Geneva Motor Show

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2017 Toyota Yaris

Mid-cycle facelift adds sporty cues, loads of tech, and new engines

The 2017 Geneva Auto Show had plenty of supercar action, but the Toyota booth had quite the nice surprise for performance enthusiasts, in the shape of the new Yaris GRMN. Based on the WRC-spec rally car, the GRMN is the Polo GTi and Fiesta ST competitor we’ve been asking about for years, but it wasn’t the only Yaris show in Switzerland. Alongside the performance version, Toyota also displayed the regular Yaris, which just received a mid-cycle update.

Now sporting a revised front fascia with more angular lines and a sportier bumper and larger taillights around back, the Yaris has taken a more aggressive stance against the competition. The fresh design is backed by a revised interior with new technology and an enhanced safety package, while the drivetrain department has news to share too. On top of the new GRMN model with the supercharged 1.8-liter engine and a mild update to the hybrid version, the Yaris also ditched the 1.3-liter unit in favor of a brand-new, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Powerful yet more efficient, the new unit also makes the Yaris quicker, which is a big plus with so many nippy options on the market right now.

All told, the Yaris gained quite the comprehensive update and it’s now one of the most modern and advanced propositions in this crowded niche. Find out how it compares with the competition in the my review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Toyota Yaris.

2018 Subaru XV Crosstrek

The jacked-up Impreza is ready to roll into dealers

When crossovers and SUVs got their second wind on the market, automakers jumped on the opportunity to open the gates and flood each and every segment of the market with as many models as possible. But, some automakers have taken an interesting approach where they take a car body and throw it on a jacked-up chassis and suspension – a quick way to create new models without spending heaps of cash on research and design. The new Subaru XV is one of these models and, like the 2016 Subaru XV Concept, it sports the body of the 2017 Subaru Impreza five-door with a raised suspension; just enough to make it appealing to the masses who, predominantly, love these high-riding people-haulers a lot more than they probably should. The big news, however, is that the new XV is built upon Subie’s revamped Global platform that brings extra rigidity and strength to the table. There’s also a revamped suspension system, revised interior, and 80-percent of the parts used in that 2.0-liter Boxer engine have been revamped to deliver more power and better fuel economy in an overall lighter package.

As was the case with the first XV model that hit the market in 2013, the XV is essentially an Impreza with jacked up suspension, but this time around, Subaru has gone the distance to make the XV safer, stronger, more powerful, and nicer inside and out. When it comes to strength and safety, we’re not exactly talking small numbers either – the new XV, according to Subaru, offers an increase in torsional rigidity of 70 percent and a decrease in body roll of 50 percent compared to the outgoing model. But, before we get too far into that, let’s a stroll down the page talk more about the “all-new” Subaru XV.

Updated 04/03/2017: Subaru announced that the 2018 Crosstrek will be making its North American debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Subaru XV Crosstrek.

2017 Audi Q8 Sport Concept

Looking to the future of quick and comfortable crossovers

For the time being, the top of the Audi crossover pyramid is occupied by the Q7, a full-size luxury SUV that originally debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September of 2005. Now, it appears as though the Four Ring brand is looking to go plus one with the new Q8. Initially shown this past January at the Detroit Auto Show, the Q8 is just a concept for the moment, but Audi seems intent on fanning the flames of interest with a brand-new concept called the Q8 Sport Concept. This latest design study debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show, and adds a bit of zesty flavoring to the previous Q8 concept. It’s supposedly faster and more entertaining behind the wheel, bearing a high-tech hybrid twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 powerplant, as well as attractive new styling ideas for the exterior and interior space.

Those new aesthetics follow the path originally laid out by the Audi Prologue Concept that dropped cover at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2014, rocking lots of horizontal lines, thin features, and highly angular cuts. It looks pretty good, but the other half of the equation is in the powertrain, which previews a possible future innovation heading for the Audi production line. The aim of the game is power and fun when you want it, plus efficiency when you don’t, which is a tough nut to crack by any measure, but especially when you’re dealing with an enormous SUV.

That said, Audi is giving us a surprising amount of specificity when laying out the Q8 Sport Concept’s various specs and numbers, leading us to believe the marque will indeed release something very close to this chopped-up concept in the not-so-distant future.

Interested? Read on for more info.

Continue reading to learn more about the Audi Q8 Sport Concept.

2017 Koenigsegg Agera RS ‘Gryphon’

An RS with just the right amount of gold flake for unparalleled elegance? Yes, please!

