Audi RS 3, Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+, Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series: This Week’s Top Photos

Audi’s redesigned RS 3 was spotted this week and is expected to follow a formula similar to its predecessor. This means a turbo-5 up front and power to all four wheels.

2022 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Another vehicle we spotted was the long-awaited Ram 1500 Rebel TRX. Powered by the Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V-8, the super pickup truck should make 707 horsepower and reach showrooms before 2022.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Yet another vehicle spied testing this week was Mercedes-AMG’s upcoming GT Black Series. The vehicle is tipped to deliver as much as 710 hp from a new V-8.

Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+

Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+

Bugatti detailed how it is expanding the use of 3D printing components for its hypercars. The process enables the automaker to develop parts that are both lighter and stronger than those that use traditional construction methods. One of the new parts is the exhaust heat shield on the Chiron Super Sport 300+.

1953 Jaguar XK120 EV conversion by Lunaz

1953 Jaguar XK120 EV conversion by Lunaz

British firm Lunaz specializes in converting classics to electric power. The company this week announced an expanded fleet of turnkey conversions, one member of which is the 1953 Jaguar XK120.

McLaren F1 GTR Longtail for sale (Photo by Tom Hartley Jnr.)

McLaren F1 GTR Longtail for sale (Photo by Tom Hartley Jnr.)

Another classic in the headlines this week was the McLaren F1. This particular F1 is a GTR Longtail, and it was the first of its kind to be made. It’s currently listed for sale.

2019 Toyota Century by Wald International

2019 Toyota Century by Wald International

Wald International recently took on the challenge of enhancing the Century, aka Toyota’s boss car. The Japanese tuning firm only worked on the exterior, leaving the interior and powertrain unchanged. We aren’t complaining, though.

Aston Martin turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6

Aston Martin turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6

Aston Martin unveiled an in-house developed V-6. The engine’s first stop will be the Valhalla hypercar, where it will be paired with a hybrid system to help deliver over 1,000 hp.

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Top 6 Tesla Model Y hidden tidbits that you didn’t know

Tesla Model Y is full of new convenience features that make the ownership experience of the electric crossover second to none. However, what goes unseen are secret tidbits that Tesla engineers implemented in the Model Y that make it stand even further apart from other vehicles in its category.

YouTuber and Tesla owner Tesla Raj delved into his six favorite “secrets” of the Model Y that you may not know of.

Magnetic Sun Visors

The first change on the Model Y that Raj notes as one of his favorites on the new crossover is the magnetic sun visor “clip.” In past Tesla vehicles, like the Model 3, the sun visor has utilized a clip and bar system, where the bar snaps into the clip, locking the visor into place.

Tesla improved upon the visor by implementing a magnet system that simply closes the visor into place without excessive pulling or pushing that can create a hassle for a driver when operating the vehicle. The visor still extends and is maneuverable so it can be adjusted to block the sun at any angle. The magnetic system creates a more relaxed lodging and dislodging experience for drivers when they would like to use it to keep the bright light in the sky out of their eyes.

The Model Y’s magnetic sun visor. (Credit: YouTube/Tesla Raj)

Door Seals

Arguably, one of the most satisfying feelings that define luxury over economy is the sound of a closing door.

Tesla has installed a sturdier, thicker, and firmer door seal with the Model Y, creating a distinctive and robust sound indicating the car door is sealed shut. Raj compared the sound Model Y makes when shutting the door with that of the Model 3 and took notice of a deeper and sturdier sound from the all-electric crossover. Moreover, the seal in the Model Y is of better quality and contours around the vehicle’s curves with more precision over Model 3.

The Model Y’s new and improved door seals. (Credit: YouTube/Tesla Raj)

Trunk Vents

Model Y includes trunk vents on both corners of the rear trunk where the side compartments are located. The driver’s side vent houses the Charge Port pull tab, that can alleviate a jammed charging port door if it becomes stuck.

The passenger side vent contains the vehicle’s subwoofer and acts as relief for the air that pushes through the speaker.

