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Mystery Ferrari LaFerrari prototype spotted with new bodywork - Autocar
Development version of 950bhp hyper-hybrid sports subtle visual tweaks to the 2013 production car
Seven years after Ferrari's landmark hybrid hypercar was launched, a new LaFerrari-based prototype has been spotted testing on Italian roads. Wearing only light camouflage, the mule makes no attempt to hide its LaFerrari-derived bodywork, and the blue triangular sticker on the side confirms that it, too, is driven by a hybrid powertrain. There is little chance that this is a development chassis left over from the testing programme for Maranello's hyper-hybrid, though. Firstly because the camouflage looks to have been freshly applied and bears a pattern different from that sported by the original LaFerrari mules, and secondly because there are a number of subtle but important visual differences. The wheels, for example, are attached to the hubs by five conventional studs, whereas the production-spec LaFerrari used a centre-locking device. The front end looks to have been reshaped, too, with the lower bumper losing its central divider and gaining a pair of prominent air-channelling winglets at the side. More significantly, the roofline seems to have been reshaped and a new engine cover installed, hinting at a different-shaped powerplant from the electrified, mid-mountred 6.3-litre V12 that motivated the LaFerrari. A Ferrari spokesperson declined to comment on the images and it remains unclear whether or not this is a simply a LaFerrari bodyshell being used to conduct testing of new mechanicals for other models. However, Ferrari tends to launch a new hypercar every 10 years and it's nearly eight since the covers first came off the LaFerrari. Ferrari's chief technology officer, Michael Leiters, told Autocar last year: It is true that almost every 10 years we bring one out. Its also true that Ferrari only does one when new technology is available. So we have to understand what is the technology we want to be on new supercars. The brand's second hybrid, the SF90 Stradale PHEV, packs more power than the LaFerrari, but is unlimited in its production and costs about a third of the price of the older limited-run car, so it does not serve as a direct replacement. If Ferrari is developing a true hypercar, it will likely be designed to compete with the Aston Martin Valkyrie, Lamborghini Sián and McLaren Speedtail. Read more Ferrari LaFerrari: the original review Ferrari tech boss on EVs, V12s and next LaFerrari
Mercedes to take major Aston Martin stake as part of new technical partnership - Autocar
British firm to gain access to Mercedes technologies including electric and hybrid powertrains under expanded agreement
Mercedes-Benz will take a major stake in Aston Martin as part of a truly game-changing strategic technology agreement that will underpin a plan for the British firm to double its sales by 2025. The agreement expands the existing relationship between the two firms, and will include Aston Martin gaining access to Mercedes technology - including electric and hybrid powertrains - that will form a key part of its expansion plans. In a release, Aston said the deal included "powertrain architecture (for conventional, hybrid, and electric vehicles) and future oriented electric/electronic architecture, for all product launches through to 2027." While the firm declined to outline exactly what products were planned under the new agreement, new Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers said that the first Aston vehicles utilising technology from the deal would be launched late next year. He said that because "it needs a little time to get the technology in different products" there would be a "kind of product firework in 2023". With the new agreement in place, Aston Martin has targeted selling around 10,000 vehicles a year by 2025, and is aiming for revenues of around £2 billion and EBITDA profits of around £500 million. For comparison, the marque sold 5862 vehicles in 2019. Lawrence Stroll, whose investment consortium completed its takeover of Aston Martin earlier this year, said that the 10,000 sales would be comprised of front- and mid-engined sports cars and "a portfolio of SUV products", hinting of new models joining the recently launched DBX. Around 20-30% of Aston's sales by 2024 will be hybrid models. Stroll said the firm didn't plan to launch a full EV until 2025. Under the agreement, Mercedes-Benz will gradually increase its stake in Aston Martin up to a maximum of 20%, providing a welcome boost in investment for Aston and making the German giant one of Astons largest shareholders. The technology will be supplied "on commercial terms". Mercedes previously owned around 2.3% of Aston Martin shares as part of a deal that involved its AMG performance arm developing a bespke V8 for Aston. Lawrence Stroll, whose investment consortium completed its takeover of Aston Martin earlier this year, called the agreement a transformational moment. He added: Through this new expanded agreement, we secure access to world-class technologies to support our long-term product expansion plans, including electric and hybrid powertrains, and this partnership underpins our confidence in the future. This is truly game changing. We now have the right team, partner, plan and funding in place to transform the company to be one of the greatest luxury car brands in the world. Moers, who joined the firm from his previous role as head of the Mercedes-AMG performance division, said: We have updated our plans for the business, incorporating the benefits of our enhanced partnership we are announcing today. We are targeting delivery of significant growth and margin expansion in the medium-term, not just through product expansion but also by incorporating a strategy to deliver a level of operational excellence and efficiency throughout every aspect of the organisation. The capabilities of Mercedes-Benz AG technology will be fundamental to ensure our future products remain competitive and will allow us to invest efficiently in the areas that truly differentiate our products.
