Photo Galore: 2011 Audi RS5 Coupe 450HP V8


After the online leakage of the Audi RS5 Coupe brochure this past weekend, there was no point in holding back anymore, so the German automaker came out with an official release on its Geneva-bound BMW M3 fighter.

Developed by Audi's quattro GmbH division, the RS5 Coupe makes use of a revised version of the firm's 4.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine found in the previous RS4 and the current R8 Coupe.

In the RS5, the tweaked V8 engine delivers a maximum output of 450-horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 430Nm (317.15 lb-ft) of peak torque between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm. Power is transferred to all four wheels through a standard seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic transmission and a center differential in the quattro drivetrain.

With this configuration, the 4.2 FSI propels the coupe's 1,725 kg or 3,803 pounds from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in 4.6 seconds and on to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h or 155. Upon request, Audi can increase the top speed to 280 km/h or 174mph.

Not that it concerns your average RS5 driver, but Audi says that its hot coupe averages 10.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers or the US equivalent of 21.8 mpg.

It is worth mentioning that the RS5 comes equipped with a next generation quattro permanent all-wheel drive system that incorporates a self-locking crown-gear center differential which operates in conjunction with electronic torque vectoring.

Under normal conditions, the upgraded quattro system splits the power 40:60 front to rear but if necessary, up to 70 percent can flow to the front or as much as 85 percent toward the tail end.

The RS5 gets a revised suspension with the car sitting 20mm (0.79 inches) lower than a standard A5 and 19-inch alloy wheels with 265/35 tires or optionally, 20-inch rims and 275/30 rubber.

It also features a more powerful braking system with 365 millimeters (14.37 inches) ventilated discs at the front axle (380mm ceramic carbon-fiber brake discs up front are offered as an option) and an electronic stabilization program (ESP) that integrates a sport mode and can be switched off entirely.

To differentiate it from the S5 Coupe with its 354HP 4.2-liter V8, Audi gave the RS5 a special exterior treatment that includes a new single-frame grille with honeycomb inserts, a redesigned front bumper with oversized air inlets at each corner and silver splitter, plus flared fenders that hark back to the original quattro model.

At the back, there's a new rear bumper that houses a diffuser and two large oval-shaped exhaust pipes plus a hidden boot lid spoiler that automatically extends at a speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) and retracts at 80 km/h (50 mph).

Interior upgrades over the standard A5 Coupe's include a pair of sport seats, a sport steering wheel with perforated leather, red needles on the gauges and decorative inlays made of carbon fiber.

Optionally, buyers can trim the interior with decorative inlays in a dark, stainless-steel mesh look, while there's also a Carbon design package for the engine compartment and, for the vehicle body, there are styling packages in black or matt aluminum look.

The RS5 will go on sale in Europe this Spring with a base price of around €77,700.

Lawmaker Accuses Toyota of Withholding Crash Evidence


Toyota may just have been caught with its hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Corporate blower of whistles and former Toyota Motor Sales USA (a "product liability group") managing counsel Dimitrios Biller has apparently brought a few documents to light - documents the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee finds "troubling".

According to panel chairman Ed Towns (D-NY), the documents "indicate Toyota deliberately withheld records that it was legally required to produce in response to discovery orders in litigation... [The] documents concern 'rollover' cases in which a driver or passenger was injured, including cases where victims were paralyzed."

Furthermore, "the Biller documents indicate [Toyota's] systematic disregard for the law and routine violation of court discovery orders in litigation... Moreover, this also raises very serious questions as to whether Toyota has also withheld substantial, relevant information from NHTSA."

It seems as if a court in Texas put a gag order out on Mr. Biller (do I sound like a lawyer or what?), but a Congressional subpoena came in and took over in order to get to the truth. Towns says he hopes Biller will bring to light information regarding Toyota's hiding "evidence of safety defects from consumers and regulators, and foster[ing] a culture of 'hypocrisy and deceit."

For people keeping up with this debacle, you may hear the term "Books of Knowledge". This refers not to the Indiana Jones trilogy, but to digital records "in which Toyota engineers kept their design and testing data across all vehicle lines and parts."

Sounds normal; companies keeping their secrets secret. Not really a problem, until evidence is found that Toyota may have settled multiple multi-million dollar lawsuits when they learned that victims' lawyers were on the path of discovering the "Books".

Towns asked Toyota to respond to the issues raised by the documents by Friday, March 12, with the Japanese automaker saying that it would.

I.DE.A Institute Teases 'Sofia' Sports Sedan Concept Ahead of Geneva Show


Three computer generated images and a name is just about all we have on the I.DE.A. Institute 'Sofia' hybrid sports sedan that will be officially unwrapped at the Geneva Motor Show on March 2. The famous design house stated that the four-seater concept model will be instantly recognized by its "Italian styling and beauty".

Last year, I.DE.A made its first appearance at the Swiss international auto show after a decade-long hiatus with the ERA roadster.

Geneva Pre-Gaming: Techart's Reptilian Porsche Panamera Concept One


It's one of the cars representing German tuner Techart in Geneva this year: the Concept One, a Porsche Panamera meant to showcase the firm's "second individualization level". And individual it is.

We'll start with the "unusual" interior, which is where this car really shines (although most will probably disagree): cocoa over white with "Phosphor" green stitching and detailing accented by tasty Cerbero trim - which must be the gator-skin stuff - on the dash, consoles, and seats.

Drivers get to wrap their mits around a Techart 3-spoke steering wheel with PDK paddles, while passengers will no doubt remain entertained thanks to the custom ceiling-mounted 10.2 inch TV/DVD player and fold-down rear tray tables. In my opinion, you should do yourself a favor and have a peek at the interior shots.

Motivation for this sports-tank comes from a Techart-tuned 650-horse version of Porsche's twin-turbo 4.8 liter V8 breathing through a stainless steel exhaust system.

Outward appearance is brought to you by way of a PU-RIM body kit which widens the car by 21 mm in at the nose and 42 mm at the haunches. Said kit makes use of new front/rear fascias, fender wideners, side skirts, and an adjustable rear wing.

Those 22-inch rollers are Techart Formula IIIs in dull platinum gray, and while there's something fancy about those LEDs up front, no one will ever care about what it is because they'll be looking at the viciously-gill'd hood and wondering what lurks beneath (hint: it'll eat your car for brunch). If you DO indeed care about those LEDs, scroll down for a press release excerpt.

"The multifunctional TECHART daylight driving headlight system contributes essentially to the active safety of the driver by combining daylight headlights, parking lights and turn signal lights as an LED system unit in one common housing that seamlessly fits into the vehicle front design.

The intensity of the lights adjusts automatically to the selected headlight circuit. Additionally, the headlight can also be dimmed for improving the effect of the turn signal lights, even while turning off."

Ferrari 599 Hybrid Concept: First Photos Leak on the Web


We've been hearing a lot about Ferrari's Geneva-bound 599 Hybrid concept model for quite some time now, but the Italian supercar maker apparently can't keep it under wraps anymore as the first photos of the prototype model made it onto the web today.

Photos aside, we asked around and our sources gave us some inside information on the hybrid system featured on the 'green' 599 concept model.

The system comprises of an electric motor producing somewhere around 100 horsepower and 137Nm (110 lb-ft) of torque that is attached on the back-end of the rear-mounted transmission, and a battery pack located under the floor.

The extra power is said to compensate for the added weight which is said to be close to 100 kilos or about 220 pounds, making the 599 Hybrid faster than the stock model.

Last but not least, we were told that the hybrid system is still in its infancy stage and will most likely take a few years to be offered on a series production model.

It goes without saying that we'll have all the details on the concept car after its debut in Geneva next week.

2011 Audi A8 Receives its First Tuning Job by Hofele Design


The new generation of Audi's A8 limo, codenamed D4, was only just presented at the end of 2009, but the tuning industry has already started cranking out performance and styling mods for the German automaker's flagship sedan.

One of the first (if not the first) tuners to launch a dedicated programme for the 2011 A8 sedan is Germany's Hofele Design that will present its proposal to the public at next week's Geneva Motor Show.

Hofele Design has readied power kits for both engines that will be available at the new A8's launch. The 4.2-liter V8 petrol gets a jump from 372HP and 445Nm to 400HP and 475Nm, reducing the 0-100km/h sprint time from 5.7 seconds to 5.3 seconds.

The 4.2-liter V8 TDI diesel is bumped up from 350HP and 800Nm to 395HP and 880Nm, and now covers the 100km/h (62mph) mark in 5.2 seconds instead of the stock model's 5.5 seconds.

In both cases, fuel consumption remains unchanged over the factory models.

An adjustable sport suspension electronic module that lowers the car's ride height between 40 and 80mm, a four-pipe exhaust system and 6-caliper high-performance brakes complete the list of performance modifications.

