Geneva Show 2011 – Porsche 918 RSR

Up close with Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid A year ago Porsche’s 918 surprise at the Geneva Motor Show blew us away. Looking small and dainty but extraordinarily desirable it was pitched as a Carrera GT replacement. Yet it didn’t quite have the commanding presence of the GT, even if it’s spec and integration of hybrid […]

2011 Geneva Motor Show - Porsche 918 RSR

Up close with Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid

A year ago Porsche’s 918 surprise at the Geneva Motor Show blew us away. Looking small and dainty but extraordinarily desirable it was pitched as a Carrera GT replacement. Yet it didn’t quite have the commanding presence of the GT, even if it’s spec and integration of hybrid technology made it worthy. If it’s 7:30min Nürburgring lap time is anything to go on, then it certainly qualified on speed and agility. Something about the folded paper look, lack of roof and delicate detailing of the show car made us want to put some horny rims on, install a loud exhaust and wake up the neighbours.

Geneva Motor Show 2011 - Porsche 918 RSR - embroidered seat and electro fill cap

Now exhibited in racing trim at the 2011 Geneva Show, that desire is mostly answered. the fixed roof, arch-filling racing slicks, additional carbon aerodynamic aids and orange “racing” decals vaguely recalling Gulf Oil sponsorship of the past, give it a butchness it was otherwise lacking. If Batman turned up in this beast, Gotham City would stand back and know what was coming. If Batman had turned up in the 918 “prototype”, he’d have Robin mince out slyly, while he conducted proceedings from his iPad3.


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Detroit Motor Show – Porsche 918 RSR

Porsche 918 RSR on the menu at 2011 Detroit Auto Show Take a Porsche 918 Spyder, a GT3R Hybrid, a 917 short-tail, a 908 long tail, mix your ingredients in a Stuttgart bowl. measure out 70% Gulf Racing blue and infuse with 30% liquid metal chrome. Pour into a CFRP oven-proof container and bake for […]

Porsche 918 RSR on the menu at 2011 Detroit Auto Show

Take a Porsche 918 Spyder, a GT3R Hybrid, a 917 short-tail, a 908 long tail, mix your ingredients in a Stuttgart bowl. measure out 70% Gulf Racing blue and infuse with 30% liquid metal chrome. Pour into a CFRP oven-proof container and bake for 9 months in a moderate autoclave. Carefully place 917 fan into top cover and insert front splitter and RS Spyder racer’s wing, and allow to become cool. Now decorate with orange stripe and “22” to recall racing glories. Voila, a “racing laboratory” and PR exercise neatly baked, with a Michelin 4 rubber ring rating. However, this is an experimental recipe and should be tasted with reserve until a full race version has been prepared to perfection.

Ingredients:
1 RS Syder V8 race engine and drive-train (563 bhp – 767 bhp when blended with flywheel)
1 GT3R Flywheel accumulator and electric motors (204 bhp, care, may spin viciously)
1 918 Syder monocoque and body (peel and grate, cover with fold forward doors)
1 917 fan cooling system (boil 40 years to reduce)
1 908 Body styling cues (free lunch)
add a liberal dose of racing heritage
(CGI rendering optional )

Read on for master-chef’s full description and baking tips – a foodie’s feast


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YW reflects on the luxury of silence that hybrids and electric cars promise

Lexus CT200h and why we like hybrids Hybrids, and particularly the Toyota Prius have had some vocal opponents in the media. Most have singled out it’s lack of dynamic abilities and questionable cradle to grave eco credentials. But have you ever stopped to consider the luxury of silence that a quiet car confers? Here are […]

Hybrids contribute to the luxury of silence

Lexus CT200h and why we like hybrids

Hybrids, and particularly the Toyota Prius have had some vocal opponents in the media. Most have singled out it’s lack of dynamic abilities and questionable cradle to grave eco credentials. But have you ever stopped to consider the luxury of silence that a quiet car confers? Here are a few observations from the launch of Lexus’s latest hybrid, the CT200h, which would equally apply to electric cars.

