Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BMW adds second diesel engine to 1 Series Cabriolet

Introduced last year, the BMW 1-series Cabrio included a diesel version in its lineup. For the 2009 model year, BMW has announced (in Europe, folks) that the 1-series will sport two additional engines: The 123d sports a 4-cylinder, 2-liter unit good for 204hp goes from 0 to 62 mph in 7.5 seconds, uses 5.4 l/100 km (44mpg) and emits 144 g of CO2 per km. As an entry diesel, there's the 118d model. It will include the same 2-liter engine but with a single turbocharger tuned for 143hp. It still manages a 0-62 mph figure in 9.5 seconds, while burning 4.9 l/100 km of diesel fuel (48mpg U. S.), as well as keeping CO2 emissions under 129 g/km. . The car features other improvements such as a new iDrive interface, a better screen, better navigational system and guided tours, not to add Bluetooth compatibility and several other goodies.

Cobalt XFE selling faster than planned

compact car. Relatively easy tricks such as revised gearing, Chevrolet apparently has a hit on its hands in the form of the new XFE model of its Cobaltlow rolling-resistance tires and some computer reprogramming was enough to boost the XFE to 36 miles per gallon on the highway, up from the standard model's 33 mpg. GM says it took just eighteen months to make this new version a reality, and rumors indicate there could be more XFEs on the way.

Nancy Libby, a spokeswoman for Chevrolet, says that demand for the car surprised the automaker, as it had estimated that the XFE would make up just two to three percent of Cobalt sales. In actuality, the XFE model accounts for eight percent of sales and sits on the lot for just eighteen days on average -- lowest of any Cobalt model. Perhaps the best news of all is that other automakers are observing the success Chevy has had with the XFE, and the concept is spreading across from GM to both Ford and Chrysler.

F1 mechanic gets a big shock from KERS

Next year Formula 1 will see the introduction of KERS -- the Kinetic Energy Recovery System. The system stores the energy from braking and makes it available to the driver in an on-demand burst. Due to the magnificent braking forces in braking an F1 car, the system must be called on to store a sizable amount of electricity.

Red Bull got things buzzing last week when an eruption of smoke and fumes lead to a call to the fire department. Today, BMW test driver Christian Klien did three laps in a car equipped with an early edition of KERS, and came back to the pits. When a mechanic touched the car, he got a shock strong enough to throw him to the ground. The mechanic suffered slight injuries to a hand and a grazed arm, but was otherwise unhurt. BMW halted all testing while it looks into the issue, which could simply be a matter of improper grounding. Or, it could be time to suit pit crews up in rubber gear...

Porsche Cayenne

The Porsche Cayenne test mule has been caught in testing with light camo. It’s a second generation of the popular SUV, which planned to launch in 2010.

The petrol-electric hybrid is expected to be a V8 due next year, while the oil-burner will most likely be the 3.0-litre V6 unit found in the Audi Q7.

A diesel could give Porsche around 15,000 extra sales a year, as well as answering the critics - it is the most polluting mainstream manufacturer, with an average CO2 output of 275.6g/km across its range.

Porsche wants to rush out the second generation Cayenne before the demand for high performance SUVs completely drops. Its other sibling, the Volkswagen Touareg, is due by the end of 2010, but the Audi Q7 won’t be replaced until around 2013.

Honda CBF Stunner Launched, 800cc Bike Coming in 2009

Honda CBF Stunner 125cc New Bike Launch India Price Performance
Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HSMI) has rolled out a new 125 cc bike christened 'CBF Stunner'. The CBF Stunner would give the Honda Shine company and is priced between Rs. 47,070 and Rs 51,655 (Ex-Showroom, Delhi). Honda expects to sell about 80,000 units of the CBF Stunner in the current fiscal hoping that the maturing 125cc segment lures buyers towards its new offering. The CBF stunner is aimed at the 18-25 age group who are looking at their first fun bike. Company officials have also said that Honda would import a 800cc bike by March 2009 which would sell at over Rs. 10 lakh and give Yamaha competition in the premium bike segment in India

Was he right all along?

