Category: featured

First Look: The Genesis Mint ConceptSpotted at the 2019 New York…

First Look: The Genesis Mint Concept

Spotted at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. 

Photos by Ron Workman

First Look: The Genesis Mint ConceptSpotted at the 2019 New York…

First Look: The Genesis Mint Concept

Spotted at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. 

Photos by Ron Workman

Production Ready Aston Martin Rapide E Makes DebutAston Martin…

Production Ready Aston Martin Rapide E Makes Debut

Aston Martin Lagonda has revealed the final production-ready iteration of its first all-electric production car, with the spectacular Rapide E making its world debut at China’s Auto Shanghai motor show.

Unveiled by Aston Martin Executive Vice President & Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman, Rapide E is a pivotal model for the luxury marque. Following the success of previous special-edition models, including Aston Martin Vulcan, the Vanquish Zagato family and DB4 GT Continuation, Rapide E continues to deliver a superior level of performance, craftmanship and exclusivity, while also propelling Aston Martin into the all-electric realm.

The first car to be built at Aston Martin’s state-of-the-art St Athan production facility – the brand’s Home of Electrification – Rapide E represents a pioneering first step towards achieving the company’s wider electrification strategy and the successful fruition of Lagonda – the world’s first zero-emission luxury brand. A special edition with a production run strictly limited to 155 units, Rapide E has been developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE).

Shown for the first time here in Shanghai today, Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams have worked in partnership to extract the optimal aerodynamic performance available from the Rapide’s elegant form. Traditional metal vanes give way to a striking honeycomb front grille. With lower cooling requirements demanded of the EV powertrain, Aston Martin’s aerodynamic engineers have been given the freedom to optimize the aperture of the frontal area, minimising airflow through the car’s body, improving the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and increasing range as a result.

A re-designed underfloor streamlines airflow from the front splitter right the way through to Rapide E’s new larger rear diffuser – a feature that is now wholly dedicated to aero efficiency due to the removal of the exhaust system required before. The model’s forged aluminium aerodynamic wheels – shod with bespoke low rolling-resistance Pirelli P-Zero tyres – have also been re-designed to give greater efficiency, without compromising brake cooling capability. The sum of these changes gives Rapide E’s aerodynamic package an 8% improvement over the previous internal combustion model.

Inside and out, Rapide E is equipped with the materials and technology befitting of the marque’s first EV model. Gone are the analogue displays of the past. A 10” digital display now sits in their place, delivering all key information to the driver while on the move, including the battery’s state of charge, current motor power levels, regenerative performance and a real-time energy consumption meter. Swathes of carbon fibre have been deployed throughout, assisting in delivering the strict weight targets set by Aston Martin’s engineering team from the outset.

Extending the experience beyond the car, a dedicated app allows key information from the car to be remotely monitored. This powerful dashboard displays remaining range, battery status, and time to charge, as well as allowing navigation destinations to be sent from the app to the car for easy route planning. The car’s parking spot can also be seen via the app, with walking directions provided to help re-locate it in busy locations. Finally, the health and status of Rapide E can also be tracked from the app, providing reminders such as when a key service is due.

Throughout the development process, the combined AML/WAE engineering team first focussed their efforts on finding packaging solutions for the battery system and motors within the Rapide’s architecture before working to achieve effective cooling of the batteries and motors.

Rapide E is powered by an 800V electrical architecture battery – encased in carbon fibre and Kevlar casing – with a 65kWh installed capacity using over 5600 lithium-ion 18650 format cylindrical cells. This bespoke battery pack lies where the original 6.0-litre V12, gearbox and fuel tank were located, with the 800V system allowing for more efficient charging and greatly improved thermal characteristics over existing electrical architectures. This battery system powers two rear mounted electric motors producing a combined target output of just over 610PS and a colossal 950Nm of torque.

