Archive for the ‘New Cars’ Category

Superperformance GT40

When we saw the new Ford GT at last year’s Geneva show it completely blew us away. Floating on its revolving stand the metallic blue car looked a million dollars but (whisper it) the anticipated list price was to be less than £200k. That is a lot of money to spend on any car but in the world of supercars and hypercars you could be spending close to that on a new set of alloy wheels and a service. The owner of a P1 or LaFerrari would probably have that in small change down the back of the sofa.

OK it’s a Ford which doesn’t quite have the panache of a Ferrari or Lambo but it certainly does have the pedigree. Books the size of War and Peace have been written about the track successes of the company so engineering prowess is a given with any fast Ford. The latest Focus RS is a good example. ‘Blue-collar’ heroes they are calling them because badge-snobs wouldn’t be seen dead in one, even as a passenger. Their loss entirely. Incidentally, there will no less than four Ford GT’s competing at Le Mans this year. Look out Porsche, Audi et al.

But maybe the tide is turning. You see the so-called ‘blue-collar supercar’, the new Ford GT, is sending the car-collecting world into a right tiswas. Word is that only 28 cars will be available to UK buyers out of the planned 1000 to be built over four years and this has caused some anxiety amongst those who not only like their cars but also have lots of money to invest in their cars.

There are stories of individuals flying to the Dearborn HQ to see what strings they can pull to secure one of the first cars whilst shouting “Do you know who I am?!” Well that’s just hearsay but Ford has responded by saying that buying a fleet of Mondeos or offering free use of a Gulfstream jet will have no bearing on your chances of buying one. Maybe it will just be the old-fashioned short-straw routine or a gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Ford-style.

Suddenly the company has gone a bit shy on the exact sales price too. Quite likely one of the most sensible comments made at an HQ board-meeting since Geneva 2015 was that the car was possibly a tad too cheap and rumours are circulating now that you could be looking at Aventador-like pricing. If you think you can get away with it, Ford, then why not?

No doubt the car-collectors and ‘investors’ will be looking to double whatever they pay for their car in a few years time so any list price is quite frankly academic. Given the new GT is a spiritual successor to the original GT40 which is likely to be conservatively worth in excess of 10 million US dollars these days it is no surprise that the new car has created so much attention. Looks like Ford will be competing with Ferrari in the auction rooms as well as on the track.

However, there is an alternative option where the sensible money might be heading. The Superformance GT40.

The SPF GT40 story is not new of course and the South African-based company has been producing ‘authentic’ GT40’s for well over a decade now. So authentic in fact, that the company can legally use the name ‘GT40’ and each car carries the GT40/P chassis number and therefore is eligible for the official GT40 registry. So there.

The appeal of this car to ‘collectors’ and ‘investors’ of course is non-existent. But to somebody who would like to get as close as it might be possible to the Le Mans-winning cars from the 1960’s and who actually wants to drive their cars instead of moth-balling them in de-humidified cocoons then it is quite timely to put the spotlight again on this curious ‘replica’, ‘re-creation’ or ‘continuation’.

Each SPF GT40 is produced by Hi-Tech Automotive in Port Elizabeth, South Africa who just happen to produce cars for Noble. The Superformance brand is owned by the Hillbank Motor Corporation who just happen to be the US distributor for Caterham. Petrol (or gasoline) runs through the veins of the infrastructure.

If you want to buy an SPF GT40 you stop by your local dealer – Le Mans Coupes Ltd in the UK for instance – and tell them what engine you want installed (a choice of three from 430 to 580 bhp + as we write this) and your favourite colour for the bodywork. Hand over around £150k (more or less) and look forward to owning a 200 mph+ hand-built, re-creation of one of the most iconic sports car ever made.

For a car created in the 1960’s there is nothing else that can come as close to a Ferrari from the same period that could draw a crowd in a high street. The shape of the original GT40 has defied the ageing process and can hold its own against the forthcoming Ford GT. It looks like a brand-new re-creation will be a lot cheaper too. A proper race-bred sports car for the price of a modern supercar?

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f12brosso

Looks aren’t everything so my mother used to tell me. It’s the person inside she said and how right she was too. In the car world however, looks are very important. Subjective maybe, but still important.

The Porsche Panamera springs to mind. I remember walking up to the car for the first test drive and decided that I was going to hate it. The bulbous rear hind-quarters following the flat-nosed front end made it look as though they had stretched a 911 too far on a rack and stuck two doors on each side. The Panamera was not pretty.

But to drive the car was sublime. Great driving position, performance and handling made it very easy to forget the awkward shape of the car being driven. Until you caught a reflection of the Panamera in a large shop window and realised what the rest of the world could see as you bowled merrily along the high street.

Handing the keys back was filled with mixed emotions. What a great car to drive but so hard to fall in love with. I tried hard to forgive the peculiar design but to this day, nine years later, the Panamera has not aged well. Sorry Porsche. Hopefully your forthcoming face-lift for the car this year will transform this ugly duckling.

History is littered with examples of cars that have struggled in the style stakes but have nonetheless been recognised as proper driving machines. One that came up in conversation recently was the BMW Z3M Coupe. Unkindly described by some people as a ‘bread van’, BMW had somehow managed to transform the interesting design of the Z3 roadster into a disfigured hunchback of a coupe. But we loved it and so it seems does everybody else these days with decent examples fetching up to £40k. Who would have guessed that?

Even Ferrari has made a couple of faux-pas in the shape of the Mondial, designed by Pininfarina, and its predecessor the 308/208 GT4 designed by Bertone. Time hasn’t been kind to the Mondial and possibly the Bertone offspring wins by a whisker in this comparison. What about the Testarossa that still looks like it is stuck in the 80’s with those exaggerated side-intakes and the 456 which was probably the most bland design ever to come from Maranello?

But all it takes is the arrival of a superstar in the company’s line-up and all those previous mishaps are forgotten. Enter the F12berlinetta in 2012.

With a mix of dramatic curves and the odd aggressive sharp crease in the right place Ferrari created a car you could stare at all day. You could buy it and never drive it because you wanted to make sure you had taken in every inch of the beautiful shape and then go back and check it all over again.

But drive it you must. Before the LaFerrari arrived it was the fastest production car out of Maranello. The figures speak for themselves: 6.2 litre V12 producing 740hp. 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds. 0-120 mph in 8.5 seconds. Maximum speed 211 mph. The F12 is a seriously fast car and only the F12tdf will come between this and the LaFerrari when it is launched this year.

However, it is not just about the looks and the performance figures but it is also the aural sensation of the way it goes about its business. The engine note is akin to that heard in a Formula One race car. A kind of mid-range bark that turns into a screaming wail at high revs and then crackles loudly on the fast down-shifts. Delicious.

So there it is. Is the F12berlinetta the perfectly packaged sports car with the looks, the performance and the noise to go with it? We think it comes close and has certainly set a very high bar for all newcomers. Maybe only Ferrari itself can eclipse its own accomplishments but we shall find out in the fullness of time no doubt.

For anybody now thinking of purchasing an F12berlinetta we can tell you about a car that will be coming onto the market in a couple of weeks from now – let’s say early February.

Finished in Rosso Corsa with Cuoio Leather interior, this F12 is right hand drive, brand new and unregistered. The specification includes the following: yellow brake calipers and rev counter, Scuderia shields, fully electrically operated seats, reverse camera, suspension lifting system, AFS, carbon/LED steering wheel plus 20″ forged and painted wheels. This is also a vat qualifying vehicle.

For further details including pricing information please contact The Car Spy on ++44 (0)1892 506970 or ++44 (0)7809 890969. You can also send an email to sales@thecarspy.net

In the meantime this video from Chris Harris about the Ferrari F12berlinetta gives a good insight to the car and its ultimate capabilities. It is nearly 15 minutes long but great viewing….enjoy!

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TVR Launch Edition

There are plenty of new releases in the car world this year and we thought it would be a great idea to bring you some highlights and predictions for the coming year…… 

Fresh off the back of our attendance at the 2016 WhatCar? Awards, we are looking forward with anticipation to some hot new models this year that are set to become future collectables and cult classics.

It is well known that 2015 saw a real increase in consumers continuing to invest in ‘modern collectables and classics’ with manufacturers now notably choosing to build special editions and models that are likely to become future classics. (For example BMW M2, Ford Focus RS, et al).

We have found interest in buying these types of models (both new and used) at an all-time high, with many vehicles fetching crazy premiums on the open market over and above the manufacturer’s list prices. The UK market has truly become a hotbed for speculators taking advantage of this situation.

For instance we have seen a huge influx of collectables heading our way from overseas such as the Lamborghini Murciélago SV, Ferrari Scuderia and GTO models, plus Porsche models consisting of the sought-after RS derivatives.

In the meantime new models to look forward to this year include the following….

Audi‘s new A5 and Q5, the Aston Martin DB11, Alfa Romeo’s Giulia, the most hotly anticipated BMW of recent times – the M2 plus a new 5 Series and the M4 GTS. The game-changing Bentley Bentayga and deliveries should also start for the Ferrari 488 Spider. The Ford Focus RS is definitely coming and ‘maybe’ the GT, the all-new Honda NSX, Jaguar‘s first SUV offering – the stunning F-Pace, two stunning Lamborghini Spiders – The Aventador SV Roadster and the beautiful Huracan Spider. High hopes for the new Land Rover Discovery 5 and the Range Rover Evoque ConvertibleMaserati will also join Bentley and Jaguar with a new SUV – the LevanteMcLaren‘s world-beating 570 and 540C start to hit the UK streets and Mercedes-Benz will deliver the new E-Class – a true benchmark saloon and (hopefully) an AMG GT Black SeriesNissan are penciled-in to bring us more NISMO lines and Porsche will be replacing the controversial yet brilliantly engineered Panamera. Renault should be bringing us a new Megane with an ‘R’ version to follow. The highlight of the summer months will arguably be the beautiful Rolls Royce Dawn. Tesla will be looking to head deep into the corporate sector with the new Model S, a smaller 3 Series and C Class competitor and finally, Volkswagen will be launching the potentially bonkers Golf R400!

Phew, quite a list! I’m sure you are as excited about the coming year as we are since there are going to be some cracking new cars to drive.

Next stop the Geneva Show in March when we will be giving further updates to the individual model releases!

For more information on the new releases for this year please call MARK on 0044 (0) 7894 501457 or RICHARD on 0044 (0) 7809 890969. You can also email us at sales@thecarspy.net

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Here in my (electric?) car….

Posted: January 15, 2016 by The Car Spy in Audi, BMW, General, New Cars, Tesla, Volkswagen
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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The company hack recently got t-boned by a Defender and whilst the latter shuffled off with a slightly bent front bumper the poor Audi S3 looked like it had been side-swiped by a demolition ball. Even before making the tentative call to the insurance company the phrase ‘write-off’ was the only polite way we could think of describing the state of our car. And so began the search for a replacement.

The prospect of choosing a new car, depending on your budget of course, can be a daunting prospect not least of which there is simply too much to choose from these days.

However, the criteria were simple. The new car had to be everything the S3 was in terms of practicality, sportiness, fun factor and reliability for a company runabout.

Too many cars are good right now at that level and you have to allow for a bit of subjectiveness when it comes to the badge on the bonnet. Well, you don’t really have to but you end up being picky about that sort of thing in the final stages of choosing the car.

Very long story short, the choice was whittled down to one of the following:-

Another S3, the BMW 135i or the Golf R?

Another S3 was quickly discounted because, well, we had owned one already and we might get bored very quickly with a similar replacement.

The 135i was a tempting proposition. Not the best-looking of sporty hatches but extremely practical and a complete hoot to drive. Not a car for the winter though. Where we are based in the bowels of Kent the roads can suffer from black ice and appearances by council gritting lorries are a bit hit and miss so anything with 300-plus bhp on tap at the rear end is a potential drift machine. Having got used to the S3’s quattro system the fun factor could quickly disappear with the 135i. Strike that one out then.

The Golf R at least has four-wheel drive and based on the press reviews of the latest car it has to be one of the favourites. Great handling, terrific build-quality, very useful performance and you can turn it into a small van if you need to. It very much ticks all of the boxes on paper and yet on a visit to the local VW dealership there was one thing that made us think twice. The Golf Gti.

The Gti is essentially the same car but with a little less power and just the front wheels being driven. It is also less adorned with some of the cosmetic frippery of the R which is a good thing and of course it is cheaper to buy. Given the way this car will be used the Gti just makes the most sense and the deals on the table from VW dealers right now suggest that it is the right time to take the plunge for this hot hatch.

But hold on tiger, there was a left-field player waiting to be considered. A visit to the BMW dealership just down the road from VW threw a surprise candidate into the mix. The i3. Yep, an electric car.

Now don’t get us wrong here but we have a growing respect for (certain) battery-powered automobiles. If you have any doubts about the forthcoming world domination of this form of transport then go and test drive a Tesla Model S. Break yourself in gently with the 70D and then work your way up to the P90D. Even the slowest version will reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and the fastest will get there in 2.8 seconds. Speed freaks will love the way the car gathers momentum and in the fastest version you will be hunting down 911 Turbo’s and the odd Aventador to embarrass at traffic light drag races. For the moment though, the Model S is outside of our budget and is a bit too executive-saloon for what we need right now.

Enter the i3. To some it is a freakish design but to us it is a spacious funky-looking little machine that has some interesting and endearing features, like the eco-friendly materials used for the interior. Bits of the door card look like compressed paper but so what? We have suffered decades of naff black plastic interiors in our cars so it’s about time for a change. It is cute and very clever too, like a pet dog. Lots of goodies for the iPad generation will make you feel as though the car knows exactly where it is going all of the time and it will give you lots of notice about running out of juice. Range is about 100 miles but the Range Extender version adds another 80-plus to that.

BMW claim the i3 is their fastest accelerating car to 30 mph and in the real world that actually matters since that is about as fast as you can get most of the time on the South East of England’s horribly congested, pot-holed roads.

A decent drive on a dual-carriageway and stop-start town driving allowed us to test the mettle of the car and impressed us it certainly did. BMW had just released some very attractive financial incentives for buying an i3 so suddenly this little car was heading to the top of our list. And apparently we could bring an end to the melting ice-caps to boot!

But we didn’t buy it. In fact we didn’t buy any of the above. We put a deposit on a BMW M2.

Yep, in spite of it hardly ticking any of the boxes and contradicting our thought process completely the M2 was the car that won our hearts and not our minds.

So not electric this time, but pretty soon battery ranges will be 400 miles plus according to Tesla and that will be a game-changer in the car world. According to a recently published government report for ULEV’s (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles – our bureaucrats love an acronym) registrations of electric vehicles doubled last year from 2014.

Our M2 might be the last of our combustion-engined indulgences, forever. Still time to change our minds though.

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2014-porsche-911-gt3-1

There are some cars which will always command a lot of attention whenever a new version is announced and the Porsche 911 GT3 is one of them. Since the first GT3 version was launched way back in 1999 just over 14000 have been produced and of those that still survive each one has appreciated in value. In other words, they have been a solid-gold automotive investment.

A few years ago we sold a well cared-for 2005 996 GT3 which would be worth around £70k today…..

2005_Porsche_911_GT3_-_Flickr_-_The_Car_Spy_(19)

And also this drop-dead gorgeous 2010 997 GT3 RS which would set you back in excess of £135k in today’s money – possibly even more than that soon as values continue to rise northwards.

2010_Porsche_911_GT3_RS_-_Flickr_-_The_Car_Spy_(29)

We cant tell you what the owners paid for these cars when they bought them from us but they will be comforted by the fact that their GT3’s are akin to having a barrel full of diamonds in the garage. Nice.

The latest (991) GT3 had barely been announced when the right hand drive allocation was sold out – it seems the desire for a GT3 burns bright here in the UK

The only other option it seemed was to purchase a left-hooker since the factory would make a few more of those to satisfy (most of) the rest of the world.

Fortunately we have access to a brand new, unregistered, left hand drive GT3 which has just arrived in the UK from Germany and is vat qualifying.

The specification is as follows:-

Carrera White (Solid)
Leather and Alcantara Interior
GT3 Wheels in Anthracite
Front Axle Lifting System
Dynamic Light System (PDLS)
Sport Seat 6 Point [heated] (Including Harness)
Tracking system (VTS)
Floor mats
Phone Prep
PCM with Navigation
Sound package
Aluminium Interior Trim
Alcantara Steering Wheel
Alcantara Armrest Lid
Red Harness Belts

Just for the record the latest incarnation of the GT3 features a 3.8 litre, flat-six engine mated to a PDK transmission which together produce 475 hp. The car is capable of providing a 0-60 mph time of 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 195 mph according to the manufacturer.

For further details and pricing please get in touch in the first instance on 01892 506970 because we are not expecting this sought-after GT3 to be available for very long or drop The Car Spy an email at sales@thecarspy.net.

12 months is not a long time. Only yesterday, it seems, we were waltzing through the airport terminal in Geneva and turning left into the Palexpo to ogle the latest automotive eye-candy. And now it is 2015.

Last year was okay and kind of worth the trip but this year we were gagging to get there. Over 70  new models on display plus the inevitable bunch of interesting concept cars that never see the light of day. So on with the show.

With so much to see we’ll just focus on the cars that were of particular interest to us which means you can exclude most of the mass market offerings.

Cutting to the chase our show hero was the Koenigsegg Regera – ‘robotic’ body panels, 1500 hp, 0-60 mph in minus 2 seconds, brain-mashing top speed, everything about the car is mental. The car is from Sweden and is the antithesis of ABBA. It is Black Sabbath on acid. Everybody now go back to the drawing board.

Koenigsegg Regera

Next up is the Ford GT. Only 250 cars will be made and the launch date is some time in 2016. For a car that looks this good and performance will be up there with the best it is hard to believe that it will cost around £200k. Speculators and investors form an orderly queue now.

Ford GT

Aston Martin. They really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The brand is bullet-proof, up there with Apple in terms of global recognition and Bond’s perennial favourite weapon of choice. The cars are drop-dead gorgeous and yet they struggle to persuade die-hard Porsche buyers to consider AM as a viable alternative. The GT3 (Aston Martin) is all sold-out – yep 100 cars gone in the blink of an eye without a single car being built so there are some real fans out there. The Vulcan, to be honest, does not look like an Aston Martin. It looks like it came from the planet Vulcan and driven by Mr Spock (RIP). Designed for those who have enough money to have a spare car for track days (at Paul Ricard not Donington) the detail of the car is truly impressive. The rear light assemblies are a work of art and deserve a place in the Louvre. Bravo Aston Martin for surprising all of us!

Aston Martin Vulcan

Yes the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 is a concept but the car is real and very likely to be gunning for 911 customers in the very near future. The car on display was rotating gracefully while the crowds gawped and wiped the dribble from their mouths. The EXP is a truly lovely design and there is a little bit of Aston Martin in the profile. The interior is lovely too and you know they will sell zillions of them if they actually start making the car which we think they (VW) will. It is a no-brainer so all they have to do is come up with a sensible name for the car.

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6

If we all accept that the internal combustion engine will one day no longer exist but at the same time pray that we will not be driven around by a car made by Google there is a ray of hope in the form of fuel cell technology from nanoFlowcell AG. The Quantino F is a concept right now and maybe a little too avant-garde for mass market tastes but it bodes well for the future of green motoring. With a range of 1000 kms and a top speed of 200 kph we can all put away the razor blades – cars can survive without petrol.

Quantino F

Other highlights for us were the Alfa Romeo 4c Spider (prettier than the Coupe), Ferrari 488 (even more desirable than a 458), McLaren 675LT (they seem to going from strength to strength), Lamborghini Aventador SV (how can you make an Aventador even more terrifying?), Sergio by Pininfarina (not a game-changer but such a perfect design and future classic), Audi R8 (looks the same but then again doesn’t – if that makes any sense), Lotus (shouldn’t they be dead by now? The Evora and Exige still look damn good), Porsche 911 GT3 RS in orange (they couldn’t have picked a better colour), Porsche Cayman GT4 in yellow (they couldn’t have picked a better colour) and Renault Sport RS 01 (the bastard child of the Caterham/Renault love affair? At the right price this car will sell well).

