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Hardcore coupes: CLK63 Black Series vs 997 GT3 RS

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BMW’s M3Porsche’s 911 and Mercedes-AMG’s C63 are all achingly desirable machines, cars that have the ability to perform as proficient, exciting road and track cars. But as well as appealing to you and me, they also need to work over a broader spectrum, to satisfy a wider audience, and this means that their ultimate potential to thrill isn’t being realised. Narrow such a car’s operating window, however, make it stiffer and noisier and its controls heavier, and it can deliver so much more for people like us.

What Porsche, AMG, BMW et al do to make their most hardcore sports coupes feel more at home around the Nordschleife than the North Circular will be familiar to scholars of the Demon Tweeks motorsport catalogue. Big brakes, stickier tyres, roll-cages, bucket seats, harnesses, Plexiglas windows, uprated springs and dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, solid-mounted or rose-jointed suspension, carbonfibre wings, lighter and louder exhausts – these cars already have everything you might otherwise earmark in that sacred catalogue. But the factory-prepped cars also get changes that only their manufacturer could or would make: stiffer and sometimes wider body shells, bigger capacity or unique engines, bespoke gearboxes.

It can be easy to forget just how thorough and comprehensive the work that goes into such cars is. The leap from 4-series to M4 GTS is colossal; put a C-class next to a C63 Black Series and it’s like they’re barely related at all. Tot it all up and the price premium – sometimes as much as 100 per cent – that such hardcore cars might command over the merely sporty originals starts to seem reasonable.

BMW Is Reportedly Working on a Manual-Only Rear-Drive Version of the Next M3

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The newest BMW M5 is the first in the model’s history to sport all-wheel drive and a torque-converter automatic transmission, and we expect the next M3 and M4 to do the same. But, these twins won’t abandon rear-wheel drive and manual gearboxes, either. In fact, BMW is apparently working on pared-back, rear-drive only versions of the M3 and M4.

So reports UK’s Car magazine. Apparently, BMW is calling these cars the M3 and M4 Pure, though that designation isn’t final. Car says that they’ll be the only M3 and M4 variants to offer a manual transmission, and neither will get a driveshaft sending power to the front axle. The M3 and M4 Pure should be a little cheaper than the regular versions too, though unfortunately, they’ll be a little down on power, since BMW doesn’t have a manual that can handle over 480 lb-ft of torque.

Speaking of power and torque, Car reports that the M3 and M4 will stick with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six that will sport an M4 GTS-esque water-injection system. The M3 and M4 Pure models will serve up 454 hp, while the regular models will have 474 hp. All-wheel drive, dubbed M xDrive, will be an option for the regular M3 and M4, and like the M5, it’ll offer a two-wheel drive mode for languid slides.

Of course, there’ll be more powerful, track-focused variants following the hierarchy established by previous M boss Frank Van Meel. Expect a Competition version to follow soon after the new M3 and M4 debut, and eventually, there’ll be CS and CSL versions, too. That’s right—BMW is bringing back the M3 CSL nameplate. Expectations will surely be high. 

Car says we’ll see the next M3 and M4 at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. We can’t wait.

By: Chris Perkins, January 17, 2019

For more cars, visit: https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/future-cars/a25932714/2020-bmw-m3-m4-pure-edition-rumor/

Source: https://www.roadandtrack.com/

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S Review: The Immortal 911

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Porsche’s 911 may seem immortal, eternal, but in truth it’s always been a work in progress. Generations of engineers have spent their careers buried in the bowels of Porsche‘s R&D headquarters in Weissach polishing, honing, refining, and reimagining the sports car that for more than half a century has been its lodestar. The 2020 911, aka the 992, proves the point. It looks familiar, feels familiar, sounds familiar. But there isn’t a part or component on the car that hasn’t been touched, tweaked, or totally renewed.

I’ve now tested seven of the eight 911 generations, and the 992 is the most wondrous of the lot. Oh, you’ll hear some sniffing that it’s grown too big, too complex, too luxurious, that it’s lost the purity of purpose enshrined in Butzi Porsche’s bijou original. Hardcore Porsche aficionados can be a picky lot. Butzi’s 911 was designed to be roomier and more comfortable than the beetle-backed 356 yet was regarded by many in 1963 as a retrograde step. The 1997 switch from air-cooled to water-cooled engines with the 996 was the ultimate betrayal, the automotive equivalent of Bob Dylan picking up an electric guitar.

What I’ve come to understand—no, love—about the Porsche 911 is how it continues to defy logic. It is, on an elemental level, a car defined by its history. But it’s not trapped by it.

