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Thread: Chariots of the Gods!

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Chariots of the Gods!


    Remember that fine '80s-era film classic, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"? If you do - and have longed to live the dream of piloting an uber-exotic with the wind in your hair, possibly airborne - and lesser cars receding rapidly in your rearview mirror - your options have never been better.

    If, that is, you have the means... .

    * Bugatti Veyron ($1.4 million)

    "Ultimate" is a much-abused term - but when it's used to describe the 16-cylinder, 1,001 horsepower, 252 mph, million-dollar-plus Bugatti Veyron, it is merely an accurate statement of the facts. There is no production car that's more powerful, faster, quicker - or more costly.

    Not by a long shot.

    The Veyron's W16 engine (basically, two narrow-angle V-8s arranged together in a "w" configuration) displaces a massive 8 liters - making it bigger than even the mightiest of '60s-era Detroit "big block" V-8s. It is fed by four turbochargers and feeds so much power to the custom-built wheels and tires that it's possible to do a four-wheeled burnout at highways speeds through the car's permanent AWD system and seven speed gearbox. If, that is, the driver is brave enough to give it full throttle. And with 1,000-plus horsepower on tap, physical courage is what's required to explore the Bugatti's ballistic capabilities. \

    The Veyron makes a Winston Cup stock car look like a weakling - and a million dollar house seem cheap. There is absolutely nothing like it on four wheels, anywhere - at any price.

    * Porsche 911 GT2 ($195,000 - est)

    How do you beat a Porsche? With another Porsche, naturlich. And with the latest version of Porsche's much-feared 911 GT2, you'll be able to whump just about anything else on the road, too. Only the Bugatti Veyron trumps it on top end (which it ought to, given it costs several times as much). But even the brutal Bugatti can't match the Porsche's footwork in a fast corner - and besides, you'll still see well in excess of 200 mph on top, which makes the '08 GT2 the fastest street-legal Porsche ever offered for sale to the general public.

    GT2s differ from run-of-the-mill 911s in several key respects - including wider bodywork, race-car-style carbon ceramic brakes, super-firm suspension and, of course, a brain-smasher engine upgrade. Final specifications were not available at the time of this writing, but the '08 GT2's heavily turbocharged boxer six should be pumping out at least 500-520 horsepower - or about 25-50 more than the previous generation GT2. If you see one coming up behind you on the Autobahn, move over.

    Like, right now.

    * Ferrari F430 Challenge Stradale ($200,00 - est)

    Ferris' 1962 250 GTO California might be more collectible - but the F430 Challenge Stradale would maul it in a dogfight.

    Like the GT2, the F430 Challenge Stradale takes an already formidable exotic supercar and makes it even more super - and even more exotic. Based on Ferrari's Challenge series competition cars, the F430 Challenge Stradale is basically a street-legal racer. It features carbon fiber and composite materials (including magnesium wheels) to decrease weight, a track-tuned suspension, modified F1-style transmission with ultra-tall gearing designed for suborbital velocities, heavily bolstered race-car seats - and at least a 30 percent bump in output over the standard F430's 4.3 liter, 483 horsepower V-8 engine. That would make the Challenge Stradale an easy member of the "500 Club" - that exclusive brethren of cars with more than 500 horsepower under their hoods - and one of the most formidable exotics you could hang a license plate on.

    The Challenge Stradale will appear in early 2008, alongside its more run-of-the-mill ($168,000) standard F430 stablemate.

    * Maserati Gran Turismo ($115,00 - est.)

    If you love the looks of the elegant Quattroporte sedan but feel it has two doors too many, you'll want to take a look at the new Gran Turismo two-plus-two coupe. It shares the overall styling theme of its Guigiaro-styled super-sedan brother - but with unique touches penned by Pininfarina studios. It rides on a shortened version of the Quattroporte's chassis but features a front-mounted transmission (instead of the rear-mounted transmission used in the sedan) to give it a near-perfect 50-50 weight split for better handling than its sibling.

    Power comes from a 4.2 liter, 405 horsepower DOHC V-8; standard features include Maserati's Skyhook active damping suspension system and a racy carbon-fiber/aluminum-trimmed cockpit designed to look great as well as shave weight. A higher-powered hardtop coupe with at least 470 horses under the hood is on deck for later in the 2008 model year- with an even more potent, track-intended Competizione version to follow after that.

    Just keep in mind the lyrics of that old Joe Walsh song as you slide behind the wheel: "My Maserati does 185... I lost my license, now I don't drive"!

    * Audi R8 ( $109,000)

    Ok, so Audi hasn't yet got the uber-prestige of Porsche (or BMW and Benz) when it comes to exotica - but the just-launched R8 coupe should change that perception in short order. The mid-engined, 420 horsepower R8 features an aluminum and carbon fiber skin stretched taut over a a space-frame chassis, which in turn claws the pavement through all four wheels and an R-tronic six-speed with computer-controlled clutch and driver-controlled gear changes. Performance is supercar stout: Zero to 60 mph in 4.3-4.4 seconds and a top speed of nearly 190 mph.

    While a few are faster, not many are newer - or can match the cachet of being the first Audi exotic offered for sale to the general public.

    And hey, it's almost affordable!

    * Cadillac XLR-V ($97,860 )

    Back in '97, Caddy was an old man's brand. Even the Eldorado of that era was a car for the AARP set. Not many buyers under 40 lusted after anything in the Cadillac portfolio circa the Clinton years.

    Realizing its buyer base wasn't getting any younger, Cadillac yanked up the parking brake, cranked the wheel hard over and did a tire-smoking 180. The dowdy Catera sedan was quietly shuffled off to the Assisted Living Community (its place taken by the much more youthful and exuberant CTS - and at the very top of Cadillac's lineup, a stiletto-heeled retractable hardtop roadster with Corvette DNA appeared. This car - the XLR - took 20 years off Caddy's buyer demographic all by itself. It also gave GM's premier division something it hasn't had in at least that long: a car that was fully capable of going toe-to-toe with six-figure uber-roadsters from Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and others. The ultra-performance '08 XLR-V takes all that up another notch - from its hand-assembled (and supercharged) 4.4 liter, 443 horsepower V-8 to its "kinetic" brushed aluminum interior accents. For the first time since the ill-starred Allante - and maybe eve since the last of the gangster bad-boy Eldorado rollers of the late 1960s - Cadillac has produced a ride your grandfather wouldn't want.

    But one which you might find mighty tempting.

    END

  2. #2
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    Re: Chariots of the Gods!

    It's a well-known fact: God drives an Alfa!

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    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Chariots of the Gods!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    It's a well-known fact: God drives an Alfa!
    Yeah, but it's a supercharged straight-8.

    In addition to the Alfa, God has also driven a Bugatti, an Auto-Union, a Maserati, and even a Mercedes.

  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Chariots of the Gods!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    It's a well-known fact: God drives an Alfa!
    But Satan rides a Vincent!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: Chariots of the Gods!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric

    Remember that fine '80s-era film classic, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"? If you do - and have longed to live the dream of piloting an uber-exotic with the wind in your hair, possibly airborne - and lesser cars receding rapidly in your rearview mirror - your options have never been better.



    I have never thought of Caddys as being uber-exotic
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

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    Re: Chariots of the Gods!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    I have never thought of Caddys as being uber-exotic
    Caddy V-16s from the 1930s might hsve been exotic.

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