Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Opel Insignia ecoFLEX Sports Tourer: All This and Eco-credentials, Too

New Opel Insignia ecoFLEX Sport Tourer

RÜSSELSHEIM, Germany : June 30, 2009 - Green shoots continue to sprout on the Opel model line-up: Starting this fall, the especially environmentally friendly Insignia ecoFLEX will be available as a Sports Tourer. The elegant station wagon version of Europe’s 2009 Car of the Year sips in the combined cycle just 5.3 liters of diesel per 100 km and emits only 139 g CO2/km. (ecoFLEX sedan: 5.2 l/100 km, 136 g CO2/km). – while offering a load capacity of up to 1530 liters.

All Insignia ecoFLEX models combine economy with driving fun. The 2.0 CDTI engine with the Clean Tech System delivers 118 kW/160 hp and has maximum torque of 380 Nm. The Insignia ecoFLEX Sports Tourer accelerates to a top speed of 215 km/h – three km/h faster than the normal version – and sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds.

The Opel Insignia ecoFLEX Sports Tourer can be ordered now, with prices starting at 28,690 euros (RRP incl. VAT) in Germany. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission, a longer final drive ratio, a range of aerodynamic optimizations and specially developed, 225/55 R 17” low-resistance Michelin tires. “The Insignia ecoFLEX is more than just a green car. It offers the same package of high driving performance, innovative technologies and comfort as the other Insignia models. And for this price, it has no serious competition – this is true for both the Sports Tourer and the sedans,” says Hans Demant, Managing Director, Adam Opel GmbH.

Just how parsimonious the new Opel Insignia ecoFLEX is, was highlighted at the sedans’ press launch in June. European journalists driving the Insignia ecoFLEX for two weeks in the region south of Frankfurt confirmed that the official factory figure of 5.2 liters of diesel per 100 km is very realistic. On the first part of the test circuit, consisting mainly of country roads from the Frankfurt Airport to Heidelberg, most of the cars needed less than five liters of diesel. Some of the journalists really concentrated on their gas pedal behavior; one reporter from Croatia hit a record of 3.6 liters per 100 kilometers.

[Source : OPEL via Auto Channel]

The innovative commuter concept car, ‘Cygnet’ by Aston Martin

Cygnet by Aston Martin

GAYDON : June 29, 2009 - Aston Martin has developed a new luxury commuter concept; the ‘Cygnet’ which will offer customers a distinctive, intelligent and exclusive solution for urban travel in style and luxury.

The concept will offer Aston Martin trademark design in a commuter car package based on the critically acclaimed Toyota iQ with a Euro NCAP 5-star safety package.

The ‘Cygnet’ concept represents a creative, environmentally conscious solution, being small, yet with presence – and highly fuel efficient, now combined with the prestige of Aston Martin’s luxury brand ownership.

Aston Martin, the world leader in exclusive niche engineering is collaborating on this concept with Toyota the world leader in volume, quality and reliability. Although vastly different in size, Toyota and Aston Martin share the philosophy of engineering excellence and innovation underlined by a strong passion for cars.

Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez said: “Now is the right time for Aston Martin to take this first bold step to embark on this special project - made possible with the support of an organisation of Toyota’s stature and capability and the intelligent design and perfect city car package of the iQ.”

“Much work is still required, but I am confident that this project could become reality in the not too distant future. This concept - akin to an exclusive tender to a luxury yacht - will allow us to apply Aston Martin design language, craftsmanship and brand values to a completely new segment of the market.”

“The offering of a ‘Cygnet’ with a DBS, DB9 or Vantage is a unique combination of opposites and a novel transport solution allowing intelligent and sensitive mobility on an exclusive and innovative level.”


Peugeot launches new restyled 207 with even greater appeal

New Peugeot 207 range

  • New Peugeot 207 Range to be launched in August
  • Twelve different power-plants
  • Revised exterior and interior styling
  • New standard equipment
  • Low CO2 emissions
With three body shapes, hatchback, SW and CC, and twelve different power-plant options, the new 207 will further strengthen the 207’s position as Europe’s top selling small car, a position it has held for the last two consecutive years, 2007 and 2008.

