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Using the words “Ford Granada” and “Cool” in the same sentence, with exception to the 1991 Granada Cosworth, is sort of an oxymoron, as there was never anything cool about it. The Mark II Granada was a compact sedan that peaked out at a lackluster 160 horsepower and bottomed out at a sub-Geo-Metro 54 horsepower. That said, there are ways to make just about any car cool, so what in the world could a few guys from the U.K. do to make this econo-box even remotely cool?

The answer to that question is easy: rip out the stock engine, get to hacking up the body a little bit, and drop 1,700-horsepower worth of engine into it. Yup, somehow these fine monstercar builders got their hands on a Koenigsegg CCX 4.7-liter V-8 with twin turbochargers and dropped it into this circa-2,800-pound body.

In addition to dropping in nearly 2,000 ponies, the group of automotive mad scientists installed a 2003/4 Ford Mustang Cobra rear independent suspension, which appears to include the rear axle assembly. This beast comes to a halt using a set of big and nasty Porsche disc brakes.

Needless to say, this is freaking bad-ass and we cannot put it any other way without getting too graphic. The only bad thing is that they did not release any official performance specs on this supercar-powered granny car, except that its only limitation in horsepower is how much boost they push into it. Without any boost, the engine cranks out 550 to 600 horsepower, at 14.7 psi it crests 1,000 ponies and at 34.8 psi, it crests 2,000 horsepower.

Regardless of its final output, just the install itself is impressive. The builders also posted a video (above) of it running, for those non-believers out there.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 0

Ferrari hasn’t been one to use turbochargers in its cars in recent years. Its engineers have prided themselves in maximizing the power from V-8 and V-12 naturally-aspirated powerhouses since the F40 went out of production in 1992. Now that we are just passing the 2-decade mark since the turbocharger went extinct in the prancing horse’s lineup, we are getting news that a new California was spotted and videoed sporting the familiar whistle of a turbocharger.

Here’s the deal though… It has already been announced that Ferrari is manufacturing, or at least helping manufacture, a pair of turbocharged power plants for Maserati, Lancia, and Alfa Romeo . Could this mysterious whistling California just be the test mule for the engine that Ferrari is developing? It is a distinct possibility, but it is mighty early in the process to be mule testing a complete engine, unless the project has been going on longer than we know.

Then again, there is the possibility that Ferrari is simply equipping its test mule fleet with various turbos to test their responsiveness and reliability to make sure the best option is chosen. The other possibility, which is the most intriguing one, is the chance that Ferrari is thinking about turbocharging the California.

The California is relatively underpowered compared to its entry-level rival, the Lamborghini Gallardo , and a turbocharger would definitely help close that 97-horsepower gap without adding two more cylinders to the California. Back in 2008, it was reported that Ferrari were developing a flat-six turbocharged engine to use in a selection of its future sports car, and this turbo California could be that exact car. It’s not yet known if this particular mule was sporting that six-cylinder engine, but a turbocharged Ferrari with less than eight-cylinders definitely makes sense if Ferrari aims to reduce carbon emissions in its future cars.

Regardless of this being just a test mule for its sister companies’ new engine or one for Ferrari itself that sounds like one monstrous turbo, even the spool-down noise is obnoxiously loud – in a good way.

You be the judge, is this boost for Ferrari or is it just early testing of the donor engine for Lancia, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo? We are not too certain, but either way, it sounds awesome.

When six-speed transmissions began becoming more and more popular throughout the mid-2000s, drivers began to adapt to them. For most drivers, the change from five to six speeds was a relatively simple one, as it was just one more gear downward. Now with automatic transmissions exhibiting better fuel economy than manuals, thanks 7- and 8-speed automatics, the manual transmission needs to adapt or die.

In true Darwin-like fashion the 6-speed evolved into a 7-speed on the most recent Porsche 911 , so why hasn’t any one else followed suit? The truth behind it is that most experts decided that six speeds is about all that the average human can handle in a car. Well, BMW BMW appears to be joining Porsche in proving the experts wrong, as according to patent drawings that surfaced recently, there is a 7-speed manual in development for BMW .

BMW isn’t trying to say that the experts are 100 percent incorrect, as all signs point toward electronic gating of the gears, which prevent a driver from accidentally shifting to 1st gear when going 70 mph and 7th gear when going 20 mph.

These drawings combined with electronic gating of the gears also bring about the possibility of a semi-truck-like 8-speed transmission option. An 8th speed would definitely place the manual transmission back into at least a 1st place tie with new automatics for fuel economy supremacy, but their widespread reality has yet to be seen, and the verdict is still out on the 7-speed variant of the 911. To date it seems like a winner, as it gives the driver six shortly spaced gears then a 7th wide, overdrive-like speed.

We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available on this patent drawing of a 7-speed transmission.

