The British journalist Chris Harris has driven the street legal Formula Ford racing car 1.0 liter EcoBoost engine. The unit was tweaked to develop 170 horsepower.
Category Archives: New Car Fist Impressions
The Pagani Zonda is a rock star car, no question. It’s all flash and loud noises and a spaceship shape that can never be mistaken for anything else. As it prepares to wind-down production of wild Zonda supercar, Pagani has introduced a limited-edition model called the Zonda Revolucion. It is an evolution of the existing Pagani Zonda R, and is powered by a 6.0-liter Mercedes-AMG V-12 engine.
And like a rock star, the Zonda just won’t quit. Since 2009, there have been numerous editions of the Zonda that have been dubbed the final cars. This 2013 car is called the Zonda Revolucion, and it again is called the evolution of the species and the ultimate Zonda, in true Pagani fashion of never selling it short. The Zonda Revolucion’s 6.0-liter V12 engine has been tweaked to produce 800 hp and 538 lb-ft of torque, which which give the Zonda Revolucion a power to weight ratio of 748 hp per ton. The V12’s awesome power numbers are channeled to the rear wheels by way of six-speed magnesium transversal sequential gearbox that changes gears in 20 milliseconds.
New is a Formula 1-inspired Drag Reduction System rear wing. It can automatically adjust the level of downforce produced depending on the car’s speed; the driver can manually override the wing setting by pushing a button on the steering wheel. The front and rear carbon-fiber spoilers have also been modified for better aerodynamic performance. All in all, the carbon fiber and titanium monocoque helps keep curb weight just below 2400 pounds.
As the photos reveal, the car features aerodynamic updates like new deflectors on the front bonnet, as well as a vertical stabilizer mounted on the rear bonnet. As for strictly visual enhancements, the Pagani Zonda Revolucion has a central red stripe with white and yellow borders, yellow wheel lips, and stripes along each side of the car composed of white, yellow, and red accents. The Pagani Zonda Revolucion costs the equivalent of $2.8 million before taxes, but will it truly be the last of the Zondas?
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray debut was missing one important piece of information: final power figures for the car’s V-8 engine. Now, Chevrolet has released horsepower and torque ratings of 455 hp and 460 lb-ft for the C7 Corvette.
To save Google some searches, those power figures are within spitting distance of the epic LS7′s 505 horsepower 470 lb-ft of torque. A cylinder-deactivation setup which is a Corvette first in combination with the LT1′s direct fuel injection contribute to fuel economy that Chevy estimates will exceed 26 mpg on the highway. As for the performance parameters that matter to those interested in the Corvette’s sports-car chops, Chevrolet estimates that the base Stingray should hit 60 mph in less than four seconds. Have we mentioned that we want to drive this thing? Badly.
When the 2014 Corvette Stingray goes on sale later this year, it will offer the LT1 V-8 mated to either a six-speed automatic or a seven-speed manual transmission. Coupe and convertible flavors will be offered, as well as a Z51 performance pack option. Pricing starts at $51,995 for the coupe and $56,995 for the convertible.
As BMW’s third best-selling vehicle in 2012 behind the 3 Series and 5 Series, the venerable X5 is a key model for the German automaker in North America and other markets. With the third-generation X5, BMW hopes to continue the success of the original while subtly updating styling and adding features.
At first glance, it appears not much has changed, as the new X5 retains the old model’s silhouette. A closer look at the front and rear ends reveals the major exterior changes. In front, the headlights now meet with the large dual kidney grilles, similar to the current 3 Series. We continue to see those characteristic dual round lights feature LED accent rings, which are squared off at the bottom like those of the 3 Series, and standard Adaptive Xenon headlights (full LEDs are optional). Improving aerodynamics was a major focus of the X5′s redesign, as the new model features an Air Curtain intake in the front valance, which guides air around the wheel arches and through the Air Breather vents of the front fender to reduce drag.
