Friday, February 15, 2008

Citroen C5 Airscape

Citroen C5 Airscape

Citroen is unveiling C5 Airscape at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. This exceptional concept car is a new take on the most beautiful of vehicles, the cabriolet.

C5 Airscape features powerful, dynamic exterior styling and an interior of exclusive design, made for driving pleasure and the comfort of three passengers. The original mechanism of the folding roof underlines the overall sophistication of design.

Styled for maximum appeal, C5 Airscape also delivers maximum performance. New-generation Snow Motion traction control provides a level of traction close to that of a four-wheel drive. Other useful features are provided by the UrbanHybrid system. This unit prevents noise and vibration when the engine stops and boosts engine torque when needed. At the same time, it shows real respect for the environment.

An expression of power and elegance

C5 Airscape is a car to turn heads. Its elegant proportions and sleek bodywork convey a sense of performance with a promise of power. The innovative folding top is an invitation to climb on board and take to the road. The interior layout, with its premium materials, delivers the highest standards of on-board comfort for the driver and all the passengers

Power and sophistication

A car of elegant lines, C5 Airscape conveys an impression of strength and sophistication, with its cleanly drawn body lines and ribbing at the top. The powerful look of the body is brought out by the raw, intense grey of the bodywork. This colour, whose intensity varies according to the light, gives C5 Airscape an elegant and precious look, consolidating its status as an executive vehicle.

Through its assertive front end, featuring large air intakes and long incisive headlamps, C5 Airscape makes a statement of performance. The headlamps - positioned on the bonnet with its two pronounced ribs - flank the large chrome chevrons stating Citroen's identity.

The profile of C5 Airscape reflects efforts to achieve optimal aerodynamic design. The roof line, particularly large windows and tapering chrome-plated door handles underline the flowing lines of the body, while the high waistline, clearly marked wheel arches and 19-inch wheels clearly identify C5 Airscape as a vehicle of status.

The powerful design of the front and rear ends highlight the on-road stance of C5 Airscape. The high-positioned rear lights extend the waistline and optimise the vehicle's dynamic looks. At the same time, a double chrome tail pipe underlines the car's luxurious design as does the concave rear window, which clearly identifies C5 Airscape as belonging to the family of large Citroen saloons.

The sophistication of C5 Airscape can also be seen in the original design of the folding roof, whose glazed upper part lets light flood into the cabin. Made entirely of carbon, this roof opens and folds away simply, without detracting from the looks of the concept car. It folds away automatically, without assistance, and without the driver having to open the upper part of the roof storage area in the boot. C5 Airscape reflects the purest traditions in vehicle design in that the metal-look roof with its textile lining resembles a roof made of canvas - the emblematic signature of executive cabriolets.

Leisure and sophistication

Fully upholstered in dark brown leather, the cabin of C5 Airscape conveys an appealing impression of sophistication. The particularly well designed seats suggest luxury and precision. The central section of the seats brings to mind the links of a watch strap, while the decorative stitching on the edges of the seats reinforces the taut, well-muscled look of the whole. To add the finishing touch to the executive design of the interior, the gear lever knob is set with leather and chrome. The chrome echoes the metal strip underlining the air conditioning controls and central console.

The design of the driving position on C5 Airscape was also dictated by the pursuit of driving pleasure. Refinement is the key word for the driver's surroundings, as reflected in the specific design of the instruments and their layout.

The driving position features a fixed-centred controls steering wheel that brings the main comfort functions and driving aids (navigation, radio, cruise control and speed limiter, on-board computer) within easy reach. Considered as points of contact, the pushbuttons feature an original covering resembling the texture of skin. They create a strong, fast-reacting sensory interface between the vehicle and the driver.

The sophisticated design of the instrument cluster on C5 Airscape reflects the requirements of optimised ergonomics and ensures that information is laid out legibly. The three dials feature annular needles, symbolising an advanced level of technology. The needles run around rather than across the dial for greater legibility and a more attractive design.

The air vents next to the dials underline this cabriolet's powerful character, as does the upper part of the instrument cluster, which takes the form of an air intake as on a competition car. The overall effect is enhanced by the clean, sculpted design of the dashboard. Its straight lines symbolise precision, while the soft curves symbolise dynamic performance. This configuration contributes to full driver control and exceptional driveability.

Driving sensations and improved respect for the environment

Styled for maximum appeal, C5 Airscape also delivers maximum performance. This concept vehicle is equipped with a V6 HDi engine associated with a particulate filter and able to run on biodiesel, along with an innovative Snow Motion traction control system for a performance close to that of a four-wheel drive, and UrbanHybrid technology for low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. As a result, C5 Airscape boasts remarkable levels of performance that show real respect for the environment.

Technology serving the environment

Through its powerful engine, particulate filter and UrbanHybrid system, C5 Airscape illustrates Citroen's ability to reconcile vehicle performance with respect for the environment.

With its reversible alternator-starter and super-capacitors able to temporarily store large amounts of energy, the UrbanHybrid system delivers real benefits in terms of environmental protection, driving pleasure, acoustic comfort and vibration control.

In Drive mode, when this concept vehicle is travelling at under 6 kph and the driver's foot is on the brake pedal, the engine cuts out. For maximum driveability, it starts again instantly and automatically as soon as the driver releases the brake pedal. When the car is at a standstill, fuel consumption is zero and CO2 emissions are around 24 g over a combined cycle. Further, the onboard network (air conditioning, radio etc.) is powered by energy recovered during the deceleration and braking phases. This brings savings in fuel consumption and eliminates additional pollutant emissions.

Engine torque can be temporarily boosted, when overtaking for example, for a high-speed take-off.

