Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mazda 3, 2014

  •  Mazda 3, 2014
Quality in detail
This is only one example of the craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail that went into this car. One of Mazda's priorities was to achieve a new level of precision and quality with the fit and finishing. The company therefore brought together design, development and manufacturing specialists to figure out ways of enhancing the joy of driving and owning the new Mazda 3.

To minimise the gaps between body panels and doors, for instance, they studied everything from the way the doors were attached to paint thickness tolerances on the edges of the body panels. By taking a fresh look at improvement potential, Mazda was able to set stringent new targets. As a result, the gaps between the front door and fender, which tend to be wider than others, are smaller on the new Mazda 3 than on many premium-class vehicles.

Building on its award-winning predecessor, developers of the all-new Mazda 3 set out to do no less than come up with a car that actually interacts with its owner on several levels. On the surface, it's a top quality means of transport, delivering an unmatched combination of performance, fuel efficiency and functionality in a package that's as safe and practical as it is stunning. Here it follows in the footprints of its new generation forerunners: the Mazda CX-5, a compact SUV that drives like a car, and the new Mazda 6, which more recently took the mid-sized class by storm.

Like a true partner, the new Mazda 3 is revitalising, inspiring people to expand horizons. Look at how it handles, devoutly responding to driver input, cornering and delivering feedback with choreographed precision. It even links occupants to cyberspace with a new mobile connectivity concept, safely and conveniently bringing what they otherwise take for granted into the vehicle.

It's all part of Sustainable Zoom-Zoom, Mazda's vision-in-progress for safe and eco-friendly vehicles. Exceptionally low harmful emissions let one enjoy the drive with a clear conscious. In fact, it's at or near the top of its class in a list of other categories, too, from interior space and aerodynamics to acceleration, braking and more.

The intelligent design and sophisticated interactivity of the new Mazda 3 will simply bring out the best. This car is going to grow on you.

Exterior Design
Temptation. One look at the all-new Mazda 3 instantly stirs the spirit, taking hold of the onlooker before tightening its grip. It draws one in, getting under the skin. A connection has been made, sewing the seeds of a long relationship.

Behind this magnetism is the "KODO - Soul of Motion" design theme. Inspired by the beauty and power of nature, Mazda developed KODO to take its distinctive sense of vitality and agility one step further. For an uncompromising new generation of cars that simply beg to be driven.

Capturing emotions
Always acclaimed and always distinctively Mazda, the latest Mazda 3 nevertheless marks a rebirth of sorts. Mazda has come up with a truly passionate expression of dynamic motion, evolving KODO's boldness for the strong, energetic C-segment proportions. Like prior KODO models, the all-new Mazda 3 features a firm stance enhanced by the compact looking, rear-leaning cabin. Lower and wider than the current model, the car's raked profile, rising dramatically towards the rear and bolstered by the boldly flared fenders and large sporty aluminium wheels at the corners, conveys agility and strength. And Mazda's characteristic off-the-line power.

At first sight, the new Mazda 3 ignites a fire in the heart of the beholder, sparking the imagination to conjure up the possibilities. The energetic tension is united with an enticing - and refreshingly uncommon - sensation of rhythm. Reflections off the glossy surface textures change like an emotion with the lighting and the viewer's position, sometimes subtly, sometimes drastically, but always capturing the senses and lifting the mood.

Tension with rhythm
Like its siblings, the new Mazda 3 gets the distinct KODO face, featuring the contoured grille and the sculpted signature wing. The latter flow out from under the vertically enlarged grille to the headlamps, which glint like the eyes of a predator staring ahead. The Mazda 3 was given a distinct headlamp design. Their sleek, sharp shape and clean structure was made possible by positioning the turn signals outside the headlamp assembly. Consisting of LED light sources, inner lenses and a light-guiding ring, the eye-catching lighting signature imparts a "glaring" presence that immediately says Mazda.

KODO is clearly about motion, expressed on the new Mazda 3 with the undeniably rhythmical flow of its simple, solid character lines. Extending back from signature wings and headlamps along the sides of the car, they unite the powerful fenders to emphasise the car's nimble agility.

Even when stationary, these shapes along with the optically low centre of gravity allude to the impression of pent-up energy, building expectations about the car's performance. The enlarged wheelbase - 60mm longer than the current Mazda 3's - allowed designers to shorten the front and rear overhangs for a more powerful KODO-inspired stance, in the process creating more space for the engine and improving crash safety, too.

The Mazda 3's hind quarters, meanwhile, parallel the front in many ways. Like the grille, the brawny tailgate seems to protrude. Every bit as inspired as the headlamps, the tail lamp signature, which features sporty round tail light rings and quality two-tone internal finishing, is perhaps best described by the words "zooming away".

Extraordinarily exacting
Speaking of which, by now the beholder may have an urgent desire to get behind the wheel of the all-new Mazda 3. Satisfying this yearning will bring the first physical contact with the car - a surprisingly pleasant experience in itself. Because in keeping with their focus on quality, developers meticulously analysed how people interact with the door, tweaking the hinges and moment of inertia to make the operation feel as natural as possible.

Consequently, opening and closing the doors of the new Mazda 3 is an exceptionally smooth, linear procedure, without the customary "weighty" feel. Together with the striking looks, it's this sort of extraordinary thoroughness that enlivens the bonding process owners are destined to undergo with their new Mazda 3. It starts when they first catch sight of the car. Just wait until they get inside.

The colours of SKYACTIV
The all-new Mazda 3 comes in a choice of nine body colours to commemorate its arrival in the bold world of KODO. They include Soul Red Metallic, developed as perhaps the most emotionally appealing red ever, as well as two brand-new Mazda colours: the sophisticated expression of Titanium Flash and Deep Crystal Blue, a hue inspired by the power and speed of a lightning bolt piercing a dark sky. Mazda's new compact is also available in Blue Reflex, Snowflake White Pearl, Aluminium Metallic, Meteor Gray, Jet Black, and Arctic White.

Interior comfort
If the body of the all-new Mazda 3 raised expectations about the interior, then the interior is destined to overachieve. Open the door, and behold a treasure chest of refined comfort and ergonomics, with the seductive charm of surfaces that beg to be touched, and the sophisticated purity and clean coherence of a space that's more people-oriented than ever.

This first impression is unlikely to disappoint. Destined for all coming Mazdas starting with the new Mazda 3, the freshly compelling next-generation interior follows a revolutionary new concept: partitioned yet unifying. Specifically, the cabin is divided into zones, with a snug cockpit that seems self-contained in the way everything is positioned to promote a driving experience that's as safe, enjoyable and stress-free as possible. The passenger space, in contrast, offers a reassuringly open, spacious and relaxed atmosphere.

