Designer Matus Prochaczka from Slovak has created an unique and interesting vehicle concept. Making use of magnetic power, the MAG Magnetic uses an electric engine that has a polarity which is the same as in road. The downside: this will also require the roads to be made of huge concrete panels with magnets embedded in them. This magnetic force will repel the vehicle, pushing it upwards and lightens the vehicle to 50 percent.
The 2-seater vehicle’s design is definitely a unique one, and it even won the ’Unseen Technology’ award at the Interior Motives Design 2007 Awards. Although it’s likely no government is about to lay magnetic roads, maybe this could find some use in airports or shopping malls.
AVS, quite simply, lifts valves higher and for a longer period of time to improve breathing and therefore engine performance at high revs.
Instead of securing the bigger lobe via a side-pin, the lobe in question is pushed onto the valve by moving a whole cam lobe unit (consisting of a smaller and bigger lobe) sideways on the camshaft.
When it’s time for the smaller lobe to take over again, the selfsame unit simply glides back along the camshaft to its original position.
This side-ways motion (facilitated by oil, of course) is controlled by an electrically-activated ejector pin positioned above the cam lobe unit.
When this pin retracts, the cam lobe unit operates in its normal position, via the smaller lobe.
When the pin is ejected, it catches a spiraling groove in the cam lobe unit. As the groove spirals out of a straight line, its one side-wall runs against the stainless-steel tipped pin which pushes the whole unit up along the camshaft, to position the bigger lobe over the valve.
When the ejector pin is retracted, there is nothing to hold the cam unit in this new position any more, so it will glide back to its original position to resume valve lift via the smaller cam lobe.
Quite ingenious, actually, this system, which operates on the outlet-side only of Audi’s brilliant new 2.0-liter TFSI (with 155 kW and 350 Nm), but on both sides (inlet and outlet) of the 3.2-liter V6.
Gas prices are as bad here in the U.S. as they are in China. So fuel prices and concerns over air quality for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing should send customers looking for hybrids, right? Unfortunately it seems that the Chinese automakers do not offer many alternatives to gasoline, and the mainstream market is not yet demanding alternative energy.
The Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers published statistics display’s the public’s lack of appetite for alternate energy cars in China. The Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers regard any car that is not a powered by gasoline or diesel as a ‘new energy car’ which include electric cars, hybrid cars, LPG, and hydrogen powered cars. In total, 366 new energy cars were sold in China from Jan to June in 2008. On the brighter side, that still represents a 107 percent increase over the previous year’s statistic.
So if BMW has already released official pictures of the upcoming 7-Series, then why do they feel the need to still camouflage it? Although this is still a light masking of the next big bimmer, it’s nice to see that there doesn’t look like any suprised when it hits the showroom later this year.
Still this is a nice reminder that a better looking 7-series is finally around the corner. The car is coming into the market with a V8 and a straight-six gasoline engine both figuring Twin Turbo technology and direct fuel injection (High Precision Injection) as well as the first of BMW’s a modern generation of six-cylinder diesel engines.
The original Citroen 2CV was the Ford Model T and the Volkswagen Beetle of France. In it’s over forty years of continuous production, it put France on wheels and stuck around long enough to be an icon for the starving artist. The frugal car was nothing more than basic. The diminutive two-cylinder engine (ranging from 375 cc to 602 cc.) never made more than 29 horsepower in its lifetime. It is the kind of icon that is loved by designers, but ignored by drivers.
With the advent of technology, classic cars can be turned into concept cars on a computer that’s powered with modern rendering software. And that’s exactly what car designer David Portela has done. He has taken original 2CV and modified every aspect without cutting out the trademarks.
While this kind of ’modernizing’ has been witnessed before, the number of designers in the Auto industry have multiplied. Blogs are able to project the talent of aspiring designers, like Portela, who may be the next to bring modern interpretations of classics, like the 500 and Mini, back to life.
It’s small, it’s cheap, and now it may carry a Fiat badge. The Italian auto conglomerate may sell Tata’s ultra-low price Nano outside of the car’s home market in India.
The partnership would likely be forged because Fiat’s strong international distribution, and Tata’s desire to keep the Nano’s price low through more sales. Both parties have shown interest in the idea, but it’s not a done deal yet. Fiat Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said the company was in talks with Tata about making buses and trucks. "We’ll see if there are the conditions for us to go forward." In India, Fiat already has a joint venture with Tata to make and distribute cars, engines and commercial vehicles.
If Fiat were to get a version of the Nano, it would likely have to add more safety features to meet the requirements of most Fiat’s established markets (not the U.S.). This could mean added weight and cost to the $2,500 Nano, but it will take a lot to get this microcar out of people’s price range.
Lottery prizes are sometimes so great that the winner can quit his/her job and buy a Ferrari. Well one new prize is just making it easier to drive to work and earn that Ferrari. Florida began a prize earlier this month that awards runner-up winners "Free Gas for Life". This has become a popular enough idea that Georgia and Oklahoma are giving out similar prizes. The catch in Florida is that winners actually receive 26 gas cards annually worth $100 each. So it likely still won’t completely fund the fuel for you daily-driver Ferrari, but every little bit helps.
It’s fast, it’s rare, and it can be yours possibly for low six-figures - it’s the SSC Aero. The car is a predecessor of sorts to the record setting SSC Ultimate Aero, and it’s now on eBay. This is an american-made speed machine produced by Shelby Super Cars. Although this company has no association with legendary builder Carroll Shelby, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look.
The Aero features supercharged V-8 creating 787 hp, and at the time of this post, the car was under $150,000. The owners claim it is one of only two ever created, which may make it worth the price alone.
It’s every commuter’s dream. While everyone else is stuck in traffic, you get to fly right over them, laughing along the way. Here’s a vehicle to put you one step closer to making that a reality. A fully working ’flying’ vehicle that could be procured and parked in your garage as early as next year.
The M200G designed and manufactured by Moller International, is engineered to take off and land vertically, and fly to a maximum altitude of 10 feet. The altitude has been restricted so drivers won’t need a pilot’s license. The vehicle is controlled by the fly-by-wire computer which responds to the driver’s input via a joystick. The maker claims operation is easy and takes little time to learn.
The vehicle can be purchased only by way of an international auction that the company plans to conduct next year. Interested individuals can take part in the auction by proving that they can pay $150,000. Moller has been promising the world a flying car for over a decade, could it finally be making good on its pledge? Or a better question is, you already know the world is full of crazy drivers, do you really want to see them try to fly?
F1 cars don’t make milk runs in the middle of the afternoon. Rarely do these ultra-expensive, ultra-fast racers touch a normal road besides at races like the Monaco Grand Prix. But on this one special occasion, BMW driver Robert Kubica, put a F1 car in people’s rear view mirrors.
But don’t think that this was a spontaneous drive. The residents of Ravenna, a city in Northern Italy, invited Robert Kubica to accept the Lorenzo Baldini award for his extraordinary performances. Kubica drove his car along a spectator filled fifteen-mile course. BMW engineers raised his car to conquer the bumpy roadways, and the road was cleared of traffic with the aid of an official car convoy. Even with 800 hp under his belt, Kubica drove well within the speed limits, showing how responsible a driver he is.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately most phrases that come to mind are inappropriate for this site.
Yes, that is a home air conditioner strapped to the sunroof. Maybe he didn’t like the A.C.’s performance and decided to swap it for a bigger one? Maybe he searched everywhere for a more powerful unit and found the answer in his bedroom? Whatever happened, cold air is not longer his problem. Somebody get this man a jacket.
Anyone who loves his/her old car can almost sympathize with what this owner was trying to do. We all have got a tendency to give an aging car a new life by adding a decal, a new paint job, or even after-market parts like spoilers and scooped hoods. However, the owner of this wretched car likely had something else on his mind.
We don’t understand what he was trying to do, however exactly like us, he shouldn’t have been very pleased with the outcome. The car has been cloaked with the grisly paint and excess fat to such a degree that it’s unidentifiable and terribly frightening. If you have a name for this car, let us know by logging it in the comments section.
P.S: Viewer discretion is recommended while viewing the gallery.
Cars are becoming more efficient inside and out. Engines discharge lower pollutants, transmissions use longer gearing to better fuel economy, and even interiors are being manufactured out of more recyclable materials. The next frontier is utilizing state of the art manufacturing operations that use less energy.
Japanese carmaker Toyota has turned its engineering eye to the paint shop at its Tsutsumi plant in Japan. According to Toyota, because of multiple coats and “drying ovens”, almost a quarter of all energy needed to build a car goes into the painting process. So now it is using a new approach called "3-Wet", which eliminates a “drying oven” and decreases energy usage by 15 percent.
The purpose behind a greener painting process is not difficult to understand. Hybrids and electric vehicles that Toyota is going to mass-manufacture in the future are mild on the environment, and the manufacturing procedures that go into making such vehicles should be eco-friendly as well. Luxury models like the Lexus sedans won’t use the technology since multiple finishes are needed for them, but eco-conscious models like the Prius will utilize the new paint technology.
Toyota feels this new energy-saver technology is necessary because of the nature of manufacturing. "Our production has grown over the last decade so much the energy required to manufacture each and every vehicle has also grown considerable overall," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, the executive overseeing production.
MAN (Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg) trucks suggests dirt, sand, gravel, construction sites, and waste. They are the workhorses of the automotive world and are used only as appliances.
However, there was somebody who could think in a matchless fashion. Someone who conceptualized out of the box to create magic inside a box. This is by far the most bizarre and amazing find inside a garbage truck - a completely furnished house comprising of a kitchen, a sleeping area, a comfortable lounge and space even to park your bike! So the question that remains is where do you go now when the wife asks you to take out the trash?
Whenever we view our childhood pictures or snapshots that were captured during our teenage period, we tend to get transported back to the time when it was taken. Some laugh out loud, some shed a tear while others feel like calling the individual who figured alongside during that ’cheese’ moment.
U.S.A.’s beloved lensman Andrew Bush, is exactly like all of us. His random snaps of persons driving their cars on U.S roads back in the 90s are nice, but more importantly, educates us how to drive today — distraction-less driving. These motorists are paying attention to the motorway and trying to the finest of their capability to drive safe.
My favorite is the pack of students who are heading north at 0 mph. What’s yours?
A little while ago there was a remarkably strange and one-off Beetle, that was pieced together using metal stands, which you can see for yourself here just in case you have missed it. But now I’ve across something even better. This utterly crazy and insane Beetle has one mission: dare present-day supercars’ performance numbers.
Up front, things look normal and casual. But the action and adrenaline come into play as you glance at its back. A 1,450 hp GE T58-8F chopper turboshaft engine staged at the rear.
The really entertaining bit is Ron Patrick, the architect, hasn’t got rid of the Beetle’s factory-fitted engine. He utilizes it to drive in the city. But when there is an open stretch, you understand what he’ll do, won’t you? Totally strange and totally cool. Rejoice by viewing the video.
