Fast Lane: Battery power makes Speedtail "hybrid hyper GT" the fastest McLaren

Battery power behind ‘fastest McLaren’

McLaren says its Speedtail “hybrid hyper GT” has the highest specific battery power of any production car, making it “the fastest McLaren ever”.

During recent tests in the United States, it reached its maximum speed of 403kmh more than 30 times. Besides having excellent aerodynamics (such as a long tail), the car’s battery supplies its 230kW motor with an extremely high boost to assist the 4-litre twin-turbo V8. Together, they send the Speedtail to 300kmh in a breathtaking 13 seconds.

Their combined output comes up to 1,070hp and 1,150Nm, with 757hp and 800Nm attributable to the V8.

Lotus Elise in heritage colours


Lotus has launched four new limited-edition versions of the Elise – each with a vibrant and distinctive palette which pays tribute to the company’s racing history. The colour combinations are black and gold; red, white and gold; blue, red and silver; and blue and white. Officially called the Elise Classic Heritage Editions, all four versions offer an enhanced exterior and interior spec over the Elise Sport 220 on which they are based. In total, only 100 cars will be made.

Lockdowns may not lead to lower motor insurance

Despite cars being infrequently driven these days, motor insurance gross written premium (GWP) will see a marginal increase this year, according to analytics company GlobalData. While the data is culled from Britain, it may well apply to other jurisdictions.

Despite the majority of British motorists not using cars and therefore being unlikely to renew policies, there will be a growth of 0.4 per cent in GWP to £19.54 billion (S$34 billion) this year. This is because cars parked on public roads still have to be insured.

Claims are likely to see a significant decrease due to a sharp fall in road traffic accidents because of the lockdown. While this will mean insurers may be more profitable in this line, many of them will experience losses in other lines so they may use this profit to help balance the books, as opposed to lowering motor premiums.

But the forecast excluded insurers who offer usage-based policies. Such policies are likely to shrink because of dramatically lower mileage due to the lockdown.

Alfa Romeo facelifts


Alfa Romeo has unveiled 2020 facelifts of its Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The top-of-the-line models with their 510hp 2.9-litre biturbo V6 now boast cosmetic changes inside and out.

In the rear, new LED light clusters with dark lenses give the car a more menacing look. A glossy black finish adorns the front trilobe and rear badges.

The Stelvio also features new 21-inch alloys, seen for the first time on a Quadrifoglio. Inside, the centre console has been adapted to offer greater tactile and visual impact, while also providing more storage space.

On-board technology has also been upgraded to include a new infotainment system with an 8.8-inch touchscreen with more information and connectivity.

Sorento’s high-resolution video to view blind spots


Kia’s latest Sorento has a Blind-Spot View Monitor on the instrument cluster which displays high-resolution video. Instead of flashing lights and beeps, the video acts like a third wing mirror with a larger coverage. Its video feed can be from the left or right side, depending on the activation of the turning stalk. The feed comes from discreet wide-angle cameras hidden in each of the mirror housings.

Artificial bird poop used to test Ford paintwork

Ford tests the paintwork of its vehicles using artificial bird poop. The laboratory-developed synthetic droppings are so realistic that they can accurately reflect the different diets of most of the birdlife in Europe – and the subsequent different acidity of their droppings.

Applied to test panels as a spray, sample pieces are aged at 40, 50 and 60 deg C in an oven to replicate customer use in extreme heats, pushing the paint corrosion protection to its limits.

The “bird poop test” is just one of the ordeals paint samples are put through. Researchers also spray phosphoric acid mixed with soap detergent, and synthetic pollen, on panels before ageing them in ovens at 60 and 80 deg C for 30 minutes.

The test guards against airborne particulates such as pollen and sticky tree sap.

A Lamborghini launch with augmented reality


Lamborghini has launched its new rear-wheel-drive Huracan Evo Spyder via augmented reality.

Using Apple’s AR Quick Look, the company offers a close look at the 610hp/560Nm naturally aspirated V10 super convertible, capable of hitting 100kmh in 3.5 seconds – thanks to a specially tuned traction control system. Top speed is 324kmh.

Dip in Audi-brand car sales

Due to lockdowns and closed dealerships worldwide, deliveries of Audi-brand cars fell by 21.1 per cent in the first three months of this year. Group revenue amounted to €12.5 billion (S$19 billion), with operating margin of just 0.1 per cent.

Sister brand Porsche posted a 34 per cent drop in operating results, but still managed a return on sales of 9.5 per cent.

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