Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Concept: BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid

Introducing this Concept Car based on the new BMW 7-Series BMW is clearly demonstrating the potential offered by the most advanced hybrid technology available today. The BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept comes with hybrid components tailored precisely to the character of this unique saloon, offering driving comfort, everyday motoring qualities and driving safety of the supreme standard only the BMW 7-Series is able to provide.

In addition, the BMW ActiveHybrid technology featured in the Concept Car reduces both fuel consumption and emissions by 15 per cent versus the same car with a combustion engine and offers a standard of driving dynamics clearly exceeding all series models with hybrid technology presented so far. The BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept combines an eight-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor developing 15 kW/20 hp and maximum torque of 210 Newton-metres/155 lb-ft as a mild hybrid concept. Electric power is generated by a particularly powerful variant of Brake Energy Regeneration already featured in the BMW Group's regular production cars. The energy generated in this way is then stored in a lithium-ion battery fitted in accordance with the package of the car beneath the luggage compartment.

The perfect starting point: the world's most Efficient luxury performance saloon.

The BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is based on the new BMW 7-Series already ranking right at the top in its class in standard trim in terms of efficiency. The new luxury performance saloon from the world's most successful manufacturer of premium cars thus lives out the demanding objectives of the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy in particularly convincing style also in this segment.

Compared with their predecessors, all models in the new BMW 7-Series stand out in providing both enhanced performance as well as a significant reduction of fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. In their respective performance class, the three engines available right from the start upon the market launch of the new 7-Series rank right at the top worldwide in terms of efficiency. In addition, all models in the BMW 7-Series come as standard with a wide range of BMW EfficientDynamics technologies including Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand control of the engine's ancillary units, intelligent lightweight construction, active aerodynamics provided by air flap control, and tyres with reduced roll resistance. And last but certainly not least, all engine variants in the new BMW 7-Series comply in full with the EU 5 emission standard.

Given these qualities, the new BMW 7-Series from the start offers an ideal foundation for setting the standard worldwide both in the luxury segment and in the hybrid market through an optimum combination of the most advanced BMW ActiveHybrid technology. Another essential feature of the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is that this unique model offers such a significant increase in efficiency over the regular production model without in any way giving up the well-known qualities of BMW's luxury saloon.

Not to be seen from outside, BMW ActiveHybrid technology offers the driver the significant benefits of a new drive concept without in any way influencing the motoring comfort, luxurious ambience, and safety this truly outstanding saloon is able to provide. And when it comes to everyday driving qualities, the concept is once again just right for full enjoyment and driving pleasure in every respect, without the slightest restrictions.

BMW ActiveHybrid technology integrated the intelligent way.

Presenting the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept, BMW is introducing a hybrid car which, through its harmoniously balanced drive components, will fit perfectly into the model range of BMW's new luxury performance saloons. The driving experience and motoring comfort reflect the character of this outstanding model line, with new highlights in terms of both driving dynamics and efficiency - as on BMW's conventional model variants, too. Quite simply, this is because hybrid technology BMW-style stands for superior dynamics combined with outstanding efficiency forming a perfect symbiosis with the sheer supremacy of the BMW 7-Series.

All this is made possible by combining an eight-cylinder petrol engine for the first time with a mild hybrid concept. Specifically this approach has been chosen here since the savings potential offered by hybrid technology increases with the output and performance of the combustion engine used, and because large-capacity power units are of particular significance in the premium segment.

Focusing initially on smaller cars, BMW has already introduced solutions in the context of EfficientDynamics serving to significantly reduce fuel consumption and not in any way increasing the cost of ownership for the customer. BMW's current diesel models in this segment, for example, thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics, ensure fuel consumption and emission ratings achieved by other manufacturers with their hybrid cars only on a far lower level of output and performance.

In the medium term the development of hybrid systems by the BMW Group tailored to individual models will also lead to solutions in segments offering significant advantages in both fuel economy and driving dynamics so typical of BMW. And at the same time the larger number of models produced will help to reduce the additional cost of hybrid technology.

Consistent optimisation: BMW ActiveHybrid and the V8 power unit with Twin Turbo and High Precision Injection.

Like all power units in BMW production cars, the combustion engine featured in the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept has been developed in the context of BMW EfficientDynamics. In the BMW 750i this all-aluminium power unit offers all the qualities typical of an eight-cylinder in incomparably sporting and, at the same time, comfortable style, combining power and traction from low engine speeds with impressive pulling force throughout a wide range of engine revs.

The power and performance characteristics of the new V8 power unit result primarily from BMW's innovative Twin Turbo technology. This unique technology featured for the first time on an eight-cylinder gasoline engine, with two turbochargers not fitted at the outside, but rather directly in the V-section of the engine and supplying four cylinders with compressed air in each case, ensures unparalleled spontaneity in responding to the accelerator pedal.

High Precision Injection, in turn, ensures highly Efficient use of fuel, the second generation of direct gasoline injection introduced by BMW incorporating piezo-injectors fitted in the cylinder head directly next to the spark plugs and delivering fuel to the combustion chambers at a pressure of 200 bar.

This concept alone makes the supply and dosage of fuel extremely precise, the V8 power unit with Twin Turbo and High Precision Injection achieving the highest level of efficiency worldwide in the eight-cylinder segment.

This outstanding efficiency is also attributable to the use of BMW EfficientDynamics in and around the engine, with features such as Brake Energy Regeneration, on-demand management and control of ancillaries including an a/c compressor operating only when required, and the use of on-demand pump technology on the car's suspension control systems.

This intelligent energy management also comprises the electrification wherever possible of comfort functions running on electrical energy generated in particular by Brake Energy Regeneration.

Use of electric power generated without consuming fuel in the interest of even greater efficiency.

Given all these qualities, intelligent alternator control ensures the generation of electricity from energy otherwise wasted in the brake system as heat dissipated into the environment. Now, therefore, the fuel contained in the energy burnt is used to a much higher degree for ensuring genuine driving dynamics on the road, helping to improve the car's acceleration to an even higher level and optimising the efficiency of the drive system under all load conditions.

The principle of Brake Energy Regeneration is applied in the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept more consistently than in any production vehicle so far, giving the car an unusually high standard of all-round efficiency and fuel economy. In this case the conventional alternator is replaced by the electric motor fully integrated in the transmission housing and delivering electricity in overrun and under application of the brakes through the likewise fully integrated power electronics to the lithium-ion battery.

The electric motor integrated in the transmission housing thus ensures far greater efficiency in the generation of electric power than an alternator drawing energy directly from the combustion engine and, as a result, reducing its overall standard of efficiency.

BMW ActiveHybrid technology is also superior to a conventional alternator through its own, inherent efficiency, the energy yield produced by the electric motor through Brake Energy Regeneration alone exceeding the normal standard roughly ten times.

The innovative energy storage technology of the lithium-ion battery featured in the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept also provides the option to store a much greater amount of electrical energy available virtually free-of-charge, then providing this energy on a permanent basis for all kinds of vehicle functions and therefore exceeding the performance of conventional battery units by far. The progress achieved by BMW in the area of energy storage thus allows electrical operation of ancillary units to an extent far beyond the standard possible so far in a production car.

A further point is that the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept uses electrical energy to an even higher degree also for additional functions ranging all the way to extra power provided by the electric motor within the mild hybrid concept in support of the car's primary drive system. This is also made possible by the specific position of the electric motor in the transmission housing, where it is able to offer an additional power feed.

