Africa’s version of pebble beach de’elegance
was held in Kenya, where hundreds of classic vehicles and motorbikes were paraded in front of eager enthusiasts at the just concluded 40th edition of the AccesKenya Africa Concours de elegance.
Organised by the prestigious Alfa Romeo club of Kenya, the Concours is a platform where vintage classics are displayed to fans and enthusiast alike.
This event traces its roots back to the 17th Century French aristocracy, who paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris during summer weekends and holidays.
Over time, carriages became horseless and the gatherings became a competition among automobile owners to be judged on the appearance of their automobiles
Every year hundreds of classic cars and motorcycles take part in the Concours d’elegance at the Nairobi Race Course. Kenyan and overseas competitors flaunt everything from Bentleys and Volkswagens to Saab’s and Alfa Romeos.
There were 12 vehicle classes and 8 motorcycle categories. Renowned Judges with a trained eye inspected the vehicles inside out, and no bolt or nut is left unexamined. At the end of the show there was a lively and exciting procession of all the cars around the course, the highlight of which are the pre-1940s vehicles.
The 1972 Triumph Hurricane motorcycle shipped in all the way from England won the classic motorcycle category, and reigning champion; the 1928 Ford model A vehicle scooped pole position for the classic vehicle category two years in a row.
The judges had a field day as they checked and assessed to the last detail the condition of the vehicles, including the judging of attire adorned by the participants.
This year’s classic event was the biggest, with spectator numbers hitting past the ten thousand mark. Numerous competitors from far and wide came to grace the event, with the Ugandan motorcycle association fielding a huge contingent of motorcycles competing in the Concours d’elegance.
After the shock identity revelation of Top Gear’s
famed tamed racing driver, word has it that he has apparently been sacked from the show after he announced the release of his new autobiography. The book is said to be released on September 16.
Reports making rounds in the UK say BBC has already hired a replacement ‘Stig’.
His new replacement was spotted at a recent Nurburgring car event whilst, at the same time, Ben Collins was photographed at his home in western UK.
It’s unknown what the Top Gear crew was filming exactly but it certainly puts an end to the Stig’s mystery identity and to Ben Collins’ great job as the world’s most famous test driver.
Ben Collins owns his own autosport company which specialises in all things racing and driving. Collins himself has raced in Formula 3, British Touring cars, the FIA GT Championship and even in our own Bathurst V8 Supercar race teamed with Nathan Pretty in the Kelly/Jack Daniel’s Racing car. He’s also been the test driver for various NASCAR teams and has even tested Formula 1 cars.
Collins’ stint as the Stig started in 2003, giving him a good seven years of solid fun behind the wheel of almost every modern sports and exotic car you care to mention. He might have been sacked, but he’s certainly provided us with a lot of great comparisons and even showcased some funny acting skills.
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton lead from start to finish at the
thrilling Belgian GP to seize back the Formula 1 championship lead from Red Bull’s Mark Webber.
Hamilton’s victory, despite a near contact with the barriers in the challenging conditions ranging from dry to wet, drifted him three points away from second-placed Webber at the top of the standings with six races remaining.
The success, his third of the season, contrasted to team mate and reigning World champion Jenson Button’s misfortune on a sweet and sour day for the British team and its two World champions
Button, running behind Hamilton i was shunted out of the race by title rival Sebastian Vettel on lap 17 of 44.
Vettel was given a drive-through penalty for causing a collision and then plunged further back through the field after tangling with Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi and puncturing his own left rear tyre. He ended up 15th and out of the points for the third time in 2010.
Poland’s Robert Kubica finished third for Renault, losing second with a pit stop error but still taking a morale-boosting result for a team who this time in 2009 became embroiled in a major race-fixing scandal that led to a suspended permanent ban.
Hamilton now has 182 points to Webber’s 179 and Vettel’s 151. Button is on 147 and Red Bull stays ahead of McLaren in the Constructors’ standings by a single point.
When you drive through
mall parking lots in the U.K,the site of an Aston martin DB9 wouldn’t be a shocker to any one,but in Kenya it caused a stir at a famous mall parking lot as curious onlookers shoved each other to get a glimpse of this silver Aston martin which is very rare in Kenya, considering that its a country full of Japanese cars and trucks.
with a growing economy,stable political climate and a fledging middle-class,a chunk-full of Kenyans are purchasing luxury sports cars and driving them in Kenyan highways.
since there are no official dealers of Aston martin in Kenya,i suggest they should take a closer look at Kenya as a the next frontier for the luxury marque.
Japanese car maker Mazda is recalling hundreds of thousands of vehicles around the world because they could lose power steering without warning.the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show the Mazda recall stems from a customer complaint in the Japanese market in March 2008.models affected are the Mazda 3 and 5 MPV.
Mazda said the vehicles under recall could experience a "sudden loss" of power steering, increasing the risk of a crash
Mazda warned dealers worldwide to monitor vehicles for the problem
. The notification did not detail any incidents.
The defect occured because rust could break lose from a high-pressure pipe, straining the power steering pump and causing the system to shut down, the Japanese automaker said.
At the time Mazda warned dealers worldwide to monitor vehicles for the problem but did not issue a safety recall because the problem remained relatively rare.
Earlier in 2010, however, Mazda said it realised that more US owners were experiencing the loss of power steering and in June, the NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation of the problem.
Mazda also said it was facing a shortage of parts to repair recalled vehicles at dealers.
