Monday, October 27, 2008

The New Renault Laguna Coupe

Renault has chosen the glamorous weekend which seen the 2008 Cannes Film Festival coincide with the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix to take the wraps off the Renault Laguna Coupe. The flowing lines of the newcomer's elegant, uncluttered design express timeless beauty and the promise of sheer motoring enjoyment. Its performance provides unprecedented pleasure behind the wheel thanks to the combination of its Active Drive chassis equipped with four-wheel steering - which has been acclaimed by the media across Europe on the Renault Laguna GT - and the two new V6 powerplants which have been introduced at the same time as this image-forging vehicle. The brand new V6 dCi, which is poised to become a benchmark in terms of performance and pleasure, delivers 235hp (173kW), while the new 3.5-litre petrolpowered V6 offers 240hp (175kW). Renault Laguna Coupe stands out as an inspiring, fourseater with genuine sensual appeal and a price tag from €31,900 to €47,300.

Saturday May 24, 2008 saw Renault President Carlos Ghosn arrive at the foot of the illustrious steps of the 61st Festival International du Film de Cannes at the wheel of Renault Laguna Coupe. The occasion marked the first public showing of the new model's definitive, distinctive lines and was a fitting way for the carmaker to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its exclusive partnership with the famous film festival. Renault Laguna Coupe also profited from the weekend to make a guest appearance around the track of the 66th Monaco Grand Prix to showcase its sporting credentials. Two Laguna Coupes completed several laps of Monaco's legendary circuit in the hands of ING Renault F1 Team test drivers Lucas di Grassi and Romain Grosjean, providing the many thousands of spectators with a unique and unexpected show.

Four-wheel steering for an exceptional ride

Developed jointly by Renault Engineering and specialists from Renault Sport Technologies, Laguna Coupe's technologically-advanced chassis guarantees the ultimate in dynamic performance. Its outstanding agility and stability set new standards when it comes to safety and surefooted handling, while the new car corners with unrivalled directional precision as if it were on rails. Following its introduction on the GT version of Renault Laguna, this chassis has naturally been carried over to Renault Laguna Coupe and is particularly suited to being powered by the new car's V6 engines. At low speeds, the Active Drive chassis and four-wheel steering system enhance manoeuvrability and it takes drivers no time at all to familiarize themselves with their characteristics. In town, as well as on twisty roads, the car is easy to drive and offers outstanding handling precision. It makes choosing the optimal cornering line intuitive and further enhances the pleasure experienced behind Renault Laguna Coupe's wheel, a feeling reinforced by the absence of transient dynamic phenomena through turns and by its directional precision at small low steering wheel angles. On the active safety front, the Active Drive chassis equipped with four-wheel steering excels not only under braking in difficult conditions (asymmetric grip, deployment of ESP), but also when taking avoidance action (the so-called 'elk test'). Meanwhile, the high level of travelling comfort ensures peace of mind for all occupants who can sense the Renault Laguna Coupe unrivalled active safety.

Powertrains with pedigree

Under the bonnet of Renault Laguna Coupe, the brand-new V6 dCi, which is destined to become a benchmark in terms of performance and driving pleasure, develops 235hp (173kW) and peak torque of 450Nm. The same figure for the petrol 3.5 V6 powerplant, which is mated for the first time with the AJ0 automatic six-speed transmission it shares with the diesel engine, is 330Nm, while maximum power is 240hp (175kW). In this configuration, Renault Laguna Coupe can accelerate to 100kph in less than seven seconds. Renault Laguna Coupe also naturally benefits from the best engines available for Laguna, in particular the top performing versions of the range's two-litre petrol and diesel powerplants.

Renault Laguna Coupe was shown in greater detail at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. As the spearhead of the Laguna range, it has been designed to offer sheer driving pleasure and plays a key role in the Renault's brand's expansion in the upper-range market. Renault Laguna Coupe epitomizes this savoir-faire when it comes to motoring enjoyment and quality which is built into its genes and which can be seen in the finish which matches even the most demanding standards. Renault Laguna Coupe was introduced progressively across the Renault sales network from mid-October 2008 featuring a long list of luxury equipment and a price tag from €31,900 to €47,300.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The New Pininfarina B0

Bolloré and Pininfarina have entered into a partnership featuring all the expertise required to launch serial production of an electric car which, thanks to its technical characteristics and its attractive styling, is bound to make waves in motoring circles.

This car will not be a prototype. It will be a mass production model, with the first units coming off the production line at the end of 2009, after which production will be ramped up gradually based on the availability of the batteries. Built in Turin by Pininfarina-Bolloré, a joint venture formed by the two family-owned groups, the Pininfarina B0 electric car will be powered by Bolloré's proprietary LMP technology, using a combination of batteries and supercapacitors manufactured in Bolloré's plants in Quimper, France and Montreal, Canada. The Pininfarina B0 will be a fully-electric vehicle without any carbon dioxide production, having been designed from the ground up with that aim in mind. Its batteries will be housed in a compartment specially designed for that purpose and located under the car, between its axles, lowering its centre of gravity and providing it with outstanding road-holding properties.

With its superb body styled by Pininfarina, Italy's renowned vehicle design shop, the Pininfarina B0 electric car will be an elegant four-seater, four-door hatchback with an automatic gearbox. Its LMP battery, which will be rechargeable in a matter of hours from a standard domestic main socket, will provide it with a range of 250 km (153 miles). The Pininfarina B0 will have a top speed that is electronically limited to 130 km/h (80 mph) and will feature potent acceleration, reaching 60 km/h from a standing start (0 to 37 mph) in 6.3 seconds. The Pininfarina B0 will also feature solar panels on its roof and hood, so as to help recharge its electrical power reserves.

LMP: revolutionary battery technology

At the heart of any electric car, lies the battery. Bolloré is a highly diversified group of companies with a combined yearly turnover of 10 billion US dollars and 35,000 employees. For the past 30 years, the group has been the world's leading producer of components for capacitors. Thanks to its acquired know-how in extruded polymers and the storage of electrical energy, Bolloré has been working for 15 years through its subsidiary, Batscap, to develop a solid-state lithium polymer battery. This battery is able to store, weight-for-weight, and it can be recharged in just a few hours. The battery does not require any maintenance and has a lifespan of around 200,000 km (125,000 miles). Another key benefit is its unmatched safety while in operation. Added to that, the Pininfarina B0 electric car does not emit any exhaust gases, nor any fine particles. The car's LMP batteries thus help combat air pollution. The batteries of the Pininfarina B0 also contribute to reducing noise, another nuisance which affects people's quality of life in urban environments.

Supercapacitors: boosting acceleration and recycling power

Supercapacitors are sophisticated energy storage components developed by the Bolloré Group. In an electric car, supercapacitors draw and store energy generated while the car is braking and feed it back into the system when the car moves off again. The result is greater acceleration, increased range and a longer lifespan for the car's battery. The electric cars powered by BatScap's LMP batteries and supercapacitors have a range of over 250 km. They are fast (with a top speed of 130 km/h), pleasant to drive, safe, and long-lasting.

