Sunday, November 30, 2008

The New Lincoln MKZ

The new 2010 Lincoln MKZ mid-size sedan was designed for customers who have come to equate Lincoln with elegant, modern design, unparalleled comfort, unrivaled features and top quality.

"The new Lincoln MKZ improves on the success of the current MKZ with Lincoln's new signature look, appointments that amplify and expand the Lincoln portfolio and a faster, more refined powertrain," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas.

New for 2010, the Lincoln MKZ features a new sport version with special sport suspension tuning with stiffer springs and larger stabilizer bars, 18-inch Euroflange polished wheels, darkened grille and headlamps, and an interior with contrasting piping and unique appliqués.

The new Lincoln MKZ also offers segment-exclusive features, including first-in-class Blind Spot Information System (BLIS™) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), which makes navigating traffic and parking lots safer and easier.

BLIS tracks vehicles in the blind-spot zones on either side of the vehicle using two multiple-beam radar modules behind the rear fenders. Indicator lights in the outside rear-view mirror on both sides of the vehicle warn the driver when a vehicle enters the defined blind-spot zone, extending from the side mirror to 10 feet behind the vehicle and 10 feet away from the vehicle.

CTA uses the BLIS radar sensors to alert the driver of approaching traffic while in reverse and backing out of a parking spot. The CTA tracks up to 65 feet on either side of the vehicle and warns the driver through both audible and visual alerts.

In addition to this new technology for mid-size sedans, Lincoln MKZ offers SYNC, Next-Generation Voice-Activated Navigation, keyless entry, EasyFuel capless fuel filler, THX-branded audio and adaptive HID headlamps.

The new MKZ also features Lincoln signature design elements, including the split-wing grille and thinner wraparound head lamps for a wider, sportier look. Its chamfered front fascia also shares a family resemblance with the Linkoln MKS, with a sculpted hood and ridges flowing into the A-pillar. In the rear, the Lincoln MKZ features a new decklid with wider LED taillamps accentuating the width of the car and separated by the Lincoln star.

The Lincoln MKZ's presence is enhanced by 17-inch aluminum wheels, available 17-inch chrome wheels, and available 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, which are included in the Sport Appearance Package with sport-tuned suspension.

Inside, MKZ's cabin reflects an even more upscale look featuring genuine aluminum and wood depending on the trim package, an all-new instrument panel, detailed touches including new welcome lighting, chimes, tuxedo stitching on luxury leather seats and Bridge of Weir leather.

The world-renowned luxury leather from Scotland, pioneered on the classic Lincoln Continental Mark II and used on the MKS, wraps the MKZ seats. The Lincoln MKZ leather is unembossed, allowing the natural beauty and character of the grain to shine through.

The leather is milled for up to 12 hours to ensure a buttery soft hand, and Bridge of Weir uses a chromium-free tanning process, which makes it easier to recycle.

"We've increased the luxury feel and improved on what was already a great interior," said Peter Horbury, executive director of Design, The Americas. "We have a new interior theme with all-new primary touchpoints, complemented by new features and technologies that make the 2010 Lincoln MKZ stand out in the competitive mid-size segment."

Additions or improvements to the 2010 Lincoln MKZ interior include:

  • Armrest clamshell storage
  • New daytime lit and 3-dimensional instrument cluster layout with center speedometer
  • New door trim with 360-degree door handles
  • Redesigned center stack with high-mounted, Next-Generation Navigation system
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with real wood insert
  • Interior schemes include Dark Charcoal or Steel Gray with Swirl Walnut accents, or Light Camel with Olive Ash wood accents

Technology and information at your fingertips

The new Lincoln MKZ is more than just a pretty face and striking new interior. New technology features help Lincoln's new mid-size sedan stand out, too. They include:

  • SYNC: The voice-activated hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft. The system fully integrates most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital media players, providing customers hands-free cell phone and music selection capabilities - plus new 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report provided with no monthly fees.
    • 911 Assist: When a phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC, the system is ready to assist in placing a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an air bag-deploying accident. The key advantage of SYNC 911 Assist is speed, as calls are placed directly to local 911 operators.
    • Vehicle Health Report (VHR): SYNC gathers relevant information from the major vehicle control modules and packages diagnostic data into a usable format in a matter of minutes. That data packet is sent to Ford via an 800-number automatically dialed using the customer's paired and operable mobile phone.
  • Voice-Activated Navigation, which integrates several functions including voice recognition destination entry, climate control and SIRIUS satellite radio into one easy-to-use system, displaying them on an 8-inch touch-screen display. The navigation system's text-to-speech function calls out street names while in route to a destination and reads incoming text messages when the system is linked to SYNC. The integrated DVD player is capable of reading CD-Audio, MP3 CDs, DVD, DVD-Audio and DVD-ROM (for digital map updates). A music jukebox function stores more than 150 hours of music. The screen even can be customized with personal photos.
  • SIRIUS Travel Link™, an industry-leading technology that, when combined with the voice-activated navigation system will provide users with real-time traffic data with accident and incident information, coast-to-coast weather data including current conditions and five-day forecasts, and fuel price information for over 120,000 gas stations.
  • Travel Link also offers sports scores and schedules and a listing of more than 4,500 movie theaters with movie times, theater addresses, movie synopses and more.
  • Reverse Camera System mounts a small camera on the decklid that is activated when the Lincoln MKZ is shifted into reverse, giving the driver a clear view behind the vehicle.
  • The video image is displayed in the navigation screen on Lincoln MKZs equipped with that option or in the self-dimming rearview mirror on vehicles without navigation.
  • Ambient Lighting System is displayed around the footwells, cup holders, door map pockets, door release handles, door and instrument accents and scuff plates - plus special "Welcome" and "Farewell" sequential lighting.
  • THX II Premium Certified Audio System with 5.1 Surround Sound, which is provided by a 12-channel amplifier that delivers 600 watts to 14 strategically placed speakers, including two subwoofers. A center channel speaker array features THX Slot Speaker™ technology, which allows for a wider sound image and better control of how music is distributed throughout the vehicle's acoustically engineered cabin. In addition, the system features a 10 GB hard drive jukebox, allowing Lincoln owners to store up to 2,400 of their favorite music tracks.

Other features for the 2010 Lincoln MKZ include:

  • Rain-sensing wipers, which detect moisture on the windshield and activate automatically.
  • A new cabin air filter, which removes respiratory irritants and toxins caused by traffic and industrial pollution. Additionally, the air filter protects the HVAC/climate control system by blocking water and moisture.
  • Adaptive HID headlamps, which rotate according to speed and steering inputs to allow greater visibility around turns
  • SOS Post Crash Alert, which activates the horn, emergency flashers, automatically unlocks doors and turns on the interior/puddle lamps when an air bag is deployed. The system activates the emergency flashers when a spinout is detected.

Faster engine performance, strong fuel economy

The award-winning 3.5-liter V-6 Duratec engine powers the 2010 Lincoln MKZ, delivering 263 horsepower and 249 pounds-feet of torque. The 3.5-liter uses a compact, lightweight dual-overhead cam valvetrain for peak power and smooth operation at high RPMs.

