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Archive for the ‘sports cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Potent Poison – Hennessey Venom F5 Vs. Hennessey Venom GT

On October 31st, Hennessey Performance Engineering unveiled the Venom F5 hypercar at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Based out of Houston, Texas, the tuner shop flies by the motto “Making Fast Cars Faster Since 1991,” and specializes in adding huge output to sports cars that already tout impressive power numbers from the factory. However, with the Venom F5, HPE takes a step towards full-blown manufacturer territory. As a follow-up to the preceding Lotus-based Venom GT, the Venom F5 took four years to develop, and it’s essentially a brand-new vehicle. Outside, the F5 enjoys a fresh look and new aerodynamics, while under the skin is a bespoke carbon fiber chassis and an updated engine with more displacement and more power. Like the Venom GT before it, the F5 is in the running for fastest car on the planet, challenging the world’s best with claims of 300 mph at the top end. So then – how does it stack up against its forerunner?

To find out, we put together the following comparison piece, analyzing the exteriors, interiors, drivetrain, chassis, and pricing for both. Read on to see how Hennessey made its Venom even more potent.

Continue reading for the full comparison.

Exterior


2016 Hennessey Venom GT - image 672244
“While easier to produce, the Venom GT’s Exige roots constrained Hennessey in terms of aerodynamics.”

Right from the off, the Lotus roots of the Venom GT are obvious. The styling up front and in back are quite similar to what you’d find on the diminutive British sports car – for example, the front end uses long, drawn-out, diamond-shaped housings for the headlights, which are laid high on the plumped-up fenders and draw the eye rearwards while simultaneously enhancing the car’s natural visual width. The greenhouse brings the side panels inwards before once again curving back out towards the flared rear fenders, giving the car an hourglass shape when viewed from above. In back is a curvaceous tail and short overhang, with a quartet of rounded taillights.

However, while the styling is similar, the Venom GT stands out in a variety of ways. First and foremost are the vastly expanded exterior dimensions, with the Hennessey measured at 183.3 inches in length and 77 inches in width. That’s an increase of 33.8 inches and 9.2 inches respectively compared to the Lotus’ 149.5-inch length and 68-inch width. Height is nearly identical at 44.7 inches for the Hennessey and 45.6 inches for the Exige.


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742052
“The F5 works around this with a totally clean-sheet design approach, creating its own aero solutions with a brand-new chassis.”

It’s almost as if the Venom GT is a tuner version of the Lotus, albeit with extreme modifications. However, while easier to produce, the Venom GT’s Exige roots constrained Hennessey in terms of aerodynamics – the company had to work around the Lotus design, which wasn’t necessarily ready for the incredible top speeds Hennessey had planned.

The F5 works around this with a totally clean-sheet design approach. Rather than adapting to the bones of the Exige, Hennessey managed to create its own aero solutions with a brand-new chassis. Utilizing modern technology like computational fluid dynamics programs, the Venom F5 gets a lower coefficient of drag, down to 0.33 compared to the Venom GT’s 0.44. That’s a major step forward for a car that’s so focused on maximizing top speed, and it’s achieved thanks to a flat underbody and active downforce elements.


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742053
“Venom F5 gets a lower coefficient of drag, down to 0.33 compared to the Venom GT’s 0.44.”

What’s more, we think the carbon fiber body panels of the F5 look great. It definitely looks like an evolution of the GT’s aesthetic, but it’s also got it’s own thing going on, with tons of aggression befitting of such a vehicle.

Nice one, Hennessey.

Interior


2016 Hennessey Venom GT - image 744610
“All told, the Venom GT does a good job in enhancing the Lotus’ barebones approach to cabin design.”

Much like its exterior spec, the Venom GT’s cabin is heavily based on the Lotus Exige. The layout is practically identical, with a small dash, rounded air vents, matching door panels, and minimal infotainment options. The analog gauge cluster
is also the same in the Venom GT.

However, the Hennessey product still stands out thanks to a select number of upgrades. The materials in the GT are nicer, with quilted upholstery added to the top of the dash, the door panel inserts, and the seats. Leather and Alcantara are in ample supply, while contrast stitching adds a little extra flair. The seats themselves were swapped for more supportive bucket units, while the steering wheel is a unique three-spoke unit covered in soft stuff. The floors are also carpeted, and a custom roll cage wrapped in quilted upholstery keeps it safe. Carbon fiber for the central tunnel, instrumentation shroud, and HVAC control pod rounds it off.


2016 Hennessey Venom GT - image 744611
“Although we have yet to get an official look at the Venom F5’s cabin, we’d naturally expect even more comfort and amenities.”

All told, the Venom GT does a good job in enhancing the Lotus’ barebones approach to cabin design. And although we have yet to get an official look at the Venom F5’s cabin, we’d naturally expect even more comfort and amenities. At this price range, a high degree of customizability is expected, with even more Alcantara and leather throughout. Carbon fiber will once again play a major role, while aluminum and brushed metal will add to the premium feel. Further infotainment features are a must, with a large touchscreen for the dash, plus smartphone connectivity. Finally, the cabin space should be a bit larger, while we’d also like it if the doors open up in a dramatic gullwing fashion.

Drivetrain


2016 Hennessey Venom GT - image 654419
“The Venom GT uses a twin-turbo 7.0-liter LSX V-8 that delivers 1,244 horsepower and 1,155 pound-feet of torque”

While aero performance is key and interior comfort is nice, the true heart of Hennessey’s vehicles is in the engine spec. For the Venom GT, that means a twin-turbo 7.0-liter LSX V-8, with the GM-sourced powerplant boosted to 1,244 horsepower and 1,155 pound-feet of torque. Impressive, no doubt, but the last of the GT’s (2016) got even more of the go-stuff thanks to a tune to make it run on E85 Flexfuel. That meant even more boost, up to 26 psi from the previous 19 psi, with the last Venom GT managing to pump out as much as 1,451 horsepower at 7,200 rpm. Routing the muscle rearwards is a Ricardo six-speed manual transmission.

With proper application of the long skinny pedal, the Venom GT manages to hit 60 mph in 2.4 seconds, 100 mph in 4.4 seconds, and 200 mph in 12.8 seconds. The quarter mile is dispatched in 9.4 seconds at 167 mph. To help put that in perspective with the European competition, the Venom GT can sprint to 300 km/h (186 mph) in 10.9 seconds and 400 km/h (249 mph) in 18.1 seconds. Top speed is rated at an astounding 280 mph.


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742060
“The configuration is the same, but peak output and displacement both see a bump. As a result, acceleration figures take a tumble.”

Of course, any follow-up to the Venom GT would need even more, and the Venom F5 delivers – big time. The configuration is the same (mid-mounted twin-turbo V-8), but displacement rises to 7.4 liters. Peak output is also up, with as much as 1,600 horsepower and 1,300 pound-feet of torque routed to the rear wheels through a seven-speed single-clutch paddle-shifter transmission.

We’re still waiting for Hennessey to put the F5 through some public real-world testing, but predictions for the speed and acceleration potential are impressive, to say the least. The run to 300 km/h (186 mph) should take less than 10 seconds, which would make the F5 quicker than a modern F1 car in the test. The run to 400 km/h (249 mph) and back down to 0 will take less than 30 seconds, which would beat such performance heavyweights as the Bugatti Chiron and Koenigsegg Agera RS. Finally, and most importantly, Hennessey is claiming a top speed of 300 mph.

Incredible stuff.

Engine, drivetrain, and performance specs

Hennessey Venom GT Hennessey Venom F5
Engine configuration mid-mounted twin-turbo 7.0-liter V-8 mid-mounted twin-turbo 7.4-liter V-8
Drive wheels rear rear
Transmission six-speed manual seven-speed paddle-shift
Peak horsepower 1,244 HP
(1,451 H P
on E85)
1,600 HP
Peak torque 1,155 LB-FT 1,300 LB-FT
0-to-186 mph 10.9 seconds Less than 10 seconds
0-to-249 mph 18.1 seconds Less than 30 seconds seconds
Top speed 280 mph 300 mph

Chassis And Handling


2016 Hennessey Venom GT - image 672245

With its much larger exterior dimensions and enormous turbo powerplant, it should come as no surprise that the Hennessey Venom GT weighs a good deal more than its standard Exige counterpart, tipping the scales at 2,743 pounds. That’s a whopping 728 pounds more than the 2,015-pound Lotus.

However, the Venom F5 is even portlier than the GT, most likely due to its larger engine, paddle-shift transmission, and potentially upgraded interior spec. Curb weight is up to 2,950 pounds, making it a little over 200 pounds heavier than the GT.


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742065
“The Venom F5 is heavier than the GT, most likely due to its larger engine, paddle-shift transmission, and potentially upgraded interior spec.”

Still, that ain’t bad. The F5 has just 1.84 pounds for every horsepower to push around, as opposed to 1.89 pounds per horsepower for the GT.

Finally, both cars get Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires for grip.

