On Motoring Monday this week Chrysler’s SRT unveiled their next-generation super-car, BMW their new X1 compact crossover, and Ford gives us the sound and power of the Shelby GT350 Mustang.
And, we test drive the Tesla Model S 85D which was about as quick as the Shelby but much quieter.
SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo
The latest new concept super-car to come at us through the virtual world is the new SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo, a car which could give us a taste of future reality.
Am I reaching? Not really. The SRT people say right up front their single-seat SRT Tomahawk is based on a forward vision of existing and future potential technologies.
Rear wheels are powered by a near-flat 144 degree 7.0 liter V10 for a low center of gravity and front wheels are driven by pneumatic power units.
These use compressed air stored in on-board tanks for periodic boosts of power. When braking or coasting, the pneumatic power unit compresses air into the tanks. When extra power is needed it releases it back through the power unit.
The concept is very similar to regenerative braking in electric drives. The compressed air can also move active aero panels and pressurize the driver’s G-suit to keep their blood circulating properly during high stress maneuvers.
Now if your BS meter just went off it’s because this is a game toy. Of all the virtual reality concepts we’ve seen from real-world automakers, I think the people at Chrysler clued in to the fact this is make believe, so why not go all the way.
To wit, the V-10 engine cranks out as much as 2,168 horsepower and when combined with burst-reserve power from its air tanks puts down as much as 2,590 horsepower combined. And since it’s virtual reality super-car it only weighs in at 1,658 pounds.
You could say it’s so light on count of its made of pixels, but a good story line goes a long way. It’s actually a composite structure made of hollow carbon nanofibers and graphene micro-lattice materials.
Take that Toyota and Infiniti! Starting this summer, Gran Turismo 6 players can download the new SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo in three variations S, GTS-R and the entirely bonkers X.
2016 BMW X1
When it comes to luxury compact crossovers, X marks the spot for BMW who just introduced America to their new 2016 X1.
The all-new 2016 BMW X1 compact crossover will be a sea change for the brand in the U.S. representing the first front-wheel drive based vehicle from the brand.
It joins a new class of like products such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Lexus NX, and soon the Infiniti QX30 – all of which share front-wheel drive architecture.
Sitting sideways under the hood of this BMW is an all-new 2.0 liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine offering up 228 horsepower, coming only with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The engine is torque rich with 258 pound-feet and BMW says it’s good for a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 6.3 seconds.
The standard all-wheel-drive system does send power to the front-wheels first as a rule, but hydraulic pumps and clutch systems can send up to 100-percent of the torque to the rear wheels when asked.
Like most systems of the contemporary age, the computer constantly monitors conditions, traction slippage and your selected drive mode to send power where it’s needed. And while there is no off-road oriented low range, there is a hill descent control function.
While it may depart widely from the BMW’s we’ve known for a half century under its skin, its styling breaks no rules. Looking very familiar, it has the latest attitude and expected styling DNA from BMW which defines its genes.
The interior is much akin to BMW’s we have come to know as well. Rich woods and leathers can be had in a multitude of shades and finishes. A driver-focused cockpit is highlighted by a real shift lever in lieu of the joysticks found in some BMW’s.
The all-new 2016 BMW X1 xDrive28i arrives in U.S. dealerships this fall with pricing to be announced closer to launch.
Soundtrack of the 2015 Shelby GT350 Mustang
In case you hadn’t heard the new 2015 Shelby GT350 Mustang’s flat-plane crankshaft V8, or that its got 526 horsepower well….chances are you already have.
But its hard not to just listen again, and again, and again. So I’m gonna just shut up and let the car do the talking.
The 2015 Shelby GT350 will become the 2016 Shelby GT350 after the first 137 of them are built very soon. Pricing is yet unannounced but believed to start at around $50,000.
If you’d rather more information you can click on the link down below in the information section for our feature video on the new Shelby GT350.
TestDrive: Tesla Model S 85D
In our test drives this week, we found out why every test drive review of the Tesla Model S is agush with how wonderful they are.
We indeed got a very brief drive in a 2015 Tesla Model S 85D, the 422 horsepower all-wheel drive version which Tesla says is good for 0-60 in about 4.4 seconds.
This car is remarkably different than most, and that starts when you climb behind the wheel. You find almost all buttons and switches, and I mean all, are mastered into a massive 17-inch touchscreen which manages to work remarkably well at presenting and serving so much of everything.
A good thing considering its price, the cabin is lined with high quality trimmings and a contemporary design theme that reminds of a Copenhagen furniture gallery on the high-end and on the mainstream side of things, a Volvo’s interior.
Out on our short drive, we found it of course whisper quiet and smooth in its power delivery. And when you throw down your right foot and summon both motors, you get an instantaneous burst of madness coupled with a pleasant whir.
But before you have much a chance to savor it, you’re breaking the law. You lift off, let the strong regenerative braking slow you back to legality, and then repeat.
Handling too was quite remarkably tight for a car weighing 4,700 lbs and perhaps a few extra with its dual-motor powertrain. Steering is adjustable for effort and seems quite happy regardless of how you dial it.
When it comes to range, the 85D has the longest of them all with some 270 miles of go there between charges according to the EPA. So while that may keep you in town most of the time, owning one gives you unlimited free access to their Supercharger network.
These ultra-fast chargers are now well spaced on our interstate system such you can take a road trip from coast to coast if you don’t mind stopping for about 30 minutes every 3-4 hours for a latte and some free Wifi. That is pretty damn neat.
I’m I sold? Hell yes. Isn’t everyone? I drank the Kool-aid, I got the tattoo and so should you. This thing is really that good.
Reality Check: Center For Pet Safety testing
In our Reality Check segment this week we look an area of crash testing you don’t always hear about on your evening news.
Subaru and the Center for Pet Safety have for some time now collaborated in the testing of pet restraints in crash situations to look at this important area of occupant safety.
And the latest study program designed by Center for Pet Safety seeks to explore various options for securing pet carriers and examine structural integrity to ultimately come up with performance standards.
The partnership continues the work that began in 2013 with the testing of pet harnesses. The resulting Harness Crashworthiness Study uncovered major differences in performance of various pet restraints on the market.
Rigorous crash testing will be performed on commonly available pet safety products using realistic, specially-designed crash test dogs. The results, including a crate sizing guide and best practice for securing pets in vehicles, will be shared later this summer.
Very similar to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Center for Pet Safety is not affiliated with pet product manufacturers. The organization uses scientific testing to measure whether pet safety products provide the protection claimed by manufacturers.
So there you have it, someone is looking out for man’s best friend.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Aston Martin racing team used the Hotel de France as its base for the 24-hours of LeMans. Fifty years later they returned with three of their 2015 V8 Vantage GTEs to recapture the days. How romantic.