This engine also incorporates intake variable cam timing to optimize valve timing for a smooth idle and an impressive broad torque curve with good power.

The six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, which is front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive available, is standard on the 2010 Lincoln MKZ. Powertrain performance is improved dramatically, with 0-60 mph times dropping from 7.7 to 7.1 seconds.

The engine - and the Lincoln MKZ itself - is quieter. Every piece of sound packing was redone.

"The customer definitely should notice how quiet the new MKZ is," said Chief Engineer J.D. Shanahan. "That's important - especially with luxury sedan buyers who perceive that quietness equates to quality."

The Lincoln MKZ engineering team also concentrated on the engine mount subsystem, finding the sound that balances sportiness and luxury, said Matt Hettenhouse, powertrain team leader.

A high 10.3:1 compression ratio and aluminum cylinder heads designed for high air flow and optimized combustion help complete the package, supporting the engine's ability to deliver great performance and fuel economy, along with low emissions.

Unique to the 2010 Lincoln MKZ are re-engineered resonators on the air-induction system. "They deliver the powerful, refined sound Lincoln MKZ customers expect," Hettenhouse said.

The six-speed transmission allows for lower early gears for better acceleration and taller high gears for better highway mileage. The new standard SelectShift provides the driver with manual gear selection for enhanced sportiness. Downshifts are locked out to protect the engine from over-revving. The "enhanced overdrive cancel" mode locks out the fifth and sixth gears, allows shifts at higher speed for more engine braking and downshifts for "grade assist" functionality.

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ was completely revised and uniquely tuned for ride comfort.

The team changed the rear suspension lower control arm control point to move the roll center closer to the center of gravity, which improved the ride-handling characteristics. A hydraulic variable-flow steering pump changes the flow rate at lower speeds to give better response, improving the turning circle and easier parking efforts.

The Lincoln MKZ's available all-wheel drive (AWD) system has been retuned for better traction and lower noise, vibration and harshness. The system uses an electro-mechanical clutch and employs two basic modes of torque transfer - pre-emptive torque (before wheel slip) and slip-control torque (after wheel slip). This dual system gives the driver confidence in any situation, while the suspension has been specially tuned to be more neutral when cornering.

"When the Lincoln MKZ accelerates, even lightly, from a stop on any surface - dry pavement, wet pavement, sand, gravel, ice, mud - pre-emptive torque is transferred to the rear wheels," said Jim Fritz, AWD product development engineer. "As an added measure to control front wheel slip on slippery surfaces, slip control torque is added to equalize front and rear wheel speeds."

The AWD system works in harmony with brake traction control to deliver more confidence to Lincoln MKZ customers. Ford's AdvanceTrac electronic stability control keeps drivers in command as well.

"The driving experience has been improved, delivering a better ride and vehicle control," Shanahan said. "Ride enhancements, a new sport package, new technologies, the signature Lincoln design and a strong quality story help the new 2010 Lincoln MKZ set a new standard in mid-size luxury sedans."

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ is built at Ford's Hermosillo (Mexico) Stamping and Assembly Plant and will be in dealer showrooms in spring 2009.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The New Mazda 3 Sedan

The new Mazda 3 Sedan is perfectly positioned for the rapidly changing automotive market. It offers a mix of quality, styling, power, dynamics and fit and finish that meets the demands of today's customers. In typical Mazda fashion, this new Mazda 3 Sedan will offer standard and optional equipment not found on other cars in its class - exactly what buyers want when seeking compact cars providing outstanding value.

This model arrives with an impressive pedigree, for the first-generation Mazda 3 earned 90 major awards from expert critics and achieved 1.8 million sales around the world during the last five years. The Mazda 3 accounts for one third of Mazda's sales and even at the end of its build life, the first-generation version continued to earn accolades - a leading consumer magazine recently naming it as one of the most reliable compact sedans available.

Mazda 3 Programme Manager Yoshiyuki Maeda established ambitious goals for the latest embodiment of the company's most popular car line, "We were determined to advance the Zoom-Zoom driving experience to new heights because that unique feeling lies at the very heart of Mazda. On the heels of the original Mazda 3's success, we aimed to again exceed the expectations of customers all over the world by a wide margin. This meant providing drivers with a sense of exhilaration - whether they were in motion, seated in the Mazda 3, or enjoying its appearance from outside."

Describing what it takes to develop a true 'world car', Maeda added: "The development process began with careful study and identification of what features and performance qualities would be needed. That initial phase ended with my conclusion that every driving characteristic was eligible for improvement to reach our Zoom-Zoom goals. Mazda engineering and R&D departments in Japan, Europe, and the US all contributed to the Mazda 3's renewal effort and the development of the company's new world car."


Chief designer Kunihiko Kurisu's mission was to remain faithful to the Mazda 3's existing visual identity while evolving its appearance with richer, bolder design strokes. Infusing each subsequent new model with more emotional aesthetics is a longstanding Mazda tradition. The key Mazda 3 exterior design highlights are:

  • A move toward a more unified Mazda global 'family face'
  • A reinforced frontal identity which integrates the lower air intake with a more emphatic and instantly recognizable five-point grille
  • Major design elements focus on, or flow toward, the vehicle's central axis, to stress power and dynamism. At the front, fascia lines converge on the centrepoint at the bottom of the grille. At the rear, the boot lid's surface has a distinctive centre crease
  • A compact cabin, high deck surfaces, and flowing C-pillar features, which were inspired by the classic coupe profile, as seen on the 2009 Mazda 6
  • Bonnet and side surfaces which are shaped to reflect light and physical surroundings
  • A subtle wedge-shape and curving side character lines which are shared with other Mazda models, giving the Mazda 3 Sedan a strong sense of impending motion - like a predator poised to strike
  • A new Adaptive Front Lighting System with self-levelling bi-xenon headlamps - added as standard on Grand Touring models. The Mazda 3 Sedan is the first compact offered for sale in the US with such an advanced lighting system
  • Exterior design elements which contribute to the car's function by minimizing aerodynamic drag and lift while providing the powertrain, chassis, and interior with adequate air flow for cooling and climate control

To supplement the four-door sedan introduced at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, a five-door hatchback Mazda 3 will arrive later.


Inside, the new Mazda 3 Sedan offers a sporty yet highly refined cabin - the dash sweeping dramatically from its centre to the sides of the cabin. The large gauge instrument cluster and centre stack are positioned to tightly link the driver's limbs and senses to the car's instruments and controls.

Studies into the range of motion helped position all controls at an ideal reach, while the slant of the instrument panel optimises operating efficiency and provides an attractive focal point. Key knobs and switches are positioned at the same level as the steering wheel and the gear level as part of an interior design which is based on Mazda's Human Machine Interface concept.

All the information a driver needs is readily available in one concentrated area - thereby minimising distractions from the road ahead. A Multi-Information Display is positioned high on the centre portion of the instrument panel to further reduce distraction. Navigation, audio, and trip computer information is provided in this convenient and easy-to-view location.

