Author Archives: Alex Nishimoto

2019 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko/SC Stage 2 Makes 1,000 Horsepower

By | October 17, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro’s face-lift has been controversial. The redesigned front end, especially on the SS version, has been hit or miss with Camaro fans. But if you happen to like the new look, and you have some extra cash to burn, Special Vehicle Engineering will transform your 2019 Camaro SS into a limited edition 2019 Yenko/SC that makes up to 1,000 hp.

Special Vehicle Engineering, which has rights to use the Yenko name, has been cranking out tuned Yenko-badged Camaros for a few years now. Apart from the 2019 model’s refreshed styling, this newest offering isn’t too different from last year’s Yenko/SC. Just as before, the 2019 Yenko/SC Camaro is offered in two states of tune. Stage 1 gets you 835 hp (up 10 hp from 2018), while Stage 2 grants 1,000 hp.

Whichever stage you choose, each Yenko/SC Camaro gets a custom-built engine that’s based on the LT1 but is stroked to 6.8 liters using a forged 4340 steel crankshaft, forged H-beam connecting rods, and forged aluminum pistons. The engine also uses the cylinder heads off the LT4 V-8, which are CNC ported for increased air flow. Both versions get custom superchargers, but the Stage 2’s blower is 20-percent larger and thus provides 25 percent more boost, according to Special Vehicle Engineering.

Of course, you get more than a tuned engine when you order a Yenko Camaro. A body-colored carbon-fiber hood with power bulge and non-functional scoop comes standard and might improve the 2019 Camaro’s polarizing front end for some. Other exterior changes include a hood stripe and side stripes available in nine different colors, Yenko/SC decals, Yenko-branded brake calipers, Yenko crest badges, and badges advertising the car’s horsepower rating.

Stage 1 cars ride on five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels in a gunmetal finish, while Stage 2 cars get the same wheels in black. Michelin PS4S summer tires come standard in a staggered fitment of 295/30 front and 305/30 rear. But apart from the tires, Special Vehicle Engineering leaves the handling upgrades to GM by requiring a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 1SS or 2SS equipped with the 1LE package for the Stage 2 Yenko/SC conversion.

As you might’ve guessed, getting your Camaro to Yenko spec won’t be cheap. The Stage 1 package costs $46,995, while the Stage 2 will set you back $66,995. Keep in mind those prices don’t include the cost of a 2019 Camaro SS. But if you do get one, you’ll join a pretty exclusive club. Special Vehicle Engineering plans to build just 50 copies of the 2019 Yenko/SC Camaro, including 25 Stage 1s and 25 Stage 2s.

The Yenko/SC Camaro is available to order at select GM dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Sadly, it isn’t emissions-legal in California and is limited to track use there.

 

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2019 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko/SC Lands With up to 1,000 HP

By | October 17, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro’s face-lift has been controversial. The redesigned front end, especially on the SS version, has been hit or miss with Camaro fans. But if you happen to like the new look, and you have some extra cash to burn, Special Vehicle Engineering will transform your 2019 Camaro SS into a limited edition 2019 Yenko/SC that makes up to 1,000 hp.

Special Vehicle Engineering, which has rights to use the Yenko name, has been cranking out tuned Yenko-badged Camaros for a few years now. Apart from the 2019 model’s refreshed styling, this newest offering isn’t too different from last year’s Yenko/SC. Just as before, the 2019 Yenko/SC Camaro is offered in two states of tune. Stage 1 gets you 835 hp (up 10 hp from 2018), while Stage 2 grants 1,000 hp. Whichever stage you choose, each Yenko/SC Camaro gets a custom-built engine that’s based on the LT1 but is stroked to 6.8 liters using a forged 4340 steel crankshaft, forged H-beam connecting rods, and forged aluminum pistons. The engine also uses the cylinder heads off the LT4 V-8, which are CNC ported for increased air flow. Both versions get custom superchargers, but the Stage 2’s blower is 20-percent larger and thus provides 25 percent more boost, according to Special Vehicle Engineering.

Of course, you get more than a tuned engine when you order a Yenko Camaro. A body-colored carbon-fiber hood with power bulge and non-functional scoop comes standard and might improve the 2019 Camaro’s polarizing front end for some. Other exterior changes include a hood stripe and side stripes available in nine different colors, Yenko/SC decals, Yenko-branded brake calipers, Yenko crest badges, and badges advertising the car’s horsepower rating. Stage 1 cars ride on five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels in a gunmetal finish, while Stage 2 cars get the same wheels in black. Michelin PS4S summer tires come standard in a staggered fitment of 295/30 front and 305/30 rear. But apart from the tires, Special Vehicle Engineering leaves the handling upgrades to GM by requiring a 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 1SS or 2SS equipped with the 1LE package for the Stage 2 Yenko/SC.

As you might’ve guessed, getting your Camaro to Yenko spec won’t be cheap. The Stage 1 package costs $46,995, while the Stage 2 will set you back $66,995. Keep in mind those prices don’t include the cost of a 2019 Camaro SS. But if you do get one, you’ll join a pretty exclusive club. Special Vehicle Engineering plans to build just 50 copies of the 2019 Yenko/SC Camaro, including 25 Stage 1s and 25 Stage 2s.

The Yenko/SC Camaro is available to order at select GM dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Sadly, it isn’t emissions-legal in California and is limited to track use there.

Source: Special Vehicle Engineering

 

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These Five Custom 2018 Ford Mustang Coupes are SEMA-Bound

By | October 11, 2018

The 2018 SEMA Show is right around the corner, and as usual, Ford plans to have a wide variety of modified vehicles on display. This year, Ford says its booth will be filled with more than 50 cars, trucks, and SUVs, so these first five modified Mustangs announced this week are just the beginning.

Galpin Auto Sports Mustang GT

Starting with a 2018 Ford Mustang GT coupe, dealership and custom shop Galpin Auto Sports went for a road racer look with a custom wide-body kit, front splitter, rear diffuser, and 20-inch wheels wrapped in Toyo R888-R competition rubber. The 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 receives a Ford Performance/Roush supercharger and cat-back exhaust, and the six-speed manual transmission benefits from a Ford Performance short-throw shifter. The stock springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars have all been replaced by parts from Ford Performance, and the brakes have been upgraded to Shelby GT350R spec.

CJ Pony Parts Mustang GT “Smoke Show”

Mustang parts retailer CJ Pony Parts returns to SEMA with a Mustang GT drift car. Though it’s hard to see in this rendering, the pony car wears a stars and stripes livery in dark shadow gray, which is contrasted by copper accents. Thanks to a Ford Performance/Roush supercharger, the car’s stock 5.0-liter V-8 has been boosted to more than 700 hp, which should be plenty to break Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S summer tires loose. If more persuasion is needed to hang the rear end out, this drift ‘Stang comes equipped with a hydraulic handbrake from Sikky Manufacturing. Ford Performance track springs lower the car on 20-inch HRE FF04 wheels finished in copper. Inside, there’s a Watson Racing roll cage painted to match the rest of the car’s copper accents, along with Recaro seats and Corbeau five-point harnesses.