A 120V on-board network serves to meet further purposes and requirements, operating in parallel to the conventional 12V network. And with its output of 15 kW, the electric motor supports the combustion engine in generating dynamic power serving to drive the car. Since the energy used in the process is delivered by Brake Energy Regeneration without any additional consumption of fuel, the mild hybrid concept gives the car extra dynamics combined with a significant improvement of efficiency.

This additional power and reduction of the load acting on the combustion engine throughout the entire range of engine speed and running conditions enables the Concept Car featuring BMW ActiveHybrid technology to consistently continue the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy raised in this way to an even higher level.

A harmonious concept: BMW ActiveHybrid in the BMW 7-Series.

The harmonious overall concept of the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is just as impressive as the progressive technology of the car and its efficiency in reducing both fuel consumption and emissions. All components are carefully matched to one another, coming together to form one fascinating, trendsetting whole.

The car itself offers all the qualities of a modern luxury saloon, setting standards through the space available and the exclusive ambience within the interior as well as with its drivetrain and suspension technology allowing an outstanding combination of dynamic performance and supreme motoring comfort.

BMW ActiveHybrid technology specially conceived for the saloon serves to enhance the driving experience in genuine style typical of a BMW 7-Series and at the same time achieves a new level of all-round efficiency. Hence, the Concept Car offers improvements and options raising the very favourable balance of performance and fuel consumption already offered on the series-production BMW 750i to a significantly higher standard.

The arrangement of the hybrid components likewise serves to enhance the degree of efficiency and promote the driving experience even further. Positioned appropriately within compact dimensions in the transmission housing, the electric motor optimises both the generation of electricity and the drive power delivered by the combustion engine. Housed in the rear of the car, in turn, the lithium-ion batteries offer an ideal solution in terms of both everyday driving qualities, the balance of the overall vehicle, and safety.

Ultra-modern energy storage technology: lithium-ion battery with superior capacity and stable cycles.

Using a lithium-ion battery, BMW is taking yet another step into the future in the particularly intense and flexible use of electric power in the car. As a rule, the energy delivered by Brake Energy Regeneration must be fed to a storage unit at all times and must be available - depending on driving conditions - in different cycles, whenever required. In addition, storage capacity must be sufficiently great for the car to cover longer distances without application of the brakes or running in overrun, while at the same time the supply of electric power must not be interrupted.

This is why BMW uses AGM (Absorbent Glass Mat) batteries on regular production cars featuring Brake Energy Regeneration, that is cars running in frequent and irregular charge and discharge cycles without losing energy in the process. To meet the requirements of a mild hybrid concept, on the other hand, a car needs a high-voltage energy storage unit with significantly higher output and performance. The system developed for the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept therefore uses the most advanced lithium-ion technology fulfilling the greatest demands in terms of battery capacity and lasting performance.

The lithium-ion battery has proven its particularly high storage capacity and resistance to charge and discharge cycles for a long time in many other areas, for example in the mobile phone and in laptops. The energy storage unit featured in the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept therefore opens up a new perspective in the use of this technology under the particularly demanding conditions prevailing in a motor vehicle.

Intelligent energy management with a lithium-ion battery, an AGM battery and two on-board networks.

To ensure Efficient energy management meeting all of the driver's and passengers' requirements, the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept comes with two on-board network systems carefully matched to one another. In addition to the conventional 12V network supplied with power by the AGM starter battery, BMW's new Concept Car features an innovative 120V network feeding power from the electric motor to the appropriate components with the help of the lithium-ion battery.

Through the 120V on-board network, the lithium-ion battery featured in the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is able to supply power to a particularly large number of electrical components. A further point is that the high-voltage power network provides the foundation for using a high-performance electrical drive system. Contrary to the conventional on-board network, this also means the option to supply power directly to, say, the a/c compressor.

The range of functions already driven electrically today in BMW's production models extends from the ventilation and air conditioning units through the lights, entertainment, navigation and communication systems all the way to the coolant pump and servo motors for dynamic driving systems such as Dynamic Damper Control featured as standard on the BMW 7-Series. Stable and reliable coverage of all energy requirements and all electrically driven vehicle functions in the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is therefore guaranteed at all times, regardless of driving conditions.

High storage capacity enhancing both efficiency and motoring comfort.

Among other things, this allows the use of the Auto Start Stop function in conjunction with BMW ActiveHybrid technology even more often than in BMW's current production models, without giving up or losing motoring comfort in any way whatsoever. When stopping at a road junction, at the traffic lights or in a traffic jam, the combustion engine is automatically switched off to avoid any inEfficient idling. Then, as soon as the driver lets go of the brake pedal and presses down the gas pedal to set off again, the engine is started automatically.

The various functions no longer connected to the alternator on the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept may also be operated during such an interim stop, the energy required for this purpose being delivered consistently by the high-capacity lithium-ion battery.

Optimum comfort is ensured above all by ongoing operation of the ventilation and climate control systems keeping temperatures in the interior at a consistent level also when the car is at a standstill. Similarly, all other comfort functions may still be used permanently while the engine is switched off. Clear highlights in design bearing testimony to the car's efficiency and trendsetting technology.

The BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is a hybrid car offering a dynamic potential truly unique the world over - and at the same time it is a luxury performance saloon with an excellent balance of performance and fuel consumption.

Precisely these unique qualities come out clearly also through the design of the Concept Car. The BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is based in its concept and fundamental design on the new BMW 7-Series, a luxury saloon offering a fascinating synthesis of sporting elegance and natural presence. The dynamic proportions of the car are clearly expressed by its long wheelbase, the long and sleek engine compartment lid, the short overhang at the front, the passenger compartment moved far to the rear, and the low roofline.

The BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept adds specific design features both at the front and the rear to enhance this characteristic look to an even higher level. At the same time the close match of the production model and the concept car clearly symbolises BMW's claim to offer the potential of BMW ActiveHybrid technology within BMW's existing portfolio of models. And the paintwork in Blue Water Metallic already used on other high-efficiency concept cars clearly bears testimony to the outstanding efficiency of this very special saloon.

Optimised air guidance at the front.

The outstanding presence and flair of the new BMW 7-Series is expressed at the front end of the car particularly by the large BMW kidney grille standing out far to the front in an almost majestic, upright position. Generously designed dual round headlights, in turn, create that concentrated look so typical of BMW, while the large engine compartment lid exudes a feeling of clarity and tranquillity.

Contrary to the series model, the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept comes with an aluminium band slightly inclined towards the rear and somewhat lower down, instead of the usual chrome band above the lower air intake scoop.

This aluminium trim extends across the entire width of the car, tapering out towards the outside. In this position and with its special design featuring a precise contour and angle, the aluminium band resembles an air flap typically used on a modern aircraft.

Featured on the front end of the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept, the band serves in a similar manner to optimise aerodynamics and air guidance along the lower section of the car. The centre section of the aluminium band, in turn, covers the lower air intake scoop, while the two slender edges beneath the headlights subdivide the air intakes at the side with contours similar to the headlights themselves.

Foglamps are fitted at the outer edge of the two air intakes boasting a black honeycomb grid again in unique design. These foglamps are made up in each case of seven LED light units, six of which are arranged vertically in rows of two and one of which is below the aluminium band. The horizontal line of the aluminium band and the foglamps placed far to the outside serve in this way to additionally accentuate the sheer width of the car.

From the side the sporting and elegant lines of the saloon are accentuated by 20-inch aluminium rims on the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept. The wheels in V-spoke design are finished in body colour and thus merge even more smoothly and harmoniously with the overall look of the car. The name "EfficientDynamics - ActiveHybrid" on the lower part of the doors, finally, highlights this outstanding saloon as a particularly fuel-Efficient, low-emission concept.

