Forza Garage: Thursday Roundup 9/1

Alex Kierstein
Thursday, September 01, 2011

It’s been a big week since our last huge Forza Garage Thursday Roundup that brought the announcement that the Nissan 240SX SE will be in Forza Motorsport 4. We’ve revealed some heavy hitters from multiple continents since then, starting with the 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT hailing from Australia to the 1968 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” from Italy. Then there were the two Mustangs from the USA yesterday, the mighty Boss 429 and Mach 1. And let’s not forget yesterday’s 2011 Volvo S60 R-Design, one of the most curvaceous cars to emerge from Sweden. If nothing else, there’s been a lot of variety, and even more variety is to come.

 

The response to the Forza Garage posts on Facebook and Twitter has been great, and so next week we’re going to ramp up the announcements even more. We have lots of cars yet to be revealed and an ever-smaller amount of time before the game hits a retail shelf near you, so if you do the math (let me grab my calculator here) the inescapable conclusion is that more cars will be revealed each day. We’ve also been working feverishly in the background to get the Cars page updated with all the cars we’ve announced so far—cars we’ve announced are going to start appearing rapidly this week and next on that portion of the site, so we’ll try and point you to what’s new but the best bet is just to poke around the site for yourself. That will also give you an excuse to read any of the car profiles you may have missed the first time around.

 

Let’s talk about today’s Forza Garage feature cars. You may remember that folks who purchase Forza Motorsport 4 early have a chance to get a special “Launch Bonus Car Pack”—cars that will ship out on-disc for the first run of the game. We briefly mentioned those cars a long time ago, but we wanted to use this opportunity to give you more details about these cars—particularly the 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport, not just an electric vehicle but also an amazing sportscar in its own right. All of the Launch Bonus cars are interesting, and it’s likely that at least one is going to stand out and grab your attention. The easiest way to get ahold of these cars is to order early, so if you haven’t already, head over to the Preorder Page of FM.net and reserve a copy.

 


2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 

 

For turning electrons into incredible velocities, the Tesla Roadster Sport has no equal—literally. No other production electric sportscar exists to truly compete with it. Tesla hasn’t let this fact go to its head, and so the Roadster has been continually improved. Laying into Sport version’s new hand-wound electric motor will put a smile on the face of even the most hardened electric vehicle skeptic.

 

FM4_2011_Tesla_RoadsterS_FG.jpg

 

That’s because the Tesla’s secret weapon is torque, the specialty of all electric motors. Unlike internal combustion engines, an electric motor can put out all the twist available—in the Tesla’s case, a full 295 ft-lbs.—from a complete standstill (0 RPMs), providing acceleration characteristics more akin to a solid-fuel rocket than an earthbound car. Adding to the unusual experience, the Roadster is virtually silent while running and there’s only one gear—so there’s no shifting either—but you’ll become used to the Roadster’s unconventional ways quickly. To put it another way, if you like the G-forces of a rollercoaster, you’ll love the way the Tesla charges forward and flies through corners. Whether you consider the Roadster Sport alone or compare it to fossil-fuel-burning competitors, it’s an amazing technical achievement—and a ton of fun, too.

 

1965 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 

 

The Mustang wasn’t necessarily destined for greatness. The very similar Plymouth Barracuda, based on a low-end car just like the Mustang (the Plymouth Valiant and the Ford Falcon, respectively) failed to light a fire under car buyers. On the other hand, within the first year-and-a-half, Ford sold nearly 700,000 Mustangs—an industry record that still stands. What made it so popular? There was the excellent styling, successfully bringing pseudo-European proportions and handsome details together in a small car while preserving its “American-ness.” The name was also spot-on, appealing to buyers by suggesting the independence and freedom of the open road. And finally, there was the drivetrain, utilizing Ford’s excellent thin-wall V8 “Windsor” family of engines. When equipped with a 271 horsepower K-Code “Hi-Po” 289, the Mustang is a great performer and the perfect basis for a fast street or race car. Ultimately, whether you appreciate the performance dynasty the Mustang founded, or simply how fun it is to drive, it’s undeniable that the Mustang is an outsized success.

