Audi R8

A naturally aspirated V-10 that revs to 8500 RPM’s………that’s exotic!! The sound of the V-10 as you reach 8500 RPM’s is something everyone should hear while you still can. There are basically only two cars left out there that offer the V-10, the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Huracan (which are both owned by the Volkswagen Group) are the last two cars out there you can get with a V-10. The Audi R8 with its naturally aspirated V-10 definitely belongs on my Exotic Car Reviews!!

Exotic Car Reviews

The Lamborghini and the Audi are basically the same car as they both share the same engine and drive train. The Audi is a little more plush inside, with a more compliant suspension and slightly detuned with a little less horsepower than the Huracan. The Audi R8 is more of a Grand Tourer, while the Lamborghini is a little more focused for the track……… otherwise the same car.

This time I actually rented a 2020 Audi R8 from Enterprise Exotic Car Rental to enjoy for the day……….. I might need to add a post to my website and give some reviews about Exotic Car Rental companies as there are a lot of them out there. Renting an Exotic Car from Enterprise was like buying a Lexus from a Toyota Dealership………… I got the car, however I did not get that luxury exotic car buying experience………………

Lamborghini Huracan

We picked up the R8 in Roseville Ca, and then headed up to Georgetown Ca about 40 miles away. You may remember Georgetown from my post Day Trip Georgetown Ca. Just outside of Georgetown is Wentworth Springs Road which runs about 35 miles to Ice House Rd. This is a great well maintained two lane road, with some great elevation changes, big sweepers, tight twistys and some nice straight aways……………. best of all, it never has much traffic. A great road to enjoy an exotic car.

They say the only way to get a 100% performance from an exotic car is on the race track, if your lucky you may reach 7/10ths performance on the road if you are really good. On this trip, with Miss Linda in the passenger seat I would say we were at about 5/10ths. I was driving as hard and aggressive as I could while being considerate of Miss Linda. The tires squealed a couple of times but we never lost traction.

This car was a big difference from my manual transmission, front engine, rear wheel drive Z06. The Audi is a V-10, mid engine, automatic (dual clutch) transmission with all wheel drive. Though I have driven some mid engine cars, I do not have a lot of experience with them. I was concerned that I might experience some understeer (when you turn the wheel and the cars keeps going straight) as I have in other mid engine cars I have driven. With the engine in the back, there is less weight on the front wheels to aid traction. The R8 handled great, I never felt any understeer and the handling overall was awesome.

After we picked up the car we had some freeway driving to get to Georgetown, so we put the R8 in “comfort” mode which was just that. The Audi R8 was amazingly quiet with the windows up and the ride was very smooth. The Transmission was also very smooth, though it felt super lazy!! On the freeway when I went to pass someone and smashed the right peddle to the floor, it felt like it took forever to downshift and go………the delay was surprising. Once we got in the mountains, we switched the Audi to “dynamic” mode. This changed everything…………the all wheel drive system shifted most of the power to rear wheels, the suspension stiffened up and you could feel the road in a good way. The steering started communicating more and the transmission came alive. the shifts became instant and the rev matching on the down shifts with all the crackles and pops from the exhaust was super cool!!

The Road Ahead

The biggest disappointment with the Audi were the paddle shifters………. they were so small that if you were not looking for them you would not notice them. They were also hard to reach and if your hand position was slightly off you could not reach them at all. They did work well and the gear changes were super quick, however after a while is was just easier to put back in automatic mode and let the dual clutch do its thing. Overall it was a great drive and a great day!!

A Little History

Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer that designs, engineers, produces, markets and distributes luxury vehicles. Audi is a member of the Volkswagen Group and has its roots at Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany. Audi-branded vehicles are produced in nine production facilities worldwide.

Audi F103

The company name is based on the Latin translation of the surname of the founder, August Horch. “Horch”, meaning “listen” in German, becomes “audi” in Latin. The four rings of the Audi logo each represent one of four car companies that banded together to create Audi’s predecessor company, Auto Union in 1932. The modern era of Audi essentially began in the 1960s when Auto Union was acquired by Volkswagen from Daimler-Benz. After relaunching the Audi brand with the 1965 introduction of the Audi F103 series, Volkswagen merged Auto Union with NSU Motorenwerke in 1969, thus creating the present day form of the company. Audi, is among the best-selling luxury automobile brands in the world.

The Audi R8, based on the Audi Le Mans quattro concept car (designed by Frank Lamberty and Julian Hoenig) first appeared at the 2003 International Geneva Motor Show and the 2003 Frankfurt International Motor Show. The R8 road car was officially launched at the Paris Auto Show on September 30, 2006. There was some confusion with the name, which the car shares with the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning R8 Le Mans Prototype (LMP). Initial models included the R8 4.2 FSI coupe (with a V8 engine) and R8 5.2 FSI coupe (with a V10 engine). It was offered with both a manual and automatic transmission. The manual transmission and the V-8 were both dropped in 2013. Convertible models, called the Spyder by the manufacturer, were introduced in 2008. Followed by the high-performance GT model introduced in 2011. The Motorsport variants of the R8 were also subsequently introduced from 2008 onwards. Jacky Ickx a 6-time 24 hours of Le mans winner described the R8 as the best handling car today.

Audi R8 Le Mans Prototype

The R8 became the personal vehicle for Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) throughout six films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Type 42 models were used in the Iron Man Trilogy with a V8 in Iron Man, a V10 Spyder in Iron Man 2, and an e-tron prototype in Iron Man 3. Type 4S models appeared in later Marvel Studios movies with 2016 V10 Plus models in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War and a Spyder model in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Some Specs

The Audi R8 gets a full refresh for the 2020 model year, with revised styling, more power and a host of new technology. Audi says the new R8 shares around 50 per cent of its parts with the R8 LMS GT3 race car. The exterior restyling is subtle: The updated front bumper includes a new honeycomb grille with R8 badge, front spoiler lip, and lateral air intakes. The updated rear bumper continues with honeycomb air outlets, oval exhaust pipes (which are definitely over sized), and a new rear diffuser. The headlights have also been darkened, and the rocker panel has been redesigned and includes an inlay. The R8 V-10 Coupe (that we drove) and Spyder get their speed from a 562-horsepower, 5.2-litre V-10 engine mated to a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission that can shift gears in as little as 120 milliseconds. The R8 V-10 performance Coupe and Spyder see their V-10s pump out 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. All R8 models now achieve a top track speed of 199 mph.