When the car is at a standstill, the UrbanHybrid system prevents noise and vibration in the cabin, for the comfort of both passengers and passers-by.

Driveability and performance in all circumstances

The executive positioning of C5 Airscape is reflected by the presence of the 208 bhp 2.7 V6 HDi engine and particulate filter. Combining power and fuel economy, this engine develops 150 kW EEC (208 bhp DIN) at 4,000 rpm for torque of 440 Nm at 1,900 rpm. Right from the lowest speeds, it delivers smooth, gradual power with exceptional operating comfort. Driveability is further increased by a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

To deliver a high level of performance and improve active safety, C5 Airscape features Snow Motion, an innovative traction control system with extended functions. This system offers remarkable performance in terms of vehicle traction and "take-off" on surfaces with low grip, such as snow for example. The benefits, already significant with conventional tyres, are further increased when the concept car is shod with winter tyres. In this configuration, the performance of C5 Airscape is close to that of a four-wheel drive.

Taking the wheel of C5 Airscape is a total and continuous experience in driving pleasure. This is a car that brings leisure within easy reach.

Mazda Furai Concept

Mazda Furai Concept

Furai is the sort of car that could only come from a company that incorporates the "Soul of a Sports Car" into everything it builds, but with an eye toward the future and the environment through the use of renewable fuels. Driving toward sustainability, Furai was initially tuned to operate on 100 percent ethanol fuel, the first time a racing three-rotor rotary engine has been fueled by ethanol. Research continues in earnest with partner BP into other renewable and future fuels, including ethanol gasoline blends like E10.

On any given weekend, there are more Mazdas and Mazda-powered cars road-raced in North America than any other brand of car. This is because every Mazda sedan, coupe and sports car really is developed with the highest possible dose of the company's trademark Zoom- Zoom - truly the Emotion of Motion.

However, Zoom-Zoom is more than simply vehicle performance. The look and style that is Zoom-Zoom can best be seen in previous NAGARE-based efforts, including the Mazda Nagare concept that debuted at Los Angeles in 2006; Mazda Ryuga, which was first shown a year ago in Detroit; Mazda Hakaze, which appeared in Geneva last year; and Mazda Taiki, the star of the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

"Nagare" is how Mazda's future models will sustain the Zoom-Zoom spirit by exhibiting their strong affinity for motion.

Manufacturers commonly showcase design studies with little or no intention of actually using the theme presented. Mazda's approach is the opposite: All of the Nagare concepts, including Furai, help evolve this evocative surface language for future use. Every vehicle Mazda sells embodies the soul of a sports car to achieve a true Zoom-Zoom dynamic character. Nagare is how this celebration of motion will be portrayed on interior and exterior surfaces in future models. Instead of form following function, the two merge as one.

Franz von Holzhausen, Mazda North American Operations' (MNAO) Director of Design and the person who lead the team that created the Furai, explains the concept behind the concept, "We were looking for a way to bridge the gap between Mazda Motorsports and the production vehicles in our lineup. The mindsets of road-car and racing car fans are quite different, so the purpose of Furai is to find a meeting point for these disparate interests."

He continued, "Furai achieves this by purposely blurring boundaries that have traditionally distinguished the street from the track. Historically, there has been a gap between single-purpose racecars and street-legal models — commonly called supercars — that emulate the real racers on the road."

Track cars are, by their competitive nature, ill-suited for practical highway use, as well as generally far from road-legal. Some supercars visit the track on occasion, but they are primarily road cars not properly equipped for racing. The aim of Furai is to bridge this gap.

That said, Mazda neither intends to race Furai, nor is it a supercar the company plans to build and sell in the near future. Rather, Furai is a design study that lives between those extremes. Without the restrictions imposed by serial production models, and with the freedom of an autoshow environment, Mazda is using the opportunity to evolve the company's Nagare design theme one more step closer to reality.

Instead of mimicking racecar components and design elements in a road car - the strategy preferred by supercar manufacturers - the "Mazda way" was to begin this project with the real McCoy: a Courage C65 chassis that earned its stripes during two seasons of LMP-2 endurance racing in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). This sports car was successfully campaigned under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner by B-K Motorsports during the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Drivers Jamie Bach, Guy Cosmo, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, and Raphael Matos piloted the car to one victory and a total of nine podium finishes in 15 ALMS events. B-K finished third in championship standings both years; Bach and Cosmo were co- Rookies of the Year in 2005.

"Anticipating future rules changes in the ALMS, we created a new closed cockpit which would be more appropriate for a future production model," said von Holzhausen. "The major element we did not change is the 450-horsepower RENESIS-based R20B three-rotor rotary engine that provides Furai ample Zoom-Zoom. The ultimate Mazda in our minds is rotary powered; as a company, we have no intention of abandoning that valuable asset. When people think of the very best sports cars in the world, the rotary powered Mazda RX-7 is always on that list."

The Furai concept serves as a turning point in the Nagare developmental process. While the four previous concept cars explored different ways to express Mazda's emerging design philosophy and to explore an aesthetic, this one is all about function - every last texture and detail serves some functional purpose. In essence, the Furai creative process boiled down to guiding air over and through the body in fruitful ways. To prove that this concept goes far beyond static aerodynamic analysis, Mazda's design, motorsports and R&D teams worked together to construct Furai as a 180-mph rolling laboratory to demonstrate its functional capabilities on demand.

"The basic proportions of contemporary race cars are every designer's dream," enthused von Holzhausen. "Furai is less than 40-inches high but nearly 80-inches wide."

