Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jaguar XF by Loder1899

Loder1899 has made its name (fine) tuning Ford Group vehicles, and even though Jaguar is now under Tata control Max and Julia Loder are still happy to oblige Jaguar fans with their tuning kits. This time the German tuning house took receipt of the new sedan and worked their magic.

Loder1899 started with a body kit consisting of a new front spoiler, boot spoiler and rear diffuser accentuating the sporty character of the Jaguar XF. Loder1899 also lowered the XF by 35 mm giving it both a faster appeal as well as a lower center of gravity. The look is finished with 20 or 21 inch wheels, pictured are 21 inch silver 'Hollow Spoke' wheels.

But the tuning does not stop with just aesthetics, Loder1899 also bumps up power output thanks to a new motor management system. The 2.7 liter TDV6 engine now produced 249 hp instead of the factory spec 207 hp, torque is increased to maximum 522 Nm at 3,850 rpm from 435 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

The whole kit costs about Euro 8,000 in Germany excluding taxes, assembly and painting.

Ford Mustang 2008

Ford Mustang charges into 2008 as the one and only pony car on the streets, and looks to stretch its segment leadership with new features for that personalized look and feel that Mustang enthusiasts love.

Mustang remains one of the greatest automotive sales success stories of all time. Nearly one out of every two sports cars sold in America is a Mustang, and Mustang remains one of the hottest-selling cars in America. It’s also America’s best-selling convertible.

The 2008 Mustang intends to hold on to that sales leadership with new available features that will add personal appeal, including High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps, 18-inch wheels on the V-6 coupe, and an interior ambient lighting system.

Three new colors enhance Mustang’s bold, American style while safety improves with the addition of standard side air bags.

Two new Shelby Mustangs are available for 2008 – the 2008 Mustang Shelby GT and Shelby GT500KR. The 2008 Mustang Shelby GT offers consumers a new Vista Blue exterior color with silver stripe, and the choice of two body styles, coupe or convertible. Under the hood, the Shelby GT’s 4.6-liter V-8 engine is modified with Ford Racing Performance Parts and generates 319 horsepower. Coil springs drop the overall ride height by an inch-and-a-half and stiffer dampers and a front swaybar further enhance cornering feel and body control.

To mark the 40th Anniversary of the original “King of the Road” Mustang, 2008 sees the return of the Shelby GT500KR. Hailed as the most powerful production Ford Mustang ever produced, the 2008 Shelby GT500KR features an estimated 540-horsepower 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 with a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Pack, 3.73:1 rear axle ratio, short-throw shifter, and unique suspension tuning. Available in spring 2008, the exterior design draws inspiration from the classic Shelby KR Mustangs and features unique carbon composite hood, Shelby-designed 18-inch wheels, and special 40th Anniversary badging and unique striping.

Also new for 2008 is a limited-edition Warriors in Pink Mustang – designed exclusively in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Produced in celebration of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s 25th Anniversary, the vehicle features unique pink exterior and interior design accents. Sales from the Warriors in Pink edition will help raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Highlights include:

  • Pink ribbon and Pony fender badge.
  • Pink ‘Mustang’ rocker tape stripe.
  • Charcoal leather seats and Charcoal floor mats with Pink contrast stitching.
  • Leather-wrapped aluminum spoke steering wheel with Pink contrast stitching.
  • Unique Pony grille with chrome bezel and fog lamps.
Mustang comes in both coupe and convertible body styles, V-6 Deluxe, V-6 Premium, GT Deluxe and GT Premium. All Mustangs are built in Flat Rock, Mich., with final assembly of the Shelby GT and GT500KR taking place at the Shelby Automobiles facility in Las Vegas.

Design and Equipment
Mustang epitomizes pure American muscle. The signature long hood and short rear deck capitalize on more than 40 years of Mustang heritage, as do classic design cues that have defined Mustangs since the 1960s: C-scoops in the sides, three-element taillamps, and a galloping horse badge in the center of the grille.

The Mustang’s menacing shark-like nose imparts an attitude not seen since the 1967 model, while jeweled, round headlamps in trapezoidal housings are part of its modern architecture. The car’s aggressive rake gives the design visual motion, while the short overhangs and up to 18-inch wheels and tires anchor the design visually and physically to the road.

Mustang continues to offer unique packages for 2008.

The Pony Package, available on the V-6 model, first launched in 2006. It features a GT-handling package that includes a larger front stabilizer bar, the addition of a rear stabilizer bar and

P235/55ZR17 tires on painted cast-aluminum wheels. Also included are bright, machined rims and unique tri-bar Pony center caps. Further touches include fog lights, Pony front fender badges, lower door tape stripe, carpeted front floor mats with special brushed chrome “Mustang” logos and a rear spoiler.

The Mustang GT California Special is available on GT Premium models and includes 18-inch wheels, side scoops, unique tape stripes, rolled bright exhaust tips, black leather trimmed seats with unique “Cal Special” contrasting Dove or Parchment leather inserts, a larger air intake, a chin spoiler (1.5 inches lower than GT), and unique front and rear fascias.

An appearance package is available for the Mustang GT featuring rolled exhaust tips, an engine cover with a Pony emblem and a hood scoop.

The California Special and GT appearance packages can be ordered separately or combined to give Mustang enthusiasts one of the most expressive Mustang GTs ever offered.

Customizable interior to fit any mood
Inside, Mustang’s industry-first MyColor™ color-configurable instrument panel offers the ultimate in personalization. Mustang owners can mix and match lighting at the touch of a button to create more than 125 color backgrounds to suit their personalities, moods, outfits or whims.

For 2008, Ford also lets Mustang owners color outside the lines with an available interior ambient lighting package. This unique feature offers the option of illuminating the front and rear footwells and front cupholders with any one of seven colors. The driver or front passenger can choose from red, orange, blue, indigo, violet, green and yellow.

Additional modern interior touches mix with Mustang history and heritage. Chrome-ringed air vents are aligned vertically across the dash, precisely in line with the gauges, and the steering wheel has three spokes with a center hub marked by the horse and tricolor bars logo, echoing the design of the 1967 Mustang.

