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prototype

prototype

  Prototypes or prototypical instances combine the most representative attributes of a category. A prototype is the stage before the final design. They are the best examples among the members of a category and serve as benchmarks against which the surrounding "poorer" instances are categorized.

Shortly after the Los Angeles Auto Show closes its doors, the 2012 Essen Motor Show — basically the European version of the SEMA Show — will kick off. Despite its relative coolness, the vast majority of people outside of Europe don’t pay it much attention. However, we have to tell you that this year’s edition is looking like it will be pretty amazing.

One Essen-bound model that has our automotive hearts pumping is Lexus’ LS-based TS-650 package. To make things even more interesting, Lexus has just dropped the first teaser images of this upcoming show car.

The new TS-650 prototype will feature an aerodynamics package that includes a carbon-fiber hood and several other carbon-fiber components, a set of BBS alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport tires and a set of carbon-ceramic brakes.

Under the hood there will be a 5.0-liter V-8 engine with a pair of turbochargers strapped to it. Unfortunately, the output hasn’t been confirmed yet, but we certainly hope that the "650" in its name is a reference to the horsepower.

Updated 11/27/2012: With just three days before its official debut at the Essen Motor Show, TMG has released the first images and details on its TMG Sports 650 concept. This high-end limousine-sized car is powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that delivers a total of 650 horsepower — just like its name suggests. The engine is mated to an eight-speed high-torque-capacity transmission and the car sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.9 seconds, while top speed is limited to 198 mph.

Mini Cooper

It’s been a while since we brought you any new details on the next-generation next-generation Mini Cooper , but we believe it’s well worth the wait. Today, however, we finally have some new info for you Mini lovers out there, as our spy photographers have caught the car testing once again. This time around, we got a good look at the car’s real headlights and taillights.

Unfortunately, the daytime running lights where off, but if you take a close look, you will notice a ring around the headlamps with an integrated turn signal. On the back end, you’ll notice that the taillights have grown slightly and, for the first time ever, we get a pretty clear view of the taillight graphics.

The next-gen Mini Cooper will be built on BMW’s new UKL platform and will offer a new three-cylinder engine – possibly several three-cylinder engines – along with the conventional four-cylinder lineup.

The new-generation Mini Cooper will be launched sometime in 2013 and, as previously reported, there will be 10 different body versions offered.

When we first saw the Honda Micro Commuter Concept at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show , we were pleasantly piqued at what the expected production version would look like. After all, the concept was pretty cool in itself.

What we got when the Japanese automaker finally revealed the production version of the Micro Commuter Concept was underwhelming. To be fair, we weren’t expecting the concept’s funky design to be retained for the prototype model. We know well enough that functionality and practicality take precedence over ostentatious styling. However, if you ask us, what Honda came out with was a little bit of a dud.

According to Honda , the Micro Commuter prototype rides on a new Variable Design Platform, a setup that puts the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery and motor at the rear end of the car to help maximize passenger and cargo room. The Micro Commuter is a certified city car, one whose measurements — 84 x 49.2 x 56.9 inches — affirm that widely known belief. Even the cabin isn’t necessarily spacey. It only accommodates one driver in the front and either one adult or two children in the back.

Is there a unique quality about the Micro Commuter that appeals to us apart from it being an eco-friendly vehicle? All we can come up with is the tablet device that was added to the interior to serve as an energy monitor, a back-up camera display, and a navigation system all rolled into one.

In terms of performance, the combination of the car’s lithium-ion battery and motor allows the prototype to produce an output of 20 horsepower, a top speed in excess of 50 mph, and a range of 37 miles with three hours charge time required to bring the battery to full capacity.

It’s also worth noting that this prototype model will probably undergo a number of changes before the production model arrives. Hopefully, there’s more emphasis on improving the car’s design.


Audi has been developing the R8 E-tron in order to revolutionize the electric sports car market and now they are moving on the next phase of development by teaming up with Bosch and several institutes at the RWTH Aachen University. Together, they have developed a technology platform that is a major advance for electric mobility.

