Porsche is taking the engine from the Cayman GT4 RS and slotting it into the drop-top Boxster.
The Porsche Boxster Spyder RS promises the same 9000rpm rush as its hardtop sibling, but with the added drama of a removable roof.
There are a few giveaways this is not a run-of-the-mill Boxster Spyder.
Along with what look like the same wheels fitted to the Cayman GT4 RS, this Boxster has sprouted an extra set of air intakes behind the driver and passenger to feed the mid-mounted 4.0-litre engine.
Peak power in the Cayman is 368kW at 8400rpm, down 7kW on the 911 GT3 because the longer new exhaust necessitated by the mid-engined layout creates more back pressure. Peak torque is 450Nm, on tap at 6750rpm.
Porsche considered a manual transmission, according to the GT4 RS project leader, but the six-speed gearbox from the GT4 couldn’t handle the torque on offer in the RS, and making the 911 GT3’s transmission fit would have been prohibitively expensive. In other words, don’t expect a manual in the Boxster.
Along with its uprated engine, the Boxster appears to feature a carbon-fibre engine cover.
The cover itself has a dramatic double-bubble design, as is common in Porsche Spyder and Speedster models, and butts into a chopped roof with a small rear window.
It’s not clear when the RS will be revealed, but it’s possible we’ll see it before the end of 2023.
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Is this the Mulsanne successor you were expecting?
After countless rumours and spied prototypes, Bentley has officially revealed the stretched Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) that literally builds upon the second-generation Bentayga ultra-luxury SUV.
This new model has a 180mm longer wheelbase which translates to extra rear cabin space.
There are apparently 2500 new parts in the Bentayga EWB which make up changes to the underfloor, side panels, doors and roof.
Bentley is marketing this stretched Bentayga as a spiritual successor to the now-defunct Mulsanne luxury sedan. It also offers luxurious features on par with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Mercedes-Maybach GLS.
Australian orders for the Bentayga EWB now appear to be open according to Bentley’s website, with deliveries expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2022, depending on the market.
We’ve reached out to Bentley Motors Australia to confirm if initial Australian deliveries are expected in this timeframe.
Bentley has already confirmed the Bentayga EWB isn’t available to order in EU27, UK, Switzerland, Israel, Norway, Turkey and Vietnam. This is most likely due in large part to strict emissions regulations.
At launch, the Bentayga EWB will only be available with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 engine producing 404kW of power and 770Nm of torque. It’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
This engine may sound familiar as it’s shared with its Audi RSQ8, Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne platform-mates.
Bentley says the Bentayga EWB can do the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 290km/h.
There’s no official word at this stage on a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or W12-powered version of the Bentayga EWB.
Just like the current-generation Flying Spur sedan, the Bentayga EWB has an electronic rear-wheel steering system that at low speeds makes the wheels turn the opposite direction to the front wheels.
This system actually makes the Bentayga EWB have a 7 per cent smaller turning circle than the standard wheelbase Bentayga.
At higher speeds the system also makes small adjustments to the rear wheels to increase high-speed stability.
There’s also an active anti-roll control system that’s powered by a 48V electrical system which was originally introduced in the regular Bentayga.
Bentley says there are “trillions” of possible specifications for the Bentayga EWB available.
Inside the Bentayga EWB there are three different seating configurations available, and as standard it comes in five-seat form.
This set-up offers 16 ways of adjustments for the two outboard rear seats, along with heating, ventilation and five different massage programs. Bentley markets the third rear seat as an “occasional middle seat”.
There’s a four-seat set-up as well that removes the rear middle seat.
Bentley says customer feedback showed a seven-seat configuration isn’t a priority as they want “space and luxury”.
There’s also a new Bentley Airline Seat specification that allows the two outboard rear seats to recline to 40 degrees. The level of seat recline can be controlled through a touchscreen remote, or in the door pocket area.
The Bentley Airline Seat specification also includes a seat automatic climate system that uses contact temperature and surface humidity sensors to modulate the seat heating and ventilation automatically.
It also brings new thigh and shoulder pockets, cushion and backrest bolster adjustment, cushion extension, electric headrest adjustment, a deployable footrest, plus additional lumbar massage pockets that continuously change the shape of the seat to ease pressure points around the body.
Bentley says the seats can provide 177 adjustments every three hours to “ensure that seat comfort is never compromised”.
There are also heated rear door and centre armrests too, which are new features to the Bentayga EWB.
