Saturday, June 29, 2013

Peugeot 208 GTi, 2014

  •  Peugeot 208 GTi, 2014

The successful launch of the new 208 in June 2012, Peugeot has rejuvenated the diverse Supermini car segment. This new model revolutionises customer choice with its elegance, style, compactness, occupant space and equipment. The 208 has been an instant success and the Peugeot 208 GTi will deliver even stronger desirability with exhilaration, performance and panache.

Intended for demanding individuals, Peugeot 208 GTi owners will benefit from sophisticated choices of the materials and colours employed. The car's dynamism is expressed first of all by its external identity, specific and immediately recognisable, due to its characteristic posture. Defined on a widened track by 10mm at the front and 20mm at the rear, these three-door models are specially identified by bodywork components which enhance the overall effect, with wheels that hug the arches and with body sills and wing extensions that enhance its visual appearance.

Particularly eye catching and visible both by day and night, the light signature of the front face is refined by new halogen headlamps, equipped with a latest generation light guide. These carefully designed lamps with a rectangular internal structure use LED technology for the directional indicators and daytime lighting. Tightly enclosing the main beam headlamps, the floating trim of which calls to mind a cat's pupil, they give the expression of an iris.

These lamps frame a special 208 grille and on the GTi the mesh contributes to the dynamism, making the lamps stand out. The gloss black grille draws the eye with bright chrome inserts, which reinvent the sport chequered flag effect but in 3D. The end result is a front appearance which is technological and endearing while being sophisticated.

Attention to detail has also taken precedence in the design of the passenger compartment, to create a most pleasant environment. This applies even when stationary as it becomes evident at first glance when the door is opened, revealing the aluminium sill stamped with the Peugeot name. Dark colour schemes exist throughout the upper section and the Peugeot 208 GTi offers a unique ambiance themed with red highlights.

The dashboard houses a high-mounted instrument panel with an innovative and distinctive light signature. Echoing the LED functions of the headlamps, the dials are surrounded with satin chrome beads backlit by LEDs, whereas the needles move on a brushed aluminium background.

The passenger compartment is also punctuated with carefully designed components. So, the vents, the side decorations of the touchscreen, the dashboard decoration, the steering wheel insert, the seat belts, the front and rear door crossbars all blend with the same interior ambiance. The aluminium pedal bracket and footrest provide the final touch to this technological and refined interior.

Peugeot 208 GTi, re-generation of the legend
Peugeot has made its mark in the history of motor sport. Whether through its models, its success in competition or its infamy through advertising and promotions, the Marque's DNA has the best genes for creating the modern performance GTi. The expectation was simple: to create a playful and chic sports car, a contemporary interpretation of the legend that is a Peugeot GTi.

At first glance, the eyes are impressed initially by presence, with a vehicle which affirms its identity: sporty and refined. There can be no doubting the sportiness of this new 208 derivative. Crossing the gloss black rear skirt, the exhaust emerges with a trapezoid chromed double tailpipe, an innovative design emphasising the uniqueness of this model. The chromed trim strip decorates the window lower edge culminating in a signature accent that pays tribute to the illustrious 205 GTi.

Furthermore, the quarter panel trim proudly bears the GTi logo, in bright chrome accentuated in red highlights. Regardless of the exterior colour chosen, this red punctuates throughout the vehicle: on brake callipers, grille lower bead, Peugeot lettering on the tailgate and on the grille. In addition, the mesh of the grille has a 3D chequered motif, with chromed inserts in the gloss black grille. The whole is subtly enhanced by the touches of bright chrome on the fog lamp trim surrounds, the grille upper trim and the door mirrors.

Opening the doors reveals a passenger compartment that reflects the paintwork. From the sill, embossed with the name Peugeot, the passenger compartment is notably sporty. With a colour scheme combining red, black and satin chrome and red GTi overstitching throughout, the interior is striking, down to the smallest detail.

Resolutely sporty, the seat combines full grain Club Nappa leather and Caro Weave cloth, made more dynamic by a red line detail. The dashboard with red overstitching has a decoration of red graduating to black, matching the door crossbars. The vehicle performance information is provided via the high-mounted instrument panel. Technological, it is equipped with a colour matrix, surrounded by dials with a chromed bead back-lit in red by LEDs. On their brushed aluminium background, decorated with a gloss black chequered motif, the white needles rise through to the red zone.

The driver is well supported in the cossetting seat structure, harnessed in black seat belts (with red edging) allowing an excellent driving position that is clear and comfortable. The feet naturally find the aluminium pedals and footrest, the heels in contact with the unique 208 GTi floor mats with black surround and again, overstitched in red. Intuitively, the hands rest on the small black full grain perforated leather steering wheel with red overstitching. The left hand easily and naturally finds the aluminium gear lever knob, with red side insert and the overstitched leather handbrake lever.

The Peugeot 208 GTi delights its driver with an incisive driving experience due to the involving chassis dynamics, providing superb driving sensations. Springs, calibration of the shock absorbers, anti-roll bar, enhanced front subframe and rear crossmember rigidity, plus that the suspension and wheels are specific to this latest Peugeot GTi.

Agile and reactive, the Peugeot 208 GTi balances from one turn to the next with complete precision. Controlled by the steering, the settings of which have been revised to increase firmness, the front suspension returns the information perfectly and responsively. The rear suspension is also well tuned for safe and involved driving. Fitted with 205/45 tyres, the 17" diamond Carbon wheels, with Storm paint and matt varnish, house 302mm ventilated discs at the front and 249mm at the rear. Cooled by dynamic air intakes, they provide controlled and incisive braking.

