2014 PORSCHE 918 HYBRID SPYDER…A SAUDI’S WORST NIGHTMARE!

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Meet the 2014 Porsche 918 Hybrid Spyder, a mid-engined super/hyper/hybrid car designed by Michael Mauer.  While still in it’s final stages of R & D and slated for production in September 2013, the Porsche 918 Spyder is powered by a V8 engine that currently produces 562hp and tuned to rev to 9200rpm.  The 918 Spyder was developed from the RS Spyder Le Mans Prototype racing car, making this hybrid one beastly ride.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Remember this is a hybrid so Porsche couldn’t simply stop at the already impressive stats produced by their V8, they decided to really push the envelope and supplement the 562hp V8 with a pair of synchronous electric motors – one producing 107hp for the front wheels and the other producing 121hp for the rear wheels churning out a combined 759hp and 568 ft-lb torque.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

Wrap a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic monocoque around those impressive engines, add in a 7-speed gearbox and Porsche’s very own own double clutch system (PDK) and shazaam…you get a spacecraft capable of 0-100 km/h in 3 seconds with a top speed of 320 km/h(200mph) and a staggering 78mpg.  That’s correct, 78mpg, officially making this car a Saudi’s worst nightmare!  In addition to the plug-in recharge, the batteries are also charged by regenerative braking.  The 918 Spyder offers five different driving modes allowing the vehicle to utilize different combinations of electric and gas engines depending on the driver’s desires.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Not only is the Porsche 918 a technological marvel it’s also a pleasure to look at.  I never thought the famed Carrera GT could ever be made to look old, however the new 918’s wonderfully shaped design definitely dates the Carrera GT.  Let’s be honest, Porsche hasn’t been producing the most attractive cars on the planet but I would have to say they’re certainly on the right track with this one.  Its curvaceous lines are perfectly proportioned giving the 918 a very aggressive and exotic stance.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder

One of my favorite design features about the Porsche 918 Spyder is where they decided to place the exhaust system.  For us car fanatics there is no better area to place a great sounding exhaust than directly behind your head.  Yup, two massive exhaust pipes jetting upward out of the engine bay emit beautifully sounding exhaust fumes straight up into the air.  This instantly reminded me of the old Le Mans and Can AM cars ripping down the straightaway with their massive engines spewing exhaust fumes infused with the sweet smell of race fuel.  Porsche didn’t design the exhaust system purely for nostalgic reasons; they were placed there to address a heating problem with the battery cells that are placed behind the cockpit.

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

2014 Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Porsche really hit their mark with the 918 Spyder combining cutting edge technologies with nostalgic and intimidating lines and unbelievable performance stats which is really setting the stage for a new era of super/hyper/hybrid cars to come.  With all the money you save on fuel, it more than justifies the rumored $850K +/- price tag for one of these hybrids.

CHECK OUT VIDEO OF THE 918 IN ACTION BELOW:

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FISKER KARMA…ECO-COOL!

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

I don’t know too much about hybrid cars.  I personally like the sound of a great exhaust system spewing sweet-smelling fumes from a high performance gas guzzling power plant.  One thing I do know about hybrids is that they all tend to look a little weird.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Take the Prius for example.  I know it’s trendy in LA to drive a Prius as to show the fellow Angeleno’s you’re doing your part to save the world, but does it really have to look like that?  Even the all-electric Tesla (see previous post) manages to look just a little off from your typical sports car.  The list goes on but it seems someone finally took note and is trying to change things.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The company Fisker has come a long way from the days of being an aftermarket coach builder; rebodying BMW’s and MB’s to name few.  Founders Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler have decided to change the way hybrid/electric cars are perceived and to prove to the world that you can have a fuel-efficient car without looking like a member of the chess club.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is a beautifully designed sedan and one of the few cars that has managed to stay true to its concept form.  A solar roof is tastefully incorporated into the body adding a futuristic element to an already forward design.  Other elements such as 22” wheels and Fisker’s signature sleek front grille adorn the wonderfully sculpted bodywork of the Karma.

