All posts in “luxury”

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.” 

2022 Bentley Continental GT Mulliner steps to the top of the line

The shifting in the lineups coming out of Crewe continues with the reveal of the Bentley Continental GT Mulliner. The English luxury maker introduced the most recent GT Mulliner two years ago when there were still a 626-horsepower standard W12 and a 650-horsepower GT Speed. With the GT Speed now the only W12, the introduction of the indulgent Azure trim “for those prioritizing wellbeing and on-board comfort,” and the arrival of the coming V8-powered S models, the new Mulliner steps in at the head of the pack. Starting from the bottom, the current Continental Range is the V8, Azure, S, Speed, and Mulliner.

What does a buyer get with the flagship Conti? The GT Speed chassis dressed in Mulliner jewelry and coachwork. The 6.0-liter W12 makes 650 horses and 664 pounds of twist, clocking 3.5 seconds from standstill to 60 miles per hour, acceleration unwilling to relent until 208 miles per hour. Dynamism at less furious speeds benefits from adaptive dampers, an electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axle, all-wheel steering, and brake-based torque vectoring. 

The cosmetic package is effectively handed down from the previous version, which we can’t find fault with. The double diamond matrix grille stands proud up front, wearing either bright chrome or the Mulliner Blackline Specification gloss black. The are also specific 22-inch Mulliner wheels, satin silver mirror caps shrouding Mulliner welcome lamps, and illuminated treadplates.

The interior picks up unique three-way colorways that rearrange the way primary, secondary, and tertiary colors are split throughout the cabin. Mulliner offers eight standard combinations all lashed up with diamond quilting, paired with 88 choices in Piano wood veneers and heaps of thread options for the contrast and accent stitching. Gauges in the digital instrument cluster have been designed with a technical finish to go along with the diamond milling on the center console. Even the occupants’ feet get treated to floor mats edged in complementary piping. Overhead, roofs without the panoramic glass get trimmed with indented hide, roofs with the glass top get smooth hides.

For now, the Continental GT V8 Mulliner remains available. The new model debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed along with the S trim and the first historic Blower Continuation, called Blower Car Zero, and it can all be livestreamed here.

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.

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Buick Wildcat and Electra concepts, Ford Maverick | Autoblog Podcast #732

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They lead off with a discussion of the news. This section touches on the DeLorean Alpha5, Buick Wildcat EV Concept reveal, revival of the Buick Electra name, production reveal of the Mercedes-AMG One and some scuttle about Volkswagen’s recently-bought Scout brand. After that, they move on to the cars they’ve been driving, including the Ford Maverick and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

After the pair finish with what they’ve been driving, the podcast transitions to an interview between Greg Migliore and former Car and Driver Editor-in-Chief Eddie Alterman. Finally, Greg and Zac wrap things up with some more spring and summer beer recommendations.

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

Autoblog Podcast #732

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Glickenhaus SCG004CS passes last hurdle, ready for deliveries

After five years of gestation, development, and crash tests for global homologation, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus is ready to begin customer deliveries of the 004CS this month. Conceived and developed as a GT3 racer that was then turned into a road car, the New England car company worked with Italy’s Podium Advanced Technologies honing the race version to do well at the Nurburgring. SCG namesake James Glickenhaus took the final ESC calibration prototype to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and talked to Road & Track about what’s ahead. In the immediate future, the Danbury, Connecticut factory expects to have 25 hand-built cars in customer hands by the end of the year, the three-trim lineup starting at $483,000

There’s the standard road-legal 004S — the only one that can be had with a six-speed manual transmission, the road-and-track 004CS, and the track-only 004C. The first two are powered by a supercharged GM 6.2-liter V8 in 650- or 750-horse tune. The track car drops the supercharger, taking it down to 520 hp in endurance racing trim, but that can be upped to 600 horses if the sanctioning body allows. SCG hasn’t disturbed the small block with insanely complicated engineering, R&T summarizing the SCG philosophy in a way that would make any DIY enthusiast weep: “Glickenhaus believes the moment you’re no longer able to get a supercharged Chevy small-block fixed at the local mechanic, the world as we know it would have ended anyway, and your car wouldn’t matter much.”

