02 April 2008

Dinosaur king

Saleen Raptor sharpens talons for Euro supercars

Saleen Raptor

Naming your latest supercar concept after an angry, scythe-clawed dinosaur (or an angry, scythe-beaked bird of prey if you're of an ornithological bent) and painting it bright yellow sends out a pretty clear message.

A message that goes something like: 'Watch out F430, watch out R8. You're getting disembowelled like that game-hunter chap from Jurassic Park.'

This is the S5S Raptor, the latest supercar concept from American firm Saleen. A mid-engined two-seater built around a five-litre V8, the Raptor is a properly sorted-looking effort from a company better known for hotting up big Fords.

That V8 sounds a bit special. Running on E85 bioethanol - making it green, sort of - and featuring a twin-screw supercharger, it delivers a massive 650bhp and 630lb ft of torque to the rear wheels. That'll propel the Raptor to 60mph in a scant 3.2 seconds and on to a top speed over 200mph - comfortably quicker than just about any supercar short of the Veyron.

"The Raptor is a work of art aimed to take your breath away," says Saleen manager Marques McCammon, a man not short on a quotable line or two. "It is aggressive and sexy at the same time."

Although the Raptor is a concept at present, the guys at Saleen say it could enter production within two years with prices starting around $185,000! so long as the public like it. Well, public, do you like it? We'll give you a hint. You do.

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