Friday, April 29, 2011

Ascari KZ1

The relatively unknown Ascari KZ1, (pronounced K-Zed-1 by the English), is the product of Klaas Zwart’s desire to manufacture a truly exclusive super car (Only 50 are built).  The title of “super car” gets thrown around quite a bit in automotive circles.  Having the highest horsepower, the fastest top speed or being the most expensive or prettiest is not enough.  If it were, than the Bugatti Veyron would be the hands down “King of Super Cars.”  (I personally think it looks like a deformed Audi TT).  Instead the super-car designation is given to a car with a combination of elements not least of which is a reasonable level of real-life drivability.  From those that have driven the KZ1, and I am not yet one of them, there are quite a few who claim that it may be the most super of all “super cars.”
Power is provided by a naturally aspirated, 5.0-liter BMW M5-derived eight-cylinder engine.  The hand-molded aluminum engine ignites 500 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 406-ft. lbs. of torque @ 4,500 rpm.  0-60 is attained in 3.7 seconds and the car has a top speed (LIMITED for European road worthiness mind you) to 200 mph!  According to the BBC television show Top Gear it posted the fifth quickest lap time EVER recorded on the series at just over one minute and 20 seconds.  Despite the absence of an electronic stability control system, maneuvering and handling at high speeds are managed with ease due to the mid-motor position.  Ok, that’s all well and good, but the real kicker is that it still manages 18 mpg in town and 26 mpg on the highway.  All is well indeed.

KZ1 on the track

The one complaint given about the KZ1 is that it may be so good, so refined and so polished, that it actually eliminates one of the main thrills of driving such a vehicle; the possibility of danger.  Even the design, which is certainly appealing, isn’t overly exotic either.  The interior, in fact the entire car, is what you would expect from something that is the result of 340 hours of handcrafted excellence.  The interior color of each car is matched to the exterior based on the customer’s specifications.
With mileage better than some SUV’s and a ride that is actually feasible for a daily commute, there really isn’t much of an excuse not to like the KZ1.  I’m sure when a car costs $450,000, gas mileage is not even a blip on the radar of concern for the buyer.  But it is impressive nonetheless and proof that performance doesn’t have to be at the expense of mileage.

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