Displaying items by tag: Sport Cars
Beautifully styled coupe mixes old school charm with cutting edge tech
Is the Ferrari Roma any good?
The term ‘entry-level’ has never been a particularly easy fit when it comes to Ferrari. The cars at this end of the line-up are far from affordable, after all, and once specified with a few options can easily find themselves knocking on the door of a more senior, mid-engined model.
What cars like the California T, Portofino and now the Roma do is represent a less intimidating and more usable introduction to Ferrari ownership – not as hard-edged as an F8 Tributo or astronomically expensive as an 812 Superfast, but in possession of enough Maranello magic to ensure their drivers go on to become Ferrari owners for life. Or so the theory goes.
Trouble is, in order to make cars that are easy to use and live with, in years gone by they also felt a bit watered down – still astonishingly fast, just not quite as mind-blowingly so as something with the engine in the middle. Brilliant to drive, but with one or two modes missing from the firm's Manettino drive mode switch.
The Roma is a conscious effort to redress that balance, and it does so by harking back to a bygone era of luxury motoring inspired by 1950s and 60s Rome.
What's it like inside?
Is it all throwback styling with a retro interior? No – in fact it’s the opposite. As with the SF90 the Roma features an entirely digital cockpit made up from a large screen behind the wheel and another portrait infotainment unit in the centre.
Hardly cutting edge (Audi gave us the Virtual Cockpit years ago) but a leap forward for this Italian maker, and typically it’s done so in the most Ferrari way imaginable.
2021 Ferrari Roma cabinEnlarge0videoEnlarge40photo
So you still get a massive central rev counter right in your eyeline, and while the wheel features lots more functions and controls than it used to, they’re only lit briefly when in use, before dimming away invisibly as to not distract you from the job of driving. Also, button free wheels look much cooler.
You could be excused for thinking a greater focus on top end performance would make the Roma twitchy and uncomfortable elsewhere, but the reality is far from it.
There’s also a very usable boot, and some slightly less usable rear seats, although the latter can be folded down to expand the luggage capacity even further.
What's it like to drive?
On this front the Roma also pushes the agenda onwards – as such you get five drive modes on the rotary Manettino switch (including Race) and underbody aero to help stick the car to the tarmac without ruining its sleek exterior lines with a permanent spoiler.
Ferrari hasn’t given these things to cars at this end of the spectrum before and that should go some way to explain its intent with the Roma. It’s a supremely brilliant car to drive fast, with accessible and friendly handling that makes the driver feel front and centre, while also providing a largely invisible safety net.
This is mostly down to a variety of driver aids including the latest version of Side Slip Control. This will allow the rear end of the car to step out during exuberant cornering, but not so much that you end up facing the wrong way.
The ride is surprisingly supple and can be slackened off even in the racier modes by pressing the Manettino button to enable Bumpy Road mode.
In fact we think that it’s in one of the more relaxed settings, with the engine barely ticking over at motorway speed, where the Roma is most impressive. You could happily waft down to an Alpine pass, arrive without feeling broken, and then pick it to bits in Race mode. An impressive combination.
Ferrari Roma practicality and boot space
This being a more daily-driver capable Ferrari means there needs to be more than a small nod towards practicality. Things like single-piece carbon bucket seats with race harnesses and a stripped-out cockpit with nowhere to store a bag of sweets are unlikely to win a buyer’s heart here.
How much space is there?
In the back there is a pair of seats suitable for very small children, or more realistically, additional luggage for a weekend away. They’re no smaller than you get in a Porsche 911 though, and they fold down to unlock a large rear storage compartment.
Boot space and storage
The boot itself is pretty good, ranging between 272-345 litres with the seats up or down – which is good enough for two big suitcases or three squashy bags (or ideally some exquisitely tailored luggage), with a usable size and shape to the aperture when the lid itself is open.
Elsewhere, you get a few spots to store things up front, including a single cup holder, plus some slim door pockets and a second cubby in the centre console. There’s an underarm storage bin too with a USB socket and 12v charger.
The styling of the Roma’s interior divides the driver and passenger into two different pods – the latter even gets their own screen showing options like the speed and revs, audio, and car settings. Plus the trademark chequerplate in the footwell to brace themselves on.
While there are a few key references to previous Ferrari cabins, this new layout is quite a divergence from what has come before, but in a welcome way.
