Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 2008 Dream Car of the Month - Koenigsegg CC

Koenigsegg CCXR Edition

Founded in 1993 by Christian von Koenigsegg, Keonigsegg is a Swedish based manufacturer of very rare, very fast supercars. Koenigsegg had a dream to become a car manufacturer and after making his fortune in business, he turned his attention to building a two seat, mid-engined supercar.

Christian von Koenigsegg penned the original design himself and the original prototype was finished in 1996. The prototype was shown to the public in 1997 and the production version of the car was revealed at the 2000 Paris Motor Show. That first model prototype was known as the Koenigsegg CC.

Koenigsegg CC Prototype

The first Koenigsegg sold to the public was called the CC8S. Only about 6 were produced between 2002 and 2005. The car featured a full carbon fiber body with an aluminum and kevlar honeycomb reinforcement. Curb weight was only 2590lbs and the car was powered by a supercharged Ford 4.7L modular V8 producing 655hp/555tq. Power was transferred to the rear wheels by a 6 speed Cima manual transaxle with limited slip differential. This car could accelerate to 60mph in 3.2 seconds and to 100 in 6.2 while on its way to a 10 second 1/4 mile. Top speed was estimated to be 240mph.

Koenigsegg CC8S

Following the CC8S was the Koenigsegg CCR which was produced from 2004-2006. The CCR was basically an updated and improved version of the original. Power was upped to 806hp/680tq by using a Lysholm twin-screw supercharger. That however proved to be difficult to install in the mid-engine car so the production CCR used twin centrifugal superchargers made by Rotrex which provides the same power in better packaging. On February 28 2005 the Koenigsegg CCR broke the production car top speed record of 240mph, set by the McLaren F1, which had stood for over 12 years by hitting 241.01mph on the Nardo test circuit. Important to note is the fact that Nardo is a circular track and the track where the McLaren F1 and subsequently the Bugatti Veyron set their records, the VW Ehra track in Germany, is a 9km straight track. The McLaren could only muster 231mph at Nardo. So if the CCR had been tested on the straight track, it's speed may have been closer to 250mph.

Koenigsegg CCR

The most recent model is the Koenigsegg CCX. The X denoting the 10th anniversary of the first CC model. The CCX is the first Koenigsegg designed for sale all over the world, particularly the United States. The Ford V8 was replaced by an engine designed in house by Koenigsegg. The new engine is capable of running on 91 octane fuel and the car meets all US crash and emissions standards. The engine is based on the Ford V8 and features dual overhead cams with 4 valves per cylinder. The block is made of special heat treated aluminum that allows it to be stronger but lighter than the previous engine. It uses a dry sump oiling system with an external oil cooler and piston squirters. Running 91 octane the twin supercharged engine achieves 806hp/678tq. The CCX also comes as the CCXR which uses biofuel and increases the engines output to over 1000hp. Track oriented models of the CCX and CCXR were introduced called the CCX Edition and CCXR Edition. They featured even more power and stiffer suspensions.

Koenigsegg CCX

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 Honda Civic EX Coupe - Initial Impressions

Well, as I mentioned in a previous post, the wife's leased 2006 Acura TSX was returned at the end of the lease in May. As a replacement we decided to go with a new 2008 Honda Civic EX Coupe. This time we purchased the car instead of leasing. We had been looking at used cars for a while but the ones we were looking at, especially the Civics were almost as expensive or more expensive than a new one and most had dings, scratches or worse on them. So the decision was made to buy new.

The Civic was one of many cars on our list when we first started looking. We managed to narrow it down to the EX Coupe and we were able to get a good deal for only a couple hundred more than the "invoice price" you see on some of the internet sites. All in all, not a bad deal since the Civic has now become the best selling car in the US over the last few months. Honda dealers really don't need to give any discounts below MSRP so we were surprised at the deal we got.

Since it's my wife's car it was purchased with the automatic transmission. That's the only option on the car as the EX comes with pretty much everything you could want aside from nav and leather. Standard on the EX are a sunroof, nice MP3 compatible stereo with changer, 4 wheel disc brakes (lesser models make due with rear drums), and 16" alloy wheels.

Also, since it's my wife's car, I don't get the chance to drive it as much as I would like. I did however get the chance about a week ago to put some miles on it. Obviously, there is a bit of getting used to in a new car and the Civic's funky dash takes some time to warm up to. It was hard for me to find a comfortable driving position not because I'm a large guy, I'm average height and weight, but mostly because the car has no power memory seats and my wife didn't want me "messing" with the seat or tilt wheel too much. I did manage to get close though.

On the road the car felt fine with adequate power. It's no speed demon though with only 140hp pushing around almost 3000lbs of car. The ride was smooth but the suspension was a little bit soft for my tastes. The car definitely leaned too much around turns. The brakes were good and the car was fairly quiet. Probably my biggest complaint is with the electric power steering. It is way over-boosted. It felt like an old American car that you could steer with one pinkie finger. There was limited feedback and feel of the road transmitted through the steering. Some people may like that, but I do not. It's funny since the Acura TSX we had also had an electric power steering setup and that was very nicely weighted and provided nice feedback. That was however a more expensive sport sedan and the Civic is more of a relatively cheap, economy car.

Mileage, the big plus of the car, is rated at 36mpg highway and that seemed accurate. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I can manage to get close to 40mpg when we take it on a road trip to Florida later this summer. My son may not enjoy that though since, at the age of 14, he is getting very close to 6' tall with no signs of slowing and the rear seats are a bit cramped. He'll have to work out the seating arrangement with my wife, since I do all the driving on the road trips.

After a couple of months of ownership, my impression of the Civic is that it is a well equipped, reasonably priced, economical, "appliance" type of car. It's not sporty and it's not meant to be. Of course, if it were my choice and it had to be a Civic, it would be the Si for me. Other than that, it's got all of the bases covered. Nicely appointed, reasonably priced, economical and with Honda reliability.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Nissan GTR Spec V details leaked

Apparently Road & Track has revealed some specs on the upcoming Nissan GTR Spec V. The car will seat only two as the rear seats have been removed for additional weight savings. Total weight reduction will be around 200lbs bringing curb weight to 3615. Horsepower is upped to 520hp and torque grows to 440lb-ft. The price is expected to be around $130,000 and it will be on sale in early 2009. Test cars have already been unofficially timed as low as 7:25 around the 'Ring.

Can't wait to see what the dealer markup on these will be.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BMW M car murdered by stupid teen.

A while back there was a story of a spoiled teen whose parents bought him a new BMW M5 and he subsequently went out and crashed it, killing himself and a few friends in an incredibly stupid fashion. I commented on it here. Well, now we have another case. Jalopnik reported that another offspring of wealthy parents with more money than sense has led a BMW M car to it's death.

This time, luckily for the parents and the teen, no one was killed except the car, a 2008 BMW M3. Apparently it was a gift to the 19 year old who proceeded to pick up a couple of friends and be stupid, as teens are known to do. He just felt like opening up the 420HP beast in a residential neighborhood and hit a hill where he lost control, hitting a curb and becoming airborne. The car wound up landing in a front yard and hitting a house. Brilliant move on the driver's part and his parents.

I wonder what they will replace it with? The poor boy needs something to drive. Why not get him a loaded pistol and tell him to go have fun with it outside? That may actually be safer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meet the Lotus Evora

Lotus debuted their latest car, the 2+2 Evora at the British Motor Show this week. The car has been the target of spy photographers for many months while under development as codename Eagle. Now we finally have pictures and stats on the new car.

The Evora will feature a 2+2 seating arrangement with very small back seats apparently not suitable for grown humans with all their limbs. But it is a 2+2 non the less. Power will be supplied by a Toyota V6 with 276HP/252TQ transferred through a 6 speed manual. In Lotus tradition, curb weight will be kept down but the car will feature many luxury options not available on their other current offerings. Even with the added weight, 0-60 times are expected to be below 5 seconds. No official performance specs have been released though.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Official photos and info on the 2010 Camaro

After many, many months of spy photos and guessing, we finally have some official details on the 2010 Chevy Camaro. There will be three engine choices, a 3.6L direct injection V6 with 300HP/273TQ, a new 6.2L L99 V8 for 6 speed auto equipped cars with 400HP/395TQ and the 6.2L LS3 V8 for 6 speed manual cars with 422HP/408TQ. The V6 cars will be rated at 26mpg and the L99 V8, which featured Active Fuel Management, will get 23mpg highway. The trim levels will be LS, LT and SS. The LS and LT will get the V6 engine while the SS gets the choice of V8s and auto or manual transmissions. The LT and SS can be ordered with the RS appearance package which adds HID headlamps with integrated halo rings, a rear spoiler, different taillamps and 20-inch wheels. SS models get Brembo brakes and a Sport mode with stability control and launch control.

Aside from the retro exterior, the car will also sport a very retro interior with 60's style gauges reminiscent of the first generation Camaros. A nice touch are the lower gauges on the center console ahead of the shifter. Prices are expected to start around $25k for the V6 and up to $40k for the SS.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Edition Video

Mercedes finally released info and official photos and video of the upcoming SL65 AMG Black Edition. The car is essentially the replacement for the McLaren SLR and sports a twin-turbo V12 with 661HP/738TQ. The weight will be substantially lower than that of the standard SL series car by using exotic lightweight materials. The car will also feature a permanent hardtop as opposed to the standard SL's folding hardtop. Prices are expected to exceed $300,000 and it should be good for around 200MPH.

Thursday, July 10, 2008