The centre-focused driver's zone contrasts with the relatively low passenger side dashboard, which manages to simultaneously impart freedom and security. The asymmetrical centre console marks the border between the two zones, demarcating their respective properties. But it manages at the same time to establish a feeling of connectedness, blending the two zones to establish a kind of balance between the driver and passenger, who can share their experiences: the joy of driving or a relaxing, secure ride.

Typically Zoom-Zoom, all forms throughout the cabin face forward. Their origins appear to flow through the interior from a theoretical vanishing point in front of the car, intensifying the sense of motion and speed - even when the new Mazda 3 is at a standstill.

Unifying perspectives
Cockpit is certainly the right word for the driver's space. Its powerful lines and ergonomic layout enable drivers to focus effortlessly on the road. Fittingly, the newest driver-friendly feature was borrowed from supersonic jet fighters. As one of the first models in the C segment, the new Mazda 3 comes with a new head-up display called the Active Driving Display. It projects the most important driver information, such as speed and active safety system warnings, directly into in the driver's forward line of view.

Drivers react best when comfortable, so Mazda positioned the controls needed to directly operate the vehicle in such a way as to maintain natural angles and thus a relaxed posture. They feel like extensions of the limbs. The steering wheel, for instance, is lower than in the current model and brings the car closer to the driver, while the pedals are laid out symmetrically to the left and right of the driver's centre axis in the most optimal positions. The gearshift knob, too, fits like a glove in the palm of the hand. It all contributes to minimising strain on the driver and thus preventing fatigue.

As mentioned, the rear-leaning cabin is a core KODO design trademark, and the A-pillars on the new Mazda 3 have been pushed back by 100mm. One advantage here is improved forward visibility and an outstanding field of view. Along with the repositioned side mirrors, this further alleviates stress potential for the driver, especially at intersections and in corners or bends. Mazda even studied eye points to fine-tune the shape and thickness of the A-pillars so they would not have an oppressive effect on front occupants.

Comfort time
It's one example of how the KODO's compact exterior look is advantageous on the inside: The increased width and wheelbase on the new Mazda 3 - the longest in the segment - gave Mazda room to work with. Accordingly, both hatchback and sedan offer best-in-class shoulder room front and rear, and are close to it in terms of legroom. The interior is, in fact, larger and more comfortable than its predecessor in most respects, from foot space to knee room and more. And Mazda maintained headroom, despite a 25mm reduction in the car's overall height, by lowering the hip point of the seats.

The driver's seat offers 260mm of front-to-back adjustment, 102° of recline and 56mm of vertical adjustment, including an extra 20mm of downward range for taller drivers. Mazda stuck to the fundamentals with seats that wrap around occupants, supplying a natural position with good support and plenty of hold.

The enhanced vibration-suppressing seatbacks feature a bolstered shoulder area and a larger cushion to go with their sleek, dynamic form, which complements the interior's clean sporty style and solidity. And because they're even slimmer than before with concave hollows in the back, rear passengers get additional knee clearance. There's more room for their feet, too, since the front seat mounts were shifted further apart. Indeed, the second row has a decidedly unrestricted feel to it thanks to narrower front headrests and shoulder sections, bigger rear windows, and the fact that the rear seating positions are closer to the middle. Those in the back simply get a better view of the world. As far as upholstery goes, the all-new Mazda 3 comes in a choice of black leather with red stitching, either alone or combined with off-white leather and white, grey and red stitching. Black fabric is also available with different patterns in a metallic lustre.

Tastefully functional
Consistent with the roomy effect, the front passenger side is highlighted by a horizontal decorative panel, which serves to "widen" the space. The dashboard's virtual lines extend through the harmonious side air vent louvers and door handles back to the B-pillars, accentuating the pureness and unity of the cabin design. The centre stack also offers a simple, functional layout. The climate control system, which is located below the centre air vents, features a sleek three-dimensional look with circular controls. On top of the dash, the 7-inch touchscreen is easily accessed by the passenger or driver, but without distracting the latter from operating the vehicle.

Overall, the interior finishing is emotional and stylish while at the same time adding a certain logic to the cabin - particularly in regard to the various controls and areas surrounding them. The sportiness of the black keynote colour is enhanced by contrasts that intensify the quality look and feel, such as the enthusiasm-sparking carbon fibre look or the black leather steering wheel with matching parking brake lever, armrests and gearshift boot. Combinations like these or the dignified piano black surfaces set next to metallic satin chrome elements confer a youthful sophistication.

Rational, balanced and unifying, the new Mazda 3 cabin is an extraordinarily refined environment, with attention to detail that's every bit as meticulous as elsewhere. It's certainly going to be a hard act to follow.

Sensible stowage
Hatchback or sedan, the all-new Mazda 3's luggage compartment offers comfortable access to the abundant capacities of 350 and 419 litres respectively - in both cases more than in the current model. Fold down the rear seats of the hatchback, and there's 1,250 litres of cargo space. With its boot opening widened by 100mm, meanwhile, the sedan can handle three 67cm suitcases.

Designed with the different interior zones in mind, the various cabin storage possibilities allow occupants and particularly the driver access to items with minimal eye movement. In the front, for example, there is a large stowage space at the bottom of the centre stack, door pockets able to hold 1-litre bottles, and a sunglasses holder in the overhead console. Front and rear passengers also get large cupholders in the centre console or armrest.

Connectivity, Functionality & Equipment
This is where the all-new Mazda 3 really starts to grow on you. In tune with the demands of the modern world, Mazda has taken great strides towards making the automobile experience complete. The way people look at their car is about to change dramatically.

The fact is, with all the features and functionality available in vehicles these days, motorists have to deal with more information than ever. This hasn't gone unnoticed at Mazda, focused as always on delivering the most enjoyable driving experience possible. Company developers realised that a new concept for the automobile cockpit was needed if drivers are to safely digest all this input and reap full advantage of increasingly advanced onboard systems.

Relieving strain
Mazda's goal: Make interactivity and connectivity in the cabin more advanced than ever, but at the same time as usable - and safe to use - as possible. In doing so, company designers set out to minimise the danger stemming from inattention to the road ahead, distractions and physical stress. What they came up was a new human-machine interface (HMI) for the new Mazda 3 featuring an innovative set of displays and controls.

The most vital information is positioned to enable the driver to read it with negligible eye movement. Like the separate driver and passenger spaces described in chapter 4, this concept distinguishes between a safe-driving zone and an infotainment zone. The various controls follow this model, too, with a consistent design and layout for each zone to distinguish their respective purposes.

