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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The Geneva Motor Show always plays host to a throng of exciting ultra-high-performance automobiles and this year’s installment was no exception. Lamborghini revealed its sultry new Huracán, McLaren unwrapped the alluring 650S and even Pagani’s outlandish Zonda Revolución made a showing. But the folks in Maranello, Italy were not to be out done.
After a two-decade absence lusty Italian brand Alfa Romeo is coming back to the United States but not all Fiat dealers will be allowed to sell these exotic sports cars.
Most car enthusiasts would argue that the best supercar ever made was the McLaren F1. Since it’s launch back in 1994, many rivals had seen it as a benchmark for performance, but few have been able to best it.
In the world of ultra-exclusive Italian sports cars, the Maserati GranTurismo S MC Sport Line is rarer than most. Only 12 examples were made, all of which were pearl white and were to be sold only in the Middle East.
The reason why only twelve exist was to commemorate the number of titles Maserati has won in the FIA GT Championship. It also happens to be the exact number of Maserati dealerships in this oil-rich region.
Now it seems that one of the owners decided to have his repainted matte-red and has produced a video celebrating his V8 powered beast. The video is shot in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), and is tastefully done. If you like videos where the exhaust note does most of the talking, you’ll enjoy the video below.
There was a time, not so long ago, when Porsche decided they didn’t need to participate at the North American International Auto Show because Detroit, Michigan wasn’t the right demographic market for their products.
Oh, how times have changed. Not only has Porsche returned to the venue, but they are staging a World Premiere of one of their most important models, the latest 911 Cabrio (991 Coupe pictured above).
Those who will be in Detroit (that includes us) will be the first to lay eyes on the drop-top version of the 991-generation model Cabriolet.
Bernhard Maier, a Porsche AG board of management member for sales and marketing said; “The USA is and remains an important market for Porsche with good growth prospects. Detroit was deliberately chosen for the world premiere of the new 911 Cabrio because the USA is far and away our largest 911 Cabrio market.”
The latest generation of 911 will go on sale on our turf next month, with the Cabrio following a few months later. So if you’re rich and you know it, you now know when to visit your local area Porsche dealer.
Over the last two-decades, BMW has given us quite a few “Z” cars. There was the chic Z3 that James Bond helped unveil in the movie “Golden Eye,” followed by the sinfully pretty Z8 (also used in a Bond flick; The World Is Not Enough), which was penned by Henrik Fisker (yes, the same guy who went on to design some Aston Martin‘s and then started his own car company).
More recently, we have seen two-generations of the Z4 model, and while there was a Z9 concept car, when it eventually went into production, it became the 6-series.
In North America, very few know about the car that started the whole “Z”-line of cars at BMW. The very first model to wear this alphabet was appropriately called the Z1.
Like all the “Z” cars that went into production, the Z1 is a front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-seater sports car. Unlike all other “Z” cars (or any other production car for that matter), the Z1 had doors that would drop down into the sills. Yes, getting in and out is a bit more challenging than usual due to the high sills, but it is worth it for the reaction it causes in public. Plus you can park in a tight spot and not worry about being able to swing open the door. The doors would move up and down via an electric motor, so no muscle power is needed.
Speaking of muscle, the Z1 was powered by the familiar 2.5-liter, straight-six cylinder engine, that can be found in other BMW models. This engine produces just 168-hp and 161 lb/ft of torque, which is not a lot for a car that weighs 3200-lbs. Power was fed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox. According to BMW, this sleek roadster took 9.0-seconds to accelerate from 0-62 mph, and would top out at 137 mph. Not slow, but not nearly as fast as it looks.
During its two-year production run from March 1989 to June 1991, BMW made just 8000 examples of the Z1, well short of their target of producing 35,000 copies initially.
Nowadays, the Z1 is considered to be a rare, modern classic, and finding one for sale in North America (a market where it was never officially sold) is extremely difficult.
But we have found a clean example sitting in Calgary, AB., Canada. This black on grey and charcoal example has covered about 20,600-miles. The seller has not provided much else information, and has mentioned a wrong engine size in the ad. The asking price is CAN$29,999, which equals to $29,400 in our currency at today’s exchange rate.
So if you’ve always wanted a Z1, or just want a car with disappearing doors, you can check out the ad yourself in the source link below.
