Alpina B5 ups the ante

Say hello to the Alpina B5 Biturbo.

Up 40 horses and 90 pounding feet from the standard M5’s 560hp and 500 pound-feet of torque, it replaces the seven-speed dual-clutch with its own eight-speed auto.

It also gets an old-school LSD to help the extra power to the road, plus some suspension fiddling, aero and of course some glitter in and out. And they’ve done the wagon as well as the sedan.

The car is only a tenth quicker than the M5 and on par with the Competition Pack, but it does away with the top speed of 155 miles to a much more M-worthy 204mph.

VW scandal hits Phaeton

With a bailout bill tipped by some to be nearing the $87 billion mark thanks to the Emissions Cheating Scandal, VW Group may be starting to pick off its expensive satellite brands.

First head on the possible block is Phaeton, the coachbuilding exercise that sees less than 10 cars roll out of its doors every week, but employs over 500 workers in its Dresden plant in Germany.

The Phaeton itself may be safe, as it doesn’t lose as much money as the Veyron did - though the latter has also been turned around in recent times to ask a more realistic (cough) price tag and not haemorrhage money every time one is built. The Phaeton used to operate at a $30,000 loss for almost a decade before 2013, and isn’t exactly a great moneyspinner right now. And its bespoke birthplace is super-expensive to run, where the Phaeton could me milled out in less opulent surroundings at another VW plant.

Besides, it isn’t a diesel; and the next Phaeton will/should be electric tech, so it will be nicely immune from the emissions scandal… Right?

BJ, not Block

He may not be a household Hoonigan name like Ken Block and the Gymkhana series, but the Monster Energy-backed BJ Baldwin is up to his third crazy video of a similar series - and its downright laudable.

BJ and his 800hp Baja-spec Trophy Truck go head-to-head with a Wookie in a Can-Am through the suburban streets and forest y areas of tacoma in Washington.

It’s an indulgent thrill ride - enjoy.

Hyper Hyundais will wear the badge N

Did you know that Hyundai’s performance arm wears the moniker N? Neither did we.

The shape of Brand N’s logo was apparently inspired by the chicanes on the race track, and is worn on the back of the WRC cars. But despite watching said WRC cars go round for the past two years (and wearing the badge), we simply didn’t really pay attention to it. Apparently, we will be paying attention soon.

The Korean brand has released a video narrated by their poached prize, former BMW M GmbH chief engineer Albert Biermann (the irony here of the guy who used to work on a M badge now working on the N badge is lost on no one…).

It not only features the WRC i20, but the Veloster based RM15, a mid-engined hypermachine with nearly 300 horses and rear-wheel-drive. Rumour has it the RM15 is set for some tracks other than the ‘Ring, such as Pikes Peak (really?) and the odd race series appearance.

Motobots, roll out!

When the Motobot project was launched at the Tokyo Motor Show, it stood out - and that’s among the myriad autobots, automotons and autonomous projects we see every two years at the iconic show. Why?

Because it is claiming to challenge Valentino Rossi. Like Mr T in Rocky 3, the software developers and their-riding robot are boasting from the sidelines (ie without proof - yet) that it can beat The Doctor around a track of his choosing.

The Motobot is already pretty proficient on a Yamaha R1 sport bike. To make it something we can relate to, the software is in the shape of a hunching rider - very Halloween in itself, and appropriate for today’s post.

And again - why? Because we have crash avoidance and assistance on cars, plus a certain level of autonomy. Bikes are the obvious next recipients as this tech evolves.

Check out the insane video HERE.

OFFICIAL RELEASE: MOTOBOT Ver.1 (Technology exhibit)

This is an autonomous motorcycle-riding humanoid robot built around a fusion of Yamaha’s motorcycle and robotics technology. R&D is currently underway with the goal of developing the robot to ride an unmodified motorcycle on a racetrack at more than 200 km/h. The task of controlling the complex motions of a motorcycle at high speeds requires a variety of control systems that must function with a high degree of accuracy. We want to apply the fundamental technology and know-how gained in the process of this challenge to the creation of advanced rider safety and rider-support systems and put them to use in our current businesses, as well as using them to pioneer new lines of business.

