Kia announces performance models

Kia’s first high performance models, the three-door Kia pro_cee’d GT and the five-door Kia cee’d GT, will go on sale in mid-2013.

The two new GT models will be powered by a new version of Kia’s 1.6-litre GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) petrol engine equipped with a twin-scroll turbocharger and strengthened internal components. Power and torque outputs are dramatically increased: maximum power is 204PS, up 51 per cent. over the atmospheric engine, with torque up 61 per cent. to 265Nm.

Kia promises ‘significant developments’ to the chassis. Full specifications will be announced later.

New transmissions promise better hybrid performance

Transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano has revealed an innovative hybrid Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) with torque infill. The technology combines the seamless shifting benefits of a Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) with the packaging and weight advantages of an AMT.

According to Oerlikon Graziano’s Project Development Engineer Carlo Cavallino, ‘The adoption of hybrid technology in the next generation of high-performance cars makes a stronger case for AMTs as they are lighter and more easily packaged. Along with our control systems partner Vocis, we are presenting a new transmission technology specifically designed to be combined with a hybrid drive system.’

Oerlikon Graziano’s product is an AMT gearbox which can be combined with a hybrid system that is fully integrated into the transmission package. The electric motor is linked to the main transmission through a two speed gear set providing torque to the drivetrain during gear-changes enabling constant torque delivery.

Engine transient states play a significant part in a vehicle’s emissions ratings. The hybrid technology combines two benefits: engine working in a more efficient condition, and a smoother gear-change compared to a traditional AMT. It also allows vehicle manufacturers to benefit further from their investment in hybrid technologies by optimising the efficiency and overall system weight.

Porsche factory team to race new 911 RSR

Porsche will field two new GT race cars based on the new ‘Type 991’ generation of the Porsche 911 in the le Mans 24 hour race and in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). For the first time since taking overall victory in 1998, a factory team from Porsche will tackle the le Mans event.

The two new Porsche 911 RSR race cars, which will contest the GTE category, will be run by Porsche AG Team Manthey. The team manager will be the experienced specialist in endurance motor sport, Olaf Manthey, who has celebrated five overall wins with Porsche at the Nürburgring 24 hour race and recently ran a 911 GT3 RSR in the International GT Open.

NEW Porsche Cayman

Porsche has announced a completely new third generation of its mid-engined Cayman. It is lower and longer, lighter and faster, and more efficient than its predecessor. A longer wheelbase, wider track and larger wheels hold out the promise of more refined handling.

The new two-seater is — after the 911 Carrera and Boxster — the third sports car model line from Porsche to feature a new generation of lightweight body design. The new Cayman is up to 30kg lighter, depending on the specific model and equipment, and it consumes up to 15 per cent less fuel over the NEDC than the previous model, despite higher performance.

Porsche Cayman S. Click here for alternative image.

Two models will be offered — at least initially: the Cayman and Cayman S. The base model is powered by a 2.7-litre flat-six with 275PS. The ‘S’ model uses a 3.4-litre motor; this delivers 325PS. Both models are equipped as standard with a manual six-speed transmission. The seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) can be specified as an option; it delivers faster acceleration and better fuel economy.

NEW Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

The Jetta Hybrid made its début at the Los Angeles Auto Show in production form, as it launches on the North American market. The hybrid is powered by a 1.4-litre 150PS turbocharged petrol engine and a 20kW electric motor, driving through a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

Like the Touareg Hybrid, the Jetta is a series-parallel hybrid, which uses a decoupling clutch that can disengage the petrol motor for pure electric drive (or when coasting or braking), disengage the electric motor (for higher speeds or when the battery charge is low), or combine the two units for maximum power.

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Click here for alternative image.

Fuel consumption is around 20 per cent. better overall than an equivalent petrol-powered vehicle — Volkswagen quotes a figure of ‘around 54mpg’.

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Hyundai is first to launch series production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

Hyundai Motor Co. has announced that it will begin series production of its hydrogen-powered ix35 Fuel Cell vehicle for public and private lease by the end of 2012, becoming the first global automaker to begin commercial rollout of such vehicles.

In December 2012, Hyundai will begin production of the ix35 Fuel Cell at its Ulsan manufacturing facility in Korea, with a target of building up to 1000 vehicles by 2015. Hyundai has already signed contracts with cities in Denmark and Sweden to lease the ix35 Fuel Cell to municipal fleets.

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Volvo evolves towards self-driving car

Volvo has demonstrated a technology that takes one more step on the journey towards self-driving vehicles. The new traffic jam assistance system allows the car automatically to follow the vehicle in front in slow-moving queues up to 50km/h, and will be ready for production in 2014. The traffic jam assistance function is an evolution of the current Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Aid technology, which were introduced in the new Volvo V40 earlier in 2012.

The driver activates the traffic jam assistance function by pushing a button. When active, the engine, brakes and steering respond automatically. The Adaptive Cruise Control enables safe, comfortable driving by automatically maintaining a set gap to the vehicle in front, while at the same time the steering is also controlled. The car follows the vehicle in front in the same lane. However, it is always the driver who is in charge. He or she can take back control of the car at any time.

Autonomous driving — with steering, acceleration and/or braking automatically controlled by a vehicle that requires very little human interaction — is a major focus area in Volvo Car Corporation’s development work.

The low-speed traffic jam assistance system is the second technology for autonomous driving recently presented by Volvo. Earlier in 2012, the company demonstrated the SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), which focuses on platooning in highway and motorway traffic at speeds of up to 90km/h.

The traffic jam assistance technology will be part of Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture, SPA, which will be introduced in 2014.

BMW plans plant in Brazil

The BMW Group plans to build a new car plant in Brazil. Subject to final approval of the plans by the Brazilian Government, BMW’s target is for production to begin in 2014. Investments over the next few years will total more than €200m. Plans call for a production capacity of approximately 30,000 vehicles per year; more than 1000 new jobs will be created at the new production site, and additional jobs will be generated in the supplier network as a result of the new plant. Negotiations with the State Government of Santa Catarina are already well underway for the new facility, which will be in the Joinville region.

‘Brazil is a market with tremendous potential for the future for the BMW Group,’ said Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Sales and Marketing at BMW. ‘This will create the necessary conditions for us to maintain the balance of sales between Europe, Asia and the Americas... With this move, the BMW Group is applying its strategic principle of “production follows the market”, which has already proved successful in markets such as the U.S., China and India.’