The other side of that garagiste credo is hardcore racing performance. Despite a software bug, crashes, and errant holes in some parts, the SCG004C finished last weekend’s Nürburgring 24 Hours race in 12th place overall — and first in its class. The four drivers finished just a lap down on the race-winning Audi Sport Team Phoenix R8 LMS GT3 Evo, same as every runner from seventh to 14th, keeping company with much bigger teams like Falken Motorsports with their Porsche 911 GT3R and Mercedes-AMG Team Bilstein in an AMG GT3. 

Despite the team’s entry in the World Endurance Championship, SCG might opt to narrow its focus to the ‘Ring event and Baja, where its off-roaders romp. James Glickenhaus is dubious about how much return on investment the WEC provides, where the disparity between top teams and smaller entries is much larger. “The only question is what we’re going to do going forward with the WEC and what we’re going to do going forward with our hydrogen pickup truck,” he said, in reference to the Baja Boot. “It’s dependent on the capital raise we are in the process of trying to finalize.”

Gordon Murray Automotive torture tests the T.50 hypercar

Prepping the Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 for customer deliveries around the world means testing its systems and safety akin to that of a regular production car. For GMA, this mean taking validation prototype XP1 to Automotive Testing Papenburg (ATP) in Germany for a series of torture tests that would be comical if they weren’t so brutal on a real live $2.9 million coupe. As narrator Dario Franchitti explains, many of the tests are to ensure that the airbag deployment systems know how to tell one extreme circumstance from another, so the bag deploys in a crash instead of when the T.50 is launched into a gravel pile. Yep, that’s real. The T.50 was run at nearly 20 miles an hour into — and then up — a seven-foot pile of rocks. We have no idea what the test is meant to simulate but the T.50 aced it, beaching itself over the crest, its airbag un-deployed.

The other challenges drew a more direct line to real-world driving. There’s a 37-mph dash over Belgian cobblestones and another at the same speed over a speed bump, a simulated pothole strike for “anyone who has the misfortune of driving on UK roads,” and a mad dash over a fake railway crossing. The ramp test sends the 2,173-pound, 654-hp coupe flying off a 10-inch ramp at 43 miles per hour. The steel beam test simulates plowing the wheel face into a curb, this experiment breaking a tie rod and damaging a tire. Then there’s washboard at nearly 50 miles per hour, and finally, plowing into a “simulated wild boar” that weighs 180 pounds.

The man behind the machine clearly hasn’t forgotten how to design fast cars that protect their drivers. If Murray had given the T.50 a bit more ground clearance, it might make a decent bug-out ride for anyone who knows how to travel really light.

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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.

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Maserati teases MC20 Cielo debut for May 25

A while back, Maserati’s product roadmap penciled in an MC20 Spider to hit the market this year. In December 2021, the Modena automaker teased frontal views of the droptop supercar wearing camouflage full of fluffy clouds. In a series of Instagram posts over the last week, Maserati posted photos from the point of view of someone with an uninterrupted view skyward — the same kind of view one would experience in a convertible, say. One of the captions was, “You will admire the sky in a new way on Wednesday 25 May.” That will be the reveal date for what the automaker is now calling the Maserati MC20 Cielo, with that last word being Italian for “sky.”

Since we got no views of the rear of the camouflaged car, we have no idea what design changes we’ll see in a little more than a week. Looking closely at the photos of the camouflaged prototype, it’s clear there’s are temporary panels between behind the B-pillar all the way to the decklid spoiler. An odd feature on the prototype is a trio of ribs running from the A-pillar to the rear of the car, with the middle protrusion looking like a papered-over roof scoop. That seems like a lot of work to hide a form we’re already familiar with, and a convertible mechanism we don’t expect to hold any surprises, so we’ll see what we see on May 25.