New Peugeot 207 CC

In the UK the 207 is also a big success with over 167,000 vehicles sold since its introduction in June 2006.

The 207 has a deserved reputation for great style, and in August it becomes even more visually appealing due to the introduction of a number of new styling features:

Exterior Styling Changes:

  • A redesigned front which combines the car’s natural dynamism with a softer visual look

  • Increased use of exterior body colouring and chrome detailing

  • Spectacular new rear lights which use panels of light emitting diodes (LEDs) on the hatchback and CC models

New Peugeot 207 GTi THP 175

A more luxurious Passenger Compartment with:

  • New trims and detailing which place the emphasis on perceived quality, comfort and dynamism
  • New instrument panel designs with a more modern look and visual appeal
As well as a host of styling changes, the new 207 also benefits from the expertise of Peugeot’s engineers to further reduce fuel consumption and emissions on each new model the marque introduces.

The new 207 benefits from:

  • Particularly fuel efficient engines with reduced greenhouse gas emissions

  • “Very low fuel consumption” optimised not only aerodynamically but also by operation of the engine itself and the rolling resistance of the vehicle, allowing CO2 emissions to be reduced to 99 g/km

  • The gradual introduction of engines meeting the Euro5 emission standard

  • Introduction of a gear change indicator on manual gearbox models to encourage the driver to drive in a more environmentally efficient way.

New Peugeot 207 Hatchback

The introduction of the new 207 will also see a range of new standard equipment fitted to the vehicles to enhance both the comfort of all users, the driving experience and the safety capabilities of the vehicle.

  • Peugeot Connect USB with Bluetooth, in-car entertainment system

  • One-touch direction indicator function for safe lane changes

  • Remote controlled window closure, via the plip unit on hatchback and SW models.

  • One-touch operation of the driver's electric window on the 207 CC

With these developments the 207 family of vehicles further affirms its distinctive appeal in each of its available body shapes:

The 207 hatchback, three or five doors: Elegant and user-friendly, dynamic and sporty, it offers a unique blend of comfort and driveability as well as remarkable versatility….

The 207 SW and SW Outdoor: An attractively styled vehicle, a bright interior and remarkable practicality: all major benefits with, for the Outdoor version, an added taste of adventure…

The 207 CC: Europe’s top selling cabriolet, offering attractive styling with the dynamism and safety that are the foundation of its appeal

Details of individual model pricing and specification will be communicated in separate releases next month.

[Source : PEUGEOT]

Renault’s Kangoo be bop Z.E. electric vehicle available for test drive

Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E.
  • In a world first, Renault is to make its Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. prototype electric vehicle available for test drives. The technology seen on this car is very similar to that which will feature on the brand's upcoming production vehicles currently under development
  • The mass-marketing of affordable Renault electric vehicles is poised to begin in 2011
  • The Renault-Nissan Alliance is targeting to become the leading manufacturer of mass-market zero-emission vehicles
The Renault Kangoo be bop Z.E. prototype is powered by a 44kW (60hp) electric motor and is equipped with a 15kWh battery. With just 18 months remaining before the release of Renault's forthcoming production electric vehicles, Kangoo be bop Z.E. provides a range of approximately 100km. By the time of their launch, Renault's electric vehicles will have benefited from an evolution to their battery technology which will take their real-world range to 160km.

Optimising the range of electric vehicles is a key parameter, which is why Renault is taking all the necessary steps to make this aspect of electric vehicle use as simple and efficient as possible.

For many motorists, driving an electric vehicle will be a new experience. The absence of noise from the motor, the immediate availability of peak torque and the linear acceleration curve mean that drivers will need to develop new habits. This has led Renault to give motorists an opportunity to the sample Kangoo be bop Z.E. which previews the brand's forthcoming technology.

