Mazda RX-7 Revival Rumors Resurface Again; Could get a 250HP Rotary Engine

The strenuous back and forth on the resurrection tale of Mazda's much-missed Mazda RX-7 series continues with a fresh report from Autoweek magazine.

Swiftly bypassing the misleading title "Is this the new Mazda RX-7?" positioned above a photo under which there's a caption in a tiny font size that reads, "The next Mazda RX-7 could resemble this artist's rendering", the publications mentions that the coupe is still on the cards (and if you must know, the above photo is a rendering from Carscoops' Josh Byrnes).

It says that, while Mazda bosses are officially stating there are "no concrete" plans for a new RX-7, in private conversations executives have admitted that a new coupe with a new rotary engine is on its way and could go on sale by 2016.

The project is reportedly "planned as the MX-5's platform mate", with the roadster model believed to debut at next year's Chicago Auto Show.

And whereas new Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai recently told reporters that a rotary engine is not viable due to low sales numbers, the magazine says the automaker is developing a new generation, naturally-aspirated rotary unit with some 250hp for the next RX-7, which it says, should weigh around 2,800 pounds / 1,270kg, or about the same as the Scion FR-S (2,758 lbs).

Marchionne States that Roadster Produced with Mazda May Not Necessarily Wear Alfa's Badge

We told you about the rumors regarding the Fiat Group having second thoughts on placing an Alfa Romeo badge on the roadster that Fiat and Mazda are jointly developing, with Mazda’s version to be badged as the next-generation MX-5. Now, we have the official word on the matter from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne.

“The brand that we use will be chosen in due time. I don’t believe there was an irrevocable obligation to use an Alfa architecture,” Marchionne said at a press conference at the Geneva auto show. “Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. The important thing is that industrially the project is moving forward,” the executive added.

This latest statement seems to support an earlier declaration from September 2013, when Marchionne said there won’t be any Alfa Romeos built outside of Italy as long as he is boss.

Under the initial January 2013 announcement, the Alfa Romeo roadster was supposed to be built together with the next-gen MX-5 at Mazda’s plant in Hiroshima, Japan, with each car to sport different styling and engines. However, a report from Automotive News Europe said Fiat may consider giving the roadster to the Fiat brand or Abarth performance sub-brand.

Despite uncertainty regarding the brand Fiat will choose to put on the roadster, Marchionne said the Italian carmaker will go forward with the project and that it is currently in discussions with Mazda. “We remain committed to using that architecture with our powertrains,” the executive said.

Mazda Has the Secret to Make Petrol Engines Emit Less CO2 than it Takes to Charge EVs

While it may sound hard to believe, there’s actually some sense to be made in what was said by Mazda, when they announced that next-gen SKYACTIV engines will be so green that they will emit less CO2 than what is emitted in order to charge an electric vehicle.

As you’d imagine, the statement itself is so vague that it could be made to sound true, even if it wasn’t. However, we don’t need to do that, because it can be backed up with actual arguments, according to GreenCarReports.

They explain that if these new engines really do emit 30 percent less than what we’re measuring now, then in some cases, where the local power grid is run by burning coal, for instance, then yes, the statements holds true.

It all depends on how the power is produced, and it should be something to be considered if you want to go out and buy an EV. If all you’re doing is simply moving the source of the pollution to the power plant, that’s obviously not really what the dictionary would call a solution.

However, making such statements official is a bit too much, and Mazda should concentrate on actually reaching its efficiency and emissions goals, instead of telling us that they’re aiming for them years in advance. It plans to increase the current compression ratio of its SKYACTIV engines from 14:1 to 18:1 and try to make the unit run more like a diesel by incorporating elements of homogenous charge-compression ignition (HCCI).

These new SKYACTIV units will make their global debut around the year 2020.

Latest Forza Motorsport 5 Car Pack Leaves Us Scratching Our Head

As we scrolled down the roster of the latest car pack for Forza Motorsport 5, the Hot Wheels Car Pack, our expression became bemused over the strange mix of vehicles that we now have at our disposal. This is quite unlike any of the other sets of DLC Turn 10 Studios has offered.

Sure, there are the typical headliner cars – the Lamborghini Veneno and 2015 Audi S3 – that will appeal to the mainstream racing fan or auto enthusiast. But this latest car pack is so jammed full of nuggets of automotive weirdness that it's hard not to get excited.

The Hot Wheels pack has no shortage of racers, with a particular focus on historical offerings. A 1939 Auto Union Type D covers the pre-war era of Formula One, while a 1967 Lotus 49 and a 1952 Ferrari 375 represent post-war racing. For a modern twist, a Mazda USF2000 car slots in below the Indy Lights car from the Nürburgring booster pack.

From here, things get vintage and weird. There are a pair of delightfully offbeat coupes, in the form of a 1974 Toyota Celica GT and a 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT (here's hoping we get a vintage Holden Monaro in the future). Those two are joined by a 1956 Ford F-100, which your author already plans on converting into a dragster with vinyl flames down the side (because that's what all vintage pickups should be).

The new ride we're most excited about, though, is the 1983 GMC Vandura G-1500. Yes, that's the van from The A-Team, and we're sure it will prove to be an excellent canvas for the artists of FM5 to cover with airbrushed, fire-breathing unicorns and mystical, gray-haired wizards (or just poorly painted letters that read "Free Candy").

This latest car pack is the final monthly car pack for FM5, although Turn 10 is quick to point out that while the monthly updates are over, there will still be new batches of cars made available to gamers. As for the Hot Wheels pack, it's available now on Xbox Live for $9.99.

BBR Mazda MX-5 Turbo or TRD-Tuned Toyota GT86?

Both the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota GT86 (Scion FR-S) suffer from having too little power, whichever one you go for. This is apparent whatever sporty car you climb out of before driving either of them, but as the EVO video posted below tries to illustrate, there’s no harm in trying to improve these cars to really make the best of their chassis.

First off, the Toyota can be had with a list of factory updates, in the form of a TRD kit. However, that does nothing to up the power and torque of the GT86, the car’s two main quibbles. It does address the grip problem brought about by the use of 17-inch Prius tires in the basic car by swapping them out for larger 18-inch forged rims with much better rubber.

Still not fast enough, but that’s where the MX-5, tuned by BBR, comes in with 70 hp more than the stock GT86, courtesy of a turbo kit. It’s a car that has been slightly neglected ever since the Toyobaru came out, but as the folloowing comparison illustrates, in this slightly-tuned guise, it’s actually a better choice (for the money).

