Friday, February 28, 2014

New Eight-Cylinder Engine for BMW M3 Models

The BMW M3, the Munich-based automaker's sports version of the popular BMW 3-Series compact luxury car will have something new under its sleek hood. BMW Group has recently launched the details of its new V8 engine for the M3 2-door sports coupe and convertible models.

The new 3.2-liter straight six V8 engine features 8-cylinders, which is the first time for the BMW M3 models. With more cylinders and a larger displacement capacity, this new engine for BMW M3 offers an excellent and powerful performance at 430 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. amount of peak torque, marking its sports car characteristics. Although the new V8 offers a powerful vehicle performance, the engine also offers lower exhaust emissions just like the sports car's competitor, the Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG that also features cleaner emissions on its Mercedes Benz exhaust. In fact, the new V8 engine complies with the most stringent EURO 4 emissions standard, and earns the LEV II (low emission vehicle) certification.

The new BMW M3 V8 achieved this low exhaust emission certification because of the engine's powertrain technology like the variable double-VANOS camshaft management, fuel injection system, and the brake energy regeneration that enhances the BMW M3 V8 engine's efficiency and driving dynamics.

Meanwhile, here are the complete engine specifications from a BMW official press release of the new BMW M3 V8:

- First eight-cylinder for the BMW M3 sports car.

- Supreme performance ensured by 309 kW/420 hp from 4.0 litres.

- Maximum torque of 400 Newton-metres (295 lb-ft) at 3, 900 rpm, 85 per cent of maximum torque over a speed range of 6,500 rpm.

- Unique thrust and muscle ensured by consistent implementation of the M high-speed engine concept, maximum engine speed 8,300 rpm.

- Consistent lightweight construction of engine and ancillary units, new V8 power unit one of the lightest eight-cylinders in the world, lighter than the straight-six power unit in the former model.

- Variable camshaft control, low-pressure double-VANOS for an optimum charge cycle, system offering full power and performance even with normal engine oil pressure.

- Eight individual throttle butterflies for spontaneous engine response.

- Consistent and reliable oil supply with longitudinal and lateral acceleration up to 1.4 g ensured by two oil pumps and wet sump oil lubrication optimised for supreme dynamic behaviour.

- Exhaust system optimising cylinder charge, optimised for weight and function by means of internal high-pressure remoulding, exhaust emissions fulfil EU4 and LEV 2 standards.

- Upgraded MSS60 engine control unit for optimum coordination of all engine functions with the various control systems in the car.

- Ion flow technology recognising and distinguishing engine knocking phenomena as well as misfiring and miscombustion by measurement of ion flow in the combustion chambers.

- Brake Energy Regeneration with intelligent alternator control.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Volvo Trio Scoops Used Car Honours

Easter is known as a hot buying season for auto enthusiasts. But Volvo has additional three good reasons to be jubilant about Easter. This is because its trio of models has scooped awards in the Used Car Honours 2007. The commendations for the XC90, S60, and V50 were published by Auto Express magazine. In connection to this, the Swedish automaker has expressed its plans to offer a wider range of older models through Volvo Selected Used Cars, its approved pre-owned scheme.

At the Auto Express Used Car awards, the Volvo XC90, the acclaimed SUV from the automaker, was adjudged an outright winner in the off-road 4x4 category. There was further success for the Volvo S60 sedan and the Volvo V50 sports wagon. The cars both achieved the Commended status in the compact executive and estate car classes respectively.

Volvo has already established an impressive history in prestigious awards. As a fact, this is the second year that the XC90 has scooped the honor for the Best 4x4 Off-roader. Additionally, this is the third year in succession that Volvo has claimed three trophies.

For the 2007 Auto Express awards, judges have intimated full praise for the Volvo trio. They have this to say: "The Volvo XC90 is still the must-have off-roader. A top Euro NCAP rating and the marque's reputation for dealer service and reliability combine to make the XC90 a desirable used car that's also a sensible buy."

The Volvo XC90, a mid-size luxury crossover SUV which has debuted at the New York Auto Show, is sharing the P2 platform with its siblings - the Volvo S80 and other larger Volvo cars. The remarkable Volvo XC90 parts include the 4.4 L Yamaha V8 engine that produces 311 units of horsepower and 325 ftolbf of torque. For this model year, the car was updated to deliver a subtly-restyled front and rear, and a more luxurious interior.

In regards with the Volvo S60, judges have this to say: "When it comes to value in this sector, there's only one place to look. With plenty of kit, loads of space and some of the most relaxing seats we've experienced, the Volvo S60 is a soothing choice." They also gave unrestricted praises in favor of the V50. They said, "With a 417-litre boot that grows to 1,307 litres, the Volvo V50 isn't the biggest load-lugger, but it's one of the most stylish. Top-rate safety and build quality complete the package."

Accepting the prestigious awards was Anne Woodward, the used car programme manager. "Our continued success in the used car market is reflected in the number of visitors to our website,, where 280,000 used Volvos are viewed online each month - and that's a significant increase on last year's figure."

Woodward also intimated the automaker's plans that will appeal to cost-conscious motorists looking to buy a used Volvo. "Last year 12 percent of our used car sales were of vehicles aged three to four years. In 2007 our goal is to get that much nearer to 20 percent. Offering a wider range of older models means more customers than ever will be able to afford a Selected Used Volvo. And that means more people will benefit from the high standards of vehicle preparation and guaranteed peace-of-mind motoring provided by our franchised dealer network," she said.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

VW Fox - Made Out of Pineapples

I've reviewed so many cars over the past six months or so, that I may have been guilty of getting used to the thrills and spills of driving fast ones. If this is the case, my assignment this week brought me back down to earth - very slowly might I add - with a bump. The car in question is the Volkswagen Fox - the baby of the German manufacturer's fleet.

The car has a 0-60mph time seconds. Top speed is 91mph and no, there isn't a turbo attached to the puny 1.2 liter engine. Yet to lambaste the Fox for being slow and unexciting is to completely miss the point of the car. The giveaway is in the model name of the car I tested - the Volkswagen Urban Fox. You see in this time of petrol prices soaring, roads becoming more congested and the car being the global warming villain, the Fox could well be where the smart money lies when it comes to getting around town.

I don't like to use the word 'cheap' but there's no other way to describe the Fox, with prices starting at £6,430 to be precise (in the UK I should add). To get four brand new wheels onto the road, with a Volkswagen badge adorning your car for this money is quite simply a remarkable feat. The cost saving doesn't end there either, with the Fox falling into insurance group one - the cheapest banding around. Fuel consumption almost looks made up with combined urban and extra urban figures of 46.3mpg.

Blimey this is starting to make a lot of sense. The Fox is quite tall too, so despite the diminutive length, the driving position is not too dissimilar to that of a larger 4x4 vehicle. The advantages of making the car tall, aren't limited to the driving position, as headroom and legroom are also boosted by the extra inches up top. There's plenty of glass around the car, making all round visibility excellent and parking a doddle.

Outside of its favored habitat things do go a bit awry with the Fox - particularly on the motorway. Now before you shout "the little thing's not meant for the big roads!" if we're being objective, there's going to be occasions when you're going to leave the big smoke and hit one of the multi-laned snakes cutting through the country. By-passing (no pun intended) the 0-60mph time, the Fox is - and I hate using this word as much as 'cheap' - slow. An overtaking maneuver requires the forward planning of a chess master and snooker champion all in one. Changing from fifth gear to fourth made little difference to my forward motion and worryingly, nor did a further shift down to third.

