Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ascari KZ1

2005 Ascari KZ1
Ascari Press Release

Ascari KZ1The KZ1 was originally conceived following on from the successes of Team Ascari. The idea was proposed for a road-going sports car based on racing technology. In the spring of 2000, that concept began to take shape in the form of the prototype KZ1. Now completed, the Ascari KZ1 has been transformed from a dream to a production reality.

The pleasure begins as you unlock the door and step inside. You'll find an elegant combination of interior materials, including leather, alcantara and brushed aluminium.

Press the 'Start' button and the powerful 5.0 litre V8 engine eagerly springs into life.

Inspired by the achievements of Alberto Ascari, the first double world champion in the history of Formula One, the Ascari KZ1 gives unparalleled performance and driveability in one of the world's most exclusive supercars.

A carbon fibre monocoque structure gives lightness and strength to the sleek mid-engined design, resulting in an aerodynamic drag coefficient (CD) ratio of a mere 0.35.

The normally aspirated 5 litre V8, 32 valve engine gives an effortless 500 brake horse power through a six speed manual gearbox to the rear wheels.

Beautifully designed, hand-crafted and built to exceptional standards, the exclusivity of the Ascari KZ1 is assured by the creation of only 50 cars.

The opulent sporting interior cossets the driver in fully adjustable leather sports seats which give great lateral support during dynamic cornering.

Uniquely designed polished aluminium controls sit on a leather trimmed dashboard with central 'Start' button emphasising our sporting heritage.

Climate controlled air conditioning keeps the generous interior space cool no matter how hot the driving experience.

Subtle back-lighting of the fascia gauges and controls set a relaxed mood whilst conveying all the vital information accurately at all times. Electric windows and door mirrors, CD player and remote central locking with Thatcham category 1 alarm and immobiliser complete the specification.

Interior colour schemes match the exterior paint options and are entirely at the owners discretion, with all colour combinations offered for the ultimate in creating a bespoke supercar.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Lotus Exige Cup

2006 Lotus Exige Cup
Lotus Press Release

Lotus Exige Cup 2006Lotus Sport, the motor sport division of Lotus Cars Ltd., has developed two higher performance versions of the 2006 Model Year Lotus Exige, the Lotus Exige Cup and the Lotus Exige Cup 240, both developed for track use straight out of the box.

The Lotus Exige Cup cars are based on the new 2006 Model Year Exige and are completely track ready sports coupés with uprated clutch, sports exhaust, adjustable suspension, uprated brakes, limited slip differential, switchable traction control, a T45 steel roll-over hoop and Aframe with harness mounts, fuel and ignition kill switches and a fully plumbed in fire extinguisher system. An FIA approved 6 point roll cage is a no cost option.

As the names suggest, the Lotus Exige Cup cars are available with two different engine variants. The Lotus Exige Cup uses a 192 PS (189hp / 141kW) and 181Nm four cylinder 1.8 litre 2ZZ VVTL-i engine, and the Lotus Exige Cup 240 uses a supercharged and intercooled high revving 1.8 litre four cylinder engine producing 247 PS (243hp / 181kW) at 8000 rpm and a torque figure of 236 Nm at 7000 rpm.

Lotus Exige Cup 2006Performance from both the variants is phenomenal with the Lotus Exige Cup reaching 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and 160 km/h in 13.2 seconds, with a top speed of 237 km/h. The Lotus Exige Cup 240 reaches the 100 km/h mark in around 4.5 seconds and 160 km/h in 11.3 seconds. Top speed is 249 km/h.

Both versions are built as official factory conversions of new Lotus Exige cars by Lotus Sport at its facilities at the Group Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, UK. Each car features a Lotus Sport build plate.

Apart from the differences in engine performance, the Lotus Exige Cup cars have identical specification.

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Daihatsu HVS Concept

2005 Daihatsu HVS Concept
Daihatsu Press Release

Daihatsu HVS ConceptThe HVS is a hybrid open sports car that offers a sophisticated fusion of driving performance and environmentally frendly performance.

This advanced roadster points the way to the next generation of sports car, with its hybrid system delivering sporty response on a par with that of 2-litre engine vehicles and excellent fuel economy of 35km/litre*, surpassing expectations for 1-litre engine vehicles - all packed into a compact open body.

Combining the advanced look of a hybrid car with the pulse-quickening shapeliness of a sports car, the HVS has a low center of gravity with a spindle shape, delivering an experience where driver and car become one in its 3,715mm long compact body. The car's elegantly flowing lines are emphasized by the design's freedom from excessive decoration.

The cockpit features a steep wrap-around dashboard and form-fitting seats, providing the proper balance of openness and security that one seeks in a roadster. Careful attention to color and materials assures a high-quality impression, while the metal accents, such as on the meter cluster and center console, add a sporty, progressive touch.

The car's front-mounted hybrid system combines a 1.5-litre inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine with two motors. The engine develops maximum output of 80kW (109PS) and maximum torque of 141N·m (14.4kg·m). With its high-power motors and smooth, seamless acceleration due to the outstanding power transmission efficiency of the hybrid system, the HVS delivers sporty response with ample torque on a par with 2-litre engine vehicles. Powerful acceleration and stability are further enhanced by the rear electric motor with left-right drive power control mechanism. Thanks to highly efficient system operation, fuel economy is an impressive 35km/litre*, surpassing expectations for 1-litre engine vehicles. In addition, the HVS achieves outstanding environment-friendly performance, with emissions reduction equivalent to 75% below Japan's 2005 regulations.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Electric Mitsubishi Lancer EVO

2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MIEV Electric Concept
Mitsubishi Press Release

MIEVMIEV - a proposal for next-generation electric vehicles that utilizes to maximum effect the environmental technology Mitsubishi Motors has developed over the years. The offspring of a marriage between such environmental technology and Mitsubishi Motors' sporty characteristics, Lancer Evolution MIEV delivers a totally new experience in driving pleasure.

Lancer Evolution MIEV derives from the Lancer Evolution IX. Utilizing the advantages offered by the electric powertrain to craft smooth and slippery, low-drag body lines, the styling imparts an aggressive wind-cleaving look to the body. Riding on large wheels and tires, Lancer Evolution MIEV projects a tempting taste of its potent new-age sport driving potential.

The wheels are driven by four outer-rotor in-wheel motors. Requiring no speed reducer, these high-efficiency direct drive motors fit neatly into the 20-inch wheels. Each in-wheel motor produces 50 kW of power and 518 Nm torque. With a motor in each wheel, this brings maximum output up to 200 kW (270 PS). And because this drive system allows precise regulation of power at each individual wheel, it opens the door to creating a vehicle dynamics control system in its ultimate evolutionary form — one that could be dubbed Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC).