Prices


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742063

Both the Venom GT and the Venom F5 offer very limited production numbers and seven-figure price tags. The GT’s asking price comes to $1.2 million, while the F5 costs a bit more at $1.6 million.

Conclusion


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742058

All told, the Venom F5 is absolutely a worthy successor to the Venom GT. Everything about it is more impressive, and I especially like how Hennessey decided to do its own thing in terms of exterior styling, aerodynamics, and the carbon fiber chassis. With a product like this, the Texas tuner has a real shot at taking out the best of the best from the world of boutique hypercars.

Now it just has to prove it in the real world.

References

Hennessey Venom


2016 Hennessey Venom GT - image 653487

Read our full review on the 2016 Hennessey Venom GT.


2019 Hennessey Venom F5 - image 742051

Read our full review on the 2019 Hennessey Venom F5.

Lotus Exige


2017 Lotus Exige Sport 380 - image 697541

Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Exige.

PostHeaderIcon A Car God’s Blessing – The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is Finally Here

2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1

While you were not paying attention this weekend, the car God’s were busy blessing us with the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 – quite literally the most powerful production model Chevy as ever introduced. Powered by a 6.2-liter, LT5, V-8, this force-fed monster delivers a butthole-puckering 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, 105 ponies and 65 pound-feet more than the C7-gen Z06 – the most powerful and quickest Vette, well, until now, anyway. Chevy hasn’t gone into full performance details yet, but the new ZR1 can surpass 210 mph on the track. And, with the Z06 hitting the 60-mph sprint in 2.95 seconds, you can bet this beast does it in closer to 2.6 seconds. To help keep all of the muscle under control, the ZR1 is available with two aero packages, including a High Wing that can deliver as much as 950 pounds of downforce at speed.

It’s the most powerful and fastest, and it’s also the best-looking too. There’s an all-new front fascia that has extra air channels to help keep things cool as well as four new radiators for a total of 13 heat exchangers and hopefully a solution for that questionable overheating problem Chevy has had in the past. A new, excessively aggressive hood has been added to the ZR1 and was actually a necessity thanks to that massive supercharger that force feeds air into the intake. There’s also stanchion-mounted wings available that will help keep the monster pinned to the track. So, ready to learn a little more? Check out all of the specs we have so far, and some more details about the ZR1’s crazy aerodynamics…

  • 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1
  • Exclusive LT5, Supercharged, V-8 Engine
  • 755 HP @ 6,300 rpm and 715 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
  • 7-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission
  • 70% more downforce than base Z06
  • 60% more downforce than Z06 w/ Z07 Perf Package
  • Supercharger pushes 52% more displacement than on LT4
  • Four Extra Radiators
  • Low Wing as standard for high-speed
  • High Wing as standard for extra downforce
  • 19-inch wheels up front, 20-inch in back
  • Crazy Aerodynamics
  • Special Hood to accommodate supercharger
  • Performance data recorder, leather-trimmed seats; driver-focused cabin

D.O.W.N.F.O.R.C.E.


A Car God's Blessing - The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is Finally Here - image 744530
“That Low Wing helps to deliver an insane amount of downforce, so much so, in fact, that it’s 70 percent more downforce than that of the base aero package on the Corvette Z06”

The ZR1 may have a lot of muscle under the hood, but as you know, all of the muscle in the world doesn’t make a whole lot of difference if you don’t have stamina as well. In this case, stamina is how well the ZR1 can stick to the track. And, it’s one sticky beast, if I do say so myself. Let me break it to you this way; the standard aerodynamic package, which is designed for hitting top speed (again more than 210 mph,) comes with a Low Wing. That Low Wing, my friends, helps to deliver an insane amount of downforce, so much so, in fact, that it’s 70 percent more downforce than that of the base aero package on the Corvette Z06. Go with that adjustable High-Wing that I mentioned earlier and the ZR1 will be stuck to the track with 60 percent more downforce than that of the Corvette Z07 with the Performance Package. The front underwing is also an assist in this department, but it’s really only important because it’s a first for Chevy, but we’ll talk about that more later.


A Car God's Blessing - The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is Finally Here - image 744533

Like the Corvette Racing C7.R racecar, the ZR1’s wings are tied directly into the chassis, providing the utmost strength, stability, and durability in the long run. Even though Chevy hasn’t dropped all of the details on the optional aero packages, we know that the ZTK Performance Package – the one that includes that adjustable High Wing – also comes with a new front splitter with carbon fiber end caps, Specific tuning for the Magnetic Ride Control and Chassis (with a bias for corning grip,) and a fresh set of Michelin Pilot Sport 2 summer-only tires.

What to Hear the Engine???? We Know You Do!

All About That Interior


A Car God's Blessing - The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is Finally Here - image 744535
“The interior comes standard with leather-trimmed seats while sueded microfiber inserts are on the options list”

Inside the ZR1 is where you really want to be. Since the ZR1 is the most powerful and fastest Corvette ever, it also has to be the most comfortable, right? Well, as with all Vettes, the interior is driver-focused. It comes standard with leather-trimmed seats while sueded microfiber inserts are on the options list if you want to indulge a bit. Want to splurge even more? Well, you can go for the Napa leather-trimmed seating, and there’s even a carbon fiber rimmed steering wheel to go with competition sport seats. Of course, you can get your hands on a performance data recorder, and the options list wouldn’t be complete without the choice of a Bose audio system, right? There’s still plenty more details to come in the months leading up the day the ZR1 rolls into dealers, but we still have a little more to talk about thanks to that nice little surprise package that Chevy showed off during the debut…

Sebring Orange Design Package


A Car God's Blessing - The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is Finally Here - image 744525

If you were paying attention this weekend and caught the ZR1’s debut, then you know that the model we saw was a very special model. It was equipped with Chevys new Sebring Orange Design Package. Of course, the most obvious addition from this package is the Orange Tintcoat exterior paint. Other orange items include the brake calipers and the accents on the side skirts and splitter. Inside, the car gets the orange treatment applied to the seat belts, while all of the stitching is orange as well. Finally bonze aluminum trim ties the whole interior package together.

Time is of the Essence


A Car God's Blessing - The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is Finally Here - image 744531

So, the fastest and most powerful Corvette to ever roll into production was just announced with a market debut expected to happen next spring. Between now and then, we’ll get even more details about standard equipment, options, and performance figures. But, to help hold you over, here’s a breakdown of all the specifications that we know about as of now, and you’ll be able to see our fully updated review of the ZR1 within 24 hours of this publication. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 –
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
Wheelbase (Inches) 106.7
Overall Length (Inches) 176.9
Overall Width (Inches) 77.4
Overall Height (Inches) 48.6
Track front/rear (Inches) 63.6/62.5
Headroom (Inches) 38
Legroom (Inches) 43
Shoulder Room (Inches) 55
Hip Room (Inches) 54
Curb Weight (Lbs) 3,524
EPA passenger volume (cu. ft. ): 52
Cargo volume (cu. ft.): 15

References

Chevrolet Corvette


A Car God's Blessing - The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 is Finally Here - image 744522

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.


2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 - image 538131

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.



Read more Chevrolet news.

PostHeaderIcon Beware: Demons Are Hitting The Streets!

There’s nothing more than can be said about Dodge’s psychotic, 840-horsepower 2017 Challenger SRT Demon. Everyone who considers themselves an auto enthusiast knows the Demon is the Challenger Hellcat’s delinquent big brother and is NHRA-certified to blast the quarter-mile in just 9.65 seconds at 140 mph after completing a 0-to-60 mph pull in just 2.3 seconds. Even Guinness World Records certified the Demon as being the only production car to pick its front tires off the track under full acceleration. Well, now the Demon is being let loose. Dodge has begun shipments to its dealerships.

Only 3,300 Demons will be made and each comes for a life of insane drag racing or decades of solitude in some collectors garage. Dodge actually made the Demon ready for both. Of course, the supercharged V-8 is ready to grip the dragstrip with its factory-installed drag radials, but Dodge will sell you the Demon Authentication Package for $1 that includes the car’s paperwork in hermetically sealed sleeves within a leather-bound archive portfolio complete with a carbon fiber Certicard with the car’s VIN, its RPO codes, and the owners name etched onto its surface.

Other Mopar options include the back seat and front passenger seat –each included for only $1, the Demon Crate which includes all the performance accessories needed for sub-10-second runs on the drag strip (again for only $1), and a $695 custom indoor car cover that matches the car’s color scheme and the owner’s name embroidered above the driver’s door.

Of the 3,300 Demons being produced, only 300 are headed to Canada and the rest have homes in the U.S. And despite all the unique engineering and special parts that go into making the Demon Dodge is only charging $86,090. Yeah, that’s a chunk of cash, but for the quickest RWD production car on the planet, that’s a good bargain.

References

Dodge Challenger


2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon - image 713152

Read our full review on the 2018 Dodge Challenger Demon.



