First of all I would like to say that I find the Tesla S to be one of the most beautiful cars in the world, next to my personal favorite, the now archaic Peugeot 607. Tesla Motors became famous with the introduction of the Roadster which showed the world that the company is fully capable of designing a top-notch electric car. With the Model S, they showed us that they are able to come up with an extraordinary, almost perfect design. However, building the S model is somewhat problematic.
Tesla has already made three “alpha build” Model S cars and all of them were assembled at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, sunny California. The bodies of the car were made by a supplier located in Michigan. In the months to come, the company will test the hell out of these cars to find out the good and bad parts of the subsystems and components. In the near future (hopefully), Tesla Motors will enter the “beta builds” stage by making the cars at its factory located in Fremont, California. The cars that will roll out of the factory will be most likely used for federal crash-testing and certification as well as for various additional tests and system integration.
Some people say that the entire fate of the company relies on the success or failure of the Model S. The officials at the company promised some time ago that the S will be able to offer a range of up to 300 miles. In addition, they said that the car will feature all the luxury of a BMW 7-series and space for seven passengers. Speaking of the interior cabin, I really doubt that seven people will fit in the car, maybe five adults and two midgets. Moving on, the company received $465 million from the United States Department of Energy for building the S model; we hope that the money were put to good use and the car will get the green light for production in the near future.
The Tesla S will feature an aluminum body and the company targets a curb weight of about 4,000 pounds, similar to the Audi A8, another all-aluminum model that is considered to be a benchmark for Tesla’s car. Another promise made by the company regards the fact that the S will have the “best in class” aerodynamics from a body designed in-house with the help of Franz Von Holzhausen, the guy responsible for the beautiful Pontiac Solstice and for the bold Mazda Furai concept car. In addition, the aerodynamics of the car will be further tweaked by Robert Palin (ex Williams F1 driver) and Shaun Johnson (ex Ferrari driver).
2012 Tesla S
What we don’t know about the S is the size of the battery pack, but taking into consideration that the Roadster sports a 53 kilowatt-hour unit, the S should have one just about the same. Although the new S model will be a lot more heavier than the Roadster, people over at Tesla Motors said that the two models will use just about the same amount of energy to cover a given distance. Most likely, the S will be capable of reaching the autonomy of the Roadster thanks to its efficient drivertain and superior aerodynamics.
Kurt Kelty, who is the director of Tesla’s storage technologies, said that the car will get more performance out of the battery packs. The pack used for the Roadster offers an energy density of 120 watts-hour / kg that was boosted to more than 135 in the packs that Tesla made for the Smart Electric Drive prototypes.
As far as the suspension is concerned, it was designed by Huibert Mees, a man that worked on the legendary Ford GT and it is tuned by a Lotus employee, Malcolm Burgess. Tesla Motors decided to design its own suspension configuration, although they could have very well chosen to pass this responsibility to Toyota or Mercedes-Benz, companies that have a partnership with Tesla. In the front, the suspension consists of double control arms whereas in the back the S will be fitted with a multilink configuration. Basically all of the major and important components of the car were made in-house – bushings, steering knuckles, control arms and so on, all of them made out of cast and extruded aluminum. The company borrowed other components from big time suppliers like Bilstein, Bosch and Brembo.
2012 Tesla S
Thanks to the fact that all of the above mentioned major components will be placed under the car, the cabin will be more than spacious. According to Tesla, the S will have a trunk where the engine is installed on most cars and will feature an optional rear-facing third row jumpseat, offering the car room for seven people. The company promises to offer 29 cubic feet of cargo space which should be more than enough for most of us.
In addition to all of these goodies, the S promises to be “a driver’s car”. Officials at Tesla said that their new car will offer the best handling capabilities in its class, better than what Lexus, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are offering in the segment. We are very eager to find out if this statement will come to life. But in order to find this one out, Tesla needs to make the car, a production model not an alpha/beta one.