Mazda developed intuitive mental models reflecting how users expect control and display systems to work to create an environment that enables drivers to judge and act without hesitation. The cockpit is thus designed to allow accurate reactions with little exertion of energy and no wasted movements, letting the driver maintain a stable posture while remaining relaxed and alert even on long trips.

Unsurprisingly, the most frequently used controls and switches, including those needed to adjust driving operations, can be found on the steering wheel. Those for infotainment features, meanwhile, are located elsewhere.

Farewell to confusion
Real-time driving information like speed, navigation system directions, and the status of i-ACTIVESENSE active safety systems, including warnings, are shown on the Active Driving Display. Among the first vehicle in this segment with such a head-up display, it uses a clear panel mounted on top of the dash above the instrument cluster. The system, which adjusts automatically to ambient light, projects the information with the focal point around 1.5m ahead of the driver's eye point, minimising focal adjustment and eye movement. To avoid confusion, only three items appear at once on the Active Driving Display. The most important piece of data is always at the top, changing according to priority. For example, an urgent active safety warning will immediately displace whatever information is at the lead - say the vehicle's current speed - changing back again once the danger has ceased.

All other driver-related information can be found on the instrument panel, which was completely redesigned for the new Mazda 3. It features a centred analogue tachometer with a digital speedometer flanked by two wing-shaped digital displays. These show status info like temperature, fuel level, gearshift information and odometers.

Communications and entertainment-related information (from the infotainment zone) appears on the new 7-inch display, which is controlled either by touchscreen, voice command or the new rotary commander. Located on the dash above the centre stack rather than in it, the downward viewing angle for the driver was reduced from 28° on the current model to 16° on the new Mazda 3. So the display is less distracting for the driver and easier for the front passenger to see and use, too. Whether setting a destination in the navigation system, searching for music to play on the BOSE® premium surround sound system, checking email or calling up the latest Facebook posts, the path from "home" to the desired operation is shorter than ever. Users can also set shortcuts to their favourite functions. In any case, only "7 plus/minus 2" items appear on the screen at a time - the maximum people can handle at once according to psychologists.

Safety first
Mazda also redeveloped the rotary commander located on the centre console to improve "blind" operation of infotainment features. It is now positioned so that the driver simply has to remove one hand from the steering wheel and grip the dial in a natural, effortless motion without changing posture.

The new commander is surrounded by five buttons - one per finger - each corresponding to a specific function: navigation system, "home", and audio system in the middle with "back" and "favourites" on the sides. There is also a volume knob next to the commander. All the controls can be accessed comfortably and conveniently with the elbow perched on the centre armrest.

Voice command is another safe and ergonomic alternative for infotainment features like menu switching and selecting radio stations as well as audio play/stop/skip or zooming in and out of the route map. And with a smartphone or music device connected, occupants can search music and contact list names or input addresses to the navigation system by voice.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, 2014

  • Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, 2014

The new Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale also features the 4.7 litre, 460 HP aspirated V8 engine which made its debut in the GranTurismo Sport and which is now fitted to the entire 4.7 litre GranTurismo range. Combined with an MC Race Shift 6-speed robotised manual gearbox, this engine ensures outstanding performance - with a top speed of 188 mph - which can be enjoyed in this new four passenger configuration. The safety of the vehicle is guaranteed by the Brembo carbon ceramic brake discs. The new GranTurismo MC Stradale also benefits from the work carried out on the latest engine range to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Just like the previous two seater version, the new four seater Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale takes its inspiration from the racing version which competes in the Maserati Trofeo Championship, offering the perfect combination of sportiness, luxury and elegance, comfort and style, functionality and dynamism - that can now be enjoyed by four people. The new aesthetic exterior features, with their clear racing edge, are highlighted by the new carbon fibre bonnet which frames a central air intake and two rear extractors and by the new forged 20" alloy rims. The new GranTurismo MC Stradale boasts a cabin that has four comfortable seats and an interior design featuring new materials and style.

The spotlight hits the new range - starting with the new Quattroporte, set to make its European debut at the 2013 Geneva Motorshow - Maserati also revamps those luxury sports models which provided the basis for the brand's growth.

In line with this philosophy, Geneva will see the world debut of the new four seater Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, the optimum expression of sportiness combined with the luxury of a coupé made in Modena. Although the new Quattroporte is the first Maserati to be built at the new Giovanni Agnelli plant in Grugliasco (Turin), the GranTurismo MC Stradale will in fact be built at the historic factory in viale Ciro Menotti in Modena.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dodge Ram 1500, 2014

  •  Dodge Ram 1500, 2014

The 3.0-liter Eco Diesel engine, mated with the Torque Flite eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine delivers an outstanding combination of best-in-class fuel efficiency, unsurpassed torque and impressive capability.

Pricing for the 2014 Ram 1500 starts at $24,200, plus $1,095 destination. The exclusive V-6 Eco Diesel with Torque Flite 8-speed automatic transmission is priced $2,850 greater than a similarly equipped Ram 1500 with a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with Torqueflite 8 speed transmission.

New on the 2014 Ram 1500 is a front park assist system and host of efficiency, comfort and emissions-friendly refinements including a variable displacement compressor; pulse-width modulated blower; humidity sensor; and the latest technology in air conditioning refrigerant.

The 2014 Ram 1500 delivers best-in-class fuel economy with a truckload of pioneering, fuel-saving systems including: eight-speed automatic transmission, stop-start system, thermal management system, pulse-width modulation and active aerodynamics, including grille shutters and air suspension.

The 2013 Ram 1500 won Motor Trend's Truck of the Year, The North American Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas - a rare trifecta in the pickup segment. Building on the award-winning truck, the 2014 Ram 1500 Eco Diesel will further stretch its best-in-class fuel economy title lead and continue to raise the innovation bar in one of the automotive industry's most customer-loyal segments.

The 2014 Ram 1500 continues the brand's quest of re-defining the half-ton full-size pickup class with the introduction of an exclusive small displacement turbo diesel engine that delivers a best-in-class combination of torque and fuel efficiency.

Aptly branded EcoDiesel, the new 3.0-liter powerplant is a turbocharged 60-degree, dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) 24-valve V-6 that produces 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque ¬is noticeably more efficient than all V-6 gasoline engines in the half-ton category.

Like the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 gasoline engines already offered on the Ram 1500, the new EcoDiesel V-6 will be mated to the TorqueFlite 8, the only eight-speed automatic transmission offered in the half-ton class.

The new EcoDiesel - developed and manufactured by VM Motor (a Chrysler supplier since 1992) - is one of the most advanced diesel engines in the marketplace. Equipped with a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter, and selective catalytic reduction, it will be emissions-compliant in all 50 states.