Read more Dodge news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M5: Old vs. New

BMW M5: Old vs New

2017 brought us the new BMW 5 Series, so it’s only fitting that 2018 brings us a new M5. We must have been good this year because Santa came early, and with him, he brought a whole slew of updates that include an updated V-8, loads of new technology, BMW’s xDrive AWD system as standard (optional outside the U.S.,) a lighter chassis, and better performance. Talk about some good news, right? Truth be told, the M5 dropped as much as 127 pounds, has more aggressive styling, an updated interior with the latest infotainment system, and an extra 38 ponies and 51 pound-feet over the outgoing model – that brings total output figures up to 591 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It can now hit 62 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds and 124 mph in just 11.1 seconds. Of course, top speed is still pinned at 155 mph, unless you get the M Driver’s package, which increases the top speed to 189 mph.

Now, it’s set to take on other established beasts in the market that include the Mercedes-AMG E63, the Audi RS7, and the Cadillac CTS-V – I know, it’s not German, but this thing is seriously a beast, so don’t get caught slipping because it will eat you alive. With all this in mind, we decided to throw together a little infographic for the M5 to help bring its best features and qualities to the forefront. Check it all out in our visual comparison below.


BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742001

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 741998

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742000

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 741999

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 741996

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742002

BMW M5: Old vs. New - image 742793

References

BMW M5


2018 BMW M5 - image 727404

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M5.



Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline

ABT Sportsline is no stranger to working on performance vehicles of German origin and ahead of the 2018 Essen Motor Show, it’s releasing its latest piece de resistance with a kit for the Audi RS3. The kit is available for both sedan and sportback versions of the RS3 and is packing an assortment of different accessories covering the car’s exterior, interior, drivetrain, and suspension.

The result of ABT’s work on the RS3 gives Audi’s performance sedan a whole new personality. Not that it needs one, but there is something to be said for a car like the RS3 that doesn’t get enough attention as it should. The Audi, after all, has to deal with both the BMW M3 and the Mercedes-AMG C63, two of the most established German performance vehicles in the market today. It’s more than capable of holding its own even without the assistance of ABT Sportsline, but if you own an RS3, this king of aftermarket package is one of those offerings that’s going to be hard to turn down. In the end, improvements come in many forms, and in the case of the RS3, there’s enough of them from this program to justify a good long look at the kit.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Audi RS3 by ABT Sportsline

Exterior

  • Front fender vents
  • Revised front grille
  • Rear skirt set that includes rear muff channel and new exhaust system
  • 19- or 20-inch wheels (available in DR, ER-C, ER-F, or FR designs)

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744357
“The exterior of the RS3 is only good for a number of styling accessories, including front fender vents and a revised front grille”

It goes without saying that when a tuner prepares a program for a car like the Audi RS3, there’s only a certain amount of changes that can be made to improve the car’s aesthetics. That’s not so much a lack of creativity on the part of the tuner, but a testament to the outstanding design quality of the car. That’s what we have here because the truth is, ABT Sportsline didn’t have to dig deep into its chest of exterior upgrades with its program for the sedan and sportback versions of the RS3.

Based on ABT’s description of the kit, the exterior of the RS3 is only good for a number of styling accessories, including front fender vents and a revised front grille. There is an option though to add a glass black rear skirt set into the cart. It’s easy to make out in the photos because the set itself comes with a rear muffler channel and ABT’s exhaust system. The latter also includes a pair of 102-mm double pipes, each finished in a fancy matte black shade.


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744360
“ABT’s offering for this kit revolves around a set of 19- or 20-inch wheels that you can choose in a variety of different designs”

Far more than just being a throwaway addition to the kit, the rear skirt set gives the rear section of the RS3 a more attractive design characteristic. Onto the set of wheels, ABT’s offering for this kit revolves around a set of 19- or 20-inch wheels that you can choose in a variety of different designs. I personally like the “FR” design the best, but the other designs – “DR,” “ER-C,” and “ER-F” – do have their own distinct appeal.

That’s the extent of the upgrades that you can expect for your Audi RS3. It may not be on the same level of other programs in terms of volume, but the quality of what you stand to get speaks for itself. That’s the mark of a true ABT Sportsline tuning kit.

Interior

  • Carbon fiber trim
  • Illuminated door sill plates
  • ABT-branded gear shifter
  • Push-Button ignition
  • Anti roll bars
  • Special floor mats

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690344

Note: Standard Audi RS3 pictured here.

“The highlight of the offerings is a nice carbon fiber trim, generously distributed throughout the interior to give the RS3 a more premium feel to it”

ABT Sportsline has never been the type of tuner to go all-out on the interior of the cars it develops programs for. But there are upgrades in store for the RS3, just not as expansive as you might like. The highlight of the offerings is a nice carbon fiber trim, generously distributed throughout the interior to give the RS3 a more premium feel to it. The ABT-branded illuminated door sill plates add a nice touch of personalization, while the shifter – ABT-branded as well – and push-button ignition add functional improvements to the whole driving experience of the car. Everything else though can be described as standard tuner additions, including the ho-hum special floor mats.

There is one extra offering that’s of particular interest, and it’s quite frankly, a surprising addition to a car like the RS3. Apparently, ABT Sportsline is also offering to install anti-roll bars at your behest, should you at least decide to take the tuner up on its offer. Not quite sure why it’s there, but it does speak to the breadth of tuning options that are at your disposal when you’re talking to a tuner like ABT Sportsline.

Drivetrain

  • 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine
  • 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque (stock output)
  • 4.0 seconds standard 0-to-60-mph time
  • 155 mph standard electronically limited top speed
  • New ECU unit
  • New exhaust system with two matte black 102-mm (4.01) inch tailpipes
  • 460 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque (tuned output)
  • 3.8 to 3.9 seconds tuned 0-to-60-mph time
  • 174 mph tuned top speed

2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690352

Note: Standard Audi RS3 pictured here.

“The result of it is an extra output of 60 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque”

Since this is the main focus of ABT Sportsline’s tuning kit for the Audi RS3, let’s first set the table on the German automaker’s standard engine features. At the heart of this proud sedan rests a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot of power for a car like the RS3, but in true aftermarket fashion, “a lot” is never enough when you’re talking to a tuner like ABT Sportsline. Guess what the tuner did then? If you’re thinking about a remapped ECU unit, then give yourselves a pat on the back. That’s exactly what the tuner did and the result of it is an extra output of 60 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque. Decent gains in it of themselves, but when you add it to what the RS3 already has, the total output suddenly goes up to 460 ponies and 390 pound-feet of twist.

ABT didn’t say how the extra muscle contributes to its performance time, but considering that the standard RS3 Sedan is able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a shade over four seconds, it stands to reason that with ABT Sportsline’s influence, this RS3 can now hit the same speed mark in around 3.8 to 3.9 seconds. Gnarly.

As far as top speed goes, the tuner did say that with the remapped ECU in place, the RS3 now has an increased, though still limited, top speed of 174 mph. With that kind of power and performance abilities, it would be a travesty if you don’t add the aforementioned ABT exhaust system with its pair of 102 mm (4.01 inches). Throw that into the equation and you’re looking at an attention-grabbing RS3 that will have no problems waking the neighbors.

Suspension

  • New sports springs
  • New brake system

2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744359

At this point, your Audi RS3 already has cosmetic upgrades, a more powerful engine, and fancy carbon fiber trim on the interior. That’s already a trifecta right there. Ok, let’s add the floor mats too. Quad-fecta? Fantastic four? Regardless, why not complete the whole ABT program with the addition of new sports springs and a meatier braking system? The former should be able to help keep the RS performing in peak abilities when its stretching its legs while the latter is always nice to have around in case you need to slow down from the madness. Either way, both options are on the table from ABT and as is most often the case in the tuning business, better to get the whole lot than skip on the underratedly important bits.

Pricing


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744361

The whole kit is scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Essen Motor Show in January of next year so as you might expect, there are still no pricing details about the whole thing. Don’t worry though because ABT Sportsline isn’t the type to be bashful with announcing pricing figures so expect those to arrive sooner than later. Even better, the tuner has a reparation in the aftermarket scene for being reasonable with the cost of its programs so if you’re going to get this kit for your RS3s, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to afford it, at least if you loosen the purse strings a little.

Competition

Audi RS3 8V by B&B Automobiltechnik


2016 Audi RS3 8V By B&B Automobiltechnik - image 678590

Comparing one program for the Audi RS3 opposite another is actually a pretty straightforward thing to do because there are a number of kits that are in the market today. One rival tuner with a program for the RS3 estate comes by way of B&B Automobiltechnik. This program was presented back in 2016 and it came with a four-stage engine kit that offers a number of different output increases. The Stage 1 kit, for example, returns 430 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque, all thanks to a similar remap of the ECU unit. Add an air intake system into the mix and that becomes the Stage 2 kit with 450 horsepower and 483 pound-feet of torque on tap. The Stage 3 kit takes it a step further with the installation of air intake mods, a free-flow sports exhaust system, and a new, in-house, high-performance intercooler and the output goes up again to 485 ponies and 516 pound-feet of torque. Then there’s Stage the Stage 4 kit, which includes every upgrade from the first three stages and adds a bigger and more bespoke turbocharger. The result is an output of 550 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, enough power to propel the RS3 to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph.

