20 Feb, 2016
Pagani Huayra BC

When the Huayra was launched 3 and a half years ago it was a slight disappointment to those adoring the last Zonda. Basically, it was a bit too soft, too heavy and not quite as beautiful. Now the problems should be rectified by the new Huayra BC. BC stands for Benny Caiola, who was the first customer of Pagani and always gave Horace Pagani valuable opinions of what its cars should be. The Huayra BC is an overdue tribute to Caiola because he already passed away in 2010. The car is a limited edition, with 20 cars slated to be built and all found buyers already. However, there will be another batch of roadster version to follow. For a company as small as Pagani, 40 cars should be able to keep them busy for the next 2 years. Its price jumps to €2.35 million before tax, making the original Huayra a bargain at €845,000. .

So what is Huayra BC? Like Zonda R, it is the track-oriented version of Huayra, though it is road-legal. From these pictures you can see its massive aerodynamic kits, including the additional big rear spoiler that sits above the existing active aero flaps and improves the style a lot. There are also massive diffusers, aggressive front splitters and winglets. The car was tested in Dallara's windtunnel to make sure plenty of downforce and minimal drag, although Pagani has not revealed any figures. Equally noticeable is the drop of ride height, which makes it probably too close to the ground for road use. Fortunately, the Huayra is always available with a front lift system to avoid scratching its nose.

You may notice the wheels get larger in these pictures. They are 20-inch up front and 21-inch at the rear, each an inch larger than before. The rubbers have been switched from Pirelli P Zero to stickier P Zero Corsa. The rear tires get 20 mm wider at 355. For track works, Pirelli will offer P Zero Trofeo R rubbers.

The AMG 6.0 twin-turbo V12 used by BC is more powerful than ever. AMG is still working on its final specifications. Pagani said it will deliver at least 750 hp, and probably up to 800 hp, compared with 730 hp on the standard car. Maximum torque should range betwen the existing 738 lbft and 811 lbft. Needless to say, it will comply with EU 6 and all the latest emission standards. We just hope the engine could reduce turbo lag.

Even at the lower end of the promised output, the Huayra BC should be much faster than the standard car because, at 1218 kg dry, it is 132 kg lighter. How is this achievable? The new titanium exhaust saves 7 kg (and delivers lower back pressure and better sound). The new, very thin-spoke APP forged alloy wheels cut 9 kg. The bodywork is made of a new kind of carbon-fiber material that is 50 percent lighter yet 20 percent stronger. The control arms of the double-wishbone suspensions are now made of HiForg instead of Avional, in addition of optimized shape they are 25 percent lighter than before.

The chassis remains relatively conventional compared with other supercars. It employs Ohlins passive dampers (though adjustable by tools). Xtrac develops a new version of 7-speed automated manual gearbox which sits transversely behind the V12. Its redesigned electro-hydraulic actuation system and new carbon fibre synchronizers halve gearshift time from 150 ms to 75 ms and promise higher precision, but is still hopeless to match the crispness of double-clutch gearboxes.

On the plus side, the car finally gets an electronic active differential to cope with the tremendous power going through the rear wheels. The Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes also get better, including the first use of Monobloc 6-piston front calipers which are slightly lighter. Another minor improvement is the use of racing-style drive shafts with tripod CV joints, which are also lighter and more efficient. After all, Huayra BC is practically a road-legal race car.

The interior is still as beautiful as before, but it saves some extra kilograms by turning to electronic parking brake and replacing leather with suede.

17 Feb, 2016
200 mph Jaguar F-Type SVR

With 200 mph top speed, the new F-Type SVR is the fastest Jaguar since XJ220 supercar. Naturally, it is a further development from the existing F-Type R. The same 5-liter supercharged V8 is recalibrated to pump out 575 hp and 516 lbft of torque, up 25 hp and 15 lbft respectively. The 8-speed auto is also recalibrated to make faster gearshifts. With AWD fitted as standard, the SVR coupe is good for 200 mph and 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Convertible version is slightly slower at 195 mph.

The SVR also screams angrier, thanks to a new titanium-inconel exhaust that cuts a valuable 16 kg. In addition to lighter forged alloy wheels, optional carbon-ceramic brakes and carbon-fiber roof, the whole car weighs 50 kg less than the F-Type R AWD.

To cope with the higher top speed, its aerodynamics is improved. An adjustable rear spoiler and revised undertrays cut both drag and lift (sorry, it still generates lift). New louvers on the bonnet help improving engine cooling.

Both front and rear tires get 10 mm wider. The suspension gets revalved (adaptive) dampers, stiffer rear knuckles (to withstand added torque and g-force), and the revised anti-roll bars - narrower up front and thicker at the rear - should tame understeer better than the F-type R. However, the SVR is probably too expensive. The coupe and convertible are to start from £110,000 and £115,000 respectively. At such high prices, you can opt for a 911 Turbo, Audi R8 or AMG GT S.

17 Feb, 2016
Yet another Alpine concept

Since the last A610 ceased production 20 years ago, the Alpine name has been disappearing from the world. In recent years Renault intends to bring back the famed nameplate with a new mid-engined sports car. However, the plan takes much longer than expected to materialise. In 2012, Renault showed the A110-50 concept as an inspiration for the production coupe. At the same time, it signed an agreement with Caterham to co-develop and build the new car. Unfortunately, the partnership fell through later on. Renault took the project in-house and redesigned the car from scratch. Another concept, Alpine Celebratgion concept, was shown last year to preview the production car. Now comes yet another concept, Alpine Vision concept. According to its designer, it is about 80 percent the same as the forthcoming production car, which will go on sale in Q2 next year. The Alpine revival takes ages!

