Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ferrari F12berlinetta

  Ferrari's new front-engined V12 flagship is here, and just as incredible as expected. Dubbed the F12berlinetta, it features a 6.3 liter V12 sending 740 horsepower and 508 lb ft of torque to the sticky rear Michelin Pilot Super Sports via an F1 inspired seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle, which helps it rocket from 0-62 in just 3.1 seconds. 

  The F12 tips the scales at only 3,363 pounds, 360 pounds lighter than the 599 GTB it replaces, thanks to a new spaceframe chassis made up of 12 different lightweight alloys.  Not only is the body lightweight and rigid, but it is also gorgeously aerodynamic.  Pininfarina took styling cues from every machine in Ferrari's outstanding lineup, yet still managed to create an original looking car with a presence like nothing else on the road.    
  Function and form are fused together perfectly in features such as the downforce-generating Aero Bridge, blown rear diffuser, and the active brake cooling vents which result in the F12berlinetta being the most aerodynamic Ferrari road car ever built, with a drag coefficient of just 0.299.

  Until the successor of the almighty Enzo arrives later this year, the F12berlinetta hold the title of the fastest, most powerful, and most aerodynamically efficient Ferrari road car ever built.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Infiniti Emerg-E

   The new Infiniti Emerg-E, revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, is a gorgeous sports car concept with a brawny hybrid powertrain to back up its beauty.

  The car is driven by two electric motors which combine to produce 402 horsepower and a staggering 738 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel from zero to 60 mph in just 4 seconds flat.  Pure electricity can power the car for 30 miles, until a Lotus-built three cylinder engine kicks in to act as a range-extending generator, similar to the system found in the Chevy Volt.

  Being the first Infiniti developed in Europe, the Emerg-E had a lot more input from Lotus than just the generator.  For starters, it's built off of an Evora chassis, which helps to achieve a relatively light curb weight of 3,523 pounds.  What's more interesting is that the entire powertrain is extremely similar to the Lotus Evora 414E concept we saw at Geneva back in 2010.

  For now the Emerg-E is just a concept, but the official press release calls it "physical proof of Infiniti’s intension to produce a bold halo model befitting the brand’s promise of Inspired Performance," which hopefully means that we'll be seeing a production version of this breathtaking concept very soon.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

NAIAS 2012: Lexus LF-LC

  In recent years, Lexus has been trying desperately to change their reputation of being boring.  The IS-F, LFA, and new GS are all far more exciting than any previous offerings from Lexus, and now they're previewing what's next for the revamped brand with the LF-LC concept.

  The 2+2 sports coupe is a jaw-dropping styling concept, with a new curvy take on the typical Lexus spindle grill, and flamboyant "L" shaped headlights.  The sporty profile resembles a larger, more elegant version of the new Scion FR-S coupe, and the rear of the car flaunts aggressive tail lights inspired by jet afterburners.  

  Unfortunately, the LF-LC will not be produced, as it is only a futuristic design study.  However, the design elements could easily make their way to a replacement for the recently discontinued SC. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

NAIAS 2012: Hyundai Veloster Turbo

  When the Hyundai Veloster was first revealed at last years Detroit Auto Show, it was well-received by many for its unique sporty styling, combined with exceptional fuel efficiency and practicality.  However, it's biggest fault was that it wasn't nearly as fast as it looked.  Its 1.6 liter inline-4 engine only made 138 horsepower, which was even less than the compact Elantra sedan.
  Now, a year later, they're finally releasing the new Veloster Turbo, which cranks out a whopping 201 horsepower, putting it on par with the Volkswagen GTI and Honda Civic SI.  The turbo also features new design elements including a gaping hexagonal grill and massive round exhaust tips to differentiate it from its naturally aspirated sibling.
  We won't know for sure until it goes on sale this summer, but it seems like the Veloster Turbo could have what it takes to be competitive in the hot hatch market.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

NAIAS 2012: Cadillac ATS

  In recent years, Cadillac has been rapidly catching up to its foreign competitors, almost entirely thanks to the CTS.  Now they're launching a smaller RWD sedan to directly compete with the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class, and Audi A4- the ATS. 

  The base engine will be the new 2.5 liter Ecotec inline 4, which puts out 200 horsepower, with an available turbocharged 2.0 liter making 270 horsepower.  The top of the line ATS will recieve a powerful 3.6 liter V-6, good for 318 horsepower.  The standard transmission will be a 6 speed automatic, with a 6 speed manual available with the turbocharged engine.  GM promises a diesel variant in the near future, along with an 8 speed automatic gearbox.
  Cadillac has put sufficient effort into making the ATS handle well, fine-tuning the cars suspension at the infamous Nurburgring.  GM claims a curb weight of just 3,400 pounds, making it the lightest luxury car in its segment, which helps with speed, handling, and fuel efficiency. 
  It has a much sharper appearance than any of its German competitors, with vertically extended headlights that don't try to hide the sedans quick performance.  However, the styling is still refined enough to be a successful luxury car.

  The Cadillac ATS is a gorgeous, lightweight luxury car with competent drivetrain and suspension technology.  But will it really be enough to take on the ultimate BMW 3-series?  We'll find out this summer when it goes on sale, hopefully soon followed by a convertible, coupe, and high performance ATS-V variant.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NAIAS 2012: Acura NSX Concept

  When the Acura NSX first debuted back in 1990, it was an instant classic.   Commonly called the worlds first "everyday supercar," it blended Ferrari-beating performance with the reliability and drivability that Honda was typically known for.  When it was discontinued 15 years later, Acura became just another company making beige transportation appliances.
  Today, Acura is finally ready to change that, by relaunching the supercar. The new Acura NSX concept stays true to the original with a sleek, aerodynamic body, and a mid-mounted V6 powering the rear wheels.  What makes the new NSX very different from the original, however, is the addition of two electric motors; one powering each front wheel.  Some traditionalists may be disappointed by the fact that the new NSX is an all wheel drive hybrid, but remember that a similar drivetrain layout was used in the Porsche 918, which boasted extremely impressive performance figures.
  Perhaps the best part is that the NSX is not just a design study, but Acura says that it will go into production in Ohio within just three years.  This is Acura's chance to once again become a well respected automaker among car enthusiasts, and the concept shows a large potential to live up to the legendary NSX name.

Monday, January 9, 2012

NAIAS 2012: Chevrolet Code 130R

Chevy has just unveiled their new Code 130R concept, a rear wheel drive sports coupe for the next generation of sports car drivers.  The concept is powered by a turbocharged 1.4 liter inline 4 engine, which would send 150 horsepower to a 6 speed automatic transmission, with an optional 6 speed manual for true driving enthusiasts.  It would cost less than $25,000, and achieve an estimated 40 mpg.  The Code 130R features aggressive styling with a striking front fascia reminiscent of 1970s Camaros, yet retaining a strong sense of originality.  The concept has a bold profile with a short wheelbase, and interesting futuristic taillights. If it were to go into production, this would be a great car for people who want the fun-factor of a sports car provided by a RWD short wheelbase platform, with the affordability of a sub $25k, 40 mpg compact car.