Archives for February 2015

McLaren 675LT

McLaren 675 LT

The LT stands for Longtail, apparently, which McLaren has previously used to identify the (more) lightweight, track focused and higher power models. And so this will sit alongside the 650 in the lineup, rather than replace it.

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Offered as a Coupé only, the 675LT will be the most track-focused, yet road legal, model in the McLaren Super Series, with a power to weight ratio that eclipses established rivals. The sprint from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) takes just 2.9 seconds, with controlled torque delivery ensuring optimised traction off the line. Acceleration continues at relentless pace with the 200 km/h barrier broken in 7.9 seconds, on to a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph).

310798_McLaren 675LT_studio_07

 

The purposeful driver-focused cabin of the 675LT gives even further indication of track potential. A pair of ultra lightweight carbon fibre-shelled bucket seats, upholstered in Alcantara® as standard and modelled on those in the McLaren P1™, provide comfort and support with no compromise on overall weight. A subtle 675LT logo features on the headrest of each seat, and is also present on the rev counter. In a change to the other models in the Super Series, the air conditioning controls are now incorporated within the intuitive touchscreen infotainment system.

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The McLaren 675LT will make its global debut at the 85th Geneva Motor Show at 12.15 CET (11.15 GMT) on Tuesday 3 March 2015.

Aston Martin Vulcan

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If you didn’t think the regular Aston Martin’s were beautiful enough, maybe this very exclusive, very expensive track only special edition will tickle your fancy? Only 24 will be produced worldwide, so if you are actually planning to drive it on a track (which is the only place you can), you better make sure you’re both very good and not pushing too hard, as I dread to imagine what the cost to rebuild one of these things is if you have an off. At least there’s a (very) special driver training program to go with the car…

With its 7.0 liter V12 800-plus bhp powerplant developed in conjunction with Aston Martin Racing, this front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car draws extensively on the brand’s rich GT motorsport experience.

Utilising the techniques of world-class motorsport engineering, the supercar sees its power-to-weight ratio exceed those of the GTE cars which compete in the FIA’s annual World Endurance Championship.

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Comprising cutting edge engineering including that sourced from the brand’s successful GT racing campaign, the car features a carbon fibre monocoque and body constructed by Aston Martin’s long-term specialist body engineering and manufacturing partner Multimatic, integral limited-slip differential, magnesium torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft and Brembo racing calipers acting on carbon ceramic racing disc brakes which measure 380mm in diameter at the front and 360mm at the rear. Drive is channelled to the 345/30 x19 rear wheels and Michelin race specification tyres through a race-bred rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential shift gearbox. Track-derived pushrod suspension with anti-dive geometry is complemented by Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars front and rear, driver-adjustable anti-lock braking, and variable traction control.

The new track car will comply with all relevant FIA race safety requirements.

Aston Martin Vulcan

Prior to taking delivery of their cars, owners will be offered the opportunity to take part in an extensive and detailed programme of intensive track driver training.

Experienced racers including Aston Martin Racing’s Le Mans-winning Darren Turner will support owners on their learning journey, offering them the chance to refine their track driving technique and increase their ability through a carefully-constructed series of practical and theoretical driver training events. Using a number of exciting high performance Aston Martins including the V12 Vantage S and One-77 road cars and the Vantage GT4 race car, customers will gradually build experience and develop their track technique, before beginning their thrilling personal journeys into the immense performance potential of their Aston Martin Vulcan.

Aston Martin Vulcan Interior

David King said: “We will be running a series of exclusive track day events commencing in 2016 that will offer the opportunity for these customers to explore their driving capabilities, and the car’s performance potential, on some of the world’s most famous and glamorous race circuits.” There will also be the option of time in the virtual race car world of Darren Turner’s Base Performance Simulators, where buyers will have ample opportunity to further refine their driving style in the safety of the digital race track.

 

Porsche Cayman GT4

Porsche Cayman GT4

Well, Porsche finally did what we all wanted them to do ever since the Cayman first graced this world – made a version that was actually faster than a 911. And from the looks of it all, they have done an exceptional job with this GT4 performance version. This is the first Porsche GT sports car based on the Cayman and features components of the 911 GT3. Clocking a lap time of 7 minutes and 40 seconds on the North Loop of the Nürburgring, the Cayman GT4 earns the same lap time as the 2011 911 GT3 and positions itself as the new benchmark atop its market segment.

Porsche Cayman GT4  Rear

The engine, chassis, brakes, and aerodynamic design of the Cayman GT4 are configured for maximum driving dynamics while retaining the versatility and everyday utility that are typical of the two-seater Porsche coupe. Powered by a 385 hp 3.8-liter flat-six engine derived from the 911 Carrera S engine, the Cayman GT4 transmits its power solely through a six-speed manual transmission with dynamic gearbox mounts. Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in 4.2 seconds; its top track speed is 183 mph. The chassis – which features a 30 mm lower ride height and a generously sized brake system – consists almost entirely of components from the 911 GT3.