VW cheat extends to four engines

It just keeps getting worse for Volkswagen, with Reuters revealing the company used its cheating patch not just on the 2.0-litre TDI engine, but on at least three other separate engines as well.

Given the false readings given by the 2.0-litre engine stands at an estimated total of 11 million vehicles worldwide, it is hard to even guess at the real total number of vehicles affected - vehicles that will all need a retrofit fix, and vehicles which may have a fine attached to each and every one produced.

Reuters also points to a rising number of guilty VW execs who must have known about the patch, or have been identified by their sources. And the more people who are found to have known and covered up the scandal, the more hefty the possible fines for the manufacturer…

Is this the RX-9?

The Tokyo Motor Show is almost upon us again, and one of the more interesting teaser images to “leak” from the manufacturer sketchbook is the above silhouette of a possible new coupe offering from Mazda.

Without a rotary engined sports car on the market since the final sales of the RX-8 in 2012, we were left with the smiley-faced MX-5 and Mazda3 and 6 MPS as the sports car offerings. Not that they were shabby - the 3MPS was the most powerful front-drive hatch on the market for quite some time (until the RenaultSport and Focus RS models came in and stile the mantle) and the MX-5 is still a handling superstar 20+ years on.

But recently, Mazda’s Kodo design direction has taken a turn into more aggressive and bold waters, and what could be more aggressive than rebirthing the RX badge with an angry chook-cooker rotary engine inside it? We have two weeks to wait and find out.

Top Gear hosts reveal new show star cars

So we don’t have a name, but we do have an idea of what the next generation Top Gear will be like, and it looks like a cracker.

A Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1 have been pictured lined up behind Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May in tweets by all three of the presenters, with Clarkson pointing out the huge supporting staff:

“With a skeleton crew, filming for Amazon’s new motoring programme has begun.”

Okay, so some people in the shot are clearly car manufacturer technicians. But still, it looks like there will be no expense spared on this new show.

It’s a long way from the rock-bottom Clarkson found himself in months ago after he was sacked for punching a staffer. The trio were reportedly snagged for $250 million (shared between them and with their producer from BBC) in return for three 12-episode seasons, which should debut next fall.

Final Edition Evo X coming to US

It pains us to write this: the final Mitsubishi Evolution is officially on offer in the US with some extra sayonara glitter and glitz.

The Evo X GSR ‘Final Edition” gets 303hp (12hp more than standard) and 305 pound-foot of torque (Just five more), and adds a Bilstein shock/Eibach spring suspension upgrade - a good thing given how soft the heavy X is - with charcoal chrome Enkei shoes.

It also gets the MR’s front two-piece Brembo calipers and bi-Xenons, a black aluminum roof, and a black interior with red stitching.

The commemorative badges are matched with a numbered build plate, to mark which of the 1600 US cars one has acquired.

Pricing is set at $37,995, almost squarely between the GSR and the MR.


The perfect crash landing

If there were ever such a thing as the perfect crash landing, this would be it.

Last weekend in one of the Carrera Cup France races, on the very first lap, the Carrera of Jules Gounon managed to leapfrog right on to the roof of the identical car of Joffrey De Narda after he was turned around at a 90-degree right-hander.

The result is a testament to the lightness of the Cup cars, the strength of the rollcage, and even the strength of the spoiler, as the car landed on the still-moving compatriot, and balanced there until both came to a stop.

Imagine De Narda’s surprise as he stepped out of his Porsche to find it had become a double-decker.

Check out the VIDEO for a slow-mo vision of exactly how it happened - though the more interesting footage would arguably be how they managed to get the cars separated afterwards…