Rapide E’s range is over 200 miles under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), while the model is capable of charging at a rate of 1851,2 miles of range per hour using a typical 400V 50kW charger. However, the car’s 800V high-voltage battery system enables faster charging of 3101,2 miles of range per hour, using an 800V outlet delivering 100kW or higher. For destination charging, the car also features an industry-leading high-power AC on-board charger capable of recharging the battery in as little as 3 hours.

Top speed for Rapide E is 155mph, with a sub-4.0 second 0-60mph time and a 50-70mph time of just 1.5 seconds. These figures are not restricted to a narrow window of battery charge or climatic conditions, instead, thanks to the cutting-edge 800V architecture, the Rapide E will deliver its performance in a consistent and repeatable way as would be expected from a traditional Aston Martin product. This includes the ability to drive a full lap of the Nürburgring with no performance derating of the battery or the motors.

Rapide E also enhances the feel, character and delivery of the V12-engined recently acclaimed Rapide AMR, thanks to careful attention paid to the tuning of both the electric powertrain and the chassis across three driving modes – GT, Sport and Sport + – which are selected for both the powertrain and handling. The rear-wheel drive Rapide E’s twin electric motors drive through a Limited-Slip Differential, which combined with a revised spring and damper rates, ensures the pure handling characteristics of the petrol-powered Rapide AMR are retained.

Speaking ahead of Rapide E’s Shanghai debut, Dr Andy Palmer, President and Group CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda, commented: “Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin. As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. One that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future. As a car company we cannot afford to passively allow that future to come to us; we have to actively chase it. Only by doing this can we learn and prepare, but also preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts. That’s why it was so important to me that in embracing EV technology we should not let go of those unique qualities that define an Aston Martin. I believe Rapide E embodies that desire and paves the way for a hugely exciting future.”

Rapide E is available to order now, with prices available on application.

Production Ready Aston Martin Rapide E Makes DebutAston Martin…

Production Ready Aston Martin Rapide E Makes Debut

Aston Martin Lagonda has revealed the final production-ready iteration of its first all-electric production car, with the spectacular Rapide E making its world debut at China’s Auto Shanghai motor show.

Unveiled by Aston Martin Executive Vice President & Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman, Rapide E is a pivotal model for the luxury marque. Following the success of previous special-edition models, including Aston Martin Vulcan, the Vanquish Zagato family and DB4 GT Continuation, Rapide E continues to deliver a superior level of performance, craftmanship and exclusivity, while also propelling Aston Martin into the all-electric realm.

The first car to be built at Aston Martin’s state-of-the-art St Athan production facility – the brand’s Home of Electrification – Rapide E represents a pioneering first step towards achieving the company’s wider electrification strategy and the successful fruition of Lagonda – the world’s first zero-emission luxury brand. A special edition with a production run strictly limited to 155 units, Rapide E has been developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE).

Shown for the first time here in Shanghai today, Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams have worked in partnership to extract the optimal aerodynamic performance available from the Rapide’s elegant form. Traditional metal vanes give way to a striking honeycomb front grille. With lower cooling requirements demanded of the EV powertrain, Aston Martin’s aerodynamic engineers have been given the freedom to optimize the aperture of the frontal area, minimising airflow through the car’s body, improving the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and increasing range as a result.

A re-designed underfloor streamlines airflow from the front splitter right the way through to Rapide E’s new larger rear diffuser – a feature that is now wholly dedicated to aero efficiency due to the removal of the exhaust system required before. The model’s forged aluminium aerodynamic wheels – shod with bespoke low rolling-resistance Pirelli P-Zero tyres – have also been re-designed to give greater efficiency, without compromising brake cooling capability. The sum of these changes gives Rapide E’s aerodynamic package an 8% improvement over the previous internal combustion model.

Inside and out, Rapide E is equipped with the materials and technology befitting of the marque’s first EV model. Gone are the analogue displays of the past. A 10” digital display now sits in their place, delivering all key information to the driver while on the move, including the battery’s state of charge, current motor power levels, regenerative performance and a real-time energy consumption meter. Swathes of carbon fibre have been deployed throughout, assisting in delivering the strict weight targets set by Aston Martin’s engineering team from the outset.

