Saturday, November 10, 2012

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Touring Concept, 2012

  •  Alfa Romeo Disco Volante Touring Concept, 2012

The Disco Volante 2012 by Touring Superleggera, designed as a two-seater coupé with front-central engine and transaxle drivetrain, was presented at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in the form of a full scale style model. The car will be produced as a very limited series for discerning customers: collectors, sporting drivers and design aficionados with appreciation for a tailor-made car based on individual passion and taste.

There exist very few models that rouse fascination like the Alfa Romeo C52 'Disco Volante'. The briefing at Carrozzeria Touring in 1952 mentioned the need for a shape that was 'insensitive to wind'. The unique basic design, featuring an oval cross section, evolved in different versions, and was even registered as 'design patent'.

Using Alfa Romeo 1900 C elements, the car received a new aluminium crankcase, a new tubular chassis, and a very light, striking and efficient aluminium body.

Initially aimed at races in the Sport category, the C52 Disco Volante soon reached the status of design icon. It is one of the most important models in the history of Touring, so innovative that it influenced the automotive design for decades. It also is one of the best examples to illustrate the credo of Touring's founder Felice Bianchi Anderloni "Il peso è il nemico, la resistenza dell'aria è l'ostacolo" (weight is the enemy, air resistance the obstacle).
So significant is the Disco Volante in the history of automobile design, that Alfa Romeo has chosen this Touring design to celebrate its own 100th anniversary with a bronze sculpture now exhibited in Milan.

The Disco Volante 2012 design briefing required to blend ingredients as innovation, emotion and aerodynamic properties into a timeless and essential shape. The design language is that of a sports berlinetta by Touring, in this case extrovert, clearly pronounced, and tempting.

The integrated front bonnet and wings result in a dramatic monolithic frontal area, while the pronounced muscular rear end treatment leaves no doubts about the car's intentions. The overall teardrop shape reflects classic volumes with respect for aerodynamic values.

Hints to the past can be found in subtle details, when aesthetical solutions were judged to be congruent with the new design. These include the pronounced waist line underlined by the aluminium profile, the partly covered front wheels, and the prolonged lines of the rear section ending with round shaped tail lights.

The final result is a rear-oriented design, with an extended rear overhang, a retracted greenhouse, and a limited front overhang. It combines power and elegance, integrating a balance between potent and fluid lines and the use of refined proportions in the best Touring tradition.

Rolling Chassis
The hard points of the Disco Volante 2012 are dictated by the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione chassis, chosen for its light and rigid structure and the outstanding dynamic properties. It forms the perfect basis to receive the totally new, coach built bodywork conserving integrally the rolling chassis and drivetrain.

The front-central engine, transaxle transmission and rear wheel drive layout offers an optimal weight distribution of 49-51% between the front and rear axles.

The steel space-frame is engineered for weight reduction and improved torsional stiffness.

Further feature for top class handling is the front and rear double-wishbone suspension scheme combined with hub carriers of forged aluminium, and additional trailing arms for the rear suspension.

The light and compact V8 engine with 4.7 litre displacement delivers 450 PS and 470Nm peak torque. It is coupled to a 6-speed sequential transaxle gearbox with electronic control and paddle-shift gear selection. A limited slip differential and a state-of-the-art brake system with large diameter, ventilated discs complete the package to endorse precise, dynamic and proactive drive.

The Disco Volante 2012 is a tribute to the best Italian sports car philosophy: refined mechanics dressed with light and exciting bodywork.

Manufacturing Process
Prior to any construction phase at Touring, every new component is CAD designed and documented. The meticulous engineering programme covers feasibility, safety, homologation, aerodynamics and structural analysis. In this process, the most advanced IT tools and simulation techniques are used. Special attention is paid to the underbody structure, a critical factor for quality, torsional stiffness and noise reduction.

Touring has preserved and developed the use of hand-beaten aluminium panels. Today, this traditional way of shaping body parts responds not only to the design requirements, but also to the strictest precision standard.

The weight advantage of aluminium is one of the assets of Touring Superleggera's construction methods. However, carbon fibre is used for specific components such as bumpers and a number of substructures for further weight saving and strength gains.

The entire manufacturing process is fully documented and digitally logged, to guarantee consistent quality levels and accurate reproduction.

3-dimensional reference and measurement tools are used to ensure the highest precision in the assembly stage. Many key detail components and ornaments are entirely manufactured by hand.

The original 8C interior is basically maintained, but modified and upgraded according to the personal preferences and taste of the customer - as an exponent of Touring's automotive tailoring philosophy.

Each unit requires more than 4,000 hours of highly skilled artisan and engineer work to be completed.

The delivery time for a Disco Volante 2012 is eight months after the reception of the donor vehicle.
Read More

Acura ILX Endurance Racer, 2013

  •  Acura ILX Endurance Racer, 2013

Developed and prepared by Team Honda Research-West, a competition version of the new 2013 Acura ILX will be unveiled the 2012 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, prior to making its competition debut at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race.

A pair of E1 class Acura ILX sedans, prepared to NASA U.S. Touring Car specs, will be entered for the traditional 25-hour endurance race that annually concludes the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) season at the challenging three-mile Thunderhill road course north of Sacramento, California.

Team Honda Research-West (THR-W) is primarily made up of Torrance, California-based associates from Honda R&D Americas, Inc., who work after-hours to showcase Honda and Acura products on the track. The team received a pair of new Acura ILX "body in white" bare chassis earlier this year from Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC, the exclusive global production source for the model. Additionally, a pair of "donor" cars from American Honda Motor Co., Inc. was used to provide suspension, powertrain, interior and electronic components.

Once the chassis and donor cars were delivered to the THR-W workshop, an extensive build program commenced that included the use of as many OEM components as possible, to retain serviceability and test outright durability of Acura's newest sedan. In preparing the cars for the grueling Thunderhill event, THR-W members focused their efforts less on performance modifications and more on reducing vehicle weight, to achieve the performance targets set by the team.

Safety equipment required by NASA included a full roll cage (designed by THR-W and built by Solo Motorsports); Bride Gardis III race seat; OMP competition steering wheel; Schroth safety harness; Brockway Engineering D Gauge digital OBD2 gauge; and Braille lightweight battery. Changes to the exterior included a Baja Designs LED lighting system for long winter night-running, a THR-W-designed front splitter and an APR GTC-200 rear spoiler.

Red Line oil lubricates the K24Z7 engine and 6-speed transmission. Cold air enters the engine through an AEM intake, while DEI heat rejection products help keep the heat under control from exhaust gases flowing through the custom-built AEM/120 Racing exhaust. H&R suspension and Enkei RPF1 wheels fitted with BF Goodrich R1 race tires complete the Acura ILX competition package.