The new plant in Brazil will extend the BMW Group’s production network which currently comprises 29 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries. The company has been manufacturing BMW motorcycles at its Manaus location since 2010.

The BMW Group has had a local sales company in Brazil since 1995. A total of 15,214 vehicles were sold in Brazil in 2011; this represents a growth rate of almost 54 per cent. BMW Motorrad also increased its sales by 55 per cent. in 2011 to reach a total of 5442 motorcycles.

Harmonising electromobility data

BMW Group, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, German energy company RWE, Siemens, and eighteen other companies have together formed Huject GmbH, a joint venture to promote harmonised electromobility data standards.

The cooperation between as many service providers as possible provides a necessary foundation to ensure a standardised data exchange between all players and to reduce barriers for the users.

Electric cars will become more integrated into the intelligent traffic infrastructure and energy networks of the future than conventional combustion engines, with modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) forming the backbone for the integration of electric vehicles into these networks. Over the last few years, significant progress has been achieved in this field in a range of research projects across Europe. The diverse range of services that have emerged from these projects now need to be connected on a global level to ensure that electromobility can be established as a sustainable alternative to conventional combustion engines. The ‘eMobility ICT Interoperability Interest Group’, a unique joint initiative by leading electromobility companies, pursues the goal of enabling interoperable international services by harmonising current and future data standards. End users will benefit from this, as harmonised standards and a diverse service offering in the global market will make it easy and attractive to use electric vehicles.

NEW Nissan Juke R

The Juke R story began when it was revealed as a one-off concept in January 2012 in Dubai, never intended for either physical or virtual production. With the modified underpinnings of a GT-R under a re-sculpted Juke bodyshell, the R was a YouTube hit and its fan-base grew rapidly.

And so the story of the production version began. Darren Cox, Brand Director of Nissan Europe, explains: ‘People loved the Juke-R in Dubai — we were receiving offers for the original concept on the street! We couldn’t disappoint such dedicated fans, so with three genuine offers on the table we made the commitment to build a limited run of Juke-Rs.’

Development work then started to transform a one-off concept into a model which could be produced and sold. Built by motorsports company RML with advice from Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTC-E), the Juke-R uses the Nissan GT-R’s drivetrain and running-gear along with an FIA specification roll-cage. Thanks to the expertise of Nissan Technical Centre Europe, the production version is even more powerful than the concept, providing 545PS from its twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre engine; the 0-100km/h sprint is estimated to take only 3.0s and the maximum speed is tipped to be 275km/h.

Juke-R #001 also has a new look, thanks to input from Nissan Design Europe in London. NDE’s Digital Team Manager Darryl Scriven explains: ‘The Juke-R’s bumpers and side sills were redesigned, which is normally a very long process using full size models in clay. However, we managed to condense the development time using full size viewing on our new 3D ready projector and power wall, maintaining a fully digital process while providing a true supercar quality finish to Juke-R.’

Design refinements include more definition for the front bumper and new carbon trim on the front and rear cooling vents and the rear aero diffuser, displaying the Juke-R’s performance DNA.

Anyone wishing to get a real-life Juke-R in their garage can register an interest in purchasing Nissan’s most extreme crossover yet by emailing Juke-R@Nissan.co.uk.

BMW presents urban networking ideas at ITS

The ITS World Congress is the premier international exhibition for devices, technologies and services associated with intelligent traffic systems. This year’s exhibition, in Vienna, hosted a total of 300 exhibitors, covering all aspects of traffic systems including complex information and communication systems, advanced navigation and payment systems through to the areas of safety, ecology and electromobility.

The BMW Group presented innovations from BMW Connected Drive. This is the BMW Group’s definition of Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS). It provides the occupants of a vehicle and the vehicle itself with an intelligent network to connect them with the outside world. This network offers customers more safety, comfort and ‘infotainment’ by way of driver assistance systems, navigation options and personalised entertainment.

Navigation display showing park and ride spaces free & bus service frequency.

The network opens the door to innovations for urban mobility that make interaction with city traffic safer, more efficient and more convenient.

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PhD studentship bursary

‘Design and Direct Manufacture of Small Devices with Meso Features’

Application deadline: 30/11/2012.
Start date: 1/2/2013.

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship to undertake research in the area of design and direct manufacture of small devices with meso features.

Funding: University tuition fees at home/EU level (£3828 per year in 2012/13) will be fully covered and a tax-free bursary of £13,590 per year will be provided for three-year duration. Home/EU applicants are eligible for full funding; overseas applicants will be expected to pay for the fee difference.

Project description: The successful applicant will join the Manufacturing and Design Engineering research group in the School of Engineering at Portsmouth University. (Click here for the web-site.) The objectives of the proposed research are:

  • Study and improve the whole process chain consisting of: specification of the product requirements, initial data collection (scanning and reverse engineering), design and analysis, fabrication, and post processing (finishing, integration, etc.);
  • Apply hybrid design approach — freeform and parametric design in the design of the main part or assembly geometry;
  • Optimise the layer manufacturing process for fabrication of parts with surface roughness below 3-5µm, dimensional accuracy 20µm, and smallest feature size of 150µm — In direct part production of small parts, and in production of rapid tooling for small parts;
  • Demonstrate the manufacturing capability in real applications (case studies) with high design functionality and complexity, and large market potential.

The applicant is also expected to participate in the publication of journal and conference papers.

Entry requirements: Applicants should hold a Masters degree or First (or Upper Second) Class Honours degree in Mechanical Engineering or Manufacturing Engineering. Knowledge and experience of CAD/CAM, digital control, mechatronics would be an advantage.

Further information: If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact the academic supervisor Dr Krassimir Dotchev, Krassimir.Dotchev [at] port.ac.uk.

How to apply: Applications (preferably by e-mail) should consist of a letter of application explaining your reasons for applying for the position and your initial thoughts on the research area, a detailed CV (including expected or actual degree class), together with the names and contact details of two academic referees who can be contacted prior to interview. These should be sent to Dr Krassimir Dotchev by e-mail: Krassimir.Dotchev [at] port.ac.uk, or by post to Dr Krassimir Dotchev, School of Engineering, University of Portsmouth, Anglesea Building, Portsmouth, PO1 3DJ.

The last Auto Union Type D twin-supercharger Silver Arrow returns to Audi

Audi has repurchased an extremely rare Auto Union Silver Arrow racing car, consisting largely of original parts. It is the Auto Union twin-supercharger Type D dating from 1939, and is one of the two legendary ‘Karassik cars’. Audi AG now owns three of the five Auto Union racing cars that can claim to be original.

