Audi’s hottest wagon gets even hotter, Bertone rises, two-year wait for Ferrari SUV
Audi juices up RS6 Avant and RS7 Sportback
Intake: Audi has unveiled new performance variants of the RS6 Avant and the RS7 Sportback. The new models utilize new turbochargers that increase peak boost from 2.4 bar to 2.6 bar, pushing the output of the 4-liter V-8 to 621 hp and 627 lb-ft, gains of 30 hp and 37 lb-ft. A new mechanical center differential will shuffle torque front to rear in the permanent all-wheel drive system, allowing for as much as 85 percent of the torque to be sent to the rear axle, or as much as 70 percent of the available torque to spin the front wheels. New 22-inch lightweight wheels are optional, shedding 11 pounds at each corner. Audi’s RS dynamic package, which nets a higher top speed of 180 mph, dynamic all-wheel steering, and a sport rear differential, is standard on the Performance models. An additional package, dubbed RS dynamics plus, will also raise the top speed further (nearly 190 mph) and will score you a carbon ceramic brake package which sheds an additional 75 lbs over the standard steel brake system. You can have your performance wagon or sportback in 16 colors, three of which—matte or metallic Ascari Blue and matte Dew Silver—are new. Exterior accents are all dark gray, while interior accents are blue. Audi says that the new performance versions of the RS6 Avant and the RS7 Sportback will be available starting on December 8. Pricing for the U.S. versions will be revealed at a later date.
Exhaust: Audi’s über wagon and its slinky sportback cousin are some of the best Autobahn stormers in existence. Both were already glorious machines of excess, but we’re always down for more power and a heightened sense of occasion. — Nathan Petroelje
Lordstown Endurance pickup deliveries begin
Intake: Lordstown Motors, the electric pickup truck manufacturer startup based in Lordstown, Ohio, in a shuttered GM plant, has begun deliveries of its electric pickup truck, the Endurance. The pickup is designed for commercial fleet customers, though it plans to sell the truck to individuals, too. The truck has unique in-wheel motors where the brakes would normally be. Lordstown has had problems with financing, depending on Foxconn, the Chinese iPhone manufacturer that owns the plant, for investments. There is known to be additional room in the plant for other lines, and Foxconn has had talks with Volkswagen about building the new Scout. The plant already builds a car for Fisker, and an electric tractor for Monarch.
Exhaust: We’re pulling for the plucky company, and our test drive of the comparatively bare-bones Endurance was positive. “The Endurance will provide benefits to customers that use their vehicles for work. It optimizes key attributes of traction and maneuverability—with our in-wheel hub motors, safety—with our five-star crash performance, and value in the segment,” said CEO Edward Hightower. Still, electric truck manufacturers like Ford and Chevrolet have not forgotten the commercial market, and will be tough competition for the Endurance. – Steven Cole Smith
Say hello to Bertone’s 110th anniversary supercar coming out party
Intake: After years of inactivity the Bertone design studio is back, just in time for its 110th anniversary. Bought by car enthusiasts Jean-Franck and Mauro Ricci back in 2020, the Italian firm has a new car in the works, and a new website to show it off. Details are still as sketchy as the shadow-laden digital renderings, but the proportions and aerodynamic ductwork suggest a mid-engine layout. Elegant curves and muscular haunches abound, and the 8-bit lighting elements pay homage to Bertone’s famous aerodynamic wedge designs from the 1970s.
Exhaust: Considering the performance offered by rival Italian firm Pininfarina with their Battista hypercar, expect the forthcoming Bertone anniversary tribute to possess an EV powertrain with mind-altering power and performance. (Possibly with bits sourced from Rimac, just like Pininfarina?) While the odds of it paying direct homage to any of its predecessors (especially aforementioned 1970s doorstops) is highly unlikely, one can hope this is just the start of a storied brand coming back to provide a unique visual experience for customers and onlookers alike. — Sajeev Mehta
Ferrari: No more SUV orders for now
Intake: Ferrari has stopped taking orders for its new SUV, the Purosangue, since it has a backlog of orders that might take two years to fill, says Reuters, quoting the drive.com.au website. “Ferrari unveiled in September the gas-powered 12-cylinder Purosangue, which the Italian sports car maker prefers to describe as a four-door, four-seater. It pledged to keep the model’s sales below 20 percent of total group shipments over the car’s life-cycle to retain a degree of exclusivity,” says Reuters.
Exhaust: Those who thought the SUV would represent the end of Ferrari—just like those who thought the Cayenne would spell the end of Porsche—obviously forgot to tell Ferrari’s customers. We guess that 715 horses, acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds, and a top speed of 193 mph appeals, even if it isn’t electric. (Or maybe because it isn’t electric…) – SCS
Singer and Theon present two takes on the Porsche 911
Intake: Britain’s Porsche resto-modders have been busy, with both Theon Design and Singer’s U.K. division releasing their latest interpretations of the classic 964-era 911. Singer calls its newest example the Naples Commission, and this Dynamic Lightweight Study is bodied in raw carbon fiber with lime green striping and matching magnesium wheels, together with a vivid green interior. It’s powered by a four-liter, naturally aspirated flat-six fettled by Williams Advanced Engineering to deliver 500 hp, and boasts a host of aerodynamic features to direct air at speed. There’s a special channel in the roof and a small ridge spoiler that steers the airflow to the ducktail at the rear, while a diffuser manages airflow under the car. The front air intake speeds outside air to oil coolers on either side of the car, and hot air vents ahead of the font wheels so it won’t disturb air under the car.
Over at Theon Design, a different approach has been taken, with the addition of a supercharger to the 3.6-liter flat six to deliver 400 hp. The Rotrex blower sits where the car’s air conditioning unit would have done and feeds cold, compressed air forced through two charge coolers to the motor. The engine internals have been re-engineered with independent throttle bodies, flowed and ported heads, a lightened bottom end, motorsport-grade Mahle barrels and pistons, as well as Carillo rods and custom profile camshafts. Theon also adds TracTive semi-active suspension with electronically switchable dampers, and a limited slip differential. Like the Singer, Theon’s BEL001 (named as it will soon be headed to Belgium) is also bodied in carbon, but painted in an aquamarine hue, based on a historic 356 color.
Exhaust: If you’re in the market for a modern take on a classic 911, it seems you’re spoilt for choice. Singer is now moving exclusively to the 964 Turbo, while Theon continues to offer normally-aspirated models alongside this new supercharged special, and both companies’ imagination, engineering and craftsmanship are extraordinary. So too are the prices with a Singer DLS costing $1.8m and Theon prices starting at $455,000. — Nik Berg