Used car buying guide: Ferrari 599 - Autocar
The sublime Ferrari 599 can now be bought for a third of its original price - although you’ll have to stump up more for Eric Clapton’s old motor…
You could argue that no Ferrari has ever had it easier than the 599. Arriving in dealerships in 2006, it was a replacement for the soft and stodgy 575M Maranello, which set rather a low bar for any future front-engined V12 grand tourers to come out of Maranello. Thats a big part of the reason 599 prices are doing so well today. Impressive to drive at the time and still competitive against modern equivalents, the predecessor to the thunderous F12 Berlinetta commands, on average, around £120,000 for a well-kept example. Under that mile-long bonnet is a (very slightly) downtuned version of the hallowed naturally aspirated F140 6.0-litre V12 that powered the Enzo hypercar. It sends even in its most lowly form a good deal more than 600bhp to the rear wheels by way of, more commonly, the enticingly named F1 Superfast automated manual gearbox. Its a truly awesome powerplant, and nestled within a lightweight, bespoke aluminium chassis, it was strong enough to shunt this luxury missile from 0-62mph in an astounding 3.5sec lets not forget the 599 tips the scales at nearly 1.8 tonnes and beyond the 200mph mark. Unlike the 575M, however, the 599 doesnt baulk at the idea of carving the odd canyon. It was one of the first production cars to offer carbon-ceramic brakes as an option, and its Delphi Magneride suspension system which uses complex magnetic technology to vary the viscosity of the fluid in the dampers is instrumental in the 599s famed adaptability and all-round competency, even if it is its Achilles heel in reliability terms. The HGTE package (thats Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione) arrived in 2009, bringing a stiffer, lower suspension set-up, softer tyres and wider wheels with the aim of offering a sharper drive. It was a popular option from new, and many of the more expensive 599s in the classifieds are so equipped, but be prepared for the tyres to need replacing more often and for speed bumps to quickly become your worst enemy. That wasnt the most hardcore iteration of the 599, however. If you have more than £1 million to spend and access to a grand prix-spec race circuit, the track-only 599XX is one of the most unfathomably quick and capable Ferraris you can own. Power was up 109bhp over the standard car and kerb weight down nearly 300kg. Its a truly biblical machine, but money alone wont get you a taste: Ferrari made only 29 examples of what was then the fastest car to lap its Fiorano test track, so patience is a virtue in your quest to buy one. Thankfully, prices descend to a mere £500,000 for the road-legal GTO, which weighed only slightly more and packed a smidgen less power than its track-only sibling but offers similar thrills on the circuit with the notable advantage that it can then be driven home.
