Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Aston Martin crams V12 into Vantage for one final time, Ferrari teases stunning new 296 GT3, and Audi previews the Avant of the future – plus your news for the week.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage
The last time Aston Martin put a V12 in the Vantage, we all assumed it would be the last. The writing was already on the wall and we knew big engines in small cars wouldn’t be a thing for much longer. Over a decade after that last-gen V12 Vantage came out, the real swan song has arrived. The 2023 Aston Martin Vantage will once again offer a V12, but this time in very limited quantities. And you can’t even buy one because they called up their favorite oligarchs, celebrities, energy executives, hedge fund managers, and crypto bros so they could buy it before us peasants even knew what it looked like.
Just 333 examples are being produced and Aston Martin worked hard to ensure those with the most overpriced .jpg collection will get to experience a really special car a few miles a year. It will certainly look special with a dramatically reworked exterior featuring an abundance of carbon fiber. The body has been widened by 40mm and there’s a load of functional aerodynamic elements inspired by the last-gen Vantage GT12 (which was inspired by the last-gen Vantage GT3) producing more downforce and improved cooling. Nearly every surface that’s been added or remodeled is constructed of carbon fiber.
Providing the sound and the fury is the brand’s 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12, which is likely the same albeit detuned version of the engine used in the DBS Superleggera. In the much smaller V12 Vantage it produces 690 horsepower and 555 lb.-ft. of torque. All that gets sent to the rear wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic and mechanical LSD. With the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires operating at their best, the V12 Vantage can sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and top out at around 200 mph. Standard carbon ceramic brakes measuring 16.1″ front and 14.1″ rear are in charge of doing the opposite of a 0-60 sprint. The sheer size of those brakes is part of the reason this Vantage rides on hilariously big 21″ alloy wheels.
So here we are. We’re looking at a kind of car that we know for certain won’t exist for much longer. Hardly anyone will get to see much of it once deliveries begin in Q2 of this year. Only a privileged few will be allowed to breathe on it. And for the rest of us who have to wait and see it drifting on Top Gear, it’ll be a magnificent thing to behold.
[Source: Aston Martin]
Ferrari teases 296 GT3
When Ferrari unveiled their stunning 296 GTB last year, the first thing many of us were waiting for was the GT3 version. Ferrari has been racing the 488 in GT3 and GTLM/GTE since 2016, which is ages in motorsport. The entirety of the Ford GT program started and ended in the time Ferrari has been racing the 488. The production car it’s based on was replaced in 2020 with the F8 Tributo, which many of us thought would be the next GT racing platform given its similarities. But for better or worse, they’ve chosen the stunning new 296 GTB for that role. And this week we’ve been given a breathtaking glimpse at what’s in store.
Not a lot is known about it yet given that it’s still under development, but it’s keeping the road-going V6 as is required by class rules and forgoing the hybrid unit. Horsepower in GT3 is typically 500 or so but is dependent on BoP. Being a rendering of a black car over a black background, it’s hard to make out details. But it’s shaping up to be a stunning, menacing, and intimidating competitor in the always-growing GT3 field. The 296 GT3 will have big shoes to fill as well. The 488 GT3 has been a highly successful race car over the years with 429 wins and 107 championship titles in the 770 races it’s been entered in as of this week. With stats like that, the 488 GT3 has been the most successful race car in company history. Ferrari may or may not be front runners in F1 anymore (though fingers crossed that changes this year), but they absolutely still know how to make a GT race car.
It should make its first on track appearances in various test sessions later this year before its racing debut in 2023. Exactly which race that will be is yet to be determined. Stay tuned.
[Source: Ferrari via Jalopnik]
Audi Avant e-tron concept
Audi has graced us with a stunning Avant e-tron concept and it looks like this. They say this all-electric wagon, or Avant in Audi speak, is a preview of what’s to come. That means future Audi products will not only take styling cues from this concept, but we’ll continue to see the wagon live on. Whether those wagons all come to America is basically a guaranteed no. But more wagons are a good thing regardless of where they’re sold.
The theoretical specs of this concept include an 800-volt architecture, 270 kW of charging capacity for a 10-minute recharge, and a European WLTP-estimated range of 435 miles. Now that almost everyone has an EV on the market or close to it, the next big fight within the industry will be to improve charging times and driving range. If what Audi claims this concept can do is any indication of what they’re working on for a future round of e-tron EVs, they’ll be well positioned to become a leader in the market.
What’s your automotive news?
That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.