I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Friday, 23 August 2013

China agrees to Volvo's request to manufacture in Daqing, Zhangjiakou and Chengdu

Chinese government authorities have approved Volvo Car Group's (Volvo Cars) establishment of manufacturing plants in Daqing and Zhangjiakou. As a result, Volvo Cars' full Chinese industrial footprint, including Chengdu, has been approved.

The assembly plant in Daqing is under construction and the first pre-series cars will be built late 2013 for training purposes. The plant is forecast to be fully operational in 2014.

The engine plant in Zhangjiakou will become operational during the autumn of this year and will deliver engines to Volvo Cars' manufacturing plant in Chengdu, where serial production will start in the fourth quarter of 2013. Zhangjiakou will also supply the assembly plant in Daqing.

The plants in Daqing and Zhangjiakou will be operated in the form of two joint venture companies, in which Volvo Cars initially will hold 30 per cent. The remaining part will be held by companies within Geely Holding Group.

The Chengdu plant will be operated under an extension of an already existing production license held by a Geely Holding company. The manufacturing license for Chengdu was granted in June.

The plants in China will be operated in full accordance with Volvo Cars manufacturing standards and procedures, equal to those of the company's European plants.

Second generation Kia Soul gets BMW bug eyed look for 2014

  • Kia’s funky urban crossover set for UK launch in Spring 2014
  • Second-generation Soul to be based on latest Kia cee’d platform
  • Improved emissions
  • Increased interior and luggage space
  • High levels of specification and customisation

The all-new 2014 Kia Soul urban crossover will make its European debut at the 65th Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) in Frankfurt on 10 September, before going on sale across Europe early next year.

Inspired by the 2012 Kia Track’ster concept, the 2014 Soul introduces a thoroughly fresh, more grown-up appearance, whilst still instantly recognisable as a Soul.

The new vehicle – shown in European specification for the first time – echoes the outgoing model’s upright stance, squared shoulders, wraparound greenhouse, high-mounted tail lights and confidence-inspiring SUV ride height.  The new Soul also features an all-new interior, with higher quality materials and a more driver-focused design.

When the car goes on sale in 2014, buyers will also be able to choose between three different roof colours – black, white and red – as well as up to 11 exterior paint finishes.

The pair of new Kia Souls displayed on the Kia stand at IAA Frankfurt will also exhibit a new SUV Styling Pack, featuring piano black bumper trim, side skirts, wheel arches and a black painted roof.  The new range of Soul accessory kits are designed to enable owners to fully enjoy and exploit the versatility of this unique compact SUV.

The biggest technical change for the 2014 Soul is the adoption of an all-new platform, based on that of the latest Kia cee’d.  The result is greatly improved ride and handling compared with the outgoing model, as well as more mature and refined on-road behaviour.  The second-generation Soul will also be the best in its class for refinement, a result of the car’s upgraded suspension, 29 per cent stiffer bodyshell and comprehensive soundproofing.  Interior noise levels are reduced by approximately three decibels.

Subtly larger dimensions also mean the new model offers buyers a more practical proposition, with a longer wheelbase and wider track contributing to greater cabin space and cargo capacity.  Leg, head and shoulder room are increased for all passengers, while the cargo area is increased by 4 per cent to 354 litres (plus additional underfloor storage) with the rear seats upright.

Environmental performance for the new model is also improved.  Buyers will be able to choose between the latest versions of Kia’s 1.6-litre GDi petrol and CRDi diesel engines, as well as six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.  Both engines are carried over from the outgoing model, and feature improved efficiency with lower emissions.

Promising a more rewarding ownership experience, the 2014 Soul will be available in Europe with a range of new premium features (depending on model), including: front LED daytime running lights and rear LED ‘halo’ lights, xenon headlights, keyless entry and push-button engine start, automatic climate control, cruise control, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats, panoramic glass sunroof and heated and electrically folding exterior mirrors.

The all-new 2014 Kia Soul will go on sale across Europe early next year when the full model line-up, choice of gasoline and diesel powertrains, performance, economy, equipment specifications and prices will be confirmed.

