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March 2008 overview

March 2008 overview

March saw the unveiling for many new models. VW announced the new Scirocco model and BlueMotion versions for the Sharan model range.

Volvo announced details of the new Volvo XC60 including its award winning City Safe active braking system.

Nissan confirmed prices and specifications for the new Nissan GT-R model range.

Audi released details of the new A4 Avant model range.

Mercedes announced prices and specifications for the face lift of the 2009 CLS-Class that we have already seen pictures of.

Citroen released details for the new C5 model range.

Limited editions of the Jaguar XKR-S were announced by Jaguar.

Ocean Race versions for the Volvo V70, XC70 and XC90 were also announced.

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Alonso denies “get out” clause

Alonso denies “get out” clause

The BBC is reporting that Fernando Alonso has played down speculation that he will move to Ferrari at the end of the season.

The move will do little to quell such speculation as he is reported to be on a release clause with Renault and the story looks set to continue for the entire season or at least until he signs a contract for someone.

When asked if he had a get out clause he replied “No” and later added “I do not remember that clause” but continued "as we saw last year contracts are always very flexible". Seemingly referring to the cancellation/finishing of his McLaren contract.

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BMW to cease production of V8 diesel

BMW to cease production of V8 diesel

BMW has announced plans to cease production of V8 diesel engines. The company says that six-cylinder versions offer better fuel efficiency and performance.

Norbert Reithofer, BMW Chief Executive, told auto motor und sport magazine: "We have decided on a six-cylinder diesel with a twin turbo system. This engine has higher performance than a V8 and is more fuel efficient. Current eight-cylinder offerings will not be taken out of the line-up but new models will not be offered with this option. A replacement for this engine is unlikely."

Reports also suggest that Mercedes is about to stop production of its diesel V8 engine for similar reasons.

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Shell and Virent searching for the miracle formula

Shell and Virent searching for the miracle formula

According to Reuters, Royal Dutch Shell and US bioscience firm Virent Energy Systems, are to research a gasoline alternative from non-food crops. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions without increasing food prices.

Shell said that unlike ethanol, the fuel it aims to develop with Virent will be able to run in existing vehicles without the need to modify their engines. Current gasoline engines can usually only run on small amounts of ethanol blended with gasoline, typically 5%. Much higher percentages can be used with modification.

The project follows a trend of major oil companies investing in plans to produce motor fuels from crops. The focus is mainly on second-generation biofuels, which will be produced from non-food crops. These can be grown on land not suitable for wheat or sugar cane.

Shell and Virent have not disclosed the amount they are investing in the project and produced no targets for achieving commercial production of the new fuel.

Last year, Shell and Virent announced a partnership to develop processes to manufacture hydrogen from biomass, using the same technology. The companies hope this will now produce "biogasoline".

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Porsche continue legal action against the Lord Mayor of London

Porsche continue legal action against the Lord Mayor of London

Yesterday Porsche GB continued their legal action against the Mayor of London’s decision to increase the congestion charge from £8 ($16) to £25 ($50) for vehicles with CO2 emissions of over … Even residents within the congestion charge zone will see their payments jump from £0.80 ($1.60) to £25 ($50).

Porsche continued their action by pushing forward their judicial review and have asked for it to be fast tracked in the hope of a decision before the charge is imposed.

Commenting on the filing, Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB, said, “Not only is this new tax on motorists unfair, it is also a disproportionate and illegal use of power by the mayor. The Porsche case is about protecting London and Londoners from a new tax that will not only fail to reduce CO2 emissions in central London, but also increase congestion and damage air quality.”


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