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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Are you the next Porsche 911 GT3 RS or GT2?

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Are you the next Porsche 911 GT3 RS or GT2?

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Porsche 911 GT3 RS prototype

Porsche typically keeps to a suitably fast schedule when it comes to rolling out increasingly hard-core performance versions of the 911. After the 997 Carrera debuted in 2004, the GT3 version followed in 2006, and by the end of the 2007, Porsche had rolled out both the GT3 RS and GT2 versions. Then the facelifted 997.5 came out in 2008 and it was back to the start: the GT3 came in 2009, the GT3 RS and GT2 RS in 2010, and the GT3 RS 4.0 in 2011. But things have slowed down some with the latest 991 generation.

The new Carrera came in 2011 and the GT3 followed in 2012. By recent history's example, we should have at least two more hardcore models by now, but we don't. Maybe the engineers in Zuffenhausen have had their hands full fixing the spontaneous-combustion issues with the existing GT3, or maybe their attentions have been focused elsewhere altogether. But if these spy shots are anything to go by, it seems like they're back on the job.

Now we don't know if this prototype foreshadows a new GT3 RS or a GT2, but it sure looks more hard-core than the existing GT3 that many purists have derided as too soft, what with its automatic transmission and four-wheel steering.

What's the difference between a GT3, GT3 RS or GT2? We're glad you asked (even if you didn't). The GT3 is a more performance-focused version of the 911. The GT3 RS takes things a step further, but keeps the naturally aspirated engine. The GT2 packs twin turbochargers, like the 911 Turbo but without all-wheel drive. Porsche seems likely to do one or the other, and this could be either. But whichever it is - with the turbos or without, manual transmission or dual-clutch - it promises to be one of the most formidable performance machines on road or track.
Are you the next Porsche 911 GT3 RS or GT2? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept bows early on the USS Intrepid

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Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept bows early on the USS Intrepid

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After teasing us for more than a month, Land Rover finally unveiled - in the flesh - its Discovery Vision Concept a couple days in advance of the New York Auto Show. The glitzy event took place on the deck of the USS Intrepid, now serving out its retirement as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in the Hudson River in New York City. The venue was appropriate, as Land Rover and Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's commercial spaceline, have announced a long-term global partnership (thus explaining why a fullsize model of the VSS Enterprise suborbital spacecraft was in attendance).

Land Rover is touting the Discovery Vision Concept as "a vision into the future of Land Rover's new family of leisure vehicles." For the past decade, Discovery models sold in North America have been badged as the LR3 and LR4, but the Vision Concept marks the return of the Discovery nameplate to our soil. According to the British automaker, the Discovery is back to "redefine its territory in the leisure category." The concept is intended to represent a future family of Discovery-named vehicles that will boast the new design language an introduce new technology.

Speaking of technology, the seven-passenger Discovery Vision Concept is loaded with innovation, including Gesture Control, Remote Control Drive, laser headlights, Smart Glass, Laser Terrain Scanning and Transparent Bonnet. Most, if not all of the technology will trickle out over the next decade on Land Rover's production vehicles. Read more about the Discovery Vision Concept in the full press release below, and look for more of our pictures later this week when it arrives at the Javits Center.
Continue reading Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept bows early on the USS Intrepid
Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept bows early on the USS Intrepid originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Apr 2014 00:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bugatti mules could signal Veyron successor in the works

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Bugatti mules could signal Veyron successor in the works

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Bugatti Veyron Test Car

The chances of a new product from Bugatti are getting closer. The tally of available Veyrons left keeps dropping, with only around 40 units to go to complete the stated 450-car production run. The supercar maker has reportedly begun development on a successor, and that is looking increasingly likely because a pair of test cars with some intriguing modifications have been spotted lapping the Nürburgring.

We recently saw the white car testing in a short video; now a new set of spy shots have given us an even better look. The car appears stock, until you notice the weird aluminum armature at the back. The wires and boxes indicate it's likely for data acquisition, and given the location, engine testing would be a good bet.

