News

Geneva 2017 | Lamborghini Huracán Performante

It’s bright orange, it’s got a huge rear wing, and it’s a Lamborghini. Of course we were going to feature the new Huracán Performante on EngageSportMode.

2017 Lamborghini Huracán Performante

The Performante is hardly a well-kept secret, as disguised test versions have been spotted out in the wild for months. We’ve also already seen the video of Lamborghini setting a new Nürburgring Nordschleife production car lap record of 6 minutes 52.01 seconds. Yet despite not being a surprise, it’s still a deeply impressive machine, and offers up more than the typical “less weight, more power” supercar special edition formula.

2017 Lamborghini Huracán Performante

 

For a start, Lamborghini has made use of Forged Composite technology, which sounds a little like a cross between regular carbon fibre and glass fibre construction. In short, it has allowed Lamborghini to craft bumpers, and other complex shapes, from a lightweight, but strong, material. The result is a saving of some 40kg, with the 4WD Performante clocking up a family hatchback-rivalling 1,382kg weight on the scales.

2017 Lamborghini Huracán Performante

The 5.2-litre V10 engine has also been updated, with output now 631hp at 8,000rpm. That’s an increase of 29hp over the regular Huracán, whilst torque has also increased from 413lb-ft to 442lb-ft. Proving that the effects of Dieselgate don’t quite appear to have reached Sant’Agata, CO2 emissions have increased to 302g/km – although we doubt that will be a major concern for any customers. Likewise the official combined fuel economy of 20.6mpg. Lamborghini is also keen to stress that the manifold cover is now bronze, in a knowing nod to previous special edition models. Exhaust noises are also said to be made even more aggressive, with a revised higher position.

2017 Lamborghini Huracán Performante

So far, so standard supercar upgrades. However, where the Performante does move things on is with the use of active aerodynamics system. Which actually sounds far better in Italian: Aerodinamica Lamborghini Attiva (ALA). Working on both the front spoiler, and vents in the rear engine cover, the ALA system can with between low drag and high downforce, or even allow aero vectoring. The latter shapes air flowing across the rear spoiler, and pushes the inside wheel harder into the ground to increase traction when cornering at high speed. Clearly this is more than just Lamborghini bolting on the biggest set of wings and spoiler they could find.

2017 Lamborghini Huracán Performante

Suspension settings have been stiffened by 10% over the regular Huracán, with optional magnetically adjustable dampers also available. The steering has also been recalibrated for better response and feel, although we wonder just how much you can fine tune a supercar. Braking is via carbon ceramic discs, with six-pot calipers at the front and four-pots gripping the rear. Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres are fitted to the 20″ wheels as standard, with optional track-orientated Pirelli Trofeo R rubber also on offer. (more…)

Ned Jasper | 2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

Ned Jasper is back, and he’s got the latest on the latest addition to the Porsche model range. It’s not rear-engined, but there’s certainly a lot going on out back!

2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

I’m told that good things come to those who wait. So, considering the Panamera Sport Turismo is the first Porsche estate car to leave Stuttgart since the company was founded back in 1931. It better be good! Thankfully, the first impressions are good. Very very good. The front half of the Sport Turismo is near enough identical to a ‘normal’ Panamera. That means handsome looks and road presence akin to that of a supercar.

2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

But it’s what happens around the back that matters. Gone is the standard Panamera’s slopping 911-esque roof line. In its place, is in my eyes, the best looking car rear end not just of the year, but of the last decade. The Porsche design language remains clear, with hints of 911 and Macan showing face. However, the combination of the squatted rear, combined with the giant muscular haunches, is just so spot on.

2017 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

The interior of the Sport Turismo remains near identical to that of the standard Panamera. That means svelte materials, contemporary shapes and angles, plus there’s a colour scheme almost as rich as the kind of person who can afford to buy one. Who knew brown could look so good, eh? Move towards the rear and you’ll begin to notice the differences. Or should I say, the difference! With the Sport Turismo being an estate after all, it was only right of Porsche to fit a proper rear bench. It seats three, and is capable of folding flat in 40:20:40 sections. Practical.

