All posts in “performance”

Aston Martin makes the DB11 and its configurator more powerful

Aston Martin sold 4,150 cars last year, but the luxury automaker said its configurator served up more than two million specification sessions. Going with the overwhelming numbers, for 2022 Aston Martin has focused on “the customer journey” for imminent and aspirational buyers by rolling out a new and highly featured configurator. At last, the firm greets potential customers and the merely curious with the kind of luxury one expects of the brand. This is especially important for a company working through its Project Horizon turnaround, and also because, as the official Safety Car and Medical Car sponsor of Formula 1, traffic to Aston Martin’s web site spikes every time its Vantage and DBX are called out on track during races.  

The configurator’s been built using Epic Game’s Unreal engine, a digital creation tool building portals for everything from real estate to fashion, supplemented by Nvidia GTX graphics. In the present Phase One, visitors can place their chosen model in studio or outdoor environments, with daytime or nighttime lighting, and get high-res, zoomed-in beauty shots of their their vehicle details. Yet while Aston Martin poured new features into the configurator, it has reorganized and simplified the site’s use. For instance, individual elements such as exterior paint are broken into six color groupings like Blacks & Greys and Bronzes & Oranges, providing users a glimpse at the range of hues on offer without overwhelming them into analysis paralysis.

The surfeit of choice carries on inside, naturally — there are eleven carpet colors on offer and 12 shades of headliner. The simplifying rationalization carries on in the cabin, too, with three themes available to establish a quick baseline for personalization. The starter theme is called Create, showcasing ornate stitching on the seat bolsters, perforated, patterned seatbacks, door cards, and arm rest. Next up is Accelerate, which “will appeal to customers who wish for a more focused interior.” This one puts Alcantara all over, notably on the entire seat faces and bolsters, with leather trimming the seat sides and headrests. Create and Accelerate can be had in ten colors in monotone and duotone arrangements. Inspire, the topmost theme and “the epitome of luxury,” can be had in 38 colors and in monotone, duotone, and light duotone. This one comes with “the very best of material and color choices,” even more ornate stitching and broguing, trim inlays, and — get this — seatback veneers for anyone diminutive enough to curl into the back seat of one of the coupes to enjoy them. 

As to the objects of configuration, Aston Martin has made a few tweaks to next year’s lineup. The DBX, which has provided half of the company’s sales so far this year, adds wireless charging and a new 23-inch wheel. The coupe formerly known as the DBS Superleggera becomes just DBS, and the V12 DB11 AMR sheds its AMR suffix, but nothing else. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 in the DB11 gets a 24-horsepower boost to 527 hp, and a higher 192-mph top speed. Drivers intending to use all of that puissance should option the new Sport Plus Seats which provide more shoulder, torso, and leg support. Finally, the DBS and DB11 can be had with new 21-inch wheel designs. 

The configurator is live now and has reported for service. Enjoy.

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Here’s the first Pininfarina Battista customer car

Pininfarina continues its slow drip of news about the electric Battista hypercar today with details about the personalization program and photos of the first Battista commissioned.

Above, you can see the Battista in question. Pininfarina didn’t reveal who the client was, but did say that the car’s appearance is “inspired by New York City.” The dominating exterior element is carbon fiber done in Iconica Blu thread. The carbon fiber is black, of course, but Pininfarina uses the Iconica Blu thread in it to make the car appear blue. It’s a rather dark shade of blue, but you can easily see the black carbon fiber weave underneath the paint, providing an extra pop. It drifts heavily into the ‘Murica theme with the red “Exterior Jewellery Pack” adorning the windows and side sills. Plus it also has hand-painted white stripes, adding some sparkle to the exterior. Pininfarina says the white paint for those stripes is named Bianco Sestiere Metallic.

The wheels are done in Dark Matt Grey and have a black center-lock ring to match the roof, rear diffuser and wing. Its final touch is a light-up Pininfarina logo in front made of brushed and polished anodized aluminum. Just like the owner of this Battista, anybody who orders one will get to personalize it from nose to tail. Pininfarina says its customization program allows for a total of 128 million combinations, so there shouldn’t be any Battistas that are exactly alike. You’ll choose from numerous paint finishes, carbon fiber bodywork, different exterior trims and so on.

Pininfarina didn’t show photos of this car’s interior, but it says the car will have black leather upholstery with Iconica Blu Alcantara inserts to match the exterior’s blue-and-black combo. Iconica Blu stitching is matched with more red and white stitching. Plus, it gets white seatbelts and the same Iconica Blu thread on the back of the carbon fiber seats. 

There are very few stones left unturned — even the chassis plate engravings can be customized to whatever you’d like. Only 150 Battistas will ever be built, says Pininfarina, and every single one of them will have the owner go through a customization process that puts them at the actual location of production — the Cambiano facility — to make all of their build decisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The next Nissan GT-R will reportedly be pure ICE

A new report coming out of Japan says that the Nissan GT-R will be a pure internal combustion engine model. That’s an unexpected turn, as it was widely believed that the current generation, called the R35, would be succeeded by an electrified R36 of some kind.

Instead, according to a Best Car report, the next GT-R will be a heavily reworked version of the R35. It’s a template many carmakers are turning to these days if they still want to offer a low-volume performance model at a reasonable price — see Subaru BRZ, Dodge Charger, Lexus IS, and Nissan’s own Z.

It had been reported that Kazutoshi Mizuno, the top engineer behind the GT-R, had been developing a mild hybrid version of Godzilla as the R36. However, Mizuno retired from Nissan, delaying that version’s progress. Still, the R35’s end-of-production date in 2022 was said to be a hard stop, so it seemed as if there would be a hiatus where the GT-R skipped at least one model year before the R36 was ready.