All-New 2015 VW Passat Loses Rear Doors in PhotoShop

VW's all-new Passat didn’t blow anybody’ socks off when it was revealed last week, but that’s normal, because it’s a Passat and it’s intentional. It did, however, show the new way forward for VW styling, in actual production form, and it’s a better, more rakish way than before.

The shape could probably even successfully spawn a two-door version of itself, to be a kind of cut-price Audi A5 with a people’s badge on the front and friendlier price – a direct rival for Renault’s Laguna Coupe?

VW has not hinted at the possibility of a Passat coupe, though, judging by how well the (new) look is complimented by only two doors, they really should.

XTomi has gone ahead and created such a version, with the power of painstaking photo editing. The result is the orange car in the photo posted below.

What do you think? Would there be a business case for VW with this car?

Ken Block and friends race light in silly-beautiful Castrol commercial

How does one make fast, loud, drifting cars better? Well, you can add more fast, loud, drifting cars or you can add lasers. Either or, really. In this case, Castrol did the right thing and added both, creating a highly stylized commercial for its Edge Titanium motor oil starring South African racer Adrian Zaugg, BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus, Audi DTM and Le Mans staple Mike Rockenfeller and some bloke named Ken Block.

Their cars? No surprise, but Block is in his Ford Fiesta GRC, while Zaugg samples a Lamborghini Aventador and Farfus and Rockenfeller drive along party lines, with a BMW M4 and an Audi R8, respectively. And those cars look good, too, thanks to the creative light and laser work on display.

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Porsche Recasts This Whole Hybrid Business in a Most Amazing Way

Funnyman Louis C.K. does a widely known bit summed up by a phrase uttered early in the performance: “Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy.” (Go ahead and Google it now, but promise you’ll come back to us. Beware the YouTube wormhole!) He’s talking about personal technology, but the perspective applies to today’s car industry, too. Take a moment to count your blessings as a car enthusiast in today’s world, and you’ll quickly realize you’re going to need a longer moment.

We have Miatas and BRZ/FR-Ss, GTIs and Focus STs, 300-hp V-6 Mustangs (and 400-hp V-8s), 495-hp Jaguar roadsters, 11-second Mercedes-Benz station wagons, and a handful of exotics (and sometimes even near-exotics) in the 10s. There are also 200-mph sedans, beautiful things, weird things—in short, there’s no shortage of something for everyone. This, plus forums to talk about these things, eBay and Bring a Trailer to buy them, and a mind-blowing generation of video games that let us realistically experience the dreams we can’t afford. Yet the mood in the automotive sphere tends to be a little dreary. We yearn for the good old days or, more often, fear the bad ones to come. Diesels and hybrids and EVs are the future, and they’re going to ruin it all.

Except they won’t, so you can put away your sad trombone. On top of all that other great stuff comes a curious new phenomenon: The million-dollar, 900-hp hybrid hypercar. Want even more evidence that things are going well? In the past decade, several companies have quit making minivans, yet now three different automakers build these insane hybrids. We’ve yet to drive the Ferrari LaFerrari or McLaren P1, but we just clambered out of Porsche’s 918 Spyder, and it turns out that hybrids can be pretty awesome.

The Hybrid Ambassador

There’s no family-hybrid-esque Atkinson-cycle four puttering away beneath the 918’s perforated engine cover. Think, instead, high-output V-8 bristling with modern engine technology. Porsche says the engine was derived from that in the Le Mans class-winning RS Spyder, but you really need to stretch the definition of “derived” for that to be the case. In large part, the only commonalities between the RS Spyder’s 3.4-liter and the 918’s 4.6 are that they both have flat-plane cranks and 90-degree vee angles, and saying that 90-degree vees on two eight-cylinders implies shared roots is like claiming you and Billy Joel must be cousins because you both have goatees.

But if the 918’s engine shares little with the racing car’s mill, it also shares little with those of any lesser Porsches. For starters, it breathes in reverse. Air enters from the outside of the heads and is exhausted in the valley of the vee. Then, rather than wind their way to the back of the car, the spent gases simply exit skyward from a pair of gaping cannons mounted immediately aft of the occupants’ heads. There’s not room for much muffling before this happens, which is fine by us—not to mention a boon to driver alertness. The block and the heads are aluminum, the connecting rods are titanium, and the exhaust system is Inconel, a lightweight and super-expensive nickel-based alloy. Keeping the internals light and the crank flat means the V-8 can rev to 9150 rpm, a speed at which it emits a scream of such intense, pure rage that we felt obliged to apologize. (The V-8 continued screaming nonetheless.)

Carrera GT + 930 Turbo = 918 Spyder

The V-8 makes 608 horsepower, three more than in Porsche’s previous limited-edition flagship, the Carrera GT. But the 918 then adds roughly the output of another old flagship, the 930 Turbo, via two electric motors. One wedges in between the V-8 and seven-speed PDK transmission; the other sits aft of the front cargo hold. The battery pack sits low behind the passengers within the carbon-fiber monocoque. Total system output from the engine and motors sits at 887 horsepower and a maximum of 944 lb-ft of torque. (For even more details on the 918’s powertrain and its operation, check out technical director Don Sherman’s prototype drive here.) We weren’t able to gather instrumented test data, but figure on a 0-to-60-mph time of 2.6 seconds and a quarter-mile time of about 10 flat. And in case you missed it, the 918 Spyder is the first production car ever to break the seven-minute barrier at the Nürburgring. Not only that, but Porsche’s drivers say they were told to exercise caution and insist they could do better than the 6:57 they stamped into the record books. Chalk one up for hybrid goodwill.

It’s a good thing the seats back up to a bulkhead, because under full throttle, the 918 feels as though it might rip them clean out of the floorboards. Every time you floor it, you get a preview of your first (or next) face lift. The pull is relentless. With two different types of electric motors spinning at two different speeds, a gas V-8, and Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox all operating in concert, this is among the most sophisticated powertrains on the road. But occupants feel no transition of power flow between motors and engine. To the end user, it simply feels incredibly fast and unbelievably seamless. Not since we discovered QWOP and browser-window Asteroids have we been so happy with computers.

