Tag Archives: Performance Cars

Petrolcious shows us the Toyota 86’s special sauce

When Toyota does things right, they really nail it. Supposedly, there are many more good things coming soon.

-Nick

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My take on the 2017 Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show happened this week, and every year it’s like Christmas has come for the car industry.

Here are the highlights for me, and my thoughts on each…

Ferrari 812 Superfast

The front-engine V12 Ferraris are by far my favorite Ferraris. They have always been the ultimate expression of what a grand touring car can be, and their lineage goes all the way back to the beginning of Ferrari road cars in the early 1950s.

The 812 Superfast takes the insanity of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, and takes it up yet another notch. With damn near 800hp on tap from its still-naturally-aspirated-V12 engine, the 812 Superfast is now the ultimate GT car (really more of a supercar) that money can buy. I also think it looks absolutely manic, yet somehow still in an elegant sort of way.

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Do you think anyone ever imagined this when the Toyota Prius first came out? Hybrids were once pathetic little econo-boxes, but here is a 680hp Porsche Panamera with a hybrid system developed from the 918 hypercar. This is exactly how hybrid technology should be used. I want a 680hp bullet that can still get decent MPG when I’m not thrashing it. If nothing else, isn’t technology all about having your cake and eating it too?

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What will the new 4.0L Porsche 991.2 GT3 do to the 911 Market?

porsche-911_gt3-2018-1280-01

Porsche has finally done it, they’ve brought back the manual GT3 and have given it the 4.0L engine to boot. It’s basically the Porsche we’ve all been dreaming about, and it’s the car Porsche once said they’d never build again. Right after Porsche said the days of manual GT3s were over, values of 997 GT3s immediately went through the roof. It became abundantly clear that Porsche was making a mistake, and this new 991.2 GT3 is here to set things right.

But what’s going to happen to the values of all of those 997 GT3 models that skyrocketed in the last few years? This new 4.0L GT3 with a manual is pretty much an attainable version of the coveted 997 GT3 RS 4.0 or the mighty 911 R, and with PDK it’s a little too similar to the much-inflated 991 GT3 RS.

With pricing starting from $144,650, and surely going up to cross $200,000, loaded with options, why on earth would you want to buy a 997 GT3 or RS for the same money? And can the PDK-only 991 GT3 even have a prayer? How about the 991 GT3 RS?

The 991.2 GT3 is about to make things very interesting in the Porsche market, and not everyone is going to be thrilled about it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be the guy who just dropped $200,000 on a 997 GT3 RS, or $175,000 on a 991.1 GT3.

Continue reading What will the new 4.0L Porsche 991.2 GT3 do to the 911 Market?

That Time BMW Put a Le Mans-Winning V12 Into an X5 SUV

BMW X5 LM V12 Amelia 1

This is the BMW X5 LM. It’s a prototype from the era before the super-SUVs of today, powered by the same V12 that propelled the BMW V12 LMR to victory at Le Mans. That’s 700hp and 531ft/lbs under the hood that made this the first sub-8-minute SUV around the Nurburgring. And this was all in 2000, years before Porsche made the Cayenne Turbo and set the SUV world ablaze with performance. However, as it turned out, the V12 from a Le Mans racecar didn’t make a very good production engine, so BMW never produced the X5 LM. Woe is us, but at least the prototype still exists.

-Nick

Ford Focus RS Power Modifications and Tuning

2016-ford-focus-rs-41

The Ford Focus RS is the hottest $40,000 car around right now. A new addition to the rally car segment in the US, it takes on the STI, the Golf R, and the echoes of Evos past. All things stock, the Focus RS seems to have them all beat, outgunning them by around 40 or 50hp, but what happens when aftermarket mods and tuning come into play?

The simple fact is the Focus RS’s stock turbo is out of breath around 380-400 crank horsepower on pump gas. Ford doesn’t use way oversized turbos in their cars, and as a result its basic tuning potential may seem a little lacking compared to, say, the Golf R or the Evo.