CGS Motorsports Mustang GT

Yet another Mustang GT with a Ford Performance/Roush supercharger, this build from CGS Motorsports is ready for Halloween with its dark exterior theme and blood red accents. The GT wears a custom wide-body kit from TS Designs, a rear spoiler and hood vents from Air Design, LED undercar lighting from Rigid Industries, and a staggered set of Savini forged wheels measuring 22 x 9.5 inches in the front and 22 x 13 in the rear. Inside, you’ll find Napa leather upholstery and LED lighting by Diode Dynamics.

Tjin Edition Mustang EcoBoost

SEMA Show veteran Tjin Edition chose the turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost Mustang over the 5.0-liter GT for its build this year. Finished in a custom Electric Purple paint by PPG, the four-cylinder Mustang also sports an RTR body kit, custom wide-body fenders with exposed rivets, yellow fog lamps, and a staggered set of gold Forgeline center-lock wheels measuring 20 x 10.5 in front and 20 x 13 in the back. The engine gets an upgraded turbocharger from BorgWarner along with racing-spec replacements for the exhaust manifold, downpipe, intercooler, and charge pipes. The car rides on an adjustable Air Lift 3H suspension and gets a Baer Grizzly big brake upgrade in front.

Bojix Design Mustang GT

This Mustang GT by Bojix Design should help brighten up Ford’s SEMA booth with its two-tone blue and gray paint scheme. Using Ford Performance springs and shocks, the car is lowered on Savini SV67 wheels that measure 20 x 10 up front and 20 x 11.5 in the rear. The custom pony car also gets an APR carbon-fiber front splitter and rear wing, custom lower front grille, and a front bumper, side skirts, and hood vents from Air Design. Not to be outdone by the other blown GTs on this list, Bojix Design installed a Procharger Stage 2 supercharger and a custom “supercar” exhaust with Borla mufflers. Inside, you’ll find Recaro Sportster CR seats upholstered in black leather with black stitching, a deleted rear seat, and a Kicker stereo system with 10-inch Solo-Baric L7 subwoofers.

Ford should release details on the other custom rides it will feature in its booth over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

The post These Five Custom 2018 Ford Mustang Coupes are SEMA-Bound appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Five Custom 2018 Ford Mustang Coupes Headed to SEMA

By | October 11, 2018

The 2018 SEMA Show is right around the corner, and as usual, Ford plans to have a wide variety of modified vehicles on display. This year, Ford says its booth will be filled with more than 50 cars, trucks, and SUVs, so these first five modified Mustangs announced this week are just the beginning.

Galpin Auto Sports Mustang GT

Starting with a 2018 Ford Mustang GT coupe, dealership and custom shop Galpin Auto Sports went for a road racer look with a custom wide-body kit, front splitter, rear diffuser, and 20-inch wheels wrapped in Toyo R888-R competition rubber. The 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 receives a Ford Performance/Roush supercharger and cat-back exhaust, and the six-speed manual transmission benefits from a Ford Performance short-throw shifter. The stock springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars have all been replaced by parts from Ford Performance, and the brakes have been upgraded to Shelby GT350R spec.

CJ Pony Parts Mustang GT “Smoke Show”

Mustang parts retailer CJ Pony Parts returns to SEMA with a Mustang GT drift car. Though it’s hard to see in this rendering, the pony car wears a stars and stripes livery in dark shadow gray, which is contrasted by copper accents. Thanks to a Ford Performance/Roush supercharger, the car’s stock 5.0-liter V-8 has been boosted to more than 700 hp, which should be plenty to break Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S summer tires loose. If more persuasion is needed to hang the rear end out, this drift ‘Stang comes equipped with a hydraulic handbrake from Sikky Manufacturing. Ford Performance track springs lower the car on 20-inch HRE FF04 wheels finished in copper. Inside, there’s a Watson Racing roll cage painted to match the rest of the car’s copper accents, along with Recaro seats and Corbeau five-point harnesses.

CGS Motorsports Mustang GT

Yet another Mustang GT with a Ford Performance/Roush supercharger, this build from CGS Motorsports is ready for Halloween with its dark exterior theme and blood red accents. The GT wears a custom wide-body kit from TS Designs, a rear spoiler and hood vents from Air Design, LED undercar lighting from Rigid Industries, and a staggered set of Savini forged wheels measuring 22 x 9.5 inches in the front and 22 x 13 in the rear. Inside, you’ll find Napa leather upholstery and LED lighting by Diode Dynamics.

Tjin Edition Mustang EcoBoost

SEMA Show veteran Tjin Edition chose the turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost Mustang over the 5.0-liter GT for its build this year. Finished in a custom Electric Purple paint by PPG, the four-cylinder Mustang also sports an RTR body kit, custom wide-body fenders with exposed rivets, yellow fog lamps, and a staggered set of gold Forgeline center-lock wheels measuring 20 x 10.5 in front and 20 x 13 in the back. The engine gets an upgraded turbocharger from BorgWarner along with racing-spec replacements for the exhaust manifold, downpipe, intercooler, and charge pipes. The car rides on an adjustable Air Lift 3H suspension and gets a Baer Grizzly big brake upgrade in front.

Bojix Design Mustang GT

This Mustang GT by Bojix Design should help brighten up Ford’s SEMA booth with its two-tone blue and gray paint scheme. Using Ford Performance springs and shocks, the car is lowered on Savini SV67 wheels that measure 20 x 10 up front and 20 x 11.5 in the rear. The custom pony car also gets an APR carbon-fiber front splitter and rear wing, custom lower front grille, and a front bumper, side skirts, and hood vents from Air Design. Not to be outdone by the other blown GTs on this list, Bojix Design installed a Procharger Stage 2 supercharger and a custom “supercar” exhaust with Borla mufflers. Inside, you’ll find Recaro Sportster CR seats upholstered in black leather with black stitching, a deleted rear seat, and a Kicker stereo system with 10-inch Solo-Baric L7 subwoofers.

Ford should release details on the other custom rides it will feature in its booth over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Source: Ford

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Revology Reimagines the 1968 Ford Mustang with Ferrari Leather

By | October 9, 2018

If you want to feel like Steve McQueen in the movie “Bullitt,” but want a car with a modern powertrain and creature comforts, you could go with the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. Or, if you want modern tech but with the vintage look of the 1968 Mustang, you could give Revology a call.

The Florida-based builder of licensed Mustang replicas has detailed its latest build: a ‘68 Ford Mustang fastback painted in Highland Green metallic with a gorgeous brown interior upholstered in the same leather used by Ferrari.