Honda Performance Development (HPD), responsible for Honda racing programs ranging from entry-level categories to the IZOD IndyCar Series and World Endurance Championship, also contributed several racing-specific components to the ILX project. These included an HPD-lightened flywheel and racing clutch package, limited-slip differential, motor mounts, anti-roll bars and rear upper suspension control arms. All of these parts are available to racers through the HPD Honda Racing Line program.

The THR-W build team for the ILX includes a number of engineers and researchers from Honda R&D Americas (HRA). The team is headed by Project Leader Calvin Liu, a Design Engineer in the Surface Development Department. John Whiteman, Manager of the Advanced Product Planning Department, is responsible for race strategy and sponsorship. David Kirsch, Senior Engineer in the Information Technical Research Department, serves as Crew Chief and is responsible for the electrical system. Roy Richards, a coordinator in the Energy and Environmental Research Group, is responsible for budget and procurement of components for the team.

Once the initial build was complete, a testing program that included a pair of shakedown runs at Buttonwillow Raceway in southern California, followed by a more extensive run at Willow Springs International Raceway, was implemented to complete final preparations for Thunderhill.

The driving team for Thunderhill is headed by Matt Staal, Senior Planner, Advanced Product Planning, for HRA. Other members of the driver lineup include Project Leader Calvin Liu; Derek Ferretti, a Senior Modeler in the Styling Division at HRA; Sage Marie, Senior Manager of Public Relations at American Honda; Lee Niffenegger, a former SCCA National Champion and Senior Engineer in Business Development at HPD; Lawrence Hwang, Senior Stylist at HRA; Scott Nichol from Honda of Canada Manufacturing; Chad Gilsinger, a former SCCA National Champion and Senior Engineer at HRA in Ohio: and Brian Shanfeld, a former NASA National Champion, also from HRA in Ohio.
Read More

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vauxhall Astra GTC, 2012

 Vauxhall Astra GTC, 2012

Since the Vauxhall Astra GTC shares no body panels with either the Astra Hatch or Sports Tourer, it has a unique appearance in the range, and one which has largely stayed faithful to the stunning 2010 GTC Paris concept.

"We wanted the Astra GTC to be the ultimate expression of Vauxhall's design language, and to embody our passion for the motor car," said Mark Adams, Vice President of Vauxhall/Opel design. "But we didn't want emotion to get in the way of functionality: the Astra GTC still needed to be clever, practical and affordable."

In profile, Mark and his team - a significant number of whom are fellow Brits - created tension in the GTC's shape by minimising the lines running along the body. Vauxhall's signature 'blade', a crisp line that sweeps up from the rocker at the front of the door, is now similar to the Insignia's, but runs the opposite way to other Astras. A second line strikes through the door handle, stretching to the rear, while a third line follows the roof's profile, guiding the eye to the sharply integrated spoiler.

At the front of the car, a centreline crease is complemented by slim, 'eagle-eye'-style headlamps featuring wing-shaped daytime running light graphics. A chrome emblem bar running across the dramatic trapezoidal grille - mounted lower than on other Astras - completes the picture from the front.

Equally dramatic is the GTC's rear treatment. Its powerful shoulder section gives the car imposing proportions and a purposeful road presence. The line from the C-pillar wraps around the tail and the rear spoiler, which in turn integrates with the roofline. LED rear lighting - optional across the GTC range - highlights the stretched 'wing' motif created by the tail lamps.

The Vauxhall Astra GTC has a Cd figure of just 0.33.
Standard on both Sport and SRi trims are 18-inch alloy wheels, with each getting a unique design. For the first time on a Vauxhall coupe in this class, 20-inch rims are available as an option on SRi models, with 19-inch wheels a further cost option on both trims.

On the upper-spec SRi model, tinted glass is standard, while the latest generation AFL (Adaptive Forward Lighting) is optional across the GTC range.

Despite the GTC's rakish exterior appearance, unlike many of its competitors, interior accommodation and functionality have not been compromised.

Not only can the GTC accommodate five adults, but its luggage compartment provides between 380 and 1165 litres of volume - over 200 litres more than some of the competition.

In line with the current Astra, storage volume in the cabin has also been improved by 50 per cent versus the old Sport Hatch, with items like the electronic park brake liberating space around the console in SRi models.

High quality materials feature in all GTCs, as do chrome-edged instruments in deep-set binnacles that give drivers clear and well laid-out information. Standard on all GTCs are DAB stereo and USB functionality, while SRi drivers get an onboard computer and leather-rimmed steering wheel, among many other standard items.

Two new colours - Seashell and Flaming Yellow - and a selection of new materials, bespoke to the GTC, set the car apart from others in the Astra range. Morello Red, and a new premium leather trim, is also available as an option and brings with it a six-way adjustable driver's seat.

The Vauxhall Astra GTC's appeal runs far deeper than its rakish lines. Unlike many three-door versions of existing compact hatches, the GTC - like the Astra Sports Hatch before it - will be a standalone model in Vauxhall's range, conceived to resonate with a more driver- oriented customer base who value the way a car handles and performs as much as the way it looks.

To do this, engineers from both Vauxhall Engineering Centre at Millbrook and Opel in Rüsselsheim have developed a bespoke platform for the GTC. Key components - such as the HiPerStruts used on the front axle - have been derived from the 325PS Insignia VXR, while significant upgrades have been made to the GTC's unique Watt's link/compound crank rear end. So while the GTC line-up currently includes a broad range of engines producing from 120 to 180PS, drivers can always be assured of class-leading levels of dynamic control.

But the best chassis can only be honed through intense testing on the most demanding surfaces. Britain will be by far the biggest market for the GTC, which is why Vauxhall and Opel engineers have conducted much of their evaluation on UK roads, with their unique (and some may say diabolical) blend of undulations, cambers, rough surfaces, blind apexes and crests. The theory is this: if the GTC can work well in the UK, it will work much more effectively on other markets' roads, too.

High tech front suspension boosts GTC's appeal
From the start of the GTC's development programme the target was to deliver a driver-oriented feel to the car, and one that worked well on UK roads. "Our aim was to exceed the best in class with the GTC's dynamics," said Gerry Baker, Vauxhall Engineering Centre's chief dynamicist. "We also wanted to change the emphasis in steering and damper-feel from the regular Astra Hatch to a set-up that was more focused, yet still comfortable enough for British roads and drivers."

Much of the development centered around the introduction to the GTC of Vauxhall's HiPerStrut, a first for an Astra model. Based on the system currently seen on the 325PS Insignia VXR, the HiPerStrut uses the Astra's existing pick-up points, but reduces the kingpin inclination angle by 44 per cent and shortens the spindle length (kingpin offset) by 46 per cent versus the MacPherson strut-equipped models. This helps prevent torquesteer - a trait of many powerful front-wheel-drive cars - allowing drivers to make more use of the GTC's performance without the steering being corrupted.