Maserati’s usual Spider formula hasn’t traditionally altered a car’s underpinnings, so the same carbon fiber monocoque should come bolted to the same 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 making 621 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. The skylight does traditionally jack up the price, so expect to pay more than the coupe’s $210,000 MSRP. We figure the model will arrive in showrooms late this year at the earliest, an appearance in the U.S. likely in 2023. After this, we know there’s an even more powerful electric version on the way that will be the flagship of the range.

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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.  

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Pagani C10 spy photos give us a peek at the Huayra successor

It’s been about a decade since the Pagani Huayra entered the supercar market. And since then, we’ve seen myriad variants with and without removable roofs. So it’s high time that a new Pagani supercar show up. That’s exactly what we have here, at least as far as we can tell. And it certainly appears to stick to Pagani styling tradition.

The proportions of this supercar, reportedly codenamed C10, are exactly what we’ve come to expect of the brand’s machines. It has a short nose and long rear. It has a low grille with a support in the middle that blends into a triangular hood section. And the rear is wide with signature quad tailpipes in between the taillights.

Looking closer, we can see some subtle differences from the Huayra. The lower grille opening is, well, lower, looking more like that of the Zonda. The cabin area looks shorter in length. There aren’t any apparent air intakes along the car’s flanks, possibly supplanted by intakes just behind the cabin. The tail looks more Zonda-like, too. Instead of the high-set, more flowing arrangement of lights, this C10 has just two simple lights on each side in square-shaped panels.

This prototype clearly isn’t quite production-ready, based on the large amount of camouflage and prototype components such as the headlights. But we’ll be seeing the production model soon. A previous report said that the car will make its debut this year. It will apparently use a version of the twin-turbo AMG V12 also used in the Huayra, though this time it will be available with a manual transmission.

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Ferrari SF48 Unica one-off is based on the F8 Tributo

Ferrari has unveiled the SF48 Unica, the latest addition to its portfolio of customer-commissioned one-off models. Based on the F8 Tributo, the coupe was created by the Ferrari Styling Center for an anonymous client who participated in every step of the design process.

Nearly every part of the F8 Tributo‘s exterior has been redesigned. Up front, the SF48 Unica features new-look lights, a reshaped bumper with honeycomb-like inserts, and twin vents. Blacked-out a-pillars create the illusion of a wrap-around windshield. Even the door skins are specific to the model, and designers relocated an intercooler to move the engine’s air intakes down. Out back, thin rectangular lights replaced the F8’s quad round units and the rear bumper is new as well. One of the most striking styling cues is the lack of a rear window.

Creating a one-off model requires a tremendous amount of time and resources, especially because many of the changes alter the coupe’s aerodynamic profile. The SF48’s rear overhang is a little longer than the F8’s, and the extra inches increase downforce on the back wheels. Procedural-parametric modeling techniques and 3D prototyping helped the Prancing Horse’s designers make the one-of-a-kind car a reality.

Ferrari notes that the SF48’s cabin looks a lot like the F8’s, though it stopped short of releasing photos. The two cars aren’t exactly identical inside, however: the customer who commissioned the Unica requested black laser-perforated Alcantara upholstery draped over a layer of fabric that matches the body’s color, for example. Matte carbon fiber trim and Grigio Canna di Fucile accents were specified as well.

We’re guessing that no significant mechanical changes were made, meaning that power comes from a 3.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 rated at 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Mid-mounted, it spins the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission.

As is normally the case, Ferrari hasn’t revealed the identity of the SF48 Unica’s owner or how much the car cost to build.

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Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut gets its first prototype

If there is a Koenigsegg that will break through the 300-mph barrier, this is it. If there is a Koenigsegg that will be the fastest car the Swedish automaker builds, this is also it. Not long after watching the bewinged Jesko Attack dash through the snow, Koenigsegg has shown that car’s brother, the wingless and ultimately refined Absolut.