Built for a customer in Japan, the car is Revology’s first ’68 Mustang and its first export model to Japan. Like all of Revology’s replicas, the ’68 fastback is underpinned by a modern chassis complete with a double-A-arm front suspension, three-link rear suspension with torque arm and panhard rod, and vented disc brakes with four-piston calipers all around.

This particular build represents the company’s first use of Ford’s 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission, which required a redesigned transmission tunnel and center console. That transmission comes mated to a 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 that produces 435 hp. Should you choose the six-speed manual, however, you’d get a Gen 3 Coyote V-8 rated at 460 hp.




But the highlight of this reimagined Bullitt has to be the handcrafted leather interior. Revology says it sourced the Cuoio brown leather from the same Italian tannery that supplies Ferrari. The classy material covers just about every part of the car’s interior, including the center console, dashboard, door panels, headliner, seats, steering wheel, and trunk area.

This particular 1968 Mustang clone has of course already been sold, but Revology will happily build another one for you if you have the cash. Prices start at $180,680 for the manual, and $184,520 for the automatic.













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Revology’s 1968 Ford Mustang Replica Gets a Ferrari Leather Interior

By | October 9, 2018

If you want to feel like Steve McQueen in the movie Bullitt, but want a car with a modern powertrain and creature comforts, you could go with the 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. Or, if you want modern tech but with the vintage look of the 1968 Mustang, you could give Revology a call. The Florida-based builder of licensed Mustang replicas has detailed its latest build: a ‘68 Ford Mustang fastback painted in Highland Green metallic with a gorgeous brown interior upholstered in the same leather used by Ferrari.

Built for a customer in Japan, the car is Revology’s first ’68 Mustang and its first export model to Japan. Like all of Revology’s replicas, the ’68 fastback is underpinned by a modern chassis complete with a double-A-arm front suspension, three-link rear suspension with torque arm and panhard rod, and vented disc brakes with four-piston calipers all around. This particular build represents the company’s first use of Ford’s 6R80 six-speed automatic transmission, which required a redesigned transmission tunnel and center console. That transmission comes mated to a 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 that produces 435 hp. Should you choose the six-speed manual, however, you’d get a Gen 3 Coyote V-8 rated at 460 hp.




But the highlight of this reimagined Bullitt has to be the handcrafted leather interior. Revology says it sourced the Cuoio brown leather from the same Italian tannery that supplies Ferrari. The classy material covers just about every part of the car’s interior, including the center console, dashboard, door panels, headliner, seats, steering wheel, and trunk area.

This particular 1968 Mustang clone has of course already been sold, but Revology will happily build another one for you if you have the cash. Prices start at $180,680 for the manual, and $184,520 for the automatic.

Source: Revology













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Vietnam’s VinFast Wants to Take its BMW-Based, Italian-Styled Cars Global

By | October 5, 2018

International auto shows often serve as coming-out parties for fledgling automakers, and this year’s Paris Motor Show hosted the debut of VinFast, Vietnam’s “first volume car manufacturer,” as the company calls itself in a release. Normally we’d find the word “volume” highly suspect coming from a brand new company that has yet to produce a single car, but VinFast might have the resources to actually deliver on some of its ambitious plans.

Though it’s new to the automotive game, VinFast is by no means a startup. The company is a subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest privately held business that posted revenues of $3.9 billion in 2017. The parent company mostly deals in real estate development, operating hundreds of properties in Vietnam including shopping malls, schools, and even amusement parks. That helps put some weight behind VinFast’s plans to build a 36.1 million square-foot production facility. The company says building the plant will be one of Vietnam’s largest industrial projects to date. VinFast will initially invest $3.5 billion in the manufacturing complex, which can support a production volume of 250,000 units a year, it claims.

Construction continues on VinFast’s 828-acre plant in Hai Phong

But what vehicles will that factory churn out? In Paris, VinFast showed off two of its planned models: a midsize sport sedan and an SUV. The names aren’t catchy, with the sedan badged LUX A2.0 and the SUV LUX SA2.0, but the designs aren’t bad. That’s because VinFast commissioned sketches from famed design houses Pininfarina, Italdesign Giugiaro, Torino Design, and Zagato, then let the Vietnamese people vote on the designs they liked best. The winning sketches both came from Giugiaro, but weirdly the task fell to Pininfarina to further develop the vehicles’ styling.

You might be thinking VinFast blew all of its development money on design, but you’d be wrong. The company says it’s working with “leading” engineering and supplier partners to “ensure its cars exhibit strong Vietnamese character married with Italian design sophistication and European advanced technologies and quality.” One of those partners, according to Reuters, is BMW, which has reportedly licensed its previous-gen 5 Series and X5 platforms to VinFast for use in the LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0, respectively. BMW may have sold VinFast its leftovers, but with tuning and upgrades from car maker and engineering consultant Magna Steyr, the underpinnings might not feel as old as they are.

BMW also licensed its turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 to VinFast, which will produce the engine in-house at its plant. The turbo 2.0-liter will be offered in two states of tune, including one making 174 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, and another making 228 hp and 258 lb-ft. Both engines will be available in the sedan, while the SUV will only get the higher-output version. All engines come mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.

After it launches its first two models, VinFast plans to release a city car, battery electric car, and an electric bus. The company says all of those products are already in development. Earlier this year, General Motors and VinFast signed a licensing agreement for a new global small car that will be built at GM’s former Hanoi plant, which VinFast purchased. The car is said to go into production in 2019 and will be branded as a VinFast model.

Interior of the VinFast LUX A2.0 sedan

With its plant’s proposed production capacity of a quarter million cars a year, VinFast clearly has ambitions beyond the Vietnamese market. Though it doesn’t say which markets specifically it’s looking into, the company is targeting 2020 for its first exports. We don’t see Vietnamese cars breaking into the U.S. market anytime soon, but VinFast may be eyeing Europe given that its cars have been designed to meet Euro 5 emissions standards and are being tested for Euro NCAP performance. As the first Vietnamese automaker, VinFast can bank on buyers’ sense of patriotism and national pride in its home market. But if the company does eventually go international, it would lose that home team advantage and have to compete against established car brands with in-house-developed products. How will international customers respond to the Vietnamese newcomer’s take on European luxury? Only time will tell.

Source: VinFast, Reuters









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Timmy Hansen Wins First-Ever Nitro Rallycross

By | September 25, 2018

This past weekend’s inaugural Nitro Rallycross event added a healthy dose of four-wheel excitement to the 2018 Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. After two days of intense competition, Timmy Hansen of Sweden emerged as the winner of the first-ever Nitro Rallycross.