The Fiji Islands bring to mind images gorgeous beaches and fine weather. Utilizing the quiet and humble nature of electric cars is the newest idea to help to ensure this harmony and peace. Korean electric car manufacturer CT and T, is interested in setting up a production plant to serve the island’s personal transportation needs, as well as exporting to nearby New Zealand and Australia.
The CT and T e-zone should fit this plan well. It uses a four wheel independent suspension, a rigid aluminium frame, and meets a few European and American safety standards. It additionally has a few appealing options, including lithium ion power units, an airbag for safety, and even in-wheel motors. Its 60 mile+ radius with the lithium option makes it a competent and clean choice for the citizens and visitors of Fiji.
Tata is taking steps to makes sure the little Nano won’t be short on power. FEV, a German engineering and powertrain firm, is right now actively working on the diesel engine for the Nano to debut later next year. The 800 cc, turbocharged CRDI engine would most likely be the tiniest engine with common rail technology in the world, taking the crown from Daimler.
The CRDI systems are being developed in conjunction with Bosch, while Honeywell Turbo India is working on the turbo charger. Originally the 700 cc CRDI engine, which Tata uses in its Ace mini-truck was considered for the Nano, but Tata has decided against it. The new FEV engine is cheaper and could also involve more progressive technology to battle emissions, redeem a better fuel economy, and achieve better engine refinement.
Do you belong to the breed of individuals who wake up everyday, leaves for a brisk jog, eats low-fat, high-protein food, drinks diet Coca Cola and advices the whole world on how to be slim? If yes, then this report should cause you to feel delighted.
In the U.S., sale of the Geo Metros are catching up. The ’econo-crap’ cars as some call it, are simple to drive and yield a high gas mileage. Second-hand or third-hand ones cost close to a thousand bucks a few years back, but at the moment, a 1993 model can fetch you anywhere close to 7,000, just like one joyful owner who bid farewell to his Geo, some months back, in return for $7,300!
We can’t seem to put forward enough of Beetle mods, restorations and peculiar cars based on this epic hatch. So why would somebody do such a thing of acquiring a Corolla and making a VW out of it?
Possibly it could have been a man’s discontentment over the $60,000 expenditure to import the Beetle into his nation. Even so, this Corolla-derived Beetle borrowed from other company’s parts bins to try and make it whole. For instance, the seats are from BMW, the mirrors are from the Honda Civic, and countless interior bits are from unknown places. Merely the badges and lights are loaned from the Beetle making this a project car that has truly gone nowhere.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in the case of these owners, they may be blind. It just so happens that all of these automotive crimes happen to come from the same country, Russia. Just like last week’s golden Porsche, be glad these are not in your driveway.
For these unfortunate owners, no one mentioned that PVC piping, rivets and house paint do not make for proper car modifications. Then again, it takes a special person to craft SLR doors for a Lada or to attempt to turn a sedan into a Porsche Cayenne.
Of course there are professional Russian tuners out there, but they wouldn’t be as much fun to show. After all, every country is guilty having a select few do-it-yourself car guys. But for the sake of national pride, please try to make sure no one gets pictures. Then again, if someone does, drop us a line—we love a good laugh.
Over here’s something that will light up your dawn time spent on the dining table. These power-utensils will nitrous-ify morning meals permitting you to eat out of a wheel and drink from a piston. Just like their real-world equivalents, these power-inducers are made of high-strength and heat resistant elements that will keep your breakfast hot and fresh.
If you believed that was enterprising, wait until you see the forks that have a ring spanner on one side and the knife with attached pliers. For only 59.99, the unusual crockery set will make your day, every time.
Cartoons like the Jetsons portrayed to little children way back then how the future would look and work. The cartoon was a big hit and was accepted by children all over the world as they switched on the TV everyday to see the characters and pods buzzing around making them laugh and it kept them entertained.
I guess the Jetsons would have been the prime inspiration behind this creation. A single-seater electric vehicle that would bid farewell to gas prices and congestion. Displayed at Tokyo’s Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo held last month, Topia’s HUVO, received a lot of attention as curious onlookers wanted to know how the locomotive functioned.
A head-on collision at city speeds in this car would be scary but not fatal as the vehicle is built using aluminium and carbon fiber which are strong and versatile materials. At the rate at which car sales are going, rising congestion is not avoidable. The world is turning towards small cars but even then, there would be a point down the line, where cars would need be smaller and more efficient. Whenever that happens, people dealing with the HUVO will be the happiest bunch.
Yet another special for Beetle lovers. You have seen your favorite car taking on different avatars, a wide range of color schemes, shapes, attachments and modifications but I bet on my bottom dollar that you haven’t seen anything like this as such.
This Beetle owner thought about customizing his Beetle in a totally different way. He used the sheet metal of the car as a template and made another body welding strands of metal and the final result is terrific. Black paint should have made it look a lot better.
In terms of performance, the loss of weight should improve handling, braking, acceleration, and top speed, but is all of that of any importance in a theme car? What is even more so a useless bit of info is the enhanced engine cooling gained due to the free air-flow through the grills. I wouldn’t want to be the driver maneuvering through city roads on a rainy day though. Enjoy!
It is raining retro here at Topspeed. The original Mini was the best city car- small, fuel efficient and easy to navigate in traffic and narrow lanes. Though it is out of production, people still look out for ones on the second-hand market purely for its looks and utility, pointed above.
In case you need one but you are uncertain or don’t have the necessary cash, you might want to take a look at this. A mini-Mini for your table, which actually is a USB device that can take in a chunk of your folders and mp3. But the best part are the headlights. They actually work!
The headlight on the USB drive replaces the normal LED but nevertheless it looks cute and would be the best birthday present for a Mini or Mr.Bean fan. Other variants include a police version and a racing version with decals for the hyper-enthusiastic soul. The USB connector folds into the car’s boot when you don’t need it. Follow the link to check it out.
NASA has been the course via which mankind has for all these ages gone into space, disembarked on the moon, and done some much-needed outer space walking and floating gymnastic feats. Its space rockets boast of several thousands of horsepower and million torques which assists them in the escape from the gravitational pull of the earth and to overcome the drag generated by the planet’s atmosphere.
So what comes about if you attempt to drive such a vehicle horizontally rather than vertically? You’ll end up having the travel of your lifetime.
In an effort to smash the existing land speed record of 763 mph, Gary Faules, NASA Mentor Director, is gearing up his ’fast’ vehicle. Hold your breath, since here’s the moment where we discuss its specifications and statistics.
Gary’s jet fighter for the road, will exercise a J-79 turbojet engine which was used in the F-4 Phantom. In addition, they say it will use a ’small’ 6,000-pound thrust liquid propellant motor to boost the speed to assist Gary, achieve the landmark of 800 mph. So, how much power then?
For a vehicle that weighs 13,000 pounds and puts forward 39,000 hp, fuel-consumption figures are hardly a consideration. However, fifty gallons for a mile (50 gpm and not 50 mpg) is what will block you from taking it out on the freeway or to the local instant-coffee place. The 70-foot blaze that emerges out the err.. big tailpipe, has the possibility of scarring living things like humans who can mistake the vehicle for a big-sized meteorite.
The automobile would cost 10 million dollars that includes developmental, engineering and non-recurring costs. The whole topspeed team wishes this brave man Gary, all the very best, and we desire that he can break the record and perhaps grant us a free test drive at a future date.
For those who visited the Chicago show back in 2005, the Ragster Concept would have given you some idea on what was being planned, but then VW remained tight-lipped about the developments. News last month suggested the upcoming bug arriving sometime in 2011 will see a version with its top removed and even a small-sized SUV will feature in the list. VW will get there by using the 6th generation Golf platform to make the hatch and it would not be built stateside.
But now, Motor Trend reports that VW is considering anotherBeetle based on the VW Up!. The Up! debuted at the 2007 Frankfurt show and received a lot of positive response, especially from the American audience. So, VW might have decided to make use of it as a base to serve America exclusively with this iconic and hip car.
If the car is going to be based on the Up!, then it makes it a rear-engined, rear wheel-drive layout bringing it ever so close to the original version. The renderings are neat and the car should in all probability look like them.
What does all this mean. Simple-another sub-brand for VW. With the amount of waves the Beetle has created in America, launching these two vehicles under a brand new banner makes a whole lot of sense.
It’s Official. BMW and Fiat will join hands and develop a small car platform which both the manufacturers will use for its next-gen small cars due for the start of the next decade.
The duo are also likely to ink a pact for developing a range of gasoline and diesel engines. The idea behind these deals is simple to understand- cost savings on the money spent on R&D and the blend of these two spearheads would yield better results compared to work done individually.
This is not the first time two manufacturers have shook hands over a platform or an engine. Two big hit SUV’s the Audi Q7, and the Porsche Cayenne share the same platform while Fiat’s Multijet engines are used worldwide by several manufacturers like GM, for example.
Last year Mercedes was looking for a partner to work on its future small cars but eventually though, talks with both Fiat and BMW failed and it decided to go all alone.
The new platform developed will be used on the next-gen Fiat Grande Punto and BMW’s 3rd gen Mini small car, both cars carry launch dates in 2011. So expect some fireworks without much emissions or noise!
Sometime in the future, gas stations would switch to selling gas. Gas in the sense, air, which when compressed to an extent, has enough energy to help a specially designed engine, generate power. Big companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, are interested in looking for other ways to run their cars, and might want to take a close look at these air powered engines.
Sure, these things make a lot of noise and don’t coax out enough horsepower, but with time and research, things could change drastically. Just like how electric cars or hybrid cars have evolved and reached a certain stage where the trade-offs are not considerable and offer a number of advantages over the normal cars, soon air powered engines might catch on and small-car manufacturers could use them on a large scale.
The Fiat 500’s underpinnings couldn’t have been used for making a cuter car but that is not necessarily good news for Fiat. Its dream run has the potential of turning into a fully-fledged nightmare by a car like the Ford Ka. The first-gen Ford Ka looked plain and simple but the second-gen that the spy shooters have captured looks a whole lot different.
Changes all round for this tiny hatchback. The new front fascia gives it an appealing stance while the lamps both front and rear fills it with life. The fog lamps have moved up closer to the hood, might be mistaken for indicator lamps. The two-tone paint doesn’t look all that nice in digital but might work in flesh, you never know. On the whole, it’s not looking good at all for Fiat.
On the inside, Ford can definitely do entirely away with the florescent and black color scheme, black and red/orange would be more like it. The gear lever has found itself a new home, now nesting alongside the A.C vents and CD player, which provides easier access to the driver so that he won’t use one hand to steer for far too long. The costs are reduced too, as the dashboard extension serves as a housing for the knob freeing up some space along the way.
Auto Express reported last month that three engine options will be available, a 63bhp 1.2-litre and 100bhp 1.4-litre petrols, plus a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel, same as the one the Italian uses at present.