The Silver Arrow legend was born in the 1930s. In 1934, Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz appeared on the international motor racing scene with racing cars of totally new design, with a silver finish and futuristic appearance, and were immediately successful. Whereas Mercedes-Benz relied on conventional front-engined cars, Auto Union placed the engine behind the driver — the layout that is still a standard feature of today’s Formula One cars. The two manufacturers dominated racing on Europe’s Grand Prix circuits without serious opposition until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

Auto Union Type D twin-supercharger Silver Arrow.

After the War, Mercedes-Benz was able to rescue almost all its Silver Arrow cars, but fate was less kind to Auto Union. Zwickau was occupied by the Soviet Army and Auto Union was liquidated. The Russian occupying forces found the Silver Arrows and carried them off to the Soviet Union as part of Germany’s reparations. All trace of the cars was soon lost.

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Geländewagen upgraded

Mercedes has announced a series of upgrades to its G-class, covering the drive-train, interior and the cars’ safety technologies.

The new G-Wagen is fitted with Mercedes’ COMAND on-line and Parktronic systems — the latter is an audio-visual parking aid. The interior’s luxury belies the car’s military origins in the 1970s.

Mercedes G 63 AMG.

Two engines are offered. The G 350 Blue-Tec uses Mercedes’ four-valve 2987cc V6 diesel, delivering peak outputs of 211PS (up by one horsepower) and 540Nm. Fuel consumption is unaltered. The single petrol option is the G 63 AMG, whose 5461cc V8 develops 544PS and 760Nm with the help of two turbochargers. Despite an improvement of 37PS and 60Nm over the outgoing G 55 AMG, the new V8 sees combined CO2 emissions reduced by 13 per cent. to 322g/km and combined fuel consumption improved by 15 per cent. to 20.5mpg.

Both models come with permanent all-wheel drive, fully lockable differentials and four-wheel Electronic Traction System (4ETS). Standard transmissions are Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic for the diesel and the AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic for the AMG model. Urban fuel economy (if that’s the right word) is 20.8mpg and 16.4mpg respectively. Both engines meet EU5 emissions standards.

New valve guide material promises longer life

Engineering giant Federal-Mogul has developed a new self-lubricating valve guide material that addresses the problem of excessive and rapid wear encountered on high specific power engines.

The material, called PMF-10E, allows valvetrains to operate at higher temperatures — between 100°C and 200°C hotter than those using conventional lubrication, without increasing wear between the valve stem and guide. PMF-10E uses a combination of the best materials, lubricating additives and manufacturing processes to provide the necessary scuff-resistance at elevated temperatures. The base material is a heat-treated molybdenum nickel steel alloy, and incorporates solid lubricants within a powder metal matrix which is then combined with liquid lubrication.

Federal-Mogul valve guides using PMF-10E.

Higher mechanical loads, the dry operation of valve stems to reduce emissions, and the use of sodium-cooled exhaust valves are transferring more heat and greater loads into valve guides and stems. PMF-10E also enables the use of shorter guides and smaller valve stem diameters, helping to reduce weight and frictional losses in the engine.

• Federal-Mogul has also announced a broader range of thermal sleeves for exhaust systems — reducing light-off times for catalysts — and a new piston coating for diesel engines. Click here for more information.

NEW Mercedes E 300 Blue-Tec hybrid

Mercedes has announced a diesel-electric hybrid derivative of the E-class saloon and estate.

The E 300 Blue-Tec hybrid uses the same 2143cc power-unit as the E 250 CDI, delivering 204PS and 500Nm through Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission. But the hybrid uses a wet-plate clutch instead of a torque-converter, and there is a 27PS electric motor mounted inside the transmission. The addition of the electric motor adds 65mm to the total length of the transmission.

Mercedes E 300 Blue-Tec hybrid.

The motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery-pack of 19kWh. The wet-plate clutch allows the diesel engine to be disengaged entirely for electric running over modest distances; no range or maximum speed is specified. Load capacity is not affected by the hybrid installation.

Over the NEDC rolling-road test régime, the E 300 Blue-Tec hybrid returns 65.7mpg and emits 109g/km CO2. Claimed performance figures are very good, with acceleration from rest to 62mph accomplished in 7.5s and a maximum speed of 150mph (saloon figures).

NEW Abarth range grows

Two new, more powerful Abarth models have been added to Fiat’s 500 range.

The Abarth 595 Turismo and Competizione boast more power than the existing Abarth 500 as well as an upgraded specification. The new cars use a 160PS version of Abarth’s T-jet engine: the 500 model, which remains in the range, makes do with 135PS (manual) or 140PS (automated manual). Like the 500, the 595 models are available with fully manual and automated manual transmissions.

Abarth 595 Competizione.

New high-performance diesel Astras from Vauxhall

Hot on the heels of the GTC BiTurbo, Vauxhall is adding two more high performance diesels to its Astra range in the form of a five-door hatch and an estate (Sports Tourer).

The two-litre Euro 5 engine has a four-valve alloy head. Continuously variable valve timing, for both inlet and exhaust sides, is adopted; the two camshafts have hydraulically operated vane-type phasers which vary the angle of each camshaft relative to the crankshaft by up to 60° on the inlet and 45° on the exhaust side. Vauxhall cites cam-phasing as an effective means of avoiding the need for exhaust gas recirculation.

The cylinder block is of cast iron, with a holow frame to reduce mass, and a die-cast, structural aluminium oil pan. The unit uses a sequential turbocharging system, with the smaller turbo accelerating quickly at lower speeds. Headline outputs are 195PS and 400Nm; 320Nm is available from 1250rpm. In the mid-range, both turbochargers operate together, with the larger blower pre-compressing the intake air, before it is fully compressed in the smaller one. A bypass valve is controlled continuously to pass on part of the exhaust gases to the larger turbo. From around 3000rpm, all the gases flow directly to the larger turbocharger, maintaining the power delivery at higher speeds.

New damper valve technology from ZF

German engineering giant ZF Friedrichshafen has introduced a new generation of twin-tube dampers boasting new valve technology. The Company claims high levels of ride quality and very low noise trans­mis­sion despite the handling-focused char­ac­ter­istics of the dampers.

Advances in fluid analysis have allowed improve­ments in pre-loaded valve technology for ZF’s twin-tube dampers, which are an evolution of their pre­decessors rather than a revolutionary step.