Now, according to Best Car, the R36 will continue as a pure gasoline-powered car, picking right up where the R35 leaves off in early 2023. There will be no gap in GT-R model years like the long absence between the R34 and R35.

The article also states that a gasoline-only GT-R might be made possible due to Nissan’s strong position in EV and e-Power hybrid sales. Fuel economy and emissions savings on those fronts can help balance the GT-R bringing down the average in fleet calculations.

Of course, if true, this doesn’t mean the R36 will stay gasoline-only for long, especially if the generation lasts as long as the R35. We can expect continuous improvements as Nissan has done with the current gen, and it’s not a long shot to assume electrification during its lifespan.

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Editors’ Picks June 2021 | Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sorento, McLaren 720S and more

A mix of crossovers and family cars were awarded Editors’ Picks status this month. Plus, we got into a Porsche and a McLaren that share in the accolades. We finally spent some quality time in the Kia Carnival, too, which was the only minivan missing from our minivan-heavy month of Editors’ Picks back in March. There were some near misses, with none closer than the updated Nissan Pathfinder.

In case you missed our previous couple Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get Editors’ Pick status. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in May that earned the honor of being an Editors’ Pick.

2022 Hyundai Tucson

Quick take: The new Tucson is a design marvel for the compact crossover segment, and its wide range of powertrains combined with big utility means it has the usefulness to be a great family car.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Subaru Forester, VW Tiguan, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain

Pros: Unique and attractive styling, wide range of powertrains, packed with tech

Cons: Thrashing base engine, lack of volume knob

From the editors:

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “I was really impressed by my brief time behind the wheel of the new Tucson. It’s comfortable, quiet and (in hybrid form) surprisingly peppy and responsive. Hyundai really nailed the interior too. I smell a winner.”

In-depth analysis: 2022 Hyundai Tucson First Drive Review | A bold leap forward


2022 Kia Carnival

Quick take: This minivan wins big in the style and interior tech department. It’s super smooth and comfortable to drive, but the lack of powertrain options is disappointing. No matter, the numerous positives win out.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Chrysler Pacifica HybridChrysler PacificaToyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey

Pros: Superb design, luxurious interior, excellent tech and driver assistance features

Cons: No hybrid or AWD option, VIP seats clunky for family use

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I and my friends had more fun in this minivan than any before, and that’s totally thanks to the epic, reclining VIP second row seats. This van is more than just fancy seats, though. It drives super smoothly, has top-notch tech and a design that has every other minivan beat.”

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “In the right trims, the Carnival looks really neat. It’s a great minivan for hauling people in comfort and — dare I say — luxury. Excellent driver assistance technology makes things easier on the pilot, too. The 3.5-liter V6 is a great engine, but the lack of a more economical offering and no available all-wheel drive feel like missed opportunities to appeal to more customers.”

In-depth analysis: 2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Review | The stylish one


2021 Kia Sorento

Quick take: The new Sorento is considerably more stylish than the last generation, and packed with the latest tech. A compact but usable third row provides practicality, and the more rugged X-Line versions add utility to this solid crossover.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru Ascent, GMC Acadia

Pros: Perky powertrains, attractive looks, high-tech interior

Cons: X-Line’s ride suffers, subpar interior materials quality

From the editors:

Senior Editor, Green John Beltz Snyder — “I spent hours wandering the snowy country backroads in this thing, enjoying the comfort and tech. When the roads dried up, the gutsy 2.5-liter turbo-four made running errands much more entertaining. I’ve already recommended this new Sorento to friends with kids for its space, safety and Kia’s excellent warranty.”

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “That turbocharged 2.5-liter really is amazing with how much torque it produces, and how you don’t have to wait for the turbo to kick in. It’s also super stylish and gives you a lot for your money. I just wish it handled better and had a more composed ride.”

In-depth analysis: 2021 Kia Sorento Review | What’s new, price, hybrid fuel economy, pictures


2021 Porsche Panamera

Quick take: The Panamera in virtually every form drives brilliantly, has a useful, pretty interior and features attractive styling. Its biggest downside is value, as many other luxury sedans and wagons are significantly cheaper in comparison.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Audi A7 (S7 and RS 7), BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door, Maserati Quattroporte

Pros: A performance level for everyone, stellar handling, pretty wagon variant

Cons: Sedan has average looks, shockingly expensive, poor value with options

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “Another fantastic Porsche. Big surprise. Stuttgart can’t miss these days, and every version of the Panamera I’ve tried makes a great argument as the one to buy. Still, I’m partial to the Sport Turismo, because wagons rock.”

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “It’s really hard to articulate just how much smaller the Panamera feels compared to other similarly sized sport sedans. More clinical than an AMG or BMW M, it’s amazingly buttoned down and rewarding to drive fast.”

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “If it weren’t for the Panamera’s huge sticker prices, it would be just about the perfect all-around car, especially the plug-in hybrid ones. They offer staggering performance that’s accessible and fun, and will even let you tackle short commutes gas-free.”

In-depth analysis: 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S First Drive | S is for ‘spicy’


2021 McLaren 720S

Quick take: Even years after its debut, the 720S is still a performance masterpiece. We’d take it in either Coupe or Spider form. The handling, acceleration and drivability is difficult to beat, even compared to other fantastic supercars.

Score: 8

What it competes with: Ferrari F8 Tributo, Lamborghini Huracan Evo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Audi R8 V10 Plus

Pros: Mind-melting acceleration, top-notch handling, proper supercar looks

Cons: Seat controls are annoying, poor infotainment system, lack of storage

From the editors:

Associate Editor Byron Hurd — “This is a 3,200 pound go-kart with Hellcat-level power and yet it’s a complete teddy bear in normal driving. The interior is a bit sparse but still charming in an Alfa Romeo 4C kind of way, and man does it move. One of the most impressive things I’ve ever experienced.”

Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski — “There’s no doubt that the McLaren 720S is the fastest car I’ve ever been handed the keys to for a days-long test on the open road. Its acceleration can only be described as brutal. Sure, its interior trim may not compare favorably with the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, but its engineering certainly does.”

In-depth analysis: McLaren 720S Spider First Drive Review | Absolutely corrupted by power


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Lamborghini’s Aventador replacement will receive a new V12 engine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dallara EXP is a track-only toy based on the Stradale road car

Dallara just revealed a new sports car, but this one is for the track, unlike the road-focused Stradale. It’s called the Dallara EXP, and it’s what happens when you remove all road-going intentions from the Stradale.

You can see that there is no roof, and there isn’t a windshield either. Its design is heavily modified with high downforce in mind. There’s still a little Stradale in there, but most of the bodywork is modified to make it stick to the ground through corners. Visually, we can see a massive rear wing, a totally new front end and an enormous diffuser among many other added elements. Dallara says it produces 2,756 pounds of downforce at its top speed of 178 mph.

The neat thing about this Stradale-to-EXP exterior turnabout is that the entire package is modular. You can transform the EXP into the Stradale and back again if you so choose. Buyers in the U.S. are better off just sticking with the EXP configuration, though, because the Stradale is not federalized. That means the EXP will be for track-use-only here.

The Ford 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is still being used as the power source, but it’s making significantly more power than it does in the Stradale. Output is raised to 492 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, and the 0-62 mph time is now 3.2 seconds. Shifting is done via a six-speed sequential gearbox. Dallara claims a dry weight of only 1,962 pounds, the true key to making the EXP as good as it is.

And that’s all Dallara is saying for now. Dallara claims its car laps Mugello in Italy quicker than GT3 competition cars, so there’s no doubt it’s a serious performer. Pricing isn’t out yet, and timing isn’t either. For some perspective, though, the street Stradale sells for about $200,000 (approximate U.S. dollar equivalent) in the places where you can buy it.

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2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet Road Test Review | The supercar as defined by the 911

If you can afford a supercar, do you want it to be a Porsche 911? That’s the question you ask yourself when considering the merits of the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet. Do you want one of the highest evolutions of the 911 as opposed to a loaded Audi R8, Lamborghini Huracan Evo or something else exotic? It’s a lot for the fortunate to consider.

Short of the race-bred GT3 line, the Turbos are as much Porsche 911 as anyone could ever desire. As one of my colleagues notes, the Turbos themselves are basically racecars, though he only tested the “regular” Turbo. I spent a week blasting around town top down (mostly) in the Turbo S. With 640 hp and a sprint to 60 time of 2.7 seconds, it’s the variant you simply can’t catch.

The high performance efficacy of the Turbo S comes from the 3.7-liter boxer six-cylinder, which produces a stunning 60 hp more than the previous generation. Torque is up 37 lb-ft to 590, helping the S shave 0.2 seconds off its 60-mph run. The Cabriolet is only a tenth slower. They both have top speeds of 205 mph. Additionally, Porsche’s Traction Management All-Wheel Drive system can send 368 lb-ft to the front wheels, depending on conditions. 

The unit is part of a new family of Porsche engines, and it has a new air intake system, larger intercoolers and larger symmetrical turbochargers than found in the old Turbo S. The intercoolers were moved from the rear fenders to right behind the engine to increase cooling 13%. The air filters are now in the fenders and there are two more air vents underneath the deck wing. The direct-injection system has Piezo injectors, which Porsche says increase output and responsiveness. The engine’s bones are found in the 3.0-liter 911 and a lesser-powered version is under the hood of the 911 Turbo (572 hp, 554 lb-ft). The Turbo S powerplant teams with the eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission, and the lofty top speed is reached in sixth gear.

The 2021 Turbo S features evolutionary new looks based on functionality. There’s a new rear wing, new front end and LED matrix-style headlights. The Turbo S isn’t a dramatic departure from its predecessor, but it’s 1.65 inches wider up front and 0.39 inches wider in back, with wider tires and front air vents, creating a more defined stance.

The Turbo S is now considerably more capable, and its looks reflect those chops. Still, our test car casts a subtle vibe, clad in Gentian Blue Metallic paint with a black cloth roof. The forged center-lock black wheels (20 inches in front, 21 in rear) have a polished gray 10-spoke design, and even the brake calipers are polished black, lending an understated feel to the aesthetic. Similarly, the truffle brown leather interior with chalk-colored stitching has a mellow feel with patterns that Porsche says recall the 930 Turbo. The optional Burmeister sound system ($3,980) with silver speaker covers accents the cabin and produces a dulcet sound.

Driving the Turbo S Cabrio is a mix of emotional and mechanical impulses. Porsches demand and reciprocate precision through engagement, and the steering immediately communicates a sense of the car’s exacting nature. Same with the brakes, which are carbon ceramic composite and 0.39 inches larger than the previous model. Rear-axle steering and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control are standard. The Porsche Active Suspension Management ($1,510 option) lowers ride height 0.39 inches and is offered as a factory option for the first time with improved shock absorbers and software calibrated for the Turbo S that adjusts damping continuously — allowing the car to be sportier and more comfortable. Our model also has the optional front axle lift feature that can raise the front of the car 1.6 inches and adds $2,770 to the sticker.