While Furai strikes an incredibly strong presence, the real beauty of the project - and it's most valuable asset as a real-world test-bed - is in the details that von Holzhausen and his team incorporated:

The body surface provides ample opportunity to feature core design elements such as aggressive headlamps and Mazda's trademark five-point grille.
The headlamp trim pieces function as guide frames to help cancel aerodynamic lift.
High-pressure zones just above the front wheels are relieved to serve the same end.
The air flow package takes air moving under the front of the car and guides it inside the body to the engine-cooling radiators.
Nagare textures incorporated in the side surfaces feed air to the rear brakes, the oil cooler and the transmission cooler.

An under-car diffuser that begins rising aft of the cockpit helps draw the volume of air flowing through the heat exchangers and engine bay out the rear.
The Mazda design and R&D teams worked closely with Swift Engineering to refine the aerodynamic characteristics, assuring that Furai remains glued to the ground at high speeds. Through its existing relationship with Swift Engineering, forged through development of the Mazda/Cosworth-powered Champ Car Atlantic chassis, the team used complex Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software to tune various Nagare design elements to function at a high degree of efficiency. Drag, downforce, lift and overall esthetics were all key considerations.

Sourced straight from the race track, the Courage carbon-composite tub is essentially intact under the new Furai body, including the right-side driver's seat. Instead of the stark interior typical of race cars though, this cockpit is finished with more comfortable but still highly functional surfaces. An electronic display screen and shift paddles are built into the steering wheel.

In the chassis' original racing configuration, the passenger seat is filled with electronic gear, so those components were relocated elsewhere to provide adequate space for two occupants. The greenhouse is somewhat wider than the original cockpit to provide adequate head and shoulder room and suitable outward visibility. Doors attached with butterfly hinges provide a very efficient means of entering the cockpit. In this instance, the design team followed an approach that has proven very effective during years of endurance racing.

"One thing we learned from CFD studies is that we don't need much rear wing to balance the down force created by the front splitter and the Nagare features we've sculpted into the body" offered von Holzhausen. "Combustion air is provided by a variation of the Turbo Tongue device that Swift developed for Indy car use a decade ago. It rises slightly higher than the surrounding roof surface to ingest clean air above the boundary layer. Our final design works so well that we applied for a joint patent with Swift. Of course, it helps that it's a real piece of art, too, and one we had to incorporate into the design."

Irvine, Calif.-based Aria Group was responsible for creating new composite panels and they worked hand-in-hand with Mazda North American Operations' own in-house fabrication team to mate them to the Courage chassis. The dark matte finish with red and orange accents harkens back to the livery worn by Mazda's legendary 787B when it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991, making the company the first - and still only - Japanese company to ever win the endurance classic.

Furai not only probes future design possibilities, it also ventures ahead with alternative renewable fuels. Consistent with Mazda's recently announced "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom" initiatives, Furai's three-rotor powerplant has been tuned to run powerfully on ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and ethanol gasoline blends. There are exciting advances being made in renewable fuels, from current blends like E10 (10% ethanol and 90% gasoline) with research ongoing in making Ethanol from cellulostic materials, to future renewable gasoline components like Butanol, a higher order alcohol which is fungible with gasoline. The addition of these renewable components improves Mazda's understanding of how these fuels work with the company's technology. and reduces the consumption of fossil hydrocarbons and the emission of harmful greenhouse gasses.

John Doonan, Mazda's manager of motorsports team development, explains the thinking behind Furai's use of alternative renewable fuels: "One of our key technical partners in our motorsports activity — BP — helped facilitate our use of renewable fuels for this concept vehicle. Going forwards, we are working with BP to determine appropriate renewable fuels for the vehicle and potentially our team entry for the 2008 ALMS series. BP is a strong leader in the renewable fuels areas, recently announcing a $500M investment in the Energy Biosciences Institute, and we are proud to partner with them."

Doonan continued, "In 2007, ALMS required use of renewable fuels, so we're projecting ahead with this application to gain experience. BP has a very green focus in the marketplace, and it's Mazda's intention to sustain its Zoom-Zoom performance image on and off the racetrack. While Mazda's rotary has proven readily adaptable to various alternative fuels, including considerable work with hydrogen fuel, this is the first time it's been engineered for other renewable Ethanol blends."

Through the BP partnership, Furai has been specially tuned to operate on renewable fuels. BP engineers continue to work to optimize other fuels, including investigating new future renewable fuel components. This is Mazda's first experience with ethanol fuel in a three-rotor racing engine, and the results have been convincing that, once again, the Mazda rotary engine is unique in its ability to run well on multiple fuels.

Ethanol is derived from grains such as corn and wheat or soybeans. Corn, the predominant feedstock, is converted to ethanol in either a dry or wet milling process. Future advances for renewable gasoline components include utilizing a wide variety of cellulosic biomass feedstocks, including agricultural plant wastes (corn stover, cereal straws, sugarcane bagasse), plant wastes from industrial processes (sawdust, paper pulp) and energy crops grown specifically for fuel production, such as switchgrass.

But what Furai has shown the Mazda team is the real value of teamwork and key partners:

Racing Beat worked tirelessly to develop the world's only ethanol powered threerotor rotary engine.
Mother's Waxes and Polishes supplies an extensive range of waxes, polishes, and cleaners to keep the car looking its best at all times.
Together with Liferacing, AER developed a six-speed paddle-shift mechanism.
Brembo worked with the Mazda team to ensure the brakes were as effective on Furai as they were in competition
Sachs and Eibach worked together to bring an aggressive, but steetable, shock and spring package.
Nippon Paint provided the amazing three-feet-deep paintwork.
Castrol supplies all the high-performance lubricants.
Mazda's 2006 and 2007 ALMS tire development partner Kumho created the special tread patterns necessary for Furai's tires.
Wheels are from partner BBS, and are 14-spoke, centerlock aluminum.
Seatbelts come from Sparco Motor Sports.

