Saturday, March 30, 2013

BMW M6 Convertible, 2013

  •  BMW M6 Convertible, 2013

Out of a passion for elite performance and an appreciation of exclusive style comes the allure for which M Automobiles are renowned - and which can now be experienced in two new forms. The new BMW M6 Coupe and BMW M6 Convertible offer top-class performance attributes and an ambience defined by luxury and innovative comfort features. In so doing, the high-performance sports cars developed by BMW M GmbH exude a level of poise and assurance unmatched in the premium segment of the executive class - and reflected authentically in the expressive design of the two models. The precise interplay of their high-revving V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology and 412 kW/560 hp, a seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic, Active M Differential, model-specific chassis technology, an ideal weight balance and optimised aerodynamic properties serves up a particularly full-blooded M experience.

The conceptual harmony characteristic of M Automobiles also incorporates the specific features of the two models' body structures. The new BMW M6 Coupe has a dynamically contoured, lightweight roof made from carbon fibre- reinforced plastic. The new BMW M6 Convertible, meanwhile, is fitted with a high-quality soft-top, complete with eye-catching "fin" styling and fully automatic opening mechanism. All of which allows the driver and passengers to enjoy the dynamic performance of a high-performance sports car in harmony with the natural forces of the sun and wind.

The motor sport technology in the new BMW M6 Coupe and BMW M6 Convertible paves the way for imposing performance on the race track, but also treats the driver to a captivating driving experience on everyday journeys from A to B. The BMW M6 Coupe sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.2 seconds, the BMW M6 Convertible in 4.3 seconds. However, the dynamic character of both models is also defined by their mid-range agility, the precision of their turn-in and traction when accelerating out of corners, their precisely controllable handling under intense lateral forces and their stopping capability. The latest innovation designed to optimise the handling of the new BMW M6 Coupe and the new BMW M6 Convertible in highly dynamic driving situations are the M carbon-ceramic brakes, offered as an option for the first time.

Another attribute unmatched by any rival is the leap forward in efficiency that comes with the new editions of the two high-performance sports cars. The new BMW M6 Coupe records average fuel consumption of 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres (28.5 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 232 grams per kilometre in the EU test cycle. The equivalent values for the new BMW M6 Convertible are 10.3 l/100 km (27.4 mpg imp) and 239 g/km. Despite a 10 per cent increase in engine output and a 30 per cent jump in peak torque - to 680 Newton metres (502 lb-ft) - fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been reduced by over 30 per cent in both cases compared with their respective predecessors.

Design: athletic aura, powerfully taut surfaces, elegant lines.
Classical proportions, the sporty yet elegant lines of the BMW 6-Series and the familiar design language of BMW M Automobiles form the foundations for the eloquent body design of the BMW M6 Coupe and BMW M6 Convertible. Powerfully taut surfaces and precise contours underline the athletic aura of the two models, while standard-fitted Adaptive LED Headlights accentuate their progressive character. In addition, hallmark M styling cues add details which are influenced directly by technical considerations - such as the cooling air required, chassis geometry and aerodynamics - and thus further highlight the cars' outstanding performance attributes.

Both models are fitted with 19-inch M light-alloy wheels as standard. The forged wheels feature seven double-spokes in a two-tone finish, while the optional 20-inch M light-alloy wheels hint at reduced weight with their five intricate double-spokes.

Dynamic contours, lightweight material: the carbon fibre-reinforced plastic roof of the BMW M6 Coupe.

Like its predecessor, the roof of the new BMW M6 Coupe is made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic as standard. The dark colouring of the roof gives the two-door car's silhouette an extremely elongated look, which is further emphasised by a dynamic recess in the centre of the roof. The use of the lightweight material for the roof allows the car's centre of gravity to be lowered, enhancing agility. BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim (standard) draws attention to this optimised weight balance, its dark colouring covering the side window borders (or the waistline in the case of the BMW M6 Convertible) and the base and lower section of the aerodynamically optimised M exterior mirror caps.

The exclusive looks of the new BMW 6-Series Convertible are underlined by the "fin" architecture of the high-quality soft-top roof. Projecting into the rear section, the fins accentuate the car's dynamically sweeping silhouette. The heated, vertical glass rear window, which is situated just behind the rear seats, retracts independently of the soft-top itself. The automatic opening and closing process for the roof can be activated both at a standstill and while on the move at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph) using a button on the centre console. The optional Comfort Access allows the roof to be opened or closed by pressing the remote control button on the car key. It takes the roof 19 seconds to open and 24 seconds to close again.

The engine: high-revving V8 with M TwinPower Turbo technology.
The new BMW M6 Coupe and Convertible showcase their individual style with a raft of unique styling touches and tweaks to the character of the driving experience. But they draw the output required to serve up their inspirational performance from the same source: a high-revving V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology, longitudinally mounted at the front of the car, whose power is channelled to the rear wheels via a seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic. This powertrain combines construction features taken directly from motor sport with innovations developed under the banner of Efficient Dynamics. Its globally unparalleled package of technology comprises two turbochargers working according to the twin-scroll principle, a cross-bank exhaust manifold, High Precision Direct Petrol Injection, VALVETRONIC variable valve timing and Double-Vanos continuously variable camshaft control.

The unmistakable, typically M performance characteristics of the 4.4-litre powerplant are defined by its lightning-quick responses and forceful, linear power delivery maintained into the higher reaches of the rev range. Indeed, peak torque of 680 Newton metres (502 lb-ft) is on tap between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm. The V8 achieves its maximum output of 412 kW/560 hp between 6,000 and 7,000 rpm and can spin on to 7,200 rpm. All of which means the rev band available in the new models to generate maximum performance is almost three times wider than that of the engine powering their predecessors.

Harnessing the high output to dynamic effect: the seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic.

Tuned seamlessly to the performance characteristics of the V8 engine, the M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic converts the powerplant's impressive thrust extremely effectively into rapid acceleration. This capability is underpinned by the DCT design principle, which effectively combines two gearboxes in one housing - yet with virtually no size or weight penalty over a conventional manual transmission.

