Auto parts and accesories

Posted on by Alexander +

There are many aftermarket tuning firms in the world that can take your everyday ride and turn it into a true work of art. For some, it’s a matter of paint and pizzazz; for others, it’s all about high-end parts and mechanical know-how. From the makers of the Ford Mustang Bosch Iridium Edition RTR that was given away at the 2011 SEMA Auto Show comes another piece of the automotive puzzle: the Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plug.

Bosch’s advertising spree for their new line of spark plugs uses a tool that most of us use on a daily basis: our gut. These hilarious commercials show a man who uses his gut to make his everyday decisions, such as knowing when two new beers are in order, knowing when to shut up when his wife is nagging at him to get out of the garage, and apparently, knowing when Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plugs need to be the chosen ones for his car.

"Bosch Iridium’s ultra-fine wire center electrode design improves ignitability, lowers voltage demand and delivers up to 4X longer service life versus standard copper core plugs. Laser welded iridium-platinum alloy inlay on the ground electrode resists cracking and potential loss for improved durability."

Bosch OE Fine Wire spark plugs can fit any American, European, and Asian engine.

When Nissan last updated us with their Project 370Z last month, they were still in the process of building the car’s powertrain, which, incidentally, was chosen by the fans.

Ever the quintessential power junkies, the fans wanted the car to have more power, so Nissan obliged by fitting in a Greddy twin turbo kit that increased the total output of the custom 370Z to an impressive 500 horsepower. To accommodate the increased output, Nissan also added a Greedy Ti-C catback exhaust system, a KW suspension kit, and a stop-tech big brake kit.

Moving on to Stage Two of Project 370Z, Nissan went about the interior design of the car, as well as putting it up on the dyno for some much-needed testing. Project 370Z mechanic Steve Lam can be seen on the video discussing the process involved in putting the 370Z up on the dyno, as well as the decisions made on the design of the sports car’s interior.

If you’ve been following this series, it’s a must-watch video. If you’re catching up, you can check out part one of the video series after the jump and work your way up to part two.

Collaborative efforts aren’t anything new in the car world. Companies have been borrowing bits and pieces from each other for years, but lately it seems as though full blown projects are being split between companies to develop almost identical vehicles. Take Subaru and Toyota , for example. They joined forces to develop the new GT 86 /BRZ sports car that carry identical parts with different maker flares. Now Fiat and Mazda are jumping on board the team builder wagon to produce a new small roadster based on Mazda’s next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.

The two companies will have to develop two differentiated, distinctly styled roadsters and each variant will be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand. Both models will be built at Mazda’s Hiroshima, Japan, plant with production for Alfa Romeo envisaged starting in 2015.

"Establishing technology and product development alliances is one of Mazda’s corporate objectives and this announcement with Fiat is an important first step in that direction. It is especially exciting to be collaborating with such a prestigious marque as Alfa Romeo on a new roadster based on the next-generation MX-5, which is such an iconic vehicle for Mazda and recognized as the best-selling roadster of all time." said Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda’s Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO.

"This agreement clearly demonstrates our commitment to Alfa Romeo and the determination to grow it into a truly global brand. By partnering with Mazda Mazda , we will be co-operating with the recognized leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition. We are appreciative of this collaboration with Mazda and look forward to maintaining a fruitful and continuous relationship." said Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Skoda Rapid

It was only yesterday that the new Skoda Rapid was caught testing on the famous Nurburgring track and just 24 hours later, the company whipped out yet another prototype, this time in a red exterior finish. What’s even better is that the interior was readily accessible to our photographers! Unfortunately, there was nothing revolutionary about the Rapid’s insides, but at least it’s another piece of the puzzle clicked into place. It looks like the Rapid will just be another new small family car.

The Skoda Rapid is inspired by the Mission L Concept unveiled at the 2012 Frankfurt Motor Show and will be placed between the Fabia and the Octavia in Skoda ’s line-up. It will be built on a standard platform, not the new MQB multi-vehicle platform, and will be offered with the latest engines and transmissions from the Volkswagen Group .

Expect to see the new Skoda Rapid launched in September at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 4

Welcome to Part II of our series on what the future holds for transmissions and just what technologies are on the rise and expected to overthrow the current might of the dual-clutch transmission. On the agenda today is a company by the name of Zeroshift, which is another British gearbox manufacturer who have been developing their seamless shifting transmission since 2002. They have come up with a recipe which they believe will eventually funnel down to millions of production cars.

If you thought Xtrac’s Instantaneous Gearshift System was hard to understand, then get a load full of how Zeroshift’s breakthrough transmission operates. The Zeroshift system replaces the standard synchromesh system with a pair of interlocking rings which overlap one another and are then mounted onto a dog ring. These two rings transfer torque in opposite directions resulting in the left-hand ring driving the gear to the right and the right-hand ring driving the gear to left.

