Sunday, March 9, 2008

mercedes benz

A blast from the past and a taste of the future, this might just be a good description of the latest sports car that came out from a collaboration of Mercedes-Benz and McLaren, two big giants in the car manufacturing industry. We're talking about the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. This sports car combines the old yet astounding SLR race cars of the 50s and the latest and meanest technology of high-performance supercars. With the power of race cars and the sleek, curves and designs of a luxury car, the combination from the two car manufacturers is hard to beat.

This supercar is definitely fast. SLR McLaren sports a 626-horsepower supercharged 5.5-liter V8. Also, it has a full carbon-fiber monocoque, features crash structures and body panels. And with the supercharge V8 engine, you can see the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren go from naught to 60 miles per hour in less than 3.6 seconds. Top speed has been measured to exceed 200 mph, a feat that can only be achieved by very few even among the high performance sports cars. It was the high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz which created the V8s. The AMG were the ones who hand-build the supercharged V8 engines with top notched precision and quality. It is not at a big surprise to see the supercharged 5.5 (5439 cc) liter dry sumped 90 degree V8 engine to produce around 466.8 kW at 6500 rpm (626 hp) and 780 N·m (575 ft·lbf) torque at 3250 - 5000 rpm. The numbers maybe daunting but the sound of the engine will appease the minds of those who long for the perfect high performance cars.

Mounting that V8 engine into the body of SLR exotic car is also not as traditional as one would like to expect. The engine in SLR sports car is placed in a front mid-engine position just behind the front wheels. Instead of using the traditional oil-pan, dry-sump lubricants are used. With this innovation, it is highly possible to mount the engine to a level that used to be unachievable. Because of the low position of the engine in the supercar's body, the results are more than one hoped. The new Mercedez-Benz SLR McLaren race car has better aerodynamics and better handling due to the lower center of gravity.

Not only does the mean features of the sports car that attracts attention but how the two car companies were able to fuse their own traditions and expertise into a single exotic car. For one, McLaren's expertise in Formula 1 has been imbibed wholly by the SLR's design. The composition of carbon fiber material that was used in the body of the new SLR sports car is so Formula 1. Because of this body, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren has become more rigid and surprisingly strong.

But not to be outdone, counterpart Mercedes-Benz has also put a few tricks of its own. The German car maker added features that are deemed essential to the most important part of the vehicle: the passengers. Due to backgrounds in mostly luxury cars, Mercedes-Benz has ensured maximum occupant protection and safety. To my knowledge, the SLR is the only car so far that utilizes front crash structure made entirely of carbon fiber. The importance of this carbon fiber design can only be appreciated in actual crash test simulations. What the front carbon fiber crash structure does is it absorbs crash energy, four - five times more energy than ordinary steel structures actually, during a severe frontal collision. This protects the passengers during such accidents four times more than traditional steel structures found in other sports cars and supercars.

The SLR also has a five speed automatic transmission. There are modes, the Sport, Comfort and Manual which basically covers every known driving style. Sport is for everyday use, Comfort for bumpy or slippery roads, and Manual gives you control over the gears either through the touchpad or the levers on the steering wheel. When you use Manual, you open up three more modes, namely Sport, Supersport and Race. Speed increased significantly as you go up shifts.

Other notable features in this sports car include the high-performance technologies of ceramic brakes. The SLR uses ceramic reinforced with fiber on its brake pads. This technology allows this exotic car to have astonishing stopping power, and extraordinary high resistance to heat, exceptionally strong structure and long service life for the brakes.

With all these features it is not surprising that the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is classified as a sports car and a supercar. Remember to get this right, though, the "SLR" does not stand for "Sportlich, Leicht, Rennsport" which is German for "Sport; Light; Racing" as most people think. Its real meaning is "super-leicht, Rennsport" which means "super-light, racing." The sports car is being sold with a base price of €443,066 £300,000 or $450,000. More Mercedes Benz cars:
Mercedes-Benz SLR 722

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ferrari's Future : F 149

Despite numerous denials, Ferrari will indeed unveil a new entry-level 2+2 coupe at the Paris Motor Show in October. The new model codenamed F149, will be priced less than the a target price less than the F430’s $190,000.

The F149 will be based on a heavily modified GranTurismo architecture. It will be powered by a new direct-injection engine, codenamed F136Y with a capacity of 4.3 liters, but with an output smaller than the F430.

Sources say it will have all-new injection rails, new intakes, new cylinder heads and new valvetrains and will debut a type of throttle body never used before. Direct injection will bring an instant fuel-efficiency increase of between 5 and 8 percent, and an all-new gearbox will provide additional gains.

Production is expected to be around 10,000 units a year.

Monday, March 3, 2008

new car

2007 Honda Ridgeline
Second year for Honda's one-of-a-kind pickup.

By New Car Test Drive

Review Pages
1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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The Honda Ridgeline is more closely a mid-size pickup than a full-size, but really it's like no other truck available. It vies for the title of most innovative pickup.

Think of Honda's best attributes, then apply them to a pickup truck. We mean qualities like refinement, fit-and-finish and innovation the Honda way. The Ridgeline features an easy-to-reach, locking storage box under its bed that no other pickup can match. Other companies have been building pickups for 100 years, and none of them had thought to try this storage system.

Yet the differences between Ridgeline and more conventional pickups go all the way to the core. Ridgeline is the first mainstream pickup with fully independent rear suspension, which improves ride quality considerably. Other pickup trucks have traditionally been built with a separate nose section, cab section, and cargo bed, bolted to a separate ladder frame. Honda's pickup uses both a one-piece unibody and a steel ladder frame, welded together. Its cab and bed are built as one piece, with separate subframes for the engine, front suspension and rear suspension. Honda claims Ridgeline is 20 times more resistant to twisting than any other pickup truck, and 3.5 times more resistant to bending.