Infotainment and tech
The new infotainment suite (first seen in the SF90) includes a 16-inch curved driver’s display with three views – a minimalist one for sporty driving, a full map view for long trips, or a mixture of both with a characteristic big centre tacho. To the left of this is an 8.4-inch portrait touchscreen not entirely unlike the one in a McLaren.
Ferrari has always been good at giving the driver just the right amount of information and functions so you can concentrate entirely on the job of driving, but as time and technology has moved on, the button count has naturally increased.
As a car designer you can either strip this all away to leave a more focussed dashboard, or go wild with switches and dials to make it simple to use. The Roma attempts to do both.
That means loads of touch sensitive controls that are lit up when being used but invisible when not, to give you plenty of control over the car’s various functions without looking like an explosion in a button factory.
In fact the only physical cockpit controls are for the windows, gearbox, and launch control. Then on the wheel you get proper buttons for the lights, cruise control, wipers, and indicators. The gearbox is arranged to look a bit like an open-gated manual shift, which is a nice touch.
Even the engine start is a touch sensitive pad, as are those which you use to control the functions on the driver’s screen.
2021 Ferrari Roma gear engine start buttonEnlarge0videoEnlarge40photo
As such this leaves the wheel itself looking clean without sacrificing functionality. The only downside to this was a small amount of lag and lack of sensitivity in the touch controls, meaning they’re not as intuitive as we’d like.
The shift paddles are still massive and epic, though, so zero complaints there.
In an area where the Roma obviously needs to perform well, the comfort levels of this corner-carving Ferrari sportscar are surprisingly high, all things considered.
Taller drivers on the Parkers team found the headroom a bit restricted, so that’s worth taking into account, plus the pedals have been offset slightly in the swap to right-hand drive. Neither of these add up to a particularly uncomfortable driving position, but can induce a bit of back or leg pain on a long drive. Those of a shorter stature found no problems at all.
The seats are quite hard but with adjustable bolsters you can get them into the right shape, and their firmness offers a good amount of support that means you don’t end up slouching.
In one of the more laid-back modes it’s easy to imagine taking the Roma on a long and taxing drive. The engine noise never really goes away but it’s muted enough on the motorway, and there’s less tyre and wind rush than expected, too. This isn't ever going to be a Bentley Continental GT, but you won't necessarily wince at the prospect of covering a longer journey in it.
Best of all the ride is comfy enough for all but the lumpiest of UK roads, and when you turn the Manettino dial up to the sportier modes, you’ve got the option of instantly slackening the suspension off by pressing it and activating Bumpy Road mode.
Ferrari Roma running costs and mpg
Let’s keep this brief because nobody is buying a Ferrari under the pretext that it’s going to be cheap to run. This is a car that needs looking after properly rather than cutting corners on consumables.
MPG and CO2
Happily though, thanks to a combination of a slippery profile and less weight, the Roma is more fuel efficient than the Portofino, with 21mpg and 255g/km of CO2 output on offer.
As you’d imagine it also uses less fuel than an F8 Tributo, so while overall it’s still quite thirsty, within the context of the Ferrari range it’s actually pretty good.
While the mechanicals under the skin of the Roma have been used elsewhere in the range for several years, the new tech inside the cockpit is less proven.
2021 Ferrari Roma key fobEnlarge0videoEnlarge40photo
That said, with fewer moving parts than older, button-filled Ferraris there is technically less to go wrong, individually, so you shouldn’t have much cause for concern in this department. The Roma also comes with a four year warranty.
Servicing and maintenance
There’s also a seven-year Genuine Maintenance programme offered by Ferrari, which includes regular servicing (intervals of 12,000 miles or one year) which promises ‘meticulous checks’ of the entire car.
In essence, there's not much to worry about.
Ferrari Roma engines and performance
Sure, Ferrari has more powerful models in its line-up but once you’ve gone past the 500hp mark there are few occasions on the road where performance feels lacking. Typically there was no point during our time with the Roma that it lacked the answer to a question asked by our right foot. The Roma's reserves feel bottomless, as befits its sports touring nature.
A 3.8-litre V8 and two turbos means 620hp and 760Nm of torque, and 0-62mph ticked off in 3.4 seconds. While a top-end rush has been deliberately engineered in, it's easy enough to keep the rev needle in the mid-range and find more than adequate power. There's no need to drop loads of gears or wait for the boost for the turbos to arrive, it’s just ruthlessly fast, all the time.