The damper valves have a new preload element, allowing the spring stiffness to be adjusted separately from the preload. This deals with a traditional conflict in damping: the relation between the damping force and speed of the piston (that is, the vertical speed of the wheel). Linear damping curves give low damping forces at low piston speeds and, conversely, higher damping forces at higher piston speeds. This effect can be compared to a filled syringe: if the piston is pressed down slowly, relatively little force will be needed; but if you want to deliver the contents quickly you will need to use a greater pressure on the plunger. So a linear damping charac­teristic leads to sig­nifi­cant disad­vantages in handling: in order that the damping is not too soft at a low piston speed, a relatively harder charac­ter­istic curve is chosen, giving harder damping and poor ride quality over ‘busy’ surfaces.

A degressive damping charac­teristic curve remedies this. Here, the damping force does not increase in a fixed ratio to the piston speed. For this reason, a relatively high damping force is available from the start without causing the damping to get too hard at high piston speeds. Unfor­tun­ately, degres­sive curves usually transmit a lot of noise.

For its new dampers, ZF relies on a valve with a linear characteristic curve and a preload. Thanks to the preload, there is sufficient damping force available, even at low piston (wheel deflection) speeds. The linear charac­ter­istic curve can be set corres­pond­ingly flatter; the preloaded valve reduces NVH in the chassis considerably.

Click here for large graphic.

My BMW Remote app. now also available for Android

The My BMW Remote app. is now available for smartphones running the Android operating system. The application can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store (Android Market), and offers all the same functionalities as the iPhone version first brought out in autumn 2010.

My BMW Remote allows users to operate all manner of functions in their BMW from outside the vehicle, without even having to be nearby:

  • Remote Door Lock & Unlock.
  • Climate Control: control the interior temperature by adjusting the auxiliary ventilation and heating settings, and programming the systems by timer.
  • With ‘Horn Blow’ for sounding the horn and ‘Flash Light’ for briefly switching on the exterior lights, users can trigger acoustic and visual signals to help them find their vehicle in crowded car parks.
  • If the car is out of sight and hearing distance but within a radius of up to 1.5km, the ‘Vehicle Finder’ function is able to display a map on the smartphone screen showing the way to the vehicle’s location. This function is only available when the ignition is switched off, thereby making it impossible to track the vehicle’s movements.
  • Using Google Local Search, users are able to import points of interest (POIs) from their smartphone into the vehicle’s navigation system via the message list.

NEW Seat Exeo Ecomotive

Seat is doing well with its Ecomotive Technology cars: they represent over 40 per cent. of sales, and this is expected to increase with the arrival of an Ecomotive derivative of the Exeo. The new Exeo is powered by either of two versions of Volkswagen’s two-litre common-rail diesel engine driving through a six-speed manual gearbox; outputs are 120PS and 143PS. Despite the power difference, both emit 117g/km of CO2 and return 62.8mpg on the NEDC combined rolling-road test cycle.

Ecomotive Technology means a stop-start system, kinetic energy recovery (off-load battery charging), Goodyear low rolling resistance tyres and lowered suspension.

Seat Exeo Ecomotive estate.

NEW BMW Mini Paceman

Could it be that BMW has now squeezed the last pip out of the Mini brand? Evidently not. The Paceman is a bit like a coupé version of the Countryman, and it goes on sale early next year.

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Volkswagen honours ZF

ZF Friedrichshafen AG wins the 2012 Volkswagen Group Award for gearshift systems.

Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, praised the contribution made by all 18 award-winning companies to the implementation of VW’s new ‘modular transverse matrix’ (MQB in German) platform strategy.

Since 2010, the Volkswagen Group’s demand for shift actuators for automatic transmissions has increased by more than 50 per cent.

ZF supplies Volkswagen with the entire range of its product portfolio in driveline and chassis technology.

Fiat plant wins production award

The Fiat plant at Pomigliano D’Arco has been awarded the international Automotive Lean Production 2012 award in the OEM category, following an analysis and evaluation process by a committee of experts selected by the German magazine Automobil Produktion and by the consultancy firm Agamus Consult.

Since 2006, over 700 production plants in more than 15 countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Benelux and Italy, have taken part in the selection process to win the trophy.

Every year, after the initial analysis of questionnaires originating from the plants in the various countries, a selection of candidates takes place in each of the five various categories. The selection process also includes on-site checks, meetings and interviews to investigate and confirm the data collected in the questionnaires.

The production system at each facility is analysed, along with its application in the plant, checking that the principles of ‘lean production’ — especially in quality, maintenance, logistics and personnel development — are applied to create a work environment ‘that supports in a structured and efficient manner the continuous improvement process and the systematic elimination of wastage.’

After this evaluation process, a jury from Agamus Consult picks the winners.

63-year old company secretary circumnavigates India in a Tata Nano

Thomas Chacko, a Kochi-based, 63-year old company secretary and motoring enthusiast, started his national expedition in Mumbai on 3 May. He completed his ‘dream project’ 78 days later on 21 July after covering 26,500km. During the trip, Mr Chacko called at all of India’s state capitals and its union territories and visited over 100 towns and cities in India.

During his expedition, Mr Chacko drove the Nano to India’s farthest reaches — Tawang in the East, Kanyakumari in the South, Dwarka in the West and Kargil in the North, and in Ladhak he ascended Khardung La, at 5600m the highest motorable road in the world. He also went to Nagpur, the geographical centre of India, and to the mountainous country of Bhutan.

Thomas Chacko with Tata Nano driving down from Khardung La.

All of which goes to prove that you don’t need a 4x4 to drive around Carshalton — though with a fifteen-litre fuel tank we’d be inclined to carry a jerry-can.

Tata Nano
Cylinders 2I
Aspiration A
Injection id
Swept volume 624cc
PS/rpm 38/5500
Nm/rpm 51/4000
Maximum speed 65
Gradeability 30%
Transmission M4
Driven wheels Rear
Fuel tank 15l
Kerb mass † 600
PS/t 63
Nm/t 85
Length 3099
Width 1495
Height 1652
Wheelbase 2230
Tyres
— front
— rear

135/70R12
155/65R12
† Base model. Best-equipped model 635kg.

Suspension is by McPherson struts with gas-filled dampers and an anti-roll bar at the front with semi-trailing arms and gas-filled dampers at the back. Brakes are not ideal for long mountain descents: 180mm diameter drums at both ends, though there is at least a vacuum servo.

