Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Safety

DEU HB Verkehr Tempolimit

If George Orwell were alive today and had read this story from The Daily Telegraph, he’d be standing in the middle of the Rue de la Loi, shouting “I told you so!” at the top of his lungs. In a bid to decrease the 30,000 deaths on European roads each year, the European Commission is seeking to require speed-limiting devices on all vehicles.

It’s unclear how the commission would go about this, although according to The Daily Telegraph. The leading candidates involve vehicle-mounted cameras that read speed-limit signs, or satellites beaming speed information into cars so that motorists can be warned whenever they are at risk of exceeding the limit. Another, more invasive scenario could actually see a vehicle’s brakes applied any time the driver exceeds the maximum allowable speed, in this case, 70 mph. This proposed legislation isn’t sitting well with the United Kingdom, though.

Britain’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has flatly opposed the notion, telling the paper, “This has Big Brother written all over it.” Besides infringing on the freedom of drivers, the Ministry of Transport also argues that the UK’s road safety record – only 1,754 people dying on the island nation’s roads in 2012 – proves that Britain can get by without the the mandate.

Us? We don’t see this attempt getting very far. Aside from the inevitable invasion of privacy concerns, there’s a big financial one, as well – most countries, states and municipalities in Europe have some level of dependency on revenue collection from speed violations, be they administered automatically via speed camera or the good old fashioned way, by getting pulled over.

What do you think of all this? Have your say in Comments.

UPDATE: The EU has issued a rather scathing formal statement denying this report, saying it is “quite simply not true.” Read the full statement here at the official EU blog.

Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Safety

DEU HB Verkehr Tempolimit

If George Orwell were alive today and had read this story from The Daily Telegraph, he’d be standing in the middle of the Rue de la Loi, shouting “I told you so!” at the top of his lungs. In a bid to decrease the 30,000 deaths on European roads each year, the European Commission is seeking to require speed-limiting devices on all vehicles.

It’s unclear how the commission would go about this, although according to The Daily Telegraph. The leading candidates involve vehicle-mounted cameras that read speed-limit signs, or satellites beaming speed information into cars so that motorists can be warned whenever they are at risk of exceeding the limit. Another, more invasive scenario could actually see a vehicle’s brakes applied any time the driver exceeds the maximum allowable speed, in this case, 70 mph. This proposed legislation isn’t sitting well with the United Kingdom, though.

Britain’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has flatly opposed the notion, telling the paper, “This has Big Brother written all over it.” Besides infringing on the freedom of drivers, the Ministry of Transport also argues that the UK’s road safety record – only 1,754 people dying on the island nation’s roads in 2012 – proves that Britain can get by without the the mandate.

Us? We don’t see this attempt getting very far. Aside from the inevitable invasion of privacy concerns, there’s a big financial one, as well – most countries, states and municipalities in Europe have some level of dependency on revenue collection from speed violations, be they administered automatically via speed camera or the good old fashioned way, by getting pulled over.

What do you think of all this? Have your say in Comments.

UPDATE: The EU has issued a rather scathing formal statement denying this report, saying it is “quite simply not true.” Read the full statement here at the official EU blog.

Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo to hit 60 mph in 2 seconds?

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, Nissan, Rumormill

Here’s your daily dose of incredulity – AutoExpress is reporting the 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo will hit 60 miles per hour in two seconds. Okay. The report comes from an unnamed source that AE spoke with at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and would mean that the GT-R Nismo, a car that will likely sit below $150,000, will be able to outsprint (over short distances) a 1200-horsepower, $2.58-million Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.

Citing a more potent version of the GT-R’s twin-turbocharged V-6 along with a healthy drop in weight, AutoExpress says that the performance is the result of the same group that helped develop the Juke Nismo, Williams Advanced Engineering. An unnamed engineer for Williams (it’s not made clear if this is the same source from Goodwood) notes that there are improvements to be had “even with a car like the GT-R.”

