I discussed in my last post about the implications because of installing an aftermarket sports exhaust system which are obviously great for your car. The performance of the exhaust system is mainly dependent upon its bent of tubing so first I will discuss what types of tubing you may find in the market. There are two types of bents. Crush Bent and Mandrel Bent. The later is much appreciated by the car enthusiasts however the crush bent is generally found in factory fitted exhaust systems of the cars. Making the story short, coming quickly to the merits and demerits of mandrel bent exhaust tubing.
As I said mandrel bent exhaust tubing is much appreciated by those who love to drag their cars beyond its limits. The reason is fair enough. Exhaust tubing with mandrel bent have an even diameter through out their piping system and due to this evenness, the gases produced in the engine bay easily pass through the system and outside the car without the restrictions as they have to face in crush bent exhaust tubing where the diameter of the inside becomes smaller and uneven as it is caused to "crinkle" by pressure bent.
Mandrel bent are similar to crush bend to the extent that they are also pressurized but an additional die is added which prevents the tubing to crinkle and hence the surface remains even. As a result, a constant circle allows a smooth flow of gases and better power and efficiency of the car. The mandrel bent are also adored because they also create the famous growling sound of the car which reflects the power of its engine.
The demerits of such type of exhaust tubing would definitely be the cost factor. Generally these type of sports exhaust system are more expensive than normal, factory fitted, stock exhaust system. Similarly an advantage of it can also be regarded as a disadvantage. i.e. the sound it produces. This sound can be disturbing for many "peace lovers" and can deem it as a mere "sound pollution". In the end, its not necessary that every car will compliment the mandrel bent exhaust tubing (system). Some power loss has been observed in the cars and apparently the exhaust system did not work as it was suppose to. So car keeping in mind the engine's specifications are necessary otherwise all your hard work and wealth will go in vain.
Audi let us compare a stock A5 3.2 FSI, equipped with the 265-hp V-6, against the lightweight concept with the 2.0-liter engine dialed back from 258 pound-feet of torque to deliver the same 243 as the V-6. We can attest to the fact that a 500-plus-pound reduction makes for a stunning dynamic improvement. Turn-in becomes more agile, the car can be tossed around with ease, and the 211-hp engine feels far stronger than its numbers suggest.
A regular A5 3.2 FSI seems downright clumsy in comparison. Audi claims the lightweight concept is 0.3 second quicker to 60 mph than the V-6. In our testing, the A5 V-6 ran from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, so we expect the lightweight concept to hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, a 0.7-second improvement over a standard A5 2.0T.
Audi originally intended the concept to emulate the performance of the V-8�powered, 354-hp S5, but, despite the weight loss, the concept still can�t match the S5�s acceleration. We understand that a second concept is currently being built�and we wouldn�t be surprised if this one was equipped with the 265-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four from the TTS. With that much power, the four-cylinder lightweight just might be able to trounce the S5�s V-8.
Most �efficiency� concepts make us dread the future; this one gives us hope.
(BY JENS MEINERS, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHIAS KN�DLER AND THE MANUFACTURER, ILLUSTRATION BY BRYAN CHRISTIE DESIGN)
More Power and a Body Kit and . . .
Conceptually similar to the 330i Performance package model that was available as part of the previous-generation 3-series lineup, the 335is doesn�t go so far as to threaten the M3�s supremacy, but it definitely ups the sportiness quotient. To that end, the 335is gets 320 hp and 332 lb-ft torque from the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six engine, and an overboost function allows for seven-second blasts of 370 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the regular-grade 2011 335i, the 335is sticks with the older twin-turbo engine for the simple reason that BMW engineers had more experience tuning it. This same engine can also be found in the Z4 sDrive35is that was introduced at this month�s Detroit auto show. In the Z4, the engine makes 335 hp; a more restrictive intake on the 3-series accounts for the 15-hp difference.
To make the 335is a track-worthy vehicle, BMW upgrades the cooling system with an additional radiator and beefs up the engine mounts. Inside are standard sport seats, steel pedals, an M Sport steering wheel, and textured aluminum trim. Between the seats sits the familiar six-speed manual, but it�s modified here to have shorter throws. For those who prefer not to shift for themselves, BMW is offering its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The DCT system is identical to the one in the M3 and comes with steering-wheel-mounted paddle-type shifters.
Exterior styling builds on that of the 3-series� 2011 freshening and adds an aggressive M Sport body kit. The kit has a more aggressive front fascia that ditches the coupe�s fog lamps in the interest of increased cooling capacity; the 335is convertible keeps its fog lamps. (And just to confuse you, we posted photos of preproduction coupes with fog lights; the decision to ditch them apparently came after these cars were built.) A new rear bumper incorporates a diffuser-style piece, and the twin exhaust pipes are finished in matte black. New gray-painted, split-five-spoke wheels are the only change to the chassis, despite the extra power�there are no tweaks or modifications to the suspension or brakes.
Same Poise, Even Better Soundtrack
Immediately on starting the engine, one detects a more noticeable hum from the new exhaust system. Less-restrictive mufflers snarl menacingly and only get angrier once the throttle is matted and the revs rise. As we�ve seen with other applications of the twin-turbo six, power is delivered with the immediacy of a large-displacement, naturally aspirated engine. The extra horsepower bestowed on the 335is isn�t exactly massive, but the car will still quickly shrink a straightaway, and it rockets into triple-digit speeds as if towed by a Boeing 747. Indeed, a few laps around Portugal�s Estoril racetrack revealed this car to be exactly what�s suggested by the spec sheet: a powerful 3-series with a fantastic soundtrack. As one might expect from the carry-over chassis, the balance, the predictability, and the unflappable poise that make the 3-series one of our favorite cars are all there in spades.
The 335is doesn�t exactly threaten the M3 performance-wise, and with a starting price of $50,525, the 335is coupe costs $8750 less than an M3 coupe. But compared with the M3 sedan, the 335is coupe saves only $5750; faced with that choice, we�d pony up for the four-door M3. Convertible versions of the 335is start at $59,075, or $8850 less than the M3 convertible. The 335is convertible will arrive in April; coupe buyers will have to wait until June. And don�t go looking for the 335is at dealerships outside North America; for once, BMW is building something just for us.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
BASE PRICE: $50,525
ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 182 cu in, 2979cc
Power (SAE net): 320 bhp @ 5900 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 370 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm (est)
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual
Wheelbase: 108.7 in Length: 181.9 in
Width: 70.2 in Height: 54.1 in
Curb weight: 3650�3750 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 4.5�4.8 sec
Standing �-mile: 13.2�13.5 sec
Top speed (governor limited): 155 mph
FUEL ECONOMY (MFR'S EST):
EPA city/highway driving: 17/26 mpg
New sports coupes arrive like summer lightning and depart like uneaten guacamole: ignored, slowly fading to brown, awaiting the inevitable flush. The six-year-old Mazda RX-8 languishes through 2008 with sales the Hubble telescope wouldn�t register: just 2591 units through the end of August.
Mazda isn�t giving up, however. The Hiroshima headquarters considers rotary engines integral to its identity, so the RX-8 stays, a place keeper for a future all-new rotary engine currently code-named �16X� and due perhaps by 2012.
Meanwhile, the RX-8 gets a little stir to keep it green. Most obvious is the new front bumper that flares the grille and brake-duct openings for a more dangerous, grinning-cobra menace. Four glassy robot eyes now fill the taillight teardrops, the exhaust tips are bigger, and fresh wheel designs adorn the various trim levels.
Underneath, Mazda adds chassis stiffeners to further tighten an already athletic platform, and tweaked rear-suspension geometry settles the back end and helps sharpen steering response. The prop shaft also has been strengthened to reduce driveline vibration and noise.
Also new for �09 is the R3. At $32,600, the RX-8 R3 is priced just $930 above the luxury Grand Touring and trades a few of the GT�s comfort bits�heated mirrors, automatic climate control, power seats�for go-fast bits such as 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, Bilstein shocks, and Recaro-brand leather-trimmed buckets. A spoiler, side-sill extensions, fog lights, and an even angrier front bumper also ride along, as does a 300-watt Bose stereo.