Jaguar takes J.D. Power Dealer satisfaction title again, Land Rover came fifth

  • Jaguar dealerships take first place for the second year running in a new 2013 JD Power satisfaction survey published in the latest issue of What Car? magazine
  • Friendly advisers, flexible and convenient service and quality of work contributed to Jaguar dealerships’ topping the table with an overall 85.5% satisfaction score
  • Latest accolade follows Jaguar dealership Sturgess of Leicester achieving recognition in 2013 as ‘Motor Codes Franchised Garage of the Year’ 

Jaguar has once again topped the annual JD Power Dealer Satisfaction Survey, published in the October issue of What Car? magazine, which is on sale now.  Land Rover dealerships were ranked joint-fifth in the survey.

The results are based on the dealer service portion of JD Power’s 2013 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study, which took the views of 13,511 customers who had a service experience with their dealership into consideration.

Respondents provided feedback on vehicles bought between January 2010 and December 2011 focusing on the booking process, overall staff helpfulness, dealership facilities, quality of work and how fair the service charges were.

Chas Hallett, What Car? Editor-in-Chief said:

“For the second year running, Jaguar owners love their dealers as much as their cars, awarding their dealers top marks in the annual survey.  Jaguar is in a most enviable position, where every car maker wants to be and needs to be now and in the future.”

Jaguar customers provided overwhelmingly positive feedback about their dealers, highlighting friendly advisers, flexibility in finding booking slots, quick and painless vehicle hand-over and pick-up services and staff taking the time to explain technical details of work carried out.  The quality of work carried out was also rated excellent or outstanding by 68% of customers.

In addition, Jaguar dealers rated top out of those who deliver service with a smile, resulting in an overall 85.5% customer satisfaction score and five ‘Power Circles’ awarded to the dealerships nationally, a rating defined as “among the best”.

Jeremy Hicks, Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director, said:

“Our dealer network is the most important point of contact we have with our customers and I am delighted that Jaguar and Land Rover have performed so well in the JD Power survey for the second year in a row. Our product line-up is the strongest and most diverse it has ever been, with new sectors of the market coming to the brand all the time, as proven by record sales in 2013. As our sales grow, so does the quality of our dealer network and we are proud that our dealers have been recognised by our customers, JD Power and WhatCar?”

The dealership named Motor Codes Franchised Garage of the Year was Jaguar main dealer Sturgess of Leicester, with customers noting excellent attention to detail, willingness to go the extra mile and quick and efficient service as characteristic of their experience at Sturgess.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

MG3 confirmed as lowest insurance group in its class,

The new MG3 has been awarded a class leading Group 4E insurance rating – making it the cheapest supermini to insure with this level of style and performance features.

It will be particularly good news for young drivers who usually find the cost of car insurance prohibitively high.

But all customers will find that the new 106PS MG3 costs a lot less than similarly powered cars, has class-leading chassis and driving dynamics making it great fun to drive and the big, big bonus of ultra-low insurance ratings.    

The stylish MG3 goes on sale in mid-September and pre-order deposits are being taken now. Prices range from £9,999 for the highly equipped top-of-the-range MG3 3STYLE to £8,399 for the MG3 3TIME entry model.

But the exciting MG3 has not compromised on power or dynamics to achieve the low insurance rating. The MG3 has a healthy 106PS power output, offering considerably more power than many of its competitors.

Despite being great fun to drive, the MG3 sits in the same insurance group as much lower powered models including: the 1.2-litre 84PS Hyundai i20 ‘Classic’ which costs £9,995; the 1.2-litre 60PS VW Polo ‘S’ which costs £11,395 and the 1.0-litre 69PS Toyota Yaris ‘T2’ and ‘TR’ models which start at £10,695.

The new MG3 is also in a much lower insurance group than most similarly powered cars such as many Vauxhall Corsa models (Group 8 and 9) and many VW Polo models ( Group 9).

Andrew Lowerson, MG’s Product Manager, said: “We’ve made a car that’s very affordable, fantastic fun to drive and probably offers more personal styling options than any other car in its class. Now the low insurance groups have been added as the icing on the cake – it’s great news.

“Only the MG3 can offer these levels of style, features and personalisation with such a low level of insurance.”

All MG3 models benefit from signature front LED daytime running lights, electronic hill hold as standard, with all but the entry model featuring a high quality DAB audio system. The sporty exterior style conceals an interior that offers one of the largest and most spacious cabins in the supermini class. With six airbags, electronic stability control, corner brake control and traction control, a full suite of the latest technology safety equipment is standard on all MG3s.

