2018 Mercedes-AMG GT-R is a 577 Horsepower Wish Come True

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Mercedes-Benz is known for ultra high performance special editions from AMG and their exclusive Black-Series line.  The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT-R is no exception to that rule.  The AMG GT-R features a twin-turbocharged engine with 577 horsepower and about every performance upgrade you could ever wish for.

We make no qualms about it,  the Mercedes-AMG GT is a fantastic car.  It’s fast, stunning, and offers blistering performance, but making it even better in every respect is without a doubt a wish come true.

The AMG GT-R gets a hand built 4.0L twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 577 horsepower, an increase of 74 horsepower over the top performing GT-S currently available.  The two turbos can build almost 20 pounds of boost (19.6 psi) which is then fed through liquid-to-air intercoolers before going inside the combustion chamber.  the engine specific to this model features a dry sump lubrication system too – perfect for the track!

The power gets transferred by a seven-speed dual clutch trans-axle that drives the rear wheels via a limited slip differential.  The GT-R also gets bespoke, lightweight 20 inch wheels with ultra high performance Michelin tires.

The suspension features advanced technology and weight reduction to make the most from the 577 horsepower.  The GT-R features rear-wheels steering, active aerodynamics, and a double-wishbone coil-over front and rear suspension.  The active aerodynamics begin working after the vehicle hits 50 mph.  The system uses a carbon fiber underbody spoiler by 1.6 inches which reduces front axle lift by 80 pounds at 155 mph.The front and rear double-wishbone suspensions use forged aluminum control arms and feature coil-over spring technology that is matched to the AMG active damping Ride Control.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT-R can hit a top speed of 198 mph.  Slowing down the car are standard 15.4 inch front and 14.2 inch rear brakes with perforated steel rotors.  Carbon ceramic brakes are optional.

 

The AMG GT-R will be available sometime in 2017.  The starting price is estimated to be well over $150,000.

 

Mazda MX-5 RF Will Be Released in 2017

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The beloved Mazda MX-5 is getting a new addition to the line up – the MX-5 RF.  The RF model features a retractable hard top targa panel that gives the MX-5 a coupe like look.  Mazda is currently taking 1000 pre-orders for Launch Editions of the MX-5 RF.

First unveiled at the New York Auto Show, the Mazda MX-5 RF represents a big departure in styling from the traditional hard and soft top MX-5.  The FR features a hard targa panel that is retractable, giving the MX-5 a rather unconventional look, especially as seen from the rear.  Mazda is hoping that this new addition to the line up increases the desirability of the model, and we believe that it certainly will.  The only question we have now?  Will this be available on the MX-5 based Fiat 124 as well?

The biggest change in design isn’t visually noticeable until your eye catches the roof line or the rear quarter panel.  The center section of the roof is retractable, and once retracted, it gives the RF a very interesting look, and one we love.  The rear windshield glass is almost fully vertical which accentuates the rear lines of the car and gives a, dare we say, aggressive look.

Mazda, via a special invention, will invite devoted MX-5 lovers to get a first shot a one of the 1,000 pre-order slots for the Launch Edition.  The Launch Edition comes fully loaded with the only option being a manual or automatic transmission.  The Launch Edition features everything you get in the Grand Touring trim with Machine Gray Metallic paint and a leather interior.

Mazda has yet to provide specific release timing or pricing, but rest assured we will let you know once that information is available.

 

2017 Porsche Panamera Is Better than Ever

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Introduced in 2009 and having sold over 150,000 units world-wide, the 2017 Porsche Panamera is all-new and better than ever before.  The Porsche 4-door gets extremely attractive fresh styling, a lighter weight body, and new technology which has improved nearly every aspect of the previous model.

The new exterior styling has dramatically improved the aesthetics of the Panamera.  One of the most notable changes is at the rear roof line which has been lowered 20mm.  The front wheel base was increased by 1.18 inches which visually lowers the car and aids in handling.   In addition, the rear tail lights have a center light strip that ties the rear end together and gives the car a uniquely Porsche appearance.  The side profile has been sculpted with sharper lines that give the vehicle a coupe-like look.  The headlights are slightly larger and can be opted with optional led lighting.  The entire exterior looks sportier, less controversial, and better proportioned.