The front seat cushions have been extended by nearly an inch (compared to the outgoing car), in order to provide improved thigh support. Backrests are 1.4-inches taller and re-contoured for improved driving posture. For the higher grade models, the upper side bolsters have been canted inward for heightened torso support during aggressive cornering. A three-position memory function has been added to cars equipped with power seats - another first for the segment, and not offered at any price on any competitor's compact car. Upon approach to the car, the driver's seat automatically adjusts to the settings chosen by up to three different drivers by recognising the code of the key fob.

To provide a top-quality interior appearance, the number of parting lines is minimized and soft-touch surfaces show an elegant grained texture. An interactive lighting system enhances the cabin's ambience and sense of tranquillity. Upon entry, illumination rises in intensity in a programmed manner. Occupants are welcomed by foot-well and door-handle lamps. Next, instrument cluster, centre stack, audio and climate controls brighten. When a driver or front seat occupant touches an audio or AC switch, a change in illumination acknowledges that the command has been received.

Dual-zone automatic air conditioning is an option. Other special features that distinguish this car include: a BOSE 10-speaker premium surround sound system, connectivity for cell phones and portable media players, a dock for iPods, and Sirius satellite radio. An advanced keyless entry system includes push-button engine starting. Other options include rain-sensing wipers, heated door mirrors, leather upholstery, and heated seats.

Overall, the details included in the new Mazda 3 Sedan all contribute to the sense of quality in the car. This is a vehicle that offers equipment, fit and finish not found in other vehicles in its class, and in the current economic climate helps to position Mazda 3 Sedan perfectly for buyers seeking a way to spend less but get more.


The MZR 2.0-litre four-in-line engine delivers 148 horsepower at 6500 rpm (PZEV = 144 @ 6500 rpm) and 135 lb-ft of torque at 4500 rpm (PZEV = 132 @ 4500 rpm). Aluminium block and head construction saves weight while, in the interests of power and efficiency, four valves per cylinder are operated by dual overhead camshafts.

The new MZR 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine is borrowed from the larger all-new 2009 Mazda 6. It shares the same construction features of the 2.0-litre engine while upping output to 167 horsepower at 6000 rpm (PZEV = 165 @ 6000 rpm) and 168 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm (PZEV = 167 @ 4000 rpm). Both engines employ advanced electronic throttle actuation. Mazda's exclusive torque base control technology provides a highly linear acceleration response to every change of throttle pedal pressure.

A slick-shifting five-speed or six-speed manual transmission, as well as a five-speed electronically controlled Sport-AT automatic transmission, are available depending on the model. Sport-AT offers enthusiastic drivers the control of manual gear engagement with the convenience and comfort of a conventional automatic.

Fuel economy is exemplary and was a key to the vehicle's development. The Mazda 3 Sedan with 2.0-litre engine achieves 25 mpg in city driving with the manual transmission and 24 mpg with the automatic. The highway mileage with the 2.0-litre engine is 33 mpg with either transmission. The Mazda 3 Sedan with 2.5-litre engine also tops 20 mpg in all conditions. Equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, its city rating is 21 mpg, rising to 22 mpg with the five-speed automatic. The highway rating is 29 mpg with either transmission. Even though the new Mazda 3 Sedan is larger in every dimension - meeting the requests and needs of customers - Mazda engineers achieved fuel economy on a par with the outgoing car.

To refine the acoustic qualities of the Mazda 3 Sedan powertrains, extra attention was paid to tuning each engine's intake and exhaust system. Resonance chambers were implemented to quieten certain sound frequencies while reinforcing others, achieving a well mannered yet sporty sound during acceleration. The Mazda 3 Sedan 2.5-litre engine is equipped with dual tailpipes and specially tuned mufflers to reduce mid-range boom and objectionable high-frequency noise at high rpm.

Mazda 3 models certified to U.S. Federal exhaust emission standards are equipped with catalytic converters employing advanced single nanotechnology. It is used to embed individual particles of precious metals, which are less than five nanometers in diameter, into the catalyst base material. This new development enables Mazda to reduce the amount of expensive precious metals such as platinum and palladium by 70 to 90 per cent without impairing catalyst performance. The catalyst is an important part of Mazda's efforts to reduce reliance on limited resources.


The 2009 Mazda 6 offers one of the stiffest unibody structures on any Mazda vehicle and the lessons learned in developing that larger car provided major strides in structural stiffness in the new Mazda 3 Sedan. A stiff unibody provides a smoother ride, more confident handling, and improved agility with virtually no increase in bodyshell weight.

Re-engineered unibody joints and increased metal gauges in key areas help diminish the transmission of road and powertrain noise into the passenger cabin. Suspension anchor points are more substantial to provide the solid foundation needed to absorb steering and suspension forces. In addition to welded attachments, suspension towers are bonded to the surrounding unibody areas with structural adhesives. A combination of welding and adhesives - also borrowed from the 2009 Mazda 6 - is also used to increase the rigidity and collision deformation resistance at door opening locations. The stiffer door design also improves the effectiveness of weather seals that block moisture and noise from the interior.

A Mazda engineering approach called Aero Flow Management was used to optimize the flow of air around and through Mazda 3 Sedan body openings. Even though the front grille appears larger than before, it is actually 20 per cent smaller to ingest only the amount of air needed for combustion and cooling. An air guide attached to the front bumper directs the flow through the radiator where it is most useful. At high speeds, a bypass flap opens to minimize cooling fan drag.

Air flow along the sides of the body was improved during wind tunnel testing by placing deflectors near the tyres and by carefully tuning the upper-forward corners of the cabin. Subtle refinements in the shape of the A-pillars, door mirrors, windshield wipers, and tail lamps also contributed to the six per cent reduction in wind noise levels. The 0.29 drag coefficient (Cd) achieved by Mazda engineers is one of the lowest available in the compact class and highly beneficial to highway fuel economy.


There was no need to reinvent the Mazda 3's chassis design because the first generation achieved distinction as the best available in the compact class in terms of driving enjoyment, handling, and all-round poise. Subtle tuning changes were all that were required for the new Mazda 3 Sedan.

A rubber-isolated subframe in front supports the entire powertrain, the rack-and-pinion steering system, and the lower attachments of the coil spring MacPherson strut suspension. The independent multi-link rear suspension also uses coil springs with one trailing arm, two lateral links, and one toe-control link per side. Four-wheel power disc brakes with ventilated discs in front and solid discs in back are standard equipment. Dynamic Stability Control and Traction Control are available on all Mazda 3s, as standard on some trim levels.

To improve steering feel, the electro-hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion steering gear is now secured at three attachment locations instead of two. The additional mounting point allowed a reduction in the stiffness of the bushings that support the steering gear to diminish the vibration transmitted over rough surfaces.

