Back in August 2012, Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid established an impressive speed record of 185.394 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Just a couple of short months later, the vehicle returned to the scene of the victory to break its own record, and succeeded in doing so! The car averaged 186.313 mph over two runs during the SCTA’s World Finals event, eclipsing the previous record by 18.8 mph. Even more impressive is that, during the first round, it hit a top speed of 187.147 mph.
For those who do not remember, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid combines a 1.4-liter turbocharged gasoline generating 150 HP and 184 lb/ft of torque with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery that produces an additional 27 HP. The battery consists of 60 individual cells with a combined energy capacity of 5 Ah.
"We’re very proud that the Jetta Hybrid has not only posted the fastest speed for a hybrid at Bonneville, but that it has gone out and broken an SCTA land speed record as well," said Jonathan Browning, CEO and President, Volkswagen Group of America. "Achieving this record at Bonneville shows that the all-new 2013 Jetta Hybrid is a distinctly different offering in the compact hybrid class, offering excellent fuel economy while retaining the fun-to-drive nature expected from a Volkswagen."
Just about 10 years ago, VW introduced an all-new SUV bearing a name that only those with the most talented tongues could pronounce: the Touareg. It was such an odd name that VW actually made a commercial poking fun at the fact that no one really knew how to pronounce it, much like the Merkur tongue twister in the mid-1980s.
In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, VW is releasing a special edition Touareg Edition X. On the outside, you have a standard Touareg – one of the more stylish crossover SUVs available – but it features a set of 19-inch “Moab” wheels, silver anodized roof rails, bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime runners, and smoked taillights. You also get the “Chrome & Style” package, tinted windows, and “Touareg X” logos.
On the inside, your hind side is supported by luxurious Amber Brown Nappa leather in a braid embossed style. You get real ebony inlays on the door panels and on the instrument panel to add a little elegance to the package. The front door sills boast illuminated “Touareg X” decals and you also get color-coordinated stitching on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, gear shifter, and the floor mats.
You have a wide array of engine and drivetrain options in the Touareg Edition X, as there are five different options available, including a hybrid drivetrain. The only option that VW offers us any details on it the 150 kW (201-horsepower) 3.0-liter V-6 TDI engine. This model with the 8-speed automatic transmission runs €61,025 ($79,363 at the current exchange rates). That’s a ridiculous €10,500 premium over the base SE model for minimal additions. According to the press release, the Touareg Edition X is available now, but there is no mention of its U.S. availability.
Once VW releases all of the official standard features we can better assess it. For now, it just seems way overpriced.
At the Paris Motor Show, Motor Trend had a very telling sit down with Porsche CEO, Matthias Müller, about several of the upcoming models. This interview not only uncovered the fact that the entire lineup will be undergoing a facial and rump redesign, but also that a new, ultra-powerful hybrid drivetrain will grace the Cayenne in 2014. Almost missed amongst this plethora of new Porsche goodies was a statement by Müller that Porsche is hoping for a sub-7-second time around the `Ring,
If you recall correctly, the 918 Spyder recently screamed through the Nürburgring at an unreal 7:14. When asked about what this awesome time means to the 918, Müller said “That means this car will be a huge – huge – milestone for Porsche. One year ago we had a target of 7:20-7:22 or something. Last week one of our engineers drove one lap in 7:14. The record is 7:11. So I suppose at the end of the year, we will have a new record at the Nürburgring.” The record in question is not the overall record, but rather the major automaker record, now held by the 2010 Viper ACR.
Müller was later asked how fast he thinks the 918 Spyder can lap the `Ring and he replied “If we’re lucky, it will be under 7minutes… but, I don’t know, we’ll see.” With the overall Nürburgring record, held by the Radical SR8 LM, sitting at 6:48 might Porsche be shooting for the overall crown too?
To drop 11 seconds from the 918’s current lap time will be quite a feat and to drop 23 seconds – the time needed to match the record – is downright impossible. To hit the sub-7-minute mark, however, Porsche would need to turn its attention to creating an all-out racing version of the 918 and scratch its attempts to keep it a true production model.
Doing the rough math, the record-holding Radical SR8 lapped the ring with a 0.632 horsepower/kg rating and Porsche estimates that the 795-horsepower 918 with the “Weissach package” weighs just 1,665 kg. That puts the 918 at a 0.447 horsepower/kg rating. This means, in theory, Porsche needs to do one of two things to even come close to the SR8’s heels. The two options are either drop the 918’s weight by an additional 407 kg, which is nearly impossible, or increase its output to about 1,050 horsepower. The latter certainly sounds like the more obvious and possible route. We, of course, cannot take into account vehicle handling and driver skill, as those two variables can sway significantly based on track conditions and other uncontrollable variables.
We’ll keep an eye out to see if Porsche can really pull this off.
