Bridging the gap between its coupe and convertible brothers, the Porsche 911 Targa returns to the German sports car brand’s model line for the 2021 model year. Like the prior 991-series 911 Targa, the 992-series model once again pairs a power-stowable roof panel with a stylish roll bar and large rear glass area to provide a look reminiscent of the original 1967 911 Targa’s.

Sun worshippers remain better off opting for the more immersive top-down experience of the 911 Cabriolet, while performance junkies will surely find the 911 Targa’s complex, power-operated folding roof panel adds extra pounds to the model relative to the 911 Coupe (last-gen 911 Targa models tipped the scales about 198 pounds heavier than its Coupe equivalents). Still, the Targa offers a dazzling combination of style, performance, and open-topped motoring that none of its stablemates can match.

Photo Credit: Porsche

ALL-WHEEL-DRIVE ALL THE TIME

The Targa continues to shun rear-wheel drive in favor of sending power to all four of its wheels. Available in Targa 4 and Targa 4S guises, the latest 911 addition shares its powertrain options with its Carrera 4 and 4S comrades. That means the entry-level Targa 4 boasts a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six with 379 horsepower, while the Targa 4S adds an extra 64 horses to its six-cylinder stable for a total of 443. An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard on both Targa variants; however, a seven-speed manual gearbox is a no-cost option on the 4S.

Both Targas are predictably quick, and Porsche claims the two models scoot to 60 mph in as little as 4.0 and 3.4 seconds when equipped with the self-shifting transmission and available Sport Chrono package—improvements of 0.1 and 0.4 second over the old Targa, per Porsche. Considering we took a 2017 911 Targa 4S to the mile-a-minute mark in 3.3 seconds, we expect the new car to better those estimates. In fact, we’d wager the 2021 911 Targa 4S will match the 3.0-second run we managed in a 2020 911 Carrera 4S Coupe. Hold the right pedal down long enough and Porsche contends the Targa 4 will top out at 179 mph and the Targa 4S at 188.

Bringing things to a stop are 13.0-inch front and rear rotors clamped by black-painted four-piston calipers on the base car. The speedier Targa 4S is fitted with larger 13.8-inch rotors at all four corners, and it gets red-painted six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. More fade-resistant carbon-ceramic brakes are an option for both Targa models.

Photo Credit: Porsche

RAISING THE TARGA BAR

With its starting price of $120,650—that’s $14,600 more than a 2020 Carrera 4 Coupe and $1,800 more than a 2020 Carrera 4 Cabriolet—the Targa 4 sports standard features such as two-mode adaptive dampers, 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels and tires, a 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and an integrated navigation system. Springing for the more powerful, $136,550 Targa 4S adds kit like larger 20- and 21-inch staggered wheels and tires, as well as a trick electronic limited-slip rear-differential with torque vectoring (except for stick-shift models, which use a mechanical unit), both of which are optional on the lesser Targa 4.

Admittedly, the Targa is far from the best value in the 911 model line. That said, its silver (or optional black) roll bar and elegantly curved rear glass arguably make the semi-soft-top Targa the most eye-catching variant of Porsche’s already attractive sports car. Stay tuned for the 2021 911 Targa 4 and Targa 4S to hit our showrooms in the UAE.

Feeling a little claustrophobic within the wedge-shaped, 10-cylinder coupe? Then maybe the drop-top Huracan Evo Spyder appeals to your needs. Want a little more tail-out antics? Well, the Huracan Evo RWD (that’s rear-wheel drive) coupe sounds right up your alley. Want a combination of top-down breezes and rear-wheel-drive handling sneezes? Worry no more, because Lamborghini just pulled the wraps off of the cloth-topped Huracan Evo RWD Spyder.

Photo Credit: Lamborghini

Like its hard-topped RWD sibling, the Huracan Evo RWD Spyder gives up 20 horsepower and 40 pound-feet of torque compared to its all-wheel-drive stablemate. Still, with 610 horses and 413 lb-ft of twist, the mid-mounted 5.2-liter V-10, which mates to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, offers plenty of grunt for pushing this 3,326-pound roadster about. According to Lamborghini, the trot to 62 miles per hour takes a mere 3.5 seconds as it rockets toward a top speed of 201 mph.