Hockenheimring, Germany. Just before Christmas. It’s close to freezing, a watery sun barely troubling damp patches on the track, as I climb into the gray 992 Carrera S. Even though the Le Mans dash-to-the-car starts are lost to history, the ignition is to the left of the steering wheel, just as it’s always been. A twist and the 3.0-liter flat-six—the same capacity and configuration as the engine that powered the first 911 I ever tested 32 years ago—instantly fires up and settles to a rapid idle, combustion clatter muted by water and turbochargers. Five dials are spread across the instrument panel, just as they were in 1963, though only the central one—the tach, of course—is analog.

By: Angus MacKenzie, January 15, 2019

For more cars, visit: https://www.motortrend.com/cars/porsche/911/2020/2020-porsche-911-carrera-s-review/

Source: https://www.motortrend.com/

The 2019 Audi R8 Is a 600-HP Wallflower Among Supercars

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2019 Audi R8

It might seem churlish to start a review of a car as talented as the Audi R8 with a digression into taxonomical semantics, but the question of whether we should regard it as a particularly brawny sports car or whether it achieves the realm of a supercar sums up the wider confusion about just where it sits in the market.

On one hand, the R8 shares much of its underbody structure and its howling V-10 engine with the Lamborghini Huracán, the supercar bona fides of which can’t be questioned. On the other, it wears an Audi badge, and despite the best efforts of that glorious V-10, its power outputs today seem modest when other supercars increasingly break the 700-hp barrier. The current model of the regular R8 has a mere 532 horsepower, and the Plus version just clears the 600-hp mark with 602.

2019 Audi R8

While we acknowledge that such concerns seem ridiculous when considered against the sonorous charms of the high-revving engine itself, they clearly matter to some. Audi is rolling out a facelifted version, which arrives in the United States in summer 2019, likely as a late-arriving 2019 model. In Europe, the update brings a gasoline particulate filter to help clean the V-10’s tailpipe emissions and titanium valvetrain components that help raise output in the standard version to 561 horsepower, while the new Performance model (which replaces the Plus in the lineup) boasts 611 horses. It’s unclear, however, whether the U.S. car will get those engine tweaks.

Cosmetically, the revised R8 is distinguished by more angular front styling, with bumpers incorporating upright winglet-style elements on both sides and a wider and hungrier-looking grille. Above this there are three smaller intakes which we’re told are a reference to the Sport Quattro, a Group B rally legend of many years ago. Expect this design signature to roll out across multiple future Audi models. At the back are a bigger diffuser and two oval tailpipes in place of the current car’s flat-edged outlets. Except for some minor trim tweaks, the interior is effectively unchanged.

By: Mike Duff, January 3, 2019

For more cars, visit: https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/a25734874/2019-audi-r8-euro-drive/

Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/

The 2019 McLaren 600LT Spider Loses Its Top

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The idea of an ultra-lightweight, track-focused roadster might seem odd, given that most drivers like the reassurance of a fixed roof on the track. But it is a niche area that supercar makers have become adept at mining, with cars like the Ferrari 458 Speciale ApertaLamborghini Huracán Performante Spyder, and, of course, the McLaren 675LT Spider.

The last of which, indirectly, brings us here; the company’s success at selling out its limited run of 500 examples back in 2015 made it almost certain that McLaren would also produce a roadster version of the new 600LT. And here it is; these are the first official pictures of the new droptop ahead of sales beginning later this year. While it is predictably heavier than the featherweight 600LT coupe, it will still be the lightest car in its class by a considerable margin.

McLaren Automotive’s use of a hugely strong carbon-fiber tub gives it an inbuilt advantage when it comes to engineering its open-top models. All of the car’s structural strength comes from the “bathtub” itself; the loss of a fixed roof has no effect on the car’s torsional rigidity. The only weight penalty is the extra mass brought by the folding hard top, which is shared with the existing 570S, and the fact that this heavier mechanism sits higher up in the structure versus in the fixed-roof 600LT.

Going by McLaren’s numbers, the 600LT Spider weighs just 110 pounds more than the coupe and 220 less than the 570S Spider, with a dry weight quoted at 2859 pounds in the car’s lightest possible configuration. Getting to that point would mean ordering the car with the extra-cost MSO Clubsport Pack. For a sizable $22,090 upcharge, that package features the ultralight carbon-fiber race seats from the McLaren Senna, as well as various carbon trim and titanium wheel bolts. As with the coupe, it would also mean passing on the optional zero-cost climate control and infotainment systems, a sacrifice that only a small number of buyers are likely to make.

