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The new 400 bhp Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG Special Series

June 10, 2006 As the only eight-cylinder roadster in its segment the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG provides a unique driving experience. Now the iconic two-seater has become even sportier, as Mercedes AMG has developed an exclusive and distinctly puristic special series which sets new standards in driving dynamics. With the AMG 5.5-litre V8 engine enhanced to 294 kW (400 bhp) and a whopping 520 Nm of torque, numerous lightweight construction components, carbon hardtop, 19-inch AMG forged wheels, AMG height-adjustable torsion sports suspension and AMG high-performance composite brake system the special SLK 55 AMG is VERY special.  Read More

Research project delivers ultra-low carbon emission powertrain

June 4, 2006 In the race to provide more fuel-efficient, emmission-friendly automotive technologies, diesel-electric hybrids are showing some very promising form. Ricardo, QinetiQ and PSA Peugeot Citroen have announced the results of their Efficient-C collaborative research project which has successfully met the UK Department for Transport’s Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge. The two year Efficient-C programme has culminated in the delivery of a full-hybrid diesel demonstrator vehicle emitting just 99 g/km CO2 (equivalent to 3.75 litres per 100km or over 75mpg) based on a fully featured Citroen Berlingo Multispace family car. This is a significant leap forward of 30 per cent improvement in fuel economy and CO2 emissions when compared to the equivalent diesel production vehicle. Furthermore the same diesel hybrid powertrain fitted in a C-segment 5 door saloon would only emit 90g tank-to-wheel CO2.  Read More

V12 Lagonda found in barn

June 4, 2006 It’s the classic modern myth – an original and usually priceless car unearthed in a barn fifty years after it was hidden there. Well that’s close to the scenario of this remarkably original 1939 Lagonda V12 Drophead Coupe that will go under the hammer at auction in the UK next month. Fresh from its dry hiding place, it sports the original push-button radio, the correct period lights and wire wheels and is showing just 50,112 miles on the odometer.  Read More

Maserati's US$1.3 million MC12 Corsa

June 1, 2006 Maserati has announced the production of the MC12 Corsa, a build-to-order supercar for very select Maserati clients who enjoy testing their driving ability in the most exclusive gentlemen drivers’ environment (the racetrack). The MC12 Corsa has been developed from the MC12 GT1 type which won the 2005 FIA GT Manufacturers Cup. It will be used exclusively on track during private test sessions – or exhibition activities organised by Maserati. It will not be homologated for road use or for any racing activity. Only 12 will be built and pricing starts at EU1,000,000 (US$1.28 million). The chassis is a carbon-fibre monocoque, the 6.0 litre V12 motor produces 755 horsepower and the car weighs 1150 kilograms without fuel.  Read More

Autocar crowns the fastest car in the world

May 31, 2006 The Bugatti Veyron has been threatening to rewrite the record books since its launch last year; this week, Autocar has become the first magazine in the world to measure exactly how quick this UKP880,000 (US$1,657,000), 987bhp hypercar really is. In Autocar's latest issue, road test editor Adam Towler tells how he travelled to Volkswagen's Ehra-Lessien test facility in Germany, how he attached Autocar's timing gear to the Veyron, and most importantly, how it felt to drive faster than he ever had before. "I have never, ever felt acceleration like this," writes Towler - "the Bugatti catapults from 30 to 50mph in less than a second. A Lamborghini Gallardo requires two seconds, if you need a point of reference." May 31, 2006 The Bugatti Veyron has been threatening to rewrite the record books since its launch last year; this week, Autocar has become the first magaz...  Read More

911 GT3 RS

May 30, 2006 Porsche has announced a purist variant of the GT3 which will be particularly suited for use on the racetrack when it becomes available in October. The GT3 RS is distinguished by its performance capability and the unadulterated driving experience enjoyed with a racing car, but also meets all requirements for road-legal sports cars. The exceptionally meaty engine boasts a displacement of 3.6 liters to generate 305 kW (415 bhp) at 7,600 rpm. Maximum revs are reached at 8,400 rpm. The power output per liter of engine capacity is 115.3 bhp. These figures correspond to the present GT3. But the RS puts in an even better performance. Thanks to a close-ratio six-speed transmission with a single-mass flywheel and the 20 kg lower vehicle weight, the engine revs up even more freely, thus enabling the 911 GT3 to sprint from zero to 100 km per hour in 4.2 seconds. That's one tenth of a second faster than the GT3. It takes just 13.3 seconds to hit to 200 km per hour. Maximum speed is 310 km per hour.  Read More

Click image to enlargeBrescia Photo.

