Saturday, August 31, 2013

BMW 3-Series Long Wheelbase, 2013

  •  BMW 3-Series Long Wheelbase, 2013

At the international automobile trade fair Auto China 2012 in Beijing, the German premium automobile manufacturer BMW will not only be presenting its new edition of the BMW 3-Series sedan, but also unveiling a model variant tailored specifically to the requirements of Chinese customers. The new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase is a fascinating marriage of elegant and commanding design and a luxurious interior ambience. Its independent character is also underscored in the rear by the most generous and comfortable space in the competitive field. Besides the long wheelbase BMW 5-Series sedan, it is now the second model of the brand to be offered exclusively on the Chinese automobile market and produced in Shenyang. At the same time, the new, globally available BMW 3-Series sedan with the normal wheelbase enjoys its highest ever status as the sportiest model on the segment. BMW is therefore honing its alignment to the expectations of the various target groups on the Chinese automobile market and promising the driving pleasure so characteristic of this brand in either an emphatically exclusive or consistently dynamic design.

Both variants of the new BMW 3-Series sedan were developed together in Germany and exhibit the typical basic properties of the premium automobiles from this brand: aesthetic design, ultra-modern engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology, and progressive equipment, like the BMW Head-Up Display, which is unique in this class. Auto China 2012 will also be presenting the BMW ActiveHybrid 3. This full hybrid model of the new BMW 3-Series will likewise be available on the Chinese automobile market before the year is out.

The combination of pioneering technology from Germany and exclusive production in China will lend an unmistakable character to the new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase. Tailored specifically to the wishes of Chinese customers, independence is guaranteed by the 110 mm longer wheelbase. These elongated proportions not only increase the knee and leg space in the rear, but also contribute greatly to the elegance and presence of the sedan. With its optimised travel comfort and look, the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan has everything needed to convince the serious business traveller and provide hours of leisurely driving pleasure either alone or with all of the family. Additional accents can be set with the BMW Lines, offered for the first time in China, whose precisely compiled design and equipment features underscore either the progressive or the luxurious character of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan.

The new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan is available in three engine versions, delivering 135 kW / 184 bhp in the BMW 320Li, 180 kW / 245 bhp in the BMW 328Li, or 225 kW / 306 bhp in the BMW 335Li. Both the two four-cylinder variants and the top model with its six-cylinder engine are fitted as standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Besides the unusually high efficiency of the engines and gears, the extensive BMW EfficientDynamics technology also contributes to an excellent relationship between driving performance and fuel consumption in these models developed exclusively for the Chinese automobile market. The standard equipment includes e.g. brake energy regeneration, the automatic engine start-stop function, and the ECO PRO mode, which can be activated at the driving experience switch.

The new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan will be produced by the new Tiexi plant at the Shenyang site. Production proceeds according to the strict quality standards applied to the whole global production network of the BMW Group and in close collaboration with local production partners and parts suppliers. In Shenyang, the BMW Group has been producing automobiles since 2003 with its joint venture partner Brilliance. In order to increase the production capacity, both partners recently passed a motion to invest about a billion euros in both the present and the additional plant at the Shenyang site. This will allow the company to meet the constantly growing demand for premium automobiles in China. In 2011, China was the world's third largest sales market for the BMW Group.

Design: dynamically elongated proportions, elegant lines, precise details.
The BMW 3-Series is the most-sold premium automobile in the world. Based on the sixth generation BMW 3-Series sedan, a new model with a longer wheelbase will now be unveiled that has been developed exclusively for the Chinese automobile market. Its body incorporates the design language of the new BMW 3-Series sedan as an independent interpretation, lending intensity to its elegance and luxury. The proportions characteristic of the brand are shaped by the short overhangs, the long engine compartment, the back-set passenger compartment, and the long wheelbase. Compared with the new BMW 3-Series sedan, both the length of the vehicle (4734 mm) and its wheelbase (2920 mm) were each extended by 110 mm, with the width (1811 mm) and height (1455 mm) following suit.

Balled propulsive power and presence find expression in the design of the vehicle's front section. The contours of the engine compartment lid run in a V shape towards the BMW kidney grille placed right at the front. The contours of the headlamps reach towards the kidney grille, and, together with it, form a horizontal graphical unit that emphasises the width of the vehicle. A hallmark of the brand, the twin circular headlamps present across their tops a partially occluding trim panel, giving rise to the characteristic look of concentration. Depending on the model, chrome elements under the headlamp units and at the transition to the BMW kidney grille underscore the high quality claims of the front view.

Also the air inlet, divided into three segments and embedded between distinctively moulded surfaces, presents a conspicuously wide design, providing a marked distinction from the front view of the BMW 3-Series sedan with the normal wheelbase. Its independent contours are aligned to the look of BMW models from higher segments. At the outer edges of the side inlets, so called air curtains in the form of vertical openings serve to optimise the flow of air in the wheel arches.

A charming play of light and shade effects are provided by the beefy wheel arches, precision-fitted surfaces, and the interaction between the hallmark bead line at the height of the door opener and a suggestive second character line over the front wheel arches. In the characteristic language of BMW, the design presents authentic signs of this sedan's properties. These include a dynamic, wedge-shaped side view and its vibrant run of surfaces representative of marked agility. The beefy rear wheel arches point to the wide track and the drive power acting on the rear axle.

All lines and surfaces have been tuned precisely to the specific dimensions of the new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase. The harmony of proportions characteristic of the BMW 3-Series is therefore maintained. At the same time, the elongated appearance of the side view communicates an elegance known from higher vehicle segments. A new interpretation takes the form of the BMW hallmark Hofmeister kink at the rear end of the side window surrounds. For the first time, the chrome frame proceeds in a straight line from the counterthrust at the base of the C column towards the rear, thereby extending the horizontal run of the window cavity covers. This unmistakable attribute underscores the elegantly elongated side line and hence the extended space.

At the rear view of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan is dominated by the horizontal lines and the beefy wheel arches. Also the L-shaped rear lights on the outer sides merge harmoniously into the overall look, emphasising the wide track and therefore the stable roadholding of the vehicle. On the six-cylinder BMW 335Li, this impression is boosted further by the double-flow exhaust system's tailpipes placed at the outer edge. One specific attribute of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan is the chrome trim arranged above the number plate surround on the luggage compartment lid and serving as a link between the rear light units. This is supplemented with additional chrome trim at the bottom of the rear apron.

Interior: driver orientation, luxurious ambience, excellent travel comfort in the rear.