Adding the HiPerStrut has also reduced the amount of camber change on the GTC's front wheels during cornering, improving grip. Steering feel is enhanced, too, helped by a reduction the steering system's friction levels. The geometry changes brought by the HiPerStruts also mean that the GTC can be fitted with wheels of up to 20-inches in diameter.

Rear suspension revisions complement GTC's ride-height & track changes
Compared with the Astra Hatch, the GTC's ride height has been lowered by 15mm, while the wheelbase has grown by 10mm, from 2685mm to 2695mm. Both tracks are wider, too, at 1584mm (+40mm) front and 1585mm (+30mm) rear.

The Astra's GTC compound crank/Watt's link rear suspension system has also been revised, with bespoke roll-stiffness and roll-centre height settings for this application. The system has many advantages over a modern multi-link design, including improved packaging, greater wheel camber stiffness and reduced suspension friction. The Watt's link also ensures that lateral stability is maintained at all times.

The Watt's link is carried on a small cross-member attached to the underside of the car, just behind the rear wheel centre line. It comprises a short, pivoting centre link with a ball joint at each end, to which the lateral links from the wheels are bolted.

In a straight line, the set up ensures excellent stability, but during cornering it minimises lateral deflection in the same way a modern multi-link system would do. Vauxhall's engineers estimate that the linkage absorbs around 80 per cent of all lateral loadings on the rear suspension. In addition, the Watt's link allows for softer bushings, which no longer have to compensate for toe changes at the rear of the car, and thus provide greater compliance and ride comfort from the rear axle.

Unique steering programme for UK drivers
Precision, Feedback & Confidence. These were the three target elements for the GTC's UK-specific steering programme. The challenge was to maintain the system's ease of use at lower speeds, but dial in a greater degree of involvement and slightly more effort at higher speeds.

The Vauxhall Astra GTC uses a rack and pinion steering system with speed sensitive assistance. But in order to provide drivers with more steering feedback, the system's electric motor is mounted directly on the steering rack, as opposed to the base of the steering column.

The key benefits of using an electric power steering (EPS) are well known. At low speeds, the level of power assistance is increased to minimise steering effort. At higher speeds, assistance is automatically reduced to ensure a high degree of steering feel for the driver. The second important benefit is that, because it does not require an energy consuming hydraulic pump and responds directly to the amount of power needed at any speed, fuel consumption is also reduced.

FlexRide enhances GTC's driver appeal still further
FlexRide, Vauxhall's adaptive damping system, will be available as a £790 option across the GTC range, complementing the significant revisions to the new model's chassis. FlexRide automatically adapts to prevailing road surfaces and driving styles, providing drivers with fully optimised handling, even in the event of an emergency situation.

At the heart of FlexRide is the Driving Mode Control (DMC) which oversees and executes the system's settings, allowing the car to react to sudden changes in driving style or emergency situations. For example, if the driver needs to avoid an obstacle while in 'Tour' mode - the softest of the three settings - chassis sensors convey this to the DMC and the dampers are adjusted in a split second.

Standard mode (the default setting) reacts in the same way as Tour, but when drivers select Sport they not only get stiffer dampers, but more steering effort, sharper throttle response and an instrument panel that's back-lit in red, rather than white. Each of these settings can be dialled in or out of Sport mode via the GTC's configurator.

British roads: the ultimate challenge for dynamicists!
Vauxhall and Opel engineers are making increasing use of British roads as a key part of their overall chassis development programmes. In the last three years, the Insignia, Astra, Astra Sports Tourer, Meriva, and now the Vauxhall Astra GTC, have all benefited from the UK's unique mix of road surfaces.

1.4-litre Turbo
Strong performance and flexibility are the core strengths of this engine, which is available with either 120PS or 140PS power outputs. Torque generation is even more impressive, with 200Nm available in both engines from just 1,850rpm to 4,900rpm, translating to a 0-60mph acceleration time of 9.0 seconds (140PS) or 10.2 seconds (120PS).

The water-cooled turbocharger, spinning at up to 200,000 rpm, is integrated into the exhaust manifold, close to the engine, for a fast throttle response. Air-to-air intercooling increases the intake charge density.

The adoption of a steel crankshaft with reinforced pistons and con-rods allows the use of a relatively high 9.5: 1 compression ratio, despite higher stresses and loads. Under-skirt piston oil cooling jets and exhaust valves filled with sodium are further measures to ensure durability under higher internal temperatures.

All 1.4 Turbo models come equipped as standard with Start/Stop, helping them achieve competitively low emissions of between 140-142g/km, depending upon wheels/tyres fitted.

1.6-litre Turbo
The most powerful engine in the Vauxhall Astra GTC's line-up produces 180PS and achieves a specific output of just over 100PS per litre. Available across the range, the 1.6 Turbo is the most powerful series production engine in its displacement class.

Its high power is matched by an impressively wide plateau of torque, with 230Nm available from 2,200rpm to 5,400rpm. With this engine, the GTC can accelerate from 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds, and on to a top speed of 137mph.

The 1.6T's cylinder barrels are laser-etched for minimal piston friction. To withstand higher operating temperatures, the exhaust valves are filled with sodium and under-skirt piston cooling with oil jets is used. A map-based thermostat control raises the coolant temperature at low engine speeds, or under light loads, to help reduce internal lubricant friction and improve fuel consumption.

Diesel engines
All Vauxhall Astra GTC diesel engines are fitted with:
    16-valve, dual overhead camshafts
    A weight-saving aluminum cylinder head
    Threaded intake ports for exceptional 'swirl' and burn characteristics
    Oil jet cooled pistons
    A dual-mass flywheel and a maintenance-free exhaust particulate filter

Common Rail, Multiple Fuel Injection
Operating at high pressures up to 1,800 bar, this sophisticated fuel delivery system ensures extremely fine atomisation in the combustion chamber and enables up to five injection pulses per cycle to extract as much energy as possible from a given amount of fuel. The result is exceptionally low fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, as well as reduced engine noise. Multiple injection helps iron out the strong vibrations associated with compression ignition. For example, a pre-injection during the warm-up period reduces cold-start 'knock' to a barely perceptible level.

Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT)
The pitch of the vanes on the turbine wheel is continuously varied according to engine load and speed, giving an excellent throttle response, particularly during pick up from low speeds.

Improved Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
The electronically-controlled EGR system has an additional cooling function. Electro-pneumatically operated bypass flaps, controlled by the engine management system, ensure that the exhaust gas reaches a temperature suitable for combustion on its way back into the cylinder. This contributes to increased power, as well as reduced emissions.