Sources say that the S will enter the production line next year, but the company still needs to finish the car, equip the factory and train the employees. Automotive experts are a little bit concerned regarding the bold 2012 target, although Tesla does not have any problems with money or talent. Basically we will have to wait and see when the car will be launched and if it will stand a chance against the electric 7-Series from BMW which has a starting price of $70,650. The S model will have a base price tag of $57,400 which is very attractive in my opinion.
The next generation of the Mercedes Benz SLK will be officially launched in January next year and will implement a bundle of new efficient safety technologies. As standard, the car will feature Adaptive Brake and Attention Assist systems. The Adaptive Brake will hold the automobile at a stop light or at an incline without forcing the driver to maintain his foot on the brake pedal so that the car will go in reverse. This innovative system will bring the SLK’s brake pads in contact with the brake disks once the driver’s foot is removed from the accelerator for a fast response which will also aid the driver to keep full control even during rainy conditions when the asphalt is wet.
The Attention Assist system will announce the driver with various warnings to avoid collisions thanks to features like a drowsiness detector. As an optional feature, the 2011 SLK can be equipped with a Distronic Plus proximity system that can fully adjust the distance to the car in front to a safer level or with a Pre-Safe Brake system (which was initially introduced by Volvo) that is capable of detecting possible imminent crashes with the aid of various sensors that will try to stop the car on its own.
The SLK can be equipped with a Speed Limit Assist feature that can detect limit signs with the help of a camera located inside the windscreen which will indicate the respective detected speed limit on a display in the instrument cluster. Another important safety feature is the Intelligent Light System that has the following five functions: Enhanced fog lamps, Active Light System, Motorway mode, Country mode and Cornering light function – which can be activated depending upon the various driving conditions.
2011 Mercedes SLK Spy Photo
The PARKTRONIC system will include Parking Guidance which will ease the life of the driver while parking the SLK thanks to the ultrasonic sensors that are able to measure the length of parking spaces as the car drives past. The driver will look onto the cockpit display where he will receive a schematic representation of the most recommended parking method.
The engineers at Mercedes also took into consideration the safety of the pedestrians when they designed the 2011 SLK model. The car will be equipped with a sensor system that is capable of registering an impact with a pedestrian and can guarantee that the bonnet is instantly raised at 85 mm which will create an additional space between the various parts in the engine compartment and the bonnet of the SLK. This will result in lower acceleration values for the head of the pedestrian during the collision which will reduce the risk of serious injuries.
In order to detect an impact with a pedestrian, the SLK will come standard with acceleration sensors in the front bumper and additional pressure sensors in the doors. In the case of an accident, the SLK’s lateral satellite and up-front sensors help the central control unit to predict the severity and nature of the collision.
For the people in the car, the German engineers installed a new headbag system and crash-responsive head restraints. The safety standards of the Mercedes are guaranteed by the seat belts that have speed-sensitive belt force limiters and belt buckle tensioners. The headbag will offer a more generous lateral support for the head impact area. The extra (optional) thorax airbag located in the seat backrest will efficiently protect the upper side of the body in the unfortunate event of a side collision.
We are very eager to find out what other features will the next generation of the Mercedes SLK bring once the car is officially launched in January.
Now, thanks to Automotive News, a few more details were released.
First off, in 2012, Alfa Romeo will officially make its full pledged debut on the US market, with the new Giulia mid-size model. The car will be available in both sedan and wagon form, and will use a Fiat 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder engine, with the new MultiAir technology, as well as the Pentastar V6 from Chrysler. The cars will be packed with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive as an option.
Sticking with 2012, Chrysler will be tasked with developing a brand new compact crossover model, based on a wider version of the current Giulietta hatchback. The model will not only be sold in the USA, but also be exported to Alfa’s native Europe.
In 2013, city car fans will enjoy a five-door version of the Alfa Romeo MiTo model. The car will be overhauled at that time, but it will still be made in Italy and brought over to the US.
