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605-hp Audi S8 Plus dials the power up to 1108/07/2015
The performance of the Audi S8 not enough for you? The Ingolstadt-based automaker is introducing an even more powerful version unimaginatively dubbed S8 Plus.
The stock Audi S8 already produces 520 hp and 481 lb-ft of torque courtesy of its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, with power sent to all four wheels via Quattro all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission; it's not exactly lacking. The S8 Plus, on the other hand, dials the output up to 605 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque which Audi says is enough to send this mobile office to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds.
Setting aside for the moment the question of why Audi has created a more powerful S8, let's first talk about how they did this. The extra 85 horsepower and 72 lb-ft of torque comes from modified turbocharger geometry, different exhaust valves and tweaked engine management. Audi says that in overboost mode, the S8 can turn the torque up to 553 lb-ft in a short burst, when the driver needs to overtake bad guys driving a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG.
Retro-style Chinese 4x4 copies...pretty much everything08/06/2015
This spring the Shanghai Auto Show again treated visitors to a menagerie of automotive curiosities and wonders, ranging from forgettable family sedans with cryptic alphanumeric names to outright design replicas of vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz G-class. Designs cribbed from western automakers don't surprise industry observers anymore except when there is a bumper crop of such vehicles, but once in a while an original design from a Chinese automaker has the potential to hypnotize and fascinate.
The retro-styled Beijing Auto BJ20 concept was such a vehicle, and it appears that it's headed into production with its wild exterior design largely intact. But what kind of classic off-road vehicle is the BJ20 paying homage to?
The general consensus right now seems to be: all of them. There are overtones of the relatively recent SsangYong Korando here and there, but the BJ20 seems to take its cues from a much older sibling, the BJ212 (see what we meant about alphanumeric names?) The BJ212 was more or less a copy of the Russian UAZ 469 army utility truck playing vaguely the same role as the Jeep in the Red Army in the 1960s. Beijing Auto gives it a much more pronounced shoulder line, larger front wheelarches, slabbier sides, a narrower fascia and a slanted rear window.
Autoweek in review
Everything you missed Aug 3-708/07/2015
Autoweek in review is where we bring you the biggest stories in the car world that you might have missed this week. Whether you were actually getting some work done or you stepped away from your computer for a moment, here's your chance to catch up and have something cool to talk about over the weekend.
'Hey, pick me!'
2015 Honda Fit EX second-quarter update08/07/2015
As versatile as it is affordable, the Honda Fit is everything we wanted in a straightforward jack-of-all-trades economy car. Six months into our yearlong test period, however, we found the Fit to be easy to own … and just as easy to pass by in favor of the more specialized (and more fun) cars, trucks and crossovers in our fleet.
We’d like to say our little five-door pocket knife fared better this past quarter, but we’re still struggling to rack up the miles. That’s a shame, because you do get exactly what you pay for with the Fit.
The Fit’s efficiency-boosting aerodynamic wedge shape cuts down on wind noise, but road noise still seeps into the cabin—as does the sound of the motor. The four-cylinder’s two liters don’t exactly add up to a sonorous V8 roar. But that’s one of the tradeoffs for the very respectable 28.1-mpg fuel economy we saw this quarter, achieved almost exclusively in stop-and-go city driving.