M DCT Drivelogic offers the driver three different shift programs, both in automated mode (D) and in manual mode (S). In addition, the electronics also provide a Launch Control function ensuring unbeatable acceleration from a standing start, Low Speed Assistance for easier low-speed operation, and the Auto Start-Stop function for increased efficiency. The new BMW M6 Coupe and the new BMW M6 Convertible are equipped as standard with a newly developed M leather steering wheel, complete with multifunction buttons and fixed gearshift paddles.

Active M Differential delivers outstanding traction in dynamic driving situations.
The new BMW M6 Coupe and new BMW M6 Convertible also impress by offering optimum traction in tricky road and weather conditions and under dynamic acceleration out of corners. Working behind the scenes to this end is an innovative variable locking differential in the rear differential.

The Active M Differential allows the engine's power to be split precisely and quickly between the left and right rear wheel according to the requirements of the driving situation at any particular moment. An electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential helps to reduce the rotational speed differences between the rear wheels, which is needed to optimise traction. The Active M Differential control unit is linked up to the DSC stability control system, allowing every driving situation to be precisely analysed and a loss of traction at one wheel to be detected at an early stage. The locking effect generated in response can be varied between 0 and 100 per cent.

M-specific chassis technology, Dynamic Damper Control, M Servotronic, DSC with M Dynamic Mode.

The chassis of the new BMW M6 Coupe and new BMW M6 Convertible has been developed to M specification and therefore combines outstanding performance attributes with the comfort-enhancing features drivers appreciate on an everyday basis. Like the integral rear axle, whose subframes are bolted rigidly to the body, the double-wishbone front axle boasts specific kinematics and newly developed components made from forged aluminium. Chassis mountings using large panels at the front and rear axle ensure dynamic forces are passed evenly through to the body. Through enthusiastically driven corners, this helps to noticeably reduce the roll movements triggered by bumps in the road surface. Both the construction of the chassis and its bespoke tuning for each model are defined by in-depth expertise from the race track and have been optimised during extensive testing on the Nürburgring'sNordschleife circuit.

The standard equipment of both models also includes electronically controlled dampers. The M-specific Dynamic Damper Control system adjusts damping force electrohydraulically to provide the required responses for the driving situation at hand and fulfil the wishes of the driver. A choice of three settings allows drivers to adjust the damper characteristics to their needs and preferences.

The hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering ensures unbeatable precision and a high degree of comfort. This system has a variable ratio, which enhances straightline stability and reduces the number of steering wheel turns required when parking and turning off a road. The likewise standard Servotronic speedsensitive power assistance is specially tuned to M specification and enables drivers to choose a personal configuration with the help of three set-up options.

In addition to applying brake impulses and reducing engine output to stabilise the car, the DSC stability control system of the two high-performance sports cars also employs the services of the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Brake Assistant, the Brake Drying function and Start-Off Assistant. M Dynamic Mode (MDM) can be activated to override the basic setting by pressing the DSC button. By raising the intervention thresholds of DSC, this mode makes it easier to move off on snow or loose sand with slightly spinning driven wheels. MDM mode also paves the way for the familiar M self-steering response. "DSC Off" mode can likewise be activated at the touch of a button.

An innovation designed to deliver precise handling: M carbon-ceramic brakes.
The latest version of the compound high-performance braking system helps give the new BMW M6 Coupe and new BMW M6 Convertible outstanding stopping power. Its stand-out features include even lower weight, excellent feel and fade-free performance even under heavy loads. The diameter of the inner-vented and perforated brake discs is 400 millimetres at the front and 396 millimetres at the rear. The six-piston fixed-calliper brakes at the front axle - painted dark blue metallic and complete with the M logo - are radially bolted to the pivot bearing.

As an alternative to the standard compound high-performance braking system, M carbon-ceramic brakes make their debut in the new BMW M6 Coupe and new BMW M6 Convertible. They are available in conjunction with 20-inch M light-alloy wheels and feature brake discs measuring 410 millimetres in diameter at the front axle and 396 millimetres at the rear. Made from a new type of carbon-fibre compound ceramic, the discs boast even greater resistance to heat and combine this with significantly reduced rotating masses. The innovative material also displays exceptional resistance to wear.

The optional M carbon-ceramic system also sees six-piston fixed-calliper brakes at the front teaming up with single-piston floating-calliper brakes at the rear. The callipers can be identified by their special gold-coloured paint finish.

Lightweight design, seamless occupant protection.
An intelligent blend of materials also gives the body structure impressive strength coupled with extremely low weight. As with the use of CFRP for the roof of the new BMW M6 Coupe, the choice of materials for all other body components slots into the all-round lightweight design strategy. The doors and bonnet of the two high-performance sports cars are made from aluminium, the front side panels from thermoplastic. In addition, their boot lids and - in the case of the BMW M6 Convertible - also the roof cover are made from the glass-fibre composite material SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound).

A weight-to-power ratio of 3.3 kg/hp for the new BMW M6 Coupe and 3.5 kg/hp for the new BMW M6 Convertible is a significant improvement over the predecessor models.

Robust load-path structures, large and precisely defined deformation zones and highly efficient restraint systems provide the basis for a high level of passive safety in both models. The safety equipment fitted as standard includes front and side airbags, side curtain head airbags for both rows of seats in the new BMW M6 Coupe, and front airbags and head-thorax side airbags integrated into the seat frames of the new BMW M6 Convertible. The soft-top model also benefits from roll-over bars made from high-strength aluminium. Both models also come with three-point inertia-reel seat belts on all seats, belt force limiters and belt tensioners for the front seats and ISOFIX child seat attachments in the rear.

The two high-performance models are designed as four-seaters, and space in the rear compartment has increased substantially compared with the predecessor models. The load capacity of the new BMW M6 Coupe stands at 460 litres. The new BMW M6 Convertible, meanwhile, can accommodate 300 litres of luggage in the boot with the soft-top down and 350 litres with it closed.