The diesel line-up comprises:

1.7 CDTi
Available in two states of tune, providing either 110PS and 280Nm of torque, or 130PS and 300Nm. Combined cycle fuel consumption for both is 62.8mpg with standard wheel rims fitted, and each achieves 119g/km. Despite being the most frugal models in the range, the 1.7 CDTis allow the GTC to accelerate to 60mph in either 10.0 (130PS) or 11.0 seconds (110PS). In 2012, an ecoFLEX model using a version of this engine will be available in the UK with emissions of just 109g/km. Start/Stop is fitted to all 1.7 CDTi models as standard.

2.0 CDTi
The 2.0 CDTi packs 165PS with an exceptionally strong 350Nm of torque from just 1,750rpm. This helps it achieve a 0-60mph time of just 8.4 seconds and 50-70mph in 6.4 seconds, together with a combined fuel consumption of 58.9mpg and emissions of just 127g/km (18 & 19-inch wheels fitted). Vauxhall's Start/Stop system is fitted to all 2.0 CDTi models as standard.

Hydraulically-damped mountings for improved NVH performance
All powertrains are bolted in position via hydraulically-damped mountings that minimise vibration through the body structure. Adaptor plates enable the same four fixing points to be used for all applications, two on the front sub-frame and one on each longitudinal beam.

The fuel supply system uses an electric pump and filter mounted in the 56-litre fuel tank, which is located low under the rear seat for optimal weight distribution and crash impact protection.

Start/Stop reduces emissions, improves urban fuel consumption
Vauxhall's Start/Stop technology, which is available on all 1.4 Turbo, 1.7 CDTi and 2.0 CDTi engines, is highly efficient and helps to reduce emissions. As soon as the driver selects neutral, the Start/Stop system is activated and the engine unit cuts out automatically. The rev counter needle then assumes the Autostop position. When the driver wants the engine to start up again, he/she just selects first gear and departs. A powerful battery ensures that there is no delay in the engine starting up again.

For safety reasons and to ensure the comfort of passengers, the temperature and pressure functions of the brake power assist unit remain active during the Auto-Stop phase of the Start/Stop system. When necessary, for example during slow city traffic, the driver can manually de-activate the system, using the "eco" switch.

Six-speed manual gearboxes, offering a wide spread of ratios and a tall, fuel-saving top gear, are standard fit across the entire range. All gearboxes include triple cone synchronization on first and second gears for easy engagement, and a synchronized reverse gear.

A six-speed automatic gearbox is also available on 1.4 Turbo 140PS and 2.0 CDTi 165PS engines.

The all-new Vauxhall Astra GTC replaces the successful Astra Sports Hatch, and will lay down the gauntlet to VW Scirocco and Renault Megane Coupe when it appears in showrooms at the end of November 2011 with a heady mix of dynamic excellence, dramatic design and competitive pricing.

Closely based on last year's stunning GTC Paris concept, the Vauxhall Astra GTC enters the UK market - the biggest in Europe for this model - priced from just £18,495, nearly £1,350 less than the basic VW Scirocco. But even in entry-level trim, the Vauxhall Astra GTC adopts the sophisticated HiPerStrut front suspension derived from the Insignia VXR, offering precision handling and unmatched stability.

The third body style to come off the Astra's Delta platform (following the Hatch and Sports Tourer), the only exterior design elements the GTC shares with its siblings are door handles and the roof aerial - even the wheelbase and tracks are different. Brit, Mark Adams, Vauxhall's Vice President of Design, has aimed to create a car that looks like it's been plucked from the class above, with its low, wide stance and simple, yet rakish lines.
Read More

Subaru Legacy, 2013

  • Subaru Legacy, 2013
Subaru of America, Inc. introduced the 2013 Subaru Legacy. The 2013 Legacy is powered by either a 3.6-liter H6 or a new, more efficient 2.5-liter 4-cylinder powertrain and debuts revised styling as well as the new EyeSight driver-assist system. Chassis enhancements improve both ride quality and agility in the 2013 Legacy, which also offers new amenities and audio capabilities.

The 2013 Subaru Legacy features new, sportier front styling with new headlights, grille and front bumper. The changes will further enhance the appeal of the Subaru Legacy, which has sold in record numbers since its 2010 redesign. With standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, the 2013 Subaru Legacy remains the most fuel-efficient midsize all-wheel drive sedan in America. At the same time, the Legacy rewards drivers with engaging performance and a high level of driving comfort and offers outstanding safety performance. For added safety, the 2013 Legacy adds a new Brake Override system.

The 2013 Subaru Legacy remains a standout in the midsize field in terms of roominess. At 103 cu. ft., the Legacy offers more total passenger room than some of its competitors, and rear seat legroom measures a generous 37.8 inches. The 14.7 cu. ft. trunk is on par with front-wheel drive competitors, a significant achievement considering that the Symmetrical AWD system requires packaging for a rear differential and drive axles.

The Most Fuel-Efficient All-Wheel Drive Midsize Sedan with up to 32 MPG
The 2013 Legacy 2.5i models debut a new double-overhead-cam (DOHC) FB series 2.5-liter Boxer engine for increased performance and fuel efficiency. The new engine produces 173 hp and 174 lb.-ft. of torque, compared to 170 hp and 170 lb.-ft. from the previous 2.5-liter SOHC engine. More significant is that the new engine produces greater low-end torque across a broad speed range, making the 2013 Legacy 2.5i models more responsive in everyday driving.

The 2013 Legacy 2.5i offers a choice between a standard 6-speed manual transmission and the second-generation Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission); the latter is standard on the 2.5i Premium and Limited. The second-generation Lineartronic CVT offers more responsive and quieter operation compared to the transmission it replaces.

The 2013 Subaru Legacy 3.6R continues with a 256-horsepower 3.6-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine and 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. A downshift "blipping" feature adds a sporty feel when using the Legacy 3.6R steering wheel paddle shifters.

Although official EPA fuel economy figures are not yet available, Subaru projects that the 2013 Legacy 2.5i with the Lineartronic CVT will achieve 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway/27 mpg combined, compared to 23/31/26 for the 2012 model. That makes the 2013 Legacy 2.5i competitive with many midsize sedans that come only with front-wheel drive.

Unlike a conventional automatic transmission that uses fixed gear ratios, a CVT provides infinite variability between the lowest and highest available ratios with no discernable steps or shifts. The CVT continuously and smoothly adapts to performance demand, helping to keep the engine in its most efficient operating range. Models with the CVT also feature a 6-speed manual mode with steering wheel paddle shifters, which allow the driver to control the transmission via six pre-set ratios.

