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Ferrari tends to sell its models out extremely quickly - its wait lists are the stuff of legend. That's especially true when the cars in question are of the fastest or most exclusive variety. If new reports are to be believed, Maranello has already sold the entire 499-unit production run of its new LaFerrari hypercar, and now Australia's Motoring is claiming that Ferrari has also filled its order book for the entire first year's production run of its new 458 Speciale.
For those unfamiliar, the 458 Speciale follows in a proud line of hardcore mid-engined V8 Ferraris in the footsteps of the 360 Challenge Stradale and 430 Scuderia. It's lighter, more powerful and more aerodynamically advanced than the 458 Italia upon which it's based, and just trails half a second behind the more powerful F12 Berlinetta (and the aforementioned LaFerrari) as the third-quickest road car ever to lap the Italian automaker's Fiorano test track. That means it's quicker even than the 599 GTO and Enzo.
Although we've yet to receive official word, we're expecting a sticker price approaching $300,000 - about a quarter more than the 458 Italia. But that doesn't appear to have stopped Ferrari from raking in the orders. Check it out in our substantially updated image gallery above.
We've got absolutely zero actual information from the automaker on what its "Next Lexus F" will be, other than what was just released today in this brief press release and lone teaser image, but our best guess is that it's the next-generation IS-F sedan. The timing would make sense, considering that the latest IS just hit the market earlier this year as a 2014 model.
Since we know so little, we'll just share some of the exuberant marketing speak contained in the press release for your reading pleasure:
Designed from the asphalt up, to strike at the heart, the newest Lexus F model will debut at the January 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
As the year of 1972 was drawing to a close, my father had finally saved up enough money to buy himself his first new car, and his heart was set on a Chevrolet Chevelle SS. And no wonder - the midsize Chevy Super Sport had earned a reputation for performance with rugged good looks to match. Its twin stripes and domed hood hid a 402-cubic-inch V8 engine (though Chevy still called it a 396, owing to that mill's muscle car heritage), and, though down on power from the horsepower heyday of 1970, it sent tons of American grunt to the rear wheels in the very best tire-melting fashion.
Then 1973 rolled around, and General Motors completely remade its midsize offerings, eschewing the chiseled good looks of past models for what many, including my father, thought was a bloated, squared-off design that didn't look very muscular. Good old Dad did the right thing - he bought a '73 Firebird, and thus became a Pontiac man for life. And that's how my family grew up with a long slew of Pontiac machinery that included a Grand Prix or three, several Trans Am models and a barn full of GTO convertibles in various states of repair and disrepair.
While the Pontiac nameplate has since ascended to the great automotive graveyard in the sky, there's a direct link between the old Chevelle of yesteryear through the last Pontiac GTO and its spiritual successor, the G8, and the brand-spankin'-new 2014 Chevy SS that is today's subject du jour. And, somewhat surprisingly, that link has long since left the United States, diverting its way through Australia instead. Allow us to explain.
You can't debate Audi's record in endurance racing. With 12 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it comes second only to Porsche in the history books of the famous endurance race - only in Audi's case, all of those victories have come in the last 14 years, losing only twice: once to its partner team Bentley in 2003 and once to rival Peugeot in 2009. It's won the FIA World Endurance Championship in both of the seasons it's run so far, and has won championships in the European and American Le Mans Series, too.
That's quite a record to defend, and defend it Audi will with an evolved LMP1 racer next year. Only a week after tying up its second consecutive world championship, the German outfit is already back at Sebring this weekend testing the successor to the all-conquering R18 e-tron Quattro. Unfortunately as the new United SportsCar Championship doesn't include LMP1s, the only chance we may have to see it competing here in the United States will be at the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas in September.
Audi is keeping mum on the details for the time being, releasing only this one photo and promising to reveal further details before the end of the month, but we can already discern a more streamlined shape, revised aero and reprofiled headlamps among the changes from the outgoing R18. One way or another, with Toyota upping its game and Porsche returning to top-level competition next season, Audi may be in for its toughest challenge yet - but you can bet it won't take it lying down. Scope out the press release below and watch this space for more.
If you look at the stratospheric sticker prices on the latest generation of hypercars and wonder how an automaker could possibly justify it, bear in mind a few factoids. For one thing, even when the sticker prices start lower, they quickly balloon past the million-dollar mark. For another, automakers charge that much because they can, and don't seem to have much trouble selling them all.
Case in point: the new LaFerrari. While presenting the state-of-the-art supercar on CNBC, Ferrari North America CEO Marco Mattiacci revealed that all 499 examples that will be made of the hybrid hypercar - including those 120 earmarked for North America - have already been spoken for. This despite the $1.4 million asking price that makes it the most expensive Ferrari ever made.
Or the most expensive new Ferrari, we should say, because prices for the most collectable machines ever to roll out the gates at Maranello continue to rise. Figure you'll save a little and get LaFerrari's predecessor? Trading hands these days at prices approaching $2 million (around three times its original $660k MSRP), the Enzo is even more expensive. And that's just the scarlet tip of the iceberg.