AutoGuide’s spy photographers caught an updated version of the Ferrari California testing near Ferrari’s home base of Maranello, Italy and our photographers noted that an unusual whistling sound – possibly that of a turbocharger, was heard emanating from the engine bay.
Ferrari hasn’t done a turbo V8 since the psychotic F40 of the 1980′s, and given the California’s reputation as a bit of a hairdresser’s car, the addition of some extra juice might not hurt. The mysterious hump in the car’s hood may also point to some kind of forced induction system. Given that the California has been out for a few years now, it seems like the timing is right for an aesthetic refresh and a power boost as well.
GALLERY: Ferrari California Refresh
Ferrari‘s been making a big push to promote the winter driveability of their cars, even going as far as to set up a winter driving school in Colorado featuring their new, AWD Ferrari FF.
Now Ferrari has released a video of their rear-drive California tearing up the slopes in St. Moritz, Switzlerland. It’s actually a pretty uninspiring video as far as hooning and speed go, but seeing any Ferrari driving on a snowy course is a novelty.
Hit the jump to see the video
The Ferrari 458 Italia Spider will retail for a starting price of $257,000 when it goes on sale in January of 2012. The 458 Spider features a retractable aluminum hardtop rather than the soft top of previous Ferrari Spiders.
The new system weighs 55 lbs less than a soft top and takes only14 seconds to deploy. The Spider is expected to hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds thanks to its 4.5L 570 horsepower V8 and 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. Like other Spiders, the 458 costs about 15 percent more than its hardtop counterpart, and Ferrari expects owners $60,000 in options alone.
[Source: Automotive News]
Even though the accuracy of Nurburgring records has been debunked ad nauseaum, the low-IQ crowd still seems to take some stock in their veracity – or maybe they just need a lot of visual stimulation. Either way, the Dodge Viper ACR has apparently set a new lap record for the Nurburgring, and there exists video “proof” of this miraculous non-event.
The Viper Club of America has pandered to these folks by releasing video of the event (below the jump) which is really not all that exciting – although we do get some cool V10 sounds towards the end. Nonetheless, the slick production should hopefully convince any holdouts that these Nurburgring lap time runs are just contrived marketing ploys and nothing more.
Hit the jump to watch the video of the Dodge Viper ACR Nurburgring Lap Record
Ferrari is launching their first winter driving school on American school in January, 2012, with the aptly named Winter Driving Experience in Aspen, Colorado. Participants will get to use the all-wheel drive Ferrari FF 4-seater, and conduct a variety of driving exercises on both snow and ice.
Ferrari didn’t announce further details regarding specifics of the program, but expect it to cost big bucks and resemble Porsche’s excellent Camp4 program.
After decades of borrowing powertrains from Ford, Renault, Toyota and other OEMs, Lotus has revealed some of the first pictures of a working engine, designed and built in-house.
From the photo released on Facebook, the engine appears to be a DOHC V8 with a racy looking intake plenum and airbox setup, similar to an Italian supercar engine. No word on whether individual throttles, direct injection or any sophisticated technologies will be employed.
Expect to see the engine in products like the upcoming flagship Esprit, assuming those vehicles actually make it to market.
Given all the attention the Lamborghini Aventador has been getting of late, it would seem that it’s older sibling, the Gallardo has been left out in the cold.
Well, Laborghini has decided to give the smaller car some love, bolstering the lineup with the hottest version ever; the LP 570-4 Trofeo Stradale.
Unveiled at Volkswagen’s Press Night, during the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show; the spicy new Gallardo is derived from the racers that compete in the one-make Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series, hence the name.
Key features include carbon composite aerodynamic aids that improved aerodynamics over the regular Gallardo, including a manually adjustable rear spoiler (which result in a three-fold increased downforce); as well as improving stability through the corners.
There’s also a quick release, race car style engine cover ; plus a 570 horsepower mid-mounted V-10; race-derrived six-speed gearbox with standard steering wheel paddles; plus a Blancpain Super Trofeo based suspension, featuring aluminum double wishbones at all four corners. Monster brakes with eight piston front and four-piston rear calipers plus aluminum rotors round out the chassis features.
Riding on ultra-lightweight, black finished 19-inch wheels, shod in Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber and complimented by a Rosso Mars exterior hue with black accents (optional for the roof; standard on the spoiler , air intakes and mirror housings), the Trofeo Stradale is truly a sight to behold (Lamborghini says it will also offer the car in Grigio Telesto or Bianco Monocerus, fancy terms for gray and white, for those so inclined).
