Launch Bonus Pack Announcement
The next DLC pack for Forza Motorsport 4 is coming soon, as in tomorrow! On Tuesday, January 24, Turn 10 will be releasing the Launch Bonus Pack for Forza Motorsport 4, a collection of ten cars previously available only to those Forza 4 players who had either pre-ordered from specific retail outlets, or picked up the game during its first run via the “Ship Bonus Car Pack”.
The Launch Bonus Pack will be available for 560 MS Points (Note: This pack is not included with the Forza Motorsport 4 Season Pass) and will include the following ten cars:
2011 MINI John Cooper Works Clubman
The MINI family got a little larger with the Clubman, but that didn’t stop the company that wants everyone to “be MINI” from realizing that a larger party can be even more fun. Since every inch of this extended Clubman is bristling with charisma and style, there’s even more to go around. So the Clubman went in for the full John Cooper Works monty, which ratchets up the fun and the boost in equal measure. The JCW Clubman gains a healthy 30 horsepower, which in a car this light is nothing to shake a stickshift at, to make a grand total of 208 fun-loving ponies. And the Clubman does indeed love to go around, whether it be corners or mountain twisties, thanks to huge stoppers, larger alloy wheels, and classically zippy MINI-tuned suspension. Flingable, practical, and outsizedly charismatic, the John Cooper Works Clubman is big fun, MINI style.
2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietti Quadrifoglio Verde
There’s a reason why when Alfa Romeo wanted to pick a spokesperson to launch the Giulietta, they tapped actress Uma Thurman: both are well-matched to Alfa’s chosen motto for the Giulietta’s ad campaign, “we are such stuff as dreams are made on.” William Shakespeare wrote that line, and it nails the Giulietta’s qualities--and Ms. Thurman’s--perfectly. The hottest Giulietta on offer, the Quadrifoglio Verde (“four-leaf clover” badges denote the highest-spec Alfas) provides more than just deliciously creased sheetmetal to stimulate the senses: there’s 231 horsepower on tap to excite the parts of your brain that process acceleration, and the sophisticated rear multilink suspension to tickle the part that deals with lateral G-forces. Whether it’s the clover badge on the fender or the sumptuously sporting interior, there’s certainly plenty about the Giulietta to dream about.
2011 Honda CR-Z EX
The Honda CR-Z EX is Honda’s sport hybrid with an ultra-modern and sporty look, featuring 16” wheels and tires, low-to-the-ground stance and swooping bodywork. Additionally, its six-speed manual transmission makes it the only hybrid with three pedals.
2011 Subaru WRX STI
Considering the long list of WRC trophies that the Impreza line has racked up since hitting the rally scene in the early 1990s, it’s hard to believe that the 2011 Subaru WRX STI (like its predecessors) started out life as a regular Impreza. Of course, the WRX STI name means that the Subaru has been stuffed to the gills with rally-inspired technology, including the turbocharged 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed “Boxer” motor producing 305 horsepower and 290 foot-pounds of torque channeling power through a slick 6-speed manual transmission. Other than a healthy power output, what sets the STI apart from its lesser Impreza brethren is an advanced version of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with Driver Controlled Center Differential, which allows the driver to optimize the AWD front to rear power distribution for optimal handling in any conditions. The driver is also in control of the engine’s electronic throttle mapping through Subaru’s SI-Drive, which in “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” modes allow quicker throttle response for ultimate acceleration. Subaru’s has pulled the new STI lower to the tarmac, bolted up thicker front and rear stabilizer bars to reduce understeer, and fitted new wheels that save four pounds per corner. What it all adds up to is the best-handling STI ever and, as always, this Subaru is a lot of rally-bred performance for very little coin.
2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
With the 1 Series M Coupe, BMW’s M-Division has returned to its roots in a sense, channeling both the 2002 Turbo of the 1970s and the original M3 of the late 1980s into a small car that is, first and foremost, a driver’s car. It’s loud, stiff, and track-focused—this isn’t your aunt’s BMW, that’s for sure. Unless your aunt is a drag racer—the 3-liter inline six is enhanced with twin turbochargers to produce a total of 335 horsepower and 332 ft-lbs. of torque, which sends the Coupe skedaddling to 100 mph in just a bit over 11 seconds. That’s incredible performance for a car that’s supposed to slot under the M3, and it seems that it would only take a tweak or two to create a car that would easily outpace that superlative car. It’s also not for the faint of heart, as the track day focus of the car means that drivers caught out doing something naughty mid-turn might find themselves correcting for oversteer, not understeer—something that is intentionally built-in to the car to allow it to be taken to the limits. Respect the 1 Series M Coupe and it will reward you with one of the most entertaining and pure sportscar experiences from BMW in a couple decades.
