Tag Archives: supercar

Pope Puts Lamborghini for Auction and Settles for Other means of Transportation

Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis signing a Lamborghini Huracan | Image courtesy of OSSERVATORE ROMANO / AFP

“Pope” and the specially-designed “automobile” seems like a brilliant idea for Pope Francis to make his pastoral trips and public appearances within the grounds and outside of the Vatican in a Pope-mobile.

There have also been questions as to whether the Pope had any special papal plane or special cars to make short trips. Other than the important features imbued in the Pope-mobile, aimed to provide optimal security, there has been no specific Vatican plane or car designated for the Pope.

Lately the Holy See has announced that French automaker Renault gifted His Holiness an electric car, called “white pope-carrier” to shuttle between places outside the Vatican and his summer home of Castel Gandolfo. The new pope-carrier was even custom-made to bear the pontifical crest of arms on its side.

Prior to that, when Lamborghini presented the Pontiff a Huracan sports car, said to worth around 200,000 euros ($237,000), it has brought about much hype on the internet. As Lamborghini is a bespoke luxury- and sports- car maker, the special edition of the pope-mobile was custom-designed to pair with the Pontiff’s white stole, making this one-off car model a precious gift from the automaker to the Pope.

The Huracan sports car is bespoke, featuring 610 metric horsepower with breath-taking V10 engine under its hood, offset by the gold-rimmed wing mirrors and wheels and gold-stripes running across the centre part of the exterior, completed in white finish.

Historically, the Popes have been moving around on a ceremonial “red silk-covered throne” which was carried on shoulders. Until the 20th century, the “red silk-covered throne” swapped to pope-mobile. “From 1930, the Popes have been using Mercedes-Benz vehicles when travelling and the car bears the license plate SCV1 (Vatican City 1),” according to the Vatican.

But for the Pontiff, it’s all about modesty over pomp.

This is not the first time he had received a high-speed gift; in 2014 he was presented a Harley Davidson motorbike and jacket, both of which he auctioned off to raise funds for charity. The motorbike was expected to fetch a sales price between $16,400 and $20,500 at Paris’ Grand Palais.

News reports also stated that “the famously humble pontiff is more of a fan of buses.” Instead of taking a limousine on the day after his election in 2013, the Pontiff opted to ride on the bus, and he did so even on a regular basis in his homeland Argentina instead of hailing taxis.

And so, it is the same for the high-speed Huracan sports car.

Image courtesy of Lamborghini / INSTAGRAM

The Pope penned his signature on its gleaming bonnet before sending it to Sotheby to put it up for auction to raise money in four charitable projects. Some of the money will channel towards rebuilding the homes and churches in Iraq, some will go to help sex trafficking victims as well as support vulnerable women and children in Africa.

Classic German supercars: Celebrating 60 years of Mercedes 3000 SL Roadster

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II, 1957 to 1963). Drawing dated 29 December 1955. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II, 1957 to 1963). Drawing dated 29 December 1955. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

In March 1957 at the Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes unveiled a car that would become the de facto blueprint for drop top dream cars the 300SL Roadster.

Like all German manufacturers, it took a number of years for Mercedes to rebuild its reputation following the end of the Second World War. However, thanks to an unnerving focus on racing and performance upon returning to competition in 1952, within two years the three-pointed star was once again the dominant force in motorsport.

But it also wanted to be a dominant force in the US car market and thanks to Max Hoffman, a Vienna-born racing driver turned US-based European car importer, it quickly found the answer.

Hoffman complained that the marque didn’t have a “crowd puller” to get US customers excited. So, to provide him with an out-and-out sportscar, Mercedes had the ingenious idea of offering its racing car, the 300SL Gullwing, as a road car for the well-heeled, a move that essentially set the original template for the supercar, a vehicle that combined mind-blowing performance with phenomenal aesthetics.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

So that same year, head designer Friedrich Geiger took the SL back to the drawing board and enhanced its low drag look while simplifying every aspect that could be a hindrance to “care-free” open-air motoring.

This meant a complete reimagining of the chassis. The Gullwing used a spaceframe that rose along the car’s sides so half-size upward opening doors was the only way to allow anyone into or out of the car. The changes enabled the car to have traditional doors, a generous trunk and enough space for a more complex suspension set up to really improve handling.

These did not hinder performance. With a racing wind shield fitted and the passenger seat covered, the car managed an average speed of 242.5 kilometres per hour on the on the Munich-Ingolstadt motorway.

Between 1957 and 1963, despite being one of the most expensive cars in the world it cost $10,900 in standard specification Mercedes sold 1,858 300SL Roadsters before replacing it with the W113 series SL, better known as the Pagoda, but again overseen by Friedrich Geiger.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198 II series) built from 1957 to 1963. Image courtesy of Daimler AG

The car cemented Mercedes‘ place in American consciousness, too. Between 1936 and 1941, the firm had exported a grand total of 41 cars to the country. Yet with Hoffman helping guide the firm, by 1957, the company was exporting 6,048 cars to the United States yearly.

Today, even 300SL Roadsters in poor condition easily fetch more than US$1 million at auction, making it one of the most collectible and sought-after Mercedes in history.