A two-seat roadster might also appear on the market in 2013, but nothing is clear at this moment. Chrysler and Fiat have yet to settle on a platform (presumably the 300C might work) nor on a production facility.
2014 will see the introduction of a refreshed Giulietta hatchback on the US market. The car has already been launched in Europe and is enjoying impressive sales thanks to its potent engine lineup and attractive design.
This year will also see the introduction of a bigger crossover, which will sit on the platform of the upcoming replacement of the Jeep Liberty. It is set to be produced in the USA and exported to Europe.
Overall, like we said above, Fiat has some big plans for Alfa Romeo, so let’s hope things go as smoothly as possible.
Next gen Mazda MX-5 has target weight of 2,200 pounds
Back in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 Miata gained a huge amount of fans thanks to its lightweight design, great performance and by offering the best value for your money.
Now, with the current MX-5 Miata still selling pretty strong, Mazda has decided that for the next generation model, set to arrive around 2012, a back to basics approach is needed.
As such, the Japanese company wants to shave off weight left and right, with a target of just 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg). This should once again reaffirm the company’s position of offering a cheap, light, reliable roadster for a fair price.
Besides the reduced weight, the next Mazda MX-5 Miata will definitely boast some cues from the Nagare design language, especially on the sides, in the vein of the new Mazda5 MPV. Power is expected to arrive from a new SKY-G engine, which delivers adequate power with low emissions and a great fuel average. Previously we heard that a rotary engine might sit under the bonnet of the 2012 roadster.
Overall, the next Mazda MX-5 is looking extremely good. Are you confident it will return to its original roots? Share your thoughts below.
Audi has been revealing refreshed models left and right at the beginning of the year.
Among them was the 2011 TT facelift, which was revealed for both the roadster and coupe models at the Leipzig Motor Show. Bringing a revised design, a new engine option (2.0-liter TFSI) plus various other options, including the LED daytime running lights, the new Audis was well received.
Now, the Ingolstadt company has revealed a video with the 2011 Audi TT, both in coupe and roadster form, in action. Peter Hirschfeld, product marketing representative for the TT also weighs in on the important changes suffered by the facelifted models. Hit the jump to check out the video. (more…)
The Audi R8 supercar has been a huge success for the Ingolstadt carmaker, part of the Volkswagen group. The smaller Audi e-tron electric roadster concept has also been met with huge interest by both the media and the regular consumers.
As such, people have started pointing to a future R4 roadster, which will slot in below the R8 and attack the compact sportscar market, dominated by another VW Group entity, Porsche, with its Boxster.
Now, a new report from Autocar seems to suggest that the fate of the R4 project is still undecided, as the company needs to figure out what type of chassis the model will have. It needs to decide between cheaper yet heavy pressed steel or expensive but lightweight spaceframe, like on the R8.
While Audi might favor the spaceframe, Volkswagen also wants to develop its own roadster, based on the VW Bluesport concept it showcased at the beginning of 2009. Reports also indicate that Porsche is examining the possibility of launching a model under the Boxster, also based on this common architecture.
As of yet, nothing is known for sure, but we can expect a limited series Audi e-tron to appear around 2012, so the production-ready roadster(s) might arrive soon after that.
TVR set to bring Chevrolet Corvette-powered roadster, ponders hybrid tech
The UK had small sportscar manufacturers by the dozen in the glory days, but things aren’t looking that good in the present. One company which was deemed pretty much dead by the media was TVR, which didn’t reveal anything big after it was purchased by Russian rich guy Nikolai Smolenski.
For fans of the sportscar manufacturer, Autocar managed to track the Russian down and grilled him about the future of the once popular brand. It seems that the company has been restructured, according to Smolenski, but now it has some big plans for the next few years.
The TVR owner revealed that it has finally decided on what type of engine will power the next model. It seems that the future TVR roadster will use an American Chevrolet Corvette engine. No details on what engine will be chosen, either the 505 HP LS7, found in the Corvette Z06, or the 638 HP supercharged LS9 unit, found in the top of the range Corvette ZR1.
