Top 100: The most desirable cars of all time

Automotive

US$660,000 Tramontana supercar set to begin production

February 28, 2007 The law of averages suggests the gestation period for a new elite sportscar marque ranges from two to three years between first sighting and available product, and the Tramontana looks set to fall well within this time-frame despite liberal lashings of leading edge technologies. First seen two years ago at the Geneva Motor Show, the final production version will be seen at this year’s show and six are planned for production before the end of the year. a.d.Tramontana is located on the Costa Brava of North-eastern Spain and is one of the new generation of entrepreneurial automotive engineering companies seeking to apply creativity and new technologies to all aspects of automotive design and manufacturing - the company even has a modern distribution model for its bespoke services. Its avowed intention is to create a brand that is synonymous with extreme quality – the equivalent of a Koennigsegg, Pagani and Spyker in performance terms and the modern day flagbearer of Spanish automotive excellence in the same vein as Hispano Suiza or the Pegaso Z-102. The company’s first product is very exciting – the Tramontana G-07 – make a note of that name because we suspect it’ll fit right in amongst the aforementioned elite. It is a combination of advanced materials (Carbon, titanium, specially treated wood, exotic leathers and gold) and the kind of exquisite craftsmanship and fine detail that is incredibly rare these days. It doesn’t really have a fixed price because every car is custom made – a one off vehicle for which you are not only measured as if for a Saville Row suit, but the company’s aim is to craft a vehicle that perfectly fits its owner’s every ergonomic requirement. Each year from 2008, just a dozen cars will be made, and we’re tipping that very few customers will be opting for the base level vehicle which retails for US$660,000.  Read More

New 370 km/h ultra-high performance Pirelli PZero

February 28, 2007 Founded in 1872, Pirelli is known variously around the world for its Pirelli International Award (involving the communication of Science & Technology), its sponsorship of Italian Soccer Club Internazionale and the Brazilian soccer club Palmeiras, the Pirelli Tower in Milan, its highly-sought-after calendars and more recently its short films starring Uma Thurman, but mainly because of its tyres. To celebrate 100 years of motorsport, the Italian icon has launched its most technologically advanced ultra-high performance tyre ever - the P Zero. The tyre features a new tread pattern, innovative compounds and structure, and is protected by five patents. It is already being fitted to the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, the Lamborghini Murciélago and Gallardo, the Audi R8 and S8, the Aston Martin DB9, the Maserati Quattroporte, the Jaguar XK, the Mercedes AMG, and will shortly appear on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and the hottest Porsche and BMW models.  Read More

Mercedes-Benz builds new armoured Pullman State Limousine

February 27, 2007 Mercedes-Benz is developing a new, armoured luxury limousine designed to carry business tycoons, government ministers, monarchs and heads of state. The new Mercedes-Benz S 600 Guard Pullman Limousine will be based on the extended wheelbase S 600 to provide a level of roominess worthy of its high-ranking occupants. Originally, the term “Pullman” derived from the luxuriously appointed rail cars produced by the American Pullman Palace Car Company before it was borrowed to describe Mercedes-Benz cars with an extra-long wheelbase and an extremely large passenger compartment in the rear. The first Mercedes-Benz to be factory-fitted with armoured protection was the 1928 W 08/460 Nurburg model which was modified to create the first Popemobile for Pope Pius XI in 1930. Similarly, heads of state such as Emperor Wilhelm II and Emperor Hirohito became customers during the thirties with the creation of the 770K, beginning a long lineage of Pullmans which were used to safely transport heads of State. Power is provided by a 5513cc twelve-cylinder biturbo engine with an output of 380kW/517 hp and an impressive peak torque of 830 Nm. The first editions of the new Mercedes-Benz State Limousine are due to be delivered in late 2008 with a full range of options including a fully equipped mobile office, all the communications and entertainment equipment required plus secure, comfortable, individually-styled surroundings for discreet meetings.  Read More

800 MotoGP bikes already faster than last year’s 1000s

February 26, 2007 It’s ironic indeed that the premier motorcycle roadracing class MotoGP decided to cut its engine capacities to 800cc from 1000cc for safety reasons. The need to develop new machinery for the 2007 season has seen manufacturers dig deep into their technological bag of tricks, and culminated yesterday when the first shots were fired under the new 800cc engine format. Each year the riders finish testing and are given one 40 minute session to post the fastest time, with the fastest walking away with the BMW M award, in this case in the form of vehicle. This year testing finale was held yesterday at the Spanish circuit of Jerez. In the closing stages of the session Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi lapped in 1’38.394, almost seven-tenths of a second faster than Capirossi’s 2006 pole time on the Ducati 1000cc Desmosedici with both Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Rossi’s Yamaha teammate Colin Edwards bettering Caprirossi’s time too. Lap records can only be set in a race, not in practice, but the lap record on a 1000cc MotoGP bike was set in 2005 when Rossi lapped in 1’40.596 – yesterday, 15 riders on six different makes of 800cc machines lapped faster than the 1000cc lap record.  Read More