Yes, We Are That Good

If Porsche were actually concerned with keeping the seats moored, it would have had to hem in its lightweight buckets on all sides, because this car generates stupefying g forces in all directions. What’s truly amazing, though, is how approachable this car’s supernatural powers are. We lapped Spain’s 2.5-mile Circuit de Valencia behind a 911 Turbo S—no slouch itself, logging a 7:27 on the Nürburgring—piloted by Porsche’s own test driver. While the 911 savant in the Turbo S manhandled his mount around the track, wringing every millisecond from his lap time, we flounced along behind, a little bored by the lack of effort required to stay on his bumper.

All-New 2015 VW Passat: First Photos and Live Video from Presentation

Ladies and gents, this is Europe's eighth-generation Volkswagen Passat and it was unveiled today during a special press meeting in Berlin, prior to the mid-size model's world premiere at the Paris Motor Show.

We've said it before, but it doesn't hurt to say it one more time; the new B8 is for Europe and other regions around the globe, excluding North America that has its own (mediocre-flavored…) Passat.

Unlike the current Passat B7 that was essentially a revised version of the previous B6, the Euro Passat B8 is a completely new car built on the Volkswagen Group's modular MQB platform, sporting a new range of engines and fresh technologies like the fully-digital instrument cluster.

VW has yet to grace us with an official release, but Autobild magazine got a hold of it and learned that the new 2015 Passat is up to 85kg or 188 pounds lighter and up to 20 percent more fuel efficient than the B7. It has about the same overall length, but the wheelbase has grown to 2.79m or about 109.8 inches, while the sedan model benefits from a boot capacity increase of 21 liters to 586 liters, and the estate, of 47 liters to an opulent 650 liters.

In Europe, the Passat will have up to ten direct-injection turbocharged engines ranging in output from 120PS to 280PS (118hp to 276hp), including a 240PS (237hp) 2.0-liter TDI diesel and a 211PS (208hp) plug-in hybrid variant combining a 1.4-liter TSI petrol unit and an electric motor.

We'll have more on the latest Passat soon, so stay tuned.

CarBuyer Compares Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5 and Dacia Duster, Guess Which Car Won

What would you choose between a Dacia Duster, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai? CarBuyer asks this question in a video review of the three SUVs presented by Rebecca Jackson and Mat Watson.

Some people, including myself, may argue that comparing the budget Dacia Duster (which in the UK is not yet available in the facelifted version) with the more upmarket Mazda CX-5 and Nissan Qashqai is a little exaggerated, but the result of this review will no doubt surprise you.

The Dacia is deemed the best of the three SUVs off-road, but the worst on the road. Mat Watson describes it as archaic, but let’s not forget that it’s by far the cheapest of the three. As for the Nissan and the Mazda, they play a similar game, but there are quite a lot of things separating them. Scroll down to find out which car won the review.

2015 Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition Comes to NY, Only 100 Cars Slated for U.S.

We kidded about Mazda bringing the next generation 2016 MX-5 to the New York Auto Show on April 1, and in some sense, it did, as the Japanese firm showed the car's completed transmission and suspension systems. The other big news for the MX-5 in New York is the presentation of a special 25th Anniversary Edition of the current model, with only 100 cars slated for sale in the States.

Available for order later this spring, the 2015 MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition's key gains a handful of mechanical and cosmetic upgrades, beginning with a fine-tune of the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated unit that gains new components such as pistons, connecting rods and flywheel.

Mazda claims that its engineers selected "the best balanced premium parts for inclusion in the engine" and as a result, the inline four now "revs even more freely, delivering an extraordinary response, precision acceleration and a deeply satisfying engine note".

Buyers can choose from an automatic or a six-speed manual gearbox, the latter also featuring Bilstein dampers.

It is offered exclusively in a Soul Red Metallic coat with contrasting black Brilliant Black A-pillars, windshield surround, outside mirrors and Power-Retractable Hard Top (PRHT), and rides on 17-inch dark gunmetal alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE05A 205/45R17-84W tires.

On the inside, you get standard Almond leather seats and door trim, a liquid metal-like satin chrome finish on louver rings, gauge cluster meter rings and inner door handles, special badges and Piano Black trimmings.

Rich Kid Of Instagram' Victim Of Supercar Arsonists

A 19-year-old in the UK is smarting after the possibility that his prolific social media use may be at the heart of four family-owned supercars going up in flames in barely a week. Aleem Iqbal has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram paying attention to his frequent posts about the high-priced cars he's driving. He's even been featured on the Tumblr page Rich Kids of Instagram. It appears that some people might not be so smitten with him, though.

According to his Twitter profile, Iqbal owns Platinum Executive Travel, a luxury car rental company in the England, and UK newspaper The Telegraph claims the company is also owned by Iqbal's father. On June 6, cameras caught three hooded men setting fire to a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster leased by the company for a wedding. A few days later, two Audi R8 Spyders and a Bentley Continental Flying Spur from Platinum also got the torch, and two men were caught on camera setting the blaze. Nobody was hurt in either of the attacks, and the Aventador appeared to be repairable with the fire causing most damage to the passenger seat and dashboard. Police are still investigating both of the crimes.

According to The Telegraph, Iqbal believes that the arsons could have stemmed from jealousy towards him and his family's business. Regardless, setting fire to a bunch of cars that are likely insured isn't a great way to show displeasure.

Mazda Reveals MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition and 2016 Model's Chassis in NY

Mazda has lifted the veils off the MX-5 25 Anniversary Edition at the New York Auto Show, a model that marks a quarter of a century since the debut of the world’s most popular roadster. With more than 940,000 units produced over three generations, the MX-5 (sold as the Miata in the U.S.) holds the Guinness World Record for best-selling two-seater sports car.

Based on the 2.0-liter 160PS (158PS) retractable hard top model with six-speed manual or automatic transmission, the Mazda MX-5 25th Anniversary Edition is available exclusively with a Soul Red Metallic exterior accented with a Brilliant Black roof, A-pillars and side mirrors. The contrasting interior comes in off-white leather upholstery and door trim along with a hand-finished decorative panel in Piano Black. The anniversary model rides on 17-inch Dark Gunmetal alloy wheels and features Bilstein shock absorbers.

Mazda says it paid meticulous attention to the weight and balance of the engine’s moving parts, with components such as the pistons, connecting rods and flywheel being preferably lightweight with low inertia, and the original tolerance of these components being set extremely fine. Engineers chose the lightest, best balanced parts for inclusion in the engine, with the result being an engine that revs even more freely, “delivering extraordinary response and acceleration as well as a deeply satisfying engine note,” according to Mazda.

