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Archive for the ‘coupe’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Audi TT Clubsport Concept Turbo: Blast from the Past!!

Audi has launched the Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Concept at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The TT Clubsport provides a strong reminisce of the Audi 90 IMSA GTO from the 1980’s. Lots of parts for this car have been drawn from Audi Sport Performance Parts. Audi has managed to garner enough attention at the SEMA show with its visually appealing looks.

Let’s find out more about it.

Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Concept Details


Audi TT Clubsport Concept Turbo: Blast from the Past!! - image 744094

The Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Concept comes equipped with 2.5-liter, electrically assisted, turbocharged, five-cylinder engine that generates an impressive 600 horsepower; 200 horsepower more than the standard offering. This helps the TT attain naught to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph.

The TT is 5.5 inches wider, thanks to the widened wings. The TT also comes packed with a huge racing fender and a manually adjustable carbon fiber rear spoiler.
The TT has been fused with various parts from the Audi Sport Performance Parts, such as the light-weight 20-inch wheels, an adjustable suspension, and an exhaust system developed with Akrapovic.

Author’s Take


2015 Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Technology Concept - image 630048

The TT has created roars before and has taken it up by a notch with the TT Clubsport Turbo Concept. Audi also introduced the Audi Sports Parts for the TT RS and R8 V10 models at the SEMA show. Audi has done an incredible job with the TT and definitely gave it a nostalgic touch. We’re still waiting on more details for this concept, but until we get them, you can check out the 2015 Audi TT Clubsport Concept.

References

Audi TT


2015 Audi TT Clubsport Turbo Technology Concept - image 630061

Read our full review on the 2015 Audi TT Clubsport Concept.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Bentley Continental GT3

2018 Bentley Continental GT3

Bentley has just introduced the third-generation Continental GT, which rides on a new platform (shared with the Porsche Panamera), uses a new W-12 engine, and employs design cues from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. Just like its predecessor, the new Conti GT is set to gain a range of versions, including a V-8-powered and higher performance Speed and Supersports variants. But while these are still under development, the new Continental GT has already made its public debut in motorsport clothes. Meet the second-generation Continental GT3, developed to replace the first-gen race car after four successful years on the race track.

Slated to hit the motorsport scene for the 2018 season, the new Continental GT3 uses the aluminum structure of the road car and most of its design cues. But much like its predecessor, its lighter, tipping the scales at “significantly less” than 2,866 pounds, and features a more aerodynamic body. The new Conti GT3 has big shoes to fill — the first-gen car scored 120 podiums and 45 wins across 528 races — and will attempt to do so starting with the opening round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza in April. Meanwhile, let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Continental GT3.

What makes the Bentley Continental GT3 special

  • Based on production model
  • Aggressive bumper with race-spec aero
  • Vented engine hood
  • Wider fender flares
  • Side sill extensions
  • Massive rear wing
  • Race-spec diffuser
  • Lighter than street model
  • FIA-aprroved seats and roll-cage
  • Twin-turbo V-8 engine
  • 550 horsepower

2018 Bentley Continental GT3 - image 743814
“The new GT3 benefits from the coupe's redesigned body lines”

Obviously based on the third-generation Continental GT, the new GT3 benefits from the coupe’s redesigned body lines. Sportier, decidedly more modern, the new Conti GT is a more production friendly version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car and its new styling cues work well with the aerodynamic package of the race car. Up front, the GT3 looks like a Conti GT on steroids. However, the beefed-up elements retain the basic form of the production parts. The bumper for instance, has the same three-piece layout with the wide, trapezoidal vent in the middle. Granted, it’s far more aggressive than the stock bumper, but it’s nice to see that Bentley made efforts to keep the race car as closely related to the production model as possible.

But while the bumper finds its roots in the production car, there are several race-spec features that set it apart, such as the large splitter, the side-mounted canards, and an additional center element finished in green. Speaking of which, the main grille and the sides of the bumper also sport green accents. What’s more, most of the new aero elements in the bumper are made from exposed carbon-fiber. The wider fenders and the vented hood with quick-release pins rounds off the race-ready front fascia.


2018 Bentley Continental GT3 - image 743816
“Onto the sides, the GT3 is a more significant departure from the standard model”

Onto the sides, the GT3 is a more significant departure from the standard model. Not only the fenders are significantly wider, but the side skirts also gained big extensions and extra vents. There’s a big intake in the front fender, as well as additional vents atop the wheels. The standard mirrors have been replaced by thinner, aero-optimized elements. The quarter windows have also been covered and now host the fueling caps.

Around back, the Conti GT3 is a beautiful display. If you’re a fan of GT3-spec racing that is. The upper fascia is the only feature borrowed from the road car, including the new oval taillights. Above, the deck lid has a new hump with a vent toward the rear glass, but the real highlight is the massive wing. The posts are mounted on the rear fenders, while the actual wing sits pretty high above the deck lid, even when compared to other GT3 cars. Below, a massive twin diffuser with big vertical fins replaces the production bumper. Just like the front end, the rear fascia is highlighted by bright green details on the dark gray and black paint.


2018 Bentley Continental GT3 - image 743817
“Under the hood, the massive 6.0-liter W-12 in the road cars has been replaced by a new development of the 4.0-liter V-8”

As usual, there are no photos or information about the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the layout is based on the production model, but enhanced by motorsport-specific features. While the dashboard likely retains the production shape, all luxury amenities like leather and aluminum trim are gone. Race-spec features should include an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, FIA-approved seats, lightweight door panels from carbon-fiber, and a full roll-cage.

Under the hood, the massive 6.0-liter W-12 in the road cars has been replaced by a new development of the 4.0-liter V-8 in the previous Continental GT3. The unit sports a redesigned dry sump,intake, and exhaust systems. Bentley says that unrestricted power is “in excess of 550 horsepower,” but the final output will depending on the weight of the race-prepped vehicle.

The race car has already started a six-month test program ahead of the 2018 season and will complete test sessions in the United Kingdom, France, and Portugal. Upcoming development work also includes full 24-hour endurance race simulations.

Bentley Continental GT3 Racing History


2014 Bentley Continental GT3 Race Car
- image 514762

Unveiled at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Continental GT3 had its first race in December the same year, starting in the 12 Hours of Yas Marina. 2014 saw the GT3 race its first season and the British coupe won its first race in May, at the 3 Hours of Silverstone. The year’s second important success came in June, at the 3 Hours of Paul Ricard. The following year saw the Continental GT3 enter various competitions, with several races around the world and notable results at Nogaro, Monza, Oschersleben, Zolder, Paul Ricard, Spa, Zandvoort, and Nurburgring. The GT3 won the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series championship with drivers Vincent Abril and Maximilian Buhk and came just three points shy of winning 2015 Endurance Series. It 2016, the British coupe entered the Bathurst 12 Hour race and joined even more racing series around the world. It was Bentley’s most successful campaign, capturing the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.

GT3-spec Competitors


2015 Audi R8 LMS - image 620107

Starting 2018, the Continental GT3 will go against a wide range of GT3-spec race cars. In the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, competitors will include the Audi R8 LMS, Ferrari 488 GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, McLaren 650 GT3, Lexus RC F GT3, Mercedes-AMG GT3, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R. The list remains similar on the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, but the Bentley will also encounter the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 and the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 on race tracks around Europe.

References

Bentley Continental


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728790

Read our full review on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.


2014 Bentley Continental GT3 Race Car
- image 514765

Read our full review on the previous generation 2014 Bentley Continental GT3.


2012 Bentley Continental GT3 Concept - image 475089

Read our full review on the
2012 Bentley Continental GT3 Concept.



Read more Bentley news.

PostHeaderIcon The 5000-HP Devel Sixteen Debuts Next Week! Can it Live up to the Hype?

Remember the Devel Sixteen? You know; that supercar built in Dubai a few years back that gave us the instant impression that someone was trying to blow smoke up our ass? Well, it may have taken a couple of years, but the official production model is finally about to make its long-awaited debut. The venue? The 2017 Dubai Auto Show. In case you don’t remember, let me fill you in on what the Devel Sixteen really is. It was a car that came to the Dubai Auto Show back in 2013 looking like a plastic Hot Wheels car with unbelievable claims of power and speed. By unbelievable, I’m talking about 5,000 horsepower from a V-16 with quad turbos and a top speed that surpasses 300 mph – a feat that may be accomplished by the Hennessey Venom F5 in the very near future.

You can’t deny that those claims sound pretty ridiculous – even the Koenigsegg One:1 is rated at just 1MW or 1,341 horsepower. The new Hennessey Venom F5 is rated at 1,600 horsepower, and even the Bugatti Chiron comes in at just 1,470 ponies. So how can a no-name company like Devel show up to the scene with a car that is said to have 5,000 horsepower and can smash 300 mph really be in the news yet again? Well, Devel may not be showing off the official car until next week, but it has already released some specs on the engine, and at this point, we kind of have to see it – just to scratch the itch that is curiosity.

To top it all off, Devel isn’t exactly on its own either, which really makes things interesting. If you remember correctly, the company teamed up with Steve Morris Engines – an engine building out of Michigan. It’s also teamed up with Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT,) a firm that has had a hand in building cars like the SCG 003 and the Apollo Intensa Emozione. Needless to say, these aren’t exactly no-name companies working on a project that seemed to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick just a few years ago. Keep reading to see some pictures of the prototype, a picture of this crazy V-16 engine, a video of the Engine on the Dyno and full specs of the production model so far.

Devel Sixteen: Did Someone Sell Their Soul to the Devil?


The 5000-HP Devel Sixteen Debuts Next Week! Can it Live up to the Hype? - image 744099

It seems pretty hard to believe, but from the look of things, this Michigan-built engine really has the balls to push some serious power. The dyno it was tested on couln’t go above 4,515 horsepower (and why should it have to, right?) so there’s no definitive evidence that it can put down a real 5,000 ponies, but as you can see from the video below, it sure didn’t hesitate to max out that dyno in a real hurry!

Devel Sixteen Specifications

  • 12.3 LITER V16 QUAD TURBO
  • 5,000+ HP (RATED OVER 5,000 HP, DYNO COULD NOT HOLD ANY MORE POWER OVER 4,515 HP)
  • 4,515 HP @ 6,900 RPM, 36 PSI C16 (DYNO COULD NOT HOLD ANY MORE POWER OVER 4,515 HP)
  • 3 519 TORQUE @ 6,600 RPM, 36 PSI
  • 3 006 HP @ 6,900 RPM, 20 PSI (92 93 PUMP GAS – DAILY USE)
  • 2,407 TORQUE @ 6,400 RPM, 20 PSI
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN BILLET ENGINE BLOCK
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN CYLINDER HEADS
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN CRANKSHAFT
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN BILLET CAMSHAFT (ROLLER CAMSHAFT, STREET TUNE)
  • 2 VALVE PER CYLINDER (32 TITANIUM VALVE)
  • 81 MM QUAD TURBO

The 5000-HP Devel Sixteen Debuts Next Week! Can it Live up to the Hype? - image 744097

Needless to say, this thing is pretty damn crazy, but it’s still hard to believe that it can really live up to the hype – even with a video proving the engine can nearly break a dyno. Can a car even handle 5,000 horsepower without ripping in half or worse? And, if so, will the car actually be able to break the 300-mph barrier. If it does, how fast will 5,000 let it go? 320 mph, 350 mph? I know we’re certainly curious to see, so Devel better come correct at the show and after! We want to see what 5,000 horsepower can do when it’s sent to the pavement. What do you predict?

References


2014 Devel Sixteen - image 532029

Read our full review on the 2014 Devel Sixteen Prototype.

PostHeaderIcon The 5000-HP Devel Sixteen Debuts Next Week! Can it Live up to the Hype?

Remember the Devel Sixteen? You know; that supercar built in Dubai a few years back that gave us the instant impression that someone was trying to blow smoke up our ass? Well, it may have taken a couple of years, but the official production model is finally about to make its long-awaited debut. The venue? The 2017 Dubai Auto Show. In case you don’t remember, let me fill you in on what the Devel Sixteen really is. It was a car that came to the Dubai Auto Show back in 2013 looking like a plastic Hot Wheels car with unbelievable claims of power and speed. By unbelievable, I’m talking about 5,000 horsepower from a V-16 with quad turbos and a top speed that surpasses 300 mph – a feat that may be accomplished by the Hennessey Venom F5 in the very near future.

You can’t deny that those claims sound pretty ridiculous – even the Koenigsegg One:1 is rated at just 1MW or 1,341 horsepower. The new Hennessey Venom F5 is rated at 1,600 horsepower, and even the Bugatti Chiron comes in at just 1,470 ponies. So how can a no-name company like Devel show up to the scene with a car that is said to have 5,000 horsepower and can smash 300 mph really be in the news yet again? Well, Devel may not be showing off the official car until next week, but it has already released some specs on the engine, and at this point, we kind of have to see it – just to scratch the itch that is curiosity.

To top it all off, Devel isn’t exactly on its own either, which really makes things interesting. If you remember correctly, the company teamed up with Steve Morris Engines – an engine building out of Michigan. It’s also teamed up with Manifattura Automobili Torino (MAT,) a firm that has had a hand in building cars like the SCG 003 and the Apollo Intensa Emozione. Needless to say, these aren’t exactly no-name companies working on a project that seemed to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick just a few years ago. Keep reading to see some pictures of the prototype, a picture of this crazy V-16 engine, a video of the Engine on the Dyno and full specs of the production model so far.

Devel Sixteen: Did Someone Sell Their Soul to the Devil?