The interior is familiar, but all-new and very advanced.  There is a new 12.3 inch central touchscreen display, and there are two 7″ LCD displays in the instrument cluster.  Many of the switches on the central console of the old model are now controlled by the touchscreens, making the interior much more streamlined.  Optional rear technology and luxury packages add rear cooled and heated seats, with an optional display as well.

Buyers will have an option to get a 2.9L twin turbo engine that generates 440 horsepower and 405 ft-lb of torque in the 4S, or a 4.0L twin-turbo eight cylinder in the Turbo.  The 4S hits 0-60 in 4.2 seconds while the Turbo gets there in just 3.4 seconds.  These figures have allowed the 2017 Porsche Panamera to be the fastest four-door vehicle around the famed Nürburgring circuit in Germany.  Either engine is available with a 8-speed PDK transmission which drives an all-wheel-drive system.

The 2017 Panamera will have a base retail price of $99,350 for the 4S and $142,350 for the Turbo.  The car will go on sale in January, 2017.

 

 

Goodbye Scion – 2017 Toyota 86 to Replace Now Defunct Scion FR-S

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It’s official! Scion has ended sales in the USA, and the Scion FR-S is being re-badged and renamed the 2017 Toyota 86.  Just like the 2017 Subaru BR-Z the Toyota 86 gets a slight power bump, new design elements for the interior/exterior, and some suspension changes to give it a sportier character.

We knew it was coming, Toyota, Scion’s parent company, had announced in early 2016 that they would be discontinuing the Scion brand due to lackluster sales.  Three Scion models were going to re-badged as Toyota models – the iA, iM, and FR-S.  The first of these three is the Toyota 86 which replaces the FR-S.

If you opt for a manual transmission, the 2017 Toyota 86 will now come with 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque which represents a power bump of 5 hp and 5 lb-ft.  If you opt for the automatic transmission, you will not get the additional power.

The exterior receives a mild freshening with a revised front bumper, LED headlamps, revised tail lights, and 86 logos on the steering wheel/fenders/headlights.  The changes are subtle but surely make the car look a lot more up to date.

The interior gets a new 4.2″ LCD display to the right of the tachometer which displays useful information like g-forces, oil temperature, water temperature, accelerator position, or even lap times!  Other changes include a multi-function steering wheel and new HVAC controls.

The buyers who opt for a manual transmission will also get a shorter gear-set in the Torsen limited-slip differential which is now set at 4.1.1 instead of 4.3.1.  A optional performance package for stick shift models includes Brembo brake calipers, larger rotors, and Sachs performance shocks.

These changes are sure to keep enthusiastic buyers interested in the 2+2 coupe rear-wheel-drive coupe.  Hopefully we will be seeing a TRD model with even more power in the future.

 

Audi to Introduce Traffic Light Countdown System on 2017 Q7 A4

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Audi is set to introduce one of the first traffic light countdown systems.  The system will display the amount of time remaining before a red light turns green.  The system does not, however, let you know when a green light is turning orange or red.  The system is called Traffic Light Information and Audi is producing the system in conjunction with Traffic Technology Services.

The vehicle to infrastructure system will display the time remaining before a red light turns green on the central instrument cluster display or heads up display on 2017 Audi A4, Q7, and Allroad models equipped with Audi Connect Prime.  The system stops the countdown close to when the light is turning green to avoid jack-rabbit starts.  It will be available in select cities across the USA.

Audi will announce what cities the system will work with closer to the roll-out of the system.  Check out the video below for more information.

 

2017 Lotus Evora Returns to the USA with Added Horsepower

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After taking a one year hiatus, the 2017 Lotus Evora 400 returns to the USA.  The 400 symbolizes the Evora’s new horsepower figure which comes courtesy of a Edelbrock supercharger added to the mid-mounted 3.5L V6 engine.  The added power doesn’t come without new creature comforts either.  The 2017 Lotus Evora also adds additional interior room and a more uxorious interior.

Lotus is back after “pausing” sales for one year.  They took this time to refine, rethink, and re-introduce the Evora to the US market.  Time was not wasted, however, as Lotus has done a lot to improve the Evora.  The biggest changes include a more powerful engine, exterior restyling, a roomier interior, added luxuriousness, and Michelin tires.