The interior of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan intensifies the experience of the hallmark driving pleasure and the premium character. Designed for enhanced driver orientation, the cockpit presents an instrument cluster based on black panel technology and a steering wheel with multifunction buttons. The centre console is inclined slightly towards the driver, presenting all controls at optimised ergonomic positions. The engine can be activated at the press of the start-stop button as soon as the radio-operated key is inside the vehicle. Next to the gear selector switch for the automatic transmission, there are two cup holders, the driving experience switch for individual setups, and the controller for the iDrive operating system, which also includes the free-standing onboard monitor. The high-resolution flat-screen design optimises the selection and control of vehicle, infotainment, and navigation functions. Fitted as standard, the automatic air conditioning includes temperature and ventilation control that can be set separately for the driver and front passenger sides.

The luxurious ambience is borne by high-quality materials, precision workmanship, and the interior surfaces matched perfectly to the choice of design and colours. In particular the rear presents a travel comfort that is yet to meet its match on the vehicle segment. Designed for enhanced comfort, the rear presents a row of single seats that are setting a new standard for available space. The new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase offers particularly convenient access and generous leg space for rear passengers. The knee space is 90 mm longer than in the new BMW 3-Series sedan with the normal wheelbase and is therefore the best in the competitive field.

The large number of equipment features in the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan underscores its orientation to comfort. The rear presents a centre armrest with integrated compartment and two cup holders, two illuminated vanity mirrors folding out of the roof liner, and BMW Individual reading lights. Also fitted in the rear are ashtrays integrated in the door trim panels and a switch unit that can adjust the front passenger seat. Moreover, the sedan is fitted with a lighting package, including ambient light, and roller sun blinds that are opened and closed electrically on the rear window and mechanically on the side windows.

The safety equipment in the sedan, besides the front and side airbags and side curtain head airbags for both rows of seats, also includes ISOFIX child seat mountings in the rear. The 480-litre luggage compartment can be expanded when needed at the 40:20:40 split and folding rear backrest. In conjunction with the optional Comfort Access, the rear lid can be opened remotely.

BMW Luxury Line: refined elegance and exclusive flair.
The new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan embodies premium quality, driving pleasure, and travel comfort on a level unique to this vehicle segment. Its character is defined by pioneering technology and a luxurious ambience - and both can receive additional emphasis from the BMW Luxury und Modern Lines, offered for the first time in China as an alternative to the basic version. Each of these characterisations is communicated to the full effect by the precisely matched design and equipment features. Likewise the dynamic alignment of the normal wheelbase sports sedan can be lent even greater emphasis from a BMW Line. The BMW Sport Line is offered for the new BMW 3-Series sedan.

As an extra highlight underscoring the classical elegance of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan, the BMW Luxury Line includes exclusive 17" multispoke light-alloy wheels; B column covers and window cavities in High-Gloss Black; grille bars; inlays for the air inlets and tailpipe trims in chrome; and additional applications on the side sills. The inscription "Luxury" can be found on both the side panels and the door sill cover strips. Also the interior lends expression to the exclusive character in the form e.g. of its leather trim in one of three colours; a sports leather steering wheel; chrome surrounds for the centre console and the air conditioning and audio controls; interior strips of fine inlaid Walnut, and an accentuation strip of Glossy Pearl Chrome. In addition, the Luxury Line sedan provides user-definable colour schemes for the welcome and ambient light. A chrome trim can also be found on its vehicle key.

BMW Modern Line: natural charisma, progressive style.
Likewise available for the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan, the Modern Line presents design and equipment features that lend expression to the sedan's style, testifying to its efficiency, sustainable quality, and pioneering technology. This is carried by refined and modern accentuations like tailpipe trims; grille bars; air inlet bars; window frames; aluminium satinated applications on the side sills and roof trim; the B column covers and window cavities in High-Gloss Blach; and the 17" light-alloy V spoke wheels. For the BMW 335Li, the Modern Line also includes 18" turbine design light-alloy wheels.

A particularly harmonious ambience is provided by the light-coloured dashboard and the Dark Oyster steering wheel, supporting a consistent brightness in the interior without stark contrasts. This progressive charisma is underscored further by the Black or Oyster leather trim with decorative seams and the interior strips of Fineline wood with chrome accentuation. Additional features of this BMW Line are the inscription "Modern" on the side panels and door sill cover strips; user-definable colour schemes for the welcoming and ambient light; the chrome surrounds for the air conditioning and audio controls; and the vehicle key unit in Oyster.

BMW Sport Line: dynamic presence, striking accentuations.
Available for the BMW 3-Series sedan with the normal wheelbase, the Sport Line presents striking High-Gloss Black accentuations, underscoring the dynamic presence of this new model. Eight highly stylised, black grille bars lend the front a commanding appearance of particularly sporty flair. The black inlays in the front apron visually magnify the air inlets and underscore the beefy wheel arches. There, the suitable sporty elegance is carried by the 17" light-alloy double-spoke wheels. Like the B column covers and the window cavities; also the exterior mirrors are available in High-Gloss Black. The visual impression of rear width is boosted by the black decorative trim along the bottom edge of the rear lights. The tailpipe trim presents a Black Chrome finish.

The sporty exclusive flair in the interior finds expression in the contrasts between the black and red accentuations. The sporty flair in the cockpit is underscored by red decorative rings and red chrono scaling on the circular instruments, red decorative seams on the sports steering wheel, and High-Gloss Black trim with a coral red accentuation strip. The standard sports seats in leather trim are available in one of three colours with exclusive accentuations. These are joined by the chrome surrounds for the air conditioning and audio controls and the inscription "Sport" on the door sill cover strips. The distinguishing feature of the Sport Line, the ignition key, is black with a red decorative inlay.

Engines: supreme power and pioneering efficiency thanks to BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology.

The unique status that premium automobiles from the BMW brand enjoy all over the world is linked closely to the brand's characteristic driving pleasure. In the new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase, this is the result of the outstanding competence the company has brought to bear in the field of drive development. The engines fitted in the models BMW 335Li, BMW 328Li, and BMW 320Li are designed for an impressive delivery of sporty and supreme power. And their pioneering efficiency is equally convincing. Both the inline six-cylinder engine in the BMW 335Li and the four-cylinder drives in the two other models feature the latest development of BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology. This includes a twin scroll turbocharger, direct high-precision petrol injection, the variable valve control system VALVETRONIC, and the variable camshaft control system double VANOS.

The BMW 335Li is fitted with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine featuring this technology package. Its supercharging system directs the pulsing gas flow through three separate cylinders arranged in a spiral around the turbine. Arranged directly next to the spark plug, the injectors direct the air-fuel mixture precisely dosed into the combustion chambers. Power delivery and efficiency also benefit greatly from the VALVETRONIC integrated completely in the cylinder head and the camshaft adjustment for the intake and discharge side (double VANOS). In this manner, the multiple-award-winning six-cylinder petrol engine can deliver a max power output of 225 kW / 306 bhp at a speed of 5800-6000 rpm and a max torque of 400 Nm between 1200 and 5000 rpm. The BMW 335Li accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. Its average fuel consumption as determined in the EU test cycle is 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres, and its CO2 emissions are 192 grams per kilometre.

BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology also helps the four-cylinder engine in the BMW 328Li to achieve an extraordinary relationship between performance and fuel consumption. With a capacity of 2.0 litres, the new engine delivers a max power output of 180 kW / 245 bhp between 5000 and 6500 rpm. The max torque of 350 Nm is reached at speeds between 1250 and 4800 rpm. The BMW 328Li sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds. Its average fuel consumption as determined in the EU test cycle is max 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres, and its CO2 emissions are 167 grams per kilometre.

Delivering 135 kW / 184 bhp between 5000 and 6250 rpm, also the four-cylinder variant with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology provides for sporty performance in the BMW 320Li. Spontaneous power delivery and high-revving properties also characterise this engine, which delivers its max torque of 270 Nm between 1250 and 4500 rpm. The BMW 320Li needs 7.9 seconds to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h. Its average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres, and its CO2 emissions are 160 grams per kilometre.

Unique on the segment worldwide: eight speed automatic transmission.
The BMW 3-Series sedan is the world's first vehicle on its segment to feature an eight-speed automatic transmission. The new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase is fitted as standard with this innovative power transmission system, providing an extra boost to its sporty flair and efficiency. The fascination of this eight speed automatic transmission lies in its extraordinarily fast gear shifts and a particularly precise control that supports direct downshifting to a specific gear.

Thanks to its unique mount on the wheel set, the eight-speed automatic transmission also exhibits a compact design and a low weight. Its size and weight are therefore comparable with the six-speed automatic transmission fitted in the predecessor model. The equipment includes an optional eight-speed sports automatic transmission that is characterised e.g. by an even higher level of dynamic shifting and also includes shift paddles on the steering wheel.

BMW EfficientDynamics: innovative technology for greater driving pleasure with reduced emissions.

The consistent use of technology serving to cut fuel consumption and emissions is propelling the current BMW models to leading efficiency positions on all segments. In this respect, outstanding performance always goes hand in hand with particularly low fuel consumption. Also the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan is setting standards in this field on its segment. Its engines and transmissions are characterised by extraordinarily high efficiencies, and in addition it is fitted as standard with BMW EfficientDynamics technology.

All variants of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan come with an automatic engine start-stop function as standard. This eliminates idle phases during temporary stops by switching off the engine automatically. As soon as the vehicle comes to a stop, the engine is switched off automatically. When the road ahead clears again, the driver simply has to remove his foot from the brake, and the engine starts without any further delay.

In addition, all engine variants come with the driving experience switch that activates ECO PRO mode. This affects the engine control, the accelerator pedal curve, and the shifting characteristics of the automatic transmission. This supports a fuel-optimised driving style at low engine speeds. Particularly efficient energy management is supported by a controller designed specifically for regulating the power functions like air conditioning, seat heating, and exterior mirror heating. Dedicated displays provide information e.g. on the extended range in kilometres now possible. Details of efficiency-optimised driving are also providing for the current situation in the form of ECO PRO tips that appear on the instrument cluster and control display.

Also a standard feature, brake energy regeneration is an intelligent energy management system that concentrates the generation of onboard electricity over the thrust and brake phases. The BMW EfficientDynamics technology also extends to the needs-based control of auxiliary units and electromechanical steering. Also, intelligent lightweight structures and tyres with reduced rolling resistance contribute to optimised fuel consumption and emission values.

Ideal balance of sportiness and driving comfort.
The new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan combines the brand's hallmark sporty flair with specifically optimised driving comfort. This is carried by the particularly high-quality suspension technology, the perfect support for this successful concept with longitudinal engine, rear wheel drive, balanced axle load distribution, and torsionally stiff body. The sedan features a detailed further development of the two-joint spring strut front axle with extensive use of aluminium components for high rigidity and optimised weight. Also the five-link rear axle is based on an established principle, providing the ideal conditions for a balanced overall setup. At the same time, agility and precision regulated handling are provided together with outstanding suspension comfort.

One essential contribution to the characteristic BMW driving experience also takes the form of the precision steering that provides the driver with exact feedback at all times. This steering system finds the ideal basis in the characteristic BMW drive concept, which shields it from drive effects. In the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan, an electric motor provides the power for the electromechanical hydraulic steering. This is active only when powered steering is actually required. On straight roads and in corners taken at a constant steering angle, no electrical power is therefore consumed.

In addition to the powerful brake system, unrestrictedly effective even under high loads, also the standard Dynamic Stability Control DSC contributes to the agile handling properties of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan. This system includes e.g. the antilocking system ABS, dynamic traction control DTC, cornering brake control (CBC), and dynamic brake control (DBC). Additional functions now also include a brake assistant, fading brake support, a dry brake function, a drive-off assistant, and the electronic locking function for the rear axle differential (active in DCS OFF mode).

All variants of the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan are fitted with light-alloy wheels as standard. These are 16" on the BMW 320Li, 17" on the BMW 328Li, and 18" on the BMW 335Li.

Driving experience switch: vehicle setup at the push of a button.
The driving experience switch fitted as standard on the centre console activates the vehicle setups "COMFORT", "SPORT", "SPORT+", and "ECO PRO". The driving experience switch affects the accelerator pedal progression, the engine response, the characteristic curve of the steering servo, the DSC configuration, and the dynamic shifting properties of the automatic transmission. In each case, the driver activates a preconfigured setup for a harmonised world of experience.

In vehicles fitted with the Professional navigation system, the control display can present the specific details in the "SPORT" and "SPORT+" modes. These details inform the driver of the engine power drawn and the current torque level.

BMW ConnectedDrive: new functions for comfort, safety, and infotainment.
The progressive character of the new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase finds impressive testimony in the wide range of driver assistance systems and mobility services unique in the competitive field. The options provided by BMW ConnectedDrive serve to optimise the comfort, safety, and infotainment in the vehicle over an intelligent network of links. Its highlights include the Surround View system, the BMW Head-Up Display, and the apps facility.

The equipment supplementing Park Distance Control (PDC) includes a reversing camera integrated under the BMW brand logo in the luggage compartment lid and the Surround View system including Side View. The Surround View system also utilises two cameras in the side mirrors in addition to the reversing camera and the PDC sensors. The data thus captured are processed by a central computer. This then generates an image on the control display that shows the vehicle and its environment from the bird's eye view. This depiction allows particularly precise manoeuvring in a confined space.

When the situation demands this, the driver can also make use of the Side View function as a subsystem of the optional Surround View. Side View works with two cameras that are integrated in the front wheel arches and that allow the driver to observe traffic coming from the side. These images are also presented on the control display. This not only simplifies manoeuvring, but also warns the driver of oncoming traffic from the side when the vehicle is leaving confined spaces like back-set gates or multistorey car parks.

