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2014-10-01: Ducati engined Volkswagen, four-door TT and new Aston Lagonda ...
Volkswagen XL Sport On the eve of the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen has offered a first glimpse of what is to come with the release of the XL Sport show car. The spectacular machine combines the lightweight XL1 chassis with a 200 hp Ducati V-Twin. Thanks to the great performance characteristics of the desmodromic engine and the slippery exterior design, the XL Sport is capable of a top speed of 270 km/h. According to Volkswagen this is the highest ever for a 200 hp road car.
Sister company Audi showcased their new TT Sportback Concept at the same preview evening. The first four-door TT, it is powered by a 400 hp version of the familiar turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine. It will not come as a surprise that a production version closely resembling the TT Sportback Concept will follow in the coming months.
Another four-door definitely entering production is the lavish Lagonda Super Saloon, which is specifically targeted at the Middle East. Although no further details have been released, Aston Martin Lagonda ltd. was kind enough to give us some additional images of the first Lagonda in decades.
Infiniti have also published additional images of their Q80 Inspiration show car. They also released technical details, which include a new, downsized 3-litre, twin-turbo V6 as part of a sophisticated hybrid system. The Q80 also boasts a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

2014-09-29: Slippery Mercedes, Delahaye and Lotus, and news from McLaren and Honda ...
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner Long believed to have been lost, the unique Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner returned to the limelight at the recent Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Designed by Hermann Ahrens, the slippery 540 K had originally been built to compete in the Berlin to Rome rally. After this was cancelled, the car served as a high speed tyre tester for Dunlop Germany. Upon its return to Stuttgart, it was dismantled and put in storage. Although most of the body disappeared, the original chassis was re-discovered. This prompted Mercedes-Benz Classic to resurrect the car with a spectacular result.
Known as the 'Star of India' this Delahaye 135M Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet won Best of Show earlier this month at the inaugural Chantilly Arts & Elegance. It is one of nine examples built and one of just three survivors. We had already captured the lovely Delahaye at Pebble Beach, resulting in a 22-shot gallery.
Also designed to cheat the wind was the Lotus 15 Climax. Built between 1958 and 1960, it was the first Lotus sports racer powered by the FPF Climax engine. Thanks to its aerodynamic shape, light weight and fine handling, it was often able to compete with much larger engined rivals. Our new Lotus 15 feature now includes two of the very best examples but we intend to add more chassis in the future.
Ahead of the Paris Motor Show launch, Honda this morning released more details and the first non-camouflaged images of the upcoming Civic Type R. It will have over 280 hp, a six-speed manual and a special steering rack designed to prevent torque steer.
Specifically for the Asian market, McLaren has launched the 625C in both Coupe and Spider form. Compared to the 650S, it is based on, the Asia-specific McLaren is slightly more comfortable.

2014-09-26: Spider Ferraris new and old, the first Nomad and Lotus F2 racer ...
Ferrari 458 Speciale A Ahead of the official launch next Thursday in Paris, Ferrari have released the first details of the 458 Speciale A. The 'A' is short for Aperta or Open and refers to the Spider configuration of this limited production, high performance machine. Powered by the same, 605 hp V8 engine as the Speciale coupe introduced last year, the 458 Speciale A will have a limited production run of 499 examples.
Much rarer still is the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Nart Spyder of which just ten were built. The Nart acronym refers to the North American Racing Team, which was headed by Luigi Chinetti, who was also the one who commissioned the car. One grabbed headlines last year for selling for a staggering $27.5 million at auction but we have now learned that the example on display at Pebble Beach last month changed hands earlier this year for a reported $28 million. Both of these and two more are featured in our 70-shot gallery of this striking and hugely valuable Ferrari spyder.
Especially for the newly introduced 1.6-litre Formula 2 regulations of 1967, Lotus created the Type 48. In many respects a scaled down version of the manufacturer's Formula 1 and Indy cars, it was raced with some success by Team Lotus. A sad episode in this F2 racer's history is Jim Clark's fatal accident in one at Hockenheim in April of 1968. The featured example is a very rare survivor and was raced during the 1967 season by Jim Clark. We captured it during last year's tribute to Jim Clark at the Goodwood Revival.
One of the more unusual cars on display at Chantilly earlier this month was the Nomad Mk1 Ford. This was the first of three sports racers built by Bob Curl for Mark and Gabriel Konig. It was raced with some success during the 1967 season before it was superseded by the open Mk2.

2014-09-24: All-new Mercedes-AMG C 63 AMG, TTS Roadster and more Paris news ...
Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Based on the latest, 'W205' generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class introduced earlier, Mercedes-AMG has created the all-new C 63 AMG. It boasts a similar four-litre V8 as found in the recently launched GT. What sets the all-new AMG-developed power unit apart from conventional twin turbo V8s is the 'hot inside' configuration with the exhausts and turbos mounted inside the V. In 'standard' trim, the M177 is good for 476 hp, while the optional 'S' package adds a further 34 hp to that figure. Compared to the outgoing model, the new C 63 AMG S is both more powerful and cleaner. In addition to the sedan model, an Estate will also be launched in Paris next week.
Rival Audi will also be out in force at the biennial 'Mondial de l'Automobile'. One of their main new models will be the TTS Roadster. As the name suggests, this is drop-top version of the TT Coupe introduced at the Geneva Motor Show back in March. The top of the range version will be powered by a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine good for just over 300 bhp.
One of the most interesting concept cars due to be unveiled in the French capitol is the Infiniti Q80 Inspiration of which an additional image and a little more information has just been released. According to the press release, the luxury four-door fastback sedan has a novel 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 seating arrangement. Our interpretation is that is that each of the four occupants of the car will have a separate seat.
Toyota, meanwhile, will showcase the C-HR Concept, which should lead the way for a hybrid-engined compact crossover.

2014-09-22: Maserati Monday with five V8-engined machines ...
Maserati 5000 GT Touring Coupe In this, the company's centennial year, we have seen many great examples from Maserati's rich history. Today, we have selected five of the very best, all powered by a V8 engine. The earliest of these is the V8RI, which we already featured in July. The reason we have highlighted this independently sprung Grand Prix racer again is that the recent Goodwood Revival featured two V8RIs on the grid together, most likely for the first time since the 1930s.
Another star of the Revival was the unique 420/M/58 Eldorado, which was parade of the 250F parade. Built for the 1958 Race of Two Worlds at Monza, it combined a 250F chassis with a downsized version of the 450S V8. Perhaps its biggest claim to fame was the use of a sponsorship livery for the first time on a European racing car.
A similar V8 engine was found in the 5000 GT Touring Coupe introduced late in 1959. The featured example is the second of two similar cars with the original earmarked for the Shah of Persia, who had been a driving force behind the 5000 GT road car project. One of the stars at Pebble Beach last month the second 5000 GT Touring Coupe was commissioned by Basil Read, who also owned the Kyalami racing track at the time.
Arguably the most striking of the five cars featured today is the Boomerang show car created by Giorgietto Giugiaro in the early 1970s. Using Bora underpinnings, it boasts a dramatic wedge-shape and a futuristic interior with a steering wheel that doubled as a dashboard. Even though intended as a show car, the Boomerang is fully functional and road legal.
Another Bora variant is the little known Bora Group 4, which was shown at the recent Chantilly Arts & Elegance. It was developed by the factory for a wealthy privateer, but homologation issues prevented it from living up to the high expectations.