Friday, March 14, 2014

McLaren 650S and the Future of McLaren Automotive

A few weeks ago McLaren unveiled the 650S and later at Geneva the 650S Spider. You can think of the 650S as sort of a tarted up 12C. Power is up from the 12C's 625 PS to 650 PS (as the name 650 suggests), and so is the torque, up 75 NM from the 12C's 600. The 650S is also slightly lighter than the 12C ( weighing around 100 pounds fewer). All these improvements makes the 650S a slightly better car than the 12C. That's great. But my question is what does this mean for the future of McLaren's lineup? Well, let me start with some constructive criticism, if I may.

If the changes to the 650S are slightly better than the 12C, why would one even buy (apart from the looks as this thing, in my opinion, looks a bit odd) a 12C? Chances are if you can buy a brand new 12C you can spend the extra money and get a 650S.

And another thing: the name. Whoever is in charge of naming McLaren's cars should be fired. The model lineup makes no sense at all. Yes, 650S (again designating the power output) is clever, but it's a re-bodied, tarted up 12C. Why not call it: the McLaren 12C-650S?

Even the 12C's name was confusing. When it was first launched the Coupe was called the MP4-12C. Then the Spider came along and that was called the 12C. Then McLaren decided to drop the MP4 bit for the Coupe and thus the lineup became the: 12C Coupe & 12C Spider. Confusing, I know.

And it's going to me even more confusing. In the next few years, McLaren is rumored to add two more cars to the lineup; rumored to be called the McLaren P13 and P15.

Arriving first will most likely be the P13. Rumored to be the new baby in the lineup, the P13 is believed to be a direct competitor to the Porsche 911 Turbo and upcoming Mercedes-Benz GT AMG. This would most likely place the price near $200,000; ouch.

Following the production of the P13 will most likely be the P15. The P15 was initially rumored to fill the gap between the 12C and the P1. Many believe, however, the P15 is actually the code name for the 650S. Others now believe this may not be true. In that case, the P15 will be rumored to fill the gap between (you guessed it) the 650S and the P1.

So going back to my argument regarding the fate of McLaren's future models: will the P13, P15 and 650S sell in large numbers? It's anyone's guess, really. I bring this question up as it seems like there isn't much diversity in the current McLaren lineup. Yes the P1 is a mega step forward from the 12C and 650S but if you think about it, they are all pretty much the same car: carbon fiber tub, 3.8 liter twin turbo V8, etc. Where's the creativity? Does it make sense to have all these different cars in the lineup? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Current Obsession: Lamborghini Huracan, but is it a true Lambo?

After watching a few videos after it's first public unveiling at Geneva, yesterday, I became a Lamborghini Huracan fanatic. I mean look at it. It's design is undeniably Lamborghini: a uninterrupted, curved line from front to back with hexagonal shaped styling all over. As far as power and drivetrain go it shares the same engine as the outgoing Gallardo: a 5.2 liter V10. The last iteration of the Gallardo, the Squadra Corse, had a mere 570 metric horsepower. The Huracan has 610 and a seven speed dual clutch gear box (a first in the company's history). This means the Huracan will most likely be very fast on a track; a Lamborghini that can now keep up with Ferrari 458s and McLaren 12Cs.

But does this mean it's a true Lamborghini? Well if you're Jeremy Clarkson, not really. Clarkson stated recently, 'it doesn't matter how a Lamborghini drives. Ferraris are for going around Silverstone (race track) in two minutes, thirty five seconds. Lamborghinis are for going around Knightsbridge at two thirty five in the morning.' In other words a Lamborghini has to be extreme. Clarkson and many others have criticized the Huracan's looks and drivetrain, saying Lamborghini have gone a bit soft.

How is a 610 hp V10 Lambo that looks absolutely insane soft!?

I think when people see the car they'll change their mind. After all many criticized the Aventador, in the beginning, as being too soft.

