All posts in “Supercars”

A new Lamborghini Countach is coming soon

Lamborghini just announced that a new Countach is coming. Let us repeat. Lamborghini just announced that a new Countach is coming!

OK. Let that soak in for a few seconds, or minutes, however long it takes. We’re a bit shocked over here, too.

There’s one teaser image to go off of, and Lamborghini hasn’t let loose any details beyond giving us the name. You can see the car under a car cover and shrouded by haze in the photo above. However, there’s a video that’s been posted to Twitter that you can watch below.

We get some great engine noises, and the new Countach appears to be parked a long way away from the camera at the end of the video. It appears to be painted white, but that’s all we can tell about it from that distance. There’s no doubt that Lamborghini is leaning heavily into nostalgic feelings, as you see original Countach posters pinned up to a kid’s room in the video. Lamborghini seems intent on recapturing that wild, exotic magic that the old Countach brought to the supercar landscape. It’s tough to say what the styling will be like besides being a wedge like most Lambos. It could be a very retro design, sort of like the Miura concept from over a decade ago. It could also be a thoroughly modern Lamborghini design that happens to have a classic nameplate attached. For what it’s worth, Lamborghini’s design boss seemed to be against anything overtly retro as of a few years ago.

For the time being, our best guess is that this could be the car housing a hybrid V12 powertrain. The Italian supercar maker has said the only way to keep the V12 alive is to hybridize it. Starting off with a hybrid V12 Countach sounds like one hell of a way to kick off a new era of hybrid Lamborghinis. Plus, with an anticipated launch date of 2023 for a hybrid, the timing would be pretty good for the new Countach.

We’ll just have to wait and see what it is before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though. Lamborghini says it “is coming,” but doesn’t say when. For now, all we can say is stay tuned.

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Watch as Devel begins testing a prototype of its Sixteen hypercar

It’s taken over a decade, but Dubai-based Devel has started testing the Sixteen hypercar it claims can reach 310 mph. Footage of a prototype undergoing shakedown tests on a track in Italy was published recently on YouTube.

If you need a refresher course, the Sixteen was shown to the public for the first time as a concept car in Dubai in 2013, though its development reportedly started in the late 2000s. It was revealed in its final form in 2017, and footage of it driving on a desert road surfaced in 2019. We haven’t heard much from the company since, which is hardly a surprise; 2020 was a difficult year for major carmakers, so smaller firms took an even meaner punch.

And yet, against any and all odds, Devel is back. Its prototype is unpainted and unfinished, the turbo system hasn’t been installed yet, but it runs, drives, and stops, which is a major accomplishment for the company. While no specifications were released, Devel outlined plans to build three versions of the car in 2019. First, a base model powered by a 2,000-horsepower V8. Second, a mid-range variant with a 3,000-horsepower, quad-turbocharged V16. Finally, a range-topping configuration with a quad-turbocharged, 12.3-liter V16 engine tuned to develop 5,000 horsepower. Yes, five thousand; that’s not a typo. It’s unclear which engine powers the car shown in the video.

Photos posted by Devel on its official Instagram account show the Sixteen being tested in Pininfarina’s wind tunnel, so the car is seemingly inching towards production. How many examples will be built, where, and how much each one will cost remains to be seen. What’s certain is that this hypercar could be a lot more real than many assumed.

Sweet 16

If the Sixteen reaches production, Devel will join the short list of manufacturers that have built a car with 16 cylinders. One of the most famous 16-cylinder models is the Cadillac V-16, which was built from 1930 to 1940. It was offered in a dizzying number of configurations, and many examples were fitted with a coachbuilt body. BMW briefly experimented with a V16-powered, E32-generation 7 Series in the early 1990s, at about the same time Italy-based Cizeta was putting the final touches on the Marcello Gandini-designed V16T. Only a handful were built.

In recent years, the glorious 16-cylinder layout has been associated exclusively with Bugatti. Different evolutions of its 8.0-liter, quad-turbocharged W16 have powered the Veyron, the Chiron, and few-offs like the Centodieci.

