Tag Archive | "Ferrari"

Ferrari Build For Exclusivity

Luca di Montezemolo, the chairman of the Ferrari organisation, has announced that the company is selling too many vehicles. He is clearly concerned that his beautiful sports cars are becoming far too ubiquitous on the roads of the world and he is determined to put a stop to it.

This, of course, appears to fly in the face of any sort of business sense. In a world economy where many manufacturers are struggling to shift their products we have a car company deciding to cut production. It seems that they want to preserve that air of exclusivity that surrounds the name of Italy’s greatest car maker.

Ferrari’s are becoming highly prized in the burgeoning Chinese car market where there is a ready demand for supercars. Couple this with the more usual demand from Europe and the USA and the result is that the company have felt a pressure to meet demand. As a result, they built well over seven thousand cars in 2012 and the number is rising. The Ferrari board have decided that this won’t do at all and are determined not to make any more than 7000 cars this year.

Anyone with petrol in their veins yearns at some point in their life to own a Ferrari. Most will never succeed but they can at least take the opportunity to drive one of these cars at motor racing circuits around the country where the cars are available for driving experiences. In fact, for most people this would probably be enough. Having enough money to buy a Ferrari is one thing; having sufficient ongoing funds to run and maintain it is quite another.

Ferrari believe that they sell a dream. They see their cars as almost unobtainable objects of desire that are available only to a favoured few. And they want to keep it that way. There will be no bargain basement car dealing at Modena. In the paraphrased words of Signor di Montezemolo they don’t believe that they are selling luxury; they are, like all great artists, selling beauty and taste and looking at the cars this is an attitude that is hard to argue against.

Talking of expensive cars, have you noticed that Lord Sugar no longer uses a Rolls Royce Phantom on his TV show? This series it has changed to a RR Ghost which is about £100k cheaper than the former car. A sign of the times.

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The Fall And Rise Of The Super Car

Over the past couple of years motoring writers have been hinting at the demise of the hypercar and indeed high powered sports cars generally. They have been saying that we must all look forward to a brave new world of economy, twin-air engines and the noiseless advance of alternative technologies. Endless streams of bureaucracy seem to support this.

Well, it turns out that car makers haven’t been listening and it appears that rumours of the death of the supercar have been greatly exaggerated. Following the Geneva Motor Show it is clear that many manufacturers see an on-going market for these great and powerful machines for those who can afford it.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black is a case in point. It has gull-wing doors, gulps fuel and causes cracks in the time-space continuum under acceleration and is, on the face of it, completely daft. So why do M-B insist on making it and why do we really, really want one – even if it means paying a quarter of a million pounds?

Porsche’s eminently useable 911 is fine but the company believes that what drivers truly want is a racing car for the road, which is why the 911 GT3 continues to be available in all its awesome awesomeness. In the same vein, Jaguar have been content – until now – to rest its sports car history on the E-Type from years ago so why, in these times of financial woe, would they even consider building and selling the new F-Type V8 S (pictured)? For around a reasonable £80k enthusiasts can buy this future classic which in its way is as good looking as the ancestor.

The Italians of course do not concern themselves with trivialities like global warming and the like; they much prefer to ogle the girls on the Via Veneto and drive cars from Lamborghini. There’s the new Veneno – a snip at £3.1 million – or for those less flush with Euros, the Aventador. It is also why Ferrari’s idea of a family hatchback is the FF and for a million quid will sell you LaFerrari, the replacement for the legendary Enzo.

The list goes on. Rolls Royce have raised the bar with the truly magnificent Wraith and Bentley are producing the GT Speed. If you don’t like two doors then the Bentley Flying Spur is the answer which has the same W12 engine and offers similar performance.

All this hot metal suggests that the furore surrounding climate issues and the need for eco-cars is settling down as manufacturers choose to give their customers cars that they want as well as cars that they should have. Great strides have been made in engine technology, so much so that the above mentioned SLS only produces 321g/km of the nasty stuff. Obviously that’s quite a lot but is way superior to what it would have been just a few short years ago.

If you still believe in alternative power sources but want an SLS they can do you a fully electric version for only one hundred thousand pounds more. It has a battery the size of a house coupled to four electric motors but thanks to something called the ‘SLS eSound’, makes noises like a proper car. The trouble is, most of us like meat with our potatoes. Which is why the true supercar will live on for a while yet.

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Why are Ferrari’s like buses? Because two come along at once. We’ve just seen the Italian company’s answer to the family four wheel drive, the FF (Motor Blogger 27/2), and now we have the long anticipated successor to the Enzo called, for some reason known only to them, LaFerrari.

Name aside, this car has simply got to be the most desirable offering from the Prancing Horse stable yet. Such is the fickle nature of motor bloggers, we have already allowed our eyes to be drawn from the beauty that is the Wraith to the alluring Mediterranean charms of this fiery Italian temptress.

Not noted for being the most reticent of individuals, the president of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, states “We chose to call this model LaFerrari because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving”. He is, of course, absolutely correct.

LaFerrari is a collectors release and will cost something in the region of one million pounds so don’t expect to see one on the roads any time soon. Nevertheless, it is a supreme example of automotive art. It is a chance for Ferrari to experiment with the latest technological offerings. Although we will never own one, we might find that some of the developments that feature on this vehicle will filter down to the cars that we do drive in the fullness of time.

As you might expect, LaFerrari is petrol-electric powered. The hybrid technology used is known as HY-KERS and combines maximum power with lower emissions; down to just 330g/km of CO² . Weight isn’t so much of an issue because the batteries for the twin electric motors only weigh 60 kilos. It doesn’t have electric only drive – that isn’t its purpose – this is a car designed to perform. With an output of an astounding 949bhp this red rocket will hurtle you past the 60mph mark in under three seconds and a scant twelve seconds later you’ll be doing 186 and won’t be able to hear the whimpering noises coming from your passenger.