But a key attraction for many people will be the fun that can be had in creating a model to their particular taste and style thanks to a huge range of colours, exterior graphics, interior colour packs and part-leather upholstery available. The whole range has been created by the UK design team and inspired by the British fashion industry.

There are four models of MG3 to choose from and a full range of options and accessories priced as keenly as the car itself, to ensure that specifying and buying an MG3 is as much fun as owning and driving it.

Ferrari to develop more Hybrids to complement the LaFerrari

Ferrari plans more hybrid vehicles to follow the 1 million euro ($1.34 million) LaFerrari as the manufacturer works to attract more wealthy buyers to the brand.

"I don't believe in the electric cars, but I strongly believe in hybrids," Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the manufacturer's headquarters in Maranello, Italy.

Fiat Group's supercar unit will also look at expanding sales beyond vehicles, such as licensing merchandise with its prancing-horse logo. "We have a lot of parallel activities that can increase revenues without being obliged to produce more cars," Montezemolo said.

Ferrari, the most profitable division at Fiat Group, unveiled the LaFerrari sports car at the Geneva auto show in March.

The model is part of Montezemolo's strategy of boosting Ferrari's profitability with high-end, customized versions of its vehicles while restricting their availability to enhance the brand's reputation for exclusivity.

"I want to have different Ferraris for different Ferraristi," Montezemolo, 65, said. "We have a lot of parallel activities that can increase revenues without being obliged to produce more cars."

Montezemolo, who has been chairman since 1991, has transformed Ferrari into a successful brand, accounting for about 10 percent of Fiat's 2012 operating earnings.

Widening margins

The division's worldwide first-half earnings before interest, taxes and one-time items widened to 15 percent of sales from 13 percent a year earlier. That compares with a 5 percent trading-profit margin for the parent company's mass-market nameplates in North America and 8 percent for those businesses in Latin America.

"The overall market for us is very good, as we are doing very well in the U.S., Germany and UK in Europe, Japan and the greater China," Montezemolo said in the July 3 interview.

Ferrari plans to reduce deliveries by 400 cars this year to about 6,900 vehicles. Asked whether Ferrari is planning more hybrid models, Montezemolo said, "the answer is yes, without exceeding" what customers want.

Ferrari plans to introduce the 458 Speciale sports car at the Frankfurt auto show next month, Ferrari said yesterday in a statement. The 605-horsepower model, which the company called its most aerodynamically efficient production car ever, accelerates to 100 kilometers (61 miles) per hour in as little as 3 seconds.

Equipped with a V8 engine, the 458 Speciale will have a starting price of about 240,000 euros in Europe, said a person familiar with Ferrari's plan, who asked not to be identified before an official announcement.

Green supercar trend

Ferrari is part of a growing trend by automakers to offer high-performance cars with reduced emissions.

Porsche will present the $845,000 production version of the 918 Spyder next month at the Frankfurt show, while BMW will showcase the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar. Land Rover will start selling its first hybrids in the U.K. in September.

"It makes sense to test new technology with luxury and high-end cars as customers tend to be less price sensitive, and more willing to pay for additional technology," said Sascha Gommel, an analyst with Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "In addition, hybrid technology could make a sports car even more dynamic as an electric powertrain improves the acceleration.

Production of high-end hybrid cars may increase almost tenfold to 56,364 vehicles in 2016 from 5,938 last year, according to an estimate from research firm IHS Automotive.

Earnings at Ferrari in the second quarter were helped by "strong" contributions from product licensing and car customization, Fiat said on July 30. The unit has introduced the Pr1ma clothing line, with products such as 1,500 euro leather jackets, that is expected to contribute to profit this year.

Ferrari has a strategy of expanding ancillary business, Montezemolo said. "I want to increase different activities: retail, licensing, merchandise," he added.

No spin off

Fiat doesn't plan to spin off Ferrari in any merger with Chrysler Group, Chairman John Elkann said in May.

Ferrari is "very important in the group in term of economic results, brand, image and for technological collaboration from Ferrari to Maserati and Alfa Romeo," said Montezemolo, who expects Fiat to complete a buyout of Chrysler "not far from now."

GREAT NEWS - SAAB is back and the future is looking great.

Saab's new owner is seeking to restart production at the automaker's mothballed factory in Sweden later this year.

The Saab plant in Trollhattan is "practically ready" to begin building the 9-3 mid-sized car, said Mikael Oestlund, a spokesman for National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS).