The 1.6-litre THP 200bhp petrol engine expresses itself through a reworked exhaust system. As soon as the ignition is switched on, it emits an appealing sound that delights the ears, at all engine speeds. Coupled with a manual gearbox with six, close-ratio gears, the engine draws the full potential from this chassis. With its maximum torque of 275Nm and its maximum power of 147kW (200bhp), the Peugeot 208 GTi has the potential of acceleration to the highest level. 0 to 62mph is reached in less than 7.0 seconds. In-gear re-acceleration is equally impressive, with the Peugeot 208 GTi accelerating from 50 to 75mph in less than 7.0 seconds in 5th gear. This performance benefits from the improvement achieved from lightening the weight of the vehicle.

Light in weight, at 1160kg, the Peugeot 208 GTi achieves a real feat by emitting CO2 at just 145g/km. A playful sports car, powerful and safe, with an enchanting sound, which is also a practical hatchback, the Peugeot 208 GTi will delight its drivers every day, the (fully disengageable) ESP watching over them.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

Nissan Altima Sedan, 2013

  •  Nissan Altima Sedan, 2013

Two decades after the original Nissan Altima revolutionized the traditional mid-size sedan segment in North America, Nissan's best-selling vehicle is about to shake up the category all over again. After making its world debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, the 2013 Nissan Altima is once again poised to become the new benchmark in the hotly contested segment when it goes on sale at Nissan retailers nationwide summer 2012.

The Altima  numerous segment defining attributes that enhance the ownership experience and provide real customer value offers:
  •     Targeted best-in-segment 38 mpg highway fuel economy (2.5-liter engine)
  •     Premium exterior styling with a powerful presence and improved aerodynamics
  •     Upscale interior rivaling premium luxury sedans, including NASA-inspired "zero-gravity" seats, an Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display and BOSE® Premium Audio System
  •     An outstanding balance of ride comfort, stability and fun-to-drive demeanor, including projected best-level acceleration
  •     Standard Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®
  •     NissanConnectSM and NissanConnectSM Navigation with a suite of Bluetooth® phone connectivity features, including hands-free text message integration, Pandora® playback, real-time Google® POI search and more
  •     Next-generation Safety Shield Technologies, including Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Moving Object Detection (MOD) systems
  •     Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with Easy Fill Tire Alert

Most Innovative Nissan Altima Ever
The 2013 Altima is one of five all-new Nissan models set for introduction in the next 15 months and, as the second best-selling car in the United States in 2011, much is riding on the new fifth generation Nissan Altima.

The result is a vehicle that builds on the strong fundamental reputation, earned over four generations and two decades, for quality and reliability and adds new levels of innovation, fuel-efficiency, dynamic performance and premium style.

A Premium Presence
Among the new Altima's many new features, perhaps the one that stands out most is its "class above" appeal, which is apparent at first look and first touch of both the exterior and interior executions.

The 2013 Altima's all-new exterior design starts with its wide, aggressive stance and dramatic front end styling. Though retaining the same wheelbase as the previous generation Nissan Altima, it has a wider front and rear track (+1.4 inches) and deeper fenders (+0.8 inches each side) - which combine with a crisp new grille design, seamless bumper and projector-type headlights to create a bold, sophisticated appearance.

Nissan Altima's new "premium proportions" continue with the longer sloping rear roofline and raised trunk that combine to create a more fluid silhouette. The A-pillar angle is now slightly more sloped, and the drip rail has been lowered and the waistline raised. In addition, the deep-stamped trunk has been raised and expanded. The new body design is capped by large taillights (with LED taillights standard on SL models) that flow from the rear into the bodysides. Chrome trim and door handles accent the available palette of eight rich exterior colors. Attention to aerodynamic fine-tuning gives the new Altima a lower coefficient of drag.

The new Nissan Altima's interior defies mid-size sedan convention, rivaling upscale luxury sedans in ambience and sophistication. Like the exterior, there is a premium look and feel - from the driver's side cockpit to the front passenger and rear seating areas - with extensive use of upscale, soft-touch materials and craftsman-like attention to detail.

NASA-Inspired "Zero-Gravity" Seats, Quiet Cabin
In the desire to help reduce the fatigue experienced during long commutes or extended road trips, Nissan turned to seating and posture research from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). According to NASA, the least fatiguing seats are those that come closest to a "neutral posture" - a relaxed position that the human body takes in a weightless environment.

Utilizing a new articulated seat shape with continuous support from the pelvis to the chest and distribution of localized deformation characteristics, the "zero-gravity" Nissan Altima seats help reduce muscular and spinal loads, and improve blood flow - thereby helping reduce fatigue over long periods behind the wheel. Seat surface perforations provide increased ventilation, breathability and comfort. Heated front seats are also available.

Along with premium seat comfort, the new Altima offers premium quietness through efforts to reduce cabin noise coming from the powertrain (new engine and exhaust mount designs), climate system (increased HVAC mounting rigidity) and the body (increased body rigidity) versus the previous Altima design. New noise absorption materials with a 30 percent increase in absorption capability (versus previous Altima) are also used throughout the cabin, including areas such as the roof trim, instrument panel and floor mats.

The Nissan Altima offers standard cloth seating with a 6-way driver's seat and a 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split folding rear bench seat with armrest, and Piano Black interior trim with chrome finish accents.

Also available, depending on model, are leather-appointed seats and trim, 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, and metallic texture (Charcoal interior) or wood tone (Blond interior) trim finishers.

