Archives for March 2013

Subaru WRX Concept

Subaru WRC Concept 1Subaru finally showed a bit of life for the WRX and wheeled out this fantastic looking concept at this weeks New York Motor Show. No word on whether or not it will be built yet, but I’m definitely hoping a production version is on the cards. More photos below.

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Range Rover Sport Official Release

107934_LR_Range_Rover_Sport_Dynamic_25_lead_imageAfter the early release courtesy of the (now world famous) window tinter, the official launch happened last night with lots of juicy details, plenty of pics and a live drive by James Bond (maybe the Aston’s just aren’t cutting it for him now).

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So, what do we now know? As predicted, a whole bunch of weight has been shaved off (over 4oo kg which I think is a tonne in real money), which in turn should improve the handling and fuel efficiency of the car (we get about 15 mpg or so from our current model – it’s not what I’d consider frugal). It’s actually now based on the bigger Range Rover, rather than the previous version which was technically built on top of the underpinnings of the LR3.

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Big on the parent front is the (optional) extra couple of seats in the back – mainly for the kids from the looks of it, but can make the difference between having the grandparents with you, or leaving them on the side of the road 😉

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The base 5.0 liter V8 engine has gone, replaced by the (very highly praised in other cars) 3.0 Supercharged V6, but the supercharged V8 remains, still pushing out 510 bhp. Stop/start tech is now included, as is the 8-speed automatic from it’s big brother.

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So, improved significantly in a number of important ways (or should that be weighs), pretty much the same price as before (think there is planned a $1,000 or so increase) and it’s available towards the end of the year. Tempting, very very tempting….

McLaren 12C Spider in my neck of the woods

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hanging out around the ski resorts in Colorado, you might have had the pleasure (or terror) of driving Loveland Pass. There’s actually two ski “resorts” on either side, A-Basin and Loveland, both popular with locals for the decent skiing, a season that typically starts early and finishes late, and the fact that they’re a decent bit cheaper than the Brecke’s and Vail’s of this world.

Anyway, I digress. The road can be a little sketchy in winter – plenty of snow most of the time, a lot of trucks, and people who don’t know what they’re doing. I’ve actually been skiing at Loveland when I saw a Jeep come over the edge and tumble down three of four rolls before gently coming to a stop about 30 feet above the snowboarders getting off the lift. Kinda scary. But when you’ve got Pike Peak champion Rhys Millen at the wheel, I guess it’s not too much of a problem, even when you’ve got two driven wheels and lots and lots of horsepower and torque to contend with. Actually looks like a lot of fun.

As another aside, I highly recommend (if you can board and don’t mind doing a little back country) snowboarding down Loveland Pass under a full moon on a clear night. Did it once the year after I moved here, and it was nothing but spectacular and amazing.

2014 Mercedes S-Class

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Interior

Those nice folks at Mercedes released a few details about the upcoming S-Class along with a few tasty pics of the interior for us to feast our eyes on. The S Class has become something of an icon in terms of predicting future technology in cars – those who now enjoy the radar speed sensing cruise control in most luxury vehicles owe a small piece of gratitude to the S Class as the pioneer of this technology for example. So people often get excited for the latest gadgets and gizmos that this new model invariably includes.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class DashAnd this release doesn’t really disappoint, with the replacement of their regular analog gauges with a fully integration screen that seems to stretch right along the dash (kind of reminds me of the old Rover SD1 dash a little, give or take 30 years). There’s a bunch of things this model will do, with specific attention being paid to the back seat driver passenger  given all those nice people these days that prefer to be driven rather than drive. Fully independent entertainment options for each of the 4 seats will no doubt please the 3 families that buy this model (or I might in 10 years when the price comes down to something reasonable that I can afford), but the big talking point is the “active perfuming system” (I kid you not). You get the new car smell for the life of the vehicle, and can turn it up or down, on or off, with the twiddling of a switch (although more likely pressing some of those buttons on one of the fancy screens).

Not quite sure when it comes out over here in the States, but given it’s being pushed as a model year 2014, I’d put money on August or September if I was a betting man.

 

PistonHeads GT3 Impressions

Men after my own heart – read their take on the new 911 GT3 here

Audi R8 V10 Plus

Also known as “how a real engine should sound”. Turn up the volume for this one

Range Rover Sport New Pics

range_rover_sport_2In advance of the official release, PistonHeads has some pics of the new Range Rover Sport that some (probably very unpopular at the Range Rover office) window tinter released on the interwebs. Head over for the details and more info.

New Range Rover Sport to be announced

Range Rover Sport Teaser

Hot on the heels of the full size version being released onto the world, Land Rover are sending out teasers for the upcoming launch of the all new Range Rover Sport, which will be released upon the world on March 26th. You can sign up for the live stream hereif you’re keen. I’m guessing there’ll be a whole host of weight savings going on with a new all aluminium frame, along with the same (and fantastic) V8 engines for the US, and if you’re lucky, the brand new 9 speed automatic that was just announced for it’s big brother. But what do I know? Guess we’ll see.

LaFerrari

Haven’t had time to look into any of the details yet, but here’s the video of the brand new Ferrari announced at the Geneva show today.

Porsche 911 GT3

911 GT3 Front SideToday should have been an exciting one for me. The full press release for the upcoming 911 GT3 finally came out, and you can see from the pics, it looks freakin awesome. Carrying over the traditional GT3 lines from previous generations with the deep front spoiler, fixed rear wing and enough aggression to scare most other cars off the road. And they I read the text, and yip, Porsche has done the unthinkable and is releasing this without a manual gearbox. I almost shed a real tear.

911 GT3 Rear Side

So it’s with a heavy heart that I tell you all the other exciting details – 9000 rpm redline from the naturally aspirated fully reworked engine (based on the 911 Carrera S engine, not the previous gen GT3 version), 0-60mph of 3.3 seconds, 195mph top speed and a lap time at the Nurburgring under 7 min 30 seconds. And I’m sure it’ll handle fantastically well, sound incredible, and stir the heart of boys around the world. So why didn’t the most favorite of real drivers cars end up with a real gearbox?

911 GT3 Interior

Cost wise, this one will set you back $20k more than the last version, coming in at a base price of $130,400 when you can finally buy it at the end of this year. And for the first time, Porsche is employing active rear wheel steering to achieve even higher steering precision and improved lateral dynamics. Depending on the speed, the rear wheels steer in the same or opposite direction of the front wheels, improving stability and agility. Other new features that improve driving dynamics are an electronically controlled, fully variable rear differential lock and dynamic engine mounts. Contact with the road is made by new 20-inch, forged alloy wheels with center-locking hubs in place of conventional wheel bolts.

So, in summary, it looks gorgeous, probably sounds and handles like it was delivered from the gods, but they put a PDK gearbox in it, and that makes me sad. Guess I really am one of those grumpy old men who doesn’t like new technology. I have a feeling there will be one silver lining in all of this – if you can pick up a decent 997 GT3 right about now for a reasonable price, it’ll likely go on to become on of the collectible 911’s of the future, being the last GT3 with a real gearbox. Now, back to searching for those pennies so I can afford one…..