Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week for your convenience.
We had seen countless prototypes clad in camouflage, and now it’s been fully revealed. The 2013 Range Rover is a little bit more rounded, a lot lighter, and even more luxurious than its predecessor. As we expected, the styling nudges the boxy Range Rover more toward the modern, subtly curved design of the new Range Rover Evoque. The front end is less boxy, the body sides flow into the fenders more smoothly, but most of the Range Rover’s other defining elements stay. Weight is down as much as 700 pounds compared to the 2012 Range Rover, thanks to extensive use of aluminum. The 375-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 and 500-hp, supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 engines remain, but an eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the old six-speed unit.
It’s one of the oldest and most debated automotive rivalries: Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro? We rounded up the most track-ready versions of this pair and put them head-to-head at Gingerman Raceway. The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE fixes most of the problems that plagued older Camaros on the track: understeer, floppy steering, and a better shifter. The 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302, meanwhile, remains our favorite production Mustang — and one of our favorite sports cars of the moment. The differences between the two cars are plentiful, as are our photos of the American muscle cars battling it out on the track.
We sat down with Elon Musk, billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, to find out more about his electric-car company. During our hour-long interview, Musk pulled no punches, dishing on his distaste for former employee (and now-rival) Henrik Fisker, as well as his new Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid. Musk also was open about the difficulties involved in building his first electric car, the Roadster, as well as plans to sell a $30,000 electric sedan that is the size of the Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series.
The festivities around the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance are rarely a place to find ordinary cars, and McLaren will take that to the extreme with the X-1. This car is a one-off commissioned by a currently anonymous buyer who was, presumably, bored with his existing collection of a McLaren F1, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, and MP4-12C supercar. The X-1 was custom-designed to the whims and whimsy of said buyer, who commissioned a carbon-fiber body accented with magnesium bodywork and removable side panels for the rear wheels. Beneath this new skin lies the same twin-turbo V-8 engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as a regular McLaren MP4-12C supercar. How much did this one-off cost? Let’s put it this way: McLaren spent nearly three years designing, building, and testing the X-1.
BMW has taken the wraps off its Zagato Roadster — which, careful readers will note, comes only a few months after BMW showed the Zagato coupe in Italy. As before, this is a styling exercise penned by Italian design house Zagato, and based on the body of the existing BMW Z4. Styling details include a long hood, deeply sculpted fender vents, a gentle character line at the rear clip, and an elegant rear decklid topped with two roll hoops. The inside is mostly standard BMW Z4 parts, albeit dressed up saddle-on-charcoal leather. Sadly, BMW has no plans to build this alluring car — even as a low-volume halo model.
Looking for a subcompact hatchback halfway between the sensible Fiat 500 and the feisty 500 Abarth? Such a vehicle was just announced in Italy. Called the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo, the new model extracts 135 hp from a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four — up from 101 hp in the regular 500, but down compared to the 160 ponies offered by the Abarth. A five-speed manual is the only transmission choice, and the 500 Turbo also scores upgraded brakes from the 500 Abarth. Pricing for the Fiat 500 Turbo starts at $20,700 (after destination), about midway between the Fiat 500 Sport and the Fiat 500 Abarth.
Remember the launches of the 1996 and 2006 Dodge Viper? If not, allow us to remind you that those cars wore GTS Blue paint overlaid with two Bright White racing stripes — and so too will the 2013 SRT Viper Launch Edition. The new trim package is designed to pay homage to past Viper launches, and also includes unique polished aluminum wheels, and special Stryker badges with a blue background. The car makes its debut this weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The 2013 Jaguar XJ and 2013 Jaguar XF have both been updated with new engines and available all-wheel-drive systems. The larger XJ sedan will gain a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 in place of the car’s naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8. Thanks also to a new eight-speed automatic transmission with engine stop-start, the 2013 XJ so equipped become significantly more fuel efficient. Models with that supercharged engine also can now be equipped with all-wheel drive, a boon for luxury car fans in regions prone to snow and ice. The slightly smaller Jaguar XF receives most of the same upgrades: the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 vanished in favor of the supercharged six, and an eight-speed automatic with stop-start becomes standard. The XF also can be optioned with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four; the Ford-sourced unit is also used in the Range Rover Evoque. Only the supercharged Jaguar XF, however, can be equipped with all-wheel drive.
There are lots of cars at the 2012 Monterey Auto Auctions, so we picked out nine of the finest finds we could. Perhaps one of these vehicles will tickle your fancy and encourage you to drop a seriously large check at this weekend’s auction. There’s a 1968 Toyota 2000GT, for instance, a sinewy and rare sports car of which only 351 copies were produced. Or perhaps the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail, a racing car specifically modified with new aerodynamic bits for the GT1 international race series, is more your style? Then there’s the classically beautiful 1932 Daimler 40/50 Double Six Sport Saloon, which has a staggering 13-foot wheelbase. We also present six other compelling choices that can be found at this weekend’s auction.