Car News



Filmmaker Recreates The Original Gran Turismo Using RC Cars: Video

Take a unique stroll down Gran Turismo’s memory lane

It’s hard to imagine where all the years have gone, but the truth is, we’re approaching 19 years since the first Gran Turismo video game burst into the scene back in December 1997. I don’t know about you, but nostalgia kicks in every time I remember what it was like playing the original Gran Turismo on the first Sony PlayStation. Considering how big the franchise has become, it’s no surprise that others others share in my sentiment, including French filmmaker Alexandre Synger, who went over and above what you’d expect from an OG Gran Turismo fan by actually recreating specific scenes from the game, including the opening sequence, using radio-controlled cars.

The video you’ll see is an incredible depiction of the original Gran Turismo, right down to the cars – it’s the Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak! – and the open-world environment. Synger went all-out with this video, going so far as to recreate the menu screens and the car selection process using the same RC cars. Best of all, they’re all incredibly accurate!

It’s a worthwhile watch for old school fans of the original Gran Turismo video game. And once you’re done, take some time and look for some of Synger’s other works. He’s also recreated numerous chase scenes from the Fast and Furious movie franchise he even has one for the Pod Racer sequence from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It may be the worst of all the Star Wars movies, but watching Synger’s recreation of the scene is actually pretty awesome too.

New Limited-Edition Watch from Omologato Pays Tribute to Porsche 917

Limited to only 200 examples and quite affordable

A while back I did a piece about what I consider to be the 10 coolest motorsport-inspired watches you can buy. The list included some fine timekeepers, but it looks like I might have to update it to include Omologato’s new, limited-edition timepiece, which pays tribute to the iconic Porsche 917 race car.

Although Omologato isn’t the first company to build a 917-inspired watch — BRM’s BT-12 46 Gulf is pretty neat (and expensive) — this new release pays tribute to the what is arguably the most iconic example of the race car. Not including the Gulf-painted mock-up featured in Steve McQueen’s "Le Mans" movie, that is. Specifically, Omologato’s timepiece takes inspiration from the No. 23 Porsche Salzburg version that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1970.

This is visible in the red, while, and black color scheme based on the livery of the actual car, as well as the three small dials. The one on the left is red, the center dial is finish in red with white stripes, just like the car’s front hood, while the one on the right is white and features the famous number 23. The 22mm black Italian leather strap has Guards Red stitching, while the 43mm face comes in a matte-finished frame with chrome accents, and a "917" insignia at the bottom.

The watch is powered by a Japanese Quartz movement of which Omologato says it delivers the "desirable level of precision, reliability and accuracy that only comes with the very best watches." The 917-inspired timepiece is limited to only 200 examples and each will be sold with an ownership certificate, together with a bespoke case. Those who pre-order can choose the number of their watch. Speaking of orders, the timekeeper costs only £339, an affordable sticker given the specifications (also due to the fact that Omologato is a new brand, being established in 2015. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in January 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.

Is this what LeMans Racers of 2030 Will Look Like?

Jurors must have had a difficult time picking the best designs

The Michelin Challenge Design has been going on ever since 2002 when designers from around the world were challenged to design a car that would fit in with Italy. Since then, the challenge has focused on other locations like China, California, France, and Germany. Other years including the design of electric cars (2010) and Mobility for All (2016.) For 2017, however, Michelin and Automobile Club de I’Quest challenged entrants to design a car that would win Le Mans in the year 2030 and, as expected, the creativity of some of the designs is out of this world.

There was a total of 1,600 entries for this challenge, of which Michelin has showcased the top 20 that you see here. First place went to Tao Ni of Wuhu, China and his “Infiniti Le Mans 2030.” Second place went to Daniel Bacelar Pereira of Vila Real, Portugal, and his “Bentley 9 Plus Michelin Battery Slick. Third place goes to the Cierzo C1 that was submitted by Kurt Scanlan from Toronto, Canada. Of course, all of the designs were nothing short of amazing, but you can’t award first place to everyone.

