Video: TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested

Filed under: Motorsports, Sedan, Performance, Videos, Lexus, Luxury

XCAR drives the Lexus TMG Sports 650 on track.

The people at Toyota Motorsport GmbH have been responsible for the Japanese automaker’s motorsports efforts since the 1970s, but since Toyota pulled out of Formula One after the 2009 season, the tuning shop has been developing a super sedan based on the Lexus LS called the Sports 650. Details on TMG’s first road car have been scarce, but XCAR was recently invited to drive the 641-horsepower Lexus on track.

Here’s what we know: the Sports 650 has enough power to sprint to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, tops out at 199 mph, weighs over two tons and utilizes LFA brakes. Oh, and its twin-turbo V8 bellows like an AMG V8. That last part isn’t surprising when considering TMG could become Toyota’s in-house tuning arm – like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. As for the bespoke body kit, fender flares and stacked exhaust pipes? They fit the car well and even remind us a bit of Lexus’ other high-performance sedan, the IS F. Currently there are no plans for the Sports 650 to be made into a production car, but we doubt TMG is devoting this much effort developing the LS into a road-rocket for nothing.

Check out XCAR‘s video below to see the AMG-fighter wrung out on track, and then ponder what could be if TMG were let loose to fiddle with other cars in Lexus’ lineup. Now that’s something we could get used to!

Continue reading TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested

TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested

Filed under: Motorsports, Sedan, Performance, Videos, Lexus, Luxury

XCAR drives the Lexus TMG Sports 650 on track.

The people at Toyota Motorsport GmbH have been responsible for the Japanese automaker’s motorsports efforts since the 1970s, but since Toyota pulled out of Formula One after the 2009 season, the tuning shop has been developing a super sedan based on the Lexus LS called the Sports 650. Details on TMG’s first road car have been scarce, but XCAR was recently invited to drive the 641-horsepower Lexus on track.

Here’s what we know: the Sports 650 has enough power to sprint to 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, tops out at 199 mph, weighs over two tons and utilizes LFA brakes. Oh, and its twin-turbo V8 bellows like an AMG V8. That last part isn’t surprising when considering TMG could become Toyota’s in-house tuning arm – like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. As for the bespoke body kit, fender flares and stacked exhaust pipes? They fit the car well and even remind us a bit of Lexus’ other high-performance sedan, the IS F. Currently there are no plans for the Sports 650 to be made into a production car, but we doubt TMG is devoting this much effort developing the LS into a road-rocket for nothing.

Check out XCAR‘s video below to see the AMG-fighter wrung out on track, and then ponder what could be if TMG were let loose to fiddle with other cars in Lexus’ lineup. Now that’s something we could get used to!

Continue reading TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested

TMG’s super Lexus LS Sports 650 gets track tested originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer shows its fresh face ahead of Frankfurt debut

Filed under: Frankfurt Motor Show, Spy Photos, Performance, Wagon, Europe, Opel

Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer - front three-quarter

Drive down the Autobahn and there’s any number of vehicles likely to pass you, and most of them are produced locally. But if you’re wondering how that Opel left you in its dust, look closely (and quickly) enough and you might make out the letters OPC on the back.

They stand for Opel Performance Center (the German counterpart to Vauxhall’s VXR line) and they adorn performance versions of the Corsa, Astra and Insignia. The latter is undergoing a bit of a refresh and is expected to debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple of weeks, but you don’t have to wait that long as our intrepid spy photographers have caught it in the flesh outside an Opel facility in Germany.

Spied here completely undisguised in Sports Tourer (read: wagon) form, the Insignia has had a few nips and tucks performed, but we’ll be more intrigued to see what it’s got under the hood. The current model packs a 2.8-liter twin-turbo V6 driving 325 horsepower to all four wheels, but rumors suggest that the OPC (yeah you know me!) could have as much as 400 hp up its sleeve. That would make this one heck of a sleeper – especially in wagon form – and only make us pine for a more potent version of its twin Buick Regal to roam our highways, too.

Opel Insignia OPC Sports Tourer shows its fresh face ahead of Frankfurt debut originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 13:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: TMG still developing Lexus LS Sports 650 [w/video]

Filed under: Sedan, Performance, Europe, Lexus, Toyota

TMG Sports 650

If you’re going to make a super sedan, you’d better do it in Germany. That’s where Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz do it, along with third parties like Alpina, Brabus and G-Power, among others. Deutschland is the epicenter of the movement, regularly churning out the most powerful four-door rockets in the world. It’s also where one of the racing divisions for Toyota has been hard at work on the TMG Sports 650.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH started with a Lexus LS and turned it into a 641-horsepower, twin-turbocharged super sedan it revealed late last year at the Essen Motor Show. But though we haven’t heard much about it since then, the team behind Toyota’s F1 and Le Mans efforts are apparently still hard at work on the project.