Individual set-up configuration, two M Drive buttons on the steering wheel.
Also contributing to the familiar M feeling is the model-specific interior design whose stand-out features include newly developed M sports seats and an M-specific cockpit, along with buttons to adjust the DSC mode, engine performance characteristics, damper mapping, M Servotronic responses and shift program. Individually configured settings can be saved by means of two M Drive buttons on the steering wheel and called up as required.

The BMW Head Up-Display with M-specific information along with an extensive range of other driver assistance systems from BMW ConnectedDrive, such as Park Distance Control, rear-view camera, High Beam Assistant, Speed Limit Info, Lane Change Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Surround View and BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition. The choice of equipment options also includes M multifunction seats, the navigation system Professional and the Bang & Olufsen High End Surround Sound System.

Technical Specification
    0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 4.3 seconds
    0-200 km/h (0-124 mph): 13.1 seconds
    Top speed: 250 km/h (155 mph) or 305 km/h (189 mph) with M Driver's Package
    Average fuel consumption: 10.3 l/100 km (27.4 mpg imp)
    CO2 emissions: 239 g/km
    Exhaust standard: EU5
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Friday, March 29, 2013

Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2013

  •  Volvo V40 Cross Country, 2013

Volvo Car Corporation paved the way for a totally new segment with the V70 Cross Country already in 1997. Now, 15 years later, the new Volvo V40 Cross Country brings the unique blend of capable ruggedness and expressive elegance up to a new altitude by establishing a Cross Country in the Premium C-segment.

Capable all-roader
When the Volvo XC-models happily flex their muscles, the Volvo V40 Cross Country boasts a sleek ruggedness with its unique features integrated in the stylish design.

The driver rides 40 mm higher in the Volvo V40 Cross Country than in the standard V40. This capable impression is enhanced by a number of unique Cross Country details:
  •     Wheels with the same size as the Volvo V70, including up to 19-inch rims.
  •     The front with dark, contrasting bumper, honeycomb mesh grille and upright DRL-lights.
  •     The sculpted, contrasting sills.
  •     The contrasting rear bumper with integrated skid plate.

Elegant, refined premium crossover
Yet, the five-door, five-seat premium all-roader features refined off-road inspired details such as the anodized, black high-gloss frame around the greenhouse, the black rear-view mirror housings and the sleek rails floating over the roof.

"The V40 Cross Country retains its V40 stylishness by integrating the ruggedness in the design with meticulous attention to detail. It has en extrovert, expressive character that promises the open-minded adventurer a great time," says Simon Lamarre, exterior design manager for the Volvo V40 Cross Country.

Copper and brown theme
Inside, the Raw Copper exterior launch colour is echoed in the contrasting stitching - and it can be emphasised even further by choosing the Copper Dawn centre stack inlay. The leather upholstery comes in five different versions, including the Espresso Brown accent colour.

Versatility for open-ended adventures
The Volvo V40 Cross Country offers thrill-seeking customers the right versatility to bring both friends and gear along on an open-ended adventure.

The two-piece, 40/60, rear seat backrest can be easily folded. The load compartment can be equipped with a practical hanging load net. A soft safety net is optional and a steel version is available as an accessory.

The car can be equipped with a versatile "extra" floor in the load compartment. It creates several useful possibilities:
  •     Fold it up - and get a grocery holder.
  •     Fold it away - and get best luggage volume.
  •     Flat floor - load long stuff.
  •     Flip it over for protecting and maximize the volume.

The front passenger seat can be folded forward to create even more space. In addition to the two permanent hooks, the extra floor integrates hooks for bags. Between the upper and lower floors there is a concealed storage area.

The accessory range includes a "Cargo Mat Organiser" that keeps smaller items secure and in order, as well as a "Load Organiser" that includes a load compartment divider, a load belt and two floor rails.

Smart storage
Below the armrest is a storage compartment suitable for CDs and other small items. It also features a connector for either USB/iPod or AUX, depending on the audio system specified. The armrest can be adjusted to provide extra support for the driver. Two cup-holders and a 12V power outlet are integrated in the console in front of the armrest.

The glove compartment includes space for two soft-drinks cans or bottles that are kept cool with cold air from the Electronic Climate Control system. Other convenient features:
  •     Height adjustable headrests on the front seats and the centre rear seat.
  •     A sunglass compartment above the driver's door.
  •     A penholder in the glove compartment.
  •     Integrated cup holder in the rear seat.
  •     Handy storage under the instrument panel, on the front seat cushions, on the front seat backrests and on the outside of the rear seats.

Another smart detail for the keen winter adventurer is the specially designed, drained storage unit for an ice scraper in both front door panels.

Seven different mood light options
The interior lighting is designed to give a "theatre lighting" feel. LED lamps are used to light up strategic areas. The driver can enjoy a red-to-blue setting that adapts the light to the interior temperature - or choose between another seven mood themes. The reading lights front and rear can be dimmed.

All Wheel Drive enhances capability
The Volvo V40 Cross Country features class-leading driving dynamics with All Wheel Drive available on the T5 petrol turbo to enhance the all-road, all-weather capability.

The five-cylinder 2.5-litre T5 engine has a power output of 254 hp and 400 Nm of torque, including 40 Nm overboost delivered during acceleration. It comes with automatic transmission and acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes 6.1 seconds. Fuel consumption is 7.8 l/100 km (EU Combined).

The T5 is also available in a 2.0-litre version with 213 hp and 300 Nm of torque on certain markets.

There is also the T4, a 1.6-litre GTDi engine with 180 horsepower and maximum torque of 270 Nm, including 30 Nm overboost. Fuel consumption is 5.5 l/100 km. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 129 g/km.

A 2.0-litre five-cylinder T4 engine with 180 hp and 300 Nm of torque is available on certain markets.

Smooth Powershift transmission
The T5 version comes with a six-speed automatic gearbox, while the T4 is available in combination with the automatic six-speed Powershift transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox.

Powershift operates in principle as two parallel manual gearboxes with separate clutches, a system that provides quick and fuel-saving gear changes.

