Well, this year’s New York Auto Show was chosen as the venue for the unveiling of Saleen’s new beast, and it’s everything Saleen fans dreamt it would be.
The S5S Raptor certainly looks the part of a killer with its predatory front end and ultra low profile. Saleen’s new management are proud of their first ground-up creation, saying that the experience of the last 20 years spent modifying racing and performance cars have culminated in the creation of the Raptor.
Whereas the S7 was designed for racing, the Raptor, should it go into production within the next two years, will be a road vehicle. The aesthetics combines smooth, flowing lines with geometric shapes, a race-car profile speaking volumes about the kind of power that lies latent beneath.
ASC, independent auto design company, are responsible for the Raptor’s incredible profile, saying that the Raptor embodies an American aggressiveness with a sophisticated, modern feel.
The Raptor draws its strength from an engine positioned in the centre of the car just behind the passenger seats. An engine in the middle not only better delivers power to all four wheels but also eliminates problems with balance, suspension and traction.
The Raptor’s supercharged mid-engined glory has a 5L capacity and spits a whopping 650HP. Even better is that it’s also environmentally conscious. The Raptor’s drink of choice is cellulosic ethanol, or E85, the official fuel for the 2008 American Le Mans Race Series.
Besides helping the Raptor clock 0-60 in a hair-raising 3.2 seconds and reach over 200mph, it also results in cleaner emissions from the tail pipe. When it comes off the production lines, Saleen enthusiasts can either take home a six-speed manual or one with a sequential paddle-shift gearbox.
All the show and go is nothing without the right stuff to keep it rooted to the road. The Raptor rides on a durable double-wishbone suspension and features superior traction control and steering.
To bring her to a stop, slam on the brake pedal to activate the 6-caliper braking system at the front wheels with the 2-caliper set-up at the rear. As far as shoes go, the best in Pirelli Rosso tires wrap around an exquisite set of aluminum rims in a sparkling black-diamond finish.
The Saleen Raptor clearly is a vehicle that doesn’t compromise on looks and performance. At an estimated $180K, it’s better priced that its foreign counterparts too. With this kind of legacy preceding it, this car is sure to join the Mustang, the Chevy El Camino and the Ford GT as one of the true American classics.