Thursday, 26 September 2013

Fake Exhaust Tips Don't Get Faker Than This

Look at those fake exhausts. LOOK AT THEM.
Seeing as I'm angrily ranting today, someone on Kinjaloppo posted about how he's sick of fake exhaust tips, which make a car's exhaust pipe look bigger than it is to make it seem sportier to people who aren't paying attention. I read this and I was reminded that, by far and away, the worst offender for this that I've ever seen is this particular version of the previous-gen Renault Clio, which I saw one of in Swansea last year (it took me about 10 minutes to pin it down and find an image of it online, having forgotten the LE name and never taken a picture of it myself...).

There are two main issues here. One is that they are so blatantly not metal it makes my mind full of fuck that anyone would think they were. Seriously, that shit belongs on a child's toy, not a real car. But the worst bit? Easily the fact that, if you look closely, there aren't even any holes in it. The actual exhaust pipe is somewhere behind the bumper!






SRSLY, help me out here. If they're not supposed to be exhaust pipes, what in Stig's name ARE they supposed to be? This isn't even half-arsed. It's quarter-arsed. Nay, it's one slice of raw bacon. That's how not-full-arsed it is. I'm astounded. I'd rather eat horse pubes than be seen with this fuckery on my car. If I get hired to design cars and they ask me to do something like this, I'm flipping my desk in front of them, even if it means taking my desk to the boss's office with everything on it...

Watch The Need For Speed Franchise Jump The Shark Once And For All

OK, so it's not dead-dead, but it's pretty much dead to me...
The phrase "jumping the shark" comes from the TV show Happy Days, when the show got so desperate to keep people watching that they made The Fonz literally jump over a shark in an episode. It's now used whenever a series has gone too far or otherwise taken desperate measures to cling on to life just a little bit longer. Unfortunately, something close to my heart is readying the shark and building a ramp right now...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Modified Saleen S7 Has ALL THE HORSEPOWERS

3/9/13 - 1:24 - 324,281 hits (when posted)

A wee while ago, I pondered over the possibility of a 300mph road car. Such a car would need to be low, aerodynamic and have at least 1600 horsepower, I reckon, and on a personal note I'd add all-wheel-drive so that you could actually control the thing and possibly grab some acceleration records on your way up to the mystical triple-tonne. Well then, perhaps this guy's modified Saleen S7 (y'know, that car from Bruce Almighty) might have the beginnings of the ideal recipe, because you see, it has a rather large engine. And by large, I mean a V8 enlarged to 10.2 litres. 10,200cc!! You'd have to look at bonkers pre-war racing cars to find that kind of displacement elsewhere. But for good measure, it's also got two turbochargers running at 25psi. In case you were wondering, that's a large amount of psi. The result is, well, you can see in the video above.

And in the screenshot below:

Yup, that says that at 7100rpm, this behemoth of a V8 was producing 2281.8bhp and 1737.4lb/ft of torque... at the wheels. What's more, it's supposedly running on "pump gas", which is an American way of saying regular, commercially available petrol (probably super unleaded rather than the cheap stuff). This is worth pointing out because many cars with power of this magnitude run on something a but fruitier than what you get at Shell or Total. The question is, can this engine sustain that kind of power for more than five minutes without exploding? If so, how fast would this car go in a long straight line?! Potentially - with the right gearing - really very fast indeed.

In 2008, The Mazda Furai Burned To Death In 8 Minutes, Hidden From Help

From TopGear's 20th Anniversary issue - some horrifying "news" from late 2008
I got my subscriber's copy of TopGear Magazine today, and it's an extra-large 20th Anniversary issue. Naturally, after hearing the tragic news that the Mazda Furai Concept burned to the ground in 2008 in the hands of the magazine, I immediately flicked through to the explanation. I won't scan or re-type the whole article because you should buy the magazine and I might get in trouble or something, but here are some choice quotes from the three-column article spread out with many tragic pictures I won't put you through the horror of looking at.