Having said that, fear not, because peak horsepower numbers are only a small portion of the story, especially for a street-driven car. So let’s have a look…

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The KIA Stinger GT Looks Phenomenal in Person

KIA Stinger GT AWD KIA Stinger GT AWD

Most people seemed to agree that the KIA Stinger GT looked enticing when it first broke cover. I also heard many people say they’d buy one and de-badge it so no one would know it’s a KIA. With its wonderful proportions, the Stinger GT looks even better in person than it does in photos, and the fact that it’s a KIA doesn’t bug me in the slightest. I’m someone who likes to give credit where credit is due, and this could well be a home run for KIA. Let them have their shine.

I’m very curious to see what pricepoint KIA will place the Stinger at. I think it’s obvious they need to go lower to compete with the likes of the BMW 4 Series, but how much lower before it’s too low to be seen as a genuine competitor?

-Nick

Could we see a mid-engined Porsche 911 road car soon?

991 GT3 RS ORG

The new Porsche 991.2 GT3 is rumored to be essentially like the previous 4.0L RSs, with Porsche’s mighty 4.0L flat six, around 500hp, and a choice of two or three pedals. Meanwhile, the new 911 RSR racecar is a mid engined now. So the next 991.2 GT3 RS finds itself at a fork in the road. Should it stay as the ultimate rear engine track crusher? Or should it be based on the new mid engine RSR, staying true to form as a racecar for the street?

If the new 991.2 GT3 RS were to be based on the mid engine RSR, it could create a break-point between rear and mid engine 911 models, which would amount to the line between sports cars and supercars.

The rear engine 911 is a great sports car, maybe the greatest, because it offers a totally unique driving experience. However, Porsche clearly knows they’re pushing the boundaries of what a rear engine layout can do. The fact that the new 911 RSR racecar is blatantly mid engine just makes it obvious, but Porsche has been pushing the 911’s engine more and more forward of the rear axle with each new generation. At this point, the current 991 is extremely close to technically being a mid-engine car.

Look, whether it happens within the 991.2 generation or not, I think a mid engined 911 GT model, or lineup of models, is absolutely coming. People want what the racecar has, and now the racecar has its engine in the middle.

I do think the basic 911 Carrara up through GT3 and Turbo models should remain “rear engine” sports cars to stay true to form. After all, a rear engine is the defining feature of a Porsche 911. That said, I also think that opening up a range of mid engine 911 supercar models at the top of the range creates a healthy evolution for the Porsche brand. Okay, sure, maybe they might call the new mid engined cars by a name other than “911”, but they would essentially be mid engined 911s. For those of you scoffing right now, appalled at the idea of a 911 with an engine in the middle, just remember there’s already a major precedent for this from the late 90s; it’s called the 911 GT1.

996-GT1

What I think may happen here is the 911 GT3 and Turbo will be the top of the rear engined 911 range. Then the hardcore GT3 RS will kick off the new range of mid-engine, 911 GT1-style supercars derived from the RSR. The GT3 RS would have the rumored 4.0L+ naturally aspirated flat-six, as well as a host of track-ready features. Porsche should then offer turbocharged models of the mid engine 911 supercar, ready to compete directly with the Ferrari 488s, Ford GTs, and McLaren 650s of the world. Maybe that would be the “GT2”, and then have a “GT2 RS” with an upgraded turbo engine (a turbo 4.0?) and all of the trackday tricks of the GT3 RS.

Price wise, I picture it as follows: Rear engined 911 Turbo and GT3 models occupy the $150k-$250k range, as they do right now. The mid engine GT3 RS would come in around $300k, the turbocharged mid engine GT2 would run $350-400k, and the GT2 RS would be $500-600k and be built in limited numbers.

This is all just me pondering at this point, but if you remember back a couple years, there were rumors of Porsche wanting to develop a mid engine supercar above the 911 Turbo but below the 918. This would be that car, clear as day. Porsche had supposedly sacked the idea, but now they have a racing program with a mid engined 911 RSR?

It sure seems like they’re headed in this direction…

-Nick Walker