Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Concept: Volkswagen BlueSport

Maximum driving fun with minimal fuel consumption - This is the standard by which Volkswagen is starting the new car year 2009 and is presenting the roadster VW BlueSport Concept at the 2009 North American International Auto Show. "The BlueSport proves to be a compact and passionate car with a clear Volkswagen signature. The car offers pure dynamics with a powerful 180 PS Clean Diesel engine that is combined with the characteristic Volkswagen philosophy of efficiency," confirmed Volkswagen's Chairman of the Board, Prof. Martin Winterkorn in Detroit.

The Volkswagen BlueSport Concept is making its appearance at the car show in Detroit with a Flex Silver exterior and orange fabric convertible top. "It is the symbiosis of outstanding technology and timeless Volkswagen design that makes this car an exceptional sports car. Its styling is clear and is reduced to the essentials; the car body itself has a lean and linear structure", explains Volkswagen chief designer Walter de Silva. The interior shows finesse in details and conveys a high level of technological fascination. Immediately visible to the eye is the intuitive and easy to operate touchscreen. Perfectly adapted to the interior are the leather upholstered seats in lightweight construction with their single-piece seatbacks.

Behind the two sport seats of the 3.99 meter long Volkswagen BlueSport Concept, a 132 kW / 180 PS strong Clean Diesel (TDI) with common rail injection and downstream NOx storage catalytic converter delivers dynamic performance. A 6-speed DSG dual clutch transmission - the most economical and agile transmission system in the world - transfers power to the rear wheels. In just 6.6 seconds the sports car is moving at 100 km/h; its top speed is 226 km/h. Also having a positive impact on the car's low fuel consumption of just 4.3 l/100 km and reduced emissions are two technologies that are part of the so-called Eco mode: an automatic start-stop system and energy regeneration. Together they propel the Volkswagen BlueSport Concept to an additional fuel savings of up to 0.2 liter per 100 kilometers in city driving.

The New Chevrolet Volt

New era in automotive transportation

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

The Volt uses electricity to move the wheels at all times and speeds. For trips up to 60 km, the Chevrolet Volt is powered only by electricity stored in its 16-kWh, lithium-ion battery. When the battery's energy is depleted, a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator seamlessly provides electricity to power the Volt's electric drive unit while simultaneously sustaining the charge of the battery. This mode of operation extends the range of the Volt for several hundred additional kilometers, until the vehicle's battery can be charged. Unlike a conventional battery-electric vehicle, the Volt eliminates "range anxiety," giving the confidence and peace of mind that the driver will not be stranded by a depleted battery.

The Chevrolet Volt can be plugged into a standard household 230v outlet for charging. The vehicle's intelligent charging technology enables the Volt's battery to be charged in less than three hours. Charge times are reduced if the battery has not been fully depleted. GM estimates that it will cost less than one euro at night for a full charge that will deliver up to 60 km of electric driving.

Charged up for performance

On the road, the Chevrolet Volt offers spirited driving performance in a remarkably quiet interior. More than 220 lithium-ion cells contained within the Volt's battery pack provide ample power. The Volt's electric drive unit delivers the equivalent of 150 hp/110 kW, 370 Nm of instant torque, and a top speed of 161 km/h. The lack of engine noise, combined with special sound-deadening materials, makes the Chevrolet Volt an extremely quiet vehicle to drive.

GM estimates that the Chevrolet Volt will cost about two euro cents per km to drive while under battery power, compared to 12 euro cents per km using gasoline priced at €1.50 per liter. For an average driver who drives 60 km per day (or 22,000 km per year), this amounts to cost savings of €2,200 annually. Using night-time electricity rates, GM estimates that an electrically driven kilometer in a Volt will be about one-sixth of the cost of a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle.

The Chevrolet Volt is expected to be built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing facility, subject to GM successfully negotiating satisfactory government incentives. Production is scheduled to begin late 2010 for models in the United States. Pricing has not been announced.

Chevrolet Volt: What is an E-REV?

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a front-wheel-drive, four-passenger Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) that uses electricity as its primary power source and gasoline as its secondary power source to propel the vehicle.

An E-REV like the Chevrolet Volt represents a significant departure from conventional hybrids. In a E-REV, the wheels are turned by an electric drive unit, whereas in conventional hybrids the wheels are turned by an electric motor, a gasoline engine, or both. For short trips, E-REVs will run on battery power alone.

For longer trips, additional electricity can be supplied by an internal combustion engine or a fuel cell. The battery and propulsion systems are sized so that when sufficient energy is available from the battery, the engine (or fuel cell) is not required for operation. During this electric only phase of driving, the battery, motor, and power electronics are designed to deliver full performance, acceleration, top speed, hill climbing on electric power alone.

