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Archive for the ‘speculative’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Leaked Specs Say the Ferrari 488 GTO Will Carry the Most Powerful V-8 Engine in Ferrari History

In case you’ve been inundated with news about Ferrari’s planned SUV and all-electric supercar, there is one other Ferrari model that you also need to pay attention to. I’m talking about the Ferrari 488 GTO, the same “Special Series” version of the 488 that’s rumored to be debuting at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March. There have been a lot of rumors being thrown out about the go-faster 488, including whispers that it’s going to pack in excess of 700 horsepower. Well, leaked photos from a recent dealership meeting have revealed a few more details about the upcoming monster, and one of these details point to the car getting “the most powerful V-8 engine in Ferrari history.”



| Very big news! Details of the 488 GTO have just been shared with us by anonymous sources. You can read everything about the car in our latest article [LINK IN BIO!!] It's rumored to be faster than the LaFerrari... _______________ #️⃣ • #FerrariPhotoPage 🌍 • Check out our website! 🎥 • Subscribe to our YouTube-channel! _______________

“Tthe aforementioned V-8 engine is going to be an “evolution” of the same V-8 engine that the 488 Challenge has”

The leaked images aren’t crystal clear in quality, so it’s hard to make out exactly what the presentation is pertaining to. You’re going to have to look a lot closer, but if you can make it out, you’ll notice that the aforementioned V-8 engine is going to be an “evolution” of the same V-8 engine that the 488 Challenge has. We know that the Challenge carries the same 3.9-liter turbocharged V-8 engine that the road-going 488 has. But that’s not the important bit. If you remember, the 488 Challenge’s V-8 featured a number of driving components that were revised to help improve its on-track performance capabilities. One of the improvements was a specific engine mapping system that was modified specifically to give the 488 Challenge improved racing performance. The engine also had shorter gear ratios that amounted to an 11.6% increase in acceleration out of turns compared to its predecessor.


Leaked Specs Say the Ferrari 488 GTO Will Carry the Most Powerful V-8 Engine in Ferrari History - image 761845
“The 488 GTO’s V-8 engine will also be “around 10% lighter than the 488 GTB.””

According to the presentation, the 488 GTO’s V-8 engine will also be “around 10% lighter than the 488 GTB.” The lighter engine coincides with another important aspect of the upcoming supercar. Based on the slides, the 488 GTO will carry “the highest utilization of carbon fiber on any Ferrari range car.” That particular photo reveals a rendering of the 488 GTO with the majority of the front section and parts of the rear section highlighted in blue. Unless our eyes deceive us, the 488 GTO will feature a carbon fiber hood, front and rear bumpers, and rear spoiler.


Leaked Specs Say the Ferrari 488 GTO Will Carry the Most Powerful V-8 Engine in Ferrari History - image 761846

Carbon fiber will also be used generously in the interior. According to the photos, the dashboard and front tunnel will be made from the lightweight stuff, while the floor panels will be made from aluminum. The car will also feature racing seats and will have no glovebox, presumably to continue the trend of weight savings.


Leaked Specs Say the Ferrari 488 GTO Will Carry the Most Powerful V-8 Engine in Ferrari History - image 761844
“The Ferrari 488 GTO will use 20-inch carbon fiber wheels that are 40% lighter than standard alloy rims”

Then there are the wheels. The Ferrari 488 GTO will use 20-inch carbon fiber wheels that are 40% lighter than standard alloy rims. The wheels will then be wrapped in Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires.


Leaked Specs Say the Ferrari 488 GTO Will Carry the Most Powerful V-8 Engine in Ferrari History - image 761847

All these changes will result in the 488 Challenge being 20% more aerodynamically efficient than the standard 488 GTO. Combine that with what everything we’ve seen and heard, and there really is one conclusion we can come to.

The Ferrari 488 GTO will be an absolute monster.

References

Ferrari 488


2018 Ferrari 488 GTO - image 636191

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Ferrari 488 GTO.


2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge - image 697432

Read our full review on the 2017 Ferrari 488 Challenge.


2016 Ferrari 488 GTB - image 620086

Read our full review on the 2016 Ferrari 488 GTB.


maker logos - image 742470

Read more Ferrari news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG CLS63

It’s been 13 years since Mercedes-Benz invented a new niche with the CLS model, and the four-door coupe entered its third generation at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Now sporting a more aggressive exterior design with styling cues borrowed from the AMG GT sports car, the CLS borrows most of its underpinnings and interior features from the E-Class. In short, it’s a fancier E-Class with a coupe roof and sportier styling, which makes it one of the most exciting Mercs available for 2018. With the four-door coupe on its way to dealerships next year, we’re looking to seeing a brand-new AMG version on public roads by 2019.

Although not yet confirmed by the folks from Stuttgart, a beefed-up variant of the CLS is most definitely in the works. Just like the outgoing model, it should share underpinnings with the AMG E63 sedan and it’s safe to assume that it will be offered in two trims. There will be a “base” CLS63 model and a slightly more powerful CSL63 S version. The new AMG-prepped CLS will go against the existing Audi RS7 and the next-generation model that the German firm is likely to unveil in 2018. It remains to be seen whether there will still be a BMW M6 Gran Coupe to compete with, but the AMG CSL63 will definitely add a bit color to the midsize segment. Let’s find out more about it the speculative review below, which also includes a rendering of the upcoming four-door coupe.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG CLS63.

Exterior

  • Sportier front bumper
  • Larger bumper intakes
  • New rear diffuser
  • “V8” front fender badges
  • Black window trim
  • “AMG badges”

Mercedes-AMG CLS63 - image 752715
“The AMG model will have a more aggressive bumper with large outlets onto the sides and a bigger splitter below”

A natural evolution of the previous model, the third-generation CLS is slightly more aggressive than its predecessor even without the AMG treatment. It has a unique grille that becomes wider toward the base (a feature borrowed from the AMG GT sports car), a forward-slanting nose that we don’t see on other big Mercs, and a pair of menacing-looking headlamps. The engine hood is also new, now completely surrounded by body surfaces.

So how can AMG make this CLS sportier up front? Well, it will probably get the usual upgrades, most likely similar to those seen on the AMG E63 model. X-Tomi’s rendering provides a few valuable hints here, as it includes a more aggressive bumper with large outlets onto the sides and a bigger splitter below. The four-door coupe should also get a revised main grille with a thicker horizontal slat with an “AMG” badge.

