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Mercedes Working Up 1,000 HP Supercar

Two alternate versions reportedly under development.

by on Nov.30, 2015

The Mercedes-McLaren SLR was first unveiled in 2003. It's shown here during a debut drive.

The new Mercedes-AMG GT is an intimidating beast, meant to challenge the likes of the venerable Porsche 911. But it’s not a true replacement for two of the maker’s recent supercars, the SLR and SLS models.

Now, it seems, Mercedes wants to fill that gap and take advantage of the growing demand for vehicles that can deliver as much as 1,000 horsepower or more. According to a report in the well-connected German magazine, Auto Bild, Mercedes is looking at two alternatives that could push the pony count near, and perhaps into the four-figure range.

Firing on All Cylinders!

It would join a select group of so-called ultracars, including the Koenigsegg Agera and Bugatti Veyron. But it would take a very different approach when it comes to delivering all that muscle.

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British Millionaire Buys Holy Trinity of Hybrid Supercars

First person to own McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 918.

by on Jan.29, 2015

One person has purchased all three of the "holy trinity" of hybrid super cars, starting with the McLaren P1.

We’ve all played the game…if money was not object which supercar would you buy? Of course, no one can simply pick just one crazy fast car, so yo

In the case of British multi-millionaire Paul Bailey, it was a real-life game involving the purchase of McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 Spyder, or the Ferrari LaFerrari: the holy trinity of hybrid supercars.

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And like so many of us when we play the hypothetical game, he elected to buy them all. Yup. He dropped about $4 million and bought all of the hybrid supercars because he couldn’t settle on one. (more…)

BMW Studies Options for an M Hybrid

But near-term focus is on downsized, turbocharged engines.

by on Jun.10, 2014

The 2015 BMW M3 gets a smaller, turbo engine.

Among the many products offered by a marque that bills itself “the ultimate driving machine,” it’s those branded with the vaunted “M” badge that best live up to that boast.

In recent years, BMW has significantly expanded its line-up of M offerings, including the new M3 and M4 models that go on sale this month. But those two high performance products reveal an ongoing shift in strategy for the M brand-within-a-brand, a move away from big-block naturally aspirated engines, to more technically sophisticated powertrains that are downsized and turbocharged.

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BMW is by no means alone. There have been reports that General Motors may take a similar route with the next-generation Corvette. But in an exclusive interview with TheDetroitBureau.com, the chief engineer for BMW’s M line revealed the subsidiary is giving serious consideration to going a step further with hybrids and other battery-based powertrains.

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Muscle Cars Muscle Their Way Into the Big Apple

Mustang, Challenger, Charger – and some high-powered imports – dominate 2014 NY Auto Show.

by on Apr.18, 2014

Yes, it has a Hemi, the newly updated 2015 Dodge Charger is one of many new models muscling in at the New York Auto Show.

Marking the 50th anniversary of its original introduction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, an all-new Mustang is waiting to greet visitors at the NY Auto Show opening this week.

But Ford’s redesigned pony car isn’t the only offering putting the emphasis on performance at an annual event that had, in recent years, been more focused on battery cars and other green machines.  While there are a number of new, fuel-efficient products on display, muscle cars have muscled their way to dominance on the floor of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on New York’s West Side.

Muscle Up!

From Detroit, there’s not only the new 2015 Ford Mustang, but a pair of muscle cars from rival Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge Division. And General Motors, which had a hit with the all-new Corvette Stingray shown in NY last year is back with the upgraded Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which is expected to add nearly 200 horsepower – coming in at an estimated 625 hp – when it reaches showrooms early next year.

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Chevy Puts “Performance” Into New Spark EV

More torque than a Ferrari 458?

by on Nov.07, 2013

The Chevrolet Spark EV Tech Performance package delivers more torque than a Ferrari 458.

The annual aftermarket extravaganza known as the SEMA Show has traditionally put a premium on performance, so that left many folks wondering why there was a little Chevrolet Spark EV on display at the Detroit maker’s stand alongside more traditional muscle cars like the Camaro and Chevrolet.

This wasn’t a regular Spark EV, it turned out, but a modified model that Chevy redubbed the Spark EV Tech Performance. And it has delivered a bit of a shock to those who think that battery cars are little more than high-tech stone ponies.

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The numbers suggest something quite different, the Tech Performance package pumping out an impressive 450 pound-feet of torque.  That’s 50 more than the stock Spark EV – but to put it into better perspective, that’s also more than the classic 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS muscle car and 52 more lb-ft than a Ferrari 458 Italia.

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Porsche Charged Up About New Panamera Plug-in

Maker expects big sales growth for battery-based 4-seater.

by on Oct.02, 2013

The 2014 Porsche Panamera S-E plug-in replaces the outgoing Panamera S Hybrid.