The black Veyron is wearing slightly widened bodywork and may also have a wider track. According to our spy shooters, those absolutely massive black wheels may be made from carbon fiber. Another interesting note is the panel cut out at the rear of the car behind the driver's side tire. There is clearly a radiator visible behind it. Perhaps, both cars are testing new powertrain options?

Bugatti has refused to give a precise timeframe for the launch of the Veyron successor, but it has promised that it won't be revealed until all current models are sold. It has also reportedly dropped plans to attempt the four-door Galibier supercar. Whatever Bugatti comes up with is going to have to be mind-blowing to outdo the modern supercar trio of the Porsche 918, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari.
Bugatti mules could signal Veyron successor in the works originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Ferrari planning sleeker FF coupe?

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Ferrari planning sleeker FF coupe?

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2012 Ferrari FF

There are a lot of things you could call the Ferrari FF. Innovative, advanced, pioneering, ponderous... beautiful may not be one of them, though. Because while it does pack Ferrari's first all-wheel drive system, it doesn't pack it into a very pretty shape, alternately described as a chopped shooting brake or stretched hatchback. Word has it, though, that Ferrari is working on a solution.

That solution, according to Car and Driver, would be to chop it down into an FF coupe. Apparently separate from the SP FFX project that ultimately emerged as a one-off, this rebody could potentially solve the FF's stylistic shortcomings and attract more buyers, while retaining the 6.3-liter V12 engine that drives 651 prancing horses to all four wheels. But here's where it gets tricky: if Ferrari simply sloped the roofline and got rid of the rear seats, the finished product would end up precariously close to the F12 Berlinetta, albeit with an extra set of driven wheels.

We'd sooner guess that Maranello would lengthen the form slightly to keep the rear seats, add a trunk and give it a more graceful profile, though the elongated form of the preceding 612 Scaglietti strikes us as what Ferrari was trying to get away from with the FF in the first place. And guessing is as good as we've got at this point, as our attempts to get more from Ferrari PR resulted in a sad (if predictable) "no comment."

Whatever form it takes, C/D projects that the FF coupe could arrive later this year or early next, bringing with it some other minor cosmetic changes. Its price tag would likely hover, like the existing FF and F12, around the $300,000 mark, making it a natural competitor to the Rolls-Royce Wraith, Aston Martin Vanquish or a well-equipped Bentley Continental GT Speed.
Ferrari planning sleeker FF coupe? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 10 Apr 2014 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Audi's next R8 snapped running the 'Ring nearly naked

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Audi's next R8 snapped running the 'Ring nearly naked

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2016 Audi R8

Following the debut of the Lamborghini Huracán, work is now well well under way on its cousin. That, of course, would be the next-generation Audi R8, the followup to the model that put Ingolstadt on the supercar map in 2006 and has been on the market ever since. That's an eight-year lifespan, though to be fair, for 2014 it has gotten a pretty meaningful update. Still, that's a long lifecycle, even if the Gallardo with which it shares its underpinnings was around even longer. In other words, it's about due for replacement.

Fortunately, that's just what Audi has in the cards. We've seen prototypes wearing heavy camouflage lapping the Nürburgring a couple of times over the past few weeks, but now it's been snapped nearly completely undisguised, with largely bare black bodywork giving us an even better look at what to anticipate.

So what are we looking at here? A sharper-looking take on the existing design, for starters, so onlookers and customers alike shouldn't have any trouble identifying this as an R8 - but a newer one at that. It seems to take some cues from the new TT, particularly around the headlights, with more squared-off elements throughout. There's an adaptive rear wing poking out the back and more pronounced side-blade intakes between the doors and the rear wheels, which themselves are wearing ultra low-profile rubber.

