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2011 VW Touareg TDI 4MOTION Review & Test Drive 15
Sep

‘KEEPING IT CLEAN AND LUXURIOUS’ 

The second generation all-new 2011 Volkswagen Touareg combines cutting-edge German design, even more versatility and an array of standard features, all while providing a combination of usability and world-class engineering that you and your passengers have become familiar with in other Volkswagen vehicles.

The class changing 2011 Touareg three powertrain choices for 2011 including Volkwagen’s first-ever world-wide use of a hybrid engine.  All three engines-the 3.0 liter V6 TSI supercharged hybrid, the 3.0 liter V6 TDI clean diesel and the 3.6 liter V6 FSI gasoline-are mated to Volkswagen’s first eight-speed automatic transmission, along with Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system.

I tested the 3.0 liter V6 TDI clean diesel that generates 220hp at 3,500 to 4,000rpm and a healthy 405lb.ft. of torque at just 1,750 to 2,250rpm while delivering class-leading fuel economy of 28mpg/highway and 19mpg/city.  It also gives greater power and torque versus a similarly-sized gasoline engine and super-clean 50 state legal emissions.

A special DeNOx catalytic, augmented by a special injection system that sprays a synthetic urea-based solution (AdBlue) into the exhaust, helps reduce Nox emissions by up to 90%, and lets the engine meet the Tier 2, Bin 5/ULEV II standards imposed across all 50 states.  It is much quieter than before with little chatter. The all-new 2011 Touareg TDI comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission with 7th and 8th gears laid out as fuel-efficient gears.  The 8th gear reduces Engine speed by 33% and compared to 6th gear, which reduces fuel consumption and significantly lowers emissions.  This new transmission is a powerful match for the TDI’s 406lb.ft. of torque.  It runs smoothly and quietly and helps the TDI model easily tow up to 7,700lbs. when equipped with the factory-installed tow package.

The design changes in the all-new 2011 Touareg resulted in a reduction of approximately 350lbs., from last year’s model, creating a more responsive and precise driving experience.  The Touareg’s optimized running gear offers very good vibration control and ride comfort, a low roll angle, responsive handling and excellent dynamic stability.

The Touareg utilizes aluminum in its double-wishbone front suspension setup including steel coil springs for strength, which also helped with reducing the weight of the truck.  The rear 4-link independent suspension also features steel coil springs for increased strength.  Gas charged shocks at all four wheels and front and rear stabilizer bars further reduce on or off road harshness and help with stability during cornering and high speed driving.

The Touareg’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is mated to a rear limited-slip Torsen differential.  The pairing results in 40:60 distribution of the propulsive force between the front and rear axles to improve the vehicle’s weight and efficiency while improving overall driving dynamics.  The steering of the new Touareg is configured as standard speed-dependent hydraulic rack steering system with variable ratio.  The ratio is more directly configured across the entire steering stroke compared to the previous model.  It is nicely weighted and gives fast response to your inputs with a great feel for the road.

Slowing the all-new Touareg down from speed are large 13 inch vented disc brakes at each wheel.  The front wheels feature four-piston calipers and the rear wheels rotors are gripped with dual-piston calipers.  Keeping you in control during severe braking maneuvers are standard ABS and ESC.

The new Touareg TDI Lux trim level that I tested rode on Everest 19×8 inch alloy wheels wrapped with 265/50R19in. all-season radial tires for excellent grip and a smooth ride.

The exterior changes to the 2011 Touareg reflect the refinements under the hood.  Compared to last year’s model, the 2011 Touareg is wider and has a shorter overall height for a stronger presence.  A longer wheelbase and great length provide more room inside the cabin, while the used of new materials and other adjustments have removed approximately 350lbs. from the vehicle.

At the front is a narrower grille opening that seamlessly connects to the trapezoidal headlight housing that carry U-shaped LED running lights and Bi-Xenon high intensity gas-charged headlamps.  The housings flow into the new fender flares, and a pair of compact foglamps at the lower portion of the front fascia stand underneath the Touareg’s front air intakes.

The hood features a raised portion that runs from the grille back, finishing at the side mirrors and giving a more muscular appearance.  A chrome accent strip carries from behind the front wheels, and runs along the bottom of the doors to complement the chrome touches bordering the windows.

The back of the Touareg is defined with pronounced curves around the hatch area, new ‘L-Design’ taillights, and a blacked out lower bumper with a set of shaped chrome exhaust tips.  Another new design feature is the standard automatically opening and closing power tailgate that be operated from the inside, at the tailgate itself or through the remote control on the fully redesigned keyfob.

The new Touareg’s interior has also been refined with a focus on comfort and functionality.  Cabin noise has been reduced through optimized insulation and acoustics.

The greater use of curves and further attention to details on the door and dash trim coincide with redesigned leather seating surfaces for five, and cross-stitching on all panels and surfaces.  Both the front and rear passengers can enjoy great legroom with the Touareg’s new overall dimensions and fully adjustable seats, while the rear seatback can be folded from a release in the luggage compartment for more storage and convenience.

When looking up at the roof, you and your passengers will enjoy the new panoramic sunroof which is a full 350% larger than the sunroof in last year’s model.  A ventilated power release wind deflector eliminates turbulence and associated noise to help ensure a quiet drive even when the sunroof is open.

A seven inch display located between the main gauges in the instrument cluster provides you with the latest vehicle status information, including turn-by-turn navigation directions, information from the important engine systems and more.

Also standard is VW’s new premium RNS850 touch screen radio-navigation system.  It features a large eight inch color screen with DVD/CD player that has MP3 playback, Bluetooth, satellite/AM-FM stereo radio, along with a 60GB hard drive with 18GB of space to upload media.  Located conveniently in the glovebox is access for iPod or auxiliary input, SD cards, and DVD drive.  Also standard is power-adjustable front bucket seats, tilt/telescoping/leather wrapped steering wheel, climatronic dual-zone AC, burl walnut and silver metallic interior inlays on the center console, dashboard and doors.  All of the touch points are soft giving the interior that ‘luxury’ feel and look.

More standard features in the Lux model I tested but not mentioned above include cruise control, anti-theft alarm, review camera, front sensors, Homelink, power windows with front express up/down, power door locks, rear side and tailgate privacy glass, grab handles above each door, dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors, map pockets behind front seatbacks, power adjustable/heated sideview mirrors, self-dimming reaview mirror, rain-sensing, variable intermittent front wipers/washers, rear washer/wiper, silver roof rails, 115 power outlet and four 12-volt outlets, front/rear carpeted floor mats, and 60/40 split folding/heated rear seat with pull-down dual cup holders.

Standard safety features include driver/front passenger airbags, driver/front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with front load limiters/pretensioners, LATCH system for child seats, rear door child safety locks, front/rear crush zones, and steel beams in each door.

The all-new 2011 VW Touareg TDI Lux is definitely a notch higher than last year’s model with more rugged looks, excellent powertrain mechanicals and an interior that gets a needed upgrade all around.

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COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base VW Touareg TDI $47,950 / As-Tested VW Touareg TDI Lux Package $51,800.00
  • Engine: 3.0-liter Turbodiesel V6 225 horsepower @ 3500 rpm / 406 ft-lbs. torque @ 1750 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
  • Drive: Full time 4WD
  • Wheelbase: 113.9in.
  • Track: f/r-64.9/65.7in.
  • Total length: 188.8/76.4/68.2in.
  • Fuel tank: 26.4 gallons
  • Turning circle: 39ft.
  • Approach angle: 26
  • Departure angle: 26
  • Breakover angle: 21
  • Fording depth: 19in.
  • Ground clearance: 7.9in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.6/38.9in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.4/36.7in.
  • Cargo volume: rear seats down-64cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: rear seats up-32.1cu.ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 19mpg/city, 28mpg/highway


Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, SUV, Test Drives, Volkswagen, featured on 09 15th, 2011
Lexus LFA’s ‘Ring Record Falls 15
Sep

A Dodge Viper ACR-X, not the Viper ACR that set the record. Image: Chrysler Group

Just last week we brought you confirmation that a Lexus LFA, equipped with the Nürburgring package, had set a new lap record for a production car around Germany’s Green Hell. Prior to the LFA’s run, the record Nordschleife time, from bridge to gantry, was 7:18, set by a Porsche 911 GT2 RS on race tires. The Lexus managed a lap time of 7:14.64, easily beating the Porsche and even beating the boutique Donkervoort D8 RS by a few tenths of a second.

