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Automotive

The Javan R1 - 220 bhp, 670 kg, UKP30,000 on the road

August 11, 2006 New UK-based sports car manufacturer Javan Sports Cars has released pics of its first model as well as some quite remarkable numbers. In short, 220 horsepower pushing a weight of 670 kilograms offers remarkable acceleration as evidenced by a 0-100km/h time of 3.6 seconds, a 0-100mph time of 9.8 seconds and a standuing quarter mile of 12.2 seconds. All that for UKP25,250 list which will get it on the road for UKP30,138 offering supercar performance at a very reasonable price. The chassis is an epoxy-bonded, aluminium honeycomb monocoque with power being supplied by mid-mounted two litre Honda i-VTEC DOHC engine from the current Honda Civic Type-R, running through a six speed gearbox.  Read More

It’s a Doozy

August 11, 2006 “It’s a doozy” is an expression that is still commonplace today, though it originated in the 1920s reflecting the awe with which the public regarded the American-built Duesenberg automobile. Beginning with a win in the first major post WW1 European Grand Prix, the Duesenberg brothers went on to build exquisite luxury machinery for the USA’s wealthiest people and the brand became commonly regarded in the United States as the world’s finest, hence the expression. With famous automotive marques such as Maybach and Bugatti being returned to the marketplace as modern interpretations of their glorious forebears, it’s hardly a surprise to hear that another landmark automotive name is to be relaunched. In the meantime, we came across this remarkable example of a 1930 Duesenburg Model J, one-off Arlington style long wheelbase body, which will be one of the feature cars to be auctioned off in January 2007 at the Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event. The Model J flagship has a 265hp motor and would have cost around US$25,000 when it was built, making it the ultimate badge of success. Duesenburg ran simple adverts which played on this theme – no imagery of the cars ran in the adverts which simply stated “He drives a Duesenburg.” Nice detail piccies.  Read More

All-New Chevrolet Camaro almost identical to NAIAS concept

August 11, 2006 GM CEO Rick Wagoner announced yesterday that GM will build an all-new version of the Chevrolet Camaro sport coupe based on the award-winning concept that stole the spotlight at the North American International Auto Show. The all-new Camaro will begin with early production versions at the end of 2008 and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2009. The new Camaro will be almost identical to the concept, a thoroughly modern interpretation of the 1969 model, considered by many to be the best design of the car’s first generation. The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sport coupe will feature an independent rear suspension, and will be offered in a variety of models with the choice of manual and automatic transmissions and V-6 and V-8 engines. Extensive image library.  Read More

Fuel efficiency to become a factor in Formula One

August 9, 2006 One of the most important automotive technology stories of recent times appears to have been largely overlooked by the news and automotive media. A meeting on Monday between the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association (GPMA) and Formula One's governing body, the FIA has resulted in an agreement for Formula One Technical Regulations to include means to promote fuel efficiency including energy recovery and re-use from 2009 onwards. With the world’s cleverest and most competitive automotive designers now incentivised to improve both fuel efficiency and horsepower, we can expect to see some significant leaps forward in the efficiency of the internal combustion engine and the technological pinnacle of motorsport will become even more interesting. All relevant regulations for 2009 will be published no later than December 31, 2006 – we can’t wait. Perhaps for Christmas we can all wish for Uncle Bernie to set up an electric racing formula?  Read More

The all-new BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV)

August 9, 2006 The original BMW X5 has been an unqualified success since it hit the showroom floor seven years ago as the first SUV-type vehicle to offer a genuinely sporty car-like drive, and still holds its own in a very competitive category. Yesterday, BMW took the wraps partially off its successor, which comes with more power, lower emissions, better fuel consumption, an all-new six-speed automatic gearbox and a range of technologies which are new to the market segment such as a head-up display, run-flat tyres, and Adaptive Drive suspension management. It’s also BMW’s first ever car with a third-row of seating for added practicality.  Read More

