Let’s face it, short of the ST model, the Ford Fiesta isn’t much of a car. It is the epitome of a point-A-to-point-B car with just enough features to keep entry-level buyers occupied.
The latest project that Ford is working on in cooperation with Schaeffler demonstrates than even cars like the Fiesta can become even more agile and somewhat fun to drive.
Their Fiesta-based eWheelDrive car project drops the conventional gasoline engine in favor of two electric motors placed in each of the rear wheels. This compact system may lead to four-door sedans of the future having a footprint similar to that of current two-person cars today. Additionally, it will offer the possibility to move sideways into parking spaces, so all of you folks that stink at parallel parking may finally enjoy parking in the city.
What really makes this system is its surprising amount of power. Sure, the system maxes out at only 80 kW (110 horsepower) but that’s not all that comes into play here. The two electric motors twist out a stump-ripping 700 Nm (516 pound-feet) of torque from the second you push the accelerator pedal.
So, while this system may only allow the eWheelDrive project to hit about 100 mph, its 0-to-30 mph and 0-to-60 mph times are bound to be pure awesomeness. It really depends on how the drive system is geared, but the potential is definitely there.
Ford hopes to have two new drivable vehicles by 2015. Stay tuned for more info.
Click past the jump to read more about the standard Ford Fiesta. Full story
Since last year, rumors have been floating around that Ferrari is going to unveil a new-generation California soon. Quite a strange move from the Italian company, considering the model was unveiled just five years ago. However, with the California being the most successful model in its lineup, we can’t blame Ferrari for wanting to keep it fresh and updated.
Rumors suggested that the second-generation California will use a twin-turbocharged V-8 engine and the latest prototype caught testing by Marchettino at the Fiorano racetrack in the above video adds some substance to these rumors. Listen closely from low engine speeds and you can hear the faint whistling from the engine.
It is believed that the engine will be the same used in the new-generation Maserati Quattroporte - not a big surprise, considering it has been developed in cooperation with Ferrari. This new engine will deliver a little bit more power over the current generation, so we will likely see a 500-horsepower California when the second-gen model rolls out.
The new generation Ferrari California is expected to be unveiled by the end of the year.
The Salt Flats in Bonneville, Utah is where many land-speed records have been captured. In August of 2014, a joint project by Venturi and the Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research will attempt to hit an amazing 435 mph (700 km/h) at the famed salt flats. To make the attempt even more awe inspiring, they will be attempting this in an all-electric vehicle.
The vehicle that will try to break the record is the Venturi VBB-3. In order for it to accomplish this feat, Venturi and Ohio State are working on a monstrous 3,000-horsepower, all-electric motor that makes the Bugatti Veyron just look pedestrian in comparison. To help make the task a little easier, this massive motor is fitted in a sleek body that looks like it is only a set of wings away from asking for clearance to take off.
Venturi certainly knows a thing or two about EV top speed, as they currently hold the record of 307 mph (495 km/h) for an electric vehicle and this is their attempt to best themselves.
We’ll keep an eye on the progress of the Venturi, and let you know if they succeed in their task in August of 2014.
You can read Venturi’s full press release here.
Cadillac has just released details on the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe that will be used in the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge Series where the team hopes to obtain the same success it did during the 2012 racing season. In the race the CTS-V will have to take on models from Audi, Mercedes, Aston Martin and BMW.
The CTS-V Coupe Pirelli World Challenge was tested for just two days, but Andy Pilgrim says he is pretty confident the car will do great this year. No other details have been offered on the race version, but it looks like when compared to the standard version it received a more aggressive exterior kit, with a huge rear wing that will deliver improved dynamics at high speeds.
Under the hood, the road-going model uses a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine that delivers a total of 556 horsepower and a peak torque of 551 pound-feet of torque. The race-ready model will likely undergo a little tweaking for the race.
Hit the jump for the press release and the official statements.
Track-oriented three-wheeled race cars are a niche market that belongs to a select few of vehicles, including the Campagna T-Rex 14RR, the Morgan Three-Wheeler, and the Can-Am Spyder.
If these recent U.S. Patent Office sketches are any indication, it looks like recreational automaker wants to join in on the party with their version, the Slingshot.
Considering that Polaris is regarded as an eccentric auto brand that has a penchant to build some wonky off-roaders, we’re not the least bit surprised that their next project is something along those lines.
The sketches reveal, first and foremost, a three-wheeled vehicle whose overall bodywork - minus the chassis configuration - resembles that of the KTM X-Bow. It might even resemble it a little too much; something we think KTM might even have a problem with should Polaris green light production for the Slingshot.
Regardless, that’s not our business to dive into. As far as we’re concerned, the Slingshot looks pretty cool and if it can have the same amount of power as its competitors possess - somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 horsepower - it should make for an awesome ride.
If the car ever reached production, it’d likely feature a 2.4-liter General Motors-sourced four-cylinder engine delivering just over 200 horsepower and mated to a manual transmission.
Just like the Morgan 3 Wheeler, the Polaris Slingshot will be driven by its single rear-wheel and even though no details have been released about a possible release date, this lightweight and most-likely affordable sports car is something to get truly excited about!
Our spy photographers have caught the upcoming Mercedes GLA testing once again. This time it was caught during cold weather testing in Northern Europe. The prototype is still heavily camouflaged, but we can see a few more design details.
It is clear that the next GLA will look a lot like the A-Class upon first glance, but with a much beefier and muscular front end, plus a much shallower rake on the rear window that follows the latest coupe-look trend. The next GLA will also have a higher ride, and looks rounder, when compared to the GLK.
The GLA will be built on the same MFA platform (Mercedes Front-Wheel-Drive Architecture) as the recently revealed A-Class and B-Class, and will be available in both front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions. Under the hood the GLA will borrow powerplants and transmissions from the A-Class, including the four-cylinder gasoline and diesel options.
The new Mercedes GLA will go on sale sometime in 2014.
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.
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.