The 1220 kg 800 bhp 2007 Gumpert Apollo

February 26, 2007 German manufacturer Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur is one of several new supercar makers to emerge in recent times. The first road car was shown at Geneva last year and a significantly revised version of the barely disguised racecar will emerge at this year’s Geneva show in early March. The EUR 295,500 (US$390,000) Gumpert apollo has an eight cylinder Biturbo Mittelmotor of Audi heritage that catapults the 1220 kg racecar from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3.00 seconds and with 800 bhp available, it accelerates very quickly to its 360 km/h top speed. The acceleration afforded by such a light vehicle and such a powerful motor is at the outer limits of current four-wheeled performance. Its power-to-weight ratio of 0.66 bhp/kilogram is bested by only a handful of cars – such as the Koenigsegg CCX (0.68) and the current world record holder for 0-100-0 mph, the Ultima GTR. That puts it ahead of the Pagani Zonda F, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo, Saleen S7 and Porsche Carrera GT and for some perspective, the apollo is almost twice as good (each horsepower has half as much weight to move) as the the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Ford GT and Lamborghini Murcielago.  Read More

Audi A5/S5 revealed

February 25, 2007 Audi is launching a fascinating new model series for its entry into a highly emotionally charged segment of the market. The A5 successfully unites the acclaimed Audi design language and thrilling dynamic driving performance, and combines generous refinement with the brand’s characteristic quality and sophistication. Its progressive design gives the new coupé an appearance that is both elegant and dynamic. With its muscular FSI and TDI engines, its entirely newly developed high-precision running gear, and a raft of innovative, luxury-class equipment features, the Audi A5 has been crafted to be a modern grand tourer, a touring coupé in the best tradition. The Audi S5 is an extra sporty offering to complete the new series. A powerful V8 FSI engine gives the S5 a dynamic edge, which underscores its athletically accentuated design. The A5 and S5 are available to order from March 2007 with the first vehicles due for delivery from June.  Read More

Kia ex_cee’d Cabrio Concept

February 23, 2007 Kia will debut an all-new ex_cee’d cabrio concept car at the 77th Salon de l’Automobiles in Geneva in March. Based on the new three-door cee’d hatchback, due to go into production at the Zilina factory in Slovakia from December, the ex_cee’d shares the same platform, but features all-new exterior panels and a powered folding fabric roof. By adopting a fabric roof, the ex_cee’d deliberately goes its own retro way rather than following the trend towards cabrios with folding metal roofs. Kia’s new Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer paid special attention to designing a classic cabrio with a traditional soft-top roof: “I’m convinced that the fabric roof will have a renaissance. We’ve all lived with the romantic idea of open-air driving for a long time and for me, the fabric roof is the quintessential element of a truly rewarding cabrio.”  Read More

The 345 km/h Porsche 911 Turbo TechArt GTstreet

February 23, 2007 German company TechArt Automobildesign has created one of the fastest and most powerful street-legal sports cars available which will see its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2007. The new TechArt Gtstreet is based on the 997 series Porsche 911 Turbo and has an extraordinarily powerful engine, having tweaked the 3.6-liter twin-turbo boxer engine to develop 630 hp / 463 kW at 6,800 rpm, up from standard 480 hp / 353 kW. Peak torque has been increased from 620 Nm to 820 Nm at 4,500 rpm, giving it a 0–100 km/h time of 3.2 seconds, 0–200 km/h of 10.9 seconds and a top speed of 345 km/h. The body kit for the TechArt GTstreet was created in the wind tunnel, and offers an optimal symbiosis of aerodynamic downforce, minimized drag and striking design.  Read More

Maserati GranTurismo breaks cover

February 23, 2007 The new Pininfarina-styled Maserati GranTurismo will make its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motorshow, continuing a tradition begun sixty years ago when the Trident Company unveiled its first Gran Turismo, also designed by the great Pinin Farina, at the 1947 Geneva Motorshow. The A6 was the first Maserati road car and only 58 vehicles were produced, but it helped establish one of the great automotive marques. The new Maserati GranTurismo is a high-performance sports car with a 405 bhp 4.2 liter V8 engine, and a weight distribution of 49% at the front and 51% at the rear. Though it has an automatic gearbox, it is equipped with an adaptive control system which adjusts the gear-shifting mode to the driving style and the driving conditions. The Maserati GranTurismo is built with particular attention to comfort, choice of materials and details and with enough room for four people.  Read More

Bulging bumper could speed journey to computerised carriageways

February 22, 2007 Investigations by engineers at The University of Manchester into an extendable car bumper could help speed along the arrival of computer-controlled motorways. A paper presented at the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress and Exhibition recently offers a glimpse of how a high-tech, environmentally-friendly and efficient motorway network could operate safely in the future. The vision is that vehicles would not be independently driven, but regulated and controlled via information beamed from transmitters at the side of the road. Cars would also communicate and co-operate with the vehicles around them to ensure a safe and fast journey for everyone.  Read More

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