Minggu, 17 Januari 2010

Contrary to what I may have said about the 2010 Detroit Auto Show

Contrary to what I may have said about the 2010 Detroit Auto Show being somewhat dismal, that does not mean 2010 will be a sub-par year.
There are still plenty of great cars coming outthis year! For instance, after touring Cobo Hall, there are two particular autos that I am very interested in and I am eager to get behind the wheel. As a matter in fact, these may be the two out of four cars I sat in at the show.

Nothing else got my blood pumping.

And after driving just about everything you can imagine, I must admit, it takes a lot to muster up some excitement these days.

2010 Detroit Auto Show Photo Gallery

The first vehicle is the 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG "Gullwing." Yes, I am a sucker for the Gullwing doors. Although I have never attempted, something tells me I could never fit into the classic 1950s Gullwing -- being 6'8 -- so, this is as close as I will ever get.

Additionally, the SLS is the first Benz to be produced at AMG from the ground up; this means it will be jam packed with the most up to date technology and advancements from the AMG division. Featuring a 6.3 liter V8 churning out 563-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque it is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine in production. Uh, awesome?! Why wouldn't you want to drive this?

Although getting in it is a bit goofy -- duck under the door, step over the HUGE door sill and twist into the seat -- once you are in, it is like a glove. The seats wrap around you and once you close the door, the essentials are surrounding you like a cockpit should.

And, the best part, I fit!

Moving along...

2010 Detroit Auto Show Photo Gallery

My second pick, without a doubt, has to be the Lotus Evora. By far one of the coolest designs to emerge in 2009, the Evora channels some cues from the Lancia Stratos and has one of the most gorgeous interiors known to man. It's exterior is akin to pornography and the interior is a hip-looking, posh lounge.

Aside from looking damn good, it has a mid-engine layout that will be equipped with a V6 pushing out 276-horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. Not to mention it is a Lotus, so that means two things will be prominent. 1) It is lightweight, coming in just under 3,000 pounds. 2) If it is a proper Lotus, it will handle like it is on rails.

After the Elise/Exige made its way stateside and revived the brand, after the cult classic Esprit, this car is theoretically the daily driver with a bit more room and sophistication. But, after getting a look at it in the flesh, it appears to be more of a two plus none.

Regardless, I am optimistic about giving this car a thorough work out.

What are some NEW cars that YOU want to drive in 2010? Voice your opinion here on AutoSpies...

2010 Detroit Auto Show Photo Gallery

What clear future do you see for BMW and racing

Exclusive Interview with the Head of BMWNA Product Planning and Strategy/BMW Motorsport Manager, Martin Birkmann – A Look into the Future World of ///M Cars, Racing, and Current Engine Tech. At the recent 2010 NAIAS, we got a chance to speak with Martin Birkmann who is the Head of Product Planning and Strategy with BMW NA, as well as BMW Motorsport Manager in the U.S. If you haven’t already, we advise you get some coffee brewing or pop-corn popping – what follows is extremely interesting information about current and future BMW products.

With BMW’s new engines, the revamped N54 and now the N55, what have you upgraded on the N54?

Martin Birkmann: With the N54 we’ve basically changed the mapping of the engine, pressure of the engine, given it a more sporty, more torque, and peak oriented performance curve.

What are the differences between the N54 and N55?

Martin Birkmann: At first glance we’ve changed something in the architecture, we made the engine more compact, but in terms of costumer benefit the biggest change is the application of VALVETRONIC. With variable valve lift we eliminate the throttle and so we’ve made the engine again more efficient than the N54. The N55 is maintaining the N54’s base performance level, but gives you a lot of enhancement on the efficiency side

Will we see the N55 engine across the range?

Martin Birkmann: We started announcing the N55 for the 5 series GT so you can expect to find it in the regular 5 series sedan, one series, and we’ll roll it out for more and more applications.

With the new 5 series, what kind of changes can we expect to see on the new M5?

Martin Birkmann: I think it’s been widely speculated and confirmed that we’ve somewhat seen the dawn of the end of the NA engine. M is no exception, we’ve launched our first turbo M engines and I think that will be the biggest difference if you look at the tech spec sheet – that we will go with turbo charging for the M5. There is speculation that I don’t want to comment about; we will clearly see a change in the transmission strategy, we are still examining the need for a second transmission variant. We’ll know more about that as we go forward, as you know, every one should know that BMW NA in persona is a big proponent of manual transmissions and three pedal vehicle operation, but it’s not a trend that you see in the market gaining a lot of momentum right now. Our customers want more semi-automatic transmissions, so that’s a must, and everything else is a can. We’ll see as we approach the launch of the car.

What clear future do you see for BMW and racing?