From a distance, the new Ka looks like a tricked-out 500 with new headlamps and two-tone paint. But the point of making this car is to use Fiat’s platform to make a superior car. Ford has put the mules through a grueling test program and there are a lot of chances for them to come up on top. Little or nothing was wrong with the 500, and only a comprehensive test drive post-launch will give a clear idea on what really distinguishes these two cars.
Poland is emerging as one of the world’s leading places from where green and fuel efficient engines are born. Toyota’s 1-liter engine which is presently performing duties on the Aygo small car, won the International engine of the year award a while back. That engine was also developed in Poland giving us strong hints that Poland should be one of the best countries for developing and manufacturing small engines.
Italian manufacturer Fiat has put its hand up and decided to manufacture a low emission 900cc gasoline engine in Poland. Unlike any of the engines present in European cars today, this one would be the smallest of the lot with only 2 cylinders. The new engine will give life to Fiat’s new microcar, the Topolino, when launched late next year for European markets.
Sufficient engine options will be on offer for the Topolino, ranging from a 65hp normally aspirated version to a turbcharged 110hp version equipped with Fiat’s Multiair adjustable valve timing (110hp from a 900 c.c engine?!) which promises to be powerful yet frugal. I guess there are more reasons for Mercedes and Toyota to worry about as the Topolino is likely to be another massive hit.
One can expect to see this engine in cars like the 500, Grande Punto and Panda a few years from now on, especially with the emission norms getting tougher, the idea of a 2-cylinder and sub-100 gram per kilometer of CO2 emission engine is definitely a bright one.
When you are rich, it shows. This midfield Los Angeles Galaxy footballer needs no introduction. His lavish lifestyle has photographers staying up until all hours to grab that one last shot and in this latest picture, he is found cruising around in his fully customized Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead in the streets of Beverly hills accompanied by his three sons.
This Drophead stands on custom-built 24-inch Savini Forged wheels, color-matched exterior trim and Beckham’s “23” seamed onto the seats.
Back in 2004, Rolls-Royce unveiled the 100EX, an experimental drophead built to celebrate its 100th year in this business. In its two world tours, the 100EX received thumbs-ups from customers, and eventually in 2005, the manufacturer declared that a production version would be available by 2007.
The Tata Nano continues to make headlines both for the right and wrong reasons since its unveiling at the Delhi AutoExpo in January this year. Land acquisition trouble and rising inflation which has past well over 11% in the country has created a new set of problems for Tata, although the manufacturer is hell-bent on retailing the base model at $2,500 and more importantly on the previously decided dead line of anytime between September and October.
The good news is that Tata is working on multiple variants of the Nano. No, not bumper colors or alloy wheels, by variants, we mean powertrain options. Sources say a battery powered Nano might roll out of the Singur plant in West Bengal very shortly along with air-powered and micro-hybrid (start-stop technology) models.
The compressed air technology would be borrowed from French company MDI, which uses compressed air to push the piston. An onboard compressor pressurizes air which is stored in a tank for use, a technology which works pretty well, and is one of the best alternatives to an electric car.
Otherwise, the Tata Nano uses a 2-cylinder 624 cc engine that produces a little over 30 hp. The tailpipe emissions are minimal and is less than what an average motorcycle in India would emit.
If you wake up day after day only to find your bank balance replenished by a few million dollars, chances are at some point, you won’t know what to do with it. Take this Porsche 911 owner for example. He couldn’t find ways to get rid of the fast-accumulating green paper and did this to himself.- A 40- pound pure gold covered Porsche 911.
We find the idea annoying but appreciate the work that has gone into it. The carvings and designs on the surface are brilliant and would have taken weeks to complete by an extremely set of talented and skilled individuals. The polished surface looks nice and should have masked the rear-view mirrors entirely, eliminating the need for a reflective glass and related electronics for adjustments, but maybe next time?!
Driving a Porsche 911 on the streets would grab enough attention leave alone a gold-covered one. Is the Sultan of Brunei reading this?
Who told you that India is solely a small-car market? Audi, the German manufacturer with a difference, is not planning to stop with its sedans and SUVs in India. With already seven dealerships setup in the Nano-country, Audi has plans to expand that network further.
Within a few months, those dealerships, among the A8, Q7 SUV and other models will sell the R8 supercar. Sister company Lamborghini has also been operating successfully in India for sometime now, and Ferrari too, has announced its interest in trading in the country.
Although the R8 wasn’t present at the Delhi AutoExpo earlier this year, the R10 race car along with the entire line-up of cars sold presently in India were on display proving to be the sweetest of eye candies.
“India is an important market for Audi, and there has been a tremendous interest in the Audi R8 up to pre-orders by our exclusive customers in India, so it was inevitable that we launch the Audi R8 here,” Audi India Managing Director Benoit Tiers said in a statement.
With Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi and Ferrari in the future, the only thing that is missing is an Indian supercar. Those established names dominate the supercar game globally, but if any of the Indian automakers could take the effort, it might pay off. If Koenigsegg can do it in such a short period, why not Tata use Jaguar’s help to make their own? A next-gen XJ220 supercar, anyone?
Last week, we brought you news about the Chinese counterpart of the BMW X5 and how the German court banned the maker from selling it in Germany. For those who thought the escapade was over, wait till you hear this.
A German court in Munich has slotted into top gear and ordered Shuanghuan to destroy all their SUVs plying German roads. Making matters worse is the court’s notice to importers, China Automobile, to pay compensatory damages to BMW.
BMW as expected is overjoyed with the court’s verdict which was imminent when BMW’s spokesperson stated that "We are pleased that the court has agreed with our views”
The not so happy Karl Schloessl of China Automobile Germany, said he would launch an appeal against the ruling, which is not yet binding, saying he was prepared to take the case to the European Court of Justice.
It was impossible to ban a vehicle in Germany that was allowed to be on the road in the rest of Europe, Schloessl said, adding that there were more than a 1,000 of them on the road in Italy.
This news serves as a slap on the face of Chinese automakers as a whole. If further verdicts support BMW which I think will, there would be no other choice for Shuanghuan other than plucking its SUVs off German roads and sending them to the crushers. With that said, Chinese automakers will be forced to think twice before bringing their copy cars to Germany again.
June 30 1926-
American automakerGM traded 667,720 shares of its own stock, at a market value of $136 million to buy the remaining 40 percent of Fisher Body to make Fisher Body Division of GM.
June 30th 1953-
Production of the Chevrolet Corvette began. During first year, a little over 300 Corvettes were meticulously put together by hand in Flint, Michigan. Roughly 150 were sold to the public and the remaining were gifted to company executives. The first Corvette was revealed in New York City at the GM Motorama show on 17th of January in the same year, whereas prototypes were built starting on 22nd Dec 1952. The name "Corvette" comes from a type of small, light armed warship used by most Allied navies during the Second World War.
June 30th 1969-
The U.S. produced Rambler (an American Rambler) rolls off the production line in Kenosha for one last time. A total of 4,204,925 had been made until then.
The Nash Rambler was originally developed by George Walter Mason after World War II. Mason before anyone else, realized that the postwar "seller’s market" would evaporate once it was saturated with cars again. He predicted the hardships that independent car companies would experience once they were against the Big Three’s massive production capabilities.
In order to compete against the Big Three, Mason charted out a plan to market a different product. In that sense, he developed a few small cars, including the Rambler, the Nash-Healey (a collaboration with British Healey), and the Metropolitan. None of his cars succeeded in capturing the American market. But years later, after Nash-Kelvinator and Hudson merged to become AMC, the Rambler finally caught on as a sub-compact car.
In Argentina, the Rambler American, a compact car, became the IKA Torino in 1967. It then sold as the Renault Torino until 1980.
Chinese cars are cheap to buy, and some don’t have a good reputation for being safe or hot cakes in developed markets. Above all that, the majority resemble BMW’s, Audi’s and Mercedes’ designs.
Glance at the car pictured above. If I were to strip off its badge and park it alongside a previous generation BMW X5, would you be able to tell them apart? I’m very optimistic that you wouldn’t. One can argue that cars today are somewhat similarly designed, headlamps, tail lamps, and quarter glass panels are carried over from one model to another, but definitely not entire cars.
BMW had taken legal action against Shuanghuan by filing a case in a German court in September last year, for making the CEO (Pictured) based on their X5 SUV. The case now has come to an end, BMW emerging victorious in the battle, as the court ruled that Shuanghuan’s CEO infringes BMW’s design rights.
Furthermore, the court announced that Shuanghuan is banned from selling their CEO in Germany.
But Managing Director Karl Schloessl is not happy about the verdict. He complains that the CEO is an entirely different car compared to the X5. He plans to fight again by appealing against the court’s decision.
’It is a one-sided judgment, but of course it was made in Munich. It’s a BMW city," expressed the unhappy director on the court’s verdict.
June 29th 1902-
Co-founder of the automaker Renault, Marcel Renault won the four-day Paris-to-Vienna race, using a car he designed on his own. The early city-to-city races were like F1 today, in those times. Around three million people were present during that race and cheered Renault on to victory during the 15-hour, 615-mile race. Unfortunately, the races were suspended owing to the fatal accident involving Renault’s during the following year’s the Paris-Madrid race.
June 29th 1932-
Audiwerke, Horchwerke, Zschopauer Motorenwerke - DKW, Automobile Division of Wanderer joined hands to become Auto Union AG (second-largest motor vehicle manufacturer in Germany.). The new company’s logo, four interlinked rings represented each of the founder companies.
June 29th 1956-
U.S President Dwight Eisenhower approved of the bill, Highway Revenue Act of 1956, which outlined a policy of taxation which was needed to lay interstate highways measuring a distance of over 42,500 miles. It needed $50 billion to complete. A method of taxing, relying heavily on the taxation of gasoline, was carried out. Eisenhower thought of the Federal Interstate System as his greatest achievement.
June 29th 1957-
Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, managing director of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, flagged off the first race at his newly remodeled track, a match race between the top 10 Indy Car drivers and the top 10 Formula One drivers in the planet at that time. Monza was Europe’s fastest race track. The same competition can’t be repeated today as the gap between Indy cars and Formula One cars is wide.
June 29th 1985-
Jim Pattison bought a custom-painted Rolls-Royce Phantom V limousine for for $2,229,000 that was previously owned by John Lennon . Lennon bought the car in 1966 and asked one of his friends to paint the car with a period-typical psychedelic design pattern. The final price was 10 times Sotheby’s initial estimate.
Looming gas prices have prevented us from buying SUV’s or cars with big engines. Leave alone individuals, manufacturers are facing the heat with biggies like BMW and supercar weaver Ferrari, announcing their disinterest in releasing future models with bigger engines. A few days back, Mercedes-Benz in a shocking statement, said it will pull the plug and all of its cars manufactured from 2015 onwards will part ways once in for all with petrol stations retailing diesel and gasoline fuels.