Two-and-a-half years ago, maverick investor Kirk Kerkorian's right-hand man, Jerry York, gave a headline-grabbing speech at the Detroit auto show in which he said General Motors Corp. should dump its Hummer and Saab brands. York said Saab wasn't selling enough vehicles to be viable and Hummer, while a strong brand, wasn't drawing buyers to other GM offerings.

Wrong, said GM officials, arguing that Hummer, in particular, was one of its hottest brands. Internal GM research even showed that Hummer was the GM vehicle most young people said they aspired to own some day.

But that was a time when gasoline under $3 a gallon. On Tuesday, GM Chairman Rick Wagoner said that the automaker was undertaking a strategic review of Hummer that could result in GM dumping the macho vehicle brand.

Slowly, it seems, GM is doing what analysts have long said the automaker needs to do: Trimming the number of brands it offers. Wagoner has long argued that GM has the resources to build and market Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn.

But look at some of GM's recent consolidation moves. The automaker has mostly merged the Buick, Pontiac and GMC brands into one dealership channel. It is shrinking the number of models offered by each of those brands. Buick is down to three models--the LaCrosse, Lucerne and Enclave. GMC's Envoy is a candidate for oblivion as the body-on-frame SUV market collapses. Sales of the Pontiac Grand Prix and Torrent are way off, making those models potential candidates for elimination. In essense, Buick-Pontiac-GMC could become one brand.

GM said recently that Cadillac, Saab and Hummer would be sold under a "premium" dealer channel. But Hummer is now on the endangered species list, and GM is struggling to make a profit on European-built Saabs because of the strong Euro. GM has sold only 10,196 Saabs this year, down 19 percent from a year ago.

Looks like Jerry York's analysis of GM's product line-up wasn't too far off the mark.

Redesigned Fords to boast best mileage in class

Every automaker currently selling cars in America is now doing all that they can do to increase fuel efficiency. Even on models which were already launched, redesign time is the perfect opportunity to make another attempt at raising fuel mileage. Such is the case at Ford, as product chief Derrick Kuzak's new mandate for his engineers is to make every new or redesigned Ford the most fuel efficient vehicle in its class, starting with the revised Fusion due for 2010. Currently, the base 2.3 liter four cylinder engine is mated to a five speed automatic transmission. That combo is able to offer up 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. While that is decent, it's not class leading. So, we are expecting a significant bump when the next Fusion appears with both a hybrid model and an enlarged 2.5 liter engine with six speed automatic. We got the chance to sample this powertrain in the 2009 Escape and found that it both increased performance and decreased fuel consumption. Sounds like a winner.

Audi system detects stop lights, tells drivers to floor it

It takes months of traveling a particular route to properly time the stop lights, and even with the most intricate knowledge of every intersection, missing the red every time is about as probable as winning the lotto. Audi is looking to change that with a new stop light detection technology that communicates with specially equipped vehicles to tell the driver exactly how fast to drive to avoid getting caught at a red. Audi installed special devices at 50 traffic lights in Ingolstadt, Germany with sensors that calculate your current speed and the distance to the light to determine what adjustments are needed to lay off the brake pedal. The result is improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions, optimal use of time spent on the road and less wear and tear on the brakes. The system can also adapt to traffic patterns to minimize the amount of red lights you'll have to encounter on your daily drive. After soldering on virtually unchanged for 100 years, it appears the modern day traffic light is almost ready for a makeover. Technology is good.

Audi R8 in India Soon

Audi R8 Imported in Delhi Sports Car Price Picture
Audi R8 Launched in India Price Dealer
There's news to cheer for all you Audi R8 fans. The German car manufacturer which is doing all so well in India is set to bring in it's flagship model, the R8 mid engined sports car by autumn this year. The R8 was caught by me at an imported cars dealership in Delhi a few months back. The dealer informed me about the phenomenal demand for the car in India, which made both of us wonder why Audi adnt officially launched the R8 in India. Well Audi has been listening and the R8 would soon be at Audi's seven dealerships in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The R8 is unique in many ways such as the 'quattro' all wheel drive system, 420 bhp mid mounted engine mated to a 6 speed R Tronic transmission which propels the R8 from 0-100kmph in about 4.2 seconds and upto a top whack of 301 kmph while ensuring crazy grip levels and control. To demonstrate the R8's performance Audi would need to rent a track and let potential buyers know what they are coughing up so much doe for.

