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Spied! Audi RS Q3 SUV Caught Testing at the Track

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 6:00pm

It’s been less than a month since Audi revealed the redesigned Q3, so it’s no surprise that details such as pricing and U.S. engine options are still up in the air. That doesn’t mean Audi’s resting on its laurels, though. Based on these latest spy shots, the German automaker is already hard at work on a new high-performance RS model.

The last RS Q3 was more of a high-riding hot hatch than a fire-breathing SUV, making 306 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque from a detuned version of the TT RS’ 2.5-liter turbocharged I-5. Audi also sold a sportier RS Q3 Performance that was lower, more aggressively styled, and came with an extra 27 hp. According to our spy photographer, the prototype shown here sounded like it was still using the same five-cylinder engine, but this time around, it’s expected to at least make an RS 3-matching 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.

While the previous RS Q3’s styling was conservative at best, the new version will get a much more aggressive look that builds on the 2019 Q3’s much less anonymous design. Even in a full wrap, the massive air intakes and angular styling stand out, as does the new grille pattern that our shooter believes will spread to other future RS models. The fenders appear to be only slightly wider than on the regular Q3, but toward the back, you can clearly see massive oval exhaust pipes, a diffuser, and a large roof spoiler.

With upgraded brakes and a track-tuned suspension in the mix as well, the RS Q3 is shaping up to be one seriously fun-to-drive little crossover. Audi hasn’t announced a reveal date, but there’s a chance we could see it as early as the Paris motor show in October. The big question, though, is whether or not Audi will offer the RS Q3 in the U.S. We’d like to think it will, but that’s still far from official.

Photo source: CarPix

 

The post Spied! Audi RS Q3 SUV Caught Testing at the Track appeared first on Motor Trend.

Jeep Wrangler-Based Pickup Caught Testing on the Rubicon Trail

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:45pm

We’ve praised the JL Jeep Wrangler for its off-road capability and surprisingly good on-road performance, which is one reason why the idea of a midsize truck based on that same platform has us really excited. Now, there’s even more to get excited about as a prototype for the JL Wrangler-based pickup, rumored to be called the Scrambler, has been spied testing on the Rubicon trail by the folks over at Jeep Scrambler Forum.

Although we’ve seen the Wrangler-based pickup on the street countless times before, this is the first time we’ve seen the truck off-road, and the images tell us a couple things about the upcoming variant. According to forum members who spotted them on the trail, the two prototypes had some serious dents on the rockers, bed, tailgate, and bumpers. You can clearly see the rear bumper on the above test mule has sustained some damage to the camo at least, and it looks like it could even be a little bent out of shape. The truck’s rear overhang is much longer than the Wrangler’s, which impacts its departure angle. And because of the pickup’s longer wheelbase, breakover angle could also be an issue. Hopefully, the suspension tweaks we spied previously will help compensate for these things.

The Wrangler-based pickup arrives in 2019, but we might see the highly anticipated vehicle as early as the 2018 L.A. auto show. The Wrangler pickup’s exact engine lineup is unknown, but leaked documents suggest FCA’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, will be one option.

Source: Jeep Scrambler Forum

The post Jeep Wrangler-Based Pickup Caught Testing on the Rubicon Trail appeared first on Motor Trend.

Jan Magnussen Hopes To Break Ford GT’s Four-Race IMSA Streak At VIR

GM Authority News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:36pm

This weekend's IMSA race at VIR could tip the balance of the GTLM championship in Corvette's favor.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 First Drive: Ride And Handling Test

GM Authority News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:32pm

The T1XX Silverado has arrived.

In An Unusual Move, Volkswagen Is Advertising The Chevrolet Bolt EV

GM Authority News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:16pm

VW subsidiary Electrify America is spending big bucks to advertise EVs from rival automakers, including the Chevy Bolt.

New GM Patents Lend Insight Into Possible Future Corvette Aero

GM Authority News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:17pm

New patents granted to GM in the US could preview the future of Corvette aerodynamics tech.

2019 Ford Ranger Starts at $25,395

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:08pm

Ford opened the order books for the revived Ranger today, which means you can now configure your own midsize pickup online. Pricing starts at $25,395 including destination but can top $45,000 on the top trim with every box ticked.

