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Lamborghini Huracan STO First Drive Review | No shortage of show

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

And then there’s the 2022 Lamborghini Huracan STO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lamborghini Countach LP 500 prototype reconstruction baptized on track

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

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

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

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Bugatti begins winding down Chiron production

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Officine Fioravanti Testarossa is subtle and sensational

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

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

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

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

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

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Tour the Venom F5 with Hennessey’s design director

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporting by J. Fingas for Engadget.

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All of the Bond cars of ‘No Time To Die’ (caution for spoilers)

Note: The following overview of the cars in No Time To Die contains spoilers. Read at your own risk, or come back after seeing the film to make sure you caught everything.

No Time To Die picks up right around where Spectre leaves us. James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) are driving along in Bond’s restored and iconic DB5 in Matera, Italy. Things don’t stay all that cheery for long in picturesque Matera, though. As is tradition in Bond films, the first car chase hits us with an explosion of action in what’s a super-long opening scene.

Fourth-gen Maserati Quattroporte: The baddies in the beginning are driving a Maserati and chasing after Bond in the DB5. Specifically, they’re in a fourth-gen Quattroporte, which feels right for a chase scene in Italy. Its squared-off looks are mean enough, and its Italian growl is a good background soundtrack to the DB5’s inline-six.

In addition to the Quattroporte, the chase scene in Matera is home to a couple of the best stunts of the entire movie, including the arch jump done with a Triumph motorcycle seen in trailers — Matera is extremely hilly.

Eventually, Bond and Swann find themselves in the DB5 again together, which is where the famous gatling gun scene from the trailer commences, but not before the bulletproof windows and body of the DB5 are thoroughly tested. RIP to the first-gen Range Rover Classics and Jaguar XFs that joined the Maserati in pursuit of Bond (here’s a list of other Bond cars over the years).

As the DB5 escape scene concludes, we catch a glimpse of what appears to be a Ferrari from the 1970s. However, the view was far enough away that we’ll need a second look to be sure of the exact model.

Land Rover Series III: Next time we see Bond, he’s fishing in Jamaica and driving around a blue Land Rover Series III. It’s yet another of the many Land Rover products featured throughout the film, and unlike most of Bond’s Aston Martins, this one doesn’t seem to have any unique features. The other intriguing vehicle out of Jamaica? An old Chevrolet Bel-Air expertly and effectively piloted by Bond newcomer, Ana de Armas.

Next up, we get a few shots of the new and still-not-for-sale Aston Martin Valhalla mid-engine supercar (also seen in trailers). Bond’s old boss M is in the scene which appears to have been shot in some secret wind tunnel of sorts. Much to our dismay, nobody ends up driving the Valhalla in the film. Could it be a teaser for what the next 007’s car is? There’s a decent chance of that, considering the Valhalla played such a small role in this Bond film.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage: Boy were we happy to see the original V8 Vantage from the late 1970s and 1980s make an appearance. In fact, it made multiple appearances throughout the film. It’s difficult to get a more badass combo than Daniel Craig behind the wheel of a blacked-out Aston Martin Mustang.

Off-road vehicles aplenty: As seen on several trailers, things take a turn to the off-road side of things with flying Land Rover Defenders — Land Rover even made special James Bond versions of the SUV. Bond wasn’t behind the wheel of any of these Defenders, though. Instead, he pilots a Toyota Land Cruiser in the Norway portion of the film as he’s pursued by Range Rover Sport SVRs and Defender V8s with double the horsepower. Plus, Triumph motorcycles are back again for the two-wheel enthusiasts in this bumpy chase scene.

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: The stunning and still relatively new DBS Superleggera rocks up to the party in Norway, too, quickly showing everybody its bonkers 715-horsepower V12 is nothing to sneeze at. This two-seat Aston is piloted by Nomi, Bond’s 007 replacement, and she’s clearly gone through the same secret agent driving training that Bond did.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where we’ll leave you without getting too spoiler-heavy. There are plenty of classic Bond gadgets and gizmos throughout the film. Plus, a bizarre plane/submarine combo vehicle makes an appearance at some point. In short, though, the cars of Daniel Craig’s last Bond film don’t disappoint, and neither do the stunts. 