Steering that answers to palm twitches remains the RX-8�s best selling point, the R3 cruising flat and neutral through the wiggles without tire squeal or shimmy. Call us surprised that our skidpad runs were lower, generating 0.87 g to our previous 0.92. Brake performance stays about even, and the R3 impresses as every bit the joy toy its predecessors were.
The six-speed-only R3 runs on the same 232 horsepower and 159 pound-feet of torque as other RX-8 manuals (autos have 212 horses) but has foam-filled front crossmembers linking the front-suspension pickups for better sound-and-vibration damping. At 3060 pounds, the R3�s curb weight exactly matches that of our last RX-8 test car [�Four of a Kind,� June 2007].
The low-torque RX-8 was always tricky to get rolling without a stall. A shorter rear-end ratio in all 2009s�4.78:1 versus 4.44�means less revving and clutch slip in everyday driving. However, the second-to-third shift is now perilously close to 60 mph, which likely slowed the acceleration runs (6.7 seconds to 60 mph versus 6.5). Fuel economy isn�t helped or, apparently, hurt. We averaged 15 mpg, same as before.Sporty cars come and eventually go, but for now, Mazda�s entertaining eccentric is signing up for another rotation.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2+2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED: $32,600 (base price: $32,600)
ENGINE TYPE: 2-rotor Wankel, aluminum rotor housings with iron liners and end plates, port fuel injection
Displacement: 80 cu in, 1308cc
Power (SAE net): 232 bhp @ 8500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 159 lb-ft @ 5500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 106.4 in Length: 175.6 in Width: 69.7 in Height: 52.8 in
Curb weight: 3060 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 6.7 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 17.7 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 40.3 sec
Street start, 5�60 mph: 7.7 sec
Standing �-mile: 15.1 sec @ 93 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 141 mph
Braking, 70�0 mph: 152 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
EPA city/highway driving: 16/22 mpg
C/D observed: 15 mpg
First of all I want to tell what an "aftermarket" means for car parts and accessories. Aftermarket part means that the part has not been and factory fitted or it has been release after the release of the car's model. It may also mean that the certain part has been manufactured by any other manufacturer.
The exhaust system acts just like a respiratory system of a man where the different gases produced by the working of the engine are provided a passage way or exit route through the exhaust tubing. When a man works out, the lungs helps in expelling out the carbon dioxide from the body and provides a departure platform. If the gas does not exit from the body we will suffocate and you know better what happens next.
So in order for an engine to work more efficiently, the best thing would be that exhaust piping are of larger diameter so gases exit more rapidly and there is less restriction for the gases to pass out. This benefit is what we gain when we replace a factory fitted stock exhaust system with an aftermarket sports exhaust system. Since they provide relatively a larger diameter piping, there is a less pressure of exhaust fumes which results in higher horse power but on the other hand a larger bore size of the pipe slows down the movement of the gases. So performance gain does not lies with fitting the biggest possible bore size pipe as it may result in the loss of low end torque, but an optimum size is suggested which definitely varies with the type of engine according to the RPM produced. When a standard exhaust system is replaced with a new high performance sports exhaust system, generally 10-15% increase in horse power has been observed.
Another problem with the normal exhaust system is that they manufacture a crush bent exhaust tubing which means that there are spiral rings around the exhaust piping due to which the diameter remains uneven and restrictions for gases to pass through. On the other hand high performance exhaust system generally provide mandrel bent exhaust tubing where the diameter remains same all over the system.
So making the debate short, while replacing your standard one with a high performance sports cat back exhaust system, you should be considering the size of bore of exhaust tubing related to your engine specifications. Similarly one general tip of making the gases to exit with a greater velocity is that the the big pipes are connected with small pipes along the entire exhaust manifold are connected in a cone shape. This of course has some demerits too. Similarly if your exhaust system creates an unwanted sound, you can use aftermarket mufflers to kill it.
- Heat the dent with the hair dryer for approximately 30 secs to 1 minute. Make sure that the panel is hot enough when you are done.
- After heating it spray CO2 on the region. Make sure that you hold the spray can upside down while you spray it. The reason for this is that CO2 comes out in a liquid form when you spray it upside down.
- The panel will be covered by a foam of ice. You just wait and listen until you hear a popping sound which tells you that the metal has retained its original shape.
- When the white foam disappears, clean the area with a piece of cloth.
- The dent is no more there.
P.S Many people have said that using even a boiling water instead of CO2 even does the trick. I cannot say anything because I haven't tried it yet. If any one has done it then you are welcome to share your experience. Anyway watch the video of the above procedure.
The update represents the model�s first major freshening in a while, and the first since going on sale in the U.S. in 2005. The 5, which is known as the Premacy in Japan, takes on styling cues from the Mazda 3 on which it�s based, in particular the smiley-face grille and pronounced fenders. Moving aft of the A-pillars, Mazda says the new 5 is the first production model to fully adopt the wind-blown, swooping styling language the company has refined on several stunning concepts, starting with the Nagare in 2006 and including the Furai racer from 2008.
Inspired by the beauty of flowing elements in nature�nagare means �flow� in Japanese�the design language is most evident along the sides of the 5, where swooping creases between the beltline and rockers appear to be sculpted by the wind, lending a sense of motion. These particular elements can be found in all the previous concept vehicles and, according to Mazda, help the 5 achieve improved aerodynamic efficiency with less drag and more optimal lift characteristics. The result definitely is striking�think BMW�s flame surfacing on magic mushrooms. A more-sculpted rear fascia with revised taillights rounds out the major tweaks to the body.
We have yet to learn the extent of the interior changes, but the layout will remain a spacious and flexible place for six, complete with dual sliding doors for easy entry and exit. Improved materials and revised equipment are expected in order to keep the 5 on par with the updated-for-2010 CX-7 and CX-9.
The 2011 Mazda 5 will go on sale in Europe in the fall of this year with several powertrains, the most notable of which is a new, direct-injected 2.0-liter inline-four with the company�s �i-stop� stop/start technology. When equipped with a six-speed manual transmission, the new 5 is said to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, which are directly tied to fuel consumption, by 15 percent. A 1.8-liter four and a small-displacement turbo-diesel also will be available.
The current U.S.-market 5 sports a 153-hp, 2.3-liter four mated to either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. While we don�t expect performance to match that of, say, our Mazdaspeed 5 Boss Wagon, the fitment of the redesigned-for-2009 Mazda 3�s optional 2.5-liter mill, which makes 167 hp and is paired with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed auto, seems likely. As is par for the course these days, expect a slight bump in fuel economy over the current car�s city/highway ratings of 22/28 mpg with the manual and 21/27 with the automatic.
(BY MIKE SUTTON)
As with its twin, the Lincoln MKX, the angular Edge undergoes a dramatic mid-cycle revamp for 2011, starting with fresh front-end styling that actually has some radius edges. Indeed, shades of the Toyota Venza and the Honda Accord Crosstour�both prime competitors�can be seen in the Edge�s visage, with a vast majority of its frontal area devoted to the T-shaped arrangement of the headlamps and thick three-bar grille. It does not appear, however, that the new fascia will be affixed to new front fenders (the MKX, by comparison, is all-new from the A-pillars forward), but certainty on that point is complicated by this prototype�s black-and-white �cheese-puff� camouflage.
Other aesthetic changes for the standard Edge are expected to be minimal, although this Sport prototype wears flashier rocker panels and a diffuser-look rear bumper as conspicuous conceits to its Sport designation. And speaking of conspicuous, the 22-inch wheels seen here are kinda, sorta bitchin�, especially for a stock-out-of-the-box Ford family car. Rounding out the appearance changes are the new taillamps, which will feature LED elements.
Count On a Vastly Improved Interior
What we can�t see here is the new tech-laden cabin, although Ford itself released images of the interior a few weeks ago when it announced an innovative new connectivity suite called MyFord and MyFord Touch. (The systems include things such as in-car WiFi, improved Sync voice control, apps, and iTunes audio tagging; it all sounds pretty cool.) As such, we already know that the interior of the 2011 Edge will feature upgraded materials and capacitive touch controls in place of some conventional buttons and switches.