The base model is the rear-drive XL SuperCab with a six-foot bed, which comes standard with auto off/on headlamps, 16-inch silver steel wheels, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, cloth bucket front seats, and a 3.5-inch center stack screen with audio controls. Opting for the 4×4 version brings the price up to $29,555. SuperCrews get a five-foot bed standard and start at $27,615 with rear-wheel drive, with the 4×4 version costing an extra $4,160. All models will come with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a 10-speed automatic.

The XLT sits in the middle of the lineup and starts at $29,035, or $33,035 with four-wheel drive. This adds Ford Co-Pilot360, which includes auto-high beam headlamps, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and trailer tow monitoring, and lane keep assist. Fog lamps and 17-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels are also part of the deal. 4×2 SuperCrews go from $31,210, with a 4×4 version costing $35,210.

Lariat models receive further upgrades including Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, leather-trimmed seats, LED headlamps, and keyless access with push-button start. The price of entry for the top-grade truck is $33,305, but tacking on four-wheel drive brings that up to $37,305. SuperCrew models start at $35,480, or $39,480 with four-wheel drive. When loaded with options, though, prices increase significantly.

Exterior colors include black, white, silver, gray, blue, a burnt orange, and an extra-cost Hot Pepper Red. There are also other ways to change up the exterior, with the Chrome Appearance Package or Sport Appearance package available depending on the trim. Other goodies include an off-road package, trailer tow package, and a technology package with adaptive cruise control and navigation.

The 2019 Ford Ranger won’t reach dealerships early next year, but you can check out Ford’s Ranger configurator here.

Source: Ford

The post 2019 Ford Ranger Starts at $25,395 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Farmer Machine Tests Chevrolet Performance’s C7 Cold Air Intake

Corvettes Online News Feed - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:59pm
Will Farmer tested out Chevrolet Performance new cold air intake on his ZR1 Corvette at the dragstrip His time-slip tells the tale of the already stout LT5 as it picked up more than a tenth of a second

General Motors Reportedly Files Patents For Active Aerodynamics

Corvettes Online News Feed - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:45pm
Has GM's recent filing for patents around "active aerodynamics" reportedly for Corvette mean that this technology has now become mainstream?

Corvette Museum Presents Check to KSP to Benefit Trooper Island Camp

Corvette Blogger - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:48am

Photo Credit: WBKO.com The National Corvette Museum presented a check for $27,123 – proceeds from last year’s “One Lap of Kentucky” road tour – to the Kentucky State Police for its Trooper Island Camp. The donation, presented to the KSP at the museum Tuesday, brings the total to more than $92,000 donated by the NCM […]

The post Corvette Museum Presents Check to KSP to Benefit Trooper Island Camp appeared first on Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Electric Race Car Review

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:05am

The one thing automotive journalists fear most about testing a race car? Stalling it in the pit lane. Sure, there’s always the worry you’ll spin the thing into a wall, or maybe clip a curb and roll it into a ball of expensively crumpled metal and carbon fiber. But explaining you were caught out when it snapped sideways at 150 mph through the sweeper—”I think the rear tire had a slow puncture”—is somehow less embarrassing than proving to the sniggering pit crew you’re barely capable of getting their car underway at all.

Interested in the production-spec 2019 Jaguar I-Pace? Read our London-to-Berlin review here, and check out our Track Drive review here.

Stalling in the pit lane is the one thing you don’t have to worry about with Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace eTrophy racer. Simply press D for drive, squeeze the accelerator pedal, and the broad-shouldered Jag—all race-face wings and spoilers, hunkered down on 22-inch wheels—simply oozes forward and whirs quietly out onto the track.

The I-Pace eTrophy was developed for a one-make, 20-race series that will support 10 rounds of the 2019 FIA Formula E championship for single-seat electric race cars. Built at Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations facility near Coventry, England, the eTrophy features a stripped-out interior and carbon-fiber hood and front fenders. It weighs about 500 pounds less than a roadgoing I-Pace, despite the addition of a full roll cage that ties together the front structure and rear suspension mounts.

The suspension is production I-Pace based, but it uses parts from SVO’s thundering XE Project 8 track rat, and the spring and roll-bar rates are fully adjustable. The standard brakes have been replaced with AP Racing units with steel rotors and larger calipers, and the 22-inch wheels are shod with treaded Michelin tires. As in Formula E, where the single-seat racers also use treaded tires, the French tiremaker wanted rubber that more closely reflected road car tire technology.