Our Audi R8 for the Day

Audi says there is now a greater difference between the R8’s driving modes, and in the “Comfort” setting, the R8 is definitely a comfortable ride over long distances. When you switch to “Dynamic” mode, however, you get to enjoy the R8 at its fullest. The rear-biased Quattro system gives the car a mostly rear-wheel-drive feel, but with the benefit of all-wheel-drive grip when you need it. Carbon ceramic brakes come standard on the V10 Performance, with giant, six-pot calipers that can scrub off speed remarkably well, without being too grabby at lower speeds.

Comfort and Practicality

The Audi R8 is an Exotic Car that is truly comfortable for a long drive in its “comfort” mode setting and a willing super car for the track or a nice winding mountain road in its “dynamic setting. The R8 will probably win out here against most other 2 seater exotic cars, in the comfort category. It was very comfortable, smooth and surprisingly quiet…. we really had to roll the windows down to hear that great V-10 singing. I could easily envision a long cross-country trip in this car except for one thing………….

Audi R8 Frunk

This car has no room for enough luggage for a true get away………… You have a small shelf behind the seats that is good for a couple jackets, but not much else. You then only have approx 4 cubic ft of space in the “frunk” in the front of the car. You might be able to fit one carry on size piece of luggage or maybe a couple of back packs……..and that’s about it. If your wife has a shoe bag…………. forget about it, we have no room.

Conclusion

This was a great day and something we will definitely be doing again. We love cars here at Exotic Cars and Road Trips and the joy of experiencing great roads in great cars. Each car has its unique strengths, weaknesses and character. Each car will provide a difference experience and adventure that will we continue to explore.

It was a Great Day

The Audi R8 was a great car and we had a great day!! I would recommend the Audi R8 as a great Grand Tourer that would be very comfortable on a long drive in comfort mode…………………with the ability to become a great back road performer in dynamic mode!! Just don’t go too far depending on the luggage you were able to fit in.

Please leave comments below and come back for more Exotic Car Reviews.

Wes

Exotic Cars and Road Trips

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Yes, it has four doors and 4 seats………..and Yes, with its Ferrari sourced 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6 pushing 505 HP, it definitely needs to be included in my exotic car reviews!! This site is about exotic cars and road trips and the Alfa is a great road trip car with the flair and performance of an Italian exotic!! You may remember from my “Next 140 Miles” post that one of the cars on that trip was in fact an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (Giulia QV) driven by our friend Alex. Trust me when I say we all had to be on our toes and ready to go or the Alfa and Alex would leave us behind…………. Please look for his video of that trip and the Alfa below.

Exotic Car Reviews
Exotic Car Reviews

I had read some about the Alfa prior to our trip, however I had never seen one……….. it was a very sexy car!! It is much more exotic than its competitors, a BMW M4, an Audi RS5 or an AMG C63 S. One aspect of an exotic car is its rarity…….. how many Alfa’s do you see on the road………..not many. There are so many BMW’s on the road, they have become a common site along with the Audi and Mercedes…………….. not exotic. None of these cars can quite match the power and performance of the QV and none of them have that sexy Italian style. You can say the Quadrifoglio is in the same class as these other cars, however the reality is the QV is a class of one, it stands alone!!

What would you rather drive…………… a BMW M4 with 425 HP……………… boring, or a Sexy Italian Alfa Romeo with 505 HP. Not only is it sexy and powerful, it also handles better than the others and is able to pull .98 G on the skid pad. Everything you will ever read about the Alfa will mention the steering feel. How quick and responsive it is and the amazing communication it provides the driver.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

We are all about road trips here and the pure joy of aggressive driving on those windy mountain roads while still enjoying the sites and sounds of our trip, along with the practicality of a good road trip car……………. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio hits the mark big time!!

A Little History

There is a lot of history, far more than we can cover here. Alfa Romeo Automobiles is an Italian luxury car manufacturer, founded by Frenchman Alexandre Darracq, a company that would produce and sell special Darracq models for Italy. In late 1909, the Italian Darracq cars were selling slowly, and the Italian partners of the company hired Giuseppe Merosi to design new cars. On June 24, 1910, a new company was founded named A.L.F.A., in Milan (initially still in partnership with Darracq). The company’s current name is a combination of the original name, “A.L.F.A.” (“Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobile”), and the last name of entrepreneur Nicola Romeo, who took control of the company in 1915. The brand is known for sporty vehicles and has been involved in car racing since 1911.

1925 Alfa Romeo P2
1925 Alfa Romeo P2

Alfa Romeo has competed successfully in Grand Prix motor racing, Formula One, sports car racing, touring car racing, and rallies. It has competed both as a constructor and an engine supplier, via works entries (usually under the name Alfa Corse or Autodelta), and private entries. The first racing car was made in 1913, three years after the foundation of the company, the Alfa Romeo won the inaugural world championship for Grand Prix cars in 1925. The race victories gave a sporty image to the marque, and Enzo Ferrari founded the Scuderia Ferrari racing team in 1929 as an Alfa Romeo racing team, before becoming independent in 1939. It has had the most wins of any marque in the world.

Alfa Romeo was imported to the United States by Max Hoffman from the mid-1950s. In 1961 Alfa Romeo started exporting cars to the United States through its own dealer network. In 1995, Alfa Romeo stopped exporting cars to the United States. On May 5, 2006, Alfa Romeo announced its return to the US Market. Sales resumed in October 2008, with the launch of the limited production 8C Competizione coupe.

Alfa Romeo 8C
Alfa Romeo 8C

The next significant milestones in Alfa Romeo’s North American return occurred in 2014, with the launch of the more affordable two-seater 4C coupe. In 2015, Alfa Romeo’s return to the market was further bolstered by the automaker’s display of the new Giulia at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The top-of-the-line Giulia Quadrifoglio (Italian for “four-leaf clover”) was the first model in the new Giulia range. It was unveiled in Italy in June 2015. It made its official international debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, with market launch scheduled for February 2016.

Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa Romeo 4C

Some Specs

The Quadrifoglio is powered by an all-aluminum alloy, twin-turbocharged gasoline direct injection 90° V6 engine, with a single-cylinder displacement of just under half a liter, for a total of 2,891 cc (176.4 cu in; 2.9 L). This engine was developed exclusively for the Quadrifoglio by Ferrari technicians and is related to Ferrari’s own twin-turbocharged F154 CB V8 engine, sharing the California T’s bore x stroke of 86.5 mm × 82 mm (3.41 in × 3.23 in). The engine has a maximum power output of 505 HP at 6,500 rpm, and 443 lb⋅ft of torque between 2,500 and 5,000 rpm. The turbochargers are single-scroll compressor IHI units integrated into the manifold, with water-charge air coolers. It has side-mounted direct fuel injection and the peak turbo boost pressure reaches up to 35 psi.

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio Engine
Giulia Quadrifoglio Engine

The Quadrifoglio weighs 3,360 lb and has a power-to-weight ratio of 6.6 lb. This is achieved courtesy of the Quadrifoglio having composite and light alloy construction, as well as featuring a roof and hood made of carbon fiber.

The front has a carbon fiber splitter and enlarged air intakes for the twin intercoolers and for the brakes — the hood features two cooling outlets for the engine bay. On the sides, the front wings also have outlets to extract air from the wheel wells, and has the Quadrifoglio badges (four-leaf clover); the side skirts are specific to the model, as are the 19-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, a low-profile carbon fiber lip-spoiler is applied to the trunk lid, and a rear diffuser makes up the lower half of the bumper, flanked by quadruple exhaust tips. Working in conjunction with the flared-in underside, the diffuser is fully functional in generating downforce — as the front is the “Active Aero Splitter”, which can vary its angle of attack by 10°, moved by electric motors. The manufacturer claims these active aero elements are the firsts in the Giulia’s market segment and are able to generate up to 220 lb of downforce at 186 mph.

Alfa Front Splitter
Alfa Front Splitter

Mechanically, this model is fitted with a torque vectoring rear differential which is able to send 100% of the torque to the left or right wheel, and an 8-speed automatic transmission manufactured by ZF. The braking system uses carbon ceramic rotors, along with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers and auxiliary rear calipers for the parking brake. The electronic stability control and the traditional brake booster are combined in a single electromechanical system. Driving modes include “Dynamic”, “Natural” and “Advanced Efficiency” modes (the last one uses cylinder deactivation for increased fuel economy), and “Race” (for high performance — with louder exhaust note and all electronic stability control systems turned off).

Rear Diffuser
Rear Diffuser

According to Alfa Romeo, the Giulia Quadrifoglio can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and come to a standstill from that speed in 105 feet. The Quadrifoglio can attain a top speed of 191 mph. This Quadrifoglio also completed the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit in 7 minutes 32 seconds, a record for a 4 door sedan.

Comfort and Practicality

I think the Alfa is going to win this category. Of course, we have four doors and 4 seats which could be used for either extra people or extra luggage. We also have an actual trunk with approx 13 cubic feet of storage.

Alfa Trunk
Alfa Trunk

The Qaudrifoglio comes equipped with most of your modern day options. You can also add their Active Driver Assist Package for $2,000 which includes a level II tech bundle that features adaptive cruise control with lane centering, lane-keep assist and active blind spot montering.

Alfa Interior
Alfa Interior

“This might be the best handling sedan I have driven in 25 years of automotive journalism. The way it puts down power, the way it reacts with a snap to attention, the way it never seems to be caught unaware. Be wary of soft brakes when the car is cold, which can catch you out. It’s a little bit turbulent over frost heaves. But that is just part of the fun. You can’t believe a sedan is actually doing this level of work; there is so much room behind the driver for passengers, plus a Costco-ready trunk. And yet the Giulia is going toe to toe with world-class supercars.” – Mark Rechtin – Motor Trend 2017 Best Driver’s Car

 

Conclusion

If you are looking for a nice exotic road trip car, look no further than the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. It is comfortable, roomy with room for four plus a trunk…………….. and trust me, you will not have any trouble keeping up with the Ferrari or Lamborghini!! I posted the video that Alex put together for us in my post “Next 140 Miles” and I am going to post here again as well…………. take look and enjoy!!

Alfa Road Trip
Alfa Road Trip

So, if you happen to see an Alfa Romeo with that Quadrifoglio badge on the side……that four leaf clover, slow down, you are looking at something special!!

Please leave comments below,

Wes

Exotic Cars and Road Trips

 

McLaren 720S

The first time I saw the 720S I was like…………….. WOW!!! That’s an exotic car!! The look was so sleek. It did not have a big wing on the back or big side scoops or intakes on the hood…………….though they were all there, just hidden in the design. The wheels were literally at the corners of the car giving it a great stance and an invitation to drive it like a go cart……….. it just had that look. This car definitely needs to be part of my Exotic car reviews.

I saw one for the first time while driving on the freeway as it passed by (I was not in my Z06, so no need to try to keep up with it), it was just stunning. Then I got to see one at my local Chevron gas station. It was a matte black color with red calibers……….it looked ready to pounce!! This car exudes exotic car or super car status. It truly stands out next to other exotic cars. The 720S is almost as good as the Z06 on the skid pad………… but not quite….. more on that later.

Exotic Car Reviews

The performance of this car is amazing. It is called the 720 because it has 720 PS horsepower. Some European car manufacturers still quote a power output rating called PS, which stands for Pferdestrke, which literally means, ‘horse strength. It’s also known as DIN (Deutsches Institute fr Normung ) hp as measured in Europe, as opposed to SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) bhp as measured in the United States. Based on the Unites States measurement it only makes 710 horsepower……….. either way it is just fast. As one article I read said when approaching a corner, slow down early, you are going faster than you think!!

A Little History

The McLaren 720S sports car was designed and manufactured by British automobile manufacturer McLaren Automotive. It is the second all-new car in the McLaren Super Series, replacing the 650S beginning in May 2017.