Natural energy from solar panels

Because it is 100% electric powered, the Pininfarina B0 does not generate any pollution. But the process of generating the electricity which the car uses must also, as far as possible, not have produced any atmospheric pollution. That is why the creators of the Pininfarina B0 have designed it to incorporate every possible solution designed to optimise the car's energy efficiency and use of clean energy sources. For instance, the Pininfarina B0 electric car is fitted with supercapacitors, which enable it to store and recycle the energy that is generated while braking. Similarly, the car's roof and part of its hood are covered with highperformance solar panels which help power some of its equipment. It goes without saying that a responsible environmental approach must be coherent throughout. Which is why all the materials used to build the car's body, battery and interior trim have been carefully selected for their low environmental impact. All are recyclable or reusable. The Bolloré Group is also in the process of developing straight-forward panels of photovoltaic cells which might be installed by individuals or in public places to fully or partly recharge the Pininfarina B0 electric car's batteries using solar energy.

The New Lexus IS250C

The new Lexus IS250C made its world debut at the 2008 Paris motor show, ahead of going on sale across Europe during the summer of 2009. The new model combines the award-winning design of the IS sports saloon with outstanding open-top engineering ingenuity.

The IS250C displays Lexus quality and attention to detail in every aspect of its construction and is designed to exceed customer expectations with its fusion of top-down driving pleasure and uncompromised dynamic performance.

It also boasts the fastest opening time for a three-part roof design, with its lightweight aluminium structure folding away in just 20 seconds.

The Lexus IS250C shares its smooth 205bhp (208 DIN hp) 2.5-litre petrol V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission with the Lexus IS250 saloon. It has been styled to offer minimal wind turbulence when driving with the top down and extensive revisions to the body structure and suspension provide the right degree of torsional stiffness to ensure a level of ride comfort appropriate for a Lexus. In coupe trim, the car's low NVH performance is on a par with that of the IS saloon.

Thanks to the remarkably compact packaging of the three-part roof mechanism, there is a large boot space, together with easy rear seat access and generous accommodation for rear passengers.

The steeply raked windscreen flows seamlessly into the aerodynamic arc of the roof line. This meets the surface of the boot with a crisp C-pillar that is incorporated in the roof structure. In coupe form the cabin tapers to the rear to give a flowing line from the roof through the C pillar to the luggage compartment. At the rear there are new lamp clusters with LED illumination and a high-mounted LED stop light integrated in the boot lip spoiler.

With the hard top down, the Lexus IS250C has a seamless and elegant profile that is punctuated only by an integral roll-over hoop behind the rear seat headrests. No roof mechanism elements remain in view or project above the car's waistline, with the complete structure concealed beneath the boot surface and flush-fitting rear parcel shelf.

The roof is made entirely of lightweight aluminium and gives an unparalleled smooth, seamless and silent operation. It is raised and lowered by means of a dashboard button and features a unique "roof brake" mechanism, which slows the closing of the hard top as it approaches the top edge of the windscreen. Unlike other systems in which the weight of the roof causes the closing speed to increase just before the point of closure, it descends smoothly into place.


The Lexus IS250C offers the same high levels of luxury and practical innovation as the IS saloon, with a number of bespoke technical revisions designed to ensure the on-board comfort and entertainment systems operate effectively when the roof is down.

The instrument panel, surrounding elements and the steering wheel are the same as on the IS saloon, but the instrument binnacle in front of the driver has been extensively revised to ensure good visibility is maintained during top-down driving.

The climate control system has been configured for top-down motoring, with the addition of speed sensitive control, which automatically increases air flow when the roof is lowered and further increases it in line with vehicle speed.

The 12-speaker Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system features equaliser tuning to ensure consistent audio quality whether the roof is up or down, automatically adapting to the natural loss of bass when the roof is stowed. The two full-size rear seats are set 30mm further inboard to optimise headroom and are divided by a centre console with built-in cupholders. Slimmer profiles for the front seats help ensure good legroom for rear passengers.

Accessing the rear seats is made easier by wide-aperture doors that are 300mm longer than those on the IS saloon and a one-touch walk-in button control that quickly and neatly folds and slides the front seats forwards.

The rear overhang is greater by 50mm compared to the saloon. This, together with the exceptionally compact packaging of the folding roof, gives significantly more luggage space, with room for a nine-inch golf bag to be carried with the hard top stowed and the luggage cover in place.


The Lexus IS250C has been designed to combine the lowest possible drag coefficient with minimal wind turbulence affecting the cabin when the roof is down. Key features include a steeply raked windscreen, ultra-smooth cabin profile, aerodynamically efficient "duck tail" rear styling that gives an "airkick" effect, detail rear lamp cluster design and a an array of underbody covers. With the hard top in place the drag coefficient is 0.29, which compares very favourably with the 0.27 Cd of the saloon.

Lexus design engineers focused on reducing wind turbulence and generating the most comfortable airflow pattern for passengers when the roof is lowered. The angle of the windscreen and its top edge are major factors in achieving this performance.


The Lexus IS250C uses the proven front double wishbone and multink rear suspension format from the IS saloon range to give sporting, agile performance. Significant chassis revisions promote greater ride comfort suitable for a convertible and ensure consistent dynamic performance in both coupe and convertible guise.

Extensive temperature, vibration and shaking tests were carried out to ensure the changes to the bodyshell and chassis maintain NVH characteristics almost identical to those of the IS saloon. Class-leading low wind noise levels are achieved with help from acoustic glass for the windscreen and painstaking design of the roof, door and window panel seals.


The Lexus IS250C has been designed to achieve a five-star frontal impact rating in Euro NCAP crash testing, with world-class safety performance in both coupe and convertible configuration. Numerous changes in the body structure enhance collision strength, roll-over protection and torsional rigidity, minimising cowl shake and optimising chassis control.

Like the IS saloon, it benefits from the highest content of sophisticated active and passive safety technology in its segment, including Lexus's Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Control (VDIM), incorporating Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) that is tuned specifically for open-body driving and which gives shorter stopping distances on road surfaces with uneven levels of grip. A revised Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system is also available, supporting pre-crash seatbelt and braking functions, and the passenger front airbag has a twin-chamber design for safer and more effective operation.

For added protection when driving with the roof down, the Lexus IS250C is equipped with new-design larger side airbags that provide head protection in the event of a side impact. The bodyshell also features additional energy-absorbing side impact pads for both front and rear seat occupants.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Concept: Mercedes-Benz Fascination

Mercedes-Benz builds the world's most desirable coupés - a claim which the Stuttgart-based car maker is underlining at the 2008 Paris Motor Show with its ConceptFASCINATION design study. This unique vehicle, whose innovative and unconventional proportions interpret the emotional appeal of a coupé in a new way, represent an exciting and intelligent combination of sporty and elegant design with stylish practicality. Wood, aluminium and smoked glass give a particularly exclusive look and feel to the luggage compartment which incorporates a refrigerated compartment and a humidor as well as offering a large load space. These attributes embody the two objectives of Mercedes-Benz Fascination Concept - to provide a high level of practical usability and to create a coupé which appeals to the heart with fast, thrilling lines. In developing this design study, Mercedes-Benz has given fresh impetus to the long-established (although now rarely seen) "shooting brake", a vehicle category with its own distinctive charisma. Freed from the constraints of a specifications book, the designers have created an automotive sculpture with great aesthetic appeal which once again demonstrates Mercedes-Benz's high level of design expertise.

Mercedes-Benz Fascination Concept is a unique jewel of compelling automotive design which is distinguished by its irresistibly dynamic lines yet still offers the benefits of a large luggage compartment. A particularly notable feature of the design is that the practical load space develops organically from the exciting and elegant lines of this lifestyle coupé, giving it its special charisma. Inside, the tone is set by fine, exceptional materials hand-crafted to the highest standard. Absolute perfection and attention to detail make this design study an incomparable gem which conveys a sense of sporty forward movement and at the same time elegance, savoir-vivre and exclusivity of the highest level.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, commented: "This design study continues the long tradition of exciting coupés from Mercedes-Benz in impressive style. With its emotionally appealing lines, Mercedes-Benz Fascination Concept offers a completely new interpretation of the coupé. Its aesthetic, dynamic looks and meticulously crafted detail ensure that this study meets the highest design standards."