The tall sides also act as a pair of very large hands that grasp hold of every gust of wind or buffeting from a passing lorry, making the Fox a wee bit skittish in the outside lane. However, once off the motorway, the Fox feels far more assured navigating country twists and turns, thanks to a longer wheelbase than most in its class and wider track. In fact, rather than welding the accelerator pedal to the floor, a gradual motion combined with a neat gearbox brought great rewards in the great outdoors.

Parked up against it's rivals the Fox sits comfortably in the 'not ugly' bracket but struggles to make it into the 'pretty' range either. As with Volkswagen's other small hatchback the Polo, the Fox is subtly styled compared to its rivals, in this case the Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107. Yet there is something more grown up and civilized about the Fox when viewing it alongside the almost immature stylings of the other city cars.

An interesting fact for your next pub chatter - Volkswagen are committed to reducing the environmental impact of producing cars and are keen to promote recycling and greener vehicles. In the case of the Fox, it's built in Brazil where the Curana plant grows. Fibers of this plant from the pineapple family are mixed with a recyclable synthetic material which makes the material for the roof lining and rear parcel shelf. No the car isn't edible.

The Fox has been manufactured using the latest laser welding technology which means it's a very rigid car helping it garner 4 stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests and features ABS as standard. Optional extras include alloy wheels, air conditioning and a CD player.

The Fox has a big fight on its hands, not necessarily from its competitors, but from the car it replaces - the much loved, and cute Lupo. Either way, the evidence is clear. Next time I get behind the wheel of a 2.0 liter turbo'd monster, I'll be wishing I was a far sensible human being and was driving a Volkswagen Fox.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Euro Tail Lights: An Awesome Mod!

Car manufacturers over the years have developed some radical looking tail light designs for their vehicles. The '65 era Thunderbirds, for one, featured sequential tail lights and, years later, Chevy introduced the '90 Lumina van with monster-sized, can't miss tail lights. Today, tail lights on many cars simply do the job, but leave little to the imagination. Fortunately, after market operators have jumped in and developed some awesome looking mods -- some call them Euro tail lights -- that even your Granny can install.

What are Euro tail lights? For starters, there is some disagreement on the name but essentially they are also known as Alteeza tail lights, the name of a popular manufacturer of this style of tail light. Others prefer terms such as "clear tail lights" or "red tail lights" but in any case they are mods that change the appearance of stock tail lights. In short, you are installing crystal clear or red lenses that go over bullet-style taillight and turn signal lenses. The new lenses, coupled with style rings and platings, help to accentuate the light emitting from auto tail lights and turn signals thereby giving the vehicle a unique look far removed from the original design.

Euro tail lights are marketed in a variety of styles and bezel colors including chrome, carbon fiber, black, etc.; some styles are paintable for a customized look. In addition, new LED or light emitting diode tail lights are also catching on. This particular mod features the installation of new bulbs that light faster and brighter than stock tail light bulbs; they contain no filament and can withstand rough road conditions better than the standard bulbs. Eventually, all cars will likely have LEDs as standard equipment, however you don't have to wait that long.

Of course, if you already own a European make automobile you are likely satisfied with the stock design. Your BMW tail light assembly or Audi tail light assembly is the basis for many of these mods. Still, if you want to squeeze a little extra style out of these types of vehicles there are mods for them as well.

So, are Euro tail lights street legal? They certainly are and they are Department of Transportation (DOT) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) approved. No worries about being pulled over by "the law" unless you modify the mod illegally!

Yes, you can upgrade your Ford, Kia, Mercedes tail light or virtually any other automotive tail light legally and quickly. Some makers boast that mods can be completed in as little 15 minutes, so you will break hardly a sweat and have a cool upgrade on your vehicle in no time. Blink! Blink!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ligier Cars Begin Their Third Incarnation

Currently second only to Daimler's "SmartCar," the Ligier line of X-Too mini-vehicles stands poised to dominate the Continental mini-car market, and forecasters predict Ligier cars have the power to create a major sensation in North America. Given a big financial and technological boost in 2008, the bold venture into the mini-car business marks Ligier cars' third incarnation as a forward-thinking French auto manufacturer.

The early lives of Ligier cars

First, Ligier produced some of the finest Formula One racing cars ever to compete on the circuit. Founded by Guy Ligier, an accomplished Formula One driver and celebrated rugby player, Ligier cars consistently contended for the championships from 1976 to 1996. In 1977, a Ligier racer won the Grand Prix-still one of the greatest French victories in Formula One History.

While building the brand on the racing circuit, Ligier cars entered the European consumer market with the JS2, an impressive mid-engine sports car powered by a blow-you-back-in-the-seat Maserati engine. One of the few mid-engine sports cars outfitted with a V6 engine, auto enthusiasts considered the Ligier JS2 a technological masterpiece. Built for performance rather than economy, the Ligier JS2 fell victim to the severe energy crisis of the early 1970's. One later model, the JS11, surpassed the JS2's technological wizardry but could not compete against Ferrari-neither on the track nor on the market.

Ligier cars reincarnated

In 2008, marking a radical departure from its history and legend, Ligier acquired "Microcar," a pocket-sized Euro-friendly family of tiny cars and trucks. Son of the founder, Phillipe Ligier serves as the company's Chief Executive Officer, promising to restore Ligier cars' reputation for state-of-the-art technology and breath-taking innovation.

Ligier's X-Too family includes open-air roadsters reminiscent of the company's glory days on the racing circuit, and it features small commercial vehicles ideally suited to super-economical use in major urban areas worldwide. Anchoring the X-Too line, the two-passenger Ligier Ambra become the green vehicle of-choice for young Parisian professionals and other environmentally conscious French consumers. Ambra also has become something of a green fashion statement in London.

Powered by a 505cc gasoline engine, Ambra will chug along at 65mph, delivering 65mpg regardless of driving conditions. In defiance of JS2's amazing power-to-weight ratio, which delivered remarkable acceleration, Ambra weighs a little too much for its microscopic power plant, going from zero to sixty in eighteen seconds...approximately half an eternity. Ambra has no gearbox, running instead on a constant velocity transmission for more steady power and better performance in heavy city traffic. Ambra does allow plenty of elbow room, and it offers ample behind-the-seats storage for the standard collection of everyday paraphernalia.

Little Ligier cars have potential to sell big.

Watching SmartCar's slow but steady progress in the United States and Canada, many auto market analysts emphasize Ligier's tremendous potential for record-breaking sales in North America. As more demanding fuel-economy standards take effect in the United States, the American appetite for mini-cars grows. Because of its distinctive styling, extremely precise handling, and unrivalled mileage statistics, the Ligier X-Too ought to catch the eyes of space-crunched New Yorkers, money-crunched Chicagoans, and smog-tortured Los Angelinos.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Is the Fastest Car In the World?

The Bugatti Veyron is easily the fastest car in the world. Speed trials in the summer of 2010 established the Veyron as the clear champion in terms of top speed - 253 mph tested independently on two different time trials. The sticker price is enough to put some car lovers in the hospital - $1.3 million. But for your money, you get a car that travels from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, less time than it takes to recover from a sneeze.

How does the Bugatti Veyron do it?

The Veyron gets up to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds because of four-wheel-drive traction. The Veyron makes it up to 125mph in just 7.3 seconds, and is capable of hitting 200 mph in less than 20 seconds. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is by far the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive street-legal production car in the world.

Why Does Bugatti Make Such a Fast Car?

There's no real commercial application for a street-legal car that hits such a high top speed -- can you imagine travelling at 250 mph down the highway? It would be impossible, due to traffic, highway patrol (who probably couldn't catch you anyway) and safety concerns. Since there's no obvious commercial value for a car with such muscle, some people think maybe the Veyron is what is known in the auto industry as a "halo model" -- a reputation booster for a car's manufacturer. Auto critics disagree, suggesting that since the Veyron is made by Volkswagen, it doesn't make since for a muscle car freak who shelled out over a million Euros to brag about the fact that he's driving a VW.