Exclusive design on the exhaust tailpipes.

The particular style created at the front of the car by the aluminium band is reflected by the rear-end design of the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept where an aluminium air flow element extends across the entire width of the car beneath the rear apron, reaching its full height only in the middle.

The more slender edges to the right and left form the upper surround on the twin-chamber exhaust system with its tailpipes again coming in new, innovative design. The tailpipes are surrounded by a frame of matt chrome and, instead of their usual round or oval shape, come in unusually wide and flat contours. A horizontal, black crossbar, finally, gives the tailpipes an almost multi-level appearance as if they were split up into two sections.

The aluminium band at the rear again forms an additional horizontal line emphasising the wide track of the car. At the same time the sculptural surfaces so characteristic of the new BMW 7-Series also dominate the looks and appearance of the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept, again creating that unique BMW style. The roofline, in turn, flows down via the flanks of the car all the way to the bumper, thus including the rear end in the overall dynamic look of the new BMW 7-Series for a particularly sporting touch.

Unique: BMW ActiveHybrid technology in the luxury class.

Introducing the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept, the world's most successful manufacturer of premium cars is setting a clear standard: Hybrid technology has the potential to meet the extremely great demands made of a car in the luxury class. And at the same time it offers all the qualities required to further enhance the characteristics typical of a BMW.

This nevertheless calls for hybrid components precisely tailored to the respective model and boasting features exactly reflecting the profile of the BMW brand.

To meet this demand, BMW has applied its unique development competence in the area of drive systems unparalleled the world over for the systematic and clear-cut integration of hybrid components.

The result of this intense development process is BMW ActiveHybrid - a technology able to provide the most dynamic hybrid cars in the world and serving at the same time to offer the greater efficiency achieved by combining a combustion engine with electric drive under all motoring conditions, significantly reducing both fuel consumption and emissions in the process. The BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is therefore more superior, more dynamic and more efficient than all other cars featuring this kind of technology so far.

Yet another important highlight of BMW ActiveHybrid technology is the ability to offer the full potential of this technology quite independently of the driver's action. This big advantage comes from the fact that BMW ActiveHybrid technology is fully integrated into the drive system, without any effects on the design of the car and its everyday use.

Hybrid technology therefore fits perfectly into the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy, where all EfficientDynamics components and features come as standard on BMW's various models, tailored in each case to the specific model and its individual character. These components and technologies therefore help to reduce fuel and exhaust emissions over a wide range of loads also under practical, everyday driving conditions, to a great extent without requiring any action on the part of the driver. And BMW ActiveHybrid technology also remains in the background to begin with, at the same time naturally offering its full effect in terms of efficiency and dynamics.

Best of Hybrid: flexible development strategy providing ideal solutions on each model.

Given these qualities, the technology featured in the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept is ideally suited for a luxury performance car of this calibre. Taking the same approach as with many other highly developed and advanced technologies, BMW seeks also in the implementation of hybrid components to introduce these technologies initially in higher segments of the market such as the luxury performance class. Clearly, this gives particular emphasis to the premium claim underlying each new development.

In developing hybrid components BMW seeks furthermore to find appropriate applications for each model and concept. BMW ActiveHybrid is based on a modular principle following the "Best of Hybrid" strategy in integrating the optimum components in different vehicle concepts as required.

On the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept the eight-cylinder petrol engine and the electric motor acting as the mild hybrid power unit form the same ideal match as the eight-cylinder petrol engine and the full hybrid concept on the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid Concept launched in 2007. Indeed, this broad scope of possible hybrid applications reflects the underlying principle of BMW EfficientDynamics to develop appropriate solutions for all vehicle segments and performance classes in line with each concept and vehicle.

BMW is developing these hybrid components in a joint venture among equals with Daimler. The objective of this joint venture is to develop and test components for hybrid drive in upmarket vehicles, each manufacturer then integrating the hybrid components developed into their respective cars in accordance with the individual philosophy of each brand.

Ongoing progress ensured by BMW ActiveHybrid and BMW EfficientDynamics.

Pursuing the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy, the BMW Group is making the most effective contribution worldwide to the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions in road traffic. The result of this unique strategy results from both the regular use of such trendsetting innovations as standard equipment on BMW models and from the introduction of such innovations throughout all model series, as well as the wide range of improvements ensured in this way.

BMW ActiveHybrid now takes a significant step into the future in this context of highly developed technologies for the environment, opening up the door to an even wider range of technologies for reducing fuel consumption and emissions in the years to come and using an appropriate combination of features in each case and for each model in the interest of enhanced driving dynamics and all-round economy. The objective is to develop concepts for all model series providing utmost driving pleasure on the most efficient use of energy.

Now BMW offers a unique range of efficiency-enhancing technologies also in the luxury saloon segment, with BMW's regular models in the new BMW 7-Series already featuring a wide range of improvements through BMW EfficientDynamics quite unparalleled the world over in their impact and diversity.

BMW ActiveHybrid technology adds a further option, hybrid technology for the first time achieving the supreme standard essential to BMW in a luxury performance car of this calibre. So introducing the BMW 7-Series ActiveHybrid Concept, BMW is proudly presenting another strategy in further enhancing the Company's position as the world leader in the development of particularly efficient and, at the same time, highly dynamic automobiles of a unique standard.

The New Ford F-150 SFE

America's best-selling pickup, the Ford F-Series, is raising the bar once again - this time with unsurpassed fuel efficiency on the new 2009 Ford F-150, thanks to significant miles per gallon improvement across the entire F-150 lineup.

On sale in October 2008, the new Ford F-150 offers fuel economy that has improved an average of 8 percent across the entire lineup as a result of a wide-range of engineering enhancements. The fuel economy gains reach as high as 12 percent versus the prior model year on Ford F-150 models equipped with the high-volume 3-valve, 5.4-liter V-8 engine. At the same time, the new F-150 delivers class-leading towing capability of 11,300 pounds and hauling capacity of 3,030 pounds - a combination no other competitor can match.

In addition, Ford is announcing the introduction of the new Ford F-150 SFE "superior fuel economy" edition delivering up to 21 miles per gallon on the highway while still providing 7,500 pounds of towing capability - fuel economy that is unsurpassed in the full-size pickup segment.

"Ford has committed to have the best or equal to the best fuel economy with every new product we introduce, and we are delivering with the new F-150," said Matt O'Leary, Ford F-150 chief engineer. "Fuel economy has moved from 10th to third place among pickup buyers' top purchase considerations - right behind durability and value. The new F-150 delivers on all three as the industry leader."

Fuel Economy throughout the Lineup

The 8 percent improvement in fuel economy across the entire lineup of V-8 F-150s is the result of using lightweight ultra-high-strength steel to lighten the truck up to 100 pounds versus the current model and aerodynamic refinements.

The new F-150 is now best-in-class for aerodynamics. The new F-150 SuperCrew 4X2 with a 5.5-foot box has the lowest coefficient of drag - 0.403 - in the segment. That's 6 percent lower than a comparable 2008 Ford F-150.

Key aero improvements for the new F-150 include:

  • A new chamfered shape to the rear of the cab, which incorporated the center-high-mount stop lamp. This shape helps direct aerodynamic wake over the pickup box efficiently.
  • The top of the tailgate, which angles outward to create a bold lip. This wider surface at the top of the tailgate works with the cab chamfering to direct airflow over the box efficiently.
  • The front bumper valence and spoiler design, which has been improved to better manage airflow underneath the truck without compromising off-roading.

