To sum up: McLaren's new Elva and the Ferrari Roma revealed
This week, as we look towards the LA motor show, McLaren have revealed it's latest ultimate-series offering, also announced is the end of the line Zeda special for the Maserati GranTurismo. Meanwhile Alfa Romeo have been told to drop their dreams of an 8C replacement and super-coupe thanks to new direction, as a result of the FCA-PSA merger. Ferrari has released a new V8 front-engine coupe to take on Aston and Mercedes, while Japanese manufacturer Aspark have dropped the mega powered (1965hp) Owl in Dubai.
The Lightest McLaren Yet
804bhp, 590lb ft, sub 1200kg kerb weight and $1.85 million (£1.425 million in old money). That's quite an impressive set of figures, all of which are attached to the new McLaren Elva. This is the latest release in the McLaren Ultimate series, following the P1, Senna and Speedtail models. The new, open-top speedster is aimed not solely at the track or for top speed but for some fair weather open road cruising with a few laps to finish for good measure, the car's name is a reference to the McLaren M1A created by the East Sussex car builder that used the same name.
The car comes with the usual plethora of go-fast parts from McLaren, including their ubiquitous 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and a bespoke carbon tub (shod with yet more carbon panels). In this application the V8 makes 804bhp, this, allied to the lowest kerbweight of any McLaren automotive car (less than the 1198kg Senna), gives some outstanding performance figures, 0-62mph in less than three seconds and 0-124mph in just 6.7. The car is also littered with modern aero features from the flat underside to an active rear wing and a carbon deflector to take air away from the occupants and into vital cooling areas.
Alongside the new body, the car also features a bespoke interior, though features infotainment and driver systems that McLaren faithfuls will be familiar with. McLaren is offering a windscreen and various weatherproofing for the uncovered interior, allowing driving in all conditions (depending on how crazy you are), while McLaren special operations are on standby to take your individualisation further (and stretch your wallet). Just 399 examples will be made, meaning even at $1.8 (£1.425) million I doubt McLaren will take long to fill every seat with a driver.
The End of the GranTurismo (for now)
After 12 years Maserati is calling time on the current line GranTurismo, ready to re-tool and adapt it's Modena manufacturing facility for new models. The factory is gearing up, according to Maserati, to build a 'super sports model' which is set to be revealed next year.
The Zeda (pictured above) is mechanically identical to the standard car, most importantly featuring a Ferrari-built 4.3-litre V8 engine, one of few naturally aspirated V8's left on sale (and with one of the best sounds), pushing out 460bhp and 384lb ft. Where the Zeda deviates is with it's distinctive paint scheme starting with a deep blue at the front, progressing through a dark grey centre and finishing at the satin silver rear-end.
Maserati's future is looking bright, with new investment thanks to the merger of FCA and PSA groups. New SUV's, GT's and hybrids are all on the horizon. I for one am just hoping that the next GT model is half as good as the ole GranTurismo (another V8 would be nice too...).
FCA-PSA Calls a Halt to Alfa's Best Laid Plans
Looking forward to the 8C rebirth or dreaming of the rumoured 600hp GTV coupe? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like these pipe dreams will not become reality anytime soon. Instead we will receive yet more SUV models and an Alfa Romeo EV, hardly exciting. Just as we can thank the PSA-FCA merger for the increasing Maserati investments, we can also thank it for crushing the dreams of Alfa Romeo performance car faithfuls.
The decision has been made due to Alfa's lack of sales across all models, with the intent to strengthen profits through more mass market models, in the current climate this means SUV's.
Hopefully the new merger will not be all bad for Alfa Romeo. The new links should mean more technology shared across the brands and lower development costs. So while the sports car programmes may have been halted for now, they could well be re-ignited in the future, our dreams of more fast Alfa's are not dead just yet.
A Mad Owl
The little known Japanese manufacturer Aspark has attempted to break the internet this week with a big power number, a very big number in fact, at 1965hp. The car, they claim, is the 'fastest accelerating car in the world', apparently able of reaching 60mph from a standstill in just 1.69 seconds thanks to an also ridiculous 1475lb ft, blimey!
The car is powered via four electric motors (meaning all that torque from 0rpm) and a small 64kWh lithium ion battery, with the aim of minimising weight. Despite this and most components being made of carbon fibre, the car still has a dry weight of just under 2 tonnes. Despite the small battery pack and huge power, the car is still reportedly able to cover 280 miles between charges.
Aspark plans to produce just 50 cars with deliveries due to begin in mid 2020. Those who are interested in the latest ridiculously fast, electrically powered hypercars better get looking down the back of the sofa. The Aspark Owl comes in at just under £2.5 million ($3.25 million).
Ferrari's Beautiful New Coupe
Ferrari's fifth release of 2019 no less (Maranello has been busy). The new Roma is Ferrari's latest V8 model, this time in a rear-drive, front-engined coupe layout. The car is aimed to sit in Ferrari's lineup as a faster, more focused model, above the Portofino, but below Ferrari's bonafide supercars and the Lusso grand tourer.
The Roma is based on the same underpinnings as the Portofino, also sharing it's V8 engine, though gaining 19bhp for a total of 611. This combined with a drop in weight compared to it's convertible cousin, of 73kg (to 1472kg dry) gives the Roma impressive performance, as you might expect from a Ferrari. 0-62mph in just 3.4 seconds and a circa 200mph top speed. The car does not share a gearbox with the Portofino however, using instead the latest eight-speed DCT 'box from the SF90 Stradale.
The car is similar in size to the Aston Martin Vantage and Mercedes AMG GT, which appear currently to be it's main rivals. The Ferrari has those two beat in pure performance and also carries that famous prancing horse, which is sure to boost sales. The car however, is set to be more expensive than both of the alternatives. No figures are confirmed but an estimate of over £160,000 (> $200,000) makes this at least £30,000 ($40,000) more than it's rivals. Whether the Ferrari name and glorious V8 engine can make up the difference is yet to be seen. That styling though, I think we can all agree is the work of a talented set of designers, though is anyone else seeing some similarities with Aston Martin here?