There is plenty for car enthusiasts to ogle at when No Time To Die opens in theaters on October 8.

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

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

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

Autoblog Podcast #696

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Nissan GT-R T-spec comes with a Godzilla green interior

It seems rather late in the year to reveal a 2021 model, but Nissan has just dropped a new variant of its GT-R supercar. Called the T-spec, it’s a limited production variant of Godzilla positioned above the GT-R Premium model. It comes in a couple of throwback colors from the GT-R’s extensive history, as well as a green interior that is, frankly, awesome.

While the T-spec soldiers on with the same 565 horsepower, 467 lb-ft twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 that the GT-R has had since its 2017 update, the car does feature a number of upgrades to set it apart from the standard GT-R. For one, the front fenders are wider units last seen on the 2020 Track Edition. Behind them lurk brake air guides and carbon-ceramic rotors from the harder-core GT-R Nismo. A carbon-fiber rear spoiler rounds out the changes that would have any effect on performance.

You’ll be able to identify the T-spec cars by their black hood ducts, color-matched mirrors, and Rays forged aluminum alloy 20-inchers finished in a gold exclusive to T-spec cars. Naturally, badges identifying it as such can be found on the grille, rear, center console, and door sills.

As an homage to its predecessors, the T-spec comes in two colors not available on lesser GT-Rs, Midnight Purple and Millennium Jade. The former was introduced on the 1995-98 Skyline GT-R, known by its chassis code as the R33 generation. Variations of the color were brought back twice for the following R34 generation, each time released as a limited edition.

Millennium Jade, on the other hand, was exclusive to the 2002 Nür edition cars, named after the Nürburgring where Nissan tested the GT-Rs (and held a long-standing production car lap record) long before every automaker and their mother were comparing lap times. The Nür cars were the last Skyline GT-Rs until the R35 burst onto the scene in 2008.

Inside, Nissan is introducing a new color called Mori Green, and it is fantastic. The automotive kingdom desperately needs more green interiors that resemble my parents’ Chevy land yacht from the early 1970s, and boy does this cabin deliver. A forest-y green adorns the semi-aniline leather-appointed seating, while soft-touch surfaces atop the dash give off a more grayish appearance. A unique quilted headliner rounds out the T-spec differences in the interior.

Curiously, Nissan USA’s press release describes it as a 2021 model year car, while Nissan Japan describes it as a 2022 model year car. We’re not sure if this is a typo, or if it spells out something more ominous about the future of the U.S. market GT-R. After all, the GT-R is rumored to have a hard production stop sometime next year, after which a redesign might bow. We’ve reached out to Nissan for clarification and will update the article if we learn more.

In Japan, the T-spec is limited to 100 cars, with potential customers being determined by lottery. Nissan hasn’t said how many will be sold stateside, except that it is a limited production vehicle with a “very limited” number to be made available. GT-R T-specs will cost $140,285 including a $1,795 destination fee when it goes on sale this winter alongside the previously announced, $217,485 GT-R Nismo Special Edition.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There will be a third-generation NSX, says Acura V.P.

The second-generation Acura NSX might be going out in a blaze of glory, but it won’t be the last we see of the supercar. This promise comes directly from Acura Vice President and Brand Officer Jon Ikeda. Furthermore, Ikeda implied that the next version might be electric.

Ikeda divulged thoughts about a third-gen NSX while being interviewed by The Drive and Motor Trend. To the former, he explained Acura’s mission with the the mid-engined supercar. “We make an NSX when there’s something we want to say. The first-gen was gas. Second-gen was a hybrid. There’s gonna be another one.” Unless Ikeda is talking about hydrogen or some kind of heretofore undisclosed technology like  Mr. Fusion, this pretty much means electric.

That means the NSX is likely to take another hiatus after the Type S closes out the 2022 model year. Between the first and second generations, the halo sports car had an 11-year absence on the market. Ikeda laid out the reasons for the nameplate’s 2016 return when he spoke to Motor Trend. “Honda is one of the biggest gasoline engine makers in the world and needed to see what will happen in a world turning away from engines,” he explained. It was always meant to be a halo car. “We didn’t go into it to make a lot of money,” he stated.