Extending the experience beyond the car, a dedicated app allows key information from the car to be remotely monitored. This powerful dashboard displays remaining range, battery status, and time to charge, as well as allowing navigation destinations to be sent from the app to the car for easy route planning. The car’s parking spot can also be seen via the app, with walking directions provided to help re-locate it in busy locations. Finally, the health and status of Rapide E can also be tracked from the app, providing reminders such as when a key service is due.

Throughout the development process, the combined AML/WAE engineering team first focussed their efforts on finding packaging solutions for the battery system and motors within the Rapide’s architecture before working to achieve effective cooling of the batteries and motors.

Rapide E is powered by an 800V electrical architecture battery – encased in carbon fibre and Kevlar casing – with a 65kWh installed capacity using over 5600 lithium-ion 18650 format cylindrical cells. This bespoke battery pack lies where the original 6.0-litre V12, gearbox and fuel tank were located, with the 800V system allowing for more efficient charging and greatly improved thermal characteristics over existing electrical architectures. This battery system powers two rear mounted electric motors producing a combined target output of just over 610PS and a colossal 950Nm of torque.

Rapide E’s range is over 200 miles under the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), while the model is capable of charging at a rate of 1851,2 miles of range per hour using a typical 400V 50kW charger. However, the car’s 800V high-voltage battery system enables faster charging of 3101,2 miles of range per hour, using an 800V outlet delivering 100kW or higher. For destination charging, the car also features an industry-leading high-power AC on-board charger capable of recharging the battery in as little as 3 hours.

Top speed for Rapide E is 155mph, with a sub-4.0 second 0-60mph time and a 50-70mph time of just 1.5 seconds. These figures are not restricted to a narrow window of battery charge or climatic conditions, instead, thanks to the cutting-edge 800V architecture, the Rapide E will deliver its performance in a consistent and repeatable way as would be expected from a traditional Aston Martin product. This includes the ability to drive a full lap of the Nürburgring with no performance derating of the battery or the motors.

Rapide E also enhances the feel, character and delivery of the V12-engined recently acclaimed Rapide AMR, thanks to careful attention paid to the tuning of both the electric powertrain and the chassis across three driving modes – GT, Sport and Sport + – which are selected for both the powertrain and handling. The rear-wheel drive Rapide E’s twin electric motors drive through a Limited-Slip Differential, which combined with a revised spring and damper rates, ensures the pure handling characteristics of the petrol-powered Rapide AMR are retained.

Speaking ahead of Rapide E’s Shanghai debut, Dr Andy Palmer, President and Group CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda, commented: “Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin. As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. One that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future. As a car company we cannot afford to passively allow that future to come to us; we have to actively chase it. Only by doing this can we learn and prepare, but also preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts. That’s why it was so important to me that in embracing EV technology we should not let go of those unique qualities that define an Aston Martin. I believe Rapide E embodies that desire and paves the way for a hugely exciting future.”

Rapide E is available to order now, with prices available on application.

The Next Generation Corvette Finally Has a Reveal Date!Yes. A…

The Next Generation Corvette Finally Has a Reveal Date!

Yes. A mid-engined Corvette is finally going to be revealed. You have heard about this mythological beast countless times since the Corvette C3, and it will finally see production. We will see its official reveal on July 18, 2019. 

The Next Generation Corvette Finally Has a Reveal Date!Yes. A…

The Next Generation Corvette Finally Has a Reveal Date!

Yes. A mid-engined Corvette is finally going to be revealed. You have heard about this mythological beast countless times since the Corvette C3, and it will finally see production. We will see its official reveal on July 18, 2019. 

Corvette Grand Sport Announced as Indy 500 Pace CarThe 2019…

Corvette Grand Sport Announced as Indy 500 Pace Car

The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport will serve as the Official Pace Car for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, leading 33 drivers to the green flag on May 26 for the 103rd running of the legendary race.

