Awesome Soccer Mom Vehices

by William

bmw-x5lemansconcept01.jpg
X5 Le Mans

Today a good friend of mine sent me two great video clips, both involving incredibly fast soccer mom type rides, a BMW X5 and a Renault Espace. We didn’t get the Espace here in the US, but let me assure you that this little minivan is a total mom-mobile.

Let’s start with the BMW. The first video is in German, so frankly I don’t know what’s going on. But what I did make out with my broken Deutsche is that we are looking at a special BMW X5 Le Mans which sedan racing legend Hans Stuck has generously agreed to thrash around for our benefit. This X5 is clearly far from stock, as you can tell by the throaty and aggressive exhaust note. Under the hood lies a mammoth 6.0 liter twelve cylinder engine (the same engine which won Le Mans for BMW in 1995) that puts out a remarkable 700 horsepower and 531 lbs-ft of torque. This is enough grunt to push the crossover SUV from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds with a top speed approaching 180 mph. More than enough performance to tote the kids around don’t you think? So what does this behemoth look like in the hands of racing hero?

While the X5 Le Mans is wild, it looks like a librarian next to the Renault Espace F1. This bizarre creation was born in mid-1990 in order to celebrate the 10 year partnership between Renault and Matra. To build the car Matra took the drive train directly out of their 1994 Championship winning Williams/Renault Formula One car. The 820 hp 3.5 liter V10 and sequential gearbox were mounted mid-ship inside a modified Renault Espace minivan. The stock Espace had its floor pans cut out to accept a new carbon body structure containing the high-tech driveline. The minivan also received updated brakes, automatic attitude control and a special aero package to keep it from flying off the road. The result was a shocking vehicle that was stupid-fast, looked weird and cost a lot of money. Who wouldn’t want one?

espace.jpgespacef1.jpg

Stock Renault Espace and the Espace F1

The Espace F1’s stats are impressive. With a top speed of nearly 190 mph this Renault can accelerate from 0-60 in under 2.8 seconds. It can run from 0 to 167 back down to 0 in only 1,968 feet (not much more than a quarter mile) and it can pull up to 2g in cornering. Oh and there are four bucket seats and plenty of room for luggage. But on-paper performance does not do this special vehicle justice. Take a look (and listen) at the Espace F1 on the track:

This is the caption I received with the clip:
Short documentary about the Renault Espace F1 broadcasted in 1995 on French channel M6. Quick summary of what the narrator says:

* In one day the Espace F1 will do its maiden lap and also last lap ever
* Renault Sport, Williams and Matra all worked on this prototype with the help of F1 pilots Alain Prost and Eric Bernard
* Renault Engine 3.5l V10 800 hp 14000RPM
* Consumption is 60 liters / 100km
* Cost per kilometer is 300 times more than a regular Renault Espace

Alain Prost at the end declares: “I always wanted to bring with me in a two-seater Formula 1 some journalists, specially the ones I don’t like.”

Good stuff.

-Bill Mertz

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One Response to “Awesome Soccer Mom Vehices”

  1. Pablo Morales Says:

    Extremely interested in link exchange.
    Please and thank you!

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