It has come out in the auto press that Bugatti suffers a huge loss with the sale of every Veyron 16.4 -- it costs Bugatti $5 million to make the car, so they're taking a loss of several million bucks per vehicles. This just adds to the mystery -- why make the fastest car in the world at all?

Much like the Concorde, which was always a financial disaster, the Veyron 16.4 most likely exists "because it can." It is a technical experiment, a chance to show off what Bugatti's engineers are capable of.

More Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Details

There are some facts about the Veyron 16.4 that would surprise most car nuts -- for instance, the 16.4 has a total of ten radiators. The Veyron also uses a lubrication system identical to Formula 1 cars. It may also surprise you to learn that the Veyron's engine creates 922 lb.-ft. of torque at just 2,200 rpm. Michelin developed tires just for the Veyron -- they're called the PAX System run-flat tires. They are capable of running as high as 254 mph, even flat.

The Bugatti Veyron is like no other production car in the world. It took years for VW to develop the Veyron and overcome the old "fastest car in the world", and it should be years before we see another car challenge the Veyron for the top spot.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

About The Fastest Cars

Cars are the vehicles that have revolutionized the mode of transportation in the world. Gone are the days when one had only a few options when it came to selecting a car. In recent times, cars are crafted keeping in mind the various needs of the individual. While some want comfort while traveling, others look for speedy vehicles. Even though accessories can be added to cars to increase their power and speed, the car manufacturing firms are also experimenting with designing new shapes in cars. These new shapes are designed to manipulate air pressure and add speed to the cars.

The automobile industry has introduced contemporary methodologies to their manufacturing process and has managed to develop designs and technologies that enables vehicles to exceed the speed of sound. Those who prefer fast cars will like to know about some of the models considered as the fastest cars for the year 2011.

1. The Bloodhound SSC - Supersonic car

• The speed of this car reaches 1,000 miles per hour.
• Technology similar to Euro-fighter jets is used to keep the car stable at high speeds.
• The Bloodhound SSC is powered by an 800 bhp race engine, jets and a hybrid Falcon rocket.

2. The Thrust SSC - Supersonic car

• It holds the world land speed record at an incredible supersonic 766 mph.
• This car was the first car to exceed the speed of sound on land.
• The auto weighs ten tons and can accelerate, from a standstill position, up to a speed of 100 mph.
• It has been developed by the same company which made the Bloodhound SSC.

3. Formula 1 Cars

• It has been developed for racing around difficult, intricate and demanding tracks.
• The speed of these cars can exceed 220 mph.
• The engines of these cars produces power measuring up to 950 bhp.
• Formula 1 cars are extremely light, an attribute that adds to their acceleration.
• These cars generate an extreme amount of down force to keep them glued to the ground.
• Formula 1 autos are considered to be the fastest options when it comes to racing cars.

4. Bugatti Veyron

• This auto weighs approximately two tons.
• It has the ability to reach 60 mph from a standstill position in about 2.5 seconds.
• The engine power can be counted up to 1200 bhp.

5. SSC Ultimate Aero

• SSC in this case stands for "Shelby Super Cars" and not Supersonic Cars.
• This auto is expensive, luxurious and fast.
• The speed can be measured up to 256 mph.
• The power produced by the car engine counts up to 1200 bhp.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Auto Technology - Audi and Volkswagon, Radar Following and Auto Safety

Where is the new auto technology? Where is it? We have it now, shouldn't we use it to reduce the 42,000 deaths in automobiles per year? We seem to be getting the shaft on all this new technology which could save lives in automobiles and seem to be a little behind Germany even though much of the technology has come from our own MIT genius kids here.

This is because the Big Three are trying to shave costs to compete and now we see with the dollar down and the Euro up that now the foreign car makers are also cutting their safety features on many models for instance: Volkswagen to cut costs and reduce investment. Volkswagen said it would cut costs and reduce investment after profits more than halved last year and sales of its latest Golf V hatchback got off to a weak start.

Meanwhile it’s parent company Audi is busy testing some new radar assisted driving and anti-collision products in proving grounds in AZ.

I recently had the opportunity to have coffee with the head engineer from Audi and he explained the problem of getting the technology into American cars is that they were worried about class action lawsuits and cost so they were not going to put in the newest ECS devices:


What is most unfortunate about this is that 42,000 people die a year in auto accidents in this country now. We can fix that, of course this new technology will become victim of class action law suits. We need to immediately kill all the attorneys, Shakespeare was right, Caesar said it best, then we can move forward to save lives.

In Germany on many of the Audi models they have radar assisted following devices. For every 1 kilometer per hour the car is back half that distance so at 60 KPH the car is behind the car in front of it by 30 meters. Works great and several new cars have assisted white right line following also. Also they have a system that if a car is parked in front of you in the lane, your car lets off the accelerator and slightly tightens the seatbelts like the Honda SmartCar and then the steering wheel puts pressure to go around the obstacle, as your reflexes then take over.

The new ESC also interfaces with this system but it needs to be an all-wheel drive car for it to all work. This would help in Winter Weather safety too. We have also seen the weather is changing consumer buying behavior for all wheel drive vehicles on passenger cars as well as SUVs, so people will not be bothered with putting on chains on their cars. Due to the desire by car buyers to have a “go-anywhere, do-anything” capable car after the recent SUV trend we see that consumers have developed an affinity for this freedom in all their car choices.

Automakers are also seeing this it appears and are ready to satisfy the shift in preference by selling more cars that transfer engine power to all four corners - commonly called all-wheel drive, not four wheel drive although that too is way up in demand, all-wheel drive also shifts control around the car as you drive and is a SmartCar Technology. By 2006, car buyers who want All- wheel drive will have their choice of some 42 models, according to Industry Analysts and the website Gurus? This a 2/3 increase from the 2003-2004 model year. We have even heard estimates that by 2008, the number of all- wheel-drive cars on the road will double by today's count, well at least this is what Ford’s Visteon Corp., unit is saying and of course they hope so since they are a supplier of all- wheel-drive technology and other SmartCar electronic systems. For automakers, the rising demand for all-wheel-drive cars means greater profits and higher costs on cars for such options. All-wheel-drive systems now cost up to $1,500 as optional equipment.

The growing interest in all-wheel drive is obvious after checking out the Detroit Auto Show prototype cars. All these cars will have superior handling and better cornering for those 10 PM to midnight canyon burner runs at Mach 2, which if you are a real car lover you fully understand. Automakers with only rear-drive models cars may find this a challenge since the consumer now has a choice of All-wheel drive as well as manufacturers who have bee spending years convincing consumers that front-wheel drive is better on bad roads. Now consumers can have it all, those confused consumers will most likely opt for the both or All scenario. All-wheel drive essentially offers the best of both worlds.

Just over 50 percent of American women and 55 percent of their male counterparts surveyed said they prefer All wheel for safety and/or performance, along with the obvious benefit of better traction. Smart Cars are making friends and influencing people and the safety benefit to all is very incredible. SmartCars and Intelligent transportation.

If we look at the history of smart car type technologies we will see that this is always how it starts. It wasn't more than a decade or two ago that we sought and anti-locking braking systems, or ABS. At first, this was the safety benefit and only an option and only available on the high-end cars. Recently we've seen GPS navigation systems available as an option, now many the luxury cars, it comes standard. We're seeing this trend also on midrange cars and SUVs. It wasn't too long that airbags came onto the seen at first a safety item and an option later became standard on most of midrange and high-end vehicles, now airbags are on nearly every car, at least for the driver. About 50% of the models in Europe have the ESC options with all-wheel drive and in the US about 6% do to the need to cut the costs and still sell the cars.

