Evo has been doing a pretty interesting Car vs. Bike track battle series. The latest installment is particularly interesting because they put a KTM motocross bike up against some rally cars. Up first is a hardcore Safari rally gravel spec 240Z followed by a tarmac spec Mitsubishi Evolution. I won’t spoil the results, but it’s interesting to see how the driving styles are changed for running long travel suspension and gravel tires on tarmac. There’s also a jump on the course where the effects of vehicle weight on speed are hyper amplified.
The comparison between the BMW M5 and M6 was one that I thought wasn’t going to be very interesting going into this video by Car and Driver’s European Correspondent, Jethro Bovingdon. The M5 and M6 share the same drivetrain and running gear, but the M6 is a two door coupe instead of a four door sedan (saloon car). Furthermore, the M5 is almost $20,000 cheaper than the M6. Can the M6 be that much better than the already very competent and fast M5? It turns out the M6 is a touch faster in a drag race but ends up being significantly faster around a track thanks to better turn in and a lower center of gravity. The combination of heavy weight with lots of turbo power, balance and grip draws the analogy of the M6 being called the rear-wheel drive version of the GT-R. Ultimately the M6 is a hard car to justify on paper, but Jethro seems to think the car is worth the premium from behind the wheel.
Car and Driver’s European Correspondent, Jethro Bovingdon, sets up a British sport coupe showdown. It’s old school vs. new school with the Morgan Aero Coupe taking on the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S. The Aero Coupe is the most performance oriented model from a 100 year old company that still uses ash wood in the frames of some of their cars (if you want to call the 3-Wheeler a car). It’s simple and light giving it a good power to weight ratio with a BMW V8 under the hood. As with anything made by the hands of skilled craftsmen, the Morgan Aero Coupe is not inexpensive. The price tag is in the same neighborhood as the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S. Jethro takes both cars out on track to see how each car takes a different approach at similar concepts.
Car and Driver’s European correspondent, Jethro Bovingdon, brings us what he calls the last of the old school supercars. He’s talking about Lamborghini’s “base model” Gallardo with a true manual transmission and two-wheel drive. Lamborghini first made a two-wheel drive Gallardo to celebrate the retirement of their chief test driver, Valentino Balboni. It seems that car was popular enough to warrant them making it a regular part of the lineup. Even though the Balboni car was rear wheel drive, the suspension was set up very conservative to provide the stability of natural understeer. It seems that problem has been remedied for the LP550-2. Jethro says there is a slight touch of understeer that’s very easy to overcome to put the car into a drift which he demonstrates several times. The other “less is more” feature of the car is the open-gate manual transmission which turns out to be the last of its kind in the age of the modern supercar. It’s a shame that most of the people buying these cars prefer the short shift times to the experience and mastery of shifting your own gears with a clutch. Hopefully they will make a retro novelty comeback sometime in the future.
The Agera R is the latest contender in the top speed wars from Swedish car maker Koenigsegg. Armed with an E85 fueled twin turbo 5.0 liter V8, the Agera R makes 1150 horsepower and weighs only 3157 pounds. Since ethanol has about a third less energy density than gasoline, the engine’s fuel system flows enough volume to power a 2000 horsepower gasoline engine. Koenigsegg claims that the Agera R’s fuel system has the highest capacity of any car being produced. The rear suspension is a newly designed system called Triplex Suspension where a third spring and damper essentially acts as an anti-roll bar connecting the two sides of the suspension. Jethro Bovingdon seems to like the way the new system feels saying it doesn’t feel scary like the old CCX that famously went off course and ate a cone on the Top Gear test track.
Other unique features include hollow spoke one-piece carbon fiber wheels and an active rear wing that is activated purely by air speed (there’s a good shot of it in the video). The car’s targa top is designed to be stowed in the front luggage compartment as a slight nod towards practicality. The first Agera R ever built also had a custom roof mounted cargo bin made in conjunction with Swedish bike rack maker Thule. The owner of the first Agera R chose a white color scheme in order to have the car look more like the Speed Racer Mach 5. There’s a shot of this car featured at the Geneva Auto Show at the top of the page.
Car and Driver’s European correspondent, Jethro Bovingdon, takes the Agera R for a spin around a race track next to the Koenigsegg factory before blasting it down Koenigsegg’s runway. The Agera R is theoretically capable of a top speed of 273 mph which would smash the Bugatti Veyron’s current record. We’ll have to wait for official record attempt to see if Koenigsegg can hold true to their claims.