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Whenever I land in a strange place for one of these first drives of a a new car, the first task at hand is to keep moving. Get off the plane, off the shuttle, and get out of the hotel room before jet lag lures me for “a short nap” and proceeds to take the rest of the day–the rest of the trip–hostage. I use my luggage as a human shield, dodging in quickly and walking right back out for at least an hour, to try to get some context, and some sunshine, because body clocks work better when they’re on local time.
When last we tried this, in stunning Croatia, where last we left Bentley’s GTC in the embrace of a late warm fall day, I didn’t evade the gravitational pull of the pillow quite as neatly. You’d be surprised how many Croatian TV stations stop broadcasting after 2 a.m.
For anyone doubting Pagani’s ability to launch a world class supercar the second time round, Pagani’s founder and chief designer Horacio Pagani has now confirmed that his company’s latest car, the Huayra, already has 85 confirmed orders and that production is being ramped up.
Pagani also revealed that the changes required to make the Huayra pass U.S. certification are in progress and that the first U.S.-spec cars are on track to be delivered in 2013.
European and Asian customers won’t have to wait that long as the Huayra has already been certified in most other regions and is scheduled to be delivered to its first customers in April of this year.
In fact, no less than 25 Huayras will see the light of day this year, and a further 40 will be built in 2013.
It’s finally here. The highly-anticipated successor to the 599 is the all-new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.
Revealed today in full ahead of its world debut on March 6 at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the F12 Berlinetta is not only the most powerful road car in Ferrari’s history, but the fastest too.
That’s thanks to its brand new 6.3-liter V-12 engine, which produces a peak 729 horsepower (740 in metric figures) at 8,500 rpm and 508 pound-feet of torque at 6,000 rpm.
The engine alone is a masterpiece, delivering unprecedented performance and revs for a naturally-aspirated 12-cylinder. For example, 80 percent of the F12 Berlinetta’s torque is available at just 2,500 rpm, and the revs will happily climb all the way to their 8,700 cut-off.
For several months now, Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti has been teasing us with darkened close-up shots of its first ever plug-in sports car, the Emerg-E.
Due to be unveiled at next month’s Geneva Moto Show, Infiniti has been careful to not release a full picture of the Emerg-E, but now images leaked on the Internet have given us the first proper look at its mid-engined, extended range electric car.
Looking a lot like an Audi R8 on steroids, the Emerg-E has classic supercar good looks, complete with long-sweeping nose, aggressive grille, panoramic glass roof, and huge air vents in front of the rear wheels that hint at its mid-engined heritage.
When Porsche introduced its latest-generation 991-series 911, the automaker also brought to the table an innovative seven-speed, three-pedal manual transmission.
Surely, then, the automaker believes that the conventional manual transmission has a secure place in its future, but it seems that may not be the case.
Following up on the success of last year’s new Elantra sedan, Hyundai has announced a coupe version of the Elantra, set to debut at this week’s Chicago Auto Show. Emphasizing a blend of style, content and roominess, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe hopes to pull market share from the Honda Civic and Kia Forte coupes.
Exterior styling borrows from Hyundai’s now-familiar “Fluidic Sculpture” design language, which includes the hexagonal grille, swept-back headlamps, steeply raked A-pillar and flowing character lines carried from door to rear deck.
Boosting the coupe’s appearance are wheel arch creases that simulate flared fenders, a sculpted rocker panel and a black rear diffuser offset by the car’s chrome exhaust tips. The overall look of the Elantra Coupe is best described as sporty, but refined.
While this is bad news for electric sports car fans, Tesla is promising to build a successor though it won’t be on sale for several years still.
The 2013 SRT Viper (formerly the 2013 Dodge Viper) is one of the most anticipated cars of the year, if not the decade. Today, as promised, the first tantalizing teaser image has been released on SRT’s official Facebook page, revealing just a little of the car’s front-end and in the process confirming that designers aren’t mucking around with the Viper’s DNA too much.
Some of the visible details are a twin-hump roof design, possibly incorporated to aid aerodynamics, as well as a centrally-mounted intake on the hood, and a wide, hunkered-down stance.
I have a confession to make. Sitting at the lunch table after thrashing the 2012 Camaro ZL1 on track–unrestricted, an opportunity offered to only a few of us at Firebird International Raceway, home of the Bondurant Racing School–I made a spontaneous association and foolishly blurted it out. I compared the ZL1 to the 2012 Porsche 911.
Specifically, I realized, while mentally re-visualizing the last set of laps, that from turn-in to apex, under fast entry speeds with a fair amount of trail brake, the ZL1 felt, acted, and moved almost exactly like the 2012 911 did under similar circumstances. People around the table looked at me with a mixture of surprise and disbelief, some likely making notes to self that I might, in fact, be slightly soft in the head.
Movie buffs traveling to this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be in for a pleasant surprise: among all the classic rides on display will be Natalie Wood’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL. The car will be one of several 300SLs on hand to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz’s first Le Mans win in 1952.
Unfortunately, the car doesn’t look quite the way it did when Wood owned it. “She had it painted pink,” said Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “Pink with a lipstick-red leather interior, as if driving a 300SL around Hollywood didn’t attract enough attention.”
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