Read Article
BMWBLOG interviews Martin Birkmann – Head of BMWNA Product Planning and Strategy

Senin, 11 Januari 2010

which, of course, has nothing at all to do with the Corvette ZR1

Peugeot SR1 Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

French automaker Peugeot will pull the wraps off a brand-new concept vehicle called the SR1 at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Unlike a number of recent Peugeot cars and concepts, the SR1 isn't hallmarked by quirky, love-it-or-hate-it styling. Instead, we see a somewhat traditional long-hood, short-deck profile with some interesting details, such as the creased indentation in the doors that's echoed in both the front and rear fascias. Also note the redesigned Lion logo, which we surmise will show up on all future Peugeots from here on out.

Power for the SR1 (which, of course, has nothing at all to do with the Corvette ZR1) comes courtesy of Peugeot's HYbrid4 technology, which pairs a small 1.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine powering the front wheels with a 95-horsepower electric motor at the rear. Peugeot says that its all-wheel drive, through-the-road hybrid system will make its production debut in 2011 inside the 3008 crossover, with other models to closely follow.

Other concept-appropriate bits and pieces include a new removable plastic roof panel using technology that's borrowed from the world of sailing, a three-seat layout with the third passenger behind the twin front seats and instrumentation that pairs futuristic crystal tubes displaying current fuel consumption and remaining range with a classic timepiece designed by Bell & Ross. Continuing the old versus new theme are black nickel and satin chrome trim with traditional wood and leather inlays.

With 313 combined horsepower, fuel mileage estimated at 57.7 mpg (European, 48 miles per gallon U.S.) and carbon emissions of just 119 grams per kilometer, the Peugeot SR1 ought to be a mean, green performer. Plus, its speed-sensitive four-wheel steering and lightweight structure should equal formidable handling prowess. Of course, we may never know for sure, as this car, though it apparently signals Peugeot's new styling direction, is nothing more than a concept at this point.

automotive unfortunates have cars that won't pass without much expensive work

Emissions passEmissions tests are often part of the registration renewal ritual for many car owners. Some appreciate being able to breathe deeply, others see it as a de facto tax, while still another group of automotive unfortunates have cars that won't pass without much expensive work. Whether for purely financial reasons, or a chafing anti-authoritarianism, some drivers elect to circumvent the system.

Federal indictments have been handed down to 10 Nevada emissions testers for falsifying emissions tests. The ten testers allegedly accepted cash stipends for "clean scanning" a car. Normally during a Nevada emissions test, vehicles are plugged in via their OBD-II port and the Vehicle Identification Number is entered into a computer. The computer then scans the car's on-board system and passes or fails the automobile. "Clean scanning" is a deception whereby a different vehicle, one that will pass, is connected to the computer, and the VIN of a failing car is entered. More than 1,000 vehicles are believed to have been falsely passed this way by the indicted.

Fooling around with the federal Environmental Protection Agency has these 10 individuals facing up to two years of incarceration and maximum fines of $250,000 per person. Is it mere coincidence that this high-stakes game of palm greasing happened in Vegas?

There was a time when "France" and "design"

Left to right: Gilles Vidal, Jean-Pierre Ploué and Thierry Metroz
Hope for France: Left to right, Gilles Vidal, Jean-Pierre Ploué and Thierry Metroz

There was a time when "France" and "design" were nearly synonymous, at least in the automotive sphere. Delahaye, Voisin, Bugatti, Talbot-Lago (including the high-water mark Figoni et Falaschi "Tear Drop" cars), etc. Prewar, no one had anything on the French. Even Peugeot and Citroën were in on the action; the former producing the elegant 402 and the latter building the glorious Traction Avant.

However, after the Great Depression and post-WW2 auto shakeout, the scenery changed. Sure, Citroën still had a few design masterpieces left in the tank - the 2CV, the DS and SM. Peugeot made some excellent cars (205, 404) but they certainly weren't lookers. Then a few years back, Peugeot bought Citroën. Since that time, Peugeots have become wildly bizarre-looking, while Citroën has produced exactly one beauty, the C6. Point being, France's automotive designs are a far cry from their prewar glory days.

PSA Peugeot Citroën wants to change that trajectory. Under PSA design leadership of Jean-Pierre Ploué, Gilles Vidal has taken over design of Peugeot and Thierry Metroz is now in charge of how Citroëns look. Metroz might have an easy time of it, as Ploué has to some degree set Citroën on a halfway righteous path. Again, we're big fans of the big C6 and in truth, the C3 and DS3 are pretty much OK-looking as well. Monsieur Gilles, however, has his work cut out for him. Have you looked at a 3008 or an 807 lately? Not so hot.

Kamis, 07 Januari 2010

Rumours are gathering that Ford is preparing to reveal its third-generation Focus in saloon

Ford Focus

When it comes to show-stopping unveils, the Focus is on Detroit! Rumours are gathering that Ford is preparing to reveal its third-generation Focus in saloon and hatchback form at the US expo next week.

As Auto Express closed for press over the Christmas holidays, news had leaked on to the North American International Auto Show’s own website. We brought you pictures of the whole new Focus family in Issue 1,092 (right), and the four and five-doors will get a bold face characterised by triangular lights and a stylish grille.