Held at Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park), the Nitro World Games’ new rallycross event treated spectators to a weekend of wheel-to-wheel action on a purpose-built dirt course complete with huge jumps and obstacles. Competitors piloted specially prepped rallycross cars, which ranged from vehicles you can buy in the U.S. like the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX, and Volkswagen Beetle to Europe-only models like the Audi S1 and Peugeot 208.

The competition took place over two days, and a series of heat races and qualifiers determined the lineup going into the final round on Sunday. The field included Hansen, Scott Speed, Chris Atkinson, Mattias Ekstrom, Tanner Foust, Travis Pastrana, and Steve Arpin. Despite starting on pole, Hansen was passed early on by Ekstrom, who led half of the six-lap race. On lap three, Hansen opted to use his joker, a shorter route built into the course that drivers can use once per race, to take back the lead. Ekstrom waited until the last lap for his joker, but was ultimately unable to catch his fellow Swede. Foust would take the last spot on the podium, followed by Arpin in a distant fourth place. The rest of the field, including Nitro Circus founder Pastrana, failed to finish the race after sustaining damage on the first lap. That’s rallycross for you.








If you missed out on the Nitro Rallycross action over the weekend, you can catch qualifying and the finals on Motor Trend OnDemand.

 






















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Timmy Hansen Wins First-Ever Nitro Rallycross

By | September 24, 2018

This past weekend’s inaugural Nitro Rallycross event added a healthy dose of four-wheel excitement to the 2018 Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. After two days of intense competition, Timmy Hansen of Sweden emerged as the winner of the first-ever Nitro Rallycross.

Held at Utah Motorsports Campus (formerly known as Miller Motorsports Park), the Nitro World Games’ new rallycross event treated spectators to a weekend of wheel-to-wheel action on a purpose-built dirt course complete with huge jumps and obstacles. Competitors piloted specially prepped rallycross cars, which ranged from vehicles you can buy in the U.S. like the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX, and Volkswagen Beetle to Europe-only models like the Audi S1 and Peugeot 208.

The competition took place over two days, and a series of heat races and qualifiers determined the lineup going into the final round on Sunday. The field included Hansen, Scott Speed, Chris Atkinson, Mattias Ekstrom, Tanner Foust, Travis Pastrana, and Steve Arpin. Despite starting on pole, Hansen was passed early on by Ekstrom, who led half of the six-lap race. On lap three, Hansen opted to use his joker, a shorter route built into the course that drivers can use once per race, to take back the lead. Ekstrom waited until the last lap for his joker, but was ultimately unable to catch his fellow Swede. Foust would take the last spot on the podium, followed by Arpin in a distant fourth place. The rest of the field, including Nitro Circus founder Pastrana, failed to finish the race after sustaining damage on the first lap. That’s rallycross for you.

If you missed out on the Nitro Rallycross action over the weekend, you can catch qualifying and the finals on Motor Trend OnDemand.







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2019 Audi Q3 First Drive: Refocused

By | September 24, 2018

When Audi introduced the first-generation Q3 to Europe in 2011, it had some idea that compact crossovers were about to be the new hot commodity, but it couldn’t have predicted just how hot they would become. The first-gen Q3, developed just before Volkswagen Group’s switch to modular architectures, wasn’t originally meant for the U.S. market, but America’s insatiable appetite for sport utes prompted Audi to bring a version of it here in 2014. Though it was already an aging product by the time it arrived, the Q3 nevertheless plugged the hole in Audi’s U.S. lineup, even if competitor offerings were stronger. This time around, Audi is better prepared to meet global small CUV demand with the new MQB-based 2019 Q3.

The new model is a ground-up redesign—and it shows. Even if you’re like me and you barely remember what the old Q3 looks like, just one glance is all it takes to notice the design is now much more butch. Audi’s signature octagonal grille dominates the front end, and is flanked by a pair of LED headlights that slant inward. The body is also shapelier, with more prominent shoulders, Audi “Quattro blisters,” and a raked rear liftgate that ditches the previous model’s clamshell design.

The look isn’t the only thing that’s changed, of course. The switch to MQB also comes with increased dimensions. American product planners had a big say in the 2019 model’s development, which is one reason why it’s 3.8 inches longer and sports more SUV-like proportions. Because Americans like a big back seat, the wheelbase grows by 3.1 inches, and you feel that gain most in the second row, which also benefits from seats that slide 5.9 inches for even more legroom.

Though the U.S. was more involved with the 2019 Audi Q3, the crossover we drove in South Tyrol, Italy, was not a U.S.-market example. Still, we’re told it’s close to what the U.S. will get next year. Europe and other markets will have a range of diesel engines available, but the U.S. will only receive Audi’s venerable 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected I-4 in two states of tune. Similar in recipe to the A3 sedan lineup, the base Q3 will make 184 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, while an upgrade engine will make a VW GTI-matching 228 hp and 258 lb-ft. Both engines will come mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive. Audi says it has no plans to sell a front-drive version.




We sampled the more powerful 2.0-liter engine, which Audi expects to be the volume seller of the U.S. lineup. Despite a not-for-U.S. seven-speed dual-clutch, there was still plenty to learn about the Q3’s top engine on the winding roads of the Tyrolean Alps. Power is available almost immediately, and the engine continues to pull through the middle of the rev band before running out of steam in the higher rpms. The force-fed mill was docile and civilized when driving through the small towns that dot the region, and it was also eager to run with a little application of the throttle. Audi estimates this drivetrain combo will do 0-62 mph in 6.3 seconds. We’ll have to wait and see if our version is as quick, but if the U.S.-spec Q3’s transmission is anything like the eight-speed autos in other recent Audis, it should swap gears about as smoothly and quickly as this dual-clutch.

For a crossover, the Q3 handles surprisingly well. There’s less body roll than you might expect given the higher center of gravity, and turn-in is relatively sharp. Steering is light in comfort mode, but gets subtly heavier in Dynamic mode. In any mode, the steering feels a tad artificial, but it’s always precise. That precision was welcome on the narrower mountain roads we drove. On the highway, the ride was comfortable even on 20-inch wheels wrapped in wide, low-profile 255/40R20 Hankook summer tires, though the lack of cushioning underfoot was more noticeable as the road got rougher. Audi says a summer tire in this size will be available in the U.S., but it might not be this exact model. Our market will also get a slightly different suspension setup, with U.S.-spec models raised 0.7 inch in the front and half an inch in the rear.






Our test car also came loaded with such extras as Audi’s optional 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster and the larger of two MMI touchscreen infotainment displays. This system is essentially the same as the one in the A6 and A7 minus the lower screen used for climate control. The single screen is responsive and looks classy with its dark graphics. I like that you can access any menu within a couple taps from any screen, even when running Apple CarPlay.

