Named after the legendary father of Ferrari, the Enzo is Ferrari's best effort at the "fastest car" title yet. It's best effort last time round was in 1987 with the 195 mph F40, while the newer F50 was actually slower. Initially thought to be the F60, the Enzo incorporates all sorts of technological advancements that were not possible in the last century. With only 399 copies slated for production, it is expected to go down in history books even if it doesn't beat the McLaren for top speed honors.
As usual, the Enzo has been styled by Pininfarina, but it takes a whole new direction, attempting to resemble a Formula 1 racecar. Although the similarities are there, it gives the car a decidedly confused look - as if a computer error on the "drawing board" caused a road car to merge with an open-wheeled racer. Still, the look is unique and functional. Employing ideas learned in F1 racing, the Enzo's huge air intakes allow it to generate immense downforce. A small retractable rear spoiler comes up at speeds in excess of 100 mph. To keep it lightweight, the chassis is made of carbon fiber, while the bodywork uses a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber, but build quality is not exactly world-class. The cab-forward interior also sports carbon fiber. A semi-automatic six-speed gearbox is standard, along with a launch control system to maximize acceleration. The Enzo's suspension has variable damping so it can be used as a luxury cruiser too.
The 6.0L naturally aspirated V12 engine, one of the most powerful in the world, pumps out 660 hp and 485 lb-ft of torque. The engine can rev to 8000 rpm and have 80% of torque come up at only 3000 rpm. In keeping with the lightweight theme, the V12 is one of the lightest in the world. Advanced technology like ASR, EBD, traction control and ABS keep the car in check, making it for capable than the McLaren F1 in the twisties. Huge ceramic disc brakes bring the car to a stop quicker than the non-ABS Mac too.
So is the high-tech Enzo our Big Mac beater. The engine certainly had the potential. Unfortunately, all the other gimmicks weigh down the car to the point that top speed is limited to an estimated 218 mph, well below target. Front-end aerodynamics don't help either. An excellent track performer and boulevard cruiser, but not the king in a straight line.
Koenigsegg CC 8S
The Koenigsegg CC 8S was first conceptualized back in 1994. The brainchild behind the project, Christian von Koenigsegg, set up co-operation between numerous Swedish entities to work on the car. The first production test mule finally saw the light of day in 2000, and the first car was ready for delivery in 2002.
Both the body and the chassis are made of carbon fiber. This makes the car light and completely resistant to corrosion, like many other supercars. The chassis was designed by engineers with Formula 1 experience. The semi-monocoque self-supporting center unit provides exceptional rigidity, while making up a shell protecting the driver. The hard top is removable for somewhat open air driving, and it fits in the front luggage compartment. The interior is clad in leather, aluminum and carbon fiber, while funky-opening doors provide easy access.
The supercharged and intercooled quad-cam 4.7L V8 engine delivers 655 hp and 553 lb-ft, thus making it just as powerful and more torquey than the Enzo's V12. The boosted engine revs hard to produce those figures though. The small and lightweight engine makes extensive use of carbon fiber, titanium and aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. Unlike the high-tech Enzo, the Koenigsegg avoids electronic driver's aids, making the CC a pure driver's car and shedding additional weight too. The only gimmick is a KACS system that allows the driver to adjust road holding, suspension, aerodynamics and braking components to suit individual preferences.
In late 2002, Koenigsegg conducted their own high-speed tests, which were prematurely abandoned due to a wet track. However, their test driver managed to do a preliminary run, speeding to 228 mph with power to spare. That makes the CC 8S faster than the Enzo and S7, and everything else out there except the McLaren. Koenigsegg feels confident that the car can reach a top speed of 245 mph. The Swedish niche player is the closest competitor the McLaren has had since its debut.
Side-by-side performance comparison...
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