The 720S was launched at the Geneva Motor Show on 7 March 2017 and is built on a modified carbon monocoque, which is lighter and stiffer in contrast to the 650S. The 720S is the first all new car to be introduced by McLaren as a part of its plan to launch 15 new cars to the market by 2022. The 720S according to McLaren is 91% new as compared to its predecessor.

MP4-12C

McLaren launched its current three-tier product structure in 2015, dividing their range of cars into the Sports, Super, and Ultimate Series. Cars in the Sports and Super Series are given names based on the car’s power output in PS, followed by a model designation (C for club, S for sport, GT for grand tourer and LT for longtail). The entry-level Sports Series consists of the 570S, 570S Spider, 570GT, 540C, 600LT and 600LT Spider. The Super Series, considered to be McLaren’s core model range, originally included the 650S, 625C, and 675LT. These were replaced with the 720S in 2017 (and 720S Spider in 2018). The high-end Ultimate Series was led by the P1 and P1 GTR, now it includes the Senna, Senna GTR and the upcoming Speedtail, intended to be the successor to the original F1. The F1 and 12C were retroactively included in the Ultimate and Super Series, respectively.

McLaren’s first purpose-built road car was the F1. McLaren Cars went into hibernation following the completion of the F1’s production run, and McLaren didn’t return to the production car market until launching McLaren Automotive in 2010, just prior to the release of the MP4-12C (eventually simplified to just 12C) in 2011.

McLaren F1

McLaren Automotive replaced McLaren Cars in 2010. McLaren Cars was founded in 1985. The company went on to release the McLaren F1 in 1992. Between 1994 and 2010, McLaren Cars was registered as a ‘dormant company’, before the founding of McLaren Automotive in 2010.

McLaren’s Formula One founder Bruce McLaren was born in 1937. McLaren learned about cars and engineering at his parent’s service station and workshop in his hometown, Auckland, New Zealand. By 15, he had entered a local hill climb in an Austin 7 Ulster; winning his first race in the car. In 1958, McLaren arrived in the United Kingdom with the ‘Driver to Europe’ scheme, intended to help Australian and New Zealand racers to compete in Europe. His mentor, Jack Brabham introduced him to Cooper Cars, a small team based in Surbiton, Surrey. Starting his Formula One career in 1958, McLaren joined the Formula One team a year later. That same year, he won the US Grand Prix at age 22, making him the youngest Grand Prix winner to that date. He stayed with Cooper for a full seven years, winning three more Grands Prix and other races, driving for Jaguar and Aston Martin, & winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 with Ford. He was one of 3 Ford GT 40s that finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the 24 hours of Le Mans. If you have not seen the move “Ford vs Ferrari”……. you need too!!

1966 Ford GT 40

McLaren founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1963. A year later, the company built the first McLaren race car – the M1A; 24 were produced. Its successor, the M1B, allowed McLaren into the Can-Am championship and emerged as the dominant driver with 43 victories, almost three times more than rival Porsche. In 1965, the first McLaren Formula One car, the M2B, debuted at the Monaco Grand Prix.

After his victories and time in the F3, McLaren was designing and testing a prototype M6GT-registered OBH 500H, a light sports car with an estimated top speed of 165 mph and zero to 100 mph time of eight seconds. However, McLaren died in a car accident in 1970 before the prototype could be completed.

Some Specs

The 720S features McLaren’s new M840T engine which is an evolution of the M838T used in the 650S. It is a 3,994 cc (4.0 L; 243.7 cu in) twin-turbocharged V8 engine. However, the stroke has been lengthened by 3.6 mm to increase the capacity and 41% of the engine’s components are new. The engine uses new twin-scroll turbochargers which have a low inertia titanium-aluminum turbines which spin with maximum efficiency with the help of actively controlled waste gates. The engine has a rated power output of 720 PS (710 hp) at 7,000 rpm, giving the car its name; the maximum torque is 568 lb⋅ft at 5,500 rpm.

McLaren 720S

The ProActive Chassis Control II active suspension system used in the 720S is an evolution of the system used in the 650S but is 35 lb lighter than the previous version. The new system features accelerometers on the top and pressure sensors at the bottom of the dampers in order to precisely communicate to the car’s on board computer the driving conditions in real time in order for optimum suspension settings. The system uses findings from a PhD course at the University of Cambridge.

The 720S is one of three production cars to ever average higher than 1.0 g around our figure-eight course, the other two being the Corvette Z06 Z07 (1.06 g) and the Porsche 918 Spyder (1.06 g). The 720S averaged 1.05 g, the second-best of all time. The McLaren’s max lateral acceleration is 1.09 g, among the best-gripping cars we’ve ever tested. Its figure-eight time of 22.3 seconds places it in a four-way tie for second place, along with the aforementioned Z06 and Viper ACR plus the Corvette Grand Sport. Best ever? That freak, the 918 Spyder, which managed a 22.2-second lap. Are we impressed with the McLaren 720S yet? (This paragraph was from Motor Trend magazine, 01/31/2018) See what I mean about being almost as good as the Z06…………….ha!!

McLaren Monocage II

The carbon fiber tub used in the 720S’ chassis is based on the similar principle of the MonoCage unit in the P1 but is 40 lb lighter than its predecessor. Called the MonoCage II, the tub allows for dihedral doors (also known as butterfly doors) which move up and out via hinges along the A-pillar with large cutouts for easier entry and exit. It also reduces the size of the pillars of the roof, improving visibility for the driver. The same tub underpins the McLaren Senna and the Speedtail sports cars. This allows the car to be lighter than most of its competitors. The 720S is light, at just 3,167 pounds, compared to the 661-hp Ferrari 488 GTB at 3,412 pounds and The Lamborghini Huracan at 3,419 pounds. Remember that raw power is one thing, but power to weight is everything else. This McLaren FAST!!

Dihedral Doors

The headlights hide air vents that funnel incoming air to two small radiators in front of the wheels. The doors feature air channels that direct air to the engine. The rear of the car features thin LED tail-lights similar to those on the McLaren P1, and two round exhaust pipes. The design was inspired by the great white shark, and features a teardrop-shaped cockpit. All the exterior features result in an improvement of 50% more downforce than the 650S. The interior of the car includes a folding driver display and carbon fiber accents. Checkout this cool video (approx. 3 minutes) from the McLaren website on the design here.

