When Suzuki unveiled the Hayabusa in 1999, many would have understandable thought that the speed and horsepower battle of superbikes was over. How could you sell a faster bike without almost instantly killing your customers? Well it appears Kawasaki isn’ t that interested in repeat business. Because in the very near future they’re going to be selling a 300 horsepower widow-maker.
Revealed at the 2014 Intermot Motorcycle Show in Cologne, the Ninja H2R is an engineering work of genius and insanity all rolled into one. It’s powered by a supercharged 998 cc inline four-cylinder engine which produces 300 horsepower, more than a MotoGP bike, and more than many sports cars.
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At the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Honda will be providing a sneak peek at the all-new Civic Type R which is set to go on sale in Europe next year. Other markets, including the US, will have to wait to find out when, or if, it’s headed their way.
When announcing the specifications of the concept, Honda has made some fairly exciting claims. Chief amongst them is the statement that the new Civic Type R will have unmatched performance against all previous Type R models, including the legendary NSX. That’s bold talk, which no doubt will be tested in real-life through some fairly entertaining comparison tests.
The 2015 Honda Civic Type R will be powered by a high-revving, turbocharged, 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine which produces more than 280 horsepower. The transmission is a six-speed manual. A manual transmission was chosen to give the driver a more involved experience, and also because picking your own gear as you head into your favorite corner is one of life’s little pleasures that any driver’s car should offer.
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The Ferrari 458 Speciale A will make its world debut at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. The 458 Speciale A will be the most powerful open top Ferrari ever to roll out of the factory gates, and will also be one of the company’s most exclusive models, with just 499 set to be built.
The ‘A’ in the car’s name stands for ‘Aperta’, which in Italian means ‘Open’. I don’t think I need explain why. The folding aluminium roof helps keep the weight down, and the 458 Speciale A is only 50 kgs (110 lbs) heavier than the Speciale coupe. The roof takes just 14 seconds to raise or lower.
Powering the Ferrari 458 Speciale A is a mid-mounted naturally aspirated V8 which produces 605 horsepower and 400 ft lbs (540 Nm) of torque. The fact this engine has already won three International awards is highlighted on a special plaque in the cockpit.
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The Chevrolet Colorado Sport Concept is a vehicle which has been designed with adventure and outdoor activities in mind. Chevrolet say the Colorado Sport Concept is designed to showcase the lifestyle-orientated versatility of the mid-size pickup. But really it’s just an excuse to show off all the official accessories available for the vehicle.
“It’s not just mountain bikes, but just about any passion you can name, from kayaking, fishing, dirt bikes and more,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “It’s a truck for those who need the versatility of a pickup to support their work and lifestyle interests, but don’t need a full-size truck to do it.”
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The French-built Amiot 351 (and its multiple variants) was one of the few aircraft in the second world war to serve with both the allies and the axis powers. The little-known Amiot 351 was one of the most graceful looking planes of the era. It was also one of France’s most advanced aircraft, being leap years ahead of all previous models.
The 351 light bomber was a development of the Amiot 341 prototype, of which only one was built in 1937. The first aircraft was constructed before war broke out, and it was in part used to try and convince the Nazis that France was in fact capable of building modern aircraft. In fact a prototype was flown to Berlin in the summer of 1938 in an unsuccessful attempt to convince the Germans that the French had some dangerous aircraft at their disposal.
The same year the French government ordered 130 production aircraft, later upping the order significantly to 830. However development problems meant that it wasn’t until 1940 that the first aircraft were delivered. Even then many of them lacked the full range of armament which had initially been promised. In addition a simpler single-tailed version, the Amiot 354, was also developed.
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With the 2014 Paris Motor Show just around the corner, the pre-show unveilings are coming thick and fast now. Not to be left out, Infiniti will be showing up with a curvaceous four-door sedan concept called the Q80 Inspiration.
The luxury four-seater has an extremely elegant and sculpted feel about it. Infiniti say the Q80 Inspiration is a “sensual interpretation of the Infiniti brand”. The designers have worked hard to make the concept as sleek as possible. There are no side mirrors, and the windows and roof seem to flow almost seamlessly into the bodywork.
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At the IAA commercial vehicles show in Hannover, Germany, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles unveiled a concept vehicle called the TRISTAR. The TRISTAR concept revives a name first used 30 years ago for a similar van/pickup combo based on the VW van of the time.
The modern Volkswagen TRISTAR Concept features a rugged appearance, raised ride height, an extended cab, permanent AWD and a ruggedized cargo bed. Loads can be distributed on two separate levels: there is a spacious, dust-proof and watertight drawer under the flatbed section, where a deep-tread spare tire is also housed.
Overall the concept gives the appearance of a more civilized Unimog, with a similar snub nose and short hood layout. The sharp styling lines, LED headlights and a changed architecture of the whole front give the TRISTAR concept a wide and purposeful appearance. It doesn’t look like an unhappy marriage of a van front and a pickup rear. It looks like it was born to haul stuff.
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This year’s Paris Motor Show will play host to numerous concept car debuts from manufacturers across the world. Toyota has chosen the event to unveil their vision for a hybrid-powered compact crossover. And interestingly the company say the concept is an early preview of a vehicle which they would like to put into production.
The Toyota C-HR concept has a coupe-like body shape, but a raised ride height like an SUV. The two-door cabin and sloping roofline make it clear that although it might be able to do a bit of mild off-roading, it wasn’t exactly designed for practicality of hauling much in the way of cargo or people.
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A team of engineers at the Nissan Technical Center in Stanfield, Arizona have just put the finishing touches to a one-of-a-kind LEAF-based pickup truck. The vehicle was created as part of a team-building exercise, but it will also act as a little workhorse at the facility, and help haul people and supplies around the tech center and proving ground – which covers an expansive 3,050 acres.
The project took several months to complete and features elements from both the Nissan Frontier and the Nissan Titan pickups, as well as the LEAF on which it is based. Nicknamed Sparky, the truck retains the LEAF’s electric drivetrain, chassis, and front half of the passenger compartment, but where the rear seats and trunk would normally be, a Nissan Frontier bed has been added. The engineers had to modify the bed (obviously) taking a little off the length, width and height. The rear of the passenger cabin, including the electric rear window, came from a Titan which was set to go into the crusher.
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The headline act on the Peugeot stand at the 2014 Paris Motor Show will be this, the Peugeot QUARTZ. The QUARTZ is a futuristic SUV concept with dramatic styling and a 500 horsepower hybrid drivetrain. The concept is based on the same platform underpinning the new 308.
Peugeot say the QUARTZ represents their vision for the crossover segment, and showcases innovative materials as well as the company’s latest HYbrid system. Which in this case consists of a 270 horsepower 1.6 litre turbocharged engine assisted by a 113 horsepower electric motor which both drive the front wheels. At the rear a second 113 horsepower electric motor drives the rear wheels. The transmission is a six-speed automatic.
The QUARTZ has three driving modes to suit different conditions and requirements. In ZEV mode the vehicle uses electric power alone, allowing it to cover up to 31 miles before needing a recharge. For higher speeds or longer journeys, Road mode engages both the engine and front electric motor. And for more rigorous use the Race mode can be activated which also brings online the rear motor for maximum performance.
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