Not so fast, said Chrysler’s SRT group. Wanting to reclaim a position on the Nürburgring lap time list above the Corvette ZR1, SRT “borrowed” two new-old-stock 2010 Dodge Viper ACR’s from Tomball Dodge and shipped them to Mintgen Motosport in Germany for staging. It’s unclear if the cars were modified in any way, but this much is clear: according to SRT, one of the ACR Vipers turned a lap in 7:12.13, which is two and a half seconds faster than the $400k plus Lexus LFA.

There’s no video of the run just yet, but we’re sure it’s coming in the next few days. We’ll get it posted for you as soon as we can.

Source: Jalopnik



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Dodge, News on 09 15th, 2011
Jay Leno, Up Close And Personal With The Pagani Huayra 15
Sep

Horatio Pagani, like Leonardo da Vinci, blends both art and science in creating his masterpieces. Unlike da Vinci, Pagani’s art must meet government approval before it can be released to the masses, and that has a significant impact on his designs. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the Pagani Huayra, which could be the most stunning design in the automotive world today.

The Huayra was influenced by the “shape of the wind,” and by an airplane about to take flight. In a world of lowest cost parts and made-in-China components, the Huayra is a single-digit salute to conformity, and virtually every part in the car is made to Pagani’s borderline obsessive standards. The instruments dials , for example, are made by the same craftsmen that produce some of the finest watch faces in the world. Their cost? About $6,900 per set, compared to around $69 per set for conventional instrument faces.

Just in case that’s not detail-oriented enough for you, the Huayra uses some 1,200 titanium bolts throughout the car, and each one is stamped with the Pagani logo. Titanium thread is uses in the carbon fiber weave of the monocoque, just to make the car’s crash cell stronger. Nothing about the car was determined “too expensive” or “unnecessary” by an accounting department obsessed with the bottom line, and the Huayra may be the last car in the world built with zero compromise.That’s why the price tag is just north of $1.3 million, and the car appears to be worth every penny.

Unlike most episodes of Jay Leno’s Garage, Jay doesn’t drive the Huayra in the video below. Cost aside, the car is not yet street-legal in the United States, as it lacks advanced airbags. Pagani is working on a fix for U.S. customers, but Horatio Pagani himself was kind enough to give Jay Leno a ride in his new masterpiece. Enjoy the latest installment from Jay Leno’s Garage below.

Source: Jay Leno’s Garage



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Jay Leno's Garage, Kurt, Pagani, Pagani Huayra, Videos, video on 09 15th, 2011
Jay Leno, Up Close And Personal With The Pagani Huayra 15
Sep

Horatio Pagani, like Leonardo da Vinci, blends both art and science in creating his masterpieces. Unlike da Vinci, Pagani’s art must meet government approval before it can be released to the masses, and that has a significant impact on his designs. You wouldn’t know it by looking at the Pagani Huayra, which could be the most stunning design in the automotive world today.

The Huayra was influenced by the “shape of the wind,” and by an airplane about to take flight. In a world of lowest cost parts and made-in-China components, the Huayra is a single-digit salute to conformity, and virtually every part in the car is made to Pagani’s borderline obsessive standards. The instruments dials , for example, are made by the same craftsmen that produce some of the finest watch faces in the world. Their cost? About $6,900 per set, compared to around $69 per set for conventional instrument faces.

Just in case that’s not detail-oriented enough for you, the Huayra uses some 1,200 titanium bolts throughout the car, and each one is stamped with the Pagani logo. Titanium thread is uses in the carbon fiber weave of the monocoque, just to make the car’s crash cell stronger. Nothing about the car was determined “too expensive” or “unnecessary” by an accounting department obsessed with the bottom line, and the Huayra may be the last car in the world built with zero compromise.That’s why the price tag is just north of $1.3 million, and the car appears to be worth every penny.

Unlike most episodes of Jay Leno’s Garage, Jay doesn’t drive the Huayra in the video below. Cost aside, the car is not yet street-legal in the United States, as it lacks advanced airbags. Pagani is working on a fix for U.S. customers, but Horatio Pagani himself was kind enough to give Jay Leno a ride in his new masterpiece. Enjoy the latest installment from Jay Leno’s Garage below.

Source: Jay Leno’s Garage



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Jay Leno's Garage, Kurt, Pagani, Pagani Huayra, Videos, video on 09 15th, 2011
Land Rover DC100 Sport 15
Sep

The brand new Land Rover DC100 Sport was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. The DC100 Sport was a surprise reveal alongside the much anticipated DC100 and is one of two concepts that the Land Rover team have confirmed will be put into production for 2015.  Both were revealed to gauge public interest and gather feedback to give Land Rover an idea of which direction to go in for 2015 to avoid rushing into a replacement.

landrover 1 Land Rover DC100 Sport

In comparison to the silver three door 4X4 DC100 demonstrating ‘capability and versatility’, the DC100 Sport is an open-air pick-up version in bright yellow-orange and is described as ‘an active expression of freedom and leisure’.

Under the hood, both concepts use 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines driving all four wheels through a stop/start-equipped eight-speed automatic. However, while the DC100 has a diesel engine, the DC100 Sport has a petrol engine.

Both concepts have a new automatic terrain response system that automatically sets all the driver assist systems sensing the wheel travel, wheelslip, the texture of the ground and a sonar depth-sounder for driving through rivers.

landrover 2 Land Rover DC100 Sport

 



Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in 4X4, Concept Car, Concept car news, Event Coverage, Land Rover DC100, Popular on 09 15th, 2011
Ford’s Fastest Fiesta Debuts In Frankfurt 14
Sep

Ford's Fiesta ST concept. Image: Ford Motor Company

If you like the idea behind the Ford Focus ST, but wanted something a little smaller and lower priced, you may be in luck. Ford is debuting the all-new Fiesta ST concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show, and word is that the project has already been given a green light for production. That’s the good news: the bad news is that the markets the car will be sold in still haven’t been finalized. If you want to see a Fiesta ST in the U.S., now is the time to let Ford know.

Like its big brother the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST gets its power from an EcoBoost engine. In the Fiesta, this is a 1.6-liter engine good for some 177 horsepower and 177 ft-lb of torque. That may not sound like much, but remember that the Fiesta has less than 2,500 pounds of mass to accelerate. Ford claims a respectable 0 to 100 kph time of “under seven seconds,” on the car’s way to a top speed of 135 miles per hour. More good news? The car will only be available with a six-speed manual transmission.

Image: Ford Motor Company

Outside, the Fiesta ST takes its styling cues from the Fiesta RS WRC cars (which come with 600 horsepower ands AWD, but cost around $500,000 each). There’s a body kit, a rear diffuser with dual exhausts, 17-inch wheels, widened wheel arches and a lower stance. The car gets a sport suspension, which most likely translates to lower springs, stiffer dampers and sway bars front and rear.

Inside, expect the Fiesta ST to take styling hints from the Focus ST, including seat inserts that match the car’s exterior color. Driver and front seat passenger get Recaro seats, which should ensure front seat occupants are comfortable and anchored even during spirited driving.