“The performance division should only replace the diffuser with a more aggressive element and maybe add a spoiler”

Onto the sides, AMG will do very little to alter the CLS’ sexy looks. The new car retains the high, arching waistline or the original CLS, but it has a cleaner, more elegant appearance now. The low greenhouse with frameless windows and the muscular rear haunches that blend smoothly into the flat rear end complete the unique profile of the sedan. AMG upgrades in this area will be limited to just black window trim as standard, V-8 badges on the front fenders, and exclusive wheels wrapped high-performance tires. Subtle but effective.

Moving around back, AMG will have to deal with the significantly redesigned rear end, now equipped with two-section taillights with sharp edges and a bumper-mounted license plate. The arched decklid and the beefy bumper with vertical vents on each side is still there, so there’s plenty of familiar stuff to work with. But don’t expect to see massive changes from AMG here. The performance division should only replace the diffuser with a more aggressive element and maybe add a spoiler for optimized aerodynamics.

Needless to say, it would be hard for AMG to ruin the CLS neat looks, so I’m expecting the CLS63 to be the sexiest AMG on the market once it hits dealerships. And it will look great in the bright green color in the rendering.

Interior

  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • New Nappa leather upholstery
  • Aluminum and carbon-fiber trim
  • Sports seats
  • AMG Track Pace app

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 - image 692873

Note: 2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 pictured here.

“AMG-specific upgrades should begin with a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in black leather”

The new CLS’ interior is heavily based on the E-Class, so it’s safe to say that the AMG model isn’t much of a mystery. You just have to look inside the AMG E63 and picture all the changes that Mercedes has made for the CLS. In case you haven’t compared the two yet, the CLS comes with new A/C vents in a jet aircraft turbine design, new wood trim, exclusive seats, and the Energizing Comfort feature.

AMG-specific upgrades should begin with a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in black leather and fitted with Touch Control, electroplated shift paddles, and a bezel with the brand’s logo. The regular seats will be replaced by sportier units with improved lateral support. These should be wrapped in the usual black Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber as standard, but the options list should include lighter colors like Nut Brown or Macchiato (with matching door center panels). Mercedes should also offer the AMG Performance seats with integrated headrests.

“The more expensive and powerful CLS63 S model should get additional standard features”

The more expensive and powerful CLS63 S model should get additional standard features, including Nappa leather on top of the dashboard, a 12 o’clock marking on the steering wheel, contrast topstitching, and am AMG crest on the headrests. The seats should get custom piping and grey seatbelts, while the center stack will have a new analogue clock. The standard aluminum trim and the optional carbon-fiber and matte silver glass-fiber inserts should round off the cabin design.

Tech-wise, the AMG CLS63 should benefit from the company’s latest AMG Track Pace app. Introduced to supplement the Racetimer app in the beefed-up E-Class, it enables drivers to analyze and improve their track driving style as well as share their performance with other AMG drivers via social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube. Developed for for Apple iPhones only for now, the app is connected to the on-board race app via WiFi or Bluetooth and gets all vehicle data in real time from the Comand Online infotainment system. The app can also be connected to GoPro cameras so that the driver can make an interactive video of his weekend at the race track.

Drivetrain

  • New 4.0-liter V-8 engine
  • 563-horsepower “base” model
  • 603-horsepower CLS63 S version
  • 0 to 60 mph in as quick as 3.3 seconds
  • AMG nine-speed automatic transmission
  • 4Matic all-wheel-drive

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 - image 692883

Note: 2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 pictured here.

“The engine and transmission will likely come from the AMG E63”

Since previous AMG versions of the CLS shared drivetrains with other Mercedes-AMG models, it’s safe to assume that the new variant will do the same. The engine and transmission will likely come from the AMG E63, as it happend before 2017. However, just like the E-Class model ditched the 5.5-liter V-8 in favor for the newer 4.0-liter V-8, the AMG CLS63 will adopt the brand’s more modern powerplant. Output figures should be identical to the sedan, so expect the CLS to come in two flavors: a “base” CLS63 and a range-topping CLS63 S version.

The entry-level version will probably arrive with the same 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque as the AMG E63. This will account for a 13-horsepower and 32-pound-foot increase over the previous 5.5-liter V-8 engine. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph should be achieved in around 3.4 seconds with these specs, while top speed will be limited to the usual 155 mph.

“The CLS63 S should cranks out a whopping 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist”

Moving over to the CLS63 S, customers should get access to a more exciting 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of twist with this model. That’s 18 horses and 37 pound-feet more than the previous car. Hitting 60 mph in this version should take 3.3 seconds, a tenth-second quicker than the CLS63. Top speed should also increase by a whopping 31 mph to 186 mph. Compared to the outgoing model, the new AMG CLS63 will be around two tenths quicker to 60 mph.

Both versions will get AMG’s latest Speedshift nine-speed sport transmission specifically tuned for the CLS. The unit should boast re-engineering hardware and software, which will return quicker shifts and smoother operation. Additionally, it could get the AMG E63’s Drift Mode, which can be engaged by selecting the Race drive setting, deactivating the ESP, and then putting the transmission in Manual mode. This setup will turn the CLS63 into a rear-wheel-drive car.


2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 - image 697095

Note: 2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 pictured here.

“Both models will be exclusively available with the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive”

As you might have already guessed, both models will be exclusively available with the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. The system will include fully variable torque distribution on the front and rear axles for optimum traction and will bring smooth transition from rear-wheel to all-wheel drive and back again due to the control unit being integrated into the vehicle system architecture as a whole.

The four-door coupe should also benefit from the cylinder deactivation feature that was introduced with the AMG E63 sedan. In the partial-load range, cylinders two, three, five, and eight are deactivated, lowering fuel consumption. The system also works in the “Comfort” transmission drive program, when the cylinder deactivation system is available from 1,000 to 3,250 rpm. The transition from four to eight-cylinder operation should be “immediate and imperceptible,” so that the passengers do not experience any loss of comfort.

Prices


2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 - image 697093

With pricing for the regular CLS not yet available, it’s difficult to estimate how much the upcoming AMG version will cost. However, we do know that the CLS is usually a bit more expensive than the E-Class. We also know that the U.S. market usually gets the range-topping S versions only, so the beefed-up CLS is likely to cross the pond in CLS63 S trim only. The outgoing model retails from $108,900, so the new-generation version should cost at least $110,000 before options.

Competition

Audi RS7


2015 - 2016 Audi RS7 - image 554395

Launched in 2013, the RS7 rose to fame quite rapidly and became the AMG CLS63’s main rival in this small niche. Developed alongside the same guidelines, it sports a unique design in the Audi lineup with a coupe-style roof, a short, notchback-style decklid, and unique taillights. The RS package added larger vents and revised bumpers to the standard A7, but the current Audi is not quite as sporty as the CLS in terms of exterior design. However, it’s pretty potent performance-wise, with its twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 generating 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Audi launched a more powerful version in 2016, called the RS7 Performance and upgraded to 605 horsepower. Just like the AMG CLS63 it has a sports automatic transmission — but with eight speeds instead of nine — and an all-wheel-drive system. A 2015 update added Audi’s latest infotainment system, Matrix LED headlamps, 4G mobile internet, and minor styling tweaks. The second-generation A7 was introduced in 2017, but the RS7 version has yet to be launched. A 2018 release is likely. Pricing for the current RS7 starts from $113,900.

