Porsche’s people like to claim the new Cayenne GTS brings ‘emotion’ to its insanely popular SUV range. And they’re right. That emotion mainly being: “How in God’s name am I managing to corner this fast in a two-tonne 4x4?”
The Cayenne is a Porsche that will always split opinion, but, once you’re on the move, it’s always had that essential Stuttgart DNA. It shrinks around you in a way that the BMW X5s and Audi Q5s of this world simply can’t match. And the GTS version moves the game on once again.
The normally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 from the Cayenne S has been fettled to release another 20bhp, up to 414bhp, with peak torque of 380lb ft coming in at 3,500rpm. It’s also 160kg lighter than its predecessor, all of which means a 0-62mph time of 5.7secs and a vmax of 162mph.
The suspension is lowered on a completely revised chassis set-up: by 24mm on the standard steel springs or 20mm if you choose air suspension. Plus, of course, there’s Porsche’s familiar alphabet soup of options. Trick active suspension management (PASM) is fitted as standard, but for the full ‘emotion’ described above, you’ll want Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) to further reduce body roll, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) to improve handling.
The result? The best-handling SUV we’ve driven to date. With the Sport button pressed, the steering response and lack of roll is remarkable: just point and go. It’s only really when braking from speed that you become aware of all that mass surrounding you.
And it’s quite impressive:
All of the engine pimpification conspires to it delivering all of 260 Newton metres of torque from 1,750 rpm, then 280 Nm from 2,000 rpm thanks to an overboost function. You have to wait till 6000ropm to get all of the 218 horsepowers, but you won’t be twiddling your thumbs - it’ll hit 62mph in 6.3 seconds. The mid-range looks impressive, too; 50mph to 75 mph in fifth (of six) gears only takes 5.9 seconds.
Mini promises it’ll be able to lay the power down. You get a set of 17-inch 7.5-inch-wide lightweight wheels running 215/40 tyres, a package developed from the Mini Challenge race cars. There’s also fully adjustable threaded suspension, so you can drop the ride height by 20mm. The front shock absorbers are also mounted upside down in the tube, which Mini reckons increases lateral stiffness.
Click through for a sports car comparison full of pretty pictures and lots of words worth paying attention to.
There’s a gallery of wallpapers at TopGear.com
Remember the Jaguar C-X16? That gorgeous, compact sports car that gave a passing nod to the E-Type? Well, good news because Jag is going to build it, and will call it… the F-Type:
Yes, 37 years after the E-Type disappeared, Jaguar is building a spiritual successor.
At the moment, details are a little sketchy because it’s not due to go on sale until mid-2013, but we do know it will appear as a canvas-roofed convertible first and virtually unchanged from the C-X16 concept car. Other than the missing roof, obviously, and some minor aero tweaks like a pop-up spoiler.
It’s also going to be the most focused Jag yet. Think XKR-S scale of things. Which might seem a bit of a paradox, given that convertibles aren’t normally associated with hardcore driving, but for various engineering and launch-timing issues, Jag is going down this route. A coupe will follow, though, so don’t panic.
We’ve seen the concept and if you’ve seen Mission Impossible 4, you’ve seen the coupe. Now, here’s the BMW i8 Spyder:
It’ll be unveiled at this year’s Beijing auto show later this month and is, as you’d imagine, a pretty good sign that Munich’s going to give us a drop-top to join the i8 coupe. For those hard of memory, that’s the 155mph, 100mpg sportster due to land in showrooms come 2014.
BMW has kept the swan doors, which swivel up like the wings of a, umm, swan… They’re retained thanks to the amount of carbon that’s used in the i8’s super-stiff passenger ‘Life’ cell, which is made from carbonfibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).
Underneath, there’s an aluminium chassis with a lithium-ion battery buttered along its length, keeping the centre of gravity nice and low and achieving a 50:50 weight distribution. It’s got the same plug-in powertrain as the coupe, too; a petro-electro melange of 129bhp electric motor driving the front wheels and three-cylinder turbo petrol engine sending 220bhp to the rears (that’s 349bhp in all).
