Mercedes-McLaren Partner for SLR
2004 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Officially it’s the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, but Mercedes had better get used to it being referred to as the Mercedes-McLaren – or worse, the McLaren-Mercedes. McLaren originally had the lead role in developing the car, and they will produce it in a purpose-built factory in England, but as the car has progressed through it lengthy gestation period the role of Mercedes’ F1 partners has been overlaid with a healthy coat of Mercedes technology. The F1 influence is still there, with a body made almost entirely from carbon-fiber and ceramic brake discs, but as the project has progressed the emphasis has changed from today’s Grand Prix cars to the Mercedes-Benz sports racing cars of the 1950s. Hence the emphasis on the ‘SLR’ name, which comes from the German words for ‘sports, light, racer’ that were applied to the legendary gullwing Mercedes sports cars of the mid-Fifties. The new car has swing-up doors that are reminiscent of those of fifty years ago, but there is also a nose treatment that puts one in mind of current F1 cars. A feature that’s straight out of the SLR history book is an airbrake that raises itself behind the cockpit to aid high-speed braking.
One aspect of the new SLR that should approach F1 standards is safety. It is fitted with new kneebags and sidebags, adaptive airbags, and seatbelt tensioners, and its body structure is built to the highest crash-test standards.
Siemens Final Frankfurt Banner
Siemens Final Frankfurt Banner
Lambo Builds Racing Murcielago
2004 Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT
Developed by race specialists Reiter Engineering, the Murcielago R-GT will use the 6.0-liter V-12 engine of the production car, fitted with the air restrictors are required for the racing rules. Lamborghini’s plan is to sell cars to customers – many of whom have already inquired about the possibility of a race-prepared car – and to provide trackside service at races.
As a preparation for next year, when the first R-GTs will be delivered, Reiter Engineering will race the development version of the car in two international GT races, at Estoril in Portugal and Monza in Italy, in October.
Audi Follows on its Race Success
2004 Audi Le Mans quattro
Subaru Takes a Legacy Power Trip
2004 Subaru Legacy 3.0R
The new Legacy body is stiffer and lighter than its predecessor, and Subaru claims that the light weight and advanced engine technology make a real contribution to the Legacy’s improved fuel consumption. All the new Legacy’s advantages are passed on to another Frankfurt introduction, the new updated Outback. The car that brought the crossover idea to the U.S. back in 1995 will also get the new flat-six.
Peugeot’s Elixir Could Come to Life
2003 Peugeot Elixir concept
The Elixir is certainly not out of place among the concepts on show here, but if it does go into production it will put Peugeot among the avant garde in terms of design. With smooth lines that give an impressively low drag factor and an emphasised ‘mouth’ at the front, the car, which is shown here as a coupe rather than a sedan, is a tantalizing look at a new direction in Peugeot design.
The company also used the show to unveil the car that will carry its colors in World Rallying next season. In response to marketing pressure, it is based on the newly-introduced 307CC , the four-seat coupe/convertible that Peugeot is hoping will follow the success of its smaller sibling, the 206CC. The 206CC uses the ‘folding metal hardtop’ format pioneered by Mercedes with the SLK and has proved to be a runaway sales success in Europe. Peugeot is aiming to move the success up a segment with the 307CC and has decided to use its successful rally team to promote the car.
The marketeers didn’t help the engineers when they asked them to turn the 307CC into a rally winner, because the extra mechanism required to open and close the roof adds weight that had to be trimmed to bring the car into the limits of the rally regulations. Naturally the competition car’s top will be fixed, but it will look like the production car, and Peugeot will be working on the old basis of “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” from a form of motor sport that is commanding an ever-increasing TV audience worldwide.
Citroen’s Living Room
2003 Citroe C-Airlounge concept
The interior reflects a trend that is evident here in Frankfurt, the influence of domestic interior design on cars. Smooth leather is everywhere, and many of the seats in the concepts are set on individual pedestals. This trend is present in the Citroen, but that’s not the only home comfort, for the Airlounge is furnished with shag pile carpets and ambient lighting that can be changed to reflect different moods. It may sound like 1970’s California van culture to American ears, but to the French it’s the latest thing.