New EyeSight Driver-Assist System
The 2013 Subaru Legacy (and Outback®) models debut Subaru's new EyeSight™ driver-assist system, which integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and Vehicle Lane Departure Warning. Projected to be one of the most affordable such technologies available in the U.S. market, EyeSight uses a stereo camera design developed by Subaru to provide a detection angle wider than that of radar-based systems.

The EyeSight system processes stereo images to identify the vehicles traveling in front, as well as obstacles, traffic lanes and other items. Below a speed differential of approximately 19 mph, EyeSight is capable of detecting pedestrians or objects in the vehicle's path and can activate in order to mitigate or even avoid the collision. Under certain circumstances, Eyesight is able to bring the car to a complete stop.

At relative speeds above approximately 19 mph, EyeSight can apply the brakes when an object is detected, and will attempt to brake if the driver takes no evasive action, or does not brake appropriately, to help mitigate collision damage.

The Lane Departure and Sway Warning feature can detect if the car begins to wander outside the intended lane without a turn signal being used, or if the car begins to sway within the travel lane. Intended for freeway use, Eyesight's Adaptive Cruise Control system can maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, braking and/or accelerating the car as needed to maintain the driver-selected target speed and traveling distance. Adaptive Cruise Control is operational from 1-87 mph and can fully brake the vehicle to a stop if the system "locks on" to a vehicle ahead. As an added convenience, Adaptive Cruise Control assists the driver in heavy "stop and go" freeway traffic by maintaining distance from the vehicle ahead.

In heavy traffic conditions, EyeSight will also alert the driver when the vehicle ahead has moved if he or she doesn't react within several seconds. The technology can also help reduce collision damages by cutting the throttle when it senses an obstacle in front, but the accelerator pedal continues to be pushed.

Retuned Suspension Enhances Agility and Ride Quality
Numerous enhancements to the body structure, suspension and steering give the Legacy a smoother and quieter ride for 2013, while also delivering improved handling agility. Greater stiffness at key points of the structure, including the front strut mounts and rear frame rails, helps reduce the transmission of vibration while also contributing to more responsive handling.

In tandem with the structural enhancements, Subaru has increased the diameter of the double-wishbone rear suspension's sway bar and also increased the spring and damper rates and bushing stiffness. As a result, body roll has been reduced by up to 40 percent. The Legacy driver will experience a more responsive, yet quieter vehicle overall.

Increased Interior Comfort and Convenience
New seat fabric enhances comfort in the 2013 Legacy, while dark, glossy wood grain trim provides a luxurious appearance on Limited models. Limited trim level models for 2013 feature a new rear-seat A/C outlet.

With the Keyless Access & Start system, the driver can unlock the car by touching the door handle while carrying the remote control in a pocket or purse. (The trunk also has an unlock touch sensor.) A start/stop switch operates the ignition. A new electro-luminescent instrument cluster in the Limited models integrates a 3.5-inch color screen for the multi-information display, which also shows EyeSight functions when the car is so equipped.

Three Trim Levels
The 2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i is available in three trim levels - base, Premium and Limited. The Legacy 3.6R is available in base and Limited. The base 2.5i features a long roster of standard features, among them Bluetooth® hands-free phone and streaming audio, a USB charging port, steering wheel cruise control and audio switches; a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, electronic parking brake with Hill Holder System and an automatic headlight function. The electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver applies the throttle to pull away from a stop.

Legacy Premium models add the Lineartronic CVT plus additional amenities, including a 10-way power driver's seat (with power lumbar support adjustment) and driver's auto up/down window; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter; instrument panel storage bin with door; ambient light for the overhead console, body-colored side mirrors and 17-in. alloy wheels (all 3.6R trim lines have 17-in. alloy wheels as standard).

The 2013 Subaru Legacy Premium models offer three option packages: (1) The All-Weather Package adds heated front seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer; (2) power moonroof, and (3) The harman/kardon® display-type premium audio system with standard XM® Satellite Radio service (now with a 4-month free trial subscription included), a 4.3-in. color display, and 440-watt high-performance audio amplifier and 9 harman/kardon premium speakers, with subwoofer.

The Limited models feature perforated leather upholstery, dual zone automatic climate control, the display-type harman/kardon premium audio package, rear A/C duct, electro-luminescent gauges, and a 4-way power front passenger seat. The Limited models also exclusively offer an available voice-activated GPS navigation system with a rear vision camera and XM® NavTraffic (now with a 4-month free trial subscription included), among other features. (See "Updated Audio Technology" section, below.)

Updated Audio Technology
The standard audio system in the Legacy 2.5i model is upgraded for 2013. New features include Bluetooth hands-free phone capability and audio streaming, iPod® control capability and a USB port. The system continues with an AM/FM stereo, single disc CD player, Radio Data Broadcast System (RDBS), 3.5mm aux. input jack and 4 speakers. The Premium trim level adds a pair of dash-mounted tweeters.

The top-level Legacy Limited models exclusively offer an optional new navigation system that includes all of the features in the harman/kardon audio package plus: touch-screen GPS navigation system with 7.0-inch LCD display; voice activated controls and navigation; XM NavTraffic (subscription required); rear vision camera, and an SD card slot for convenient navigation map updates.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive: Three Different Types
Subaru offers three different Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive systems in the 2013 Legacy line, each tailored to the type of transmission. In Subaru Legacy 2.5i models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, the Continuous AWD system uses a viscous-coupling locking center differential to distribute power a nominal 50/50 front to rear. Slippage at either the front or rear wheels will cause the system to send more power to the opposite wheels. Legacy 2.5i models equipped with the Lineartronic CVT use Active Torque Split AWD. An electronically managed continuously variable transfer clutch actively controls power distribution in response to driving conditions and wheel slippage.

The 2013 Legacy 3.6R exclusively features the Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) AWD system with a 5-speed electronic automatic transmission. A planetary center differential works with an electronically controlled continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch to manage power distribution. The VTD system normally sends more power to the rear wheels (45:55) to enhance handling agility, and it can continuously adjust power distribution in response to driving and road conditions.

Subaru Safety
The Subaru Ring-Shaped Frame Reinforcement body structure has been proven for occupant protection in more than a decade of use. Inside, the Subaru Legacy features standard front side pelvis/torso airbags and side curtain airbags that offer front and rear outboard seat coverage.

Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) combines stability and traction control functions, and traction control works to augment the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive functionality. The 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) integrates Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and the Brake Assist safety system that automatically applies maximum braking pressure in an emergency stop.

The electronic Hill Holder System holds the vehicle in place until the driver presses the accelerator pedal to pull away from a stop. New for 2013, a Brake Override system ensures that engine power will be cut when both the brake and accelerator are pressed simultaneously.

Subaru produces a full line of all-wheel drive sedans, crossovers and SUVs, and for 2013 has also introduced the rear-wheel drive BRZ sports car to its portfolio.

