Archive for the ‘Sports Cars’ Category

No More What If: Mazda Bringing Out a Faster Miata

Engineers squeeze out a 17% power increase.

by on Jun.20, 2018

The 2019 Mazda Miata gets a bunch of new safety tech, but more importantly: a 17% boost in power.

The Mazda Miata has always been a “but what if…” car.

The “what if?” What if it had more power? It’s a roadster and that generally means that the car is more about the experience of driving rather than how far back are you being pressed into your seat when you push the go pedal to the floor.

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Well, Mazda’s heard enough “what ifs” apparently since it it’s now upping the power in the latest iteration of the MX-5, known casually as the Miata. Mazda’s engineers enriched Miata’s SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter engine with the goals of improved response, performance, feel and efficiency.  (more…)

Official: First Look at All-New BMW 8-Series

BMW's flagship coupe returns after two-decade absence.

by on Jun.15, 2018

This is the first BMW 8-Series since the original was abandoned in 1999.

It may be time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the big news, trackside will turn to a new street model, BMW using the annual endurance race as backdrop to reveal the long-awaited rebirth of its flagship 8-Series model.

It’s been nearly two decades since the Bavarian automaker abandoned the original 8-Series, but we got word that it would make a comeback last year with the May 2017 debut of the Concept 8 at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como. Finally, we’re getting a look at the production version.

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Like the original, the new 8-Series opts for a coupe body, albeit one with a much more modern, streamlined design. The pop-up headlights, for one thing, are gone, replaced by slim LED lamps and the automaker’s new LaserLight technology. Indeed, as you’d expect of a BMW flagship, everywhere you look the new coupe is loaded up with the latest in technology, from its optional carbon fiber roof to its self-parking system.

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Back-to-Roots Ford Mustang Raises Money for Charity

The Eagle Squadron Mustang debuts at Goodwood Festival of Speed.

by on Jun.15, 2018

The Eagle Squadron Mustang GT draws inspiration from American fighter pilots who served with the Royal Air Force in World War II.

The Ford Mustang was a hit when it was introduced in 1964. The pony car, as it became known, was emblazoned with a horse on the grille and other parts of the logo. However, Lee Iaccoca’s best-known contribution to Ford wasn’t named after a wild horse at all.

The name for company’s best-selling sports car ever was derived from the P-51 Mustang, a fighter plane from World War II … or at least that how some of the legend goes.

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However, at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, attendees will get see to a Mustang truly inspired by fighter planes and pilots: the one-off Eagle Squadron Mustang GT. (more…)

With AMR, Aston Rapide Gets a Little More Rapid

205 mph sedan is fit for street or track.

by on Jun.13, 2018

The Aston Martin Rapide AMR was first shown as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show.

Aston is no slouch when it comes to performance, but it’s in the midst of amping things up another notch with the help of its motorsports operations, Aston Martin Racing.

Appropriately, fast on the heels of the new DB11 tune-up, it’s pulling the covers off the Rapide AMR, a production version of the concept first shown at the 2017 Geneva Motors Show. If you happened to get a look at the prototype, it turns out, you’ll have a good idea what will soon be hitting the street – and the track, as many buyers will likely be finding ways to push the performance version of Aston’s sedan to its limits.

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The new performance models, Aston explained in a statement previewing the Rapide AMR, “draw a direct engineering and aesthetic link between the company’s successful race team and its road cars. As such the Rapide AMR is a sports car capable of comfortably transporting a team of race drivers to a circuit on the other side of a continent and then tackling the track when they get there.” (more…)

First Look: 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Handling and control matches power and speed.

by on Jun.11, 2018

The 2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 offers plenty of power and improved handling.

The competition in the sports car segment is hot, and Ford is one of the better automakers about finding ways to constantly improve its entry, the Mustang, on a regular basis.

Whether it’s a full makeover or simply an upgrade of its special edition vehicles like the new Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 — and the upcoming GT500 — the automaker continually ensures its legion of loyal fans are sated while drawing new fans to keep sales up over the years.

