Ignore the Silly Name—the 812 Superfast Is the Most Powerful Ferrari Ever
Ferrari unveiled its latest cannon today, ahead of next month’s Geneva International Motor Show: The 812 Superfast marks Maranello’s fastest, most powerful production car ever.
Sure, there’s some historical significance here—the first Ferrari V12 premiered 70 years ago—and Ferrari has jumped on the chance to continue its tradition of giving cool cars stupid and unwieldy names (see: F12berlinetta, LaFerrari, GTC4Lusso). It’s actually not the first ‘Superfast’—the automaker debuted the 500 Superfast, also at the Geneva show, in 1964.
But this two-seater is really an exercise in numbers. The successor to Ferrari’s F12berlinetta carries a 6.5 liter V12, good for around 800 horsepower when you rev the engine to 8,500 rpm. Max torque is 530 pound-feet, all of it pushed to the rear wheels. Zero to 60 mph comes in just 2.9 seconds; top speed is 211 mph. Price is still TBD.
Ferrari says this is its first car to have electric power steering, and the latest version of what it calls Side Slip Control, that tech that keeps wealthy customers from smashing their cars the moment all that power kicks in.
For enthusiasts, though, the 812 Superfast marks a bittersweet moment. Reports indicate this will be the last Ferrari to pack a naturally aspirated engine, before shifting its focus to powerplants with turbochargers and hybrid assists, in the name of improved emissions. Because even Ferrari must consider the health of the planet and bow to ever stricter regulations. At least this era of the prancing horse will close with a V12 roar.
If dropping a few million dollars on a brand new supercar isn’t enough to get you going, maybe it’s time you considered a classic. Like, say, the 1957 Jaguar XKSS going up for sale next month. Just be sure to warn your accountant ahead of time, because auction house Gooding & Co. expects this rolling sculpture to sell for $16 to $18 million.
What makes the XKSS one of the most valuable cars on the planet? More than the obvious beauty of those curves, rarity: Jaguar built just 16 examples of this car. (It planned for 25, but a factory fire destroyed nine unfinished chassis.) It’s been more than a decade since one of the sweet 16 went up for sale.
The XKSS is a more refined, road-going version of the racing-oriented Jaguar D-Type. This car, chassis number 716, lived with its first owner in Montreal, saw a bit of action on the track, and was fully restored about a decade ago. If the bidding at Florida’s Amelia Island Auction gets frenzied—likely, since who knows when another XKSS will come up for sale—the D-Type that fetched $21.8 million at auction last year could look the bargain.
In an odd twist, you can also opt for a new XKSS: Jaguar’s classic division is now building the nine “lost” nine cars, with a few tiny updates for safety, and selling them for just $1.25 million or so. But where’s the fun in that?
When Mercedes started building the G-Wagen in the early 70s, the SUV was a utilitarian thing, ideal for military (and soon after, civilian) operators who actually needed to drive where paved roads don’t lead. Over the past 40 years, the vehicle has clung to the angular, boxy, working-class look—but a peek inside reveals this car has gone soft. Like, butter in the Dubai sun soft.
Today, the German automaker unveiled the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, the most luxurious G-Class ever. As you’d expect, that means a V12 biturbo engine that puts out 630 horsepower, more screens than you could possibly look at, and enough leather to put cattle on the endangered species list.
The real craziness hits you in the back. Mercedes stretched the wheelbase of the standard G-Wagen by just under two feet, then dropped in two of the “first class” rear seats from its executive-shlepping S-Class. Und voila: As you carom down alpine paths, mowing down mountain goats and bighorn sheep, your passengers can fully recline and enjoy a massage, while the cup holders keep their fine coffees hot and their sparkling waters cold.
Because privacy is everything, a glass partition can seal the driver off from the passengers, flipping from transparent to opaque at the push of a button. And because being seen is even more important, the canvas soft top covering the backseat opens with the whir of a motor—not the pull of an arm.
Mercedes will build just 99 Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulets, and will sell them for a yet to be revealed, certainly extraordinary cost. So if you’re the 100th most ridiculous person in Dubai—where superlatives are worth almost any asking price—better luck next time.
Everyone could probably use some top-line safety tech on the road—the glossy features that keep cars in their lane, out of blind spot trouble, and from smashing into a suddenly stopped truck up ahead. But Dodge’s newest update rolls out the latest in safety to those whose job is, well, safety: cops.
The carmaker just announced its latest Charger Pursuit—one of the most popular vehicles for US law enforcement agencies—will come ready to spot (and foil) ambushes from the back, thanks to a rear-facing camera and radar system. As a bonus, parent company Fiat Chrysler will provide the feature to law enforcement agencies free of charge. (You know, after they buy the car.)
This is a less a leap forward than a clever repurposing of Dodge’s existing technology. The “Officer Protection Package” uses the car’s rear park assist and backup camera features to warn police if there’s someone lurking behind them. If a human (or, perhaps, large dog) trips the system’s rear-facing sensor, a chime inside the car serves as a warning. The cops can then use the rear-facing camera display inside the car to see what’s up. Phew, looks like Lassie’s just heading home.
No, but seriously: Police officers secure in the knowledge of exactly what’s going on around them are police officers better equipped to make clear, non-panicked decisions. Now someone get to work building them actual eyes for the backs of their heads.
Jaguar Land Rover has a rich heritage of building cool cars, and lately, it’s started up a new tradition of turning that patrimony into patrimoney. Three months after Jaguar relaunched the 1950s-era XKSS, its SUV-slinging sibling has started “Range Rover Reborn,” a program to revamp cars it built in the 1970s for life on today’s roads.
The XKSS program involves making new cars based on old specs, the way the Amish build barns. This scheme, by contrast, is all about restoring decrepit machines that look like they’ve been living in barns, and selling them for truckloads of money.
