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2015 Mercedes-AMG GT Twin-Turbo V-8 Rated For 503 HP

M178 4.0-liter engine to debut in new sports car.

Report: Buick to Bolster Lineup with Convertible, New Crossover

Rumors suggest two new vehicles are headed to Buick’s lineup.

Bentley Returns to Endurance Racing at the 24 Hours of Spa

Bentley Continental GT3

This weekend, million-dollar vehicles will be racing a full 24 hours to win a legendary European race. This race isn’t Le Mans, but it’s equally grueling (albeit less renowned) 24 Hours of Spa.

While it doesn’t have the allure of the 24-hour marathon race held in France, Spa offerings the same challenges for both man and machine. This year’s race is also unique in that it will mark Bentley’s first appearance in an endurance race since 2003.

For this race, Bentley took its Continental and gave it a dramatic revision to create the Continental GT3 racer. Perhaps the biggest change the was weight—which got reduced from 6,063 pounds to a 2,866 pounds. Engineers also increased the output of its twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V8 from 521 horsepower to 600 hp. Power is routed through a Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox with a limited slip differential. Suspension and driveline components were also upgraded to make it even more aggressive on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

With a reduction in weight and a bump in power, one could only image the result—especially considering the production Continental can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. But since this is a 24 hour race, speed isn’t the only consideration. Teams must keep the car going the entire race.

Bentley has a team of experienced drivers that will help balance speed and consistency on the track, while the folks in the pit will ensure its reliability. The drivers in particular will need to endure adrenaline and fatigue while staying alert and fighting off the best drivers and vehicles from BMW, Audi, Ferrari, and others.

While the 24 Hours of Spa doesn’t have the notoriety of Le Mans, it’s still the ultimate test for man and machine. For Bentley, this is an opportunity to build on the momentum it has already achieved this racing season. It’s also an opportunity for the automaker to recapture its reputation as an endurance racing powerhouse.

“Bentley’s motorsport heritage is built on 24-hour racing, and the last time we took part in a race of this length was our victory at Le Mans in 2003,” said Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush. “The nature of racing over so many hours means that we not only need a reliable car with great performance, but a good deal of luck. We think the Continental GT3 will suit Spa, but our pace has been dealt a blow with a new Balance of Performance that will certainly restrict us. The thrill of 24-hour racing is that it could be anyone’s race, and we’ll be racing to give the British fans something to cheer about.”

2015 Porsche Cayenne Brings Updated Styling and a New Plug-In Hybrid

2015 Porsche Cayenne

The Cayenne has become a critical model in Porsche’s burgeoning portfolio of vehicles. While known primarily for its sports cars and racing vehicles, the German automaker’s commitment to SUVs, and even hybrids, has proven to be a successful strategy.

On the heels of the launch of the compact Macan, Porsche has moved quickly to make some big updates to the larger Cayenne for the 2015 model year. This includes updated styling as well as the addition of a new S E-Hybrid plug-in model.

Among the array of changes are a number of exterior tweaks that give the Cayenne a sportier look. New headlights and LED daytime running lights round out the revised front fascia, which now includes “air blades” that help direct air into the intercoolers. In the rear, Porsche added similar LEDs as well as new exhaust outlets that are integrated into the rear fascia for a more seamless look.

Inside, the changes are modest but nevertheless add to the Cayenne’s functionality. For example, there’s a new multifunction steering wheel that’s been lifted from the 918 Spyder.

Not surprisingly, the most dramatic updates to the 2015 Cayenne can be found under the hood. This includes the addition of the aforementioned plug-in hybrid model, which replaces last year’s Cayenne S Hybrid. Powering this new model is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 that’s paired with an electric motor and a 10.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. In total, this system delivers 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque and can produce a 0 to 62 mph time of just 5.4 seconds and top out at 151 mph.