In 30 years fatalities in Germany are down about 70% in the US per mile driven about 20%, which is good, but we can still do better. Remember when th big news came out about Firestone? Well actually only 3% of fatal rollovers were from tire wear, the rest from driving conditions and pilot error. Loss of control of about 20% of these accidents could have been prevented by ESC and it will be mandatory on 8-15 passenger vans by 2006.


These figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, VA. In a German study Mercedes reduced the loss of control accidents by 21% by adding ESC to all their models. Interestingly enough you cannot get ESC on a Ford Explorer since that option does not exist until you get to the Expedition or Excursion SUVs. 4-Runner by Toyota has it available here in the US. There is an interesting article on this in Business Week, April 28 2003 by Christine Tierney which is true even more today than the day she put pen to paper.

When we discussed these issues with our Audi Engineer friend; he said that on the A3 through A8 Audi there was an option for $3000-4000 for the radar following devices, and in Europe you can order your car your way. As a matter of fact on an A3 the most basic model there are 350 possible combinations for bumper configurations, between types of fog lights, color, design, etc. Also and unfortunately the German government has found a way to put infrared picture cameras which will send you a ticket in the mail for speeding, once again we did perfect the German radar in WWII and they have used their military technology for civil use to collect fines from speeders with this new infrared devices. We are seeing more and more camera red light unmanned devices on our road ways and automatic ticket cameras in the United States now.

Luckily the radar assisted following auto-pilot does not work under 20 mph so in the city or stop and go on the Belt Way, Boston Tunnel, 405 FWY, I-5 in Seattle or I-10 in Houston it will not work. Also the hands free cell phone hooked to the radio is not an option but a must as the ticket is 80.00 Euros if you have your cell phone on while driving unless hooked-up. And for GM and all the wonderful hotshots that think they are going to own the China car market you might want to think again the Audi A6 for China market is already made there. Surely eventually once they ramp up it is highly likely they will emerge market winners, but at this early stage they are behind the gun. Also realize that in the larger cities, they cannot take anymore cars, the traffic is insane, better off to walk or bicycle around.

In Beijing there is a 100% in one-year growth rate for additional cars. Talk about traffic you would be better off to catch a cart, moped or walk. Although the A6 in China is bare bones and nearly without suspension to save money, it is their foothold into the Chinese market. Currently being tested is a Diesel car is not connected to any drive train. It runs a steady 1800-2000 RPM and the most efficient for the least amount of pollution which charges batteries while driving or parked and runs 42 volts electrical system, which is hooked to each wheel with a motor to turn the wheels, likewise all the power steering, and other components runs on the electricity. They also have out now an Audi A8, which puts out 330 HP and an R56 which puts out 450 HP. The interesting thing getting back to the electric-diesel hybrid is the efficiency and cleanliness. It is a really good system. So Ford is also on the move lately: FORD LAUNCHES INTELLIGENT HIGHWAY REVOLUTION:

Eventually, almost all municipal vehicles could be outfitted with the new wireless sensor technology.


All in all you have to be a little more impressed with what Audi is really doing than what Ford is planning on; I am not sure if this is of value to you, but I met the head engineer from Audi working on the A' series A4 A6 A8 etc. from Germany, I think he was on his way to the Proving Ground in AZ and he was talking about the radar assisted following devices they use in Germany. Had some interesting things and doing some secret tests. How these devises would be installed for $3,000 US as an option once the tort laws were reduced and they would be hitting the dealerships as soon as that happened. The car follows half the distance of the speed. 50 miles per hour 25 feet. Their all wheel drive system would hook up to it and if the car was stopped in the lane and no cars in beside it, it would go to the next lane providing there was no solid line. Also integrated was the auto-pilot technology of following the line on the right. Too many lawsuits for finish products liability has slowed progress but with partial class action lawsuit reform we may see more risk taking with these new technologies.

Audi did some work in the United States in the ITS arena during not to long ago at DENSO - i.e. car navigation systems/GPS. Some of the thoughts of the programmers of these systems were that people fail to realize that if you keep a vehicle in motion it actually emits less tailpipe emissions. Constant idling, and stop and go are the worst conditions for emissions, so the savings is also to the health of the public and might even reduce health care insurance. Now then there are other companies working on this stuff in the US too. This is absolutely wonderful technology you are working on. An interactive SmartCar. The issues is with economies of scale and price. With the Big Three cutting costs, we are not getting the technology we should in the states. The problem I see is with ABS and All-wheel drive or ESC it is hard to get full value out of all the other technologies.

I spoke with Honda about the seat belt tightening and letting off the accelerator and believe this is of value, I am glad you are working on this. Now, then as the Audi guy was telling me they are testing a car, which runs a certain speed all the time so it does not pollute at optimum. And then it charges batteries, which run all wheel drive on a system, which has all the best technologies. They are running this thing 7000 hours.

The guy I met from Germany had been cruising the country talking to people. If the little and smaller engine runs at 1800 RPMs to 2000 and is quiet like an Onan Generator it could run quiet on diesel and charge the batteries and run at the 42-volt system? Power steering, ABS, each wheel has a motor. If a motor goes out you feather the props on the motor across from it and it becomes two-wheel drive until fixed by using a small centrical clutch. All runs net-centric. Works for me and is much better for all the HUD displays, portable business office WiFi, email, GPS, Internet Faxing, CD, DVD, movie and video systems. It is making a better and smarter car on a similar platform in looks but the guts are totally re done. Just building smarter, more efficient and better cars, it makes sense for the 42,000 who die each year in auto accidents.

With stop and go traffic, Diamond car pool lanes, toll booths all messing up traffic flows the issues of environment are almost as good as the 15% less accidents that are fatal per year. Mercedes showed 15% with ESC alone, imagine all this technology we are speaking with now. But the price is the selling point to US Manufacturers and of course if people keep their cars 3.2 years on average but finance them for 8 years other issues ensue. Also long term rentals will need GPS and Satellite RFID ping finding devices; Enterprise Rent a Car rolls out long term rentals and we believe this may in fact be good.

Let’s face it cars are getting smarter and people are getting dumber. I guess Audi is going to do this on their Pasat, A4, A6 and later the A8. So the Smart US Big Three need to stay heads up. And you bet they will as the new technologies are sure to heat up the car sales competition amongst consumers. 40% of consumers are said to rank auto safety their number one or two priority in choosing their next car.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Research On Major Automotive Innovations Funded

The drive for cleaner cars roaming the streets of the global community has reached another high. Case in point is the funding of research on major automotive innovations by the French Industrial Innovation Agency (Agence de l'Innovation Industrielle, or the AII). The agency recently announced that they will fund the research being conducted by Valeo, a leading automotive supplier all over the world. The AII has arranged the release of 61 million euros for use in the study being conducted by Valeo. The mentioned funding is in connection with the company's aim to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles.

"This funding recognizes the value of the work that Valeo engineers have been undertaking in this field for several years and will allow us to offer the market new solutions that can provide up to 30 percent fuel savings with a significant reduction in CO2 and pollutant emissions," says Thierry Morin, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Valeo.

Valeo is doing research on two major innovations which will greatly help car makers in producing cleaner cars. The first one is the camless system. Valeo is looking for ways to replace the camshaft with electromagnetic actuators. This is a major innovation since a camshaft is common on all engines and this is the component which closes or opens the intake or exhaust ports by controlling the valves. The technology aims to reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions by as much as 20 percent. The fuel consumption will be reduced since the electromagnetic actuators will be powered by the car's battery instead of being a load on the engine. The technology will also increase significantly the performance and ride comfort of a vehicle by increasing low-end torque. This technology is primarily aimed at gasoline engines but a diesel version will also be developed in the future.