Read our full story on the Audi RS7 and RS7 Performance.

BMW M6 Gran Coupe


2016 BMW M6 - image 585454

The M6 Gran Coupe was introduced at about the same time as the RS7 as a four-door version of the M6 Coupe. The four-door shares its entire front end with the two-door version, but the rear section was revised to better fit in this niche. Inside the cabin, we can find the same M6 coupe features but with extra room for rear-seat passenger. The sharing continues under the hood, where the Gran Coupe packs the same twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 engine with 560 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. Less powerful, the Bimmer is also slower than the CLS63, needing 4.1 seconds to hit 60 mph, while top speed is limited to 155 mph (unless you get the M Driver Package which increases it to 189 mph). Unfortunately, the Competition Pack developed for the M6 isn’t available for the Gran Coupe, so owner miss out on the 600-horsepower upgrade. The current M6 Gran Coupe retails from $119,800 in the U.S., but the vehicle’s future is uncertain. BMW has already discontinued the 6 Series and word has there won’t be a successor anytime soon, so the Gran Coupe could get the axe too.

Read our full review of the BMW M6 Gran Coupe.

Conclusion


Mercedes-AMG CLS63 - image 752715

There’s been a lot of talk about Mercedes-Benz not planning to offer a shooting brake version of the third-generation CLS. That would be sad, especially given that the current market is trading more and more station wagons for crossovers, especially in the U.S., but the AMG version is more than likely to continue. And by bringing a new AMG CLS63, Mercedes will be doing the right thing, as the latest four-door coupe is one of the most exciting Mercs out there in terms of design. The AMG version would be the four-door AMG GT we’ve been asking for so long now, with the gorgeous, sporty looks backed by a powerful drivetrain and solid performance.

  • Leave it
    • * Won’t be cheap
    • * No shooting brake version?

References

Mercedes-Benz E-Class


2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - image 661154

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Mercedes-AMG E63


2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 - image 692886

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG E63.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe


2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe - image 698223

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.

PostHeaderIcon Corvette ZR1 Convertible by Xtomi

Chevy just released its new Corvette ZR1, and the spec sheet is just this side of insane. All told, this thing is the fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever created, with a thumping supercharged V-8 under the hood, advanced adaptive suspension components and tuning, and more wing than an international airport. All good stuff, no doubt, but what happens when you take off the roof? To find out, X-Tomi Design put together a rendering, and long story short, we approve.

The ZR1 convertible bears the same upgraded front fascia as its hardtop sibling, with aggressive, angular front intakes, a large splitter, and a taller hood to accommodate the bigger blower underneath. The wheels, fender vents, and enormous rear wing are also a carryover. Up top, though, you’ll notice the expanded headroom. If we’ve got your attention, then you’re in luck, because word has it a factory-made ZR1 convertible will break cover soon, possibly alongside the coupe version later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Corvette ZR1 Convertible by X-Tomi Design.

What Makes The 2019 Corvette ZR1 Convertible By X-Tomi Design Special


2019 Corvette ZR1 Convertible by Xtomi - image 745417

While overall we like the rendering, we can’t help but point out that it looks a little silly with that carbon fiber monstrosity hanging off the tail – indeed, cutting the roof off the ZR1 would do a good job in screwing up its formidable aerodynamics package. Chevy says the coupe makes close to 1,000 pounds of extra stick at speed, a vital feature when considering the ZR1’s 210-mph top speed. So what effect would a convertible have on performance?


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744527
“Cutting the roof off the ZR1 would do a good job in screwing up its formidable aerodynamics package.”

Luckily, recent spy shots seem to reveal that the factory convertible will get a few tweaks, including a less aggressive wing in back. The rest of it should be identical to the hardtop version, with as much as 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque on tap from a boosted 6.2-liter V-8. Magnetic ride suspension and a seven-speed manual transmission round it out, although we’re guessing convertible lovers will instead go for the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox.


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744531
“The real question is how a roofless ZR1 will hang on the track.”

The real question is how the roofless ZR1 will hang on the track. The aero will likely be much less effective, and with no top, the car’s torsional rigidity will take a nosedive, affecting how it corners as a result. Basically, it’ll be pretty sloppy, especially with all that tire that’s stuffed in the corners. Chevy’s engineers might counter this with additional bracing in the flanks, but that’ll inevitably increase the car’s curb weight, once again hampering performance.

Either way, we’ll keep an eye out for any further developments. What do you think? Does a ZR1 convertible make sense to you, or does it neuter this latest ultimate ‘Vette? Let us know in the comments!

Drivetrain Specifications

Type: LT5 6.2L Supercharged V-8 with direct and port injection
Bore & stroke (in / mm) 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block material: Cast aluminum
Cylinder head material: Cast aluminum
Valvetrain: Overhead valve, two valves per cylinder
Fuel delivery: Direct and port injection
Horsepower 755 HP @ 6,300 RPM (SAE certified)
Torque 715 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM (SAE certified)
Transmission 7-speed manual with Active Rev Match
8-speed paddle-shaft automatic
Fuel economy city/highway 15/22 mpg (manual)
13/23 mpg (automatic)
Front Suspension: Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, Magnetic Selective Ride Control
Rear Suspension: Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, Magnetic Selective Ride Control
Steering Type: Variable-ratio rack-and-pinion with electric power assist
Turning Circle (ft. / m): 39.2 / 11.6
Brake Type: Front and rear power-assisted discs with two-piece carbon ceramic matrix rotors; fixed six-piston aluminum front calipers and fixed four-piston aluminum rear calipers
Brake Rotor Size (in / mm): Front –15.5 / 394
Rear –15.3 / 388
Wheel Size: Front: 19-inch x 10.5-inch
Rear: 20-inch x 12-inch
Tire Size: Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat (std.)
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 (ZTK)
Front: P285/30ZR19
Rear: P335/25ZR20

References

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744525

Read our full review of the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1

Chevy Corvette Stingray


2014 - 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - image 526921

Read our full review of the 2014 – 2017 Corvette Stingray

Latest Corvette News


1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427/430 L88 - image 639510

Or, read our full review on the 1969 Chevy Corvette 427/430 L88

PostHeaderIcon Come on Honda – Take on the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ with the Sports EV Concept

Will Honda Take on the Miata, BRZ, Z4, and Supra?