By: Mike Duff, January 16, 2019

For more cars, visit: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a25910169/2019-mclaren-600lt-spider-photos-info/

Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/

The 2020 Toyota Supra Is a Resurrection of a Hero

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Toyota’s fourth-generation Supra Turbo (chassis code A80), sold here from 1993 to 1998, has fronted movie franchises, shredded drag strips in as little as six seconds, and—if we recall correctly—conducted the London Philharmonic at the request of Queen Elizabeth II. The iron-strong 2JZ straight-six under its hood has worn turbochargers big enough to sleep in and swims like a shark in a nitrous-oxide ocean. And yet, Toyota has left us Supraless for 20 years, sitting idly by as the car accumulated a mountain of pop-culture street cred.

Now the Big T is finally leveraging that mighty reputation in the form of the new (A90) Supra, which will blast out of a Magna Steyr assembly plant in Graz, Austria, alongside its brother, the BMW Z4. Yes, under a skin based on the FT-1 concept car from 2014 beats a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six just as its fast and furious forefather had. Beyond that, well . . .

Instead of the herculean 2JZ, the A90 generation gets a version of BMW’s B58 turbocharged and direct-injected 3.0-liter inline-six making 335 horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque. Naturally, there’s room for more power—the Z4’s B58 is tweaked to 382 horses—but modern engines are already so stressed that it’s unlikely this one has the reserve capacity needed to support such monumental power increases as those that made the 2JZ legendary.

By: Greg Pajo, January 14, 2019

For more cars, check out: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a24443721/2020-toyota-supra-photos-info/

Source: https://www.caranddriver.com/

Ford Has Painted its GT Racecars in Retro Liveries

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In the capable hands of Chip Ganassi Racing, the current Ford GT has seen success at the previous two Daytona 24-hour races – including a one-two in the GTLM class last year.

As they look to defend that title this year, Ganassi’s GTs will be wearing retro liveries to honour the 50th anniversary of the International Motor Sports Association. This will be the first time the new GT has diverted from its red, white and blue livery, but thankfully both cars look pretty special.

Perhaps the most eye-catching is the number 67 car that will be piloted by Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon. The livery is inspired by the current race team partner Castrol and the famous white, green and red colours that have festooned so many great cars over the years.

“I’m really excited and proud that Ford is doing something to celebrate the 50th anniversary of IMSA,” said Westbrook. “I’ve seen enough footage of cars in that livery going around Daytona before the bus stop chicane was put in, which was a very iconic period of IMSA racing, so to be in an iconic car in that livery trying to defend our title will be something really special.”

The other GT competing in the Rolex 24, number 66, will honour the Roush Ford Mustang that won Daytona’s GTO class in 1985. The clean-looking white and red car will be driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and former F1 driver Sébastien Bourdais.

As you may have guessed, we love a retro livery. After Subaru announced its return to their classic rally colours it’s set to be a classy-looking year of motorsport, in the US, at least…

By: Greg Potts, january 11, 2019

For more cars, check out: https://www.topgear.com/car-news/motorsport/ford-has-painted-its-gt-racecars-retro-liveries

Source: https://www.topgear.com/

 

You’re Buying More Rolls-Royces Than Ever Before

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With sales swelling across all regions Rolls does business in (and the Americas remaining the top Rolls-buying spot), the Spirit of Ecstasy chalked up 4,107 new homes last year. Not massive numbers, when you think Ford shifts that many Fiestas in the UK alone in under a month, but pretty stellar business in the context of £300k super-luxury flagships for the world’s one-percenters.

Unlike say, Porsche, Rolls-Royce doesn’t think it’s right and proper to actually reveal how many of each model were sold. Let a Wraith owner know their car might be potentially more common than a Dawn? Good heavens. That simply wouldn’t do. Rolls-Royce does let on that the new Phantom VIII is ‘a major growth driver’. Ker-ching.

Pushing those uber-impressive numbers even higher is the not-at-all-taxi-lookalike Cullinan SUV. You may not like the styling – and TG’s own Chris Harris didn’t mince his words – but there’s no denying a brash 4×4 is a gold-plated, cast-iron way to please the bean-counters.

The first few V12 4x4s arrived with owners just in time for Christmas (presumably under a Californian Redwood of a tree), but the metaphorical order book for the £250k SUV is chocker-block until the second half of 2019.

Not that many Rollers get sold for a base price, mind you. The marque proudly says “record levels of bespoke commissions have established Rolls-Royce as a true luxury house”. Who knows, maybe they’ll start doing mansions next. Knock the wheels off a Cullinan and you’re halfway there.