Huracan Evo RWD Spyder drivers are not able to operate the power soft top at such high speeds, though, as opening the fabric roof at freeway speeds or higher would surely rip the covering from the car. Instead, Lamborghini limits top operation to speeds no higher than 31 mph. (The lid stows away in 17 seconds, too.) As on its Spyder siblings, the RWD model’s rear window raises and lowers independently of the roof itself. 

Helping differentiate the RWD Spyder from the all-wheel-drive Huracan herd are a handful of styling updates, including RWD-specific front and rear fascias. Both features give the two-wheel-drive model—arguably—a more menacing mug than that of its already irate looking, all-wheel-drive counterpart. 

Photo Credit: Lamborghini

The 2021 Lamborghini Huracan Evo RWD Spyder goes out of the market sporting a price tag of $233,123. Considering the all-wheel-drive Huracan Evo Spyder starts at north of $280,000, though, the lighter, likely livelier handling Evo RWD Spyder seems like a relative steal. Gear up for its launch in our UAE showrooms very soon.

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Italian automaker Maserati says a new generation of the GranTurismo is coming soon to replace the current model, which was discontinued after the 2019 model year.

What’s more, Maserati spokesperson confirmed that the GranCabrio name will also be revived for a convertible version of the new GranTurismo. The hardtop coupe model should begin production as soon as 2022, with the softtop following a year later. The GranTurismo will slot into the Maserati lineup alongside a new mid-engine supercar called MC20.

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The GranTurismo and GranCabrio are expected to usher in a new wave of electrification to the storied 105-year-old marque. Maserati stated that the new car will be the first Maserati to adopt an electric powertrain and that it will be produced in Turin, Italy. It’s unclear at this point whether the GranTurismo and GranCabrio will be offered exclusively as EVs or if a gasoline-only or some sort of plug-in-hybrid powertrain might also be offered.

No matter which way Maserati decides to go with the powertrain, we’re hoping that the gorgeous Alfieri concept car will still provide design inspiration for the new models. We’re also hopeful that Maserati will stick to the launch timing as planned, but recent events surrounding the global coronavirus pandemic may cause delays.

CEO Mike Flewitt says winning “the weight race” is a priority for McLaren
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Mike Flewitt, McLaren Automotive CEO, has confirmed that the company will continue to pursue its engineering philosophy of reducing vehicle weight to further enhance the performance and efficiency of its supercars. Already evident in existing models such as the new 765LT, the ongoing drive for weight reduction will put McLaren in the best possible position to embrace powertrain advances such as hybridization and electrification, says Flewitt.

Flewitt delivered the message that McLaren’s determination to win “the weight race” remained undiminished in an abbreviated version of an address he had been due to give at the 2020 Automotive News World Congress, an automotive industry event postponed because of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Reducing vehicle weight is at the center of our strategy for the next generations of McLaren supercars. We are already class-leading and committed to further driving down weight in order to be in the best possible position to maximize the efficiency and performance of hybridized models to be introduced by 2025.

“Vehicle mass is the enemy of performance whether a car has a conventional internal combustion engine or a fully electrified powertrain, so winning the weight race is an absolute priority for us – and one of the reasons McLaren Automotive has invested heavily in the McLaren Composites Technology Centre, our own U.K. composite materials innovation and production facility.”

The commitment to continue minimizing weight comes as a new, limited-volume McLaren supercar comes to market with an 80kg* reduction integral to a lightest dry weight of just 1,229kg. The 765LT opens a fourth chapter in the McLaren Longtail story and embodies characteristics that have their roots in the legendary McLaren F1 ‘Longtail’ race cars of the late-1990s, with driver engagement, increased performance, lighter weight, track-focused dynamics and limited availability key features.

Only 765 individually-numbered examples of the new Longtail will be built to customer order globally.

Picture courtesy of Rolls-Royce 

The world’s most sophisticated car manufacturing plant near Chichester, West Sussex, England is gearing itself up to provide desperately needed protective kit for hospital workers battling the coronavirus crisis.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is understood to be producing face visor kits from the same factory that manufactures its fleet of luxury cars — with the same high standards of quality and safety.

The company has not issued a release about the plans but the Chichester Observer was alerted from notes of thanks appearing from hospital staff on social media.