One could argue that the sports car market is slowly deteriorating, leaving us with nothing but slightly faded memories of our illustrious past in which we would dream of owning cars like the Nissan 350Z, Honda S2000, Toyota Supra, or Nissan Skyline. But, those days might as well be gone as the Nissan Z line is in danger of becoming a badge for the SUV, the Skyline (for intents and purposes in the sports car market) is dead, Honda has remained quiet about an S2000 successor, and it seems like every day another SUV is born, and even taking the name of once awesome cars (think of the abortion on wheels known as the Eclipse Cross, for example.) With the EV evolution slowing taking shape, however, we can find new hope in a future where sports cars may once again reign supreme or, at the very least, maintain a firm hold in a market that we hold so near and dear to our hearts.

Regardless of your taste in sports cars, or ideal price point, you can’t deny the fact that the offerings for sports cars seem to be dwindling unless you’re willing to pay out the ass for something like the Nissan GT-R, or Mercedes-AMG GT, for example. Even the Nissan 370Z has been practically untouched for the last decade, leaving it as a poor choice even if you could afford one. But, we still have cars like the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, and Mazda recently hit us with the new MX-5 Miata. BMW and Toyota are about to bring a new Z4 and Supra to the market within the next year, so you could say things are starting to look better, but we’re still missing something. I’m talking about, of course, the Honda S2000. And, while Honda hasn’t said a word about a successor, we could have already seen a glimmer of hope in the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept. The question is, does Honda have the balls to step back into the compact sports car market? Let’s talk some more about it!

Is the Sports EV a Future S2000?


2007 Honda S2000 - image 105510
“A specific segment or niche doesn’t need a lot of models competing”

Whether or not Honda will ever announce a successor to the Honda S2000 remains to be seen, but it’s certainly got its eye on the compact sports car market as seen with the Sports EV Concept that it brought to the Tokyo Motor Show. Sure, Honda didn’t say much about it, and it is electric, but that’s the future of the automotive industry, right? Why couldn’t Honda jump back into the market with its first, dead-to-rights all-electric vehicle? Well, it damn sure could, and the Sports EV would be a prime competitor.

Take this scenario for example. Honda manages to give this baby a range of about 350 miles and motors capable of delivering around 300 horsepower while keeping the weight in check. It could be rear-wheel drive or even all-wheel drive – it could be optioned either way. As a coupe, it would take on the BRZ and 86 twins, or as a hard-top convertible it could take on cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, Toyota Supra, or the BMW Z4. The latter would require the sports EV to have a little more power at its disposal, and it would have to be luxurious enough to compete, but it could certainly pose a serious threat. A specific segment or niche doesn’t need a lot of models competing – manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW have proved that with their funky coupe-ish crossovers, wagons, and sportbacks – so there’s no reason why the market has to die now that we have replacements for the Z4 and Supra coming. If Honda put this sports EV into production – even with a gasoline engine – it could be on point when this niche is at its strongest, and it could claim itself a pretty decent chunk of the pie too.

Taking it a Step Further


Come on Honda - Take on the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ with the Sports EV Concept - image 743170
“Honda needs something to compete in the little sports car market again, and the sports EV will provide the basis”

Let’s take the Sports EV Concept, and put it into production much quicker. I say, Honda keeps it front-wheel drive and drops the new Type-R drivetrain under the hood. Hell, it could do one even better and drop it into the rear, making it rear-engine, rear-wheel drive. That would be something, don’t you think? Think about this little compact with 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of turbocharged, four-cylinder, six-speed, three-pedaled Honda madness on tap. In the Civic Type R, that engine is enough to push the car up to 60 mph in as little as 4.9 seconds. It can also run the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds, with maximum speed (if you have a long-enough straightaway coming in at 169 mph. Take a lighter, more compact car like the Sports EV Concept with the same drivetrain, two seats, and plenty of weight reduction measures, and I bet that Type R engine will push it to 60 mph in close to four seconds, with the quarter-mile coming in less than 12.5 seconds. Top speed might even be a little higher too, but who cares about that – this little car will be fast, and that’s exactly what Honda needs. Honda needs something to compete in the little sports car market again, and the sports EV will provide the basis with battery packs or a gas tank – it doesn’t matter at this point as long as the brand does it.

2018 Honda Civic Type R Specs

Engine Type Turbocharged In-Line 4-Cylinder
Turbocharger Single-Scroll MHI TD04 with Internal Wastegate
Boost Pressure 22.8 psi
Displacement (cc) 1,996
Horsepower (SAE net) 306 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque (SAE net) 295 LB-FT @ 2,500-4,500 RPM
Fuel economy (City/Highway/Combined) (mpg) 22 / 28 / 25
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3,117
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds
Quarter-mile 13.5 seconds at 108 mph
Top Speed 169 mph

Oh, How I want to see this Happen


Come on Honda - Take on the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ with the Sports EV Concept - image 743176

Oh Honda, please please please make this happen. I would love to see the Sports EV come to market. I would even love to see it come to market as an according-to-Hoyle EV, but I’m willing to settle for getting it faster if you can just throw that Type R drivetrain under the hood. I’d really love to see it come in a rear-engine, rear-wheel configuration too. Will that ever happen? Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath, but having the Type R drivetrain up front or having it as an official EV that can take on the BRZ, 86, Z4 and Supra is well within the realm of reality. Someone over at Honda just needs to greenlight it and make it happen. Lord knows I’m waiting. What do you all think, though? Would the Sports EV be successful as a competitor against the cars currently on the market or about to be, assuming it delivers enough power? How about a rear-engined Honda? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

References


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740626

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept.

Honda Civic Type R


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719343

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.



Read more Honda news.

PostHeaderIcon Maserati Levante GTS

Maserati’s full-size luxury performance SUV was first unveiled as the Kubang concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011. The production model was then officially unveiled earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show in March. When it finally broke cover, the details were impressive – the exterior was pure Italian premium goodness, the cabin was opulent and well appointed, and a good dose of adrenaline was waiting under the hood. However, it’s looking like an even more exciting Levante is just over the horizon, and we think it’ll have a meaner look, more driver’s goodies inside, and two additional turbocharged cylinders.

So where would we get a crazy idea like that? Well, back in April, Autoblog asked Maserati if it could fit its top-spec 523-horsepower twin-turbo V-8, the same powerplant it shoehorned into the Quattroporte GTS, into its first-ever SUV. The answer was an unequivocal “yes.” What’s more, Davide Danesin, the head of Maserati vehicle programs, reported that the Trident already had a prototype of the combo in hand, leading high-performance SUV enthusiasts everywhere to begin salivating uncontrollably. And while it’s still possible Maserati will axe the project outright, odds are a Levante GTS will become a thing sooner or later.

