Ferrari’s Turbocharged 488 GTB

Set to be unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show next month, the Ferrari 488 GTB is that long-awaited evolution of the 458. It’s a mid-cycle refresh of the current car and the updated model gets a GTB suffix (short for Gran Turismo Berlinetta) to tie it to Ferrari’s first production mid-engined V8 car, the 308 GTB.

However, that’s not as important as the number 488. That indicates a new engine, but it doesn’t displace 4.8 liters as the name suggests. Instead, it’s an all-new twin-turbocharged 3.9-liter V8 that isn’t shared with any other Ferrari model.

There’s been a lot of speculation about a turbocharged 458 derivative, but none of it anticipated this engine’s raw power. It produces 660 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than the 597 hp and 398 lb-ft of the outgoing 458 Speciale! All of that grunt will accelerate the 488 GTB from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.0 seconds, and on to a top speed of over 205 mph. It will also lap Ferrari’s Fiorano test track half a second quicker than the hardcore 458 Speciale.  That acceleration is managed by a seven-speed dual-lurch transmission and a chassis Ferrari says has been tuned with lessons learned from the XX program of track cars like the Enzo-based FXX.

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The original 458 styling is still recognizable, but Ferrari claims 50 percent more downforce for the new model, with less drag. That’s thanks to a double front spoiler, the enlarged side pods, and a flat underbody.

To help drivers harness all of that performance, the 488 GTB is equipped with the latest Ferrari electronic aids. That includes a version of the slip-angle control system that debuted in the 458 Speciale. Called Side Slip Control 2, it’s supposed to be less invasive than the original system, and works with the car’s F1-Trac traction control E-Diff differential, and adaptive suspension. The interior gets some updates, but the layout is the same as in the 458.

Read more about the Ferrari 488 GTB

A Sneak Peek: The Lamborghini Aventador SV

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The Lamborghini Aventador SV, judging by the spyshots of the car that have been surfacing, , will boast more prominent aero parts, slightly revised rear and front bumpers, and of course, more power.

Official specs of the car won’t be revealed until the Geneva Motor Show in March. It is expected that the V12 engine in the Lamborghini Aventador SV will be close to 750 horsepower. The aerodynamics include widened body-side air intakes, a new front splitter, scoops above scoops and inside scoops, and new air extractors where the workaday Aventador has none. The rear fascia has basically shed all semblances of bumper to become one huge grille, with deep rear diffuser vanes flanking quad exhaust pipes below.

The guys at LamboCars decided to give us an early look at the Aventador SV in its full glory in rather brilliant renderings. They not only show you the front and back ends of the car, they also showcase the SV in some pretty stunning colors.

Read more about the Lamborghini Aventador SV and see the colored renderings.

Porsche Plug-in Hybrid

Bernhard Maier, the head of Global Sales and Marketing for Porsche, commutes 56-miles round trip each day to the company headquarters in Stuttgart. His goal for this trip is to make it the entire way emissions free, using a Panamera with a low-carbon dioxide powertrain, or Porsche Cayenne plug-in hybrid. These vehicles are new to the Porsche line-up, and prove a shift in mindset for the sports car giant. Maier recently sat down for an interview with Automotive News Europe Editor Luca Ciferri, in which he explained the functionality of Porsche’s two newest eco-friendly vehicles, and how they are faring in the marketplace.

ugo-colombo-porsche-plugin-hybridHe states that the two new models are designed to go about 21.8-miles on pure battery power, but there are ways to extend this battery life. He says by “coasting into traffic” and “recuperating energy during braking”, you can extend your trip by quite a few miles. He himself makes it 24.9-miles each morning to work, which he does on pure battery power in most cases. The ability to switch from Hybrid to regular performance is a real draw for most people, especially when they have their own electrical filling station at their home or office.

The Cayenne was only recently introduced, but the Panamera has already met 10-percent global demand. Maier believes that this demand will increase as more governments subsidize eco-friendly vehicles. The Panamera and Cayenne plug-in offer the best of both worlds, and that does come at an increased cost; once governments start to encourage their citizens to work on reducing pollution, and offering these programs, Maier believes the demand for electrified vehicles could grow to as much as 50-percent.