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The new GT350 has a variety improvements to keep that tradition rolling along. (more…)

Porsche Renames Mission E “Taycan” and Will Expand All-Electric Line-up

Automakers expect half of its line-up will be plug-based by 2025.

by on Jun.11, 2018

Porsche's Mission E all-electric vehicle gets a name now: Taycan. Pronounced tie-con, the new model is still going to through some tests as shown here.

Porsche’s Mission E battery-electric vehicle has a new name. It will now be called “Taycan,” which the German automaker says is the term for a “lively young horse,” in Turkish – and a reference to the horse on its corporate crest.

The new model, which is set for release early in 2019, will be Porsche’s first all-electric model, but clearly not its last, a senior company official indicating plug-in hybrids and all-electric models, like Taycan, are expected to generate half of the brand’s sales by 2025.

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The Porsche Taycan will be part of a wave of new all-electric luxury and performance vehicles set to come to market between now and the end of the decade that will take direct aim at Tesla. Jaguar is just launching its first battery-electric vehicle, the I-Pace SUV, with Audi following this year with its own BEV, a variant of its popular Q5. (more…)

FCA Planning to Plug In

After slow start, automaker reveals big plans for electrification.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The production version of this Maserati Alfieri concept will use an electrified drivetrain to launch from 0 to 60 in barely 2 seconds.

Sergio Marchionne isn’t much of a fan of battery power, or at least he hasn’t been until recently. When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles launched its first all-electric model, five years ago, the CEO actually urged motorists not to buy it, admitting FCA lost about $25,000 on every one of them.

But at the automaker’s “Capital Day,” in Milan on Friday, Marchionne and his management team were far more upbeat, announcing plans to add dozens of electrified vehicles – everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles – into the FCA line-up over the next give years.

Electrifying!

The economics still aren’t great, noted Mark Chernoby, the automaker’s head of technology compliance, but in an era of increasingly stringent emissions and mileage regulations, it’s the only real day to meet targets being set in markets as diverse as the U.S., Europe, China and Brazil. That’s all the more so as FCA continues to migrate from traditional sedans and coupes to the less efficient SUVs and CUVs that will overwhelmingly dominate its global line-up.

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More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

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The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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Trump Wants to Drive German Luxury Car Brands Out of the U.S.

Comment reportedly made during meeting with French Pres. Macron

by on May.31, 2018

An endangered species? Trump's tariffs would drive up prices for imports like the Mercedes S-Class. But Trump may try to ban them entirely.

President Donald Trump apparently wants to force German luxury car manufacturers out of the United States, reportedly telling French President Emmanuel Macron during a recent state visit that he wants to get to the point where there will be no Mercedes-Benz models driving down New York’s upscale Fifth Avenue.

While there has been no White House verification of the report that first ran in the German WirtschaftsWoche, the business magazine – like other media outlets picking up on the story – cited several U.S. and European diplomats.

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The news comes just a week after Trump ordered U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate whether automotive imports constitute a threat to the country’s national security. Such a finding would allow the president to bypass Congress under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and directly impose new tariffs which, White House sources have indicated, could jump to 25% compared to the 2.5% duties imposed on most auto imports today.

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Is Dodge Viper Set for Another Revival?

All-new version could make an appearance as early as 2019.

by on May.29, 2018

Early versions of the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe and the Viper Roadster.

The original Dodge Viper was an icon of the 1990s, even though it never came close to matching the sales of America’s other domestic sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette. Shortly after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, Chrysler finally pulled the plug on the snake, but after merging with Fiat, brought it back to life four years later, albeit to a largely indifferent market.

Fiat Chrysler has not only pulled the plug on the Viper but is in the process of converting its Detroit assembly plant into a conference center and museum. But could the Dodge Viper rise from the grave, Lazarus-like, for a second time? That appears to be a distinct possibility, at least according to several new reports.

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“A new Viper is happening,” at least according to one of those sources, Car and Driver, though, if true, we could see some distinct changes made to the once-popular snake that could take some loyalists by surprise, starting with the replacement of the distinctive V-10 engine that has been a hallmark of the nameplate since the first Viper Roadster debuted more than a quarter century ago. (more…)

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