The audio systems include an AM/FM/CD design with RDS, MP3, aux-in and six speakers, along with a BOSE® Premium Audio System with nine speakers (including woofers), designed in conjunction with BOSE® engineers during vehicle development to deliver rich sound and acoustics. The new Altima is available with SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (SiriusXM™ subscription required, sold separately), and Pandora® radio capability (requires capable smartphone).

New NissanConnectSM and NissanConnectSM with Navigation
Along with the new seat design, two other items that set the 2013 Altima apart are its new NissanConnectSM and Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display (ADAD).

The 2013 Altima is the first Nissan vehicle to offer NissanConnectSM, which offers Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System and Streaming Audio via Bluetooth®, along with available integrated Hands-Free Messaging Assistant, Pandora® integration, USB connection for iPod® interface and other compatible devices and SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (SiriusXM™ subscription required, sold separately). It includes a 5.0-inch color audio display with SV and SL models.

With the available Hands-Free Text Messaging Assistant (part of NissanConnectSM), drivers can manage incoming text messages via voice control without taking their hands from the wheel or eyes off the road. Drivers are alerted to an incoming text and, after initiating the system, can hear the text read out loud and respond via voice recognition, or via the steering wheel switches using pre-set answers such as "driving, can't text," "on my way," "running late," "okay" or a custom message.

The NissanConnectSM with Navigation system is similarly packed with a rich range of features and is incredibly easy to use with its 7.0-inch touch-screen, 3D-effect map views, Voice Recognition, and turn-by-turn navigation integrated into the Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display. With the ability to search destinations via Google®, POI data will never be out of date. Other new next-generation navigation features include speed limit display, eco driving maps, curve warning, and split-screen display.

Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display
The new Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display comes standard on every model and is customizable, easy-to-use and integrates key information right in front of the driver.

Located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, it features a 4.0-inch color display, more than 400 percent larger than the previous generation Nissan Altima's vehicle information display. Utilizing more natural 3D-effect graphics, it helps the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road longer than a traditional center-stack information monitor.
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mini Countryman, 2013

  •  Mini Countryman, 2013

2 years since its launch onto the world's car markets, the MINI Countryman has developed into a driving force behind the continuing growth of the brand. The transference of hallmark MINI qualities and values into a new vehicle segment has won over new target groups worldwide to the brand's unmistakable style. Autumn 2012  the British carmaker's first model to offer all-wheel drive benefiting from an extensive round of modifications which will further enhance the allure of its boundless driving fun. Detailed refinements to the car's design and the selection of materials available for the interior shine the spotlight even more brightly on a premium character none of the MINI Countryman's rivals can match. The spacious five-door's optimised ease of use underlines its very modern appreciation of practicality.

The modifications designed for the MINI Countryman will be rolled out across all model variants from November 2012. Open one of the front doors and the newly designed rings encircling the Centre Speedo and four air vents immediately stand out. They  now be presented across the board in the colour shade Carbon Black and also have an inner ring in high-gloss black or - as part of the Chrome Line Interior option - in chrome. Both in standard trim and with options specified, the fresh appeal of the colours and materials adds further lustre to the high-quality character of the MINI Countryman interior.

Comfort and practicality. Remodelled door armrests provide even more comfortable support for the arms, and the controls for the electric windows are now also positioned in the door trim. A full control panel is integrated into the door armrest on the driver's side. The switches clustered here include the controls for all the windows, the deactivation facility for the rear window controls and adjustment for the exterior mirrors. Moving the window controls away from the centre console also optimises access to the larger storage compartment below it. From autumn 2012 the MINI Countryman will come as standard with a three-seat rear bench, while a pair of individual seats will be available as a no-cost alternative.

As well as changes to the range of interior colours, interior trim elements and Colour Lines, the selection of exterior paint finishes also be given a refresh in autumn 2012. New additions include the suitably expressive colour shades Brilliant Copper metallic and Blazing Red metallic. Plus, a restructuring of the equipment packages on offer to customers make it even easier to customise the MINI Countryman to reflect their tastes.

 The three petrol and three diesel units produce outputs stretching from 66 kW/90 hp to 135 kW/184 hp. Beyond these, there is also the ultra-sporty MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, powered by a turbocharged 160 kW/218 hp engine. The ALL4 all-wheel-drive system fitted as standard on this top-class performance variant is also available as an option for the MINI Cooper S Countryman, MINI Cooper SD Countryman and MINI Cooper D Countryman. All models, with the exception of the MINI One D Countryman, can be ordered with a six-speed automatic gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. The impressive efficiency of the engines and gearboxes along with extensive MINIMALISM technology ensure all the MINI Countryman variants achieve an exemplary balance between driving fun and fuel economy. Added to which, from autumn 2012 manual versions of the MINI One Countryman and MINI Cooper Countryman meet the stipulations of the EU6 exhaust emissions standard due to come into force in 2014.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, 2013

  •  Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, 2013

In the SUV, the new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is setting new standards in comfort, dynamics, safety, elegance and efficiency and with this spectrum it is regarded as the S-Class among off-road vehicles. This premium SUV is able to demonstrate its exceptional capabilities in everyday situations with dense city traffic, over very winding roads or on well-built motorways as well as way off the beaten track. Here the multi-talent's qualities are even more evident. Whether driving over tracks with potholes, continually altering road surfaces or dusty natural trails interspersed with off-road sections - the superior comfort of the seven-seater's ride as well as its outstanding power and confident performance are really convincing even when the going gets really tough.