There’s no word yet on pricing, but expect the Fiesta ST to top out the Fiesta range if it’s offered for sale in America. What’s your take? Is the under-$30,000 Ford Focus ST, with its 247 horsepower EcoBoost engine, enough for the U.S. market, or is there room for an under-$24,000 Ford Fiesta ST as well? Let us know what you think.

Source: Ford



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Concept Car, Concept Vehicle, Ford, Ford Fiesta ST, Frankfurt Auto Show, Kurt, News, auto show on 09 14th, 2011
Ford’s Fastest Fiesta Debuts In Frankfurt 14
Sep

Ford's Fiesta ST concept. Image: Ford Motor Company

If you like the idea behind the Ford Focus ST, but wanted something a little smaller and lower priced, you may be in luck. Ford is debuting the all-new Fiesta ST concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show, and word is that the project has already been given a green light for production. That’s the good news: the bad news is that the markets the car will be sold in still haven’t been finalized. If you want to see a Fiesta ST in the U.S., now is the time to let Ford know.

Like its big brother the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST gets its power from an EcoBoost engine. In the Fiesta, this is a 1.6-liter engine good for some 177 horsepower and 177 ft-lb of torque. That may not sound like much, but remember that the Fiesta has less than 2,500 pounds of mass to accelerate. Ford claims a respectable 0 to 100 kph time of “under seven seconds,” on the car’s way to a top speed of 135 miles per hour. More good news? The car will only be available with a six-speed manual transmission.

Image: Ford Motor Company

Outside, the Fiesta ST takes its styling cues from the Fiesta RS WRC cars (which come with 600 horsepower ands AWD, but cost around $500,000 each). There’s a body kit, a rear diffuser with dual exhausts, 17-inch wheels, widened wheel arches and a lower stance. The car gets a sport suspension, which most likely translates to lower springs, stiffer dampers and sway bars front and rear.

Inside, expect the Fiesta ST to take styling hints from the Focus ST, including seat inserts that match the car’s exterior color. Driver and front seat passenger get Recaro seats, which should ensure front seat occupants are comfortable and anchored even during spirited driving.

There’s no word yet on pricing, but expect the Fiesta ST to top out the Fiesta range if it’s offered for sale in America. What’s your take? Is the under-$30,000 Ford Focus ST, with its 247 horsepower EcoBoost engine, enough for the U.S. market, or is there room for an under-$24,000 Ford Fiesta ST as well? Let us know what you think.

Source: Ford



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Concept Car, Concept Vehicle, Ford, Ford Fiesta ST, Frankfurt Auto Show, Kurt, News, auto show on 09 14th, 2011
Let’s Be Careful Out There: 14% Of Drivers Uninsured 14
Sep

Image: Rian Castillo

Let’s be brutally honest with one another: paying for car insurance sucks. It doesn’t make your car go faster, handle better or look dope, and chances are good that you’ll pay into it and never need it. On the other hand, when you need car insurance, you really need car insurance, and that’s when you find out the difference between a “cheap” company and a “good” company.

With 16 percent of Americans now living at the poverty level, something has to give when it comes to car-related costs. Drivers are already putting off repairs and maintenance (which only ramps up their need for good insurance), but they still need to cut expenses wherever possible. In many cases, driving less simply isn’t an option, so the next thing to go away is car insurance.

According to USA Today, one in seven drivers in America today are uninsured, despite 49 of 50 states requiring auto insurance (New Hampshire is the sole hold out). The uninsured driver rate tracks with the unemployment rate, and since that hasn’t gone anywhere but up over the past three years, the number of uninsured motorists has climbed steadily. In states with high unemployment rates, the number of uninsured drivers is even higher: in Michigan, 19 percent of drivers have no insurance, while in Florida, 24 percent of drivers are uninsured. That’s nearly one in four motorists.

While those of us with auto insurance are generally protected by an “uninsured motorist” clause, the cost of covering drivers without insurance comes to nearly $11 billion per year, which is money that (in theory, at least) could lower insurance costs for the rest of us. With the economy and jobless rate showing no signs of improvement, don’t expect the situation to change any time soon.

[USA Today, via The Car Connection]



Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, News on 09 14th, 2011
Volkswagen Beetle R Concept Revealed at Frankfurt Motor Show 14
Sep

Could a man be proud to drive the new Volkswagen Beetle R Concept? From the new aggressive front fascia and 20-inch alloy wheels to the integrated rear diffuser and four-tailpipe exhaust, the new VW Beetle R Concept looks to be a mean machine.

Let’s be honest for a minute, the latest outgoing generation of the Beetle proved to appeal more-so to the female crowd. The Beetle still had its fair share of guys that proudly drove the latest iteration of a truly classic German automobile. With the introduction of an aggressively styled VW Beetle R Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, it begs to gain some interest from male automotive enthusiasts. Not to mention, the new Beetle R Concept is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI 4-cylinder hinted to have similar performance numbers of the Golf R and Scirocco R which are currently unavailable in the states.

Inside of the VW Beetle R Concept are Nappa leather upholstered deep bucket sport seats. The gauge cluster gets special R-specific treatment as well as its integrated auxiliary gauges.

So far there is no word on VW bringing the VW Beetle R Concept, dubbed “The Beetle as a sports car”, to the states as a production model. We suspect the Beetle R would have a better chance on making it across the pond into the hands of American automotive enthusiasts than the Golf R and Scirocco R ever did.

volkswagen-beetle-r-concept-1 volkswagen-beetle-r-concept-5 volkswagen-beetle-r-concept-7 volkswagen-beetle-r-concept-4 volkswagen-beetle-r-concept-6 volkswagen-beetle-r-concept-2 volkswagen-beetle-r-concept-3

Hit up the current press release on the new Volkswagen Beetle R Concept appearing at the Frankfurt Motor Show below.

Volkswagen Beetle R Concept car press release

The Beetle as sports car:

World debut of the design study Beetle R Concept

Beetle R Concept has customised front and rear sections and 20-inch wheels
Sport seat system of Beetle R Concept is upholstered in luxurious Nappa leather
Wolfsburg / Frankfurt, September 2011. At Volkswagen, the letter “R” as an added identifier promises top-notch performance. Currently, this claim is being validated with turbo pressure by the Golf R (199 kW / 270 PS) and Scirocco R (195 kW / 265 PS). In a world debut at the IAA, Volkswagen is now showing a third variation of this sporty theme: the Beetle R Concept. It is based on the 21st Century Beetle. Like the Golf R and Scirocco R, the R version of the Beetle was also created at Volkswagen subsidiary Volkswagen R GmbH located near to Wolfsburg. The Beetle R Concept is still a design study. Those who are familiar with the Beetle 2.0 TSI (147 kW / 200 PS) know the dynamic potential of this new car. As an “R”, the Beetle could demonstrate a performance potential similar to that of the Golf R and Scirocco R.

Exterior with 20-inch wheels

Visually, the Beetle R Concept, painted in “Serious Grey”, offers a glimpse of what a production version might look like. Outside, the concept is equipped with 20-inch “Talladega” alloy wheels – the same design used on the Golf R and Scirocco R. However, 18- and 19-inch wheels are mounted on those cars. Easy to spot on the Beetle’s wheels, which feature 5 triple spokes, are the blue brake callipers in R design.

Newly sculpted bumpers are wider

Designers completely redesigned the front and rear bumpers that were widened by 30 mm. In front, the bumper module practically consists of 3 air intakes, which are styled in contrasting “Black High Gloss”. The middle air intake supplies the engine with oxygen, while the outer two contribute to cooling the brakes. The front spoiler, also painted in “Black High Gloss”, is designed as a flat splitter (with a chrome strip); splitters of this kind are typically used in motorsport. To maintain temperature regulation of the engine within an optimal range, even under extreme conditions, ventilation slots are found on the right and left sides of the engine bonnet.

