Watching coverage of a recent toy industry conference and exhibition and then comparing the Geneva International Motor Show, you can’t help but be struck by the similarities.
The only difference is that at one the cars drive around on the carpet and of course the price tags are a little different. But how the toy cars and the real cars look – about the same.
Geneva is an opportunity for the manufacturers to show off their latest and most outrageous concepts, but this year there has been a subtle shift to the green, particularly on the part of the brands that you’d least expect it from, like Ferrari.
They have just unveiled their successor to the Enzo, called simply ‘La Ferrari‘. In terms of style it’s pretty extreme even for a Ferrari, with the bodywork more reminiscent of modern American muscle cars. But under the bonnet (figuratively speaking, since the engine is of course mid-mounted) lurks a hybrid engine.
What’s more, this Ferrari is the fastest and most powerful production car from the company… ever! It develops 588kW (950 bhp) which propels the car on to a maximum speed of 350 kmh (217 mph) and acceleration is equally stratospheric, with 0-100 kmh in under 3 secs and 0-200 kmh in under 7.
The technology that achieves these impressive numbers is a conventional 6.3l V12 petrol engine coupled with an F1 derived hybrid electrical drivetrain with two electric motors, one delivering power to the driven wheels and the other powering all the other electrical devices in the vehicle. The batteries are charged when the car brakes and also when the petrol engine produces more torque than required (this happens when cornering for example).
La Ferrari (there will be more than one despite the name) will cost a cool AUD$1.7M and you’ll have to get your order in quick since Ferrari, in time honoured fashion, are producing one less model than they predict the market will want – 499.
The interesting thing here is that Ferrari have very much distanced themselves from the green/hybrid movement over the years, and if they can now demonstrate what can be done at the extreme sports end of town with a hybrid drivetrain, then the public and other manufacturers are likely to follow suit.
Meanwhile, in the black corner, Lamborghini unveiled an even more outrageous beast – called the Veneno – with outrageous styling, outrageous performance (0-100 2.8 secs 355 kmh top speed) with not even a hint of eco-friendliness involved.
They pay their green dues another way – the Lamborghini factory roof is completely covered in solar panels which powers most of the machinery that puts the cars together.
At the other end of the scale, resurgent Italian brand Fiat were busy boasting of their environmental credentials, with confirmation that they are the brand with the lowest average CO2 emissions in Europe. Fiats have always run on the smell of an oily rag, but the development of turbocharging technology suitable for smaller engines, which the company has been working on for a number of years, has enabled their latest engines, including a 900cc turbo model, to reduce fuel consumption and increase power even further. Perhaps we should talk about running on the smell of an oily… tissue?
Whether you’re looking at putting a deposit down on the new Ferrari, or the little Fiat is more to your taste, give us a call if you need to arrange a car loan.