Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BMW M1 Concept

On the occasion of the 30th Birthday of the super sports car BMW M1 shows BMW Group design in the context of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2008, a tribute to this legendary super sports cars. The BMW M1 by Giorgio Giugiaro was a car of quality, a highly emotional vehicle, uncompromising in racing trimmed. This development has launched the BMW turbo by Paul Bracq, a revolutionary concept car, in addition to his groundbreaking, functional design and a variety of technology innovations barg. In line with these two unique vehicles was the BMW M1 Homage. A design study in honour of previous models - a sign of competence, creativity and potential of the BMW Group design team.

"For BMW tradition means always lived tradition. Inspiration from our own history and to be re-invent - just showing the BMW M1 Homage Car impressive manner." Dr. Klaus Draeger, Member of the Executive Board of BMW Group, development

A particular strength of BMW Group Design is strong in its own history to good use and actively engaged in shaping the future due to leave. The BMW M1 Homage is a design study in the tradition of a BMW turbo, is the contemporary view of a BMW M1 and the mid-engine concept. This demonstrates an emotional tribute design, technology shows and in the overall aesthetics of the vehicle.

The Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este offers the perfect environment for the BMW M1 Homage. Here automobile beauties of yesterday at the concept cars and design studies of tomorrow. In this tension between tradition and modernity granted the BMW Group design team insight into their own vision of a historically inspired automotive future.

Emotional Design in tension between tradition and modernity.

The BMW M1 Homage already known uses elements from the BMW design repertoire, interprets it and puts it into a new context. Its design tradition and modernity meet, he extended viewing habits with new design solutions, the BMW typical form expression. Was the BMW M1 the color contrast design main theme, with the BMW M1 Homage of the contrast in the design continued. Already familiar elements, such as the typical proportions, with exciting new lines, surfaces and details about a contemporary interpretation of the still outstanding BMW M1 combined.

Contrary to the strong wedge shape other mid-engine vehicles, the BMW M1 Homage is true to the BMW typical proportions. A relatively long bonnet, a clearly defined transition into the A-pillar and a stretched window graphic with Hofmeisterknick let in immediately as a real BMW. The horizontal lines reduces the optical focus of the vehicle and emits sovereignty. Body the BMW M1 has very smooth and athletic proportions, the surface design is still no explicit design theme - contrasting themes dominated graphics. Currently, however, in addition to the proportions especially the extraordinary The design of the high recognition value of a BMW vehicle. For some years all BMW models show a significant and unique form of language. The modeling of the land requires a lot of experience and craftsmanship at the highest level. Only through the combination of craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology and a secure sense of the personality of each BMW model designers and achieve your sculptural the overall impact, a BMW unique. Consequently, the BMW M1 combines tribute to the proportions and graphic themes of the BMW M1 with a surface language of the new BMW design line. This combination gives the vehicle an exciting, sporting and authentic emotion.

The front design of the BMW M1 Homage takes many graphic design themes of the BMW M1: The color contrast between black areas and reset the car color, flat and small kidney and the "invisible" headlights. However, the front of the BMW M1 Homage an absolute first for BMW. Each element has a function. For example, the typical double kidney not only recognizable characteristic of the BMW brand, but combines solutions to the issues aerodynamics, cooling and security. The design of the headlights turn interprets the fold-out front lamps of the BMW M1. As the lights of the historical model, the BMW M1 Homage only visible in the on mode. In integrate themselves off the headlights discreetly in the front design and are "invisible" in the reset, black fugue - almost like the retracted headlights.

In the side of the vehicle, all the lines, surfaces and details the eye from the front on the long bonnet and clearly defined the A-pillars along and condense the center of the vehicle. Two expressive lines drawn from the front on the side of the vehicle, to the area of the engine compartment. The line begins disciplined and straight in the front, lower than optical focus of the BMW M1 Homage and stresses its low road. From the middle of the vehicle to break the lines, however. The power of design focuses on exactly the area where the power of the vehicle - in the engine. Strong and sensual turns accentuate the mid-engine concept of the vehicle. The design emphasizes the mechanics behind the engineering and motor competence of the BMW Group.

The roof line of the BMW M1 Homage runs flat, moves into the back inside and around the stern around. It draws a solid line and connects the two sides together vehicle. On this line will be held in the rear of the rear lights, the typical BMW emblem double its place.

"Engineering is beautiful - let's show it!"

The entire design is very functional, every detail has a purpose. Topics such as aerodynamics, cooling air safety management and give the BMW M1 Homage technical matter and only make him a real BMW. The kidneys design of the BMW M1 Homage met several functions: It is not only typical BMW identifier, but also part of the sophisticated aerodynamics, it serves the airflow for engine cooling and is also the front of a crash-Box -- similar to the monocoque chassis of a Formula 1 racing car.

Inspired by the aircraft, the entire vehicle also has a sophisticated air flow through the body. Thus, for example, below the roof line, in the black reset the gap behind the vehicle side window graphics, the cold air flow for the engine space. Small openings fins and deflect the airflow into the engine room and provide sufficient airflow.

Vision and inspiration.

"The BMW M1 Homage clearly shows the creativity and potential of the BMW design team. A project like this is a valuable source of inspiration for our daily work." Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Automobile Design

The BMW M1 Homage is of great importance for the BMW Group design team, is his creation process but is symbolic of living tradition and innovative future. The vehicle is intended as a source of inspiration and motivation to do this, Withdraw into question and to rethink. The BMW M1 Homage honors the BMW Turbo and the BMW M1, with their design of their time far ahead. Originally only as a design study or small series planned, their influence even today - 30 years later - still clearly visible.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The New BMW M3 Convertible

The new BMW M3 Convertible, the third derivative and concluding chapter in the current M3 line-up, adds a new dimension to the BMW M ownership experience.

Not only is the new open-topped M3 the first M car to feature a Retractable Hard-Top, it's the first M3 Convertible to be powered by a V8 engine and the first BMW to feature an all-new seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox.

Although it possesses the same 4.0-litre, 420hp V8 engine as its M3 Coupé and M3 Saloon siblings, the fourth-generation M3 Convertible is very much a model in its own right. It has been designed from the ground up to be a four-seat convertible with supercar performance that showcases market-leading technology.

The new M3 Convertible produces more than twice the power of the original 1988 model, yet the spirit and design philosophy remains the same. With outputs of 420hp and 400 Nm, and following the precedent set by its forebears, the M3 Convertible engine comfortably breaks the all-important 100hp per litre barrier. What's more, the new model has a power to weight ratio that is over 10 per cent higher than the outgoing E46 M3 Convertible - itself the previous benchmark open-top sports convertible.


Underneath the M3 Convertible's muscular torso lies a chassis and suspension system tailor-made for the demanding requirements of an open-top car. Torsional rigidity has been significantly improved over the previous model, while the suspension has been fine-tuned to take into account the specific weight distribution of a convertible.


The combination of a strong structure and advanced occupant restraint systems means the BMW M3 Convertible offers the highest possible standards of passive and active safety for occupants. Like the standard 3-Series Convertible, the M3 version is equipped with a rollover sensor system that constantly monitors the vertical and horizontal movement of the car. If the sensors (which are located in the centre of the car, on the B pillars and in the doors) detect that a rollover is imminent, roll bars located behind the rear headrests pop up. At the same time, the front seatbelt pre-tensioners are activated and the head/thorax airbags are deployed.


The M3 Convertible goes on sale in the UK on 26 April 2008, priced at £54,760 OTR. BMW expects to sell approximately 900 M3 Convertibles in a full year. This compares to 1,900 M3 Coupés and 400 M3 Saloons.

Specifications (manual / M DCT gearbox)

  • Power: 420 hp
  • Torque: 400 Nm
  • 0 to 62mph: 5.3 s / 5.1 s
  • Fuel Economy (combined): 21.9 mpg / 23.0 mpg
  • Emissions: 309 g/km / 293 g/km
  • Price OTR: £54,760 / £57,350

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The New Audi A3

The Audi A3 and A3 Sportback, the premium compact models from Audi, are raising their sporty profile with a raft of improvements and an accentuated design. Innovative technologies such as the S tronic dual-clutch transmission with seven speeds and Audi magnetic ride, the suspension control system, makes for even greater driving pleasure. Its sharper, more striking design lends even greater expression to the A3 family. Additional equipment features, such as the Audi parking system at front and rear, the parking assistant and the reversible loadliner, also add to the appeal of these models. The Audi S3 developing 195 kW (265 hp) is now also available as a Sportback version, a new top model that rounds off the range. Shipping will commence in the summer, with prices starting at € 20,350.