Created to go as fast as possible, company boss Christian von Koenigsegg said: “We spent thousands of hours in CFD calculations. We’ve streamlined this car from not just an aerodynamic and design perspective, but also from a high-speed stability perspective. As a result, the Jesko Absolut has a phenomenally low drag of only 0.278 Cd.”

The development model is done up in Graphite Grey with Tang Orange stripes. Remind us to ask Christian one day if that color really refers to the chemical concoction relentlessly advertised to kids decades ago as the favorite beverage of astronauts. 

To be fair to aerodynamicists around the world, we should clarify that it’s a “phenomenally” low drag figure on a relative scale. After all, cars looking to stretch gallons or kWhs of fuel do better; the Lucid Air claims a drag coefficient of 0.21 Cd, the current Mercedes-Benz S-Class a 0.24. But compared to other hypercars, the Koenigsegg is well ahead. Hennessey says its Venom F5 comes in with a drag coefficient of 0.39, the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ in Top Speed mode is 0.33 — 0.02 better than the standard Chiron — and SSC cites a figure of 0.279 for the Tuatara. If these numbers are accurate, Koenigsegg has claimed the hypercar aero crown from SSC by 0.001. Probably just a coincidence.

The Absolut’s internals almost entirely mimic those of the Attack, with a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 1,600 hp and 1,107 lb-ft. Weight savings from changes like the lack of that rear wing mean the Absolut weighs 3,064 pounds compared to the Attack’s 3,131 pounds.

Koenigsegg hasn’t given a timeline for when customer units will be ready, but it shouldn’t be long. The Attack is expected to start reaching customers this quarter.

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European dealer working with Koenigsegg on a CC12 secret project

We tuned into James Walker’s latest episode on YouTube because The Supercar Blog reported there’s a special Koenigsegg on the way called the CC12. There isn’t much known about the coming coupe, just that was supposedly commissioned by a European dealer in ultraluxurious things called Carage. Upon tuning in to the 51-minute video, we discovered that Walker talks about the CC12 for maybe ten seconds (38:47) — he doesn’t even call it by the name written on the wall next to it, and the project is so secret that his host won’t say a word about it. Here’s the thing: The episode is called “The Best Garage in the World?”, and the answer might be “Hell yes.” We showed up for one car, we stayed because of all the amazing car stuff.

We’d never heard of Carage before, a dealer with showrooms in Lucerne, Switzerland and Marbella, Spain that specializes in “modern hypercars [and] unusually sporty vintage cars.” If a line could win an award for Swiss understatement, this is it. Walker tours just some of the Swiss facility, which is five floors and nearly 54,000 feet of luxury architectural space housing many millions of dollars in cars. The Koenigsegg room is designed to create Swedish vibes. The five cars parked inside it include CC8S Chassis #002, the first customer car of the first model Koenigsegg built, one of two Trevita’s with white carbon and clearcoat with diamond dust, and the Agera Prototype Chassis #077 that was not only the development vehicle for every evolution of the Agera, it was customized with a trunk.   

There’s are a few rooms with Aston Martins (12:50) including James Bond’s DB10 (25:15), another with Ferraris, a modern Iso Rivolta (11:30), and the most magnificent tool and replacement parts sets we have ever seen (32:05) created for the Aston Martin DB4GT Continuation. Then there’s the garage, with the obligatory lifts and clean-room appearance. The garage also contains an indoor wash bay, because Carage washes every vehicle before working on it; there’s an exhaust vent on a rail that can be fitted to any vehicle in the garage; there are tire fitting and alignment machines in custom colors to match the garage; and a pump system to send used oil into a large containment tank beneath the garage. Plus the on-site carbon production and CNC machines. And other things. Carage is spectacular.

