Category Archives: Misc automakers

McLaren Unveils Insanely Bonkers Senna Hypercar, Brings 738 Horsepower To The Track

McLaren has been on a roller coaster ride of success over the past several years with entries like the 570S and the 720S redefining its core identity.  The British supercar maker continues to be a solid alternative to traditional stalwarts Lamborghini and Ferrari, and drive to stand out amongst buyers has driven McLaren to create their wildest, and most track focused road car yet, the limited production Senna.

Named after famed Brazilian Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna da SIlva, the exterior styling embraces a unique blend of form and function. Looks are subjective, but there’s no question that the Senna’s design has a distinctive character, and it all comes as a result of attempts to make the body as sleek and aerodynamically efficient as possible. Case in point is the double rear diffuser that leads out to the underfloor scoop, and is also partnered with a large rear wing that comes equipped with active aero technology. McLaren is quick to point out that the Senna spent countless hours in the wind tunnel to further refine its svelte bodywork, which embodies the high dedication that McLaren engineers had when it came to creating the ultimate track weapon.

A curious addition is the see through glass panels that are sandwiched into the doors. McLaren claims that the glass is lightweight, but it does take away some of the privacy that is afforded by conventional panels. Lastly, like other odd vehicle features that are offered in Europe, look for these panels to not make the transition to U.S. spec cars due to our country’s stricter safety regulations.

The interior of the car adopts a very minimalist design, but it still manages to cram features such as a rear view backup camera, infotainment system, as well as McLaren’s foldable drivers display. The cabin is also bathed in carbon fiber, and the lightweight carbon fiber seats help enhance the overall ambiance, while also doing their part to shed weight at the same time. Speaking of the fore-mentioned seats, each car will have a distinctively different set of thrones, with McLaren designers custom tailoring the seats  to fit the unique dimensions of their lucky owners.

Power for the Senna comes from the same 4.0 liter biturbo V8 that also sees duty in the 720S. However, in the Senna this engine has been tweaked to unleash 79 more horsepower, bringing the grand total to 789 horsepower, as well as a slightly higher 590 lb-ft of torque. While this might not seem like much of an increase at first glance, it all comes together when you consider that the Senna is much lighter than the 720S with the car weighing in at just 2,641 lbs. McLaren chose to not release formal performance figures for its newest offering, but expect the Senna to be a an absolute missile out on the track. McLaren claims that “savage performance” will be on hand, and these claims have even more traction considering that Senna’s nephew Bruno Senna was directly involved in the car’s development phase.

Production is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018 after the Senna makes its official public debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. A three seat model dubbed the “BP23” will follow in 2019, and it will serve as the successor to the original F1 supercar. Like the Senna, it will be a part of the Ultimate series, and production is expected to be even more exclusive, with McLaren potentially producing a mere 106 copies, with each one (like the Senna) allegedly already spoken for by potential buyers.

Tesla Unveils Tesla Semi Truck, Promises 500 Mile Range and 5.0 Second 0 to 60 Time

Despite concerns about the slow rollout of the $35,000 Model 3 Sedan and its shockingly high rate of cash burn, Tesla is pressing forward with its ambitions to shake up the world of automobiles and has done so in a new and unique way with the unveiling of the Tesla Semi truck.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk exuded confidence in his new big rig, and started off his remarks with perhaps the most impressive performance statistic of this beast, a 5.0 second 0 to 60 time when it isn’t shackled to a load. You read that correctly, 0 to 60 in 5.0 seconds, a time normally reserved for many modern performance cars, and a massive leap over the 0 to 60 times boasted by many of its petrol powered opponents. While it would be interesting to see how this big Tesla does in a drag race, the truck is no slouch either when towing a trailer filled with 80,000 lbs of stuff. Tesla claims that it can maintain a 65 mph speed on a sustained five percent grade wheras other diesel trucks can only do the same feat at 45 mph.

The exterior styling of the truck is clean, and obviously geared towards achieving maximum aerodynamics. While it will not win a beauty pageant anytime soon, The front fascia has a pseudo-aggressive look, and the slick headlights help endow it with a slight degree of elegance. The truck currently does not have a sleeper unit, but we actually prefer the bigger cab over the smaller box style unit that Tesla also had on display for the world’s press. The rear wheels are hidden behind panels, and keen observers will notice the centrally mounted driving position which supposedly enhances visibility for higher levels of safety. The rear fascia (if you call it that) is predictably utilitarian, but we do like the tasteful taillight strip which builds on its futuristic theme quite nicely.