Top 5 Road Trip Vehicles

Do you, your friends and family love to take road trips? If you are often on the road and have far distances to travel you may want to consider owning or leasing one of the top road trip vehicles! Whether you are taking road trips frequently, have a long distance to work or a family or friends house these vehicles will be great for you!

  1. Toyota Sienna - Nothing is better than a van for when you have children. The Toyota Sienna provides side sunshades, DVD entertainment, navigation system, adaptive cruise control, electrical outlets, and rear side windows. The Sienna is a great for road trips! Keep your children quiet and enjoying the ride!
  2. Honda Element - The Element is a great vehicle for road trips! The vehicle has backseats that fold into a bed which make it very spacious. It is a very sleek and smooth ride. Along with the great amount of space the vehicle also gets great gas mileage!
  3. Maybach 62 - When taking road trips the Maybach 62 has you covered! The vehicle provides beverage coolers, video monitors, and a Bose stereo. In a hot area? Not a problem the vehicle provides four-zone climate control air conditioning.
  4. Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer - These vehicles are great for long road trips and a packed car. Not only are very spacious they are great for pulling trailers and other objects behind up to 7,000 pounds!
  5. Dodge Magnum - The Magnum is thought of as a classy station wagon. Along with it’s great looks it provides a very spacious wagon which can hold a ton of your belongings when on the road. This vehicle is very spacious for 5 people. The vehicle is also great on gas so drive away!

Consider one of these vehicles and watch your daily car trips run a lot smoother! Keep your children entertained and enjoying the ride while you are relaxing and getting closer to your destination!

Let's go racin' boys! Maybe not

One of the elements of General Motors Corp.'s latest cost-cutting initiative, announced Tuesday, that didn't get a great deal of attention was the automaker's decision to cut back on financial support of auto racing. GM North America President Troy Clarke said GM's entire racing budget, estimated by some to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year, is under review. Clarke said GM's support of Chevrolet racing teams in NASCAR, the most popular racing series in the United States, is included in that review.

Racing for automakers has been a combination of ego and good business sense. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, for instance, say the engineering lessons learned in racing helps them produce excellent products for their not-so-general-public customers. The same goes for Honda, which regards its racing-engine development as an important element helping it produce dependable engines for its Civics and Accords.

Henry Ford II pushed Ford Motor Co. to develop the legendary GT 40 race car in the 1960s basically for one reason--to allow him to travel to Europe and watch his racing teams beat Ferrari on its own turf.

There's an old adage about automakers participating in racing: Race on Sunday, sell on Monday. That used to work when the stock cars running in NASCAR races weren't too far removed from the models people could buy in dealer showrooms. But today's NASCAR race cars are custom-built with virtually identical bodies. The only visible differences between Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Chevrolet Impala and Kyle Busch's Toyota Camry are the paint jobs and decals.

And being connected to racing might not be a good thing for automakers at a time when most consumers are more concerned about saving gas than they are about pretending they are Kasey Kahne or Danica Patrick. In fact, I would dare say that an automaker's connection to racing is irrelevant to most buyers.

GM Chairman Rick Wagoner made an interesting point about that at yesterday's news conference. Wagoner said GM's "legacy costs" extend behind pension and health care costs for its retirees. They include business practices that exist just because that's the way they've always been done. Support for racing is one of those legacies that GM may no longer be able to afford.

Coulomb Technologies announces "Smartlet" public charging stations

At the Plug-In 2008 conference in San Jose CA Coulomb Technologies has announced its new Smartlet charging stations and ChargePoint network system. The plan is for the company to sell the Smartlet stations to municipal governments and parking lot owners and then provide the ChargePoint network to provide a subscription based public charging system for consumers. The Smartlets are equipped with electrical metering and wireless communications capabilities. Drivers would get a subscription through ChargePoint and then when they park their plug-in vehicles, the Smartlet would authenticate and then allow them to start charging. Parking lot owners and cities would take a cut of the revenue while a car is being charged. Coulomb plans to make the Smartlets and the network available later this year and San Jose wants to be the first city to install it. New ABGer Shannon is on hand in San Jose for the conference and will put some more info later.

