Hypercars

Buying this 870-horsepower Lamborghini hypercar gets you exclusive track access

The Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is a new, track-only model.

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini

The Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 is a track-only hypercar that is designed to be the epitome of Lamborghini performance. The Italian automaker will construct just 40 of the limited edition models, each of which can trace its lineage back to the Miura Jota and Diablo GTR.

The car was designed by Lamborghini Centro Stile and combines the most powerful V12 naturally aspirated engine ever developed by Lamborghini, with aerodynamics inspired by racing prototypes and new technical solutions.

"Essenza SCV12 represents the purest track driving experience that our brand can offer, an engineering feat that highlights the inextricable link between our cars and the asphalt of the track," said Stefano Domenicali, CEO and Chairman of Automobili Lamborghini. "Lamborghini is a brand constantly looking to the future and searching for new challenges, but we never forget our roots and who we are: Essenza SCV12 is the perfect combination of our unconventional spirit as a super sports car manufacturer and our true passion for motorsport."

Lamborghini Essenza SCV12

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini

The V12 engine can produce 830 horsepower while working in tandem with the car's exhaust pipes, which were designed by Capistro to reduce the back pressure. The engine of the rear-wheel drive car is paired with a new X-trac sequential six-speed gearbox that has bee desired to be a structural element within the chassis.

The car has an especially good power-to-weight ratio of 1.66 kg/hp, which is thanks in large part to the car's new-generation carbon fiber monocoque chassis without internal rollcage.

It has higher downforce levels than a GT3 car - 1,200 kg at 250 km/h. That is in large part due to the central rib, which separates hot airflow from the radiator, and a front splitter and two lateral airflow elements that allow cool air to flow. The aerodynamic package is completed by the large adjustable double-profile rear wing.

Lamborghini has given the model magnesium rims- 19-inch in the front and 20-inch in the back. Brembo disc brakes and calipers give the model proper stopping power.

The Essenza SCV12 is the first GT car developed to adhere to FIA prototype safety rules.

Lamborghini designers were influenced by the look of the F1 single-seater steering wheels to develop the SCV12's wheel.

Purchasing the model gets buyers access to special programs to drive their hypercar on the most prestigious race tracks in the world. This includes storage at the new hangar built in Sant'Agata Bolognese for the Essenza SCV12 club. Each car will have a personalized garage and dedicated services, including webcams to allow customers to monitor their cars 24/7 using an app. The facility also houses the Lamborghini Squadra Corse Drivers Lab by Tecnobody to offer athletic training programs similar to those followed by the official Lamborghini racing drivers.

The track calendar will start in 2021 events at numerous FIA Grade 1 homologated circuits. Assistance will be provided by the Squadra Corse technical staff with the support of Emanuele Pirro, five-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Marco Mapelli, Lamborghini Squadra Corse Factory Driver.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTS My SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTS The pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTS I'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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New sports sedan

2022 Infiniti Q50 gets more standard tech

The car sees new tech and interior features for 2022.

Infiniti

The Infiniti Q50 is an aging but still-stylish sedan that offers value and power, but it hasn't quite kept pace with the crop of more engaging premium European cars. However, it's still worth a look, and to press that point further, Infiniti has updated the car for 2022 with a healthy list of standard features.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Exterior styling has not changed for 2022.Infiniti

Headline updates for the 2022 Q50 are wireless Apple CarPlay and newly standard Bose Performance Series Audio. There's now leather for every trim, but in the ways that count, the car is the same as the one we saw last year, the year before, and so on.

That's not to say that the car is bad. After all, it still offers a 300-horsepower twin-turbo V6 as standard and can be upgraded with a 400-horsepower version of the engine. And, despite its aging exterior styling, it's still a handsome car with smooth, sculpted bodywork. The seven-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive remain in place.

2022 Infiniti Q50 All-wheel drive is available for all models.Infiniti

Pricing for the 2022 Infiniti Q50 starts at $43,125, which includes a $1,025 destination fee. The car gets standard wireless Apple CarPlay, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and Bose Performance Audio. All-wheel drive is available for a $2,000 upcharge.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Wireless Apple CarPlay and Bose audio are standard.Infiniti

The mid-range Q50 Sensory starts at $48,825, and comes with 19-inch wheels, black open-pore wood interior accents, navigation, and an air purifier system. Stepping up to the top Q50 Red Sport 400 will run $56,975, and brings the more powerful V6 engine, semi-aniline leather upholstery, and Dynamic Digital Suspension, which adjusts damping settings depending on road conditions and driving style.

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