The interior design is modern and attractive. In typical Audi fashion, the cockpit lines are straight and understated. Up front, the Q3 features unique floating door pulls and a mix of premium and not-so-premium materials. Some plastics feel VW-grade, which would be perfectly fine in another class of car, but here it accentuates that this is the entry point to the Audi brand. Choosing the optional Alcantara trim will help you forget that fact, as it covers the door panels and dash in a soft, rich-feeling microsuede that’s available in a variety of colors. Audi is still finalizing packages for the U.S. market, but says Alcantara will be available. All U.S.-spec Q3s will get leather seating, a panoramic roof, and a basic digital instrument cluster standard.

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Peugeot E-Legend Concept to Debut in Paris

By | September 21, 2018

For the past few years, autonomous electric concepts have been all the rage on the international auto show circuit. These forward-looking vehicles tend to have boxy or egg-shaped designs in order to maximize interior volume. But every once in a while, an automaker introduces an autonomous concept that prioritizes style over practicality. The Peugeot E-Legend is one such concept.

Set to debut at the Paris motor show early next month, the E-Legend is a modern interpretation of the 1969 Peugeot 504 Coupe. With its heavy retro styling, it’s hard not to think of the never-built Nissan IDx concept when we look at the E-Legend. Both concepts were inspired by coupes designed in the late ‘60s, so any resemblance between the two can likely be attributed to the styling trends of the era. With that said, the E-Legend looks fantastic.

The design is true to the original three-box coupe yet modern at the same time. We love that the raked C-pillar, quad headlights, and other details were retained, but also love the bulging fenders and more contoured hood. The concept measures roughly 183 inches long, 76 inches wide, and 53.9 inches tall, making it close in size to a BMW M4 but with a shorter 105.9-inch wheelbase.

The E-Legend also gets a retro-inspired interior upholstered in ’60s-chic blue silk velvet. The door panels, seat buckets, and steering wheel feature paldao wood sourced from renewable forests and finished by French furniture design firm Hervet Manufacturier. There’s also a fragrance diffuser that can fill the cabin with one of two scents crafted specifically for the E-Legend by perfume maker Ex-Nihilo.

Because this is an autonomous concept, the steering wheel is retractable. Once the wheel is stowed, the autonomous system can be set to one of two modes: Soft for comfortable cruising, or Sharp for a more “dynamic” self-driving experience. The concept also has two manual modes, including Legend and Boost. Though you have the option to drive yourself, connectivity is a major focus inside, with a giant curved central screen offering integrated video games, movies, and access to social media.

The E-Legend’s all-wheel-drive electric drivetrain makes roughly 456 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and is fed by a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Peugeot says that battery provides about 373 miles of range based on the WLTP scale and can be recharged to 80 percent in 25 minutes through fast charging. Acceleration from 0-62 mph is estimated at less than 4 seconds, and top speed is pegged at 137 mph.

We know it’s only a concept, and one from a marque that isn’t sold in the U.S. currently, but we hope this isn’t the last we see of the E-Legend.


























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Peugeot E-Legend Concept for Paris is Our Kind of Autonomous Car

By | September 21, 2018

For the past few years, autonomous electric concepts have been all the rage on the international auto show circuit. These forward-looking vehicles tend to have boxy or egg-shaped designs in order to maximize interior volume. But every once in a while, an automaker introduces an autonomous concept that prioritizes style over practicality. The Peugeot E-Legend is one such concept.

Set to debut at the Paris Motor Show early next month, the E-Legend is a modern interpretation of the 1969 Peugeot 504 Coupe. With its heavy retro styling, it’s hard not to think of the never-built Nissan IDx concept when we look at the E-Legend. Both concepts were inspired by coupes designed in the late ‘60s, so any resemblance between the two can likely be attributed to the styling trends of the era. With that said, the E-Legend looks fantastic. The design is true to the original three-box coupe yet modern at the same time. We love that the raked C-pillar, quad headlights, and other details were retained, but also love the bulging fenders and more contoured hood. The concept measures roughly 183 inches long, 76 inches wide, and 53.9 inches tall, making it close in size to a BMW M4 but with a shorter 105.9-inch wheelbase.

The E-Legend also gets a retro-inspired interior upholstered in ’60s-chic blue silk velvet. The door panels, seat buckets, and steering wheel feature paldao wood sourced from renewable forests and finished by French furniture design firm Hervet Manufacturier. There’s also a fragrance diffuser that can fill the cabin with one of two scents crafted specifically for the E-Legend by perfume maker Ex-Nihilo. Because this is an autonomous concept, the steering wheel is retractable. Once the wheel is stowed, the autonomous system can be set to one of two modes: Soft for comfortable cruising, or Sharp for a more “dynamic” self-driving experience. The concept also has two manual modes, including Legend and Boost. Though you have the option to drive yourself, connectivity is a major focus inside, with a giant curved central screen offering integrated video games, movies, and access to social media.

The E-Legend’s all-wheel-drive electric drivetrain makes roughly 456 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and is fed by a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Peugeot says that battery provides about 373 miles of range based on the WLTP scale and can be recharged to 80 percent in 25 minutes through fast charging. Acceleration from 0-62 mph is estimated at less than 4 seconds, and top speed is pegged at 137 mph.

We know it’s only a concept, and one from a brand that isn’t sold in the U.S. currently, but we hope this isn’t the last we see of the E-Legend.

Source: Peugeot


























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Travis Pastrana Gives Us the Dirt on Nitro Rallycross

By | September 21, 2018

If you’ve never seen a rallycross event before, you probably should. It’s essentially the action sports version of motorsport, with huge jumps, alternate routes, plenty of dirt, and world-class drivers who love to fly around (literally) in high-strung, rally-style cars. We caught up with the megastar of the action sports set and the driving force behind the Nitro Circus and Nitro World Games extravaganzas, Travis Pastrana, ahead of the first-ever Nitro Rallycross taking place near Salt Lake City, Utah. The motorcycle stunt king and rallycross racer gave us the lowdown on what fans can expect to see starting this Saturday.

(You can watch the Nitro Rallycross live on the Velocity channel or the Motor Trend App. Qualifiers and heat races start September 22, at 1 p.m. Pacific/4 p.m. Eastern. Semifinals and finals start September 23, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific/4:30 p.m. Eastern).

Can you give us a little background on what the Nitro Circus is all about?

Nitro Circus is basically started from a group of friends. Guys from all around the world would come and really try to learn back flips and we filmed everything. Then we got picked up on MTV. A couple of us were under the influence of Johnny Knoxville, which was a scary proposition.

Then we started our live touring show about 10 years ago and we tour pretty much every continent in a year, about 70 shows with the world’s best action sports athletes. We just started Nitro World Games three years ago, which is basically a big air action sports [event]. We were doing bigger stuff in our backyard than they could do at any of the biggest contests because our ramps were just a lot bigger. It’s been a cool ride.

Tell us more about Nitro Rallycross.

