||2-door coupe, production car
|Miles Per Gallon:
||575 bhp @ 5500 rpm
||570 lb-ft @ 4700 rpm
||f: --.- / r: --.- in
||10.8 sec @ 131 mph
|Braking, 60-0 mph:
|Nürburgring Lap Time:
The Saleen S7, America’s first true supercar, has captured the imagination of the automotive world since its introduction in August 2000 at the prestigious Monterey Historic vintage car races. Designed to compete with the fastest, quickest, best handling and most exotic sports cars, the S7 provides a distinctly American driving experience for the fortunate few who will own one. It also reflects Saleen’s 20 years of performance and engineering excellence in manufacturing fully certified high-performance automobiles. The exotic S7 is designed, engineered, manufactured and marketed by Saleen, Inc., a high-performance vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Irvine, Calif. Working with some of the world’s most respected and technologically advanced automotive suppliers, the Saleen S7 went from prototype to first customer deliveries in less than two years.
What's new for 2004
Horsepower and torque have both been increased, 25 bhp and 45 lb-ft, respectively, up to 575 bhp @ 5500 rpm and 570 lf-ft of torque @ 4700 rpm. But these increases were not the point of the exercise strictly by themselves. Rather they are a happy consequence of responding to our customers’ desire, not for more performance, but for improvements in around-town drivability.
In analyzing this request, Saleen engineers made three important changes. The transmission 1st gear ratio and the final-drive ratio are shorter (higher numerical ratios). These gear changes, in conjunction with a revised clutch, make for much smoother takeoffs from rest. Most engineers probably would have stopped right here. But not Saleen’s engineers. In the course of their analysis, engine tuning also came under scrutiny. And by playing with cam timing and airflow and the engine’s PowerFlash™ computer, they managed to broaden already broad power and torque curves for smoother and more flexible performance. And to extract even more power from the S7’s already very potent 7-liter V8.
In true supercar fashion, the S7 is capable of speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour, with a zero-to-60 time under three seconds. And thanks to its extreme ground effects engineering, at 160 mph the car could be driven upside down and still maintain contact with the road. So lack of downforce has never been an issue with the S7. But as a result of wind tunnel testing, Saleen engineers have made some tweaks at the rear of the car. A revised rear spoiler has replaced the previous design. In addition, the rear diffuser, which channels air smoothly from under the rear of the car, has been redesigned. It is slightly larger and has a winglet in the middle. Collectively, the new spoiler and revised diffuser have a noticeable effect on reducing drag (for a higher top speed) while also increasing down force at the rear of the car.
The Saleen S7 was conceived to combine the performance of a track-only racecar with the driving pleasure of a road car. As a result, while the S7 would be at home on any racetrack, it is also a car that can be driven with pleasure on highways, Autobahnen and back roads.
“With the improvements made in gearing, engine tuning and aero, the S7 is not only easier to drive at ‘normal’ around town speeds, but also it’s more fun,” says Saleen President, Steve Saleen. But don’t expect less of the Saleen ‘attitude.’ The S7, like every Saleen, is a product of Saleen’s strong racing heritage. We wouldn’t feel we’d accomplished our mission if you didn’t come away from a drive around the block thinking the S7 felt like ‘a race car for the street,’ “ Saleen continued. We designed it that way.”
Chassis, Suspension & Brakes
The S7 chassis and suspension incorporate decades of Saleen’s experience in racing, racecar construction and high-performance road car manufacturing. The Saleen S7 architecture begins with a space frame chassis to which honeycomb composite reinforcing is grafted. The body is autoclave carbon fiber.
Suspension is via fully independent unequal-length double wishbones with coil-over springs, lightweight aluminum dampers (shock absorbers) and stabilizer (anti-roll) bars front and rear. The uprights at each corner are CNC machined billet aluminum, flow-through designs.
Saleen-engineered Brembo-supplied lightweight aluminum six-piston mono-block calipers are fitted front and rear. The brakes are among the largest of any production car with 15-inch vented discs up front and 14-inch vented discs at the rear.
The Saleen-designed forged alloy wheels feature center locking wheel nuts with automatic safety locks. Sizes are 19 x 9.5 inches up front and 20 x 12 inches at the rear. The wheels are shod with ultra-high-performance Pirelli P Zero tires in sizes 275/30ZR19 front and 345/25R20 rear.
Engine & Drivetrain
Designed by Saleen engineers, the S7's engine and drivetrain incorporate the latest in modern racing technology. The all-aluminum V8 engine casting was engineered by Saleen to displace seven liters, generating 575 horsepower at 5500 rpm and delivering 570 foot-pounds of torque at 4700 rpm. Redline is 6500 rpm. Space age materials and engineering are used throughout, including stainless steel valves, titanium retainers, beryllium exhaust valve seats, magnesium throttle body, Saleen-designed aluminum CNCmachined cylinder heads and a ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust system.
An exclusive Saleen-designed Front Engine Accessory Drive (FEAD) system results in an extremely compact engine, allowing for better packaging and overall weight distribution. The V8 incorporates a unique Saleen-designed side-mounted water pump, extremely accurate belt-driven camshaft drive, and a Saleen-engineered dry sump oil delivery system.
The engine's mid-chassis placement optimizes weight distribution and center of gravity, making room for an unusually tall engine that allows for a very efficient plenum arrangement. Air inducted by the roof air intake flows into a cold air box and then into an aluminum intake manifold with eight individual runners.
A Saleen PowerFlash™ performance computer, recalibrated for 2004, handles engine management. The ignition system is integrated coil-on-plug.
A new-generation six-speed transaxle, with a unique Saleen bell housing, transfers power to the wheels. The clutch is an organic/metallic 8.0-inch, twin-plate unit with hydraulic actuation.
The S7’s beautiful shape was “designed” by the wind. Optimal aerodynamics and top speed performance objectives were achieved with extensive wind tunnel work. Targets included a low coefficient of drag, optimum drag-to-lift ratio, and extreme down force. The S7 has “full tray” body sculpting underneath.
Longtime Saleen design consultant Phil Frank then personalized and refined the aesthetics of the S7 to reflect modern supercar thinking. The gill-like ducting is, of course, fully functional. The autoclaved carbon fiber body panels incorporate advanced aerodynamics and include integrated split-channel airflow throughout the car, full underside air management, and advanced front tray and side skirt designs and an integrated full-body rear spoiler, replacing the wing used previously.
The mid-engine Saleen S7 has front and rear trunks and comes with Mulholland Brothers custom-made, 3-piece, fitted luggage. In true supercar style, the doors open up and away from the body.
“When seen in person, the S7 has an amazing overall presence,” says Steve Saleen, founder and president of Saleen, Inc. “It’s quite long and wide, yet only 41.0 inches high, adding to its exotic appearance. We wanted to maintain a ‘form-follows-function’ look, but one that was esthetically beautiful as well. I really feel we’ve achieved both.”
As much care has been given to the creature comforts of the Saleen S7 as to its performance. Great attention was given to seating position. The car features asymmetrical seating, with the driver position moved slightly more to the center than the passenger. This improves the driver’s ergonomics, improves the side-to-side weight distribution, and allows the passenger side to have a narrower threshold. The S7 is unusually accommodating of tall drivers.
Seats and other interior surfaces are covered in elegant leather and suede. Air conditioning, power windows, adjustable pedals, a steering wheel that telescopes and tilts and an AM/FM/CD/DVD/TV systems are all standard (GPS is optional). The Saleen S7 also has one unique interior feature: a video “rearview mirror” — there is a small video camera inconspicuously mounted in the rear of the car.