In addition to the centrally mounted driving position, Tesla designers also aimed to maximize space by moving the passenger seat behind, and to the right of the driver versus the normal side by side configuration utilized by current big rigs. Tesla also enhanced interior storage, and claimed that these changes were inspired by feedback from commercial truck drivers. The interior also features two big screens borrowed from the Model 3 with the right screen featuring radio and navigation controls, and the left screen covering vehicle settings and other truck related functions. Tesla claims that like its passenger cars, the screens could eventually be updated to be more configurable  which should please drivers looking to tailor them to their specific industry, and the transportation needs of their rigs.

The Tesla Semi Truck has conventional exterior mirrors mounted on the outside of the vehicle, but both screens also show the sides of the truck thanks to cameras mounted on the bottom portion of the mirror assembly. Tesla claims that these are part of the Autopilot system, but we suspect they are also designed to help drivers be more acclimated with the central driving position. As a bonus, Elon Musk claims that the front glass is “explosion proof” and that it could withstand the force of a nuclear blast. While  we are not eager to find out how the Tesla Semi Truck fares as a bomb shelter, the exaggerated explanation could mean that the glass is more durable than conventional windscreens, and that could appeal to fleet managers looking to shave precious maintenance dollars, especially money that goes into replacing windshields damaged by rocks and other debris.

Performance in this segment is more about road tripping versus 0 to 60 sprints, and the Tesla Semi Truck aims to achieve this by offering drivers a 500 mile driving range between charges. Notably this is lower than diesel trucks equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks, but Elon Musk was quick to point out that 80 percent of all trucking routes are 250 miles or less which could give the EV truck an edge, especially if it has a reliable network of charging stations in place.

Speaking of charging stations, a project this big requires an equally big charging source, and Tesla has unveiled the answer to keeping the big Tesla Semis powered up, Megachargers. Designed to be even more powerful than the standard Supercharger network, Megachargers will still retain the global network that has come to define the Superchargers and Musk revealed that “truckers will be able to travel anywhere in the world via the Megachargers.” The main reason why this is possible is in the way that they work, with the Megachargers drawing their juice from solar energy. This allows them to stay off the main electrical grid, and in turn not only give drivers locked electricity rates, but also 400 miles of driving range in a 30 minute charge.

This is not a bad combination, though we are curious to see how quickly Tesla can get the Megacharger network up and running, especially considering that the California based firm plans to unleash the first units onto the marketplace in 2019. Another challenge will be how much of a strain this new model will put on Tesla’s already precarious cash reserves, especially if sales do not meet projections. Contrary to Tesla’s flash and circumstance, the Tesla Semi Truck is NOT the first EV big rig in the marketplace. For example Daimler already has an all electric concept truck out on the road, while Nikola Motors is also embarking on a production green big rig of their own, the electric-hydrogen fueled Nikola One.

Apollo Unveils Intensa Emozione

Apollo, the young company that emerged from the ashes of the bankrupt and bitterly missed Gumpert, is out to bring emotion and flair back to the hypercar segment. While Apollo has been recently quiet as of late, the company ended this figurative radio silence by unveiling the all new Intensa Emozione.

The exterior styling of the Intensa Emozione is a wild styling excercise that is allegedly meant to recapture “the lost emotion and fading spirit” that Apollo claims, is ruining the hypercar genre. While we’re not sure if we can agree with Apollo on that particular finding, it is nice to see a relatively fresh design that harkens back to the old Gumpert Apollo. Like the Gumpert, the Intensa Emozione does look a bit cluttered from certain angles, but there is a healthy mixture of form and function present here.

The front fascia for example features a huge front splitter that forms an extensive aero kit when paired with the diveplanes, body mounted channels and so much more. Our highlight feature is the gigantic rear spoiler that is easily the biggest in the segment, and could also substitute for the flight deck of a scale model aircraft carrier.

The end result is downforce, lots of it with the IE benefiting from 2,976 lbs of the stuff when thrashing its way through a track day. For those that are curious, thats the equivalent of an entire Toyota Corolla pushing down on the car (an impressive feat.)  A carbon fiber monocoque chassis is also on hand to keep weight down, while also increasing structual strength at the same time.

