Archive for March, 2010

24
Mar
10

Aston Martin Rapide: at a glance


It’s been known for some time that a few of the more luxurious sports car brands have been mulling around the idea of adding a 4-door sedan to their coupe-heavy lineup, with various degrees of progress. Only whispers of Ferrari’s interest have wafted from Modena, and Lamborghini had constructed the Estoque concept. Porsche was the only company to follow through to actual production, but the Panamera has an official contender with the official announcement of the Aston Martin Rapide.   One of the most eagerly awaited cars of the year at the 63rd Frankfurt Motor Show last September, The Rapide, is touted to be a  functional yet luxurious 4- door sports car that will seat four full bodied adults and still provide the engaging driving experience synonymous with all Aston Martins.

As the marque’s first production four-door sports car, Rapide encapsulates core values of Power, Beauty and Soul; four ‘swan wing’ doors provide access to cosseting sports seats both front and rear bestowing occupants with ample accommodation. A 317 litre (11 cubic ft.) luggage compartment affords generous space for the active lifestyle equipment of four people, creating an Aston Martin which can be enjoyed on any occasion, anytime, anywhere.

Rapide’s rear environment has been desinged to be a place where passengers feel a part of the driving experience, with clear views to the front and sides. Comfort and support is supplied in the form of two hand trimmed individual seats and a personal face-level heating and air conditioning system. Aiding the practicalities of everyday use, the luggage compartment features a movable bulkhead to permit access from the rear cabin while the rear seats fold flat at the touch of a button to create a flat loading space increasing the luggage compartment from 317 litres to 886 litres (31 cubic ft).

The bellowing heart of this Aston Martin is an evocative, hand-built 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 470 bhp (477 PS / 350 kW) with peak power being delivered at 6000 rpm and 600 Nm (443 lbft) peak torque at 5000 rpm. A specifically tuned six-speed Touchtronic 2 automatic transmission features as standard, allowing the driver to change gear automatically or manually via the steering column-mounted magnesium paddles.

First shown in 2006 in concept form at the Detroit Auto Show, the Rapide project received an immediate green light from Aston Martin’s new shareholders in mid-2007 following the sale of the marque by the Ford Motor Company. In a little over two years, Aston Martin’s design and engineering team have delivered a new car from the ground up. Rapide has been developed from the ‘V/H Architecture’ platform which already forms the backbone to Aston Martin’s critically acclaimed line-up: the DBS, DB9 and Vantage.

Chief Executive, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “Rapide is the culmination of the Aston Martin range of sports cars, a car that seals the revival of a truly admired marque. There is now an Aston Martin for every taste and for every use.

“With Rapide, the entire family can enjoy their Aston Martin together in unison, in an invigorating yet comfortable environment, sitting low, with plenty of visibility from every seat and with new levels of comfort, refinement and entertainment.”

Director of Design, Marek Reichman who led the in-house design team which penned the Rapide said: “Like a race horse standing still, you can see its power and elegance, the shape of Rapide’s rear haunches are muscular conveying the power that lies beneath while its low stance produces a powerful look.

“There is a real sense of proportion with this car, akin to a tailored suit; the new double grill gives more presence on the road while the iconic signature side strake has been lengthened through to the rear doors to enhance its lateral proportions in a subtle, yet elegant way. The car’s purity makes it look right from every angle.”

Customer deliveries will commence at the beginning of the second quarter of 2010.

-Alex K-

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24
Mar
10

The cooler king

It’s Steve McQueen’s birthday today, so here’s the beginning of the race in the 1971 classic Le Mans, a film that proved you could satisfactorily replace dialogue with the droning of race car engines.

It’s also R. Lee Ermey’s birthday, but that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with cars….

…ahh, what the hell, here’s him shouting. Happy B-day, gunny.

16
Mar
10

I like getting mail.

see you there 🙂

-A-

15
Mar
10

We were just there…

a poignant view of what we just left behind (Photo: Soraya Navia)

13
Mar
10

Lotus Returns to IndyCar Series

Prepare to see more green and yellow this year. Lotus and Cosworth have partnered with IndyCar copetitors KV Racing Technology to run in the 2010 IndyCar series.

Lotus competed for a number of years in the IndyCar Series in the 1960s, winning the Indianapolis 500 race outright in 1965 with the pioneering Lotus Type 38, driven by Jim Clark, and narrowly missing victory to come second in 1963.

Jim Clark in his type 38 with the Lotus Indy 500 team, 1965 (photo:IMS PHOTO)

Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus plc said, “Racing has always defined Lotus and on many occasions in motorsports history Lotus’ numerous innovations have re-defined racing. It’s only fitting that as the Lotus Racing name re-enters Formula 1, we will also race and innovate again in IndyCar. The Lotus name will, once again compete in the top two open-wheel racing series for the passion and enthusiasm of car fans around the globe.”

The return to the IndyCar Series follows on from the recent announcement by Lotus and Cosworth are to become closely associated through a strategic partnership looking at the opportunity to develop high performance engines for Lotus cars.

Driving the Lotus-Cosworth IndyCar will be the former F1 driver Takuma Sato.

The 2010 IndyCar Series starts with the Sao Paolo Indy 300, Brazil on the 14th of March 2010.

08
Mar
10

Test Drive Unlimited 2 parks in the dream garage this fall

When Test Drive Unlimited dropped in ’07, we ate it up because a ton of the fun was not racing, which is admittedly odd for  a game that focused on being an M.O.O.R: Massively Open Online Racing game. Between the high-speed challenges littered across miles of highways and back roads, players of TDU were free to ogle their garages outfitted with cars bought with race winnings. And if they wanted something out of their immediate price range? A player could pop in to any car dealership on the island and take any car or motorbike out for a spin. Between all this and shopping for outfits for your character, TDU allowed us regular folks a taste of what it’d be like to be a care-free car collector on a tropical island.

We can expect to indulge in  new  petrolhead car-porn fantasy sim this fall, as Atari has announced the pending arrival of Test Drive Unlimited 2. The newest installment will let you compete and partner up with other drivers that will populate “a brand new island.” TDU2 will feature vehicle damage, day and night cycles, and weather effects. The single player narrative has been revamped, but will still retain the whole luxury “lifestyle customization” elements, meaning you’ll still spend time shopping for luxury beach houses, buying clothes to match your super car, or customizing the car to match instead.

New race types, a slew of new vehicles, and the promise of a new island to explore should keep us busy as we re-hibernate at the end of 2010.  We’ll keep you appraised of updates until then, and check out www.testdriveunlimited2.com for more info.

02
Mar
10

mutual interests

Since we’re on this Lotus kick, I invite you guys to check out Lotus of Long Island, a new friend of ours with loads of Lotus info and photos.

-Alex K-