It marks the 16th time a Corvette has served as the Pace Car, starting in 1978, and the 30th time a Chevrolet has led the field dating back to 1948, when a 1948 Fleetmaster Six convertible paced the race. No other brand or vehicle has served as the 500 Pace Car more than Chevrolet and the Corvette, respectively.

Indianapolis 500 fans also will see 33 2019 Corvette Stingrays on the roads of Central Indiana this spring and in the IPL 500 Festival Parade on May 25 in downtown Indianapolis. The popular cars are provided to central Indiana business leaders and dignitaries and serve an important promotional role for the race, Chevrolet and Corvette. This is the first time since 2007 that matching Corvettes are serving as the 500 Pace Car and festival cars.

The 2019 Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car features:

  • Long Beach Red Metallic Tintcoat with unique GM Design Indy 500 decal package.
  • Full Length Racing Blade Silver Dual Stripes.
  • LT1 6.2-liter V-8 DI aluminum engine with 460 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque.
  • 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission.
  • Dry-sump oil system.
  • Performance suspension with Magnetic Ride Control.
  • Brembo carbon ceramic brakes.
  • Grand Sport aluminum wheels: 19-inch front and 20-inch rear.
  • Carbon Flash painted Carbon Fiber Ground Effects Package.
  • Competition Sport Bucket Seats.
  • Performance Data Recorder.

The Corvette Grand Sport Pace Car can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The car also has an available cornering capability of 1.2 g, thanks to the Corvette Z06’s many advanced aerodynamic components.

Chevrolet has a storied history with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet was founded in 1911, the year of the inaugural 500-mile race, and company co-founder Louis Chevrolet, along with brothers Arthur and Gaston, competed in early Indy 500 races. Arthur competed in the 1911 race and Gaston won in 1920.

McLaren Senna GTR to Make Track Debut at GoodwoodThe new McLaren…

McLaren Senna GTR to Make Track Debut at Goodwood

The new McLaren Senna GTR, the most extreme track car yet from McLaren Automotive and its newest Ultimate Series model, will make its global debut at the 77th Goodwood Members’ Meeting, on Saturday April 6. 2019.

First announced at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2018 with the surprise unveiling of a concept version, the final validation prototype McLaren Senna GTR will take to the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit at the head of a very special celebration of McLaren cars. Featuring a McLaren P1 GTR, a McLaren P1 and road-going McLaren Senna alongside the new GTR, the track parade will also include the famous XP5 McLaren F1 prototype. For several years XP5 held the world record for the fastest production road car and will, for the first time, be joining its 21st century McLaren Ultimate Series descendants.

Free from the constraints of road car legislation and motorsport competition rules, the track-only McLaren Senna GTR advances circuit driving capability to another level entirely. With 825PS (814bhp) and torque of 800Nm (590lb ft) available from its 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8 engine and a lightest dry weight of 1,188kg, the new GTR has an astonishing power-to-weight ratio of 694PS-per tonne. In combination with aerodynamic downforce in excess of 1,000kg and suspension derived from McLaren’s GT3 race program, this ensures the new McLaren Senna GTR is the Ultimate expression of track driving performance and excitement.

The first of the 75 customers who have secured a McLaren Senna GTR – all cars were sold shortly after the concept made its Geneva debut at prices from £1.1m plus taxes – are due to receive their cars this September.

The dynamic debut of the new McLaren Senna GTR comes 12 months after the original McLaren Senna starred at the 76th Goodwood Members’ Meeting and just days after confirmation that the unique LEGO® McLaren Senna, constructed using almost 500,000 LEGO® bricks, will be on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.