Back to that Koenigsegg CC12, though. It hasn’t been commissioned by Carage, it’s being built by Carage, CEO Kim Struve saying he’s working with Koenigsegg on the project, but he wants to show potential clientele what Carage can do. The form under the tarp looks like the CC8S that, earlier in the video, Struve says was bought “for a special project that’s going to be released in a year’s time.” But we can’t know if the two are related. What we do know is that Koenigsegg built just six examples of the CC8S, its name partly signifying the modular Ford V8 behind the cockpit. The re-engineered and supercharged 4.7-liter small block produced 646 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. The automaker switched to CCR and CCX names after the CC8, never making a CC12. Whatever Carage is up to, we’re looking forward to it, and if the 12 in the name refers to the cylinder count, all the better.

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Lamborghini builds 20,000th Huracan, looks back on eight years of production

Lamborghini is celebrating a significant milestone: It has built 20,000 examples of the Huracán, its entry-level supercar. While that number might not sound impressive, it cements the V10-powered Huracán’s positioning as the Italian firm’s best-selling supercar by a wide margin.

Finished in an eye-catching color called Grigio Acheso Matte, the 20,000th Huracán is an STO model that was built for an anonymous buyer in Monaco, so you won’t find it basking under the spotlights in Lamborghini’s official museum. Reaching the 20,000-unit mark also gives the Raging Bull the opportunity to look back on an eight-year-long production run. As of writing, 71% of Huracán buyers have chosen the coupe while 29% have selected the Spyder. The model’s main market is the United States; that’s where 32% of examples built have been sent.

Lamborghini has gone to significant lengths to keep the Huracán fresh and competitive since it started building the model in 2014. An updated variant called EVO was released for 2020; it’s available with rear- or all-wheel drive, and the aforementioned STO joined the lineup shortly after to bridge the gap between the production model and the cars that Lamborghini builds for various racing series around the world. The range grew again in 2022 with the unveiling of the Huracán Tecnica, which offers a 631-horsepower V10 engine and rear-wheel drive.

Keep in mind that the Huracán remains a niche model made by a small company that used to be even smaller; building 20,000 cars is an impressive feat. Lamborghini manufactured an average of 250 cars annually during the first four decades of its existence. Precisely 1,999 units of the Countach, one of the Raging Bull’s most emblematic models, were built during a production run that lasted for 17 years.

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Koenigsegg Jesko gets its turn to throw snow

Yes, it’s a tad bizarre to be posting winter testing videos in the middle of April, the same way it’s a little strange for it to be 38 degrees in parts of the Midwest this week. We can do without the weather, but we’ll take the videos, and here’s another — a counterpoint to a vid from a week ago. Rimac provided our last trip to northern Sweden, the Croatian hypercar maker there to test the Nevera in temperatures well colder than 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Two hours east of that, turns out Swedish hypercar maker Koenigsegg was testing its Jesko in the frozen stuff. The Swedes called their video Egg Hunt for obvious reasons, but there wasn’t much of a hunt, just a guy gathering giant neon eggs in the forest until the trail leads him to the Jesko. Seems the Swedish Easter Bunny might be way cooler than ours.

What’s cool about these two videos is they ask, “How do you like your ice dancing?” With four motors producing 1,914 horsepower and 1,741 pound-feet of torque to move 4,960 pounds, and emitting a gentle whine that can be barely heard above the soundtrack? Or with a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 1,600 hp and 1,107 lb-ft to motivate 3,130 pounds and a Battlestar Galactica wing, emitting a roar that would have had the Easter Bunny apologizing to every hibernating bear and rethinking his egg hunt strategy? Take your time deciding, there’s no wrong answer. By the way, that wing and the power figure mark this as the standard Jesko on E85. The Jesko on standard gasoline makes ‘just’ 1,200 horsepower.  

The Jesko and Nevera should be finding their way to the first customers shortly. Maybe next time they both vacation in northern Sweden, they’ll go together. That would be a 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.

