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Archive for October, 2012

Zero to 60 in 1.8 Seconds: Is it Possible in a Production Car?

October 31st, 2012

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

If there are limits to speed, the human race has yet to find them.

Ever-increasing top speeds are one thing, but what really throws our backs into the seat is vicious acceleration. The standard measure of how quickly a car accelerates, of course, is the time it takes to scoot from a stop to 60 miles per hour. Zero-to-60 times of under 5 or 6 seconds are considered pretty quick. Under 4 is hypercar territory. Under 3 belongs to the Bugatti Veyron, Porsche 911 Turbo S and Nissan GT-R, with special mentions for the Lamborghini Aventador, McLaren MP4-12C and Ferrari 458 Italia. Maybe.

With a few cars knocking on the door of 2 seconds flat, how long before a production car does the unthinkable and manages a supersonic 0-60 time of under 2 seconds? If it’s possible, and we know it is, Bugatti may be the first to prove it.

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Surprises in the Used Car Listings

October 30th, 2012

You just never know.

Think of any car, no matter how rare, that you might want to own. Almost anything you want can be found in used car listings somewhere, whether a classic Mustang or a pre-owned Lamborghini. The truth is, somebody, somewhere, probably wants to sell the car you want to buy. The trick, of course, is finding it.

Every once in a while, a car so rare comes up that it should be crossing the stage at a Barret-Jackson auction, rather than showing up in the classifieds.

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Newest Aston Martin V12: The Cygnet?

October 29th, 2012

Some rumors are so extraordinary, you’d swear they have to be made up.

The Nissan Juke-R began that way, at least in my mind. Why would a supercar engine and drivetrain get stuffed into a mediocre mini crossover? It didn’t make sense or even seem possible. And yet, it happened. In spectacular fashion.

This next rumor wades even deeper into the crazy. It involves a car that shouldn’t even exist and an engine that will never fit inside.

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Engineering a Supercar, Part 2

October 26th, 2012

5G body

Back in May of this year we heard about a competition put on by GrabCAD, an online engineering community, and 500 Group, a think tank for new products. The challenge was to create a body for a new supercar that would be built on an existing chassis using GM Performance parts and the LS3, LS7 or supercharged LS9 V8 engines. (Maybe they should also consider the new LT1 engine… just saying.)

In that original post, I admittedly got a little harsh about letting engineers act as designers. I made the argument that when that happens, we’re left with cars like the Accord and Camry. Excellent vehicles, but they don’t have much in the way of personality.

We heard yesterday from a representative of the 500 Group who wanted to set us straight.

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Cars Coming Soon: C7 Corvette Gets a 1/13/13 Birthdate

October 25th, 2012

One rendering of the C7 Corvette

I can’t think of a car that’s ever gotten more attention before anyone knows anything about it. To say the next-generation Corvette is hotly anticipated is like saying the upcoming election is mildly competitive.

Speculation regarding the C7 ‘Vette has run rampant for over three years. (One of the first posts about it on our blog was in September 2009, when we were convinced the split rear window would return.)

Only now are we beginning to get clues as to what will power the car, but we’re still mostly in the dark about what it’ll look like or what its exact specs will be.

So far we know two things for sure: The car will debut on January 13 next year, and at least one engine option will be an all-new small-block 6.2-liter V8 known as the LT1.

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Subaru BRZ Inches Closer to Perfection

October 24th, 2012

Subaru BRZ STi Concept

I drove a Subaru BRZ shortly after it debuted in the United States. Just hours before, I had tested my driving chops on a 2013 Porsche Boxster S (it was a very good day).

The BRZ disappointed. Not because it lacked handling or excitement, but because it just seemed underpowered. I know other writers have raved about the car, and it is good, just not amazing. I prefer amazing.

The BRZ may have something amazing in store, though, as a turbo version with some pretty impressive numbers appears to lie on the horizon.

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Will Lincoln Get a New Name?

October 23rd, 2012
2014 Lincoln MKZ

The next Lincoln MKZ: Not a Lincoln?

In journalism school I learned the most famous rule of thumb to ever a guide a profession: If it bleeds, it leads.

Of course, that can be applied to any news story. It means the biggest piece of information gets top billing. The more “blood” in a story, the better the chances are that someone will read it. When readership increases, so do ad dollars. Pretty simple.

So a Detroit News story yesterday took me by surprise, because a giant bomb of information lay buried in the last two lines of the article: Ford may change Lincoln’s name. Whoa! That’s kind of a big deal.

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Three Pressing Questions for Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

October 22nd, 2012

Chrysler 700C Concept

On a flight from Los Angeles to Portland yesterday, I sat near actor Sam Elliott, he of “Ghost Rider” and “We Were Soldiers” fame. I thought that was pretty cool, but quickly forgot about Mr. Elliott when I noticed that my seat-mate looked an awful lot like Sergio Marchionne.

I couldn’t figure out why the FIAT/Chrysler CEO would be on a commercial flight, much less sitting all the way back in seat 27E, but there were a few moments there when I was sure I’d struck car-blog gold and would have two hours of Sergio to myself.

Upon further review and a few awkward questions, I discovered that the Italian man in the sweater was not Mr. Marchionne, but rather a perfectly friendly engineer on his way to see his new baby granddaughter in Oregon. Dang-it.

Had I been fortunate enough to sit next to the real Sergio, there are some questions I would have loved to ask him.

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The Glorious Cars of James Bond

October 19th, 2012

1963 Aston Martin DB5

Aston Martin vehicles have become synonymous with James Bond. The films are as much about the cars as they are about the girls, the chase scenes and the action sequences.

In fact, the cars have played a part in nearly every major scene of every Bond film ever made. Even the original novels featured classic Bentley cars. On the big screen, Aston has played a huge part, as well as guest-starring roles by BMW, Lotus and Toyota.

What are the coolest cars to be seen in Bond films?

Well, I vote for any of the modern Aston Martins, but keep reading for some other choices.

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Cars Coming Soon: Hot Hatches of SEMA

October 18th, 2012

Hyundai Velocity SEMA car

If you want to see some seriously over-the-top designs and custom work on cars, the SEMA Show in Las Vegas is where you need to go. Massive wings, wide body kits, outrageous colors and more turbos and intercoolers than you can shake a stick at all shout for the attention of show visitors.

This year’s show, just a few weeks away, won’t disappoint the tuner crowd. Especially with the treats being served up in the form of a whole lot of Ford Focus ST variations, and one very special 400-hp Hyundai “Velocity.”

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