In addition, as part of the fuel economy improvements, Ford's powertrain team delivered technology upgrades to make the F-150 powertrains more efficient.

The new six-speed automatic transmission offers a wider gear ratio span than four-speed transmissions, allowing engineers the flexibility to have responsiveness in low gears and better fuel economy in the taller gears. The new double-overdrive gearbox is designed to contribute a 4 to 6 percent fuel economy improvement.

Both the 5.4-liter and 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 engines utilize open valve injection. This unique feature improves the air/fuel charge conditions in the combustion chamber, allowing greater spark advance at higher loads and engine speeds. This delivers increased horsepower during towing and higher rpm operations, lower emissions and more efficient use of fuel.

The Ford F-150 also regulates gas consumption by using aggressive deceleration fuel shut-off. The fuel shut-off is automatic and requires no unusual actions from the driver. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the system temporarily turns off the fuel. The flow of fuel seamlessly resumes when the truck reaches a low speed or the driver accelerates again.

To prevent engine hesitation normally associated with fuel interruption, Ford's powertrain team developed proprietary software to integrate the technology with the F-150's powertrains.

The New Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID

Mercedes-Benz is launching its first passenger car model equipped with a hybrid drive system in summer 2009 - the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID. The combination of a modified V6 petrol engine and a compact hybrid module makes the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID the world's most economical luxury saloon with a spark-ignition engine. The NEDC combined fuel consumption is a mere 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres. This makes for the world's lowest CO2 emissions in this vehicle and performance class - just 190 grams per kilometre. These exemplary figures go hand in hand with assured performance. The 3.5-litre petrol engine develops an output of 205 kW/279 hp, the electric motor generates 15 kW/20 hp and a starting torque of 160 Nm. The result is a combined output of 220 kW/299 hp and a combined maximum torque of 385 newton metres. Moreover, the new Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID is the first series-production model to be equipped with a particularly efficient lithium-ion battery specially developed for automotive use. This is another major contribution by Mercedes-Benz to the electrification of the car.

The new Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID is based on the S350, and features an extensively modified drive train. This encompasses a further development of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, an additional magneto-electric motor, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission specially configured for the hybrid module, the necessary operating and control electronics, the transformer and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery.

Optimised thermal efficiency lowers the engine's fuel consumption

The 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with variable valve control has been throughly re-engineered and improved. In the process the development engineers made use of the advantages offered by the Atkinson principle,where the expansion phase is longer than the compression phase. The intake valve is kept open slightly longer between the intake and compression phases, which improves the engine's thermal efficiency while reducing the specific fuel consumption and untreated emissions. A new cylinder head, different pistons and a modified camshaft with different camshaft control increase the output by 5 kW/7 hp to 205 kW/279 hp - while reducing fuel consumption at the same time.

Especially on rural journeys and on motorways, the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID achieves a further efficiency improvement by moving the so-called operating point of the petrol engine to produce a lower specific fuel consumption. The extremely high start-off torque made possible by the boost effect of the electric motor gives the driver a particularly exhilarating feeling of powerful acceleration, while fuel consumption and emissions are reduced.

The electric motor improves efficiency

The compact, disc-shaped electric motor, which is space-savingly installed in the torque converter housing between the engine and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, improves efficiency even further. This is a 3-phase AC external rotor magneto motor, which develops a peak output of 15 kW/20 hp and a starting torque of 160 newton metres with an operating voltage of 120 Volts.

This compact motor also acts as a starter and generator, adopting the functions of both these conventional ancillary units.

Sophisticated interaction with the internal combustion engine makes numerous additional functions possible that positively influence the emissions and agility of the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID in equal measure. Moreover, this disc-shaped motor effectively dampens torsional vibrations in the drive train, thereby further reducing noise and vibrations in the interior. The result is even more ride comfort for both driver and passengers.

"Boost" effect for even more driving pleasure

The overall system offers extensive benefits: firstly by helping to save fuel, and secondly by increasing driving pleasure with the help of the "boost" effect, where the electric motor gives powerful assistance to the petrol engine with its maximum torque of 160 newton metres right from the beginning of the fuel-intensive acceleration phase. This means that the hybrid drive system of the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID moves off powerfully even from very low engine speeds, as the torque curve impressively confirms. The additional torque of the hybrid module also has a consistently positive effect during subsequent acceleration phases. In all driving situations, the driver therefore benefits from the interaction between the two units in the form of powerful responsiveness and muscular torque - but without an increased fuel consumption.

The Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, and reaches an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h. The Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID betters the already very favourable NEDC fuel consumption of the conventionally powered S350 by up to 2.2 litres per 100 kilometres. CO2 emissions are reduced by 21 percent.

Every braking action generates electric power for the battery

When the vehicle is braked, the electric motor acts as a generator and uses a process known as recuperation to convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy. This energy is stored in the compact yet highly efficient lithium-ion battery, and made available when required.

In the process the electric motor assists the engine braking effect of the internal combustion engine in two smooth, seamless stages: In stage one, on the overrun with no braking action, the electric motor acts as a generator and begins to recuperate energy. Stage two commences as soon as the driver lightly operates the brake pedal: the generator output is then increased proportionally, and perceived as heavier deceleration by the driver. Only when more brake pedal pressure is applied are the wheel brakes activated in addition to recuperation. In this way more electrical energy can be generated, while saving wear and tear on the hydraulic braking system at the same time. To make the best possible use of this double benefit, Mercedes engineers also developed a new braking system with a new brake pedal module for the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID.

Cleverly located control electronics

Dedicated control electronics are required to operate the 3-phase AC electric motor in the 120-Volt high-voltage DC network. The current converter is accommodated in the space formerly occupied by the starter. As the control electronics heat up as a result of electric currents measuring up to 150 amps, the system is equipped with its own, additional low-temperature cooling circuit.

Mercedes-Benz engineers have accommodated the transformer in the right front wheel arch, where it facilitates the exchange of energy between the 120-Volt high-voltage network and the 12-Volt onboard network - and also allows the option of emergency starting with jump leads if the standard battery should lose its charge. To ensure a consistently high level of electrical efficiency, the transformer is likewise cooled by a low-temperature circuit. The 12-Volt lead/acid battery is installed in the boot, and not only supplies the standard consumers but also the monitoring system for the high-voltage components with energy. Thanks to its interaction with the lithium-ion battery, it is considerably smaller in size and lighter than usual.

Tried-and-tested automatic transmission with a new configuration

Mercedes-Benz developers also adapted the well-proven 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission to suit the hybrid drive, with newly programmed software for the transmission management system. A newly developed auxiliary oil pump ensures reliable lubrication of the transmission even during phases when the internal combustion engine is switched off.

This complex system is managed by the modified high-performance engine control unit. This incorporates extensive functions, and distinguishes between operating conditions such as city traffic, rural journeys, motorway driving or slow manoeuvring.

Hybrid status is shown in the instrument cluster

The driver is also able to monitor the status of the hybrid drive system visually. The instrument cluster has a separate, centrally positioned, display showing the energy flow during boost and recuperation phases, as well as the battery charge status.

Seven-stage safety concept in addition to the Mercedes-Benz standard

As is usual at Mercedes-Benz, the development engineers gave safety aspects their very special attention. Know-how incorporated into the series-production car included long years of Daimler research experience with fuel-cell technology. The challenge lay in not only complying with all the worldwide and in-house legal crash test requirements, but also in ensuring the greatest possible safety for the electrical components. This safety system already applies in production, includes workshop personnel during servicing and maintenance, and also takes the emergency services into account when passengers need to be recovered following an accident.

