If you don’t know about the all-new eighth-generation 2020 Porsche 911 yet, where have you been hiding? It was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in November of 2018, while the Cabriolet arrived…
If you don’t know about the all-new eighth-generation 2020 Porsche 911 yet, where have you been hiding? It was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in November of 2018, while the Cabriolet arrived at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show in January. Those two cars we first saw seven and nine months ago, however, were mid-range Carrera S models, so it was high time Porsche released images and info about its base Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet.
The formidable S will soon arrive with 443 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, resulting in 3.7 seconds from zero to 100km/h for the C2S and 3.6 seconds for the C4S, or 3.5 and 3.4 seconds respectively when the Sport Chrono Package is added, but take note that while the new base Carrera isn’t as intensely capable off the line it’s still a force to be reckoned with.
The new 911 Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet share the same basic 3.0-litre horizontally opposed twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine, but it features a different set of turbochargers for a more conservative yet still considerable 379 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. Take note these new numbers add 9 horsepower over the outgoing 2019 model, resulting in standstill to 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds or 4.0 with its Sport Chrono Package, which is a big step up from the outgoing base Carrera that could only manage 4.6 or 4.2 seconds respectively.
In an unusual move, at least for Porsche, the new 911 Carrera will initially only be available with the brand’s new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox, which is up one gear from the outgoing automatic. This upgraded transmission was originally announced with the Carrera S that also won’t see its seven-speed manual arrive until later in the model year.
The new 2020 Carrera Coupe maxes out at 293 km/h (182 mph), which is identical to the outgoing 2019 model and slightly below the new 2020 Carrera S Coupe that tops out at 306 and 308 km/h (190 and 191 mph) with and without the Chrono Sport Package respectively. The Cabriolet, on the other hand, will be capable of a 291-km/h (181-mph) top speed, its ability to nearly keep up with the hardtop version due to magnesium surface elements dubbed “bows” integrated within the redesigned fabric roof’s structure that prevent “ballooning” at high speeds.
Incidentally, that soft top, which is now larger in order to snuggly fit over a more accommodating cabin, can open and close while driving at speeds of up to 50 km/h (30 mph), and takes just 12 seconds to fully perform this function due to revised hydraulics, a process that also powers an electrically extendable wind deflector to keep gusts of air from discomforting the driver and front passenger.
Below that well insulated top, the new 911 Carreras get a totally updated interior with a big 10.9-inch high-definition centre touchscreen, while new driving tech includes Porsche’s exclusive Wet Mode that allows for more control during inclement weather to improve safety.
While all features just noted are standard with the Carrera S, the new base model will receive a smaller set of uniquely designed 19-inch alloy wheels on 235/40 ZR performance tires in front as well as a larger set of 20-inch alloy rims wearing 295/35 ZR rubber at the back. What’s more, the regular Carrera’s 330-millimetre brake discs are also smaller than the Carrera S rotors, these pressed down on via black-painted four-piston monobloc fixed calipers, whereas the base model’s exhaust system features special individual tailpipe covers.
So far Transport Canada hasn’t provided fuel economy figures for the upcoming 2020 911 models, but Porsche is claiming that its new base Coupe and Cabriolet will be good for 9.0 and 9.2 L/100km city/highway combined respectively on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
Fortunately Porsche has announced Canadian prices, with a significant increase over the outgoing model’s $104,000 base price to $111,000, while the Cabriolet’s entry price has increased from $118,100 to $125,600. Porsche is no doubt banking on the two new models’ many improvements justifying those $7,000 and $7,500 price increases, one of which is the standard PDK automatic (prices may be reduced when a manual arrives), but it will be interesting to see how more value-driven competitors, such as the new 526-horsepower mid-engine C8 Corvette, which will start here in Canada at just $69,998, will eat into 911 sales.
Nevertheless, the 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe and Cabriolet can be ordered now and will be delivered early next year, while all-wheel drive versions will be available soon. While you’re waiting to get yours, make sure to enjoy the complete photo gallery above and the lone video below:
The new 911 Carrera Coupé and 911 Carrera Cabriolet. (1:00):
Bentley only just launched its third-generation Continental GT, and now they’ve got us thinking about what might be coming down the pike in a decade and a half. The Bentley EXP 100 GT “reimagines…
Bentley only just launched its third-generation Continental GT, and now they’ve got us thinking about what might be coming down the pike in a decade and a half.
The Bentley EXP 100 GT “reimagines the Grand Tourer for the world of 2035,” says the ultra-luxury brand’s press release, with a new take on the Continental GT’s elegant long-hooded, sweptback, two-door profile, complete with a massive backlit grille, dazzling circular headlamps, and ornately detailed eye-like OLED taillights, its plentiful body panels featuring special Compass “exterior paint made from recycled rice husks,” says Bentley.
Where the front end could only be a modern-day Bentley, the car’s rear design is longer and more pointed than anything we’ve seen from the brand since its ‘50s era R-Type Continental, extending this avant-garde carbon-fibre and aluminum-clad prototype to a lengthy 5.8 metres (19.0 feet) for what should be superb legroom front to rear, while occupants of this 2.4-metre (7.9-foot) wide mega-coupe certainly won’t be rubbing shoulders either.
The “100” in the EXP 100 GT’s name, incidentally, pays direct reference to Bentley’s 100th anniversary, W. O. Bentley’s namesake firm having started business in 1919 at Cricklewood, North London, while the Volkswagen-owned brand is now located some 267 km (166 miles) northwest in Crewe, Cheshire, England.