First Look: The One-Off Ferrari P80/CCreating an entirely new…

First Look: The One-Off Ferrari P80/C

Creating an entirely new and modern take on the Ferrari sports prototype concept is both an ambitious and complex undertaking. But it was in this spirit, and with very specific input from the client, that the new Ferrari one-off, the P80/C, was conceived. The Ferrari Styling Centre, under the direction of Flavio Manzoni, and the engineering and aerodynamics team worked hand-in-glove with the client, sharing principles and visions in order to create a new “Hero Car” with an absolutely unique and authentic soul.

The client’s basic brief was to create a modern sports prototype inspired by iconic models from Ferrari’s history: the 330 P3/P4 on the one hand and the 1966 Dino 206 S on the other.

The P80/C thus set the Ferrari Styling Centre an ambitious target: to develop a new kind of product that simply did not exist in the current Ferrari range: a sports prototype inspired by the cars that essentially wrote their own styling rules becoming, in the process, famous icons that, although conceived as track cars, also went on to influence a whole series of elegant road cars. A case in point is the very close relationship between, for instance, the Dino 206 S racing car and the production Dino 206/246 GT. Both versions share a common DNA despite having a different styling lexicon: Ferrari racing elements appear in the case of the former while the latter have the more sober, refined lines of the road cars.

The Ferrari Styling Centre’s goal was to create a resolutely modern car that made no major concessions to the past, apart from attempting to recreate the sensual shape of those iconic models through more muscular wings formed by the intersection of concave and convex surfaces.

Kicked off in 2015, the P80/C project had the longest development time of any Ferrari one-off made to date. This highly intense gestation period was the result of in-depth styling research and lengthy engineering development, with meticulous analysis of performance parameters as well as scrupulous aerodynamic testing, all with a different approach than taken by Ferrari with its one-off cars in the past.

Normally speaking, this kind of car tends to be a stylistic reinterpretation of models in the current range – a new concept or basic idea that marks a departure from the donor car is built on existing running gear. The glorious history of Italian coachbuilding is just that: a wealth of exceptional cars based on the same chassis, but bodied by different coachworks.

The P80/C, however, is radically different. It is a track car, which means that performance is a major factor so this not only pointed the design team in the direction of a design that was absolutely unique, but also forced them to make radical changes to the running gear of the donor car. This involved introducing specific features required to guarantee a captivating marriage of style, technical prowess and aerodynamics.

The decision was made to use the 488 GT3 chassis as a basis, not only for its performance, but also for its longer wheelbase (+ 50 mm compared to the 488 GTB) which allowed more creative freedom. With respect to the Ferrari 488’s classic layout in which the cockpit tends to be placed centrally, the GT chassis allowed the designers to emphasis a cab forward-effect in which the rear is elongated, lending the car a more aggressive, compact character. This was one of the cornerstones of the P80/C’s styling from the early stages of the design process.

A decisive wedge shape dominates the side view at the front of the car. The muscular forms of the front and rear wings with the cockpit set in between are emphasized by very broad buttresses that expand towards the side air intakes. This gives the impression that the cabin is completely fused with the body, and is accentuated still further by the wrap-around windscreen which references the iconic look of sports prototypes of the past. The flying buttresses converge towards the roof underlining the visor effect of the greenhouse. All of these features are references not only to the 330 P3/P4 but also homage to the Dino and the 250 LM berlinettas.

The side windows merge graphically with a wide pocket created by the side air intakes giving a dynamic downward movement to the rear flanks. This disruptive line balances the wedge-shaped front flanks and visually separates the rear section from the rest of the car.

Seen from above, it is clear that the bodywork is widest over the front axle, but then narrows sharply, creating a tightly sculpted waistline around the rear door before broadening out again dramatically at the tail. This particularly iconic kind of architecture is also emphasized by flying buttress-type C-pillars which are physically detached from the cabin. On the one hand, the C-pillars wraparound the intercooler air intakes, while on the other, they accentuate the sharp drop in height between the roof and the surfaces of the rear engine cover. Compared to a more normal continuation of the roofline over the engine cover, a more extreme solution was preferred, creating a large void rear of the cockpit with a vertical rear screen.