The second innovation being looked into by Valeo is a next-generation hybrid. Valeo hopes to improve the performance and fuel efficiency of their StARS+X technology. The technology will be equipped with a Start-Stop function which will enable the vehicle to shut the engine during idling. The technology will also be employing a regenerative braking system. This means that the energy given off during the application of the brakes will be recovered. Valeo will also add a high powered alternator that will provide the added power to the engine during low speed driving. Aside from these, better capacitors will also be used which would complement the entire system. All in all, the improvement on the StARS+X technology will further reduce the fuel consumption of a vehicle by as much as 15 percent.

These two systems that are being looked into by Valeo are compatible with each other. This means that in the future, vehicles may be equipped with a hybrid camless engine which will dramatically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by vehicles. This technology when employed on cars will definitely make a difference just like a brake component from Active Brakes Direct.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Are Electric Vehicles the Solution to Increasing Petrol Prices?

When speaking about electric vehicles, more often than not we imagine futuristic scenarios in which we are driving quiet and clean cars. Indeed electric cars' main benefit is their environmentally-friendly approach, with zero emissions both in terms of carbon dioxide and noise.

However, this is not the only factor that makes electric cars a better alternative compared to traditional ones. At a time when the cost of petrol is an increasingly relevant element in families' budgets, it is essential to save on transport to survive and enable the economy to grow.

Electric vehicles meet this need, as they can reduce consumption and maintenance costs compared to competing vehicles running on fossil fuels. The lower costs are due to various factors. First of all, an electric car has a better performance (the relationship between the work produced and the energy spent) compared to any conventional engine: from about 30% for a car running on petrol to 40% for a diesel engine against 90% for an electric induction motor. Moreover, an electric motor has the advantage of being able to work with a constant torque, providing maximum thrust immediately

However, we need to deduct a factor that takes into account the production of electricity, which is still mostly associated with fossil fuels (think of coal power stations), and the transport of electricity. So the actual figure drops to about 51%, which is still higher compared to traditional engines. Moreover, according to statistics, a conventional car uses on average 0.51/0.7 kilowatt-hour per kilometre compared to 0.11/0.23 of an electric car on a like-to-like basis in terms of power.
Now we have all the data we need to calculate how much it costs to move around with an electric vehicle and a traditional one.

Let's suppose that a car running on petrol can travel 100 kilometres with 6 litres of fuel (optimistic estimate), with an indicative current price of € 1.80/litre. Travelling 100km with a car running on petrol will cost us about € 10.8.

Instead, if we consider that a kilowatt costs about € 0.25 and an average factor of 0.17 kWh/km, travelling with an electric car would cost on average about € 4.25.
Therefore, the answer to our initial question is: YES, electric vehicles are the ideal solution to increasing petrol prices, as they reduce transport costs by more than 50%, plus the prices of oil by-products are bound to continue to increase.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How to Extract Up to 30% More Power From 2.0T FSI Engine

The introduction of the 2.0T FSI engine to the market in 2005 had a lot of euro enthusiasts excited with anticipation. Probably because the predecessor, 1.8T engine made a lot of impact on the aftermarket euro tuning scene a few years after its debut. The 1.8T became one of the most tunable engines in Euros. Performance manufacturers started making an immense amount of aftermarket parts for the engine, with lots of parts to choose from, prices for them dropped and created the opportunity for enthusiasts to tune their engines to output an extreme amount of power. Back to the 2.0T FSI engine, which can be found in a large variety of Audi and Volkswagen vehicles worldwide, such as Audi A3, A4, VW GTI, Jetta GLI, Eos, and Passat.

For the North American market the engine was first introduced in 2005 Jetta and 2006 Passat and was 2.0L/200HP 4-Cylinder Turbo FSI ( Fuel Stratified Injection) with 4-Valves per Cylinder at 207 lb-ft of torque. The special features of the engine include, exhaust system with 2 catalytic converters, Hitachi ethanol-resistant high-pressure fuel pump, returnless fuel system, homogeneous fuel injection, decoupled final drive sprocket in the balance shaft drive gear, and elliptical secondary drive wheel on the crankshaft. The Fuel Stratified Injection is a direct-injection system developed by Volkswagen and use in many VW and Audi cars. The main purpose is to increase the engines output and reduce fuels consumption, and VW claims their FSI does it by as much as 15%.

Since this engine packs the potential, and its predecessor has a lot of earned respect in the performance industry, lots of companies started manufacturing aftermarket parts for 2.0T FSI. With a large variety of parts available for the engine now, tuners can extract up to 30% more power from the engine with just basic upgrades. Just like in any vehicle that is lenient for performance upgrades some of the basics are, software upgrade, cold air intake, intercooler, and exhaust. Lets starts with the software upgrade, which is probably one of the simplest and most performed upgrades that will bring the most whp gain. There are a lot of brands on the market that offer quality products, but on average, a software upgrade will generate anywhere from 20-50 horsepower gain, and 50-85 torque gain. Intake is the most fundamental way to increase engine output, it increases the amount of cold air going in the engine or more precisely into the combustion chamber.

There is an unending amount of CAI (Cold Air Intake) systems readily available on the market today probably for every vehicle on the market. By installing a CAI you can expect an average of 8-10 horsepower increase. The next step is an intercooler, the main purpose of an intercooler in a turbocharged engine is to decrease air intake temperature by providing constant cooling, this will result in more consistent power delivery and extra power. Most aftermarket intercoolers are 100% bolt on and require not trimming. You can expect an average increase of 15 whp on a modified car. The last fundamental performance mod is an exhaust system. OEM exhaust systems are very restrictive, because they have obligations to meet certain sound and emission standards of the industry. Aftermarket exhaust systems are designed with performance in mind as a priority. By eliminating the unnecessary bends in the piping design of the exhaust and increasing pipe diameter, they reduce backpressure and maximize power output. You can expect anywhere from 10-12 whp increase from certain aftermarket exhaust systems. This was a list of basics upgrades for a 2.0t FSI engine, or any other OEM turbocharged engine. With these upgrades you can extract up to 30% more power output from your automobile. All of these modifications are available as bolt on, and should not require trimming.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Volvo Buses Go New Zealand

Looks like a good source of more finances and funding. And it really does look much like good money. Nothing bad there.

What am I talking about? Well, news have it that Volvo Buses has just received an order for some twenty new Volvo V7RLE city buses. Volvo Buses is the sister of Volvo Cars, a company that manufactures cars and other auto products like Volvo car parts and the whole lot.

Anyhow, the order for these twenty buses was actually straight from Auckland, New Zealand. Their customer is the Infratil Public Transport which makes use of city buses that make use of the Volvo engine technology which has been made just right so much so that it has met the emission standards in New Zealand. You see, the great deal here is that Volvo's engine technology can be said to be advanced for the emission standards would yet have to be effective in the year 2012. It may be some years away already but Volvo's client has made sure that as early as now, they would be coming in ready for the new emission standards.

Rune Lundberg is the head of Volvo Buses' Region International and on this new update they received, he says, "With this order, we have achieved a breakthrough in the country also with regard to city buses. I foresee favorable prospects for more orders." Sure enough, if such would be the new emission standards and Volvo has the right kind of city buses for it, then more and more orders may come pouring in for the manufacturer.