The Karma’s powertrain uses the internal combustion engine in series with a generator and the Lithium-ion battery to power the electric motors that power the rear wheels giving up to 50 mi of electric driving.  After that, the internal combustion engine engages to generate energy for the electric motors providing up to an additional 250 mi of range; equating to about 52 mpg.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

The Karma has (2) 201 bhp motors that can produce a 0-60 time in 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 125 mph (Sport Mode).  Materials such as Water-Based Paints, Reclaimed Woods and EcoSuede are just a few of the ingredients that go into making this eco-friendly, state-of-the-art sports sedan.

While I can literally write a book about the Karma’s technical attributes I really like this car for the way it looks.  The performance specs aren’t the greatest, especially when you compare them to other sports sedans in the same price range  ($104K – $120K) but sometimes specs aren’t’ everything.  The person that drives this car is much like the car itself; a sleek and sophisticated forward thinking individual that believes looking cool is just as important as saving the world.  I like to call it “Eco-Cool”.

Fisker Karma

Fisker Karma

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SSC TUATARA…CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

A war has been underway for a many years now and there seems to be no end in sight.  It has gotten ugly at times and will remain so until one side finally steps down declaring the other side the victor.  No, I am not talking about the current state of affairs our government is involved in; I am referring to the war between Bugatti and SSC for the Worlds Fastest Production Car title.

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

The first shot fired was by Bugatti with the introduction of the Veyron.  SSC fired back in self-defense with the Ultimate Aero.  Bugatti was not willing to lie down quietly and so they retaliated with their Veyron Super Sport prompting SSC’s latest assault the Tuatara.  Can’t we all just get along?

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

SSC has been a pain in Bugatti’s side ever since the Ultimate Aero became the World’s Fastest Production Car by Guinness World Records in 2007.  SSC is an American supercar company founded in 1999 by Jerod Shelby (no relation to Carroll Shelby), which headquarters in Tri Cities, Washington.

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

SSC’s Tuatara impresses me in many ways.  For starters, it carries a striking resemblance to the amazing Pininfarina P 4/5, which is no surprise due to the fact that the very talented Jason Castriota has designed them both. What I find most impressive however, are the specs of the Tuatara compared to the Bugatti.

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara One-Peice Carbon Fiber Wheel

The Tuatara is able to achieve 1350bhp and 1042 ft-lbs of torque from an SSC designed Twin Turbo Charged Billet Aluminum V8, while the Bugatti Veyron has literally double the power plant using a Quad Turbo Charged W16.  The Tuatara weighs in at 2750lbs dry (2.0lbs/hp, New Record), utilizes a one-piece carbon fiber wheel, has a triple disc carbon clutch, a 7 speed manual or SMG transmission, goes 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and has a top speed of 276mph.  All without the help of a massive company like Volkswagen for support. Oh yeah it also comes with a 300mph Speedometer, a 10,000 Tachometer and a Horse Power gauge.  Wow!

SSC Tuatara

SSC Tuatara

After considering all these factors among many more, it’s no wonder SSC has thrusted on to the scene competing with the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Koenigsegg (to name a few).  There is no telling where this war will take us however it’s fierce competition mixed with testosterone, like in this battle, that has created the most amazing technological feats of our time.  Keep up the good work SSC!

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KOENIGSEGG AGERA & AGERA R…WORTH EVERY PENNY!

My views of Swedish cars usually don’t include hypercars or even sports car for that matter.  I usually envision a happy nuclear family safely motoring down the road on their way to apple picking.  There is a car company however that may very well change my opinion.

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg Agera

Koeniggsegg has been around for a while, since first coming on to the scene in 1994 with their CCX model.  I’ve seen the car from time-to-time, showing up in random B-list movies and rap videos, although I never really took an interest in learning more about it.  I thought it was one of those boutique car companies that would soon fizzle away after the rich owner got bored and moved on to the next thing to check off his bucket list.

Koenigsegg Agera

Koenigsegg Agera

Well 17 years later founder Christan von Koeniggsegg is still as passionate as ever dreaming up the impossible and making it a reality.  His latest creations, the Agera and Agera R (2012), are nothing short of technical masterpieces.  While I could literally write novels about the cars’ technical feats I thought I’d touch upon some of the more distinctive characteristics that make the Agera so special.

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

The name Agera means, “to take action” in Swedish and also comes from the Greek word Ageratos or “ageless”.  Deemed as impossible or too expensive, Koeniggseg is among the very few, if any, boutique car companies that actually develop and produce their own engine in-house.  The 5.0-liter V8 twin turbo engine is considered the lightest and most compact hypercar engine in the world producing 940 bhp and 1100 bhp for their ‘R’ model.  This is quite an accomplishment considering the cars fuel consumption is 16 mpg and has emissions of 310g/C02.  What really impressed me was the specially designed carbon-fiber monocoque chassis that embodies a built-in 21-gallon fuel tank as to evenly distribute the weight of the fuel throughout the car.  The chassis design is not only physically brilliant it proved to be extremely safe thus allowing it to pass the U.S. crash test on the first try.  While I have only found unofficial 0-60 mph times (3.0 and 2.7 for the ‘R’) I did manage to find an official 0-200 mph time; 17.68 seconds! We are living in mad times when car companies no longer provide 0-60 mph times but rather 0-200 mph.  I love it!

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 BHP

Koenigsegg Agera R -1100 bhp

Aside from the impressive technical attributes the Agera represents, I find this car to be strikingly sexy and aesthetically pleasing.  Scissor doors, removable roof, turbine wheels, ghost-lite dash the list goes on and on! I have often dreamt of starting my own sports car company and too be honest I don’t feel the need to do so knowing the Koeniggsegg Agera is out there.  It’s pretty much exactly the way I would want my car to look, sound and perform!  This car is very special and while I have no idea what the price tag is, I can already say it’s worth every penny.

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SEMA SHOW 2011…AUTOMOTIVE DEBAUCHERY!

It’s been a couple years since I’ve been to the SEMA show in Las Vegas.  I was one of those diehards that would attend every year and take part in this amazing spectacle of unnecessary add-ons to cars, trucks and pretty much anything with wheels.

Ferrari 458 Italai w/ Custom Carbon-Fiber Skin

Ferrari 458 Italia w/ Custom Carbon-Fiber Skin

Year after year companies and individuals would try to one-up each other and debut their fabulous creations at this show.  It’s the only place on earth I can accurately describe as automotive debauchery.

Nissan 350Z w/ an Extreme Body Kit

Nissan 350Z w/ an Extreme Body Kit

As you walk through the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center you’re overwhelmed by the thousands of blinking lights and sounds coming from the booths and individuals displaying this years hottest new aftermarket products.

Custom Widebody Camaro w/ Hide-Away Front Grille

Custom Widebody Camaro w/ Hide-Away Front Grille

As you near the doors to exit on either side of the buildings, you’re greeted by the sounds of screeching tires from the drifting performances put on by the Ford Cobras or the Corvette ZR1’s.  Eager fans waited in long lines to take a 2 minute “death ride” with a professional driver as they drifted through a course at high speeds in either a Ford Cobra, GT500 or Corvette ZR1.  They obviously kept these two courses far away from each other as to not cause any fights between the diehard Ford and Chevy enthusiast.

Super Performance Cobra Launching Into the Drift Course

Super Performance Cobra Launching Into the Drift Course

There was a massive turn out of customized cars displayed outside of the buildings which I felt had the some of the best looking and most creative cars at the show.  There were also the usual suspects in attendance such as Chip Foose (Foose Design), West Coast Customs, Platinum Motors, Giovanni Wheels, and Ford to just name a few.

Fisker Kama

Fisker Karma

It was nice to attend the SEMA show and get back to my roots once again. Over the past couple years the aftermarket industry has taken some big hits due to the economy however it seems as though it’s making a good comeback.

Check out many more of the SEMA pics on Facebook!

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McLaren MP4-12C…THE BOYS ARE BACK!

McLaren Mp4-12C

McLaren Mp4-12C

We haven’t heard too much from the boys at McLaren over the past few years. I guess after creating the McLaren F1 there wasn’t really much more to say.  Being heralded as “the finest driving machine built for the public road” or having statements made like “the McLaren F1 will be remembered as one of the great events in the history of the car” would make anybody lazy, right? Wrong!

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

The boys are back with the much-anticipated predecessor to the McLaren F1, the McLaren MP4-12C.  Few cars arrive to the scene with as much pressure and expectation for nothing less than mind blowing stellar performance than McLaren.  Do you blame us?

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren boss Ron Dennis was quoted as stating the MP4-12C will out perform the competition in all areas: speed, emissions, and dynamics.  That’s a pretty bold statement considering the company the 12C is in.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see however considering the specs, I’d say they have a damn good chance of holding true to that claim.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

Powered by a 3.8L Twin Turbo V8 producing 592bhp, the 12C goes 0-62 in 3.3 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph.  Following in the McLaren F1’s footsteps, the 12C is the first production car to use the most cutting edge and latest space age materials like Magnesium and a single-piece Carbon MonoCell; weighting in at just under 3000lbs.  Additionally, words like “fuel efficiency” and “CO2 emissions” aren’t really spoken about when it comes to supercars.  McLaren however thought they would start that conversation with the 12C managing nearly 25mpg and an mpg/CO2 ratio being one of the best in the modern world.

McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

While the interior’s forensic attention to ergonomic detail and the rear-tail brake-assist is quite impressive, the one thing I appreciated when learning about the McLaren MP4-12C was the price.  I’m not saying $250K +/- is affordable by any means, however considering the McLaren F1 was $1M car I think they have made great strides in making this car more attainable to not only the Saudi princes but to their sons and daughters as well!

McLaren MC4-12C

McLaren MP4-12C

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FERRARI 612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

As I have mentioned many times in the past, I don’t like to spend too much time talking about concept cars.  I don’t like guessing what the price and performance specs would be if some company decided to actually produce the car.  I must say however, every now and then something comes along that force me to bend the rules.

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

Sasha Selipanov of Berlin Germany aka The Angry Car Designer has designed a concept he calls “612 GTO”.  It’s pretty bold to use the coveted GTO badging considering Ferrari themselves have only used it on 3 models ever!  (See previous post)

The design reminds me of a lot of things.  While the concept definitely encompasses some prominent designs characteristics from the 1962 250 GTO there are also some hints of Zagato inspired lines by the way the rear fenders are shaped and flared.

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

Since this is all fantasy anyway, what the hell lets fantasize, shall we! 612; 6.0L V12?  Horsepower; considering the new Lamborghini LP-700 Aventador sports a similar engine, which produces 700 bhp, lets say the 612 GTO comes with 750bhp, it is a GTO after all.

 0-60? I’m going to go ahead and say 2.8 seconds due to the engine being in front and it only having rear-wheel drive.

Weight; considering it’s a futuristic GTO model I’m going to assume Ferrari has made great strides in the carbon-fiber department and constructed the entire chassis and body from new space-age carbon-fiber totaling 3500lbs.

Brakes; I’ll say the 612 GTO has ceramic carbon disc brakes measuring 15.7×1.5 inches in the front, and 14.2×1.5 inches in the rear. That set-up should pretty much stop anything!

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

 Wow, that was fun!  While this is just a fantasy and will most likely never gain any steam, designers like Sasha Selipanov all start from humble beginnings doing exactly what he did with his “612 GTO”.  It’s the same place Jason Castriota came from and you can all see the great success he’s had with his career.  At the very least the 612 GTO concept deserves a place in my Honorable Mentions category and a pat on the back from me, good job!

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

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612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov

612 GTO by Sasha Selipanov