The Mazda recall comes as the automaker’s larger rival Toyota faces continuing scrutiny of its handling of safety recalls. It was fined a record $16.4-million by the NHTSA, the maximum then allowed, for moving too slowly to recall vehicles with defective accelerator pedals.
Keen Top Gear fans like me have always wondered on the identity of Top gear’s test track driver The Stig;well they tried to pull our legs by revealing that the Stig was Michael Schumacher back in season 13,but this weekend the true identity of the Stig has been revealed as British stock touring champ Ben Collins.
A recent report by the Sunday Times in England revealed a contract that was signed by Collins Autosport – a company owned by Ben Collins – and the BBC, in 2003.
The contract stated Collins Autosport would provide ‘driving services for the BBC, mainly in the Top Gear program,’ offering ‘good long-term prospects and continuing income.’
Although no names are specifically mentioned in the contract, speculators say BBC signed with the Collins company on purpose so names couldn’t be isolated.
The news isn’t much of a surprise to the deepest of Top Gear fans though. About two years ago, Ben Collins was reported to have identified himself as the Stig in a photo frame shop in Bristol, UK. Reports said Ben approached the shop worker with a very unique portrait of the Stig and said that it was him.
Keen fans of the older episodes may also remember Ben Collins stepping in as the in-house stunt driver for various skits and challenges, openly introduced as Ben Collins.
So although the news isn’t completely definite, hard evidence is difficult to ignore. No word yet if the character will remain in the show, or if Ben will continue to work for the BBC program. Fans and producers are worried that dropping the character off the show may impair its overall success.
Source:The Sunday Times.
Italian sports car maker Lamborghini Spa will assemble its four dour sports car Estoque in China.with its fledging and growing auto industry,China seems to be the next frontier in vehicle sales considering most of the luxury car makers have already pitched tents in China as their source of growth and profits.
Well, those are the rumours anyway. A couple of weeks ago, Lamborghini CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, said Lamborghini is considering production of the Estoque as it could boost sales for the company. Reports to come from Chinese media publications and Gasgoo.com are now saying the Estoque will indeed be built and in China.
As far as i’m concerned , the Estoque hasn’t undergone thorough testing or development and is not ready for production,but with the launch of its rivals the Aston martin Rapide, Audi’s A7 and refreshed Mercedes CLS,its hard for Lamborghini to sit back and watch other car makers reap huge profits.
Chinese media sites are getting very excited about this rumour – whether true or not – and have even found a price tag for the concept. Sources say the Estoque will cost US$589,000 The websites also say the car will go into production in 2012. We’ll have to keep an eye on this one and try to figure out if these rumours are true.
Current World champion Sebastien Loeb edged closer to become the greatest rally driver ever with his seventh consecutive title when he won the 2010 German rally .
the budding Frenchman displayed spectacular finesse from day one as he took full control despite fierce competition from countryman
Ogier and Dani Sordo who tried to match his pace.
The 36-year-old Citroen driver stormed to the final "Circus Maximus" inner-city stage in Trier with an overall 51.3sec gap over fellow Citroen driver Dani Sordo after a three-day rally that included the world championship’s longest stage - the 48km Panzerplatte.
this was Loeb’s eighth consecutive German rally win ;in fact, nobody else has won a World championship rally in that country since Germany was added to the WRC
calendar back in 2003.
a happy soundind loeb said ‘
To win here for the eighth time is fantastic. We never had any problems during this rally. I think I had a perfect run."
Citroen made a hatrick by sweeping the podium with junior team driver Sebastien Ogier in third place. Ford’s Jari-Matti Latvala was fourth and Petter Solberg fifth in a privately entered Citroen.
Former Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen grabbed victory on the final stage of the race, through Trier, Germany’s oldest town.
Raikkonen, World champion with Ferrari in 2007, quit GP racing at the end of the 2009 season to compete in the World Rally championship with Citroen.
This was Loeb’s 59th World championship win. He now has 191 World championship points, 58 ahead of compatriot Ogier in second.
source:AP and wrc.com
With only six weeks to go to the grand opening of the much awaited 2010 Paris auto show, Kia has thrown a spanner in the works with leaked images of its electric vehicle codenamed Pop. The first "leaks" are out already - here’s Kia new battery concept, which will be officially revealed in Paris on September 30.This is seen as a marketing stunt to increase the hype for this weird vehicle.
the controversial Pop defies the conventional with its huge doors and unusual cabin layout and innovative use of LED head and tail lights is evident on the photo leak.
Kia’s latest concept car is, of course, emissions-free as long as it’s running; where you get the power to recharge its battery is another matter, as Kia admits.
The Pop is only three metres long but seats three, "bringing innovative design language and dramatic styling to the city-car segment", says the maker. Further information, it has promised, will be released in due course.
Following the footstep of the cherry electric vehicle, the race to create practical and affordable electric cars in china has heated up with news that Dongfeng Motor Corp (China’s third-biggest automotive manufacturer) is set to invest 3 billion Yuan ($487 million) in the next five years to create hybrid and electric vehicles.
For starters, the company will manufacture hybrid cars that have both gasoline and electric motors before it moves into full electric passenger cars. According to the Shanghai Daily, Dongfeng will even go as far as creating its own batteries. Most of the manufactures diving in to the electric car business have invested heavily in battery research and development centers,so as to be able to increase the mileage for their electric cars.
Details of Dongfeng electric vehicle are scanty, as to exact specifications of its electric or hybrid vehicles, its highly likely that the hybrid technology will be borrowed more from joint-venture partners Honda and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA.
