Along Came a Spider
This is the newest Ferrari, the 488 Spider. It's an open-top version of the 488 GTB with a retractable hard roof. These days, we're quite accustomed to such clever pieces of folding hardware, but they're usually on front-engined cars. This setup is over a mid-engined car. Not so easy. Yet Ferrari says this is the most aerodynamically efficient spider it's ever built. Nestled within a space frame (fashioned from 11 different aluminum alloys) is a turbocharged 3.9L V-8 making 660 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 62 mph is accomplished in just three glorious seconds. Incidentally, the paintwork is a new hue: Blu Corsa.
In a move that's probably surprised no one, Volvo has acquired 100 percent of Polestar, the Swedish tuning house that specializes in, um, Volvos. We've already seen 350hp Polestar versions of the S60 and V60 available directly from dealers with all the manufacturer's warranty intact, plus Polestar aftermarket kits. The most exciting thing about this development is not just another round of high-performance cars, but a new generation using hybrid technology. This kind of intelligence mixed with fun could be one of the reasons why Sweden is invariably in those "top five" lists of best countries in which to live.
Volkswagen Motorsport has had the genius idea to turn a seventh-gen Golf into a racing car. This is built to take part in the new Touringcar Racer International Series (TCR) that only came into being in 2015; it's meant to be a less pricey version of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC). But back to the metal. And carbon fiber. Naturally, there's an aero kit, the chassis is about 1.6 inches wider than stock and sits low on 18-inch alloys, while the engine comes from the Golf R. So we're talking a 2.0L turbo four in this instance, making 325 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque, linked to a DSG transmission. Racing outfit Liqui Moly Team Engstler had promising results with the car in the Austrian TCR fixture this past July, including a First Place.
Here's the new logo for Turn 14 Distribution—those lovely people who make sure everyone gets their greasy hands on aftermarket parts from such illustrious names as AEM, Bilstein, Magnaflow, and Whiteline. Should your curiosity grow so intense that your cat's life is in danger, you could always find out more about the company by going to the website: turn14.com.
Organic light-emitting diodes are not something you'd buy for lunch from Whole Foods. Unless you were an alien. But they are something Audi would put into its most cutting-edge lighting systems. Yes, the company is pursuing Matrix OLED technology because that's the kind of thing Audi does. It means less weight and greater shape flexibility, which will please enthusiasts and designers alike. We'll see more when Audi shows a new concept at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show.
By now, some customers will have received their brand-new Lotus Evora 400 cars. Because the assembly line is up and running, marking a significant step in the company's illustrious but occasionally troubled history. The Evora follows the usual Lotus formula of aluminum chassis and lightweight composite body, but adds a 3.5L V-6 for 400 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque. All for a pre-tax price of $89,900.
Four Rings, Five Pots, Six Medals
The VW/Audi 2.5L five-cylinder engine is alive and well and turbocharged. It's actually been awarded International Engine of the Year for the sixth consecutive time. This is the 2.5 TSFI in the Audi RS 3 Sportback, a model that isn't on sale in the United States because we can't have nice things. It makes 367 hp and 343 lb-ft of torque and zips the car from standstill to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds on the way to a top speed of 174 mph. An international panel of 65 auto journalists collectively stated: "Reliable Audi quality and excellent tuning make this engine a genuine pleasure to drive. No synthetically designed sound could replace the passionate sound of this magnificent in-line five-cylinder engine."