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Rotary-Powered Mazda RX Sports Car Not Coming Before 2020



Mazda RX-Vision rotary-engine sports car

Enthusiasts clamoring for a new Mazda RX sports car will have to wait until after 2020, if not forever.

The stunning Mazda RX-Vision Concept was the clear star of the 2015 Tokyo Auto Show. Rumors indicated that a production version would arrive in time for Mazda’ centennial celebrations in 2020, but we won’t see it before 2020.

In an interview with Australian magazine , Kiyoshi Fujiwara, the company’s head of R&D, said:

“We cannot provide the RX-Vision to the market by 2020 because we do not have enough money to invest to commercialize it.”

Unlike Toyota, The Volkswagen Group or General Motors, Mazda is a tiny automaker with relatively very little to work with and it’s allocating the bulk of resources to new powertrain technology like the Skyactiv-X engine that powers the next-generation Mazda3. It’s also developing battery-electric and plug-in hybrid tech.

Declining sales of the sports car segment is another point of consideration.

It’s not all bad news, however, with Fujiwara confirming that there is still hope for a successor to the RX-8, which ended production in 2012 after a nine-year stint.

Fujiwara admitted that delaying the car might make it more expensive to build, adding:

“If we launch this kind of model later we will have to add more technology to it, like autonomous driving, electrification.”

In an ideal world, Mazda would build two versions of the car: one that can drive purely on electricity and aimed at buyers in markets where only zero-emissions vehicles are allowed, and a second that runs on pure rotary power for the enthusiasts.

In an ideal world…


BMW 8 Series Coupe Takes Mantle Of BMW’s Flagship Two-Door



New, 2019 BMW Series 8 M850i

After months of spy shots and teasers, the BMW Series Coupe has finally be unveiled and is all set to go on sale in November 2018.

The new 8 Series Coupe’s design doesn’t stray too far from the striking Concept that previewed it, featuring a long, low-slung profile that’s reminiscent of the the 6 Series Coupe’s and a wedged front fascia defined by prominent grille and the slimmest headlights yet on a BMW. LED headlights are standard, while adaptive LED Headlights and BMW Laserlight lights are optional.

Jumping inside, one finds customizable 10.25-inch digital display in front of the driver and a 12.3-inch infotainment system situated directly in the middle of the dashboard. Wireless charging, the BMW Display Key and a Bowers and Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System are part of the long list of optional features.

The 8 Series will initially be offered with a choice of two engines. The M850i XDerive is equipped with a bi-turbo 4.4L V8 that produces 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft. of torque and, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, allows the large German coupe to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) from a standstill in 3.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).

The 840d xDrive sources its power from a Europe-exclusive 3.0L six-cylinder diesel engine rated at 320 horsepower and 501 lb-ft. of torque. With the eight speed automatic, it completes the sprint in 4.9 seconds and has the same top speed of 155 mph.

A rear-bias xDrive all-wheel-drive system helps get all that power to the ground, while an electronic rear differential lock comes standard on the M Performance package.

Ride and handling have been optimized with BMW’s Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers, active roll stabilization, electromechanical steering of the front wheels, rear-wheel steering and variable steering ratios.

So, what do you think — does the BMW 8 Series have the aesthetic chops to be BMW’s flagship coupe? How does it compare to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tesla Roadster Uses Rocket Thrusters To Go Faster, Turn Better



New, 2020 Tesla Roadster going fast

No, this is not science fiction. The new Tesla Roadster does indeed use thrusters to improve its acceleration, top speed, braking and cornering ability.

Telsa CEO Elon Musk confirmed in a post that the electric sports car will be available with a SpaceX package that, among other features, gives it 10 small rocket thrusters placed seamlessly around its body to “dramatically” enhance overall performance and possibly enable it to “fly short hops … maybe.”

He explained that pressure for the thrusters will be generated on-board via electric air pumps and composite-overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), similar to how the system works in the SpaceX rockets:

“The air exiting the thrusters would immediately be replenished whenever vehicle pack power draw allowed operation of the air pump, which is most of the time. Total energy stored even in ultra-compressed air is low vs battery, but power output is insane.”

Even without the fancy thrusters, the new Tesla Roadster is stupid fast, capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in a neck-snaping 1.9 seconds thanks to its three powerful electric motors. Musk intendeds it to “beat gas sports cars on every performance metric by far, no exceptions” and set a new benchmark for pure speed.

I can only imagine what such complexity means for reliability and safety…

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Next Dodge Charger, Challenger Will Still Be A Mercedes Underneath



Dodge Charger and Challenger, track grid

The latest Dodge Charger and Challenger are based on a very old Mercedes-Benz E-Class platform introduced in 1995, and it does’t look like that’s going to change with the next-generation models.

There were were rumors that the next Charger and Challenger would use Alfa Romeo’s lightweight, athletic Giorgio platform, which underpins the Giulia and Stelvio crossover, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) may be leaning towards keeping the current architecture.

At the company’s investor conference in Italy, Motor Authority FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne as saying:

“We may not necessarily have to go as far as the Giorgio architecture for Dodge as long as we are willing to commit to a significant upgrade to the current architecture to make it competitive. That’s something that’s already started. “

Marchionne believes that Giorgio platform is ill-suited for a high-performance, all-American sports car, adding:

“The problem with Giorgio is from size and capability standpoint it reflects much more of a European performance requirement than it does the American heritage of Dodge.”

That’s a bold move considering how old the Mercedes-Benz platform in question is. Yes, it has been heavily updated over the years, and Marchionne promises we will not recognize its origins by the time the latest slew of updates are completed, but there is an argument to made for a brand-new, ground-up architecture custom-tailored for the modern era of vehicles.

We will have to wait and see how well the decision turns out for the Charger and Challenger. An old and heavy German or a young and athletic Italian — which would you choose?

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