Track Day

New Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series super sports car priced from $325,000

The car is the halo model in the Mercedes-AMG lineup.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Its heart is the most powerful V8 AMG has ever built. The new Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series super sports car is priced to match, starting at $325,000.

The Black Series has been known as the pinnacle of performance since 2006 when Mercedes-AMG introduced the branding. The models aren't designed to gather dust in garages or sit on display appreciating in value. They're meant to be driven. Fast. Though primarily built for track use, the models are road-approved.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Drivers can choose from two splitter settings: Street and Race.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The super sports car is track-ready out of the gate. Under the hood is a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine that's been handcrafted by AMG and delivers 720 horsepower. It has a flat-plane crankshaft and has active aerodynamics that have been honed using design from the AMG GT3 racing car. The engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

In addition to the 720 horsepower, the engine generates 590 pound-feet of torque. The car redlines at 7200 rpm.

The connection between the engine and transmission is made of carbon fiber and weighs just 30.6 pounds, making it 40 percent lighter than the same component in the traditional AMG GT. The driveshaft is also made of carbon fiber.

The new engine gets off the line and to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. It can get to 124 mph in less than nine seconds. Its top speed is 202 mph - something Mercedes says is, "only sensible on closed-off racetracks."

The car's Race Start function has increased starting revs. its transmission cooling functionality has been adapted to tougher requirements and transmission ratios have been modified.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series The car's wing has large carbon fiber supports.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The car's carbon-fiber front splitter has two manually adjustable settings - Street and Race. Race is designed specifically for race track use. When in Race mode, the splitter moves to accelerate air flow to the underbody of the car creating a Venturi effect, increasing downforce.

A large wing, completes with carbon fiber supports, works in tandem to increase downforce even more. The wing has an adjustable top flap that can be retracted or extended using a button on the center console.

Additional body modifications from a typical AMG GT include extensive use of carbon fiber on the body (hood, hatch), use of lightweight aluminum in place of steel, and a lightweight laminated front windshield. Its standard ceramic high-performance compound brake system with black painted brake calipers and white lettering is also lightweight.

The car rides on 19-inch wheels up front and 20s in the back. It's shoed with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO tires, which were customized for the Black Series car.

Mercedes has customized the interior of the car as well. It is upholstered in nappa leather that's combined with Dinnamica microfiber in black with orange contrast stitching. The doors have loop pulls instead of handles. Trim is in, what else, carbon fiber.

The car's fully digital instrument display measures 12.3 inches and is adjacent a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen. Drivers can choose their view of the instrument display: Classic, Sporty, or Supersport.

An AMG Performance steering wheel is standard and outfitted in Dinnamica microfiber.

The AMG Interior Night Package is also included as standard equipment. In this package, the shift paddles, steering wheel spokes and seat insert in the AMG Performance seats are finished in high-gloss black, while the door sill panels are finished in black brushed stainless steel, further emphasizing the car's sportiness.

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series will begin arriving in U.S. dealerships in early 2021.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 Nissan Rogue is made from recycled aluminum.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

While General Motors is busy readying its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to run strictly on solar power, Nissan is making its Rogue out of recycled metals just down the street. The 2021 Nissan Rogue is the company's first global model built using a closed-loop recycling system for aluminum parts.

Using a closed-loop recycling system has several benefits. It saves 90 percent of the energy that would normally be used to create the parts that are now made of recycled parts. This type of system also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to the process of making products out of raw materials.

2021 Nissan Rogue The rear doors, which are stamped from aluminum alloy, open wide on the 2021 Rogue. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The process starts when scrap metal is shredded and collected through a pneumatic system. Nissan then separates the different grades of aluminum in order to ensure that the high-quality scrap is collected and sent to suppliers according to which parts they supply. Different grades of material are used to make different parts of the vehicle.

The scrap is then made into sheets of aluminum, which is delivered in rolls to Nissan where it is transformed into parts for the Rogue. The hood and doors of the 2021 Rogue are stamped from the aluminum alloy.

Aluminum, which is lighter than steel, is used to reduce vehicle weight, which helps to improve fuel efficiency and power performance of the vehicle.

Nissan redesigned the Rogue for the 2021 model year. It is more powerful and spacious than its predecessor. The Rogue is also chocked full of family-friendly features and fresh technology including a new high-tech driver information screen.

Nissan builds the 2021 Rogue in Kyushu, Japan, and Smyrna, Tennessee. As part of the recycling process, Nissan has collaborated with Kobe Steel, Ltd. and UACJ Corp. in Japan, and with Arconic Corporation and Novelis Inc. in the U.S.

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The Ford Motor Company will recall about 3 million vehicles as part of the Takata airbag recall.

Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Following the denial of a 2017 petition to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 3 million vehicles, a move that will cost the company an estimated $610 million, according to internal estimates.

The petition is part of the larger Takata airbag recall and specifically involves the defect of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate in the driver-side air bag inflators that Takata manufactured with a calcium sulfate desiccant. Ford wasn't the only recipient of the defective inflators. Mazda also utilized the parts.

The list of impacted Ford vehicles ranges from the 2006 to 2012 model years. They include Ford Ranger (2007-2011), Fusion (2006-2012), Edge (2007-2010), Lincoln MKZ/Zephyr (2006-2012), MKX (2007-2010), and Mercury Milan (2006-2011). Approximately 2.7 million of those vehicles are in the U.S. and 300,000 are in Canada.

Mazda is also part of the recall, with 5,848 vehicles effected by the inflator issue. Those models are 2007-2009 B-Series pickup trucks, which were built on the same platform using the same air bag inflators as the 2007-2011 Ford Ranger.

Late last year, the NHTSA ordered General Motors to recall 7 million trucks and SUVs after a four-year back-and-forth battle over whether or not the Takata air bag recall was absolutely necessary for GM products. The models recalled as part of this action are "GMT900" models that contain "SPI YP" and "PSPI-L YD" inflator variants. The GMT900 is a General Motors-specific platform that underpins a number of light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks and SUVs including: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500, GMC Sierra 2500/3500, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Avalanche, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac Escalade ESV, and Cadillac Escalade EXT. The petition involves approximately 5.9 million model year 2007–2014 vehicles.

2014 Chevrolet Suburban The 2014 Chevrolet Suburban is one of the models NHTSA recently ruled needed to be recalled. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

In early 2020, 10 million vehicles were recalled after having their original equipment replaced with new versions of the same thing with the same design and chemistry rather than newly designed parts.

The Takata airbag recalls are part of the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. It involves more than 67 million vehicles to date.

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