Taut, sharply contoured lines and finely sculpted surfaces

The design study's elongated body is dominated by the dynamic front-to-rear sweep of its lines which gives it a dynamically charged look, evoking movement even when the vehicle is stationary. This impression is emphasised by the long, frameless, side-window line which creates a continuous arc from front to rear, uninterrupted by a B-pillar. As a result, the large load space in the rear is integrated in the vehicle body cohesively and harmoniously while also creating the impression of length and a remarkable sense of light. The side windows can be lowered completely - one of the fundamental genetic markers of every Mercedes-Benz coupé - to provide an uninterrupted view of the stylish way in which fine materials have been used inside the vehicle.

A sense of forward-flowing energy is created by the wedge-shaped profile of the design study whose sides are structured by taut, clearly defined lines which grow out of the surfaces organically and disappear back into them in the same subtle way. Sensitively sculpted surfaces, alternately concave and convex, are defined by the shoulder line and undercut feature line with an additional line to form a gentle, yet pronounced linear flow complemented by an intriguing interplay of light effects. In short, flowing surfaces and arching structures create compelling forms.

The wheel arches are powerfully sculpted. In the rear wings in particular, the rounded treatment of the flared wheel arches is characterised by a degree of almost sensual exuberance - a classic Mercedes-Benz design element of the past - which is taken to an elegant conclusion in the lines of the rear. In order to maintain the flow of the surfaces and edges, the door handles are visually extended rearward of the doors into the sides of the vehicle.

A self-assured front section with a new take on the dual headlamp face

The distinctive front section of this gracefully built athlete is a picture of self-assurance. It remains loyal to the dual headlamp face, but interprets it in a more contemporary way. The now rhomboid headlamps which are set against a grey background reveal the fascinating technical details of the light units which feature the latest LED technology as well as C-shaped fibre-optic inserts which serve as discreet running lights. With its new, sharper eyes and the surrounding lines and surfaces, the "face" of the Mercedes-Benz Fascination Concept vehicle is both exciting and forceful.

The bonnet of the design study has pronounced contours with a central ridge which picks up the V-shape of the front end and continues it along the vehicle body. Powerfully framed, the single-louvre radiator grille with the central Mercedes star makes a very dominant and expressive statement of the brand identity.

A distinctive front apron with a small double-wing assembly at the base gives this design gem a wide, confident stance.

The great attention to detail, which can be sensed in the assurance of every line and the graceful sweep of every surface, is exemplified to perfection by a special touch in the front apron: a fine chrome trim strip runs all round the lower body of the vehicle and at the front, LED fog lamps are set into this strip.

Forward-sloping rear with pronounced V-shape

The forward-sloping rear also has a pronounced V-shape and features a spoiler, below which the third brake light is reflected in the rear window. Flat, horizontal LED lights which extend around the back, linking it visually with the sides, emphasise the width. In a styling move which is both clever and extremely harmonious, the undercut surround of the redesigned tail lights flows into the rear wings, serving as yet another example of the attention to detail made by the Mercedes-Benz designers. As at the front, the rear is completed by a small additional wing framed by four exhaust tailpipes.

Exquisite range of materials from the world of equestrianism

A large panoramic glass roof and the arc described by the uninterrupted side-window line bring a sense of light to the interior, and help it to merge with the exterior. Fine materials, such as leather, wood and aluminium, as well as high-quality woven fabrics and many carefully crafted details ensure that the sporty and stylish character of the show vehicle is also underlined on the interior.

The exquisite range of materials is inspired by the world of equestrianism and satisfies the most discerning tastes. Recalling the look and feel of a saddle, thick, dark leather covers the aluminium centre console which, like a bridge extending from the front to the rear, spans the space between the four sporty individual seats and translates the taut lines of the exterior to the interior of the vehicle with minimalist elements. Strong and natural, this leather also covers the upper section of the dashboard while its supple, flowing character means that it also lends itself to enhancing the look and feel of the door armrests.

Contrast is provided by light, fine nubuck leather which is used for the other surfaces and the four individual seats as well as by the deep-pile carpet with heavy fibres. The seat centre panels are covered in strong, high-quality fabric. Trim strips in American walnut with a fine chrome surround complete the portfolio of materials.

The characteristic V-shape of the exterior is picked up by the dashboard whose styling evokes a dynamic wing and which features an instrument cluster with five tubes and silver dials.

Luxurious load compartment with stylish details

Carefully crafted details give the load compartment a particularly luxurious and surprising character. The floor of the load compartment, which measures approximately one metre square, is made of wood with brushed aluminium protective rails. Folding up the floor at the left and right sides reveals two compartments containing two sets of binoculars as well as a high-quality digital camera with interchangeable Leica lenses - the perfect equipment for a day at the races.

The centre of the load compartment is occupied by a folding smoked glass table which rises out of the floor at the touch of a button to reveal a compartment housing a humidor. The table can also be pulled to the rear for easier access from outside. Doing so provides access to a refrigerated compartment for drinks and champagne flutes. The smoked glass can then be folded up at left and right to allow the vehicle occupants to enjoy a picnic in a stylish and refined ambience.

Driven by new, powerful and economical four-cylinder diesel engine

Not content with just indulging the senses, the Mercedes-Benz Fascination Concept design study impresses with its technical underpinnings, too. These are drawn from the future E-Class Coupé and include the new four-cylinder diesel engine which features BlueTEC and AdBlue technology and develops 204 hp from a displacement of 2.2 litres.

Mercedes-Benz design studies look to future styling trends

The Mercedes-Benz Fascination Concept study was not created merely to arouse interest in a new and unusual design concept. It is much more a matter of giving designers the opportunity to play around with unconventional topics, to look at things in a new way and to explore new ideas. Design studies also serve to stimulate a closer dialogue with customers and to gauge the public reaction to new ideas for cars. They help Mercedes-Benz designers to get a feel for future styling trends and to develop new design idioms.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The New Renault Megane Trophy

Having starred in the World Series by Renault's premier saloon car championship since the creation of the WSR in 2005, Renault Mégane Trophy has undergone a raft of radical modifications in readiness for the 2009 campaign. The most visible change concerns its new body design which takes its inspiration from the lines of New Mégane Coupe. Under the bonnet, a fresh look has also been taken at the Renault-Nissan Alliance's V6 3.5 24V powerplant which now delivers 360hp. At the same time, Renault Sport Technologies has carried over many of the acclaimed features of the current Renault Mégane Trophy to produce a reliable, competitive and affordable racing car.

There can be no mistaking new Renault Mégane Trophy's resolutely sporty calling and pedigree thanks its stunning looks which are based on the design of new Renault Megane Coupe. The front and rear light units and windscreen are those of the road car, while the designers at the Renault Technocentre have made full use of digital simulation technology in the realm of fluid mechanics to hone the flowing lines of the bodywork. New Renault Mégane Trophy also carries over the ground effect aerodynamics of the existing car:

  • The front splitter channels airflow to the extractors
  • Rear downforce is generated by the diffuser and wing

Refinements to the set-up have produced a 20% improvement in downforce and a 15% reduction in drag which, together, represent a gain of almost 40% in terms of the new car's aerodynamic performance over the previous generation machine.