“Today, on our Centenary, we demonstrate our vision of the future of our Marque, with the Bentley EXP 100 GT – a modern and definitive Grand Tourer designed to demonstrate that the future of luxury mobility is as inspirational and aspirational as the last 100 years,” said Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Chairman and CEO. “Bentley has, and will continue to enhance and enrich every single journey and the lives of every single person who travels in, or has the honour to be a part of creating our extraordinary products.”
As pretty as the EXP 100 GT is, it’s much more than merely a design exercise, but rather a cornucopia of advanced future-think hardware and software. It’s 100-percent electric, a given with far-off concepts these days, but then again its four-motor wheel-integrated “Next Generation Traction Drive” powertrain includes torque vectoring and makes an incredible 1,100 pound-feet of torque (1,500 Nm), resulting in a zero to 100km/h sprint time of “less than 2.5 seconds” claims Bentley, much thanks to its aforementioned lightweight materials that help keep its weight down to just 1,900 kilograms (4,189 lbs) (considerably less than the current base Continental GT’s 2,244-kg/4,947-lb curb weight), while its maximum range should top 700 kilometres (435 miles), as long as cruising speeds are kept far lower than its terminal velocity of 300 km/h (186 mph).
The EXP 100 GT will include “future battery technology” with “intelligent power and charge management” that will allow “five times the conventional energy density,” says Bentley, while recharging the battery from near empty to 80 percent of capacity will only take 15 minutes. Of note, charging is automatically taken care of via the advanced artificial intelligence (AI) infused Bentley Personal Assistant, a do-all system designed to make the most of every journey.
“The Bentley EXP 100 GT represents the kind of cars we want to make in the future,” said Stefan Sielaff, Director of Design. “Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take.”
“Whether driving or being driven autonomously” (Bentley promising its car of the future will be capable of both), the EXP 100 GT’s interior is every bit as sumptuously attired as Crewe’s current creations and those from its storied past. With seating for two or four, the big coupe gets all the leather, fabrics, glass, wood and metal anyone familiar with Bentley expects, except that the Bridge of Weir alternative-material hides are actually made from 100-percent bio-based winemaking byproducts, thus saving a handful of Herefords from the slaughterhouse, while its embroidered door panels are made by London-based Hand and Lock using “traditional techniques that date back to 1767 and are used on Royal and Military Dress uniforms,” its electronic interfaces covered with Cumbrian crystal, its sustainable peat bog-, lake- and river-sourced Copper Infused Riverwood harking back half a myriaannum (5,000 years), and its metal being genuine aluminum and copper, the combination apparently paying tribute to an alloy created by the aforementioned founder for his BR1 Aero engine piston, which played a significant role in securing the air theatre during World War 1.
Bentley sheds both harvested natural light and synthesized light on the EXP 100 GT’s interior via “an innovative glass roof embedded with prisms that collect light and transfer it into the cabin using fibre optics,” while all occupants’ feet will rest upon British Farmed Wool carpets, and embroidered cotton interior surfaces also help to create a more sustainable atmosphere.
The seats use intelligent, adaptable biometrics configured in three different ways, their positions dependent on whether you’re driving or being driven. Biometric sensors monitor the automatic climate control system too, plus the passenger position, and exterior environmental conditions in order to provide ultimate comfort, while biometric sensors embedded throughout the interior track eye and head movements, blood pressure, plus more in order to deliver a level of in-car comfort that far exceeds anything currently available. The cabin can even be automatically aerated with a refreshing sandalwood and moss fragrance.
Whether or not we’ll see this particular Bentley coupe by 2035 is anyone’s guess, although it should be noted that carmakers need to plan their models far into the future in order to arrive when needed, so something similar may actually be in process. We certainly wouldn’t complain if Bentley offered us a production EXP 100 GT like this to test in 15 or so years, with or without all of this concept’s innovatively sustainable features.
The EXP 100 GT is a vision of dramatic beauty that would be welcomed to car enthusiasts in any era, and possibly more true to its brand heritage than the all-electric, fully autonomous two-box SUV/MPV they’ll likely show up with by that time.
Until we truly find out what’s in the AI-dealt carbon-fibre cards, check out our complete gallery above as well as the four videos Bentley supplied below.
An off-road Lexus? To some this might sound like an oxymoron, but in reality two of Lexus’ priciest luxury SUVs started life as ultra-capable go-anywhere Toyota Land Cruisers.
The Land Cruiser name is legendary, and in many markets considered a premium sub-brand of the world’s second-largest automaker. While most Canadians conjuring mental images of iconic Land Cruisers will look back to the now classic 1960–1984 FJ40 series, the larger and longer 1967–1980 FJ55 followed by the much more popular 1980–1989 BJ60, or the most recent 2008–present J200 that does double-duty as the Lexus LX 570, the model shown here is based on the 2009–present J150, or Land Cruiser Prado.
Known North American luxury consumers as the Lexus GX 460, this somewhat long-in-tooth albeit still very capable mid-size three-row 4×4 also shared underpinnings with the current Toyota 4Runner and FJ Cruiser (the latter no longer available in North America) in its previous third-generation J120 design (2002–2009), which should help anyone familiar with those no-holds-barred SUVs believe in this Lexus’ off-road prowess.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that 4×4 enthusiasts looking to add luxury to their off-road lifestyle have opted for the GX 460, so now Lexus is paying homage to these faithful fans with this special creation, and even giving them partial credit for bringing the new GXOR Concept to life.
“Concept vehicles are typically created to generate excitement for the enthusiasts, but sometimes, it’s the enthusiasts and their vehicles that give life to the concept,” stated Lexus. “The Lexus GXOR Concept (GX Off-Road) is fueled by the passionate Lexus GX owners that have discovered and embraced the SUV’s perfect combination of ultimate luxury and unrivaled off-road capability.”