Ferrari 575 GTZ Zagato

Ferrari 575 GTZ Zagato

Yoshiyuki Hayashi is a famous Japanese car collector, who owns numerous cars of great historical value, including several Ferraris such as the 166MM, the 250 Spider California, two Daytonas - a coupé and a spider - and the Enzo.

In the classic tradition of the keen purchaser of exclusive cars who stimulated the creativeness of Italian coachbuilders in the 1950s and 1960s, Yushiyuki Hayashi asked Zagato if it would be possible to create a body for his 575M, in the style of the famous 250GTZ berlinetta.

When Zagato received this request, it informed Ferrari of the project, which would be a good opportunity to celebrate the model's anniversary, and then created a car that harked back to the 250 GTZ, built around the Ferrari 575.

Like its forebear, the 575 GTZ has an all-aluminium body, and, as a tribute to Ferrari and to two-seater Italian sports cars, it has joined the exclusive group of cars that are the fruit of the tradition of custom-built cars.

Like the 250 GTZ, it sports two-tone paintwork with styling cues and volumes that explicitly refer back to the 1950s, and sublimates the character of the many cars built by Zagato to clothe original engineering, with the pure style of traditional sports cars.

For Zagato, the project represented an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ferrari 250 GTZ of 1956, one of the most outstanding GT cars, which has already gone down in history.

The model, which was also commissioned by a gentleman driver and collector, in the best Zagato tradition, is a sublime synthesis of prestige and performance, elegance and sportiness, to the point that it can boast the highest value of any car in the luxury period sports car market. The 250 GTZ has won numerous competitions and concours d'élégance, and it represents a dream come true, because experts and fans consider it one of the most beautiful cars in the world.

The new 575 GTZ has the Ferrari prancing horse on its bonnet and the Z of Zagato on its side, an expression of eternal Italian excellence in its form and content. It is a winning combination, linking the most powerful, famous engineering in the world with the most refined, fascinating sporting style, both made strictly in Italy.

The concept of sporty elegance, functional design that does not merely follow the trend of the moment but strives for pure performance, and the ultra-light aluminium body are Zagato's strengths which become a universally recognised value.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bentley Continental GTC

Bentley Continental GTC

New luxury 2+2 convertible, will be officially unveiled at the New York International Automobile Show in April 2006. When the stunning convertible goes on sale later this year it will complete the Bentley Continental model range, following the introduction of the highly successful Continental GT in 2003 and four-door Continental Flying Spur in 2005.

With a top speed of 195mph (312km/h), a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, state-of-the-art 12-cylinder engine, advanced air suspension and ultra-stiff body structure, the Continental GTC displays all the poise, exhilarating performance and dynamic handling of the Continental GT. In common with its stable mates, the interior of the new Continental GTC provides an unrivalled standard of craftsmanship, utilising natural wood veneers and leather hides of the finest quality, which are on full display when you lower the elegant, electro-hydraulically operated soft-top roof.

"The Continental GTC is the most distinctive new Bentley yet," explains Bentley Motors' Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen. "It is very elegant and at the same time effortlessly modern. It will appeal to many different customers: people who are tired of driving sports cars that require too much effort; people who want to move up from more standard convertibles; and people who want to make a statement about what they drive, yet still own a car that they can use every day of the year."

The Continental GTC becomes the second convertible to grace the current Bentley range. It follows the recently announced return of the evocative Azure name for Bentley.s Arnage-derived flagship four-seater convertible.

While the Azure offers the ultimate glamour, sophistication and accommodation for adults in supreme comfort, the 2+2 Continental GTC is designed for customers looking to enjoy the phenomenal performance, style and excitement of the Continental GT with the additional benefits of classic open-top Bentley motoring.

When the stunning Bentley Continental GTC went sale in 2006 it completed the Bentley Continental model range, following the introduction of the highly successful Continental GT in 2003 and four-door Continental Flying Spur in 2005.

With a top speed of 195 mph, a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, state-of-the-art 12-cylinder engine, advanced air suspension and ultra-stiff body structure, the Continental GTC displays all the poise, exhilarating performance and dynamic handling of the Continental GT. In common with its stable mates, the interior of the new Continental GTC provides an unrivalled standard of craftsmanship, utilizing natural wood veneers and leather hides of the finest quality, which are on full display when you lower the elegant, electro-hydraulically operated soft-top roof.

The Bentley Continental GTC becomes the second convertible to grace the current Bentley range. It follows the recently announced return of the evocative Azure name for Bentley’s Arnage-derived flagship four-seater convertible.

While the Azure offers the ultimate glamour, sophistication and accommodation for adults in supreme comfort, the 2+2 Continental GTC is designed for customers looking to enjoy the phenomenal performance, style and excitement of the Continental GT with the additional benefits of classic open-top Bentley motoring.

Interior Design

By its very nature a convertible Bentley is the perfect car to demonstrate the unparalleled craftsmanship and luxury which abounds throughout its cabin. The symmetrical theme of the fascia, which echoes the shape of the Bentley wings, is reflected through the cabin and onto the leather hide tonneau cover. As with a tailor-made suit, the tonneau cover has carefully positioned stitch lines, highlighting its form and craftsmanship.

The front seats have a new sculpted rear which produces an additional 30mm (1.2 inches) of knee-space in the rear.

In the rear of the Continental GTC the centre console finishes with a veneered panel just behind the front armrests, therefore leaving the rear seats as an uninterrupted surface of leather hide, optimising the maximum space for the proportion of the car.