New Renault Mégane Trophy is equipped with butterfly doors redolent of the world of GT and sports-prototype racing.

Under its composite outer skin, new Renault Mégane Trophy features the same mechanicals as the current car, including an FIA-homologated sports-prototype tubular chassis, a mid-rear V6 3.5 24V engine, a semiautomatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddle shift, double wishbone suspension with adjustable dampers, 18-inch wheels and Michelin tyres, etc.

A new inlet manifold, which is fed by roof-mounted air-ducts, has taken engine power from 330 to 360hp. The new car's reliability is as excellent as ever with rebuild intervals of every 5,500km. Combined with the aerodynamic gains, the extra power output of the V6 3.5 24V engine will enable new Renault Mégane Trophy to lap in times similar to those of a Porsche GT3.

After completion of its development programme, new Renault Mégane Trophy will go on sale at the end of the year in the form of a kit that will enable existing cars to be upgraded. The modifications required to adapt the chassis to the new bodywork will be carried out by the Alpine factory in Dieppe.

As in previous years, the Eurocup Renault Mégane Trophy will form part of the World Series by Renault programme and its calendar takes in some of Europe's most prestigious venues. This single-make series, which is a hit with drivers and teams alike, is based on the same core strengths that have forged the success of Renault Sport's race championships, namely:

  • A perfectly level playing field thanks to rigorous scrutineering checks and the outlawing of tuning of the majority of components
  • Contained costs thanks to restrictions relating to tyres and private testing
  • Extensive media coverage thanks to live television, plus the opportunity to race in meetings that have attracted two million spectators since 2005

In the course of each race weekend, drivers contest two races of a duration of approximately 40 minutes each and which include a mandatory refuelling stop. Renault Mégane Trophy has been widely praised for its simplicity and the ease with which drivers are able to familiarize themselves with the cars, while the series is aimed at upcoming youngsters who have come up through the ranks of single-seater formulae and gentleman drivers.

The New Renault Megane Coupe

The Renault Megane Coupe Concept unveiled at the Geneva Show in the spring of 2008 paved the way for the release of a new C-segment model line-up with real character. Following the introduction of new Renault Megane in September 2008, it's the turn of new Renault Mégane Coupe to take front stage at the Paris Motor Show. The new Renault Mégane family's designs are the product of a desire to produce an immediately eye-catching car. Its elegant styling takes its inspiration from the passion associated with the automobile, including cues from the world of sport.

The two new Renault Mégane models that have now broken cover both have their own distinct personalities. The hatchback version stands out as appealing and reassuring. Its strengths include assertive lines which mark a clear shift in styling, plus outstanding comfort, practical equipment and exemplary roadholding. Meanwhile, new Renault Mégane Coupe places the emphases on safe driving enjoyment and performance for discerning enthusiasts looking for sensations to match this coupe's striking looks but who also want a car they can use on a daily basis.

Both models are robust, too, with the accent very much on the fit and finish of its panels, as well as on the quality of the materials it employs. The new model has also benefited from the progress that has been achieved across the Renault range on both the reliability and durability fronts.

New Renault Mégane's interior is extensively equipped with practical, comfort-enhancing features. These include combined analogue/digital instruments incorporating a new, easier-to-read colourcoded cruise control/speed limiter interface. The list continues with a host of equipment normally associated with the next segment up, such as hands-free entry and ignition, automatic locking as the driver walks away from the car, a Carminat Bluetooth® DVD navigation system and a customdeveloped audio system (3D Sound by Arkamys®).

The on-road performance of new Renault Mégane and new Renault Mégane Coupe lives up every bit to the high standard promised by its looks, with precision, control and efficiency combining to deliver a particularly enjoyable and reassuring ride. A broad, extensively-renewed range of dCi and TCe powerplants combining performance and respect for the environment is available for the hatchback and coupe versions, with four diesel engines that can claim CO2 emissions equal to or less than 120g/km (118g/km for dCi 85 et 90, 120g/km for dCi 105 and 110).

Despite being bigger and roomier, new Mégane and new Renault Mégane Coupe are an average 8kg lighter than their predecessors. New Renault Mégane and new Renault Mégane Coupe benefit from Renault's expertise in the realm of safety, too. Features include double side-impact sensors and dual-chamber airbags as seen on Renault Laguna III and aimed at minimizing the consequences of a side-on collision.

It is also a socially responsible vehicle which is 95 per cent end-of-life recoverable by weight, while almost 12 per cent of the plastics it contains are sourced from recycling, equivalent to an average of 22kg per car.

Renault's design and engineering teams focused their attention on three main areas of development, namely reinforcing the personality of each member of the Mégane line-up, ensuring a balanced offer in terms of performance and equipment, and targeting best-in-class positioning for all its core features.

new Renault Mégane and new Renault Mégane Coupe mark the beginning of Renault's renewal of its C-segment line-up. With market share of more than a third, this segment has long been the biggest in Western Europe and makes a significant contribution to Renault's performance in terms of both volume and profitability.

By 2010, the new Mégane family will include six different models, each of which will have its own unique and assertive personality. These six models have been conceived essentially for customers in European markets and will be manufactured in Palencia (Spain) and Douai (France). Other models equipped with specific technical solutions suited to local conditions will be available in non-European markets.

Concept: Citroen Hypnos

Beautifully proportioned and boldly styled, Citroën Hypnos Concept is a true hybrid in both its technology and appearance. The elegant and distinctive crossover vehicle combines the styling cues of a sporty coupé, the serene comfort of a saloon and the practical space of an SUV. At the same time Citroën Hypnos is powered by Citroën's all-new hybrid drivetrain, HYmotion4, marrying dynamic performance with solid green credentials to give 60+mpg economy despite its 200 horsepower.

Citroën Hypnos presents an exciting vision for the future of luxury vehicles with innovative and intelligent technology such as a face-recognition system that adjusts the cabin environment to its occupant's emotions, massaging seats, thermo-sensitive ambient lighting, a faceless clock and diamond-shaped instrument clusters.

Eye-catchingly proportioned at 4.90m long, 2.17m wide and 1.58m high, Citroën Hypnos's exterior design is characterised by a tautly drawn bonnet line, raised waistline and pronounced wheel arches that house generous 22-inch wheels - a hint at the concept's sophisticated muscle power.

The deep radiant grey of the bodywork, which varies in intensity under different light environments, has an elegant and prestigious sheen, befitting the Citroën Hypnos's luxury interior. A 'pillarless' roof, appears to 'float' suggesting flowing interior space. Rear hinged back doors provide easy entry into the car's enchanting interior, whilst a cargo tailgate gives unrestricted access to the boot, adding practical functionality to underline Citroën Hypnos's SUV characteristics.

Stepping inside the cabin, passengers are welcomed into an interior embodying the magical qualities of the concept car and begin an unforgettable sensory adventure. The shimmering interior is adorned with premium materials such as leather and brushed aluminium, helping to make the Citroën Hypnos's cabin an environment of exceptional refinement and comfort. The rainbow hues, seen throughout the interior, showcase Citroën's creative flair and daring originality - the unconventional application of bright, vibrant colours in an executive vehicle.

The four morphologically-sculpted seats are made up of prism-shaped components and can be inflated and deflated to give occupants upper and lower back massages. The body-hugging seats are positioned either side of a unique central console offering occupants an astonishing amount of personal space, and arranged in a helix configuration that inspires images of a DNA strand - reflecting the Citroën Hypnos' design focus on human values.

Passengers can also customise their own space using the pivotal blades of the central helix-shaped console, which includes a range of controls such as the air-conditioning settings.