As a volume car manufacturer and leader in the field of safety, Renault is also doing everything in its power to produce electric vehicles which meet the same exacting standards as the brand's current internal combustion-engined vehicles.

The aim is to produce electric vehicles which boast exactly the same advantages delivered by Renault's current line-up, namely comfort, cabin space and safety. Electric vehicles are models in their own right.

Electric vehicles are a perfect fit for Renault's eco² environmental stance which seeks to mass market products that have a minimal ecological footprint across their full lifecycle.

Images : Renault Kangoo bebop ZE

[Source : RENAULT]

TECHART claims overall victory in the sport auto Tuner Grand Prix 2009

TECHART wins Tuner Grand Prix 2009

HOCKENHEIM, Germany : June 29, 2009 -Top times for TECHART at this year’s Tuner Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring race track. Behind the wheel of the TECHART GTstreet RS based on Porsche 911 GT2, racing driver Jörg Hardt left the competition with no chance and won the duel in the GT Turbo class. This meant that he was able to repeat last year’s victory. The sport auto Tuner Grand Prix is the world’s largest trial of strength in the tuning sector.

The TECHART-modified 911 GT2 won with an average lap time of 1:08.037 minutes over five laps driven around the small circuit of the Hockenheimring race track. This means that the team drove precisely 0.604 seconds faster than the team in second place, and went on to claim overall victory for all the classes entered. Thanks to modified VTG turbochargers, the engine generates 700 bhp / 515 kW at 7,000 rpm and puts down a maximum torque of 860 Nm onto the tarmac at 4,500 rpm. The car is capable of top speeds of up 350 km/h.

Besides the driving skills and high-performance engine, the decisive factor for this victory was above all the perfectly tuned suspension. In collaboration with the technology partners Bilstein and Michelin, the height-adjustable TECHART sports suspension was perfectly tuned to the circuit.

For the time trial, the TECHART team opted for high-performance Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires on account of the summer temperatures. Running on the single-piece TECHART Formula GTS light alloy rims in the dimensions 8.5Jx20 at the front and 12Jx20 at the rear, the Michelin tires ensured outstanding grip. The winning driver, Jörg Hardt, who has been racing successfully in motor sports for years, was utterly impressed: “The car had been prepared extremely professionally for the event. The tires performed steady and kept a very high level during the whole competition”.

In addition to the victory in the GT Turbo class, Jörg Hardt and the TECHART team also performed exceptionally well in the Coupé / Cabriolet-turbo class. The TECHART GTstreet R Cabrio on the basis of the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet took first place like last year. Achieving a time of 1:09.601, the car had a 3.186 second advantage over its competitors.

Jörg Hardt perfected the triumph by coming first in the SUV class. The TECHART Magnum, based on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, was entered into the race. Equipped with the 550 bhp of the production vehicle, an aerokit and sports air suspension module, TECHART achieved the winning time of 1:16.939 for the first time in the heavyweight class. The necessary grip was ensured by the Michelin Diamaris sport tires fitted on 22 inch TECHART Formula rims.

“With the victories also racked up this year, TECHART is underscoring its outstanding position in the automotive individualization sector”, says Marc Herdtle, Marketing Director at TECHART Automobildesign GmbH, in recognition of these achievements.

Technical details : TECHART GTstreet RS based on the Porsche 911 GT2

Car body and chassis
  • Front apron GT RS with carbon splitter
  • Side carbon flics
  • Aerodynamic bonnet
  • Headlight trims
  • Mirror trims
  • Sill panels GT
  • Carbon roof spoiler
  • Rear spoiler GT RS with winglets and carbon gurney
  • Rear apron GT RS with carbon diffuser, air outlet and carbon airwings
  • LED day driving lighting
  • TECHART Threaded chassis
  • TECHART Nose lift system
Wind tunnel values
  • 10 kg downforce on front axle and back axle at 140 km/h