The Turbo S offers a formidable array of performance tools. Everything has its purpose, logically added for an assigned task. The emotions are stirred when these tools are put into use. Twisting the steering wheel drive mode selector to Sport, we enter a winding road lined with the summer’s complement of greenery. The exhaust grows louder, angrier, throatier. It already barks at shift points in the Normal setting, but Sport has the effect of poking the Turbo S with something sharp. This car has the Sport exhaust, a $3,490-option that’s worth it. Porsches, Jaguars, Ferraris and a few select Corvettes and Mustangs summon this kind of pulse-quickening sound that few others can match. Simply lifting off the throttle or downshifting produces a growl or a pop that’s better than some sports cars make at full roar.

Pausing under an overpass, the top comes down in seconds. Launching hard, we’re pulled back in our seats as we weave through the twists and turns leading through to Woodward Avenue. A hard right turn onto M-1 and we’re heading north. The sun breaks through and the temperatures sit around 65 degrees making this an idyllic summer day with echoes of fall. It’s cool for late June, but perfect convertible weather.

When caught in a downpour, Wet Mode detects water on the road and tunes the stability control and anti-lock brakes accordingly. Stating the obvious, the 911 then warns us to drive cautiously, which is appreciated. Plodding around town we notice the little things the car offers. The leather-covered steering wheel is large, fairly thin and has grips at 10 and 2 o’clock. The infotainment system is simple enough to use; contemporary and customizable but not too layered. In total, the 911 provides a flexible experience. For instance, you can drive in Normal or Wet and still turn on the Sport exhaust via a button or touchscreen. We drove in Normal with the exhaust pipes up — and Sport with the spoiler down, just to try different things. Obviously, it’s enjoyable to play around, but it’s logical to want to keep the Turbo S performance at heel yet still announce your arrival with an exhaust note. 

With the brown leather, sport exhaust, fancy speakers and a few other options, our test model stickers for $234,570, including destination and a $1,000 gas-guzzler tax. As noted in our 911 Turbo review, the 911 is already more car than you’ll ever need. Perhaps that’s the smart play, as the additional power isn’t necessary and the performance increases the S brings to the table are too small for mere mortals to notice. 

Enthusiasts with this kind of buying power often stop thinking metrically around $100,000. It becomes an object of uber prestige. They want the car because it’s the most expensive and the most powerful. Assuming the GT3 is simply too raw, this is the Porsche 911 in its highest form and you’re approaching future collector status. It’s living in the moment and investing in the future, and using that logic, there’s simply no substitute for the Turbo S. The convertible? Well that just makes it even more fun in the summer.

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Porsche 911 GT2 RS with Manthey kit sets Nurburgring production car lap record

Porsche is claiming the Nürburgring lap record for a production car once more, and it’s doing so with a 911 GT2 RS. However, there’s the slightest bit of gray area with this particular record. The 911 GT2 RS that broke the record is fitted with a Manthey Performance Kit. That screams “modified” at first blush, but Porsche skirts around that issue by saying that it offers this Manthey Performance Kit as a Porsche Tequipment option and sells it via Porsche Centers. This satisfies the “production” requirements, so the lap record is filed thusly.

Mercedes-AMG might be a little chuffed, though. This Manthey Performance Kit-equipped GT2 RS beat its AMG GT Black Series (previous record holder) around the ‘Ring by just 0.316 second. As Dominic Toretto says in “The Fast and the Furious” though, “It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”

Porsche’s official time set by development driver Lars Kern is 6:43.300 minutes. Versus a non-Manthey GT2 RS, it’s 4.747 seconds quicker. Modifications were made to the chassis, brakes and aero components to make the lap faster.

The new dampers in front have three different settings, while the rears have four. A new pad compound is paired with Porsche’s carbon ceramic rotors that is even more aggressive than standard. And the aero improvements include added flaps on the front spoiler, a new rear spoiler, modified diffuser, additional underbody coverings and aero discs on the rear wheels. Downforce in front at 124 mph increases from 108 pounds to 154 pounds. In the rear, it goes up from 205 pounds to 441 pounds. Kern cites the additional downforce as the main additive that allowed the lap to be nearly five seconds quicker than a normal GT2 RS.

Manthey’s last change includes an additional water tank for spray cooling of the intercoolers. The extra tank allows for fewer fill-ups, which is perfect for those who buy the track-focused Manthey kit. Porsche says European owners of the GT2 RS can order the kit now from a Porsche Center. It all comes with a Porsche warranty, and Porsche promises the kit will come to other markets in time.

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Aston Martin sues dealer over $3.5 million Valkyrie supercar

Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings said it’s suing a company affiliated with one of its dealers in Switzerland, alleging that it withheld customer deposits collected for the $3.5 million Valkyrie supercar.

The automaker accused Nebula Project AG of failing to pass some deposits taken from customers along to Aston Martin and said it has terminated an unconventional commercial arrangement its previous management team entered in 2016. Under the now-dissolved deal, Nebula had agreed to fund development of the Valkyrie and other mid-engine cars in exchange for royalty payments.

As a result of terminating the agreement with Nebula, Aston Martin is no longer liable for any potential royalty payments, which could have been “significant” over time, the carmaker said in a statement Tuesday. The company also cut off its dealer arrangements with AF Cars AG, the company that operates Aston Martin St. Gallen in Switzerland, whose board members manage Nebula.

A spokeswoman for the cantonal prosecutor’s office in St. Gallen said they are expecting a lawsuit to be filed but hadn’t received it as of noon Tuesday. A spokesman for Aston Martin St. Gallen was not immediately available to comment, according to a receptionist.

The canton of St. Gallen in eastern Switzerland is home to just 510,000 people but generates gross domestic product of almost 39 billion Swiss francs ($42 billion), making it a natural fit for wealthy fans of supercars. The Valkyrie, which Aston Martin expects to start shipping in the second half of the year, is intended to compete with mid-engine models made by the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.