Dongfeng’s aim is to sell around 150,000 hybrid and electric vehicles by 2015 (split 2/3 towards hybrid) with sales expected to eventually make up at least 20 percent of Dongfeng overall sales.
The Chinese government recently announced that it will subsidize the cost price of alternative fuel cars in five cities.
With the quest to increase the capacity of battery powered vehicles, a group of enthusiasts from Australia, Germany, and Switzerland have set off in their battery powered vehicles on what’s being billed as the "longest and greenest" round-the-world drive to promote emissions-free transport and November’s world climate conference.
The UN-supported "Zero Race" has been organized by a Swiss Louis Palmer, who made headlines with his 18-month pioneering world tour in a solar-powered "taxi" two years ago, picking up celebrities on the way.
Palmer said: "With this race we want to show that seven billion people on this planet need renewable energy and clean mobility. Petrol is running out and the climate crisis is coming, and we are all running against time."
A Korean vehicle failed to reach the start line at the United Nations in Geneva in time after it broke down with "a minor battery problem" about 60km up the road, Palmer said, but would join the other three teams later in the day.
The Zero Race team is set to stop off at the World Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico, after touring through Europe, Russia, China, Canada, and the United States before heading back to Geneva in January 2011.
Hit the jump for the full story.
Sports car maker Porsche has recently become very ambitious; recent reports say Porsche wants to tap in to the compact sports coupe-segment and might expand its future showroom range and incorporate a smaller, entry-level model, below the Boxster in terms of specification and price.
with Porsche owning a substantial stake in Volkswagen ,platform sharing seems to be the way to go,thats why sources say the new vehicle will share the same chassis with the Volkswagen BlueSport Concept,which hasn’t been confirmed for production yet.
the car received overwhelming amount of positive feedback while being exhibited at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show will be hard to ignore,the new smaller Porsche could be using the Volkswagen BlueSport Concept platform. Reports from Autocar say Volkswagen Group is planning on producing three versions of the BlueSport, one of which will be the entry-level VW-badged model, an Audi version and then a Porsche ‘baby Boxster’ version. Sources say the new entry-level Porsche could be priced at around the $70,000 mark if plans go ahead.
It looks like Toyota isn’t alone in the faulty steering column business;Kia’s pride and joy Soul MPV, is being investigated by US government regulators for potential loss of steering control. With its extraordinary design language, it caught the eye many young urban motorists yearning for different type of MPV.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Monday it had received one complaint alleging complete steering loss. The preliminary investigation covers more than 50 000 vehicles.
The complaint said the steering column detached from the steering wheel, leading to a complete loss of steering, and the column fell into a position that interfered with the driver’s ability to brake.
The government agency seldom opens an investigation based on one complaint but said it was "very concerned about this failure in that it occurred without warning on a new vehicle at low distance and resulted in a complete loss of steering as well as a compromised brake system"
The person who filed the complaint had owned the car for for two months
The person who filed the complaint had owned the car for two months and had driven 6900km in it.
Kia launched the Soul early in 2009 and has posted strong sales for the funky compact wagon, helped by a memorable advertising campaign featuring rapping hamsters dressed in baggy clothes and hoodies.
The Soul was among 27 vehicles from the 2010 model year that received the "top safety pick" award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Vehicles are selected for providing the best protection in front, side and rear crash tests based on Institute evaluations during the year.
A couple of weeks ago, Bugatti made a worthwhile statement with their Veyron SS speed monster. This beast was capable of hitting an average top speed of 267mph, effectively placing it in the Guinness Book of Records. Koenigsegg wasn’t just going to sit back and let Bugatti take all of the glory, so they prepared their new Agera hypercar to effectively beat the Veyron Super sports’ top speed. And who better to test it than the men of Top Gear.
The man behind the Agera super car, Christian von Koenigsegg, isn’t a man to be reckoned with. He’s one of the few people who have both the will and the means to silence Bugatti of its record-topping Veyron SS. According reliable reports, his aim is to do just that, and his new Agera is just the machine to do it.
Coincidentally, it was the men of Top Gear who first gave the news of the Bugatti’s record to Koenigsegg, even though the feat was still supposed to be kept under wraps. Upon hearing the news, Koenigsegg immediately began thinking out loud of places he could test his new supercar.
Rumours are rife in the UK that Volkswagen is on the verge of producing a Volkswagen Passat Cabrio. Although the car will be an all-new design, it will showcase vw’s new front grill-and- lamp design theme and not simply a chopped up version of the Passat sedan.
Speculators are saying the new Cabrio will replace the next generation Volkswagen Eos, scheduled to be launched in 2011. According to CAR Magazine, Volkswagen Eos sales have not been doing too well lately, and say the new ‘Passat’ Cabrio will eliminate the suspected, dated model.
The old design language of the Eos was employed by the company around 10 years ago, with reports indicating the chrome grille and teardrop headlights are not in vogue.
The new Passat Cabrio is said to be an all-new design featuring the underpinnings of the Passat Coupe concept, translating to four proper seats, plenty of trunk space and present greater safety than the current Eos.
The 2014 Cabrio will feature more powerful and economical engines with a range topping 186kW turbocharged four cylinder could be on offer. The ‘Passat’ Cabrio is expected to be released a few months after the 2013/2014 mark 8 Passat launch.
The German Teutonic three, synonymous for their traditional rivalry, are banking on the rapidly growing Chinese market for substantial sales within the last quarter of
2010.Volkswagen AG , Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz and Bavaria’s BMW
have reported sharp declines in recent
local market sales in Europe and are currently focusing on the Chinese market to regain stature.