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

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2023 Aston Martin DBX 707 First Drive Review | Supercar SUV

OLBIA, Sardinia – What is the definition of a supercar? It varies from generation to generation, from country to country, and from brand to brand. It’s the type of complex question that could fuel pub talk until the taps run dry. Aston Martin’s supercars have historically been the low-slung two-door kind, but the British firm submitted a different answer by releasing the 2023 Aston Martin DBX 707. It’s an SUV that serves supercar-like power, supercar-like acceleration, and a supercar-like price. Does it deserve a spot in this elite group in spite of its family-friendly proportions? I traveled to the Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia to find out.

On paper, the 707 is a DBX with a more powerful engine – that’s one way to sum it up but it’s cruelly unfair. Dig deeper and you’ll discover hundreds of changes made to differentiate the two models, both in terms of design and in terms of driving dynamics. The grille is 27% bigger (it’s not just BMW riding this train), the side skirts have been redesigned, there’s a carbon fiber spoiler attached to the top part of the hatch, and the rear bumper is now vented. One of the most striking design cues is the rear diffuser: loosely inspired by the unit fitted to the Valkyrie, it sticks out far beyond the bumper and looks ready to pick a fight with every curb that comes its way. Aston Martin told me you can still fit the 707 with a hitch, so that’s a relief. Wait: tow? With this? Certainly! Bolt that hitch on it and you can pull approximately 6,000 pounds.

While some of these tweaks are purely aesthetic, others allowed Aston Martin to hone the DBX’s aerodynamic profile. Adding splitters to the front bumper stabilizes airflow, for example, and Sam Holgate, Aston Martin’s chief designer for mid-engined models and SUVs, pointed out that the 707 has about 5% less lift than the regular DBX.

“Mainly, that came out from the front of the car by venting air out of the arches, but then we got it back with the rear spoiler, so this car is completely lift-neutral front to rear, regardless of whether you’re traveling at high or low speeds,” he told me.

In a way, the 707 is a laboratory that incorporates some of the feedback that Aston Martin has received about the DBX since production started in 2020. Buyers wanted soft-close doors; it’s got them. And, there is one improvement that Aston Martin’s engineering team is particularly proud of. “We redesigned the cupholders to take a bigger variety of cups,” said Andrew Tokley, Aston Martin’s senior manager of vehicle engineering. Customer feedback, much of it from American buyers directly shaped the new cupholders (no mention of American car reviewers). Scoff if you must, but they were surprisingly useless before.

As in the regular DBX, all of the materials that the passengers see and touch are top-notch, which you’d rightfully expect in a vehicle that goes deep into $200,000 territory. Aston Martin really sweated the details: every stitch is correctly aligned and every switch feels solid. Its heritage is rooted in luxury, after all.

The only disappointment inside – and it’s not an insignificant one – is the infotainment system. Yep, I heard you: “no one buys an Aston Martin to get a fancy touchscreen!” Fair enough, but technology has, for better or worse, become one of the yardsticks used to measure luxury cars and the DBX falls short here. It’s fitted with what’s essentially an older Mercedes-Benz infotainment system, meaning one controlled by a touchpad and a dial rather than a touchscreen. It’s bulky and unintuitive; the DBX deserves better, especially since there are some cool features and menus stuffed into the software.

Power comes from a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8. It’s the familiar eight-cylinder that Aston Martin borrowed from Mercedes-AMG to drop into several of its models, including the regular DBX, but here it’s tuned to develop 697 horsepower at 6,000 rpm (or 707 pferdestärke – hence the name) and 663 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. Enthusiasts familiar with AMG’s V8 cookbook will recognize that no in-house recipe yields these numbers, and that’s because this is a British recipe, not a German one.

“The Mercedes-Benz technology transfer agreement is very important for us, and this is one of the outcomes. We were able to make several refinements to the engine. The agreement also gives us the leverage to be much quicker to the market,” said Aston Martin boss Tobias Moers. Importantly, and this is not a coincidence, his last job was running the very company that designed the engine: AMG. His gravitational pull was strong enough to bring a few key people with him to England, including Ralph Illenberger. He’s now Aston Martin’s head of powertrain having previously been AMG’s head of engine development.