Luxury car auction in 2017: Ferrari F430 once owned by Donald Trump to be sold

A 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO. The car that Donald Trump will be auctioning is a Ferrari F430. | © Christopher Head

A 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO. The car that Donald Trump will be auctioning is a Ferrari F430. | © Christopher Head

A 196mph 2007 Ferrari F430 supercar would be a dream car for most enthusiasts but what if the first owner was the current president of the United States? Over the four-year period he owned the car, Donald Trump clocked up just 2,400 miles. Now it is to be sold by the current owner at auction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the end of March.

The supercar is expected to achieve a price higher than for an average F430 because President Trump’s name is on the title document. Had Trump not sold the car in 2011, he would not be allowed to drive it now anyway. The American secret service do not approve of their Commander-in-Chief taking the wheel for obvious security and safety reasons.

The same rule applies to the Vice-President. Former VP Joe Biden was also forbidden the car keys although he was permitted to drive his beloved 1967 Chevrolet Corvette on closed roads for a television show.

Over time, former businessman Donald Trump was able to amass a personal fleet of vehicles and included in the list of cars he can no longer pilot are his 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a jointly developed Grand Tourer; a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (one of the first cars Trump ever owned); a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car; and a 24-Karat Gold Orange County Chopper.

It will be interesting to see if the POTUS connection will enhance the vehicle’s value. The auction of this vehicle, estimated to fetch between $250,000 and $300,000, does present both car fans and presidential history enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to own a Ferrari F430 once driven by a president.

This is not the first time a car connected to President Trump has turned up for sale. An opportunity to purchase both a piece of history and a potential investment occurs on March 19 by Bonham’s at Goodwood in England.

The Cadillac limousine was built in 1988 by Cadillac in conjunction with Donald Trump and purchased by him for a family member. It arrived in the UK in 1991. There were plans to produce 50 of the ‘Cadillac Trump’, but only two were ever actually built.

Car collectors like some added value and celebrity vehicles are possibly the most sought after. To see a personal vehicle owned by one of the most powerful men in the world on sale is extremely rare. It is a larger-than-life opportunity to buy a car previously owned by a larger-than-life politician. The vehicle will be sold without reserve and the auction house estimate is between £10,000 – £12,000 (€11,000-15,000 / $12,250 – $14600). However, because of the presidential connection it is thought the final price could reach £50,000!

Meanwhile the Ferrari is being sold by Auctions America in Fort Lauderdale, Florida during its March 31 to April 2 sale.

Pininfarina debuts supercar Fittipaldi EF7 Vision Gran Turismo at Geneva Motor Show 2017

New supercar models in 2017: The McLaren 720S boasts new look and more power at Geneva Motor Show

The new Super Series car (the term the company uses to refer to vehicles that sit below its hypercars but above its super sports cars) has an entirely new, more menacing appearance and a much more potent V8 under the layers of carbon fiber.

It has been opened up to 4- from 3.5 liters and in doing so the car now offers a maximum output of 710bhp (or 720PS, hence its name) alongside a 0-100km/h time of 2.9 seconds.

“Power, torque and throttle response are all significantly enhanced compared to the first-generation Super Series, yet with fuel efficiency and emissions also notably improved,” said McLaren Super Series Vehicle Line Director, Haydn Baker of the new engine.

Top speed is 212mph (341km/h), and on the way to that figure, it will hit 200km/h in 7.8 seconds and 300km/h in 21.4 seconds.

“Super Series is the core of the McLaren business and personifies the blend of extreme performance, crafted luxury and unparalleled driver involvement that is the McLaren heartland. This is the first time we have replaced a product family and the new 720S is absolutely true to McLaren’s pioneering spirit in being a revolutionary leap forwards, both for our brand and the supercar segment,” said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

A new engine and a new look are just the start of the changes. The new carbon fiber chassis is stronger and roomier so that the car offers driver and passenger more comfort on longer journeys. The upward swinging dihedral doors are bigger and also form part of the roof so that getting in and out of the car should be hassle free too as there’s no head height restriction.

The car is also the first to feature the next generation of McLaren’s amazing digital suspension and chassis system — Proactive Chassis Control II. It can actively adjust the ride to suit track, race or comfort and even uses acclerometers (like in a smartphone) on each wheel to measure tire contact with the road and adjust damping rate to suit.

“Proactive Chassis Control II generates a significant amount of additional grip, but not at the expense of the balance and feel of the car,” said Mark Vinnels, Executive Director – Product Development, at McLaren Automotive. “The depth and breadth of handling precision and ride comfort in combination with the peerless level of driver involvement in the second-generation McLaren Super Series is simply extraordinary.”

Inside, the cabin’s instrumentation adapts to suit the driver’s mood. A pop-up driver display can show everything from navigation to fuel economy and what’s playing through the speakers, or it can fold down in full track mode to show speed, revs and gear selected.

This piece of high-tech kit sits well among the hand-machined aluminum switches and highest quality leather trim that dress the cabin and go some way to supporting the company’s claim that the 720S is “The most complete supercar on sale today.”