Numerous standard features include an auxiliary audio input jack, one-touch up-down power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry and power locks, a heated rear window, interval wipers, air conditioning, speed control and a CD player. Available interior options include SIRIUS® Satellite Radio, heated front seats, voice-activated navigation and a Shaker 1000 premium audio system.

Power and Performance
Muscular engines infuse Mustang with tire-smoking performance. The 4.6-liter aluminum V-8 has three valve heads and cranks out 300 horsepower. That’s more than 50 percent more power than the small-block, 289-cubic-inch V-8 found in the classic 1964.5 model.

The standard engine – a 60-degree, 4.0-liter, single-overhead-cam V-6 – produces 210 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque.

Both engines are paired with a standard 5-speed manual transmission or an available 5-speed automatic, which provides a unique combination of off-the-line jump and good highway fuel economy.

At the front suspension, MacPherson struts with reverse “L” lower control arms deliver comfort. The three-link rear suspension has a lightweight, tubular Panhard rod that provides precise control of the rear axle. This technology stabilizes the rear axle as the wheels move, particularly during hard cornering.

The standard four-wheel disc brakes have the biggest rotors and stiffest calipers ever fitted to a mainstream Mustang. Twin-piston aluminum calipers clamp down on 12.4-inch ventilated front brake discs on GT models. In the rear, the brake rotors are 11.8 inches in diameter.

A four-channel anti-lock brake system (ABS) with traction control is standard on GT models and available on V-6 models. It uses electronic sensors to constantly monitor road conditions and feed the information to a dedicated control computer that’s capable of determining within milliseconds whether the vehicle is on dry pavement or negotiating a slippery surface. When traction control isn’t desired, drivers can deactivate the system with a button on the instrument panel.

Safety and Security
The 2008 Mustang adds standard side air bags to an already comprehensive safety package. Along with the addition of seat-mounted thorax side air bags, safety features also include dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, safety belt pretensioners, seat weight sensing system for the passenger seat and crash severity sensing.

An optional active anti-theft package offers customers an added level of security. It includes a sensing module to guard against tow-away thefts, an interior motion sensor to detect smash-and-grab break-ins, a separate alarm sounder — in addition to the vehicle horn — to thwart thieves trying to disable the horn, and a high-capacity, 60-ampere-hour battery that sounds the alarm longer.

Major Features and Options
V-6 Deluxe: Auxiliary audio input jack; One-touch up-down power windows; Power mirrors and door locks; Keyless entry; air conditioning; AM/FM audio system with single CD; Tilt steering wheel; Speed control; Rear window defroster; Stainless steel exhaust; 16-inch wheels; Four-wheel power disc brakes; Cloth bucket seats with 50/50 split-fold rear on coupe models; Seat-mounted side air bags; LATCH; Personal Safety System®; SecuriLock®; and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

V-6 Premium adds: 16-inch, painted bright machined-aluminum wheels with chrome spinner; Shaker 500 audio system with six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability; Six-way power-adjustable driver seat.

GT Deluxe adds: 4.6-liter, 3-valve, V-8 engine; ABS with traction control; Stainless steel dual exhaust; Front fog lamps in grille; Complex reflector halogen headlamps with integral turn signals; Rear spoiler; Performance tires with 17-inch, painted cast-aluminum wheels; and AM/FM audio system with single CD.

GT Premium adds: Shaker 500 audio system with six-disc CD player; and Aberdeen leather-trimmed, Embossed sport bucket seats.

Options include: Ambient interior lighting; GT California Special Package; GT Appearance Package; Comfort Group; Shaker 1000 premium audio system; SIRIUS® Satellite Radio; Touch-screen navigation system; V-6 Pony Package; Interior Upgrade Package with satin-aluminum trim or dark aluminum trim and MyColor custom instrument panel; Sport Interior Appearance Package; Premier Trim with Color Accent Package, Sport Exterior Appearance Package; Five-speed automatic transmission; Two styles of 18-inch, cast-aluminum wheels; Active anti-theft system.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ford Ka

The Ford Ka lives for the moment. With its unmistakable styling, superb driving dynamics and a catch-me-if-you-can attitude, this is a small car with big ideas. If you’re looking for more power, there’s Ford Sportka SE with its aggressive styling and feisty 1.6-litre engine. Whatever you’re into, the Ford Ka wants to be part of the action.


Ford Ka is proof that good things really do come in small packages. There’s just something about it; that curvaceous body, the sculpted headlights, those distinctive bumpers and that unmistakable zest for life. The Ford Ka was made to get noticed and so you always reach your destination in style.

Now you can make an even bigger statement with Ka-ligraphy, a range of vibrant exterior vinyl graphics which complement the cute curves of the loveable Ka.


Because life’s about seizing every opportunity – and creating some fantastic memories, flexible 50/50 split rear seats and a handy glovebox mean you can bring whatever you need for your latest adventure. And with a comfortable and stylish interior you’ll never fail to make a statement.

Video;New Mercedes GLK

When the Mercedes GLK was launched at this year's Beijing Motor Show there was very little left to the imagination as we had already seen the pre production Freeside and Townside concepts at the Detroit Motor Show back in January. But the area of imagination is where the Mercedes designers have been found lacking, with a rather uninspiring design which falls well short of the innovation expected in the premium SUV sector.

"Hey guys, the boss says we need to make something to compete with the X3! -Really? I'm so lazy today. Ok give me 5 minutes and a ruler, I will work something out." commented WCF reader Afterace2.'

Fortunately the German manufacturer has at least popped in a few of its recently developed technologies including 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, Agility Control suspension, Intelligent Light System, PRE-SAFE and 7G-TRONIC transmission. Power units range from the 170 hp 2.2-liter four cylinder engine up to the top of the range 3.5-liter V6 pumping out 272hp.

Check out the video for driving footage of the all new GLK.

Source: Mercedes

Venturi Fetish with the new VM300 engine ...

The Venturi Fetish was first shown at the 2004 Paris Motor Show and will go into production this year, but Venturi first wanted to give the Euro 100,000 electric sports car an upgraded engine. This engine is called the VM 300 and produces 300 hp (220 kW) with 380 Nm of torque while weighing just 35 kg.

The Venturi Fetish was designed by Sacha Lakic and will be entering the newly established electric premium segment with the Fisker Karma and Tesla Roadster.

