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Porsche demonstrates Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype

July 27, 2007 Porsche this week demonstrated a Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype, providing a glimpse of what the company will offer to consumers by the end of the decade. The Cayenne Hybrid features a full-hybrid design where the hybrid module (clutch and electric motor) is positioned between the combustion engine and the transmission. The design will improve acceleration and engine flexibility compared to a conventional Cayenne and Porsche is targeting average fuel consumption figures of 9.8 liters/100 kilometers in the New European Driving Cycle and about 24 miles per gallon in the US FTP cycle for the Cayenne Hybrid, and hopes future developments may allow it to push towards a consumption figure of 8.9 liters/kilometer (approximately 26 miles per gallon). Porsche plans to introduce similar hybrid technology in a version of its Panamera four-door Gran Turismo. The Panamera will debut in 2009, with a hybrid to follow.  Read More

Pikes Peak Hill Climb 10 minute barrier narrowly missed by  ‘Monster’ Tajima

July 26, 2007 The 10 minute barrier was almost broken at the famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the United States on July 21 with Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima breaking the previous record of 10 minutes and 4 seconds which has stood for 12 seasons. We have written before about the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and also written about Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima here. The theme of this years 85th running to the top of Pikes Peak was ‘Beat the Record’ which is exactly what Tajima did with a run of 10:01.04 seconds which eclipsed the previous best time by more than three seconds. Monster’s Suzuki XL7 features a twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 that produces a stunning 750 kW (1007 horsepower) at 8500 rpm and 1000 Nm of torque at 6250 rpm.  Read More

Mercedes-Benz unveils DiesOtto - the “future of the gasoline engine”

July 25, 2007 Don’t count out the petrol engine just yet according to motoring giant Mercedes-Benz, which has unveiled a new gasoline engine offering the high torque and fuel economy of a diesel together with extremely clean emissions. The company is highly optimistic, calling it “the future of the gasoline engine.” The Mercedes-Benz DiesOtto powertrain is a further development of the spark-ignition engine and includes features such as direct gasoline injection, turbocharging, variable valve timing and variable compression and it will be used in conjunction with a hybrid integrated starter/generator module. At its core lies the controlled auto ignition, a highly efficient combustion process similar to that of a diesel. The result is an 1800cc four-cylinder motor producing 238 bhp (175 kW) with torque of 400 nm while delivering 6 l/100 km (47 UK mpg, 40 US mpg) in an S-class.  Read More

This diagram shows positioning of side and curtain shield airbags, soon to be standard fit...

July 24, 2007 If you don’t die as a result of age or illness, today’s sad reality is that you’re most likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident. Car manufacturers have been working hard to reduce trauma from accidents, building in crumple zones, safety cells and driver/passenger airbags to maximise protection for the precious living cargo they carry, and these measures have been effective in reducing deaths and serious injuries in front and rear collisions. Recent figures, however, show that nearly three quarters of serious side collisions still result in head and upper body injuries – and it’s these injuries that Toyota’s latest initiative aims to combat. By fitting side-impact airbags and curtain shield airbags to all Japanese passenger cars as standard, Toyota believes it can reduce deaths from side impacts by as much as 37% - a huge step towards making the road a safer place to be.  Read More

July 23, 2007 Last year saw the United Kingdom experiencing its worst drought in over 100 years, and the associated water-saving bans on the use of garden hoses and home car washing forced proud British car owners to look for new ways to keep their vehicles clean and shiny. Armor All’s Clean and Shine Wipes - tough cleaning cloths impregnated with detergents, waxes and silicones - emerged as a very cheap and effective alternative to the bucket and hose. In fact, the cheap, waterless interior/exterior wipes have proven so convenient and quick to use that many time-starved Britons have stuck with them even now that their water restrictions have been lifted. For providing such an excellent solution to the water restriction problem, and for delivering precious hours back to car owners by condensing the cleaning, waxing and polishing processes into one simple step, the wipes have just been named Auto Express magazine’s Car Care Product of the Year.  Read More