No wonder the Japanese luxury brand chose to launch the new GXOR Concept at the annual FJ Summit in Ouray, Colorado, the 12th of such events having taken place from July 17–21 this year. Similar in concept to a Jeep Jamboree, the FJ Summit provides an opportunity for Toyota 4×4 owners to test their personal driving skills as well as their Toyota/Lexus 4×4’s prowess on challenging trails, gives classes taught by experienced off-road instructors in order to hone those driving skills, and much more.
Despite the GX 460’s impressive capability off-road, and its passionate group of diehard followers, its popularity with the general SUV-buying public has faded in recent months and years, with Q2 2019 sales down 25.41 percent compared to the same six months last year, resulting in only 138 buyers for last place in the mid-size luxury SUV segment (other than the now discontinued Lincoln MKT), while all 12 months of 2018 only found 376 customers after a high of 662 units in 2015.
To be fair, plenty of competitors have been losing ground this year, with Q2 2019 Tesla Model X sales off by 30.00 percent for 840 units, Audi Q7 deliveries down 36.13 percent to 1,674 units (possibly due to the new Q8’s arrival), the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class dropping 36.66 percent to 762 units, and the same German luxury brand’s GLE-Class plummeting by 42.00 percent to 2,413 units. Even the mighty Lexus RX (and new long-wheelbase RX L) saw a sales drop of 8.50 percent through Q1 and Q2, but its 3,982 deliveries kept it well in front of the entire mid-size luxury SUV pack.
To put the GX’ 2018 calendar year sales of 376 units and 2015 high of 662 units into perspective, Lexus sold 9,329 RX crossovers last year, which was its second-best result after a high of 9,402 units in 2017. The RX also outsold Lexus’ next-most-popular NX compact luxury crossover, which had its best sales of 7,859 units last year. Hence, anything that could potentially spur on GX sales would be helpful.
Enter the GXOR, which while only a concept makes the luxury model’s 4×4 credentials clear to those who might not be in the know, while its ardent fans could potentially build something similar from all of this prototype’s available aftermarket components.
On that note, the GXOR’s plentiful upgrades include a custom CBI Stealth front bumper with an integrated Warn 9.5 XPS winch, a Safari snorkel for feeding air to the engine while wading through deep water, Lexus F Sport 18-inch alloys wrapped in General Tire Grabber X3 275/70 all-terrain rubber, a raised Icon 2.5 CDC suspension with remote reservoirs plus billet control arms with delta joints, full underbody armour skid plate protection, CBI frame sliders, a Redarc Tow-Pro brake controller, and lastly an EEZI-AWN K9 roof rack that comes complete with a Rigid 50 LED front light bar, a 160-watt Overland solar panel power supply, Alu-Box storage cases, and Maxtrax recovery boards.
Inside, the GXOR Concept keeps the GX 460’s already luxurious finishings while adding an Icom 5100A ham radio up front for remote communication, whereas the cargo area is partially filled with a Goose Gear custom drawer system featuring storage compartments and a slide-out National Luna refrigerator.
Finally, the GXOR Concept is shown towing a Patriot Campers X1H trailer featuring a power-operated pop-up tent, a hot water system, and more, while its electrical components are powered via the just-noted solar panel.
On that note, Lexus doesn’t say whether or not the GXOR Concept’s 4.6-litre V8 keeps the production model’s 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque or receives some performance upgrades, but it certainly should be strong enough to haul the hefty looking trailer either way.
“To all of the GX enthusiasts that use their rigs to escape on epic adventures, and proudly share the #GXOR, this concept build is for you,” added Lexus to its GX 460’s fan base. “Thank you for inspiring us to Experience Amazing.”
As with all concepts and prototypes, the question of potential GXOR production needs to be addressed. Considering how successful Mercedes-Benz has been with its rugged G-Class, and similarly how Land Rover Defender enthusiasts have been getting excited about that model’s upcoming arrival, something like this GXOR Concept could find reasonable sales traction if offered in production trim, or at least as a dealer-installed kit. The latter would allow retailers to modify unsold GX 460s, which might bring some much-needed attention to the model.
Until this happens (or doesn’t), enjoy our complete gallery of GXOR Concept photos above, plus a video that Lexus provided below. Also, to find out how affordable the 2019 Lexus GX 460 is, check out CarCostCanada where you can see complete pricing of trims, packages and individual options, plus learn about available rebates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
Lexus GXOR | GX Off-road Concept Build (2:45):
Two cars in one, or at least that’s the arrangement you’ll need to accept if you want to get your hands on a new 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato, shown here in its best renderings yet. You’ll…
Two cars in one, or at least that’s the arrangement you’ll need to accept if you want to get your hands on a new 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato, shown here in its best renderings yet.
You’ll also need to shell out $9.8 million CAD (£6 million GBP), which is a bargain when factoring in that a classic 1962 DB4/GT Zagato sold for a cool $15.4 million CAD (£9.45 million) a few years ago.
Of course, rare classics with racing pedigree are almost always worth more than a new car, even one as hard to come by, as visually stunning, and as brilliantly fast as the new DBS GT Zagato. Still, there’s another reason I referenced a classic Aston Martin Zagato.
All 19 2020 DBS GT Zagato customers (the same number of original 1960-1963 DB4 GT Zagatos built) will also be taking home a continuation DB4 GT Zagato, which is a true classic ‘60s era Aston, albeit produced new from old chassis number allocations.
The two cars make up Aston’s “DBZ Centenary Collection”, the more modern of the pair based on Aston Martin’s already fabulous DBS Superleggera, which stuffs a big twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 behind its gaping maw of a front grille, capable of churning out a formidable 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The powers that be at the company’s Gaydon, UK headquarters haven’t made mention about any straight-line performance increase in the upcoming DBS GT Zagato, despite the original ‘60s car making significantly more than a conventional DB4, but it has other attributes that nevertheless make it very special.
