The Tesla Roadster Looks like a Blurry Version of the Honda NSX
When the new Aston Martin Vantage came out, I criticized the brand for producing a car that looked like a serious rip off of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Now, as I was looking over the news from the past week, I see that there’s another look-alike out there, and this time, it looks like Tesla decided to copy the Honda NSX and slap a Tesla Roadster badge on it. Now, it isn’t a blatant and condemning rip-off, and maybe not even as bad as the Vantage vs. MX-5 copying scheme, but it’s pretty bad. I would say the Roadster looks like a blurry version of the NSX – almost like cars in 128-bit video games used to look compared to their real-life counterparts. Don’t believe me? Check out the quick comparison below.
2020 Tesla Supercar
It seems almost like almost every other day now brings news about some physics-defying all-electric supercar. Outrageous output figures and broken records are pretty much the norm in this segment, with cars like the NextEV Nio EP9 or Rimac Concept_One setting new standards in electron-powered performance. Tesla is active in this space as well, earning a spot on our list of Top 5 All-Electric Performance Cars with its the venerable Model S P100D. The Model S might be a sedan, but it’s still got insane speed potential, posting a face-melting 2.3-second time in the 0-to-60 mph benchmark. Impressive? Certainly. But what if we went beyond the P100D and probed what was really possible with a few electric motors and an enormous battery pack? What about a true-blue Tesla supercar, a halo model with just two doors and a spec sheet capable of laying waste to all things internal combustion? What would that look like?
It’s a tempting proposition, but right away, there’s a problem. Tesla has adopted a “top-down” approach wherein the more expensive models come out prior to the less expensive models (for example, the Model S preceded the Model 3). So where does a super car fit into that equation? Obviously several years down the line, if at all, but that said, a supercar halo model would do well amongst well-heeled EV enthusiasts, not to mention bring even more attention to the California-based automaker. Sound good? We think so.
Continue reading to learn more about the Tesla Supercar.
Tesla is confident in everything it does. Back in 2014, for instance, the company made a bold move to extend the warranty on the battery pack – an eight year, infinite mile warranty – to the powertrain as well. Now, a blog post by Elon Musk on July 17, 2015, indicates the company is working on making a powertrain that will last at least a million miles. Only time will tell if he will ever meet that goal, but working toward that goal has led Tesla to develop an advanced smart fuse. This so-called smart fuse has allowed Tesla to increase battery output by 200 amps. Channeling this extra amperage to the powertrain makes the Model S hit a 0 to 60 mph sprint in only 2.8 seconds.
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Normally, a Tesla Model S P85D would pretty much mop the floor with any stock sedan in a drag race from a dig, whether RWD or AWD. As a confirmation, a P85D demolished even a mighty Challenger Hellcat on the drag strip a couple of months ago. Now it’s time for a rematch between the two cars, although it comes with a twist. The Hellcat’s owner has added a set of drag radials to his RWD ride in order to at least pose a slight threat to the all-wheel-drive Tesla, so the race result is quite a bit different than the first time.
As some of you remember, the Challenger’s main issue in the first race was the lack of traction off the line and its driver’s lack of experience with the car. In the footage above, this is no longer the case, as the Hellcat hooked up much better thanks to its stickier tires, while the driver has had a lot of time to practice its launches since he lost to the P85D driver at the same strip.
In case it isn’t obvious by now, the improved Hellcat won the rematch against the Tesla. Both cars launched almost perfectly, but the Challenger’s better gearing and higher power proved to be decisive factors. Since the score between the two is now equal, another rematch is likely on the horizon, as I’m sure the Tesla driver will not let this one pass so easily.
Almost two weeks ago we showed you a rather interesting drag racing video where a Tesla Model S P85D simply walks away from a V-12-powered Ferrari 550/575M Maranello in a straight line. While that result was kind of expected even before hitting the play button, a new race featuring the same Tesla model and a V-12-powered Italian supercar has surfaced, and you are probably going to have a hard time believing what happened between the two.
First of all, the Tesla no longer battles a 13-plus-year-old Ferrari but a brand new Lamborghini Aventador LP-700 with only 44 miles on the clock. Second of all, the Tesla is no longer part of a test drive, but it is part of a young owner’s stable... as is the Aventador it raced against. To refresh your memory, the Aventador LP-700 is powered by a naturally aspirated, 6.5-liter, V-12 that develops no less than 691 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a sequential transmission and an all-wheel-drive system, the Italian monster should hit 62 mph from a standing start in just 2.9 seconds, so it theory not even the Model S P85D should be a match from a dig.
The Tesla Model S P85D also comes with 691 horsepower but a gargantuan amount of torque delivered by two electric motors. Also with all-wheel drive, the electric car’s official numbers mention a 3.2-second run from naught to 60 mph, but in real life things may sit a little bit different. As seen in the above video, up until about 50 mph the Tesla actually pulls ahead of the Lambo and until 80 mph they are neck and neck, with the Aventador only getting ahead at higher speeds. Sure, we’re told that the Lamborghini isn’t using its Thrust Mode launch-control feature for this race, but the way that the Tesla completely obliterates it at lower speeds is pretty astounding.
The TopSpeed time machine has taken us ahead before to see what Porsche has in store, now that VW controls it. It has also taken us to an alternate reality, where we got to see just how the i8 could completely fall on its face. Well, now with McLaren confirming what we all suspected (that the V-12 is about to becomes extinct), we are going to fire the old time cruiser back up and see what the supercar world might have in store for us in 2020.
McLaren has already come out and said that the V-12
"belongs in a museum" and plans to downsize its engine lineup, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, in 2014, the FIA is dropping its engine sizes to petite 1.5-liter V-6 plants with turbochargers and energy recovery systems. Six years after that changeover, fuel will likely be so expensive that the FIA may drop to a 4-cylinder regulation, which opens the door for supercars to borrow said technology.
This would mean no more V-12, V-10, V-8, or V-6 engines and just super-powerful 4-cylinders will remain. Pumping 500 to 600 ponies from a 4-pot is not an impossible task, but it requires very precise research and development. The smaller engines will also result in lower weight, more manageable weight ratios, and better handling. Lower weight, in turn, results in better fuel economy and quicker acceleration.
There will be some tradeoffs, as expected. No longer will we have these 200+ mph supercars. You will also have a much less comfortable drive than expected, as these 4-bangers will be much more high-strung and touchy, much like a race car.
The big picture is what matters in all of this. No longer will there be a hunkin’ V-12 engine chugging down a gallon of fuel every 8 to 11 miles. In 2020, we should see smaller 4-pots getting 16 to 18 mpg and still keeping up with their larger ancestors up to 100 mph, which is really all that matters. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I drove 200 mph in my Aventador?”
But what about electric? Click past the jump to read about electric-powered supercars in 2020.