The 2009 Venturi Fetish with the new VM300 engine will be presented at the upcoming 2008 Paris Motor Show this October for those who have missed it at the elite Top Marques show in Monaco last weekend.

Source: Venturi

Opel Corsa OPC by Steinmetz

Steinmetz presents/displays a preparation to us for Opel Corsa OPC, the Corsa more powerful than is sold at the present time and that is from most attractive in its segment and category by his fit price, benefits and design.

The preparation of Steinmetz consists, in the first place, of kit the aerodynamic, that consists of elements like a new one and guessed right frontal grill, followed of a spoiler located in the inferior part of paragolpes front and divided in two parts, new range of alloy rims that are offered in diverse sizes - from 16 to 19 inches -, among others.

In the mechanical section, it still more receives a reduction of 30 mm in the suspension, leaving it under which the one of series, in addition to an involution in its small supercharged motor 1,6 of 192 CV with a turbocompressor, that thanks to the preparation happens to count on 202 CV, that is to say, 10 CV extra, but Steinmetz has not at the moment revealed the improvement in the benefits that implies. Finally, we were the new escapes located in the back diffuser, that are those that contributes to the increase of power.

In general, this preparation still more improves the one of by aesthetic exceptional himself of Corsa OPC, the only failure (to look for some to him), would be the positioning of the later escapes in the back diffuser, that cause that that zone is recharged too much.
Source: Steinmetz

Related entries:
Opel Corsa OPC in Depth
Opel Corsa OPC Sets Circuit Record on Nürburgring

Bentley Apprentices Win Spirit of Greenpower

The only green usually associated with Bentley other than the color is the amount you have to spend to own and operate one. However there are some within Bentley who are working on cars that don't necessarily represent conspicuous consumption. A team of young apprentices working for Bentley took part in the GreenPower Corporate Challenge over the weekend and won the "Spirit of GreenPower" award with their Continental DC. The Continental DC doesn't have the typical wood and leather interior associated with the brand, but instead is a minimalist single-seater running on battery power. The GreenPower challenge is a electric vehicle competition for British high school students that is in its tenth year. For the Corporate Challenge, company teams had the opportunity to take on the top 15 student teams from the regular GreenPower series.

The victorious Continental DC features a snug carbon fiber body that encloses a 240 W, 24V wheel chair motor and a pair of 12V lead acid batteries. The little racer has a top speed of 40mph. Maneuvering in a parking lot could be problematic with its 63ft turning circle. Of course with its 265lb mass you could just pick it up and turn it around. The team had some technical issues in the first part of the four race but persevered to win their award. They will go on to compete in the F24+ series this season.

[Source: Bentley]
Bentley Racing Green

28 April, 2008

Crewe, Monday 28th April 2008... A Bentley Motors apprentice team has won a special "Spirit of Greenpower" award for its performance in the Greenpower Corporate Challenge which took place at Goodwood race circuit yesterday. The Bentley apprentice team designed, engineered and built the electric powered car which they entered into the Greenpower Challenge as well as a season of "F24+" racing. The Bentley Greenpower car is called Continental DC (Direct Current) and runs off a 24-volt motor supplied by two 12-volt batteries. Designed for lightness and maximum power efficiency the one-seater Continental DC has a carbon fibre chassis and low resistance tyres.

Greenpower is a series of events which aims to promote greater interest in young people to follow careers in the fields of engineering and technology. The 2008 Greenpower corporate challenge held yesterday was the first race of the season. 25 teams entered, comprising 15 school entries and 10 company teams. The Bentley team achieved their goal of completing the four hour race, despite some technical difficulties in the first section. The award was given in recognition of their excellent team spirit which they showed in overcoming these initial technical challenges. The F24+ season consists of eight 90-minute endurance race events which will culminate in a grand final at Goodwood in October. Race tracks on the F24+ schedule include Dunsfold, Rockingham, Croft and Aintree.

The Bentley Motors team is composed of nine of the company's apprentices who are all following a three or four year apprenticeship scheme at the factory in Crewe. Margaret Cheshire, Head of People and Organisational Development at Bentley Motors said, "It's fantastic that the apprentices are not only gaining the technical skills associated with building a car but are also increasing their knowledge of other areas of the business such as finance, purchasing and public relations." She continued, "It's all about giving the individuals knowledge and expertise to be successful in their future careers after the completion of the Bentley apprenticeship programme."

Having taken the initiative themselves to compete in the Greenpower challenge the apprentices have devoted weekends and evenings for the past ten months taking full responsibility for all aspects of the car's development. Three team members acted as drivers on race day, the rest of the team provided essential back-up support in the pits.

Tom Hodgson, Greenpower team manager added, "In building the car we pooled the expertise and resources from across the business to produce a project of which we're all proud. Having completed our first race we now know what we have to do to be successful for the rest of the 2008 Greenpower season. The experience of developing a project from idea to race-day was exhilarating. It was also hugely satisfying to see the positive support from sponsors keen to help the Bentley team".

Technical highlights of the Bentley Greenpower car

- Its 24v Motor delivers 0.5bhp and 5.1 lb ft (7Nm):
- Top speed of 40mph (64km/h).
- Zero CO2 emissions.
- Chassis & design:
o Fixed carbon fibre suspension wishbones for maximum strength and minimum weight.
o Excellent roadholding and superior grip from unique 1x16" carbon fibre wheels with bespoke Michelin low resistance tyres.
o Rear grille matrix in chrome finish.
o Bentley Hide/Alcantara trimmed interior
o Specially built ECU to control motor/transmission

More information on the project is available at


MODEL TYPE Single Seater

Type 24v Wheelchair motor (Regulation)
Installation Transversely mounted, One-wheel drive
Power 240 Watt
Torque 7 Nm
Fuel Source 2 x 12 v Lead Acid Batterys

Type Continuous one-wheel drive
Gearbox Nuvinci CVP
Ratios Infinitely variable between 0.5 under and 1.75 overdrive

Top speed 40mph (64km/h).

Front Single wishbone rigid suspension
Rear Single wishbone rigid suspension

Type Rack & pinion,
Turns lock to lock 1
Turning circle (kerb to kerb) 19.2m

Rear 160mm ventilated disc (to single wheel)
Anti lock In development!