Gas prices have shot up worldwide and tormented by the prevailing situation, an unemployed man in Germany torched his BMW in a public place.
The 30 year old man, whose name was withheld as no charges were filed against him, drove his 1995 BMW 3-Series in the morning hours to Frankfurt’s Convention center grounds, jumped out and torched the fuel-drenched car.
He justified his act by expressing that he couldn’t anymore afford the $9.40 per gallon of gas.
By the time the fire fighters arrived at the scene, the car had been charred completely. He might have been right according to his own self, but the law isn’t happy with this insane stunt in a public place. He could end up busting more of his bank balance paying the penalty or could find himself behind bars for violating German environmental laws if he was to be found guilty.
As always, we’ll keep a close track on the twists and turns set to happen in this interesting case.
Every week, we bring you pictures and videos of new cars taking a beating by inattentive drivers, buildings collapsing, drunken driving and sinking ships. Those incidents can be blamed on humans or mechanical failures but not this one.
A major hailstorm over the course of the last weekend harmed up to 30,000 brand new Volkswagen cars awaiting delivery to domestic and foreign customers. Little or nothing could be done by the staff at the VW assembly plant at Emden on the North Sea coast, as the number of vehicles were gigantic, and driving them or transporting them to a safe location was out of question.
Though VW declined to comment on the estimate of the damages, a German press report confirms it would be hundreds of million of dollars.
The affected vehicles will be put under the scanner and will be inspected closely by 100 VW staff members. By sending the vehicle through a special light tunnel, even the smallest of damages can be detected.
VW is insured against hail damages, so the manufacturer won’t be bothered much by this accident. Pain will only be felt by customers, who now have to wait for a longer time to drive home their new cars.
Turkey is famous for its carpets and sweets and within a few years it could well become the green counterpart of Detroit. Cars like the Antro Solo could be mass produced there and exported to parts of the world. Antro what? Let me explain.
The Antro Solo is a three-seater, 600 pound, 100 mpg, 87 mph car. It will be all yours for just $18,000 in the year 2012. Built entirely of carbon fiber and composites, the power to run the car comes from not one or two, but four sources: gas, battery, solar panels and... PEDALS !
more pedaling after the jump
As the world moves towards eco-friendly and easy-on-the-wallet modes of transportation and everything from trains to lawn movers are shifting towards alternate sources of energy, a young set of individuals have come out with a cute yet effective automobile.
A group of high school students who are fully aware of the present situation surrounding the auto industry have designed an electric two-wheeler with a roof.
Powered by lithium phosphate batteries with an output of 60 volts, the permanent magnet motor utilizes the power to propel the bike. The recharge time is just about 3 hours and should get you to sit up and notice I say its body is made carbon fiber and Kevlar composite material (stuff that F1 cars are made of). The chassis benefits from chromoly tubing.
On a full charge, the roofed-bike will cruise for 40 long miles with a pedal-to-metal velocity of 60 mph. At those speeds, safety is addressed by a proper seat and seat belts which makes it safer than a normal two-wheeler. The pod will also protect you from the heat and dust on a summer’s day and will help you keep warm during winter time.
While other high-school kids were busy learning to efficiently hit on the good-looking, this team of 19 students toiled hard for a period of one year to see this concept from the state of imagination to reality. What we appreciate is their unique thought process, a green two-wheeler is certainly pointing in the right direction and who knows? there might be a future GM or Honda head among this group of students.
Opel’s revelation of a new driver-aid system comes a day after we found a new application for classmate Distonic plus present on the Mercedes S-Class. This technology would support rather than irritate buyers looking for a mid-size car with extra safety features.
Some of the S-Class’s customers complained the Distronic plus along with other safety allies, snatched most of their effort while driving. A group of onboard computers were found guilty for this problem of turning drivers into merely passengers. A car which can brake and accelerate on its own is not a driver’s car after all, is it?
What a driver’s car needs is a device or a group of electronic gizmos to promote driving and not monotony. Opel’s answer couldn’t have come at a much better time.
Opel’s technology uses a camera fixed to the front windshield behind the mirrors, which detects road signs on the go. By clicking and analyzing 30 pictures every single second, the system can detect road signs displaying speed limits. Instead of applying the brakes or setting a constant speed, it will alert the driver by displaying the speed limit on the instrument cluster. If the speed limit changes, the driver is alerted again.
To ensure this kind of devastation never occurs again, Topspeed suggests that the Distronic plus system found on the Mercedes S-Class which applies the brakes automatically when it detects an object at a close proximity, should be installed on the roof of the truck’s cabin, facing upward. G
Gasoline engines emit far less noise compared to diesels but modern diesel engines employ a host of technological features which has muted it to a much quieter level.
The Priuses and Civics have become a common sight on U.S roads today and electric cars aren’t far behind, full credit to mounting gas prices. Electric vehicles generate absolutely no sound when in operation except for a little tire noise, and hybrids will make a librarian blush when driven confining to city speed limits.
Roads with minimum noise pollution would be easy on the ears and the blood pressure for all of us, but on the same hand, would be the worst nightmare for the blind. The sound which originates from a moving vehicle is the only means through which a blind person is able to assess the distance, speed and direction of an oncoming automobile. His or her safety entirely depends on sound which also is the difference between life and death for the person. The driver of a car may or may not be alert at all times and at tight corners or high-speed intersections, the risk is multiplied.
Accidents involving hybrid vehicles and blind people have reached an alarming juncture in the U.S. The best solution to eradicate this problem, says the U.S National Federation of the Blind, is by prescribing a minimum sound standard for all vehicles sold in U.S.A.
Now that Automakers have not yet come up with a proper solution, we would like you to help them out by suggesting the best fix for this problem begging for immediate action.
Take that GM. Toyota is one of the global leaders in the field of Automobiles. Their commitment to make fuel-efficient and clean engines has fetched them an award at the prestigious International Engine of the Year Awards this year.
But don’t assume it’s because of the Prius and veer away from the rest of this article. Toyota’s Polish-made, 1-litre three-cylinder 67bhp gasoline unit as found in the Toyota’s own Aygo, Yaris, Echo and Vitz and in the Citroën’s C1, Peugeot’s 107 and Subaru’s Justy came out successful but not without some tough competition.
In the sub-one litre category things couldn’t have been any better. The final contestants were Mitsubishi’s 84bhp 999cc three-cylinder turbo and Daimler’s 45bhp 799cc diesel unit, which is recognized as the world’s smallest direct injection diesel engine. Interestingly both those engines at present serve the Smart Fortwo city car.
But that didn’t bother our winner. The main reasons behind its success was its feather like weight, tipping the scales at 67 kg, it is no wonder this is the world’s lightest internal combustion engine.
The technology that goes into making such a light package isn’t rocket science. The use of a light weight material like aluminium to construct it helps achieve this feat. Aiding the cause futher is its extra-small cylinder bore-to-bore distance (wall thickness between bores is just 7mm), and the use of a light weight resin throttle body and fuel delivery pipe. The air intake system and engine cover is an integral piece, a design first for Toyota, a weight-saving initiative.
The panel was also impressed with its Variable Valve Timing system (VVT-i) technology, which holds responsibility for the smooth acceleration, a crucial factor that won this award for Toyota.
This engine is literally a fuel-sipper. 4L/100km on a combined cycle is as good as its gets, giving it another entry in the record books as one of the most fuel efficient engines in today’s cars. A figure of 109g/km of CO2 emissions speaks for itself and strengthens the point that this victory is a well deserved one.
We are in an era where technology is capable of wonders and magic. But one would agree the human element is inevitable, and talent and skill determines whether you can enjoy the result or feel dreadful.
The Mercedes SL65 AMG Black Series is well, should be another case which demonstrates how much customization is humanly possible by a specialist company, whose ability sends a shrill through our spines. Some say this car is the outcome when you redline AMG. Others claim it’ll play the game of ’die when living’ with its drivers (we made that up, no one claims so)
Anyways, a talented artist by the name Jonathan has created a computer generated image using Photoshop of the SL65 AMG Black Series which will go live very shortly. By the looks of it, John has done a terrific job. Some foretell this car is competent enough to reach 60 mph from a standstill in under 4 seconds, courtesy of it’s massive 6.0-liter engine that offers 670 hp.
Another fabulous rendering of the yet-to-be-released or planned Mercedes CLC Convertible has popped up on the internet. This time it’s a work of art by CWW Car design, who has also gone on to design a directory of other future cars. There is no plan as of yet by Mercedes to manufacture a CLC convertible, but if they ever do, there is no doubt that the production version would exactly resemble CWW’s illustration.
In a world where compact and fuel-efficient cars make more sense than big and thirsty ones, this news comes across without any surprise at all. The Swift hatchback from Suzuki has brought several laurels to company and it now surpasses global production of one million cars.
Loved by audiences across the globe and interestingly by tuning companies, the Swift was launched less than four years back intended mainly for the European markets as its design and styling took shape with feedback from there.
Suzuki’s Hungarian plant produces vehicles entirely for Europe which contributed more than 306,000 to the total. Since its launch in the UK, over 36,500 Swifts have been sold showing that it has been received very well by the English people.
The car was first built in Japan, followed by Hungary, China, India and recently Indonesia and Malaysia. There is always this trend followed by manufacturers to change the styling of a car, when releasing it in markets abroad, but interestingly the Swift has undergone little or no changes in its appearance. Now, here’s a lesson for other small car manufacturers- If you plan on making a hatchback for global markets, use feedback from Europe to design the car.
The petrol models, especially the 1.6-litre Sport, are popular for their acceleration and mileage, but the award winning Multijet engine from Fiat under the diesel Swift’s bonnet requires a special mentioning. In countries like India where diesel is preferred over petrol in the small car segment, the manufacturer is unable to meet the demands for the diesel version, thanks to this fabulous engine, which has won infinite hearts.
Acclaimed Los Angeles Times journalist Dan Neil’s claim is interesting. He’s not just another journalist and sports car enthusiast. He won the Pulitzer prize in 2004, an American award considered as the highest national honor in print journalism. He says the Nissan GT-R is not fun to drive.
Does the GT-R need any introduction? Thousands of blogs have written thousands of write-ups on this lively ’budget’ sports car let alone the monthly car magazines which go bonkers over it. People who even haven’t driven it accept it to be one of the best sports cars available in the market today and treat it with the same respect as they would treat any Ferrari or Porsche.
Dan Neil’s comments the GT-R is really fast, efficient and powerful, the three attributes that can’t be taken away from it. But more importantly he says "because there are so many layers of electronic self-preservation, there isn’t much frisson or fear. Without fear, there is no fun."
This comment is similar to the one Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson made when comparing the latest Ferraris with the earlier models a while back on the show. He said there was too much electronics in the latest Ferraris and he would any day prefer the older ones.