Any similarities to the now three-year old Vanquish Zagato were intentional, with Aston even painting the launch model shown here in what appears to be a near identical deep Volcano Red metallic (or something close) with rich gold trim highlights (the DB4 Zagato in behind wears a more fitting Rosso Maja red), the glittering secondary Au hue even embellishing the twinned five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels.
Other design details pulled forward from the Vanquish Zagato include its gigantic front grille, double-bubble floating black roof panel, pronounced rear fenders, and rocket booster taillights, but that’s not to say this new Zagato-badged Aston is merely a redo of a past model. Of course, the DBS Superleggera under the skin influences its design much more than any previous model could, its longer, lower and leaner body featuring more creases and sharp-angled folds than the earlier Aston, which was decidedly more rounded and curvaceous.
Ultra distinctive is a gold-coloured active grille insert that’s actually comprised of 108 individual segments of carbon fibre. When the new DBS GT Zagato is not in use, these tiny pieces come together to form what appears to be a solid, flush panel, although when the ignition is turned on these little pieces reposition in order to allow front ventilation, a process that makes the grille “flutter”, says Aston.
Other unique details include extremely long and deeply sculpted side vents, these also adorned in gold, while the side sills don’t feature this supercar segment’s usual carbon fibre extensions, but rather tuck rounded rocker panels under the body as in days of yore. Of course the headlights are much more in line with modern Aston Martin design than anything from the Vanquish’ era, while those intricately detailed aforementioned taillights get fitted neatly within a sizeable horizontal black panel that hovers above an even larger wing-like rear diffuser.
Everything black is open-weave carbon fibre, of course, even the roof that’s actually a single piece stretching from the windshield’s edge to the base of the rear deck lid, with its noted twin-hump design followed by a complete lack of rear visibility. This car was made for Franco “What’s-a behind me is not important” Bertollini (Raúl Juliá – The Gumball Rally, 1976), although while there’s no rear window, nor even louvres to see out the back, Aston did include a rearview camera for backing up, mounted in a centre mirror-style monitor similar to General Motor’s Rear Camera Mirror.
As for the beautiful DB4 GT Zagato, which made its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month (we’ve expanded on this story’s gallery with 20 detailed solo photos of this breathtaking classic in its most modern production trim), it’s the latest in Aston Martin’s line of continuation cars, which began with 25 DB4 GT Continuation models that sold for $2.4 million CAD (£1.5 million) each in 2017, and (it doesn’t get much better than this) 25 recreations of the classic movie car from the 1964 James Bond (Sean Connery) film Goldfinger, complete with all the cool offensive weaponry and defensive armour that made the eccentric Q (Desmond Llewelyn) a hero to gadget freaks everywhere. The Goldfinger DB5 Continuation will arrive in 2020, just like the two new Zagato models featured here, but for only $4.5 million CAD (£2.75 million) each.
If you’re still scratching your head about the stratospheric price of the two combined Zagato models featured in this story, consider for a moment the original 1962 DB4/GT Zagato’s price noted earlier wasn’t even the most expensive DB4 GT Zagato to be auctioned off. After the original 19 examples were created from 1960 to 1963, Aston Martin built four more on unused chassis allocation numbers in 1988, all of which were dubbed “Sanction II” models, while in 2000 the automaker created another two cars to “Sanction II” specification (which meant they received a larger 352-horsepower 4.2-litre engine), albeit renamed them “Sanction III”, these latter examples fetching $18.6 million CAD ($14,300,000 USD) in 2015 and $16.5 million CAD (£10,081,500) in 2018, making them some of the most valuable cars ever sold.
Of course, it would be unwise to invest as if these 19 new DB4 GT Zagatos will grow in value like their earlier siblings, but then again if past success is any reflection on future prospects, the lucky new owners should be sitting rather pretty in a few years, if not immediately after taking delivery, while they might even end up receiving their all-new 2020 DBS GT Zagatos for free.
Those who follow the electric vehicle industry have been excited about the upcoming 2020 Taycan since the Mission E concept arrived on the 2015 Frankfurt auto show stage, and thanks to the first two stints…
Those who follow the electric vehicle industry have been excited about the upcoming 2020 Taycan since the Mission E concept arrived on the 2015 Frankfurt auto show stage, and thanks to the first two stints of a three-continent “Triple Demo Run” the low-slung four-door coupe appears to be almost ready for prime time.
The first event was held at the beginning of this month on a handling track at the Porsche Experience Centre (PEC) in Shanghai, China, while just last weekend the new Taycan silently whisked up the hay bale-lined “Hill Run” as part of the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Soon, on July 13th, the automotive tripleheader will wrap up at the season finale of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in New York City.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia driver Li Chao took to the wheel around the 1.4-km Shanghai racetrack in a road-ready albeit pre-production Taycan, this version wearing a red dragon on its rooftop, which was the least camouflaged version of the car seen up to that point.
“The exceptional performance typical for Porsche was a clear development objective for the Taycan. You can sense that right from the start,” commented Li Chao, particularly impressed by the Taycan’s handling. “From uncompromisingly sporty to surprisingly comfortable, the chassis of the new Taycan covers a wide range and successfully combines the precise handling of a sports car and the long-distance comfort of a saloon. In addition to its low centre of gravity, the rear-axle steering also plays a crucial role. The Taycan steers into corners very directly and has plenty of grip.”
