Porsche has officially put the finishing touches on the first prototypes of the company’s Porsche 918 Spyder, complete with a black-and-white livery scheme that pays homage to the Porsche 917 racers of old. Production is set to commence in a little over a year, and the German sportscar manufacturer says buyers can look forward to taking possession of the first examples by the end of 2013. The plug-in hybrid will command a heady price tag, though. Porsche has confirmed the company will ask a whopping $845,000 per model, each with a 500 horsepower 4.0-liter V8 engine and two electric motors.
Altogether, the gas-electric drivetrain should be good for a 3.1-second 0-60 sprint and a top speed of 199 mph. Perhaps even more impressive is the news that the 918 will be able to propel itself with electric power at speeds of up to 94 mph. That little fact helps account for the news that the vehicle should be able to return around 78 miles per gallon on the EU cycle.
Porsche 918 Spyder prototypes commence trials
Stuttgart. The Porsche 918 Spyder is on the road: Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, has taken the driving trials of the super sports car of the future a step further with completion of the initial prototypes. The 918 Spyder will go into production at the end of 2013 as planned, with the first customers receiving their vehicles before 2013 is out. “What we are doing with the 918 Spyder is redefining driving fun, efficiency and performance,” said Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development of Porsche AG.
The prototypes, their camouflage harking back to historical Porsche 917 racing cars, signal the final touches to the Porsche 918 Spyder. The focus is on the interplay between the highly sophisticated individual drive components. The combination of combustion engine and two independent electric motors – one on the front axle and one in the drive line, acting on the rear wheels – poses completely new demands on the development of the operating strategies. “They are therefore a critical component in this vehicle into which we have put all of our expertise and capacity for innovation,” said Wolfgang Hatz. These operating strategies and the development of the software to go with them are one of Porsche’s core competences. Both of them have a major influence on the extreme driving fun to be had with the 918 Spyder and they make possible a unique combination of minimal fuel consumption and maximum performance. The initial results of the driving trials are in line with the high expectations placed on the 918 Spyder.
The super sports car is designed as a plug-in hybrid vehicle combining a high-performance combustion engine with cutting-edge electric motors for extraordinary performance: on the one hand, the dynamics of a racing machine boasting more than 770 hp, on the other hand, fuel consumption in the region of three litres per 100 kilometres. Moreover, Porsche is breaking yet more new ground with the technology demonstrator with spectacular solutions such as the full carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque with unit carrier, fully adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear-axle steering and the upward-venting “top pipes” exhaust system. In the process, the Porsche 918 Spyder is offering a glimpse of what Porsche Intelligent Performance may be capable of in future.
The McLaren P1 has just been revealed at the Paris Motor Show. The P1 shown here is a design study that’s “about 95 per cent correct” as to what the production model will look like when it makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013.
McLaren calls the P1 its “Ultimate supercar,” and while it refused to reveal anything about the car’s powertrain, aside from stating that the definitive engine and transmission specification hasn’t quite been finalized yet, the firm did confirm that the P1 will develop “over 592bhp per tonne.” We expect the car to produce in excess of 700bhp, and be boosted by an F1-style KERS system too.
Talking about the car, McLaren Automotive Managing Director Antony Sheriff said, “Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit.”
To that end, the P1 is packed with ideas taken from McLaren’s 50-year racing heritage. The design was honed in McLaren’s wind tunnel and CFD software was used extensively to ensure that the P1’s shape is as aerodynamically efficient as possible.
The frontal area has been kept to a minimum, so the main intakes for the engine are in the doors, rather than the P1’s nose. The windscreen and roof form a teardrop shape, giving good visibility while also maintaining a clean flow of air to the active rear wing.
Just like a current F1 car, the wing has two settings. In drag reduction mode it lies flat, minimizing drag and maximizing speed, while the wing can extend rearwards by up to 300mm on a racetrack, and by up to 120mm on the road, in High Performance mode.
The wing works in tandem with flaps which automatically open and close ahead of the front wheels, controlling the air flow around the car. McLaren claims that the P1 generates 600kg of downforce at 150mph, the same amount as the MP4-12C GT3 racer.
