BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Week in pictures: Meet Lambo's open-air Veneno

  • Lamborghini unveils the mad, mad Veneno Roadster

    A fitting follow-up to the outrageous, Aventador-derived Veneno coupe, unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, Lamborghini is poised to deliver the madder-still Veneno Roadster. The open-top Veneno makes use of the closed car’s 740hp 6.5-litre V12 engine, which is matched to a sequential manual gearbox and permanent all-wheel-drive. Expect the sprint from 0-60mph to happen in a breezy 2.9 seconds. Top speed is an eardrum-rattling 220mph. As for exclusivity, whereas Lamborghini limited production of the coupe to just three units, the Italian automaker is being a bit more democratic about the Roadster, promising that a whopping nine cars will roll out of the factory. Each one will cost about $4.5 million. (Photo: Lamborghini)

  • California startup salvages old car hide for new gear

    A Kickstarter-funded upstart in California is taking a new approach to the process of recycling old cars, and making use of a heretofore overlooked material: leather. Called R3DNA, the company reclaims the upholstery from derelict luxury cars, which is then cut up and fashioned into new leather goods. Here, R3DNA CEO Aaron Parrish removes a leather seat from a car at a Pick-n-Pull salvage yard in Oakland, California. Delivered to San Francisco-based gear-maker Timbuk2, this hide – Parrish calls such leather “aged experienced” – will be reworked into a range of products, including messenger bags and sleeves for Apple iPads. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • The latest Bavarian droptop joins the range early next year

    BMW chose this week to unveil the open-air version of its 2014 4 Series coupe. The car makes use of a three-piece retractable hard top, which folds out of sight in a scant 20 seconds with the press of a single button. The 4 Series convertible lands in North American showrooms early in 2014; US dealers will offer the car in two versions: The 428i features BMW’s turbocharged 2-litre in-line four-cylinder engine, producing 240hp; the 435i makes use of a twin-turbo 3-litre in-line six, good for 300hp. Both engines meet a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. US pricing starts at $49,775, inclusive of a $995 destination charge. (Photo: BMW, via Newspress)

  • Volvo turns cars’ bulky batteries into body panels

    Electric vehicle battery packs are big and heavy, and their placement – usually beneath the passenger compartment or over the rear axle – is a significant consideration for designers and engineers. Volvo has come up with an innovative solution. As part of a European Union-funded research project, Volvo engineers are working on ways to replace standard car parts – body panels, for instance – with feather-light pieces that double as batteries. The technology, which uses fast-charging super capacitors bonded between layers of carbon fibre composite, could replace an EV’s main battery pack or the 12-volt battery in a standard car. For a typical EV, these new battery-parts could reduce curb weight by as much as 15%. No word on when, or if, Volvo’s bright idea will grace a production car. (Photo: Volvo, via Newspress)

  • For the Viper’s new blue, SRT kicks off a naming contest

    When it comes to the 640-horsepower Viper, no ordinary blue will do. So the Chrysler Group’s SRT performance division has kicked off naming contest for this very special non-metallic hue, which will be available on both the standard Viper (in the US, $102,485) and the high-line Viper GTS ($124,985), joining such colors as Adrenaline Red, Race Yellow and Venom Black. The prize for the winning name? An all-expenses-paid trip for two to the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona, set for 25 January. The contest runs through 24 October. Enter on the SRT website. (Photo: Chrysler Group, via Newspress)