Porsche Cayman GT4 Interior

The interior of the Cayman GT4 focuses on maximizing the experience of unfiltered driving enjoyment for both driver and passenger. Standard sport seats, which are upholstered in a combination of leather and Alcantara®, offer excellent lateral support. The new Cayman GT4 sport steering wheel guarantees ideal control and direct steering feedback due to its compact dimensions.

Porsche Cayman GT4 Yellow

The starting MSRP for the Cayman GT4 is $84,600. If you’re in the market for a new car that can give you huge grins on your commute and at the weekend track visits, I can’t imagine this being very far from the top of your list. Definitely in the want category for me….

Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS Blue

The day has finally arrived when Ford release details of their new super-hot hatch, and the rumors were true – all-wheel drive, over 300 bhp, manual/stick and it’s coming to the USA!!!! I think I’m too excited to slice and dice the juicy bits from the press release so I’ll just post it all below for you to read through.

  • Third-generation Ford Focus RS will be available in major markets around the world and for the first time in the United States; Focus RS follows the reveal last month of the new Ford GT supercar – a new era of Ford performance that will deliver 12 new vehicles by 2020
  • All-new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control paired with a powerful 2.3-liter EcoBoost® four-cylinder engine will provide impressive performance
  • Aggressive, functional design inside and out makes Focus RS the most powerful production Focus ever, with highly capable performance on both road and track
  • Professional rally driver and star of Gymkhana films Ken Block teamed with Ford as a consultant on development of Focus RS

Ford Focus Front

Ford today revealed the all-new Focus RS, a high-performance road car that debuts Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control, which contributes to performance never before seen in a Focus RS. The all-new Focus RS is equipped with a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost® engine producing well in excess of 315 horsepower.

Focus RS is the latest unveiling in a new era of Ford performance that will bring more than 12 performance vehicles to global customers by 2020.

In addition to pleasing enthusiasts, these vehicles help deliver the company’s One Ford plan for profitable growth, product excellence and innovation in every part of its business.

“The all-new Focus RS is a serious machine with high-performance technology and innovative engineering that sets a new benchmark for driving exhilaration on the road and track,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “The RS line has a proud history of technical breakthroughs that have migrated to mainstream Ford vehicles to benefit all of our customers, and the new Focus RS is no exception. It’s a great example of our passion for innovation through performance, and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound.”

Developed by a small team of global Ford Performance engineers, the new Focus RS is the third generation in the line, following models launched in 2002 and 2009. It will be the 30th car to wear the legendary RS badge, following such technology trendsetters as the 1970 Escort RS1600 with 16 valves, 1985 Sierra RS Cosworth with turbocharging and radical aerodynamics and 1992 Escort RS Cosworth with four-wheel drive.

Sporting a dramatic exterior design that delivers enhanced aerodynamics and cooling, the new Focus RS offers technologies new to the RS line including Ford SYNC® connectivity system.

Ford Focus Rear

The all-new Focus RS is the first-ever RS model that will be sold around the world, including the United States, and produced for all markets at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany, manufacturing plant beginning late this year.

“We are acutely aware of the benchmarks we have set ourselves with RS performance models through the years, and rest assured this new car raises the game to a new level,” said Jim Farley, president, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“Just as important is the fact that with technologies such as EcoBoost, we are able to demonstrate how an innovation that powers almost every car in our range can also be the heartbeat of our finest performance cars,” added Farley.

Gymkhana and World Rallycross star Ken Block was brought on as a consultant on the all-new Focus RS, and joined the Ford Performance team at the preview event in Cologne, Germany –where the RS legend was born with the Ford 15M RS in 1968.

Innovative Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive offers a new level of handling
The all-new Focus RS exploits innovative new Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring to deliver a new level of handling capability and driver enjoyment, combining outstanding traction and grip with exciting agility and cornering speed.

The Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system is based on twin electronically controlled clutch packs on each side of the rear drive unit. These manage the car’s front/rear torque split, and can control the side-to-side torque distribution on the rear axle – delivering the “torque vectoring” capability that has a dramatic impact on handling and cornering stability.

Ford Focus Blue 5

The control unit in the rear drive unit continuously varies the front/rear and side-to-side torque distribution to suit the current driving situation, monitoring inputs from multiple vehicle sensors 100 times per second. A maximum of 70 percent of the drive torque can be diverted to the rear axle. Up to 100 percent of available torque at the rear axle can be sent to each rear wheel.

During cornering, the rear drive unit pre-emptively diverts torque to the outer rear wheel immediately based on inputs such as steering wheel angle, lateral acceleration, yaw and speed. This torque transfer has the effect of “driving” the car into the bend, achieving improved turn-in and stability, and virtually eliminating understeer.

The AWD system has been tuned to deliver exceptional grip – with lateral acceleration exceeding 1 g – and great cornering speed and acceleration out of a bend. With neutral and adjustable limit handling, and the ability to achieve controlled oversteer drifts at the track, Focus RS delivers an exceptional fun-to-drive experience.