The company has recruited about 300 people including team leaders to oversee assembly, Oestlund told Automotive News Europe. "It is possible to start production later this year," he said.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden, which is owned by a Chinese renewable energy investor, bought Saab out of bankruptcy last August.

Oestlund said the 9-3 that will go into production will be very similar to the 9-3 that Saab stopped building in 2011. He did not disclose engine details except to say that the gasoline version would be turbocharged. An electric version, planned to launch next year, would be given a much more comprehensive face-lift, he said.

Oestlund said the 9-3 will be sold in Europe and China initially with U.S. sales possible later. "Saab will again be a global brand, but we will gradually add markets. The U.S. market is important for us and we intend to enter when we see that we have a business case," he said.

New models

NEVS also plans to build cars based on the Phoenix architecture developed by Saab before the automaker went bankrupt in 2011. The platform will have to be modified to remove the 20 percent of parts sourced from former Saab owner General Motors, Oestlund said.

Saab's new owner, NEVS, says the 9-3 that will go into production this year will resemble the original, pictured.

"The Phoenix architecture is very flexible and when fully developed it will give us the opportunity to design and manufacture several models from smaller to bigger cars. We have not yet decided which models and we have no time plan -- that is some years ahead," he said.

Oestlund said the 9-3 electric version will use batteries built by sister company Beijing National Battery Technology, which builds batteries for city buses.

NEVS and Beijing National Battery Technology are owned by Hong Kong National Modern Energy Holdings, which is run by Swedish-Chinese green energy entrepreneur Kai Johan Jiang. NEVS is 22 percent owned by the Chinese city of Qingdao following a deal earlier this year.

NEVS plans to build 120,000 units of the 9-3 a year by 2016, according to a report by Bloomberg in January. That target would come close to the brand's 2006 peak of 133,000 autos.


Camaro to debut at Frankfurt for European sales

  • New Camaro convertible debuts at IAA 2013
  • Aero-optimised design with bonnet vent, new grille and horizontal tail lamps
  • New Chevrolet MyLink connected radio

At the 65th Frankfurt Motor Show, Chevrolet will debut the new Camaro convertible and coupe. Featuring a fast, low-slung silhouette and Chevrolet's new MyLink connected radio, the latest edition of the famed American muscle car represents the most significant redesign since the introduction of the fifth-generation Camaro as a concept car in 2006.

"Camaro has always been associated with iconic design, high performance and driving fun, and we are particularly proud of the new coupe and convertible models," said Dr. Thomas Sedran, President and Managing Director, Chevrolet Europe. "They incorporate new high-tech features that add extra convenience and give customers even more value for their money," Sedran added.    

Enhanced aerodynamics        

The new Camaro boasts improved high-performance aerodynamics that provide more efficient cooling and stability at high speeds. The front fascia has a wider lower grille and a narrower upper grille, while the functional bonnet vent helps reduce heat and aerodynamic lift. At the rear, a sculptural deck lid, horizontal lamps and a diffuser complete the new design. Both the coupe and the convertible sport a spoiler with integral antenna.

Power is supplied by the proven 6.2L V8 engine which is mated to a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission.The automatic transmission model includes active fuel management and cam phasing (VVT). The manual transmission version churns out 432 hp (318 kW) at 5,900 rpm and a torque of 569 Nm at 4,600 rpm. 0 – 62 mph acceleration is 5.2 seconds for the manual coupe and 5.4 seconds for the manual convertible

Interior offers modern convenience and connectivity

Entering the new Camaro is straightforward and comfortable, thanks to standard remote keyless entry; on the automatic variant, customers can opt for a remote engine start functionality. Leather-appointed power adjustable Recaro sport bucket seats can be selected in the front for the coupe variant.

Further interior highlights include a new colour heads-up display and the new Chevrolet MyLink connected radio that is located in the centre stack. The radio is built around a seven-inch high resolution full-colour touch screen and has a clean, icon-based display menu.

The new Chevrolet MyLink connected radio allows users to open phone books, personal playlists, and photo galleries from compatible smartphones. Connectivity will be provided through USB, Bluetooth and aux-in. In addition to voice recognition, the system offers text-to-speech capability*, which allows users to listen to text messages from their smartphone. A rearview camera is standard.

In addition, customers can opt to purchase an integrated navigation system with coverage of all of Europe. As is the case with all Chevrolet MyLink radios, owners will be able to upgrade the new system with dedicated apps once they become available.

