US$400,000 Covini six-wheeled supercar set for production
Now here's a car we've been awaiting for almost too long. Italian sports car builder Covini Engineering has partnered with PMI SpA to finally unveil the production version of the six-wheeled Covini C6W Supercar at the Racing Professional Motor Show in Bologna.
We first wrote up the C6W in great detail in 2004 and had feared that an ingenious engineering concept might never see the road.
The Covini was inspired by the Tyrell P34 Formula One car of the seventies. The Tyrell was not the only F1 development to include the possibility of four front wheels and it was only a rule change that prevented the world's most watched sporting event from spawning a whole new set of engineering solutions.
The rationale for four front-wheels was first detailed in a landmark Ford concept car shown at the World Fair in 1963 - the Seattle-ite's specification still stands up nearly half a century later - interchangeable fuel cell power units, interchangeable bodies, computer navigation and information systems, and four driving and steering wheels. That's it bottom right.
Pricing details and availability dates of the long-awaited C6W have not yet been announced, but the distinctive nature of the vehicle and its performance figures point towards a price tag of at least Ferrari proportions. Rumors on Italian automotive web sites suggest a price in the vicinity of EUR300,000 (around US$400,000) for the 300 km/h rear-wheel-drive C6W.
A full explanation of the numerous benefits of four front wheels can be found in our original article, but in short, they include significantly better braking, cornering and "feel" - exactly the same benefits you obtain from adding two front wheels to a motorcycle, which has become a popular engineering solution of recent times and threatens to become a lot more popular as road congestion and energy efficiency drives the world towards smaller roadgoing vehicles.
The six-wheeler C6W is to be powered by a 4.2-liter Audi-sourced V8 delivering its 440 bhp and 346 lb-ft torque driving through a six-speed manual gearbox.
The dimensions of the production model remain almost identical to the original C6W in being 4.18 m long, 1.99 m wide and 1.08 m high.
The weight has been kept to just 1150 kg using a tubular steel frame and a lightweight carbon fiber body. If the Covini C6W is as good as we expect it to be, it might lead the way to more manufacturers going the way of six wheels, now that computers and sensors and material science have all advanced to the degree necessary to control all the complexities of what's happening with those front wheels.
For performance enthusiasts, four front wheels offer the ability to get around a racetrack faster than ever before as better traction offers higher cornering speeds and deeper braking, particularly when the pavement is slippery or less than ideal.
The new partnership with PMI SpA promises much for Covini - already there is talk of several new and inspired projects coming to light over the next twelve months, including a diesel-powered supercar and an even more hush-hush project that has those that know very excited.
Specifications of the production Covini C6W
- ENGINE: rear longitudinal, 8 cylinder V, four valves per cylinder, air supply, gasoline direct injection Bosch Motronic.
- DISPLACEMENT: 4200 cm ³.
- MAX POWER: 420 hp (309 kW) at 6,400 rpm. TRANSMISSION: Rear-wheel drive. Schema type transaxle.
- TRANSMISSION: automatic 6-speed + reverse. Electrohydraulic control the steering wheel and manual.
- FRAME: Tubular steel with carbon fiber reinforcements and structural parts.
- SUSPENSION: independent front and rear wishbones.
- WHEELS AND TYRES: Front wheels: 15 "205/45-15 tires, rear wheels 20 " with tires 345/25-20.
- BRAKES: Front and rear ventilated Brembo disc. Bosch pumps with brake assist and electronic brake adjuster.
- BODY: fiberglass and carbon fiber.
- MEASUREMENTS: length 4.18 m - width 1.99 m - 1.08 m height - the first step wheelbase 2230 mm, wheelbase 2,750 per second - front track 1.54 m - 1.62 m rear track - curb weight 1150 kg.
About the Author
Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks.
All articles by Mike Hanlon
Just what we need....another supercar 100L/100Km fuel consumption and 6 tyres to wear out. So many rich morons out there.
I have an irresistible urge to breakout in the to Thunderbirds theme tune... and I know exactly why me lady.
The famous Detroit suspension Engineer Bill Allison, in his retirement, aside from perfecting 59% efficiency wind engines, created 3 models for simple testing.
One with 4 wheels, one with 6 wheels and one with 8 wheels.
