x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Week in Motoring: Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is its fastest, and efficient

Plus: Rolls-Royce presents series II Phantom; historic Packard plant to be demolished; rare Bentley to be most expensive British car ever; and Fisker appoints former Chrysler chief as boss.

The F12 Berlinetta can hit 100kph in just 3.1 seconds. Courtesy of Ferrari
The F12 Berlinetta can hit 100kph in just 3.1 seconds. Courtesy of Ferrari

Ferrari has unveiled its fastest ever production car, the F12 Berlinetta, which is to usher in a new generation of V12 Ferraris.

Its engine is the company's most efficient yet, in terms of mechanical, combustion and fluid-dynamics efficiency, and the wheelbase has been shortened from the 599, the car it replaces.

The engine, dashboard and seats have been lowered in the chassis while the use of 12 different kinds of alloys in the spaceframe chassis and bodyshell means it has an overall weight of just 1,525kg - 70kg less than the previous V12-powered 599. The F12 Berlinetta's naturally aspirated 6.2L V12 produces peak torque of 690Nm, 80 per cent of which is available at 2,500rpm. Its power output is 740hp at 8,500rpm and the engine is mated to an F1 dual-clutch transmission.

Fuel consumption has been reduced by 30 per cent from the previous engine with CO2 emissions of just 350g/km but it accelerates to 100kph in just 3.1 seconds and to 200kph in 8.5 seconds, with a maximum speed of more than 340kph.

The car will be officially launched at the Geneva Motor Show.


Rolls presents Phantom II

Rolls-Royce has launched its Phantom Series II at the Geneva Motor Show.

The luxury British marque will showcase the first upgrade to the car that became Top Gear's Car of the Year when it arrived in 2003 as the first model introduced by new parent company BMW.

The car maker aims to continue its strive for perfection, a goal first set out by Sir Henry Royce in the firm's infancy.

The Series II will feature a new front end, with re-styled bumpers and rectangular light apertures and will be the first Rolls to have fully LED headlamps as standard.

Inside is a new satnav system with 3D maps and guided tours operated through a larger 8.8-inch touch display.

The addition of a new eight-speed automatic gearbox and rear differential enhances already exemplary dynamics and the V12 direct injection engine gives 10 per cent better fuel economy than before.

"As a consequence of improvements in design, drivetrain and technology, I am confident that we shall continue to present with pride the very best motor cars in the world for many years to come," says Rolls chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös.


Packard plant to be razed

The Packard Motor Car factory, built in 1903 on Detroit's east side and derelict but still standing today, appears to finally be facing the wrecking ball.

BioResource, a medical company that owns the sprawling structure, said it is in the process of hiring demolition experts to finally bring down the the plant, which was closed in 1956 after Packard merged with Studebaker.

Dominic Cristini, the owner of BioResource, claims the demolition should take about three years and cost US$10 million, according to the New York Times. He plans to recoup some of that money by selling off scrap from the property.

However, Cristini has yet to apply for demolition permits from the city of Detroit. Also, Cristini owes about $760,000 in property taxes on the property, while the city still holds a $450,000 lien on it.

The Packard plant still has a few industrial companies using it for space, and in the past it has been a popular haunt for illegal raves, graffiti artists and urban explorers. But Cristini says keeping the plant is a danger and not worth restoring.

"The preservation people want it saved, but we did a cost analysis for rehabbing and it just wouldn't work," he says.


Rare Bentley set to be named most expensive British car ever

A 1929 Bentley will likely become the most expensive British-built car ever.

The 4.5L, which is a supercharged version called Blower, is expected to sell for £5 million (Dh29 million), far more than the current record of £3.5m set in 2007 for a 1904 Rolls-Royce, Britain's Daily Mail reports.

The car was once driven by Bentley Boy Sir Henry Birkin at 220kph, setting a lap record at Brooklands Outer Circuit in 1931.

The Blower version of the 4.5L model had a supercharged engine that produced 240hp and only about 55 of them were ever built.

The Bentley Boys were wealthy racers in the 1920s but Birkin died in 1933 after a burn wound acquired at a race in Libya turned septic and he contracted malaria.

The car was then owned by George Daniels until his death last year and it is his collection, containing the Blower, that will be auctioned at Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 29.


Fisker steps aside and appoints former Chrysler chief as boss

The former Chrysler chief executive and current Fisker vice chairman has been named the new chief executive of Fisker Automotive Group.

Tom LaSorda takes over the California-based plug-in hybrid car firm from Henrik Fisker.

Fisker, who co-founded the company in 2007 after making his name by designing cars at Aston Martin and BMW, will focus on building the brand internationally as well as the design of future models of Fisker.

LaSorda has also been an executive at General Motors in a 23-year career.

Meanwhile, the company's Surf Shooting Brake concept, will make its production form debut at the Paris Motor Show in September.

The five-door sports wagon is based on the basic design and powertrain of Fisker's stunning Karma and will be powered by a lithium ion battery in the middle of the car along with a 2.0L petrol engine.