Following the launch of the latest Mazda MX-5 earlier in the year, we’ve now got the second half of the tie in between the Japanese manufacturer and Fiat. Pay witness to the new 124 Spider.
That the 124 Spider is making a debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show should probably tell you everything you need to know about the intended target audience for this roadster. Fiat clearly hopes to play on the American affection for the original 124 Spider, which proved to be hugely popular Stateside. In fact, from 1975 to 1983 the 124 Spider was only sold in the USA, which helped account for some 85% of the 200,000 cars made ending up across the Atlantic.
Given that the links to the previous model are so important, this goes some way towards explaining how Fiat have used the same underpinnings as the Mazda MX-5 to produce something which looks, well, a little bland. Viewed from certain angles there are elements of Honda S2000 or second generation MX-5 creeping in, whilst the front is a pastiche of the original 124 Spider with added LED lighting. At the back are taillights and integral rear spoiler that have more than a passing resemblance to a Maserati GranTurismo.
It’s not necessarily unattractive but does look a little bit dated already, when compared to the contemporary Mazda MX-5. (more…)
In his first article as a full-fledged member of the ESM team, Ned Jasper gives us the lowdown on a new Lambo. Meet the Huracán LP580-2; less power, less weight, and a whole lot more fun.
Lamborghini, a company famed for bonkers styling, ludicrous power outputs and more recently for making cars with all-wheel drive only. Well not anymore! This is the new Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2, and the keen Lambo nerds amongst you will soon spot the ‘-2’ refers to the number of wheels it’s putting its power through.
As well as ditching the cumbersome all-wheel-drive system, they’ve tweaked the aero, docked the power output and cut the price, all of which is an attempt to make the Huracán a more driver-focused machine.
The front end has been scored, sculptured and moulded into a more menacing shape. The rear has been altered too, with larger grilles and even more absurd quad-tip exhausts. The aim is to increase the downforce on the front end in order to compensate for the now lack of 4WD grip. In addition to that, there’s some new ‘Kari’ design wheels – 19″ on the front, 20″ on the back – which are wrapped in tailor-made Pirelli P Zero tyres developed solely for the rear wheel drive edition.
Now, I know it may seem a little traitorous for Lamborghini to be cutting the power down from 602 bhp to JUST 571. But there’s good reason for it, when you consider there’s the best part of 600 bhp putting its power down through an area the size of just over an A4 piece of paper it seems a lot more logical – I think you’ll agree.
Note the extra bits in the front grille
No giant rear spoiler, even with RWD
The weight is down too, thanks to the omission of that pesky AWD system. The dry weight figure has been lessened by 73lbs (33kg) to 3,062lbs (1,389kg). (more…)
Been wanting a performance estate car based on a mid-sized family hatchback? Not quite taken with the Ford Focus ST? Good news; Volkswagen has the answer in the shape of a 300 PS 4WD Golf R Estate, announced at the LA Auto Show this week.
This one has certainly come out of the left field. Prototypes had been spotted testing around the world, but the idea of true fast Golf Estate just seemed a little… unbelievable? In the past there’s been the European-spec Mk3 VR6 Variant with 190 bhp, and 1.8T / 2.3 V5 versions of the Mk4 estate – both of which had 150 bhp – but there’s no real dedicated lineage for a quick Golf wagon.
Mechanically it’s identical to the normal hatchback, with the 2.0 litre petrol TSI engine making 296 bhp (300 PS) with a corresponding 280 lb-ft of torque. The 4Motion 4WD system is also borrowed from the regular R, although at present the 6-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission appears to be the only option available for shifting cogs. (more…)