New Hyundai i10 wth Kappa Engine

new hyundai i10 1.2 litre kappa engine india mileage

Hyundai has launched the hot selling i10 hatchback with a new 1.2 litre 'Kappa' engine. The new engine is an all aluminium unit with DOHC and four valves per cylinder, producing 80PS and making the i10 a really fun and peppy hatchback to drive. The new engine would be offered along with the existing 1.1 litre engine, which is the same as the Santro. The base D-lite and Era models would be sold with the existing 1.1 litre engine while the Magma variant plus two new variants; Sportz and Asta, would be sold with the 1.2 litre, Kappa engine. The 1.2 litre Kappa engined variants would also be offered with the choice of a 4-speed automatic transmission. Fully loaded variants would come with goodies like a sunroof, 2-Din sound system, a red pack Sportz interior and class leading safety features like ABS and dual airbags.

Hyundai is likely to price the 1.2 litre Kappa engine variants aggressively at only about Rs. 10,000 more than the 1.1 litre versions. This would make the i10 a performance hatch with great value and a great city hatch.

London 2008: Renaultsport Megane R26.R

While most of our recent hot hatch affection has been aimed at the Ford Focus RS, Renault brought its own racy three-door to the London Motor Show party, and now we're torn. Admittedly, the Focus RS is easily the more suitable day-to-day driver – it's got a full interior and air conditioning -- but the Renaultsport Megane R26.R has all the kit for a serious track-day assault. Hell, it even has two Rs in its name.

With the new Megane slated to appear at this year's Paris Motor Show, Renault wanted to give the current model a fitting send off. To that end, it took the existing Megane F1 Team R26, left the engine, gearbox and limited slip differential intact, modified the suspension and hacked off 271 pounds from its curb weight. The diet included the removal of the rear seats, passenger side airbag, climate control, fog lamps, headlight washers, rear windscreen wiper and the majority of the soundproofing material. In exchange, the R26.R received a carbon fiber hood, polycarbonate quarter and rear windows and a titanium exhaust.

Inside, the Renaultsport hatch makes the RS look positively pedestrian, with a set of carbon fiber Sabelt seats, six-point harnesses, leather and suede swathed steering wheel and gear knob, and an optional four-point roll cage. While output remains the same, at 230 hp and 229 lb.-ft. of torque, the stripped R26.R lapped the Nurburgring in 8:17 – a new lap record for a front wheel drive production car.

Only 450 examples will be made available when sales begin in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain this October. And unlike the Chevy Camaro, Renault released a video of the R.26R doing it's thing around the 'Ring... three seconds faster. Check it, along with the press release, below the fold.

Lightning GT out of the bottle at British International Motor Show

The moment many green-loving speed enthusiasts have been impatiently waiting for has finally arrived with the unveiling of the all-new Lightning GT at the British International Motor Show. The sheet was pulled back around 1 o'clock London time to reveal metal that stays quite true to the earlier rendered version. The long hood has sexy curves that deliver more than a twinge of lust but with a fascia that evokes the eloquence of an Aston Martin, it retains a classy British feel. A walk around the back reveals a brief rounded rear deck with no exhaust pipes to spoil the view. While we couldn't cross the pond for the event, the Lightning Car Company folks were kind enough to supply pictures for the gallery below.

Though quite similar performance-wise, the Lightning GT's builders believe they have some solid advantages over the Tesla Roadster in the technology department. The British sports car features Altairnano batteries which are capable of receiving a full charge in as little as 10 minutes and can last for over 10 years. No transmission troubles here either since the 4 PML Flightlink Hi-Pa Drive™ motors are in the wheels. A high mechanical efficiency is maintained with this all-wheel drive design that also aids greatly in brake regeneration and traction control. With all that function comes a bit of comfort as well. Full leather, air conditioning, sat nav and electronic door entry are all part of the £120,000 package. The Lightning GT team are also able to customize vehicles with made-to-measure interiors and even bodywork modifications, according to the customers wishes. Orders have already been received. If you wish to join this exclusive line-up you'll need to throw down £15,000 and be prepared to wait at least a year.