The in-wheel motors and the lithium-ion battery system, which is located under the floor to reduce the center of gravity, accelerate Lancer Evolution MIEV from 0 km/h to 100 km/h in less than 8 seconds and up to a maximum speed of 180 km/h. This is a level of motive performance that leaves today's EV's standing.

In-Wheel Motor
The foremost feature of the in-wheel motor is that it allows drive torque and braking force to be regulated with high precision on an individual wheel basis without requiring transmission, drive shafts, differential gears or other complex and heavy components. Housing the drive system in the wheels also gives greater freedom in designing the layout. This will facilitate the conversion of internal combustion engine-powered vehicles into hybrid vehicles without requiring the introduction of complex hybrid power systems. It will also make it easier to provide room for space-consuming components such as fuel cell stacks and hydrogen tanks in fuel cell vehicles. The space-saving benefits of the in-wheel motor also offer exciting possibilities in terms of body design.

MIEV Wheel Motor

Lithium-Ion Battery
The major shortcoming of the EV to date has been its limited cruising range. This is now well on the way to being overcome with recent improvements in battery performance. MIEV uses a lithium-ion storage cell for its main power source, this offers advantages in terms of energy density and life over other types of secondary or rechargeable battery.

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Bugatti Veyron W16 Engine

Bugatti Veyron W16 Engine
Bugatti Press Release

Bugatti Veyron W16 EngineThe trials of the fastest road sports car in the world have been successfully completed. One of the most ambitious projects in automobile history is entering its production phase. The first Bugatti Veyron 16.4 cars, built mainly by hand, are already being completed and will be delivered to customers this year.

The sports car, capable of more than 400 km/h, is driven by a 16-cylinder mid-engine, that at 710 mm long is no larger than a conventional V12 unit, and due to its lightweight construction weighs only about 400 kilos. Its compact dimensions are due to the unique arrangement of its cylinder banks in a W configuration. Two VR8 blocks, each with a fifteen degree bank angle, are joined in the crankcase to form one engine. Both eight cylinders are set at an angle of ninety degrees to each other and are aspirated by a total of four exhaust gas turbochargers. The engine delivers 1001 HP at 6,000 r.p.m. and provides a maximum torque of 1250 Newtonmetres at between 2,200 and 5,500 r.p.m.

To apply the power of the 64-valve unit to achieve satisfactory driving dynamics both in everyday traffic and on the racetrack, the Bugatti development team of Dr. Franz-Joseph Paefgen and Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber has realized a propulsion unit that is without parallel in its complexity. If the extreme engine power is a master stroke of genius, its conversion for road use is an equally tough challenge. As Dr. Schreiber says “For 1000 HP propulsion power, the system demands approximately 2000 HP to be additionally generated as heat energy during combustion. Half in each case is dissipated in the exhaust gas and cooling water”.

Bugatti Veyron W16 EngineTo do this, the Bugatti engine has two water circuits. The larger of the two with 40 liters of cooling water has three coolers in the front section of the car, to keep the engine at operating temperature. The second circuit, called the low-temperature system, has a separate water pump and contains 15 liters of cooling water. These are used to cool, by up to 130 degrees, the charged air, heated during compression in the turbochargers, in two heat exchangers mounted on the engine. The cooled, charged air then passes through two “air manifolds” into the combustion chamber, which it then leaves as exhaust gas at approximately 1,000 degrees. It then passes through the turbines of the exhaust gas turbochargers. This causes the exhaust gas to expand, so that it is cooled by up to about 150 degrees, is then cleaned in the catalyzer and exhausted.

In addition to its unique compactness, the high performance of the power unit is the centrepoint of the development. Lightweight materials are used that not only result in a low power-to-weight ratio but also particularly provide the spontaneous response of the moving engine-internal masses. In addition to piston rods of titanium, the so called “easy runners”, the eight-stage oil pump integrated into the crankcase for dry sump lubrication has light aluminum gears. Because the arrangement of the 16 cylinders ensures extremely quiet running, only a small flywheel is needed. The use of motor sport technology is evident not only from the plasma-coated running faces of the cylinders but also by the use of high-strength steel for the shafts and gears in the aluminum crankcase.

Unique in engine design is the integration of knock and misfiring detection in an ion current system. Because the multiplicity of cylinders means very quiet running and ensures that the velocity difference will be extremely small in the event of a cylinder misfire, cylinder-selective detection by measuring rough running is not reliable enough. Therefore, Bugatti Ion Current Sensing (BIS) is used. The ion current flowing at each spark plug at the timepoint of ignition is monitored by a separate evaluation sensor system. The data obtained is passed to both engine control units. If knocking combustion or a misfire is detected, the associated control unit immediately initiates countermeasures, such as retardation of the ignition timepoint, shutdown of the cylinder or reduction of the charge pressure. According to the head of Bugatti Unit Development Gregor Gries, “The aim of our technology is to generate the maximum performance from the engine in a stable, clean manner”.

The power generated in the engine is transferred to the flange-mounted direct manual gearbox (DSG). The torque and speed is then transmitted, through the gearing of seven forward and one reverse gear, via a universal drive to the front axle gearbox and via a second universal drive, along the right side of the engine to the rear axle gearbox. Both the DSG and both axle gearbox housings are of lightweight aluminum construction. The drive power is distributed to the front and rear axles by means of a Haldex coupling, an actively-controlled multi-disk, inter-axle lock directly connected to the front axle gearbox.

The following front axle differential distributes the power to both front wheels. In the rear axle differential the power is distributed to the rear wheels via a bevel gear and a further differential. In addition, an actively-controlled, hydraulically-actuated, multi-disk differential lock is installed here. When necessary, it prevents speed differences between the rear wheels and ensures optimum directional stability when accelerating and when cornering under load. All load distribution functions are completely automatic and are undetected by the driver.

The Bugatti marque has since earliest times been regarded as a central force in the advancement of automobile development by innovative solutions. A position deservedly maintained by the first high-performance sports car of the modern Bugatti.

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Lotus Elise Sports Racer

2006 Lotus Elise Sports Racer
Lotus Press Release

Lotus Elise Sports RacerHarking back to some key Lotus sports and GT racer colour schemes (used on some versions of the Lotus Elite, Type 23, and Lotus Elan) from the 1950s and 1960s, Lotus introduces the limited edition Lotus Elise Sports Racer.

Two distinctly different vehicles have been produced. The first, in Ardent Red, features a single painted white stripe flanked by two thinner painted white stripes and has distinctive white wing mirrors. The interior of the car is also unique, with matching red stitching set against black leather trim.

The second car is Nightfall Blue and has twin painted white stripes running the length of the vehicle. Again, this car features white wing mirrors and has a unique interior, subtly matching the exterior of the vehicle, with blue stitching on the leather.

Both the versions have a coloured (red or blue respectively) Elise logo stitched into the headrests and unique Elise Sports Racer decals positioned on the exterior of the car.