Luxury supercar launches: Lamborghini’s Huracán Performante to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2017

 

Lamborghini overtakes Porsche to be the fastest production car with its new addition — The Lamborghini Huracán Performante. Ahead of its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show, the Huracán sped past the Porsche 918 with its 6min 52.01sec lap time around the Nürburging Nordscheife circuit last October. With test driver Marco Mapelli behind the wheel, the Huracán Performante blasted through the 20.8km circuit. Within its sixth minute, the car was back in sight, claiming the lap record.

Set to debut on March 7 at the Geneva Motor Show, the Lamborghini Huracán Performante proves its prowess. The supercar is able to increase and reduce drag based on its setting. With a large rear wing and intense front splitter, these elements help to optimize airflow, increasing and reducing drag on the car when applicable.

The Huracán has a maximum speed of 202mph, and an engine of 610bhp, boosting its speed and energy on the track. Being the first Lamborghini to feature the new Aerodynamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA) technology — active aerodynamics — it is no wonder the car boasts out of the ordinary speeds. Crediting the aerodynamic technology and lightweight engineering put together by Lamborghini’s technicians, the car is also equipped with an improved power plant and a four-wheel drive system.

Thanks to its power boost and sizeable reduction in weight, the Huracán Performante is poised to outperform its predecessor, the standard 602bhp four-wheel drive. Using also a new form of carbon fibre as its base material, the lightness of the Huracán Performante is set for greatness.

“To make this happen is something that every one of the R&D team who worked on this car can share in: it will forever be a defining moment in their careers,” comments CEO Stefano Domenicali. “I am so proud of everything achieved by Lamborghini people that day and extremely privileged to have witnessed it.”

This new car takes its place alongside Lamborghini’s Aventador S, Lamborghini’s other recent addition to their fleet. The Huracán Performante will be revealed officially by Automobili Lamborghini at Geneva Motor Show on the first press day, 7 March 2017, at 8.55 am (Geneva) at the Lamborghini stand.

Follow the unveiling in Geneva through a live stream at live.lamborghni and join the conversation with #HuracanPerformante.

The price of the Lamborghini Huracán Performante is currently unavailable.

New luxury car launch: Pagani Huayra Roadster makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2017

Named after the God of Wind, the Pagani Huayra Roadster is light and speedy as its name suggests. This new Huayra is the topless version of its predecessor— the Pagani Huayra Coupe— and is already making ripples throughout the motoring world. With only 100 pieces produced, it is sad to say that all of these beauties have been snatched up even before the model’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

Every hypercar from Pagani would be equally at home on display at MoMA as it would lapping Monza. But for his latest creation, company founder and chief designer Horacio Pagani may have set a new benchmark for a car that’s equal parts art and racing science.

“This is the most complicated project we have ever undertaken,” said Pagani. “Engaging in such a challenge, to make just 100 cars, has meant an impressive effort for a company like ours, from a technical, human, and economic point of view.”

The challenge in question was to build an open-top hypercar that is lighter and more rigid than its hardtop counterpart — something that has never been achieved without completely stripping the vehicle of soundproofing, premium interior materials and even essential creature comforts. Yet after six years of development, this 764hp, 1000Nm luxury-packed roadster weighs just 1280kg. That’s 80kg lighter than the Huayra Coupe which, as Pagani points out, “was already the lightest hypercar on sale at the time.”

The company has achieved this feat by using materials that redefine the term exotic. In particular, it has made prodigious use of carbo-titanium, a material it essentially invented and one made up of titanium and carbon fiber woven together, plus another composite creation— Carbo Triax HP52. These materials have made the car 52% stronger than the coupe — to make up for the loss of rigidity that comes from removing the roof — but without adding a single gram of extra weight.

There’s also a new seven-speed gearbox that’s lighter than the unit in the coupe. And because there’s a 6-liter twin turbo V12 calling the shots, there is some clever active aerodynamic trickery too. Vents front and rear plus self-adjusting suspension work in concert to change the flow of air over and under the car to ensure the car is always flat and parallel to the road. These improvements, plus bespoke Pirelli tires, mean that this is the first-ever road car capable of achieving 1.8g of lateral acceleration while rolling on road-legal rubber.But none of these features in any way detracts from the car’s looks.

“Everything had to come together as if it was a car carved out of a block of Carrara marble,” said Pagani, who even labored over the design of individual screws as they were going to be on show. “We hope that this six-year effort will touch you, rationally and emotionally.”

Luxury supercar launch: Ferrari 812 Superfast to premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show 2017

When you hear the name Ferrari, 2 things come to mind: Speed and Elegance. Turns out Ferrari isn’t satisfied with just fast. The supercar manufacturer has selected the 87th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show for the world premiere of the new 12-cylinder berlinetta, the Ferrari 812 Superfast. Yes, it does live up to its name. Ushering a new era in Ferrari’s history, the 812 Superfast is Ferrari’s most powerful production car ever.

Aimed at a distinctive demographic of clients demanding the most exclusive and robust supercar, the 812 Superfast boasts the versatility to be driven on road and track. The 812 Superfast includes new 6.5litre V12 engine that unleashes 800 CV of power at once, pulling maximum power output of 8,500rpm. After all, 789hp, a 0-100km/h time of 2.9 seconds and 718Nm of torque make this officially the world’s fastest, most powerful front-engine production car. Coupled with a dual-clutch transmission with specific gear ratios and the combination of shorter up and down shifting times between gears, a super sharp throttle response is born.