Weighing at just 1340 kg (2954 lbs), it promises to be the best performing of the breed ever; 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3.4 seconds; with a top speed of 198 mph (320 km/h). It’s shame that the company says it will only be producing 150 examples, though for the lucky few that managed to put one in their garage, there’s no question they’ll have a bonafide future collectible.
Gallery: Lamborghini Gallardo Trofeo Stradale
Despite being the only example in the world, the Maybach Exelero has been around the block a few times. First concieved as a concept car for Fulda Tires (who wanted to use the vehicle for tire testing), the Exelero then appeared in a Jay-Z video.
Since then, it has fallen into the hands of a private owner and stayed out of the hip-hop limelight, until earlier in the year when hip-hop mogul Birdman (aka Bryan Williams), responsible for launching the careers of music stars like Lil’ Wayne and Drake, claimed to have purchased the car.
According to a report by MotorAuthority, Birdman has yet to pay for the car, leaving its current owner high and dry. Birdman currently owns a rare Maybach Landaulet and a Bugatti Veyron, so the Exelero’s asking price of $8 million, while steep, isn’t too far removed from Birdman’s snack bracket.
Nevertheless, not paying up is still considered bad form, and we won’t really know until we see Birdman bragging about his newest acquisition online or in one of his videos.
[Source: Motor Authority]
With Ferrari having done away with manual transmissions already, Lamborghini is the next supercar manufacturer to follow the two-pedal trend, with the Bolognese outfit announcing that the next Gallardo will not be available with a manual gearbox, similar to its Aventador sibling.
Car enthusiasts will undoubtedly cry foul at this announcement, but Lamborghini R&D boss Maurizio Reggiani claims that as little as 1 percent of Lamborghini cars leave the factory with a stick-shift. The Gallardo is available with the proprietary e-gear sequential gearbox, while the Aventador’s new 7-speed ISR system has been universally praised by critics.
While manual transmissions are arguably more fun, Lamborghini argues that the dual purpose nature of their cars (comfortable around town, blindingly fast on the open road) can only be actualized with an automated paddle-shift transmission, stating that the manual gearbox offers an interruption in the vehicle’s various functions. We’d argue that perfection has a price, and it’s one we’re willing to pay, but customers have evidently voted with their wallets, and Lamborghini has listened loud and clear.
[Source: Motor Trend]
Photos have been released of the Porsche 911 in testing, and the photos seem to have been shot in Africa, a popular destination for many European automakers.
The lead photo in the set was released with a caption stating – “Testing is an essential part in the development of any new Porsche. It is only by taking the cars to the extremes that we can ensure that our performance and quality standards are met. This gallery offers you insight in the testing of prototypes.”
The new Porsche will be a little longer than the last one, by 2.2 inches but 4 inches in the wheelbase. The growth of the car has been linked to accommodate a possible hybrid system. The base 911 while come with a 3.4-liter flat-six and 350-hp. The Carrera S will pack a 3.8-liter cranking out 400-hp, and the Porsche will also receive a seven-speed manual transmission.
Performance numbers will be somewhat similar to the current model, with a 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds for the base Carrera topping out at 186 mph. Impressively the 991 will be 12-15 percent more fuel efficient and weigh 55 pounds less. Porsche has stated the the 991 Carrera completed the Nürburgring in 8:04, and the Carrera S in 7:50.
The Porsche 911 will makes it’s official debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show this September.
Gallery: Porsche 911 African Testing
It’s not good enough to drive the flashy car – you need the keys to go along with it. And if you’re all about the bling, Ferrari now offers car keys studded with precious metals and gemstones to make you shine.
The Bespoke Ferrari Car Key was created by S.P.Green & Co, features 1160 diamonds (a total diamond weight of 7 carats) and available through Camaél London, bringing the luxe Ferrari experience to a whole new level. You can get it customized with precious metals and gemstones if diamonds aren’t your thing. Once you’ve made your pick, the diamonds and gemstones are polished and lovingly secured onto the key. If you have other ideas for your blingtastic key, Camaél is open to your suggestions – if you’ve got the cash to back them up.
The Bespoke Ferrari Car Key will run you around $23,147 (£14,500). When a key costs that much, you’re going to want to take extra pains not to lose it. We wonder if you can insure your car keys?
[Source: Born Rich]
Bruce Wayne’s ride of choice in The Dark Night was a Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, but the Murci met an early demise halfway through the movie.
