Audi RS3 – American Launch Details

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Available for the first time in the U.S., the 2018 Audi RS 3 will make its North American debut at the New York International Auto Show.

As the first compact Audi sedan to wear the RS badge, the RS 3 delivers unrivaled performance in its segment, coupled with a high level of everyday functionality. Specifically developed for the US market, the RS 3 is equipped with the storied Audi five-cylinder engine which produces its unique sound and features RS-specific interior and exterior design details, offering customers an attractive entry point into the Audi Sport lineup.

Powertrain and Performance

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The RS 3 features the all-new 2.5L TFSI® engine paired with a seven-speed S tronic® dual clutch transmission. Producing 400 hp, the five-cylinder engine has a total displacement of 2.5 liters which equates to 160 hp per liter. The maximum torque of 354 lb-ft is available at engine speeds as low as 1,700 rpm and remains constant up to 5,850 rpm. As a result, the RS 3 can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and a top track speed of 155 mph, or increased to 174 mph with the optional Dynamic plus package.

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BMW M3 Special Edition – 30 Jahre

2017 M3 Jahre Special Edition

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect configuration of new M3 and the Competition Package wasn’t quite enough for you, now might be the time to take look with the limited edition 30 Jahre M3 announcement. Full details below, but highlights are a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds with the auto and a reworked suspension (so maybe now it will handle on the limit like an M3 should). Full details from the press release below, but have to say I love the color – put on some less shiny wheels and that thing will look super mean. Price is a not cheap $83,250.

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With the launch of the first generation of the BMW M3 in 1986, the BMW M GmbH, operating under the name BMW Motorsport GmbH at that time, revolutionized the sports car as it was built first and foremost for performance. The original M3 was developed as a homologation special to enter the World, European and German Touring Championship (DTM) racing. It was very successful in its time and is still considered as one of the purest high performance street legal sports coupes. To mark the 30th anniversary of this automotive icon, 500 “30 Jahre M3” (30 Years M3) special editions will be produced, of which 150 units will reach U.S. shores. The limited edition is available with a manual transmission for $83,250 plus Destination and Handling or with Dual-Clutch transmission for $86,150 plus Destination and Handling. [Read more…]

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman

Porsche Cayman S 2017 Blue 718

Not trying to turn this into a Porsche site (and I will eventually get to the point of being able to post more regularly), but after the release of the turbo engined 911’s and Boxster’s a while back, Porsche continues the relentless push into the future with turbo’d Cayman’s now as well. Totally expected (given the afore mentioned announcements), but I personally was eagerly awaiting this one for a couple of reasons – I think the light hardtop will benefit hugely in street driving from the extra torque the turbo engines kick out, and for the first time ever, Porsche has decided (like pretty much every other car on the planet), the hardtop (Cayman) should be cheaper than the convertible (Boxster).

Porsche Cayman Grey 2017

This latest iteration builds on the previous appearance update – I was never a huge fan of the looks of the original Cayman, but this (and the previous) iteration look fantastic to my eyes. I’d go as far to say I prefer the looks of these to the new 911’s, and I’m not quite sure (if I had $100k to spend on a new car) if I’d get a tricked out Cayman S or a base 911. Luckily for me I don’t have this dilemma in real life, so until I win the lottery I can hold off on deciding and admire both from afar. OK, ramble over – full press release details after the jump…..

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Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth

Fiat 124 Abarth 2017

Recent winner in the longest name by an Italian car company, Fiat brings us a special version of their MX-5/Miata based 124 Spider. It’s the latest addition to the Fiat 124 Spider lineup, offering added performance features for a sportier, more spirited driving experience. While all Fiat 124 Spider models deliver responsive handling and excellent power-to-weight ratio in a robust rear-wheel-drive package, the Elaborazione Abarth model builds on the Spider’s engaging driving dynamics to offer even more fun for performance enthusiasts.

“Our new Fiat 124 Spider is an iconic roadster that combines classic Italian styling with modern performance and technology,” said Olivier Francois, Head of FIAT Brand, FCA – Global. “The addition of our new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth further enhances the driving experience and offers yet another head-turning, fun-to-drive vehicle to our customers.”

Performance characteristics
The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Elaborazione Abarth features the proven turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine, delivering 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The Elaborazione Abarth-exclusive Sport Mode changes the calibrations of the engine, automatic transmission, electric power steering and dynamic stability control system to ensure a sporty, responsive and performance-oriented driving experience.

A mechanical limited slip differential, featuring a low torque bias ratio, provides improved traction and handling, as well as improved launch performance and power delivery during cornering. The Elaborazione Abarth’s unique sport suspension includes mono-tube Bilstein front and rear shock absorbers for increased traction and more precise handling. The available Brembo braking system with 17-inch alloy wheels offers monoblock aluminum calipers with four pistons, allowing for improved braking.

If this looks to your liking, they should be appearing in Fiat showrooms in the US this summer. 

