Spyker’s Koenigsegg Engine Is An Absolute Powerhouse

At the Geneva Motor Show, I chatted with both Spyker CEO Victor Muller and Christian von Koenigsegg, Spyker’s freshly announced engine supplier to talk about the specifications, future collaborations and their plans in general.

But the first thing you need to know is that the silver Spyker lettering on the displayed engine was hand-painted by Koenigsegg. Apparently, he didn’t like it in base orange and grabbed a brush with a can of paint just before the show. Talk about hand-crafted!

Needless to say, Victor Muller could have not been happier. His 50 Preliator coupés are all sold out, and now, he had to tell his customers that their cars will be delayed by nine months, only so they can be supplied with Koenigsegg V8s instead of the ancient Audi engine with a supercharger bolted on its top. That’s not a bad trade, and the kind of news that made his new Preliator convertibles even more desirable in an instant.

For Spyker’s customers, that “little bit of premium” is certainly a no brainer in exchange for a bespoke engine by Koenigsegg. When asked whether he’ll continue to expand their portfolio and share their technologies, Christian had this to say:

Our main focus is getting our own cars to the highest level and deliver them to the waiting customers as soon as possible. At the same time, we are developing so many systems, technologies, electronic platforms and Freevalve engines, this and that. And to only develop those things for twenty cars a year? Well, we can make that work. We have a good business with that. But it’s a bit of a shame not to let others use the technology, to make it come to use in a bigger picture. And it’s also potential income for the company of course, improving economic spread.

A naturally-aspirated V8 revving to 8000, connected to a six-speed manual in a car looking as special as a Spyker. That’s a real thing now.

Inside The 4,500hp Pro Line Racing Engine Of The Fireball Camaro

We caught up with Ryan Martin and his team from B&R Performance at Lights Out 8, where they were putting their new Pro Line 481X engine through its paces in a 2010 Camaro entered in the Radial vs. The World class. That weekend, they ran a career-best elapsed time of 3.83 and a high speed of 208 mph. “On the 3.83 run, we dropped a cylinder, so I am pretty sure we will get it into the 3.70s the next time out,” Martin said. Having all eight cylinders on a run isn’t the only thing fueling the team’s confidence. The engine was running on 58 to 59 psi of boost from the turbochargers, and that setup is capable of going over 80 pounds. That kind of power should put the fifth-gen Camaro dangerously close to world-record territory for a radial-equipped drag car, which currently sits at 3.73.

Short-Block

The Pro Line Racing 481X powerplant begins as a big chunk of billet aluminum that’s whittled down by Alan Johnson Performance Engineering (AJPE). It was designed for Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car applications and is based on an Oldsmobile/big-block Chevy design, but with special attention to strength and durability. Pro Line Racing reconfigured the supercharged engine design for use with turbochargers, and with it came numerous world records and championships. The Fireball Camaro’s 481X features a Sonny Bryant crankshaft, Bill Miller Engineering connecting rods, and a set of pistons from its sponsor, Wiseco. The forged pistons are wrapped in a set of custom rings by Total Seal. Final displacement is 572 cid, but outside of that, the compression ratio is a closely guarded secret as well as the bore/stroke combination.

Cylinder Heads/Camshafts

Two years ago, AJPE reconfigured the cylinder heads at the request of Pro Line Racing. These Stage III heads feature 2.450-inch-diameter intake valves and 1.920-inch exhaust valves. Both sides use an 11/32-inch-thick valve stem. The ports have been revised specifically for turbocharged use, and the combustion chamber measures 73cc. The cylinder head is made from U.S.-sourced 6061-T651 billet aluminum. As with most racing engines, the camshaft profile is secret, but our sources at Pro Line Racing did admit to a 65mm cam core. Other valvetrain components include T&D steel rocker arms, Smith Brothers pushrods, and PAC triple springs.

Induction

A Hogans sheetmetal intake manifold rests on top of the billet cylinder heads and it’s pressurized by either a set of Precision Gen 2 Pro Mod 102mm turbochargers (for Radial vs. The World) or an 88mm version of that same compressor family. The intake-manifold pressure on Martin’s quickest run was 58 to 59 psi, but the combination is capable of going to a bone-crushing 85 psi of boost.