The Legacy 2.5GT model is discontinued for 2013.
Read More

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SsangYong e-XIV Concept, 2012

  • SsangYong e-XIV Concept, 2012

Building on its previously seen XIV and KEV design concepts, SsangYong Motor Company showcases its latest evolution, the SsangYong e-XIV Concept (electric - eXciting user Interface Vehicle) 'range extender' EV at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.

SsangYong displayed its XIV 1 B segment CUV (crossover utility vehicle) concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011, and the XIV 2 Coupé at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012. Now it is integrating its eco-friendly EV technology seen in its two pure EV concepts - the KEV1 and KEV2, and equipping the e-XIV with a small 1 litre petrol engine to give the car real range extender capability for longer journeys.

A distinguishing feature of the SsangYong e-XIV is its glass roof. This includes an integrated 12 solar cell panel for generating solar power to operate the car's auxiliary systems, while also providing greater light, enhanced spatial comfort to the cabin and improved visibility.

Research has shown that worldwide the average daily driving distance is less than 80km, and in EV mode, e-XIV will prove invaluable for daily commuting. But for those who need to drive further, the car's range extender capability gives it a range of up to 600km.

Styling concept
SsangYong e-XIV is based on the XIV 2 CUV Coupé. It is a dynamic EV concept model with the emphasis on efficient energy use through its range extender system.

The styling of e-XIV as an environmentally-friendly vehicle running on electricity and supplemented by alternative energy, has been built using SsangYong's design language to create future products that embrace its development philosophy of 'Robust, Specialty, Premium.'

SsangYong e-XIV pursues crossover design through the combination of the SUV styling of a sports coupé that is suitable both for active driving in the country and short distance motoring around the city.

The Exterior
SsangYong's visual approach of 'Robust Aesthetics' manifests itself in the XIV concept series through the key design elements of 'Inner Dynamic' & 'Subtle Tension' to communicate that inner strength is built on detail and emotional tension.

With its rich side body volume and simple, modern lights, SsangYong e-XIV looks dynamic and progressive, presenting a contemporary look to appeal to younger drivers.

Functional features of the e-XIV are finished in a simple, sleek style, while the high-tech solar cell panel applied to the glass roof maximises the emotional connection of driving in the open while enjoying the thought that 'free' solar power is being harvested.

In addition, the tyres developed exclusively for the driving efficiency of an EV, afford both comfort and safety thanks to the tyre tread design which improves grip while reducing friction.

Inside there is a four-bucket-seat configuration to provide comfort and privacy for each passenger. Each seat can be positioned to create a variety of seating combinations and a choice in space utilisation.

The interior structure evokes the sporty style of a crossover, and blends a mix of styling cues and materials including carbon fibre. The instrument cluster communicates with the driver using dynamic graphics, and enables active communication between car and driver by displaying necessary information on the centre facia in real time.

The SsangYong e-XIV also combines the 'Auto User Interface' concept of XIV1 and XIV2 to offer a new direction for the car as a moving communication space by combining the latest IT developments for both automotive and personal smart devices.

Solar-powered smart interactive system
The SsangYong e-XIV's glass roof solar panel converts solar energy to electric power and operates interior equipment such as the air conditioning, audio system and internal lighting. Drivers can also select their preferred method of driving by activating the car's VCU (Vehicle Control Unit) via a smart phone or a remote control.

Range extender electric vehicle
The SsangYong e-XIV uses an 80-kW Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM), giving a range of 80km by taking power from the 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. Four hours are required for charging a fully discharged battery, and 20 minutes for quick recharging.

The car also features a range extending system comprising a two-cylinder 1,000cc petrol engine and a 20-kW generator. Once the 80km distance has been achieved, the petrol engine supplies additional power via the generator to extend the range up to 600km, emitting just 45g/km of CO2.

Keen to position itself as a responsible, environmentally aware global company, SsangYong Motor Company is striving to place itself at the forefront of eco-friendly vehicle design and manufacture. This will be achieved through the constant improvement of its high-efficiency internal combustion engines and the development of pure electric vehicles such as the KEV, and e-XIV range extender concept.
Read More

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, 2012

  •  Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, 2012

AMG is presenting a new dream-car: the 2012MY Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster. This super sports car thrills with a perfect combination of open-top driving pleasure, outstanding driving dynamics and sophisticated lightweight construction. The 2012 SLS AMG Roadster will make its U.S. debut in Fall 2011.

The technological highlights of the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster include an aluminum spaceframe body, an AMG 6.3-liter V8 front-mid engine with dry sump lubrication developing a peak output of 563 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque, a seven-speed dual clutch transaxle transmission and a sports suspension with aluminum double wishbones - all of which will raise the pulse of sports car enthusiasts while providing outstanding driving dynamics and driving pleasure.

The compact fabric soft top of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster opens and closes in just eleven seconds, and can be operated on the move at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h). The new Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension with electronically controlled damping is available as an attractive optional extra. It enables the damping characteristics to be modified at the touch of a button. Using the AMG DRIVE UNIT, the driver of the SLS AMG Roadster is therefore able to choose his own suspension setup. Three modes are available: "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus".

Pure roadster design with perfect proportions
The new Roadster adds a second exciting dream-car to the SLS AMG family. Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz, Gorden Wagener: "As in the gullwing model, the pure, athletic design immediately catches the eye. Whether with the roof open or closed, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is an impressive visual delight!" The perfect proportions are particularly memorable: a long hood, the greenhouse positioned well to the rear and a short rear end. Plus the automatically extending rear wing, long wheelbase, wide track and short overhangs - in short, the convertible SLS AMG exudes effortless performance and an authentic charisma. The pronounced shoulder sections are reminiscent of tensed muscles, and suggest sheer power in combination with the large wheels - 265/35 ZR 19 (front) and 295/30 ZR 20 (rear). The attractive AMG Sepang brown metallic paint finish and weight-optimized forged wheels in a 10-spoke design, painted in matte black with a high-sheen rim flange, are available as new optional extras.

Features reminiscent of the 300 SL Roadster, the classic dream-car from the 1950s, include not only the wide radiator grille with its large Mercedes star and the wing-shaped cross-fin, but also the fins on the hood and on the vehicle sides. Like the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, the 300 SL Roadster appeared slightly later than the original gullwing 300 SL, but unlike the SL's both AMG dream cars are available at the same time.

Interior atmosphere like an aircraft cockpit
The interior continues the breathtaking design idiom of the exterior, and awakens associations with an aircraft cockpit: prominent features include the dashboard in the shape of a wing and the air vents with adjustable, cruciform nozzles reminiscent of jet engines. The extended center console of matte, solid metal and the new E-SELECT lever in the shape of an aircraft's thrust control are also design features adopted from the world of aviation. Another discreet, fine detail is the embossed AMG emblem on the leather-lined selector lever.