Read our full articles on the 2016 Audi RS3 8V by B&B Automobiltechnik.

Conclusion


2018 Audi RS3 By ABT Sportsline - image 744358

The name behind the product says it all. In the world of aftermarket tuning, few are as esteemed and trusted as ABT Sportsline. That reputation was earned and has served the tuner well. It’s new aftermarket program for the Audi RS3 may not offer the most powerful engine upgrades, but what you get in return is quality, and the highest level of it. From the aesthetic mods to the output increase, there’s nothing to worry about should you get this kit from the well-respected German tuner.

  • Leave it
    • More powerful options available in the market
    • Not as extensive as I thought

References

Audi RS3


2018 Audi RS3 Sedan - image 690330

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi RS3 sedan.


2015 Audi RS3 - image 585650

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi RS3 hatch.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M3 CS

2018 BMW M3 CS

Introduced in 2014, the latest-generation BMW M3 set new benchmarks in the premium compact sedan segment. However, things changed when Mercedes-Benz launched the AMG C63, which unlike the Bimmer still had a V-8 engine and arrived in dealerships with significantly more power. And while the M3 fell behind the competition in terms of performance, the M4 was enabled to keep up and even raise above its rivals thanks to the GTS and CS limited-edition models. Fortunately, the M3 also received the attention it deserves in 2017 with the CS package, a club sport-style upgrade that makes it more suitable for track use, but without taking it over the top with the extreme rear wing of the GTS.

Essentially an M4 CS with the extra door and the longer rear roof, the M3 CS is a slightly more practical proposition in the CS lineup. Not only it misses the roll-cage available with the coupe, it also provides seating for up to five people, which maintains it in the family car market. Of course, no one will really buy it as a family car, but it doesn’t force customers to use it a two-seater only. More good news comes from the availability department, as the M3 CS is slated to come to the United States. On the other, production will be limited to a little over 1,000 units, with less than half set to cross the pond to North America. And much like the M4 CS, it will be significantly more expensive than the the standard M3. But more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M3 CS.

Official video

Exterior

  • CFRP and carbon aero parts
  • New bumper with larger intakes
  • Gurney flap rear spoiler
  • Aggressive diffuser
  • Stainless-steel exhaust pipes
  • Shadow Line black trim package
  • DTM-inspired wheels

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743433
“Not surprisingly, the M3 CS is identical to the M4 CS, save for the extra rear doors and the longer roof”

Not surprisingly, the M3 CS is identical to the M4 CS, save for the 3 Series-specific features such as the extra rear doors and the longer roof. The fact that the presentation model is finished in Lime Rock Grey Metallic, the same color as the M4 CS introduction car, makes the similarities between the two Bimmers that much more evident. So we’re looking at the similar CS updates, which are heavily based on those on seen on the M4 GTS.

Up front, the sedan’s looks and aerodynamics were enhanced by means of a front splitter made from exposed carbon-fiber and a revised apron with larger intakes that improve engine and braking system cooling. The standard engine hood was ditched in favor of a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic unit with a massive bulge in the middle and additional vents. On top of looking more aggressive, it’s also around 25 percent lighter than that of the regular M3. The CS look is rounded off by black trim instead of chrome, which comes with the standard Shadow Line package.


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743441
“The forged, light-alloy wheels with ten-spoke design is inspired by DTM racing”

Onto the sides, the CS retains the usual M3 design elements, but the same Shadow Line package adds black window trim, lower mirror caps and door handles. In addition, it rides on special forged, light-alloy wheels with a ten-spoke design borrowed from the M4 DTM race car. Finished in Orbit Grey Matt, they blend almost seamlessly with the exterior paint and probably provide a great contrast with the other color options.

Around back, there’s a Gurney lid spoiler made from carbon-fiber. The aerodynamic element, which helps reduce rear axle lift, is taken from the M4 CS. Although not as aggressive as the big wing seen on the M4 GTS, it’s better suited for the sedan’s classier, Club Sport look. The CS also shares the OLED taillights, the rear diffuser, and the carbon-fiber-reinforced (CFRP) diffuser with its coupe counterpart. The four exhaust pipes are made from stainless-steel.


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743431
“The Gurney lid spoiler made from carbon-fiber helps reduce rear axle lift”

As far as paint options go, the M3 CS is finished in Alpine White as standard. However, customers can also opt for either San Marino Blue Metallic, Lime Rock Grey Metallic (pictured), Frozen Dark Blue II Metallic or Black Sapphire Metallic.

All told, the M3 CS is nearly as aggressive as the bonkers M4 GTS, missing only the race-inspired rear wing. It’s by far the most aggressive iteration of the current 3 Series and it’s definitely more menacing to look at than the already iconic M3 CSL.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 110.70
Length (Inches) 183.89
Width (Inches) 73.89
Height (Inches) 56.06
Track, front/rear (Inches) 62.16/63.14

Interior

  • Two-tone Merino leather
  • Alcantara inserts
  • “CS” graphics and lettering
  • Gray contrast stitching
  • M sports steering wheel
  • M sports seats
  • No roll-cage like the M4 CS
  • Standard Harman Kardon sound system

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743435
“The interior of the M4 CS was transferred inside the sedan with all of its exclusive features”

The interior of the M4 CS was transferred inside the sedan with all of its exclusive features. The cabin is almost entirely black, draped in Merino leather and Alcantara. The upper dash if wrapped in black leather with grey stitching, but the area above and around the center stack is dressed in Alcantara. Light gray “CS” lettering adds exclusivity to the dashboard. More light gray stitching is found around the glove compartment and trickles down into the center console, which features a good amount of Alcantara. The seats are the only features that aren’t completely black. Here, the black side bolsters are complemented by Silverstone center sections. That’s light grey with a dash of silver.


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743428
“Unlike the M4 CS, the sedan doesn’t have a roll cage fitted in the back”

The seats are M sports units and are borrowed from the M3 Competition Package. The steering wheel is of the same variety and features exclusive, anthracite-colored Alcantara and a silver stripe at the 12 o’clock position. The door sills feature special strips with “M3 CS” lettering. Despite being a track-oriented model, the sedan is equipped with a full range of convenience features, including automatic climate control, a navigation system, and a Harman Kardon surround sound system. Unlike the M4 CS, the sedan doesn’t have a roll cage fitted in the back. So you get a bit more everyday practicality.

Drivetrain

  • Beefed-up six-cylinder engine
  • 453 horsepower
  • 443 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds
  • Top speed increase from 155 to 174 mph
  • Standard M Driver’s Package
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
  • Optional M Carbon Ceramic brakes

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743437
“Output was increased to 453 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque”

Just like the M4 CS, the M3 CS gets its juice from a beefed-up version of the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six engine found in the standard sedan. Output was increased to 453 horsepower (460 PS) and 443 pound-feet of torque, which accounts for an extra 28 horses and 37 pound-feet over the regular M3. All that oomph goes to the wheels through the proven, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and enables the sedan to hit 60 mph from a standing start in 3.7 seconds, two tenths quicker than the stock model. Top speed increased from the standard 155-mph rating to 174 mph thanks to the M Driver’s Package, which comes standard with the CS badge.


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743443
“The six-cylinder engine features BMW latest drivetrain technology, including high-precision direct injection”

The six-cylinder engine features BMW latest drivetrain technology, including high-precision direct injection, Valvetronic variable valve lift, and Double-VANOS fully variable camshaft timing control. As a result, it has a maximum engine speed rated at 7,600, close to GT-spec race cars. The oil supply system is another technical highlight, having been designed with input from motorsport engineers. The magnesium oil pump keeps the engine lubricated under longitudinal and lateral forces of up to 1.4 g, enabling the M3 CS to tackle extreme driving maneuvers at the race track. The new exhaust pipe provides lower back-pressure for enhanced power, while a new system of flaps provide optimum feedback on the engine’s load state for a sporty exhaust note.

Just like the M4 CS, the sedan comes standard with the Adaptive M Suspension. This puts three modes at the driver’s disposal – Comfort, Sport, and Sport + — each using different damper and steering settings. There’s also an Active M Differential, a limited-slip unit that further enhances stability and traction. It’s pretty obvious that the M3 CS is largely an M3 Competition Package underneath, but there are a few extras to consider, including more rigid axles and revised double-joint front spring struts and five-link rear axle.


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743429
“The forged wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires for increased grip”

The forged wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires for increased grip, while stopping power is provided by BMW M compound brakes with four-piston calipers at the front and two-piston units to the rear. However, these can be updated to BMW M Carbon Ceramic brakes, which feature six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers at the rear.