Competitive price tag for a true muscle car

The new Camaro will arrive at select Chevrolet dealerships across Europe towards the end of the year. With prices starting from £35,320 for the coupe and £40,320 for the convertible in the UK it is a compelling choice for performance-oriented drivers.

There is, however, much more to the Camaro than great value and affordability. Its rugged strength, iconic design and unique muscle car attributes have stolen the hearts and imaginations of countless people and have provided subject matter for wall posters, T-shirts, and songs for decades.

Famously described to journalists in summer 1966 as a "small vicious animal that eats Mustangs", the original Camaro was built around a unibody structure and a 3.9L straight six engine. Since then, five progressively more capable generations of the Camaro have thrilled car fans around the globe. Until 1968, Camaros were assembled from complete knock down kits (CKD) at two General Motors' European plants in Antwerp, Belgium, and Biel, in Switzerland.

Performance has always been an essential ingredient of Camaro's DNA and consequently, it has seen action in many forms of auto racing, including the spectacular drag races, where specially prepared vehicles, usually two at a time, compete along a straight course to make it first across a set finish line.

As much a part of Americana as apple pie and baseball, Camaros have featured in several Hollywood movies, such as runaway bride (1999), a walk to remember (2003), and, of course, Transformers (2007, 2009, 2011), in which the Chevrolet Camaro sports car had a starring role as Bumblebee.

In March 2013, the most recent edition of the Camaro Z28, considered by many to be the most iconic and exclusive model in Camaro history, was unveiled at the New York Auto Show. Powered by a 7.0L V8 engine developed in conjunction with Corvette Racing and capable of churning out an estimated 500 hp (373 kW) and 637 Nm of torque, the new Camaro Z28 is suitably equipped to live up to the nameplate's proud heritage.

The BMW Concept5 X5 eDrive, or a Hybrid X5 to save the badging

BMW eDrive meets BMW xDrive – an innovative combination designed to deliver efficient driving pleasure: The BMW Concept5 X5 eDrive.

The new BMW X5 raises efficiency to another new level in the world of the luxurious Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). BMW is using the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) to present the logical next step towards landmark efficiency in the SAV segment. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive combines the brand of driving pleasure for which the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system is renowned and a luxurious ambience within the variable-use interior with a plug-in hybrid drive concept. Its innovative BMW eDrive technology guarantees the hallmark sporting ability of a BMW, while at the same time opening the door to speeds of up to 120 km/h (75 mph), a maximum range of 30 kilometres (19 miles) on electric power alone and average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres (74.3 mpg imp).

The concept study’s BMW eDrive system consists of a four-cylinder combustion engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric motor which is also the work of the BMW Group. The 70 kW/95 hp motor sources its energy from a high-voltage lithium-ion battery. It can be charged from any domestic power socket and has sufficient capacity to enable the car to travel up to 30 kilometres (19 miles) solely on electric power, generating zero local emissions in the process. The high-voltage battery developed for the BMW Concept X5 eDrive is mounted in a particularly crash-safe position underneath the load area, whose capacity remains virtually unchanged as a result. There is a choice of three driving modes, depending on requirements and situation – the intelligent hybrid drive option for an optimum balance between sportiness and efficiency; pure electric and therefore emission-free driving; or Safe Battery mode to maintain the current battery charge.

The groundbreaking character of the BMW Concept X5 eDrive is highlighted by understated but precisely arranged design accents. For example, the kidney grille slats, air intake bars and the inlay in the rear bumper – all in the BMW i Blue colour developed for the BMW i brand – present an appealing contrast to the Silverflake metallic exterior paintwork. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive also comes with specially designed roof rails, a connector for the charging cable that lights up during charging, and 21-inch light-alloy wheels in an exclusive, aerodynamically optimised design.

BMW eDrive in a Sports Activity Vehicle: intelligent hybrid technology delivers outstanding efficiency and characteristic driving pleasure.
Electrification of the powertrain allows BMW to unlock impressive potential for reducing fuel consumption and emissions. The BMW eDrive technology developed by the BMW Group to this end comes in various forms, each tailored precisely to the vehicle concept at hand. The BMW Group’s first purely electrically powered vehicle to go into series production – the BMW i3 – celebrates its world premiere at the IAA 2013. And taking to the stage alongside the i3 will be the BMW Concept X5 eDrive, which follows in the tyre tracks of the BMW Concept Active Tourer unveiled in 2012 as the second plug-in hybrid vehicle to feature BMW eDrive.

