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New, Southern California-based supercar maker Bulleta Motors says it has launched the Lotus Evora-based RF22, its first vehicle. If the car allegedly designed by Samir Sadikhov also reminds you of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet, then the RF22 successfully embodies its inspiration. Maybe a little too much; the jet struggled with oxygen-delivery and software problems through the long course of its development, and Bulleta seems to be facing an existential crisis in the early going.
Bulleta claims to offer two versions of the mid-engine supercar: the RF22, with 400 horsepower and 355 pound-feet of torque, and the RF22-R, which makes 505 hp and 390 lb-ft. Both versions are equipped with a supercharged 3.5-liter V6 and a six-speed manual transmission. The R model will do 0-60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds, Bulleta states, but the 400-hp model can do it in 3.9 seconds - still extremely quick. For those who want just two pedals, there's also an option for a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
But before we delve further into what makes an RF22, it must be noted that there is controversy surrounding the car's very existence. Carscoops published a piece on the supercar and reportedly received a response from Kevin Smith, Lotus Cars USA marketing and PR communications executive, saying that the RF22 is "vapor," or not real. He told the publication that Lotus isn't selling Evora chassis to Bulleta to make RF22s.
Bulleta Motors' co-founder, Ferris Rezvani, then got into the mix, sending e-mail messages to Carscoops saying the RF22 is, in fact, a real car. Rezvani claimed Bulleta Motors isn't dealing with Lotus Cars USA, only Lotus Cars UK, and that Kevin Smith wouldn't know about the RF22. While the RF22 is seeming more like a pipe dream than a production reality, we're still holding out hope that the sleek supercar will be seen on the road someday... we're just not holding our breath.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Last year about 80 examples of the 2011 Lotus Evora S were recalled over an issue with the oil feed pipe. The same number of 2011 Evora S', but with different manufacture dates, are back in the recall box again for a very similar issue; this time it's the engine oil cooler hose that could rupture and spray oil either onto the rear wheels or a hot engine part. Neither of those cases is good, and the latter could potentially lead to a fire.
Lotus is working on a solution, so a recall date hasn't been announced. The bulletin below from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more information.Permalink | Email this | Comments
It took 1.5 years, but a DRB-Hicom managing director told Malaysia's Business Times that the company has "cleaned up" the situation at Lotus from its finances to its marketing and image. The clean-up job we're most interested in, the product portfolio, will be demonstrated by financial investment in a three-year program of "variants based on existing products - variants with improved technology, improved performance."
You'll notice mention of the word "variants" three times but no mention of the phrase "new models." We knew that with the death of the five-new-model turnaround plan dreamed up by ex-Lotus CEO Dany Bahar DRB-Hicom said there'd only be three distinct lines - which is the current number - but during Lotus' trouble-plagued 2012 it sold just 80 cars all year, and for a tense spell it really wasn't clear if DRB-Hicom would commit to even keeping Lotus alive, much less investing in it.
It's not clear how much is being put into in the three-year program of offshoot models like the 345-horsepower Exige S Roadster (pictured), but it might be fair to say this is where Lotus' revival really begins, and does so with baby steps. Autocar reports that DRB-Hicom has already put 100 million pounds into the English carmaker, and as its issues were worked through Lotus has sold almost as many cars in the first five months of this year as it did all of last. That has not only convinced the Malaysian minders to throw more money its way, but the UK's business secretary has also approved a 10-million-pound investment into Lotus through the Regional Growth Facility program.
However, with the Evora and Elise the only other models to earn the "Definites" tag this could put us another three years away from the return of the Esprit. Last we heard it was ready save for a management sign-off, but it goes into reverse - again - to an underground garage called "nebulosity."Permalink | Email this | Comments
A pair of head-turning high performance cars are catching some attention off a different kind, in the form of safety recalls. Aston Martin and Lotus have issued recalls for the V12 Vantage Coupe and Evora, respectively.
Aston Martin's affects 169 examples of the 2009-2012 V12 Vantage Coupe. It concerns the tire-pressure monitoring system, and is less a malfunction than it is a compliance issue. The TPMS does not alert the driver until the front tire is more than 25 percent below the recommended cold tire pressure. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 138 states that the alarm must sound when tire pressure is "equal to or less than either the pressure 25 percent below" the recommended cold inflation pressure. To address the issue, Aston Martin will notify owners and reprogram the software, free of charge.
As for Lotus, 80 supercharged Evoras have been recalled, all built between February and September, 2011. The problem involves an engine-mounted oil feed pipe, which could rupture, causing loss of engine oil or a possible fire if the oil sprays onto a hot engine.
Lotus will notify owners and repair the problem, free of charge. NHTSA invites anyone who owns these affected vehicles to contact its safety hotline or go on its website for additional information. To find out more about these recalls, refer to the press release posted below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Tags: aston martin v12 vantage, coupe, Evora, Performance, Recall, recalls, Safety, V12 Vantage, vantage
You might say the same for any number of automakers, but in this case it rings particularly true: Lotus wouldn't be Lotus without racing. It's what forged the company at its outset, and that hasn't eluded the management team lead by Dany Behar. Say what you will about his overly ambitious plans to expand the company's product portfolio - he's also lead the company (or at least the brand) into a variety of racing series, and this is its latest product.
A further evolution of the Evora GT4 Enduro, the new Evora GTC packs carbon-fiber body panels in place of fiberglass and plexi windows to help trim 30 kilograms (66 pounds) off its the GT4's curb weight that's now down to 1,130 kilograms (less than 2,500 pounds, depending on customer specification).
The 4.0-liter V6 carries over with 450 horsepower and an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox, both of which are further enhanced by new traction control and Bosch ABS, with eighteen-inch competition alloys packed into flared fenders.
Having already undergone exhausting testing at the company's Hethel test track, the Evora GTC has already found its first customers that will be fielding theirs in the Grand-Am series and Britcar MSA Endurance Championship. Scroll down for the full press release.Permalink | Email this | Comments