Porsche debuts 2015-spec 919 Hybrid

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid

Porsche has been busy working away on its 2015-spec 919 Hybrid since mid-December. But the car’s first serious testing got underway at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi on the weekend.

The turbocharged 2.0 litre V4 internal combustion engine still beats at the heart of the 919, sending its power to the rear wheels. While electric power boosts performance and grip by feeding the front wheels.

The first WEC race takes place on 12 April at Silverstone in England.

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McLaren P1 GTR to debut at Geneva

McLaren P1 GTR in testing

McLaren has announced its track-focused P1 GTR will debut at the Geneva Motor Show (5–15 March).

Development of the extreme model has been continuing at racetracks in Europe and the Middle East. Production will start later this year and in the next few weeks buyers will be invited in to commence their P1 GTR Driver Programme experience.

No final specs have been revealed at this stage, however McLaren promises the P1 GTR will boast a power to weight ratio in excess of 700PS (514kW) per tonne. That represents a power increase of more than 10% compared with the standard P1. Of course, the GTR will be so much more than a more powerful P1, with the benefits of a track-only life ensuring its handling will have few compromises.

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Top Gear Series 22 starts on 25 January

Top Gear, Series 22 preview web special

Series 22 of Top Gear will premiere on BBC2 at 8pm on 25 January (UK time). There will be 10 episodes in all.

Australian readers with Foxtel can see Series 22 on BBC Knowledge from 26 January.

The three presenters have just finished a live web special where they talked through what to expect in the upcoming episodes (replay available below; starts after 6:40). BBC Knowledge gives the new series the following description:

The trio attempt to reinvent the ambulance, investigate the strange world of classic car ownership, take part in a nail-biting race across St Petersburg and set off on an epic road trip through the wilds of Australia.

[Source: BBC]

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Hockenheim to host 2015 German Grand Prix?

2014 German Grand Prix

Those of you paying attention to the 2015 Formula 1 calendar will have noticed no venue had been announced for the German Grand Prix to be held on 19 July. According to an interview with Bernie Ecclestone published by Reuters the race will be held at Hockenheim.

The 2014 race was held at Hockenheim and under the standard alternating agreement that would mean the Nürburgring would host the race this year. However, as many of you know, the Ring has been beset by financial troubles in recent years and despite the influx of Russian cash late last year its financial security is still shaky.

“It’s going to be at Hockenheim, we’re in the middle of doing something with them,” Ecclestone declared. “It can’t be Nürburgring because there’s nobody there.

“We’ve got a contract in place (with Hockenheim), we just have to amend the years of the contract. It was alternating with Nürburgring so we’ll just take that out. Providing the contract goes through as we expect it to, we’ll be in good shape.”

Earlier this week Carsten Schumacher, Nürburgring GmbH CEO, told crash.net: “Formula 1 is welcome at the Nürburgring. It provides worldwide television pictures, a positive image and would bring high sales to the region.

“However, the Formula 1 has to remain affordable. We don’t comment ongoing conversations. We will communicate this, if there is a concrete result.”

Meanwhile, Ecclestone indicated in his interview with Reuters that there had been no recent discussion with Nürburgring GmbH.

“We wanted to buy the Nürburgring, we made an offer and somebody topped us with a few dollars and bought it,” Ecclestone said.

“And then they couldn’t pay and it went on sale again. I said I’d be interested and then they found somebody else. So I don’t know what’s happening.”

[Source: Reuters]

Volkswagen unveils 2015 Polo R WRC

2015 Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Vokswagen’s WRC title defence starts next week when Rallye Monte Carlo gets underway and this is the car they will be using.

The most immediate change is the new livery, but underneath the skin the second-gen Polo R WRC has been given a thorough going over. The most notable technical change for 2015 is the introduction of steering wheel mounted paddles for changing gears; the old sequential lever gearsticks are no longer in place.