McLaren Speedtail ‘Albert’ has a paint job you absolutely must see

There’s no McLaren Speedtail that looks as wild and exotic as this one. Say hello to the “Albert” Speedtail, made as an homage to the first Speedtail testing vehicle.

That initial test vehicle featured a similar look, only done using crude vinyl body wrap. This Speedtail was meticulously painted and sweated over by the McLaren MSO team. The Albert name is derived from McLaren’s 1992 F1 test mules — those testers were given the name Albert, as the name of the road where the F1 was designed and built was called Albert Drive. Since the Speedtail is another three-seat McLaren, the name stuck.

The paintwork for this specific Speedtail took 12 weeks total to complete. McLaren broke that down into two weeks of masking, six weeks of painting and the remaining time for drying and reassembling. The MSO team also spent a good deal of time practicing and preparing to paint the actual car before it started. All the masking had to take place on the fully-built car, too, as painters had to ensure everything flowed around the vehicle with panel alignment and the wheels.

The final colors chosen for this project are Magnesium Silver and Ueno Gray. That silver is the first color the F1 was ever shown in, and the gray is the color of the 1995 Le Mans winning F1 GTR. The Speedtail’s teardrop shape lends itself to this sort of patterning and design better than most, and we absolutely adore it. This car already looks like a spaceship on wheels, and adding this paint job only elevates the feeling.

McLaren of Beverly Hills originally commissioned this car, and it will make a official public debut at a Beverly Hills Cars and Coffee this Sunday, August 8, in case you were curious to see it in person. Lastly, McLaren noted that this is one of the final Speedtails in the 106-car production run, so McLaren is almost done with this hypercar.

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Aston Martin Valkyrie is set to lose its roof at Pebble Beach with roadster variant

Aston Martin is coming to Monterey Car Week with a new car reveal. The specific model name isn’t explicitly mentioned by Aston, but one look at the “teaser” gives us all the information we might need to suss it out.

The Valkyrie is losing its roof for a new Roadster variant that will join the existing hardtop and racing-only AMR Pro model. You must look rather closely at the roof area of the teaser, but upon inspection, the roof of the Valkyrie shown here is missing. Additionally, the doors have a new design to accommodate the missing roof. Instead of opening via the roof in gullwing fashion, they appear to be scissor doors. Beyond these details, we’re left to guess at the rest. The car looks similar to the standard coupe up front, and the convertible appears to keep the roof scoop, too.

Aston says the wraps will officially be taken off this new model on Thursday, August 12. After being revealed at a private event, the car will be available to see by invitation-only beginning the following day at the Aston Martin Club 1913. All Aston will say about the model so far is that it’s “a new product from the brand which extends the company’s performance credentials a step further.”

In addition to the new Valkyrie, Aston is also bringing the Valhalla supercar to North America for the first time. You can read all about that mid-engine car here, and then go check it out on Pebble Beach’s 18th fairway. If you want one, Aston just made its production run official — only 999 Valhallas will be built over the next two years.

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McLaren 765LT Spider drops the roof on the 755-horsepower supercar

The McLaren 765LT Spider is here, and just like the coupe, it’s a total monster. In fact, it’s a near carbon copy of the 765LT coupe in every way that it could be.

We’ll start with what’s new and different about the Spider. The power retractable roof is a single slab of carbon fiber. McLaren says it completes the opening or closing procedure in just 11 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph. The roof mechanism is also far more refined than McLaren Spiders of the past, as McLaren promises the mechanism produces half as much noise as the 675LT Spider’s roof does.

McLaren LT cars are known for shedding pounds, and this 765LT Spider is no different. It weighs 176 pounds less than the 720S Spider it’s based on. This weight savings is accomplished through a variety of means. The LT’s forged wheels drop 49 pounds. The carbon fiber seats shed another 40 pounds. A lightweight battery drops 6.6 pounds. All the new carbon bodywork offers 11 pounds of weight savings. Deleting the floor carpet loses another 5.3 pounds. The titanium exhaust weighs 40% less than the standard stainless steel system. And lastly, McLaren deletes the air conditioning and radio as standard, dropping another 22 pounds and 3.3 pounds respectively. You can option both A/C and the radio back on as no-cost options, which is something we’d recommend you do.