So what has these Volvo buses got? According to the company, they have used SRC technology and this is what is responsible for the sharp reduction of emission levels on their buses. This technology can be also considered as the technology that would bring in more sales for the company. You see, with SCR technology, Volvo can create buses that would be able to meet the Euro 5 standard on emissions regulations. "The new Volvo buses have emissions levels that are 70-90% lower than today's city bus fleet in Auckland," explains Warren Cavel, the general manager of Volvo Buses.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nissan Qashqai - Safest Car In Britain

The Nissan Qashqai, a compact crossover SUV, has been rated as Britain's safest car after scoring the highest in Euro NCAP crash tests. The vehicle earned a record-breaking total of 37 points, nearly 100 percent, in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash test assessments.

The Qashqai garnered five-star scores in the front, side and pole impact assessments. It also got four stars for child occupant protection and two in the pedestrian test.

The crossover SUV, the first to be styled by the Nissan Design Europe in London, England, UK, with engineering development led by the Nissan Technical Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, was released in Europe and Japan early this year. It will be exported to the Middle East and additional overseas markets.

The top half of Qashqai features the striking Nissan headlight, a sleek dynamic shape with a prominent shoulder line which rises at the rear and that is a design cue identical to that of the Murano. The lower portion of the vehicle resembles a SUV due to gigantic, pronounced wheel arches and a faintly elevated ground clearance. The vehicle is also given four engine choices. Gasoline engines will be a 115 horsepower 1.6 L and a 140 horsepower 2.0 L. Diesel engines include the 106 horsepower 1.5 L and 150 horsepower 2.0 L.

To bolster Qashqai's appeal, Nissan is to add a long-wheelbase seven-seat version. "We are looking at a few things with the Qashqai, but the long-wheelbase car is the most likely to make production," said Nissan's spokesperson. The larger model will be designed to rival the compact MPV class, tempting purchasers out of bigger seven-seat competitors.

The vehicle will be sharing the P32L automobile platform with upcoming Nissan crossover SUVs. The Qashqai, launched at the 2006 Paris Motor Show, is built at Nissan's NMUK Sunderland plant. "It's arguably the most exciting family car that's been designed, engineered and built in the UK in recent years," added the spokesperson.

Nissan intends to roll out 500 Qashqais off its Wearside production line every day and has big ambitions to sell 15,000 examples in the UK next year. The spokesman added that additional cars will be exported to countries as far away as Japan. The third largest Japanese automaker also aims to sell more than 100,000 Qashqai units a year from February 2007.

Nissan said that the car, named after the nomadic Qashqai tribe, will cater for those car buyers who want a more dynamic design but are not attracted to the large, aggressive nature of a sport utility vehicle. The car slots below the X-Trail in the automaker's range. It partially replaces the conventional Almera and Primera. In terms of size, its 4310 mm length and 1610 mm makes it fall between compact MPVs, such as the SEAT Altea and Renault Scénic, and compact SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and the Mitsubishi Outlander.

But the Qashqai is not the only model that the Japanese automaker is preparing to launch. Auto Express said that the previous-generation flat-bed Navara is going to be re-introduced next year as some customers do not think the current machine looks rugged enough. However, with the more luxurious Pathfinder-style Navara now using the familiar badge, the resurrected Nissan will need a new name. This prediction has yet to be decided, but could be as straightforward as pickup.

"Designing a crossover vehicle presents a real challenge for chassis engineers. A high centre of gravity has a negative effect on handling. Despite this, the Qashqai is surprisingly adept in corners," said an auto critic. "Combine this with the slick six-speed gearbox and light but well placed pedals, and the Qashqai is a very user-friendly machine."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

VW Polo BlueMotion at 2007 ECHO Awards

About 50 VW Polo BlueMotion models will dominate this year's ECHO awards, one of the most prestigious music awards in Germany given by an association of recording companies called the Deutsche Phono-Akademie.

During the awarding ceremony that will take place at the German capital city of Berlin, the VW Polo BlueMotion will function as the shuttle service for some of the local and international music artists, as well as guest visitors at the awarding ceremony. They will step on the VW floor mats and drive up to the red carpet aboard the VW Polo BlueMotion. This a way for the Wolfsburg-based car manufacturer to promote the advantages and the environmental attributes of the VW Polo BlueMotion including low fuel consumption and cleaner exhaust emissions. Moreover, the VW Polo BlueMotion also symbolizes environmental protection.

Stephan Grühsem, Head of Communications at Volkswagen AG said:
"We are confident that national and international guests at the ECHO award ceremony will welcome the opportunity to experience the advantages of the VW Polo BlueMotion - dynamics, low average fuel consumption and low emissions."

Gerd Gebhardt, Executive Producer of ECHO 2007, added: "We are 100% behind this exemplary action. After all, the future belongs to economical and environmentally-friendly cars!"

The VW Polo BlueMotion will show off its fuel efficient and low fuel consumption powertrain components under its sleek hood including the 1.4-liter 3-cylinder TDI engine capable of delivering 80 horsepower (59 kW) at 4,000 rpm and produces 144 lb.-ft. (195 Nm) amount of peak torque at 1,800 rpm, coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox. With this powertrain package, the VW Polo BlueMotion can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 12.8 seconds and can reach an a top speed of 109 mph.

The engine also feature some of the advanced powertrain systems like diesel particulate filter, exhaust gas turbo charger, improved Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), EGR cooler, electrically activated EGR valve, and oxidizing catalytic converter to further reduce harmful CO2 exhaust emissions. This allows the VW Polo BlueMotion to comply with the most stringent EURO 4 emissions standard. The VW Polo BlueMotion also offers fuel efficiency for its customers. According to Volkswagen, The VW Polo BlueMotion has a low consumption of only 3.9 liters of fuel per 62 miles (100 km) of driving distance.

Along with the VW Polo BlueMotion, Volkswagen AG will also make the 2007 ECHO music awards as the stage for the world premiere of the exclusive Sound Foundation Polo "First Act" model. Based on the VW Polo model and created by Volkswagen Individual, the Sound Foundation Polo "First Act" fits the driving characteristics and interest of music lovers. The car is equipped with a guitar audio jack under the glove compartment capable of producing 70 watts of sound.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Volvo's Beautiful Cross Family

2007 is such an amazing year for Volkswagen not only because its CrossPolo and CrossGolf are doing well in terms of sales, but also because their sporty all-rounder version of the Touran is likewise revving up orders. As a matter of fact, Volkswagen's German partners are now taking orders for this latest addition to the Cross family. Sales and advance orders to date are pouring in which simply shows that this series is a favorite amongst customers. One out of ten Polos comes from this special edition series.

The third member of the Cross family is currently made available for order since the beginning of the year- the Volkswagen CrossTouran. This vehicle is not only strikingly styled but has become a practical and lifestyle-oriented vehicle. The Touran is a front-wheel drive and boasts of major new features which include additional ground clearance of approximately 12 millimeters plus a variety of visible body elements.

Some of the vehicle's notable features are its new front spoiler which comes in a "matte chrome" look, silver-anodized roof rails and dark headlamp mounts, lower bumper sections, side skirts, wheel arches and side protective molding that made extra strong high quality composite materials.

The Touran is also loaded with impressive standard equipment package and top-of-the-line Volkswagen accessories which includes both fog lights as well as range of interior details such as the one-of-a-kind CrossTouran steering wheel in perforated leather, the fold-down passenger-seat backrest with table and through-load feature, and of course the folding tables on the backs of the front seats.

Another stunning feature of the vehicle is the mixed tire arrangement wherein it combines 6.5-inch wide and 17 inch diameter alloy wheels with 215/50 tires at the front . For its back tires it has combined 8-inch wide, 17-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 tires just to give it that unique visual appeal.

