Feel you’ve seen it before? An easy mistake to make but this is the new Bentley Continental GTC. An evolution of the old car, it has been redeveloped in almost every aspect without loosing its trademark looks. The update to ‘Mark 2′ configuration brings the Bentley GTC up the specifications of the GT Continental Coupé introduced last year.
There is wider track both front and rear and a refined suspension system to make the Continental even more sure footed. Handling is also improved by a rebalance of torque through the four wheel drive system. Rather than the previous 50:50 balance the rear wheels now take 60% of the torque thus reducing understeer and adding driver control.
There is a larger new interior space with even greater attention to quality and finish. There is more leg room for the rear seats, the latest touch screen entertainment system and Mercedes-inspired neck warmers for colder days.
The W12 engine remains but with an increase in power to 567 bhp and gets a new QuickShift automatic transmission for faster gear changes. The result is an acceleration fro 0-61 mph in 4.5 seconds.
The new Bentley convertible will make its first public appearance alongside a bevy of other exotic new drop-tops at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
If the Maserati brand just isn’t enough then why not add another name equally famous for Italian craftsmanship into the mix? This was the thought behind the latest creation to come from a collaboration between the two companies. A limited edition version of the Maserati GranCabrio specially detailed
`The focus is on style rather than performance, intended to make this a must-have fashion accessory. A unique three-layer paint style called ‘Grigio Fiamma Fendi’ covers the bodywork with a dark grey base colour coated with an iridescent golden finish.
Inside ‘Pergamena Fendi’ wood trim contrasts with the iconic Fendi Yellow trimmed black leather with the Fendi F logo stitched into the seats. There are even Fendi logos on the wheels and engine rocker panel.
To finish of the co-branding there is a silver plaque on the dashboard. Also available is matching limited edition Fendi luggage and a branded car cover.
Expect fashionistas to be clamouring to pay a premium for this special edition Maserati convertible.
The first official information and images of the Ferrari 458 Spider were released today. Dynamically the car is much the same as the 458 Italia with power from a mid-mounted V8 but the Spider has a fully retractable folding hardtop – the first mid-engined car to do so.
Unlike the more sophisticated Ferrari California the roof of the 458 Spider flips over in one piece reminiscent of the 575M Superamerica but this time with a hard tonneau to neatly protect the under-side from collecting dirt and rain.
Visually this must be one of the best integrated hardtop convertible designs we have ever seen. The twin flying buttresses of the tonneau cover complete the rear of the roof with a retracting glass window between them. With the roof up the car looks surprisingly similar to the hardtop car although from the rear the differences are far more apparent. That’s not a bad thing though, we prefer the look of the flat rear deck to the big window of the Italia.
According to Ferrari, the all aluminium roof makes a 25kg weight saving compared even to a traditional folding soft-top. Seems difficult to believe, but there’s no arguing that the 14 second folding time is pretty impressive. The rear window also doubles as a wind diffuser with the roof lowered keeping cockpit draughts low enough to allow normal conversations to be held at speeds over 200 kph.
200 kph is well within this car’s capabilities with power from the award winning 4.5 litre 570 bhp V8 in a chassis weighing in at just 1430 kg. A time of just 3.4 seconds is all that is needed to get to 100 kph (62 mph) before reaching a top speed of 198 mph (320 kph).
For all its clever design we can however see this car causing problems for Ferrari: If it drives as well as we have come to expect from the marque it may considerably cut into the sales of both the 458 Italia and the California. It may be just too good!
The futuristic Chevrolet Miray hybrid concept will make its european debut at the Frankfurt Motor show in September 2011. The Miray is a zero emissions look at the sports car of the future
Power comes from batteries and twin front mounted electric motors as well as a small petrol engine at the rear while many of the drivetrain components come from production models. Either front or rear wheel drive can be selected from the two 15 kW motors to suit the desired driving characteristics. Fuel storage is in the form of 1.6kWh lithium-ion battery which is topped up by regenerative braking. In addition, a 1.5 litre four cylinder turbocharged engine behind the driver combines with the electric power adds to the excitement.
The sleek body shell is made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP) and carbon fibre and it is shaped to evoke many of Chevrolet’d design icons of the past.
Miray is Korean for ‘Future’ and indeed the car was unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show earlier in the year.
Jaguar have been developing sports car concepts for some time and it is no secret that the Brand would like to add a smaller performance roadster to add to their range. Rumours now suggest that their latest concept will be on display at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
It started back in 1998 at the Paris Show when Jaguar unveiled a sleek roadster, the XK180 (pictured) based on a shortened XK chassis. It went down a storm and there were thoughts at the time that it would be developed into a production car. The car was planned as a Jaguar F-Type and it is thought that several thousand orders were made for it before the project was cancelled due to the economic recession. Despite this rumours of Jaguar sports car development continued.
The target market is thought to be competing with the Mercedes SLK, BMW Z4 and Porsche Boxster. A very competitive field; any one of these cars offers striking performance and luxurious interiors. A jaguar roadster would have to out-perform them and come in at a competitive price.
Jaguar neither confirm or deny the car exists but a spokesperson has been quoted as saying “Jaguar has bold plans for the future, the next stage of which will be revealed at the Frankfurt show. We are likely to have a concept car to announce there.” We can only wait and see.
Sounds like a dream come true doesn’t it? The MX5 Miata is everyone’s favourite roadster; charming, affordable and a hoot to drive. It’s always been a car focussed on handling rather than power, but who hasn’t wondered what it would be like as a hardcore sports model? If Black Editions from other brands are anything to go by it should be exactly this but sadly this Mazda special edition will disappoint us once again.
It looks the part with its Mazda MX-5 GT racing car inspired colour scheme but underneath it is the same old Miata. The ‘Black’ bit refers to the blacked out trim of the car – mirrors, wheels and retractable hardtop along with much of the interior trim. It comes in a choice of paint shades – Spirited Green metallic, Crystal White Pearlescent or Velocity Red mica. Other than this it is much the same as the 160ps, 2.0-litre Mazda MX-5 Sport Tech on which it’s based.
A pity really, particularly when you see how well the Mazda MX-5 GT performs on the track. The race car somas with 275hp engine of course, mounted in a stripped down 850 kg chassis. Something we’ll just have to keep dreaming about. The future may well bring a car along these lines – rumours suggest that the next generation Miata will be considerably lighter. For now the Mazda MX-5 Sport Black will have to be enough and the standard car’s nimble handling will continue to win driver’s praise.
500 examples of the Mazda MX-5 Sport Black will be produced for UK customers only, each costing GBP £22,995 (on the road).