Acura NSX – Details Released

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Twenty-five years after the debut of the original, paradigm-shifting NSX supercar, Acura revealed the production version of its highly anticipated successor—the next-generation Acura NSX, developed and produced in the U.S.—to the world’s auto media at the 2015 North American International Auto Show today. The production model, in a scintillating NSX Red finish, took the stage with a growl from its twin-turbocharged engine.

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The NSX challenges conventional beliefs about supercars — much as the first generation did a quarter century ago. The approach is realized through an all-new power unit—a twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system—integrated with an ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with world’s-first material applications and manufacturing processes. Developed under the concept of a “human-centered supercar,” a car that puts the driver first in every aspect of its design, the next-generation NSX will leverage its state-of-the-art hybrid supercar power unit, body and chassis to deliver exceptionally intuitive and immediate response to driver inputs.

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The NSX’s instrument cluster features a dynamic TFT display that responds to changes in the driver-selectable Integrated Dynamics System with pertinent graphics and information. The center console holds the Power button that readies the sport hybrid powertrain, nested in the center of the new Integrated Dynamics System dial control. Interwoven under the handcrafted leather dash panel is the exposed midframe—a functioning chassis structural member that reflects the design aesthetic of a naked sport bike. An ultra-thin, yet super strong A-pillar design and low-mounted instrument panel minimize obstructions to the driver’s view of the road.

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At the heart of the NSX’s performance capabilities is an all-new mid-mounted, 75-degree, DOHC V6 engine with twin turbochargers mated to an Acura-developed 9-speed DCT. The V6 engine employs a race-inspired compact valve train and dry sump lubrication system to help lower the center of gravity. The all-new 9-speed DCT delivers synapse-quick gear changes and rev-matching downshifts. The rear direct-drive electric motor, housed between the engine and transmission, supports acceleration, braking and transmission shifting performance. The NSX’s front wheels are driven by twin independent high-output electric motors which deliver instantaneous torque response and dynamic left-to-right torque distribution.

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The NSX uses its front electric motors for dynamic torque vectoring in addition to enhancing acceleration and braking performance. The result is an instantaneous “zero delay” launch performance and handling response that seems to anticipate the driver’s desire. The NSX has undergone extensive testing at some of the world’s most challenging race circuits, including the famed Nurburgring.

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The NSX utilizes a fully independent, all-aluminum front and rear suspension and puts its considerable power down through ContiSportContact™ high-performance tires—245/35Z R19 front and 295/30Z R20 rear—mounted on 19×8.5 inch front and 20×11 inch rear aluminum alloy wheels. Powerful, natural and confident braking performance is provided by 6-piston front and 4-piston rear monoblock calipers squeezing ultra-high performance carbon-ceramic brake discs.

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Handling is greatly enhanced by Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD), enabling lightning-quick response to all driver inputs—steering, braking and throttle—along with the stability, control and launch performance of all-wheel drive. Agile Handling Assist (AHA) uses the subtle application of brake torque to further enhance yaw response and dynamic stability.

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The NSX’s dial-operated Integrated Dynamic System features Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track modes. The system adjusts engine, motor, transmission and chassis response, as well as the engine sound level, based on the needs of the driver and driving environment. Quiet mode enables electric-only driving at lower speeds for short durations. Dynamic vehicle responses become increasingly sharp as the driver moves from Sport to Sport+ mode and, finally, to Track mode, where the NSX reveals the full spectrum of its performance capabilities. The NSX also features a “launch” function to achieve the ultimate in “zero delay” launch performance, aided by both the engine and three electric motors.

Ford Shelby GT350 R

Shelby GT350R

Ford are definitely showing their sporting intentions for the future this week in Detroit. Not only have they announced the GT Supercar we showed yesterday, but they also announced that there’s a very track focused version of the new Mustang coming out later this year.

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The car features the first-ever production V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft – the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced – plus a specially tuned suspension. It is fitted with revised spring rates and antiroll bars, lower ride height, unique track-tuned alignment settings, revised bushings and jounce bumpers, cross-axis ball joints in the front suspension, and revised calibration controlling the MagneRide dampers.

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In the name of weight saving and on-track performance, the Mustang has had the back seats removed (along with the air conditioning, the stereo system, trunk floorboard and carpet, backup camera and emergency tire sealer and inflator). Exhaust resonators also have been removed for weight savings with the benefit of creating a sharper exhaust tone.