Resistance to body roll has been increased by recalibrating the monotube rear dampers for tighter control and by switching to a new, more substantial mounting arrangement for the front and rear anti-roll bars. At the front of the new Mazda 3, lower control arms, the subframe, and mount bushings are all stiffer to improve both steering response and cornering grip at the adhesion limit. A redesigned rear suspension crossmember is both lighter and significantly stiffer, also delivering improved handling.

The most notable change to the braking system is a new vacuum booster that provides a more reassuring response to light pedal efforts without disturbing the highly direct and linear feel inherited from the first-generation Mazda 3. Adjustments to the electronic brake force distribution programming enhance vehicle stability during mixed braking and cornering manoeuvres. The structural changes to the unibody help improve not only the rigidity of the brakes but also their linearity during high-g stops.

The Mazda 3 Sedan with 2.0-litre engine is equipped with 10.9-inch diameter front discs and 10.4-inch diameter rear discs while the more powerful 2.5-litre Mazda 3 Sedan is fitted with 11.8-inch front and 11.0-inch rear discs.


Providing the Mazda 3 Sedan driver with a better ability to avoid a collision by steering or braking safely out of harm's way is a fundamental aspect of Mazda's product development. Mazda's engineers strongly believe that the best way to help protect occupants in a crash is to engineer control systems in such a way that the crash is avoided in the first place. Carefully tuned electro-hydraulic power steering, a highly agile suspension system, and powerful disc brakes are standard Mazda 3 features. ABS, Dynamic Stability Control, and traction control are offered as standard or optional equipment - depending on grade.

Also, a new Adaptive Front Lighting System with self-levelling bi-xenon headlamps has been added as standard on Grand Touring models. The Mazda 3 Sedan is the first compact offered for sale in the US with such an advanced lighting system.

But in rare instances, a collision cannot be avoided. To cover these circumstances, all Mazda 3 models are constructed with a Triple-H unibody design employing efficient H-shaped steel reinforcements in the floor, side structures, and roof. This approach to energy absorption provides crush zones that better protect occupants from the impact forces sustained during rollover, frontal, side, front-offset, angled, and rear collisions. Six airbags and active head restraints are standard equipment.


Seemingly small changes can often deliver great gains. For example, the four-speed automatic transmission was switched to a five-speed unit in 2.0-litre Mazda 3 models, and subtle aerodynamic improvements were also made. These changes yielded a three-mpg improvement (10 per cent) in highway fuel economy.

To reduce consumption of hazardous materials, the new Mazda 3 Sedan uses no lead in its fuel tank, wiring harness, or undercoating. Hexavalent chromium and cadmium have also been eliminated from the list of materials. The toluene emissions from a new joint sealing compound are 90 per cent lower than before. Mazda's manufacturing plants adhere to the strictest environmental standards and contribute significantly to the many less obvious elements of Mazda's Sustainable Zoom-Zoom initiatives.

Efforts are under way to increase the scope of recyclable materials from 80 to 90per cent when a Mazda 3 Sedan reaches the end of its useful life. Moulded plastic parts are already labelled with ISO identification marks to facilitate sorting and recycling. Fascias, interior trim, and the instrument panel are made of polypropylene for easy reuse in those markets that offer it. Recycled material has been used to manufacture new plastic mouldings for the past four years at Mazda.

The New Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder

With the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder, Lamborghini has created a driving experience like absolutely no other - fascinating design, breathtaking performance and extreme handling characteristics come together with all the sensual intensity and open-air pleasure that only a soft top super sports car can deliver.

An even more powerful engine, permanent all-wheel drive and an all-new chassis mean that the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder offers yet another significant increase in performance against its predecessor. With its innovative design, the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder takes the unique Lamborghini styling ethic to the next level; the Spyder displays this powerful and elegant design language with even greater distinctiveness, making it all the more unmistakable.

In its new generation, the Gallardo Spyder represents more than ever before automotive passion in its purest form. As in the Coupé, its enormous power is delivered by the new 5.2 liter V10 with an output of 560 horsepower (412 kW) at 8,000 rpm. The increase in 40 horsepower (29 kW) over its predecessor, as well as the 44 pound (20 kilogram) reduction in vehicle weight, improves the power-to-weight ratio to 6.10 pounds (2.77 kg) per horsepower, thus improving performance even further.

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder takes only 4.0 seconds to sprint from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h), reaching 124 mph (0 to 200 km/h) in only 13.1 seconds and going on to a top speed of 201 mph (324 km/h). The new driveline, featuring the "Iniezione Diretta Stratificata" direct fuel injection system also makes for impressive efficiency. Despite the considerable increase in performance, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been reduced by a staggering 18 percent.

Engineers at the Ufficio Tecnico Lamborghini, Sant'Agata-based Technical Department, have also improved traction, handling and stability at high speeds. The redesigned four-wheel drive transmission, the new suspension, the improved stiffness of the Spyder bodyshell and the optimized aerodynamics all contribute to the overall improvements in the vehicle, as do the reduced weight and decreased friction throughout the components.

Thus the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder presents itself as a razor-sharp super sports car with the precision reactions of a high-performance athlete. The car is also surprisingly suited to long-distance driving and, despite its extreme performance capabilities, is easy to control while maintaining utmost stability. Above all, the impressive Lamborghini technology takes on a new, intense edge in the Spyder, with the glorious feel of the open air rushing by.

Powerful elegance

Every Lamborghini is a high-performance athlete. Its sensuality is based on precision, performance and on spontaneous action. A Lamborghini's elegance is that of sheer, pure power. This DNA of the Lamborghini brand is taken to the next level with every new car by the Centro Stile. Thus the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder displays the precise lines and clean surfaces of a minimalist design ethos that resists ornamentation or embellishment of any kind. Even more than the Coupé, the Spyder places emphasis on the powerful basic wedge form, complemented by the tightly cut soft top.

Each evolution of the Lamborghini form is strictly dictated by the demands of function. The redesigned front end lends the LP560-4 a firm, low stance that also contributes to its aerodynamic efficiency. In line with the increased engine output, the enlarged and clearly accentuated air intakes increase the air flow critical to such a high-performance automobile. The spoiler, positioned low between the air intakes, improves aerodynamic stability at high speeds.

Significantly improved aerodynamics

The new exhaust system is beautifully finished by four chrome-plated tail pipes. The rear diffuser has been redesigned to deliver more downforce and, together with the smooth underbody, it contributes to the vehicle's excellent directional stability, even at very high speeds. Overall, aerodynamic efficiency in terms of downforce has been improved significantly in comparison with its predecessor - the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder tackles fast curves with even greater refinement.

The purist approach to design is perfectly complemented by the immaculate attention to detail demonstrated by the designers at Sant'Agata Bolognese. The fuel and motor oil fill caps, intricately-crafted from aluminum bear testimony to this, as does the rear view camera, which has been integrated into a small fin in the automatically-deploying rear spoiler, as well as the finely-detailed grilles in the exhaust tail pipes.

Soft top perfectly suited to everyday use

The flow of the lines, regardless of whether the top is up or down, clearly demonstrates that the Spyder is a fully self-contained model within the Gallardo range. Compared with the Coupé, the open top version comes across as just a little more radical; its shoulders have been raised slightly in order to make room for the soft top.