Until the last details are put in place, it's still too early to pass final judgement, but as an indicator of what's to come, the prototype seen here certainly catches our attention. But don't take our word for it: check out our spy shots in the high-res gallery above to see for yourself.
Audi's next R8 snapped running the 'Ring nearly naked originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Apr 2014 10:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bugatti reveals Black Bess as fifth Legend edition Veyron

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Bugatti reveals Black Bess as fifth Legend edition Veyron

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Bugatti Veyron Vitesse Black Bess

Say what you will about all the special editions Bugatti makes out of the Veyron. The fact of the matter is that they sell, and sell quickly. In fact, each of the four Legend editions to date - all of which have been limited to three examples, amounting to twelve cars - has sold out at prices hovering around the $3 million mark, helping Bugatti sell the last few dozen examples of the Veyron roadsters it has to build before the model is retired entirely. And you can bet this one will sell out just as fast.

It's called Black Bess, and unlike the previous examples in the series that paid homage to specific people in Bugatti's history, this one honors a specific car. But not just any car: "the first ever street legal super sports car," in the automaker's own words. That epitaph belongs to the Type 18, a pre-war Bugatti with an inline-four that produced just 100 horsepower (less than a tenth of the Vitesse's output) and topped out at 100 miles per hour - mind-blowing speed in its time. Named after a famous English racing horse, Bugatti only made seven Type 18s, one of which was raced by Ettore himself, and another was bought by legendary aviator Roland Garros.

To pay tribute to such an instrumental vehicle in the marque's history, Bugatti decked out a Vitesse roadster - complete with open roof and 1,184-horsepower quad-turbo W16 engine - in black with 24-carat gold accents. The interior is upholstered in light beige and brown leather with red leather steering wheel and trim. The door panels feature imagery of the original T18 and Roland Garros' plane, rendered in a specially-developed ink on leather.

As with the previous versions, Bugatti will only make three examples, each commanding a €2.15 million (about $3M) purchase price. The first of the three is being presented at the Beijing Motor Show, but if your travel plans don't include a stop in the Chinese capital this month, you can scope it out in the high-res image gallery above and the details in the press release below. The final Legend edition, which we still expect will honor Elisabeth Junek, will be presented at Pebble Beach in August.
Continue reading Bugatti reveals Black Bess as fifth Legend edition Veyron
Bugatti reveals Black Bess as fifth Legend edition Veyron originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 11 Apr 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jay Leno gets behind the curtain on the design of the Toyota FT-1 concept

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Jay Leno gets behind the curtain on the design of the Toyota FT-1 concept

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Jay Leno with the Toyota FT-1

Hinting at the future of Toyota performance vehicles, the FT-1 concept was one of the stars of the Detroit Auto Show this year. It even nabbed fourth place in our Editors' Choice list. While he's a few months behind the car's official reveal, Jay Leno managed to get the only existing concept of the sports coupe wheeled into his garage to take a closer look, and he's pretty impressed.

Leno speaks with Alex Shen and William Chergosky, the exterior and interior chief designers of the FT-1 respectively, to get a better idea of the inspirations behind the concept. Jay heaps high praise on it for mixing Italian and Japanese design and says he likes the look even more than the Lexus LFA. The coupe isn't a product of either country, though. It was penned at Toyota's CALTY Design Research center in Newport Beach, CA.

The designers go into the entire history of the FT-1, and Shen even admits that Toyota design lacks an emotional factor at the moment. It's a fascinating interview behind some of the little touches you might miss at first glance. Unfortunately, the model doesn't have the green light for production yet and may never get made. In any case, scroll down to watch Leno swoon over the coupe.
Continue reading Jay Leno gets behind the curtain on the design of the Toyota FT-1 concept
Jay Leno gets behind the curtain on the design of the Toyota FT-1 concept originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Apr 2014 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6 to star in new Jurassic World flick

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Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6 to star in new Jurassic World flick

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Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6

We aren't sure about you, but when someone mentions the Jurassic Park films, John Williams' soaring anthem immediately works its way into our ears. That's why we're humming it as we write about this latest bit of automotive news - the next JP film will feature the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6.