As exciting as the GT-R Nismo is going to be, we’re having a hard time accepting that it will be able to hit 60 in two seconds flat, at least on street tires. What do you think? Have your say in Comments.

2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo to hit 60 mph in 2 seconds? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Jul 2013 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Honda Mean Mower hits 60 mph in 4 seconds, cuts to 130 mph [w/video] [UPDATE]

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Honda, UK, Specialty

Back in June, we reported that Top Gear was building what it hoped would become the world’s fastest lawn mower, and had solicited help from Honda and its British Touring Car Championship partner Team Dynamics. Well, they’ve finished the build and the resulting contraption is the Mean Mower. With a top speed estimated to be over 130 miles per hour, it should beat the 96.529-mph record set by Bobby Cleveland and his Snapper race mower at the Bonneville Salt Flats in September 2010, and take the cake as the fastest lawn mower ever.

Let’s start off with the specs: 109 horsepower, 309-pound curb weight and 0-60 mph in four seconds. Crazy numbers, but maybe you’ll be comforted that the lawn mower is a Honda HF2620 in name only, with a custom chassis made of 4130 chromoly, a 1,000cc engine from a VTR Firestorm, a paddle-shifted six-speed transmission, a bespoke suspension and wheels from an ATV. The body was sourced from the production mower, however.

Sure, it can cut grass – at 15 mph, double the top speed of a regular HF2620 – using two electric motors spinning 3mm steel-cutting cables at 4000 rpm, but the grass bag has been reengineered to house the fuel tank, a high-capacity oil cooler and a secondary radiator. So much for that clean cut.

Honda says that it has topped 100 mph on track, but there’s no video to verify this. (Please Honda!?) But there is a great teaser with reigning BTCC champion Gordon “Flash” Shedden mowing the lawn in a mean way, below.

UPDATE: A second video of the Mean Mower has been added below, this time featuring The Stig.

Continue reading Honda Mean Mower hits 60 mph in 4 seconds, cuts to 130 mph [w/video] [UPDATE]

Honda Mean Mower hits 60 mph in 4 seconds, cuts to 130 mph [w/video] [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Land-speed racer Bill Warner dies from motorcycle crash at 285 MPH

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Suzuki

Motorcycle land-speed record holder Bill Warner died yesterday after crashing during an attempt at setting another record. The 44-year-old was clocked at 285 miles per hour on the runway of a former air base in northern Maine, before he lost control of his modified Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle and veered off the runway.

It is not known what speed he was traveling when things started to go wrong and unclear what caused the crash, which happened shortly before 10:00 AM. Warner’s crew suspect there were mechanical difficulties on his last run, in addition to a slight breeze, according to the video news report. Warner was conscious and able to speak after the crash but died an hour and 15 minutes later at a hospital in Caribou. The event and runway were closed for the rest of the day as police investigated the incident.

Warner was participating in “The Maine Event” at Loring Air Force Base in an attempt to reach 300 mph in one mile. Warner’s best land-speed record, set in 2011, was 311.945 mph in 1.5 miles on the same runway, according to the Loring Timing Association, a record that still stands today for open-cockpit motorcycles. After that run, Warner said the scariest part was stopping the bike before the end of the runway. Be sure to check out the video news report after the jump.

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Land-speed racer Bill Warner dies from motorcycle crash at 285 MPH originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Jul 2013 16:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Green Culture, Racing

Michelin Drayson Electric Speed Record

A 39-year-old FIA World Electric Land Speed Record has fallen to a sleek, green electric machine called the Lola. Officially the Drayson B12 69/EV electric Le Mans Prototype, the 1000-kilogram (2,204-pound) race car hit a top speed of 204.185 miles per hour yesterday at RAF Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, England. That’s over 29 mph faster than the previous record of 175 mph that was set in 1974 by Battery Box General Electric.

“I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable.”

