The Truth About Cars » Car Reviews http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:54:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Car Reviews http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/reviews/ Review: 2015 Fiat 500 Abarth http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2015-fiat-500-abarth/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/review-2015-fiat-500-abarth/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861481 Is there a car enthusiast whose pulse does not quicken when he or she hears the brrrap brap of the exhaust  when the North American spec Fiat Abarth fires up? TTAC’s managing editor Derek Kreindler is correct, the Abarth does indeed sound faster than it actually is, but it still sounds glorious. Don’t tell me […]

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Is there a car enthusiast whose pulse does not quicken when he or she hears the brrrap brap of the exhaust  when the North American spec Fiat Abarth fires up? TTAC’s managing editor Derek Kreindler is correct, the Abarth does indeed sound faster than it actually is, but it still sounds glorious. Don’t tell me that an inline four can’t sound as exciting as a V8 or even a V12. Saying that an eight or a twelve “sounds better” than a four is like saying that a big band sounds better than a trio, as if you can’t enjoy both Duke Ellington and Cream.

Not only does it sound good when you start it up, I suspect that the ECU on the Abarth’s turbocharged and twin-intercooled 1.4 liter motor may even be deliberately dumping a little unburned fuel into the exhaust manifold on throttle overruns. You start looking for tunnels and concrete walls just to hear the sound reverberate. Of course, while the Fiat Abarth playing the  Rice Krispies Symphony may bring a smile to the face of just about any car enthusiast, to worshipers of Gaia I fear that the little Italian car by way of Auburn Hills and Mexico sounds like the death rattles of a million baby polar bears. Well, as they say, one person’s music is another person’s turn that crap down. That exhaust isn’t the only thing about the little car that will make you smile.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Besides an exhaust that will never ever let you sneak out of the house at night unnoticed, the Abarth would never be described as inconspicuous. Rosso red paint, worthy of an Italian car, and large Abarth logos and scorpions all over the joint (it’s hard to find a Fiat logo on the Abarth), added to the big wheels, wide tires and aggressive stance will surely get you noticed.

For a car with two Italian brand names, it might come as some surprise that, as alluded to above, the U.S. market Fiat Abarth was developed by Chrysler’s team in the Detroit area and assembled in Mexico. While that might seem ironic for a car marketed with Italian brio, I think the car’s global background fits the history of Carlo Abarth well. Born Karl Abarth, to a Jewish family in Austria, he made a name for himself tuning and racing motorcycles. Injuries from a racing accident and the Nazi Anschluss in Austria stopped his racing career and life in Austria. He spent the duration of World War II in Yugoslavia. After the war, he moved to Italy, where he had ties dating to the early 1930s. He had great connections. Abarth personally knew the great racer Tazio Nuvolari and was friends with Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand Porsche’s son. As a matter of fact, Abarth married the secretary of Ferry Porsche’s brother-in-law Anton Piëch. In Italy he was one of the founders of the influential Cisitalia company. When that firm dissolved, he started Abarth & C. S.p.A in 1949. In 1952 the Abarth firm started a relationship with Fiat, tuning and racing their cars and selling performance accessories, that culminated in the automaker’s acquisition of the Abarth company in 1971.

While Carlo didn’t have much to do with the development of the car that bears his name, the team in Auburn Hills produced a car that’s great fun to drive in most real world driving situations. Though I have a fondness for the large American sedans of my youth, I’ve always loved little cars. One of the first cars that I drove was my brother’s ’63 Mini Cooper. In many ways the Fiat Abarth is a spiritual descendant of that car, a car that took the inherent goodness of a FWD econobox and made it even better. When I drove the base Fiat 500 as a rental car, I enjoyed my week with it, though it was obviously a cheap car. Tossing it around a corner, even getting the rear end to wag a little, you could tell the base Fiat wanted to handle. The Abarth iteration of the 500 fulfills that promise.

The Abarth version turns up the wick on how the 500 sticks. It has all the grip you’d ever need for any kind of enthusiastic street driving. Much of that can be attributed to the 205/40R17 Pirelli PZero “three season” tires, but there’s also been some careful attention to suspension tuning. The Abarth feels both more dampened and more supple than the base car. Also, considering that the Fiat has a very short wheelbase, the Abarth had a better ride than the Dodge Dart GT that I drove the week before. Since both the Dart GT and the U.S. market Fiat Abarth were developed by Chrysler’s team in Auburn Hills from Italian platforms, it’s somewhat surprising that the larger Alfa Romeo based Dart has a more bone shaking ride than the Abarth.

Though the Abarth has power steering, it’s not a car to one hand it around town. Make the shift and put your right hand back on the wheel. Steering feel through the chunky steering wheel was uniformly heavy. Speaking of chunky steering wheels, if I can be allowed a slight digression, just because a car is intended for driving in a sporting manner doesn’t mean it needs a steering wheel whose rim is two inches in diameter. Okay, so that’s an exaggeration, but along with the proliferation of flat-bottomed steering wheels, we’ve seen the grips on steering wheels getting fatter and fatter, so much so that someone like me, who has relatively small hands, sometimes finds some of them, like the one on the Fiat Abarth, a bit too chunky to handle comfortably, sort of how I feel about a Glock 9mm.