Dan Neil gets a little worked up in the course of the review and says "Despite the GT-R’s official nickname, "Godzilla," it’s more like 2 tons of fluffy kitten." Is Dan trying to play Clarkson or was he just having a bad day? We’ll let you decide
Retro is cool. The Fiat 500 and the BMW Mini were yesteryear’s successful cars and their modern counterparts sell like hot cakes as well. The VW Beetle is amongst the most successful mass-production cars in automotive history and how does VW try and bring back that accolade and relive those times? Naturally by making a spanking new one that goes with the style and trend of the modern world but without losing some of the original flavor.
It has been ten long years since the new beetle arrived and it’s high time something is done about it. The anniversary edition is refreshing, but then, new colors and bumpers in limited numbers won’t help the situation completely.
But now VW has some news. They are working on a range of beetle models which will go live sometime in 2011. The word range insists that VW is trying to adopt the strategy that was used by BMW on the Mini. A beetle station wagon or SUV, as the site claims, will be riveting too see but not without controversy. The question of why a small-scale SUV or a roadster would undoubtedly pop up.
The next-gen Beetle would mechanically be based on the Golf, technically developed in Germany, styled in California and constructed in Mexico. Nothing is known on the powertrain options but one can obviously expect to see hybrid variants or possibly battery powered beetles in the future.
Pictured- VW Ragster concept at the 2005 Chicago Auto show
Here’s some mighty exclusive news. The Concept A-Star from Suzuki sent out strong reverberations throughout the world when the wraps were taken off it at the Delhi Auto Expo in January earlier this year. The design of this small car was the reason for the buzz and company officials declared that they would embark on producing it from the later months of this year. They also confirmed that in India, it would run alongside the existing models rubbishing claims which suggested it would replace the Suzuki Alto.
The leap of an automobile from concept stage to mass-production stage sometimes takes years and that was one of the reasons Suzuki’s statement was taken lightly. But No! It looks like they will stick to what they said and the car could go out on markets including Europe on the promised date. But it also seems like they haven’t stuck to all the design elements of the concept car. Looking at the photographs one can make out the similar grille and headlamps but the rest aren’t carried over. There is still some time left, and we hope the thin-striped LED rear tail lamps are present on the production model. C’mon Suzuki!
The A-segment five-door hatchback will be manufactured exclusively in India and will be shipped to overseas markets (read- Europe, India and other non-US markets) similar to its competitor Hyundai’s i10 hatchback. It will use the help of a Euro 5 compliant 1.0-litre petrol engine which is said to have CO2 emission levels nearing 109g/km making it a fiercely green car! No plans as of yet on a diesel version.
There are award categories for cars with the best engine, best design and even security. Here’s another you can add to that list. The car with the best towing ability.
In this year’s Towcar awards, contestants were put through a series of challenges to ultimately decide which car was the best for camping trips that involved towing caravans. It not only included towing ability but practicality, driving ability otherwise, safety etc.
The evaluating panel were specialists in this field. It included industry experts, motoring journalists and caravanning enthusiasts who watched closely at the ability and performance of all cars.
The judges chose the XJ Diesel as the champion because: "Stability and ride comfort don’t always go together. Cars with rear suspension that’s firm almost to a fault in normal driving are often the most composed when towing. But the XJ combines unflappable stability with limousine comfort. The suspension’s alchemy was worth its weight in gold through the lane-change test. The XJ changed direction quickly, gripping hard and holding the intended line. However much the caravan slid behind it, the Jag wouldn’t budge. Data from the ATC shows how much G-force was generated in the van, but the smooth curve of the graph speaks volumes as to how undramatic the Jaguar made this manoeuvre."
The body of the Jaguar XJ is built out of Aluminium and notably in the past it played a special role as that of an armored vehicle, which demonstrated its rugged attribute. So if you are on the lookout for a vehicle to haul your caravan, we have an answer- Jaguar XJ diesel.
You wouldn’t want to be in the boots of this BMW’s owner. You park your what looks like a new BMW outside a train station under the shade, finish your work or pick up someone and while returning back, you see a part of your BMW under a big-sized, blue colored train.
We really don’t know what exactly took place at the scene of this interesting (for you and me, and certainly not for the owner) accident as the news bit has been written in an Estonian language, but we are as curious as you are to learn what really caused this catastrophe. The train driver by the looks of it, either fell asleep or was a Mercedes-Benz fanatic. And look how close the train is to the building. He could have easily knocked it down.
Maybe only in Estonia!
The Logan sedan from the house of Renault (or Dacia elsewhere) is due for a comprehensive upgrade. Unlike the Indian version from Mahindra which boasted of special paint schemes and interiors alone, the Romanian version will come with a new sporty engine.
Sports car designer Ken Melville was assigned a task by Renault to design a vehicle that could ingest four adults, a pig, a sink, and 100kg of potatoes. He went ahead and created what today we call Logan, a simple, no frills cheap sedan which has sold even in markets it wasn’t intended for.
To add life and possibly numbers to the sales chart, Renault will plonk the 133 horse-power engine borrowed from the Renault Twingo under the Logan’s bonnet for its Romanian customers wanting extra fun without shelling too much of extra money.
Meanwhile the men at Renault are very optimistic that the Logan-based Sandero hatchback will fare well in the EuroNCAP crash test. They expect it to come back with 4 stars, a very respectable result if it happens.
The Sandero will be unveiled at the British International Motor Show in London next month. If the crash test works in favor of them, it will serve as a huge boost to the image of the car and could attract plenty of entry-level buyers in the safety-conscious U.K market, where it goes on sale next year.
There has always been the question of safety whenever an entry-level car is introduced in a matured market. Take for example Chinese cars which come at a rock-bottom price tag but remain in the dealer lots due to safety concerns of the customer. Manufacturers of small and cheap cars target the mileage and cost areas more than the safety of the vehicle which remains the bare minimum required for the vehicle to qualify selling in an overseas market. Dacia’s Sandero is here to prove that wrong and conveys that all cheap cars aren’t necessarily unsafe. For the buyer looking at a 5 door hatch for under £7,000, a 4-star EuroNCAP car is the bargain of the century.
There was Romania and then there was Poland as a location for hosting a new manufacturing plant for the next-generation A and B-Class Mercedes-Benz cars. But Hungary rose to the occasion and convinced the committee at Stuttgart to gain preference over the other two countries.
Once up and running, this will be Mercedes’ 18th manufacturing unit on planet Earth. It was speculated right from the beginning that Merc will manufacture small cars alone as the cars are meant solely for the East European market. Mass production of luxury sedans or high-end SUVs won’t make business sense as one should bear in mind that these are developing regions.
Mercedes will also build a compact SUV based on the B-Class alongside the A and B-Class cars, which will go head-to-head against rival BMW’s X1.
80km from the capital Budapest, the city of Kecskemet will see Diamler investing 800 million euros for the construction of the plant which will provide employement for 2,500 people. The site has be chosen by them, as it apparently offers more than just cheap labor and land cost.
Toyota’s proficient Land Cruiser SUV, has impressed everyone in the British Insurance Car Awards by clinching the top spot in the 4X4 category for security.
Characterized with ruggedness and comfort, the addition of the security aspect gives this Toyota a sense of completeness.
Bearing Toyota’s first ever V8 with common rail technology, the eighth generation Land Cruiser went on sale earlier this year. It produces 650 Nm torque and 286 hp, enough to keep your mud-plugging sessions entertaining and eventful, while having capabilities to munch endless miles on the motorway sans headaches thanks to its unmatched reliability.
So what does this award mean to the owner? If parked outside for the complete duration of the night, the owner can fully expect to see his Land Cruiser right there the next morning!
That’s exactly what Peter Roberts, Chief Executive of insurer funded research centre conveyed at the awards ceremony. He said “Many car thieves are just having to give up – thanks to the industry’s continued quest to drive down car crime.”
The Scirocco coupe from Volkswagen, when unveiled earlier this year, created waves for its design and the advanced technology that went into making it. It is a car with something for everyone. A range of powertrain options justifies that but the company isn’t planning to take a break anytime soon.
Instead VW has gone ahead working on more variants which will appeal to customers looking for power or fuel economy. VW has confirmed that the coupe will be released in an AWD format which will use a high-performance engine, which is likely to be the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine found in Audi S3 at present.
For the cost-conscious customer, VW might in the near future release a special “BlueMotion” version of the Scirocco which is aerodynamically more efficient with mechanical tweaks to help lessen C02 emissions and fuel consumption. At present, the base model employs a 1.4L TSI but the BlueMotion will probably work in tandem with a diesel engine generating fewer horses.
The Scirocco will not come stateside though it would find so many interested buyers. The collapse of the dollar against the euro is the only reason VW has for the curious American needing urgent answers.
500-SL. Before you would have finished reading that, this drag-oriented 500-SL would have reached 100 mph. Yeah, about one second.
How? It’s got a list of things to help it achieve this feat and 250 mph in a quarter of a mile if driven to the limit.
Total body weight is only 28lbs- Power to weight ratio better than any supercar built to this day.
Over 2,500 horsepower on tap- Two and a half times the power produced by the Bugatti Veyron.
All-aluminum engine (8,619 cc, multiple turbocharged, alcohol burning, electronic fuel injection).
Weight reduction goes aboard- the pedals, the entire rear end housing, firewall, steering columns and even the battery trays are all made of titanium.
Drag cars aren’t my cup of tea. But this one is phenomenal. This car will go from 4.5 Gs to a negative 4 Gs (after the chute deploys) within six seconds. Absolute madness. You will have to be alive to talk about a full-throttle experience in this machine, let alone being impressed!
Lexus hybrids have been very easy on the environment. Their hybrids are by far the most technologically advanced of the ones found today in the market. On that context, a re-badged Prius was talked about by many including Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe, but there was no news or sightings of a test mule; Until now- this Prius err.. Lexus was spotted testing in California.
New rims, quad exhausts, and a lowered stance are the new additions. Expect the interiors to look space ship-like along with all the bells and whistles. When it goes on sale sometime in 2009, it will likely be the cheapest Lexus one can buy. All in all, a premium version of U.S’ most preferred eco-friendly car.
For Hyundai, it all started way back in 1998 with the 800 cc petrol engined Santro hatchback (Atos to our overseas friends). Even after the launch of its successor i10, Hyundai continues selling the Santro, indicating its strong presence and number filled sales charts.
The diesel form of the Santro is set to enter the ever-hot Indian small car market in the month of May. With that said, there are no signs of the company seizing production of this aging wonder car for a long time to come. The diesel sipper will embrace a small 3 cylinder, DOHC, 1.1 litre CRDI engine having 75 ponies at its disposal. Torque wise 153Nm @ 1900-2750 RPM will address the pulling needs. The CRDI technology for Hyundai was developed by US-based Detroit Diesel, using Fiat’s technology back in 1997. (Just for your information!)
Top speed of this car is estimated around 160 kph and a fuel economy figure of roughly 20 kilometres to the litre is expected.