How Chevrolet Volt works

Energy is stored on board in a 16-kWh, "T"-shaped lithium-ion battery pack. The battery pack powers the electric drive unit, which is capable of meeting full vehicle speed and acceleration performance while driving the car electrically for up to 60 kilometers (based on MVEG city cycle) without using a drop of gas. For longer trips, the Chevrolet Volt's on-board range-extending engine is used to drive an electric generator when the battery's energy has been depleted. The range extender, which can be powered by gas/E85 Ethanol, is able to generate additional electricity to power the car for hundreds of miles.

Chevrolet Volt: Fast Facts

  • The 2011 Chevrolet Volt is a front-wheel-drive, four-passenger Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) that uses electricity as its primary energy source and gasoline as its secondary energy source to propel the vehicle. Energy is stored on board in a 16-kWh, "T"-shaped lithium-ion battery pack. The battery pack powers the electric drive unit, which is capable of meeting full vehicle speed and acceleration performance while driving the car electrically for up to 60 kilometers (based on MVEG city cycle) without a drop of gas. For longer trips, the Volt's on-board range-extending engine is used to drive an electric generator when the battery's energy has been depleted. The range extender, which can be powered by gas/E85 Ethanol, is able to generate additional electricity to power the car for hundreds of miles.
  • The Chevy Volt will use no gasoline and produce no emissions for up to 60 kilometers of daily driving, helping to save approximately 1,900 liters of gasoline a year (compared to a similar sized vehicle that averages 7.8 l/100 km).
  • GM estimates that drivers who travel 100 kilometers a day (more than 33,500 kilometers miles per year) could save about 2,100 liters of gasoline annually (compared to a similar size vehicle that averages 7.8 l/100 km).
  • The Chevrolet Volt operates differently from all other propulsion systems. An electric drive unit (electric motor) drives the wheels at all times and at all speeds. The Volt's range-extending engine serves only to create electricity to power the vehicle beyond 60 kilometers.
  • Depending on the drive cycle, an E-REV like the Chevrolet Volt will eliminate most initial engine starts and substantially reduce associated vehicle emissions.
  • Thanks to instantaneous torque, the Chevy Volt will be a fun-to-drive car with quick acceleration.
  • At current prices per kilowatt hour, GM estimates that an electrically driven kilometer in a Chevrolet Volt will cost about one-sixth compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. It is estimated that it will cost about 0.02 euro per kilometer to drive electrically vs. 0.12 euro using gasoline at current prices.
  • Most Chevy Volts are likely to be charged off-peak in the evening or overnight when consumption is lower, potentially further reducing the cost of recharging.
  • Charging the Chevrolet Volt about once daily will consume less electric energy annually than the average home's refrigerator and freezer units.
  • At a cost of about 1 euro a day for a full charge that will deliver up to 60 kilometers of electric driving, for most owners the Volt will be less expensive to recharge than purchasing a daily cup of your favorite branded coffee.
  • The beautiful aerodynamic design of the Chevrolet Volt production car helps to improve both fuel economy and driving performance.
  • GM's Board of Directors approved the production of the Chevrolet Volt. The targeted launch date is late 2010 as a 2011 model.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The New Kia Soul

Kia Motors America (KMA) announced the North American debut of the all-new Kia Soul passenger vehicle at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. Designed in Southern California, the Kia Soul is the newest product offering to join the company's ever-expanding line-up, following the introduction of the all-new Borrego midsize SUV earlier this year. Soul's bold and edgy design is indicative of the new Kia design theme, with more package and styling combinations than any previous Kia vehicle. With Soul's arrival as an early model year 2010 vehicle to the C-Segment, it allows young and young-at-heart buyers to have the freedom to truly personalize and emotionally connect with their vehicle.

"The Kia Soul is for those who love individuality but don't like to be categorized by finding the next best thing," said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing, KMA. "Indicative of the new design direction of KMA, Soul is an attractive and customizable vehicle for those looking for something with a little more personality than other vehicles on the market today.

Edgy and Confident Exterior

Originally debuted as a concept vehicle at Detroit's North American International Auto Show in 2006, Kia Soul's exterior remains true to the original Kia Soul concept design implying power and strength. With an angled window line, rounded nose, large flared back headlamps and chrome grille, the Kia Soul is given a friendly face and exudes a youthful exuberance for coasting along the beach or cruising downtown city streets, redefining the concept of freedom.

The beltline rises from the front wheel arch to create a gentle wedge shape and continues under and around the rear side window. The rear is dominated by the vertical combination rear lamps set into the body color panel with clear outer lenses. The body and wheel arch crease line extends around the bumper for a tough, not rough, style matching the look from the front.