The second generation had a much shorter lifespan than the game-changing first gen. That one spanned one and a half decades, from 1990 to 2005. The current generation, once it exits stage left in 2022, will have only had a six-year run.

One could argue that the first gen overstayed its welcome, though. After thoroughly turning the supercar world on its ear, by forcing Ferrari et al to reconsider their engineering, the NSX’s competitors quickly caught up to Honda’s lead. While the NSX did undergo a couple of major changes during its first lifespan, by the time it left the market it was more of a dwindle.

Acura is determined not to let that happen with the current NSX. In this case, they’re sending it off with the most powerful iteration yet, a 600-horsepower Type S with reworked turbos, cooling system and aerodynamics and limiting production to 350 worldwide. Ikeda told Motor Trend, “We didn’t want to let the NSX die on the vine either. To go quietly into the night is not what it deserves.”

11 exotic cars seized by Indian authorities for tax evasion

On Sunday, road transport officials in India intercepted a convoy of 15 supercars out for a drive in Hyderabad. By the time the traffic stop had ended, 11 of the luxury and sports cars had been seized. Cars involved included those made by Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Maserati.

According to The Times of India, the 11 confiscated vehicles were impounded on charges of tax evasion. In India, the so-called “life tax” applies to all motor vehicles, but each state levies their own rates. In Telangana state, where the 6.8 million-large city of Hyderabad is located, taxes are more expensive than other states.

The seized cars – estimated by The Times to be worth between $500,000 and $1.3 million a piece – were registered in states where the life tax rates are cheaper, the article reports, while authorities say that the cars had been operating on Hyderabad’s roads. Authorities had been following the cars on CCTV for six months prior to Sunday’s traffic stop. In addition to the tax issues, some of the cars had outstanding traffic violations as well.

“They have been living and playing in Hyderabad. We have enough evidence for it,” said Papa Rao, the enforcement team leader who led the seizure. Rao had another message for those who might be bankrolling the drivers. “We are also requesting the parents of the youngsters to ensure that these youngsters do not speed.” According to the news outlet, the drivers were between 25 and 35 years old.

In recent years, there’s been talk in India of creating a single, country-wide road tax. While the move will help reduce confusion for car buyers, one of the goals is also to close the loophole of paying taxes in states with lower rates.

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2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Mega Gallery | Take a tour of the show

The 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is over, and we have all the photos you might want to see from the overcast affair. And in case you missed the news, the winner was the 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahnkurier.

That said, the gallery above features the wide range of cars sitting on the Sunday lawn. You’ll see a little bit of everything from a gaggle of Porsche 917 racecars to Lamborghini Countachs and the most exotic new supercars of 2021. Plus, there’s no shortage of pre-war classics if you came here for the traditional old guard.

In case you wanted to see action beyond the Pebble Beach Concours, we’ve got you covered there, too. The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering happened the day previous, and there’s an entire gallery’s worth of cars to check out in that post, too. So go ahead and sit back with your morning cup of joe and enjoy the pretty sights. We can guarantee it’ll be worth the scroll through above.

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

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

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

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

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

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Bugatti Bolide gets a 40-unit production run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autoblog Podcast #691

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3D-printed Czinger 21C supercar breaks Laguna Seca lap record

Los Angeles-based supercar builder Czinger claims to have broken a Laguna Seca lap record with a prototype of its 21C. The time of 1:25:44 is said to have been set by driver Joel Miller, and eclipses the old track record of 1:27.62, set by Randy Pobst in a McLaren Senna.

The time would seem to back up the ambitious specs laid out by the supercar startup. The strong hybrid electric is powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V8 and dual electric motors for an output of 1,331 horsepower. The entire car will weigh less than 2,800 pounds, putting 0-62 times at what the company says is just 1.9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 268 mph.

The Czinger was engineered to be built via 3D-printing, allowing for dramatically shortened development times and cost savings. Advantages include being able to produce, say, a suspension arm without having to manufacture the tooling first. Still, each tandem-seater supercar takes 3,000 to 4,000 hours to make.

