Thursday, December 02, 2010

Venom GT vs. Veyron SuperSport.

So, I sent this video

to a couple of my best friends this morning with the subject line, “Ridiculous.” I received a response from one of them asking if I had looked at the Venom GT website. Here is my response to him:

I have.

I would so, so, SO much rather have a Veyron Supersport. Here is why:

Venom GT w/ standard boost
2,685 lbs
725 hp
~ 3.7

Venom GT w/ high boost and 93 octane (which you can't get in: California, Oregon or Washington (at least)):
2,685 lbs
1000 hp

Venom GT w/ high boost and 109 octane (which you'll never get except at a race track and you certainly won't use it everyday):
2,685 lbs
1,200 hp

Veyron Supersport (pump fuel, warranty, *incredible* research and development, etc.):
4,044 lbs
1186 hp

So the Veyron SS is already faster than the "standard" Venom GT. In addition, Hennessey claims the Venom GT will get to 200mph in 15.9 seconds (he also compares that number to the *stock* Veyron at 24.2 seconds). However, the Veyron SS will get to 186 mph in 14 seconds. How much longer will it take to get from 186 to 200 mph? Your guess is as good as mine, but I would guess not much (if any) more than 1.9 seconds. So now, we're at a dead heat to 200mph with the 109 octane Venom GT and pump fuel Veyron SS. Then if you think about how many tries it took to get the Venom GT to put down that time. I would guess dozens, at least. The Veyron SS will do it. All. Day. Long.

Plus, I am sure that the Veyron SS is faster to 60 mph, in the 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, and probably the 3/4 mile and possibly the 1 mile. So except for (maybe) something over 175 mph, which by the way, you're never going to do, the Veyron is faster.

Then, there is the whole issue of warranty. Bugatti has a four year warranty, that covers *everything*. If your car breaks down, they will take care of transportation, supply you with an Audi A8 and fix it under warranty. Damn impressive. Venom GT--no warranty that I'm aware of.

Finally there is the issue of handling/normal driving. I would bet quite a bit of money that the Veyron SS is faster around most tracks than the Venom GT. Who is going to [want to let alone] be able to drive a *rear wheel drive* car that weighs less than 2,700 pounds with 1,200 horsepower [and “only” 335s on the rear end] around a track at anything more than 7/10? No one? A professional driver? Certainly, no one that buys the car. On the other hand, I've heard nothing but high, high praise for the Veyron SS and how it handles (even better than the stock Veyron, which pulled 0.94-0.96 (depending on which magazine) on the skidpad, you'll recall). Are you EVER going to drive a Venom GT in the snow, let alone the rain? Absolutely not. I would have no problem driving the Veyron in the rain, and assuming I could find snow tires in the right sizes (which I'm sure I couldn't), I wouldn't have any problems driving it in the snow as well.

Plus, I hate John Hennessey.

My $0.02.

I left a few things out of the email. First, it is interesting that on his website, he claims he can get the 1,200 claimed horsepower out of 93 octane. However, in previous press releases, he has said the 1,200 is only going to happen on 109 octane.

Also, apparently, he’s pretty bad at math. According to the specifications page, the car has 1,200 horsepower and a curb weight of 2,685 pounds. This would equal a weight to power ratio of 2.2 lbs/hp or a power to weight ratio of 894 hp/ton. For some reason, Hennessey claims 2.6 lbs/hp and 767 hp/ton. If one assumes the curb weight is a given and the horsepower numbers are variables, then his power to weight numbers would reflect 1,029 horsepower. Any ideas? I don’t have any.

Lastly, and I touched on this point, it is simply an issue of traction. The two vehicles have essentially the same power output. The differences however, are as previously stated, the Veyron has AWD, whereas the Venom GT has RWD. And the Veyron has 265 fronts and 365(!) rears, whereas the Venom GT has 235 fronts and 335 rears. Will the Venom GT be fast in a straight line? Sure. Faster than a Veyron SS? I doubt it, but possibly over 175 or 200 mph. For everyday driving down the street, the Veyron will walk away from the Venom GT in almost every situation, The reason is because the Venom will be spinning its (rear only) tires, while the Veyron is getting its power down to (all four) of its (larger) tires.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

B5 S4 Avant.

So, for whatever reason one of my favorite cars is the B5 Audi S4 Avant (2000-2002). It’s a wagon, so it’s pretty sleeper. Although I wouldn’t mind a little more rear legroom, it is a nice little car. Add to that the highly lauded VWAG interiors and you have a great package. However, arguably what is most important in this car is that it has the amazing 2.7 liter twin-turbo V6. Although the stock U.S. version wasn’t all that impressive (250 horsepower, 254 lb-ft of torque), the engine has incredible potential.

Just with a chip alone, you can get great power out of the engine. 307 horsepower (on 91 octane fuel) is nothing to cry about. That would put the power to weight ratio at ~12.1 (as compared to the stock car’s ~14.8). That ratio would put it in the realm of: Mitsubishi Evo X MR; E90 335i; and the 2006 Infiniti G35 sedan. Not a bad value for $600.