But this is just the beginning. The 812 Superfast gets electronic power steering for even greater turning precision whatever the speed. What’s more, because it’s a digital rather than analog system, the steering communicates and works in concert with the car’s other cutting edge stability systems.

Ferrari wants owners to drive this car, rather than put it into storage with the hopes of making a return on their investment. So it’s given it something called the Virtual Short Wheelbase system. It debuted on the F12 tdf limited edition in 2015 and will make the car feel and respond like a vehicle half its size at lower speeds — think inner-city traffic and narrow side streets with tight turn-in angles. Ferraris with longitudinally mounted V12s tend to be both very long and rather wide.

Ferrari is also going even further into the realm of active aerodynamic technology for its latest model with flaps located in the nose that open and channel air under the car’s body and out through rear channels to constantly optimise downforce and therefore its ability to stay glued to the road.

And, as this year marks Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, for a final flourish the new car gets a celebratory shade of red Rosso Settanta paint.

One-off Ferrari: SP275 RW Competizione created for private collector by Special Projects team

The Ferrari Special Projects team is to supercar fans what Santa Claus is to kids. Should you have the means (and by this we mean wealth), the team can create one-of-a-kind designs based on its existing car models, that will leave other envious. One lucky private collector counts himself as the proud owner of such a creation thanks to his Ferrari SP275 RW Competizione.

The result of a collaboration with Pininfarina, the car uses the limited edition F12tdf as an inspiration while also featuring elements of the 275 GTB. Where the F12tdf had a hood that was sharper and free of louvres on the side fenders, the one-off creation boasts curves and four shark gills. The gills are repeated behind the rear wheel arches and rear side window.

Powering the SP275 RW Competizione is a powerful V12 engine and gearbox that was used in the F12tdf. The 6.3-litre engine provides you with 574kW of power and is said to rival that of the Ferrari F1 team. For its paint scheme, the Special Projects team has decked the car out in an eye-catching yellow that is said to be similar to the one used by the Ferrari group who won the GT category in the 1965 Le mans 24-Hour race.

McLaren Automotive announces second-generation Super Series with a teaser image of its all-new carbon fiber monocage structure (Photo credit: McLaren Automotive)

McLaren 650S update: New replacement supercar to be revealed in March 2017

Due to the resources needed to design, develop and build limited production, super exclusive and super-fast cars, they tend to stay in production for between five and ten years before being replaced. However, due to the intense completion in the dream car market, McLaren isn’t waiting around for its current range of Super Series Cars — the S650, S650 Spider and 675 LT — to start feeling long in the tooth. Despite only launching the first model in the series in 2014, McLaren is getting ready to unveil the 650S’s replacement at the Geneva Motor Show this March.

“Super Series is the core of the McLaren business and personifies the blend of extreme performance, crafted luxury and unparalleled driver involvement that is the McLaren heartland,” explained McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt. “This is the first time we have replaced a product family and the new Super Series will be absolutely true to McLaren’s pioneering spirit in being a revolutionary leap forwards, both for our brand and the supercar segment.”

And in order to better the current line-up it will have to be a huge leap. The 650S can rocket from 0-100km/h in 3.0 seconds, from 0-200km/h in 8.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 204mph (329km/h). Its twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 serves up 641bhp (or 650PS, hence its name) and there’s a huge amount of torque (678Nm) available across the rev band. Expect that engine block to remain for the new model but for its output to be increased dramatically (the same 3.8-liter engine in a very different state of tune also powers the company’s P1 hypercar).

As one would expect, McLaren won’t say how much tuning is being done until it reveals the car in the flesh. However, it has confirmed that thanks to a new carbon fiber monocage structure, the new car will be stronger and more ridged but at least 18kg lighter than the existing model.

This structure will also enable the company to make the cabin bigger, even more comfortable and easier to live with on a daily basis as the door openings can be larger and wider like those found on the company’s iconic F1.

McLaren 570S Gets Back on Track

McLaren 570S Gets Back on Track

British supercar maker McLaren has announced a new £16,500 (equivalent to about $20,600) package of enhancements for the McLaren 570S, which will boost its on-circuit performance without diluting its everyday on-road capabilities.

The idea is simple. Why have a sportscar as a daily driver and another more focused car for track days and occasional racing when you can have one vehicle that offers the best of both worlds?

For a 12% premium on the standard McLaren 570S ticket price, owners can now get a set of enhancements that have been lifted from McLaren’s flagship P1 and 675LT models, including lightweight dashboard and carbon fiber seats, plus equally lightweight alloy wheels which shave an impressive 25kg off the standard car’s weight.

The Track Pack also brings better aerodynamics and much more downforce thanks to an extended rear wing, the effects of which will become obvious once the car hits the 150mph mark.

The final touch is the full telemetry pack so that drivers can get real-time lap and performance data in the cabin and of course store information about previous track days, while comparing results to those of other drivers around the same circuit.

The Track pack became available to specify from Tuesday, November 29 and the first cars with the extras will be delivered in early 2017.

Lotus Exige Sport 380: Light and Speedy

The latest offering from British automaker Lotus is a lean and mean supercar that shreds the fat without losing power. “Lightweight but superlative in power” had described the previous Lotus Evora Sport 410 and Elise Cup 250 Edition, and it seems like the follow-up model matches that criteria.