It’s not one dimensional though - the different driving modes accessed by the Manettino switch on the steering wheel all offer very distinctive power deliveries, ranging from soft and progressive in Wet and Comfort through to the sharper and more responsive Sport and Race – here the accelerator barely needs to be brushed in order to deliver a surge of forward momentum, but in its more moderate modes, the long travel throttle pedal needs a good push to get going.
Race mode might sound intimidating but it’s the one tuned for the most amount of fun on the road, rather than setting new personal best lap times at Fiorano. This fastest setting gives the Roma breath-taking pace and delivers the full 760Nm, although you’ll need to be in 7th or 8th gear to get it, because the torque on offer increases as you climb the gears.
Compared to the old Portofino (there’s a new M variant with a new gearbox) the Roma has an extra ratio in its eight-speed dual-clutch ‘box, and the lower gears have been made shorter. That means punchier acceleration and lazy cruising – the car is barely ticking over at motorway speeds.
As with the Jekyll and Hyde power delivery, the gearbox also displays impressive duality - able to blur its ratios seamlessly or deliver pin sharp shifts that punctuate heavy braking moments with a loud flare of revs.
Left to its own devices and driven at anything less than flat out, it did seem keen to get into the highest possible gear, but turn up the heat a little and shifts are completed with Ferrari’s trademark telepathy. There’s still enough reward on offer in using the brilliantly clacky and large column-mounted shift paddles, though, to convince you into manual mode every now and again.
The engine can be quite restrained in volume especially when cruising in top gear where its song is barely present. Although this is never the case on start-up where it is consistently flamboyant. With more enthusiastic driving comes a satisfying soundtrack - if not quite as soaring as older V8 Ferrari models - that is full of bass and gravel at low rpm and a higher pitched howl closer to the redline.
All-in-all this makes the Roma a versatile car - equally happy wafting about as it is picking your favourite B-road to bits. But more on that in the next section.
As a bit of a two-things-in-one-car the Roma runs the risk of feeling compromised, particularly in the often-opposing areas of comfort and handling. To an extent it does, but only within the framework of Ferrari's more focussed models - it's not as sharp to drive as an F8 or as cossetting as a GTC, but bear in mind that those are high benchmarks.
What it is though is a very usable balance of both - at no point could you describe the suspension as luxuriously soft, but it's fine for daily use, only getting a bit out of shape on really bumpy roads – while the way it handles can easily blow sports cars from other manufacturers into the weeds.
None of this should be a surprise of course, as Ferrari has left nothing to chance by throwing a load of tech at its new coupe. As such you get five modes on the Manettino plus underbody aero (and a pop-up spoiler) to enhance downforce without ruining those sleek exterior lines. Both of these are a first in the Italian manufacturer’s (comparatively) less focussed GT models, and that should give you a sense of its intentions.
As with the engine response, the Manettino gives you a variety of different handling responses from soft to sharp. Somewhat oddly our favourite combination was Comfort mode with the gearbox in manual. This gives you a very relaxed (but still bonkers fast) set up that suits the car's suave and unflustered appearance.
Still, Sport and Race do increase the response from the throttle and steering to very satisfying levels, while firming up the suspension to improve body control. You can dial this back by pressing the Manettino to utilise Bumpy Road mode, which offers a nice balance on UK roads, while still hugging the ground.
When it comes to driving quickly the Roma again offers a breadth of attitudes – if you enter a corner tentatively and feed the power in it'll hook up nicely and fire you out the other side in a neat, grippy manner. However, go in with more confidence and give the gas a big push and the rear end of the car will swing out to a point controlled by lots of clever electronics.
Chiefly this is down to the Roma’s Side Slip Control, which ties together the traction control, electronic differential and something called ‘Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer’ to interpret your inputs and let the rear of the car move around accordingly. It’s essentially a traction control system that lets the rear of the car have a little slide without wiping out, and is capable of making you look absolutely heroic while providing something of a safety net. Even so, this is best explored in a controlled environment.
The steering is quick and linear but not as fast as the F8, making it seem more relaxed and less twitchy on faster roads. The brakes need a good push to get going but when you do there’s plenty of power and feel, although they were a bit grabby and hard to modulate in our test car.
Even so, it took a bit longer to get under the Roma's skin than in current or former mid-engined Ferraris, which usually feel just-right from the off. But those are a very different proposition, and once you get used to the Roma's feel it becomes a very rewarding thing to drive indeed.
Ferrari Roma verdict
Should you buy one?
