Top 5 Tuners of the 2010 Geneva Motor Show
This year the 2010 Geneva Auto Show was like a buffet in which I hand-picked all the types of food. The manufacturers were the staples; steak, potatoes, a dessert platter, etc. I expected them to be there and taste good, as usual. But the real treats this year came from the tuners. They are the crazy geniuses that take a mass-produced car into their kitchens and create something extraordinary and (for better or worse) original. There were lots of tuners and coach-builders showing their wares at Geneva this year, and here are my 5 favorites in no specific order:
1. RUF RGT-8
Right now you’re probably thinking, “RUF brought a 911 to Geneva, duh. Who cares?” Well, you will, when you read that this is not the usual Porsche 911 Turbo-based RUF, but instead is one of those rare Franken-cars that transcends above the 911. The RUF RGT-8 is based on a 997 turbo, but there’s nothing “turbo” about it. In the back is a 4.5 liter V8, producing 550hp at a raucous 8,500rpm, and making 367 lb-ft of torque. Even higher on the incred-o-meter, by using a dry-sump lubrication system and titanium connecting rods, this engine actually weighs 80 lbs less than the 3.8L V6. A team of only 3 took two years to design and build the engine, which runs without the use of any external belts, keeping it light and compact.
If, like me, you always thought the 911 turbo could use a better soundtrack, this ought to fix that problem. And if you think it’s a travesty to have an N/A 997 Turbo, RUF engineers stated the engine is so compact, there’s actually room for two turbochargers, should a buyer request them. Carbon ceramic brakes come standard, as does a roll cage, pointing to RUF’s comprehensive approach to auto design. A TT V8 in the back of a 911 is the kind of innovation and progress that gives RUF its loyal following and respect, and why it sits in our top 5. RUF plans to build 300 RGT-8s, with an estimated price of $300,000 a piece.
2. Abt Sportsline R8 GTR
Take a moment to look at the shape that Abt Sportline has created, and it should be clear this is not going to be a normal Audi R8. Using carbon fiber, Abt gave the R8 GTR a shape that is edgier than stock, without crossing the line into crazy-town. By replacing the hood, trunk, front fascia, mirrors and door panels with carbon fiber units, Abt skinned 220 lbs from the R8. All that weight loss would make the R8 5.2 plenty fast, but Abt took it a few steps further, bringing the V10 engine’s output up to a serious 620hp. That combo of light weight and big power equals 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and on to a vmax of 202mph.
The aggressive face and big wing move the R8 from humble everyday supercar into aggressive track performer, and the only word that comes to mind is, “lethal.” The theme is continued inside, where Alcantara abounds, with “GTR” badges adding performance accents. It’s a wonderful combination of luxury and focused performance. The result is a cockpit that looks equally comfortable and capable. Start selling kidneys (yes, both of them) now, because Abt only plans to build 25 GTRs. With such a great package of performance and aesthetics, I have no doubt they will sell out fast.
3. TechART GTStreet R
TechART is a name that is synonymous with fast Porsches, so it was no surprise they showed up to Geneva with their newest “GTStreet”-derived car, the TechART GTStreet R. The old GTStreet is a 997 kit that adds a subtle body kit to the famous 997 body. The “R” simply builds off of that, with more aggressive body changes and an even more aggressive wing. The front fascia’s intakes are so big, the “balloon boy” could easily hide in there. Massive 20” wheels let plenty of red brake caliper show through, looking like a kid who put his dad’s shoes on.
In usual TechART form, the engine has been boosted to 660hp and 635 tq. Calling a TechART‘s performance anything but exceptional is an exercise in blasphemy, as a 0-60 time of 3.5s and a top speed of 214mph, proves. TechART has been bringing us 911-based creations for years, and every year I have to add another one of their cars to my wish list. They go through the 997 with a fine comb, and change anything and everything they deem necessary. Just look at the picture above of what goes into the body of the car, and you get an idea of how meticulous their work is. The engine and suspension work isn’t even included. They continue to improve their own designs, raising their personal bar for looks and performance each time. The new TechART GTStreet R succeeds on all fronts.
