News

Friday Video | Bugatti Chiron sets 0-400-0km/h record

Could Bugatti be trying to distract attention from a certain new hypercar revealed this week? If they are, this is a rather impressive feat to use as a diversion.

2017 Bugatti Chiron World Record

In terms of words written, the Mercedes-AMG Project One has probably swallowed up most column inches and online articles from the Frankfurt Motor Show. Almost enough to make Bugatti feel a little outshone it seems.

2017 Bugatti Chiron World Record

How do you get the attention back when faced with 1,000hp of F1-engined insanity? Set a new world record, and involve a high-profile motorsport legend to do it, of course. Which is exactly what Bugatti did, wheeling in Juan-Pablo Montoya to set an astonishing time for running from a standing start, to 400km/h (249mph) and back to a complete stop again.

The whole process took a slightly mind-bending 41.96 seconds, which is testament to the epic power and traction of the Chiron, but also the immense braking ability. The acceleration from zero to 400km/h took 32.6 seconds, but the Chiron needed just 9.3 seconds required to come to a halt. All of this was completed in 3.12km, 491 metres of which was used for stopping.

2017 Bugatti Chiron World Record

Consider our interest piqued, and not just because we happen to be big fans of Mr Montoya here at ESM. Had he driven in F1 at any other time than against the Schumacher/Ferrari combo, we have no doubts he would have been a World Champion. Instead, you can just watch him go from zero to almost 250mph in less than a minute:

Will Mercedes-AMG enter into the epic contest with the finished Project One? Who knows, but for now Bugatti has kept some of the limelight focussed on the Chiron, and plans for even more records to be broken in the near future.

New Metal (Carbon) | Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

We’ve heard all the cliches before, but could this actually be the closest thing ever to a road-going F1 car? Well, it’s got the engine from an F1 car for a start…

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

Yes indeed, powering the Merc-AMG Project One is the very same 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 used by Lewis and Valtteri every other weekend. Not exactly the same, as the one used here is tuned to use regular super unleaded fuel. will rev to only 11,000rpm. The latter being done to aid reliability – we imagine buyers wouldn’t be best pleased about receiving grid penalties for needing to change turbochargers and gearboxes several times each year…

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

Like an F1 car, there’s electrical power as well. Four electric motors in fact, with two driving the front wheels, one added to the turbocharger and one directly attached to the V6 engine itself. All combined, the Project One has a power output in excess of 1,000hp. Granted that isn’t as powerful as a Bugatti Chiron, but lightweight construction and the instant torque hit of the electric motors make that a fairly moot point. For those who want to play Top Trumps, the quoted 0-124mph time of under 6 seconds is  quicker than the 6.5 seconds recorded for the Bugatti. Substantial downforce means a more normal top speed of around 220mph is estimated for the mega Merc.

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

An eight-speed AMG Speedshift gearbox controls the power from the engine and, just like an F1 car, features paddles for manual shifting. Unlike an F1 car, ABS is standard for the carbon ceramic brakes, as is a three-stage ESP system which features a Sport Handling Mode, or even the option to turn the assistance off entirely. We imagine that will some serious guts, even with the aid of all-wheel drive and torque vectoring.

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project One Concept

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Friday Video | Muted Mustang GT

The world of EngageSportMode is slightly sad this week, and Ford’s latest updates about the new 2018 Mustang GT aren’t really helping.

2018 Ford Mustang GT

Why the long face? Well, the nice man from Ford came and took our Mustang V8 GT Convertible away on Monday, and things just haven’t been the same since. No longer can we sleep soundly in the knowledge that 5.0-litres of eight-cylinder power is close at hand, or that our Shell loyalty card will be gaining new points soon. But, we’re also guessing that people nearby are glad not to be dealing with the immediate rain showers every time the roof was dropped, or hearing the tugboat burble of a big V8 motor.

2018 Ford Mustang GT

Although the 2018 Mustang won’t do anything about the weather, it would be able to help with the issue of noise. Whilst we didn’t find the V8 GT ‘Coyote’ engine to be ridiculously loud – it’s certainly no modified Subaru Impreza – it still made its presence known. Ford knows this, and that’s why the new 2018 ‘Stang is going to feature a “Good Neighbour Mode” on certain versions:

Using the active exhaust valves to quieten an engine is pretty novel to us, given that most cars with an exhaust button are there solely to make things louder. Which the new 2018 Mustang will also do, with Sport and Track mode settings that we certainly approve of. (more…)

New Metal | Hyundai i30 N

It seems to have spent an inordinate amount of time lapping the Nürburgring, but Hyundai’s new hot hatch is finally here. 