The Audi A3 created the entirely new market segment of the premium compact car when the first-generation model made its debut in 1996. The brand with the four rings has been notably successful in that market segment and has since built 1.9 million units of the Audi A3. After four successive record-breaking years, the one millionth specimen of the second-generation A3 - which went into production in 2003 - left the assembly line just a few days ago. Audi is now solidifying its lead.

The interior: sporty elegance

Inside the car, too, the designers fine-tuned the atmosphere of sporty elegance. Aluminum-look elements on the air vents, light switches and center console accentuate the premium character of the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback. The switches and controls beneath the audio system have been given a new, modern look. The instruments have black dials and red needles to reinforce the impression of precision and advanced technology, and a shift indicator displays the recommended gear in any given circumstances in the driver information system. The driver information system's display and the time, date and distance display - standard with the Ambiente and Ambition equipment lines - shows the information in high-resolution white type. The leather sport steering wheel for the Ambition line has new aluminum trim clips, and Audi can supply a flat-bottomed leather sport steering wheel for the Ambition as an option.

New inlays for the Attraction and Ambition, new colors and a wide selection of upholstery fabrics enhance the interior through their sportiness, impressive material quality and meticulous crafting. The upholstery range even includes Fine Nappa leather for the sport seats.

The A3's trunk is the roomiest in its class, at 350 to 1,080 liters (12.36 to 38.12 cubic ft.), with an even larger 370 to 1,100 liters (13.06 to 38.83 cubic ft.) on the A3 Sportback. On quattro versions the trunk floor is a few centimeters higher, to accommodate the special rear axle. A particularly ingenious feature is available for the front-wheel-drive versions - a sturdy, reversible loadliner that is a practical, easy-to-clean tray e.g. for carrying wet items, which can be removed from the car as a carrying tray. Audi can also supply the options of roof rails and a panoramic sunroof for the versatile A3 Sportback.

Powerful drive: the engines

As before, Audi is bringing the A3 and A3 Sportback onto the market with eight different engines - five gasoline and three diesel versions. Six of them are pioneering four-cylinder direct injection units with turbocharging. Their abbreviations TFSI and TDI encapsulate the strengths of Audi's engine technology - performance, high torque, dynamism, refinement and efficiency.

The 1.6 unit develops 75 kW (102 hp), the 1.4 TFSI 92 kW (125 hp), the 1.8 TFSI 118 kW (160 hp) and the 2.0 TFSI 147 kW (200 hp), while the 3.2 quattro with its six cylinders musters 184 kW (250 hp). The 1.9 TDI delivers 77 kW (105 hp) and the 2.0 TDI 103 kW (140 hp) or 125 kW (170 hp), depending on specification. Both two-liter diesel engines have been extensively reengineered - a new common rail injection system now assures ultra-refined running.

The 1.6-liter gasoline engine can also be supplied in conjunction with manual transmission for low-cost running on ethanol E 85 fuel. The diesel with an output of 77 kW (105 hp) is the power unit of the extremely efficient 1.9 TDI e version which, thanks to special fine-tuning measures, clocks up 100 kilometers on a mere 4.5 liters of diesel (52.27 mpg). Most of the other engines likewise slash fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent. The 1.8 TFSI and the technically closely related 2.0 TFSI have been frictionally optimized and have new cylinder bores, pistons and oil pumps.

High tech from Audi: the new transmissions

The range of transmissions has been extended and become even more appealing. Almost all engine versions are supplied as standard with six-speed manual transmission. The 1.6 and 1.9 TDI are outfitted with five-speed manual transmission, and the 3.2 is available exclusively with the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, now also available optionally for all engine versions. The high-tech S tronic changes gears with extreme speed and smoothness. The driver can set it to operate in a fully automatic mode or change gears manually - either at the selector lever or with the standard shift paddles on the leather sport steering wheel (from 103 kW/140 hp).

The S tronic on the six-cylinder engine, the 2.0 TFSI and the diesel versions has six speeds, whereas the 1.6, the 1.4 TFSI and the 1.8 TFSI feature a newly developed seven-speed S tronic. Both its clutches are dry-running - an innovative approach. This means that they do not need a separate oil supply, further adding to their already impressive efficiency. The seven gears are closely spaced for a sporty response, though the top gear is sufficiently high-geared to reduce the engine speed, cutting fuel consumption as a result.

The quattro versions, which put the A3 in a different league to the other players in the premium compact class, likewise have even more to offer. The all-wheel-drive system is available for five engine versions - for the 1.8 TFSI, the 2.0 TFSI, the 3.2 (as standard) and the two 2.0 TDI versions. In its latest technical form the central hydraulic multi-plate clutch responds even faster when the engine's power needs to be redistributed between the front and rear wheels. This increases stability, traction and driving pleasure for the driver.

The standard-fit dynamic suspension, too, provides safety, dynamic handling and comfort all rolled into one. The captivating precision with which the Audi A3 and A3 Sportback handle and their well-balanced character owe a great deal to elaborate concepts such as the four-link rear suspension and the efficient electromechanical power steering. There is optional sport suspension that supports the body 15 millimeters (0.59 in) lower; it is standard on the Ambition, in conjunction with 17-inch alloys. The option of acoustic glass for the windshield (standard on Ambiente) enhances occupant comfort and improves the car's acoustic behavior.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The New Ford Fiesta S

In a blast of Passion Orange, Ford proudly revealed its all-new global small car - the Ford Fiesta - as a vibrant five-door hatch. The all-new Ford Fiesta has been reinvented for a new generation of customers.

Designed and developed in Europe for sale in Europe, Asia, South Africa, Australia and the Americas between 2008 and 2010, the all-new Fiesta is the first major product of Ford's new global product development process.

The all-new Ford Fiesta's dynamic character is accentuated by its bold kinetic design. Its distinct character is further accentuated with major strides in craftsmanship, quality of materials and product choice while continuing to represent Ford Fiesta's traditional strengths of practicality, value for money, agility and safety.

All- new Ford Fiesta clearly embodies the exterior hallmarks of kineticdesign, which has so convincingly infused emotion into the core of the Ford range in Europe and Asia.

The reveal in Europe in March of the three-door and five-door Fiesta hatch and now the China reveal of the five-door Fiesta hatch confirm that all-new Ford Fiesta will bring the most appealing elements of Verve Concept to production reality.

"I've been saying just wait for the all-new Fiesta to see how kinetic design can be translated into a small car," said Martin Smith, Executive Director of Design for Ford of Europe. "Now the wait is over. New Fiesta evokes an instant emotional response that says 'I want one' which extends the traditionally practical values of the Fiesta brand to appeal to a new, style-conscious generation of small car buyers."

Bold, Dynamic, Sculpted

The bold colours and sculpted surfaces of the all-new Ford Fiesta indicate how deeply the spirit of the Verve Concept has been carried into production as the latest model of Ford's kinetic design family.

Exciting and vibrant production colours include the Beijing reveal colour of Passion Orange and the bright Lightning Yellow to awaken Fiesta's bold and independent character.

The muscular, coupé-like profile and athletic presence of the all-new Fiesta demonstrates that none of the emotional appeal of the concept cars has been diluted in the production-ready five-door Fiesta hatch.

"All the vital elements of kinetic design combine to create a visually rich, dynamic exterior shape that is very close indeed to the original concept car," said Martin Smith, Ford of Europe's Executive Director for Design. "Full surfaces, bold graphics and dynamic lines combine coherently and harmoniously to create a dynamic spirit of fun and energy in motion."

With a feeling of toned muscularity, the all-new Ford Fiesta asserts an air of confidence, stylishness and individuality. Its aggressively contoured bonnet and front fenders convey a broad-shouldered stance, and its face features a distinctive signature element - a bold lower trapezoidal grille that draws attention and reinforces the key Ford attribute of sporty driving dynamics.

Chrome and brightwork are used selectively, like jewellery accents, to convey elegance and sophistication.

Large and full of character directly from the Verve concepts, Fiesta's bold headlamps become part of the shoulder shape and extend aggressively rearward almost as far as the stylishly raked A-pillars. The headlamp units incorporate all primary front lighting and signal functions - complemented on the lower bumper flanks by round, optimal aluminium lamps.

The all-new Ford Fiesta's profile emphasises its new, cab-forward shape and an attitude of poised, sporty style. The sweeping roofline extends appealingly from the forward-stretching A-pillar rearward, framing the bold graphic of the Fiesta side window profile to create the sporty feeling of a coupé for the five-door body style.

