That Old Weight Vs HorsePower Question

That Old Weight Vs HorsePower Question A guest post by Neill Watson, photographer-writer-blogger Yellowwheels editor Timtim posed me a really intriguing question today over a quick email chat – which is best, a lightweight car with minimal horsepower or a car with a bit more weight but a lot more power? A very good question […]

Lotus Elise - a light weight contender

That Old Weight Vs HorsePower Question

A guest post by Neill Watson, photographer-writer-blogger

Yellowwheels editor Timtim posed me a really intriguing question today over a quick email chat – which is best, a lightweight car with minimal horsepower or a car with a bit more weight but a lot more power? A very good question and one that I believe I’ve answered to my own personal satisfaction this year. However, as the Americans are fond of saying, “your mileage may vary”

BMW M3

To put this into perspective, let me explain one of my day jobs. In addition to being a car photo-journalist, I’m also a track instructor. I spend a significant slice of my waking hours sitting in a variety of cars, from a 640BHP Lamborghini LP640 to a 120 BHP Lotus Elise and pretty much everything in between, either driving or imparting my limited knowledge. From BMW E46 M3 (a personal favourite) to Ferrari 458 Italia, I have a fair bit of seat time in them all. So, which is best? A 640 Bhp projectile or a 120 BHP mountain goat?


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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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Lexus add special Nürburgring Package to LFA Supercar

Limited edition Lexus LFA unveiled before 2011 Geneva Show A $375,000 supercar, of which only 500 will be built, not exclusive enough for you? Good news: the petrolheads over at the Lexus skunkworks have honed a special lightweight, track day version of their already awesome LFA for you. Only 50 will be made and christened […]

Limited edition Lexus LFA unveiled before 2011 Geneva Show

A $375,000 supercar, of which only 500 will be built, not exclusive enough for you? Good news: the petrolheads over at the Lexus skunkworks have honed a special lightweight, track day version of their already awesome LFA for you. Only 50 will be made and christened “Nürburgring Package”. These special, limited edition cars are tuned to deliver exceptionally fast track times and sport large aeordynamic aids to keep downforce and consequently cornering speed high. To compensate there’s an extra 10bhp to push that huge wing through the air, supplemented by a 100kg weight reduction that sees acceleration maintained and, no doubt, braking distance reduced. To keep the connection with the Nürburgring going, buyers will be given free tuition and a years pass for the Nordschleife – this car is, after all, built to celebrate class victories there.

That massive carbon wing is fixed in position, unlike the standard car’s retractable one. There’s a huge front dam/tray that reduces effective ground clearance beyond the 10mm ride height lowering. Subtle chin winglets help channel air where it’s wanted, whilst at the rear, just over the tail-lights, Lexus have added small flaps. Inside, a liberal dose of carbon fibre and Alcantara replaces the standard leather. The Geneva Motor Show will be the car’s first public appearance on 3rd March.


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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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Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante

Lambo roll out a soft top version of the Gallardo Superleggera and call it the Performante Here’s Lambo’s latest: the Spyder version of the Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. Rather than call it a Superleggera Spyder though, it’s moniker is Performante. Why is a mystery, it translates as high performance and is feminine, but who are […]

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante

Lambo roll out a soft top version of the Gallardo Superleggera and call it the Performante

Here’s Lambo’s latest: the Spyder version of the Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. Rather than call it a Superleggera Spyder though, it’s moniker is Performante. Why is a mystery, it translates as high performance and is feminine, but who are we to quibble over a name when the product is sumptuous? Like the fixed top, its raison d’être is lightness. Lamborghini have shaved 65 kgs off the kerb weight over the cooking roadster by using those superlight Superleggera rims and an abundance of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). Alcantara seats are lighter than traditional leather so guess what you get? You do however get aircon and ICE (unlike the Porsche Cayman R we just covered). And you can make your car lighter still by deleting the rear carbon wing off the options list; but that would be a shame.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante - with and without roof


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Lamborghini build the last Murcielago

End of the line for Lamborghini’s Murcielago So the last Murcielago rolls off the Lamborghini production line. Strange to finish on chassis number 4099. why not make it a nice rounded number like 4000 or 4100? This LP 670-4 Superveloce ends a long production run spanning nearly ten years. Sad to see it go, but […]

The last Lamborghini Murcielago to roll off the production line

End of the line for Lamborghini’s Murcielago

So the last Murcielago rolls off the Lamborghini production line. Strange to finish on chassis number 4099. why not make it a nice rounded number like 4000 or 4100? This LP 670-4 Superveloce ends a long production run spanning nearly ten years. Sad to see it go, but even more exciting is the factory space it liberates for its successor and future models. Lamborghini’s Sesto Elemento, shown at the Paris Motor Show hints at its replacement. The Murcielago was looking dated and hasn’t had the invigorating makeovers lately that keep the Gallardo fresh and exciting.


From Lamborghini
One of the most successful super sports cars of all time takes a bow – the last Murciélago to be produced bears the number 4,099

It is one of the most stunning and successful super sports cars of all time – the Lamborghini Murciélago. And that will always be the case, even if its production life has now come to an end. At the headquarters of the badge bearing the sign of the bull in Sant’Agata Bolognese, the last Murciélago left the production line on May 11, 2010 – headed to a Swiss customer. With “Arancio Atlas” paintwork, the LP 670-4 Superveloce proudly bears the production number 4,099. This makes the Murciélago not only by far the most-produced Lamborghini twelve-cylinder of all time, but also one of the world’s most successful super sports cars.
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Paris Motor Show 2010 – Lotus Elan Concept

Lotus stun the world with ambitious model launch program: Lotus Elan Concept If the Paris Motor Show threw up a couple of headline grabbing supercars you’d be happy, curious and envious. Jaguar delivered with their amazing C-X75 electric/turbine hybrid and Lamborghini with their carbon-with-everything Sesto Elemento concept. You’d be stunned if any manufacturer launched two […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Lotus Elan Concept

Lotus stun the world with ambitious model launch program: Lotus Elan Concept

If the Paris Motor Show threw up a couple of headline grabbing supercars you’d be happy, curious and envious. Jaguar delivered with their amazing C-X75 electric/turbine hybrid and Lamborghini with their carbon-with-everything Sesto Elemento concept. You’d be stunned if any manufacturer launched two concepts. But five? That’s what Lotus did and blew the press’s mind in the process. Much has been written about the feasibility of this production plan and we don’t have a view other than it seems over-ambitious. The bucket principle says that if you work in a company and ask for ten buckets of whatever to match your needs you’ll get five delivered. Is this the case with Lotus? If we get to see even three of these in the real world within the proposed time schedule we’ll be amazed and happy. All five and we’ll be stunned and elated!

Paris Motor Show 2010 Lotus future model lineup


Don’t forget though, that the first model to go on sale is the Elan a whole 3 years away, so there is plenty of time for the designs to evolve or change substantially. Also the show cars may have been part of a giant focus group rather than a fixed agenda.

Schedule:
Elan 4.0 litre V6 – summer 2013
Elite 5.0 litre V8 – spring 2014
Elise 2.0 litre straight 4 – spring 2014
Esprit 5.0 litre V8 – spring 2015
Eterne 5.0 litre V8 – spring 2015


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Paris Motor Show 2010 – Lotus Esprit Concept

Lotus stun the world with ambitious model launch program: Lotus Esprit Concept If the Paris Motor Show threw up a couple of headline grabbing supercars you’d be happy, curious and envious. Jaguar delivered with their amazing C-X75 electric/turbine hybrid and Lamborghini with their carbon-with-everything Sesto Elemento concept. You’d be stunned if any manufacturer launched two […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Lotus Esprit Concept

Lotus stun the world with ambitious model launch program: Lotus Esprit Concept

If the Paris Motor Show threw up a couple of headline grabbing supercars you’d be happy, curious and envious. Jaguar delivered with their amazing C-X75 electric/turbine hybrid and Lamborghini with their carbon-with-everything Sesto Elemento concept. You’d be stunned if any manufacturer launched two concepts. But five? That’s what Lotus did and blew the press’s mind in the process. Much has been written about the feasibility of this production plan and we don’t have a view other than it seems over-ambitious. The bucket principle says that if you work in a company and ask for ten buckets of whatever to match your needs you’ll get five delivered. Is this the case with Lotus? If we get to see even three of these in the real world within the proposed time schedule we’ll be amazed and happy. All five and we’ll be stunned and elated!

Paris Motor Show 2010 Lotus future model lineup


Don’t forget though, that the first model to go on sale is the Elan a whole 3 years away, so there is plenty of time for the designs to evolve or change substantially. Also the show cars may have been part of a giant focus group rather than a fixed agenda.

Schedule:
Elan 4.0 litre V6 – summer 2013
Elite 5.0 litre V8 – spring 2014
Elise 2.0 litre straight 4 – spring 2014
Esprit 5.0 litre V8 – spring 2015
Eterne 5.0 litre V8 – spring 2015


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Paris Motor Show 2010 – Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Porsche’s 911 Carrera S gains girth and grunt and a couple of extra letters: GT Star attraction on Porsche’s stand in Paris was the blue Speedster, but it was flanked by a brace of new Carrera GTS models in white. Roadster and coupé share the Carrera 4’s extra rear width without the 4-wheel drive but […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Porsche 911 Carrera GTS

Porsche’s 911 Carrera S gains girth and grunt and a couple of extra letters: GT

Star attraction on Porsche’s stand in Paris was the blue Speedster, but it was flanked by a brace of new Carrera GTS models in white. Roadster and coupé share the Carrera 4’s extra rear width without the 4-wheel drive but gain a few more horses in the tail; 23 to be precise, taking power up to 408 bhp. Sounds like every permutation of Porsche build spec was thrown up in the air and what landed fettled into a new model. We bet it’s brilliant though, as all 911’s are.


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Paris Motor Show – Audi R8GT

Audi turn up the wick with a pseudo race version of their R8, the GT Audi R8 goes on a diet: loses 100 kgs, gains tons of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. Yet another supercar gets the liposuction treatment. Don’t get us wrong; it’s a great idea, just not very original. Nor should that detract from […]

Paris Motor Show 2010 - Audi R8GT

Audi turn up the wick with a pseudo race version of their R8, the GT

Audi R8 goes on a diet: loses 100 kgs, gains tons of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. Yet another supercar gets the liposuction treatment. Don’t get us wrong; it’s a great idea, just not very original. Nor should that detract from the fact that lighter cars automatically equal faster cars for the same energy input. Resigned, yet content to live in the shadow of it’s cousin the Lamborghini Gallardo, the R8’s diet took it down to 1525 kgs, whereas the Superleggera’s kerb weight went down to 1340 kgs. Add to that the R8 GT’s 10 BHP deficiency and you can do the sums…But the Audi has it’s own character and market so won’t be worried by the comparison. What was a slick, neat supercar just grew wings and fins and no doubt breathes fire. Oh, and you can specify a roll cage too ;-)


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