The new Ram 1500 also is equipped with a capless fuel filler system for re-filling convenience.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine (Ward's 10 Best Engines Award three years in a row) with variable-valve timing (VVT) offers 305 horsepower, 269 lb.-ft. of torque and best-in-class fuel economy for V-6 engine trucks. The Pentastar V-6 features 42 percent more horsepower, 13 percent more torque and at least 20 percent better fuel economy when compared to the previous 3.7-liter V-6 powertrain. The legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with fuel-saving cylinder shut-off and VVT provides 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque.

The class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission (TorqueFlite 8), standard equipment with 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel and 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar, doubles the amount of gears compared to the previously available four-speed automatic transmission, which improves drivability and enhances fuel efficiency. The eight-speed also is available with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8.

When the 2014 Ram 1500 full-size pickup arrives in retail outlets the fourth quarter of calendar year 2013, it will establish what is unmistakably the most advanced and efficient powertrain portfolio in the light-duty category, as evidenced by:
    Exclusive offering of a small-displacement turbo diesel engine (EcoDiesel V-6)
    Exclusive offering of an eight-speed automatic transmission (8HP45 with Pentastar V-6, 8HP70 with HEMI V-8 and EcoDiesel V-6)
    Unsurpassed torque
    Best-in-Class V-6 gasoline engine fuel efficiency (Pentastar V-6)
    Best-in-Class combination of power and fuel efficiency in a V-8 engine (HEMI V-8 mated with eight-speed transmission)
    Only manufacturer in light-duty class to offer diesel, gasoline, and flex-fuel (E85 capable 3.6-liter V-6) engines

Beginning in model year 2014, the Ram 1500 will offer a front park assist system, a first time offering on a full-size Ram pickup truck.

The system uses four sensors located on the front bumper. The bezel-less, integrated sensors sequentially send out ultrasonic waves when the vehicle is driven in forward at low speeds. The system can detect objects as far away as 47.2 inches.

The sending sensor and adjacent sensors pick up the echo of a signal when it bounces off an object. Triangulation is used to determine relative distance, based on elapsed time between the outgoing signal and its return.

Readouts located in the cluster display (and audible chimes) notify the driver of front/rear object proximity.

Parasitic Loss Reduction
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is a fuel-saving technology for the Ram 1500, which reduces parasitic electrical load. The technology not only eliminates unnecessary load on the alternator but also improves the durability of benefitting systems. Fuel delivery and the forward cooling fan are two systems that take advantage of PWM, adding a 0.4 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

The 2014 Ram 1500 will carry additional uses of PWM technology and a host of new efficiency, comfort and emissions-friendly refinements. These include a variable displacement air-conditioning compressor pulse-width modulated vent blower and humidity sensor.

Variable displacement compressor (VDC)
As opposed to a "fixed" displacement compressor, the variable displacement compressor (VDC) automatically varies its pumping capacity to meet air conditioning demands rather than working in an on/off fashion. As a result, the variable displacement compressor (VDC) lessens loads on the engine, reducing parasitic losses for enhanced fuel efficiency and helping to maintain a consistent cockpit temperature. The technology also reduces related noise and vibration annoyances.

When the interior cabin temperature is higher than what's desired (outside the automatic temperature control setting), the VDC increases refrigeration capacity until the desired temperature is reached. Once the temperature is reached, the VDC automatically reduces its capacity to maintain the desired temperature rather than shutting off completely.

The overall result is smoother compressor transitions, less noise and greater fuel efficiency.

Pulse-width modulation blower
Like the VDC, the pulse-width modulation (PWM) blower continually controls fan speeds for optimal performance in all driving scenarios; quiet, efficient operation; and virtually unnoticeable performance. Not unlike other PWM applications that debuted on the 2013 Ram 1500, the pulse-width blower ensures an infinite amount of varying fan speeds to satisfy every customer-requested condition in relation to the air conditioning system.

Humidity sensor
The new humidity sensor is packaged behind the rearview mirror, and works in tandem with the PWM blower and VDC to continually measure the potential for humidity being formed on the windshield interior. While the sensor enables noticeable de-fogging benefits, it also enables the VDC and PWM blower to run at the most optimal speeds to expedite humidity reduction.

New Air Conditioning Refrigerant
Beginning in 2014, the Ram 1500 will be the first in its competitive set to carry F1234yf refrigerant, an application developed to help reduce greenhouse emissions.

The 2014 Ram 1500 retains its ruggedly handsome appearance with an award winning interior (Ward's 10 Best Interiors), exterior design aesthetics and segment-leading technology. Every Ram 1500 truck benefits from content specifically designed to match each model's unique style.

For 2014, the Ram 1500 offers 12 different colors, including two new shades: Blue Streak and Granite Crystal; available in a monotone and/or two-tone depending on the model.

Unsurpassed powertrain warranty - five years/100,000 miles
The 2014 Ram 1500 is backed with a, five-year /100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component - engine, transmission and drive system. Coverage also includes free towing to the nearest Ram dealer, if necessary. The warranty also is transferable allowing customers who sell their truck during the warranty period, to pass the coverage onto the new owner.

The standard three-year / 36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.

The 2014 Ram 1500's quality is scrutinized at the company's Chrysler Technology Center's state-of-the-art scientific labs in Auburn Hills, Mich., including the Noise/Vibration/Harshness Lab, Electromagnetic Compatibility Facility, Wind Tunnel and the Road Test Simulator (RTS).

For example, the RTS recreates the abuse a truck endures at the hands of a 95th percentile driver - meaning someone who drives the vehicle in more severe conditions than 95 percent of all customers. The RTS can put a lifetime of wear and tear on a truck in about one month's time. The Ram development team is committed to finding and fixing any issues before the customer does.

The 2014 Ram 1500 is built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Warren, Mich.), which has built more than 12.5 million trucks since it started operations in 1938. Regular Cab models of the 2014 Ram 1500 are built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico.
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bugatti Veyron Jean-Pierre Wimille, 2013

  •  Bugatti Veyron Jean-Pierre Wimille, 2013

Bugatti, a brand with a rich history unique in the car industry, is celebrating its heroes. The French luxury marque will bring out an exclusive edition, "Les Légendes de Bugatti" (Bugatti Legends), to commemorate the renowned names which have played a crucial role in its history and which have helped creating its mystique. In the 90th anniversary year of the 24 Heures du Mans, the first Legend is dedicated to a personality who is central to the history of motor sports and intimately linked with the Bugatti company: Jean-Pierre Wimille, who garnered two victories for Bugatti at Le Mans.

