One of the most common presumptions of many non car people is that all expensive sports and supercars have unique and highly complicated engines. While it is true in most cases, especially if we look at Ferrari, Lamborghini or McLaren, there are many more sports cars with much more humble motors. In fact, there are a lot of speedy and exclusive models, which borrow engines from ordinary vehicles and give them a second lease on life. Here are five exciting hero cars with engines from every day boring models.
The CC8S was the first proper production model from Koenigsegg in 2002. The company made just six examples which were enough to establish it as the new force in the hypercar class. At just 3.5 seconds 0 to 60 and a top speed of 240 miles per hour it was one of the fastest land vehicles of the period and truly a show stopper. However, it was powered by Ford`s modular V8 engine commonly found in the famous New York`s yellow taxis, police Crown Victoria cruisers, and F-150 pickup trucks.
Of course, Koenigsegg thoroughly modified Ford`s engine and put two big superchargers on it, resulting in 664 horsepower, but still, it was the same block and displacement like the one used in ordinary Mustang GT from the mid-`90s, for example. An interesting thought when you’re in a New York Taxi at 5 miles per hour!
Lotus has always been a company more focused on building lightweight chassis, suspension, and bodies than on constructing their own engines. Over the years, Lotus has used engines from various companies like Ford, Renault, Rover, and so on, but in current Lotus Evora, they used a 3.5-liter Toyota engine with and without the supercharger.
The exciting part is that this 3.5-liter V6, known as 2GR-FE, is the same unit used in many ordinary Toyota models all over the world. With 276 HORSEPOWER on tap, this motor can be found in Camry sedans, the Highlander SUV and the Lexus ES 350. The supercharged version which delivers over 400 HORSEPOWER is a bit more special, but it is still the same engine which powers your neighbor`s Toyota Sienna minivan!
When the Nissan 350Z debuted in 2002, sports car lovers all over the world rejoiced. Finally, a proper, two-door, two-seater sports coupé with powerful V6 up front and rear-wheel drive. A lot of praise went to its 3.5-liter V6 engine called VQ35DE which delivered 290 HORSEPOWER and exhilarating performance.
However, not many people know that this engine was also used in a vehicle on the totally opposite side of the car spectrum – the Renault Grand Espace minivan. Through the magic of cost-cutting and engine sharing, Renault got its hands on the VQ35DE and installed it into its full-size Grand Espace minivan.
Introduced in 2006 and sold until 2010, Renault produced very few of these performance people carriers with the 350Z`s engine which was a slightly detuned to 245 horsepower. However, despite the significant power (for a minivan) and high top speed of 140 miles per hour, not a lot of people chose this model, and Grand Espace 3.5 is forgotten French-Japanese gem.
Noble is one of those small but very interesting manufacturers, which produce fantastic cars but never evolve beyond kit car recognition. To be honest, this is a unfortunate since Nobel`s cars are brutally fast creations that can put some very famous names to shame. This is precisely what the M12 is.
With 357 HORSEPOWER and just over 1000 kg of weight, it can outrun almost anything.
The interesting thing about this car is the fact that it uses the 2.5-liter Ford Duratec V6 engines commonly found in almost all Mondeos, S-Max’s and Fusions all over the world. Of course, Noble installed twin turbochargers to achieve such power, but still, the majority of the engine is totally the same as in ordinary Mondeo. A cool detail is the tail lights which are also nicked from first-generation Mondeo; A nice reminder from where the engine was borrowed.
Donkervoort D8 GTO
If you don’t know what the Donkervoort D8 GTO is, think of it as a crazier, more powerful and more extreme Caterham`s twin brother. Based on everlasting Lotus 7 chassis, the Dutch company is famous for producing insane roadsters with ludicrous power and barely any weight.
The D8 GTO uses 2.5-liter five-cylinder TFSI engine from Audi, specially tuned to achieve 340 to 380 HORSEPOWER. This standard engine is used all over Audi`s model range, from their A4 sedans all the way to the A6 station wagons and numerous SUVs. Due to the fact it is relatively small and turbocharged, it is easily tunable, and this is exactly why Donkervoort uses it.
Can you think of any other hero cars with humble engines? Let me know in the comments.