The first prototype developed on this platform is the F12 e performance - a car that looks exactly like an R8 on the outside, but is purely powered by electricity. The research car is powered by three electric motors that can be controlled separately: one located at the front axle for slow driving and two at the rear axle for higher speeds. The three electric motors develop a total of 204 HP and 405 lb-ft. of torque.

The electric motors take their power from a switchable high-voltage electrical system made from two batteries, one with 144 volts and the other with 216 volts. The voltage is provided by a DC/DC converter: 200 volts for part load and 440 volts for increased power demand.

The prototype offers four basic drive functions – Park, Reverse, Neutral and Drive - all of which can be controlled via a tablet computer that can be removed from the center console.

Audi is focused on revolutionizing the electric segment and we wouldn’t doubt if their hard work eventually pays off with a solid R8 featuring the best of electric mobility technology. As of right now, the F12 is just a research vehicle, but Audi’s electric future is a definite highlight in the industry.

Nissan DeltaWing

We all witnessed history, as the eco-friendly, 300-horsepower Nissan DeltaWing competed in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans , and actually competed well until it was disabled following an accident. In that race, the DeltaWing was more of an honorary entry, running as “unclassified” and not really eligible to win even if it had crossed the finish line with the best lap time.

That is all about to change come the 2013 American Le Mans Series, as the DeltaWing will be a part of this series as a classified contender. This means that it can earn points and can theoretically win the championship title. In addition to that big news, we get another glimpse of the DeltaWing in action as it runs the 2012 Petit Le Mans race as an unclassified entrant at Road Atlanta on October 21st.

IMSA will use the DeltaWing’s performance in the 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans to setup rules for this unusual craft and also to classify it properly. We’ll keep a close eye on how the DeltaWing does in Atlanta and what rules ALMS places on the Nissan-sponsored racecar.

As we all expect, Mercedes has been hard at work testing out its upcoming SLS AMG Black Series , making sure its 600-plus-horsepower engine, upgraded suspension, and brakes are up to the task of daily use and high speeds. One place that every supercar needs to test at is the Nürburgring. Well, with the Nürburgring comes some of the most spectacular wrecks ever.

This time around, the SLS Black Series prototype got the short end of the `Ring’s stick, as it was smashed up in a wreck on the Dӧttinger Hӧhe section of the track – one of the fastest sections – and went up in flames. Fortunately, the engineers in the car were unharmed, proving that Mercedes put some serious work into the SLS’s safety devices and that the `Ring has some fast safety crews.

Before everyone gets up in arms about a Benz burning, don’t get too worried, as a wreck of this nature is bound to cause some flames and likely has nothing to do with the quality of the prototype. It is rather unfortunate to see such an expensive piece of experimental metal and carbon fiber go up in smoke, but we are willing to bet that Mercedes has a few more of these in the stable and the funds to build a new one, if needed.

What’s even cooler is that we actually got our hands on a few spy shots of the aftermath from this wreck. On top of the carnage, you also get a good look at this upcoming model with most of its camo… well, burned off…


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.

Source: Motor Trend
Bentley EXP 9 F

When Bentley revealed the oddly named EXP 9 F Concept SUV , some of us cheered out of delight, but many almost cringed at its gaudy appearance. To call a Bentley gaudy is like calling most pop singers “Divas;” it’s pretty much a given. But the EXP 9 F was a little over the top – to say the least.

In a recent interview, Bentley spokesperson, Martin Broomer, made reference to the possibility of the EXP 9 F undergoing a bit of a redesign before it is re-revealed around the end of 2012. Bentley made it clear that the EXP 9 F was a show car and not a “dressed-up preproduction car,” which means it will likely be scaled down a bit in production.

We’ll see exactly how far Bentley takes this revision to this controversial concept. We do know that Bentley won’t strip it of the typical over-the-top design of its vehicles, but it does need some mild adjustments.

For now, all we can do is sit and wait until Bentley feeds us a little information on what it has in store for its debut SUV. One thing is for sure, this tweaking is a solid indicator that this is a little more than just another concept; Bentley is serious about jumping into the ultra-premium SUV segment.

Source: Inside Line

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.

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.


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