The diesel small car race is getting competitive by the day. Competitors like the Fiat Palio, Tata Indica, Suzuki Swift will give a tough time for this new Santro, but the reputation and reliability of its petrol sibling, will make it a shade easier for it to sell. And the brand image of Hyundai in India is equivalent to a Toyota or a Honda in the United States.
Small, good looking, diesel heart and reliability are its plus points. Any car with those basic ingredients has more or less succeed in India. With an estimated price tag starting at Rs. 4.25 lakh (US $10,597) ex-showroom, we predict that there is a bee in Hyundai’s bonnet.
A Chinese man walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. He tells the loan officer that he is going to China on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000.
The bank officer tells him that the bank will need some form of security for the loan, so the Chinese man hands over the keys of his new Ferrari parked on the street in front of the bank. He produces the title and everything checks out.
The loan officer agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.
The bank’s president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the Chinese man for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral against a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drives the Ferrari into the bank’s underground garage and parks it there.
Two weeks later, the Chinese man returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, “Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multi-millionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?”
The Chinese man replies: “Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?”
The above is just a joke that was circulating on the Internet. Fuel for thought? Maybe.
We don’t know how it happened, we don’t know when it happened neither do we know how to stop crying.
A new Nissan GT-R has been wrecked in Malaysia, its front end completely smashed with plastics and wires jutting out. It’s a terrible sight for automobile lovers to see such a fantastic car biting the dust.
No visible damage to the A-pillars or the driver’s side of the windshield. A photograph of the inside of the car clearly shows the deployed air-bag, indicating that the man behind the wheel could have got away with it if he would have worn his seat belt.
Just another example citing even the exquisite of things can sometimes have a very unfortunate ending.
If you have £750,000 but don’t exactly know where to buy a Bugatti Veyron, then this bit is specially for you.
There are 11 Veyrons currently on sale at Innovation cars and each are different in color and character. Choices range from a Racing Blue and Black 2006 model to a Fully Black 2008 model. My pick of the lot would be the brand new unregistered Gold / Cream Limited Edition that is sitting there at No.10 on the list.
It would normally take a few years for all of the 11 to be sold, right? No, wrong. Innovation cars claim that there are 1,000 dollar billionaires in the world and none of them drive around in a Fiesta or a Mk3 Cortina. To them spending around £750k on a Veyron is the equivalent of your bog-standard millionaire spending £750 on a car. Fair enough.
We have spotted a few Veyrons on ebay in the past. But never have we come across a trader with a dozen of them in stock. These cars are very rare and unique and all yours if you manage to cough up the astronomical asking price.
First a supercar, then a hybrid. Korean automaker Hyundai has announced that it will begin to mass produce hybrid cars next year to cater to the environmentally conscious market, and to get itself into the list of top five automakers.
The Hyundai ‘Avante’ will arrive by the middle of next year and will be followed by a midsize hybrid model in 2010 and eventually a fuel-cell model in 2012.
Daily Telegraph reports that Hyundai is predicting a large increases in demand for the green vehicles as consumers turn to fuel-efficient cars.
The hybrid market is dominated by Toyota’s Prius and by mass-producing hybrids, the scales of economies might give Hyundai an edge over the others. But all this will depend on the pricing of the Avante, which is unknown at the moment.
With other car manufacturers showing interest in alternate fuel vehicles, Hyundai’s entry was expected for a long time. A low-cost fuel cell car might just do the trick for them, but for now all eyes are on the Avante which is all set to give Toyota and Honda, a run for their money.
Spies at Auto Express have caught the Porsche Cayenne Diesel filling up at a fuel station in Sweden. The black car was undergoing cold weather testing and caught the spies attention when the testers parked to fill up diesel. The diesel clatter later cleared their doubts and disbeliefs.
The Oil-burning version of the popular SUV has been in the company’s pipeline for sometime now. Sweden is a preferred place for cold weather testing. A host of cars like the Mercedes B-Class, Chevrolet Camaro, Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche’s own Cayman have been spotted testing in Sweden in the past two months alone.
Engines for this SUV will be borrowed from its cousin Touareg’s 3.0-litre V6 TDI and the V12 diesel engine, which will also find its place on the Q7 later this year.
These are spy pictures of Ford India’s upcoming small car codenamed B402, taken by a member at team-bhp.com, which is scheduled to be launched in 2010.
Nothing about its price, engine or transmission is known. It looks like a smaller clone of the Fusion MPV. The car will either use the existing Ikon or Fiesta platforms, which are sold in India.
This car will be Ford’s entry-level car in India and the styling indicates that it may well be exported overseas. Ford previously announced that it may consider manufacturing this hatchback in low-cost hubs like India and Brazil.
Around US $500 million will be invested on the existing plant in Chennai, to increase its installed capacity from the current 100,000 units to 250,000 units by 2010. The small car program along with an improved engine are part of this expansion plan.
For now, we’ll not get into the debate on whether the Audi Q5 will be unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show or not, but what we will do is enjoy these new and clearer pictures of the car which have come out on the net.
The Q5 is positioned below the Q7 and Allroad models. We expected the Q5 ’s unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show but China appears to be a better location after seeing them unveil their Cross Coupe Quattro at Shanghai last year.
The Q5 will be spacious enough for five people and Audi has expressed no intentions on a seven-seater version. The Q5 will probably be the first model to be equipped with the in-house seven speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG Audi S-Tronic). Four cylinder engines, V6s, and TDI engines borrowed from the A4 will power this mini-SUV.
The Q5 is based on the company’s Modular Longitudinal Platform (MLP) found on the A4 and A5. MLP allows Audi to place the longitudinally-mounted engine and transmission further back behind the front axle and helps elongate the wheelbase without modifying the car’s exterior dimensions.
Will the same platform be used to make the smaller Cayenne? Audi’s board members are against the whole thing fearing such a model will wipe out the Q5, but with the increase of Porsche’s stake in VW, there are chances of the so called Porsche ’Roxster’ turning into reality. At least we hope it happens.
Third time and it’s India’s turn. Two Ferrari Scagliettis are travelling across India, an odyssey aimed at creating awareness of Ferrari and to explore the marvels the country has in offer.
The two stallions started their trip from Mumbai on the 25th of last month and will return to the same city on May 8th after munching more than 11,000 kilometres through the 12-stage 72-day voyage. Ferrari is offering 50 journalists from across the globe to take turns behind the wheel of the V12-powered 612 Scaglietti.
The Mercedes-Benz R320, ML320 and GL320 BlueTecs can be fitted with HD Radio as a part of the infotainment systems, when they arrive in the United States this fall.
Customers can can choose between HD radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. Mercedes and BMW along with Jaguar are the vehicles offering HD Radio in the U.S.
Integrated features will include a hand-free system based on Bluetooth technology, and an Aux-In connection for your iPod and other mobile audio units.
Mercedes-Benz says there is a choice of three media interface units, all of them come with color display, a twin tuner for enhanced radio reception, speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for typing in telephone numbers and radio frequencies, and a Bluetooth interface which allows a mobile phone to be wirelessly linked to the hands-free system.
In-car entertainment never looked so good. And you can enjoy your daily talk show on something that claims to be the most significant advancement in radio broadcasting since the introduction of FM stereo.
The eco-friendly Lexus LS600 has undergone a makeover. JOB Design, a Japanese-based specialist for Toyota and Lexus is the make-up artist for this one. And I’m not very sure where the application of this vehicle is going to be or whom this one is made to impress.
Custom front wheel vents, a lowered suspension and new front & rear bumpers are the additions. It appears pretty odd from the side angle though. By the looks of it, one might assume a few extra horses were extracted, but no, under-hood elements remain the same, and the interiors too, are left untouched.
Lowering any long-wheelbase car blindly changes its look and makes it pretty frightful and unappealing for pedestrians. This one won’t fit in the race track either as a hybrid sedan owner who visits the local circuit to put in a few eventful laps is non-existent.
Maybe JOB is trying to create a new set of custom upmarket luxury hybrid sedan racers? Tough one that.
General Motors declared that they have no intentions in competing against Tata’s $2500 Nano. General Motors Asia Pacific president David N Reilly stated that they cannot compromise with the Chevrolet brand by making a competitor but are looking at making another small-car below the Chevrolet Spark’s price point.
The Chevrolet Spark is at present, the entry-level model of GM priced at US $7564 (ex-showroom price, Delhi). But nothing about the cost aspect was revealed for this new car which is planned to enter the Indian market sometime in the next two years. GM will develop this car with other similar International markets in mind and will use it to attain its target of 10 per cent market share in India by 2010.
At present, three-fourths of the cars sold in India are small cars which has evolved into a major small-car hub. Toyota, Renault, Ford, Hyundai and Fiat are all developing their own Nano versions cheaper than anything else in their product range.
Rising crude oil prices is the reason why people not only in India, but all over the world prefer small, economical cars which are easy on the environment too. But crude oil prices are not ascending alone. The cost of raw materials which includes steel and aluminium, which are used to make vital components in a car, are also increasing.
The big question remains to be safety. At such rock-bottom prices, will the safety factor be given adequate importance by car makers?
South African Guild of Motoring Journalists elected the Mazda2 1,5 as 2008’s Car of the Year. The large gathering at the glitzy event consisted of CEOs of all major motor companies, motor industry representatives and journalists.
The shocking and amazing part is that it came ahead of the Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI, Lexus LS 460 and even the Land Rover Freelander 2.2 TD4 HSE!!
The annual competition is happening for the 23rd time. The 2 is a popular car in SA and only recently, won in the best light car category in CAR Magazine’s annual Top 12 Best Buys.
The Mazda2 is credited with impressing even the harsh Jeremy Clarkson. It is by far one of the safest cars to travel in as it attained maximum 5 Euro NCAP stars. It looks cute, it is light in weight hence easy to handle, and the frugal gasoline engine is easy on your pocket. The 1.3 is offered along side the 1.5 variant in South Africa and this award adds to the mighty brand image of Mazda in that country.
In every one of those auto shows, car makers launch new models, rent the best looking babes, offer free drinks that don’t taste all that good, play loud music, use vivid colours to light up their new products and most important of them all- reveal concept cars.
In today’s question of the day, we would like to know which concept car would you; yeah you, like to see enter production. It could be any concept car- electric, hybrid, diesel, gasoline, hell even if runs on air. And let me also remind you that we expect a valid reason for your claim.
Concept cars give the world an idea of a company’s potential and strength. The flashiest of concepts usually get their wraps taken off in high-profiled auto shows where millions come to see their favorite brands.
And no, we didn’t miss it: Our all time favorite concept are these cute little yellowish car-like things (seen in the picture above) only the Chinese could come up with. If the Chinese were ever stopped from copying BMW, Merc and Audi, their unique designs will further worsen their brand image and ruin the little respect they posses at present. Inspite of all that, we still love those cute little heart-shaped things that you could impress your girlfriend with on a Valentines day.