By the time you’re talking about this sort of pricetag there’s not a lot of point having an argument about whether the Roma is good enough as a motorway cruiser and mountain road slayer or whether you’d be better off buying two Porsche 911s instead. Customers won’t be buying only this car, so this won’t be bought with the same all-rounder considerations as, say, a VW Golf.
That said, it is mightily impressive how convincing the Roma is as a one-Ferrari-to-rule-them-all – sure the rear seats won’t suffice if you regularly need to transport more than two people, but for anyone else this is a suitably useful daily driver that just so happens to be razor sharp when the moment takes you.
In fact, we think it approaches that balance better than the Portofino or California T that came before it and is the ideal starting point for Ferrari ownership. No, the roof doesn’t come down, so it won’t suit those looking to be seen while driving, but as a trade-off the elegant exterior lines and styling more than make up for it.
It gives you just enough of the Ferrari-fizz to leave you wanting more from a model higher up the range, but not so little that in isolation it feels half-cocked.
More impressive is the car’s ability to celebrate an older era of luxury while moving the game on in terms of interior tech and usability. All that without being an exercise in chintzy, throwback styling - it feels distinctly old school but under the skin the Roma is anything but.
Best of all though is the simple stuff – this is a front engined, V8 powered, 2+2 coupe, with no hybridisation or self-driving modes in sight. Enjoy it while you can. If you can.
Meet the many-hatted Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered – in one package a stylish fastback, business-class motorway cruiser, zero-tailpipe-emissions planet-pleaser and now, apparently, a powerful sports car.
That's a lot of plates to spin. So it won't surprise you to hear Peugeot's turned to a flexible plug-in hybrid powertrain to achieve it, promising more power than a regular petrol or diesel with the option to run emissions-free for a claimed 26 miles too.
Thing is, the 508 is mostly bought by company-car drivers, who usually only require a posh badge to impress clients, an M Sport bodykit to impress colleagues, and a small diesel engine to impress the fleet manager. Does the PSE model over-complicate things?
Who cares? It's a fast Peugeot!
Well yes, there is that, but consider the £50,000 price tag – for retail customers that puts the 508 PSE in the crosshairs of the BMW M340i and Audi S5 Sportback.
That's not an inherently difficult circle to square, because this is not only a fast Peugeot, but a very fast, very good Peugeot.
508 pse side pan
It's actually the most powerful roadgoing car the French maker has ever sold, in fact, with as much power in its electric motors as the 405 T16 we all so desperately want it to be.
Why doesn't it have a GTi badge?
Peugeot says that's a question only British journalists ask, such is our love of the marque's heritage hot hatchbacks. But the 508 is something entirely different, offering a broader spread of talents than an out-and-out sports saloon.
The Sport Engineered name means it's a 508 first and foremost, with the benefit of being breathed on by Peugeot's go-faster division. It's WandaVision to The Avengers or The Mandalorian to Star Wars.
What's it like to drive?
Fast! But that shouldn't be a surprise, considering the 335bhp and 384lb ft of torque on offer from a 1.6-litre petrol engine and two electric motors, and an all-wheel drive system to help deliver it all cleanly to the tarmac.
It's not as fast as a pure-petrol M340i or S5 with those numbers, because it's heavier than a pure-petrol car. But it's not as heavy as you might imagine – the 1850kg kerbweight is actually pretty good for a PHEV.
The gearbox likes to shuffle up the cogs to save fuel (as is the way these days), but in Sport mode it seems to hang onto them for too long. The best solution is to use the column-mounted manual shift paddles, but these are too short and set too high – more suited to a ten-to-two driver than a quarter-to-three. Plus the left paddle is sandwiched between the left indicator stalk and cruise controls, and this is annoying.
Things are better in the handling department where the 508 PSE is quite neutral in a corner and can be persuaded into a bit of lift-off oversteer as you'd expect in a car fettled by Peugeot Sport. This car is lower and wider than the standard model, and has its own springs, dampers and anti-roll bars.
The suspension is adaptive and offers a broad spread of settings, from comfy to firm, although there's always an edge to the ride that reminds you you're in the sportiest version. Otherwise it's typical Peugeot Sport – more hot hatch than a saloon, with light controls, a little bit of bodyroll, and agility and compliance to the ride, which adds huge fun on UK roads.