Tokley explained that some of the changes made in-house include fitting turbochargers equipped with ball bearings instead of journal bearings. Software and calibration tweaks entered the equation as well.

From the crankshaft, the V8’s cavalry reaches the four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission linked to beefy shift paddles, an active transfer case, an upsized carbon fiber driveshaft (which doesn’t have a center bearing in order to save weight), and an electronic limited-slip rear differential with a final drive ratio that’s 7% shorter than the standard DBX’s. Hitting 60 mph from a stop consequently takes 3.1 seconds, a number that becomes even more impressive when you take into account the 4,940-pound mass that the engine needs to lug around. The nine-speed automatic keeps up with the pace by delivering quick, crisp shifts, either on its own or manually. The shift paddles are even larger than those in the regular DBX, and are made of carbon fiber rather than metal. 

Aston Martin lets you choose how loudly the DBX 707 comes to life. For the standard exhaust note, simply push the “engine start/stop” button located on the dashboard, between the buttons used to put the transmission in gear. To turn it up, which I highly recommend, keep the left shift paddle pulled as you push the ignition button. The difference in decibels is perceptible, both inside and out. The V8’s song is worth turning down the audio system for, and Aston Martin spent a great deal of time fine-tuning it. Moers, a man whose love of great-sounding engines is well documented, personally weighed in on it.

Unless you’re a current Aston Martin owner, the brand’s long-standing automatic shifter location takes a little bit of time to get used to; your hand instinctively reaches for the center console. But, once you’re off, you’re off. The DBX’s acceleration is nearly instantaneous, which is surprising because the engine’s full horsepower and torque outputs aren’t available until 6,000 and 4,500 rpm, respectively. There is so much of both under your right foot that the engine curve matters far less than it does in a car with, say, 150 horsepower. At full throttle, the DBX delivers the type of gut-twisting acceleration associated with a supercar. Try launch control once, and I’ll bet the cost of my test car’s optional 23-inch wheels (that’s $5,100, by the way) that you’ll immediately stop to do it again.

The chassis improvements came to life on twisty Sardinian roads. This is not a light car, and it never feels like one, but dialing in a 52% front and 48% rear weight distribution ensures it’s not as front-heavy as you’d expect. It’s reasonably well balanced, especially considering the segment that it competes in. The air suspension and 48-volt anti-roll control keep body motions in check, and the massive tires unlock a reassuring (and almost supernatural!) level of grip. Bend after bend, the DBX 707 delights with precise, well-weighted steering … until I come out of a sharp right-hander, foot half-buried in the throttle, and realize I’m barreling towards a group of goats chilling in the middle of the road. That’s where the standard carbon ceramic braking system comes in. Rest assured: the DBX passed the goat avoidance test with flying colors.

On straighter, faster roads where the odds of encountering cheese-producing livestock are lower, the DBX 707 is a pleasant and comfortable car to cruise in. Like the regular DBX, actually, the 707’s wild side is entertaining, but it knows how to be calm when the occasion calls for it. It’s also quiet thanks in part to remarkably thick windows. Only the V8’s song permeates the cabin. Some of it comes from the speakers, though Tokley stresses that the actual exhaust note is being piped through rather than a fake sound emitted by a synthesizer. For the braver souls among us, there’s an off-road mode that increases the ground clearance.

Due out in the second quarter of 2022, the 2023 Aston Martin DBX 707 starts at $239,086 including a massive $3,086 destination charge, and the $300,000 threshold is effortlessly reached when you begin ticking option boxes – my tester cost $291,586. At this stage, what are you really cross-shopping the DBX 707 with? Any of the other family haulers that cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars, sure, but you could also get a used Cessna or buy a cabin in a picturesque part of the Alps and a four-wheel-drive Dacia Duster to get there. That’s the point: the heart crushes the brain in this equation. No one needs a 697-horsepower SUV, but the acceleration, the sound, the design, and the luxury make you want one. Cast in this light, ground clearance and seat count be damned: the DBX 707 is a modern supercar.