Jaguars get AWD, but not at home — yet

Some important new models from Jaguar and Land Rover are being launched in Canada and although some of them will not be available in the U.K. they are very significant for the British company.

They open up market segments around the world JLR has been locked out of because it did not have a relevant model. New all-wheel-drive versions of the Jaguar XF and XJ mean that the brand can compete in the snow-belt regions of the United States where 80 per cent. of premium saloon car sales have four-wheel-drive.

Jaguar XF AWD.

The new Jaguar models are being produced in left-hand-drive only and will also be available in Alpine regions of Europe and in China but unavailable in the home market. However, company insiders say that the technology will be available on all Jags should demand be there.

Land Rover’s 2013 model-year Freelander is available with a two-litre petrol engine for the first time, tapping into a burgeoning market in China where engine sizes are being driven down by taxes on larger engines. However only diesels will be sold in the U.K.

It is all part of a master plan. James Towle, Jaguar’s Global Brand Manager, said, ‘We have revitalised the model range in the past few years but that alone is not enough to drive the brand forward. We have to focus on what customers want in each individual market.

‘We will not market all-wheel-drive Jaguars in the U.K. because the market for such demand premium vehicles is so small. It can be engineered for right-hand-drive but there is no point in doing that until the demand is there.’ Our italics.

— Headlineauto.

NEW Subaru Forester

An all-new Subaru Forester will go on sale in the U.K. from summer 2013. The fourth-generation Forester boasts improved performance, safety and efficiency and a larger, more practical cabin as well as improved body rigidity. The car has recently been awarded five stars by Euro NCAP.

The engine line-up will include 150PS 2.0-litre Boxer diesel and petrol units, as well as a new 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged petrol engine producing 280PS.

Subaru Forester.

Subaru’s Lineartronic (CVT) transmission will be available on both petrol engines. The Lineartronic transmission has been modified to cope with the increased power while also providing improved fuel efficiency, and ensures that both CVT-equipped petrol engines achieve the 2015 Japanese fuel economy standard.

NEW Jaguar XFR-S

Jaguar’s XFR-S saloon made its global début at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the autumn. Jaguar describes the XFR-S as the fastest, most powerful and agile sports saloon it has ever built.

Developed by Jaguar Land Rover’s specialist ETO division, the XFR-S features bespoke powertrain, chassis and body enhancements. With 550PS and 680Nm from its uprated five-litre supercharged V8 engine driving through an eight-speed ZF transmission, the XFR-S is capable of reaching 60mph in 4.4-seconds before going on to an electronically limited top speed of 186mph. These outputs represent gains of 40PS and 55Nm over the XF-R; the increases have been achieved through revisions to the engine management system and improvements to intake and exhaust gas-flow. The all-aluminium quad-cam V8 features spray-guided direct injection (SGDI) and dual independent variable cam timing (DIVCT).

Jaguar XFR-S.

A number of driveline components have been uprated. These include the driveshafts, the central bearing on the propshaft and the torque convertor.

The Jaguar active electronic differential — which can apply full locking torque almost instantaneously when necessary — has been recalibrated to exploit the greater grip offered by the wider rear tyres, the more precisely controlled suspension and the engine output. Working in parallel with the differential, the ‘Trac DSC’ setting of the Dynamic Stability Control system now offers the enthusiastic driver more opportunity to explore the outer edges of the handling envelope while nevertheless providing a discreet safety net.

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Bentley débuts Continental GT3 concept race car

Bentley has unveiled its Continental GT3 race car in the U.S. for the first time as the company forges ahead with its plans to return to motorsport towards the end of 2013. Bentley also showed its new 205mph Continental GT Speed performance flagship, the sister car upon which the GT3 is based, and the Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification, a highly distinctive and sporting interpretation of its flagship Mulsanne.

Currently being developed by a dedicated motorsport team at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, the GT3 concept reaffirms Bentley’s philosophy to develop racing cars from their road-going counterparts. Based on the new Continental GT Speed, which itself lays claim to be the fastest road-going Bentley ever, the GT3 tailors its specification for the racetrack. The GT3 concept features a rear-wheel drive chassis, state-of-the-art motorsport hardware and a comprehensive aerodynamic package to compete in GT racing.

Bentley Continental GT3.

Making its U.S. début in Los Angeles in the Autumn, the new 205 mph W12 engined Continental GT Speed offers 625PS at 6000rpm with 800Nm available from 2000rpm to 5000rpm. The W12 drives through a ZF eight-speed automatic. The gearbox features ‘block-downshifting’, enabling combined downshifts for maximum acceleration. For example, when cruising in eighth gear, full acceleration is achieved by dropping straight down to fourth.

Banging the drum for 48V

The UK-based low carbon engine technology specialist, Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), says that the new 48 volt standard proposed by leading automakers provides an ideal compromise for performance and cost in the development of a new generation of affordable super fuel efficient cars. With global CO2 emission targets rapidly converging, the auto industry has only a decade to achieve almost another 30 per cent reduction by 2022 putting pressure on automakers to come up with innovative and affordable technical solutions.

Nick Pascoe, Chief Executive and Chief Technology Officer at Controlled Power Technologies: ‘The convergence of global standards for fuel economy and CO2 emissions means that the auto industry will need to embrace exhaust gas energy recuperation as well as kinetic energy recovery by electro-mechanical means as the next major step for CO2 reduction. Energy recuperation is the key to ground-breaking solutions that the motorist can afford and this has caused the industry to re-visit the previously mooted higher-than-12-Volts, but less than 60 volts, electrical architecture. Mild electrification deploying a proposed 48V standard will be a major factor for enabling the required motor-generator efficiency and power levels.’

Pascoe says the industry has reckoned the additional cost to the motorist to achieve the required 30 per cent. reduction in CO2 emissions is estimated at $1500 for a family sized saloon. This is significantly less than the $7500 U.S. federal subsidy for electric vehicles; a cost that would seem to remain unavoidable unless there is a significant breakthrough to reduce battery cost.

The recuperation energy potential of a downsized gasoline engine equipped with a powerful water-cooled starter-motor and generator is significant, according to CPT. At 48 volts, the Company’s Speed Start is able to provide torque assist to the engine for acceleration, reduce fuelling during cruise conditions, and harvest kinetic energy during braking. Brake energy alone is worth more than 60kJ/km accumulated over the New European Drive Cycle.