These companies reported to have made huge sales in China this year as compared to 2009. according to reports, VW ‘S luxury subsidiary brand Audi is said to have sold 53 percent more cars in July, whilst Mercedes-Benz has reported up to 300 percent increase in export sales this year compared to last. BMW is also said to have increased export sales to china within the period.
Surprisingly, this is a contrary to the manufacturer’s reports indicating drops in sales in their home country. According to Automotive News, Audi and Mercedes-Benz sold fewer cars in Germany the past month compared to the same period last year. BMW AG has reported a slight increase in local sales by a minimal 4%.
China being the fastest growing vehicle market in the world, coupled with a growing middle class hungry for luxury vehicles, the demand for these prestige brands has increased. Volkswagen reported one of its largest quarterly profits in July this year, with reports saying the Chinese market has helped substantiate the boost.
WIth a lot of info coming out on the joint Subaru-Toyota ft 86 sports car, a recent Autocar
blog has confirmed Subaru will use a more powerful and potent engine in its variant that could see a surge of 62 bhp on top of the Toyota counterpart.
Impeccable sources have suggested that Subaru’s in house tuner STI is already working on an ‘STI’ version of the coupe, however its legendary all wheel drive gear will not be employed.
Although one can argue that all-wheel drive symmetry brings about huge traction, faster acceleration times and overall cornering stability, Subaru has shelved this idea, as adding a front torque split differential, will distort the car’s dynamics, which was designed by Toyota.
According to Subaru, the all-wheel drive version would increase the gross weight and add on manufacturing costs, as the coupe is supposed to retail between $50,000 to $60,000; With the Subaru version expected to be slightly more expensive, Toyota prices are set at a low $45,000.
The car is said to be a sort of mixed grill, as it employs a Legacy chassis with an Impreza’s rear suspension. No word yet as to what the Subaru variant will be called.
There isn’t a definite release date at this stage, as delays are expected, with Toyota working overtime to reduce fuel consumption of Subaru’s engine ,probably with the use of Piezzo fuel injectors.
Overall though, this is a very exciting package. There aren’t many cars around today that showcase the same foundations – medium-sized, manual, rear-drive coupe; This new venture will bring the coupe within range of its closest rivals the Audi TT coupe, Nissan 370Z and Bavaria’s Z4 coupe.
Volkswagen isn’t just going to let Ferdinand Porsche’s immortal beetle get washed down the drain. After such a successful sales run, it would be a shame for the beetle to just drift away into nothingness so Volkswagen has decided to rejuvenate the bug by presenting the funky Volkswagen Ragster Concept.
Sources say the Ragster concept will be exhibited during next year’sDetroit International Motor Show where it will either create a big stir amongst the Beetle lovers or be haphazardly glanced at by passers-by. According to recent reports, Volkswagen says the Ragster isn’t just a remodel of the current Beetle, but a completely re-engineered vehicle complete with an all new chassis, body panels, and interior.
The power for the concept comes from a choice of three engine packages, from a range-topping 2.0-liter to a 211hp four-cylinder, and a 1.2-liter that produces a mighty 110hp. There are also plans for a mix of turbo diesel variants.
We must say, the Volkswagen Ragster Concept does show a bit of promise. They have basically taken the Beetle, added a ragtop, and gave it some attitude. The Ragster even looks the part with the front windshield looking as if the Beetle has furrowed its eyebrows. Nicely done, V-Dub. Definitely a much better option than the next generation Beetle rendered by David Cordoso. Now we’ll just have to wait and see if it can take the place of the classic Beetle.
When Lexus brought out their famedLF-A supercar last year it came with a big but; customers in the U.S. would only be allowed to lease the supercar on a two year contractual lease plan. What’s more, the total amount ($300,000) had to be paid upfront as part of Lexus’ 1Pay Lease Program. This was done so Lexus could ensure no one could purchase Toyota’s ultimate hypercar and resell it for a profit within that two year lease period. A big ouch for those wealthy opportunists.
Now, since that idea is pretty much ridiculous and controlling, Lexus US has changed the terms of the sale. They will now sell the car, but only after a contract has been signed by the buyer which stipulates that the dealer has the first right of refusal to buy back the LF-A if it is within the two year period. Still ridiculous and controlling, but a decent business move.
And just in case people try to outsmart Lexus and sell the car without the dealer’s knowledge, you better be quick to read the fine print. If this was the case and the customer got caught, the dealer has the right to be compensated for the difference between what the buyer originally paid for the car and what he sold it for. Oh, and, they also get legal fees. Have we said, "Ouch" in this article yet?
Now if only we can get those big banks and credit card companies to sign a deal similar to the one Lexus has drawn up, then maybe they wouldn’t be making a killing while the little people who have kept them in business suffer. We’re just saying...
South Africa’s BMW Roslyn plant will officially launch a new, limited edition version of the much fabled BMW 3-Series sedan. This edition will be called the "Dynamic Edition’ and will be available only in the four-cylinder 320i petrol and 320d turbo diesel and the turbocharged straight-six 335i sedans. The ceiling for these models will be set at 300 vehicles.
The ‘Dynamic Edition’ models combine elements from the M-Sport package as well as some from the BMW Performance program such as a carbon fiber front air dam splitter, side mirror add-on’s, and a rear spoiler. It will come in Alpine White, Blue Water Metallic, and Space Grey Metallic exterior paint finishes with royal blue piping in the floor mats. The seats will come with Blue Shadow cloth and alcantara upholstery with royal blue stitching. The Dynamic package will also see engine software upgrades to improve performance for the limited edition sedan. The package is rounded off with dark chrome 18-inch alloy wheels and dark chrome tail pipes.