The Fiesta side windows combine to create a unified profile window graphic - a key kinetic design element that communicates dynamism. An elegant accent of chrome frames the lower edge of the side glass and accentuates the signature Ford "kick-up" at its rear.

The all-new Fiesta also features the signature bold wheel arches that communicate the vehicle's stance and dynamic capabilities, giving visual emphasis to new large-diameter alloy wheels.

Dynamic, kinetic design lines arc from side to side, uniting the upper corners of the tail lamps with the distinctive spoiler, which incorporates a slim LED stop lamp array. The sculpture of the body shapes is accented by elements like the new tail lamp - another Verve element that feels like it is an integral part of the body - and the V-shaped tailgate's chamfered rear glass.

Full technical details of the new Fiesta will be released closer to the formal launching of the production model before the end of 2008.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Buick Invicta Concept

The sleek Buick Invicta show car revealed here in conjunction with Auto China 2008 is Buick's strongest statement yet of its deliberately international plans. The four-door midsize sedan with a coupe-like roofline presents bold direction for Buick's new generation of vehicles in the world's two biggest automotive markets - the United States and China.

Invicta has evolved from Buick concepts such as the 2004 Velite convertible and 2007 Riviera coupe, both of which received accolades for their thoroughly modern adaptation of classic Buick themes. Invicta was designed collaboratively by GM centers of expertise in Warren, Mich. and Shanghai, China. The name, which is Latin for "invincible," returns to Buick after a 45-year hiatus in the United States.

"Buick's global appeal created an opportunity for GM Design Centers to elevate our collaboration to new levels. Using our virtual reality centers in Warren and Shanghai, designers fused the best ideas from both cultures during the development of the Invicta," said Edward T. Welburn, vice president, General Motors Global Design. "The result will set a new design standard for Buick, and it couldn't have been achieved by one studio working in isolation. The Invicta represents another significant design milestone in Buick's history."

Flowing, crafted interior

The focus and attention to seamless transitions carry over inside Invicta. The doors merge to become one with the instrument panel, which morphs into the center console.

The wrap-around design of the interior and fluid design provide a spacious cabin for all passengers, especially those seated in the back of the vehicle. At nearly 100 cubic feet of interior space, Invicta delivers large-car comfort in a mid-size sedan. The sense of roominess is further accentuated by a full glass roof, which allows all passengers to enjoy the sights, day or night.

Invicta also showcases a high level of interior craftsmanship while creating an environment that is soothing, quiet, comfortable and inviting for all passengers.

The blending of premium materials - such as wood trim and polished aluminum accents, soft aniline leather, supple suede-like material and soothing Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting technology - encase passengers in Buick luxury.

Beyond its sumptuous appearance, Buick created a show car for the senses. Authentic French seam stitching on the soft-touch instrument panel pad, door panels and steering wheel invites touch. Buttons, switches and door pulls are crafted to deliver a tactile quality experience. Soft and soothing Ice Blue ambient LED lighting on the instrument panel, around the central vehicle function controls, along the console and center storage, and in the front footwells provoke visual sophistication. Two discriminating "spotlights" also accent the center point of the front and rear seats.

Buick introduced the Invicta in North America as a production vehicle in 1959. The Invicta show car is the first time the nameplate has appeared on a Buick in China.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The New Audi Q5

The new Audi Q5 combines the poise of a sports saloon with highly variable interior and versatile options for leisure-time and family use. Strong and efficient engines, quattro permanent all-wheel drive and agile running gear incorporating the innovative seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and Audi drive select control system have been brought together to create a performance SUV for all seasons and all surfaces.

The dimensions alone indicate that this is a SUV of all-new proportions. Measuring 4.63 metres long and 1.88 metres wide, the Audi Q5 is just 1.65 metres high, giving it a more purposeful stance than any of its competitors. What's more, this SUV sets another benchmark in its class with a low drag coefficient of 0.33.

With its elegant, flowing lines the design of the Q5 is perfectly in tune with the character of Audi as a brand. The front end is dominated by expressive headlights on both sides of the large single-frame grille; on request, they can be equipped with bi-xenon lamps and LED daytime running lights. Viewed from the side, the large wheels and rising edges are especially prominent features.

Crowned by a rail, the elegant slope of the roof underscores the slim, coupe-like styling. At the rear, the wraparound tailgate - made from aluminum like the bonnet - clearly identifies this SUV as a relative of its older brother, the Audi Q7. The tail lights are available with distinctive LED lighting technology as well.

Strong and efficient - the engines

The Audi Q5 launches with three engine variants - one petrol engine and two TDI units. All of the engines are direct-injection models with a turbocharger - characterized by outstanding performance, strong propulsive power and polished refinement while at the same time offering impressive fuel efficiency.

The 2.0 TFSI has been entirely redesigned. The four-cylinder engine unites three high-tech features - turbocharging, petrol direct-injection technology and the innovative Audi valvelift system for variable control of valve lift.

The high torque of 350 Nm is available at 1,500 rpm and remains constant up to 4,200 rpm, with performance peaking at 211PS. The Audi Q5 2.0 TFSI sprints from 0 to 62mph in 7.2 seconds, can reach a top speed of 138mph and averages 33.2mpg.

Drawing on four cylinders and two litres of displacement as well, the 2.0 TDI is superbly refined thanks to a new common-rail fuel injection system; like the petrol engine, it has two balancing shafts. With 350 Nm (between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm), this diesel engine delivers its typically strong response from an impressive 170PS. Combined fuel consumption of 42.1mpg is proof of Audi's successful efficiency strategy. The two-litre TDI catapults the Audi Q5 from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 9.5 seconds, peaking at a top speed of 204 km/h (126.76 mph).

The most powerful engine in the line-up is the 3.0 TDI. This V6 diesel engine delivers 240PS and 500 Nm of torque, which is available between 1,500 and 3,000 rpm. With outstanding response and refinement, it takes the Audi Q5 from 0 to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, accelerates to a top speed of 139mph and covers 36.6mpg on the combined cycle.

Seven speeds - the new S tronic

The 2.0 TDI transfers its power to a six-speed manual transmission. Audi has built innovative technology into both the 3.0 TDI and 2.0 TFSI - the S tronic, a new twin-clutch transmission with seven speeds. This high-tech component can execute gearshifts in just a fraction of a second while offering exceptional comfort and high efficiency. Drivers can let the seven-speed S tronic shift automatically or select gears manually, when desired with rocker switches on the steering wheel.

As in the new Audi A4, the position of the component units in the drivetrain has been altered in the Audi Q5 - the differential is located in front of the clutch, directly behind the engine. This solution, which made it possible to move the front axle much further forward, creates a long wheelbase and optimum distribution of axle load. It is precisely these features from which the Audi Q5 derives its unique strengths - good directional stability, high comfort and impressive dynamics.

The pioneer of all-wheel drive, Audi equips the Audi Q5 as standard with quattro permanent all-wheel drive. In normal running conditions, the transfer case distributes the power to the front and rear axle in a 40:60 ratio for a rear-focused style that enhances driving pleasure. When needed, the quattro driveline can deliver up to 65 percent of the power to the front axle and a maximum of 85 percent to the rear axle.

The latest generation running gear in the Audi Q5 also contributes to its outstanding composure. The five-link front axle and trapezoidal-link rear axle are made primarily from aluminium, the steering box below directs the steering impulse directly to the wheels. Large brakes ensure high retardation. The Audi Q5 will ride on lightweight lightweight alloy wheels ranging in size from 17 to 20 inches in diameter.

The new performance SUV from Audi offers precision, reassurance and comfort at the same time. Its electronic stabilization program (ESP) has been re-designed and enhanced with innovative functions such as a sensor that "tells" the ESP if a roof rack has been mounted, causing the Audi Q5's centre of gravity to be shifted higher in keeping with the roof load of up to 100 kilograms. If a roof rack is present, the ESP engages earlier in the handling limit. Without a roof load, the driver is free to tap into the full dynamic potential of the Audi Q5.

The Audi Q5 is suitable for all purposes and driving surfaces. Capable of towing up to 2.0 tons, this powerful vehicle delivers excellent performance in rough terrain as well. The standard hill descent control system makes it safe to navigate down steep inclines by regulating the preselected speed when driving at under 19mph. The ESP and its sub-function, the ABS, have special ranges for off-road driving. The ESP focuses on achieving maximum traction in off-road driving; the ABS automatically recognizes the consistency of the driving surface and selects the ideal strategy for sand, gravel or loose rocks.