As with all Bentley interior design, great attention to detail has been paid to the jewellery in the car, using a mix of polished and satin metals, such as you might find in modern watch design. Between the rear seats there is access to allow skis to be passed through from the boot area. The boot can also hold two golf bags, and of course plenty of luggage, making this a truly practical convertible.

Exterior Features and Technology

The Bentley Continental GTC combines the finest Bentley traditions and craftsmanship with highly advanced automotive technology. Wherever modern solutions have been introduced on the car, however, these are never to the detriment of driving enjoyment or passenger comfort. What’s more, the full features list is almost entirely standard, meaning customers won’t be forced to trawl through an exhaustive options list at additional cost.

Key exterior features:

Traditional Bentley matrix grille integrated into bonnet and famed black winged ‘B’ badge to radiator shell, bootlid and wheel centers.
Twin bi-xenon headlamps with integrated washer jets to front.
19-inch 5-spoke single piece sports alloy wheels in painted finish as standard. (Alternative 19- and 20-inch sports alloy wheels available as extra cost options.)
Traditional Bentley twin oval stainless steel tail pipes.
Rain-sensing windscreen wiper system.
Choice of 15 exterior paint colors.

The Continental GTC is powered by Bentley’s magnificent W12 twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter engine, which will propel the car to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 195 mph. This awe-inspiring piece of engineering is identical to the unit used in the coupe and four-door versions of the Continental and delivers phenomenal power (552 bhp) as well as that legendary wave of torque (479 lb-ft) from low revs that is the hallmark of every Bentley.

The 12-cylinder block has a 48-valve head with four camshafts that operate using continually variable valve-timing. Power is transmitted via a seven-bearing crankshaft to the car’s six-speed automatic transmission. To ensure compliance stringent emissions regulations, the twin turbochargers are designed with a unique bypass valve that automatically sends exhaust gases to heat the catalytic converters when the car is started from cold. This valve then operates as the turbocharger wastegate at all other times.

The Borg-Warner turbochargers are also the ideal solution for producing the flat torque curve, ensuring that the driver has instantly available performance without a hint of turbo lag or having to shift down through the gears. That mighty torque curve is constant, with no drop-off from its maximum output of 479 lb-ft at just 1600 rev/min all the way up to 6000 rev/min.

Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG

Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG

Emotional performance courtesy of cutting-edge engineering: the new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG in a nutshell. The roadster is powered by an AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine developing 386 kW/525 hp and 630 Newton metres - which makes it today's most powerful model with a V8 naturally aspirated engine in its class. The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG comes exclusively with the all-new, innovative AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. The newly developed power transfer concept features a compact, wet start-up clutch that replaces the conventional torque converter. The resulting direct connection to the powertrain, together with the double-declutching and Race Start functions, guarantees an extremely emotional, supremely dynamic driving experience. The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG sets new standards in the open-top sports car segment thanks to this outstanding drive combination and the retuned, even more agile AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control - turning it into the sportiest SL-Class ever.

The new Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG will also be launched alongside the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG. Thanks to its 450 kW/612 hp AMG 6.0-litre biturbo engine developing 1000 Newton metres of torque, the V12 top-of-the-line model delivers effortlessly superior refinement in its purest form. Both Mercedes-AMG SL-Class Roadsters also hold in store extraordinary thrills and breathtaking dynamism thanks to the hallmark AMG equipment features. The vario-roof, which opens in 16 seconds and is also available in an optional glass version, continues to ensure an unrivalled driving experience.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission is an all-new, unique concept, available exclusively in the new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG. It combines the best of two worlds: the sporty, direct and agile feedback of a manual transmission and the maximum convenience of an automatic transmission.

Fitted with seven speeds, four drive modes, a double-declutching and Race Start function, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission offers unprecedented versatility. MCT stands for Multi-Clutch Technology and only employs clutch elements to perform gearshifts.

The high-tech transmission is designed for high torque and maximum revs up to 7200 rpm. It also comes with sufficient reserves even under the highest loads thanks to its high-performance oil cooling system. An all-new, sophisticated electronic transmission control unit fully controls and monitors all processes.

A new two-stage torsion damper effectively eliminates vibrations. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission has been developed jointly by Mercedes-AMG GmbH and Daimler AG, although it will be used exclusively in AMG high-performance vehicles. It is produced at the Mercedes-Benz Esslingen-Hedelfingen production facility, Europe's largest manufacturer of planetary gear sets.

Four drive modes for tailor-made driving pleasure

At the heart of the new AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission lies the wet start-up clutch, which runs in an oil bath and replaces the previous torque converter. Thanks to its low rotational inertia, the transmission responds instantaneously and dynamically with no slip. Accelerator pedal movements trigger an instant traction response. Fitted with four drive modes: "C" (Comfort), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual), the transmission provides gearshifting with no loss of tractive force and supports customised control strategies for maximum driving pleasure. In "C" mode the gearshifts are comfortable, coupled with a "soft" accelerator response set-up for outstandingly smooth power transfer. In "S" mode the engine and transmission interact with more "bite": the engine speed is allowed to reach a higher level in each gear; the downshifts also feel more spontaneous. The gearshifts are around 20 percent faster than in "C" mode. Switching to "S+" mode cuts another 20 percent off shift times, while "M" is the sportiest mode: here the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine has even more bite, added to which the transmission shifts gear another 10 percent faster - a reduction of 50 percent compared with "C" mode. In "M" mode the gearshifts take just 100 milliseconds.

Ultra-fast, spontaneous multiple downshifts are another forte of the new MCT sports transmission. For instance, kickdown lets you move straight from seventh down to fourth gear or from fifth to second. In the "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual) modes the automatic double-declutching function is active. Every manual or automatic downshift is accompanied by precisely metered double-declutching - from "S" through "S+" to "M" incrementally. And this not only adds to the driver's emotional experience: the virtually load-free downshift minimises load-change reactions, which pays dividends particularly when braking into a bend on the racetrack.

