2006 Saleen S7

Written by tonks on December 11, 2006

2006 Saleen S7The Saleen says its incredibly fast S7 supercar is built with enough down-force that it can literally drive upside down at 160 miles per hour. It sounds fictional and something that only a Hot Wheels toy car could perform on a racing loop-the-loop set, but it can happen. As long as the amount of down-force of a car traveling 160 mph exceeds gravity’s pull, it can indeed drive upside down (theoretically).

People would love to test this theory, but considering each hand-built S7 costs $555,000, the likelihood is slim. Billed as the first American supercar, the S7 is one of the most extreme sports cars ever built. It debuted in 2002 and shook the performance-car market with its astounding speed, athleticism and price. With only about two dozen expected to be built in 2005 it’s truly exotic.

While few, if any, changes are expected for the 2006 model, the S7 received a significant power boost in 2005 from an astonishing 575 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque to a mind-blowing 750 hp and 700 lb.-ft. of torque. Now, even the cartoonishly potent Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and Porsche Carrera GT seem underpowered (617 hp and 612 hp respectively).

The S7 sprints to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and hits 100 mph in just 6 secs. — which is faster than most cars can accelerate to 60 mph. It has a top speed in excess of 200 mph. The massive power boost (a 200-hp bump) comes from adding two turbo chargers to the 7.0-liter Ford V8 engine, used since the car’s 2002 inception mounted in front of the rear axle (a mid-engine layout). Back then, it made 550 hp.

In 2004, the engine was revised to generate 575 hp and massaged, along with the six-speed manual transmission, to make the car more drivable at legal speeds (high-powered engines in super cars can be rough at lower speeds because they’re tuned to perform optimally at high speeds).

The S7′s relatively light weight (2,950 lbs.) helps it achieve such insane acceleration and speed. It’s built on a steel space frame with honeycomb composite panels employing aluminum and carbon fiber in certain areas. Exterior panels are carbon fiber, which tends to be lighter, stiffer and more expensive than steel.

Wide, long and low with lots of scoops and vents, the S7 looks more like a race car than a street car and has a racetrack-ready suspension (unequal-length double wishbone setup with aluminum shock absorbers). Massive brakes the diameter of some car’s wheels (15 inches front, 14 inches rear) enable the S7 to reach a complete stop from 100 mph in just 11.2 seconds. By comparison, the high-clout Lamborghini Murcielago takes 14.2 seconds.

A testament to its superb engineering, a racing only version of the S7, called the S7R, has won nearly 40 races around the world in the last few years and set a new track record at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The race-inspired cockpit features snug sport seats and large instrument dials. Adjustable pedals and a tilting/telescoping steering wheel facilitate a comfortable driving position.


Posted Under: Supercars

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