4. Novitec Ross 599 GTB-Based 848 RACE
What does one of the world’s only, and best, Ferrari tuner bring to the big show? Nothing less than a twin-supercharged 599 GTB Fiorano. The German Ferrari tuner Novitec Rosso has been putting out exceptional cars this year, with one particular high note, its use of twin superchargers in F430s. Taking a car that is already at the edge of sanity, Novitec chucks it off that cliff by giving this 599 a mind-warping 848hp. 621 ft. lbs of twist happens at a sonorous 6,300RPM. With wind-tunnel proven aerodynamics, the car will reach 186 mph in only 23.7 seconds and the stampede doesn’t stop until 214mph.
HUGE 405mm, 6-piston brakes sit both front AND rear, keeping this Italian rocket under control. A cool addition to the car’s mannetino dial changes the exhaust baffles, so you get to change the volume like it’s a V-12 stereo. Novitec offers it’s customers a fully customized interior, ranging from the luxurious to the race-ready. Novitec Rosso’s 848 RACE is just another example of how this amazing builder is pushing the limits of one of the world’s most revered brands. The 848 RACE is an extreme GT car, as well as a track-bashing racer, and I just love it.
[collapse collapsed title=Press Release]NOVITEC ROSSO RACE 848 – this name stands for an absolutely unique high-performance sports car. Only three of these automotive masterpieces will be built. The two-seater car is based on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano and celebrates its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2010.
Underneath the striking aluminum skin that sports the unusual color combination of matte white and grey beats an extremely powerful heart: The NOVITEC ROSSO RACE 848 twelve-cylinder twin compressor engine produces 848 hp / 624 kW of power and has a peak torque of 842 Nm. Powered by this engine the car sprints from rest to 100 km/h in less than 3.4 seconds, to 300 km/h in just 23.7 seconds, and reaches a top speed in excess of 345 km/h. This exclusive special model also features an aerodynamic-enhancement kit developed in the wind tunnel, three-piece 21-inch wheels with matching sports suspension, a high-performance brake system and exclusive interior options.
The NOVITEC ROSSO RACE 848 is powered by an evolutionary stage of the tried and proven twin-compressor engine conversion for the six-liter V12 four-valve engine of the F599. For an additional power increase of 40 hp / 29.4 kW both mechanical chargers were fitted with modified turbine blades, several details of the engine peripherals were modified and the engine electronics were reprogrammed.
The high-performance chargers have an electronically limited boost pressure of 0.48 bars. The chargers are driven by a cogged belt and have their own dedicated oil circuit. A large water-to-air intercooler with dedicated water circuit also contributes greatly to the optimal power yield. A custom-developed intake manifold, high-performance injectors and sport air filter round out the engine conversion.
In addition, high-performance headers custom-designed for the compressor engine and the NOVITEC ROSSO stainless-steel quad sport exhaust system with a pipe diameter of 90 millimeters are also installed. The intensity of the exhaust note can be adjusted with a little switch on the steering wheel called the ‘manettino.’
The NOVITEC ROSSO engine management system coordinates the perfect interaction of all conversion components and ensures excellent power yield, running smoothness beyond reproach and maximum longevity.
The NOVITEC ROSSO RACE 848 specification represents a power increase over the production engine of 228 hp / 167.8 kW to 848 hp / 624 kW at 7,900 rpm. Simultaneously peak torque grows by 234 Nm to 842 Nm at 6,300 rpm.
Longer carbon-fiber NOVITEC ROSSO shift paddles make shifts of the six-speed F1-Superfast transmission even quicker and more precise. The gearbox also plays a major part in the superior performance of the car. Acceleration from rest to 100 km/h takes just 3.4 seconds, the sprint to 200 km/h a mere 9.6 seconds. With a sprint time for 0 – 300 km/h of just 23.7 seconds the NOVITEC ROSSO RACE 848 solidifies its position among the world’s fastest-sprinting sports cars. The car reaches a top speed of more than 345 km/h.
This level of performance places highest demands on well-balanced aerodynamic properties which received their finishing touches in the wind tunnel. The NOVITEC ROSSO front spoiler lip reduces lift on the front axle. The rear apron is upgraded visually and aerodynamically with a rear diffuser. The NOVITEC ROSSO rear wing further increases downforce.
The NOVITEC ROSSO rocker panels calm the airflow between front and rear wheel arches and their large air ducts optimize the supply of cooling air for the rear brakes.
The unique paint scheme sets the NOVITEC ROSSO RACE 848 even further apart from the rest: The matte-white aluminum body contrasts with grey accents such as the roof and parts of the hood to create an especially sporty appearance. Black side markers, black tail lights and third brake light as well as LED backup lights add further visual highlights.
