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Long Just a Rumor, Mid-Engine Corvette May Soon Become Reality

And is a Cadillac supercar also in the works?

by on Aug.04, 2016

A rendering of a possible mid-engine Corvette from Car & Driver, which has long chased the story.

In the classic Humphrey Bogart film, The Maltese Falcon, detective Sam Spade gets caught up in the chase for a jewel-encrusted bird, it’s “the stuff that dreams are made of,” he says. For sports car fans, especially those who’ve long waited to see General Motors finally deliver a true world-beater, the stuff of dreams is the long-rumored, mid-engine Corvette.

The search has long consumed veteran Detroit journalists like Don Sherman who remains convinced the project is real. And there are growing signs he is right – at least if a flurry of recent whispers and rumors, as well as articles and reports in outlets as diverse as the Detroit News and Car & Driver prove accurate.

There is an unusual twist to this long-running tail being bandied about. Might the mid-engine prototype spotted a number of times in recent months not actually be earmarked for Chevrolet, however? Might this supposedly ultimate Corvette actually be destined to serve as the halo car for the Cadillac brand, a challenge to the likes of the newly updated Audi R8 and reborn Acura NSX?

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For their part, General Motors officials remain mum. The stock answer is that the automaker doesn’t discuss future projects. And, the reality is, even some of the company’s more senior officials don’t really know. As several current and former Corvette project members stress, that is a highly compartmentalized team operating in its own little world.


Ferrari Readying Drop-Top LaFerrari

Set to be fastest convertible ever for Italian maker.

by on Jul.07, 2016

Ferrari will offer both a folding soft top and a carbon fiber hardtop for the LaFerrari Convertible.

Even before its official unveiling, Ferrari says it has already sold out the fastest convertible it has ever come up with – even before it releases the official price tag, in fact. But that’s likely no surprise considering the incredible demand for the original LaFerrari coupe.

We’re expecting to hear more in the coming days, but what we’ve already learned is that the LaFerrari convertible has undergone “significant and extensive modifications” to maintain the hardtop’s rigidity and improve its aerodynamics.

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The cabrio edition will also maintain the original LaFerrari powertrain, a 949 horsepower package using Formula One-derived KERS hybrid technology that will help it launch from 0 to 60 in just 2.4 seconds – on the way to a top speed of 217 mph.


Nissan GT-R Gets More Power, Updated Design

Biggest change to supercar since 2007.

by on Mar.23, 2016

The 2017 Nissan GT-R retains its familiar profile.

The Nissan GT-R is a perpetual motion machine, always seeming to be on the move, even when parked.

Wherever it’s going, it will get there a little faster next year, the Japanese maker giving the little supercar more power – and some design tweaks for 2017. It’s a welcome send-off considering the GT-R is expected to undergo a complete makeover within the next two years.

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“As the icon of Nissan’s driving performance, the GT-R continues to evolve,” said Mamoru Aoki, executive design director, Global Design Center, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “With the signature V-motion grille, the GT-R now possesses the latest Nissan design language. Its exceptional aerodynamic performance and upgraded interior have given the GT-R a more mature character, which will continue into the future.”


Lamborghini Centenario Celebrates Centennial in Style

Limited run of 20 coupes, 20 roadsters planned.

by on Mar.01, 2016

The new Lamborghini Centenario celebrates the 100th birthday of Ferruccio Lamborghini.

How do you celebrate the centennial of your founder? You could throw a party and put plenty of candles on the cake. But Lamborghini has a different way of celebrating the 100th birthday of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The Italian maker is showing off the long-rumored Lamborghini Centenario, a super-exclusive, 770-horsepower version of its top-line Aventador two-seater. For those looking to crash the party, Lambo officials told a media audience they plan to produce just 40 of the hypercars: 20 coupes and 20 roadsters.

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Suggesting the one-off model allows his company to “transcend some of the constraints” of regular series production, outgoing Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said, “The Centenario is a car that perfectly combines tradition and innovation. It looks to the future while honoring the legend that is Ferruccio Lamborghini.”


Bugatti Lifts Covers on 261-mph Chiron Ahead of Geneva Debut

Limited-edition ultracar aiming to regain world speed record.

by on Feb.29, 2016

The new Bugatti Chiron.

The long-awaited successor to the Bugatti Veyron has made its debut a day ahead of its official unveiling at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, and whether you’re talking price, power or performance, the numbers are staggering.

To run by the basics, the new Bugatti Chiron will punch out 1,500 horsepower, launch from 0 to 60 in less than 2.5 seconds, and top out at 261 mph, enough to put it on target for a new world speed record. Oh, and did we mention the starting price of $2.6 million?

