• Audi RS 3 sedan gets green light for US market?

    February 18, 2016

    Audi has reportedly given the fabled RS 3 sedan a green-light, and not just for Europe.

    Plans for a North American launch were allegedly confirmed at a summit for Audi of America employees, unnamed sources told Quattro World. Nearly a year has passed since an executive hinted at such a proposition, which serves as an alternative to importing the Euro-spec hatchback to the US.

    The sedan is said to be powered by a new aluminum 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-five engine, producing more than 400 horsepower — a significant bump over the current RS 3′s 362-pony tune. The hatchback is capable of reaching 62 mph in just 4.3 seconds, eventually topping out at 174 mph.

    Audi of America president Scott Keogh has suggested an RS 3 sedan will be a “great halo car” for the US.

    The move will follow BMW into the smaller end of the sports car segment, providing a four-door rival to the M2 coupe. If the output figures prove accurate, the RS 3′s five-cylinder engine will be more powerful than the M2′s 365-horsepower 3.0-liter straight-six.

    The RS 3 is expected to be offered exclusively with a seven-speed S-Tronic transmission. It is believed to be wider than the S3 sedan (pictured), with a more aggressive front fascia and unique headlights.

    Buyers could get their first chance to pick up the new high-performance sedan late next year.

  • Techrules to show 1,030-hp turbine hybrid supercar in Geneva

    February 18, 2016

    Beijing-based automotive R&D company Techrules is preparing to show a turbine hybrid supercar at the Geneva Motor Show.

    Known as the Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV), the car uses a turbine range-extending generator to charge onboard batteries. The setup is claimed to be good for 1,030 horsepower and a range of over 1,240 miles.

    The claims will certainly raise a few eyebrows, however the company is not the first to consider turbines as a power source for automobiles. General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota have worked on turbine-powered cars, though early examples all used the turbine to mechanically drive the wheels.

    Turbines are not viewed as an ideal form of mechanical drive system, due to throttle lag and reduced efficiency when running at low rpm, however a hybrid setup allows the turbine to run at its most efficient speed.

    British startup Bladon Jets has developed turbine-powered generators for telecommunications equipment, promoting the technology as lighter, smaller, more efficient, more power dense and cleaner than gasoline- or diesel-engine alternatives.

    Bladon collaborated with Jaguar on the C-X75 Concept, powered by two micro turbines — each weighing 77 lbs and producing 94 horsepower at a constant 80,000 rpm. The turbines simply charge a battery pack, which then sends electricity to four electric motors capable of producing a combined output of 780 horsepower and 1,180 lb-ft of torque.

    Jaguar never moved forward with production plans for the C-X75, however the project is said to have been killed by the recession rather than unsurmountable manufacturing difficulties. After resolving issues with producing a tiny bladed disk (blisk) and developing micro air-film bearings, Bladon is moving forward with production plans for standalone turbine generators. Despite the focus on cellphone towers, the company is part-owned by JLR parent Tata and still appears to be interested in the automotive market.

    “Today, you see thousands of gas turbine engines produced at a cost of millions of pounds,” Bladon manufacturing director Philip Lelliott said last year. “Our vision is to turn that on its head and produce millions of gas turbine engines at a cost of thousands of pounds.”

    Techrules could announce additional details of its TREV concept ahead of the Geneva show.

  • McLaren showcases one-off P1, 675LT with extra carbon fiber

    February 18, 2016

    McLaren’s Special Operations division has crafted a one-off P1 and 675LT Spider to showcase at the Geneva Motor Show.

    The P1 is the first example to be shown to the public with a full visual carbon-fiber body, hand laid and coated in a custom ‘Lio Blue’ tinted lacquer. The treatment gives the body a color similar to traditional paint, while highlighting the carbon-fiber weave texture within.

    MSO craftspeople also outfitted the P1 with gloss-black wheels, black Alcantara seating with blue contrast stitching, and a 24-karat gold plated exhaust shield that pays homage to the iconic McLaren F1.

    The 675LT Spider is making its public debut after selling out in just two weeks. Like the P1, the example heading to Geneva has been upgraded with plenty of customized carbon-fiber accoutrements. It has been finished in Ceramic Grey with visual carbon front bumper end plates, side skirts, side intakes and rear bumper elements.

    The flagship P1 recently finished its production run of just 375 units, while the 675LT Spider is limited to 500 units globally. The cars heading to Geneva serve to promote MSO customizations available on McLaren’s lesser models with higher production numbers, including the 650S and entry-level 570S.

  • Spied: 2017 Porsche 911 R

    February 18, 2016

    Porsche’s rumored 911 R model has finally broken cover while undergoing shakedown testing in Germany.

    Billed as a more driver-focused 911, the new R is being developed in tribute to the 911 R that launched as a homologation special in 1967. Like the original, the modern day 911 R will be an extremely limited edition model with just 600 units planned.

    The 911 R will be based on the 911 GT3, but with some key changes. The GT3′s 485 horsepower 3.8L flat-six will remain, but it will be hooked to a manual transmission in the 911 R. The 911 R will also feature more subtle styling, which means the GT3′s large rear wing won’t be part of the package.

    Handling should be more lively thanks to a set of wheels and tires that are skinnier than the units found on the GT3. The 911 R should also see a noticeable weight reduction compared to the GT3, despite retaining Porsche’s rear axle steering.

    Porsche has reportedly already sold all 600 units of the 911 R. Still, there’s a better chance of seeing the 2017 model than the 1967 original, of which just 23 were built.

    Look for the 2017 Porsche 911 R to make its global introduction at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show.

  • Radio Flyer offers Tesla Model S for kids [Video]

    February 18, 2016

    Tesla Motors has collaborated with toy maker Radio Flyer to build a Model S ride-on for kids.

    The diminutive Model S is claimed to be the first kids ride-on to be powered by lithium ion batteries rather than traditional lead-acid cells. The standard package comes with a 130Wh battery, while a 190Wh pack is available as a $50 upgrade.

    Buyers can choose from Midnight Silver Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic or Red Multi-Coat exterior colors, along with black or silver Turbine wheels. Like the real thing, the ride-on features working headlights and a front trunk. Kids can also connect their iPod or phone to the sedan’s stereo system.

    The single-seater is designed for kids aged three to eight years old and up to 81 pounds. For younger riders, parents can drop the top speed from 6 mph to 3 mph via a switch in the trunk.

    Radio Flyer is currently taking pre-orders for May delivery, with prices starting at $499.