Under hard acceleration, both rings are pulled to the side of first gear and just before the car hits maximum revs, one of the rings shifts over to the right in preparation of 2nd gear being selected. All said and done, the Zeroshift system can literally shift gears in zero seconds resulting in breathtaking acceleration capabilities.

In fact, Zeroshift’s managing director Bill Martin is so proud of this system that he is sure that if the Zeroshift system arrived first, dual-clutch transmissions would never have been invented.

As of yet no production cars are using this system, however the Joss JP1 , Australia’s first ever supercar, will be using Zeroshift’s seamless gear change technology when it hits the production line in a few years. In fact, this system is so effective that the Joss JP1 is capable of hitting 62 mph in less than 3.0 seconds and 100 mph in an incredible 6.0 seconds.

What’s more amazing about these performance times is that the JP1 is only expected to be fitted with a 6.6-liter V-8 engine producing around 500 horsepower, yet it can achieve similar performance times to that of the Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 and Pagani Huayra , both of which have significantly more powerful engines.

Oh yeah, and we forgot to mention that a top speed of 224 mph is also expected. Not bad for something coming from the ‘Land Down Under.’

Unfortunately, the Zeroshift seamless gear-change system is unlikely to hit mass production for a few more years, but it is clear that the double-clutch gearbox is coming to the end of its relatively short life.


There have been tons of rumors surrounding the engine choice for the next BMW M3 , ranging from a new V6 engine to an inline-six engine with tri-turbo (our favorite rumor), but now, the President of BMW North America, Mr. Ludwig Willisch has finally confirmed that the next M3 will feature an inline 6 layout - the same layout that will be used for the M4 .

Willisch also said that, at some point, BMW was indeed considering a V6 engine for the next M3, but in the end, this choice was dropped. What he didn’t specify was whether or not the new inline-6 engine will get bi-turbo or tri-turbo. Regardless of the technology, the future M3 will deliver at least 450 HP.

Ludwig Willisch also confirmed that the next M3 will be lighter, faster, more powerful, and more efficient than the current M3. It will be offered with an optional or standard manual transmission.

Don’t expect to see the new BMW M3 launched until late in 2013 or early 2014.

Source: F30 Post
Posted on by Brad Anderson 5

The dual-clutch transmission has undoubtedly changed the way we shift gears, with the Volkswagen Golf Mk4 R32 being one of the very first mass-produced cars to feature two clutches. In fact, dual-clutch transmissions have been around since the mid-1980’s when Porsche used them in a variety of Le Mans racing cars.

Since then, the demand for these futuristic gearboxes have rapidly increased, and numerous supercars released over the past few years use dual-clutch gearboxes, with the Ferrari 458 Italia being a prime example.

However, there are three big down sides to double-clutch transmissions:

1. They are generally significantly heavier than regular transmissions.

2. They do not come cheap if a replacement is needed.

3. They are also very costly to develop and produce.

As a result, some manufactures are refusing to use them, such as Lamborghini with their new ISR gearbox which operates on a similar principle but weighs a lot less. However, even Lamborghini’s latest gearbox may be short lived as there is a new wave of transmissions heading our way, which are promising zero shift times, as well as being cheaper and most importantly lighter.

One British company, Xtrac is currently developing what they hope will be that new wave of high performance transmissions. Xtrac may ring a bell with the motorsport fans out there as they build transmissions for Formula One, WRC, Dakar Rallying, and even Le Mans racers so there is no arguing their expertise in creating lightweight and quick-shifting ‘boxes.

Their latest creation is the Instantaneous Gearshift System, (IGS), which as its name suggests, promises to provide instantaneous gear changes. After reading how this system works over and over, we must admit, we still do not have a grip on exactly how it works, but here is our best attempt to describe it in layman’s terms.

Each gear has been individually mounted onto its very own ratcheting clutch system and this differs from ordinary transmissions where the gearshaft and the actual gears are connected via a synchromesh system. When operating, each gear is engaged in the selector system and also ratchets on the shaft until a number of sprung pawls click the gear into place. As a result of this advanced system, when changing up gears, the gearbox actually keeps the revs at the same level, so if you shift from 4th at 6,000 rpm up to 5th the revs will stay at 6,000 rpm.

However, this has no way of working as you could not accelerate, so a bit of driveline wind-up does the trick and forces the revs back down in less than a few milliseconds. This system is currently being used in motorsport so a bit of refinement is still needed to make it suitable for everyday use.

