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July News Round Up

Tesla Model X SUV

Tesla unleashes 'Ludicrous Mode'

Two of Tesla's upcoming models will be sold with a new Ludicrous Mode. The Model S P85D and the Model X SUV will both come with a Ludicrous option, which offers impressively improved performance - the kind that rivals standard supercars. The Model S, which already comes with an Insane Mode, will see its 0-60mph cut by 10% to 2.8 seconds. Raising the electric car's max amperage from 1300amps to 1500amps allows the electric saloon to pull a hilarious 1.1G of acceleration. The Model X, when Ludicrous Mode is activated, will be able to out-accelerate a Porsche 911, hitting 60mph in under 3.4 seconds. Astounding, when the SUV is expected to weigh more than a Range Rover. This thrust comes from two separate electric motors mounted on each axle, driving all four wheels in an “incredibly precise and accurate application of power and traction”. Though Tesla haven't yet announced the exact technical specifications of the Model X’s powertrain, the SUV might well use the same one as the P85D. If so, the combined two motors would produce 682bhp, and give a single charge range of 300 miles. On a quick side note, the production Model X is going to keep the prototype's ingenious ‘falcon doors’, which lift upwards, away from the car’s body. Beautiful and practical, they are designed so that “you can get in and out in the tightest garage or parking spot without hitting the wall or car next to you, or your head”. Unfortunately, the enhancement comes at a cost. The upgrade includes fitting a special fuse to cope with the increased power. Existing Model S P85D owners will be offered the upgrade to Ludicrous Mode for a (very roughly) estimated £3,500. New Tesla customers can take the option for (again roughly) around £6,500. Advance orders for the Model X are open, with deliveries being made next year, and requiring a reserve payment of £4,000. Musk also confirmed that Tesla's Model 3 will go into production sometime in 2017.

Even without Ludicrous Mode, the Model S can beat most supercars to 60mph. To prove it, Autocar drag raced one against a Caterham 620R, which you can watch here.

Terrafugias new flying car

Terrafugia reveal new flying car

Describing it as “the flying car for all of us”, the TF-X is eccentric US company Terrafugia's second attempt at mass marketing a flying car. The US start-up behind 2012's Transition car-plane have now designed a four seater, plug-in hybrid helicopter car. The TF-X has a claimed airborne range of 500 miles, and while in flight is apparently autonomous, avoiding air traffic, weather problems, and restricted air space. With the autopilot also handling landings, Terrafugia say that it's possible to learn to drive the TF-X in five hours. They also insist that the TF-X “should be statistically safer than driving a modern automobile". The initial design of the TF-X was announced in 2012, and it was stated then that full production development would have to last eight to twelve years. Unfortunately, this means we won't see any flying cars on the road (or in the sky) until at least 2021. When it does happen though, Terrafugia have assured us that the TF-X will be able to fit inside a standard garage. The 20 strong company of MIT graduates currently sell their car-plane Transition at around £180,000, so a starting price for the TF-X will almost certainly top £200,000.

Ferrari 488 Spider

New Ferrari 488 Spider unveiled

Ferrari has announced the second model in their 488 run will be the Spider. The Spider follows the GTB coupe, and will become Ferrari's most powerful drop-top ever, with its 660bhp V8 pushing out a 0-60mph of just under 3 seconds (good, but not Ludicrous). In keeping with the 458 Spider of Ferraris past, the 488 mounts a two-part retractable hard-top, only operational whilst stationary. As in the 488 GTB, a new 3.9litre twin-turbo V8 develops 660bhp at 8,000rpm, and 760Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. A seven-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission makes for a smooth ride upto a top speed of 203mph. And not satisfied with producing merely their fastest ever Spider, Ferrari also claim the 488 is their most aerodynamically efficient convertible. To us, it also looks like the most fun. A second-generation Slide Slip Angle Control System gives more freedom with throttle inputs and less intrusive traction control, allowing for faster acceleration out of corners and quicker responses from steering and throttle. The Spider will début officially at the Frankfurt Auto Show, when pricing will also be announced. With the GTB at £183,947, though expect to pay upwards of £200,000.

And finally...

Watch a distracted driver jump a rising drawbridge. This Florida motorist, in what was supposedly a single moment of distraction, accidentally does something we can all admit to imagining. Luckily, no one was injured when the 29 year old smashed through the closing barrier of the Flagler Bridge, and Bo Duke'd his SUV over the widening gap.