Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hyundai i35 Coupe Latest Spy Photos

After decades of making affordable run-of-the-mill cars, Hyundai are really pulling out all the stops these days to turn themselves into a creditable global car manufacturer. Witness the very competitive i30 hatchback. The car handles and drives very well, the quality is a huge improvement and the thing is even soft on the eye. Ok, Ok I guess the Tiburon could hold its head a little higher than most of the range, but the virtues related to an i30 could not be associated with an Accent or an Excel for instance.

So looking at these images of Hyundai’s forthcoming Genesis Sports Coupe we can get quite excited. Think of an i30 with a turbocharged 215hp 2.0L engine. Combine that with a rear wheel drive chassis and you have a recipe for an affordable competitive sports car. Not good enough for you? How about a 3.8L 300hp V6? Now you’re talking and these outputs are also very competitive with the class leaders suggesting Hyundai are really getting the hang of developing engines as well.

The cars outline is easily made out in these shots but the front and rear camouflage guard the styling elements very well. The interior shot is quite revealing though.

Hyundai have always been competitive on value for money and this certainly is not a quality Hyundai will shy away from in future, so expect the new coupe to be priced very competitively. Looking ahead, the first cars to go on sale at the end of 2008 in Asia with 2009 set as a date for the US and Europe.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Leaked pictures of F11 BMW 5-Series M-Sport package

These are pictures of what the new M-sport package will look like on the 2011 BMW 5-Series. The pictures were obtained from a brochure and is of the F11 BMW 5-Series Touring. No doubt that the same package will be available for the F10 sedan.

Thanks to BimmerToday, we now know that the M-sport package will have a reworked front end with bigger air ducts, sporty side skirts, integrated rear diffuser and chrome tailpipes.

The package will also offer sportier 18 and 19-inch wheels, while the inside will feature a three spoke steering wheel, a new design for the seats and gear shift knob with M-sport branding. Unfortunately, there is no mention of performance upgrades, which is as usual with the M-sport packages. Now that BMW has adjustable dampers on the car, a harder M-sport suspension seems a little less appealing than before.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Volkswagen Scirocco Cup China

Last weekend was a rather exciting one for the local motorsport scene. The Super GT made a stop at Sepang, the one and only race outside the land of the rising Sun. As always, it brought along the much anticipated GT race queens and some interesting support races as well. As mentioned earlier, the Volkswagen Scirocco Cup China made its debut right here in Malaysia and even had local hero Hammond Lai crowned as winner of race 1 on Saturday.

As the top eight grid positions were reversed for race 2, spectators were entertained with an uphill battle as quicker drivers were fighting their way up the field and who can forget the ‘delicious’ on-track squabble between the top two drivers. Overall it was definitely a successful stop over for the series.

Us journalists who were covering the progress of the series at Sepang were delighted to find out what Volkswagen Malaysia and Scirocco Cup China had in store for us, after Sunday’s race! Yes, as the title suggests, we were given the opportunity to try out an actual Scirocco Cup China race car on track. The event took place on Monday while the Super GT guys were packing their bags en route to Japan.

Furthermore these were the actual race cars, the cars that were raced a day before with some still carrying minor damage as result of on-track collisions. So when I was told that I will be part of this, I said bring it on!

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

R35 GT-R 900bhp

Nissan, when releasing the R35 GT-R, stated that it would be both “perfect” and “untunable.” Many see it as the perfect performance tool, but the untunable bit has been disproved by a number of tuning firms, one of them being Ohio-based Switzer Performance which produced 800 hp from the standard GT-R.

However, in tunerworld, no one is ever satisfied with their accomplishments. So Switzer’s P800 GT-R went to the gym for some bulking up, with 900 hp as result! But there is a twist this time, and it comes in the form of its fuel source: ethanol E85.