There’s no word yet on whether the M3 CS completed blistering Nurburgring lap – the M4 CS did it in 7:38 minutes, but it’s safe to assume that the sedan was also tested on the German track. And I’m sure it would be almost as quick, which would put it on par with cars like the Lexus LFA and the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera.

Drivetrain Specifications

Config/No of cyls/valves Inline/6/4
Engine technology M TwinPower Turbo technology: two mono-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve lift, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
Effective capacity 2,979 cc
Stroke/bore 89.6/84.0 MM
Compression ratio :1 10.2
Horsepower 453 HP @ 6,250
Torque 443 LB-FT @ 4,000 – 5,380 RPM
Transmission 7-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) with Drivelogic
0 to 60 mph 3.7 seconds
Top Speed 174 mph

Prices

  • Limited to 1,200 units
  • Only 550 to be sold in the U.S.

2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743434

Pricing information for the M3 CS is not yet available, but BMW did say that order books will open starting May 2018. The German carmaker also said that production will be limited to approximately 1,200 units worldwide, with “approximately 550 units coming to the U.S.” It’s a bit awkward that production numbers aren’t specific at this point, but hey, I’m not here to comment on BMW’s marketing strategy. Expect the sedan to retail from around $100,000 before options, a hefty increase compared to the standard M3, which retails from $65,500.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG C63


2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 - image 569746

Unlike BMW, Mercedes didn’t bother to make limited-edition versions of the AMG C63. At least not the kind that brings more power and improved aerodynamics to the table. However, because the C63 is available with two power outputs, one of which is significantly more powerful than the M3 CS, the Stuttgart-designed sedan qualifies as a solid competitor for this Bimmer. More specifically, while the standard C63 uses a 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, which is still more than the M3 CS, the C63 S has it engine uprated to 503 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. The extra horsepower makes up for the lack of motorsport-style aerodynamic as they push the Merc to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, a tenth-second slower, but top speed is rated at 155 mph. But while you don’t get the performance and the extra features of the M3 CS, you do get an aggressive looking sedan with a fancy interior and state-of-the-art tech. What’s more, the AMG C63 S is significantly more affordable, retailing from $73,700.

Read our full story of the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63.

Conclusion


2018 BMW M3 CS - image 743431

With the M4 having already spawned GTS and CS versions, it was a bit surprising that the M3 didn’t get a limited-edition variant in all these years on the market. But BMW finally did the right thing and gave the sedan the higher performance treatment. It’s a bit late to the party, but at least the German firm didn’t completely ignore the nameplate. Granted, most higher performance upgrades are associated with the coupe version of the previous M3 generations, but the sedan is just as important and ignoring it won’t be good for business. The fact that the Mercedes-AMG C63 significantly more powerful than the stock M3 in both trim shouldn’t have been enough to motivate BMW to act in this direction, more so with Audi still not offering a sedan version of the RS4. But, as I said, better late than never. I’m still a bit disappointed that there’s no M3 GTS to talk about, but I can understand that a high winged sedan isn’t a priority for BMW right now. What matters is that the M3 CS is more exclusive and more track oriented than any of its competitors. And this should keep enthusiasts happy.

  • Leave it
    • Awfully expensive compared to regular M3
    • Limited production run
    • The AMG C63 is still the more powerful choice

References

BMW M3


2015 BMW M3 - image 554300

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW M3.

BMW M4


2018 BMW M4 CS - image 718414

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M4 CS.



Read more BMW 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 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 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 Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!!

The Subaru WRX has been on the market for about 25 years now, and Subaru has made constant updates to the model over the years.
This time, Subaru has launched the Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition at the Tokyo Motor Show. Will it be enough to take on its chief rivals – the Honda Civic Type-R, VW Golf GTI, and Ford Focus RS? Let’s find out:


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734536
“The roof and rear spoiler get carbon-fiber treatment”

Now, what makes this limited-edition beauty special? Well, to start off, the roof and rear spoiler get carbon-fiber treatment which takes the handling up by a notch. On the braking front,18 inch ventilated disks by Brembo have been deployed. Along with it, 24 additional horses have been added to the existing 305 under the hood.

The interior gets a set of Recaro seats with black leather and silver stitching, among other changes. There is also a performance muffler, front under-spoiler, and air vents on the rear bumper to aid aerodynamics. But, there is a catch – there are going to be just 450 of these beasts for the taking!

The Subaru WRX made its debut in 1992 when the WRX series was first launched. It had one of the best rivalries in the performance sedans segment with another legend – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo. Two decades later, the WRX has somewhat lost its charm to the likes of VW Golf R, Ford Focus RS, and Honda Civic Type-R; to name a few. Despite this, the car is still desired by many around the globe.

Our Take


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734538
“This car doesn't stand-out from the competition, save for the legacy and long history associated with it”

Showcased at the Tokyo Motor Show a couple of days back, the S208 does seem drool-worthy. But, the limited numbers up for production are a clear indication of the hefty price tag this car will carry. This car doesn’t stand-out from the competition, save for the legacy and long history associated with it. The performance sedan market is flooded today, and there are numerous rivals the S208 will have to take on. And, to make matters worse, this Subaru will serve only to the Japanese market. It is just a matter of time before we know if the S208 was worth the hype or a dud as most people expect it to be.

References

Subaru WRX


Subaru S208 WRX STI Limited Edition up for grabs!! - image 734537

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI S208.


2016 Subaru WRX STI S207 Limited Edition - image 653293

Read our full review on the Subaru STI S207.

Subaru WRX STI


2018 Subaru WRX STI - image 700139

Read our full review on the Subaru WRX STI.

PostHeaderIcon No More Ludicrous Prices: 2018 Honda Civic Type R Goes On Sale

2018 Honda Civic Hits Dealers in Full Force

The Honda Civic Type R was finally launched in the United States in 2017 (for the first time in 20 years) and caused lots of chaos at dealerships, which had to cope with incredible demand for very low supply. The first run was preordered in a matter of hours, and many dealers tried to speculate and used all sorts of tricks to up the sticker. Some of those who preordered a Type R tried to resell their orders at higher prices too, sometimes well in excess of $70,000. But it looks like all these shenanigans may finally be over, as the 2018-model-year Civic Type R went on sale in the United States.

The beefed-up hatchback retails from $34,100, excluding the $890 destination charge and other costs. Definitely much better than the $50,000 sticker some dealerships were asking, or the $80,000+ some nut jobs were trying to score by selling their preorders. The only bad news here is that demand is so high that there may still be a long waiting line at dealerships, but the ordering and delivery process should become easier in a couple of months. On a related note, the Type R turbocharged engine is now also available as a crate engine for amateur and professional race team through the company’s motorsport division.

References

Honda Civic


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719343

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



Read more Honda news.

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.

PostHeaderIcon $350 Is All You Need To Make Your Go-Fast Corvette Go Faster

The auto industry can be a weird business, right? Imagine spending upwards of $50,000 on a tuning kit that makes your car go one second a lap faster on a race track. It seems weird to even think about, but it happens all the time in this industry so nobody bats an eye anytime a tuning firm charges whatever it does so long as the results are justified. Chevrolet, though, has a business that doesn’t revolve around these power and performance upgrades, and that partly explains why the automaker is charging a pittance for a software upgrade that ends in the current-generation Corvette getting a decent performance spike. So much so, in fact, that it improves its lap time around the automaker’s 2.9-mile Milford Roads Course race track. The cost of this software update? $350.

I’m not sure if it qualifies as the bargain of the century, but it certainly looks like one. Granted, the software update is non-obtrusive, so there’s really no physical changes to the Corvette’s physical makeup. All it does is modify the sports car’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension, which in turn leads to improved handling and ride quality for the ‘Vette. The result, as General Motors VP of performance vehicles and motorsports Jim Campbell puts it, “is a greater feeling of balance and more linear responses to driver inputs.” It’s the kind of improvement that won’t appear physically on the Corvette, but owners of the sports car are expected to feel it instantaneously. Even better, availing of the download won’t mess up your Chevy warranty since the software update is factory-developed and can only be installed by dealerships.

For now, the updated software is compatible for a handful of Corvette models, including 2014-2016 Corvette Stingray Z51s, 2016 Stingray, and 2015-2016 Corvette Z06s. Other Corvette variants are expected to receive the software update at a later time, so if anybody here owns any one of these Corvettes, there’s little reason to go the aftermarket route to spike up your sports car’s performance. All you need to do is go to Chevrolet directly, and it’ll take care of the business for you at a cost that’s presumably cheaper than an aftermarket lug nut.

References

Chevrolet Corvette


2014 - 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - image 526910

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M5 with M Performance Parts

2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts

Unveiled only a few months back (August 2017), the new M5 is arguably the most aggressive and technologically advance midsize sedan BMW has built to date. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. And BMW used the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas to showcase a range of M Performance parts that enhance the M5 inside and out, as well as under the skin. It may seem a bit ridiculous to showcase performance- and visual-enhancing parts only a couple of months into an already awesome sedan’s life, but this is how the market works nowadays. While some will be more than happy to take a stock M5 home, others will pay for a few extras and a slightly customized appearance.