The P1’s design has been honed to leave the bodywork stripped to a bare minimum. The front and rear ends of the car are formed from huge carbon fibre clamshells which are designed to wrap the P1’s mechanicals as closely as possible to save weight.
The lights have been pared back too, with the fronts being all LED units which feature daytime running lights in the shape of McLaren’s logo, while the novel rear LED light strips, which will make production, mean that a large honeycombed area can be used for cooling the engine.
Underneath, the P1 uses a development of the carbon fibre MonoCell used on the 12C. Called the MonoCage, it adds a carbon fibre loop into the roof, which serves both as a roll bar and as the location of the air scoop which feeds air to the mid-mounted engine.
In a nod to the original McLaren F1, the P1 features gold leaf heat shield around the exhaust, as gold is simply the best material for reflecting heat despite the cost implications.
The McLaren P1 will go head-to-head with the Porsche 918 and next Ferrari Enzo, so expect a prices to start somewhere around £700,000.
To honor the late Carroll Shelby a group calling itself the “Friends of Carroll Shelby” and consisting of numerous firms including the likes of Ford, Shelby American and Ford Racing has built a one-off tribute car based on the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Unveiled at one of the events surrounding the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the special Mustang has proven a hit, not only because of its significance to the automotive world but also because of its distinctive styling and impressive performance credentials.
The regular Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is certainly no slouch, but the Friends of Carroll Shelby decided to turn things up a notch nonetheless for this special car, which is nicknamed the Ford Shelby GT500 Cobra. Thanks to a Ford Racing 4.0-liter Whipple supercharger, the car’s 5.8-liter V-8 engine now delivers a breathtaking 850 horsepower.
To make sure it can make the most of all that power, the design team increased the width of the rear tires. They now measure 345 millimeters across and are wrapped around equally-massive wheels measuring 13 inches across and 20 inches in diameter.
To fit the wheels in, as well as create a look reminiscent of Shelby’s legendary Cobra race cars, Shelby Mustang American provided a specially designed hood together with a custom wide-bodykit. The car has even been painted the same Guardsman Blue with Wimbledon White stripes that graced so many of Shelby’s Cobra racers built in the 1960s.
On hand to unveil the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Cobra this weekend was Edsel Ford II, Ford marketing boss Jim Farley and Shelby American president John Luft. Speaking at the unveiling, Farley said, “Even at 89 years of age, Carroll was an inspiration to us all. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Shelby Cobra. The one-off car we have created represents the very idea he had about making the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 into a true Cobra.”
The car can be found at the Ford display in the expo area at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion this weekend. Ford plans to showcase it at a number of other events in the coming months, some of which will include track time.
In addition to the special Ford Mustang, Ford said it will also rename a road at its product development center in Dearborn, MI, as a tribute to the late automotive legend.
Lamborghini has told us repeatedly that it wasn’t planning on doing such a thing anytime soon. We expected most likely the front-engine four-door super sedan – playing off the 2008 Estoque showcar and 1968-’78 Espada – to become the raging bull’s third model line.
Feast your eyes on the Lamborghini Urus, or “LB736.” First off, yes, it is part of an upcoming (i.e. sometime in 2015) Volkwagen Group premium SUV onslaught. In the company of Lamborghini design director Filippo Perini and research and development guru Maurizio Reggiani, we were able to pry into all of the details back in mid-March during a special preview at company headquarters. We’ve had to hold off scribbling until today because the official debut for the edgy 4×4 happens right about now at the Beijing Motor Show. China is foreseen as a good market for the supersonic SUV, but the United States remains Job One.
In comparison to the clumsy Bentley EXP 9 F concept seen at the recent Geneva Motor Show, the Urus hits us almost gleefully by comparison; it’s right on the money with Lambo’s current design language. Lamborghini’s Perini understands that this is a polarizing proposition: “When Lamborghini creates a whole new model line, it’s automatically risky since it doesn’t happen so often.”
And we were nervous about it, too, imagining a four-seater setup that would need to ride way too high, sort of like the first generation Porsche Cayenne or that Bentley. But when the veil came off and the hard lights hit it, we were pleased.
Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann started the proceedings by saying that though the two-door supersport sector is still going well, due to so many new entries coming out nowadays and new buyer preferences, the forecast is for a steady small decline year-on-year in demand for these cars. Specifically, two-door sports cars with over 400 horsepower and costing over $100,000.
So they’re going a different way, following an upward trending graph: a 4×4 super Lamborghini Urus SUV with just over 600 horsepower, stretching over eight inches longer than an Aventador and about four inches longer than a BMW X6 M, and certainly costing somewhere within reach of $200,000+ by the time you get it home. With projected volume in a full year of 3,000 Uruses (or “Uri”?), Lamborghini, its immediate warden Audi, and mothership Volkswagen Group, are all no doubt drooling over the potential profits the Urus represents. It will singlehandedly triple total annual production.
Current press information released on the Urus is deliberately vague as the launch is not set until 2015, so there is still time to decide the powertrain. Given that the promise is to make it the most powerful series production Lamborghini Urus SUV on the market but also the least polluting so far as carbon dioxide emissions are concerned, either a V10 or V12 engine would seem a heck of a challenge. By the time of production start, many European high-performance cars will need to be able to emit no more than 200 grams of CO2 per kilometer when running most efficiently. And looking at the sharply sloping front end, we’re unsure whether there would be enough room to hold either ten or twelve cylinders.
Talk is in the air about a new forced-air (bi-turbo or supercharged) V8 engineered within the vast workshops of the VW Group. Engineer Reggiani was rather sly about this suggestion when we brought it up, but with these packaging and emissions goals it definitely would make sense to at least seriously consider the idea. In fact, Reggiani and Winkelmann attest that with this new model the company will take more advantage of “group synergies”. Does this mean some variation of hybrid drive or maybe even a take on Audi’s e-tron thinking? And, no, there is no chance of a monster diesel.
A key ingredient for any Lamborghini in optimizing matters for speed and handling, as well as various efficiencies, is managing weight and rigidity through composite materials formed in-house. The Urus will certainly be loaded with this stiff lightness and Lamborghini claims it saves almost 250 pounds versus metal and adds tremendous bending stiffness. The chassis, body, and for the first time in the segment the interior as well, will be optimized for lightness. As the concept interior unveiled in Beijing shows, every element seems to be floating in place. How much of this spectacle it can keep down the road is to be decided.
We know from conversations at Lamborghini that the steering will be electro-mechanical, the range of travel adjustment on the suspension will be 3.5 inches, and by the time of production weight distribution will be as close to 50:50 fore:aft as possible. The mondo wheelset right now for showing purposes is a custom set of 24-inchers in an aero design. Currently, the Urus wears nasty-bad Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires measuring a big 305/35 ZR24 (112W). We are assuming the wheel-tire setup will be able to get more supple for passenger comfort by 2015.
And by the time of customer deliveries – 50 percent of which is projected for the U.S. – those fancy side-view cameras we see on so many concept cars should be a homologation reality at last, according to Perini. The caveat is that the cameras and their screens on the dash need to remain on at all times, even when the Urus is switched off.
So, tell us what you think. As added fodder, Lamborghini hints that the Urus could possibly end up running the Dakar rally as well. We’d love to see that concept at a show.
Chief foreseen competitors for the Urus, according to Lamborghini bosses, are the BMW X6 M, Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and Porsche Cayenne range. In keeping with Lambo’s typically evil proportions, even the Urus hunkers way down to a minimum height of 65.4 inches with a width of 78.4 inches. The 196.5-inch current length is matched to a wheelbase measuring 114.0 inches that is spot on with the latest Cayenne. Four passengers are said to have plenty of room inside, however, even for heads in back.
So, let the mispronunciation games begin! While the Italians will say “Oo-rooss”, noone else will unless they are trained to do so. “Lamborghini Urus” is, in keeping with the Lamborghini penchant for glorified cattle, a Spanish breed of bull that sits somewhere between fighting size and hauling size. They are known for their broad shoulders and better than average height.
Lamborghini has teased us already with possible chances at driving a rolling prototype sometime this year just to get a sense of the Urus spatially on the road. We are prepared to be bulled over.
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