• Tesla preparing Model S refresh?

    April 9, 2016

    Tesla Motors is reportedly preparing to introduce a mid-cycle update for its Model S sedan.

    The refresh is said to be aimed at streamlining Tesla’s manufacturing process and upgrading the vehicle to attract more buyers. The achieve the latter goal, the front fascia has been revised with styling cues borrowed from the Model 3 and Model X, unnamed sources have told CNET. LED headlights and new colors are also expected.

    Borrowing more technology from the Model X, the revamped sedan is also said to feature new front seats with optional heating and ventilation. Other reported interior tweaks include new storage compartments and door pockets.

    The report did not mention the rumored P100D variant. A detail buried in software code recently hinted at a new 100-kWh battery, providing even more range than the current 90-kWh pack.

    The refresh could be introduced as early as next week. The company is said to be retooling its Fremont factory for the changeover, and buyers are expected to face a higher price tag for the facelift.

  • BMW launches new car sharing service in Seattle

    April 9, 2016

    BMW has announced the U.S. launch of a new car sharing service known as ReachNow. The service will initially launch in Seattle, Washington, but BMW is hoping to roll out ReachNow to three additional cities by the end of 2016.

    ReachNow is launching with a fleet of 370 vehicles made up of cars like the BMW i3, BMW 3-Series and MINI Cooper. ReachNow users can reserve one of those vehicles via a smartphone application that is available through Apple’s App store and Google Play. BMW promises that registering for ReachNow will be snap, with the approval process taking between two and three minutes.

    “We are currently witnessing an extremely exciting period in the development of the automotive industry,” said BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer. “Our customers rightly expect uncomplicated and fast solutions to their individual mobility needs, especially in metropolitan regions. This is why we are supplementing our classic business model with additional services that make life on the road easier for people in big cities.”

    In addition to being ReachNow’s pilot city, Seattle will also serve as the location for the division’s North American headquarters.

    Like other ride sharing services, ReachNow’s fleet will be scattered throughout the city. Users can identify and rent the vehicle nearest to them via the mobile app. Users can also request a specific vehicle and have it delivered to their location. Another perk of ReachNow is that you can request a chauffeur to go along with your car, which makes the service a little like Uber. MINI owners can also rent their vehicles through ReachNow, although BMW didn’t release further details on that part of the project.

    The ReachNow service requires a one-time registration fee of $39. All vehicles are charged at the same rate — $0.49 per minute during use and $0.30 when the vehicle is parked. Rates are capped at $50 for three hours, $80 for 12 hours and $110 for 24 hours.

    BMW hasn’t hinted at which cities are next in line for ReachNow, but the company eventually plans to have the car sharing service in 10 major U.S. cities.

  • Ford Mustang now Germany’s best-selling sports car

    April 9, 2016

    Ford’s Mustang has continued to experience strong demand in Europe, rising to the top of Germany’s best-selling sports cars.

    The iconic American pony car first arrived in Germany last summer. Sales quickly accelerated, outpacing all other sports coupes in March, according to numbers published by the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

    The company sold 780 units in the month, taking a narrow lead over several native favorites including the Porsche 911, Audi TT and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe.

    “Germans have fallen in love with the Mustang,” said Ford Germany managing director Wolfgang Kopplin. “Driving a Mustang GT on the Autobahn is a one of a kind experience for people who love cars.”

    Ford significantly expanded the Mustang’s global reach when the sixth generation arrived on the market, delivering to more than 100 markets. The latest redesign includes the first right-hand-drive build for the UK, Australia and dozens of other countries.

  • Infiniti prices Q50 Red Sport 400

    April 9, 2016

    Infiniti has confirmed pricing details for the Q50 Red Sport 400 ahead of its arrival in showrooms across the country.

    Announced in December, the Red Sport range topper features a high-output twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The same engine produces 300 ponies for the midrange Q50, while a 2.0-liter turbo four delivers 208 horsepower for the entry-level model.

    Buyers will be able to purchase the Red Sport in rear-wheel-drive form for $48,855 (including $905 freight), while the all-wheel-drive edition fetches $50,855.