Completing two runs down the three-kilometer track, Lord Paul Drayson piloted the finely tuned, 850-horsepower EV to the record-setting run. Afterwards, the proud driver said, “I’m delighted we’ve beaten the record tonight and can show the world EVs can be fast and reliable. It is not the outright speed of 204.185mph that is most impressive about this record, but the engineering challenge of accelerating a 1000kg electric vehicle on a short runway over a measured mile.” The car has a 30-kWh battery and ran on confidential-specification LM P1 Michelin tires. You can see a video of the run below.

Of course, there are records and then there are records. The Ohio State University Buckeye Bullet, for example, is an EV that has topped 300 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. But, according to the FIA, Drayson is now the team to beat. We have to assume that someone will try to snag the title before another four decades are up. Nissan, perhaps?

Continue reading Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record

Drayson Racing EV hits 204.185 mph, sets new FIA world land speed record originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumormill: Jaguar working on 700-hp, 200-mph hybrid F-Type?

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Hybrid, Performance, Jaguar, Rumormill

2013 Jaguar F-Type - front three-quarter view

After first driving the 2014 Jaguar F-Type in Spain this spring, we came away mighty impressed. Of course, if you had to pin us down for a top three wish list of what improvements we’d like to see, we’d probably hit you with something like: 1) Less weight. 2) Less weight and 3) Less weight. Oh, and if we’re feeling presumptuous, maybe some additional transmission choices.

Despite leveraging aluminum for the body and chassis, this Jaguar is still a bit of a fat cat compared to its rival models from Porsche. We never felt like it was lacking for power in any of its three supercharged trims, least of them the 495-horsepower V8 S, which is a genuine madman. We knew the variants would come, though – a quick look at the rest of Jag’s lineup provides all the evidence you need of that. And so we’re not surprised to see word of a hyper-powered F-Type on the horizon, an R-S version. What is surprising, however, is a new report that put its motivation at over 700 horsepower and its top speed at 200+ mph. Us? We’re just hoping the latter figure comes at least partially as a result of a hardcore diet.

This F-Type R-S news comes according to the rumormongers at AutoExpress, who expect the high-power Brit to come in coupe form, at least initially. We still haven’t seen the debut of the fixed-head F, but plenty of spy shots suggest its arrival is imminent. Wildly, AE posits that Jag won’t look for more displacement to gain power, it will instead radically downsize by using a 1.6-liter turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder and an array of electric motors. If that sounds familiar, that’s because AE suggests the high-tech powertrain will be scavenged from the defunct C-X75 supercar program (interestingly, earlier reports suggested this combination would only deliver about 500 horsepower).

AutoExpress says we’re in for a bit of a wait before the F-Type R-S checks in, likely 2016 or later. Intriguing as it all sounds, we won’t exactly be holding our breath…

Jaguar working on 700-hp, 200-mph hybrid F-Type? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Jun 2013 17:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Aston Martin V12 Vantage S hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, priced at $184,995

Filed under: Car Buying, Coupe, Performance, Aston Martin

Aston Martin unveiled its new V12 Vantage S last month, and while the Gaydon firm dumped on us a lot of knowledge about its updated 12-cylinder sports car at the time, a couple key specs were left out: price and the quickness. Aston Martin corrected those omissions today, announcing that the V12 Vantage S will accelerate to 60 miles per hour in just 3.7 seconds and arrive in US dealerships early next year with a starting price of $184,995.

Its sub-four-second 0-60 time makes the V12 Vantage S the quickest car in Aston Martin’s current lineup, and second quickest of all time behind only the limited edition One-77 supercar. Credit the updated 6.0-liter AM28 V12 engine for the boost in urgency. The new mill outputs 565 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque, increases of 50 and 37, respectively, over the twelve-cylinder it replaces. Likewise, the new seven-speed automated manual transmission, which can also be found in the V8 Vantage S as well as Aston’s FIA GT racecars, deserves some credit for having brought an extra gear and 55 fewer pounds to the party.