As seen from these pictures, the latest concept is not a big departure from the last concept. It just gets more refined and closer to production reality. I think the final car will need to alter only the door mirrors and increase ventilation to the engine compartment. Its exterior styling is clearly inspired by the classic A110, especially the nose and the rear window. Although Renault declines to offer any technical details, we can see it is a rather compact mid-engined sports car. It should be slightly longer than an Alfa Romeo 4C, but shorter than Porsche 718 Cayman.

Renault fails to give any technical specifications because the development is still on-going. However, the press release does confirms that 0-62 mph sprint is good for less than 4.5 seconds. Rumors said the car is likely to tip the scale at 1100 kg and powered by a 250 hp 1.8-liter turbo. The engine should be mounted transversely alongside a twin-clutch gearbox, as the combo is developed from Clio RS. A more powerful version with up to 300 hp could be offered. However, if Alpine wants to steal sales from the base Boxster/Cayman, its engine and gearbox have to be improved a lot from its existing standards. We'll need to wait for more than a year to see.

17 Feb, 2016
Lotus Elise Cup 250

Another bit-by-bit improvement by Jean-Marc Gales. The new Elise Cup 250 is the fastest ever road-going Elise, capable of 154 mph and 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. In Hethel test track, its best lap time is 4 seconds faster than its predecessor, Elise Cup 220.

The 1.8-liter supercharged engine is boosted to 246 hp, or 26 hp up, while kerb weight is reduced by 21 kg to 931 kg, thanks to lightweight items such as lithium-ion battery (-10 kg), carbon-fiber seats (-6 kg) and forged alloy wheels (-1.5 kg). A further 10 kg can be slashed if opt for carbon-fiber aero kits. The suspension is basically the same as Cup 220, but it gets stronger brake calipers and a wider set of front tires.

12 Feb, 2016
BMW M760

Although it is not exactly an M7, M760Li xDrive is the first ever 7-Series carrying the M badge. Its engine is obviously a version of the one powering Rolls-Royce Ghost and Wraith, i.e. 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12. It delivers 600 hp and 590 lbft of torque, more than Ghost but less than Wraith. Transmission is again that 8-speed ZF auto. Mated with standard 4WD (also a first for the V12 model), the car is good for 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and its top speed can be lifted from 155 mph to 190 mph if "M Driver's Package" is opted.

Although BMW didn't mention, I don't expect much modifications to its chassis. After all, goodies like self-levelling adaptive air springs, adaptive dampers, active anti-roll bars and 4-wheel steering are already available to the existing 750i.

The M760Li also offers countless of comfort, infotainment and safety equipment as standard. Now the question is, will there be a regular 760Li anymore?

8 Feb, 2016
Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Today is the first day of Chinese New Year. I wish you a great year of monkey! TVR revives and SUVs suck!

8 Feb, 2016
Ferrari FF becomes GTC4 Lusso

Although it is not a common sight on street, every time I see Ferrari FF its shape and its noise rock me. There is nothing quite like it on the market - a shooting brake with V12 power and a unique part-time 4WD system. Time goes quickly. Now the car is nearly 5 years old thus it is time to have a refresh. The FF has been facelifted and given a new name, GTC4 Lusso. Its reshaped nose, revised intakes, side vents, diffusers and new quad headlights all point to the right direction, as is the recess pressed onto the bonnet. Even though the basic profile is unchanged, it is definitely more beautiful than before.

Inside, the new car has redesigned the dashboard, especially around the center console. A new, 11.25-inch HD touchscreen replaces the laughable one of the old car. The air vents arrangement is also modified.

Under the bonnet, the familiar 6.3-liter V12 has its compression ratio lifted from 12.3:1 to 13.5:1 (like F12). This squeezes another 30 horsepower, resulting in a total of 690 hp at the same 8000 rpm, while peak torque inches up from 504 to 514 lbft at 5750 rpm. As before, the power goes through the 7-speed twin-clutch transaxle to the rear axle, or when necessary, through a front-mounted PTU to the front wheels as well. However, the GTC4 Lusso has added 4-wheel steering system like F12 tdf. Ferrari calls this combination of 4WD and 4WS as 4RM-S. In addition, Ferrari's Side Slip Control is also added for the first time. It works with the E-diff and adaptive dampers to precisely control the slip angle in bends.

In straight line, the new car is quoted the same top speed at 208 mph, but 0-60 mph is slashed by 3/10ths to 3.3 seconds, impressive for a 4-seater.

8 Feb, 2016
AutoZine Update

Manufacturer pages updated

- Sales figures of all Chinese car makers updated to 2015;
- Most other car makers updated to 2014 or 2015;
- Added Chinese car maker JAC;

8 Feb, 2016
Industrial News

Toyota kills Scion

Toyota has decided to kill its Scion brand, finally. Scion was born in 2003 as an attempt by the marketing guys of Toyota USA to attract young drivers put off by the conservative image of Toyota. It imported the funky Toyota bB and ist and rebadged for sale in the USA through dedicated outlets. Throughout the years only the tC coupe was dedicated to Scion. However, after the peak at 173,000 units in 2006, it sales volume dropped gradually. Even with the addition of iQ city car and FR-S sports car failed to turn around the trend. Recently, new cars of the Toyota brand get more stylish thus no longer need Scion to attract younger people. It will be abandoned at this coming Q3 when 2017 models arrives. The cars will be reverted to Toyota badges.

Copyright© 1997-2016 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine