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A taxi service using driverless cars controlled by Argo AI’s self-driving system is edging closer to becoming reality.
Fords equipped with Argo AI’s self-driving system have been testing in a handful of U.S. cities for several years, and some of these will join Lyft’s networks in Miami and Austin in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
It means Lyft customers in those cities will soon get a chance to ride in one of Argo AI’s self-driving cars. The cars will operate within defined areas, and there will still be a safety driver on board.
This initial deployment is meant to lay the groundwork for scaling up the operations. There’s more to it than just the self-driving technology. There also needs to be operations to support the fleets, including fueling, servicing and cleaning.
Argo AI together with Ford and Lyft are looking to deploy at least 1,000 self-driving cars on the Lyft network across multiple cities over the next five years. Other cities where Argo AI is testing include Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and soon the German city of Munich. In Germany, Argo AI will use Volkswagens for its self-driving cars.
Ford and Volkswagen Group each have a 42% stake of Argo AI, and Lyft will receive a 2.5% stake as part of this new deal. Argo AI’s most recent valuation was $7 billion, and CEO Bryan Salesky hinted in June that it may launch an initial public offering in the near future.
Argo AI is developing a full self-driving system comprising both software and hardware. A major advantage Argo AI has is its lidar system which can accurately spot and identify objects more than 1,300 feet away, or about 300 feet more than current lidar sensors—something that’s vital for highway driving.
With production of the Koenigsegg Jesko about to begin, founder Christian von Koenigsegg filmed a video walkthrough of the company’s latest hypercar.
The car featured in this video appears to be the same pre-production version the company recently showed off in pre-production form (with Christian von Koenigsegg himself at the wheel). It wears a bright orange color that was offered on the Koenigsegg CCR in the company’s early days.
Koenigsegg has two versions of the Jesko. The Jesko Absolut prioritizes top speed over downforce, and can be identified by its lack of a rear wing. The car shown here is the high-downforce version, which Koenigsegg is now calling the Jesko Attack. The company has said it can generate up to 3,000 pounds of downforce, thanks to the big rear wing and other aerodynamic elements.
This car also wears the optional carbon-fiber wheels (aluminum wheels are standard). Measuring 20 inches up front and 21 inches at the back, they’re the largest wheels ever fitted to a Koenigsegg. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires are standard, but gripper Michelin Pilot Cup 2 R tires are available as an option.
Koenigsegg Jesko pre-production model
The Jesko also features Koenigsegg’s Triplex damper setup front and rear (previous models only used it for the rear suspension). It uses a pushrod-operated damper for each wheel, connected by a third damper. The Jesko needed Triplex damping at the front to account for the massive amount of downforce, von Koenigsegg said. The front suspension also has a hydraulic tensioner to keep the nose level at speed, he said.
Power is provided by a twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V-8, which boasts four valves per cylinder, double overhead cams, a flat-plane crankshaft, and dry-sump lubrication. Peak output is 1,280 hp on regular gasoline or 1,600 hp on E85 fuel, along with peak torque of 1,106 pound-feet.
The engine is coupled to what Koenigsegg calls the Light Speed Transmission. The 9-speed transmission uses seven clutches, allowing the driver to swap between any gear almost instantaneously. For example, it’s possible to shift from seventh gear directly to fourth when accelerating, unlike conventional dual-clutch transmissions, which generally need to switch to an adjacent gear. The shifter has what the company calls its UPOD system. It allows drivers to push the shifter one click up to downshift or down to upshift, but two clicks up will shift to the lowest possible gear for maximum acceleration.
Customer deliveries of the Jesko are scheduled to start in 2022, with just 125 cars planned. The entire production run is already sold out, despite a $3 million starting price.
Click on the video above for a lot more information on this crazy hypercar and to hear it in action as Christian von Koenigsegg wrings out the V-8.
The Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR was one of the most extreme racing homologation specials ever conceived. Just 25 road cars were built to qualify the CLK GTR for racing, and is set to cross the block at a Gooding & Company auction scheduled for Aug. 13-14.
Developed by AMG, this 1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Strassenversion (road version) was built to comply with FIA GT1 class rules. While GT cars are generally production-based, these rules allowed manufacturers to field full-on race cars, as long as they built 25 street-legal versions.
During its brief reign as the top class in sports-car racing, GT1 spawned the equally extreme Porsche 911 GT1 and McLaren F1.
Sharing little besides a name with the then-new CLK, the CLK GTR is powered by a mid-mounted 6.9-liter V-12, based on the M120 engine used in some Mercedes road cars at the time. The V-12 produces 604 hp, which is channeled to the rear wheels through a paddle-shifted 6-speed Xtrac sequential transaxle.
1998 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR (photo via Gooding & Company)
The CLK GTR won the FIA GT championship in 1997, taking victory in six of 11 races. Mercedes introduced an upgraded CLK LM version for 1998, and due to a lack of competition, dominated the FIA GT championship that year, winning all 10 races.
Rule changes after the 1998 season freed Mercedes from the obligation to sell a road-going version of its race car, so the automaker fielded the CLR for 1999. That car had a disastrous outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year, with aerodynamic issues causing multiple high-speed flips.
This car is the ninth of the 25 CLK GTR road cars, which included 20 coupes and five roadsters. It was sold new in 1997 (as a 1998 model) to Hermann-Dieter Eschmann in Germany. Eschmann owned the car until 2005, after which it changed hands a few times. The car was imported to the U.S. in 2017 under the “show and display” exemption, as the CLK GTR was not street legal here when new.
Gooding & Company expects this CLK GTR to sell for between $8.5 million and $10 million. That’s high, even by CLK GTR standards, but in line with recent pricing for the Mercedes’ rivals.
Aston Martin has announced a few updates for the 2022 model year. Among them are new trim options for the DB11 and more power for the car’s V-8 engine. The automaker’s CEO has also hinted that the DB11’s successor will feature an electric powertrain.
A wagon may seem geeky, but the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S Wagon deals out thrilling power and performance. We’ve just taken the recently updated longroof for a spin, and you can find out what it’s like in our first drive review.
Pininfarina is close to starting production of its Battista. The first client spec for the electric hypercar has been revealed, and it takes its inspiration from New York City.
You’ll find these stories and more in today’s car news, right here at Motor Authority.
Aston Martin announces updates for 2022, including more power for DB11 V8
First drive review: 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon packs supercar power and crossover space
Pininfarina shows off first client spec for Battista electric hypercar
What’s New for 2022: Hyundai
Bugatti bought back the first Veyron Grand Sport prototype and restored it
2022 Volvo C40 Recharge: Swoopy electric crossover will start at $59,845
Ferrari claims a lap record for the SF90 Stradale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Review update: 2021 Toyota Sienna proves to be ideal road tripper
Aston Martin to keep Vantage, DB11 and DBS lines but make them electric
Lightyear One solar car will be made by Finland’s Valmet
On Monday, Volvo on said its second mass-market electric car, the 2022 C40 Recharge will cost $59,845 when it arrives in U.S. dealerships later this year. Essentially a “coupe” version of the XC40 Recharge crossover, it’s scheduled to start production this fall. It will be the first Volvo sold only with an electric powertrain.
The C40 Recharge share’s Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform with the XC40 Recharge, as well as the gas-powered XC40, but costs $4,760 more than the XC40 Recharge. It has the XC40’s front-end styling, but the C40 Recharge follows the “crossover coupe” styling trend, with a lower roofline. So while it’s as long and wide as the XC40 Recharge, the C40 Recharge is shorter and lower than its sibling.
Unlike the XC40, which is sold with both gasoline and electric powertrains, the C40 will be available only in all-electric Recharge form. One electric motor powers each axle, giving the C40 all-wheel drive. Volvo didn’t quote power figures, but the same setup is good for 402 horsepower and 486 pound-feet of torque in the related XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2.
A 78-kwh battery pack provides 260 miles of range on the European WLTP testing cycle. The C40 Recharge hasn’t been EPA rated, but for reference, the XC40 Recharge is rated at 208 miles on the agency’s testing cycle. DC fast charging will allow an 80% charge in 40 minutes, Volvo said.
Volvo C40 Recharge
Like the XC40 Recharge, the C40 Recharge will get an Android-based operating system, with apps like Google Maps and Google Assistant serving as defaults for navigation and voice control, respectively. The C40 will also be capable of over-the-air (OTA software updates).
The C40 Recharge will be built in Ghent, Belgium, alongside the XC40 Recharge. Volvo said the C40 Recharge will be sold exclusively online, a first step toward the automaker’s goal of 100% online sales, with simplified trim lineups and fixed pricing.
2022 Volvo C40 Recharge
Customers can reserve a C40 Recharge now with a $500 refundable deposit with U.S. deliveries scheduled for later in the year.
Volvo plans to make its lineup fully electric by 2030. In addition to the XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge, it plans to launch five more EVs by the middle of the decade, and expects EVs to make up 50% of its sales by that point.
Bugatti on Tuesday presented the first of its cars from the modern era to receive a restoration and certification via the automaker’s La Maison Pur Sang program.
The car is the first prototype example of the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport, and the version used for the Veyron Grand Sport’s debut at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s finished in white silver metallic paint and features a Cognac brown leather interior.
The La Maison Pur Sang program, which operates out of Bugatti’s headquarters in Molsheim, France, and whose French name roughly translates to “The Thoroughbred House” in English, was launched in early 2020 with the aim of providing both existing owners and future potential owners with an official detailed history of its vehicles.
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport prototype #001
This is particularly important in the world of collector cars, especially when those cars may have been used in competition or owned by famous individuals, which is the case for virtually all of Bugatti’s early models. According to Luigi Galli, the head of the program, he and his team are able to trace the history and determine the authenticity of any Bugatti model and its parts, regardless of age.
The program also offers a full restoration service and an upgrade service where only official parts are used, ensuring that any modifications made will not impair the car’s certification.
In the case of the Veyron Grand Sport prototype, which Bugatti only reacquired from an unnamed seller in 2020, a complete strip-down was undertaken to identify the parts used and restore any that were worn. Multiple body panels were repainted and leather and aluminum elements in the cabin were all replaced. With the work completed, the car was almost immediately snapped up by a new collector, according to Galli.
Pininfarina plans to build 150 examples of its Battista, and no two examples will be exactly the same. That’s because customers are being invited to take part in a personalization program that will offer a total of 128 million combinations for the electric hypercar—all made possible due to the numerous options on offer.
Pininfarina on Wednesday showed off the first customer specification for a Battista, which the company said was inspired by New York City. The design features bare carbon with a blue weave, along with red and white stripes that on the actual car will be painted by hand. The wheels are a pattern called Impulso, and are finished in matte gray and feature a black center-lock ring. Black is also used for the roof, rear diffuser and rear wing.
Pininfarina hasn’t shown the interior but said the owner choose a combination of black leather and blue Alcantara for the trim. The red and white accents of the exterior are also carried into the cabin, for instance for contrast stitching and a logo on the headrests. Black and red are also used for some brushed aluminum detailing.
Pininfarina’s personalization program can be undertaken via the Internet and eventually at a new design studio located at Pininfarina’s headquarters in Cambiano, Italy, where production of the Battista will be handled. Pininfarina has previously said that Battista production will start in 2021.
Pininfarina personalization processs
The Battista was first shown as a prototype at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, and since then has undergone rigorous testing, including extensive sessions in the wind tunnel and at racetracks around Europe. The car features a four-motor powertrain related to the setup in the Rimac Nevera, and is claimed to pack 1,877 hp and 1,696 lb-ft of torque.
Claimed performance numbers include a 0-60 mph time in less than 2.0 seconds, a 0-186 mph time in less than 12.0 seconds, and a top speed of 217 mph. Pininfarina has also said the car’s monster 120-kilowatt-hour battery pack will deliver 280 miles of range, though only for those who stick to the speed limit.
As mentioned above, just 150 examples will be built, with 50 of those earmarked for North America. The price tag is set at 2 million euros ($2.35 million).
Despite still being in its infancy, the new Pininfarina car manufacturing division already has four more models on the drawing board, all based on a modular platform Pininfarina is developing together with its engineering partners. There is expected to be a crossover, sedan, coupe and convertible. A concept previewing the crossover should be revealed later in 2021.
If you know, you know.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon flies under the radar for most onlookers, though. It’s a wagon, so it’s probably a geeky family car, right? That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a 603-hp rocket with a box attached, a quick-accelerating, hard-braking, luxurious track car that works for the family. It may look nerdy at first, but it’s one of the coolest cars on the market.
My tester is especially cool with its killer Brilliant Blue Magno flat paint finish.
A few other exterior bits reveal this car is built for performance. The car is 1.1 inches wider than a standard E-Class, with wheel arches stretched to fit fat 265 mm front and 295 mm rear tires. This car has also an optional carbon-fiber package with a woven front splitter, rear bumper insert, and side sills, and it’s also outfitted with an optional gloss black rear diffuser. Those kinds of aero components don’t don the typical family wagon.
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon
The hand-built, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that lurks under the hood seals the deal that this isn’t your mom’s grocery getter. With a pair of turbos in the “hot V” between the cylinder heads to give the 18.9 psi of turbo boost a shorter path to the combustion chambers, it conjures 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque.