2016 Jaguar XJ – Details Announced

Jag XJ 2016 Portfolio Edition

Even though English cars typically don’t work too well (personal experience as the Range Rover Sport is currently receiving a brand new engine after 3 years and less than 35k miles of work), I’m still a fan. Jaguar has typically always verged on the driver side of the handling equation, even with it’s big models, and having had the opportunity to briefly drive one of the previous models, I’d have to say the weight reduction program and suspension tuning where definitely what I’d be interested in if I was buying a big car.

So today, Jag announces the 2016 model – a mild refresh of the exterior (along with some optional packages to spice things up a little), a thankfully new entertainment system (the old one was the same as the one in our RR and to say it’s a little slow is something of an understatement). Lots of details below if you’re interested.

Jag_XJR 2016

Featuring a new, more progressive look, the exterior of the 2016 XJ incorporates an updated front fascia that includes a larger, more upright grille with a new mesh pattern, a subtly redesigned front bumper and newly sculpted chrome blades in the lower air intakes.  Underscoring its dynamic on-road performance, XJR models are distinguished with a black trim package that includes the addition of a black front grille, black lower air intake surrounds and black window surrounds.

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Inside, standard wheelbase XJ models feature soft grain perforated leather seats with contrast stitching, contrast piping and an embossed leaper on the headrests. XJ R-Sport models retain the previous model year’s 8×8-way power front seats plus 4-way lumbar adjustments, while XJ Supercharged models are fitted with 14×14-way power seats that include 4-way lumbar support, allowing drivers to tailor the seating position and comfort to their own liking. 14×14-way seats will also be available on XJ R-Sport models as part of the Comfort Pack that bundles the increased adjustment features with front seat massagers, passenger memory, 4-zone A/C and an electric rear sunblind.

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The new XJ offers the familiar Jaguar range of all-aluminum V6 and V8 engines. Each featuring direct injection, variable valve timing, forced induction and intelligent stop-start systems which deliver high performance with enhanced efficiency. The 3.0-liter supercharged V6 develops 340hp and 332 lb-ft of toque and is available with rear- or all-wheel drive. Characterized by its linear power delivery and free-revving nature, this engine also delivers a unique soundtrack thanks to meticulously-tuned intake and exhaust systems. The 5.0-liter supercharged V8 continues to be offered in 470hp and 550hp variants, delivering all of the performance promised by the dramatic styling of the XJ. All powertrains feature a specifically-optimized eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF®.

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For 2016, the XJ is equipped with InControl Touch Pro™, an all-new infotainment system designed to be simple and intuitive. Conceived in-house and built around a quad-core Intel processor, 60GB solid-state drive and a next-generation Ethernet network, InControl Touch Pro can handle large amounts of data and is exceptionally powerful and responsive. The centerpiece of the system is its eight-inch capacitive touch-screen that works more like a modern smartphone, than an automotive infotainment system. The home screen can be customized selecting one of several available wallpaper images, widgets offer shortcuts to favorite features and functions, and additional home pages can be added, if desired. The touch-screen responds to common ‘pinch to zoom’ and ‘swipe’ gestures allowing drivers to scroll between home screens. Using this technology, the simple, intuitive user interface of the InControl Touch Pro system is designed to minimize driver distraction. Jaguar has also incorporated a secondary full-screen navigational display in the vehicle’s updated instrument cluster, improving line of sight driving and reducing the amount of time a driver needs to take his eyes off the road.

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The functionality of the navigation system is just as impressive. Maps stored on the 60GB solid-state drive of the InControl Touch Pro system can be accessed quicker than with conventional hard drives. Dead-reckoning functionality accurately determines the vehicle’s position even when GPS signals cannot be received. InControl Touch Pro enables door-to-door route planning and guidance, including public transportation options. A companion app allows drivers to plan their route offline and load it into the system at the start of the journey. Once the driver exits the car and the phone is disconnected from the vehicle, the app will continue to provide navigational directions, if need be, on the driver’s phone. A new Commute Mode has also been developed which learns the driver’s daily commute to and from the home or office and can automatically offer alternative routes to avoid congestion using historical and real-time traffic information. Approach Mode displays a 360-degree interactive view of the driver’s surroundings on the infotainment screen as they get to within 656ft (200m) of their destination, and can even direct the driver to the nearest available parking space.

TVR is Alive – New Car Coming 2017 (Probably, Maybe, Hoping)

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I’ve got myself all excited about TVR revivals in the past – this car was a staple of my childhood, and I lusted after one consistently through my teenage years and beyond. Real drivers cars, little in the way of electronic assistance and pretty incredible designs meant I could forgive them for their British nature of breaking down lots and being generally unreliable compared to their German counterparts. But hear one start up, or see one fly past on the street, and it was enough to convert anyone.

Ok, enough of the reminiscing, here’s the full press release so I don’t miss any of the important bits.