Of course, making a removable roof version of the coupe means adding weight back. McLaren says the Spider is 108 pounds heavier than the coupe, a relatively light penalty for losing the roof. McLaren says the inherent stiffness of its carbon monocoque is enough that it didn’t need to add in a bunch of additional stiffening to keep the car rigid. Acceleration times are hardly diminished with the added weight. It has an identical 0-60 time as the coupe at 2.7 seconds. Unfortunately, the 0-124 time is reduced by 0.2 second to an agonizingly long 7.2 seconds (/sarcasm). Top speed is a coupe-matching 205 miles per hour.

Those bonkers acceleration capabilities come courtesy of the same mega powerful engine used in the coupe. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 755 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. You can listen to the exhaust via the powered rear window that brings you closer to the noise even if the top is up.

Just like the coupe, the Spider gets bespoke wheels, tires and brakes to add performance. All the aero enhancements for increased downforce are impossible to miss on the car’s heavily modified exterior — it makes 25% more downforce than the 720S Spider. Plus, the suspension is enhanced with more bespoke LT parts for the springs and dampers. It also gets a wider front track, lower ride height and unique suspension tuning above and beyond the 720S Spider. 

Getting your hands on a 765LT Spider coupe prove difficult due to the low production run McLaren is setting. Only 765 will be sold around the world, and McLaren says one-third of the production will come to the U.S. The starting price is $382,500. That’s $24,500 more than the coupe for those who are keeping track.

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Listen to the Gordon Murray T.50’s V12 exhaust note

The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50, promised to be the greatest — and perhaps last — analog supercar, is still undergoing testing. When we last saw a T.50 prototype, its naturally aspirated, mid-engined V12 was rev-limited to low speeds. Now, GMA has released another video showing two test mules at slightly higher velocities, giving us a better idea of what kind of exhaust note we can expect.

The testing takes place at the Dunsfold, England, test track famous for its appearances on “Top Gear.” Though the Cosworth-built 3.9-liter V12 is said to have a redline of 12,100 rpm, in these tests it’s still limited to 5,000 rpm. Still, that’s enough to give us an idea of what kind of aural assault the car will deliver.

As it turns out, at low rpm there’s a lot of the baritone rumble that seems to be de rigueur in modern performance cars. At higher speeds, the engine provides a bit more of the high-pitched hum of the T.50’s spiritual predecessor, Murray’s McLaren F1, though overall the exhaust note is quite loud. There’s definitely more of a primal roar than the F1’s all-business precision engineering whir.

But while it may sound like other supercars, Murray has been adamant that the T.50 will remain the anti-supercar supercar. It will prioritize agility and handling over raw horsepower, with styling that’s more subdued than modern look-at-me-mobiles.

As such, Murray says the T.50 will be about the size of a 718 Boxster and lighter than a Mazda MX-5 Miata. Though the output of 654 horsepower at 11,500 rpm and 344 pound-feet of torque at 9,000 rpm may not win armchair bragging rights, its power-to-weight ratio should better the Ferrari LaFerrari’s.

Production of the 1+2 seater is slated to begin in 2022. A production run of only 100 units has been promised, so if you think you might want to drop the $3 million on the last pure naturally aspirated, internal combustion-only sports car by arguably the greatest living supercar engineer on Earth, you should act fast.

Bugatti’s final Divo is a tribute to its last official Le Mans entry

Bugatti’s last official Le Mans entry served as a source of inspiration for its final Divo. The last unit in a sold-out 40-car run left the French firm’s headquarters wearing a blue livery that echoes the track-bound variant of the EB110.

Unveiled at the 2018 edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and priced at around €5 million (nearly $6 million) before customization options, the Divo stands proud as the first coachbuilt Bugatti released during the 21st century. It’s much more than merely a rebodied Chiron; it’s its own thing, and the two cars are technically different.