Available in four trims, Soul, Soul+, Soul! (exclaim) and Soul sport, the versatile five-door offers plenty of standard features. The Kia Soul includes black door handles and side mirrors, body-colored bumpers, rear wiper/washer and 15-inch steel wheels fitted with P195/65R15 tires. Upgrading slightly to the Soul+ offers keyless remote entry, solar glass, privacy glass on the rear side and rear windows body-color handles and power side mirrors along with 16-inch alloy wheels with P205/55R16 tires. Enhancing to the Soul! adds power moonroof, fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels furnished with P225/45R18 tires, while the dynamic Soul sport features side sills, rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear fascias, wholly personifying the sporty, urban look Soul embodies.

Spacious, State-of-the-Art Interior

Inside the cabin is where Kia Soul really shows its power to surprise. For those who want a personal lounge on wheels or an efficient cargo carrier with 14 storage zones, Soul has it covered. While Kia Soul offers a relatively small footprint, it offers a surprisingly spacious interior. Passengers will find comfort in the roomy cabin. All five adult passengers will find ingress and egress simple and effortless, credited to tall doors and a high seating position, and each Kia Soul will be able to have its own personality thanks to multiple options for interiors with different colors, fabrics and audio system packages available for selection.

The Soul's interior design is decidedly influenced by the car's highly specified audio system. An uncluttered dashboard with a three-dial instrument cluster, LCD illumination, a floating center stack design is the key visual feature and offers enticing access to the AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system outfitted with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities and three months complimentary service . Standard auxiliary and USB input jacks also can be found in the center console with full iPod® controllability via the audio head unit and steering wheel controls.

Additional standard interior features include a tilt steering column, power door locks, power windows with driver's side auto-down, map lamps and a rear wiper and washer. Stylishly appointed cloth seats provide comfortable seating while a 60/40 split-folding rear seat offers multiple seating and cargo arrangements depending on driver and passenger needs.

Soul+ offers additional standard features including air conditioning, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, privacy glass and tweeter speakers. Available upgrades for the Soul+ trim include an audio upgrade package power moonroof and floor mats, which become standard on the Soul!. Advancing to the Soul! adds unique beige-black interior trim and cloth seats and metal-finish trim. For the Soul! and Soul sport, an Audio Upgrade Package enhances the sound with center speaker, subwoofer and 315-watt external amplifier.

For consumers with more athletic and active lifestyles looking for even more excitement, the Kia Soul sport offers a sport-tuned suspension, metal pedals, unique red-black interior trim with sport cloth seats and metal-finish trim.

Advanced Platform/Chassis

Kia Soul is different, right down to its all-new platform. With its own distinctive style, Soul features front-wheel drive, a high roofline and an unusually long wheelbase. Built on a platform with a wheelbase of 100.4 inches, an overall length of 161.6 inches, an overall width of 70.3 inches and overall height of 63.4 inches the Soul offers a comfortable interior with roomy seating for up to five passengers. With more than 70 percent high-tensile-strength steel to enhance structural strength without adding a lot of weight, the all-new, Kia-engineered body achieves high torsional stiffness, benefiting handling, ride quality and refinement. Additional measures to help ensure good noise vibration and harshness (NVH) qualities are fitted throughout the Kia Soul.

Mounted on the front sub frame that supports the engine and transmission, the Kia Soul is fitted with a fully independent front and twist-beam rear suspension system, with front MacPherson struts and coil springs, designed to deliver responsive handling and an agile ride. In the rear, the Soul suspension is sub-frame-mounted with a transverse torsion beam axle with trailing arms for a smooth ride and minimum intrusion into the cargo space. For optimal space, the rear anti-roll stabilizer bar is mounted inside the torsion beam.

Under-the-Hood Options

Kia Soul offers an agile, smooth and spirited ride. Its 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which produces approximately 120 horsepower. For those looking for a little more power, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is available with either the five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic transmission. The latter engine produces approximately 140 horsepower, and is available for Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport. Fuel economy for both engines is estimated at 30 or more miles per gallon.

Standard Kia Safety Features

Kia Soul continues to offer the same high level of standard safety equipment as all Kia vehicles, with features such as front seat active headrests, dual front advanced airbags, front seat-mounted and full-length side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). An antilock brake system (ABS) with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC), and rear disc brakes are standard on Soul+, Soul! and Soul sport models.

Industry-Leading Warranty

Like all Kia models, Soul is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty, and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the comprehensive coverage program.

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 appliqu├ęs.

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.