The numbers speak for themselves: The Audi Q5's climbing capability of 31 degrees of incline is exceptional. The overhang angle is 25 degrees thanks to the short front overhang. The ramp breakover angle, determined by the wheelbase, is 17.5 degrees. Ground clearance is an impressive 20 centimetres, with a fording depth of up to 50 centimetres when driving through water.

The assistance systems: Straight from the luxury class

On request, the Audi Q5 can also be equipped with an array of high-tech, onboard systems taken directly from the premium class to make driving an even more relaxed experience. These include the Audi parking system advanced with rearview camera, Audi lane assist (the lane departure warning system) and Audi side assist, which warns of hazards when changing lanes. Adaptive cruise control maintains a constant distance between the performance SUV and the vehicle in front.

Additional high-tech extras for the Audi Q5 include the advanced key for keyless access to the vehicle, a tyre pressure monitoring system, the large panoramic glass sunroof with additional tilting function, the triple-zone climate control system, sun blinds for the rear side windows, the dynamic cornering light system known as Audi adaptive light, an electric tailgate and a swivelling trailer hitch. The high-beam assistant automatically switches between the high and low beams. On request, the front seats can be electrically adjusted, heated and ventilated - Audi offers the extras from the luxury class in its new performance SUV here as well.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The New Mercedes Benz GLK 350 4MATIC

Mercedes-Benz released official pictures and information of the all-new Mercedes GLK-Class sport utility vehicle. The versatile SUV will debut at Auto China in Beijing on Sunday, April 20, and make its U.S. dealer showroom debut in January 2009 as a 2010 model.

Powered by a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine the 2010MY GLK 350 will form the basis of the U.S. lineup, and will be offered in both 4MATIC and two-wheel-drive versions, riding on standard 19-inch 10-spoke wheels with 235/50 tires. The GLK features a 108.5-inch wheelbase and boasts unique design language which sets it apart from the rest of the highly successful Mercedes-Benz family of SUVs that includes the M-Class (which spurred the trend toward more car-like SUVs), the larger GL-Class, the crossover R-Class and the iconic G-Class.

Showcasing bold exterior design, generous cargo capacity and available 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, the GLK 350 combines the perfect balance of styling, versatility and performance. The 2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class will be produced exclusively at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, Germany.

Agility Control Suspension

The sophisticated Agility Control suspension on the new Mercedes GLK-Class helps resolve a common paradox facing the SUV segment - how to create a vehicle that combines agile on-road comfort with off-road capability. For sporty, responsive handling, the suspension and, above all, the shock absorbers need to provide a certain firmness however, this may compromise comfort and limits off-road performance. If the vehicle is setup with softer dampers, dynamic handling naturally suffers. Thanks to "amplitude-dependent damping" the suspension can adjust to perform in either driving conditions. During normal driving on moderately contoured roads or slow off-road manoeuvres, the system responds softly, enhancing both the occupants' comfort and the vehicle's off-road capability. During more spirited driving or when performing abrupt evasive maneuvers, the dampers adjust to a harder setting ensuring optimum handling stability. Additionally, speed-sensitive power steering supports the driver with a precise balance of high-speed road feel and low speed maneuverability. Maximum power assistance is available during parking and off-road driving, while at higher speeds, the assistance is reduced in favor of greater handling stability.

In addition to a tire pressure warning system, the tried-and-tested Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) for the GLK incorporates a vehicle/trailer stabilization function, which helps maintain control while towing a trailer by applying the individual wheel brakes as required. The GLK offers a maximum tow rating of 3,500 lbs.

Complete Safety Package for Maximum Occupant Protection

In combination with the front and rear deformation zones, the GLK's high-strength passenger cell provides a highly efficient foundation for the occupant protection systems, which include:

  • Adaptive, two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger
  • Front side-impact airbags
  • Windowbags across both seat rows from the A-pillar to the C-pillar
  • Active head restraints for the driver and front passenger
  • Crash-optimized pedal system
  • 3-point seat belts for all five seats
  • Belt tensioner and adaptive belt-force limiter for the driver and front passenger, belt tensioner and single-stage belt-force limiter for the outer rear seats
  • ISOFIX child seat attachments
  • Belt height adjuster for the driver and front passenger
  • Belt status indicator for the rear passengers in the instrument cluster

Mercedes remains true to the philosophy that the best accidents are the ones that are avoided entirely. With this in mind, standard equipment for all GLK models includes Brake Assist (BAS), which shortens the braking distance significantly -- especially during panic braking -- to help prevent accidents or at the very least mitigate their consequences. The front section incorporates precisely defined crumple space between the body and the major assemblies beneath, allowing the hood to yield considerably if hit by a pedestrian, cyclist or motorcyclist. Together with the specially designed front bumpers and the softer foam of the integrated bumper impact absorbers, these measures afford pedestrians a high degree of protection.

Proven V6 Powerplant

The new sport utility is destined to be one of the most fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz vehicles ever. Smaller and lighter than its well-known SUV siblings, the GLK features a fuel-sipping 3.5-liter V6 engine, a sophisticated seven-speed automatic transmission and available 4MATIC full-time four-wheel-drive. All of these components combine to give the GLK 350 an impressive 0-60 time of just 6.5 seconds (estimated) while achieving an 23 mpg (estimated) on the highway.

Both the GLK 350 and GLK 350 4MATIC are matched with a seven-speed automatic transmission as standard. Low overall weight (estimated 4,036 lb. curb weight) and the exceptional aerodynamics for a vehicle of this design (cd figure 0.35) further contribute to the exceptional performance and low fuel consumption.

Much as the latest C-Class sedan has brought a new level of sporty driving and ride comfort to the sedan world, the new Mercedes GLK brings a new combination of agility and comfort to the SUV market. The GLK also broadens and extends the Mercedes-Benz sport utility line with cutting-edge engine and four-wheel-drive technology packaged in a stylish vehicle that's the perfect size for today's busy family.

The Widest Range of SUVs

Mercedes-Benz offers the widest range of SUVs in the premium segment, the GLK being the brand's fifth model in the series. In response to customers' wishes, the company's Family of SUV's has grown to include the R-Class, M-Class, GL-Class and G‑Class. The new Mercedes GLK is the latest addition to this successful line-up.

The New Opel Insignia

A new name, a new car, a new ambition. With its groundbreaking design and sophisticated technology, the Opel Insignia makes a quantum leap toward rejuvenating the brand and providing the perfect opportunity to discover Opel. The styling of the new 4.83 meter five-seater clearly expresses Opel's strategy to make advanced technology and attractive design affordable.

The Opel Insignia boasts a flowing, powerful silhouette with a coupé-like roofline. The body's sculpted shape is accented by a distinctive radiator grille with a newly-designed Opel emblem. Unmistakable design elements include a sweeping front and rear light "wing" signature and a "blade" side contour that begins directly behind the front wheel and glides through the entire side of the body. Both details give the Opel Insignia's a muscular but graceful allure.

"With Insignia we are introducing an exciting new sophisticated design vocabulary, which combines sculptural artistry with German precision," says Mark Adams, Vice President Design, GM Europe. "Our aim was to develop a confident look which compels the world to experience for themselves the superb driving dynamics the Insignia radiates."

Echoing the exterior, the interior shapes and surfaces, which articulate this promise for exciting mobility, are crafted with high quality materials. The dashboard wraps around from the instrument panel to the door in a very sophisticated way, embracing the occupants. This wing theme will be echoed across all Opels. Red ambient lighting, which also will be featured in future Opel models, vibrate a warm, luxurious aura. A lot of emphasis too has been put into the seating, which set the highest standards in ergonomics, comfort and safety.

Opel's pioneering role and unique expertise in lighting technology continues in the Opel Insignia with the latest generation AFL Adaptive Forward Lighting system: Nine different light beam settings automatically adjust themselves to cater to various driving conditions, simultaneously enhancing safety and driving excitement. Another new element on the AFL system is the LED daytime running lights, which consume considerably less energy than a conventional system featuring halogen lamps, thereby lowering CO2 emissions from 6 g/km to nearly zero.

"As each feature demonstrates, the Opel Insignia is the result of our quest to develop a car that combines striking design, excellent driving dynamics and innovative technology" says Hans H. Demant, Managing Director, Adam Opel GmbH.

The Opel Insignia is offered from the start with front-wheel and all-wheel drive. The "Adaptive 4X4" system's proactive, instantaneous torque distribution not only ensures optimal traction but also enhances driving stability and dynamic handling performance. In the all-wheel drive Opel Insignia, the FlexRide mechatronic chassis system with its Adaptive Stability Technology helps the car adjust to prevailing driving conditions and allows the driver to select settings to match his mood.
FlexRide is also available in the front-wheel version.