The Elise Sports Racer will be built in limited numbers with a total production run, across the two colours, of 199 units worldwide with each one given an individually numbered build plate.

Under the blue and red colour schemes, the Elise Sports Racers use some of the best sports and track specific components available including ultra-lightweight 7-twin spoke forged alloy wheels (saving a massive 1.2 kg of unsprung weight per corner), Advan Neova AD07 LTS tyres linked to sports suspension (uprated Eibach springs and stiffer Bilstein dampers), twin oil coolers and switchable Lotus Traction Control (LTC).

The switchable engine-managed Lotus Traction Control System (LTC) is active above 8 km/h (5 mph) and works through the engine, reducing power when required to maintain traction. It operates much quicker than many brake based systems. A Torsen-type limited slip differential (LSD) is available as an option for tight low speed, high acceleration driving (such as auto tests).

Standard luxury kit includes a colour matched hardtop, central door locking, electric windows, interior stowage net, sound insulation pack, black soft-top with sound/thermal insulation and black full carpet set.

LED rear lights are fitted which are brighter and the brake lights illuminate 2 tenths of a second (0.2 seconds) quicker (or one Elise car length at 70km/h / 43 mph) and are 36% lighter (around 0.6 kg) than conventional filament bulbs.

Proven & High Performing Engine & Gearbox
With a VVTL-i engine (Variable Valve Timing and Lift-intelligent) producing a maximum power output of 141 kW (189 hp or 192 PS) and 181 Nm (133 lbft or 18.5 kgm) of torque, the Elise Sports Racer sprints to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds (60 mph in 4.9 seconds) and 160km/h (100 mph) in 13.0 seconds before reaching a certified top speed of 241km/h (150 mph).

This performance is achieved through a balance of environmental considerations with the fully Euro IV Emissions compliant engine helping the Elise to return 8.8 litres/100 km (32.1 mpg) on the combined cycle, as well as the very low figure of 208 g/km of CO2 emissions.

A New Lightweight Pedal Box
The Lotus Elise Sports Racer uses a new lighter weight pedal box with forged steel pedal arms and extruded aluminium pads. This new unit, which is lighter that the previous extruded aluminium unit, has an electronic throttle for quicker and smoother engine response, reduced brake pedal ratio and improved pedal feel for the brake and throttle. All three pedals are better positioned for improved "heel and toe" brake and throttle control on downshifts. The cable-less throttle also ensures that emissions are managed more effectively and kept as low as possible under all operating conditions.

Air-conditioning is available as an option and weighs in at a featherweight 15 kg.

The Lotus Elise Sports Racer is available from Lotus dealers in November 2005 at a recommended retail price of £31,995 in the UK. Other world market prices will be issued shortly.

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HARTGE BMW 3 Series H50 V10

HARTGE BMW 3 Series H50 V10
HARTGE Press Release

HARTGE BMW 3 Series H50 V10The first thing that strikes you is the two-tone paint work, the special air-outlets on the bonnet and wings, as well as the HARTGE front-spoiler lip and the HARTGE rear spoiler. The 3 series BMW from the Saarland – to be more exact, the HARTGE H50 V10 – is a masterwork in many ways and not all of them visual. In particular, the HARTGE engineers and mechanics have achieved something very special under the thermodynamically optimised bonnet. Fitted with a modified M5 V10 engine, a 7-speed SMG gear box and the HARTGE modification to raise maximum speed from the electronically limited 250 km/h to 320 km/h, the H50 V10 puts all its power – 550 bhp (410 kW) and torque of 520 Nm (384 lb-ft) – onto the tarmac via a reinforced rear axle and a special suspension setup that is adjustable in terms of both rebound and compression.

Also new and made especially for the HARTGE H50 V10, is the stainless steel exhaust system, which turns the V10 sound into an acoustic delight. Customers can choose between two dual round (or oval) tail pipes. The wheel / tyre combination consists of 9 x 20 offset 40 at the front and 10 x 20 offset 40 at the back fitted with 245/30 ZR 20 and 285/25 ZR 20 Continental tyres respectively.

Last but not least: the HARTGE H50 V10 interior: Particularly striking are, besides the 330 km/h speedometer, the carbon interior trim, the 3-spoke leather steering wheel with carbon inserts, the illuminated leather / aluminium gear knob and the leather / aluminium handbrake cover. With the H50 V10, HARTGE is continuing its long tradition of making wolves in sheep's clothing for individualists who attach importance to understatement:

HARTGE – The elegant way to drive fast.

The H50 V10 is based on the BMW 3 series saloon (E90). A comparable conversion is currently being developed for the Touring (E91) and Coupé (E92).

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Nissan GT-R PROTO Concept

2005 Nissan GT-R PROTO Concept
Nissan Press Release

Nissan GT-R PROTO ConceptAt the 35th Tokyo Motor Show in 2001, Nissan unveiled the GT-R Concept, confirming that the GT-R legend would be continued into the 21st century. Then, at the 37th Tokyo Motor Show in 2003, Nissan announced the next-generation GT-R would be rolled out in 2007. Now with the launch of the production model just two years away, the development of the new GT-R has moved ahead again with the reveal of the GT-R PROTO.

Ultimate Driving Pleasure
In essence, driving pleasure means that a car responds faithfully to the driver's wishes and performs precisely as expected. Successive generations of the GT-R have consistently pursued this vision of ultimate driving pleasure. Whether on the road or the racetrack, the GT-R has always represented ultimate performance combined with handling qualities that stay faithful to the driver’s wishes, in all conditions. As a result, the GT-R has built a reputation that extends far beyond just its loyal owner base.

Nissan GT-R PROTO Concept

Exterior Design: Pure Performance
The design of the GT-R PROTO expresses pure GT-R heritage, coming from the first model PGC10 (1969) through R34 (1999), in a new and expressive form.

From its original roots as a pure-bred Japanese performance car, the new GT-R will now be a car sold globally, recognizing its ability to compete with the very best in the world. For the first time in its history, the new GT-R will be designed as a specific body style, and not derived from a sedan.

The design language of the GT-R PROTO is expressed by a distinctive body-style that communicates pure performance and functionality. The form of the GT-R PROTO instantly expresses its purpose and potential, but in a way that is unique to this iconic car.

At the front end, the single center air intake is designed to optimize airflow and to strongly link the identity of the GT-R from R34 to GT-R Concept (2001). Front fenders are uniquely designed through intensive analysis of the airflow around the tires, and the air vent behind the front fender also optimizes aerodynamics. The sides of the body are sculptured towards the rear fender, expressing the power and dynamic tension of the car.

The overall shape of the body combines solid and smooth surfaces to achieve the look of a well-trained athlete. The unique c-pillar crease is designed for optimum aerodynamics, reflecting the racing DNA of the GT-R.

