Welcome to the Hooniverse News! This is a weekly recap of everything you should care about in the automotive industry without the BS or the fluff. I also throw in some opinion, just because I can. This week, it’s [almost] all about high-octane performance cars, so I hope you don’t mind…
Bugatti reveals the insane Grand Sport Vitesse
Aston Martin V8 Vantage gets minor updates
AMG works their magic on the new SL
The new Maserati GranTurismo Sport
Audi A3 leaked early
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse
Just because they could, Bugatti has rolled out with another version of the always Veyron. The latest version of one of the world’s most exclusive cars is called the Grand Sport Vitesse (which is French for “speed”) and is essentially a Veyron Super Sport with a removable top like the Grand Sport. The result is the world’s fastest road-going roadster.
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The “standard” 8-liter, quad-turbocharged W-16 engine out of the 267 mph Veyron Super Sport is the heart of the beast and it produces the same 1,200 hp and 1,100 lb.-ft. of torque as before. That means 0-60 mph should come in at under 2.5 seconds, 0-100 mph faster than most cars take to fire up in the morning, and on to a top speed that put the Veyron Super Sport in the record books, though they won’t say how the removable top and possible speed limiters affect top speed yet. Now imagine that performance without a roof over your head.
Most details are still unknown as Bugatti plans on revealing more info at the car’s official debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, but mechanically, it’s exactly the same as the record-breaking Super Sport. No pricing info yet, but I would expect it to be at least $3,000,000 given the regular Super Sport’s $2,700,000 asking price. I can’t wait to see these collecting dust in an oil tycoon’s garage somewhere.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage reworked
Aston Martin will be at the Geneva Motor Show with a slightly improved V8 Vantage lineup for the European markets. Aston Martin hopes to prove that the 7-year-old platform only needs minor improvements to keep it fresh and enticing to potential buyers.
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The V8 Vantage powertrain still consists of a 4.7-liter V8 with approximately 420 horsepower and 346 lb.-ft. of torque and the standard 6-speed manual. The only improvement is a new 7-speed Sportshift II automatic transmission that replaces the old 6-speed automated manual, which was a bit clunky and sluggish, to put it nicely. Complementing the V8 is a revised chassis that promises quicker responses to driver input, bigger brakes, and wider tires. A new front-bumper – complete with a new splitter and a larger air intake – adds a touch of sportiness and helps prevent the car from bursting into flames when you turn the air conditioning on (no promises). A new rear diffuser also adds a sporty, muscular touch.
In short, everything they did to the Vantage S minus the 10 extra horsepower and a louder exhaust system is now on the standard V8 Vantage. While Aston Martin said the updates would only apply to UK and European markets for the time being, chances are good that we’ll see the same updates or something similar in the US.
Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG
The all-new Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was unveiled just a few months ago sporting new looks inside and out as well as more efficient engines with more power. The some 12% increase in horsepower wasn’t enough for the guys at AMG, however, because they just stuffed a monstrous twin-turbocharged V8 behind the new, slightly polarizing front end.
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That said twin-turbocharged V8 is a relatively new 5.5-liter AMG powerhouse that offers 530 horsepower and 590 lb.-ft. of torque or 557 horsepower and 664 lb.-ft. of torque with the optional AMG Performance Package. Standard SL63s can hit 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds and hit a limited (booo) top speed of 155 mph. AMG Performance Package SL63s, however, can do the run in 4.1 seconds and on to 186 mph. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an AMG MCT 7-speed automatic which has been engineered to not suck in city driving conditions.
Helping to keep the power where it belongs is an AMG-tuned suspension with active damping with two different modes of stiffness the driver can choose between (Comfort and Sport). 15.3-inch brakes up front and 14.2-inch out back – also available in Carbon ceramic – hide behind standard 19-inch light alloy wheels or optional 20-inchers. Inside, AMG gave it new sport seats covered in Nappa leather and special badging.
Pricing info isn’t available yet.
Maserati GranTurismo Sport revealed
Just because we can, here is the new Maserati GranTurismo Sport, the latest addition to the gorgeous GranTurismo lineup. The GranTurismo Sport replaces the GranTurismo S and will offer the best of what Maserati is good at – comfort and sportiness – in one package.
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A glorious 4.7-liter V8 with 460 horsepower sends power to the rear wheels through a 6-speed automated manual transmission. Word is a true automatic will be offered as well and both will come with paddle shifters. Performance figures weren’t disclosed, but it’s safe to say that 0-60 mph will come in at around 5 seconds or less. Perhaps the most noticeable feature is the new front bumper/splitter that resembles the GranTurismo MC’s once exclusive aero kit. The larger air intakes also help the Italian V8 breathe easier. Inside, new sporty seats and a new steering wheel will should help keep drivers happy in the twisties.
Pricing info isn’t available yet. The GranTurismo Sport will be making its official debut at Geneva along with everything else I’ve talked about so far.
Audi A3 info and photos leaked early
The Russians love leaking things to the internet before they’re supposed to. Now they’ve leaked images of the all-new Audi A3 just weeks before its official debut at – you guessed it – the Geneva Motor Show.
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Along with the pictures came a bit of technical data, including the selection of two petrol engines and one TDI diesel engine. The petrol power plants are expected to produce 122 and 180 horsepower and the diesel motor’s power is unknown. A 6-speed manual and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission are reportedly on the options list. The Russians mentioned the addition of a 5-door model, a hybrid, a natural gas version, and optional Quattro all-wheel-drive were coming later on.