Construction Carbon Fibre monocoque
Length 1420mm
Width (inc. mirrors) 1000mm (82.76in)
Weight 120 Kg
Height 500mm
Wheelbase 1300mm
Front track 1000mm
Rear track 1000mm
Wheels Custom made 16" carbon fibre

Tyres Michelin Eco-Marathon specials

Fuel consumption 2 hours per battery set
Carbon dioxide emissions 0g/km

EXTERIOR FEATURES Bright chromed grille
Bentley Wheel Badge

INTERIOR FEATURES Trimmed Steering wheel, Seat and dashboard, Touch screen driver information panel in development

Tom Hodgson
Bentley Test & Development Engineering Apprentice
Greenpower Project Manager

Andrew Conneely
Bentley Whole Vehicle Engineering Sponsored Degree Apprentice
Greenpower Design of steering and suspension components

Martyn Brookes
Bentley Prototype Workshop and Test Facility Apprentice
Greenpower Chassis, Design & Electrical.

Ellis Dawson
Bentley Apprentice Analyst Programmer
Greenpower Team Marketing, Website, data logging and telemetry.

Annabelle Gibson
Bentley Commercial Apprentice
Greenpower Contact for sponsors.

Charlotte Watling
Bentley Electrical Engineering Apprentice
Greenpower Electrical design & Production and driver.

Hannah Proffitt
Bentley Body Hardware Engineering Sponsored Degree Apprentice
Greenpower Interior trim, Steering and driver.

Laura Taylor
Bentley Trim Development Apprentice
Greenpower Seat design and manufacture.

Paul Johnson
Bentley Manufacturing maintenance Apprentice
Greenpower Data logging and telemetry

Tony Dron tests the new Volkswagen Passat CC

If you thought the VW Passat saloon was just a bit, well, worthy, then the new Passat CC is a stylish and luxurious alternative. Assuming you require neither Pickfords' carrying capacity nor a family bus, then this "upper mid-range segment coupé" might not be an Audi, a BMW, or a Mercedes-Benz but it is a very stylish temptation. Its makers evidently hope that it will be seen as a poor man's Mercedes-Benz CLS. Although the CC name might suggest a metal-topped convertible, in this application it actually stands for "Comfort Coupé", so note first that the roof does not open.

This new version of the Passat has the right image and the right price range, but be wary of VW's claim that it offers space without compromise: anybody sitting in the back who is much over 6ft tall will find their head touching the roof. This is a bit unfortunate as the Passat CC is strictly a four-seater luxury car and is fitted inside with different seats and more costly materials than you'll find in the saloon. It is a genuine luxury car and quite a large one at that, 15ft 9in long yet only 4ft 9in high, with generous legroom and a surprisingly voluminous boot, albeit with a small opening. It may be based on the Passat saloon's platform but the CC is longer, wider and the body stands a full couple of inches lower.

It's no surprise to see VW producing a superlative expression of the latest automotive technology. In fact, we expect nothing less and the Passat CC offers sophisticated adaptive chassis control. It's also the first VW with "lane assist", to help keep dozy drivers from wandering off the road.

From July, when Passat CCs start arriving here, there will be a choice between two petrol engines and one diesel. The cheapest model, from £21,000, is the CC TSI, front-wheel drive and powered by the smallest petrol engine, a 1.8-litre turbo producing 158bhp. Lively, smooth and quiet, this new engine is remarkably efficient, giving a top speed of 138mph, 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds and returning a very acceptable EC Combined fuel consumption figure of 37.2mpg, with CO2 emissions at 180g/km.

Early models also include a front-wheel drive, two-litre turbodiesel, whose impressively smooth engine gives 138bhp, which is sure to be the most popular choice because of its long-term cost. Later on there will be another petrol engine, with 197bhp, and a second diesel with 168bhp.

The range-topper, available from the start and the one that VW must hope will steal some sales from the rich boys' showrooms, is a very different machine. With an on-the-road starting price likely to be £31,120, the Passat CC V6 4Motion is packed with every technical marvel you could think of, including four-wheel drive, adaptive chassis control and a DSG gearbox as standard. With 296bhp on tap, its 3.6-litre V6 engine delivers the high performance expected. This is a very quick car - its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph - and on paper it does appear to take on far more costly rivals. Its sophisticated all-wheel drive and stability systems do all the right things to keep it safe and controllable but, driving it, I could not escape the feeling that VW has tried a bit too hard here.

This is another fast, technically brilliant machine, but it is heavy and I felt that the concept might be a touch overblown. I was occasionally conscious of the sound of all that sophisticated machinery driving it along, in a way I never am with, say, an Audi or a Mercedes-Benz, but then those cars do cost a lot more. VW tends not to make marketing mistakes these days and the company seems quietly confident of its ability to satisfy a niche or two with the Passat CC range.

When it comes to driving pleasure, however, I found the cheapest Passat CC, the 1.8-litre petrol, the most enjoyable of the lot. It felt lighter in every way, the new engine was smooth and very willing and it never seemed like a slow car. A top speed of 138mph cannot be regarded as remotely inadequate, surely? VW's four-cylinder engines, petrol or diesel, are all excellent now. They can be found in the cheaper Audis, too, where they seem that bit quieter, but there isn't much in it.

For all its sporting looks, the Passat CC does not rival BMW in driver appeal. There's a touch too much understeer for that and the CC can best be described as supremely competent. Volkswagen calls it a "Comfort Coupé", after all, and that's exactly what it is. With the choice of comfort, normal and sport modes, however, its behaviour can be altered and, to be fair, it feels noticeably firmer and sharper when the damping is set for sport.

The most intriguing new gadget is the optional "lane assist". When engaged, this comes into play at 40mph and above. It disengages when the indicators are used or the speed drops below 37mph. What happens when you let the car drift off its lane? Very gently, reacting to signals from a camera, you can feel the steering easing the car back on line. Although we tried it only in sunshine, it should also work in bad weather and at night. It's effective, but it doesn't take over the driving completely, not yet anyway. If you let it carry on, it will wander from side to side three times before emitting a warning noise and flashing a sign telling you to take proper control. Quite right, too. I can't help feeling that anyone who really needs this sort of help shouldn't be driving at all. More useful is the optional "park assist" which will guide you into a parking space (as long as it's big enough), with you working the pedals.

