Now Mercedes has prematurely announced the F800 Style concept, which seems to be a pretty faithful look at the upcoming 2011 CLS. If accurate, it looks like the next CLS will be as dramatic a departure from the old as the original was from the E-class on which it was based. That�s disappointing to us, as the current car is among the most beautiful cars on the road today, whereas this one�in pictures at least�seems to be based on Zoolander�s �Derelicte� line of nonsense spun as fashion. It looks like they borrowed ideas from a few carmakers and combined them into one, then slapped on an SLS grille and put a BMW 3-series front fascia on the rear. But we�ll reserve final judgment for when we see it in person.
Choose Your Own Alternative-Propulsion Adventure
On the mechanical side of the equation, Mercedes says the F800 could use either fuel-cell or a plug-in hybrid locomotion. Both options are �already close to the series production stage,� according to Prof. Herbert Kohler, �Head of E-Drive & Future Mobility and Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler� and the proud bearer of what is officially the longest title we�ve ever seen on anything. Ever.
The hybrid powertrain couples a direct-injection, 300-hp V-6 gas engine with a 109-hp electric motor that lives in the seven-speed transmission housing and draws its power from a 10-kWh lithium-ion battery stashed under the rear seat. Normally, simply adding the power figures of the internal-combustion engine and electric motor will not accurately produce a hybrid system�s actual power output. But in this case, Mercedes claims just that, stating the F800 has 409 combined horsepower.
The F800�s hybrid powertrain is largely based on that of the upcoming S500 hybrid, which is set to out-thrift its current S400 hybrid once the next-gen S-class arrives. Electric-only range is 18 miles, although speed along closer to the battery-operated limit of 75 mph�higher than what the S500 will allow�will no doubt shorten that leash. The vehicle�s nav system will use the map to show the radius of travel allowed on remaining battery power, although that functionality seems silly given that there�s an internal-combustion engine aboard to propel the car beyond those borders. Mercedes justifies the feature by saying, �should municipalities only permit purely electric automobile traffic in the future, the driver can determine whether the electric range of his or her vehicle is sufficient for the journey into and out of the urban area.� We think that, should municipalities only permit purely electric automobile traffic in the future, we�ll be finding a new municipality in which to reside.
Nevertheless, M-B claims 81 mpg on the Euro fuel-economy cycle. Despite such thrift, the F800 also is said to boast impressive performance. Zero to 60 mph is claimed at just 4.7 seconds, and top speed of course is restricted to the usual German limit of 155 mph.
For the fuel-cell version�we haven�t forgotten about it�the batteries beneath the F800�s rear seat would be displaced by two hydrogen tanks, and two additional tanks would be placed in the transmission tunnel. The motor would be the same one as is in the B-class F-cell, which is available now through a pilot program in California. An electric motor near the rear axle would develop 134 hp and torque in the neighborhood of 210 lb-ft. Not only is this powertrain already found in the F-cell, but Mercedes also has a fleet of city buses operating in Germany propelled by a double dose of this arrangement.
While both the hybrid and fuel-cell drivetrains are imminent, whether we�ll see the technology packed into the F800�s cabin soon is a toss-up. The familiar COMAND system gets a new interface that integrates a touchpad similar to that of the new Audi A8. With Mercedes� version, the driver uses a fingertip to draw on the touchpad and a camera captures its motion and overlays a ghostly image on the infotainment screen in the center stack. This way, the information display operates as a touch screen without demanding the driver lean forward and without the messy fingerprints. It also recognizes commands similar to those familiarized by the iPhone�tap, wipe, push, turn, and zoom. Additionally, the display in the instrument cluster uses a mirror to make information appear farther away, which will reduce fatigue as the eye switches from near to far focus less often.
Mercedes� existing safety tech sees an update with the F800, as well. Distronic Plus, the adaptive cruise control, gets Traffic Jam Assistant, which will not only maintain following distance down to and up from a stop, but will now track the vehicle ahead and control steering inputs up to 25 mph.
Pre-Safe, too, gets updated, being promoted to Pre-Safe 360. It will now monitor the area behind the car when stationary in traffic and engage the brakes just before anticipated rear-end collisions, the better to prevent the Mercedes from being pushed into the vehicle ahead. But if the driver sees a window for escape and jumps on the gas, the car will immediately release the brakes.
While we aren�t so excited about the shape of the F800 and hope the expected resultant CLS doesn�t look so much like what you see here, we look forward to seeing the technology featured in the F800 in future Mercedes vehicles.
(BY JARED GALL, PHOTOGRAPHY BY PATRICK M. HOEY AND THE MANUFACTURER)
The Mitsubishi comes with a 291-hp turbocharged engine, a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, and one of the most sophisticated all-wheel-drive systems on the market. But a great swath of hard interior plastic and a shortage of amenities such as heated seats made the Evo feel spartan for its price. Not even the touch-screen navigation system, part of the $2550 Technology package (the only option on our car), did much to shake that perception.
For 2010, Mitsubishi has added the MR Touring model that loses the juvenile rear wing and adds some luxury trappings, but it costs $2000 more than the standard MR. The base price on the MR has crept up to $39,735 from the 2008 figure of $38,965.