Claimed to be aerodynamically slipperier and about 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, the new 2014 X5 launches with two gasoline engines: a 3.0-liter, single-turbocharged inline-six with 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque in the sDrive35i and xDrive35i, and a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque in the xDrive50i. BMW claims 0-to-60-mph times of 6.2 seconds for the six and 4.9 for the V-8, but they’ll likely be slightly quicker in our testing. In early 2014, a 3.0-liter diesel six will return to the lineup and again be badged as the xDrive35d. It will offer 255 horsepower, 413 lb-ft of torque.
Inside, the X5 gets BMW’s signature sweeping dash and instrument layout, with a 10.2-inch display rising out of the center stack. BMW Navigation is standard for the U.S. market, and includes a touchpad. BMW apps is also standard, allowing integration with smart phone apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Pandora streaming radio. leather upholstery is standard on xDrive50i models, and available on all others in eight possible interior colours. With the M Sport package, the interior receives an M-Sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, anthracite headliner, M footrest and door sills, and either sport or multi-contour seats.
The new X5, which BMW insists on calling a “Sports Activity Vehicle,” hits U.S. showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2013. The diesel version follows in early 2014, and there will be M Performance and M versions down the road. Pricing has not yet been announced, but we suspect it won’t stray far from the current X5’s.
We are happy to introduce the wildest Aston Martin Vantage yet. In fact, One-77 hypercar aside, this new V12 Vantage S is the fastest road going Aston yet released, with a 205mph top speed nudging it 3mph beyond the Ferrari 458 Italia and Lamborghini Gallardo.
The heart of the matter is the new AM28 engine, a more evolved species of the 6.0-liter V12 that incorporates features like CNC-machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts. Power output is 565 horsepower, a healthy 50-horse bump over the outgoing coupe, and 475 pound-feet of torque, a boost of 37 lb-ft. Acceleration from 0-60 miles per hour is expected to come before the four-second mark which is down from 4.2 seconds.
While we mourn the loss of yet another row-your-own option in a supercar, the new paddle-shifted gearbox offers two distinct advantages over the obsolete six-speed. First being top speed and second would be the weight savings of over 55 pounds. The transmission is a seven-speed automated manual transmission that has been harvested from the V8 Vantage S (it’s also the ‘box from Aston Martin’s FIA GT race cars), it gains a gear over the six-speed in the V12 Vantage yet is still lighter.
The biggest visual change is the car’s grille, which adopts the wide-open look previewed on the wicked CC100 Speedster Concept. It also gets a black painted roof and rear trim panel, new wheels, suspension and exhaust. The new sports exhaust is derived from the One-77, and boosts the already vocal Vantage’s soundtrack and there’s a quicker steering rack. The Vantage also gets its first adaptive damping system, with Normal, Sport and Track modes altering the suspension as well as the amount of power steering assistance. A Sport button sharpens the throttle response, gearshift times and exhaust note.
Although Aston Martin hemmed and hawed before finally porting the previous V12 Vantage to North America, the 2015 V12 Vantage S will be offered in the U.S. from square one. Pricing is being estimated to be in the realm of $200,000, however it has not yet been finalized, but dealers are now taking orders, with deliveries beginning in early 2014.
This latest GTI, which doesn’t go on sale in the U.S. until the first half of 2014, is similarly unflappable. The seventh-generation GTI continues the recent tradition started with the Mk5 of a genuine driver’s car in the most practical package on the market. It has a huge rear seat, a genuinely big trunk, and an interior that looks and feels more expensive than most cars that cost twice as much. It also drives better than most cars that cost twice as much.
For the first time ever we see via the VW press clippings that the seventh-generation Golf GTI for the first time in history will come with two power levels. On the standard car you will be treaded to 220hp and the GTI Performance model will see and extra 10 hp topping out at 230 hp. In the GTI Performance model you also get; slightly bigger front brake discs, ventilated rear discs, and best of all, VW’s exceedingly trick new E-diff at the front.
All of the power is generated by The 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct injection four-banger is from the third generation of the EA888 engine series and has a completely newly developed cylinder head. It also features variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment and develops more torque and is now able to rotate the tires with 258 lb-ft), up from 205 lb-ft in the Gen 6 car.