Fuel-efficient diesels
The five-cylinder 2.0-litre D4 turbodiesel has been optimised for fuel-efficient driving pleasure. It delivers 177 hp and has torque of 400 Nm across a wide rpm range. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h takes 8.3 seconds with the automatic gearbox (8.6 sec with manual). Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 4.4 l/100 km (117 g/km) with a manual gearbox and 5.2 l/100 km (137 g/km) with the automatic (EU Combined).

In addition there is the 2.0-litre D3 producing 150 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Both turbodiesels are available with a six-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual gearbox.

D2 version with class leading CO2 emissions of 99 g/km
The D2 version of the Volvo V40 Cross Country comes with CO2 emissions at a class-leading 99 g/km - corresponding to fuel consumption of just 3.8 l/100 km. The 1.6-litre diesel engine has 115 hp and 285 Nm of torque, including 15 Nm overboost. The D2 engine is combined with a six-speed manual gearbox and start/stop function.

Start-stop on all versions
All engine versions have start-stop and braking energy regeneration, no matter whether they are fitted with a manual or automatic gearbox.

Hill Descent Control
To make altitude-changing adventures more comfortable for the driver, the Volvo V40 Cross Country also features Hill Descent Control on the T5 version with All Wheel Drive, which controls the car's speed automatically when driving down steep inclines. The Volvo V40 Cross Country also has a practical Hill Hold function that makes starting in a hill easy.

Focus on Europe and China
Volvo Car Corporation expects to sell 17,000 units per year of the new Volvo V40 Cross Country. Around 50 percent of the total volume will go to European customers and around 30 percent to Chinese buyers.

The Volvo V40 Cross Country will be built in Volvo Car Corporation's production plant in Ghent, Belgium. Production gets under way in November 2012.
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition, 2013

  • Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition, 2013

The VW Beetle is the first car in Europe that can be ordered with a sound system from guitar and amp makers Fender. In 2011, Volkswagen showcased a concept car at the IAA in Frankfurt that was designed to pay homage to the legendary American company. That was the exclusive Beetle Fender. With its powerful looks and no less powerful sound system (400 watts), the concept car thrilled visitors to the show so much that Volkswagen decided to make it into a production car. It is now made its world premiere at the 2012 AMI in Leipzig.

Black and chrome as an exclusive alliance
The Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition is based on the already higher 'Design' level specification. The new Beetle model can be ordered in two shades of black: 'Black Uni' or 'Deep Black Pearl Effect'. Black has been chosen so that the VW Beetle Fender Edition's numerous chrome details are shown off to best effect. These include 18-inch 'Disc' alloy wheels as standard, the wing mirrors, the strip below the side windows, the inserts in the side sills, the two Fender signs on the left and right front wings, the 'Beetle' wording on the boot and, of course, the VW badge. The exterior standard specification also includes bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights.

Interior with dash pad in electric guitar style

The car's interior also has a very refined appearance. One very striking feature is the dash pad. Complete with chrome-plated Fender logo, it is finished in 'Sunburst' style, the two-tone wood design of many Fender guitars. The instrument panel thus creates a visual link to the world of rock music. In keeping with this, Volkswagen ships each Beetle with three exclusive Fender guitar picks.

Further standard features of the black-trimmed interior include redesigned sports seats with specially created central sections in fabric and sides and headrests in a black leather look, contrast stitching on the leather steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever, colour trimmed floor mats, cruise control, air conditioning and, of course, the Fender sound system complete with USB interface (media in). The Fender system is controlled as standard via the panel for the RCD 510 audio system (featuring touchscreen, integrated CD changer for six CDs, double tuner and SD card slot).

Fender sound system inclusive of ambient lighting
Automatically included with the sound system is adjustable interior ambient lighting in three colours (white, red and blue). As well as indirect lighting strips below the front side windows, this includes an illuminated ring around each of the speakers in the doors. The sound system includes two high-end tweeters installed in each mirror triangle and rear side panel, while in the front doors are the woofers with double voice coils. Assigned to these are woofers in the rear side panels, each with a single voice coil. Additionally integrated into the system is a subwoofer with double voice coil located in an enclosed bass box in the Beetle's boot. At the centre of the sound system is a 10-channel amplifier with class A/B power amps and an output capacity of 400 watts.

VW Beetle Fender Edition for Europe, Asia, Australia and America
The Volkswagen Beetle Fender Edition is being launched in autumn 2012. The new model can then be combined in Europe, Asia and Australia with any of four of the engines offered for the Beetle (all direct injection engines with turbo chargers). The petrol engines (TSI) deliver 77 kW / 105 PS and 118 kW / 160 PS respectively, while the turbo diesel engines (TDI) produce in turn 77 kW / 105 PS and 103 kW / 140 PS. In the USA and South America the Beetle Fender will be available with two petrol engines (125 kW / 170 PS and 147 kW / 200 PS) and one turbo diesel (103 kW / 140 PS). Entry-level price for the Beetle Fender in 'Black Uni' with 105 PS TSI engine: €21,725 (Germany).
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Venturi America, 2010

  •  Venturi America, 2010

The Venturi America combines both the values of traditional America and those resulting from new awareness of ecological issues.

The new American dream is embodied by this new model from Venturi : a high-riding electric sports car that one can see oneself driving, one's hair in the wind, through the fantastic scenery offered by this vast continent.

The equipped with the same motor of over 300 hp as the Venturi Fetish, this new-era "buggy" is, in fact, a high-powered lightweight vehicle with a chassis specially designed to suit its particularly high body. The America is nevertheless an acceleration car that symbolizes "cool green attitude" while being a luxury technological product.

In fact, there is nothing today that is anything like this fantastic vehicle, half sports car, half buggy, but it is well worth betting that Venturi has once again come up with a model that will enter the annals of history.

The America also marks a new milestone for Venturi which has just launched Venturi North America in Columbus, Ohio. In parallel to its sites in Monaco and France, this new unit will enable Venturi to pursue its technical and commercial development in the United States.