The 5000-HP Devel Sixteen Debuts Next Week! Can it Live up to the Hype? - image 744099

It seems pretty hard to believe, but from the look of things, this Michigan-built engine really has the balls to push some serious power. The dyno it was tested on couln’t go above 4,515 horsepower (and why should it have to, right?) so there’s no definitive evidence that it can put down a real 5,000 ponies, but as you can see from the video below, it sure didn’t hesitate to max out that dyno in a real hurry!

Devel Sixteen Specifications

  • 12.3 LITER V16 QUAD TURBO
  • 5,000+ HP (RATED OVER 5,000 HP, DYNO COULD NOT HOLD ANY MORE POWER OVER 4,515 HP)
  • 4,515 HP @ 6,900 RPM, 36 PSI C16 (DYNO COULD NOT HOLD ANY MORE POWER OVER 4,515 HP)
  • 3 519 TORQUE @ 6,600 RPM, 36 PSI
  • 3 006 HP @ 6,900 RPM, 20 PSI (92 93 PUMP GAS – DAILY USE)
  • 2,407 TORQUE @ 6,400 RPM, 20 PSI
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN BILLET ENGINE BLOCK
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN CYLINDER HEADS
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN CRANKSHAFT
  • DEVEL SIXTEEN BILLET CAMSHAFT (ROLLER CAMSHAFT, STREET TUNE)
  • 2 VALVE PER CYLINDER (32 TITANIUM VALVE)
  • 81 MM QUAD TURBO

The 5000-HP Devel Sixteen Debuts Next Week! Can it Live up to the Hype? - image 744097

Needless to say, this thing is pretty damn crazy, but it’s still hard to believe that it can really live up to the hype – even with a video proving the engine can nearly break a dyno. Can a car even handle 5,000 horsepower without ripping in half or worse? And, if so, will the car actually be able to break the 300-mph barrier. If it does, how fast will 5,000 let it go? 320 mph, 350 mph? I know we’re certainly curious to see, so Devel better come correct at the show and after! We want to see what 5,000 horsepower can do when it’s sent to the pavement. What do you predict?

References


2014 Devel Sixteen - image 532029

Read our full review on the 2014 Devel Sixteen Prototype.

PostHeaderIcon Is The Mercedes-AMG Project One Worth $5.2 Million?

Aston Martin made it known that flipping a reservation slot for the Valkyrie hypercar will come with a lot of consequences. Now it’s Mercedes-AMG’s turn to shed light on its position after a reservations spot for the Project One hypercar has found its way into the market, specifically on German online marketplace Mobile. The price of the slot? A whopping $5.2 million, which would be more than double the $2.4 million price of the actual hypercar.

Given the exclusivity of the AMG Project One – production is limited to just 275 units – it’s easy to see why a slot for the yet-to-be-released hypercar is being put up for sale at that price, especially if someone’s willing to spend that much just to get the 1,500-horsepower walking piece of Formula One technology. Whether it’s right to flip or not is another question entirely though. A lot of people in the business, Aston Martin included, has drawn a perfectly clear line in the sand on where it stands on the issue. According to CEO Andy Palmer, anybody who even thinks about flipping his reservation spot for the Valkyrie in the name of financial gain would automatically lose their slot and be barred from buying future Astons of similar exclusive ilk. For its part, Mercedes-AMG has yet to comment on the Project One reservation slot being put up for sale, but since the dealership in question DI Automobile is located in Munich, Germany, it should only be a matter of time before the German automaker reaches out the dealer, or even updates its policy on the matter. As debatable as the act of car flipping is, a lot of automakers are beginning to take a stand on the practice, and it’s hard to imagine Mercedes-AMG sit on this issue and let it happen without at least making its voice heard.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Mercedes-AMG needs to make a stand on this, and it needs to do it fast


2020 Mercedes-AMG Project One - image 731401
“$5.2 million is more than double the $2.4 million price of the actual hypercar”

I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite here and go nuclear on the owner of this Mercedes-AMG Project One reservation slot for trying to sell it for more than double the price that Mercedes-AMG is asking. For one, I’m on the fence when it comes to the practice of flipping. I understand all the negative connotations that are attached to it, but I also don’t know enough about a seller’s reason to make judgments on his intentions. This instance, though, is different because of all the circumstances behind it.

Here’s what I can tell you: even if I had that money, there’s no way that I’m spending $5.2 million on the Mercedes-AMG Project One. It’s just too much for a car that has yet to prove it’s worth the $2.4 million Mercedes-AMG is asking for it. I get that it comes infused with the most advanced Formula One-derived technology that a production car can have, but there are still too many unknown variables about it that spending more than $5 million for a build slot just doesn’t make any sense for me.


2020 Mercedes-AMG Project One - image 730635

As far as the automaker’s position is concerned, I get it too that they’re being protective of the sanctity of the process behind securing a slot for a hypercar like the Project One, or in Aston Martin’s case, the Valkyrie. If something like this is allowed to pass, the whole process will be cheapened, possibly to the point wherein future products to come from the same automaker won’t have the same auto of exclusivity. Aston Martin’s taking the proactive approach here, and that’s well within its right to do so. Same thing with Porsche and Ferrari, both of whom have already taken steps to crack down on potential flipping of its exclusive sports cars. Ultimately, I fully expect Mercedes-AMG to do the same.

Whatever reasons flippers may have, one thing is clear, at least from an automaker’s point of view. Given the requirements that need to be passed to even be eligible for a build slot, it would be extremely unlikely of there being any other reason that these spots are being sold at a premium other than making a profit out of it. If it were something cheaper like toy collectibles or trading cards, I wouldn’t have an issue with the flipping.

But for a $2.4 million hypercar? Something’s amiss there, and the automaker – Mercedes-AMG in this case – needs to act on it to prevent it from happening.

References

Mercedes-AMG Project One


2020 Mercedes-AMG Project One - image 731855

Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG project One.



Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Quick Comparison – Hennessey Venom F5 Vs. Bugatti Chiron Vs. Koenigsegg Agera RS

Let’s say you want a car that’s fast – like, world-beating fast. The kind of fast that’ll get you thrown in jail quicker than most cars can reach the 60-mph mark. The kind of fast usually reserved for aircraft. We’re talking the bleeding edge of speed here, the cream of the crop in terms of moving across the face of the Earth on four wheels. Incredibly, there’s actually several options to choose from, assuming you’ve got the bank account to back it. Up here, at the peak of the mountain, you’ll find the Henessey Venom F5, the Bugatti Chiron, and the Koenigsegg Agera RS going head-to-head-to-head, each a top trump in modern street-legal performance. But which is the best?

The Hennessey Venom F5 is the newcomer of the group, with a recent debut at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Offered as a follow-up to the Lotus-based Venom GT, the F5 builds on the successes of its forerunner with all new everything, including a fresh chassis, revised aero, and a tuned-up engine, each of which was built from the ground up to conquer all challengers. Chief amongst those challengers is the Bugatti Chiron, the standard-bearer when it comes to ultimate high-dollar speed, rocking 8 liters of quad-boosted internal combustion and a reputation for superlative performance. Finally, we have the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which just set a new world record by going 277.9 mph on a closed road in the Nevada desert.

But while top speed is obviously a major factor here, what about the rest of the car? What about the way it looks, the interior, and the chassis? In this quick comparison, we’ll take a brief, but well-rounded look at each of these amazing vehicles and go beyond V-max to find out how they stack up.

Continue reading for a quick comparison between the Hennessey Venom F5, the Bugatti Chiron, and the Koenigsegg Agera RS.

Exterior

Hennessey Venom F5


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742052

At first blush, we were delighted to see the Venom F5’s new exterior design. It’s a seriously good-looking piece of kit, breaking from the old Lotus-look of the preceding Venom GT to create something totally new. The aesthetic is simple, but effective, with a traditional super car stance that hugs the ground with wide hips and a broad nose. The fenders rise high over the tall wheels, while the various aero elements are finished in black under the brightly colored body panels. The headlights are long and thin, stretching towards the rear in drawn-out strips that lead the eye towards a slim waistline. In back is a large rear wing, below which is a trio of exhaust pipes.

With body panels made from carbon fiber, the Venom F5 cuts substantial weight, a vital element to its performance. However, Hennessey also sought to find a balance between reducing the coefficient of drag for high-speed record-breaking, while also maintaining enough downforce to keep the machine planted while traveling at hypersonic velocity. Helping it to achieve that juggling act are active wing elements and a flat underbody, which help to bring the Cd down to 0.33, making the F5 much more slippery than the preceding Venom GT.

Bugatti Chiron


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 730338

Placed next to the competition, the Bugatti Chiron has a rather, eh, unique look to it. The whole thing is much more bubbly and rounded than the other two, with a bulbous nose and tear drop-like proportions in the profile. A set of horizontal LED headlights frame the front fascia, complemented by a duo of horizontal intakes closer to the pavement. In all, the Chiron continues the look originally set forth by the Bugatti Veyron and developed by the Gran Turismo Concept, and sports classic Bugatti features like a C-shaped Bugatti line in the flanks and an upside-down U-shaped intake in front.

However, don’t think for a second the shape of the Chiron is anything other than highly functional. When dealing with speeds and power at this level, every tiny detail can have a huge impact on overall performance. For example, those C-lines in the sides help to funnel air into the side intakes, force-feeding the radiators with a blast of cool air to keep the engine running in top form. The rear wing is active as well, tucking in down the straights and going vertical in the braking zones. And while some may deride its unconventional style, there’s no doubt that the Chiron is instantly recognizable because of it.

Koenigsegg Agera RS


2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 619945

If we had to characterize the Agera RS when viewing it alongside the other two entries in this comparison, we’d actually call it a bit “understated.” Granted, that statement is highly, highly relative, as on its own the Agera RS is an extremely exciting car to look at. It’s just that compared to the Hennessey Venom F5 and Bugatti Chiron, it’s not quite as exciting. The angles and details are simpler, straighter, and uncluttered, without the ultra-pointy sharpness of the Venom, or the rounded muscle bulges of the Chiron. Instead, what you get is more of a traditional “speed wedge” design, with a broad, flat nose, central greenhouse, and flat rear end.

The whole thing is made from carbon kevlar, and improves on the aero set-up of the preceding Agera R and One:1 thanks to revisions like a new front fascia, an extended front splitter, and a seriously curvaceous rear wing. You’ll also find active wing elements front and back, with electronic adjustability for a more tunable package. The net result is a ton of extra stick at speed, with that rear wing making as much as a half-ton of downforce at 155 mph.

Interior

Hennessey Venom F5


2011 Hennessey Venom GT - image 413008

Note: Hennessey Venom GT pictured here.

As of this writing, Hennessey has elected not to provide in-depth details on what the Venom F5 is offering in terms of interior appointment. That said, we can still speculate based on what we’ve seen from Hennessey in the past.

For example, take the preceding Exige-based Venom GT, which spruced up the barebones Lotus platform with nicer upholstery, carpets, aluminum surrounds, and high-end carbon fiber trim pieces. We’d expect something even nicer from the F5, with leather and Alcantara coverings, digital instrumentation, and maybe even some basic infotainment gear as well. Racing harnesses will keep passengers in one spot, while a central touch screen will provide the interface for the various onboard systems. Long story short, the Venom F5 won’t go over the top with luxury, but it won’t be totally stripped down, either.

Bugatti Chiron


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 727472

One look at the Chiron’s cabin is all you need to confirm that yes, Bugatti does indeed know what it’s doing when it comes to making an interior. The whole thing looks cohesive and well put together, with flowing lines that resonate with confidence and elegance. The layout includes a central divider that mimics the C-shaped Bugatti line seen outside, while the central console swoops down from the dash in a single piece of carbon, studded with polished aluminum switches. Behind the gorgeous three-spoke steering wheel is a central analog speedometer flanked by a pair of digital readouts, while a high-end stereo system provides an alternative soundtrack to the burbling exhaust note.

All told, the Bugatti Chiron’s interior is an absolute masterpiece, and it’s definitely in the running for best-looking interior for a production car in the world.

Koenigsegg Agera RS


2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 619946

Like its exterior styling, the Koenigsegg Agera RS gets a rather simple layout for the cabin. Bare carbon is once again the material of choice, with prominent sheets of the stuff laid across the door panels, central console, and dash. Rounded air vents are placed at the appropriate locations, while a digital display in the dash relays pertinent performance info. Below the screen is a series of buttons and knobs arranged in a circular layout, complementing the car’s naturally clean aesthetic. Carbon-backed bucket seats provide a place to sit.

It’s a straightforward approach to interior design, and should be well appreciated by minimalists. In fact, compared to the Bugatti, we’d almost call it antiseptic.

Drivetrain

Hennessey Venom F5


2011 Hennessey Venom GT - image 412995

Note: Hennessey Venom GT pictured here.

While we have yet to get a clear shot of what it looks like, we do know all about the important numbers tagged to the Venom F5’s party piece. Making the noise is a newly developed 7.4-liter V-8, which gets stuffed by a double-dose of turbocharging to produce a whopping 1,600 horsepower and 1,300 pound-feet of torque, all of which routs to the rear by way of a seven-speed single-clutch paddle-shift gearbox.

All told, it’s a surprisingly old school approach to the question of going fast, especially lined up against the modern mega-hybrids of the world. That lack of extra gear once again helps the Venom save weight, and the net result is blisteringly quick acceleration numbers. While real world confirmation is still forthcoming, Hennessey claims a run from 0 to 186 mph (300 km/h) in less than 10 seconds, quicker than a modern Formula 1 car. The run to 249 mph (400 km/h) and back to a standstill should take less than 30 seconds. Finally, the big number – Hennessey says the Venom F5 will do 300 mph at the top end, which should beat the other two entries on this list. That is, of course, assuming Hennessey actually follows through on that claim.

