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Automotive

Audi triumphs with TDI diesel at Le Mans 24 hour

June 18, 2006 AUDI AG has written an important chapter in the history of motor racing with its historic triumph in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. The new Audi R10 TDI was the first diesel car to win arguably the toughest car race in the world. In front of a record crowd of 235,000 spectators, Frank Biela (Germany), Emanuele Pirro (Italy) and Marco Werner (Germany) clinched the sixth and most important Le Mans win for Audi so far. Dindo Capello (Italy), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland) also achieved a podium in finishing third overall.  Read More

General Motors debuts panoramic windscreen

June 18, 2006 General Motors’ Astra range is available across the world under different brand names which are comfortably familiar to the locals such as Ion (planned for U.S.), Opel (Europe), Vauxhall (UK) and Holden (Australia), yet benefit from the best of GM's worldwide design capability such as the TwinTop. One innovation certain to have all countries holding their breath will be the new UK-only-at-this-stage Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch which is now available with a Panoramic windscreen. After an initial run on GTC models, the Panoramic roof will be available as an UKP850 (1250 Euro) option across the Astra Sport Hatch range. The windscreen is made of heat-absorbing glass and extends backwards past the driver’s head, to offer what GM claims is “an unusual yet stimulating driving experience, and a feeling of freedom from behind the wheel.” An electric blind can be slid forward should you crave some more shade. Extensive image section.  Read More

Audi's new magnetic semi-active suspension system

June 18, 2006 The Audi TT is a cult car, an icon –from the day it made its debut, in autumn 1998, it took the sports coupe segment by storm, sharpening the brand's profile in the process. We reported on the coming of the second generation of this successful model in April but overlooked one of the most interesting facets of the new machine which uses a completely new form of damping technology developed in conjunction with Delphi that resolves the age-old conflict between comfort and driving dynamics without countenancing any of the otherwise unavoidable compromises. As a continuously adaptive system, it adapts the damping characteristic to the profile of the road and the driver's gear-shifting habits within just a few milliseconds. The shock absorber pistons on the TT do not contain conventional oil, but a magneto-rheological fluid – a synthetic hydrocarbon oil in which microscopically small magnetic particles measuring between three and ten microns are enclosed. When a voltage is applied to a coil – by means of a pulse delivered by a control unit – a magnetic field is created in which the alignment of the particles changes. They position themselves transversely to the direction of flow of the oil, and so inhibit its flow through the piston channels. This alters the characteristic of the damping characteristic much faster than is the case in conventional adaptive dampers.  Read More

Peugeot unveils V12 HDi DPFS diesel motor

June 16 2006 A year ago this week, Peugeot announced its decision to take up a new technological challenge: to win the Le Mans 24 Hours race with a car powered by an HDi diesel engine. Though much of the potential thunder of winning in a diesel has been usurped by the already dominant perfrormanc eof the Audi disel race cars this year, Peugeot intends to use the race effort to showcase its brand values: reliability, dynamic performance, style illustrated by the feline lines and, finally, innovation expressed, amongst other means, by the use of environmentally friendly technology. The level of performance expected – more than 515kW (700 bhp) of power and a torque output greater than 1.200 Nm – is without precedent in a diesel engine and is a direct result of Peugeot’s current level of know-how in diesel technology, linked to the mechanical characteristics of the V12.  Read More

Audi TDI diesel claims Le Mans pole

June 16, 2006 The Le Mans 24 Hour race will be held this weekend and as we’ve been suggesting for some time, there’s a big chance that the brutally fast Audi R10 TDI will create history becoming the first diesel to win the legendary event and marking a changing of the guard in motor-racing. We've previously reported on the development of the world's fastest diesel car and the R10's first big win at Sebring in March, but Just to make Le Mans even more worthwhile following, both 650-hp diesel Audi R10 TDI cars will start from the front row on Saturday at 1700 hrs French time, having qualified a whopping two seconds faster than any of the petrol-engined competitors. The race can be followed live on the internet.  Read More

Renault presents research into fuel cells

June 14, 2006 Renault will be presenting the progress it has made in fuel cell research at the 16th World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Lyons, France this week. The presentations will illustrate Renault's decision to opt for vehicles powered by fuel cells with reformers in order to apply hydrogen energy to the automobile. This technology directly produces the hydrogen on demand and on board the vehicle, solving the problem of very high-pressure or cryogenic storage. Since 2002, Renault, Nissan and Nuvera Fuel Cells have been working together on this solution, which can be used immediately, without waiting for a hydrogen distribution network to be established.  Read More

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

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