Fortunately, Wayne is fabulously rich, and if it wasn’t for the wrecked Lambo, he’d probably want the newest model anyways (who can bear being seen in last year’s model anyways?). Luckily, there’s a shiny new Aventador waiting for him. One lucky gent managed to spy the Aventador (with Gotham plates) outside what is supposedly Master Wayne’s new digs – quite a step up from his old penthouse, but equally as lavish.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Aventador Batman: The Dark Knight Rises
Watch some incredible Aventador video after the jump:
While Nobuhiro Tajima’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak has been capturing all the attention after finally breaking the sub-1o minute mark for the first time ever, but another record was set at the famed Colorado mountain this weekend in something much more accessible to mere mortals.
Legendary Porsche shoe Jeff Zwart took a 911 GT2 RS up the mountain in 11:07.869, setting a new record for street legal cars. Zwart’s time was 6 seconds behind Rod Millen’s Hyundai Genesis Coupe race car, which took the overall win in 2WD Time Attack. Zwart noted that “we fell three seconds short of beating an all-out race car that is hundreds of pounds lighter with no street safety or emission equipment,” and felt confident that the record would stand for years to come.
[Source: Motor Trend]
According to a report from Autoblog North American-spec production of the Lotus Elise and Exige will end in August, leaving the brand with only the Evora to sell as its sole product.
Since its debut in 2004 the Elise, and its hardtop Exige sibling have won accolades from enthusiasts and journalists alike, but have always been a niche product. The end of the Toyota 2ZZ engine, which powered the Elise on our shores, likely contributed to this decision.
The Elise will continue to be sold in Europe with a new 1.6L four-cylinder engine until a replacement arrives in 2015.
It’s hard to believe that the Nissan GT-R is nearing the end of its life cycle, but its introduction in 2007 means that the car will be in production for nearly 6 years, and it will be time for an updated model.
Before the next GT-R debuts, the current R35 model will go out with a bang, as Nissan is reportedly planning a power bump to 560 horsepower, a 30 horsepower increase over the current Japanese-market Spec V model. Also planned is a Spec R model, with a weight savings of as much as 88 pounds, but development of this car was reportedly disrupted by Japan’s natural disasters in March.
Engineers were said to be preparing prototypes for shipment to the Nurburgring race track in Germany, but the earthquake and tsunami forced them to push back plans for a May test date. Rumors state that testing should resume sometime around September, but we won’t hold our breath.
Hooray, the Corvette turns 60 this year! And, according to sales figures, so are its consumers.
Despite lofty performance at a discount price, the Corvette’s consumer base is aging at a rate that is worrying General Motors—particularly because young people aren’t snapping them up either. Sales of the current generation have been less than those of the fifth-gen, despite increases in power and decreases in weight and price.
“Maybe we got a little complacent,” said Harlan Charles, Corvette product marketing manager,. “Maybe we need to tell the younger generation about just how special the Corvette is.”
Given the Corvette’s stereotypical denim-jacket status as a midlife-crisis car—rivaled only by, say, Floridan real-estate developers in base-model Porsche 911 Carrera convertibles—GM is launching a full-on media assault on television and other outlets including Facebook, which is supposed to be popular with kids these days. As the seventh generation Corvette is set to be due soon, this effort should hopefully sway kids into thinking that their dad’s cars aren’t just leaf-sprung, straight-line, pig-handling, automatic-transmissioned toupee transporters in the neverending “imports rule, domestics drool” battle.
Because they’re not.
[Source: Left Lane News]
A McLaren MP4-12C was involved in a severe crash at the Nurburgring race track in Germany, prompting speculation that the car was attempting to record a lap time on the famed circuit before the first cars were delivered to customers.
Reports from Evo magazine state that the MP4-12C was travelling extremely fast around the track before the incident, and squealing tires and the sound of an impact could be heard at one point. A covered truck then apparently collected the damaged McLaren. Meanwhile, Evo spoke to a McLaren representative claimed that there was no attempted made at setting a lap time, stating ‘The run came as part of the development program. The car was out there completing laps as part of ongoing tests and wasn’t trying to set a benchmark time. At this point we’re not trying to set lap times but we’re confident that the car will be very fast around the Nürburgring when the time comes.”
The representative later claimed that the car would be analyzed at the McLaren Technical Centre in England, and that it was not a production-spec vehicle.