The Opel Insignia will launch with an exceptionally broad range of seven engines. All meet Euro 5 emissions standards and come with either manual or automatic six-speed transmissions. The four gasoline engines range from a four-cylinder 115 hp unit to a V6 with 260 hp. The three new direct-injection diesels feature a displacement of 2.0 liter and outputs spanning from 110 to 160 hp. Subsequently the Opel Insignia engine line-up will be expanded with an EcoFLEX version offering very low CO2 emissions in addition to other, more powerful variants.

"The Opel Insignia sets new standards in technology and innovation -- this will be obvious right from the launch. But we are keeping several cards up our sleeves when it comes to environmental compatibility, excitement and safety, which we will play strategically overtime" says Alain Visser, Chief Marketing Officer, GM Europe.

The Insignia notch- and hatchback will debut July 22, 2008 at the London Motor Show and hit showrooms starting in November. The Opel Insignia was developed at GM Europe's International Technical Development Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany, which also is home to its production. The Rüsselsheim facility is one of the most advanced car plants in the industry.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The New Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren

World premiere at the 78th Auto Salon Geneva 2008

MANSORY Renovatio –

The ultimate makeover for the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren
Since 2004 McLaren has been producing the Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren in Woking in almost unaltered form. MANSORY, the specialist in upgrading super sports cars and luxury limousines has now presented the gull wing racer at the Auto Salon 2008 in Geneva in a new design. Not only did the bodywork get a facelift, the engine was also given modified supercharging by means of MANSORY compressor technology. Ultra-light forged wheels and a superlative automotive interior complete the all-round renewal.

Fresh design in tried and tested quality

During the development of the MANSORY Renovatio great value was attached both to individual design as well as aerodynamic efficiency. To save weight MANSORY fashioned its body components out of carbon. The production car body is also made out of this extremely light and resilient material. One component of the body kit is the front apron in dynamic sport design. It channels the airstream perfectly to the custom-designed intercoolers of the performance kit and so ensures an extra helping of cooling air. The new side skirts constitute the optical link between the front and rear wheel arch extensions. These calm the airstream between the axles and create space for the outlets of the MANSORY side pipe exhaust system. The new rear apron with integrated diffuser takes care of additional downforce and puts the final touch to the sporting lines of the styling package.

New components for impressive performance boost

The 5.5 litre V8 engine with its standard 626 hp likewise profited from the comprehensive changes. The motto of the MANSORY engineers when redesigning the engine was “evolution instead of revolution.” The leading idea was not about making major changes to the SLR’s core. Rather, existing components were swapped for modified developments by MANSORY itself. For example, use is made of new high performance compressors and tailor-made intercoolers. The finishing touches to the performance upgrade are a sports air filter and modified engine management. As a result the Renovatio is two tenths faster from zero to 100 km/h than the super sports car production model. The top speed increases to 340 kph. Following the alterations the Renovatio has 700 PS and generates 880 Nm torque on the crankshaft.

Great looks and excellent roadholding

MANSORY provides a special wheel-tyre combination in exclusive design for the requirements of the Renovatio. The one-piece turbine-wheels with five double-spokes, 9 x 20 at the front and 11.5 x 20 at the rear, are impressive thanks both to their sporting looks as well as their outstanding workmanship. The reduction of the unsprung mass due to the especially light forged wheels improves braking distance, acceleration and handling. For maximum wheel grip MANSORY uses 255/30 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres at the front and 325/25 at the rear.

Exclusive interior design without limits

MANSORY has succeeded in creating the perfect symbiosis of sporting functionality and luxurious environment. Only the very best materials have been used in the interior and provide for well-being. The leather processed by master craftsmen is especially hard-wearing and yet extraordinarily soft. This characteristic natural product with its special grain and the perfect craftsmanship of its decorative stitching convey an extravagant flair around the redesigned airbag sports steering wheel. The aluminium pedals, illuminated door tread plates and real carbon applications complete the luxurious overall impression within the Renovatio.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The New Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is among an elite group of sport utility vehicles that helped elevate the "crossover" segment in the last decade by introducing a combination of smooth ride comfort, accommodating interior packaging and overall efficiency that traditional SUVs lacked. The Pilot's unit body construction and fully independent suspension helped transform the SUV segment by enhancing ride quality, earning top crash safety ratings, creating more interior space and increasing fuel efficiency. The original Pilot provided a recipe for success with features eventually imitated by the competition like a standard third row seat, decision-free four-wheel drive and an easy-to-configure interior.

The second generation of the Honda Pilot seeks to improve on the popular Honda SUV formula by adding more SUV-rugged aesthetics, more on-road refinement and enhancing interior functionality. Designed around the concept of an "intelligent adventure vehicle" with the practical needs of a family in mind, the eight-passenger Pilot provides bolder SUV styling, more clever and more accommodating interior packaging and advanced technologies for safety, fuel efficiency and convenience.


The Honda Pilot is designed to provide a comfortable, confident and fun driving experience with plenty of power to match its capabilities as an eight-passenger SUV with off-road capabilities and up to 4,500-pound towing capabilities (4WD). For 2009, Honda engineers prioritized fuel efficiency for the all-new Pilot and applied the latest generation of the company's Variable Cylinder Management technology to all models. Low emissions, a broad torque curve and low maintenance were also key development targets.

The Honda Pilot is powered by an advanced 3.5-liter 24-valve i-VTEC, V-6 engine mated to an electronically-controlled 5-speed automatic transmission. Peak engine output is 250 horsepower at 5700 rpm and 253 lb-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. The "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC®) valvetrain technology with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) allows the V-6 engine to operate in six-cylinder mode for power and four- and three-cylinder modes for efficiency. The Pilot meets California's stringent Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV-2) exhaust emissions standards. A fully-automatic Variable Torque Management 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4) is available on all models and delivers seamless "decision free" application of four-wheel drive when needed.


Honda has consistently challenged itself to pursue vehicle safety as part of its core business strategy. The company seeks to provide a high level of occupant protection and pedestrian injury mitigation in all of its cars and trucks through a comprehensive and evolving approach to vehicle safety. This process benefits all new Honda vehicles - regardless of size or price - while also increasing compatibility with other types of vehicles in a frontal collision.

The 2009 Honda Pilot exemplifies the Honda approach to safety. Every Honda Pilot incorporates side-curtain airbags and dual-chamber, front-side airbags with a passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); and active front seat head restraints that are designed to help reduce the severity of neck injury in the event of a rear collision.

An Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE®) body structure in the front of the vehicle, now added to Honda Pilot for the first time, makes the new Pilot highly effective at absorbing the energy of a frontal crash and helps minimize the potential for under-ride or over-ride situations that can occur during head-on or offset-frontal impacts with a significantly larger or smaller vehicle. Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with brake assist are standard equipment on every Honda Pilot.

Additional standard safety features include dual-stage, dual-threshold front airbags, front seatbelts with automatic-tensioning systems and load limiters, and a pedestrian injury mitigation design in the front of the vehicle. Driver and front passenger seatbelt reminders and daytime running lights are also standard equipment. A class-leading total of four Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) positions provide rigid attachment points for up to four child seats.

The New Seat Leon Cupra

The new Seat Leon Cupra is hitting the roads - a vehicle in which SEAT has implemented all of the knowledge gained during the current successful World Touring Car Championship season; the Spanish make is, in fact, one of the favourites for the WTCC constructors and drivers championship. For SEAT, whose goal is to create sporty cars with cutting-edge design and the latest technology, the arrival of the new Seat Leon Cupra is not just a source of satisfaction and pride; it is also essential.

The new Cupra is also a record-breaking car: it is the most powerful SEAT passenger car to date. With 240 hp, the new model sits at the top of SEAT's sporty range. The Seat Leon Cupra's advanced engineering, allied to its agile chassis, looks set to create a stir in the increasingly competitive hot hatch market.

Winning looks

One outstanding feature of the Cupra series has been its powerful and aggressive styling compared with the rest of the range. This is also the case for the new Seat Leon Cupra.

From the outside, the Seat Leon Cupra demands attention. Its exclusive front bumper has larger air intakes than usual in order to enable sufficient airflow to cool the 240 hp engine, which purrs away under the chiselled bonnet.

An outstanding feature at the rear of the car is the lower section's black finish, which emulates the Leon WTCC's diffusers. Another unique Cupra feature is the polished steel oval exhaust pipe. The word "CUPRA", which appears below the rear logo, marks out the new model from other versions. In profile, the Cupra's most striking feature is its stunning, exclusively designed 7.5J x 18" wheels, as well as the 'ébano' black door mirrors.