BMW eDrive technology hooks up with the intelligent all-wheel-drive system BMW xDrive for the first time in the BMW Concept X5 eDrive. The new study vehicle offers superior driving characteristics underpinned by the electronically controlled and fully variable distribution of drive between its front and rear wheels. Regardless of the driving mode selected, the power generated by the electric motor, combustion engine or the two units together is channelled quickly and precisely to the wheels where it can be converted most effectively into propulsion. This allows the BMW Concept X5 eDrive to demonstrate the typical qualities of an SAV – assured traction and optimised stability in all weather and road conditions, coupled with increased agility through dynamically taken corners – in outstandingly efficient fashion. The versatile and sporty driving attributes of the BMW Concept X5 eDrive are complemented by average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres (74.3 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of under 90 grams per kilometre.

The electric motor in the BMW Concept X5 eDrive generates maximum output of 70 kW/95 hp and – thanks to impressive torque available from the word go – demonstrates the instantaneous power delivery that has become a hallmark of electric drive systems. All of which elevates driving pleasure and efficiency to another level. The synchronous electric motor developed by the BMW Group also maintains a steady flow of power into the upper reaches of its load range and keeps weight low. The motor alone can propel the BMW Concept X5 eDrive to a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). As part of the boost function, it can also be used to give the combustion engine a noticeable hit of extra energy during acceleration and during dynamic mid-range sprints. The BMW Concept X5 eDrive can complete the sprint from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 7.0 seconds.

ECO PRO mode and all-electric driving: efficiency on demand.
Like members of the current series-produced BMW line-up, the BMW Concept X5 eDrive also offers ECO PRO mode, which is activated using the Driving Experience Control switch and encourages a particularly efficient driving style. This default mode is engaged when the car is started and offers intelligent hybrid functionality, whereby the energy management system tailors the interplay of combustion engine and electric drive system to most efficient effect. Drivers can also enjoy the services of the hybrid-specific Proactive Driving Assistant, which teams up with the navigation system to incorporate factors such as route profile, speed restrictions and the traffic situation into the driving mode selection.

Drivers can also switch to the all-electric driving mode. With the battery fully charged, the car can cover up to 30 kilometres (19 miles) on electric power alone and therefore with zero local emissions. Another option is the Safe Battery mode, which allows the battery’s energy capacity to be maintained – for example, if the driver wants to cover the final stretch of a longer journey through town on purely electric power.

Everyday usability: flexible charging scenarios and viability.
In order to allow the extra efficiency of its electric powertrain to be utilised as widely as possible, the BMW Concept X5 eDrive is designed as a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Its high-voltage battery can be recharged from any domestic power socket, a Wallbox designed to offer stronger currents or a public charging station. The impressive degree of flexibility drivers can look forward to when choosing a charging point is enhanced by the charging cable stored in the load area below the flat storage compartment. The battery unit is located a level lower still, which means the car’s overall load-carrying capacity is only slightly reduced. The boot offers space for two large suitcases or four 46-inch golf bags, and the SAV’s high level of variability – thanks in part to its 40 : 20 : 40 split/folding rear seat backrest – is retained, as are the generous levels of space and comfort over long journeys that it offers in all five seats.

Intelligent connectivity for greater efficiency.
Innovative functions from BMW ConnectedDrive help drivers to maximise the number of journeys they complete on electric power alone. For example, in the BMW Concept X5 eDrive, the electric range available is shown as a numerical value. The car’s dynamic range display uses intelligent connectivity to keep a constant eye on all the factors affecting range, such as traffic conditions, route profile and driving style.

When the route guidance function is activated, the location of public charging stations is added to the points of interest shown on the navigation map. Drivers can call up stations located along their route or at their destination, and the system also tells them how much charging time is required to fully top up the battery once again.

All information concerning battery charge and electric range can also be viewed on the driver’s Smartphone. A Remote app from BMW ConnectedDrive developed specially to meet the requirements of electric mobility enables owners to control the charging process from their phone. It also allows the vehicle to be pre-programmed while it is connected to an electricity source. For example, the heating and climate control system can be activated remotely to ensure a pleasant temperature inside the car before the driver sets off.