The rear bumper also has air slots – air exhaust vents – that are integrated in the aerodynamic concept of the Beetle R Concept. There is also a diffuser that is integrated in the lower bumper area. Together with the rear spoiler – which is significantly larger than the production models with up to 200 PS in power – and its black trailing edge, ideal downforce values are attained at the rear axle. A visual and acoustic highlight is the exhaust system with its 2 sets of dual chrome tailpipes.

On each side, the bumpers transition into the free-standing wings; they were also widened: 15 mm per side. The side sills are styled in “Black High Gloss”; a high-end chrome trim strip is incorporated here. Also painted in “Black High Gloss” are the roof, the upper part of the bootlid connecting to it, the door mirror housings and door handles.

Interior with Nappa leather sport seat system

As is usual on R models, the interior also makes a customised and sporty impression. In the front, the driver and passenger sit in motorsport shell seats with what are referred to as Ergopads made of gray nubuck leather. The seats are upholstered in black Nappa leather. Embossed on the seats is the R logo. The seat seams and piping are in the colour “Space Blue”.
The contrast colour “Black High Gloss” that was already used on the exterior is used in the interior as well, such as for dashboard accents and decorative elements around the gear shift grip. Interior designers also styled the instruments to be R-specific. The central instrument cluster (tachometer in the middle, in the style of a sports car) and the auxiliary instruments laid out above the centre console are both modified here. The door sill plates are upgraded with the R logo. Meanwhile, brushed aluminium is used for all pedal caps. Matching the seats with their blue piping are the fabric floor mats with their blue-black double borders.

Source: Volkswagen



Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, Automotive, Concept Vehicle, Frankfurt-Motor-Show, News, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Beetle R Concept, auto show on 09 14th, 2011
Frankfurt Motor Show Preview 14
Sep

Just a day away from the official launch of the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011, here are some of the new vehicles and concepts that are expected to be on display on the showroom floor tomorrow. It’s shaping up to be an exciting show.

astonmartin 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview audi1 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview autoblog1 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview autoblog2 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview beetlw 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview ford fiesta st concept live 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview hyundai 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview mercedesbenz 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview yoauto 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview audia2 concept 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview Lotus Exige 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview subaru xv 150x150 Frankfurt Motor Show Preview

Images source: Autoblog.com

 

 

 

 



Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in Popular, Uncategorized on 09 14th, 2011
2011 Lexus CT 200h Premium Hybrid Review & Test Drive 13
Sep

‘LEXUS SCORES ANOTHER LONG RUNNER’ 

The all-new 2011 Lexus CT 200h hybrid is Lexus’s fifth hybrid and second dedicated hybrid.  While all other hybrids from auto manufacturers, including Lexus and Toyota have been either hybrid sedans or sport utility vehicles, the all-new CT 200h is a versatile compact, five-door sport wagon that continues the brand’s commitment to unparalleled quality, sophistication and technology.

The CT 200h’s size, packaging, full hybrid technology and ultra-low emissions perfectly meet the requirements of a young, highly discerning, environmentally conscientious customer base.  Yet it offers no compromise on the refinement and driving pleasure which hallmark the progressive luxury inherent in every Lexus vehicle.

Available in standard and Premium models, I tested the Premium model, the CT 200h boasts remarkably low fuel consumption and has an impressive combined EPA-estimated fuel economy of 42mpg, 43mpg/city and 40mpg/highway utilizing regular 87-octane gasoline.  Moreover, the CT 200h can be operated in a switchable EV mode which generates zero emissions.

The CT 200h’sLexus Hybrid Drivefeatures a unique energy management system paired with a 1.8 liter four-cylinder gas engine.  Through the application of brand-specific engineering solutions and software tuning, Lexus engineers focused on enhancing both the environmental and driving performance of the full hybrid series/parallel system, as well as its Ultra-low Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels.

Utilizing the most recent generation hybrid system, the CT 200h takes advantage of Lexus’ continuous engineering advances to maximize fuel economy, minimize emissions and deliver fun-to-drive pleasure inherent in all luxury vehicles.  A highly efficient engine design, an exhaust heat recovery system, major efforts to reduce parasitic losses, an evaporative emissions system and driver-selectable driving modes all make notable contributions.  Significant efforts were also made to minimize engine noise.

An Atkinson-cycle engine design was chosen to its high efficiency and compatibility with hybrid operation in the CT 200h.  The twin-cam engine uses four valves per cylinder and Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i) on the intake side.  The engine is undersquare, with a 3.17 inch bore diameter and 3.48 inch stroke, and has a relatively high compression ratio of 13.0:1.  Peak output equals 98hp and in combination with the hybrid drive motor, the CT 200h generates 134 total system horsepower.  The CT 200h will accelerate to 60mph from a standstill in just 9.8 seconds.

Careful design of the intake system reduces engine pumping losses and its twin resonators minimize intake noise.  The cooling system uses a modular construction that combines an aluminum engine radiator, hybrid system radiator, A/C condenser and fan into a single assembly for minimal weight.  Plus, the electric fan speed is controlled via Pulse Width Modulation to reduce energy consumption and noise.  Careful ducting of the cooling system helps prevent hot engine air recirculation that tends to occur at low speeds and while idling, further enhancing efficiency.

One of the keys to lower fuel consumption involves heat.  The CT employs an exhaust heat recovery system that captures the heat of spent exhaust gases to speed engine coolant warm-up and allow the hybrid system to stop the engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed, for example in low power demand conditions in city driving.

Using a two-motor hybrid system, the CT200h uses an 80hp drive motor that combines with the gas engine.  (Note that the sum of the engine and motor power are not equal to the total system power as the operation of the engine and motor cannot be maximized in the same operation range).  A second motor in the hybrid system serves as both engine starter and generator to charge the hybrid battery pack.

The efficient two-motor system also uses an Electronically-Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT) that is a model of efficiency, simplicity and compact size with extremely smooth and quiet operation.  A motor speed-reduction planetary gear unit helps provide high power output in this small package.

An electric transmission oil pump eliminates another source of parasitic loss to further increase efficiency.  Electronic operation allows a control strategy that involves the oil pump only when needed, and since the oil also flows over the drive motor, overall efficiency of the motor and transmission are improved.

For fun-to-drive excitement, the CT 200h also incorporates a drive-mode selector that allows you to toggle between four distinct modes: Normal, Sport, Eco and EV.  Each mode changes the rate of throttle opening for a given throttle-pedal angle.  Normal mode has an essentially linear throttle response that gives naturally progressive power.  Sport mode can be selected when you want a more dynamic experience, much like a gasoline only vehicle.  In Eco mode, A/C settings are adjusted and the throttle response is reduced relative to the pedal angle to emphasize fuel economy.  Under certain circumstances, the EV mode can allow you to drive the car a short distance using only the electric motors.

You can also see the change on the instrument cluster as when the mode selected is Sport, the left side power/charge gauge changes into a tachometer giving the cluster a look like a regular gasoline engine vehicle.

Agile handling, excellent body control and a smooth ride in the CT 200h begin with a stiff body structure.  The CT body is designed with superior stiffness overall with added focus in strategically located areas that have the greatest effect on ride, handling and noise.

Setting a new benchmark in premium compact segment ride comfort and handling, the CT 200h features a unique suspension design which combines a MacPherson strut front setup with a fully independent double-wishbone rear suspension.  The compact double-wishbone rear suspension design uses low-mount coil springs that help improve cargo space.  As in the front suspension, rebound springs are used to aid both handling and ride, while all mountings and bushings are optimized to help provide an excellent combination of ride, handling and low noise.

Introduced for the first time on a Lexus, a unique lateral performance damper system has been designed to absorb and minimize body vibrations to offer a more linear steering feel and further enhanced ride comfort.  In lieu of conventional fixed bracing, this system features a front performance damper connecting the left and right front suspension towers, and a real damper connecting the left and right sides of the rear structural frame.

