What top speed makes a car properly fast these days? While 150mph was the preserve of the very swiftest of sports cars when I was growing up, most of today's hotter hatchbacks will now hit that figure. So 170mph? In 2016, that?s Porsche Boxster territory.
What about the double-tonne? Two hundred miles an hour still seems like a crazy figure to me, one that is only really achievable in a handful of places within the UK by a tiny number of cars.
Thankfully, Porsche has a couple of things that make hitting that figure a lot easier. One of those is the 911 Turbo S and the other is a place called Nardo. Does the name ring a bell? Think Jaguar XJ220, RUF Yellowbird and chasing absolute top speed.
If you don?t yet hear any jingling, Nardo is a test facility located in the heel of Italy (geography was never my strong point) that has various tracks to allow manufacturers to thoroughly thrash their cars before a buying customer ever sees their prospective purchase in the metal.
Originally opened by Fiat in 1975, it was purchased by Porsche in 2012. There?s an FIA-approved handling circuit, skidpans, vicious bumps and plenty of other fun stuff. The big draw, however, is a 7.8-mile banked bowl that has been the venue for the breaking of all manner of speed and endurance records over its 41-year history.
For me, it?s a personal record I?m hoping to shatter: the fastest speed I?ve travelled in a car. Although I won?t be driving (probably for the best), I?ll be in the expert hands of Michael, a Porsche driving trainer. As we head calmly towards the entrance to the track, I wonder if the yellow 911 Turbo S will manage to get near its claimed 205mph top speed.
Entering the track, Michael welds his right foot to the floor and the 911 rockets forward. Even after an extended stint in a Carrera 4S, the Turbo S feels other-worldly fast as it munches hungrily through the first few gears. As the speedo hits 200km/h (124mph), Michael throws the Turbo S into a couple of violent lane changes to highlight just how stable it is at autobahn cruising speeds.
Demonstration over, the throttle pedal is pinned to the stops once more as the world goes into hyperdrive. While the scenery flashes past ever faster, my eyes are glued to the digital speed readout once more, quickly trying to convert km/h to mph.
We?re up to 300km/h without too much difficulty but I know the acceleration will be blunted heavily from here. Even so, it doesn?t take long to get up to an indicated 322km/h ? 200mph in old money. Surely, Michael will be backing off soon?
To my delight, he keeps his foot down, the display climbing slowly but surely past 330km/h and up to an astonishing 340km/h. Back in the pits, I punch the number into Google to find that we?d been doing 211mph. Even accounting for the speedo over-reading, that?s got to be an easy 200mph, right? Either way, I?m busting for another double-tonne run, preferably with me behind the wheel.
The Elemental RP1 now produces 1000kg of downforce thanks to new bodywork developed in conjunction with ex-McLaren Formula 1 aerodynamicist Mark Taylor.
The updates come in the form of an aerodynamic pack, which more than double the RP1?s downforce at 150mph from 400kg to 1000kg. The McLaren P1, by comparison, produces 600kg at 161mph.
?When Elemental asked me to take a look at the car straight away I could see there was said bags of potential,? said Taylor, who is now founder and managing director of London Computational Solutions. ?I could see that it would be easy to double the 400kg figure.?
Taylor worked with Mark Fowler, aerodynamics director for Elemental, using computational fluid (CFD) to test all aspects of the car?s aero package. The technique is used by F1 teams, and enabled them to test and develop the car?s aerodynamic package in significantly less time than before.
?What people using CFD typically do is model equations, but we don?t model the turbulence, we resolve it,? explained Taylor. ?Because of that we get a much more realistic flow that?s much closer to the real thing. It?s a more expensive option as you have to use bigger supercomputers but it means we?re faster.?
Fowler explained that the resulting efficiency meant several iterations of the same design could be produced and improved in a short space of time. ?It?s what we did back in Formula 1,? he said.
The RP1?s new aerodynamic updates include a more aggressively raked rear wing, bigger lower splitters and a different diffuser. ?The RP1 was designed from the outset to use underfloor aerodynamics, so we were able to investigate, model and analyse many different variants and options to a far greater fidelity and accuracy than has been done anywhere before,? continued Taylor.
Despite the high levels of downforce on offer, Taylor said that the car is well balanced and predictable so a driver of any level can drive it. ?The rear wing is lightly loaded, the diffsuer is beautifully balanced and the downforce is well spread,? he said. ?This car has been designed to be well behaved, a car people can be confident in.?
The new aerodynamic package doesn?t include engine upgrades, so the latest RP1 still comes with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 320bhp and 332lb ft of torque. 0-60mph takes an estimated 2.8sec.
Elemental delivered its first customer RP1 earlier this month.
Bugatti Chiron production is being stepped up next year as the waiting list for new orders has eclipsed more than three years before any customers have even test driven the new hypercar.
The Bugatti Veyron replacement was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show and more than 200 orders have now been placed. The Chiron has 1479bhp, can reach 62mph in less than 2.5sec - despite weighing 1995kg - and has a maximum top speed of 261mph. It costs ?2.4 million (about £2.0 million) plus taxes.
?Demand has been incredible and these are not the kind of customers who like to wait too long for a new car,? said Bugatti boss Wolfgang Durheimer. ?We will step production up next year to bring the wait down, but there is only so much we can do - traditionally we have manufactured one car a week, next year the total for the year will be around 65.?
Drives for potential customers will begin next March, and Durheimer anticipates the full production run of 500 standard Chirons selling out shortly afterwards. ?We have many prospects who are keen to know more and wavering on putting down a deposit - my feeling is that after driving the car most will buy one.?
The largest order of Chirons by a single individual remains six, for a customer who was buying a car for himself and as gifts for other members of his family. Durheimer stressed that even in such circumstances the company cannot offer a discount, reasoning that it will sell the cars at full price regardless.
Durheimer also played down talk of a second Bugatti model line. The firm has investigated several concepts in recent years, including showing the Bugatti Galibier saloon concept, but the fallout from the VW Dieselgate crisis and the new focus on investing in electric cars has reportedly made the business case for fringe products harder to justify.
Lamborghini's current Aventador (pictured) will be replaced in January, and the new car will gain an Aventador S variant
An invite to the launch of the next Lamborghini Aventador confirms the model?s existence ? there?s an even hotter one on the way too
An even hotter Lamborghini Aventador called the Aventador S is on the cards, according to recent patent applications discovered by Autocar.
This follows an invite to Autocar, which confirms the facelifted Aventador will launch in January next year.
Although no pictures have been provided of the car with the invitation, the text does describe the updates to the car, which has been given ?new design, superior power and a mix of advanced technologies?.
The Aventador is approaching the middle of its life cycle, having been introduced in 2011, so the styling changes are likely to be a thorough refresh, as opposed to a complete overhaul.
The new Aventador?s launch will take place at the Ricardo Tormo Formula 1 track, where the car?s ?active technology? can be experienced. This suggests a new raft of driver aids, although a Lamborghini spokesman couldn?t add any detail to what would feature on the new model.
The Aventador S is likely to receive a state of tune akin to the Centenario ? 759bhp, while the current Aventador has 691bhp, both from the same 6.5-litre V12. It's also likely that the Aventador S will inherit the Centenario's four-wheel steering system, and receive more extreme front and rear exterior design.
Lamborghini recently abandoned its numerical suffixes on its models, starting with the Huracán rear-wheel drive convertible, which drops the roof of the Huracán LP580-2. It?s expected that this will complete a three-tier model family for the Aventador, made up of the base Aventador, Aventador S and Aventador SV.