Another big change is the addition of a new 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 in the Cayenne S. This unit is good for 420 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. This new powerplant will help the Cayenne sprint to 62 mph from a standstill in 5.2 seconds (or 5.1 seconds when equipped with the optional Sport Chrono pack). The top speed for this model is 160 mph.

Aside from these changes, the rest of the Cayenne lineup should sound familiar. There’s a diesel model that still utilizes the 240 horsepower 3.0-liter V6. This unit delivers a 0 to 62 mph time of 7.2 seconds and top speed of 135 mph. The range-topping Turbo model features a 4.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 and produces 520 horsepower and 553 pound feet of torque. It will do 0 to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds (4.1 with the Sport Chrono pack) and top out at 173 mph.

The 2015 Porsche Cayenne will arrive in U.S. showrooms in the Fall. Prices will start at $62,695 for the Cayenne Diesel, $75,095 for the Cayenne S, $77,395 for the S E-Hybrid, and $114,596 for the Cayenne Turbo.

2015 Porsche Cayenne
2015 Porsche Cayenne
2015 Porsche Cayenne
2015 Porsche Cayenne
2015 Porsche Cayenne
2015 Porsche Cayenne

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Jaguar Gives Bespoke F-Type Coupe to Tour de France Contenders

Jaguar F-Type Team Sky

Team Sky is currently competing in one of the most grueling physical challenges in the world—the 2014 Tour de France. Eager to help the team succeed, Jaguar has built a bespoke F-Type Coupe specifically to help make the riders’ arduous journey across France just a little easier.

Jaguar is clearly proud to be an Innovation Partner to Team Sky, building a one-off vehicle specifically for the team with no plans to place the vehicle into series production. It’s based on the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe—the most dynamically capable, performance-focused production car Jaguar has ever built—and features a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine.

This unique F-Type is being delivered just in time for Team Sky to use it on Saturday July 26, as riders complete Stage 20 of the Tour de France where riders traverse from Bergerac to Périgueux.

So what sets this bespoke vehicle apart from the production F-Type? Well for starters there’s a new racking solution, which carries two of the team’s Pinarello Bolide TT bikes. The vehicle exterior is finished in Team Sky’s famous livery and other pertinent graphics. Jaguar’s Special Vehicle Operations team also added a a separate electric supply in the trunk to power Team Sky’s radios, amplifiers, microphones, horns and televisions, helping to make this F-Type a robust command center for Team Sky’s Sports Director.

“Jaguar is an iconic British brand that has been an integral partner for Team Sky for over four years,” said Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Principal at Team Sky.  “We have already benefited from their high performance credentials and expertise in technological capabilities and engineering innovations, particularly with the recent development of the Pinarello Dogma F8. This F-TYPE concept is a world class vehicle that will help get the best out of the team on the TT stages.”

Jaguar has been a partner of Team Sky since its inception in 2010. In recent years, the automaker has provided a number of high performance Jaguar XF Sportbrakes to support the team. Jaguar believes that its new two-door bike-hauler will be a helpful addition to the team and even catch the attention of spectators.

Jaguar Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director, Mark Cameron added, “Jaguar has supplied high performance support vehicles to Team Sky since its first season in 2010. The development of this F-TYPE Coupe is the latest example of our shared belief to push the boundaries and provide technologically innovative solutions, both on and off the bike.  The visual impact of the F-TYPE Coupe during Stage 20 will also of course bring added attention to Team Sky and our unique partnership.”

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Report: Lexus Flagship Coupe to be called SC, F Version Packs 600+ HP

Twin-turbo V-8 may also go into a more extreme RC F as well.

Deep Dive: Audi and Porsche Argue Over Future A8, R8 Platforms

The fight for power and R&D control is real.

Watch a Smart Fortwo Crash-Tested With a Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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2015 Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac Trucks and SUVs Add Eight-Speed Auto

Silverado, Sierra, Yukon Denali, Escalade adopt new transmission.

2015 Ford Mustang Offers Three Brake Systems

GT Performance Pack cars get six-piston Brembo front calipers.