Bugatti Chiron


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 732100

While the Chiron certainly stands out thanks to its unique exterior styling and magnificent interior, the Bug’s biggest headline is what its got going on just behind the driver’s seat. Mounted longitudinally at the mid-ship position is an 8.0-liter W-16 engine, which gets boosted by no less than four turbochargers to produce a meaty 1,479 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, 296 horsepower and 74 pound-feet of torque more than the preceding Veyron SuperSport. All of it hits the ground through a high-performance Haldex AWD system, which is fed by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Put your foot down, and you’ll hit 60 mph in 2.4 seconds, while 120 mph arrives in 6.5 seconds. The sprint to 190 mph takes 13.6 seconds, while 250 mph takes 32.6 seconds. Top speed is limited at 261 mph, as the heavyweight Chiron creates enormous strain on the tires at higher speeds. However, if equipped with rubber robust enough to handle the forces at play, the Chiron could theoretically reach 288 mph.

Koenigsegg Agera RS


2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 622407

Unlike the Bugatti’s exotic, quad-turbo, infinity cylinder powerplant, the engine in the Agera RS is much closer in layout and set-up to the Hennessey Venom F5. The spec includes a 5.0-liter V-8 plumbed with just two turbos. Output is rated at 1,160 horsepower at 7,800 rpm and 940 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Impressive stuff, no doubt, but if desired, buyers can throw on the 1 Megawatt package to boost their RS up to 1,341 horsepower at 7,500 rpm and 1,000 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm when drinking an E85 ethanol fuel blend.

On its own, that’s an absurd amount of muscle on tap, but in company like this, the Koenigsegg RS might look a little, well, underpowered. Luckily, all those ponies translate into world-beating speed all the same with the 0-to-60 mph sprint done in less than 3 seconds and the run to 124 mph done in less than 7 seconds. What’s more, the RS currently claims the title for fastest production car in the world, recently topping out at an astonishing average of 277.9 mph. And while both of the rivals listed here could theoretically beat that figure, it don’t mean a thing until it actually happens.

Chassis And Handling

Hennessey Venom F5


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742069

One of the Venom F5’s most important characteristics is its low curb weight, a feature that Hennessey sought to maximize (or minimize, as the case may be) throughout the vehicle’s development. Thanks to the carbon fiber chassis underneath, the carbon fiber body panels outside, and all the other composite details in between, the Venom F5 tips the scales at just under 3,000 pounds, or 2,950 pounds to be exact.

That makes a big difference for a variety of reasons. Not only does it allow the F5 to run standard Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires, but it should also make the car somewhat lively in the corners, assisted by standard carbon ceramics for stopping

power. We’ll have to wait for confirmation of that (no one has actually driven one yet outside the Hennessey development crew), but either way, we’re hoping this thing won’t be a one-trick pony.

Bugatti Chiron


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 667485

Under the skin, the Chiron is similar to its Veyron predecessor, but updated to meet the rigors of modern hypercardom. Improvements include a new carbon fiber monocoque chassis, with a carbon rear subframe for even greater torsional rigidity. The suspension was also redesigned, while the electric power steering gets a few new tweaks as well. Carbon silicon carbide brakes make for lighter discs, with eight-pots in front and six-pots in the back.

Despite the extensive use of exotic materials like carbon fiber and titanium, the Chiron is still extremely heavy, weighing in a concrete-crushing 4,400 pounds. As such, pricey Michelin tires are required to keep it planted, with a staggered diameter at 20 inches in front and 21 inches rear, sized at 285/30 and 355/25 respectively.

Koenigsegg Agera RS


2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 622395

Unsurprisingly, the Koenigsegg Agera RS also utilizes a monocoque construction, with carbon fiber laid over an aluminum honeycomb core. The suspension is composed of double-wishbones in front and carbon fiber upper wishbones in back, plus two-way electronically adjustable gas shocks, and pushrod-operated Triplex dampers in the rear. The ride height is electronically adjustable, while a rack and pinion system helps it steer. Koenigsegg’s very own hallow carbon fiber wheels take their place in the corners. These rollers are super lightweight, yet appropriately large, with 19 inches of diameter and 9.5 inches of width in front, plus 20 inches of diameter and 12.5 inches of width in the rear. Michelin’s Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 are once again used for performance, while ceramic brakes are fore and aft, with branded 6-pot calipers in front and branded 4-pots in back.

All told, the Agera RS is relatively sprightly, tipping the scales at 3,075 pounds. Throw in multiple settings for the electronic handling aides, and this Koenigsegg is a beast on the track, whether you’re storming down a straight or attacking a corner.

Prices

Hennessey Venom F5


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742063

Pricing for the Venom F5 starts at $1.6 million, and should include a wide array of customization options. Just 24 will be made, with the owner’s list hand-selected by Mr. Hennessey himself.

Bugatti Chiron


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 667486

If you fancy the Chiron, you can pick one up for about $2.8 million. Production is a slow process, but not limited like the Hennessey, and customization options are even more plentiful.

Koenigsegg Agera RS


2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 620259

Finding an exact price for the Agera RS is a bit trickier, but considering the standard Agera costs $2.1 million, expect the RS to be, well, more. Just 25 are slated for production.

Conclusion


Quick Comparison – Hennessey Venom F5 Vs. Bugatti Chiron Vs. Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 743250

So then, after looking at each of these three amazing cars, where do we stand?

Let’s take it section by section. First up, the exterior. Each of these cars is, without a doubt, a very striking thing to behold. Each is also absurdly aerodynamic, folding the air around it with the dexterity of a jet fighter. However, the key is finding a balance between beauty and aero trickery, and in that respect, the Hennessey Venom gets the nod. We think it simply looks better than the other two, while still managing to stick at speed, and that gives it the win in our book.

Next up, the interior. The Chiron takes the win here, hands down. I mean, seriously, just look at the picture below and bask in the absurd awesomeness that is the Chiron’s cabin. The other two are fine, but next to the Bugatti, they look like cut-rate commuter sedans from the ‘90s.


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 667493
“If you need a high-end cabin to go with your absurd speed, then the Chiron has you covered.”

But what about the engine and drivetrain? While all three offer insane levels of output, we’re once again partial to the Chiron. We love the unusual cylinder arrangement, high-tech turbo system, and beefy AWD, and although the Hennessey has it beat in terms of raw power and the Koenigsegg wins out in terms of weight, the Bug’s otherworldly 8.0-liter W-16 is what really gets our juices flowing.

Speaking of weight, let’s not forget how important the chassis and handling are to keeping these things well-rounded in the long run. While power is great, the ability to apply it properly can make all the difference, and in that respect, the Koenigsegg Agera RS takes the win. This thing was made for the track, and its evident that the Swedes paid close attention to making it much more than just a straight-line superstar.


2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 736455

Finally, there’s the price. At just $1.6 million, the Venom F5 looks like an absolute bargain against the Bugatti and Koenigsegg, especially if it really can do all the things Hennessey claims it can do.

“At the end of the day, we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge the fact that the top speed is still the spec that matters most in this space.”

Of course, at the end of the day, we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge the fact that the top speed is still the spec that matters most in this space. Bragging rights are paramount, and as such, the Koenigsegg Agera RS is the current king. That said, it’s unlikely to stay at the top for the long, as the battle continues for dominance in high-dollar velocity.

Will Hennessey prove its 300-mph claims? Will Bugatti recover the title it originally held with the Veyron? Will Koenigsegg go back to Nevada with something even faster?

Rest assured – we’ll be watching.

References

Hennessey Venom GT


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742051

Read our full review on the 2019 Hennessey Venom F5.

Bugatti Chiron


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 685581

Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.

Koenigsegg Agera


2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS - image 736447

Read our full review on the 2017 Koenigsegg Agera RS.

PostHeaderIcon $4 Million Will Snag You A “Used” Bugatti Chiron

Bugatti Chirons are hard to come by these days, and it doesn’t help that the French automaker has already sold half the entire production run of the supercar. It gets worse when you consider that production of all the reserved Chirons will take a number of years to complete and, to this point, only three have been delivered to their respective owners. So in the absence of any relevant options, the second-hand market becomes a more feasible avenue to take. Good news, then, because one such example of the Bugatti Chiron is now up for grabs in Germany.

The listing was madly Munich-based exotic car dealer Semco Exclusive Cars, and the Chiron in question looks to be the real thing. The tuner, after all, has a long history of crossing paths with Bugattis, including a pair of Veyrons that are also currently listed. It also has two Pagani Huayras on offer, as well as two Ferrari LaFerraris and two Porsche 918 Spyders. In other words, Semco Exclusive Cars is dripping with exotics. It just so happens that one of the stars of the bunch – if you can even call it that – is the Chiron.

The model in question has been described as “used,” though the use of the term can be pretty subjective. There’s no information on how many miles it’s incurred or if the bespoke leather in the cabin has any coffee stains on it. There are photos of the Chiron sitting quite comfortably in the dealership, and from the looks of it, there doesn’t appear to be anything to worry about as far as the body is concerned. Everything’s in place, right down to the shininess of the two-tone Atlantic Blue Metallic and French Racing Blue Uni exterior finish. The listing also describes the interior as having a good mix of Terre D´OR leather and carbon.

While it would have been much better to know how much mileage it has, there’s little reason to be suspicious of this particular Bugatti Chiron. Not only is it in the hands of a well-reputed supercar dealership, but the price tag Semco Exclusive Cars attached to it – € 3.5 million ($4.05 million) is one that’s fit for a Bugatti Chiron, even if it is “used” in some form or fashion.

References

Bugatti Chiron


2018 Bugatti Chiron - image 667477

Read our full review on the 2018 Bugatti Chiron.



Read more Bugatti news.

PostHeaderIcon The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Might Drop Cover In Dubai This Weekend

Word around the ‘Net is that Chevy will reveal its highly anticipated, track-focused iteration of the C7 Corvette, the ZR1, at an upcoming private event in Dubai on Sunday, November 12th. The rumor comes courtesy of the Bow Ties devotees over at CorvetteBlogger, who posted what appears to be a leaked image of the December issue of Car & Driver portraying one very orange and aggressive-looking ‘Vette parked under the ZR1 banner. The image is supported by further detail images taken from the magazine article itself, which appear to show the ZR1’s shifter, engine, and steering wheel, while a post made a day prior shows an invite to a special event in Dubai this weekend, apparently provided by a Middle East-based Corvette owner.

It’s assumed that the ZR1 will land stateside later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show to wow domestic journalists, with a predicted production launch for spring of 2018. And yeah, Dubai does seem like a somewhat unusual place to reveal the red, white, and blue sports car, but as CorvetteBlogger points out, Chevy still managed to garner plenty of attention when it dropped the Corvette Grand Sport at the Geneva Motor Show, and with the L.A. show scheduled to kick off in a few weeks from now, the ZR1 should still get plenty of attention. Either way, stay tuned as we look for further developments.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Might Drop Cover In Dubai This Weekend - image 743595

While a few U.S. enthusiasts out there might be miffed about a Dubai reveal for the ZR1, it makes a lot of sense for Chevy. After all, it’s no secret that the U.A.E. metropolis is a hot spot for high horsepower and superlative performance – just check out their police forcefor evidence of that.


The Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Might Drop Cover In Dubai This Weekend - image 743596

With that in mind, the ZR1 should fit right in. Details are obviously still forthcoming, but word has it the apex-hunter will get new exterior styling and bigger aero, plus as much as 750 horsepower under the hood. It was originally believed that Chevy’s tried-and-true supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 would be making the go, but with this latest batch of rumors, it’s now believed the ZR1 will be rocking a new DOHC LT5 instead.

References

Chevrolet Corvette


2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 698482

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.



Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept

2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept

Just when you think that you have the auto industry all figured out, it still finds a way to make you question what you know. Very few automakers are as good at doing that as Lamborghini, and after bearing witness to the madness that is the Terzo Millennia Concept, I might as well just throw my hands up and admit defeat. I don’t know enough to know what Lamborghini knows because, if I did, I would’ve seen the Terzo Millennio Concept coming a while ago. But nothing prepares you for this kind of presentation, especially when the Italian automaker is involved. You just sit back, be amazed, and try not to piss yourself in the process.

The narrative surrounding the Terzo Millennio Concept is a pretty straightforward one. The concept is a joint creation by Lamborghini and some smart folks from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was created to showcase the future of the Raging Bull, or rather, the possibilities of what can happen in automotive design and engineering when smart people work together for a common purpose. History hasn’t always been kind to this innovative bullishness, but if there’s one automaker that has proven to be adept at bringing state-of-the-art tech to life, no matter how ridiculous they may be, it’s Lamborghini. All that is why the Terzo Millennio Concept is so intriguing beyond the fact that it proudly wears the iconic Sant’Agata Bull badge. The concept may be defined by tech offerings that don’t exist yet, but that’s not to say they can’t happen, especially when Lamborghini’s involved.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio Concept.

  • Designed to be the super sports car of the third millennium
  • Futuristic technology
  • Body panels contain energy accumulation system, health monitoring, and self-healing technology
  • Four motors
  • Each wheel is designed around a motor to keep the body and powertrain separate
  • Four-wheel torque control, dynamic body control system
  • New architecture is said to “perfect airflow”
  • Shorter hood a first for Lambo
  • New lighting layout compared to traditional DNA
  • The true embodiment of future Lamborghini vehicles

Exterior


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743134
“The concept is outlandish in so many ways, yet it’s no accident that it looks the way it does.”

Where do I even begin? I suppose the obvious place to start is the “Terzo Millennio” name, which basically means “Third Millennium.” It’s no accident that Lamborghini opted for that monicker since CEO Stefano Domenicali himself referred to the concept as “the future of the super sports car for the third millennium.”