The Evolution lineup starts at a more reasonable $34,335 in five-speed-manual GSR trim (or $33,710 back in 2008). But we wanted to try the new TC-SST dual-clutch gearbox that is offered only on the MR, which also includes upgrades such as Bilstein shocks, lightweight wheels, HID headlamps, and keyless ignition.
In terms of performance, our Evo did all the right things. Even though it could stand to be more aggressive off the line�Mitsu�bishi says the Evo MR has �launch control,� but labeling the lazy clutch engagement as such is a stretch�the car ripped from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds when new; at the end of our test, acceleration improved by 0.4 second to 60 and in the quarter-mile. Skidpad grip also increased, from a strong 0.93 g to an astonishing 0.96, and braking from 70 to 0 mph was consistently impressive, at 158 feet when new and 162 feet in our final test. These numbers earn the Evo true sports-car credentials, and its driver-focused environment backs up that impression with big magnesium shift paddles on the steering column and deep, supportive Recaro seats for the front occupants.
The following theme emerged from the logbook: Everything in the Evo comes at a price. Especially at the gas pump. With its SUV-like EPA rating of 17 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway�and a 14.5-gallon fuel tank�we didn�t anticipate bladder-busting range, but the Evo continually surprised us with its need for frequent fill-ups. It only managed more than 300 miles on a tank on three occasions, and highway cruising at 75 mph or above would drop a given tank�s mileage down near our average of 19 mpg.
The second wave of sticker shock came from running costs, starting with the grippy Yokohama Advan A13C tires, which wore out in 16,000 miles and run $351, each. We made the slightly less expensive ($266 per corner) but still great Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 our replacement choice, but we included the price of two sets of OE tires and mounting them in the official tally. Also, it cost $463 to have new rear brake pads installed at 32,700 miles. Regular maintenance further added to the pain of these normal-wear costs, making for a total of $5059. Part of that was a $623 service at 30,000 miles featuring six quarts of transmission fluid at $35 per. The 15,000-mile service ran $228, and lesser maintenance intervals came every 5000 miles and cost between $69 and $150. Compare that $5059 sum�$3128 in tires alone!�with that of our previous long-term Evo VIII, a 2003 model, which rang up $3706 in bills over the 40,000-mile test [April 2005]. Including gas and tires, we paid 28 cents a mile to keep this Evo X on the road.
Pricey operating costs aside, the Evo was essentially trouble-free. We did have to make an unscheduled stop to fix a loose underbody tray. And then there was the rainy night in November 2008, when a Camry rear-ended the Evolution in stop-and-go traffic, sending it to the shop for $5402 worth of insurance-covered repairs.
The six-speed dual-clutch transmission was universally praised for its speedy and crisp gearchanges. We didn�t like the car�s bad habit of taking a second or two to shut down the engine after we killed the ignition; Mi�tsubishi explained that transmission fluid is cycled during this time to preserve the heat-sensitive clutches.
Almost every driver praised the Evo�s sharp reflexes and supreme handling. But as the months wore on, that initial fascination with the car�s terrific performance and technology wore off. Michigan roads, mostly straight and in various states of disrepair, offer little opportunity to take advantage of the Evo�s quick responses. Staffers complained that the ride was too stiff for workaday commuting; most of them had not driven the Evo on a racetrack and were thus short on sympathetic justification. The seats, which some drivers (including this writer) raved about, drew contempt for being too deep for easy exits, too narrow for some hips, and too low (there�s no height adjustment). By the end of our test, the front edge of the driver�s seat showed visible wear.
The trunk, which is compromised by the intrusion of the battery and the washer-fluid reservoir, couldn�t hold two hockey bags when our K.C. Colwell embarked on a weekend rife with busted knees and broken teeth. Out back, the rear wing partly makes up for its view-bisecting location by acting as a push bar for opening the trunklid.
Another driver wrote that he was fonder of the 2003 Evolution because it felt livelier. The Lancer platform on which this latest Evo is based is larger and, in part to meet newer crash standards, results in a roughly 300-pound-heavier car. This newer model offers better overall performance, though the �03 car was quicker in a straight line. This Evo also has a highly satisfying navigation system and a better interior. (Did we just imply that the old car was a medieval torture chamber? Why, yes, we did.) But these improvements are not enough, we think, to justify the new big price�our long-term �03 Evo cost just $30,062. Some staffers think this version feels like a fast Lancer whereas the old Evo seemed to transcend its econobox roots and felt more deeply connected to Mitsu�s rallying legacy.