Other new available features to the Bentayga EWB include special Bentley Diamond Illumination interior ambient lighting in the door panels, metal overlay in the veneer, and power closing doors.
On the outside there are 22-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels as standard, along with a grille with chrome vertical vanes.
There’s also a repositioned panoramic sunroof, due to the longer wheelbase, which moves the focus to the rear occupants. It can be adjusted through the touch screen remote or through the front cabin console.
Two “enhanced” versions of the Bentayga EWB will be available at launch – the Bentayga EWB Azure V8 and Bentayga EWB First Edition V8.
The Azure brings unique 22-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, bright lower bumper grilles, Azure embroidery and badging, unique quilted upholstery, ambient mood lighting, heated steering wheel, and more driver’s assistance aids as standard.
The First Edition adds standard Bentley Diamond Illumination, metal overlays in the veneer, Naim premium sound system, LED welcome lamps, unique embroidery and badging.
At this stage there’s no word on pricing for the Bentley Bentayga EWB, but it definitely won’t be cheap. The regular Bentayga V8 starts at just under $380,000 before on-road costs and options.
Expect a price tag near the half a million mark.
Click an image to view the full gallery.
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Mercedes-Benz Cars remains Australia’s luxury car leader four months into 2022, despite posting a sharp sales decline of 19.6 per cent relative to the same period in 2021.
The Stuttgart marque’s local division has sold 8265 cars and SUVs this year, placing it ahead of arch nemesis BMW on 7032 sales, down 15.5 per cent.
This suggests that Mercedes’ transition to a new ‘agency’ business model whereby it owns inventory and sets pricing nationally has not necessarily been the existential threat some billed it to be.
Usual third-place premium brand Audi has been usurped by Tesla, which has sold 4469 cars to the end of April – miles and miles ahead of any other electric car player.
Whether Tesla counts as a luxury brand largely depends on perception, but we’ll include it here on account of pricing.
Audi by contrast has sold 3749 cars, down 34 per cent on the back of supply shortfalls – something affecting all brands, but some more so than others.
Nipping at Audi’s heels is Volvo, on 3477 sales, meaning growth of 1.9 per cent. The Swedish-Chinese brand has put Lexus (2640 sales, down 21.7 per cent) in its rear-view mirror.
Jaguar Land Rover has sold 2059 cars, down 23.7 per cent, putting it only two units ahead of Porsche: 2057 sales, up 19.5 per cent and bucking the trend.
Some of the stragglers include Mini (878 sales, down 20.5 per cent), Genesis (258, up 101.6 per cent), Polestar (208 sales, new to market), Alfa Romeo (193 sales, up 4.9 per cent), and Maserati (188, up 6.8 per cent).
BrandJan-April salesChange %Top modelMercedes-Benz8265-19.6GLCBMW7032-15.5X3Tesla4469NAModel 3Audi3746-34.0Q5Volvo34771.9XC40Lexus2640-21.7NXJaguar Land Rover2059-23.7DefenderPorsche205719.5MacanMini878-20.5HatchGenesis258101.6GV70Polestar208NA2Alfa Romeo1934.9StelvioMaserati1886.8Levante
Industry sales database VFACTS classifies passenger cars as hatches, sedans, coupes, convertibles, wagons, and people-movers.
Tesla rules the roost in this space, with the Model 3 (4469) one of the most popular passenger cars overall, putting it ahead of Mercedes-Benz (2958), BMW (2782), and Audi (936).
Mercedes-Benz is the SUV leader with 5307 sales YTD, ahead of BMW (4250), Volvo (3304), Audi (2813), and Lexus (2245). SUV specialist Land Rover sold 1788 over the period.
Top selling models
Just two of the top 10 luxury models are sedans, including the top-selling Tesla Model 3 and the ninth-placed BMW 3 Series.
The rest are all small or mid-sized SUVs.
ModelSalesChange %Tesla Model 34469NAVolvo XC40165616.3BMW X315337.3Mercedes-Benz GLC140920.3Volvo XC6014001.9Lexus NX12309.8Audi Q51173-3.1Porsche Macan108821.3BMW 3 Series1000-16.9Audi Q3975-54.5
Top model per premium segment
Light cars: Mini hatch (429) Small cars: Mercedes-Benz A-Class (972) Medium cars: Tesla Model 3 (4469) Large cars: Porsche Taycan (218) Upper large cars: Mercedes-Benz S-Class (74) People movers: Mercedes-Benz V-Class (161) Sports: BMW 4 Series (265) Super sports: Porsche 911 (157)
Small SUV: Volvo XC40 (1656) Medium SUV: BMW X3 (1533) Large SUV: BMW X5 (913) Upper large SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLS (208)
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Porsche looks to be giving its next-generation Panamera an interior inspired by the all-electric Taycan.