This thing is really a motorhead’s dream. We’ve gone away from the stadium because we wanted more room for motorsports. And this is the first year we’re having rally.

We’ve got first-time guys like Mattias Ekström, the 2016 World Rallycross champion, as well as Ken Block coming to race rallycross for the first time in a while. We have Scott Speed and Tanner Foust and that’s just to name a few of the guys coming out.

This track has a double 130-foot jump on the track. And that jump goes over top of a tabletop that’s underneath it, and if you don’t want to take either jump, it’s a slower route, but you can go underneath the tabletop and underneath of the jump, so there could be three cars overtop each other at the same time in in one event in one lap. This is basically taking rallycross and making it “America” style and “Nitro” style by adding huge jumps, Talladega, berms, and lots of dirt, more dirt than anywhere else. That’s really how to rallycross. This isn’t a parking lot demolition derby—it’s a full-on track.

What other big air stuff can fans expect to see?

Our ramps are twice to three times as big as any other contest. In the quarter pipe these guys will be going over 80 feet off the ground. So, that’s eight stories plus, with a 250-pound bike over their head.

We’re also adding the quarter pipe, which is the biggest quarter pipe ever made for motorcycles, so [I’m] really excited about the events and [we’ll] see what happens.

If you had unlimited budget, what event would you want to put on?

This is it. We’re living it right now. Having the rallycross this weekend has been a long time in the making. Finally, we were able to pull the trigger on it and I’m really looking forward to having an amazing event.




You can see how high Pastrana and the rest of the Nitro Rallycross drivers will fly live on the Velocity channel or the Motor Trend App. Qualifiers and heat races start September 22, at 1 p.m. Pacific/4 p.m. Eastern. Semifinals and finals start September 23, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific/4:30 p.m. Eastern.

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2019 Genesis G70 Starts at $35,895

By | September 20, 2018

Pricing for the 2019 Genesis G70 lineup has been revealed, and as predicted the model significantly undercuts its luxury sport sedan competitors. The 2019 G70 will start at $35,895 for a rear-drive 2.0T model when it goes on sale this week.

That amount of money gets you a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 making 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It also gets you an impressive list of standard features, including hands-free keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, forward collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and more. To get a comparably equipped BMW 3 Series you’d have to pay at least $10 grand more.

The 2.0T is available in six trim levels, including Advanced, Elite, Prestige, Dynamic, Sport, and Sport M/T, which starts at $38,895 and gets you a six-speed manual transmission and an extra 3 hp. That model gets a more performance-focused equipment list that includes a multi-plate limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes with performance pads, a sport exhaust system, and 19-inch alloy wheels wearing Michelin PS4 summer tires. The Sport M/T is only available in rear-drive form. On all other models, all-wheel drive is a $2,000 option—except on the $45,895 2.0T Prestige where it comes standard.

Though they both have “Sport” in the name, the Sport M/T and automatic-equipped Sport are very different trims. The 2.0T Sport builds on the Prestige model, offering a head-up display, a wireless charging pad, 360-degree camera, quilted Nappa leather seats, and a Dinamica microfiber headliner, among other premium features. That helps explain why it starts $7,000 more than the Sport M/T at $45,895. A Genesis rep told us the Sport M/T is positioned as the “purist’s” version, meant to appeal to enthusiasts with its minimalist features list that doesn’t even offer a sunroof.

If you want the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 365 hp and 376 lb-ft, you’ll need to pay at least $44,745. That price gets you a 3.3T Advanced model, which builds on the 2.0T Advanced’s standard features with a dual exhaust system, sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, onboard navigation, full LED headlights, heated and cooled leather seats, and a Lexicon 15-speaker audio system. The 3.3T is available in four trims, and all come standard with a limited-slip differential.

The 3.3T Prestige starts at $48,995 and adds a head-up display, quilted Nappa leather seats, Dinamica headliner, heated rear seats, and a 360-degree camera. Topping the range is the 3.3T Sport, which gets an adaptive suspension, copper and dark chrome exterior accents, and 19-inch alloys for $50,495. That’s just slightly more than what the mechanically similar but larger Kia Stinger tops out at.

Genesis is also offering two limited-production models at launch: the Design Special Edition and Dynamic Special Edition. Each will be limited to 400 units, and will pack the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 along with unique styling and a high level of equipment. The Design Edition is based on the 3.3T Prestige, but adds an exclusive Black Forest Green exterior paint scheme, a contrasting cream and dark green interior theme, and a steering wheel wrapped in Pasubio leather. The Dynamic Edition is based on the 3.3T Sport, but adds Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, performance brake pads, unique tuning for the adaptive suspension, upgraded cooling, and a lightweight tire repair kit to replace the spare. The Design Edition starts at $49,745 while the Dynamic Edition starts at $51,245. As with the rest of the lineup, all-wheel drive is available for an extra $2,000.

As a fledgling brand, Genesis has to try harder to stand out in the crowded luxury segment, and the Genesis G70 does just that by offering a premium, sporty driving experience at a very competitive price. Only time will tell if the G70 can lure buyers away from established brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, and Infiniti.


















































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Aston Martin Teases its Next Hypercar, Project 003

By | September 20, 2018

Aston Martin hasn’t delivered its first Valkyrie yet, but already the brand has confirmed it’s working on another hypercar. The upcoming model has been codenamed Project 003, a reference to it being the third hypercar in Aston’s current lineup behind the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Aston revealed very few details, but did say the new hypercar will be mid-engine and “limited to 500 coupe examples globally.” We wonder if that language is intended to leave the door open for a future topless version. In the single sketch the automaker provided (above), we don’t see much, but what we especially don’t see is much resemblance to the Valkyrie. The two cars have a bubble canopy in common, but other than that Project 003 looks completely different. It’s hard to say exactly what’s what in the minimalist sketch, but the wheels may be completely covered for aerodynamic purposes. Aston says the car will use active aero to achieve “outstanding levels of downforce in a road-legal car.”

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

Project 003 will utilize a lightweight structure and will be powered by a turbocharged gas-electric hybrid engine. In addition, it will get an active suspension. But a pure track car Project 003 will not be. Aston says the car will have space for luggage and will be designed to be usable on the road as well as the track. The car will be offered in all markets in both left- and right-hand drive when it arrives in late 2021.

“It was always the intention for the Aston Martin Valkyrie to be a once-in-a lifetime project,” said Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer in a release. “However, it was also vital to us that Valkyrie would create a legacy: a direct descendant that would also set new standards within its own area of the hypercar market, creating a bloodline of highly specialized, limited-production machines that can exist in parallel with Aston Martin’s series production models. I’m thrilled to announce that this car is the Project 003, and our next step into a dynamic and exacting arena.”

This jibes with what the CEO told us in Geneva earlier this year, when he said Aston would create two limited series vehicles each year. Here’s hoping that means we’ll see a One-77 or Vulcan successor one day.