Hammer down: The UK's most affordable car auction - Autocar
Very few have the means to buy a classic Ferrari but most would find interest in an auction like this
The first thing you notice on arrival is the large green, pitched-roof building that dominates the expanse of hardstanding divided into pre-sale and post-sale parking areas. Its where, in normal times, sales are conducted. Freelance auctioneer Rapid Rich Stoodley (If I were any faster, I would be mediocre) told us theres no better auction: Ive been doing this job for 30 years and Cannock is the best. Its a shame youre here in Covid, because when the shed is open, theres loads of banter and atmosphere. We can imagine, which is why we reckon weve just found our new Midlands meet-up where we can kick tyres, chew the fat and bag a motor for pennies. Better than ogling unattainable supercars any day. Top 10 bargains Despite post-lockdown jitters keeping many people indoors, Cannock Motor Auctions third sale didnt go badly at all. Around 45 of the 70 cars that went through the ring sold, so a decent 64%. That said, two weeks before, 80% sold as traders rushed to plug gaps in their stock. Here are the top 10 motors that caught our eye. 2008 Ford Ka 1.3 Style, 74,000 miles, £180 2005 Fiat Panda 1.1 Active 5dr, 85,000 miles, £255 2006 Jaguar X-Type S 2.0d, 97,000 miles, £350 2005 Renault Clio 1.4 Dynamique S 3dr, 78,000 miles, £400 2005 Ford Mondeo ST 2.2 TDCi, 206,000 miles, £650 2002 Mini Cooper S 3dr, 69,000 miles, £675 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Limited Auto, 136,000 miles, £900 2006 Mercedes-Benz C220 CDi Elegance Auto, 110,000 miles, £900 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara 1.6 Auto, 95,000 miles, £900 2008 BMW 320d SE, 200,000 miles, £1200 READ MORE City slickers: Interesting used cars exempt from the ULEZ Used car buying guide: Fiat Panda Great used cars that you can buy for £5000
Audi Q2 1.0 TFSI 2020 review - Autocar
Facelifted compact crossover eyes class crown with styling tweaks and new tech
The compact crossover class is more cut-throat than most, with almost every manufacturer worth its salt trying to get a slice of this crowded sector. Audis Q2 has been one of the more successful players, racking up around 17,000 sales a year since its launch in 2016, making it the firms best-selling SUV. Crucially, 50% of buyers are new to the brand, making this an important gateway model. To keep those sales ticking over, the Q2 has been under the knife for a nip and tuck. Unsurprisingly, given the jacked-up superminis youthful target demographic, the updates revolve around some sharpened looks and enhanced technology, including the new options of adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. The stylists havent exactly been too bold, so youll need your Audi Q2 Spotters Guide to identify the exterior changes. At the front, theres a new bumper with an even larger lower grille thats flanked either side by reshaped implied (read fake) air intakes. LED headlights are now standard across the range, with adaptive matrix technology standard on flagship Vorsprung trim and optional on others. The rear bumper is similarly tweaked and features a new lower diffuser peppered with prominent polygon shapes. There are also some new paint colours and a sprinkling of extra alloy wheel designs. Inside, the eyeball air vents have been reprofiled and theres a more angular gearlever (for both manuals and S tronic autos), although its arguably less comfortable to hold. The seats and door trims have new fabric finishes, while all models other than entry-level Technik now have the slick 12.3in Virtual Cockpit instruments as standard. The MMI infotainment is still Audis last-generation set-up thats accessed by a rotary controller and hot keys, but its more intuitive to use than most touchscreen units. Otherwise, its as before, which means it is just roomy enough for a family of four and for the most part oozes premium appeal.
Under the skin: How flat-plane cranks enhance a V8 engine - Autocar
Most V8s have cylinder banks arranged at 90 degrees, but some are set at 60deg at the expense of some smoothness
Like the straight-six engine we looked at in the 23 September issue, the V8 holds a special place in the hearts of petrolheads. If were honest about the reason for that, probably 40% of the appeal is down to its power, torque and smoothness, and the other 60% is the glorious sound it makes. Why does the V8 work so well? It has good inherent balance, packs a lot of cylinders into a shorter length and can produce plenty of power and torque, because there are four power strokes for each revolution of the crankshaft, compared with just two in a four-cylinder four-stroke engine and three in a six. Its versatile, too, delivering huge refinement for luxury cars, power for sports cars, muscle cars and racing cars, and shedloads of torque for SUVs and pick-up trucks. What makes the V8 so different to most other engines is that there are two distinct types, and this has to do with the crankshaft design. A V8 can be thought of as four V-twin engines joined in a row. Although there are eight cylinders, the crankshafts have only four crankpins or journals to which their pistons are attached by connecting rods. Each is shared by a pair of opposite cylinders, like a V-twin. In a conventional V8, the journals are arranged at 90deg to one another, so looking from the end of the crank, they form a cross, hence the name. A flat-plane crank has journals arranged at 180deg to one another, so the crankshaft lies flat on a surface, and looking from the end, resembles the letter I. Why the difference? Flat-plane cranks are lighter and, as the crank journals are at 180deg, the firing order moves sequentially from one cylinder bank to the other: left, right, left, right and so on. This means that exhaust pulses follow one after the other, forming an orderly queue through each exhaust manifold and helping to draw or scavenge exhaust from the engine more easily. With a cross-plane crank, one cylinder can fire after another in the same bank, so unless using a complex design of exhaust manifold, exhaust pulses collide and scavenging is less efficient. The combination of a lighter crankshaft and superior scavenging in a flat-plane V8 lets it rev higher and so makes more power. The downside is inferior balance (piston pairs move in the same direction, like in a four-pot engine), meaning its less smooth. The noise is completely different, too. The flat-plane V8 makes that flat blare typical of V8 supercars and race engines, derived from the fact the engine fires like two screaming four-pots together. In contrast, the cross-plane V8 makes that famous mellifluous offbeat burble for which muscle cars are known, thanks to an uneven firing order. But both types make for an intoxicating driving experience, and it will be a sad day when the last V8 rumbles off the line. BAC investigates nobium