After The Stig and writer Bill Thomas had done the actual driving and opinionating (Some Say The Stig does so telepathically through a talking dog called Hubert), the camera crew had their turn to play with the stunning concept LMP car. Charlie Turner writes:

"As we've been shooting I've spotted the Furai's central exhaust spitting a thin cone of blue flames on downshifts. It's this I want to capture on our last run. [Mazda factory driver Mark]Ticehurst, duly instructed, heads off at pace, and Lee [Brimble] and I jump into the tracking vehicle and barrel after him, leaving the fire and support crews at the end of the runway. We catch the Furai over the crest of the runway (which rises in the middle) and track it down towards the far end.

As Ticehurst begins to slow for the turn and drops through the gears, things start to go wrong. The Furai is making a noise less Le Mans racer and more... fatally wounded elephant. "That doesn't sound good," mutters Lee.

As the Mazda straightens, Lee and I spot the same small lick of fire deep within the engine bay at the base of the bulkhead. Priceless concept. Flames. Ah.

"FIRE! OH GOD, IT'S ON FIRE!" I state calmly, resisting the urge to panic. Ticehurst can't hear me, so I bury the throttle to try to catch him and warn of the danger. Unsurprisingly, even a wounded, smoking Furai is faster than a people carrier.

Eventually they get close enough that frantic beeping and headlight flashing grabs Ticehurst's attention. They then shout (calmly) at him that it's on fire and he throws out the anchors, jumping out of the car before it was even stationary.

Where are the fire crew? On the other side of the rise in the runway, completely oblivious...

Mr. Turner promptly thrashes his unnamed MPV up the runway to get them, but they're too late. The car becomes engulfed as the wind blows the flames forwards towards the nose. They eventually get to the car, their hoses blasting shards of charred bodywork off with their force.

"One of the fire crew rips at a door to get better access to the bulkhead. Still burning, it comes off in his hand. At first, I'm annoyed at the disrespect he's showing this priceless, irreplaceable concept car. Then I realise that's like worrying the Titanic's deck chairs are getting damp."

"From spotting the first flame to staring at the soggy, scorched carcass of one of history's most beautiful concept cars has taken less than eight minutes. The Furai is dead. Dead with shocking speed, savagery and finality."

Oh, and to clear something up, I've seen a few comments that they put the wrong fuel in it. It seems this is false:

"As the ethanol burns, it's clear the game is up."

I suppose it's just the result of a racecar with a body designed more for beauty than engine-cooling getting too hot. It's still utterly tragic, though. I'm glad I got a chance to see it in the flesh when I could at the 2008 London Motor Show. What a mesmerising piece of design it is... was.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

BRABUS Has Given The Greatest Vehicle Of All Time The Dullest Name

Almost immediately after trying to break the trend of crossovers here on SBV8, I've had no choice but to return to the genre. But if that bothers you then you'll forgive me pretty quickly, because rather than being a crossover between an SUV and a sports saloon, the car you see here is a crossover between a proper off-roader and a nuclear warhead. At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Mercedes-Benz revealed the G63 AMG 6x6, which was a hot rod version of their own land rover with six wheels and a gun rack of sorts. Well now, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, their closely-associated tuning company BRABUS has made its own version of that car (?) for people who don't think 536bhp and 560lb/ft is enough power to haul a rather substantial 3775kg.

Obviously, what a pseudo-military six-wheeler needs is a 6.3-litre V8 Bi-Turbo producing seven hundred horsepower.

And obviously, what this earth-shattering creation needs is a name, a menacing one, an intimidating moniker that tells anyone who hears it that it is capable of terminating puny humans and driving straight through buildings like they're just hippie bead doors. A name like: B63S-700 6x6. Erm......