Yes, this 900 hp monster feeds on biofuel, which produces much less greenhouse gas than gasoline. “With most high-horsepower cars, you can barely breathe after just a few dyno runs. With the E85, we were able to run pull after pull to dial in the tune without feeling any effects of the usual emissions. It’s hardly scientific, but there was a noticeable improvement in the air quality in the shop compared to race gas,” Tym Switzer said.

Switzer modified the fuel system to handle E85 and significantly increased the size of the injectors. 900 hp was deemed too much for the standard gearbox, so a specially developed transmission was crafted by Dodson Motorsports of New Zealand with “more clutch area.”

No price and performance figures were given, except for acceleration from 96 km/h to 209 km/h, which is ridiculously fast at under 6 seconds!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hyundai ix35

The Hyundai ix35 development team moved away from the two-box off-roader look in favor of a sleeker, more reformed profile while aiming for a roomier cabin, extra storage capacity and fuel economy leadership.

Hyundai's new "fluidic" design language finds confident expression in the sweeping, gently curved lines of the Hyundai ix35. The hexagonal grille previewed on the Hyundai ix-onic concept at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show moves into mass production on the Hyundai ix35, a defining look that will serve to unify the family of future Hyundai products. To achieve the desired dynamic and sporty image, Hyundai ix35 gets an aggressive belt line coupled with a low-to-the-ground feel which is enhanced by the optional 225/55 R18 wheels.

The interior lines echo the dynamic flow of the sheet metal. For improved comfort, the designers have carved out extra legroom and headroom (whilst lowering the overall height of the vehicle). The feeling of spaciousness in the cabin is further enhanced by the new dual-panel panoramic sunroof, benefitting front and rear passengers. The center panel can either tilt open or can open completely by sliding up and over the rear panel.

The gauge cluster - with blue backlight - borrows Supervision technology from the Genesis sedan to display key information with crystal-clear clarity and minimal eye stress.

The Hyundai ix35 rides on a 2640mm wheelbase which is 10mm longer than the outgoing Hyundai Tucson. At 4410mm and 1820mm, it is also longer and wider than its predecessor (by 85mm and 20mm, respectively) greatly improving the interior cabin space but the overall height of 1660mm has been lowered by 20mm without affecting headroom.

Greater travel in the front seat adjustment gives more legroom and headroom for taller drivers. The centre console box has been enlarged to 6.2 liters for more storage. In addition, the height of the rear cargo screen has been raised for extra capacity and a small storage binnacle has been added in the rear cargo area.

To further broaden its appeal, Hyundai ix35 will get the newest fuel-efficient engines and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Western European customers will be offered a choice of two thrifty and clean-burning petrol engines: the Theta-II 2.0 rated at 166ps and 20.1kg.m of torque which emits just 178g/km (2WD MT) of CO2 and the Gamma 1.6 GDI delivering 140ps and 17kg.m of torque, available from November 2010, which delivers only 158g/km of CO2. This 1.6 GDI engine will be available with ISG stop-start technology, further reducing CO2 to just 149 g/km.

The European diesel lineup includes two all-new engines: the R 2.0 and the U-II 1.7, which will be available from November 2010. The R 2.0 will come in a choice of two outputs: high (184ps/40kg.m) and low (136ps/32kg.m) producing CO2 emissions of just 165g/km (2WD MT) and 158g/km (4WD MT), respectively. The U-II will have a rated output of 115ps with 26.0kg.m and will have class-leading CO2 emissions of just 149 g/km (2WD MT) when equipped with ISG. To achieve Euro-5 emission compliance, the R is fitted with a close-coupled diesel particulate filter plus highly efficient exhaust gas recirculation with by-pass valve.

Six-speed manuals are standard with both diesels while the R will come with the option of a six-speed automatic. Hyundai's all-new six-speed automatic transaxle helps the company meet its goals of improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. Shifts are silky-smooth with an option of sporty-type, manual shifting through the Shiftronic which is also new to the Hyundai ix35.

