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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Exotics

Porsche President Confirms a Panamera Plug-In Hybrid

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 12:10PM | By: Chris Weiss

Porsche President Confirms a Panamera Plug-In Hybrid test 1-1

On a busy first day at the helm of Porsche, new CEO and president Mathias Muller revealed that Porsche is working on a plug-in hybrid version of its Panamera hybrid. Muller told press that he had driven the prototype version of the new plug-in and called the car "very convincing." The model hasn't been confirmed for production, and Porsche is still considering its viability. The good news is that it looks like the company may be following suit of its 918 Spyder in making the plug-in Panamera a model that combines high-end performance with greener intentions.

The version of the Panamera discussed is built upon the Panamera Turbo's 500-hp 4.8-liter twin-turbo V8. The plug-in hybrid will get an unspecified electric motor in addition to that big powerplant and should be able to offer emissions-free city driving as well as electric-assisted high performance.

This new plug-in model is distinct from the non-plug-in Panamera hybrid that Porsche has been known to be working on for several years. That model will be based on the Cayenne S Hybrid's powertrain: a parallel hybrid system pairing a 333 hp supercharged 3-liter V6 and a 47 hp electric motor. In July, Porsche confirmed that the Panamera S Hybrid will launch by the end of next year. In the Cayenne, the hybrid powertrain boosts efficiency by 20 percent while delivering all-electric driving at speeds up to 31 mph.

Paris Motor Show: Lotus Blitz Includes Six New Models

On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 10:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Elan Concept test 2

If we had to think of one word to describe the Paris Motor Show, it would be "Lotus." We knew that Lotus was going to be hitting the show hard; way back on the first day of summer Lotus gave a hint that it had something big in store, and later reports indicated that Lotus was bringing four new model concepts to the show. As it turns out, Lotus bombarded the show with no less than six brand new concepts, showing that it has serious plans for the future.

CEO Dany Behar said of Lotus' future plans: "Our plan is to change Lotus from its present position as a niche sports car company to a builder of a range of premium sports cars."

New Nissan GT-R, Godzilla Attacks Paris

On: Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 9:35AM | By: Chris Weiss

New Nissan GT-R, Godzilla Attacks Paris test 1-1

In somewhat of a surprise move, Nissan showed the updated 2012 GT-R to a group of press and VIPs at the Paris Motor Show. There have been a number of leaks and spy shots of the next-gen GT-R, but this was the first official showing.

The new GT-R gets a number of very mild exterior updates concentrated in the front including the straked-out front bumper, LED running lights, and new air intakes, which lower the drag coefficient of the sports coupe. Out back, a new diffuser pulls the GT-R helps keep the car grounded.

For those that don't really pay that much attention to bumpers and diffusers, the most interesting change could be the addition of two new exterior colors: Aurora Flare Blue Pearl and Nebula Opal Black.

Unfortunately, Nissan was more than tight-lipped on mechanical and performance changes, delaying those announcements for a few weeks. In the meantime, rumors are indicating a slight boost in the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6's output thanks to upgraded turbos, a new oil cooler and exhaust system. Output is expected to jump slightly over 500 hp (up from 485 hp). The GT-R is also expected to lose about 65 lbs, so we can hope to see a very slight boost in the GT-R's already impressive numbers: 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and 195 mph top speed.

Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:55PM | By: Chris Weiss

Audi e-Tron Blows Its Lid test 1-1

We heard plenty of rumors of it coming. We even saw some sketches. And now that Paris is underway, it's officially here; the Audi e-tron Spyder made its debut on the first media day of the Paris Motor Show, giving us one more look at Audi's electric/hybrid family. And it's arguably the sexiest look yet.

The new Spyder looks just like the sketches indicate it would: stylish, exposed, wraparound glass in front and sides providing a cockpit look; sharp, angular side window lines that disappear seamlessly just beyond the doors and an R8-influenced rear-end. The front-end and sides are similar to the R4 e-tron hard-top that Audi showed at the Detroit Auto Show, with a few departures. The slats in the grille extend all the way to the edges and the car loses the vertical slats from the Detroit version. Similarly, the front air intakes have switched from vertical slats to matching horizontal slats. Certain lines also have a little more definition, like the lippy front fenders.