‘Not only does 48V provide a solution for more efficient powertrains, but also for meeting other increasing vehicle energy demands already exceeding the capabilities of a 12V, 3kW alternator. This includes electrically-powered cooling fans, coolant pumps and electric power steering, as well as improving passenger safety, security and comfort systems. These higher-power electrical devices would all benefit from higher voltage systems. However, increasing the voltage beyond 60V requires much greater safety consideration leading to a significant increase in cost.

The specification for 48V is still evolving, and there may yet be more than one, but there is real pressure from global automakers to conclude the specification as quickly as possible.

Volkswagen shows compact SUV concept

Volkswagen’s latest concept car, the Taigun, has been unveiled at the São Paulo motor show, and previews the look of a possible small SUV based on the New Small Family platform, which underpins the Up.

Like the Up, the Taigun is small on the outside — 3.86m long and 1.73m wide — but quite accommodating on the inside, thanks to a generous 2.47m wheelbase. These dimensions give the Taigun fairly short overhangs: 708mm front and 681mm rear. Wide tracks — 1473mm front and rear — also help cassenger compartment space. Kerb mass is 985kg.

Volkswagen Taigun. Click here for interior view.

Powering the Taigun is a new member of the EA211 engine family — a turbocharged version of the Up’s three-cylinder one-litre petrol unit, producing 110PS and 175Nm and driving through a six-speed manual gearbox. Direct fuel injection is used. On the dynamometer, the Taigun returns 4.7l/100km (60.1 mpg) over the NEDC test régime.

The Taigun is deliberately styled to emulate its SUV siblings, the Tiguan and Touareg. The concept is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 205/50R17 tyres; ground clearance looks more than adequate for the unmade roads which are likely to be the most demanding surfaces the Taigun has to handle. This is, as Volkswagen admits, very much a vehicle for the urban environment. To help loading the shopping, the tailgate is split, with the top two-thirds opening upwards and the bottom third folding down.

Volkswagen Taigun.

Volkswagen will be monitoring public reaction to this vehicle before taking a decision on whether to put the Taigun into production.

Multi-voltage DC-DC technology wins funding

A flexible multiport converter may replace multiple separate DC-DC converters on future hybrid and electric vehicles, saving cost, weight and space and increasing the driving range by up to 20 per cent.

The success of a research project to develop a multi-voltage DC-DC converter has led to funding from the U.K. government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to develop the technology for production. The converter, which provides a variety of voltages across the vehicle, uses silicon carbide to increase efficiency while significantly reducing the mass and packaging volume required compared to alternative solutions. Silicon carbide technology also has the potential for high temperature operation and reduced system cost.

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Corsa drinks less

Vauxhall’s most economical Corsa is now thriftier. The three-door Corsa 95PS 1.3CDTI Ecoflex now achieves 85.6mpg in the NEDC testing régime, the equivalent of 88g/km CO2. This is a 2.4mpg and a 6g/km improvement over the 2011 model, which offered 80.7mpg and 94g/km.

A number of changes have been made to reduce consumption and emissions. The turbodiesel is equipped with a variable displacement oil pump, which varies the oil volume and pressure according to demand. The use of special low-viscosity transmission oil also contributes to reducing fuel consumption. And engine mapping has been reworked.

From November 2012 the Corsa will also feature the new generation of G.M.-engineered manual transmissions which promises a more precise and smooth gearchange action. The transmission was comprehensively re-worked with new gears and modified parts, including the shift rods and fork shaft. New 185/65R15 low-rolling-resistance tyres are now specified.

The Corsa Ecoflex offers 190Nm between 1750rpm and 3250rpm from its 1248cc Fiat engine.

NEW Vauxhall Cascada

Not so long ago, G.M. Europe was in dire straits, broke and with a mediocre range. Now the dinosaur seems to have woken up and roared. The Adam is set to take on all comers in the mini class, the Mokka is tilting at the Škoda Yeti, Q3 et al in the growing small SUV market, and now we have this: an almost-Insignia sized convertible. Who would have thought that G.M. Europe, of all companies, would have the nerve?

An all-new 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, producing 170PS and 280Nm, makes its début in the Cascada, and represents the first example of G.M.’s new MGE (Mid-Size Gasoline Engine) range. Two other, more familiar power-units will be offered: the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine of 140PS and — with overboost — 220Nm; and the 165PS two-litre diesel, which offers up to 380Nm, again with the help of overboost. More powerful versions of both petrol and diesel engines are promised for the future.

Vauxhall Cascada.

Maximising torsional stiffness in a convertible’s body is critical to maintaining a high standard of vehicle dynamics. Despite being significantly larger, the Cascada’s body is 43 per cent. stiffer torsionally and 10 per cent. more resistant to bending forces than the Astra Twin-Top, Vauxhall’s last open-top car. Underbody reinforcement comprises crossed steel bars and strengthened rocker panels, which also contribute towards a significant reduction in NVH.

Distinguishing the ‘full-size’ Cascada from the compact-class Astra Twin-Top is a wheelbase which is 71mm longer and front and rear tracks which are 56mm and 70mm wider respectively.

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Nissan announces cab for London

Nissan has announced a London taxi version of its NV200 light van, with an all-electric derivative set to be tested in the Capital next year.

The new NV200 cab complies with all TfL regulations — including the 7.6m turning circle, despite being a front-wheel drive design. Assist U.K. helped Nissan to make the new cab as accessible as possible.

Nissan NV200 London Taxi.

Nissan has a respected place in the Capital’s taxi history. Its 2.7-litre TD27 diesel engine was chosen for the iconic LTI FX4 Fairway black cab, which introduced improved performance and reliability to the London cab. The same engine also featured in the Fairway’s successor, the TX1.

The NV200 London Taxi seats five adults — three on a rear bench with two on rear-facing, fold-down seats. The front passenger seat has been removed to create space for luggage. Sliding rear passenger doors are used.

The taxi derivative uses a standard NV200 drive-train, which means an 89PS Renault 1.5 dCi power-plant and six-speed manual transmission — a feature that might drive some customers away. The overall NEDC rolling-road fuel economy figure of 53.3mpg beats the current TX4’s 35.3mpg by some margin, though we suspect many cabbies would be happy to trade some of that advantage for an automatic gearbox.

Social networking for cars

Social networks have become a well-established way of exchanging information quickly and easily. Now, one of the largest ever field trials of car-to-X communication (C2X) is set to show how this concept can be adapted to increase the road safety and efficiency of motor cars.