The new variable-ratio steering rack is crisp and ultra-incisive but also natural and full of feel. The handling is similarly sweet, the front end feeling as if it has been physically nailed to whichever apex you aim it towards. Even the ride quality has taken a monumental step up in overall quality, which is probably the biggest surprise of all, given what VW has served up in the past: a series of GTIs that have been composed but firm in the extreme, and not exactly bubbling with feel, either.
Part of the GTI’s stability comes from its slightly wider front track and a wheelbase 2.1 inches longer than the previous GTI’s, but it’s also simply the product of a company that values dynamic fidelity more than frivolity. Volkswagen has aimed to reduce the body roll, which has always been a part of the GTI’s character. And the company has done a tremendous job of making the GTI feel more planted and agile without sacrificing ride quality.
VW hasn’t announced pricing on three- and five-door GTIs yet, but we expect there won’t be much of a price increase over the current car, which starts just under $25,000. Which would be absolutely amazing because this car looks to be the best GTI ever in terms of driving dynamics, fuel eco, and interior bang for the buck? VW says it’s the fastest, most powerful, and most efficient ever.
There is not denying the fact that the 2014 Jaguar F-Type is one very attractive car, roadster, sport coupe, GT cruiser. No matter how we categorize this car the fact remains that outside of the Aston martin brand there isn’t really another car that can compete against it style wise. So why do we bring it up? A very legitimate question indeed and one that can simply be answered by highlighting the fact that every major automobile magazine and web site were green lit this week by Jaguar to publish their findings from the corporate test drive that took place a few weeks back.
We also would like to provide you with some first driving impressions of the car, however we are burdened with on small little hiccup. Unfortunately we are not yet invited to such driving events ;-( What we are privy to is a cornucopia of hands on reviews by other journalist of which we have boiled down so that we can present you with a summation of their impressions. None of the below descriptions of the car balance, handling and acceleration punch are ours, but there were someone’s and we have summed them all up to provide you with a cohesive hands on review of the 2014 Jaguar F-Type.
“Jag engineers resisted the move to electrically assisted power steering, instilling the F-type’s fat-rimmed leather-wrapped wheel with a slack-free on-center connection, a useful rise in effort with increasing lock, and a ratio quick enough to deliver agile cornering response. Unfortunately, they neglected to finish the job with feedback.” Car and Driver
“Those twin pipes identify the two V-6-engined cars — the V-8 edition gets pairs set to either side. The “base” F-Type is powered by a 3-liter, 340-hp supercharged and water-intercooled 3-liter V-6. The F Type S is a tweaked version of it with 380 hp, and topping the range is the also supercharged and water-intercooled 5-liter V-8 with 495 hp. All of them communicate their horsepower to their rear wheels via an eight-speed Quickshift” Motor Trend
“Jag says that with two occupants, the car has a 50-50 weight balance (52/48 unloaded), with its all-up weight ranging from 3520 to 3670 pounds. To achieve that balance, both the battery and strangely, the windshield-washer fluid reservoir are located in the trunk which eats up some critical cubics from an already tiny, 7.1-cubic-foot trunk” Motor Trend
“The new Jaguar F-type has been launched, but how does it compare with its biggest rival, the Porsche 911? We got both cars together at the Bedford Aerodrome, along with Tiff Needell, to find out.” Evo magazine
“The supercharged V8 is as irresistible as ever, sounding absolutely fantastic (and a little bit evil) with a soaring engine note and loud cracks on committed upshifts. It’s very fast too, not feeling its full 54bhp deficit compared to the XKR-S.” Evo magazine
“Turn-in is excellent for a front-engined car, and the great chassis balance means you can really push the rear in the dry. But do yourself a favor and leave the ESP on in the wet, particularly in the V8. It’s an animal. Just listen to it! My favorite detail is how the hidden central air vents rise and fall from the dash-top as needed-pointless, but cool(ing) all the same. On the other hand, the lack of a manual-transmission option isn’t. And the ZF eight-speed auto, though talk-show-host-smooth when cruising, isn’t as snappy as a Porsche PDK dual clutch ‘box when you’re on it.” Road and Track
“The only question we have is why it’s so heavy ? Especially given the abundant use of aluminum? Unfortunately, under direct questioning, Jaguar’s engineers weren’t able to give a good reason. But the F-Type is, by sports car standards, heavy. In V6 S form, it weighs 3,558 pounds. That’s more than 300 pounds heavier than the 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. And the 911 has 20 more horsepower. And a back seat.” Motor Authority
“The star of the range is probably the middle-spec V6 S. Why? Because its steering has more delicacy to it than the meatier, brawnier V8 S. In pure performance terms it’s not that much slower across the ground than the V8, even if it can’t compete with it in a straight line. But the real winner here is the customer, the one lucky enough to be in the market for a £60-80,000 sports car; the sort of person who would previously have headed straight towards the nearest Porsche dealer.” Autocar
Porsche is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 911 this year with several events including the Retro Classics show in Stuttgart, Germany, an exhibit at the Porsche Museum and honored marque status at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Ever since Ferdinand Porsche could get his 911 sports car onto a track in 1964, it’s been at home there. Now in its sixth generation, the 2013 Porsche 911 RSR keeps up the company’s proud tradition of competitive sporting prowess and somehow defying the laws of physics by making a rear-heavy sports car handle well.