The America has borrowed its motor from the new Fetish, the VM300, which, with over 300 hp (+220 kW) and torque of 380 Nm, is the most advanced electric motor ever designed for an automobile.

To get the very best out of such a motor, a new 54 kWh battery pack has been developed (LIV-10 Lithium Ion Polymer batteries) whose electronics (Battery Management System) have been entrusted to Ventec, the leader in the field.

The America offers a real range of up to 300 km. Thanks to its on-board charger, it can recharge using a standard electrical socket or fast charge terminals (see Specs).

The first chassis specifically designed to house a large volume of batteries, the carbon monocoque developed by Venturi provides exceptional protection for its occupants : the body is in fact completed by two deformable cells positioned at the front and rear of the vehicle. This concept guarantees the security of the battery pack in the event of an accident and provides a level of safety never before attained in an electric car.

With the same aim, the chassis of the Venturi America has been designed and tested to protect passengers from electromagnetic emissions from the vehicle's batteries.

Derived from that of the new Fetish, the America's chassis has been treated to specific development.

A real synthesis of two exclusive automobile worlds, the America is both an electric sports car and an all-terrain leisure vehicle. This "mix" approach ensures extreme versatility in use.

Its performance, balance and sports car road-holding, combined with its particularly high body and specific tyre mounting, ensure that it is equally at ease on steep paths as on the highway.

The electric "Buggy" offers the possibility of Venturing off the beaten track while respecting the environment in terms of both noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Vauxhall Astra VXR, 2013

  •  Vauxhall Astra VXR, 2013

The Vauxhall Astra VXR is a more extreme version of the GTC, and nothing embodies the visual changes more than the new model's exterior design revisions.

Adding extra presence, the Vauxhall Astra VXR gets a specially sculpted front and rear bumper, side skirts, aerodynamic roof spoiler and twin bumper-integrated tailpipes. Standard 19-inch wheels with 245/40 ZR tyres underpin the dramatic body, with 20-inch forged items available as an option for those customers who want to make their cars look even bolder.

The VXR shares much of its design with the GTC. Only three lines are used to create tension and define the outline of the silhouette. A fine, crisp line sweeps downwards from the front door to the bottom of the rear wing; a second line strikes through the door handle and stretches to the rear, emphasising the car's dramatic stance and broad shoulders. A third line follows the roof's clean, rakish silhouette.

The Interior
The centre-piece of the Vauxhall Astra VXR's cabin is Vauxhall's all-new flat bottom steering wheel. Its diameter has been reduced from 370mm to 360mm compared with all other models in the Astra range, making the steering feel even more precise and direct. The handwheel's grip has been enhanced by packing supple sponge rubber around a magnesium/steel hybrid ring and then covering the entire wheel in premium, soft cross-stitched leather. The wheel is available with an optional heated rim, and features the VXR logo, as well as multi-function controls on its spokes.

The other VXR-specific features abound, including a unique sports gearlever and alloy-plated pedals with rubber studs for better foot grip. Glossy piano-black chronograph-inspired dial rings contrast against a satin-black background, while the wing-shaped upper instrument cluster flows back into the doors and armrests. Black headlining, VXR-branded floor mats, and door panel stitching in Arden Blue or Cool Pearl give the Vauxhall Astra VXR's interior a purposeful yet exclusive feel.

A new design of front sports seat, made with cutting-edge lightweight material is standard across the Vauxhall Astra VXR range. Mounted 17mm lower than in the Astra GTC (and 30mm lower than in an Astra Hatch) the seats give front occupants a heightened sense of connection with the car's chassis.

Made from a strong but agile polyamide/fibreglass composite, the seat shells are formed using an organic injection-molded sheet which due to its strength only needs to be 2mm thick, and contributes to a 45 per cent weight saving compared with a seat using a conventional shell.

As standard, all Astra VXRs get manually adjustable front seats trimmed in half Black Track cloth and half Morrocana fabric. However, two option packs are also available. The VXR Performance Seat Pack (£495) adds full electric adjustment, heated seats, a manually extendable front seat cushion and lumbar/side-bolster adjustment as part of a package that includes a total of 18 different seat settings.

In addition, a Full Leather Pack (£1150) is available, comprising the multi-adjustable electric seat with a high-quality leather finish, embossed with the VXR logo. Two versions of the leather seats are available, each of which has a vertical leather stripe in the centre, picked out in either Arden Blue stitching or a gloss leather with Cool Pearl stitching (with matching door panel stitching). The VXR logo is embossed into the upper part of the front seats, while the seat itself is perforated to provide an air circulation function.

While the Vauxhall Astra VXR is based on the new GTC, it has benefitted from a raft of bespoke chassis modifications to cater for the significant boost in performance brought by the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which produces 280PS and 400Nm of torque.

With its dynamics developed by Vauxhall's engineering team, led by ex-DTM star Volker Strycek, the Vauxhall Astra VXR will target the very best rivals in class for handling, grip and overall driving excitement.

Setting it apart from all other current Astras is a specially developed mechanical limited slip differential, which works on the front wheels. In conjunction with the GTC's sophisticated HiPerStrut (High Performance Strut), the LSD provides the Vauxhall Astra VXR with exceptional lateral grip and traction through the bends.

Further changes to the chassis include brakes developed by competition supplier, Brembo, standard fitment of Vauxhall's fully adaptive FlexRide damping system, uprated springs and new dampers developed between VXR and ZF Sachs.

Mechanical Limited Slip Differential developed with motorsport supplier
Drexler, who supply differentials to the motorsport industry, have worked with Vauxhall to develop a mechanical multi-plate limited slip differential for the Vauxhall Astra VXR.

The unit, derived from that used in the Corsa VXR Nürburgring Edition, creates a locking effect with a ramp angle of 45 degrees under acceleration and 90 degrees under deceleration. The locking effect improves traction when it's needed - such as under acceleration through bends or over changing cambers and surfaces - but the effect is relaxed off-throttle, when it's not required, making the steering more benign.