Hit the jump for the press release.
It seems Toyota’s recall fiasco has not ended completely, meaning there must be a serious problem underneath Toyota’s success. Lexus has recalled a massive number of its LX 470 SUV and Avalon models due to faulty steering shafts.
According to Lexus, the recall announced for its 2003-2007 LX 470 aren’t related to the Toyota Avalon recall, despite both being centred on faulty steering components.
According to Lexus, the steering shaft on the LX 470 was designed in such a way that the snap ring on the shaft can potentially disconnect when the vehicle experiences “unusually severe impact” to the front wheels, citing deep potholes as an example. Should the ring become disengaged, the steering shaft could potentially disengage over time.source;toyota USA press release.
Mark Templin, group vice president and general manager of Lexus was quoted saying “Our engineers have thoroughly investigated this issue and have identified a robust and durable remedy that will help prevent this condition from affecting drivers in the future,” .
According to him, In order to fix the issue Lexus will swap the snap ring with a different construction design, and install an additional component aimed at preventing disintegration of the steering shaft.
All recalls from the above models begin in august according to Toyota.
The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) has barred BMW from using the ’zero emission’ phrases in any future marketing campaigns for its Active E concept.
It has found that BMW’s Active E design does actually emit CO2 and has blasted the company for being economical with the truth that their cars are ’zero emission’.
According to the EASA, the BMW electric vehicle does not actually emit CO2 directly when driven ,but requires electricity to run;to which the vehicle requires a charging system that emits carbon dioxide.
manufacturers need to play with the wordings a bit to emphasise that their design does not ‘directly’ emit CO2, unless you have a simple bicycle connected up to a dynamo, all electric vehicles pollute the air in some way or another.
even Manufacturing plants for ’green cars’ use production methods and methods that generate carbon dioxide.
source:The European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) press release.
american motoring giant Ford, has almost wrapped up sale of its once fledging luxury subsidiary sale of Volvo to China’s
growing auto-maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Co. for US$1.8 billion.
expected to be sealed next week, It’s not a matter of how much Ford will profit from selling the Swedish company, but how much Ford will lose as it prepares to finalise the deal for one third of the price it originally bought the Volvo in 1999.
The sell out is said to be part of Ford’s plan to edge itself out from all European luxury brands.source:Volvo corporation and Geely corp. press release.
Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally joined the group in 2006, and his plans has long since been selling reputable brands like Aston Martin and even shoved off the profit making Land Rover and Jaguar outfit to Indian conglomerate Tata.
According to Ford,the selling spree of its brands was vital as they didn’t generate the kind of sales and profits initially projected.
Just like the Land-Rover -Tata deal, Ford will continue to supply Geely with engines and chassis systems and also offer technical support to Geely for an unspecified period.
Despite being long time foes, recent reports suggest that the two dominant German automotive powerhouses have found some form of middle ground…in the seat manufacturing process. With the recent economic downturns plaguing the car industry, economies of scale seem to be the answer on reducing manufacturing costs. It seems both companies are aiming to save money by possibly sharing their seat design and manufacturing process.
Even though that sounds very weird, these two rival companies have announced they will come together on a deal to manufacture same seat frames for use in the production BMW and Mercedes-Benz models. The parent companies have said this is just the start of future cooperation with BMW and Mercedes.
According to an authoritative German magazine, Der Spiegel, these companies are pouring in millions of Euros into future projects, which they say could help them save up to 200 million Euros ($288 million) a year. Although the companies claim the money-saving exercise will impact the consumers too, we very much doubt the price of a new luxury Mercedes-Benz or BMW will drop dramatically, if at all, from this exercise. But it could reduce the chances of sale price increases in the near future.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts may be quite hesitant to share some technologies with rival brands, but both companies have assured only the seat frames will be built together. The trimming, internal cushioning, and functions of the seats will be designed and made separately.
South Korea’s motoring conglomerate, Hyundai, is set to introduce its flagship Equus luxury sedan to the US market. With stiff competition from Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, and Infiniti, Hyundai is planning an onslaught on the top dogs with its relatively cheaper grand saloon, with prices starting at above $50,000.
Directly aimed at the Mercedes Benz S class, the Equus will be offered in two variants: Equus Signature and Equus Ultimate. These two models will be powered by Hyundai’s inhouse Tau V8 engine pumping a timid 385 bhp,which is below par as compared to what’s being offered by the rest of the luxury sedan gang.
With an emphasis on offering better value for the money, Hyundai is equipping this grand sedan with goodies that hardly anyone can ignore. In the signature model, a top lexicon audio system with 17 speakers and an electronic damping suspension system, amongst other innovations, will be offered as standard.
For the range topping Equus ultimate version, rear reclining seats with cooling facility, power headrests, and a rear based entertainment unit will be offered by Hyundai for ultimate comfort.
Hit the jump for a list of all the features available on the Hyundai Equus.
Embattled luxury maker Lexus will be dethroned as the top dog in the US luxury car market by none other than rival Mercedes Benz.
With over 20 years of building a reputable brand, tables are turning for Lexus (who are known for building ultra reliable vehicles) as numerous recalls over the past year are threatening to bring down this marquee. Mid quarter results indicate that Lexus sales were up by 2.7 percent, as compared to 25 and 15 percent for Mercedes and BMW respectively.
