By on September 20, 2017

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Evo

For such a venerable supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini doesn’t have much of a racing heritage. That’s not necessarily a fault, considering the brand has long been about ludicrous automotive pageantry over ensuring adherence to nonexistent track pedigree. But Lamborghini wasn’t willing to settle on just being difficult to ignore on the streets, it wanted something to rival Ferrari’s own Scuderia.

Half a decade ago, the gauntlet was thrown with the introduction of Lamborghini’s own Squadra Corse (Racing Team) but nobody took the introductory Super Trofeo (Super Trophy) cars all that seriously — not even the manufacturer. That changed a few years ago, when the company introduced the Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo and GT3 racing cars.

After selling roughly 150 of the first-generation Super Trofeos, Lamborghini has prepared the new one — which it is calling the EVO.  (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2017

Stephan Winkelmann Audi RS5 - Image: AudiAccording to a report in Autocar, the rise through Volkswagen Group ranks accomplished by Audi Sport CEO Stephan Winkelmann will continue in 2018.

Formerly a Fiat employee, the 52-year-old Winkelmann became famous in the auto industry during his decade-long run as president and CEO of Lamborghini. Winkelmann then took over at Audi’s Quattro performance division in March 2016 before changing its name to Audi Sport. But the Rome native’s tenure at Audi Sport will reportedly be cut short by Volkswagen Group’s need to fill the lead position at its flagship brand, Bugatti.

If Autocar’s sources are right, look for Winkelmann to take over at Bentley in 2019, as well. Makes you wonder: Winkelmann has climbed from Fiat to Lamborghini to Audi Sport to Bugatti and Bentley. What’s next? (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2017

Lamborghini emblem logo badge

Lamborghini has said it is more or less open to the idea of an all-electric car, though it definitely hasn’t considered it seriously. While parent company Volkswagen AG has made lofty promises of sweeping electrification and imposed its zero-emission mindset onto the majority of its automotive brands, the Italian supercar manufacturer is not yet among them.

However, Lamborghini has shown that it’s not immune to industry trends. Its almost-family-friendly Urus SUV begins production next month and the automaker has said it plans to launch a hybridized version by 2020. While you can’t ignore the LM002 that preceded it, that’s still a far cry from the pavement-scraping exotics it’s best known for. There has also been plenty of speculation that the company was  developing a Porsche Mission E-based electric model called Vitola. Lamborghini dispelled those rumors and has since gone on to say that a battery-only car won’t be on the table before 2025 — and perhaps not even then.   (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2017

lamborghini-veneno-5

A recall report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will have some owners of Aventador and Veneno models donning their flame retardant suits before hopping behind the wheel.

(Read More…)

By on December 8, 2016

1995 Lotec C1000, Image: eBay

Countless hours of development, design and construction. Exacting details wrought in boardboardrooms and wind tunnels. Exotic materials, experimental engine designs, hand crafted bodies. The goal?

Simple. Make the fastest car in the world.

But even if a designer or firm achieves that goal, they don’t necessarily have a winner on their hands. Even when the facts and figures support one supercar design over another, intangibles often decide which one will be a success.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some superlative automobiles over a few decades and see how fate played out.
(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2016

1978 BMW M1 (E26), Image: BMW

It should come as no surprise that some of the most iconic automobile designs have interesting associations in their geneses. Where those associations come from, though, can sometimes be surprising, as companies leapfrog the globe trying to find the talent, technical expertise, and productive capacity to build a new or unique model.

These stories seem to pop up more often when there’s a shift in a company’s priorities or an attempted to redefine its direction or mission. Large organizations can be slow to adjust to these changes, and so often these major manufacturers turned to small teams to produce what have often become standout models from already legendary lineups.

Often, but not always, as we see in this montage of odd couples.

(Read More…)

By on April 28, 2016

Bentley Bentayga

Rival automakers salivating at the thought of snapping up a castoff from Volkswagen’s brand portfolio will have to sit and wait.

Amid grim fourth-quarter financial data and ongoing expenses linked to the diesel emissions scandal, the company is standing by its assets, but admits they might have to jettison some if unexpected expenses crop up. (Read More…)

By on April 12, 2016

UBC Lamborghini Aventador

That’s the sound of a sad trombone playing.

Dodgy offshore tax havens get a lot of press lately, but what about mass movements of capital to friendlier shores that hide in plain sight? The New York Times has a heartbreaking story today of young Chinese adults in Vancouver, Canada who just can’t figure out what to do with all that cash their fathers earned.

They do know one thing it’s good for: obscene quantities of ultra-high-end cars.

(Read More…)

By on February 28, 2016

Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

The Environmental Protection Agency is pointing at its watch and glaring at Volkswagen.

That, an opening for the Swedes, an electric propulsion prediction, a high-end guy gets a new job, and Tesla gets targeted in Hoosierville … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015

2016 Mazda CX-3 GT (18 of 25)

Newly promoted, high-priced executives at Mazda seem to think there’s something to this crossover fad.

That, Hyundai’s landed a Benjamin Button to lead Genesis and I wish I would have known how cheap I could have purchased an F1 team … after the break.

(Read More…)

By on December 4, 2015

IMG_0113

We’re currently going through a period where conventional sedans and sports cars are losing favor with consumers relative to higher-riding SUVs and crossovers. That’s true from entry level brands to the top shelf. Ultra luxury and exotic car companies have noticed the kind of success that Porsche has had with the Cayenne and just about all the high end companies — with the exception of McLaren and Ferrari — are working on some kind of utility vehicles.

Lamborghini showed the Urus concept in 2012 and earlier this year said they’d be doubling the capacity at their Sant’Agata, Italy factory to put a SUV into production, starting in 2017. Bentley, like Lamborghini a part of the Volkswagen group, is coming out with the dubiously styled Bentayga, whose platform will be shared by the Lambo SUV and new generations of the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.

The Urus, or whatever Lamborghini decides to call it, however, won’t be the first SUV to wear the Lamborghini brand. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2015

bentley-bentayga-china-leak-11-660x451

Bentley’s upcoming SUV, dubbed Bentayga, may be shown here in all its 1:18-scale glory in leaked photos released by CarNewsChina.com.

If the photos — reportedly from a Chinese toy company — resemble the final figure for the luxury automaker’s SUV, which is partially based on architecture from Audi’s Q7, that is exactly what a Bentley SUV should look like. It’s like the automaker rolled Silly Putty on a Flying Spur and pulled it from the top and the back.

The SUV is slated to go on sale in 2017 and will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

(Read More…)

By on July 14, 2015

2015 Lamborghini Huracán

A short time ago, I left you with my impressions of the Porsche 911 GT3. Even now, I am still in love with that car (Tiffany…call me). However, love is blind and everyone’s a critic.

Just after the publication of that piece, I got a text from a buddy who published an outstanding review on the Lamborghini Huracán. It simply declared “No way a GT3 can keep up with a Huracán.” Well my limited resources were never going to make that track test happen, but I do have access to a pair of Huracáns…

So, why not see what the hype is about?

(Read More…)

By on June 15, 2015

Audi RS 3 Sportback

Volkswagen Group is reorganizing itself into a decentralized organization with four holding companies to better handle high production costs.

(Read More…)

By on June 9, 2015

DC Hoods Courtesy cnbc.com

My 25-plus years as a Big Time Auto Industry Executive afforded me many memorable moments. It would be difficult to single out one example, but I may be the only person on earth who has shaken hands with both Soichiro Honda and Derek Kreindler.

As for the low point of my career, there is no contest: the morning of May 7, 1998, four months after I joined Mercedes-Benz Credit Corporation. That was the day it was announced Daimler-Benz had merged with the Chrysler Corporation.

(Read More…)

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