Even at this lofty as-tested price, there are few sedans that can match the performance of the Lancer Evolution. As is often the case, however, numbers aren�t everything. Without a regular opportunity to take advantage of all of the Evo�s capability, the compromises that come with its perform�ance left us wishing for a lower sticker price, more refinement, or both.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED: $41,515 (base price: $38,965)
ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection
Displacement: 122 cu in, 1998 cc
Power (SAE net): 291 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 300 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual
Wheelbase: 104.3 in Length: 177.0 in
Width: 71.3 in Height: 58.3 in
Curb weight: 3659 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 4.9 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.1 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 29.2 sec
Street start, 5�60 mph: 5.8 sec
Standing �-mile: 13.5 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 150 mph
Braking, 70�0 mph: 162 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.96 g
EPA city/highway driving: 17/22 mpg
C/D observed: 19 mpg
Unscheduled Oil Additions: 0 qt
3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper;
5 years/60,000 miles powertrain;
7 years/100,000 miles corrosion protection;
5 years/unlimited miles roadside assistance
(BY MICHAEL AUSTIN, PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARC URBAN)
Something Old, Something New
A 385-hp, naturally aspirated edition of the 5.0 moves the XF Premium with plenty of verve, while a Roots-type supercharger is added to the same 5.0-liter to create the Supercharged and XFR. Equipped with nearly all the same standard baubles, it�s primarily power that separates the latter two models, to the tune of 470 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque in the Supercharged and 510 hp and 461 lb-ft in the XFR. The XFR, of course, gets all the love because of its added grunt. But examine the performance numbers, and a compelling case emerges for the XF Supercharged.
Same Book, New Chapter
Put your right foot to the floor of the Supercharged, and 60 mph comes in just 4.3 seconds, beating the 2009 XF Supercharged by 0.7 second�and tying our best XFR run. The quarter-mile flies by in an XF Supercharged in 12.7 seconds at 112 mph, just one tenth and 4 mph slower than in the XFR. Coming to a halt from 70 mph is accomplished in 159 feet, not only an excellent number on its own, but also identical to big-brother XFR's. Snowy weather didn�t allow for a skidpad run, but with the same Jaguar Adaptive Dynamics and Active Differential Control systems as found in the XFR, we�re confident the Supercharged could come close to�if not outright match�the best we�ve seen from the burlier car, 0.89 g.
But the numbers merely add to the XF story, they don�t rewrite the book. The sultry exterior and executive-grade cabins of non-R XFs basically are the same as those of the 2009 cars; the Supercharged model now gets quad exhaust finishers. The XF�s sheetmetal continues to command double-takes, and wood and leather are spread around the cabin like butter on a crumpet. The painfully slow infotainment system and pop-up gear selector linger as gripe-getters, however. To avoid repeating ourselves, we won�t rehash the rest of the carry-over goodness. But we will reiterate that the car is athletic and very obedient to inputs, and we still love the stellar ride quality and quick shifts delivered by the six-speed automatic, qualities that helped the XF get named to our 2009 10Best Cars list. (Beyond the stellar crop of cars this year, it�s worth noting that the XF didn�t make a repeat 10Best appearance in part because of some quality issues with our long-term 2009 XF Supercharged.)
If the numbers and the style don�t convince you to give the 2010 XF Supercharged some love, how does $12K in savings over an XFR sound? Starting at $68,000�the only option is a $2200 adaptive cruise-control system that you don�t want anyway�the Supercharged model is the bargain of the bunch, delivering most of the performance and panache of the XFR minus some exterior bits and more heavily bolstered seats. Hell, if you want to save even more money, the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter XF Premium is far from slow. Our advice? Never underestimate a middle child�they may not stand out, but they definitely hold the power to surprise.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED: $68,000 (base price: $68,000)
ENGINE TYPE: supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 305 cu in, 5000cc
Power (SAE net): 470 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 424 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
Wheelbase: 114.5 in Length: 195.3 in
Width: 73.9 in Height: 57.5 in
Curb weight: 4481 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 4.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 10.0 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 14.6 sec
Street start, 5�60 mph: 4.9 sec
Standing �-mile: 12.7 sec @ 112 mph
Top speed (governor limited, mfr's claim): 155 mph
Braking, 70�0 mph: 159 ft
EPA city/highway driving: 15/21 mpg
C/D observed: 15 mpg
(BY JON YANCA, PHOTOGRAPHY BY JORDAN BROWN)
This unique automotive is born from two great automotive cultures Bentley and Zagato. Bentley Zagato GTZ design team able to create a distinctive and attractive character to this cool car. The exterior of Bentley GTZ has a pronounced fender lines, a unique double bubble roof and a round tail with all new rear combination lamp. All element of this luxurious car are harmoniously integrated and created an aggressive, sharp and solid looks.
This limited production car interior has a refined and exclusive design with natural color of leather seats, The interior is styled by British firm Adaptive Space. This fast and limited edition car is valued at $1.7 million USD, and only 9 of this car is produced so far.
In truth, there's a lot of old Avalon here; the sheetmetal and interior are new, but the running gear and platform are the same. The new car features the same 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 268 hp, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Toyota says that the car hits 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway on the EPA cycle.
As expected, the exterior design�the work of Toyota�s CALTY studio in California�was torpor-inducing, but the new interior is very clean and neat, featuring a simplified center stack and the segment's only reclining rear seat. Myriad driver distractions are available, including Bluetooth music streaming.
The Avalon comes in two levels: standard and upscale Limited. Even the base car gets standard leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. All Avalons get a full array of airbags and electronic safety aids, including an override for the gas pedal when the brakes are pressed. The latter, of course, is a feature that would have saved Toyota's bacon if they had thought of installing it a model before 2011.
