Category: britain

First Look: The New Aston Martin VantageVantage. An evocative…

First Look: The New Aston Martin Vantage

Vantage. An evocative name for a magnificent bloodline of thoroughbred sports cars. For seven decades the heartbeat of Aston Martin’s purest models, the Vantage nameplate has been worn by some true icons. First used in 1951 on a high-output engine option for the DB2, Vantage was quickly established as a model in its own right. Highlights include the William Towns-designed V8 Vantage, spectacular twin-supercharged V600 Le Mans and the much-loved V8 Vantage. Today this formidable sporting dynasty is poised to hit new heights with the introduction of the new Vantage.

A spectacular new Aston Martin sports car demands a bold and distinctive design language. Pure, sculptural forms create an athletic, predatory stance, while the minimal front and rear overhangs, muscular flanks and broad haunches express the agility and dynamism inherent within the car. New head and tail lights form dramatic new signatures giving the Vantage unmistakable road presence and contribute to a strong and individual identity within the growing Aston Martin model range.

Aerodynamic performance was central to the Vantage design concept: the front splitter directs airflow underneath the car, where a system of fences channels cooling air where it is needed, and also ensures the rear diffuser is fed with clean airflow. The design of the diffuser creates an area of low pressure air, while simultaneously preventing turbulence generated by the rear wheels from disrupting the flow of air exiting centrally from beneath the rear of the car.

Together with the new side gills, which have been integrated into the body surface and bleed air pressure out from the front wheel arches, and the pronounced upswept rear deck lid, the Vantage generates a significant level of downforce – a rarity on any production car and a first for a core production Aston Martin model.

The design story continues inside the Vantage, with a dynamic and focused sports car cockpit that rejects long, fluid curves in favor of sharp, focused lines denoting the more aggressive nature of the car. A high waist interior theme and lower driving position creates a more immersive driving experience, and contributes to significant gains in occupant space and significant improvement in headroom compared with the outgoing Vantage. A combination of rotary and toggle style controls have been used for their tactile and intuitive functionality. Likewise, the PRND transmission buttons have been moved into a triangular formation so as to cluster major controls into clearly defined zones. The interior also offers generous stowage space, with usable room behind the seats and generous double-tier storage areas.

The heart of the Vantage is Aston Martin’s potent new alloy, 4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine.  Set low and as far back in the chassis as possible for optimal center-of-gravity and perfect 50:50 weight distribution, this high performance, high efficiency engine returns a CO2 figure of 245g/km yet develops 510PS at 6000rpm and 685Nm from 2000-5000rpm. With a dry weight of 1530kg this gives the Vantage formidable power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios – something vividly demonstrated whenever the throttle is squeezed. Detailed tuning of the induction, exhaust and engine management systems has given the Vantage a truly intoxicating character and soundtrack.

The Vantage deploys its impressive power and torque to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Capable of accelerating from 0 to 60mph in 3.5 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 195mph, it employs a sophisticated suite of integrated electronic systems to offer maximum control and driver enjoyment. These include Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Torque Vectoring. The speed-dependent electric power steering has 2.4 turns lock-to-lock for an outstanding combination of responsiveness and precise, intuitive control.

For the first time on an Aston Martin the new Vantage also features an Electronic Rear Differential (E-Diff). This differential is linked to the car’s electronic stability control system, so it can understand the car’s behavior, and react accordingly to direct the engine’s power to the relevant wheel. Unlike a conventional LSD, it can go from fully open to 100% locked in a matter of milliseconds.  At higher speeds, the Electronic Differential’s speed and sensitivity of response enables the system to take very fine control of the car’s dynamic behavior. It makes the car feel much more composed both in terms of its straight-line stability and its cornering performance, providing the driver with increased levels of confidence to explore and enjoy the car’s capabilities to the full.

The chassis is an evolution of the latest generation bonded aluminium structure first seen on the DB11, though some 70 per cent of the structure’s components are new for Vantage. Balance, strength, rigidity and weight efficiency were all priorities in the new Vantage design, as was handling purity and consistency. Highlights of the chassis include a solidly mounted rear subframe for an enhanced feeling of direct connection for the driver, new Pirelli P Zero tires developed specifically for new Vantage and the latest generation Adaptive Damping System which incorporates Skyhook technology and offers the choice of Sport, Sport Plus and Track modes.

Thanks to full integration of engine, transmission, E-Diff, Dynamic Torque Vectoring, Dynamic Stability Control, Adaptive Damping and the electric power steering systems, each mode optimizes every area of the car as one. With each step the Vantage gains in agility and responsiveness, its character becoming progressively sharper, more vocal and more exciting. This is the essence of the Vantage driving experience – a car that’s never less than connected and engaging with the breadth of capability to revel in challenging roads and bare its teeth on track.