Hypnos showcases Citroën's commitment to making technology more accessible and interactive with a raft of innovative features throughout the cabin including colour therapy for passengers.

The driver's instrument cluster is seen through diamond-like prisms, mounted in metal, with each facet displaying different information. A touch screen is also incorporated into the middle of the console, and air-vents gently diffuse halos of ambient light which varies according to temperature.

A ceiling-mounted camera films the driver's face and regularly measures anthropometric data to gauge emotions and automatically adjusts the cabin lighting and fragrance accordingly for a more bespoke relaxing experience behind the wheel.

Citroën Hypnos also features a strikingly original onboard clock designed by the artist Michel Serviteur. The innovative timepiece, which has no needles or digital display, changes colour depending on the light at different times of the day and emits a succession of rhythmic colour pulses like a breathing organism.

Hypnos confirms Citroën's respect for the environment with its all-new HYmotion4 diesel hybrid drivetrain. The 4-wheel drive system combines a powerful 200bhp 2.0 HDi DPFS engine and an intelligent 6-speed EGS (Electronic Gearbox System). With the engine driving the front wheels and an axle-mounted electric motor driving the rear wheels, this simple but effective solution shows a possible way ahead for affordable hybrid technology, in line with Citroën thinking.

Capable of a 0-60mph time of around 9-seconds and silent, exhaust-free driving in ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) mode, the Citroën Hypnos's efficient system delivers dynamic green performance and driving pleasure with impressive fuel economy of almost 63mpg on the combined cycle and low CO2 emissions at just 120g/km.

When a burst of acceleration is required, Citroën Hypnos's boost function kicks in to deliver a combination of torque from both the combustion and electric powerplants without increasing fuel consumption.

For safe and accomplished 'green driving', Citroën Hypnos Concept is equipped with Stop & Start technology. This intelligent system also powers the electric motor when the vehicle is in 4x4 mode. For improved safety in difficult driving conditions Citroën Hypnos instinctively switches to four-wheel drive mode when faced with low grip or intense handling.

With the emphasis of the concept being on driving pleasure, Citroën Hypnos delivers a smooth and cosseted ride thanks to Citroen's legendary self-levelling suspension which combines the highest standards of passenger comfort with exceptional road manners.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The New Suzuki Alto

At the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Suzuki has unveiled the all-new Suzuki Alto — the fifth and smallest member of its acclaimed lineup of world strategic models. The new Suzuki Alto combines eye-catching style and easy urban mobility with great performance in terms of fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions, thereby meeting the lifestyle needs of today's motorists and the pressing global need for environmental compatibility. Plus, it is one of the most fun-to-drive city cars available — a great new example of Suzuki's "Way of Life!" philosophy.

As the second model in the second phase of Suzuki's world strategy (a phase that's focused on user-friendliness and delivering expanded possibilities for family members), the new Suzuki Alto offers good levels of comfort and convenience within a modest overall length.

Plus, a design that combines sporty, European-inspired looks with great aerodynamics means the new Suzuki Alto is the most stylish car of its size.

The new Suzuki Alto reflects the unparalleled knowledge of small-cars that has made Suzuki so successful with minivehicles in Japan and compact cars like the Swift all over the world. Suzuki Alto is a definitive response to the need for enjoyable, eco-friendly motoring. Suzuki aims to achieve annual sales of 60,000 units in Europe following a sales launch in spring 2009.

The new Alto is aimed mainly at urban people who want a small car that offers style and enjoyment together with great environmental credentials, and it reflects the ideals of the second phase of Suzuki's world strategy. At the heart of the concept for the new Suzuki Alto is Suzuki's belief that people should be able to enjoy economical, eco-friendly motoring without sacrificing style, comfort, practicality, or performance. Compact dimensions (the new Suzuki Alto is the smallest of Suzuki's world strategic models) play a large part in realising outstanding environmental credentials by keeping weight to a minimum, but without detracting from user-friendliness.

Design, Comfort and Practicality

The new Suzuki Alto has a sporty, solid look that exudes urban energy despite the body's compact dimensions. The design is elegant and beautiful thanks to aerodynamically efficient contours that combine tautness with evocative curviness. It is ideally matched to European tastes and with a drag coefficient of just 0.30 promotes fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions.


The front suspension is of MacPherson strut type and the large, high-rigidity suspension frame is complemented by further strengthening in the strut mounting areas for superior handling. The rear suspension has Suzuki's proprietary 3-link rigid axle design, and incorporates numerous refinements for the new car. The coil springs and dampers were tuned for optimum handling stability through extensive testing on roads in Europe.

Suzuki targeted handling that makes driving enjoyable on urban roads, so drivers enjoy linear response, gentle roll movements, light steering feel, and good absorption of shock and vibration. These benefits reflect the experience Suzuki has gained in motorsport around the world.

The new Suzuki Alto has a minimum turning radius of just 4.5m making it easy to manoeuvre and park in tight spaces.


To help the driver avoid hazards on the road, the new Suzuki Alto is available with Electronic Stability Program (ESP®), which modulates the engine performance and applies the brakes during cornering and under aceleration.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, the new Suzuki Alto's body reflects Suzuki's Total Effective Control Technology (TECT) concept in the form of crushable structures that absorb impact energy, frame members that disperse impact energy away from occupants and a strong cabin structure. Use of high-tensile steel for major body parts means the resulting high level of occupant safety does not add excessive weight to the body.

SRS front, side, and curtain airbags are available to reduce the severity of impacts suffered by occupants in the event of a collision. Energy-absorbing trim materials provide further head protection.

Technical Specifications

  • Engine: Petrol 1.0l
  • Drive system: 2WD
  • Transmission: 5MT/4AT
  • Steering: LHD/RHD
  • Number of doors: 5
    • Overall length: 3,500 mm
    • Overall width: 1,600 mm
    • Overall height: 1,470 mm
    • Wheelbase: 2,360 mm
    • Tread
      • Front: 1,405 mm
      • Rear: 1,400 mm
    • Seating capacity: 4
    • Luggage capacity
      • Max. Volume: 774 l
      • Rear seatback folded (VDA method): 367 l
      • Rear seatback raised (VDA method): 129 l
    • Fuel tank capacity: 35 l
    • Type: K10B
    • Number of cylinders: 3
    • Number of valves: 12
    • Piston displacement: 996 cm3
    • Bore x stroke: 73.0 x 79.4 mm
    • Compression ratio: 11.0
    • Maximum output: 68PS (50kW) @ 6,000 rpm
    • Maximum torque: 90 Nm @ 4,800 rpm
    • Fuel distribution: Multipoint injection
    • Maximum speed: 155 km/h
    • 0-100 km/h: 14 s
    • Fuel consumption (Combined): 4,5 l/100 km
    • CO2 emissions (Combined): 103 g/km

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Concept: Lamborghini Estoque

It is a Lamborghini like no other before it: a four-door sports car that sticks resolutely to its creed. The Lamborghini Estoque concept has everything that defines a Lamborghini: extreme, uncompromising and unmistakably Italian, it brings a whole new versatility to the brand's DNA - with its four seats and ample luggage space, this "everyday sports car" is a perfect fit for an equally versatile lifestyle.

Lamborghini Estoque is a study, a concept created specifically for the 2008 Salon d'Automobiles in Paris. From the very first glance there can be no doubt that this is a Lamborghini - a car with compelling presence, both unique and unmistakable. The long wheelbase, the low profile, the broad track, the mighty, accentuated wheels, the clean surfaces and razor-sharp definition - every single line breathes the spirit of the Lamborghini brand.