While the Edge and Edge Sport currently share one engine�a 265-hp, 3.5-liter V-6�the 2011 Edge could follow the MKX in offering FoMoCo�s 305-hp, 3.7-liter V-6, possibly as an upgrade exclusive to the Sport model. Of course, switching the entire lineup to the 3.7-liter mill is entirely possible, too. However the V-6 situation pans out, it�s relatively certain that the Edge will eventually be available with an EcoBoost turbocharged engine. It�s more likely to be the highly anticipated new 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder rather than something burlier like the 355-hp, twin-turbo V-6 seen in the Taurus SHO and Flex EcoBoost. Ford has said that the 2.0-liter will be good for at least 230 hp.
Look for the 2011 Ford Edge to appear in showrooms late this summer. Of course, if you�re willing to brave some brutal cold and head to the 2010 Chicago auto show next month, you can see it long before then. Even better: Stay warm and point your browser right back here in just a couple of weeks to read full product information and see our photos from the show floor.
(BY STEVE SILER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN WILLIAMS FOR BRENDA PRIDDY & CO. AND THE MANUFACTURER)
As it turns out, the MKS is indeed light-years beyond that ancient Panther-platformed barge in both styling and performance. But the production 2009 MKS came to market lacking the MKR�s exaggerated proportions, rear-wheel-drive chassis, and twin-turbocharged V-6�which then carried the aggressive TwinForce moniker. The reality of the MKS�s front-wheel-drive foundation (shared with the Ford Taurus) and naturally aspirated, 3.7-liter V-6 making 275 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque put it at a disadvantage with more powerful luxury sedans.
But Ford is now upping the big Lincoln�s game, as it will finally be available with a twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6 when the 2010 model arrives in showrooms in mid-summer. Although the engine carries the more marketing-friendly EcoBoost name, its 355 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque are for real and give the Lincoln the gusto to run with most V-8s. We recently had the chance to sample the new turbocharged model�as well as the 2010 MKT crossover�at Ford�s Michigan proving ground, where the company had a V-8 Cadillac STS and Infiniti M45x on hand for comparison.
Movin� On Up
Supported by standard all-wheel drive and a beefier six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and revised gear ratios, the EcoBoost MKS proved to be a far more compelling vehicle to pilot than the base car. However, it should be noted that, although the Lincoln handily outpaced the Cadillac and Infiniti in acceleration, technology, and refinement, Ford conveniently chose two of the oldest and least powerful vehicles in the segment for comparison.
With peak torque available as low as 1500 rpm, the direct-injected EcoBoost V-6 is flexible in its power delivery and motivates the near-4500-pound MKS with uncanny ease. Compared with the non-EcoBoost MKS�which takes 7.5 seconds to reach 60 mph and covers the quarter-mile in 15.7 at 90 mph�the twin-turbo car is a rocket. Away from Ford's proving grounds and on our test track, acceleration was smooth and linear up to the 134-mph top speed, with 60 arriving in 5.4 seconds and the quarter in 14.1 at 100 mph. Turbo lag is nonexistent and the exhaust note is hushed but noticeable, with a subdued growl that never gives the impression the engine is being worked too hard.Although the prodigious low-end grunt tops that of many V-8s, Ford says the EcoBoost engine�s direct injection, compact turbochargers, and smaller displacement allow it to sip fuel like a proper V-6. Our short stint behind the wheel, with the throttle frequently contacting the floorboard, didn�t give us much of an idea about real-world economy. Still, the EcoBoost MKS�s city/highway mileage of 17/25 mpg beats the EPA figures for the STS and M45x�again, conveniently�which are rated at 15/22 and 14/20, respectively. The front-wheel-drive, 3.7-liter MKS is rated the same as the EcoBoost model; the all-wheel-drive base car gets 16/23 mpg. However, the Lexus GS460 with its 342-hp, 4.6-liter V-8 matches the economy of the boosted MKS, and the more powerful�and less expensive�Hyundai Genesis V-8 manages 1 mpg better on the highway. Although the Lincoln�s ratings are surely influenced by its porky curb weight and have yet to be verified by the EPA, we think it might have been better had Ford kept the cooler-sounding TwinForce name if the primary benefit of EcoBoost is performance.
Improving the Package
Along with the new engine option, all 2010 MKSs get revised suspension tuning for more confident handling and additional sound deadening to curb road noise. The 2009 model was by no means loud inside, but the revisions make the 2010 car truly serene, even at triple-digit speeds. Opt for the EcoBoost model, and the chassis gets electric power steering, stiffer anti-roll bars and front subframe mounts, and new shocks, springs, bushings, and upper shock mounts. The result is more responsive footwork with light yet communicative steering. Ford�s ride-and-handling loop showed the MKS to be well controlled and borderline playful when driven in anger, although the rear end has a tendency to feel a little light when the car is pushed hard. The changes don�t make the MKS ideal for assaulting sinewy canyon roads, but it does drive smaller than it is. Around the skidpad, the MKS managed to hang on at 0.83 g, while braking from 70 to 0 mph occured in 175 feet, with considerable fade after a few attempts.
Also available later this year on EcoBoost models is an appearance package ($2995) that includes unique 20-inch chrome wheels (18-inchers are standard); black-accented headlights and taillights; a revised front fascia; a small, chrome-accented trunk spoiler; and unique MKS badging with the S in red. The splurging carries over to the inside as well, with Sienna leather upholstery and trim, a metallic dash appliqu� with MKS badges, and special illuminated door sills and floor mats. As with every MKS we�ve driven, the cabin is comfortable, spacious, and well designed. The front seats are heated and cooled, and they�re supportive without being constricting. Rearward vision could be better, though, and the back seat isn�t exactly commodious. The gauges and the center-stack controls are attractive and easy to use, as is the infotainment system, complete with an eight-inch touch screen and optional THX II 5.1 premium sound system.
Although many of the technologies on the MKS carry over from last year, new for 2010 is active park assist, which employs ultrasonic distance sensors and electric power steering to find and guide the vehicle into a suitable parallel parking space. Press the button on the center console and drive past a potential parking space, and the system will tell you if the car will fit. If the spot proves big enough, slide the gear lever to reverse and work the gas pedal while the computer manages the steering and watches how close you are to other vehicles. The whole operation takes about 20 seconds, with training yourself to trust the car and let go of the steering wheel the biggest challenge. Active park assist costs $535 on the MKS and will be available on several other 2010 Ford vehicles.
First Out of the Gate
Starting at $48,585, the 2010 MKS with EcoBoost comes well equipped, with standard features including keyless access with a keypad and push-button start, adaptive HID headlights with auto high-beam control, rain-sensing wipers, ultrasonic parking assist, and Sync with Bluetooth. A front-wheel-drive, non-EcoBoost MKS is about $1200 more than the 2009 version, at $41,695, with all-wheel drive adding another $1890 to the tally. Option bundles, ranging from $2500 to $4500, are available for base and EcoBoost models and add stuff like 19- or 20-inch wheels, navigation, the THX sound-system upgrade, and a rearview camera, depending on the model. Adaptive cruise control with brake support ($1310), a dual-panel sunroof ($1695), and various paints and wood trims are stand-alone options.
Although the MKS will be the first Ford to go on sale with an EcoBoost engine, it won�t be the only one. The automaker plans to offer four- and/or six-cylinder EcoBoost powerplants in 90 percent of its models by 2013. The MKT crossover will join the EcoBoost roster when it goes on sale in late summer, and the Ford Flex and Taurus SHO will offer the 3.5-liter engine for 2010. Although the additional power of the new engine doesn�t transform the MKS into a sports sedan, it does make it much more competitive and gives the brand a better chance at reestablishing itself. We�ll have to wait to see how well the new MKS does in the real world�and if the updates justify the loaded-up price of $56,000�but we can definitely say this isn�t your typical Lincoln.
Recently a CarReview reader commented that he didn�t understand why the Honda Accord continued to make everyone�s �Best Choices� list when the design and drivetrain appeared relatively conventional. The answer is execution and detail engineering. A car is more than the sum of its parts. Behind the wheel you realize that at its core Honda is an engineering company and knows how to make exceptional products � even the seemingly mundane volume selling sedans.
That said, what standout engineering and technology has Honda offered lately? Where�s the new VTEC? Or the lauded double wishbone suspension? The 2010 Fit was listed as one of CarReview�s �Best Choices� and is the current standard for packaging efficiency. The upcoming CR-Z is poised to be a similar dramatic hit. Drawing on the storied 80s and 90�s CRX styling, the Honda CR-Z will blend packaging efficiency and an innovative hybrid drivetrain to add a sporting flair previously unseen in hybrids. Honda�s engineering mojo is back and the CR-Z has many enthusiasts waiting in the wings for this sporty urban runabout.
Every company needs a halo car. Lexus finally has its LFA. Mercedes has its SLS. Audi has the R8. GM has� the Corvette? GM has been struggling with the halo concept for years and has desperately tried to place it within its premium Cadillac brand. Starting with the misunderstood Allante and the recently cancelled XLR, GM and Cadillac desperately need something to get people into Cadillac showrooms. It has to be beautiful. It has to be powerful. It has to be well engineered and it has to be right for the times. The CTS Coupe, in base high-tech V6 or V-Series supercharged V8 form is that car. In the metal it is achingly beautiful and the thoughtful engineering that comes from the thorough engineering behind the sedan shines though.
"Now," says the serene Audi chassis engineer sitting alongside me in the S4, pressing a button on the dash, "you shall understeer."
Through the rain, we pile into a tight left-hander on the drenched Mallorcan race circuit. Sure enough, the S4's nose pushes wide, resisting any effort to be wrestled into oversteer. Sensible. Locked down. Audi-ish.
"See?" continues the engineer in impassive Teutonic monotone. He presses the button a couple more times. "Now you shall oversteer."
We hit a similarly tight-radius right-hander, and the S4 launches sideways into a lurid, tail-happy drift. A fraction before we reach that critical backwards-into-barrier moment, the rear end catches, and the S4 barrels out on to the straight. Most un-Audi.
It's quite a party trick, and one that rapidly dispels TG's biggest criticism of the old S4: that it simply wasn't engaging enough to justify the premium over a top-spec diesel A4.
But this is the all-new S4, and that magical button is controlling Audi's new 'drive select' system which adjusts the steering, dampers and, most importantly, the quattro's new 'sport differential'. Similar to the torque vectoring on the BMW X6, it varies the amount of torque distributed to each driven wheel. Audi calls it 'inverse ESP' - instead of braking a spinning wheel, the diff pumps more power to the wheel that can use it best.
In 'Comfort' mode, it's set to safety-first understeer, but in 'Dynamic' mode - and in the right road conditions - it'll let you get quite spectacularly crossed up before deciding to put a halt to all the fun.
It's a similarly bipolar story with the engine: Audi has ditched its tried-and-tested V8 in favour of an all-new supercharged 3.0-litre V6. Power is fractionally down on the old S4 - 328bhp plays 339bhp - but torque is up by 22lb ft to a mighty respectable 324lb ft. That's good news for acceleration - the S4's 0-62mph time is down to 5.1 seconds, a full half-second quicker than the previous generation - and even better news for economy, up to 29.1mpg from 21.2mpg. That's nigh-on BMW M3 pace with 40 per cent more economy, and vital ammunition against those who feel it might not be in the best taste to launch a big new petrol supersaloon into the current climate.
Sadly, the new V6 just isn't as visceral as an M3's V8 - or, for that matter, the V8 it replaces. Despite a pleasingly off-beat thrum at idle, the engine is subtle and muted at any revs, the supercharger whine registering as little more than a whispering hiss.
That's in keeping with the performance, though. There's a silky smooth delivery of power throughout the rev range - no hammer-blow of torque, but instead a flat, urgent, linear wave of acceleration. It's the sort of engine that lulls you unwarily into triple figures rather than scares the bejesus out of you.
Difficult to buy anything these days without some sort of phony justification, isn't it? That big leather sofa you just bought? Well it was half price, so you had to. And that flatscreen telly? You'd lost the remote for your old one...
So how do you justify buying a quick petrol coupe in a high-ish tax band, at a time when the economy is flat on its arse and you can barely afford loo roll?
Easy, just put a diesel in it. Which is what VW has done with the Scirocco, therefore making it more accessible to more people. OK, so shoving a diesel in a desirable car is nothing new, but we're pleased one made it into a Scirocco - our Car of the Year 2008.
You get all the gorgeousness of the petrol version, with just a little less guilt and a few more notes in your wallet. Some might say that the 'Roc should stay pure to petrol, and that giving it a diesel somehow dilutes its brand.
It doesn't. It's obviously not as quick as the 2.0-litre TSI, which don't forget is just a Golf GTi in disguise, but it's just as sharp and certainly not slow. Throttle response is about as instant as it gets in a diesel, and it pulls quickly and cleanly through the gears - feeling more powerful than its quoted 138bhp and 236lb ft.
Yes, the driver in you will probably always want the petrol. But just remember, this one's 500 quid cheaper, two tax bands lower and cheaper to run. What more justification do you need?
In this post I intend to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of car body kits made up of polyurethane. I hope this will make your mind even more clear and lead you to a better decision making when selecting the performance body kit for your next exterior car modification.
The biggest advantage of attempting your car body kit modification and then replacing it with polyurethane is its durability. These are more long lasting than the famous fiber glass body kits as the material is more flexible. This flexibility makes it to get mount on your car very easily. So if you are reluctant in changing your car's body kit and consider installing a new one very tough job then polyurethane body kits will change your opinion once and for all. This attribute makes a car modification quite simple and pretty much a DIY job hence saving time and money.
Since polyurethane is a hard and flexible substance, it does not damage easily as compared to its other competitors. So you need to bang real hard your car in order to place an impact on the kit. But wait. Did I say "Bang Real Hard!!!" you definitely would not love to strike your car anywhere no matter what material your car body is and this feeling become even more extreme when the material is polyurethane. Because the moment your car strikes and an impact is laid on the kit, there's a great disadvantage waiting for you which I will discuss in the disadvantages section.
Since it is a high quality material so generally the polyurethane body kits are more costly than other materials so you really need to have tight pockets if you are going for it. This is a great drawback as it goes out of reach for many car enthusiasts and they cannot afford it at all. Secondly, painting over polyurethane is not a convenient job at all at paint requires more adhesion and also sags more quickly over time when exposed to sun or heat.
Furthermore, these are more heavy than fiber glass, so when you mount them over your car keep your mind well prepared for more fuel consumption as more power is going to be required by your car to drag it. Now coming to the disadvantage because of which you would not love to hit your car and cause an impression on it. Polyurethane body kits are not easily repairable or in some cases, it is impossible do retain the original shape of it and you will only have to replace it with new one as the car dents are not going to be removed. So you have to be even more careful on the road.
Bringing my discussion to an end, polyurethane sure is an expensive material to afford but think of it from the positive angle. The less the people will have them, the more your car is going to be unique. The decision is sure in your hands.
The 2.2-litre engine is taken from a Mazda6. On first impressions, it's a bit gravelly around the edges, but improves as you get going. There's a sharp clatter when it first fires, which smoothes as things warm up. It can bog down after upshifts and gearchanges aren't satisfyingly sweet, but stick to third and fourth and it soon feels more energetic.
Like the outgoing version, it drives more like a regular car than an SUV. The high floor and low-ish roof keep you neatly sandwiched so it doesn't feel porky. It also hides its size on the move as the independent (front) and multilink (rear) suspension does its thing. The result it a comfortable ride that isn't lollopy and can handle some pace.