Performance kit TA 097/T2.2, 515 KW / 700 hp at 7000 rpm and 860 Nm Torque at 4500 rpm consists of:
  • TECHART Sports air filter
  • TECHART Engine optical package
  • TECHART Pressure sensors
  • TECHART Carbon sports suction pipes
  • TECHART High performance intercooler
  • TECHART Manifold set
  • TECHART Turbocharger
  • TECHART Engine electronics
  • TECHART Sports exhaust (valve system)

Wheel/ tyre combination
  • TECHART Formula III forged light alloy wheels, one-component, front 8.5Jx20 with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres, back 12Jx20

[Source : TECHART]

Monday, June 29, 2009

Images Updated : Mercedes Benz Concept BlueZERO

Mercedes Benz Concept BlueZERO

Mercedes-Benz has shown the way ahead in environmentally responsible electromobility by presenting its near-series Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Based on a single vehicle architecture, this intelligent, modular concept allows three models with different drive configurations, all of which are able to meet customer requirements in terms of sustainable mobility:
  • the BlueZero E-CELL with battery-electric drive and a range of up to 200 kilometres using electric drive alone
  • the BlueZero F-CELL (fuel cell) with a range of well over 400 kilometres using electric drive
  • the BlueZero E-CELL PLUS with electric drive and additional internal combustion engine as power generator (range extender). This version has an overall range of up to 600 kilometres and can cover a distance of up to 100 kilometres using electric drive alone.

The three Mercedes-Benz BlueZero variants are based on the unique sandwich-floor architecture which Mercedes-Benz introduced some ten years ago, initially for the A-Class and then for the B-Class, one of the aims being to integrate alternative drive systems. Advantages of the modified construction include the positive effect of the major drive components on the centre of gravity, their space-saving design and the fact that they are extremely well protected within the vehicle underbody. The five-seater Mercedes-Benz BlueZero concept cars also set standards in terms of lightweight design, interior layout and body form.

"The flexible Mercedes-Benz BlueZero concept allows electromobility for every requirement and highlights the fact that Mercedes-Benz is the world's only car manufacturer to already have in place all the key technologies for electric cars offering full everyday practicality", says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The BlueZero principle: flexible design, compact exterior, generously sized interior

All three BlueZero variants share the same key technical components, while the design and vehicle dimensions are identical. Measuring just 4.22 metres in length, the BlueZero models combine compact exterior dimensions with a generously proportioned and variable interior and luggage compartment. Five fully-fledged seats, a payload of around 450 kilograms and a luggage compartment capacity of over 500 litres make for outstanding everyday practicality. Thanks to their sandwich construction with a raised sitting position, the cars also offer an exceptionally high level of crash safety for the passengers and the technology, not to mention excellent all-round visibility.

Compared to electric cars based on conventional vehicle platforms and originally only designed for use in combination with internal combustion engines, Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept offers the following conclusive advantages:

  • Interior space is retained in full. As the energy accumulators/generators are integrated into the spacious sandwich floor, no compromises are necessary when it comes to passenger space, luggage capacity or variability.
  • The powertrain technology built into the sandwich floor ensures a low centre of gravity and, consequently, extremely reliable and agile handling.
  • Crash safety is of the extremely high standard associated with Mercedes thanks to the sandwich concept and the housing of major powertrain components between the axles.
As a result, the BlueZero models are very different to conventionally constructed electric cars, which have the heavy and voluminous storage battery housed in the boot or in the rear-seat area, for example.

Modular design ensures flexibility and efficiency

"Our modular system allows different drive configurations for every customer requirement", says Dr Thomas Weber, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The modified sandwich-floor platform provides the perfect basis for a wide model range with electric drive systems. We are also developing a new, additional platform for future compact models with power units based on optimised internal combustion engines. The intelligent networking of both architectures enables us to develop our product portfolio extremely flexibly and efficiently. From 2009, we will be producing the first Mercedes fuel-cell cars on a small scale. Small-scale production of Mercedes-Benz cars with battery-electric drive alone will then commence in 2010. This means we are extremely well equipped for the future."