The e-motors at the front and rear axles are unchanged from standard I-Pace spec, which means a total of 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque, and the 90-kW-hr battery pack is also straight from the production car. The powertrain control electronics, however, are entirely new. Developed by the engineering division of the Williams F1 team, they allow, among other things, the torque curves of the two e-motors to be individually varied, along with the level of brake regeneration. The system also enables the e-motors to more aggressively pull from the battery pack to boost performance.

It’s a sweaty 90-plus degrees at Silverstone, Britain’s record-breaking summer heatwave in full force. SVO dynamics engineer Jack Lambert shows me around the eTrophy I’ll be driving on the compact Stowe circuit, located in the infield of the legendary British Grand Prix track. The car is one of three development prototypes SVO has been working on over the past few months. The first two production eTrophy race cars have already been completed at SVO, and another four are on the line, with a total of 20 scheduled to be ready by the end of September for drivers who’ll each pay $530,000—plus tax—to compete in the series on an arrive-and-drive basis.

Flat, with tight corners and a devilish stop-go chicane coned onto the back straight, the 1.1-mile Stowe circuit has many of the characteristics of the Formula E street circuits on which the eTrophy will be racing next year. It is, Lambert explains, perfect for fine-tuning the eTrophy’s chassis and powertrain electronics.

I clamber in over the roll cage and settle into the deeply contoured bucket seat as Lambert runs me through the basics. Before me is a conventional suede-rimmed steering wheel with an aluminum pod bolted to it and a digital display screen behind. On the pod are six buttons and four rotary controls. The buttons activate functions such as headlight flash and instrument panel display. There’s also one marked Boost. The rotary controls vary front to rear torque split, brake regen level, liftoff regen, and ABS intervention threshold.

Lambert points to a small green light glowing at the base of the windshield. It indicates that the eTrophy is good to go. If the car’s involved in an incident, a blue light will appear, warning track safety crews that the eTrophy’s high-voltage system is still active. If the light glows red, that indicates an isolator fault and a danger of a serious electric shock. “It’s not likely you’ll see it,” Lambert says soothingly, before adding: “If you do, don’t touch the car, and don’t try and get out of the car.” Gulp. He then climbs into the passenger seat, cinches down his racing harness, and gives me the thumbs-up.

I can’t help but check. Green light. We roll out onto the track.

The eTrophy doesn’t exactly pin you to the seat under full acceleration. Despite SVO’s best efforts, this is still a heavy car, weighing about 4,300 pounds in race trim, which means it has a similar weight-to-power ratio as a rear-drive Kia Stinger GT. You feel the mass the moment you punch the accelerator, despite the torque from the twin e-motors, and as in all electric cars, the rate of acceleration trails off noticeably as speed increases. Top speed is 125 mph, not much by racing car standards, but plenty quick enough for the narrow, no-runoff Formula E tracks that typically zigzag around ordinary streets in cities such as Paris, Hong Kong, and New York.

It’s eyes wide for a split-second at the first hairpin when I squeeze the brakes and nothing much happens. Then I realize this is a racing car, with racing car brakes, and that there’s little need for delicacy. A mighty shove on the bottom-hinged pedal slows the big Jag, though I’ve missed the apex by a country mile. It takes a couple of applications before I understand the nuances of tip-in and feel, but once I’m calibrated, I can confidently grenade the pedal knowing the eTrophy will stop like it’s been driven into a swimming pool filled with molasses.

When I took the production I-Pace from London to Berlin a few months back, I’d noticed it felt nicer when driven on winding backroads with the liftoff regeneration in the low setting. This made the car better balanced on corner entry and allowed it to flow more smoothly down the road. For the same reasons, the eTrophy has initially been set up with no liftoff regen; come off the accelerator, and the car coasts, slowed only by mechanical drag.

Although the eTrophy is heavy, much of its weight is low in the chassis—that 90-kW-hr battery pack under the floor weighs 1,329 pounds—so the car doesn’t wallow through corners like a drunken water buffalo. On quicker sweepers it feels stable and planted, but on tighter corners—and the Formula E circuits on which the eTrophy will be racing are full of slow 90-degree and 180-degree turns—it takes some skill to get it into and through the corner as quickly as possible. The steering offers little feel, and the instant-on torque from the e-motors makes it difficult to accurately modulate power inputs, especially as there’s no engine noise to help you. It’s a very easy car to overdrive.

