Lexus produces LFA supercar ‘making-of’ video

October 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s not everyday that a mainstream automaker decides to try its hand at building a world-class supercar. But when one has the motoring world has been given some of its most interesting machines like the Honda NSX, the Ford GT, the Dodge Viper, and more recently the Lexus LFA.

Any supercar takes years of development with fine-tuning and extensive testing. Toyota learned its lessons with the Lexus LFA and spent year’s and millions preparing the supercar for its debut. Now, to show the world just how tough making a supercar really is, the Japanese automaker has released a ‘making-of’ video. Continue reading “Lexus produces LFA supercar ‘making-of’ video” »

McLaren already testing next-generation F1 road car

October 19th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With McLaren’s MP4-12C now on sale through the company’s growing global sales network its on to the next project for the brand. The next new car in development is the successor to the now legendary McLaren F1. If recent reports coming out of the UK prove true the first prototypes of this much anticipated machine are already being tested in various regions of Europe.

Nicknamed the Mega Mac, the new F1 is ambitiously being built to beat all other performance exotics that are available right now including the top dog Bugatti Veyron. Ferrari, Porche and Pagani aren’t running scared just yet but they are certainly on alert. To beat the pack McLaren is looking at a 5.0-litre V8 powertrain similar to the MP4-12C’s motor, it will be mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and produce a power output of around the 600kW mark.

With that sort of grunt expect the 0-100km/h sprint to be covered in around 2.9-seconds and a terrifying top speed. The Mega Mac chassis will be a carbon-fibre monocoque design with F1-style pushrod suspension and plenty of electronic aides to keep the beast on track. There will be a raft of high-tech equipment including a built-in video camera for recording high-speed shenanigans. Continue reading “McLaren already testing next-generation F1 road car” »

Toyota building hybrid LMP1 racer for Le Mans assault

October 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Toyota has been the front runner in hybrid-powered passenger vehicles for many years and is now setting its sights on hybrid race car domination. The company’s racing division, Toyota Motorsport, announced today that it will enter the 2012 World Endurance Championship with a new hybrid weapon.

The last time Toyota competed in Le Mans racing was in 1999, before the Japanese automaker abandoned its GT-One program to focus on Formula One.

Now, Toyota is busy developing a brand-new, gasoline-electric hybrid racer that will compete in the top LMP1 class. The chassis is in development with Toyota Motorsport at its Cologne, Germany headquarters, which previously served as the Formula 1 base. The prototype race car’s hybrid powertrain will be engineered in Japan. Continue reading “Toyota building hybrid LMP1 racer for Le Mans assault” »

Mitsubishi to bring back the Diamante

September 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Kiwi Mitsubishi owners and enthusiasts will probably remember the Diamante model that was produced until 2004. This luxury sedan still features on NZ roads and was keenly imported until seven years ago. Now, Nissan is set to bring back the Diamante although it may only be for the Japanese domestic market, at least for now.

Mitsubishi won’t be doing the development on the large sedan, instead it will rebadge a version of the Nissan Fuga (pictured). The Fuga isn’t a model well-known in NZ but it’s offered overseas with a choice of V6, V8, hybrid and diesel powertrains. Which engines will be used in the new Diamante is unknown at this stage. Continue reading “Mitsubishi to bring back the Diamante” »

Honda busy developing next-generation NSX?

September 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The original Honda NSX was a fan favourite and it was a dark day for many in 2005 when Honda announced that the sports car would be discontinued. But now, six years later, those same fans have a glimmer of hope that one day soon this nameplate will rise up from the dead.

The NSX saviour comes in the form of new Honda president Takanobu Ito who is busy attempting to revive some of Honda’s performance image. And if his recent comments prove true the automaker will get a new flagship sports car.

Ito knows the NSX well from earlier in his career when he helped develop its aluminum body. He claims that the next Honda sports car won’t try to achieve Ferrari levels of grunt, but instead aim for an excellent power-to-weight ratio and high efficiency.

The original Honda NSX, sold from 1990 to 2005, weighed around 1350kg and produced 216kW – a power-to-weight ratio that still holds up well today. The NSX mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout also made it an enjoyable steer and gave it supercar-caliber dynamics combined with unrivaled reliability. Continue reading “Honda busy developing next-generation NSX?” »

Mazda’s rotary engine program on death row

August 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has keenly championed the rotary engine since it was originally used in the 1967 Mazda Cosmo but now the future of this iconic motor is uncertain.

The Wankel rotary has powered numerous Mazdas over the years, including the RX-2, RX-3, RX-7 and finally the RX-8. Mazda even sold a rotary-powered ute between 1974 and 1977. But in 2011 the automotive landscape is much different and Mazda big wigs are currently in discussions about where to go next with the unique powerplant.

While the engine hasn’t been officially axed altogether, current economic conditions have forced Mazda to re-evaluate several programs and the rotary engine is one of the things that could be dropped. For now, the company has halted development of the engine and will focus on new SKYACTIV technologies.

Mazda still believes in the advantages of rotary power including its light weight and fewer moving parts but its weaknesses are more apparent than ever. The rotary engine doesn’t burn as clean as a piston engine, it consumes more oil and is very thirsty for petrol. In these times of emission regulations and minimal fuel usage – the rotary just doesn’t fit in. Continue reading “Mazda’s rotary engine program on death row” »

Nissan developing all-new sports car to challenge MX-5

August 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to recent reports coming out of Europe, Nissan has entered into full development of a new budget sports car that will challenge the Mazda MX-5’s dominance in this market.

Apparently the sporting model will use a completely new platform that may be sourced from Daimler. This is the same platform pegged for the next-gen Nissan 370Z. Nissan is also in discussions with Lotus to collaborate on the car’s handling.

Engine options and power outputs remain a mystery for now but there are rumours Nissan may use either hybrid power or a fully electric system for this new machine. Continue reading “Nissan developing all-new sports car to challenge MX-5” »

Rumours of go-harder Lexus LFA II supercar development

June 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It’s been a tough few years for Toyota, there was the massive recalls and subsequent court battles and more recently the earthquake disaster in Japan. But despite these problems, Toyota is still pushing forward with development of its supercar the Lexus LFA.

According to reports, an upgraded or updated LFA II is already in development and will most likely appear as a variant of the existing model. The go-harder LFA II will push the supercar’s performance abilities even further, possibly using some of the tweaks from the LFA’s Nürburgring package (pictured). Continue reading “Rumours of go-harder Lexus LFA II supercar development” »

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