2008 New York Auto Show: Saleen S5S Raptor Concept
So, should they build it or not?
- What’s New – An all-aluminum frame is covered by composite panels, with the lightweight vehicle powered by a 650-horsepower ethanol-burning supercharged V-8 engine.
- Why It Matters – Saleen calls itself a manufacturer, but it’s a tough claim to make when most of its vehicles are modified Ford Mustangs. The S5S looks to change that with a unique platform and Saleen-built ethanol-fueled engine.
Saleen S5S Raptor Concept Preview – 2008 New York Auto Show: Forget for a moment that most of the vehicles you see with “Saleen” on them are modified Ford Mustangs. The company is, or at least wants to be thought of as, an actual specialty niche manufacturer, not a mere Mustang tuner. Still, when your biggest promotion was supplying the S281E for “Transformers” Decepticon Barricade, well, there’s an image to overcome there.
To counteract that, Saleen has unveiled the S5S Raptor Concept. With a 650-horsepower, ethanol-burning supercharged V-8 engine, unique styling rendered in composite panels over an aluminum structure, and more power than anything else in its projected price range.
Price range? Yes. See, if there’s enough interest, Saleen may go into limited production with the S5S Raptor. The company wants to know if it’s a good idea. We say it is.
Saleen S5S Raptor Concept- Under the Hood
Power for the S5S Raptor comes from a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. The engine is designed to burn on ethanol – Saleen specifically says cellulosic ethanol, but we’re betting the engine wouldn’t care about the source too much – for 650 horsepower and 630 lb.-ft. of torque.
That’s enough power to send the Raptor from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.2 seconds and to a top speed of more than 200 mph. Power’s routed to either a six-speed manual or sequential gearbox with paddle shifters. A double-wishbone independent suspension, 15-inch brakes with six-piston calipers and massive 20-inch tires keep the S5S Raptor glued to the road in true supercar style.
Saleen S5S Raptor Concept- Design
Saleen is partnered with American Specialty Cars – more commonly known as ASC – in a number of ways. In the Raptor’s case, it is responsible for the design.
And what a design it is. The S5S Raptor is a striking vehicle. Its compact dimensions are shrink-wrapped around the mechanicals, with bulging fenders, a sunken hood and a windshield so steeply raked it’s practically horizontal. The 20-inch wheels are treated with a coating that the company says makes them impervious to brake dust.
Overall the look is very Italian, with some obvious cues from Ferrari and Lamborghini, the latter especially in the rear. There’s also a little bit of the Tesla Roadster sprinkled throughout, but overall it’s a good looking car, and one we wouldn’t mind seeing a lot of.
By Keith Buglewicz
Photo credit: Oliver Bentley