 

2011 Koenigsegg Agera 

 

The Veyron may be (slightly) faster, but the Agera has to be the most interesting of the current breed of hypercar. It certainly has the requisite manic power numbers courtesy of a 940 horsepower twin-turbo 5-liter V8. With a top speed of greater than 260 mph and a sub-three-second 0-60 mph time, no one can deny its performance. But Christian von Koenigsegg’s genius is in making his cars boldly distinctive, and while the CCX and its derivatives are definitely that, the Agera is a further evolution of the theme. From every angle the new composite body (draped over a variant of the CCX’s incredibly stiff chassis) is fascinating, and it also provides improved downforce. For example, those halo-shaped taillights surround heat-extracting vents to help cool the engine. And the wheels are specially designed as vortex generators, cooling the brakes and increasing downforce. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Koenigsegg without some special details like the wraparound windshield, distinctive cockpit, and the ghost on the engine cover. Ghost? Yes, it’s a tribute to a Swedish air force squadron that previously occupied Koenigsegg’s Ängelholm facility. 

 

1997 Lexus SC300 

 

Lexus is so firmly established that it’s sometimes tough to remember that in the early 1990s it was a new marque trying to make a name for itself against ingrained competitors from Europe. The original SC300, introduced in 1991, was a shot across the bow of Old Luxury. Penned in Toyota’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, the swoopy coupe broke the mold when lead designers skipped 2D pen-and-paper design studies and started right off the bat with 3D models—which explains the finished product’s smooth, organic look. Starting a year after introduction, Lexus allowed drivers to choose the 3-liter engine out of the GS300, but it’s more dramatic to talk about another car that featured this engine: the legendary fourth-generation Toyota Supra. That’s right, the inline six is the famous 2JZ-GE, the naturally aspirated but still potent motor that is dramatically overbuilt to handle huge power. (In fact, the Supra actually uses a drivetrain derived from the Toyota Soarer, as the SC is known in Japan, not the other way around.) Out of the box, the SC300 was available with this 225 horsepower engine paired with a manual transmission, perfect for the sort of grand touring Lexus envisioned. However, it didn’t take long for Lexus buyers to look at the JDM twin-turbo Aristo/GS300 for inspiration, and the SC300 has rightly become a highly popular choice for drifters, drag racers, and import tuners of all stripes.

 

2011 RUF RGT-8 

 

RUF is an incredible automaker in their own right—while it may seem easier to start with an existing chassis to create your model line, when you consider how much work goes into each RUF you quickly realize that this is not necessarily true. Creating a RUF is not easy; starting with modern Porsche body-in-whites (meaning, a bare welded-together chassis without VINs, sold to RUF), RUF does the rest of the assembly, fitting mostly bespoke components and re-engineering nearly everything else to craft an entire package engineered to work together from the get-go. First, there’s the integral rollcage that RUF installs in each chassis, a signature element that adds rigidity and safety—a tradition started with the CTR2 in 1996. After that, things get wilder. The RGT-8 is a good example: it doesn’t even feature a Porsche-based engine. Instead, RUF designed its own original V8—a 3.8-liter flat-plane crank masterpiece—from scratch in two years flat. The resulting engine is less than an inch longer than the 3.6-liter flat six found in a normal 911, and it’s a full 88 lbs. lighter. To make matters even more interesting, it produces about 550 horsepower without the aid of turbochargers or superchargers. Outside, the RUF is enhanced with special aerodynamic bodywork for a unique look, and RUF also fits upgraded suspension in several flavors. The RGT-8 is a fine example of what makes RUF special; completely redone from top to bottom, the result is a vaguely familiar shape with completely unique driving characteristics.

 


That covers the Launch Bonus cars. We’re also announcing a trio of Lamborghinis today, including the inimitable Miura, the first mid-engine supercar in the world:

 

  • 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400
  • 2005 Lamborghini Gallardo
  • 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago LP640

 

That’s it for this week’s Roundup. Check in tomorrow for the Week in Review, featuring the Ask Alex segment and a new track reveal. Yes, you read that correctly!

 

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