Under-Seat Storage Space

The driver’s and passenger’s seats of the Model Y both have a 5″ tall by 14″ wide by 7″ long space beneath them, creating the impression that it could be used to store anything from books, to games, to possibly a homemade drawer under it. Raj believes someone with the proper craftsmanship could build a small drawer that could be fashioned under the seat, creating extra storage space any sort of object. With kids, this could be a perfect opportunity to store coloring books, handheld game systems, DVDs, or other entertainment outlets during a long drive.

The Model Y’s under-seat storage. (Credit: YouTube/Tesla Raj)

Hood/Frunk Polymer Seal

The frunk on previous Tesla models seemed to have a considerable space between the actual frunk door and the bottom of the storage compartment, leaving space for items, like food or drinks, to move around excessively. This increased the risk of spillage or movement, so Tesla created a large seal that gets rid of this extra space. The storage is still the same as the seal does not pass the upper-outer lip of the frunk, but it certainly creates a more secure environment for whatever is stored in the compartment.

The Model Y’s frunk seal. (Credit: YouTube/Tesla Raj)

Pedestrian Warning Speaker

In Early September 2019, Tesla complied with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandate that required electric vehicles traveling below 19 MPH to omit a noise to increase pedestrian awareness of quiet electric cars. Model 3’s manufactured around that time were all outfitted with this speaker, and it appears the Model Y also has speakers as well. While the mandate does not go into effect until September 2020.

Tesla Raj’s full video on six Model Y secrets is below.

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Top 6 Tesla Model Y hidden tidbits that you didn’t know

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ABARTH 595 ESSEESSE REVIEW

The little hot Italian has been around for a while now, but will another trim level make the Abarth 595 Esseesse the one to have?

Depending on who you are, the little Fiat 500 gets a mixed reception. A certain crowd merge towards the 500 like it’s a magnet calling them from a distance. Others despise the tiny things as nothing more than a “daddy’s girl” car. The Abarth, however, is a little different.

It doesn’t matter who you are, Abarth’s rich history more than warrants it to create a hot-hatch in the modern car world. And, you should be respecting that Abarth history, after all, it’s filled with soul, character and just about every other adjective journalists use to describe Italian cars.

Abarth 595 EsseesseAbarth 595 Esseesse

So, what’s new about this Abarth then? Well, from the tech spec, not much. You still get that 1.4-litre engine, 180bhp, front-wheel drive and limited-slip diff formula that has worked for Abarth over the years in various trim levels. On the face of it, then, you’re getting pretty much the same car as the Competizione, which is a couple of thousand pounds cheaper.

What are you getting then? You’re getting a model that celebrates 70 years of Abarth. And if you could see this car in person, boy does it remind you. There’s an emblem with “70” on it on the side of the car and inside you get 70th anniversary written on the seats, which is a nice touch. Oh, those seats, wow. That’s another thing you’re getting. I’d fully expect to see these on a track-spec Ferrari, let alone an Abarth 595! The carbon fibre buckets are made by Sabelt and are exquisite, almost art form. They’re snug for us fatties, but perfect for you skinny lot. You also get the Akrapovic exhaust, which is darn right rude. It’s hilariously loud that you can’t help thinking this car is just a little angry wasp. You also get those gorgeous 17-inch OZ Super Sport wheels finished in white; some traditions should never be forgotten.

Abarth 595 EsseesseAbarth 595 Esseesse

But, and this is the problem with just about every Abarth 500 variant, you sit too darn high. OK, the 500 probably wasn’t the best model to choose for a hot-hatch, it’s too tall, but short in length. With that you need the seats to do the same in order for people to be comfy. And for most, it is. But for us, who want to drive a car enthusiastically, sitting like you’re hooning a Transit about isn’t ideal. Or should I have said Ducato there, you know, in keeping with Fiat and all.

The knock-on effect is that you sit on top of the wheel, your feet are on top of the pedals and all this makes for a fairly uncomfortable seating position, which is particularly apparent on long journeys.

I won’t dwell on that too much as it’s always been a problem of the 500 range. What I will say is that the interior has slowly developed over the years and now features a good-enough infotainment system to keep you happy. The 7-inch touchscreen is OK in clarity for its sector, but it’s blown away by Ford’s latest offering.