The eTrophy I drove had its suspension set for a test session on a Spanish track with more cambered corners. For pancake-flat Stowe, I would have liked a tad more initial bite from the front end to get the car to rotate just a fraction on corner entry, to better get it into the apex without losing speed. On corner exit I’d have liked a little more torque bias to the rear axle to further reduce understeer and punch the car harder onto the straights. The good news is all this adjustability is built into the eTrophy’s hardware and software.

Paradoxically, the eTrophy rewards accuracy yet demands aggression. Finding the right balance between the two is critical because a quick lap time in this car is all about maintaining momentum. And that’s what will make the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy series utterly fascinating to watch: Twenty identical cars with exactly the same power and torque, running on exactly the same tires, racing wheel to wheel on the narrow, unforgiving Formula E circuits, will put the focus squarely on savvy vehicle setup and raw driving talent.

Which is exactly what racing should be all about.

The post 2019 Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy Electric Race Car Review appeared first on Motor Trend.

2018 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2 First Test: The Best Mustang GT Available

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:05am

This is not a comparison test. And it is a comparison test—sort of. Right after they scan the car’s performance results, we know the first question from the Blue Oval faithful and Bowtie Brigade is going to be, “Is the 2018 Mustang GT with the new Performance Pack Level 2 (PP2) as good as the Camaro SS with the 1LE package?” Although we did not have both cars at the same time to do it properly, they were, in fact, tested in the same locations and by the same drivers. Because both were included in our annual Best Driver’s Car Tests (2016 and 2018), we have pages and pages of detailed staff notes on both, from their respective test days, and from the road. Finally, our on-call gentleman racing driver, Randy Pobst, threw down hot laps at the same track in both, and he’s a consummate debriefer after stepping out of a car. So, grab that bottle of artificial tears, pin your eyes open, and let’s do this.

History Repeating?

In what is perhaps the longest-running automotive rivalry, we’ve been comparing Mustangs and Camaros for 50 years; about 20 times as of this writing. Most recently, seven months ago, we pitted a Camaro SS 1LE against a Mustang GT Performance Pack (now dubbed “Level 1”) in a comparison test. Senior features editor Jonny Lieberman then said, “To put it bluntly, the Camaro is in another league,” and “in the ways that actually matter to car guys, the 2018 Mustang got its butt handed to it.” At that time, Ford indicated there would be a PP2 but that it wouldn’t be ready until summer. Well, here we are. In what Ford describes as an after-hours skunkworks prototyping program with track-rat Ford engineers, the PP2 would surely address the performance gap with the Camaro 1LE, right? They had their benchmark and a grudge to settle. MT technical director Frank Markus does an excellent job unpacking all of the Performance Pack 2 changes here, but essentially it contains all of the items below from the $3,995 Performance Pack (PP1):

  • Spun aluminum instrument panel with oil pressure and vacuum gauges
  • 19 x 9.0-inch front; 19 x 9.5-inch rear cast aluminum wheels
  • 255/40R19 front; 275/40R19 rear summer tires
  • Brembo six-piston front brake calipers with vented 15.0-inch front/13.0-inch rear rotors
  • Firmer springs (than standard GT)
  • MagneRide Damping System
  • Underhood strut tower brace
  • Undercarriage K-brace
  • Larger rear anti-roll bar (than standard GT)
  • Larger radiator (than standard GT)
  • Rear wing
  • A 3.73:1 ratio, Torsen limited-slip differential
  • Unique stability control, electric power-assisted steering, and ABS tuning

And for an additional $2,505 ($6,500 total), the fastback six-speed manual-only Mustang GT Performance Pack 2 further adds/replaces:

  • 19 x 10.5-inch front, 19 x 11.0-inch rear forged aluminum wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, 305/30R19 at all four corners
  • 20 percent again stiffer springs up front; 13 percent stiffer in the rear
  • Front and rear anti-roll bars that resist twist by an additional 12 and 67 percent, respectively
  • Retuned MagneRide Damping System with track calibration
  • High-performance front splitter and rear spoiler
  • Further stability control, electric power-assisted steering, and ABS tuning

Bench Racing

Compared to the Mustang GT PP1 with its narrow “just-right” rpm window for the best results, combining the Mustang GT’s Drag mode and the Coyote V-8’s throttle response with the PP2’s wider/stickier tires make launching easier. My notes from the PP2 test day recall, “Easy to launch with modulated wheelspin because the throttle is so linear and the tires are so easy to ‘read.’ Great shifter, but one must push the clutch all the way to the floor to avoid crunching into third gear. Tallish gearing and a 7,400-rpm redline mean over 70 mph at the top of second gear.”

