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Fiat twin cylinder 875cc engine wins International Engine of the Year

Fiat’s new TwinAir engine has scooped the 2011 International Engine of the Year competition, winning the major gong for engine of the year, plus three other awards including the Best New Engine 2011, Best Green Engine 2011 and Best Engine of less than 1,000 cc. The twin cylinder 875 cc engine is currently only available in a turbocharged 85 bhp configuration in the Fiat 500 and will soon also be available in the Chrysler Ypsilon, but non-turbo 65 bhp, turbo 105 bhp and 80 bhp turbo bi-fuel versions are all due this year. The TwinAir’s most distinguishing technological feature is the electro-hydraulic valve control, and a balancing countershaft to reduce vibration. Interestingly, nine of the twelve awards went to turbocharged engines.  Read More

Volkswagen's third generation Beetle

The new Beetle greeted audiences across the world in a truly global launch today. The “people’s car” entered its third generation simultaneously in Shanghai, Berlin and New York, with 22.5 million units sold over 73 years. The new Beetle comes with a choice of three engines: a more fuel-efficient version of the 2.5L five cylinder petrol engine, a 2.0L TDI and a 2.0L TSI turbocharged petrol engine, the latter two offered with an optional six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission. The sporty 2.0L TSI also comes with an XDS cross (limited-slip) differential which electronically monitors input from various wheel sensors and, in the event of wheel spin, feeds additional torque to the wheels with most traction. The newest Beetle is 3.3 inches wider and six inches longer and will hit showrooms in North America in September, Europe in October and Asia next February.
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The Volkswagen Bulli Concept

Volkswagen has had two of the most loved models in the history of the automobile, both originally built on the same chassis. It's not surprising then, that the company keeps reprising them, bringing their relevance into focus. The latest evolution of the iconic Microbus/Kombi wagon surfaced in Geneva. The new 'Bulli' concept offers a flexible layout, seating for six, a 40 kWh lithium-ion battery, an 85 kW electric motor with 260 Nm torque,140 km/h (87 mph) top speed and a range of 300 km (186 miles). There's still not enough range just yet for a serious escape vehicle – if there's no electricity available where you're going, you're on a 90 mile leash – but suitable as an urban electric all-purpose vehicle.  Read More

The Volkswagen XL1 protoype

At the dawn of the millennium, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, who is today Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, set his sights on creating a practical everyday use production car with a fuel consumption of 1.0 liter per 100 km (235 mpg). In 2002 a prototype VW 1-Litre was unveiled, which was followed in 2009 by the second-generation model, dubbed the L1, which boasted a combined diesel fuel consumption figure of 1.38-liter/100 km (170 mpg). As impressive as that figure is, the company has now managed to squeeze a combined fuel consumption of just 0.9-liter/100 km (261 mpg) with its third-generation VW 1-Litre prototype – the XL1.  Read More

Dakar 2011 - VW, KTM, Kamaz, Red Bull again

The Arab world has a new sporting superstar following the success of Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah in winning the 2011 Dakar Rally – the longest and toughest motor race in the world. Al Attiyah headed a 1-2-3 finish for Volkswagen’s TDI diesel Touareg 3 race cars, while the usual suspects fought a tooth-and-nail battle on KTMs for the laurels – Depres and Coma battled throughout the event on times with Coma besting last year's winner at the end. In the truck section, Kamaz's Vladimir Chagin repeated last year's win while Red Bull sponsored the three major category winners for the third year in a row – we're not sure what that means but it's quite some feat.  Read More

The Blue Jeans Car

It's the third best-selling car in history, behind only the Volkswagen Beetle and Model T Ford, selling more than eight million units in over 100 countries. It was manufactured or assembled in 28 different countries over a third of a century before finally ceasing production in 1994. In Spain, it was nicknamed "Cuatro Latas", in the former Yugoslavia it was called "Katcra", in Tunisia it was referred to as the "Monastir", in Zimbabwe it was known as the Noddy Car, in Argentina it earned the nickname "El Correcaminos", in Finland the "Tiparellu" and in Italy, the "Frog". Got it yet? Happy birthday to the ...  Read More

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Whether it be the world’s fastest car or the world’s strongest beer, the old maxim that “competition improves the breed” seems to hold true. Volkswagen spent an extraordinary amount of money, time and effort creating the 408 km/h (254 mph), 1001bhp Bugatti Veyron in 2005 – it knocked off the 387.37 km/h (240.7 mph) record set by Koenigsegg’s CCR to become the fastest, most powerful and most expensive car ever built. Then SSC came along with the Ultimate Aero TT to set a new world mark of 412.28 km/h (256.18 mph). Now Bugatti’s new 1200 bhp, completely re-engineered Veyron Super Sport has pushed the record to 431 km/h ... an identical top speed to the world's fastest production train.  Read More

The E-Beetle in Vancouver

Despite the stunningly futuristic looks and high technology of cars such as the Aptera, practical electric vehicles don’t need to be exotic. Take, for instance, the E-Beetle. It’s a 1972 VW Beetle, which a group of students from the University of British Columbia Electric Car Club retrofitted with an electric motor. They had originally intended to enter it in the Zero Race, in which teams in electric cars are racing each other around the world. Once they realized they couldn’t make the deadline, however, they settled for a more modest goal – to drive it 6,400 km. (3,977 miles) across Canada... and they’re almost done.  Read More

Up close and personal with SAIC's Yez Concept Car

A few days ago, I managed to get up close and personal in Shanghai with one of the most interesting concept cars the world has yet seen. SAIC's Yez concept car is the first automobile, concept or otherwise, that's ever been conceived to have a negative carbon footprint. That is, it removes more pollution than it creates.  Read More

Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger

Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger has taken out the International Engine of the Year Award for the second year running. The engine, which punches above its weight via the use of a combined turbocharger and supercharger, is only the third to take out the overall award in consecutive years (BMW in 05-06 with its 5-litre V10 and again in 07-08 with its 3-litre twin turbo). Other winners in the 2010 Awards included Fiat with its 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine (New Engine of the Year), Toyota with the 1.8-liter electric-motor-boosted hybrid from the Prius (Green Engine of the Year) and Mercedes-AMG with its 6.2-liter V8 engine (Best Performance Engine and Above 4-liter title). BMW also featured prominently picking up four gongs.  Read More

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