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“The Chiron is the quintessential ultimate super sports car: ultra-modern, incredibly fast, agile and powerful with a stylistically demanding design and the highest possible levels of comfort,” says Bugatti chief Wolfgang Dürheimer. “This combination is not offered by any other market player and gives Bugatti its unique market position.”


Update: Lutz, Fisker Partner On New VLF Force 1

When is a Dodge Viper more than a Viper?

by on Jan.13, 2016

The VLF Force 1 went from little more than a sketch to driveable prototype in just 10 weeks. Photo Len Katz

(This story has been updated with new information about the VLF Force 1.)

Two automotive industry veterans are planning to make a return to the market, Danish designer Henrik Fisker and former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz serving as two of the key partners in the new VLF Automotive.

They’ll be joined by industrialist Gilbert Villarreal in the venture, which will present its limited-edition supercar, the Force 1, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.

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“I’m honored to become a partner in this automotive ‘Dream Team’,” said Fisker, who served as the chief designer at Aston on projects like the DB9 before setting up his own venture, Fisker Automotive. That plug-in hybrid maker went bankrupt in 2013.


First Look: Ferrari 488 Spider

Lightweight power hardtop opens in 14 seconds.

by on Sep.16, 2015

The 488 Spider's drop top was designed to add minimal weight to the sports car.

You already know the Ferrari 488 Spider is going to be fast, but that extends to the new folding hardtop, as well, which will retract in a mere 14 seconds, the Italian automaker announced during the preview of the new cabriolet at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Spider is the open-air version of the only recently launched Ferrari 488 GTB, and with the top up, the two models bear a strong visual resemblance. The good news is that they also share the same basic performance specs thanks to the design of the top which adds only a modest amount of mass to the new model.

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Cutting the roof off is always a challenge for Ferrari engineers. It not only risks adding weight, but weakening a car’s chassis and worsening aerodynamics. The maker claims it was able to overcome all three of those potential problems.


Struggling Lotus Unveils New Evora 400

British maker bills it as its fastest model ever.

by on Feb.18, 2015

Lotus hopes the new Evora 400 will help put it back on the map after a series of disasters.

Struggling Lotus has lately sounded a lot like Mark Twain, repeatedly insisting that reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, despite plenty of reason for concern, including management shake-ups and the collapse of an ambitious, and ultimately unrealistic, product development program.

But Lotus is showing at least some signs of life, the latest coming with the unveiling of its all-new, mid-engine Evora 400. The latest update of the Evora line is more than just a cosmetic update, insists the maker which is based in Hethel, Norfolk. It claims that “over two-thirds” of the Lotus Evora 400 is new, including its supercharged 3.5-liter V-6.

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“The Evora 400 is the fastest road-going Lotus that we have ever produced, possessing performance that can only be matched by cars costing significantly more,” boasted Group Lotus Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Gales. “It delivers supercar looks allied to supercar performance.”


First Drive: 2015 Corvette Z06

World-class performance, unexpectedly affordable price.

by on Jan.07, 2015

Chevy is offering the Z06 in coupe and convertible configurations, with stick and auto transmissions.

It’s an unusually chilly morning out in the Nevada desert, and as we buckle our helmets, strap on our seatbelts and make a few final adjustments, we get a last-minute warning: the track is chill and the pavement cold. It might get a little slippery if we go balls-to-the-wall on the first couple laps.

But it doesn’t take long to throw caution to the wind as we shoot through the corners and back out onto the front straight at the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, an hour outside Las Vegas. With a neck-snapping 650-horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque bursting out from under its hood, the new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is not only one of the fastest cars you can find, it’s also one of the most forgiving.


It’s the sort of sports car that makes an average driver feel like a hero, and a serious performance enthusiast push further than they might ever have thought possible. What’s all the more impressive is that it comes at a price tag that Euro-snobs might snicker at, less than $80,000 to start with – nudging up to around $110,000 for an absolutely fully loaded Z07 version.


Despite Slow Start, Chrysler Insists Viper Building Momentum

Volume “not our be-all and end-all,” says Gilles.

by on Nov.26, 2013

SRT chief Ralph Gilles - also Chrysler's corporate design chief, plants a welcome kiss on the new SRT Viper during its 2012 NY Auto Show debut.

Launched with plenty of ballyhoo last year, Chrysler Group’s reborn Viper has generated more buzz than business. But the head of the fledgling SRT brand insists the Detroit supercar continues to build momentum.

If anything, SRT CEO Ralph Gilles – who also serves as Chrysler Group chief designer – insists that dealers have been a bottleneck and that the order books for the Viper are close to full.

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Nonetheless, the maker is not looking at sales alone when it measures the success of the Viper. “Volume is not our be all and end all,” said Gilles.