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Automotive

Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster Coupe – full details

July 19 2006 At the 2006 British International Motor Show which opens today, Mazda has unveiled a new version of its motoring icon, the Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe, and it opens up a new dimension of fun and versatility for people who love open-top sports cars. The Mazda MX-5 Roadster Coupe is a brand-new counterpart to the third-generation MX-5, which launched in 2005. It has the same responsive performance and emotive styling as the soft-top model, but is equipped with a Power Retractable Hard Top—an electrically retractable hard top that doesn’t sacrifice any boot space. The roof retracts in three sections into a space behind the seats, leaving the boot completely unaffected and it does so very quickly in just 12 seconds (Mazda claims this is the quickest of any electrically retractable hard top on the market today), so it doesn’t interrupt driving enjoyment for long. And the entire mechanism has only marginally added to the weight at just 37 kilos more than the ragtop.  Read More

More on the smart electric plustwo

July 19, 2006 Last week we reported on the coming of the smart EV, an electric version of smart's iconic two-seater commuter. Now we can release the firstdetails of the highly integrated electric drivetrain developed by British specialist Zytek which has allowed DaimlerChrysler to introduce Europe’s first high quality, high efficiency electric commuter car. The new smart ev (electric vehicle) shown at the British International Motorshow overnight provides all the safety features and dynamic ability of the standard smart fortwo, but with zero vehicle emissions and fuel costs slashed from an already class-leading EUR0.06 per kilometre (6.3p per mile) for the petrol version to just EUR0.02 per kilometre (2.1p per mile) for the vehicle with the new electric drivetrain.  Read More

Honda F1 car attempts land speed record at Bonneville

July 19, 2006 Just how fast is a Formula One car? That question was answered, at least partially, on Monday morning at around 8am local time at the Bonneville Salt Flats, when Alan van der Merwe piloted a race legal Honda 007 along a seven mile-long salt straight, achieving a speed of 220.571mph (354.975 km/h) for the flying mile and 220.897 mph (355.499 km/h) for the flying kilometre. To be frank, we were a bit disappointed too, but one of the problems of Bonneville and lots of horsepower is that of traction. Driver Alan van der Merwe put it in perspective when he said, “We haven’t done 400kph yet though, which is our ultimate target. In a way it’s quite nice we didn’t, because it shows that this is a genuine challenge and not just a case of us turning up, nailing it and going home. You have to work for every extra mile an hour here and we may not break the 400 mark, but that’s still our goal.”  Read More

New all-wheel drive Porsche 911 Targa models

July 17, 2006 Porsche is to add two new variants of the eleven series in November – the 911 Targa 4 and the 911 Targa 4S. Both Targa models will be available exclusively with permanent all-wheel drive and a body that is 44 millimeters wider at the rear. As with their predecessor (the Type 996), the most striking feature of both of these elegant sports cars is the large glass roof and folding rear window. The Targa 4 is powered by the familiar flat-six engine, delivering 239 kW (325 bhp) of power from 3.6 liters. It accelerates the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds and reaches a top speed of 280 km/h. The more powerful S variant features a 3.8-liter engine producing 261 kW (355 bhp). This model sprints to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 288 km/h. The basic euro-price for the 911 Targa 4 is 79,000 euros, or 87,900 euros for the 911 Targa 4S.  Read More

GM Holden unveils new Commodore, Statesman and Caprice models

July 16, 2006 General Motors Holden, the Australian division of the world’s largest car company, General Motors, released details of its all-new Holden Commodore range, designed and engineered to extend a decade-long record as Australia’s best selling car today. The 2006 VE Commodore is Australia’s first $1 billion car program and also holds global responsibilities for rear-wheel-drive engineering development and vehicle design for future programs outside Australia. Holden’s sports performance hero SS model and prestige leader Calais were chosen to debut the VE Commodore at an event in Melbourne. The all-new upmarket WM series Statesman and Caprice flagship models, were also shown in an historic double reveal. The cars are powered by 195 kilowatt Alloytec V6 engines, and a range-topping 270 kilowatt 6.0 litre V8 will deliver the performance Holden buyers know and love. A new six-speed automatic transmission is now available for V8 models, similar to GM’s premium cars such as Cadillacs and the Chevrolet Corvette. Other features include all-new front and rear suspension systems to provide outstanding handling without sacrificing ride comfort and the car’s microprocessing capability has more than doubled to provide new levels of safety and user-friendly features.  Read More

'Boosted Hybrid' technology offers new approach to lower emissions and performance improve...