You had better have a good grip on that chunky steering wheel because, as mentioned, the Fiat Abarth is not a car to casually drive with one hand lightly on the wheel. The steering is fairly heavily weighted, though it lightens up a bit on the highway. Actually, on the interstates the Abarth is relatively comfortable for a short wheelbase car that’s bound to be pitching up and down. Another reason for keeping a firm hand on the wheel is that, as with some other front wheel drive based cars of European origin, the Fiat Abarth has a tendency to follow linear road irregularities. It dances a bit on grooved pavement and it will track asphalt that has been worn into wide grooves. That phenomenon is exaggerated with heavy braking or if you manage to elicit some torque steer when accelerating.

For the most part, though, torque steer wasn’t particularly noticeable. I also didn’t notice much turbo lag as some have reported. It’s there if you’re the sort who redlines a lot but it really wasn’t an issue in normal around the town driving. I like small cars and I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of front wheel drive since I first drove that ’63 Mini. Combine small size, good handling and sufficient power and you have a perfect tool for the cut and thrust of urban and suburban driving. If the hole in traffic is big enough for the Abarth, the 1.4 turbo will get you there.

While it’s not the fastest car on the street, not as quick, let’s say, as the Ford Fiesta ST, my personal feeling is that it’s fast enough for just about any kind of enthusiastic driving outside of the track. Whether you end up preferring the Abarth, the FiST,  or the Toyota/Scion/Subaru sports coupe is a matter of taste and driving styles. No matter which you would choose, though, you’d have fun with the Abarth.

It’s fine in the city and out on the highway you can cruise all day long at just about any speed that’s prudent, and even some imprudent speeds as well. Top speed is specified as a governed 129 mph and while I didn’t get the Abarth that high on the 160 mph speedometer, the indicated 117 I reached at Schreiber’s Secret High Speed Test Facility let me believe that the specs are accurate. The engine was losing some steam as it wound out in the top gear of the upgraded 5 speed transmission, but it still should be able to see 129 if the straightaway is long enough. I should report, however, that after the high speed run I did notice some odd odors from something heating up under the hood.

For the most part, I genuinely liked the Fiat Abarth, so much so that as the week with it wound down and I used up the free tank of gas that it came with (see below for observed mpgs), I ate the expense of buying premium gasoline for it, rather than use my daily driver, which takes 87 octane. It’s an eager puppy of a car that’s quite easy to like.

There were some things, though, that I didn’t like. Most of them had to do with the fact that it’s based on a cheap economy car that’s getting a bit long in the tooth. The modern day 500 was introduced in Europe in 2007, a couple of product cycles ago. I don’t like the way the concentric instrument cluster is laid out, and while it’s nice to have the auxiliary boost gauge that lets you know that the convenient Sport mode button on the center stack really does make a difference how the engine is mapped, the indicator light telling you to shift up doesn’t seem to follow any logic that I’ve learned in over 40 years of driving a stick shift.

Also, the arm rests for the front seats are located so that when both of them are down, you can’t reach the parking brake, a hassle in a car with a manual gearbox. I don’t know if it’s a design feature or a flaw, but the driver’s side arm rest has sagged a bit on both Fiat 500s that I’ve driven, which adds to the impression that the Abarth is based on a cheap car.

Speaking of manual transmissions, the dash mounted 5 speed gear selector on the Abarth has fairly short throws, but the low mileage press car’s shifter was not ideal. Trying to downshift from 5th to 3rd was an iffy proposition and I even had a hard time finding 3rd on an upshift or two. On the other hand, the clutch was very smooth and easy to use. So easy that I used it to start teaching my daughter how to drive a stick (note the indefinite article, “drive stick” gets you a demerit in Language Arts) and she was able to get the little car rolling around the parking lot without stalling it on only the third try.

Can I say that the bass from the Beats by Dr. Dre audio system sounded had some coloration?

Can I say that the bass from the Beats by Dr. Dre audio system sounded like it had some coloration?

As stickered out on the Monroney sheet, the test car was a tick over $30K, $30,004 including an $800 destination charge. The base Abarth is $22,095 and in my estimation much of the $8,000 in options wouldn’t be well spent, at least if I was buying the car. The $1,200 “performance” leather trimmed high back bucket seats are best left unchecked on the options list. They don’t provide you with enough side bolstering for the car’s handling abilities. They were less effective in that regard than the seats on the Dodge Dart GT. Save the money and buy an aftermarket performance driver’s seat instead. The audio system was $700 and comes with the Beats brand. After VW’s deal to label Panasonic stereo systems with Fender’s brand, I’m not so naive as to think that Dr. Dre had anything to do with that sound system beyond getting paid to put the Beats brand on it. Both of the Beats audio systems in Fiat Chrysler cars that I’ve tested have been unimpressive and please don’t call me a racist if I say that there was more than a little coloration in the bass (besides, I think Dr. Dre sold that business to Sony for really big bucks). The $600 tacked on TomTom Blue&Me nav system also didn’t seem like a prudent purchase in light of what you have on your phone already. It also was not easy for me to use. On the plus side, my Android phone reliably hooked up to the car for both phone and music.