The people of the UK will again signal their unstinting support for the NHS and its staff by clapping on the doorsteps at a scheduled time. But there has been growing concern that doctors, nurses and other hospital staff have not had sufficient protective kit.

The Observer has welcomed the intervention by Rolls-Royce which is also supporting the NHS, voluntary groups and vulnerable people in the Chichester area by releasing its fleet of 30 cars along with volunteer drivers from its workforce to transport vital supplies.

The company said in a statement when asked: “Rolls-Royce is using the temporarily idle manufacturing capacity at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood to support the remarkable people working for the NHS in the fight against Covid-19.”

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The rapid global spread of the coronavirus is having a major impact on all aspects of society, including the automotive industry.

The automobile leaders are coming up with creative ideas to recuperate the industry, support the current situation and pro-actively think of initiatives to further battle this challenging time.

In order to pay it forward, Jaguar Land Rover has begun production of reusable NHS-approved protective visors, with the goal of eventually producing 5,000 of the units a week.

The new visor has been designed at the Advanced Production Creation Centre in consultation with NHS staff, with Jaguar Land Rover initially aiming to produce 1,300 units per week using its prototype build operations. It will then work with other companies, including Pro2Pro in Telford to further increase production.

The visors have been tested by staff at the Great Western Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust. The device is designed to be easily dismantled and cleaned so that it can be used again, helping to combat equipment shortages.

Jaguar Land Rover intends to make the open source CAD design files available to other manufacturers, so they can print further visors.

BMW completely transformed a standard i3 so that its interior now has the relaxed feel of a hotel
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MW has previewed the future car cabins in the form of the i3 Urban Suite at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company says that the Urban Suite concept is “designed to offer a mobility experience tailored precisely to the passenger’s needs”. The aim was to create an inviting and relaxing space on wheels, so the carmaker took a production-spec BMW i3 and completely modified its cabin to mimic the relaxing atmosphere of a boutique hotel, albeit leaving the driver seat and dashboard untouched.

The interior of the car welcomes passengers with a laid-back ambiance, equipped with a large, comfortable seat with footrest, a screen that flips down from the headliner and a personal Sound Zone. 20 examples of the BMW i3 Urban Suite, which can be summoned using an app, are in action on the streets of Las Vegas. Furthermore, going with the i3 green nature, the company has used recycled materials to design the cabin, especially the fabric, along with certified wood, olive-tanned leather and floor mats made from recyclable materials that can be fed back into the materials cycle.

The BMW i3 Urban Suite comes with coach doors for easy ingress and egress
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As for the design, the BMW i3 Urban Suite comes with coach doors for easy ingress and egress. Inside, leather has been largely dispensed with in favor of fabrics and wood instead. There is no rear bench seat in the BMW i3 Urban Suite, its place taken by an amply sized, petrol-colored lounge chair offering the ultimate in seating comfort. Plus, the sound zone feature will allow passengers to enjoy their choice of entertainment on the flip-down screen without being disturbed or hold phone conversations that cannot be overheard by the chauffeur. Furthermore, the Urban Suite also offers ample storage space, featuring a clothes hanger, a storage tray between the driver’s seat and wooden table large enough for a bag or laptop, and a pair of thermo-electric cup holders in the center console.

The BMW i3 Urban Suites is for those who want to be chauffeur-driven, and customers can use a special app to order one of these. The car will offer its passenger a first-hand experience of the BMW Group’s innovative and sustainable mobility concept, demonstrating that luxury travel in the future will have nothing to do with vehicle size. The company says that the BMW i3 Urban Suite also represents a logical step forward in the BMW Group’s commitment to sustainable mobility.

Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO & Santosh Iyer, VP – Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz India with the EQC
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Mercedes-Benz has launched the EQ electric sub-brand in India and that’s a huge step for the carmaker. The year 2020 looks to have taken off at an electric pace because MG plans to launch the ZS EV very soon and Tata Motors too is looking to launch the Nexon EV. Mercedes-Benz then wants to up the ante when it comes to bringing in a luxury electric car. Mercedes-Benz has big plans globally with the EQ brand and it has already launched its first all-electric SUV the EQC in international markets. In fact, by 2022, Mercedes-Benz is aiming for complete electrification of its entire model line-up, especially in developed markets with a total of 130 variants. These variants will include 48-volt on-board electrical system with EQ Boost to plug-in-hybrids to all-electric vehicles with battery or fuel cells.