The 3.5L V6 engine is sourced from Toyota and is mid-mounted in the Evora.  Lotus has added a Edelbrock supercharger to the engine which increases horsepower by 65 hp and torque by 7 lb-ft.  Buyers will have a choice of a standard six-speed manual transmission with oil cooler, or opt for a $2700 six-speed, torque converter, paddle shift automatic transmission.  Either combination enables the 2017 Evora 400 to hit 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 186 mph.  This makes it the fastest road-going production model Lotus ever built.

The Evora 400 now runs Michelin tires instead of Pirelli rubber on the 19 and 20 inch wheels.    The suspension consists of Eibach springs and Bilstein dampers which should provide excellent road-holding capability.  The power steering is still hydraulically-assisted too – thank goodness!

The interior features thinner door panels and a enlarged footwell to provide more space to the driver and passenger.  Buyers can choose from leather or ultra-suede surfaces for the seats, steering wheel, and trim.  Additionally, buyers can opt for the removal of the air conditioning, radio, rear seats, and even a lithium ion battery to save weight.  However, expect to pay for the opportunity to do so.

Lotus fans will notice a more aggressive front bumper treatment and minor interior tweaks.  These small but noticeable changes make the Evora 400 look and feel much fresher than it’s actual age.

Group Lotus PLC says that it already has 250 pre-orders in the USA for the 2017 Lotus Evora 400.  The company has promised to release a updated Elise complete with dual-stage air bags and side impact protection shortly.

Pricing starts at $93,785 including destination for the 2017 Lotus Evora 400.

 

 

2017 Nissan GT-R Adds Refinement and Maturity

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Nicknamed by the faithful as Godzilla, the Nissan GT-R to many is the pinnacle of Japanese sports car perfection.  After nearly a ten year product run, the 2017 Nissan GT-R is getting a noticeable make-over and more refinement which Nissan hopes will bring back the essence of the the 1990s era Skyline GT-R.

Introduced in 2007, the Nissan GT-R was finally introduced to the United States.  Available elsewhere and in Japan since the 70s, the Skyline GT-R was synonymous with Japanese high performance.  Extremely strong market demand led Nissan to introduce the model the USA, and it did so with a successful sales record.

For 2017, Nissan wanted to give the GT-R a more livable personality.  The model has a notorious reputation for having amazing track capability, but lacked even the minor comfort sports car drivers demand – especially for daily driven vehicles.  The newest model gains 11 pounds but adds extra chassis rigidity and added insulation to reduce cabin noise.  Extra cushioning in the seats also provides better comfort to the driver.

The exterior gets new front and rear fascias and a revised hood, while the front headlights get a updated look with multi-projector look.  New wheels and additional air cooling ducts add to the racy look of the GT-R.  The exterior styling is a evolution and not a revolution, exactly what buyers of the GT-R expect.

Power gets a bump too.  The 3.8L twin-turbo engine now makes 20 horsepower and 4-lb/ft of torque more bringing the total to 565 hp and 467 lb/ft of torque.  0-60 acceleration time is only 2.7 seconds.

Pricing starts at $109,990, and for the hardcore GT-R enthusiast no other model will do.  While $110k is very large sum of money, the performance of the GT-R is enough to justify that hefty figure.

 

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Gets a Power Bump and New Options

The 2017 Camaro ZL1 is poised to challenge the most advanced sports coupes in the world in any measure – with unprecedented levels of technology, refinement, track capability and straight-line acceleration.

The highest performing Chevrolet Camaro is getting a horsepower increase from 640 to 650 hp.  Equivalent to the Corvette Z06, the Camaro ZL1 is sure to be on the radar of those who demand extreme performance and are willing to pay for it.  Also on offer for 2017, is the 50 Anniversary Special Edition Camaro.

We know what you are thinking, “isn’t 640 hp enough?”  The obvious answer is no, as Chevrolet has increased power output of the 6.2L Supercharged V8 engine in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to 650 hp and 650 ft/lbs of torque.  Those numbers are equal to the Corvette Z06 and actually bypass the Cadillac CTS-V which comes with 640 hp.