Koenigsegg had a real winner on its hands when it introduced the 2010 Agera. So much so, that a number of other models like the Agera R, Agera S, and Agera X all came to be within just a few years. Then, in 2015, we were introduced to the Agera RS, a car that is billed as the “ultimate track tool” and slots above the Agera R, but below the One:1. Through a means of improved aerodynamics and weight reduction, the RS truly became a powerful track demon. Only 25 RS examples were built, all of which sold out quickly, with the first 10 being spoken for before the car even went into production. Now, two years later, Koenigsegg is coming back to the Geneva Motor Show with a new version of the RS, but this isn’t exactly a version you want to take on the track, even if it’s more than capable. Fitted with the optional 1MW engine, and doused with healthy doses of gold flake, this baby is the definition of special editions.

But, it’s not all about the gold flake and horsepower when it comes to the Agera RS Gryphon. This thing is prepped to be fully compliant with U.S. road regulations, which means you can drive this 1,360-horsepower beast from coast to coast if you really want to. There are plenty of cabin comforts and driving aids, and the roof can even be stored under the front hood. It’s a beautiful and well-appointed special edition, so let’s dive on in and take a closer look at it, and what makes it so special.

Updated 03/27/2016: We added a series of new images for the new Agera RS ‘Gryphon’. Check the "Pictures" tab to check them all.

Continue reading to learn more about the Koenigsegg Agera RS ‘Gryphon’.

2007 Koenigsegg CCX

Koenigsegg’s first mass-produced supercar

Founded in 1994 with the precise goal to produce a world-class supercar, Koenigsegg launched its first production model in 2002. Dubbed CC8S, it was the result of eight years of development and an improved version of the CC prototype, which is said to have been inspired by the McLaren F1 and Ferrari F40. The CC8S was followed by the CCR in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2005 that Koenigsegg introduced its first state-of-the-art supercar, the CCX.

Short for Competition Coupe X, the CCX was built to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the completion and test drive of the first CC prototype and was the company’s first global car. Designed and engineered to comply with global safety and environment regulations, especially those required by the U.S. market, the CCX features significant alterations compared to the CCR. It also had a brand-new, designed in-house engine, a choice of two transmissions (a first for Koenigsegg), and ran of 91 octane fuel, making it suitable for the United States and meeting the strict Californian emission standards.

It was also the first Koenigsegg to be produced for more than a coupe of years, with the last example being built in 2015. A total of 30 CCX units were produced in ten years, plus another 19 special-edition models such as the CCXR, CCXR Edition, CCXR Special Edition, and CCXR Trevita. One CCX was used for crash tests and one was kept by the factory as a test car. Some CCX cars have later been upgraded to CCXR specs.

All told, the CCX was an extremely important car for Koenigsegg, one which ultimately helped the Swedish company to develop the Agera and the One:1. That’s why we decided to have a closer look at the supercar that basically turned Koenigsegg into a global manufacturer.

Continue reading to learn more about the Koenigsegg CCX.

2017 Ferrari 488 Spider 4XX Siracusa by Mansory

Hard to imagine a more aggressive looking Ferrari 488 Spider

There are tuners who are best known for their visual stylings while there are others who are recognized for the power upgrades they offer. Then there’s a tuner like Mansory, which blends all of these elements together to create programs like the one it gave to the new Ferrari 488 Spider. The kit itself is called “4XX Siracusa,” and those who routinely follow the aftermarket tuning scene will know that Mansory has used this name before, previously on the Ferrari 458 Italia back in 2011 and most recently on the Ferrari 488 GTB. Now it’s the 488 Spider’s turn and, as expected, there’s a lot going on here, including power gains that elevate the car’s output to within 800 horsepower.

In a lot of ways, this is to be expected considering that this is Mansory we’re talking about. The German tuner has routinely prepared some of the most polarizing programs in the business. For the most part, Mansory’s offerings are hit or miss, but whether we like them or not, there’s no denying that they’re all worth talking about, for better or worse.

Take this 4XX Siracusa kit for the 488 Spider as an example. Technically, the upgrades themselves are similar to the ones the 488 GTB received last year, right down to the split rear spoiler. But there is difference in how the upgrades react to the body style of the supercar, which is why we’re here to talk about it.

No matter which side of the fence you’re on regarding Mansory, the tuner always incites discussion, which in itself makes it worth talking about. This new Siracusa program for the Ferrari 488 Spider is a pretty good example of that.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Ferrari 488 Spider 4XX Siracusa by Mansory.

2017 Aston Martin Vantage AMR Pro Concept

Track-only, bespoke Vantage limited to just seven units

Around since 2005, the current-generation Aston Martin Vantage might seem a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still one of the finest luxury grand tourers you can buy. Updated over the years and offered in numerous limited-edition models, the Vantage will definitely be missed when a new generation comes around. But, the current iteration isn’t going away anytime soon and Aston Martin decided to spice things up by including it in its brand-new AMR program, which was launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

If you’re familiar with the company’s intense racing program, you probably already know that AMR stands for Aston Martin Racing. The reason why the Brits are using the same letters for this project is because all non-racing AMR cars will be inspired by the successful GT3- and GT4-spec racers you’ve seen on the track in recent years. In short, Aston Martin just launched its very own high-performance department. And the good news is that it will make both road-legal and race-ready models.

