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AUTO BRIEFS: Brabus builds world's most powerful roadster

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The Brabus 800 Roadster -- based on the Mercedes SL65 AMG -- is now the world's most powerful roadster.

Powered by a 12-cylinder twin-turbo 6.0 litre engine -- tuned to unleash the latent power of the Mercedes V12 -- the Brabus produces 800 hp (788 bhp) and peak torque of 1,047 pound-feet. Yes, that's more grunt than the most powerful three-quarter ton truck.

The engine allows the roadster to hit 100 kilometres per hour in 3.7 seconds and only 9.8 seconds to 200 km/h. Top speed is electronically limited to 350 km/h. The exclusive car also includes Brabus carbon-fibre bodywork components designed for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, custom-tailored 20-inch Brabus wheels and exclusive options for the cockpit.

Ultimate Nissan GT-R part of NISMO rebirth

As part of a massive relaunch of its NISMO (Nissan Mota Supotsu Intanashonaru Kabushiki-gaisha) motorsports division -- that also includes a return to the 24 Hours of LeMans endurance race in 2014 -- Japan's Nissan has confirmed a higher performing NISMO version of its supercar-slaying GT-R will go on sale in 2014.

The "ultimate" GT-R will join NISMO versions of the Juke compact crossover and 370Z sports car.

Today's all-wheel-drive GT-R goes toe-to-toe with cars costing considerably more, like the $156,900 Porsche 911 Turbo.

But in a release, NISMO president Shoichi Miyatani says to expect even more: "It's too early to share any details yet, but fans can be certain we'll be applying all of our motorsport expertise to creating a GT-R NISMO worthy of the name."

No word on the GT-R NISMO's pricing yet either. But current GT-R models are priced between $106,930 and $116,565.

New Range Rover Evoque to get nine-speed autobox

India's Land Rover says its Range Rover Evoque will become the world's first production vehicle to be equipped with a nine-speed automatic gearbox, according to a report from Autocar.

Apparently, "significant improvements in fuel economy" are expected. The gearbox's closer gear ratios are also said to improve everything from shift quality to refinement to acceleration.

Despite sporting three more cogs, the so-called 9HP gearbox also weighs 7.5 kilograms less than the outgoing six-speeder it will replace in all-wheel-drive versions of the Evoque later this year.

Audi looks to more SUVs to grow sales

As the world's second-biggest luxury car brand, Germany's Audi is looking at taking over the top-spot, currently held by BMW, by adding more SUV and crossover models to its current Q3, Q5 and Q7 range.

According to various industry reports, the Volkswagen Group luxury brand wants to double its SUV lineup by 2020.

Coupe-like versions of the existing models, dubbed Q2 (as previewed by the Audi Crosslane concept), Q4 and Q6 are part of the growth plan, as well as performance versions, such as the new RS Q3. Audi expects the raft of new utility vehicles could raise the proportion of its SUV sales from about 25 per cent in 2012 to about 40 per cent.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2013 F8

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