New AMG DRIVE UNIT with innovative Race Start function

The new AMG DRIVE UNIT is the central control unit for the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission and all driving dynamics functions. The driver can change gears either using the new AMG selector lever with its leather/ carbon-fibre finish, or by nudging the AMG steering-wheel shift paddles. On the left next to the selector lever is the electronic rotary switch to select the four drive modes including activation of the new Race Start function. Underneath are three buttons for additional functions: the first controls the ESP Ò function, the second the ABC suspension system. The third adorned with AMG lettering is used to store the selected transmission drive mode and the suspension set-up. Briefly pressing the AMG button brings up the configuration options, while holding down the button allows you to program the required set-ups.

The Race Start function takes driving dynamics to an entirely new level: it enables the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG driver to call on maximum acceleration, while ensuring optimum traction of the driven wheels. While the vehicle is at a standstill, the driver needs to activate the ESPÒ sports function and press the brake pedal with their left foot. Having preselected the Race Start program using the rotary switch, a confirmation message comes up on the AMG central display. The driver then simply needs to confirm the Race Start function by pulling the "Up" shift paddle once, fully depressing the accelerator and taking their foot off the brakes. The optimum start-up engine speed is set fully automatically and the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG accelerates away in an instant - as an option even up to the top speed. The driver does not need to shift gear manually; the AMG transmission changes gear with lightning-fast shift times.

AMG 6.3-litre V8 naturally aspirated engine with 386 kW/525 hp

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine teams up with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission to form a perfect partnership for dynamic driving pleasure and outstanding performance. The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds before quickly going on to a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited). The high-revving naturally aspirated engine generates 386 kW/525 hp at 6800 rpm from a displacement of 6208 cubic centimetres, delivering maximum torque of 630 Newton metres at 5200 rpm. The unique combination of high-revving concept and large displacement achieves the best of both worlds: high pulling power at low engine speeds coupled with exhilarating high-revving flexibility - right up to 7200 rpm.

The AMG V8 is packed with a wealth of fascinating racetrack technology, including the lightweight, extra-rigid closed-deck crankcase and cylinder walls with a revolutionary TWAS coating as well as the valve train designed for high engine speeds with bucket tappets in the cylinder heads. The vertical arrangement of the intake and exhaust ports together with the variable intake manifold featuring two integral throttle flaps results in superlative cylinder charging and high power output.

The sophisticated electronically controlled fuel supply provides a consummately spontaneous response to accelerator movements in all driving situation; the

AMG sports exhaust with two oval, chromed twin tailpipes guarantees the characteristic AMG V8 vocals. The tri-metallic coating used in the catalytic converters results in a faster response from a cold start, more efficient emission control as well as superior long-term durability. The Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG fulfils all standard exhaust emissions limits such as EU 4 and the specific requirements of the U.S. market (LEV-II, On-Board Diagnosis II and oxygen sensor diagnosis).

AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control and 3-stage ESP®

The dynamic drive unit finds its perfect match in the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG suspension. The AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control has been further enhanced and not only comes with new spring and damper tuning but also completely modified elastokinematics. The front axle bearings, the spring links and the torque strut along with individual strut bearings at the rear have been retuned to deliver greater agility and shorter stopping distances. In partnership with the optimised speed-sensitive power steering the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG now feels even more direct and livelier - enabling the driver to fully utilise the linear steering and oversteer/understeer characteristics typical of a sports car, especially on winding roads or a private racetrack. The AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control also enables the suspension set-up to be customised. At the push of a button, the driver can select a sporty, firm response with reduced roll angles, or go for a comfort-focussed setting for excellent comfort on long journeys.

Also new is the 3-stage ESP® with sports function. This system provides three different settings and is the logical development of the AMG ESP® philosophy. The driver can choose between the settings "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" by pressing the ESP Ò button in the AMG DRIVE UNIT - the activated setting is shown in the central display in the AMG instrument cluster.

AMG high-performance braking system and 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels

The AMG high-performance braking system rises to the exacting requirements associated with consummate driving dynamics. The front wheels are equipped with internally ventilated, perforated 360 x 36-millimetre composite disc brakes with six-piston aluminium fixed callipers, while deceleration at the rear comes courtesy of internally ventilated, perforated 330 x 26-millimetre brake discs with four-piston fixed callipers. The result is the shortest stopping distances, outstanding sensitivity and remarkable resistance to fading.

The 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with their alluring triple-spoke styling and titanium grey finish plus high-sheen star on the centre of the wheel are also new. 255/35 R 19 (front) and 285/30 R 19 (rear) tyres are fitted to the 8.5 and 9.5-inch-wide wheels. The 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with their striking design blend in harmoniously with the new AMG bodystyling.

New AMG bodystyling ensures clear differentiation

The appearance of the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG now gives away its exceptional status more than ever before. The new-look front apron with a more pronounced wedge shape, black-painted radiator grille, larger cooling air intakes and lower transverse fin painted in black harmonises perfectly with the redesigned front end of the SL-Class, giving it a decidedly masculine aura. The distinctive AMG bonnet more than hints at the unique power unit underneath. Bi-xenon headlamps with their dark surrounds, and large round fog lamps set well to the side in chrome surrounds also emphasise the vehicle's width. The hot air from the additional engine oil cooler in the front wheel arch escapes through side air outlets in the front apron. New exterior mirrors featuring LED indicators with a pronounced arrow shape catch the eye as do the matt-silver-painted AMG trim panels on the front wings with "6.3 AMG" lettering.