“As well as unique design, customers who buy a coachbuilt model enjoy a new, individual driving experience. Each small series undergoes the same degree of development as would a larger production run,” explained Pierre Rommelanger, the head of overall vehicle development at Bugatti, in a statement.

The final Divo’s anonymous owner wanted to channel the spirit of the EB110 that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994. Most of the exterior is painted in light blue, just like the race car, and the wheels are finished in gold. Parts of the lower body wear a darker shade of blue chosen to forge a link to the modern era, according to Bugatti.

Blue also dominates the interior. French Racing Blue and Deep Blue were used to wrap parts like the seats and the dashboard, though it’s interesting to note that the design isn’t symmetrical. The driver’s seat is lighter than the passenger’s seat. Elsewhere in the cabin, matte gray carbon-colored trim pieces provide a touch of contrast.

Spotting the final Divo won’t require a well-trained eye. Bugatti notes none of the 40 examples built were identical. Customers worked directly with the brand to customize the paint, the leather upholstery, the stitching, and the trim. What doesn’t vary from car to car is the engine: it’s an 8.0-liter W16 quad-turbocharged to 1,500 horsepower.

Selling cars is relatively easy; building them and delivering them on-time is harder. Bugatti ticked all three boxes, and the Divo project is finished. The one-of-a-kind La Voiture Noire (which reportedly cost $13 million) has been completed as well, so the French company is now working on bringing the EB110-inspired Centodieci to production.

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SSC officially owns up to its failed October top speed attempt

SSC acknowledged Wednesday that its Tuatara supercar did not reach the speed claimed by the company in October when it allegedly obliterated the Koenigsegg Agera RS’s then-record with a 316.11-mph run. While SSC didn’t outright apologize or completely explain the error, nor did the company reveal the Tuatara’s true top speed from last year’s run, the small supercar builder’s Instagram post is the first public admission that all was not as it seemed in the fall.

“We have seen your questions for months now and understand your frustrations. If it hasn’t been made clear up to this point, we would like to acknowledge officially that we did not reach the originally claimed speeds of 331 MPH or even 301 MPH in October of 2020,” the post said. “We were truly heartbroken as a company to learn that we did not reach this feat, and we are in an ongoing effort to break the 300 MPH barrier transparently, officially, and undoubtedly.”

“We also want to thank all of those who were supportive and understanding of our unexpected incident in April that has delayed our top speed efforts,” it continued.

Many cried foul after reviewing the video released by SSC which claimed to substantiate its top-speed run. The controversy prompted SSC to make a second (and ultimately unsuccessful) attempt. The third time turned out to be the charm, however the results were far less impressive, albeit still sufficient to knock off the Agera’s previous record. 

The “unexpected incident” referenced near the end of SSC’s post occurred when their record-attempt car was seriously damaged in transit back in April. The company claims it will eventually set the record straight (so to speak), but when, where and whether that will happen are all still yet to be determined. 

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McLaren GT Ride-On joins the ranks of supercar toys

There’s a new McLaren Ride-On toy hitting the market, and this time McLaren made a kid’s toy out of the GT. This GT joins other McLaren Ride-Ons already made out of the P1, 720S and Senna.

Just like the actual McLaren GT, this one comes with a rear storage compartment behind the driver. You can stow additional Hot Wheels cars and/or stuffed animals aplenty in the compartment.

McLaren promises that three-to-six year olds will enjoy driving the car, too. The single seat is in the center like the McLaren F1 or Speedtail. There’s an actual key you use to start the vehicle. When you press the throttle to accelerate, a speaker plays revving sounds from the GT. Plus, the brake pedal is synced up with an actual brake light in the rear of the car. Whether or not other young drivers will pay attention to said brake light is up for debate, but it’s there to bring another level of reality to the experience.

Also taking after the road car, McLaren says it fit an “infotainment system” that allows you to play music files off a USB or SD card. An optional MP4 display screen is available if you want to watch videos, too. Apparently, distracted driving is less of an issue when you’re driving on a lawn.

We’re fairly impressed with the design details and the replication of an actual McLaren GT throughout the vehicle. You even get the GT’s dihedral doors to look extra cool hopping in and out of the ride-on.