Comfort and Practicality

The McLaren 720S does hit all the exotic car criteria. It is expensive at around $300,000, it is rare with about 1500 cars per year and of course it is crazy high performance!! On the practicality side of things it does have 5.3 cubic feet of cargo space……. enough for maybe one carry on size luggage and a couple of other things, with the convertible you gain another 2.05 cubic feet…………whooohooo!! This of course would not be a problem for those who can afford this car, just stay at nice hotels that have laundry service.

McLaren 720S Spyder

Conclusion

Would this be a great car for a road trip, not sure but I would sure like to find out!! This car might be better on the race track than on a road trip. If you go back to that article I mentioned above from Motor Trend, where the 720S was almost as good as the Z06 on the skid pad, well the 720S was almost 4 seconds faster than the Z06 around Willow Springs raceway. Everwhere I read about the 720S, the most common referecne is this car is FAST!! It has incredible grip and amazing power, what more do we need in our exotic super car………………………just need to figure out what color I want…… that matte black color is pretty sick!!

Please leave comments below

Wes

Exotic Cars and Road Trips, Enjoy the Road

C8 Corvette

I saw one……………….. a saw a new C8 Corvette for myself. The mid engine corvette might be the most rumored car over the last 60 years………. that’s how long a mid engine Corvette has been talked about. The official unveiling of C8 was in July 2019, with actual new car deliveries planned for later in the year. We then had the GM strike in the fall which has had an effect on production. Deliveries actually started showing up at dealerships this month (April 2020). They are all sold!! Dealerships are only taking orders for 2021 models.

C8 Side View

Will the exotic car world ever be the same? Should I include this on mt exotic car reviews? I have said before that an exotic car is expensive, rare, has high performance and is impractical. How does the new C8 match up here? It is not expensive from an exotic car stand point. The base price is $59,950, while the average cost of most C8’s will be around $80,000. A comparable Ferrari, Lamborghini or McClaren will run you close to $300,000. A C8 is not that rare. The production for the C8 for 2020 was to be around 40,000 (the GM strike will reduce that number). Ferrari will produce between 8,000 to 10,000 cars per year with the mid engine Ferrari 488 accounting for about half of that production at approx 4,000 t0 5,000. They will make around 3,000 of the Lamborghini Huracan. The C8 is not impracticable, it has two trunks and is comfortable for a long distance road trip. The one thing the C8 corvette retains from the exotic car world is performance, with a 0-60 time in 2.8 seconds it can preform with any of them.

C8 Engine

It will be interesting to see over the next couple of years if the C8 will change the exotic car world forever…………. how valuable will the rarity of a Ferrari be when the C8 Corvette out preforms it……………………

A Little History

There is a lot of history…………….more than I will cover here. Zora Arkus-Duntov was an engineer who joined General Motors in 1953 after seeing the “Motorama” Corvette on display in New York City. He found the car visually superb, but was disappointed with what was underneath. Many consider Arkus-Duntov the father of the Corvette, though he did not create the car. After seeing the car at the Motorama he reached out to General Motors with a plan to improve the car. After being hired he quickly became the Head of Performance for Corvette. It was 1957 when Arkus-Duntov suggested for the first time the idea of a mid engine corvette.

CERV II

Arkus-Duntov set about transforming the Corvette from an under powered showboat to a performance car that could compete with the best from Europe. In 1955, the anemic 150-hp six-cylinder was replaced by the 265-cubic-inch V-8, the original version of the legendary small-block. In 1957, its displacement was increased to 283 cubic inches, and GM’s first application of mechanical fuel injection helped it attain the magic number of 1 hp per cubic inch of displacement.

Despite these improvements, Arkus-Duntov was aware of the limitations by the Corvette’s front-engine, rear-wheel-drive setup. In 1960, he introduced the CERV (Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle), a test vehicle with a mid-engine V-8, rear-wheel drive, and an open-wheel body. CERV I evolved into CERV II in 1964, again with a mid-engine V-8 and all-wheel drive, separate automatic transmissions and torque converters for each end of the engine, and enclosed-wheel bodywork. Arkus-Duntov tested the CERV II at GM’s Milford Proving Ground and recorded a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 214.01 mph………those numbers are amazingly close to the new C8. In the end, GM said no to the idea.

C8 Corvette

Taking no to for an answer was never Arkus-Duntov’s strong suit. This time he took the front-wheel-drive setup from the Oldsmobile Toronado/Cadillac Eldorado, placed it amidships, and located the V-8 engine transversely, with the automatic transmission on one side and the differential on the other. All-wheel drive could be made possible in the future by adding a front differential and a driveshaft. The car, under code name XP-882, debuted at the 1970 New York auto show; in the hurry to prepare the car for the show, there wasn’t time to come up with a name, so it was simply labeled “Corvette prototype.” Despite the sensation it created, GM once again shot down the idea, deciding the car would be too expensive to produce and would not offer any gains in performance versus the front-engined Corvette.

In all there have been no fewer than 9 mid engine prototype corvettes created over the years. Though they all led to some type of mechanical improvement for the Corvette such as the rear independent suspension on the CERV II which made it to production on the C2 Corvette, the mid engine Corvette was something Arkus-Duntov never witnessed.

CERV III

Arkus-Duntov retired in 1975. Following his retirement Arkus-Duntov remained active in the Corvette community. He passed away in Detroit on April 21, 1996, and his ashes were entombed at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Pulitzer Prize winning columnist George Will wrote in his obituary that “if… you do not mourn his passing, you are not a good American”.

Despite Duntov’s work on the CERV I and CERV II and many mid-engine design studies, the idea of a mid-engine Corvette was not approved by GM management until 2019, (it was, of course approved before 2019 but GM never acknowledged it until they unveiled it 2019,) with the announcement of the release of the eighth generation C8 Corvette.

Some Specs

The Chevrolet Corvette (C8) is the eighth generation of the Corvette. It is the first mid-engine Corvette since the model’s introduction in 1953. The C8 was announced in April 2019, and the coupe made its official debut on July 18, 2019, during a media event at the Kennedy Space Center (referencing its association with NASA) to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The convertible made its debut in October 2019, alongside the racing version, the C8.R. Production officially began on February 3, 2020, delayed by the 2019, General Motors strike.