There are even more exhibits that are probably worth a mention and we did manage to take a few shots of nice cars during our visit to the show so please take a look at our slideshow when you have time.

For now then we have stocked up on Toblerone, Swiss cheese and cuckoo clocks albeit with less Swiss Francs left than last year but roll on 2016 – not sure if it will be as interesting as this year though!

Bentley GT3-R

Hard to believe that the shape of the Continental has been with us for nearly 12 years now and with the odd cosmetic tweak and engine upgrade it has managed to establish itself as the best selling Bentley by far. In fact, it is the main reason the company is now considered to be an instantly recognisable global brand which is no mean feat for a single model. Who knows, the Conti might do for Bentley what the 911 has done for Porsche over the decades.

In these times, it is the marketing man who sits at the top table with the company bosses and they look to him to mix his magic potions to eke out every drop of dream-inspiring imagery to help maintain market share of their brand and individual models. The Continental is a good example.

Think of a jolly jaunt down to Monaco in the blink of an eye, wafting along in a near-silent W12 to arrive refreshed at the Casino in time for a game or two of Black Jack.

How about a raucous blast in the Scottish Glens with a glorious V8 under the bonnet while the sports suspension lets you attack corners like Lewis Hamilton?

Fancy a cruise along the Pacific Highway from LA to San Diego? You can just picture yourself in a GT Speed Convertible with the roof down soaking up the sun and the miles listening to Pink Floyd on the Naim audio system.

Get the point? Along with breaking ice speed records it seems there is a Continental for every occasion. However until recently one part of Bentley’s history had been relatively unexploited – the legendary Bentley Blowers that won at Le Mans in 1930. Enter the GT3 and GT3-R.

The GT3 was developed to establish Bentley as a properly competitive racing team again and to bring the marque firmly back on to the stage of worldwide motorsport – the marketing men were at it again.

Such was the positive reception to the arrival of Bentley to compete with the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche that it was not long before the company wheeled out a ‘normal’ road-going version for those petrol-heads with deep pockets. Hence we have the GT3-R.

Limited to a production run of only 300 the low-down is as follows:-

Engine power 580 PS 6000rpm and 700 N·m 1700rpm, torque vectoring for each of the rear wheels, shorter gearing, recalibrated control software, all-new titanium exhaust with 7 kg weight saving and retuned acoustics, forged 21-inch alloy wheels in gloss black, Pirelli tyres, sport-focused Electronic Stability Control programme, Carbon Silicon Carbide (CSiC) braking system (420 mm front and 356 mm rear brake discs, 8-piston front calipers in green), two-seat cabin with carbon fibre, Alcantara and leather interior upholstery; bespoke sporting seats with additional side support through deeper bolsters upholstered in Beluga black leather and diamond-quilted Alcantara, upholstered steering wheel and gear shifter, centre console and fascia panels in carbon fibre, carbon fibre door casings with diamond-quilted Alcantara inner panels, rear cabin with a carbon fibre surround and upholstered in leather and Alcantara, green hide colour on the seats, instrument panel, door panels, contrast stitching throughout the seats and diamond-quilted areas; GT3-R badging at centre console, passenger-side fascia panel, sill tread-plates; GT3-R stitching at seat headrests in with contrast-green stitching, carbon fibre fixed rear wing and boot lid, bonnet with two vents, Glacier White body colour with gloss carbon fibre contrasts, two-tone green graphics tracing two power lines to the side profile of the car (one leading backwards from the front wheel, the other tracing the shape of the Continental GT’s rear haunch), headlamp bezels, matrix grille, window surrounds and bumper strips in gloss black. Phew!

Want to buy one? Well, too late because they are all sold out. Top marks for the marketing bods again!

However, we know of a cancelled order GT3-R that is physical and can be purchased today so to find out more give The Car Spy a call on 01892 506970 or email sales@thecarspy.net