With construction similar to that of a typical monotube suspension damper, the front and rear performance damper assemblies differ according to the variations in body rigidity, noise and vibration of their surroundings, optimizing their ability to absorb body torsion, flexure and fine vibrations.  Their installation has reduced vehicle floor vibrations across a wide frequency range, reduced body flex in left and right front suspension tower displacement, and even lowered audio system white noise levels.  Not only is the CT 200h a breakthrough in hybrid technology and flexibility, it ventures into new fully independent suspension geometry.  Amazing!

Aerodynamic work was conducted with both computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis and wind tunnel evaluation to identify noise sources, assist designers to create appropriate design elements and prove countermeasures.  As a result, strategically placed seals, barriers and insulation material are used to eliminate noise paths and insulate passengers from noise sources.  Equal attention has been paid to underbody airflow management, the minimization of the vehicle’s coefficient of lift essential to both fuel efficiency and handling stability.

The CT 200h employ’s Lexus’s experience with Electric Power Steering (EPS).  Its energy saving and lightweight design characteristics make it ideally suited for use in conjunction with theLexus Hybrid Drivepowertrain.  The vehicle-speed sensitive steering has been optimized to provide ideal steering feel at any speed.  Inertia compensation control, friction feedback and recovery control assist in tailoring the steering feel and effort.  The EPS system also helps improve fuel economy by reducing parasitic losses.

Like all Lexus vehicles, the CT 200h braking system is comprehensive with standard ABS, EBD, BA, Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control, and as a Lexus hybrid it is augmented by regenerative braking which also helps recharge the hybrid battery pack and improve fuel economy.  The electronic controlled brake (ECB) system actuator is managed by the ECB computer and acts on the system’s hydraulic brake components.  The ECB computer also controls the interaction between the four-wheel disc friction brakes and the regenerative brake system.  All four wheels have power-assisted discs, 10 inch vented discs up front and 11 inch solid discs in the rear.  Each is clamped with single-piston calipers.

The all-new 2011 CT 200h rides on standard 17X7 inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with 215/45R17 all-season tires, and all wheels feature the direct-type tire pressure monitor system.

In sport mode riding on a fully independent suspension you will feel like you are behind the wheel of a luxury sport wagon yet passing filling stations on your way out of town.

The CT 200h’s designers created a unique combination of elegance and excitement.  The front of the CT 200h is the new embodiment of L-finesse, expressing the perfect balance of precision and power.  The grille is pushed forward of the headlamps for great visual integration with the bumper mid-section below.  It incorporates a deeper, more sculpted interpretation of the L-finesse signature arrowhead motif.  The upper and lower grilles combine to form a unique ‘spindle’ shape, bringing both bold simplicity and elegant dynamism to the very apex of the vehicle.  The grille is flanked by headlamp clusters clearly positioned on a high plane than the grill itself.  This is a unique characteristic of Lexus models, focusing the eye at the very apex of the vehicle to give the design a resolute look and strengthen the impression of speed and agility.

To enforce this defined expression, the headlamps themselves focus on piercing, single halogen or optional twin LED low beam lamps.  Integral, arrowhead-shaped daytime running lamps feature advanced LED headlight technology, making the CT 200h instantly recognizable at first glance.  The deep front bumper and sharply sculpted front airdam flow into clean, muscular front wings which reinforce a purposeful, wide-tracked stance hinting at excellent agility and high speed stability.

The CT 200h’s sweeping lines mimic the natural flow of wind over and around the bodywork, creating a dynamic yet elegant design that combines beauty with aerodynamic efficiency.  The result is a coefficient of drag of 0.29, which both maximizes fuel efficiency and minimizes wind noise to further enhance the exceptional quietness of the Lexus full hybrid’s cabin.

In profile the steeply raked windshield A-pillars, long flowing roofline, the unique Lexus slingshot window graphic and full perimeter chrome strip combine to create an elegant and highly distinctive silhouette.  New compact and aerodynamic door mirrors with an integral LED side turn signal lamp feature a two-tone finish for a slimmer appearance.  The long roof and sweeping character lines of the door form a tapered cabin shape which naturally curves in at the rear to follow the movement of air as it flows into the vehicle’s wake.

At the rear, a pronounced step in the tailgate section flows from the muscular rear wheel arch shoulders, emphasizing the wraparound rear window design.  Anchored by sweeping taillamps incorporating a Lexus-unique L-shaped motif first introduced in the LS, this step combines with a broad rear bumper design to reinforce the new full hybrid’s wide, firmly planted stance.  The flow of air away from the rear of the CT 200h is carefully controlled through the finely honed trailing edge of the deep roof spoiler, aerodynamic fins at the corners of the rear windows and the sharp, near vertical junction of rear wind and bumper.  Careful aerodynamic detailing of the lower bumper and finned rear undercover smoothes airflow from beneath the car, further improving both stability and fuel consumption.  Like I said earlier, the CT 200h is like no other luxury hybrid on the market looking and acting like a compact luxury sport wagon with more functionality.

Lexus’s latest adaptation of the L-finesse philosophy is carried into the interior of the

CT 200h.  A powerful simplicity of form harmonizes with the hand-crafted quality feel of even the smallest details to create a uniquely efficient, elegant and spacious cabin design.

The dashboard is divided into two distinct zones: an upper Display Zone with an eight inch LCD multi-display screen located at an ideal distance for at-a-glance viewing, and a lower, Operation Zone, which allows access to the uniquely designed shift lever and system controls such as the optional Remote Touch.

The clear division of zones creates the CT 200h’s unique fusion of an airy, spacious cabin and a sporty cockpit which places the emphasis on a snug, comfortable and highly focused driving environment.  The front seats feature pronounced side bolsters engineered with internal wire framing for additional lateral support during high-G cornering.  Functional driving components are consolidated in the driver’s seat surroundings, combining outstanding ergonomics with advanced Human/Machine Interface technologies.

The flattening of the center of the 60/40-split folding rear seat bench, the thinning of the front seatbacks and the flat floor of the CT 200h’s platform result in a cabin which offers rear seat passengers roominess with spacious legroom and headroom.  With the compact hybrid battery located low beneath the loadspace floor and the adoption of a fully independent double wishbone configuration minimizing suspension component intrusion into the luggage compartment, the CT 200h offers a spacious and versatile cabin and surprisingly large cargo space.

The extensive use of metallic finishes and dark, soft touch materials reinforces the premium quality of the interior.  The shape and form of each interior component has been carefully designed to express the true form of the materials, such as the brushed finish of door handle bezel and the highly tactile shift lever, seemingly carved from a single billet, and generously bound leather.  It is true Lexus luxury and ergonomics all the way.

Standard luxury and convenience features in the Premium model, not mentioned above, include one-touch open/close sunroof, heated seats, NuLuxe trim interior, tilt/telescoping/three-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and cruise-control, 10-way multi-adjustable power driver seat with 2-way power lumbar, smart access with push-button start/stop, electroluminescent Optitron gauges, automatic dual-zone climate control, 4-mode drive mode select, driver information center with trip computer, Lexus Audio System with automatic sound levelizer, 6-speakers, single in-dash CD player, USB input, mini plug auxiliary input for MP3 player, XM satellite radio, Bluetooth technology, power windows all one-touch up/down, power door locks, Lexus personalized settings, tonneau cover, carpeted floor mats, integrated foglamps, intermittent wipers/washers, rear wiper/washer, power remote sideview mirrors with turn signals, self-dimming rearview mirror, dual map lamps, grab handles above each door and remote release for rear hatch and fuel filler door.