But to chatter on about engines and handling rather avoids the big story here: the options list, or rather, the lack of it. Instead, you get everything as standard - full leather seats (heated and electric), cruise, electric folding mirrors, Bluetooth, a rear-view parking camera and satnav. The Bluetooth's voice recognition system may require your very best accent and the wheel-mounted satnav buttons are trickier than a jumbo's flight deck, but those are the sort of things you'll master as you absorb the car into your life.
More importantly, Mazda will charge you �25,785 for it. To equip rivals in a similar fashion - stuff like the Land Rover Freelander or perhaps the BMW X1 - you'd have to dip into �30k territory. Admittedly the materials aren't as plush as BMW's, but the CX-7 is hardly shoddy. It's like the difference between an M&S pullover and a cashmere sweater - both are quite posh and they definitely beat a cheap shiny one from Primark.
The exterior design changes can be dealt with swiftly as they are barely worth the effort: a bigger grille, a splash more chrome here and there, a bigger spoiler and a new wheel design.
California, especially the northern bit, is purpose-built for driving romantics. Out here, you're the star in your own private movie.
It's happening right now, though we might have inadvertently cast ourselves in the wrong film. We're on the edge of the Sierra de Salinas mountain range, near Carmel Valley, where Clint Eastwood used to be mayor. There are vast tracts of farmland either side of us, with one long, bendy road spearing through the middle. We're in Porsche's new flyweight Boxster Spyder, which weighs 1,275kg. This isn't just 80kg lighter than the regular Boxster S, it makes it the lightest model in the current Porsche range. With 320bhp on tap, the power-to-weight ratio is what you might call promising.
There's a big, blue sky above us, and an orangey winter sun. We're following another Boxster Spyder, whose exhaust emits a fruity Porsche parp as its driver works his way through the 'box. Its back tyres kick up little curlicues of dust as it runs momentarily wide. Romantic, see?
Overtaking out here isn't the teeth-gnashing lottery that is, say, junction 19 of the M25 on a wet Wednesday evening. In fact, in 20 minutes we see just one other vehicle. Unfortunately, it's a vehicle that happens to be about 60ft long, and has mad Jack McMad behind the wheel with only his shotgun and whatever the US version of the Yorkie bar is for company.
Porsche no.1 blasts past. Porsche no.2 finds a 32-tonne artic in the middle of the road to be something of an impediment. We hang back, and lay off the fruity parping for a bit. He moves back over. But we've seen Duel enough times to wonder what's next. Do we really want to play chicken with a big rig? Maybe this guy's more of a 911 fan...
Porsche takes the business of saving weight pretty seriously. For example, the gudgeon pins on the 911 GT3's pistons are 180g lighter than standard, and making its connecting rods out of titanium saves another 150g. But that's the race-spec GT3, and though the Boxster Spyder shares some of its DNA, its role is completely different. This Porsche reboots a model line that goes right back to the company's roots, to cars like the '53 356 America Roadster but more significantly 1954's 550 Spyder (the one James Dean christened �little bastard', with good reason as it turned out). Rummage through the history books a bit further, and it's clear that the Spyder name is reserved for racing cars. Should we care that this latest one absolutely isn't?
It's also not an RS. Or a Clubsport. This is the third official and unlimited edition Boxster variant, the most powerful and, at �44,643, the most expensive. And in the time-honoured tradition, what that extra money buys you is... less. Specifically, less roof. In exchange for the standard car's perfectly useful electric folding roof, you now get a �thing', to fiddle into place above your head. They're geniuses, these people, they really are.
Mind you, �thing' or not, the Boxster Spyder looks fantastic, like a distilled Carrera GT. If not quite as rakish as some previous open-topped Porsche specials, the fairings on the newly extended rear deck are striking, and the body-side graphics are coolly retro (Google the 909 Bergspyder for proof). If it looks meaner and less effeminate than usual, that's because it's 20mm lower, with narrower, lighter side windows.
There's new engineering here too. While most of the Spyder is steel, the doors and single-piece rear deck are now made of aluminium, saving a total of 18kg. The new roof - which Porsche variously refers to as a sunsail or cap, which is why I will continue to call it �thing' - weighs less than 6kg, while the carbon-fibre frame that holds it in position is just 5kg.
There are new 10-spoke alloy wheels, which weigh less than 10kg each, qualifying them as the lightest 19in rims in Porsche's range. Inside, there are new lightweight carbon-fibre sports seats, which trim another 12kg from the overall kerbweight. There's a front bumper with LED daytime running lights, black plastic mesh inserts on the side air intakes, and a black double exhaust pipe. The standard Boxster Spyder does without a stereo system or air-conditioning, though tellingly every test car I looked at featured both items. There are fabric door-pulls, there's no cowl over the main instrument binnacle (how much weight must that have saved?), and the wind-deflector's plastic. The centre console and dash facings are finished in the exterior body colour, and the gear lever shift pattern and seatbelts are red. This isn't the place for modern life's rubbish, either; the cup-holders and door pockets have been deleted.
Modern life being what it is, most of these things are still available as options. As are things like Porsche's Sport Chrono pack, which buys you the dash-mounted stopwatch, and a button on the centre console that sharpens up throttle response (cost: �520). Go for the dual-shift PDK transmission, and you'll get a Sport Plus button, that speeds up shift times and oversees a launch-control system (that'll be a total of �1,920).
And that's just the tip of one expensive iceberg. The fact is, the whole options thing is a bit of a conundrum. What looks at first glance like a Boxster unplugged has the potential to be anything but. You can have regular leather seats and the full audio system as a no-cost option, or the full-on PCM �communication module' with the touchscreen. Order that and aircon, and a good chunk of the 80kg weight-saving must surely pile straight back on.
Ceramic brakes are another pricey option (�5,235), but more in keeping with the car's lightweight ethos because they reduce its unsprung mass. The sports exhaust, which gives the Boxster a rasping character boost, is another option that should surely be standard here, but isn't (�1,249). In other words, an idiot Spyder buyer could easily send this supposedly lo-cal Porsche to the all-you-can-eat buffet, or simply tick the wrong boxes, and ruin it. In fact, a fat idiot Spyder buyer would ruin it simply by getting into it.
Though ruin in this context is a relative term. Because even a poorly specified Boxster Spyder is still a very, very good thing. The Spyder gets Porsche's brilliant direct injection 3.4-litre flat-six power unit, with Variocam Plus variable valve timing. It's almost identical to the Boxster S but for a few important differences. With 320bhp to call on, it's 10bhp more powerful. Peak power is at 7,200rpm, 950rpm higher than in the regular car. It has more grunt too, and a slightly flatter torque curve.
This means it laps the 'Ring seven seconds faster than the standard car. It also means our time exposed to mental trucker man is pretty minimal, thank God. We head deeper into the valley, and by now we're having so much fun I honestly can't think of anything that would work better out here. As much power as any sane individual could ever need, magnificent drivetrain, easily exploitable chassis... It's quite a thing, this car - especially with the roofy �thing' stowed away and the breeze aerating us.
The 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo (guy-YARD-oh) should not see many major changes. This all-wheel-drive exotic should remain the Italian company's entry-level car. The car should come in LP560-4 hardtop and LP560-4 Spyder convertible versions. The Spyder convertible has a power-folding soft top. Lamborghini's Ad Personam program, new last year, should remain available. This program allows personalization of the car with new paint finishes and interior materials. All Gallardos should remain all-wheel drive and use the LP560-4's direct-injection 560-hp 5.2-liter V10. Transmission choices should include the 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic that includes steering-wheel paddles for manual gear selection. Most structural and body components should continue to be made of aluminum or lightweight carbon fiber. Available safety features should be unchanged, including ABS, traction control, antiskid system, and side airbags that cover the head and torso. Other available features should include a navigation system with TV reception, rearview camera, wireless cell phone link, and carbon-ceramic brakes. We have not yet tested an LP560-4.
ROAD TESTOur road test for the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo includes a full evaluation of the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo from the inside out. We evaluate not only engine and handling performance for the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo, but also interior cabin and cargo space. Let our comprehensive road test ratings for the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo help you decide if a 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo is right for you.
SAFETYSpecs and safety for the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo include detailed information on everything from fuel mileage to seating capacity. NHTSA crash-test scores for the 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo are provided as well as manufacturer warranty information.