Relaxed - and that means safe - driving both on-road and off-road - is one of the great strengths of the new GL-Class. Especially its NVH qualities (noise, vibration, harshness) are very convincing and are on a par with those of the S-Class. The high standards of comfort are derived from the combined result of a very rigid bodyshell, a perfected drivetrain, improved chassis and superb aeroacoustic finishing as well as the intelligent use of new-style insulation materials. At the same time, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class retains its traditional advantages of being extremely responsive with outstanding off-road expertise.

Included in the standard package are the fully load-bearing air suspension system AIRMATIC with its adaptive shock-absorbing system (ADS) as well as a load recognition feature. In comparison with the previous model, the AIRMATIC ADS provides outstanding comfort with greatly improved handling, roadholding and driving dynamics. For example, both the standard Crosswind Assist and load recognition feature are able to compensate for very varying driving conditions. The optional active tilting stabiliser ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM uses its active lateral stabilisers for the front and rear axles to reduce the roll angle when driving round bends, thus providing a greatly improved response and more fun behind the wheel. At the same time, the system makes for better handling. An improved ride and increased scope when driving off-road by actively decoupling the stabilisers are among the other advantages of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.

Quick-change artist: the ON&OFFROAD package
The GL is really well-equipped for going on tours off the beaten track. The standard package also includes the permanent four-wheel drive 4MATIC, a driving-off assistant, the Downhill Speed Regulation DSR and a special program for off-road driving. The ON&OFFROAD package of the new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class with its six driving programs has greatly improved the vehicle dynamics and driving safety so that the most suitable drive control for extremely varying driving conditions both on the road and going cross-country is always available. From the "hardware" point of view, the ON&OFFROAD package comprises an underrun protection for the engine, fibre-reinforced underfloor panelling, a two-stage power transmission with reduction gears, a longitudinal differential lock and extended AIRMATIC functions allowing a maximum ground clearance of 306 mm and fording depth of 600 mm.

Better visibility, more safety, greater comfort
When it is dark or visibility is poor, the Bi-Xenon headlamps with Intelligent Light System and new off-road light, adaptive Main Beam Assist or adaptive Night View Assist P lus provide sufficient visibility. The optional 360° camera has four cameras at front and rear as well as in the housing of the exterior mirrors- and is especially helpful in big city jungles. From the picture information received, the system calculates a bird's eye view of the vehicle and its surrounding area and then relays it together with other views to the large COMAND display.

New Assist systems: The best support for the driver
Improved driving and stress-reduced safety for the new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is provided in particular by its numerous assistant systems. In addition to the handling control systems ESP®, ASR, ABS and the danger-alert PRE-SAFE® safety concept, for the first time the standard version of the GL is also fitted with the collision warner COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST and the drowsiness detector ATTENTION ASSIST. Functions such as load recognition or STEER CONTROL reduce the strain on the driver in critical borderline driving situations as for instance by supporting the driver with a steering momentum on the steering wheel if the vehicle is oversteering. One innovation and highlight in the new GL is the standard Crosswind Assist which supports the driver with deliberate braking action when there are strong crosswinds, thus increasing the feeling of safety. Also available to optimise the safety of the vehicle are optional systems such as distance control DISTRONIC PLUS, braking assistant BAS PLUS or the PRE-SAFE® brake with its autonomous braking function in certain dangerous situations that have not been recognised by the driver . Easy parking is guaranteed with the Active-Park assistant. The system is able to detect suitable parking spaces and steers the GL automatically into the best possible position for parking.

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class drive systems: Up to 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption
Both the BlueTEC engine for the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY with supercharged direct injection BlueDIRECT petrol engine give extremely efficient and outstanding performances. The fuel consumption of the GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC is 7.4 litres diesel per hundred kilometres which is about 20 per cent less than its predecessor, and at the same time it undercuts the future EU 6 emission standards. The fuel consumption of the 320 kW (435 hp) strong petrol engine GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY has been reduced by 18 per cent. With the change of models the GL range is being enriched by an AMG version for the very first time. In the high-performance SUV GL63 AMG, the AMG 5.5 litre V8 Biturbo engine provides a top performance of 410 kW (557 hp) and maximum torque of 760 Nm. The GL63 AMG accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds; it has a top speed of 250 km/h (limited electronically). The NEFZ fuel consumption is 12.3 litres per 100 kilometres (288 g CO2/km).

In addition to the state-of-the-art engine technology, an extensive BlueEFFICIENCY package supports the outstandingly economic fuel consumption. This includes the new seven-gear automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS as well as the standard ECO stop-start function. The intelligent generator management, electric power steering and reduced rolling resistance of the tyres also have a fuel-saving effect.

In comparison with its predecessor (GL 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC), the weight of the new GL-Class has been reduced by 90 kg due to the extensive use of lightweight construction methods. These include the use of light but durable aluminium alloys for the bonnet and wings. The front and rear suspension links are also made of light alloys. This pays twice over: On the one hand the lower weight reduces energy requirements, and on the other hand the vehicle provides a more comfortable ride due to its lower unsprung mass. Other weight reductions are the new acoustic windscreen, the magnesium cross beam of the dashboard, the BlueTEC system with SCR technology or components such as the new electric power steering, the electric parking brake or a plastic engine support.

