I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Vauxhall celebrates 25 years of sporting super saloons, and they just keep getting better.

This year, Vauxhall is celebrating the 25th anniversary of one of its most famous and dramatic models, the Lotus Carlton, which started a long tradition of Griffin-badged performance saloons that still survives today.

The Lotus Carlton was the fastest four-door saloon in the world when it was launched in 1989, 65 years after Vauxhall produced Britain’s first 100mph road car.  With 377bhp from its straight-six, twin-turbocharged engine, the Carlton could achieve the 0-62 sprint in 4.9 seconds and would go on to a top speed of 176mph. Its chassis was developed and fine-tuned by Lotus, resulting in a highly dynamic car with the handling capabilities and top speed to keep up with the finest supercars of the day.

A total of 440 Lotus Carltons were produced from 1989 to 1994 as a joint project between Vauxhall and Lotus, with each car costing an eye-watering £48,000.

“Everyone at the time said it was completely inappropriate for a manufacturer like Vauxhall to launch a 176mph car,” said Stuart Harris, current Head of Carline Brand at Vauxhall, but a key member of the Lotus Carlton’s launch team back in the eighties. 

“It was better than the competition in every conceivable way and will go down as one of the most iconic Vauxhalls of all time. It was landmark product for Vauxhall, which to this day is still much loved. It introduced the brand to people who would not have considered driving a Vauxhall before. The car put a question mark in people’s heads and got them talking – just like the cars in today’s VXR range do.”

After the Lotus Carlton there were talks of a successor, but the project did not go ahead, meaning the 3.0-litre quad-cam engined Omega produced from 1993 to 1997 became the final large performance saloon for Vauxhall through the rest of the 1990s.

By the early 2000s, though, large performance cars were firmly back on Vauxhall’s agenda thanks to the all-new VXR range. In 2007, it spawned the 420PS VXR8 saloon, based on sister-company Holden’s Clubsport R8. All of a sudden Vauxhall had BMW and Mercedes in its sights, and with good reason: the VXR8 produced an impressive 420PS from its 6.0-litre V8 engine and managed the 0-60 sprint in under five seconds.

But there was more to come. The supercharged limited edition Bathurst S joined the VXR8 range in 2009 costing less than £45,000, making it the least expensive car with 500PS+ at the time. The car developed a colossal 577PS and 720Nm of torque, with the V8’s grunt and supercharger’s whine providing a truly spine-tingling soundtrack. 

All of this power teamed with an array of performance modifications over the standard car, made the Bathurst an astonishingly fast and capable performance saloon, equally at home on the road or the track. 

Vauxhall’s latest incarnation, the VXR8 GTS, produces 576bhp in its current form - more power than its main rivals the BMW M5 and Mercedes E63 AMG, yet costing a substantial £20K less.
“It’s all about driving pleasure and the ownership prospect. With our performance saloons we like to show that we can be different and not do what everyone expects,” said Harris.

“If you ask anyone today what they’d include in their top-ten list of super saloons, the Lotus Carlton will always feature. Even in 2015 its performance is pretty special, but 25 years ago it was truly earth-shattering. And just like the Lotus Carlton, our current VXR range makes people reassess their preconceptions of Vauxhall and allows them to see the brand in a very different light.”    

After years and years of waiting, the NSX is back, bigger, better, eco friendly & beautiful.

Acura takes the wraps off its highly anticipated next-generation NSX supercar, designed to deliver a groundbreaking “New Sports eXperience”

Twenty-five years after the debut of the original, paradigm-shifting NSX supercar, Acura revealed the production version of its highly anticipated successor - the next-generation Acura NSX, developed and produced in the U.S.—to the world’s auto media at the 2015 North American International Auto Show today. The production model, in a scintillating NSX Red finish, took the stage with a growl from its twin-turbocharged engine. 

The next generation NSX showcases the production styling, design and specifications of Acura’s mid-engine sports hybrid supercar, and Acura announced key details of the all-new vehicle’s design and performance. The company will begin accepting custom orders for the new NSX starting in the summer, with customer deliveries expected later in the year.

Specifically created to bring a “new sports experience” to the supercar segment, the NSX challenges conventional beliefs about supercars — much as the first generation did a quarter century ago. 

The approach is realized through an all-new power unit—a twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with a 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system—integrated with an ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with world’s-first material applications and manufacturing processes. Developed under the concept of a “human-centered supercar,” a car that puts the driver first in every aspect of its design, the next-generation NSX will leverage its state-of-the-art hybrid supercar power unit, body and chassis to deliver exceptionally intuitive and immediate response to driver inputs.