Only one thing stands out (and being a plug-in hybrid this won't surprise you): the brake pedal is spongy and hard to get dialled into. The 508 PSE is equipped with Alcon calipers and bi-material discs, which offer plenty of stopping power, but without mechanical pedal feel it can be hard to meter out.
How long does it take to charge?
The 11.5kWh battery takes about three to four hours to fill at the standard 3.7kW rate – a 7.4kW charger is an option, dropping the time to one hour and 45 minutes. Either way you only get a Type 2 cable, with no three-pin unless you pay for it.
You need a full battery to get all 355hp, although with no charge the 508 will run as a sort-of hybrid in town, and on the whole it's pretty smooth and unobtrusive.
Pick up the pace, though, and you'll be greeted by the slightly reedy and over-synthesised tone of the petrol engine, which is alright when you want to cruise around in peace, but not very soul-stirring when you crack on. Still, that's another good reason to keep it charged.
Is it any different inside and out?
It's a pretty subtle change in exterior styling – from a distance – but as you get closer you'll notice all sorts of enhancements.
The most stand-out are the Kryptonite green additions, including the new claw logo, and the aggressive diffuser and aero ducting on the front bumper. Small vertical blades stick up on the edges of both and are probably more useful for tucking the cable into while the car's on charge than actually channelling air, but they're quite cool nonetheless.
Inside, you still get Peugeot's divisive i-Cockpit layout with its tiny steering wheel set below the dials, but with more carbonfibre effect material. Overall it's a nice interior, very futuristic-looking, but the hard plastic used for the door bins and under the armrest stick out on a £50,000 car.
Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered: verdict
The 508 has been twice compromised in becoming this Peugeot Sport Engineered model – firstly by adding batteries and electric motors, and then again by giving it a performance focus.
What makes this car stand out against rival performance PHEVs is the fact it gives away very little in terms of outright practicality. The boot capacity is the same as a non-plug-in Pug at 487 litres, and despite being way more fun and accomplished to drive than the standard 508, it's barely any less comfortable day-to-day.
Yes, an old-school straight-six would be a more evocative powerplant, but the ability to drive emissions-free and the overall improvement in fuel economy in this 508 goes a long way to addressing that balance. It's an odd niche, but one that deserves plugging.
BMW has introduced its next i8 M concept, this new BMW’s luxury sedan will come out for the 2024 model year. The 2024 i8 M available in two trims models: Coupe and Roadster. So with this article, we will find out more details about the 2024 i8 M, how good its performance, and how much it costs to get one. Let Check it out:
2024 BMW i8 M Preview
So What’s New for 2024? The 2024 version of i8 M or whatever BMW makes a decision to call its next-generation crossbreed cars– will be brand new for the 2024 version year. We anticipate learning much more as we obtain closer to the automobile’s on-sale day, which is anticipated to be at some point in 2023 as a 2024 version.
Little is understood about the i8 M’s cabin thus far, yet we are really hoping BMW addresses the i8’s hard access and also egress by furnishing the brand-new vehicle with front-hinged doors as well as a reduced side sill to make the inside much more quickly available. Like the present car, the i8 M will be BMW’s playground for future designing as well as need to include one-of-a-kind products, innovative functions, and also eye-popping styles. Storage space as well as freight capability will likely continue to be limited, yet a front trunk (or “frunk”) might take a look to give extra baggage room.
2024 BMW i8 M New Exterior Design
Navigation & Infotainment
A whole lot can transform on the planet of the in-car infomercial in three-plus years, so information regarding what may be used in the i8 M is any individual’s hunch. In the Vision M Following principle, BMW displayed an advanced take on an infomercial that the firm calls the Increase Shuck; it includes numerous glass displays as well as a head-up screen to give the chauffeur accessibility to car-related info and also on-board amusement functions.
How Powerful The 2024 i8 M?
The i8 M’s plug-in hybrid powertrain is prepared to comply with the very same standard configuration as the present i8, which indicates an electric motor driving the front wheels and also a mid-mounted fuel engine, and also an electric motor for the back wheels. Instead of the i8’s turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gas engine, BMW has claimed the brand-new automobile will use a turbocharged four-cylinder; the firm likewise asserts an overall system outcome– gas and also electric power integrated– of 591 horsepower, which is much more than the i8’s 369-hp outcome. This up-rated powertrain will aid the i8 M to take on competitors such as the Acura NSX, Lexus LC500h, as well as Polestar 1.
