Tesla made history this past year by becoming the first manufacturer to win several Car of the Year awards with an electric car. The Model S impressed everybody with it’s ability to offer uncompromised performance, practicality and value when compared directly to its combustion powered competitors. Specifications no longer had to be qualified with “which is good for an electric car.” They were just very good. The Model S even superseded the auto industry in several areas thanks to Tesla’s Silicon Valley tech approach to connectivity, touchscreens and operating system configurability and updatability. Now Tesla is poised to begin selling the Model S in Europe. AutoCar UK spent a week with a US spec Model S and they have been equally as impressed with it as the US media. Expect Elon Musk to have some more trophies to hoist in the year to come.
Steve Sutcliffe from Autocar loves the new Aston Martin V12 Vanquish. It’s size, balance and power make it a perfect GT car. Does that mean there’s nothing to complain about? Not necessarily. The new car isn’t the first to wear the Vanquish badge. That means there’s a legacy that it has to fall in line with. Sutcliffe brings the previous V12 Vanquish along for a side by side comparison.
Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe thinks you’ve probably never heard of the Bowler company before. He’s obviously not seen my other blog post about the Bowler Wildcat, Tomcat and EXR-S. To demonstrate how crazy the tube framed EXR-S is, the guys line it up on a handling course against a car that specializes in handling courses, the Caterham Seven Supersport. Enjoy the ridiculousness with commentary from both drivers as they chase each other around the track:
BMW is going to release a new M3 in 2014 on the current 3-series chassis which has been criticized for not being as sporty as previous models. They will be replacing the current E92 M3’s V8 with a twin turbo inline 6 which could very well be a torque monster based on the performance of their latest engines. Steve Sutcliffe of Autocar takes the E30 M3, E46 M3 CSL and the E92 M3 out for a track day at Brands Hatch Circuit. He discusses what he likes and dislikes from what he says are the 3 three best generations of M3. Sutcliffe also discusses which of the cars and features that BMW need to emulate while designing the new model. It’s a nice guided tour of the M3 dynasty.
The Ferrari FF is an interesting car for a few reasons. It’s the first four door or four wheel drive car to come out of Maranello. The Shooting Brake wagon body style is fairly hideous, but everybody says the car drives amazingly. This is due to the unique all wheel drive system that Ferrari invented for the FF. The rear wheels are driven through a standard Ferrari 7 speed transaxle, but the front of the car is driven by a separate two speed transmission connected to the front of the 6.3 liter V12 through a torque vectoring differntial. The layout that Ferrari conceived eliminated the need for an external transfer case and an extra drive shaft for the front axle. The gearing also ensures that a larger majority of the engine’s power is going to the rear wheels for sporty driving dynamics. Check out this animation from Ferrari showing how it works:
Sure this all makes for some interesting engineering talk, but what does it mean in the real world? How about the immature but all important question of, “Will it drift?” Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe finds out for us.