As yet, there's no word on Avalon pricing, but don't expect it to stray far from the current model's when it hits the showroom floors.
(BY MARK GILLIES, PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEVIN HILLGER AND THE MANUFACTURER )
Even though that bid failed and Porsche has become part of the VW Group, the new bosses certainly recognize the importance of the Cayenne to Porsche�s bottom line. That�s why we recently found ourselves in the Middle East, evaluating prototypes of the second-gen version of the Cayenne. The vehicle is the product of a revised platform that is shared with the next VW Touareg and Audi Q7. The new Cayenne is 1.8 inches longer overall and rides on a wheelbase stretched 1.6 inches, making for a �roomier rear seat that now slides fore and aft by 6.3 inches. There are 24 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, up from 19; with the rear seats folded, the Cayenne will accept 63 cubic feet of stuff, about the same as before.
One of the main criticisms of the previous Cayenne was its blob-like shape, which looked a bit like an eroded brick. For Cayenne No. 2, chief designer Michael Mauer and his team devised more subtle air intakes underneath the front bumper and a more sculpted hood that has cut-lines like the iconic 911�s. The liftgate slopes more now, giving a lighter appearance at the back. While they were at it, the Porsche designers put together an interior that�s similar to the spectacular Panamera�s.
Another point of contention was the porkiness of this Porsche�as much as 5600 pounds in some trims. To get mass under control, the Cayenne now has a heavy dose of aluminum parts: hood, doors, and front fenders, as well as suspension pieces. According to Rolf Frech, director of complete vehicle engineering and quality management, �Trim level for trim level, a new Cayenne is nearly 440 pounds lighter than the old one.� A Cayenne S now weighs 4553 pounds, according to Porsche, some 400 pounds less than the claimed weight of the current Cayenne. However, the last Cayenne S we tested weighed 5351 pounds, which would suggest a still hefty two and a half tons for the new model.
This lower weight is the big reason that the next Cayenne, which goes on sale later this year as a 2011 model, offers better gas mileage than the current vehicle. The current Cayenne already has a range of direct-injection engines, which basically carry over but are updated to the latest-generation, slightly more powerful units from the Panamera. The naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V-8 will make 400 horsepower, a gain of 15, and the Turbo holds at 500. The entry-level 3.6-liter V-6 model will make a less sexy 300 horsepower. A start-stop feature will be standard on all Cayenne gasoline engines.
The hybrid version, which mates a supercharged 333-hp, 3.0-liter Audi V-6 engine with a 52-hp electric motor, most likely will go on sale here in early 2011. This vehicle will, Porsche claims, achieve 29 mpg on the combined European cycle (that�s more like a 25-mpg EPA combined number), which is better than many a mid-size luxury sedan. We�ve driven this powertrain, and it�s remarkably good.
During this first access to the new Cayenne, we focused more on the Turbo (can you blame us?). As with all the other gasoline engines, power is transmitted via a completely new eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from Aisin that shifts quickly and very smoothly. First and second gears are short, giving fast acceleration off the line. The Turbo has a claimed 0-to-62-mph time of 4.6 seconds. (The S needs 5.9 seconds, and Porsche is traditionally conservative with its performance claims.)
At the other end, the seventh and eighth ratios are long in order to save fuel. Porsche went with a conventional torque-converter automatic because of fears that a dual-clutch gearbox would overheat from the Turbo�s massive 516 pound-feet of torque and wouldn�t be as robust for rock crawling at very low speed. Yes, Porsche still persists with the quaint notion that an SUV ought to be off-road capable (the company does sell a lot of them in the Middle East).
After a couple of hours on what seemed like a never-ending straight road through the Arabian Desert, the quietness of the engine and the lack of tire noise made it difficult to stay awake. Luckily, we left the paved road and turned toward a huge dune area that rose 200 feet and featured very soft and deep sand. Frech and his engineers come here to calibrate the torque distribution of the new Cayenne�s all-wheel-drive system under extreme traction conditions. Under normal road conditions, about 90 percent of the engine�s torque goes to the rear wheels. As soon as the wheel sensors identify a rotational difference between the front and the rear wheels, the system sends more torque to the front�close to 100 percent, if need be.
For off-roading, just move a switch in the center console to the �mountain� symbol. The air suspension automatically raises the Cayenne�s body, and the center differential locks. A rear-diff lock is engaged if the car is fitted with the off-road equipment that�s standard on the Turbo and optional on the others. At full throttle, the Cayenne Turbo jumped to about 50 mph seemingly instantly. In the five seconds after it reached the foot of a dune, the Cayenne dug its tires into the sand and lost some speed but resolutely kept going, with 5000 rpm steady on the tach. At 30 mph, we easily swept to the top of the dune. �You would not do this with its predecessor,� Frech explained. �Only the new Cayenne can apportion the engine�s power over this kind of terrain.�
After plenty of time exploring the Cayenne�s limits in an environment that pretty much none of its American owners will ever encounter�unless they go bounding off into the Mojave on an impulse�we ventured back onto pavement. Corners were hard to find, but we discovered some high-speed bends and dips in the road. The steering is accurate, and stability in fast corners is amazing for a truck.
