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Brabus Rocket takes title of World's Fastest Sedan with 362.4 km/h run

June 28, 2006 German Performance vehicle manufacturer Brabus has pushed its own world record for the world’s fastest sedan from 350.2 km/h (set by the 298,000 euro 640 bhp Brabus E V12 Biturbo earlier this year) to an incredible 362.4 km/h set at Nardo in Southern Italy by the 348,000-euro (US$437,575) Brabus Rocket, a new small-series production vehicle based on the new Mercedes CLS series. The heart of the new record car is the twin-turbo V12 engine from the latest Mercedes 600 models, suitably worked to increase displacement to 6.233 litres and with a maximum power output of 730 bhp (537 kW) at 5,100 rpm. The engine is capable of producing a peak torque figure of 1,320 Nm, but is limited electronically to 1,100 Nm, available from a low 2,100 rpm, all the way through the range. The Brabus Rocket accordingly accelerates like there’s no tomorrow, particularly given its luxury girth, achieving 0-100 km/h in 4.0 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 10.5 seconds, 0-300 km/h in 29.5 seconds, and just so you don’t do anything silly, the car is limited electronically for street-legal operation to 350 km/h. Extensive image library and full story on this outrageous four door “family sedan.”  Read More

USB audio interface for Volkswagen models

June 27, 2006 Volkswagen is well known for its futuristic outlook and in keeping with this it has become the first manufacturer to make a USB audio interface module available across a wide range of Volkswagen vehicles. The USB module is a versatile music and data source that allows users to connect USB sticks and portable media players to the vehicle's audio system and listen to music without carrying CDs in the car. Available across Europe for the current Volkswagen Golf, Golf Plus, Jetta, Touran and Passat and the new Eos, the product is distributed exclusively via VW's accessories arm, Volkswagen Individual, as an aftermarket option.  Read More

The new Mercedes-Benz CL-Class luxury coupe

June 27, 2006 The launch of the new CL-Class in autumn 2006 will see the latest iteration of the Mercedes-Benz coupe lineage which now stretches back 50 years. The luxury two-door traditionally combines exclusivity, design and cutting-edge technology and this latest version raises the bar in vehicle safety with the PRE-SAFE brakes - a system that automatically brakes the Coupe before an imminent rear-end collision. Furthermore, Mercedes innovations such as the Active Body Control (ABC) suspension system, the Intelligent Light System with five lighting functions and PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection all come as standard. Buyers have the choice of 8 or 12 cylinder engines, both delivering a notable increase in output and torque.  Read More

The new Land Rover Freelander 2

June 25, 2006 Land Rover’s all-new Freelander 2 looks set to seriously shake up the compact premium 4x4 class following it’s world unveiling on Friday. New from the ground up, the Freelander 2 delivers outstanding on-road performance as well as the off-road ability of a true Land Rover. A dynamic design, purposeful stance, smart and spacious interior, and an abundance of advanced technologies complete the package. Land Rover is claiming a superior “total breadth of capability” for the new Freelander 2.  Read More

Mercedes-Benz Telephone Module with Bluetooth offers new telephoning freedom

June 23, 2006 Mercedes-Benz new telephone module with Bluetooth (SAP-Profile) software offers a new level of freedom for mobile phone users, as it enables a mobile telephone to remain in the user’s jacket pocket or handbag. Once registered, the Bluetooth (SAP-Profile)-compatible mobile telephone is recognized by the new system as soon as it comes within range of the vehicle. Due to the SAP-Profile software (SIM Access Profile), the module automatically accesses the SIM card. In addition, access is also possible to the internal memories of specific mobile phones. This means that the user is not only able to telephone, but can also search for a stored number or read an SMS. All these functions can be safely and user-friendly controlled by the driver via the multifunction steering wheel, the audio system and the central display in the instrument cluster.  Read More

The New BMW M6 Convertible

June 20, 2006 The world-famous performance division of BMW, M GmbH today unveiled the BMW M6 Convertible, continuing its tradition of producing ultra-performance luxury vehicles for the genuine motoring enthusiast. In terms of performance, it’s just the open air version of one of the world’s most capable performance vehicles. It shares all the same features as the M6 Coupe, including the back-to-back Engine Of The Year 5.0-litre V10, the variable M Differential Lock, the M Power button, Electronic Damper Control, new generation Dynamic Stability Control, Head-Up Display, a Sequential M Gearbox (SMG) complete with Drivelogic, a suspension developed for supreme dynamics and lap times on the longer Nordschleife loop of the fabled Nurburgring circuit are almost as fast as in the Coupe. The M6 Convertible immediately slots into the top bracket of the most desirable open sports cars available.  Read More

Mazda MX-5 gets electrically-retractable hard top

June 20, 2006 Mazda will use the 2006 British International Motor Show (July 18-30) to publicly debut a new version of its top-selling Mazda MX-5 Miata equipped with a powered retractable hard top roof. Now in its 17th year of production and third generation of design, the MX-5 is already the top selling sports car of all time and can be expected to get a significant lease of life with the newfound convenience of an electrical hardtop.  Read More

Grand Challenge winner talks autonomous robotic vehicles of the future

June 19, 2006 Those who had a passing interest in the DARPA Grand Challenge and the field of autonomous robotics will no doubt be interested to learn of AutoBlog’s recent article reporting on Dr. Sebastian Thrun's keynote presentation at the 2006 Sensors Expo. Thrun you may recall, was the project leader of Stanford University’s Volkswagen-based autonomous vehicle (aka Stanley) which won DARPA’s Grand Challenge for autonomous vehicles, hence ensuring himself a place in history. Apart from being director of Stanford's Artificial Intelligence Lab and Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, we believe that robotics will become so ubiquitous one day, Thrun's work will be regarded as landmark in the same way that the Wright Brothers first flight is revered. Thrun openly discussed Stanley’s technology and even gets into the future of autonomous navigation on the roads.  Read More

General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and BMW premiere two-mode hybrid technology

June 19, 2006 UPDATED with extensive image and diagram library Details of the hybrid drive system under co-development by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and BMW have been released and the new system is quite a technological feat due to the full integration of electric motors with a fixed-gear transmission. As a result of its low- and high-speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, the system is commonly referred to as the 2-mode hybrid. The system also incorporates four fixed gear ratios for high efficiency and power-handling capabilities. During the two ECVT modes and four fixed gear operations, the hybrid system can use the electric motors for boosting and regenerative braking. Traditional “one-mode” hybrid systems typically have only one torque-splitting arrangement and no fixed mechanical ratios. Due to their less capable mechanical content, one-mode hybrids need to transmit a significant amount of power through an electrical path that is 20 percent less efficient than a mechanical path. Working collaboratively, the group has conceived a full hybrid system featuring four fixed mechanical ratios, within the two ECVT modes, to reduce power transmission through the less efficient electrical path. Consequently, the electric motors are more compact and less dependent on engine size.  Read More

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

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