So go ahead to the comments section and type in your winner. We are waiting to be amazed!!
A curious owner has performed a dyno test on his new brand new Pontiac G8 which has clocked only 30 miles. Its become a common habit for owners to put their new sports cars through the test and verify how far the power output claims made by their makers are true.
The 6.0-liter V8 engine produces 361 horsepower as per the claims Pontiac makes. Two runs were made on the dyno and the readings obtained were 286.62 and 310.37 horse power respectively, the maximum value deviating 50 hp from the manufacturer’s claim. The results were spot on as the 50 hp difference accounts for transmission losses. Usually, the power measured at the wheels is about 15% lesser when compared to the power measured at the crankshaft making the claim valid and accurate.
Dynojet dyno was used to calculate the power output and torque values.
Remember the first time when you took your car to the petrol station? Let me tell you what happened that day- You drove into the station, parked next to the pump, and just wondered which side of the car the fuel tank was situated. Right side or left? After all, where else would you pour the fuel into?
It took a few times and a lot of guesses, and finally these days, you can fill em’ up without any trouble. But there is one simple way of finding out which side the fuel tank is located on any car. Yeah, even on a Ferrari or a Bugatti. It will save you all the energy spent on the stretching and moving, desperate to know which side the hole is.
If you look at your gas gauge in the dashboard, you will see a small icon of a gas pump. The handle of the gas pump attached to a tube will extend out either from the left or right side of the pump. If your tank is on the left, the handle will be on the left. If your tank is on the right, the handle will be on the right. Refer picture if you can’t get it. Its been there all this time on your dash. And you never noticed. I know. And remember that topspeed.com brought this to your notice and its a basic courtesy to thank them, no?
When we completed typing all that, we weren’t very sure about the claim. My Fiat Palio has her tank situated on the right hand side, and as per the claim, the nozzle on the gas pump icon is on the right. Help bury the hatchet by telling us whether the location of the tank corresponds to the dash icon on your car.
We at topspeed.com love station wagons. Our personal favorite is the S73 T AMG a.k.a the insane Sultan’s S-Class station wagon with the Zonda engine as seen in the picture. But we want to hear from you; yeah you! Are station wagons cool?
Station wagons help people carry their world with them wherever they go. They are big, sometimes ugly and not all that versatile. Their main pluses are loads of space for both passengers and luggage. Award winning sedans like the C Class and the BMW 5 Series have wagon versions too, which makes them derivatives of a cool car.
The word "station wagon" was derived from the wagons that carried people and luggage from the train station to various local destinations back in the 1920’s.
Ok, now, does the excess enclosed storage area take the cool factor away from the transformed sedans? If you think they are cool, which one is the coolest? Would you buy one this winter?
Their sound sends a shrill through our spines on race weekends. The engine that powers a F1 car is different compared to a normal car’s engine. But how different are they? This topspeed.com special article gives you an exclusive insight on F1 engines that should answer all your questions.
Audi says there is a 50 percent chance of the oil burner to be put into production. If it were to ever reach that stage, it will sport an all new gearbox. The prototype that the lucky blokes at Auto Week tested was "amazingly civilized" and everything in it worked well.
Auto Week drove the unparagoned machine two laps around an old airport runway (Sebring) with strict instructions to keep it under 50 mph. The car they tested processed power through an A4’s transmission and also wore a two-tone paint job-the disguised version of the same car present in Detroit.
Audi reckons that the production version of this concept would return 25 miles to the gallon given the fact that it bears a six-liter V12 engine that generates a whirling 1,000 Nm of torque. 0 to 60 mph comes up in about four seconds and has enough grunt to propel itself to the magical 200 mph mark.
Really??;seriously??;is it so?;Impossible;are you kidding me?-those were some responses of the Indian people to the OLRC(One lakh rupee car) when Tata Motors proposed the plan of making it. Is it going to be an auto rickshaw with four wheels?;is it a golf cart with doors??;is it going to even look like a car?-Those were some other interesting questions posed. Everything about this small car was kept under wraps during its probation period and it was like a top secret military mission which everyone wanted to know about but couldn’t. Here is a topspeed.com special article written to help you know all that you must about the Tata Nano.
Technology- thats the one word answer you can expect from an engineer in Mercedes Benz if asked about the cars his company makes. And the same answer is what keeps them ahead of the rest. They make these epic cars and when nobody is complaining, they make better ones. They were the first ones to develop, test and implement stability control, traction control, brake assist, seat belt tensioners, airbags, ABS etc. Every time a new car is unveiled in one of those auto shows, it sports a handful of fascinating and unseen technology. Jeremy Clarkson commented after driving the Mercedes-Benz S Class’s that "It’s more than just a car, its a glimpse into the future, its a showcase of everything that can be done and everything that everyone else will be doing very soon". A brief examination of the popular models reveal how different and colorful they are.
Automotive politics in full swing. As Porsche increases its stake in VW from 31 percent to more than 50 percent, its earlier plans of making a smaller SUV based on the Audi Q5 has aroused. And news is out from Ingolstadt that Audi’s board members are against this proposition as they fear it might impact Q5’s sales.
Porsche’s Chairman Wendelin Wiedeking, for many years, has been trying to strike a deal with Audi to bring out a five-seater SUV. The Q5 was what he exactly had in mind. The Porsche Cayenne and the Audi Q7 were developed and are built on a common platform. Wiedeking’s idea of making it happen again with the Q5 has apparently not pleased the board members at Audi.
The Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 are in their own leagues even though they share the same platform. Porsche should stop buying such lame stories and go ahead with developing their own stuff and now with the increase in their stake, it is bound to happen anytime soon. I mean, who wouldn’t want to buy a mini-Cayenne? And once they bring out one, it would definitely destroy the BMW X3.
Swedish nationals Saab and Volvo have joined forces with Vattenfall, battery technology consortium ETC and a government environment agency to bring out a new range of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The eco-friendly notion will span the next two years and a hybrid powertrain as well as an electrical charging infrastructure will subsequently be developed. As many as 10 cars will begin their testing schedule within this period, claims Auto Motor and Sport magazine.
Every automaker thrives to do their bit to save the environment by making use of technology and this move by the Swedish duo is no different. Saab presented its 9-X BioHybrid concept car only last week, showcasing its capabilities in this field. Volvo’s ReCharge Concept stands up to put forth the company’s interest and ability in the same area. As hybrid sales begin to open up, manufacturers are hard at work producing hybrid avatars of their star cars. Volvo and Saab see opportunities in this market and a lot remains to be seen on how much advantage they take and prosper in this high-potential field.
7 cars that are special. 7 cars that are super exotic. These are the cars that make heads turn. Spotting one of them will make your day and driving one of them transports you to another planet.
Cost- $1,7 million
The fastest and most expensive of the lot. It takes the Bugatti just 2.6 seconds to reach 100 mph from a stand still. The super-advanced, super-sophisticated machine carries a 16.4 liter W16 (2 V8’s) engine that manages to produce 1001 horsepower and has a maximum speed of 400 kilometers per hour.
Cost- $1 million
This supercar from the Italian house of Ferrari happens to have a gearbox, brakes, aerodynamics and performance figures similar to a Ferrari F1 car. Only 399 were ever made and a few of them were spotted on ebay recently!. The all Aluminum V12 displaces 5988 cc while producing a phenomenal 660 bhp.
Cost- $741,000 and
Dressed in carbon-fiber, it looks and sounds like a fighter jet. The 7.3-liter V12 engine produces a peak power of 650 bhp and a ridiculous 1057 Nm torque. This car challenges other supercars from Italy or Germany and confirms a spot for the manufacturer in the elite supercar league.
This car proved that best of supercars don’t necessarily need to come from Italy or Germany. The Competition Coupe X (CCX) beat lap times made by the Stig previously in the Zonda F, Maserati MC12 and Ferrari Enzo on Top gear’s famous test track. The 32-valve, V-8 engine develops a monstrous 806 bhp and 920 Nm of torque. Come to think of it, the CCX is more or less the best of the best and is not just another supercar.
Made by Germans and made to conquer them all. The GT was Porsche’s first limited production supercar after the 959. Technology was borrowed and developed from its race siblings and the results are quite impressive. The 5.7 liter, V10 engine that develops 612 bhp weighs just 205 kg. The GT boasts of a top speed of 330 kph and gets to 60mph from a stand still in a mere 3.9 seconds.
"Sportlich, Leicht, Rennsport" was developed by Mclaren to give its clients the F1 experience on a road car. The project did not turn out as well as they would have wanted it to, but that takes nothing away from the SLR. The SLR McLaren sports a 232-kilogram, hand-built 5.4-litre, supercharged, all-aluminum, V8 front-mid mounted engine that can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, and has a top whack of 334 km/h.
Automotive exclusivity doesn’t get bigger than this. The Maybach 62 measures the size of a cinema hall but has top speed and acceleration figures similar to a sports car. The V12, Bi-Turbo, 5513 cc engine, churns out 550 bhp and 900 Nm of torque. The 6.17 metre long limousine, features mind-boggling technological goods and its unique spaciousness and seating comfort makes it the ultimate luxury on wheels.
Cars.com, has released its pick of hybrid cars that are presently available in the market. The Toyota Prius was their best pick followed by Saturn Vue Green Line and Honda Civic. Efficiency and price were the two main criteria the rankings were based on.
The hybrids were compared to the lowest-priced, most-efficient gas-only sibling. Both versions of the car were then compared on mileage and price difference, in percent, and the results were derived.
“We know that not all buyers are willing to pay the premium for the sake of driving a hybrid. There needs to be a payoff, so our ranking highlights those hybrids that give buyers the greatest return for their investment,” stated Cars.com senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder.
BMW’s Chinese partner Brilliance, has signed an initial agreement with two U.S firms Rocket Capital and McCombs, to distribute their sedans in the U.S. The two billionaire firms will also help Brilliance in finding after-sales support.
This is not the first time a Chinese car maker has tried getting into the U.S. Previous attempts were futile as the low-cost copy cars failed in meeting safety and emission norms.
A lot of money will change hands in this deal- Brilliance will trade in 10 to 15% of its shares in exchange for $100 million from both clients.
Other Chinese manufacturers like Geely and Chery are also looking at overseas markets like U.S and Europe. Their profile will then read international as they try escaping fierce competition at home. Ambitions are high for these desirous brands- Brilliance plans to acquire 1 % of the European market by 2010. It is presently doing well at home and is well on its way in completing its second plant in China, which when commences production in 2010, will churn out 100,000 cars annually.
Pathetic brand image and poor quality are the two major issues that Chinese cars have to get rid of. The expectations and requirements of a developed nation is poles apart from a developing one. Safety and eco-friendliness are other prime areas which need attention as they are the basic and compulsory needs in order to qualify selling in global markets. Cater to all that and the market will determine the rest.
Or does it really matter?