To cater for the improved traction brought by the LSD, the Vauxhall Astra VXR's Traction Control (TC) and Electronic Stability Control (ESP) systems have been re-tuned to ensure the best performance, even when the car is used on track or in wet conditions.

VXR and Brembo develop bespoke braking system

With cross-drilled and ventilated 355 x 32mm front discs, four-piston callipers and harder compound brake pads, Vauxhall and Brembo have co-developed a bespoke braking system to cater for the Vauxhall Astra VXR's 280PS performance.

Using 'floating discs', the brakes are made from two different materials, with a cast-iron rotor mounted on an aluminium disc bell. This helps combine the heat resistance from cast iron with the light-weight properties of aluminium.

The key advantages of the system are reduced heat build up during repeated braking, as well as an improvement in overall brake feel through the pedal. There has also been a significant weight saving compared with the system found in the GTC, with each front calliper weighing 5.1kgs (-2.8kgs) and each front disc weighing 4.2kgs less than on the standard coupe. This means a total reduction of 7kgs per front corner from the car's unsprung weight.

The brakes, as well as all other chassis elements, were tested on public roads and in the toughest of environments including the Nürburgring and Contidrom race tracks in Germany, as well as on ice and snow in Scandanavia, and in the searing Spanish heat at the Idiada test track.

Springs, dampers, roll bars and bushes all improved for greater performance

Compared with the 1.6-litre, turbocharged GTC model, the Vauxhall Astra VXR's springs have been stiffened by 30 per cent and the car lowered by 10mm at the front and rear, to allow more driver connection on road and track.

The Astra's clever compound crank/Watt's link rear suspension was also stiffened, as were suspension bushes all round to cope with the extra chassis loads. The front anti-roll bar's diameter increased by 5mm over the GTCs, again for added stiffness.

Working with motorsport manufacturer, ZF Sachs, Vauxhall developed bespoke damper settings for the Vauxhall Astra VXR, using larger diameter pistons to the GTC's. The suspension sub-frame also rests on special mounts, the elastic-kinematic nature of which improves steering agility and support even when subjected to extreme lateral forces through tight bends.

HiPerStruts improve steering feel and help reduce torque-steer

The Vauxhall Astra VXR is equipped with a version of Vauxhall's HiPerStrut, also found on all GTCs and the 325PS Insignia VXR.

By reducing camber change during cornering, the HiPerStruts improve grip, reduce torque-steer significantly and enhance steering precision, due to a shorter and more compact rotational axis. Each strut has a 44 per cent reduced kingpin inclination and a spindle length (or kingpin offset) reduced by 46 per cent. This in turn means less camber loss during cornering, and therefore more grip, while the shorter spindle quells torque-steer reactions.

Standard FlexRide provides drivers with ultimate control

Vauxhall's FlexRide adaptive damping system is standard on all Astra VXRs. Drivers have the choice of three separate chassis settings which can be selected at the push of a button. 'Standard' delivers all-round performance for a wide range of road driving, with 'Sport' stiffening the dampers for reduced roll and tighter body control.

'VXR' is FlexRide's most extreme mode. Not only does it enhance throttle responsiveness, and change the instrument backlighting from white to red, but it alters the dampers settings once again. A ramp-control sub-mode further stiffens the dampers, but ensures that the wheels are in contact with the road instantly after hitting a bump. This means the car has a soft landing even when the springs on the struts rebound on an uneven surface. Meanwhile, the roll control sub-mode reduces tilt further during cornering.

Three modes of ESP to suit road and track driving
The Vauxhall Astra VXR's ESP (stability control) system offers three different modes. In its default mode, optimum safety is prioritised for everyday road conditions. 'Competitive' mode raises the threshold at which the automatic systems intervene, though when it senses a dangerous situation it will stabilise the car via the braking system. Finally, in 'ESP-off' mode, activated by pressing the button down for five seconds, the ESP system can be completely deactivated.

Two choices of unique wheel designs
As standard, the Vauxhall Astra VXR is equipped with flow-formed 19-inch alloy wheels with Pirelli 245/40 ZR tyres front and rear. However, customers can also opt for state of the art forged alloy 20-inch wheels, which weigh just 1.86kgs - 14 per cent less than the 20-inch rims available on the GTC model. The forging process used to make the lightweight rim creates a tougher material, allowing less aluminium to be used in its construction, and therefore reducing weight.

Combined with the savings in weight brought about by the Brembo discs, opting for the 20-inch rims on the Vauxhall Astra VXR gives drivers a total unsprung weight saving of over 14.5kgs across the front axle.

Vauxhall's new Astra VXR will incorporate deliver a class-leading 400Nm of torque, giving it a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds and robust mid-range performance.

The VXR's turbocharged, 2.0-litre direct-injection engine harks from the Insignia family, but while its aluminium block is similar, the VXR has a unique aluminium cylinder head and new turbocharger to liberate 280PS (up 40PS on the previous model) and over 200Nm per litre of torque - the highest specific output in its class.

Developing a high-torque engine for the Vauxhall Astra VXR was the key to unlocking the car's real-world, mid-range performance, rather than focusing on power alone. And with maximum torque produced on a broad plateau between 2450rpm and 5000rpm, VXR drivers will never want for instant acceleration.

An all-new, state-of-the-art intake system was developed to feed as much air into the turbocharger as possible. The turbocharger itself was also improved to take more charge-air pressure, which builds from as early as 1400rpm for linear and strong acceleration. The maximum charge pressure is now 1.5 bar - 25 per cent more than in the Insignia 2.0T.

Vauxhall Astra VXR drivers can also look forward to a soundtrack that has been carefully engineered to appeal to enthusiasts, both from inside and outside the car. Drivers will get the full effect in the mid-to high rev range, especially when they change up from third to fourth under full throttle.

But outright performance hasn't come at the expense of efficiency and durability. Like all recent VXR models, the Astra was subjected to prolonged testing at the Nüburgring's notorious Nordschleife for 10,000 kilometres under race conditions - the equivalent to around 110,000 road miles.