C8 Convertible

The C8 retains some design elements found on the C7, but the majority of the exterior has been completely overhauled. The engine’s new location mandated a stronger focus on aerodynamics and cooling; large side scoops house air intakes, and the rear features smaller vents below the taillights. As a result of the switch to a mid-engine layout, the passenger compartment has been shifted forward by 16.5 inches. The cockpit has been designed to be driver-centric, with numerous controls mounted on the center console as well as utilizing a new hexagonal steering wheel. A special Z button (a homage to the Z06, ZR1, Z51 and of course Zora Arkus-Duntov ) is also mounted on the steering wheel; this can quickly activate customized performance settings. Models equipped with the available magnetorheological dampers will also offer adjustable suspension settings.

C8 Interior

The C8 uses a new version of the LS based GM small-block engine derived from the C7 Stingray’s LT1, now called the LT2. The new naturally aspirated V8 is rated at 490 hp at 6,450 rpm and 465 lb⋅ft of torque at 5,150 rpm, an improvement of 40 hp and 10 lb⋅ft over the outgoing C7 Corvette Stingray. The engine uses dry sump lubrication system.

The optional Z51 performance package adds a sport exhaust system to the Stingray, bringing the total power output to 495 hp and torque to 470 lb⋅ft. Car and Driver recorded a 0 – 60 time of 2.8 seconds.

The Stingray is only offered with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission made by Tremec, with no manual transmission option available. The only other model not offered with a manual transmission was the 1953–1955 C1 model. However, the C8 Corvette Stingray does allow for semi-automatic shifting with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The new dual-clutch transmission has received amazing reviews and has been compared to the PDK automatic transmission for Porsche which is considered the industry standard.

C8 Transmission

The base model of the Stingray comes with unequal length double wishbone suspension at the front and rear axles made from forged aluminum. Monotube shock absorbers are standard at all four wheels. The car can be equipped with a front-axle lifting height adjustable suspension system that can add 2 in of ground clearance at speeds under 25 mph. The Z51 package adds a performance-tuned adjustable suspension setup with threaded spring seats for further setup customization, as well as an electronic limited-slip differential. Additionally, the top-of-the-line FE4 trim level includes the fourth generation of GM’s magnetic ride adaptive suspension system.

Comfort and Praticality

This is another area that the C8 breaks from tradition of being a mid engine exotic with no place for luggage if you would like a long road trip. The C8 has approx 12.6 cubic feet of trunk space. It has a “frunk” (a trunk up front) and a trunk in the back behind the engine. The trunk in back is large enough for two golf bags and the front can accept the equivalent of two “carry on” luggage pieces………… that’s incredible for an “exotic” car. My C7 Z06 has approx 15.0 cubic feet of storage.

C8 Trunk

 

There is a small sacrifice with the coupe and its removable top. The top when removed is stowed in the back luggage area……… no room for golf clubs now. Miss Linda and I love to travel with the top off, with the C8 you might be forced to travel with the top on, only removing it when you get to your destination.

C8 Frunk

The C8 Spyder (convertible) might actually be a better choice here for road trip. In the Spyder, the mechanically operated hard top is stowed on top of the engine. The beauty of this is that the rear trunk is still available for luggage or those two golf bags. Some might be disappointed as the spyder does not allow you to see the engine under the glass like the coupe, though I think I would prefer the ability to travel with the top open while still having room for luggage for a longer road trip.

Conclusion

I will say it again, as I do believe this new mid engine C8 Corvette is going to change the exotic car world a bit. Here is a true high performance mid engine sports car that is comfortable, quiet (when you want it to be), has plenty of luggage space for a long and enjoyable road trip, while being able to enjoy the road with the top down. All this for about a 3rd of the price of most of its competition.

Am I ready to go out a buy one……………… not quite, I still love my C7 Z06 with a manual transmission. I definitely want to drive one, the same as I want to drive all the cars that I put on this list. As I sit here writing this I can honestly say that there is not a car out there that I would want in place of my Z06. That being said, I would absolutely love to have every car on this list in addition to my Z06.

C8

My mind might be changed when the upcoming models for the C8 are available. They are talking of course about the C8 Z06, ZR1 or even rumors of a model referred to as the Zora. The Z06 is to have a new engine similar to the one in the C8.R race car. This is a new naturally aspirated 5.5 liter dual overhead cam V8 engine with a flat plane crank. The speculation is that it will put out something similar to the C7 Z06’s 650 HP and rev to a 9000 RPM scream!! An upcoming ZR1 or Zora model is likely to be a hybrid pushing close to a 1,000 HP…………………… sounds like fun!!

Please let me know your thoughts and leave comments below.

Wes

Exotic Cars and Road Trips…………. Enjoy the Road!!

 

Ferrari 458 Italia

The Ferrari 458 is one of the most beautiful Exotic cars ever made……………even today, five years after its last model was on the showroom floor in 2015. The Ferrari has always been my dream car from as early as I can remember. I absolutely love my Z06 and would put it up against any car out there from a performance stand point……………. however there is just something about a Ferrari………… What makes a car Exotic………. they will be expensive, rare, have high performance and be somewhat impractical. The 458 is all these things, though it actually has some practicality………which we will discuss a little later.

So Let’s take some time here and discuss one of my favorite exotic cars of all time and why I have included it in my exotic car reviews. The best part of writing this is post is that I get to daydream about how much fun it would be right now, to be experiencing this car with the top down on a sunny spring day flying through the twistys on a winding two lane mountain road.

Ferrari 458 Italia

A Little History

Ferrari produces about 8400 vehicles per year. There mid engine super cars like the 458 deliver about half of that production. The 458 was first introduced in 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with its first model year being 2010. It replaces the Ferrari F430 which has the distinction of being the last Ferrari with a manual transmission, In fact, if you can find a F430 with a manual transmission they are much more valuable today than a F430 with an automatic.

In keeping with Ferrari tradition, the body was designed by Pininfarina under the leadership of Donato Coco, the Ferrari design director.

