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.
The Toyota Auris Touring Sports unveiled at the 2012 Paris Auto Show is not only the first station wagon model in the Auris line-up, but it is also the first estate version in the family car market with a full hybrid powertrain. It will go on sale in early 2013.
The new Auris Touring Sports continues the same design language revealed by the Auris Hatchback in early 2012, except that it is 285mm longer and will of course offer increased luggage space. Just like the five-door hatchback, the new estate version will be offered with "Skyview," one of the biggest panoramic sunroofs currently available on the market.
The Toyota Auris Touring Sports will be offered with a choice of two diesel engines – 1.4d and 2.0d – and two petrol engines – 1.33 and 1.6 - as well as Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Toyota Auris Touring Sports. Full story
The Paris Motor Show is just hours away and we are starting to get things all ramped up. Porsche announced that it will be unveiling an all-new production concept when the show opens up, only to shoot out the official details a couple of hours later. This new concept is dubbed the Panamera Sport Turismo Concept and is slated to compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake.
The concept is supposed to preview a possible Porsche sports car of tomorrow, which would mean that they are not letting go of the idea that spawned the Cayenne and the Panamera: Parents need speed too.
Rumor has it that this model will debut at some point in the 2013 model year, so the concept model that we see here will most likely be almost identical to its production model.
Update 12/11/12: Porsche has released a sweet video outlining the development of the Panamera Sport Turismo Concept and how it came to life. You can see the video after the jump.
Click past the jump to have a look at the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Concept. Full story
We are all waiting with baited breath for the release of the Porsche 918 Spyder and every little bit of information we get is quickly gobbled up and processed. However, we had yet to hear any real track numbers for this awesome hybrid machine. Sure ,we know that it will boast an 795-horsepower drivetrain that uses a 4.6-liter V-8 gasoline engine and a pair of electric motors and will hit 60 mph in just about 3 seconds.
Still, that just is not enough information for us, but we just got our first taste of real life track information on the 918 Spyder and it’s all good. It recently completed the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap and pulled in a time of 7:14. Depending on the fractional seconds, this will place the 918 Spyder as the fifth, sixth, or seventh fastest car to ever take on the Nordschleife lap.
In addition, this puts it a full 18 seconds faster than the touted Carrera GT that it replaced. One thing to keep in mind is that the 918 that tested on the ‘Ring and got the fastest time was equipped with what Porsche calls the “Weissach package.” According to what we hear, this package includes upgraded brakes, a 6-point harness, air-conditioning delete, radio delete, and other weight-saving measures, so don’t go thinking that every 918 Spyder under the sun will lap the bankrupt, yet safe, Nürburgring.
Now with our whistles wet with fresh 918 details, we can rest easy for the day knowing that the 918 at least performs on the track as we have always hoped and expected.
The production version of the Porsche 918 Spyder won’t be arriving on the market until September 2013, but in a not surprising turn of events, what appears to be the official brochure of the model has surfaced on the internet. Next to a series of new images, this leaked brochure also offers a few more details on the next 918 Spyder.
It looks like the 918 Spyder will deliver a total of 800 HP (and not 720 HP as previously rumored) thanks to a hybrid system that will combine a 580 HP V8 engine with three electric motors. With a total weight of just 3659 lbs, the 918 Spyder will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3 seconds and from 0 to 124 mph in just 8 seconds. It will also only consume 3 liters per 100 kilometers.
Porsche will also be offering a "Weissach Package" that will drop about 77 lbs from the car’s total weight. This package will include dive planes for the front and rear, a lightweight braking system, the elimination of the armrests and storage in the doors, and Alcantara or carbon fiber trim. As an option, Porsche will also offer a Special Liquid Metal Grey or Blue exterior paint and two special liveries: Martini and White/Red.