2016 Volvo XC90: Should Leading Luxury SUV Makers Take Notice?

The name Volvo is not typically one that comes directly to mind when the words ‘luxury SUV’ are uttered. Yet, the company has been busy tweaking the XC90 since 2002 and she certainly turned some heads in Stockholm recently. Should leading luxury SUV makers take notice of this stealthy and deceptive creature murdered out in black? Is the 2016 Volvo XC90 a new contender? While it is terribly unlikely that a hip hop star is going to brag about owning one in a song anytime soon–it is climbing the popularity ladder.

2016 Volvo XC90The next-gen Volvo XC90 has an estimated release date of 2016. Will she have what it takes to steal away customers from leading luxury SUV brands? 

2016 Volvo XC90The Volvo XC90 upgrades and specs at a glance:

  • Some say she has enough luxury peppered in to draw the attention of leading brands. Will Volvo be viewed as a threat? The idea seems hilarious, but nothing is impossible. Look at what Lexus managed to achieve with their very first attempt at a supercar, the LFA.
  • The XC90 will be the first vehicle built using Volvo’s new SPA modular platform. It features four-cylinder engines paired with hybrid technology.
  • So far, we have an exterior with serious upgrades in the appearance arena and a futuristic hybrid powertrain. The remaining area is the cabin, and it also meets with approval. It is drenched with fine materials and all current technology including tablet touchscreen display and more.
  • Engine capacities: 2.0-liter four-banger hybrid will be named the T6 and churn forth 316 horses. A V8 version named the T8 will provide the option of 400 horses and there could be some diesel variants.
  • Pricing is expected to start at around $49k.

2016 Volvo XC90Here is a fun fact: The XC90’s nifty daytime running lights have been dubbed “Thor’s Hammer”.

2016 Volvo XC90

With ample seating and luxury, people are taking notice of this model. 

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Restored Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner: Enjoy

Mercedes-Benz has always had a talent for imagining up truly magnificent luxury cars and then bringing them to life. This Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner is a testament and flashback to that sentiment. The brand dug deep this year, and hit the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance with this little number. This blast from the past offers up a delicious slice of history to fans and onlookers.

Mercedes-Benz 540 K StreamlinerThe 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner at a glance:

  • The 540 K Streamliner is a one-off created in the 1930s with the intention to race. Due to complications and war, she spent decades in storage.
  • Based on the 540 K chassis but a step toward streamlined and long distance motoring, hence the name.
  • Great pains were taken to restore her to her original condition. She wields a 5-liter in-line 8 supercharged engine capable of reaching 114 miles per hour. That is not too shabby for an older lady.
  • The body is lightweight aluminum and wind tunnel tested.

Mercedes-Benz 540 K StreamlinerThe Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner is special because those involved in her restoration were careful to use the parts, materials, and even methods of the 1930’s to restore her. That means that while more modern alternatives may have been easier and even looked better, this lady is pretty much true to her time period and a classic. Just imagine trying to locate pieces for this type of car, or even the correct paint!

Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner

Joining the 540 K Streamliner at Pebble Beach was another classic sibling, a 1914 Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix car. This one packs a 4.4-liter 4-cylinder and can hit 111 miles per hour. Just three examples like this racer still exist as part of the George Wingard Collier Collection and the Mercedes-Benz Classic Collection.

Mercedes-Benz 540 K StreamlinerThe restoration process was quite meticulous, paving the way to a perfect result.

Mercedes-Benz The remaining three 1914 Grand Prix racers all together.

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Bentley GT3-R Speeds Up Pulses at Pebble Beach

Bentley took advantage of the lavish Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance to debut the Bentley GT3-R. The event served as the official North American introduction for the new GT3-R, which is geared for more than luxury touring like its siblings. She has been seen in a couple of places prior, and packing 580 horses, this Bentley is decidedly different.

Bentley GT3-RWhile there have been previews, the Bentley GT3-R is officially on the scene now. She is a gorgeous muscle, with a 4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and some impressive performance specs to back her up. This model hits the 0-60 mile per hour sprint in just 3.6 seconds. Like so many exotic sports cars lately, there is only the option of an automatic transmission and it is an 8-speed.

