|30 Aug, 2017
Bentley Continental GT
Bentley unveils the new generation Continental GT. Styling of the new
car is clearly inspired by the EXP10 concept car, especially its more
sculpted front end with Jaguar-style quad-headlights. However, turn to
the side and you will find the beautiful profile of the outgoing car is
kept intact. As before, the Continental GT is a huge 2+2 grand tourer.
Its overall length is kept unchanged, but the body gets 11mm wider, and
its wheelbase is stretched by 110mm, thanks to reduced front overhang.
This new proportion is made possible by the switch to Porsche MSB
platform, which underpins also Panamera. The old Continental GT was
built upon Audi's Quattro system, so its entire engine sat ahead of the
front axle, which made the car nose-heavy. In contrast, the MSB has its
front axle pushed forward by 135mm, so the engine sits closer to the
firewall. Weight distribution is therefore improved from 56:44 to 53:47
for the W12-engined model (V8 should be better still). As in Panamera,
the new 4WD system uses a multiplate clutch to engage the front axle on
demand, so in normal driving the car is largely rear-drive. Hopefully
this will greatly improve the car's handling and feel.
At launch only the range-topping W12 engine has been unveiled. In fact,
it already debuted on the Bentayga SUV, so we should be familiar of its
new features: cylinder deactivation (which shuts down half the
cylinders on light load), direct and port injection, automatic
stop-start... all these help reducing fuel consumption by 16 percent.
Meanwhile, output is lifted to 635hp and 664lbft, guaranteeing a top
speed of 207mph and 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds. It is not quite as fast as
the current Supersports though. As in Panamera, the transmission is now
an ZF-built 8-speed twin-clutch, replacing the torque-converter
The chassis is a mixture of steel and aluminum, while the entire
bodywork is made of superformed aluminum sheets. The body-in-white is
80kg lighter than the old car's steel construction. The whole car is
70kg lighter, but it still weighs some 2250 kg. The Panamera-sourced
suspensions consist of double-wishbone up front and multi-link setup at
the rear, supplemented with 3-chamber air springs, continuous adaptive
dampers and electrically actuated active anti-roll bars.
Inside, the design is overhauled. Craftsmenship is still the highlight,
but technology is expectedly improved as well. Above the center console
is a 12.3-inch touchscreen. It is actually part of the 3-face rotary
device, which can be transformed to a wood panel or 3 analogue gauges
showing useless information (i.e. outside temperature, compass and
timer). Very flamboyant, isn't it? A bit sad to me, the dashboard
architecture is clearly based on Panamera's, lacking the character of
the old car.
|29 Aug, 2017
|BMW i3s: a
BMW i3 is getting a sportier, if not exactly "hot hatch" version, i3s.
From this picture you can see its front end is facelifted (like the
regular i3), its wheel arches get black extended sections to
accommodate the 40mm wider track as well as the larger and wider wheels
and tires (195/50R20 instead of 155/70R19). The suspension is also
retuned and lowered by 10mm. At the back, the electric motor gets
stronger, providing 184hp and 199lbft instead of 170hp and 184lbft of
the standard i3. The larger 94Ah / 33kWh battery is now standard on
both cars. The i3s is quoted to do 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds, 0.3s faster
than before, while top speed is lifted from 93 to 100 mph.
|24 Aug, 2017
Portofino replaces California
Ferrari California T is to be replaced with the new Portofino, which is
named after an Italian village. From these pictures, you can see it is
just a small evolution. The general profile, basic construction and the
folding metal roof are retained. The car is marginally longer and wider
than before. Exterior styling gets sharper, more aerodynamic efficient
and has stronger family resemblance with 812 Superfast. The aluminum
spaceframe chassis is said to be substantially lighter, thanks to new
production technology, but Ferrari did not say how much weight is
The 3855 c.c. twin-turbo V8 is retained, but gets new pistons,
con-rods, intake and exhaust to deliberate another 40 horsepower,
resulting in 600hp at 7500 rpm and 560 lbft of torque at 3000-5250 rpm.
That's 10 ponies fewer than the version used by GTC4 Lusso T. Again
variable boost control limits the torque at lower revs and gears to
give a more linear feel. Ferrari said the car sprintsf from 0-60 mph in
3.4 seconds, a tenth faster than the old car. Top speed is raised by
3mph to 199mph.
The chassis is improved by dual-coil magnetorheological dampers and
E-Diff 3, the latter now cooperates with the new electric power
steering whose gear ratio is 7 percent faster than its hydraulic
Inside, the Portofino gets a vastly updated interior, especially its
10.25-inch touchscreen which is shared with GTC4 Lusso. The air con and
power seats are also upgraded. A new wind deflector cuts buffeting and
wind noise substantially.
|24 Aug, 2017
A4 40TFSI ? Audi adopts new nomenclature
For more than a year, Audi has been selling an A4 with "40 TFSI" badge
in Hong Kong. What? When did it put the twin-turbo V8 into the A4? In
fact, the car is powered by a 2.0TFSI engine with 190hp. It is
confusing... Now Audi is taking this nomenclature strategy global. From
now on, the number will reflect output power instead of engine
capacity, so it will be more friendly to electrified models coming in
the future. For example, the 30TFSI or 30TDI badge is used for cars
offering between 110-130hp, while the top 70TFSI represents more than
|22 Aug, 2017
BMW has announced the new M5. Headline is the adoption of 4WD as
standard in a bid to fight against Mercedes-AMG E63. The so-called "M
xDrive" system uses a multiplate clutch to engage the front axle on
demand, or simply leave it alone in RWD mode. In combination with
active M differential, handling should be better than ever.
