|28 Jun, 2017
SV Project 8
This is the most powerful Jaguar ever, with 600 horsepower available
from a tuned 5-liter supercharged V8. The engine has been used on
various Jaguars, but this is the first time on the compact XE. Big
engine, small car, must be very fast. Yes, it is very fast indeed. Top
is a neat 200 mph, while 0-60 takes 3.3 seconds. The V8 is mated to the
ZF 8-speed automatic, but it is remapped to shift even faster.
Apart from powertrain, the car features many modifications as well. To
accommodate the big engine and its cooling parts, the nose has been
extended slightly. To accommodate the 305/30ZR20 Michelin PS Cup 2s,
wider fenders are adopted. The bonnet is made of carbon-fiber, as is
the adjustable rear wing and diffusers. Pronounced front splitter and
flat underbody contribute further to downforce, which amounts to 122 kg
at 186 mph.
The suspension is also overhauled with new knuckles (made of machined
billet), racing-style lightweight ceramic wheel bearings and adjustable
springs for 2 ride heights - the lower of which is obviously designed
There is also an optional track pack, which saves 12 kg by means of
carbon-fiber buckets and discarding rear seats. Taking place of the
latter is a semi-roll cage.
The XE SV Project 8 is developed by Jaguar's SVO (Special Vehicle
Operation) division. Only 300 units will be built, thus its price is
predictably very high at £150,000, or more than an Audi R8 V10
|28 Jun, 2017
Martin DB11 V8
Like Bentley Continental, Aston Martin is also getting a
mass-production V8 in addition to the 12-cylinder engine. The 4.0-liter
twin-turbo V8 comes from Mercedes, as the latter is a minority stake
holder and also technical partner of Aston. Sadly, the version used
here is closer to AMG GT S than E63 S. It produces 510 hp and 498 lbft
of torque, some 98 hp and 18 lbft less than the V12. However, the V8 is
lighter and shorter, thus it can improve weight and weight distribution
considerably. Overall, the V8 model is 115 kg lighter than the V12
model. Although it sacrifices only a tenth in 0-60 mph (now 3.9 sec),
top speed drops from 200 mph to 187 mph. How much does it save?
Disappointingly, at £145,000 it is only £13K cheaper than
the flagship model.
|16 Jun, 2017
The 6th generation VW Polo has been unveiled, finally replacing the
8-year-old Mk5. As expected, it is built on the new MQB A0 platform
which has been first adopted on Seat Ibiza recently. All dimensions but
height grow significantly from the old car, making it as large as a
Golf Mk4 actually. Its length has extended by 81mm to 4053mm, width
grows 63mm to 1751mm, height is reduced by 7mm to 1446mm, while
wheelbase is stretched by a massive 94mm to 2564mm, which is identical
The car's exterior design also evolves to something like the current
Golf, with crisper lines and very similar headlamps. However, it
retains the last Polo's broader shoulder line and a small rear quarter
window. The square taillights are also more Polo than Golf.
Inside, the larger cabin enjoys 15mm boost of front headroom and 30mm
more rear headroom, with more rear legroom as well. The dashboard
design looks more youthful, covered with a customizable color panel. At
the back, the boot grows 25% to 351 liters.
The engine range mirrors Ibiza:
- 1.0 MPi, 65hp or 75hp;
- 1.0 TSI, 95hp or 115hp;
- 1.5 TSI Evo, 150hp (with ACT);
- 1.6 TDI, 80hp or 95hp.
A surprise is the availability of Polo GTi from the outset. It is
powered by a larger engine this time, i.e. the Golf GTi's 2.0 TSI
engine, but detuned to 200hp. This is also what makes the Polo superior
to Seat Ibiza, whose top engine is the 150hp 1.5TSI.
|15 Jun, 2017
GT gets a new name: 6-Series GT
The outgoing 5-Series GT
(Gran Turismo) was one of the most unloved
children in BMW. Although it offered 7-Series level of space at
5-Series prices, accompanied with the convenience brought by a large
liftback, it didn't quite get on with buyers. For the second
generation, BMW has decided to abandon the old nameplate and switch to
6-Series GT. It sounds more upmarket (and should be priced higher as a
result), but the essence of the car is actually unchanged. The 6-Series
label has not injected any more sporty flavours into the car. It
remains a tall, large hatchback and, most worrying, not very handsome.
In fact, I would say it is the ugliest BMW currently on sale, since it
looks tall and bulky while without the tough pretensions of SUVs. The
fastback is not fast enough to hide its bulk, and the bonnet is set too
high. The only visual link to the 6-Series is frameless windows, but
its predecessor also had that feature.
The 6er GT is 155mm longer, 34mm wider and 59mm taller than the
5-Series sedan. Compared with 5er GT, it is longer, the same width but
21mm lower. Its 3070mm wheelbase is unchanged, or 95mm longer than the
5-Series sedan. An active rear spoiler helps the car to lower drag
coefficient to merely 0.25 for the base model.