Don’t expect the latest Focus to be too radical, though. As a global car, it will need to have mass-market appeal. Contrary to previous reports, the car is believed to be based on a front-wheel-drive platform from the Mondeo, to ensure class-leading handling and increased space.

A new range of EcoBoost turbo petrol engines will be available. This will comprise 89bhp or 108bhp 1.0-litre units and a 170bhp 1.6. Diesel choices include a 1.6 giving 128bhp, plus a 2.0-litre with 168bhp or 197bhp.

Stop-start is expected to be standard on most cars, while Ford’s dual-clutch Powershift transmission should also help reduce emissions. In addition, the Focus will come with adaptive dampers, a lane departure warning system and traffic sign recognition. Wi-Fi is likely to be offered, too. Sales will start towards the end of this year.

To highlight her displeasure over Japan's insular auto market

Like everywhere else on the planet, new car sales are down in Japan (17 percent versus 2008 levels, to be exact). And, like a number of other countries, Japan has decided to spur automobile sales by creating a cash-for-clunkers-style program at a cost of $3.7 billion. Unlike similar programs from other countries, including the one that ended late last year in the U.S., Japan has drafted a set of rules that strongly favors its own automakers – in effect precluding American cars from qualifying for sales incentives of up to $2,830 per vehicle. Eighty-seven percent of all Japan's domestic models qualify.

By way of comparison, there were multiple C4C bills considered by U.S. policymakers, and the program that eventually went into effect allowed any and all sufficiently fuel efficient vehicles to qualify for its incentives, regardless of their country of origin. After it was all said and done, 319,300 out of a total of 677,000 (just about half) of all C4C sales were Japanese cars.

According to the Detroit News, a number of American lawmakers, including Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, have called Japan's program "discriminatory and fundamentally unfair... unacceptable and outrageous." To highlight her displeasure over Japan's insular auto market – to wit, imports make up less than five percent of all new car sales in Japan – Sutton has introduced a bill this week urging President Obama to attempt to force Japan into including American automobiles in its C4C program. What are the chances of it passing? Something about snowballs comes to mind...

Minggu, 03 Januari 2010

sales began to rise at the end of 2009

This just in from Hard Numbers News: From 2000 to 2007, an average of 16.8 million vehicles were sold in the States. In 2008, that figure dropped to 13.2 million. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the tally for 2009 is expected to put the sales needle somewhere around 10.4 million. According to Bloomberg, that would make last year the worst for new car sales since 1982, when there was not only a recession but also 25 percent fewer Americans.

The good news: sales began to rise at the end of 2009, having sustained themselves nicely after the revelry of cash-for-clunkers. The final data isn't in yet, but Bloomberg's survey of analysts suggests two months of gains in November and December. Predictions estimate that Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan saw increases, with General Motors and Chrysler looking at slipping sales.

The silver lining? Meager sales could "indicate significant pent-up demand." That kettle of demand is going to take some time to boil, but a rise in household spending is penciled in for late 2010, along with greater availability of credit, and a drop in unemployment numbers is in the forecast as well. The road to recovery will be a slow one, but hopefully with the turn of the calendar year will come a turn in fortunes for the U.S. economy.

Ralf Schumacher entered Formula One six years after his brother Michael

Ralf Schumacher entered Formula One six years after his brother Michael, with the same Jordan team that introduced his sibling to the grid. That's about where the similarities end. After an 11-year career with Williams, Jordan, and Toyota, Ralf retired in 2007 and ended up in the DTM series. He was a good driver and had a decent car early in his Williams tenure, but he simply didn't have the edge. He ended up with fewer race wins, six, than his brother did World Championships.

Now that Michael has returned to the circus, it looks like Ralf wants his turn under the Big Top again. Ralf said, "I know that my reputation suffered during my time at Toyota but I left that behind me. I know what I can do and I feel ready to do it again." Having turned down a race seat with one of the new teams, other rumors suggest that he's talking to Toro Rosso, where he would replace Jaime Alguersuari and partner Sebastien Buemi. Toro Rosso and Renault – and Sauber, depending – are essentially the only teams who have openings and a chance of giving Ralf a car he can do something with.

small and sports cars in 201

Audi Q5 Hybrid for 2011 audi q5

Audi had quite a good 2009 so they are confident enough to announce that they are expanding business and will introduce eight new models in the new year. One of their main projects is to add a new hybrid variant to the Q5 range which is being made in Spain, to be launched in late 2010 as a 2011 model.

So the Q5 Hybrid will be the first fully fledged hybrid vehicle by the the Inglostadt-based company in the market before they implement the system on other models. The Q7 full size SUV will also get a hybrid powertrain which will be very similar to the one that Porsche is developing for the Cayenne Hybrid.

Apart from the SUVs, Audi will unveil a bunch of luxury, small and sports cars in 2010, increasing their range of 34 models to 42. The list contains the recently introduced A8, the A1 city car and the A7 Sportback. Audi e-Tron, which is a full-electric supercar is also set for limited production for 2012.

Design by infinityskins.blogspot.com 2007-2008