All together, it makes 406lb ft of torque, which gets it from 0-62mph in 5.0 seconds and a tethered top speed of 155mph. And it’s claimed it can do 20 miles of FWD on the battery alone.
Top Gear Magazine sent the Nissan Juke-R to Dubai to do battle with the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Benzes of the land. Yes, we said a Nissan Juke.
Now, before you laugh of embarrassment, remember that this is the one-off Nissan Juke-R — the one with the 478 bhp engine from the Nissan GT-R shoehorned inside.
It drives like a wrecking ball. Dense, heavy (to the tune of 1,806kg), squat, unstoppably determined. If you were to compare it to a real car, then it’s the BMW X6M, of which there are quite a few about out here, but really it’s so much better than that. Don’t get me wrong - it’s not as polished, and isn’t as talented around corners as its GT-R supercoupe sibling, but, hell, can it get places quickly.
This is just cruel. Porsche 918 supercar is more than a year away from showrooms but Top Gear Magazine got an exclusive test drive with the first production prototype and chose to share the experience with us… in words:
We’ll have the full story in the next issue of Top Gear Magazine. But here’s the executive summary for all you time-poor internauts.
The performance headlines are this. Acceleration from 0-62mph in ‘less than three’ seconds. Zero to 125mph in a time that almost matches a Bugatti Veyron. And a Nürburgring lap time (so far verified only on Porsche’s supernaturally accurate simulators), of 7.22. That’s 10 seconds faster than the old Carrera GT, and 10 seconds, to the sort of people who obsess on ‘Ring times, is an entire geologic era.
The point is when the V8 gets cracking. It’s a 4.6-litre job that revs to 9000rpm and makes a crazed 570bhp. Where the concept car had its air intakes - just behind and above your head - the real car has its exhaust tips. It sounds beyond awesome. Even though in my ride they were rev-limiting it, the noise was bouncing around my cranium for hours after.
And then, on top of that, there are the front and rear electric motors. In the ‘race hybrid mode’ their power is amped up so that between them these electric motors make 270bhp, which is more than the flat-six of an original 911 Turbo.
I guess we’ll have to wait for the magazine. In the meantime we’ve posted sketches of the production 918 above. For more detail on Top Gear’s ride, click this here link.
For those of you who love everything from the Prancing Horse, here’s footage of the hardest track-only 599 ever built:
Revealed last December at the Bologna motor show, the 599XX Evo is, naturally, the hardest 599 ever built, and we’ve just got our hands on this video footage of the bewinged monster doing some rather brave laps at the Suzuka circuit. It was there as part of a track session for Ferrari customers - the ‘Ferrari Racing Days’ programme - which saw over 300 owners run their cars, followed by a hot lap demonstration from Mika Salo in the F2008 F1 car. Why brave? Because it’s quite wet.
Coachbuilding can be a hit or miss thing: take a production car like the BMW 6, put it in the hands of Henrik Fisker and you get the interesting looking Fisker Latigo. But take a Corvette, put it in the hands of others and you get the Enodra SC-1.
Instead of the track-focused hellion of yore, the Milan-based coachbuilder (which also invented Superleggera lightweight construction, as it goes) has created this rather pretty chap’s grand tourer. It doffs its hat to the ‘52 original with a boattail rump, tiny rear lamps, shrouded front wheel and a chrome pinstripe.
All of the oily bits are lifted from a “normal” 8C. That means there’s a 450bhp 4.7-litre V8 - built at the Ferrari factory, no less - automated manual ‘box, top speed of 181mph and 4.2sec 0-62mph time hiding under the skin.
Rumors suggest that a very limited number will be sold and that the Disco Volante will be pretty pricey.
But at least it’s pretty, right?