The tease has only just begun for Project 003, so stay tuned as we learn more details about Aston Martin’s next hypercar.

The post Aston Martin Teases its Next Hypercar, Project 003 appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Aston Martin Project 003 is Brand’s Next Hypercar

By | September 20, 2018

Aston Martin hasn’t delivered its first Valkyrie yet, but already the brand has confirmed it’s working on another hypercar. The upcoming model has been codenamed Project 003, a reference to it being the third hypercar in Aston’s current lineup behind the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Aston revealed very few details, but did say the new hypercar will be mid-engine and “limited to 500 coupe examples globally.” We wonder if that language is intended to leave the door open for a future topless version. In the single sketch the automaker provided (above), we don’t see much, but what we especially don’t see is much resemblance to the Valkyrie. The two cars do have a bubble canopy in common, but other than that Project 003 looks completely different. It’s hard to say exactly what’s what in the minimalist sketch, but the wheels may be completely covered for aerodynamic purposes. Aston says the car will use active aero to achieve “outstanding levels of downforce in a road-legal car.”

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

Project 003 will utilize a lightweight structure and will be powered by a turbocharged gas-electric hybrid engine. In addition, it will get an active suspension. But a pure track car Project 003 will not be. Aston says the car will have space for luggage and will be designed to be usable on the road as well as the track. The car will be offered in all markets in both left- and right-hand drive when it arrives in late 2021.

“It was always the intention for the Aston Martin Valkyrie to be a once-in-a lifetime project,” said Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer in a release. “However, it was also vital to us that Valkyrie would create a legacy: a direct descendant that would also set new standards within its own area of the hypercar market, creating a bloodline of highly specialized, limited-production machines that can exist in parallel with Aston Martin’s series production models. I’m thrilled to announce that this car is the Project 003, and our next step into a dynamic and exacting arena.”

This jibes with what the CEO told us in Geneva earlier this year, when he said Aston would create two limited series vehicles each year. Here’s hoping that means we’ll see a One-77 or Vulcan successor one day.

The tease has only just begun for Project 003, so stay tuned as we learn more details about Aston Martin’s next hypercar.

Source: Aston Martin

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2019 Genesis G70 Starts at $35,895

By | September 19, 2018

Pricing for the 2019 Genesis G70 lineup has been revealed, and as predicted the model significantly undercuts its luxury sport sedan competitors. The 2019 G70 will start at $35,895 for a rear-drive 2.0T model when it goes on sale this week.

That amount of money gets you a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 making 252 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. It also gets you an impressive list of standard features, including hands-free keyless entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, forward collision warning with automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and more. To get a comparably equipped BMW 3 Series you’d have to pay at least $10 grand more.

The 2.0T is available in six trim levels, including Advanced, Elite, Prestige, Dynamic, Sport, and Sport M/T, which starts at $38,895 and gets you a six-speed manual transmission and an extra 3 hp. That model gets a more performance-focused equipment list that includes a multi-plate limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes with performance pads, a sport exhaust system, and 19-inch alloy wheels wearing Michelin PS4 summer tires. The Sport M/T is only available in rear-drive form. On all other models, all-wheel drive is a $2,000 option—except on the 2.0T Prestige where it comes standard.

If you want the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 365 hp and 376 lb-ft, you’ll need to pay at least $44,745. That price gets you a 3.3T Advanced model, which builds on the 2.0T Advanced’s standard features with a dual exhaust system, sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, onboard navigation, full LED headlights, heated and cooled leather seats, and a Lexicon 15-speaker audio system. The 3.3T is available in four trims, and all come standard with a limited-slip differential. The 3.3T Prestige starts at $48,995 and adds a head-up display, quilted Nappa leather seats, Dinamica microfiber headliner, heated rear seats, and a 360-degree camera. Topping the range is the 3.3T Sport, which gets an adaptive suspension, copper and dark chrome exterior accents, and 19-inch alloys for $50,495. That’s just slightly more than what the mechanically similar but larger Kia Stinger tops out at.

Genesis is also offering two limited-production models at launch: the Design Special Edition and Dynamic Special Edition. Each will be limited to 400 units, and will pack the twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 along with unique styling and a high level of equipment. The Design Edition is based on the 3.3T Prestige, but adds an exclusive Black Forest Green exterior paint scheme, a contrasting cream and dark green interior theme, and a steering wheel wrapped in Pasubio leather. The Dynamic Edition is based on the 3.3T Sport, but adds Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, performance brake pads, unique tuning for the adaptive suspension, upgraded cooling, and a lightweight tire repair kit to replace the spare. The Design Edition starts at $49,745 while the Dynamic Edition starts at $51,245. As with the rest of the lineup, all-wheel drive is available for an extra $2,000.

As a fledgling brand, Genesis has to try harder to stand out in the crowded luxury segment, and the Genesis G70 does just that by offering a premium, sporty driving experience at a very competitive price. Only time will tell if the G70 can lure buyers away from established brands like BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, and Infiniti.

Source: Genesis













































































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First SpaceX Moon Tourist Yusaku Maezawa is an Avid Car Collector

By | September 18, 2018

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been chosen as SpaceX’s first private passenger. Maezawa will fly around the moon on SpaceX’s upcoming Big Falcon Rocket in 2023. The lucky space tourist posed with SpaceX founder and fellow billionaire Elon Musk ahead of the announcement this week. Why should any of this matter to you? Because Maezawa also happens to be an avid car collector who owns some of the world’s rarest, most expensive vehicles.

Maezawa founded the online retail fashion company Zozo, which offers among other things a service called Zozosuit that lets customers self-measure themselves at home and mail away for a custom-fit suit. That may not sound like an idea that would make you billions of dollars, but nevertheless, Maezawa landed in 18th place on Forbes’ 2018 list of the 50 richest people in Japan. The publication pegged the 42-year-old’s net worth at $2.7 billion.

It should come as no surprise that anyone with that much money would have a few expensive cars, but Maezawa’s collection includes some extremely rare pieces. According to Reuters, the Japanese billionaire owns a Bugatti Chiron—likely one of the only examples in Japan. Meanwhile, his Instagram account is filled with photos of his Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, the ultra-luxurious convertible version of the G500 4×4² that was limited to just 99 units.

Maezawa also commissioned a custom Pagani Zonda called the Zonda Zozo, but that multi-million-dollar coupe was destroyed in a crash in 2016. Losing a one-off supercar would understandably devastate any car lover, but at least Maezawa has an Aston Martin One-77, plus a Valkyrie on order, to console him.

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#pagani #zonda #zondazozo

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It’s unknown exactly how much Maezawa paid for the first commercial trip around the moon, which will include passage for himself and six to eight invited artists, but he told Reuters the cost was “much higher” than the record-breaking $110 million he paid for a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting last year. Sounds like he may have to cut back on the supercars for a while.