Ship Bonus Cars
1965 Ford Mustang GT Coupe
The Mustang wasn’t necessarily destined for greatness. The very similar Plymouth Barracuda, based on a low-end car just like the Mustang (the Plymouth Valiant and the Ford Falcon, respectively) failed to light a fire under car buyers. On the other hand, within the first year-and-a-half, Ford sold nearly 700,000 Mustangs—an industry record that still stands. What made it so popular? There was the excellent styling, successfully bringing pseudo-European proportions and handsome details together in a small car while preserving its “American-ness.” The name was also spot-on, appealing to buyers by suggesting the independence and freedom of the open road. And finally, there was the drivetrain, utilizing Ford’s excellent thin-wall V8 “Windsor” family of engines. When equipped with a 271 horsepower K-Code “Hi-Po” 289, the Mustang is a great performer and the perfect basis for a fast street or race car. Ultimately, whether you appreciate the performance dynasty the Mustang founded, or simply how fun it is to drive, it’s undeniable that the Mustang is an outsized success.
1997 Lexus SC300
Lexus is so firmly established that it’s sometimes tough to remember that in the early 1990s it was a new marque trying to make a name for itself against ingrained competitors from Europe. The original SC300, introduced in 1991, was a shot across the bow of Old Luxury. Penned in Toyota’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, the swoopy coupe broke the mold when lead designers skipped 2D pen-and-paper design studies and started right off the bat with 3D models—which explains the finished product’s smooth, organic look. Starting a year after introduction, Lexus allowed drivers to choose the 3-liter engine out of the GS300, but it’s more dramatic to talk about another car that featured this engine: the legendary fourth-generation Toyota Supra. That’s right, the inline six is the famous 2JZ-GE, the naturally aspirated but still potent motor that is dramatically overbuilt to handle huge power. (In fact, the Supra actually uses a drivetrain derived from the Toyota Soarer, as the SC is known in Japan, not the other way around.) Out of the box, the SC300 was available with this 225 horsepower engine paired with a manual transmission, perfect for the sort of grand touring Lexus envisioned. However, it didn’t take long for Lexus buyers to look at the JDM twin-turbo Aristo/GS300 for inspiration, and the SC300 has rightly become a highly popular choice for drifters, drag racers, and import tuners of all stripes.
2011 Tesla Roadster Sport
For turning electrons into incredible velocities, the Tesla Roadster Sport has no equal—literally. No other production electric sportscar exists to truly compete with it. Tesla hasn’t let this fact go to its head, and so the Roadster has been continually improved. Laying into Sport version’s new hand-wound electric motor will put a smile on the face of even the most hardened electric vehicle skeptic. That’s because the Tesla’s secret weapon is torque, the specialty of all electric motors. Unlike internal combustion engines, an electric motor can put out all the twist available—in the Tesla’s case, a full 295 ft-lbs.—from a complete standstill (0 RPMs), providing acceleration characteristics more akin to a solid-fuel rocket than an earthbound car. Adding to the unusual experience, the Roadster is virtually silent while running and there’s only one gear—so there’s no shifting either—but you’ll become used to the Roadster’s unconventional ways quickly. To put it another way, if you like the G-forces of a rollercoaster, you’ll love the way the Tesla charges forward and flies through corners. Whether you consider the Roadster Sport alone or compare it to fossil-fuel-burning competitors, it’s an amazing technical achievement—and a ton of fun, too.
2011 RUF RGT-8
RUF is an incredible automaker in their own right—while it may seem easier to start with an existing chassis to create your model line, when you consider how much work goes into each RUF you quickly realize that this is not necessarily true. Creating a RUF is not easy; starting with modern Porsche body-in-whites (meaning, a bare welded-together chassis without VINs, sold to RUF), RUF does the rest of the assembly, fitting mostly bespoke components and re-engineering nearly everything else to craft an entire package engineered to work together from the get-go. First, there’s the integral rollcage that RUF installs in each chassis, a signature element that adds rigidity and safety—a tradition started with the CTR2 in 1996. After that, things get wilder. The RGT-8 is a good example: it doesn’t even feature a Porsche-based engine. Instead, RUF designed its own original V8—a 4.5-liter flat-plane crank masterpiece—from scratch in two years flat. The resulting engine is less than an inch longer than the 3.6-liter flat six found in a normal 911, and it’s a full 88 lbs. lighter. To make matters even more interesting, it produces about 550 horsepower without the aid of turbochargers or superchargers. Outside, the RUF is enhanced with special aerodynamic bodywork for a unique look, and RUF also fits upgraded suspension in several flavors. The RGT-8 is a fine example of what makes RUF special; completely redone from top to bottom, the result is a vaguely familiar shape with completely unique driving characteristics.
2011 Koenigsegg Agera
The Veyron may be (slightly) faster, but the Agera has to be the most interesting of the current breed of hypercar. It certainly has the requisite manic power numbers courtesy of a 940 horsepower twin-turbo 5-liter V8. With a top speed of greater than 260 mph and a sub-three-second 0-60 mph time, no one can deny its performance. But Christian von Koenigsegg’s genius is in making his cars boldly distinctive, and while the CCX and its derivatives are definitely that, the Agera is a further evolution of the theme. From every angle the new composite body (draped over a variant of the CCX’s incredibly stiff chassis) is fascinating, and it also provides improved downforce. For example, those halo-shaped taillights surround heat-extracting vents to help cool the engine. And the wheels are specially designed as vortex generators, cooling the brakes and increasing downforce. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Koenigsegg without some special details like the wraparound windshield, distinctive cockpit, and the ghost on the engine cover. Ghost? Yes, it’s a tribute to a Swedish air force squadron that previously occupied Koenigsegg’s Ängelholm facility.