Friday, 27 February 2009

Renault Espace F1 Mid mounted Engine

.... Or should I say, the future was there?... Someone mentioned the Espace F1 in relation to the Renault Megane Trophy yesterday so I thought it would be fun to dig up this video clip.... This F1 powered, mid-engined monstrosity certainly makes the VIP style vans coming out of Japan look a bit tame doesn't it?

I remember reading an article about the Espace F1, back in 1995 where it was stated the car would do lap times as fast as a Group C prototype.... imagine that!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Revealed! 720hp, twin-turbocharged V12 Tramontana R

Two years ago, we tracked down a small, independent automaker on the floor of the Geneva Motor Show that promised to deliver a segment-busting supercar to those bored with Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Fast-forward to today and the Tramontana Group seems to have made good on its promise with the unveiling of the Tramontana R Edition.

The R is an evolved version of the standard open-wheel two-seater, packing a Mercedes-sourced 5.5-liter V12 available in either naturally aspirated, 550 hp guise or a twin-turbocharged 760 hp version that dolls out an astonishing 811 lb-ft of torque. The Group claims a 0-100 kph time of 3.6 seconds and a 10.15-second run to 200 kph.

The wheelbase has been shortened by 50mm to improve handling and aerodynamics, and weight is down by 202 pounds to just 2,777 pounds. The R stretches 192 inches from nose to tail, is 82 inches wide and 51 inches tall, and weight distribution is a perfect 50:50 left to right and 42:58 front to rear. Tramontana fitted 20-inch carbon fiber and magnesium wheels at each corner, along with high-performance summer rubber sized 245/40 in front and 335/30 in the rear. 380mm, six-piston Brembos handle stopping duties, while a custom Ohlins suspension allows the R's ride-height to be adjusted between 85 and 135 mm.

The body speaks for itself, as does the exposed carbon fiber interior, which features a chop-top steering wheel, an LCD instrument panel and the controls to the six-speed sequential gearbox. Production will be limited to 12 units per year with a price tag of €385,000 ($495,000), but unfortunately, we won't be seeing it in Geneva next month – the Tramontana R will make its official debut at the Top Marques Monaco show at the end of March.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Ferrari SUV To Debut Next Year?

A Ferrari SUV might take some getting used to. The idea has been around for some years and this is the freshest artist rendition. It’s an SUV by the definition of a vehicle with four doors, raised ride height, mostly fitted with a 4WD system and takes the shape of a station wagon/ tourer.

The vehicle with the codename “Ferrari FS 599 Fuoristrada” will be constructed out of aluminium and carbon fiber composites for weight-efficiency. Engines come from the naturally aspirated V8 found in the California and the 599 GTB’s V12 powerplant. They produce in excess of 400hp and 600hp each respectively. While the latter’s figure seems slightly excessive, Ferrari will not manufacture an SUV that will deliver average performance. It has to be the most powerful and by extension the fastest around.

Renderings of a Ferrari SUV have appeared before based on speculation that the Italian company was working on its first ever SUV. At the time Porsche was riding high with the great success of its Cayenne and premium brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW had been building MLs and X5s for years before.

The Ferrari on high boots had been slated for a 2010 Geneva Motor Show debut but as things stand in the world economy there’s no clear direction as to whether the project is still going ahead or not. With the recent announcement of an alliance with Ferrari parent Fiat and Chrysler LLC of America new possibilities have arisen. Such possibilities include a common SUV platform that can be shared with Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari itself. Product assembly could even be in the US just like Mercedes with the old ML and BMW with the X5 and X6.

435bhp Rotary Powered BMW Z3

I was surfing as usual when I came across this gorgeous Z3 built by Gluck Tuning Garage. It’s Mazda month over at SpeedHunters, and if you’re wondering what does a BMW and Mazda have in common, you’re right to wonder so because there’s really nothing in common, just that this particular Z3 is powered by a 13B rotary engine.