In addition to the new fuel-efficient engines and transmissions, the Hyundai ix35 features a number of other innovations which contribute to lower operational costs. Nestled between the speedometer and tachometer, the "ECO" coach is a new feature designed to promote fuel-saving driving habits. In the manual transmission version, an icon on the LCD trip-ometer screen begins to flash when the optimum gear shift point is reached. The automatic uses an "ECO" icon backlit by LEDs with either the red, white or green LED lighting up in accordance with driving behavior. Fuel savings in the range of 15 to 17 percent are attainable with the automatic "ECO" coach and 7 to 9 percent with the manual.

The multi-link rear suspension was adopted not only for its superior ride and handling characteristics but also because of its compact design which minimizes intrusion into the cabin creating extra space for passengers and cargo. Tried and true Macpherson struts are employed for the front suspension set-up.

Extensive work was done to isolate sounds and eliminate vibrations. Hyundai ix35 is discernibly quieter both at highway speeds and at engine idle. Booming noise is reduced thanks to a sub-frame dynamic damper while the rear luggage area gets extra soundproofing to isolate exhaust sounds. Road noise has been minimized by improving stiffness in the front and rear struts, rear trailing arm and the spring sheet.

The body shell structure is engineered to the very highest standards of safety: In crash safety tests conducted in-house Hyundai ix35 scores a five-star rating in Euro NCAP testing for both frontal and side impacts. The entire body shell has been made stiffer and lighter thanks to its more extensive use of ultra-high tensile strength steel.

In a panic braking situation, the emergency flash signals are automatically triggered thus reducing the risk of rear-end crashes. Active headrests are triggered by the pressure of the seat occupant's weight on the backrest, the headrests automatically moving upwards and forwards to help prevent injuries to head, neck and upper body.

In addition to optional 4WD capability, Hyundai ix35's CUV credentials are strengthened with two new safety features: Hill start Assist Control and Downhill Brake Control which promote safer travel up and down steep slopes.

For safer maneuvering in reverse gear, a rear-view camera has been added, which operates in conjunction with a 3.5-inch color LCD built into the rear-view mirror. Smart-Parking Assist uses the rear-view camera to provide a graphical grid overlay to safely guide the driver into the parking spot.

Other new features include:

•Push button start with smart-key proximity sensor
•Manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel
•Steering wheel-mounted audio remote control
•Air-conditioned, cooled glove box
•Low rolling resistance tires for 16" wheels
The Hyundai ix35 will be built in three factories on two continents. Mass production of the Tucson started at the Ulsan factory for the Korean domestic market in September. In November 2009, the Ulsan plant will begin production for North America and the general market (all countries outside of EU and greater Europe).

The Kia Motors factory in Zilina, Slovakia will build the Hyundai ix35 starting in the first quarter of 2010 (R engine and Theta-II) and greater Europe in the second quarter of 2010. The Hyundai ix35 will also be built by Beijing Hyundai to meet demand in China.

Mercedes SLS AMG Supersport Black Edition

Mercedes went all out in creating the supercar to replace the SLR McLaren. Drawing inspiration from the iconic 300 SL for its gullwing doors, the new SLS AMG features a thunderous 6.2-litre V8 engine which most will be in awe of.

However unlike most car enthusiasts, 563 hp and 650 Nm pulling 1.6 tonnes isn’t enough for the German tuners, or perhaps they just have to satisfy the modding itch. Mercedes experts Kicherer has this for us, the Supersport Black Edition, which should not be confused with AMG’s own flagship Black Series cars.

Changes include the usual revised ECU and a stainless steel sport exhaust system. This pushes power to 620 hp, which is 100 horses per litre. Matching the added performance is the sinister matte foil wrapped exterior, a front spoiler lip, revised diffuser, matte black exterior accents (instead of chrome), Kicherer badge on the hood and 20-inch RS-1 wheels. The car also features adjustable sports suspension.
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