Ferrari LaFerrari

ferrariFerrari introduced another super car at the 2013 Geneva show that is a hybrid! This is surprising because when the hybrid trend started, Ferrari didn’t seem to be interested. Ferrari only built 499 LaFerraris for production, which have already sold out. The suggested retail price was between $1.35 million and $1.69 million. This vehicle is somewhat similar to the Bugatti Veyron, but is able to achieve a higher fuel economy. The hybrid setup is a close comparison to the McLaren P1 and is just as gorgeous. Not only is the body of the LaFerrari incredible, but it is equipped with serious performance features as with every Ferrari.

The Ferrari LaFerrari boasts 950 horsepower and over 700 Nm of torque. This allows the vehicle to reach 124 mph in under 7 seconds. In addition, this Ferrari has a maximum speed of over 215 mph. This power comes from its V12 gasoline engine as well as its electric engine. Some of the other features that the vehicle comes with is stability control, carbon ceramic brakes, a high performance braking system and active aerodynamics. The Ferrari LaFerrari hybrid follows in Ferrari’s push toward lower emission super cars. Surprisingly, the LaFerrari does not have lower power settings like many other supercar hybrids. The Ferrari LaFerrari is a stunning car and unfortunately, it is practically impossible to find one since they were sold out soon after its limited production run.

Audi Sport Quattro Laser Light Concept

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It is well known that Audi is big on LEDs since almost all Audi vehicles are equipped with LED headlights and taillights.  At CES 2014, Audi debuted a new vehicle concept that utilizes laser diodes for the high beams as well as LEDs for the low beams. The concept car is called the Audi Sport Quattro Laser Light Concept and is equipped with many innovative features such as user control and display interfaces, hybrid technology and the laser lighting technology mentioned above. The laser diodes that power the high beams double the distance of LEDs at a 1640-foot range, which is a third of a mile. Furthermore, laser diodes are three times as bright as LED headlights and the design takes up less space than LEDs. These laser headlights are expected to increase the safety of night driving.

The Audi Sport Quattro Laser Light Concept is powered by a twin turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine and an electric motor. This equates to a 700-hp hybrid that comes with an eight speed tiptronic transmission. The hybrid engine can power the vehicle up to 31 miles and at full power, the vehicle can reach 190 mph and 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds. Key driving information is displayed on the dash in high resolution, three-dimensional graphics powered by a Tegra processor. In addition, this vehicle was designed to be very light weight with many aluminum body panels such as the doors and fenders. The roof, hood and truck are all carbon composites. It is unknown if this vehicle will reach production status or be sold in America due to the Department of Transportation’s strict regulations on headlights.

McLaren P1 GTR

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Car enthusiasts praised the power and look of the McLaren P1, but McLaren made things even more interesting with the announcement of a special edition P1, the GTR. The McLaren P1 GTR will only be available to P1 owners, which is limited to 375. McLaren has not disclosed how many GTRs will be produced, but it is expected to be under 50. Production will start when the last of the P1s are completed in the beginning of 2015. The GTR borrows it’s the name from the McLaren F1 GTR that won the Le Mans in 1995.

The P1 GTR will have 83bhp more than the P1 GTR, resulting in 986bhp. It is unknown how fast it will accelerate, but it will certainly be quicker than the 2.8 seconds the P1 accelerates to 62 mph. Some other changes are a larger and fixed spoiler as well as repositioned side mirrors for better aerodynamics. The GTR was given a new twin exhaust pipe design, made of inconel and titanium alloy and is centrally mounted. Furthermore, the GTR is equipped with quick release 19-inch racing alloy wheels and an onboard air jacking system for very quick tire changes. The McLaren P1 GTR will retail for over $3.3 million and is only available to drivers who purchased the $1.15 million P1.

Aston Martin Going Green

It is typically hot on race days and Aston Martin participated in many European races such as the Le Mans 24-hour race. As a result, it is a requirement for many races that vehicles have air conditioning because it is dangerous for drivers to be racing in the heat for a long time. The issue is air conditioning takes a great deal of power away from the engine as well as consumes additional fuel than actually necessary. The team at Aston Martin Racing is working on ways to improve how comfortable their drivers are because they believe that this will increase their performance while racing.