The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is only 1,066kg in weight, but equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine tweaked with new supercharger pulleys, resulting with 375hp or 352hp per tonne of power. If you do the math, you will see that it is only 23hp short of the magical one-to-one ratio, meaning 1hp to 1 tonne.

This phenomenal power means the car completes the 0-100km/h race in only 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 178mph – the quickest yet from Lotus. Being a Lotus, it should be able to manage these speeds in a straight or in a bend.

“We’ve saved something special for our last new car of 2016,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc. “The cut in weight is nothing short of drastic and, combined with the hike in power and its enhanced agility, we’ve created something exceptional – far greater than the sum of its parts.”

The Lotus Exige Sport 380 is priced at approximately $83,000, which is a feat for a supercar equipped with these features.

As impressive a package as the new Exige will sound, especially to serious drivers who want an everyday supercar experience, from the outside at least, the model is starting to look a little old (as too is the lighter, less powerful but more popular Elise).

But here too there is good news. After a decade of struggling to make ends meet, Lotus is firmly back in the black. This massive turnaround has been achieved in no small part by its engineers’ ingenuity — and it also means Lotus is back in a position to start heavily investing in developing new models.

An all-new version of the compact Elise sportscar is expected in 2020 and that will be followed by an equally new Exige.

But in the meantime the company is going to continue improving on its current range of cars in terms of handling, weight and performance.

NextEV NIO EP9: Supercar of the Future?

McLaren Tweaks 570S for Design Edition

McLaren Tweaks 570S for Design Edition

British supercar firm McLaren has a winner on its hands with the McLaren 570s, probably the most accessible supercar in the world, but this latest Design Edition attempts to roll back that accessibility a bit.

The standard McLaren 570S ticks nearly every box on the dream car checklist. It is constructed from carbon fiber. Its engine’s in the middle, and it boasts eight cylinders in a V-formation. And crucially it can go from 0-100km/h in under four seconds and on to over 200mph.

However, by McLaren’s own standards, at least, it is mass-produced – several hundred a year – so it falls down in terms of rarity.

To combat this shortcoming and to publicize its growing customization capabilities, McLaren revealed a new range of five ‘Design Editions’ – so called because their exterior and interior features have been put together by the very team that designed the 570S itself.

Design Edition 1, the first car for which complete specifications have been announced, will come with a special Vermillion red exterior paint finish and will sit on diamond-cut-finished five-spoke alloy wheels that envelop red brake calipers.

McLaren Tweaks 570S for Design Edition

Inside the seats are dressed in carbon black Alcantara and Apex Red Nappa leather while the dashboard is wrapped in a combination of Jet Black and Apex Red Nappa leather with grey contrast stitching.

But, as the company is quick to point out, even a special edition can simply serve as the foundation for greater personalization, and clients will be free to add extra equipment or further external carbon fiber elements to any Design Edition model.

And for those that think red is a bit too strong a color, the other Design Editions models will offer Onyx Black, Storm Grey, Ventura Orange, or Silica White as their exterior finish.

And when it comes to optional extras such as contrast stitching, body color calipers or special paint finishes for a supercar, while, for example, a coat of McLaren Mantis Green exterior paint usually adds an extra £3420 to the standard 570S asking price of £143,250 ($177,000), even with the comparatively large list of extras that come on the Design Edition, the new models will only cost an extra £8,500 ($10,500).

So now the 570S is more exclusive yet even more affordable.

Why Jaguar XKSS Took 60 Years to Complete

Why Jaguar XKSS Took 60 Years to Complete

Jaguar is celebrating its past and its future in equal measure at this year’s LA Auto Show by revealing a perfect recreation of its iconic 1957 XKSS roadster alongside its cutting-edge plug-in SUV concept the I-Pace and committing to the electrification of half its current line up by 2020.

With all of the hype around autonomous cars and the latest innovations in automotive design, it could come as a surprise that one of the stars of this year’s LA Auto Show is potentially an open-top Jaguar sportscar from the mid-1960s.

But the XKSS isn’t any old sportscar and the model on show – a perfect recreation of the 1957 original, down to the position and composition of each of its 2000-plus rivets – is something nine US car collectors have been waiting 60 years to see.

In 1957, nine XKSS models destined for the US were destroyed when a fire broke out at the Jaguar factory. The blaze also wiped out the machinery needed to build replacements.

Jaguar is now completing the order, but doing so has meant creating new bucks for hand-shaping the aluminum shell, sourcing original brakes, working in imperial rather than metric dimensions, making new cast iron elements and even employing bronze braising techniques to build the chassis.

“We are committed to making the ‘new original’ version absolutely faithful to the period car in every way,” said Kev Riches, Jaguar Classic Engineering Manager of the new car. “Everything is the same as the original cars, because that is the way it should be.”

Interior of the all-new old school Jaguar XKSS

Interior of the all-new old school Jaguar XKSS

Still all of this could raise the question: “why go to so much trouble?”

The answer is that the original XKSS vies with the Mercedes 300SL for the title of the world’s first supercar. It was derived as a road-going version of the 1955 Le Mans winning D-Type (a car that just sold for $21 million at auction). Just 25 examples were planned and only 16 were completed.