Hybrids await at Lexus CT200h press launch near Paris

Picture the scene: a sumptuous hotel set in forested hills, pleasantly removed from the city bustle of Paris. A serene calmness accompanies this hilltop location belying it’s proximity to both Charles De Gaulle airport and the main autoroute to Lille. A semicircular arrangement of gleaming cars awaits journalists eager to sample Lexus’s latest mini-limousines. Above the twitter of birds you can hear the pleasant banter of scribes and their hosts exchanging technobabble worthy of a sub-atomic particle convention. But wait; there’s something missing. Where’s the coughing of combustion engines waking from their slumber? Where’s the thrum of jockeys blipping their mount’s throttles ready for the off? Where’s the distant scream of engines being let loose once released from the gaze of the PR’s and speed bumps of the hotel drive? Answer: these CT200h’s are hybrids, with electric motors to manoeuvre and assist departure and with them comes an intoxicating calm.


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Lexus CT200h – We drive this latest hybrid only model

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be […]

Lexus CT200h - We drive this latest hybrid

Lexus launch the CT200h as a hybrid only model

You are surfing the net for your next car: you need something small and efficient, environmentally proficient, yet sporty and luxurious to boot. Lexus claim to have filled this spot with their CT200h. Launched as a hybrid only, this mid-sized 5 door hatch wants to be a sports car too. Warm-hatch would be a more accurate description, but with many positive qualities. Our top tester Timtim left the virtual world to taste the little Lexus for us.



I’m in Chantilly, near Paris; capital of the horse according to the local tourist flyer I’ve stumbled on in my hotel room. Outside the Mont Royal Hotel a cluster of new Lexus’s await testers from around the globe. Without a moment’s hesitation I pick a golden yellow sample. Hey, don’t want to disappoint the YW office, although to be honest it looks most exciting in white! All the engine options are identical so there’s no squabble with my scribbling brethren for the horniest lump in the beast. In fact by the sound of it none of them come with engines at all! As journo’s hit the engine start button and saunter off on an exploratory loop there’s a barrage of, err nothing, discreetly interrupted by tyre on tarmac and a few tweeting birds (the real kind). Rather than contemplating the deafening silence (what a stupid, though familiar expression) I’m watching the instruments. I’ve hit the start button and am only convinced that I’m up and running by the “Lexus Hybrid Drive” welcome screen as the instruments light up. I grab the chrome faced, switch sized gear lever. There’s only R, N, D and the more mysterious B to choose from. D will do, B is for user selected regenerative braking, and release the anachronistic foot brake. Shouldn’t the “P” switch below gear lever just double up as an electric foot/handbrake?


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Paris Motor Show 2010 – Audi e-tron Spyder Concept

This is not a just convertible e-tron, but a whole reconfiguration into a plug-in hybrid Look over to the left of the Audi Quattro Concept on the Audi stand and you’ll notice, what at first glance looks like the convertible version. A natural assumption when you see the similar nose, waistline and short overhangs of […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Audi e-tron Spyder Concept

This is not a just convertible e-tron, but a whole reconfiguration into a plug-in hybrid

Look over to the left of the Audi Quattro Concept on the Audi stand and you’ll notice, what at first glance looks like the convertible version. A natural assumption when you see the similar nose, waistline and short overhangs of this silver spider. Audi are demonstrating and evolving their new design language, which started with the A5 coupe and it’s concept predecessor the Nuvolari quattro. Look under the striking silver skin and that’s where the similarities end. This Audi e-tron also looks just like an open air follow up to the e-tron supercar shown at the Geneva Show in March. The pivotal word in Audi’s description though is “hybrid”. Whereas the original e-tron was a pure electric car, this iteration is powered by Audi’s highly efficient new 3.0 TDi engine. Audi’s Le Mans success and everyone’s experience of driving many highly desirable cars powered by diesel makes this not such an unlikely powertrain. Here we are looking at the immediate future of sportscars; able to deliver shattering performance and still return favourable fuel consumption and emissions. Porsche got there first with the 918 Spyder concept and the rest of the world will be following along shortly. Sporting 600 miles+ range, 128 mpg and 59 g/km, Audi’s e-tron Spyder is not to be sniffed at! Combining the torque from TDi and front drive electric motors gives the concept massive torque, controllable in Quattro fashion. 1,002 Nm of torque should do rather nicely thank you.


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Paris Motor Show 2010 – Fisker Karma ES

Fisker Karma ES show their production version It’s been sometime coming, but Fisker finally showed a production version of their Karma ES. This plug-in hybrid is a full size 4 door saloon car with luxurious and sporty aspirations. That a new startup company should aim to be the first manufacturer to fill this sector of […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Fisker Karma ES, production version

Fisker Karma ES show their production version

It’s been sometime coming, but Fisker finally showed a production version of their Karma ES. This plug-in hybrid is a full size 4 door saloon car with luxurious and sporty aspirations. That a new startup company should aim to be the first manufacturer to fill this sector of the market is staggering, when you see how many hurdles there are to pass. Just building a new factory for a conventional combustion engine car is a major undertaking. Even mighty Toyota are only just sorting out a plug-in hybrid version of their Prius, and the newly launched Lexus CT200h is a conventional hybrid. GM meanwhile are rushing to the market with their Chevy Volt and Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid, but in the economy/mid size market. Certainly no-one offers a fully integrated solar panel roof and luxury interior. We wish them luck, but wonder how they’ll reach their projected 100,000 car per year target…


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Paris Motor Show – Exagon Furtive eGT electric sportscar

France suprises with launch of new electric sportscar by Exagon Motors Most major motor shows throw up the odd surprise new car manufacturer. Often, resurrections of past iconic brands, Geneva delivered with the re-emergence of the Hispano-Suiza badge. Paris on the other hand, revealed a totally new name in Exagon Motors. Based in Magny-Cours, France, […]

Paris Motor Show - Exagon Motors Furtive eGT

France suprises with launch of new electric sportscar by Exagon Motors

Most major motor shows throw up the odd surprise new car manufacturer. Often, resurrections of past iconic brands, Geneva delivered with the re-emergence of the Hispano-Suiza badge. Paris on the other hand, revealed a totally new name in Exagon Motors. Based in Magny-Cours, France, this new manufacturer emerges from the embryonic electric motor racing circus. Appropriately, they launched an electric sportscar, the Exagon Furtive eGT, with ambitious range and performance claims. Unusually, they offer pure electric drive, or an additional range-extender combustion engine in their 2+2 seater. They claim considerable technical support from their suppliers Siemens (motors) and Saft (Li-ion cells) and advanced technology.

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Exagon Furtive eGT

When you’ve never heard of a brand and come across it in a show, your first instinct is to judge it on looks alone. On this score, we found the profile view we first glimpsed rather alluring and competent, if not exactly visually challenging. The car rotated on its turntable to reveal its rump. Again elegant, exciting but unassuming, immediately digestible. But when the nose, from front ¾ swivelled into view, we found the design lost it’s integrity. Character in a car is welcome and distinguishes one from another, but we don’t think they have pulled it off with the snout.

Go back only a couple of years and a startup like this would be offering you a mouthwatering performance from a highly tuned mid-mounted V6, with fuel consumption to match. Now if it isn’t hybrid or pure-electric you’ll be wondering what planet they lived on. How times have changed…


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Paris Motor Show – Jaguar C-X75 gas turbine hybrid electric supercar

Jaguar wow press and public with a daring hybrid supercar concept built to celebrate their 75th year. Running gas turbines in road cars is not a new idea. Think back to the 50’s-60’s when Chrysler ran a fleet of turbine cars, and BRM fielded a Le Mans racer. These were short lived experimental projects that […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Jaguar C-X75


Jaguar wow press and public with a daring hybrid supercar concept built to celebrate their 75th year.

Running gas turbines in road cars is not a new idea. Think back to the 50’s-60’s when Chrysler ran a fleet of turbine cars, and BRM fielded a Le Mans racer. These were short lived experimental projects that followed the motor show dream concepts of the time. Interesting ideas but flawed in many ways and connected mechanically to the drivetrain. Using gas turbines to generate electricity for electric drive motors solves the immediate problem of reducing the phenomenal RPM and throttling of a turbine down to the low rotation needed for your wheels and tyres. It also allows the turbine to run at optimum speed for the efficiency that eluded earlier iterations. If Jaguar have solved the remaining problems of heat and emissions, then we have the recipe for an interesting vehicle. 4 wheel drive, infinitely controllable for traction and yaw, electric drive supplemented by turbine generators, bring it on Jaguar. Lets hope this is not just pie in the sky and points the way to a new and exciting future for supercars.

Enough of the mechanics, this is a concept and concepts need to impress as well as show the way forward. Raiding the past to guarantee the pedigree of the brand is normal and acceptable, copying elements blindly to make life easy is plain tacky. Fortunately this concept walks the tightrope adeptly between cool and kitsch, looking forward whilst recalling past icons. Deliberate evocations of the glorious XJ13 present in the classic-yacht boat tail work well. It’s not all plain sailing though, as the nose needs to incorporate latest Jag styling cues. Forcing an upright squarish mouth onto an otherwise sleek flowing shape seems brutish and doesn’t integrate as well as the beautiful tapering tail.

Rather than verbally perambulate endlessly on design matters we encourage you to peruse the pics and judge for yourselves as this is inevitably a question of personal taste. On balance though we’ll give it an enthusiastic thumbs up!


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Popemobile cranked up to speed

YW kits out the Pope with some speedy transport Trundling around at walking pace in an 8 year old 4×4 – that’s no way for a modern Pope to show his credentials, spread the word and cover some ground. We thought we’d equip him with some serious wheels for his UK visit. I mean, Edinburgh […]

Radical Popemobile hits the streets

YW kits out the Pope with some speedy transport

Trundling around at walking pace in an 8 year old 4×4 – that’s no way for a modern Pope to show his credentials, spread the word and cover some ground. We thought we’d equip him with some serious wheels for his UK visit. I mean, Edinburgh to London at 4mph? Nah, we can get him down from the dizzy heights of Scotland to the low life of London in a gnat’s whisker with our seat-of-your-pope-mobile. Think supercar meets garden shed and you have some idea of the direction we’re taking. Construction was well underway last year, but some awkward homologation issues delayed deployment. The Vatican has very precise requirements for their numero uno. The result is concocted from existing machinery to minimise scrutineering hiccups, and combines the sci-fi dynamics of 200mph+ projectiles with the class of retro supercars. Batman: eat your heart out, Robin donate your cape.

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Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder concept roof rendering

Ever since seeing the gorgeous Porsche 918 concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show we couldn’t help wondering how the roof would fit and what it would look like. The Carrera GT it will replace has a detachable lid that stores in the front luggage compartment and we presume the 918 will too. Artist Jack […]

Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder render with roof and new seats and rims


Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder at the 2010 Geneva Show

Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder Concept at 2010 Geneva Show


Ever since seeing the gorgeous Porsche 918 concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show

we couldn’t help wondering how the roof would fit and what it would look like. The Carrera GT it will replace has a detachable lid that stores in the front luggage compartment and we presume the 918 will too. Artist Jack Davies sent us a rendering of just this, a 918 with the roof panel in place, but also with some horny rims to replace the show wheels. Many people commented that the semi see through wheel plates were ugly so those have gone too. We asked Jack why he did this rendering


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