While Aston Martin believes the net impact of its actions against Nebula will be positive over time, it’s expected to reduce cash flow and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by as much as 15 million pounds this year. The automaker’s shares traded down 1.9% as of 11:50 a.m. in London, paring an earlier decline of as much as 4.9%.

Valkyrie customers will still receive their cars as scheduled, Aston Martin said, despite the company not having received all the deposited funds. The company said it will take deposits for special vehicles directly from customers going forward instead of through dealers.

Aston Martin racked up significant losses after going public in 2018 and has spent the last year restructuring itself after a rescue by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who took over as chairman. The 61-year-old fashion mogul has injected much-needed cash and forged closer ties with Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz to ensure the company survives tumultuous times for the auto industry.

2021 Lamborghini Huracán Evo RWD First Drive | One smart, well-groomed bull

LE CASTELLET, France — Growing up in the 1990s, the Italian supercars I read about sounded like the automotive equivalent of kayaking over a waterfall — thrilling, unforgettable, and potentially very hazardous. The industry’s elites were often described as cramped, unpredictable, and generally finicky but extremely rewarding for the few skilled enough to tame them.

It’s a stigma that still hovers above the supercar segment like a dark cloud in 2021, yet with a handful of notable exceptions, it hasn’t been accurate in many years. It takes little more than a lively jaunt in a 2021 Lamborghini Huracán Evo RWD to spot how Italy’s unique breed of road weapon has evolved over the past few decades.

Autoblog has spent time in the Huracán Evo before, but it was in an all-wheel-drive model that we put through its paces on the Willow Springs track in Southern California. Fast-forward to 2021, and I’m in a rear-wheel-drive coupe on the picturesque winding roads surrounding the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France. I couldn’t sneak my way onto the track for a few laps because Super Trofeo and GT3-spec variants of the Huracán hogged it all weekend.

Several carmakers positioned all over the automotive spectrum have used the Evo designation. In Lamborghini-speak, it denotes not a rally-bred sports sedan but an evolution of the Huracán with subtle design tweaks that add downforce and increase the amount of cooling air channeled to the engine bay. It still looks like a Huracán, but you don’t need a magnifying glass to tell the updated model apart from its predecessor, especially from the back.

Lamborghini saves scissor doors for its V12-powered models, like the Aventador S, so the Huracán’s swing out like in a normal car’s. Once inside, the first thing you notice is that it feels like a proper luxury car. The cabin is dominated by Alcantara, leather, and a type of carbon fiber called Forged Composites (which was developed in-house by the brand). It’s all very well put together; the fit and finish is excellent. In the driver’s seat, you face a digital instrument cluster whose layout changes depending on the driving mode selected (they’re called Strada, Sport, and Corsa, respectively) and a three-spoke steering wheel with a switch that lets you select the three aforementioned profiles.

Even a supercar needs technology in 2021. Stuffing a mammoth engine in a lightweight chassis hidden under an attention-grabbing body is no longer enough to lure enthusiasts. Lamborghini knows this, so one of the tricks it taught the Huracán before assigning it the Evo nameplate is a new infotainment system displayed on an 8.4-inch touchscreen. This is a major update, because the original Huracán released in 2014 didn’t have a touchscreen. Its infotainment system was displayed in the instrument cluster. Specific to Lamborghini, the software is quick, straightforward to navigate, and the screen’s graphics are almost as sharp as the exterior design. Better yet for technophiles, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is programmed directly into the system.

Embedding a tablet-like screen into the center console allowed Lamborghini to send a variety of buttons back to the parts bin, including the volume knob, but there’s one that hasn’t been dethroned yet: the ignition switch. It’s located under a red flap, fighter jet-style, and pushing it fires off a naturally-aspirated, 5.2-liter V10 tuned to deliver 602 horsepower at a screaming 8,000 rpm and 413 pound-feet of torque at a slightly less riotous 6,500 rpm. It’s mounted directly behind the driver, where you’d find booster seats and/or a load of suitcases in more pedestrian sports cars, and it spins the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is this version of the Huracán’s party trick: it swaps four-wheel grip for oversteer and loses about 70 pounds by relinquishing its front axle and the all-wheel-drive model’s rear-wheel steering system. It also lets 29 horses escape from its cavalry.

We know the Huracán is capable of great things on the track — there’s a good reason Lamborghini makes no major chassis modifications to the cars it builds for its Super Trofeo one-make series — but it lives up to the hype even if you prefer not to don a racing suit. It whooshes off the line with a soft brutality that makes you immediately understand the definition of a supercar as its exhaust system trumpets out an addicting racecar-like tune. The 29-horsepower difference between the rear- and all-wheel-drive Huracán isn’t instantly perceptible, there is plenty of power to go around, and hitting 60 mph from a stop takes about 3.1 seconds. Having less weight over the front axle also makes a difference in terms of handling, especially in Sport mode. Corsa mode kills all electronics and is best saved for the track.

Sport is the sweet spot in the driving mode hierarchy, then. It makes Lamborghini’s smallest bull high-strung without turning it into a beast that can’t be tamed (or, worse, one that tames its driver), and it unlocks just the right amount of aggression to make twisty roads feel like a roller coaster. With your foot buried in the throttle, and your right hand on the carbon fiber shift paddle, ready for a split-second upshift, the Huracán displays a level of agility that’s more natural than what you get in the all-wheel-drive model with its trick four-wheel steering system. It’s not better or worse; it’s a different breed of supercar. The steering is direct and accurate, the suspension keeps body roll at bay, and brake rotors the size of a medium pizza slow the Huracán at least as quickly as it accelerates.