According to Smolenski, we will know more until the end of 2010. While lightweight, rear-wheel drive, American-powered roadsters might be on the wish lists of many rich people, Smolenski also wants TVR to do a bit of research in hybrid technology and also work on automatic transmissions, a feature that the next model can’t support, given its chassis and technology.
It seems that loyal TVR fans don’t have to worry so much know, as the company is slowly getting back on its feet.
BMW‘s entry in the roadster market, the Z4, has reached a whole new level with the latest generation, which gathered praises from many respected journalists. But even though the regular models were pretty quick, the Bavarian company has now announced the Z4 sDrive35is model, which, in lack of a better description, is the M-badged roadster you’ve been waiting for, except it won’t feature the M in its name.
But it will feature it in its highly customized 3.0-liter twin turbo engine, which can now develop 340 HP, in the European version, and 335 in the US one. Torque numbers have been upgraded to 450 Nm, and can even reach 500 Nm thanks to a special overboost button (hopefully that button will be in the gear knob).
The roadster will have a Launch Control system, which will take it from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds, and keep on going to 250 km/h (155 mph). The engine will be coupled with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, and provide a fuel consumption of around 9.0 liters/100 km (around 26.1 mpg US), and will emit 210 g/km of CO2.
This new high performance Z4 will be offered with the M Sports Package, which includes a new, properly aggressive front bumper with wider air intakes finished in matte aluminum, a set of 18-inch light allow wheels, with 19-inch ones optional and a new rear bumper which accentuates the tailpipes and features a two-piece diffuser.
Expect the new BMW Z4 sDrive35is to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show (NAIAS) and to appear on the European and US markets in spring, 2010.
It seems that the model sports a folding canvas top, but one major modification has been made in terms of the doors, which now have handles that suggest the Gullwing-style opening mechanic has been replaced by a conventional one, in order to compliment the folding roof. In terms of mechanics though, it seems that it will still be powered by the same 6.3-liter V8 one, which develops 471 HP and 650Nm (479 lb-ft) of torque.
When you say Lamborghini, you’re already talking about exclusivity. When you add Reventon to it, well you’re pretty much talking about a select group of very wealthy people who own one of the 20 cars that were made. But for everyone who didn’t have a chance of owning such a prestigious model, people like you or me, of course, the new Reventon Roadster will be made, in the same number of 20 models.
For those of you who still can’t wrap your head around such a small number of highly exclusive cars, a new ad made by Lamborghini will explain the chances of you owning one, alongside other interesting facts. Enjoy the statistic lesson delivered by the Italian supercar maker.
As Vlad revealed last month, MINI was preparing the Coupe Concept for its premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show, which is going on these days in the German city. But besides that concept, the BMW-owned company also revealed the Roadster Concept, which is basically a convertible version of the Coupe, featuring a folding soft top.
Except the roof, the models are the same, and are due to enter production soon, at the Oxford plant in the United Kingdom. Besides a more aggressive line, the chassis shared by the two concepts will be more rigid and have a larger boot.
Equipped with the turbocharged 1.6 liter engine, capable of delivering 175 horses and 240 Nm, the new model will borrow from the MINIMALISM concept, as it will carefully balance a good fuel economy with sporty driving. As an added bonus, a special dial will be outfitted beside the revcounter, which will reveal just how ecological is your driving, and signal the best time to change gears.
Either way, if you prefer a normal roof on your car or a manually foldable one, these two new MINI concepts will definitely satisfy you. Further details on price, when they will enter production and feature lists will be added once they are available. Until then, enjoy this rather controversial ad of the two models.
We revealed last week that Italian supercar maker Lamborghini will unveil a convertible edition of its extremely exclusive Reventon supercar in Frankfurt. As the show is already underway, the company formally revealed the Reventon Roadster, of which only 20 will be made, as well as details regarding performance and price.