The new BMW M Performance parts for the still-fresh M5 are mostly about aerodynamics and weight saving on the outside. Both are achieved through extensive use of carbon-fiber, a lightweight composite that’s more than welcomed on any BMW wearing the M badge. And with the German firm usually using carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) on its cars, this is a breath of fresh air for carbon enthusiasts. The interior also received its fair share of upgrades, while the chassis and the exhaust system have been modified to better suit the enhanced aerodynamics of the sedan. But more on that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M5 with M Performance Parts.

What makes the BMW M5 with M Performance Parts special

  • Carbon-fiber aerodynamics package
  • Carbon-fiber grille and mirror caps
  • M-style stripes
  • Race-spec steering wheel
  • Carbon-fiber shift paddles and lever cover
  • Custom floor mats
  • New telemetry system
  • Sportier coilover suspension
  • Carbon-ceramic brakes
  • New exhaust system

2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741712
“The already aggressive stance of the M5 is further enhanced by the M Performance aerodynamics package”

On the outside, the already aggressive stance of the M5 is further enhanced by the M Performance aerodynamics package, which includes a range of handcrafted, carbon-fiber parts. Up front, this package adds only bumper side vent surrounds, but the aero feature is complemented by carbon-fiber kidney grilles. The latter is a cool touch in terms of looks. Moving over to the sides, we can see carbon-fiber side sill extensions, also part of the aero package, and carbon mirror caps, a separate option.

Around back, the M Performance bundle includes a carbon-fiber rear spoiler (or the spoiler Pro upgrade) and a carbon-fiber rear diffuser. All told, these options not only optimize the sedan’s aerodynamics, but also reduce curb weight and enhance looks. Finally, you can also opt for the stripe package, which adorns the lower front bumper and lower doors in the traditional blue, purple, and red colors of the M division.


2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741719
“The package also features new carbon-fiber shift paddles and a carbon shift lever cover”

Plenty of interesting features to talk about inside the cabin too, starting with the M Performance steering wheel with distinctive geometry, pronounced Alcantara grip area, and carbon-fiber cover. The package also features new carbon-fiber shift paddles and a carbon shift lever cover. The motorsport-inspired looks are rounded off by M Performance floor mats.


2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741716
“Those who wish to capture their performance on film can opt for the Trackfix action camera holder”

Moving over to what’s not immediately noticeable, BMW developed the M Performance Drive Analyzer, which is described as an “innovative tool for recording and evaluating all important vehicle dynamics data.” The system analyzes and determines a range of performance factors such as engine data, speed and peak values, engaged gear, use of accelerator pedal and brakes, and lateral acceleration, working pretty much like a telemetry device. When recorded, the results can be directly shown on the smartphone as videos or graphic representations via the M Performance Drive Analyzer App, which is available free of charge to BMW customers. Those who wish to capture their performance on film can opt for the Trackfix action camera holder, which can be mounted in the threaded bush of the towing lug either at the front or rear end of the vehicle. This way you can make your own Nurburgring record attempt videos.


2018 BMW M5 with M Performance Parts - image 741730

M Performance unveiled under-the-skin upgrades too, starting with a coilover suspension with even sportier setup, which provides a more direct connection of the chassis to the road. The red coil springs. There’s also carbon-ceramic brakes with motorsports-derived pads, as well as an M performance sports exhaust system. The latter is available exclusively in the U.S. and Canada and features a titanium rear muffler, carbon-fiber tailpipe trim, and an optimized exhaust gas routing for enhanced engine roar. While the engine remained unchanged, BMW did introduce a new, handcrafted carbon-fiber cover.

Most of these parts will become available when the new M5 arrived in showroom in the spring of 2018, while some of them will hit the market in July.

References

BMW M5


2018 BMW M5 - image 727588

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW M5.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Polestar 1 Convertible

Polestar 1 Convertible Rendering by http://xtomi.blogspot.com

The debut of the Polestar 1 turned a lot of heads for the right reasons. It was as impressive a first offering for Volvo’s newly-minted performance stand-alone brand, and like most cars with a lot of anticipation surrounding them, the thought of different body styles for the Polestar 1 has begun to take shape. We’ve already seen renders for a shooting brake-style Polestar 1, but what I’m really looking forward to seeing – if it ends up getting here – is a convertible version. There’s no guarantee that Polestar is going to appease our calls for one, but I think it’s a good idea, in large part because we haven’t seen a convertible from the Swedish automaker since the C70 ended production in 2013.

Ok, so it’s only been four years, but a lot has happened in those four years, especially as it pertains to Volvo. Back then, the company had only been a few years into being under Geely ownership, so it was still in the process of reinventing itself. Fast forward to 2017 and Volvo is in much better shape now to the point that its former performance division, Polestar, has been turned into a stand-alone performance brand with one model – the Polestar One – that’s already on the way. There’s no guarantee that a convertible will follow after because the company has already laid out plans for its second (a Tesla Model 3 rival) and third (an electric SUV) models. Fingers crossed we see one in the future, though, because the way the Polestar 1 looks right now, it would be very interesting to see if it somehow lost its hardtop and got a soft one instead.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Polestar 1 Convertible

Exterior

  • Soft top roof
  • Muscular side profile
  • Heavy Polestar 1 inspiration

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738892

Note: Polestar 1 Coupe pictured here.

“There’s simply no reason for Polestar to veer away from it given the impressive grand tourer styling of the coupe”

This is all speculation so forgive me if my imagination goes a little haywire in piecing together how I’d like the Polestar 1 Convertible to look. Off the bat, I will say that I’m not opposed to the convertible retaining most of the aesthetics as its coupe counterpart. There’s simply no reason for Polestar to veer away from it given the impressive grand tourer styling of the coupe. I’m especially particular with the front end design of the car to the point that I probably wouldn’t touch it at all. Sure, the similarities are there with Volvo’s models, namely the S90 sedan, but I don’t care. It’s one of those things wherein the saying “don’t mess with a good thing” applies. The set-up of the headlights is top-class with the T-like LEDs separating the upper and lower portions of the entire lighting fixture. That design element has been one of my favorite things about Volvo’s new design language, and it’s cool to see that Polestar adopted it too. I’d even go so far as use it on a convertible version of the 1 because it actually looks better on a convertible. Same thing with the large intakes and those sweet-looking aero blades.

Move to the side profile, and I’d like to see a more robust-looking aesthetic than the coupe version. Remember, the Polestar 1 Convertible’s biggest calling card will be its roofless look, so there’s no point to the car getting an aggressive roofline. In this case, the shoulder and body lines, as well as the wheel arches, will be the biggest factors in creating a dynamic profile. I’d be a little more aggressive in those departments, particularly the lines that run across the length of the body. Don’t make it too rigid because it could end with the 1 Convertible looking a little too boxy. Throw in some nice curves and find a way for these lines to seamlessly integrate themselves into the flared wheel arches, and you could have something special here. If Polestar can do this, the 1 Convertible could turn itself into a full-fledged threat in its own segment.

Interior

  • Sporting touches
  • Carbon fiber trim
  • Polished aluminum

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738877

Note: Polestar 1 Coupe pictured here.

“With a convertible, I think Polestar will have to dial up the sportiness a little bit more, even if it comes at the expense of toning down the luxury”

This is where I venture a little bit off from the interior design of the Polestar 1 Coupe. I’m not saying that the convertible wouldn’t look good carrying the same design architecture as its coupe counterpart, but it wouldn’t have the same feel to it. Hear me out for a second. The interior design of the Polestar 1 Coupe has a luxury feel to it. That’s a good thing because that ties into the persona of the car as a performance luxury coupe. With a convertible, I think Polestar will have to dial up the sportiness a little bit more, even if it comes at the expense of toning down the luxury. That would fit into the personality of a convertible, which, let’s face it, is often bought by customers specifically for the purpose of impressing people with the car’s sporting looks and performance qualities.

I wouldn’t be opposed to the convertible getting its share of polished metal and carbon fiber trim because those two elements work well in just about any kind of design setting.

I’d also keep the digital screen in the center stack and the whole controls and configuration that come with. It’s the use of fine leather that I’m looking at cutting back on. I think the convertible version of the Polestar 1 would be much better off if the interior was dressed up with the kind of leather that can withstand the elements, especially when the roof is down and the car is blasting along a scenic mountainside road. Bespoke leather, as awesome as it is from a stylistic point of view, will be difficult to maintain. So instead of using that, I’d like to think that the Polestar will adopt a more functional approach in designing the cabin of the Polestar 1 Convertible.

Drivetrain

  • Hybrid electric powertrain
  • 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque
  • Different driving modes

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738876

Note: Polestar 1 Coupe pictured here.