The available body kit for the 2011 A8 includes front and rear bumpers, rocker panels, rear diffuser, a new grille (with what looks to be an S8 badge...) and a discreet boot lid spoiler.

Of course the treatment wouldn't be complete without the addition of huge 20- or 22-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 265/40 ZR20 or 265/30 ZR22 high-performance tires respectively.

Finally, Hofele Design offers various interior accessories such as a R8-style sport steering wheel with carbon-fiber inserts.

Get Litigious: Bumblebee's gone all Mustang


Coming straight out of San Antonio, Texas is this... let's call it interesting... Transformers-inspired Mustang. Some people wouldn't be so kind, and one of those people happens to be Mr. Marton; he had the cajones to get close enough to grab the pics. Marton threw out the phrase "Wrong Car Fail", and while I secretly agree, hey, it's not my car.

However, as a Mustang fan, allow me to say this: Mustangs never look good in yellow (or gold, for that matter). Want to prove me wrong? Send in some pics of your yellow Mustangs and we'll see what passes for good-looking these days.

Go ahead and leave your thoughts on this hybridized Bombus in the comments section a little further south on the page. You know you want to.

Geneva Preview: Infiniti's Diesel-Powered EX30d in Detail, Expected to Account for 80% of European Sales


Having already provided us with general information on its new 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel engine that was developed in cooperation with Renault, Infiniti has now released the first photographs and more details on the European market EX30d crossover that will debut in Geneva next week.

The EX30d will be the second model of the Infiniti range to get the new diesel V6 after the FX series, and will be followed by the M30d sedan. The diesel-powered EX crossover will go on sale this summer at prices to be announced closer to the launch date. Not surprisingly, Infiniti said it is expecting that, throughout Europe, eight out of every 10 EXs will be the new EX30d.

In all Infiniti models, the 3.0-liter V6 turbo diesel delivers 238 horsepower and a more than adequate 550 Nm (405 lb ft) of torque - greater than Infiniti's 5.0-litre petrol V8 at 500Nm.

The V6 is hooked up to a standard 7-speed automatic transmission, propelling the EX30d from 0-62 mph (100km/h) in 7.9 seconds.

According to Infiniti, the EX30d returns an estimated combined fuel economy in the European cycle of 8.4 lt/100km, equal to 28mpg US or 33.6mpg UK, with corresponding CO2 emissions of 224 g/km.

Geneva Preview: BMW'S Activehybrid5 Sedan Concept is way too Smart... [with Video]


The ActiveHybrid 5 is (officially now) the newest concept from BMW's Efficient Dynamics division, and ED has shaken things up a bit in the power train department. Instead of going with a V8-based mild hybrid setup a la the 7-Series and X6 hybrids, BMW decided to try the system out with their award-winning TwinPower Turbo'd 6-cylinder with Start/Stop tech running the show.

The system is fairly straightforward: up front is the engine, followed by the electric motor which is connected via an automatic clutch, and the 8-speed automatic transmission is the caboose. BMW placed the battery pack somewhere around the rear axle in order to improve weight distribution.

The battery pack, which provides 40kW or 54HP of power, gets recharged by an advanced Regenerative Brake system that works in conjunction with the electric motor. That same battery pack also "delivers electric power to the car's on-board network".

The network includes a remote-controlled cooling function (similar, we assume, to the solar-charged sunroofs that incorporate fans to cool the car down in the summer), while most electricity-driven systems - mainly the HVAC, navigation, and radio - remain functional with the engine turned off.

Not only is the ActiveHybrid 5 efficient, but it's damn smart too. How smart? Try to wrap your minds around this: BMW says the car can "adjust its operating strategy not just to current, but also to upcoming driving conditions." IT CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE...

Put plainly, the computer evaluates and adjusts how the drive train responds based on its own analysis of external factors and drivers' input. The car's computer saves route information via the navigation system (while retaining the driving style used one that particular road), and can predict what's coming up when drivers return to the same area.

BMW's explanation is just about perfect: "Should the system determine, for example, that the autobahn ahead is about to lead downhill, the charge level of the high-voltage battery is intelligently controlled in advance to regain brake energy upfront with maximum efficiency."

While no hard figures have been released yet, what we know is that thanks to the predictability program, cruising range has been stretched by 30%.

Now all we have to do is make sure our defense systems don't get hooked into Skynet's err we mean BMW's intelligent automobiles, or we're all screwed.

Geneva Preview: Lancia Delta Special Series Finished in Matte Black


For the first time ever, Lancia will share its display with Chrysler at the Geneva Motor Show, demonstrating the Fiat Group's vision for a common future for the two brands.

But while the Detroit Show earlier this year gave us a Chrysler-badged Delta prototype, the Italian firm's press release did not mention any plans for a Lancia-badged Chrysler model, simply noting that two Delta hatchbacks and two 300C sedans will be hosted on a common platform.

The Italian company added that it will show off a special edition version of the Delta finished in dark matte color called "Hard Black" that is further enhanced with chrome-plated mirror frames and new 18-inch burnished alloy wheels.

The special series of the Delta that will go on sale in Europe later in the year also features new color and material combinations in the interior including beige seats in leather and Alcantara, as well as additional standard equipment such as the electronic Reactive Suspension System, automatic dual zone air conditioner and the Blue&Me system.

European consumers will have two engine options, a diesel or a gasoline unit. The 200HP 1.8-liter turbocharged petrol is linked to a six speed automatic transmission allowing the hatch to reach a top speed of 230 km/h (143mph) and go from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph)in 7.4 seconds while returning 7.8 lt/100km or 30.2mpg US on the combined European cycle.

The 1.9-liter twin-turbo diesel produces 190HP and 400Nm (295 lb-ft) of peak torque at 2,000 rpm. It propels the Delta from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in 7.9 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 222km/h or 138mph. It returns an average fuel consumption of 5.7 lt/100km or 41.3 mpg US.

Pagani's Three-Color Wonder: The One-Off Zonda Tricolore


Pagani's Zonda has had more than a few iterations; it's like the Mustang of the über-supercar set. The latest is called the Tricolore, and it's most likely the last special edition Zonda ever as its replacement, the all-new C9 is on its way.

Built for a Spanish importer and debuting in Geneva next week, the Zonda Tricolore is based on the uniquely-bodied Cinque, carbon fiber body and all (we're assuming the power train is a carryover).

However, unlike the mass-produced 10-unit Cinque - of which five coupes and five roadsters were built - the Tricolore is limited to one example said to be priced at €1.3 million or about US$1.75 million at today's exchange rates.

Items that make the Tricolore stand out (other than the fact that's it's a freakin' Pagani Zonda) are the Italian flag-inspired stripe job, triangular R-derived brake cooling inlets out back, and the too-cool-for-school shark fin behind the cockpit.

That fin, no doubt, is to draw a more obvious connection to the inspiration of the Tricolore: Italy's Frecce Tricolori, the Italian air force's aerobatic division (think the US Navy's Blue Angels).

Personal recommendation? If you like it, find a way to cash in on that insurance policy and hop on the next flight to Switzerland.

- By Phil Alex

Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept – Detroit 2010


Cadillac unveiled the XTS Platinum Concept at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, suggesting a new paradigm for the luxury sedan of the future. The concept showcases Cadillac’s emerging top-of-the-line Platinum series of models, emphasizing new expressions of luxury and technological features, including a plug-in hybrid propulsion system.

The XTS Platinum Concept was designed from the inside out, re-imagining the luxury sedan as a personal headquarters, built for efficiency, luxury and connectivity. The concept introduces a new approach to in-car electronics that improves the form and function of the car’s entertainment, navigation and information systems.

“The XTS Platinum concept is the next expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science execution philosophy, reflecting our drive to deliver the latest innovations in the most artful manner,” said Bryan Nesbitt, Cadillac general manager. “We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters, using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury.”

The XTS Platinum Concept uses Cadillac’s 3.6L V-6 Direct Injection gas engine, paired with a plug-in hybrid system. The plug-in technology enables the battery to fully charge from a standard electrical outlet, enabling pure electric propulsion in many driving situations, especially urban commutes in which fuel efficiency may double that of a conventional hybrid.

Traditional luxury sedans were defined by elegant interiors and Cadillac’s XTS Platinum Concept propels that formula into the future. It delivers new approaches to luxury within a design that combines fine craftsmanship with customer-driven innovation. Like the current Platinum Edition products, such as Escalade Platinum and the STS and DTS Platinum sedans, the interior is based on hand cut-and-sewn materials. The XTS Platinum Concept injects more contemporary forms and themes into the interior design, including the use of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (O-LED) displays in place of traditional gauges and screens.