Speaking with Lexus’ own UK blog, TMG chief Alastair Moffitt revealed that the project started way back in 2010, shortly after Toyota shut down its F1 program and left the racing team with nothing to do. The 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 was initially producing as much as 800 horsepower, but has since been refined to 650 so that it could theoretically be put into production and onto the road.

That’s something TMG hasn’t done before, but is keen to start, positioning itself alongside Toyota Racing Development in the US and Gazoo Racing in Japan as an in-house tuning division which Toyota and Lexus could rely on for this kind of project. To that end, TMG has been testing its prototype at the Nürburgring – less than an hour’s drive from its headquarters in Cologne – and has already found it’ll run to 60 in the same 3.9 seconds as the new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and top out at 200 mph.

The next step will be to set a hot lap on the Nordschleife, and we’ll be keeping an eye out to see how it does. In the meantime, check out the video below.

Continue reading TMG still developing Lexus LS Sports 650 [w/video]

TMG still developing Lexus LS Sports 650 [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 Aug 2013 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Two new RWD Toyota sports cars to join FR-S?

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Scion, Toyota, Rumormill

2013 Scion FR-S

Toyota as we know it could become a thing of the past. According to Australian site Car Advice, the Japanese brand known for bland cruisers like the Camry and Corolla is preparing to bring two new rear-drive cars to market that would slot above and below the Scion-badged FR-S. This is very, very good news.

Car Advice spoke to the GT86/FR-S’ chief engineer, Tatsuya Tada, who claimed, “Akio Toyoda always says to me, Toyota sports car [family] should be three sports car brothers. 86 is in the middle.” The oldest “brother” would be the spiritual successor to the Supra, even if it doesn’t wear that name. Tada is in charge of that project, while a sub-GT86 project is being headed-up elsewhere.

Tada refused to comment on names (CA specifically mentions MR2 and Celica) for the new small car, but did say that, “Yes it is rear-wheel drive and that’s Toyota’s strong position – Toyota sports car must be rear-wheel drive.” Perhaps the juiciest bit of information obtained from Tada’s interview with Car Advice was his hinting that both new sports cars would be joint ventures, like the GT86/FR-S/Subaru BRZ triplets. Tada wouldn’t say who Toyota was in bed with on the smaller model, but did mention that the Supra would be a product of the world’s largest automaker’s partnership with BMW.

Now, things can and do change often, so we’d advise taking this information with a grain of salt. Still, the above report basically confirms a 2012 story on the return of the MR2 and Supra, while filling in a few blank details, like the fact that both cars will be join projects with other manufacturers. Looks like the next few years will be exciting for Toyota fans.

Two new RWD Toyota sports cars to join FR-S? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 14:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Mini considering sports car replacement for Coupe and Roadster?

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Budget, Performance, Crossover, Hatchback, Mini, Luxury

Mini Coupe

The next-generation Mini lineup could see some big changes, according to a report from Australian site CarSales. Starting with the debut of the third-generation Mini Hardtop at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we could see a regular string of Minis on the stages of the world. But the bodystyles we see might not be what we’ve grown used to.

A four-door sedan could eventually arrive, while the polarizing Mini Coupe and Roadster are likely to be replaced by a dedicated sports car with unique sheetmetal and uprated engines. While the rest of the line is switching to three-cylinder, turbocharged engines, the new sports car, which will be available in both soft- and hardtop variants, will use some version of BMW’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. The Aussie site also claims that the interior treatment could take inspiration from the Mini Vision concept car, while showing off the know-how BMW gained when working carbon fiber into the i3. The new model(s) would likely arrive in late 2015 or early 2016.

According to CarSales, we’ll see the three-door Hardtop at the 2013 LA Show, along with a five-door hatch that is different from the Clubman at the 2014 Paris show. The Clubman, meanwhile, will arrive in Geneva in 2015, while the Convertible is slated for later that same year. The current Countryman and Paceman are expected to be around for some time, before being joined by an MPV. Eventually, the larger Minis will share their architecture with the BMW X1.

Mini considering sports car replacement for Coupe and Roadster? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 06 Aug 2013 10:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: RON Automóviles shows off RXX and R7 sports cars for Mexico

Filed under: Concept Cars, Convertible, Performance, Specialty, Racing

Occasionally we learn about a new car manufacturer starting up in Mexico, but usually the country’s most significant involvement in the auto industry is relegated to building vehicles and parts for other auto companies. RON Automóviles de México hopes to change that with its new line of sports cars. The flagship model, the RXX, resembles an Ariel Atom with bodywork, while the R7 was inspired by the Lotus 7.