A new and unique elegance

The Lamborghini Estoque is an entirely new interpretation of the Sant' Agata design ethic: it is a concept that provides a clear indication of the future. This applies to the new, elegant self-confidence of the lines themselves, but even more to the concept of the vehicle. The Lamborghini Estoque is the first sedan in the history of Automobili Lamborghini, although "sedan" is more a reference to the number of doors than any other characteristics. Even sports sedan is an inadequate classification: the Lamborghini Estoque establishes a new category of super sports sedans. With a powerful front mid-engine, permanent all-wheel drive and a sophisticated, precision-tuned chassis, the Lamborghini Estoque boasts a unique technology package.

Relaxed Gran Turismo

The Lamborghini Estoque is the perfect travelling companion, be it en route to business meetings, the theatre, the golf course or even a weekend away with the kids. At the end of the day, it is the only car that allows you to share the singular driving pleasure of a Lamborghini with more than one person - possibly even with the whole family. And there is still enough room left over for weekend luggage or several golf bags.

Despite its extremely low profile - at a mere 1.35 meters (4.43 feet) high - the Lamborghini Estoque is surprisingly spacious. The secret lies in its very long wheelbase which, in spite of the rearwards positioning of the front mid-engine, enables a relaxed, sporty seating position. Entering and exiting is also pleasingly straightforward through the large, wide-opening doors.

Challenging: a thoroughbred sports car

At the same, the Lamborghini Estoque is a thoroughbred sports car with exceptionally refined power delivery, razor-sharp precision handling and a meaty engine tone. Challenging driving pleasure on a winding mountain road, followed by a relaxed, enjoyable journey along miles and miles of motorway- the Lamborghini Estoque is commanding across the entire driving spectrum, at the highest level. The Lamborghini Estoque's versatility makes it the perfect addition to the range of Lamborghini super sports cars.


Such a Lamborghini must be immediately recognizable in its design as a unique and unmistakable work of art. For the Lamborghini Estoque, this is clearly a case of "mission accomplished."

The proportions of the Lamborghini Estoque are simply fascinating: no other automobile combines so convincingly the elegance of length with the sporting attributes of a low profile and impressive breadth. Or to put it into figures - the concept painted in an all-new color, is 5.15 meters (16.89 feet) long and 1.99 meters (6.53 feet) wide, with a height of only 1.35 metres (4.43 feet). The wheelbase is a stately 3.01 meters (9.88 feet) - an equally important element of elegant vehicle architecture.

And it is unequivocally Italian - the flat bonnet, the long wheelbase, the narrow window openings, the flat rear that ends decisively with a negative return - it is all pure "Italianità" on wheels; everything bears the design language of the large classic Italian four-door cars, albeit with a unique, modern interpretation. Pure Lamborghini.

Clearly a sports car

The front end of the Lamborghini Estoque is a clear and unambiguous statement of its sports car credentials. Its place amongst the family of Lamborghini super sports cars is also distinct and unmistakable - with its swooping V-shape, its two large air intakes pulled forward and the small front spoiler in between. This front end design gives the Lamborghini Estoque a firm, low stance, while providing excellent aerodynamic efficiency. The large air intakes facilitate the cooling air that is important for such a high-performance vehicle and the spoiler was specifically designed to improve aerodynamic balance at high speeds.

Such distinctive sports car architecture is only possible by positioning the front mid-engine well towards the rear. Despite the very low bonnet, it goes without saying that the Lamborghini Estoque fulfils all safety regulations and pedestrian protection standards.

Taut muscles

The bonnet of the Lamborghini Estoque makes the origins of the sheer power of this vehicle immediately apparent. The location of the engine is clearly evident through the distinct division created by two large air outlets and the additional emphasis of a central power area. Further air outlets are positioned both left and right in the wings, behind each of the front wheel arches.

Together, with the division of the bonnet, these elements add emphasis to the area above the wheels, framing the front end of the Lamborghini Estoque like a taut muscle. The permanent all-wheel drive that is typical for all Lamborghinis means that the 22 inch wheels, with their new five double-spoke design, also do their part in delivering power to the road. Here too, the Centro Stile has stuck firmly to the Lamborghini principle that form always follows function; after all, the ample cooling air flowing into the high-performance driveline also has to move quickly out of the vehicle.

Tremendous tension along the flanks

Its proportions guarantee the Lamborghini Estoque an impressive appearance. The skilled sectioning along the flanks of the vehicle gives the body shell an incredibly muscular form. Beneath the flat surfaces of the bonnet, the incredibly powerful shoulder line, a further side line rising slightly towards the rear and, finally, the equally distinct sill line all add emphasis to the flow of power from the engine to the magnificent 23 inch rear wheels. The masculine profile is completed by the negative return of the rear end. This adds further tension to the form of the Lamborghini Estoque - the whole car looks coiled and ready to pounce at the drop of a hat. These sharp lines frame a fascinating interplay of surfaces across convex and concave curvatures. The Lamborghini Estoque clearly displays the design language of the Centro Stile Lamborghini with a distinctive elegance.

The interior

Despite its extremely low profile, the Lamborghini Estoque offers a surprisingly generous feeling of spaciousness. The length of the interior facilitates a relaxed seating position for all four individual seats and plays a significant role in the supreme comfort of this super sports sedan over long distances. The interior reflects elements of the exterior design language, also evident in the cabin of the Lamborghini Estoque - in the distinctive lines of the door panels or in the swooping V-shape applied to the cockpit, reflecting the form used on the front end and on the bonnet.

Luxurious interior

The dominant material of the interior is highest-quality Nappa leather. The four individual seats boast sporting contours, supreme long-distance comfort and extensive electrical positioning options.

Cockpit with large-screen display

The cockpit presents the driver with a large-area LCD screen displaying vehicle and route information. A range of presentation formats are available for selection depending on personal preference - a distinctive classical layout with circular instrument dials, or an innovative digital display. A top-class audio installation and a sophisticated rear seat entertainment system round off the equipment.

Like the interior, the luggage compartment of the Lamborghini Estoque is also surprisingly spacious. Despite the low-profile rear end, it has plenty room for several golf bags or pieces of luggage.

Production feasibility

As a pure concept car, the Lamborghini Estoque is a design exercise and a further indication of the innovative power of the Lamborghini brand. Yet, it is based on a feasible technical concept that offers a whole range of fascinating alternatives for the body shell and driveline.

Just like the brand's super sports cars, the Lamborghini Estoque uses a mid-engine layout. However, the high-performance driveline used here is not located in front of the rear axle, as in the Gallardo and Murciélago or in the Reventón, but behind the front axle. This front mid-engine concept, with the driveline set way back, facilitates balanced weight distribution and a centre of gravity close to the vehicle's vertical axis. Both ensure the unparalleled agility and handling precision of a mid-engine vehicle.

Reserves in every situation

Like all contemporary Lamborghini models, the Lamborghini Estoque is also equipped with permanent all-wheel drive. It distributes the engine power to all four wheels, thus making for superior traction in all driving situations, as well as providing extra reserves for extremely sporty driving and for challenging weather conditions.

A range of drivelines is conceivable for the Lamborghini Estoque. This is headed up by the highly-acclaimed Lamborghini ten-cylinder from the Gallardo LP 560-4 - with more torque and higher revving than virtually any other engine. A complementary alternative could be a turbocharged eight-cylinder derived from this V10. A particularly economical, but nevertheless dynamic, variation would be a V8 with a hybrid module or an extremely high-performance TDI.