The Touran is available in color schemes ranging from "Candy White" to "Deep Black" and an exclusive "Red Rock Metallic". For its interior colors customers has a choice between orange/grey and the more subtle "latte macchiato".

Volkswagen for its European market launching in spring of 2007 will incorporate three petrol driven engines and three TDIs (standard fitted with diesel particulate filter) with outputs ranging from 75kW to 125kW. The 125 kW TSI Twincharger with standard DSG is expected to grab the spotlight. Volkswagen will offer the CrossTouran for as little as 24,743.79 euros.

Cross for Freedom, Fun and Adventure

The special Cross family of Volkswagen exudes visual appeal of an off-roader with the comfort of a sedan. Although distinct from each other the Cross vehicles share common robust exterior and additional ride height.

According to Christoph Stürmer, analyst at Frankfurt-based market-intelligence specialists Global Insight, "This model strategy demonstrates that Volkswagen is right up-to-date. Cars like the CrossTouran offer the psychological advantages of an off-roader and have a huge appeal to customers because they communicate the feeling of dependability." In short, Stürmer just want to point out that the comfort of the Cross is brought about by its muscular styling, true and tested technology plus its superior outward visibility which is made possible by the high seat position that it possess.

The Volkswagen Cross Family takes its roots in the Polo Fun launched in December of 2003. Its first production of the Cross was sold out in a matter of months. The year 2006 saw the birth of an entire new series with the launching of the CrossPolo in January. Volkswagen was confident that it will become a hit amongst customers but just the same the unit sales figures came as a surprised for them. As a matter of fact, even the marketing specialists at Volkswagen were amazed when they saw the sales figures. The Cross was such a phenomenal success in Germany that one out of ten Polos sold is a Cross model.

The CrossGolf which was first shown at the September Paris Motor Show will be put on sale in December. The CrossTouran which was unveiled at the Bologna Motor Show completes the Cross family. TDI, TSI, DSG and Twincharger are the registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG or of the other companies belonging to the Volkswagen Group in Germany and other countries.

About Volkswagen

The German motor car is an icon of the 20th Century and only few automakers can parallel the legendary cars that Volkswagen has produced. Volkswagen's "The Beetle" is a best selling car of all time. Everybody loves the refreshing and innovative design that this car possess. Volkswagen's bus has also become a symbol of an era while the Golf became a modern masterpiece and became an indelible part of the cultural and personal lives of millions around the world.

In an era of the privilege few, Volkswagen has provided a affordable and practical means of transport for a great number of people that just cannot afford the high cost of other brands. It was in the year 1934 when Ferdinand Porsche has conceived the idea of creating the first peoples' car for Europe and a year after, a working prototype was launched.

And by the end of 1942, the German automaker Volkswagen has produced 70,000 vehicles. Three years after the war in 1945 Volkswagen has produced almost 2,000 vehicles for the Allied Forces and the new German Post Office. It was in the year 1948 when Volkswagen has produced 25,000 vehicles and it was also in this same year when the first two Beetles were shipped to the US. The following year, 1949, Volkswagen has again produced another 25,000 units of vehicles including the Karmann convertible which became the best-selling convertible in the world. To cut the story short, Volkswagen has grown into a corporation and emerged as a true global force in the auto industry especially with its acquisition and re-development of famous names such as Audi, SEAT, Skoda, and Lamborghini.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Expected at 2010 Geneva Auto Show

For the Alfa Romeo fans, the new Giulietta is rumored to be emerging at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show in March, with sales beginning in the spring to major markets. Let's take a sneak peek at this exotic car.

Boasting an entirely new platform, the 2010 Giulietta has been revamped to appeal to even the most demanding of customers-so let's examine the specs.

It is reported that road grip, agility and safety are areas the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta has improved. Alfa DNA is the system developed to customize the behavior of the Giulietta according to various driving styles and road conditions, and has the capacity to adapt to the needs of individual drivers, creating a customized and comfortable luxury driving experience. Three new modes are available for the DNA system on the 2010 Giulietta-Dynamic, Normal and All Weather. These serve to modify the operating parameters of the engine, steering system, Q2 electronics differential and fine-tune the stability control system. But what lies beneath the hood is what gets us.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta features four turbo engines, all Euro 5 compliant and fitted with standard Start&Stop system to reduce emissions and consumption levels. The engines include two gasoline engines (1.4 TB-120 horsepower MultiAir-170 horsepower), and two diesel engines (1.6 JTDM-105 horsepower and 2.0 JTDM-170 horsepower). To finish off, a 1750 TBi version produces 235 horsepower with an exclusive Quadrifoglio Verde configuration. Nice.

As far as aesthetics, the front of the exotic car seems to be a new take on the classic Alfa Romeo grille, suspended between two intakes. The sleek profile contours into an agile and impressive build, including side ribbing, very easy on the eyes. This could be an exciting addition to any fleet of exotic rental cars, and we like what is under the hood!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Audi Exhausts and Other Fine Parts

Long lurking in the shadow of two German luxury auto giants, Audi has quietly been gaining ground as sales of Mercedes vehicles continue to lag. Within the next few years, Audi is likely to surpass Mercedes and sneak up right behind BMW. These are heady days for Audi, but they aren't too many years removed from the time when critics called the cars "warmed over" Volkwagens. Times are a changing and auto fans know it. Let's take a look at some of the best selling accessories for the Audi lover's car!

1. Custom Tail Lights. Altezza [or Euro] tail lights continue to remain popular with the aftermarket crowd. On older model Audis, including the 90 and 200, these parts look the best as newer models reflect the latest design standards.

2. Car Covers. Ask any owner of a classic Audi how they maintain their car's appearance and they will tell you: wash, wax, and cover. That's right, washing and waxing alone are not enough. Keeping your car's paint protected can only be fully accomplished by covering it with a custom fitted car cover. The more layers the better too for maximum protection.

3. Hood Protector. Some call them car bras, while others call them hood protectors. Regardless, you can protect your grille and give your vehicle a special look with a custom fitted car cover. Select only those that are durable and designed for the exact Audi model you own.

4. Wheel Protectors. There isn't a whole lot that is worse than a set of dirty wheels on an otherwise immaculate looking car. It kind of reminds you of the handsome guy who wears an expensive Ralph Lauren button down shirt that has been yellowed by underarm stains! Wheel protectors can keep your tires looking great and keep your wheels looking shiny.

5. Performance Chips. Who says you have to be satisfied with your horsepower? A performance chip can help your engine run smoother and more efficiently without taking away from fuel economy. An increasingly popular aftermarket part sought by motorists everywhere.

6. Performance Exhaust. Borla and other brands have developed replacement exhaust systems that can help your car produce more power, achieve greater torque, and increase your fuel economy. These stainless steel parts are made of the same material that builds airliners, so you know that they have to be tough. A nice bonus is the one million mile warranty you get with the system!

Audi aficionados also customize their cars with custom sized floor mats, reusable air filters, performance rotors, heavy duty shocks, and mostly any other part imaginable.

Truly, this German make has made a name for itself as evidenced by the award winning Quattro, long a world leader in handling. If you own an Audi, you have a car that is certain to give you many years of driving enjoyment. Outfit your Audi the way you want with high quality performance and replacement parts sold through your favorite online wholesaler.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

BMW Views 2009 in Degrees of Bad

Almost all automakers view 2009 by degrees of "bad," including BMW. But the BMW Group - which includes MINI and Rolls-Royce - views its year as close to the least bad year it could have had. In today's auto sector climate, BMW could be said to have had a good year.

BMW Group sold a total of 1,286,310 vehicles including the BMW, MINI, and Rolls badges, 10.4% lower than its 2008 total. But the 10.4% decline is measured against a predicted 10-15% drop in sales volume. "Cash for clunkers" programs in both Europe and America may have had an impact on sales, but the company characterizes the effect on its BMW, Rolls, and MINI as "very minor."

