RUMOUR HAS IT...
F1 for the road
Mercedes-AMG unveiled its Project One hypercar at the Frankfurt motor show
Over the years a number of car makers have claimed to have F1 technology in their vehicles, but now one really does.
Mercedes-AMG unveiled its Project One hypercar at the Frankfurt motor show and as well as its seriously dramatic styling, it has at its heart an F1 engine. The figures are simply mindblowing: Merc claims it will hit 200km/h in just six seconds and go on to a top speed of more than 350km/h.
The 1.6l V6 F1 engine pushes out 500kW and revs to a massive 11,000r/min. Total output of the combined four electric motors (yes, four) and that V6 is said to be 740kW or 1,000 horses. Astonishingly, the company says that in spite of all this power and drama, it can still travel for 25km on silent electric power alone.
Another important figure is 50,000, because every 50,000km (if anyone ever puts on that much mileage) the Project One will have to be returned to the Affalterbach AMG headquarters in Germany for a complete strip-down and rebuild.
The cost? $2.54m. We’ll take two.
Get your Turbo on
It is no surprise that Porsche planned a Turbo version of the new Cayenne it revealed a couple of weeks ago, but we did not expect it so soon.
The company revealed the Turbo version of its popular SUV at Frankfurt, promising "even more 911 in a SUV". The new model will arrive in SA in June 2018 and feature a 4.4l biturbo engine pushing out about 404kW and 770Nm. Porsche claims a 0-100km/h time of 4.1 seconds or 3.9 if customers opt for the Sport Chrono package.
The battle for the longest electric vehicle range is on and it is being extended rapidly.
No sooner had Nissan announced a 400km range for its second-generation Leaf than Volkswagen promised 450km for its EV and then 24 hours later BMW revealed its i-Vision Dynamics concept, expected to be called the i4 with a claimed range of 600km when it launches in three years.
We have already seen a number of electric race cars, from Formula E to the autonomous Roborace series, but Jaguar used the Frankfurt show to reveal a new racing series using its I-Pace.
Due to start late in 2018 as a support race for the Formula E championship which Jaguar already competes in, the company revealed its I-Pace eTrophy and plans a grid of 20 cars for 10 races around the world.
"Formula E has grown exponentially since we joined as the first premium manufacturer last year, with commitments from Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. The Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy will improve the spectacle for the fans and gives young drivers a ladder into Formula E. We expect our series to be a sell-out international sporting event," says Gerd Mäuser, Jaguar Racing chairman.
Land Rover has revealed a more extreme version of its new Discovery that wears the SVX badge.
It will be offered exclusively with Jaguar Land Rover’s 5.0l supercharged V8 petrol powertrain, tuned to deliver 386kW and 625Nm torque, along with suspension modifications. The SVX will also get a full suite of off-road equipment, Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tyres and even some cosmetic enhancements to give it that Camel Trophy look.
Brexit kills drop top
The world has something new to blame on Britain’s decision to leave the EU — a lost Volkswagen convertible. The company’s brand chief Herbert Diess has admitted that Brexit and a softening UK market forced it to abandon plans for an all-new convertible.
Europe’s biggest brand abandoned the unloved Eos and walked away from its long-term favourite, the Golf cabriolet, both in the shadow of Dieselgate in 2015. Its sole remaining drop top is the Beetle cabriolet.
"We are concerned about the UK," Diess admits. "We wanted to do a convertible now, but with the relatively weak UK market and the uncertainty about what will happen, we had to think against it. We think ‘hmmmm’ instead. It’s very important for convertibles there."
He refused to be drawn on what type of convertible it had to abandon, but sources suggest he is referring to dumping the cabriolet from the development programme for the next generation of Europe’s most popular car, the Golf Mark 8. It had already been abandoned for the Golf Mk 7.
While Brexit has been cited as the cause of a lot of things, including confusion among the car industry’s supplier base, the cancelling of a global car is a first, and is especially concerning because it wasn’t a decision by a UK car maker.
"We are concerned regarding the market and how it will develop after Brexit," Diess said. "The market also is a bit sluggish and the pound has lost so much value."