One look at the Terzo Millennio, and it’s easy to see the reference. The concept is outlandish in so many ways, yet it’s no accident that it looks the way it does. There’s a purpose behind every aerodynamic detail to the car, from the massive LMP1-style wheel arches, the short hood, the expansive windshield, to all the carbon fiber panels that seemingly protrude on all sections of the concept from just about every direction.

The front section has hints of Lamborghini’s styling DNA, but there are some new aspects to it too. For one, I haven’t seen a Lamborghini with that kind lighting configuration before. The shortened hood is another new approach, and it is a little jarring to see the windshield extend all the way to the same level as the headlights. It’s also worth noting how close to the ground the concept is. At least that’s one feature that you can expect to remain in concept form.


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743127
“Panels deemed unnecessary have been stripped out in the name of making the concept as light as possible”

Move to the side, and you’ll see one of the defining design traits of the Terzo Milennio. Panels deemed unnecessary have been stripped out in the name of making the concept as light as possible. You’ll see in a few angles that the traditional intakes in front of the rear wheels have been taken out completely. The result is a completely exposed section that gives the wind another area to blast through unimpeded. The concept also features two gills on each side – another nod to the unbridled focus on aerodynamics. It’s a similar story in the rear of the concept, though if I may be granted an opinion, this is my favorite section of the Terzo MIllenio. The stance alone is perfect. It’s brutish and elegant at the same time, kind of like how you’d describe a massive bull with muscles bulging from every body part but still moves with the grace that we humans can only dream of. It’s beautiful. It’s spectacular. It’s a work of art.

Here’s the really interesting part about the Terzo Millenio. I’ve rambled on about its design attributes, but I’ve yet to get to the defining element of the concept. Those body panels that make up the body of the concept aren’t just standard carbon fiber panels. They also store the concept’s power source. Yes, you read that right. The body panels themselves contain the batteries, specifically carbon fiber nanotubes that are malleable enough to to be shaped in such a way that they can be thin enough to be sandwiched in layers of carbon fiber, thus preventing the possibility of future Lambo owners getting electrocuted.


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743128

And, you thought the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio was your typical run-of-the-mill concept? Well, guess again.

Interior

There’s not much to talk as far as the interior is concerned. What we do know at this point is that the concept only comes with two seats since, you know, weight savings. Other than that, there’s plenty to speculate on what kind of cabin the concept has. Knowing Lamborghini, I imagine something of a never-seen-before set-up that relies on some kind of advanced AI interface with enough futuristic mumbo-jumbo to make George Jetson proud.

Drivetrain


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743164
“The concept uses four electric motors, housed at each of the four wheels”

If you’re dreaming about numbers, then continue to dream because neither Lamborghini nor MIT have any concrete power figures attached to the Terzo Millennio. Not that it matters because horsepower should be the least of our concern anyway. What’s important is the tech that comes with the concept, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s a doozy.

There are still elements about the drivetrain that speak to our language. One is the use of four electric motors, housed at each of the four wheels. Another is the use of advanced supercapacitors, something that Lamborghini has already fiddled with in the current Aventador.

But it wouldn’t be a Lamborghini concept without the inclusion of mind-blowing technology. This is where those body panels come into the equation. The idea is that instead of installing a clunky battery pack in the car – that’s added weight, among other perceived nuisances – the energy storage are built into the body panels of the car through that carbon fiber sandwiching process I alluded to earlier. Having this energy source in the body of the car not only helps in generating high amounts of power for the car, but also assists it through fast recharging, effective regeneration of kinetic energy, and slow degradation of the battery pack itself.


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743140
“Lamborghini says that the concept will be able to monitor its carbon fiber structure and detect if there are any issues to any of its panels”

The technology itself is a definite shot into the future, but it isn’t without its real-world issues, one of which is the physical integrity of the carbon fiber. As durable as it is, it’s no vibranium, so there is a possibility that the material cracks or even breaks, especially when it’s subjected to a good amount of electricity literally flowing inside of it. To address that, Lambo and MIT are looking at a tech feature that essentially lets the carbon fiber material heal by itself.

I won’t blame any of you if your eyebrows start trending upwards, but this is still a concept so the thin line between reality is fantasy is understandably a lot more blurred than it should be. In any event, Lamborghini says that the concept will be able to monitor its carbon fiber structure – there’s that AI technology I’m predicting – and detect if there are any issues to any of its panels, be it cracked, or completely broken. In these instances, the Italian automaker literally said that “micro-channels filled with healing chemistries” will do the repairs by themselves. I don’t know what micro-channels are, and I’m pretty sure that the phrase “healing chemistries” is a good source of chuckles, but the possibilities are pretty fascinating, provided that you open your imagination.

In other words, when the world’s greatest minds collaborate on a concept like the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio, we’re going to need to give them some latitude on some of the crazy stuff.

Conclusion


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743128

There’s a lot to like about the Lamborghini Terzo Millennia, but as with most concept vehicles like this, it’s hard to really gauge its effectiveness. Most of what Lamborghini and MIT created speak to an automotive future that doesn’t exist yet or, at best, is at least still in its embryonic stage. It’s hard to tell if these features will ever come to pass, let alone turn into something meaningful in the future. These are discussions for another time, though credit should still go to Lamborghini for already looking into future automotive technology.

As far as how the concept looks, well, just look at it. It’s the embodiment of what it means to take pride in the Lamborghini name. Fearsome, brutish, and classy all at the same time. That’s the kind of concept we expect from the Italian automaker. Safe to say that it’s reassuring to know that the company hasn’t lost its touch in this regard.

  • Leave it
    • Some tech features are too outlandish to even think about
    • Can Lamborghini develop these techs for future application?
    • Don’t expect a production model anytime soon, maybe ever.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Is Not Messing Around Anymore As CEO Takes Aim At Ferrari

2019 Aston Martin Vanquish

With Aston Martin saying goodbye to the current-generation Vanquish – it even prepared a final “Ultimate” edition of the model – work on the next-gen model is speeding up to the point that we’re already seeing prototypes of the upcoming Vanquish out and about on the streets. We also know that it’s slated to carry as much as 700 horsepower on tap and, if Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer is to be believed, the next-gen Vanquish is going to be potent enough to make the Prancing Horse restless.

Oh, yes. Palmer is throwing the gauntlet at Ferrari, specifically at the 812 Superfast. It’s been well-documented that Aston Martin has set out a plan to become more aggressive with developing pure performance cars. We’ve already seen hints of it with the development of the Vulcan supercar and the Valkyrie hypercar. Now, it’s also taking shape with some of the marquee’s long-standing models. The new DB11 got the ball rolling in that regard and it’s no surprise that the next-gen Vanquish will use the same template, including a modified version of the DB11’s platform. Likewise, the Vanquish’s 5.3-liter turbocharged V-12 unit will be derived from the DB11 and will be tuned to produce power levels that could rival the Ferrari 812 Superfast. It’s an ambitious goal to set, especially when Ferrari is brought up in the discussion. But, it’s a new era over at Aston Martin. Those days of the marque sticking to its grand tourer roots are long gone. Now it’s taking aim at just about anybody it deems a competitor with little regard for the consequences. It’s a refreshing sight to see, and one that I wish happened much earlier.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Big words, big dreams


2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739094
“The next-gen Vanquish is “bloody good” and is being “developed to compete with the Ferrari 812 Special”

At this point, Aston Martin has yet to give us any concrete details about the next-gen Vanquish beyond claims that it’s “bloody good” and is being “developed to compete with the Ferrari 812 Special.” Those are the exact words of Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, so he fits the bill of a person who knows every spec of information regarding the next-gen Vanquish.

Palmer even added that the “majority of product investment for the supercar is finished and, at this point, the next step is preparing the manufacturing process of the car.” A big part of that preparation, according to Palmer, involves making different prototypes, and on that end, the British automaker is making more than it’s used to so when production of the car begins, the company will be ready to go without any hitches or delays. Clearly, a lot of time and effort are being put into ensuring that the next-gen Vanquish lives up to the hype. It already has a considerable amount of it considering what we’ve already heard and read about the development process of the car.


2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739097

One thing I do know is that Palmer knows what he’s doing when he mentions the next-gen Vanquish in the same sentence as the Ferrari 812 Superfast. The latter, after all, is regarded as Maranello’s latest masterpiece. Beyond the fact that it has the looks of a proper Ferrari, it also boasts an undeniable Prancing Horse lineage, none more important than its 6.5-liter V-12 engine that produces 789 horsepower 530 pound-feet of torque.

On the surface, it seems ridiculous to think of the next-generation Vanquish as being in the same league as the 812 Superfast. But, this is the world we live in now, and it’s a testament to Aston Martin’s newfound approach that we’re even discussing it in the first place. Here’s to hoping then that all the filibustering coming out of Gaydon amounts to something that lives up to all the hype. It would be a shame if Aston Martin keeps talking up the next-generation Vanquish and then the car ultimately fails to live up to expectations.

Personally, I’m not too worried about that because if recent form holds, Aston Martin’s claims regarding its new performance car already have a strong foundation to stand on. Then again, we’ll know soon enough if that’s going to be the case when the next-gen Vanquish makes its debut in 2019.

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739101

Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin Vanquish.



Read more Aston Martin
news.

PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept Unveiled

Lamborghini just unveiled its latest concept vehicle. Dubbed the Terzio Millennio, or “third millennium,” don’t expect to see one of these driving around on public roads any time soon. Rather, the Terzo Millennio is Lambo’s look into the distant future, imagining what’s possible in terms of energy delivery, material technology, and of course, insane exterior design. And before you go off in the comments section about the impossibility of some of the ideas proposed here, you should probably know the concept was developed in collaboration with MIT. So then – maybe you could call this thing an “educated guess”?

First and foremost, the concept is electric, bristling with various kinetic energy recovery systems to keep it as efficient as possible. However, rather than the traditional battery set-up, the Terzo Millennio uses a supercapacitor system, which would theoretically provide an ever bigger wallop when pressing the go pedal.

Next up, the Terzo Millennio is made from lightweight composites. No surprise there, but apparently, this ain’t your daddy’s carbon fiber. Instead, Lambo proposes a nanomaterial construction that actually acts as an energy storage system, keeping the electricity flowing while also providing the structure and body of the car. What’s more, Lambo foresees a self-monitoring system that will actually detect cracks in the composite structure and self-heal the damage, like some kind of giant organic skin.

Finally, Lambo wants an AWD drivetrain with independent electric motors, allowing more freedom in the body design, and as a result, better aero. More importantly, though, Lambo says the Terzo Millennio has to sound like a proper supercar, which will be quite the trick indeed.

What do you think of it? Does the idea of an electric, self-healing Lamborghini sit well with you, or is all this just a bunch of crazy talk?

PostHeaderIcon Koenigsegg’s New Speed Record Doesn’t Mean Squat

I wasn’t planning to blab about cars again anytime soon, but something amazing happened this weekend: someone actually smashed Bugatti’s world speed record for production cars after a whopping seven years. If you’ve been living under a rock, a Koenigsegg Agera RS averaged 277.9 mph on a two-way run on a highway in Nevada, beating the record set by the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport in 2010 by 10 mph. An impressive display by the Swedish automaker, achieved with a production model that was actually borrowed from a customer. The record has yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records as of this writing, but whether it qualifies or not, the Agera RS’s run will remain an important page in high-performance automotive history. However, I still think that all this ludicrous speed stuff for production cars is absolute nonsense.

Before I move any further, I want to make it clear that I’m not questioning Koenigsegg’s big achievement. I’ve already seen all sorts of comments questioning whether the record was set using a stock car with stock parts and a production setup. Those are made by morons. First, Koenigsegg isn’t the type of company that would risk damaging its relationship with its customers by lying to the extent that most automakers do when setting records, especially track records at the Nurburgring. Second, I don’t think it’s a record that the Swedish firm was actually dying to own. It just happened, and it didn’t make a big fuss about it. And, it was very entitled to make a big fuss given that the Agera RS hit a top speed of 284 mph. That’s just a hair away from the magic 300-mph mark. But I digress…

Continue reading for the full story.

The Top Speed You’ll Never get to Experience

“It's cool to have it on a piece of paper or as a YouTube video to wank to, but it's not something a customer will achieve”

So why do I think this record means squat? Well, it’s simply not a feature that defines a production car. It’s cool to have it on a piece of paper or as a YouTube video to wank to, but it’s not something a customer will achieve. There’s no way you can hit that top speed on a public road, and even if you find a traffic-free road, it’s illegal. Not to mention dangerous, because every little bump may cause you to lose control at high speeds. Other hazards, including wild animals, could put your life at risk too.

Now I know what you’re thinking, you could take the Agera RS to ludicrous high speeds on a race track. Well, you can’t actually. There aren’t any race tracks with a long enough strip to allow you to go well past the 200-mph mark. If you watch Koenigsegg’s video, you’ll notice that it took the driver around seven miles to hit maximum speed. It can probably be done faster since he wasn’t in a hurry to accelerate to 150 mph, but it would still need almost six miles to get there.


Koenigsegg's New Speed Record Doesn't Mean Squat - image 736455
“Much like the Bugatti Veyron and the Chiron, the Agera RS comes with a top speed that's useless in the real world”

And, once you get there, you also need to brake, so it’s safe to assume you need a couple more miles to get to a safe speed. This basically means that you need a track with a straight run of around eight miles, which is impossible to find on any permanent race track nowadays. The Nardo Ring, where Koenigsegg set a record with the CCR many years back would be an option, but the oval track isn’t opened for public days.

So, much like the Bugatti Veyron and the Chiron, the Agera RS comes with a top speed that’s useless in the real world. Much like all those cars that set fast laps at the Nurburgring. You’ll never get to lap the Nordschleife as quick as Lamborghini did with the Huracan Performante. You don’t have the skill, and you’ll never have the track to yourself. And, assuming that a carmaker used some tricks to score its awesome lap, like Nissan did with the GT-R Nismo, you won’t be able to do it as quick no matter how good you are. Sure, you can brag in front of your friends and at the local sports car meeting, but this is where it ends.