The group increased its market share among premium auto brands, taking a larger slice of a shrinking pie and positioning it well for the future, even claiming that Rolls, BMW, and MINI are the strongest premium brands in the automobile industry.

Profit before tax was actually slightly up from 2008, increasing from 351 million euros to 413 million euros, but the year-over-year change is an order of magnitude don from its 2007 total of 3.9 billion euros. Profit before financial result, plummeted from 921 million euros to 289 million euros - again paling against 4.2 billion in 2007.

MINI sales volume declined 6.8% from 2008. Only the new MINI Clubman One and the MINI One saw increased volume. High-prestige, low-volume Rolls-Royce showed a 17.3% decline to 1,002 vehicles sold in 2009, although its new Ghost sold well. Among BMWs, the 7 series, the new X1, the X6, and the Z4 all showed substantial gains year over year, whereas sales of all other models fell. It should be noted, however, that the 1 series 5-door was down only 1.9%; most models showed steeper declines.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mitsubishi Dealers Come of Age

Historically when thinking of Mitsubishi only two models really come to mind. The reliable workhorse that is the Shogun which although often seen on the school run is also the preferred choice for discerning country folk who want to avoid life on the hard shoulder with older Land Rover Discoveries for example.

Then who could fail to be unaware of the simply outrageous Lancer Evo series which have been tearing up the black stuff for a number of years now.

However the distinct lack of a fuller range of models in recent years has left Mitsubishi somewhat out in the cold in the UK and made it quite hard for dealers to position themselves and given them somewhat of an identity crisis. I mean apart from farmers and petrol heads just what is on offer for the average buyer.

Attempts were made to offer some alternatives but with interim models shipped in direct from Japan things tended to get worse before they got better.

Well I'm pleased to say that Mitsubishi have really got their act together in recent times and to use an old sales cliché now have something for everyone. The model range is now fully consolidated with offerings from the wacky new i range through to the rugged all new L200 tipper, part of the award winning L200 range.

This combined with 3 year service intervals on all new models and the build quality and reliability that are synonymous with the Mitsubishi name definitely requires a closer look.

Mitsubishi dealers now offer a full after sales package that is second to none. Service plans are available across all new models which effectively offers fixed price motoring. These plans are also transferable with ownership which is an added bonus.

Let's cut to the chase then and look at exactly what's on offer. The i supermini range is a five door hatch with a lightweight aluminium 3 cylinder 57 bhp 660cc turbocharged engine returning 54.6 average fuel consumption. It produces a CO2 emission of a mere 114g/km.

The Colt is a 3 & 5 door hatch available in 3 engine sizes including a diesel variant. Special additions are available including the eye catching CZC cabriolet.

The all new Lancer range replaces the outgoing model and is a 4 door saloon available in 2 engine sizes including a diesel and is topped out by the sublime new Evo X.

Grandis is a sleek and sporty MPV which can carry up to seven in style without looking like the usual box like MPV's available on the market. The Grandis comes with 2 or 2.4 litre petrol engines or a 2 litre diesel.

New Outlander is a quality 4x4 SUV that can seat seven and yet returns 40mpg plus on the combined cycle. Other features include switchable four wheel drive and Mitsubishis patented active stability and traction control.

We couldn't talk Mitsubishi without mentioning the ubiquitous Shogun. Now in it's fourth generation and claimed to be the best yet. Available in both short and long wheel base versions and comes only as a 3.2 litre common rail turbocharged direct injection diesel engine. This vehicle really is packed with features including auto- levelling Xenon head lights, a rear view camera and reversing sensors. A 30 gigabyte hard drive sat nav system with touch screen, 12 speaker 860w Rockford sound system. Safety features include Engine Brake Assist, Active Stability and Traction Control side, curtain and dual stage front SRS airbags that now satisfies the criteria for Euro NCAP four-star rating. The list goes on and makes this iconic marque a really tempting prospect.

Finally we come to the L200 which you may be surprised to know has been around for some eighteen years now. A formidable pick-up which was a winner in What Van? Awards 2007. A variety of body styles are available including single, double and club cab as well as a drop-side and tipper.

All this choice should definitely have you hot footing down to your nearest Mitsubishi Dealer unless you're my Grandad who still refuses to buy a Japanese car but there you go!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Revamped Volkswagen Phaeton in Detail

Later this May 2007, Volkswagen AG will commence the production of the much-awaited revamped model of VW Phaeton full size luxury sedan. The car will roll out in dealer showrooms carrying numerous new technical features and modified equipments inside and out.

Unveiled at the recent 77e Salon International de l'Auto Geneve (77th annual Geneva International Motor Show), the VW Phaeton now comes with a new V6 TDI turbo-diesel engine, the first Volkswagen model to comply with the most stringent European emissions standard, the EURO 5 standard that goes into effect in 2009. The EURO 5 emissions standard requires an 80 percent lower amount of dirt particulates compared to the previous EURO 4 standard. The VW Phaeton's V6 new TDI turbo-diesel engine complies with this requirement, thanks to its common rail direct-injection system allowing the vehicle to have improved fuel efficiency and lower exhaust emissions as well as low fuel consumption, about 9.6 liters per 62 miles of driving range. The TDI turbo-diesel engine pumps out 299 horses (171 kW) under its hood, and can reach an electronically limited top speed of 146 mph.

For customers who prioritize power and performance than fuel efficiency, Volkswagen is offering optional three petrol gasoline engines to suit their driving personality. The German automaker will include a V6 gasoline engine pumping out 237 hp (177 kW), a monstrous V8 engine with 443 hp (331 kW), and the powerful W12 petrol engine that also pumps out 443 hp. Volkswagen also improved the Phaeton's handling and driving performance, powering the luxury car's standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) drivetrain configuration.

Outside, the VW Phaeton received additional exterior features like chrome accent strips in the lower area of the front apron, newly designed bi-xenon headlamps, dynamic and static cornering headlamps, newly designed automatically activated LED daytime running lamps, and a new 19-inch alloy wheel designs for the vehicle to ride on. Customers should get a VW car cover from the company's OEM division to protect these exclusive and new features of the VW Phaeton.

In addition to the new exterior features, the utilization of Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is one of the new technical changes and features for the VW Phaeton. The Adaptive Cruise Control system is equipped with innovative functions including: Follow-to-Stop function, Front Assist stopping distance reduction and Side Assist lane change assistant.

Here is how the two systems work according to Volkswagen engineers:

Front Assist:

"The system utilizes a radar sensor to monitor the distance to vehicles in traffic in front of the Phaeton. When they approach too closely the driver is informed in two stages. At the same time the vehicle is prepared for possible hard braking by the driver. In certain situations the system preventatively puts the brakes in a preconditioned status ahead of time; otherwise they would only become active when the driver actuates the brakes. This is how the new system achieves Stopping Distance Reduction (AWV)."

Side Assist:

"This system monitors the area in back of and next to the Phaeton via radar sensors in the rear bumper (one sensor each for areas to the left and right of the vehicle), and it signals a potential collision risk via an indicator light in the outside mirror housing. The sensor monitoring range is about 50 meters to the rear and 3.60 meters to the sides of the sedan."

Meanwhile, to provide additional driving safety, the VW Phaeton now comes with a tire pressure control system, low-beam lamp that automatically activates during full throttle acceleration and in rainy driving conditions. The car has is also equipped with enhanced information and entertainment systems including voice-controlled Bluetooth telephone system with auxiliary Bluetooth receiver, and navigation system with DVD capability that can support different types of functions.