“Anything less than the 600-horsepower and 738-pound-feet of torque out of the Polestar 1 Coupe will be a disappointment”

This section is the easiest one to predict because I don’t see any reason for Polestar to veer away from the hybrid electric-gasoline powertrain that’s already sitting under the hood of the Polestar 1 Coupe. In fact, I wouldn’t do anything past maybe adjusting the power and performance figures for the 1 Convertible to make it perform like a proper performance convertible. Ultimately though, I’m perfectly fine with the idea of using the same drivetrain set-up on the convertible version.

That would mean the Polestar 1 Convertible making use of something akin to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and supercharged to go along with the usual hybrid step of electric motors on all four wheels to go with a more potent lithium-ion battery pack that will essentially be tasked to feed the energy requirements of those electric motors.

As far as output is concerned, anything less than the 600-horsepower and 738-pound-feet of torque out of the Polestar 1 Coupe will be a disappointment. Power should sit around that number, maybe even a little higher, in order for the Polestar 1 Convertible to completely differentiate itself from its coupe counterpart. That should be one of Polestar’s main focus because any other scenario could lead to people thinking of the Polestar 1 Convertible as nothing more than a roof-less version of the grand tourer.

Prices

Since the Polestar 1 Convertible is nothing more than a figment of our imagination for the time being, determining a price point could be tricky, especially with the actual Polestar 1 Coupe’s price pegged at an incredible $177,000. It’s too hard to say how much a convertible is going to cost, but since they’re traditionally more expensive than their coupe counterparts, I’d say that the Polestar 1 Convertible could fetch costs amounting to around $180,000, supposing that you don’t avail of the subscription offer that the company is offering.

Competition

Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet


2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet - image 707577

I suppose that if Polestar did roll out a 1 Convertible, it would theoretically enter a market occupied by the likes of the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet. It’s admittedly tricky to line up these two models opposite each other because at their respective roots, they’re two different models themselves. They do have some similarities being convertibles and all, but the likely difference in powertrain set-up could mean that we’re looking at two distinct performance times. Never mind the fact that the Polestar 1 Cabriolet isn’t even a sure thing yet.

That said, if Polestar wants the 1 Convertible to be as successful as it hopes, it’s going to have to take customers away from picking a car like the E-Class Cabriolet, or in this case the AMG E 63 Cabriolet. It’s easier said than done given that the Merc has enough power on its side to make a statement – 550 ponies form a 4.0-liter V-8 – and most importantly, it has the heritage over the Polestar. Whereas the new performance brand is still trying to establish its identity and experience in this competitive segment, AMG already has decades of them under its belt.

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

Conclusion


2019 Polestar 1 Convertible - image 741405

Would it be too early to hope that Polestar moves forward with a soft-top convertible version of the 1? I certainly hope so though I do understand that there are far bigger and more important priorities on the table. We already have an idea about the company’s plans for the Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 models.
The two will slot in the mid-size segment and, according to its Polestar, “will join the competition around the Tesla Model 3.” Then there’s the 3, which is being prepared to come in the mold of a large SUV. Those two models are the two priorities at the moment so if Polestar does decide to bring out a convertible version of the 1; it might have to wait in line for quite some time since the 2 and 3 will most likely come out first, possibly around 2020 and 2021, respectively. Still, if patience is a virtue, then I’m going to drown in it if it means seeing the Polestar 1 Convertible come to life. There’s a lot of potential that Volvo’s new standalone performance brand should consider, even if it’s a few years from now. We can wait, or at least I can.

  • Leave it
    • No word on production yet
    • If it is going to be built, it won’t be around for a few more years
    • Let’s see how the Polestar 1 Coupe does first

References

Polestar 1


2018 Polestar 1 - image 739271

Read our full review on the 2018 Polestar 1.

PostHeaderIcon You Can Have the Honda Civic Type R Crate Engine For $6.5K

For years, Honda enthusiasts in the United States watched with envy as Europe and Asia had access to the awesome, beefed-up Civic Type R. Launched in 1997, the Type R remained a forbidden fruit for U.S. gearheads for decades. Two decades to be more specific, as the high-performance Civic didn’t cross the pond to North America until 2017. And, needless to say, it created the utmost hype, with backed-up preorders and crazy price speculation over to-be-delivered cars. With the hatchback finally on its way to customers, Honda has more good news for Type R fans: the turbocharged 2.0-liter powerplant is now available as a crate engine.

The big announcement was made at the 2017 SEMA Show, where Honda confirmed that enthusiasts would be able to purchase the Type R engine through Honda Performance Development’s Honda Racing Line program. The crate engine is rated at the same 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque as the one in the road car. The turbocharged four-banger is priced at $6,519.87, but here is a catch: it’s only available for “verified, closed-course racing applications,” which means it can’t be used in road-going models.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why It Matters?


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719399
“This crate engine is great news for both amateur and professional racing drivers alike”

On top of being an appealing car of regular drivers, the Civic Type R was also seen as a great engine source by racing enthusiasts. So, this crate engine is great news for both amateur and professional racing drivers alike, who finally have access to Honda’s most powerful engine in the United States. It’s also reliable, which makes things that much better on the race track. With Honda Racing Line involved in the project, drivers will also benefit from something similar to factory support, which is way better than just sourcing an engine and trying to make it work by doing your own research and development.

The Bad News


2016 Honda Civic - image 651097
“If you were dreaming of building your own Type R version of the Civic sedan, the Accord, or any other Honda available in showrooms, it won't happen anytime soon”

Unfortunately, this engine isn’t yet available for road cars. So if you were dreaming of building your own Type R version of the Civic sedan, the Accord, or any other Honda available in showrooms, it won’t happen anytime soon. Sure, it could be offered outside the Honda Racing Line program in the future, but it will be tricky to install this engine in a production model and get it homologated for road use. So yeah, this announcement is somewhat disappointing when it comes to road cars, but at least we’ll see more of this fantastic engine on race tracks across the United States!

References

Honda Civic


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719343

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


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon BMW M3 30 Years American Edition

1987 was a special year for BMW fans here in the US. That was the year the M3 first came to our shores. Since then, Bimmer’s resident performance sedan has carved up a legacy that’s without peer, so much so that we’re all getting a treat from BMW with the presentation of the super exclusive M3 30 Years America Edition at the 2017 SEMA Auto Show. It really doesn’t get as exclusive as this one because, quite literally, there will only be one of its kind in the world.

The M3 30 Years America Edition actually starts its life as a standard manual-transmission M3 that’s dressed up in BMW’s Competition Package. But, that’s where any semblance to a standard M3 ends. Everything else about it is exclusive to the theme of the car, which is to say that it received plenty of red, white, and blue treatment in both the exterior and interior. This is as all-American as a BMW M3 can get, at least to the point that bald eagle badges wouldn’t have been out of place in it. It’s unclear at this point how much BMW plans to sell the M3 30 Years America Edition for, though it did say that it will be available once the SEMA Auto Show ends. My money’s on it being auctioned off with the proceeds going to a charity here in the U.S., but don’t be surprised if Bimmer feels generous enough to simply raffle the sedan off. The latter would be an ideal scenario for folks like me because if it’s auctioned off, expect the bids to come hot and heavy, maybe even reach six figures under the best of conditions.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M3 30 years America Edition

What makes the BMW M3 30 Years America Edition special


2018 BMW M3 30 Years American Edition - image 741683
“The exterior is striking with the Frozen Red II Metallic shade”

There are a lot of things to like about the BMW M3 30 Years America Edition, including the theme and how BMW went about it implementing it. The exterior is striking with the Frozen Red II Metallic shade. The inclusion of “II” in its nomenclature is intended to convey the paint’s exclusivity, which came to life at the hands of the talented people over at BMW Group Designworks. In addition, the M3 30 Years America Edition also gets a carbon fiber reinforced polymer roof, which also features the same Frozen Red Metallic II paint. More cosmetic goodies come in the form of a 30th Anniversary graphic located on the rear sunshade of the sedan. This particular addition is important to enhance the sedan’s one-off exclusivity and separate itself from every other M3 in the world today. Speaking of exclusivity, the one-off M3’s wheels are also of the super limited variety. The alloy wheels measure 19 inches in the front and 20 inches in the rear and are finished in an exclusive touch of gold. It’s the only set of wheels that will get this kind of treatment, so it’s in good company with the equally rare red paint finish on the body.


2018 BMW M3 30 Years American Edition - image 741697
“We get a good number of M Performance parts, none more prominent than the carbon fiber rear wing at the back”

On the aerodynamic side of the upgrades, we get a good number of M Performance parts, none more prominent than the carbon fiber rear wing at the back. M Performance side skirts are also included, as are functional bits like the new exhaust system, titanium rear silencer, and on the suspension side of things, a completely new adjustable sports suspension until that feature red coil springs.

The exterior carries with it an extensive list of upgrades, but as good as that section got it from BMW, the M3’s interior is the real star of this show. If you’re digging the all-American theme of the M3, you’re going to dig the interior. Quite literally, there’s enough red, white, and blue surfaces in it to make Uncle Sam weep with pride.