We have been doing a lot of stories over the past month or so on car makers out-sourcing engines or tying up with others to share technology and develop engines together.
One fine example would be Fiat’s Multijet engine which finds/will find application in cars made by GM, Tata, Suzuki and Opel.
As a customer of a particular car, do you really bother who manufactures the engine that powers it? When the displacement and power output of the engine satisfies your needs, do you still think twice before buying a car that houses an engine which comes from another brand’s production line?
The diesel Cayenne has got all our attention. Mid-2009 was the launch date and the hype multiplied when rumors floated of a version with the V12 TDI found in the new Q7, was going to be offered. But No! Dreams will remain dreams.
The diesel avatar of the Cayenne SUV will be launched with the lighter 3.2 liter V6. There are a host of reasons like fuel economy, emissions, suitability and so on, which have prompted Porsche to make this move. But no worries. The V6 is said to produce around 300 hp with loads of torque which will make up for some of the disappointment. And lets agree on the fact that Porsche know more than you and me and we (majority of us) have always been fascinated and accept their products for what they are.
There is no point in making a car which houses an engine that measures to a size of an office cubicle but fails to get the all power it produces down on to the road. The engine is just one part of the whole equation and lets leave it Porsche to do what they want. All we need is the Porsche magic in it and nothing more. Regardless of all that, there will be a few unsatisfied people, the-more-power-madness-I-want category of customers whom I bet will be taken care by Gemballa or RENNtech immediately after the launch.
Mercedes-Benz Korea has good news!
Mercedes-Benz Korea sold 597 units of its S, C, E and B class models as it continues to be the leader in Korea’s imported "premium" brand category for the second successive month of this year. 1,000 numbers of the new C-Class have been sold since its official launch in November last year. The model has gained a lot of respect and reputation and is a key contributor in Mercedes’ impressive sales chart.
Mercedes-Benz Korea expects the numbers to rise in the coming months following the 33.5 percent jump in imported car sales last month when compared to figures a year ago.
The popularity of the new C, pertains not only to Asian markets but also globally as Mercedes-Benz announced that global sales rose 18 percent in February, thanks to the C-Class sedan and Smart microcar.
Japan’s car sales has been steadily tumbling and the imported car sales figures are dreadful. Mercedes-Benz recorded a 11.5% drop in sales last month, and the effect of new models were negligible. Vehicle sales dropped to a 25-year low last year and the condition there does not seem to be improving.
Its not clear as to whether the Japanese have shifted to bicycles or low-cost aircrafts but as of now, Mercedes have no plans in manufacturing either of those two items there. If you think the prime reason for this catastrophe is because of Global warming and Al Gore, leave a comment.
To serve the rich and royal individuals in Asia, Ferrari has announced it will be opening its first fully owned subsidiary in April this year. The subsidiary will be located in Japan and will help customers in the Asian market to acquire their favorite supercar.
Japan has been the No.2 market for Ferrari for many years after the United States. This move by the Italian supercar maker is a sign of gratitude towards Japan. Ferrari’s Asian chief Marco Mattiacc, stated, “The Japanese market is still going for a long time to represent the largest market in Asia,”. “This is a market that has almost 1.2 million high net worth individuals, one of the highest concentrations of wealth in the world, so there’s plenty of opportunity. The key factor is to keep being exclusive,” Mattiacci elaborated.
Ferrari recorded a massive increase in sales last year and thats actually become a matter of concern. The profits are pleasing but the exclusivity factor takes a beating. The carmaker sold a total of 6,465 vehicles last year and with the launch of this new subsidiary, expect those numbers to multiply.
Renault feels that the low-cost car project with Indian automaker Bajaj, is very important for them.
Renault-Nissan will partner with India’s No. 2 motorcycle maker and top three-wheeler maker, Bajaj, to develop and manufacture a $3000 car following the footsteps of Tata Motors, who unveiled their Nano last month which costs a mere $2500 excluding taxes and transportation charges.
Patrick Pelata, executive vice-president of Renault, after signing the memorandum of understanding late on Friday for a $1.0b plant to make 400k vehicles and power trains in Southern India, told Reuters that it was very important to them. He also mentioned that the Nano is "a big step in the automotive industry," and would help people in developing countries traveling in motorcycles, to shift to a better and inexpensive mode of transportation.
Chief executive of Nissan and Renault, Carlos Ghosn, announced that the production is set to commence somewhere in late 2010 or early 2011. Tata Motors and Renault will not the be the only ones to flock the market with their ultra-cheap products. Fiat, Hyundai and Toyota have their plans as well and will join the race at a later stage to give the Indian middle-class people a basic car. Small cars account to approximately 67% of passenger car sales in India and the the country is steadily evolving into a hub for both manufacturing and exporting small cars.
Renault is presently sourcing parts worth about 100 million euros from India, and a dedicated logistics centre in the western India has also been set up. Renault has a tie-up with Mahindra & Mahindra for manufacturing the Logan sedan.
General Motors’ new transmission plant in its Mexico’s Silao complex has been in the news since it began operations last month.
The $660 million plant builds a new six-speed rear-wheel-drive family of gearboxes, which uses 4 percent less fuel compared to regular transmissions in certain applications. 1,500 of them are built everyday which are distributed to other countries, where they will find application in 25 different vehicles.
However, the gearboxes will not be exported to the U.S or neither will they be fitted on vehicles assembled in Silao.
The Silao complex currently employs 3,900 people and the transmission plant will employ 1,100 workers at full production. The Silao complex opened in the year 1995. It assembles the Chevrolet Suburban, Avalanche and Silverado Crew Cab, GMC Sierra Crew Cab and Cadillac Escalade EXT models.
Good news for petrol-heads. Your dreams of driving a gasoline-powered automobile far away in the future is not shattered after all. Two scientists F. Jeffrey Martin and William L. Kubic Jr, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory proposed a project “Green Freedom”. Their proposition looks quite possible and interesting-By blowing air over a solution of potassium carbonate, the carbon dioxide in the air will be absorbed. Then the solution is put through a series of chemical reactions that would transform it into methanol or gasoline. In the process, CO2 is capped and gasoline is produced.
The scientists have put this down on paper and are yet to present a working model. They claim that by using an electrochemical process, the gathered CO2 will be detached from the solution. Production of gasoline through this process on a large scale will consume an enormous amount of energy and the scientists believe Nuclear energy will be the best solution for the problem alongside renewable sources like solar power.
Sounds feasible, but the scientists need a $5 billion initial investment, but would produce gasoline for $1.40 a gallon. We at topspeed, wish the two scientists, all the very best with their new venture and hope and pray that the government gives them the required support and assistance for this dream project to turn into reality.
Wang Chi-sheng is a young, enthusiastic Taiwanese mechanic, who is interested in experimenting with Mercedes’ electronics. The dude is now in jail and the story is pretty interesting.
Wang tried to replace a sensor in a luxury Mercedes-Benz car with a urinal sensor that he stole from a closed-down petrol bunk.
The Taiwanese Mercedes-Benz technical department termed the plot "unbelievable" and sent out a note to all maturing vehicular experimenters that car/convenience hybrids are not just light-hearted fun. Weng’s experiment could have gone terribly wrong, and ended in a tragedy as a short-circuit could have easily happened around the engine area, igniting the fuel and resulting in a catastrophic fire/explosion.
"The probability of successfully using a sensor from a public urinal to replace special factory-made sensors was and remains zero," quoted a representative from Mercedes-Benz Taiwan.
So, before you try impressing the blokes at Stuttgart, think twice!
Citroen announced that it will use BMW engines on its new models. Naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines will be employed which displace 1.4 to 1.6 liters.
Sister company Peugeot is already employing BMW engines to power its 207 and 308 models. Although the Citroen models which will use the engines are unknown, WhatCar? claims that the Citroen C5 will be the first car to roll out with the new engine before 2010.
Citroen will benefit from BMW’s EfficientDynamics engine stop-start technology which increases fuel efficiency and engine life. The manufacturer plans to equip all its cars with this technology in the near future.
China’s thirst for international cars doesn’t end with BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Luxury car-maker Bentley sold 338 cars in China and Hong Kong areas in 2007, finishing with a remarkable 93 percent rise in sales compared to the previous year.
258 Bentley cars were sold in mainland China alone, which has become Bentley’s fifth largest and fastest growing market in the world.
Bentley sold 4,196 units in the United States and 2,079 units in the United Kingdom respectively, which are Bentley’s leading markets. Overall, 10,014 cars were sold world wide in 2007, up by 7 percent, and sales in Asia rose by 18 percent when contrasted with previous year’s statistics.
The natural gas-powered Civic GX, stood first in the list of American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ’Greenest Vehicles of 2008’. The Civic GX wins this award for the fifth consecutive year making it the most eco-friendly car available to the public. Three other Honda vehicles that featured in the list were the gasoline powered Civic, Fit and Civic Hybrid, which made up one-third of the cars.
Introduced in 1998, the Civic GX, is the cleanest internal combustion vehicle certified by the EPA, and is 90% cleaner than the average gasoline-powered car on the road today. Equipped standard with a 5-speed automatic transmission, its 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine delivers 113 horsepower and 109 ft-lbs of torque while meeting federal Tier 2-Bin 2 and ILEV zero evaporative emission certification standards and carries the "Cleanest on Earth" title.
"Honda continues to set the standard for socially and environmentally-responsible automotive products and our commitment to alternative fuels will further expand with the zero emissions FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle coming to market this summer," stated John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda.
The entire list of eco-friendly winners for 2008:
HONDA CIVIC GX
HONDA CIVIC HYBRID
SMART FORTWO CONVERTIBLE / COUPE
NISSAN ALTIMA HYBRID
TOYOTA COROLLA 1.8L
MINI COOPER / CLUBMAN
TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID
The Nardo top speed run has had a lot of stars in the past. The MTM Bimoto TT was one, which recorded a staggering top speed of 390.6 km/h. Then, the cinema theater on wheels, Brabus Maybach 57 that did 330.6 km/h, made a few supercars blush. Edo Competition’s Lamborghini LP640 came up with some mind-boggling numbers-345.7 km/h. All these are impressive figures and remarkable feats, showcasing the technology and skill of each tuner. None of them could break the 400 km/h mark and this year, a car with fancy headlamps might just reach the deserted destination.
During the last Tokyo Auto Salon, a company named Top Secret, announced that they will try to break the 400km/h (248mp/h) mark on the Nardo Circuit in Italy, later this year. They will try and shatter the record by using a Toyota Supra thats err.. not exactly stock. The 3.0 L engine has been replaced with a 6.0-liter V12, which produces in excess of 1000 hp. Thats close to five times the power produced by the stock engine. The banked, 12.5 km circuit is the battle ground where tuning companies go head to head with the laws of physics as they try and push their machines to their absolute limit. With the inclusion of this Supra, this year’s event is going to be all the more interesting.