This new car is the first of nine planned replacement models that will be painstakingly built over the next 18 months (each will require 10,000 man hours to complete). Each model is already spoken for despite its £1 million (US$1.24 million) price tag.

The XKSS reveal – hosted at the Petersen Museum – is hugely different from the Virtual Reality show the company staged to launch its first electric SUV, the I-Pace, but both convey the same message according to Jaguar Land Rover.

“We are shaping the future, developing our own approach to autonomy, connectivity and electrification,” said Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO.

During his presentation Speth pledged to offer half of all new Land Rover and Jaguar models with an electrified drivetrain (i.e., hybrid or electric) by 2020. “Design leadership, technical innovation and engineering excellence lie at the heart of this responsible business,” he said.

xkss_rear_3_4-824de142657-h0

Lamborghini Huracán RWD Spyder: Pure Thrill

The newest member of Lamborghini’s club of supercars is the Lamborghini Huracán RWD (rear-wheel drive) Spyder, a supercar that is nonsensical in the best way.

The Huracán RWD Spyder, which made its debut at the LA Auto Show, boasts 572bhp going exclusively to the rear wheels, with a roof that goes up and down.

Rear-wheel drive is hardly the norm at Lamborghini, which has been mostly equipped with all-wheel drive (since Volkswagen took over the company). All-wheel drive wasn’t necessarily a bad decision because Lamborghini has been breaking sales records since then.

The choice of all-wheel drive adds 100% more traction, along with cutting-edge stability systems which made faster cars (every Lamborghini supercar goes beyond 200mph) while maintaining the driver’s safety. Some fans might bemoan the lack of pure fun though, which rear-wheel drive certainly supplies.

To satisfy its adrenaline-seeking fans, rear-wheel-drive-only set-up was designed for several Lamborghini supercars, starting with the 2009 Gallardo Balboni, to the compact V10.

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Lamborghini Huracán Rear-Wheel Drive Spyder © Automobili Lamborghini

But the Huracán RWD Spyder is more than just rear-wheel-drive. It also sports a drop top. You know, the bit that goes up and down.

“This is a Lamborghini for those with a passion for life and the purest driving experience on the open road,” said chairman and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “It offers the lifestyle appeal of open-air motoring with the pure thrill of rear-wheel drive engineering.”

Indeed, detaching the drivetrain from the front wheels offers the purist the tail-out Lamborghini experience of old and also saves over 30kg in weight.

However, to ensure that the corners of drivers’ mouths stay pointing up rather than down, power from that V10 has been dialed down from 600 to 572bhp.

To further avoid public embarrassment, the external aerodynamics have been tweaked to keep the nose planted to the ground at higher speeds, a new set of tires have been developed, and the steering has been recalibrated.

But even with these extra safety-focused features, the new Lamborghini will be able to go from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds and beyond 200mph (320km/h) flat out.

Lotus Evora Sport 410: Ludicrously Fast

Lotus Evora Sport 410: Ludicrously Fast

In developing the new flagship Lotus Evora Sport 410 coupé, Lotus wanted to create a proper icon, not just another quick fix for the weekend racing crowd. This turned out to be a job that took thousands of hours going over the existing model in microscopic detail looking for any way to boost road and track performance without adding weight. Lotus wanted to build a “pure” supercar that could be considered the successor to its last genuinely iconic model – the Esprit Sport 300.

In terms of vital statistics it does this with aplomb. With a 410hp, 3.5-liter supercharged V6 under its carbon fiber hood, it goes gangbusters. The Lotus Evora Sport 410 demolishes the race to 60mph in 3.9 seconds and climbs to a top speed of 190mph. The Esprit Sport 300 needed an extra 0.8 seconds to hit 60mph and reached its limits at 168mph.

However, what both cars have in common is that they are as light as technological advancements will allow and have been engineered to stick to a track or a back road as if the tarmac is made of steel and the car is magnetized.

Whether both cars will be thought of as iconic Lotus models will not ultimately be about the numbers game though or even how well the new car handles. This will be down to how the passionate Lotus clique of owners and enthusiasts comes to feel about the car. Nevertheless, Lotus clearly fancies its chances with the Evora Sport 410.

“[The car] defines a period in which we are producing our best ever cars,” said Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Group Lotus plc. “Its ballistic pace means that, in the right hands, it’s unbeatable. We have achieved so much in the development of the Evora platform, and the Sport 410 is possibly the most accomplished car we have ever built.”

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At £82,000 (€108,500) it is also one of the most expensive series production models in Lotus history. That price point puts it head-to-head with the likes of the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type Coupe and a host of M-powered BMWs and AMG Mercedes.

But the Lotus should still stand out in this crowd because it is built so that a keen driver can use all the car’s capabilities all of the time. Lotus promises that even when the car is at its 190mph limit, there is still traction on tap.

“[It] delivers the power and precision that Lotus cars are renowned for. We’ve taken the war on weight to a new level, demonstrating perfectly our principle of intelligent engineering,” said Gales.

Yet, the car should still be comfortable. There’s an Alcantara-trimmed cabin, a touch-screen infotainment system plus the option of complete bespoke detailing via Lotus’s recently launched Exclusive program.