You might as well buy a Jaguar XF and argue that that the British firm had the fastest car in the world back in 1949. Because it did, and it’s worth as much as having a spec sheet with a top speed you’ll never be able to experience.

References

Koenigsegg Agera


Koenigsegg's New Speed Record Doesn't Mean Squat - image 657709

Read our full review on the 2015 Koenigsegg Agera RS.



Read more Koenigsegg news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Shelby Mustang 1000

2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000

It’s been only four three model years since the sixth-generation Ford Mustang arrived in showrooms, and the pony has already spawned an impressive number of versions wearing the Shelby badge. Although the iconic GT500 has yet to be revived, Ford has already launched the GT350, the Super Snake, GT-H, and GTE, just to name a few. The GT500 may still be a year away, but sixth-gen Mustang, but Shelby just launched yet another performance model. This time around it’s the Shelby 1000, the brand’s most menacing creation in terms of output and straight-line speed.

The Shelby 1000 is closely related to the GT500, as the first model to wear this badge, launched in 2011, was based on the fifth-generation GT500. Offered in both street and 1000 S/C track versions, the first iteration of the car was discontinued in 2012. The 1000 returned in 2013, once again based on the GT500, but now with the 5.8-liter V-8 instead of the old 5.4-liter unit under the hood. Both the street package and the S/C track package were offered. Also available as an upgrade for the GT500, the package was discontinued in 2014, after only two years on the market. The new Shelby 1000 is the first such model based on the sixth-generation Mustang, so everything about it is new compared to previous iterations. Let’s have a closer look at the car in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Shelby Mustang 1000.

Exterior

  • New front fascia with larger intakes
  • Bulged engine hood
  • Wider fenders
  • Fatter wheels
  • Sporty side skirts
  • “Shelby 1000” graphics
  • Trunk lid spoiler
  • New diffuser

2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742932
“The wider fenders make way for fatter tires, but also give the car a more menacing stance”

Ever since it was introduced in 2011, the Shelby 1000 made a name for itself as the most aggressive road-legal production version of the Mustang in terms of exterior design. The new model is no exception from this rule and looks even more menacing on the styling cues of the facelifted, sixth-generation ’Stang.

As usual, it sports wider than usual fenders. These were added to make way for fatter tires, but also to give the car a wider stance for increased stability and a more aggressive look. Shelby redesigned both the nose and the bumper. The grille now features a honeycomb mesh and a trapezoidal element at the bottom with “Shelby” lettering inside.


2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742933
“Around back, there's a new spoiler atop the trunk lid and a more aggressive diffuser below”

Below, we can see larger side cooling ducts, a more aggressive lower grille, and a bigger splitter. The hood is new as well, now sporting a massive center bulge and big vents, both added to accommodate the supercharged engine.

Moving onto the sides, we can see a new vent on the front fender, black side sill extensions, and “Shelby 1000” lettering on the lower door area. The standard Mustang wheels have been ditched for 20-inch, forged aluminum rollers with a twin-five-spoke design. Around back, there’s a new spoiler atop the trunk lid and a new, more aggressive diffuser with wide exhaust pipes below the bumper. As usual, the black panel between the taillights comes with “Shelby” lettering.

Interior

  • Illuminated sill plates
  • Katzkin leather
  • Rear-seat delete
  • Four-point roll-bar and harness
  • Autometer gauges
  • CSM badging
  • Custom floor mats

2018 Ford Mustang - image 702221

Note: Standard 2018 Ford Mustang pictured here.

“The front seats are wrapped in Katzkin leather, while the rear seats have been removed”

Shelby has yet to release interior shots of the 1000, but it did post a list of upgrades it made to the sixth-generation Mustang. Open the door and you’ll be greeted by special, illuminated Shelby sill plates. You’ll notice almost immediately that the front seats are wrapped in Katzkin leather. Because this car was built with racing in mind, the rear seats have been removed and a four-point roll-bar and harness system was added for enhanced safety. Other highlights include an instrument with Shelby by Autometer gauges, CSM badging on the dashboard, and custom floor mats.

In addition to all of the above, customers will benefit from the sixth-gen Mustang’s redesigned interior. Despite this model being almost four years old as of 2017, I’m mentioning it because this is the first Shelby 1000 based on it. So the new 1000 will have quite a few features to stand out by compared to previous versions of the supercharged coupe, including a redesigned dashboard with a more modern design, fresh technology, softer materials, and a bit more room.


2018 Ford Mustang - image 702222

Note: Standard 2018 Ford Mustang pictured here.

“In terms of new-for-2018 tech, there's a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and Ford SYNC Connect with FordPass”

Those who opt to have the Shelby 1000 update on the facelifted, 2018-model-year ’Stang will also benefit from hand-made contrast stitching, padded knee bolsters, and aluminum door handles, rings, and bezels. You can even have a heated steering wheel if you check the option on Ford’s ordering list.

In terms of new-for-2018 tech, there’s a 12-inch digital instrument cluster with a personalized LCD and Ford SYNC Connect with FordPass. Available as an option, the latter is an app that enables drivers to start, lock, unlock, and locate their car using smartphones.

Drivetrain

  • 5.2-liter Alluminator V-8 engine
  • 4.5-liter Shelby by Whipple supercharger
  • Upgraded new, manual transmission
  • Shelby exhaust system
  • Short throw shifter
  • 1,500-horsepower rated axles
  • Penske adjustable shocks and springs
  • Ford Performance sway bars
  • Brembo braking system
  • Frame strengthening
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires

2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang - image 643647

Note: 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang pictured here.

“The 1000 package ditches the 5.0-liter V-8 that comes with the Mustang GT, replaced by a larger, 5.2-liter unit”

As it is the case with most Shelby muscle cars, most of the upgrades are hidden under the engine hood. The 1000 update ditches the 5.0-liter V-8 that comes with the Mustang GT, replaced by a larger, 5.2-liter unit. If it sounds familiar it’s because Shelby is using the same engine found in the cool GT350. However, while the GT350 is a naturally aspirated car, the Shelby 1000 also gets a 4.5-liter, Whipple-designed supercharger.

The assembly also gets new radiator, heat exchanger, oil cooling, and an aluminum cooling tank, as well as a Shelby exhaust with long tube headers. It mates to a new manual transmission with revised cooling parts and a short throw shifter. There’s also a one-piece drive shaft, a truple disk clutch, and a Shelby fuel pickup system. Driveline upgrades are rounded off by an oil recovery system, an ATI vibration dampener, and a high capacity oil pan.

“The new axles are rated at a whopping 1,500 horsepower”

The new axles are rated at a whopping 1,500 horsepower. Speaking of which, Shelby has yet to announce the power rating of the 1000 model, but if the past is any indication, you can specify as much horsepower as the axles can handle. In this case, 1,500 horsepower. It’s worth noting that the first-gen model developed 920 horses in road-legal specs, while the second-gen car was good for a whopping 1,200 horsepower. Assuming that Shelby will offer two power ratings, expect at least 1,000 horsepower from the base model.

But the Shelby 1000 isn’t just about engine upgrades. The chassis has been heavily modified too and now includes revised front spindle and control arms, new rear lower control arms, Penske adjustable shocks and springs, a caster camber plates and adjustable sway bar link, Ford Performance sway bars, Ford Performance half shafts, a Brembo brake system, and further frame strengthening. The wheels, which feature hardened studs, are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires for enhanced grip.

“It's safe to assume that it will hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than 2.5 seconds”

Of course, you’re probably asking how fast this car is in a straight line. It’s difficult to tell without actual specs, but it should be the quickest Shelby ever created. If you really need a figure, it’s safe to assume that it will hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than 2.5 seconds. Actually, it could be almost as quick as the Dodge Challenger Demon, which needs only 2.3 ticks.

Interestingly enough, Shelby claims that the new 1000 is an entirely different car compared to its predecessors, as it has been designed to be the “ultimate road course warrior.” But this mission was far from easy, according to the firm, which said that modifying the sixth-generation Mustang was far more complication due to the independent rear suspension system and the new platform.

“Since Ford dropped the solid axle rear end, we had to take an entirely new approach,” said Vince LaViolette, Shelby vice president and head of development. “Not only did we build strength into the car with components like heavy-duty halfshafts and CV joints, we revised the entire suspension by using tubular adjustable upper and lower control arms, as well as fully adjustable coilovers. We then added 10 and 12 inch forged wheels with sticky 20 inch rubber to maximize traction with this high level of power.”
While the previous generation Shelby 1000 was offered in both street and off-road configuration, a decision was made not to pursue emissions compliance on the new model, Shelby added, which makes the newest generation 1000 “purely a track star.”

Prices


2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742305

While the new Shelby 1000 package was advertised on the facelifted, 2018 Mustang, the upgrade is available for any sixth-generation Mustang GT. Production will be limited to only 50 units per year, but Shelby didn’t say whether this edition will last more than the previous ones, which were around for only two model years each. Like any Shelby out there, each car will be documented in the official Shelby Registry. Pricing for the package is set at $169,995, not including the Ford Mustang GT. Add the base car, which retails from $35,095 before options, and the Shelby 1000 will cost you a whopping $205,090!

Competition

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon


2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - image 713286

When it comes to massive horsepower and drag-ready underpinnings, the Challenger Demon is the best competitor I can think of. Developed with fast quarter mile runs in mind, the Demon is a development of the Hellcat, but with significant upgrades in just about any department. The Demon is a Hellcat on steroids on the outside, featuring a new splitter, wider fender flares, and a beefed-up engine hood. Inside, the Demon is again similar to the Hellcat, but benefits from new seats with “Demon” logos, a bespoke instrument cluster, extra performance apps, and optional leather. The standard model comes with just the driver seat, but options include two- and five-seat layouts. Power comes from a souped-up supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 that cranks out horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque. It might not sound like much compared to the Shelby 1000, but the Demon needs only 2.3 seconds to hit 60 mph. However, this figure is achieved when the car is equipped with radial drag tires and used in Drag Mode. The Demon is also the fastest quarter-mile production car with a 9.65-second run at 140 mph. It’s so quick that the NHRA actually issued a ban, as regulations state that a car that’s quicker than 9.99 seconds on the drag strip (at more than 135 mph) requires extra safety equipment and a racing license. This coupe is also fitted with a large number of upgrades developed to sustain the insane performance, including the SRT Power Chiller, TransBrake, and Bilstein shocks tuned for drag racing, just to name a few. Pricing starts from $84,995 (including $1,700 gas guzzler tax, excluding $1,095 destination), which makes it $20,800 more expensive than the Hellcat, but significantly more affordable than the Shelby 1000.

Read our full review of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

Hennessey Camaro ZL1 “The Exorcist”


Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 The Exorcist by Hennessey - image 715078

Built by Texas-based tuning company Hennessey, “The Exorcist” is not a factory-built car like the Demon, but it’s put together in the same way as the Shelby 1000. And the outrageous power and its nickname make it a suitable rival for the other cars in this comparison. Built around the latest Chevy Camaro ZL1, “The Exorcist” has a supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 rated at 1,000 horsepower and 966 pound-feet of torque and rides on drag slicks. The 0-to-60 mph sprint comes in “under three seconds” while the quarter-mile happens in “less than 10 seconds,” which should be pretty close to the Shelby 1000. The good news is that even though it’s not a factory vehicle, the upgrade can be ordered through Chevrolet dealerships and comes with a two-year/24,000-mile warranty. What’s more, the 10-speed automatic transmission is joined by a six-speed manual, whereas the Demon can’t be had with a stick. Pricing for this package starts from $55,000, not including the car, which means that the sticker actually begins from $116,140. Get all the options and “The Exorcist” will set you back a whopping $142,080. Far from affordable, but definitely not as expensive as the Shelby 1000.

Read our full story on the Hennessey Camaro ZL1 “The Exorcist.”

Conclusion


2018 Ford Shelby Mustang 1000 - image 742306

The Shelby 1000 is far from being among the brand’s most iconic nameplates. Because it’s still relatively new, having been first introduced in 2011, it will be overshadowed by the GT350, GT500 and the Super Snake for many years to come. On the other, I have to give the 1000 credit for being the most extreme Shelby ever built. And with new axles rated at 1,500 horsepower, the new Shelby 1000 will be more powerful than ever. Granted, there’s a chance it won’t be as quick as the Challenger SRT Demon on the drag strip, but it will put any production muscle car and most aftermarket upgrades to shame in terms of horsepower. And needless to say, it doesn’t look bad either. Put a big wing on that thing, and you’ll have a full-fledged race car on your hands. The only downside here is that the Shelby 1000 is very expensive. You can buy a Porsche 911 GT3 and still have some $60,000 to spend on fuel and weekends at the Nurburgring.

  • Leave it
    • Likely not as quick as the Demon
    • Very, very expensive

References

Ford Mustang


2018 Ford Mustang - image 702950

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.


2016 - 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang - image 671847

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing

Manhart Racing is known for creating some incredible tuning programs in the past, most recently turning the BMW M5 into an 800-horsepower powerhouse. Now the German tuner is turning its sights on the Audi RS5 with a new program that packs plenty of aftermarket punch. Ok, maybe it’s not as potent as the M5’s kit, but it’s still good enough to bring some extra level of excitement to Audi’s resident mid-size performance coupe.