    The latest Q50 features sport brakes with four-piston calipers up front and two-piston clamps in the rear, along with sport-tuned suspension and the company’s next-generation Direct Adaptive Steering system. The Red Sport package is visually distinguished by unique exhaust tips and exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels, staggered for the RWD model.

    “The Q50 Red Sport 400 carves out a unique space in the sports sedan segment – with no other rival offering this much horsepower priced under $50,000,” said Infiniti Americas VP Randy Parker.

  • First drive: McLaren 675LT [Review]

    April 9, 2016

    McLaren is not an automaker with a racing program – it’s a motorsport outfit that also builds street cars, and that’s an important distinction to make. And because it dictates so much of the company’s design philosophy, when McLaren announced the limited-production 675LT as the most track-focused offering in the Super Sports series, that descriptor of road course capability carried significantly more weight than it would from a company that normally builds commuting appliances.

    But it’s also important to consider what the term “track focused” means to a company that made its name dominating road racing circuits across the globe in the Can-Am series during the 1960s. In a straight line the 675LT is only marginally quicker than the 650S it’s based on, and its top speed is actually a few mph shy of its older sibling, despite commanding a price tag that’s nearly $100,000 higher.

    Rather than chasing easily digested performance metrics, when developing the 675LT McLaren’s attention was pointed squarely at the fundamentals of competitive race car design: Reducing mass, improving aerodynamic stability, and adding mechanical grip.

    Ultimately the 675LT is still a road car though, and while inherent compromises exist in a vehicle that’s intended to play the role of both an unhinged track monster and a usable daily driver, it’s remarkable how well the 675LT manages to exceed expectation, regardless of situational context.

    Longtail pedigree
    While the original McLaren F1 was conceived as a road car, it quickly gained a reputation as a force to be reckoned with in motorsport, with the F1 GTR winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans on it first attempt in 1995. But in order to stay competitive amongst an ever-changing field, McLaren continued to develop the racer, resulting in the F1 GTR “Longtail” for the 1997 racing season.

    However, FIA homologation requirements specified that the company needed to produce a road-going version of the new racer, and that yielded the F1 GT Longtail. Just three examples of the F1 GT Longtail were built, making it among the rarest and most sought-after cars the company has built.

    While the 675LT pays homage to that car, rather than being more than two feet longer than the 650S (as the F1 GT is when compared to the standard F1), it gains just an inch and half of length, yet it boasts an active “Longtail” air brake rear wing that’s fifty percent larger than what you’d find on other Super Series models.

    It’s also lighter than the 650S, dropping more than 200 pounds by way of carbon fiber body panels, a new titanium exhaust system, light weight wheels, suspension components handed down the from the P1, and a number of other subtle weight-saving measures, resulting in a curb weight under 3,000 pounds.

    There’s more power as well. Motivating the 675LT is the same 3.8-liter, twin turbocharged V8 you’d find in the rest of McLaren’s lineup, but here more than half the engine’s components are unique to the 675LT, resulting in a peak output of 666 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, increases of 25 hp and 16 lb-ft over the 650S.

    Along with spring rates that are 27 percent stiffer up front and 63 stiffer in the rear, the 675LT certainly has the hardware to back up its claims of being an even more capable supercar than the 650S was. But track prowess and street-friendly manners usually don’t go hand in hand, and since this Mac is designed to wear a license plate, substantial effort has been made to ensure that the 675LT is also livable on a day to day basis.

    Split personality
    Like most supercars, ingress over the threshold of its one-piece carbon fiber monocoque tub is rarely a graceful operation. But once you’re situated inside the 675LT, it’s a surprisingly comfortable place to be.

    You’d be forgiven if you expected the fixed-back sport seats – which are plucked directly from the P1 – to get a bit grating during long drives. However, truth be told they managed to cradle my 6’3″ frame securely without feeling abusive during some extended stints behind the wheel. While I wouldn’t call the 675LT a grand touring machine, it’s notably more civilized than a car like the Dodge Viper ACR.

