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Weekend Roundup: 7/07/17-7/09/17

HeaderMcLaren May Build AWD Cars in the FutureMcLarenMcLaren has staunchly remained a bastion for the rear-drive purist, sending large amounts of power to the rear-wheels of all its cars. Whereas many of its high-power car competitors are going AWD—Lamborghini, Nissan’s GT-R, and the 911 Turbo to name a few—McLaren keeps sending more and more power to the rear-axle. While the P1 supercar sends 903bhp to the rear-wheels while maintaining rock-solid traction, the aerodynamic technology required carries a million-dollar price tag with it. While upsetting to many purists, McLaren has acknowledged that future cars may have to transition to an AWD platform to maintain competitive levels of traction and acceleration. Speaking at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, CEO Mike Flewitt said, “We’re not there yet, but I’d say we’re getting close to the limit [of traction]. We’re not planning [all wheel drive] right now, but we’re conscious it’s a direction that we may well want to go in.”

An AWD McLaren won’t be conventionally driven along its front-axle, with a drive shaft splitting the car down the middle. Mr. Flewitt continues, “Our hybrid architecture will be flexible,” he said, “and from an engineering point of view there’s no point bringing a shaft down the center of the car.” Continuing along an imaginative train of thought, he also mused about introducing a racing style engine mounting system, ditching the rear sub-frame and directly bolting the unit to the frame. Considering the clattery reputation the Ferrari F50 has, which features a similar mounting system, his fears in regard to ride comfort and NVH are well founded.

Ferrari Planning SUV: Suicide Watch for Sergio?FerrariEarlier this year, Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne drew some attention for saying quite unequivocally, “[you’d] have to shoot me first” before Ferrari built an SUV. Well, Mrs. Marchionne may want to keep a close eye on Sergio, as reports from the U.K.’s Car magazine and their well-respected reporter Georg Kacher state that an SUV with a prancing horse on the prow is planned for a 2021 launch. Codenamed F16X, the new SUV is supposedly planned to be built on the new GTC4Lusso shooting brake platform. Featuring the AWD system off of the existing car, the F16X will be raised, and the rear doors will be suicide doors, allowing easier access to the rear.

Not much else is known about the supposed car, however an unnamed Ferrari employee claims it isn’t an SUV as such. It makes sense for Ferrari to want to enter the extremely-lucrative SUV market, and using their existing—and unique—AWD system off of the GTC4Lusso, as well as the aluminum structure, only further balances the equation in favor of Ferrari producing such a vehicle. Rather than featuring the V12 from the GTC4Lusso, the F16X is supposedly powered by a V8, likely the 3.9L out of the 488 and California T, with a hybrid system also being considered. Look for more news as 2021 looms closer, with the expectation that the name will change to something much more Italian and sexy.

2018 Mustang Brings Back Pony PackMustangFord is changing the style of its 2018 Mustang, altering the front and rear fascia’s, to mixed reviews from the public. Potentially placating some of the discontent, Ford has announced a Pony Pack, which is a style-driven upgrade package inspired by the cars of yesteryear. Only available on the 2.3L EcoBoost engine, the pack is open to coupes and convertibles alike. Consisting of a chrome grille strip surrounding the iconic galloping-Mustang—also in chrome—a set of lower ‘Mustang’ decals along the lower flanks of the car, and a classic red, white, and blue tri-color emblem on the rear, the Pony Pack is very much an appearance package. Also included in the package are a set of 19in polished aluminum wheels, a set of custom all-weather floor mats, and—for coupe customers only—more chrome trim surrounding the windows. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but don’t expect it to raise prices much beyond the $27,095 base price when the package goes on sale this October.

First Tesla Model 3 Produced

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While Elon Musk claimed that everything was on track for Model 3 production to begin on Friday, July 7th, chassis #001 was actually produced on Saturday, the day following. Considering every previous Tesla model was delayed by months or more, I think we can give the company a single day. Mr. Musk revealed the car in a picture on Sunday, which wasn’t hard as he could simply walk out to his own garage. While Tesla board member Ian Ehrepreis put down the first deposit, he gave his #1 allocation to his boss-buddy as a 46th birthday present. While no more news has been released beyond who received the car, and when production started, the release party is scheduled for July 28th, and we can hopefully expect more news then. It should be noted that the Model 3 Mr. Musk received looks like the concept cars, with a Tesla badge on the front.

Chinese Giant Looks to the Clouds: Geely Buys Flying Car CompanyFlying carGeely, the Chinese car manufactuer who also own Lotus and Volvo, announced the acquisition of technology start-up Terrafugia. Terrafugia was started with the aim of making a street-legal airplane, rather than a flying car. What this differentiation means is that rather than being a tool of mass-convenience, the company’s prototype came with fairly serious requirements. The prototype, dubbed Transition, requires a runway, as well as a full pilots license. A full-size working prototype has been constructed, with the hinge design of the wing winning the company a DARPA contract. It is unknown if Geely acquired the company for its technology or its product, however I personally believe any form of flying car is a pipe dream for the near future.

Stephen Hyden View All

I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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