28 Jun, 2017
Jaguar XE 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 speed is a neat 200 mph, while 0-60 takes 3.3 seconds. The V8 is mated to the usual 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 for track.

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 Plus!

28 Jun, 2017
Aston 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
Volkswagen Polo Mk6

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 to Ibiza.

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
5-Series 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 hatchback.

15 Jun, 2017
McLaren 570S Spider

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
Industrial News

Koenigsegg 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
Subaru WRX 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 retuned stability 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 engine 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
607hp 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 concentrates on 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
Industrial News

Citroen 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 a new generation. BTW, the brand is still offering a C5 in China market, but it is actually another car.

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