The Evora Sport 410 will be limited to just 150 examples a year and a North America specific model will be rolling out next summer.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

The Gumout GT4586 is a fire-breathing Frankenstein’s monster of a drift car, half Toyota GT86, half Ferrari 458 Italia. In its global debut at the trade-only SEMA show, Ryan Tuerck’s insane mod has grabbed the attention of the world with its audacity.

Even an event as car crazy as SEMA – dominated as it is by tuners, moders and hackers – can still manage to deliver an automotive surprise and usually it is from the most unlikely source.

This year’s show has already given the world a 220mph Toyota SUV, dubbed the Land Speed Cruiser and a 775hp Hellcat-powered Dodge Ram pickup that promises to perform as well as a Dodge Challenger. And that’s before we get on to builders like the Ringbrothers and their Cadillac ATS-V phenomenally disguised as a classic 1948 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe.

But so far, none of them have anything on Tuerck’s Gumout GT4586. Tuerck is a Formula Drift driver and decided to create the ultimate Frankenstein drift machine.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

Starting off with the Toyota GT86, a great tuners’ car thanks to its coupe form, low center of gravity, boxer engine and rear wheel drive, he decided to perform some open heart surgery.

Dropping a bigger engine in a Japanese car or bolting on turbochargers is nothing new. But taking one of the greatest engines in recent history – the normally aspirated 5-liter 570hp V8 found in the middle of a Ferrari 458 Italia – and squeezing it into a tiny Toyota is something else entirely.

And the results, along with the engineering knowhow and automotive hacking required to marry engine with car, are remarkable, as his videos show.

Ferrari’s V8s are mid-mounted, meaning that in order to put the motor in the Toyota where the engine bay is up front, Tuerck has had to run the exhausts through and out of the car’s front bumper so when he accelerates or decelerates the car breathes fire.

What’s more, the engine’s headers and valve covers are so big that Tuerck has had to jettison the car’s hood altogether, but that just adds to its aggressive appeal. And as to how well the car performs, as a demo clip shows, it literally runs rings around a standard Ferrari.

There is a long and less than illustrious history of Japanese and Italian car companies collaborating, a trend that hit its nadir with the Alfa Romeo Arna which married the worst aspects of an Alfa Romeo with the worst elements of a Nissan. But this collaboration, if purists can get past the sacrilege of using a V8 supercar as an organ donor, is a marriage worth celebrating.

Gumout GT4586 Drives Circles Round Ferrari

200 mph Club: McLaren 570S, Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The supercar market seems to be growing larger and larger every year, with new brands launching and well known marques drawing more horsepower out of ever evolving models. If you’ve got the money to spend on a supercar there’s only a few places you’d look. We’ve lined up the latest must-own supercars from two legendary British manufacturers. Combined, the McLaren and Aston Martin have more than 1,000 horsepower and cost several million dollars.

The selection of cars was specifically chosen to show how very different a driving experience one can have for a not so different price. The racey McLaren 570S features a mid-engine twin turbo V8, rear wheel drive and F1 pedigree. This is the car that’s meant to bring McLaren to the “masses”.

We also have the classy Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. About to go out of production in its current state, this may be one of the last times we’ll have the opportunity to hear that monstrous V12 in this sleek two-seater. It’s modern “tech de force” and old school muscle.

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McLaren 570S

The 570S – the backbone in the McLaren line – was launched to much fanfare. As I open the butterfly doors and lower myself into the driver’s seat, I’m amazed at how much space is in the cockpit. The design is minimalist and everything is digital. You feel like you’re sitting in a car with a purpose, a 562 horsepower purpose and at only 3,200 pounds, she’s light too. Like all other McLarens, the 570S is running their now familiar 3.8L V8. The engine is turbo charged and there is some lag, but the way in which it makes you feel when the turbo is at full blow is incredible. The “little” McLaren by far feels the fastest car here.

One thing I do notice when I sit down, is how I feel like I’m much closer to the road than in the Aston, although there is a lot of visibility. The large front windshield makes you feel like you’re in a bubble cockpit. As the engine burbles to life, I select first on the dual clutch gearbox and we pull away. The car is noticeably quiet – even with the sports exhaust fitted. To give you an idea, at full acceleration in videos we recorded, you can hear me clicking through the gears on the paddle shifters. It’s a unique sensation, although the car is a lot louder for people seeing it go past, than it is inside the cabin.

A noticeable trait of the smaller turbo charged engine, you’re not going to get the same aural excitement as in the naturally aspirated larger engines. I thought this would bother me, it didn’t… You feel like you’re in a street legal race car in this thing. The car has a semi hydraulic steering system, which means you get a lot of feel through the wheel. When you’re pushing the 570S hard – and believe me, you will be – you’re going to love the feedback the car is giving you.

This 570S is in McLarens Sports Series range – the lowest range in the manufacturer’s line-up – although it still feels like a supercar to me. It doesn’t have the 650S and P1’s fancy suspension, but it rides incredibly well nevertheless and moves like there’s no tomorrow. For the price, it’s an incredibly cool car, although if I were purchasing one, I like the way the 570 GT looks a little more and McLaren could still work on the way that exhaust note sounds. I can only go so fast most of the time, so I at least want the car to sound like I’m going fast. The aural excitement is one of the main reasons you’d buy a car like this.