Accordingly the hybrid technology of the Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID is equipped with an extensive 7-stage safety concept.

  1. In the first stage all the wiring is colour-coded to eliminate confusion, and marked with safety instructions. This prevents assembly errors in production, and makes the regular quality checks easier to carry out.
  2. The second stage comprises comprehensive contact protection for the entire system by means of generous insulation and newly developed, dedicated connectors.
  3. As part of the third stage, the world's first lithium-ion battery to be used in a series-production model has been given a whole package of carefully coordinated safety measures. This innovative battery is accommodated in a high-strength steel housing, and also secured in place. Bedding the battery cells in a special gel effectively dampens any jolts and knocks. There is also a blow-off vent with a rupture disc and a separate cooling circuit. An internal electronic controller continuously monitors the safety requirements and immediately signals any malfunctions.
  4. The fourth stage of the safety concept includes separation of the battery terminals, individual safety-wiring for all high-voltage components and continuous monitoring by multiple interlock switches. This means that all high-voltage components are connected by an electric loop. In the event of a malfunction the high-voltage system is automatically switched off.
  5. Active discharging of the high-voltage system as soon as the ignition is switched to "Off", or in the event of a malfunction, is part of the fifth stage.
  6. During an accident, the high-voltage system is completely switched off within fractions of a second (stage six).
  7. As the seventh and last stage, the system is continuously monitored for short circuits.

Thanks to its compact dimensions and modular design, the additional weight of the overall system is only 75 kilograms - including the comprehensive safety systems. The superior driving experience for which a Mercedes is known is therefore ensured by this trailblazing and very versatile technology, which can be used for practically all Mercedes-Benz model series. Moreover, the payload remains unchanged at 595 kilograms.

The intelligent high-performance engine management system responds very sensitively to different driving conditions, and optimally configures the drive system for the relevant application, ensuring that both fuel consumption and emissions are kept to the lowest possible level.

At standstill the petrol engine is usually switched off, and therefore consumes no fuel. The electric drive of the refrigerant compressor and steering servo pump allows uninterrupted operation of the air conditioning and power steering. Comfort is in no way compromised, and is at the same high level as in all S-Class models.

Moving off and acceleratingaway gently remains a smooth and comfortable procedure. A driver who kicks down the accelerator for a brisk start benefits from the boost function of the electric motor, which produces considerably more dynamic acceleration.

At constant speedsthe intelligent electronics recognise situations such as relaxed motorway stretches, and automatically adjust the load point of the internal combustion engine to achieve a lower specific fuel consumption, thereby helping to save fuel and reduce emissions.

When rolling to a stopthe recuperation function is activated as soon as the drive is interrupted in any way (foot off the accelerator, engine braking). Once the vehicle speed falls below 15 km/h, the petrol engine is automatically switched off.

If the driver brakes using the brake pedal, the electric motor initially begins to convert the vehicle's kinetic energy into electrical energy. In this case the electric motor acts as a generator, storing the kinetic energy as electrical energy in the lithium-ion battery. This process feels like a stronger engine braking effect to the driver. The conventional disc brakes at the wheels are not yet employed, saving wear and tear. The disc brakes are only activated if the driver applies heavy pressure to the brake pedal, braking the car together with the engine brake and recuperation.

Once the driver selects "R" (reverse) in the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission when manoeuvring, this automatically activates the Manoeuvring mode and prevents the start/stop function from switching off the engine at short, frequent intervals.

The advantages of the hybrid drive system really come into their own in city traffic, with frequent stops at red traffic lights. Already switching off the petrol engine as the car frequently coasts to a stop significantly lowers the fuel consumption and emissions, while the long recuperation phases increase the battery charge. The electric motor ensures particularly comfortable and rapid restarting when the start/stop function is active.

On rural roadsthere are frequent changes between boost, constant speed and recuperation phases. Depending on the nature of the route, large quantities of recuperation energy are available to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The more braking and acceleration phases there are, the better: uphill and downhill gradients, as well as winding, dynamic stretches, make for the largest savings.

The hybrid effect is inherently less important on motorways, however thanks to specific modifications to the V6 petrol engine and the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission, the driver is also able to achieve significant fuel savings and correspondingly lower emissions on fast road stretches like these.

The Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHYBRID is produced at the Sindelfingenplant, together with the other S-Class models. The petrol engine, 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission and electric motor are first put together to form a hybrid module, then delivered to the production line as a unit. The market launch in western Europe is planned for June 2009; China is expected to follow in August 2009 and the USA in September 2009.

The New Chevrolet Volt

General Motors launched its next 100 years by unveiling the much-anticipated production version of the Chevrolet Volt - a vehicle that delivers up to 40 miles of gasoline- and emissions-free electric driving, with the extended-range capability of hundreds of additional miles.

"Revealing the production version of the Chevrolet Volt is a great way to open our second century," said Rick Wagoner, GM Chairman and CEO. "The Chevrolet Volt is symbolic of GM's strong commitment to the future... just the kind of technology innovation that our industry needs to respond to today's and tomorrow's energy and environmental challenges."

New era in automotive transportation

The Chevrolet Volt is leading a new era of electrification of the automobile by creating a new class of vehicle known as the Extended-Range Electric Vehicle, or E-REV.

The Chevrolet Volt uses electricity to move the wheels at all times and speeds. For trips up to 40 miles, the Chevrolet Volt is powered only by electricity stored in its 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery. When the battery's energy is depleted, a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the Chevrolet Volt's electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range of the Chevrolet Volt for several hundred additional miles, until the vehicle's battery can be charged. Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt eliminates "range anxiety," giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.

The Chevrolet Volt can be plugged either into a standard household 120v outlet or use 240v for charging. The vehicle's intelligent charging technology enables the Chevrolet Volt's battery to be charged in less than three hours on a 240v outlet or about eight hours on a 120v outlet. Charge times are reduced if the battery has not been fully depleted. At a cost of about 80 cents per day (10 cents per kWh) for a full charge that will deliver up to 40 miles of electric driving, GM estimates that the Chevrolet Volt will be less expensive to recharge than purchasing a cup of your favorite coffee. Charging the Chevrolet Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home's refrigerator and freezer units.

Charge out of driving

The Chevrolet Volt offers spirited driving performance in a remarkably quiet interior. More than 220 lithium-ion cells contained within the Chevrolet Volt's battery pack provide ample power. The Chevrolet Volt's electric drive unit delivers the equivalent of 150 horsepower, 273 lb-ft. (370 Nm) of instant torque, and a top speed of 100 miles per hour. The lack of engine noise, combined with special sound-deadening materials, make the Chevrolet Volt an extremely quiet vehicle to drive.

GM estimates that the Chevrolet Volt will cost about two cents per mile to drive while under battery power compared to 12 cents per mile using gasoline priced at $3.60 per gallon. For an average driver who drives 40 miles per day (or 15,000 miles per year), this amounts to a cost savings of $1,500 annually. Using peak electric rates, GM estimates that an electrically driven mile in a Chevrolet Volt will be about one-sixth of the cost of a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. The cost savings are even greater when charging during off-peak hours, when electric rates are cheaper.

The Chevrolet Volt is expected to be built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing facility, subject to GM successfully negotiating satisfactory government incentives. Production is scheduled to begin late 2010 for models in the United States.