Does the Passat CC make the grade? Probably, thanks largely to its very stylish looks. The neighbours will be impressed, no doubt about that, and they might also be astonished to see that it carries VW Passat badges.

Volkswagen Passat CC

Price/availability: 1.8 TSI from £21,000, 2.0 TDI from £21,870, V6 4Motion from £31,120. On sale from May, 2008; deliveries commencing in July.

Engines/transmissions: 1.8 TSI: 1,798cc turbo petrol in-line four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC; 158bhp at 5,000rpm, 184lb ft of torque at 1,500rpm. 2.0 TDI: 1,968cc turbo diesel in-line four-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC; 138bhp at 4,200rpm, 236lb ft of torque at 1,500rpm. V6 4Motion: 3,597cc petrol V6; 296bhp at 6,600rpm, 258lb ft of torque at 2,400rpm. 1.8 TSI and 2.0TDI: six-speed manual; seven-speed DSG optional. 4x4. V6 4Motion: six-speed DSG. Four-wheel drive.

Performance: 1.8 TSI: top speed 138mph, 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, EU Urban fuel consumption 27.1mpg, CO2 emissions 180g/km. 2.0 TDI: 132mph, 9.8sec, 37.6mpg, 153g/km. V6 4Motion: limited to 155mph, 5.6sec, 18.7mpg, 242g/km.

We like:Stylish looks with convincing feeling of luxury, good legroom in rear for this class, adaptive chassis control and loads of technical goodies.

We don't like Not quite as sporting to drive as its looks suggest, visibility slightly difficult when reversing, restricted headroom in rear, noisy mechanicals in the V6 model.

Alternatives: Alfa Romeo 159, from £18,555. BMW 3-series, from £24,145. Mercedes-Benz CSL, from £43,962.

Related entries:
Volkswagen Passat CC Four-Door Coupe Revealed
Volkswagen's Passat Coupe Spied Again

Turn Your Cadillac CTS into a Convertible

The Cadillac CTS sedan has enjoyed a fair amount of success since it was launched last fall and this could well continue in the form of the top of the line 550hp CTS-V which will hit dealers later this year. Lets also not forget the coupe variant currently under development derived from the awesome CT Coupe concept.

But obviously the line up is missing an open top variant, this is where conversion specialists Coach Builders Ltd come in with their version of the CTS Convertible. The design has just been completed and orders are now being taken at a whopping $19,000.

The convertible kit does not have a roll bar and features an acrylic polyester cloth hydraulic top in a number of colors, a padded roof and exterior fabric for sound and temperature insulation, it takes about eight weeks to complete.

Source: InsideLine

Related entries:
Cadillac CTS Coupe and Wagon
2009 Cadillac CTS-V Debuts at NAIAS
Cadillac CTS-V Promo Video
2009 Cadillac CTS-V revealed
Leaked: 2009 Cadillac CTS-V

Opel Corsa OPC by Steinmetz

The Opel Corsa OPC is quite a little number with its 192 hp 1.6 turbo engine, but Steinmetz has some more fun adding factors in store for the hot hatch.

Starting with the engine, Steinmetz has a midified exhaust system for the Corsa OPC adding 10 hp to total at 202 hp and provides a deeper note to impress bystanders. The German tuning house also installed a new suspension system and lowered the car by 30mm, resulting in a lower center of gravity and less roll tendency.

Besides performance adjustements, Steinmetz has also developed some new visual extras like the new front grille Type II with honeycomb design and two-piece front spoiler. The front and sides are linked through 'designer stripes' in silver or anthracite, topped off with a aluminum filler cap and 16 to 19 inch bi-color wheels.

Press release:

The front spoiler in its 2-piece form, and the wheel and tyre combinations up to 19", are simply made for a high fun factor. And the "little one" delivers fun on every journey, especially with the modified exhaust which not only offers an extra 10 HP but also provides a deeper note. The overall package is completed by a 15 mm lowering, leaving the driver with lingering impressions to make him smile long after, when remembering the drive.

Engine/Silencer: The already powerful engine, developing 141kW/192HP as standard, has been coaxed by the Steinmetz engineers into giving a further 7kW/10HP thanks to the use of the new left/right silencer system. This exhaust is also available for the central silencer arrangement. So the "little" Corsa OPC by Steinmetz, with its hefty 202 HP, is ready for the sprint.

Suspension: The Steinmetz lowering kit brings the Corsa OPC by Steinmetz 30 mm nearer to the tarmac. "A few“ millimetres which reduce the vehicle's roll tendency and lower the centre of gravity. These two elements together give the Corsa OPC by Steinmetz even better road-holding in the limit zone, while retaining the expected level of comfort for everyday use.

Aerodynamics/Interior: Crouching down and apparently smiling from the headlamps, the power of the front is emphasised by Steinmetz front grille Type II in honeycomb design with its vertical double strut and 2-piece front spoiler. Flowing transitions provide a pleasing uniformity. The front and rear sections are linked by the new Steinmetz designer stripes in silver or anthracite, and the aluminium filler cap sets a further accent. The interior is enhanced by the Steinmetz foot mats with stainless steel.

Wheel/tyre combination: Wheel and tyre combinations from 16" to 19" are available for the Corsa OPC by Steinmetz. The ST3 can be fitted in size 8.0J x 19“ and the ST4 in 8.0J x 18“. The ST4 is a bicolor wheel which fascinates observers thanks to its black/silver appearance, where its brilliance is the result of the polished finish. The resulting light interplay gives the desired effect which makes the wheel a true eyecatcher. All components together combine to create an everyday "race car" in which every kilometre driven is a kilometre more fun.

Proposed CAFE rules hurt Porsche, small powerful vehicles

Under proposed new fuel economy rules set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), automakers with powerful short-wheelbase models are going to feel some pain. The agency is considering a plan to create two sliding scales of efficiency for cars and trucks of different sizes. Automakers will be assigned fuel economy standards based on the "footprint" (short wheelbase = small footprint) of their vehicles, and the number of vehicles they sell. Companies like Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, independent luxury brands with high-performance models, will be hit the hardest. Interestingly enough, Toyota, Chrysler, and General Motors, big players with diverse model lineups, won't feel as much pressure.

