All of the (mostly) fantastic cars developed by Lotus have names that inspire visions of excitement, speed and just a touch of terror, like Esprit, Elise and Exige (we’re not too sure about Evora, which could also be a brand of hand-cream for sensitive skin).
The latest model, however, is named the Lotus 3-Eleven. The successor to 2007’s equally oddly-named 2-Eleven track car, what it lacks for in name it more than makes up for in its stats. It’s the quickest production road car in Lotus’ history, for one thing. While the previous version was powered by a supercharged 1.8L engine, the latest edition boasts a supercharged 3.5l V6 block developing 450hp. 0-100km/h is achieved in a mere 3.0 seconds. We don’t have to tell you that’s seriously fast, with a power to weight ration of more than 500hp per tonne.
It’s quite the attractive looking car too, even if it seems like Lotus merely lopped the roof off an Exige and added a massive spoiler. There’s no doubt it looks like a thoroughbred track car, with larger air intakes on the bumper giving it a more aggressive stance, as does the new rear diffuser on the back, and the sharp side scallops. The rear in particular is a beautiful piece of work, with echoes of the Ferrari 458 Spider in the taillights.
Meet the brand-spanking-new VW GTI Supersport Vision concept. Beneath that curved and flowing bonnet is a 3.0L 503hp VR6 turbocharged engine linked to a seven-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox that delivers power to all four wheels. Coupled with 665Nm of torque, the Supersport catapults from 0-100km/h in just 3.6 seconds, on a par with the Enzo Ferrari, with a top speed of over 300kph.
Meanwhile, a power-to-weight ration of just 2.5kg per horsepower means a likely kerb weight of around 1,257kg, while a rear spoiler and diffuser means the Supersport will hug the tarmac tightly.
The world’s fastest hearse is being upgraded for 2015. A turbocharged 6.0L V8 Chevy Caprice named ‘Madness’, which still has its original stereo and coffin-carrying capabilities, it’s capable of 0-100km/h in just 2.26 seconds, with a top speed of 220kph.
Holding the world record for the quarter mile for a hearse since 2013 (9.94 seconds), this year sees the madness (pun intended) become even greater, with a new forged engine and a bigger turbo, resulting in a somewhat staggering 1,300hp. That’s on par with the one of the fastest road legal production cars, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Supersport, which boasts 1,200bhp and goes from 0-100kph in 2.5 seconds.
These days a lot of the focus is on sustainable driving, high mpg figures, electric power and sustainability. Fear not, however, the strain of madness certainly hasn’t gone away by any means. Meet the armoured Mercedes G63 AMG bulletproof limousine, what can only be described as a beast powered by a 5.5L twin turbo V8 which produces a tasty 537bhp, although it looks like it needs every last drop.
Made by Inkas, a Canadian armoured car company, the modified G-Wagen comes with a pistol-holder, massive chairs, satellite TV, and a fridge – basically a relatively well-furnished bungalow.
It’s also got a colour-coded LED system that displays “different animations ranging from business mode to various romantic themes,” because, as we all know, nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a spin in an armoured limo.
As for the price, we presume it operates on the basis that if you need to ask, you can’t afford it. It’s stupid, there’s no doubt about it, but stupid in the best possible way.
In a YouTube teaser trailer, Ford Europe have informed the world that the RS Mk 3 will hit the roads on February 3 2015. It’s been a little while coming – the ordinary Mk 3 was launched in 2011, and we’ve been (somewhat) patiently waiting for the sportier version ever since.
The older RS Mk 1 was one of the truly fun hot hatches, over-engineered to such a degree that Ford lost £4,000 on sales of each mode, held its own against the rivals, was fairly cheap to buy and depreciates a lot slower. Powered by a turbocharged version of the 2.0L Zeta engine (which wasn’t too far off the WRC version), it had 212 horsepowers underneath the bright bonnet, with 70% of the original Focus parts upgraded or replaced, with production limited to 4,500. We still keep an eye out for a 2002-04 model in that fantastic shade of blue.
The Mk 2 was a step up, with the addition of an extra 88hp for even more oomph, and was described by Ford UK at the time as being “as close as you’ll come to driving a full-spec rally car.”
It’s expected the Mk 3 will be FWD, just like the other two, with another increase in power, likely around 330hp but perhaps higher. “To earn the RS badge, the vehicle has to be a no-compromise driver’s car that can deliver exceptional performance on the track when required while providing excellent every day driving,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development.
Ford hasn’t released any other details about this latest version, but as the teaser trailer hints, we can expect a car in the same spirit as its two predecessors – flash, loud, fast and required by law to travel sideways around bends.
There are two types of car people, we think. Those who look at a beautiful, powerful machine and think, ‘I’d like that.’ And those who look at the same car and think ‘I can make this even better.’
Tuning company Mansory definitely belong to the latter group. We’ve got something of a soft spot for them – they’re a bit like Brabus, specialising in taking nice, high-powered cars and applying their madness until a monster emerges. They’re not really known for holding back.
Their take on the Mercedes S63 AMG is no different. On the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is only a sportier version of the original model. The exterior hasn’t been changed too much – Mansory have only added roof and rear lips, adapted daytime running lights and a new bonnet cover, widened front wings and new side skirts.
Allow us to introduce you to the aptly named Bentley Mulsanne ‘Speed’. Aptly named because this is Bentley’s fastest ever Mulsanne, which undoubtedly gives driver and passenger the same feeling as you’d experience while hurtling through hyperspace in a plushly decorated Millennium Falcon. Under the bonnet is a tuned 6.75L V8 producing 520 bhp and 1,100Nm, a powertrain which will deliver you from a standstill to 100km/h in a mere 4.9 seconds. In a room on wheels.
We won’t pretend to understand the Bentley engineers’ tinkering, but they’ve re-calibrated the engine management system and the gearbox, meaning torque is available the moment you push down on the throttle. There’s also a new ‘S’ mode, which keeps the engine revving above 2,000rpm, meaning the turbochargers are always ready to do their thing.
And it’s a Bentley, so expect an interior furnished to a degree greater than most people’s homes (think quilted panels and seats), four new paint colours, a 60GB hard drive for music and films, electronic tables, a frosted bottle cooler (including bespoke champagne glasses), and a 14-speaker 2,200W audio system. And that’s just a few items on the list.
It’s a beautiful car, matched by even more beautiful power stats. It does seem a little wasted, however. If stereotypes are anything to go by, then many of the Mulsanne’s buyers will be in the back seat, drinking chilled champagne and relaxing to the dulcet notes of Bach or Beethoven. At least the chauffeur will be happy.