In keeping with Manhart Racing’s tradition, the aptly named RS500 tuning program is packing the load with power and performance bits. It also features a number of handy visual upgrades in case you’re in the mood to turn your RS5s into something that looks right at home in the Fast and Furious franchise. But enough of the small talk. The RS500 program is largely tied into the objective of giving the Audi RS5 more than what it’s capable of. It’s about giving the RS5 the chance to maximize its potential as a performance car. It’s about turning the spotlight to arguably one of the most underrated performance cars in the market today. Give it some cosmetic upgrades, slap on a few engine upgrades, and dial up the suspension work. That’s the name of Manhart Racing’s RS500 tuning game and the results, well, they certainly speak for themselves. So if any of you own an Audi RS5 and you’re looking to give it an aftermarket touch, you’re going to need to take a long and hard look at what Manhart Racing has on the table.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Audi RS5 RS500 by Manhart Racing.

Exterior

  • Matte black body finish
  • Gold trim accents on the body
  • 21-inch Concept One wheels

2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742831
“The predominantly matte black look of the two-door coupe is visually boosted by the gold accents throughout the body”

This is a pretty straightforward tuning program so don’t expect anything complicated out of it. There aren’t any aerodynamic bits to talk about because there aren’t any to begin with. What Mansard did do was provide a good list of cosmetic upgrades that, at least in my mind, works well on the RS5. The predominantly matte black look of the two-door coupe is visually boosted by the gold accents throughout the body. I especially like the gold racing stripes running the whole length of the RS5. That’s a nice aesthetic touch that brings out a more personable side to the coupe. While I’m at it, the 21-inch Concept One wheels are solid inclusions as well, as are the gold trim surrounding them. It’s going to be next to impossible to notice how it looks when you’re driving the car, but look at how the gold trim separates itself from the wheels and the black rubber of the tires when the RS5 is on the road. Subtle hints like that go a long way in making a car like the two-door Audi look more appealing from a visual point of view.

Interior


2014 Audi RS5 - image 511744

Note: Audi RS5 pictured here.

One thing that must be said about Manhart Racing’s tuning program. It usually doesn’t showcase its interior upgrade offerings in public because most of it is actually of the personalization variety. That’s not to say that the tuner is lacking in this department. On the contrary, Manhart’s actually well versed in the art of interior customization, as shown by some of its previous works. So in the absence of any relevant details surrounding what’s available for the Audi RS5, feel free to let your imaginations run wild on what you can do to the interior of your RS5s. Some fancy leather upholstery perhaps? Maybe throw in some wood or carbon fiber trim?

Drivetrain

  • Software engine update
  • New output of 499 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque
  • Optional stainless steel exhaust system

2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742832
“The RS5’s stock output of 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque gets boosted to a tidy 499 horses and 517 pound-feet of twist.”

Manhart Racing hasn’t disclosed the specifics of the engine upgrade, but it’s easy to figure out that the whole program revolves around a software tune, something akin at least to its MHTronik tuning module that nets as much as 60 extra horsepower out of any engine it’s used on. In this case, the Audi RS5’s 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine is the lucky unit that’s going to be the recipient of Manhart Racing’s handiwork. The results are what you’d expect too as the RS5’s stock output of 450 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque gets boosted to a tidy 499 horses and 517 pound-feet of twist. That computes to an extra 49 ponies and 74 pound-feet of torque, right around the vicinity of what you can expect from the German tuner’s software tuning kit.

Needless to say, the extra shot of power should translate better performance times for the RS5. The tuner hasn’t announced the exact figures at this point, but with the standard RS5 Coupe capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 174 mph, it stands to reason that the modified RS5 can cover the same distance in about 3.8 seconds before peaking at a top speed that’s in the neighborhood of 174 mph. Regardless of the actual figures, a 500-horsepower Audi RS5 sounds like a great investment to me. Last but certainly not least is a optional stainless steel exhaust system that itself can accommodate catless downpipes.

Suspension


2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742834

Accompanying the cosmetic and engine upgrades that are included in the RS500 build is a custom KW coilover suspension kit. Not only does it bring the ride closer to the ground, but it also helps facilitate an improved ride for the Audi RS5, the kind that you won’t be able to get if you buy the two-door coupe in stock form and leave it as it is.

Pricing


2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742835

The total price of the RS500 program is fluid depending on how much work is done on the car’s interior. You can take comfort though by knowing that the whole kit probably won’t be as expensive as you think, especially with how simple it all is from the perspective of the whole RS500 kit. In lieu of that, I’m expecting the price tag for this program to sit somewhere in the $20,000 range, maybe even cheaper than that provided that you don’t request any exotic leather on the cabin of the coupe.

Competition

Audi RS5 by mcchip


2013 Audi RS5 by McChip-DKR - image 528652

Truth be told, there haven’t been that many tuning programs to come out for the Audi RS5. I don’t exactly know the reason behind it, but it is a telling reminder that not all aftermarket kits are created equal.That’s not to say that the RS5 has been ignored by this subsection of the auto industry because there have been some programs developed specifically for it in the past. One of these programs comes to us by way of mcchip, which unveiled its kit for the RS5 back in 2013 for that year’s version of the sports coupe. That kit followed a different blueprint though because it revolved largely around a three-stage engine upgrade that got as much as 600 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque out of the RS5’s old 4.2-liter V-8 mill. That’s a lot of power for an older model of the RS5, but then again, the engine that model carried was bigger than the new-generation model. Just goes to show you how much aftermarket potential the RS5, regardless of model year, really has.

Read our full review on the Audi RS5 by mcchip.

Conclusion


2017 Audi RS5 Coupe RS500 By Manhart Racing - image 742828

I’ve always found it intriguing – maybe even weird – that the Audi RS5 doesn’t get as many tuning programs as some of its rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz AMG. Maybe it’s because the two-door Audi sports coupe isn’t as popular as its rivals, but whatever the case may be, I’m actually happy that Manhart Racing took a stab at developing one. It may not be the most comprehensive tuning kit in the world, but it’s more than enough to accomplish its goal of bringing something new to the table for the RS5. On that end, I’d call Manhart’s RS500 tuning a kit something that’s worth a long look should you be in the market for an aftermarket program for your RS5s.

  • Leave it
    • Expected something more
    • Availability could be an issue

References

Audi RS5


2014 Audi RS5 - image 574081

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi RS5.

PostHeaderIcon High Rollin’: Five Sports Cars You Can Buy For Less Than The Price Of Tires for the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

Remember the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept? I’m sure most of you do because it’s on the short list of most incredible reveals in 2017. It’s essentially a more hardcore version of the Bugatti Chiron, and there’s only one of its kind in the world. Yes, it’s a legitimate one-of-one. It also happens to be super expensive and in the short life that it’s had, it’s already been owned by two people. Prince Badr bin Saud of Saudi Arabia was the hypercar’s original owner, who bought it from Bugatti for an undisclosed sum that’s rumored to be in the ten-figure range. It didn’t take long, though, for the Vision GT Concept to change owners as the one-off has found its way to the US courtesy of its new owner in Los Angeles.

As important as those things are, I’m here to talk about a startling discovery about the Vision Gran Turismo, and as some of you might expect, that “discovery” is related to its tires. Apparently – prepare to sit down for this one – a new set of tires for the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo costs $93,000. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s $93,000. No typos. No misprints. No nothing. $93,000 for a set of tires.

Granted, it’s not out of the ordinary for the tires of Bugatti’s supercars to fetch insane amounts. A set of brand-new tires for the Veyron, for example, costs around $50,000 and a similar set for the all-new Chiron is actually a bargain at just over $40,000. But the Vision GT Concept trumps both of them, and it’s not even close. The price for a set of new tires for the concept is so preposterous that I’ve actually managed to come up with a list of sports cars that you can buy brand new for less than the price of the Vision GT’s tires. This is the auto world we live in now, folks. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s dripping in absurdity.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Lexus LC 500


2018 Lexus LC 500 - image 710874

Let’s start with a little Japanese flavor courtesy of Lexus and its newest GT sportster, the LC 500. There’s a lot to love about the LC 500, and it all starts with its looks. It may not be for everyone, but the striking styling dynamics of the LC 500 means that it’s a magnet for attention. It also features a well-prepared 5.0-liter V-8 that produces 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. All that power is then sent to the rear wheels courtesy of a newly developed Aisin 10-speed automatic transmission, which in turn allows the LC500 to hit 60 mph from an idle position in just 4.3 seconds before setting off on a top speed run that could peak at about 180 mph. I’m not as giddy about the fact that the model starts at $92,975, but at that price, you’re still looking at one of the best GT sports cars in the world. Don’t believe me? Take one out for a spin, and you’ll be shocked at how remarkably crisp and agile it is for a Lexus. I know from experience.

Read our full article on the 2018 Lexus LC 500.

Mercedes-AMG C 63


2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 - image 569747

From one of Japan’s finest sports cars to one of the most established sports cars from Germany comes the Mercedes-AMG C 63. Some of you are probably wondering why I chose the AMG C 63 in favor of something like the AMG E 63 S. The latter, for one, clocks in at a price of just over $100,000 so it doesn’t qualify in comparing it to the $93,000 it costs for the Vision Gran Turismo’s four tires. The important answer though is pretty simple: value for your money. This is what the AMG C 63 has over its E 63 counterpart. Not only does it boast of AMG’s famous 5.5-liter, biturbo, V-8 engine, it’s also good enough to produce 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are good enough to post a 4.0-second sprint to 60 mph. And, with features like a three-stage stability control system, an electronic limited-slip differential, and brake-based torque vectoring, it’s hard to think of the AMG C 63 as a run-off-the-mill sports car. It’s far from one, to be exact, and with a price that starts at $81,775, it’s a huge steal relative to what it’s capable of doing.

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63.

Chevrolet Corvette Z06


2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 - image 538131

I can’t imagine how four pieces of tires can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds by themselves. Can you see that happening? I didn’t think so. That shouldn’t be a problem though for the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, regarded today as the most powerful road-going Corvette ever built. It may be a sports car by segment definition, but rest assured, it packs supercar-like powers, thanks in large part to a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine that packs a meaty 650 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Not only does it rival the power produced by models like the McLaren 650S and the Ferrari 488 GTB, but it also costs just $83,995 in its base trim. Go for the whole enchilada and you’re looking at a price that approaches $100,000. The loaded version of the Corvette Z06 may be a little more expensive than the Bugatti Vision GT’s tires, but the things you can do with the ‘Vette – specially with that manual transmission in tow – far outpoints anything you can do with the Vision GT’s tires.

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

Cadillac CTS-V


2016 Cadillac CTS-V - image 599734

Let’s continue with the American performance car theme and present to you one of the most underrated performance machines to come out of our shores: the Cadillac CTS-V. While it’s true that it doesn’t get the publicity that some of its contemporaries get, the CTS-V is a load of a machine in it of itself. For instance, it makes use of a massive 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine that spits out 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque. Those are Corvette Z06-like numbers for a performance sedan. That’s impressive stuff, especially when you consider that even with its relative girth, it can still sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds before peaking at a top speed of 200 mph! 200 mph! Here’s the best part: you can get all of that for just $83,995, leaving you with a little under $10,000 in spare change compared to the set of tires for the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept.

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon


2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - image 729193

$84,995. That’s how much it’s going to cost you to buy a muscle car that produces a whopping 808 horsepower and 717 pound-feet of torque. I could leave it at that, but the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is worth mentioning because all that power translates to a 0-to-60-mph time of just 2.3 seconds, making it arguably the fastest-accelerating production car in the world. I don’t know if the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo can eclipse that number, but merely posing the thought means that the Challenger SRT Demon is worth the price of what you’re going to pay for it.

Read our full review on the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

PostHeaderIcon AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers

The SEMA Show in Las Vegas is a great event if you like aftermarket car upgrades and various equipment for SUVs and pickup trucks, but sometimes it’s a nice place to find restomods. Ringbrothers is one of the companies that bring one or two new restomods at each edition, and needless to say, it’s doing a great job at combining classic designs with modern features and drivetrains. Well, Ringbrothers did it again this year, but unlike previous events, the 2017 SEMA Show hosted the public debut of a truly special car. While most tuners usually go with Fords, Chevys, and Dodges for their restomod projects, Ringbrothers picked a 1972 AMC Javelin this time around. Yup, this underrated competitor for the Big Three muscle cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s got a complete makeover with all the bells and whistles Ringbrothers is known for.

Granted, choosing a Javelin for such a project may seem like a weird choice with much more popular muscle cars around, but it’s great to see that big companies like Ringbrothers is trying something different for a change. And needless to say, the Defiant! turned out great. It’s not only the coolest AMC restomod yet, but it also puts most projects from this year’s SEMA Show to shame. Keep reading for the full details.

Continue reading for the full story.

What makes the AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers special?

  • Carbon-fiber front fenders
  • Bulged hood
  • Aggressive front bumper
  • Side-exiting exhaust
  • Black roof
  • Wider rear fenders
  • Custom rear diffuser
  • Machine-turned instrument cluster
  • New upholstery
  • Modified Dodge Challenger Hellcat engine
  • 1,100 horsepower!
  • Four-speed transmission
  • Modern subframe and suspension

“It's a Javelin AMX on steroids. Brutal and modern”

Much like any Ringbrothers creation, the Defiant! is a significant makeover of the stock vehicle. It’s a Javelin AMX on steroids. Brutal and modern.

Most of the car’s notable features, such as the round headlamps, the pointy grille, and the arched fenders are still there, but everything else from the windshield to the nose has been redesigned. Arguably the most interesting fact here is that Ringbrothers moved the front wheels and arches forward by 6.5 inches in order to eliminate the original car’s long overhang. But the firm didn’t modify the stock fenders. These were removed and replaced by custom-made, carbon-fiber ones. The bumper was also replaced with a more menacing element that reminds of modern race cars. Finally, the engine hood gained a massive bulge to make room for the supercharged engine.

