“Nobody Does it Better” as Lotus celebrates Bonds’ Esprit S1…Honda to add some emotional energy and Clarity to world’s best auto show…Bridgestone go with the flow on SUVs…All aboard the Nissan Monster Bird and RC92…
Representing the state of the supercar art – don’t they always? – a one-off Evora Sport 410 has been commissioned through Lotus Exclusive as a tribute to one of its most famous ancestors, the Esprit S1. Launched in October, this little gem has apparently“wowed motoring press and customers with its combination of effortless pace and intuitive handling”.
With production limited to just 150 examples a year worldwide, as usual the company claim that the build schedule is filling up fast. The benchmark is said to have been set by the original Esprit S1 as seen in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. And, surprise, surprise, Lotus’ in-house personalisation department has crafted a special, one-off Evora Sport 410 in commemoration. With 410hp into a unit that weighs just 1280kg, it sprints from 0-100km/h in just 3.9 secs.
According the company’s Jean-Marc Gales, it’s the perfect tribute to such an influential Lotus, but a world away in terms of its abilities and performance. “Supremely fast and agile, rivals’ cars look overweight and underpowered in comparison. Lotus was founded on the principle of lightweight engineering and, even today, nobody does it better.”
A special, colour-coded bumper modifies the car’s front end, a one-piece carbon-fibre tailgate is part keyed white to give the illusion of a traditional liftback and a black coach line, sports a bespoke badge script on the B pillar in the style of the original Esprit’s graphics.
Nods to the Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me continue inside, with the insert panels of the carbon-fibre sports seats and door cards trimmed in the popular heritage tartan, while red contrast stitching complements the Alcantara dashboard and console finish.
Beneath the personalisation, the car retains all the engineering elements that make the Evora Sport 410 so formidable. There’s a supercharged, 3.5-litre six-cylinder engine, producing 410hp at 7000rpm and 420Nm of torque at 3500rpm, and highly advanced aerodynamics, which deliver up to 64kg of downforce.
“The car is refined on B-roads, but blisteringly fast when needed. The use of hand-made carbon-fibre components has been key in keeping mass to a minimum, with each specifically designed to enhance the car’s performance. Covering the car from nose to tail, they include front splitter, revised front access panel, roof section, tailgate, rear quarter panels, as well as the rear diffuser,” added Jean-Marc.
“These lightweight carbon components not only reduce the kerb weight of the Evora Sport 410 but also help lower the centre of gravity, allowing for the recalibration of the suspension, which, along with re-valved dampers and a reduced ride height, provide better body and roll control, but not at the expense of comfort and composure.”
Honda to add some emotional energy and Clarity to world’s best auto show!
Each year, the run up to what is probably the world’s ‘best’ motor show almost turns out to be better than the event itself. In fact, if you can manage to wade through all the pre-show guff then there’s hardly much point in actually going to the event. But then again it is Geneva and who would knock back an all expenses paid few days in the world most expensive city. Certainly not this hack.
So, who’s first off the rank with the pre-show stuff? Looks like that honour goes to Honda that plans to unveil an all-new, as opposed to a brand new, Civic Type R, described in autospeak as “having been engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment.”
Developed in parallel with the ‘new’ standard Civic hatchback, Type R features the latest 2.0-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine, production will begin in Swindon during the northern summer and units will be available down here sometime in the next 18 months.
Other items on the Honda stand will include the Clarity Fuel Cell claimed by the company to be the world’s most advanced fuel cell vehicle delivering a maximum of 620km and the Honda NeuV. Best described in autospeak, it is “a fully electric concept car with a unique ownership proposition and a state-of-the-art ‘emotion engine’ that can learn about its driver.
“The pure electric concept car explores a financially-beneficial ownership model for enterprising customers, by functioning as an automated ride sharing vehicle when the owner is not using the car. It would pick up and drop off customers at local destinations, and could also sell energy back to the electric grid during times of high demand when it’s sitting idle, further monetising the vehicle’s down time.
NeuV also functions as a thoughtful and helpful artificial intelligence assistant utilising an ‘emotion engine’, which learns from the driver by detecting the emotions behind their judgments. It can then apply what it has learnt from the driver’s past decisions to make new choices and recommendations…”
Bridgestone go with the flow on SUVs
The huge increase in sales of SUVs has led to Bridgestone Australia to add 14 new sizes to its Supercat H/T range. According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, SUVs accounted for 37.4% of the new vehicle market in 2016 – up from 35.4% in 2015.
“Automotive sales have a flow on effect to the tyre industry, so it’s important that we monitor any changes or trends closely,” said the company’s Andrew Moffatt. “For the past seven to eight years or so, Australian consumers have been moving away from the traditional passenger car and purchasing an increasing number of SUVs.
“It’s a trend that has shown no sign of slowing down, so it’s only right that we modify our offering to ensure we’re catering to the needs of Australian motorists.”
The Supercat H/T is available from Bridgestone Select, Bridgestone Service Centre and Bridgestone Tyre Centre stores in sizes including 225/65R17, 235/60R17 and 235/55R18.
All aboard the Nissan Monster Bird and RC92
Back in December, Nissan celebrated another successful motorsports season by saying thanks to fans in Japan and across the world at the Nismo Festival at Fuji Speedway in Japan, which brought together the stars and cars of Nissan’s past and present motorsport activities from around the world and attracted more than 30,000 fans. As for the other million or so admirers: well, how about a couple videos? Here’s your chance to jump in the classic 1968 Japan GP winning “Monster Bird,” the Nissan R381 around Fuji. Powered by a 5.5-litre V8 engine, this car featured innovative ‘aero stabilizers’ in the shape of a rear wing that moved in two parts independently.
Or, how about finding out what it’s like to ride inside a classic group C car at over 1000hp and then listen to Jann Mardenborough describe what it was like to drive the 1992 Japan Sports Prototype championship-winning car when a mechanical issue gave the car over three bar of boost and over 1000hp.