Source: Reuters, Forbes

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2019 Audi E-Tron First Look: Targeting Model X

By | September 18, 2018

The ominous drip-drip-drip of would-be Tesla Killers prophesied in Angus MacKenzie’s Rise of the E-Machines piece in May continues this month with Audi’s E-Tron midsize SUV. It’s expected to deliver somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 hp and 400 km (248 miles) of range thanks to its 95-kW-hr battery pack, and it’ll generally be priced above Jaguar’s I-Pace but below Tesla’s Model X.

Size-wise the E-Tron also splits the difference between the existing I-Pace and Model X, measuring 8.7 inches longer, 1.7 inches wider, and 4.2 inches taller than the Jag and 5.3 inches shorter, 5.2 inches narrower, and 1.7 inch lower than the Tesla. Its 115.1-inch wheelbase is shortest of the three. Its dimensions are close to those of a Mercedes GLE Coupe or BMW X6, including the cargo capacity with seats up or down (28.5 and 57.0 cubic feet). Within Audi’s lineup, think of it as a Q6.2.

Like its e-competitors, it packages a giant 1,543-pound, 90.0-inch-long, 63.6-inch-wide battery pack under the floor between the axles. The battery breaks some new ground and earns some patents by segregating its cooling system completely below the sealed battery compartment, with a special proprietary gel/glue material conducting the heat from the cell modules down to the aluminum coolant channels. This ensures there can never be intermingling of battery acid and coolant. The pack is also surrounded by an extruded aluminum crumple zone for added crash protection. And if one of the 36 cell modules goes bad or somehow gets damaged, it can be removed and replaced. The pack lends considerable torsional rigidity to the E-Tron’s modified MLB-evo unibody structure.




Battery cooling is critical when using the latest SAE J1772 DC fast chargers, which can jam an 80 percent level of charge into the pack in just 30 minutes at a rate of 150 kW. Overnight charging at home is enabled by the onboard 9.6-kW charger when using a 240-volt 40-amp Level 2 charger. Audi has teamed with Amazon Home Services to simplify the process of ordering and setting up a home charger, and of course after it’s set up the myAudi app eases management of charging and preconditioning the vehicle. And although it’s not quite free Supercharging for life like you can get with a Tesla, new E-Trons will come with a pre-purchase of 1,000 kW-hr of charging at Electrify America charging stations.

For now Audi is remaining tight-lipped about U.S.-spec power, torque, and curb weight, and the EPA hasn’t completed testing for the final range specs (that 248-mile estimate is from the similar Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure). In Euro trim the front and rear motors combine to produce 355 hp and 487 lb-ft in general driving, with “boost” power of 402 hp available in Sport mode when you engage the accelerator’s kickdown switch. Audi says that’ll produce a 0–60 run in 5.5 seconds en route to an electronically limited top speed of 124 mph. And like Tesla, but not Jaguar, Audi is rating the E-Tron to tow 4,000 pounds.

In normal acceleration, this first ever electric Quattro system routes power first to the rear motor, engaging the front one predictively as conditions demand. The motors are of the asynchronous type rather than permanent-magnet type, so there’s no magnetic drag torque when coasting (as the front axle usually does). The motors also earned a few patents for an innovative cooling system that routes coolant from the power-control module to the spinning rotor (a trick that requires fancy water bearings) and finally to the stationary stator. Both motors contribute to regenerative braking, which is offered at three levels, selectable via steering wheel paddles. Presuming there’s room for the energy in the battery, they can provide up to 0.3 g of braking by regen alone, after which an electrically boosted integrated brake controller blends in as much friction braking as required. Single-speed 8.4:1 reduction transaxles are used on both axles, with brake-based virtual torque vectoring at the rear. (A three-motor setup with honest-to-goodness torque vectoring has been rumored for a possible S or RS variant.)

Audi claims that by centralizing control of the traction, stability, braking, electric motors, and standard height-adjustable air suspension with variable damping into a single master controller, the E-Tron will deliver new levels of traction, stability, and handling. The system even incorporates the navigation and camera views to predictively advise the driver when to lift of the accelerator for optimum efficiency. Oh, and the standard Audi Drive Select program now offers seven profiles, including off-road settings that can raise the body ride height by 1.4–2.0 inches above standard ride height.

Style-wise the E-Tron looks way tamer and more mainstream than the I-Pace, EQC, or Model X. The designers sought to telegraph its electric-ness with little cues like horizontal elements in the daytime running lights and taillamp designs that mimic battery-charge status icons. Black inserts on the door trim telegraph the battery location as the center of power in much the same way that hood bulges are used to the accentuate powerful combustion engines within. Meanwhile, its Quattro-ness is telegraphed via blisters over the wheels. Inside, the seat upholstery is sewn to look like printed circuits. A pair of tactile-feedback touchscreens like those that have rolled out on the A7 and A8 control almost everything, the 10.1-inch upper one handling the infotainment, phone, navigation, and special e-tron screens; the lower handling climate and comfort functions. Like a smartphone, the screens can be configured for various favorites and startup screen functions. Speaking of climate control,

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“World’s Greatest Drag Race: A Legacy of Speed” Retrospective to Air Monday

By | September 14, 2018

Motor Trend has been drag racing cars since we published our first issue in September 1949, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2011 that we arguably had our best idea yet: World’s Greatest Drag Race, a spectacle that brings some of the hottest high-performance cars together for one epic sprint. With 12 of the world’s fastest cars lined up and ready to launch when World’s Greatest Drag Race 8 premieres on Friday, September 21, Velocity decided to dive deep into the background of past World’s Greatest Drag Races in a new special dubbed, World’s Greatest Drag Race: A Legacy of Speed, set to air on Monday, September 17, at 8:00 PM EST and available on MotorTrend.com/bdc.

World’s Greatest Drag Race: A Legacy of Speed aims to take you behind the scenes with your favorite editors and drivers of Motor Trend. It promises to give you a look at how surprisingly challenging it is not only to get 12 supercars together at one time but to find a place where we can run them all flat out.

The show also looks at two constants over eight years of the World’s Greatest Drag Race—the domination of the Nissan GT-R and the ever-present Porsche sports car—and examines what’s to come in the future. Just like our drag races, it’s a thrilling affair.

As Jonny Lieberman, senior features editor and host of Head 2 Head, says, “Why do we do it? Because we can.”

World’s Greatest Drag Race: A Legacy of Speed airs Monday at 8:00 PM EST on Velocity and is available to stream on MotorTrend.com/bdc. World’s Greatest Drag Race 8 premieres at the end of Best Driver’s Car Week on Friday, September 21, also on MotorTrend.com/bdc.

Watch the full show HERE starting on Monday.

 

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