2024 BMW i8 M Powered by New Engine System
In terms of Gas/Fuel Economic Situation and also Real-World MPG, The EPA has actually not evaluated the i8 M or launched quotes for its gas intake– which is not unexpected considering that the auto does not exist yet. Along with enhancing electric driving variety, we’re anticipating the i8 M to provide somewhat far better gas economic situation rankings than the existing i8, regardless of an awaited renovation in velocity and also driving efficiency.
Speaking about the price, honestly, the company doesn’t provide its official price information yet. But According to Caranddriver, and other autos website, the price for the 2024 BMW i8 M Coupe is $160,000 while
Roadster version is $180,000
German Manhart now offers the owners of the BMW X5 M Competition a new tuning program.
Manhart’s package to modify the BMW X5 M Competition primarily implies that the 4.4-liter V8 TwinPower Turbo engine is boosted from 625hp and 750 Nm to 823hp and 1080 Nm of torque.
The Manhart package also includes carbon fiber elements, a stainless steel sports exhaust system, a set of new 22-inch wheels, stronger brakes, modified suspension (the car is 30 mm lower), as well as gold details, Manhart emblems and a refined interior. alcantara, carbon fiber elements).
Manhart does not state data on acceleration to 100 km / h, so here is a reminder that the serial X5 M Competiton needs 3.8 seconds for that.
The same package will be offered for the BMW X6 M Comeptition.
Despite its soul-stirring performance, Audi's redesigned 591-hp RS7 makes a case for the less-expensive RS6 Avant wagon.
After a brief hiatus from the United States market, Audi's fiery RS7 Sportback returns for 2021 in fighting form. Delivering big doses of both speed and refinement, the new car's stonking performance sacrifices little comfort for its driver. But it's not the only practical hot-rod hatchback that Audi offers these days, and therein lies the RS7's greatest issue.
HIGHS: Effortless speed, impressive ride comfort, menacing curb appeal.
The new RS7 is once again motivated by the Volkswagen Group's venerable—and versatile—twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that also can be found under the hoods of various Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche models. Output in this version is a strong 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. If those figures sound familiar, that's because they're the same as those of the Audi RS6 Avant station wagon, which is mechanically identical to the RS7 yet offers more cargo space—30 cubic feet versus the RS7's 25. We also think the longer-roof RS6 looks better, but we're suckers for wagons. Compared to the previous RS7, this 4.0-liter wears turbos featuring larger compressor wheels. Thanks largely to an additional 2.9 pounds of boost over the previous standard model, the RS7's horsepower and torque ratings swell by 30 and 77, respectively. As with the RS6, the RS7 features a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, or Quattro if you're into trade names.
Audi RS7 Has Dynamite Looks and Big Power
On paper, the latest RS7 is not as impressive as its predecessor's hottest variant, the 605-hp RS7 Performance. Yet, despite the new car weighing an additional 460 pounds, it can catapult its 4947-pound girth to 60 mph in a mere 3.0 seconds, which is a tenth of a second quicker than before. Stay on the throttle and it posts a similar 11.3-second quarter-mile time but with a 3-mph slower trap speed (122 mph), which is indicative of its extra bulk. The 2021 RS7's porkiness is also on display in both the 30-to-50- and 50-to-70-mph top-gear acceleration tests, where it trails the RS7 Performance by 0.4 and 0.5 second, respectively. Well, pokiness or a less aggressive transmission map. For comparison, the RS6 Avant gets to 60 in 3.1 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds at 120 mph.
LOWS: Subdued exhaust note, seriously heavy, an RS6 Avant is both cheaper and more practical.
Making the most of the RS7's acceleration on the street is easy, thanks to a neat trick we discovered with the car's advanced electronics. When fitted with Audi's Intersection-assist feature (part of the $2250 Driver Assistance package), the RS7 communicates with intersections that are V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) compatible. Activate this at a stoplight and a countdown timer illuminates in the standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, indicating when the light will turn green. Depress one of the RS Mode buttons on the RS7's steering wheel to summon launch control and the car's customizable drive modes, stand on the brake and accelerator, and then release the brake for a max-thrust hole shot.
The RS7 is more than a stoplight racer, though. With broad shoulders that are 1.7 inches wider than the lesser S7's, plus its blacked-out maw and exterior trim, this Audi looks stunningly mean. But it also grabs attention, which is problematic when triple-digit speeds can be summoned almost by thought. That it also brings an impressive level of refinement doesn't help matters. We imagine much of its weight gain comes from significantly more sound-deadening material, as our test car's calm and serene cabin reduced the full-throttle noise from the $1000 Sport exhaust to a distant, 79-decibel bark. Ride comfort on the optional 22-inch wheels with 30-series Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires is excellent, the standard air springs shrugging off even the worst of Michigan's poorly maintained roads.