Alongside the special edition model, Mazda will also debut the newly developed Skyactiv-Chassis that will underpin the next-generation MX-5. On display together with the engine, it will be the first adaptation of Skyactiv Technology in a front mid-ship engine, rear-wheel drive layout. The fourth-generation MX-5 will feature a lower center of gravity, with the engine located closer to the center of the car, resulting in the most compact configuration yet for the MX-5. Mazda also says overall weight will be reduced by more than 100kg (220 lbs) compared to the current model, while at the same time rigidity and crash-worthiness will be enhanced.

Lamborghini 5-95 Zagato Could Be Bound For Limited Production

Lamborghini 5-95 ZagatoLamborghini has been seriously upping its production overt the years. When Audi took over in the late 1990s, the company's production was measured in the 200-unit range. Now it's making over 2,000 cars every year. But at the same time, Sant'Agata has been focusing on low-volume production as well, with a separate assembly line dedicated to putting together concept cars and limited editions like the Sesto Elemento and Veneno. And now it may just have another on its hands.

That would be the Lamborghini 5-95 Zagato, a unique coachbuilt supercar based on the Gallardo and unveiled last week at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on the shores of Italy's glamorous Lake Como. It was commissioned as a one-off custom for noted Lambo and Zagato collector Albert Spiess, but reports suggest that it could be put into limited production.

The viability of the project would likely depend on how many orders the Italians might garner for an expanded production run. Whether the project would be undertaken at Lamborghini's special projects facility or off-site by Zagato remains to be seen, but you can bet it would fetch a pretty penny or two, despite the fact that the platform on which it's based is now over a decade old and has since been replaced by the newer Huracán.

It wouldn't be the first time Zagato has performed its magic for Lamborghini, from the 3500 GTZ of 1965, through to the Raptor, L147 "Super Diablo" and LM 003 Borneo of the 1990s. Take a drive down memory lane in the image gallery below.

Enjoy A Look At The World's Fastest Police Fleet In Dubai

Last year, it seemed like nearly every month there was news of an additional hypercar joining the fleet of the Dubai Police. It was shocking enough when the force showed off its Lamborghini Aventador, but the armada kept growing to include even more exotic vehicles like an Aston Martin One-77 and eventually even a Bugatti Veyron. To understand the point of building this assortment of supercars, the crew from Vocativ went behind the scenes with the Dubai Police and into the immaculate warehouse where the cars are kept.

The Veyron and Aventador are just the headline-grabbers. When their Audi R8 and Nissan GT-R are getting short shrift, you know it must have a wild collection. The video is a fascinating look inside the force and gets some insight into why the Dubai Police would spend around $6.5 million to build this collection. It certainly isn't to catch speeders

New Mini Superleggera Vision Concept May Hint at Mazda MX-5 Rival

Well, well, well; if it isn't MINI's (conceptual) answer to the Mazda MX-5… Seen today for the first time ahead of a world premiere at this weekend's Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2014, the Vision concept was conceived by the BMW Group's Mini division and Italian design and coach-building firm Touring Superleggera.

For now, it's a one-off model, much in the likes of the BMW Group's previous Concorso d’Eleganza concepts made in collaboration with design firms such as the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso V12 and BMW Z4 Zagato, but we'd keep an eye on the styling if the rumors about Mini mulling a new rival to the Mazda MX-5 come into fruition.

BMW Group design chief Adrian van Hooydonk said the concept is an "elegant automobile which interprets a British roadster under the influence of Italian style and hand craftsmanship."

The exterior of the car blends typical Mini design elements with traditional styling cues from Britain' illustrious roadster and speedster past along with some Italian flair, while inside, it's back to basics with a minimalistic approach that allows the owner to focus on driving.

“MINI and Touring both believe that proportions are the key factor of beauty, and share the same values of essentiality and innovation” said Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of design of Touring Superleggera. “In this car all unnecessary equipment or decoration is sacrificed, as performance is gained through lightness and efficiency of the bodywork and interior. The Italian touch is in the proportions and the typical waistline.”

The BMW Group did not mention anything about the car's powerplant.

Lamborghini Previews New Huracán Super Trofeo

The arrival of the new Huracán is big news for Lamborghini, replacing the company's long-serving Gallardo. Not only had the previous V10 supercar been on the market since 2003 (admittedly with significant updates along the way), it also served as the backbone for the Super Trofeo series. Now it's time, however, for the Huracán to take over on the racetrack, too.

Previewed in the teaser image above wearing military camo, the new Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo has undergone its first shakedown at the Vallelunga circuit near Rome. Giorgio Sanna – who took over as Lamborghini's chief R&D test driver after the retirement of the legendary Valentino Balboni – led the test session, accompanied by factory pilots Adrian Zaugg and Fabio Babini and members of the company's driver development program.

The Huracán Super Trofeo will be phased in across all three of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series around the world, including Europe, Asia and North America. Drivers not ready to upgrade to the new machinery, however, will still be able to race their Gallardos in a separate class – similar to how arch-rival Ferrari has phased in new models in its similar Challenge series.

2014 Audi R8 Coupe and Spyder Evolution of Audi's superhero.

Like superheroes, supercars don’t have a typical life cycle. The Audi R8 might be showing a hint of gray around the edges—but it’s still a looker. Launched initially with a 4.2-liter V-8, a V-10 was added, then a spyder, and, finally, the lightweight, limited-production, and loud R8 GT. Audi has toyed with the idea of an R8 V-12 TDI, and several prototypes of a fully electric R8 e-tron were built.

Now the mid-engined supercar has been face-lifted for the first time, and a new top model—the R8 Plus—is scheduled to come to the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014. The lineup now consists of the 4.2 FSI with a 430-hp V-8, the 5.2 FSI powered by a 525-hp V-10, and the R8 5.2 FSI Plus sporting a 550-hp V-10. Compared with the regular V-10, the Plus version gets extra power and torque—it makes 398 lb-ft instead of 391—thanks to modified engine management. No hardware is changed. The additional power helps to make the R8 a bit quicker.