But first, there�s the new bod. The current MKX was always a handsome, if forgettable, crossover. But thanks to all-new sheetmetal from the A-pillar forward and a new rear end, the MKX has become quite the looker for 2011. Unlike the hearse-like MKT, the MKX starts with innately tidy proportions and short overhangs, and has now artfully adopted the Lincoln dual-port grille. The front fenders now rise to accentuate the wheel arch, and there are new lower rocker moldings, too. The rear end�previously an unremarkable arrangement of rectangles�looks decidedly spicier now that the taillamps have gone from full-width to split, angular LED units.
Controls by Microsoft, Ergonomics by Apple?
The transformation continues inside, where occupants can luxuriate on new leather seats, which, along with the door panels and many other surfaces, are rendered in upgraded materials. �Tuxedo-stripe� stitching is a Lincoln first, and will soon join tunneled electroluminescent gauges, available THX stereos, and white dash illumination in the brand�s gene pool. There are seven selectable ambient-lighting colors, with five levels of intensity. The patina-look interior trim seen first in the MKT appears here, too, and while it certainly looks better than the satin-look junk in many Ford interiors of yore, we wonder how owners might feel about it after a few years.
But the most newsworthy aspect of the 2011 MKX is its debut of the awkwardly named but highly futuristic �MyLincoln Touch� interface, which essentially ditches conventional buttons and knobs for a network of capacitive-touch controls (think iPod or iPhone) spread about the neatly designed dashboard. Particularly cool are the two shiny horizontal spears which at first seem merely decorative but in fact are the controls for stereo volume and HVAC fan speed, actuated by sliding one�s finger across them. The latest voice-activated Ford/Microsoft Sync system comes standard and operates through an eight-inch LCD touch screen with handy color-coded menus. New this year for Sync is factory-installed HD radio, as well as the capability to tag a song you might want to download later. Also added are a pair of 4.2-inch LCD screens in the instrument cluster; they�re accessed by five-position toggles on the steering wheel. The screen on the left side displays basic vehicle data such as trip information and fuel economy, while the one on the right can be used to interface with multimedia devices.
Power and Torque Go Up, Fuel Economy Stays Flat
Less dramatic but equally significant (to us, anyway) are changes that you can�t run your finger along but which should be noticeable from the driver�s seat. The MKX�s standard 3.5-liter V-6 has been replaced by the new 3.7-liter unit shared with the 2011 Ford Mustang. Featuring variable cam timing, horsepower gets a 15-percent bump to 305, while torque climbs 12 percent to 280 lb-ft. The standard six-speed automatic transmission also now features manual-shift capability. Ford did not release fuel-economy estimates, but claims that the 2011 will match the front-wheel-drive 2010 model�s 25-mpg highway fuel-economy rating. City fuel economy for the 2010 model is 18 mpg, while all-wheel-drive versions are rated at 17/23.
Considerable revisions to the brakes are said to increase both feel and response, things we�ve rarely expected�or experienced�in a Lincoln but would definitely appreciate. Newly available driver aids include hill-start assist, trailer-sway control, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, and cross-traffic alert for backing out of parking spots.
Late Fall Arrival
The 2011 Lincoln MKX arrives in dealerships in late summer, with base prices expected to stay near the current model�s $40K price of entry. Beyond Cadillac�s new-for-2010 SRX, the Lexus RX will be in this Lincoln�s crosshairs. We also expect Ford to roll out an updated 2011 Edge crossover (the MKX�s twin) around the same time. Why isn�t the Edge debuting in Detroit? Well, the Ford stand is already action-packed with the 2012 Focus and emboldened 2011 Mustang GT �5.0,� so the sharpened Edge probably wouldn�t get much play. The MKX, then, should get its fair share of attention�attention, it seems, that it may finally deserve.
(BY STEVE SILER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY PATRICK M. HOEY AND THE MANUFACTURER)
The RS 6 Avant is a car that suits any enthusiast�s taste. For example, if straight-line speed appeals to you, look no further. There are a number of high-performance sedans and station wagons on the market now�the BMW M5, the Cadillac CTS-V, the Jaguar XFR, and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, for example�that make 500 or more hp. But at a lofty 580 hp, the Audi RS 6 tops them all. Zero to 62 mph takes a claimed 4.6 seconds, and top speed is governed at 155 mph as standard, with the option to have it raised to 174 mph�hence, our indicated 180. (Audi speedometers are a touch optimistic.)
If you�re more interested in handling, the RS 6 won�t disappoint you, either. The all-wheel-drive system and the 19-inch wheels with 255-series tires�20s with 275-series rubber are optional�raise the limits of adhesion considerably versus those of a regular A6 Avant. Push this car hard, and you note that it carries a lot of weight up front, but you can steer it with the throttle until the stability-control system kicks in, although that happens earlier than we�d like, even in the sportiest setting. It takes guts to turn it off completely, but it�s worth it.
The 5.0-liter V-10 in the RS 6 is closely related to the naturally aspirated V-10 available in the Audi S6 and outgoing S8, as well the R8 5.2 and the Lamborghini Gallardo. Direct-injected and twin-turbocharged, the RS 6�s is the most powerful iteration of this awesome powerplant. The RS 6 Avant comes only with a six-speed automatic, which shifts smoothly and rapidly and is well integrated with the engine. We wouldn�t mind a manual transmission, but it would probably be hard to find a unit that could handle 480 lb-ft of torque�available from 1500 rpm�and fit the RS 6�s platform.
A Whole Lotta Capability
Optional carbon-ceramic brakes are available with the larger wheels and tires. Those stoppers weigh about 27 fewer pounds than the standard cast-iron brakes and are super-easy to modulate. Audi promises that under normal driving conditions they will last close to 200,000 miles. However, we wish they were quicker to respond in wet weather, and there is perhaps not enough difference in performance from the standard brakes to justify the $11,000-plus extra cost. We like that the R8 supercar�s optional carbon-ceramic brakes are aggressive, and we wish the RS 6�s system had more of the same attitude.
The chassis makes extensive use of aluminum components, and a three-step electronic suspension is available. The softest setting is perhaps the most harmonious. It is by no means detached, and it gives ample feedback to the driver without being punishing. After normal mode, the sport setting stiffens up the car further, but it only makes sense if you actually take this family hauler to the track. Off-road capability is limited by the wheels and tires�and ground clearance�but we can attest that the Quattro all-wheel-drive system will let you drive circles around the RS 6�s rear-drive competitors in the snow. Unfortunately, the big engine, all-wheel drive, and everything else add up to a curb weight near 4500 pounds. But at least the RS 6�s capabilities mask the bulk fairly well.
Being a modern Audi, the cabin is extremely well executed, with amazing sport seats and the company�s trademark attention to detail. The base A6 will be replaced within two years, so this interior is a bit dated in terms of product cycle, but even then, the RS 6�s cabin cedes little to its competitors. And the RS 6 Avant is a great family car, spacious and confidence-inspiring, as are the more pedestrian A6 models.
Expensive, Thirsty, and Heavy
Is there anything not to like? Well, the RS 6 Avant is very pricey, at an equivalent of nearly $160,000 in Germany, and the 11-mpg average it returns when you push this beast hard is not good. Officially, it gets 17 combined mpg in the European cycle, and that�s a figure you can better, but the car just invites shenanigans�any good intentions waft out the massive exhaust pipes as quickly as you can downshift from sixth gear to second for a surprise pass on a back road.
There�s also the fact that the RS 6 Avant also feels a little too well behaved and detached. Blame the weight. The car is more than willing to play if you�re up for it, but you feel as if it has to work to go exactly where you want it. The previous RS 6, with its 450-hp twin-turbocharged V-8, felt more agile and, subjectively, just as fast as the current model, and it sounded more immediate than the current car.