It is quite small in here, although that does sound a tad obvious… With two of us in the car on a long journey, we certainly got out of the car at the other end closer than when we started.

The Drive

Hop in, select Sport to open those exhaust valves and go for a hoon. Cars like this are designed to be abused, to be driven hard across a back road and then pop by the shops on the way back to pick up some groceries before heading home. So you’d have thought the Abarth would be the same, but in many ways, it isn’t.

In the Esseesse you get the Koni dampers, which are too harsh for regular road use. The lack of adjustability means that it’s either stiff, or back breaking. I don’t usually have a problem with that, modified cars are our bread and butter and we’ve experienced some stiff rides over the years (oi you lot, keep it clean…), but this one feels almost over the top. Attack a section of good old British b-road and you’re forced to slow down as you’re bouncing about the road. It doesn’t allow enough compression over most road surfaces in order to inspire confidence, which is disappointing. On a flat surface at say Silverstone, I’m sure the Abarth delivers brilliantly, but here, in the real word, it was frustrating.

Abarth 595 EsseesseAbarth 595 Esseesse

The straight-line performance, though, is strong. The little 1.4-litre turbo has come on leaps and bounds since its initial introduction and now, with 180bhp on tap, you can crack 62mph from a dig in just 6.7 seconds and go on to 140mph. In-gear acceleration is where it really stands out, with second and third gear pulls offering diesel-like performance, but with the soundtrack to match that of a racer. It does suffer slightly with torque-steer, which is understandable with such a short wheelbase, but keeping a firm grip of the wheel will counter that no problem.

While I criticised the suspension’s performance on a back road, the overall levels of grip on offer is also strong. Sling it round a roundabout and it clings on with grip far past the edge you thought it would fall off. The LSD works well here by pulling you into the corner neatly without a huge load of understeer. In fact, the front end reacts almost as sharply as the latest Fiesta ST, which is impressive. Don’t expect much feel through the wheel other than torque steer, though, as it’s a tad numb. It does react quickly, though, to offer that small go-kart like feel. Dare I say a rawer, non-power steering option would be welcomed…

Verdict

The engine and exhaust combination dominates the experience and leaves you laughing. This is where that annoying Italian aspect comes in; it has a long list of foibles, but that noise just makes you forget about it. I had a long discussion with someone about the use of the word character when describing cars. I’m of the illusion that using the word character to describe a car that clearly has more problems than positive points is wrong, when really we should be saying that is a bad car. I still believe that, but the engine on this occasion, as well as the Abarth’s playful nature, adds in that element of character. It’s almost like it knows it isn’t the fastest in a straight-line, or through the corners, that it looks a bit cutesy and soft, but has this bark and perky nature hidden in the background to make you fall in love with it.

Now, while I didn’t exactly fall in love with it, I certainly developed a soft spot for it and found myself defending it in discussions. It made me laugh, smile, but it also left me frustrated and wanting more. It’s a love-hate relationship, that’s for sure, but given the choice, would I really choose the Abarth in the wake of the Fiesta ST or Yaris GRMN? Probably not, especially given this one was just shy of £29k. They almost serve different purposes, though. The GRMN is geared towards the enthusiast, the ST combines both the enthusiast and the regular chap/girl who likes the look of it. Whereas the Abarth has the looks on its side without a shadow of a doubt. It’s certainly not slow, or underwhelming, but it doesn’t have the panache of its rivals when the going gets tough. What it does have is a happy-go-lucky attitude that puts a smile on your face each time you drive it. And isn’t that what driving is all about? Besides, the problems I’ve listed can all be attended to through aftermarket specialists, you can extract even more performance from not only the chassis but also the engine.

Tech Spec: Abarth 595 Esseesse

Performance: 180bhp @ 5,500rpm, 184ft lb @ 3000rpm
0-62mph: 6.7 seconds
Top Speed: 140mph
Engine: 1368cc in-line four cylinder
Weight: 1045kg
Fuel Economy: 36.7mpg

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