The Huracan is special car as it marks a new chapter for Lamborghini. It's a true example of mad styling and up to date technology. I'm really exciting to see the upcoming variants for this magnificent car.
For now I'd take one in matte black paint, red calipers, and a two tone black and red alcantara interior. Here's a link for the configurator of the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Great Hypercar Battle of the 21st Century: called off for 3-4 Months

     Today Top Gear was supposed to answer perhaps one of the biggest automotive questions of the 21st Century. Which is faster around a track: a Porsche 918 Spyder or a McLaren P1? Unfortunately we will have to wait three or four months for the answer, due to wet conditions at the Top Gear test track. This will be the ultimate showdown as both cars are referred to by automotive journalist and enthusiast as pinnacles of automotive engineering. But there is a third car to also consider for a possible contender in this battle: the Ferrari LaFerrari. The LaFerrari (or the Ferrari TheFerrari) is a mystery however. It's figures and similar layout to the 918 and P1 suggest it's a prime contender but no journalist has ever gotten their hands on one, nor has Ferrari released any information on lap times at the Nurburgring. Though McLaren hasn't released an official Nurburgring lap time they did at least say their car completed a sub-seven minute lap time. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The New King of Hypercars: Hennessey Venom GT, but for how long?

It's official: the Hennessey Venom GT is now the world's fastest production car. A week ago on Valentine's Day the Venom GT took the record, clocking in at 270.4 mph (on the three mile long runway at Kennedy Space Center), breaking the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport World Record Edition's 267.8 mph run, back in 2010. 

What is a Hennessey Venom GT you ask? Well it started out in life as Lotus Exige. Then the lunatics at Hennessey Performance Engineering in Texas put a 7.0 liter, twin turbo, 1,244 bhp V8 in it. The result is a car with the power to weight ratio of a bullet. 

The real question at this point is how long this record will last. Rumor has it that Bugatti are currently working on a more powerful 'Super' Veyron that may take the Venom's crown. 

If this new 'Super' Veyron is going to beat that 270 mph barrier it is likely that drastic weight savings and possibly new forms of drivetrains may be implemented. The current Veyron weighs as much as a cathedral and uses a four wheel drive system. Newer hypercars like the McLaren P1 are as light a leaf, rear wheel drive, and use hybrid systems. As a result cars like and including the McLaren P1 actually accelerate faster (to certain speeds) than a Veyron Super Sport. What ever the modifications to this new 'Super' Veyron will be there is no doubt in my mind that Bugatti will pull it off and take back the crown from Hennessey.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lamborghini Gallardo: The End of the Road

This year marks the end of the production of one of the all time supercar greats: the Gallardo. Ten years, three generations, and over 14,000 cars later, Lamborghini is now underway to find a replacement.

The image bellow is believed to be one of the first renderings of the new Gallardo successor. Originally believed to be called the Cabrera this new baby Lambo is now believed to be called the Huracan. We still don't know the exact specs but judging from the badge on the car: LP610-4, we can guess it will have 600bhp (610 metric) and four wheel drive. It is also rumored to have a dual clutch gear box, a first in the companies history. Personally I think it looks absolutely fantastic and if the rumor of it having a dual clutch is true this very well might be a true competitor to the divine Ferrari 458.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

SLS AMG: The End of The Road

It's official. Mercedes-Benz, next week, will announce the end of production for the SLS AMG. It's been with us since 2010 and since then we have seen a few iterations of the Gullwing design. The first of which, the Roadster, came about in 2011. 2011 also saw the emergence of an all electric E-Cell SLS. In 2012, AMG release the GT variants, which included 20 more horsepower along with other improvements such as the a reprogramming of the Ferrari California based dual-clutch gear box.

But perhaps the most radical transformation of the SLS was the Black Series. It's turned the car from a twitchy, tail happy, lunatic to a track devouring monster. The combination of less weight, more power (yet less torque compared to the GT), a electronic differential and other improvements radically changed the SLS into a completely different car, (some automotive journalists claim).

I'm really sad to see the SLS go; the Roadster being in my top 5 favorite time cars of all time. The SLS will go down in history as one of the all time supercar greats.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Most Extreme Aston yet to be made: a V12 Vantage GT3 road car!?

In the beginning of this year Aston Martin revealed the V12 Vantage S; saying it would be the most extreme Aston Martin, (excluding the One-77), to date. Recently Autocar was told by Aston Martin's engineering boss, Ian Minards, that there is to be a new variant in the V12 Vantage range: a lightweight, hardcore, GT3 road car. This new GT3 variant is rumored to be up to 220 pounds lighter than the V12 Vantage S, and will have up to 600hp (up from the V12 Vantage S's 565hp).

I'm guessing this car will be a direct competitor to the new Porsche 911 GT3, but unless they change their single-clutch gear box to a dual-clutch unit, like that in the 991, I cannot see how this could be possibly better..