The interior of the GL: First Class for seven people
In addition to its extremely comfortable ride with excellent dynamic driving features both on the road as well as over very rough terrain, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class spoils its passengers with an interior which comes up to the first class standards of a luxurious saloon. Up to seven passengers are able to enjoy the outstanding seating. The elegant interior decoration is dynamic and full of vigour with high-quality materials and great attention has been paid to details; the generous space arrangement has a perfect ergonomic design - the interior of the GL-Class conveys the feeling of well-being typical for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Extensive trim elements in various kinds of wood or in aluminium, controls in silver-chrome and upholstery in permeable ARTICO man-made leather material with decorative topstitching on the seams in a contrasting colour underline the overall high-quality impression.

The 2-3-2 seating arrangement provides a generous amount of space. In comparison with its predecessor, the passengers have been given a great deal more elbow, shoulder and headroom in all three rows of seats. As a standard feature, the third row of seats can be folded down and up electrically. Another innovation is the EASY-ENTRY system for accessing the third row of seats from both sides - also if required with optional electric controls.

As another first for a series model SUV, Mercedes-Benz is offering an optional sound system for the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class from the well-known manufacturers of music systems Bang & Olufsen. The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG High-End Surround-Sound System with a total output of 1200 W and 14 high-end loudspeakers transforms the interior of the car into a concert hall with breathtaking acoustic.

Mercedes-Benz is the first car manufacturer to evaluate and assess the role of aeroacoustic which provides the decisive parameters for a comfortable ride especially when travelling at higher speeds. As a result, the psychoacoustic characteristics of SUV models like the GL-Class have been considerably improved. Here not only the high frequency wind noises were rated, but also the low frequencies - especially those concerning the comprehensibility and audibility of spoken language. A comparison with the S-Class proves just how successful the GL engineers were: the objective and subjective impression of noise lies at the same level for both vehicles. Because of its typical SUV design, however, it took a great deal more effort to achieve these top results with the GL than with a luxury saloon. Furthermore, the full-size SUV provides excellent acoustic for seven passengers sitting in three rows - and that under even the most unfavourable conditions as the off-roader can be used in a much wider variety of situations than the saloon including travelling in remote areas far away from sealed roads.

The First Class design
Right at first sight, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class can be recognised as a typical member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. The new interpretation of the first generation is very impressive with its pronounced dynamic strength and sporting elegance. At the front, the design is dominated by the GL's typically upright radiator grille with its central star and the clear, high-quality design of the headlamps - the new Mercedes-Benz LED signature. In particular, the standard Intelligent Light System headlamps on the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY give a high-quality, exclusive and innovative impression. The difference lies in a light wave conductor for the position lights, LED technology indicators and the practical Night View Assist PLUS which is available as an option. The daytime running lamps, also in LED technology are integrated in a chrome clasp in the bumper and underneath the radiator grille the large underbody panel in chrome look rounds off the self-confident appearance of the front. The well-balanced proportions of the side view (length 5120 mm, height 1850 mm) and the long wheelbase (3075 mm) underline the vehicle's on-road emphasis, but at the same time the short body overhang at front and rear together with the vehicle's great ground clearance point to its suitability for off-road travel. The rear with its two-piece LED rear lamps using light wave conductor technology, a large roof spoiler, the bumper with its modern "wing design" and the large chromed area of the underbody panel complete its appearance as befits the social status of this luxurious full-size SUV. For the first time there is an extensive AMG exterior sport package available for those GL customers who find it increasingly important for their vehicle to have a sporting and dynamic appearance.

Passive safety: All-round protection for all passengers
Maximum protection potential is provided by the passive protection systems for passengers in conjunction with the "electronic crumple zone" provided by the assistant systems and the intelligent body construction. Adaptable two-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, knee bags for the driver, sidebags for the driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvis bags) and window bags for all three rows of seats are part of the standard package. The integration of the optional thorax bags in the backrest of the tilt-adjustable folding seat in the middle row of seats allows the airbag to be in the best possible position regardless of the position of the backrest. Furthermore, there are 3-point seat belts for all seven passenger seats on board. Also part of the standard package are the pyrotechnical inertia reel tensioners and constant belt force-limiters as well as electrically reversible belt reel-in tensioners at the front, inertia reel tensioners and single stage force-limiters on the outer seats of the middle bench seat as well as on the rear single seats. The GL-Class also provides the best-possible protection with regard to weaker road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Among other things, the standard active bonnet comes into action.

Body design and interior: Dynamic appearance, striking interior

At the very first glance, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class can be recognised as a typical member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. The new interpretation of the first generation is very impressive with its pronounced dynamic strength and sporting elegance. At the front, the design is dominated by the GL's typically upright radiator grille with its central star and the clear, high-quality design of the headlamps with their LED lights. In particular, the standard Intelligent Light System headlamps on the GL 500 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY give a high-quality, exclusive and innovative impression. The difference lies in a light wave conductor for the position lights, LED technology indicators and the practical Night View Assist PLUS which is available as an option. The daytime running lamps, also in LED-technology are integrated in a chrome clasp in the bumper and underneath the radiator grille the large underbody panel in chrome look rounds off the self-confident appearance of the front.

The well-balanced proportions of the side view (length 5120 mm, height 1850 mm) and the long wheelbase (3075 mm) underline the vehicle's on-road emphasis, but at the same time the short body overhang at front and rear together with the vehicle's great ground clearance point to its suitability for off-road travel. The high upper edge of the body typical for SUVs with its high-quality chrome trim, the dynamically rising line emphasising its character and the chrome casing round the windows underline its superior appearance. In the standard version the GL stands on attractive 18 inch alloy wheels designed with 10 spokes, as an option wheels up to 53.3 cm (21 inch) are available. The rear with its two-piece LED rear lamps using light wave conductor technology, a large roof spoiler and the bumper with its modern "wing design" with the large chromed area of the underbody panel completes its appearance as befits the social status of this luxurious full-size SUV. In the petrol-driven models, chromed ends to the exhaust pipes complete the standard package.