At 4.3 seconds to 60 mph, it eked a 0.1-second lead over the PP1-equipped GT. This also makes it the third-quickest stock Mustang we’ve tested. The 2018 Mustang GT with a 10-speed automatic got there in 3.9 seconds, and the 200-pounds-lighter 2012 Boss 302 Laguna Seca in 4.0 seconds. Expectedly, both the PP1 and PP2 (with the same 460 horsepower) cross the quarter-mile finish line in an identical 12.6 seconds, but the downforce-optimized aero package on the PP2 GT finds it going slower at 113.5 mph to the PP1’s 115.1 mph trap speed.

Too bad for both of them that the torque-rich Camaro SS 1LE (455 lb-ft versus the Mustang’s 420 lb-ft) reached 60 mph in 4.0 seconds flat. My track-day notes on the Camaro hint at a couple reasons why: “Well, there are two ways to skin this cat: either almost bog the SS off the line then go to wide-open throttle, or you can slightly raise the launch rpm and ride out some easily controlled wheelspin. Both work to the same end with the latter being more consistent. The short-throw shifter is terrific, and the no-lift-shift program is awesome. Ford could learn a ‘thinger two’ from this Camaro.”

That’s right. During the entire quarter-mile run, a driver can keep the throttle pedal pinned to the firewall in the Camaro SS. Just kick the clutch pedal and grab the next gear while the engine belches/waits a split second for the clutch to engage again before giving full power back. Do it right, and it practically feels/sounds like an automated manual transmission. Back-to-back runs prove it’s measurably quicker exploiting no-lift-shift. In the end, it was a close virtual race, but again, the Camaro SS 1LE wins the drag race against both of the Ford GTs (PP1 and PP2) with its own 12.4-second 114.2-mph pass.

Late-Braking

With the PP2’s stickier-than-PP1 tires and increased overall tire footprint, stopping from 60 mph required 10 fewer feet. From my notes that day in Track mode, “Firm, firm, firm pedal, great bite, flat attitude, and excellent fade resistance. Tremendous brakes. [In order: 98, 95, 94, 95, 97 feet].” Compare these comments to those from the Camaro SS 1LE, “The same old two-stage long-travel brake pedal on the Camaro. It really doesn’t give you much pushback/feedback, but boy does this Camaro stop short. Very little wander or dive in Track mode. [In order: 99, 96, 95, 95, 94, 95 feet].”

After lapping WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in a 2017 Camaro SS 1LE, Randy Pobst concurred by saying, “The braking g-loads from the seat of my pants felt very, very strong, but about three laps in, I got more pedal travel. The car would still stop well, but it took longer to get to the maximum g, and the long pedal’s a little bit disconcerting.” When asked if the Mustang GT PP2 got anything particularly right on Laguna Seca, Randy’s first response was, “Brake pedal feel—I really liked that. In fact, in the Shelby GT350R, I always thought it was a little too much; this car seems a little bit pulled back on the initial bite, and it’s just really confidence inspiring. Really stops.”

Both the Mustang and the Camaro utilize vented, steel discs and Brembo calipers to get the job done very effectively. Both stop from 60 mph in just 94 feet, but we’ll give this round to the Mustang. We like a steady, talkative brake pedal and the confidence that the brakes are clamping from initial pedal input all the way to a standstill.