More important than the power boost, however, is the weight saving in the Plus model. Compared with the regular V-10, almost 35 pounds of sound insulation are expunged. Racing-style seats mean 45 fewer pounds, ceramic brakes—optional in the lesser versions—shed another 25 pounds, and switching from magnetic ride to conventional suspension damping tosses about 15 additional pounds. What’s more, the R8 Plus is loud; the combination of intake and exhaust sound will send shivers of joy down your spine. Aurally, this is pure Lamborghini territory, which isn’t much of a surprise, since the R8 shares not only its structural components but also its V-10 engine with the Gallardo. With the manual box, 0 to 60 mph takes an estimated 3.5 seconds, and top speed is an ungoverned 198 mph. Audi means business with the R8 Plus, and the fact that you can’t presently get its goods fitted to the 200-pound-heavier R8 Spyder proves it.

We are thrilled to report that you can still get the R8—and this includes every engine and body variation—with a six-speed manual transmission operated via a gated shifter. Internally called the ML600, the box is a marvel of precision and aesthetics. Customers here in the U.S. should congratulate themselves; we and the U.K. have the highest manual take rates.

More big news comes in the form of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, internally called the DL800. This box—marketing calls it the S tronic—weighs about 45 more pounds than the manual transmission but provides lightning-quick shifts. It blips the throttle artfully, rarely finds itself out of step, and is objectively fast. In the R8 Plus, it trims the quoted 0-to-60-mph time from 3.6 to 3.3 seconds. Top speed is lower by a fairly insignificant 1 mph. The DL800 entirely replaces the previously offered SL600 (R tronic in Audi-speak), a six-speed automated manual that weighed a mere 10 more pounds than the ML600 but was known for its jerky shifts. Interestingly, Lamborghini keeps the SL600 in its face-lifted Gallardo.

Gasoline-Sniffing Spiders Strike Back, Mazda Recalls 42,000 Mazda6 Sedans in the U.S.

Remember Mazda’s 2011 recall caused by gasoline-sniffing spiders? Well, despite the automaker’s efforts to solve the problem, spiders have still found a way to get into the Mazda6’s fuel tank vent line.

According to the report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Mazda North America Operations is recalling certain model year 2010-2012 Mazda6 vehicles manufactured September 14, 2009, through May 2, 2011, and equipped with 2.5L engine. In the affected vehicles, spiders may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent hose, blocking it and causing the fuel tank to have an excessive amount of negative pressure.”

If that happens, the emission control system will have a hard time purging the vapors from the canister, with repeated purges causing a stress on the fuel tank that may result in a crack, “potentially leading to fuel leakage and an increased risk of fire.”

Mazda said it is not aware of any fires related to this condition. The recall includes 42,000 Mazda6 sedans with 2.5-liter engines from the 2010-2012 model years.

Following the 2011 recall, Mazda attempted to remedy the problem by adding a spring to the canister vent line to prevent spiders from crawling inside. However, even after the fix, there were nine cases in which tanks were damaged.

The solution engineers have come up with now is a change in the car’s software that would keep tanks from cracking even if a spider web blocks a vent. In other words, the score in the Mazda - spiders match is now 0-2.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Prototype Porsche's Science Project is Coming Along Nicely

In its present form, Porsche’s upcoming hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder, looks more like something out of Doc Brown’s imagination than the flashy concept that stunned the crowds at the 2010 Geneva auto show. Its body, such as it is, consists of a collection of  ill-fitting chopped-up 911 pieces bolted to a carbon-fiber tub bristling with snorkels, fat bundles of wires, and what appears to be a Zero Halliburton aluminum suitcase.

We’re at the Nardo high-speed test track in southern Italy to get a taste of this rolling science project. As we enter the mule through a flat-black 911 door, we see the ignition key to the left of the steering wheel, just as in nearly every other Porsche. This is about the only thing familiar about the 918 Spyder. When the key is turned, the car remains quiet. There’s no snorting or crackling coming from the exhaust, as you might expect from a super sports car. There is only a gentle buzz from behind the seats. The hybrid-powered 918 Spyder starts moving under electric propulsion.

A 107-hp electric motor drives the 918 Spyder’s front wheels, up to 16 mph. This makes the 918 Spyder the first front-drive sports car in Porsche history. Sort of. Say you want to go a little faster in this nearly million-dollar targa. That’s when a second electric motor, mounted behind the driver, kicks in. This 121-hp machine is part of the main ­propulsion system that includes a 570-hp, 4.6-liter V-8.  As with other Porsche hybrids, this centrally located power unit works as a parallel hybrid driving the rear wheels.
Hard to see here, but you are looking almost directly down the top-mounted exhaust pipes. Hope you didn’t actually want to see the engine.

The rear electric motor kicks in without interruption as the front motor gets decoupled and goes asleep. The rear electric motor powers the now rear-drive two-seater up to 93 mph. In electric mode, acceleration is sufficient but not breathtaking. According to project leader Frank Walliser, the 918’s electric range is 16 miles. It seemed easy to maintain this mode as long as the throttle wasn't depressed to the kickdown point. At that point, the V-8 fired, adding its considerable thrust to the electric motor’s torque. The transition from e-mode to combustion mode is amazingly smooth, especially for a vehicle with more than a year of additional development work remaining.

Both electric motors are powered by a 6.8-kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack mounted between the seats and the V-8. Because the 918 Spyder is a plug-in hybrid, the batteries can be charged with 240-volt household electricity in about four hours or with a higher voltage system in a couple of hours. An AC-to-DC converter located near the battery pack is fed by a power socket built into the passenger’s-side B-pillar.

Predictably, the 918 Spyder will use regenerative braking to stretch its electric range. Porsche says this system is three times more powerful than those the company uses in its other hybrids. The two electric motors decelerate the 918 up to 0.50 g versus 0.15 g in a Panamera hybrid. Naturally, the 918 Spyder also can be slowed with its carbon-ceramic brakes.
The road to the future is littered with wires and black boxes. Try as we might, we were unable to locate the flux capacitor.

As in the Panamera hybrid, there’s no regeneration until the driver hits the brake pedal. Lifting off of the throttle only allows the car to coast, or, in Porsche parlance, to “sail.” The harder the driver pushes the brake pedal, though, the more electrical energy is generated.

But we’re more interested in the right pedal. And when it's kicked hard enough to fire the V-8, the 918 Spyder is transformed from an advanced tram into a serious race car. As a result of two special design features, the mid-mounted V-8’s voice has an extraordinarily aggressive timbre. “Our target is to emulate the sound we know from the Carrera GT’s V-10,” says Walliser. The exhaust manifolds sit between the two cylinder banks in a “hot-V” configuration, with collector pipes running over the top of the engine just behind the occupants’ heads. This reminds us of historic racers such as the 1965 Indy 500–winning Lotus-Ford with its high-mounted double-barrel exhaust.