The AMG bodystyling also includes the AMG side skirts and the powerful AMG rear apron with its large black diffusor insert. A visual and acoustic feast comes in the guise of the AMG sports exhaust with two chromed twin tailpipes. The AMG spoiler lip on the boot lid reduces lift especially at high speeds.

Interior featuring new AMG sports steering wheel with three-spoke design

The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG offers an alluring combination of exclusive equipment details and a dynamic, practical look. The eye is drawn to the new AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel with its three-spoke design and aluminium AMG shift paddles. The grip area is specially shaped and covered in perforated leather, while the vertical spoke is embellished by a silver-coloured insert. Behind sits the new AMG instrument cluster with "6.3 V8" lettering on the rev counter and the new-look instrument cluster trimmed in nappa leather with double topstitching above the round gauges. As soon as the ignition is switched on, the speedometer and rev counter needles rotate in unison around the dials to their maximum values and then instantly revert to their original positions.

The AMG main menu integrated in the AMG instrument cluster displays the currently engaged gear including recommended upshifts, the "RACETIMER" with lap times, information on the engine oil temperature and battery voltage, along with the activated transmission drive mode including Race Start and the selected ESP Ò mode. New, exclusive equipment for the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG with AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission includes the AMG selector lever in a leather/carbon-fibre finish and the stylishly integrated AMG DRIVE UNIT with rotary switch for the four drive modes and buttons for ESP Ò , suspension set-up and the AMG mode.

Standard-fit AMG sports seats with optional AIRSCARF

The standard specification also includes fine nappa leather upholstery, genuine carbon-fibre trim and the multi-way electrically adjustable AMG sports seats with multicontour and memory functions, seat heating, AMG-specific perforation pattern and seat design, and AMG badge. The optional AIRSCARF neck-level heating system is a new addition. At the push of a button, it blows warm air through the head restraints - providing open-air motoring pleasure even if there is a chill in the air.

The new SL-Class also features the new-generation telematics NTG 2.5. The sophisticated units combine ease of use, logical menu structure and consummate entertainment. Features include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, an MP3-compatible CD or DVD player as well as a Bluetooth interface that wirelessly links a mobile phone to the hands-free system. Audio 20, Audi 20 CD with CD changer, Audio 50 and Audio 50 APS with DVD changer also now come with a 5-inch colour screen. The COMAND APS features a high-resolution 6.5-inch colour display, LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system for audio, navigation and telephony, a music library function to store audio files and an SD memory card slot.

Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG with biturbo V12 producing 450 kW/612 hp and 1000 Newton metres

Top of the line in the exclusive 12-cylinder roadster segment is the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG. Its AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine produces 450 kW/612 hp with maximum torque of 1000 Newtonmetres - unrivalled figures even four years after the market launch. The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds, impressive testimony to the outstanding power of the AMG V12 engine; top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited). Power in the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG is transferred by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT five-speed automatic transmission with three drive modes; a multi-disc limited-slip differential with a lock factor of up to 30 percent also guarantees optimum traction.

Visual features which distinguish the V12 top-of-the-line model from the Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG include a lower transverse fin painted matt silver in the front apron, "V12 BITURBO" lettering on the matt-silver-painted trim panels on the front wings and the AMG sports exhaust with two chromed twin tailpipes featuring the V12 styling. The new AMG bodystyling including AMG bonnet and AMG spoiler lip is also part of the standard specification for the V12 top-of-the-line model. 255/35 R 19 (front) and 285/30 R 19 (rear) tyres are fitted to the new 19-inch AMG twin-spoke forged light-alloy wheels painted titanium grey with a mirror finish . In tune with its incomparable driving dynamics the Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG comes with a large AMG high-performance braking system using ultra-high-performance composite brakes at the front and rear. The front wheels are equipped with 390 x 36-millimetre brake discs while 360 x 26-millimetre discs provide the deceleration at the rear.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lamborghini Gallardo Nera

Lamborghini Gallardo Nera

Automobili Lamborghini has unveiled its new, exclusive model, the "Gallardo Nera", which is based on the Gallardo Coupé Model Year 07. This special edition model, limited to 185 units, is an impressive showcase for the extensive individualisation options offered by Lamborghini's personalisation service 'ad personam', which transforms each and every Lamborghini into a unique vehicle.

'ad personam' provides a wealth of options for enhancing the interior and body of the vehicle according to specific personal tastes. Other individualisation requirements can also be met, such as special colour paintwork. This allows the customer to create a unique sports car that reflects his personality and satisfies his own style down to the smallest detail.

The Lamborghini Gallardo Nera, which is available in Europe in the basic colour "Nero Serapis", while for USA in "Nero Noctis", features special paintwork in matt black on the side mirrors, rear spoiler, rear body panels, roof, selected front panels and on the door sills and rear apron. Additional details such as matt black rims in the "Callisto" design with the Lamborghini logo, brake callipers in silver, white side indicator lenses and darkened tail lights complement the martial look of the exterior.

The interior is styled in the colours "Nero Perseus" and "Bianco Polar" using the "bicolour sportive" equipment variant. A further "Branding Package" and the 'ad personam' equipment package provide additional distinctive touches. The additional leather package variant in "Bianco Polar" includes leather trims for the climate control operating panel, handbrake and gear lever console in addition to the inner door handles. The seats boast rhomboidal stitching in the "Q-citura" pattern, which can also be found on the Alcantara roof lining, door trims and the partition wall between the seats and the engine compartment. Instrument rings and decorative stitching on the steering wheel, plus white piping on the seats and mats, round off the modifications in the interior.