Race Track in a Bottle

Our figure-eight test is a proven way to combine acceleration, braking, cornering, and the transitions among those into one easy-to-digest pill. Not quite a racetrack, but it’s not a bad miniature simulation of one. We’ve measured a couple current-gen Camaro SS 1LEs here with times of 22.9 and 23.3 seconds. The Mustang GT PP1 did the deed in 24.0 seconds flat, and the PP2 lowered the time to 23.6 seconds. Testing director Kim Reynolds’ notes tell the story, “When did the Mustang get such great brakes? In fact, I didn’t quite realize how good they are until the tires were warm. You can really use them and it’s kinda weird to drive a Mustang that stops like this. The two-three upshift had a lot of motion and resistance for me, which slowed those shifts—a lot. Chris wasn’t as bothered on the dragstrip, but here, I’m judging when I have to brake and turn in about 1 second [approaching 75 mph], and so having to think about the shifter is a distraction. Lots of grip on the skidpad [1.06 g]. The tail can walk around very easily with throttle, but what’s much better here is that I’m not chasing the yaw angle with steering [sensing the fixed ratio] because its response seems a lot more predictable. Fun car. Faster than I expected.”

Compare that with Kim’s reaction to the Camaro, “Heck of a nice car to drive. Sure, it feels a bit big and slightly ponderous, but it turns in crisply, brakes very hard, is real predictable, and its shifter is remarkably good. At first, I was staying in second for the full lap, as it’s really, really close to getting away with it without a two-three shift. Later, I tried a few with shifting, and that shift doesn’t waste much time as the shifter is so good. It’s so easy to three-two downshift and heel-toe. What a terrific performance car. Basically understeers mid-corner [at 1.09 g], but it’s actually close to a drift and the tail rotates around pretty good if you get into throttle too early.”

Because of the ease with which the Camaro routinely plunks down low 23-second figure-eight laps and the confidence it inspires, Round Three goes to the Camaro.

A Race Track in a Dry Lagoon

Randy’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca post-lapping impressions will help clear the air some more. There’s nothing like a race car driver who can immediately unpack a car’s strengths and weakness, the probable reasons for them, and in easily comprehended ways. No wonder auto manufacturers steal him away from time to time to help set up their cars before their release. As he stepped out of the car, Randy said, “This Camaro SS 1LE is a terrific car to drive on track—almost unbelievably good considering it’s on a Goodyear Eagle F1 tire, which is a pure street tire. It’s not an R-compound track tire. The engine is a big V-8, sounds great, fat torque curve, and it takes a while to get to the redline. I think partially because the car has really tall gears and a fairly wide ratio split. I did a lot of the track in third gear, and the engine pulls from midrange to top end all the way through. Best feature? The front-end grip. All the way through the corner, I could adjust the car with the steering. The front end never died, which is kind of unusual on a front-engine rear-drive V-8-powered pony car. [Yet] I didn’t find the throttle to be linear. I want a linear throttle. I don’t want it playing games, and I felt like it did. When I asked for 20 percent more, I didn’t necessarily get 20 percent more. So I had to be gentle with my throttle application because I wasn’t real sure what I was going to get. It had a little bit of oversteer, like, all the time. Yeah, lots of corners. I kind of went all the way around there with the tail out, feeling a little bit like a hero. So it was—I mean, it was a pleasant feeling. I smiled a lot.” The fruits of his efforts was a 1:37.77 lap time.

After lapping the Mustang GT PP2, Randy had this to say, “I found that the only Mustang that was a really good track car to this point was the GT350R, which was a Shelby Mustang. [The Mustang GT has] been playing catch-up ever since. The plain GT wasn’t good enough on track. The Performance Pack 1 wasn’t good enough on track. The Performance Pack 2 reminds me very much of the Shelby GT350 non-R, which means it’s really, really good. The racer in me would put a little more front anti-roll bar in it, to tame a little too much oversteer in the entry phase, and later when I go to power. But coming into turn nine or through the corkscrew, the thing was pretty darn planted. I mean, it’s well on its way to a kind of “R” feel. I liked it on track—a lot. I love the engine. These tires are terrific, and I was looking at the lap time, and it was a 1:38-something.”

But he paused with, “The frustrating thing on this Mustang was that the AdvanceTrac—the stability control—has a little bit of a mind of its own. We were able to turn it off, but half a lap later, it comes back in. It’s very interesting. It was actually trying to cover for that entry oversteer that I was feeling. It’s like it’s learning, then it starts sticking its nose in my business. And the rear’s just not hooked up. I just feel like this is another example of a chassis-dynamics guy who likes a little bit of oversteer. I think that keeps it from being perfect.” The 2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2’s best lap at Laguna, 1:38.42, is just 0.65 second behind the Camaro’s best but a whopping 2.64 seconds faster than the 1:41.06 of a 2012 Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition.