Standard safety features include advanced front airbags, and driver/front passenger knee airbags, front side impact airbags, side curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with force limiters/pretensioners up front, Safety Connect with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist button (SOS), with enhanced roadside assistance, LED daytime running, front/rear crumple zones, and steel beams in each door.

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COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: $31,450.00
  • Engine: 1.8-liter 4-cylinder & 2-motor electric Hybrid Synergy Drive – 132 horsepower @ 5200 rpm 142 pounds-feet torque @ 4000 rpm
  • Drive: FWD (Front-Wheel-Drive)
  • Wheelbase: 102.4in.
  • Total length: 170.1in.
  • Total width: 69.5in.
  • Total height: 56.3in.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.8/37in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.5/32.9in.
  • Ground clearance: 5.7in.
  • Track: f/r-60/59.8in.
  • Fuel tank: 11.9 gallons
  • EPA interior volume: 100.4cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: 14.3cu.ft. all seats up
  • Curb weight: 3,130lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 9.8 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 43mpg/city, 40mpg/highway


Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, LEXUS, Test Drives, featured, hybrid on 09 13th, 2011
Want More Proof That The 2012 Camaro ZL1 Will Be Overbuilt? 13
Sep

Chevrolet’s Department 180 has one of the best job in all of automotive design: take a new product, then figure out what it takes to break it. Sometimes this is done on a chassis test rig, which simulates driving over rough pavement to the point of component failure. Other times, that involves bringing a car to a proving grounds, then driving it as hard as you can until something breaks.

Running a car at speed on a racetrack is a worst case scenario, since you’re often running the engine at or near redline for extended periods of time. You’re flogging the brakes and transmission, too, and even relatively short track sessions tell you a lot about what’s properly engineered and what isn’t.

Despite the claim of a 24-hour test, Chevy didn’t really run the new Camaro ZL1 WFO for 24 hours straight. Instead, they ran 40 minute test sessions at a rate of six per day, over a period of six days. That may not sound like much, but try driving a car at the limit for 40 minutes at a time. In most street cars, brakes will fade, transmission temps will rise to dangerous levels and even differential temps will get up there. There’s a good chance that something will fail, especially if your track car tips the scales at two tons.

While an off-the-dealer’s showroom floor Camaro ZL1 may not stand up to 24 hours of punishment at Daytona, or even 12 hours of hard driving at Sebring, without a few mods, it’s good to know that Chevy’s built the new uber-Camaro with track days in mind. Even those of us who’ll never run the 24 Hours of Le Mans still enjoy flogging cars at HPDE sessions when our budgets allow.

Source: YouTube



Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1, Automotive, Chevrolet, Kurt, Videos, video on 09 13th, 2011
2011 Infiniti FX35 RWD Review & Test Drive 13
Sep

Ever since the conception of Infiniti’s sporty luxury crossover, many consumers have grown to like the unique styling and aggressive demeanor of the FX. First introduced in 2003, Nissan injected many of their Infiniti luxury branded vehicles with the front-midship platform of the Z sports car, transforming the FX crossover into what was touted as one of the most sporty luxury crossover vehicles on the market. Since then, the FX has progressed into its newfound bionic Cheetah skin attempting to appeal to a broader audience.

The all-new 2011 Infiniti FX remains virtually unchanged from the previous 2010 model year. The current body style was introduced as a 2009 model and later updated with added navigation and infotainment system features such as Bluetooth audio streaming, XM weather updates, and a refreshed graphic interface for all 2010 models. My new 2011 Infiniti FX35 test vehicle featured the carryover 3.5-liter VQ-series V6 engine with 303 horsepower and 262 ft. lbs. of torque.

Infiniti has formulated the perfect blend of sports and luxury in their vehicles, and the new 2011 FX is evident of that very formula. The firm ride, much improved over the outgoing 2008 model year, is refined without sacrificing any of the sporty handling characteristics you might expect from even a sports-coupe. The FX35 rides well and feels light giving the driver the extra security one might be lacking in other crossover vehicles in the luxury segment. The ride and handling characteristics vary greatly when comparing the FX35 to a loaded-up FX50S equipped with Continuous Dampening Control (CDC).  Infiniti engineers took into consideration consumer feedback from the first generation FX and made major improvements in the new FX’s suspension system. They used lighter weight aluminum components and retuned the shocks and springs. Over-all, the new 2011 FX35 rides a lot better than the previous generation regardless of the wheel and tire sizes.

My 2011 Infiniti FX35 rear-wheel-drive model featured 20-inch wheels wrapped in large 265/50/R20 V-rated Bridgestone all-season rubber. The stylish 20-inch, 5-spoke aluminum wheels add physique to the looks of the FX35. An optional torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system can be added for those who want a little extra traction in inclement conditions. Mind you, there is still a snow mode on the standard 7-speed automatic transmission in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations, which will regulate power output and wheel slip, for maximum traction in slippery snow conditions.

Unique styling is somewhat of an understatement when describing the look of the 2011 Infiniti FX. Nissan is known for their unique exteriors as of late, and it has trickled down to their prestigious Infiniti luxury brand. There is no mistaking the FX for what it is which can be considered a good thing to those who want to drive something a little different. There are a number of luxury crossovers that have a tendency to come off as boring or vanilla, and the FX is neither. Even the functional side vents, which help to reduce drag, add to the FX’s sporty and distinctive appeal.

The 2011 Infiniti FX’s interior has received the royal treatment. Not only does it combine many of the Infiniti car line’s stylish dashboard layout, but it adds its own unique wrap-around design. My Infiniti FX was equipped with Java-colored leather seating where the same color flowed through the dashboard at either ends. The black-Java color contrast is somewhat perceived as classy and eloquent. This is something Infiniti was not always known for but now can claim its rightful place offering a quality luxury interior. The climate controlled (heated and cooled) front seats are comfy providing just enough lateral support.

Rear seating leg room can be a mixed bag mostly dependent on how far back the front passengers adjust their seats. However, there is enough room to comfortably seat 3 adults in the back seats, provided that they are “average” sized. Front legroom is plentiful allowing front occupants to stretch their legs on long drives.

Infiniti has packed the new FX with plenty of technology that not only adds to the passenger’s and driver’s comfort and drivability, but also aids in the safety department as well. New innovative driving assist features such as distance control assist (DCA), intelligent braking assist (IBA), lane departure warning (LDW), intelligent cruise control, and adaptive front lighting system (AFS) all help the driver stay alert and step-in as necessary to help avoid an accident. All of these features were part of my test vehicle’s optional $2,900 technology package. Together, distance control assist, intelligent cruise control, intelligent braking assist, and a forward collision warning system rely on a radar mounted below the front bumper to detect objects of other vehicles ahead of the FX. When the FX approaches a vehicle or object too fast the forward collision warning flashes and sounds an audible beep. If the vehicle senses that a crash is imminent and unavoidable, intelligent brake assist will apply extra brake force/pressure to lessen the severity of the accident. Intelligent brake assist is also beneficial during emergency braking when you are about to plow into a car in front of you, by automatically adding extra braking pressure as you depress the brake pedal. Lane departure warning can be set to automatically brake the opposite side wheels and sound an audible beep when a small camera mounted above the windshield detects you moving out of your lane across the painted lines in the road. Intelligent cruise control keeps a set distance from the vehicle in front of you and can actually bring the vehicle to a complete stop if needed.