In anticipation of that day, we created the following rendering and speculative review.

Updated 10/06/2017: The upcoming Maserati Levante GTS was caught testing for the first time in the sunny and hot parts of Europe.

Continue reading to learn more about the Maserati Levante GTS.

Spy Shots

October 6, 2017 – Maserati Levante GTS caught testing in the sunny and hot parts of Europe


2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 736264

2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 736272

Exterior


2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 683873

To help it stand out from the standard Levante, the GTS model gets a selection of unique styling additions. The most noticeable difference is the front fascia, where we find a lower intake that is widened and extended, unlike the bisected lower intake on the standard model. This lower intake receives a honeycomb grille insert, which is finished in glossy black, a nice offset to the exterior body panels. Above the widely grinning lower grille are two fog lights that are deeply set into the bumper, almost like dimples. Near the ground, we find an extended front splitter, most likely made from a composite material.

The characteristic Trident badge is front and center in the upper intake, bookended on either side by four slates finished in a dark coloration. A single chrome strip runs along the topmost edge of the grille, leading the eye into LED daytime running lights in the front projectors.

“The look is much more assertive, trading roundness for sharp edges and adding a good amount of GT-inspired aggression.”

These features set the right angle to give the Levante GTS an aggressive, forward-leaning demeanor. Higher up are hood lines that give the front end a sharp, pointed look.

Moving to the profile, we find a trio of the trademark Maserati fender vents. Beyond these are revised side-view mirrors, which are sharper and smaller, coming to an almost blade-like tip. The mirror cap finish is black, a color that’s repeated in the side skirt extensions at the bottom. The window surrounds are made from polished chrome.

In back, there’s a trailing edge roof spoiler, while below the hatch, there are quad exhaust tips set in a carbon fiber diffuser that gets the Levante just a little closer to the ground.

Overall, the look is much more assertive, trading roundness for sharp edges and adding a good amount of GT-inspired aggression. But it’s not all for looks – the aerodynamic enhancements become necessary on a vehicle with this much potential, as downforce becomes an issue that can’t be ignored when you’re pushing more than 500 horsepower.

Interior


2016 Maserati Levante - image 667852

Note: Interior from Standard 2016 Levante shown here.

We didn’t render the Levante GTS’ interior space, but it isn’t too hard to imagine what it’ll bring to the table should it hit production.

First off, expect opulence and luxury at every turn. Sumptuous leather upholstery, wood trim, aluminum control bits, and an Alcantara headliner are all part of the materials list. Contrast stitching abounds.

However, to make it sportier, the GTS model will offer the option for full carbon fiber across the dash, center console, and door inserts. The electronically adjustable seats will gain much bigger bolsters, hugging the front passengers with increased support in anticipation of higher lateral loads. No such luck for anyone in the rear seat, but space for three will be maintained nonetheless.

“The steering wheel will be the same three-spoke unit we’re all familiar with, trimmed in carbon fiber and bearing thumb controls for the infotainment system.”

The steering wheel will be the same three-spoke unit we’re all familiar with, trimmed in carbon fiber and bearing thumb controls for the infotainment system. Paddle shifters made from aluminum will be in place behind the wheel for easy access. The pedals will be drilled aluminum with rubber inserts.

Instrumentation will include all-digital gear, such as a TFT touch screen, probably similar to the current 8.4-inch unit, plus a TFT driver’s information screen in the gauge cluster. Maserati’s classic analog clock will find a spot in the dash. Bowers & Wilkins will provide the music with a 17-speaker surround sound system. The latest in automated driving aides will come as standard.

In back, the Levante’s 20.5 cubic feet of cargo room will be maintained for when you need to haul more than just butt.

Drivetrain

So far, the Levante has been confirmed to bear a 3.0-liter V-6, boosted by two turbochargers to two levels of tune – 345 horsepower for the base model Levante, and 424 horsepower for the Levante S. There’s also a diesel, but we don’t really care about that.

What we do care about is performance, and with 424 ponies to play with, the Levante has plenty of that to offer. From standstill, the Levante S takes just 5.2 seconds to hit 62 mph – not bad for a 4,650-pound SUV.

However, if it’s gonna go up against the current breed of fire-breathing SUV’s, it’s gonna need a little more. Like at least another 100 horsepower more, or to be specific, the twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 currently used in the Quattroporte GTS.

“As is, this powerplant produces 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in Maserati’s top-spec RWD sedan.”

As is, this powerplant produces 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in Maserati’s top-spec RWD sedan. Transplanted into the AWD Levante, and I see the SUV’s 0-to-60 mph sprint time dropping to around 4.5 seconds.

Again, that’s not too shabby, but I doubt Maserati will be content with that result. More than likely, the Trident will look to boost output even further – perhaps eclipsing the 575-horsepower mark.

With a number like that, the Levante would be able to positively blitz the competition, driving the 0-to-60 mph time down into the high three-second range.

Routing the power will be an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF, the same transmission used on the current sixth-generation Quattroporte.

Chassis And Handling

The Levante is built on the same platform as the Quattroporte and Ghibli, and it should be a pretty stellar handler right out of the box. However, a GTS model will need even more to keep up with the extra output from that V-8.

To that end, the tires will be ultra-high-performance rubber, although all-seasons are likely to be an available option. The brakes will be upgraded to six-piston calipers at each corner, while the air suspension will be tweaked for more all-around stiffness. The AWD system will be retuned as well for even better rear-biased handling.

Finally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Maserati cut some of the curb weight and added a little chassis stiffness, just to round it out.

Prices

It might seem odd to be daydreaming about a Levante GTS when the base model and Levante S have yet to even begin trickling into dealerships (look for that to happen in October). That said, now is the time for the Trident to begin cooking up a new range-topper, so look for spy shots and leaks in the near future.

Should it make the cut, the Levante GTS is expected to drop by 2018. We’re pegging the price tag to be around $120,000, far above the current top dog Levante S, which goes for $83,000.

Competition

Range Rover Sport SVR


2015 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR - image 563993

The fastest Land Rover available is the Range Rover Sport SVR, a 550-horsepower brick of supercharged V-8 insanity. Properly motivated, this speedy SUV will hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, and will continue on to a top speed of 162 mph. It’s got air springs, variable dampers, and an active exhaust that’ll make more of the good noise when the mood is right. SVR worked its magic on the inside too, with sport seats that come wrapped in leather.

Read our full review on the Range Rover Sport SVR].