Don’t get the wrong idea: Grip is phenomenal, even without the front wheels receiving power. That’s partly due to the electronic wizardry happening behind the scenes, and to styling revisions that increase downforce on the front axle.

On a track, the fun only ends when the safety car comes out, or when the checkered flag stretches its threads. On the street, motorists routinely encounter situations that are tedious, annoying, or plain bland. The V10 is as bored as I am humming behind a Citroën C15 — a simple, do-it-all van with a life expectancy that rivals a red dwarf star’s — on a narrow road with too many oak tree-lined blind corners to pass, but it doesn’t show it. Flick the steering-wheel-mounted switch to engage Strada mode (which numbs most chassis settings and hushes the exhaust), crank up the radio, and comfortably follow along as the air conditioning keeps you cool. This compliance shows another facet of the Huracán, and it’s part of what sets this car apart from its less docile predecessors.

Drawbacks? Yep, even in a Lamborghini, you’ll find a couple. Cargo capacity is largely symbolic, so you’ll need to get creative if you plan to spend a week on the road. I don’t think anyone makes a trailer hitch for a Huracán, but several aftermarket vendors sell roof boxes that look really cool. And, it goes without saying that subtlety isn’t available from Sant’Agata Bolognese. While the Huracán can make you feel like you’re flying, it’s never under the radar. These quirks have been passed down from generation to generation; the V12-powered Miura was hardly a role model in the realm of practicality.

Configured with rear-wheel-drive, the Lamborghini Huracán Evo is one of the purest expressions of the supercar ethos money can buy. It’s quick, head-turning, loud, expensive, and unapologetically rowdy, which is exactly what it should be. Anything less would be a monstrous insult to the Italian gods of motoring, especially coming from one of the companies that laid the foundations of the segment as we know it in 2021. On a secondary level, it’s relatively easy to live with thanks to a luxurious interior and just the right amount of in-car technology. Sure, it falls short in nearly every category when compared to the all-wheel-drive model on paper, but its character can’t be quantified.

Supercars have never been merely about numbers, after all.

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Unleash your inner race car driver in this super-rare 2017 BAC Mono

Getting an open-wheel single-seater race car titled for street use in America is nearly impossible. Unless you’re in line for a Mercedes-AMG One, the next best thing is the BAC Mono, which is manufactured in strictly limited numbers in England. Finding one is difficult, but there’s a 3,000-mile example listed for sale on Cars & Bids.

BAC stands for Briggs Automotive Company, and it’s not a household name unless you’re well-versed in small, obscure car manufacturers based across the pond. Formed by two brothers in 2009, its goal was to create what it describes as “a road vehicle that offers the most authentic and pure driving experience possible while implementing the very latest racing technology.” Using an existing chassis was out of the question. BAC developed the Mono in-house on a blank slate, and it enlists the help of over 100 suppliers (95% of them British) to secure parts.

Carbon fiber keeps the Mono’s weight down to about 1,200 pounds, while a pushrod-style suspension system on both axles helps it deliver the kind of handling only race car pilots are normally acquainted with. If it rains, drive faster or wait it out in a dry spot; there are no wipers because there is no windshield, and a roof isn’t available.

The Mono’s engine comes from Ford, though it takes a trip through the Cosworth workshop before settling in ahead of the rear axle. It’s a 2.3-liter four-cylinder that provides around 280 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, and it’s bolted to a six-speed sequential gearbox that the driver must shift manually using paddles on the steering wheel. Note newer models use a different 2.3-liter Ford four that’s turbocharged to comply with emissions standards.

The example currently live on auction platform Cars & Bids was manufactured in 2014, shipped to the United States, and finally completed in 2017, which is the year listed on the title. It shows about 3,000 miles on a digital instrument cluster embedded into the steering wheel, and it’s unmodified with the exception of a red exterior wrap. Built for serious track use, it’s equipped with AP Racing brake calipers gripping carbon ceramic rotors, an adjustable suspension system, an exhaust system made with Inconel, and a five-point harness provided by Williams. It’s the opposite of a regular road car: its seat is fixed, but its braking bias can be adjusted by the driver.

Bidding is up to $42,068 as of writing with about five days left on the clock (four days as of publishing). We suggest adding this Mono to your watch list if you’re in the market for one; a little over 100 have been made since production started in 2011 so used examples rarely come up for sale, especially with an American title that’s ready to be transferred to the next owner. Bust out the measuring tape before placing a bid, though. The seat was made for a driver that measures between 5’7″ and 5’10” with an inseam of 32 inches or less. If you’re tall, or if your legs are long, you might not fit. BAC has never crowed itself a champion of practicality, but it released a variant of the Mono that’s a few inches wider in 2016.

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Rimac reportedly planning stock IPO as it draws closer to Bugatti

FRANKFURT — Croatian electric hypercar maker Rimac is exploring several options for its future, a spokesperson for the group said in response to a report outlining plans for an initial public offering next year.

Germany’s Manager Magazin reported that Rimac, in which Volkswagen’s Porsche unit owns a 24% stake, was planning an IPO in 2022 at a valuation of 5 billion euros ($6.1 billion), without disclosing where it obtained the information.

“As for going public, we’re considering different options, but it hasn’t been decided which direction we’ll go in,” the Rimac spokesperson said.

Rimac has developed an electric supercar platform which it supplies to other carmakers, including Automobili Pininfarina.

It is currently working on a strategic partnership with Volkswagen unit Bugatti, which will likely result in a joint venture between Porsche and Rimac, with Porsche as a minority partner, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in March.

