Audi R8 – production running at top speed

Posted in Audi

The new Audi R8 has made a flying start, with Audi customers being able to take possession of the company’s sporty top model since the start of June. 1.500 units of the 420 bhp mid-engined two-seater have already found their way to dealers and buyers. Craft-scale production of the R8 is now running at top speed in Neckarsulm: the maximum possible number of 20 vehicles is being produced per day.

It has been possible to order the R8 since September 2006 – and several thousand customers did so without even test-driving their dream sports car. In the German market, the entire production capacity for 2007 is sold out.

Additional wishes for top levels of individuality can now be fulfilled: the Audi exclusive programme from quattro GmbH offers a host of optional extras which give the Audi R8 an even more exclusive look and feel. For example, a range of leather packages in high-quality fine nappa leather or Alcantara/leather allied with carpet and headlining in fine materials with exclusive colours. A tailor-made offer for the R8 is a five-piece luggage set in high-grade leather, which is colour-coordinated with the interior of the Audi R8 ordered.

Source: Audi

Alfa’s RS4 beater

Posted in Alfa Romeo, Audi

It’s the Italian manufacturer’s new 159 GTA – and with a potent 400bhp engine coupled to a four-wheel-drive transmission, it’s gunning for the Audi RS4. Spied here testing at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany, the GTA is being put through its paces ahead of a world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Whatever the powerplant, expect a 0-60mph time of five seconds and a top speed in excess of 155mph. There will be plenty of grip, too, thanks to Alfa’s Q4 four-wheel-drive system

Alfa is currently considering two engines, each with similar outputs, for the super-saloon: either a twin-turbo version of the 159′s 3.2-litre V6 or a 4.3-litre normally aspirated V8 developed from the unit in Maserati’s GranTurismo coupé.

Our sources indicate that the V8 is the preferred choice because it produces less torque than the V6 turbo, allowing unmodified versions of Alfa’s existing gearboxes to be used. That means the GTA should be available with six-speed manual, auto and Selespeed clutchless manual set-ups.

Whatever the powerplant, expect a 0-60mph time of five seconds and a top speed in excess of 155mph. There will be plenty of grip, too, thanks to Alfa’s Q4 four-wheel-drive system. The 159 GTA will also look the part, with gaping air intakes – concealed here by black plastic – and extended arches. As well as the saloon, a Sportwagon estate is expected. Both models will cost in excess of £40,000 and go on sale in the UK in 2008. If you can’t wait until then, though, Alfa has announced the arrival of the 159 TI – a sporty-looking new trim level which features a unique bodykit, lowered suspension and 19-inch alloys.

New Fiat Bravo in UK

Posted in Fiat

The new 5-door Fiat Bravo goes on sale in the UK on 30 June. It marks Fiat’s return to the second largest segment of the UK market, which equates to almost 600,000 cars per annum or some 25% of the total. Within this sector, 5-door hatchbacks – such as the new Fiat Bravo – account for 75% of total sales.

The New Bravo was created in just 18 months from design ‘freeze’ to production. To achieve this record-breaking development time, Fiat employed new, groundbreaking, state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) systems of unprecedented power and complexity, allowing the development of this new hatchback to be undertaken almost entirely through virtual analysis and engineering.

So sophisticated is the computer software involved, that not only could Fiat’s engineers simulate every aspect of the Bravo’s structural, dynamic, NVH and accommodation characteristics to a level of unprecedented detail, but they were also able to create a virtual production-line to ensure consistently outstanding component and build quality.

The benefits of these all-encompassing developments in virtual design and engineering are clearly evident in every aspect of the new Fiat Bravo, from consistently high build quality and class-leading passenger accommodation, to superior driving dynamics, minimal NVH levels and, of course, outstanding safety provision.

New Bravo has been awarded a maximum 5-star rating for adult occupant protection in the gruelling Euro NCAP crash test programme. Achieving 5 stars for adult occupant safety, 3 stars for child protection and a further 2 for pedestrian protection, the new Fiat recorded 33 points, placing it among the leaders of its category in terms of passive, active and preventive safety.