The mule’s hot-V arrangement is a departure from the 918 concept’s, on which the exhaust outlets poked out the sides of the car just ahead of the rear wheels. For all its racy coolness, the new configuration—which the Germans call “heisse Seite innen,” or “hot on the inside”—is mainly here to keep the battery pack from overheating. This exhaust routing concentrates more heat between the cylinder banks, leaving the flanks and the bottom of the engine near the battery pack relatively cool.
Porsche developed the 4.6-liter, dry-sump V-8 engine exclusively for the 918 Spyder from the 3.4-liter V-8 that powered the company’s RS Spyder Le Mans prototype racer. Thanks to titanium connecting rods, plastic oil pumps, and a thin-walled crankcase, it’s extremely light. Porsche has eliminated belt drives by powering all accessories electrically.  Another departure from normal practice is the use of a flat, 180-degree crankshaft instead of the more common 90-degree design. What this sacrifices in smoothness, it more than makes up in high-rpm volumetric (breathing) efficiency. With a power peak of 9000 rpm, the 918’s engine certainly revs

Mazda Expects European Sales to Exceed Target in 2014

Mazda expects to beat its sales target for Europe this year as the car market in the region has been seeing a revival in recent months. Mazda’s European deliveries rose 24 percent in the first five months of 2014, more than triple the 6.9 percent full-year growth rate that the Japanese automaker plans in the region. For this year, Mazda is targeting sales of 170,000 vehicles in the region.

In 2013, Mazda’s deliveries rose 18 percent in Europe, in contrast to the market’s 1.8 percent decline, after the introduction of the all-new Mazda6 sedan in late 2012. This year the European car market is recovering from a six-year contraction that culminated in 2013 with the lowest sales in two decades.

Jeff Guyton, head of Mazda’s operations in the region, expects the European car market to grow modestly this year, by about 3 percent. “The industry has bottomed out and, hopefully from next year forward, we get a little bit more constant growth,” Guyton told Bloomberg.

The executive said he wants the Mazda6 to play a more important role in the company’s lineup, which in Europe is dominated by the CX-5 crossover and the Mazda3 compact car. Mazda is also looking into expanding its customer base to increase sales, with additional opportunities for the Mazda6 seen in company car fleets.

Lamborghini Donates Huracán To Italian Police

A Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 donated to the Italian State Police.Lamborghini made a big entrance with the Huracán LP 610-4, and now the Italian State Police can, too. The Sant'Agata automaker donated one to Giovanni Law to the replace the Gallardo the authorities have had in service for six years.

It will be used to "sustain security on Italian roads" and is loaded with a Q-Branch worth of features that you won't even find on any Ad Personam options list: a "Proof Video Data System" to track the Lamborghini and the suspects being chased, number plate recognition and tracking and real-time transmission of images to HQ, four sirens, an aerodynamic light bar, a refrigerated trunk for organ storage, a defibrillator and - naturally - a hand-held stop sign.

The Huracán LP 610-4 Polizia should go into service by year's end. There's a press release below so you'll know who to look out for if you turn scofflaw inside the nation-state line.

Swedish Man Bests Kobe Bryant By Jumping Speeding Lambo

Way back in 2008, Los Angeles Lakers' shooting guard Kobe Bryant created a minor uproar with a viral video filmed and released by Nike. In it, the 16-time NBA all-star vaulted a moving Aston Martin. The promotional plug of the whole thing was that Bryant's ups were courtesy of his new Nikes, although he later admitted that "Hollywood" had a big part in the video.

This new video is allegedly real, though, and comes without the help of a promotional plug for a basketball shoe. It stars a Swedish man named Al the Jumper. Rather than an Aston Martin, Al jumps a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, which is heading right for him at 80 miles per hour. It is, if it's as real as claimed, a very impressive feat, especially after seeing how handily Al clears the Lambo.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Spied in Martini Racing Livery

There's something right about a Porsche wearing this look.

What It Is: The worst-kept secret in the industry. Porsche whets our appetite and draws further attention to its 918 hybrid supercar with a Martini Racing sticker kit. It is far more expensive and powerful than any 911; think modern-day Carrera GT. The car is inching toward production and the styling is finalized, although details such as the production taillights are still missing. (We’ve had a chance to go for a ride in a prototype version of the 918 and found the car to be pretty impressive.) As a bonus, these pictures show two-time rally world champion Walter Röhrl at the wheel; he’s not the biggest fan of hybrids. Will the 918 convert him?

Why It Matters: The 918, a pet project of former Porsche R&D chief Wolfgang Dürheimer, is a technology showcase that allows the brand to experiment with the application of highly advanced hybrid technology. Three torque sources—two electric motors and an internal-combustion engine—will work in concert to achieve "record-setting" performance. The 918 also is supposed to trigger interest in and acceptance for hybrid technology among sports-car enthusiasts, many of whom still are wary of electron-fed propulsion.

Platform: The Porsche 918 uses a standalone, mid-engine platform that shares only a few parts with the 911 and the Boxster and Cayman. Down the road, the architecture could be adopted for a conventionally powered supercar positioned between the 911 and the 918.

Powertrain: The 918 will be powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V-8 that boasts 570 hp and a 9000-plus-rpm redline. An electric motor at the rear axle makes around 120 hp, while the electric motor up front generates around 110 hp. Porsche promises total system power of at least 770 hp.

Competition: Audi R8 e-tron, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo Replacement, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell

What Might Go Wrong: We are sure Porsche's R&D team will master the extreme technical challenges, but market success is another topic. Porsche says that up to 918 units will be made; if they sell quickly, a fixed-roof version (this one has a removable top) could follow, and a 918 RSR could go racing.Estimated Arrival and Price: The Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid will go into production at 9:18 a.m. on September 18, 2013. Deliveries should begin by early 2014, at a price around $850,000. Martini Racing livery, we suspect, will be on you.

CNET Finds the Mazda 3 Great, Slightly Spoiled by Iffy Infotainment System

By now, you have probably seen many reviews of the new Mazda 3, a car that looks, drives and feels great. However, none of the reviews had as their main focus on the infotainment and satnav systems, so CNET Brian Cooley’s angle is one you should not neglect if you're interested in this kind of stuff.