The rear of the GT-R PROTO is strong and well defined. The signature four ring-shaped tail lamps provide an immediate visual link to previous GT-R models. Four large-bore exhaust pipes complete the purposeful look, which could only be that of a pure GT-R.

The GT-R PROTO provides for the first time a clear indication of the final design direction for the production model to be launched in 2007, the first all-new GT-R in eight years.

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Brink Dynamics Carver

2005 Brink Dynamics Carver
Brink Dynamics Press Release

Brink Dynamics CarverSteer it like a car and the Carver will bank like a motorcycle. The fully automatic hydraulic-mechanical DVC system makes this exciting kind of driving possible, lending itself very well to a sporty driving style.

Enjoy the steering and feel how responsive DVC balances the vehicle body for you, banking to the exact natural angle.

Its low weight and aerodynamic design allows the modern 4 cylinder 68 bhp engine to take CARVER in 8.2 seconds to 100 km/hour and to a top speed of 185 km/hour.

To be able to take a corner in a slender vehicle without tipping over, Brink Dynamics developed the Dynamic Vehicle Control (DVC) system. This system causes a vehicle to shift its weight by tilting its body while cornering, ensuring an optimal balance at all times. It enables slender vehicles to corner fast and safely.

Using the DVC technology Brink Dynamics developed an enclosed tilting three-wheel vehicle with the comfort and safety of a car, yet only 130 cm (4' 4" feet) wide. Years of research and development went into the improvement and fine-tuning of the technology resulting in 2002 in this vehicle obtaining road certification and full EU type approval.

In 2003 Vandenbrink manufactured the first exclusive series of 20 vehicles under the name "Vandenbrink Carver", the first-ever commercially available tilting three-wheel vehicle with an enclosed and comfortable passenger compartment. Receiving rave reviews from the press and industry watchers worldwide, these first Carvers sold out in record time and were shipped to various enthusiastic owners throughout the world.

The Carver is produced and marketed by Carver Europe, licensing the DVC technology from ATLC.

Meanwhile the Carver has been tweaked and fine-tuned to perfection: the Carver One is currently being rolled out in Europe. The start of the production is planned for this year and Carver Europe is taking orders as production and delivery will be on a 'first-come first-served basis.

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Factory Five Racing GTM

2005 Factory Five Racing GTM
Factory Five Racing Press Release

Factory Five Racing GTMThe idea for the GTM is simple. Design a modern supercar and price it where an ordinary guy can afford. The only catch is that you have to provide your own running gear (GM based) and you have to build it yourself.

After more than three years of engineering and development work, we are ready to introduce the world to our vision of what an American-designed Supercar should be. The GTM is an American V-8 powered, mid-engined car with a composite body shell and an aluminum and steel tube frame chassis. The car uses GM Performance engine and suspension parts with four-corner coil-over shocks, huge brakes and a Porsche 911 Transaxle.

In the Factory Five tradition, the car is first and foremost a high performance car. The GTM is light and aerodynamic, with excellent weight distribution and precise race-car handling/braking derived from the Chevrolet Corvette C-5.

The car is engineered to be built as a chassis kit by a person at home. More than ten years of manufacturing the best engineered, safest, best selling and easiest to build kits in the world has made us uniquely capable of this challenge.

Lastly, no matter how well engineered the car is, and how good it looks, in order to succeed we knew we would have to ensure the car had modern comfort and control. The GTM has a large and quiet cockpit, good visibility and modern temperature controls. Items like A/C, power windows, and complete interior make sure the car isn’t limited to race track duty.

From the first design sketch to the completed production car the team has kept faithful to its charter to deliver a new All-American Supercar design. The GTM is an all-new design for us. It is 100% American designed and proudly made in the USA.

We humbly present our vision of The American Supercar.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Audi Shooting Brake Concept

2005 Audi Shooting Brake Concept
Audi Press Release

Audi Shooting Brake ConceptAt Tokyo Motor Show in late October, Audi unveiled a new highlight in the sporty compact segment, with its Shooting Brake Concept.

The Shooting Brake is a study that offers a further trailblazing interpretation of Audi's current formal design idiom, blending the powerful dynamism of a sports car with a new sense of spaciousness and greater functionality.

With its powerful 250 bhp, 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine and quattro permanent four-wheel drive, the Shooting Brake Concept produces a quality of road behaviour that lives up to its visual impact in every sense. The study vehicle sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in just six seconds, and its top speed is electronically governed at 250 km/h.

Its front end is characterised by the striking single-frame radiator grille with dominant horizontal slats in chrome. The tapered shape at the front – further accentuated by prominent air inlets at the sides – and the dynamic cut of the clear-glass headlights give the face its decidedly forceful character. A presence that echoes the characteristic front-end design of the current A4 racing models in the DTM and the visionary Audi RSQ study.

One new element in the portfolio of design features is the upward swoop behind the rear side window. This, together with the wide C-post, accentuates the prominent rear end where the main visual emphasis of the Shooting Brake Concept is highlighted. The flat trapezoid of the rear window and the pronounced arch over the luggage compartment lid are the extreme opposite to the flat nose end. They give the vehicle a crouched appearance, as if ready to leap. The striking paint colour is Bionic White, pearl effect.

As is typical of every Audi study car, the Shooting Brake Concept features a raft of technical innovations including the adaptive damping system Audi magnetic ride, an evolutionary version of Navigation System Plus with touch screen monitor and character recognition, and the new LED headlight technology.

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Volkswagen Golf Diesel Lineup

2005 Volkswagen Golf Diesel Lineup
Volkswagen Press Release

Volkswagen Golf 2005Volkswagen Group Australia recently launched the all-new Golf range with a choice of two turbo diesel engines, allowing Volkswagen to offer the most affordable diesel passenger vehicle in the Australian market to date.

The 2.0-litre TDI four-valve unit direct injection turbo-diesel engine provides 103kW of power at 4000 rpm and a massive 320Nm of torque between 1750 and 2500 rpm. The other engine is the 1.9-litre TDI (77kW @ 4000 rpm / 250Nm @ 1900 rpm).

Why the option of diesel? Because simply Volkswagen excels in this area of engine technology (no better example than the V10 TDI diesel powerplant in the Touareg 4WD) – the company manufactured more than 2 million diesel-powered passenger cars last year.

2.0-litre TDI
Volkswagen’s all-new 2.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel delivers 103kW of power at 4000 rpm and maximum torque of 320Nm between just 1750 rpm and 2500 rpm.

1.9-litre TDI
Developing 77kW of power at 4000 rpm and peak torque of 250Nm from as low as 1900 rpm, the 1.9TDI is both agile and economical (average fuel consumption according to ADR 81/01 methods is 5.5l/100 kms) giving approximately 100kms between tanks.