Also the BMW Park Assistant is available as an option for the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan. This system assists the driver in manoeuvring safely and comfortably into tight parking spaces aligned parallel to the direction of travel. Featuring ultrasound sensors in the side indicator surrounds, the BMW Park Assistant can also help the driver to find a suitable parking space. While manoeuvring into a parking space, the driver need only control the accelerator and brake pedals and keep an eye out for possible dangers. The Park Assistant also takes over the steering wheel. The driver is given instructions on how to manoeuvre into the parking space.

Optimised display quality is provided by the latest generation of the BMW Head-Up Display, also available for the new, long wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan. The graphics now benefit from the entire colour spectrum, with realistic symbols projected at the optimal ergonomic position on the windscreen. Also the scope of information presented on the Head-Up Display has been expanded. Depending on the vehicle configuration, this may also include check control and status messages from the driver assistance systems in addition to the current road speed and high guiding instructions from the navigation system.

The highest demands for infotainment are fulfilled by a particularly powerful interface technology that safeguards the unrestricted use of external mobile phones and music players in the new BMW 3-Series sedan. This presents the passengers with their personal music library, read from their smartphone or music player in the vehicle. The onboard monitor then presents the saved music titles and their cover art in addition to the playlists. The Apps option provided by BMW ConnectedDrive and the application BMW Connected also allow Apple iPhone users to utilise additional web-based services in the vehicle. These include a web radio function and access to social networks.

The new BMW 3-Series sedan: even greater diversity, consistent sporty flair, and max efficiency with the BMW ActiveHybrid 3.

At the same time the new BMW 3-Series sedan with the long wheelbase will be celebrating its world premiere, Auto China 2012 in Beijing will also be witnessing the presentation of the new, normal wheelbase BMW 3-Series sedan produced at the BMW plant in Munich. This new edition of the sportiest four-door model on the segment will be launched as the variants BMW 328i and BMW 320i on the Chinese automobile market. Both models are fitted with the new engines featuring BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and combined as standard with the eight-speed automatic transmission.

Packing 180 kW / 245 bhp, the BMW 328i accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds. Its average fuel consumption is 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres, and its CO2 emissions are 154 grams per kilometre. The BMW 320i, delivering 135 kW / 184 bhp, reaches the 100 km/h mark in 7.6 seconds. It achieves an average fuel consumption of 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 151 grams per kilometre.

At a later time, the range will be supplemented with the BMW 335i xDrive, a six-cylinder model which will be transferring its power to the road via the intelligent all-wheel-drive system BMW xDrive. Furthermore, also the M Sports package will be available for the new BMW 3-Series sedan. This equipment package includes e.g. the M Aerodynamic package, M Sports package, M light-alloy wheels, M sports seats, and other exclusive features that boost the dynamic character of this model to even greater heights.

Another particularly innovative development in characteristic efficiency takes the form of BMW ActiveHybrid 3. Developed on the basis of the new BMW 3-Series sedan, this fully hybrid model will be celebrating its Asian premiere at Auto China 2012. Its drive system consists of an inline six-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology, an electric motor, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The max system output is 250 kW / 340 bhp, and electricity is supplied from a lithium ion battery. The drive technology behind the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 allows purely electrically powered driving in urban traffic and local, zero emissions "sailing" with disconnected combustion engine at speeds up to 160 km/h. Its average fuel consumption is 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres, which is about 12.5% lower than a comparable model with only the combustion engine. Also the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 available on the Chinese automobile market before the end of 2012.
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Bentley Continental GT3 Racecar, 2014

  •  Bentley Continental GT3 Racecar, 2014

Bentley debuted the Continental GT3 race car at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, unveiling a racing machine set to explore the extreme potential of Bentley's iconic Grand Tourer, the Continental GT. Member of the Board for Engineering, Rolf Frech, comments: "The Continental GT3 exploits the incredible performance beneath the skin of every Continental GT. We've removed over 1000 kilograms of weight, reconfigured our 4.0-litre V8 to produce 600 bhp in race specification, and developed a comprehensive aerodynamic package to ensure that we perform competitively. We are now looking forward to getting the car on the track and proving its potential."

The Bentley Continental GT3 is powered by a race-prepared and dry-sump version of Bentley's powerful but efficient 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, with many components carried over from the road-going engine. Developing up to 600 bhp in unrestricted race configuration via a motorsport engine management system, the V8 provides the GT3 with highly competitive power in a compact and lightweight package that's perfect for racing. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a carbon fibre propshaft to an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox with a limited slip differential, mounted as a transaxle for optimised weight distribution. Gear actuations are completed via a pneumatic shift system, controlled by paddles mounted to the steering wheel.

A double wishbone suspension configuration front and rear, fitted with four-way adjustable racing dampers, replaces the standard road-car air springs. The steering system features hydraulic power-assistance, while braking is via ventilated iron discs combined with six-piston calipers on the front and four-piston calipers on the rear.

The exterior of the car features a comprehensive aerodynamic package, to maximise downforce with optimised drag. A top-mounted carbon fibre rear wing provides rear downforce and stability, while a carbon fibre splitter balances the aerodynamic forces at the front of the car. Revisions have been made to the bonnet, bumpers, fenders and sills in order to optimise the car's drag coefficient and to assist with engine cooling.

With the removal of the leather and wood interior trim, the production electrical systems and advanced refinement materials that make the Continental GT such a capable Grand Tourer, the Bentley Continental GT3 weighs in under its target of 1300 kg. Despite the race-specification, the GT3 remains a hand-crafted Bentley, with the steering wheel, door pulls and seat all hand-trimmed and stitched by Bentley craftspeople at Crewe.

The design has been completed by a specialist team of engineers from Bentley Motors supported by the Continental GT3 Technical Partner, M-Sport Ltd. Managed from a dedicated motorsport facility base at Bentley's Crewe factory, an additional design office was created at M-Sport for the detail design stages and build of the first car.

The Bentley Continental GT3 now starts its programme of developmental track work, focussing on optimising the car's performance based on simulations and refining the car's abilities. Once homologation with the FIA has been completed, the GT3 will enter its first development races before starting full competition in the FIA Blancpain Series in 2014.

   * Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, repositioned to the rear of the engine bay, Cosworth engine management system
    * Power: Approx. 600 bhp derestricted
    * Oil System: Dry sump
   *  Transmission: Rear wheel drive, Xtrac six-speed sequential transaxle gearbox, racing clutch, steering wheel mounted paddle operated pneumatic gear shift
   * Drivetrain: Carbon fibre propshaft, limited slip differential
   * Suspension: Double wishbone suspension front and rear, four-way adjustable racing dampers
    *Steering: Hydraulic power-assisted steering
    Brakes: Ventilated iron disc brakes front and rear, Brembo six-piston front calipers, four-piston rear calipers, driver-adjustable brake bias
    Safety: FIA-specification steel roll cage, Sparco six-point FIA safety harness, onboard fire extinguisher, onboard pneumatic jack system.
    Fuel System: FIA-specification racing fuel cell
    Electronics: Race-specification ABS and traction control. Lightweight race battery.
    Wheels: OZ Racing 18" x 13" rims
    Tyres: 310 / 710 R18
    Aerodynamics: Carbon fibre front splitter, rear wing and body panels. Lightweight, aerodynamically-optimised bumpers, bonnet, sills and fenders
    Length: 4950 mm
    Width: 2030 mm
    Height: 1350 mm
    Weight: <1300 kg
    Weight Distribution: 52 : 48
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Audi A3 e-tron Concept, 2013

  •  Audi A3 e-tron Concept, 2013
The four-cylinder engine is state of the art in every respect - its low frictional losses, its turbocharger, its intercooler and its thermal management. One special feature is the way the exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head. After a cold start, it brings the coolant swiftly up to operating temperature. At high loads the water jacket lowers the temperature of the exhaust gas.
The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron from Audi is a latest-generation plug-in-hybrid car. The premium compact vehicle will go on sale from 2014 and is a genuine Audi. It combines sporty power with impressive efficiency and abundant driving enjoyment with unrestricted everyday utility. The A3 Sportback e-tron offers 150 kW (204 hp) of system power and achieves average consumption of only 1.5 liters per 100 km (156.81 US mpg) of gasoline. In the electric mode its operating range is up to 50 kilometers (31.07 miles), with the TFSI engine adding a further 890 km (553.02 miles).

From 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 222 km/h (137.94 mph) - the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron adds an extra highlight to the sporty character of the compact premium car line. In accordance with the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid vehicles, its average CO2 emissions are a mere 35 grams per km (56.33 g/mile) - equivalent to consumption of 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (156.81 US mpg).

Thanks to the ultra lightweight construction philosophy of Audi, the unladen five-door model complete with all electrical components weighs less than 1,580 kilo-grams (3,483.30 lb), with space for five occupants and plenty of cargo. It comes complete with all the brand's strengths - elegant design, sporty chassis, top-notch ergonomics, excellent build quality and an extensive choice of high-end assistance and infotainment systems.

The 1.4 TFSI combustion engine is one of the most modern power units of Audi. Inside the engine compartment, looking in the direction of travel, it is positioned a few centimeters further to the right than usual, to create space for the high-voltage components. Its crankcase is made from diecast aluminum, weighing little more than 100 kg (220.46 lb).

Developing 110 kW (150 hp) and 250 Nm (184.39 lb-ft), the 1.4 TFSI is a powerful unit. It supplies peak torque across the entire speed range from 1,750 through 4,000 rpm, thus harmonizing excellently with the electric motor. The maximum of 330 Nm (243.40 lb-ft) is available virtually from the off, and is maintained constantly across a broad speed range up to about 2,200 rpm. Its maximum output is 75 kW. The system output of the A3 Sportback e-tron is 150 kW (204 hp), and system torque is 350 Nm (258.15 lb-ft). With the combination of electric motor and combustion engine, an overall operating range of up to 940 kilometers (584.09 miles) is possible. And its road performance is unwaveringly sporty: It takes a mere 4.9 seconds to sprint from 0 to 60 km/h (37.28 mph).

The electric motor is a permanently excited synchronous machine. It weighs 34 kilograms (74.96 lb) and is liquid-cooled via a cooling jacket in the stator. The electric motor is located between the engine's dual-mass flywheel and the newly developed separating clutch, the K0 clutch. When the TFSI starts, it is tow-started by the electric motor via the clutch. As soon as the former has achieved the same speed as the electric motor, the clutch is opened. This smooth, highly precise process takes place within half a second.

Together with the K0 separating clutch, the electric motor is integrated into a newly designed six-speed e-S tronic, which transfers the power to the front wheels. Like all Audi dual-clutch transmissions, it consists of two subsidiary transmissions that are served by the two multi-plate clutches K1 and K2. Gears are shifted by switching the clutches. This takes just a few hundredths of a second and happens without any noticeable interruption in propulsive power.

Depending on the level of charge, the voltage ranges between 280 and 390 volts. The battery consists of 96 prismatic cells arranged into eight modules of twelve cells each. Including the electronic components - the battery management controller and the battery junction box - the battery system weighs 125 kilograms (275.58 lb). Its housing is bolted to the vehicle floor at five points, and the lower shell is made from aluminum.

An elaborate liquid cooling system ensures that the battery is kept within a suitable temperature range during operation. Drivers of the Audi A3 e-tron will be able to start electrically in hot summer conditions and at sub-zero winter temperatures alike. Four cooling plates regulate the temperature of the high-voltage battery's eight modules. The cooling system represents a separate low-temperature circuit in the car and runs on a separate cooler housed in the engine compartment. If need be, it can be connected to the air conditioning system and even divided into two subsidiary circuits.

In the event of a crash sufficiently severe to trigger the belt tensioners or airbags, the entire system is disconnected from the power supply. The flat-shaped battery is installed under the rear bench seat - an area where the high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel components of the occupant cell form an especially strong structure. Its housing and interior structure are equally of a very sturdy design.

The 12-volt battery for the low-voltage consumers and the 40-liter (10.57 US gallons) fuel tank are located above the rear axle. Both components barely impinge on the trunk of the A3 Sportback e-tron - in the standard configuration it measures 280 liters (9.89 cubic ft) and 1,120 liters (39.55 cubic ft) with the rear seat backs down.

Audi supplies the A3 Sportback e-tron with a universal charging lead as standard. The customer can interchange the connecting plugs so that the lead can be used both with domestic power sockets and with industrial power sockets, for full charging performance. These connecting plugs are country-specific in design, so that the A3 Sportback e-tron can be recharged anywhere in the world.

For easy use at home, the charging lead can be clipped into a wall-mounted holder. Even this holder has an Audi design, and as well as being a convenient way to store and use the lead, it is lockable. The charging equipment is thus protected against theft even when kept outdoors.

The charging lead supplies the car with alternating current from the grid via the charging connection, which is in the Singleframe grille behind the fold-out four rings. As well as a status LED, the unit includes two pushbuttons allowing the user to choose between timer-controlled charging and immediate charging. In the car, the alternating current fed in by the charger is converted into direct current for the battery.

From an industrial power socket, it takes slightly more than two hours to charge the battery fully. From a normal domestic power socket in Europe, the charging process takes about three hours and 45 minutes. Audi is working intensively on a joint project with a supplier of renewable power, because electric driving only makes ecological sense if such power is available.

Another medium-term project of Audi is automatic charging without physical contacts, referred to as Audi wireless charging. Here the charging process involves an alternating magnetic field between the stationary charging pad on the ground and the mobile charging pad in the car, similar to the principle used by an electric toothbrush.