But to really appreciate the feeling of being in a true sports car, you actually need to step into the new Cupra. The ultra-sporty seats are the first feature which catches the eye. In fact, the Cupra's seats are so focussed that they could genuinely be racing car seats. They surround the body and include an integrated head restraint.

The second feature that sets the Cupra apart from other versions of the Leon is its black interior. The car's pillars and roof are black instead of the usual cream-grey combination. The Cupra's interior colour scheme perfectly sets off its key features: the striking leather perforated steering wheel against a red background, the gear stick, the white instrument panel and the sporty metal pedals. Each and every one of these parts bears the unmistakable Cupra logo.

A racing car at heart

Now let's turn to the Seat Leon Cupra's key feature, the reason why customers will go for this model over any other: its spectacular 2.0 TFSI 240 hp engine. This is the most powerful engine ever installed in a SEAT production car.

With this engine, the Seat Leon Cupra achieves performance worthy of a WTCC track car with a top speed of 247 km/h, or 153 mph. The Cupra accelerates from 0 to 100 in only 6.4 seconds. Furthermore, it covers the first 1000 metres in only 26.4 seconds. In terms of in-gear acceleration, the Seat Leon Cupra goes from 80 km/h to 120 km/h in fifth gear in 6.4 seconds. In sixth gear, this takes 8.2 seconds.

Even though the car's performance is highly sporty, it is also capable of returning impressive fuel consumption, with an average of only 8.6 litres per 100 km (around 32.8 mpg). (Performances and consumption provisional).

A racing chassis

In order to successfully transfer all of the engine's power to the road, the suspension elements of the Leon's proven and effective agile chassis have been adapted, while its weight has been reduced. The power steering system has also been modified in order to give the Cupra an even sharper feel compared with other Leons. These changes provide the highest levels of driving precision, as expected from the most focussed and sporty model in the SEAT range.

The Cupra's high performance capabilities require brakes that are equally impressive - and the new model delivers, with a powerful system featuring striking red-painted callipers. The front ventilated discs are sized at 345x30 mm, which is larger than those used on the rest of the range. And if that was not enough, the Cupra can also be fitted with an even more capable Brembo brake system as an option. This four-piston system offers enhanced stopping performance and improved resistance to high temperatures.

Circuit sound

Another Seat Leon Cupra feature worked on by SEAT is the all-important soundtrack from the engine bay. New SEAT SOUND exhaust systems have been developed so that drivers can really experience the sporty nature of the Cupra. These systems boost the richness of the engine sound and the feeling of power at low revs, and can be experienced both outside and inside the car.

The feeling of sporty acoustics and sheer engine power is accentuated when moving off from a standing start, performing low-speed manoeuvres, accelerating and braking at full speed and at low revs.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pontiac Torrent GXP

HIGH-PERFORMANCE GXP MODEL JOINS PONTIAC TORRENT LINEUPPontiac takes the SUV driving experience to an unexpected level of performance with the 2008 Torrent GXP, which offers new levels of performance, with a 264-horsepower (197 kW)* 3.6L V-6 and a host of new standard features, such as GM's OnStar safety and security system. Ride and handling characteristics have also been enhanced for the 2008 model.

Providing the power, performance and agility of a sports car with the capability of a sport-utility vehicle, the Torrent GXP joins Pontiac's growing GXP family that includes the Solstice GXP, the Grand Prix GXP and, also new for 2008, the G6 GXP.

Three all new metallic exterior finishes are available on the 2008 Torrent, including Deep Blue Metallic, Carbon Black Metallic and Teal Metallic.

Improved ride and handling performance

The base Torrent features an efficient 3.4-liter V-6 60-degree OHV V-6 engine generating 185 horsepower (138 kW)* at 5,200 rpm and 210 lb.-ft. of torque (285 Nm)* at 3,800 rpm. The engine is mated to an automatic five-speed transmission featuring multiple shift schedules that adapt to varied load conditions.

New for 2008, the base Torrent has an enhanced ride and handling package that includes stiffer shocks, hydraulic bushings and tuned spring rates.

Four-channel ABS brakes are standard on all models. The brakes consist of vented front discs and rear discs. The Torrent comes with standard 16-inch aluminum wheels and the Torrent GXP is equipped with chrome-clad 18-inch aluminum wheels. Seventeen-inch aluminum wheel combinations also are available on the base model. Traction control is standard on FWD vehicles equipped with the standard ABS.

The automatic all-wheel-drive system has no buttons to push. It engages automatically when wheel slip is detected. Both the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models provide almost eight inches (203 mm) of ground clearance and feature short front and rear overhangs for favorable off-road approach and departure angles.

Enhanced safety features

GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, OnStar safety and security system, tire pressure monitoring system, cruise control, and front and rear disc brakes with four-channel ABS are just a few of the standard features on the base and GXP models.

Electronic Trailer Sway Control is a new addition for the 2008 Torrent. This feature is integrated into the standard StabiliTrak system and detects the occurrence of trailer sway that may be caused by improper trailer weight balance or excessive vehicle speed. Upon detection of trailer sway, StabiliTrak will independently begin to apply brakes to assist the driver in stabilizing the vehicle. StabiliTrak activation also signals the driver to reduce vehicle speed, and if trailer sway continues, StabiliTrak will reduce engine torque to reduce the vehicle's speed manually.

StabiliTrak helps drivers keep control during abrupt maneuvers or in low-traction conditions by using a comprehensive series of sensors to measure acceleration, deceleration, steering angle and yaw rate. By monitoring these inputs, the system automatically controls the vehicle to help maintain the driver's intended path when a measurable deviation from the intended course is detected. The system retains control by regulating vehicle acceleration or applying the brakes at any wheel.

Standard on all 2008 Torrent models, OnStar's digital equipment includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy. OnStar also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics and the General Motors Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system, making crash data available to participating 911 centers to help dispatch the appropriate live-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes quicker.

Using the GPS satellite network and wireless technology, OnStar features core safety services and available OnStar Hands-Free Calling and Turn-by-Turn Navigation. This service allows OnStar customers to talk to a live advisor, who in turn sends complete step-by-step directions to customers' vehicles through their OnStar system. This allows drivers to be led to their destination while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Torrent's enhanced occupant protection and rollover detection sensors for the head curtain side-impact air bags and Passenger Sensing System for the dual-stage frontal driver and passenger air bags help protect the driver and passengers. Other standard safety features include three-point safety belts for all seating positions and the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) child safety seat retention system, which can accommodate up to three child seats.

Friday, April 11, 2008

BMW 6-Series Coupe from AC Schnitzer

The facelifted BMW 6-Series Coupe was released almost a year ago, revealing a more dynamic coupe and convertible with for the first time a diesel engine. AC Schnitzer, the Aachen, Germany based tuning house, has set out to further refine the 6-Series facelift model.

Head designer Michele Viandante has worked on a new front fascia with a sharpened kidney grille, new rear-spoiler with built-in third brake light and side skirts which make the car look more flat than before. A sports rear silence with chromed tailpipe finishes the look in the back.

And even if the car itself may look more flat than before, performance is far from flat. AC Schnitzer has performance packages for both the 650i and the new 635d. AC Schintzer can increase displacement for the 4.8 liter eight-cylinder engine to 5.1 liters resulting in a power increase of 44 hp, to 411 hp. Top speed is increased by 35 km/h from its limited 250 km/h.

Of course the diesel engine is not forgotten, and AC Schnitzer sqeeuzes out and additional 24 hp to reach 310 hp from the 3.0 liter twin-turbo diesel engine, torque increases by 100 Nm to 680 Nm. The ACS6 is available with 20 inch Type VI alloy wheels.

Saleen S302 Extreme


Saleen Automotive, North America's premiere specialty vehicle manufacturer announces it's very aggressive 2008 MY product line up. The "Extreme", along with 6 other models in Saleen's 2008 model line up, made its world debut on the runways of the retired El Toro Airport in Southern California.
The S302E raises the bar for American performance cars while never sacrificing style and control. New for 2008, the car affectionately known as the "Extreme" boasts a "Saleen built" 302 cubic inch engine augmented by a patented Saleen twin-screw, intercooled supercharger. The combination delivers an unprecedented 620 Hp and 600 lb-ft of neck snapping, tire incinerating torque.
"We believe that we are in the process of creating a legendary new car. It's thrilling" says Saleen President and CEO, Paul Wilbur. "It seemed to make sense that as we go into our 25th Anniversary as a manufacturer in North America that we make our best and most powerful car yet."