The interior design of the Ferrari 458 Italia was done by Bertrand Rapatel (Director of Ferrari Interior Design), a French automobile designer.

458 Steering Wheel

The car’s exterior styling and features were designed for aerodynamic efficiency, producing downforce of 309 lb at 120 mph. The front grille features deformable winglets that lower at high speeds, in order to offer reduced drag. The car’s interior was designed using input from former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher; in a layout common to racing cars, the new steering wheel incorporates many controls normally located on the dashboard or on stalks, such as turning signals or high beams. There is a noticeable difference between the F430 steering wheel and that of the 458.

F430 Steering Wheel

The 458 Spider was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. This convertible variant of the 458 Italia features an aluminum retractable hardtop which, according to Ferrari, weighs 55 lb less than a soft roof such as the one found on the Ferrari F430 Spider, and requires 14 seconds for operation. The engine cover has been redesigned to accommodate the retractable roof system. It has the same 0–62 mph acceleration time as the coupe but has a lower top speed of 199 mph due to the added weight.

The 458 Speciale was unveiled in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the high performance variant of the 458 Italia. Distinctions of the Speciale over the standard 458 Italia are the forged wheels, vented bonnet, finned side sills, a taller rear spoiler and redesigned bumpers, which include active aerodynamics designed by Ferrari Styling Centre in cooperation with Pininfarina; front and rear movable flaps balance downforce and cut drag at speed.

Ferrari 458 Speciale A

The 458 Speciale A is the convertible variant of the 458 Speciale which was unveiled at the 2014 Frankfurt Motor Show. The ‘A’ stands for ‘Aperta’, which is Italian for ‘open’ – and the model was limited to only 499 examples (49 RHD examples).

Some Specs

The F136 V8 engine used in the 458

The 458 is powered by a 4,497 cc (4.5 L; 274.4 cu in) engine of the Ferrari F136 family, generating power of 562 hp at 9,000 rpm and 398 lb⋅ft of torque at 6,000 rpm with 80% of that torque available at 3,250 rpm. The engine features direct fuel injection, which was a first for Ferrari mid-engine setups in its road cars.

The only transmission available on the 458 is a dual-clutch 7-speed Getrag gearbox. There is no traditional manual option, making this the fourth road-car after the Enzo, Challenge Stradale and F430 Scuderia not to be offered with Ferrari’s classic gated manual. It was Ferrari’s first mainstream model not to offer a manual transmission.

The car’s suspension has double wishbones at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear, coupled with E-Diff and F1-Trac, traction control systems, designed to improve the car’s cornering and longitudinal acceleration by 32% when compared with its predecessors.

This is a really cool feature as the brakes include a prefill function whereby the pistons in the calipers move the pads into contact with the discs on lift off to minimize delay in the brakes being applied. This, combined with the ABS and standard Carbon Ceramic brakes, have caused a reduction in stopping distance from 62-0 mph to 107 ft. Tests have shown the car will stop from 62.1 mph in 90 feet or in 85 feet with run flat tires, 85 feet from 60 mph and 80 feet from 60 mph with run flat tires.

Ferrari 458 Speciale

For the 458 Speciale introduced in 2013, the engine was revised, with power increased to 597 hp at 9,000 and 398 lb⋅ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. Electronic systems were updated too and side-slip angle control (SSC) was introduced to improve the cars control at the limit. SSC performs instant-to-instant analysis of the car’s side-slip, comparing it with the target value and then optimizing both torque management (via integration with F1-Trac traction control) and torque distribution between the two wheels (via integration with the E-Diff electronic differential). The Speciale accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 3.0 seconds and to120 mph in 9.1 seconds. Ferrari declared a Fiorano test track lap time of 1:23.5, only 0.5 seconds slower than the F12 Berlinetta. Lateral acceleration now reaches 1.33 g.

The 458 Speciale A, (the ‘A’ stands for ‘Aperta’, which is Italian for open)was introduced in 2014. The Aperta has the same 4.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine found in the 458 Speciale, which generates a power output of 597 hp and 398 lb⋅ft of torque. 0–62 mph takes 3.0 seconds and the Spider is capable of a top speed of 199 mph. It was the most powerful, street-legal, naturally aspirated Ferrari automobile the company had ever launched in a convertible variant, until it was surpassed by the 790 hp naturally aspirated V12 of the LaFerrari Aperta in 2017.

458 Trunk

Comfort and Practicality

The Ferrari 458 is a comfortable car for two people. I have sat in an 458 and I have driven a F430 and I can tell you they are extremely nice and comfortable inside. The luggage space is a little snug at 8.1 cubic ft. This is almost half of what we had in the GT4 I wrote about which has 14.7 cubic ft and my own Corvette Z06. I have told you that I can easily get two carry on bags in the back of the Vette with plenty of room left over for other items such as the “shoe bag”. You would be hard-pressed to get two carry on’s in the 458. The good news is that Ferrari makes custom luggage for the 458 to maximize your space. Hey, if you’re buying a Ferrari you should be able to afford the Ferrari “custom luggage”.

Conclusion

The Ferrari 458 has been my dream car since it was introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model. For me, the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A (spyder) would be my choice. The added power and the super cool slide-slip angle control (SSC) would be fun to experiment with. The fact that it is a convertible is awesome too. It is so nice to feel warmth of the sun, the wind in the air and the beautiful sound of the naturally aspirated Ferrari sound bounce off those mountain walls while flying through the twisties….Let’s go for a drive!!!

Please leave comments below.

Wes

Exotic Cars and Road Trips

Enjoy the Road

Porsche Cayman GT4

Have you ever been asked what car would you most like to drive if price was no object ? Well for me it is the 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4. What………….. really……….. yes really. Of course, I would also like to drive a $300,000 Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren…….. I will get to these later. The GT4 to me is the best driver’s car on the market today!! This is why it is the first car on my exotic car reviews.

GT4

My wife, Miss Linda has a 1997 Porsche Boxter with a manual transmission. It is one of the most fun cars to drive. If you read one of my other post, the “Next 140 Miles”, you know that two of my Buddy’s on that trip had the Porsche Cayman S. There was just something about those cars and the graceful way they went through the twisties and back roads, so smooth and fast. Whether I was watching through my windshield as I followed or watching in my rear view mirror when I was leading……………… I just kept thinking I want to drive that car.

