(Images courtesy of Aston Martin The Americas)
Editor-In-Chief's Note: In case you were wondering where the whole bespoke supercar market is going, take a look at the new, limited series production Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Coupe. The concept version of this machine was unveiled at the prestigious Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este at Lake Como, Italy, this past May and, ahem, "thanks to unprecedented customer interest," according to the manufacturer, a strictly limited production run of 99 cars will be built to order at Aston Martin's production facility in Gaydon, England. It's cool and everything but what does it all mean? It means that for the boutique manufacturers, a "normal" production portfolio is all but obsolete. Now, in order to lure the super rich, custom "specials" will be offered on a regular basis, in Aston Martin's case for those for whom a "stock" Vanquish just won't do. You only have to look as far as what McLaren cars is doing of late with their "special" cars. They seemingly have a new, custom-order McLaren on sale every month. And to a lesser degree Porsche and Ferrari are joining the frenzy with special versions of their own. Will GM/Chevrolet follow suit with the Corvette? Yes. They've already have started offering special packages. And watch for a very "special" version of the current Corvette to debut at the Detroit Auto Show next January. -PMD
Speaking of "special" editions, Automobili Lamborghini has presented the Aventador Miura Homage, a special edition of the current Aventador coupe that pays tribute to the Miura, the forerunner of all V12 Lamborghini super sports cars in its 50th anniversary year. The machine was introduced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week. Created by Lamborghini’s Ad Personam studio, the Aventador Miura Homage reflects the colors and specifications of original Miura models. Six of the original Miura colors and trims will be available on the Aventador Miura Homage including Rosso Arancio Miura (solid color); Verde Scandal (solid); and Blu Tahiti (metallic). Other details? 20”/21” Dione rims in either matte silver or gold, a metallic Miura badge on the side and black Lamborghini logo on the rear, together with a limited-edition numbered plate inside the car. Two interior colors are available: Nero Ade or Terra Emilia leather with tone-on-tone stitching. A carbon fiber interior package is standard. The Miura 50th logo is stitched into the upper part of the seats in gold or silver to reflect the car’s livery, and "Lamborghini" lettering is embroidered on the leather dashboard. The Aventador Miura Homage’s 6.5-liter V12 engine produces 700 hp at 8,250 rpm with maximum torque of 690 Nm at 5,500 rpm. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) takes just 2.9 seconds, and the top speed is 350 Km/h (217 mph). Just 50 units of the car will be produced, the majority of which have already been sold - of course - and it's "available" in selected markets worldwide.
Dodge is celebrating the 25th anniversary - and final year - of Viper production in 2017 with five exclusive limited-edition models (four of which are pictured here). From left: the Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC; the Vooodoo II ACR; the Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR; and the Viper 1:28 ACR, which honors the current production car single lap record of 1:28.65 set by champion driver Randy Pobst in a 2016 Dodge Viper ACR at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., in October 2015. A fifth Dodge Dealer Edition Viper ACR, not shown, will be available through select Dodge dealers.
Our "Quick Take" this week has us in a 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0T quattro. You can go ahead and click-off all of the now-obligatory improvements that you've come to expect from a new iteration of an existing model from just about every manufacturer; that is, the new A4 is lighter, more aerodynamic, more powerful and, after a week driving it, more better. The 252HP, 2.0-liter, turbo 4-cylinder engine is plain wonderful, especially connected to its 7-speed S tronic gearbox. This is a responsive and engaging drivetrain package, and it's eminently satisfying both in the urban slog and with the fleeting speed bursts when the occasion presents itself. Our Ibis White tester had the Premium Package (see below), which seemed to offer an attractive - and usable - blend of ingredients, including a handsome set of wheels and LED headlights that worked tremendously well. And the freshened interior in the new A4 is impeccably tailored, reminding everyone in the business that when it comes to interiors, Audi definitely still has its mojo. At first glance Audi didn't seem to do much to distinguish this new A4 from its predecessors, but it's better in every way - and more fun to drive as well. My only gripe is a recurring one with the lesser Audi models, and that is the cheap switch gear from the VW Group parts bin. It doesn't feel right, hell, it has never felt right in an Audi, but they persist in equipping these cars with it. What, do they think no one will notice? I like everything about this machine except for that. -PMD
2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0T quattro S tronic: $47,900 (as reviewed). $39,400 Base Price; Ibis White; Black Interior; 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder with 252HP and 273 lbs-ft of torque; quattro all-wheel-drive system; Seven-speed S tronic transmission; 17" 5-parallel-spoke dynamic design wheels with all-season tires; Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS); Electronic Stability Control (ESC); Ventilated front (13.3") and ventilated rear (13.0") disc brakes; Anti-lock brake system (ABS) with brake assist; Audi xenon plus headlights with LED DRLs; LED taillights with dynamic turn signals; Heated power adjustable exterior mirrors; 8 -way power adjustable front seats with 4-way driver lumbar adjustment; LED ambient interior lighting; Power sunroof; Leather seating surfaces; Rearview camera; Keyless engine stop/start; Three-zone digital automatic climate control; Audi smartphone interface; Audi music interface with two USB ports and a 3.5mm aux-in; Audi pre sense basic & city; Audi drive select; Audi sound system; Three-spoke, leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles; SIRIUS Satellite radio (with three-month complimentary subscription); Garage door opener (HomeLink); Rain and light sensor; Preparation for mobile phone (Bluetooth) with audio streaming; Split-folding rear seatback (40/20/40); Premium Plus package - 18" 5-spoke Dynamic design wheels with contrasting gray, 245/40 all-season tires, Aluminum high-gloss window surrounds, 3D Bang & Olufsen Sound System, Heated auto-dimming power folding exterior mirrors, Alarm system, SIRIUS satellite radio (90-say subscription), Audi advanced key, Audi connect CARE (limited time subscription), Heated 8-way power front seats with driver memory, LED headlights, Parking system plus; S line exterior - $3,800; Technology Package - Audi MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch, Audi connect PRIME and PLUS (6-month trial), Audi side assist and pre sense rear, Audi virtual cockpit - $3,250; Cold Weather Package - Heated rear seats, Heated steering wheel - $500; Delete front license plate panel, Destination charge, $950.
Adherence to Brand Image: This new A4 is Audi through and through, which, when Audi is on, is a very good thing. And Audi is definitely on their game with the new A4. -PMD