KTM X-Bow

The KTM X-Bow is a n aggressively designed sports car geared towards being light as possible. In fact, many of the vehicle’s exterior and interior components are vacant to save weight. Well, that design may have brought out some setbacks for KTM because some customers were not too pleased with the layout. For the next generation X-Bow, the company will be adding both the doors and the windscreen previously left out of the look.

The announcement for these additions was made by Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM AG, in an interview with Top Gear. He said that the company is currently trying to find a solution for this new layout because adding a windscreen to the car creates lots of homologation compliance issues. In order to offer the windscreen, the company also needs a heating system to de-mist it, doors to allow easier access to the cockpit, windscreen wipers, and much more.

Initially, KTM wanted to add a bubble roof, but because this would have caused even more homologation problems, they have opted for a windscreen plus a temporary ’cruising home parasol’ that can be used up to speeds of 80 mph.

The next X-Bow will even try to assault the LMP2 category at Le Mans, most likely using a five-cylinder engine under the hood, and not the current four-cylinder engine.

Source: TopGear

In the last year, we have seen Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology make its way into various vehicles in an effort to increase fuel efficiency without reinventing the wheel. These technologies include advanced weight reduction, reduced friction, forced induction, and ultra-high compression ratings. All of these advancements combine to boost the fuel economy ratings of Mazda’s street cars.

Now Mazda is ready to take SKYACTIV to the next level, and introduce it into racing, via the Grand-Am Road Racing Series. The first engine that Mazda will offer to race teams is the 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D engine, which is an ultra-high-efficiency diesel engine. Now, before you start wondering how Mazda expects this engine to be competitive in the Grand-Am series, keep in mind that this engine will only be raced in the GX class, which is a class dedicated to alternative fuels and highly fuel efficient vehicles.

The SKYACTIV-D that is currently being developed will boast a 14-to-1 compression ratio, a two-stage turbocharger and a 5,200 rpm redline. In comparison to the current Mazda 2 Mazda 2 .2-liter diesel engine, the SKYACTIV-D is 10 percent lighter, has 20 percent less internal friction, and gets 20 percent better fuel economy.

The production numbers are not out yet for this racing engine, but we do know that the production SKYACTIV 2.2-liter diesel produces 173 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm. We will update you with the official base numbers once Mazda completes the dyno phase of its testing.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

The Toyota GT 86 is fast becoming a popular sports car choice in a number of worldwide markets, so much so that a country like Germany will receive a host of new accessories for the Japanese sports coupe.

Hey, if Italy can get the 86 First Edition , the Germans sure aren’t far behind.

Remember, the GT 86 is being prepared as a no-frills sports car, so if you want to add your own personal touches to it, you can do so at your own behest. In order to address people’s needs for creativity, Toyota Germany has released a number of new accessories that can be seen on the sports car.

Taking a look at the package, it appears pretty similar to the one being offered in Italy. The racing stripes on the hood and the roof are there, as are the decals on the sides. On the flip side, the German accessories for the GT 86 also include carbon fiber mirror caps, a choice of wheels - the OZ racing Ultraleggera alloys cost €529 ($657) - suspension tweaks, a new JBL sound system, and a touch-screen display with navigation.

Those last three accessories cost €189 ($234), €1,045 ($1,300), and €695 ($863), respectively.

If you needed proof that the GT 86 is becoming a hot ticket in multiple towns, you only need to look at two countries that are famous for their super cars - Italy and Germany - showing some serious love for the Japanese sports coupe to realize that the GT 86 is here to stay.

We often talk about how mergers and shared productions have really made the automotive world do a complete 180 in recent years. A great example of this is back in the late-1980s when Ferrari and Maserati were direct competitors and no one could have ever imagined that in 1999, Ferrari would have complete ownership of Maserati. Then, Maserati ended up being split between Alfa Romeo and Ferrari in 2005.

What would be good for a barrel of laughs would be to travel to the mid-1980s and tell Enzo Ferrari that in 2012 his company would be manufacturing a pair of engines for Maserati . Well, all irony aside, that is exactly what’s happening, but also included in this €50 million ($62 million) production deal are Alfa Romeo and Lancia . All four of these models are under the only ownership umbrella that rivals Volkswagen AG, Fiat S.p.A., which is what allows them to share information without fear of losing sales to one another.

The first engine to hit the market will likely be a twin-turbo V-6 powerhouse that will crank out up to 450 ponies. The second engine to come from this development sharing will be a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) V-8 model that will likely crest the 500-horsepower mark. Alfa Romeo has had plans for a replacement for its sports sedan, the 159, but a proper engine hasn’t been developed for it yet. These engines would certainly fit the need and give it a whopping 200- to 300-horsepower increase over the 2011 159’s 3.2-liter V-6.

