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Old 11-04-2009, 12:24 PM   #1
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Default Saleen S5 Raptor: Almost a reality?

It's taken some time, but the S5 Raptor is now more than a pipedream

Houston Chronicle 11/03/09

The Raptor is designed to provide a truly American alternative to the European exotics.

Anyone thinking that Steve Saleen's departure from the company that bears his name would result in the end of supercars such as the famous S7 ... would be wrong. That's because Saleen, now based in Troy, Michigan, as opposed to its former headquarters in Irvine, California, has unveiled an all-new supercar concept called the S5S Raptor.

Unlike the S7, which was a barely-civilized race car, the new S5S Raptor is "primarily a street vehicle," according to Saleen, although it stresses that the Raptor's dynamic qualities "will not be compromised." Officials went on to say the Raptor "is designed to provide a truly American alternative to the European exotics."

Power will come from a mid-mounted 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 putting out 650 bhp at 6300 rpm and 630 lb.-ft. of torque at 4400 rpm. The engine is designed to run on E85; what's more, unlike today's flex-fuel cars, this one is apparently dedicated to ethanol: "By using ethanol fuel, the powertrain is able to run higher compression and yield approximately 5 percent more horsepower than our normal 5.0-liter supercharged engine," the company says.

A 6-speed manual transmission will come standard in the Raptor, with a paddle-shift sequential gearbox optional. The performance meter should be pegged: Saleen estimates 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds, the quarter mile in 10.9 sec. and a top speed over 200 mph.

The Raptor's aluminum chassis and composite body panels happen to be very similar in size to Ferrari's F430. And although the new Saleen rides on a 106.3-in. wheelbase that's identical to the S7's, the Raptor is 13 in. shorter and 5 in. taller, the last dimension no doubt an attempt to make the new car more people-friendly.

Suspension is composed of double wishbones front and rear. The front brakes have 15.0-in. rotors with 6-piston calipers, while the rears are 13.0 in. with 2-piston calipers. Lots of rubber will keep this new Saleen glued to the road: 275/35R-20s up front and 315/35R-20s at the rear.

It also appears that besides the S5S Raptor being a more road- and people-friendly car than the S7 (which is no longer for sale in the U.S., although it is still exported to foreign lands), it will be a lot kinder on your wallet: Saleen expects to sell it for $185,000, compared with the S7 Twin Turbo's price of $580,000.
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