And while the Astra VXR can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds and hit a maximum 155mph, standard Start/Stop technology has reduced fuel consumption by 14 per cent (compared with the previous model) to a combined 34.9mpg, and reduced emissions to 189g/km.

All-new engine air intake system
Vauxhall engineers developed a completely new air intake system to improve air flow dynamics, reduce pressure loss and boost the engine performance even further.

The size of the intake air duct was significantly increased, as was the air cleaner's volume, reducing intake noise and allowing a greater quantity of air to be processed. This helped improve fuel consumption to a combined 34.9mpg, while reducing emissions to 189g/km - a 12 and 14 percent drop respectively compared with the previous Astra VXR.

Toughened and more durable turbocharger for quick throttle response

The engine's turbocharger is based on the twin-scroll principle. This means that in the exhaust manifold and turbocharger, the channels of the first and fourth cylinders are separated from those on the second and third cylinders. The pulsating exhaust gases are fed through spirals (scrolls) and brought together directly ahead of the turbine. By separating the flows, their dynamics are fully exploited.

The build-up of pressure starts as early as around 1400rpm. The maximum charge pressure has been increased to 1.5 bar - that represents a 25 per cent increase compared with the one used in the 2.0T Insignia. It was therefore necessary to make the turbocharger even tougher, more durable and able to withstand the increase in pressure.

Further important features to this compact turbocharger include the pneumatic over-run air valve and an efficiency-optimised turbine wheel. At a defined vacuum, a valve is opened which leads the air back to the compressor inlet. This keeps the speed of the charger at a high level. When the accelerator pedal is pressed again, charge pressure is then immediately available. To increase volumetric efficiency in the combustion chambers, the pre-compressed air is cooled by around 100 degrees Celsius in an intercooler before entering the chambers.

Optimised exhaust system for even better performance

Engineers also focused on reducing exhaust back pressure as a way of improving engine performance. Both the closed-couple converter (the catalyst near the engine) and the under-floor converter were tuned to reduce exhaust back pressure. Along with increasing the bore of the entire exhaust system, Vauxhall's engineers achieved a 25 per cent overall reduction in exhaust back pressure, versus the system used in the Insignia 2.0T.

In line with the mechanical changes made to the intake, exhaust and turbocharger, elements of the engine control unit (ECU) governing charge air pressure, fuel injection rate and ignition were all re-tuned.

Sound engineering
For drivers of cars like the Vauxhall Astra VXR, the soundtrack when you accelerate is almost as important as the time it takes to reach 100mph. So needless to say, engineering the right type of engine noise was an important part of the car's development.

Using a recent amendment to European noise regulations on pass-by noise - also known as the Lex Ferrari rule - engineers were able to liberate 75 decibels for the Astra VXR, a full decibel louder than the Astra GTC 1.6T. In order to pass the Lex Ferrari test, the Vauxhall Astra VXR had to accelerate from 50kph to 61kph in third gear on a stretch of road measuring just 15 metres - normally a challenge for all but the most powerful cars.

With an underlying robustness in its character, the engine noise recreates the jet-like noise of its predecessor under mid to high revs, when heard from inside the cabin. And thanks to the removal of one of the GTC's three silencers, there's even a distinctive burble at idle.

The twin bumper-integrated tailpipes have parallelogram-shaped openings and are unique in this class.

Nordschleife - the ultimate proving ground!
Before the modified Astra VXR engine could go into production, it was subjected to a series of challenging tests, one of which was to circulate the Nordschleife segment of the Nürburgring at race speeds for 10,000 kilometers, roughly equal to 180,000 road miles.

To achieve this level of durability, the Vauxhall Astra VXR's engine incorporates some novel features. Its high thermal endurance is supported by a water jacket which extends to the bottom of the cylinders, as well as oil-spray cooling for the underside of the pistons. Both camshafts in the engine respond automatically to an electro-hydraulic cam phaser, matching the valve opening times to the engine load status via the engine control unit. In addition, a higher overlap at lower speeds with continuously variable camshaft phasing ensures the turbocharger responds more quickly. The outlet valves are sodium-filled and all valves are actuated via low friction roller valve levers.

Other engine features are two counter-rotating balance shafts, low-maintenance chain drive for the camshafts and a cast-on oil filter housing, which is easily accessible from above. An oil change simply requires replacing the cartridge and is signaled by an interval indicator. Sensors measure wear and tear of the fully synthetic lubricant according to parameters such as the number of cold starts, as well as the overall number of starts.

Volker Strycek, head of VXR product development and a former DTM driver and Nürburgring 24-hour winner, makes it clear about what his team wanted to achieve with the all-new Astra VXR. "Our goal was quite simple: to be the best in segment."

And with the UK's 'hot-hatch' market brimming with fresh and exciting products, the new Astra VXR had to raise the bar still further. Key to its success was the sophistication of its powertrain and chassis. With 280PS, the VXR produces more power than any of its current rivals, allowing it to accelerate from 0-60mph in a class-leading 5.9 seconds. But the killer punch is its 400Nm of maximum torque, giving it the highest specific output in its class.

The new VXR's chassis will be equally competitive, with a mechanical limited-slip differential (unique in class as a standard item), HiPerStrut front suspension, and bespoke brakes, springs and damper settings.

As with the previous Vauxhall Astra VXR and the current GTC, the UK will be the new model's biggest market. Around 10 per cent of all GTC volume will be VXR, equalling about 1200 units per year - the highest of any VXR model.

Key rivals will come from Volkswagen and Renault in the form of the Scirocco R and Megane Sport 265 (as well as the Focus ST, when it arrives in the UK). But the Astra VXR's keen pricing - £26,995 on the road - will undercut the Scirocco's by nearly £4,000, and that of the Megane 265 by more than £2000 when the Renault's equipped with its optional Cup Pack, including 19-inch alloys and a limited-slip differential (both standard on the Vauxhall).

Other standard equipment on the Vauxhall Astra VXR includes FlexRide adaptive damping, DAB, USB, Bluetooth and LED tail lights.