The concept previews a new integration philosophy guiding the development of future models with respect to in-car electronics. The intent is to progress Cadillac’s intuitive in-car electronics systems, typified by the deployable touch-screen navigation system that has been highly acclaimed in the brand’s CTS and SRX product lines. The XTS Platinum Concept previews this strategy via the minimization of traditional buttons and switches. Designers blended the display screens into a flowing instrument panel. They call it a “dead front” design, because the panels appear black until the car is turned on and the screens illuminate. The instrument panel itself reflects the XTS Platinum’s other focus – uncompromising luxury and attention to detail on the interior.

“The Platinum distinction in Cadillac means the fullest extent of luxury and technology and we’ve tried to reach even further with this concept,” said Clay Dean, Cadillac design director. “Just as the technology pushes the boundaries of what a Cadillac can offer, so do the details that make the XTS Platinum Concept an uncompromising experience.”

The interior takes inspiration from nature, specifically the intricate layers of petals that combine to form an orchid. Cadillac designers translated that into a layered and detailed interior. Light cream is the cabin’s primary color and is contrasted with darker elements, such as the steering wheel and an overhead console motif that runs the length of interior’s roof. The console is made of a richly finished wood and houses lighting features.

Premium leather seats include a new style of automotive suede, with a laser-etched pattern. The patterned material adorns the center sections of the seats and accents the door trim. Thoughtfully detailed stitching is used throughout the interior, including the seats, instrument panel and door panels. Passengers in the spacious rear compartment of the XTS Platinum Concept also have access to the car’s connectivity feature, along with a range of infotainment choices.

“We never lost sight of the fact that a large luxury sedan needs to be spacious and accommodating,” said Dean. “Passengers will find generous headroom, legroom and knee space, along with the technology elements that make the drive more productive.”

A new proportion

The XTS Platinum Concept has a distinctive proportion that transcends the traditional aesthetic of luxury sedans and carries the brand’s Art and Science design in a more progressive manner. The unique proportion supports the “inside out” design priority, while creating a sleek profile that complements the car’s advanced technology elements and necessary aerodynamics.

“The XTS Platinum Concept design artfully conveys its focus on functionality through technology,” said Dean. “It is the antithesis of the conventional three-box sedan, suggesting the active evolution of Cadillac’s design language.”

A sweeping profile culminates in a short, high deck lid that meets the XTS Platinum Concept’s aerodynamic needs – including a rear spoiler mounted on the deck lid, incorporating the center high-mounted stop lamp. A high, sloping beltline gestures the vehicle forward, suggesting motion, while the fenders flare outward wrapping tightly around 20-inch wheels and tires. The wheel-to-body proportion was carefully tailored to visually communicate the car’s all-wheel-drive chassis.

Like the interior, the exterior elements are precisely tailored and elegantly detailed. Brushed billet aluminum trim is used selectively and the 20-inch, 11-spoke wheels feature a brushed aluminum face accented with bright inserts within the spokes. The wheels are wrapped with special Bridgestone tires that were created specifically for the XTS Platinum Concept.

Signature elements essential to Cadillac’s Art and Science design language include vertical headlamp and taillamps, with integrated light pipes and richly detailed lighting components. The headlamps feature light-emitting diode technology for bright illumination that requires less energy, as well as Cadillac’s Adaptive Forward Lighting technology, which turns the headlamps with the direction of the front wheels for greater visibility in turns.

Gemballa MIG U1


In the last 27 years, Uwe Gemballa has achieved the best world-wide reputation for refining Porsche cars. Now, the company manager from Leonberg near Stuttgart takes on a new challenge. The automobile manufacturer turns the most potent super sports car from Maranello, the Ferrari Enzo, into the GEMBALLA MIG-U1 – an individually produced edition, limited to only 25 cars.

The core part of the overall makeover is the entirely re-engineered aerodynamics concept by GEMBALLA. Without any exception, the manufacturer produces all components in real carbon in order to combine lowest weight with highest material strength.

Active aerodynamics for the maximum driving experience
Owing to the active aerodynamics conception, the front spoiler lip generates an additional downthrust of up to 35 kilograms at the front axle, according to the individual position. Analogically, the flap on the newly designed rear spoiler generates even up to 85 kilograms more downthrust on the rear wheels. For optimal handling results, the flap lowers, as soon as the car reaches a speed of 120 km/h. In this way, the GEMBALLA-aerodynamics concept adjusts to the outer conditions and always ensures perfect road holding characteristics. All components of the aerodynamics kit attribute to this: starting from the new front skirt with spoiler lip, over the door extensions to the diffuser and rear spoiler.

The air duct system of the GEMBALLA MIG-U1 does not only help bringing the power of the twelve-cylinder car onto the road. At the same time, the engineers from Leonberg (Baden-Württemberg) develop an extensive ventilation- and cooling concept. Here, both the front and the back wheel-houses are supplied with cooling air and this guarantees an optimal use of the high performance braking system. The outlets behind the wheels ensure that the heated air does not pile up. Moreover, the air inlets behind the doors and on the roof supply fresh air into engine compartment behind the passenger cabin. The newly designed air exhaust ducts end in and on top of the rear skirt. Their dimensions also allow the supply of an additional radiator.

The GEMBALLA car body components therefore guarantee the functionality of the new super sports car and provide the car with a unique look at the same time. Following the design of Formula-1 racing cars, the GEMBALLA MIG-U1 has an extended front and an edged rear spoiler. Formerly rounded edges were replaced in order to provide the car with an aggressive look with greedy air inlets and outlets.

Even the rear lights do not remain openly on the back, but are cased and equipped with air ducts. The MIG-U1 grows broader by 80 millimetres at the front- and 100 millimetres at the back axle.

For everyday use, the optional electro-hydraulic height-adjustment (HLS) is extremely innovative and enormously helpful. By pushing a button in the passenger compartment, it is possible to lift the body by 45 millimetres at the front- and rear axle and therefore allows driving over obstacles such as underground car park entrances and traffic ramps. Also by pushing a button or by reaching 80 km/h, the MIG-U1 lowers itself to its original level. Additionally, the multiple adjustable sports suspension which is equipped with ball bearing bushes significantly improves the handling and driving comfort of the MIG-U1.

The forged wheels GEMBALLA GTR RACING forged by our development partner “Advanced Structural Alloys” contribute both to the appearance and the performance of the car. The wheels which are made from a massive light alloy block combined highest stability with an extremely light weight. The elaborate forging process reduces the unsprung masses of one wheel set by 16 kilograms. Therefore, the wheels respond in an even more agile way and precisely follow every steering command even under highest strains. At the front, the 10×19 inch rims hold high-performance wheels in the dimension 265/35, while the back axle transfers the power of the engine through 13×20 inch rims with 335/30 wheels.

The twelve cylinder engine of the GEMBALLA MIG-U1 works with an optimised motor management and an especially adjusted exhaust system. This combination allows a performance output of 700 hp (515 kW). The four-pipe system with pneumatic flap control is added to the sports catalyser. The end-pipes are equipped with the typical GEMBALLA heat shield and share the exit into the rear skirt with the exhaust ducts of the rear wheel houses.

High-End for the interior
In the interior, GEMBALLA devises a control centre which perfectly combines functionality and comfort. The especially for the GEMBALLA MIG-U1 designed seats, the custom-made centre console and the sports steering wheel with its leather-ultra suede combination guarantee full control over the car. At the same time, the interior of this super sports car reflects pure luxury. All interior components are lined with leather and ultra suede. The integrated high-end multimedia system offers a seven-inch touch screen, navigation, DVD changer and an iPod connection. The 950-Watt amplifier operates the high frequency ranges in the cockpit front, the 165 millimetre large membrane on the door linings and the subwoofer between the seats. GEMBALLA-logos on the seats, the floor mats and the safety belts perfect the refinement.

With the GEMBALLA MIG-U1, the automobile manufacturer once again proves that its know-how is not only limited to Porsche cars. On the basis of the already exhilarating Ferrari Enzo, the engineers developed a unique car. But even the limited edition with only 25 cars is not exclusive enough for GEMBALLA. Therefore, every single GEMBALLA MIG-U1 is individually adjusted. This ensures that there will not be any identical cars. Therefore, the specialist with its reputation for unique high-end refinement once again meets the requirements for highest individuality.

Lincoln MKX – Detroit 2010


With the industry-exclusive MyLincoln Touch™ driver connect technology, the 2011 Lincoln MKX brings a whole new approach to how drivers interact with in-car features and their digital lives. The new exterior design embraces Lincoln DNA, with the signature split-wing grille, bodyside brightwork and new lamp treatment all enhancing the presence of the Lincoln MKX.

New four-wheel disc brakes provide enhanced stopping power. Key brake system upgrades include steel pistons, larger rear rotors, revised brake friction materials, revised brake booster gain and revised pedal ratios, all of which enable more initial bite and a firmer, more confident feel when customers press on the brake pedal.