In the automotive history books, all great cars incorporate great hardware - the S302E is no different. The new "Extreme" features a litany of high quality performance parts that are a direct reflection of the companies' race engineering heritage, combined with the best thinking in automotive OEM performance engineering.
The unique motor in the "Extreme" features a forged crank, forged connecting rods, individually blueprinted pistons, a 5 axis CNC aluminum cylinder head, high flow fuel injectors and high performance forged camshafts. All of these components have been orchestrated to mesh masterfully together, coupled to our best-in-class patented Saleen twin screw supercharger. When married to a short throw 6 speed manual transmission and a Max-grip rear differential, the "Extreme" screams to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds and clicks through the quarter mile in just under 12 seconds.
"This place represents a kind of automotive "mecca" for me. We are making limited volume performance vehicles for people who really love cars, by people who really love cars. I cannot think of a better place to put my 35 years of OEM engineering history to work," says Vice Chairman and Chief Technical Officer Chris Theodore. Theodore is best known as being the father of the Ford GT while Vice President of Advance Product Development at Ford Motor Company. "Now I am helping build great Saleen cars in the same factory that I architected for the legendary Ford GT.'

"This is the best motor that we have ever done', says Powertrain Engineering Lead Rob Simons. "We have really benefited from having Chris (Theodore) around. He brings perspective and experience to the company unlike anything that we have known prior."
To get that kind of performance, the team had to get S302E's power to the ground. This is accomplished with standard 20 inch, 5 spoke forged aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero ‘Russo' tires. Since power is nothing without control, the "Extreme" also features a Saleen Racecraft suspension and an all new, second generation Watts Link system that is sure to help the driver maintain control through the corners. The chassis system is rounded out by upgraded 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control. This performance brake system features 15" vented, slotted rotors with 6 piston calipers in the front and 11.8" rear vented discs with single piston calipers in the rear.

"This was an interesting challenge for me. Everything I learned from the past on the S7 race team was put into play for this year's production models. The result is one that I am sure that the market is going to love," says Chassis and Dynamics Team Lead, Derk Hartland.

Most people associate exotic performance only with European made vehicles. We are committed to make Saleen synonymous with the best breeds in the world, and to do so from a perspective that is fundamentally American.
Saleen has accomplished that in racing with the S7, and we like to think that the S7 has helped establish our pedigree. We are now taking that experience and making it slightly more attainable in a way that is sure to surprise our customers. That is the goal of the "Extreme" and the foundation of a plan that we call the Reawakening of Saleen.
The Reawakening of Saleen is a focus on the fundamentals of the enthusiast customer, led by a solid commitment to great products. The strategy of the reawakening is a simple one…under promise and over deliver. That is what you will find in the "Extreme", and that is what you should expect from Saleen moving forward.

The new S302 E is slated to begin production in early December with advanced orders being accepted as early as November 16th.
"Unlike past Extreme models, the customer for the 2008 Extreme can expect to have their car built within days of placing an order," says Marques McCammon, General Manager of Saleen Automotive. However, the 2008 Extreme production will be very limited to only a select number of enthusiasts and will retail for $79,995. "We are confident that our buyers will be very hard pressed to find another vehicle with this performance, this level of balance, and a factory warranty for this price, says McCammon.
Power in the hands of a few! That pretty much says it all. We will make great, powerful automobiles that will be available to a select few individuals. We are not trying to make volume vehicles for the masses and we recognize the difference.
"Make no mistake, we manufacture dreams. That is what Saleen has always done and that is what we will continue to do," says Paul Wilbur, Saleen President and CEO.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The New Nissan Qashqai+2

Called Qashqai+2, the new model is seen by Nissan as the first Crossover for busy, active families and with the imminent arrival of the second generation Murano, helps to extend Nissan's Crossover offering to three distinctive models. Sales in Europe will begin in October.

Nissan Qashqai+2 customers will be looking for a car which has the space, convenience and utility of a traditional MPV, but who want a more attractive, sophisticated design. Nissan's research shows that customers of the existing QASHQAI are clearly attracted to it by its design - three-quarters are new to Nissan - and this is a pattern that will continue with Nissan Qashqai+2. Those customers are not attracted to the existing people carriers with three rows. And at the same time, Nissan's research shows that an increasing number of customers in this area of the market are not interested in 'family' SUVs, with a third row of seats. They are perceived as too big and too boxy for their needs.

It is against this background that Nissan's European Product Planning team identified a pool of potential customers who are looking for a stylish yet practical family car. Nissan Qashqai+2 continues the Crossover theme so successfully pioneered by QASHQAI, by sitting in between two well established segments of the market and drawing customers who aren't quite satisfied by either of those traditional options.

The results of early Nissan Qashqai+2 customer clinics showed that potential customers perceived it as being more family orientated, offering more independence, being ideal for going on family holidays and offering more fun than traditional choices.

They also recognised its increased practicality, space and versatility, as well as being more attractive and elegant than its alternatives.

Where QASHQAI generally attracts buyers who have no kids or just one kid, or whose kids have already left the nest, Nissan Qashqai+2 will offer the rational advantages of a practical family car, with elements such as stylish design, premium interior quality and an engaging driving experience to satisfy the more emotional side of the buying equation.

Like the multi award-winning original, Nissan Qashqai+2 has been designed and engineered in Europe and will be built at Nissan's highly productive plant in Sunderland, in the UK.

With a wheelbase extended by 135 mm - taking it to 2,765 mm - the overall length of Nissan Qashqai+2 has risen to 4,526 mm, an increase of 211 mm over the five-seat version.

To ensure there's ample headroom in the third set of seats, the roofline has been lengthened and reprofiled at the rear of the vehicle, adding 38 mm to the overall height and taking it to 1,643 mm. Headroom in the front and middle row of seats has increased by 16 mm and 10 mm respectively, while knee room in the middle row has improved by 23 mm.

At the same time, both front and rear doors have been restyled: the window frames of the front door are squarer in line with the reprofiled roofline, while the rear pair are completely new - longer and also with squarer window frames.

Other styling changes include larger side windows at the rear of the vehicle to provide a light and airy environment for occupants of the third row of seats. Further differentiation between five and seven-seat versions is provided by a new tailgate with a deeper rear window and revised bumper profile at the rear and a sleek new grille, exclusive to Nissan Qashqai+2, at the front.

Another exterior feature found as standard on Qashqai+2 is a huge panoramic glass roof to give the same light, airy feeling that is so popular with customers on the existing QASHQAI . The fixed roof is 140 mm longer than the equivalent sunroof offered on QASHQAI and has a one-touch electric operated sunshade.

Additionally, Nissan Qashqai+2 has roof rails as standard adding a premium feel to its silhouette, while darkened privacy glass for all windows behind the front doors is standard on all versions.

Styling aside, the nature of the new model means much of the engineering and development work has been concentrated on the rear of the car where the aim has been to make it as flexible, practical and convenient as possible for passengers.

Lengthening the rear doors has improved ingress to the passenger compartment while access to the rearmost pair of seats is further eased by revisions to the middle bench. As well as having a folding backrest, the bench now slides fore and aft to provide walk-in access to the back row.

As well as moving through a total of 100 mm, the middle bench seat now has a three way folding operation on a 40/20/40 split for added modularity.. The five-seat version splits on a 60/40 basis. The backrest also reclines and has no fewer than nine adjustment positions over a range from 10 deg to 25 deg of inclination.

The centre '20' portion doubles as a seat or a generously wide multi-function armrest. When used as an armrest, as well as providing a greater feeling of spaciousness for those in the third row, the seat back incorporates two cupholders and a lidded storage box large enough to hold personal music players, games consoles and CDs. It also has an integrated power outlet. When upright, the box becomes a storage recess for those in the rearmost seats.

The third row of seats is ingeniously practical. Designed for children or as occasional seats for small adults up to about 1.6m tall, the angle of the backrest has seven adjustment settings and can, of course, be folded completely flat to increase luggage space. The seats split on a 50/50 basis and each can folded away simply by pulling on a single strap: there is no need to remove head restraints first.

The addition of a third row of seats allows families the option of transforming their Nissan Qashqai+2 into a spacious family car into the "kids bus", for those busy days out playing sport or weekends away which can be a logistical nightmare for parents, worried about the family, kids and their friends, as well as all their baggage will fit.

When folded away, there's a large flat loading area left behind which provides almost 500 litres of potential luggage capacity, an increase of 90 litres over QASHQAI. The new rear door and revised interior panels mean the loading height has been reduced by 13 mm to 770 mm while, at 1186 mm, the opening width is a remarkable 224 mm wider.