While that sounds like the serial number for a gift card, it accurately describes a BRABUS 6.3-litre 'S' with 700 horsepower and 6-wheel-drive. Maybe 'S' stands for "Schlag" (as in the German for "smash" or "strike", not a catchphrase for Sean Connery's and Ray Winstone's lovechild).

At any rate, this... machine, with its very Germanic designation, is capable of 0-60 in 7.4 seconds. Those of you thinking that it would be as fast as an Aventador because it has the same power clearly don't know how physics works, but it's still bloody impressive that something weighting almost exactly as much as two Bugatti Veyrons can keep pace with a hot hatch or Toyobaru GTBRZ86 in a straight line. Although of course, having a colossal 708lb/ft of torque between 2000-4500rpm helps too. The top speed is similarly un-Lamborghini, as the heavy-duty off-road tyres call for a limited top speed of 160km/h, or 100mph. Still, would you really want to drive this any faster than 100mph?

The best thing about it (aside from the three year/100k mile warranty) is that while they've upgraded the engine and given the vehicle a "strategic visual upgrade" inside and out, they've left the drivetrain untouched, which means that with knobbly 37" rubber and departure angles of 52° and 54° front & rear - not to mention 6WD with five locking differentials - you can still climb every mountain and ford every stream. But with 700 horsepower going through a gearbox they call "AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC" (emphasis not my own). All it needs now is a minigun mounted in the pickup bed and you can make yourself and three or four of those close to you nigh-on indestructible. Probably...

Finally, if you're not feeling manly enough for such a machine, or you don't need to worry about a zombie apocalypse, then there's good news! You can apply the same engine upgrades to the regular four-wheeled G63 AMG as well. You won't be as awesome, but hey, it's your money. Speaking of which, I don't know how much this costs, but being a BRABUS tune of an ex-military vehicle, it's probably €QuiteALot.

Side-exit exhausts can also be used to torch those who displease you or try to break in. This is a lie.
"Mastik" red leather and alcantara cover the interior, so that if one of your passengers turns out to be a traitor, the blood stains won't be so obvious to the next people to get in.
"Strategic Visual Upgrade" includes more carbon fibre and sticky-out bits like the bonnet scoop
A full big post about the Frankfurt Motor Show will appear after all the reveals are done, but I felt urged to tell you about this now.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Nissan GT-R NISMO Gets Low To Make You Get High

Nissan GT-R NISMO Prototype on the usual circuit
Aha! I know what will end the crossover spree this blog is in danger of experiencing. Spy shots from the Nürburgring a week or two ago revealed a Nissan GT-R shaped prototype undergoing testing. When we consider that Nissan Motorsport (NISMO) has confirmed that it's making a hot version of the GT-R - a car already so adept at giant-slaying it has almost become a giant of its own, fat jokes aside - these shots of a GT-R with a body kit and chunky rear wing all covered in shape-masking camouflage become rather exciting.

It's only when you obscure the bone lines and surfacing that you see just how chunky the R35 is...
Currently wearing the six-spoke wheels seen on the V-Spec and later Track Pack versions, this is the first time Nissan themselves will do anything particularly radical to the R35-generation GT-R's exterior. The big wing is self-explanatory, but the deeper skirts stretch all around the bottom of the car, lowering the ground clearance and producing a pronounced lip for aerodynamic reasons. I would say it has lower suspension, but the photographs show it going round a corner, so physics may well be tricking us here. There are also a lot more gills for the venting or channelling of air than before, near the wheels.

Why did they cover up the blacked-out A-Pillars? Does that really throw people off and make them think it's something else?
Peering through the windscreen we can see new bucket seats (oh, and a Carscoops logo, because they own the pictures). But what's under the bonnet? Well, it'll still be the bespoke hand-made "VR38DETT" engine, but experts predict that it will gain at least 30 more horses into its 542-strong stable, and all 570+bhp will still be sent carefully through all four wheels using their long serving torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, which they call "ATTESA-ETS" and originally developed for the R32 Skyline GT-R back in the late 80s.