Technical Specifications

  • Vehicle type: 5-door, front-wheel-drive sedan
  • Category: Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV)
  • Chassis: independent McPherson struts front, compound crank twist axle rear, four-wheel disc brakes, full regenerative brakes to maximize energy capture, electric power-assist steering
  • Seating capacity: four
  • Tire and wheel size: specially developed low rolling-resistance tires on 17-inch forged aluminum wheels
  • Performance
    • Top speed: 100 mph / 160 km/h
    • EV range, city (miles): 40 (based on EPA city cycle)
  • Dimensions
    • Wheelbase: 105.7" / 2685 mm
    • Length: 177" / 4404 mm
    • Width: 70.8" / 1798 mm
    • Height: 56.3" / 1430 mm
    • Cargo volume: 10.6 cu ft / 301 l
  • Battery system
    • Type: lithium-ion
    • Energy: 16 kWh
  • Electric drive unit
    • Power: 111 kW / 150 hp
    • Torque: 273 lb-ft / 370 Nm

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The New Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

Amidst the beauty and history of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Cadillac treats car enthusiasts to a world premiere of its latest production-car design. The 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon makes its debut on the Monterey Peninsula, showcasing a dramatic design that elevates and updates the classic wagon body style.

Not unlike many historic Cadillac designs, the new Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon is an unmistakable and dynamic presence. The car's intricately cut rear profile injects fashion-forward design into the formerly utilitarian world of wagons. Cadillac's upcoming wagon offers ample interior space and includes a range of six-cylinder engine choices, making it a compelling alternative to larger utility vehicles.

Design details

Dramatic planes highlight the Cadillac CTS wagon's design, including a V-shaped motif carried throughout the vehicle and carefully integrated intersections of exterior surfaces. The elements coalesce in a dramatic fashion, creating tension that emphasizes the vehicle's performance.

"It's a taut design that not only suggests sleekness, but delivers it," said Clay Dean, global design director for Cadillac. "Indeed, the drama of the sedan is amplified in the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, as the centerline cue that is part of the exterior and interior is more prominent and plays a stronger role in defining the design at the rear of the vehicle."

The emotion of the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon's design is carried by a number of nuanced details. The liftgate area, for example, is a confluence of angles and planes that typifies the vehicle's design tension. Cadillac's "V" motif is most prominent here, culminating in a spine at the center of the liftgate that is accented with a subtle spoiler at the top of the backlight. The rear quarter panels extend slightly beyond the inward-angled planes of the V, creating a distinctive W shape at the rear of the vehicle. Large, prominent vertical taillamps - with Cadillac's signature light pipe technology - are the final, dramatic touches to the rear-end styling.

"The more you study the rear of the CTS Sport Wagon, the more you see," said Dean. "Functionality was certainly a guiding factor during development, but so was the idea to inject emotion into the normally sedate wagon category."

One of the more interesting integrations of form and function is found in the seamless roof load management system. Rather than stylized stanchions, brackets and cross bars that protrude above the roof line, the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon's system blends with the roofline, maintaining an uninterrupted appearance. The center section of the roof panel angles downward inside the roof edges, allowing an unobtrusive placement of the cross bars - and creating a subtle fin effect at the trailing edges of the rear panels.

"They're not fins in the classic sense, but they work to help disguise the cargo load system and, yes, they acknowledge Cadillac's design heritage," said Dean.

The interior of the Sport Wagon is common with the much-acclaimed sport sedan, including streamlined instrumentation, LED lighting and hand-cut-and-sewn accents with French stitching.


Direct injection technology helps the Cadillac CTS offer more power while maintaining fuel economy and lowering emissions. It delivers fuel more precisely to increase the efficiency of combustion. This means less fuel is consumed and lower emissions created.

With the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon's 3.6L V-6, direct injection translates to 304 horsepower (227 kW)*, no loss of fuel efficiency and a 25-percent drop in cold-start hydrocarbon emissions. It also runs on less expensive regular unleaded gasoline. The Sport Wagon's fuel economy is expected to be similar to the peak rating of the existing sport sedan's 26 mpg highway rating. The standard 3.6L VVT engine that produces 263 horsepower (196 kW) and 253 lb.-ft. of torque (343 Nm) serves as the base engine in North America.

Just like the Cadillac CTS sport sedan, the V-6 engines are matched with fuel-saving six-speed transmissions, including an Aisin six-speed manual or an electronically controlled Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic. As is the case on the sport sedan, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon includes AWD as an option.

An efficient 2.9L turbo-diesel engine is being developed for Cadillac CTS models primarily in European and Asian markets. It is a compact, dual overhead cam, four-valve V-6 engine from GM's family of diesel engines that delivers optimal fuel economy as well as reduced emissions and noise. The engine is rated at 184 kW (250 hp).

Driving dynamics

The robust and dynamic CTS chassis infuses the new wagon with a great balance of performance and luxury. It uses an independent short/long arm ( SLA) front suspension system and a multi-link rear suspension.

The multi-link rear suspension features a fully isolated subframe that helps deliver excellent suspension kinematics, contributing to a superior ride and excellent handling.

Advanced chassis technology in the form of Cadillac's StabiliTrak electronic chassis control system integrates the car's standard four-channel ABS with the full-function traction control, hydraulic brake assist and engine drag control systems to deliver a safer, more confident driving experience. Additional chassis details include a structure-enhancing tower-to-tower brace under the hood; large, four-wheel disc brakes and premium steering.

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon Preliminary Specifications

  • Vehicle type: four-door, five-passenger rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive wagon
  • Wheelbase: 113.4" / 2880mm
  • Length: 191.3" / 4859 mm
  • Width: 72.6" / 1842 mm
  • Height: 59.1" / 1502 mm
  • Track: 61.8" / 1570 mm (front); 62" / 1575 mm (rear)
  • Engines: 3.6L VVT V-6 (263 hp / 196 kW) 3.6L V-6 VVT DI (304 hp / 227 kW)
  • Transmissions: Aisin six-speed manual or Hydra-Matic 6L50 six-speed automatic
  • Suspension: four-wheel independent: MacPherson strut front; multilink rear, progressive rate coil springs, monotube shock absorbers
  • Steering: variable-assist rack-and-pinion
  • Brakes: four-wheel disc; aluminum or iron dual-piston front calipers; aluminum or iron single-piston rear calipers
  • Wheels: 17-inch, 18-inch or 19-inch aluminum
  • EPA luggage capacity: 25 cu ft / 720 l (behind rear seats)
  • EPA total volume: 121.9 cu ft / 3452 l

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The New Lexus IS 350

The Lexus IS sedans showcase revised styling and gain enhanced interior function and improved handling for 2009. New suspension and steering tuning improve stability and control, and the Lexus IS 250 model, in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models, gets the advanced Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system. Already standard on the Lexus IS 350 model, VDIM integrates all of the car's dynamic-control systems to provide superior handling and traction.

The Lexus IS grille and front bumper cover are revised, as are the rear bumper cover and taillight clusters. New turn signals are now integrated into the exterior mirrors, and the 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheels feature new designs for 2009. On rear-wheel drive models, the 18-inch wheels can now be equipped with all-season tires.

Inside the Lexus IS Lexus enhanced form and function with a revised instrument panel center cluster. The paddle shifters now function in D mode, and some controls have been changed for improved convenience. The rear seat headrests are now foldable to aid rear visibility. New interior colors include Ecru (replacing Cashmere) and Light Gray (replacing Sterling), both accented by new contrast stitching on the seats, door panels, and console lid.


