Friday, October 31, 2008

October 2008 Dream Car of the Month - Mercedes SLR McLaren

Mercedes SLR McLaren

Happy Halloween! Time for another entry to the Dream Car of the Month series. This month's feature is the Mercedes SLR McLaren. Crazy fast and exotic looking, it's a bit of a confused car. Is it a GT car pretending to be a sports car or a sports car pretending to be a GT car? Either way, it's fast and cool and I like it, even though it has an automatic. It is a Mercedes after all, what do you expect?

The Mercedes SLR McLaren was developed and named in honor of the original Mercedes 300 SLR from 1955 which won such races as the Mille Miglia and the Targa Florio. The modern SLR was designed and built by Mercedes-Benz and it's subsidiary McLaren Automotive.

The cars first entered production in 2003 and featured a 5.5L supercharged aluminum V8 producing 617HP and 575TQ. That engine was mounted in front of the car like a proper GT and connected to a five speed automatic. No manual transmission was offered, solidifying the car's classification as a GT rather than a true sports car. Nonetheless, the SLR became the world's fastest automatic transmission car by producing impressive performance numbers of 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and a 1/4 mile of 11.6 More impressive considering that despite a structure made up mostly of carbon fiber, the SLR still weighs in at almost 4000lbs. Top speed has been documented at 208MPH.

The sleek carbon fiber bodywork makes use of active aerodynamics to improve stability at high speeds. The trunk lid features an integrated adjustable spoiler that raises and lowers automatically at speed. It can also be set manually via a driver control. The spoiler also acts as an air brake assisting the 14.6in 8 piston front and 14.2in 4 piston rear carbon ceramic brakes to reduce stopping distances.

Initial production run was to consist of 500 examples of the SLR per year for 7 years for a total of 3500 cars. Base price of the SLR was set at around $495,000. The last coupe body style SLRs rolled off the production line in 2007 and they were replaced with a convertible model that will continue production until 2009.

SLR 722 Edition

In 2006, a special 722 Edition was produced as a tribute to the 300 SLR with starting number 722 driven by Sterling Moss and Denis Jenkinson that won the 1955 Mille Miglia. The 722 model features additional power from the supercharged V8 to the tune of 650HP/627TQ. Suspension tuning and weight reduction were also part of the 722 package along with lightweight 19inch wheels. Ride height was lowered and the brake diameter was increased to 15.4" in front along with the addition of a rear diffuser and front splitter.

The SLR roadster that went on sale in September 2007 is priced at over $700,000 and is one of the fastest convertibles in the world, as it is able to reach speeds near 200MPH. It is heavier than the coupe and therefore slightly slower with 0-60 taking around 3.8 seconds.

A special 722 S roadster is apparently in the works from Mercedes with the same 650HP/627TQ V8 as the coupe version. There are only 150 of these to be built but no pricing yet. You know what they say - if you have to ask how much, you probably can't afford it.

The final entry into the SLR lineup is a car that is currently in testing, the SLR McLaren Speedster. It looks to be an even lighter version of the SLR with some unique features, or lack thereof. It will have no roof and not much of a windshield either but it is reported to feature gullwing doors. I don't know how they would pull that off with no roof but, what do I know. No word on whether or not to expect a bump in power but it should still be blindingly fast and ridiculously expensive. What more would you expect?

Artist Rendering - SLR Speedster

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

2009 Nissan 370Z unveiled

Set to make it's official debut at the upcoming LA Auto Show, the 2009 Nissan 370Z has been revealed online. The pictures show a much shorter muscular looking sport coupe. The inside looks much better than the previous car's often maligned "tupperware" plastic interior as well. No stats on power or performance but it's safe to assume that the car should be making at least the same 330HP as the G37 which uses the same engine. Additional details should start flowing as the official debut gets closer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ZR-1 Returns to Nurburgring

I just read that GM took the Corvette ZR-1 back to the Nurburgring in Germany for another shot at the track record for a production car. This time they had racer Jan Magnussen at the controls and he managed to shave an incredible four seconds off the ZR-1's previous best of 7:26. The unofficial result was an amazing 7:22.4 which puts the ZR-1 just .3 seconds behind the much more hard core Dodge Viper ACR at the top of the heap.