Bentley GT3-RWith exquisite lines and above average muscle for a Bentley, all 300 units are likely to unload quickly, especially with the reasonable MSRP of $337k. It is not clear if Bentley intends to make a powerhouse car annually after this or if the GT3-R will be a special edition. It will likely depend on the market and how well the newbie is received. According to Bentley CEO Christophe Georges: “Pebble Beach is the perfect location for the debut of the rarest and most dynamic Continental GT, the GT3-R. It is a testament to the Bentley trademarks of luxury and performance, and we are excited to share it with the friends of Bentley during this gathering of fine automobiles.”

Bentley GT3-RI would imagine the vibe of the 2014 Pebble Beach show and the pulses of all present were increased by the presence of the GT3-R and plethora of other exotic sports car gathered this year. Bentley GT3-RPost by Imagine Lifestyles Luxury Rentals

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The Renaultsport R.S. 01 Racer Revealed

What do you get when you blend the performance of a Renault 3.5 with the aesthetics of the Renault DeZir concept? The Renaultsport R.S. 01 has been created specifically to compete in motorsport, and was revealed recently at the Moscow Motor Show. Let’s take a closer look at this beast.

Renaultsport R.S. 01The Renaultsport R.S. 01 at a glance:

  • Power is derived from a 3.8-liter V6 twin-turbocharged engine. It is a version of the one from the potent Nissan GT-R.
  • This Renault produces 493bhp, placing it within reasonable standards to race.
  • The chassis is an extremely lightweight carbon monocoque. Total weight for it is around 1,100kg.
  • Roll cage and 150-liter fuel capacity, double wishbone suspension and carbon brakes. Sweet.
  • Top speed is estimated around 186 miles per hour, so it is not a threat to the Bugatti Veyron or Hennessey Venom GT.
  • Rather than working toward speed records, Renault is hitting the racing circuit. It will compete in the Renaultsport Trophy in 2015, part of the World Series. The company is gearing the R.S. 01 to be a “Springboard for the professional GT and endurance championships.”
  • The design is by Laurens van den Acker, VP of Design at Renault.

Renault DeZir conceptThe Renault DeZir concept is shown above in red.

The Renault DeZir concept emerged in 2010. Opinions on the car vary, as is natural, but the design cues carried on will likely be embraced. That is because they are not too drastic from the popular supercars on the roads today.

Renaultsport R.S. 01Notice the enormous rear wings and overall play for aerodynamics. This Renault certainly looks thirsty and also like a lot of fun on a track. The Renaultsport Trophy championship is a Pro-Am event, and the R.S. 01 will be a fine addition to the lineup in her attractive livery.

Renaultsport R.S. 01Renaultsport R.S. 01

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The Bugatti Veyron Vitesse 1 of 1 Edition Looks Like All of the Others

The centerpieces of Bugatti’s strategy in Monterey this year were unquestionably the Legends Series fleet. The Bugatti Legends Series cars were all in the same place at the same time for the first and final time. But there was something else rolling around town: The Bugatti Veyron Vitesse 1 of 1 Edition car.

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse Bugatti Veyron Vitesse 1 of 1 Edition. Do we like?

The Bugatti Veyron Vitesse 1 of 1 Edition was commissioned by a client in Singapore. Was this one-off Veyron Vitesse ordered because they wanted a Legends series car and could not acquire one? For whatever reason, the client did not get overly imaginative in the customization department for a one of a kind supercar…it looks like so many others and utterly forgettable. I am not saying I would eject it from my garage by any means–only that a fresh take on colors and details would be invigorating to see on a Veyron.

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse

The cockpit of the 1 of 1 Vitesse carries the exterior theme for a cohesive approach.

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse

The 1 of 1 Vitesse boasts a basic black and yellow wasp livery that could be a nod to the Type 41 Royale, Type 55, Type 44 and other favorites of the fleet. She was presented next to one at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. The two special Bugattis made quite a striking pair. The Vitesse does have some nice touches like an anodized laser sliced grill and a pretty slick cockpit. The best exterior feature setting it apart from others are the rims. This is one vision that could be captured by the likes of Schmee150 next time he is in Singapore, but is not likely to be stateside again.

Bugatti Veyron Vitesse

With the reign of the Veyron drawing to a close, several special editions have been pumped out. 

