Car News Roundup – August
The summer months tend to be a time when most car manufacturers consider winding down for the holidays and focus on a few weeks in the sun rather than releasing a new car. That is until one of the most prestigious events on the calendar comes around, the legendary Monterey Car Week in California. With the world’s motoring press descending on the Pacific Coast city for 10 days and some of the most sought-after cars ever made making an appearance at various events, it is the perfect occasion for some of the most illustrious car companies around to show off their latest creations.
Here is our roundup of some of the cars you may have missed released this month:
Mercedes Benz AMG GT
The AMG GT has been around since 2015 yet manages to still be a very attractive prospect in whatever iteration you consider. More of a performance GT car than an out and out supercar, yet with the range including the fearsome GT-R and even more extreme GT-R Pro, your AMG GT can be as track focussed or as comfortable as you wish. Though the looks may not have dated despite the longevity of the model, the technology most definitely has moved on. Mercedes have been asking their customers before coming up with their new flagship and have taken on board what people wanted from the new version.
The second-generation AMG GT may look not too dissimilar than the first-generation on the outside, but as Porsche have shown with the 911, why change a winning formula too much. An all-new chassis, variable four-wheel drive and all-wheel steering ensure that this GT is much more capable than the one it replaces. The whole interior is brand new and bang up to date with a huge portrait touchscreen control running their latest MBUX system, but perhaps the most surprising part of the interior is that there is now the option for 2+2 seating. The 4.0 twin-turbocharged V8 engine remains in 469bhp and 577bhp form, however Mercedes haven’t ruled out the possibility of a plug-in hybrid version in the pipeline.
Whilst Mercedes have stuck to what they know with a V8 engine for their newest car, Lamborghini have ventured into pastures new with an all-electric concept car called the Lanzador. Looking like a chopped coupe version of the Urus but with even more angular and sleek styling, the Lanzador may be a concept but as with many Lamborghini previews it is never far from the production version and as such is ‘planned for 2028’.
Lamborghini were quick to claim that the Urus upon launch created a new sector in the first Super SUV and have also stated that this new car is said to be the first ‘Ultra GT’. According to Lamborghini the SUV sized coupe form 2+2 format Lanzador will have 2 electric motors, one for each axle, to provide all-wheel drive and a combined power delivery in excess of 1 megawatt (1,340bhp). Handling all that power will be a new version of their LDVI dynamic control system as well as four-wheel steering, active aerodynamics and adjustable air suspension. It just goes to show that a switch to electric power doesn’t mean they have to lose any of their ‘Lamborghini-ness’.
Maserati’s racing heritage has intertwined with Ferrari’s over many years and ultimately led to one of their greatest road going racing cars of recent times, the MC12. Basically a rebodied Enzo, the MC12 arguably looked even better than the legendary hypercar from the prancing horse and is even more rare thanks to only 50 being built, double the original intended but still much less than the 400 reported Enzo’s built. Maserati have used their current supercar offering, the MC20, and produced a stripped-out track-only supercar that will be their most powerful model yet, tuning the same 3.0-litre V6 Nettuno engine to 730bhp whilst reducing its weight by almost 250kg.
Built as a spiritual successor to the MC12, just 62 MCXtrema models will be built and are designed to ‘unleash a true racing beast, something different and disruptive compared with anything that has ever been done before’. A very bold claim and with a very bold price starting at £963,000 when the car it is based on, the MC20, starts at under £200,000. Not that it matters as according to Maserati each of the cars are already spoken for.
The road-going single seater open top supercar from BAC has been in production since 2011 and over that time has been fettled and improved, but ultimately remains the same car it has been since the beginning. Despite being completely road legal its exceptional performance on a track means it holds many lap records around the world and has collected many awards by prestigious publications for the way it drives.
After 12 years BAC have launched the new generation of Mono with the Mono F joining the Mono R in the line-up. Using turbocharging for the first time, the Mono F uses the age-old formula of more power less weight to increase the capabilities of the impressive car even further. Despite looking very similar, BAC have redesigned every single panel of the new car to ‘reduce the visual and give a lighter aesthetic’. With a weight of just 570kg and a power output of 332bhp, the Mono is surely the most authentic racing experience for the road that money can buy.
Bugatti Chiron Golden Era
As if purchasing a Bugatti wasn’t special enough, a very well-heeled client has commissioned this exceptional custom creation to enhance their Chiron even further. Following two years of design and bespoke craftsmanship working closely with Bugatti’s ‘Sur Mesure’ customisation team, the Golden Era Chiron was the result. Taking a Chiron Super Sport as a starting point, the most obvious feature are the 45 hand sketches to the paintwork, 26 on the passenger side showing the early days of the brand and 19 on the driver’s side following the brand’s rebirth from 1987 to today. The sketches were hand drawn directly to the car in pencil and took over 400 hours by the skilled designers.
All this was painstakingly recreated on the bodywork finished in a custom shade of Gold named ‘Doré’ and a special metallic variant of Nocturne Black. Inside the leather colours mimic the exterior shades and the hand drawn sketches adorn the door panels, with ‘Golden Era’ script to the seats as week as ‘One of One’ details on the carbon fibre interior trim. The buyers of this exceptional creation are of course guarded in the upmost secrecy, yet a personal handover at the pinnacle of the Monterey Car Week events after being shown on the Bugatti stand is probably as exclusive as you can get.