The 2011 Lincoln MKX also offers several new brake-related features: Hill Start Assist, which reduces rollback on hills; Trailer Sway Control, which provides greater towing stability when equipped with the available trailer tow package; Hydraulic Brake Assist, which provides greater braking force in emergency stops; and available Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support.

Improved performance without sacrificing fuel economy
Power for the 2011 Lincoln MKX is supplied by the 3.7-liter Duratec V-6, which employs advanced technology and clever control strategies, such as Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) to increase horsepower and torque without compromising fuel economy.

Customers of the 2011 Lincoln MKX will enjoy a luxury crossover that has best-in-class power and torque versus all V-6 competitors with unsurpassed highway fuel economy of 25 mpg – all on regular fuel. Horsepower has been increased to 305 – a 15-percent increase compared with the outgoing product – while torque is up to 280 ft.-lbs., marking a 12-percent improvement.

The 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V-6 is mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmission, which gives customers the option of a fun-to-shift manual experience.

In SelectShift mode, the transmission doesn’t second-guess the driver, giving him or her control over gear selection and performance feel. Upshifts, for instance, are not commanded at redline, and downshifts are allowed at the lowest gear possible as defined by the engine speed.

For instance, when a lower gear is selected while descending a long downhill grade, the 2011 Lincoln MKX in SelectShift mode will hold that gear until the driver manually upshifts or returns to the fully automatic setting. To help ensure safe shifting, the transmission will downshift to the lowest acceptable gear, based on a calculated maximum speed. That means if a vehicle is traveling at highway speeds, the driver cannot downshift to first gear in SelectShift mode.

Improvements to engine hardware and powertrain control strategies account for the gains in power and fuel economy. Other strategies in addition to Ti-VCT are aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff; torque-based deceleration control and battery management through “smart charging.”

New flowing exterior design perfectly wraps new Lincoln MKX technologies

The flowing exterior design of the 2011 Lincoln MKX provides the perfect complement to the luxury crossover’s industry-leading technology and class-exclusive features.

“The 2011 Lincoln MKX will be a real standout in the Lincoln showroom,” said Doyle Letson, chief designer. “The addition of the new split-wing grille, a key to Lincoln signature DNA, is just the start. The 2011 MKX has the best proportions of any Lincoln we have.

“The fender line, with the raised arch over the front wheel, as well as the lower rocker detail with beautifully tapered bright detail that runs the length of the vehicle, makes a dramatic difference in side view,” he added.

New for the 2011 model is an updated rear taillamp treatment. The lamps are now two distinct pieces that employ an indirect LED system that hides the light source while allowing the light intensity to shine through. The reverse sensors of the Blind Spot Information System are integrated into the reflectors while the Lincoln star sits proudly on a new appliqué. The 4-inch oval exhaust tips, significantly larger on the 2011 Lincoln MKX, also increase the unique luxury crossover’s presence.

The new 18- and 20-inch wheels are more dynamic and expressive. Instead of a familiar linear or blocky appearance, the wheels encompass a variety of undulating and complex shapes that help the 2011 Lincoln MKX appear always in motion. The vibrant wheel shapes again underscore the enhanced craftsmanship and attention to detail found throughout the 2011 Lincoln MKX.

New foam and sew styles are among the upgrades to the climate-controlled leather-trimmed seats in the 2011 Lincoln MKX. All-new interior brimming with functionality and craftsmanship
The interior of the 2011 Lincoln MKX reflects an even greater emphasis on what defines Lincoln DNA: luxury, craftsmanship, genuine materials and sharper execution.

Gentle details that bring out Lincoln standards of quality and excellence include brightwork on the vents, genuine stitching on the doors and softer armrests with upgraded materials. The cupholders, with available ambient lighting, are found beneath the independent sliding leather-covered console lids, which feature decorative stitching. A power tilt/telescoping steering column and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel are available.

All-new leather-trimmed seats, comfort sections and standard tuxedo stripe embrace the new Lincoln DNA sew style. More genuine aluminum appliqués are standard, with aluminum accents on the door added to the spears on the instrument panel.

The two available wood accents – Olive Ash and Walnut Swirl – on the steering wheel, dashboard and doors add character and form; each selection has a livelier, natural appearance, adding even more character to the interior. Whether customers select aluminum or wood, the increased use of genuine materials in the 2011 Lincoln MKX ensures that each interior will be distinctive.

“Everything about the 2011 Lincoln MKX is vibrant and luxurious,” said Bannon. “Our MyLincoln Touch system will draw people in, helping them discover that the new Lincoln MKX delivers a total driving experience not found anywhere else.”

Ford Focus Next Generation – Detroit 2010


The next-generation Ford Focus makes its worldwide debut providing customers with more affordable technologies and features than ever in this segment, as well as detailed craftsmanship, outstanding fuel economy and a new standard for driving quality.

Sleek, stylish and sporty, both the four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles of the next-generation Focus are previewed prior to their production start for Europe and North America late in 2010 and market launch early in 2011.

The new Focus will be nearly identical in all markets, with 80 percent parts commonality around the world.
“The new Ford Focus is a clear demonstration that our ONE Ford strategy is providing global consumers with great products that harness the best of Ford Motor Company,” said Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and CEO.

“The efficiencies generated by our new global C-car platform will enable us to provide Ford Focus customers with an affordable product offering quality, fuel efficiency, safety and technology beyond their expectations,” he added.

Simultaneous launch in Europe and North America
Production of the next-generation Ford Focus will begin simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010, with individual market launches starting early in 2011. Launches in Asia, Africa and South America will follow. Initial production will be concentrated at the Saarlouis (Germany), Michigan (United States) and Chongqing (China) Assembly Plants.

The new Focus will be one of up to 10 unique models to be built from Ford’s new C-car platform, which is expected to generate total sales in all regions of 2 million units annually by 2012. The first of these will be the new Ford C-MAX and Ford Grand C-MAX – unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show – for launch in Europe in the second half of 2010.

“Global customers increasingly want smaller cars with outstanding fuel economy, but without sacrificing any of the style, technology, connectivity and driving quality they demand from larger vehicles,” explained Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development.

“Our next generation of C-cars – led by the exciting new Focus – will clearly show that Ford is ready to meet that challenge,” said Kuzak.

Engineered without compromise
The new Ford Focus has been developed by a global team, led from Ford’s European small and medium vehicle center of excellence in Merkenich, near Cologne, Germany, with powertrain development led by a similar team at Ford’s technical center in Dunton, England. The vehicle has been engineered without compromise to meet all customer and legislative requirements of the major worldwide markets.

In developing the vehicle for global markets, the product team in Europe was able to call on the experience acquired from recent programs like the much-acclaimed new Ford Fiesta, and was supported by the expertise of vehicle and powertrain technology specialists located in Ford’s engineering center in Dearborn, Mich.

Ford’s global development and sourcing strategy made it possible to provide a level of performance and feature content that is unrivaled for this vehicle segment and surprising even to drivers of larger, more premium vehicles.

Taking kinetic design to the next level
The no-compromise approach to the new Ford Focus is immediately evident from the striking exterior design of the four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models that take center stage at the 2010 NAIAS.

“The all-new Focus is at the center of convergence for automotive trends,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president of Design and chief creative officer. “We’ve designed it with an acute understanding of global customers, yet it’s tailored for each individual region. Focus combines the best from Europe, North America and Asia to deliver a level of emotional driving enjoyment never before experienced in a car this size.”

The two models share a sporty and dynamic character, marking the next evolution of Ford’s acclaimed kinetic design form language, which has contributed to the growing popularity of the company’s latest small and medium cars.

The kinetic design approach uses bold vehicle designs to capture the feeling of energy in motion, so that cars look like they are moving – even when they are standing still.

With its striking front end, sleek profile, dramatic rising beltline and athletic stance, the new Focus clearly telegraphs the rewarding driving experience that awaits customers when they take to the road.

This dynamic quality is reinforced by the distinctive design of the interior. The new Focus has an extremely modern, cockpit-style interior, with the stylish center console wrapped around the driver and providing outstanding access to the vehicle’s major controls and display panels.

A key element of the interior is the quality of craftsmanship. The cabin’s bold and contemporary graphics, the sculptured shape of the soft-touch instrument panel and the choice of superior trim materials all help to give occupants the feeling that they are traveling in a premium-class car.

Dodge Nitro Detonator – Detroit 2010


The Dodge Nitro lineup has been revised and renamed for 2010, offering new exterior and interior styling and new standard features and safety equipment for 2010. These new models (Heat, Detonator and Shock) provide Nitro customers with more standard content, including a standard 4.0-liter V-6 engine, 20-inch aluminum wheels, eight premium speakers with a 368-watt amplifier and 9-inch subwoofer, deep-tinted glass, Uconnect Phone, iPod Control, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, speed control and security alarm.