“The new Polo R WRC has undergone intense further development, both on the inside and the outside,” said Dr Heinz-Jakob Neußer, Volkswagen Board Member for Technical Development. “Not only does it look even more dynamic and sporty than it did before, but our engineers have also been working meticulously on technical innovations under the bonnet and have improved many detailed aspects of the package that has been so successful for the past two years.

“The focus of this further development was on efficiency, reliability and performance. We can hardly wait to see the new Polo R WRC in Monte Carlo and at the other twelve rallies on four continents.”

World Champion Sebastien Ogier and Jari-Matti Latvala will get their 2015-spec Polos straight away, while junior driver Andreas Mikkelsen will have to wait until the fifth rally of the year in Portugal.

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Volkswagen Group cracks 10 million annual sales

Volkswagen's Autostadt, Wolfsburg, Germany

In 2014, for the first time, the Volkswagen Group has achieved 10 million sales in a calendar year.

Across the group of companies a 4.2% increase in sales for the year resulted in 10.14 million vehicles being sold. Just 10 years ago the Group was shifting around 5 million units per year.

Volkswagen passenger vehicles make up the bulk of the sales, with the brand passing six million annual sales for the first time last year.

Audi sales across the globe increased by more than 10% and numbered 1.74 million.

Porsche managed 189,000 sales, up by a very healthy 17%, thanks in part to the launch of the Macan SUV.

Skoda reached a new high sales mark, passing 1 million sales for the first time. An increase of almost 13% on the previous year’s sales.

All this means that the Group’s Strategy 2018 is well underway to being achieved.

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It’s lime green, it’s beautiful and you want it!

1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S

You’re looking at a 1970 Lamborghini Miura. It’s one of the most beautiful cars ever to grace the earth. And this one, chassis #4413, could be yours if you’ve got a lazy US$1.5 million burning a hole in your pocket.

The car featured here is Lot 113 in the upcoming Gooding & Company auction to be held at Scottsdale this weekend.

There are some truly stunning cars up for grabs, but none more so than this near perfect Miura.

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Harris goes nutty over Tuthill Porsche

Chris Harris drives the Tuthill Porsche RGT

To know the Tuthill Porsche is to love the Tuthill Porsche. Take one off the shelf 997 911 GT3 Cup car and adapt it to perform on the world rally stage in the RGT class and, well, what’s not to love?!

In the eyes of Chris Harris he couldn’t find anything to dislike. The best car he drove in 2014 he reckons. Watch the clip below to see why.

[Thanks to Tim for the tip]

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Detroit 2015: Ford GT wins design award

Ford GT

The Ford GT has edged out the Honda NSX and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe to win the EyesOn Design award for the best debut production vehicle at the NAIAS in Detroit.

Moray Callum, Ford Motor Company vice president, Design, accepted the award and said: “Ford and its employees are honored to receive this recognition. The great thing about the all-new Ford GT is that we were able to maintain the essence of the original GT40, while making it into a 21st century car. The GT’s cutting-edge technology and engineering demonstrate Ford’s commitment to performance and innovation in every aspect of our business.”

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Detroit 2015: Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS

Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS

What do you get if you cross a Porsche 911 Targa 4 with a 911 Carrera GTS? Well, a 911 Targa 4 GTS, of course!

This variation will stand at the top of the Targa model line and gives you a cool retro roof and 316kW to play with. It’ll spit you out to 100km/h in 4.3 seconds (ugh, that’s slower than the Cayenne Turbo S) and has a top speed beyond 300km/h.

The Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS goes on sale down under in the second quarter of 2015 and is priced from $305,300.

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Detroit 2015: Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Just in case anyone cares, Porsche has launched a Turbo S version of its Cayenne behemoth at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The super SUV boasts 419kW/800Nm thanks to its 4.8 litre biturbo V8, which is rather impressive. Even more so is the fact (or claim) that it can lap the Nordschleife in under eight minutes.

If you want to buy one in Australia, start getting $284,700 together and turn up to your local Porsche dealer sometime after March.