Fuel System/Engine Management

The engine burns methanol rather than gasoline, which means it requires a significant amount of fuel. A Waterman mechanical fuel pump pushes more than 4,500 lbs/min of fuel, capable of supplying whatever power level Martin chooses to run. A set of 16 fuel injectors—two per cylinder—keeps the hungry engine well fed. Each injector is manufactured by Billet Atomizer and rated at 700 lb/hr. A Fuel Tech FT500 and MSD Grid are responsible to control the massive fuel flow as well as the electric shock coming from the MSD magneto ignition system.

Drivetrain

The B&R Performance team relies on two very different TH400 transmissions—both are built by M&M Transmissions. Radial vs. The World action requires the use of a two-speed TH400, otherwise known as a Turbo-Glide. For big-tire street racing, a three-speed version of the transmission is installed. Torque converters are also tailored to each arena of battle; a Pro Torque EV1 is standard fare with radial tires, while a Greg Slack Converters is the chosen one for big tires. The chassis is a double-framerail setup that carries a SFI 25.3 tag and was built inside an actual Camaro body. The chassis is a typical Outlaw 10.5 build that was supposed to be a back-half chassis, but instead is a full-frame stuffed under a production body and stock firewall. Billy Gilsbach is credited as the original chassis builder, and Mike Duffy Race Cars has helped get the car sorted for the different areas of play.

The Car

The Fireball Camaro race car serves as a 200-mph marketing tool for a special-edition Camaro available through Chevrolet dealerships and built by B&R Performance and Black Horse Racing. The high-performance custom Camaros also carry the Fireball nickname and are offered in a 700- and 900hp configuration. A ProCharger supercharger is the main focal point for the boost-pumped LT1 engine, and the powerplant details vary depending on which model is chosen. The Fireball 900 has run 9.00s at nearly 150 mph with a little shot of nitrous on top of the built engine, which has some forged internal components. The Fireball 700 is no slouch in its own right, having secured high-9-second timeslips. The Fireball 700 isn’t constrained by production numbers, but the Fireball 900 will only have 90 versions prowling the streets.

KTM Looking To Create A Buzz With Fuel-Injected Two-Stroke Engine

Motorcycle maker KTM has developed a two-stroke engine with fuel injection that it’s launching in new enduro models this year, marking the first major use of the technology in a full-size production bike.

Two-strokes have long been prized for their simplicity, low manufacturing costs and compact size compared to similarly-powered four-strokes. But while all these factors are appealing to motorcycle designers, their reliance on carburation and the need to mix oil into the gasoline for lubrication leads to poor emissions and fuel economy. New European environmental regulations are the driving force behind KTM’s move.

The issue is that adding features like fuel-injection to a two-stroke reduces its inherent advantages by increasing the complexity of the design. Small scooters have used them, however, and many snowmobile and outboard boat motors feature the technology, but the latter two don’t need to meet the same kind of emissions standards as street legal motorcycles and weight isn’t as much of a factor in those applications.

DUCATI DEVELOPING JET TECHNOLOGY FOR MOTORCYCLES

KTM hasn’t revealed all of the details about how its system works, but says it uses Transfer Port Injection, so the fuel will likely be injected into the intake stream, rather than directly into the compression chamber like many car engines do today. Honda has filed a patent for a general purpose two-stroke with direct fuel injection, but has not yet put it into production.

Being able to meter the introduction of gas into the intake more precisely should reduce or eliminate unburned fuel from making it into the exhaust. KTM says fuel consumption is improved and owners will no longer need to adjust carburetor jets, a time-honored and time-consuming tradition of two-stroke ownership. Pre-mixing the oil and gas will also not be required, which suggests the incorporation of an oil-injection system. A sketch of the high-tech engine shows that it will use an old school kick starter.

The engine will be available in 250cc and 300cc versions, and full details will be released in May when KTM takes the wraps off of the first bikes it will be offered in, including the KTM 250 XC-W that’s going on sale in the USA this fall.

2018 Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo First Look

Rich folks accustomed to sending the luggage ahead can now send more of it more swiftly with a new cluster of model variants being added to the Porsche Panamera constellation. They’ll go by the moniker Sport Turismo, and they’ll be distinguishable from the outside by their shooting brake profile, which involves a longer roofline, a larger rear quarter window, a fatter D-pillar, and a more upright but still rakish hatch glass. That hatch now drops well down into the bumper, so the Louis Vuittons only have to be hoisted 24.7 inches up onto the cargo deck.