For the first time there is an extensive AMG exterior sport package available for those GL customers who find it increasingly important for their vehicle to have a sporting and dynamic appearance. In addition to the front and rear aprons typical for AMG, the package also provides special side flaps which are clamped over the 53.3 cm (21 inch) AMG alloy wheels with their five double-spokes design. Aluminium running boards with courtesy lights are just as much part of the package as perforated brake discs and brake calliper covers with Mercedes-Benz lettering.

Inner values: The GL-Class offers First Class automotive quality

Elegant and dynamic interior decoration, high-quality materials and great attention paid to details, perfect ergonomics and a generous amount of space - the interior of the GL-Class conveys the feeling of well-being typical for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Extensive trim elements in various kinds of wood or in aluminium, controls in silver-chrome and upholstery in perforated ARTICO man-made leather material with decorative topstitching on the seams in a contrasting colour all go to underline the overall impression of high-quality. The 2-3-2 seating arrangement provides plenty of room for seven passengers.

As a standard feature, the luggage compartment can be enlarged by folding down the third row of seats electrically - either from the two rear doors or from the luggage compartment - and putting them up when required just by pressing a button. Another innovation is the EASY-ENTRY system on both sides for the second row of seats - also with optional electric controls - to give better access to the third row of seats. The middle row of seats has a great variety of adjustments, making the use of interior space much more variable as for instance with a "cargo-position" to enlarge the size the luggage compartment. It then provides a volume of 680 to 2300 litres which is greater than the high capacity provided by its predecessor.

In comparison with its predecessor, the passengers have a great deal more elbow and headroom at their disposal in all three rows of seats. For all the other classic standards for a comfortable ride such as the distance between the rows or the width allowed for shoulders, its predecessor already was the best in its class.

These measurements clearly show the degree of comfort: The space provided by the new Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is even more generous than before. In particular in the third row of seats the available space is also outstanding. The easy access is also very impressive. Passengers can get into the interior easily due to the wide opening angle of the doors at front and rear and the high edge of the roof which is typical for SUV vehicles. Loading the luggage compartment is also simple due to the height of 1.95 m under the open tailgate.

Multicontour seats with seat cooling using reversing seat fans and COMAND-adjustment

The optional multicontour leather seats for driver and front passenger also have - as an additional option - a reversing seat ventilation which considerably improves seating comfort in summer especially when the interior of a vehicle overheats after being parked in the blazing sun. Four mini-fans pro seat are fitted in the driver and front passenger's seat cushions and backrests so that they suck air out of the interior of the vehicle. This is then pumped into the upper layer of the seat cushion and distributed evenly under the leather cover. The defined airflow passes through the perforated leather cover and draws off any moisture left on the passengers' body or clothing. The response time is much more efficient with reversing fans. In the first few minutes after the seat ventilation has been activated, the fans suck up the hot and humid air through the perforations and increase the effect of the air-conditioning - in comparison with the blowing function, the surfaces of the seats cool down appreciably faster during the first 30 seconds.

As usual in Mercedes-Benz vehicles, basic seat adjustments for legroom and backrest angle can be made using the buttons in the interior door panel showing a stylised seat which is easy for both driver and front passenger to use. What are new, however, are the fine adjustments of the multi-contour functions such as the depth of the seat cushion, the side supports of the seat and backrest or the lumbar support. These adjustments can now be made easily and clearly using the COMAND controller on the centre console. After selecting the appropriate menu using the button on the centre console, the graphic on the COMAND display shows a multi-contour seat and the areas selected for adjustment are visualised in colour. Compared to the keyboards next to the seats used up to now, this procedure clearly simplifies the adjustment procedure. The massage function is also new: Both driver and front passenger can have the luxury of a back massage individualised according to intensity and speed.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mazda 5, 2013

  •  Mazda 5, 2013

A perked-up version of the Mazda's revolutionary compact MAV has arrived: The Mazda 5 is now even more stylish, more convenient and safer.

The model that brought dual sliding back doors to the world of compact vans can now be had in three new body colours - Zeal Red, Jet Black and Meteor Grey. On the inside, meanwhile, there is new seat trim along with the dashboard panel décor in a clean, sleek looking piano black finish.

The tire repair kit, makes the Mazda 5 even lighter, which saves fuel. Newly available options include a rear parking camera and auto-dimming rear-view mirror, while a USB port, illuminated glovebox and muffler extension are all standard equipment.

Big inside and compact outside, the Mazda 5 features an award-winning design delivering class-leading aerodynamics for a smooth, quiet ride with extraordinary linear handling and stability. And that with all the practicality and superb comfort one could expect from Europe's most flexible C-MAV.

One of the world's safest and most driver-oriented vans, the upgraded Mazda 5 has also been given power folding side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals. And to make driving just a little easier, Mazda has added "lane change" turn signals, which are activated by simply tapping the turn signal lever and automatically shut off after blinking three times.
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Lexus RX 350, 2013

  •  Lexus RX 350, 2013

The new, upgraded Lexus RX model range made its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The new RX exterior features a new, more elegant and aggressive frontal design. An enhanced interior offers an expanded choice of colour schemes, new trim finishes, a new steering wheel, a revised instrument binnacle and a second generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI).