Twelve versions of the new 5-door Bravo, priced from £10,995 to £15,495 on-the-road, will be available from launch, embracing five trim levels – Bravo, Active, Active Sport, Dynamic and Sport. Augmenting an interior design founded on the fundamental pre-requisites of class-leading space, exemplary build quality, and visual and tactile sophistication, the new Fiat’s equipment specification has been carefully considered to simplify and enhance life on board. ABS anti-lock braking, remote central locking, driver and passenger front and side airbags, electric front windows, a CD player, Dualdrive electric power steering and Follow Me Home headlamps are fitted as standard, even within entry level models.

This comprehensive equipment package is further boosted by a range of innovative, safety and comfort enhancing options such as dual-zone climate control, cruise control, rain, parking and tyre pressure sensors, a SkyDome glass sunroof occupying almost the entire Bravo roof area, a CD system – with subwoofer – that can play MP3 files, and Blue & Me mobile phone and MP3 player connectivity with steering wheel controls.

The new Fiat goes on sale in the UK with a choice of five powerplants, one of which is an all-new 1.4 litre T-Jet 150 bhp turbocharged petrol engine, making its debut in the Bravo. This is the first example of a new family of turbocharged petrol units developed by Fiat Powertrain Technologies to combine the sporting performance and low NVH characteristics of a petrol engine with fuel economy comparable to a diesel unit and CO2 emission levels which readily comply with increasingly stringent European regulation.

Through cubic capacity downsizing allied to the adoption of the smallest possible turbocharger, Fiat’s responsive new 150 bhp 1.4 litre T-Jet engine combines performance equal to or better than a conventionally aspirated 1.8/2.0 litre petrol engine, but with a reduction of between 10% and 20% in fuel consumption and emissions. These advantages are especially useful, given the importance of the fleet market, where taxation plays a major role.

The future addition to the range of a 120 bhp version of this outstanding new unit, with performance equal to or better than a conventionally aspirated 1.6 litre petrol engine, together with significant fuel consumption reductions, will increase the new Bravo UK model range to 15 versions later this year.

In addition, Bravo may be equipped with a 90 bhp version of Fiat’s lively 1.4 litre 16-valve Fire petrol engine, as well as 120 bhp 8-valve and 150 bhp 16-valve versions of the company’s widely acclaimed 1.9 litre common-rail direct injection MultiJet turbodiesel.

The 1.9 litre 8-valve 120 bhp MultiJet unit is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, while all other engines are mated to 6-speed manual transmissions.

With a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating to its name, the new Fiat Bravo builds on an already impressive safety portfolio with the full range of braking, traction control and stability systems available on the market today: ABS anti-lock brakes, complete with electronic brakeforce distribution, ASR to limit wheel spin during acceleration, MSR to modulate engine brake torque whilst changing down, and a sophisticated ESP to control vehicle stability through bends. Vehicles fitted with ESP also benefit from hydraulic brake assistance and a Hill Holder function to facilitate smooth hill starts.

Source: Fiat

Lumma’s new kit for the BMW E92 Coupe

Posted in BMW

BMW_E92_main_WhiteGermany’s Lumma Design has released a set of preliminary sketches of its performance pack for BMW’s E92 Coupe, with the debut of the first production version likely to coincide with the release of the new M3 at Frankfurt in September. Lumma’s previous works such as the CLR 600 and the CLR 500 RS were both based on M-Division cars, so it’s a safe bet that this latest kit has been designed specifically for the new M3.

This means that BMW’s new high-rev 4.0L V8 motor will be residing under the hood, however, the car would likely feature a host of performance upgrades that should lift the engine’s output well beyond the 420hp figure of the M V8. From these renderings, we can surmise that Lumma’s latest kit will feature new front and rear bumpers, the latter integrating a custom diffuser and quad exhaust pipes, plus a carbon-fiber hood and 20in wheels.

If the rendering of Lumma’s CLR 500 RS kit for the M5 and the near identical production model that followed are anything to go by, you can bet the new kit for the E92 will look every bit as aggressive as these renderings suggest.