Aerodynamic development was based on the experience gained with the 488 GT3, but was not governed by the restrictions imposed by international regulations. Thus the front splitter is specific and, while the expansion curve and vortex generators of the rear diffuser are the same as those used on the GT3, the external surfaces are all unique to the P80/C. The result is an improvement of around 5% in overall efficiency, required to make full use of the unrestricted engine.

The objective was to balance the upper bodywork’s downforce evenly over the two axles, making full use of the 488 GT3’s underbody. The configuration of the rear bodywork required the adoption of an aerodynamic profile that sits immediately rear of the trailing edge of the roof to provide a strong recompression of the flow rearwards, reinforcing the downforce generated by the tail and the wing. This aerodynamic profile was inspired by the T-wing adopted in Formula 1 in 2017 and here is designed to reduce the length of the flow over the rear, creating the effect of a very short ‘virtual’ rear windscreen and an extremely limited separation bubble.

The front of the car has a catamaran-style formal geometry. The jutting effect of the nose is underscored by its almost wing-like shape which the interplay of voids highlights very effectively. The large radiator air vents are located just behind this wing-like structure and these outlets over the front bonnet underline the powerfully muscular wings.

The fact that the P80/C is homologated only for track use meant that it could do without components that would be deemed vital in a road car, and which would also heavily influence its styling. Classic head lights have essentially disappeared. Or rather they have been reduced to mere slits set into niches at the front of the car reminiscent of the air intake housings in the grille of the 330 P3/P4. Unlike the 330, however, in the P80/C, said housings are not set into an oval grille but look more like two pockets carved out of the front of the car.

The same styling element reappears at the rear of the car. The rear spoiler is very wide to meet aerodynamic requirements and incorporates the two signature tail lights in a way that makes them look like air vents, thus perfectly reflecting the design of the front.

Even the rear fascia, which leaves the running gear fully visible, has a catamaran-type architecture.  This allowed the inside to be completed devoid of bodywork. In fact, its sole occupant is a grille to help evacuate heat from the engine bay. The space left is occupied by a huge rear diffuser which seems almost to be separate from the rest of the car.

The adoption of a concave rear windscreen and aluminium louvers on the engine cover, a reference to the 330 P3/P4, gives the P80/C’s tail an instantly recognizable and unique look.

At the client’s request, the car was designed with a dual soul: a racing set-up, which includes quite a showy carbon-fiber wing and 18” single-nut wheels, and an exhibition package complete with 21” wheels but devoid of aerodynamic appendages, to highlight the purity of its forms.

The P80/C’s design language was crafted to be instantly clear. Although made entirely from carbon-fiber, only the parts with strictly technical functions have been left bare, while the main car body has been painted a bright statement Rosso Vero. The name was chosen by the client, proving that his loyalty to Ferrari’s sports prototype tradition extends all the way to color.

The interior is very much the same as that of the donor car with a roll cage integrated into the bodywork. The side sections of the dashboard have been redesigned from the version seen on the 488 GT3, as have the seat upholstery and door panels – the latter are now carbon-fiber shells and no have no impact on the car’s weight.

First Look: The Aston Martin Vanquish Vision ConceptReviving an…

First Look: The Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept

Reviving an iconic nameplate traditionally reserved for Aston Martin’s flagship production model, Vanquish Vision Concept showcases the design language of our first series production mid-engined supercar.

Previewed for the first time at the 89th Geneva Motor Show, the Vanquish Vision Concept benefits from further crystallization of the philosophy pioneered in the Aston Martin Valkyrie, with the pursuit of weight, packaging and aerodynamic efficiency informing every aspect of the design and engineering.

Vanquish Vision Concept will feature a twin-turbo version of Aston Martin’s new V6: which will make its debut in the AM-RB 003 in hybrid turbo form.

In a departure from the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003’s all-carbon fiber construction, the Vanquish Vision Concept also features a bespoke bonded aluminium chassis.