A half century of high performance minicar progress. The Abarth's 17" rims are about as big around as an original 1963 Mini Cooper's tire's (with 10" wheels) were.

A half century of high performance minicar progress. The Abarth’s 17″ rims are about as big around as an original 1963 Mini Cooper’s tires, and that brake rotor and caliper would never fit inside the Mini’s 10″ wheels.

I also wouldn’t pop for the $1,300 power sunroof, but I concede that if you’re going to drive a car that is supposed to represent Italian spirit, you might want some al fresco driving. For an almost fully open air Abarth experience, the model is available as a cabriolet (the Fiat 500 convertible retains the side roof rails). The 17 by 7 inch forged aluminum “hyper black” wheels are an easier call. They cost as much as the sunroof does, but they probably contribute to the Abarth’s fine handling, so they’re probably worth the price. Just for grins I dug the spare tire out of the boot of the Mini Cooper (which my brother is storing here). In half a century, the wheel size on a tiny car has grown from 10″ to 17″. The rims on the Abarth as as big or bigger than then original Mini Cooper’s whole wheel and tire assembly.

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The Abarth has a proper and substantial false pedal that comes in handy to brace yourself with the Fiat’s enthusiastic handling. Full gallery here

The upshot is that for less than $25,000 (A/C is standard) you can get a decently equipped Fiat Abarth that is likely to put a big smile on your face. It may be based on a cheap car, but the Abarth is not an economy car. I got a pretty consistent 24.7 miles per gallon of premium gasoline. That’s fine for a performance car but far from what the base 500 can get.  As an aside, why do they sell cars that require 91 octane while all the gas stations around here only sell 93? Okay, so filling half and half with 89 and 93 gets the right R+M/2 rating, but it’s either the hassle of dong the math and pumping twice or paying more for fuel than you really have to pay. In addition to requiring premium fuel, the Fiat Abarth requires the use of synthetic engine lubricating oil.

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You can haul your little ones around in the back seat but they won’t have much leg room. Full gallery here

Like the Dodge Dart, the Fiat Abarth doesn’t come with a spare tire, but rather an electric pump with it’s own can of tire sealant, in this case stored under the driver’s seat, taking up some of the rear seat passenger’s already not very generous foot room.

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An electric tire pump and ‘fix a flat’ sealant replaces the spare tire and it’s stored under the driver’s seat. Full gallery here.

In conclusion, the Abarth is just one of a number of fairly desirable enthusiast cars that cost less than $30,000. Offhand there’s the aforementioned Fiesta ST, its big brother the Focus ST, the Toyobaru GT-86/FR-S/BRZ siblings, and I’m sure you can suggest a few more. While they may not be muscle car quick off the line, they all have enough pep to be fun to drive on the street and they all have competent chassis, steering and braking systems that make them fun to drive. They’re not perfect, you can find something to criticize with all of them. They are, after all, built to price points. However, they’re all great fun to drive and if you can’t find one that you could live with and enjoy, either you’ve gotten used to much more expensive cars, or you’re not much of a car enthusiast. Actually, since some of the highest praise for the current generation of entry level sporting motor cars has come from people who get exposed to a lot of very pricey, very high performance automobiles, like some of my colleagues in the car writing biz, I’d say that price doesn’t really matter. There are lot of cars that are great fun to drive, including the Fiat Abarth, and it’s a great time to be a car enthusiast.

The model that I tested was from the 2014 model year. Since then FCA has made the Fiat Abarth available with an automatic transmission.

FCA supplied the car, insurance and a tank of premium gas.

Disclosure: It’s the policy of The Truth About Cars is to reveal to our readers any damage that we do to press cars. Our former editor in chief pro tempore even published an editorial on the topic. I’m not sure if he tempted the fates with that editorial, but I’m sad to say that I damaged one of the Fiat Abarth’s 17″ rims. I’d like to at least be able to say that I went into a corner a little bit hot and clipped the apex, but the truth is that I was lazy and inattentive on a street on which I’ve driven thousands of times before and managed to scrape a curb. The damage was likely just cosmetic but in any case I reported it to our editors and the car company, and now you. You can never be too sure of yourself and you can always learn something that will improve your driving.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Geneva 2015: McLaren 675LT Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mclaren-675lt-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mclaren-675lt-arrives/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1013682 Bowing at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, the McLaren 675LT aims to help the automaker re-establish its “Longtail” heritage, begun with the 1997 F1 GTR. Five hundred copies of the 675LT will leave Woking for the world, each one boasting a weight of 2,711 lbs through the use of lightweight materials and parts, including front […]

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Bowing at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, the McLaren 675LT aims to help the automaker re-establish its “Longtail” heritage, begun with the 1997 F1 GTR.