Mercedes-Benz believes that the unit sales of BEVs or battery electric vehicles are set to increase to 15-25 percent of total unit sales by 2025, depending on individual customer preferences and the development of the public infrastructure.

Martin Schwenk, MD, and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India said, “We believe electric has a big future. Sooner or later all manufacturers have to do something if they want to be credibly available in the market. We were pondering for several months on how to do it and when to do it and we feel, right now is a good moment. On the one hand, some government policies are supportive of electric vehicles. There’s a momentum building up.”

The Mercedes-Benz EQC will come to India in April 2020
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product before we do the actual launch with the price and everything. EQC is an innovative and sporty car. The EQC will target a small market and it will allow us to learn how to establish the brand and the vehicles so we will take it at a measured pace in the beginning.”

The measured pace means that Mercedes-Benz will target just a few metro cities with the EQC. Of course, you are wondering about what happens to the charging infrastructure and Schwenk has an answer to that too. “For us to push for electric charging infrastructure, we do not have the scale to do it. We cannot set up a charging infrastructure. We will provide a reasonable start-up configuration for customers. We will see what we can do with the dealer support.”

The EQC has a very familiar front end with a large grille and a twin slat AMG-esque design. The grille itself is shrouded with a black surround that flows into the LED headlamps. The LED daytime running lights in the headlamp itself are complemented with a LED lighting strip just over the front grille.

The interior of the new Mercedes -Benz EQC is a very familiar one too. The infotainment and instrument cluster are identical to what you get on the likes of an E-Class while the central console has a similar feel too. Of course, there are some changes, including some design elements that ape cooling vents on an electric motor and new AC vents too.

The EQC is powered by a dual-motor setup, which includes one motor for the front axle and one for the rear. This makes the EQC an all-wheel-drive SUV or as Mercedes likes to call it, a 4Matic.

The EQC’s motors are powered by an 80-kWh lithium-ion battery, that helps the motors produce a combined 300 kW (402 bhp) of peak power and 765 Nm of peak torque. The new EQC gets an all-electric range of around 400 km with a quick charge option on the SUV, too.

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes after securing the pole position for Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton underlined his status with an 88th career pole with a new record as the Mercedes ace dominated the qualifying at the F1 Etihad Airways 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton turned on the pace in his very last lap to log a time of 1:34.779 while handing himself a fifth pole position this season — bettering his existing mark of 1:34.794 in Abu Dhabi that was set during qualifying last season. Saturday’s run also ended the champion’s drought of poles, dating back to Germany in July. His 88th pole now takes the British driver 20 ahead of Michael Schumacher’s 68 on the all-time list.

This was also Hamilton’s 10th front row start at Yas Marina, that in fact, ties the record for most front rows at any venue. A front-row start has proved crucial at Yas Marina with five victories from pole positions — including the last four races — and four wins starting from P2 on the grid. While it was Hamilton who laid down the marker, his teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen followed in second and third with 1:34.973 and 1:35.139, respectively.

This was the sixth time that Mercedes has won pole position here starting from back-to-back places from Nico Rosberg (2014 and 2015), followed by Hamilton (2016, 2018) and Bottas (2017).

Hamilton is the most successful driver in Abu Dhabi has won the race here on four previous occasions — in 2011 for McLaren followed by 2014, 2016 and 2018 for Mercedes. Only Vettel is in a position to match him with three wins here — in 2009, 2010 and 2013 — all for Red Bull Racing.

Jaguar Land Rover left the attendees of the recent Dubai International Motor Show in awe as they put their entire line up across the two legendary brands on display at the show.

The I Pace electric SUV was a treat to Jaguar fans. With its next-generation technology, it can be driven for up to 470km on a single charge. Through this powerful model, you can experience sports car-like agility with zero tailpipe emissions.

Completing the Jaguar line up are the F Pace, E Pace, F Type, XE and XF.

Jaguar I Pace electric SUV | Image Credit: Sony Thomas/Gulf News

Meanwhile, the all-new version of the iconic Defender was a scene-stealer over at the Land Rover area. The legendary off-roader makes its regional debut in different variants, the 90 two-door, and the 110 five-door. The Defender will be out in the market by the first half of 2020.

The Defender | Image Credit: Sony Thomas/Gulf News