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And the most incredible news – it has carbon fiber wheels! Avoid potholes at all cost – this is pretty incredible given only Koenigsegg is the only other manufacturer that I know who does this (and their cars are a little closer to a million bucks than the Mustang). The 19×11-inch front and 19×11.5-inch rear wheels provide approximately 13 pounds of unsprung weight reduction per wheel and offer higher levels of stiffness than equivalent aluminum wheels. The lightweight wheels will be shod in Michelin’s top-shelf Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tires with rubber compound and a construction unique to Shelby GT350R. This combination of incredibly stiff and light wheels with bespoke tires offers customers exceptional steering feel and levels of performance.

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“The Shelby GT350R Mustang is a no-compromise car in the pursuit of maximum track capability,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It is a thoroughbred street car making use of technology and ingenuity to deliver performance few enthusiasts have ever experienced.”

Ford GT Supercar – The Return

Ford GT Supercar

Given the last version of this iconic Ford performance car has been shooting way above it’s original selling price in second hand markets over the last year or two, this new revision on the classic should prove even more popular.

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Beginning production late next year, the GT hits the road in select global markets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. The all-new GT supercar features rear-wheel drive, a mid-mounted engine, and a sleek, aerodynamic, two-door coupe body shell. It is propelled by the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever – a next-generation twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 producing more than 600 horsepower.

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The GT makes extensive use of lightweight materials, including carbon fiber and aluminum – enabling outstanding acceleration and handling with improved efficiency,along with one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any production car.

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The state-of-the-art chassis is suspended by an active racing-style torsion bar and pushrod suspension, with adjustable ride height. The 20-inch wheels are shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires featuring a unique compound and structure designed specifically for the Ford GT. Multi-spoke wheels encircle carbon-ceramic brake discs at all four corners.

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The narrow-profile canopy reduces frontal area and caps a purposeful interior that provides state-of-the-art technology to ensure control, comfort and safety. The two-seat cockpit is accessed by upward-swinging doors, and features driver and passenger seats integrated directly into the carbon fiber passenger cell. This configuration significantly reduces seating hardware and weight, and provides a consistent and direct sensory connection to the chassis. The fixed seating is combined with adjustable pedals and steering column to accommodate a very wide range of driver statures.

Ford GT Supercar Interior

An F1-style steering wheel integrates all necessary driver controls, creating a stalkless steering column that allows uncluttered access to the transmission paddle-shift controls. A fully digital and configurable instrument cluster provides a wealth of driver-focused data. The display is configurable for multiple driving environments and different driving modes.

“While we hope enthusiasts rejoice about this all-new GT, all Ford customers will benefit from the ultimate performance Ford and its new-generation innovations,” said Nair.

 

Kia Concept (and it’s actually good!)

Kia Stinger GT4 ConceptKia surprised the automotive world (well, me and at least one other person) with their release of the GT4 Stinger concept.

Kia GT4 Stinger Concept rearDesigned as a rear-drive competitor to the Subaru BRZ, Kia loaded it with a 315bhp turbo 2.0 liter engine to make sure people took notice. No word on if/when it will hit the market, but I think the brand could win over a whole new set of followers with something like this at it’s usual low price point.

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Next Toyota Supra? (Here’s hoping)

199760_TOYOTA_FT1_Exterior_007Toyota released it’s FT-1 Concept on the world this week, showing off the new car at the Detroit Auto Show, with a virtual release in Gran Turismo 6 being available for download tomorrow.

199729_TOYOTA_FT1_Exterior_004If this is the sign of cars to come out of Toyota as part of their new design directive, the world is going to be a better place. Combine it with some of that old school driving enjoyment as well, and we could have a winner.

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New 2015 Mercedes C-Class

2015 C-Class SilverDetails and photos of the new Mercedes C-Class hit the wire today in advance of the official release at the Detroit Auto Show in January. As you can see from the pics, it’s a definite looker, taking a few key styling points from the latest S-Class model, the lights being the most obvious example.

2015 C-Class FrontIt’s also expanded a little – the wheelbase growing by 3 inches to 112, overall length stretching by 3.7 inches to 184, and width swelling 1.6 inches to 71. This can’t be a bad thing – we actually owned the previous version of this car (wifes) and ended up having to ditch it when kid number 2 came along as there just wasn’t enough space to put a car seat behind the drivers seat and not have me crushed behind the steering wheel (if I could squeeze myself in there). And I’m nowhere near being classified as tall.

