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Ferrari FXX wins the 'most functional design' at NAIAS

January 17, 2006 Many words have been used to describe Ferrari's products over the years, and these words are usually words such as exquisite, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, inspirational, epic, and a host of other superlatives. Rarely however, is a Ferrari described as functional, but that is exactly the word which has been used not only to describe Ferrari's most extreme car, the Ferrari FXX, but it has also won the prestigious Eyeson Design Award as the best example of functional design at the 2006 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS, AKA Detroit Motor Show). Seventeen of the most renowned international designers, including Chris Bangle from BMW, Willy G Davidson, head of styling at Harley-Davidson and Shiro Nakamura, from Nissan, sat on the panel.  Read More

Auto industry moving to embrace new technologies

January 14, 2006 Automakers selling cars in North America have stepped up their position when it comes to entertainment and telematics features according to survey of the vehicles on display at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. Of the 264 autos at the 2006 NAIAS, 154 models support MP3 music playback while over 200 models support satellite radio.  Read More

Prodrive creates the P2 sports car

January 13, 2006 Prodrive has unveiled the P2, a unique two-seater sports car with some exciting credentials. The P2 uses a modified 344 bhp, 575 Nm, Subaru Impreza STi engine and all wheel drivetrain, which incorporates innovative ALS (Anti-Lag System) and ATD (Active Torque Dynamics). If you haven’t heard of Prodrive, it’s probably because you don’t read the fine print. The company has won more than 100 international rallies and six World Rally Championship titles for Subaru, the British Touring Car Championship five times (with BMW, Alfa Romeo and Ford) and is also involved in numerous other international racing series, including managing the BAR F1 team. Prodrive also consults and develops road cars, such as the NARO and Tango, and has developed numerous cars for the likes of Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Subaru, Range Rover et al and despite the obvious focus on performance, the P2 has all the comforts of a luxury car, with a six speaker stereo system, power assisted steering and electric windows. The company’s Motorsport involvement becomes obvious when viewing the specifications of the P2 though, as it weighs just 1100 kg and has a power to weight ratio of more than 350 bhp/tonne, reaches 100 km/h in under four seconds and tops out at 280 km/h. The jury is out on whether the P2 will be produced in quantity, but with an anticipated UKP40,000 price tag, we expect the queue would be quite lengthy for a car of such remarkable real-world ability.  Read More

New MINI production model announced - inspired by Traveller Concept

January 12, 2006 BMW will be enhancing the MINI family with a further model. The new MINI model will offer increased interior space and increased functionality in order to appeal to the distinctively experience-oriented and active MINI customer. The new car will take its inspiration from the MINI Detroit design concept shown at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this week. Although it has yet to be defined which of the unique ideas and design features presented on the concept will be implemented for series production, Dr. Michael Ganal in his speech at the NAIAS stated a time frame of three years for the realization of the new MINI model.  Read More

MBR 3-seat supercar

January 12, 2006 The F1-inspired three-seater MBR supercar will make one of its rare public appearances at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham (UK) this week. The 550bhp V8-engined Exigence Of Speed combines the latest in aerospace and motor sport technologies, with a lightweight, high-strength composite monocoque chassis and body panels assisting in keeping the kerb weight below 1000 kg without compromising structural rigidity. The Mecachrome V8 engine and six-speed gearbox are mid-mounted longitudinally for optimum weight distribution, and its 550 bhp give the supercar a power-to-weight ratio of 0.5bhp per kg. The double-wishbone unequal length suspension features inboard spring/damper units activated by pushrod as on modern racing cars for best in-class handling characteristics. The final pre-production car and first rolling prototype is planned to be unveiled before the end of 2006 and an assault on the Le Mans 24 Hour race is planned for 2007.  Read More

BLUETEC: The Cleanest Diesel in the World

January 12, 2006 With the launch of the E 320 BLUETEC in the USA later this year, Mercedes-Benz will be offering the first series production car with BLUETEC diesel technology. The automotive manufacturer with the world's longest diesel tradition has modified specific aspects of the economical, powerful and robust 320 CDI engine, adding state-of-the-art emission-control technology to make it the cleanest diesel in the world. Mercedes-Benz has thus transformed the diesel engine into a clean and future-compatible system. The six-cylinder diesel engine combines V8 power with four-cylinder consumption: 155 kW/211 hp maximum output and 540 Nm maximum torque despite average fuel consumption of just 6.7 l/100 km or 35 mpg. BLUETEC technology is capable of producing the cleanest diesel vehicles in the world, and is more than capable of meeting the most stringent emissions regulations.  Read More

Aston Martin’s “practical” exotic, four-seater sports car concept

January 12, 2006 Exotic four seater sportscars have not exactly been plentiful in the history of automotive evolution, though there’s a definite trend towards four berths in recent times with the Maserati Quattroporte, Porsche Panamera and now Aston Martin has shown a 4-seat concept car at the 2006 Detroit Motorshow. To be known as the Rapide, the 6.0-liter V12, 480 hp coupe is the work of Aston Martin Design Director Marek Reichman, in conjunction with CEO Dr Ulrich Bez. P The Aston Martin Rapide concept is a four-door, high performance coupé of remarkable grace and poise. Based on Aston Martin's unique VH (Vertical/Horizontal) architecture, the Rapide combines the company's commitment to power, beauty and soul with space and practicality for every eventuality. It stands for stylistic excellence, market innovation and flexible manufacturing. The Rapide is the epitome of Aston Martin’s low-volume, high-technology approach, the synergy of modern methods and materials with traditional skills to create a new form of craftsmanship for the 21st century.  Read More

Mitsubishi Introduces 'Attainable Exotic' 2007 Eclipse Spyder

January 11, 2006 Mitsubishi unveiled the all-new 2007 Eclipse Spyder at the North American International Auto Show this week and in so doing, promised a showroom floor (due in April) model of modest price and exotic capability. Based on the fourth-generation Eclipse coupe introduced in 2005, the GT specification Eclipse Spyder combines 260-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 performance with a convertible top and outstanding value. The 2007 Eclipse Spyder arrives in Mitsubishi dealerships in April.  Read More

Mitsubishi unveils hybrid MIEV 4WD sport compact concept

January 10, 2006 Mitsubishi Motors North America (MMNA) used the NAIAS to unveil the Concept-CT yesterday, a groundbreaking concept for a hybrid-powered small car that may influence future development of Mitsubishi models. The key to the Concept-CT's roomy packaging, performance potential and fuel efficiency is the Mitsubishi In-wheel Electric Vehicle (MIEV) hybrid powertrain, which employs an electric motor in each of the vehicle's four wheels. The ultra-compact four-door hatchback combines practicality, fun-to-drive performance and low fuel consumption.  Read More

Ferrari 599 GTB - most powerful V12 production car of all time

January 10, 2006 There are few automotive announcements that could turn attention from the new model frenzy currently underway at the NAIAS (Detroit) Show, but overnight news from Maranello has done just that, when Ferrari announced the forthcoming Pininfarina-designed 599 GTB. To be shown for the first time on February 28 at the Geneva Motor Show, the 599 GTB will be the most powerful V12-engined production car of all time. The latest interpretation of a theme that has seen such classics as the 250 GT, the 275 GTB, and the 365 GTB4, the 599 GTB replaces the most recent in that great line of berlinettas, the 575M Maranello. The new car is a concentration of Ferrari's most innovative and technologically advanced engineering solutions applied to a mid-front engined two-seater coupe.  Read More

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