One of the Greats
But charging through the twisties and gobbling up miles on the motorways, we think no other car in this league offers such an intoxicating combination of attributes. Behind the wheel, 120 mph is always just a few seconds away, and the speed can be scrubbed off right now if you need to make a good impression on a radar gun. Although V-10 engines may not be the thing in Formula 1 anymore, listening to the RS 6 at full throttle is one of the greater experiences in motoring. We just wish we could get it in the U.S.�and didn�t have to worry about those pesky speed limits everywhere else.
(BY JENS MEINERS, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHIAS KN�DLER)
Larger than the current Aveo and donning what Chevy calls a �European hot-hatch look,� the five-door �Borocay Blue� RS show car is intended to appeal to the youth market�or any market, really. It previews the production version of the next Aveo due as a 2011 or 2012 model. Raise the concept�s chin a tad, tone down the chrome-rimmed outer air inlets, and replace those aluminum-wrapped exposed headlights (circumscribed as they are in blue) with similar halogen units, and you�re staring into the face of the 2011 Aveo. De-flare the RS concept�s fenders and replace the 19-inch wheels with more feasible rollers and you get a good idea of what the rest of the car will look like�we�ve seen the production-ready base model, so we should know. There�s a sedan, too, although it�s more homely than the hatch. Of course, if Chevy ends up putting out an actual Aveo RS model with body mods like those seen here, we�re fine with that.
More hints about the next-gen car can be found in the Aveo RS�s leather-wrapped interior, a more spacious and rather highly designed piece of work. Production elements include the motorcycle-inspired, asymmetrical instrument cluster affixed to the column, as well as the prominent center stack. Blue stitching and other accents that match the exterior are sprinkled throughout the concept�s cabin, portending some probable interior color treatments in the next Aveo. The materials in the show car are quite nice. Indeed, given the popularity of premium hatchbacks in Europe and Japan, we could see a high-spec RS trim such as this going into production for other markets, although the fact that GM is showing it at Detroit indicates that it�s being considered for the U.S., too.
But cash-strapped GM may not be prioritizing super-high-output versions of cars like the Aveo in the near future. The Aveo RS concept is motivated by the 138-hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder slated to appear soon in the Chevrolet Cruze, in this case mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It�s likely that the base production Aveo will get a less powerful, naturally aspirated four. An actual RS model is probably a ways down the pike.
Late to the Fiesta
Chevy isn�t being specific about exactly when it will start building the next Aveo, which will happen at GM�s plant in Orion Township, Michigan. Retooling for the plant doesn�t start until late this year, so don�t expect Aveos to start hitting dealerships until next calendar year.
(BY STEVE SILER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY PATRICK M. HOEY)
Now a question arise what actually is ECU remapping?
Before telling you about it lets talk about some fundamentals. Different car's performance parameters are now judged by sensors embedded at various places in the car. These parameters may include ignition timing, fuel consumption, air flow, throttle position, crank position e.t.c. All these are closely monitored via sensors and their performance reports are send to car's engine management system or electronic control unit (ECU). So ECU basically is a software program which process the signals send by the sensors and helps in better performance of the car in any given condition.
Having said that, the question is automatically replied that why you should have your ECU remapped. Of course for better engine performance. The car manufacturers do not always tailor make their ECU settings at sports performance level. It may sound weird for all car enthusiasts but its a fact. The logic behind it is that why would a granny still able to drive or a mother who drives along with her kids, would require a high performance engine. So they address the concerns of all the end users and make sure that their product is well enough for almost every conditions.
So ECU remapping can be done by just over writing the existing software program of your car and replacing it with a more tuned software, best fitting your conditions. The remapping, until recently was done by removing the existing chip containing the software. It has been made easy after the advent of serial port remapping, and now ECU remapping can be performed by just plugging and overwriting engine map by a better sports performance version in to the serial port.
Tuning ECU is a simple performance upgrading but it may become complicated if you are not aware of your car's specification and would end up in creating a mess if you do not pay consideration to the conditions, the car will have to endure. If you are a newbie and want to perform a rather non professional remapping, I would advise you a simple tool best fit for this purpose. It is known as "Galletto" and use to read your car's ECU tuning file. It's available at more or less $100 from the internet. You need to connect this tool with the obd socket and can be used to diagnose any fault in the car. When the information in the ECU tuning file is retrieved you need to edit and amend it according to your desire using a better tuned software program. But be careful here as the information would be in the form of binary numbers. The software programs which are used to edit these information can be either "race 2000" and "winol". Don't forget to put back tuning file back in to the ECU after you are done.
ECU remapping do have some fuel implications if you are looking for an increase in engines power and torque. However an car can be tuned to an optimum level to save fuel and raise the power and torque as well. The results of the ECU tuning vary according to the engines on which you performed the remapping.
For a turbo charged petrol engine, you can achieve an increase of 20-30% in power and 20-40% in torque. The increase is about 10-15% in power and 15-20% in torque when there is a normally aspirated, non turbo petrol engine. Similarly turbo charged diesel engine ECU tuning may yield a result of 25-50% and 50-75% rise in power and torque respectively. With all these engine upgrading, high power, more torque and better fuel efficiency, why would you not go for DIY ECU remapping?
I will discuss a some general steps of removing car dents. But first just a quick peek of some tools that are considered effective as auto dent puller.
Dent Pulling Tools:
Now there are different dent pullers or dent removers which are used to remove dents from the car. Some of these are specialized for this purpose while some of them are common house hold tools which cab also be used for this purpose. These tools or materials can be:
- Wooden block and a hammer.
- Suction cup dent puller integrated with air compressor.
- Dry Ice.
How To Remove Minor Dents On A Car:
Note that these steps are recommended only for minor dents on a car.
- First clean the area with water and a piece of cloth so you are in a clear contact with the surface area and the dented region can be easily seen.
- Drill a hole right at the center of the dent.
- Insert the dent pulling tool inside the hole.
- Try to pull the dent puller towards you until it pops out.
- Once the dent pops out, remove the dent puller.
- If the dent has been removed, fill the hole with the body filler and cover the area with touch up paint.
Remove Car Dents By Suction Cup Dent Puller:
Most non violent way of popping out minor car dents is using a dent puller which when combines with air compressor attempts to pull it by creating a suction. Therefore I would call it as a suction dent puller. Following are the steps to use this tool effectively.
- Clean the area with water and a piece of cloth.
- Combine the dent puller ( suction dent puller) with an air compressor and activate it.
- keep the dent puller on the area of the dent.
- Make sure that there is no gap or space left open between the dent puller and the dent area of the car. As any space left opened will make it impossible for creating a vacuum and no suction would be created.
- Once the dent puller is nicely placed it will attach to the car's metal where it has been placed. This will testify that the tool is working effectively.
- Pull the tool towards yourself. Since there's a vacuum between the car body and the dent puller so the car dent will also tend to pop out with the dent puller.
- That's it. You are done. De-activate the air compressor, remove the dent puller and ta-daa!!! The minor dent on your car is a history.
How To Remove Relatively Larger Dent From A Car:
If the dent is relatively larger to pull it from a dent puller you can use a small sledge hammer and a small 2"x 4" wooden block. Follow these steps.
- Remove the upper layer of the dented area from inside the car. For instance if you want to remove dent of a car door. Reach inside your car and remove the clothing or leather layer from inside your car so that you reach the effected region from inside.
- The area must be popping out from the interior side as it must be appearing as popped in from outside.
- Take a wooden block and keep it on the surface area of the dent area.
- Now take a hammer and hit the block with the hammer. Make sure that you hit the block gently or you will cause a permanent damage to the car body.
- Your job is done once the dents pops out from exterior and the body returns to it original position.
How to Fix a Dent on a Car -- powered by eHow.com
Remove Dents Using Dry Ice
Remove Car Dents With Hair Dryer And Liquid Carbon Dioxide CO2
A car has got to be pretty spectacular to win over the curmudgeons here at 1585 Eisenhower Place, especially when familiarity sets in over the course of 40,000 miles. But our Sparkling Graphite Metallic M3 did indeed win us over. For less than $70,000, the M3 bolts from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and turns the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds at 113 mph. It pulls an exceptional 0.96 g on the skidpad, stops in 147 feet from 70 mph, and reaches a governor-restricted 161 mph. On a racetrack or a back road, it�s a beautifully balanced and hugely entertaining machine.