Conforming to the tough new proposed rules may be very expensive. As a result, some industry executives expect some automakers, such as Porsche, just to pay the fines--it's less costly than changing a model lineup. Regulators are under the gun to adopt a policy by April 1, 2009. In the meantime, the NHTSA will be taking public comments over the next two months. Time to send 'em a letter...

[Source: Autoweek]

2008 Shelby GT500KR, Part 1

I have to admit, the Shelby GT500 was somewhat of a letdown. I have no complaints about the 500 horsepower or the muscular lines, but at nearly 4,000 pounds, it's got a serious weight problem. The iron block, 5.4-liter V8 and the addition of a supercharger puts much the weight in the worst possible place -- the front -- so the GT500 feels unmotivated around the corners compared to a regular Mustang GT. Other complaints include a suspension that doesn't seem up to snuff to handle the prodigious power, as well as a vague and rubbery shifter. Despite its shortcomings, the GT500 is one of the world's best performance bargains. Never before has such a powerful car been available for so little cash (although the Ford dealers did a pretty good job of ruining its value with markups). Still, one couldn't help but think that the GT500 could have been better.

Oullim Motors Spirra Supercar

2005 was the year that Proto Motors revealed their first Spirra sports car, a very admirable sports car. Early 2007 Oullim Motors bought Proto Motors and upgraded the power train to a turbocharged and supercharged 2.7 liter V6 engine good for about 400 hp and called them the Spirra Turbo and Spirra S respectively. Last week at the 2008 Auto China motor show in Beijing the new Korean manufacturer presented the production version of the car.

The company also has a race version, the Spirra GT270 with 2.7 liter twin turbo engine producing around 600 hp, and a drag race version called the Spirra GT460 which uses both a turbo and supercharger to produce around 700 hp.

The Spirra is mid-engined and uses a carbon-fiber body covering a space-frame chassis. The Oullim Spirra is set to go on sale in Korea later this year for about USD 100,000. Oullim Motors hopes to build and sell 100 units this year and bump production up to 300 of the hand build sports cars by next year.

Source: Oullim Motors via

Monday, April 28, 2008

Aston Martin AM V10 Concept

Like most rendered ruminations, we know absolutely nothing about these digital drawings of a car named the Aston Martin AM V10, other than they were penned by someone who goes by Sabaman. They're not new either, having been uploaded onto the interwebs about a year ago. Nevertheless, they're very good and show off a vision for Aston Martin's future that's become all the more relevant since the brand's been sold by Ford.

Perhaps building ever faster versions of its current lineup won't cut the mustard someday soon, and Aston will begin considering a proper halo car. Such a low-slung, mid-engine exotic like this AM V10 concept could do the trick. It's swoopy with a familiar Aston Martin front face, but the rest of the body is pure sex. Again, we reiterate, these renderings are purely fantasy and nothing like this is being planned, but we wouldn't mind if it were.

US-Spec 2009 Mazda6 Revealed

It may share the name and its recognition, but the US specification Mazda 6 differs in many ways from its non-US counterpart making it virtually a new car. The US Mazda6 is larger inside and out, comes with more powerful engines and has its own unique styling points.

Mazda has been building US specific version of the mid-size sedan ever sine the 2002 Mazda6 at their AutoAlliance International plant, a joint venture with Ford, in Flat Rock, Mich. "This is the most important new vehicle Mazda has launched in a decade," said Jim O'Sullivan, president and CEO Mazda North America.

Power comes from the 2.5 liter MZR four-cylinder engine or a 3.7 liter V6 with either a six-speed manual transmission, five-speed automatic with manual-shift mode for the 4-cylinder or six-speed automatic with manual-shift more for the V6.

The US will only be able to buy the new Mazda6 as a sedan, the hatchback and estate are reserved for the rest of the world, and have a choice of three trim level: Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The US Mazda6 is expected to go on sale late this summer.

Source: Mazda

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The Second-Generation Mazda6

2010 Audi S4 Spy Photos

When the next generation Audi S4 makes its expected debut sometime in 2009 as a 2010 model, it will lose its snarling V8 for a more fuel-efficient forced induction V6, like the previous-generation, B7-chassis car. While the all-new V6-powered Audi S4 has only lived in our imaginations until now, spy photographers have finally captured the first images of the next-generation car while out testing.

While the move to a V6 was foreseen, at the Vienna Motor Symposium, Audi revealed some details on the engine. A supercharger will sit under the hood of the European and North American S4, which is due out this fall. Power is rated at 350 horsepower, but fuel economy will be much improved over the outgoing S4's 340hp 4.2-liter V8.

The engine will make its debut in the A6, although in slightly detuned form, producing 290 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The A6 is due out this fall, with the S4 not far behind, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The new S4 will be lighter as well, as the B9 A4 body is about 100lbs lighter than the outgoing model and the two will share body panels। An active differential sourced from Magna will be able to distribute power on demand between wheels on the same axle is also expected to be part of the package to help the all-wheel driver handle like a rear-wheel drive vehicle. The same differential will make its way into the company's Q5 SUV and S5 GT coupe as well.

Like previous S4 models, the new car will be visually similar to the standard A4, but will have some design cues to separate it from lesser cars — including a lower stance and quad-exhaust.

Audi's move back to forced induction is in tune with a recent prediction turbocharged gasoline engines will double by 2013 on account of the gas savings they offer.

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Audi A6 Facelift First Spy Photos
Audi S6 and S6 Avant

Audi to introduce new 350hp Supercharged Engine for New S4 and Facelifted A6

The ever intuitive folks over at Auto Motor und Sport have uncovered the first details that Audi are working on a new engine for the new generation S4. The new Supercharged 3.0T FSI V6 powerplant is reported to pump out 350 horsepower and will replace the 340hp 4.2-liter V8 found in the current generation.

The new V6 engine will consume significantly less fuel than the outgoing powertrain and weight reduction further enhances the performance. A detuned 290hp version will initially debut in the A6 facelift later this year, it will also make its way to the Audi S5 and Q5 models sometime in the future.

The photos show prototypes for the new S4 and A6 facelift whilst undergoing winter testing earlier this year.