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The iconic British car brand, TVR, has today announced that it will return to the market with an all-new British designed and built sports car. The company, which boasts an outstanding new management team, has developed the new car in collaboration with Gordon Murray Design and Cosworth, each providing much of the core design and engineering capability for the all-new TVR. This incredible project is already well advanced with over a year of development completed so far.

TVR will issue more specification details and early images later in 2015, but the car will continue the tradition of a classic British two-seat sports car with a composite ground effect aero chassis and body package using Gordon Murray Design’s innovative iStream® technology. Enthusiasts will also be delighted to know that the car will feature the traditional TVR DNA of a front engine with rear wheel drive and a manual transmission, powered by a normally aspirated, dry-sumped, V8 engine, developed and engineered by Cosworth.

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Les Edgar, Chairman of TVR said: “We know that a new TVR has to be better than just good – it has to be outstanding. From the outset we only wanted to work with the best partners in the business, and both Gordon Murray’s and Cosworth’s track records within motor sport and high performance car design and engineering speaks for themselves. Gordon Murray Design and Cosworth are the perfect partners for TVR and together, we will deliver a truly exceptional new car.”

Production of the car will begin in 2017, and will be offered to the market at a competitive price point within its segment and consistent with TVR’s positioning in the past. TVR has prioritised the company’s position as an all-British institution, and the cars will be completely produced in new UK factory premises.

Gordon Murray, Chairman of Gordon Murray Design comments: “TVR is an iconic brand which has been an important part of British sports car manufacturing for many decades. Its return to manufacturing is an exciting development and the car deserves the best chassis and powertrain that can possibly be delivered. To that end, I am delighted that our company is involved with the project, and that TVR are using our iStream® technology.”

Bruce Wood, Cosworth Technical Director, said: “We are proud to see Cosworth’s industry-leading engineering at the heart of the revived TVR brand. Our team has been working closely with TVR and Gordon Murray Design to develop a powertrain solution that perfectly complements the exceptional performance characteristics of the new car. It’s an exciting project and one which well suits Cosworth’s engineering expertise.”

Edgar continues: “We are a well-funded, well-supported organisation and boast a vastly experienced management team. We are here to stay and we have a fully evolved ten year plan for product and business development, and are committed to deliver on all the targets we have set ourselves  – as we have done to date.

“Despite very deliberately maintaining a low profile since completing the acquisition of TVR two years ago, we have had an enormous amount of unsolicited interest from businesses, individuals and investors internationally. Such is the strength of the brand and the passion of its followers. It is a real privilege to be a part of the revival of a great British marque – one that will succeed through our single-minded desire to produce exceptional sports cars.”

Mercedes AMG GT vs Porsche 911 Turbo

The matchup everyones been waiting for (and by everyone, I mean me and probably a couple of hundred 14 year old boys). Enjoy!

Nissan GT-R – Gold Edition

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

I guess everyone is getting in on the Apple Watch gold craze these days, none more so than Nissan who today announced they were going to offer a special Gold Edition GT-R for 2016.

The 45th Anniversary Gold Edition, built off of the GT-R Premium model, commemorates the GT-R’s long heritage of world-class high performance. Featuring a special gold paint color, the limited edition model also includes a special gold-tone VIN plate located inside the engine compartment and a special commemorative plaque on the interior center console. The paint color itself is the same “Silica Brass” color that marked the 2001 Skyline GT-R M-Spec (R34 Type). Fewer than 30 of these special GT-Rs are slated for the United States market.

2016 Nissan GT-R 45th Anniversary Gold Edition

Personally I’ve never been a huge fan of gold, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon (but I will of course take one of these bad boys if the Nissan USA Press Office wants to lend me one for a month or two….).

Corvette Z06 First Drive

Apart from checking out prices of 2007/09 911 Turbos, the Z06 is my current car obsession. I’m not in the market for a new car just yet, but hoping towards the end of the year I might be able to swap out the E46 M3 I’ve been driving since it was new (although I really want to work out a way to keep it forever and hand it down to my kids, coz that car is pretty much perfect to learn how to drive a track properly).

So fueling my desires was this video from AutoGuide of their first drive of the car, complete with incredible soundtrack. This looks like it took place at Spring Mountain, a track I have spent a good few days driving (6 or 7 at last count) doing a few schools down there (including drive the previous generation Corvettes and Z06’s). If you ever get a chance to head down there, Rick and the rest of the instructors do a fantastic job of helping you drive way faster than you ever thought possible (and you get some pretty heavy discounts if you do buy a Corvette given they’re the official school now). Anyway, enjoy the video.

 

Ford Focus RS – Teaser Video

All the details get released on February 3rd, but until then here’s some slip sliding around in the new car courtesy of Mr Ken Block (and does this mean it really is 4-wheel drive? opinions are mixed but if it can slide like that with just front wheel drive then holy moly. Either way, I’m excited, but 4-wheel drive might just get me tempted to get the wallet out)