    That theme extends to the revised suspension as well. While the spring rates are stiffer, McLaren’s ProActive damping and anti-roll control system has been retuned as well, allowing for a reasonably compliant ride around town with the system in its tamest setting.

    Of course if your public streets are anything like ones found in Los Angeles, you’ll probably be taking it easy most of the time anyway, as the 675LT’s 80 percent larger carbon fiber front splitter threatens to kiss the pavement at the mere suggestion of uneven ground in front of it. But you’ll quickly realize that’s a very small price to pay after you’ve found a stretch of asphalt where you can open up the taps.

    On the road
    With a 0-60 mph sprint of 2.8 seconds the 675LT might only be a tenth of a second quicker than the 650S was, but let’s not forget that the 650S is an absurdly capable machine in its own right. As such, when you fire up the 675LT’s launch control mode and hear those turbos spool up behind you, you’d best have a lot of open road ahead because you’re about to see all of it in very quick succession. A quarter mile goes by in just 10.5 seconds, and given enough road, the 675LT will continue to accelerate all the way up 205 mph.

    Even wearing ultra-sticky Pirelli PZero Trofeo R rubber and electronically limiting torque in first gear, the 675LT still struggles to maintain grip – not only off the line, but just about any time the one buries the throttle at under 70 miles per hour or so. Fortunately, McLaren has done an excellent job tuning its traction control system – a nanny which I would suggest leaving on for all but the most seasoned supercar pilots.

    When it hooks though, you’re in for some serious fireworks. Under about 3,500 rpm, there’s not much to write home about regarding this 3.8-liter V8, but once those turbochargers wake up the effect is like being shot out of a cannon. The engine’s bellow – along with its 8,500 rpm redline – effectively plead the case for the 675LT’s new titanium exhaust system, which in turn makes some of the system’s low-speed drone in the cabin more forgivable.

    Routing that power to the rear wheels is a revamped version of McLaren’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which the company says is now capable of swapping cogs in as little as 40 milliseconds. While the gearbox in the 650S left little to complain about in terms of responsive shifting, the 675LT is even snappier, providing upshifts and downshifts that are delivered with the urgency of a bolt-action rifle when the car’s Powertrain mode is set to Sport or Track.

    If there was one grievance to be level at the transmission, it might be its programming. When left to its own devices the dual clutch is eager to climb into its highest gears, sometimes making it difficult to decide between possibly giving the car too much throttle at low speed or having to pull the left paddle numerous times in order to find the appropriate gear when you need more response as quickly as possible. Although this is likely by design in the pursuit of low-speed comfort and fuel economy, it can make the McLaren feel a bit lethargic in traffic at times.

    Still, much like the noisy carbon ceramic brakes, it’s a minor quibble in comparison to how the car performs when driven the way it was designed to be driven. This car deserves to spend as much time at the race track as possible.

    LeftLane‘s bottom line
    While the 650S was great to look at and certainly no slouch in the performance department, the 675LT improves upon it in nearly every way. Wild but capable of being corralled, compelling to gaze upon without being gaudy, and comfortable without being boring, the 675LT is perhaps the most well-rounded offering McLaren Automotive has unleashed thus far. Consider it further evidence that the Italians no longer have the supercar market cornered.

    Photos by Bradley Iger.

  • H&R-Sportfedern und Spurverbreiterungen für den Porsche 911 Turbo und Turbo S

    April 9, 2016

    H&R hat ab sofort maßgeschneiderte Sportfedern für den Porsche 911 Turbo und den Turbo S im Programm

    Die Sportfedern (393 Euro) senken die Karosserie des Porsche-Modells um 30 Millimeter vorne und hinten ab

    Mit einer Trak+-Spurverbreiterung (127 Euro) lassen sich Räder um insgesamt 30 Millimeter pro Achse nach außen rücken

    Lennestadt, 8. April 2016
    Sie besitzen einen Porsche 911 Turbo oder einen 911 Turbo S ab dem Baujahr 2013? Ja? Dann wissen Sie wahrscheinlich, wie sich mehr als 500 PS anfühlen, wenn Sie auf einen Allradantrieb losgelassen werden. In Zuffenhausen baut man unter der Typenbezeichnung 991 ziemlich perfekte Autos. Jetzt legt H&R die Latte noch einmal ein wenig höher und bietet ab sofort Sportfedern für diese beiden Modelle an.