Although the new Cayenne is still a heavy SUV, the weight reduction and improved electronic chassis systems have made it much more impressive dynamically. It also looks a lot less bulky and ridiculous than it used to. We can�t say that Porsche has coached a lineman into a wide receiver, but this nose tackle now has the mobility of a linebacker.
VEHICLE TYPES: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 5-door wagon
ESTIMATED BASE PRICE: $50,000; S, $63,000; S hybrid, $70,000; Turbo, $102,000
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve 3.6-liter V-6, 300 hp, 273 lb-ft; supercharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter V-6, 333 hp, 324 lb-ft + 52-hp, 221-lb-ft electric motor assist (combined power rating, 374 hp); DOHC 32-valve 4.8-liter V-8, 400 hp, 369 lb-ft; twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve 4.8-liter V-8, 500 hp, 516 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manumatic shifting
Wheelbase: 114.0 in Length: 190.6�190.7 in
Width: 75.9�77.1 in Height: 65.9�66.9 in
Curb weight: 4800�5200 lb lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 4.5�7.5 sec
Standing �-mile: 13.0�15.7 sec
PROJECTED FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST):
EPA city/highway driving: 13�22/20�25 mpg
(BY JUERGEN ZOELLTER, PHOTOGRAPHY BY JUERGEN ZOELLTER )
Like most mid-cycle refreshes, the Edge�s 2011 update starts with a nose job. Every panel up front is new: hood, fenders, grille, and fascia. The result is a sultrier shape than the blocky original Edge�the headlights are narrower, the three-bar grille dips deeper into the fascia, and the overall look is softened and rounded�but still clearly descendant from it. Around back, the hatch is new, with taillights that ditch the trendy clear lenses of the original model for more timeless red ones.
Underneath that new hood, the Edge will have a selection of two new engines and one updated unit. The new base engine will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost four-cylinder. Power figures have not been released yet, but figure on about 230 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Mid-level SEL models will get the 3.5-liter V-6 from the previous Edge, but updated with variable timing on both intake and exhaust camshafts, with output increasing 20 hp and 3 lb-ft, to 285 and 253, respectively.
Top-of-the-line Sport models, in addition to unique black grille slats, smoked head- and taillights, and black-trimmed, 22-inch wheels; get Ford�s 3.7-liter V-6, which delivers a relatively modest bump in hp�to 305�over the 3.5, but a torque gain of 27 lb-ft, for a total of 280. All three engines will be paired with six-speed automatics, with the Sport featuring standard paddle shifters that are unavailable with the other engines.
It�s What�s Inside That Counts
The Edge�s new interior is perhaps even more attractive than the sheetmetal. A sleek new center stack steals the show, housing Ford�s new MyFord and MyFord Touch vehicle-interface systems. These two are the next evolution of Ford�s Sync. MyFord will be standard on all 2011 Edges, but MyFord Touch costs extra. Both are vehicle-management systems using a small LCD screen in the gauge cluster�the fancier MyFord Touch gets two, one on either side of the speedometer�and a larger LCD screen in the center stack.
The small screens in the IP are controlled by five-way switches (up, down, left, and right arrows plus a center �select� button) on the steering-wheel spokes, while the center is operated via touch. The left IP screen is the only one MyFord buyers get, and it displays vehicle information such as stability-control settings, a tachometer, or trip-computer information. The screen to the right of the speedometer�again, only available with MyFord Touch�is reserved for audio, phone, navigation, and climate-control info. The center screen handles the same information as the right smaller screen, with the added benefit of being accessible to the front passenger.
Call it the Kitchen Sync
All of MyFord and MyFord Touch�s functionality builds on top of the next-generation Sync features, which include easier interaction through what Ford calls �direct speech� commands. No longer does a person dial a phone number by saying �phone� then waiting for Sync to respond before saying �call Jane.� Now, the command is simply �call Jane,� and Sync makes the call. Or, if you want to find a sporting event, you can simply say �tune to Baltimore Ravens game� rather than flipping through channels looking for the game, and Sync will find it. For a full rundown of all the details, read our coverage of the two systems from the Consumer Electronics Show.
Additionally, below the MyFord interface are capacitive-touch controls for audio and climate, and those opting for the upgraded Sony stereo are treated to a Sony-designed audio interface. Though the system does look cool, we see frustrations growing from audio controls that will not react to thickly gloved fingers.
A vehicle with features like MyFord Touch can�t get by without a healthy dose of technology elsewhere. To that end, the Edge also will receive a bunch of optional high-tech gear including keyless entry and ignition, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The 2011 Edge will go on sale later in 2010. Pricing should remain close to today�s levels, with a base SE beginning around $28,000 and Sport models starting near $35,000.