Five hundred copies of the 675LT will leave Woking for the world, each one boasting a weight of 2,711 lbs through the use of lightweight materials and parts, including front and rear springs, suspension geometry components, polycarbonate for the engine cover, glazing, and thinner windscreen and rear bulkhead glass.

Power comes from a 3.8-liter V8 delivering 675 PS (666 horsepower) to the back through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto whose settings (Normal, Sport and Track) have been recalibrated for better performance.

Other features include the introduction of electronic stability control, “Ignition Cut” technology that cuts the fuel spark on gearshift temporarily — bestowing “a dramatic aural ‘crack’ on both upshift and downshift” — carbon fiber chassis, and a wider track front and rear.

Price of admission begins at £259,500 ($399,000 USD), with deliveries set to start in July.

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Geneva 2015: Lexus LF-SA Concept Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-lexus-lf-sa-concept-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-lexus-lf-sa-concept-arrives/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:06:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1013586 This one might get blown away by the Robb Report all-stars at Geneva, but the Lexus LF-SA Concept shows what the automaker can do in the city. The spindly, spikey city car seats four in its tiny frame, which comes to 135 inches in length, 66.9 inches in width, and 56.3 inches in height. Most […]

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This one might get blown away by the Robb Report all-stars at Geneva, but the Lexus LF-SA Concept shows what the automaker can do in the city.

The spindly, spikey city car seats four in its tiny frame, which comes to 135 inches in length, 66.9 inches in width, and 56.3 inches in height. Most of its interior layout is driver-focused, including a fixed driver’s seat and adjustable steering wheels and pedals, while the front passenger seat slides for access to the rear seats.

Outside, the LF-SA Concept’s “Time in Design” appearance is meant to give onlookers a change in perception “when viewed from different angles.” Lexus’ trademark is incorporated into the design, such as the L-shaped lamp clusters and daytime running lights, while the overall look is meant to give the concept a rugged, confident vibe.

Other features include hologram-style digital display, undercut wheel arches, silver exterior finish, and a wide-angle HUD.

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Geneva 2015: Porsche Cayman GT4 Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-porsche-cayman-gt4-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-porsche-cayman-gt4-debuts/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 13:39:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1013490 Appearing alongside the 911 GT3 RS, the Porsche Cayman GT4 made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The first Cayman to be granted a GT badge, its motivation comes via a 3.8-liter flat-six pulled from the 911 Carrera S, pushing 385 horsepower to the back via a six-speed manual. Nought to 60 comes […]

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Appearing alongside the 911 GT3 RS, the Porsche Cayman GT4 made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The first Cayman to be granted a GT badge, its motivation comes via a 3.8-liter flat-six pulled from the 911 Carrera S, pushing 385 horsepower to the back via a six-speed manual. Nought to 60 comes in 4.2 seconds, with speed peaking at 183 mph.

The Cayman GT4 also pulls from the 911 GT3 parts bin, while aero maintains its grip on the road. Other options include Porsche’s Sport Chrono package, ceramic composite brakes and carbon fiber seats.

Price of admission begins at $85,595, with U.S. dealerships receiving the model starting in July.

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Geneva 2015: Koenigsegg Regera Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-koenigsegg-regera-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-koenigsegg-regera-debuts/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1013122 The Agera RS having made its appearance, it’s the Koenigsegg Regera’s turn under the spotlight at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The Swedish-style carbon-fiber exotic receives its power from a 5-liter twin-turbo V8 paired with an electric motor putting out 221 lb-ft of torque, while each rear wheel gains 192 lb-ft from their own motors, […]

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The Agera RS having made its appearance, it’s the Koenigsegg Regera’s turn under the spotlight at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The Swedish-style carbon-fiber exotic receives its power from a 5-liter twin-turbo V8 paired with an electric motor putting out 221 lb-ft of torque, while each rear wheel gains 192 lb-ft from their own motors, which also helps with electronic torque vectoring. A 9 kWh battery pack contributes electric power for the Rimac-made motors.

As for horsepower, 1,500 escape the corral to push the Regera from nil to 249 mph in less than 20 seconds; their escape is aided by a single-speed direct-drive transmission. Electric-only range comes to 21 miles of travel

Price of admission for each of the 80 Regeras will begin at $1.89 million.

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Geneva 2015: Lotus Evora 400 Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-lotus-evora-400-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-lotus-evora-400-arrives/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:44:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1013034 Coming this fall to the U.S., the Lotus Evora 400 made its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The Evora 400 gets its name from the horsepower generated by its supercharged 3.5-liter V6, which also throws down 302 lb-ft of torque out of the back through a six-speed manual or auto. The figures […]

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Coming this fall to the U.S., the Lotus Evora 400 made its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The Evora 400 gets its name from the horsepower generated by its supercharged 3.5-liter V6, which also throws down 302 lb-ft of torque out of the back through a six-speed manual or auto. The figures are 55 horses and 7 lb-ft over the previous Evora thanks to a new supercharger and water-to-air intercooler, and a revised engine management system.

Zero to 60 is achieved in 4.1 seconds, with speed topping out at 186 mph. Braking is improved as well, while 19- and 20-inch wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Super Sports maintain contact with the road. The Evora 400 is also 1.4 inches longer than the original — coming in at 173 inches now — and weighs 49 lbs. less.