Despite the rather large exterior changes, the boot space isn’t too dissimilar to that of the standard Panamera, with the ST boasting just 25 litres extra space. That’s about the same size as a medium suitcase. The total room available is 520 litres or 1,390 with the rear seats folded down – Panamera van, anyone?! (more…)

New | Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet | Ultimate G

This could quite possibly be the weirdest answer to a question nobody has asked. Or, the perfect gift for the person who genuinely does already have everything. This G-Class is ideal for the crazy world of 2017.

2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

Important things first – the G 650 Landaulet is not going to be offered for sale in the UK. Sorry. We’re sure there’s whole tens of people now totally disappointed, but sadly it won’t be coming here. Blame it on Brexit, perhaps. So if you’re based in the UK, and in the market for a stupidly powerful and deeply luxurious (chauffeur driven) off-roader, you’ll need to find a new option.

2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

However, if you’re elsewhere in the world, you might be able to snag yourself one of the 99 units of this bizarre creation when it goes on sale in the Autumn. There’s no mention of price but, realistically, if you’re searching for something like this then cost isn’t really going to be an issue. Especially not when there’s a biturbo AMG V12 engine, making 630hp, that’ll average around 16mpg at best. Oh, and C02 emissions of 376g/km, which is probably on par with a coal-fired power station.

The G 650 Landaulet is probably similar in size to a power plant, measuring over 5.3metres in length and 2.2metres tall. Ground clearance, thanks to those portal axles first seen on the G 500 4×4², is a towering 450mm. It makes the standard fit wheels, wearing 325/55/R22 tyres, look relatively in proportion. The alloy wheels are ceramic polished, and feature ‘Landaulet’ lettering in them – just in case you ever forget what you’re driving.

2017 Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

Traditionally used in relation to horse-drawn carriages, landaulet refers to a chauffeured vehicle with a folding soft-top over the rear seats. Typically intended for use by dignitaries and public figures, if you’re a vain tyrant – in a country with poor road surfaces – then this could be the machine for you.

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New Metal | 2018 Ford Mustang

The single most important part of this article? That the new 2018 Mustang is available with an ‘Orange Fury’ signature paint colour option. But there’s much more than just that, honest…

2018 Ford Mustang

Can you believe that the current sixth generation Ford Mustang has already been around for over three years? No, we couldn’t either, until we checked back through previous posts to find the first photos of the 2015 model year ‘Stang. So, after just over 36 months, Ford got Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to pull the covers off the new 2018 Mustang. We’re not even kidding about that.

2018 Ford Mustang

No, it doesn’t look hugely different. This is, after all, a mid-life facelift rather than a full on redesign of Ford’s pony car. The biggest external change is a new drooping snout, courtesy of a lower bonnet line and front grille, matched with more aggressive and angular headlights. The latter are now full-LED units, matching the LED taillamps found at the rear. Add in redesigned bumpers, plus extra exhaust tips for the 5.0 V8, and that is pretty much your lot. Not forgetting a choice of new alloy wheel designs, and paint colours, of course.

Spot the difference. 2018 model year is on the left.

Spot the difference. 2018 model year is on the left if you’re struggling to tell.

There’s the promise of more luxurious materials inside, with hand-stitching to the centre console cover, a new Mustang badge and – most significantly of all – a new key fob design. Ok, we’re perhaps being slightly flippant, but that’s due to the evolutionary nature of the styling updates.
In terms of technology, the addition of a customisable 12″ LCD instrument panel is a genuinely big deal, offering a choice of different display dependent on whether, normal, sport, or race mode is engaged. Preferred choices for suspension, steering and other settings can now be saved, avoiding all that annoying button pressing every time you get in the car. (more…)

News | Detroit 2017 | Kia Stinger GT

How do you ensure you get attention on the first day of the 2017 North American International Auto Show? Launch a stunning new sports saloon the night before. It certainly worked for Kia and the bold new Stinger.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

We’ve covered the Korean brands of Kia and Hyundai on ESM quite a lot. Their commitment to continuous improvement and rapid development, interesting design, and those lengthy warranties have always impressed us. The Hyundai i30 Turbo showed potential, and the Kia Cee’d GT has always garnered praise. So should we really be shocked by Kia launching a serious sports saloon?