The high-performance equipment also includes three-piece NOVITEC ROSSO NF3 wheels shod with Pirelli P Zero high-performance tires. The alloy wheels with five double spokes measure one inch diameter more than the production wheels. The front axle features size 9Jx20 wheels with size 275/30 ZR 20 tires. Size 12.5Jx21 wheels and size 355/25 ZR 21 tires on the rear axle provide excellent traction.
The king-size wheels offer space for the high-performance brake system developed in cooperation with brake specialist Brembo. The system uses the largest brake components currently approved for street use. Front and rear axle feature steel discs with a diameter of 405 millimeters and six-piston brake calipers. This system represents an optimal combination of braking power and endurance.
The height-adjustable NOVITEC ROSSO sport suspension also allows the damping rates to be set to the individual preferences of the future owners of the super sports car. The suspension’s lift function on the front axle can be activated with a push of a button in the cockpit. It raises the front of the vehicle by 40 millimeters to safely navigate such obstacles as speed bumps or parking garage ramps. Upon reaching a speed of 80 km/h the suspension automatically reverts to its original drive position.
The interior of the NOVITEC ROSSO RACE 848 offers an especially exclusive ambiance and features a limited edition plaque with the car’s serial number. The interior is built to the customer’s exact specifications and the customer can choose between a highly luxurious or a Spartan racing flair. The interior appointments include aluminum pedals and foot rest as well as the NOVITEC ROSSO leather/carbon-fiber sport steering wheel with flattened bottom for easier entering and exiting of the vehicle.[/collapse]
5. Carlsson C25
While we didn’t place these cars in any particular order, it so happens the best was saved for last. This is the 2010 Carlsson C25, a custom-built, house-designed GT coupe. The goal with this project was to make the ultimate GT car. The word “ultimate” gets thrown around a lot, but the vision and idea that Carlsson had for this car makes it deserving of such a word. Carlsson wanted to design a car that was fast, safe, comfortable, and striking. They wanted the outside to be both modern, yet classic, Grand Touring inspired, but also capable of high-performance. Carlsson has succeeded. From the side the car is pure GT, a long hood, single door, and smooth tail are all classic GT coupe design cues. It is clearly recognizable as a Mercedes, but would never be mistaken for a simply modified SL.
The sharp edges give it a fresh, modern look, but as a whole the shape reminds me of a DB9. It’s like an Aston Martin for 2034. And being compared to an Aston is never a bad thing. Underneath that long, ferocious hood is a Mercedes 6.0 liter twin-turbo V-12 that produces 753hp and 974tq. Forget pulling stumps, this will rip out the entire rain forest. There is an endless list of color combinations for both the exterior and interior, which explains the picture below.
Every aspect of the cars drivetrain and suspension have been modified to create a perfect connection to the road. Carlsson created this car for driver’s that want to cover a continent at an insane rate of speed without sacrificing comfort or safety. While plenty of cars can offer comfort and speed, few can say they are an original. Only 25 C25s will be built, so you won’t have to worry about someone confusing your car with the neighbor’s SL65 AMG. And if someone does, just offer to show them the difference via drag race. With a top speed of 220mph, I think it will be obvious very quickly this is no suburban sports car. Carlsson set out to make a GT car with the performance of a supercar, and design it themselves. I have seen a lot of original designs, and so many of them are worth little more than a roll of Charmin. But the blend of angles and curves here results in a car that’s hard to look away from, especially with a new paint job.
[collapse collapsed title=Press Release]Carlsson who are approved as an automobile manufacturer by the Federal German Motor Transport Authority, for the first time presents an own developed automobile at this year’s Geneva Motor Show – the Carlsson C25. The concept of this Super-GT is based on the vision of combining maximum driving performance with an entirely new design and high exclusiveness. The result is a breathtaking and beautiful sports coupé with 753 hp in a limited edition of only 25 cars world-wide. Thereby, each automobile will be as individual as its future owner. “We exclusively make the cars to order and the delivery quantity for 2010 is already sold out”, says CEO, Dipl. Ing. (FH) Markus Schuster. Carlsson presents the C25 with the production number 1 in Geneva which has been build according to the wishes of the first customer. The colour design of the exterior in grey and night black with an orange stripe which also runs through the interior has been developed according to the guidelines of the client. It goes without saying that every other colour and colour combination on the exterior and interior is possible.