The winning race car from 1937 is the inspiration behind the design of the "Jean-Pierre Wimille" Bugatti Legend. For the historic race the 57G Tank appeared in the racing blue finish that habitually identified French racing cars. Accordingly, this Vitesse now shines in blue clear-coated carbon fibre and a light Wimille Bleu paintwork finish.

The colour scheme is continued in the supercar's interior, as Achim Anscheidt, chief designer at Bugatti, explains: "The materials and colours selected, as well as a host of details, all reference the essential characteristics of the classic models driven by those figures to whom our edition pays homage. In each case, this care has resulted in vehicles in which the authenticity of the past is combined with the modern design, the sportive superlative and the luxurious comfort of Bugatti as an icon of the present. With these Bugatti Legends we are giving history a modern makeover."

The six Bugatti Legends are all based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. This super sports car, launched in Spring 2012, is officially the fastest series roadster in the world since achieving 408,84 km/h with the top down in April 2013. Centred round an eight-litre W16 engine delivering 1,200 PS, the Vitesse produces unequalled maximum torque of 1,500 Nm (at 3,000 - 5,000 rpm), and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in a lightening 2.6 seconds.

The production run for the Bugatti Legend "Jean-Pierre Wimille" will be limited to three vehicles.

The similarity of the car's interior and exterior design to that of the historical race car, the Type 57G Tank, is apparent even at first glance.

Exterior. The body of the "Jean-Pierre Wimille" Legend is composed entirely of carbon and pays tribute to the Type 57G Tank with its blue paint finish, a color characteristic of French racing cars of the era. The dark and light blue color split of the historic vehicle has also been implemented in the Vitesse, often running across whole body parts - an artistic endeavour demanding great technical expertise and craftsmanship. Perfectly crafted dark blue exposed carbon creates a harmonious contrast to the light blue "Bleu Wimille" paint finish, which was developed especially for this model to remain faithful to the original color of the 57G Tank. The entire front area of the vehicle, side doors and the part behind the doors, the so-called "medaillon" (French), are finished in "Bleu Wimille" paint. Only the upper part of the front wing panels remains in dark blue exposed carbon, thus reflecting the striking design of the historic racing car's "Wimille stripes".

The light blue paint finish also graces the underside of the distinctive rear wing, which bears an eye-catching silver silhouette of the Le Mans race circuit reminding of Wimille's first victory there. Further references to Wimille include the driver's signature, which has been lasered into the dark blue tank and oil caps.

The dual-tone color scheme and attention for detail are also reflected in the interior. The headliner, footwells, and seat inserts have been upholstered in "Bleu Wimille", with the dark blue seat bolsters offering a sense of contour. This dark blue, known as "Lake Blue", is carried through in the dash panel, centre console and doors and creates a color dialogue in the vehicle's interior. Decorative stitching in contrasting light blue delivers subtle accents.

As an homage to Wimille, the vehicle and the brand, the Bugatti designers have developed a special decorative stitching in the French national colors of blue, white and red which has been used on the steering wheel and gearshift lever, lending both parts a real sense of elegance.

The headrests have been embellished with the stitched signature of Jean-Pierre Wimille, adding yet another highlight in "Bleu Wimille".

And references to Le Mans can also be found in the Bugatti's interior: the silhouette of the race circuit gleams as a milled and polished aluminium relief embedded in a prominent position below the EB logo in the lid of the rear centerbox, which is itself made of dark blue exposed carbon.

Further Legends-specific features include exposed carbon inserts in the centre console extension bearing the "Les Légendes de Bugatti" logo with the renowned Bugatti elephant and on the door sill plates decked with the portrait and signature of Jean-Pierre Wimille.

About Jean-Pierre Wimille
Jean-Pierre Wimille was one of the longest-serving test drivers at Bugatti. The son of a journalist, he was born in Paris on 26 February 1908 and drove almost exclusively for Bugatti throughout his racing career. With a number of victories already under his belt, in 1933 Ettore Bugatti invited him to take up the position of official test driver for the brand. He joined Bugatti at a point when its last great racing triumphs lay a few years in the past, making the string of victories he brought home to Molsheim over the following years even more significant. In his very first year he came first in the Algerian Grand Prix, then in 1935 he collected the title in the then-famous hill climb at La Turbie near Nice driving a T 59, following this with a second place in the Tunisian Grand Prix and fourth place in Spain.

And it was Jean-Pierre Wimille who brought Bugatti what was to be its last ever racing number one, in 1947 at the Bois de Boulogne, behind the wheel of a 4.7 litre Monoposto Type 59/50 B. Wimille was a world-class driver, who played a key role at Bugatti, especially as the brand's racing era came to an end. His greatest racing achievement was without doubt his twin victories for Bugatti at Le Mans. He died in a car crash in 1949 in Buenos Aires.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Buick Regal, 2014

  •  Buick Regal, 2014

The Buick revealed the new Regal 2014, designed to be a sportier and smarter evolution of the brand's dynamic midsize sedan. New purposeful technologies enhance safety and the driving experience with a more refined turbo engine - along with the introduction of all-wheel drive.

Introduces new radar- and camera-based safety features - including Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Collision Mitigation Braking - for surround protection. In-vehicle connectivity is enhanced with next-generation IntelliLink, featuring simpler, more intuitive controls and natural speech recognition.

Adaptive Cruise Control is also offered. It senses traffic in front of the Regal to adjust vehicle speed, including stopping the vehicle in heavy traffic and accelerating again.

New front and rear styling, with bold, signature wing-shape LED daytime running lamps and LED taillamps were designed to give Regal a more contemporary and premium presence. The interior features a redesigned central instrument panel and console along with a new fashion interior trim combination.

The new 2.0L turbo engine delivers 18 percent more horsepower in the Regal Turbo, for a greater feeling of on-demand power The available Haldex all-wheel-drive system helps make the most of traction in all driving conditions and also enhances the cornering capability of the Regal GS when driven in the GS mode of the Interactive Drive Control System.

A 2.4L engine with eAssist light electrification technology is also available on the 2014 Regal. Six-speed automatic transmissions are matched with both engines and a six-speed manual is available in the Buick Regal GS. Electric power steering is now featured on all models.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

BMW 2-Series Coupe, 2014

  •  BMW 2-Series Coupe, 2014
There is clear water between the BMW 2-Series Coupe and the BMW 1-Series, the new model assuming a character all of its own. This differentiation is immediately recognisable in the design of the new car, but it also makes its presence felt in terms of performance. The BMW 2-Series Coupe is an even more eye-catching creation than its predecessor, the resoundingly successful BMW 1-Series Coupe (of which more than 150,000 units have been sold worldwide). As well as a standalone appearance and increased dimensions, there is also greater depth to its product substance in terms of both technology and standard equipment. The result is a new dimension in driving dynamics, aesthetic appeal and premium allure in the compact segment, highlighted by the "2" in the new car's model designation. The number 2 has denoted the presence of a supremely sporting driving experience in a compact two-door car for over 45 years - ever since the introduction of the BMW 02 range.