Aston Martin Racing’s solution is to use solar power for air conditioning. This will keep the drivers cool as well as increase the performance of their vehicles and achieve better fuel economy. It is interesting that Aston Martin came to the conclusion to use solar power since it is known for exclusively using gasoline engines to power its vehicles. Recently, Aston Martin has been looking into alternative fuel sources such as hydrogen. For example, last year, a hybrid hydrogen Aston Martin was raced in the 24 Hours Nürburgring in Germany. This was the first hydrogen powered vehicle to ever race in an international race. It will be interesting to see what Aston Martin has in store for the future with alternative fuels.

Jaguar F-Type S

The Jaguar F-Type S is the mid series F-Type between the regular F-Type and the F-Type R. Although it is not the top model, the F-Type S has some significant advantages over the regular F-Type. Most obvious are the stylish differences.  The F-Type S has 19” Propeller alloy wheels rather than the 18” Vela alloys that the regular F-Type is equipped with. The F-Type S has gloss black and chrome exterior trim, which pairs nicely with the alloy wheels. The F-Type S is also equipped with black brake calipers that give it a cleaner look. The F-Type S also has heated exterior mirrors and ambient interior lighting with five color choices.

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The F-Type S engine is supercharged and generates 380 hp with a top speed of 171 mph. The vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Impressively, all this power results in 27 miles per gallon on the highway. Some other interesting features of the F-Type S are limited-slip differential, keyless start and entry and an active sports exhaust. An active sports exhaust means the exhaust contains electronically controlled bypass valves that can be opened to improve flow, which results in a loud deep exhaust note while accelerating.   The F-Type S is available in coupe and convertible form for a manufactured suggested retail price of $77,000 and $81,000 respectively.

Aston Martin re-launch starting with the DB9

Aston Martin announced plans to re-launch its brand in 2016 and the first vehicle to take advantage of this launch will be the DB9. The re-launch was expected since the DB9 has been in its current state for quite some time and an overhaul was necessary. Since 2016 is over a year away, information is limited, but we do know that the engine for the new DB9 will be produced by Mercedes-AMG. This will be the first Aston Martin equipped with an AMG engine after the two companies teamed up. This decision will likely pay off because Aston Martin will be able to benefit from Mercedes-AMG’s expertise, research, and development rather than producing engines in-house. The engine will likely be a twin-turbocharged V8 that is similar to the 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT. It is certainly possible that a hybrid variant will be produced, which would be interesting. Another expectation is that the new DB9 will have an all-aluminum chassis, which should reduce costs significantly.

The re-launch of the Aston Martin brand is an attempt to compete with Ferrari and establish itself as a financially stable sports and luxury car manufacturer. The re-launch will be the biggest brand investment that Aston Martin has made in its history. The strategic partnership with Mercedes-AMG should help to boost the brand as well. It is expected that following the release of the all new DB9, the rest of the line up with receive major overhauls as well.

Windshields without the Wipers from McLaren

ugo-colombo-wordpress-windshields-wipers-mclarenMany people think that windshield wipers are an eyesore, especially on luxury cars. They just don’t fit with the flow of the vehicle.  Some auto manufacturers have made them somewhat hidden under the lip of the hood, but they are still present and there are many reasons luxury car drivers are annoyed by windshield wipers.  A commonly cited reason is aerodynamics. Since the wipers obstruct the overall flow of the car, they can cause the car to be less aerodynamic. This probably isn’t an issue for a regular car, but luxury and sports cars are designed to be extremely aerodynamic to optimize speed capability. Windshield wipers must also be replaced regularly and especially in the winter, which can become costly.  Wipers are not always reliable and sometimes they are unable to remove debris on certain spots of the windshield.

McLaren is attempting to produce a windshield wiper system without windshield wipers. The concept is based on using ultrasound waves to keep the windshield clear of debris. The system will use about 30 kHz waves across the windshield to create a force field to stop any debris such as rain, snow, insects from reaching the windshield. This system is revolutionary and nothing will actually be attached to the windshield, only sound waves moving across the windshield. The idea was borrowed from military aircrafts that are already equipped with similar technology. Windshield wipers are very old technology so it’s about time that they are replaced. It will be interesting to see what McLaren comes up with.