“The future of Bugatti is an issue that will be decided on a group level,” Porsche said in a statement, declining to comment further.

Porsche boss Oliver Blume earlier this year said intense discussions on Bugatti’s future were ongoing and that Rimac could play a role as the brands were a good technological fit, adding that a decision was expected in the first half of 2021.

Earlier this month, Rimac revealed the 1,914-horsepower Rimac Nevera.

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An ultra-rare Ferrari J50 is for sale for $3.6 million

One of the rarest modern Ferraris is now up for sale for a cool $3.6 million. The J50, as the name implies, is one of just 10 built to commemorate Ferrari’s 50th anniversary in Japan. Though based on the 488 Spider, the J50 boasts unique styling and extra horsepower.

The J50 debuted in 2016 to mark 50 years since the first Ferrari made landfall in Japan, a privately imported 275 GTB. Needless to say, all 10 examples of the J50 were spoken for by the time the car made its official debut at the National Art Center in Tokyo. Each one was finished in the exterior and interior color choices of their respective owners.

The car was the first of the Ferrari Fuoriserie (Italian for “custom-built”), which includes limited-run cars like the F60 America. Beneath the stunning bespoke bodywork lies a 488 Spider with an almost 20-horsepower bump from its 3.9-liter twin-turbo V8, for a total of 681 horsepower. The transmission remains a seven-speed DCT.

The bodywork has unique features such as two carbon fiber air channels on the hood, a polycarbonate clear engine cover, and a rear diffuser design inspired by a jet engine afterburner. The sleek design is at once futuristic and traditional, a contrast to the curvy 488 that it’s based on. It’s said to have been inspired by 1970s and 1980s Ferrari road cars, emphasizing lowness and highlighting qualities prized by Japanese clientele — nimbleness and handling — over outright horsepower. It won Germany’s coveted Red Dot design award upon launch.

After the clients finalized their personalization options, the cars were built in Maranello, and deliveries began in 2017. The particular example is listed for sale at Tokyo’s official Ferrari dealer, is being listed as a 2019 model and is offered at $3.6 million, a slight bump over the $2.7 to $3.3 million cost, depending on customization level, when new. It’s almost like new, too, having clocked just 430 miles.

Though the black-on-black example does not do the design justice, with so few examples made, this just might be the only opportunity to buy one in the foreseeable future.

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Corvette changes for 2022 include engine tweaks, higher price

Details for the 2022 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray are officially out. We already knew it was getting three new colors: Hypersonic Gray, Caffeine and Amplify Orange Tintcoat. But now Chevy has given us some other juicy details.

The big news concerns changes made to the 6.2-liter small block V8. Chevy says it upgraded the fuel injection system and “improved” the engine calibration. We chatted with Chief Engineer Josh Holder to dig into this and other changes on a deeper level. Essentially, the injection system operates at a higher pressure now, and Holder says that helps to lower emissions and provides greater stability at idle. That said, the engine keeps its 490 horsepower rating in base trim and 495 horsepower rating with the performance exhaust system. The 0-60 mph time for the Z51 car remains at 2.9 seconds, too. Holder noted that it took some work to both lower emissions and keep the power levels where they stand currently.

The last powertrain tweak is an “enhanced” Active Fuel Management range. Holder says that the engine will now deactivate cylinders over a broader range of rpms and in lower gears now. Engineers aren’t claiming that the EPA ratings will inch upward yet (we’re told to wait and see on that front), but they’re certain that real world fuel economy will see a noticeable improvement.

A few lesser changes include the addition of some aero options. There’s a new low-profile rear spoiler and a new front splitter available. Both will only be optional on the non-Z51 models.

Lastly, we come to the price. The 2022 Corvette will start at $62,195, including the destination charge. That’s a $1,200 increase over the 2021 model and $2,200 higher than the original 2020 model year price that started at $59,995. It’s never fun to see prices go up, but even with this price increase, it remains a performance bargain. 

If you were thinking about going Convertible, the price went up on this model, too. It’ll start at $69,695, which amounts to the same $1,200 price increase year-over-year as the coupe. Production for the 2022 model year (in all configurations) is currently slated to begin late in the third quarter this year.

Also see: 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition

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Corvette IMSA special edition pays tribute to the C8.R race cars

Chevrolet is making news today with its 2022 Corvette. There are two big items to look into. One is the announcement of a special edition model, which we’ll cover, here. The second batch of news concerns 2022 model year changes for the Corvette, of which there are a few significant ones. You can learn more about that by clicking here.

This special edition model is formally named the 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition. That’s one hell of a mouthful. In simpler terms, it’s a Corvette with a unique appearance package meant to pay tribute to the Corvette C8.R’s inaugural season. The Corvette Racing team won everything it could in the IMSA sports car championship series last year with the C8.Rs snagging the manufacturers’, drivers’ and team titles.

Chevy used those winning race cars as the inspiration for its road car special edition appearance package. You can get two color combinations, and each comes with Corvette Racing graphics packages on them. Accelerate Yellow models (No. 3) have gray graphics, while Hypersonic Gray cars (No. 4) have yellow accents. Every special edition will be based on the top-line 3LT trim and be fitted with the Z51 Performance Package.

All of them get the larger rear wing and mirrors done in Carbon Flash, yellow brake calipers, Black Trident design wheels (with “Jake” logo on the center caps) and black rockers and splash guards. The interior follows the exterior in its colors and design. You get a Strike Yellow and Sky Cool Gray two-tone look, along with yellow seat belts and a C8.R Special Edition numbered plaque. The Corvette’s GT2 seats come standard, but you can option the super aggressive Competition Sport buckets, too.