A simple incline plane will show you which has the least rolling resistance, and the greatest stability. Bill bogied the wheels. By far the 4 wheeled vehicle was the better.
Bill insisted that the rolling resistance was reduced to 1/4 that of a 4 wheeled vehicle.
The Japanese professor who has been designing 8 wheeled vehicles also came to the same conclusion.
But if any of you are rail road enthusiasts, you have known that for a very long time that bogied 8 wheeled cars are the best.
And the jerk auto critic from the NYT tried to make fun of such vehicles.
Stupidity, combined with snarky attitudes is lethal.
It appears the author isn\'t familiar with the Panther 6.
@greytoma, are you a poor moron?
looks like a mean machine!
just what I\'ve always wanted. A $400k \'supercar\' that looks like a truck going backwards.
One advantage of tandem tires is the front pair also clears rain from the road. The front tires should also last longer due to load sharing similar to what tandem rears do for motor coaches.
Given the conservative horsepower rating from the well proven Audi V8 and the six speed gearbox, fuel economy should be, depending on the whim of the driver, quite good.
In response to comments from another reviewer: Next time you see a high line sports/super car or, top of the range, luxury sedan (we drive a Lexus LS600hL) just ask him (or her) what they do for a living. Chances are you\'ll find very few morons. Instead you\'ll meet some wonderful people who have worked hard for many years getting to the place they are now. We \"morons\" provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
It is not the first roadgoing 6 wheel car. There was also the Panther 6 from the UK, which used the Cadillac 501 CID motor and transmission. There was also the car driven by Jack Lemmon in \"the Great Race\", called the Hannibal 6. Additionally there were the parade Mercedes cars used by Hitler.
ugly as hell.
I love this set up! I remember the Panther 6 back in the day and always thought that was a cool car. I\'m so glad there are still people that make cars of this ilk so I can have something to shoot for some day. I can\'t figure out these people who think that just because it doesn\'t fit there ideal of some social utopia that the rest of us can\'t have one either?
\"Just becuase we CAN, doesn\'t mean we SHOULD.\" This is another example of our capabilities exceeding our judgement. Although it may reduce obesity in America, because everyone who sees it will want to vomit.
Bruce, being wealthy doesn\'t make you right. Despite the fact that you can afford legions of people to kiss you where you sit and tell you otherwise, they\'re lying... the opposite is more often the case. Ragtopman, if one car could reduce obesity in America (however ugly) it would be miraculous. But one car can\'t succeed where common sense has failed.
I\'m with you Bruce Williams .... not to many morons can afford a $400,000 car. Most of my friends who drive Ferrari\'s, Jaguars, Mercedes, Porsches and Audi\'s are well educated individuals who for the most part work very hard to get to where they are and they create many jobs for those less educated. If you work hard I think you should be able to buy any kind of car you want. I don\'t particullarly like the 6 wheel concept, but I do like the overall styling and I applaud the men who are building it.
It was the Hannibal 8 in The Great Race. http://hollywoodmoviecostumesandprops.blogspot.com/2009/07/professor-fates-hannibal-8-vehicle-from.html
Hey, Bruce! As a workingman who has come in contact with more than a few rich people, I can generally lump them into two catagories: The winners of the \"Lucky Sperm Club\" or venal d-bags who have gained their station in life by stomping on the necks of folks like me.
Your type are only nice to each other. Merry Freakin\' Christmas
Hey WOW there steveofthenw bitter much? O.K. how about you start up a biz and employ some people? I never had a job from \"poor\" people but I\'ll tell you this much, I\'ve been employed by people who on paper looked rich but in fact didn\'t have any money left over for them self\'s by the time they paid us employees and so by the time they started knocking down some money that they could spend on them self\'s I could hardly begrudge them getting some of the nicer things of life! I found it it refreshing to see the entrepreneurial spirit alive and working and gives me the motivation to turn hard work into a tangible reword. So when I make it big and your working for me and I drive a nice expensive car your going to be all pissy at me too? Merry Freakin\' Christmas to you too! :-D
I think it needs 4 wheels in the rear too.
Get a flat, keep on driving.
@Optimised Onion, I could scrape up enough to buy about 3 of these but could think of at least 10 million things to spend it on before I bought some deluded designer\'s dream car from the 1970\'s for $400,000. I think it will be another DeLorean.
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