2015 C-Class InteriorThe interior here looks fantastic – this pic showing with the optional MultiMedia Package selected. Again, if you can afford it, pick it. The sound system in the old version was pretty spectacular back then – way better than the M3’s, so I can imagine this one being anything worse. And the upgraded system adds a touchpad interface (like a smartphone interface says the press release) to the MMI wheel and button interface, along with voice control, so you have 3 options to choose when you want to start changing things around.

194811_2015 C-Class (6)Engine choices are limited to two when first release – C3oo gets a 2.0 liter turbo-charged engine pushing out 235 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque and a C400 4MATIC with a 3.0L turbocharged direct-injection V6 at 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. Rumors of a diesel are circling, but not confirmed yet, and anything lower than the C300 is likely to only get a European release and not make it across the pond.

2015 C-Class RearThree suspension options are available – regular with selective damping, sport (based on the regular but more sportily tuned and a reduced ride height by 0.6 inches) and the big news – air suspension. Thanks to electronically controlled, continuous variable damping at the front and rear, it offers outstanding road roar and tire vibration characteristics even with the vehicle loaded. The driver can use the AGILITY SELECT switch to choose between the various characteristics: “Comfort”, “ECO”, “Sport” and “Sport+.” The additional “Individual” option enables drivers to configure their vehicle according to their own wishes. AIRMATIC also features all-round self-leveling for optimum ride comfort even when the vehicle is loaded.

2015 C-Class Interior FullOverall, the new model looks great, and seems like it’s moving the “small” luxury car segment along. No pricing has been released, but whispers of it staying pretty much in line with the current model fit in with Mercedes aggressive approach to winning market share. And don’t forget, if this model is a little out of your price range, there’s always the CLA available now too.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

I’m of European heritage, I grew up on a diet of Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini, and yet I’ve been excited about the upcoming release of the new Corvette for a while now. Why you might ask. It’s pretty simple actually – I’ve been lucky enough to spend a decent amount of track time in the C6 of the ZO6 variety, and to put it bluntly, it’s a pretty epic car. Fast, good handling, more torque than you know what to do with and the generator of lots and lots of smiles. And it didn’t even kill me when I spun it once.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

So the new version was released on Sunday night as part of the opening of the Detroit Motor Show this week (note to self, get your arse in gear and attend this thing next year). Lots of details, pics and information has finally satisfied the crazed Corvette fans who have been living off a diet of sketches and rumors for the last few months, along with a few details officially released every now and again.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Well, what do we have – 450 bhp and 450 lb-ft of torque from a 6.2 liter V8 with direct injection, dry sump lubrication (with the Z51 Performance Pack) and continuously variable valve timing propelled with a 7-speed manual (or 6-speed automatic) gearbox.  Lightweight materials, including a carbon fiber hood and removable roof panel, composite fenders, doors and rear quarter panels and a 50/50 weight balance. And a brand new interior made with lots of leather, carbon fiber and aluminium, designed to address what seemed to be the biggest weakness in the previous generation vehicle.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

From a personal perspective, the fact that there are new seats is one of the biggest deals to me. Spending a couple of days in these at the track used to result in my legs being bruised to shit as I braced my knees and thighs against the body to stop sliding all over the place, and this has obviously been recognized (the problem, not my personal complaint/pain) with the option of a Competition Sport seat with more aggressive side bolstering to provide greater support on the track.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

There is a track package available out of the gate, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for a Z06 equivalent to be released. The Z51 Performance Package includes an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, integral brake, differential and transmission cooling, as well as a unique aero package that further improves high-speed stability.

If you’re really keen, you can watch the video of the live reveal from Sunday night – the interesting stuff happens around the 34 minute mark, and there’s the full press release with a boat load more details right here. And yes, I think I want one…..

New Maserati Quattroporte

In advance of the Detroit Motor Show, Maserati let loose a couple of pics of the new Quattroporte. Another one of those cars I think I might one day own (or at least dream of owning), the new version follows up with a more modern look to the classic shape of old. And, if you ever get a chance to hear the engines on these things, you’ll understand my fixation – not much better than a Maserati engine note.