As expected, the car shares the 5-Series' dashboard and all mechanicals
underneath, including powertrains. The 2-liter turbo of base model 630i
has been improved, producing 258 hp and 295 lbft instead of the
previous 252 hp and 258 lbft (expect will spread to other BMWs as well
soon). The 340hp 3-liter turbo of 640i and 265hp 3-liter turbo diesel
of 630d are unchanged from the 5-Series.
The name change comes at a confusing moment as BMW is replacing the
6-Series coupe, cabriolet and Gran Coupe with the new 8-Series, so the
new 6er GT will be the only 6-Series left. It will change our
perception of the nameplate, from a stylish coupe to an ugly large
|15 Jun, 2017
The 570S gets Spider version. As its carbon-fiber tub is derived with
650S, it can fit the retractable hard roof mechanism of the 650S Spider
easily. This 2-piece roof is made of sheet molding composites just like
the rest of the body. Its power mechanism takes 15 seconds to open or
close. A pair of flying buttresses are left behind the cockpit to
provide rollover protection. A vertical glass rear window can be raised
and filled between the flying buttresses, acting as wind deflector.
Thanks to the carbon-fiber tub, the loss of fixed roof does not alter
its chassis rigidity, so no reinforcement is required. The roof
mechanism does add 42 kg to the kerb weight, but McLaren keeps the same
claimed top speed and 0-60 mph time of the 570S coupe.
|15 Jun, 2017
Regera sold out
Koenigsegg has sold out all 80 Regeras it plans to build, even though
each costs US$2 million before options and tax! As a reminder, the
Regera is powered by a 1500hp hybrid powertrain and is good for more
than 250 mph. In fact, currently all Koenigsegg models have been sold
out, leaving the company nothing to sell. Seems that its sales staffs,
if any, can take an early summer leave.
|9 Jun, 2017
STi Type RA and BRZ tS
Long time no news about Subaru's performance cars. The company's STi
division has introduced 2 new models at the same time. The first is WRX
STi Type RA, which is to be offered in USA but nothing is heard for
Japan at the moment. Its engine gets stronger pistons, new cold-air
intake, higher flow exhaust and remapped ECU, librating another 5
horsepower for a total of 310 hp. The 6-speed manual gearbox gets
revised 3rd gear and a shorter throw shifter. The suspension gets
inverted front dampers and Bilstein rear dampers, in addition to
control, cross-drilled brake discs and larger, 19-inch BBS wheels
wrapped with stickier 235/35WR19 Yokohama Avan Sport tires. The car's
roof and rear spoiler become carbon-fiber. Mind you, the WRX STi is
still built on the last generation Impreza, so maybe it is time to give
it a last boost before introducing the next generation.
Meanwhile, modifications enjoyed by the BRZ tS are more subtle. The
is unchanged, so it still cries for more power and especially torque.
All changes are concentrated on the chassis, aero and cosmetic, i.e.
Sachs dampers, stiffer springs, a big carbon-fiber rear wing, a V-brace
that stiffens the engine compartment, stiffeners in the front subframe,
Brembo brakes, 18-inch wheels and new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires.
|8 Jun, 2017
Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive series
This is the first time the 911 Turbo has entered the 600hp territory.
The 911 Turbo S Exclusive series is hand-built by the company's newly
founded Exclusive division. Only 500 units will be made, although there
might be more special editions from the divison to follow. The car is
basically a slightly revised version of the Turbo S. Its overboost
function is made permanent, so it produces 553 lbft of torque from 2250
to 4000 rpm. Meanwhile, peak output is raised by 27 hp to 607 hp.
Strangely, its 0-60 mph and top speed figures are unchanged from the
Turbo S, but 0-124 mph is improved from 9.9 to 9.6 seconds.
As for chassis, the car is basically a fully equipped Turbo S, which
means nothing to write about. Instead, the Exclusive division
cosmetic upgrades, including a new front apron, reshaped rear spoiler
and round instead of square tail pipes. All cars are painted gold. The
roof and bonnet have been converted to carbon-fiber items, while the 2
black stripes running over them are actually unpainted parts of the
carbon-fiber. On the
engine lid, the ram-air scoop is also made of carbon-fiber. Inside, the
car features exclusive trims and decor. The car costs £40,000
more than the Turbo S, making it even more expensive than Ferrari
488GTB ! Crazy!
|8 Jun, 2017
C5 bye bye
Citroen has finally ended the production of its C5 in France at the
end of last month. The car has been soldiering for 9 and a half years,
but only 635,000 units were sold in total. That's why it is not getting
generation. BTW, the brand is still offering a C5 in China market, but
it is actually another car.