The power electronics, located in the engine compartment, then convert the stored direct current into three-phase current for the electric motor. It has six high-performance transistors for this task. The power electronics, which include a DC/DC converter for connecting up the vehicle's 12-volt electrical system, are compact and light in weight. They have a total volume of 8 liters (0.28 cubic ft) and weigh 10 kilograms (22.05 lb). Together with the charger, it is incorporated into the same cooling circuit as the traction battery.

There are yet more special components for electric driving. The air conditioning compressor has an electric drive integrated into the high-voltage network. A thermoelectric heating element and a gasoline-powered auxiliary heater round off the interior heating system.

The hybrid management is configured to function in harmony with the electric motor. Up to medium loads the electric motor, now functioning as alternator, largely handles retardation. The energy that it recovers is fed into the traction battery. The wheel brakes only become active if the driver presses the pedal more forcefully.

Braking recuperation is just one of several operating statuses of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron. The car is almost always started electrically, even at very low temperatures, in extremely hot conditions or when battery charge is very low. The electric motor's high torque enables the sporty compact car to accelerate away powerfully. It goes from 0 to 60 km/h (37.28 mph) in 4.9 seconds - with quiet but forceful propulsion.

In the electric mode the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron can travel at up to 130 km/h (80.78 mph) - it could go faster, but that would not be efficient. When traveling at a constant 100 km/h (62.14 mph), generally only the electric motor is active provided there is sufficient energy in the battery. As soon as the driver steps hard on the accelerator, for instance to overtake, and causes the pedal to go beyond a certain resistance point, it prompts the TFSI to cut in via the K0 separating clutch. In the boost mode the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron accelerates with all of 350 Nm torque (258.15 lb-ft).

When the driver releases the accelerator at high speed, the hybrid management enters the gliding mode. Now both drives are entirely deactivated and are no longer developing braking torque. When stepping off the accelerator at medium and low speeds, the system recovers energy through coasting recuperation; braking recuperation then becomes active when the brake pedal is pressed, except if a full brake application is needed.

The driver has several ways of actively managing the vehicle's response. They can choose from three programs using a button in the driving area and the e-S tronic selector lever. The EV characteristic map gives priority to electric drive, whereas the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron behaves very sportily in the S program. The hybrid hold mode can be selected via a menu in the MMI. This mode preserves the electrical energy stored in the battery for later use. In addition, the driver can specify detailed settings in the Audi drive select control system. Different stages of coasting recuperation are permanently assigned to the individual Audi drive select modes. Within certain ranges, this enables the driver to influence how the battery is charged while on the move.

The Audi A3 Sportback e-tron displays supply precise information about the driveline status. The powermeter in the instrument cluster shows the system's overall output, as well as the status of the driveline and the battery charge. The monitor for the MMI navigation plus shows the energy flows in the hybrid system. In addition, the driver information system displays the operating ranges and consumption figures for electricity and gasoline.

Under the Audi connect umbrella Audi is currently developing an entire portfolio of innovative online services for the A3 Sportback e-tron. Drivers can use these to monitor and manage a wide range of functions via their iOS or android smartphone or via a web portal.

The driver can call up the car's status - such as the battery's momentary charge status, the electric range or its current parked location. They can program charging schemes remotely from their mobile phone or computer. They have the option of starting and stopping charging or setting the charging timer and climate control scheme to reflect when they next plan to drive the car. They can thus specify in detail at what time on what days they want to drive off with the battery fully charged.

The climate control planner, the third aspect, works similarly. The owner of an Audi A3 Sportback e-tron can for instance specify a target temperature for the interior according to a differentiated timetable. Adjusting the climate in advance while still hooked to the power socket is much more efficient than when driving electrically, because it does not then constitute a drain on the car battery and thus optimizes the electric range. In addition, it also adjusts the drive components to the appropriate temperature for the conditions. Finally, the web portal gives the owner the chance to check their trip data, e.g. power consumption, distance driven and speed.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Aston Martin Vantage SP10, 2013

  •  Aston Martin Vantage SP10, 2013

The Aston Martin is launching a very special edition V8 Vantage S in Continental Europe that takes its inspiration from the brand's numerous successes on the race track.

The Aston Martin Vantage SP10 is offered in a bespoke specification that reflects its close affinity with the racing car.

Inspired by its successful motorsport activities in the GT4 racing series - particularly in the VLN endurance championship at the Nürburgring - the new car is a road model that has been engineered in the style of the luxury sports car maker's GT4 racers.

With 436 PS and a top speed of 305 km/h, Aston Martin has named the new special edition model Vantage SP10. The inspiration behind it is its namesake class SP10 in the VLN series, in which GT4 racing cars compete at the Nürburgring.

Impressive performance and, for the first time, manual six-speed transmission
Technically, the Vantage SP10 is almost identical to the V8 Vantage S but with the addition, for the first time, of a six-speed manual transmission.

The V8 Vantage S has developed into a popular model for Aston Martin customers, since its market launch in 2011,  a model that places an even greater emphasis on sportiness. With its 4.7-litre V8 engine, which produces 436 PS and 490 Nm on the road, the V8 Vantage S manages 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 305 km/h. This sportiness is enhanced by its striking appearance, which took inspiration from the V12 Vantage, and the sensational sound from the engine, which comes thanks to the sports exhaust with active bypass valves which was specifically developed for this model.

The Aston Martin Vantage SP10 is the first V8 Vantage S to feature a six-speed manual transmission. This manual gearbox is offered as standard and, as with the V8 Vantage, will impress those who enjoy pure sports car driving.

Customers can choose the optional Sportshift™ II automated manual seven-speed transmission that was developed for the introduction of the V8 Vantage S. This transmission allows for gear changes that are around 20% quicker than the previous transmission, which worked with six gears. This additional gear brings about shorter transmission ratios and optimum gear shifting. And the result: faster acceleration and a more sporty driving experience.

With the V8 Vantage S, Aston Martin has further closed the gap between road cars and racing cars. Like its role model, the Vantage GT4 racing car, it has an extremely rigid aluminium chassis - the ideal platform for a racing car but also the perfect basis for a sporty road car.

Impressive performance, dynamic driving characteristics and superb handling transform the V8 Vantage S, and thus the Vantage SP10, into a sports car that delivers a true 'fun factor' for enthusiast drivers of all kinds.

Design inspired by motorsport
The Aston Martin Vantage SP10 has a purposeful appearance that showcases its agility and performance and transfers the visual dynamics from motorsport to the road.

Both the Coupé and the Roadster are available in Ceramic Grey Metallic. The convertible top of the Roadster is Titan Grey. Its 19-inch cast alloy rims with V-shaped spokes in a diamond turn finish and painted in high-gloss black, and the black brake callipers, emphasise the muscular look of the car. The special paint on the rims is offered exclusively for the special Vantage SP10 model.

Other visual and functional details from the world of motorsport include the front splitter and the carbon rear diffuser - both come as part of the Vantage SP10 standard equipment, along with the clear rear lamps.