BMW model family celebrates the premiere of another new model series - BMW 2-Series Coupe raises the bar in the premium compact segment in terms of dynamic ability, aesthetic appeal and emotional allure; a distinctive vehicle concept unique in its segment, with a two-door body in classic three-box design typical of BMW Coupes, four seats, rear-wheel drive and an engine range and chassis set-up focused squarely on sporting ability.

This is not the first time that BMW has treated the compact segment to its customary brand of driving pleasure. The BMW 1-Series, for example, has fulfilled this role for almost 10 years now, its standout position among its rivals rooted most prominently in its rear-wheel-drive concept (still a unique proposition in this class), powerful engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and a compelling premium character. And now the BMW 2-Series Coupe takes the levels of driving pleasure on offer in a compact model to even greater heights. The new two-door cuts a particularly impressive figure with its distinctive body design, a range of extremely powerful engines and specially configured chassis technology.

Characteristic features of a BMW Coupe
The specific vehicle concept behind the BMW 2-Series Coupe - unique in its segment - is faithfully reflected in its body design. The two-door model is first and foremost a Coupe from the BMW brand, and the design features that identify a member of this special breed - a three-box body with clearly defined boot and low-slung silhouette, a long bonnet, doors with frameless windows and a dynamically stretched roofline flowing smoothly into the rear end - are carried over into a compact model with greater enthusiasm and intent than ever. The ultra-sporty driving characteristics of the BMW 2-Series Coupe - generated by a hand-picked selection of engines and chassis technology tuned to make the perfect pairing - are thus unambiguously expressed in the design of the exterior. The 135 kW/184 hp four-cylinder engine in the BMW 220i Coupe is making its debut in a compact BMW model, and the 240 kW/326 hp six-cylinder in-line engine under the bonnet of the BMW M235i Coupe earns it top billing as the most powerful petrol driven member of the BMW M Performance Automobile line-up.

The specific proportions of the BMW 2-Series Coupe are contained within a body measuring 4,432 millimetres in length. The two-door model is therefore 108 millimetres longer than the BMW 1-Series and 72 millimetres longer than the outgoing BMW 1-Series Coupe. The new compact Coupe is also 32 millimetres wider than its predecessor (at 1,774 millimetres), and has a 30-millimetre longer wheelbase (2,690 millimetres) and wider tracks (front: 1,521 millimetres, +41 millimetres; rear: 1,556 millimetres, +43 millimetres). At the same time the vehicle height has been lowered by 5 millimetres to 1,418 millimetres. The result is an increase in interior space and 20 litres of extra boot capacity (now 390 litres). Added to which, the BMW 2-Series Coupe also boasts more efficient aerodynamics than both the BMW 1-Series and its predecessor, as reflected in a Cd of 0.29 for the BMW 220i Coupe.

Sporting tradition on a compact footprint
The BMW 2-Series Coupe builds on the brand's tradition of compact models offering a satisfying degree of driver engagement. And the presence of the 2 in the model designation creates a close link to this heritage. The introduction in 1966 of the BMW 1600-2, for instance, opened up a whole new vehicle segment. Inspired most profoundly by its precisely tailored package of powertrain and chassis technology, the two-door Coupe became a global standard-bearer for sporty handling and intense driving pleasure in the compact car segment. Additional engine variants increased the appeal of the new model series. For example, the BMW 2002 presented in 1968 took centre stage - in terms of both popularity and its success in turning "Freude am Fahren" (Sheer Driving Pleasure) from a slogan into an experience for whole new target groups. The most spectacular variant was the 125 kW/170 hp BMW 2002 turbo - the first model from a European manufacturer to gain the services of a turbocharger.

The design: Strong character cuts a distinctive figure
An instantly beguiling blend of sporting prowess and elegance marks out the design of BMW Coupes. And the exterior features which are such a key element of this identity have been carried over to the compact segment car with greater purpose than ever for the BMW 2-Series Coupe. The proportions, lines and surface design of the car have all been tailored to accentuate both the agile driving properties of the two-door and its unique appearance. The BMW 2-Series Coupe has its own specific design language, which secures it a stand-out position in the brand's model range and - most importantly - sets it apart unmistakably from its segment rivals.

Sporting presence, muscular agility and assured elegance come together in the exterior design of the BMW 2-Series Coupe. Defining elements of its interior, meanwhile, include the driver-focused cockpit design you expect of a BMW and a light and contemporary brand of functionality. The car's more clearly distinguished design identity illustrates its progress in moving the game on from its predecessor. The BMW 2-Series Coupe embodies Sheer Driving Pleasure in more concentrated and intense form than ever before in the premium compact segment.

Classical BMW features and a fresh interpretation of traditional Coupe elements

The individual vehicle concept of the BMW 2-Series Coupe is underlined by its specific front and rear end design, dynamically stretched lines and an almost 11-centimetre increase in body length over the BMW 1-Series. Characteristic design elements of a BMW Coupe have been carried over into the compact segment and signature brand features given a fresh twist.

Another stand-out feature of BMW Coupes - the hallmark three-box body structure with a clear distinction between roofline and boot - has a particularly clear presence in the new compact model. Like the side swage lines that wrap around into the rear end, this feature picks up on characteristic styling elements of the BMW 02, drawing a link between the new car and the brand's long tradition of sporting and agile compact models.

Lines tapering down dynamically towards the BMW kidney grille lend the front end of the BMW 2-Series Coupe a forward-surging presence. The modified contours of the headlight units narrow at their inner extremes, while a standard accent strip - or, if the optional bi-xenon lights are fitted, an LED accent light - cuts across the top of the hallmark BMW twin circular lights. The BMW kidney grille, which is separated from the headlights by narrow strips on either side, protrudes clearly from the front of the car and slants forward at a slight angle. The three-dimensional design of the grille surround and its 11 vertical bars reinforce the car's striking appearance. The lower air intake is split into three sections. The two outer elements are particularly large and their outlines replicate the form of the headlight units. Air Curtains are integrated harmoniously into an additional section at the outer edges of the front apron and channel the onrushing air precisely behind the front side panels, causing it to hang over the wheels like a curtain. This reduces turbulence and further enhances the outstanding aerodynamics of the BMW 2-Series Coupe.