The Taycan incorporates a fast-charging 800-volt architecture and a 90-kWh lithium-ion battery, combining for 592 horsepower (600 PS) and a terminal velocity of 250 km/h-plus, while possibly even more impressive the new four-place sport sedan sprints from zero to 100 km/h in under 3.5 seconds before achieving 200 km/h in less than 12 seconds.
Videos (below) of the Taycan touring through Shanghai, and another bearing a blue and grey Union Jack on its rooftop as it charges up the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb help verify the new car’s ultra-quick acceleration.
“The Taycan’s power delivery is awesome,” said multiple racing winning past-F1 driver and LMP1/Porsche 919 Hybrid World Endurance Championship (WEC) contender Mark Webber, who was piloting the Taycan for the Goodwood event. “I took part in this event in a Porsche 911 GT2 RS two years ago, so I already knew that it all comes down to power and traction. But, even for a thoroughbred racing driver like me, it is amazing how the Taycan – even though it’s still a prototype – accelerates off the start and out of the corners.”
This upcoming weekend’s New York City demo run will have current ABB FIA Formula E Championship driver and 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans winner (at the wheel of a WEC Porsche LMP1 car) Neel Jani in the driver’s seat, so make sure to check that one out on your favourite video streaming website.
As exciting as the multi-continent debut of the Taycan has been so far, and despite its obviously quick acceleration, extreme handling prowess, arguable good looks, and the highly respected Porsche name on its backside, much talk about the Taycan has centered on whether or not this newcomer will find sales traction, at least to the levels of EV darling Tesla.
Tesla has owned the electrified sport-luxury sedan market since the Model S arrived in 2012, the shapely albeit somewhat dated looking mid-size model doing so well on the sales charts that it’s beaten all but BMW’s 5 Series and the mighty Mercedes-Benz E-Class in recent years. Canadian Model S sales were off by 6.3 percent last year and a whopping 56 percent during Q1 of 2019, but thanks to all the Germans spiraling in the same downward trajectory but Audi, the American brand has still managed to hang on to third in the rankings.
I shouldn’t say all Germans, because Porsche saw 40.1 percent growth from its Panamera last year, a car that was also only flat over the first three months of 2019 with a fractional loss of 0.8 percent, and while Tesla’s Model S outsold the Panamera by nearly three to one throughout 2018, and 2.5 to one during Q1 this year, the success of both models bode well for the new four-door Taycan.
In case you were wondering, the Panamera (which is currently available with various conventional gasoline internal combustion engines as well as two plug-in hybrid powertrains) is nearly identical in key dimensions to the Model S, other than being slightly longer from nose to tail, while the Taycan’s dimensions have yet to be disclosed. If the final production model comes close to the Mission E concept, however, it will be a bit shorter albeit substantially wider and dramatically lower than both, but nevertheless fit within the same mid-size E-segment category.
So here’s the question: As good as the Porsche Taycan appears to be, can it somehow manage make a real dent in Tesla’s very real sales leadership? It makes sense that luxury competitors such as Jaguar might have trouble luring in EV buyers, even with their potentially more appealing crossover-style I-Pace offering, being that the British brand already struggles to sell significant numbers of its conventionally powered models, but Audi, one of the hottest luxury brands, recently brought an all-electric crossover SUV to market too, and the E-Tron hasn’t exactly lit up the sales charts either.
Specifically, electric vehicle sales in the U.S. increased by a whopping 120 percent in June, but almost all the credit goes to Tesla that accounted for 83 percent of market share thanks to 20,550 Model 3 (a compact D-segment sedan), 2,725 Model X (a crossover SUV), and 1,750 Model S deliveries. Not including Tesla, EV sales were up 30 percent in June, which is good, but the numbers of each model were small by comparison.
Out of a total 29,632 EV sales, 23,914 were Teslas and 4,718 were from other brands. Those other brands weren’t exactly reaping in the rewards of their efforts either, with Nissan merely finding 1,156 new Leaf buyers, Chevy luring in just 1,190 new Bolt owners (its poorest result so far this year), Honda surprisingly finding 1,092 Clarity FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) leasers, previously-noted Audi actually slipping to 726 new E-Tron customers (after 253 sales in its first month of April, and 856 in May), BMW enjoying its best month of the year with 473 i3 sales, Jaguar achieving its second-best month with 236 I-Pace deliveries, Toyota leasing out 166 units of its Mirai FCV, Hyundai selling 127 Kona EVs, and the deliveries of models such as the Kia Soul EV, Volkswagen E-Golf, etcetera, unaccounted for due to being lumped in with the conventionally powered models that bear the same name.
With such low sales it makes sense that the manufacturers listed aren’t profiting from their multi-billion investments in battery-electric models, while even Tesla has struggled to make any sustained profits in this burgeoning EV market sector. Will the Taycan finally break into the mainstream like Tesla’s Model S? Of course, we’ll need to wait and see how the luxury market responds after the final production version arrives on the auto show circuit in September, and goes on sale later this year.
Until then, make sure to check out our full photo gallery above and the three videos below showing the new 2020 Porsche Taycan in action:
Kicking off in China: the Porsche Taycan prototype visits Shanghai (1:00):
Porsche Taycan prototype visits Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019 (1:41):
Hey Porsche, watch this video. Love, Electricity (1:03):
Porsche has been criticized, possibly unfairly, for not allowing its entry-level models to measure up to the mighty 911 in decades past, pointing to the now 50-year-old 1969-1976 mid-engine 914 (a collaborative…
Porsche has been criticized, possibly unfairly, for not allowing its entry-level models to measure up to the mighty 911 in decades past, pointing to the now 50-year-old 1969-1976 mid-engine 914 (a collaborative effort with VW) and 1976–1988 front-engine 924 (this time jointly developed with VW/Audi) as blemishes in its storied history, but naysayers haven’t been anywhere near as loud since the Boxster and Cayman arrived.