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Rare Ferrari Supercars Dominated 2014 Pebble Beach Auctions

The demand for classic and rare Ferrari supercars is an intrigue that is on the rise, both in volume and the amount buyers are willing to pay. While the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO certainly blew minds when it changed hands for over $38 million at Pebble Beach this year, there were several other noteworthy Ferrari cars auctioned off as well.

2014 Pebble BeachImagine having something like a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in your garage. Now imagine having it as part of a collection of exotic cars. Many just imagine having that $38 million dollars to throw around. This Ferrari set a new record for most expensive auctioned car. 

Collecting cars is an exquisite artform, and passionate participants in the enterprise are always on the prowl for a new piece to add further sparkle. It was clear at Pebble Beach that Ferrari collectors are a special breed, because so many models were available and eagerly rehomed.

2014 Pebble BeachBetween Bonhams, Gooding and RM Auction houses, here are the top 10 most expensive cars sold at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance:

10. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 cabriolet–$5,610,000 (Gooding)

9. 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 cabriolet–$6,820,000 (Bonhams)

8. 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Speciale Aerodinamica coupe–$6,875,000 (Bonhams)

7. 1965 Ford GTO prototype roadster–$6,930,000 (RM Auctions)

6. 1953 Ferrari 250 MM coupe–$7,260,000 (Bonhams)

5. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 coupe–$10,175,000 (Bonhams)

4. 1964 Ferrari 250 LM coupe–$11,550,000 (RM Auctions)

3. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California SWB spider–$15,180,000 (Gooding)

2. 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale coupe–$26,400,000 (RM Auctions)

1. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO coupe–$38,115,000 (Bonhams)

Pebble Beach auctionAll but one of the top ten most expensive cars auctioned this year were a Ferrari, which is simply outstanding. The lone Ford sale broke up the spectacle of results!

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The Sultry Ferrari F80 Concept

This could be the thirstiest looking Ferrari concept ever. The Ferrari F80 concept may have lost its limelight to the reality that is the LaFerrari, but this Prancing Horse most assuredly has got it going on in all the right places!

Ferrari F80 conceptFerrari F80 concept

Ferrari F80 conceptThe Ferrari F80 concept at a glance:

  • She was designed by Italian Adriano Raeli. Raeli is an Art Center College of Design graduate with a passion for all that is fast and beautiful.
  • The powertrain would be a hybrid system pairing a KERS with a combustion engine. The estimated result would sit at around 1,200 horses, or equal to the Bugatti Veyron supercar.
  • The V12 would be replaced with a twin-turbocharged V8 kicking out 900 horses. That engine mated to the KERS with 300 provides the 1,200 total output. Feelings vary on replacing that glorious V12, but it is the end result that matters, is it not?
  • Curb weight for this nice lady would be a light 1,763 pounds with a 2-seat layout.
  • Performance estimates are 2.2 seconds for the 0-60 mile per hour sprint with a top out of around 310. Yes, that is 310 miles per hour. Many supercars barely pass the 200 MPH mark, making this incredible.
  • Still hating? The Ferrari F40 packed a twin-turbo V8.
Ferrari F80 concept

The lovely Ferrari F80 is but a concept, but with such promise in the power arena and such a stunning shape, it would be a tragedy not to build her. With so much interest in LaFerrari and so many turned away from buying her, having something like the F80 around to dry the tears would be kinda cool.

Ferrari F80 conceptThe larger back wheels offer an aggressive countenance complimented by those thirsty intakes.

Ferrari F80 conceptExtreme angles make this an unforgettable vision in red.

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Just a Subaru Powered Porsche 917/10 Replica

What you are looking at is likely a first even for the aftermarket automotive arena. It is a Subaru powered Porsche 917/10 replica–and it is available. I have met many, many gearheads over the years and there are many who are fans of both Subaru and Porsche, so molding the two together to create a beast does make sense in a strange way.

Subaru powered PorscheWho would have thunk it? This guy fused two Subaru flat sixes to amass a flat twelve engine. Next, he placed it into a replica of the 1971 Porsche 917/10. Yep.