The AMG DRIVE UNIT - which like numerous other interior features is available in genuine carbon-fiber - is the central control unit in the center console: it allows the driver to choose a personal vehicle setup, including adjustment of the optional Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension. The AMG Performance steering wheel with its high-grade premium leather lining and flattened bottom rim section provides perfect vehicle control. The shift paddles and lower steering wheel bezel are made of solid metal.

Fully automatic, weight-optimized soft top
The sensual experience in the 2012MY SLS AMG Roadster is further enhanced when the soft top is open, and the powerful, naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine with 563 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque asserts itself and makes the heart beat faster with its distinctive AMG eight-cylinder sound. The fabric soft top can be opened and closed while on the move at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h); the fully automatic opening/closing process takes only eleven seconds. The driver only needs to operate the roof control unit conveniently integrated at the front of the center armrest. When open, the soft top is space-savingly retracted behind the seats in a folded Z-configuration. Three soft top colors - black, red and beige - are available to suit the nine exterior and eight interior colors.

The three-layered fabric soft top is a weight-optimized magnesium/steel/aluminum construction, and contributes greatly to the car's low center of gravity. The soft top has a seamlessly bonded rear window of heated singlelayer safety glass. The flush, gap-free transition between the outer roof skin and the rear window keeps wind noise low. A continuous, flexible water pocket running under the soft top catches rainwater and directs it to the underbody via two apertures on each side. The trunk capacity is 6.1 cubic feet with the roof either open or closed, and therefore roughly equal to that of the SLS AMG Coupé (6.2 cubic feet).

Outstanding material quality and finish
The finest leather, matte-finished solid metal or optional, genuine carbon-fiber trim create an exclusive ambience and correspond with the authentic feel of the cockpit. Precisely executed decorative and contrasting stitching enhances the visual impression, heightens the hand-crafted look and reflects the attention to detail which is the hallmark of Mercedes design.

The standard appointments of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster include black designo leather, heated AMG sports seats, a detachable glass windstop, COMAND with Navigation and DVD player, anti-theft alarm system with tow-away protection and interior monitoring, dual-zone automatic climate control and the KEYLESSGO starting function. The standard AIRSCARF® system exclusive to Mercedes-Benz acts like an invisible scarf warming the head and neck areas of the occupants. It is integrated into the backrests of the AMG sports seats, and blows warm air from vents in the head restraints. The airflow can be adapted for different occupant sizes by means of adjustable louvers, and the level of warmth can be selected in three stages at the touch of a button.

Leather-lined roll-over bars with integrated mesh in a "Silver Shadow" look are available in conjunction with designo Exclusive leather to reduce turbulence in the cockpit. Ambient lighting is integrated into the electrically folding exterior mirrors.

Single-tone or two-tone designo leather in espresso brown is available as a new interior color - this dark shade of brown perfectly matches the new metallic paint finish AMG Sepang brown.

AMG Performance Media and Bang & Olufsen as optional highlights
In addition to the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG surround sound system, another optional entertainment highlight is the AMG Performance Media. In an unprecedented way, this racing-inspired system combines numerous telemetric displays such as engine data, lateral and linear acceleration and lap times on a racetrack. AMG Performance Media is activated by pressing the AMG key in the AMG DRIVE UNIT, and operated using the COMAND Controller. Key functions at a glance:
  •     Real-time display of engine oil, coolant and transmission fluid temperature
  •     Real-time display of engine output, torque and accelerator position
  •     Real-time display of individual tire pressures
  •     Real-time display of acceleration time from 0-60 mph or 0-100 km/h (alternatively: quarter-mile)
  •     Real-time display of lateral and linear acceleration combined with braking performance and accelerator position, including memory function
  •     Recording of individual lap times on a closed racetrack, with sector times and memory function
  •     Integration of DRIVE UNIT functions to save setup data to memory and initiate RACE START

The different functions of AMG Performance Media are shown by the color display integrated into the dashboard. Three displays are shown at any one time, with the most important information positioned in the center. Digitally simulated dial instruments with red needles ensure outstanding legibility.

Specifically reinforced aluminum spaceframe, low curb weight
In addition to maximum comfort, the key factor for driving pleasure in the new SLS AMG Roadster is the outstanding performance. The basis for this is the innovative body design: the chassis and body are made of aluminum, a design combining intelligent lightweight construction with high strength. With a curb weight of 3,661 pounds (estimated), the Roadster is only 88 pounds heavier than the Coupé. The result is a remarkable power-to-weight ratio of 6.5 pounds per hp.

To achieve the same level of driving dynamics - without a fixed roof, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster incorporates several features specifically designed to strengthen the bodyshell, including side skirts with greater wall thicknesses and additional chambers. The dashboard cross-member is supported against the windshield frame and center tunnel by additional struts, and a curved strut between the soft top and the tank reinforces the rear axle. The lack of a roof and gullwing doors means that the open-top SLS AMG has a reinforcing crossmember behind the seats to support the fixed roll-over protection system. This also accommodates the 250 watt subwoofer of the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end sound system.

All this prevents unwanted vibrations right from the start, and makes it unnecessary to use the additional, weight-increasing vibration dampers that are often found in open-top sports cars. The weight-optimized aluminum spaceframe weighs 536 pounds, tipping the scales at just 4.5 pounds more than the gullwing model.

Intelligent material mix and low center of gravity
50 percent of the intelligently designed, weight-optimized aluminum spaceframe is made of aluminum sections, 26 percent of sheet aluminum, 18 percent of cast aluminum and 6 percent of steel. Maximum occupant safety requires the use of ultra-high-strength, heat-formed steel in the A-pillars.

The entire vehicle has been designed to achieve the lowest possible center of gravity. This applies both to the low connection points of the powertrain and axles, as well as to the arrangement of the rigid bodyshell structure, which has been kept as low as possible. Examples include the rigid flexural and torsional connections between the front and rear section and the passenger safety cell, which have been designed to use force paths that are as low as possible.

Passive safety
The aluminum spaceframe provides the basis for outstanding passive safety. The extensive safety features include the fixed roll-over protection system, three-point seat belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters, and eight airbags: adaptive front airbags and kneebags, two seat-integrated sidebags and two windowbags deploying from the door beltlines.

The standard Blind Spot Assist helps the driver with a visual warning symbol and acoustic alert if the danger of a collision with another vehicle is detected when changing lanes.

