLaren could certainly use the new Artura to freshen up its lineup. Automotive News reports that McLaren originally meant the Artura to make up 40% of its deliveries in 2022. With the delay until July next year, that’s going to be a difficult number to approach.

In case you needed a reminder, the Artura is a totally new McLaren from the ground up, as it’s sporting a new platform, new twin-turbo V6 engine and a plug-in hybrid electric system for purely electric motoring — 19 miles with a full battery pack. The engine and electric motor combined produce 671 horsepower and 531 pound-feet of torque, sending it to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds. Base price for the Artura is $225,000.

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