According to an announcement on the film's Facebook page, which showed a picture of the automotive Tyrannosaur on a shipping pallet, the six-wheeled G63 is just one of the vehicles for the next film, titled Jurassic World.

Movie fans/auto buffs will know that the cars in the JP movies have played a rather significant role throughout the series, generally taking on the big, bad Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Jeep Wrangler, Ford Explorer and Mercedes M-Class have each had varying degrees of success when taking on the park's biggest dinosaurs, although we think the genetically engineered reptiles will find this Mercedes a slightly loftier challenge.

Jurassic World, the fourth film in the Jurassic Park franchise, comes out in June of 2015. Of course, if we hear any more on the cars that will star in what is likely to be one of next summer's tent-pole blockbusters, we'll be sure to let you know.
Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6 to star in new Jurassic World flick originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 06 Apr 2014 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Citroën heading to Beijing with DS 5LS R concept [w/video]

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Citroën heading to Beijing with DS 5LS R concept [w/video]

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Citroën DS 5LS R Concept

With the renaissance of the DS line, Citroën was clearly going for style and elegance. But in the years since it has also imbued some of its premium DS models with an added dose of performance. It used the DS3 as the basis for its World Rally Championship challenger, then rolled out the DS3 Racing hot hatch and the DS3 Cabrio Racing version, and applied a similar treatment to the DS4 Racing concept. Now it's doing the same to the Chinese-market DS 5LS luxury sedan.

Set to debut later this month at the Beijing Motor Show, the somewhat awkwardly named DS 5LS R may sound more like a new camera model but is actually a performance sedan concept. In its transformation, Citroën gave it a 1.6-liter turbo four with 300 horsepower on tap, lowered the suspension by 15 millimeters (0.6 inches), widened the track, upgraded the brakes, fitted 20-inch wheels and gave it looks to match.

The bodywork has been doused in a matte metallic shade of reddish magenta and accented with carbon-fiber trim, while the interior has been upgraded with leather and Alcantara trim, top-stitched in the same red as the exterior and similarly accented with carbon trim. Of course R logos feature prominently throughout. No matter what we think of it, though, a concept car based on a model made by a French automaker for the Chinese market stands absolutely no chance of ever seeing the inside of an American showroom or an inch of the Great American Road, so the closest we're ever likely to get is the high-res image gallery above and the video and press release below.
Continue reading Citroën heading to Beijing with DS 5LS R concept [w/video]
Citroën heading to Beijing with DS 5LS R concept [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 04 Apr 2014 16:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Porsche Exclusive showcases custom-order 911 Turbo Cabrio

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Porsche Exclusive showcases custom-order 911 Turbo Cabrio

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911 Turbo Cabriolet by Porsche Exclusive

Porsche is one of the most profitable automakers in the business. In fact, it's said to make about $23,000 on each car it sells, thanks in no small part to an options list that can send the sticker price accelerating quicker than one of its own sports cars. But there are always those for whom even the extensive option list won't be enough, and for just such customers, there is Porsche Exclusive.

The division in Zuffenhausen is tasked with creating even more individualized examples of Porsche vehicles, and it recently did up this 911 Turbo Cabriolet - which, at $160,700, is already one of the most expensive Porsches you can order this side of a 918 Spyder: more than any Boxster, Cayman, Macan or Cayenne, any Panamera other than a Turbo S or Executive - not to mention any other 911 short of a Turbo S.

This particular demo vehicle features a Slate Grey paint job and red interior decked out in more leather than an S&M dungeon - which, come to think of it, would probably be less financially painful than ordering up this car from Porsche Exclusive.
Porsche Exclusive showcases custom-order 911 Turbo Cabrio originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 06 Apr 2014 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
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