The remaining side body panels were modified too. While the rear fenders became wider, the side skirts now feature side-exiting exhaust pipes. The A-pillars and the roof are finished in black, just like the upper front fascia and the center section of the engine hood. The wheels are new too and feature a twin-five-spoke, dual-color design with high-performance tires.


2017 AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers - image 742608
“The stock front fenders were replaced by custom-made, carbon-fiber ones”

Modifications are rather subdued around back, where the ducktail spoiler, taillights, and bumper were kept in stock form. However, Ringbrothers did add a two-piece diffuser and a new emblem between the thin and long taillights. Rounding off the custom Javelin AMG is a sparkly gold color that keeps some of the car’s classic vibe alive.

Interior changes aren’t as radical, but the instrument cluster gained a machine-turned metal finish. There’s also new leather upholstery, modern floor mats, and slight changes to the steering wheel and center console. Classy!


2017 AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers - image 742611
“Interior changes aren't as radical, but the instrument cluster gained a machine-turned metal finish”

Under the hood, the AMX is no longer a Javelin. While the 1972 model was powered by a naturally aspirated V-8, this modern rendition draws its juice from a modified version of the Dodge Challenger Hellcat’s 6.2-liter V-8. A bit blasphemous for AMC loyalists I guess, but hey, this is a restomod after all. The V-8 is topped with a 4.5-liter supercharger that raises the power from the Hellcat-standard 707 horsepower to a whopping 1,100 horses. All that oomph is channeled to the wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission connected to the rear wheels via a carbon fiber driveshaft. Six-piston brakes provide stopping power.


2017 AMC Javelin AMX Deviant! By Ringbrothers - image 742613
“The modified Hellcat engine cranks out a whopping 1,100 horsepower”

The muscle car rides on a custom front subframe originally designed for a Camaro and fitted with modern sway bars and RideTech suspension components. A Chevrolet 12-bolt rear end is mounted on a four-link suspension designed by the Ringsbrothers.

The original Javelin might not have been that impressive compared to the competition, but this thing is something else. But as it is the case with Ringbrothers builds, the Defiant! will remain unique. But I’m sure they wouldn’t say no to another AMC-based project should you want one.

References


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept

2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept

Raise your hands if you feel a little hoodwinked by Infiniti and its Q60 Red Alpha Concept. I know I have my hands in the air because I expected something completely different from this concept. But, that’s the beauty of the auto industry. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, it gives us a car like the Q60 Red Alpha. I don’t think I’m the only one who thought that the concept would be a traditional go-faster iteration of the performance coupe. You know, something along the lines of the Q50 Eau Rouge with some extra luxury offerings thrown in for good measure.

Instead, Infiniti went a completely different direction in achieving the same goal. There may be a significant power and performance increase, but any hints of wood or carbon fiber trim are not just in short supply, they’re non-existent, to begin with. What we do get is a gutted interior with a roll cage in the back, Mickey Thompson drag racing tires, and a racing parachute in the back. A racing parachute! Did anybody see that coming? Granted, the concept does also come with a range of performance parts that will be available in the future for Red Sport 400 versions of the Q50 and Q60. We can at least look forward to that. But everything else about the Q60 Red Alpha speaks about a car that’s been heavily modified for one purpose: drag racing. I will admit though that I’m a little curious on how it’s going to fare on a drag strip, even if it’s something that I completely did not expect.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept

Exterior

  • Matte Red paint finish
  • Mickey Thompson drag racing tires
  • Bogart Racing wheels
  • Carbon fiber rear wing
  • Racing parachute

2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept - image 742577
“In essence, this concept isn’t so much about aerodynamic bits being added to the car as much as it is about the new equipment it’s actually carrying”

Boy, oh boy, where do I even start? On the one hand, the Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept still looks like a Q60. The front end still looks the same though it does get somewhat of a more sculpted bumper. The striking headlights are still the same. The front grille is still the same. The sloping hood is still the same too. It’s a similar story in the side and rear sections of the coupe, at least when you disregard the accessories that were fitted into the Q60 by Infiniti and AMS Performance.

In essence, this concept isn’t so much about aerodynamic bits being added to the car as much as it is about the new equipment it’s actually carrying. Let’s start with the wheels because no Q60 coupe will sit on a set of
Bogart Racing wheels and Mickey Thompson drag racing tires unless there’s a purpose behind it. The adjustable carbon fiber wing could be an exception, except that it’s been bolted in at such a weird angle that it makes you think once again that there’s a reason behind why it looks the way it does.


2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept - image 742578
“And then there’s the racing parachute”

Not only does the wing cover the taillight, but opening the trunk with that thing looks complicated unless Infiniti and AMS Performance designed it in a way that the trunk becomes an afterthought. And then there’s the racing parachute. Obviously, there’s no explanation needed for its inclusion because from the way the concept was prepared, it’s not something that you’d be driving to Whole Foods, but something you’re more likely to see in a drag strip.

Interior

  • Carbon fiber racing seats
  • Harness bar

2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept - image 742583
“Infiniti actually went the opposite direction for this coupe, preparing the cabin in such a way that it becomes more race-focused than it once was”

Apparently, there’s not a lot going on in the interior of the Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept, at least if your concern is what kind of new luxury upgrades it has. Infiniti actually went the opposite direction for this coupe, preparing the cabin in such a way that it becomes more race-focused than it once was. There are no clear photos of the interior, but I can at least make out the presence of a harness bar at the back of the front seats. Speaking of which, the seats themselves are now of the carbon fiber bucket seat variety, specifically added to not just shed some pounds off of the car’s total weight, but also to serve its new purpose as a full-fledged drag racer. It’s unclear as to how the dashboard and the center console look like but, if it the same philosophy applies, I don’t expect to see too much in the way of luxury trims and accents in those areas of the interior.

Drivetrain

  • Red Alpha Intercoolers
  • Red Alpha Intakes with Dry Media Filters
  • High Flow Exhaust Downpipes
  • Red Alpha Catback Exhaust System
  • Red Alpha ECU Calibration
  • High Capacity Overflow Tank
  • High Capacity Red Alpha Center Heat Exchanger

2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept - image 742576
“The Q60 Red Alpha Concept has around 467 horsepower and 452 pound-feet of torque at its disposal”

As surprising as the intent was of presenting the Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept as a coupe fit to drag race, there’s nothing surprising about the work that was done under its hood, especially since AMS Performance is involved. For those who are unaware, AMS Performance is responsible for some of the sickest and gaudiest aftermarket programs in the business today. This is the same tuner that was responsible for the 2,500-horsepower Nissan GT-R Alpha G R35. If there’s a tuner that knows how to crank up a car’s power and performance abilities, it’s AMS Performance.

And as expected, it did just that to the Infiniti Q60, which benefits from a long list of upgrades to its 3.0-liter V-6 engine, including the addition of new intercoolers, intakes with dry media filters high-flow exhaust downpipes, a high capacity heat exchanger, and the age-old ECU tuning kit. All together, it’s been reported that the Q60 Red Alpha Concept has around 467 horsepower and 452 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. The numbers have yet to be finalized though because Infiniti hasn’t confirmed – or denied – the exact power of the Q60 Red Alpha. What it did say is that the work of AMS Performance on the engine helped increase the latter’s output by 29 percent from its standard output of 400 ponies and 350 pound-feet of torque. Do the math on that and the numbers mentioned above ware the fact ones that come as a result of this extensive engine upgrade.


2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept - image 742585

I actually expected a little bit more owing to AMS Performance’s involvement in the creation of the concept, but I’ll let it pass on account of Infiniti’s plan to actually offer some of the products at its dealerships in North America. Likewise, AMS distributors will also get their hands on some of these upgrades in the near future. Either way, I do think that there’s still a lot more to the Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept than meets the eye. I can’t place my finger what the purpose there is in the creation of the Q60 Red Alpha, but rest assured, I’m all ears to learn more about it.

Conclusion


2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept - image 742575

This is a bit of pickle, isn’t it? Personally, I’m impressed that Infiniti and AMS Performance were able to turn the Q60 Coupe into a full-spec racer with drag racing credentials. That’s a difficult task in of itself, but it’s even more impressive when you consider that the Q60 Coupe isn’t exactly the first performance car you’ll think of as far as getting a drag racing makeover is concerned.

That said, I don’t really know what the plans are for the concept beyond using it as a showcase of the new engine upgrades that Infiniti and AMS Performance cooked up for the former’s existing lineup of coupes and sedans. Is there a bigger play involved here, one that’s going to conclude with the Q60 Red Alpha becoming the kind of performance car that makes the whole auto world stand up and take notice? Or is this the extent of the what the concept is all about? The answers should hopefully come soon enough because at this point, it’s hard to see what the real purpose of the Q60 Red Alpha Concept really is. I suppose it’s a mixture of a lot of different things, but I still don’t know if it’s going to be anything more than what’s been presented by Infiniti.

  • Leave it
    • The whole point still escapes me
    • No clue on whether the concept will turn into a production model
    • I like the Q50 Eau Rouge much better

References

Infiniti Q60


2017 Infiniti Q60 Coupe - image 661437

Read our full review on the 2017 Infiniti Q60.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vanquish

2019 Aston Martin Vanquish

Launched in 2016, the DB11 brought Aston Martin into a new era, one that sees a brand-new platform replacing the Vertical\Horizontal underpinnings that entered production in 2004. With the DB11 having replaced the iconic DB9 and a new-generation Vantage almost ready for a public debut, Aston Martin is now working on a new version of the Vanquish, and a prototype was just spotted on the Nurburgring track.

Not much is known about the upcoming Vanquish, but the spy shots suggest a DB11-inspired design. This is far from surprising though, as the DB11 was used to introduce the company’s latest styling language. So much like the DB9, which inspired the rest of the Aston Martin lineup back in the day, the DB11 will lend many of its features to the new Vantage and Vanquish. Of course, the Vanquish will be most aggressive of the trio in terms of styling, but also as far as performance goes.

There’s no word as to when the new Vanquish will arrive, but given that the second-gen model is five years old as of 2017, I don’t think we’ll see it sooner than late 2018 in showrooms. But, until that happens, let’s take a closer look at what we already know about the British grand tourer.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Aston Martin Vanquish.

Exterior

  • DB11-inspired styling
  • Sportier stance
  • Modern design cues

2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739090
“The Vanquish is arguably more aggressive than the DB11 up front”

If you see a DB11 in this spy shots, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. Those familiar cues are there for a reason. Actually, make that two reasons. First up, it’s no longer a mystery that the upcoming Vanquish started life as a DB11 mockup. Second, the DB11 is the car that introduced Aston Martin’s current design language, and it makes sense for the rest of the lineup to take inspiration from those cues.

But as similar as the two cars may seem, take a closer look, and you’ll notice quite a few differences. Arguably the most noteworthy feature up front is the main grille. While shaped in the traditional Aston Martin way at the top, the Vanquish’s grille is actually a tad narrower and taller, extending all the way to the splitter. The side vents also appear to be different, despite the heavy camouflage. The splitter is also narrower and doesn’t extend over the corners of the bumper like on the DB11. The headlamps are different too, having a smaller surfaces and a less organic shape. Finally, the engine hood, which is slightly shorter, has big vents on each side of the center bulge.


2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739088
“The car's profile is actually identical to the DB11 for the most part”

The car’s profile is actually identical to the DB11 for the most part, yet another hint that Aston Martin used the latter as a base for the test car. But while the front fender strake, the side skirts, and muscular beltline, and the roof are identical to the DB11, the nose, and the hood are notably shorter. This is because while the DB11 is a traditional grand tourer, the Vanquish is meant to fill the role of a front-engined supercar.

The rear end is once again similar to the DB11, and the heavy cladding on the center fascia and deck lid prevents us from getting a good look at most of the features, but we can still spot some difference. For starters, the prototype sports brand-new taillights. While the DB11 has thin, C-shaped clusters that extend into the trunk lid, the Vanquish has a more simple design with stripe-shaped units. What’s more, the cladding on the trunk lid could hide a horizontal bar that extends on the entire width of the rear section, similar to the Porsche 911.

The diffuser is again similar to the DB11, but the center section has more aggressive wings hinting at the Vanquish’s superior performance. Though not in its final stage, a quad-pipe exhaust layout replaces the DB11’s dual-tip configuration.

Interior

  • DB11-inspired cabin
  • Sporty dashboard
  • Race-inspired instrument cluster
  • 12-inch TFT display
  • New 8-inch infotainment display
  • Updated luxury features

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - image 721612

Note: Aston Martin DB11 pictured here.

“Look for a sporty yet clean dashboard layout and a race-inspired instrument cluster”

With no spy shots of the interior, it’s hard to predict what the Vanquish has in store inside the cabin, but there’s a big chance it will borrow some cues from the DB11. What we can assume is that it will be a brand-new design compared to the outgoing Vanquish.

Look for a sporty yet clean dashboard layout, a race-inspired instrument cluster, the DB11’s 12-inch TFT display, and a flat-bottom steering wheel with redesigned controls. A new eight-inch TFT infotainment screen with rotary control will provide access to all the apps. The optional touchpad with character recognition, multi-touch and gesture support available in the DB11 should find its way into the Vanquish as well. A new satellite navigation and audio system, an auto-park assist feature, and 360-degree camera should also be included.

Much like any Aston Martin out there, the Vanquish will get new upholstery materials and finishes, and the usual “virtually limitless” combinations of colors, veneer, and metal trim. Look for fine leather and Alcantara highlighted by contrast stitching and piping and new finishes such as layered “Nexus” quilting and “Celestial” perforation.

Drivetrain

  • New, lighter architecture
  • New, twin-turbo V-12 engine
  • Likely close to 700 horsepower
  • Could lose at least 150 pounds
  • 0-60 could come in 3.2 seconds
  • Top Speed could be as high as 205 mph

2017 Aston Martin DB11 - image 667795

Note: Aston Martin DB11 pictured here.