From accelerator pedal problems, poorly designed floor mats, leaking gas tanks, and faulty valve springs, Lexus is in a ‘fire-fighting’ mode, as they try to contain the situation, while its rivals take full advantage. Despite the huge economic downturn experienced last year, Lexus rivals like Mercedes Benz have unleashed serious models like the E-Class, which was voted the world’s best business saloon some time back.
With all this, crisis meetings have been the order of the day at Lexus headquarters’, with one way to turn around the company’s fortunes being the launch of an all new GS range to counter the new E class, BMW 5 series, Jaguar XF, and the fourth coming Audi A6.
Let’s see how it goes for Lexus.
Ferrari’s poor showing at this year’s F1 championship came to an end yesterday as Fernando Alonso controversially led a Ferrari one-two at the German Grand Prix. Apparently, Felipe Massa was given orders by his team to stand down for Alonso, who subsequently won the race.
After a post-race steward’s analysis, Ferrari was fined $100,000 for breaching F.I.A sporting regulations, which states in Rule 39.1: "Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited’. Despite the penalty, Ferrari insisted the incident was "a driver decision" and said no instructions were given to their drivers.
Rob Smedley, a Ferrari race engineer was overheard communicating to Massa over team radio: "Alonso is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand?" It seemed Massa responded by letting Alonso through on Turn Six moments later. Following the move, Smedley added: "Good lad. Just stick with it now, sorry."
Massa took full advantage of the battle between Vettel and Alonso, taking lead at the start, however on lap 21 the Ferrari pair traded places on Turn Six before Massa regained the lead - resulting in Alonso saying on team radio: "This is ridiculous".
Asked to comment on the call afterward, Massa, who looked incensed at the podium and was denied a potential win one year to the day after he fractured his skull in the Hungarian GP, said: "I don’t need to say anything about that. He passed me." Alonso’s win took him to within range of Hamilton, 34 points adrift.
Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, was philosophical about his performance and stated that "the guys in front were phenomenally quick, and I was struggling a little bit with the balance throughout the race. Nevertheless we look forward; we scored some relatively decent points."
Meanwhile, the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished in sixth and ninth place respectively while Robert Kubica was seventh for Renault with his team-mate Vitaly Petrov completing the top 10.
Just a few of hours away from the official launch of Audi’s sport back A7 sedan, blogs are all abuzz with much speculation on whether or not Audi will fast track the development of the RS7 which is slated for a March 2011 release. With this in mind, arch rivals will not sit back and let Audi take all the lime light. Mercedes has already leaked photos for the 2011 CLS with an AMG variant imminent and tests are already being undertaken at the Nurburgring.
The RS7 is based on the A7 and its power is derived from Audi’s twin turbo 5.2-liter V10 engine in combination with the firm’s new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Total output will be an impressive 580bhp at 680Nm of torque. compared to the fourth coming CLS 63 AMG, Mercedes will serve 571 bhp from its newly developed 5.5 v8 twin blower engine, with torque peaking at a whooping 900nm,propelling the CLS 63 AMG from nought to 60 in 4.2 seconds before reaching its terminal speed of 155mph.
With this in mind, performance will be at the core for Audi as the higher torque figures from the CLS 63 AMG means it has a better power- to- weight ratio and simply outshines the RS7.engineers at Audi will need to reduce the weight by using Audi’s space frame technology and investing in carbon fibre technology. Expect massive competition when these two marques are released in to the world soon
After hitting Porsche below the belt a few days ago with their controversial advertising stunt, Nissan decided that they weren’t quite finished expressing themselves. Their most recent scathing attack was aimed at their more stable competition, the Audi TT.
With cut throat competition in the sports coupe segment, Nissan has embarked on a serious marketing strategy of winning new European converts.
This goal was evident in London, where the Japanese company took an Audi TTS bearing the slogan "More expensive, slower and less powerful than a Nissan 370Z" around the streets of London.
Adding salt to the wound, the branded Audi TT was trailed by another branded Porsche Cayman with the words "I dream of being as fast as a Nissan 370Z". Talk about being aggressive!
With Nissan’s changing fortunes, the company has been churning award winning vehicles, challenging even the top tier. The company has launched a series of media campaigns highlighting the fact that both sports cars are better in terms of performance yet cost less than their equivalent European rivals. According to Nissan’s marketing director, these campaigns are targeted to alter the perception that only German sports cars are the benchmarks for measuring performance and quality.
With all this rooftop declaration, we are sure you would be interested in the performance of the 370Z in relation to the German trio, so we have included a picture that displays these specs, courtesy of Nissan. Enjoy!
Scooby is back! After a long hiatus out in the cold, Subaru have gone back to the drawing board and have created the Mitsubishi EVO ten slaying recipe.
Lagging behind the EVO ten, Subaru has launched the 2011 STI in two body styles; hatch back and the return of the four door sedan with a massive rear wing, reminiscent of its rally hey days of the late ninety’s.
Compared to its arc rival the EVO ten, the outgoing model performed under par in terms of handling, agility and was rather dull. However the 2011 model seems to have cured all these symptoms, as it’s faster around corners courtesy of a quick ratio steering and added stability due to the massive rear spoiler at the back.
Performance figures remain unchanged, with the 2.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo engine delivering 305 bhp and 393 Nm of raw Scooby torque, Mated with a 6-speed stick shift .
The sedan is more stable at high speeds due to the 14-inch tall spoiler. The wide-bodied sedan also features two mufflers as opposed to the hatchback’s single giant muffler.