There’s not much information available and this is the only shot I could get hold of, but you can still clearly see the rotary powerplant. Going all out on the car, Gluck fabricated a custom bodykit to house the massive Volk TE37 wheels measuring in at 19″ x 8.5 at the front and 19″x9.5 in the rear. They also swapped the standard headlight for the Honda Odyssey headlights, giving it a unique look - though final judgment will have to wait till we see them turned on.

Get over the headlights, the most interesting thing about this car is still the 13b powerplant. Power output has been set at a hefty 435bhp thank to To4s turbo among other things of course. This is all the information I got but its still easy on the eyes. More information on this if we get any.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Alfa MiTo GTA

Alfa MiTo GTA seeks to be new Euro hot hatch king

Alfa's finally pulled the covers off the MiTo GTA, releasing a full set of specifications and a few new images of the hottest of hot hatches just ahead of the car's official debut at the Geneva Motor Show late next week. While the standard-grade MiTo is definitely a looker, the Italian automaker has added a major dose of sportiness by way of a 90-horsepower injection, handily passing the MINI John Cooper Works edition along the way. To go along with the added zip, Alfa's engineers have reduced the weight of the car through the use of carbon fiber for the roof, tailgate spoiler and mirror housings, along with aluminum replacements for many chassis and suspension parts.

The engine displaces just 1.8 liters, but an impressive 240 horsepower is extracted via turbocharging, direct-injection and variable valve-timing. Underneath the slinky skin are chassis modifications that lower the ride height by 20 millimeters, along with an "active suspension" and variable steering geometry that makes up the Alfa D.N.A. system, allowing the driver to tailor the car's feel to their specific preferences. Inside, unique anatomical seats with four-point seatbelts attached to the rear roll bar keep the driver secured and matte black surfaces are meant to limit distractions while racing around the track.

Monday, 23 February 2009

BMW M3 Touring Wagon

BMW M3 Touring wagon by Jon Sibal

Some of us live in the real world, while other spend time in Fantasyville. Jon Sibal falls into the latter, and we're happy for it. The talented illustrator had given us glimpses of upcoming supercars – including the Ferrari Scuderia Spider, Mercedes SLR Speedster (later revealed as the Stirling Moss edition) and Aston Martin One-77 – before the manufacturers have released official pictures. So what would Sibal drive himself? Well, needless to say, it doesn't exist (yet), but while you might think it'd be some fantastic derivative of an upcoming supercar, what Jon has picked out for himself is a BMW M3 Touring wagon.

The current-generation M3 is currently made in three bodystyles: the E90 sedan, E92 coupe and E93 convertible. If you were high astute enough to follow the psychedelic pinball counting cartoon on Sesame Street as a child, you'll have noticed that the E91 is missing from the equation. That's the designation for the current 3 Series station wagon. BMW's anticipated to roll out an M3 wagon sometime in the next few months, but Sibal's not waiting around, and has given us these renderings to hold us over. While he was at it, he dropped the ride height down to the floor with a KW coil-over suspension, fitted a titanium exhaust, AC Schnitzer spoilers front and back, BBS mags coated in Yokohama rubber and Brembo eight-pot brakes, then added a supercharger to the M3's V8 and painted it satin white for good measure. Not too shabby, and not too far-fetched, either. Who knows, if Sibal earns what he deserves, maybe this fantasy can become reality when BMW unleashes the latest M3 Touring on the world.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Widebody Challenger

While the Chevy Camaro is technically the Official Vehicle of SEMA, the Dodge Challenger may upstage it with a parking lot full of custom iterations including a 560-hp convertible, speedster, 900-hp Super Challenger, official Targa and Blacktop concepts and, perhaps the most exciting, a Viper-powered variant.

The latest and perhaps last custom Challenger we'll be showing you before SEMA starts on Tuesday is from Classic Design Concepts. Called the Group 2 Widebody Challenger, its claim to fame are extra wide fenders from and rear to accommodate 20x10-inch front and 20x11.5-inch three piece wheels wearing 275 and 315 series Pirelli tires. The Group 2 kit also includes a stainless mesh grille and aluminum hood with CDC's cold air "shaker" system.