In addition to the curb appeal gained from its 20-inch painted Mopar® aluminum wheels and body-color grille with bright billets, the 2010 Dodge Nitro Heat packs a punch with 23 percent more horsepower and 12 percent more torque than the previous entry-level model. With its aluminum 4.0-liter overhead cam V-6 engine, the Nitro Heat, and the entire Nitro lineup, delivers 260 horsepower (194 kW) and 265 lb.-ft. (359 N•m) of torque with a five-speed automatic transmission. MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Nitro Heat is $23,995 (including $745 destination).

The Dodge Nitro Detonator offers new exterior design cues, as well as standard interior and safety features that were previously optional on the former SXT model. The new Dodge Detonator model features 20-inch Mopar polished/painted aluminum wheels, hood decal, eight speakers plus subwoofer, remote start, ParkSense® rear-park assist and color-keyed premium cloth interior that matches the exterior paint color. MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Nitro Detonator is $25,995 (including $745 destination).

The Dodge Nitro Shock adds heated leather seats and a sun roof to the Nitro Detonator model. MSRP for the 2010 Dodge Nitro Shock is $26,995 (including $745 destination).

GMC Acadia Denali – Detroit 2010


Today GMC unveiled the 2011 Acadia Denali in Detroit. The first Denali was launched in 1999 on the Yukon brand and helped define the luxury SUV segment. With nearly half of all Yukon sales being Denali models, expanding the Denali line to include the Acadia was a logical extension. Acadia Denali will provide GMC customers with all the amenities the Denali is known for in a fuel-efficient crossover.

“The GMC Denali models have come to stand for luxury and exclusivity, and that’s just what customers will get in the new Acadia Denali,” said Lisa Hutchinson, GMC product marketing director. “The decision to develop an Acadia Denali was made quickly within the new GM in response to customer and dealer demand for a Denali version ever since the launch and success of the Acadia.”

The Acadia launched in 2007 as the first crossover from GMC, with segment-leading fuel economy and innovative features. An exclusive SmartSlide System allows easy access to an adult-sized third row with available seven- or eight- passenger seating configurations. Fold-flat second- and third-row seats allow flexible passenger and cargo configurations of the best-in-class interior space. Acadia’s refined styling, impressive fuel efficiency, and confidence-inspiring safety features made it an immediate success and ideal platform to build upon for a Denali model.

The 2011 Acadia Denali goes on sale in the third quarter of 2010. It is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models, as well as seven- and eight-passenger configurations. The standard 3.6L direct injected V-6 contributes to an EPA highway rating of 24 mpg with FWD models.

Audi e-tron Showcar


The Detroit showcar Audi e-tron shows another variant of an electric vehicle developed by Audi. Audi is showing an uncompromising purist compact sports car with all-electric drive at the first major auto show of 2010.

The Detroit showcar Audi e-tron is the name of this 3.93 meter (154.72 in) long and 1.78 meter (70.08 in) wide but just 1.22 meter (48.03 in) tall two-seater; just a few months after the debut of the Audi e-tron at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, this is now the second electric concept vehicle from the brand with the four rings.

Coupled with the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron’s low gross weight of around only 1,350 kilograms (2976.24 lb), high-torque power units driving the rear wheels guarantee commensurate road performance. Two electric motors with a combined output of 150 kW (204 hp) and 2,650 Nm (1954.54 lb-ft) accelerate the coupe with ASF-design aluminum body from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in just 5.9 seconds. The Audi e-tron accomplishes the sprint from 60 to 120 km/h (37.28 – 74.56 mph) in a mere 5.1 seconds.

The Detroit showcar Audi e-tron is able to distribute its electric motors’ high torque between the wheels entirely as required. Its “torque vectoring” is the key to a thrilling level of active precision and excellent traction. Thanks also to its low weight, short wheelbase and perfect weight distribution for dynamic handling, the Audi e-tron has all the drivability of a go-kart – agile, good on bends and neutral right up to the very high handling limit.

Lithium-ion batteries, located for an optimal center of gravity behind the passenger compartment and ahead of the rear axle, make an effective energy content of 45 kilowatt-hours available. This makes an operating range of up to 250 kilometers (155.34 miles) realistically possible.

As previously with the first e-tron concept car shown in Frankfurt, Audi again bases all components in this electric vehicle on an integral concept with many revolutionary details: a heat pump as an efficient means of heating up and maintaining the interior temperature. The drive system, power electronics and battery have innovative thermal management – crucial for maintaining a high operating range coupled with outstanding interior comfort.

Design and package
Audi is presenting a further variant of an electric vehicle in the form of the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron. The vehicle body has a powerful, wide and muscular stance on the road, and looks extremely compact and puristic not least thanks to the typically short sports car wheelbase of just 2.43 meters (95.67 in) – a whole 22 centimeters (8.66 in) shorter than the R8.

The sweeping line of the front end and the flat curved roof immediately identify the two-seater as an Audi. The sides reveal familiar contours: The way the dynamic line is tailored above the sill and the prominent wheel arches, as is typical for an Audi R, combine the front, side and rear into a monolithic entity and strongly emphasize the typical Audi feature of round wheel arches enclosing the large 19-inch wheels. The highly tapered front end gives the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron distinctly wedge-shaped basic proportions.

1.78 meters (70.08 in) wide, just 3.93 meters (154.72 in) long and 1.22 meters (48.03 in) tall – those are the classic proportions of a sports car. That leaves space ahead of the rear wheels for the 399 kilogram (879.64 lb) battery unit, with converter and power electronics.

The two electric motors, which have their own cooling system, are mounted on the rear axle. This special package, featuring a 40:60 weight distribution, ensures perfect balance, which contributes to the driving dynamics of the Audi e-tron.

The trapeze of the single-frame grille dominates the distinctly wedge-shaped front end and is flanked by two large air intakes. The top of the grille merges into the flat strips of the adaptive matrix beam headlight modules with their clear glass covers. All light units use ultra-efficient LED technology.

The headlights are the core of a fully automatic light assistance system that reacts flexibly to any situation. The new technology recognizes weather conditions and adapts the illumination to rain or fog. The technology at the heart of the light assistance system is a camera that works together with a fast computer to detect oncoming traffic, recognize lanes and measure visibilities, such as in the event of fog.

If there is oncoming traffic, the high beams are turned off in the corresponding section of the illumination field. The cornering light system analyzes data from the navigation system and illuminates corners before the driver steers into them. The Detroit showcar Audi e-tron does not have conventional fog lamps that consume additional power. It intelligently varies the low beams instead; in fog, for example, it produces a wider, more horizontal illumination field, thus significantly reducing the glare from the car’s own lights.

The variability of the headlights is also reflected in their design. The LED elements change appearance and thus the character of the front end of the vehicle depending on the speed driven and the ambient conditions. The innovative lighting technology now offers the Audi designers almost as much design freedom as the shape of the body does.

One design element that is specific to electric vehicles developed by Audi – such as the Audi e-tron – are the air intakes in the single-frame grille and behind the side windows on the C-post. They are closed flush under normal circumstances and opened by retracting slats when additional cooling air is required. The slats above the drive unit then also open to provide a better through-flow of air. These measures, too, maximize efficiency – the concept car is outstanding for an already low drag coefficient that is further improved when the flaps are closed.

The ASF body
Systematic lightweight construction is an even more important prerequisite for efficiency and range with electric vehicles than for conventionally powered automobiles. Lightweight construction is moreover the key to thrilling handling characteristics. Audi developers focused on a core competence of the company when creating the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron: The body structure is based on Audi Space Frame technology (ASF), with a hybrid design approach adopted. All add-on parts – doors, lids, sidewalls and roof – are made of a fiber-reinforced plastic.

The combination of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced composite material guarantees supreme rigidity coupled with low weight. Audi will soon use this technology in a similar form for future production vehicles. Despite the complex drive system layout with two electric motors and a high-capacity battery system, the total weight of the Audi e-tron showcar on display in Detroit is only around 1,350 kilograms (2,976.24 lb).

Interior and operating concept
Visual and functional references to the new drive concept characterize the purist interior design. They establish a connection between proven Audi genes and new formal hallmarks. Typical for the Audi design idiom is the reduction of the architecture, controls and information output to the essentials in favor of visible lightweight construction and a tidy overall impression.

The slim dash has a curve that extends laterally into the door panels. With no need to allow for a transmission, shifter and cardan tunnel, the designers took advantage of the opportunity to create a particularly slim and lightweight center tunnel and convex, arching center console. The flush gear selector, with which the driver chooses between the modes forward, reverse and neutral, emerges from the tunnel when the vehicle is started.