“Our commitment was to create an all-new NSX that is true to the heritage of NSX—a supercar that delivers a new driving experience, one where every part of the vehicle is respectful of the smartest part of the car, the driver,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager of the Acura division. “The soul of a car is the emotional connection it makes with the driver. With the NSX, that connection will be intense and immediate.”

As the pinnacle representation of Acura performance and prestige, the NSX was introduced at the auto show under the theme of “Precision Crafted Performance.” The theme was the original tagline for the Acura brand, a guiding force behind the development of the original NSX and a critical component of its launch.

The development of next-generation NSX, driven by precision crafted performance, has resulted in a clean-sheet design, which involved nearly three years of intensive development effort by a global design and engineering team led by engineers at the company’s development center in Raymond, Ohio.

“The NSX reflects Acura’s American roots and makes a powerful statement about the strong role being played by our North American operations in envisioning and building the future of Acura,” said Erik Berkman, executive vice president of the Acura Business Planning Office.

“Our global team embraced the challenge to create a new sports car experience, leveraging new technology to deliver incredibly vivid performance in a vehicle that responds intuitively and immediately to the will of the driver,” said Ted Klaus, chief engineer and global development leader of the new NSX. “The NSX delivers pinnacle supercar performance, with zero-delay acceleration and exhilarating, confidence-inspiring driving dynamics.”

Interwoven Dynamic Exterior Design

“The new NSX is a product of what we term ‘Interwoven Dynamic’ design,” said Michelle Christensen, NSX exterior design project leader. “It represents the ideal blending of exotic sports car form and supercar function.” 

The NSX body features classic low and wide proportions married to modern and alluring surfacing, an aggressive front design, and tail lights that pays homage to the original NSX. The signature side intake and floating C-pillar collects air to feed the mid-mounted engine and directs airflow over the rear deck to increase downforce. 

To accommodate the new longitudinally mounted twin-turbo V6 and 9-speed DCT, the production vehicle was lengthened (+3 inches) and widened (+1 inch) with a slightly more cab-forward package, compared with the proportions of the NSX Concept shown in 2012.

Every element of the exterior body design has been carefully fashioned for total airflow management for both stability-enhancing downforce and vehicle systems cooling. The NSX has undergone extensive testing at the company’s state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Raymond, Ohio, leading to a number of significant changes from concept to final body design, including modified hood vents, new front fender vents, modified side air intakes, and an optimized deck spoiler.


NEW NSX2013 NSX ConceptDiff (in.)2005 NSXDiff (in.)
Length176 in.
(4470 mm)
172.8 in. (4390mm)+3.1174.2 in.
(4425 mm)
Width76.4 in.
(1940 mm)
75.4 in
(1915 mm)
+1.071.3 in.
(1810 mm)
Height47.8 in.
(1215 mm)
47.2 in.
(1200 mm)
46.1 in
(1170 mm)
Wheelbase103.5 in.(2630 mm)102.8 in.
(2610 mm)
+0.899.6 in.
(2350 mm)
Front track65.2 in.
(1655 mm)
- -- -59.5 in.
(1510 mm)
Rear track63.6 in.
(1615 mm)
- -- -
60.7 in.
(1540 mm)

Human Support Cockpit

“Consistent with the ‘human-centered supercar’ development concept, the NSX was designed from the inside out with an uncompromising focus on the driver,” said Johnathan Norman, NSX interior design project leader. “Like the original NSX, we created a ‘Human Support Cockpit’ that provides exceptional driver control, visibility and packaging, but further advanced to meet the extreme performance expectations of a modern supercar.”

The NSX interior boasts exceptional forward visibility, simple and intuitive controls, and class-leading ergonomics—most notably the seat, which features top-class holding performance with outstanding comfort and easy ingress/egress.

The NSX’s instrument cluster features a dynamic TFT display that responds to changes in the driver-selectable Integrated Dynamics System with pertinent graphics and information. The center console holds the Power button that readies the sport hybrid powertrain, nested in the center of the new Integrated Dynamics System dial control. Interwoven under the handcrafted leather dash panel is the exposed midframe—a functioning chassis structural member that reflects the design aesthetic of a naked sport bike. An ultra-thin, yet super strong A-pillar design and low-mounted instrument panel minimize obstructions to the driver’s view of the road.