Europeans will get theirs this summer, while those in the U.S. will be able to take one home as a 2016 model in the fall. No price of admission was announced at this time.

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Geneva 2015: Audi RS3 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-rs3-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-rs3-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:01:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012786 Revealed last year, the Audi RS3 finally made its public debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Motivation for the RS3 is a 2.5-liter turbo-five capable of 367 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. The power is fed to the Quattro AWD system via a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, while the aforementioned Quattro system can direct […]

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Audi RS 3 Sportback

Revealed last year, the Audi RS3 finally made its public debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Motivation for the RS3 is a 2.5-liter turbo-five capable of 367 horsepower and 343 lb-ft of torque. The power is fed to the Quattro AWD system via a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, while the aforementioned Quattro system can direct 50 to 100 percent of that power to the rear with torque vectoring.

The RS3 is an inch lower than the A3, and loses 121 lbs over its previous incarnation for a weight of 3,351 lbs. Braking is handled with the help of carbon ceramic rotors up front and eight-piston calipers. All corners are shod in 19-inch wheels with 235/35 tires.

Other features include boost pressure indicator, lap timer, Nappa-covered sport seats, and plenty of RS badges.

Alas, while deliveries are set to begin this summer, none will be headed to the United States; Audi is rumored to be considering an RS3 sedan for North America.

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin Vulcan Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vulcan-bows/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:37:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012722 Before competition starts in 2016, the highly limited Aston Martin Vulcan track car officially debuted at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Only 24 examples of the FIA-certified Vulcans will ever be made, with each one to go for $2.3 million. For that price, one receives a 7-liter naturally aspirated V12 making a minimum of 800 […]

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Before competition starts in 2016, the highly limited Aston Martin Vulcan track car officially debuted at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Only 24 examples of the FIA-certified Vulcans will ever be made, with each one to go for $2.3 million. For that price, one receives a 7-liter naturally aspirated V12 making a minimum of 800 horsepower, which is sent to the Michelins in the back through a six-speed sequential gearbox.

Stopping the beast is done through Brembo race calipers mated to carbon ceramic discs, while cornering is helped by Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve adjustable dampers, anti-roll bars, and push-rod suspension.

The chosen few to pilot the Vulcan will be invited to improve their skills in an intensive driving course involving a few of Aston’s offerings, including the One-77, V12 Vantage S and Vantage GT4, before competing in a one-make series in 2016.

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Geneva 2015: Mercedes G500 4X4 Squared Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-g500-4x4-squared-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mercedes-g500-4x4-squared-arrives/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:26:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012698 Climbing down the Swiss Alps, the Mercedes G500 4X42 bowed at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The G500 4X42 rides upon 17.7 inches of ground clearance, double what one can have on the standard G Wagen, and moves over the rocky trails with help from its 4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 422 horsepower and 450 lb-ft […]

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Climbing down the Swiss Alps, the Mercedes G500 4X42 bowed at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The G500 4X42 rides upon 17.7 inches of ground clearance, double what one can have on the standard G Wagen, and moves over the rocky trails with help from its 4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 422 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque.

Were it to go into production the G500 would have 22-inch alloys or 18-inch wheels mounted on 37-inch beadlock tires, providing 52- and 54-degree approach/departure angles, respectively; breakover is 47 degrees.

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Geneva 2015: Kia Sportspace Concept Makes Official Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-kia-sportspace-concept-makes-official-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-kia-sportspace-concept-makes-official-debut/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:07:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012466 Having appeared in its native South Korea already, the Kia Sportspace Concept makes its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The Optima-based Sportspace uses a 2-liter direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline mill to send 250 horsepower to the front. Meanwhile, the interior boasts a pair of large screens that would be at home in the […]

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Having appeared in its native South Korea already, the Kia Sportspace Concept makes its official debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The Optima-based Sportspace uses a 2-liter direct-injection four-cylinder gasoline mill to send 250 horsepower to the front. Meanwhile, the interior boasts a pair of large screens that would be at home in the Mercedes S-Class.

The concept may also hint at what the next-gen Optima will look like, but no estate is likely for the U.S. market.

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Geneva 2015: Refreshed Bentley Continental GT Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-refreshed-bentley-continental-gt-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-refreshed-bentley-continental-gt-bows/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:01:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012250 Coming off a successful trip to Bathurst, the refreshed Bentley Continental GT brought its family to the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Improvements to the GT W12, GT Speed and GT V8 S include revised front and rear bumpers, a new rear diffuser for the higher performance models, 20- and 21-inch wheels for the GT V8, […]

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Coming off a successful trip to Bathurst, the refreshed Bentley Continental GT brought its family to the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Improvements to the GT W12, GT Speed and GT V8 S include revised front and rear bumpers, a new rear diffuser for the higher performance models, 20- and 21-inch wheels for the GT V8, and three shades of paint, two blue and one gold.