The British automaker isn’t the first to cash in on people’s appetite for its classic work. Jonathan Ward’s ICON in Southern California has been restoring vintage trucks (among other ancient rides) for years.
But now the company itself gets a piece of the action. For its program, Land Rover’s starting with a 1978, three-door Range Rover Classic (that’s what they called it, even back then), powered by a 3.5-liter V8 and controlled with a four-speed manual transmission. Everything comes back to original specs—right down to the historically accurate paint job (in this case, Bahama Gold) and interior trim. The company refurbishes the original engine, which means you’ll get to enjoy the old-school, glorious design and almost certainly also the authentic feel of what’s it like to have your carburetor break. Hey, that’s part of the experience.
All you need is $170,000, and maybe a mechanic on retainer.
The Aston Martin Vanquish has been around in its current form since 2012, and the drop-dead gorgeous, drop top, Volante version is just a year younger.
The aging design still gets people drooling, and the British car maker has kept it alive by bolstering it to an ‘S’ version (for upgraded performance) and adding new aerodynamic styling elements like an exposed carbon fiber splitter and diffuser, and quad exhausts.
Now, Aston has revealed the Vanquish Volante S, ‘volante’ designating the convertible version, naturally.
Aston’s engineers matched the new car’s flowing lines with an upgraded version of the 6.0-liter V12 engine (also carried by its Vanquish S coupe model) which now pumps out 580 hp. There are no turbochargers here—a rarity nowadays—but a freer-breathing intake manifold design should improve throttle response.
Inside, there are some incomprehensible but obvi desirable options like a “Satin Chopped Carbon Fiber” fascia panel and “Sumptuous Bridge of Weir Caithness leather”. They probably make sense to the craftspeople in Gaydon, England, who hand assemble the cars, before selling the Vanquish S Volante to fancy people everywhere, starting at $312,950.
If you’re looking for a visceral driving experience, one that mainlines the glorious roar of internal combustion directly into your bloodstream, you’re probably not headed for an Audi dealership. Something Italian is more your style, the stereotype says.
Audi is pushing back against that notion with the 2017 R8 V10 Spyder, the latest drop-top riff on its vaunted supercar. The convertible bit is important here, because once you’ve opened it up (the electrohydraulic system will do it in 20 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph), you can more fully appreciate the raucous 5.2-liter V10 engine.
That naturally aspirated—no turbochargers, for those who don’t speak gearhead—mill cranks out 540 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. Admirable figures, those. You’ll probably never drive it hard enough to feel all that push and pull, but you’ll certainly hear it. (You’ll also hear your accountant gasp at the $175,100 base price.)
Other benefits include a refreshed design that pushes the cockpit forward in a slightly wider, shorter car that before. The lightweight classic is mostly aluminum and plenty stiff, even with the top lopped off. The seats adjust in 18 directions to keep you perfectly comfortable, and the Bang and Olufsen sound system includes speakers in the headrest, in case you somehow get tired of hearing the engine.
Rolls-Royce does a lot of fancy stuff. Littering the interior of its cars with hundreds of diamonds (not the steering wheel, for safety reasons). Outfitting the headliner with fiber optic cables that recreate the starry sky as seen from anywhere on the planet, at any point in history. Tailoring paint jobs and interior appointments to suit any whim, no matter how … aesthetically challenged.
Yet such things are a bit too plebeian for Stephen Hung. The head of the soon-to-open ultra-luxe hotel The 13 wanted a pair of vehicles to carry his well-heeled guests around Macau. So he commissioned the two most expensive Phantoms that Rolls-Royce has ever built.
And what made them so expensive? Gold.
Gold in the paint. Gold on the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. Gold in the handles of the umbrellas tucked into the doors. Gold thread in the headliner (the fiber optics mimic the stars over Macau on the day of the hotel’s groundbreaking). Gold tread plates (those things you step on as you get in and out.) And a gold “coachline” (that pinstripe running along the side of the car) painted by Rolls’ “resident expert coachline painter,” with a “fine squirrel hair paintbrush.” (We like to think the rodents in question are descendants of that famous waterskiing squirrel, and pals with the Queen’s corgis.)
wizards magi alchemists scientists engineersartisans at Rolls-Royce needed eight tries to get the gold paint just right. They settled on a 10-layer solution, including a 40-micron layer of gold, with glass and aluminum added for that extra shine. Because you just can’t get enough shine.
The 13 hotel, designed to make Marie Antoinette feel like a peasant, begins receiving guests early this year. Expect to see these cars at the opening ceremony, ready to put the Au in Macau.
A week after busting out next year’s F-150 pickup, Ford unveiled the latest riff on its other marquee player, the Mustang. Like the truck, it gets a crisp refreshing of the redesign Ford unveiled in 2013.
Rather than muck up a good thing, Dearborn opted for a touchup over a makeover. The 2018 car is a bit lower, a bit sleeker, and a bit shapelier.
The bigger changes are under the sheet metal. As with the F-150, Ford is giving Mustang owners a taste of all the driver assistance features it has cooked up in recent years. The latest version of a car that first hit the road in 1965 sports lane keeping assist, pedestrian detection, and a distance alert that squawks when you’re coming up too fast on the slowpoke ahead.
A 12-inch digital instrument cluster (an increasingly common sight) lets you scroll between the speedometer and tach, lap timer, trip info, and more. You can even pick your own color scheme.
Under the hood, Ford offers the same four-cylinder “EcoBoost” engine (the marketing department’s term for, “it has a turbocharger”) and the 5-liter V8. Gone is the V6 that was less powerful and less efficient than the four-banger. If you insist on letting the car shift gears, you can get the 10-speed (!) slushbox. Of course you want the six-speed manual, because manuals are better.
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