    Mehr Fahrdynamik ohne Komfortverlust
    Die Fahrwerksspezialisten aus dem Sauerland haben perfekt auf die Seriendämpfer der Sportwagenikone abgestimmte Sportfedern entwickelt, die die Karosserie um 30 Millimeter vorne wie hinten tieferlegen. Das soll nicht nur für eine ansprechende Optik sorgen, sondern auch für den letzten Schliff an Fahrdynamik, eine verminderte Wankneigung und ein noch direkteres Einlenken – jedoch ohne nennenswerten Komfortverlust.

    Spurverbreiterungen, Teilegutachten, Preise
    Optional bietet der H&R-Teilekatalog für den Turbo und den Turbo S auch einen Satz Trak+-Spurverbreiterungen, die für einen Breitenzuwachs von 30 Millimetern pro Achse sorgen. Beide Produkte werden mit den erforderlichen Teilegutachten geliefert. Die Sportfedern kosten 393 Euro, die Spurverbreiterungen 127 Euro.

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  • Nissan GT-R Nismo driftet sich zum Guinness-Weltrekord

    April 9, 2016

    Nissan hat mit seinem GT-R Nismo einen neuen Guinness-Drift-Weltrekord aufgestellt

    Drift-Champion Masato Kawabata warf den modifizierten GT-R mit unglaublichen 304,96 km/h in die Querlage

    Die Toyo-Reifen hatten vermutlich absolute Schwerstarbeit zu verrichten

    Fuhjairah (VAE), 7. April 2016
    Nissan hat sich mit seinem Sportwagen GT-R Nismo einen neuen Eintrag ins Guinnessbuch der Rekorde gesichert. Dabei ging es tatsächlich nicht um einen neuen Bestwert auf der Nürburgring-Nordschleife, sondern um etwas weitaus Verrückteres: Der japanische Hersteller ist jetzt nämlich ganz offiziell Inhaber des Guinness-Weltrekords für den schnellsten Drift.

    Fast 50 km/h schneller
    Die erzielte Geschwindigkeit beim Rekord-Drift lässt einem dann auch wirklich kurz den Atem stocken. Denn Fahrer Masato Kawabata, derzeit Führender in der japanischen Driftmeisterschaft, warf einen von Nippon-Tuner GReddy Trust modifizierten Nissan GT-R Nismo mit sage und schreibe 304,96 km/h in die Querlage. Damit schlug er den bestehenden Rekord des Polen Jakub Przygonski (256 km/h) um beinahe 50 Sachen. Wie viel genau an dem knapp 150.000 Euro teuren und 600 PS starken GT-R Nismo verändert wurde, ist nicht bekannt. Allerdings brachte man das gute Stück wohl auf irrsinnige 1.380 PS und machte aus dem Allrad- einen reinen Heckantrieb. Außerdem zu erkennen: ein geänderter Frontspoiler, ein gewaltiger Heckflügel sowie einen Käfig im Innenraum. Die wahren Helden in diesem glorreichen Unterfangen sind aber sicher die Toyo-Proxes-Semislick-Reifen. An die hanebüchene Belastung und den Gummiabrieb bei einem 300-km/h-Drift möchte man kaum denken.

    Drei Kilometer waren genug
    Aufgestellt wurde der Guinness-Drift-Weltrekord nach ausgiebigen Tests auf dem japanischen Fuji Speedway schließlich auf dem Flughafen von Fujairah in den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten. Dessen Drei-Kilometer-Landebahn erwies sich offensichtlich als lang genug. “Mit diesem extrem schwierigen Weltrekord hebt Nissan das Versprechen ‚Innovationen, die begeistern‘ auf ein neues Niveau”, sagte Samir Cherfan, Managing Director von Nissan Middle East.