The versatility of the European flagship RX 450h's Lexus Hybrid Drive system has been enhanced by the addition of a Sport mode, supplementing the full hybrid powertrain's Normal, Eco and EV (electric only) drive modes. The EV mode can now be activated with a separate switch.

Further enhancing the dynamic and sporting character of the new RX and designed to attract new customers to the model range, a new F SPORT version will be available. Expected to account for some 30% of future model range sales, the new F SPORT grade features bespoke exterior and interior design and driving dynamics technology.

With the launch of the first RX in 1998, Lexus created the Luxury SUV segment, combining, for the first time, all the flexibility, practicality and durability of a Sports Utility Vehicle with the handling, performance, refinement and ride of a luxury sedan.

The RX was the first ever SUV to be equipped with a full hybrid powertrain in 2005. Today, after three generations, two of which have been equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive technology, the RX remains a key model for Lexus.

In Europe, the premium SUV is responsible for 32% of all Lexus sales, and is the second best selling Lexus after the CT 200h.

The Exterior Design
The new Lexus RX range is hallmarked by a bold, elegant and highly individual frontal treatment which will be adopted throughout the brand to strengthen the Lexus family identity between model ranges.

Giving the new RX a powerful, commanding road presence, this new, more aggressive design is a further evolution of a styling cue first developed on the CT 200h and GS model ranges.

The inverted trapezoid upper grille and slanted lower grille have been combined and integrated into a single element, bridging the bumper mid-section to create a prominent 'spindle' shape. Reinforcing this more modern and bolder identity, the lower grille now features horizontal bars and is finished in black.

Positioned on a higher plane than the grille itself -a unique Lexus characteristic- a new, clear lens headlamp cluster design incorporates a choice of halogen, High Intensity Discharge (HID) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) headlamps. The headlamps are underscored by integral LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) which form the L-finesse arrowhead motif, reinforcing the unique visual signature of the new RX model range.

Now also fitted with clear lenses, the rear lamp clusters have been redesigned with a stronger, more sweeping horizontal emphasis, adding elegance to the rear of the vehicle.

The current choice of 18" or 19" aluminium wheels is expanded by the addition of a new 19" alloy wheel design, and four new exterior colours are available -Satin Silver, Burgundy Red, Sienna Brown and Midnight Blue, bringing the choice of colours available to 10 in total.

The Interior Design
Further broadening the appeal of its spacious, luxurious and technically advanced dual-zone 'crossover' cockpit, the new RX interior features an expanded choice of colour schemes, new trim finishes, a new steering wheel, a revised instrument binnacle and a second generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI).

Adding to the choice of interior colour schemes available, Saddle Tan, and F SPORT-exclusive Black and White Grey designs join the existing Ivory, Black and Light Grey line-up.

The choice of trim inserts has also increased; luxurious Walnut and classic Dark Grey complimented by the addition of modern, Dark Grey bird's eye maple and F SPORT-exclusive Silver finishes.

Clearly differentiating it from the smooth leather finish, the semi-aniline leather upholstery now incorporates diamond shaped perforations. Seat stitching has been enhanced by the use of thicker thread and more prominent colours, and the dashboard design enlivened through the addition of a matt silver insert above the glovebox.

A new, more comfortable steering wheel features a cross-section which is no longer uniform throughout its circumference. Its varying profile allows for a relaxing grip and smooth steering inputs. Wood finish steering wheels are now available with heated rims.

The driver's instrument binnacle of RX 450h versions is equipped with a new Hybrid System Indicator design featuring clearly delineated, Charge, Eco and Power zones. New ambient illumination changes according to both driving conditions and the selected drive mode.

In EV (electric only), Eco or Normal drive modes, when the Hybrid System Indicator needle is in the Charge or Eco zones, the ambient illumination is blue. It will extinguish if the needle enters the Power zone. In Sport mode, the ambient illumination remains red at all times.

The centre console box has been extensively revised to enhance its practicality. The console lid opening angle has been increased to 95 degrees to improve access. Both the USB port and accessory socket have been moved closer to the top of the box interior, which now features a closable door and a removable divider plate.

The new RX model range is equipped with a second generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI). This Lexus-unique, multi-function control device has been enhanced for increased user-friendliness and ease of operation. It now features the world's first slide-type joystick control mechanism which functions much like a computer mouse, and the ENTER command is now accomplished simply by pushing the controller.

In conjunction with enhanced RTI control, the multimedia system's full colour LED display now has multi-screen capability. This allows for the permanent display -and independent control- of three types of information simultaneously, such as map, vehicle information, audio, navigation input, air conditioner functions and incoming call.

Drive Mode Select (Normal, Sport, ECO and EV)
Supplementing the Normal and Eco drive modes of the full hybrid powertrain's E-CVT intelligent electronic transmission, a new Sport mode further improves the performance and dynamic ability of the RX 450h. These three drive modes can be selected through the steering wheel, whilst the EV mode (electric only) can be now activated through a separate EV switch.

From start-up and at speeds of less than 50km/h the RX 450h automatically operates in EV mode, driving under electric motor power alone. The driver may also select EV mode manually. This unique driving mode is only available through the full hybrid technology of Lexus Hybrid Drive.

The EV drive mode allows for relaxing urban driving with minimal noise, and zero CO2, NOx and particulate emissions, for up to two kilometres. Because the petrol engine is switched off throughout its operation, the EV drive mode contributes to a significant reduction in the new Lexus' overall fuel consumption.