The Lexus IS is engineered to provide for a sporty driving experience. Its double-wishbone front suspension features a high-mount upper control arm, and the lower arm uses a large, liquid-filled bushing at the rear to minimize vibration and harshness. The multilink rear suspension emphasizes precise control of geometry in all dynamic conditions, helping make the Lexus IS sport sedans ultra-stable for confident driving. High-strength steel and aluminum suspension components reduce unsprung weight, helping the Lexus IS remain stable on bumpy surfaces and improving ride comfort.

The sophisticated monotube shock-absorber design utilizes multi-leaf linear control valves to optimize damping force, plus internal rebound springs for firmer body control without degrading ride comfort. Available sport suspension with 18-inch wheels further enhances handling response.

The Lexus IS 250's available all-wheel-drive system provides extra traction in diverse driving conditions. A planetary-gear center differential and a wet-type multi-disc clutch control front-to-rear power distribution. The system normally sends 70 percent of available power to the rear wheels to provide the performance advantages of a rear-drive car and will vary the torque-split ratio from 30:70 to 50:50 in response to driving conditions and driver input. The AWD system's electronic-control strategy takes inputs such as steering and throttle angle from driver activity combined with vehicle signals from wheel speed and yaw rate sensors.

Combining input from a variety of sensors, VDIM is designed to anticipate the onset of a vehicle skid or slide and help correct the situation with a combination of braking and throttle control. VDIM integration provides precise management for Electric Power Steering (EPS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), and engine torque (via the electronically controlled throttle). The driver can disengage VSC via the "Trac off" switch, which can be desirable in certain situations.

The Electric Power Steering (EPS) helps to provide linear steering response, precise control and excellent straight-line stability. The vehicle-speed-sensitive system eliminates parasitic loss from a hydraulic pump, and reduces weight and complexity. Both Lexus IS models feature a four-wheel disc brake system, with the Lexus IS 350 equipped with larger ventilated front and rear rotors. In addition, the Lexus IS 350's aluminum four-piston front calipers aid in heat dissipation and stopping power and reduce unsprung weight. Standard all-season performance tires measure 225/45R17 in front and 245/45R17 for the rear (225/45R17 on IS 250 AWD).

Available as a stand-alone option or as part of the Sport Suspension, summer 225/40R18 front tires and 255/40R18 rear tires reward the enthusiast driver with even higher cornering grip. The Lexus IS rear-wheel-drive models offer the sporty "X Package" option that combines sport suspension and five-spoke, 18-inch alloy wheels with a boldly styled front-lip spoiler and sport pedals.

Safety/Security Features

Passive-safety technology in the Lexus IS begins with a reinforced passenger compartment that helps protect the occupants with front- and rear-crush structures. Seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters are used for the front and outboard rear seats.

In addition to the dual-front airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags, the Lexus Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) for the Lexus IS includes side-curtain airbags that extend from A-pillar to C-pillar, and a knee airbag for both the driver and the front passenger. Advanced dual-stage front airbags are designed to deploy at one of two speeds, according to impact force. The driver's front airbag also includes an extra low stage designed to deploy based, in part, on the seat's position on its track. The front passenger airbag features two chambers, creating an indentation in the center impact area that helps to disperse the force of the bag.

The optional Pre-Collision System (PCS) can help reduce collision damage. The package includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which uses millimeter-wave radar to measure and help maintain a set distance from a vehicle traveling ahead. PCS relies on the radar sensor to detect obstacles in front of the car, and a PCS computer with sensor inputs from vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate is designed to determine whether a collision is unavoidable. In such a situation, PCS preemptively retracts front seat belts and pre-initializes Brake Assist so that increased braking will be applied the instant the driver depresses the pedal.

The available High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) helps to illuminate a curve as the driver steers into it. The rear back-up camera, included with the optional navigation system, automatically projects an image of what its lens can detect behind the car onto the navigation screen when the transmission is in reverse gear.

The optional Intuitive Park Assist (IPA) system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect objects close to the car's front and rear bumpers, alerting the driver and showing distance to objects in the multi-information display within the speedometer. When any Lexus IS model is also equipped with the optional navigation system, information on objects detected is shown in greater detail on that system's seven-inch touch screen display.


Standard amenities for the Lexus IS models include 10-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat vents and a pollen filter (plus a smog filter on Lexus IS 350), power moonroof with one-touch open/close and seven open-position settings, manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, all power windows with automatic up/down feature and jam protection, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The Lexus IS 250 AWD model in addition features standard heated, leather-trimmed seats.

A multi-function switch allows the driver to set an adjustable speed warning and an adjustable RPM shift light in the tachometer. The SmartAccess keyless entry and push-button-start ignition allows the driver to keep the access fob in a pocket or purse. The standard HomeLink® programmable garage door opener also operates home security devices and other systems.

The standard Lexus Premium Audio System features a six-disc, in-dash CD changer, 194 watts of total power and 13 speakers. Automatic Sound Levelizer (ASL) maintains consistent sound levels at varying vehicle speeds. A convenient mini-jack in the center console enables connection of an iPod® or other digital music player.

Luxury Options

A Premium Plus Package that is optional for all Lexus IS models includes wood trim, perforated leather seating trim and heated and ventilated front seats. The comprehensive "Sport" and "Luxury" option packages also include three-position memory for seats, steering wheel and outside mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, power tilt and telescopic steering column and auto-dimming outside mirrors.

Like all Lexus models, the Lexus IS offers its own version of the Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound Audio system, which is available as a stand-alone option or in conjunction with the optional DVD touch-screen navigation system. This 14-speaker audio system features discrete 5.1 multi-channel playback with 7.1-channel speaker architecture. Its 10 amplifier channels provide 300 watts total output at 0.1 percent total harmonic distortion (THD). The Mark Levinson system plays conventional CDs and DVDs, plus MP3/WMA-formatted CDs. DVD movies can be viewed on the optional navigation system's color seven-inch touch screen when the parking brake is engaged.

Interior Design

The Lexus IS models' luxurious cabin features intelligently designed displays and controls that are easy to see and use. Bright, clear Optitron gauges and smartly integrated metallic trim, or available Bird's-eye Maple trim, help create an elegant yet sporty environment. Premium interior materials and meticulous attention to detail convey the Lexus identity.

Lexus offers a refreshing approach to designing controls as compared to some competitors that are making controls more complex to learn and distracting to use. One example is the multi-information display located within the speedometer. This versatile feature integrates a trip computer that provides outside temperature, driving range, average fuel consumption, average fuel consumption since refueling (per tank), current fuel consumption, and average speed. The display also includes an oil-maintenance reminder and system warnings, all grouped in one convenient location.

Additional features are added to the multi-information display depending on selected options. When an Lexus IS model is equipped with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, the display can show a car icon with the selected following distance. When equipped with Intuitive Park Assist (IPA), the display can show a car icon with the location and distance of objects detected near the bumpers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Concept: Mini Crossover

Four metres in length - more calibre, more options.

As a consistent enhancement of the Mini model family, the Mini Crossover Concept offers new calibre and new format in every respect. This is the first Mini to measure more than four metres in length. And measuring 1,830 millimetres/72.0" in width as well as 1,598 millimetres/62.9" in height, the Mini Crossover Concept goes beyond the existing production models from Mini also in this respect. Wheelbase, finally, is 2,606 millimetres/102.6", again ensuring an even more powerful stance on the road. These exterior dimensions of the Mini Crossover Concept are a clear symbol of the quest for additional options in driving the car and in the new, enhanced driving experience.