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Detroit 2015: Ford GT

Ford GT

Ford surprised a few by rocking up to Detroit with this very rad looking GT. Awesome, another iconic V8 from the masters of V8 making. This is gonna be good.

Well, you see, here’s the thing, this new bad ass looking GT isn’t actually powered by a V8 at all. Rather its power comes from a nancy boy hippy loving EcoBoost V6. A vee-bloody-six.

I don’t care if they’ve stuck two turbos on the damn thing, or that it produces 600hp+, it’s a GT and it should be powered by a V8 and that’s all there is to it.

Gee, it looks good though, don’t you think?

It’ll be a long burn with production not commencing until late 2016. Deliveries should just sneak out in time to catch the 50th celebrations of the GT40’s epic 1966 win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Henry famously triumphed over Enzo by taking all three steps on the podium.

Of course, the original GT40 had a fair dinkum 7.0 litre man’s man V8 so it deserved to win at La Sarthe. This chai latte sipping hipster model is just taking the piss, right?

You reckon it will be any good?

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Detroit 2015: Honda NSX

Honda NSX

Honda, or more accurately Acura, has taken the covers off the production-ready NSX. It’s sharp, refined and looks pretty good, we think.

While we have new pictures giving us a good look at the latest “new sports experience” from the boffins at Honda we can’t bring you a lot of technical detail.

Power from the twin-turbo 75° mid-mounted V6 engine? No.*

Power from the independent electric motors driving the front wheels? No.

We can tell you the NSX has a 9-speed dual clutch transmission. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 gears. Overkill perhaps?

The Sport Hybrid system—which has three electric motors in all, two at the front, one mounted between the engine and transmission—uses its electric power to provide “zero delay” launch performance. We don’t know how fast yet, but this is going to be a fast car. It will handle well and it will reset benchmarks from what you can expect from the iconic NSX nameplate.

The new NSX will be assembled at a dedicated plant in Marysville, Ohio by 100 specially trained workers. Production commences in the third quarter of 2015 with initial deliveries before the year is out.

We’d like to know more about this car and we’re guessing you would too. For now, you’ve got everything we can get our hands on waiting for you after the break.

*We’ve been told total power is beyond 550hp/410kW during the car’s presentation at Detroit, which you can see in the videos below.

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Detroit 2015: Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Here, now in full high resolution detail, is the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. Looks pretty nice, don’t you think!

It’s powered by the same 1750cc turbocharged four cylinder from the hardtop, which means it has a peak power figure of 177kW (240hp). Torque has been beefed up a little, now up to 380Nm, up from 350Nm.

In race mode and with its 6-speed dual clutch transmission the 4C Spider can reach 100km/h in 4.1 seconds.

Alfa Romeo hasn’t declared the weight of the 4C Spider, at least, not in the material we have seen. So it will be interesting to see how much heavier this model is compared with the 895kg kerbweight of the regular 4C.

Of course, you’re going to want your 4C Spider with the special Track Package, which means you’ll get special forged aluminium wheels (18×7″ front, 19×8.5″ rear), uprated suspension, grippy Pirelli P Zero tyres, a flat bottomed steering wheel and a few carbon fibre highlights around the cabin.

You can read all about that and more after the break.

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Jaguar shows disdain for SUVs with F-Pace badge

Jaguar F-Pace bdage

Ask your car buddies if they like SUVs and almost all will say, “No, I hate them!” And yet, one in every two new vehicle sales in Australia is an SUV or light “truck”. People buy these cars. Manufacturers are clamouring over themselves to produce the newest and greatest SUV.

Jaguar will be the next to join the list by turning its C-X17 concept into a production model. But maybe Jaguar is showing it hates SUVs too. Why else would the bosses sign-off on such a crap name like F-Pace if they thought SUVs were good?

The F-Pace will go on sale in 2016. Perhaps by then people will have become used to the terrible name.

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