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Auto Sleuth: 16-cylinder Veyrons being phased out

Only a few more of the $2.5 million

Only a few more of the $2.5 million Veyron's will be made. Credit: WikiMedia Commons/Manju

The end is near for the Veyron: If you were planning on purchasing one of Bugatti's $2.5-million super-duper sports cars, you'll need to get your order in soon. Your Obedient Sneakster has been advised that there are only 20 more of the 16-cylinder Veyrons (out of a total run of 450 coupes and roadsters) to be built before the line is shut down for good. The current Veyron Super Sport engine makes 1,200 horsepower, however its successor that's slated for production sometime in 2016 will reportedly make an insane 1,500 horsepower from a modified version of the current powerplant. In addition its top speed will exceed the current car's 268 mph. Once again, the total production run of the Veyron's replacement will total just 450 examples. Add this to your planned purchases from your lottery winnings.

New at Porsche

Porsche's next-generation super car will share components across several models:
Recently Porsche unleashed the 918 Spyder with a stratospheric $845,000 "base" price. Just 918 examples of this hybrid 918 (clever, huh?) are being built, but The Sleuth understands that a more reasonably priced (but still expensive) exotic is expected by 2017. The 988 (its working title) will challenge Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and other mid-engine rockets. It will be constructed using a new modular platform that will eventually form the basis of all mid- and rear-engine Porsches, including the Boxster, Cayman and all 911 variants. The 988 is also expected to run with an equally new 4.0-liter turbocharged engine producing at least 600 horsepower. Four-wheel-drive is also on the menu along with an expected hybrid version, The Spymaster hears that the Lamborghini Aventador's eventual successor will also use the modular platform (Porsche and Lamborghini are owned by Volkswagen).

Could the MG be on comeback?

That's what The Sleuth is hearing from his sources in China. The iconic brand that's now owned by China-based SAIC is rumored to be contemplating a roadster companion to new compact sport ute and hatchback models that will wear the MG badge. Also under development are a couple of small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder engines that would make ideal sports-car power sources. However, the big "if" is whether SAIC would or could export the MG to North America (the car will likely be sold in Europe and Asia). To accomplish this, the Spy Guy believes that SAIC would need to partner with an automaker that currently has its marketing and distribution tentacles in this part of the world. Still, it would be great to see a rival to the all-conquering Mazda Miata make an appearance.

New, smaller engines planned for BMW

The Raincoated one was on the receiving end of some tasty gossip concerning BMW's next-generation powerplants. Apparently the brand's revised 3-Series sedans for the 2016 model year will be the initial beneficiaries of a new modular engine platform, whereby each cylinder is 0.5 liters (500 c.c.) in displacement. Modular engines allow parts to interchange, such as pistons and connecting rods, which means production efficiencies. Size-wise, there will not be any differences between the new and current turbocharged 2.0- and 3.0-liter powerplants, but a modest increase in horsepower for each is expected, as well as a slight improvement in fuel economy. The latest modular engine architecture is already being used in BMW's 2014 Mini Cooper three-cylinder and Cooper S four-cylinder models (both turbocharged), which are also more powerful and fuel-frugal than the previous powertrains.

Subaru developing new BRZ

Second-gen Subaru BRZ is in the works, after all: The Sleuth is backtracking on his earlier intel that the rear-wheel-drive BRZ sport coupe that Subaru developed with Toyota/Scion might not return after the current generation winds down in about three to four years time. Now there's word from high up in the ranks of Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, that there will definitely be a second-generation BRZ, even though sales of the current model are fairly modest. In fairness, though, specialty models, including the BRZ and similar Scion FR-S as well as the Mazda MX-5 Miata, are not high-volume models. However, it's music to The Sneakster's ears that the BRZ and its Scion clone will be around for quite a while yet.

Market indicators

Up: Sharper steering through technology: Ferrari (part of the Fiat Chrysler conglomerate) has patented a system that reduces any inaccuracies that occur in a vehicle's steering linkage. Apparently it all has to do with the creation of software used in the electric-power-steering system that adjusts for the inherent loss of precision between the steering wheel and the tires when turning. There's no word yet as to when such a system will find its way into production.

Down: More models heading for the auto graveyard: The list of cancelled cars for the 2015 model year continues to expand. The latest casualties from Nissan are the Cube and the Murano CrossCabriolet convertible. The quirky Cube didn't really connect with buyers looking for something different (but not that different), while the U.S.-only CrossCabriolet suffered from the same malady, only it cost a lot more than a standard Murano (which will be all-new for 2015).

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