The fully-lined fabric top - available in black, blue, grey and beige - is operated via two switches located on the center console. They set in motion a choreography that is over in just 20 seconds. One hydraulic pump, six hydraulic cylinders, one electric motor and two electric actuators work together to perform this technical ballet.

Rear windscreen functions as wind deflector

When the soft top opens, the rear windscreen disengages first, sliding downwards to avoid obstructing the remainder of the process. Four cylinders slightly raise the rear-hinged engine cover, before the hood folds gracefully into a stowage compartment located in front of the engine bay. Finally, the large engine cover made from a lightweight carbon fiber composite closes once more and the rear windscreen returns to its original position to function as a wind deflector. A switch mounted on the dashboard will stow the rear windscreen if preferred - even when the top is closed.

Whether open or closed, the Gallardo Spyder's soft top is designed for unrestricted high speeds. In order to ensure maximum safety, Lamborghini engineers have integrated two spring-loaded rollover bars behind the seats. Controlled by a sensor, they deploy in only 250 milliseconds should a potential roll-over situation arise. The seat belt tensioners spring into action at the same time.

Intelligent lightweight design

Weight is undesirable in a sports car and lightweight design is good for dynamics. Aluminum is much lighter than steel - which is why the bodyshell of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder has an aluminum structure that is more lightweight, yet stiffer. With its lighter engine, the two-seater boasts a dry weight of only 3417.2 Ibs (1,550 kg) - 44 pounds (20 kg) less than its predecessor.

The design of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder utilizes the 'spaceframe construction method.' Cast aluminum nodes and extruded profiles form its frame, with integrated friction-locked and form-fitted aluminum panels creating the bodyshell. The bodyshell is not only extremely light, but also displays exceptional torsional stiffness and safety characteristics, thus forming the basis for the extraordinary handling characteristics of the LP560-4. The aerodynamic underbody panel is also integrated into the overall design for structural stiffness. The Spyder incorporates specially-developed additional stiffness elements within the spaceframe to compensate for the absence of a fixed roof.

Integrated pedestrian protection system

The bodyshell also incorporates the highest levels of passive safety. The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder even fulfils European directives for pedestrian protection that are not yet mandatory. Furthermore, the geometry of the entire front end of the car has been optimized, with a special combination of materials behind the front bumper that serve to absorb impact forces.

Luxurious individuality

Despite its low exterior height, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder welcomes its passengers with a spacious interior - even when the top is closed. The sports seats are upholstered in either fine leather or Alcantara® and provide firm hold and support. The seats are mounted low, as is typical for sports cars, and behind them is additional luggage space to complement the 110 liter capacity luggage compartment at the front of the vehicle.

The wide middle console is one of the elements that characterize the impression of sporty dynamism in the interior. It accommodates the standard Lamborghini audio and multimedia system, as well as the dual-zone climate control. Between these two units is a newly designed module housing classically elegant toggle switches. Seven instrument dials boasting new graphics provide the driver with essential engine data, while a multi-functional display between the speedometer and rev counter furnishes him with important information from the on-board computer.

Highest quality workmanship

The Miura and the other models of the 60s were characterized by their excellent quality of workmanship, which was far beyond the general standards of the day. Lamborghini has built extensively on this tradition, and to this day delivers automobiles of the highest standards.

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder indulges with materials of the highest quality in both look and feel. Leather interior choices include a range of colors and stitching in matching or contrasting tones. As an optional extra, Lamborghini can deliver the Gallardo with an expanded range of leather or Alcantara® equipment, as well as carbon packages, where elements like the surround for the air-conditioning control panel, the handbrake and the gear-stick console are finished in carbon fiber composite. The Ad Personam individualization program fulfils personal preferences - at the end of the day, a new Lamborghini has to fit in perfectly with the lifestyle of its owner.

Extreme power in every situation

The engine of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder is a completely new development. All that remains is the number of cylinders, - that magical ten - which provides a perfect synthesis of high-revs, pulling power, athletic agility, compact dimensions and low weight that is unique within this performance class.

The engine has a displacement of 5.2 liters (5204 cm3 ), generating an extreme 560 horsepower (412 kW) at 8,000 rpm - giving class-topping output per liter of 107.6 horsepower. The engine delivers a maximum torque of 398 lb-ft (540 Nm) at 6,500 rpm. The ample torque curve guarantees outstanding thrust at all engine speeds. With acceleration of 4.0 seconds from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) and a top speed of 201 mph (324 km/h), the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder shoots into the orbit of the most extreme high-performance sports cars and is only one km/h less swift than the LP560-4 Coupé.

Even more astounding is the fact that engineers at Sant'Agata succeeded in lowering the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of the super sports car by 18 percent, despite a considerable improvement in performance. Relative to engine power and performance, the average fuel consumption of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder e.gear is astonishingly low at only 16 mpg combined (20 hwy/13 city) (14 liters per 100 kilometers).

Perfect weight distribution, optimal dynamics

The engine in this new model is also located longitudinally behind the driver - hence the model denomination "Longitudinale Posteriore." The mid-engine concept is peerless in sports car design, creating the basis for the perfect weight distribution of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder of 43 percent on the front axle and 57 percent on the rear. In combination with the permanent all-wheel drive transmission, it guarantees the Gallardo's superior handling stability in all situations.

Low mass for impressive high-revving

The cylinder bore surfaces of the new Lamborghini ten-cylinder are made of a hypereutectic aluminum alloy. The hard silicon crystals of the bore surfaces are chemically released following the honing process. The connecting rods are made from forged steel and the pistons from aluminum alloy. The systematic reduction of mass and internal friction contributes to the engine's impressive high-revving characteristics.

The engine is unusually wide for a V10, with a cylinder angle of 90 degrees. The advantage of this layout is the lower center of gravity. The dry sump lubrication serves the same purpose, as well as guaranteeing a reliable supply of oil even during extreme lateral acceleration on the race track.

Direct fuel injection makes for efficient combustion

The new V10 uses the direct fuel-injection system "Iniezione Diretta Stratificata" as an innovative way to optimize performance in all conditions, while achieving moderate fuel consumption. The fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber from a common-rail system at pressures of up to 100 bar via laterally-position injectors. This ensures the perfect "tumble" of the homogeneous fuel/air mixture and forms the basis of highly efficient combustion.

Direct injection boosts the extremely efficient full-load performance of the V10, reduces its knock sensitivity, provides an internal cooling effect and thus facilitates a very high compression ratio of 12.5:1. The cylinder heads have been optimized to deliver a rapid charge cycle, while the variable valve control system on all four camshafts improves charge efficiency across the entire engine speed range.

All-wheel drive refinement

Such extreme power must be delivered to the road safely. The driver of a Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder can thus rely on the viscous traction permanent all-wheel drive system - the number 4 in the model name serves as a reminder of this. Lamborghini introduced this system as early as 1993, with the Diablo VT - and for good reason. Four driven wheels achieve more grip than two and permit earlier acceleration when exiting a curve.