Ford GT40 to Ferrari 250 LM: How Bell Sport keeps classics alive - Autocar
Bell Sport & Classic are car-fanatic dealers whose meticulous restorations help great cars live on. We drop by
Whenever we enthusiasts talk about special cars, we seem to concentrate first on what it is and what it costs. Only after weve found and financed the car of our dreams do we come to the biggest question of all: what on earth made us buy this machine in the first place? Naked, long-held desire is the major driver, of course, but where does that come from? For the dozen or so people who run Bell Sport & Classic a kind of outer-London nirvana for buyers and lovers of the worlds greatest cars the answer has always been obvious. People buy special cars for the life experiences they provide: great driving, supremely enjoyable travel to destinations that suit cars of this type, plus the chance to mix with like-minded people who have such cars of their own. Perhaps, further into ownership, there will also be a chance to improve a car and upgrade it: only a very few odd souls buy a Ferrari to deny it the light of day. Bell S&C is strategically located in rural Hertfordshire, in purpose-built premises opened in 2017 to cater for the progressive expansion of a business that started with lower-end classic cars in 1989. The new HQ at Markyate sits in a kind of green haven between Luton and Dunstable on the northern side, and Hemel Hempstead and St Albans to the south. Junction 10 of the M1 motorway is nearby, although you wouldnt know it, especially when the large gates to Bells estate close behind you and its green lawns beckon as an ideal place to park whatever youve brought. Of course, this is first and foremost a car dealership. Its mostly a supercar emporium these days, although you can also buy the likes of a Triumph TR4A or an ex-Academy Caterham Seven. And if you were to go there at present, youd probably get to park beside a huge, £250k Lamborghini LM002 off-roader thats just been restored on the premises (it arrived in boxes). You dont do that kind of thing every day. Developing this place as a welcoming destination for a lot of car talk and a good look around has become a labour of love for the people who run it: this is one of the few businesses youll encounter whose website prominently displays these remarkable words: Drop in whenever you want. Most Bell people are greatly experienced from previous careers in the business and their mission is to use the knowledge and contacts to make the customer experience better than anything they knew in the past. Its quite a goal. They like running events, too. Breakfast and coffee drop-ins are a speciality and a recent series of drive-in movies attracted hundreds. More are planned. We usually find visitors stay longer than they expected to, says Bells managing director and kingpin, Tim Kearns, who took charge a couple of years ago. Visitors pop in and can often still be here five hours later, but thats how we like it. We do get the odd where are you? call from disgruntled other-halves but thats a hazard of the job.
My life in 12 cars: McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown - Autocar
A Porsche 959, AC Cobra and, yes, several McLarens make up Zak Brown's incredible car collection
When Zak Brown landed in cold and draughty England 30-odd years ago with dreams of becoming a racing driver, he was driven by his deep passion for motorsport rather than anything that really counted such as a budget, for instance. Nevertheless, the Californian booked himself into a week-long course at Donington Parks Jim Russell racing school and struck up what turned out to be a defining friendship with his instructor, established racer and Yorkshireman Richard Dean. To Deans surprise, Brown refused to leave at the end of the course and ended up sleeping on his sisters sofa. The guy meant business. The only problem was that it turned out Brown didnt have what it took to become a professional racing driver. So he changed tack, built up a sports marketing business that became one of the most influential in global motorsport, then sold it with an eye on bigger ambitions. Today, he finds himself at the head of his favourite racing team, McLaren, and the owner of one of the worlds fastest-growing and impressive collection of racing cars. To house the collection, it helps that in 2010 he co-founded with his old mate Dean a sports car team, United Autosports, which has just moved into a new 62,000sq ft base near Leeds. As United Autosports forges ahead at Le Mans and in sports car races around the world, Brown must pinch himself every day as he takes on the challenge of guiding McLaren back to the top of Formula 1. He also probably stands out in our My Life in 12 Cars series for owning one of every model hes picked. Placing my top dozen cars into any type of order representative to which one I like more than another is impossible because they all inspire significant feelings for me, he says. Ill break them down by road cars and race cars, and Ill go from newest to oldest for the road, vice versa for the track. So thats the reason theyre in this order, not necessarily because I like one more than another. Ill start with road cars, where I guess the only theme would be power. Theyre all totally different, but I like things that are collectable, so theyre all limited-edition cars. If you had to pull one common theme, they were all in their era the hottest sports cars to have. McLaren Speedtail This is the most recent addition to my collection. The Speedtail is one of the fastest road cars in the world. Its not really a take-off of our 1990s McLaren F1 but it is the second three-seater weve done with a [drivers] seat in the middle. But what I like about it is its extremely rare: just 106 will be made. The ergonomics are unbelievable. Im not a small guy, but its extremely comfortable because youre sitting in front of the passengers and youve got all this glass around you. Its very easy to drive. But when you put your foot down, its the fastest road car Ive ever been in. The Speedtail is very exciting.
