This is the EP9 from NIO and its parent company NextEV. It’s Chinese and it’s very, very fast. Before we get into all that here’s a little background on NIO. They’re a relatively young company but already have a Formula E driver’s championship under their belts, so they clearly know their way around a fast electric car. The EP9’s not just for the auto sites; tech bloggers are excited about it too. Hurrah for the cross pollination of interests! The fact of the matter is that as much as we all love thunderously loud cars powered by explosions, they aren’t the future. The future is electric, or something else that we can make or have an abundance of, but it ain’t finite fossil fuels (fingers crossed). NIO, for their part, are getting people interested. People who don’t usually care about cars. Good on ‘em!
To keep weight down the EP9 is made from a lot of carbon fibre. It has a carbon monocoque chassis built to FIA LMP1 standards and full carbon body panels. NIO have promised a range of 265 miles, with a full charge taking just 45 minutes (so they say). The battery packs can be removed out of the sides of the car and changed for fully charged ones in about 8 minutes. The car weighs 3825 lbs, which isn’t light, but it isn’t exactly underpowered either.
The EP9 contains an electric motor for each wheel, which combined produce the equivalent of 1360 horsepower (or one megawatt) and, get this, 4670 ft-lb of torque. That’s the kind of torque that pushes continents around. Seriously though that’s four and a half F350s worth. All that power combined with aero know-how from Formula E means that the EP9 just decimated the EV lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 7:05:12. The previous record for an EV was 7:22:00. So, quite a step forward then. Just six will be built and are they’re all spoken for by NextEV’s founders, but I’m liking where this electric halo car business is going nonetheless.
The Lexus LFA is a bit of an oddball as supercars go. On one hand it’s a shining achievement in supercar building. On the other it’s extremely expensive when compared to other similarly capable cars. Its engine makes 553 horsepower and it has a top speed of 202 mph. Considering that a Nissan GT-R, which costs much, much less than the LFA, will go very nearly as fast, what the hell were Lexus playing at selling LFAs for $375,000 each? 50 of the limited run of 500 cars got the special Nurburgring package which pushed the price to $445,000. It’s one of the most expensive Japanese road cars ever built.
Exclusivity aside, there are a few areas in which the LFA is really rather special. It’s the result of over a decade of development from some of the finest car builders in the world; of insane attention to detail and driving dynamics. At its heart sits an aluminium and titanium V10 which, so say Lexus, can rev from idle to redline in 0.6 seconds. They actually had to fit the car with a digital rev counter because an analogue one couldn’t keep up. The engineers liken the engine’s sound to “the roar of angels” and while all those angels are roaring outside the car its occupants are treated to sound delivered by two ducts which connect to the firewall and contain specially shaped ribs like a guitar. This system was tuned by Yamaha’s musical instrument people and provides an engine note in two distinct octaves.
The LFA is by no means pretty, but that’s because it was designed with the idea that form follows function. Its carbon fibre and polymer bodywork produces a lot of downforce, because this is a car for driving. Ask anyone who’s had a go in one and the LFA gets a big thumbs up. It seems that this is a car built by engineering magicians to be the best that a car that doesn’t obsess over being at the cutting edge of the cutting edge can be. It inspires confidence because it’s familiar and it excites because it’s very fast. It’s in the same family as the cars that people learn to drive in, only it’s a much finer product. It’s incredibly advanced and painstakingly designed and built, but it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with unproven and experimental technology. It has mechanical suspension, not some super-reactive computer controlled business, just really, really good mechanical suspension. It’s a supercar for the well-heeled driver, not the flashy poseur, and for that reason it deserves respect.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday November 9th 2016.
Oh to be a pro drifter, with sponsors who have deep, deep pockets. Ryan Tuerck, pro drifter and engine swapper extraordinaire, is at it again. Tuerck, along with what I’d imagine to be a massive, huge, gigantic amount of Gumout’s money and engineering magic from Huddy Motorsports present this: the GT 4586. V8 swaps in agile sports cars are nothing new, but they’ve never been done like this before.
The Ferrari V8 (F136, nerds) shoehorned into this GT 86 was used in the F430, California, and 458. It would have been easier to use one from a California because of its location in that car, but they wouldn’t have been able to call it GT 4586, would they? Out went the 2.0 litre Subaru boxer, and in moved the 4.5 litre V8 turned around 180 degrees from its home in a 458. The bottom of the windscreen frame was cut out to accommodate the engine’s throttle bodies and a very clever intake system fabricated which goes down through the dash and firewall, drawing air from outside the front quarter panels. Custom headers were fabricated to fit behind the front bumper and exit ahead of the front wheels. Opinions vary on whether the engine sounds as good here as it does in its natural habitat.
The radiator is moved to the trunk and fed cool air by a Le Mans style cowl mounted on the GT 4586’s roof. Hot air exits through vents in the deck lid. The V8 is mated to a 5 speed sequential racing transmission with a limited slip diff between the rear wheels. In the 458 this engine produces 570 horsepower. While the altered intake/exhaust paths may change this, the GT 4586 still has plenty of go, especially with all those bespoke racing goodies. The car will neither compete in Formula D nor see public roads (legally at least) so it’s been made extra strong at the expense of lightness with braces welded from the strut towers to the firewall and a full roll cage.
Oh to be a pro drifter.
Photos by Larry Chen, Speedhunters
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday November 2nd 2016.