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2008 Paris Motor Show round-up

As the curtain falls on the Paris Motor Show for 2008 we take a look back at some of the biggest surprises and brightest innovations to emerge from this massive global automotive extravaganza. As a starting point it's hard to go past Lamborghini, which emulated its 2007 most-talked-about crown by showing its Estoque concept. As a mid-engined four-door coupé with a V10 motor and permanent four-wheel drive, it's not really eco-inspired but a weapon to behold for the family man. Mazda definitely made our short-list for the most striking design with the aerodynamic Kiyora Urban compact and Citroen also floated some compelling concepts including the colorful Hypnos luxury hybrid crossover and the virtual-meets-real-world GTbyCITROEN which will appear on-screen in the next installment of Gran Turismo.  Read More

MIN Crossover Concept to debut in Paris

Previews from the upcoming Paris Motor Show keep rolling in, this time from MINI in the form what it calls a 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 Crossover Concept design study - four doors, four drive wheels, four single seats and four meters long. With the wheels pushed to the corners and familiar styling it looks like a MINI, but the unique four is the doors - three of the doors are stock standard but the rear drivers' side door slides backwards. The rear door also swivels to one side to ease process of getting your gear into a MINI which boasts more storage space than any other. If the reaction to the debut is positive there's a good chance it will hit the showroom floor in the not too distant future.  Read More

Mazda’s Smart Idle Stop System uses Direct Injection Engine Technology

September 9, 2008 The imperatives of better fuel economy and reduced emissions are breeding some fascinating developments of the good ol’ Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). One of the most logical ideas could have been invented by any schoolboy – turn off the engine when it isn’t being used. VW was the first to trial the idea and BMW, MINI, smart, Citroen and Peugeot have followed suit, all using electrical power to restart the engine, requiring beefed up starting systems to cope with ever-more-congested urban conditions (25% of European driving time is now spent at standstill). Now Mazda has come up with a better idea - restarting the engine through combustion. Mazda’s system initiates engine restart by injecting fuel directly into the cylinder while the engine is stopped, and igniting it to generate downward piston force.  Read More

Honda's 2009 CRF450R

Honda's CRF450R motocross bike has been hugely successful since its launch in 2002 - and although the bike is already recognized as the class leader, it's receiving a kitchen-sink included upgrade for 2009. Lighter, quicker, more powerful and with even tighter mass centralization for quick handling, the 2009 CRF450R also sports a Honda first - battery-free, programmable fuel injection that raises output power and control while dramatically reducing fuel consumption. Out of the box, Honda says it's two seconds faster around a supercross track than this year's bike.  Read More

MINI's new Clubman

August 2, 2007 Mini seems very keen to pack all the technology it can into the newest addition to its range – the Mini Cooper Clubman. Almost but not quite a Mini wagon, the Clubman seats five in relative comfort, with a backwards-opening barn door behind the passenger door opening out to give your friends some sense of dignity as they climb into the back seats. The Clubman also features run-flat tyres, smart regenerative braking and a clever fuel-saving system that automatically stops the engine when you’re sitting at the lights in neutral with the clutch out, firing it back to life in an instant the minute you put the clutch down. Twin rear doors, each with its own windscreen wiper, finally give the Mini a decent carrying capacity, but the extra space doesn’t get in the way of the model’s famous go-kart style handling. Safety-wise, the cabin is packed with airbags from all directions, ABS, Electronic Brake Distribution, Cornering Brake Control, Stability Control and a hill assist system that stops the Clubman from rolling backwards on hill starts. A technophile’s delight, the car even provides a real-time analysis of what gear you should be in for maximum fuel efficiency. Dear Mini designers, it appears you’ve left out the kitchen sink…  Read More

MINI tops U.K. retained values list

July 20, 2007 The MINI has topped the Lex retained values list for second-hand automobiles in the U.K. for the second year running, beating out a long list of seemingly far more prestigious vehicles. The Lex listing looks at how much each model will be worth in the second hand market after a typical three year/60,000 mile contract and the MINI had the highest retained value at 54%, taking out top single car honours. Viewed by brand name, Audi was the most coveted used car brand according to the data compiled by the UK’s leading leasing company. Last year's results can be found here.  Read More

The revised MINI Cooper D - 72.4mpg, regenerative braking, auto Start-Stop

May 31, 2007 MINI hatch models are to receive technological revisions later this year, resulting in jaw-dropping performance and efficiency figures. The MINI Cooper D will be capable of returning an astonishing 72.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 104 g/km, thanks to regenerative braking, auto Start-Stop functionality and a Switch Point Display – all of which will come at no extra cost.  Read More

The MINI Cooper D

January 19, 2007 The words Mini and Cooper go together but have traditionally been associated with powerful petrol engines – so prepare the system for a shock because the famous brand is about to have a diesel variant. The Cooper D boasts performance and fuel efficiency from an all-new 1.6-litre 110hp turbodiesel powerplant that promises to be the most fuel-efficient and cleanest MINI ever built. In comparison to the outgoing MINI One D’s combined fuel consumption of 58.9mpg, the Cooper D is capable of 64.2mpg.  Read More

MINI back to Bathurst for the 40th Anniversary of its Historic Win

September 27, 2006 It was one of the most famous victories of its era, and both Bob Holden and Rauno Aaltonen remember their Bathurst victory with much delight. The 1966 event was especially sweet for Aaltonen as the BMC Works drivers had won the Monte Carlo Rally for the third time in a row - claiming first, second and third placings - only to be disqualified on a dubious technicality concerning headlamp globes. Forty years on from its epic win at the Gallagher 500 race at Mount Panorama, Holden will return to Bathurst to lap the famous track on Sunday 8 October 2006. Holden is now 74 and still a competitive racer and has raced at the mountain circuit 34 times, driving MINIs and Escorts in circuit racing and rallying and he raced a V8 Ute at Bathurst earlier this year and will drive a new MINI Cooper S at the reenactment.  Read More

The 640 bhp MINI QED plug-in EV

September 4, 2006 Q.E.D. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum" which means, "which was to be demonstrated". In simple terms, it indicates that something has been definitively proven. Accordingly, the MINI QED electric hybrid is aptly named as it dispels any doubts about the validity of in-hub electric motors playing their part in the future of the automobile. PML FlightLink designs and manufacture electric motors, EV drive systems, joystick controls and controllers and bespoke motors for specialist applications and the MINI QED was built to showcase their expertise in wheelmotors, with a view to supplying what we expect will be a booming market in electric vehicle applications over coming decades. The result is a MINI with four times the horsepower of a Cooper S, supercar performance and the prospects of some very serious EVs in the near future. The QED is a ripper, using four 120kW (160bhp) wheel motors complete with invertors to convert momentum back into stored energy under brakes. With one on each corner you have Ferrari-like power and very controllable independent drive on all four wheels. In the MINI QED, this package offers a 0-60mph time of 3.7 seconds and a 150mph top speed – supercar territory. An on-board petrol engined generator offers enough electrons to run continuously at motorway speeds without depleting the battery, and you can plug it in at night and commute in full electric mode if you wish.  Read More

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