Despite carrying 56.1 percent of its mass on its front wheels, the RS7 feels surprisingly balanced. When pushed hard into corners, the standard rear-wheel steering helps its driver maintain a smooth, tight line by rotating its rear end. Its ability to change directions is bolstered by a torque-vectoring rear differential, which helps with yaw by splitting the rear axle's torque unevenly. In Dynamic mode, the RS7 hunkers down by 0.4 inch and circles the skidpad with a solid 0.95 g of lateral adhesion. When it's time to slow down, massive 16.5-inch iron front rotors clamped by 10-piston calipers effortlessly shed the car's forward momentum. Stops from 70 mph take a scant 151 feet. While our car didn't feature them, carbon-ceramic brakes are available for $8500 and have the added benefit of upping the governed top speed from 155 mph to a claimed 190.
The performance and presence of the Audi RS7 is intoxicating enough for us to almost forget that the RS6 Avant exists. But one glance at the RS7's $115,045 base price puts the two cars in perspective. For $5000 less, Audi's RS wagon posts nearly identical performance results, has seating for five versus the RS7's four, and is more capacious in back. For those smitten with the RS7's sleeker profile, it is an awesome machine. But we know where our money would go.
Porsche's special-edition Boxster bundles corner-carving goodies but doesn't forget about the commute.
Sports cars don't ride this well. After a few miles, disbelief turns to awe. You see, this Porsche Boxster T is aimed directly at the lunatic fringe of car buyers who crave the sportiest handling in a base Boxster. We had a short drive of a European-spec Boxster T in 2019, but we've now spent a few days surfing the potholes and shattered asphalt of our home turf in the United States version. And an apex-slaying suspension just isn't supposed to be this livable.
Porsche makes all of the Boxster's chassis goodies standard in the T and then sprinkles some Ferry dust on the whole thing. The suppleness is surprising considering the T model is equipped with a sport suspension that drops the Boxster nearly an inch (20 mm) and includes 20-inch wheels with tires whose sidewalls appear to offer all the impact protection of a leather helmet. And yet, the Boxster T's ride compliance betters that of many sports sedans. No crash, no smash, no harshness.
Vital to the ride quality are the sport package's standard adaptive dampers—PASM in Porsche language—that adeptly smooths those high-frequency jolts that tend to discombobulate performance cars. A button next to the shifter allows the driver to tighten up the dampers' responses, but there's no real reason to take them out of Normal mode since they continuously adapt to how hard you're driving and whatever bad breaks the road throws at them. But, if you want to ruin the ride, go right ahead and select Sport.
If that over-the-road grace is surprising, the Boxster T's handling isn't. Like a regular Boxster or Boxster S, the T's moves and primary controls foster a close connection that shrinks the car around you. In addition to the sport suspension and 20-inch wheels, the T model makes a few other optional bits standard fare. Every Boxster T comes with brake-based torque vectoring that helps rotate the car into corners and active engine mounts that stiffen or soften to help keep engine motions from upsetting the handling.
A small-diameter sport steering wheel with a drive-mode selector knob is also standard. As precise as the atomic clock, the steering sends all the right signals from the tires and road without any kick or ugliness.
What the T doesn't add is more power. Bolted in behind the driver is the same 300-hp 2.0-liter flat-four that has powered the base Boxster since 2017. The 2.0-liter pulls hard from low rpm once the turbo lights things up, and the engine delivers more than enough acceleration to dispel your regrets over foregoing the 350-hp Boxster S. The flat-four issues a guttural grumble, especially at idle, but the sound improves when zinged to the 7500-rpm redline. The engine will never be confused with a BMW inline-six—or even Porsche's flat-sixes—but tries to compensate for its inability to carry a tune with an angry exhaust note.
Coupled with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission ($3730), we expect the Boxster T to get to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, the same time as a mechanically identical PDK Boxster we tested back in 2017. All automatic T models will be able to repeat that performance as many times as you please, since they come standard with the Sport Chrono Package that adds the all-important launch-control function. Left foot on the brake pedal, floor the accelerator, release the brakes, and there you have it: the perfect launch, easy enough to merit an infomercial.