Sport Hybrid Power Unit

In keeping with the foundational philosophy of the original NSX, the next-generation NSX is designed to provide a new sports car experience that maximizes the capabilities of the driver, delivering exceptionally intuitive and confidence-inspiring response “at the will of the driver.” 

Acura engineers leveraged the company’s expertise both with high-performance engine and hybrid electric-drive technologies, as well as its two decades of experience with industry-leading dynamic torque-vectoring technologies, including Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), to create the most sophisticated, technologically advanced and intelligent powertrain in the supercar universe. 

At the heart of the NSX’s performance capabilities is an all-new mid-mounted, 75-degree, DOHC V6 engine with twin turbochargers mated to an Acura-developed 9-speed DCT. The V6 engine employs a race-inspired compact valve train and dry sump lubrication system to help lower the center of gravity. 

The all-new 9-speed DCT delivers synapse-quick gear changes and rev-matching downshifts. The rear direct-drive electric motor, housed between the engine and transmission, supports acceleration, braking and transmission shifting performance. The NSX’s front wheels are driven by twin independent high-output electric motors which deliver instantaneous torque response and dynamic left-to-right torque distribution.

The NSX uses its front electric motors for dynamic torque vectoring in addition to enhancing acceleration and braking performance. The result is an instantaneous “zero delay” launch performance and handling response that seems to anticipate the driver’s desire. The NSX has undergone extensive testing at some of the world’s most challenging race circuits, including the famed Nurburgring.

Advanced Multi-Material Body

Also in keeping with the legacy of NSX—the world’s first all-aluminum supercar—the new NSX features an innovative new multi-material body design with world’s-first material applications and construction processes.

The NSX body utilizes a space frame design—an internal frame constructed of aluminum, ultra-high strength steel and other advanced materials. Anchored by a carbon fiber floor, torsional and bending forces are taken up entirely by this ultra-rigid structure which also utilizes advanced joining technologies.

The NSX features world’s-first casting technology that combines the design and manufacturing flexibility of a casting process with the strength and elongation properties of a forged material, enabling significant weight reduction. The body panels are composed of a combination of aluminum and sheet molding composite (SMC).

Advanced Sport Package

The NSX features an “Advanced Sports Package” with placement of key powertrain components –the mid-mounted engine, twin front motors and Sport Hybrid battery pack and power control unit – optimized to concentrate vehicle mass low and toward the center of the vehicle, to further enhance dynamic response.  The combination of this packaging concept and the lightweight body give the NSX the lowest center of gravity in its class.

The NSX utilizes a fully independent, all-aluminum front and rear suspension and puts its considerable power down through ContiSportContact™ high-performance tires—245/35Z R19 front and 295/30Z R20 rear—mounted on 19x8.5 inch front and 20x11 inch rear aluminum alloy wheels. Powerful, natural and confident braking performance is provided by 6-piston front and 4-piston rear monoblock calipers squeezing ultra-high performance carbon-ceramic brake discs.

Handling is greatly enhanced by Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD), enabling lightning-quick response to all driver inputs—steering, braking and throttle—along with the stability, control and launch performance of all-wheel drive. Agile Handling Assist (AHA) uses the subtle application of brake torque to further enhance yaw response and dynamic stability.

The NSX’s dial-operated Integrated Dynamic System features Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track modes. The system adjusts engine, motor, transmission and chassis response, as well as the engine sound level, based on the needs of the driver and driving environment. 

Quiet mode enables electric-only driving at lower speeds for short durations. Dynamic vehicle responses become increasingly sharp as the driver moves from Sport to Sport+ mode and, finally, to Track mode, where the NSX reveals the full spectrum of its performance capabilities.
The NSX also features a “launch” function to achieve the ultimate in “zero delay” launch performance, aided by both the engine and three electric motors.

New Production Facility

The NSX will be manufactured exclusively at the Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio, where approximately 100 highly-skilled associates will conduct full body construction, paint, and final assembly using domestic and globally-sourced parts.

The PMC and its processes have been developed to perfectly blend associate craftsmanship and technology in a new approach to manufacturing. By in-housing the body construction, Acura maintains complete control over total body quality, including critical strength, suspension accuracy, and fit and finish—from initial construction all the way to final assembly.

Associates will utilize innovative techniques to deliver next-generation craftsmanship and world-class quality in the realm of specialized, supercar vehicle production.

Detroit gets to launch the all new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, YES PLEASE, I want.......