However, the 4.4-liter cross-bank twin-turbo V8 is carried over with
only some minor modifications. The turbochargers are said to be new,
the fuel injection pressure increased, the cooling and lubrication are
enhanced, but the output number is a little disappointing. Earlier
reports said it could produce at least 612hp to match E63 S, and some
even mentioned 680hp. The actual number is 600hp, only 40hp more than
its predecessor, or exactly the same as the last M5 Competition pack.
It is released between 5600 and 6700 rpm. Peak torque does improve,
from the old car's 501 lbft or competition pack's 516 lbft to 553 lbft,
and it is available from 1800-5600 rpm.
Apart from 4WD, another big change is replacing the old twin-clutch
gearbox with a version of the ZF 8-speed automatic, which proves that
how good torque converter autos these days are. Don't worry about its
response, because the new M5 is quoted 0-60 mph in merely 3.3 seconds,
0.9s faster than the old car! It is now leveled with arch-rival E63 S.
As for top speed, the standard car is still regulated at 155 mph, while
those taking the driver's pack will be upgraded to 190 mph, as usual.
Despite of the addition of 4WD hardware, the new M5 is 15kg lighter
than before at 1855kg (DIN). This must thanks to the lighter
construction of the new 5-Series donor. Its wider front fenders are
made of aluminum (as are the bonnet, boot lid and doors, like the
regular 5er), while the roof is carbon-fiber. A lighter lithium battery
is used and it is placed at the boot for improved weight distribution.
In the chassis, there are some additional reinforcement bracings at the
engine compartment and rear subframe. The suspension are stiffened and
fitted with adaptive dampers, but overall speaking the new M5 is quite
conventional, with little to surprise.
|18 Aug, 2017
Roadster fever has been cooling down over the last decade, but BMW is
not going to surrender yet. To make possible a reasonable economy of
scale, it partners with Toyota for the development of its next
generation roadster. The result is first previewed with this new Z4
concept, while the new Toyota Supra is expected to be unveiled in Tokyo
motor show later this year.
Compared with the existing Z4, the new car looks longer and wider,
whereas its styling theme follows closely the recent 8-Series concept,
which means far more stylish than the odd-looking old car. Expect the
production car will ditch the 20-inch wheels for smaller items, the
windscreen will be more upright and finished with thicker frames, and
the minimalist door mirrors will become conventional, but otherwise
most exterior styling details will be carried over to production.
However, the most significant change should be the replacement of metal
folding roof with conventional fabric soft top, following the
industrial trend to cut weight and minimize the loss of trunk space.
As usual, BMW is not revealing technical details of its concept car.
However, the production Z4 is expected to offer engines similar to the
2, 3 and 4-Series, including 2.0 Turbo four-cylinder with 184hp and
252hp, and 3.0 Turbo six-cylinder with around 340hp. Higher tuned
version of the straight-six, probably with 370hp like M2, is likely to
happen, but a true M-power unit is unlikely.
|18 Aug, 2017
may ban petrol and diesel cars
German chancellor Angela Merkel reveals the government's intention to
ban cars powered by internal combustion engines, probably in line with
France and UK, which have proposed the deadline at 2040. Sorry to hear
that, because we love Porsche flat-six and AMG V8 so much!
Ferrari likely to scrap plan for new Dino
The rumor about a new entry-level mid-engined Ferrari, aka new Dino,
has been running for a few years. FCA boss Sergio Marchionne once
confirmed it will be built, but now he said otherwise. In a recent
investor meeting, Mr. Marchionne said there is internal debate whether
the car should be introduced, and he feared that lowering the price
point would not be beneficial to Ferrari. Obviously, some engineers
want to build it but the boss prefers to build Ferrari's first SUV
crossover instead. Regarding the SUV crossover, he said "it will
probably happen but it will happen in Ferrari's style". How to make an
SUV in Ferrari style? I have no idea at all.
Mazda Skyactiv-X: world's first HCCI engine
Mazda announced that it is putting the world's first HCCI engine to
production from 2019. HCCI (Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition)
gasoline engines use high compression ratio to ignit the gas-fuel
mixture without the need of spark plugs, much like diesel engines. This
will result in leaner mixture, which saves fuel, and much reduced NOx
emission because of the lack of high-temperature spark flames. However,
at full load, especially when the engine is cold, the combustion tends
to be unstable. To address this problem, Mazda's Skyactiv-X engine
keeps spark ignition to work under this situation. The question is
whether the transition between spark ignition mode and HCCI mode smooth
enough for practical use, which we should see in a couple of year's
time. No other technical details of the Skyactiv-X engine has been
revealed. It only said fuel consumption is reduced by 20-30 percent
compared with the current Skyactiv-G, and is therefore comparable with