The revisions continue with the power itself, where the 6-liter W12 jumps to 582 horsepower and 531 lb-ft, from 567 horses and 516 lb-ft of torque. The W12 also uses variable displacement to improve fuel economy by shutting down half of its cylinders.

Inside, the driver’s instrument display gains a more contemporary look, while the V8 and V8 S coupes gain a hidden storage compartment that can store and charge electronic devices.

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin DBX Concept Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-dbx-concept-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-dbx-concept-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:30:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012370 Not content to let Tesla have all the fun, the Aston Martin DBX Concept shows its take on an all-electric “high luxury GT” crossover. The design study uses inboard electric motors for each wheel to move the crossover along, each motor powered by lithium sulphur cells. Steering the DBX Concept is done via drive-by-wire, while […]

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Not content to let Tesla have all the fun, the Aston Martin DBX Concept shows its take on an all-electric “high luxury GT” crossover.

The design study uses inboard electric motors for each wheel to move the crossover along, each motor powered by lithium sulphur cells. Steering the DBX Concept is done via drive-by-wire, while braking and energy regeneration is handled via its KERS system.

Four adults can make use of both front and rear cargo spaces on their way to the countryside, while the driver and front passenger can view driving data via the concept’s HUD. LED exterior lighting, rearview cameras, and a black pearl ensemble enhanced with a micro-fine layer of chrome are some of the other features available.

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Geneva 2015: US-Bound Ford Focus RS Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-us-bound-ford-focus-rs-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-us-bound-ford-focus-rs-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:16:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012322 Bound for the U.S. market at last, the Ford Focus RS took the ramp at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Under the bonnet, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder sends 315 horsepower to all four corners through a six-speed manual. Seventy percent of its torque can be directed toward the rear axle, 100 percent toward a single […]

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Bound for the U.S. market at last, the Ford Focus RS took the ramp at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Under the bonnet, a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder sends 315 horsepower to all four corners through a six-speed manual. Seventy percent of its torque can be directed toward the rear axle, 100 percent toward a single rear wheel, via two electronic clutch packs.

Stiffer springs and bushings, larger anti-roll bars, optional Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires, and Recaro seats are some of the other features onboard the 30th Ford vehicle to wear the RS badge.

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Geneva 2015: Audi Prologue Avant Concept Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-prologue-avant-concept-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-prologue-avant-concept-debuts/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:06:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012266 A preview of what’s to come for Audi’s four-door sedans and estates, the Audi Prologue Avant Concept debuted at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Power for the Prologue Avant comes from the Q7 e-tron quattro’s 3-liter V6 diesel and electric motor, collectively driving 455 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque to all four corners. Zero […]

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A preview of what’s to come for Audi’s four-door sedans and estates, the Audi Prologue Avant Concept debuted at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Power for the Prologue Avant comes from the Q7 e-tron quattro’s 3-liter V6 diesel and electric motor, collectively driving 455 horses and 553 lb-ft of torque to all four corners. Zero to 62 comes in 5.1 seconds, and top speed is limited to 155 mph. Range is 33.6 miles in all-electric mode.

The concept comes in at 16.8 feet in length with a width of 6.5 feet, putting it within the footprint of the A8. Other features include carbon fiber ceramic brakes, adaptive air suspension, flexible OLED displays, and a “butler” that can ID all of the Prologue Avant’s occupants based on their smartphones.

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Geneva 2015: Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vantage-gt3-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-aston-martin-vantage-gt3-debuts/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:45:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012074 Following the GT3s from Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is the next one to bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Each of the 100 Vantage GT3s lost 220 lbs over the standard Vantage S, thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber on items such as the front wings, roof and hood. […]

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Following the GT3s from Porsche and Mercedes-AMG, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is the next one to bow at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Each of the 100 Vantage GT3s lost 220 lbs over the standard Vantage S, thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber on items such as the front wings, roof and hood. Polycarbonate rear windows and a lithium-ion battery further contribute to the weight savings.

Power for the Vantage GT3 comes via a 6-liter V12 pushing 600 horsepower to the rear Michelin Super Sports.

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Geneva 2015: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-volkswagen-passat-alltrack/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-volkswagen-passat-alltrack/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:25:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1012010 While some in the U.S. pine away for a brown manual diesel wagon, the Europeans will play in their Volkswagen Passat Alltrack estates. Based upon the standard Passat Estate, the Passat Alltrack is powered by either two turbocharged gasoline mills — generating 147 and 217 horsepower — or a trio of TDI diesels capable of […]

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While some in the U.S. pine away for a brown manual diesel wagon, the Europeans will play in their Volkswagen Passat Alltrack estates.

Based upon the standard Passat Estate, the Passat Alltrack is powered by either two turbocharged gasoline mills — generating 147 and 217 horsepower — or a trio of TDI diesels capable of 147, 188 and 236 horses, respectively. Stop-start and regenerative braking are standard.

Whatever power is chosen, it goes to all corners through the Alltrack’s permanent 4MOTION system, which aides in tackling trails with the help of electronic locking diffs and a 1.1-inch ride height increase over the Passat Estate. Stainless-steel underbody guard, modified bumpers, and ruggedized wheel arches and side skirts protect the Alltrack from the rocks and brush. Towing capacity is 4,850 lbs.