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CSIRO Develops Small Hydrogen Device

Future Cars Could Be Fuelled By Hydrogen Technology
CSIRO Media Release

Hydrogen FuelA small CSIRO-developed hydrogen device the size of a domestic microwave oven may be all you need to fuel your car in the future.

A team at CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology has developed a small device that can extract enough hydrogen per day from water to power a family car for up to150kms. This work is an important part of CSIRO's Energy Transformed Flagship research program into positioning Australia for a future hydrogen economy.

Currently, the hydrogen unit runs on main's power, but researchers are investigating how to power the unit with renewable energy, such as solar and wind power.

While the idea of fuelling your car with hydrogen generated from a solar panel might sound like science fiction, project leader Dr Sukhvinder Badwal says concepts such as the hydrogen economy are real possibilities.

"Every time we stop at the petrol station to fill up the car we are reminded that fuel prices are not getting any lower," Dr Badwal says.

At this stage, hydrogen cannot compete with fossil fuels, but rising oil prices could create a different scenario, Dr Badwal says. "We just need to look towards future oil import costs."

He says that hydrogen is the cleanest fuel nature has given us and its portability and flexibility makes it ideal for a range of applications, including transport.

"While Australia has abundant renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, they cannot directly provide the portable fuel required by the transport sector. Hydrogen can fulfil that demand but, because it is not a naturally occurring fuel, has to be generated using conventional fuels or renewable sources."

Dr Badwal says that although several commercial systems exist, they are not very efficient. High capital costs, lifetime performance and the inability to handle intermittent and varying loads – important qualities when dealing with renewable energy sources – are also current drawbacks.

This is where CSIRO's latest work could make the difference. It is developing a solid-state system based on polymer electrolyte membranes for on-demand, distributed hydrogen production at homes, small-to-medium enterprises, remote locations, service stations and other end-user sites, where water and electricity are available.

The hydrogen generated can be stored for long periods and be converted to electricity when needed. The ability to generate energy on-site and on-demand would reduce up-front infrastructure costs. Dr Badwal says the team is still in the research and development stage, but "would like to have a commercial partner on board, as full-scale commercialisation is three to four years away".

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Wins Award
Mercedes-Benz Press Release

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2006The new Mercedes Benz S Class has been awarded the "Golden Steering Wheel". With runners-up places for both the B-Class and the M Class, Mercedes-Benz proved the most successful brand in this long-established competition, staged by the German newspaper "Bild am Sonntag". Dr Dieter Zetsche, Member of the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management and responsible for the Mercedes Car Group, was awarded the "Honorary Steering Wheel".

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class proved a runaway winner at the awards ceremony, staged by "Bild am Sonntag", Germany's highest-circulation Sunday newspaper, in Berlin this week. The jury, made up of celebrities such as the television presenter Barbara Schöneberger and racing drivers such as Hans Herrmann and Walter Röhrl, unhesitatingly awarded it the highest number of points in the "luxury class" category, ensuring that the new S-Class achieved the best result of any car in the 2005 awards.

The new top-of-the-line model from the Stuttgart-based car manufacturer, which celebrated its European market launch at the end of September, supersedes its successful predecessor, the world's bestselling luxury saloon, with a sales total of around 500,000 models. Arriving in Australia next February, the new S-Class features a wealth of technical innovations as standard – from Brake Assist PLUS with its radar sensors to the infrared technology-based night view assist, from the upgraded COMAND system to the preventive PRE SAFE® occupant protection with additional functions, from Active Body Control to the dynamic multicontour seat with extended massage function – all of which make the Mercedes flagship a benchmark for car development as a whole.

Mercedes-Benz most successful brand at "Golden Steering Wheel" awards
In addition to the outstanding victory of the new S-Class, the B-Class and M-Class also made the victory rostrum. The B-Class came second in the readers' "mini-MPV" category, and the M-Class achieved the same result in the special "Off-roaders" class. The fact that Mercedes-Benz picked up one first and two second prizes at the prestigious award ceremony serves to underline the exceptional position of the brand. The awards were accepted by Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management responsible for Research and Technology and for Passenger Car Development within the Mercedes Car Group. With a total of 14 victories to date, Mercedes Benz has proven one of the most successful car brands in the "Bild am Sonntag" competition, which began back in 1976.

"Honorary Steering Wheel" for Mercedes Car Group boss Dr Dieter Zetsche
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Member of the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management and responsible for the Mercedes Car Group, was presented with the "Honorary Steering Wheel". This special annual prize, awarded by the publisher Axel Springer Verlag, was created to honour outstanding personalities within the car industry. The Chairman Elect of the DaimlerChrysler AG Board of Management was commended for his achievements throughout his career and in particular as CEO and President of the Chrysler Group.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

BMW Z4 M Roadster

2006 BMW Z4 M Roadster
BMW Press Release

BMW Z4 M RoadsterBMW Z4 M Roadster races in to lead high-performance sportscar market.

BMW will redefine the benchmark for two-seater soft-top sportscars when the much-anticipated Z4 M Roadster arrives in Australia early next year.

It uses the world-renowned 3.2-litre straight-six powerhouse previously seen in the E46 BMW M3 Coupé and Convertible.

Voted the World’s Best Engine in its class five years in a row at the international “Engine Oscars”, the 252 kW and 365 Nm straight-six M3 engine rockets the two-seater Z4 M Roadster to 100 km/h in just 5.0 seconds, and on to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.

The BMW Z4 M Roadster will sit alongside a revised Z4 Roadster range featuring new 2.5si and 3.0si models producing 160 kW and 195 kW respectively.

More than any other sports car in the world, the BMW Z4 typifies the ideal Roadster.

With its long bonnet, set-back cabin and longitudinally mounted straight-six engine driving the rear wheels, the BMW Z4 Roadster provides a dynamic driving experience to thrill purist sportscar drivers.

Due to bow in at the Detroit Motor Show next January 2006, the ultra-sports version of the BMW Z4 Roadster has been long-awaited by keen open-top drivers. The Z4 M Roadster follows in the wheel tracks of the 1997 BMW Z3 M Roadster which amassed more than 15,000 sales, making it the best seller in its class, and the leader in dynamic performance, agility, and sportiness.

The Z4 M Roadster boasts an outstanding high-revving power unit that generates enormous thrust and performance in all speed ranges. The six-cylinder, 3,246 cc, motor develops 252 kW at 7,900 rpm and 365 Nm of torque at 4,900 rpm, and revs as high as 8,000 rpm. The engine produces 78.75 kW/litre (106 bhp/litre) giving the Z4 M Roadster a power-to-weight ratio of 5.6 kg/kW.

The Z4 M Roadster accelerates to 100 km/h from rest in 5.0 seconds and also rushes from 80-120 km/h in 5.0 seconds in fourth gear thanks to its amazing torque.

Fitted with a sports six-speed manual transmission, short throw shifter and M final drive, the Z4 M Roadster delivers fast, crisp acceleration in every gear.