Located in the driveline is a central viscous coupling, which requires no electronic control. In this Lamborghini-specific configuration, driving power is distributed between front and rear at a standard ratio of 30:70, adapting to variations in road conditions within a matter of milliseconds. A mechanical differential on the rear axle providing up to 45% limited slip, and an electronic differential lock at the front complete the all-wheel drive system.

Superior traction and handling

It is not only maximum traction that benefits from permanent all-wheel drive, but also the car's clearly superior handling. Ultimately, each wheel can only transfer a certain amount of power to the road. As the drive power is distributed to all four wheels via the viscous traction system, there is thus greater potential for directional control. These reserves in every situation are what distinguish a perfectly made sports car.

With all of that engine thrust, changing gears in the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 is also one of the most exciting aspects of this vehicle. It remains a matter of personal preference whether the driver uses the short gear stick to work manually through the precision motion of the six-speed gearbox, or whether he chooses to let his fingertips control the e.gear's paddle-shift system located behind the steering wheel - the option preferred by the majority of Lamborghini customers.

Shift times reduced by 40 percent

The automated e.gear transmission has been completely redesigned and improved in all aspects. The complete system is not only considerably lighter, but the time required to change gear in corsa mode has also been reduced by 40 per cent. The driver can change gear manually using the shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel - or he can leave it entirely up to the automatic mode, which ensures extremely refined dynamics.

If the driver changes gear manually using the steering wheel paddles, he can choose from three different drive programs. Alongside the standard program, the Gallardo also offers the sport mode with even shorter shift times, while the corsa program delivers optimum engine acceleration.

ESP is active in all drive programs, engaging later in the sport and corsa modes and reducing the impact of the traction control. The corsa mode also permits greater drift and enables the complete dynamic spectrum of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder to be appreciated on the race track - while still leaving plenty of room for safety. The Lamborghini thrust mode facilitates maximum acceleration from a standstill. The throttle valve angle and clutch travel have been optimized specifically for this purpose.

Hi-tech components with Lamborghini expertise

The predecessor to the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder was already one of the world's best super sports cars in terms of handling, precision and driving stability. However, the latest model delivers an even more intense driving experience across the board. The new chassis improves the car's handling, its driving comfort and its directional stability at high speeds.

The chassis of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder is uncompromisingly hi-tech. Its technical design comes directly from motorsport. The aluminum double wishbones with re-designed kinematics encircle the wheels, while the springs and shock absorbers have been recalibrated for stiffness and optimum grip. The rear axle now has an additional track rod, bringing an extra element of control to the super sports car.

One all-new development is the rubber-metal bearings. These truly hi-tech components contribute to the unique Lamborghini dynamics with intelligent design and specific material combinations. The precise set-up of the springs and dampers has been adjusted to accommodate the slightly higher weight of the Spyder to give it exactly the same characteristics as the Gallardo Coupé.

Intense road holding

The rack and pinion steering works with relatively little power assistance - giving the driver a direct and close connection with the road, and providing intense experience of the power and forces at play. The steering has its own cooling system for the power steering fluid.

Precise, breathtakingly fast, yet stable and free from surprises - the Gallardo's dynamics deliver a sensuous experience. At the limit, the tires (235/35 ZR 19 front and 295/30 ZR 19 rear) appear to bond with the road surface. The wheels are clad in Pirelli P-Zero series tires, specially developed for Lamborghini. They boast particularly low rolling resistance and thus contribute to reduced fuel consumption without any compromise in performance. At speeds of more than 75 mph (over 120 km/h), an automatically-deploying rear spoiler increases the down force on the rear axle. It works together with the specially formed underbody, which directs the airflow under the car.

Optional carbon fiber ceramic brake system

The new brake system comes with brutal stopping power. At the front, eight-cylinder Brembo calipers grip 14.37 in (365 mm) diameter discs, while four-cylinder calipers and 14 in (356 mm) discs take up the rear. The new disc ventilation also improves brake fade under extreme load conditions.

Highly stable carbon fiber ceramic discs are available as an option. At the front the CCB (Carbon Ceramic Brake) discs measure 15 in (380 mm) diameter and at the rear 14 in (356 mm). They deliver improved performance with reduced weight. The CCB system significantly reduces weight, which improves dynamics and comfort.

Top-class individuality

Lamborghini has equipped the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder with an exceptionally sporty standard equipment package that includes the automatic top; driver, passenger and side air-bags; dual-zone climate control with sun regulator; stereo system with USB interface; sports seats with electrically adjustable back rests; leather upholstery and bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights. The new series production "Apollo" wheels feature a double-spoke design.

A range of optional extras brings additional comfort and convenience - including a navigation system, a hands-free Bluetooth® mobile phone connection, anti-theft device and a rear view camera. A further option is a lifting system for the front axle - which raises the body at the touch of a button to ease negotiation of obstacles. New options include black painted "Cordelia" wheels.

The possibilities available in the "Ad Personam" individualization program are virtually inexhaustible. Behind this program stands the philosophy that a super sports car, as a significant expression of the personality of its owner, should fit perfectly to his desires and expectations. This is particularly true for a car as highly emotional as the Spyder. As a consequence, the finest exclusivity is the trademark of Lamborghini's individualization program. "Think the Impossible" is its motto.

"Ad Personam" offers a host of options to bring highly individual style to both the interior and exterior of a Lamborghini. One new highlight in the program is three matte-luster color options - Nero Nemesis (matte black), Bianco Canopus (matte white), Marrone Apus (matte brown). These colors, applied using a specialist and highly sophisticated process, bring particular emphasis to the purist precision of Lamborghini design.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The New Ford Fusion Hybrid

"Offering consumers more fuel-efficient vehicle choices, including improving and increasing our hybrid vehicle offerings, is part of Ford's broad plan to deliver technology solutions for affordable fuel economy for millions," Kuzak said.

"With the new Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids, we are now able to offer even better range of travel on battery power at a greater speed, thanks to a more efficient, seamless transition between the battery-powered motor and gasoline-driven engine," he said. "These new hybrids will exceed expectations on all fronts - fuel efficiency, comfort, convenience and drivability."

The Ford Hybrid team has developed a powertrain system that combines the best attributes of the gasoline engine and electric battery-driven motors to deliver the optimal experience for the customer in terms of driving performance and fuel economy. Additionally, the propulsion system for the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid transitions between gas and electric power and back more efficiently and seamlessly.

The overall system upgrade allows the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid to operate longer at higher speeds in electric mode. The hybrid vehicles can operate up to 47 mph in pure electric mode, approximately twice as fast as some competitors. Plus, the city driving range on a single tank of gas is expected to be more than 700 miles.