This said, some have knocked the brand’s new lineup of horizontally opposed four-cylinder turbocharged powerplants found in the fourth-generation 718 series, yet while their barks haven’t been quite as ferocious as the six-cylinder 911’s growl, their bite has certainly silenced said critics, especially when tuned to S and GTS levels.
The Cayman and Boxster were ideal performers from onset due to their relatively light curb weights and inherently well-balanced mid-engine designs, and every new iteration becomes even more capable of high-speed road and track performance no matter the trim.
Like with the previous generation, the many more fans of the latest 718 Boxster and Cayman will also be pleased to learn that 2020 models will receive their most potent production trims yet, now even capable of outpacing plenty of 911 models.
To give you some background info, the 718 Cayman, which is currently available from $63,700, can be had in base 300-horsepower Cayman trim that’s good for a zero to 100km/h sprint of only 5.1 seconds, or alternatively 4.9 seconds with its paddle shift-actuated automatic PDK double-clutch transmission, or a scant 4.7 seconds with the PDK and an available Sport Chrono Package, while it can optimally reach a top speed of 275 km/h. Additional Cayman trims include the $78,600 350-horsepower S, which can scamper from standstill to 100km/h in just 4.6, 4.4 and 4.2 seconds respectively, plus is capable of achieving a top speed of 285 km/h, and finally the $92,600 365-horsepower GTS that can run from zero to 100km/h in 4.6, 4.3 and 4.1 seconds respectively, plus can hit a 290-km/h track speed.
For 2020, the just-noted 718 Cayman triple-threat is once again joined by the top-tier GT4, a previous version having initially been introduced in 2015 for the 2016 model year. The new GT4 replaces the aforementioned lesser trims’ 2.0- and 2.5-litre turbocharged H-4 engines with a downgraded albeit still brilliantly formidable version of the 911 GT3’s naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre H-6, which produces a stellar 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a 29-horsepower advantage over its GT4 predecessor thanks in part to a stratospheric 8,000-rpm redline, while it’s mated to a six-speed manual gearbox just like the 911 GT3, all resulting in sprint time from standstill to 100km/h of 4.4 seconds, as well as a best-ever top speed of 304 km/h.
The 718 Spyder, which also updates a previous 2016 model, shares all of the Cayman GT4’s mechanical upgrades (and is therefore 39 hp more powerful than the previous Spyder) resulting in an identical 4.4-second sprint from standstill to 100km/h, albeit a slightly slower 301-km/h top speed, but unlike the coupe this roadster is a standalone model that doesn’t use the Boxster name despite being formed from its basic architecture; the Boxster notably available in all the same trims as the 718 Cayman, albeit starting at $66,100 due to its convertible top.
Additionally, the two cars’ six-speed manual transmissions include a downshift rev-matching “Auto Blip” function that automatically syncs a given gear to engine-speed when dropping a cog, a feature Porsche intelligently allows drivers to individually activate or deactivate by pressing a button, while both models incorporate completely new exclusively designed sport exhaust systems that work their way around complex rear aero upgrades while underscoring the “exciting flat-six sound of the engine,” said Porsche in a press release.
With respect to styling, some of the new 718 Spyder’s key visuals look as if they were inspired by the 918 Spyder, as well as the recently introduced 2019 911 Speedster, the now legendary supercar helping to influence its lower front fascia and similar albeit much more pronounced double-bubble buttress-like rear deck lid, and the limited edition 911 inspiring the 718 Spyder’s sportier GT-style frontal treatment and double-humped rear deck “streamliners”, plus the new model’s horizontal black hood vent, “Spyder” lettering on the blunt B-pillars instead of “Speedster”, a similarly shaped auto-deploying rear spoiler, and an aerodynamically-engineered rear diffuser.
The 718 Cayman GT4 carries forward some similar styling and aero treatments to its 2016 forebear, including an aggressively shaped front fascia, a black hood vent of its own, a massive fixed rear wing, a wind-harnessing rear diffuser, and a special alloy wheel design, all created to minimize weight while maximizing downforce, with Porsche even painting both GT4 launch cars in what appears to be an identical yellow, just like they once again used white for the new 718 Spyder launch model.
Focusing back on aerodynamics, all of the 718 Cayman GT4 exterior upgrades combine for a 50-percent increase in downforce, yet no negative impact on drag. Most of this aero effect can be attributed to its new diffuser and rear wing, the latter item producing 20-percent more aero-efficiency than the previous wing. On the GT4’s other end, a big front lip spoiler is bookended by a set of air curtains, which help to channel air around each front wheel.
As for the new 718 Spyder’s aerodynamics, its active rear wing automatically powers upward at 120 km/h, although unlike the regular 718 Boxster’s cloth roof, the Spyder’s gets no electrified assistance at all, but rather needs manual attention to remove and stow under the rear deck lid. When put back in place, Porsche claims the roof effectively manages high speeds, providing protection from wind, rain and other outside elements.
As you might expect, Porsche has provided a high-performance lightweight chassis equal to both cars’ aero and engine performance, having turned to the brand’s extensive motorsport experience to get the balance just right. To this end the rear axle was specifically designed for new Spyder and GT4 application, although the front axle was pulled from the race-bred 2018 911 GT3.
Additionally, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) was added as standard equipment, as was a 30-millimetre reduction in ride height when sidled up beside regular 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman models, which provides a lower centre of gravity and therefore aids handling, but keep in mind that both new models let owners manually adjust camber, toe, ride height and anti-roll bar settings.