Lotus Esprit Concept Debuts in Paris

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:51PM | By: Chris Weiss

Lotus Esprit Concept Debuts in Paris test 1-1

It's been an exciting couple of days in the auto world thanks to pre-Paris and Paris auto show debuts all over the place. The most exciting part of the show's first day has got to be the all-new Lotus Esprit. We've been waiting for it for months and it's finally a reality--or at least a conceptual reality. While the current iteration is just a concept, Lotus has production plans for this one, with a spring 2013 production debut being quoted.

Rumors of a V10 engine are officially dead, as the new Esprit goes for the more historically accurate V8 engine--a mid-mounted Lexus IS F 5.0-liter V8 engine, to be exact. However, the new engine is more powerful than any Esprits in the past, storing 620 ponies in those 8 cylinders. Lotus also says the car is pressure charged but hasn't specified if that means turbo or superchargers. We'll just assume they'll go with turbochargers, which were used in the last Lotus before its wind-down in 2004. That engine works in tandem with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Jaguar Jumps Back in the Supercar Ring With Paris Concept

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 9:11AM | By: Chris Weiss

Jaguar Jumps Back in the Supercar Ring With Paris Concept test 1-1

Back in the early 1990s, Jaguar was among the elite of the elite in terms of high-performing supercars. For a brief time between 1992 and 1994, the company produced the XJ220, a car that held a world speed record of 217 mph for several years before the McLaren F1 broke it with its 240 mph run. Not only was the Jaguar XJ220 fast, if you look at a list of the world's fastest cars over the past 20 years or so, the XJ220 was arguably (not very arguably, in my opinion) the sexiest one of all.

Unfortunately for the auto world, while the XJ220 was a great success at the track, it was a market flop. And Jaguar abandoned the supercar segment ever since its production ended. Until today.

Lamborghini Pulls Covers Off 'Sesto Elemento' Concept After Leaked Photo

On: Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 9:37AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Pulls Covers Off 'Sesto Elemento' Concept After Leaked Photo test 1-1

Lamborghini tried its best to keep our interest piqued for its Paris show car. They released five non-revealing teaser photos as of Tuesday, and yesterday, we were expecting nothing more than the sixth and final teaser. Unfortunately, for the Raging Bull, a leaked document showing a new, unidentified Lambo next to such cars as the Audi A8 and the Porsche 911 Speedster showed up on the French Blog Automobile. And thus, Lamborghini's hand was forced into a full reveal instead of just another painful teaser.

We see now why Lamborghini was set on six teaser images: the concept is called 'Sesto Elemento' or 'Sixth Element'. The Sesto is designed to show off a refocused Raging Bull with lightweight design at its core. The coupe makes extensive use of carbon fiber beginning with a carbon monocoque chassis and working into the front frame, rims, suspension components, and body panels. Carbon fiber may be the composite of choice, but other lightweight composites like Pyrosic, a glass-ceramic material, are also used. The result is a scant curb weight (especially for a Lamborghini) of 2,202 lbs. That number is even more impressive as a metric figure: 999 kg.

The lightweight base pairs with a 570-hp V10 engine and all-wheel drive to deliver a power-to-weight ratio of 1.75 kilograms per hp. And it's quick, real quick: 62 mph comes in the same 2.5 seconds that it takes the Bugatti Veyron to complete the same, and the car still manages a very solid 218 mph top speed, despite Lamborghini's new focus on acceleration over terminal velocity. The lightweight design also helps to deliver better fuel economy, something that Lamborghini desperately needs: the Murcielago is the least fuel efficient car in the United States, delivering a measly 8/13 mpg. Lamborghini also brags about the increased handling that the lightened bull possesses.

Lamborghini Teams With Swiss Watchmaker for Gallardo LP570-4 Special Edition

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 11:53AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lamborghini Teams With Swiss Watchmaker for Gallardo LP570-4 Special Edition test 1-1

Since premium automakers like Lamborghini and high-end Swiss watchmakers, like Blancpain, can offer only so many products to corral money from the world's wealthiest consumers, sometimes they need to team up to offer something ever-so-slightly different that is "special" and "limited" enough to take another bite out of that collective cash cow. Hence, we see cars like the Gallardo LP570-4 Blancpain Edition, a car that gets some performance, exterior, and interior enhancements to make it more exclusive than those other Gallardos.