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai is suitably proud of the fact that the new i30 N has racked up some 6,000 miles of testing at the fearsome Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit. That includes competition running in the ADAC 24 hours race, along with substantial time polishing and refining the dynamics. It means Hyundai is putting real faith in the i30 N being able to perform on track.

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Before we go any further; what does the ‘N’ stand for? According to Hyundai it symbolises the shape of a chicane, and is relevant to this i30 being developed in both Namyang and at the Nürburgring. There are plans for more N-branded road cars, but this is where it all begins for real.

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Although in reality, things started quite some time before 2017. Hyundai has been competing in the World Rally Championship with the i20 WRC car, wearing N badges, since 2014. Also, Hyundai offered the i30 Turbo as part of the previous generation range. We tested the old i30 Turbo and found it broadly commendable, plus a solid platform for future hot hatches. As such, we’ve high hopes for the i30 N, based on our previous quick Hyundai experiences and the wealth of performance equipment thrown at this new car.

2017 Hyundai i30 N

Power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, producing 247hp and 260lb-ft of torque. There is, however, an optional Performance Package that along with various other tweaks, boosts power to a more substantial 271hp. This leaves the i30 N in something of a hot hatch hinterland – more powerful than a Golf GTI, but with less horsepower than a Golf R, for example. (more…)

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI

New Metal | 2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI

The all-new sixth generation Volkswagen Polo was revealed to the world last week, along with an enhanced GTI model. Yet certain things have left ESM feeling slightly bittersweet about it all.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI

With a life spent living in the shadow of the bigger Golf GTI, it’s unprecedented for Volkswagen to announce a new Polo GTI at the same time as the regular supermini. In fact Polo GTI models have often felt like something on an afterthought, tacked on partway through a lifecycle. Not so with the new sixth-generation Polo, which will be available in cooking GTI specification from the outset.

The biggest news is under the bonnet, where the 1.8-litre TSI engine found in the current 6C Polo GTI is dispensed with, and in comes a new 2.0-litre unit. In world where everything seems to be about downsizing, there is something refreshing about a manufacturer upscaling an engine instead. Power raises slightly to 197hp, marking a minor increase of 8hp over the outgoing model, whilst gearbox choices remain as a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG dual-clutch. With an increase in size of the new car, we would imagine performance things to be pretty much on par with the existing Polo GTI.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI

What has clearly changed are the dimensions, with the new Polo substantially bigger by almost every marker compared to the fifth-generation. The new model is so big that Volkswagen have actually chosen to compare it to the Mk4 Golf – a measure of the expansion in supermini scale over the past two decades. Greater interior and luggage space is the reasoning for this, and it does make you wonder just how people even managed to fit inside cars from the 1990s, let alone even be comfortable within them… (more…)

New Metal | Volkswagen Up GTI Concept

We seem to have been teased for years about a possible hot version of VW’s city car. Finally, we’re almost there, with the announcement of this production-ready concept.

2017 Volkswagen Up GTI Concept

The ‘concept’ tag needs to be taken pretty lightly. From the details released, and the photos supplied by Volkswagen, this thing looks as close to being fit for human consumption as possible. Come 2018 you’ll be able to take home an Up GTI from your local VW dealership, and we’ll be very surprised if it looks different to this. We’re still mildly disappointed that Volkswagen didn’t take our suggestion of naming it the ‘Power Up’ though.

2017 Volkswagen Up GTI Concept

Power comes from a tuned version of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine used in the normal Up. However, it’s been boosted to deliver 113hp and 148lb-ft of torque. Granted in 2017 that doesn’t sound like a great deal for a hot hatch, when the latest Mk7.5 Golf GTI packs almost 227hp, and the Golf R is endowed with over 305hp. So why would we be getting excited about a city car with so little power, even if it does have a six-speed manual gearbox?

2017 Volkswagen Up GTI Concept

Volkswagen is keen to play up the similarities between the Up GTI and the original Mk1 Golf GTI. That 1976 car used a 1.6-litre engine, producing 110hp, and was able to do 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds, plus a top speed of 113mph. By contrast, the Up GTI is even quicker, doing 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds, and topping out at a claimed 122mph. On paper at least, it therefore beats the most thumbed page in the Volkswagen GTI history book. A low weight of 997kg for the Up GTI compares favourably to a Golf from 40 years ago, which tipped the scales at just 810kg. (more…)

News | Porsche produces one-millionth 911

It might have taken over 53 years of production, but Porsche has finally built the one-millionth version of the 911. It’s green, and a little bit hipster.