As usual, the review is tech-centric, and it immediately finds the on-board tech inadequate. The nice-looking dash-mounted screen has a complicated menu, filled with confusing terminology and extra menus and settings you didn’t think were necessary for regular users, plus it doesn’t seamlessly show traffic information or connect to the internet without a phone-hosted (or another) exterior hotspot.

The video posted below goes into detail, explaining all of the discovered issues.

Moving on, other bad points are the apparent lack of power from the (2.5-liter) engine, and the long-legged character of the gearbox that makes it not ideally suited for city driving – the manual 2.0-liter I drove had that too, and it was quite leisurely with 120 hp; you’d have struggled to call it brisk…

Aside from the points mentioned above, the review finds the Mazda hatch a true contender in the class, one of the most appealing models currently on sale in its price bracket.

2014 Porsche Cayman / Cayman S Hot damn, it's good.

The Germans are at it again. From the same country that brought us the “four-door coupe” and engine soundtracks played through the speakers of the audio system comes another wishful fantasy: that the 2014 Porsche Cayman is not a Boxster coupe. The Germans have declared the Cayman to be a stand-alone car, one distanced from the roadster that shares its engines, transmissions, and architecture by virtue of being stiffer, more powerful, and sportier. Never mind that these attributes go part and parcel with adding a steel roof and three grand to the price.

But of course the Cayman is a Boxster coupe. Frankly, we couldn’t come up with higher praise. Whether the roof folds or not, Porsche’s mid-engined, smaller sports car is a perennial favorite and a mainstay on our annual 10Best list. Riotous flat-six engines, balanced handling, and vivid steering punch your ticket to driving nirvana. With this third-generation car, Porsche promises a higher plane of enlightenment by way of lower weight, more power, and new chassis technologies.

My, What Haunches You Have

Plus, just look at it. All grown-up and filled out in all the right places, the Cayman finally appears ready to step out from the 911’s shadow. This latest croc has a wider track with a longer wheelbase and stretched greenhouse, and it possesses a newfound presence, thanks to details such as larger air ducts behind the doors, brawnier rear haunches, and an elegant spoiler that tapers into the taillights.

It might be a bosom-est buddy with the Boxster, but the new Cayman again shares a large amount of its architecture with the new 911, too, which pays off in its intensive use of aluminum. The lightweight alloy makes up 44 percent of the Cayman’s body-in-white, specifically, the front and rear body, the floorpan, the doors, and the front and rear trunklids. Porsche says this more than offsets the added mass of new equipment and larger wheels and that the net weight loss for a Cayman S is a claimed 66 pounds.

The base Cayman’s flat-six has slimmed down from 2.9 liters to 2.7, and output climbs by 10 horsepower to 275. Despite more muscle and less fat, the Cayman is still a car with more chassis than guts, like a quicker and stickier version of the Mazda Miata MX-5 or Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ. It’s a formula that rewards fluid drivers who maintain momentum and minimize the amount of time they spend off-throttle.

This car feels tailor-made for roads like the one running between Alcalar and Casais, Portugal. (Good thing it was on our drive route.) You can cover the eight miles without ever moving your hands from nine and three o’clock, and you only see dead center for as long as it takes to saw from left to right and back again. We’ve driven these very roads before in a 550-hp Jaguar XKR-S, but the lighter and better-balanced Cayman makes for an entirely new experience. It instills confidence and begs for a quicker pace, communicating with you more clearly than your significant other ever will.

Land of Talk Regardless of whatever engine or suspension setting you might choose from the variously available adjustable systems, Porsche has only one steering calibration for the Cayman. It’s perfect. True, the new electric setup isn’t as tactile overall as the old hydraulic system was, but the swap has filtered out white noise—the conversation is now more to the point. Snug sport seats keep the passengers in step with the fast-dancing chassis. The shifter puts solid weight and a satisfying engagement behind every throw. Its only flaw is a reverse gate without a true lockout. When hurrying the three-two downshift, it’s too easy to land in reverse.

Future Cars: Crystal Ball-Gazing Porsche’s Next 928

When you think of Porsche, images of its racing heritage, the Carrera GT and the iconic 911 usually come to mind - and of course some will think ‘glorified beetle’ as well. One of the German manufacturer’s more forgotten models is the Porsche 928 - a response to dwindling 911 sales back in the late 1970’s. It was a car that never quite emerged out of the 911’s shadow, even though it did survive an eighteen-year production cycle.

Today, the marque’s range is swelling with SUV’s to hybrid supercars - plus the legendary 911 and Boxster offerings. Yet one could argue that there’s still room for a two-door “grand-tourer”. So, what if the 928 made a return and what could it look like? First of all, lets go back to when Porsche launched its first SUV - the Cayenne. From a design standpoint, it was a good example of how to ruin a brand’s design DNA. Sure, it had 911-like headlights and grille, but the way these elements were translated into an SUV body made it look like a complete Monkfish.

Fortunately, Porsche has put a bit more effort into its new models of late, so a revival of the 928 shouldn’t resemble any ocean-dwelling creature. Building on this progress, my illustrated example below uses the best bits from the 918 Spyder and massages them into a package in-keeping with the 928’s heritage and the brand’s current design language.

The face is an evolution of 911 and 918; incorporating side intakes that flick up into the headlights, with functional lower cut-outs for cold-air induction. Viewing the long, sweeping hood emphasis the car’s sporting pretences - heck you could even say there’s an hint of ‘C6 Corvette’ in there too. Glancing your eye over the side bodywork will yield two distinct features; first are the lower door scallops that incorporate deep horizontal channels. Second is the daylight opening area that pays homage to the first 928.

You could say the cabin is a mixture of old and new; especially the roofline appearing semi-floating in nature. This is due to the B-pillar being separated on top by a sweeping pane of side-quarter glass, whilst retaining its original forward-leaning position. Under all this polished sheet metal (or aluminium and other exotic materials) will most likely lay a shortened platform that underpins the Panamera. Utilizing this will enable a front-engined layout and cost savings through shared suspension and drivetrain components. Speaking of the latter; propulsion would most likely come from the Panamera’s V8 engines as opposed to the flat sixes found in other models.

If this model were to get the green-light, it would face competition from Ferrari’s California, Aston Martin DB9 and Jaguar XKR-S, amongst others. There have been plenty of rumors and talk about a modern GT model by Porsche, but nothing solid yet.