70 Percent of new cars to offer iPod integration in 2007

August 4, 2006 Apple has announced it has teamed up with Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Mazda to deliver seamless iPod integration across the majority of their brands and models. As the company already has relationships with the majority of manufacturers, the new additions to the Apple fold will mean that more than 70 percent of 2007-model US automobiles will offer iPod integration. Apple’s web site predicts that Infiniti and Ferrari are soon to follow suit.  Read More

BRABUS works over the Mercedes Benz SL500 to create the world's most powerful roadster

August 4, 2006 With its convertiable hardtop and softtop, the Mercedes SL500 is one of the most civilised of all luxury sports cars but with only 517 horsies, it’s a tad anaemic compared to the Koenigseggs and Paganis so … German tuning company Brabus has worked over the latest top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz SL500 to create the world's most powerful roadster. The reworked twelve-cylinder three-valve engine is increased from 5.5 to 6.3 litres to become the BRABUS SV12 S Biturbo and rated power output jumps from a standard 517 hp / 380 kW at 5,000 rpm to 730 hp / 537 kW at 5,100 rpm. Simultaneously peak torque grows from 830 Nm to 1,320 Nm, though custom engine mapping ensures peak torque is limited electronically to 1,100 Nm, which is available from 2,100 rpm onwards. Not surprisingly, performance of the two-seater is outrageous with a sprint time of 4.0 seconds from rest to 100 km/h, 10.5 seconds to 200 km/h, 29.5 seconds to 300 km/h and an electronically limited top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph).  Read More

C4 Picasso MPV with vast panoramic windscreen

August 4, 2006 Citroen has revealed first details of its new seven-seat compact MPV, the C4 Picasso, a new people carrier that will make its world debut at the Paris Motor show next month. The C4 Picasso’s versatile family car features include: a vast panoramic windscreen that contributes to outstanding all-round visibility, a new 6-speed electronic gearbox system and imaginative dashboard design, class-leading amounts of space in both the passenger compartment and boot, an original seat-folding design, allowing quick and easy reconfiguration of the seats, the highest levels of interior comfort and refinement, with zonal air conditioning, soundproofed windows, air quality sensor and the use of innovative interior lighting, impressive ride comfort, with air suspension at the rear.  Read More

The new Audi S3 – luxury compact hot hatch

August 3, 2006 The hot hatch segment gets more crowded every day, and Audi’s new premium compact class contender the S3 spans several segments. It runs a specially developed version of Volkswagen’s 2.0 litre Turbo FSI engine featuring a new turbo charger with an enlarged turbine and compressor rotor and modified intercooler to produce 265 PS @ 6,000rpm and 350Nm of torque from 2,500rpm to 5,000rpm running through a six-speed manual gearbox to the quattro four-wheel-drive system. First deliveries are expected in Europe in January 2007 at UKP27,000 OTR. The new S3 will run 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds with a top speed limited to 155mph.  Read More

Hydrogen Z.CAR with speed adjusted wheelbase

August 1, 2006 The Z.CAR is a three-wheeled two-seat city car by prolific Iraki designer Zaha Hadid and it’s one of the most interesting new designs we have seen in a while, using the hinged rear suspension to facilitate a variable (speed adjusted) wheelbase so the car can be better at both country and city driving. In town, the drive-by-wire Z.CAR sits more upright to offer the driver a better view in traffic and to make parking easier - a shortened wheelbase requires less space. At higher speeds the pod lowers around 10 degrees, on the hinged rear suspension, lengthening the wheelbase for greater high speed stability, moving the car’s centre of gravity closer to the road for better handling and tilting the teardrop shape backwards for lower frontal area and improved aerodynamics. The lightweight carbon-fibre composite Z.CAR is hydrogen powered by design, but “there is a functional prototype in development with a British manufacturer, with the fruits expected to be unveiled within 7-12 months” according to inside sources. We think the Z.CAR is ready for prime-time, but not in hydrogen format – there are alternatives but let’s hope a path to market is negotiated because this vehicle promises much. The projected price of the Z.CAR is said to be approximately UKP35,000 (US$65,000).  Read More

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