The four-year trial consists of 120 vehicles that will take to the roads in Germany until the end of the year. Each car has a network link to the others, as well as to the traffic infrastructure, and they will keep each other updated about the current traffic situation.

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Delphi presents new technologies

Component supplier Delphi Automotive has outlined possible solutions to the emissions challenges facing both petrol and diesel vehicles in technical papers presented at the 21st Aachen Colloquium.

Delphi’s papers describe a near production-ready Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) dosing system which, the Company says, provides a very cost-effective approach to urea injection; and a Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) engine that is currently in advanced development.

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Renault to increase engine production capacity in Brazil by 25 per cent.

Renault’s engine plant in Brazil is to increase capacity by 25 per cent. between now and 2013. Its surface area is being enlarged by 5000m² to boost output to between 400,000 and 500,000 units.

The plant, inaugurated in 1999 at the Ayrton Senna production site in Curitiba, has already manufactured nearly 2.5 million engines — 335,813 in 2011. The site has also exported over 1.2 million powerplants to other South American markets.

Brazil is the Renault group’s number two market, and is a key pillar in the Group’s international expansion strategy. Thanks to the success of the Duster and Sandero, Renault reported the biggest increase of any car brand in Brazil in first-half 2012, achieving record market share of 6.8 per cent. Renault is aiming for an 8 per cent. share of the market by 2016.

Change Up: automated manual gearbox offered on smallest VW

Volkswagen’s Up is now available with an automated version of the existing five-speed manual transmission. The option is offered on all trim levels bar the lowest, including cars specified with Blue Motion Technology.

Volkswagen Up automatic selector quadrant.

The selector quadrant design is unusual — unique, even. No Park position is offered, as the conventional manual gearbox which lies at the heart of the system does not have a parking pawl. The driver can change gear manually using the selector lever; paddles aren’t available.

The new gearbox is compact, with the extra activation systems taking up a minimum of room. It is also light: at around 30kg, it weighs just three kilos more than the manual version. Two electromechanical actuators are positioned directly on the gearbox, and control the gate selection and engage or disengage the gears. A further electric motor is used to control the clutch.

Ford plans virtual factory to optimise assembly line efficiency

Ford is developing a complete virtual factory to simulate the full assembly line production process. This will enable the company to improve quality and cut costs in real manufacturing facilities by creating and analysing computer simulations of vehicle production procedures. The Company it will be able to use manufacturing simulations in the ‘very near future’.

Ford 3D vehicle simulations use engineering data to evaluate component integration.

Thousands of components are assembled to manufacture a vehicle. Computer simulation of the assembly process enables the vehicle build process to be tested before investing in the resources required for a real-world production line.

In 1997 Ford was the first car-maker to use computer simulations to plan vehicle assembly. Computer simulation is now integrated into Ford’s development processes.

Ford uses camera technology to scan and digitise its real-world manufacturing facilities to create ultra-realistic 3D virtual assembly environments. The company’s Valencia plant in Spain is taking the lead in developing virtual factory environments, which could enable remote evaluations to be conducted from around the globe.

Ford’s virtual worker, Jack, fitting a component in a virtual factory.

Special projectors and polarising, motion-sensing glasses are used to create interactive 3D virtual reality manufacturing scenarios. The actions required by real-life assembly line workers are simulated inside these environments to help Ford ergonomics experts eliminate strenuous postures and optimise individual aspects of the assembly process.

Ford’s ergonomics experts in Cologne use the computer simulations to scrutinise the fitment process for even the smallest components, and to determine what is required to make the task as straightforward as possible for the assembly-line operator. Ford’s virtual employee, ‘Jack’, can simulate the actions of both male and female assembly line workers to test and evaluate processes in fine detail, right down to the movement of the operator’s fingers within an enclosed space. Jack’s software evaluates the demands on the real-world operator and uncovers 80 per cent. of ergonomics issues at the simulation stage.

Ford is also increasing its use of ‘augmented reality’ vehicles. These 3D vehicle simulations combine engin­eering data and scanned imagery of physical prototypes to enable efficient evaluation of component integration. Ford uses computer simulations to conduct full ‘virtual build events’ for new vehicle programmes. Specialists collect digital engineering data on every component and load it into a virtual build environment, before simulating the entire assembly process from start to finish. All these activities can reduce the need to create physical proto­types of vehicles or production tooling for evaluation.

NEW Lexus LS

Lexus has announced a new range-topping LS model range. Easily identified by its much more aggressive nose styling, the new LS is said to be more refined than its predecessor — something of an achievement, as the LS has always been an outstandingly refined car from the launch of the original model in 1989.

Predictably, Lexus has brought the LS up to date with al of the latest driver assistance systems.

Lexus LS600hL hybrid long wheelbase.

There will be three models: LS 460, LS 600h hybrid and, for the first time, an F Sport version. Standard and long wheelbase models will be available.

The new Lexus LS range goes on sale in the U.K. later this year.

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British engineering for international Transit Custom

Ford’s new Transit Custom has entered production at the Kocaeli plant in Turkey. Engineering and development of the new global commercial vehicle range was the responsibility of the Ford Dunton Technical Centre in the U.K., and engines for the new models are supplied by Ford Dagenham.

The new Transit Custom sits between the smaller Transit Connect and the larger Transit van in Ford’s commercial vehicle line-up.

Ford Transit Custom.

Van and Tourneo (people-mover) derivatives of the new vehicle will be available, powered by 100PS, 125PS or 155PS versions of Ford’s latest 2.2-litre Duratorq diesel engine.

New engine for C-class

Mercedes has announced a new engine for its entry-level C-class, the C 180. Turbocharged and directly fuelled, the new petrol unit displaces 1595cc and delivers 154PS and 250Nm — the latter over the commendably wide range of 1250rpm-4000rpm. The compression ratio is a high 10.5:1.

The new engine is presently built to EU5 specification. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a seven-speed automatic optional.

Honda tops car reliability survey

Used car warranty provider Warranty Direct has published the results of its annual reliability survey, and Honda comes a convincing first. The Company has topped Warranty Direct’s survey for seven consecutive years.

Eight out of the top 10 (and all of the top five) most reliable brands are Japanese, while a lot of expensive premium cars break down more often than humbler vehicles — perhaps because of the complexity of their on-board systems.