For now and until Porsche makes up its mind, what do you think of this design study; Is it good, or should it be chucked back in the ocean? Let us hear your feedback in the discussion area below.

New Mazda Hazumi Aka the Next Mazda2 Concept in the Flesh

Official imagery of the new Mazda Hazumi concept, previewing the next Mazda2 sub-compact hatch, have spattered onto the web, just before the car makes its grand premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday.

The actual photos of the Hazumi portray the picture of a concept that is, if not near, fairly close to the production model, seasoned with sporty and exaggerated elements like the front and rear bumpers, minimalistic mirrors, center mounted exhausts and huge alloys, all for the sake of show.

The overall exterior design theme mirrors what we have seen from Mazda's most recent model like the "3" compact and "6" mid-size cars, while the interior has an overly futuristic feel and look that will not make it to the production car, set to follow later on.

We're short on technical details, but Mazda said that it will also debut a new SkyActiv-D 1.5-liter turbo diesel in Geneva, which will be offered on the next 2 hatch – at least in Europe.

All-New 2015 Mazda2 / Demio Hatch Photos Leaked? Looks Like it

The first images of the eagerly anticipated 2015 Mazda2 sub-compact, also known as the Demio in Japan, have emerged on the web, prior to the supermini's official reveal, which may take place in front of the public at the upcoming Paris Motor Show in October.

From these pictures, it looks like Mazda stayed true to the well-received Hazumi Concept from the Geneva Salon earlier this year, keeping both the shape and most of the styling details of the study, minus futuristic elements, such as the aero kit, big wheels and door mirrors.

On the inside, Mazda toned down the styling a few notches compared to the concept, but it still looks fresh. The center console features a tablet-style touchscreen that is also controlled through a rotary button positioned next to the handbrake lever.

We know from previous statements that the new Mazda2 encompasses the brand's full suite of lightweight and efficient SkyActiv technologies, including a new and lighter platform, and at launch, two 1.5-liter SkyActive engines, a petrol and a diesel.

The 1.5-liter petrol unit is already in use on the Mazda3 where it produces 100PS (99hp), while the new 1.5-liter Skyactiv-D diesel delivers 105PS (104hp) at 4,000 rpm and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm, and is paired to a six-speed automatic, emitting under 90 grams of CO2.

We'll update this story as soon as we find out more.

Rare Early Lamborghini Countach Sells For Record $1.2 Million

Lamborghini may have made headlines with the highly exclusive, $4.5-million Veneno and the even more expensive Veneno Roadster that followed, but when it comes to classics sold at auction, their prices seldom approach the kind of figures attained by rare classics made by arch-rival Ferrari. Early 350 GTs and rare Miuras (like the SV prototype Gooding sold a few years ago for a record $1.7 million) have been known to breach the seven-figure mark, but now the Countach is making its way into the big leagues as well.

Pictured here is a rather exceptional early example sold by Bonhams in Connecticut last week. This 1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400 "Periscopica" – so dubbed for the unique rearview mirror fitted to the first 150 examples made – has just over 10,000 miles on the odometer. With flawlessly retouched Blu Tahiti (read: French racing blue) paint and an immaculate deep tan leather interior, the Periscopica was the subject of feverish bidding before selling for $1.2 million to a buyer present at the auction, beating out a dozen or so telephone bidders.

The record price for a Countach trumps the previous record, also set by Bonhams at the Quail Lodge last August, where another '75 Periscopica sold for $836,000. The rising prices surely reflect the coming of age for the Countach, now nearly 40 years since its introduction – particularly for the generation that grew up idolizing it as the prototypical supercar. Scope it out in the artful gallery of 76 high-resolution images above and the details of the auction below.

Modified Mazda MX-5 Electrocutes Tesla Model S in Drag Race

You know something is up with this dark green Mazda Miata / MX-5 by taking a single look at its massive rear tires. What’s even more frightening about it is the ease with which it can initiate a burnout, in spite of the tires’ width and soft drag racing compound. However, it can still put its power down and scare a Tesla Model S in a quarter mile drag sprint.

The battery-powered Mazda is known as being able to run in the low 9s consistently, or a full three and a half seconds faster than the Model S.

Tesla’s sedan is still pretty quick off the line, as you’ll see in the video posted below, and it would have probably nudged ahead for the first few yards had it been put up against a conventional methanol-burning dragster of comparable power to that of the electric Miata.

Lamborghini Aventador Art Car Features Every Color Of The Rainbow 

With a catalog packed with shades of orange and yellow, the Lamborghini Aventador doesn't shy away from bright colors. But the stock palette still pales in comparison to this latest art car.

This technicolor Aventador Roadster was created by Franco-American artist and musician Duaiv, who previously applied his talents to Ferraris like the FF and 458 Spider. Lamborghini Miami, a division of Prestige Imports in North Beach, Florida, applied the evidently very successful artist's painting to a vinyl wrap and fitted to the Lambo along with a Novitec rear spoiler to create a one-of-a-kind supercar that is anything but a sleeper. You know, just in case an Aventador didn't already stand out enough. 

Ford Unveils Its Facelifted Falcon Finale With New XR8

While its days may be numbered, Ford isn't just going to let its Falcon sedan limp out for the Australian market. No, the Blue Oval is releasing a refreshed Falcon for its final years, and it's lead by this, the new XR8. That's right, this dead-car-driving is going to go out on a high note.

Ford's global design DNA dominates the looks of the new Falcon, with a grille reminiscent of the US market Fusion and the European-market Mondeo. The headlights aren't a straight port, and boast their own unique LED running light pattern (at least on the XR8), but the overall look is strikingly similar. Out back, LED taillights highlight the rear of the Faclon. Despite the substantial new fascia, this is still a mid-cycle refresh. That means most of the rest of the Falcon's body panels are carryovers from the current model.

The XR8 model, shown above, arrives with a supercharged V8, allegedly displacing 5.0 liters. Unfortunately, details on the Falcon's mechanicals are in remarkably short supply. Ford has committed to a range of turbocharged four, as well as turbocharged and naturally aspirated six-cylinders, in addition to the V8, although specifics on those mills aren't available.

It isn't just information that's in short supply ­– official images of the new Falcon are limited to the pic you see above. Of course, we're working on getting more of both, and as soon as that happens, we'll be sure to update this post. Scroll down for the brief, styling-focused press release from Ford.