Then, if you want to get really crazy with it, you can get some big-ass turbos and related components and you can get some very impressive power. Yes, that's over 160 horsepower per liter. Very impressive. And the great thing is that there are a number of companies that offer great packages for the B5 S4. And if more than one company offers off-the-shelf packages making 450-460 horsepower, then you have to believe those power levels are at least relatively reliable.

Anyone who reads this regularly knows that I tout power to weight ratios religiously. Which brings us to one downside about this car: because of all the German engineering, great interior, wagon body-style, etc. that goes into this car, you’re looking at a curb weight of 3,704 pounds. Which is a lot. But if you’re looking at the pump fuel (as opposed to race gas) power packages, you’re still looking at a ratio of ~8.2. Which is awesome. As a reference point, that puts the tuned B5 S4 *ahead* of: the new (2009) Porsche Cayenne Turbo S (~9.4); a chipped 2007 Cayman S (~9.4); a 2008 335i (E90) w/ Dinan S2 package (~9.2); a 2009 BMW M3 sedan (E90)(~9.0); and a 2003 BMW M5 (E39) w/ Dinan S2 (all-motor)(~8.4). It also is right in the hunt with: the 2009 M5 (E60)(~8.0); a 2006 Infiniti G35 sedan with a Vortech supercharger system (~8.0); and a 2004 (996) 911 GT3 (~8.0).

All very impressive company, particularly in a wagon package that looks (and is) 7 years old. You could surprise the hell out of a lot of drivers of very expensive machinery.

Maybe next time I’ll try and get back to my teaser posting from a couple years ago regarding my pick for cross-country driving machinery—the delay may be good as the number of available options has increased…

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Good Golly, Miss Molly.

G-Power is one of the lesser known (in comparison to Hamann or Hartge) BMW tuners in Germany. However, they appear to be putting out some pretty cool stuff. See, e.g., their new M5 Hurricane (also available in M6 guise). More details can be found here, but the important numbers are:
- twin-turbo, intercooled 5.0 liter V10
- 720 hp
- 517 lb-ft torque
- power to weight ratio of ~5.6
- governed to 211 mph
- claimed 0-60 4.2 seconds

In comparison, the stock M5 has a curb weight of 4012 pounds, and has a normally aspirated 5.0 liter V10 that puts out 500 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. That puts the stock power to weight ratio at ~8.0—not too bad for a stock four door sedan.

An interesting side note here is a car that was announced last year. A company called Currency Motor Cars put out what they billed as the fastest M5 in the world. They also applied the twin-turbo treatment to their vehicle and came up with these numbers:
- 810 horsepower
- 733 lb-ft of torque
- curb weight of 4033 pounds
- power to weight ratio of ~5.0
In addition to the go-fast goodies, CMC also did a number to the interior, including such features as crocodile skin headrests, etc. They better have done something pretty damn cool to warrant the $250,000+ premium over a stock vehicle(!). Now, there appears to be some issue with the company. Their website is apparently down and has been for a few weeks at least (which is as long as I’ve been checking). This is, of course, just conjecture but perhaps they blew their wad on putting together their show car and didn’t have the market or other internal business infrastructure to back it up. Hmmm…

For those that are interested in that sort of thing G-Power has also crammed a M5/M6 V10 into an E46 M3 CSL. 3410 pounds, 542 horsepower, 428 lb-ft of torque, a power to weight ratio of ~6.3… Good golly is right!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tires and rims for a B6 Passat.

Just a quick note/thought:

While perusing TireRack’s website, a regular habit of mine, I was test-fitting some rims and tires for the new (B6) Passat. Now, on my (B5) Passat, the widest tires I can fit are 245s, and that’s only if the rims have a wide enough offset. However, on the new Passat—a four cylinder, front-wheel drive, German sedan, you can fit 265s(!!!). I put some ridiculous BFG racing slicks in 265/35 18 size on some gorgeous, extremely lightweight Volk Racing wheels. The rims are 18 x 8 inches and only weigh 16.5 pounds each. The subject of unsprung weight is worthy of a Post all its own, but suffice it to say, that reducing unsprung weight on the corners of cars has a drastic impact on all areas of performance—acceleration, handling, braking. I don’t know the stock weight of a B6 Passat rim, but I would guess that the Volk Racing rims take approximately 10 pounds of each corner of the car. Granted, putting 265s on each corner is going to eat away at some of that reduction, but I’d hazard a guess and say that the end result would either break even or possibly reduce overall unsprung weight.

Also, 265 racing slicks would provide a huge amount of grip for the car. Needless to say, this would be something you’d want to do if you were making a track car out of your Passat (a subject Nathan and I have been discussing at great length lately). But it’s pretty freaking cool that you can fit 265s on that car.