2017 Kia Stinger GT

Perhaps not, but there will still be a lot of people less open-minded to try to win over here. Thankfully, the genuinely handsome and attractive styling of the Stinger should go a long way to persuading them. It’s probably the best interpretation of the Peter Schreyer’s vision for how Kia models should look. We can actually bring ourselves to forgive the front end of the latest Sportage now, just. The Stinger features the most aggressive version of the ‘Tiger Nose’ grille at the front, with some fearsome scoops and apertures. The rear three-quarter view is perhaps our favourite, as it seems to channel both US muscle car influence, combined with European elements, too.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

That international mixture is quite important, as the Stinger will be available on both sides of the Atlantic. But if the styling doesn’t quite do enough to convince buyers to consider it, the drivetrain will probably do the rest. The base Stinger features a 255bhp (with 260lb-ft of torque) 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, using an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Most importantly power goes to the rear wheels, unless you happen to live in a market where AWD appears on the options list. But pick the rear driver regardless, as it comes with a mechanical limited-slip differential. Mmm, yes, there’s drift potential here.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

However, the entry-level version isn’t what has got us most excited. No, the Stinger GT is the real reason that this becomes a big deal. Using the Lambda II T-GDI engine from the Genesis G90 saloon, the range-topping GT gets 365bhp from the 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6. Torque is an equally impressive 376lb-ft, with that peak available from just 1,400rpm. This all sounds suitably muscular, as does the claimed 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds and top speed of 167mph. Indeed, we’re talking about a Kia with the potential to nail 0-60mph in 5 seconds. To think we wrote 2016 off as being crazy…

2017 Kia Stinger GT

Most importantly, one of the five drive mode choices is a sport mode. This adapts the Dynamic Stability Damping Control of the suspension system, weights up the steering, and also quickens throttle response and paddle-shift gearbox changes. Textbook sport mode integration – well done, Kia. We also deeply approve of the staggered 225/40/R19 and 255/35/R19 tyres fitted to the Stinger GT, along with vented Brembo brakes front and back. Kia has attempted to kit out the Stinger with a sizeable performance arsenal, which should hopefully translate to a genuine driver’s car.

2017 Kia Stinger GT

The interior is also driver focussed, with a TFT screen between the analogue dials detailing data such as lap times, G-forces, and engine oil temperature. The dashboard itself is neat, with slivers of satin chrome trim and circular air vents keeping it classy. We’re not huge fans of what resembles an iPad being stuck to the top of the dash, but the standard touchscreen will control what Kia promises to be an impressive standard sound system at least. There is also a Harman/Kardon 720 watt system, with 15 speakers and under-seat mounted subwoofers, on the options list as well.

Prices are not yet confirmed, but it’s safe to bet that this will be the most expensive Kia offered to date. European sales are expected to begin at the end of 2017, so we should get more information before then. Ultimately, we’re very impressed with the Stinger. Kia has produced a bespoke sports saloon, with genuine performance equipment and bold styling. We just hope it delivers on the high expectations it’s now set for itself.

 

News – Individual Paint Colours for BMW i8

Here at ESM we quite like the BMW i8, but the colour choices have been a little bit uninspiring for a car that’s meant to shout ‘FUTURE’ in huge capital letters. BMW now seems to have remedied that situation with some new options.2016 BMW i8 Individual Paint Yes, as of right now you can order your hybrid supercar in a variety of special Individual colour schemes. Ranging from the footballer-favourite Frozen (read matt) Grey or Black, through to the ESM-pleasing Solar Orange, Speed Yellow, Twilight Purple and Java Green. There’s also the option of San Marino Blue – often found upon BMW M products – and Grigio Telesto, which is more commonly used on Lamborghinis.

It’s not cheap, however, as choosing a BMW Individual colour will add £5,495 to the cost of the £104,540 i8. If only that pesky government hadn’t made the i8 ineligible for a plug-in car grant you could have effectively had your fancy paintwork for free. Also, call us cynical, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a premium German manufacturer offering outrageous colours for high-end cars. (more…)

New – Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S takes Nürburgring record

Did you honestly think everyone had forgotten about hot-hatch Nürburgring lap times, after Honda’s Civic Type-R effort last year? No, of course not. So what better way for VW to celebrate 40 years of the Golf GTI than by setting a new Nordschleife record of 7:49.21.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S We’ve already seen the regular GTI Clubsport, and it’s actually on sale now, but the ‘S’ version has been cranked up to 11 to ensure it can beat that pesky Civic around the ‘ring. That means more power, less weight, and a special Nürburgring mode for the driving profile selector. Yeah, we’re not convinced ‘engage Nürburgring mode‘ is quite catchy enough for us to consider rebranding. Sorry, Volkwagen. However, we can say the S has cured the slight indifference we felt  from first reading about the normal Clubsport when announced last year.