May 29, 2006 Seventy years after its launch, the Giuliano Cane’s BMW 328 has continued its remarkable run of success in one of the world’s most premier automotive events, the Mille Miglia. The 60-year-old entrepreneur from Bologna has won the Mille Miglia nine times, eight with his wife Lucia Galliani as navigator, and once with Marino Auteri in a Ferrari in 1999. The husband/wife pairing has dominated the event since first combining to win it in a BMW 507 in 1992, taking it out again in a Lancia Aurelia B20 in 1994, then using the BMW 328 to win in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006. This run of alternate year wins must go down as one of the oddest records in history but looked certain to be broken this year after the couple got off to a poor start. They had worked their way back to fourth at the end of the second lap in Rome, but such was their knowledge during the six time trials around Vico Lake, that they managed to get to the top of the table and strenuously defend their position to the finish. BMW obviously banked on the couple winning as it unveiled the gorgeous BMW Mille Miglia Concept Coupe for the event.  Read More

Prototype Compressed Natural Gas Bus

May 28, 2006 When we think high tech sustainable automotive transport, the natural direction of thinking heads towards Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, and the established powerhouses of the automotive market which have the turnover to generate the massive R&D budgets needed to explore and commercialise significant new technologies. We can now add another name to that list and it’s one most of our readers won’t know. Kosmo Motor Company Sdn Bhd (Kosmo Motor) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kosmo Technology Industrial Berhad (Kosmo), and was established in July 2005 with the aim of providing reputable and compatible commercial vehicles to the Malaysian market and the world. Yesterday the company announced it would be acquiring a 26 per cent stake in German automotive research and development Company Loremo which produces economically and ecologically friendly cars such as the featherweight 150 mpg Loremo LS and unveiled a prototype city bus chassis to be powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show.  Read More

Fiat Truckster Concept

May 26, 2006 Fiat has taken the wraps off the new Fiat Ducato at the Madrid International Motor Show which opened yesterday and in the process has revealed the Truckster Concept, which takes the new Ducato commercial vehicle jointly developed with Citroen and Peugeot, to extremes, demonstrating just how flexible the Ducato is for converters. The Truckster is generously proportioned - 6.48 metres long, 2.55 m high and 2.49 metres wide - and has style that can only be described as modern and “exuberant”, thanks to a strategy which accentuates the concept of sporting performance applied to a commercial vehicle, with features such as 28 inch wheels, LED headlights, hydraulically-controlled gull wing doors, smoked glass windows and an aerodynamic spoiler. The interiors have also been given the same sporty feel, emphasizing its “road racer” personality.  Read More

Fractional ownership goes lifestyle

May 24, 2006 Back in 1987 a group of 30 Swiss neighbours formed a co-operative to buy two cars, and car sharing was born. The concept has spread and mutated and now operates in 600 cities across the world with a 150,000 members and growing fast. No doubt many informal car sharing arrangements predated the Swiss formalisation of the concept, but when an idea’s time has come, there seems no stopping it. Partial ownership works best for people requiring a car only some of the time and is much more efficient financially than keeping one’s own car. With just a few members, any club can offer the convenience of a car when you need really need it, with a reduced cost for the miles that you do when you take account of the purchase price, depreciation and insurance. Then there’s the added inconvenience and upkeep costs – paying to park it, getting it serviced and keeping it running in fine fettle. If you’re cash rich and time poor, these aspects can be ultimately of greater personal cost as you only get 24 hours in a day no matter how wealthy you are. Nearly all car sharing clubs are focussed on reducing the group environmental impact, but a more recent variant has seen luxury car sharing clubs appear such as Club Ascari, Exotic Carshare, Classic Car Club (and the American franchisee, Classic Car Club Manhattan), Luxshare Auto Club, Club Sportiva, and (bigger list inside). Ex-F1-Champ Damon Hill started his own P1 club and F1 newbie Scott Smart has a similar club. Business models and fees vary but usually involve a ritzy clubhouse, access to an array of fine automobilia and a fixed fee that compares well to the cost of ownership of just one of the beauties, let alone an entire harem. Now a group of Australian entrepreneurs has taken the fractional ownership model one step further by combining holiday homes, luxury boats and luxury cars into one package. AUD$18,000 gets you enough points to spend 45 peak days in the car of your choice, or the boat of your choice, or the holidays home of your choice – going off-peak might squeeze 75 days a year and corporates can join to use the points as employee rewards, team-building weekends, as venues for lavish parties with a difference.  Read More

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