A New Hope?
Lately, the car manufacturers have been focussing on the big issues like pollution and safety. Pedestrian impact regulations are having more and more of a say in how our cars are designed and look. From an environmental point of view, the materials being used and the increasing infatuation with Co2 emission levels are steering engine design in a direction most true petrolheads won’t be a fan of. In the grand scheme of things, you can see the sense in designers moving in this direction. Which is why its that bit more special when companies launch cars that break the current mould and stay true to the desirable concepts that they so often tease us with, but often wind up in corners of automotive museums.
Alfa Romeo did this recently, when they showed the absolutely jaw-dropping 4C. Looking very much like a little brother to the super rare 8C, it has been scheduled for production in 2012 with a mid-mounted 200bhp engine that should easily see Alfa Romeo becoming a strong contender for anyone looking to purchase a tasty two seater sports car. Alfa say that the production model will remain true to the concept that stole the show at Geneva this year, which reportedly wore a completely carbon shell and was powered by a 1.7-litre turbocharged petrol engine, as used in the Giulietta, and features a twin dry-clutch transmission.
One other manufacturer which recently cheered up the world is Jaguar, which have announced that they will do a limited production run of their C-X75 supercar concept. The car will be developed in association with Williams F1, and will likely be hybrid powered, using plug-in electric motors on each wheel, mated to a rear mounted four-cylinder engine, which could easily produce 500bhp-plus. Jaguar promises a 200mph top speed, zero to 100mph acceleration in less than six seconds and an all-electric range of about 30 miles, while it is rumored that the total combined power output could top 1,000 bhp. Lets just hope that Jaguar aren’t going to start over-promising on specs for its new supercar, remember the whole XJ220 debacle?
Either way, at a time when all large global car firms are being forced both financially and morally to play it safe, its a massive breath of fresh air to see companies like Alfa Romeo and Jaguar give the production green light to truly beautiful sportscars that we all dream of seeing on the roads.