You can equip your Camaro ZL1 with a either a standard six-speed manual transmission (obvious choice), or opt for a 10-speed automatic transmission.  While a ten-speed automatic sounds really impressive, we’d have to stick with a 3-pedal layout.

The 2017 model also has new options on offer which include carbon fiber bits like a carbon fiber gas cap and dash inserts.  You can also opt for embroidered floor mats, or a new illuminated black bowtie emblem (option R88) special 50th anniversary edition Camaro.  The 50th Anniversary edition includes:

  •  (G7Q) Nightfall GrayMetallic exterior color
  • “FIFTY” exterior badge,
  • (56Y) 20″ 50th Anniversary machined-face aluminum wheels and center caps
  • (CJL) 50th Anniversary stripe
  • (FTJ) body-color front splitter
  • (J6L) Orange calipers (front and rear on 2SS models)
  • (H14) Jet Black/Dark Gray front leather-trimmed seating with sueded accents and Orange accent stitching,
  • (BR9) illuminated sill plates
  • 50th Anniversary treatment on seatbacks and steering wheel

 

While official pricing hasn’t been announced yet, expect the starting price to be around $60,000.  We think it’s a reasonable price for this ultra-high performing Camaro.

The 2017 Lincoln Continental Impresses with Design and Luxury

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Lincoln’s all-new for 2017 Continental is not what you would usually expect from the brand.  The new model has a decidedly European look both inside and out, and is loaded with high-tech gadgetry.  The 2017 Lincoln Continental, in the highest trim, is available with a 400 horsepower V6 giving the model performance to match it’s looks.

Lincoln threw us a curve ball.  We definitely weren’t expecting this.  At all.  The new Continental is nothing like it’s boxy, bland, and uninspiring predecessors.  This one has got style, and lot of it too.  The design is modern looking and European.  So much so, that many will mistake it for being a Volvo or Jaguar.  The exterior incorporates a lot of chrome and metal trim.  All done correctly.  The chrome grille and bumper trims along with the metal blade type door trims give the Lincoln an air of class and quality.  The rear is trimmed out with dual exhaust tips and a chrome rear bumper strip. The whole car just works and makes this the best looking Lincoln in recent memory.  The full LED lighting takes advantage of the newest technology, and the vehicle even has a welcome feature that turns on the lights and casts a Lincoln logo on the ground – another nice touch.

The base model, called the Premier, starts at a suggest retail price of $46,410 and features a 3.7 liter V6 engine that outputs 300 horsepower with front wheel drive.  All-wheel-drive is optional and adds $2,000.  Step up a notch and you will get a 2.7L turbo V6 with 335 horsepower for $51,615.  The top-of-the-line models, called the Reserve and Black Label, feature a 400 horesepower V6 with torque vectoring all-wheel-drive.  The Black Label model has a retail price of $70,030.  The base Premier model is nicely equipped with HID headlights, e-latch door handles, parking sensors, rear-view camera, 10-way heated seats, push-button start, and 18-inch wheels.

The interior of the new Continental is a very high tech and luxurious environment.  The central mounted screen allows the driver and passenger to control seat settings, HAVC controls, and the driver even controls transmission gear settings via center dash buttons.  The dash and all materials are high end, and all models include a stitched dash.  The dark wood ash inlays and chrome trim add to the luxurious environment.  This interior is by and far the best one we have ever seen in a Lincoln.

The 2017 Lincoln Continental will be available for sale starting in the fall of 2016.

 

Mercedes-Benz to Offer Pickup Truck in 2018

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That’s right, you’ll have a choice of a Mercedes-Benz the next time you are shopping for a compact truck.  The truck will be previewed at the Paris Motor Show this fall, but the Mercede-Benz pickup will be available in the fall of 2017 as a 2018 model.  It is not known whether or not the model will be sold in the US.

The truck will most likely be called the X-Class, and it will be built off a Nissan Navara platform which it will share many of it’s mechanical components.  The powerplants are expected to be Mercedes-Benz engines, and unique to the X-Class.  A gas-electric hybrid version is also in the works.

The truck will be offered in a number of configurations and styles.  Commercial variations will also be available with stripped down interiors, while consumer models will get luxurious fittings.

We will provide more news, so stay tuned!