As for the price, $184,995 might seem like a 401k-cracking amount to us mere middle class citizens, but it’s actually a reasonable increase over the prior V12 Vantage starting price of $180,600. Considering the laundry list of mechanical improvements that Aston has made, all of which are chronicled here, it’s actually quite the bargain. Seriously, it’s like Aston Martin is daring you to buy it. Scroll down below for the official press release.

Continue reading Aston Martin V12 Vantage S hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, priced at $184,995

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, priced at $184,995 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 20 Jun 2013 15:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 220-mph Vencer Sarthe supercar to be revealed at Salon Prive

Filed under: Coupe, Performance, UK, MISC

The last time we heard about Dutch supercar upstart Vencer was a little more than a year ago when it announced it would call its one offering Sarthe. Vencer says the Sarthe will be officially unveiled to the UK in early September at London’s Salon Privé.

The Sarthe sure seems to bring the supercar goods. Vencer says it will be a tube steel and chrome-moly chassis attached to a honeycomb aluminum floor. Top Gear says a “510-bhp Corvette V8” sits behind the driver, to which a six-speed manual is bolted. Vencer says the car’s carbon fiber bodywork helps keep the weight near 3,064 pounds. Light weight and high power team up to propel the supercar to 60 in just 3.8 seconds and then to a top speed of 202 miles per hour.

Air conditioning, electric windows and locks, “in-car entertainment,” an alarm and ABS are the standard accoutrements, but customers can request extras.

Speaking of customers, there won’t be very many since production will be “low volume.” Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the London coming-out party will feature English afternoon tea, champagne and a lobster luncheon. So, bet on including that in the eventual sticker price.

Read the official press release below.

Continue reading 220-mph Vencer Sarthe supercar to be revealed at Salon Prive

220-mph Vencer Sarthe supercar to be revealed at Salon Prive originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Jun 2013 10:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Opel removes governor on Insignia OPC ‘Unlimited’, runs to 168 mph

Filed under: Sedan, Europe, GM, Opel

Opel Insignia OPC 'Unlimited'

Opel Insignia OPC ‘Unlimited’ – Click above for high-res image gallery

In its current form, the 325-horsepower Opel Insignia OPC (you know, the car that the upcoming 255-hp Buick Regal GS was supposed to but sadly won’t replicate) will carry speeds of up to 155 miles per hour before its electronic nannies kick in and prevent your speedometer’s needle to climb any higher. But since European buyers are able to take their cars onto the unrestricted Autobahn, Opel has now created a special version of the OPC – dubbed ‘Unlimited’ – that removes its top-end cut-off.

With its electronic limiter removed, Opel says that the Insignia OPC will reach speeds as high as 168 mph. This new top speed only applies to OPC sedans fitted with the automaker’s six-speed manual transmission.

Unlimited models are visually distinguished by blue Brembo brake logos, as well as a revised tachometer and speedometer. Opel says that a special edition of the Unlimited OPC with a matte black wrap is also in the works. Buyers will also automatically be enrolled in an OPC performance driving training course at the automaker’s proving grounds in Dudenhofen, Germany, where they will learn how to properly manage the driving dynamics of this delicious performance sedan.

If you ask us, 155 mph is plenty fast, especially for a public road like the Autobahn. But if you’re on a closed track with a long straightaway, that added 13 mph will no doubt come in handy. Click past the jump for Opel’s official press release.

Gallery: Opel Insignia OPC ‘Unlimited’

Opel Insignia OPC 270-km/h SedanOpel Insignia OPC 270-km/h SedanOpel Insignia OPC 270-km/h SedanOpel Insignia OPC 270-km/h SedanOpel Insignia OPC 270-km/h Sedan

[Source: General Motors]

Continue reading Opel removes governor on Insignia OPC ‘Unlimited’, runs to 168 mph

Opel removes governor on Insignia OPC ‘Unlimited’, runs to 168 mph originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 15 Apr 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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