The interior of the IE is all buisness, and features supportive racing seats with healthy doses of red accents, and a race inspired steering wheel. Look for carbon fiber and other lightweight materials to be splashed throughout the cabin to help enhance its performance oriented mission in life while also delivering bespoke levels of comfort.

Performance comes from a naturally aspirated V12 thats good for 780 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. This ungodly power is channeled to the rear wheels through a six speed Hewland sequential gearbox with pneumatic changing gear. Apollo claims that the end result makes it “a bit savage” but we think the cool noises it produces will balance things out nicely.

Predictably the Intensa Emozione is a member of the 200 mph club, and the Hewland gearbox plays a big role in this feat. However, drivers will have to manually engage first gear and use a clutch to get the car moving, before the computer takes over in higher gears. Apollo claims that it’s a piece of the “old school experience” but we’ll chalk it up to the needs of the gearbox itself.

Handling is also razor focused thanks to F1 inspired double wishbone suspension with pushrod and rocker arm architecture front and rear. Adjustable anti-roll bars and Bilstein dampers round out the package, but buyers can have a more bespoke setup installed if they so choose.

Apollo is only producing 10 Intensa Emoziones before ceasing production, so buyers will have to act quickly to snatch one for their garage. They will also have to pay accordingly for the privelege, with each copy starting at $2.6 million with our choice being the bare carbon look (pictured.) Buyers will also have access to exclusive perks, including first dibs on future Apollo products like the upcoming 2019 Arrow.

Model Y

Tesla Teases Model Y CUV

Following the launch of its Model X SUV, Tesla has released a shadowy teaser image of the next step in its plans to dominate the CUV market the Model Y.

Like Tesla’s other teaser images, this one does not reveal too much detail. However, it does give a preview of the basic styling direction Tesla is trying to achieve with the Model Y, as well as the proportions for the front end. Unlike the Model X, the Y is expected to feature a more traditional apperance, and that could include ditching the X’s glitchy falcon doors for more conventional units.

While the Model Y is based on an all new platform, Tesla admits that the Y will eventually outsell the Model 3 due to the high demand from CUV buyers. Tesla also admitted that it wanted to avoid some of the styling compromises that emerged when designing the Model X.

“I think we really made a mistake trying to derive the design for the Model X from the Model S platform” Musk revealed at a recent shareholders meeting.

Look for the Model Y to also feature a more approachable pricing ladder albeit in the higher end of the CUV segment where it will compete with rivals from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes.

Fisker Shows Official Images of EMotion EV, Confirms $130k Pricetag

Fisker’s EMotion EV has big ambitions, and aims to make up for all the sins that were committed by Henrik Fisker’s prior attempt at an EV, the Fisker Karma. Following the prior unveiling of several teaser images, Fisker Inc has released several new photos of a prototype, as well as confirmed the official price tag for the stylish coupe.

The new round of photos showcase several changes between the renderings and the prototype, with a key revision taking place in the front fascia. Unlike the renderings, the prototype appears to have toned down the styling in this area somewhat, with the car ditching the faux air intake ducts on the hood and front bumper. Other than those tweaks, the basic design retains select traits from the Karma which has been reborn separately under the umbrella of China’s Wanxiang corporation, but with a wedge shape versus the more organic lines that defined the Karma.

In addition to the new images, Fisker Inc also revealed to the folks at TechCrunch that the EMotion will have a starting price of $129,900 (excluding various taxes and options.) This pricing ladder appears to suggest that the company is aiming to position the EMotion above Tesla’s Model S P100D. While its 161 mph top speed is lower than the Tesla, the EMotion would have a higher 400 mile driving range, which should please buyers that have range anxiety. Other goodies include weight reducing carbon fiber and aluminum wheels, 360 degree optical sensors, as well as fast charge technology that can allegedly provide 100 miles of driving range in less than nine minutes.

If the EMotion eventually makes its way to formal production, it would be built from carbon fiber as well as aluminium to help shed weight, while also increasing overall fuel economy at the same time. The EMotion would also be a technological showcase, and could possibly arrive with advanced levels of autonomy, especially with LiDAR sensors and specially designed mirror cameras.

Fisker revealed that the company plans to begin accepting pre-orders from prospective owners on June 30th, but official production is expected to not begin until 2019 or later.  In the meantime, look for the company to release more information as its reveal draws near including pictures of the interior.