“The old 5.9-liter V-12 engine will be replaced with the newly-developed, twin-turbo, 5.2-liter V-12”

The big news here is that the next-generation Vanquish will get Aston Martin’s new architecture. The underpinnings have already debuted in the DB11 and will shave at least 150 pounds off the old model. Of course, the Vanquish will get its very own setup designed to handle increased performance, among other attributes.

Speaking of performance, the old 5.9-liter V-12 engine will be replaced with the newly-developed, twin-turbo, 5.2-liter V-12. Again, we’ve already seen what this engine is capable of in the DB11, which comes with 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet on tap. That’s five horses and 51 pound-feet more than the outgoing Vanquish S, but the redesigned model will get more than that. The Vanquish has been sitting at the top of the Aston Martin lineup in terms of performance since day one (not counting limited-edition models like the One-77 and Vulcan of course), so it’s safe to assume that the Brits are aiming for at least 650 horsepower. With the Ferrari 812 Superfast rated at a whopping 789 horses, Aston Martin could look to squeeze close to 700 horsepower out of the V-12, but it’s all just speculation at this point.

Performance-wise, it will be quicker than the outgoing Vanquish. I expect the new engine and lighter platform to shave at least two tenths off the current coupe’s 0-to-60 mph, meaning it should boast a 3.2-second benchmark. Top speed should also increase from the current 201 mph to around 205 mph.

Prices

Pricing for the upcoming Vanquish is obviously a mystery at this point, but it’s safe to assume that the new-generation model will cost a tad more than the current version. With the available Vanquish S priced from $294,950, the next-gen coupe will most likely cost more than $300,000 before options.

Competition

Ferrari 812 Superfast


2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast - image 708980

It might seem a bit awkward to compare the 812 Superfast to an Aston Martin on the performance front, but I’m pretty sure that the British firm is aiming in this specific direction with the upcoming Vanquish. Essentially an update to the F12berlinetta, the 812 Superfast features brand-new sheet metal, a revised interior, and new power under the hood. The styling is decidedly modern, but it also reminds of classic Ferraris like the 365 GTB4. The cabin carries over from the F12berlinetta, but it did gain a revised center stack, new controls, and a new steering wheel. The seats are sportier too, now featuring enhanced side bolstering. Under the hood, the already iconic 6.3-liter V-12 was replaced with a 6.5-liter unit. Output increased to an incredible 789 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque, arguably more than what the next-gen Aston Martin Vanquish will be able to deliver in its first years on the market. Charging from 0 to 60 mph takes only 2.9 seconds, while top speed is rated at an impressive 211 mph. Pricing should start from around $340,000 before options, which makes it more expensive than the upcoming Vanquish, but not by much given the extra oomph and technology.

Read our full review of the 2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast.

Bentley Continental GT


2018 Bentley Continental GT - image 728790

The Continental GT is more suited to go against the Vanquish. It’s not as aggressive as the 812 Superfast, it has that British flair, and it’s generally considered a better rival for Aston Martin’s grand tourer. The Conti GT was just redesigned for the 2018 model year, and it now rides on a new, lighter platform, uses a new design language based on the EXP 10 Speed 6, and a redesigned interior with state-of-the-art technology and revised luxury features. The engine continued to be 6.0-liter W-12 design, but the unit is actually new, and it’s now rated at 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Granted, the Conti GT is not as powerful as the 812 Superfast, but it will be followed by Speed and Supersports versions. The latter will probably arrive with around 750 horsepower, which should be enough to at least give the Ferrari a run for its money. Pricing should start from around $220,000 for the GT, but the Supersports will fetch in excess of $300,000 before options.

Read our full story on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.

Conclusion


2019 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 739089

If the DB11 is any indication, the upcoming Vanquish will be a significant departure from the current model. The lighter architecture, the more modern and sporty styling, and the redesigned interior with new technology and luxury features will make it as desirable as any high-profile grand tourer out there, including the 812 Superfast. Sure, it might not be as powerful and fast, but if Aston Martin decides to squeeze close to 700 horsepower from its new V-12 engine, it should at least give its Italian rival a good run for the money.

  • Leave it
    • Not as powerful and fast as the Ferrari 812 Superfast

PostHeaderIcon What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works?

So, remember that failed electric sports car that Mercedes tried to make happen back in 2013? You know; the one that started out as the SLS AMG E-Cell in 2011 and became a “production” model with the name SLS AMG Electric Drive. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know what it was, considering not even 100 examples were sold when it went on sale. That was back just a few years ago when the four-motor car was good for all of about 160 miles on a full charge – not even enough to have a full day at the track or a nice Sunday drive. So why was Mercedes just caught testing one on public roads again? It was even caked with all kinds of testing equipment. Clearly, Mercedes has something new in the works. The question is: What?

Well, we have a feeling that Mercedes-AMG could be planning to bring an all-electric AMG GT to market before it signs the death warrant on the current generation. The current model is set to run to at least 2020, and if Mercedes plays its cards right, it could have an electric model on the market yet again by 2019. Whether or not it would perform any better sales-wise is a completely different story, but when you take into considering the fact that electric cars are more common now, battery technology is better, and new material can make cars lighter than before, a 250-mile all-electric GT is entirely feasible.

If this is actually the case, Mercedes could have retrofit an advanced, lightweight battery and lighter, more powerful motors into one of its old prototypes and is actually putting it through the paces to see if the technology can hold up to a beating. After all, a car like the AMG GT is meant to be driven, and hard, so if a second run at having an electric sports car is going to work, Mercedes needs to deliver something that can overshadow the best it’s got at this point in the GT lineup. The real question is whether or not an electric GT can actually be successful. After all, less than 100 of the SLS AMG Electric Drive were sold, so perhaps the truth is that we don’t want electric sports cars and maybe Mercedes should quit trying to make it a thing.


What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works? - image 742277
“The SLS AMG Electric Drive wasn’t exactly your daily driver.”

Don’t get me wrong, the SLS AMG Electric Drive was a cool car, but it was a little ahead of its time. Sure, it’s only been four years, but back then range anxiety was a very real thing. Four years ago, 160 miles – especially in a sports car (yes, I know it worked for the Nissan Leaf) – just didn’t cut the mustard. It may work for someone who wants to commute back and forth to work each day, but if you want a fun-filled day at the track or to hit the highway for hours at end, you better drive something with a gas tank. Besides, the SLS AMG Electric Drive wasn’t exactly your daily driver. I mean it could have been if you didn’t drive far and all, but it’s got more of that “toy” status than it is something that you drive to work each day.


What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works? - image 742276
“If Mercedes is really planning an all-electric AMG GT, you can expect to see it in the next year”

As of now, however, battery-powered vehicles have become a little more normal. And, getting 300 to 400 miles out of a battery isn’t exactly unheard of. There’s plenty of performance to be had from electric motors too. So, if Mercedes is really planning an all-electric AMG GT, you can expect to see it in the next year or so as it will debut before the brand ends the GT’s current generation. Expect to see it blow the old Electric Drive out of the water as Mercedes knows it needs to up its game if a new electric sports car is going to be any more successful than the last failed attempt.

What do you guys think Mercedes is up to? Are they planning something, or is some engineer really bored and trying to win a bet? Let us know in the comments section below.

References

Mercedes SLS AMG


2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell - image 366651

Read our full review on the 2013 Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell


2013 Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive - image 475366

Read our full review on the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate

We’re stepping out from the madness going on at SEMA to bring you some important news from across the pond. Aston Martin, creators of some of the finest super GTs in the business, is all set to say goodbye to one of them. Yes, folks. The Aston Martin Vanquish is getting ready to say adieu, as production of the model is set to end soon. But, before that time comes, the British automaker is giving all of us one last treat in the form of the Vanquish S Ultimate, a last hurrah special edition model that will serve as a fitting swan song for the beloved Vanquish line.

The special edition model is limited to just 175 units and, as many of you might expect, it comes with plenty of exclusive features, none more important than the three exclusive color schemes that Aston has prepared specifically for the model under the “Designer Theme” banner. In addition, the automaker is also offering specially created color and trim packages that are unique to the Vanquish S Ultimate, so if any of you decide to get one, you’re getting treated to some design elements that no other Aston Martin has, presumably including the Valkyrie hypercar. That’s a pretty sweet selling point, isn’t it? Given the limited quantity, it would be ideal if you place your orders now because Aston’s already taking them. Should you luck into one, you can expect to take delivery of your Vanquish S Ultimate sometime in the first quarter of 2018.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate

What makes the Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate special

  • Three “Designer Theme” packages
  • Limited to 175 units
  • £211,995 in the UK and €278,995 in Germany (Coupe version)
  • £223,995 in the UK and €293,995 in Germany (Volante version)

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate - image 741970
“The Designer Theme color scheme consists of three different packages, each meant to bring out a unique look to the Vanquish S Ultimate.”

It’s hard to imagine a world where the Aston Martin Vanquish doesn’t exist but the good news is that we won’t have to live on because the Vanquish itself isn’t really going away. A next-generation model is already being developed with an eye towards a debut in 2018 or 2019. It’s just become customary for premium automakers these days to send off current-generation models with exclusive, special edition models. That’s what we have with the Vanquish S Ultimate and, to Aston’s credit, it did stellar work on making this a legitimate special edition.

There’s a lot to go by here, but the obvious place to start is the Designer Theme color scheme, which consists of three different packages, each meant to bring out a unique look to the Vanquish S Ultimate.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate - image 741973
“The first Designer Theme package features a monochrome Ultimate Black paintwork that was actually developed specifically for the first-generation Vanquish S Ultimate Edition”

The first Designer Theme package is the subtlest of the three. It features a monochrome Ultimate Black paintwork that was actually developed specifically for the first-generation Vanquish S Ultimate Edition that was released all the way back in 2007. That model also came with a number of exclusive nods, including semi-aniline leather with coarse stitching, leather headlining, and black chrome finish interior fittings.

For this version of the Ultimate Black Vanquish S Ultimate, Aston Martin continued with the predominantly black treatment, as shown by the use of black exhaust tailpipes, brake calipers, and window trims. Carbon fiber was also used generously on the hood louvers, front grille, and side strakes, while the set of five-spoke wheels is also dressed up in black.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate - image 741971
“The interior features a combination of Obsidian Black leather and Chestnut Tan accents and stitching.”

That said, the British automaker also switched some things up, at least compared to the model that was released 10 years ago. The most prominent of these changes are the Copper Bronze graphics around the front air intake, along the side sills, and on the rear diffuser. I like the approach Aston Martin took here because it sets up this version of the limited edition Vanquish in such a way that it doesn’t drown in black color. It also sets up the interior quite nicely with the combination of Obsidian Black leather and Chestnut Tan accents and stitching. The latter makes the cabin pop in a way that emboldens its special edition quality. Nice work here, Aston Martin.

Now let’s move on to the second Designer Theme package. It still follows a restrained visual with the use of Xenon Grey paint and matching that up with Cobalt Blue graphics and a healthy dose of carbon fiber trim and accents on the body. The yellow brake callipers provide another splash of color to the exterior as they peek from behind the gloss black five-spoke alloy wheels. This three-color setup continues in the interior of the special edition Vanquish. The dominant shade remains grey, or Phantom Grey to be exact. All the leather upholstery is finished in that shade while the contrast stitching comes in Spectral Blue and the extra color accents coming in Electric Yellow.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate - image 741974
“Each of the three Designer Theme packages also have uniform features that showcase their exclusivity”

Last but certainly not least is the third Designer Theme package. Should either of the two mentioned packages not be to your liking, Aston Martin has a dramatic color pivot with the third package. It’s predominantly dressed in White Gold paint with Bronze graphics acting as a smooth contrast. Gloss black and carbon fiber trim are still present in this package, something that I’m not keen on considering the car’s lighter shade. This is still the version I like best, but it probably would’ve been better if Aston used a lighter accent than gloss black. Move to the interior and you’re going to be greeted by a Chestnut tan leather interior with Obsidian Black accents thrown in for good measure. Again, not a fan of using black in this setup, but tan and black traditionally go well together so it’s not that much of a big deal.

Each of the three Designer Theme packages also have uniform features that showcase their exclusivity. Hardly a surprise then that these details are of the vanity persuasion, including carbon fiber side strakes that feature Rose Gold “Ultimate” decals. All three versions of the Vanquish S Ultimate also get “Ultimate” sill plaques, carbon fiber treadplates, “Ultimate” headrest embroidery, and an exclusive stitched quilting design on the seats.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate - image 741973
“The Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate Edition Coupe is priced at £211,995 in the UK and €278,995 in Germany.”

All together, that’s three distinct choices for the Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate. I’m particularly in favor of the third Designer Theme package, but given the way Aston Martin prepared all three packages, I wouldn’t be opposed to getting any of the other two as well. Even better, all three versions can be bought in coupe or Volante versions. Either way, all 175 units will be powered by the same 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V-12 engine that produces 595 horsepower and 462 pound-feet of torque. All that power is sent to the rear wheels courtesy of an eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic transmission, which in turn helps it sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds on its way to a scintillating top speed of 197 mph.

If everything checks out for any of you and you decide to get one, be advised that this special edition model doesn’t come cheap. The Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate Edition Coupe, for example, is priced at £211,995 in the UK and €278,995 in Germany. Convert the price in Germany to Benjamins and you’re looking at a price of $325,000. If you feel like spending a little more to get the Volante version, you’re going to have to pay £223,995 in the UK and €293,995 in Germany. Do the same conversion and the price in USD balloons up to $342,000.

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S - image 695571

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S.

Read more Aston Martin news.

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