2017 One-millionth Porsche 911

Painted ‘Irish Green’ in fact, and apparently inspired by a colour used on a 911 owned by the founder of the company – Ferry Porsche. Put together by the Porsche Exclusive team inside the Zuffenhausen factory, the one-millionth 911 is meant to celebrate the history included in the previous 999,999 examples built before it. But you can’t buy it, and it’s heading to spend a life within Porsche’s own museum.

2017 One-millionth Porsche 911

Cynical marketing creation? Why of course. Despite the fact the Cayenne and Macan SUVs have kept the company afloat, and helped transform it into a hugely profitable concern, the 911 is still the golden goose at the heart of the Porsche brand. So with a company that majors on reminiscing the history of the 911, celebrating this particular manufacturing milestone was a ‘no-brainer’ for the marketing folk.

2017 One-millionth Porsche 911

We could possibly even label this as the ‘hipster 911’ with the choice of interior and exterior colour choices. Historic paintwork? Check. Steering wheel and dashboard featuring mahogany trim like the original 911? Check. Seats clad in ‘pepita’ cloth trim like it’s still 1964? Also present. Retro-recreations of the Porsche crest badges used on the original car? Yes, they’re here, too.

This is the Porsche that wants coffee produced from a bespoke copper still, with hand-selected beans. It wants food served on a slate, by a waiter with a beard and tattoos. Ok, we could go with the clichés, but we’ll stop here. We imagine any true hipster would pine for the one-millionth Volkswagen Beetle which was produced way back in 1955 anyway… (more…)

New Metal | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

In all the excitement surrounding the SRT Demon, we almost overlooked the fact that Jeep slipped out the most-powerful production SUV at the same time. It involves the Hemi Hellcat engine, so we should probably take a closer look.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

It must only be a matter of time before every product sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the USA comes fitted with the 707hp 6.2-litre supercharged engine. This is now the third model to be endowed with the monster Hemi, following the Challenger and Charger Hellcat models. We would include the SRT Demon too, but Dodge wants us to regard that particular ludicrous motor as unique. It has a Demon face cast into the block – so ok, we will.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was hardly Detroit’s best kept secret, but that doesn’t stop it still being a little exciting. With 707hp, and 645lb-ft of torque, this is the most powerful production SUV to exist. This easily surpasses the already quite mental Dodge Durango SRT released earlier this year. Forget the Lamborghini LM002, the Bentley Bentayga W12, or even the BMW X5 Le Mans – the Trackhawk beats them all. The only way to get more power in an SUV would be to turn to aftermarket tuners.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Instead this craziness comes direct from the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, and is responsible for the Trackhawk hitting 180mph, and doing 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds. We repeat, 3.5 seconds. That’s quicker than a Ferrari F40, quicker than a Lexus LFA, and even quicker than the Challenger Hellcat! Yes, the Jeep actually springs to 60mph in less time than the Dodge, thanks to the advantage of a 4WD system. With launch control, and a standard Torque Reserve feature, the Trackhawk is capable of hurling itself forward with reassuring violence. Thankfully the eight-speed gearbox and drivetrain have been enhanced to cope with the gigantic forces at work to make this all possible.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

Bilstein adaptive suspension is standard, and can be adjusted by choosing several drive modes on offer. Naturally there’s a sport mode, but there can’t be many SUVs that have the option of a ‘tow’ mode, along with a ‘track’ setting. The latter decreases gearshift times, stiffens the suspension, and sends 70% of the torque to the rear axle. Just in case you’re wondering, yes the Trackhawk can actually tow – up to almost 3,500kg. There is a ‘snow’ mode included as well, which is said to reduce horsepower to maximise traction on icy roads. There’s no word on whether the Trackhawk will off-road, but someone will undoubtedly test that at some point… (more…)

Engage Drag Mode | 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon | More details

It turns out we didn’t dream it, and Dodge really did release the most-powerful muscle car ever early this morning. Now that it’s actually sunk in, what does the SRT Demon actually deliver?