The Vantage features a high level of standard equipment, including keyless start/stop, tire pressure monitoring system, parking distance display, park assist and front and rear parking sensors. The In-Car Entertainment system – controlled and viewed via a centrally mounted 8” LCD screen – comprises of the Aston Martin Audio System, Bluetooth® audio and phone streaming, iPod®, iPhone® and USB playback and an integrated satellite navigation system.

Being an Aston Martin, the new Vantage also features a high level of craftsmanship, evidenced by flawless paintwork, luxurious Alcantara® and leather upholstery and the levels of finish optimized through the use of tactile natural materials of the highest quality. There is also extensive scope for personalization via a generous choice of options. These include forged alloy wheels in a variety of finishes, Sports Plus Collection (comprising Sports Plus seats and Sports steering wheel), carbon fiber interior and exterior detailing and a Premium Audio System.

Aston Martin President Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andy Palmer said: “It speaks volumes for the outgoing Vantage that it is the single most successful model in Aston Martin’s history. Creating a worthy successor has been a challenge to relish and a huge source of motivation. I’m enormously excited by what we’ve created: a new Vantage that’s more explicit in looks and intent, wrapping heart-pounding performance and dazzling dynamics into an everyday usable package. A true sports car with a sharper look and a keener dynamic edge, the new Vantage is the Aston Martin pure driving machine enthusiasts have been waiting for.”

The new Vantage is on sale now with a recommended retail price from £120,900 in the UK, €154,000 in Germany and $149,995 in the USA. Deliveries are scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2018.

McLaren 675LT Image by Gal Cho || YT

McLaren 675LT

Image by Gal Cho || YT

Reveal: The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR ProThe Aston Martin…

Reveal: The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro is an extraordinary track-only evolution of the most extreme Aston Martin in history. Developed in parallel with the road car, but freed from the constraints and considerations of road use, the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro is the ultimate expression of performance.

The brainchild of Adrian Newey and the product of the unique collaboration between Aston Martin, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and project partner AF Racing, just 25 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pros will be built. Deliveries are expected in 2020. All of which, are already sold.

The most obvious changes have been made to the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro’s exterior. All the aerodynamic surfaces have been revised in the pursuit of significantly increased downforce, including the addition of much larger front and rear wing elements, together with revised active aerodynamic control strategies tailored for the demands of track driving.

The hypercar’s naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter Cosworth-built V12 engine develops more power and torque – exact figures will be released in due course – thanks to a significant engine recalibration and the modification of the road car’s emission control systems. The output of the Rimac Energy Recovery System remains unchanged, but its control systems will be re-programmed.

The AMR Pro runs on wheels of a smaller diameter than the road car (18in front and rear) in order to facilitate the fitment of Michelin racing tires, which are made to the same specification as those used by LMP1 cars in the World Endurance Championship. The AMR Pro also features F1 inspired race-spec carbon-carbon brakes as their performance characteristics are perfectly suited to the extremes of track use.

The opportunity has also been taken to make further weight savings, both through the removal of extraneous items such as the heater/de-mister blower and infotainment screens fitted to the road car, and through the fitment of new ultra-lightweight track-specific components. These include polycarbonate windscreen (with heater elements) and side windows, a lighter construction of carbon fiber bodywork, new suspension uprights and carbon fiber wishbones, plus molded race seats in place of the adjustable road car items. The AMR Pro’s exhaust system will also be lighter than that fitted to the road car due to the minimal silencing requirements.

The result of this unprecedented pursuit of performance is a genuinely mind-blowing car. One with a higher top speed (predicted to be close to 250mph), coupled to the ability to sustain cornering forces in excess of 3.3g and braking deceleration of more than 3.5g. According to Red Bull Technology’s extensive simulation work the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro will be capable of achieving lap times to rival those of a contemporary F1 or LMP1 car – pace previously unthinkable in a car derived from a fully homologated road car.

Given the car’s extraordinary capabilities Valkyrie AMR Pro customers will be taken through an intensive and comprehensive driver development program. Tailored to their individual experience and skill levels, owners will have access to the same facilities as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s F1 drivers. This includes time in the simulator and professional on-track tuition, plus programs to improve their physical fitness. They will then be ready to enjoy their cars to the full with a series of dedicated track events held at some of the world’s most prestigious race tracks.

Jaguar F-TypeImages by Sian Loyson

Jaguar F-Type

Images by Sian Loyson

First Look: The New MSO Bespoke McLaren 720S A unique McLaren…

First Look: The New MSO Bespoke McLaren 720S 

A unique McLaren 720S supercar designed by McLaren Operations (MSO) is the centerpiece of the McLaren display at the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show, which takes place November 14 – 18, 2017.

Created as an MSO Bespoke commission, the service from McLaren Special Operations that allows almost limitless enhancement and personalization of McLaren cars, the 720S is in Zenith Black paint with a satin finish. Gold-colored alloy wheels, a 24-carat gold engine heatshield and gold-colored interior components complement the exterior color.

A plaque inside the car identifies it as a ‘1 of 1’ MSO commission, a fact also communicated by the unique rear wing that bears part of a famous quote* by McLaren founder, Bruce McLaren: ‘Life is measured in achievement, not in years alone’, is painted across the upper surface of the wing in gold Arabic lettering, stylized to echo the Dubai city skyline.

To personalize the car added more than 120 hours to the production process. The rear wing alone took 30 hours to complete, using stencils produced by the MSO design visualization team to achieve the desired dramatic visual impact of the gold lettering.

With McLaren 720S Performance specification as the starting point – and in addition to the MSO Bespoke elements – the commission added carbon fiber exterior upgrade packs that together encompass the front splitter and air intakes, rear bumper and roof panel. The rear diffuser is also a carbon fiber option, while the door mirror arms, rear aero bridge and deck and engine covers are all from the MSO Defined range of carbon fiber components.

The interior of the car is equally special: black Alcantara® and black leather trim are complemented by MSO Defined carbon fiber sill panels, fascia vents and steering wheel, in addition to a regular carbon fiber interior upgrade pack. The MSO Bespoke team added satin gold-painted extended gearshift paddles, a satin gold-colored center band to the steering wheel and pinstriping in the same hue to the spokes. A gold-colored applique on each door inner completes the visual treatment.

The new owner of the MSO Bespoke McLaren 720S on display at the 2017 Dubai International Motor Show will take delivery of the car from McLaren Dubai when the Show finishes. They will enjoy a McLaren supercar powered by a 4.0 V8 twin-turbocharged engine and capable of accelerating from 0 – 200km/h (0 – 124mph) in just 7.8 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 341km/h (212mph).

First Look: The Lotus Exige Cup 430New to the Exige, the Cup 430…

First Look: The Lotus Exige Cup 430

New to the Exige, the Cup 430 sees the introduction of a savage, high-performance engine installation, mated to a new supercharger & chargecooler, designed specifically for the unique demands of this vehicle. With 55 hp more power than the Exige Cup 380 model it succeeds, and 220 kg of downforce, it’s a monster of a car. Compared to the Exige Sport 350, it generates the same downforce at 100 mph as the Exige Sport 350 does at 170 mph.

With 430 hp at 7,000 rpm and 440 Nm (325 lbft) of torque from 4,000 rpm, 0-60mph is dispatched in 3.2 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.3 seconds) with a top speed of 180 mph (290 km/h). Helping to harness all that power, the Cup 430 benefits from a comprehensive range of new aero elements. A new ultra-lightweight front clam with unique carbon fiber ducts has wider radiator apertures and a new mesh pattern grille to provide a more combative aspect and to allow for a new front splitter and air curtain mechanism to reduce drag. The lightweight rear clam panel supports the larger, straight motorsport wing to increase downforce without impacting upon the car’s overall drag coefficient. The new design front & rear clam panels are 6.8 kg lighter than those on any other Exige.

The Exige Cup 430 can be ordered now, priced £99,800 including VAT (UK) and €127,500 (Germany) and €128,600 (France).

McLaren 720S Named Sportscar of the Year 2017The McLaren 720S…

McLaren 720S Named Sportscar of the Year 2017

The McLaren 720S beat strong competition to win the Sportscar of the Year 2017 at the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers’ Awards. The car, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is the first model in the second-generation Super Series range and has been praised for its exhilarating driving experience combined with unparalleled innovation and state-of-the-art British engineering.

Stephen Park, President of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers, commented: “In no segment is the price span as broad as this one but this year one brand returns to the winner’s board and deservedly so. In terms of innovation, technology and exhilaration, this is a sportscar like no other and a huge testament to British design and engineering know-how.”

This recognition marks a second consecutive year of success for the McLaren brand at the Scottish Car of the Year Awards, the McLaren 570S having claimed the prestigious Design and Innovation Award in 2016. 

MSO McLaren P1Image by Edouard Niel

MSO McLaren P1

Image by
Edouard Niel

Lotus Esprit S1 (1978)Image by Pieter Ameye

Lotus Esprit S1 (1978)

Image by
Pieter Ameye

McLaren 650SImage by Thomas Hübner

McLaren 650S

Image by

Thomas Hübner