There’s a bit more space on that deck now—18.3 cubic feet versus the faster-backed Panamera’s 17.4 with the rear seats up; 49.1 (45.7 for the E-Hybrid) versus 46.0 cubic feet with the 40/20/40 seat backs folded. A cargo management system of rails and accessories is available. With a skosh more headroom, the Sport Turismo dares to pad the center of the rear seat and provide a belt for a fifth occupant, making this the first five-seat Panamera (or as Porsche more aptly puts it, 4+1). A four-seat option is available with electrically adjustable seats. Overall dimensions barely wiggle from those of the standard-wheelbase Panamera. Only the height notches up 0.2 inch (to equal that of the LWB Executive variant).

The new hatch also trades the fast-back Panamera’s cool lifts-and-separates rear wing for a spoiler located above the hatch glass. This one is also integrated into the Porsche Active Aerodynamics system. It starts out at an angle of -7 degrees then rises to 1 degree at 105 mph in normal mode or at 55 mph in Sport or Sport+ modes. In this position it applies up to 110 pounds of downforce to the rear axle. Open the pano-roof above 55 mph, and the spoiler rises to 26 degrees to reduce wind noise.

The Sport Turismo treatment is available with every all-wheel-drive powertrain except the top Turbo S E-Hybrid, and it is only available in the standard wheelbase. Air suspension is standard on all Sport Turismos. There might be some variation in standard equipment specifications, too, as the price differential varies between models. The 330-hp turbo V-6 Panamera 4 Sport Turismo starts at $97,250 (up $6,600), the 456-hp turbo V-6 PHEV 4 E-Hybrid opens at $105,050 (a $4,400 premium), the 440-hp twin-turbo V-6 4S goes for $110,250 (plus $9,300), and the 550-hp twin-turbo V-8 Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo commands $155,050 ($7,100 over). Dealers are taking orders now for deliveries expected to start at the end of 2017.

Techrules Ren Turbine-Recharging Electric Supercar Revealed

Techrules is debuting the final production design of its first series hybrid supercar at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. ‘Ren’ is the first production vehicle from the China-based automotive research and development company, and features its proprietary Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) technology.

The aerospace-inspired design is optimised for aerodynamic efficiency, with a striking modular three-cockpit design that has been crafted by world-renowned automotive designers, Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro. A sense of drama is assured by the distinctive fighter jet-style canopy that rises up to enable occupant access and futuristic elements such as the front laser headlights and ‘star-burst’ reversing LEDs.

The Ren features a lightweight chassis that has been designed and constructed to the highest standards by esteemed motorsport specialist, L.M. Gianetti of Turin. The performance-focused modular layout that allows the car to be configured with one, two or three polycarbonate canopies: one for track use by only the driver, two for the ‘Le Mans’ configuration with a single passenger, or three to accommodate the driver and two passengers.

Ren is the world’s first electric production supercar to feature the Techrules-developed Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system, previously introduced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The series hybrid powertrain technology delivers unprecedented levels of efficiency and performance, and an ultra-low environmental impact.

A variety of configurations will be available to tailor the powertrain to the exact requirements of the customer. The flagship version – with a battery capacity of 25 kWh and with two motors at the front and four at the rear – delivers maximum power of 960kW (1,287 hp/1,305 ps) with a range of 1,170 km from 80 litres of diesel fuel (NEDC).

The Ren’s desirability is enhanced further by a refined interior that delivers ultimate exclusivity by incorporating the highest grades of luxury materials. The wraparound cockpit and passenger pod spaces are finished using the finest Italian leather(cuoio italiano and alcantara), with seat cushions finished in a denim produced by the high-end designer clothing company, PT (Pantaloni Torino).

The Ren is packed with new technologies, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and a variety of driving modes. Inside the driver’s cockpit, the centre of the steering wheel houses a self-levelling screen that displays performance-focused instrumentation while rear-view cameras feed three monitoring screens.

Techrules’ advanced luxury supercar will provide an exclusive band of customers with a unique blend of ultimate performance, brutal power and unparalleled efficiency. Beyond the Ren, the innovative powertrain and platform concept will support family and city cars, with the potential for many more model variations.

Nextev’s Crazy Electric Supercar Just Went 160 Mph Without A Driver

Unveiled late last year, NextEV’s ambitious NIO EP9 electric supercar has been setting some impressive laptimes. The manufacturer says the EP9 is the fastest electric car in the world, with a 7:05.12 Nürburgring Nordschleife lap and a 1:52.78 Circuit Paul Ricard lap under its belt. And just days ago, the EP9 left the Circuit of the Americas track in Austin with some new records to frame on the office wall.