Porsche is charged up about the opportunities for its new plug-in hybrid, the 2014 Panamera S-E, with sales forecast to nearly double those of the conventional hybrid model it will replace.

The S-E is one of 10 different versions of the 2014 Porsche Panamera – nine of which the maker plans to offer in the United States.  With its lithium-ion battery pack, the new S-E model will be able to go an estimated 22 miles per charge while operating in battery-only mode at speeds up to 84 mph.

Plug In!

But unlike other plug-ins currently on the market, there’s no real trade-off in performance, the coupe-like sedan launching from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds, according to Porsche.

“It’s a real Porsche, and a Porsche must go really fast,” even if it is powered by batteries, said Stefan Utsch, director of sales and marketing for the Panamera line.

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Volkswagen Goes Electric

German giant reverses long-standing reluctance to launch flood of hybrids, plug-ins and battery-cars.

by on Sep.12, 2013

Volkswagen's e-Up! concept reflects the maker's turnaround about having electric vehicles in its lineup.

With the launch of the new e-Golf model at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, along with the smaller e-Up! model, Volkswagen AG begins a high-voltage push into the emerging battery-car market. And that’s just the start, senior VW officials promise.

Add in models as diverse as the plug-in hybrid Audi A3 Sportback and the new battery-assisted Porsche 918 supercar, and Europe’s largest automaker begins the process of rolling out a planned 40 hybrids, plug-ins and full battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, by 2018.

Shocking!

So aggressive is the Volkswagen campaign that CEO Martin Winterkorn is projecting the maker will become the largest manufacturer of battery-based vehicles in the world, noting, “We have developed the know-how for electric motors and battery systems at our own components plants, we have recruited 400 top experts for electric traction and qualified almost 70,000 development, production and service employees in this new technology — the biggest electrification training program in our industry.” (more…)

Porsche Plugs in With 918 Supercar

A carbon fiber supercar that’s both mean and green.

by on May.17, 2013

Porsche puts the emphasis on supercar performance with its new 918 Spyder.

For those who think battery-based vehicles are, by nature, slow and boring, the new Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in supercar could deliver a shocking surprise.

True, the carbon-fiber 918 is expected to yield significant improvements in fuel efficiency – and about 18 miles per charge on its lithium-ion battery pack, but it will also launch from 0 to 60 in less than 2.8 seconds. A Chevrolet Volt it definitely isn’t.

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The new supercar “demonstrates the potential of the hybrid drive to a degree never seen before: the parallel improvement of both efficiency and performance without one being at the cost of the other,” says Porsche, which first revealed a prototype of the 918 several years ago and is launching the production version this week.

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Porsche Prepped to Launch First Plug-In

Shanghai Motor Show to bring big news for sports carmaker.

by on Apr.03, 2013

Porsche's first plug-in will debut in Shanghai.

It’s still a benchmark brand when it comes to sports cars but Porsche has shown an increasing readiness to defy expectations, whether it’s launching the Cayenne SUV, the 4-door Panamera or – just a few weeks from now – its first plug-in hybrid.

While the 918 hybrid supercar is still nearly a half year away from production, Porsche will have other plug-in news for the upcoming Shanghai Motor Show – the new Panamera S E-Hybrid.

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Largely based on the basic gas-electric drivetrain first introduced on the Porsche Panamera S Hybrid two years ago, the plug-in version will reportedly deliver “greater than 20 miles” of pure electric driving range and speeds of up to 84 mph before its twin-turbocharged V-6 kicks in.

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Porsche Puts $845,000 Price Tag on 918 Spyder Plug-in Hybrid

This green machine will set you back plenty of green.

by on Mar.22, 2011

The Porsche 918 Spyder will deliver 718 hp and 78 mpg

When the subject is green machines you’ll often hear the topic turn to “payback period,” the time it takes to recover the added cost of an alternative drivetrain through the money you’ll save on fuel.

When it comes to the new Porsche 918 Spyder, the German maker’s first plug-in hybrid, you’ll have to count the payback period in centuries – but then again, how many buyers will really be buying the high-performance sports car just because it saves a few gallons of gas?

More than a year after the 918 Spyder made its show-stopping debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Porsche has confirmed the design will be going into production – with an asking price of $845,000.  That will make the Porsche 918 Spyder the world’s most expensive environmentally-friendly automobile, unless you consider some of the Formula One designs using hybrid power-assist systems.

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For your money, you’ll get a 500-horsepower V8 that’s paired with twin electric motors – one mounted at each axle – kicking in another 218 hp.  Lithium-ion batteries help capture energy normally lost during braking or coasting, though like the much more mundane Chevrolet Volt, the 918 Spyder can be plugged in when parked, and will yield up to 16 miles running on pure electric power.

Recharge times will run about seven hours using 110v wall current, and less than half that relying on a dedicated 220-volt charger.

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