Other features include custom 17-inch wheels with optional 18- and 19-inch sets, HUD, front assist, emergency assist, rear traffic alert, and trailer assist.

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Geneva 2015: MINI Countryman Park Lane Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mini-countryman-park-lane-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mini-countryman-park-lane-unveiled/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:10:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1011826 Looking for a more distinguished MINI? The MINI Countryman Park Lane might be just what you need. Named after one of the most prestigious streets in London, as well as the third MINI to be named as such, the Park Lane can be had on the Countryman, Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4. […]

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Looking for a more distinguished MINI? The MINI Countryman Park Lane might be just what you need.

Named after one of the most prestigious streets in London, as well as the third MINI to be named as such, the Park Lane can be had on the Countryman, Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4. The trim level wears a two-tone ensemble of Early Grey and Oak Red with optional stripes in the latter. Other features include 18-inch wheels in Turbo Fan Dark Grey, exclusive emblems, and trim pieces and surfaces in Oxide Silver and Carbon Black.

No price has been stated thus far, but the first of the Countryman Park Lanes should be rolling off the line beginning in July of this year.

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Geneva 2015: 2016 Morgan Aero 8 Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-2016-morgan-aero-8-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-2016-morgan-aero-8-debuts/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:57:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1011450 Simon Cowell may be upgrading his ride next year, now that the 2016 Morgan Aero 8 has hit the ramp at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Moving the Aero 8 is a 4.8-liter BMW V8 delivering 367 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque to the back through either a six-speed manual or auto. Nil to […]

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Simon Cowell may be upgrading his ride next year, now that the 2016 Morgan Aero 8 has hit the ramp at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Moving the Aero 8 is a 4.8-liter BMW V8 delivering 367 horsepower and 370 lb-ft of torque to the back through either a six-speed manual or auto. Nil to 62 comes at 4.5 seconds, with the handbuilt all-aluminum roadster topping out at 170 mph.

The Aero 8’s standard soft top folds away in a rear-opening clamshell trunk, while the optional hard top easily turns the roadster into a coupe. Other features include real wood accents, detailed stitching in the leather, and components that would not look out of place in a much, much older roadster.

Production is set to begin Q4 2015, with an unknown limited amount expected to be produced.

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Geneva 2015: Audi R8 e-tron Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-r8-e-tron-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-audi-r8-e-tron-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:26:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1011362 Briefly mentioned earlier, the spotlight now fully shines upon the Audi R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The electric motors powering the R8 e-tron are capable of producing 456 horsepower and 679 lb-ft of torque, pushing the electric exotic from nil to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Top speed, as mentioned previously, will be […]

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Briefly mentioned earlier, the spotlight now fully shines upon the Audi R8 e-tron at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The electric motors powering the R8 e-tron are capable of producing 456 horsepower and 679 lb-ft of torque, pushing the electric exotic from nil to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Top speed, as mentioned previously, will be limited to between 130.5 mph and 153.3 mph.

Though range was first stated to be 250 miles on a single charge, Audi says the R8 e-tron can go 276 miles before needing to recharge, an act that could take as little as two hours on a fast charge. The automaker also stated that the exotic is a test bed for a potential electric sedan meant to take on the Tesla Model S.

Price of admission has yet to be announced, but Audi says it will begin taking orders by late 2015.

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Geneva 2015: 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-2016-porsche-911-gt3-rs-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-2016-porsche-911-gt3-rs-revealed/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1011298 It’s 2 a.m., and the wait is gone now that the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS has been revealed ahead of its 2015 Geneva Auto Show official debut. The track-ready 911 derives its power from a 4-liter flat-six throwing down 493 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque to the back through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. […]

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It’s 2 a.m., and the wait is gone now that the 2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS has been revealed ahead of its 2015 Geneva Auto Show official debut.

The track-ready 911 derives its power from a 4-liter flat-six throwing down 493 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque to the back through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. Zero to 62 occurs in just 3.3 seconds, with speed topping out at 198 mph.

The body boasts a magnesium roof and carbon trunklid and engine cover for weight reduction, and is said to be wider than the standard GT3 so that it can accommodate its 20-inch front and 21-inch rear wheels. Aggressive aero and a lower center of gravity from the aforementioned lightening keep the GT3 RS planted on the track.

Finally, for those who salivate over ‘Ring times, the 911 GT3 RS reportedly made its mark at 7:20, 20 seconds faster than the Cayman GT4.

Price of admission begins at $175,900 plus $995 destination, and Porsche is taking orders now with deliveries to begin in July.

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Geneva 2015: Volkswagen Sport Coupe GTE Concept Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-volkswagen-sport-coupe-gte-concept-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-volkswagen-sport-coupe-gte-concept-unveiled/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:21:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010986 Not every vehicle at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show can be featured in the Robb Report, though the Volkswagen Sport Coupe GTE Concept might be as such if made. The Sport Coupe GTE’s power comes from a 3-liter turbo-six and two electric motors delivering a collective 374 horsepower to all corners. The turbo-six feeds its […]

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Not every vehicle at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show can be featured in the Robb Report, though the Volkswagen Sport Coupe GTE Concept might be as such if made.