The next-generation hybrid system features:

  • New 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (155 horsepower/136 lb.-ft. of torque) running the proven Atkinson cycle mated to an electronically-controlled continuously variable transmission or e-CVT.
  • Intake Variable Cam Timing (iVCT), which allows the vehicle to more seamlessly transition from gas to electric mode and vice-versa. The spark and cam timing are varied according to the engine load to optimize efficiency and emissions.
  • Enhanced electronic throttle control reduces airflow on shutdowns, reducing fueling needs on restarts.
  • Wide-band lambda sensor analyzes the air-fuel ratio and adjusts the lean/rich mixture accordingly to keep the system in balance and to minimize emissions.
  • A new smaller, lighter nickel-metal hydride battery has been optimized to produce 20 percent more power. Improved chemistry allows the battery to be run at a higher temperature and it is cooled using cabin air.
  • An added variable voltage converter boosts the voltage to the traction battery to operate the motor and generator more efficiently.
  • A new high-efficiency converter provides 14 percent increased output to accommodate a wider array of vehicle features.
  • Smarter climate control system monitors cabin temperature and only runs the gas engine as needed to heat the cabin; it also includes an electric air conditioning compressor to further minimize engine use.
  • The regenerative brake system captures the energy normally lost through friction in braking and stores it. Nearly 94 percent energy recovery is achieved by first delivering full regenerative braking followed by friction brakes during city driving.
  • A simulator brake actuation system dictates brake actuation and delivers improved brake pedal feel compared to the previous generation braking system.

"Because our hybrid can run at a much higher speed in electric mode, you can do so much more in city-driving situations," said Gil Portalatin, Hybrid Applications Manager. "Under the right conditions, you can drive in your neighborhood or mall parking lots without using a drop of gasoline."

The Ford Fusion Hybrid also offers drivers a way to be more connected to the hybrid driving experience thanks to Ford's SmartGauge with EcoGuide, a unique instrument cluster execution that helps coach them on how to optimize performance of their hybrid.

SmartGauge with EcoGuide features two, high-resolution, full-color liquid crystal display (LCD) screens on either side of the analog speedometer that can be configured to show different levels of information, including fuel and battery power levels, average and instant miles-per-gallon.

EcoGuide uses a multi-layered approach to coach the driver to maximum fuel efficiency.

A tutorial mode built into the display that helps the driver learn about the instrument cluster and the hybrid in a whimsical way that does not overpower. Technical enthusiasts will love the detailed gauges that will help them learn to become more efficient in their driving. Everyday drivers will love another new feature in this same gauge cluster. Called "Efficiency Leaves," the system "grows" leaves and vines on-screen to reward customers for efficient driving.

Drivers can choose one of four data screens to choose the information level displayed during their drives. They are:

  • Inform: Fuel level and battery charge status
  • Enlighten: Adds electric vehicle mode indicator and tachometer
  • Engage: Adds engine output power and battery output power
  • Empower: Adds power to wheels, engine pull-up threshold and accessory power consumption

All levels can show instant fuel economy, fuel economy history, odometer, engine coolant temperature, what gear the car is in and trip data (trip fuel economy, time-elapsed fuel economy and miles to empty). The engine coolant temperature indicator turns green when engine conditions are warm enough to allow engine pull-down.

Several other elements help differentiate the Ford Fusion Hybrid from its gas-powered sibling, including unique hybrid "road and leaf" badging on both sides and the rear of the vehicle; unique 17-inch, eight-spoke wheels; eco-friendly seat fabric made from post-industrial 100 percent recycled materials; and a standard 110-volt power outlet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The New Mini E

The all-electric MINI E will be powered by a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor fed by a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery, transferring its power to the front wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox nearly without a sound and entirely free of emissions. Specially engineered for automobile use, the battery technology will have a range of more than 240 kilometers, or 150 miles. The MINI E will initially be made available to select private and corporate customers as part of a pilot project in the US states of California, New York and New Jersey. The possibility of offering the MINI E in Europe as well is currently being considered. The MINI E will give its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19 and 20, 2008. The BMW Group will be the world's first manufacturer of premium automobiles to deploy a fleet of some 500 all-electric vehicles for private use in daily traffic.

The MINI E's electric drive train produces a peak torque of 220 Newton meters, delivering seamless acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 152 km/h (95 mph). Featuring a suspension system tuned to match its weight distribution, the MINI E sports the brand's hallmark agility and outstanding handling.

By introducing the MINI E, the BMW Group is underscoring the resolve with which it works towards reducing energy consumption and emissions in road traffic. The BMW Group is drawing on its unique technological expertise in the field of drive systems to develop a vehicle concept enabling zero emissions without renouncing the joy of driving. Putting some 500 cars on the road under real daily traffic conditions will make it possible to gain widely applicable hands-on experience. Evaluating these findings will generate valuable know-how, which will be factored into the engineering of mass-produced vehicles.

The BMW Group aims to start series production of all-electric vehicles over the medium term as part of its Number ONE strategy. The development of innovative concepts for mobility in big-city conurbations within the scope of "project i" has a similar thrust, as its objective also includes making use of an all-electric power train.

The energy storage unit: cutting-edge lithium-ion technology engineered specifically for use in the MINI.

Based on the current MINI, the car will initially be available as a two-seater. The space taken up by back-seat passengers in the series model has been reserved for the lithium-ion battery. When in use in the zero-emissions MINI, the battery unit combines high output with ample storage capacity and a small footprint with power ratios that are unrivalled in this field of application so far. The lithium-ion storage unit will have a maximum capacity of 35 kilowatt hours (kWh) and transmit energy to the electric motor as direct current at a nominal 380 volts. The rechargeable battery is made up of 5,088 cells grouped into 48 modules. These modules are packaged into three battery elements that are compactly arranged inside the MINI E.

The energy storage unit's basic components are based on the technological principle that has proven itself in practice in power supplies for mobile phones and portable computers. The MINI E's lithium-ion battery can be plugged into all standard power outlets. Its charge time is strongly dependent on the voltage and amperage of the electricity flowing through the grid. In the USA, users can recharge a battery that has been completely drained within a very short period of time using a wallbox that will ship with every MINI E. The wallbox will be installed in the customer's garage, enable higher amperage, and thus provide for extremely short charging times. Wallboxes fully recharge batteries after a mere two-and-a-half hours.

Driven by electricity: reliably, affordably and free of emissions.

A full recharge draws a maximum of 28 kilowatt hours of electricity from the grid. Based on the car's range, a kilowatt hour translates into 5.4 miles. Besides the benefit of zero-emissions driving, the MINI E thus offers significant economic advantages over a vehicle powered by a conventional internal combustion engine as well.

The heavy-duty battery delivers its power to an electric motor, which transforms it into thrilling agility. Mounted transversely under the MINI E's bonnet, the drive train unleashes its full thrust from a dead standstill. This provides for the car's fascinating launch capability. The MINI E's intense driving experience is augmented by its dynamic deceleration potential, which is also directly coupled to the accelerator pedal. As soon as the driver releases the gas pedal, the electric motor acts as a generator. This results in braking force, and the power recovered from the kinetic energy is fed back to the battery. This interaction ensures extremely comfortable drives - especially at medium speed with constant, but marginal, variation. In city traffic, some 75 percent of all deceleration can be done without the brakes. Making substantial use of this energy recuperation feature extends the car's range by up to 20 percent.