For Lancia, we really can’t see a model that these engines are suited for, as Lancia currently only has a rebadged Chrysler 200 in its lineup. Maserati can slap either of these engines in any of its cars and it would look right at home, as long as all “Ferrari Ferrari ” badges are stripped. Then again, the automotive world could pay back Maserati by forcing it to slap a “by Ferrari” tag on it like the 1989 through 1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati that we all know and “love.”

We’ll keep you updated on this as more information becomes available.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 4
McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren has continually stated that it will stop at nothing in order to turn the MP4-12C into the world’s greatest junior supercar, and as we know from past experiences from the legendary F1, perfection in McLaren’s eyes is just around the corner and development will not end until it is reached.

In line with this popular statement, or motto, McLaren has revealed that all early MP4-12C owners are now being offered a free power upgrade to help bump the supercar into what McLaren hopes will be its very own league. This bump will be well above all rival cars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia and the recently launched Porsche 911/991 .

Power is said to be increased by 25HP, lifting the car’s overall output to 625 horsepower which is around 50HP more than the top-of-the-line 458 Italia, meaning Ferrari better be planning something special with its upcoming 458 Scuderia. It’s unclear if any torque gains have been achieved through the simple remapping of the engine’s computer system, but we this is the case.

In addition to this relatively large change in power, McLaren is also said to be offering remote passenger door opening to try and get around the MP4-12C’s notoriously difficult to open doors, while a programmable engine note and a few tweaks to the high-end Meridian sound system will also be conducted free of charge.

All of the aforementioned changes should be fitted to cars by October 2012, before McLaren finishes its upgrades on the new IRIS navigation system which we suspect will also be fitted to all 12C’s once the British marque has perfected every last component of the system.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 3
Subaru Building an FA20 Engine with a Turbocharger; is it for the BRZ?

Turbochargers were once only used to bump up horsepower and torque figures on tuned cars in the Japanese mountains, but as the years have rolled on they’ve become more popular to increase fuel-efficiency while not limiting power or taking away from the driving capabilities of a car.

In line with more manufacturers adopting turbo’s across North America , a report from Honeywell suggests that sales of brand new, turbo-powered cars in the U.S. are set to climb to approximately 3.2 million, up from 2.2 million in 2011.

This incredible increase is partially due to the fact that both Ford and General Motors have really begun developing and implementing turbo technology into its new models. In addition to these startling figures, it has also been revealed that in 2008, just 2% of all passenger vehicles produced in the U.S. came fitted with a turbo, but this rose to 9.5% in 2011 and is expected to soar to 23.5% in the next five years.

Vice President for the American branch of Honeywell, Tony Schultz stated "With fuel prices being a significant concern for consumers and businesses, turbochargers are a smart choice for getting more miles to the gallon. Turbocharging technology has been a fuel economy driver for decades in the United States for the on- and off-highway commercial vehicle market, as well as in global passenger vehicle markets like Europe," added Schultz.

Curiously however, no details have been revealed about sales of superchargers, either by themselves or fitted to cars, and perhaps this indicates that superchargers are on the way out.

And that makes us very sad.

Superchargers operate on pretty much the same premise as turbo’s, except for the fact they’re directly connected to the given engine through a belt or crankshaft, and as we all know, they provide the most glorious sound at full throttle. However, we do have that sinking feeling...

Source: Carscoop

The automotive world is full of trends and copycatting, so it is not uncommon to see drivetrain modifications start off small and explode as the years progress. If you think back, you will find one of the slower growing trends in automotive history was fuel injection, as it dates way back to 1925, then by 1940 it was first made electronic by Alfa Romeo engineers. In 1952, it became commercially available via Bosch, but only a few automakers made use of it. By the early-1990s, all but a handful of cars had electronic fuel injection of some sort.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of rate of growth, is the elimination of V-8 engines in favor of more practical turbocharged V-6 engines. The Ford F-150 has been on the front lines of this V-8 abandonment front and it all began with the elimination of all but two V-8 engines in 2011 – the 5.0-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8 were the only 8-cylinder engines available – and replacing them with a series of V-6 engines, including: a high-output non-turbo, a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter, a 302-horsepower 3.7-liter, and a 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine.

Since this successful introduction of forced-induction V-6 engines by Ford, seemingly every company is working on a hot turbocharged V-6 to replace their V-8 engines. The most notable is General Motor’s work on a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 for its upcoming Escalade redesign and the new Silverado and Sierra. There are also whispers of a twin-turbo V-6 for the Camaro . Dodge has fallen behind, but has turned its focus more toward making its existing V-8 powered trucks more economical, but will eventually have to switch to turbo power to keep pace.

So the question on everyone’s mind is how do these turbo charged V-6s stack up to the aging and fuel-hungry V-8s?

Click past the jump to read our comparison between the two options.


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