The side view of the BMW 2-Series Coupe sees signature brand features like a long bonnet, short overhangs, set-back passenger compartment, Hofmeister kink (the counter-swing in the window frame at the trailing edge of the C-pillars) and door openers integrated into the swage line blending with coupe-specific design elements, chief among them the slim window graphic and sweeping roofline gliding back smoothly into the rear end. A prominent character line above the door sill sweeps up rearwards of the B-pillar into the rear wheel arch, whose powerfully flared form focuses the mind on the car's rear-wheel drive and swells the BMW 2-Series Coupe's body to its broadest point. The dynamic wedge shape of the two-door model is emphasised, too, by the door sill line itself, which likewise rises up towards the rear. The BMW 2-Series Coupe also has doors with frameless windows and turn signal indicators integrated into the exterior mirrors.

The rear of the BMW 2-Series Coupe is a broad and powerful affair, an impression reinforced by the single-piece light units reaching far into the car's flanks in the L-shape familiar from other BMW models. An unmistakable night design is provided by the likewise L-shaped LED rear light strips within the units. The third brake light positioned at the upper edge of the rear window is also fed by LED units.

The lines along the sides of the boot lid taper downwards slightly. This styling cue, along with the additional crease and suggested diffuser element in the rear apron, accentuates the BMW 2-Series Coupe's road focus and low centre of gravity. And yet the new car also has a wider boot aperture than its predecessor.

The exterior paintwork of the BMW 2-Series Coupe can be ordered in a choice of two non-metallic and 10 metallic shades, while customers can also specify Estoril Blue metallic as part of the M Sport package.

Interior: cockpit design ensures maximum driving pleasure; premium ambience can be enjoyed from four seats

The dominant themes of the BMW 2-Series Coupe's interior are the driver-focused design of the cockpit, contemporary functionality and high-quality materials. An Easy Entry function for the front seats facilitates access to the two rear seats, which offer 21 millimetres more legroom than the outgoing Coupe, while headroom for the driver and front passenger has grown by a similar extent. Functionality levels are raised another notch by features including large storage compartments in the doors. The structure of the surfaces for the instrument panel, centre console and door trim is dominated by the "layering" effect created by various overlapping surfaces. The length of the doors is emphasised by the converging lines of the door trim elements.

If the BMW 2-Series Coupe is fitted with an optional navigation system or the BMW Professional radio, it will also feature the BMW iDrive operating system, which includes a freestanding onboard monitor in flatscreen design. The Control Display comes in 6.5 or 8.8-inch form, depending on the version specified, while the Controller on the centre console has a touch-sensitive surface which allows the driver to input characters (if the Navigation system Professional is fitted).

Dakota leather trim is available as an alternative to the standard cloth seat surfaces in a choice of three colours. The interior trim strips come in matt Satin Silver as standard but are also optionally available in brushed aluminium or Fineline Stream exquisite wood.

Serving the cause of individual style: BMW Sport Line, BMW Modern Line and the M Sport package

The BMW Lines - available as an alternative to standard specification for the BMW 2-Series Coupe - offer harmoniously coordinated exterior and interior design and equipment features. Both the BMW Sport Line and BMW Modern Line include 17-inch light-alloy wheels in exclusive designs, ambient lighting with variable use of colours and special seat upholstery, interior trim strip and car key designs. BMW Sport Line brings a high-gloss black finish for the outer air intake surrounds, the front of the kidney grille bars, the cross rib in the centre air intake and the rear apron, emphasising the dynamic credentials of the two-door newcomer. And BMW Modern Line serves the cause of progressive elegance through the use of matt aluminium for the design elements mentioned above and a body-coloured paint finish for the cross rib in the centre air intake.

Also available from the launch of the BMW 2-Series Coupe is the M Sport package developed specially for the new model. This option comprises bespoke suspension tuning (including a 10-millimetre drop in ride height and 17-inch M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design), aerodynamically optimised body elements (including large front air intakes, striking side skirts and a diffuser for the rear apron), plus a special design for the BMW kidney grille and an exhaust tailpipe embellisher in high-gloss chrome. In addition to aluminium door sill strips bearing the M logo, features such as sports seats for the driver and front passenger, Aluminium Hexagon interior trim strips with an accent strip in Estoril Blue, a special dial design for the instrument cluster, ambient lighting and an M driver's footrest also combine to bring an intense aura of sporty driving to the interior of the BMW 2-Series Coupe.

The driving experience: A perfect balance of agility, efficiency and comfort

BMW TwinPower Turbo technology ensures an unbeatable balance between driving pleasure and fuel economy in both the petrol and the diesel engines available from launch for the BMW 2-Series Coupe. Output is up by as much as 10 kW over the new car's predecessor, yet average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle has dropped by up to 21 per cent, depending on the model. The specially assembled engine line-up for the BMW 2-Series Coupe, the advanced chassis technology tuned precisely to the engine output on offer and the rear-wheel-drive configuration unique in its segment provide a sporty driving experience beyond the reach of any rival, combined with outstanding comfort. Added to which, the standard Driving Experience Control switch gives drivers the option - at the touch of a button - of adjusting the car's set-up to their individual preferences or the driving situation at hand.

One four-cylinder petrol engine and one four-cylinder diesel unit are available from launch, putting 135 kW/184 hp at the disposal of the BMW 220i Coupe and BMW 220d Coupe. Joining them centre stage, with a six-cylinder in-line engine developing 240 kW/326 hp, is the BMW M235i Coupe (see chapter 5). And following hot on the heels of that trio are two more four-cylinder diesel models in the form of the BMW 218d Coupe (105 kW/143 hp) and BMW 225d Coupe (160 kW/218 hp). All the engines can be combined with an eight-speed automatic gearbox (standard in the BMW 225d Coupe) for fuel consumption and emissions figures that are even lower than those achieved with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. All model variants come with extensive BMW EfficientDynamics technology as standard and meet the stipulations of the EU6 exhaust standard.
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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Aston Martin Rapide S, 2014

  •  Aston Martin Rapide S, 2014

Imbuing the new car with an even more sporting, forceful demeanour, the revised front end design is matched at the back by a striking new rear deck profile which includes a more pronounced boot lid 'flip'. The aerodynamic and aesthetic upgrades both reinforce the sporting nature of new Aston Martin Rapide S and work to counteract lift at higher speeds.

The stunning new Aston Martin Rapide S is making its debut with yet more luxury and yet more power on offer in its quintessentially elegant four-door silhouette.

The iconic British car maker's new luxury GT has been sympathetically redesigned and painstakingly re-engineered to reassert its position as the world's most beautiful, and beautifully balanced, four-seat sports car.

Aside from the extensive design and engineering improvements, the luxurious new Aston Martin Rapide S - which replaces the outgoing Rapide in markets worldwide - is now even more refined thanks to a range of additions to the four-seater's sumptuous interior.