In Eco mode, throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs is reduced and air-conditioning control optimized for improved fuel economy. Depending on driving conditions, the Eco mode can help customers adopt a relaxed driving style, and can achieve a perceptible reduction in fuel consumption.

Specifically tuned to deliver greater electric motor power, Sport mode maximises the new RX 450h's performance and agility. It not only modifies the throttle and Electric Power Steering (EPS) settings to give a faster response to driver inputs, but also provides less intrusive operation of the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC) systems, allowing drivers to fully exploit the Lexus full hybrid's extended dynamic abilities.

The distinct character of each drive mode is further reinforced through changes to the driver's instruments. Lit in hybrid blue for the EV, Eco and Normal drive modes, the instrument panel ambient illumination automatically alters to red when the Sport mode is selected.

Further enhancing the dynamic and sporting character of the new RX and attracting new customers to the model range, a new F SPORT version is now available.

Expected to account for up to 30% of all future RX sales in a new, 4 grade model range structure, the F SPORT grade features bespoke exterior and interior design and driving dynamics technology.

Exterior Design
F SPORT versions of the new RX are instantly identifiable by significantly more aggressive, model-unique frontal styling. A deeper, more vertical front bumper incorporates a bigger lower section of the Lexus family 'spindle' grille design.

Incorporating a full-width, aerodynamic spoiler for improved high speed stability, the lower bumper's flared extremities house deeply rebated fog lamps. Both upper and lower grilles feature a sporting, F SPORT-specific mesh design.

The F SPORT models may be identified by exclusive, 19" shaded alloy wheels and front wing F SPORT badging.

Interior Design
The F SPORT-exclusive interior is hallmarked by an exclusive, Black and White Grey colour scheme. It features black, smooth leather upholstery with white grey perforations and contrast stitching, steel silver painted trim inserts and a black ceiling to give the interior a more cockpit-like feel and aid driver concentration.

Performance Dampers
F SPORT models further benefit from the lateral performance damper system, which is designed to absorb and minimise undesirable body vibrations, offer a more linear steering feel and contribute to improved ride comfort.

In lieu of conventional fixed bracing, the system features a front performance damper connecting the left and right front suspension towers, and a rear damper connecting the left and right sides of the rear lower back panel.

With a construction similar to that of a typical monotube suspension damper, the front and rear performance damper assemblies differ according to the variations in body rigidity, noise and vibration of their surroundings, optimising their ability to absorb body torsion, flexure and fine vibrations.

Their installation has reduced vehicle floor vibrations across a wide frequency range, reduced body deformation through a drop in left and right front suspension tower displacement, and even lowered audio system white noise levels.

Though difficult to analyse even using Computer Aided Design, micron-sized, minuscule vibrations manifest themselves as a slight discomfort when turning the wheel and minute deviations in vehicle behaviour during straight line acceleration. Their elimination brings a new dimension of steering response, agility and ride comfort to the premium SUV segment.

6-Speed Multi-mode Automatic Transmission with Paddle Shift Control

The 6-speed automatic transmission of the RX 350 F SPORT versions is now equipped with a steering wheel-mounted paddle shift control. The paddle switches can be used even with the gear selector in D range, allowing the driver to quickly change to fixed range mode without the need to engage S range via the gear lever.
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Black Design, 2013

  •  Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Black Design, 2013

A striking Fuji White Range Rover Evoque showcased the new Black Design Pack to full effect on Land Rover's 2013 Geneva Motor Show stand. Available on the bold and sporting Dynamic derivative, customers can place their order from April 2013.

The stunning coupé and 5-door models already offer unprecedented customer choice and personalisation options across three design themes: Pure, Prestige and Dynamic, to give every customer the opportunity to tailor their Evoque to suit their lifestyle.

The Black Design Pack emboldens the assertive and confident stance of the Range Rover Evoque 'Dynamic', with a host of striking black exterior detailing exclusive to this model, including 20-inch, 9-spoke forged wheels painted in gloss black, never before offered as an option.

All exterior bright finishes have been removed to create the Black Design Pack. Dark exhaust finishers painted in Santorini Black are complemented by a gloss black rear bumper and inner and outer sump guard, which is carried through on the front.

Darkened front headlights and fog lamps continue the black theme whilst the rear lamps have been modified to give a clear effect so that they do not visually appear permanently red. Santorini Black painted 'RANGE ROVER' lettering across both the bonnet and tailgate and a rear sport spoiler complete the look.

The Black Design Pack made its debut earlier this year on the Sicilian Yellow Special Edition Evoque. Available in coupé and 5-door, customers can choose from two exterior colour schemes unique to the Special Edition: a Sicilian Yellow exterior body finish with a Santorini Black contrast roof, or a Santorini Black exterior body finish with a Sicilian Yellow contrast roof and door mirrors. Unique interior finishes include yellow contrast stitching on seats, central storage area, door trims and fascia mid-section, plus an anodised yellow horizontal finisher. Orders are being taken now for the Special Edition, with deliveries beginning in May 2013.

The Range Rover Evoque is powered by a choice of engines. Land Rover's powerful, efficient and lightweight 2.2 litre diesel engine, in both TD4 150PS and SD4 190PS guise, combined with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive. The two-wheel drive eD4 is powered by the 150PS TD4 version of the engine combined with a six-speed manual gearbox and produces just 129g/km CO2. The lightweight Land Rover Si4 petrol engine delivers 240PS and is combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.
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