Related entries:
Audi A6 Facelift First Spy Photos
2010 Audi S4 Spy Photos
Audi S6 and S6 Avant

Raikkonen Wins Spanish GP

After a three week break, the F1 season resumed and Ferrari have picked up where they left off with their second 1-2 finish in a row with World Champion Kimi Raikkonen taking the chequered flag followed by team-mate Felipe Massa closely behind with Lewis Hamilton completing the podium.

For the last seven years the Barcelona Grand Prix has been won by the driver standing in pole position and Kimi wasn't about to let the run come to a halt. Despite the close times of the top drivers, the Flying Finn was always very comfortable with no real challenge coming from Massa for the lead.

Lewis Hamilton has had a troublesome few weeks after a disastrous Bahrain Grand Prix in which the Briton finished 13th resulting in a large amount of criticism coming his way. His third position came from a very solid race and could signal the return to form for last seasons runner up.

Things didn't go so well for his McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, who crashed out on lap 23 on turn nine when his MP4-23 suffered front left wheel failure sending the Finn into the tyre wall head on, fortunately he got away with a concussion.

The result extends Raikkonen's championship lead to nine points over Lewis who moves up to second, just one point ahead of Massa.

Full Results

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 66 1:38:19.051 1 10
2 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 66 +3.2 secs 3 8
3 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 66 +4.1 secs 5 6
4 4 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 66 +5.6 secs 4 5
5 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 66 +35.9 secs 7 4
6 16 Jenson Button Honda 66 +53.0 secs 13 3
7 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 66 +58.2 secs 12 2
8 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 66 +59.4 secs 8 1
9 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 66 +63.0 secs 9
10 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 65 +1 Lap 19
11 12 Timo Glock Toyota 65 +1 Lap 14
12 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 65 +1 Lap 17
13 18 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 65 +1 Lap 22
Ret 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 41 Mechanical 15
Ret 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 34 Engine 2
Ret 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 34 Accident 11
Ret 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 21 Accident 6
Ret 19 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda 8 Radiator damage 21
Ret 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 7 Accident 16
Ret 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 6 Accident 10
Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 0 Accident 20
Ret 15 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 0 Accident 18

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Alpina Returns to Racing with B6 GT3

After a 20 year hiatus, BMW specialist/manufacturer, Alpina, will return to motorsports with an entry into the 2009 FIA GT3 European Championships in addition to a few other prominent endurance races.

Alpina's motorsports history boasts of winning three European Touring Car Championships with such legendary drivers from F1 and Touring Cars as Niki Lauda, Jacky Ickx, Hans Stuck and Dieter Quester. Alpina drivers also won the Nürburgring 24 Hours numerous times, as well as the 24 Hours of Spa in 1970.

With Alpina's B6 S model as the basis, the B6 GT3 will step into a starting grid of 45 pure-bred challengers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin to name a few. The B6 GT3 uses the super-charged 4.4 liter V8 engine from the B6 S making 530 HP, 725 Nm.

The prime directive, besides winning, is to raise Alpina's brand recognition as well as increasing exposure to markets new to the Alpina name. However, motorsports will be Alpina's fourth business venture as the B6 GT3 will not only be a factory car but sold to private parties, collectors and race teams as well.

See press release below for available Alpina team positions.

Press release:

ALPINA look back on a long and successful history in international motorsport. Well-known F1 and Touring Car drivers such as Niki Lauda, Jacky Ickx, Hans Stuck and Dieter Quester gripped an ALPINA steering wheel on their way to winning three European Touring Car Championships. ALPINA pilots also won the Nürburgring 24 Hours numerous times, as well as the 24 Hours of Spa in 1970.

“We think that the BMW 6 Series – especially with the super-charged, torque-laden 4,4 l V8 ALPINA engine from the B6 S (530 HP, 725 Nm) – provides the ideal basis to challenge pure-bred sportscars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin within the framework of GT3 regulations“, said Andreas Bovensiepen, ALPINA proprietor.

After 20 years out of racing, ALPINA will field a factory team, running the B6 GT3 in the 2009 FIA GT3 European Championship, our race car based on the BMW ALPINA B6 S road car. ALPINA will field its this team in the FIA GT3 European Championship, as well as racing in selected important endurance races.

The idea of going racing with street-based dream cars has proven to be a great success for drivers, spectators and manufacturers alike. With this involvement in racing, ALPINA will be able to raise awareness of the ALPINA brand, especially in markets new to ALPINA. With ten distinguished automotive marques, the GT3 Championship is the Crème de la Crème, and with starting grids of 45 cars in the European Championship and multiple national championships, quite compelling. ALPINA see a well-thought-out concept at relatively reasonable cost. With his long racing history, Andreas Bovensiepen sees the benefit racing can bring, and has been the initiator of the new GT3 project from the very beginning.

Much like in the 1970s, ALPINA will also sell BMW ALPINA B6 GT3 race cars to private parties, collectors and race teams. This motorsport engagement will be ALPINA’s fourth business venture. It marks another milestone in ALPINA’s strategy of consistent, enduring growth. In addition to the race cars, ALPINA have been manufacturing road-going BMW ALPINA automobiles for over 40 years, and maintain a flourishing business trading in renowned wines from world’s finest growing regions. A new engineering centre, absolutely state-of-the-art in terms of its machinery and capabilities, will soon be completed. This will allow ALPINA to more quickly bring its products to market and to offer its engineering services to third parties.