With 753 hp and 1150 Newton metres in 3.7 seconds from 0 to 100 kph
The performance data of the six litre V12 Bi-Turbo is impressive. The high-performance aggregate with a motor management optimisation patented by Carlsson renders 753 hp (554 kW) and allows fast acceleration as well as smooth travels at lower speeds. Also responsible for the perfect performance evolvement is the elaborately developed stainless steel exhaust system with ends in four edgy pipes at the back. The power catapults the C25 with a torque of 1320 Newton metres at 3750 r.p.m. which is electronically limited to 1,150 Newton metres from 0 to 100 kph in only 3.7 seconds and achieves a maximum speed of 352 kph.
Perfect combination between top performance and maximum driveability
When developing the Carlsson C25, the engineers from Gut Wiesenhof have achieved creating a Super-GT for smooth everyday use despite its very high performance. “There are more than enough super sports car in this world which can only be safely driven on a race track”, says Markus Schuster. “Therefore, we deliberately wanted to develop a car which is highly exclusive on the one hand and can be used for the daily journey to office on the other hand. Therefore, a Super-GT which can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in only 3.7 seconds and still offers a very pleasant driving comfort. All security-relevant regulations such as pedestrian protection, crash behaviour, ESP, ABS, Airbag systems are identical to large series editions with most modern standards.”
This is also achieved by the intelligent lowering system C-Tronic® SUSPENSION® which automatically recognises the road characteristics and driving manners and constantly adjusts the suspension setting accordingly. This does not only result in a pleasant journey on long routes, but also guarantees that the nodding and rolling motions of the C25 are reduced to a minimum while driving fast curves. Therefore, the car reaches the perfect road holding characteristics in every situation and renders the feeling of absolute controllability.
Different than other automobiles from small series, the Carlsson C25 has not been solely made for its use at the racetrack. Nevertheless, the C25 achieves top results in acceleration and handling. Compared to the racing machines with MOT approval, the Carlsson C25 offers its driver smooth journeys on Alpine passes and also on city roads or not perfectly even surfaces.
Maximum exclusiveness is ensured by only one automobile per country
In addition to the extensive refinement, the Carlsson C25 offers the advantage that every Mercedes-Benz dealer can maintain the car. As the automobile is based on the latest Mercedes-Benz technology, it is not necessary to drive to a garage, which is specialised in the Carlsson C25. This gives the Carlsson C25 additional suitability for everyday use. Moreover, Carlsson will only deliver one automobile per country and therefore ensures absolute exclusiveness for its customers.
Carlsson creates a perfect symbiosis of design and function
The C25 emphasises this exquisite status with its self-reliant and unique design. The elongated vehicle front with the tapered lobe between the powerful shoulders craves ahead and the generously dimensioned air inlets in the typical Carlsson trapezoid form supply the engine with the necessary ventilation. The ultra-light and forged wheels 1/10 UL in the dimensions 9,5×20 and 12×20 inches have been especially designed for the C25 and are equipped with high performance tyres measuring 265/30 at the front and 325/25 at the rear live axle. One wheel just weighs 11.2 kilograms and therefore is 40 percent lighter than custom light alloy wheels. Ventilation ducts in front and behind the wheel houses provide the Carlsson brake system with 405 millimetres large slotted race brake discs at the front and 380 millimetre race brake discs at the rear axle with cool air. With this, Carlsson achieves the perfect symbiosis between design and function. The elongated flat rear screen and the restrained tearing edge on the boot lit as well as the generously dimensioned double diffuser render the required downthrust and therefore the C25 does not need any extensible spoilers. In order to emphasise the uniqueness of the C25, Carlsson has also developed a new rear- and front lights design.
Carlsson interior optimised for the driver
The newly designed interior resembles the exterior as far as shape, colour and functionality are concerned. The characteristic trapezoid elements at the front and back are also found on the steering wheel. On the seats and the centre console the edged shape is used as well. The instruments clearly turn towards the driver, indicate the performance capability of the C25 and increase the ergonomics. The generous use of real carbon, tanned buffalo leather and ultra-suede in special colours provides an evenly exclusive and user-friendly ambience. For driveability reasons, Carlsson deliberately refrains from race seats, race straps, rollover devices and extreme lowering.
With the C25, Carlsson confirms its reputation as being one of the most exclusive automobile manufacturers in the world. High technical competence, many years experience in automobile construction, an advanced sense for design and elegance and German art of engineering make the Carlsson C25 unique all over the world.[/collapse]