The Last Lexus LFA

I’m so glad Motor Trend posted the videos of the interviews they did with the engineers and assembly workers of the Lexus LFA. The LFA can be considered a uniquely Japanese approach to building a supercar. Nowhere is that more evident than when you talk to the people responsible for bringing it to life and hearing them explain the parts of Japanese culture that influenced them.

Source: Motor Trend on YouTube

Chris Harris Drives the Porsche 918 Spyder

I think Chris Harris may currently be the world’s favorite automotive journalist. What I mean is that many automakers enjoy giving him access to their latest and greatest cars because he always gives an honest and well articulated opinion that excites his readers and subscribers. It works out for us here at Flux Auto because we’re now entering an era of hybrid and electric supercars. McLaren just announced the P1 hybrid and Ferrari was not far behind with the LaFerrari. We already have the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive and Porsche has been working on this 918 Spyder since last year. Journalists have been getting unprecedented rides in the 918’s test mules very early on in the development process probably as a demonstration on just how much work has gone into the controls architecture that blends power from the electric motors and the V8.

This video from Chris Harris is the first that I’ve found where Porsche has allowed outside personnel to drive the cars. They also prepared better finalized technical specifications and some technology demonstrations including a new technique where they are skinning carbon fiber with aluminum. Chris also gets a few minutes to pick the brain of the lead engineer and even discuss the merits and market demand for a hybrid supercar. In the end, the 918 Spyder will sell simply because it’s a technological masterpiece of a halo car. The training of engineers on electric and hybrid performance is also necessary even if the end result is a car that performs only equally as well as current technology. That’s the only way we’ll break through to green cars that perform better than gasoline cars.

Source: DRIVE on YouTube

2013 Mercedes SLS Electric Drive

Chris Harris issued an interesting challenge at the end of his review of the electric Renault Twizy last year. The Twizy is essentially a beefed up electric golf cart made for city commuting. Harris reviewed the car and found it competent but boring despite of the fact that he was able to get it to drift. He then ended the video with some fast driving in one of Renault’s hot hatchbacks because he felt his viewers expected more excitement. That led him to pose a question/challenge of “The Twizy has slightly put the writing on the wall for me. If I’ve got to test electric cars and generate exciting content for you guys to watch, how the hell do I do it if the thing makes no noise and doesn’t do much? I’m kind of out of a job.” He then asked for people to post suggestions.

It probably didn’t happen this way, but I like picturing somebody at AMG tweeting Harris and telling him to try their 750 horsepower SLS Electric Drive (most powerful AMG built to date) if he wanted help generating exciting electric content. Either way, I’m glad Chris got the chance to drive the car and tell us what it’s like. The SLS Electric Drive looks like the standard SLS AMG (if you don’t count the chrome blue paint job), but the actual body in white has been changed to accommodate the battery pack which lives in the center of the car. The front suspension was also changed to make room for the front drive axles. Each wheel has its own independent drive motor. Electronic control does the job of traditional differentials as well as providing advanced torque vectoring thanks to the ability to generate instant negative torque (like braking) of the electric motors. Harris ends up saying the car’s ability to change chassis balance with the torque vectoring is actually more interesting than the fact that it’s electrically driven. Chris marvels at the car’s ability to apply the tires’ maximum grip on the wet track and then has a blast drifting the car with the torque vectoring shut off.

Thanks to AMG for making a car that proves that electric performance isn’t an impossible concept. If Chris Harris can be convinced of it, then maybe there’s hope for the rest of the gearheads out there, too.

Source: DRIVE on YouTube

The BMW M2

The Bavarian Workshop in Southern California built this restomod BMW 2002 for one of their customers. The idea was to infuse the light 2002 chassis with the spirit of an E30 M3. The suspension was reinforced and upgraded with coilovers while an S14 engine from the M3 was put under the hood with a chip upgrade. The hubs were modified to take M3 wheels and Wilwood brakes and the interior was also refreshed with some Recaro seats from a more modern BMW recovered to match the 2002’s interior. They are calling the end result the M2.

Source: YouTube user ElectricFederal via Autoblog