BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept revealed (+video)

August 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

BMW Vision concept fq

Ready to feature at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the futuristic styled BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept has been revealed ahead of the event.

Set to display a blend of the German carmaker’s current and future technologies, the Vision concept is described by BMW as a “symbol for the future of sheer driving pleasure”.

Powered by a diesel-electric hybrid system, the Vision concept features a conventional 1.5 litre 3-cylinder turbo-diesel mated to a pair of electric motors.

Combined the motors produce a total output of 261kW and an amazing 800Nm of torque.

The mid-mounted diesel engine is joined by electric motors positioned at the front and rear axles, improving weight distribution and also making the Vision concept all-wheel-drive.

The Vision can run on electric power alone (50km range), or diesel only (645km) or a combination of the two.

BMW’s six-speed dual-clutch transmission that’s used in current BMW models will work the gears it’s been set for ultimate economy.

The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept offers impressive performance figures achieving a top speed of 250km/h and covering the 0-100km/h dash in just 4.8 seconds. Fuel consumption is just 3.1 l/100km, with CO2 emissions rated at 99 g/km.

Aerodynamics have dictated the styling for the Vision concept with a coefficient drag figure of just 0.22 aiding the car’s fuel efficiency.

The Vision concept’s exhaust system features a Thermo-Electric Generator (which BMW has been working on with NASA for some time), developed – as the name suggests – to convert thermal energy in the exhaust into usable electric power.

An energy management system is also featured, using rain sensors and information downloaded to the sat-nav system to forecast driving conditions on the trip ahead and prepare the car’s power supply for the task.

The Vision concept will have it’s official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Mercedes F-Cell hydrogen car ready for launch

August 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes F-Cell hydrogen s

Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz announced its plans to begin low-level production of a new hydrogen fuel cell-powered automobile called the F-Cell. Now, according to Mercedes, the car is nearly ready to launch, with 200 vehicles ready to be leased in the United States and Europe early next year.

The front-wheel drive F-Cell is based on Mercedes-Benz’ B-Class platform and uses a 100 kW electric motor putting out 214 lb-ft of torque. Apparently this powertrain will have the equivalent performance of a 2.0-litre petrol-powered automobile (0-100kph will take under 11 seconds) while returning 2.72 l/100km economy on the combined cycle.

Under the car’s floor sits a 1.4 kWh lithium ion battery that recaptures energy usually lost to braking. Range is quoted at around 400 kilometers and Mercedes claims a hydrogen recharge time of just three minutes. More details on the car should emerge at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

Updated Commodore range awarded top safety rating

August 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Holden Commodore 2010 fq

The new 2010 Holden Commodore, along with the 2010 Statesman and Caprice, has achieved a 5-Star crash safety rating after tests with the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The Commodore achieved its first 5-Star ANCAP rating with the 2009 update to the VE range, after a front passenger seat belt reminder was added and a crumple zone around the steering column to divert harmful impact away from the driver’s knees.

Standard safety features across the Commodore and Statesman range currently includes six airbags and Electronic Stability Control, incorporating Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Electronic Brake Assist and a Traction Control System.

After the tests the VE Commodore ute has kept its previous 4-Star rating.

The 2010 Commodore and Statesman ranges will be launched in September.

2010 Lotus Exige Cup – track or street

August 31st, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus Exige Cup 260 fq

The Lotus Exige Cup has developed a cult following and a devoted fan base since the first Lotus Exige Cup 240 was unveiled in 2006. Over the last 4 model years several hundred Exige Cup Cars have been sold, either specifically for race and track use or for a pure road going driving experience. The latest Exige Cup 260, with 260 PS, takes the 38 kg weight savings introduced in the last years model, combines them with the extensive body and aerodynamic improvements and revisions introduced on the 2010 Exige in March 2009 and tops them off with new components and technologies to produce the most focused and pure Exige yet.

The track focussed homologated-for-the-road 2010 Model Year Lotus Exige Cup 260 takes design clues and technical innovations from the Lotus Exige GT3 racecar and combines with class leading emissions of just 199 g/km CO2 and exhilarating performance of 0-100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds.

The new model uses carbon fibre extensively has lightweight motorsport wheels¨ and Ohlins 2-way adjustable dampers¨. The rear chassis has had its stiffness increased by 30%.

Road noise prevents Froggie-style love making

August 28th, 2009 by Adam

You’re at a bar, see a fine lady and after you knock back you’re drink it’s time to make your move. So you saunter over and unleash you’re smoothest pick-up line.

“How heavy is a polar bear?” you say.

“What?” she replies.

“Heavy enough to break the ice” you say grinning.

“What?” she repeats with a blank look.