Still, we'd skip the dual-clutch automatic in favor of the six-speed manual. Not only is it's less expensive, but it's more in keeping with the driving-joy ethos of the T. In our testing of the non-T Boxster manual, the DIY gearbox runs to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Plenty quick.
Some Boxster buyers might wonder about the T's cloth and leather seats. Porsche's puritanical models of the past—the 1988 911 Club Sport, the 1992 911 RS America, and the 1993 911 Speedster—came with pinstriped cloth upholstery, and the T's cloth seats speak to its mission statement. Cloth is grippier than leather, so the thinking is that since you love corners enough to buy this car, you'll want the cloth holding your butt in place. Fabric door pulls replace door handles, another nod to Porsche's racing heritage and the GT models. Our test car wore the T Interior Package ($2770) that adds contrasting stitching throughout and a few bits of trim. At $2770, the option seems expensive for the minor dress-up.
The Boxster T starts at $69,850, or $8900 more than the base Boxster. With one exception, it's possible to add the T's many chassis options to a base Boxster, and the price works out to be about the same as the T. What you miss out on are the T's even lower Sport suspension (a 0.8-inch drop versus 0.4 inch) and its heritage-inspired cloth interior and door pulls. And, while you can build a Boxster to mimic most of the T's goodies, it's unlikely you'd ever find one on a dealer lot. By bundling these options in a new model, dealers can easily order an enthusiast special, and enthusiasts can skip the special order from Stuttgart. The T makes a handling-optimized Boxster easy to find, and its ride makes it easy to drive every day.
The MR2 might make a debut in 2024, let's have a look at all the possible technical enhancements and beautification which one could expect.
Toyota globally marketed the MR2 as a fun 2-seater sports car for a term that stretched over a span of 3 decades. They re-designs with each model aimed to overcome the flaws and append additional elements for styling and performance. Even today automotive enthusiasts hail this a majestic model for its best in class and rare mid-engine layout. How would you feel if you got to know that this ageless mini sports car could make an iconic come back soon? Also, have you pondered about how the fresh Mister Two (MR2) would look like?
With the rumor mill churning out reports that the MR2 might make a debut in 2024, let's have a look at all the possible technical enhancements and beautification which one could expect.
The pressing focal point for the designing wizards is to deliver an agile sports car with an emphasis on giving it a modern, sleek, and futuristic makeover. Clean and curved edges will not only enhance its flamboyant features but also be in tune with the operation of the law of aerodynamics. The first look of the revamped version of MR2 rendered digitally based on the archetypal model features a lightweight, dynamic, and easy to steer machine. Further, judging by the rumblings going on for quite a while now, we reckon that it will make a comeback with either an entirely electric or hybrid power train.
Besides that, one can expect a lot of improvements and sophistication in terms of elimination of the mishaps, as noted in the third generation W30 model. There are some wicked renders out there for all our favorite cars, and the MR2’s iconic status makes it one of those cars that have several renders available online.
Even though the idea of reuniting the brands' '90s marquees, namely: the Celica, Supra, and MR2 have just made it to the discussion phase, there are talks in the town that Mr. Akio Toyoda would love to see the three sisters of the yesteryear make a comeback. Toyota has already launched GR Supra and the GT86 in the recent past which can be the replacement for the reconditioned versions of the erstwhile Supra and Celica, respectively.
The past releases hint towards future prospects that Toyota plans to do the same with MR2. Further, just as it collaborated with Subaru and BMW for the production of the 86 and Supra, there may be a probability that another such affiliation may already be in the pipelines.
Since the company is at the forefront to explore the electric car divisions, it may do so by introducing a full-fledged electric-powered prototype. An electric engine sounds fascinating for it would lead to an increase in peak performance measured in terms of horsepower. Drivers can expect an increase in the swiftness and acceleration of the car because of a lower center of gravity because of placing electric batteries under the floor.
All the models launched by Toyota to date, including the more recent ones like 86 and 2.0 Supra coupes, have been able to generate a maximum horsepower of 205 and 255 respectively. We expect the MR2 to glide this number up high to around 300+ HP. Moreover, in case Mr. Toyoda resolves to go for the same he may also have to possibly consider a long-term affiliation with Panasonic since at present it is the leading producer of EV batteries.
The most recent reports of the automobile industry suggest that the day is not far when Toyota will be power-packed to launch a fresh chapter of the MR2.