The Audi e-tron’s cockpit, which represents a further development in an electric vehicle, is also oriented toward the driver – a further characteristic Audi trait. Instead of the classic instrument cluster, the concept car is the first Audi to be equipped with a large built-in central display with integrated MMI functions. It is flanked by two round dials.

The MMI is controlled via a scroll pad with a touch-sensitive surface on the steering wheel (“MMI touch”) – an element inspired by modern smartphones. The steering wheel itself is clearly flattened off at both the top and bottom, in a clear reference to motor sport.

A smartphone that can be integrated into the front section of the center console interfaces between the vehicle, the driver and external information sources. The driver can use a suitably equipped conventional smartphone as a car phone, address database, navigation system and video player. At the same time they can also use it as an operating unit for many specific on-board systems in the Audi e-tron. Many phones that are suitable for these functions are already available from various manufacturers.

The driver can then enter their route plan or adjust the sound system to their individual preferences, all from the comfort of their own home, for example. The Smartphone and vehicle communicate via the mobile communications network, even over considerable distances.

The system also provides a security function for the owner; within the range of the WLAN it can constantly monitor the current status of the vehicle, for instance whether all windows and doors are closed. If the Audi e-tron showcar on display in Detroit is parked at a charging station, for example, it also sends details of the current charge status to the driver’s smartphone.

While an analog speedometer on the driver’s right provides speed information, the instrument dial on their left tells them how much power is being drawn. The central display shows the range in the status bar and presents all key information from the infotainment and navigation systems. It also provides the driver with relevant data from the vehicle’s communication with its surroundings. The instruments combine the analog and the digital worlds into a single unit.

Characteristic for the concept of the Audi e-tron – and therefore also characteristic for a further development in an electric vehicle – is the near total elimination of switches and small components such as the ignition. The climate control unit is located to the right above the steering wheel. The display provides temperature and ventilation information. Again drawing inspiration from a smartphone, the system is controlled by means of a touch-sensitive sliding control.

The equally racing-inspired lightweight bucket seats combine excellent lateral support with comfort. Two contrasting colors delineate the various zones of the interior. The colors and the high-quality materials combine elegance and sportiness.

Drive system and energy supply
Two asynchronous electric motors with a total output of 150 kilowatts (204 hp) give the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron the performance of a genuine sports car. The concept car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0 – 62.14 mph) in 5.9 seconds if necessary, and goes from 60 to 120 km/h (37.28 – 74.56 mph) in 5.1 seconds. The torque is distributed selectively to the wheels based on the driving situation and the condition of the road surface, resulting in outstanding traction and handling.

The top speed is limited to 200 km/h (124.27 mph), as the amount of energy required by the electric motors increases disproportionately to speed. The range in the NECD combined cycle is approximately 250 kilometers (155.34 miles).

The energy storage unit is charged with household current (230 volts, 16 amperes) via a cable and a plug. The socket is behind a cover at the back of the car. The charging time when the battery is empty is around 11 hours, but heavy current (400 volts, 32 amperes) cuts this to around just two hours.

The battery is charged not only when the car is stationary, but also when it is in motion. The keyword here is recuperation. This form of energy recovery and recharging of the battery is already available on many Audi production models. During braking, the alternator converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy, which it then feeds into the on-board electrical system.

The Detroit showcar Audi e-tron in its further developed version goes one decisive step further into the future; an electro-mechanical brake system means the potential of electric motors for energy recovery can now be exploited. A hydraulic fixed-caliper brake is mounted on the front axle, with two novel, electrically actuated floating-caliper brakes mounted on the rear axle. These floating calipers are actuated not by any mechanical or hydraulic transfer elements, but rather by wire (“brake by wire”). In addition, this eliminates frictional losses due to residual slip when the brakes are not being applied.

By virtue of being isolated from the brake pedal, the Audi e-tron’s electric motors can convert the entire deceleration energy into electric current and recover it. The electromechanical brake system is only activated if greater deceleration is required. These control actions are unnoticeable to the driver, who feels only a predictable and constant pedal feel as with a hydraulic brake system.

An automotive first: the heat pump
The heat pump, too – which made its first appearance in an automobile on the Audi e-tron concept car shown in Frankfurt – helps to boost efficiency and range. Unlike a combustion engine, the electric drive system generally does not produce enough waste heat to effectively heat the interior. Other electric vehicles are equipped with electric supplemental heaters, which consume a relatively large amount of energy. The heat pump used by Audi – and commonly used in buildings – is a highly efficient machine that uses mechanical work to provide heat with a minimum input of energy.

A high-efficiency climate control system is used to cool the interior. It works together with the thermal management system to also control the temperature of the high-voltage battery. This is because the battery, power electronics and electric motors must be kept at their respective ideal operating temperatures to achieve optimal performance and range.

As soon as the vehicle is connected to a charging station the vehicle is preconditioned as appropriate by the thermal management and other associated systems. In cold conditions the drive system is preheated, and in hot conditions it is cooled. This preconditioning can also be extended to the interior, if necessary, so that the passengers can step into a cabin that has been heated or cooled as appropriate for their comfort.

Driving dynamics
The drive system’s power is transferred to the road by the rear wheels, reflecting the Audi e-tron’s weight distribution of 40:60.

Both the individual motors, which are installed behind the wheels close to the vehicle’s center line as wheel drives, also enable the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron’s lateral dynamics to be intelligently controlled. This also boosts traction. Similar to what the sport differential does in conventional Audi vehicles, torque vectoring – the targeted acceleration of individual wheels – makes the newly developed electric drive of the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron even more dynamic while simultaneously enhancing driving safety.

Understeer and oversteer can be corrected by not only targeted activation of the brakes, but also by precise increases in power lasting just a few milliseconds. The concept car remains extremely neutral even under great lateral acceleration and hustles through corners as if on the proverbial rails.

The chassis has triangular double wishbones made of forged aluminum components at the front and rear axles – a geometry that has proven in motor sports to be the optimal prerequisite for high agility, uncompromising precision and precisely defined self-steering behavior. A taut setup was chosen for the springs and shock absorbers, but it is still very comfortable.

The direct rack-and-pinion steering gives finely differentiated feedback. Its electromechanical steering boost varies with speed, so that the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron only has to provide energy while steering, but not while driving straight ahead.

As befits its status, the Audi concept car rolls on 19-inch wheels of 35-spoke design. 235/35 tires up front and 255/35 tires at the rear provide excellent grip. Another special feature of the tires: Audi designers created the profile specifically for the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron.

Toyota FT-Concept Hybrid


Toyota today unveiled the FT-CH dedicated hybrid concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The FT-CH is a concept that would address Toyota’s stated strategy to offer a wider variety of conventional hybrid choices to its customers, as it begins to introduce plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (BEVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) in 2015 in global markets.

“Within the next 10 to 20 years, we will not only reach peak oil we will enter a period where demand for all liquid fuels will exceed supply,” said Jim Lentz, TMS president. “A century after the invention of the automobile, we must re-invent it with powertrains that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of conventional petroleum fuels. One of many alternatives is through what is commonly called the electrification of the automobile. By far, the single most successful example of this has been the gas-electric hybrid.”

The CH stands for compact hybrid as in compact class and it’s a concept that can best be defined by comparing it with the mid-size class Prius. The FT-CH captures the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment; sized right to be nimble, responsive and maneuverable.
“It’s a package Toyota dealers and customers have been asking for,” added Lentz.

The FT-CH was styled at Toyota’s European Design and Development (ED²) center in Nice, France. Compared to Prius, it is 22 inches shorter in overall length, yet loses less than an inch in overall width. In spite of its compact external dimensions, FT-CH was designed for maximum passenger comfort and interior roominess, with an imaginative sense of style.

ED² designers looked to capture the vivid, high-energy appeal of what has come to be called the 8-bit generation. Popularized in the early 80’s, 8-bit microprocessor technology dominated the budding home video game industry. Today, 8-bit is considered a specific retro-style that is embraced by such things as 8-bit genre music and 8-bit inspired art.The direct reference to the 8-bit generation is meant to be fun and innovative, colorful and stylish, with strong appeal to young buyers. Lighter in weight and even more fuel efficient than Prius, the concept specifically targets a lower price point than Prius, thus appealing to a younger, less-affluent buyer demographic.

Pointing to how Prius has become a universal icon for hybrid technology, Lentz confirmed that TMS is developing a Prius family “marketing strategy” for North America that will take full advantage of the Prius brand equity.”The strategy is still taking shape and obviously it will require additional models to qualify as a family,” said Lentz. “Among others, the FT-CH is a concept that we are considering.”

In the early 2010s, Toyota plans to sell a million hybrids per year globally, a majority of those in North America. To accomplish this, Toyota will launch eight all new hybrid models over the next few years. These will not include next generation versions of current hybrids; instead, they will be all new dedicated hybrid vehicles, or all new hybrid versions of existing gas engine models.

