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” »

2012 Porsche 911 teased in video before Frankfurt debut

July 20th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche fans can begin counting down to the release of the next-gen 911 which is scheduled for a September debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Porsche is in the final stages of testing its new sports car and has released the first official video of the new 911 shot during hot weather testing in South Africa.

Although the 911 is still partially disguised in the clip, its obvious that this new model will look like the many before it. The 911′s evolution looks set to continue without major disappointment or radical new design cues.

That said, the next 911 will be slightly bigger, roomier and on a longer wheel base than the current version. The engine will also continue to slowly creep forward. The new 911 will be made available with more fuel efficient and greener engines which include a smaller displacement 3.4-litre flat-six producing around 260kW for the Carrera /4, and a larger 3.8-litre flat-six producing around 300kW for the Carrera S/4S. Continue reading “2012 Porsche 911 teased in video before Frankfurt debut” »

Holden commences local testing of Cruze hatch

May 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Holden’s much hyped and anticipated Cruze hatch has just entered its testing stage before the model is introduced later this year. In a statement Holden has announced the news and released two new photos of the upcoming five-door hatchback which was designed at Holden’s Port Melbourne studio.

General Motors previewed the Cruze hatch in Chevrolet form (for global markets) early last year and then the production model made its world premiere at this year’s Geneva Salon.

Holden is still to release full technical details on the Cruze hatch, but it’s very likely the hatchback’s engine range will mirror that of the Cruze II sedan. The model pictured in the official photographs is equipped with a diesel engine, possibly the same 2.0-litre turbo diesel currently offered in the update four-door Cruze. Continue reading “Holden commences local testing of Cruze hatch” »

McLaren MP4-12C reaches final testing stage (+video)

February 25th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

McLaren is now in the final phase of development for its upcoming supercar the McLaren MP4-12C . The company with the Kiwi connection are set to announce official performance details on their new prototypes next month, leading to the car’s global launch next year.

McLaren has released a video showing the car in testing and refers to each vehicle as an “experimental prototype,” or XP for short. Shown in the vid are cars named the XP8 and XP10, camouflaged behind matte black vinyls. These vehicles began road testing five weeks ago, according to the video.

In the four-minute long video, the cars can be seen moving freely around roads near Montblanc, Spain, and on the race track.

The MP4-12C is to use an updated version of the McLaren M838T twin-turbo engine, and a gearbox with optimised ratios.¨¨ McLaren claims that not a minute goes by that the XPs prototypes are not tested. The company has a team of about 25 engineers working on the car in shifts 24/7.

It must be a tough job thrashing a Supercar prototype around rural roads in Spain, so all credit to the brave engineers involved.

Check out the video below it’s a good watch.

Volvo’s electric C30 to begin road trials

December 21st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Volvo C30 EV fq

This week, Volvo has announced the electric C30, updated to the newer 2010 styling will commence road trials from 2011.

A road-ready prototype of the C30 BEV was unveiled back in September, and now Volvo plans to build 50 of the electric hatches for testing in a programme similar to BMW’s MINI E.

Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles said “The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues.”

The two-year trial will consist of Volvo releasing 50 of its electric C30 hatches to selected users for everyday use. The objective of the test is to study the car’s systems and behavioural characteristics.

Mr Stegland said the tests will help not only Volvo’s engineers, but also city infrastructure planners working to establish the requirements of running electric vehicles.

The electric C30 stores its power in a 24kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in the centre tunnel and where the fuel tank previously lived, giving it a driving range of up to 150km on a single charge.

Recharging the battery takes eight hours using a 230v household outlet. The electric C30 will get to 100km/h in just under 11 seconds and go on to a top speed of around 130km/h.

GPS-based road trains begin European testing

November 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

GPS Road Train

A futuristic new study has kicked off over in Europe which may, one day, make the roads safer and easier to drive on. The Safe Road Trains for the Environment program is a three-year European study centering on the creation of ‘platoons’ of drivers slotting in behind a lead vehicle on the highway. What it does is involve wiring cars to communicate to each other, and to a lead vehicle — the platoon commander — behind which up to eight cars could follow completely automated.

One aim of the study is to find a way to make travel more efficient and lower gas usage without having to put sensors in roads, or creating an entirely new standard of equipment. Also by using a lead vehicle that can potentially take control of the vehicles behind — cars, trucks or buses — makes it very flexible since it can travel on any highway.

So how will it work? Well say you’re heading out of town on the motorway and you see a platoon rolling on the highway ahead, and if there’s room, you signal your wish to join. The lead vehicle takes control of your car, and it is pulled into the formation, leaving you free to do whatever you want to do perhaps even send text messages. When you want to get out, you signal your intention, a gap is made and you get control of your car again, just like that.

The study will be conducted on test tracks in Spain, Sweden and the UK, with additional trials on public road in Spain.