As well as more power, carbon fibre will apparently be used extensively to try to cut some weight from the standard car's quite hefty 1740kg. The GT-R's creator Kazutoshi Mizuno justifies that weight by saying that a ~600kg Formula 1 car makes ~1200kg of downforce in a fast corner, and that a ~1200kg GT racing car makes ~600kg of downforce in a fast corner, so by that logic a 1740kg car that makes 60kg of downforce is ideal! Alas, heavy cars aren't as fun or as agile, so I'm glad to see that they're swapping some of the mass for more downforce. The GT-R and all its techno witchcraft is already way more agile - and quite a bit more exciting - than a car that heavy should be, so one with more aggressive tyres and a better mass-to-downforce ratio (as it were) would be intense.

But there's more.

A lower weight, stickier tyres and more power will cut the 0-60 time. Again, the current car punches way above its paper figures in this respect and does 0-60 in a staggering 2.7 seconds (with Launch Control active). But the NISMO version can - allegedly - do the benchmark sprint dramatically faster than that. In fact, one alleged insider allegedly told Auto Express that it can hit 60mph from rest in as little as 2.0 seconds. Two seconds flat!! To add perspective, the AWD, 1200PS Bugatti Veyron Super Sport takes 2.4 seconds, and the current record for a production car is the bonkers Ariel Atom 500 V8 at 2.3 seconds. The word 'insane' is massively overused by internet writers, but if the NISMO GT-R can actually do that, then it would justify use of the word. I would assume that modifying the "GR6" dual-clutch transmission with shorter gearing and/or quicker changes would have to be in order for it to pull that off as well, though. The added drag from the bigger wing would lower the top speed from 196mph (as would a shorter 6th gear, although I doubt they'd shorten all the gears for a faster 0-60 time), but this could be counterbalanced by the extra power. Maybe if it's nearer 600 horsepower, we could even be looking at a bona fide 200mph Nissan...

More vents on the back, and the NISMO titanium exhaust seen on the V-Spec and Track Pack
This hardcore GT-R NISMO could well be the first fruit of the NISMO-Williams technology partnership and will appear towards the latter half of next year, quite possibly as the bang with which the R35 will go out, as Nissan has confirmed that the next-generation R36 GT-R will be released in "late 2015". Unless there's a NISMO-RS version in between like they've suggested before. While we're talking about alleged this and apparent that, there's a high chance that the R36 GT-R will be a hybrid of some sort. This may be worrying, especially if it's still a heavy car, but if it's a KERS-style hybrid like the Geneva hypercars that actually improves performance while adding eco-cred, I'm sure we'll learn to cope. Besides, the upcoming Americonda NSX is a hybrid, so it wouldn't be the alone in going hybrid if it did...

But back to the car we see here (which, like the 2009 V-Spec, is likely to cost more than £100,000 - a price that seems steep until you out-fox a Veyron with it). The Nissan GT-R NISMO "is the GT-R with which we pursue pure performance," according to Nissan GT-R and NISMO Chief Product Specialist Hiroshi Tamura in a press statement. "It is for people who search for true performance with pure motorsports flavour. Its development is on schedule, and I can’t wait to see the model introduced into the markets."

Neither can I, Tamura-San. Neither can I. In fact, I look forward to it appearing in Gran Turismo 6 as DLC!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Jaguar C-X17 "Road Rover" - Here's The Whole Damned Thing

Jaguar C-X17
Lots more pictures of this crossover concept have leaked, again via Carscoops and again showing a design rather derivative of their other models, which I suppose makes it easily identifiable as a Jaguar. This post is basically just a picture dump, because I've already posted about the C-X17 and why it exists (market trends + Land Rover's image for capable off-roaders + modular architecture demonstration). More after the jump.

Also, we seem to be on a bit of a crossover binge at the moment. That might change soon. The "IAA Frankfurt" motor show is imminent, so there'll be coverage of that. And hey, some of the cars revealed might not be crossovers!!

