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[photo update] Saleen unveils its Ferrari F430-killer: the S5S Raptor

by Nick Aziz

Supercar maker and Ford customizer Saleen took the wraps off its all-new S5S Raptor at the New York Auto Show on Wednesday. Designed to compete with the high-performance offerings from Ferrari and Lamborghini, the Raptor delivers 650 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 630 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm.



The Raptor -- which was inspired by the bird of prey -- is designed to digest cellulosic ethanol fuel, which should help it score points with environmentalists and advocates of oil independence. The higher octane rating of E85 gas also results in more power, Saleen says. The supercharged S5S is reportedly capable of hitting 60 mph in 3.2 seconds.

The Raptor can be equipped with a close-ratio 6-speed manual, or optional paddle shifting sequential gearbox. Either gearbox can send the rigid aluminum chassis and composite material body screaming to a top speed of over 200 mph.

The double wishbone suspension and rack-and-pinion steering of the S5S is augmented by ABS traction control and stability control systems. The brake system features 15-inch (381 mm) front rotors with 6-piston calipers, and 13-inch (308 mm) rear rotors with dual piston calipers. Traction is provided by 275/35 ZR20 front and 315/35/ZR20 rear Pirelli Rosso tires that wrap the 20 inch forged aluminum wheels. Of note, the Raptor's wheels are coat with a special chemical formula that prevents brake dust from collecting.

The aesthetics for the Raptor were developed by ASC Creative Services, America's largest independent automotive design firm. The primary designer on this program was Dave Byron, a member of ASC's Design team.

According to Saleen executives, the S5S Raptor could enter the market in as little as two years, and should it go forward, it would carry a base price of approximately $185,000 -- roughly that of the Ferrari F430.

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