The Mini Crossover Concept offers extra space and mobility at the rear as well as a capacity to transport never seen before in a Mini. Added to all this, there is enhanced flexibility in splitting up the interior space, catering for all individual wishes and demands. Combining its unique design with outstanding agility by no means restricted to the beaten track alone, the Mini Crossover Concept holds a unique position within the Mini segment. At the same time it clearly stands out as a member of the Mini model family through the appropriate re-interpretation of design elements typical of the brand. The Mini Crossover Concept thus symbolises the breakthrough into a new category of vehicles, broadening the appeal of the brand to an even larger target group.

Four doors - new diversity through asymmetric arrangement.

With two doors on each side of the car, the Mini Crossover Concept offers particularly comfortable access to the rear. Here again, therefore, the new model enhances the options and qualities offered so far by the existing body concepts of the Mini.

But even this is not all: The Mini Crossover Concept is not a four-door in the classic sense, as is clearly expressed by the asymmetric arrangement of the doors in the Design Study. A conventional arrangement of doors is to be found only on the front passenger's side, while on the driver's side the Mini Crossover Concept comes with a conventional door for the first row of seats plus a lift/sliding door moving along the outside for convenient access to the rear and for loading the car from the side. And by dropping the B-pillar on the driver's side, the Mini Crossover Concept exhausts the potential of this generous opening to an even higher degree. Frameless side windows, finally, are yet another feature of this truly exceptional four-door.

The rear door swivelling to one side, together with its frameless and retractable rear window, likewise offers an even higher standard of practical use and most convenient loading conditions. Thanks to the large opening and the low loading sill, sports equipment and other, even bulkier objects can be loaded conveniently into the luggage space offering even larger capacity when required by lowering the individually folding rear seats completely into the floor of the car with the help of a parallelogram kinematic mechanism.

Storage capacities may then be increased even further by a transport case fitted outside on the rear door. And last but certainly not least, the roof rail system available on the Mini Crossover Concept is simply ideal for fitting ski, snowboard and bicycle carriers as well as transport boxes of all sizes.

The roof structure of the Mini Crossover Concept offers further options in enhancing everyday driving qualities and leisure-time enjoyment. As a folding roof cover extending throughout the entire length of the roof, the roof structure may be opened both from the front and from the rear, letting either fresh air or warm sunshine into the car - or both, depending on the driver's and passengers' wishes.

The opening at the rear also serves to accommodate extremely long objects transported in the car, ranging from a surfboard all the way to cross-country skis. So even in this case, transporting anything the driver wishes to take along is easy and convenient.

Four single seats - for maximum comfort inside the Mini.

The Mini Crossover Concept stands out not only as an unconventional, but rather as a truly exceptional four-seater. The single seats at the rear, to mention perhaps the most significant highlight, come in the same contours as the driver's and front passenger's seats and are adjustable by 13 centimetres or 5.1" fore-and-aft. So depending on individual requirements, the rear seats offer either lounge-like legroom or additional storage capacity in the rear compartment.

The Mini Center Globe - a new vision of the central instrument of the future.

Featuring their round Central Display right in the middle of the dashboard, the current Minis already boast an interior design feature quite unique and unmistakable in its look. Indeed, this multi-function display serves to conveniently control all major entertainment, telecommunication and navigation functions, providing the speedometer function around its outer circumference.

Now the Mini Crossover Concept introduces the consistent enhancement of this display and control concept: the Mini Center Globe. For the first time, therefore, the central display and control unit is designed in this Concept Study as a globe. This three-dimensional layout allows even more consistent integration of functions and the appropriate presentation of information and entertainment options. In addition to the vertical and horizontal display features currently available, the new instrument adds a further, three-dimensional element with displays stratified on various levels and highlighted to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the driver's and front passenger's requirements. The current speed of the car, finally, is shown as before in typical Mini style on the display round the edge.

To clearly, flexibly and legibly present all information at all times, the Mini Center Globe comes with ultra-modern laser projection technology. With its unique optical features, the laser projector allows simultaneous presentation of pictures on various levels, with a varying focus and in powerful colours.

Benefiting from this technology never seen before in an automobile worldwide, the Mini Crossover Concept is also able to optically separate the Mini Centre Globe into two hemispheres. These adjustable, moving hemispheres then enable the driver and front passenger to present and view different pictures recognisable only from their individual perspective. In other words, the front passenger may for example surf the net while the driver maintains his free view of all displays and instruments.

To provide this special effect, the hemisphere facing the front passenger closes down from the other side and acts as a projection surface presenting the pictures required.

The Mini Centere Globe presented in this Design Study already shows today what options are conceivable in terms of navigation, communication and entertainment in the car of the future, using innovative technologies of this outstanding calibre. The driver and/or front passenger operate the Mini Centre Globe by a touch-sensitive surface, a trackball on the steering wheel, buttons and slide controls in the lower section of the Mini Centre Globe, and a keyboard on the front passenger's side extending at the touch of a button from the dashboard.

Such versatile and flexible use of the Mini Center Globe gives this new control unit the character of an innovative travel companion adjusting at all times to the individual wishes of the driver and front passenger and helping them enjoy mobility in a new dimension wherever they go.

The Mini Centre Globe is additionally linked to the starter system for the engine. Instead of a conventional key, the driver uses a start/stop unit referred to as the Keyball.

To start the car, all the driver has to do is insert the Keyball on the Mini Crossover into the appropriate opening in the upper edge of the Mini Centre Globe. The Keyball then rolling towards the driver along the middle of the Mini Centre Globe. In this position the driver is able to press the Keyball in order to start the engine. Pressing the Keyball again, in turn, he switches off the engine and the Keyball rolls down into its housing bay from where the driver can conveniently remove the ball.

The Mini Centre Rail - a perfect connection bringing the Mini team front and rear together.

Instead of a conventional centre consol, the Mini Crossover Concept comes with a fastening rail referred to as the Mini Centre Rail and extending from the dashboard all the way to the tailgate of the car. This is indeed the connecting unit between the front and the rear seats. Holders for entertainment and telecommunication devices, cupholders, storage units and boxes may be conveniently attached to this rail and subsequently pushed forward or backward along the entire length of the car.

A special fastening system developed specifically for Mini serves to attach individual items to the Centre Rail, for example an external music player and other devices, storage boxes and holders for sunglasses, gloves, tickets for parking, coins, writing utensils or a travel guide, as well as all other kinds of holders and supports. An armrest with an integrated storage box, to mention another example, may be attached both at the front and at the rear. The Centre Rail also facilitates the common use of storage boxes and devices and makes it much easier to pass on food and drinks to the rear-seat passengers while driving. In the Mini Crossover Concept this pleasure of enjoying all the benefits of motoring together is symbolised by a special collection of dishes and cups made of unique porcelain created specifically for the new Concept Car.

Four sophisticated materials for a truly exclusive ambience.

Such use of top-quality porcelain highlights the exclusive lifestyle character borne out in the Mini Crossover Concept also in conjunction with three further, particularly exclusive materials in the interior: Around the instrument panel genuine wood trim extends across the entire width of the car. The armrests on the doors and the inlays in the footwells, in turn, are made of massive lime wood. Inlays made of specially hardened, lagoon-blue glass, in turn, highlight the door linings as well as the surrounds on the air vents.

Like the door closing handles on the front passenger's side, the Mini Centre Rail is made of massive, matt-polished aluminium. Looking at the appropriate colours for the interior, in turn, the designers opted for natural, authentic shades, the Dark Green leather on the driver's seat standing out clearly from the Coffee Brown leather on the other seats. The remaining cloth surfaces are finished in Light Grey and Light Brown, with a soft rubber cover adorned by wood inlays in the footwells.