Only 80 units will be made, for a price of about $1.7 million. Included in that tally is a more track-oriented widebody version. The car was supposed to be shown to the public in 2020, first at its Geneva Motor Show debut, and then at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but both of those events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the downtime, however, Czinger says they’ve been making incremental improvements to the car.

Production has been delayed, partially due to the chip shortage caused by the pandemic. After 21C production ends, Czinger says they’re looking to offer three additional models. Some will utilize what they’ve learned in making the 21C for a lower-priced model.

The Laguna Seca lap record proves that the car has solid design behind it. We look forward to seeing what production looks like when it begins in 2022.

McCall Motorworks Revival Photos | Monterey kicks off with fancy airport party

Yesterday, the McCall’s Motorworks Revival happened, for the 30th time no less, kicking off Monterey Car Week. Which is another way of saying it happened before most people showed up. 

So what is it? Fancy cars parked among fancy planes while fancy people walk about with fancy food and cocktails. This differs from other Monterey events, such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, in that it takes place at an airport rather than a golf course. It’s also more of an evening affair than a garden party, complete with a DJ, a band and dancing. Oh, and the cars are less impressive. That, admittedly, says more about the prime metal displayed elsewhere, especially at Pebble. There’s still a lot to ogle, even if you didn’t get to enjoy the fancy food and cocktails. We dispatched ace photographer Drew Phillips to take it all in and to put down an offer for us on that Citation Longitude. 

Amongst the new cars on display, most brought there by their manufacturers, we see a Corvette Stingray, Lucid Air, Aston Martin DBX, Land Rover Defender, Polestar 1, Hennessey Venom F5, Ruf 911s, and a big showing by Ford with a GT500, a Mustang Mach-E, a Bronco and multiple GTs. Two were done up to match an original parked alongside it, while the Bronco flanked an original prototype from 1966. Neat. Hopefully no one spilled Perrier Jouet on it. 

Classics? There were aplenty, but frankly, we’re most fond of the two VW buses: one towing the No. 22 1957 Denzel 1300SS Roadster in front of that Citation Longitude and another from Meyers Manx supporting an adorable flying boat with “Smiles for Miles” written on the side. Now that’s the kind of private plane I could get behind.  

Pininfarina Battista production car revealed to kick off Monterey Car Week

The Pininfarina Battista is officially here in production form. Pininfarina released the first images and video of the production car today, tooling around Southern California roads ahead of it being displayed during Monterey Car Week.

There are no additional specs or figures available beyond what has already been announced. The Battista will produce 1,900 horsepower from its four electric motors, have a range of about 280 miles on a full charge and hit 60 mph in “under 2 seconds.” Those in Monterey will have a chance to see the exposed carbon bodywork in person for the first time. Plus, potential clients will be provided the opportunity to go for a ride.

It’s not just this single Battista that will be shown, either. Pininfarina says it will also be debuting a Battista Anniversario. This special edition of the Battista will have “aerodynamic enhancements and tailored detailing producing a uniquely dynamic personality.” It will also be limited to just five total vehicles worldwide. Seeing it at Monterey may be the first and last chance you get to ever lay eyes on one.

The one nugget of information Pininfarina gave us today besides the new photos is detail on the Battista’s sound. It takes after a sound philosophy conceived by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Any multiple of 432 Hz is said to be a “pure sound” according to Verdi, so Pininfarina used 54 Hz (a multiplier of 432) as the core frequency of noise for the Battista. As you accelerate, the frequency will continue to increase in multiples of 54 Hz to keep the in-cabin sound pure and consistent with Verdi’s principles. How very Italian.

“Every driver has an emotional bond with a car, and the sound of Battista will nurture this connection, not by replicating a familiar car sound, but with one that radiates the beauty of Battista’s design both inside and out,” says René Wollmann, product platform director for sports cars at Automobili Pininfarina. “This way, the Battista will not only impress with its aesthetic appeal and performance, but also on a new emotional level enhanced through the sound. We look forward to the input we will receive from clients in the U.S. as we fine-tune Battista’s sonic experience.”

We’ll look forward to hearing the sound ourselves one day. For now, the wait is on to see the ultra-exclusive Battista Anniversario. Look out for more Pininfarina news soon as Monterey Car Week revs up.

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