Two bad ass, bargain American supercars showing up the world's best on one of the most challenging tracks in the world - Priceless.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Camaro

NEW CAMAROThe 2010 Chevrolet Camaro will arrive in early 2009 looking much like the concept. Of the three trims, the LS, LT and SS, the SS will be packed with the most performance goodies. Among them will be Brembo brake discs with four-piston aluminum calipers and much shorter gears, thanks to the TR6060 six-speed manual transmission. The 3.6-liter V6 will make 300 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, while the LS3 V8 will lay down 422 hp and 408 lb-ft. According to Chevrolet, the V6-equipped Camaro will run from zero to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds regardless of transmission choice. The V6 coupe will cover the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds with an auto and 14.7 seconds with a manual, both at 97 mph. The brakes don't sound quite as impressive, though, as the base Camaro stops from 60 to zero mph in 132 feet. Not surprisingly, the V8-equipped Camaro SS delivers better numbers across the board as the manual hits 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and runs a 13.4-second quarter-mile at 108 mph according to Chevrolet. Strangely enough, it also claims that the automatic-equipped SS Camaro, which is rated at 400 hp, runs from zero to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 13.3 seconds.

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Most Expensive Car Accidents Ever

Wrecked Exotics is a depressing website. It features all types of exotic car carnage. They just posted their list of the most expensive wrecks ever and it's unbelievable. I'm amazed at people taking multi-million dollar cars on racetracks and even more amazed at the lack of driving skills demonstrated by people with more money than brains.

Check out the story here: Top 10 Most Expensive Car Crashes Ever

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ferrari Price Updates

Pricing Information
Pricing Definitions
MSRP: $190,600
Estimated Market Price: Not Available
Invoice: Not Available
Total Cost to Own Not Available
Estimated Payments:
$3,978/month* find current rates

Rebates & Incentives:
No information available

Standard Engine:
5.0L V10, 40 valve, 520 hp @ 8000 rpm

* 6 speed manual (standard) or 6 speed automatic transmission
* 11 mpg city / 17 mpg hwy more info
* Green Rating: 41

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* based on MSRP, 20% down, 6.5% interest rate, 8% sales tax, 48 months.

continued below
Standard Features:

* Front Side Airbags With Head Protection
* All-Wheel Drive
* AM/FM Radio With 4 Speakers Total; 6-Disc CD Changer; MP3 Player

see all features...


* Rear Electronic Parking Aid With Camera
* Colored Brake Calipers (Gray or Yellow)
* DVD and GPS Navigation Aid

2008 Ferrari 599

2008 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano Summary

The 2008 599 GTB Fiorano is a 2-door, 2-passenger luxury sports car, available in two trims, the Coupe and the Coupe F1.

Upon introduction, both trims are equipped with a standard 6.0-liter, V12, 620-horsepower engine that achieves 11-mpg in the city and 15-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard on the Coupe. A 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard on the Coupe F1.

The 2008 599 GTB Fiorano is all-new for 2008.

Ferrari Info

we're doing a project for school specifically on the "design" of Ferrari cars but we're having trouble finding information on the actual design of the cars, how they are made, etc. If you know of any websites that have this information or just information in general about Ferrari's I would greatly appreciate the links.
search for automotive design.
There are 5 people in a team of automotive designers.

1. Designer of outside of car.
2. Interior designer
3. Marketing and manufacturing
4. Chassis and engine
5. Project leader.

They draw it, then they make a computer drawing on a CAD program. From the computer drawing the machine reads it and carves a clay copy of the car.

After they make the full size version of the car out of clay, they review the design and make some changes by carving the clay themselves.

Then they do the same thing for the inside of the car to work on the design of the ergonomics.

Then they make real versions of it by making the machine carve out the body out of metal.

The engines are hand built.

Everything else is put totheger by machines.
Then they start testing the car and see how they can improve with aerodynamics, handling, engine performance.