The speed-sensitive variable M differential lock, borrowed from the M3 Coupé, delivers superior driving stability and optimum traction especially when accelerating out of corners.

Stopping the Z4 M Roadster in its tracks is the motorsport-developed BMW M floating compound high-performance brake system as seen in the BMW M3 CSL. The Z4 M Roadster stops in just 34 metres from a speed of 100 km/h.

The Z4 M Roadster uses a bespoke hydraulic power steering set up, delivering knife edge precision and optimum feedback through the quicker ratio rack.

The super sporty Z4 M Roadster boasts easily identifiable external and internal styling features. The front air dam has an X-shaped com¬bination of lines and openings, large air intake scoops, and low-slung kidney grilles as well as two striking feature lines on the bonnet.

Double-spoke design 18-inch light alloy wheels are exclusive to the Z4 M Roadster, while the rear view is dominated by the M trademark quad-pack large bore tailpipes inserted into a horizontal diffuser.

Inside, BMW M instruments have black-faces, white numerals and red needles. The rev counter follows M practice having yellow warm-up warning lights, illuminated while the engine oil comes up to temperature.

The steering wheel, gearshift knob and door sills are specific BMW M items, while the air conditioning, air vent registers and interior door handles are finished in pearl gloss chrome.

Three exterior colours exclusive to BMW M and a wide range of interior trims and add a high de¬gree of individual style for customers.

While the Z4 M Roadster is the highlight of the range, the Z4 family also receives some notable changes for 2006.

The latest VALVETRONIC-equipped double-VANOS magnesium-alloy straight-six engines are fitted to two new models for Australia, the Z4 2.5si and the Z4 3.0si.

The Z4 Roadster 3.0si delivers 195 kW at 6,600 rpm, with 315 Nm of torque available between 2,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm. The engine meets both EU4 and ULEV II emissions standards and accelerates the car to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, covering the 80 km/h to 120 km/h run in 5.5 seconds in fourth gear. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h, while fuel consumption in the combined EU cycle is just 8.6-litres/100 km.

The Z4 Roadster 2.5si develops a maximum output of 160 kW and 250 Nm of torque between 2,900 – 4,250 rpm. It will shoot the Z4 Roadster 2.5si to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. The muscular engine powers the car from 80 km/h to 120 km/h in just 6.5 seconds in fourth gear. Top speed is 240 km/h and fuel consumption is just 8.4-litres/100 km, while meeting both the EU4 and ULEV II emission standards.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across all Z4 Roadster models, while the 2.5si and 3.0si models offer the option of the new BMW Sport Automatic gearbox complete with steering-wheel mounted shift paddles.

Reflecting BMW’s consistent philosophy of continual evolution, the latest generation feature-enhanced Dynamic Stability and Control system comes as standard.

This includes Start-Off Assistance, automatic Brake Fading Compensation and Brake Standby function and auto¬matic Dry Braking.

The integrated Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) function allows drivers to hit one button to improve traction on slippery surfaces. DTC also allows greater slip on the rear wheels whenever appropriate.

On the Z4 M Roadster model, a special configuration of the DSC system allows for the additional slip incorporated in the variable M differential lock.

The Z4 Roadster 2.5si and 3.0si feature BMW’s electromechanical EPS Electric Power Steering. This offers an optimum compromise between feedback and kickback, combined with extra assistance when parking, and a strong self-centring action. Road-speed sensitive Servotronic assistance is also part of the package.

The update also brings larger 17-inch brakes for enhanced stopping power and resistance to fade to the 3.0si model.

The distinctive profile of the BMW Z4 Roadster required little revision at the mid-point of its lifecycle. Exterior freshening changes are modest, limited to a new design for the deeper front air dam, so the car appears to hug the road even more closely.

New front fog lamps and headlight reflectors are matched at the rear by a new taillight design that accentuates the car’s width and enhances its low-down and muscular stance. The interior has been further improved with a more sophisticated look.

All BMW Z4 Roadsters offer plenty of interior storage space with a large glove box, several storage bins, and a 10-litre compartment in the rear bulkhead. Additional boot space is liberated when the power roof, complete with heated glass window, is erect.

The boot can swallow a generous 240-litres of luggage (sufficient for transporting two golf sets) with the roof down and 260-litres roof up. The compact Z-fold roof forms its own tonneau when folded.

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Mazda CX-7 Bound For Australia

Mazda CX-7 Bound For Australia
Mazda Press Release

Mazda CX-7MX-Crossport concept to star at 2006 Melbourne International Motor Show.

Mazda Australia has been given the green light to import Mazda’s all-new crossover SUV, the CX-7. It is expected to go on sale during the first half of 2007.

While technical details are yet to be revealed, the CX-7 will remain faithful to the Zoom-Zoom exterior styling and driver orientated interior seen on the MX-Crossport concept car.

The MX-Crossport concept will be a star attraction at the 2006 Melbourne International Motor Show, which kicks off early February.

First seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year, MX Crossport is currently on display at the Tokyo Motor Show.

The CX-7 will sit above the Tribute range, becoming Mazda’s second entrant into the popular Australian SUV market.

Mazda’s CX-7, to be built in Japan from next year, will initially be sold in North America.

"Adding the CX-7 to our existing Tribute range in the all-important SUV market is an important step for Mazda Australia as it enables us to further grow the business and showcase our Stylish, Insightful and Spirited brand DNA beyond our class leading core models", said the managing director of Mazda Australia, Doug Dickson.

"Having the MX Crossport on our stand at the Melbourne motor show will give prospective customers a great opportunity to appreciate the benchmark styling and packaging we can expect from the Mazda CX-7".

In Mazda’s new global naming strategy, crossover-type, sport utility vehicles will carry the CX designation — as in Mazda CX-7; rotary-engined sports cars carry the RX designation (RX-8) and piston-engined sports cars carry the MX designation, such as MX-5.

Core production vehicles will continue to carry the name ‘Mazda’ and a number, based on vehicle size (Mazda2, Mazda3, Mazda6); Tribute, MPV and B-Series will continue with their current nomenclature until further notice.

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Holden EFIJY Hot Rod Concept

2005 Holden EFIJY Concept
Holden Media Release

Holden EFIJY ConceptA wild 21st Century hot rod reincarnating Australia's most famous car, the FJ Holden, was unveiled today at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney.

EFIJY is a radical pillarless custom coupe boasting V8 Supercar power under the bonnet, Chevrolet Corvette underbody and state-of-the-art automotive technology throughout.

The 'Soprano Purple' paintwork highlights its curvaceous 5.2-metre body, reinterpreting the classic design cues of the iconic 1953 FJ Holden. It delivers retro, mumbo and gizmos in one glorious package.