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S


2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S - image 610560

When Porsche dropped the Cayenne, the critics scoffed. The notion of a fast SUV from Stuttgart didn’t fit with their notion of what should be done, but the market spoke, and now, performance utility vehicles are everywhere. But of course, the original carries on, with the top of the totem pole occupied by the Cayenne Turbo S. With 570 horsepower hitting the ground via an eight-speed transmission and AWD, this thing will attain 60 mph in 3.8 seconds. Top speed is rated at 176 mph.

Read our full review on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

Conclusion


2018 Maserati Levante GTS - image 683874

Given the fact there’s already a prototype of the V-8 Levante confirmed, a GTS variant is looking mighty likely. But the real question is how it’ll play out in the segment two years from now when it releases. Will the base model soak up the demand for Maserati SUV’s, or will the buying public be clamoring for more? How about the competition? Where will the new benchmark lie in terms of performance expectations?

Only time will tell.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Lots of competition already out there
    • What will the market look like in a few years?

References

Maserati Levante


2016 Maserati Levante - image 667845

Read our full review on the 2017 Maserati Levante.

PostHeaderIcon Chevy Rumored To Revive Blazer name on 2019 Crossover

Our friends over at Truck Trend say Chevrolet is preparing a mid-size, two-row crossover to compete against the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano for the 2019 model year. What will Chevy call it? Industry rumors say Blazer. Adding fuel to the (dumpster) fire are spy photos of such a vehicle trolling around public roads while covered in heavy camouflage. Naturally, the news comes as a huge disappointment – not because Chevy is developing a new crossover, but because it will carry the iconic Blazer name.

The resurrection of bygone vehicle names is in heavy swing these days. Ford is bringing back the Ranger pickup to the U.S. and dusting off the Bronco name for the first time since the mid-1990s. It’s almost common knowledge Ford’s upcoming Bronco will be based on the T6 Ranger pickup platform and use a ladder frame and a solid rear axle. It’s expected to offer an excellent compromise between on-road civility and off-road capability while honoring its nameplate that traces its roots to the 1960s when Ford needed an SUV to compete with the Jeep CJ. Yet here we are, with Chevy about to slap the equally iconic Blazer name onto an assumably forgettable family hauler that couldn’t wheel its way over a parking stop. Why, Chevy? Of course, we should take these rumors with a huge grain of salt. No sources were listed and not even the vehicle in the spy photos show any discernable Chevy characteristics. Still, it’s hard not to criticize GM for not directly competing against the Bronco with a Colorado-based SUV wearing a Blazer badge. Chevy already has such an SUV in markets around the world. It’s even called the Trailblazer.
Why not fight Ford at its own game? After all, SUV and pickup sales are booming thanks to cheap fuel and a growing economy.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Chevy Rumored To Revive Blazer name on 2019 Crossover

Our friends over at Truck Trend say Chevrolet is preparing a mid-size, two-row crossover to compete against the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano for the 2019 model year. What will Chevy call it? Industry rumors say Blazer. Adding fuel to the (dumpster) fire are spy photos of such a vehicle trolling around public roads while covered in heavy camouflage. Naturally, the news comes as a huge disappointment – not because Chevy is developing a new crossover, but because it will carry the iconic Blazer name.

The resurrection of bygone vehicle names is in heavy swing these days. Ford is bringing back the Ranger pickup to the U.S. and dusting off the Bronco name for the first time since the mid-1990s. It’s almost common knowledge Ford’s upcoming Bronco will be based on the T6 Ranger pickup platform and use a ladder frame and a solid rear axle. It’s expected to offer an excellent compromise between on-road civility and off-road capability while honoring its nameplate that traces its roots to the 1960s when Ford needed an SUV to compete with the Jeep CJ. Yet here we are, with Chevy about to slap the equally iconic Blazer name onto an assumably forgettable family hauler that couldn’t wheel its way over a parking stop. Why, Chevy? Of course, we should take these rumors with a huge grain of salt. No sources were listed and not even the vehicle in the spy photos show any discernable Chevy characteristics. Still, it’s hard not to criticize GM for not directly competing against the Bronco with a Colorado-based SUV wearing a Blazer badge. Chevy already has such an SUV in markets around the world. It’s even called the Trailblazer.
Why not fight Ford at its own game? After all, SUV and pickup sales are booming thanks to cheap fuel and a growing economy.

Continue reading for more information.

PostHeaderIcon Is Nissan Opening The Door Again On A Possible Production IDx?

The curious tale of the two Nissan IDx concepts that made their debuts at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show has taken another turn. Long thought to have been scrapped as production options, the IDx concepts are now back in the Nissan headlines after the Japanese automaker recently filed a trademark for the name “Nissan IMX.” Now, this doesn’t automatically guarantee the marque is hinting at the two concepts from four years ago, but the filing revealed intriguing items about what the IMX trademark that can be connected to the IDx.

According to AutoGuide, the trademark was filed for a production car that could take in numerous forms, including as an “electric vehicle,” “sports car,” or a combination of the two. Nissan didn’t specify what kind of production model it’s planning for the IMX, but the close proximity of the trademarked name to the one used on the two concepts back in 2013 has caused renewed speculation on the fate of the retrofitted prototypes we saw in Tokyo. Then again, speculation is all that we have to cling on to at the moment. For now, the IDx concepts will remain just that; Nissan itself has said that it’s not planning to build a new sports car until after the current 370Z ends its lifecycle. Seeing as we just saw Nissan release an updated version of the sports car, all talks of sports cars will probably amount to nothing more than speculation. Still, the IMX trademark is intriguing for what it could turn into in the future.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Missed Out on the Cool Porsche 911 R? You’ll be Able to Buy One Soon

Introduced in 2016, the 911 R is arguably one of the greatest sports cars Porsche has ever built. Essentially a wingless GT3 with a manual transmission, it was designed as the ultimate purist 911 and it was received with great enthusiasm. Interest was so high that all 911 units were sold before the car’s official launch, despite a $184,900 sticker that was $9,000 higher than that of the 911 GT3. What’s more, the 911 R began to fetch more than $1 million on the used-car market after only a couple of months on the road. All told, it was way too exclusive to become a proper purist sports car since only a few rich customers had access to it. But things could change in the near future.