Driving the new 2011 Infiniti FX35 is fun and daring at times due to its agile nature. The FX makes you want to jump out in traffic and act like a hoon until you realize that your family is still strapped in the back seat, and starts to developing a funny looking expression on their faces clearly not agreeing with what you are about to do. The smooth V6 engine in the FX35 is eager to scream, and the smooth and competent 7-speed automatic lets it spin, all the way to redline. The 7-speed transmission does suffer from some dead spots around 30 to 40 mph where flooring the pedal does not upshift like it does at other speeds. Most times, when I demanded power, the 7-speed transmission found the optimal gear quickly, Around 30 to 40 mph it acted like it was confused and refused to upshift until the vehicle slowly reached 40+ mph. At any other speed my Infiniti FX35 test vehicle was eager to run hard. 0-60 mph times come in around 6.5 seconds which is decent for a mid-sized luxury crossover just over 4,000 pounds. The 5.0-liter V8 equipped FX50 does a sprint to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds but at a cost of massive amounts of premium fuel. The FX35 gets a decent 16 mph city and 23 mpg highway. During mostly city driving I was able to get a solid 21.5 mpg and on the highway my best figure was 24 mpg. If you opt for the V8 FX50 expect those numbers to go down to about 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

New for 2011 model year FX crossovers is a greatly desired rear power rear liftgate. Now standard on all 2011 model year FX vehicles is a full-power rear liftgate, which was not added until half way into the 2011 model year.

The all-new 2011 Infiniti FX35 is an appealing and sporty luxury crossover. The FX35 is a great alterative to the Lexus RX, BMW X6, and even the Porsche Cayenne V6 that won’t break the bank even when you include several creature comfort options. My 2011 Infiniti FX RWD model was fully loaded with the exception of all-wheel-drive tipping the scale at $52,875 including destination charges. The FX35 starts at only $42,600, which makes it a bargain when compared to many of its luxury crossover competitors even when comparably configured.

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Copyright: 2011 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base FX35 RWD $42,600 / As-Tested $52,875 including destination charge
  • Engine: 3.5-liter 303 horsepower @ 6800 rpm/ 262 ft-lbs torque @ 4800 rpm
  • Drive: RWD (optional AWD)
  • Wheelbase: 113.6in.
  • Total length: 191.3in.
  • Total width: 75.9in.
  • Total height: 65.0in.
  • Ground clearance: 7.4in.
  • Track: f/r-64.4/64.6in.
  • Turning circle: 36.7ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.3/38.5in.
  • Legroom: f/r-44.7/34.6in.
  • MPG est.: 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 23.8 gallons
  • 0-60mph:  6.5 seconds
  • EPA cargo volume (all seats in place): 24.8cu.ft.
  • Curb weight:  4,158 lbs.


Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, Infiniti, Infiniti FX, Infiniti FX35, SUV, Test Drives, featured on 09 13th, 2011
2013 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid Revealed w/ Promo Video 13
Sep

Lexus has taken the wraps off of the new 2013 GS 450h Hybrid this week for the Frankfurt Motor Show. The GS450h looks almost identical to the 2013 GS 350 that we showcased a few weeks ago only the new Lexus Hybrid features three-lamp headlights, blue-tinted Lexus emblems and 17-inch wheels. The interior is laced with bamboo wood trim and a hybrid LCD display.

Powering the new 2013 Lexus GS 450h is an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 338 horsepower. 0-60mph times should come in around 5.6 seconds. Just like other hybrids from Lexus, the new GS 450h will offer different drive modes including Eco mode, Normal and Sport mode which increases voltage to 650 volts from Eco mode’s 500 volts.

The new 2013 Lexus GS 450h Hybrid will be on the floor at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

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2013 Lexus GS 450h Press Release

All-New 2013 GS 450h Unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show

FRANKFURT – Sept. 12, 2011 – With a five vehicle hybrid line-up, Lexus reinforces its commitment to hybrid technology with the all-new 2013 GS 450h. When it was introduced for the 2007 model year, the GS 450h was the first hybrid-powered luxury sport sedan to enter the market. Today, the GS 450h is the world’s first premium performance sedan to be equipped with a V6 Atkinson cycle gas engine and two-motor hybrid system, in a front engine rear-wheel drive vehicle.
The hybrid version of the 2013 GS 350 incorporates improvements to its hybrid powertrain and is equipped with a second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system. GS 450h engineers have aimed for reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, while providing exhilarating performance.

With a total system power output of 338 hp, the GS 450h will accelerate effortlessly from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Conversely, fuel consumption is expected to be improved by more than 30 percent. The GS 450h is targeting certification as a Super-Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle II (SULEV II). The new GS hybrid also features a Drive Mode selector. In addition to the Normal mode, the driver can customize the driving experience using Eco, Sport S, Sport S+ and EV modes.

“The all-new GS 450h will provide our customers with an exciting blend of performance and precision in a new hybrid package,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager in the U.S. “With its dynamic exterior styling, roomy interior and advanced technology features, the GS 450h further demonstrates Lexus’ mastery of the luxury hybrid.”

Engine/Transmission/Drivetrain/Performance
As with all Lexus hybrid vehicles, the new GS 450h is a full hybrid capable of operating in gas-only or electric-only modes, as well as a combination of both. Its Lexus Hybrid Drive system features an ultra-smooth running, Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a compact, high-output, water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor. The two powerplants drive the rear wheels both independently and in tandem, as needed.

In addition to the gas engine and electric motor, the new GS 450h’s hybrid drive system a generator; a high-performance nickel-metal hydride battery; a power split device which, via planetary reduction gears, combines and re-allocates power from the engine, electric motor and generator according to operational requirements; and a compact power control unit to govern the high speed interaction of the system components.

Adapted specifically for the hybrid powertrain and a first for premium performance sedans, the 3.5-liter V6, DOHC engine benefits from several technical improvements including the adoption of the Atkinson Cycle engine design to optimize the fuel-efficient benefits of Lexus Hybrid Drive.

Compression is delayed in an Atkinson Cycle engine, because the intake valves close late. This creates a high expansion ratio for less compression, reducing intake and exhaust energy losses and converting combustion energy to engine power more effectively.

A high compression ratio of 13:1; a new, mid-port intake tumble generator; and the adoption of the latest evolution of Lexus’ four-stroke, direct injection technology, D-4S, help the GS 450h achieve better fuel consumption.

With one injector installed in the combustion chamber and a second mounted in the intake port, D-4S combines the strengths of both direct and port injection, realizing optimum engine efficiency throughout the power band and improving torque across the rev range, while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.

The D-4S system features new slit-type injector nozzles with a modified port shape, a higher fuel pressure for more efficient combustion, and idle port injection for improved NHV characteristics.

Engine noise, vibration and friction have been lowered through the adoption of lightweight chain technology.

The cooling performance of the hybrid system’s Power Control Unit (PCU) helps reduce fuel consumption and has been improved through the adoption of dual cooling paths and a single-piece, integrated AC/DC converter.

System control has been enhanced. The PCU boosts motor drive voltage to a maximum 650V in Sport mode and limits it to a maximum of 500V in Eco mode under normal driving conditions where maximum output is not required. The motor is driven at lower voltage to provide a more environmentally–advanced driving performance to help enhance fuel efficiency.

The electric motor features lighter mounts and reduced friction. The system’s regenerative braking operation range has been expanded, contributing to further improvements in fuel efficiency. In addition, the battery layout has been redesigned. A new stacked configuration maximizing luggage space allows the 2013 GS 450h to have more cargo area than the previous generation gas model.

Chassis/Body/Suspension/Tires/Brakes
All second-generation GS hybrid models have a new platform that is designed to be more rigid compared to the previous models. Engineers conducted extensive platform testing, ultimately increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific locations. The track works in combination with a revised suspension design to assure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance.

The new suspension system is designed to help guide the 2013 GS through corners with precision. In the front, upper and lower control arms are made from aluminum and employ larger bushings. The rear subframe has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link rear suspension, using improved suspension geometry that retains tire cornering force and enhances rear control. With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shocks can use lighter-viscosity oil, so they move easily and respond to small inputs more quickly.

The use of front and rear aluminum control arms helps reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. Overall, the suspension is lighter and stronger, allowing it to react to driver input readily, and ride quietly without harshness. Ventilated disc brakes featuring four-piston aluminum front calipers includes the latest electronic enhancements to help provide braking balance and control.