July 16, 2006 A new approach to hybrid powertrain design, combining advanced pressure boosting technology with electric torque assist in one compact unit, has been demonstrated to offer a low cost route to lower emissions and performance improvements. The system, called the SuperGen i-Hybrid, is compatible with conventional gasoline powertrain architecture, and is claimed to offer all the benefits of a hybrid transmission at around one third of the cost of a conventional hybrid solution. SuperGen i-Hybrid can be applied to all mainstream gasoline engines and also diesels, acting as a pre-booster.  Read More

The most expensive luxury coach ever built

July 13, 2006 It’s a mighty big claim but Featherlite Luxury Coaches has announced its newest motorcoach, the Vantare Platinum Plus, with the claim that it’s the most expensive luxury coach ever built. The Platinum Plus has a triple slide configuration and its spacious interior is defined by the finest grade of finish materials in the world. Designed by renowned interior designer and luxury coach owner Karen B. Horton, the fine detail of every item that has gone into the US$2.5 million Platinum Plus really has to be seen to be believed.  Read More

smart fortwo goes electric

July 13, 2006 The most logical fossil-fueled car on the market to convert to an electric car, the iconic smart fortwo, looks set to be finally available as a plug-in EV thanks to an announcement overnight in the UK. The UK has been selected to run a market trial for the introduction of a fully electric version of the popular two-seater car, with the smart ev (electric vehicle) set to make its debut at the British Motorshow at ExCeL on July 18. The smart ev sets a new benchmark in the electric vehicle sector; it has 30kW output and a top speed of 70 mph. It offers even better in-town performance than its petrol powered stablemate, with 0-30 mph in 6.5 seconds. With a range of up to 72 miles, the smart ev is exempt from vehicle excise duty and congestion charge in the UK.  Read More

The World’s Fastest Police HUMMER

July 12, 2006 Born from a military vehicle and the most prominent symbol of America's global military dominance, the HUMMER does not require more testosterone, but hey, boys will be boys. German automotive performance house Geiger specialises in American cars and outrageous one-offs, and is hence accustomed to unusual customer requests. So the request from a Texas sheriff to turn his personal emergency vehicle into the world’s fastest police HUMMER represented a special challenge and one which was approached with pride. The resultant vehicle is now bound for the U.S.A and sports a supercharged 7.0-liter engine with 700 hp (515 kW). As if that’s not enough, the black and white HUMMER H2 has a brutal torque output which peaks at 904 Nm at 4,260 rpm and surely slingshots the beastie to its electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h. That should be fast enough for the sheriff to catch just about any speedster ... though we suspect few people would wish to have this sheriff on their case.  Read More

New Mercedes-Benz SLR '722 Edition'

July 11, 2006 Mercedes-Benz has released a new 337 km/h 650 hp "722 Edition" variant of its SLR super sports car paying homage to the famous 1955 Mille Miglia victory by Stirling Moss in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with the starting number 722. The new 722 accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in only 3.6 seconds, and 200 km/h is reached in just 10.2 seconds. Refined in numerous respects over the standard SLR, this super sports car has more output, a tailor-made suspension configuration and a decidedly sporty interior. A parallel announcement was the foundation of a worldwide "SLR. Club" which will be based at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, southern France. As an ultra-exclusive community of which SLR customers automatically become members, the SLR Club will provide numerous benefits including an SLR Safety & Speed Academy driver training with instructors such as David Coulthard, Jochen Mass, Klaus Ludwig, Chris Goodwin and Christina Surer among the instructors.  Read More

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