Blancpain is a sponsor of Lamborghini's Super Trofeo racing series, so the partnership on the new car is a natural extension of that relationship. The car was unveiled at the final Super Trofeo race in Vallelunga, Italy over this past weekend. The new Gallardo combines the street-legal status of other Gallardo models with a variety of performance tweaks from the Super Trofeo cars. Its 570-horsepower 5.2-liter V10 engine is the same used in the racing cars, as is the prominent rear wing and vented engine cover. Other upgrades include carbon ceramic disc brakes, Skorpius wheels, and a carbon fiber injection that includes pieces like the rear diffuser and mirror casings. The carbon fiber upgrades help to keep weight down to 2,950 lbs., nearly 500 lbs. lighter than the Gallardo LP560-4.

Lexus Considering LF-A Roadster

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:55AM | By: Chris Weiss

Lexus Considering  LF-A Roadster test 1-1

After being introduced in its production suit last year, the Lexus LF-A has quickly become the hottest gossip-maker of Toyota's luxury arm. Starring in news stories, supercar showdowns, pictorials and flute-shattering commercials all year, the LF-A goes into production later this year. Lexus plans to build just 500 examples of the $375,000 supercar and those have all but sold out. New indications are that those who miss the chance to own the Japanese rocket will soon have a second opportunity: Autoweek reports that Lexus will be following the first run of coupe production with a roadster.

According to the new report, Lexus will stick with its 500-model production run and then take a break from making the LF-A coupe. However, it will shift focus onto an LF-A roadster, with a January 2014 launch window speculated. The report indicates that Lexus may even build the roadster version in higher volumes than the coupe.

Sexy, Quick, and Electric: The Exagon Engineering Furtive e-GT

On: Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 9:22AM | By: Chris Weiss

Sexy, Quick, and Electric: The Exagon Engineering Furtive e-GT test 1-1

French racing company Exagon Engineering has its first road-ready car to show at the Paris auto show later this week. The new car is an attractive electric sports car that brings another sexy-but-green option in the vein of the Tesla Roadster and Fisker Karma.

The Furtive-eGT is a 2 + 2 two-door that measures 4.5 meters in length. Exagon worked with several prominent industry partners on developing the prototype, including Siemens Corporate Technology (engines), Saft (batteries) and Michelin (tires). The car is powered by two 168-hp electric motors and a gasoline generator that combine for a total of 500 miles of range. The car gets half that range under electric power alone.

As impressive as its electric range, is the Furtive-eGT's performance; the car uses its ever-ready torque to hit 62 mph in just 3.5 seconds. For reference, the $110,000 Tesla Roadster and its tiny, lightweight Lotus chassis don't break 60 mph until the 3.7-second mark. The Furtive also improves upon the Tesla's top-end with a rather gas-looking electronically limited 155 mph (over Tesla's 125 mph). And while, the car's all-electric range is about the same as Tesla's (245 miles), the gas generator means double the overall range, no range anxiety and several hundred miles more than the range-extending Fisker Karma, which provides about 300 total miles and 50 miles of all-electric.

Ferrari Introduces the SA APERTA, A 599 Convertible

On: Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 9:47AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Introduces the SA APERTA, A 599 Convertible test 1-1

Ferrari announced a new limited edition model last week: the SA APERTA. The new model is an open-top 599 that gets extra power and features a lightweight soft-top, making it an accessory most suited to the sunny coast or desert. Not quite as exciting as a brand-new Lamborghini, but a sexy, new model just the same, the SA APERTA will give us one more thing to look forward to at the Paris Motor Show beginning later this week. Officially, the SA Aperta is a tribute to design firm Pininfarina. The firm is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, so Ferrari will offer 80 models of the SA Aperta. And the lettering stands for "Sergio" and "Andrea" Pininfarina.

The 599 GTB Fiorano's 6.0-liter V12 engine has been tuned up to 661 hp for the special edition, a jump of 41 horses. AsAutocar points out, this modification puts it on par with the 599 GTO.