If you read my last post, you may remember I explained that petrol heads and motor enthusiasts in general are becoming extinct and that I listed a few of the reasons on why this is happening. I believe that this is what motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson refers to as “The relentless war on speed.”
It is also possible however, that “Speed” in its purest form is more alive than ever; Rimac Automobili claim that their C_Two will be able to do 0-60 MPH in 1.85 seconds and be capable of cracking 258 MPH whilst handling 1887 horse power from its four electric motors. To put that into perspective the original Bugatti Veyron could “only” do 0-62 MPH in 2.5 seconds, had a top speed of 253 mph and needed a 1001 horsepower W16 to achieve all of that.
There is further evidence that speed and performance is continuing to progress; Tesla’s upcoming Roadster will apparently be capable of doing 0-60 MPH in 1.9 seconds and last year the Porsche 911 GT2 RS set the fastest lap of any production car ever at the Nürburgring: 6:47.3, bear in mind that this is a car with ten cylinders fewer than the Veyron.
However whilst speed may thrive, the soul, charm and character of the cars with engines of the dinosaur age shall be missed. In the past few years manufactures have been reducing the amount of cylinders and the engine sizes of their models, in some areas and cases this seems like downsizing from a French Château to child’s tent.
For example, Porsche was forced to replace the Boxster’s glorious flat-6 with a dismal turbo charged flat-4 for the latest generation of the model and yes, whilst a four-cylinder turbo charged engine can be marvellous (the engines of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS are just a few examples of this) but in this case, Porsche undeniably let themselves down, because yes, the car is certainly faster than the previous generation however, journalists accused the Boxster’s motor of sounding like a Volkswagen Beetle at times, sounding artificial at other times and simply lacking in drama and excitement. In other words, not what a petrol head’s heart desires.
This engine downsizing can be seen across the motor industry; the upcoming Ford Fiesta ST will feature a three-cylinder turbo charged engine, as opposed to outgoing model’s four-cylinder engine, the latest generation of the BMW M3 is powered by a 3 litre twin turbo charged straight six as apposed to the last generation’s naturally aspirated 4 litre and 4.4 litre V8s. The new Lamborghini Urus SUV will only feature a 4 litre twin turbo V8 instead of a Nine trillion litre, naturally aspirated V10 or V12 fuelled on jet fighter fuel, that the Lamborghini purists deem to be a decent engine choice. Ideally for them the engine would ignite the air around itself as it ticks over, before causing the ground beneath it to melt and then boil once up to speed, for them the amount of cylinders on a motor needs to be more than any human can count.
This brings me onto the what the future holds for Lamborghini, the Aventador still possess its 6.5 litre V12, however the Aventador has been in production for over seven years now, its predecessor: the Murciélago stayed in production for around 9 years. This means that in the not too distant future, Lamborghini will likely replace the Aventador. Will Lamborghini be able to use one more V12, before resigning what makes the manufacturer themselves to the history books? Or perhaps its too late? Even if they can create one last hurrah, I have a heart sinking feeling that it may have to be tuned down, to please the buyer rather than the enthusiast if not because of the “impracticability” of the current V12.
Finally though, there is one place where the tuning down of engines has definitely gone too far: Formula one. Nowadays, the maximum engine size allowed on a F1 car is just a mere 1.6 litres, it can only have 6 cylinders and natural aspiration is a definite no-no. This is one of the reasons why I hate F1, manufactures are no longer able to show what they really are capable of, in the past they used soulful V12s of almost any size they wanted. Having half the amount of cylinders now doesn’t sound like progress, it is more of a step back, like going from Concorde to the Airbus A380; what we see today is undoubtedly a feat of engineering, but its all a bit clinical, and with formula E gaining more popularity, Formula one is suffering the same Gradual, painful fate that the rest of the high-octane petrol powered industry is undergoing.
The fact that soon the agony, torment and hardship will be put to an end is somewhat bittersweet; I can’t bear to see this adversity take place, so perhaps the sooner the high performance power plants that once powered some of the most magnificent vehicles in human history, and empowered engineers to continue researching, developing and pushing the limits of what we can expect from a car, are put out of their misery, the better. After that, petrol heads across the globe may begin their mourning, before resigning decades of hard work, achievement and likely themselves to the history books.