The Centro Stile Lamborghini

With the Estoque, the Centro Stile Lamborghini has created further proof of its creativity and attention to detail. The design centre that opened in 2004 is a studio of creatives, designers and model makers that combines the culture and the spirit of the brand with the power of innovation and of creating a new aesthetic. The Centro Stile Lamborghini is part of the best tradition of Italian vehicle design, and is leading the way forward with the latest in working techniques.

The Centro Stile is located in a 2,900 sq. meter (31,215 sq. feet) facility, where it occupies two interconnected floors. The generously proportioned design studio is equipped with two full-size surface tables and their associated tooling and measuring equipment, while further areas house the latest in computer workstations for the creative experts and a workshop for the model makers. The Centro Stile is also connected directly to the neighbouring Ufficio Tecnico - the direct link to Lamborghini's development department ensures the rapid realization of ideas. Speed is a key aspect for Lamborghini, for both its cars and its working processes; the Reventón was created in the record time of less than one year.

In-house creativity and implementation

From the first sketches made either on paper or using the three-dimensional computer program, through 1:10 or 1:4 scale models to full-size models, the complete design process is organized within small, fast-moving teams.

Since it was founded, the Lamborghini brand has been bringing innovative design trends to the rarefied atmosphere of the world's most desirable automobiles, and producing vehicles with absolutely unmistakable character. Models such as the Miura and the Countach were way ahead of their time, but quickly attained the status of timeless classics. From their first appearance, every new Lamborghini is destined to become a legend and sought-after collectors' item.

With the current Murciélago and Gallardo, Lamborghini has once again perfected an innovative design language. The exterior proportions provide an indication of the power and dynamic character of the driveline. Crisply-defined edges, precision lines and clean surfaces result in a design that is reduced to its very essence.

Clear lines, perfect details

The unmistakable form of a Lamborghini is something that always speaks for itself: ornamentation or decoration of any kind has absolutely no place here. This firmly places the current models that bear the sign of the bull within the best traditions of their brand and of 60s and 70s Italian vehicle design. The sports cars of that time were acclaimed for their perfect proportions and for their objective, functional elegance that required no embellishment of any kind.

The purist execution of the lines is complemented perfectly by the passion for detail possessed by the designers in Sant' Agata Bolognese. The rear view of the Murciélago LP 640 is distinctive not only for its impressive power, but also for the fine interplay of the elements in the sophisticated rear light cluster.

The sensuality of precision and performance

A Lamborghini is a high performance athlete. Its high degree of sensuality is based on precision, performance and spontaneous action. This type of elegance is the elegance of pure, unadulterated power. This Lamborghini DNA is carried forward into future products at the Centro Stile, which is destined to continue to set clear design trends - the Lamborghini Estoque is the perfect example.

The design centre on the site of the historical birthplace of all Lamborghinis guarantees the super sports cars with the bull brand will remain exclusive, sensual and challenging - and always unmistakably Italian.

The New Toyota Avensis Tourer

New Toyota Avensis will also contribute to a reduction in Toyota's fleet average CO2 emissions to 140g/km by 2009. The Toyota Optimal Drive philosophy has been applied through a range of new petrol engines, upgraded diesel engines and new, advanced transmissions, giving customers reduced emissions without compromising power and driving pleasure.

New Toyota Avensis Chief Engineer Takashi Yamamoto explains: "We have put a strong European mark on the project from the start. Thirty-five engineers from Toyota Motor Europe were invited to Japan to join forces with the Toyota Motor Corporation development team. When the project team returned to Europe for finalisation, these engineers played a key role in the knowledge transfer between the two development teams.

"I think this one of the key reasons why today we can look back at a highly efficient development process and be proud of our achievement, which I believe is nothing less than the 'cutting edge' of the D-segment."


Conceived at ED2, Toyota's design studio in the South of France, new Avensis expresses power without relying on sheer mass.

Today's car designers have to resolve unprecedented challenges. Customers want cars with more powerful engines, but with lower emissions. They want more interior space, but also more compact cars that consume less fuel. And perhaps the greatest challenge is resolving the paradox of building a car that is kinder to the environment, powerful and fun to drive, yet not compromised in terms of comfort and safety.

These challenges are addressed by Toyota's Vibrant Clarity design language, founded on the J-factor - the internationally respected elements of Japanese originality and quality. Applying the J-factor has resolved three key challenges in new Toyota Avensis's design:

  • To project power without being a massive car
  • To be dynamic to drive, but with top-class ride comfort
  • To deliver low emissions, but with impressive performance

New Toyota Avensis will be available in saloon and Tourer body styles. These were designed in parallel, so the Toyota Avensis Tourer was designed specifically for its purpose, rather than being a saloon with a raised and stretched rear.

Both versions have an athletic and sleek appearance. The bonnet has been lowered, the slim A-pillars flow forwards and the C-pillar is slanted backwards to produce a flowing silhouette. Excellent aerodynamics gives a Cd figure of 0.28 for the saloon and 0.29 for the Toyota Avensis Tourer, helping reduce CO2 emissions.

New Toyota Avensis is only 50mm longer than the previous generation model, giving an overall length of 4,695 for the saloon and 4,765 for the Toyota Avensis Tourer. Both have a 2,700mm wheelbase and are 1,480mm tall - the same height as the current Toyota Avensis. Thanks to the new platform, the track has been increased by between 30 and 45mm, while the car's width has grown by 50mm to 1,810mm.

Repositioning the wheels nearer the outside edges of the floorpan has achieved a more solid, powerful appearance without adding unnecessary weight or mass.

Toyota Avensis is also more spacious inside. Although overall vehicle height remains unchanged, there is more headroom. Cargo space in the Toyota Avensis Tourer is more flexible, with cargo rails available to divide and secure separate loads. Fold flat seats have a one-touch folding mechanism to create extra space when needed in both saloon and Tourer.

The new-look instrument panel makes good use of the car's width to emphasise the spacious feel of the interior. This can be further heightened in the Toyota Avensis Tourer with the option of a panoramic roof.

Materials used in the cabin have been chosen to express prestige and dynamism. The dashboard trim, in black or grey-beige combination, has a soft-texture grained finish. There is a choice of finishes for the centre console, including black metallic paint and a titanium finish. On higher grade models, the console has a graphic finish inspired by Takesumi - a charcoal made from bamboo.

The speedometer and tachometer are crisply lit and have chrome bezels. The Optitron display ensures excellent legibility, regardless of lighting conditions. It also can reduce tiredness and fatigue.


The new Toyota Optimal Drive philosophy has been applied to the development of new Toyota Avensis's engine line-up with a focus on minimising environmental impact while maximising driving pleasure through increased power and torque.

The best example of this is the new Valvematic range of petrol engines, which give 10 to 26 per cent lower CO2 emissions compared to equivalent power plants in the current Toyota Avensis. At the same time, power is increased by between three and 20 per cent. Toyota's Valvematic technology helps improve fuel efficiency, power, torque and engine response and reduces CO2 emissions by simultaneously controlling valve timing and lift.

1.8-litre Valvematic

The new 1.8-litre Valvematic offers a choice of the new six-speed manual transmission or new Multidrive S, Toyota's latest continuously variable transmission technology. Power is greater by 14 per cent compared to the previous 1.8 VVT-i unit at 145bhp (147 DIN hp) and there is an extra 10Nm of torque, with a maximum 180Nm delivered at 4,000rpm. CO2 emissions are down 10 per cent at 154g/km in the saloon with manual gearbox; 16 per cent at 157g/km with Multidrive S transmission.