Subaru engineers were obsessed with shaving off excess weight to make the STI quicker, and it posted an amazing time of 7 minutes 56 seconds at the Nurburgring .All this was made possible with the help of stiffer bushings, stiffer springs, and thicker anti-roll bars, while having less weight than the 2010 model due to lighter 18-inch wheels that shave 8 kg off the total weight.
Good news to the owners of the 2011 regular WRX ;the wide-body kit of the WRX STI will now also be offered on the saloon and hatchback, with the only difference being a shorter wing, less-stiff suspension and 40 bhp less power useful for the usual city drive.
Remember the words of performance guru Mr. Carroll Shelby: Horsepower sells cars, torque wins races. Mercedes Benz surely remembers and they have taken the queue to come out on top with the launch of their revolutionary 5.5L V8 twin turbo engine.
Slated to make appearances in the CL, CLS, S, and E class, this new development has got BMW shaking in their boots as this engine will make its way to the 2011 E class AMG, arch rival to the much fabled BMW M5. With the number of horses increasing from 525 to 537, the real gain is the massive surge of torque which has gone from 630 Nm found on the previous 6.3 V8 to a whopping 900 Nm. These numbers will be able to make mince meat out of the 2011 BMW M5 which is powered by a 4.4L V8 engine, churning 555 BHP and 680 Nm of torque.
The M5 has already been caught testing months before the forthcoming Paris Motor Show and BMW boffins are still focusing on improving its power-to-weight ratio, as the almost 300Nm of extra torque present in the 5.5 V8 engine would simply obliterate the M5 in a drag race.
With the temperatures soaring from the heat generating from the horsepower war between Mercedes and BMW, expect fringe players like Jaguar and Audi to take queue and worsen the situation.
Nissans luxury brand flag bearer Infiniti’s has announced pricing on its UK market jewel M37 model. Powered by a potent 3.7-litre petrol V6 engine, Infiniti’s BMW 5-Series rival will be available in five different variants priced from £35,150.
Some good news for torque lovers; The M30d diesel will be launched in October and subsequently i the M35 hybrid in spring 2011, with prices and specifications for these versions to be announced at a later date.
Powered by Infiniti’s 3.7-litre petrol V6, the M37’s powerhouse churns out 316 bhp, propelling this four-door luxo-saloon from 0-62mph in an impressive 6.2 seconds before climaxing at an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Its gadgetry closet is packed with goodies, with the base M37 well equipped with a 7-speed auto-box, bi-Xenon lights, 10-way power front seats, reversing camera, hard disk drive (HDD) sound system and the firm’s new Drive Mode Selector which tailors key driving parameters to Sport, Normal, Snow and Eco settings.
For the more sporty drivers, The M37 GT starts from £37,650 adding semi-aniline leather, heated and ventilated front seats and White Ash wood trim with silver powder finish. Further up the food chain, the M37S, which costs £39,650 ,adds 4-Wheel Active Steering (4WAS), firm sports suspension, sports seats (also heated and ventilated), gearshift paddles and 20-inch alloy wheels.
At the apex, Infiniti also offers the "Premium" versions of both the GT (from £43,000) and the S (from £45,000). They get topped up with a Dynamic Safety Shield package, 16-speaker Bose sound system with a sight and sound package multi-info display.
A new feature present this premium package the "Eco Pedal" system, which helps reduce fuel consumption by pushing back the accelerator pedal on the driver’s foot when it detects excess pressure and poor fuel efficiency.
Carlos Goshn must be a proud man, after turning around the dwindling fortunes of Nissan in to a successful brand, churning out an impressive model line up was his main agenda and the Nissan pathfinder was a beneficiary of this strategy.
Nissan’s 2011 Pathfinder spots a new hood, grille and bumpers that extend quite literally around the exterior.
This new look gives the Pathfinder an edgy like styling, similar to the Land Rover Discovery.
Under the hood, the Pathfinder doesn’t disappoint, its performance across the range isn’t far away from established rivals such as Land Rover and Toyota.
The four-litre petrol V6 is largely unchanged but the 2.5-litre diesel common rail injection (dci) four-cylinder turbo diesel has had a shot of adrenalin with a 14kW boost to 140kW and a healthy dose of 47Nm in peak torque to 450Nm. Driving the Pathfinder was a worthwhile experience, it delivered gutsy low-down power, typical of a modern turbo diesel. Along with the power increase the 2.5 dCi’s fuel consumption is also down a significant 1.3 litre/100km to a claimed 8.5l/100km, with CO2 emissions reduced by 40g/km to 224g/km.
Due to the lack of a variable geometry turbine, turbo-lag is evident as but the rpm increases, you can experience the massive torque tinkering within your body.
Pathfinder’s interior decor is classy, exuding confidence and versatility .in it, there is a a well-stocked list features of the mind boggling type: from the power adjusted front seats to the impressive Bose audio combination with a large touch screen and 3D graphics that’s fairly intuitive to use. .. Also new are a redesigned, easier-to-read instrument cluster, heat-able door mirrors with integrated puddle lamps and side indicators and an intelligent key that never has to leave your pocket or purse
Overall fit and finish is above reprieve, once again demonstrating Nissan’s attention to detail.
Riding in such a massive SUV presents you with several risks, including rollover and lack of stability during high speed manoeuvres .Nissan has countered this problem by integrating passive and active safety systems in the Pathfinder.