(BY JARED GALL, PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEVI HILLGER AND THE MANUFACTURER)
This hybrid is unlike anything you�ve previously heard called a hybrid. Rather than the bulky battery pack associated with roadgoing hybrids, Porsche�s racing hybrid system utilizes an electrical flywheel generator to capture and store kinetic energy. Sitting where the passenger would be in a road car, the flywheel generator is charged by a pair of 60-kW motors in the front wheels and stores its energy mechanically as it spins up to 40,000 rpm. When fully charged, the generator can send bursts of 161 hp back to the front-wheel motors for periods of up to six to eight seconds. The rear wheels have full-time, exclusive access to the naturally aspirated flat-six's 480 hp.
This system is essentially the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology that generated so much controversy in Formula 1 racing last year�it is similar, but not, as is being widely reported, the same as that developed by the Williams F1 team. Porsche�s system was developed in conjunction with Williams, but considering that the shroud of secrecy in F1 would seem impenetrable to even Dan Brown, the exact differences are hard to come by. We�ll see if we can�t shake loose a little more information as the car�s debut in Geneva nears.
(BY JARED GALL)
It's been long since many classic cars were used to mounted with TRU spoke wire wheels. They were darling wheels of the masses. Many American GM cars and old models of BMW and Mercedes use to have them but now they are extinct. Many classic car lovers have not forgot 1953 Corvette (Recreation), 1983 DUESENBERG II SJ LA GRANDE, 1929 MERCEDES-BENZ BEAR CAT REPLICA e.t.c and many other classic roadsters all having Wire Wheels on them. But now no more car manufacturers fit TRU spoke wire wheels in their cars. The inspirations these kind of wheels should have been spoked cart wheels. Ever seen the wheels on the cart?
Wire wheels are the wheels in which it's spoke. That is a rod attaches from the center of a rim's hub to the outer rim. It appears as a whole dense network of spokes on a wheel. Numerous spokes provided a great structural strength to the whole wheel.
However these wheels are still used in bicycles and motor cycles but their role in the car wheel is not any more unless a vintage car enthusiast customize them on their wheels.
The reason for these kind of wheels getting out of fashion is of course the change of taste. Like any other thing, fashion or trend also has its life. These were popular specially in the decade of 60's and they lived until 90's. In 1960's even the sports cars have these wheels mounted over them.
The advantage of wired wheels was that the damaged wheel could be repaired without the need of getting it dismantled from the car. Bring the wheel into shape and then re lace additional spokes in to the wheel thus giving back the wheel whole new look. Since as spokes steel, copper or other metal used was in the form of thick wires, they used to be lighter than other wheels.
TRU spoke wire rims were not without any disadvantage like any other thing. They were very difficult to get cleaned as navigation through the whole dense network of wires was difficult. I guess that was the only demerit of it.
However if you are really a fan of these wheels don't get disappointed. As the history repeats itself, so does any trend. Spoke wire wheels on cars are very trendy in hip hop videos now a days. A hit movie where the hero drives with these wheels on his car can really do the trick in favor of these rims. Who knows!!!
Below I will discuss some types of tread patterns you may find on different tires along with their appropriate use and their good and bad points. You may find following patterns on a normal tire.
1). Asymmetric Tread Pattern
The tread pattern differs from both sides of the tire. It also means that a tire features two patterns along its whole circumference.With this type of pattern, the manufacturers ensure that majority of the possible terrains are dealt with a single set of tires so the drivers do not need to change their tires in different conditions.
Since the tire with this type of pattern provides a higher contact area, it is considered good for high speed cornering. More than one type of tread pattern means that the inboard and outboard halves have two sizes of groove blocks. The grooves on the inward halve (smaller blocks) help retain tire traction on wet surface while the larger blocks on outward halve, helps great in cornering.
Because of these features they are proposed for high performance and motor sports needs. However you need to position them right way around to make them perform well.
2). Symmetric Tread Pattern
As the name suggest, the there is a single tread pattern on the entire tire. Therefore the inboard and outboard halves represent the same patterns. Hence the name, Symmetrical. Tires with such tread patterns emit high noise than other tires. They allow using multiple tire rotation patterns.
3). Directional Tread Pattern
A.K.A unidirectional tread, the whole pattern along with lateral grooves, roll around in one direction along the entire tire's circumference. These lateral grooves allow water to eject more efficiently (hydroplaning) hence prevents the car to skit on wet surface. These are also considered effective as street racing tires however there is one disadvantage of them.
When rotating tires with unidirectional treads, the tire on the front axle should be shifted to the rear axle, and vice verca. If different tire sizes are used on the front vs. rear axle, the tires become location-specific and prohibit tire rotation unless remounted.
4). Asymmetric And Directional Tread Pattern
These have V-shaped lateral grooves on them. Hence they are also known as V groove tires.They are much near to directional tread pattern tires hence they should be treated like them. Disadvantage is as same as directional pattern tread pattern tires.
What Is A Cat Back Exhaust System?
Many people who are interested in car mods but yet they are not so good in technical terminologies. For them I would explain the meaning of a cat back system. "Cat Back" is the whole part of the exhaust system installed from the catalytic converter to the tailpipes. Therefore the exhaust manifold is excluded when we speak of a "Cat Back System"
The entire system can be categorized in to three parts. First is a straight pipe which goes to straight to the axle. The second are the exhaust tubes looping around the axle and the third part is a set of tailpipes ending on the mufflers.
