News, Sports Car

New Avatar sports car confirmed

British manufacturer Avatar have revealed a new Roadster.

The Devon-based track and race division of specialist car producer Marlin Sports Cars has developed the 250bhp 2.0-litre Ecoboost-engined Roadster to offer road and track day fans a ‘responsive, involving, lightweight car that offers plenty of scope to adjust and upgrade during ownership’.

Set to be fully unveiled this week at The Performance Car Show at Birmingham's NEC, the car’s 2.0-litre Ford engine sits behind the driver and is mated to a five-speed Porsche Boxster gearbox. The 0-60mph time comes in at 3.9 seconds while top speed is 150mph. Engineers also specified in-board adjustable suspension at the rear with Nitron dampers, Quaife LSD, Tilton pedal box and Hi-Spec brakes on the 700kg car. The Avatar Roadster will also be available in a 350bhp version that uses Ford’s 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine from the forthcoming Ford Focus RS and Mustang.

Starting with a clean sheet of paper, Avatar’s design team was able to create a custom laser-cut, tubular spaceframe chassis that sits the driver closer to the centreline of the car. “This arrangement not only offers better weight distribution and, we think, purer driving experience but also provides storage space alongside the driver for the optional ‘get me home’ roof,” said Dylan Popovic, Avatar designer and company racing driver.

The chassis, manufactured in-house by Marlin, is clothed in a sleek composite four-piece bodyshell - front and back sections can be removed in less than 30 seconds. The car’s aesthetics have been honed by ‘aero specialist’ Simon McBeath and confirmed by a string of class wins for the development mule running in the Castle Combe Sports & GT Championship. “We have completed over 1,200 laps at the demanding Castle Combe circuit to finesse and prove the quality of the Avatar,” adds Dylan. “Consumers expect to drive to a track day, thrash around all day and come home again without wielding the spanners. The Avatar was conceived with high quality components to do just that.”

Avatar says its back up and technical support is ‘just as comprehensive as the Avatar Roadster’s specification'. A pre-delivery Tailored session means each car leaves the factory corner-weighted and setup specific to the buyer’s weight, driving preferences and planned use. “We want to know each of our customers and their cars personally,” said Terry Matthews, Avatar founder, “Owners can pick up the phone to us any time and get one-to-one support”.

Aware that track day drivers are always keen to find a little more performance, customers can choose from a range of options to tailor the car for more serious track work or even competition. An unlimited mileage, three-year warranty, provides further peace of mind whilst the engine can be serviced at any Ford garage.

First customer deliveries are expected in May 2016, with the company hoping to build a run of up to 25 by 2017.

Convertible, Luxury, News, Sports Car

Mercedes Roadster revamped and renamed SLC

Mercedes is revamping its SLK Roadster model and relaunching it with a brand new name – SLC.

In March 2016, 20 years on from the arrival of the first SLK Roadster, the new SLC will arrive with a new look and upgraded technology.

The name change is said to acknowledge the close relationship with the C-Class, from which much of the roadster’s technology is derived. 

As part of the facelift, there’s a new front section with a steeply raked radiator grille designed to elongate the appearance of the arrow-shaped bonnet. All SLC models feature a diamond radiator grille as standard, but the new LED Intelligent Light System is only available as an optional extra.

There’s also a new addition to the model line-up in the shape of the sporty, 3.0-litre V6 biturbo-engined Mercedes-AMG SLC 43.

Sporting a modified version of the suspension carried over from the Mercedes-AMG SLK 55, the range-topper can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, thanks to its 367hp and peak torque of 520 Nm.

The SLC’s dynamic characteristics can be adjusted at the touch of a button, modifying the engine, transmission, steering and suspension to suit the driver’s taste. The DYNAMIC SELECT system offers a choice five driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco and Individual – and is fitted as standard in the 300, the 250 d and the SLC 43.

In addition, a range of technology upgrades to the SLC’s safety, comfort and infotainment systems includes the fitment of Active Brake Assist, an improved vario-roof design and a larger media display featuring extended functionality.

Prices will be announced when the SLC is available to order in mid-January 2016, with first cars arriving in showrooms from April 2016.