When asked how the Mustang GT PP2 compares to the Camaro SS 1LE, Randy quickly replied, “It’s not balanced like that damn Camaro. It’s still not there, but it could be. Just a little tweaky-tweak.” Besides the difference in the outright lap times, which were close, the Mustang’s twitchy entry attitude and its pesky stability control system were no match for the composure and confidence supplied by the Camaro SS 1LE—even on a street tire. Can you imagine what the Camaro would do on a Pilot Sport Cup 2? This round goes to the Camaro.

The Real World

On the same, serpentine country road, the same Camaro confidence and sure-footedness Randy liked on the track came through again. While both the PP2 and 1LE come with driver-selectable self-adjusting dampers, the Camaro’s trustworthy front end and its ability to better soak up bumps and jumps (even in the stiffest Track setting) just make it a better back-road companion. It’s this kind of “I can drive a Camaro like this on a road like this?!” bafflement that prompted many staffers to later echo one another by saying variations of, “The Camaro SS 1LE isn’t just a muscle car; it’s a world-class sports car.”

In the Mustang, on the other hand, a majority of the staff complained about the unsettled chassis (in Sport+ or Track). Unlike on a flat race track, the imperfect back road caused constant vertical motions so that it never felt settled and stable at any given moment. Somewhat counterintuitively, the fixed-ratio steering also earned a demerit here, with “very little on-center or mid-corner feel.” Almost every staffer complained about the need to exercise vigilance. Said one driver, “I’m constantly adjusting the steering angle, trying to find the line and the set.”

Most of that can be attributed to the Mustang GT PP2’s tendency to nibble and tramline on cracks, seams, road crowns, and grooved highways. We’ve noted similar aberrant behavior from another Ford with 305-section R-compound front tires (the Shelby GT350R), as well as the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. So, unlike the obedient Camaro SS 1LE, the Mustang GT PP2 needed persistent attention to merely follow the road, much less to choose a driving line. It’s also frustrating that the Mustang’s Sport+ and Track modes don’t allow the driver to override their heavy, preset steering weights and instead select Comfort to alleviate some of the effort required at the wheel. In the Camaro, one can do precisely that. Back roads belong to the Camaro in this comparison.

Four to One

In this non-comparison comparison test, we’ve used our recent data and real-world experiences to offer a first test of the 2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2, and also to predict the outcome of the inevitable comparison to the Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE. According to the stats, it was far closer than the rout that the PP1 suffered when put to the same task. This bout, however, again goes to the Bowtie Brigade. Although the Mustang GT PP2 tipped the scales 34 pounds under the PP1 Mustang, there’s still another 94 to go to reach the lighter 3,735-pound Camaro SS 1LE. Weight is not the only factor, though. The new Performance Package Level 2, with the addition of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, indeed helped its performance, gaining grip for better launches, shortened braking distances, and greater lateral-g loads in corners. However, those tires also hindered its everyday drivability and fingertip control on fun roads. And even though the track-tuned suspension worked well on a track, it was far less settled on real roads. Randy Pobst’s Laguna Seca lap times were less than a second apart, but in his analysis, the Ford’s performance and behavior still had room for improvement. The 2018 Ford Mustang GT PP2 is, indeed, the best Mustang GT ever. However, with outright wins in acceleration, figure eight, skidpad lateral-g average, a Laguna Seca lap time, as well as the unanimously favorable subjective analysis from our staff and Randy Pobst, the Camaro SS 1LE is still the best all-around pony car available—but by a narrower margin this time.