Fast Ford shootout: V8 Mustang vs Focus ST - Autocar
Can a hot hatch offer the same thrills as the iconic muscle car on a blast across Wales?
For a moment, I confess, I did wonder what the bloody hell I was doing on that road, trying to follow a 5.0-litre V8 coupé in a hatchback with half the number of cylinders and less than half the engine capacity. And then I remembered: it was interesting, thats all. Clearly my little long-term Ford Focus ST was not going to keep up with a mighty Mustang Bullitt, and nor should it be expected to, given that its svelte sister costs over half as much again and has more than 60% more power. But it was interesting nonetheless. Interesting because Ford, the company that brought motoring to the masses more than a century ago, is also the company whose record in producing fast and fun but affordable cars down the decades is second to none. In the Mustangs case, as the original pony car back in 1964, it started a beloved sub-genre that still exists to this day and in which it remains the benchmark performer. As for the Focus, it too can be traced right back to the early days of its category if not to the very start, then certainly a full 40 years to the birth of the Escort XR3. Ford has long produced two entirely different and diverse ways of entertaining its drivers, so today the question is this: just how close can a quite well-resolved hatch get to matching the thrills of a purposebuilt sports coupé? Or is the Mustang in such an entirely different league, and the performance void between them so large, it actually makes the sleek coupé look cheap? On paper, its not looking good for the Focus. Sad to say it though I am, the Mustang is the only classically configured car of its kind left on sale in the UK: a front-mounted engine, namely a normally aspirated V8, driving the rear wheels through a manual gearbox, just like the original Stang 56 years ago. The Focus does actually have a Mustang engine in it, but its the relatively puny 2.3-litre four that dare not speak its name in traditionalist circles where the bent-eight purists and no replacement for displacement mob still doggedly defend their small and dwindling enclave. And while, yes, the Focus too has a manual gearbox (thank goodness), by directing its power forward and not rearward it is therefore incorrect wheel drive. Drive this engine in a Mustang and you spend all your time wishing it were a V8; drive it in a Focus and does it not follow youll therefore spend all your time wishing it were a Mustang? A somewhat perverse logic, perhaps, but plausible, at least superficially. Its case is bolstered more than a little by even the smallest exposure to the Bullitt. Im not going to dwell on the Bullitt-specific upgrades here because theyre not new and this story is more about a battle of two concepts than a twin test of two cars. Suffice to say if you want a Mustang for driving, of those available in the UK, the Bullitt, with its slightly more powerful engine, uprated chassis and bigger brakes, is the one. It looks better, sounds better, goes better, is better than the standard car.
Best supercars of Goodwood Speed Week 2020 - Autocar
Road-going models may have been outnumbered by racing cars at this year's event, but the ones that did show up still turned heads
The ongoing pandemic may have led to the cancellation of the Festival of Speed and Revival, two of the UK's premier motoring events, but the show must go on. Goodwood has instead transformed itself into an online-only affair for 2020, broadcasting the very best in historic and present-day motorsport along with the most iconic sports and supercars on sale. There was no shortage of metal in the supercar paddock, with names like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren and Aston Martin all getting a chance to lap the famous Goodwood Circuit for the cameras. These are just a few of the highlights.