Thom Roach, Vice President of OEM marketing for Michelin North America, said, “The winners of our 2017 Michelin Challenge Design presented numerous highly innovative features for the Le Mans race in the year 2030 and the quality of work from this year’s entries was truly outstanding. We congratulate the winners for their thought-provoking, visually captivating designs for the world’s greatest endurance race, Le Mans 24 Hours.”

The jury that was tasked with choosing the absolute best designs was comprised of some of the brightest minds in the automotive world and included people like, Damien Michelin of Michelin North America; Chris Chapman, Chief Designer for Hyundai America Technical Center; Dave Marek, Acura Global Creative Director for Honda R&D Americas; and Richard Plavetich, General Manager of Design Business for Nissan Design America; among others from BMW, GM, Ford, and PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Of the Top 20 designs, first, second, and third place will be invited to Michelins stand at the North American International Auto Show where they will be recognized and will participate in a private portfolio review. The first-place winner will also be recognized at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hour Race.

Source: Michelin

Ford Mustang and F-150 enthusiasts likely know American Muscle. It’s a huge aftermarket parts supplier with add-on parts ranging from cosmetic bits to full crate engines ready for a project car. Well, the retailer is throwing a huge give-away with one lucky winner taking home a 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, an 850-horsepower Mustang, and an aluminum race trailer stocked full of tools and race tires!

At the heart of the package is the highly tuned Mustang. This current-gen car has a Whipple supercharger sitting on its modified 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 that makes 850 horsepower at the crank and just over 725 horsepower at the rear wheels. It comes painted in a custom Tangerine Orange paint with a unique styling package. It rides on upgraded wheels and tires that can be swapped out for the drag slicks and skinnies found on the trailer. All told, this one-off Mustang has more than $30,000 worth of aftermarket parts bolted on.

Towing duties are given to a 2017 F-150 Raptor SuperCab. It comes untouched from the factory in Blue Flame paint with the optional Black Graphics Package. American Muscle didn’t have to do anything to the Raptor’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 since it makes an impressive 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. The 35-inch-tall BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires and 10-spoke wheels reamain. The Raptor’s 6,000-pound towing capacity should be more than enough to pull the Mustang and aluminum trailer to the track.

Speaking of the trailer, it comes equipped with drag radials for the Mustang’s rear axle and skinnies for the front. It also has a full assortment of tools a race team might need in the pits.

This is perhaps the most comprehensive give-away package we’ve ever seen, so be sure to enter to win. You can enter weekly until November 11, 2016. The winner will be announced on November 25.

Continue reading for more information.

Henrik Fisker Teases New Car With Butterfly Doors

The teaser image gives us a lot to be excited about!

Earlier this month, Henrik Fisker announced that he was launching Fisker Incan all-new car company that will (hopefully) be more successful than the original Fisker Automotive that bankrupt years back. As part of the announcement, Fisker claimed that he was working on an all-new “luxury EV sedan” that will boast a 400-mile range and take on the Tesla Model S. There are also plans for a compact EV sedan to take on the Tesla Model 3. It’s really hard to take Fisker’s word for it considering the way his first car company failed so badly, but Fisker recently posted a teaser image on Twitter, and it looks like we should probably take the man seriously.

As is the usual case with teaser images, we can’t get the whole picture, but the car is boasting butterfly doors in the front and rear. The roof looks to slope downward fairly gently, similar to that of the new Porsche Panamera. Ahead of the front doors, there could be a small fender vent, but with the doors open and the picture shadowed it’s hard to tell – that could simply be the opening in the body for the front door. To the front, it looks like the front fascia is as dominating as the front wheel arches. There are two small wings on the fascia just ahead of the front wheels and an LED strip accenting the fenders.

Fisker claims that this new EV will be a “spiritual successor” to the Karma and from what we can see, that could be the case. The front and rear overhangs are a little shorter than that of the original Karma, but this car certainly has an elegant silhouette against that sunset. IT does look like the car will ride rather low to the ground and sport large wheels with thin tires. The rear taillights also look to come in LED form. Fisker claims that more will be announced next week, so stay tuned for updates.