According to Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner, the German firm plans on launching a purist version of the 911 with a regular production run. Speaking to Autocar at the launch of the new Cayenne, he said that Stuttgart sees “potential for more purist versions of sports cars with no limitation” on production numbers. This could mean that Porsche might introduce a model similar to the 911 R as a regular member of the Porsche family instead of a highly limited edition that would send prices through the roof and leave many enthusiasts out of the picture.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Honda Accord Type R

There’s no denying that Honda has been pretty stingy when it comes to the Type R badge and the U.S. Market. Over the years, U.K., Euro, and Japanese markets always seemed to get the best that Honda had to offer, with the Type R badge being applied to the first-generation Acura NSX, Acura Integra, the Honda Accord and, of course, the Honda Civic. Of all these, the only models we saw come to the U.S. were the NSX Type R and the Integra Type R, both sporting Acura Badges, and we finally got the Civic Type R for the 2017 model year. With that in mind, it’s been a while since the world got a Type R version of the Accord, so we decided to render up was a U.S.-Spec Accord Type R would look like. Highlights of the build would include more aggressive fascias out front with Type R specific styling to go with plenty of Type R goodness inside. There would, of course, be an improved output over the range-topping model’s 252 ponies, but how that power will come to be is another story. Other necessities include a stiffer suspension, manual transmission, tuned-out exhaust, and a lower ride height.

On the plus side, all of the necessary prerequisites are already in play. The new Accord is pretty sporty on its own, so a more aggressive look should be easily welcomed. But, with the range-topping models of the Accord already sporting the detuned version of the Civic Type R’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder, it won’t take much to get some extra power to the wheels. Even more intriguing is the fact that Accord Sport models with the 2.0-liter can be equipped with a six-speed manual if you check the right option box, so you’ll be able to forgo dealing with that new 10-speed auto gearbox. With all of that in mind, let’s talk a little about the Accord Type R’s history and then take a good look at our rendering. Are you excited? I sure am. Let’s get to it…

PostHeaderIcon Kia’s Upcoming Shooting Brake Concept has us Saying “Please Take our Money!”

The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is just around the corner and, as usual, we’re in for a ton of debuts including both production and concept cars. Kia, which runs a design center just 500 meters from the Frankfurt Motor Show, is among carmakers that will bring new products to the event. The company’s main highlight is a concept car that presents “a new body type for Kia.” It doesn’t have a name yet, but the Korean manufacturer points out that it indicates what the next-generation Cee’d “could look like.”

It’s bold, athletic, and indeed brings a new body style to the current Kia lineup. While the company describes it as an “extended hot hatch,” it’s actually some kind of modern shooting brake. Or a really sleek wagon with an almost fastback rear end. But it’s gorgeous, and the really wide wheel arches, the sculpted side skirts, and the rear diffuser suggest we’re looking at a performance model. Kia didn’t share any actual details about the car, but I might have an idea about what it may be. Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Porsche Macan GT3 RS

“GT3 RS” is a unique series letters that carries a whole lotta weight when it comes to the Stuttgart faithful. This is the label used for Porsche’s homologation efforts, harkening back to 911’s of old where speed potential and track readiness were maximized for the ultimate in mean-machine German street offerings. Less weight through extensive use of composite materials and plastic windows, bigger, purposeful aerodynamic enhancements, wider, grippier tires, and of course, an extra splash of power are all expected when those five little letters are in play. Whether it’s prowling the highways or attacking the Karussell at the Nurburgring, the GT3 RS is not to be trifled with. Which makes it a strange thing to see when it’s plastered on a tall-bodied SUV, no? How could such a thing exist without diluting the nameplate for future hardcore models?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but Porsche certainly isn’t afraid to ask it. After all, this is the same company that brought us the Cayenne, considered to be one of the first in a wave of performance SUVs to hit the U.S. in the past decade and a half. What’s more, the competition has caught scent as well. Consider such outrageous creations as the Range Rover Sport SVR, Mercedes-AMG GLE63, and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. In company like this, why not make a hell-bent, track-ready, monster Macan?

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Macan GT3 RS.

PostHeaderIcon The Chevy Corvette ZR1 Spotted with Less Camo; Proves Porsche and Ferrari Should Worry

It’s been a few months since we’ve seen the upcoming Corvette ZR1 out testing, with the last outing taking place on the Nurburgring in mid-April. The trail has since gone cold, but all that changed earlier this week when it was caught filling up with that sweet liquid gold we call gasoline. Even better yet, the prototype that was spotted is also half naked, giving us the best look at the coupe so far. Naturally, the entire front end and a small portion of the rear is still wrapped in the psychedelic camo that we all love to hate, but the lack of camo in the middle shows us that the ZR1 will, indeed, have the same rear quarters, roof, and doors found on the Stingray, Z06, and Grand Sport.

So far, there’s not a lot we know about the ZR1. It’s pretty much certain that the V-8 under the hood will be force fed, but whether or not that happens via a supercharger or a pair of twin turbos is still up in the air. We’re also not sure what it will deliver in terms of power, but with the Z06 cranking out some 650 ponies and the last-gen ZR1 making 638 ponies, we’re expecting no less than 700 horsepower out of the gate if not a little more.
It should be able to tackle the 60-mph sprint in less than three seconds and will top out at more than 200 mph if you’ve got the balls to push it that hard. And, it’s about time that a C7-gen ZR1 makes its debut – the typical wait time for the ZR1 trim is about three to four years after the generation was introduced and 2018 will be the fourth year for the C7. So, we should be looking at a mid-2018 model or 2019 model at the latest. What can we spot in these new spy shots? Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s take a better look real quick.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster

Introduced in 2012, the second-generation Vanquish isn’t yet as old as the model it replaced, but it won’t be long until Aston Martin unleashes the third-generation car. And it seems that the grand tourer is getting a proper send off with several special-edition models up for grabs. Arguably the most spectacular of them all is the Zagato, which was built in both coupe and Volante body styles. Limited to only 99 units each, the Zagatos are long gone as of 2017, but if you’re still looking to get one, Aston Martin just unveiled two new version wearing the Zagato badge. One of them is the Vanquish Zagato Speedster, a two-seat drop-top that steps away from the usual convertible configuration.

The Speedster’s arrival is far from surprising, because we’ve already seen a camo-free example being driver near the Nurburgring track earlier this summer. However, it is a bit surprising that it was designed as a two-seater, as is the fact that Aston Martin expanded the current Vanquish Zagato range to no fewer than four models, including a shooting brake. Find out more about the Zagato Speedster and what makes it stands out compared to other models in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.

PostHeaderIcon What is this Mysterious Sports Car Concept that Mercedes Will Debut at Pebble Beach?

The Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance takes place on August 20, so it’s just a matter of weeks before we get to lay eyes on some of the most gorgeous cars in existence. And, while some of our favorite celebrities are sure to make an appearance – think Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Leno, among others – we now have word that there will be an all-new sports car concept sporting a Mercedes badge making its world debut. The word comes thanks to a quick post on Instagram and Twitter of a video that gave us a peek inside a secretive meeting at the Advance Design Center in Sindelfingen, Germany.