  • Production version of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider unveiled in Detroit at the 2015 NAIAS
  • Unique carbon fibre windscreen frame and available carbon fibre “halo” highlight 4C Spider’s ultralight carbon fibre and aluminium construction
  • All-new Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust system,  new alloy wheel designs and a new colour also debut
  • On sale in Europe this summer, with pricing and UK specification to be announced closer to launch
The production version of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider has been unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, combining scintillating performance with open-top thrills and the unmistakable soundtrack of an Italian, performance-tuned engine and exhaust.

Like its Coupé sibling, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is built around an exotic, ultra-lightweight monocoque chassis, comprised entirely of unilateral, “pre-preg”, carbon fibre layers that delivers material performance that is three-times stronger and seven-times lighter than steel. Because of its inherent rigidity, Alfa Romeo engineers were able to minimise structural differences between the 4C Spider and 4C Coupé: 

The 4C Spider features a unilateral carbon fibre windscreen frame that is adhered and bolted to the monocoque chassis; a specially-contoured aluminium rollover bar (underneath the “halo”) which provides mounting points for the new rear deck-lid; unique upper body brackets and a high-strength steel engine compartment cross beam to maximise torsional rigidity.

As with the Coupé, the bodywork is made entirely from SMC (sheet moulded compound), a low-density, high-strength composite material that is 20 percent lighter and dimensionally more rigid than steel, and even the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider’s windscreen and side windows have been optimised for lightness, using 10 percent thinner glass to reduce weight by up to 15 percent. While European specifications for the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider have yet to be announced, the weight difference between the Coupé and Spider versions of the U.S.-market models is just 10kg.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider shares much of its exterior design with its award-winning Coupé sibling – the changes are focussed purely on the metamorphosis from fixed- to open-top. The Coupé’s glazed engine cover and flowing coupé shape gives way to a more traditional spider form, with pronounced buttresses and a body-coloured engine deck-lid with three functional heat extractors and an aerodynamically tuned spoiler. 

The rollover structure is housed in a black (or optional carbon fibre) “halo”, creating visual harmony with the carbon fibre windscreen frame, where the attachment points for the removable, stowable cloth roof (or optional carbon fibre hardtop) can also be found.

Other new features to debut on the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Concept include an all-new, titanium exhaust system, mounted centrally with switchable modes which can be altered depending on the driving environment and driver’s mood. 

Developed by world-renowned exhaust specialists Akrapovic this beautifully crafted system consists of two centrally-mounted tailpipes and computer-optimised asymmetrical mufflers with a dual-mode exhaust valve system and link pipe with resonator to eliminate in-cabin droning. This optional system is finished with carbon fibre bezels on the exhaust tips. Like the 4C Coupe, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider will also be available with the standard and the Racing exhaust system.

In U.S. versions, a new Alpine premium audio system is also offered, with multiple connectivity and media options, including hands-free Bluetooth calling, Bluetooth streaming, USB/iPod/CD/MP3 capabilities, HD radio and SiriusXM satellite radio.

In addition to the existing colours available on the Alfa Romeo 4C a new Giallo (yellow) paint scheme is also offered (with matching accent stitching for the seating, steering wheel and doors available), while a new Tobacco leather interior option is also planned for later in the year.

Four all-new wheel designs also debut, either in 17-inch (front)/18-inch (rear) or 18-inch (front)/19-inch (rear) sizes in Silver or Dark finishes.

Powered by the same, all-aluminium, 240hp, 258 lb.-ft., 1750 TBi engine as the Coupé, performance for the U.S. model is on a par with the hardtop model, with a top speed of 160 MPH and a 0-to-60 MPH time estimated at 4.1-seconds.  For the North American market, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is designed with stiffer springs, larger front- and rear-anti-roll bars, and re-tuned shock absorbers. The technical specification of European models will be announced closer to its launch later in the year.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is the latest in a rich bloodline that includes some of the most desirable performance cars in automotive history: the aluminium-bodied 8C 2900 B Touring (1938); the 140mph 1900 C52 “Flying Saucer” (1952) and the car that inspired the 4C, the legendary 33 Stradale (1967) with its revolutionary magnesium-alloy and steel tubular chassis and ground-breaking styling.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider was designed by Alfa Romeo Centro Stile will be produced at the Maserati plant in Modena, Italy. It will go on sale in the UK in the summer, with prices and UK specifications announced closer to that time.