“The RX-8 doesn’t just like a drink; it is the founding member of the AA institution for sports car engines”
Are you tired of my RX-8 reports yet? If you secretly nodded your head in agreement, then I have good news for you, because this will be the final one, in which I’ll try to recount the ups and downs of running Mazda’s last rotary sports car – until, hopefully, the next one comes up…
First of all, let me introduce you to the world’s first contemporary four-door coupe. The Mercedes-Benz CLS that supposedly invented the niche? It was launched a year later than the RX-8, which is a coupe and has four doors. True, the Merc and its clones are perched much higher in terms of pricing and none adopted the rear suicide doors that did without the B-pillar, but you get the point.
There’s nothing else like it on the market – period. Its powerplant shuns valves, pistons and conrods for ports and rotors and thus produces 228HP from a capacity of just 1.3 liters and a mad 9,500 rpm redline. I’ll admit, it suffers from a severe lack of low-end torque, but it revs so creamily and effortlessly that a chime has to remind you to change up before you hit the limiter.
This comes at a price. The RX-8 doesn’t just like a drink; it is the founding member of the AA institution for sports car engines. Yes, it really is that bad. No matter how gentle the right pedal is treated, a shocking 16-18 lt/km (15-13 mpg US) average in mixed use is common. Combine it with the 61–liter fuel tank and visits to gas stations are much more frequent than Lindsay Lohan’s to courts and rehab facilities.
On the bright side, it doesn’t get that much worse when it gets a good pasting. Thus, since the tank and wallet are draining at nearly the same rate regardless of speed, better to indulge in it. That’s what it was made for after all, right?
For sure, there are plenty of sporty flavored, rear-wheel drive sedans in the market, but the first two cars that come to mind as direct competitors to the new 2014 Chevrolet SS are without question, the 2013 Dodge Charger and the 2013 Chrysler 300.
General Motors won’t be releasing prices for its bow-tie-badged Holden Commodore SS V until later this year, though, we anticipate to the SS to carry a similar price tag to its Chrysler Group challengers in the non-luxury, rear-wheel drive performance sedan category.
The question is, which models in the Charger and 300 lineups will the SS go up against?
Will it target the 370HP HEMI V8-powered Dodge Charger R/T that starts at $ 29,995 or the 470HP 6.4-liter HEMI V8 Dodge Charger SRT8 priced from $ 45,995, and similarly, the Chrysler 300C with the 363hp 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that starts at $ 35,190, or the 470hp 6.4-liter HEMI V8-powered SRT8 with an MSRP of $ 48,995?
Perhaps GM will position the SS, which features a 415hp 6.2-liter V8 linked to a 6-speed automatic only, somewhere in the middle, or it could be preparing a ZL1 model like the one we dreamed up last year, in which case, it could focus on the lower priced editions.
Once upon a time not too long ago, sports cars and manual gearboxes were synonymous. Nowadays, it’s getting harder and harder to find a high-end performance car with a stick shift as most automakers are opting for dual clutch or automated manual transmissions.
Aston Martin’s Vantage V8 S, which is the more focused and slightly more powerful at 430hp (436PS) sibling of the regular V8 model, is one such example as it is available exclusively with the English brand’s Sportshift II 7sp automated manual transmission.
At least it was up until now, as Aston Martin has announced a new special edition version of the Vantage V8S called the SP10, created as part of its centenary celebrations and inspired by its motorsport activities in the GT4 racing series. While keeping the same 430hp V8 engine, it is offered with a standard 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional automatic.
Available in both coupe and roadster body styles, the SP10 will be sold exclusively in Continental Europe – meaning the UK will miss out on this special edition model.
The SP10 is finished in a Ceramic Grey Metallic (the Roadster gets a Titan Grey top), and features unique 19-inch cast alloy rims, black brake calipers, a front splitter, carbon rear diffuser and clear rear lamps
The 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit won’t open for the public until Saturday, January 19, (January 16-17 is the industry preview, and January 18, the charity preview) but if you’ve been following our coverage of event, you should know most things you need to know.
While no one was surprised by Detroit’s big three choosing their hometown to launch their new production and concept cars, this year’s show also had major world premieres from Asian and European automakers, too.
Wrapping up our NAIAS report, we thought we’d make a quick review of this year’s most notable offerings.
First things first: the seventh-generation Corvette, by far the most eagerly awaited presentation, undoubtedly impresses with its technology (aluminum frame, carbon fiber bodywork parts, cylinder deactivation) and performance. Bringing back the Stingray moniker is either proof of GM’s confidence in the new Vette or a clever marketing trick.
Next up is another GM product, the Cadillac ELR. That’s an even tougher one to judge. It sure looks delicious – but then again, with the Converj concept as a starting point, Caddy’s designers would have to be on mind-addling drugs to get it wrong. It’s rumored, but not yet confirmed, $ 60k asking price will put it up against some pretty stiff competition, so it had better be much more than just a sleek Chevy Volt if it wants to succeed.
BMW first showed us its new M6 Gran Coupe in December and now the sportiest version of the sedan series is having its world premiere at the Detroit Auto Show together with one of its main rivals in the segment, the new Audi RS7 Sportback.
The M treatment brings a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 churning out a peak output of 552hp (560PS) between 6,000 and 7,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 501 lb-ft (680Nm) between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm.
Coincidentally or not, these figures are almost identical to those of Ingolstadt’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 at 552hp (560PS) and 516 lb-ft (700Nm) available constantly from 1,750 to 5,500 rpm.
A standard seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission drives the sport sedan’s rear tires, with BMW quoting a 0-60mph (96km/h) time of 4.1 seconds, or 0.2 seconds slower than the Audi, and an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph (250km/h).
The M6 Grand Coupe will arrive in U.S. dealerships this summer with pricing to be announced. In the meantime, check out the gallery below and tell us which of the two German sport saloons you like more in terms of looks in the comments section that follow.s
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The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) that takes place in Detroit is the first major event of the year for the automotive industry.
In 2013, the show opens its doors on January 14 for the media and on the 19th for the public, who can visit the Cobo Center until the 27th and view all the new models on display.
Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated premiere is that of the all-new, seventh-generation Corvette. GM, however, has a second ace up its sleeve for the 2013 NAIAS: the world debut of the Cadillac ELR hybrid coupe, aka the production version of the Converj concept that was launched at the same event four years ago.
Germany’s premium carmakers are also coming on strong – something only natural, since the U.S. market is extremely valuable to them.
BMW has chosen Detroit to preview its brand-new 4-Series, the coupe version of the 3-Series saloon that may be billed as a concept, but is effectively ready to enter production.
The U.S. may host two major automotive shows each year, in Detroit and New York, but what is undoubtedly the entertainment capital not only of the country, but of the whole world, is surely a good place to stage another one.
Organizers of this year’s event, which opens its doors on November 28 for the press and two days later for the public, have announced that the 2012 LA Auto Show will offer its visitors no less than 24 world and another 25 North American premieres.
With just a few days remaining, some carmakers continue to keep the cars they will debut in Los Angeles under wraps, while others, such as Subaru with its Forester, Kia with the new Forte sedan and Volkswagen with the Beetle Convertible have already come out in the open.
No matter; Carscoop’s comprehensive A-Z Guide of the 2012 show is up and running and we’re constantly on the lookout for anything that will pop up over the next few days.
All you have to do is scroll down to see the list of this year’s show and stay tuned for our updates.
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