Since the cat back exhaust gives a more efficient performance hence they are seen as a replacement of the OEM stock exhausts with low power. Adding these definitely adds into your car's horsepower. Furthermore, the sound which is created by the cat back exhaust (the famous growling and roaring), is adored by the car enthusiast, hence another reason to get their old stock replaced.
Amendments in your emission system does not leave you without some legal implications. We suggest you read our post, Lawful Car Modification, to assess your legal position after you tamper with your emission system. Additionally, some countries may have maximum sound restrictions regarding car modification. So we would advise to have a good knowledge of the local road laws and regulations. However if you believe to modify the parts of the exhaust system which will not have any implications on your car emissions and you are able to prove as well, then definitely you will not be charged for it.
When I start receiving these updates, I was surprised that majority of the car manufacturers reveal their up coming sensations at the Detroit Auto Show. It was OK in the beginning but after frequent use of this car event and even the car testing, nominations and award ceremonies started to take place in this show, an excitement and interest started to take place in me. I became eager to figure out that why this motor show meant so much to these auto manufacturers. So I used the best source on Internet to know the reason. That's right "Wikipedia". After reading from this website I want to present the information about this auto show and share with you people too just in case you have the same eagerness about it like me.
What Is Detroit Auto Show
Detroit auto show's actual name is North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). It is held in Detroit, Michigan. Perhaps for this reason people for their convenience replace the above lengthy name with Detroit.
One of the reason for it being the center of gravity for auto manufacturers is that it is regarded as one of the biggest auto show of North America as well as Detroit serve as a location headquarter for the three American Auto manufacturers namely Chrysler, Ford and General Motors (GM).
It's being regularly conducted since 1907 except for 10 years this is from 1943 to 1952.
That's about the history, Now let's talk about how this show is conducted. It usually starts with with press preview days, industry preview days and a charity preview event. Fund raising means that this show has also got some humane side as well.This fund raising, for local children charity purpose, is often successful and in 2004 and 2005, they were able to raise $7 million.
This auto show distributes awards to various categories and got a segment of introduction of up coming cars.
The awards distributed for car of the year and truck of the year. The introduction category is divided into production car introductions and concept cars introductions.
An important award is also announced, which means a lot to the car designers, known as "Excellence In Design Award".
I think its enough for this post. I only meant to make a brief intro about Detroit Auto Show. I guess its sufficient enough to get acquaint of this great motor show.
If you have more information about this motor show, feel free to share it.
The two Audi FSI engines shortlisted are turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0 TFSI engine with the A4, and supercharged six cylinder 3.0 TFSI engine for the sporty upgrade S4 model.
For the purpose of nomination, six editors of Ward's Automotive World tested 34 engines from 13 different car manufacturers. This year the focus was how these engines are designed to give higher fuel economy with lower emissions without affecting the performance as a whole.
The engines were judged during driving cycles in Detroit where the judges assessed and assigned score to each engine on the basis of horsepower, torque, refinement, technical relevance and comparative data.
Ward�s AutoWorld Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter said.
�Auto makers are using innovative designs and advanced technology to boost horsepower and torque while downsizing engines and increasing efficiency.�
This is not the first time that the Audi engine is ranked with such a high esteem. In fact the Audi engines have been on the "Top 10 Engines" list for the last consecutive six years and 8 times for the last 10 years. Audi is the first car company to sell 100% of its gasoline engines with FSI direct injection technology, starting with model year 2010. The Audi S4 sedan, new for 2010, ushered in a new era of downsizing while enhancing performance and handling over the previous generation 2008 sedan model.
The eligibility criteria for the competition was to be available in a regular-production U.S.-specification model on sale no later than first-quarter 2010, in a vehicle priced no more than $54,000, a price cap indexed to the average cost of a new vehicle.
Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America said:
�Audi fuel-efficient powertrain technologies excel at delivering exceptional driving performance with reduced environmental impact. The well-rounded approach the brand is undertaking will keep Audi in a leading position for the foreseeable future.�
The best selling, Japanese Toyota hybrid car, known as Toyota Prius has received complaints in their brakes mechanism. Analysts project severe revenue downfall due to it.
The new Toyota's gas-electric hybrid car, which was released and became available for sale in Japan and U.S.A in May 2009 has been a best selling model with 4.5 million vehicles already finding their owners.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 180 complaints about the brakes of the Prius new model. The fault involves, remaining of the gas pedal in depressed position.
Two crashes have so far been reported due to this fault resulting in injuries.
It's not the first time as Toyota had received 14 complaints well before in July, last year as claimed by the Japan's transport ministry. One of these 14 complaints includes a crash, when a prius at the Japan's intersection crashed into another car. This crash also resulted in some injuries as reported by Masaya Ota, a transport ministry official. He further added:
"The Prius driver in the accident told police that a brake did not work," Ota said. "Other Prius drivers also complained brakes were not so sharp." The complaints in Japan involve the new Prius model, and the vehicles were all made in Japan".
The ministry has already ordered an investigation to be held. Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said the company has received reports about the Prius complaints in transparent none repeat scroll North America and in Japan and was now looking into the matter.