The V-8 is much like the car itself. It fires up with a subtle roar and stays low key as long as the car is in Comfort mode and I don’t go too deep into the throttle. Put it in Sport, Sport+, or Race, however, and the V-8 barks during acceleration, spits between gears, and rockets the car forward to the tune of a 3.4-second 0-60 mph time. It stays on boil to push this big box on wheels all the way to 180 mph.
The power hits the pavement efficiently, too, thanks to a quick-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission, standard all-wheel drive, and wide, sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The AWD system sends the power to the rear wheels unless it’s needed elsewhere, like during a 0-60 mph blast, and it has a setting for a drift mode. How can you not love a 603-hp station wagon with a drift mode?
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon
The car’s big shoes are another telltale sign that this is no family wagon, and so are the gold calipers that peak out behind the AMG forged cross-spoke wheels. They clamp down on large but light carbon-ceramic brake rotors that measure 15.8 inches up front and 14.2 inches out back. They’re a hefty $8,950 option, but even the standard brakes have 15.4-inch front rotors. The carbon-ceramics squeak while braking in the city, but they also provide confident, track-ready stopping power to haul this 4,725-lb wagon down from the big speeds it can build. The standard brakes should do the trick for all but track duty, where few wagon buyers will ever go.
The suspension can handle track use as well, but it provides a comfortable ride on the street. It’s a three-chamber air suspension with adaptive dampers and three levels of firmness. The air springs automatically tighten up to counteract body lean in turns and when stopping, and the dampers vary the ride between everyday comfortable and just a little too firm. It’s a pleasure to commute in this car, and once again Comfort mode keeps the capability on the down low.
2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 S wagon
But even as a docile daily driver, the E63 S wagon’s sharp steering satisfies, especially given how quickly the big car reacts to my inputs. With variable ratios and three levels of assist, it’s a bit too light in its base setting, but it firms up nicely in other modes and the ratio gets quicker the more I turn the wheel. That makes parking lot maneuvers easier and helps the wagon handle tight switchbacks like a smaller car.
Inside, the E63 S wagon combines luxury, space, technology, and sportiness. The $1,320 active multicontour seats in my tester have a massage function, as well as heating and cooling. The Titanium Grey and Black nappa leather upholstery is set off by yellow stitching and piping, which interacts with the purple ambient lighting and glossy carbon-fiber trim to create a lovely effect. The tech comes in the form of dual 12.3-inch screens under a single piece of glass, one a digital instrument cluster, and the other the infotainment screen.
That’s the tale told up front. The back is a family story. The rear seat is wide enough for three across, and the car has 35.0 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 64.0 cubic feet with those seats folded flat. That’s about five cubic feet more than the Mazda CX-5 in both dimensions, and with a lower liftover height that makes it easier to use.
Unfortunately, all this power, performance, luxury, and space comes at a steep price. The E63 S wagon starts at $113,500, and the options on this tester bring the total to $142,100. That’s a lot to pay for any car, let alone one that looks like a sleeper. If I had the means, though, it would be my daily driver…because I know.
Mercedes-Benz provided a one-week loan of its performance wagon for Motor Authority to bring you this first hand report.
A Ferrari SF90 Stradale equipped with its available Assetto Fiorano performance pack and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires has managed to lap Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.4-mile road course in a time of 1:29.625, its maker said on Wednesday.
If accurate, it would be a lap record for production cars. It even comes close to the 1:26.486 lap time set last year by a Ferrari 488 race car competing in the Ferrari Challenge one-make race series.
Ferrari hasn’t said who was doing the driving but did say that the stunt took place on July 15. It was one of the scheduled events of last week’s Ferrari Racing Days event held at the circuit. Ferrari Racing Days is a Ferrari-organized event for the F1 Clienti and XX client driver programs, as well as the Ferrari Challenge race series.
The SF90 Stradale is the current flagship of the Ferrari range and can be ordered as a coupe or convertible. It starts at just above $500,000.
Ferrari SF90 StradaleFerrari SF90 SpiderFerrari SF90 StradaleFerrari SF90 Stradale
The car was revealed in 2019 and shares its name with Ferrari’s Formula One car from that year. The name signifies 2019’s 90th anniversary of the Scuderia Ferrari race team.
Unlike any of Ferrari’s previous cars, including the LaFerrari, the SF90 Stradale is a plug-in hybrid with an electrified all-wheel-drive system. The setup consists of a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, and trio of electric motors (two front and one rear). The setup is similar to what you find in the Acura NSX, Porsche 918 Spyder, and upcoming Mercedes-Benz AMG One, and is good for a combined 986 hp.