There are other exotic cars with more power that are faster…………… but for the pure joy of driving, the balance, power and manual transmission make for one of the best driving experiences ever!!

Exotic Car Reviews

A Little History

The original Porsche Boxster (the 986) was introduced in late 1996 as a two seat mid engine convertible sports car. It was Porsche’s first originally designed roadster since the Porsche 914. The original 986 was powered by a 2.5 liter flat six cylinder engine.

In 2005, Porsche debuted the second generation of the Boxster, type 987, with a more powerful engine and styling inspired by the Carrera GT. That was followed by the introduction of the 2006 Porsche Cayman. The Cayman is a coupe derived from Porsche’s second generation Boxster roadster. The car is not named after the Cayman Islands. Both the car and the islands are named after the caiman, a member of the alligator family. When the first Cayman arrived at dealerships for sale, the automaker adopted four caiman alligators at Stuttgart’s Wilhelma Zoo.

Introduced in 2016 for the 2017 model year, the Porsche Boxster and Cayman were renamed the Porsche 718 Boxster and Porsche 718 Cayman. The bad news at this time was the fact that Porsche had replaced the flat six cylinder engines with turbo charged 4 cylinder engines. While performance in most cases was a little better with the turbo 4, the soul of the 718 was not the same. There is nothing quite like the sound of a Porsche flat six cylinder engine with its steady linear acceleration!!

GT4

The first Cayman GT4 was available in 2015 and 2016. It had a slightly detuned 3.8 liter from the 911 GT3 making 385 HP and 310 lb-ft torque. It road 1.2 inch lower than a standard Cayman and came with a six speed manual transmission. The GT4 was a track focused car with limited production. The production numbers were supposed to be around 2500 worldwide with approximately 1200 coming to the US………….. not sure where the final numbers ended up.

Some Specs

The Porsche 718 Cayman is considered by many to be the perfect sports car. It handles with precision and engages the driver like no other car can. The proportions and mid engine design and weight make this one of the best handling cars on the road today.

The new 2020 GT4 takes all that the Cayman has to offer and enhances it with precision and poise. The best part of the new GT4 is the return of a naturally aspirated six cylinder engine along with a six speed manual transmission with auto blip feature, which is also referred to as rev matching. If you are not familiar with rev matching…………in my opinion it is one of the coolest features ever! If you are like me and only get to the track once a year or even once every other year, your track skills are not at their peak. One of the things I never got good at was the whole heel toe thing. This is where, during braking, you keep a portion of your foot on the accelerator to keep the rpm’s up as you downshift so you can accelerate faster out of the corner, the auto blip or rev matching does this for you………… it is so cool!!

The Wing

The engine is based on the turbocharged 3.0 liter from the 911 GT3 RS. It has been bored and stroked to 4.0 liter and is now turbo free for use in the GT4. The free breathing six cylinder can rev to 8000 rpm and makes 414 HP at 7600 rpm and 309 pound-fee of torque from 5000 to 6800 rpm. The suspension technology and brakes have also been borrowed from the 911 GT3 RS where the lower control arms have ball joints instead of bushings and the rear control arms have helper springs to offer incredible handling, the brakes have 15 inch rotors all around with six-piston calipers up front and fours in the rear. You can also option for the 16.1 inch fronts and 15.4 rears with optional carbon ceramics and adaptive dampers.

Comfort and Practicality

The GT4 is a track focused car. Most of the suspension parts can be manually adjusted for track use and it has only one driving mode………… sport. Most cars these days have multiple driving modes for comfort, sport or track………… not here as this car again is focused for the track. That being said, for the pure pleasure of driving, this would be a fabulous car for a road trip. You would want make sure that the roads you are headed for are in good repair and mostly smooth as the ride in the GT4 will be stiffer than most.

The interior is plenty comfortable for two people. I have experience riding as a passenger in Miss Linda’s Boxster and have also ridden as a passenger in my Buddy’s Cayman S. I was comfortable and had plenty of room in both. The GT4 interior is very similar save for the strap door handles.

Door Handle Strap

With two luggage compartments, the Cayman GT4 is a surprisingly practical. The rear compartment measures 9.5 cubic feet and the front 5.2 cubes. At 14.7 cubes combined, that’s about as much cargo space as in some sedans. Of course, because the GT4 doesn’t have one large trunk, larger items will struggle to fit, however you should have plenty of room for luggage for a weekend get away.

Interior

Conclusion

The Cayman has always been recognized as a great driver’s car, though in recent years it had lost its soul with the turbo 4 cylinder. With the new GT4 and its new 4.0 liter six cylinder singing the tunes we love while being engaged in the driving experience as we roll through gears while braking for corners and then accelerating out of them……….. could there be anything better. Yes, there are cars out there that have more power, more features for less money, but you won’t care if you are driving a GT4 because you will be having more fun than any of them.

This is the car that I most want to drive!!!

Please leave comments below

Wes

exoticcarsandroadtrips.com

Exotic Car Reviews

The other day I did a search for best road trip cars…………I was completely surprised when almost every list I found had minivans listed…………..EEEK. Now, I get it from one perspective, lots of room for family, luggage, the dog, maybe even camping.

No, what I was looking for was exotic cars that would be the most fun to drive on a nice winding two lane road. From my perspective the car and the road are what inspires the trip. The destination and the cool places you find along the way are the bonus not the motivation……………….yes, it is all about the road and the car!!

What is an exotic car…………. in most cases they are expensive, rare, impractical and high performance. These cars will not always be the best for lots of luggage, kids, dogs and certainly not camping. They will typically be two seaters and not always the most comfortable for the passenger………………. but boy o boy what fun for the driver. Actually we will pay attention to the passenger comfort…….. we need are partners to enjoy the trip so we can do more.

I’m going to start a list of the exotic cars that I am the most interested in driving……….. most of these cars I have not driven yet, so it’s going to be more like my wish list of the best road trip cars. Please come back and see as the list grows (no minivans here).

Thanks,

Wes

exoticcarsandroadtrips.com