The most unreliable cars were Land Rovers, with an amazing 71 per cent. developing a fault during the year, some way behind Alfa Romeo, the next worst, on 55 per cent.

Position Make %
1 Honda 10%
2 Toyota 17%
3 Lexus 18%
4 Suzuki 19%
5 Subaru 20%
33= Renault 52%
33= Jeep 52%
35 Alfa Romeo 55%
36 Land Rover 71%

Ford backs new high speed sustainable manufacturing institute

Ford will back a High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI) being launched by the Government at the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in East London.

Ford is to invest £1.44m of high-tech engineering and manufacturing expertise in the HSSMI, in partnership with CEME, Loughborough University (the leading academic partner), and supported by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The set-up and launch of the Institute is funded by a £3.5m grant from the DCLG.

This independent Institute will conduct industrial research which aims to improve the efficiency of British manufacturers and suppliers by integrating state-of-the-art technologies from top academic organisations into volume manufacturing processes. This will increase productivity, raise the profile of manufacturing in the U.K., and foster the development of key skills needed to make the U.K. more attractive to businesses.

The HSSMI will be based at CEME in East London. Click here to go to the CEME web-site (new window).

Renault and Qualcomm to cooperate on wireless charging technology

Qualcomm Incorporated and Renault have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning their cooperation on the Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) London trial and preliminary studies of the integration of Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology into some Renault vehicles. Renault will also join the London trial steering committee.

Qualcomm announced in November 2011 a Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) trial in London to commence in 2012 that is supported by a range of stakeholders from government departments and agencies to commercial enterprises. The objectives of the trial are to evaluate the commercial viability of wireless E.V. charging and gain user feedback on the use of WEVC enabled vehicles.

At the same time, Renault is restating its ambition to be present across the entire electric vehicle value chain, from technical architecture to motors and batteries, with confirmation that it is supporting the development of an E.V. electrics industry in France as part of ongoing negotiations with LG Chem. A final agreement is expected in the second half of 2013.

The Company’s negotiations concern a new phase in the research and development of next-generation batteries as part of a draft agreement involving Renault, CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) and LG Chem. This agreement targets the development of next-generation batteries for production in early 2017. Also, Renault is incolved with the LG Chem-led construction of a European battery factory in France. This factory would produce current-generation batteries from the end of 2015 and, from early 2017, the new-generation batteries resulting from the agreement between Renault, CEA and LG Chem.

NEW Honda CR-V

Honda has revealed further information on the new British-built CR-V, due to be launched in the U.K. this October. Since the original model was introduced in 1995, over five million CR-Vs have been sold across the world. The new, fourth generation has been comprehensively redesigned for the European market, and it will continue to be built at Honda’s production facility in Swindon. The CR-V has been designed as a global car, but the European model features a number of exterior refinements developed specifically for this market.

For the first time, the CR-V will be offered with a choice of either two- and four-wheel drive on the 2.0 i-VTEC model, while improvements to the petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines have achieved a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The power and torque outputs of the i-DTEC engine remain at 150PS and 350Nm, but the CO2 emissions fall from 171g/km to 153g/km for the manual version, and from 195g/km to 175g/km for models equipped with the five-speed automatic transmission. The power output of the 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine has risen from 150PS to 155PS, while the torque has increased by 2Nm to 192Nm. Despite this increase in performance, CO2 emissions have fallen from 192g/km to 174g/km for the manual version, and from 195g/km to 176g/km for the automatic.

Honda CR-V.

The length and height of the car have been reduced by 5mm and 30mm respectively compared with the current model, without reducing the interior space.

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NEW Twin-air engine for Alfa Romeo Mito

Alfa Romeo’s Mito supermini is now available with a variant of the Fiat Twin-air petrol engine.

The 875cc parallel twin uses electro-hydraulic valve control and a turbocharger to deliver 85PS and 145Nm. Overall fuel economy on the roling road is 67.3mpg, equivalent to 98g/km CO2. A close-ratio six-speed gearbox is standard, as are ‘intelligent’ charging of the battery — on the overrun — and a stop-start system. A number of changes have been made to the engine to improve comfort and tractability: a new flywheel and engine mounts, and an exhaust system with a larger bore.

Alfa Romeo’s ‘DNA’ driving mode selector is standard, offering the choice of Natural, Dynamic or All Weather (for low-grip conditions). The maximum torque output of 145Nm is available only in Dynamic mode; otherwise it is 110Nm.

Alfa Romeo Mito
Twin-air
Cylinders 2I
VVT IE
Bore/stroke 80.5/86.0
Swept volume 875
PS/rpm 85/5500
Nm/rpm 145/2000
Transmission M6
Driven wheels Front
Tyres 195/55R16
Brakes
— front
— rear

Dv257
D251
Fuel tank (l) 45
Kerb mass (DIN) 1130
Maximum speed 108
0-100km/h 12.5
Urban MPG
(l/100km)
57.6
(4.9)
CO2 98g/km
Emissions Euro 5

Wheel location at the front is by McPherson struts, the dampers featuring rebound springs. At the rear a C-section twist-beam axle is used; slotted bushings with variable stiffness attach the torsion beam to the bodyshell, and the springs are helical.

A- and B-class petrol engines meet Euro 6

A good two years before the new Euro 6 European emissions standard is due to come into effect for all petrol-engined vehicles (on 1 September, 2014), the petrol engines of the new Mercedes A- and B-class have been confirmed as already meeting the new emission limits. Specifically, the engines also already undercut the particulate limits which are being introduced for the first time for petrol engines. Retrospective ‘recoding’ of models which have already been delivered will also be possible.

The direct-injection petrol engines in the A 180, A 200 and A 250, as well as in the corresponding models in the B-Class, have succeeded in undercutting the new standard since the start of production, and that includes the strict particle number limit of 6 x 1011 per km, which will not become compulsory until the second stage of Euro 6 from 2017. For vehicles produced from August 2012 (September for the B-Class), this will be documented in the vehicle documentation (COC or Certificate of Conformity). Vehicles produced earlier can be appropriately recoded. Customers will be contacted so that they can obtain a new COC document along with manufacturer confirmation from their Mercedes-Benz dealer.

On 29 May 2012, the European Commission published Directive 459/2012, establishing the Euro 6 emission regulations for vehicles with petrol engines from 2014 for Stage 1, and from 2017 for Stage 2. The new specification stipulates that in the future, petrol models will also have to meet the strict particulate limits of 6 x 1011 particles per kilometre.

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