Tune in for Part II in the coming days to see how another British company, Zeroshift is aiming to knock the dual-clutch transmission out of the park with its brand new vision.

Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

The 2007 Shelby GT500 came out with a whopping total of 500 HP, before the power output jumped up to 540 HP in the 2010 model year . Both sets of numbers are rather significant, but with the 2013 Shelby GT500 pushing 650 HP upon its arrival, customers who own a 2007-2012 GT500 may feel as though they are at a disadvantage. Well, worry no more.

Shelby Performance Parts has announced a new supercharger kit for the 5.4-liter V8 engine that can add an impressive 300 HP to the GT500. This means, the total output can be increased to an amazing 840 HP!

The new kit will replace the stock roots-type supercharger and will add a new Competition Heat Exchanger and Shelby GT500 Competition Intercooler Tank to improve cooling performance. The new Competition Heat Exchanger will keep the intake charge cool, while the Competition Intercooler Tank can be filled with ice or dry ice to further reduce intake temperatures.

The bad part to all of this is that there are no pricing details associated with the package as of yet. We’re thinking an upgrade package of this caliber will run customers somewhere in the $5-6K area.

Source: MotorTrend
Hyundai Genesis

Just over 10 years ago, Hyundai was still pretty much the black sheep of the automotive industry. Despite the fact that the Hyundai Excel of the 1980s won several awards, Hyundai Hyundai ’s quality was still considered low and very few took them seriously. In the past 10 years, Hyundai has managed to dig itself out of the grave that it placed itself in and is now a legitimate competitor to import giants like Honda , Toyota , and Nissan .

Regardless of the brand’s recent resurgence, no one would ever suspect that the words “BMW” and “Hyundai” would ever be used in the same sentence, except in the case of someone saying “I can’t afford a BMW, but this Hyundai will do.” Well, that was until just now…

There are rumors being passed around the automotive world that Hyundai and BMW have been seen courting one another rather intensely, as reports indicate that Chung Euisun, the son of Hyundai’s chairman, and BMW brass were discussing sharing engine development costs.

These types of development sharing partnerships are not uncommon. Currently, we have Audi sharing its cost with VW , Toyota and Subaru joined up for the BRZ/GT 86/FR-S project, and in the past we have seen Ford and Mazda joining forces. However, those collaborations are all pretty much linear, as they are all on the same level with each other. With exception to the top-level Genesis sedan and Equus , Hyundai couldn’t be much more non-linear with BMW. In fact, Hyundai is pretty much the anti-BMW .

In reality though, Hyundai does build quality engines now and they still remain significantly cheaper than BMWs. With CAFE regulations becoming more of a reality every day, BMW needs to find a way to increase its vehicles’ fuel mileage without sharply increasing cost. Sharing some developmental cost with a company that produces quality and economically friendly engines just might do the trick.

As expected, both companies have adamantly denied any discussions of collaborating, but that means nothing in this day and age. Nearly every car company denies everything until they decide to officially release it.

We’ll keep you updated on this situation as more info comes out.

Image is of the 3.8-liter Lambda engine with direct injection (GDI) technology found in the 2012 Hyundai Genesis .

Source: Paul Tan

A few weeks ago, we let you in on the conversation that Car and Driver had with executives from Subaru and Toyota about the possibility of a turbocharger on the BRZ, GT 86 , and FR-S . It was a flat out “No” on the FR-S and an “Eh, maybe, but not now” on the BRZ and GT 86. Well, first off we think that’s a load of corporate horse manure, as Subaru and Toyota Toyota would be out of their engine control modules not to force at least 8 psi into that new jointly built 2.0-liter engine.

Apparently, Subaru is taking a nibble of the bait that us turbo junkies are tossing in the water, as it has just completed development on a turbocharged version of the FA20 engine used in the BRZ , GT 86, and FR-S family. This engine is not an identical twin to the FA20, so don’t go getting your hopes up yet, but it is its fraternal twin at least. The only real difference is that Subaru scrapped the Toyota fuel injection system in favor of its own direct-injection system.

So what kind of power are we talking about? We are hearing that it cranks out a whopping 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque! Now for the bad news… As of now, this engine is only slated to be dropped into the JDM-spec Legacy . To make things worse, Subaru is linking this awesome engine to a CVT. What a gigantic waste.

Don’t go getting all sad on us now, this is a good start that Subaru is willing to slap some boost on this puppy and get nearly 300 ponies and 300 twisting power. Now just imagine that in a BRZ…

So we will reiterate what we said before. Regardless of what smoke and mirrors Subaru and Toyota throw up there, we will see boost in at least the BRZ and GT 86, and we would be willing to bet a penny that we see the FR-S whistling down the road one day too.

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