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Automotive

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

Mater the trusty tow truck

May 23, 2006 We’ve written previously about some of the real automobiles created by Eddie Paul for Pixar/Disney’s latest animated blockbuster movie Cars. First there was the incredibly cute Sally Carrera Porsche, and now there’s Mater the trusty tow truck, Mater (voiced by LARRY THE CABLE GUY in the movie). Mater was the last of the real metal and rubber vehicles created to match the animations, and rolled out of Eddie’s studio last week. Not a bad likeness heh?  Read More

New Entry-Level Porsche Cayman announced

May 23, 2006 Porsche has announced an entry level version of the Cayman S which recently won the 2006 World Performance Car title. Based on the Boxster, the new version of the mid-engined sports coupe is a more accessible version of the Cayman S, with a base price under US$50,000. The new Cayman is powered by a 2.7-liter six-cylinder Boxer engine producing 245 horsepower. Using the VarioCam Plus system, the Cayman provides a broad spread of usable power, with a plateau of torque peaking at 201 foot-pounds between 4,600 and 6,000 revs. In manual form, the new Cayman will go from standstill to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds (0-100 km/h, 6.1 sec) with a top speed of 160 mph (258 km/h).  Read More

The 100 most reliable cars of the last decade (in order)

In these pages we focus on design, breakthroughs, enabling technologies and concepts and it’s rare that we look at product that has been in the marketplace for some time, much less second-hand product. But when we saw what a UK automotive warranty company was up to, we know you'll agree that it’s worth a mention. As a privately owned insurance intermediary, the firm collects lots of data about warranty issues – something you’ll never find out from the only other people who have access to the information (the manufacturers). In a very clever move, it has taken this secondary data and produced a reliability index – an independent comparison of frequency of failure across the 55,000 vehicles it insures. Read on for a list of the 100 most reliable used cars over the past decade. And before you take a peek, have a guess at where the best Japanese, German, Swedish, British, Korean and French-built cars will rank. You won’t even come close!  Read More

How to force local councils to remove speed humps

May 17, 2006 If you’re one of those people who object to speed humps and believe there are more effective and less neanderthal ways to slow traffic, take heart from the victory this week of a campaign organized by local residents in the town of Yate in South Gloucestershire (UK) which will see speed humps removed from its roads. The campaign website distributed downloadable bumper stickers (pictured) and in conjunction with intensive campaigning by residents and assistance from the Association of British Drivers, the council has been forced to execute a 'U' turn and order the removal of the humps as a matter of priority. The council will instead install a pedestrian crossing and vehicle-activated speed limit warning signs.  Read More

The naked Audi A8 from mtm

May 17, 2006 If you’ve got it, why not flaunt it? The Audi A8 is one of the most beautiful motors on the planet for many reasons, amongst them its aluminium body, so German automotive technicians mtm decided to highlight this by removing the paint, polishing the entire body and then using clear varnish to minimise oxidation and other environmental impact. All the external plastic bits were treated with a special chroming process to match the aluminium colour. All manner of additional upgrades are available with the polishing, from speed dependent height adjustment for the air-spring suspension to a turbocharger tucked in between the cylinder banks of the 4.2 litre V8. Yes we think it’s magnificent BUT … given the chances of the duco being scratched in a car park if left unattended, and the cost of replicating the process to bring the car back to brand spanking, the car warrants a full-time bodyguard.  Read More

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