RUMOUR HAS IT...
Aston Martin revealed its new Vantage this week
Aston Martin has revealed the new stalwart of its line-up, the Vantage.
Showing clear design cues from the new DB11, it has ditched the butch looks that have defined its identity since the outgoing generation made its debut in 2005. Instead, it has a more slanted nose with narrow headlights and a deep grille in the front bumper.
Gone are the days when Ford Fiesta owners could say their cars looked a little like an Aston. The side profile features numerous sculpted elements while those soft curves at the rear have been replaced by plenty of drama with a massive two-tone diffuser and a light strip that follows the new curves of the boot lip and integrated spoiler.
Aston describes it as a "bold and distinctive design language", which it certainly is, but it is also about aerodynamic efficiency with plenty of gills and ducts.
The interior is a radical departure from the old model with a centre tunnel that looks like an inverted version of that in the Mercedes AMG GT together with plenty of buttons. The windows are narrower, giving it a more sporty look in the cabin, while the overall interior look is more aggressive and muscular, although there is still plenty of luxury.
Beneath the bonnet sits the 4.0l twin-turbo V8 from Mercedes-AMG, generating 375kW and 685Nm. Aston is claiming a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds with power going to the rear wheels through an eight-speed ZF transmission. For the first time there will also be an electronic rear differential which is linked to the stability control system.
Deliveries of the new Vantage are expected in the second quarter of 2018.
Spyder creeping in?
Porsche waited until almost the end of the last generation Boxster to introduce the Spyder version, but it is getting in earlier this time with our sources spotting a test mule of the 981 generation version.
Like the last Spyder, it will shed weight through the dumping of things such as air-conditioning and the electric roof, as well as a switch to aluminium panels. No word on local introduction but probably in the first half of 2018.
Dallara on the road
Dallara is one of the most famous names in the automotive industry. It has built Indy cars, Formula 1 cars and race cars for many racing series and almost every famous driver has raced one at some time or other.
Now the company has built its own road car, the Stradale. This isn’t its first dabble in road cars, though it’s the first to bear its own name.
Its carbon-fibre tub expertise was used for the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, the Ferrari Enzo, the Maserati MC12, the KTM X-Bow, the Renault RS 01 and even the Alfa Romeo 4C.
The 855kg, carbon-fibre Stradale two-seater is claimed to hit 100km/h in 3.4 seconds and has a 280km/h top speed with its default aerodynamic settings, which can be altered for trackwork to deliver up to 800kg of downforce.
In keeping with the lightweight ethos, the Stradale eschews exotic power suppliers in favour of a heavily tweaked Ford Ecoboost 2.3l
in-line four-cylinder engine, mounted behind the driver.
An upgraded turbocharger, new internal hardware and new Bosch software have boosted it to almost 300kW of power, giving it a screamingly good power-to-weight ratio.
Only 600 will be built for worldwide demand and at this stage we are not aware of anyone ordering one in SA, but you never know.
The Pope now has a supercar, or at least he had a supercar. The Vatican City’s small road network won’t be resounding to the V10 bellow of a Huracan any time soon, in spite of the pope being given one as a gift from Lamborghini.
Instead, Pope Francis blessed the customised supercar before it was auctioned for charity. The pontiff gave his white-and-gold Lamborghini away, after signing its bonnet, to Sotheby’s to sell at a charity auction.
It’s not the first time the pope has thrown around automotive largesse to charities, though.
All the cars he used in a 2016 visit to Poland were auctioned to help Syrian refugees and he auctioned a Harley-Davidson to help a Roman homeless shelter.