As the wise men said "A mistake is not infertile" the Toyota has been hit by some financial implications because of this fault. It's shares drop by 5.7% to 3400 Yen when the stock holders start dumping their shares after this news however 19000 vehicles which have been already imported from Japan to America are not part of the recall. Any serious issue regarding its current fault can result a downfall of an innovative hybrid, eco-friendly car.
Laws enacted by law enforcing agencies are for the betterment of oneself so you must not take steps to violate these laws as it could prove lethal to you as well as civilian around you in long or short run. Now lets see what legal problems you can get into because of unlawful car modification.
Under traffic laws in most states, drivers may be given a traffic ticket for operating a vehicle that has been modified in violation of laws that regulate vehicle specifications and vehicle equipment. Examples of vehicle modifications that may result in a traffic ticket include:
* Addition of non-standard lighting (neon lights, under-vehicle lights),
* Alteration or removal of air pollution and emissions control device
* Modification of vehicle ground clearance ("lowered" or "raised" vehicles),
* Removal of mufflers and other sound-control devices, and
* Window tinting (especially tinting of windshield or driver/front passenger side windows).
An unlawfully-modified vehicle can receive a traffic ticket for a mechanical violation. In some states, citations for certain unlawful vehicle modifications are considered "fix-it" tickets or "correctable violations." In California, for example, if you are given a "fix-it" ticket by a police officer, "yes" will be checked next to "Correctable Violation", and after the problem is fixed (i.e. you remove illegal under-car lights), you must get the signature of an authorized person (i.e. a local law enforcement officer) on the "Certificate of Correction" portion of the ticket. If you are issued a "fix-it" ticket for an unlawful vehicle modification in your state, read the ticket to determine whether you can mail the proof of correction, rather than taking it to court.
If the court accepts your correction, the case will be dismissed. But, if you fail to fix the problem within a short time after you receive a "fix-it" ticket, you will need to pay the fine for the unlawful vehicle modification, and you may be issued another ticket which will go on your record.
Source : http://public.findlaw.com/traffic-ticket-violation-law/traffic-ticket-a-z/unlawful-modification.html
Modifying cars can sure be regarded as an artistic activity which involves and requires great amount of creativity but putting your lives in danger and acting as a menace on the roads is not wise at all. We would discuss some safety mods and legal issues abiding by which will definitely make you a safe and sound citizen.
Car Safety Mods
When you modify and try to pimp your ride, many of them are performed to enhance the appearance and make it more presentable. But many car enthusiasts perform it to enhance the performance and efficiency of their cars. Obviously, enhancement of car's performance means more speed and definitely more risks attached to it. By applying the following safeguards, the performance enhancements is sure going to be safe.
Car Seat Belts:
Car seat belts are for you safety so when you modify the interior of the car its possible that you amend some of the settings which can possibly affect the performance of the seat belts. Make sure that seat belts are more efficient and the locking mechanisms are working properly. Make sure that whenever you wear the belt, the tension in it is intact or seat belts are of no use.
Installing Roll Cage:
Installing roll cage kits is sure a wise move especially when you are looking for some drags and drifts and street racing. Installing roll cage kits will ensure to a great extent in case of any misfortune occurs. You install these roll cage kits for better structural rigidity which acts as a supporting beam and are very protective in case of a crash. So ensure that the supplier of the roll cage kits are dependable and trusted.
Unexpected Fire Cases:
Unexpected fire cases often occur during high street end racing. When you are spending thousands on car modification we would advise you to at least have a hand held fire extinguisher at your disposal for your safety so fire suspension much easier.
Improve Car Braking:
In case when the tires, wheel rims and car body kit is modified, it sure leaves an impact on the car braking as the weight of the car is altered eventually. Make sure that your car braking mechanism is safe, sound, efficient and spot on as ever. Aligning the your car brakes to the safety rules is not an expensive job. Just make sure you have a good lock at your car brakes cooling mechanism and confirm that the brake pads cool quickly. Furthermore, just have a good look at brake shoes (pads), brake fluids, drilled disks e.t.c.
Implications Of Tire Change:
Tire change improves your car handling and ground clearance but in some cases they work otherwise. So ensure that you pay some considerations towards this aspect and replace your tires with the compatible ones which enhances the road grip and are also effective on wet tracks. Using tires specific for racing purposes and also keep an eye on the optimum pressure of your tires to ensure better road grip, traction and ultimately, safety.
Peugeot 308 RC-Z concept was introduced at the Frankfurt show back in 2007 and it will be mass produced by May 2010. This cool car is a front-wheel drive vehicle equipped with a Mini Cooper JCW 1.6 turbo unit that able to provide 218bhp. The concept and the mass produced car has a slight differences in the headlight design and the exterior body curve.
The interior of this unique car has a sophisticated design and a polycarbonate roof with twin bubbles to increase headroom. The cockpit is trimmed in leather, chrome, aluminum and black-lacquered plastic.
This Peugeot concept car power is provided by the same 1.6-litre 163kW/218hp direct injection four cylinder that can be found in the Mini Cooper. Peugeot 308 RC-Z is relatively lightweight and should be capable of decent turn of speed.