Aside from performance, the M3 is comfortable on the highway and has plenty of space for four adults. It has a full complement of luxury accouterments and yet is very practical�even the trunk is commodious. It has muscular, raked looks and a handsomely dark interior. A bonus is that regular service doesn�t cost a cent, thanks to BMW�s full-maintenance program, which lasts for four years or 50,000 miles. (The gas bill, however, wasn�t cause to rejoice, given this BMW�s 17-mpg thirst.)
When it came to ordering the car, we went with the so-called M double-clutch transmission (M DCT), a $2700 option that replaces the standard six-speed manual with a seven-speed dual-clutch unit, BMW�s first. We were eager to try this setup because dual-clutch transmissions promise the smoothness of an automatic when the driver can�t be bothered to change gears, as well as superfast paddle shifts in manual mode. In the previous M3 (E46), BMW offered a single-clutch, automated manual gearbox that was notable for its harshness in manual mode and its clunkiness as an automatic.
Other options included the $750 Cold-Weather package, a godsend in Michigan winters; the $3250 Technology package that dumps navigation in with electronic adaptive dampers; 19-inch wheels and tires ($1200); and the $1900 Premium package that bundles power folding mirrors and Bluetooth interface along with upgraded leather interior trim that has a distinctive carbon-fiber look.
The interior held up well, but the side of the driver�s seat got scuffed up. Rear-seat space was decent.
Who wouldn�t react favorably to a perform ance car so well rounded? Here�s who: some whiners on staff anxious to get past the 1200-mile engine-break-in period, during which BMW suggests that drivers never use full throttle and refrain from revving higher than 5500 rpm. Once past this period, our crew was fulsome in its praise for the BMW�s everyday drivability�although it pays to keep the variable shocks on their softest setting on poor pavement. We even noted relatively few iDrive complaints, at least until the knob that controls it became loose at 37,000 miles. (It was replaced under warranty, without charge.) BMW has since changed the iDrive interface, and the new setup is far easier to operate. Those who plugged iPods into the M3 were satisfied with the interface between tunes and car.
We always plan for snow in the winter, so at 19,903 miles, we installed a set of Pirelli Winter 240 Sottozero tires on the base 18-inch rims. We racked up 10,500 miles on these tires, during which the M3 proved quite adept at getting around despite all the white stuff that fell in Michigan last winter and spring. The car also rode better on the 18s, although most drivers felt the decrease in ride quality with the 19-inch wheels was worth it for the improved looks.
Spot the missing iDrive knob . . .
The service history was fairly uncomplicated, and with the free regular maintenance, the only out-of-pocket cost for 40,000 miles was $1450 for new tires. Based on our experience, the stock Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s should last roughly 25,000 miles for the rears and 35,000 for the fronts. As for service, after an initial 1200-mile stop to replace the engine oil and the transmission and differential fluids, the BMW�s onboard computer determines the service schedule. It prompted us at 16,210 (engine-oil change), 27,769 (various inspections), and 29,248 miles (engine-oil change).
Due to an oversight, the M3 arrived at our offices without satellite radio installed, so we decided to add Sirius pay-radio service in the car at 13,264 miles�the unwed among us were suffering Howard Stern deprivation�which cost $245 for wiring and programming.
At the 27,769-mile service stop, the M DCT transmission was reprogrammed as part of a service bulletin that resulted from the �sudden loss of engine power when decelerating to a complete stop with light brake application.� M3 forums describe the sensation as being akin to the car stalling due to the transmission holding a higher gear than appropriate. In any event, this mechanical foul-up never bit us.
Over the M3�s long stay, several drivers banged up the perilously low frontal underbody against curbs, inclined driveways, and irritating parking-lot barriers, to the point that we had to replace the engine splash shield and other underbody parts at a cost of $501. Other than this, the car�s exterior (and interior) held up extremely well over its 17 months with us.
The only significant complaints involved the dual-clutch transmission. In automatic mode, it works remarkably well, and it was hard not to be awed by the speed of the shifts and its smoothness of operation. Indeed, technical director Dave VanderWerp observed that it �upshifts so smoothly under part throttle that it�s easier to detect a shift from the change of the exhaust note than it is to feel it. Too bad,� he went on, �that the lazy throttle tip-in from standstill is so off-putting.�
And near the end, the dual-clutch transmission was making clunks and groans. Assistant tech editor K.C. Colwell was adamant that the transmission had loosened up considerably. Twice while the M3 was parked facing downhill, the transmission slipped markedly when the driver was trying to back up. If the clutches need to be replaced, our local dealer quoted us $3296 for the job! So far, none of the M3 forums has reported any issues with M DCT, save for the service bulletin already mentioned. Indeed, most owners seem besotted with the dual-clutch gearbox.
Most of the sentimental drivers on staff would have preferred a manual transmission in the M3, although the automatic function of the M DCT is good for mindless commuting. All around, this M3 was a far better experience than our long-term E46 M3 [March 2003]. Not only is the M3 dramatically improved in acceleration, braking, and skidpad grip, but it was utterly dependable. That 2001 M3 burned through 14 quarts of oil and used to sputter, stumble, and often stall on cold winter mornings. This M3 needed just two remedial quarts, the first of which wasn�t added until 25,000 miles, and the car held a steady idle on even the bitterest cold starts. Based on our experience, the current M3 is the world�s all-around best car for the money, although several staffers would have preferred to trade some of the coupe�s looks for the added practicality of the sedan. Choices, choices
RANTS AND RAVES
This is the finest car on the market, period.
The slow-speed launch can really suck. One auto-shop teacher accelerated very gingerly and got the M3 to buck and hitch like a 16-year-old learning to drive a manual.
My only complaint about this car is that I don�t own it.
The dual-clutch transmission short-shifts at the slightest hint of wheelspin in automatic mode. Very annoying. I wind up driving in manual mode all the time, so why not save money and get the manual?
Very grouchy sometimes in responses to the throttle. And that�s about the only negative to this great, great car.
The M3 didn�t work very well in deep snow�and the winter tires did little to help. But in snow less deep, the M3 tracked beautifully and worked remarkably well.
Here are two truths about self-respecting M3 coupe owners: They would not even consider the optional sunroof that eliminates the distinctive carbon-fiber roof, and it�s likely they will end up driving their cars at a racetrack. That second sure thing happened to us as pseudo-owners, and after a handful of laps we�d obliterated the tread on the stock Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires. They simply can�t cope with the amount of heat generated by this 3600-pound thrill machine at its flaming limits.
So we went looking for stickier, street-legal track tires�commonly referred to as �R compound��but finding them in either the M3�s standard 18-inch size or the optional 19-inch dimension was difficult. However, Michelin has one, a BMW-specific version of its Pilot Sport Cup tires, in only the 19-inch size. In fact, these tires originated with the Euro-only, lightweight CSL edition of the previous-generation M3.
Available only as a replacement tire, this �Sport Cup +� version (fronts, $353 each; rears, $416) features additional grooving in the tread, which compromises stiffness to be friendlier in the rain (which it is) compared with an off-the-shelf Sport Cup. And these tires are also able to withstand higher temperatures than the stock PS2s. Unfortunately, skidpad results were no better with the Sport Cups (0.96 g), and braking (156 feet) was a bit worse.
On a racetrack or a back road, it�s a beautifully balanced and hugely entertaining machine.
We returned to the 1.9-mile GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan, where we�d chewed up our stock tires, with much improved results. Although it didn�t feel like there was a whole lot more stick in the corners (our best time was a 1:38.1), more important, lap times remained consistent. But after almost 1000 street miles and a couple of dozen hard laps at GingerMan, the fronts (see photo) had 2/32nds of an inch of tread left. The rears fared better, only burning through half (3/32-inch) of their tread. Even though the BMW-specific Sport Cups didn�t outgrip the PS2s, having a tire that�s consistent and lasts significantly longer during abusive lapping is indeed a boon for the track-rat M3 owner.