On February 23, the EP9 set a COTA production car lap record with a 2.11.30 time. Or, ‘production car’ is what NextEV calls it. In actuality, there have been six units made, each costing $1.2 million and all of them sold only to NextEV investors. Perhaps stretching the limits of what constitutes a production car is what the company wants to do, in addition of breaking lap records.

In any case, the COTA lap in the hands of a driver wasn’t enough, as the supercar also completed a very quick lap autonomously, “without any intervention”. The autonomous lap was timed at two minutes and 40.33 seconds, so a good driver is still half a minute quicker than the EP9 let loose on its own.

The megawatt-producing, 1,342-horsepower EP9 accelerates to 124 mph in 7.1 seconds and it can go all the way to 194 mph. Its COTA top speeds were 170 mph with a driver and 160 mph autonomously. The manufacturer will introduce the supercar for the United States market next month in Austin.

Refreshing Or Revolting: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

When it was time for a redesign, the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse swam in a different direction than its GMC Acadia twin. While the Acadia shrunk, the Traverse grew to better accommodate its third row. In the process, the Traverse now looks more like the Tahoe than a midsize SUV. Did Chevrolet go too far?

The new Traverse receives a bigger grille and thinner headlights for 2018. Not only that, but its hood is more squared off than before. Chrome accents adorn the striking integrated grille, with the new High Country model receiving the most bling. Meanwhile, sporty Redline models get a blacked-out bow tie emblem and black wheels as well as other updates.

One look at the side profile and it’s clear that the Traverse looks much more like a truck now. Consider the lines of the windows and the rear liftgate. All of its round edges have been replaced with square shapes. Much like the headlights, the taillights have also narrowed.

Inside, the Traverse gets a larger 7- or 8-inch touchscreen as opposed to the old 6.5-inch screen. No longer is the area surrounding the screen sprinkled with buttons and knobs. Chevy has also freed up space right below the central display and in front of the shifter for a more open cabin look. The model also receives a new split-folding second row seat instead of the old Smart Slide setup. The curbside seat can tip up and slide forward even when a child seat is installed, providing easier access to the third row.

Do you think the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse is refreshing or revolting? Let us know in the comments below.

There Could Be a Lighter, Faster Ford GT Already in The Works

The 2017 Ford GT is mind-blowingly fast, with a 0-60 mile-per-hour time of 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph. Powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with 647 horsepower at the crank, the Ford GT is a rocket ship that never takes flight. However, the Ford GT owner’s manual is hinting that Ford may want to go a little faster with a lightweight Competition Series model.

Mentioned in two different locations in the new supercar’s manual (page 42 and page 149), the Competition Series may be a reality sooner than we think.

The Competition Series is mentioned pn page 42 of the manual when speaking about the key fob, and how it does not have a button to trigger the rear hatch latch. Instead, the operator has to go around to the back of the vehicle and stick a key into an aerodynamic latch that will manually release the latch. Once unlocked, the rear hatch has to be propped up by a rod, instead of tensioners found on the current model.

Both of these modifications indicate Ford’s intention to reduce weight in the potential Competition Series. Although we don’t know anything else about the series at this time, two mentions of the model within the manual gives us pretty high hopes that we’ll learn more about it in the future.

A Closer Look At The 2017 Tesla Model S P100d’s Ludicrous Acceleration Run

Zero-to-60 testing got a lot more interesting when Tesla’s Model SP100Dwith Ludicrous mode managed to accelerate harder than it could brake. That’s right. While the motors are pulling their hardest—from 10 mph to 50 mph—the car averages 1.14 g of acceleration. From 50 to 10 mph, the antilock system only musters 1.11 g of average deceleration.

We were so intrigued by this car’s performance at such around-town speeds that we decided to really dig into the inner workings and find out what’s going on as this car rockets down a drag strip or up a long private driveway, a task made somewhat simpler by the vast amount of data that Tesla cars store to the cloud as you drive them. (Owners can access this info via third-party apps.) So let’s slow the clock down and take a look at the ludicrous things going on inside our P100D during that record-setting 2.28-second 060 run.

The car crosses the official 60-mph mark after travelling 120 feet 2 inches (7.4 car lengths). Inside the battery, 25 grams’ worth of lithium ions have migrated from anode to cathode, releasing about 0.33 kW-hrs of battery charge.