The Sport Coupe GTE’s power comes from a 3-liter turbo-six and two electric motors delivering a collective 374 horsepower to all corners. The turbo-six feeds its power to the front via a six-speed dual-clutch auto, while the electric motors directly distribute their power to the back. Nil to 62 arrives in 5 seconds, while all-electric mode delivers a range of 32 miles, and the system combined can hit 118 mpg.

Other features include driver biometrics — allowing the car to pick a route based on how much excitement the driver desires — route data featuring weather and traffic info, as well as previews of a given route with Instagram, parented ambient lighting, and touchscreen controls for the rear occupants to handle music, climate and phone calls.

Were the MQB-based concept to hit the production line, Volkswagen says it would slot between the CC and Phaeton; no word on whether that will happen, however.

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Geneva 2015: Lamborghini Aventador SV Bows http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-lamborghini-aventador-sv-bows/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-lamborghini-aventador-sv-bows/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 20:06:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010946 Need a lighter, more powerful exotic bull? The Lamborghini Aventador SV, bowing at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, just might be the answer. The Aventador SV is 110 lbs lighter than the standard Aventador, and is powered by a 6.5-liter V12 pushing 750 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque to all corners through a seven-speed […]

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Need a lighter, more powerful exotic bull? The Lamborghini Aventador SV, bowing at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, just might be the answer.

The Aventador SV is 110 lbs lighter than the standard Aventador, and is powered by a 6.5-liter V12 pushing 750 horsepower and 509 lb-ft of torque to all corners through a seven-speed single-clutch automated manual connected to the SV’s Haldex permanent AWD system. Nil to 62 mph comes at 2.8 seconds, and tops out at 217 mph.

Aggressive aero and adjustable rear wing keep the bull close to the ground, while adaptive suspension individually adjusts wheel damping during cornering. Other features include electromechanical dynamic steering, carbon fiber seats and trim, and TFT gauge cluster.

While no pricing in U.S. dollars has been announced, Europeans can expect to spend €327,000 ($368,000 USD) before VAT, with deliveries beginning in the spring.

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Geneva 2015: Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-bentley-exp-10-speed-6-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-bentley-exp-10-speed-6-revealed/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:50:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010826 A concept previewing “the future direction of luxury and performance,” the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. Power for the two-seater Speed 6 is an advanced powertrain that may be a hybrid, if the copper exterior and interior elements are anything to go by; Bentley was mum on […]

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A concept previewing “the future direction of luxury and performance,” the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

Power for the two-seater Speed 6 is an advanced powertrain that may be a hybrid, if the copper exterior and interior elements are anything to go by; Bentley was mum on details beyond a proclamation that said powertrain may be in a future model line.

The automaker’s design language — wire mesh grill, round headlamps et al — was remade to make the Speed 6 “a dynamic sculpture, creating harmony between sharp lines and flowing surfaces and using twisted surfaces to imply speed.” Other features include custom luggage and an interior worthy of an English gentleman’s club.

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Geneva 2015: Koenigsegg Agera RS Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-koenigsegg-agera-rs-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-koenigsegg-agera-rs-debuts/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:34:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010722 The carbon-fiber extravaganza known as the Koenigsegg Agera RS made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, one of two Koenigseggs set to bow this week. Power for the exotic comes from a 5-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 1,160 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, all funnelled through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto to an electronically […]

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The carbon-fiber extravaganza known as the Koenigsegg Agera RS made its debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, one of two Koenigseggs set to bow this week.

Power for the exotic comes from a 5-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 1,160 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, all funnelled through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto to an electronically controlled differential in the back.

Curb weight is 3,075 lbs due to its extensive use of carbon fiber — including the wheels, which are shod in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires for the track, Supersports for the road — and is able to produce 1,070 lbs of downforce at 155 mph thanks to aggressive aero and adjustable rear wing.

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Geneva 2015: Ferrari 488 GTB Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-ferrari-488-gtb-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-ferrari-488-gtb-revealed/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 19:17:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1010682 Sonny Crockett may have a new ride soon, now that the Ferrari 488 GTB has made its early debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show. The 488 GTB boasts a 3.9-liter turbo-eight pushing 660 horses and 560 lb-ft of torque to the back through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, and is able to go from nil […]

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Sonny Crockett may have a new ride soon, now that the Ferrari 488 GTB has made its early debut at the 2015 Geneva Auto Show.

The 488 GTB boasts a 3.9-liter turbo-eight pushing 660 horses and 560 lb-ft of torque to the back through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, and is able to go from nil to 124 mph in 8.3 seconds. The replacement for the 458 weights a little more than said 458, coming in at 3,000 dry.

Other features include Ferrari’s new Side Slip Angle Control, allowing one to drive in anger without fearing the wrath of oversteer, as well as a 50 percent increase in downforce over the outgoing 458.

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