MINI tops U.K. retained values list

July 20, 2007 The MINI has topped the Lex retained values list for second-hand automobiles in the U.K. for the second year running, beating out a long list of seemingly far more prestigious vehicles. The Lex listing looks at how much each model will be worth in the second hand market after a typical three year/60,000 mile contract and the MINI had the highest retained value at 54%, taking out top single car honours. Viewed by brand name, Audi was the most coveted used car brand according to the data compiled by the UK’s leading leasing company. Last year's results can be found here.  Read More

Ferrari adds 430 Scuderia berlinetta to line-up

July 20, 2007 Ferrari will add a 2-seater Scuderia Berlinetta version of the 430 to its line-up at IAA (Frankfurt) Motor Show in September. The spartan new car has an extremely low weight-to-power ratio of just 2.45 kg per hp thanks to a low dry weight of just 1250 kg - 100 kg less than the F430 - and to the naturally-aspirated 4308cc V8's 510 hp at 8500 rpm. Accordingly, the car should be one of the fastest accelerating supercars available. Reflecting Ferrari’s F1 heritage, the car bristles with F1 technology such as “F1 Superfast” software which reduces gearchange times to just 60 milliseconds, and new traction control which, for the first time, combines the E-Diff electronic differential and the F1-Trac traction and stability control in a single integrated system.  Read More

Volkswagen returns to Formula 3 as engine supplier

July 19, 2007 Volkswagen is preparing to return to Formula 3 racing as an engine supplier with a newly developed 210 bhp two-litre engine. Volkswagen was previously very successful in F3 in the 1980s, with Michael Schumacher and Tom Kristensen setting up successful careers by driving a winning Volkswagen in the German Formula 3 Championship. The new power unit will debut at the seventh round of the Formula 3 Euroseries at the Nürburgring on September 2.  Read More

The new Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster

July 18, 2007 With McLaren now hot favourites to win both the driver and constructor World F1 title in 2007, the announcement of the new model Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster takes on new dimensions. The exquisite roadster is built in the same factory as the cars driven by Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, and combines all the F1 high-tech you can imagine, a 626 bhp AMG kompressor V8 producing an almost obscene 780 newton metres of torque and the long-distance attributes and sophisticated atmosphere of a classic Gran Tourismo car. The most telling F1 gift in constructing the open-top 332 km/h masterpiece is the systematic and intelligent use of high-tech materials for the body and safety technology. As in the Coupé, the bodyshell of the high-performance Roadster is primarily carbon fibre, as are the front-end and rear-end structure, the passenger cell, the swing-wing doors and the bonnet. Compared to steel, the high-tech material represents a weight saving of around 50 per cent, which is why the Electrohydraulic braking system employs massive brake discs made from carbon-fibre reinforced ceramics. There’s even an airbrake in the boot lid that extends automatically when you hit the anchors at high speed.  Read More

The first hybrid race win

July 18, 2007 A new era dawned on the weekend when Toyota won the Tokashi 24-Hour Race with its Supra HV-R hybrid race car. It is the first time a hybrid race car has won a competition of any form though the Supra is quite different to roadgoing hybrids as it incorporates a quick-charging capacitor system and the four-wheel energy regeneration is tuned to work efficiently in recovering a large amount of the car’s energy during rapid deceleration. The system uses 10kw in-wheel motors in the front wheels plus a 150 kW rear-axle mounted electric motor. In total, the 1,080 kg Supra has a whopping 700 horsepower (473 bhp from the 4.5 litre petrol motor and 227 bhp from the electric motors). More importantly, the low down grunt afforded by the electric motors along with the ability to measure and modify the additional torque thousands of times per wheel per second make the car far more controllable than a simple petrol engined vehicle … not to mention kinder on tyres, more economical and brutally quick on the exit to corners.  Read More

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