Read more about this Porsche hybrid at http://www.autonews.com/article/20150103/RETAIL/301059957/porsche-bullish-on-plug-in-hybrids

The Floating Ferrari

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Picture yourself driving the windy roads of Italy in a beautiful Ferrari, nothing but open road ahead of you. Now imagine you live in Venice, where the streets are canals filled with water… what do you do? Artist Livio De Marchi, a Venice local, found a way to make that dream a reality; he built a floating Ferrari.

The F50 took five-months to carve, and is made entirely of solid pine. With carved wooden wheels and distinctive air vents, no detail was left out. Although the wooden boat does not have the impressive 4.7-liter V12 engine that the car has, it does have a small motor engine to get it around… a step up from the old paddle boat he was using to get around the city before.

Livio admits that the canals are not what they used to be, and are like freeways than the gentle canals they once were; large yachts and water taxis making it harder for smaller paddle boats to compete for space. He notes that this solution may have been a bit eccentric, but that is something he is known for in the area. Livio is renowned in Venice for his lifelike wooden sculptures. He has carved everything from wooden dachshunds, to wooden hanging clothes. This wooden Ferrari F50 is actually not his first wooden car either. He has floated down the canal in a wooden 1937 Jaguar, a Mercedes 300L, and recreations of Cinderella’s pumpkin.

Read more at http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/artist-carves-floating-wooden-ferrari-f50-in-venice/

Porsche’s Project: Top Secret! Review with Ugo Colombo

Porsche_topsecret_CMCAlmost all car manufacturers have a long line of concept cars that never made it to production, which could be for a variety of reason, whatever they may be. Some of these vehicles make it to concept car books or maybe images appear online, but there are many that have not been seen by the public. This is especially true for concept cars created prior to the 1990s. Porsche will be showing 14 of their concept vehicles in a special exhibition at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany for a limited time. There will be vehicles from the 1970s to the 1990s. In addition to the actual concept cars being shown, their specs and testing footage of the cars will be on display as well.

Porsche disclosed some of the vehicles being shown, which include the 1982 Porsche Type 959 C29. This car has been called the first Porsche super-car with 450 horsepower. The 959 set the stage for future Porsche super-cars such as the Carrera GT and the 918. The 959 is equipped with a six-cylinder boxer bi-turbo, an electronically controlled chassis, all-wheel drive and a very aerodynamic body. Another interesting vehicle being shown is the 1991 Porsche 989, which is a sedan with a V8 and 350 hp. Ultimately, the 989 was scrapped due to an economic downturn. This vehicle was the basis for the 4 door Porsche’s that came years later such as the Panamera. Both of these vehicles can been seen with 12 other unique vehicles at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany until January 11, 2015.

Jaguar’s Driverless Car

Many new cars are equipped with the ability to parallel park on its own or alert the driver when they come close to another vehicle. This is obviously a result of a push for making automobiles more autonomous, which has been a staple in science fiction films for many years. Jaguar Land Rover will begin testing their driverless car in the United Kingdom in January along with insurance companies, automobile councils and universities. The purpose of the testing is to see how autonomous cars handle real world conditions on the roads surrounding Coventry and Milton Keynes, but only part time. At this point, fully autonomous cars are not being tested on this scale, but many car manufacturers are testing this individually. The group will do studies based on these tests to help vehicle manufacturers, municipalities, insurance companies, legislators and any other stakeholders to develop legal and safety regulations for autonomous vehicles. It is also important that throughout research is done so the public is confident that autonomous vehicles are safe.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years with driverless vehicles and how strict the regulations will be for designing them.

Audi Prologue Concept

Audi-Prologue-concept_CMC GroupShown at the Los Angeles auto show, Audi has unveiled the Audi Prologue concept car. It is similar to the A8 sedan, but more updated and sleek. One very notable feature is the dashboard which extends across the entire dash that has functionality for the driver and the front seat passenger. In addition, the dashboard is 3D and has many touch screen displays. The body is constructed of aluminum and steel to keep weight down. Furthermore, the Prologue comes with all wheel steering and carbon ceramic brakes.

The power-train of the vehicle is what you would expect from a top luxury coupe with a large amount of horsepower and torque. The Prologue is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, which results in 605 horsepower and 516 lb. ft. of torque. This equates to zero to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds. It is unknown if this concept will every go into production, but if it does it is sure to have a similar price tag to other Audi vehicles, if not significantly more.