No one except the top guns at Porsche really know whether the newly released Panamera Sport Turismo Concept will ever reach production or not. That said, if you are a fan of its styling cues, particularly the headlights and taillights (which we definitely are), you are in for a good surprise. Porsche has just announced that these cues will be transferred to the entire Porsche lineup.
If you hadn’t noticed already, the two styles already exist in the sport car builder’s lineup, as the taillights are derived from the 911 and the headlights are obviously slightly modified mockups of the new Boxster’s headlights. This smashup of the two styles, according to Matthias Müller’s interview with Motor Trend, will see first production life on the Porsche Macan, and will be carried to other models from there.
In the same interview, Müller also confirmed that the plug-in hybrid drivetrain that we saw in the Sport Turismo concept will see production sooner rather than later. It will debut in the Panamera next year and then appear in the Cayenne in 2014. There is no confirmation on whether the impressive 428 horsepower will carry over too, but we think it’s safe to assume it will.
To say the least, it looks like Porsche is ready to revolutionize the supercar and sports car arenas once again with these coming additions and we are excited to see how the dominos fall. Add in the fact that the 918 Spyder will soon hit the market and you can color us flat-out excited to see how the Porsche lineup evolves in coming years. These changes are exactly what Porsche has needed for many years and avoided in the past out of what we can only assume is a fear of change.
Keep it up, Porsche, we love it!
Let’s face the facts, as automotive reporters, we love to get our grimy hands on the steering wheel of as many cars as possible and see what they can do. The reality of the situation is that some car manufacturers simply don’t let us. They will, however, allow us to do a “ride story” which puts us in the passenger seat while a professional driver from their company shows you what the car can do. Often times, this driver knows the car like the back of his hand and knows precisely how to make it look great.
For that reason, ride alongs often suck and we usually just give it an “Eh, no thanks.” Well, even the likes of Chris Harris sometimes get the “ride story” treatment, but for good reason. This time around, the ride-along opportunity comes in the passenger seat of the yet-to-be-released Porsche 918 Spyder – a car that none of us would decline a ride in. To boot, this ride along is set to take place in the Nürburgring, where the 918 Spyder completed an impressive 7:14 lap time. That’s one ride along that even Chris Harris can’t decline.
The video is extremely telling, as Harris gets the chance to grille one of the folks closely involved in the 918’s production and gets some really good information on its drivetrain, frame, and, most importantly, its awesome engine. We also get a good listen of how the 918 Spyder sounds from the inside, which is just as impressive as the information Harris drags out of the Porsche rep.
By far the most impressive sound from inside the car is when the driver switches this Porsche from “Silent Mode” to “Full-Race” mode. The sound of that flat-plane crank pumping the titanium connecting rods at the push of a button is enough to make any auto buff’s day.
Have a look and listen, it is well worth the time spent!
Fresh from managing to nickel and dime an extra $100 million from private investors, Fisker is all but admitting that it needs more help – significantly more. In a rcent interview, Fisker let the cat out of the proverbial bag that it is currently looking to ink some partnership deals with larger manufacturers.
Though there is no mention of who Fisker may be looking to partner up with, its CEO-for-the-moment, Tony Posawatz, said that a partnership is “on our radar screen.” Chances are it will be looking for deals similar to the ones that Tesla has entered into with Daimler and Toyota. The real question is who would be interested in tying themselves to Fisker at this point in the game?
With the financial, quality, and safety issues that Fisker has endured lately, it may be more of a burden than it’s worth. This is almost the identical reason that no one is interested in Lotus to date; it’s just too risky of a venture.
Fisker may be willing to sweet the pot on a potential deal by covering more production costs or giving up partial ownership to help draw in an industry leader, like acquisition-happy Volkswagen, in order to get some much-needed cash flow. As it stands right now, Fisker needs help and a partnership may be its only way to survive.
We’ll keep an eye on this to see if Fisker can convince a fellow automaker to take a risk by inking a production deal of some sort.
So, Fisker has been out and about doing its corporate panhandling, err, "fundraising program" in an attempt to raise $150 million to keep its doors open and develop a red hot following to the on-fire Karma, which sold 1,500 models – all of which have been recalled at least once. Fisker plans to release this new follow-up model, the Atlantic, in December 2012.
Well, it looks like interest is starting to decrease in the Fisker line up, as it fell a full $50 million short of its fundraising goal. Fisker’s latest CEO stand-in, Tony Posawatz, seems to think that this is plenty of money to keep the heat turned on and develop its follow up model to the Karma. In a statement, Posawatz said ““We are grateful to both our investors and our initial customers who have supported our company and are quickly becoming our biggest advocates.” He also said “This is another major vote of confidence in Fisker’s pioneering technology and business model”
Last time we checked, falling short of a goal by 33 percent is far from a “vote of confidence.” Then again, Fisker did thank its initial customer base, which we are sure will add plenty to the pot as they pay to upgrade the crummy infotainment system in the Karma that Fisker said it will not upgrade for free.