If you want to buy one for your kid, the starting price is $230. Tack on some options (this is a McLaren we’re talking about here), and the price goes as high as $330. You can buy one in the following colors: Burnished Copper, Silica White, Onyx Black, McLaren Orange, Amaranth Red and Burton Blue. McLaren says the GT Ride-On can be ordered from select global toy retailers. 

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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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Koenigsegg’s first Jesko is a tribute to one of its first cars

Koenigsegg released images of the pre-series Jesko it built to test on the 1,900-yard runway it owns next to its headquarters. The orange hypercar is the result of a massive development program that began years ago.

Unveiled in 2019, the Jesko is not simply an evolution of its predecessor. It’s an entirely new car, one developed by a relatively small company without the scale and the footprint of bigger carmakers, and it’s stunningly advanced. The graphics on its digital instrument cluster rotate as the driver turns the steering wheel, for example.

There’s a different kind of technology under the body. Power for the Jesko comes from a 5.0-liter V8 that’s twin-turbocharged to develop 1,600 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet of torque when it’s slurping E65 fuel. Instead of using an electric compressor, Koenigsegg solved the turbo lag problem by fitting the Jesko with an air tank and a compressor that sends a 20-bar shot of air through the system to pre-spool it. It’s almost rocket science.

Follow the power flow out of the crankshaft and you’ll find a nine-speed automatic gearbox called Light Speed Transmission (LST) that has seven multi-disk clutches. These are just some of the features Koenigsegg’s pre-series Jesko will let test drivers experience.

While an airstrip is the ideal venue for testing acceleration, the one Koenigsegg has access to is too short to allow the Jesko to reach top speed. Even the three-mile runway at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Florida isn’t long enough. Simulations say the Jesko should hit 330 mph, but Koenigsegg still hasn’t figured out where to try it.

As to the livery, Koenigsegg founder Christian von Koenigsegg didn’t choose the orange hue after drinking a big glass of Sunny D or because he’s already looking forward to Halloween. It’s a reference to one of the Swedish company’s first cars, the CCR, which was presented to the public at the 2004 edition of the Geneva auto show in an eye-catching shade of orange named Lava Orange. It was featured in press images and later sold to a private buyer. It traded hands again at an RM Sotheby’s auction held in Milan, Italy, in June 2021, where it sold for €798,125 (approximately $942,400).

Only 14 units of the CCR were built between 2004 and 2006, meaning it’s an exceptionally rare sight. The Jesko will be more common. Production will be limited to 125 units globally, and all of them are already spoken for, though some were claimed by dealers hoping to offer a car to a local buyer, so it might not be too late to get one. However, we hope you’ve started saving: pricing starts at $3 million. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2022.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Rimac inks deal to purchase 55% of Bugatti from VW Group

ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatian electric supercar builder Rimac is taking over the iconic French manufacturer Bugatti in a deal that is reported to be worth millions of euros.

Rimac said Germany’s Volkswagen Group, including the Porsche division — which owns a majority stake in Bugatti — plans to create a new joint venture. The new company will be called Bugatti-Rimac.

Rimac Automobili announced Monday that it will be combining forces with Bugatti to “create a new automotive and technological powerhouse.”

Rimac has progressed in 10 years from a one-man garage startup to a successful company that produces electric supercars. Mate Rimac, who founded the company in 2009, says the venture is an “exciting moment” and calls the combination of the companies “a perfect match for each other.”

Porsche will own 45% of Bugatti-Rimac while Rimac Automobili will hold the remaining 55% stake, according to Croatian media reports. Financial details of the deal were not published.

Bugattis will continue to be assembled in eastern France, where the company was established in 1909. The vehicles will use engines developed and made in Croatia.

“In an industry evolving at ever-increasing speed, flexibility, innovation and sustainability remain at the very core of Rimac’s operations,” the company said. “Uniting Rimac’s technical expertise and lean operations with Bugatti’s 110-year heritage of design and engineering prowess represents a fusion of leading automotive minds.”

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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