It’s been years since Honda has produced a car aimed at bringing both budget-minded and affluent automotive enthusiasts to the brand, and with increased competition both foreign (Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen) and domestic (Ford, Chevrolet), the company has to examine its product line or risk losing the buyers that once made Honda the sporty Japanese automaker. The S2000 is gone, the Civic Si is a shadow of its former self, the CR-Z isn’t worthy of the name, and the Acura NSX is God knows how far away from coming to the market. All of Honda’s rivals offer something in the way of performance, so how is it that the automaker that gave us the CRX Si has so completely lost its way?
Although three races remain in the 2013 Formula 1 season, both Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team have taken their respective championships with a stunning (if predictable) victory in India. Last week, Vettel’s closest competitor in points, Fernando Alonso, admitted that while it was technically possible to pull off a Championship victory, claiming first from Vettel was virtually impossible. Now, with Vettel’s commanding 30-second win in India, the German cemented his fourth consecutive Formula 1 title. And while Mark Webber’s retirement in Lap 40 added no points to Red Bull’s standings, the team has enough to claim the Constructors’ title as well.
The first memory I have of Porsche’s exotic is this: I was driving around the Orange County suburb of Irvine at roughly 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday with almost nobody on the road. In front of me, at a stoplight, were two V10 supercars revving their engines and ready to bolt. One was a yellow Lamborghini Gallardo, and the other, a silver Porsche Carrera GT. As soon as I heard the throaty bellow of those massive 10 cylinder, mid-engined coupes, I was hooked. The light turned green, they both sped away with exhaust notes trumpeting the departure of two of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, while I was stuck with the less-than-ideal combination of piss poor fuel economy and tepid performance of my 2000 Mustang. One day, I thought. One day. Now the Carrera GT is mine, albeit in my non-physical Dream Garage, and one day I will break it out of its fantastical state.
It may look like a stretched Cadillac sedan, but it’s not. It’s got armored doors eight inches thick. And there are 12 of them, each costing more than a Bugatti Veyron. The presidential limousine, nicknamed “The Beast,” is an 18 foot-long Cadillac DTS atop a General Motors truck chassis, one with so many safety features that the car nearly breaks the scales at about 15,000 pounds. Autoweek has interviewed a source described only as a “veteran agent” of the Secret Service, who spilled a few details about the armored limo, a vehicle so iconic that the band Nico Vega wrote a song about it.*
Did you love the Lamborghini Veneno like I didn’t? Well then, today’s your lucky day, because Lambo has announced the production of a completely roofless version that will unleash another nine Aventadors with a bodykit onto the world. The Aventador and its Veneno cousins share a 6.5L V12, which makes 750hp in the limited production cars and 700-720hp in the pedestrian Aventador. $4.5 million is the cost of this Beast, but eccentric billionaires won’t likely care about the sticker as long as they have something that nobody else in the Hamptons/Dubai/Monaco has. And therein lies the Veneno Roadster’s target market: those craving a unique product above any car objectively or subjectively better than a Veneno. Maybe no comparison matters, because after all, even though topless cars are meant to be seen in, none of these cars will see the light of day save for the short trip from trailer to climate-controlled storage space.
As previously reported, Honda is returning to Formula 1 in 2015 by way of supplying a turbo V6 for McLaren after the team retires the Mercedes engine after next year. Two days ago, Honda released an audio clip of the new motor revving. It’s no V8, but this isn’t an Accord six cylinder either. The turbo-6 makes it into McLaren’s 2015 car, which will most likely be called the MP4-30 if current naming trends continue.
The video of the Honda engine is below, along with previews of the 2014 Mercedes and Renault engines.
Everybody loves testing their new sports car at the Nürburgring. Over the last decade, the ‘Ring has become the de facto test track for manufacturers to not only hone suspension and handling setups but also to attempt to stake their claim at the top of the lap time leaderboard. The race to the top is useless for 99.99% of the world, but it is certainly thrilling to watch so many compete in a non-race atmosphere. Any assertion to a specific car’s dominance at the ‘Ring is fleeting for the simple fact that automakers will push the envelope further and further to challenge that dominance. That being said, the Porsche 918 Spyder is, for now, the ruler of the ‘Ring as far as easily available production cars go, with a lap time of 6:57 (a pair of Radicals are faster, but good luck even optioning one at either spec). Here is the 918’s speed run, as well as a recent blast through the Green Hell by the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, which clocked a better time than the Porsche Carrera S.