The British manufacturer Lotus Cars has a unique concept for sports car: “performance through light weight.” Introduced in 2000, the Lotus Elise Series 2 definitely took the Lotus family to a whole new level.
Design: The Lotus Elise packs an aggressive design, despite it’s small frame. The car is 3,8 meters long and it weights less than a ton (from 860 to 910 kilograms). It also comes with a fiberglass body shell.
Performance: Considering that the car features a modest 1.8-litre, 4-cylinders engine, one would not expect much, right? Wrong! This baby can go from 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) in 4,7 seconds, and it has a top of speed of 150 mph (240 km/h). Given its light weight, you should also have a good time braking and cornering it.
Chick Factor: Low. Some chicks like roadsters, other do not. If you want a car to impress the ladies, though, the Lotus Elise is probably not the best choice. It is, hmm… just small.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Prodrive has launched a range of parts for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, which improves the car’s performance and enhances its driving dynamics. The range includes: a performance pack for the engine; new driver-adjustable suspension; unique forged wheels; and a discreet aero package.
Prodrive has tuned the 4.3 litre V8 engine to raise peak power from 283 kW (380 bhp) to 317 kW (425 bhp), as well as increasing peak torque from 410 Nm (302 lbft) to 440 Nm (325 lbft). This reduces the car’s 0-100 km/h time from 5.0 secs to 4.7 secs (est) and increases the top speed by 13 km/h to 293 km/h (est). A new throttle map, combined with the increase in torque, also make the engine more responsive throughout the rev range.
Prodrive has worked with suspension specialists, Bilstein and Eibach, to develop new driver-adjustable suspension. A switch in the cockpit allows the driver to choose between normal and sports mode. The normal mode has been designed to enhance the V8 Vantage’s existing ride and handling characteristics, while the firmer sports mode delivers an even more focussed driving experience on the road or for track use.
The engine performance pack has a modified exhaust system with a low back pressure sports catalyst and a driver-controlled switch to manually override the V8 Vantage’s exhaust valve. This gives the option of a quiet mode, where the valve is permanently closed; auto, where the valve operates as it does on the standard car; and sport mode, where the valve is permanently open (where conditions allow).
The V8 Vantage’s aerodynamics have been analysed in the windtunnel to develop an aero package to reduce high speed lift. The result is discreet Prodrive designed and manufactured carbon composite front lip and trunk spoilers, which are in keeping with the Vantage’s classic styling. Together, these reduce lift by 45 per cent, improving both high speed stability and grip.
Prodrive runs the Aston Martin Racing team in partnership with Aston Martin. It has used its experience of designing and developing DB9 and V8 Vantage-based race and rally cars to help create this range of performance enhancements for the road car. It has also carried through the unique design of the wheels used on the Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 racing car to special 14 spoke 19” forged wheels made by Prodrive Japan for the V8 Vantage. These come complete with Pirelli P-Zero tyres, which have been selected to match the new suspension and optimise the ride and handling.
“The V8 Vantage is already one of the world’s best sports cars,” said Roland Cherry, Prodrive performance products director. “Our aim was to develop a range of parts which enhanced the car’s performance but, most importantly, did not compromise the inherent Aston Martin driving characteristics or styling. I think we have achieved this with a range of parts owners can specify as a package or individually.”
The first supercar coming from Zenvo Automotive is called Zenvo ST1. S stands for Supercharger, T for Turbo and 1 for model number one. For the engineers and designers within Zenvo Automotive, a clear list of criteria was made to ensure the car would not only be a track worthy supercar but a car that would be suitable for everyday use. The ST1 even though so powerful, is very drivable. It retains the unique feeling of driving a hand built supercar while still delivering the needs of modern motoring and safety. The car is 100% built in Denmark. From its impressive list of mechanical specifications to its striking pose the Zenvo ST1 is the result of clever Danish design. All these features are blended together to form a vehicle that demands attention but remains purposeful and practical. The frame is steel space frame and the body is in carbon.