Aston Martin

Aston Martin and Zagato reunite

Aston Martin Zagato teaser

Back in 1961 Aston Martin combined forces with Italian coachbuilder Zagato to create the DB4GT Zagato. Now, to mark 50 years of that collaboration, history will repeat with the two companies working in partnership on a new model to be revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy on 21 May. Proving this new car will be true to its racing heritage it will race at the Nürburgring in a four hour VLN race on 28 May.

Assuming both the reveal and race bring encouraging feedback from the well-to-do-set there is a chance the new Aston-Zagato will be offered as a limited series production model.

Aston Martin Design Director, Marek Reichman explains their new ownership structure has allowed the freedom to re-unite with Zagato, “Our designers are able to collaborate with a broad spectrum of organisations and individuals to seek new and exciting ideas and inspiration due to Aston Martin’s independency.

“Working with Zagato again in 2011 is inspirational for the team – certainly DB4GT Zagato is one of my favourite ever designs as it is with many of the designers in our studio. We can create a truly modern Aston Martin interpretation which stays true to the historical routes of the relationship with Zagato.”

Aston’s press release is available after the break along with a small gallery of images showcasing the DB4GT and the DB4GT Zagato.


2010 Audi R8 GT officially announced

Audi R8 GT

Audi has just released official info on their latest R8 supercar. Badged the Audi R8 GT the car is limited to 333 examples and boasts an enhanced 5.2 litre V10 engine producing 412kW (560hp). With 100kg of weight stripped from it, the R8 GT, with standard R tronic transmission, can accelerate to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds.

Those numbers represent an improvement of 26kW and 0.3 seconds over the regular R8 V10. Other differences include a revised body kit, first seen in last week’s spy shots. You can pick it by the carbon fibre front splitter and rear diffuser. Also note the aluminium side mirror mounts and fixed rear wing. The side “flicks”on the outer front wings also give the game away, while helping to increase the GT’s downforce. Revised LED daytime running lights, now form a constant strip of light, also indicate this is a more special R8.

Weight reduction of the R8 GT was achieved in obvious areas such as lighter seats and battery, resulting in a combined saving of 40kg. Use of a thinner glass windscreen and polycarbonate elsewhere yielded a net loss of 9kg. Carbon fibre reinforced plastic body panels also saved over 13kg of precious weight. The level of detail sought is impressive, though. For example, careful selection and trimming of materials for the carpets, insulation, the air intake, the braking system, the fixed rear wing and more contributed to the GT’s diet. Over 2.5kg was saved through the use of thinner sheet metal with addition cutouts, as well.

Given those weight savings it is surprising, perhaps, that few luxuries have been lost inside the cabin. Climate control and power windows you can probably excuse. But a standard navigation system and 465 watt Bang & Olufsen stereo seem a little counter-productive. The alcantara covered steering wheel is a nice touch, though. Its a shame the same can’t be said for the white dials.

The quattro all-wheel drive system sends 85 per cent of the car’s power to the rear wheels under normal driving conditions. The car’s 43:57 weight distribution and tweaks to its ESP parameters allows “spectacular, but safe, oversteer when accelerating our of a corner”. That’s what we like to see.

Wheels are 19″ in size and made from forged alloy. Up front they are 8.5″ wide, while 11″ at the back should help in getting all that power down. Carbon fibre ceramic brakes are standard in the GT, set off nicely by red anodised six pot calipers under the front wheels.

Die hard track day warriors can also option a bolt in roll cage and a four-point harness system to keep them in place.

Available in just four colours—Samoa Orange metallic, Suzuka Gray metallic, Ice Silver metallic and Phantom Black pearl effect—you can secure an R8 GT in Germany for the tidy sum of €193,000 (approx AU$280K). If the R8 GT does find its way down under, expect to pay almost double that. But, if you could, you would. Wouldn’t you?

More pics and Audi’s press release after the break.


1970s Ford GT stash uncovered in South Africa

Ford Fairmont GT stash in South Africa

Many readers will have great memories of the Australian muscle car era. The best years were the 1970s and one of the best examples of the age is the XW/XY Ford Falcon GT. Not as many of you will remember that during that era a whole bunch of Falcon GT parts were exported to South Africa where they were assembled into Fairmont GTs. Recently (or perhaps not), a large haul of Fairmont GTs was unearthed making Ford enthusiasts across the country go weak at the knees.

There were a few cosmetic difference between the Fairmont and Ford GT models, but essentially they are the same car. Indeed, in the areas that matter, these were fair dinkum Falcon GTs.

There appear to be scant facts around about the way this collection was built, but interweb rumour suggests the cars were purchased individually in South Africa with the sole intention of exporting them back “home”. The idea being, of course, that the home grown collecter market would gobble these GTs up at some profit to the importer.


BMW Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo – the rationale

BMW have gone to some rather unusual lengths to explain their rationale behind the Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo. This short film, at a touch over 3 minutes 30 seconds, tells you everything you need to know.

The clip is quirky, cute and more than a little daft, but enjoyable nonetheless.

For more on the Gran Turismo, check out the official website.

BMW Motor Shows

BMW Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo

BMW Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo

New models such as the X6 show that BMW is not afraid to tread new ground. And that’s exactly what this BMW Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo does. Also known as the Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS) this car is part wagon, part sedan and part SUV.

I have to say, regardless of whether there is a market for this car or not, it looks a hell of a lot better than the X6. At first I thought the Gran Turismo, like the X6, was another car that simply left you asking “why?”. But the more I see and read about the 5 Series Gran Turismo, the more I like it.

Perhaps, in the metal it may look a bit clunky, but in these pictures, at least, I think it looks stylish and on the pleasant side of aggressive. Although, the side profile, especially the front, is a bit too abrupt.

Featuring new LED “corona” rings for daytime running lights, a modern interpretation of the “Hofmeister kink” and a razor sharp waistline this Concept will certainly stand out on the road when it goes into production.

The car will have its full launch at the Geneva Auto Salon, however an extensive press release and twenty more images can be seen after the jump. You can also watch a 34 minute recording of the live reveal from last Friday by clicking HERE (note: will resize your browser window).

I’d love to hear what you think, so please leave some comments below.

UPDATE 16 Feb: New release from BMW Australia added below.


2009 Renault Clio III Phase 2 promo video

As the title says. For more info on the Renault Clio III Phase 2 update read today’s earlier entry.

News Renault

Renault Clio III enters phase 2

Renault Clio III Phase 2 GT

Renault have just revealed images of the updated Renault Clio III. The Phase 2 update, including the all new GT model in these pics, will be revealed in full at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show next month.

The first iteration of the Clio III was a much greater design success than the previous model, which was a bit of a mish mash it has to be said. Looking at these new pics of the updated Clio III, it seems as though Renault is returning to that mish mash look, with the squared off grille being at odds with the rest of the car.

Oddly, even though images of the Phase 2 update have been revealed in GT model form, there is nothing else available at this stage confirming  engine or performance specs. For there is one thing certain, it doesn’t matter what the Clio looks like, it is a damn fun car to drive.

The other notable feature with the upgrade s the Carminat TomTom GPS navigation system. The fully integrated screen will cost less than £500 (AU$1100) and promises to be easy to update.

Although, judging by the lateness with which the first Clio III arrived in Australia, and then only in Renaultsport guise, it is unlikely we’ll be seeing this Phase 2 Clio III in Australia any time soon.

More pics and press material after the jump.