All three BlueZero models feature front-wheel drive, which is typical for this class of car. The Mercedes engineers have put together a modular system comprising several flexibly combinable drive components. These include state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries with a storage capacity of up to 35 kWh and the compact electric motor with a maximum output of 100 kW (continuous output 70 kW), which develops a peak torque of 320 Nm. All three variants accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 11 seconds. Their top speed is electronically limited to 150 km/h in the interests of optimal range and energy efficiency.

Electric drive systems with a range of 100, 200 and well over 400 kilometres

With a charging capacity of 15 kW, the powerful lithium-ion batteries in the BlueZero E-CELL and the BlueZero E-CELL PLUS can store enough energy for a range of 50 kilometres within 30 minutes. In terms of purely electrical drive, one or two hours of charging time is needed for a range of 100 and 200 kilometres respectively. The charging times are doubled if the charging capacity is 7 kW, as would be the case in a normal household. Both of these BlueZero vehicles incorporate an electronic control unit that supports intelligent charging stations and billing systems.

At the rear, the BlueZero E-CELL PLUS has the same 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the smart fortwo as an additional range extender. This compact three-cylinder powerplant has an output of 50 kW at a constant 3500 rpm. If required, it can recharge the 17.5-kWh lithium-ion battery by means of a similarly rated alternator. A range of up to 600 kilometres is possible on a single tank. The purely electrical, locally emission-free range is up to 100 kilometres. The BlueZero F-CELL with fuel-cell drive achieves a range of well over 400 kilometres with zero emissions (as per NEDC).

BlueZero design: both elegant and functional

Leading-edge technology is uniformly and attractively packaged in all three BlueZero variants. The unique and distinctive Mercedes design idiom displayed by the body highlights the progressive nature of Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept straight away.

The powerfully elegant front end is dominated by the radiator grille with its centrally located star. The excellent aerodynamics of the BlueZero are partly due to the closed front apron, whose design means that cooling air intakes are not required. The 20-inch wheels have also been aerodynamically optimised, while low-friction tyres reduce rolling resistance.

The striking character lines along the flanks lend the BlueZero an extremely dynamic side line and accentuate its bionic structure inspired by nature. This characteristic feature of the Mercedes-Benz bionic car was adapted and modified for the BlueZero models. These elements lend the body its dramatic power.

New-quality light production

The compact rear end of the Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept is characterised by tail lights in the shape of a curved "L". In addition, the Mercedes designers have achieved a new-quality light production: transparent lenses produce a red light curtain which tapers smoothly towards the sides, creating a lightly diffused effect. This effect is repeated, albeit in white this time, by the front headlamps. What's more, the front lights feature new lens technology and a plexiglass edge to produce "C" shaped daytime driving lights with the help of state-of-the-art LED technology.

Intelligent technology made visible

Translucent surfaces make the normally concealed technology visible. The light-grey tailgate is made completely from lightweight but highly robust Lexan that allows a view of the aluminium structure that makes up the rigidifying frame, for example. At the same time this transparent tailgate provides a view of the vehicle interior, making the advantages of the sandwich-floor platform obvious at a glance: for maximum customer benefit, the luggage compartment and passenger area remain fully usable, since there are no technical components that need to be accommodated here.

"It was very important for us to ensure that the guiding Mercedes-Benz principle of 'Fascination and Responsibility' was clearly reflected in the design of the Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept", says Mercedes-Benz design chief Gorden Wagener. "This is yet another clear statement that environmental awareness and driving pleasure will continue to go together in our vehicles in the future. We want people to realise at first sight that the Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept is definitively not a lesser option."

The Mercedes-Benz designers have emphasised this aspiration by introducing paint finishes in three new ALU-BEAM colours. Each of the three variants makes its individual mark: the BlueZero E-CELL is painted in a fresh ALU-BEAM Yellow, while the BlueZero F-CELL has ALU-BEAM Green paintwork. Confidence-oozing ALU-BEAM Orange was chosen for the BlueZero E-CELL PLUS.

Images : Mercedes Benz Concept BlueZERO

[Source : DAIMLER]