The revered 911 GT3 noted a moment ago contributed its braking system to the new top-tier 718s as well, including their larger-diameter 380-mm cast iron discs and fixed aluminum calipers, while Spyder and GT4 buyers can also upgrade to Porsche’s 50-percent lighter ceramic composite brakes if desired, these boasting 410-mm rotors in front and 390-mm discs at back. Also, the two cars’ ABS, electronic stability (ESC) and traction (TC) control systems are specifically tuned to enhance performance, while typical of the German brand’s GT models, ESC and TC can be switched off in a two-stage process.
Other upgrades include a standard mechanical limited-slip differential with Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), and unique sets of 20-inch alloys encircled by 245/35ZR20 front and 295/30ZR20 rear UHP tires.
Although the various performance upgrades mentioned don’t necessarily make the 718 Spyder or its 718 Cayman GT4 sibling quicker from a standing start than GTS versions of their Boxster or Cayman counterparts, they’re both more capable on the track and therefore should perform better on the road as well. Notably, the new 718 Cayman GT4 can lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife “more than ten seconds faster than its predecessor,” stated Porsche.
Adding to the two new models’ overall goodness is an improved interior that features a new GT Sport steering wheel measuring 360 mm across and sporting a yellow top centre marker stripe in GT4 trim. What’s more, both new cars get a shift lever that’s 20 mm shorter than on regular 718 models, which provides a “more direct and crisp feel” during gear changes. Additionally, new Sport Seats Plus come standard, featuring bigger side bolsters to improve lateral support, and suede-like Alcantara centres to aid grip. Alcantara is also added to the lower section of the dash, the shift knob and skirt, as well as the previously noted steering wheel’s rim.
Some additional cabin accents include body-colour trim elements for the 718 Spyder and brushed aluminum detailing for the 718 Cayman GT4, while Porsche has no shortage of optional décor upgrades like usual. You can also choose a set of full bucket seats or the 18-way powered Adaptive Sport Seats Plus package, but you won’t need to pay more for air conditioning or the latest Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system featuring Sound Package Plus. This said, navigation and Porsche Connect with Apple CarPlay are on the options menu.
Also of interest, the 718 Spyder can be ordered with a Spyder Classic Interior Package including two-tone Bordeaux Red and Black leather, extended Alcantara upholstery, GT silver metallic interior accents, and best of all a two-tone black and red cloth top, the latter especially “reminiscent of historic Porsche racing cars,” said Porsche. Instead, you can order either model with red, silver, or yellow contrast stitching.
No matter how you want to dress one of these cars up, expect Canada’s allotment to be spoken for soon as they’re already available to order, with pricing starting at $110,500 for the 718 Spyder and $113,800 for the 718 Cayman GT, and while you’re waiting for your personal ride to arrive, be sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above (we’ve got all the images and pictographs that Porsche provided), while take a look below for all four videos available at the time of publishing:
The new Porsche 718 Spyder. Perfectly irrational. (1:03):
The new Porsche 718 Spyder. Product highlights. (2:25):
The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. Product highlights. (2:13):
The new Porsche 718 GT4. Perfectly irrational. (1:01):
Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG has announced that it will offer a carbon-neutral model lineup by 2039, only 20 years from today. The German automaker already provides environmentally-focused buyers…
Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG has announced that it will offer a carbon-neutral model lineup by 2039, only 20 years from today.
The German automaker already provides environmentally-focused buyers plenty of green offerings, including 48-volt hybrid EQ-Boost models such as the CLS, E-Class Coupe, E-Class Cabriolet and upcoming GLE 580 4MATIC, as well as plug-in hybrid entries such as the GLC 350e 4MATIC, S560e, etcetera, and will follow these up soon with the mid-sized all-electric EQC crossover SUV, plus a smaller compact battery-electric car based on 2018’s Concept EQA, so they’re well on the way.
Still, Mercedes’ new plan is amongst the most ambitious in the auto industry, and therefore is appropriately called Ambition2039. The company plans to electrify 50 percent of its new vehicles by 2030, with its fleet comprised of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric models.
“Let’s be clear what this means for us: a fundamental transformation of our company within less than three product cycles,” stated Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars since the baton was passed over to him by his predecessor, Dieter Zetsche on May 22nd, 2019. “That’s not much time when you consider that fossil fuels have dominated our business since the invention of the car by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler some 130 years ago. But as a company founded by engineers, we believe technology can also help to engineer a better future.”
Daimler made a major commitment to electrify its new vehicle range with an investment of $15.8 billion CAD ($11.7 billion USD) last year, promising to develop more than ten all-electric vehicles ahead of electrifying its entire Mercedes-Benz new car range.
In preparation to achieving this aspiring goal, Källenius committed Mercedes to working with all partners in an effort to minimize EV production costs as well as make improvements in range and performance, while the three-pointed star brand also projects diversifying its lineup of EVs to vans, trucks, and buses. Additionally, Daimler also plans to continue its investments into alternative technologies, including fuel cells, which it uses now in its GLC F-CELL, the world’s first electric vehicle to combine a fuel-cell and a plug-in battery, and expects to use in larger commercial applications like city buses.
Making its new vehicle lineup carbon-neutral only satisfies part of its agenda, mind you, because Daimler has targets on greening its production facilities too. In fact, it currently uses renewable energy for at its Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, with the result already being CO2 neutrality.
“In ‘Factory 56’, we are consistently implementing innovative technologies and processes across the board according to the key terms ‘digital, flexible, green’,” stated Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain. “We create a modern workspace with more attention to individual requirements of our employees. All in all, in ‘Factory 56’ we are significantly increasing flexibility and efficiency in comparison to our current vehicle assembly halls – and of course without sacrificing our top quality. In this way we are setting a new benchmark in the global automotive industry.”