This special edition comes with its own indoor car cover that is matched to the spec of your version. The package’s price is $6,595 on top of the 3LT Z51 pack car. Chevy is only going to produce 1,000 of these, so if you want one, it’d be wise to speak up quickly to a dealer

If you want to know all the changes Chevy made to the 2022 model year Corvette, make sure to check this post out.

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Bugatti Chiron Super Sport revealed a long-tail, high-speed grand tourer

Bugatti is done setting speed records, but it’s proud of what it accomplished in the years it spent chasing the crown. It channeled some of the lessons it learned into a new, high-speed-focused Chiron variant called Super Sport.

While the Super Sport is instantly recognizable as a member of the Chiron family, it wears a more streamlined body than other variants (like the handling-focused Chiron Pur Sport) characterized by a redesigned front splitter, air curtains on either side of the front bumper, and a rear end that has been extended by nearly 10 inches. The rear air diffuser has a new look, too. These changes improve aerodynamic efficiency while creating the high level of downforce required to keep the Chiron firmly planted to the ground at the triple-digit speeds it’s designed to reach.

Even the smaller tweaks seen on the Super Sport weren’t made strictly in the name of design. Bugatti explained the nine holes above each front wheel create downforce by releasing air pressure from the wheel wells. On a secondary level, they also create a visual link between the EB110 (which also wore the Super Sport designation) and the limited-edition Centodieci. Model-specific five-spoke wheels add a finishing touch to the function-over-form design. 

Bugatti developed the Super Sport as a grand tourer, so giving it a stripped-out, race car-like interior was out of the question. The cabin blends timeless materials, like leather and aluminum, with carbon fiber components that hint at the car’s lightweight construction. Buyers can customize nearly everything inside, including the upholstery.

Power for the Super Sport comes from Bugatti’s prestigious W16 engine, an 8.0-liter unit fitted with four turbos. It develops 1,577 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque in this application. Engineers made changes to the turbos, to the engine oil pump, and to the cylinder head in order to increase the 16-cylinder’s redline to 7,100 rpm (a 300-rpm bump) and to make the full torque output available across a much broader spectrum. The engine still spins the four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, though the seventh gear is longer. 

Helped by a 50-pound weight reduction, the Super Sport takes 5.8 seconds to reach 124 mph (200 kph) from a stop. Keep it floored, and the speedometer shows 186 mph (300 kph) in 12.1 seconds. Its top speed lies in the vicinity of 273 mph. Bugatti also added a tighter steering system and firmer springs to improve high-speed stability, and it retuned the electronically-controlled chassis system. None of these changes would mean much without proper tires, however.

Michelin developed Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires specifically for the Super Sport. They’re rated for speeds of up 310 mph (500 kph) thanks to reinforced belts. Interestingly, they developed using a test bench originally designed for the Space Shuttle, and Michelin puts each tire in an x-ray machine to check for even the tiniest irregularities.

Bugatti will begin building the Chiron Super Sport in the coming months, and deliveries are scheduled to start in early 2022. Pricing starts at 3.2 million euros (around $3.9 million) before taxes and options are factored in. 

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Bugatti reveals the final version of the one-off La Voiture Noire

Bugatti is ready to deliver the La Voiture Noire, a one-of-a-kind model introduced at the 2019 edition of the Geneva auto show. Based on the Chiron, the coachbuilt coupe meets the same quality standards as a series-produced car.

Making the La Voiture Noire a reality took two years because it underwent a long list of tests before Bugatti signed it off. As we’ve previously reported, it was blasted with thousands of gallons of water to ensure it’s watertight and was driven flat-out on a track, among other evaluations. Over 65,000 engineering hours were invested into the project, a number that underlines the significant differences between the La Voiture Noire and the Chiron it’s related to. And yet, Bugatti managed to keep the show car’s lines and finer design details intact during development.

While the quad-turbocharged, 1,479-horsepower 8.0-liter W16 engine comes from the Chiron, all of the carbon fiber exterior panels are new and the wheelbase is slightly longer. Bugatti also notes each headlight features 25 individually-milled elements, and that the grille was 3D-printed. Overall, the La Voiture Noire wears a purer, more touring-oriented design than the aforementioned Chiron and the Divo. It’s not fitted with a rear wing, for example.

Interior photos haven’t been released, but we’re told the seats are upholstered in Havana Brown leather. It creates a classic ambience that matches the turned aluminum inlays scattered across the cabin, like on the center console.

There is but a single example of the La Voiture Noire, and Bugatti’s not taking bids. The coupe is already sold to an anonymous collector, who paid 11 million euros (about $13.4 million at the current conversion rate) for it before taxes enter the equation. Time will tell if the new owner reveals his or her identity, drives the car, or keeps it tucked away in a private collection. In the meantime, the French firm will work on bringing the Centodieci to production.

Perhaps inspired by Bugatti’s success, some of the other luxury carmakers have started breathing new life into the long-lost tradition of coachbuilding during the past few years. Rolls-Royce notably created a yacht-inspired, one-of-a-kind convertible called Boat Tail for an anonymous couple that reportedly paid approximately $28 million for it.

What’s in a name?

La Voiture Noire literally translates to “The Black Car” in French. It’s entirely black, but there’s more to it than paint and trim. Bugatti design boss Achim Anscheidt explained his team drew inspiration from one of the four examples of the Type 57 SC Atlantic built; it was driven by Jean Bugatti, the son of company founder Ettore Bugatti, and nicknamed La Voiture Noire. It enigmatically disappeared before World War II, and it hasn’t been found since. It could have been destroyed during the conflict, but there’s a sliver of a chance that it’s hidden in a barn somewhere in a remote part of France; crazier things have happened. If found, it would be worth tens of millions of dollars.