Mitsubishi Unleashes Blacked Out Lancer Limited Edition

Mitsubishi’s venerable Lancer sedan is getting ready to head to greener pastures in 2017, but that doesn’t mean that the Japanese auto giant is letting it exit with a whimper. Mitsubishi has formally unveiled an all new Lancer variant that adds to bring more style and a few pinches of new technology to sedan buyers.

Dubbed the Lancer Limited Edition, this all new variant is positioned directly above the base ES model, and is designed to help add more style and technology to the Lancer’s value oriented mission. The LE was inspired by the recent emergence of popular blacked out models that are being offered by competitors, and while it will never match the dearly departed Lancer Evolution’s bold styling cues, it does bring some boldness back to the car.

As mentioned earlier, the LE takes its inspiration from other blacked out models and comes equipped with black 16-inch wheels as well as black accents for the roof, upper front grille trim, fender garnish, as well as the door mirrors. These tweaks certainly help the Lancer stand out better in a crowd, though it is still a step behind Nissan’s recently expanded lineup of Midnight Edition offerings.

The interior has also seen its fair share of upgrades, and is swathed in black fabric with red stitching covering the steering wheel, shift knob, parking brake lever, armrests, as well as the door trim. Other goodies include a trim exclusive black headliner, aluminum pedals, and Mitsubishi’s familiar 6.5 inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability.

The Lancer LE will begin arriving in Mitsubishi showrooms later this month with a base price of $19,795. This pricing still puts the Lancer in the lower end of the sedan segment, and should make it a compelling choice for buyers that want a balanced blend of style and technology but don’t want to break the bank in the process.

Rezvani Prices 2018 Beast Alpha, Costs Under $100k

When Rezvani first introduced the 2017 Beast Alpha at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in November, we were intrigued by its removable targa top, as well as the 500 horsepower engine lurking under its elegantly sculpted hood. However, its $200,000 price tag was not so praise worthy. Thankfully it appears change is in the air with the release of a lone teaser image that hints at a massive price cut for the 2018 Beast, as well as other changes that aim to make the boutique supercar offering standout when compared alongside its more mainstream peers.

CEO Ferris Rezvani has high hopes for the 2018 Beast with the enthusiastic chief claiming that the Beast Alpha will be “a Porsche killer, but with even more focus on the enthusiast.”Rezvani went on to say that the 2018 model year will bring a unique series of features that are tailored to a more mainstream customer, while still maintaining the race car like level of performance and exotic design. It would also do this at a lower price with Rezvani revealing that the updated Beast Alpha would start at under $100,000.

Technical specifications for the 2018 Beast Alpha have not been unleashed as of this writing, but the 2017 Beast Alpha has a mere curbweight of 1,950 lbs which is achieved thanks to a body crafted out of carbon fiber as well as a Lotus derived aluminum monocoque material. A heavily modified 2.4 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine delivers 500 horsepower, and can scoot the Beast Alpha to 60 mph in a blistering 3.2 seconds thanks to its optional sequential automatic transmission (3.5 when equipped with the standard six speed manual.)

The California company is already accepting pre-orders for the 2018 Beast Alpha for enthusiasts that are eager to get their hands on the car ahead of its official debut, which is expected to take place sometime during the second quarter of the year. Early adopters will have to shell out a refundable deposit of $1,000 to be put on the waiting list, however we think its worth it, especially to experience the trick sliding sidewinder doors first hand.

 

HSV Unveils LS9 Powered GTSR W1 Super Sedan

Confirming a whole host of rumors that have been swirling for months about a higher level of Commodore performance. Holden’s in house tuner HSV has unveiled an all new Commodore performance model to formally send off the current generation Commodore.

Dubbed the GTSR W1, This souped up Holden goes all in on its performance credentials, and is powered by the same fire breathing LS9 supercharged V8 that also saw duty in the last generation ZR1 Corvette. Good for 635 GTSR-W1-Rear-3-4-smhorsepower and 601 lb-ft of torque, this potent engine allows the GTSR W1 to make the sprint to 60 mph in less than four seconds.

In addition to its straight line performance, the W1 also has solid handling manners thanks to an all new race inspired SupaShock suspension system, 20-inch wheels shod in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R race tires, 6-piston AP Racing monoblock front calipers, and a specially tuned bi-modal exhaust system.