The RXX will be built and sold in three different versions, the RXX, RXX-S and RXX-R. The company states on its Facebook page that the model variants will be differentiated by their finish, equipment and power, but their specifications haven’t been released yet. Not much else is known about the RXX except that it is expected to be a lightweight, high-performance roadster with two tandem seats (that’s right; the driver sits in front of the passenger), an aluminum chassis with carbon-fiber bodywork and a carbon-fiber interior. RON states the RXX will be a street-legal machine that brings the excitement of driving a Formula One car to the masses.

The R7 will follow a more traditional mold, as it was inspired by the Lotus 7 and is based off of the 7’s chassis; no tandem seating here. From the photos, we can tell the R7 retains features that would be found on an old Lotus 7, such as rear drum brakes and a live rear axle. Let’s just hope that third-generation Volkswagen Jetta parts don’t find their way into the build.

RON Automóviles shows off RXX and R7 sports cars for Mexico originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 14 Jul 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Mercedes releases spy shots of its sub-SLS AMG sports car

Filed under: Spy Photos, Coupe, Performance, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes has handed out “spy shots” of its sub-SLS AMG sports car prototype, which tells us that this on-again/off-again product is most definitely on again. Looking smaller than the company’s SLS AMG in these first shots of a running prototype, it nevertheless appears to retain the same basic shape as the larger halo car with a long hood and the cabin located far back on the chassis. Despite the similarities in shape, it does not have gullwing doors and appears to have barely enough room for 2+2 seating like the Porsche 911.

Moving into the realm of speculation and hearsay, the sub-SLS should have a good fighting weight thanks to a new all-aluminum spaceframe, and be powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 producing in the neighborhood of 485 horsepower. Of course, being a Merc, we can expect a 500+hp S variant and a bonkers Black Series model with something approaching 600 hp, the latter of which would be spoiling for a fight with the 911 Turbo. As for the car’s name, we’re told internally its codename is C190, but the production model could go by GT, SLC or even revive the SLR moniker.

Mercedes releases spy shots of its sub-SLS AMG sports car originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Jun 2013 15:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spy Shots: Subaru’s RWD sports car caught wearing same outfit as Toyota sibling

Filed under: Spy Photos, Scion, Subaru, Toyota

spy shots subaru coupe

Spy Shots: Subaru Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Judging by the recent influx of spy shots, Toyota is working hard, fine-tuning its upcoming Scion FR-S sports car. Now, we’re finally getting a look at the Subaru version. Spy photogs snapped the two-door Subie undergoing some road testing. The style is similar to the Scion we’ve been seeing, but the Subaru appears to get a different front-end treatment.

Though most of the important bits and pieces are well-covered by all the swirly graphics, the spy photographers did manage to grab a shot of the interior of the coupe. A paddle shifter is clearly visible, and we hope to eventually spy a version with a manual transmission as well. Check out all of the spy shots of the Subaru coupe by clicking through the gallery below.

Subaru’s RWD sports car caught wearing same outfit as Toyota sibling originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 27 May 2011 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Geneva 2011: Subaru’s RWD Sports Car getting 2.0-liter non-turbo engine, confirmed for America

Filed under: Concept Cars, Coupe, Performance, Geneva Motor Show, Subaru, Toyota, Design/Style

Subaru Boxer Sports Car Architecture

Subaru Boxer Sports Car Architecture – Click above for high-res image gallery

Peanut butter and jelly. Beer and brats. Wine and cheese. Subaru and all-wheel drive. It’s true – Subaru has done an enviable job convincing Americans that its automobiles are synomous with all-wheel drive, and the idea of a Subie that eschews four driven wheels for a powertrain sending its horsepower to the rear wheels only sounds like heresey to the diehard WRX driver.

But it shouldn’t… at least, that’s what Subaru is now trying to convince the masses with its new rear-wheel-drive Boxer Sports Car Architecture. It’s worth noting that the automaker has confirmed for the first time here at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show that the upcoming production version of this sports car is coming to America. If all goes to plan, production will commence in the spring of 2012 at a Subaru production plant in Japan.

Follow the jump for more confirmed details and specifications about Subaru’s rear-wheel-drive Boxer Sports Car.

Gallery: Subaru Boxer Sports Car Architecture

Subaru Boxer Sports Car ArchitectureSubaru Boxer Sports Car ArchitectureSubaru Boxer Sports Car ArchitectureSubaru Boxer Sports Car ArchitectureSubaru Boxer Sports Car Architecture

[Source: Subaru]

Continue reading Geneva 2011: Subaru’s RWD Sports Car getting 2.0-liter non-turbo engine, confirmed for America

Geneva 2011: Subaru’s RWD Sports Car getting 2.0-liter non-turbo engine, confirmed for America originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Mar 2011 05:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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