The GS 450h also offers the Lexus Dynamic Handling system, an integrated four-wheel steering system. The leading edge platform technology of the Lexus Dynamic Handling system offers Lexus’ first integration of Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS); Dynamic Rear Steering (DRS); Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS); and the latest generation of Lexus’ unique Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system to help coordinate every aspect of front and rear wheel control and provide agile, sharp and confident driving behavior with a more direct response to the driver’s actions.

The Lexus Dynamic Handling system integrates the control of the Electric Power Steering (EPS), VGRS and newly developed DRS. Monitoring vehicle speed, steering direction and driver inputs, the system calculates the optimum angle for all four wheels. Using VGRS to the front and DRS to the rear, the system can independently control both front and rear wheel steering angles to help improve turn-in response, rear grip, vehicle stability and overall agility when cornering.

The DRS system monitors vehicle speed and yaw rate, steering angle and speed, and lateral G to calculate the required rear wheel steering input, to a maximum of 1.5 degrees. At speeds below 50 mph the front and rear wheels turn in opposite directions. At speeds over 50 mph, front and rear wheels turn in the same direction.

Further coordinating DRS with VGRS, AVS and VDIM, the Lexus Dynamic Handling system will automatically customize the adaptive suspension tuning and active safety systems to suit road conditions, vehicle speed and driving style, giving customers confidence to experience the new GS’ exceptional driving performance.

The standard 17-inch alloy wheels are paired with 225/50R17 tires while the optional 18-inch alloy wheels are equipped with 235/45R18 tires. The GS 450h’s Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) system characteristics have been modified to provide greater responsiveness from the first touch of the pedal.

Safety/Security Features
Like the GS 350, the GS 450h will be standard equipped with 10 airbags, including a knee airbag for both driver and front passenger. Rear seat occupants have seat-mounted side airbags, and all four outboard occupants are equipped with side curtain airbags. Also standard are new Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats that reduce the space between the occupant’s head and headrest, to help limit excessive head movement, and help decrease the severity of whiplash-type injuries in certain types of collisions. Standard seatbelts with pretensioners with force limiters used for front and outboard rear seats further assist occupant protection.

Available options to help further enhance safety include a pre-collision system, which uses the dynamic radar cruise control system to provide early warning of upcoming objects that might result in a collision. The system also uses a Lexus first infrared camera to monitor the driver’s eyes to check on driver status. In the event that the driver does not appear to be looking forward when a collision appears imminent, the system will initiate the warning at an earlier threshold. If the driver still does not respond and make the appropriate maneuver, the system will initiate light braking intervention up to two seconds prior to impact, designed to help to lessen the severity of the collision.

Other available safety systems include a Night Vision System that enhances driver visibility at night; Heads Up Display (HUD); a Blind Spot Monitor that helps detect vehicles in rear/side blind spots; and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). LKA provides a small amount of active steering torque to help maintain course, while the LDW feature alerts the driver if the system detects that the vehicle is beginning to drift out of the lane.

Exterior Design
The 2013 GS expresses a new generation of Lexus’ design philosophy with its precisely sculpted exterior and will lead the rest of the lineup in an entirely new direction. When designers shaped the GS they visualized the flow of air around it and, like the LFA supercar, maximized aerodynamic efficiency.

Exclusive to the hybrid model is a unique three-lamp design that aligns the turn signal and Lexus-first high and low beam LED lamps in a single horizontal row. The improved illumination and beam range provided by LED lamps offers better visibility even under low beam driving conditions. In addition, the rear bumper of the GS 450h covers the exhaust pipe apertures. The GS 450h can also be distinguished by Lexus’ signature blue hybrid badging.

The GS fuses distinctive style with engineering functionality. Fins incorporated into the side of the tail lamps and the design of the trunk area all help direct air over and past the car. The rear bumper underbody area was designed for reduced wind resistance to help keep the car steady. Finally, air inlets located on the outer edges of the lower grille serve as cooling ducts.

The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours evolved from current Lexus styling and fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper allowing for efficient airflow. This distinctive Lexus design feature combined with the deep-set, high-tech headlamps and L-shaped LED daytime running lamps further express the vehicle’s confident and dynamic character.

From the side, the GS projects the image of a spacious sport sedan with a road-hugging wider stance. The tapered lower rocker panel and the short front overhang give the vehicle a sense of motion. Width-enhancing front and rear wheel arches adds an athletic stance enhancing the vehicle’s dynamic presence.

The rear bumper features centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow. Combined with the L-shaped LED tail lamps, a Lexus design cue, these rear bumper features lend a high-performance appearance. Overall, the new GS sheet metal represents a significant extension of the Lexus L-finesse philosophy that is the core of all Lexus product design.

The GS line-up will feature three colors that are new to the Lexus color palette: Riviera Red, Meteor Blue Mica and Liquid Platinum. Vehicles in Riviera Red will benefit from glass flakes incorporated into the coating that adds a high level of brilliance to the paint. Lexus engineers developed a new advanced coating process for Liquid Platinum exteriors. The GS will be the first Lexus to adopt this new coating technology. Vehicles with the Liquid Platinum exterior will appear more radiant as an additional metallic texture gives both strong shading and defined, sharp highlights. This metallic effect makes subtle and defined bodylines more noticeable and the surface appear finely polished.

Interior Design
The GS 450h will share the same luxurious and technological amenities as its gas counterpart, including next generation Remote Touch; analog clock with LED indicators, carved from an ingot; and a new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow that focuses airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated. A few notable differences include a bamboo-finished steering wheel which reinforces the sustainability of the GS 450h, and the hybrid monitor.

“There is no other mid-luxury hybrid like the new GS 450h,” said Lexus’Templin. “The handling, acceleration, and design of this Lexus hybrid are impeccable. We can’t wait for customers to drive one.”

PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS FOR GS 450h

GAS ENGINE

Number of cylinders and arrangement

Displacement

3.5L

MOTOR GENERATORS

Motor type

Permanent magnet synchronous motor

HYBRID BATTERY

Battery type

Nickel-Metal Hydride

TOTAL SYSTEM OUTPUT

Net Horsepower

338 hp

TRANSMISSION

Type

Rear Wheel Drive

Gearbox type

Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT)

SUSPENSION

Front

Double wishbone

Rear

Multi-link

STEERING

Type

Rack and pinion

Power steering type

Electric

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS (in.)

Overall Length

190.7

Overall width

72.4

Overall height

57.3

Wheelbase

112.2

Driven Wheels

Rear

Curb weight (lbs.)

4,190

Brake type

Ventilated front and rear disc with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system (VDIM)

Wheel size

17 x 7.5 in. (standard)

18 x 8 in. (optional)

Tire size

225/50/17 (standard)

235/45/18 (optional)

0 – 60 mph

5.6 seconds

Top Track Speed

131 mph (electronically limited)

Source: Lexus



Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, LEXUS, Lexus GS, Lexus GS450h, News on 09 13th, 2011
No More Impreza for SA 13
Sep

subaru No More Impreza for SA

Subaru South Africa has decided to drop the Impreza from its lineup. The new Subaru XV, that will be uveilied at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show will be replacing the Impreza range in South Africa from February 2012.

Designed by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and described as an “Urban Adventurer”, the XV is a high-riding crossover model that will likely  slot in between the Impreza and the larger Legacy Outback. The XV will be powered by a naturally aspirated 2,0-litre example of Subaru’s new FB-generation flat-four petrol engines. In addition,  A choice of either 6-speed manual or Lineartronic CVT transmissions will be offered.



Posted by Kelly Levinsohn in 4X4, Automotive News, Impreza, Popular, Subaru, XV on 09 13th, 2011
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