The 991-based Porsche 911 RSR houses a 4.0-liter flat-six instead of the street car’s 3.8-liter engine. Power output is high and weight is low; neither number has yet been revealed by the automaker. But expect it to be competitive an in the 450 plus rang. When combined with a new six-speed sequential transmission with paddle shifters turn the otherwise striped 911 in to a rocket. The body is mostly made from carbon fiber, including the front and rear mudguards, front and rear lids, doors, underbody, wheel arches, rear wing, dashboard and center console. The windows are made of polycarbonate and the battery comes from road-going GT3 models.
Round two of the WEC takes place on 4 May at Belgium’s Spa Francorchamps, with the highlight of the season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking place the following month in France. Stay tuned for our full coverage of the classic endurance race in the lead up.
The new Maserati Ghibli has been sprung online ahead of a planned Shanghai show unveiling and suddenly makes those granny pants German saloons look worryingly generic and unsexy. Because, let’s face it, who wants a 5 Series, an A6 or an E-Class when you could have one of these instead? As our earlier spy photos from last year showed (“Take a sneak Peak at the Maserati Ghibli“), the Maserati Ghibli looks like a scaled-down version of the new Quattroporte. A wide grille with vertical slats dominates the car’s nose, the slopes down dramatically into squinty headlights, and the fenders rise dramatically over the front wheels.
“The all-new Ghibli is set to break new ground for Maserati,” the company said in a statement. “The Ghibli will also become the first Maserati production car in history to be powered by a diesel engine.” A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6, derived from Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 family and shared with the Quattroporte, is available in two different output levels (similar to the new F-type Jaguar) offering 330hp or 410 hp. Buyers seeking a little extra fuel economy can also opt for Maserati’s first diesel engine, a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 that isn’t likely to come to North America and will also be an option on future Chrysler products. It also is expected that the Quattroporte’s 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 also migrates to the Ghibli line at a later date as the top level performance engine of choice. No matter which engine the car is equipped with power will flow through a ZF eight speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels with an all-wheel drive option being available shortly after the cars initial launch.
Although our first look at Maseati’s newest sedan is limited to just three images, we can see that the car will have a sportier exterior design than its bigger brother, the Quattroporte, to go with an equally luxurious interior. Highlighted by a large touchscreen on the center stack, topped by an analog clock, as well as red leather dashboard accents, a chunky shifter for the automatic transmission, a three-spoke steering wheel, and a simple two-binnacle instrument cluster with a central LCD display.
As has already been widely reported, Maserati has confirmed ambitious targets of selling over 50,000 cars a year by 2015. Unveiling the car in China reveals where it expects the bulk of that extra volume to come from, the launch earlier in the year of the new Quattroporte on which the Ghibli will be based setting “the high-technology tone for Maserati’s upcoming range of new-models” according to Maserati. The company claims the Ghibli will attract, “premium executive car buyers who are looking to make an individual statement through a car that is distinctive, elegant and luxurious.” More seriously, the car is intended to steal sales from the German luxury brands, which we think it just might if it drives as good as it looks.