Unlike many seven-seat vehicles, Nissan Qashqai+2 has a full depth roller-blind style tonneau cover. With the rearmost sets folded it can be used conventionally but if the third set of seats are to be occupied, it can be removed and stowed in a special compartment under the boot floor. Like the extra pair of seats, therefore, the tonneau can remain in the vehicle at all times.

The lid of the underfloor stowage area, meanwhile, can also double as a cargo divider so fragile shopping - eggs or bottles for example - can be safely loaded where it won't be damaged by heavier items. The load area is set off by a stylish stainless steel kick plate which offers protection to the leading edge of the boot floor when loading heavy items.

Mechanically, Nissan Qashqai+2 follows the lead set by the original model. That means a stretched version of Nissan's C-platform featuring strut-type front suspension with combined coil-over-strut assemblies and a forward lower link. The suspension assembly is mounted on a subframe which is attached to the body via compliant rubber bushes to isolate road noise and vibration from the platform, improving both refinement and ride comfort. A front anti-roll bar is attached directly to the strut assembly for more effective control of body roll under cornering.

A fully independent multi-link rear suspension has been used for precise handling and high-speed stability. Attached to the vehicle via a rigid rear subframe to keep unwanted noise and vibrations to a minimum, the compact assembly features an aluminium rear upper link to reduce weight: the saving is in the region of 4kg.

The extra length and equipment found in Nissan Qashqai+2 has raised the overall weight of the vehicle by approximately 100kgs. Suspension settings have been revised to take account of the extra weight, while steering assistance - all QASHQAI models use electric power steering - has also been retuned.

Two versions of the chassis are available, offering the choice of front-wheel drive or sophisticated ALL-MODE four-wheel drive.

Developed by Nissan, the ALL-MODE system - which is available on 2.0-litre diesel and petrol models - allows secure and relaxed driving with advanced electronics taking care of all traction needs, ensuring that Nissan Qashqai+2 has grip at all times no matter how severe the conditions. Unlike some other automatic four-wheel drive systems, ALL-MODE uses advanced electronics rather than hydraulic pumps to ensure drive is transferred between wheels and axles the instant the need arises.

Under normal conditions, Nissan Qashqai+2 operates in front-wheel drive which reduces energy losses and saves on fuel. The instant wheel slippage is detected however, a centre clutch in the rear final drive is electronically activated and drive is correctly apportioned between front and rear axles.

The system has three modes, selected via a switch on the centre console. In two-wheel drive mode, the system is permanently set in front-wheel drive, ideal for fine weather on-road use. When the Lock setting is pushed, however, the system switches to permanent four-wheel drive mode with drive split 57:43 front to rear.

The most practical mode, however, is 'select-and-forget' Auto, in which the system is left to its own devices. Sensors linking the engine's ECU with the four-wheel drive and ABS controller constantly monitor wheel slippage and automatically send signals to the electromagnetic centre clutch mounted just ahead of the rear axle to apportion torque correctly.

Left in Auto, the system will automatically compensate for unexpected slippery conditions on-road, such as wet leaves in autumn, early morning winter ice or loose gravel at any time of the year.

ALL-MODE is inextricably linked to Bosch's eighth generation Electronic Stability Programme (ESP). Using sensors linked to the brakes, steering, wheels and the body itself, ESP constantly monitors the way the car is being driven.

In its customer research, Nissan found clearly that existing QASHQAI owners who have opted for the ALL-MODE versions enjoy the feeling of confidence and security that the discreet, unobtrusive all-wheel drive system gives them when driving in marginal conditions.

Given its family orientation, customers will appreciate the availability of ALL-MODE on Nissan Qashqai+2 thanks to the reassurance it will offer in almost all road conditions that the driver and occupants are likely to find themselves in.

From the steering angle and wheel speeds, ESP calculates what manoeuvres the driver intends to perform and from signals from the yaw-rate and lateral acceleration sensors ESP recognises whether the vehicle might skid off course. In an emergency ESP reacts swiftly, and by selectively applying the brakes at each wheel ESP 'steers' the vehicle in the desired direction.

Nissan Qashqai+2 has other electronic control systems, including cornering brake control (CBC) and enhanced understeer control (EUC) in which the system applies the brakes to all four wheels to reduce excessive understeer. Hydraulic fade compensation (HFC) prevents brake fade after a period of heavy brake usage.

The braking system is essentially unchanged from QASHQAI, though the adoption of standard 17-inch alloy wheels on 2.0-litre versions has permitted the fitment of larger rear brakes.

Nissan Qashqai+2 offers a choice of two petrol and two diesel versions. The entry-level petrol is a lightweight all-aluminium unit displacing 1598cc, developing 115 PS (84 kW) and 160 Nm of torque. It has four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, multi-point port injection and vane-type continuous intake cam phasing.

Top of the petrol range is another all-aluminium 16-valve design, this one displacing 1997cc and developing 140 PS (103 kW) and 200 Nm of torque. Some 90 per cent of that torque is available from 2000rpm providing the accelerative 'punch' more usually expected in larger engines.

Almost as compact as the 1.6 engine, among its key design features is a notable reduction in internal friction. A mirror-like finishing technique is applied to the surfaces of the crankshaft pin journal and the cam lobe journal and to a new machining method that ensures truly circular bores is used: this procedure is common practice in the machining of bores of racing engines but is seldom used in volume production engines.

The entry-level diesel uses the most powerful version of Alliance partner Renault's acclaimed 1.5 dCi (K9K) engine developing 106 PS (78 kW) and 240Nm of torque. A Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is also fitted as standard. Praised for its fuel efficiency and low noise, it features a flexible flywheel to filter out the effects of acyclic movements. Specifically developed to comply with Euro 4 legislation the engine has a lowered compression ratio (16:1) and a variable geometry, multi-blade turbocharger.

The 2.0 dCi is equipped with a Bosch piezoelectric-controlled injection system to develop 150 PS (110 kW) and 320 Nm of torque. Piezoelectric technology gives fast, very precise control allowing a 'five squirt' injection cycle: two pre-squirts, one main squirt and two post-squirts.

The pre-squirts improve engine acoustics by minimizing the characteristic diesel clatter. The post-squirts sustain the main injection combustion, to burn off soot and thus bring down pollutant emissions before the exhaust gases have even left the combustion chamber.

Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) produces a controlled temperature rise in the combustion chamber to reduce pollutant emission levels (NOx) and thus enhance the engine's overall environment performance,. The 2.0-litre diesel engine is also equipped as standard with a DPF.

Transmission options include a five-speed manual (1.6-litre petrol), six-speed manual (2.0 petrol and both diesels), six-speed automatic (4WD 2.0 dCi) and, uniquely in its class, a highly efficient CVT transmission option on the 4WD 2.0-litre petrol offering a choice between 'stepless' changes or a manual over-ride with six fixed ratios.

Following the lead set by QASHQAI, the new family version is available in three different trim and equipment versions - the now familiar Visia, Acenta and Tekna levels.

Depending on the version, standard equipment includes automatic lighting, automatic wipers, speed sensitive door locking, cruise control, privacy glass, electric windows, parking sensors, 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels and Nissan's Intelligent Key. Manual or automatic air conditioning incorporates mild flow ventilation while to provide sufficient airflow for the rearmost passengers, a larger compressor is fitted.

Subtle interior mood lighting is availble, while all models benefit from ample storage opportunities, including an under seat drawer, large glovebox and door pockets. Also standard are the full-length panoramic glass roof and roof rails.

All audio systems - a single disc CD/radio, an in-dash six disc changer/radio or a full navigation system with in-dash six disc CD autochanger - incorporate Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone integration allowing remote operation of the phone and caller ID display. The audio system also has a standard auxillary input connection for Mp3 players and other external audio devices.

Nissan Qashqai+2 is equipped with six airbags (front, side and curtain), seat belt pretensioners in the front and active headrests.

Popular options include embossed leather trim and the advanced satellite navigation system incorporating a seven-inch full colour display (which doubles as the display for the rear parking camera) and voice recognition.

"Qashqai+2 adds a new dimension to the range and makes it even more versatile than the original. It will appeal not just to larger families, but also to anyone who appreciates its distinctive looks and commanding seating position as well as its extra space and flexibility.," says Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

"While some sales will come from current or potential QASHQAI owners, we are confident the majority will be conquest sales from owners currently stuck with a conventional compact MPV: they appreciate the style and dynamism of the original QASHQAI but need the extra seats of an MPV… no matter how dull it might be. With Qashqai+2 they can now have the best of both worlds."