The Lamborghini Gallardo Nera includes, as standard, a navigation system, rear-view camera, on-board computer, alarm system, lifting system and a made-to-measure vehicle cover. Optional equipment for the model includes the e gear automatic transmission, an engine hood with transparent glass panels, a Bluetooth-compatible radio and carbon ceramic brakes.

Like the Lamborghini Gallardo Coupé MY07, the Lamborghini Gallardo Nera boasts the established V10-cylinder engine with a displacement of 4,961 cc and an output of 382 kW (520 hp). It sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 4 seconds (0 to 62 mph in 4 seconds), and reaches a top speed of 315 km/h (196 mph). The drive train of the mid-engine sports car includes permanent all-wheel drive, based on Lamborghini's proven VT (viscous traction) system.

Innovations of the Lamborghini Gallardo model year 07 (Coupé and Spyder)

As already mentioned, the Lamborghini Gallardo Nera is based on the Lamborghini Gallardo MY07. The Coupé and Spyder versions of Lamborghini's most successful model of all time enter the year 2007 with slight modifications. The serial production car's enhancements include the steering wheel, flattened on the underside with partially galvanised areas; the galvanised instrument circles; the bespoke vehicle cover and the skyroof in imitation leather (Coupé).

The base colour "Marrone Janus" and contrasting colours such as "Bianco Polar" and "Azzurro Australis" (also Spyder) are now available as colour options for the interior.

Two are the new items for the Coupé: carpets coloured in dark brown, orange and red, and the Interiorline Unicolor sportive.

Furthermore there are available the following options for Gallardo Modelyear 07: Alcantara roof lining and Alcantara pillers, small interior carbon package, steering wheel in suede or perforated leather.

The most significant change can, however, be found in the brakes: for the first time, the highly efficient carbon ceramic braking system, which is already available in the Lamborghini Murciélago, is now offered as an optional feature on the Gallardo range. For extremely high brake performance requirements, on request the vehicle can be equipped with carbon ceramic brakes measuring 380 mm x 36 mm with six piston brake calipers, which reduce the brake pedal pressure and shorten the braking distance. With the standard steel brakes already producing first class performance, the optional carbon ceramic brakes provide absolute insensitiveness to fading. Further advantages are brought by a considerable reduction in weight and greater durability, in addition to the brakes' attractive aesthetic appearance.

Lexus LF-A Roadster

Lexus LF-A Roadster

The engineers and designers at Lexus continue to use their groundbreaking LF-A premium sports car concept as a medium for expressing their ideas about what a high-performance sporting vehicle not only can be, but should be. In this latest expression of the LF-A, they have removed the car's top to create a high-performance roadster.

The LF-A Roadster is based on the sturdy yet lightweight carbon-fiber and aluminum body used for the LF-A coupe, which helps maintain the structure's strength and rigidity even without a top.

Like its coupe counterpart, the LF-A Roadster is powered by a high-revving V10 engine that approaches 5.0 liters in displacement. The V10, capable of more than 500 horsepower and test-track speeds greater than 200 mph, is mounted in front of the passenger compartment but behind the front-axle centerline in what the LF-A's engineers refer to as a "front-mid" configuration.

The engine is connected via a torque tube and propeller shaft to a transaxle that is controlled by paddle shifters. The torque tube is a structural member that adds rigidity to the drivetrain and chassis while also reducing vibration.

Styling is rooted in the Lexus L-Finesse design philosophy, conferring the LF-A Roadster's front end with a compact, low-profile, aerodynamic shape. Like its coupe counterpart, the LF-A Roadster stands just 48 inches tall, but the Roadster configuration adds a speed adaptive rear wing.

The rear is marked by a pair of wrap-around, arrowhead-shaped taillights that bracket a pair of large grilles. These grilles vent the heated air from the car's two rear-mounted radiators into the LF-A Roadster's aerodynamic wake. The radiators are fed cool air by two large intake ducts mounted just above the rear wheel wells. This aft radiator positioning not only allowed the designers to keep the car's front profile low and tight but also aided the LF-A's chassis engineers in their search for optimal weight distribution.

Helping to provide balance and scale to the design, which features an overall length of 175.6 inches and a wheelbase of 102.6 inches, are high-performance tires on turbine-styled alloy wheels. The front tires are 265/35R20s, while the rears are 305/30R20s. Like the LF-A coupe, the brakes consist of 14.2-inch cross-drilled, vented discs up front, and 13.6-inch cross-drilled, vented discs at the rear. The front brake calipers are six-piston units and the rear calipers use four pistons each.

An "F" logo, located on each front fender of the Roadster, indicates the vehicle's status as a part of the new "F" marque. The name is derived from the original "F" designation for the first Lexus LS prototype. That vehicle was internally coded "Circle-F," with the "F" standing for "flagship." The Circle-F designation further evolved into the code name Flagship One, or F1, and the first F1 concept developed into Lexus' first vehicle, the LS. Since then, the "F" code has come to signify a special vehicle program within Lexus that falls outside the normal engineering and development process. In addition, Fuji Speedway is the IS F's home circuit, and the shape of the F-logo was inspired by many of the track's turns. The all-new Lexus IS F sport sedan is the first production vehicle to carry the F marque.

Lexus LF-A Roadster Concept Preliminary Specifications

Body Type: Two seat roadster
Type: Front-mid-engine, rear-mid-transaxle
Engine: V10 (under 5.0-liters)
Transmission: SMT (sequential manual transmission)
Horsepower: More than 500
Top Speed: More than 200 mph
Tire Size
Front: 265/35R20
Rear: 305/30R20
Dimensions (inches)
Overall Length: 175.6
Overall Width: 74.6
Overall Height: 48.0
Wheelbase: 102.6