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  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio: Erster Erlkönig erwischt

    April 9, 2016

    Kaum zu erkennen: Unter dem Tarnkleid versteckt sich das erste Alfa-SUV

    Der Stelvio ähnelt an der Front den Modellen Giulia und Giulietta

    Das flach abfallende Heck ist zu erkennen

    Haar, 8. April 2016
    SUVs sind in Mode, auch in Italien. Maserati hat eins, Lamborghini wird eins bauen und auch Alfa Romeo wird auf den Zug aufspringen. Unser Erlkönig-Fotograf hat einen frühen Testträger des neuen Alfa Stelvio erwischt, wir haben die Infos dazu.

    Starke Tarnung
    Das sehr stark getarnte Äußere des Stelvio lässt noch keine großartigen Rückschlüsse auf das finale Design zu. Allerdings kann man in der Front bereits Gesichtszüge von Giulia und Giulietta erkennen. Die Dachlinie scheint recht flach abzufallen und eher ein Kompromiss zwischen SUV und Coupé zu sein. BMW und Mercedes haben beispielsweise mit X4 und X6 beziehungsweise GLC Coupé und GLE Coupé bereits ähnliche aber größere Fahrzeuge im Angebot. Die Hecklampen sind sehr tief unter der flachen Scheibe montiert und scheinen bereits fertig zu sein.

    Auf Fiat-Basis
    Der Stelvio wird wohl auf einer modifizierten Plattform des Fiat 500X basieren. Das Kompakt-SUV ist mit Diesel- und Benzin-Motoren von 95 bis 170 PS erhältlich. Der Stelvio ist das erste SUV der Marke Alfa Romeo und soll bereits 2017 auf den Markt kommen.

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  • Fiat 500 von Bilstein auf der Tuningworld Bodensee

    April 9, 2016

    Dieser Fiat 500 wird bei der Tuningworld Bodensee den Bilstein-Stand verschönern

    Das Auto wurde von Romeo Ferraris umgebaut

    Der große Ladeluftkühler deutet auf die 210-PS-Motorleistung hin

    Friedrichshafen, 8. April 2016
    Die Tuningworld Bodensee steht wieder vor der Tür. Vom 5. bis zum 8. Mai 2016 pilgern Tuning-Jünger aus Deutschland, Österreich, der Schweiz und etlichen anderen Ländern nach Friedrichshafen. Auch der Fahrwerkshersteller Bilstein ist 2016 am Start. Mit dabei: ein ganz besonderer Fiat 500, an dem wohl selbst Captain America Spaß hätte.

    210 PS in der Knutschkugel
    Der kleine Flitzer stammt aus der Tuningschmiede von Romeo Ferraris. Der Italiener hat sich auf das 500-Modell spezialisiert und bietet verschiedene Varianten der Knutschkugel an – von 160 bis 248 PS. Das in Friedrichshafen ausgestellte Auto kommt mit runden 210 PS daher. Mit 310 Newtonmeter geht es in 5,7 Sekunden von null auf 100. Schluss ist erst bei 232 km/h.

    Der Grund dafür, warum der auf den Namen “Cinquone 210″ getaufte 500er den Messestand von Bilstein verschönert, steckt in den Radhäusern. Ein Bilstein-B-14-Gewindefahrwerk legt den Fiat bis zu 20 Millimeter tiefer. Dabei vertraut die Bilstein-Mannschaft auf Einrohr-Upside-Down-Technologie mit Gasdruckstoßdämpfern.

    Neben den technischen Finessen und der auffälligen Folierung im “Stars and Stripes”-Design fällt der “Cinquone 210″ besonders durch sein spezielles Widebody-Kit auf, das bei Romeo Ferraris in Eigenregie entsteht. Dass die Italiener für diese Art von Umbau ein Händchen haben, zeigt auch das neueste Projekt: eine Rennversion von Alfas Giulietta. Mit – richtig – Widebody-Kit.

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