Specifically, the AMR lineup will include two types of cars. There will be plain AMR versions closely related to their road-going counterparts and AMR Pro cars on the more extreme side of things. This Vantage falls in the latter category and the AMR Pro badge also means that its development was led by the Q by Aston Martin Advanced Operations, the department that helped create vehicles such as the Vantage GT12, Vantage GT8, and the Vulcan.

Although just a concept here, the Vantage AMR Pro is set to become a full-fledged, fully customizable production model, joining the Rapide AMR concept that was also displayed at the Geneva Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vantage AMR concept.

2018 Volkswagen Arteon

It’s going to take more than a name change and a lower roof for anything above the Passat to be successful

Back in 2007, Volkswagen thought it would be a good idea to develop a large coupe with a heavily sloped roof. Some of you from way back then know it as the Passat CC, while more recently it has dropped the “Passat” name. Volkswagen had big ambitions for the CC, calling it a “sports sedan” and projecting sales of at least 300,000 over the first seven years of production. But, the CC is often overlooked and has performed very poorly. Fast forward to 2017 and VW has decided to usher in a successor to the last-gen CC and it comes complete with a name change. Now going by the name Arteon, the car now rides on VW’s MQB platform and will be offered with a number of standard features that includes LED lights outside, a progressive steering system, 18-inch wheels, and a handful of engines that offer a power output that ranges from 148 horsepower all the way up to 276 horsepower. You can have AWD with some drivetrain options, or only front-wheel drive in others.

Tobias Suhlmann, the man responsible for the Arteon’s design, said, “The athletic lines of the Arteon embody a highly functional overall concept. Form and function find common ground here in a progressive way. Thanks to its long wheelbase, stretched roofline, coupe-style fastback design and large rear hatch, this Gran Turismo provides more space and flexibility than conventional sedans."

But, while it does have a long wheelbase and it follows suit with a number of other sedans that have that low, sloping roof, the new Arteon isn’t all that different from the CC it replaces. So, let’s take a closer look at it and see if we can make out anything that might make this model more successful than the CC.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Arteon.

2017 Aston Martin Rapide AMR Concept

The Rapide drives into high performante territory with the AMR package

Developed as a spiritual successor to the iconic Lagonda, the Rapide was launched in 2010 and became the company’s first four-door in two decades. Updated to "S" specification in 2013, when it also received an upgraded V-12 engine, the Rapide soldiered on unchanged until 2017 and there weren’t many hints that Aston Martin is planning on doing something new anytime soon. However, the sedan was included in the new performance AMR program that the British firm launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

Essentially a high performance brand similar to Mercedes’ AMG and BMW’s M division, AMR is actually inspired by the Aston Martin Racing motorsport division and adds numerous bespoke features, as well as drivetrain upgrades. The AMR lineup will include two types of cars. There will be plain AMR models closely related to their road-going counterparts and AMR Pro cars with more extreme specs, including versions for track use only. The Rapide AMR concept is part of the former, being less aggressive than a track-prepped car but slotting above the regular model.

Aston Martin didn’t say how many of the features created for the show will make it to the production model, but it’s safe to assume that every single add-on will be made available to customers. Especially given the already high degree of customization you can get with standard models.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Rapide AMR concept

2018 Audi RS5

The RS5 snarls at the competition

The second-generation Audi A5 was introduced in June of 2016 as a 2017 model with a fresh look and updated technology. As the cards usually play over at Audi, it didn’t take long for the brand to finish updating the high-performance RS5, and we got to see it in all its glory at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show. It boasts an all-new look that is more aggressive than ever with more defined lines, wider flaring of the fenders and rear quarters, updated technology, new materials inside, and – more important to most – an all new 2.9-liter, Biturbo, V-6 that delivers a cool 450 horsepower and 442.5 pound-feet of payment decimating torque that’s sure to make your inner manhood squeal like a little girl on Christmas. Of course, that’s the same horsepower figure of the outgoing model, but a serious increase of torque to the tune of 125.5 pound-feet.

So, what does all that mean for performance? Well, the new RS5 can hit the 62 mph sprint in as little as 3.9 seconds – an improvement of 0.3 seconds over the outgoing model – and it breaks even in top speed at 174 mph. That’s not bad, but if you want to feel upset about no increase in horsepower, you might want to take into consideration that this RS5 has a much smaller engine compared to the 4.2-liter V-8 that was found in the last-gen model. But, the RS5 really is about more than just engine specs and performance numbers, so let’s dive on in and take a look at the whole picture before this bad boy makes it into dealer showrooms later this year.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Audi RS5.


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