CDC will have two versions on hand in Las Vegas next week: a white R/T widebody and this car, a black SRT8 version. The latter features a Vortec supercharger good for 560 horsepower, Pypes Performance cat-back exhaust, KW adjustable coil-over suspension and Baer brakes with 15-inch rotors and 6-piston calipers at all four corners.

Kahn Cosworth Sport 300

Kahn Cosworth Sport 300: first batch of 80 cars for Saudi Arabian royal family!

It must be great to be in the royal family of a country of which oil consists of 90% of its exports. The Saudi Arabian royal family purchased 80 units of the new Kahn Cosworth Sport 300 SUV based on the Range Rover Sport just because they wanted the cars before anyone else. I suppose the global recession is non-existant in countries of which economies are driven by petroleum exports.

The Kahn Cosworth Sport 300 is a joint venture between Cosworth and Kahn Design, headed by CEO Afzal Kahn. The Sport 300 carries a £20,000 premium over the Range Rover Sport’s regular price tag of £55,000, and for the 20k pounds you get an additional 32 horsepower from the car’s turbodiesel V8 engine, resulting in a total of 300 horses. The styling is by Kahn design, which includes flared wheel arches and 22 inch alloy wheels.

If Darth Vader had a sports car…

Of course he’d need his Storm Trooper backup too.

You know, to do all the dirty work if he gets a flat tyre.

Carlsson: Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse

Another hard-to-say Carlsson: Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse

It doesn't seem to be the optimal time to be producing high-end custom luxury cars, but Carlsson is pressing forward anyway and will introduce its third model in cooperation with leather company Etienne Aigner at the Geneva Motor Show next month. Carlsson previously unveiled the Aigner CK65 Eau Rouge coupe at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007 and later the Aigner CK65 RS Blanchimont that took aim at the luxury limousine segment. The latest model, the Aigner CK55 RS Rascasse, is named for the second turn at Monaco and takes cues from both previous models including the paint scheme of the Eau Rouge and the limousine theme of the Blanchimont. Carlsson has converted the seven-seater to have just two rear thrones, leaving room for such amenities as an integrated refrigerator and a custom entertainment system with dual eight-inch screens and surround sound audio system. Of course, Aigner leather covers the seats, dash, door panels and center console. The exterior gets Carlsson's full body kit and three-piece forged wheels, and the 5.5L V8 is boosted to 456 bhp and 472 lb-ft torque.


Ain't nothin' but a G thang: BRABUS to show twin-turbo V12 Gelandewagen in Geneva

Welcome to the year of the G-Wagen. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the mainstay of Mercedes' sport-ute line-up has reason to celebrate, and friends to celebrate with. Mercedes itself has released a pair of special-edition Geländewagens to mark the occasion. Floridian Benz tuning house RENNtech is toying with a special G of its own. And now BRABUS is preparing to storm the Geneva Motor Show with its own modified G-Class, and the stats are mind-boggling.

We'll start with the good stuff: BRABUS has dropped in the twin-turbo V12 from the Mercedes S600, but bored out from a prodigious 5.5 liters to a gargantuan 6.3. With the help of a new crankshaft, cylinder heads, custom exhaust, optimized intercooler and bigger turbos, the Brabus G V12 S Biturbo pumps out a whopping 700 horsepower and even more jaw-dropping 973 lb-ft of torque from just 2,100 rpm. Driving through a retuned five-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive, all that power and twist is enough to propel the beast to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.3 seconds. And though the top end is electronically limited to 150 mph, BRABUS says its monster, despite having the aerodynamic profile of a Panzer with a parachute, could hit 163. Custom aero kit, lighting, wheels and electronics round out the package for a sticker price that may be the most mind-boggling number of all: 379,000 Euros, or about $483,000 in American greenbacks. You're on your own at the fuel pumps, though.


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