As you know, the normal Reventon made its debut in 2007 at the Frankfurt show, and now the roaster model will follow in the tradition. The new jet-fighter supercar will have a targa roof, as well as a few other distinguishing features, as opposed to the older model, which also saw just 20 cars made. Each of these new machines will cost you about €1.1 million or $1.6 million, without taxes and will be delivered starting with October of this year.
“The Reventón is the most extreme car in the history of the brand,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Lamborghini. “The new Roadster adds an extra emotional component to our combined technological expertise – it unites superior performance with the sensual fascination of open-top driving.”
Measuring the same as the normal Reventon, the new Roadster will see the addition of two hidden pop-up bars, which, in case of an rollover, will deploy in a few miliseconds, saving the life of the passengers. The engineers from the Italian manufacturer also revealed that the body of the car, made almost entirely out of carbon fiber, was so stiff to being with, that only a few modifications needed to be made in order to support the removal of the roof. As such, the Roadster is fatter by just 25 kg (55 lbs) than the normal edition, tipping the scale at 1,690 kg or 3.725 lbs.
On the inside, the Alcantara leather will contras with the carbon fiber, wrapping the two bucket sport seats. Also, three LCD displays will keep true to the jet-fighter theme of the Reventon, replacing any old analog dials.
The normal Reventon engine only saw a slight tweak, in terms of horse power, as the Roadster has 670 horses, 20 more than the original. The torque numbers are the same, 660 Nm (487 lb-ft) which is available at 6,000 rpm. The six speed automatic gearbox and the four-wheel drive, courtesy of Audi, are the same as the old Reventon. All of these technical numbers convey into a 0 to 100 km/h or 62 mph time of just 3.4 seconds, and will take the Roadster to a dizzying 330 km/h (205 mph).
Revel in these pics and await new ones, straight from the show floor in Frankfurt.
My God, does this look amazing or what? According to Auto Express, Jaguar is looking to revive the C-Type and create a new roadster which will compete roadsters like the Porsche Boxster, BMW ZZ4 or Mercedes Benz SLK. Jaguar’s new owner, Tata Motors, through the voice of it’s chairman Ratan Tata has expressed many times plans to expand the Jaguar range and with the roadster market growing, it looks like the C-Type might come true.
From these renderings we can see the car will probably follow the XF’s styling, with the bold mesh grille, sharpened LED headlights, bonnet power bulge, slim tail-lights and chrome strip. Auto Express sources unveiled that a wide range of engines will be available, including an entry-level 235 hp 3.0 liter V6 and a top of the range 380 hp 5.0 liters V8. Jaguar’s six-speed automatic transmission with wheel-mounter paddles will also be available. Considering the starting price which will be under £40,000 ($65,000), we can say the other roadsters should be really, really afraid of the new Jaguar.
So, when will we see a production version of the new C-Type? Well, like all carmakers, Jaguar’s also going through some not so good times, so we won’t probably see it eariler than 2012.
The Italian car maker released the first official photos and details of the upcoming limited edition Lamborghini Murcielago LP650-4. If you’re wondering what’s with the ’650′ in the name, it’s because the car will be powered by an upgraded version of the V12 engine (6.5 liters) which delivers 650 hp (478 kW) and 660 Nm of torque and which will only be available for this roadster version. Powered by this beast, the new Lambo convertible sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph).
Like we said, the LP650-4 Roadster will be available in a limited run of only 50 units and it will feature a Grigio Telesto exterior with grey bodywork combined with a special bright orange paint for the front spoiler and side sills. This combination is also used for the interior, where we have orange touches, asymmetric dash design with black Alcantara leather on the driver’s side and black Nero Perseus leather for the passenger’s side. And of course, the car has LP650-4 logos applied both to the exterior and the interior.
So far, there’s no official word on how much the car will cost (we have a feeling it ain’t gonna be cheap) or when exactly Lamborghini plans on releasing the Roadster, but stay tuned because we’ll let you know once we find out.