Sports cars remain popular despite eco-debate

April 9th, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by admin  

By Heiko Haupt
Hamburg, April 9 (DPA) Despite rising prices at the pump and car manufacturers actively working on clean-drive technology and more economical vehicles, sports cars remain popular with several new models coming onto the market soon. “Sports cars are not influenced by the current eco-debate. They are emotional objects,” says market analyst Nick Margetts from the market research organisation Jato Dynamics.

Mercedes has given the SL and SLK a makeover just in time for spring in Europe. Volkswagen also unveiled the new Scirocco, featuring an avant garde design and a package of new technology, at the recent Geneva Motor Show.

Audi is also extending its sports car model line-up this year with the new TTS topping the TT range. The four-cylinder motor in the coupe and roadster versions is fitted with a 200 kW/272 hp engine with the top speed electronically limited at 250 km/h.

The new M3 convertible from BMW is another highlight this year.

But car expert Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from the Centre of Automotive Research (CAR) sees coming bestsellers among hitherto fairly unknown brands. One such vehicle could come from the Kia stable in 2010 with the concept study Kee shown at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show giving some indication of the car’s appearance.

In the top league of the sports cars is Porsche’s new Panamera that is scheduled to come onto the market next year. With its four doors and large interior it is both a sports car and a luxury vehicle designed to compete against the likes of a Mercedes S-Class.

Like the Kia Kee, hardly any information is available on the new BMW Z8. The model could be ready in 2011 as a larger brother to the current Z4.

But even niche manufacturers are betting that automaker Artega, based in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia is planning to produce the Artega GT as a small-series sports car.

Nissan meanwhile has announced that orders can now be placed for the GT-R available next year. It is not just any Japanese coupe but a thoroughbred sports car powered by a 353 kW/480 hp bi-turbo engine.

Even more dynamic is the ZR1 sports version of the Corvette with a 456 kW/620 hp power unit. But US manufacturers are also demonstrating that the sports car can be combined with an eco-conscience.

Production of the electric-powered Tesla Roadster has begun at a Lotus factory in England. The entire 2008 production run of the zero-emission Tesla has been sold out, according to Tesla Motors, based in Silicon Valley in the US. Priced at $100,000 the car is said to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds with a range of 354 km on one electric charge.

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