Alpina Race Team Openings

So that we may build up our race team and successfully develop the race version of the BMW ALPINA B6 GT3, we’re looking for candidates with experience in motorsport. Your commitment and drive for perfection are the basis for future success. We expect a high level of flexibility, including weekends... Interested? Then compete for one of the following positions:

1.Project Manager
2.Automotive Race Engineer – Suspension and Aerodynamic Set-Up- Vehicle engineer: drivetrain and engine bay packaging construction
3.Automotive Engineer – Development, Chassis/Aerodynamic Panels
4.Automotive Engineer – Development, Drivetrain/Engine Bay Packaging
5.Race Mechanic, preferably with Lorry driving Licence
6.Technician, testing equipment and electronics
7.Purchasing/Logistics/Quality Control Specialist

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cadillac CTS by D3 Research

The self-proclaimed leader in Cadillac Tuning, D3 Research, introduces an exterior styling package for the 2008 Cadillac CTS. With a side order of good ol' American bling bling, D3 focused on creating a look which projects style and performance while integrating into the natural design of the CTS. Starting with the stainless steel wire mesh grilles, front bumper fascia with additional cooling brake ducts, side skirts, rear deck lid spoiler, roof spoiler and rear lower diffuser.
Press release:

008 Cadillac CTS – D3 Performance Exterior Package

D3 Cadillac, the leader in Cadillac tuning, introduces the new 2008 Cadillac CTS Performance Exterior Package. The exterior enhancements are not only exquisitely designed styling cues integrated seamlessly, they are functional as well. The front grill has a unique jewel like cut on the stainless steel wire mesh that signifies performance & class. The additional openings in the front allow for a larger surface area to induce adequate cooling for the engine compartment. This is important when you start squeezing more performance out of this engine, as heat is a byproduct of making more power. Not only were the factory brake ducts maintained, but the front fascia also introduces double the cooling by adding an additional brake duct pick ups on each side. Notice the angled lip towards the lower edge of the front fascia. This angled edge has been designed and measured for just the right amount of down force without creating too much drag. The side skirts offer a much more complete look and help transfer the styling from the front of the vehicle to the rear without loosing the theme of the design. The rear deck lid spoiler and rear roof spoiler help introduce down force at high speed while keeping the air stable coming off the backside of the vehicle. The rear lower diffuser helps keep the air uniform while passing the underside of the vehicle. While at speed the air is kept moving uniform rather than curling up behind the vehicle, often promoting rear end lift at high speeds.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


- Innovative high-tech concepts in the 2009 model year
- Expressive exterior design, elegantly sporty interior
- S tronic transmission, Audi magnetic ride and efficient engines

Ingolstadt – The Audi A3, offered in the USA exclusively with the five-door body style, raises its sporty profile with a raft of improvements and an accentuated design. Innovative technologies such as the S tronic dual-clutch transmission and Audi magnetic ride, the suspension control system, makes for even greater driving pleasure. Its sharper, more striking design lends even greater expression to the A3. Dealer deliveries will coincide with the change of the model year, around September 2008, with pricing and equipment not yet finalized for the USA.

The Audi A3 strengthened the premium compact car segment upon its debut in 2005 in the USA. Since its worldwide market introduction in 1996, 1.9 million units of the Audi A3 have been built. After four successive record-breaking years, the one millionth second-generation A3 – which went into production in 2003 in Europe and 2005 in USA as a five-door – left the assembly line just a few days ago. Audi is now solidifying its lead.

The exterior: even sportier profile

New visual details for the five-door A3 bring its stretched, sporty profile into the foreground. The front lid and fenders are more expressively styled, and the bumper and large single-frame radiator grille have been modified. A curved trim element in the headlamps known as the "wing" accentuates their technical perfection. Daytime running lights are standard features, and the optional bi-xenon headlamps incorporate LEDs. Down the sides, the highlight features are exterior mirrors with integral turn indicators, new door handles and attractive wheels.

At the tail end, the modified bumper and the lights help this car make a grand exit; the five-door A3 now has innovative fiber optic rods arranged in a flat, continuous strip that creates an impressive optical effect in the dark. The sporty proportions of the five-door A3 remain virtually unchanged at 4.29 meters (168.90 in) in length.

The interior: sporty elegance

Inside the car, too, the designers fine-tuned the atmosphere of sporty elegance. Aluminum-look elements on the air vents, light switches and center console accentuate the premium character of the Audi A3. The switches and controls beneath the audio system have been given a new, modern look. The instruments have black dials and red needles to reinforce the impression of precision and advanced technology, and a shift indicator displays the recommended gear in any given circumstances in the driver information system.
The A3's trunk is the roomiest in its class, at 370 to 1,100 liters (13.06 to 38.83 cubic ft.) on the five-door A3. On quattro versions, the trunk floor is a few centimeters higher, to accommodate the special rear axle. Audi can also supply the options of a panoramic sunroof for the versatile five-door A3.

Powerful drive: the engines

As before, Audi is bringing the five-door A3 onto the U.S. market with two different gasoline engines. The 2.0 TFSI has 200 hp, while the 3.2 quattro with its six cylinders musters 250 hp.

High tech from Audi: the new transmissions

The range of transmissions has been extended and become even more appealing. The 2.0 TFSI engine is supplied as standard with six-speed manual transmission, and the 3.2 is available exclusively with the S tronic dual-clutch transmission, now also available for all engine versions. The high-tech S tronic changes gears with extreme speed and smoothness. The driver can set it to operate in a fully automatic mode or change gears manually – either at the selector lever or with the standard shift paddles on the leather sport steering wheel.

The S tronic on the six-cylinder engine and the 2.0 TFSI has six speeds. Its clutches are dry-running – an innovative approach. This means that they do not need a separate oil supply, further adding to their already impressive efficiency.

New for the five-door A3 is the 2.0 TFSI quattro, available exclusively with S tronic transmission. In its latest technical form, the central hydraulic multi-plate clutch responds even faster when the engine's power needs to be redistributed between the front and rear wheels. This increases stability, traction and driving pleasure for the driver.

The standard-fit dynamic suspension, too, provides safety, dynamic handling and comfort all rolled into one. The captivating precision with which the five-door A3 handles and its well-balanced character owe a great deal to elaborate concepts such as the four-link rear suspension and the efficient electromechanical power steering. There is optional sport suspension that supports the body 15 millimeters (0.59 in) lower.

Way ahead of the competition: Audi magnetic ride

There is another new feature that puts the five-door A3 ahead of its challengers: The adaptive-action shock absorber control system by the name of Audi magnetic ride. This system overcomes the age-old conflict between dynamic behavior and ride comfort. The driver can choose between "Normal" and "Sport" programs by flipping a switch. A magneto-rheological fluid circulating in the shock absorbers changes its flow properties within milliseconds when a voltage is applied; this affects the damping characteristic, which can be varied from comfortably supple to crisply firm. In the U.S., this is optional on both 2.0 TFSI, and the top 3.2 version.

Pricing and equipment will be available in Fall 2008 upon arrival at U.S. dealers.

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