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Automotive

Aerodynamic long tail improves fuel efficiency 15 percent

While windtunnels have long been employed in aerospace and all forms of race engineering, we’re likely to see them employed more frequently in future in the quest for improved fuel efficiency from our automobiles. Ecomodder.com’s Darin Cosgrove recently added this 1.37 tailpiece to his Pontiac Firefly to improve its drag coefficient from 0.34 to 0.23 and its fuel efficiency by 15.1 percent at 90kmh (56mph).Read More

Ferrari's F1 simulator pushes the limits

Simulators have long been used to teach new skills that would otherwise involve great expense and/or great risk - like learning to fly a new aeroplane. Now Ferrari has built its own F1 simulator so it can develop its Formula One cars and train its drivers to use new technology and to race on new tracks without breaking F1 rules limiting testing in the real world. The simulator uses ten linked computers, 60 GB of RAM, five giant 3D video screens, a 3500 watt Dolby sound system, and weighs more than 200 tonnes. Even the 130 kW electrical power supply for the machine is a beast.Read More

Feature

Test drive: Toyota Landcruiser Prado 4WD

"Two-in-one" products generally mean there's a compromise. A desktop replacement laptop is great until you've lugged its weighty frame through five airports in two weeks, a road-trail motorcycle is fine until you hit a really snarly stretch of dirt, and a keyboard that becomes a mouse when you turn it upside down, well, lets not even go there. So when Toyota introduced its new Prado Landcruiser mid-size 4WD as a "best of both worlds" solution for both the highway and the rough stuff I was a little skeptical. But after taking on all types of terrain - including, open roads, tight forest trails and a formidable purpose built 4x4 track - I may just have been convinced otherwise. The vehicle's versatile performance owes particular thanks to a sophisticated new suspension system and electronics suite, and although there's no point pretending that it can be a sports coupe one minute and a monster truck the next, as a two-in-one auto solution the fourth-gen Prado comes very, very close.Read More

BMW ActiveE Concept – fully electric 1 Series Coupe

BMW will finally deliver the electric car everyone knew was coming at the NAIAS in January. The BMW ActiveE Concept is essentially an electric BMW 1 Series Coupe built using the knowledge gained from year-long MINI E fleet trials, and the resultant vehicle is bristling with ideas and well worth a look. The 125 kW motor is located in the rear axle, the lithium ion batteries recharge in three hours, offer a range of 160 km (100 miles) and an interesting variation on regenerative braking can add as much as 20% to the range. With an electronically limited top speed of … Read More

Kepler Motion: 800 horses, 0-60mph in under 2.5 seconds and drooling good looks

You would expect big things from a company founded by the only living person to hold world speed records over 200mph on land and water, and the Kepler Motors Motion certainly looks the goods. Russ Wicks' company has used the Dubai International Motor Show to unveil the 800hp supercar of which only 50 will be built. A 550hp, modified Ford EcoBoost twin-turbo 3.5L V6 drives the rear wheels independently of a 250hp electric motor driving the front wheels. Add them together and you get an AWD system which launches the Motion to 60mph under 2.5 seconds with a top speed more than 200mph. Impressive specifications and drooling good looks, we think it’s a nice combination.Read More

The MINI Beachcomber - Moke V2.0

MINI is set to display a modern version of its spartan MOKE open-body, four-seater of the seventies at NAIAS in January. The MOKE (pictured in background) was hugely loved in tropical climates, having the fundamentals of a MINI but not much more – the “Beachcomber Concept” takes the same sense of minimalism, freedom and adventure and enhances it with a roll cage, a lockable trunk and the 4WD drivetrain and design elements of MINI’s upcoming compact SUV.Read More

Volvo S60 automatic pedestrian safety system hits the brakes if you don't

Gizmag has written a few pieces about the forthcoming Volvo S60 which is due to be released in 2010. In this installment we look at the newly-developed pedestrian alert system being incorporated into the stylish sedan. So, put aside your thoughts on the sleek Scandanavian-inspired lines, the visionary interior, the comfort and power - which has been described by Volvo as “a thrilling blend of drama and sensuality” - and delve into the realm of safety for those in and around the vehicle.Read More

Fast charging i-Miev for the UK

As Mitsubishi's iMiev electric cars become available to the public next year, the UK will be the first to benefit from technology that will see the Lithium-ion batteries recharged to 80 percent capacity in just 30 minutes. Mitsubishi UK will be the first company in Europe to showcase the city car's fast charging capabilities.Read More

Brabus to debut 200mph SUV at Dubai Auto Show

Dubai is the land of the mega-wealthy and purveyors of exceptional machinery often stage world debuts there for their latest uber-exclusive toys. This week the Dubai International Motor Show gets underway and the pick of the toys-for-very-rich-boys will be the world's fastest street-legal SUV. The BRABUS GLK V12 is powered by a 740 bhp twin turbo twelve-cylinder engine, has a top speed of 200mph (322kmh) and the base model starts at US$580,000. Be careful with the options though, or you'll give the bank manager a heart attack.Read More

Feature

VW's UP! Lite Concept Car – the world’s most efficient four wheeler

Volkswagen’s L1 narrow-track tandem Concept was one of the stars of the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, but a more conventional vehicle using a similar hybrid electric turbo diesel powertain was on show at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week which will be the world’s most efficient and economical four-door when it, or something very close to it, goes on sale in 2011. The UP! Lite is capable of carrying four adults in comfort, delivers 115.7mpg, emits just 65g/km of CO2 and is capable of 100mph. The UP! Lite heads down the same road as the smart phone, with one central computer display controlled by touch screen and hand movement sensors – this handles such systems as active thermal management, passive park ventilation, Internet, telephone, MP3, video, telephone, trip computer and radio.Read More

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