Obviously not intended for production, EFIJY has been a passionate side project for some Holden Design team members otherwise dedicated to creating the all-new 2006 Commodore.

A long-term dream for Chief Designer Richard Ferlazzo, EFIJY brought together almost 20 suppliers to highlight the latest in mechanical, electronic and material products and ideas.

Holden EFIJY ConceptAutomotive excess pounds through a 480-kilowatt, supercharged six-litre V8 engine and airadjustable shock absorbers through to a touch control LCD screen and fan-cooled LED headlamps.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, today said the EFIJY project was a bold statement on the creative talent available within Holden's design ranks.

Mr Mooney said the project was developed as a collaboration with suppliers which reduced impact on the company's heavy work schedule and ensured the highest possible quality result for the showcar.

"EFIJY is all about fun, emotion and imagination. It shows what a bunch of clever and talented design people can do when they are let loose to create something really wild," Mr Mooney said.

"This year was a fantastic opportunity for us to create something which highlights our designers' ability and versatility.

"EFIJY is sure to evoke different memories for everyone who sees it. People might focus on the FJ links, the glorious custom coupes of the 1930s or the great design flair of the 1950s."

Dimensions
• Length: 5162mm
• Width: 1999mm
• Height: 1386mm (drive setting)
• Height: 1274mm (show setting)
• Ground clearance: 139mm (drive)
• Ground clearance: 27mm (show)
• Track front: 1640mm
• Track rear: 1660mm
• Wheelbase: 2946mm

Powertrain
• Engine: GM 6.0-litre, LS2 aluminium V8 with Roots-type supercharger
• Bore and stroke: 101.6 mm x 92.0 mm
• Compression ratio: 10.9:1
• Power and torque: 480 kW (645 bhp) @ 6400 rpm
• Torque: 775 Nm (560 lb-ft) @ 4200 rpm

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S3X Strikes The Right Note For Holden

2005 Holden S3X Concept SUV
GM Media Release

Holden S3X ConceptHolden has shown the striking S3X concept SUV as the preview for a seven-seater Holden destined for Australia next year.

Holden today confirmed a production version of the S3X would be introduced into the Australian market during 2006, offering the full flexibility of an SUV-style vehicle with the confidence of the Holden brand.

The production vehicle will closely resemble the S3X which has gathered major design accolades since its world debut in late 2004.

And the car has an Australian influence with two former Holden designers, Michael Simcoe and Max Wolff, part of the design team which ensured the car would attract global attention.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney, today said S3X signalled a new era for Holden’s market footprint in Australia and its most purposeful step into the SUV arena.

Mr Mooney said the SUV would immediately challenge established performers through its attention-getting design and carrying flexibility.

“The S3X production version will fill Holden’s most obvious portfolio gap in a truly convincing way,” he said.

“It will have great packaging flexibility, up-to-the-minute design and extremely competitive levels of equipment.

“It will deliver three rows of seating to accommodate seven in comfort and will provide sporty suspension allowing the type of driveability which people expect from Holden.

“S3X is a sign of things to come for Holden SUVs and gives strong hints on how the final production car will look.

Holden has been involved in the vehicle’s design and engineering development with GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, with the production version representing the first vehicle to fully benefit from General Motors’ global resources since GM’s major investment in GMDAT in 2002.

Simcoe, formerly Holden’s Design Director, was head of Asia-Pacific Design when the car was being developed. Wolff, a former Holden Senior Designer, is now Deputy Director Advanced Design at GMDAT.

Holden engineers have also worked with GMDAT on various aspects of the production version, inevitably increasing its appeal for Australian buyers.

“The production version of this car will represent a true collaboration between various parts of General Motors operations in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Mooney said.

“Being involved at such an early stage brings great rewards in terms of how the car looks and just as importantly, how it performs.”

S3X Highlights
The S3X concept car has been warmly received since its global debut as the Chevrolet S3X at one of the world’s major motor shows, the Paris Mondial de l’Automobile, in September 2004.

The eye is immediately drawn to the car’s purposeful stance and powerfully flared wheel arches filled by 20-inch nine-spoke wheels. Other exterior highlights include metal inserts in the front and rear bumpers and horizontal vents in the wings.

The jewel-like front headlamps are designed to catch and divert light through cylindrical prisms.
The S3X has a wheelbase of about 2.7 metres, placing it roughly equal to several of the country’s top-selling SUV offerings. Its exterior dimensions are 4639mm in length, 1848mm in width and 1722mm in height.

Sitting inside the car, the light and roomy atmosphere created by the large, louvre-style glass roof becomes immediately apparent.

The design of the interior is dominated by a combination of real wood and metal. The on-board infotainment system includes a DVD-based navigation system linked to an 18-centimetre monitor.

At the rear, the window can be opened separately to access the luggage compartment without opening the tailgate.

The concept car features environmentally friendly hybrid technology, offering a glimpse into General Motors’ potential future propulsion systems.

The global debut of the production version will be in 2006. Holden is yet to announce Australian launch timing or local specifications and features.

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Nissan X-Trail Best Small Wagon

2005 Nissan X-TRAIL Wins Award
Nissan Press Release

Nissan X-TrailNissan's extreme four-wheel drive, the X-TRAIL, has won the esteemed 2005 Overlander Magazine 4WD Award for the Best Small Wagon.

Pitted against competitors in the popular compact four-wheel drive segment, the Nissan X-TRAIL won the award on the basis of its performance and practicality.

According to Overlander's chief road tester Fraser Stronach, the X-TRAIL has a "strong 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine with variable inlet-valve timing, arguably the best engine in its class."

The magazine praised the X-TRAIL for its off-road performance – thanks to Nissan's "All-Mode" 4WD system – plush on-road ride, roomy interior and practical features.

"Nissan's X-TRAIL is Australia's most popular small four-wheel drive wagon," said Mr Stronach, "and we reckon it's also the best."

Michael Hayes, Nissan's product marketing manager, was delighted to receive the award. "The X-TRAIL is a stand-out vehicle for Nissan and has proved its reliability and popularity many times over. Receiving an award such as this from a respected magazine like Overlander is the icing on the cake."

The Nissan X-TRAIL is available in two well equipped variants – the ST and Ti – and is priced from AUD $31,990.*

* Pricing does not include dealer delivery charges or on-road costs.

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FPV Sets New GT Record

Ford FPV Sets New GT Record
FPV Press Release

FPV GTFord Performance Vehicles has created the most successful GT Falcon of all time.

FPV has sold more than 3000 BA GT sedan variants up to the end of August 2005, eclipsing the previous benchmark of 2949 set by the iconic XW GT Falcon and GTHO Falcon built between 1969 and 1970.

"This result is proof that the outstanding BA Falcon was the perfect platform to rekindle the passion for the GT," said David Flint, Managing Director of Ford Performance Vehicles.