2018 Ford Mustang GT (PP1) 2018 Ford Mustang GT (PP2) 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS (1SS / 1LE) BASE PRICE $40,180 $44,685 $44,995 PRICE AS TESTED $49,670 $51,675 $46,295 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe ENGINE 5.0L/460-hp/420-lb-ft* DOHC 32-valve V-8 5.0L/460-hp/420-lb-ft* DOHC 32-valve V-8 6.2L/455-hp/455-lb-ft** OHV 16-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,863 lb (54/46%) 3,829 lb (55/45%) 3,735 lb (54/46%) WHEELBASE 107.1 in 107.1 in 110.7 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 188.5 x 75.4 x 54.3 in 188.5 x 75.4 x 53.9 in 188.3 x 74.7 x 53.1 in 0-60 MPH 4.4 sec 4.3 sec 4.0 sec QUARTER MILE 12.6 sec @ 115.1 mph 12.6 sec @ 113.5 mph 12.4 sec @ 114.2 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 104 ft 94 ft 94 ft 0-100-0 13.6 sec 13.3 sec 13.1 sec LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.00 g (avg) 1.06 g (avg) 1.09 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.0 sec @ 0.83 g (avg) 23.6 sec @ 0.86 g (avg) 23.3 sec @ 0.86 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP Not tested 98.42 sec 97.77 sec EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15/25/18 mpg* 15/25/18 mpg* 16/25/19 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/135 kW-hrs/100 miles* 225/135 kW-hrs/100 miles* 211/135 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.06 lb/mile* 1.06 lb/mile* 1.02 lb/mile “* hp/torque values derived using 93-octane fuel; EPA’s values with 89-octane
**SAE certified”

The post 2018 Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack Level 2 First Test: The Best Mustang GT Available appeared first on Motor Trend.

A Closer Look At GM’s Incoming CFO, Dhivya Suryadevara

GM Authority News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:01am

Suryadevara will succeed Chuck Stevens come September 1.

Next Chevy Trax Spied Testing At Milford Proving Grounds: Photo Gallery

GM Authority News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:26am

For real this time... we promise.

GM Files To Trademark RoboGlove, What’s Next?

GM Authority News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 1:23am

Potentially hinting at mass commercialization of the robotic glove.

Porsche Challenge at Pikes Peak

Motortrend Magazine News - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:00am

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of only a handful of premier motorsport events that allows amateurs to compete alongside seasoned pros. Combine that fact with the challenge of tackling 156 turns at speed for 12 miles as you climb nearly 5,000 feet to the summit of one of Colorado’s tallest mountains, and you have a race unlike any other in the world. It’s that challenge—and the dangers that come with it—that attracts people of all backgrounds and skill levels, and it’s why Porsche has been coming back since 1958. In this documentary, produced in association with Porsche, we strap you into the passenger seat of a Porsche Cayman GT4 Club Sport as you follow the trials of the eight competitors in Pikes Peak’s first ever Porsche one-make category.

True to the spirit of the event, the new class is comprised of a mix of professional and amateur drivers. On the pro side, we have stunt driver Travis Pastrana, IndyCar racer J.R. Hildebrand, and pro race car driver Mike Skeen. In the amateur camp, we have Porsche dealer and former major league baseball player C.J. Wilson, heart surgeon Dr. Alex Marmureanu, investment manager Till Bechtolsheimer, day trader Nicolas Kwan, and real estate developer Thomas Collingwood. Though they arrive with different levels of driving experience, all eight are first-time competitors at Pikes Peak, so they’ll each have to rely on the coaching of eight-time Pikes Peak class winner and Porsche veteran Jeff Zwart.

Do the drivers have what it takes to finish the race in one piece? Find out by watching the video.

 

The post Porsche Challenge at Pikes Peak appeared first on Motor Trend.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD Spotted Towing More Than 10 Tons

GM Authority News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 9:11pm

Chevrolet's next-gen Silverado HD has been spotted pulling some serious weight in Colorado.

GM Truck Plants Working Overtime During 2019 Silverado, Sierra Transition

GM Authority News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 6:55pm

To meet demand and maintain inventory for the outgoing-generation K2 trucks.

Autos Remain Sticking Point As US, Mexico Renegotiate Trade Agreement

GM Authority News - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 6:51pm

Trade negotiations with Mexico are dragging on as the US refuses to back down on several key sticking points.

[VIDEO] Corvette ZR1 vs Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 in Dig and Roll Races

Corvette Blogger - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 6:45pm

A couple weeks back we featured a video showing a 2019 Corvette ZR1 that was absolutely obliterated in both a dig and roll race by a McLaren 720s at the Palm International Raceway in South Florida. During the same event, the Ceramic Matrix Gray Corvette ZR1 also lined up next to a Lamborghini Huracán LP […]

The post [VIDEO] Corvette ZR1 vs Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 in Dig and Roll Races appeared first on Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

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