Alfa Brera tops the polls

Posted in Alfa Romeo

Hearts and minds were united at What Diesel Car? magazine when it voted the Alfa Brera its Best Sports/Coupe, in the publication’s annual Car of the Year Awards.

Short-listed against the BMW 335D and the Honda Civic Type S, the Alfa Brera 2.4 JTDM picked up valuable points in the looks department, with one judge declaring: “For visual impact, the Brera is the clear class-leader,” and another judge announcing: “Drive this and lose your heart. It’ll be the start of a nerve-tingling, smile-inducing, mind-warping love affair…”

Covering the 0 – 62mph dash in a handsome 8.1 seconds and offering a top speed of 142mph, the Alfa Brera 2.4 JTDM will also return more than 52mpg on motorway journeys, prompting motoring journalist Simon Hacker to say: “This engine spells a practical proposition too. Grand touring couldn’t be grander.”

Alfa unveils 159 Turismo Internazionale

Posted in Alfa Romeo

Only a small number of Alfa Romeos have ever carried the famous two-letter designation, TI. Now it’s the turn of the Alfa 159 saloon and Sportwagon to carry the famous TI initials. Short for Turismo Internazionale, the TI badge now appears on several versions. The range-enhancing Alfa 159 TI line-up benefits from a unique body kit, lowered sports suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, red Brembo brake callipers all-round, plus chrome effect door mirrors and exhaust.

Inside these TI models, electrically adjustable and heated leather front sports seats top the list of interior changes, along with new sports dials, aluminium sports pedals, kick plates and trim inserts. A leather-clad sports steering wheel and gear knob are also included in the sporty specification list.

Drivers can choose from three powerful yet flexible engines. There are two petrol units: a 2.2 JTS and 3.2 JTS V6; and one diesel option: a 2.4 JTDM plus a choice of manual or QTRONIC gearboxes. In addition, Alfa Romeo’s Q4 4WD system, standard equipment on the 3.2 JTS V6, can also be specified on the diesel version.

And, by offering only three body colours – Alfa Red, Stromboli Grey and Carbonio black – Alfa Romeo is planning to keep the Alfa 159 TI models distinctive and exclusive.

Prices are also suitably attractive, with all this extra equipment costing just £750 more than the top spec Lusso models.

Brera J5 3.2 C to debut at Goodwood

Posted in Alfa Romeo

19.06.2007 The Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C will make its Goodwood Festival of Speed debut this weekend

The Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C will make its Goodwood Festival of Speed debut this weekend on Friday and Saturday (22nd & 23rd June) before appearing at National Alfa Day (24th June).

The Goodwood Festival of Speed has rapidly grown within a decade to become one of the world’s leading celebrations of modern and historic motor racing and high performance motoring. Evocative Italian machinery always takes centre stage at this glamorous sell-out gathering and this year will be no different: as well as the supercharged 341 bhp Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C – which was commercialized in February and will be making its Festival of Speed debut – Alfa Romeo will be present, represented by the production Alfa 8C Competizione (which will also be making its Goodwood debut) whilst legendary Milanese classic cars in action up the famous “Goodwood Hill” is set to include the Alfa P2 Gran Premio and Alfa Tipo B, plus the Alfa 33 Daytona.

The second high profile appearance of the Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C this coming weekend will be at ‘National Alfa Day’ (24th June) the showpiece event in the busy calendar of the UK Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club. Once a year Alfisti from across the United Kingdom and further afield gather to celebrate their deep passion for these cars; this year the extravaganza will be held at Great Weston Park, Staffordshire, for the first time.

The Brera J5’s weekend will have a neat twist though – as the supercharged car will be personally used by the Chairman of the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club UK, Ed McDonough as he fits both high-profile events into what will be a very busy weekend.

Ed McDonough has been an AROC member since 1980, competed in the Club’s race series from 1987-1997, and was Chairman from 1992 to 2001 before reassuming the position last year. He has now been a full-time motoring journalist/writer for some years, and has contributed to Auto Italia, Autocollezioni, Porsche Post, Veloce Today, and is in his 9th year as European Editor of Vintage Racecar Journal, an international magazine based in the USA. He is co-editor of AlfaOwner, the American AROC’s magazine, committee member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been doing radio commentary at Goodwood and Monaco. He has six books to his credit, including Alfa Romeo 158/159, and Tipo 33 with Peter Collins.