Let’s check out this Subaru-powered Porsche 917/10 replica at a glance:

  • It is a replica of a 1971 Porsche 917/10 Can-Am racer.
  • Where the power comes from is the intriguing factor: There are two Subaru 3.0-liter flat sixes mounted with the cranks kissing. The end result is a Subaru flat 12! Mind blown.
  • The engines are housed in a hand-crafted chassis. Both engines are from the 2007 Subaru Tribeca crossover and are mated to the 5-speed automatic transmission.
  • Considering that each engine produces around 250 horses, that makes a 500 horse build. The original Porsche 917/10 packed a 5.4-liter and produced 660…but it also cost a lot more.

Subaru powered Porsche

I often drive a modified Subaru WRX with a flat four. It is a very potent little thing and I would certainly be interested in a chance to try out a flat twelve.

Overall, the bodywork is shoddy looking as it stands. It is just the powertrain of this Subaru powered Porsche replica that demands attention. It is located in Hartford, Connecticut currently and listed on Ebay for $40k. The moral of the story here is to never underestimate the ingenuity of a gearhead on a budget!

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Mercedes-Benz Technology: Gesture Control Feature Raising Questions & Hands

Mercedes-Benz has been dropping hints that it is about to toss more brain muscle toward technology. It is already a worthy adversary to any tech savvy exotic carmaker, but word is that Mercedes-Benz technology is gearing up to do more than just impress…it wants to drop jaws.

Mercedes-Benz technologySlowly over the past few years it seems that Audi and BMW have stolen the limelight in terms of engaging customers with technology. BMW’s bold ‘i’ badging clearly communicates to the world that it is futuristic and intelligent, and that cool blue doesn’t hurt the goal. So what can Mercedes-Benz possibly do to gain an edge on the likes of the BMW i line or Audi?

Mercedes-Benz technologyMercedes-Benz claims it will not adopt technology just for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses, but rather, it will connect it to its brand in its own way. There are so many options when implementing an infotainment system into a car, and they are constantly updated. So far no one has a ‘gesture control’ option on their system, which is something Mercedes-Benz is currently researching. While it sounds quite futuristic, it does not link to a human brain and act independently like in a SyFy flick. What is more likely to happen will be technology capable of reading and understanding things like hand gestures, which sounds challenging to say the least. What if the vehicle misreads a hand gesture and accelerates out of control? Systems, disable racing mode..

I am actually uncertain what the gesture control system will bring. What do you think it could be and how long do you think we will be waiting to learn more? They say it could come with the next S-Class.

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Joss Supercar Could Suffer Permanent Pit Stop

The chaps behind the Joss supercar in Australia are turning to crowdfunding in a last-ditch effort to launch their product. The Joss supercar is but a small slice of the suffering Aussie automotive industry, which could come to a screeching halt altogether. There are still some devotees trying to salvage the supercar section, Joss. Joss supercarCan Australia’s Joss supercar be saved from certain death? The brand is reaching out, turning to crowdsourcing to net the cash it needs to stay alive.

The Joss supercar outfit at a glance, for those of you unfamiliar with the company:

  • Joss was founded in 1998 by Matt Thomas. He wanted to build the first Aussie born supercar.
  • The vision is powered by a potent 5.0-liter V8 pushing forth 563 horses, or crocodiles or whatever creature is more prevalent in the Outback.
  • Power is fed to the rear wheels via a unique gearbox. It is called Zeroshift and is being developed with British Albins firm.
  • The Joss supercar body is comprised of durable and lightweight carbon fiber, leaving her to barely tip the scales at 2,200 pounds.
  • 412 pound-feet of delicious torque.
  • The Joss supercar dazzles in the performance arena, knocking most competitor times completely out of her wake. The 0-60 mile per hour sprint is a blistering 2.8 seconds and her top speed is an estimated 211 MPH. To put that into perspective, most great leading supercars sit around 3.0-3.5 for the sprint and 198 MPH.
  • Tragically, without proper investors to fund the project further, the Joss shall disappear an unrealized dream.

Joss supercarTry to imagine the Joss car in a variety of colors. She seems versatile like the Lambo–capable of any shade of skittle. 

It is likely that the reigning supercar companies are not exactly devastated to see a potential competitor struggle. But if anyone is a solid testament to the ability of the underdog to emerge victorious it is Hennessey Performance. Those interested in assisting can seek out the Kickstarter page for them—the goal is to raise close to $500k by October 1st. Good luck, mates!

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