2.0-litre Valvematic

The 2.0-litre Valvematic is at the top of the petrol engine range, offered with six-speed manual and Multidrive S transmissions. Maximum output is 150bhp (152 DIN hp), three per cent higher than Toyota's 2.0-litre engine, and maximum torque is 196Nm, produced at 4,000rpm. With manual transmission, CO2 emissions have fallen 15 per cent to 163g/km; with Multidrive S the decrease is even greater - down 26 per cent to 164g/km.

With the benefit of these new engines, Toyota delivers a class-leading power to CO2 ratio.

Multidrive S transmission

Multidrive S gives an incredibly smooth, refined shift action, automatically optimising torque and fuel consumption by always using the ideal engine speed. When the engine is pressed a little harder, the transmission operates like a seven-speed automatic, which helps eliminate the characteristic whining associated with CVTs.

The transmission's Sport mode gives a sportier drive, selecting a more responsive and power-maximising ratio in line with driver input. And for an even more involving drive, the system has a seven-speed sequential manual mode, letting the driver change gear using the shift lever or, exclusively on the 2.0 Valvematic, paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel.

Diesel engines

The benefits of Toyota Optimal Drive are also evident in the revised diesel engine line-up, with more torque at lower speeds leading to lower emissions. The upgrades include new piezo injectors and a higher injection pressure - 2,000 bar. These new features help achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions of between 2.5 and 10 per cent compared to the current generation Toyota Avensis.

2.0-litre D-4D 130

The 2.0-litre D-4D 130 engine delivers power through a six-speed manual transmission and produces 124bhp (126 DIN hp) at 3,600rpm and 310Nm of torque between 1,800 and 2,400rpm. Emissions are down seven per cent at 134g/km for the saloon, with improved performance.

2.2-litre D-4D 150

The 2.2 D-4D 150 offers a strong balance of power and economy. Output of 148bhp (150 DIN hp) is reached at 3,600rpm, with an increase in torque of nearly 10 per cent to 340Nm, generated between 2,000 and 2,800rpm. This means maximum torque is available in most driving conditions, cutting the need for frequent gear changes, whilst still delivering less than 150 g/km.

In a Toyota first for a diesel passenger car, this engine is offered with a new six-speed automatic transmission. This gives a fast shift response while maintaining comfortable performance by eliminating shift-shock. The system includes a sequential manual mode: by moving the shift level to the M gate, the driver can choose to select gears using the shift lever or paddle shifts on the steering wheel.

The 2.2 D-4D 150 engine benefits from Toyota D-CAT clean diesel technology and achieves CO2 emissions of less than 180g/km in the new Toyota Avensis saloon. D-CAT simultaneously reduces nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions through a maintenance-free system designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle.

2.2-litre D-4D 180

The top-of-the-range diesel, the 2.2 D-4D 180 has a unique combination of a low compression ratio and a high boost turbocharger, which gives remarkable power and engine efficiency. With 175bhp (177 DIN hp) and 400Nm of torque across a rev band from 2,000 to 2,800rpm, it is among the most powerful diesel engines in the D-segment. Nought to 62mph acceleration is achieved in 8.5 seconds, yet CO2 emissions are just 157g/km for the saloon, making it one of the cleanest high power diesels on the market. Like the 2.2 D-4D 150, it uses Toyota D-CAT for cleaner operation.

Efficient driving

All new Toyota Avensis models are fitted with driving indicators to help ensure efficient motoring. The on-board computer has an ECO driving indicator on versions with six-speed automatic and Multidrive S transmissions, showing the driver how efficient his or her driving style is. Manual versions come with a Gear Shift Indicator, which advises the driver on the best timing for up and down gear changes.


New Toyota Avensis has been engineered for smooth ride comfort, but with dynamic handling for rewarding driving characteristics.

A new platform provides an excellent balance of high-speed stability and low speed agility. To enhance performance, both the MacPherson strut front suspension and the double wishbone rear suspension have been re-engineered with improvements in torsional stiffness and roll rigidity. Front shock absorber and rear lateral force steer specifications have also been upgraded.

New, large diameter wheels with wider tyres are fitted to further enhance stability and dynamic handling. A flush underfloor design aids high speed stability, reduces noise and contributes to fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamics.


New Toyota Avensis is set to build on the achievements of its predecessor, aiming for a five-star rating under the more stringent Euro NCAP crash testing due for introduction in 2009.

New high-tech safety features bring both active and passive safety provisions to a higher level. Seven airbags are fitted as standard, including a driver's knee airbag. Active front seat headrests have been introduced to reduce whiplash injuries in the event of a rear end collision.

Steering assist Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+) is new to the model, a system which increases the protection provided by a regular VSC system by adding steering torque assist to counter any yaw movement during sudden changes in handling or on slippery surfaces. In an emergency situation the driver may sense torque movement on the steering wheel in a given direction to help ensure the right steering input is made to compensate the under- or oversteer.

Where High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-xenon headlights are specified, the driver further benefits from the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS). This adjusts the angle of the headlamps in line with the vehicle speed and turning angle to improve illumination through bends and junctions. Dynamic headlamp levelling maintains the angle of the headlamp under heavy braking or acceleration.

New Toyota Avensis is fitted as standard with an emergency brake signal, which activates flashing brake lights to warn following vehicles of sudden hard braking.

Top grade versions of the 2.2 D-4D 150 with six-speed automatic transmission will have the option of a new Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system. This can predict the risk of an imminent collision and take action to alert the driver and reduce the risk of damage or injury. If it senses a crash to be unavoidable, it automatically activates the seatbelt pretensioners and applies full braking force to lessen the impact.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) works in tandem with PCS, using the same advanced radar technology to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead, even if that vehicle varies its speed. Once the road ahead is clear, ACC automatically returns to the preset cruising speed.

PCS comes with the added benefit of Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA). These systems help prevent unintended lane changes by giving an audible warning and applying corrective steering wheel torque to help the driver stay on the right course.

Improved NVH performance

New Toyota Avensis has considerably lower NVH levels, with the use of Toyota's lightweight insulation material helping cut interior noise significantly - by 5dB. The new model is among the quietest in the D-segment, with performance that comes close to that of premium models.

This has been achieved thanks to a stiff chassis, advanced aerodynamics and careful positioning of materials without adding unnecessary weight by over-use of insulation.

Toyota Avensis has a well-earned reputation for quality, durability and reliability, attributes reflected in its strong performance in independent customer satisfaction surveys, such as the annual study by J.D. Power and Associates. It has received numerous accolades from the motoring media and organisations, including a best-in-segment rating from ADAC, Europe's largest automobile club.

New Toyota Avensis will continue to be built exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK's factory at Burnaston. The TMUK plant in Deeside will supply the 1.6 (not available in the UK) and 1.8 Valvematic engines and Toyota Motor Industries Poland will supply the 2.0 and 2.2 D-4D engines. The new six-speed manual transmission is sourced from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland.


In keeping with the "cutting edge of the D-segment" positioning expressed by Chief Engineer Takashi Yamamoto, new Toyota Avensis will benefit from advanced technology in its equipment specifications.

Details of the UK grade structure and detailed equipment features will be announced nearer the car's on-sale date.

Within the range, features that will be available will include dual zone automatic air conditioning, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, cruise control with speed limiter, full-map touch-screen satellite navigation with Bluetooth, Smart Entry and Start system, a panoramic roof for the Toyota Avensis Tourer, and an 11-speaker premium audio system with the 10Gb hard disc drive.