Aston Martin DB12 Volante
Having already unveiled their successor to the DB11 in coupe form, the logical next step would be the Volante version of their latest DB12 from Aston Martin. Always an elegant addition to the lineup, Monterey was the perfect occasion to introduce the DB12 Volante to essentially their perfect target market. The upmost in luxury and refinement from that exceptional all-new interior, now visible for all to see with the roof down as you doff your cap to those who also enjoy the jet set lifestyle.
Claimed to be the world’s first ‘Super Tourer’, the Volante follows the more driver focused, athletic direction of the Coupe, but in an even more stylish and image driven aesthetic. Gone are the days when the Volante was a less rigid and less capable form of an Aston Martin Coupe, merely for posing and wafting around the streets at slow speeds. These days the dynamics of the Coupe are carried on and in Volante form, the symphony of the exhaust note that often comes with an Aston Martin has even less in the way to dampen the sound, only these days it snarls with AMG power.
Ford Mustang GTD
For those in the European market, the announcement of a Mustang GTD sounds like a disaster and the worst dilution of the name since the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. But fear not, the GTD in this name does not mean that Ford have lost their minds and put a Diesel engine in their latest Mustang, quit the opposite in fact. The GTD is a carbon fibre bodied, aerodynamically enhanced, track ready, $300,000 iteration of the motoring icon.
As usual with these types of special editions, it has been conceived by a handful of Ford’s finest engineers, tasking themselves with producing something very special indeed, and aiming very high in the process. Targeting a sub-seven-minute lap time of the Nürburgring means they are going toe-to-toe with the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, the Mercedes-AMG GT Back Series and the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. With a target output in excess of 800bhp, the GTD is the most powerful production car Ford have ever produced and is based on the Mustang GT3 that will race at Le Mans next year.
Rolls Royce Amethyst Droptail
When Monterey is on everyone’s minds and the cars on show are of such calibre it is difficult to stand out amongst the crowd. But for a car company like Rolls Royce, it’s more like second nature. Their latest creation is the Amethyst Droptail, a unique model built completely bespoke for one of their most discerning, and obviously unnamed, customers. Rolls Royce call it ‘a breathtaking coachbuilt masterpiece’ and with an estimated price in the tens of millions of pounds they may have a point.
Inspired by the birthstone of the customer’s son, the Amethyst takes the idea of ‘custom build’ and takes it to Rolls Royce levels of attention to detail. The levels of craftsmanship on show are something that only Rolls Royce can pull off and are an example of what they can really achieve when they are unrestricted by price.
Obviously, there are Amethyst gems are incorporated into the interior and exterior as you’d expect, the two tone exterior colour is Amethyst Purple and another shade inspired by the Amaranth wild flower that grows in the desert near one of the client’s homes. Then there’s the veneer aft deck, the largest wooden surface ever produced by the company and the only aerodynamically functional wood surface on a modern car. Not just any wood, but wood that had to match the leather interior perfectly, so over 100 logs were reviewed by expert craftsmen to find the perfect piece. The Pantheon grille is partly hand brushed and partly hand polished for a unique appearance, the carbon fibre has a gloss lacquer tinted with Amethyst pigment, even the electrochromic roof is purple tinted when opaque, and matches the tan of the leather when clear. Now that’s attention to detail.
Based on their already extreme Battista electric hypercar, Pininfarina decided to unveil and even more extreme version during Monterey Car Week. The B95, B for Barchetta and 95 for the 95th anniversary of the company, is a limited production roofless version designed for the track. Using the same carbon fibre underpinnings as the Battista, the B95’s four electric motors produce 1,876bhp meaning a projected 0-62mph time of under 2 seconds and a top speed of 186mph. Presumably lower than the Battista’s 222mph top speed due to the lack of windscreen and nothing to protect you from whatever’s coming at you at that speed.
Whilst the interior is also unchanged from the Battista, it comes in a special Tan leather with Black and white houndstooth trim and contrasting stitching. It also comes with the option for matching helmets, presumably a must with no windscreen. Just 10 examples are scheduled for production at a cost of $4.4 million (£3.8 million) and is said to include unlimited bespoke opportunities, much like its Coupe sibling.
Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
A very late addition to the month but something that Alfa Romeo have been teasing for many weeks now, and it was definitely worth the wait. Bringing back an iconic name from one of their most legendary cars from their history, and putting it to their last combustion engine supercar, the 33 Stradale is something very special indeed. Being a flagship Alfa Romeo it is of course utterly stunning to look at and features just enough retro touches and styling details to ensure it carries over enough symbolism to the original 1960’s sports car. But there is nothing old fashioned about this new version.
Available with a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces 620bhp or as a fully electric version with 3 motors producing at least a combined 750bhp, the car utilises a carbon fibre monocoque, carbon fibre roof, top-hinged butterfly doors and a development team that includes Valterri Bottas no less. Whilst they only produced 18 of the original 33 Stradale, the numbers are increased for this new version, at 33 cars, and will cost at least £1.7 million before taxes. Not that you can order one as predictably they have all been accounted for.
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