Ed will collect the Brera J5 from Autodelta’s London HQ, ‘Forza House’, on Thursday and drive it to Goodwood where he is one of the commentating team for ‘Goodwood Radio’ and will be kept busy interviewing the many stars who will appear at the Festival, this year including F1’s newest sensation and winner of the weekend’s United States Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, as well as retired legends Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Stirling Moss.

Having found himself doing Goodwood Radio broadcasts while piloting a 1943 Harvard Trainer aircraft at the Revival last September, Ed will be doing his duty this weekend at the Festival from behind the wheel. He will be driving the CanAm Lola T70, driven in the period by Dan Gurney, as well as an ex-A.J.Foyt Camaro, an F1 Honda and a 1910 Wolsit racer! With a great many Alfa Romeos set to be present at the Festival from the UK and Italy, Ed will be covering both the old and new cars; and as a special exclusive treat he will be doing a ‘live’ broadcast from the Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C.

After the end of the Saturday activities, Ed will head northwards in the powerful Brera J5 for the annual National Alfa Day. The Alfa Romeo Owners Club has arranged a great day of events at the glorious Weston Park Estate. National Alfa Day will see over 1,000 Alfa Romeo cars gathered together with models ranging from beautiful pre-war tourers to the very latest Spider convertible. This Italian car maker is famous for its stylish, drivers’ cars, and for anyone in the UK with a passion for motoring this event is a must. The Concours d’Elegance will showcase the very best Alfa Romeos, old and new, that club members have to offer. Amongst the Giulias, Alfettas, Montreals, Zagatos and Spiders will be rare models including the Matta. There will be many stalls with Alfa Specialist suppliers, an ‘Auto Jumble’ and a ‘Cars for Sale’ area. Other programme highlights include driving tests, a vintage aircraft flypast and the Icarus Parachute Display Team who will descend into the arena. The Autodelta Brera J5 will be in a special display where Ed says that he “will be telling the enthusiasts just what a great car it is.”

Jano Djelalian, Managing Director of Autodelta, says: “We’re delighted to present the Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C for its Goodwood Festival of Speed debut as this superb event has evolved to become one of the most important dates on the automotive calendar. We’re also very pleased that Ed McDonough has chosen to use the J5 for the weekend; a highly respected figure amongst car enthusiasts, I’m confident he will fully appreciate all our newest model’s virtues, its additional power and improved handling.”

Mitsubishi Lancer Review

Posted in Mitsubishi

In “The Blue-Eyed Salaryman,” American author Niall Murtagh charts his fourteen-year career inside Mitsubishi Japan. When Murtagh gets transferred to Osaka, he concludes that the Tokyo part of the company focuses on large visionary research projects, while Osaka demands practical applications. And there you have it: the dichotomy that accounts for Mitsubishi’s progress in the automotive arena. You have visionary products like the Evo with very little practical purpose, and dull products like the Outlander with very little vision. So where does the new Lancer fit?

Never mind the subtext, check out those lines! Designing a good-looking compact car ain’t easy nowadays. You’ve got to maximize interior space, accommodate an expanding complement of airbags and facilitate fuel efficiency with aerodynamics that force sheetmetal shapes down the slippery slope towards suppository chic. Things can go horribly wrong; reference the Honda Civic sedan. Or the previous Lancer, which was as sexy as dental floss. But Mitsubishi’s design team nailed this one.

The Lancer’s proportions and details are spot on. The high beltline adds to the impression of size from the outside, yet allows occupants to feel surrounded and safe. Mitsu ripped off the tail lamp design from the Alfa 156– a gorgeous machine that Americans never got the chance to ignore. The Lancer’s new front fascia copies Audi’s current pig snout and makes it work, flanking the orifice with a set of angry eyes headlights and bisecting the otherwise gaping maw with a suitably wide bumper.