The heart of hybrid technology is its battery. Since the early 90’s, during the early stages of first-generation Prius development, Toyota has been committed to in-house R&D of advanced nickel-metal hydride batteries. Through three generationsof Prius and a total of seven full-hybrid models, it has systematically reduced size, weight and cost while improving energy density, quality and reliability.
Toyota’s joint venture partnership with Panasonic has been a key element of its success in the advancement of hybrid technology. Later this year, Panasonic EV Energy (PEVE) will have three separate, fully operational production facilities with a combined capacity of more than one million units per year.
Moving the promise of electrification one step further, Toyota recently kicked off its global demonstration program involving approximately 600 Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Beginning early this year, 150 PHVs will begin to arrive in the U.S. where they will be placed in regional clusters with select partners for market/consumer analysis and technical demonstration.

The Prius PHV introduces Toyota’s first generation lithium-ion drive battery. When fully charged, the vehicle is targeted to achieve a maximum electric-only range of about 13 miles and capable of achieving highway speeds of more than 60 mph in electric-only mode. For longer distances, the Prius PHV reverts to “hybrid mode” and operates like a regular Prius. This ability to utilize all-electric power for short trips or hybrid power for longer drives alleviates the issue of limited cruising range encountered with pure-electric vehicles.
All program vehicles will be equipped with data retrieval/communication devices which will monitor activities such as: how often the vehicle is charged and when, whether the batteries are depleted or being topped-off during charging, trip duration and all-electric driving range, combined mpg and so on.
As it becomes available, data from the program vehicles will be posted to a dedicated Web site. This in use, readily available data will help consumers understand how the vehicles are being used and how they’re performing.

Toyota believes this demonstration program is a necessary next step in societal preparation in that it allows Toyota the unique opportunity to inform, educate and prepare customers for the electrification of the automobile in general and the introduction of plug-in hybrid technology.Toyota is moving quickly with the development of PHV technology well beyond this demonstration program. Advanced battery R&D programs with nickel-metal, lithium-ion and “beyond lithium” are underway for a wide variety of applications in conventional hybrids, PHVs, BEVs and FCHVs.

In the early 1990s, Toyota began R&D on building a practical and affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. FCHV technical advancements have moved at a rapid pace. Engineers have made great strides in cost reduction targets in both materials and manufacturing and Toyota is committed to bringing hydrogen fuel cells to global markets in 2015.

Toyota’s latest model, the Toyota FCHV-advanced began its own national demonstration program late last year. Over the course of the three year program, more than 100 vehicles will be placed in an effort to demonstrate the technology’s performance, reliability and practicality in everyday use.
Recently field tested in southern California by two national laboratories at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy, the FCHV-advanced confirmed an estimated single-tank fuel range of 431 miles. In combined city and highway driving from Santa Monica to San Diego the FCHV-adv logged an estimated 68 miles per kilogram of hydrogen, the rough equivalent of 68 miles per gallon. That range is equivalent to a Highlander hybrid at more than double the MPG with zero emissions other than water vapor.
In 1997, Toyota introduced the RAV4 EV battery electric vehicle in California. 1,484 of these 100 mile range large-battery electric vehicles were either sold or leased over the course of the program. Nearly half are still on the road.

Shortly thereafter, Toyota started a modest demonstration program with a small- battery electric urban commuter vehicle, called the e-com. This concept addressed the idea of the “on-demand” city station car similar to the Zip-car business model that is becoming popular in large urban areas. Although shorter in range, the e-com program addressed a specific mobility niche at a much more affordable price than the RAV4 EV.

The RAV4 EV and e-com programs were short lived due to lack of commitment from the market; the consumer and the consumer’s environmental mind set were not ready to commit to battery electric vehicles at that time. Recent increased awareness of environmental issues and the benefits of advanced technology vehicles have reinvigorated an interest in the electric vehicle market. As a result, Toyota will bring a small, urban commuter lithium-ion BEV to market in model year 2012.

Battery technology has progressed significantly in the time since the RAV4 EV and e-com programs. But major challenges still remain. The cost of lithium-ion batteries needs to be reduced significantly, or a more affordable alternative developed.

Like hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, battery electrics will require the creation of infrastructure for recharging on the go. This issue of range is also a challenge to overcome. Even at 100 miles, BEVs as a primary mode of transportation do not yet offer what most consumers see as true mobility.

Toyota believes these are hurdles that will be cleared. For the last decade its focus has been to concentrate on a comprehensive advanced technology strategy including BEVs, PHVs, and FCHVs. Common to all three is the move to electrification, the full commitment to advanced battery technology and how lessons learned from conventional hybrid R&D have given Toyota a leg-up on all three.

GMC Granite Concept – Detroit 2010


Combining a decidedly urban-industrial design aesthetic with functionality aimed at young professionals, the GMC Granite concept takes the brand’s trademark capability in a new, more progressive direction. It was introduced at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

If brought to market, the Granite would be the smallest GMC ever – but has been optimized to feel much larger. Its length is a full 2 feet (0.6 m) shorter than the new Terrain compact crossover, but its open interior was designed to be spacious and flexible to fit the needs of active people. Generous cargo space and unique flipping/folding seats, for example, enable a mountain bike to be loaded completely inside with the tailgate closed.


“Granite was conceived as a new type of vehicle from GMC – one that could stretch people’s ideas of what a GMC can be,” said Lisa Hutchinson, product marketing director for GMC. “We call it an ‘urban utility vehicle’ and our goal was redefining what the GMC name could mean to a new generation of customers looking for both bold design and functionality.”

Like GMC’s current lineup of trucks, SUVs and crossovers, the Granite delivers style and capability, with advanced features, high-quality materials and exceptional attention to detail. An industrial-influenced exterior is combined with a spacious interior that features precise instruments and leading-edge technology. The climate system, navigation and infotainment technologies, for example, are viewed via an extra-wide, next-generation organic light-emitting diode technology that is more dynamic than the conventional screens used in most production vehicles.

“We think of the Granite as the automotive equivalent of an urban loft apartment,” said Dave Lyon, executive director of North American Interior and Global Cross-Brand Design. “The exterior has an unmistakable industrial look, but the interior is warm and personalized.”

Power for the Granite concept comes from a 1.4L turbocharged engine that is part of GM’s new family of small-displacement, highly efficient four-cylinder engines. It is matched with a six-speed transmission.

Industrial-inspired exterior

A cadre of young designers drew upon the preferences of young, urban professionals like themselves, who are very social and active. They are more likely to take friends to clubs and load outdoor gear on weekend excursions than to haul lumber or tow a boat. With those requirements in mind, they sketched out the dimensions of the Granite accordingly. Its 103.6-inch (2,631 mm) wheelbase is comparable to a Chevrolet Cobalt, but its 161.3-inch (4,097 mm) overall length is more than a foot shorter. Its size gives the Granite exceptional maneuverability, even within narrow urban streets.

The Granite’s comparatively short body length is complemented by a wide, 70.3-inch (1,786 mm) overall width and a tall, 60.5-inch (1,536 mm) height. Those dimensions create unique proportions that depart dramatically from conventional minivan, SUV or crossover designs. “The Design team leveraged the best attributes from different segments: SUV, minivan and crossover, and mixed them with a commercial chic aesthetic. We feel this redefines the premium class of vehicles we call urban utility vehicles,” said Lyon.

Granite has four doors, hinged on each side to open like a set of French doors. There’s no pillar between the front and rear doors, making the Granite easier to enter, exit and load, even with bulky items.

“We gave the Granite a bold yet appealing design that truly makes a styling statement,” said Juho Suh, exterior design manager. “For a new generation of urban professionals, it delivers the look and functionality they need.”

In keeping with the vehicle’s urban theme, the exterior of the Granite has a series of complex, intersecting planes and angles, creating the impression of an industrial machine – an object created out of necessity, but admired for its precision and functional aesthetics.

A forward-angling motif that cuts through the door panels, starting high and behind the doors and cutting to the center of the front door, suggests motion, as does a high beltline and tapered side glass. A rear spoiler is integrated into the roof and extends slightly above the rear glass. Other angles and planes of the exterior appear carefully metal-crafted.

Up front, GMC’s signature grille design is flanked by headlamps that sweep back into the fenders, further suggesting motion. The headlamps and fog lamps are set at the far edges of the front-end bodywork, accentuating the Granite’s planted stance. At the rear, the vehicle’s planes and angles come together tightly, showing careful attention to detail. Other exterior elements include prominent taillamps with a multi-layer appearance and LED lighting technology; and a centered exhaust outlet with a brushed metal tip.

There is no chrome on the exterior of the Granite; all the trim has a satin or brushed metal finish, accenting the industrial look. Large, 20-inch wheels – wrapped in Bridgestone tires – were tailored within the fenders for a low, sporty stance. The exterior color of the Granite is metallic gray that evokes the look of the material for which this concept was named.