Vauxhall's unique Lifetime Warranty will also provide first owners of the VXR with the reassurance of comprehensive cover for however long they own the car.

The UK's hot-hatch class has become significantly hotter in the seven years since Vauxhall launched the first Astra VXR. Back then, the class norm for power was between 200PS and 250PS (the first Astra VXR produced 240PS), whereas now it starts at around 230PS right up to the new VXR's 280PS.

VXR customers can choose from a wide range of optional extras, including full leather upholstery and electrically adjustable seats, satnav with SD card and aux-in and Intelligent Adaptive Forward Lighting. One of the most popular options will be the VXR Aero Pack, which Vauxhall expects 85 per cent of customers to choose. For just £995, it includes 20-inch alloy wheels, a BiPlane Rear Spoiler and extended side skirts.

VXR - one of the fastest growing automotive sub-brands

The VXR brand has gone from strength to strength since the first car - a VXR220 Turbo - went down the line in 2004.

Buoyed by the success of Vauxhall's BTCC programme, the VXR badge was soon applied to a wide range of models, from the V8-powered Monaros to the Corsa, Vectra, Zafira and even the humble Meriva. The original Astra VXR joined them in 2005 and instantly became the best-seller in the VXR range.

More recently, the range has been rationalised and now extends to just four models: the Corsa VXR/VXR Nürburgring, new Vauxhall Astra VXR, Insignia VXR and VXR8 family, including the VXR8 GTS, Maloo and Sports Tourer.

    Premium VXR sports front seats with Morrocana side bolsters
    Three-spoke, flat-bottom, leather-covered sports steering wheel with VXR logo
    Unique VXR instrument panel graphics
    VXR floor mats
    VXR leather-covered gear knob
    VXR sports pedals
    VXR alloy-effect door sill covers
    VXR Performance Instruments
    VXR honeycomb sports front grille and air dam/bumper
    VXR side sills
    VXR rear bumper with diffuser
    VXR rear roof spoiler
    Performance-optimised exhaust system, tuned for sound
    LED tail lights
    19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Bernar Venet, 2012

  • Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Bernar Venet, 2012

French artist Bernar Venet has been invited by Bugatti, legendary supercar-maker, to create a work of art that combines the artist's vision and passions with Bugatti's celebrated Veyron Grand Sport. Through a congenial synthesis of artistic concept and technical possibilities, Venet has created an object that integrates the symbol of speed with a fascinating, painterly exterior and an interior that alludes to haute couture. This one-of-a-kind sculptural work will be on view at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach.

Bernar Venet remarks, "A Bugatti is already a work of art in itself, one that transports both its beholder and its driver into new dimensions of reality. I realized how I could translate my passion for mathematical equations and scientific treatises into three-dimensional form. My works are usually self-referential. So I found the idea of translating the equations of the Bugatti engineers onto the bodywork of the car very appealing. It was, so to speak, a logical conclusion and a new challenge in terms of the specific form of collaboration and implementation. To me, the result is also exceptional when measured by artistic standards and bestows the object with a mythical character."

The artistic avant-gardes of the first half of the twentieth century found inspiration in the car as an object of desire; they depicted it in drawings, paintings and sculptures that projected absolute speed as their point of orientation. In the 1970s, the car served as an unconventional canvas for many artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, who painted what became known as "art cars". This practice continued to be embraced in the 1980s.

Since the 1990s, international artists have concentrated on exploring the shifting cultural historical significance of the car. This has resulted in sculptural and conceptual responses such as those by Erwin Wurm, Gabriel Orozco, Christoph Keller, Olafur Eliasson and Damian Ortega, which tend to contextualize the car as a paradigm for the acute social and cultural changes of a globalized world.

Bernar Venet´s approach is radically different from these movements and art works. He takes on the Bugatti Grand Sport by selecting a totally original solution, which distinguishes itself from the more traditional work of his predecessors. The application of mathematical formulae calculating the enormous power of the Bugatti engine on the car itself, allows him to implement the self-referential character inherent for his paintings. In doing so he pays tribute to the genius of technological science as well as the German Know-How of automobile production.

In his 2012 artistic adaptation and exploration of the Bugatti Grand Sport Bernar Venet has combined image and object to highlight the fascination with this model's absolute beauty and speed. His work unites a conceptual approach and sculptural craft on equal footing. In this work for Bugatti, Venet links the Pop artists' claim to the car as a canvas with the utilization of every technical and aesthetic means available for designing the fastest and costliest car in the world today. Venet incorporates signs taken from the realm of production into his visual idiom and creates a total work of art that harmonizes object and outer surface, interior and exterior, and evokes the exhilarating speed of the Bugatti Grand Sport.

Achim Anscheidt, Chief Designer at Bugatti, states, "Our collaboration with Bernar Venet, one of the most demanding artists of our time, has led to creative impulses and inspiration that will continue to motivate us in the fields of concept and design. We are pleased that this collaboration has resulted in the creation of a significant, collectible work of art. The self-image of the Bugatti brand derives from an artistic identity that unites sketch, drawing, technical planning and realization into an intermedial whole. Bernar Venet doubly honors our brand by making reference to the technical formulae of our engineers without fully revealing their secrets. It is an homage to the principle of dialogue and to the human capacity to question and redefine established boundaries. Venet is always focused on the essentials and so is Bugatti."

The Rubells have a long history with the artist, and Mera Rubell notes, "Our friendship with Bernar Venet began in the mid-1970s. Our young families bonded over dinners and great conversations in his SoHo loft. The children played and the adults engaged in endless talk about contemporary art. Don [Rubell] and Bernar have always shared an obsession with the beauty and complexities of mathematics. When we met Bernar he was already an accomplished artist and a very intuitive collector of emerging art. We benefitted from his generous insight into the artist's perspective and his artwork has been part of our collection since the 1970s. Bernar's life-long, signature obsession with mathematical formulas has found a ready-made canvas on the Bugatti, which is both original and dynamic. We're proud to present the Venet/Bugatti collaboration at our Foundation's museum."
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