The interior of the GTSR W1 shares much of its basic layout with the standard GTSR, but amps GTSR-W1-Interior-smit up with acres of Alcantara trim as well as a set of front racing seats.

Other details have not been released as of yet, but it is believed that HSV will only be building 250 examples of the GTSR W1, with each one having a base price of about $130,000.

 

Tesla Announces One Model Racing Series

Ever wondered what would happen if Tesla chose to unleash the insane potential of Ludicrous mode out on the race track? The California based EV company aims to answer that by unveiling an all new racing series for eager enthusiasts.

Dubbed Electric GT, drivers will compete in identical Tesla Model S P100Ds that have been extensively modified for track day use. A key change is the radical diet that the typically 01-069_JJC1687porky car has undergone in its transition from the road to track slaying beast, with Tesla engineers cleaving 1,100 lbs of excess flab.

This was achieved by completly gutting the interior of virtually all of its luxury and convinence features. However, the spartan cabin retains the vertically mounted touchscreen, and adds goodies such as a carbon fiber bucket seat for the driver, a full roll cage, as well as a rectangular steering wheel.

The exterior styling is also race ready, and adds a full bodykit, a deeper front bumper with 01-013_JIM8378-Editarincorporated front splitter, and a massive rear wing. Also, look for each car to feature a slick paint job that varies depending on affiliation and sponsors.

The P100D is no slouch in performance either, and is capable of producing 778 horsepower and 734 lb-ft of torque thanks in part to its 100 kWh battery pack. The folks at Electric GT have added beefier brakes, a fully revised suspension system, and center locking wheels shod in sticky Pirelli racing slicks.

Both male and female drivers are eligible to compete in the Electric GT series, but U.S. fans will be mostly out of luck with the initial pool of races taking place in Europe. Each race will take place at a well known European race circuit including Estroil in Portugal, the Paul Ricard in France, and the famed Nurburgring in Germany. Three additional races will be organized in the Americas, but all three will not be championship races.

Electric GT events consist of a 20 minute practice session, as well as an hour long qualifying session. Once all that is out of the way, the formal competition is split into two 37 mile long events.

It will be interesting to see how various elements of strategy and tactics differ from other types of motor racing  and how the batteries hold up in rigorous track use.

In the meantime, Electric GT hopes to attract 20 professional drivers and 10 diffrent racing teams for the new season. We look forward to hearing more about this new series as information becomes avalible.

Nikola Motors Teases Hydrogen – Electric Semi Truck

It’s not too often that we get the opprotunity to talk about semi trucks here at Autoinfoquest, but the folks at Nikola Motor Company have big things in store for their entry in the commercial truck segment, and have released a lone teaser image of its new rig ahead of its formal debut later this evening.

 

Dubbed the Nikola One, this new model is a class 8 semi that Nikola claims will be ready for production by 2020. While the lone image does not give an all round look of its styling, it does reveal the production front end which boasts plenty of LED lighting accents, as well as a slight resemblance to the Audi R8 when you ignore its big center mounted grille and focuse on its headlight assemblies.

The lighting also forms a calling card for the Nikola with a thin strip forming a sleek border that encircles the headlights as well as the lower front air intakes. Thankfully the front fascia largely resembles prior renderings that the company released, albeit with minor tweaks for the sake of feasability. The renderings also showcased its aerodynamically focused profile, though expect changes here too in its transistion from the drawing board to production big rig.

Either way, it should be a nice change of pace versus current gasoline offerings from rivals such as Mack and Peterbilt which favor brawny themes, and typically stay away from the more elegant suit of clothes wielded by the Nikola One.

The highlight feature however is its zero emissions powertrain. Potentially the first production semi truck to offer such an option, the Nikola One gets its energy from both electric batteries as well as a hydrogen fuel cell. The company did not release formal performance figures, but did reveal that the combination allows the truck to have a driving range between 800 to 1200 miles.

To help make fueling and upkeep more affordable, Nikola will have a 72 month lease program that goes between $5,000 and $7,000 and allows owners to fill up at a network of fueling stations which will be announced by Nikola this evening. Maintenance will be covered by Ryder, with the firm also providing sales and warranty services for Nikola.

The company claims that it already has secured $3 billion in pre-orders which is an impressive feat. However like Tesla and its upcoming Model 3 sedan, it will be interesting to see if Nikola will have enough production capacity to meet all this demand.