The car has got a lot of grip and the confidence it inspires makes you want to push and push and push. Just knock it down a couple gears, step on the carbon ceramic breaks, turn in, then plant the accelerator on the way out. It’ll push you back in your seat and make you want more. Priced at almost SGD 900,000 (approx. USD 660,000), it’s quite a car!

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Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The baby daddy in the Aston Martin range. A beast in sheep’s clothing, with only extra vents and badging giving away what’s underneath. Designed by legendary car designer, Henrik Fisker, the Vantage is a familiar site in the Aston Martin line-up, having been around in its current guise since 2005. This is definitely it’s last hoorah before a new model is introduced.

Up front you’ll find a naturally aspirated 6.0L V12 producing 565 horsepower and a roar from behind that’ll wake the neighbours a mile away. Power is put to the ground through two very wide rear tyres and an automated manual transmission. It’s no longer Aston’s most powerful production model, but it’s still its fastest.

Getting into the Aston isn’t quite as fun as the McLaren, but it still features some very unique swan wing doors. They’re not just for show either. The doors actually open at the same angle of degrees as the wings on the Aston badge and allow for easier clearing of street curbs.

As I push the centre console starter button the V12 burbles to life. The interior is beautifully appointed in typical Aston Martin fashion, yet the car has this raw edge to it. What else would you expect from one of Britain’s coolest brands. I select first gear and pull away.

It’s not the smoothest of transmissions to use around town, but as I get out on the motorway the shifts come with a lot more ease. The harder you drive, the better this car becomes. Many journalists have described this car as analogue in a digital world. It has an old style single clutch transmission, hydraulic steering and lacks a fancy suspension set up or digital dash display. Yet, who really needs all of this stuff anyway. Driving a performance car should be about feel, the way it makes you feel when you’re at full pelt blasting down a back road and the feedback you’re getting through the wheel while doing so. For that, this car checks all the boxes. It’s alive in your hands and the sound it makes puts a big smile on your face.

In this day and age though for SGD 840,000 (approx. USD 615,000), the consumer wants a lot more and the tech is part and parcel of the package. In this aspect it falls short. However, with a new model coming out soon and if the DB11 is anything to go by, the new car will be packed with tech on the inside and look gorgeous on the outside. Bond, I hope you’re ready…

This article was first published in PALACE.

Koenigsegg One:1 photo

Koenigsegg Wins Science Prize with FreeValve Engine

Swedish supercar maker Koenigsegg makes vehicles that are as brilliant as they are unnecessary so we were a little perplexed to learn that the company had won the 2016 Popular Science Grand Award. The thing about proper science is that you can’t just throw together a bunch of turbochargers, add a dash of extra horsepower and expect recognition. On the flipside, building a beautiful vehicle gets you nowhere just as quickly. No, the mad genius Christian von Koenigsegg won this accolade for his company through the cam-free internal combustion engine it pioneered.

To be clear, we applaud all efforts to engineer better cars and that is what Koenigsegg has done by effectively ditching the camshaft. This is no small matter because the camshaft has been an integral part of the internal combustion engine since, well, at least 100 years.

Christian von Koenigsegg was considered crazy for wanting to start his own supercar company, completely from scratch. But when his first car was finished in 2002, people quickly started changing their opinion. And 14 years later, the Swedish entrepreneur and inventor has proven himself an automotive genius, delivering innovations with his tiny committed team that some of the world’s most storied and established brands are struggling to keep up with.

Therefore it should seem obvious that the Koenigsegg FreeValve engine, which made its debut this year in a Chinese Qoros concept car, should be hailed as one of the biggest innovations of 2016.

Taking the place of the camshaft is a hydraulic actuator system that controls how the engine breathes. This new system allows each valve on the engine to be opened or closed independently, at a unique moment and for a unique amount of time. Theoretically, this could mean the eradication of every inefficiency inherent in the camshaft system. So, to make a long story shorter, this is a big deal. Motor Authority has a great video from Engineering Explained for those of you who want to learn more.

Koenigsegg Wins Science Prize with FreeValve Engine

The McLaren 570S Coupé

Beaten into second place on the Popular Science list is the McLaren 570S which was singled out because it is, in the publication’s opinion, the first truly usable supercar. Despite sitting low to the ground, having 562hp on tap and a 200mph+ top speed, it can be driven comfortably in real-world situations.

The top three is rounded out by the Chevrolet Bolt EV which makes the list for being the first true electric car for the people thanks to its ability to cover 238 miles on a single charge and costing just $37,495 before grants or subsidies.

Elsewhere in the list there are awards for the new Mercedes E-Class (eighth place) for its cutting-edge car-to-car communication system that relays live road and weather conditions in seconds to other Mercedes cars; and for the Audi SQ7 TDi.

Ranked in fifth place, the premium SUV makes this year’s cut for its innovative lag-free turbo system that uses two traditional turbos plus a third, electrically powered compressor that spools up instantaneously regardless of engine revolutions or exhaust gases. It makes a diesel feel as responsive as a gasoline engine.

Koenigsegg Wins Science Prize with FreeValve Engine

The New Mercedes-Benz E-Class