Cars of a different classCompiledMagazines
With the world advancing so fast in the fields science and technology, automobiles too have had their due share of mindboggling advancement. Anything you fancy, you can have it in your car now. Anywhere you want to go, you can go now in your car, even into the water and the air!
Yes, there are now cars that can turn into aircrafts, speedboats and submarines, with the flick of a button and in the blink of an eye. And even cars just for the roads are so droolworthy that they can turn anyone into a car freak.
We bring you some such amazing cars and a little detail about the cutting-edge technology they possess.
There are, however, countless other cars that are as or more fascinating, depending of what you desire in a car, but that’s for another time and for you to look up yourself. So turn inside and marvel on.
Panther — amphibious vehicle
A car that turns into a boat in mere 15 seconds and lets you drive straight from a road into water and move like a speedboat is anyone’s dream come true. It is not just a scene from the 1976 movie The Spy Who Loved Me, where James Bond famously drove an amphibious Lotus Esprit from the land into the sea and sailed away, this is a reality with Panther, the world’s fastest amphibious car. Designed by a Californian-based car company, it can be driven up to 80mph on land and reaching water speeds of up to 45mph – almost as fast as an average speedboat!
Fitted with a custom-made 3.7 litre V6 engine, fibreglass hull and lightweight chromoly steel chassis, the 15ft Jeep-style vehicle costs $100,000 to $200,000. The vehicle weighs 2950lbs and is 15ft long. The hull is also filled with closed-cell styrofoam to help the car stay afloat.
“This engine produces 305 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and on land the Panther can reach speeds of around 80mph. It needs to be travelling at around 15mph to get enough momentum to enter the water.
“To drive the Panther in water, the driver must put the four-speed gear changer in neutral, pull a knob to switch the transfer case to 'jet drive', hydraulically lift the wheels and tyres out of the water, and start boating. This entire process takes less than 15 seconds.”
It can carry up to four passengers in both land and water mode and it can sail in both salt and fresh water.
The world’s first driverless bus service began in September 2016, in the French city of Lyon. Two electric minibuses, with a capacity of 15 passengers each, operate a 10-minute route with five stops in the city centre at an average speed of six miles (10km) per hour.
The buses are equipped with lasers, cameras and electronic systems that detect and analyse any movement around it.
Despite these systems, the buses are not capable of manoeuvring around other traffic and the routes are near a tramway where other vehicles are not allowed.
Each minibus costs about £170,000
AeroMobil — the flying car
With the kind of traffic jam we have in most cities, having a flying car is the answer to every commuter’s prayers. Well a prototype (an early model built to test the design) has been here for a couple of years now in the form of AeroMobil, a vehicle that transforms from roadster to aircraft in minutes.
The AeroMobil is undoubtedly the world’s first fully transformable flying car. It is no longer or wider than “a standard five-door Bentley, the two-seater AeroMobil has two wings that fold back behind its main cockpit, and a back-mounted propeller that tucks in between the retracted wings when on the road,” according to media reports.
It fits into any standard parking space, uses regular gasoline and moves any other car. As a plane, it can use an airport or can also take off and land using any grass strip or paved surface just a few hundred meters long. And from parking space to hundreds of metres in the air, it takes just over three minutes!
AeroMobil has been in regular flight-testing programme in real flight conditions since October 2014 and successfully completed dozens of test flights.
The AeroMobil team hopes it will be classified as a light-sport aircraft, which requires a pilot’s license. Because of stringent vehicle-safety regulations in the US, the current prototype is intended for countries with more flexible road rules.
As this purpose-built small aircraft lacks pressurised cabin or oxygen supply, the altitude it can fly up to is limited to 3,000m, but it comes fully equipped with an autopilot system and built-in parachutes.
Rinspeed sQuba, the submarine car
Being marketed as a “toy for rich people”, the Rinspeed sQuba is a car that can turn into a submarine too!
Created by Rinspeed, a Swiss builder of exotic concept cars and other futuristic vehicles, the car has not gone into production and the existing, functioning prototype costs more than US$1.5 million to build.
The drivable, divable concept car that floats on water, then sinks when the doors are opened and water enters the car. The passengers use built-in scuba gear while underwater. It features three electric engines, one for the street and two for the sea. The designer of the car was inspired by the submarine car in the James Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.
Without passengers, the car will float naturally to the surface. The car also has a self-driving feature for those a bit freaked out by driving underwater.
Tesla’s Model S
Tesla’s Model S is a full-sized all-electric five-door, luxury lift back and for the second consecutive year, led as the world’s best-selling plug-in passenger vehicle.
With no gears to worry about, driving the Tesla is as simple as pointing it where you want it to go. The 90D model, with its 90-kWh battery, does 294 miles on a full charge, while the P90D can go up to 270 miles. With the low cost of recharging that battery, the Tesla offers unbeatable pence-per-mile costs among cars of its type.
World’s fastest convertible
Hennessey Venom GT
In 2014, Hennessey Venom GT achieved the record-breaking top speed of 270.4 mph (435.3 km/h) at the Kennedy Space Centre, a record speed, making it officially the world’s fastest convertible.
While it can claim the highest recorded speed, Hennessey’s monster isn’t recognised as the world’s fastest car by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The combination of a Lotus Elise chassis and 1,244-hp, 7.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 gives us the fastest production car in the world. The Venom GT is capable of going from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than 2.4 seconds and has been tested from zero to 200 miles per hour in less than 13 seconds!
The cost is around $1.3 million plus tax.
Stella, the solar car
Stella is the first solar car designed for normal road travel. It is also the first vehicle of its kind created specifically for everyday family use and it can travel up to 500 miles on a single charge. Though Stella, that was launched in the US in 2014, isn’t as sleek as traditional American sedans, it is a giant move towards the development and commercial sale of solar-powered vehicles that aid in the move towards a cleaner environment.
*A car that starts with a smartwatch *
2017 Hyundai Genesis G90
Hyundai Genesis luxury brand offers connectivity with smartphone and smartwatch through an app that allow users to “remotely activate the climate control, lock or unlock doors, sound the horn, flash the lights, or stop the engine after the car has been remote started using the key fob. The app also includes a car finder, in case the user loses it in a crowded parking lot.”
It also allows owners to review a “Monthly Vehicle Health Report,” recall notices, and a vehicle’s service history, as well as coordinate valet service appointments. There are other brands of cars also offering models that offer smartwatch connectivity.
Cars with hefty price tags
Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2
Huracán LP580-2 is a sleek, compact package that impresses with its usability. Priced at $200,000 plus, the 580-2 gets its name from sending 580 horsepower solely to the rear wheels, as well as 398 pound-feet of torque.
It is said to be able to sprint from zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.4 seconds. The angular design is severe yet elegant; the stealth fighter–like cockpit is as luxurious as it is intense. Nestled behind the cockpit is a 5.2-liter V-10 with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Behind the wheel, the driver controls everything from a 12.3-inch TFT digital instrument panel, which displays everything from navigation to car functions to entertainment options.
2017 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante
The Vanquish S Volante is the performance-oriented version of the Aston Martin Vanquish convertible revealed in the last week of January 2017, and has car lovers drooling over it.
Aston Martin, the British luxury sports cars manufacturer, offers cars that are a beauty to behold as well as drive, and Vanquish sits at the top of the Aston Martin range. The re-tuned eight-speed auto and power bump should see the Volante take 3.5-second from zero to 100km/h.
The Vanquish S Volante has an eight-speed automatic gearbox that offers faster gear changes and better low-speed refinement. Expect pricing for the Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante to start at just over £200,000 when it goes on sale later this year.
Published in Dawn, Young World, February 4th, 2017