"Our customers have made it perfectly clear that FPV has developed a credible vehicle to carry the legacy of one of the country's most revered motoring names. We have re-created the essence of a GT but, with class-leading technologies such as the quad cam Boss 290 V8 and Control Blade IRS we have taken the legend into the 21st century."

FPV has sold 1798 GT and 1275 GT-P models since it began deliveries in March 2003. With the arrival of the revised BF FPV range in October, the BA GT and GT-P are destined for the record books.

The choice between automatic and manual transmissions has been evenly split in both BA and BA MkII models, with GT buyers swaying slightly in favour of the manual transmissions while the luxury-features standard in GT-P tempted buyers more towards the four-speed auto.

The introduction of GT stripes as an optiona on all Boss 290-powered vehicles has proven popular with FPV buyers. Almost 50 percent of BA models are fitted with stripes, with the number increasing to more than 65 per cent with the introduction of the bonnet bulge decal in the BA MkII models.

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Mitsubishi 380 Australia's Best Large Car

Mitsubishi 380 Wins Best Car Award
Mitsubishi Motors Press Release

Mitsubishi 380 VRXThe newly released Mitsubishi 380 has added another prestigious award to its growing trophy cabinet with the announcement today that it has been awarded Australia's Best Cars 'Best Large Car'.

Australia's Best Cars awards are judges by the combined motoring clubs of Australia - the RACQ, NRMA, RACV, RACT, RAA, RAC and the AA of NT - and are promoted to their 6.3 million members throughout Australia.

The judges said: 'Mitsubishi finally has a winning hand after years of spruiking tired models.

'On-road it has plenty to offer. The 380 is the smoothest, quietest Australian-made car. It also features beaut bump absorption and dutiful damping.'

'The radically revamped 3.8 litre V6 pulls strongly while changes from the five-speed sequential transmission are clean and timely.

'The 380 is a front-wheel-drive car with a sporty bent. Its grip and stability are highly attuned, steering is precise and mid-corner bumps rarely corrupt cornering.'

'Inside, and despite a swoopy rear roofline, there's ample room for three adults to occupy the rear seat. Seating in both rows is comfortable and supportive.'

'Mitsubishi's vault in value includes a mighty warranty while its maintenance, repair and insurance outlays are low.'

When accepting the award in Melbourne, Mitsubishi's President and CEO, Robert McEniry, said that the 380 had set new build quality standards for Australian-manufactured cars.

'Tom Phillips and his team have every right to be proud of the car they have put into the market place.' Mr McEniry said.

'The 380 has arguably the most space efficient interior, more than adequate power tempered with class-leading fuel economy, sporty and agile handling, and levels of refinement and quality previously only found in expensive imported cars.'

'The team that worked especially hard to bring this car to market, including the factory floor workers at our Adelaide assembly plant, have every reason to feel especially proud today that their efforts have been recognised with this prestigious award.'

'The motoring clubs' opinions are highly respected amongst their membership, and I know that the real world road exercises they put the cars through during their judging is particularly exacting. Therefore, any car that receives a Best Cars award has really earned its stripes, and Australian motorists can be confident that an award winner is ideally designed to carry out its intended purpose, and is genuinely suited to Australian conditions.' Mr McEniry concluded.

The Australia's Best Cars award comes hot on the heels of NRMA Insurance's theft ratings announcement that placed the Mitsubishi 380 as the most secure locally manufactured family car, and the Society of Automotive Engineer's Award for Excellence for the 380's engine.

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Michelin's Airless Tweel™ Wheel

Michelin's Airless Tweel™ Wheel
Michelin Press Release

TweelDetroit, M.I. At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Michelin showcased a potential future for mobility, an integrated tyre and wheel combination missing one ingredient that is vital for traditional tyre performance...air. The company unveiled the first real-world fitments for its revolutionary "Tweel" – which operates entirely without air.

"Major revolutions in mobility may come along only once in a hundred years," said Terry Gettys, president of Michelin Americas Research and Development Centre in Greenville, S.C. "But a new century has dawned and Tweel has proven its potential to transform mobility. Tweel enables us to reach levels of performance that quite simply aren't possible with today's conventional pneumatic technology."

Michelin's Tweel is in production and available as an enhancement for future iBOT™ mobility systems. Invented by Dean Kamen, the iBOT™ mobility device has the ability to climb stairs and navigate uneven terrain, offering mobility freedom impossible with traditional wheelchairs. Additionally, Segway LLC's Concept Centaur, a prototype that applies self-balancing technology to a four-wheel device, has also been equipped with Tweel to increase its performance potential.

Beyond these first real-world applications, Michelin has additional projects for Tweel on construction skidsteers and a variety of military vehicles. The most intriguing application may be Michelin's early prototype Tweel fitment for passenger cars. The mobility company released video of promising Tweel performance on an Audi A4.

"The Tweel automotive application, as demonstrated on the Audi, is definitely a concept, a stretch application with strong future potential," said Gettys. "Our concentration is to enter the market with lower-speed, lower-weight Tweel applications. What we learn from our early successes will be applied to Tweel fitments for passenger cars and beyond."

Benefits of Tweel™
The heart of Tweel innovation is its deceptively simple looking hub and spoke design that replaces the need for air pressure while delivering performance previously only available from pneumatic tyres. The flexible spokes are fused with a flexible wheel that deforms to absorb shock and rebound with unimaginable ease. Without the air needed by conventional tyres, Tweel still delivers pneumatic-like performance in weight-carrying capacity, ride comfort, and the ability to "envelope" road hazards.

Michelin has also found that it can tune Tweel performances independently of each other, which is a significant change from conventional tyres. This means that vertical stiffness (which primarily affects ride comfort) and lateral stiffness (which affects handling and cornering) can both be optimized, pushing the performance envelope in these applications and enabling new performances not possible for current inflated tyres. The Tweel prototype, demonstrated on the Audi A4, is within five percent of the rolling resistance and mass levels of current pneumatic tyres. That translates to within one percent of the fuel economy of the OE fitment. Additionally, Michelin has increased the lateral stiffness by a factor of five, making the prototype unusually responsive in its handling.

Future of Tweel™ Technology
For Michelin, Tweel is a long-term vision that represents the next step in a long path of industry-changing innovations. Fifty years ago, Michelin invented the radial tyre and there is no question that radial tyre technology will continue as the standard for a long time to come. Michelin continues to advance the performance of the radial tyre in areas such as rolling resistance, wear life and grip. In the short-term, the lessons learned from Tweel research are being applied to improve those conventional tyre performances. In the future, Tweel may reinvent the way that vehicles move. Checking tyre pressure, fixing flats, highway blow-outs and balancing between traction and comfort could all fade into memory.

About Michelin
The world's largest tyre maker, Michelin (www.michelin.com) manufactures and sells tyres for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs 23,000 and operates 21 plants in 17 locations.