We can't swear by those figures, but we assure you that the Ridgeline is one of the nicest pickups we've driven, measured by comfort and ease of use. It's smooth, quiet and very maneuverable, with a load of useful features. While it can't do the work of some full-size pickups, its 1550-pound payload and 5000-pound towing capacity are more than enough for many buyers.

For 2007, Honda introduces the value-priced Ridgeline RTX model, which adds popular equipment such as alloy wheels and a trailer hitch for a nominal price increase compared to the base RT model. At the high end of the line, the 2007 Ridgeline RTL adds a power moonroof and XM Satellite Radio as standard equipment.

The Honda Ridgeline doesn't look or act like any other pickup truck we've driven, and it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to own or operate. It makes pleasant, comfortable daily transportation, and it's as much pickup as many drivers will ever need.

Model Lineup

What's New for 2007: In its second year of production, the Honda Ridgeline gets a number of changes to its trim packages, including introduction of a new RTX model ($28,300). Beyond equipment included with the base RT model, the Ridgeline RTX adds a standard trailer hitch, gray-painted alloy wheels, an accessory grille and body colored door handles. Additionally, XM Satellite Radio hardware and a power moonroof are now standard on Ridgeline RTL.

The Ridgeline is sold in four different trim levels, with each model adding more standard equipment. Following Honda's new practice, there are no exterior badges to distinguish models.

All Ridgelines are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, generating 247 horsepower, with a five-speed automatic transmission and Honda's VTM-4 all-wheel-drive system. This full-time all-wheel-drive normally proportions 60 percent of the power to the front wheels, but if conditions indicate it will automatically send as much as 70 percent of the engine torque to the rear wheels. Ridgeline also incorporates a limited-slip differential with lock feature.

The Ridgeline RT ($27,800) is the base model. It comes standard with black bumpers, black door handles and steel wheels, manually operated front seats, air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control and a 100-watt, six-speaker stereo with CD.

The RTX ($28,300) is new for 2007.

The Ridgeline RTS ($30,275) adds painted bumpers, power front seats with manual lumbar support, a160-watt, seven-speaker stereo with six-CD changer and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The RTL ($32,940) adds still more standard features, including leather upholstery, a power moonroof and XM Satellite Radio hardware. The RTL can be equipped with Ridgeline's only factory installed option: Honda's DVD-based navigation system with voice recognition ($1,550). There are also dozens of dealer-installed accessories available for all Ridgeline models.

Safety equipment is comprehensive. It includes multi-stage front airbags and side-impact airbags for front passengers, front and rear side curtain airbags for head protection and LATCH child-seat anchors for the three rear seats. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, vehicle stability assist and a tire-pressure monitoring system are also standard.

new car


Aston to build cars abroad

By Ben Oliver

Industry news

03 March 2008 23:05

Aston Martin is to manufacture a major model outside the UK for the first time, CAR Online can exclusively reveal. The iconic British car maker will use the Geneva Motor Show to announce that its new Rapide four-door coupe will be built in Austria by Magna Steyr.

The firm’s Graz factory is expected to build up to 3000 Rapides each year, with deliveries starting in early 2010. As with all Aston Martin engines, the £200,000 Rapide’s 6.0-litre V12 will be built in Cologne. The Rapide shares its VH platform with all other current Astons but is most closely related to the DB9.

Magna Steyr already builds around 200,000 cars each year, including the BMW X3 and Saab 9-3 convertible. From 2010, it will build 60,000 units of the new Mini Sports Activity Vehicle, but will lose the next-generation X3 to BMW’s US plant.

Bez: Aston Martins must be built abroad

CEO Ulrich Bez is believed to have asked major European coachbuilders such as Magna, Italy’s Pininfarina, Germany’s Karmann and Finland’s Valmet to tender for the production of the Rapide last year when it became clear that demand for the new car would outstrip capacity at the firm’s Gaydon factory. Aston only began production there in 2003, but since Bez took control in 2000 the company’s output has grown tenfold to 7400 cars in 2007. There is precious little extra capacity at Gaydon.

The move may alienate some Aston Martin purists, but the company is likely to stress its long history of cooperation with European designers and coachbuilders. The DB4GT Zagato of the early Sixties is regarded as the most beautiful and desirable road-going Aston Martin and takes its name from the Italian firm that bodied it. Zagato also built limited runs of the DB7-based Vantage Zagato coupe and DB AR1 roadster in 2003. All these cars were bodied in Italy on chassis built by Aston Martin in England.

Bez has speculated publicly about going much further, outsourcing all of Aston Martin’s operations with the exception of marketing, and even paying his former employer Porsche to work on the ride and handling of future Astons.

Aston Martin's business plan

Aston Martin was bought from Ford a year ago in a deal valuing it at £479 million by a consortium led by Prodrive’s David Richards, backed by Houston banker and Aston enthusiast John Sinders, and two Kuwaiti investment houses.

'I’m sure a smart PR person will put a positive spin on it,' says industry analyst Jay Nagley of Spyder Automotive. 'Aston Martin has had a long relationship with the exotic European design houses like Zagato. A lot of Porsche Boxsters are made in Finland, and much of the Rolls-Royce Phantom is made in Germany, and nobody seems to mind. And it’s not as if they’re moving production to China.'

Aston Martin spokesmen were unavailable for comment tonight.

futuristic car

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