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT by Dime Racing

U.S. tuner and racing team has something special in store for the Mercedes sports car

Mercedes’ lineup of AMG GT sports cars come with enough varieties that customers shouldn’t have issues picking which of these versions suit them best. Even after they’ve already chosen among the AMG GT, GT S, GT R, or the GT C Roadster, the possibilities for customization are also available at their beck and call. Tuners like Mansory, RennTech, Piecha Design, and Brabus all have programs available for different versions of the AMG GT. It’s dandy that the sports car receivers so much aftermarket love because another tuner, U.S.-based Dime Racing, is also set to offer its own tuning kit for the Mercedes sports car. Even better, the kit comes with an actual watch.

Dime actually doesn’t have the actual kit prepared yet, but it is a legitimate AMG racing and tuning outfit with an SLS AMG competing in the Pirelli World Challenge. So even without the product, Dime is promising massive upgrades to the AMG GT that, once completed, will feature, among other things 745 horsepower to play with. That’s more than what Mansory’s 720-horsepower offer for the same sports car. Pretty intriguing, right?

Not surprisingly, Dime is limiting the program to just 100 units per year, ensuring top-notch quality for each model it builds. It’s also announced a price of $150,200 for each program, which presumably already includes the donor car itself. That includes “bumper-to-bumper” warranty so those who end up with a Dime-tuned AMG GT can take comfort knowing their car is covered in the event of a mishap or two. Apparently, the first batch of cars are all reserved, which is a remarkable act of faith considering that the whole kit is not yet finished.

Oh, and about that watch. The tuner is also offering a personalized Växjö that comes with machine serial numbers with the car and will come directly from former Formula One driver and 1997 Le Mans winner Stefan Johansson.

It’s a tantalizing offer, but unlike those who already put the money down on reservations, I’d like to see the actual finished product first before making any judgments on what Dime Racing is offering.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mercedes-AMG GT by Dime Racing.

Audi Forced to Drop Tech Projects in Aftermath of Dieselgate

Electric powertrains and autonomous tech among the projects put on pause

It doesn’t matter which brand you’re talking about – the Dieselgate scandal has rocked every single branch of the Volkswagen family tree. The latest to take a hit is Audi, as a recent report from Reuters outlines a variety of projects sidelined by the beleaguered automaker in an attempt to cut back on spending.

Citing unnamed sources from within Audi, Reuters says the Four Ring brand is pausing development of a new test track for autonomous vehicle research, as well as stopping construction of new production facilities slated to build upcoming concept cars and batteries for electric vehicles. Audi is also halting projects for its Ingolstadt-based “IN-Campus” technology park.

To make matters worse, Audi’s work council is expressing displeasure with the automaker’s recent efforts to move production beyond German borders, including plans to build all-electric vehicles in Brussels, and plans to build the Q5 SUV in Mexico.

The cutbacks come amid Volkswagen’s ongoing efforts to repair its image, with forward-thinking innovations like autonomous vehicles and electric powertrains offered as evidence of the brand’s break from its old, emissions-cheating ways. However, with Audi now sidelining many of its top tech projects, it’s uncertain how long it’ll take for VW to get back in the public’s good graces.

Continue reading for the full story.

Source: Reuters

Volkswagen Exec Calls Demise Of SUVs Imminent

They’re apparently soon-to-be dinosaurs in his eyes

Consumer taste and preference is always a cyclical thing. Today’s popular items will be on sales bins tomorrow. That kind of change has always happened and will continue to happen since consumers are always after the next big thing. The same principle applies in the auto industry, which is exactly what Volkswagen’s executive director of design Klaus Bischoff alluded to when the told Auto Express that SUVs will eventually become “dinosaurs” once autonomous driving vehicles hit the market.