Of course, the video post left a lot to the imagination and told us very little, but Gorden Wagener – the Chief Designer – says it will be “an icon or the brand” and that it’s sure to be a “big surprise.”

In the video, we can make out a sketch of a wheel that is undoubtedly for the new concept and a somewhat blurry glimpse as a sketch of a car. Unfortunately, however, we can’t make out much of the design cues. We know it will be a sports car, though, and considering they had sketches of the IAA concept, I suspect it will be related to that in one way or another. Wagener did make it a point to tell us that the front end was going to be different, though, so even if it has the same silhouette as the IAA, it will certainly sport some different design cues. So, just what can we expect from Mercedes at Pebble Beach? Well, I have a couple of ideas, so let’s take a look at the video, and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Audi S6

The current Audi A6 is five years old as of 2017, and recent spy shots indicate that a replacement is due to be launched sometime in 2018. The new midsize sedan seems heavily based on the recently unveiled A8, which is no surprise considering Audi’s current “same sausage, different lengths” design strategy. Alongside the A6, our paparazzi also spotted what appears to be a more performance oriented version of the sedan, the S6, a sign that Audi is quite busy trying to introduce a full lineup as soon as possible. The S6 will sport the same styling cues, but as usual, it will feature a more aggressive exterior and a more potent drivetrain.

The next-generation A6 is crucial for Audi’s future in this niche. BMW and Mercedes-Benz have already launched their brand-new 5 Series and E-Class, and needless to say, the current A6 is severely outdated. The new sedan should fix that with a fresh design and updated technology, but it should also bring enhanced performance and fuel economy to the table thanks to a lighter platform, upgraded materials, and revised or brand-new engines. The new A6 should debut in the first half of 2018, but the S6 shouldn’t arrive far behind. Until more information becomes available, let’s have a closer look at the spy shots.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Audi S6

The current Audi A6 is five years old as of 2017, and recent spy shots indicate that a replacement is due to be launched sometime in 2018. The new midsize sedan seems heavily based on the recently unveiled A8, which is no surprise considering Audi’s current “same sausage, different lengths” design strategy. Alongside the A6, our paparazzi also spotted what appears to be a more performance oriented version of the sedan, the S6, a sign that Audi is quite busy trying to introduce a full lineup as soon as possible. The S6 will sport the same styling cues, but as usual, it will feature a more aggressive exterior and a more potent drivetrain.

The next-generation A6 is crucial for Audi’s future in this niche. BMW and Mercedes-Benz have already launched their brand-new 5 Series and E-Class, and needless to say, the current A6 is severely outdated. The new sedan should fix that with a fresh design and updated technology, but it should also bring enhanced performance and fuel economy to the table thanks to a lighter platform, upgraded materials, and revised or brand-new engines. The new A6 should debut in the first half of 2018, but the S6 shouldn’t arrive far behind. Until more information becomes available, let’s have a closer look at the spy shots.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus GS

For a while now, rumors have been circulating, and it seems as if the Lexus GS may find itself on the guillotine at the end of the fourth and current generation. That generation has been around since 2011 and was just updated in 2015, however, the GS has had some seriously insignificant sales, which is probably why rumors seem to point toward the ES taking the GS’s place in as the mid-sized executive box on wheels. And, considering Lexus sells roughly 10 times more ES than GS models, the rumors make sense. However, we’re now looking at some spy shots that point to those rumors being wrong. We’re guessing the model you see here is the new GS, but it could also be the next-gen ES as it’s currently about time for a generational shift as well. Either way, there is something fresh coming to Lexus’ stable soon, and if it is the GS, rumor has it that the next-gen GS F will get a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that’s good for some 590 ponies and 500 pound-feet of torque.

With that said, the spy shots show a fairly revised model regardless of what it really is, but we don’t know much else about it at this point. It is clearly a hybrid, as the yellow tape on the back window is a safety requirement for hybrids testing on the Nürburgring. Potential debut dates, based on the current life cycle of both the ES and GS, point to a late 2018 debut with the potential to be a 2019 model with 2020 seeming more feasible. So, we should be learning more about what’s lurking under the camo in the somewhat near future. But, until then, we’re going to assume this is a next-gen GS, so let’s take a better look and talk some more about it.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS9 Coupe

While it currently competes with BMW and Mercedes-Benz for supremacy on the premium market, Audi was nowhere near as fancy as a brand some three decades ago. But the Ingolstadt-based firm evolved quite dramatically in the 1990s and 2000s, and it’s now selling a handful of highly appreciated premium vehicles, including the A4, A6, A8, and Q7. However, while Audi joined several new niches in recent years, it still doesn’t have a competitor for the relatively new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe. But this will change soon, as Audi is already working on the A9, a two-door version of the new A8 and its largest, most luxurious coupe yet. Alongisde the A9, Audi is also rumored to have an RS9 model in the works. The latter will compete against the Mercedes-AMG S63 and the recently confirmed BMW M8.

There’s no official word as to when the A9 will arrive, but it will be heavily based on the Prologue Concept that Audi launched back in 2014. The show car has already inspired the design of the new A8, but its coupe configuration might make it into production with very few changes. As with all RS-badged models, the RS9 will be a beefed-up version of the A9, with revised aerodynamics, bespoke features inside, and a more powerful engine under the hood. The RS9 will enable Audi to compete in the still fresh performance, luxury coupe market that will soon include both Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Ingolstadt’s most important rivals. Let’s find out what it may bring to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Audi RS9.

PostHeaderIcon We Already Have An Idea What BMW’s Mysterious Teaser Is All About

August 17 is going to be a big day for BMW. Quite frankly, it’s also a big day for the rest of us because the car that we’ve all been waiting years to be unveiled may finally make its debut, at least judging by the look of the teaser photo that Bimmer unveiled in its Facebook page over the weekend. We don’t see much of it, but it is visible enough that we can see the model being a roadster of some sort. It might be a roofless version of the 8 Series. It might even be a new roadster iteration for the i8, possibly one with a Targa roof. We’re not hitching our bets on either model, though, because if this model is what we expect it to be, this is the BMW Z4 Concept.

We’re not jumping for joy this early, though, because BMW is known for its last-second swerves. But if you’ve been following news reports about the German automaker’s joint sports car development with Toyota, the old puzzle pieces are coming together to complete a rather interesting picture. For one, the size and shape of the sports car fit into what we believe the Z4 Concept is going to look like. Then there’s the scheduled debut, which has been set for August 17. That date also happens to be a few days before the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the event that’s been reported as the stage where the new Z4 Concept will be unveiled. There’s only a little over two weeks to go, so either way, we won’t have to wait too long to find out what’s sitting in the shadows.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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