2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S The Nürburgring mode tunes the suspension, engine, steering, and exhaust to best suit attacking the twisty German circuit. Racking up a decent ‘ring lap isn’t all about rock-solid suspension, due to numerous bumps and dips littered along the 12.9 miles of tarmac.  (more…)

Friday Photo – Design your very own Ford GT

Wanting your own slice of the Ford GT’s American pie? A new online configurator lets you live the dream.

2017 Ford GT ESMBe warned – just because you can now pick out the colours and trim you desire, doesn’t mean you can have one though. In a move that sounds more Maranello than Dearborn, those who want the EcoBoost-powered GT have to submit an application to Ford online. There’s no detail on just what criteria you’ll need to meet, but presumably being able to demonstrate you’re a longterm fan of the Blue Oval will help. We do suspect owning a string of Escorts and Fiestas might not be enough on this occasion, however. As Ford wants GT owners to be ambassadors for the brand, your social media worth is perhaps just as valuable as your money in these circumstances.

With an expected starting price of over $400,000 in the USA – UK prices haven’t even been confirmed yet – you’ll certainly need a bank balance as substantial as your number of Twitter followers. Those fortunate to snag one of the 500 cars will have it tailored to their exacting specifications by Ford’s very own concierge service. The experience won’t be the same as popping down to your local dealership we imagine, and this obviously fits with the aim of Ford to push products further upmarket. Something demonstrated by the recent ‘Vignale’ range of models.

For those of us unable to consider buying a GT, the online configurator is at least the chance to dream of what might appear on your drive following a substantial lottery win. Liquid Grey with Competition Orange stripes is, of course, the most ESM way to go. Although we do quite like Frozen White with Lightening Blue, or Triple Yellow with Shadow Black, or…

New York Auto Show – Revised 2017 Nissan GT-R now available in orange

The Nissan GT-R has been around for almost nine years now, with several minor facelifts along the way. Other than a new ESM-pleasing colour, how many changes can you spot on the 2017 Model Year GT-R?

2017 Nissan GT-R

Existing as a rival for the Porsche 911 Turbo, there’s a chance Nissan’s engineers have adopted the German marque’s love of incremental styling changes. But, in GT-R terms at least, the new 2017MY car actually features some relatively dramatic alterations. The splitter certainly juts out more from the revised front bumper, the leading edge of the front wings appear more pronounced, a new bonnet has appeared, and there’s new corporate grille surrounding the GT-R badge. At the sides there are more prominent sills to cut through the air easier, feeding into a revised rear end that features new vents aside the quad exhaust tailpipes.

No, it’s hardly revolutionary, but as a pure facelift it was never going to make huge changes. Nissan claims the alterations have decreased aerodynamic drag, whilst maintaining downforce at the same level of the previous version GT-R, proving this isn’t purely just a styling exercise. The addition of the distinctive ‘Katsura Orange’ paint option is all about aesthetics, however, and is meant to reflect the new car’s sophisticated character. Possibly the only time we’ve seen tango paintwork and sophisticated in the same sentence. The US-market gets the slightly less subtle name of “Blaze Orange” for the satsuma hue.

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Friday Photo – 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

What better way to bookend the week than with another stupidly-powerful V8 muscle car? If an orange Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, there’s always the Chevy option…

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Admittedly if you go for the Camaro, you’re going to have to take a 67hp hit compared to the Hellcat. Yes, the new 6.2-litre supercharged V8 engine fitted to the ZL1 can only must some 640hp, meaning you’ll be the equivalent of a supermini engine down on output. But you will have a devastating 640lb-ft of torque at your disposal; a figure which easily out-twists the Hellcat.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Chevrolet is marketing the ZL1 Camaro away from just raw horsepower, and instead on being an all-round package that’s “excellent at everything” in their own humble words. It’s certainly excellent at having the most humongous lower grille opening we can remember from recent history. It’s claimed to help improve airflow – a product of 100 hours in the wind tunnel – whilst the larger front splitter and new rear spoiler also do their bit. Inside features Recaro seats and a flat-bottom steering wheel; two additions that don’t quite succeed in hiding the humble roots of the base Camaro. (more…)