“Maybe SUVs will start to look old at some point and people will point at them and say, ‘He’s driving a dinosaur,’" Bischoff said. “We don’t see that now, but I strongly believe that we’re going to see much different vehicles when we get to Level 5 autonomy, and then it becomes much more open.”

The comparison to the extinct reptiles sounds a little harsh, but there are some nuggets of truth to what Bischoff is talking about. More than most industries, the automotive business is susceptible to the winds of change, especially when revolutionary technologies like electrification and autonomous driving start to take center stage. There once was a time when vans and minivans were considered the go-to people movers. Then crossovers and SUVs arrived and those same vans slowly started losing popularity to the point that only a handful of automakers still make them these days.

Today, crossovers and SUVs are as popular as they’ve ever been, but according Bischoff, the next automotive “game changer” will be Level 5 autonomy, or the ability for cars to completely drive by themselves without any sort of human assistance. The shift itself isn’t necessarily tied into the convenience of being able to do something else as the car drives by itself, but rather the opportunity that designers will be presented with to completely alter a car’s interior to suit a number of different lifestyles, including the “lounge layout” that Volkswagen presented with the ID Concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.

That kind of design is a possibility if cars with Level 5 autonomy become the norm in the industry. In the event that happens, would you still drive an SUV?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Source: Auto Express

2019 Bentley Flying Spur

The next-generation luxury sedan starts life as a Porsche Panamera

Launched in 2005 and updated in 2013, the Bentley Flying Spur is getting a little long in the tooth. As a result, the British firm has already begun testing the next-generation model and we have already received the first spy shots of the upcoming luxury rig.

Don’t let the Panamera body fool you, this is actually a Bentley mule, and the fact that Bentley is using a Porsche body is by no means surprising. As you may recall, the first Bentayga prototype hit the road with an Audi Q7 body. Also, keep in mind the Bentley, Porsche, and Audi are all under the same Volkswagen Group umbrella. If you’re still in doubt, our paparazzi have already checked the British plates with the DVLA, which revealed that the prototype is indeed registered as a Bentley.

Likely to break cover in late 2018 or early 2019, the next-generation Flying Spur will bring major improvements to the nameplate. Arguably the most imporant is the MSB-F platform, which already made its debut in the new Porsche Panamera. The redesign will also spawn a new styling language, a more luxurious interior, and give the sedan more powertrain options.

Official data is virtually non-existent, but I gathered all existing rumors in a speculative review that should keep you covered until a Bentley-bodied prototype shows up in 2017. Make sure you stay tuned for details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Flying Spur.

2016 Volswagen Golf R - Driven

Functionality meets fun

The Volkswagen Golf R has been long awaited here in the U.S. where customers have pining for this Europe-only car to make its appearance Stateside. Now with the 2016 model year, that wish has finally come true. The anticipation is justifiable when considering Volkswagen first debuted the Golf R32 back in 2003. It featured the first dual-clutch gearbox in any production car and had VW’s then-new 3.2-liter VR6. It set the bar extremely high in the hot hatch segment.

Volkswagen has plenty of competitors out there, but the Golf R still holds its own. It comes with 4Motion AWD, a standard six-speed manual or the optional six-speed DSG automatic, and of course, the 292-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Those mechanicals are good for a sub-five-second launch to 60 mph and more fun on public roads than Johnny Law will allow.

At the same time, the Golf R is still… well, a Golf. It boasts 52.7 cubic feet of cargo room with the second row folded. There’s still 22.8 cubic feet of room with the second row locked in place. That means the Golf R is not only fun, but it’s functional. Obviously, that’s the appeal of a hot hatch. There’s little compromise unlike a 2+2 sports coupe or larger, heavier crossover.

I recently spent a week with the Golf R fitted with the DSG, DCC, and no N-A-V. Punny acronyms aside, the car was well equipped, but not loaded. Thankfully it had Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto) so I was able to use my iPhone for navigation. So what’s it like to live with the Golf R? I’ll let you know below.

Continue reading for the full driven review.

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