This tragic scenario may have happened to you, loud music in a bar or club can be severely detrimental to the modern males mating rituals. But what may surprise you is that we aren’t the only species to be adversely affected by noise when we are trying to get our groove on. Male frogs have very similar problems but with far more tragic results. Scientists in Melbourne recently found that due to traffic and machinery, a male frog’s mating call can’t be heard at great distances. Which is blocking him from getting freaky with female frogs which is cutting down the number of baby frogs and diminishing the entire frog population.

The most unfortunate frog is the ironically names Pobblebonk frog which can be normally heard more than a 700 meters away when there is no noise. Around busy roads he can only be heard 8 meters away, how the hell is he expected to get any action with a pitiful range like that? So, is there an answer? not really, but frogs are like teenage boys they can be cunning and resourceful to get some loving and may start sending out the mating call at different hours of the day or travel more extensively while calling. Who knows, but like Kermit the world’s most famous frog (not crazy frog!) always said “It ain’t easy being green.” But then again he was always hooking up with a total pig, so what would he know.
Kermit Miss Piggy

Mini celebrates 50th Anniversary with Coupe concept

August 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mini Coupe concept fq

Rumors have been circulating for months about what BMW would do on August 26, 2009 for its Mini brand. That recent date marked the fiftieth anniversary of the public debut of Alec Issigonis’ original Mini. Most of the speculation involved either a coupe or some kind of cropped windshield speedster, it turns out the reality was somewhere in between. Where the original Mini coupe of the Sixties simply had a fastback replacement for the standard square-back roof, the new Mini Coupe Concept is far more extensive in it’s styling changes. The windscreen has been raked back and a low aluminium roof covers the two seats.

The Mini Coupe Concept is based on the regular Cooper Hatchback. Strictly a two-seater, the low roof line, compact dimensions, perfect axle load distribution and lightweight construction are all trademarks of a genuine sports car. Other unique elements include a body coloured grille and matching inserts on the wheels and rear bumper.

In the cabin, well bolstered sports seats feature, as does a three-spoke leather sports steering wheel with multi-function controls. Two Chronoswiss clocks to the right and left of the rev counter provide a stopwatch and a standard clock.

With a Crossover model reaching the final stages of development and Hatch, Clubman and Convertible models currently on the roads in nearly 80 countries worldwide, Mini’s plan is to offer an extended range of compact premium cars in the coming years. Hinting that the latest Coupe Concept may eventually enter production, Mini states that it offers a “vision” into how the company’s line up may continue to grow.

The MINI Coupe Concept will be shown publicly at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month alongside the production version of the new Crossover.

Saab releases details of new 9-5

August 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Saab 9-5 fq

It’s been about a month since a batch of photos of the new 2010 Saab 9-5 firstly showed up online. Now, only three weeks out from the Frankfurt Motor Show, Saab has released further details and a fresh batch of images of its new flagship. With a profile that retains much of Saab’s design language, the new 9-5 sedan moves to General Motors’ new Epsilon II platform along with the Opel Insignia. Using this platform is interesting because Saab is in the middle of separating from GM in favour of Swedish supercar manufacturer Koenigsegg.

All available engines in the 9-5 will be turbocharged, ranging from a 1.6-litre gas four pot to the 2.8-litre V-6 found in the 9-3 Turbo-X. The two engines available from day one will both be 2.0-litre four-cylinders — one petrol, the other diesel.

Drawing on the company’s ‘Born From Jets’ slogan, options for the new 9-5 will include a heads-up display, as well as ‘DriveSense adaptive chassis with real-time damping control,’ three-zone HVAC, and bi-level Xenon headlamps.

The 9-5 will also get a keyless entry/start feature, but in keeping with tradition, the start push button will be between the seats where the ignition key cylinder was traditionally located in older models.

Hamann Mercedes G55 AMG Supercharged

August 28th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Hamann Mercedes G55 AMG Supercharged fq

Aftermarket tuner Hamann has decided the 500+ hp of the standard Mercedes G55 AMG just isn’t enough and something needed to be done. The result is 600hp (441 kW) and 782 Nm of torque between 3,000 and 5,200 rpm.

The extra grunt of the Hamann Mercedes G55 AMG Supercharged comes in part from a 25kW upgrade of the ECU and the tuner’s HM 600 power pack. This power pack features a new belt pulley kit, metal catalysts, 6-pipe sport end silencers, a gear oil cooling system and an optimised gear control.

The results of all this engine work are impressive the Hamann Mercedes G55 AMG Supercharged can reach 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 261 km/h. Not bad for a brick on wheels.

Visually, the Hamann Mercedes G55 AMG Supercharged comes with a new aerodynamics kit and a revised interior.

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