To deliver optimum driving dynamics, the Ford Performance All-Wheel-Drive system was calibrated alongside the car’s advanced Electronic Stability Control, in particular the brake-based Torque Vectoring Control system that works in parallel with the torque-vectoring AWD. Other exclusive chassis features include sports suspension with spring rates, bushings and antiroll bars – all of which are stiffer than those found in Focus ST, and two-mode switchable dampers, which offer a firmer setting for track driving. A carefully tuned electric power-assisted steering system working in combination with a more rigid front suspension knuckle design and shorter-link arms delivers connected and responsive steering with outstanding feel.

“The Focus ST and Fiesta ST showed that we can achieve sporty steering feel with an electric power-assisted steering system, and the RS raises the bar,” said Dave Pericak, director, Global Ford Performance. “We set out to provide drivers with steering that is very direct, precise and well balanced – and the RS delivers.”

Ford engineers worked closely with Michelin to develop a choice of high-performance 235/35 R19 tires to complement the driving dynamics of the Focus RS: a standard Pilot Super Sport tire for every-day use, and – for the first time on an RS – an optional Pilot Sport Cup 2 tire for enhanced vehicle dynamics on the track.

The vehicle’s exterior design has also been developed to support the dynamic objectives. Careful aerodynamic optimization of the front splitter, rear spoiler and underbody features eliminates lift forces, and the final design delivers balanced performance with zero lift front and rear for optimum high-speed handling and stability.

Ford Focus RS

Unique powertrain for increased output
Ford’s EcoBoost technology powers Focus RS and nearly every new Ford vehicle. The specially engineered 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine has levels of power and torque that translate into impressive acceleration when combined with the exceptional all-wheel-drive traction.

Projected to produce well in excess of 315 horsepower, the custom unit shares its fundamental structure with the all-aluminum 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine in the all-new Mustang, but has been significantly upgraded through a comprehensive package of design changes.

Increased output is generated by a new low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger with larger compressor that delivers significantly greater airflow, along with a much bigger intercooler to maximize charge density. Engine breathing is enhanced through a less restrictive intake design, and a large-bore high-performance exhaust system with an electronically controlled valve in the tailpipe that helps optimize the balance of back pressure and noise output.

The cylinder head is produced from an upgraded alloy material capable of withstanding higher temperatures, and is mounted on a more robust head gasket with improved thermal capability. The cylinder block employs stronger high-tensile cast iron liners.

Engine cooling also has been given the highest priority, with engineers creating additional space within the front of the vehicle to house a significantly larger radiator pack that provides the level of cooling demanded for hard circuit use.

Meticulous calibration work ensures that the power unit delivers excellent low-end responsiveness with a powerful mid-range pull, climbing to a free-revving top end up to a maximum rev limit of 6,800 rpm.

The six-speed manual transmission has been optimized for the enthusiast driver with a shorter gear lever to deliver faster and more accurate shifts. Both the transmission and the clutch have been upgraded with stronger components to cope with the engine’s increased torque output.

With its high-efficiency EcoBoost design featuring direct fuel injection, twin independent variable camshaft timing, advanced turbocharging and Auto Start-Stop as standard, the engine also delivers significantly improved fuel consumption.

focus rs interior

High-performance design for stunning looks with optimum function
Focus RS exterior design is both dramatic and functional, with a more powerful and muscular character. Designers worked closely with Ford Performance to ensure that the necessary functional attributes were achieved, focusing on the aerodynamic downforce and balance delivered by the design, as well as the cooling demands of the powertrain and brakes.

RS features a powerful new front end appearance with a bold upper trapezoidal grille above the deep splitter, incorporating the largest possible apertures for engine cooling. A wide, muscular stance is emphasized by the lower wings and large outboard openings on each side of the car, which feed the brake cooling ducts and house vertically mounted lamps.

At the rear, the fascia panel is dominated by the exceptionally large diffuser, which optimizes airflow from under the vehicle and contains the twin round high-performance exhaust outlets. Focus RS for Europe and Asia markets will also get a clear central fog lamp. The distinctive rear roof spoiler is carefully integrated with the car’s silhouette through body-colored side panels featuring a subtle embossed RS logo.

The dynamic side profile is emphasized by sculptured rocker panels, and the bold wheel lips that house a choice of multi-spoke 19-inch RS alloy wheels – including a high-performance lightweight forged design finished in low-gloss black, which offers enhanced strength and impact resistance.

The high-performance character of Focus RS is reflected inside the car, where heavily bolstered partial-leather Recaro sports seats serve as the centerpiece of the cockpit.

The interior features the reworked Focus control layout with its simpler, more intuitive design. SYNC connectivity provides access to audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones via voice control, and via a high-definition, 8-inch color touch screen. SYNC can be specified with rear view camera with park distance control, as well as a Sony premium sound system with 10-speakers including a subwoofer.

The RS driving experience is reinforced by a new flat-bottomed steering wheel with a soft-feel leather-covered rim, alloy pedals and unique instrument graphics within the main cluster. An additional bank of gauges above the center console displays turbocharger boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure.

Four striking exterior colors include Nitrous Blue, a vibrant four-coat metallic finish exclusive to RS, as well as Stealth Gray, Absolute Black and Frozen White. The car revealed in Cologne features the same special Liquid Blue color scheme first seen on the all-new Ford GT revealed last month at the North American International Auto Show.