2018 BMW M3 30 Years American Edition - image 741692
“The seats feature a base Opal White surface, with added Mugello Red Merino stripes and Fjord Blue Merino sections”

Take the seats, for example. The feature a base Opal White surface, but instead of keeping it just that way, BMW added Mugello Red Merino stripes and Fjord Blue Merino sections to really bring out the patriotic theme of the interior. A 30th Anniversary graphic on the headrests is another nice touch and completing the whole setup are a few black leather appointments scattered throughout the cabin.

There are no significant engine upgrades on the M3 30 Years America Edition but with the car sporting the Competition Package, that means that the M3’s 3.0-liter inline-six engine gets an extra 14 horsepower from the standard unit, resulting in an output of 444 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.


2018 BMW M3 30 Years American Edition - image 741687
“The engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds”

We’ll know soon enough exactly how much this one-off BMW M3 30 Years America Edition is going to cost, but for those who are looking to get a baseline amount, the standard M3 fitted with a Competition Package sells for $71,200. Considering its status as a one-off and the theme behind it, it’s almost a certainty that we’re looking at a price here that will exceed $100,000. Whatever it is, those who are interested will need to have their checkbooks in hand.

References

BMW M3


2015 BMW M3 - image 554300

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW M3.



Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon Hanging in the Balance: Nissan Shows Confusion, Uncertainty over the Next Z-Car

We all want to know about the next Z-car, but Phillip Klein – Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer – couldn’t even give us a slight glimmer of hope last week during the Tokyo Auto Show. Long story short: It sounds like a new Z-Car may not happen and, even if it does, it will be a long time before we see it.

Let’s face it; sports cars are freaking awesome, but they all have expiration dates. Most automakers understand this – there’s a reason cars like the Porsche 911 and Chevy Corvette have been through more generations than you can count on one hand. Automakers like Mitsubishi, and Nissan, apparently, seem to have missed that memo, though. If you remember right, Mitsubishi let the Lancer go one for a decade without an update, and then let it die a slow, miserable death. Well, as it turns out, Nissan could very well do the same with the Z-car. When the Tokyo Auto Show kicked off, we were expecting to the Nissan 390Z concept, but instead, all we got was an executive that refused to even confirm the car exists let alone offer up information of when the next production Z will actually arrive.

“There’s a lot of passion behind this vehicle…. At the same time, it’s a segment that’s gradually declining, making the case more difficult. We have no intention to quit excitement, but we’re going to make it happen in different ways,” said Klein. Design Chief, Alfonso Albaisa, got in on it on it too, saying, “I can say we don’t have a fixed thing yet… but how can we be completely blind to the importance of that name to the company? Maybe you can feel that I love these cars… but I can’t say too much, or I’ll be taking a train home [instead of my company car]!”

So, at this point, the 370Z is almost a decade old, and Nissan isn’t even sure what to do about a successor. It has said that the GT-R is a better halo car, so the GT-R is safe for now, but perhaps if the brand showed the Z-car some love, it might experience better sales as well. After all, it’s a super senior as far as car generations go. As I said about Mitsubishi and the Lancer – you can’t not bring about something fresh and then use declining sales as a good reason to let it die a pitiful death. But, then again, rumor has it that Nissan is going to take the same approach Mitsubishi did with the Eclipse name. Keep reading to learn more about what could happen to the Z name…

The Stench of Stupid Just Keeps Getting Stronger


2016 Nissan Gripz Concept - image 646230
“The Nissan Gripz is a model that was supposedly modeled after the 240Z”

So, here’s the deal. Mitsubishi decided to scrap the Eclipse after the fourth generation because, well, consumers were blind to it. We could argue all day long about why they were blind to it, but it had to do with its horrible design, piss poor engineering, the fact that it was still based on the Galant, and it was just a bit too large. But, that’s just my opinion, and I’m starting to get off topic. The point is that Mitsubishi has brought back the Eclipse name, but it has done so on an SUV. Why? Because everyone is buying them up like they are the next best thing since the invention of condoms. Fast forward to today and poke your head in the boardroom at Nissan, and I bet you anything you’ll hear them talking about why the next vehicle wearing a Z-badge will be a dumb SUV or Crossover. Want evidence? Well, they already hinted at it a couple of years ago with the Nissan Gripz, a model that was supposedly modeled after the 240Z. And, let’s not forget that at least one outlet heard from an “insider” that the next Z will be a “small, sporty crossover about the size of the current Juke.” Ugh…

So, why not shift yet another SUV into production and throw a well-known badge on it. Mitsubishi seems to think it’ll work with the Eclipse Cross, so it can work for the Nissan Z too, right? I’m not so sure, folks. I have a feeling Nissan is going to take this path, and everyone who loved the Z cars for what they were (and rightfully so) is going to turn their backs and walk away because the Z badge deserves better than that. The world has enough crossovers and, if Nissan would not let the current model live longer than my grandmother, consumers might be interested in it again.
I don’t know, though. Maybe I’m just tired of seeing awesome names die needlessly and automakers try to hang onto the fame that those names once garnered by using them for something else. What do you guys think? Would you buy a new Z-badged crossover, or should Nissan usher in a new RWD coupe as a successor? Or, should they just kill off the car altogether and let the GT-R do all of the work in this niche? Let us know in the comments section below.

References

Nissan Z


2018 Nissan Z - image 660951

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Nissan Z.

Nissan 370Z


2009 - 2017 Nissan 370Z - image 420367

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan 370Z.


2016 Nissan Gripz Concept - image 646366

Read our full review on the 2016 Nissan Gripz Concept.

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End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 15:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $26,530.00
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1952 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1952 Chevy Pickup Truck
$14,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:13:36 PST
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2015 Chevrolet Corvette 3LZ 2015 Corvette Z06 (Z07 package)
$60,300.00 (33 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 10:43:24 PST
Buy It Now for only: $68,500.00
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2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Coupe 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CAMARO ZL1 S/C AUTO LEATHER NAV HUD 20'S 29K #800633 Texas Direct
$37,480.00
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 18:15:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $37,480.00
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2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS 2016 Chevy Camaro 2SS "Chicago Blackhawks Edition"
$49,000.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Nov-21-2017 13:34:35 PST
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1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 1967 Marina Blue 427 Convertible
$50,100.67 (5 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 18:43:21 PST
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1951 Chevrolet Other Pickups Deluxe 1951 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup truck, Patina Deluxe Cab Original Survivor
$10,300.00 (28 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 9:19:33 PST
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2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium 6 speed FAST AND FURIOUS,no reserve
$22,600.00 (37 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 18:46:57 PST
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1966 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 1966 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 289 V8 A-code w/ Pony Interior
$13,150.00 (15 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 15:38:34 PST
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Z51 Convertible 2-Door 2014 CHEVY CORVETTE STINGRAY Z51 CONVERTIBLE AUTO 8K MI #119209 Texas Direct
$44,230.00
End Date: Saturday Nov-25-2017 12:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $44,230.00
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2015 Ford Mustang GT Premium Like New 2015 Mustang GT Premium *2100 Miles, Recaro Seats, Loaded!
$34,500.00
End Date: Friday Nov-24-2017 15:35:40 PST
Buy It Now for only: $34,500.00
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1955 Chevrolet Other Pickups deluxe chrome 1955 chevrolet cameo like GMC suburban and apache
$16,000.00
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:30:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $16,000.00
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1967 Chevrolet C-10 HORT BOX RESTORED V8 MANUAL PS PB DISC HOT ROD 71 72 stepside STREET ROD 69
$5,000.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 16:02:01 PST
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2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Coupe 2-Door 2017 CHEVY CORVETTE GRAND SPORT 2LT RED LEATHER NAV 1K #101720 Texas Direct Auto
$43,100.00 (111 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 14:32:37 PST
Buy It Now for only: $64,880.00
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2004 Chevrolet Other Pickups 2004 Chevy Colorado truck 5 speed manual transmission
$1,900.00
End Date: Wednesday Nov-22-2017 13:58:19 PST
Buy It Now for only: $1,900.00
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2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupe 2-Door 2016 FORD MUSTANG SHELBY GT350 5.2L 6-SPEED TECH NAV 2K #522266 Texas Direct
$5,400.00 (4 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 12:14:27 PST
Buy It Now for only: $52,230.00
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1957 Chevrolet Other Pickups 1957 Chevy 3100 Chevy 4X4 Pickup Restomod Short bed
$14,201.01 (13 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 19:29:41 PST
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1951 Ford Other Pickups F3 1951 Ford F3 F Series Pickup Farm Truck Patina Flathead V8 No Reserve
$1,000.00 (1 Bid)
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 19:15:00 PST
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1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1969 Camaro RS SS 396 4-Speed Black Frame-Off Restored
$27,600.00 (23 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Nov-28-2017 14:30:00 PST
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2015 Ford Mustang Premium GT 2015 ford mustang gt premium BY OWNER
$27,900.00
End Date: Sunday Nov-26-2017 11:45:00 PST
Buy It Now for only: $27,900.00
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