The car crosses the quarter-mile mark, traveling at 125 mph. The front motor is spinning at 14,600 rpm and the rear at 14,200 rpm. That puts the absolute velocity of the outer edges of the front and rear rotors at 391 and 349 mph, respectively. Longitudinal acceleration has dropped to 0.22 g. Inside the battery, 112 grams of lithium ions have migrated from anode to cathode, expending about 1.53 kW-hrs of charge.

Based on that last data point, it’s tempting to imagine that a fully charged 100-kW-hr battery might able to make 64 such passes. Depending on how hot a day it is and how short your shut-down area is, it might be possible to regenerate roughly the energy that will be needed to cool the motors and battery back down to their ideal temperatures before the next run. Just understand that under hard braking, the amount of energy that can be recovered might be as little as one-tenth of the amount recovered during a max-regen coast down. Speaking of which, if your chosen test venue is at least a mile long, you might be able to coast down without using the friction brakes at all. In that case, the max-regen mode should slow the car at a rate of about 0.15 g initially. It will ramp up to a max of 0.20 g in peak regen mode, at the end of which as much as 40 to 45 percent of the 1.53 kW-hrs of energy expended in the acceleration run might be recovered. Conversely, note that little or no energy gets regenerated during a full-force ABS braking event. 

Once again, we must express our gob-smacked amazement at the predictive traction management that makes a run like this possible. (The brakes were not used to arrest wheel spin during our acceleration run.) An engineer familiar enough with the traction and stability control systems to have hacked a Model S and disabled them confirms that if Tesla provided a true off button for these systems, standing on the go pedal indiscriminately can indeed provoke a 100-plus-mph speed difference between the tires and the pavement within seconds, melting the treads quickly and rendering the vehicle utterly uncontrollable. It’s a modern engineering miracle that we are never able to detect any torque-reduction intervention from this system. Kind of like a car that can accelerate harder than it can brake.

This graph shows acceleration to and braking from 60 mph for three super-quick cars.

Note that the Tesla’s acceleration curve hits the top just slightly ahead of the others, while it’s braking is considerably worse than the others. But the Model S P100D is the only one where both lines terminate at almost the same time. The lighter Ferrari and Porsche; both of which enjoy a braking-optimized rear weight bias, stop notably shorter—95 feet for the 3,495-lb LaFerrari and 97 feet for the 3,557-lb 911 Turbo S, versus 109 feet for the 4,891-lb Model S. Indeed if tuners could somehow tweak those combustion-engine cars to accelerate as hard as they brake, they’d be hitting 60 mph in the 2.20-2.23-second range. If and when that happens, we’ll eagerly strap our gear on them to make the numbers official.

The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro Zl1 Is Capable Of 200+ Mph

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 managed to hit 202.3 mph in one direction on the 7.6-mile long high-speed oval at Germany’s Automotive Testing Papenburg proving ground. The official top speed, however, is 198 mph, the average achieved by running the car in both directions and compensating for wind speed. The ZL1 recorded a top result of 193.3 mph running in the other direction.

“It’s the most capable and fastest Camaro ever,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer, in a release.

The ZL1 test car was equipped with the available 10-speed automatic transmission and a set of production Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tires with pressure set at the recommended level for high-speed driving, 44 psi. Chevrolet claims that data logging equipment and mandatory safety gear were the coupe’s only differences from stock specifications.

Helping the Camaro ZL1 reach 200-plus mph are special aero features that consist of a stanchion rear spoiler that Chevrolet claims offers superior lift/drag ratio compared to the more traditional blade-style rear spoiler, and an auxiliary transmission oil cooler cover that creates no drag but reduces front-end lift. Chevrolet also adjusted the remaining aero features for high-speed stability.

According to Oppenheiser, “The ZL1 was developed with high-speed performance in mind, incorporating a balanced aerodynamic package that reduces lift without significantly affecting drag.”

The Camaro ZL1 is powered by a 650-hp, 650-lb-ft 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that can be paired to the standard six-speed manual or the new 10-speed automatic transmission. Magnetic Ride Control, an electronic limited-slip differential, and Brembo brakes with six-piston Monobloc front calipers only add to the muscle car’s performance credentials.

When Motor Trend tested this fast brute, the Camaro hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and completed the quarter mile in an impressive 11.5 seconds at 125 mph. The hefty 3,926-pound coupe was able to stop from 60 mph in 96 feet and completed the figure-eight handling course in 23.1 seconds, which puts the ZL1 in some lofty high-performance company.