« tser eht daeR

Saturday, 7 September 2013

You'll Never Guess What The New Renault Espace Looks Like

Renault Initiale Paris Concept teaser
It may surprise you to learn this, but the Renault Espace full-size MPV still exists. Widely credited with inventing the MPV genre, the current generation of the car has gone largely unchanged for the last 10 years. Yes there has been a facelift here and a technical update there, but it's essentially the same car that was released in 2003. Now it's time for them to ready its replacement, and pictures of the preview concept have leaked onto the internet.

Now, here's the current Espace:

They get older from left to right, in case that wasn't obvious...
Now the opposite is true

I bet you anything that if you were to look at the images thus far in this post and imagine what the eventual Espace Mk.V - or rather the Initiale Paris Concept that previews its design - might look like, it will not look like what you'll see in the following images (aside from the headlights)...

Monday, 2 September 2013

Prepare Yourselves For JLR's Road Rover (UPDATE - LEAKED PICS)

Jaguar C-X17 teaser
As I've recently mentioned, we live in a world now where car companies all have to build fake off-roaders for Chinese people and morons. Even the likes of Bentley, Lamborghini and Maserati are preparing Sports-Sports Utility Vehicles, in their case to take on the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and so on. But surely, when your car company is twinned with one that exclusively makes off-road cars, you don't need to bother with such a thing, do you? Do you???

Erm, yes, apparently you do. You see, sports crossovers are biased towards the road in their suspension setup and choice of tyres and such, and while Jaguar's sister company Land Rover can make their cars ride very well on tarmac now, they have to make sure that all their cars are legitimate off-road vehicles. They have no choice because a Land Rover that can't go off-road will be damaging to their image and disgust all their fans. Even the Range Rovér Evoque n°5 Posh Spice is big and chunky (apart from the stupidly-thin windows...) and equipped with Terrain Response, a system that adapts the all-wheel-drive and suspension for a variety of different surfaces to make it an Earth-scaling adventuremobile. Totally useful for speed bumps in Chelsea...

This means that they can't make something that merely looks like an off-roader but works best on tarmac, and so, the leaping cat must get its paws dirty, hence the teaser image above. They've been warming LHD markets up for this with all-wheel-drive versions of the XF and XJ, but on 9th September, they will unveil the C-X17, which as you can see is like a Jaguar but Cayenne-shaped. Considering that the earlier C-X16 spawned the nigh-on identical F-Type (a coupé version of which is coming next year, possibly with a manual gearbox option), the 17 will probably spawn an almost-identical production car as well. It'll have all-wheel-drive, a selection of Jaguar engines - also available in Land Rovers - and it won't be much cop off-road compared to a Discovery or Range Rover Sport. Which letters they'll give it once it's no longer a concept is unknown, so let's say "XX". Of course, what it actually is is a car that normally would never exist: a Road Rover.

A necessary evil is still evil...

UPDATE (5/9/13):

It looks like this at the front. It's like an XF but fat like an SUV:

Jaguar C-X17
This image comes into to your eyes via Carscoops, and has been confirmed as legit. The concept also previews Jaguar's new modular architecture, something that seems to be appearing at every car company as a way to cut the costs and potentially lead times for new models by using the same basic platform for everything, and then scaling it up/down accordingly to build whatever new car on top they may need. So what underpins this Road Rover will likely underpin their upcoming XS, a small saloon to tackle the 3-Series and replace the underwhelming old X-Type. More will be revealed over the next week.

UPDATE (7/9/13):

Here is another shot, this time showing the side as well. It's not quite as sleek as I was hoping for, although it does at least fit the teaser...

Jaguar C-X17
It's also difficult to work out what size it is based on the proportions. It it tackling the X5 or the X3? Porsche Cayenne or its "Macan" junior that's appearing soon? We'll see...