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V8s and carbon dominate Aston Martin’s special edition unveilings

Aston Martins are already pretty special, but the British carmaker decided to go the extra mile with two new models set to debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

First up is the V8 Vantage GT. Available in both coupe and convertible form, it might help the “entry-level” Aston come out of the shadow of its fire-breathing, V12 Vantage siblings.

The GT’s 4.7-liter V8 now produces 470 horsepower (a torque figure wasn’t published), enough to get it from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, and on to a top speed of 190 mph, according to Aston. The extra power comes courtesy of a revised intake system and spark strategy.

That power is fed to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission; Aston’s Sportshift II automated manual is optional.

Other upgrades include an aerodynamics package Aston says is derived from its sports-car racing experience, “competition-derived” brakes and – perhaps most important – a sport exhaust system to help that glorious V8 clear its throat.

In addition to the noise, onlookers will be able to spot a Vantage GT by its graphite alloy wheels, black headlamp bezels, and clear rear lamps. Liveries inspired by famous Aston racers will also be available, along with white graphic accents.

The interior is swathed in carbon fiber and Alcantara, while occupants sit in the same sport seats used in the V12 Vantage S.

Next up is the DB9 Carbon Edition, which first appeared at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. No, it’s not Aston’s answer to the carbon-themed Lamborghini Sesto Elemento.

Available in Carbon Black or Carbon White specification, the Carbon Edition is more of a dress-up package, with each version’s respective paint color contrasting carbon-fiber trim. Buyers also get to choose from four brake caliper colors, which correspond to the color of the interior accents.

The DB9’s 6.0-liter V12 is unchanged, though, producing the same 510 hp and 457 pound-feet of torque it does in other models.

If you want an Aston with a little extra flair, both the V8 Vantage GT and the DB9 Carbon Edition will be available in the U.S. later this year. Prices start at $99,900 for the Vantage and $199,995 for the DB9.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe offers a sophisticated approach to speed
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The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe is a great car to look at and be coddled by, but performance isn't really its thing. Enter AMG.
Completing the Mercedes big coupe line's transition from CL-Class to S-Class, the S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe will be unveiled at the 2014 New York Auto Show next month.
First Look Video

At the heart of this luxury ballistic missile is a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 similar to the one used in the S63 AMG sedan. It produces 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque - the same as the sedan, and 41 hp and 74 lb-ft more than the CL63 AMG this car replaces.
The engine is coupled to an AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic transmission, and a performance-tuned version of Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system, with a standard torque split of 33/67 percent front/rear. Amusingly, the S63 also features an "Eco" driving mode and standard engine start-stop.
Another way to save fuel (and increase performance) is to make a car lighter, and that's exactly what AMG's engineers did. While it's not a Lotus Elise, Mercedes says the S63 is up to 140 pounds lighter than the CL63, depending on equipment.
That still makes for a car that weighs around 4,400 pounds, but that fire-breathing V8 will accelerate it to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.9 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 186 mph.
The S63 AMG Coupe also features Airmatic adaptive air suspension, so it should still have the cushy ride of its siblings should the drive desire it. With the pedal to the metal, though, Mercedes says the car will still be entertaining, thanks to model-specific tuning that includes a larger front anti-roll bar and stiffer subframe carrier for the rear axle.
Optional carbon-ceramic brakes will reign in the big coupe if things get too entertaining. They're surrounded by lightweight 20-inch AMG alloy wheels.
Other than the sporty wheels, bystander will be able to tell an AMG from a normal S-Class by its more aggressive front fascia with AMG-specific grille and front-splitter. New side skirts, rear diffuser, and twin chrome tailpipes complete the look.
AMG has done a great job of integrating these elements into the S-Class Coupe's sensuous design. The overall effect is that of a complete car rather than a hot rod or tuner version of the base model.
On the inside, the S63 AMG Coupe gets sport seats and an AMG steering wheel - in addition to all of the luxuries of a "base" S-Class Coupe.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic Coupe will be unveiled at the 2014 New York Auto Show, which opens April 16, and will go on sale this fall.
It will launch with a special Edition 1 model, which features Magno Alanite Grey matte paint and LED performance headlights with embedded Swarovski crystals, among other things. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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For 2015, Bentley’s Flying Spur V8 loses four cylinders, but no prestige
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It's hard to picture the stereotypical Bentley buyer becoming concerned about fuel efficiency or cost, but the British carmaker has prepared something for that theoretical penny pincher anyway.
The 2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8 features the same downsized engine as its Continental GT V8 coupe and convertible cousins. It was first shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, but it will make the trip across the pond for the 2014 New York Auto Show this week.
The 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 produces 500 horsepower and 488 pound-feet of torque, compared to 616 hp and 590 lb-ft for the 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 that has been the sole Flying Spur engine until now.
Still, 500 hp isn't bad. It's enough to get the Flying Spur from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 183 mph, a miraculous performance considering the car's girth. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are mandatory.
However, the main advantage of four fewer cylinders and two fewer liters of displacement is fuel economy, and Bentley hasn't released numbers for that. It did say that the V8 offers a cruising range of over 500 miles per tank, though.
The Flying Spur V8 is differentiated from its more powerful sibling by a black grille with "wing insert", model-specific eight-tipped exhaust outlets, and unique badging. Other than that, you'll look just as ostentatious in the V8 as you would in the W12.
If sensibility isn't your style, consider the Continental GT Speed coupe and convertible, which will make their U.S. debuts alongside the Flying Spur V8 at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

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The 2014 New York Auto Show begins next week, and Chevrolet will reportedly unveil three new cars in the Big Apple.
According to Autoblog, the Bowtie Brigade will show a new Corvette variant, the facelifted 2015 Cruze compact, and what it calls "an important new addition to our small-vehicle lineup."
So what exactly is that new Corvette? The new Corvette Z06 won't go on sale for several months, so it's unlikely Chevy will want to top it with a higher-performance, ZR1-like model right now. Given the Z06's expected performance, there may not even be room in the lineup for a ZR1 successor.
Remember that the C7 Z06 lapped GM's test track faster than the C6 ZR1, without any of the fine tuning normally required for a production car to set fast times.
Instead, the new model could be a Z06 variant, perhaps something to replace the Z07 package offered on the C6 Z06. It could also be a special-edition like the Black Widow unveiled at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, which would be considerably less exciting.
The Cruze should be more straightforward. Expect visual and content upgrades that will keep the compact Chevy fresh until an all-new model arrives for the 2016 model year.
That other small car is a bit of a mystery, though. Chevy already has the Spark and Sonic in its lineup, so it's hard to see why it would need a third model. Maybe it's bringing back the Chevette.
All will be revealed at the 2014 New York Auto Show, which begins April 16. We'll be on the show floor so be sure to check back often.

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