Volvo may be better known for turbo fives and inline fours, but in 2005 it launched the XC90 with a new eight-cylinder engine built for it by Yamaha. Fast forward to this past June when Volvo announced its intention to enter Australia's V8 Supercars series, where it would compete with the likes of Ford, Holden, Nissan and Mercedes-AMG. This is the engine with which it intends to do so.
Revealed this weekend at the Sydney 500, this competition-spec powerplant is based on the same B8444S that powered the XC90 and S80 (not to mention the Noble M600), but tuned for racing duty to be shoehorned into the new S60 touring car. The 60-degree aluminum block has been bored out from 4.4 liters to 5.0, its compression ratio boosted to 10:1, modified to run on E85 bio-ethanol and its redline increased to 7500 rpm. Volvo also promises a unique engine note from its new racers.
While Volvo and its racing partner Polestar haven't released official output numbers, regulations call for outputs between 620 and 650 horsepower - in any event, a whole lot more than the 311 hp it produces in stock form. (Noble managed to squeeze that much out of the same block, but that required twin turbochargers while this unit remains naturally aspirated.) Scope out the details in the press release below and the photos from the reveal in the gallery above.
Dodge is only building 500 examples of the black-and-blue Mopar '13 Dart, but the majority of them are now being recalled. Part of the Mopar upgrade included replacing the stock seat skins in the Dart with black and blue Katzkin leather, but the seat-mounted side airbags were reinstalled improperly during the upfitting process, which could affect the performance of the front seat side airbags.
According to the official National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bulletin, a total of 374 Mopar '13 cars are being recalled due to side airbags that might not deploy in a side-impact collision. There have been no reports of the airbags not going off, but Chrysler will still need to reinstall the bags to ensure proper deployment. The recall notice is posted below, which gives information for Mopar '13 owners to contact Chrysler and NHTSA.
The Ford Mustang may not be the first vehicle that comes to mind when you think of environmentally-friendly forms of transportation. The arrival of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the new Mustang could do a lot to combat that perception, but the EcoBoost engine may just be the tip of the iceberg in that regard.
Speaking with Ford powertrain boss Bob Fascetti at the reveal of the new Mustang in Australia, GoAuto reports that the Blue Oval automaker is considering offering its latest pony car with a diesel, hybrid or even electric powertrain in the future.
"We're not looking at diesel at the moment, but given where we need to go with fuel consumption we are looking at all our options," said Fascetti. Other options could include a nine- or ten-speed automatic transmission to replace the current six-speed unit in order to help improve fuel economy and emissions for the Mustang, although figures for the current lineup have yet to be revealed.
When it announced official pricing and fuel economy data for the 2014 Civic , Honda conspicuously left out any mention of the Hybrid or Natural Gas models. On its retail site, Honda still lists the 2012 model year for the Natural Gas, so we reached out to the automaker for some clarification.
Due to remaining inventory of the 2012 Civic Natural Gas, the 2013 model year was mostly sold to corporate and government fleets, and the 2012 still has a $3,000 gas card incentive that was introduced in October 2012. The 2014 Civic Natural Gas will get all of the same updates as the rest of the 2014 Civic lineup, including tweaked interior and exterior styling and some fancy new tech, but it will continue to use the five-speed automatic transmission rather than switching over to a continuously variable transmission.
No word yet on pricing for the 2014 Civic Natural Gas, but it will likely continue to be the highest-priced model of the Civic lineup when it goes on sale in February. The 2014 Civic Hybrid goes on sale at the same time.
When Kia introduced the updated 2014 Sportage back in September, one of the biggest things that stood out to us was that the base model was dropped. Not only did this mean the Sportage would no longer be offered with a manual gearbox, but we also expected a price increase to follow. We were right.
The entry-level trim for the 2014 Sportage is now the LX, which starts at $21,600 (not including $850 for destination). This is only a $400 increase over the 2013 Sportage LX, but it represents a $2,600 jump (13.6 percent) in the Sportage's starting price point. At this new price, the Sportage is now priced higher than the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and lower than many other compact crossovers like the Ford Escape, Chevy Equinox, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Cherokee and Toyota RAV4. Pricing for the 2014 Sportage EX has increased by $800, starting at $25,000, while the sportier, turbocharged Sportage SX holds steady at $26,900.
In addition to other minor changes like slightly refreshed exterior styling, a sportier suspension setup for the LX trim level and more available cabin tech, the other key update made to the 2014 Sportage is the addition of direct injection to the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This brings a slight bump in power output (from 176 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque in 2013 to 182 hp and 178 lb-ft for 2014), but, for some reason unknown to us, it dings fuel economy. With ratings of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, the front-wheel-drive Sportage loses 2 mpg for the highway rating compared to 2013, while the all-wheel-drive model's 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway is a drop of 1 mpg for both figures.