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Ferrari F8 Tributo order books already closed

With everything else going on, well, everywhere, it’s easy to forget about that sensational little number known as the Ferrari F8 Tributo. The coupe isn’t even three years old, the Spider barely two, and word has come down they won’t be in production for much more than another year. Automotive News Europe reported last month that Ferrari stopped taking orders for the duo. The folks in Modena didn’t offer any reason, but Ferrari Australasia told Australian outlet Drive that the F8 is off the menu because of “the volume of orders received,” and that “currently there are no plans to recommence orders for either model.”

The automaker’s mid-engined supercar line is without a non-hybrid V8 for the first time in nearly 50 years when the 308 GTB appeared in 1975. The only place to get an unelectrified V8 in Maranello is the Roma or the Portofino M, placed down in front. The powertrain flow chart for mid-engined cars now forks up to the SF90 Stradale PHEV and down to the 296 GTB PHEV. Both outdo the 711-horsepower 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8 in the F8 for output, the SF90’s 4.0-liter V8 and three electric motors good for 986 hp, the 296 GTB’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and single electric motor spinning out 819 hp.  

We could consider the 296 GTB the F8’s successor, but Ferrari hasn’t said anything about such positioning. 

With Ferrari CEO CEO Benedetto Vigna telling analysts his firm is working through “the strongest ever order book in its history,” with enough demand to keep lines busy “well into 2023,” it’s unlikely the F8 will get another chance at life. It’s also unlikely the car will get the same kind of hardcore variant that has elevated its predecessors going back to the 360 Challenge Stradale

Although the Australasia spokesperson told Drive “the brand will re-evaluate [F8 production] again at a later date,” we don’t see much coming of it. The Purosangue is due shortly, the new SUV a lock to become Ferrari’s most popular vehicle, perhaps pushing the overall order backlog into 2024.

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Deus Automobiles’ Vayanne electric hypercar headed to NYC

It feels a smidge heretical to say, “Oh man, another electric hypercar. From what country this time? (Sigh…)” But here we are, and here’s another electric hypercar hailing from Vienna, Austria — a first-time national entry in the segment that will offer more choice above six figures than there are cars costing less than $20,000 in the States. The company is called Deus Automobiles, not to be confused with the Australian motorcycle and cafe brand. In this case, the name is because it wants customers to anticipate “divinity,” and the first of its planned “ultra-limited” and “timeless” products is called the Vayanne, pronounced vy-ahn. Deus claims it is “an exclusive brand born from the unique technical partnership with Italdesign and Williams Advanced Engineering, ready to shape the future of 100% electric and luxury hypercars.”

We don’t know what that means, but we’ll see the first fruits at the New York Auto Show next month. Based on the 13-second video and a few teaser shots, the Vayanne bears quite a few traits one would expect of a mid-engined super sports car, like a trio of mesh-filled intakes in front, mesh-filled rear fender intakes, and a rear fascia with even more mesh. The photo gallery below includes three shots from Deus, two of which have been brightened for a better view of the details. Our guess is that the intakes mainly serve aero purposes, especially in front; the hood looks like little more than a vent to usher that front intake air over the body in a clean sweep.

We also don’t know who’s behind Deus, but other outlets have reported that Deus was “part of a group of businesses with more than 30 years success in industries ranging from publishing to packaging.” This would make sense, as the Vayanne looks like a packaging exercise. A year ago, Williams Advanced Engineering announced a modular electric vehicle platform called EVX it created with Italdesign to be a “complete, high-performance EV solution.” According to WAE, after buying the platform, it “is ready for customization by the Italdesign styling team who will shape the final vehicle to match the brand’s requirements in terms of marketing positioning, design direction etc.”

The EVX architecture can fit batteries of 104, 120, or 160 kWh and power motors of up to 1,341 horsepower, or a round 1,000 kilowatts. We expect to find out which battery has gone underneath the Vayanne’s bodywork and how much power comes on tap when the debut takes place at 1 p.m. EDT April 13.

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