Powerful AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine with 563 hp
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster has the same, muscular engine as the gullwing model. The 6.3-litre V8 with a peak output of 563 hp at 6,800 rpm makes the open-top SLS one of the most powerful sports cars in its segment. Its power-to-weight ratio is 6.5 pounds per hp. This naturally aspirated engine generates its maximum torque of 479 pound-feet at 4,750 rpm. The convertible SLS AMG accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds (0-100 km/h in 3.8 s), and the top speed is 197 mph / 317 km/h (electronically limited) - which means that the Roadster has almost identical performance to the gullwing.

The high-revving 6.3-liter V8 engine has the typical characteristics of powerful racing engines. It responds immediately and effortlessly to accelerator movements. The use of a dry sump lubrication system allows for a considerably lower installation in the vehicle, yielding a lower center of gravity for high lateral acceleration and thrilling driving dynamics.

Achievement of demanding fuel consumption targets
Despite its uncompromisingly athletic character, fuel consumption has also been addressed. The SLS AMG consumes 13.2 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 308 grams per kilometre. Efficiency enhancements include the familiar AMG-exclusive, friction-optimized twin-wire arc-sprayed coating on the cylinder walls as well as the on-demand, map-optimized oil supply and intelligent generator management: during the engine's overrun phases, kinetic energy is used to charge the battery rather than wasted by simply generating heat. Conversely, the generator is switched to no-load operation during acceleration, thus reducing the load on the engine. Sophisticated catalytic converter technology enables current and future emission standards such as Euro-5, LEV 2 and ULEV to be met.

Rev-matching transmission with transaxle configuration and torque tube
The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine delivers its abundant power to the rear transaxle via an ultra-light carbon-fiber driveshaft - similar to the setup used in the DTM C-Class racing touring car. The rev-matching transmission is mounted at the rear (transaxle), and connected to the engine housing via a torque tube. A carbon-fiber shaft rotates at engine speed in the torque tube. The advantages of this sophisticated solution lie in the rigid link between the engine and transmission and, in turn, the optimum support for the forces and torque generated.

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission boasts fast gear changes with no loss of tractive force - in as little as 100 milliseconds. The driver has a choice of four different driving modes: "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) or "M" (Manual). In the Sport, Sport plus and Manual modes the automatic rev-matching function is active; all the modes can be selected conveniently via the rotary control knob on the AMG DRIVE UNIT. The RACE START function provides optimum traction for full power launches from a dead stop -- as does the mechanical differential lock, which is integrated into the compact transmission housing.

Sophisticated suspension layout with double-wishbone axles
The front-mid-engine plus transaxle configuration provides an ideal front/rear weight distribution of 47 to 53 percent. Mounting the engine behind the front axle has created ideal driving dynamics with precise steering, first-class agility, low inertia for spontaneous directional changes and outstanding traction. All four wheels are located on double wishbones with a track rod, a technology that has proven itself in motor racing right through to Formula 1. With a double-wishbone axle, the wheel location and suspension functions remain separate; the spring/damper struts are supported on the lower wishbone. The double-wishbone setup with its high camber and track rigidity positively locates the wheel with minimal elastic movements, providing the driver with an optimum sense of road contact when driving at the limits.

Wishbones, steering knuckles and hub carriers at the front and rear are made entirely from forged aluminum - substantially reducing the unsprung masses; this configuration also notably improves the suspension response. The long wheelbase of 105.5 inches not only results in outstanding straight-line stability but also low wheel load shifts, significantly reducing the vehicle's tendency to dive and squat when braking and accelerating. The broad track width - front 66.2 inches, rear 65.1 inches - provides lower shifts in the wheel loads from the inner to the outer wheel when cornering, enabling the tires to retain more grip.

New Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension
The new Adaptive AMG Sport Suspension with electronically controlled damping is available as an attractive optional alternative to the standard AMG sports suspension. It enables the damping characteristics to be modified at the touch of a button. Using a button on the AMG DRIVE UNIT, the driver can choose his own suspension setup. Three modes are available: "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus". The current mode is shown in the instrument cluster.

"Comfort" delivers a sensitive response with soft damping characteristics, while in "Sport" mode the shock absorbers have a much stiffer response depending on the driving situation. This not only leads to better road contact, but also effectively suppresses body roll and pitching. "Sport plus" is ideal for challenging laps on a racetrack: in addition to the higher damping force, this mode comes with specific control algorithms that have been tailor-made for a sporty driving style. The new, variable suspension will also be optionally available for the SLS AMG Coupé in future.

Direct steering, differential lock and 3-stage ESP
The rack-and-pinion steering gear provides a consistently direct steering feel with a constant mechanical ratio of 13.6:1, in tune with the high expectations placed on a super sports car. The power steering provides speed-sensitive assistance and improves feedback for the driver as speed increases, valuable during high-speed straight-line driving. Mounting the steering gear in front of the engine on the integral subframe enables the engine to be set down very low. The SLS AMG comes with 3-stage ESP as standard, providing the driver with access to the three "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" modes at the touch of a button. In "ESP OFF" mode, operating the brake pedal restores all the normal ESP functions.

The acceleration skid control (ASR) system's traction logic is active in all three ESP modes. If one of the drive wheels starts to spin, specific brake pressure is applied to improve traction significantly - especially in conjunction with the standard-fit mechanical multi-disc limited-slip differential. This means that the engine power is transferred to the road more effectively during aggressive driving.

Optional AMG ceramic high-performance two-piece braking system
The AMG high-performance braking system with two-piece brake discs at the front provides extremely short stopping distances even under enormous loads. Red-painted brake calipers at all four corners are available as an option. The optional ceramic two-piece brakes with even larger discs provide even better braking performance. The ceramic brake discs perform at even higher operating temperatures thanks to their greater hardness, all combined with an impressive weight reduction of around 40 percent. Reducing the unsprung masses has further improved both comfort and grip, and the reduced rotating masses at the front axle provide a more direct steering response.

Lightweight construction was also key when it came to the wheels: AMG light-alloy wheels based on the innovative flow-forming principle reduce the unsprung masses while improving driving dynamics and suspension comfort. In addition to the standard AMG twin 5-spoke light-alloy wheels, there is a 7-spoke wheel that's available as a no cost option. Weight-optimized 10-spoke forged wheels are available as an option. 265/35 R 19 (front) and 295/30 R 20 (rear) tires developed exclusively for the SLS AMG provide optimum performance. A tire pressure monitoring system is fitted as standard to permanently monitor tire pressure in all four wheels, with an individual display for each tire.

Production in Sindelfingen, market launch in Fall 2011
The convertible super sports car will be produced at the largest Mercedes-Benz production plant in Sindelfingen. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine comes directly from the AMG engine workshop in Affalterbach, where it is hand-assembled according to the traditional "One man, one engine" philosophy.

The selling price in Germany is €195,160 (incl. 19% VAT). The 2012 SLS AMG Roadster make its U.S. debut in Fall 2011.
Read More