Black is the dominant colour in the vehicle interior. Entirely in line with its motorsport pedigree, the Coupé features characteristic Vantage S seat and backrest covers and a sports steering wheel in Black Alcantara.

The silver stitching offers a strong contrast. And the interior is rounded off by a roof liner in Black Alcantara. In contrast to the Coupé, the Roadster features black leather seat and backrest covers and a black leather steering wheel, also with silver stitching.

Both versions are equipped with a centre console in Piano Black. The instrument panel is trimmed entirely with leather and embellished with silver stitching.

Extensive combinations of features for more luxury and practicality
Like the V8 Vantage S, the Vantage SP10 is more than just a distinctive sports model. Thanks to its features, it will prove itself to be outstanding in everyday use.

Electrically operated seats, satellite navigation, cruise control and Bluetooth telephone preparation are just a few examples of the luxurious list of standard equipment that makes the Vantage SP10 a pleasant companion for everyday life. And with the 750W Premium Audio Sound System which is even part of the standard equipment in the Vantage SP10, music lovers can also make the most of this car.

The high-fidelity sound can be enhanced further by choosing the 1000W Bang & Olufsen Beo Sound Audio System as an optional extra. This and other additional equipment features, such as a reversing camera, sports suspension (on the Coupé only) or lightweight carbon seats, guarantee even higher levels of comfort and luxury.

One particularly distinctive feature of this special model is a badge on the engine block that features the inscription "Aston Martin Vantage SP10" and which, of course, comes as standard.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Alfa Romeo 4C, 2014

  •  Alfa Romeo 4C, 2014
Acronym 4C
The acronym '4C' draws its inspiration from the brand's glorious past, projecting the values of technology and emotions into the future. Indeed, it refers to Alfa Romeo's great sporting tradition: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s distinguished cars - both racing and non - fitted with the powerful 'eight cylinders' and the innovative 'six cylinders', confirming in its design layout and construction the goal of achieving the weight/power ratio of an authentic supercar, less than 4 kg/HP, yet focusing not merely on the maximum power delivered, but on limiting the weight to guarantee maximum agility and top performance. To this end, the Alfa Romeo 4C uses state-of-the-art technologies and materials derived from super sports cars (including the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione) - carbon fibre, aluminium, rear-wheel drive - and technologies from the latest standard models from Alfa Romeo, but updated to enhance the sports appeal of the new car even further. This is demonstrated by the new 1750 Turbo Petrol all-aluminium engine with direct injection, the sophisticated "Alfa TCT" twin dry clutch transmission and the Alfa DNA selector with the brand-new Race mode.

Designed by Alfa Romeo and produced in the Maserati plant in Modena, the new mid-engined rear-wheel drive coupé with two bucket seats will be become available for purchase in 2013 and will mark the return of the Italian brand to the United States, inaugurating Alfa Romeo's global growth plan.

The global launch of the Alfa Romeo 4C marks the return of the brand to the world of lightweight sports coupés, an extraordinary event, awaited ever more eagerly by the host of fans throughout the world. The exclusive 'Launch Edition' was created just for them, a numbered limited edition of 400 in Europe with exclusive characteristics developed specifically for this unique version.

It made its début, at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show, where orders officially opened for the 'Launch Edition' of the new 4C compact supercar at a price of 60,000 euros in most European markets (price including VAT net of other local taxes). What's more, all buyers can take part in an exclusive event which will include an advanced driving course, to learn how to make the most of its potential in complete safety.

The new Launch Edition can 'clothe' its body with two liveries - Carrara White or Alfa Red - and is marked out by the distinctive badge, inlaid beneath the paintwork. The line of the special car is enhanced by the carbon aerodynamic kit (including spoiler and door mirror covers), the rear aluminium diffuser with dark finishing, Bi-LED headlights with dark surround and 18" (front) and 19" (rear) alloy wheels with burnishing treatment.

To accentuate the sports look still further, there are front air intakes, brake calipers in a specific colour, racing exhaust system with BMC air cleaner and suspension kit with specific calibration for shock absorbers and rear anti-roll bar.

The interior has the same sports feel, with highlights provided by the leather/fabric sports seats with parts in Alcantara, as well as the distinctive, numbered carbon badge. In the case of the red livery, the Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition has red stitching on the steering wheel trim, handbrake, mats, handles and sports seats.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition offers all the winning characteristics of the model that represents the essential sportiness embedded in the 'Alfa Romeo DNA': Italian style, performance and technical excellence, for maximum driving pleasure in complete safety.

The Alfa Romeo 4C derives directly from the concept which raised many eyebrows in admiration at the Geneva Show in 2011, so much so that it won three prestigious awards: the 'AutoBild Design Award' (2011, Germany), the 'Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes' (2012, Italy) and the 'Most Exciting Car of 2013' - 'What Car?' (2013, Great Britain).

Exterior style
Designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the 4C immediately brings to mind some of the traditional iconic models which have left a significant mark in the history of the Brand. Above all others, in terms of dimensional and layout similarities, one stands out in particular: the 33 Stradale, a car that combined extreme mechanical and functional requirements with an essential style which "clothed" the engine and chassis appropriately with unmistakable Alfa Romeo treatments.

The 4C has followed suit, and thus completes a journey which was embarked upon with the 8C Competizione, emphasising some particular concepts of the brand, such as compact size, dynamism and agility.

The development of the 4C's exterior was characterised from the start by the need to enhance the style of the car and the technical characteristics both from a dynamic and aerodynamic point of view. For this reason, all the style solutions adopted have been optimised in accordance with the ultimate goal of the car: performance.

The rear volume, sinuous and enveloping, simultaneously encloses and embraces the beating heart of the car: the mechanics and the engine, visible through the rear window.

All this, thanks to the development of marked musculature above the wheels, lends strength and power to the rear end.

The rear musculature supports its structure on round rear light clusters and on the side air intakes necessary to cool the intercooler and the air intake for engine aspiration.

From this energy-charged rear volume and the two side air intakes spring the two long muscles which lend speed and dynamism to the side, generating the necessary volume at the front end to house the headlights and, on the central part, the two robust ribs running along the bonnet, tracing the unmistakable "V" and coming to their natural conclusion around the shield.

This, together with the two side intakes, forms the famous "Trefoil", a substantial facet of Alfa Romeo's profile.

Interior design
The elemental design and essential materials also distinguish the interior, which is all designed and built for maximum driving satisfaction.

Specifically, the carbon fibre of the central cell immediately stands out in the interior, left in full view to enhance the sense of low weight, technology and uniqueness of the car.

The dashboard and door panels have an "asphalt " treatment to recall the vocation of the Alfa Romeo 4C, conceived to convey maximum driving sensation from the road.

The seats ensure dedicated sports posture, favouring the driver's contact with the road without, however, compromising the comfort required for everyday use of the car.