The available Assetto Fiorano package helps to save approximately 66 pounds of weight while adding track upgrades like Multimatic shock absorbers derived from Ferrari’s GT racing program, as well as improved aero. The Assetto Fiorano package also offers the option of a two-tone livery.
The SF90 Stradale might not be Ferrari’s flagship for long. The automaker is known to be developing a race car for the World Endurance Championship’s new Le Mans Hypercar, with a view to start racing in 2023, and there are rumors that a road-going version of the race car will be launched as a successor to the LaFerrari. In fact, the car may already be testing on public roads.
Aston Martin is preparing to transition into an electric-vehicle brand, and the change could happen sooner than you think.
The British automaker famous for its V-12s said in March that it is working on an electric sports car and crossover, with the first to arrive in 2025. It also said at the time that it expects 95% of its lineup to be electrified (pure electric and hybrid) by as early as 2030, with the remaining 5% to be gas-only cars limited to track use.
CEO Tobias Moers has now provided an update on the plans in an interview with Automotive News (subscription required) published on Tuesday.
He said the EV due in 2025 will be a replacement for one of the current front-engine sports cars, i.e. the Vantage, DB11 and DBS. The likely bet is the DB11 as it is the oldest of the trio, having arrived in 2016, and as a grand tourer, where weight isn’t as much of an issue compared to track-focused sports cars, is the most suited for EV power.
2020 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante
The second EV is expected in 2026 and could be a variant of the DBX family or a standalone crossover.
In his interview with Automotive News, Moers said Aston Martin’s sports car offering after the EV transition would continue to include cars in the same vein as the Vantage, DB11 and DBS, plus a halo model like the Valkyrie and upcoming Valhalla. This means we can expect electric replacements for all of those at some point.
“The succession of our traditional sports segment has to be full electric, no doubt,” he said.
However, Aston Martin is in no rush to phase out its current crop of sports cars. Moers said they will survive longer than originally planned, which means we could see new hybrid versions sold alongside the electric successors.
Aston Martin on Wednesday announced a round of minor updates to several models in its lineup, as well as the launch of an online configurator that lets you play around with all the options available for the full lineup.
Aston Martin is known to be working on significant updates to its front-engine sports cars, though for 2022 buyers will only see new wheel and trim options, and in the case of the DB11 V8, extra power.
The DB11 V8 continues with the Mercedes-Benz AMG 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, but with peak power bumped from 503 to 527 hp. This helps the top speed rise slightly to 192 mph. DB11 buyers seeking more power can still opt for Aston Martin’s own 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-12, rated at 630 hp.
2022 Aston Martin DB11
To simplify the names used at Aston Martin, the DB11 drops the AMR tag that was attached to the car since the 2019 model year (the DBS has also dropped its Superleggera tag). In addition, the 2022 model year sees the DB11 made available with new sports seats that add more support for the shoulders, thorax and legs.
The DBS and DBX models feature new wheel designs, with the latter available with wheels measuring up to 23 inches in diameter. The DBX can also be fitted with the same sports seats added to the DB11, plus a wireless charging pad for mobile devices.
There are also new color and trim options grouped into curated packages known as Accelerate, Create and Inspire. The Accelerate package is aimed at performance fans, as it offers unique sport seats in a combination of leather and Alcantara and featuring contrasting color highlights. Each of the packages can be found at the new configurator located at the address: configurator.astonmartin.com.
The Paris auto show will return in fall 2022, show organizers confirmed last week via press release.
The auto show (formally known as Mondial de l’Auto) will be combined with the Equip Auto trade show to form one event dubbed Paris Automotive Week, running Oct. 17-23, 2022.
The Paris show was, like other auto shows, put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers initially tried to stage the show in late 2020, but under a different format that eliminated displays from automakers. Auto shows are designed to attract large crowds, however, so it was likely never realistic to hold one during that stage of the pandemic.
Organizers previously attempted to rebrand the Paris auto show, as the Paris Motion Festival, with an emphasis on transportation in general rather than cars, and more hands-on experiences for attendees. It’s unclear if any format changes will carry over to the 2022 Paris auto show, beyond hold the show back-to-back with the Equip Auto trade show.
The proposed changes were part of a trend of auto-show format changes, intended to attract more interest from the general public and compensate for the declining presence of automakers, which were increasingly turning to standalone launch events for new vehicles even before the pandemic.
With vaccines now available, however, auto shows are returning. The Chicago auto show reopened earlier this month, and the New York auto show is slated to return in August. Despite being put up for sale, the Geneva auto show is also scheduled to return in 2022, with press days scheduled for Feb. 17-18.