Fiat 500E – The Advert

Porsche Cayman GTS

Porsche_Cayman GTS Porsche used to wait until the end of a product run before granting us access to the GTS version. Not so anymore, and the one that takes the most of my attention is the Cayman.

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Nothing too major in the power and torque increases (15hp and 7 lb-ft) but the right set of options are already selected for you, and the complete package once again adds up to more than it parts.

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If you’re still not convinced, take a listen to the video below. The sports exhaust on these things is ridiculously intoxicating.

Mercedes AMG GT

271799_14C666_11One of the disadvantages of spending way too much time on your real job is you end up not posting about some pretty significant news on this website. So now that I have at least a little breathing room I’m going to try and at least partially rectify that by going back and pulling some of the best bits from the past few months and posting just like they were still super brand new.

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So, I now present the Mercedes AMG GT – a 911 fighter designed to get your heart and pulse racing in equal measure. Its front mid-engine design with a rear transaxle and use of intelligent aluminum lightweight construction form the basis for a highly dynamic driving experience. Its newly developed AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine underscores the hallmark of AMG driving performance. The first sports car engine from AMG with internally mounted turbochargers (‘hot inside V’) and dry sump lubrication is configured in two output ratings: as a GT with 456 hp (340 kW) and as a GT S with 503 hp (375 kW). The new GT combines driving dynamics and first-class racetrack performance with superb everyday practicality and efficiency that sets new standards in the segment.

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The centerpiece of the Mercedes-AMG GT is the new 4.0-liter V8 biturbo, which responds instantly with extreme power at low revs and delivers outstanding performance. Top figures such as 3.7 seconds from 0-60 mph (preliminary) and a top speed of 193 mph (310 km/h), combined with the outstanding driving dynamics will undoubtedly translate into extremely fast laps on the racetrack.

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“With the new GT we are positioning Mercedes-AMG even more aggressively than to date as a dynamic sports car brand”, says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “With its technological substance, the Mercedes-AMG GT fulfils our high aspirations with regard to driving dynamics, agility and sportiness. The new GT is the second sports car developed fully independently by Mercedes-AMG. The car is manufactured according to the motto ‘Handcrafted By Racers’ – which perfectly encapsulates our heritage and our spirit.”

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The central “aviation design” theme, which is the hallmark of Mercedes-Benz sports cars, has been restyled. The extreme emphasis on the width of the dashboard, which creates an impression of a powerful wing dominates the cockpit of the GT. Four central spotlight-style vents and the individual vents at each end of the dashboard reinforce this impression. The combination of high beltlines, concave-shaped door paneling, low seating position and a dramatic center console design, makes the GT feel like you are slipping into the cockpit of fighter jet.

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The 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine is being made in Affalterbach according to the “one man, one engine” principle. In the AMG engine shop, highly qualified master engine builders assemble the engines by hand according to the strictest quality standards. Once completed, this impeccable standard is clearly visible on the AMG engine plate, as it bears the engine builder’s actual signature.

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Personally I think it looks pretty spectacular, and given how fantastic the AMG engines typically are, if this thing handles as well as Mercedes suggest it does, it’ll end up going near the top of a lot of people’s purchasing lists, especially given how luke warm the new 911 got when it first arrived. Of course, there’s no manual available (do Mercedes even offer manuals anymore for anything they sell in the US?), so unless I change my mind (independent of the whole money issue of course), I won’t be owning one of these anytime soon.

Volkswagen XL Sport

VW XL SportWhat happens if you pair a futuristic (and light) body with a Ducati Superleggera V-Twin engine? I guess the guys at VW were interested in finding out.

276850_DB2014AU01207The XL Sport achieves the best ratio between weight (1962 pounds), power (147 kW/197 hp) and aerodynamics (CdA of 0.44 square meters) of any car. It’s a combination that allows it to reach an impressive top speed of 168 mph on just 197 hp.

276863_DB2014AU01212There are a number of individual features that contribute to the XL Sport’s arrow-like performance, in addition to the uncompromising styling. These include special vanes that direct the air at the front into specific channels, wheelarch vents, an optimized underbody, lift-reducing air ducts in the hood, an extendable rear spoiler (powered by the same unit as in the Lamborghini Aventador), and adaptive air vents incorporated in the rear hatch.

276887_DB2014AU01226The significantly redesigned chassis, high-revving engine, and aerodynamic performance firmly plant the XL Sport in the racing realm. The chassis incorporates high-strength steel subframes which house upper and lower control arms at the front with pullrod actuation for the dampers, while the control arms at the back have pushrods—similar to the layout for a racing car. The forged magnesium-alloy wheels, which save 53 pounds compared to aluminum-alloy rims, are fitted with 205/40 R18 front and 265/35 R18 rear high-performance tires. The XL Sport has a powerful ceramic brake disc setup.

Aston Martin Lagonda

Aston Martin LagondaWhen I was a young boy, I loved the car you see above – I’m not sure why – it was mixed among the usual desires for 911′s, Countach’s and the ultimate favorite Ferrari 288 GTO.  There was just something about it (maybe it was the sheer size of the hood/bonnet).

2015 Aston Martin LagondaAnyway, the guys at Aston must have liked it as well, as they’ve decided to come back out with a new version. And this isn’t some one off prototype – these are the first production images. Take a look and let me know what you think of the modern version.

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Kawasaki Ninja H2R

It may not be a car, but it has car level horsepower (293 bhp) and it’s gorgeous so I’ll make an exception this one time

Corvette Z06 – it’s fast….

Chevrolet-Corvette-Z06Like very fast – as details are slowly released in anticipation of the upcoming arrival, todays news is that the 0-60 time will be delivered in less than 3 seconds, and the quarter mile in less than 11. That’s pretty close to new 911 Turbo S speeds for less than half the cost. Tempted yet?

Quote of the day

“Fear is not a stupid thing. Winning is not a question of courage, but a faith in oneself and in the car. A car is like a creature that lives, with its own emotions and its own heart. You have to understand it and love it accordingly. I knew many drivers more courageous than me. They are dead now.”  – Juan Manuel Fangio

707 BHP! Introducing the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

244047_DG015_160CLI’m not sure if it’s due to my older age, spending lots of years living on this side of the Atlantic, or being able to enjoy the burble of a big V8 more readily than when I was growing up, but American muscle cars hold my attention a lot more now than they ever did before.

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And here’s one that is screaming for attention – the Dodge Challenger SRT with the Hemi Hellcat engine option. It has 650 lb.-ft of torque to go with it’s 707 bhp, and the guys at Dodge were so concerned it might be a little much that they supplied two different key fobs with the car – one that unleashes everything the engine has got, and another one that limits the output to a more manageable (!?) 500 bhp if you’re handing over the keys to your friends or kids I guess.

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You can pick one up at your local Dodge dealership starting in Q3 of this year. Just in time to scare the neighbors for halloween I guess.

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Isle of Man TT Course Record – Subaru STi

If you’ve ever seen those crazy bike guys go around the TT course on the Isle of Man, you know they’re a little crazy. Slightly less crazy (purely for the fact that they have an extra metal layer surrounding their body) but no less skillful are the rally drivers who hit the same circuit in search of a little fun and glory.

Mark Higgins broke the lap record two weeks ago driving a new 2015 Subaru WRX STI on the treacherous 37-mile course with an average lap speed of 117.510 MPH and a time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds, and this is the video of that lap. Things get a little tight in some spots – definitely has way more guts and skill than I’d ever have. Enjoy!