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Forgive us if our post this morning was a little short on detail. In our defence, it was almost 2am, and we had endured Dodge’s live streaming buildup to the big reveal of the SRT Demon. Dodge had a lot to deliver on here, having released teaser videos and trailers for weeks, culminating in the final unveiling last night. Vin Diesel was there. So was Wiz Khalifa. We’re not sure anybody really cared about them, other than Dodge promoting how big their muscle car brand is.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

No, the star attraction was the official announcement of a car that has seemingly already racked up a quite insane number of superlatives. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Most-powerful production muscle car
  • Highest horsepower production V8 ever – 840hp
  • World’s fastest 0-60mph time – 2.3 seconds
  • Highest g-force acceleration of a production car – 1.8g
  • First-ever car to lift the front wheels during an acceleration run – 2.92-feet (certified by Guinness World Records, seriously)
  • First production car to feature a front passenger seat delete – they’re not kidding
  • World’s fastest production car to run a standing quarter-mile – 9.65 seconds / 140mph

That last one is the kicker. The SRT Demon is, for all intents and purposes, a road-legal dragster. It can be driven to the strip, optimised with the included ‘Demon Crate’ of goodies, used to set crazy times, and then driven home. This goes far beyond even the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat models, in essentially creating what is a race car for the road. Dodge is also keen to point out that this isn’t just a modified version of the Hellcat, and that the Demon had undergone extensive modifications.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Although it may use the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 as found in the Hellcat models, the additional 133hp and 120lb-ft of torque (taking the total to 770lb-ft) come via a number of upgrades. The supercharger is bigger and runs more boost, whilst the V8 revs higher to a 6,500rpm limit. It also features two fuel pumps, and air intakes galore – with one in the bonnet, one in the wheel arch, and one in the headlight. The Hemi engine is setup to run on 101-octane fuel, which will in part be responsible for that headline 840hp figure. Perhaps our favourite feature is the ‘Power-Chiller’ system, which circulates refrigerant from the interior air-conditioning to cool the supercharger. It also continues to run once the car has been turned off to minimise heat soak from the colossal motor. This clearly is more than just a Hellcat with the wick turned up.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

An eight-speed paddle-shift automatic gearbox is standard, having already seen service in the Hellcat twins. However it gains a TransBrake feature, which holds the car in place for fast launches. According to Dodge, this delivers 15% more torque from a standing start. The Demon also features launch assist, which detects wheel hop and reduces torque accordingly, allowing the driver to keep the throttle pedal wide open. Oh, and there’s Torque Reserve – building boost from the supercharger to ensure maximum acceleration off the line. All of this is said to improve quarter-mile times by a tenth of a second – a small amount of time which matters in drag racing.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

So much torque, it’ll do wheelies coming off the line

Although where you might actually race your SRT Demon is another matter. The National Hot Rod Association certified the 9.65 second quarter-mile time, and then promptly banned the Demon from competition use for being too fast. It may sound like a Donald Trump-esque boast, but the SRT Demon is technically prevented from competing because it is too good. The NHRA requires any street-legal car built after 2008, and capable of doing a standing quarter in 10.00 seconds or less, to have a certified roll full cage. Something the Demon does not have, and would probably damage it’s street car usability by having.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

The Demon also doesn’t have any passengers seats as standard from the factory, with only the driver’s chair provided. Front and rear passengers seats can be added for just $1, depending on how serious you are about terrifying friends and family. Their removal is part of the 90kg diet that the Demon has been placed on with sound deadening, stereo speakers, and parking sensors ditched in the pursuit of lightness.

Even the anti-roll bars have been swapped to lighter hollow designs, as part of suspension changes designed – unsurprisingly – to help out at the drag strip. Suspensions settings are actually softer than the Hellcat, intended to maximise weight being shifted to the rear on acceleration. Our favourite part is the inclusion of a Drag Mode which sets the adaptive dampers, and other systems, for straight line runs. Once the run is over, the car returns to regular damper mode, whilst the traction control kicks back in having been disabled to allow giant burnouts.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

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Video | New 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Dodge has seemingly founds its niche, which is producing ridiculous muscle cars with increasingly insane levels of performance. After the Hellcat now comes the Demon, which Dodge has hyped and teased to within an inch of its life. Was it worth the wait?

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon

Let’s cut to the chase. This is essentially a street-legal dragster, with 840hp and the ability to do a standing quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds. That’s a production NHRA record right there. It’ll also do 0-60mph in 2.3 seconds, pulls 1.8g when launching, but is still covered by a regular three-year/36,000-mile warranty. We’re not entirely sure what this madness is, so here’s a video that might help explain:

We’ll have more much Demon coverage on EngageSportMode once we’ve managed to get our heads around just what is going on here.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon