Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And so it begins

A couple of years ago, back when I started this blog, I wrote in my post DSG Is the Future, that the manual transmission as we know if would soon cease to exist and that newer dual clutch type transmissions would take their place.

Well, it seems like this is starting to actually happen.  Two of the world's most prominent exotic sports car manufacturers, Ferrari and Lamborghini, have both recently announced that they will be phasing out the traditional manual transmission in future models.  Instead, they will concentrate on paddle shifted (dual clutch and automated manual) gearboxes for all their models.

With manufacturers being faced with more and more regulations regarding efficiency and emissions, and with Ferrari and Lambo's sales of real manual transmission equipped cars dwindling, you could see this decision coming a mile away.  The newer computer controlled transmissions are much more efficient than the traditional driver controlled three pedal setup and they are faster on the track as well. However, they do take away a lot of the soul and enjoyment of a true sports car.

I wonder if Enzo and Ferruccio would be proud.

Either way, it's a sad day for enthusiasts.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

80% of BMW 1 Series owners believe their car is FWD.

If you wanted proof of just how completely oblivious most people are regarding cars, this has to be up there with the best.  According to Automotive News, BMW's CEO shared this tidbit on a conference call.  That's simply amazing that that many people are so utterly clueless.  How can they not know that the 1 Series is rear wheel drive?

The numbers are supposedly the result of a survey BMW conducted and were thrown out in response to a question about whether or not adding FWD cars to the BMW lineup will confuse buyers.  I guess the answer to that would be a big no.  They're already sufficiently confused at this point.

Monday, March 22, 2010

McLaren MP4-12C performance numbers.

Autoblog is reporting that sources have revealed some hints on the performance stats of the new McLaren MP4-12C and they sound pretty good.  Acceleration to 60mph should be under 3 seconds with the help of launch control and 0-124mph will be under 10 seconds.  In other words, pretty damn fast.  You didn't think it would be slow, did you?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition - MMMMM Tasty

GM has released photos of the new limited edition Corvette Z06 Carbon.  It's basically a Z06 with all kinds of goodies from the beastly Corvette ZR1.  Those goodies include carbon fiber body panels and chassis components, carbon ceramic brakes and the magnetic suspension, all from the ZR1 parts bin.  There will only be 500 of these built and they should go fast.  No word on the pricing.

McLaren officially unveils the new MP4-12C

The newly formed company, McLaren Automotive, officially took the wraps off it's new supercar, the MP4-12C.  Sporting a McLaren designed and built 600HP/443TQ twin turbo, direct injection V8 mated to a dual clutch gearbox and a curb weight of just 2,800lbs, it should certainly live up to the McLaren name.  It will also feature much more comfort than the previous supercar to wear the McLaren name, the F1.  Fully adjustable suspension can be tailored to fit the track or the street making it everyday usable..

McLaren hopes to sell over 1,000 cars in 2011 and expects that to grow to over 4,000 in a few years with the addition of more models.  The final pricing and performance numbers are expected later this year.

Here is a video from the unveiling.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More from Geneva

I don't know how but I managed to forget to include what was possibly the most exciting car at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in my previous post.  That would of course be the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid concept.  Powered by a 500HP V8 and two electric motors with an additional 218HP it is claimed to be able to hit 60MPH in just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of close to 200MPH.  Also, if you choose so, it can return 78MPG (we'll see about that).  Supposedly, Porsche is really interested in actually building it.  Wow!

Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 Geneva Motor Show Highlights

Some of my personal favorites from Geneva.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Suprleggera
With a 561HP V10 and weighing just 2,954lbs, thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber, this should easily be the fastest iteration yet of the "Baby Bull".

Audi RS5
No word on whether this super coupe will be coming to the US but I certainly hope so.  It features the usual Audi 4.2L V8 seen in everything from the last gen S4 to the R8 but now in its highest output ever at 450HP.  That's more than the R8!

Gumpert Apollo S
Still sort of homely but now even more powerful with 750HP.  It previously lapped the Nurburgring in 7:11.57 with "only" 700HP.

Pagani Zonda Tricolore
A special commemorative edition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Frecce Tricolore, an Italian Air Force squadron.

Koenigsegg Agera
An evolution of the now legendary CC model line that culminated in the outrageous 1,100HP CCXR, the new Agera features arguably better styling.  It still uses the Koenigsegg built 4.7L V8 but now it is twin turbocharged for a total of 910HP/811TQ and the weight is down to 2,832lbs thanks to generous use of carbon fiber.  Koenigsegg claims it will hit 60mph in 3.1 seconds and the top speed should be upwards of 245mph.

Mazda MX-5 20th Anniversary Edition
I'm a big MX-5 Miata fan (I own a first generation model) and a 20th anniversary model is a nice touch to commemorate 20 years of the most successful sportscar in history.  England and Japan got their own anniversary editions and this one is for the rest of Europe.  Only question is: Where the hell is the US version? There was a 10th anniversary edition sold in the US but so far nothing for the 20th.  That sucks.  Either way, it's not really very special since it is just an appearance package though I imagine there will be some sort of limited "numbered" production run to kind of make it more valuable.