Top 10 Fuel Efficient Truck for 2008

Have you always had a passion for driving a Truck but are debating on keeping or getting another one due to high gas prices? Everyone knows trucks don’t get the best gas mileage but there are a number of trucks you’d be suprised with. Find out the most fuel efficient truck from your favorite maker and check out the gas mileage. Find a gas mileage you’re happy with and keep driving your favorite trucks. Below is a list of the top ten fuel efficient truck for 2008:

#1 Ford Ranger averages 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Mazda B-Series averages 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

#2 Toyota Tacoma averages 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

#3 Nissan Frontier averages 19 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

#4 Chevrolet Colorado averages 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

GMC Canyon averages 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

Isuzu i-Series averages 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

#5 Mitsubishi Raider averages 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

#6 Dodge Dakota averages 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.

#7 Dodge Ram 1500 averages 16 mpg city and 19 mpg highway.

With these top ten fuel efficient trucks you won’t have to feel so guilty about your everyday driving distances. When driving a fuel efficient truck you are saving a great amount of your money. It’s easy, drive a fuel efficient vehicle and save your self from spending so much money at the pump.

To add to the saving of driving a fuel efficient truck there is another way to help you save your pennies at the pump, by signing up for a gas credit card. Gas credit cards can save you anywhere from 5% on each gallon. Sign up for a gas credit card today at and be amazed with the money you’ve saved!

He loves us, he loves us not

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain held a townhall meeting at General Motors Corp.'s Tech Center Friday at which he told GM workers a few things they liked hearing and one big thing they didn't.

McCain said if elected, he would support a $5,000 tax credit for consumers who buy low-emission vehicles. He also reiterated his support for a $300 million prize to the first company that makes the first commercially available electric vehicle.

But GM Chairman Rick Wagoner may have wondered why he invited McCain into his corporate home when Mr. Straight Talker said he supports letting individual states set their own vehicle exhaust emission standards. GM and most other automakers oppose that, opting instead for a single federal standard. GM says building cars and trucks to meet various state standards would be a costly engineering nightmare.

McCain is entitled to his opinions, of course. And his view on emission standards plays well in California and Northeast states that want to impose more stringent regulations. But Michigan is expected to be a battleground state in the November election. Appearing at an auto company and promoting a stance that the industry opposes could be more political crazy talk than straight talk.

AutoblogGreen drives the MINI Cooper D, at 47 mpg who cares about fuel prices!

Back in the 70s, the first great oil shock threatened to obliterate the fun in driving. This time around, that's not the case. Modern electronic management systems and highly efficient engines are allowing engineers to create drivetrains that provide outstanding fuel economy and performance. Combine those two elements with a great chassis and you can have a blast behind the wheel -- without draining your wallet or your conscience. Such was the case with AutoblogGreen, which had the opportunity to spend a few days thrashing some European unobtanium, courtesy of Bosch Automotive Systems. The MINI Cooper D (as in diesel power) combines 177 lb.-ft. of torque with the already competent MINI chassis, and delivers driving thrills while returning a massive 47 mpg!

Things to Check on your car Before Vacation

When planning a vacation you may often spend so much time packing and getting your stuff together to worry about your car. When going on a driven vacation it is always important to give your car a quick check up before leaving, especially when going long distances. You want your vacation to be a relaxing and good time. Avoid having a disastrous vacation by avoiding these simple quick check ups before leaving. Below is a list of things you should check for when leaving for a vacation:

  • Check tire pressure. It is very important to check your tire pressure on a weekly basis anyways. It only takes a few minutes and may save you from damaging your tires. Give a couple minutes to your tires and feel better about leaving.
  • Oil change. Make sure before leaving that your oil is full and clean. When putting all those miles on your car, the oil often thickens and gets dirty. Make sure your oil is nice and clean leaving your car healthy.
  • Check all your fluids. You will want to check for your oil, brake fluid, coolant level, wiper fluid, and transmission fluid. These are all very important when it comes to car maintenance especially when leaving for a trip.
  • Make sure all your lights are working. Be sure to check for your high beams, low beams, headlights, turn signals, brake lights, tail lights, and hazard lights.

Checking for all of these things may turn a disastrous vacation into a fun filled, relaxing one. There is nothing worse than having car trouble in an area that you’re not familiar with. Check all of these things and have a safe trip! Also another tip is to make sure you have jumper cables with you at all times. You never know what to expect when on the road. We all make mistakes, follow these tips and you’ll be on your way!