By: Ollie Kew, January 10, 2019

For more cars, check out: https://www.topgear.com/car-news/british/youre-buying-more-rolls-royces-ever

Source: https://www.topgear.com/

The Brabham BT62 Hypercar is Heading to Le Mans

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Brabham is going to Le Mans. Mere days after confirming a road car homologation package for its BT62 hypercar, it’s confirmed that, at the other end of the scale, it’ll be battling for GTE victory with an endurance racing version.

It only takes a brief understanding of motorsport history to know this is special. Founder Jack Brabham and his sons Geoff and David have all competed at the Le Mans 24 Hours, the latter respectively winning outright in 1993 and 2009.

David is now the MD of Brabham Automotive, as well as its lead test driver. “Returning the Brabham name to Le Mans is something I have been working on for years,” he says. “That work starts now with a long-term racing commitment.

“We look forward to developing the BT62 and future products while building a world-class competitive race team around the leading engineering and manufacturing talent we have in the business.”

Brabham has targeted the 2021/22 World Endurance Championship for its return to Le Mans, so there’s a small wait. But the good news is, if you’ve bought a BT62 track car, that you can be part of the racecar’s testing programme and – potentially – an amateur racer in one. Which might go some way to helping justify its £1.2m price tag…

By: Stephen Dobie, January 10, 2019

For more cars, check out: https://www.topgear.com/car-news/motorsport/brabham-bt62-hypercar-heading-le-mans

Source: https://www.topgear.com/

The Best Retro-Inspired Cars of 2018

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Porsche 935

It’s the Porsche 935, and it takes only a small amount of historic motorsport knowledge to understand it riffs off the gobsmacking 935/78 racecar, better known as Moby Dick.

Revealed at the Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca as a 70th birthday present from Porsche to itself, it’s unsurprisingly track-only, so you won’t be rocking up to your local cars and coffee meeting in it. But, being non-homologated, you might also be struggling to find a race series for it. Instead, Porsche says it’s “geared towards clubsport events and private training on racetracks”.

Yet it’s not a brutal racecar beneath. In fact, it’s the current-gen 911 GT2 RS, with its 690bhp 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine driving the rear wheels via a seven-speed PDK paddleshift gearbox. Which makes it about 150bhp shy of Moby Dick.

Making it look altogether different from the GT2 RS is the carbon-reinforced plastic bodykit, which apes the swooping shapes of the 935/78 and lengthens the car significantly at the rear. You can’t miss the new wing, either, which makes the standard GT2 RS’s spoiler look – for the first time – rather meek. The 935 even has LED lights incorporated into the front spoiler, like the Porsche 919 Le Mans car.

There are nerdy racing nods all over the 935, in fact. A wooden gearknob is a knowing wink at the 917. The side mirrors are nicked wholesale from the current 911 RSR endurance racer. The protruding shotgun tailpipes are inspired by the 908.

The interior is vastly different to the one you’ll find in a GT2 RS, with just the one seat (below a handy escape hatch), a welded-in cage, a Cosworth-supplied data logger and a complex motorsport wheel. But if all of that makes it seem intimidating, there’s still comforting things like stability control, ABS and air-conditioning fitted.

Which also means the 935 weighs 1,380kg. That may be 90kg less than the GT2 RS, but it’s almost 200kg more than a McLaren Senna, about the only car that presents itself as a potential rival in terms of price, power and intention. There’s less personalisation here, mind; all 935s come in Agate Grey with the Martini livery optional. You’d probably be a fool to not tick that box.

 

Ferrari Monza

The first in Ferrari’s new Icona range that will sit above the regular models – y’know, everyday stuff like the GTC4 Lusso and 488 Pista – hence the £1.6m price. Inspiration comes from the company’s glorious past – in this case, the 750 Monza that delivered wins in the World Sports Car Championship, back in the Fifties and Sixties.

The Monza is also aimed at a very specific type of customer – one who enjoys vapourising airborne wildlife with their forehead – because despite a token lip in the bodywork ahead of the driver, designed to deflect the airflow a bit, your face is very much part of the aero package. This is significant when the rest of the package is lifted from the 812 Superfast.

So, you get a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 running through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and producing 799bhp – that’s 10bhp more than the 812. There’s four-wheel steering, too and, thanks to all-carbon bodywork and its decapitation, the car weighs 1,500kg – that’s 130kg less than the 812… see where we’re going with this? Yep, it’s thuggishly fast: 0–62mph in 2.9 seconds, 0–124mph in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of over 186mph.

Customers can choose between a single-seater SP1 model, or tick the box marked SP2 at no extra cost if you fancy bringing a gung-ho friend along for the ride.

By: Jack Rix, December 31, 2018

For more cars, check out: https://www.topgear.com/car-news/best-2018/best-retro-inspired-cars-2018#2

Source: https://www.topgear.com/

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