Since 2007, Fisker has swindled investors out of $1.2 billion dollars and the federal government also tossed in an additional $193 million before turning off the leaking faucet that was its $529 million loan promise to Fisker. So that means they blew through about $240 million per year.
So the Fisker saga will continue for at least a short amount of time, as that $100 million likely won’t get them too far – maybe another six months. We should get to see at least a few CEO changes as it burns through the quarters and pennies that investors tossed into Fisker’s coffee can as they drove by…
We wonder how Tesla is doing…
Click past the jump to read Fisker’s press release.
Okay, so as we all know, the automotive rumormill has a habit of bouncing back and forth before finally resting on the truth. Back in August, we heard a rumor that the Alpine would be built in a joint venture between Renault-Nissan and Caterham. Then just days later, we started exploring the possibility of the Alpine and Infiniti Emerg-E being a Renault-Nissan and Lotus project, given the Emerg-E was already built on the Lotus Evora platform and it would be simpler to build both the Emerg-e and Alpine on the same platform.
Well, it looks as if the Lotus and Nissan talk is done with, as Caterham appears to have swooped in and all but completed a deal with Renault Nissan. Sky News is reporting that Caterham boss, Tony Fernandes, is just about to put ink to paper on a $400 million production deal that will join Caterham and Renault-Nissan at the hip on the Alpine project. The deal would involve a 50-50 split in cost and profits between Renault-Nissan and Caterham.
There is no mention as to whether this will also affect the Emerg-E’s production plans, but chances are that the Emerg-E will remain a Lotus and Renault-Nissan project, since both companies are already so deeply entrenched in the deal.
This also effectively eliminates the chances that the Emerg-E and Renault Alpine will share any significant DNA. It is very doubtful if Lotus would be willing to lend its platform to Caterham for a project that it back-doored from the already struggling sports car builder.
We’ll keep a close eye on this situation because it could boil over into something a little more, as the two rivals compete to snag up a little extra business. The deal is expected to be reviewed on Monday and approved in just a few weeks.
That didn’t take long, did it?
Only days after Honda unveiled an updated version of their sports hybrid model, the CR-Z, the Japanese automaker has already enlisted the help of their in-house aftermarket company to give it added flair.
Mugen took the task and the result is a more aggressive and more powerful car that definitely gives the face lifted model some serious attitude.
Aesthetically, Mugen went and added new exterior components to the CR-Z, including a new carbon fiber bonnet, more aggressive fog lamps, a new carbon wing mirror, a large rear spoiler, modified bumpers and skirts, and a new set of 17" dark matte grey finished wheels.
Inside, the CR-Z was treated to new sports seats, new trim materials with blue accents and a boost gauge for the supercharger...
Wait, there’s a supercharger? Thanks to Mugen, there is!
So what happens when a supercharger kit is added to a 1.5-liter engine that produces 136 horsepower? Customers will be able to benefit from 40 extra ponies, netting them a total of 176 horsepower.
This Mugen-tuned CR-Z will only have 300 models built with each priced at £33,000, which is around $55,000 based on current exchange rates. Sales are expected to begin in November in Japan.
So Ferrari really doesn’t have any new models to display in Paris, per se, but it still dropped a huge bomb on us all. We are already anticipating the new hybrid Ferrari in the coming years, but we’re not too certain exactly when to expect it nor are we too sure what it’ll look like.
We do, however, now know that this new hybrid will boast one of the most advanced chassis ever to grace the public roadways. Ferrari gathered up all of its data over the decades of racing it has done and managed to piece together a composite chassis that this upcoming hybrid will boast.
There are four different types of carbon fiber that make up this chassis and each layer is carefully hand laminated, then cured in autoclaves. The process starts simply with T800 carbon. Ferrari then carefully applies T800UD – carbon-fiber tape – over specific areas of the T800 to add a little strength. Engineers then manufacture the underbody and cross member from high-tensile carbon fibers (M46J). From there, the doors and other critical areas are formed from T1000 carbon-fiber – the same carbon fiber that graces the nose of F1 cars. Finally, the undertray is done up in carbon-fiber, but with one significant difference: a nice layer of Kevlar to prevent damage from projectiles.
In all, this advanced chassis development will save about 20 percent off of the Ferrari Enzo, the car this new hybrid is slated to succeed, even though the hybrid system adds significant weight. Last, this ultra-modern chassis will boast 27 percent more torsional rigidity and its beam stiffness will increase by 22 percent. This not only makes the car stronger, but it will also increase its handling capabilities.
It’s not too often that we can say a chassis makes us excited, but one this advanced certainly does. Plus, the video that Ferrari released regarding it is simply bad-ass.
Click past the jump to read Ferrari’s press release.