Our spy photographers have captured the large liftback once again, and we’ve gotten a first look at the Panamera’s interior ahead of its expected reveal late in 2023.
Ahead of the driver appears to be fully digital instrument cluster that’s slightly curved like that of the Taycan. The current Panamera has a partial digital cluster with an analogue rev counter in the middle.
In between this digital instrument cluster and the central infotainment screen is a small gear selector toggle, also resembling that of the Taycan.
Design features that appear to have carried over from the current-generation Panamera to this next-gen prototype are the climate control knobs and touch-sensitive buttons on the central tunnel, although they aren’t flanking the gear lever.
A starter button can also be seen where the electronic park brake is on the current-generation model.
Seeing the dashboard on this spied prototype is so similar to Taycan, the next-generation Panamera could also offer a front passenger screen as an option.
The rest of the interior on this spied prototype is covered in black sheets, typical with development prototype vehicles.
It’s unclear what Porsche will do with the engine line-up of this new Panamera.
Currently, the base engine is a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 producing 243kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
There’s also a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of this powertrain that adds an electric motor and a 17.9kWh lithium battery pack, good for a combined power output of 340kW or 412kW, depending on the variant.
A 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine is also available, producing 353kW and 620Nm in the GTS and 463kW and 820Nm in the Turbo S.
Sitting atop the range is the Turbo S E-Hybrid, using a PHEV version of the V8 powertrain with total outputs of 514kW and 870Nm.
This new-generation model appears to be receiving an exterior design that’s more of an evolution than revolution.
Setting this Panamera prototype apart from the current model at the front are new headlights with a different lighting signature, an updated front fascia with a larger main air intake and more pronounced side air intakes.
This prototype appears to retain a similar double daytime running light/indicator signature to the current-generation Panamera GTS, Turbo S and Turbo S E-Hybrid models.
Around the side there are different, squarer rear door lines that have been cleverly covered up with black camouflage and painted where the chrome door trim usually is.
There’s also a round fuel filler cap, instead of the squarer one fitted to the current Panamera.
Around the back the rear hatch has a very different design and seems to be more squared-off.
There also appears to be a retractable, active spoiler that’ll carry over to this new model.
The Panamera is a considerably lower volume vehicle for Porsche Australia than even the brand’s sports cars.
Porsche has sold a total of 21 Panamera to the end of April 2022, against 157 examples of its 911, 64 examples of its 718, and 218 of its similarly-sized electric Taycan.
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The Volkswagen Group is getting into Formula 1 in a big way.
Group CEO Herbert Diess overnight confirmed both Audi and Porsche will join the grid in some form for the 2026 season.
Mr Diess pointed to the new regulations coming into force in 2026 as a driver, along with the category’s bigger push into synthetic fuels. The growth of F1 in markets such as the USA and China is also a factor.
Porsche in particular has positioned itself as a leader in the eFuel space, so running a Formula 1 program using the technology is a natural fit. It supplied TAG-branded engines to McLaren in the 1980s, although its F1 history pales alongside its endurance racing pedigree.
“If you do motorsport, you should do Formula 1 as that’s where the impact is greatest,” Mr Diess said, as reported by Motorsport.
“What’s more, you can’t enter Formula 1 unless a technology window opens up which means, in order to get in there, a rule change: so that everyone starts again from the same place.”
It’s not clear whether the German giants will each field a factory-backed team, or whether they’ll be engine suppliers, development partners, or merely naming sponsors for an existing outfit.
Porsche has previously been linked with Red Bull Racing, which has bought engines from Renault and Honda in the past.
Mr Diess confirmed Audi is still looking for a partner, but recent media reports have tied it to the McLaren Group. Along with the Formula 1 operation, the reports have linked Audi with the McLaren road car operation.
It’s also been tied to Williams, which was recently bought from the Williams family by investment firm Dorilton Capital, and the currently Alfa Romeo-backed team Sauber.
Porsche is heavily involved in motorsport, with everything from the 911 to its bespoke Formula E car.
Audi has withdrawn from Le Mans, but remains active in TCR, sports car, and (until the end of the current season) Formula E motorsport.
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