Signature MINI agility in a new guise.

Weighing in at 1,465 kilograms (3.230 lbs), the MINI E has an even weight distribution. Minor modifications made to the suspension ensure safe handling at all times. The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has been adapted to this model's specific wheel loads.

The MINI E's brake system comes with a newly developed electric underpressure pump. Its Electrical Power Assisted Steering (EPS) is the same as the one used in mass-produced MINIs. Both brake and steering assistance react to driving conditions and are thus extremely efficient. Even the air conditioning's electrical compressor only operates if desired or necessary.

Design: unmistakably MINI, undoubtedly new.

At first glance, the MINI E is obviously an iteration of the brand. But its design, which is the blueprint for the zero-emissions two-seater, has been complemented by a number of visual cues that point to its revolutionary drive concept. All of the units produced for the pilot project will have the same paintwork and bear a serial number on their front fenders.

The MINI E's coachwork sports an exclusive combination of metallic Dark Silver on all panels but the roof, which is clad in Pure Silver. What distinguishes the zero-emissions MINI is a specially designed logo in Interchange Yellow, depicting a stylized power plug in the shape of an "E" set against the silver backdrop. It has been applied to the roof, in smaller dimensions to the front and back, to the charger port lid, the dashboard trim, and - combined with the MINI logo - to the door jamb, in slightly modified form. The color of the roof edges, mirror housings, interior style cues and seat seams will match the logo's yellow tone as well.

Moreover, the central gauge and the battery level indicator behind the wheel of the MINI E, which replaces the MINI's rev counter, feature yellow lettering against a dark grey background. The battery level is displayed in percentage figures. The central gauge includes an LED display indicating power consumption in red and power recuperation in green.

MINI E customers will be part of a pioneering mission.

A 500-unit, limited-production MINI E series will be manufactured through the end of 2008. The project will thus attain an order of magnitude that clearly exceeds the size of currently comparable test series. Putting the MINI E on the road on a daily basis will be a pioneering feat to which both the drivers and engineers of the first zero-emissions MINI will contribute as a team.

MINI E customers will join forces with BMW Group experts to assist in the project's scientific evaluation. MINI E engineers accord high importance to staying in touch with the drivers on a regular basis, as this will help them analyze driver behavior besides vehicle characteristics in order to gain the most accurate and realistic picture of the demands placed on a vehicle with a purely electrical drive in the select usage areas.

Special charging station and full service for every MINI E.

The cars will change hands based on a one-year lease with an extension option. Monthly lease installments will cover any required technical service including all necessary maintenance and the replacement of wearing parts. At the end of the lease, all of the automobiles belonging to the project will be returned to the BMW Group's engineering fleet where they will be subjected to comparative tests.

The MINI E's lithium-ion battery can be charged using a wallbox provided to MINI customers. Only lockable garages or similar buildings will qualify as homebases and power stations for the MINI E.

Maintenance by qualified specialists.

The electric drive's high-voltage technology requires that maintenance work be done by qualified personnel using special tools that are not included in MINI service partners' standard toolboxes. In light of this, a service base will be set up on both coasts, staffed by service engineers that are specially trained to perform maintenance and repair work on the MINI E's electrical components. In the event of drive malfunction, these experts will provide professional support at the customer's local MINI dealer or the service base's specially equipped workshop. Technical inspections will take place after 3,000 miles (just under 5,000 kilometers) and at least after six months.

Production in Oxford and Munich.

The MINI E has already gone through the major phases of product development for mass-produced vehicles and passed numerous crash tests on the way. Aspects investigated besides passenger protection were the impact of collision forces on the lithium-ion battery and finding a non-hazardous location for it in the car. The MINI E's energy storage unit emerged completely unscathed from all of the crash tests mandated by US standards, which are especially high.

Production of the approximately 500 cars will take place at the company's Oxford and Munich sites and is scheduled for completion before the end of 2008. MINI's UK plant will be responsible for manufacturing the entire vehicle with the exception of the drive components and the lithium-ion battery, with the brand's series models rolling off its assembly lines concurrently. The units will then be transferred to a specially equipped manufacturing complex situated on BMW plant premises where the electric motor, battery units, performance electronics and transmission will be integrated.

Technical Specifications

  • Doors: 3
  • Seats: 2
  • Length: 3.714 mm (146.2")
  • Width: 1.683 mm (66.3")
  • Height: 1.407 mm (55.4")
  • Wheelbase: 2,467 mm (97.1")
  • Track
    • front: 1,453 mm (57.2")
    • rear: 1,461 mm (57.5")
  • Turning circle: 10.7 m (35.1 feet)
  • Curb weight: 1.465 kg (3.230 lbs)
  • Payload: 195 kg (430 lbs)
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 1,660 kg (3,656 lbs)
  • Cargo space (DIN): 60 l
  • Engine
    • Type: Electric motor
    • Motor type: Asynchronous motor
    • Power output: 204 hp (150 kw)
    • Torque: 220 Nm (from idle)
    • Max. RPM (cut off): 12,500 rpm
  • Electrical System
    • Battery capacity: 35kWh, approx. 28kWh of which useable
    • Battery weight: 260 kg (573 lbs)
    • Charging time
      • 23.6 h @ 110 V/12 A (1.3 kW)
      • 4.4h @ 240 V/32 A (7.0 kw)
      • 2.9h @ 240V/48 A (10.6 kW)
    • Battery design: 53 cells connected in parallel constitute a unit, 2 units connected in series constitute a module, 48 modules connected in series constitute the battery; 5,088 individual cells in total
    • Battery cooling: Air cooling via temperature-, load- and speed-sensitive fans
    • Battery location: Extends rearward from the heel plate; replaces the rear seat bench
    • Peak current: Short bursts of up to 900A
  • Running Gear
    • Front wheel suspension: Single-joint McPherson spring strut axle with anti-dive control
    • Rear wheel suspension: Longitudinal link with centrally mounted control arms, z axis
    • Front brakes: Vented disc, Diameter: 294 mm (11.6")
    • Rear brakes: Disc, Diameter: 259 mm (10.2")
    • Road stability systems: DSC adapted to modified curb weight and wheel load (always on), low-friction recuperation control via DSC, ELUP (electronic underpressure pump) brake boost
    • Steering: Rack and pinion with electronic power steering (EPS)
    • Total steering transmission ratio: 14.1:1
    • Type of transmission: Single-stage helical gearbox, derived from the Cooper S helical gearbox
    • Axle load distribution
      • front: 750 kg (1,651 lbs)
      • rear: 715 kg (1,575 lbs)
    • Tires: All-season Runflat 16"
  • Performance Ratings
    • Power-to-weight ratio (DIN): 9.76 kg/kW
    • Acceleration 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 8.5 s
    • Top speed: 152 km/h (95 mph)
    • Range (FTP 72): 240 km (150 miles)
    • Consumption (FTP 72): 0.12kWh/km (0.19 kWh/mls)
    • CO2 Emission: 0 g/km