Mechanically minded, highly functional interior

The interior was inspired by the design of aircraft-type mechanical instruments and precision tools. That is most apparent on the dashboard and instrument cluster, where gauges were modeled after finely crafted timepieces. A compass incorporated into the “barrel” surrounding the speedometer moves with every turn of the vehicle, providing an at-a-glance directional confirmation. “Our goal was not to hide but to show how this vehicle is put together, and the high quality of its craftsmanship, not unlike the finest industrial-inspired luxury time pieces,” said Lyon.

Red backlighting illuminates the gauges, while a panel of organic light-emitting diode screens is the foundation for the vehicle’s navigation, infotainment, phone and climate control readouts. The screens represent the next generation in vehicle information displays, with bright, multidimensional readouts and intuitive controls that give the Granite a modern feel.

Integrated within Granite are unmistakable GMC cues, including a center stack wing motif similar to that of the new GMC Terrain. A prominent center console runs between the front and rear seats, with ports to plug in popular portable electronic devices, as well as storage compartments large enough for a laptop computer.

The center console also houses a unique transmission shifter. Rather than a handle that actuates within a conventional gate, it is a simple, space-saving knob that rotates with the precise clicks of a torque wrench. The gear selections are confirmed via LED indicators.

Among the most functional elements of the Granite concept are reconfigurable seats. The front passenger and right rear seats flip up and fold in toward the center console, creating a long, unobstructed storage space. The Granite functionally addresses the needs of young professionals and their activities without compromises.

The cargo area includes a number of compartments to store items out of sight. Cargo hold-down provisions are built into the cargo area and the seatbacks have clasps that can be used when the seats are upright or folded to help secure cargo.

The Granite’s interior is finished with dark tones on the bottom and complementing, lighter colors on top, including suede-like Nubuck material on the seats and instrument panel. The interior is further accented by satin-finish and anodized trim. The instrument panel gives the impression of a command console, with driver-focused instruments and controls set in an anodized panel.

“The look, feel and functionality of the instrument panel remind you of a fine instrument or tool,” said Lyon. “Indeed, the Granite is like that – a precision instrument wrapped in a protective, industrial case.”

Peugeot SR1 Concept Car



The use of HYbrid4 technology allows the Peugeot SR1 to offer an engineering specification in keeping with its styling: 230 kW (313 bhp) with emissions of only 119 g/km of CO2 (0 in electric mode), 4 wheel drive and steering…. for an ideal blend of excitement and efficiency.

The SR1 concept also blends styles in terms of its technical characteristics. For example, it incorporates HYbrid4 technology, which will be launched in the Peugeot 3008 in 2011. In the SR1, at the front, a 1.6 litre THP petrol engine with a power of 160 kW (218 bhp), is combined with a rear electric motor developing 70 kW (95 bhp). In electric only mode, the car becomes a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle), while its combined cycle fuel consumption is only 4.9 litres/100 km or 119 g/km of CO2.

When the two power trains operate simultaneously, the SR1 develops a potential maximum power of 230 kW (313 bhp) and also benefits from 4-wheel drive. sing HYbrid4 technology, which will eventually become available on different models in the Peugeot range, the SR1 concept offers convincing proof that driving pleasure can be combined with environmental friendliness.

The vehicle’s dynamic efficiency is further enhanced by the use of a rigid, lightweight structure comprising of a one-piece body and a tubular chassis onto which are mounted the mechanical components and suspension.

Exploiting the best of existing technology to offer road holding worthy of this exceptional concept, the suspension consists of double wishbones with drop links both at the front and the rear. For even greater driving precision, the SR1 benefits from the adoption of 4-wheel steering. The turning angle of the rear wheels is controlled as a function of the vehicle speed, via motorised links on the rear wishbones, giving the vehicle superb agility under all circumstances. The Peugeot SR1 concept car will be unveiled to the general public at the next Geneva Motor Show, in March.


Up until the year 2002, it was completely unthinkable to most people in Germany, and especially to sports car fans, that Porsche would at some point in time make a sports utility vehicle. The name Porsche has always been synonymous with thoroughbred sports cars, in most cases rear or mid-engined. However, the Cayenne proved to have the recipe for success. In the 2003/2004 financial year it moved almost 40,000 units and was by far the most popular Porsche model.


The “Zuffenhausen Bull” also quickly became popular with tuners, as it offered, both visually and technically, an outstanding basis for monumental show and performance projects. Less well-known than the market leaders, Chemnitz-based ENCO Exklusive have produced probably one of the best Cayenne interpretations with their ENCO Gladiator.

It’s the second glance that makes the difference
Even though the Gladiator is noticeably bigger and more powerful than the normal Cayenne at first glance, you have to look carefully to see how meticulously the team, centred around Jens Engelmann, have integrated their aerodynamic kit with the full size SUV.

What is not immediately obvious is the ENCO front apron right underneath the car with its huge air intake and its integrated rows of daytime running lights, another set of which can be found on the diffuser apron at the rear which has distinctive fins and a central opening for the exhaust pipe. The bonnet with incorporated air intakes is crafted out of carbon. Even less obvious is the roof spoiler with air flow openings and the widened side panels with recessed air vents which, along with the side skirts, make the Porsche appear more muscular and broad. Only Cayenne experts can really spot the aerodynamic styling just a few centimetres under the skirting-line at first glance. It’s “well hidden”, but forms a significant part of the dynamic performance of the ENCO Porsche. The two-tone black and Bordeaux red paintwork is also very classy.

700 PS thanks to the turbo upgrade
The Cayenne Turbo itself is far from lacking in the power department, but ENCO Exklusive couldn’t leave it at only 500 PS and sent the Gladiator to the weights room. Through the insertion of larger turbo chargers, an ENCO-designed sport exhaust system with manifolds and sport catalytic convertors and numerous further engine modifications, the supercharged V8 – which is officially called the “Gladiator 700 GT Biturbo” – possesses a hefty 700 PS and produces some 850 Nm of torque. Even weighing in at 2.5 tonnes, the Gladiator still races to 100km/h in only 4.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of around 290km/h.
At such speeds, the Gladiator carries such an incredible amount of kinetic energy that a bazooka could hardly stop it, and must be able to be brought to a stop in as short a distance as possible. For this reason, ENCO equipped this high-calibre projectile with a high-performance braking system with 410mm x 36mm brake disks and 12-piston callipers on the front axle and 380mm x 32mm disks with 4-piston callipers on the rear. Of course, such an impressive braking system requires a lot of space, of which ample can be found in the ENCO Jura alloy rims. They measure 11” x 23” and are compatible with the 315/25R23 Dunlop Sport Maxx GT tyres. An electronic suspension module for the standard Cayenne Turbo suspension lowers the car by 50mm.

Red carbon
The wow-factor is continued inside the car. There are four individual leather/Alcantara bucket seats taken from the Porsche 911 GT3 that have been further enhanced with carbon backrests and red carbon-fibre padding. Wherever you look, red carbon gleams: Fittings made from the high-tech material adorn the dashboard, the steering wheel, the centre console and the door lining. Likewise, the whole vehicle is painted red, including the roll cage.

VATH ups the Performance Ante with New Mercedes-Benz E500 Coupe V50S

With 388 ponies from the 5.5-liter V8 under its hood, Mercedes-Benz's new E500 Coupe is by no means a slouch in the performance field, but that's not enough for German tuning firm Vath that has released a new proposal called the V50S.
Thanks to the recalibrated ECU, the addition of a sport air filter and a new sport exhaust system, the 5.5-liter V8 engine gets a jump from 388HP and 530Nm to 435HP and 575Nm (424 lb-ft) helping the German Coupe to reach a top speed of 280km/h or 174 mph.

Infiniti Presents Its First-Ever Diesel Models: EX30d, FX30d and M30d with 238HP 3.0 V6 Turbo Diesel

When the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced its decision to establish Infiniti as a global player, it was a no brainer that in order to succeed in key markets like Europe, the luxury brand had to offer buyers the option of a diesel engine, especially on SUV/Crossover models where diesel represents the bulk of sector sales.

And true enough, Infiniti has now presented its first ever diesel engine with the arrival of a newly developed 3.0-litre V6 that will be launched this year in Europe on the EX and FX SUVs as well as the M sedan.

Designated V9X, the new 238HP V6 diesel has been developed in Europe by Infiniti engineers working with other engineers from Renault and Nissan and it can be used to power front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models. It is manufactured in Cleon in France, some 100km west of Paris.

Renault premiered its version of the 3.0-liter V6 dCi turbo diesel in the Laguna Coupe at the 2008 Paris Motorshow, in October. On this model it produces 235HP and 450 Nm (332.9 lbs-ft) of torque.
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