The automaker added that each of its European factories would follow suit by 2022, pointing to its engine factory in Jawor, Poland as an example of more environmentally and economically efficient already, due to its use of renewable energies.
Also notable, the automaker is transitioning from a value chain to a value cycle, being that Mercedes models now incorporate an 85-percent potential-recycling ratio. Also, Daimler will assist its suppliers in reducing their carbon footprints.
“We prefer doing what our founders have done: They became system architects of a new mobility without horses. Today, our task is individual mobility without emissions,” said Källenius. “As a company founded by engineers, we believe technology can also help to engineer a better future.”
Porsche celebrated its 70th birthday by launching a sensational rendition of its first ever car, the 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster from 1948, which immediately sent the prognostication crowd into a flurry…
Porsche celebrated its 70th birthday by launching a sensational rendition of its first ever car, the 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster from 1948, which immediately sent the prognostication crowd into a flurry of future production model forecasts about the brilliant new 2018 911 Speedster Concept. Fortunately those claiming its imminent reality were proven correct in a recent announcement, and this 2019 911 Speedster is the result, now available to order for $312,500.
To clarify, the new 911 Speedster is a 2019 model, meaning that it rides on the outgoing 991 version of the much-lauded GT3 Coupe, not the upcoming internally code-named 992, or 2020 911 that’s been in the news lately.
It’s safe to say the 1,948 fortunate buyers who will begin receiving their limited edition Speedsters later this year won’t care one iota about its rolling stock, because the 991 remains a particularly attractive variation on the 911 theme, and this new Speedster possibly the most stunning of all.
What’s more, the GT3 Coupe it’s based on won’t arrive in 992 guise for quite some time, and therefore the only way to get a 500 horsepower 4.0-litre six stuffed behind the rear axle, capable of a lofty 9,000 rpm redline and solid 346 lb-ft of torque, is to choose a current GT3 or opt for the immediately collectable Speedster, the latter actually good for a slight increase to 502 horsepower thanks to throttle bodies from the GT3 R race car.
This results in a 4.0-second sprint from standstill to 100km/h, which is only 0.1 seconds off the blisteringly quick GT3’s time, while its top speed is claimed to be 310 km/h, 10 km/h slower than the GT3.
Factor in that the Speedster only gets Porsche’s GT Sport six-speed manual transmission, also pulled from the GT3 and saving four kilograms when compared to the seven-speed manual found in regular 911 models, and that acceleration time is even more impressive (paddle-shift operated dual-clutch automated gearboxes are usually quicker).
Along with the GT3 powertrain, which incidentally comes with dynamic engine mounts from the GT3, the Speedster also makes use of its agile race-spec chassis featuring a specially calibrated rear axle steering system, but that’s where the similarities end, with body alterations including lower cut front and side windows, two flying buttress-style “streamliners” formed from carbon fibre composite on the rear deck totally shielding the rear seats, a carbon fibre hood and front fenders, polyurethane front and rear fascias, and a lightweight manually operated cloth top.
Porsche was smart to gentrify this important feature for easier daily life, because the concept had a button-down tonneau cover that probably wouldn’t have gone over so well, while the Stuttgart company also removed the “X” markings on the headlights, which symbolized tape that was often used to stop potentially broken lenses from littering the racetrack with glass and puncturing tires; the deletion of the ‘50s-style gas cap found in the centre of the concept’s hood for quick refueling from overtop the tank; and a move to stock exterior mirror housings in place of the Talbot caps that were popular back when the 356 ruled the track. Classic 356 series enthusiasts can sigh a breath of relief that Porsche kept the gold-coloured “Speedster” lettering on the thick B-pillars and rear engine cover, however, but keep in mind you’ll only find them on an upgrade package (keep reading).
Just in case you missed all the carbon fibre noted earlier, the Speedster is as much about lightening loads as it is about power. In fact, the Speedster doesn’t even have standard air conditioning or an audio system (these are optional), but with performance as its sole goal it hits the road with a standard set of stronger, lightweight carbon ceramic brakes, featuring yellow six-piston aluminum monobloc fixed calipers up front and four-piston aluminium monobloc fixed calipers in the rear, these chopping a considerable 50 percent of weight from the regular 911’s cast iron discs. Circling the brakes are centre-lock Satin Black-painted 20-inch rims on UHP (Ultra High Performance) rubber.
The 911 Speedster’s interior gets the lightening treatment too, with new door panels featuring storage nets and door pulls instead of handles, while the standard black leather upholstery can be enhanced with red contrast stitching on the instrument panel and “Speedster” embroidered headrest badges. This upgrade also gets red door pulls, as well as a GT Sport steering wheel topped off with a red centre marker at 12 o’clock. The cabin also boasts a carbon fibre shift knob and doorsill treadplates, these latter items further improved with “Speedster” model designations.
The new 911 Speedster will can also be had with a Heritage Design Package, which looks much closer to the concept, as well as original 356 Speedsters from the 1950s. The package includes white front bumper and fender “arrows” over GT Silver Metallic exterior paint, plus the gold Speedster lettering noted earlier, and classic Porsche crests. Also, the racing-style number stickers on each side are optional, so if you don’t like them don’t worry, but if you do you can have Porsche customize them with your favourite number. Additionally, the Heritage cabin gets a few changes too, such as two-tone leather upholstery with an historic Porsche crest embroidered onto each headrest, while key trim pieces and the seatbacks come painted in body-colour.
If you’d like to add a Speedster to your collection, make sure to contact your local Porsche retailer quickly, and while you’re waiting for it to arrive, check out the duo of videos below:
The new Porsche 911 Speedster: First Driving Footage (1:13):
The new Porsche 911 Speedster: Highlight Film (2:10):