The dashboard, simple and designed to make using functions simple too, reaches its zenith in the concept of extreme driver-orientation, thanks to digital instruments and gear shift controls located on the appropriately shaped steering wheel.

The cockpit, which powerfully suggests the world of motorcycle racing and race cars, brings together all information necessary to drive and control the car.

The information, which is rendered captivating through powerful, high-impact graphics, allows the driver to keep everything under control without distractions from controls that would be superfluous on this type of car.

The pedal unit and footboards for driver and passenger are all made of aluminium and embellish the lower part under the dashboard, highlighting sports character down to the smallest detail.

Dimensions and aerodynamics
The compact dimensions make this car with 2 bucket seats truly unique among its competitors: 399 cm long, 200 cm wide, 118 cm high and with a wheelbase of 238 cm. These dimensions serve both to emphasise the car's "supercar proportions" and to accentuate its agility. What's more, owing to the designers' excellent work, the car achieves maximum aerodynamic efficiency levels, guaranteeing a negative Cz which, as in racing cars, contributes towards achieving increased stability at higher speeds thanks to the aerodynamic downforce.

New direct-injection 240 HP 1750 Turbo Petrol engine
The engine is the beating "heart" of an Alfa Romeo. In this case, it's the new direct-injection 240 HP 4-cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol, which was designed with a precise objective: to ensure exceptional performance without sacrificing driving fluidity and use in any circumstances, from the racetrack to the city streets. The Alfa Romeo 4C's new mid-engine, all-aluminium power unit adopts specific optimised intake and exhaust systems, to enhance both response at low speeds and extension, with the assistance of a crankshaft with eight counterweights. In addition, it boasts cutting-edge technical solutions including direct petrol injection, dual (intake and exhaust) continuous variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary scavenging control system that eliminates turbo lag. Torque delivery is generous, with a peak of 350 Nm, 80% of which is available at only 1700 rpm.

The Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission
The 1750 Turbo Petrol engine is teamed with the Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission, which is a genuine benchmark in the category due to its limited weight and extreme speed of activation. The gears can be changed in sequential mode using the "shift paddles" located behind the steering wheel. Compared to the version already adopted on the Giulietta and MiTo models, the TCT on the Alfa Romeo 4C implements next-generation software and features the new 'Launch Control' function that optimises all car systems to provide the utmost acceleration possible. What's more, to ensure the best performance in accordance with the road conditions and driving style, the Alfa TCT adopts optimised operating logic, interacting with the Alfa DNA selector, the braking system, the engine management system and the vehicle stability control system. For example, in automatic mode, the shifting logic differs according to the Alfa DNA setting.

The new Alfa DNA selector with 'Race' mode
A specific evolution of the Alfa DNA selector has been developed for Alfa Romeo 4C, which not only features the three standard settings available on other models in the range - Dynamic, Natural and All Weather - but also a fourth mode: 'Race', designed to enhance the driving experience on a racetrack even further. It only takes a long press of the selector in Dynamic position to activate it: in this mode, the Alfa DNA deactivates the stability control and anti-slip systems, leaving the driver in full, exciting control. Finally, the full-digital instrument panel with TFT display changes configuration - showing only information relevant to the chosen mode - and colour in line with the Alfa DNA setting: yellow for Race, red for Dynamic, grey for Natural and blue for All Weather.

Solid but lightweight structure
A stiff, strong but light structure is an essential pre-requisite for a high-performance sports car. The same principle inspired the creation of the Alfa Romeo 4C. A state-of-the-art combination of hi-tech materials of extraordinary stiffness and strength, together with a very low specific weight, was selected to achieve this result. In particular, the chassis is a monocoque made entirely of carbon fibre with 'pre-preg' technology derived from Formula 1 and adopted only by the most advanced supercars, which weighs only 65 kilograms, inside which a space is formed for the driver and passenger. The front and rear structures of the chassis and the roof reinforcements are made entirely of aluminium.

The car's bodywork is made entirely of low-density, high-strength composite material. Benefits of using this material include lighter weight (it is 20% lighter than steel) and resistance to corrosion. Dimensional stability is comparable to steel and better than aluminium.

Finally, the seats have a mixed carbon fibre and fibreglass structure which guarantees high resistance to stresses and a particularly low weight at the same time.

The final result is a significant reduction in overall weight (the dry weight is just 895 kg) combined with the best possible torsional stiffness and strength characteristics, as well as the optimisation of the car's centre of gravity, which gives the advantage of increased agility and drivability on the most challenging roads.

The Alfa Romeo 4C has an extremely sophisticated suspension layout - 'superimposed wishbones' at the front, development of MacPherson at the rear - to ensure maximum agility and road holding. This solution, along with the rear-wheel drive and the extraordinary weight to power ratio, ensures Alfa Romeo driving pleasure, enhanced even further by the weight distribution (40% on the front axle and 60% on the rear axle). What's more, for those wanting the maximum in terms of handling, a complete suspension kit will be available with a specific calibration of the shock absorbers and rear anti-roll bar.

Braking system, wheels and steering
To ensure decisive braking even under the most intensive conditions, the braking system has four self-ventilating perforated discs, with Brembo four-piston aluminium calipers on the front axle. In addition, to "stick" the car firmly onto the road surface, tyres with a different diameter and width depending on whether they are fitted at the front or rear have been fitted (two variants possible, either 17"-18" or 18"-19") which were developed especially to guarantee excellent performance (a kit of tyres with a softer mix is also provided for optimised grip). In line with the car's setup, the steering system of the 4C does not feature power steering, to save weight but above all to secure a superlative driving feel. An appropriate steering wheel load is maintained thanks to the low overall weight of the car.

Real supercar performance
The implemented state-of-the-art technical and technological solutions drive the Alfa Romeo 4C to reach real supercar performance with a unique driving feel. This is demonstrated by a top speed in excess of 250 km/h, only 4.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h, 1.1 of side acceleration on corners and 1.25 g of maximum braking deceleration.

Excellence made in Italy
The very best technical and industrial expertise of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands was used to develop the Alfa Romeo 4C. Specifically, the teamwork between the two brands was aimed at the integration of the Alfa Romeo design department with the Maserati production plant. This was boosted by the technical and technological contribution of other Italian companies, international leaders in the sector of high-performance sports car components. In short, this too is a distinguishing trait of Alfa Romeo, a brand with a century of history that continues to be one of the most famous and popular ambassadors of Italian products across the world.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Acura SUV-X Concept, 2013

  • Acura SUV-X Concept, 2013

Emotional and sharp styling and driving performance, together with the environmental performance of a small vehicle and excellent utility of an SUV are all fused together at a high level in this vehicle. Acura is planning to begin local production and sales in China of a mass-production model based on this concept vehicle for its market in about next three years.

The Acura Concept SUV-X is a global concept vehicle for a small SUV developing primarily for the Chinese market. The first time for Acura to introduce the world premiere of a concept model outside of North America. 

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