Electronic stability control, ABS with EBD completes the active safety front, while multi-stage airbags, seatbelt tensioners and crumple zone prevent injury during a collision
The Pathfinder’s box ladder chassis system is quite rigid, and is supported by front wishbone systems and independent coil spring ensure a stable and comfortable ride at all times. Its all-round independent suspension glides over rough roads but it feels a bit wallowy and clumsy around sharp crests.
ease of use
Traction is guaranteed on and off tar with a 2 speed fixed two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive ratio gearbox, an auto mode that switches between the two as traction needs dictate and low range for slow-and-safe progress over rugged terrain, switchable on the fly(while in motion).
refined SUV performance; torquey engines with performance to spare are the hallmarks of the pathfinder. Already on our roads, its massive size is intimidating and suits our not-so-so honourable MP’S mas they traverse our expansive country. I rest my case.
Currently leading the Formula 1 championship, Lewis Hamilton is assertive that the controversial infighting among the impressive Red bull team will never happen in McLaren, despite his team mate Jenson button trailing him closely in second position.
Speaking in Brisighella town somewhere in Northern Italy, Lewis was accompanied with pussy cat doll’s star singer Nicole Scherzinger after being awarded the Lorenzo Bandini trophy in honour of the Brisighella resident who died in a crash during the 1967 Monaco GP.
The simmering tensions between mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel has certainly caused ripples within the team, visible during the Silverstone Grand Prix race where team principal Chris Horner decided to take Webbers nose wing and fitted it to Vettel’s car at the disgust of Webber, who won the race.
Lewis, who trailed behind Webber, stretched his championship lead to 12 points. Defending champion and fellow Briton Button was fourth but later gave Hamilton a ride home in his road car. Button and Hamilton enjoy a very warm and cordial relationship, despite them being rivals on the championship table
Hamilton believes Red Bull could again be the quickest during this weekend’s GP at Hockenheim despite their team dis-unity domestics.
He lavished the McLaren team for the support and determination to improve their cars, which was helping the team to accumulate points and remain competitive.
He used the example of Mercedes’ troubles this season, with returning former great Michael Schumacher struggling to make an impact, to illustrate the importance of having familiarity in F1.
Death valley has been in the past week host to the 2012 Mercedes Benz SL The coupe-convertible is due in March 2012 is codenamed R231 .clicking away the pictures indicate exiting features set to rock the motoring world very soon. We’ve already snapped the new SL winter-testing (see links left), but this time we’ve stolen a quick peek inside the new Merc SL.
Interior Décor of the Mercedes Benz SL 2012?
Looking at the angled spy shot, the interior is typical Mercedes. drably interior, with chromed out circular air ducts gracing the front dash, rest assured the thematic
climate control will be wafting cold air as you drive in this stunning new SL.
One major surprise quite visible on the new sl is the rather chunky three spoke steering wheel. My guess? Mercedes wants you to feel in charge behind the wheel of the SL.
As with tradition, this new car spots a 2 piece drop top roof that retracts in under 20 seconds, neatly tucking away inside the trunk.
What’s under the hood?
With The current crop SL ceasing production in December 2011, the 2012 SL will be co-produced with the SLS, meaning similar underpinning constructions and design will be utilised in the 2012 SL.
A suite of
ultra efficient and powerful ‘blueDIRECT ‘engines of V6 and V8 variants will feature in this car ,and if you happen to be live in Houston or Abu Dhabi where fuel is cheap, the ultra powerful V12 engines will be offered .
Speculation is rife that the new SL will also com in a diesel variant, in a quest to lower co2 emissions and improve fuel consumption in the line up.
For the first time Mercedes are to introduce a nine speed sequential gearbox in the SL ,improving torque delivery across the rpm range and improving acceleration times. The usual gadgetry like the ESP will come in a dynamic sport package where you can switch off the ESP and enjoy the tail happy SL.
SOURCE; CAR MAGAZINE UK.
With increased pressure mounted by global warming activists on vehicle manufactures, and stringent EURO 5 exhaust emissions laws almost in place, Mercedes Benz is up to it again, ever on the forefront of cutting edge technology; they have developed with a series of fuel efficient V6 and V8 engines dubbed as the ‘blueDIRECT’.
The main features of these ground breaking engines include an advanced direct injection system, which uses Piezzo injectors ensures Precise and accurate injection of fuel as compared to the conventional solenoid injectors. This eliminates fuel wastage and
With this in mind, the V6 engine equipped with blueDIRECT technology realises increased power output of , while fuel consumption of up to 24% is achieved.
For the V8 block, Mercedes have reduced the cubic capacity of the engines, and subsequently strapped a pair of sequential turbos, producing 572 bhp for that extra kick without compromising on fuel economy.
Having previously toyed with the same engine but with the use of supercharger, phenomenal torque output of over 900NM is realised with reduced carbon emissions than before.
In the case of the BlueEFFICIENCY models, Mercedes engineers have reviewed and analysed every detail of the vehicles to find out which elements can work even more efficiently. In addition, for each model the latest and most efficient engine generations have been combined with the respective optimum aerodynamics and energy management measures. These include measures based on reduced aerodynamic drag, the use of lightweight materials for reduced weight, intelligently-controlled accessories, tyres optimised for rolling resistance, the ECO start/stop function, an improved steering system for more energy efficient power steering, and much more.
Overall, such measures help to generate some exceptional savings: with the BlueEFFICIENCY package from Mercedes-Benz, fuel consumption, and as a result CO2 emissions too, can be reduced by up to 30%.expect the all new SLS 63, 2011 CLS and CL class to spot these new engines.source Mercedes Benz international website.picture from car advice.au.