This power comes from a V12 displacing just over six litres coupled with the electric motor, to generate 715lb/ft of torque. The combination of the two motor sources mean that all this power comes in an even spread throughout the range. The red line is at 9250rpm although the combination of petrol-electric means that high torque levels are available at low revs, which seems to suggest the car should be admirably useable in the course of ordinary motoring. Not that there is anything ordinary about this car.

It goes without saying that the interior is exactly as you would expect from the masters of sports car technology. Ferrari have done it again.

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Thirteen For 13

Are you superstitious? Would you be entirely happy with the number 13 on your car? Well, unless you can find a way around it – as suggested by Motor Blogger last year – you are just going to have to lump it. Our unwavering government have no intention of ditching this year’s series just to please the likes of you.

Never mind. At least there is going to be a fantastic selection of new cars that you could attach to the back of your new number plate. Honda, for example, are planning a new SUV in line with current trends that will be pitched into the gap between the Civic and the CRV. An interesting point is that it may feature Honda’s next-generation hybrid technology.

If you’re feeling flush with cash you could push the boat out and treat yourself to Jaguar’s forthcoming F Type. This may well be the most anticipated car of the year; full of lovely supercharged goodness. Too tame for your wallet? Fair enough. How about the long-awaited replacement for the Enzo, the F70. Or will it be the F150? We’ll see what Ferrari decide although Ford America won’t be too happy as that’s the designation for their new pick-up!

Back in the real world Fiat are offering the 500L. We’ve mentioned this before. Basically it’s a 500 on steroids. Presumably this is designed to rival the giant Mini and word has it that this could be one of the year’s best sellers. As indeed could the 500 Coupé , a cheeky 2+2 version of the perennial favourite. Meanwhile over the border in France, Citroen’s successful DS3 is taking it’s top off, or at least rolling it up – a feature that really suits this star car.

For hot hatch fans Ford will be selling the long awaited Fiesta ST, sporting at least 180bhp. If a suitable family car is more to your requirements then there’s a new package with the latest Kia Carens SUV (pictured) – the words on the grapevine are ‘surprise’ and ‘delight’. Not content to settle for one new car, the same company will present their first hot hatch in the UK. The Cee’d GT. Boasting a muscular 200bhp it looks like a rival for the ST.

Winner of this year’s daft name award is the mighty Maserati Kubang. Effectively a Ferrari powered Jeep in an Italian designer frock it’s a new departure for a company that is slowly resurrecting its image. The trouble is – is it a car too far for a company noted for beautiful design? The official Kubang website is showing a wonderful old and evocative short film called ‘A story that will overcome time’. Worth a look.

Mazda’s 6 is a good and popular choice, especially if you are not badge conscious but now they’ve produced a coupé version that’s a real looker. Let’s hope it gives a boost to this underrated manufacturer. If you do like a badge then Mercedes are refreshing the E-Class. Not earth-shattering in itself but the company are saying it will be packed with cutting edge technology under the banner ‘intelligent drive’.

In fact, there will be something like sixty new or updated cars being sold or announced in the coming year, but in this brief article there is only one car that can finish of the list. Will we finally be able to get our hands on the Alfa Romeo 4C? Live in hope.

So there you have it – thirteen cars for 2013. So don’t worry your heads about the reputation of the number 13. You know what they say – lucky for some!

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How Sportscar And Endurance Racing Could Take F1’s Crown

Sportscar and endurance racing has always been a brilliant breeding ground for road car technology. The cauldron of battle that is round the clock racing breeds performance with the necessity of reliability.

Disc brakes, double-clutch gearboxes, variable turbine turbo geometry, carbon-fibre brake discs and direct injection petrol engines are but a few inventions pioneered through endurance racing.

As manufacturers look to tighten their belts and the outlay for a full calendar of racing in the F1 circus carries on rising unabated, sportscar racing for many looks appealing.

With a direct link from racecar to road car there’s real benefit for the manufacturer, too. And then there’s the fans, the all important fans.

Without fans there’d be no motorsport, so with ticket prices for a Grand Prix almost prohibitively expensive and a full week’s ticket for five days worth of action, including a full 24 hours at the twice-round-the-clock French classic in Le Mans, sportscars really could steal F1’s crown.

It could rival it for on track action too. With BMW, Lamborghini, Corvette, Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Audi, Peugeot, Ford and other bespoke racecar manufacturers like Oreca and Zytek confirmed for the new 2012 World Endurance Championship – set up after the settling of a feud between the ACO (the organisers of the Le Mans 24 hours) and the FIA – sonorous sounding automotive exotica lapping within tenths of a second of each other would surely draw crowds. And at a fraction of the cost.

It’s close racing that makes good viewing, not one team with the most money – thanks to backing by a certain Austrian energy drink – waltzing of into the distance unchallenged. With sportscar racing you get that.

After 24 hours of racing at the 2011 24 hours of Le Mans, less than 13 seconds separated the eventual winner and the second place car – now that’s close racing.

Formula 1 is definitely the pinnacle of on-track motorsport – no question. But big-cube V8 Corvettes rumbling by, shaking your chest cavity making it difficult to breathe, and wailing Aston Martin V12s screaming past blurring your vision they’re engine notes are that piercing, proves there is more than one way to skin the proverbial.

The new World Endurance Championship will hopefully bring with it more fans, meaning more money, meaning more manufacturers, creating a self-perpetuating cycle.


With all that high-powered metal on show, we can’t wait to see how the inaugural season pans out.

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