Still instantly recognisable as an Aston Martin, of course, the new Aston Martin Rapide S now boasts an imposing and assertive new 'face', created by virtue of the impressive and striking new full grille.

Engineered to excel
Changes under the new Rapide's skin are comprehensive, with a version of the new AM11 naturally-aspirated 6.0-litre V12 powerplant delivering unprecedented power and improved in-gear acceleration.

Power from the new engine jumps significantly versus that of its predecessor: up by 17% or a massive 81 PS from 477 PS at 6,000 rpm to a now very substantial 558 PS at 6,750 rpm.

Peak torque increases, too, up from 600 Nm to 620 Nm at 5,000 rpm. Meanwhile an even more marked improvement in torque occurs lower down the rev range, as pulling power rises by more than 40 Nm between idle and 4,000 rpm with an additional 50 Nm available at 2,500 rpm.

Naturally, increases in power and torque lead to even swifter performance as befits a four-door sports car. New Aston Martin Rapide S shaves 0.3 seconds off its 0-62 mph time, which drops from the 5.2 seconds of the current car to just 4.9 seconds for the new model. Top speed climbs, meanwhile, to 190 mph.

The 5,935 cc naturally aspirated V12 boasts race car technology - developments derived directly from Aston Martin Racing's successful WEC GT campaign - to maximise both performance and efficiency. The new AM11 engine thus boasts fully CNC machined combustion chambers and lighter, hollow, cam shafts.

Dual variable camshaft timing, knock sensing, even the fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system - these are all engineering advances developed to preserve the V12's position as a mainstay of the Aston Martin range.

The engine is now even more efficient, too. Despite the very significant increase in peak power and torque, the Aston Martin Rapide S is appreciably more economical than before. CO2 emissions drop by seven per cent - from 355 g/km to 332 g/km - while fuel economy now stands at 19.9 mpg on the official EU combined cycle.

A product of the latest generation of Aston Martin's world-renowned VH engineering philosophy, which debuted in 2003, the new car of course benefits from many elements of the current Gen4 VH architecture.

The carefully conceived engineering changes continue as the new Rapide now offers even sharper agility and even quicker responses to driver input. The new AM11 engine - a key Gen4 component - has been lowered by 19 mm versus the position of the powerplant in the previous car, with a corresponding reduction in the sports car's centre of gravity.

The changes also lead to a tangible improvement in front end turn-in - no mean feat for a car that was already acknowledged as a leader in dynamic performance.

Aston Martin engineers at the company's global HQ in Gaydon have worked to revise the car's dynamic stability control (DSC) in line with its significant increases in both power and torque.

As befits the more sporting nature of new Aston Martin Rapide S the car benefits from the latest Gen4 iteration of Aston Martin's hi-tech Adaptive Damping System (ADS). The system now offers three distinct settings: 'Normal', 'Sport' and 'Track', with the character of each being tailored to the nature of Aston Martin Rapide S.

The ADS automatically alters the suspension settings to ensure the driver has high levels of control at all times, with the ability to respond quickly to different driving conditions. The different damping modes help to significantly broaden the character of the Aston Martin Rapide S, adapting its set-up to suit the driver's precise requirements. Thus it can be a luxurious GT car in Normal mode with the capacity to morph into a more assertive sports car in Sport and Track modes.

The damper settings are determined by an electronic control unit which takes sensor readings from the car's systems, including throttle position, brake position, steering wheel rotation and vehicle speed. This data establishes the prevailing driving conditions and the demands the driver is making on the car.

Head of Product Development at Aston Martin, Ian Minards, explains: "Growing the power in a luxury sports car is all very well, but maximising control and 'usability' of that increased power is, just as much, the engineers' challenge.

Meanwhile, as with the new DB9, the new Aston Martin Rapide S achieves compliance with the latest European pedestrian protection regulations courtesy of its innovative new front grille design.

The lowered engine, new bonnet, new front bumper construction and new grille combine to deliver a uniquely innovative approach to pedestrian impact protection.

The patent-pending design - which features a unique 'keystone' construction - enables the grille to move rearwards on impact, whilst the central and outboard chin stiffeners give rigidity to the lower structure and support achievement of the leg impact regulations. Cut-outs on the front wing catwalks contribute to the achievement of the headform regulation.

The solution means Aston Martin can remain true to its design ethos, and avoid the use of plastic grilles and nose cone bumpers that stretch up in front of the bonnet.

First class cabin
As luxurious as it is thrilling, the new car now boasts a host of new luxury- or sports-orientated options, allowing buyers to more precisely tailor the car to their specific style.

The new optional Carbon Exterior Pack, for instance, immediately dials up the Rapide's sporting attitude. Front splitter, rear diffuser, mirror caps and rear lamp infills all fashioned from carbon fibre clearly signal the sporting nature of this 558 PS four-seater.

More pronounced luxury, on the other hand, comes from the new piano black interior pack that adds a deep, rich, mirror-like shine to the facia, transmission tunnel centre plate and door handles of the Aston Martin Rapide S. A darker surround in the instrument binnacle and steering wheel with black horn-push surround round off the pack's sumptuous additions. Luxurious blend headlinings in either tan or grey emphasise the luxury still further inside.

As would be expected of a modern Aston Martin, handcrafting is the order of the day in the Aston Martin Rapide S with the standard-fit pure glass transmission selector switches in the centre console one small yet important example of the truly authentic, bespoke, nature of the car's cabin.

However those with a desire for a more sporting ambience in their sports car will not be disappointed. Optional duotone perforated red and black leather makes its Aston Martin debut here - delivering a captivating visual combination that's unique to the new Aston Martin Rapide S.

Luxury is enhanced by the removal of extraneous 'noise' and the enhancement of desirable 'sound' - a fine distinction but one that helps the new car deliver an aural experience like no other. Improved NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) characteristics are derived from the likes of the new bonnet lining and revised windscreen cowl.

Flexibility comes in the form of four seats - the rearmost two capable of accommodating adults in a uniquely sporting setting - while at the touch of a button the individual back seats fold down to almost triple the Aston Martin's load space.

Options to further enhance the luxurious look and feel of the Aston Martin Rapide S include, subject to market, a reversing camera and twin screen rear seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, remote control and six-disc DVD changer.

Those seeking the ultimate in luxury and personalisation can also consider the 'Q by Aston Martin' service which offers uniquely-tailored options for individualisation. The Q service focuses on fashioning colour and materials with limitless boundaries precisely to customer choice and specification, enabling owners to give free rein to the creativity and indulge their desire for bespoke luxury.
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