Flagship Audi is further refined by a raft of technological advances and engine upgrades

  • International debut at Frankfurt Motor Show (September 12-22)
  • Even more power and greater fuel efficiency across entire model line-up
  • Increased use of cylinder on demand technology
  • Unique new MatrixBeam LED headlights improve safety
  • UK arrival scheduled for January 2014

Unadulterated luxury is delivered with even more élan and even greater efficiency in the new generation Audi A8, which makes its debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The latest flagship combines revisions to its weight-optimised, predominantly aluminium body with a raft of technological advances including new MatrixBeam LED headlights and an upgraded line-up of EU6-compliant engines.

Built around the lightweight aluminium Audi Space Frame, the almost entirely aluminium body of the new generation A8 has been finessed by subtle resculpting of the bonnet, the single frame grille, the front bumper and the lower edge of the headlight units. At the rear, the design of the LED tail lamps has been revised and the bumper in all models bar the S8 now incorporates two rhomboid tail pipes. New chrome elements, new high gloss black window surrounds and five new colours also mark out the updated car.

The visual appeal, visibility and active safety of the new generation A8 can also now be enhanced by new optional headlights employing MatrixBeam Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology which sets new benchmarks.

The high-beam function in these unique headlights uses 25 individual LEDs per unit that can be switched on and off or dimmed individually depending on the situation. This enables the headlight system to react extremely precisely to other vehicles while always brightly illuminating the road. When the on-board camera detects other vehicles ahead, the Audi MatrixBeam LED headlights mask the relevant sections of the high-beam by dimming or shutting off individual diodes. Very bright illumination is preserved in the remaining zones.

The lighting system in the A8 uses predictive route data from the navigation system with MMI Touch to adjust the distribution of light in response to the current driving situation, and can recognise and act on route data, such as corners and road classifications.

New dynamic indicators boost safety

Additional features of the new headlights are the intelligent cornering lights, new-look daytime running lights and dynamic indicator lights. These indicators with a progressively expanding strip of light have the potential to significantly enhance traffic safety by making the fact that the vehicle is turning even clearer to other road users, even at long distances and in poor visibility.

Each of the indicator sections in the enhanced headlights contains 18 LEDs arranged in a strip that is subdivided into seven blocks. Each tail light indicator section contains 24 LEDs in eight blocks. When activated, the blocks are sequentially illuminated at 20 millisecond intervals, from the inside outwards in the desired turning direction. After 150 milliseconds, all segments are bright; for another 250 milliseconds they illuminate with full intensity. After very briefly extinguishing completely, they then repeat the sequence.

The length (5.14 metres), wheelbase (2.99 metres), width (1.95 metres) and height (1.46 metres) of the new generation A8 remain unchanged, and this also applies to the A8 L models with their additional 13 centimetres of wheelbase and body length added in the interest of rear passenger space.

The even sleeker new standard and long wheelbase bodies house a choice of seven petrol and TDI engines, the majority of which have been revised to improve performance and efficiency. The supercharged 3.0 TFSI petrol engine is boosted from 290PS to 310PS, the V8 twin-turbo 4.0 TFSI moves from 420PS to 435PS, the highly efficient 3.0 TDI clean diesel increases from 250PS to 258PS and the 4.2 TDI clean diesel gains 35PS, taking it to 385PS. Its already mighty torque output is also increased by 50Nm to a prodigious 850 Nm (626.93 lb-ft).

Paired with quattro all-wheel drive, the 4.0 TFSI now powers the A8 from 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds, but under partial load the Audi cylinder on demand (COD) system deactivates four of its eight cylinders to give priority to fuel economy. The most efficient diesel engine is the 3.0 TDI, which returns up to 47.9 mpg, corresponding to 155 grams of CO2 per kilometre. All engines satisfy the Euro 6 standard, helped by friction-reducing measures which reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10 per cent.

Cylinder on demand now also for W12

The luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro occupies the top rung in the A8 line-up. The short and lightweight engine with its W layout displaces 6.3 litres and produces 500PS. It also boasts best-in-class combined fuel consumption of  24.1 mpg, corresponding to 270 grams CO2 per kilometre, thanks in part to a newly adopted version of the cylinder-on-demand system developed especially for this model. At low loads, it deactivates the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders.

The 520PS S8 fulfils a different brief as the ultimate Audi sports saloon. Its 4.0 TFSI engine blasts it from 0 to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds, yet cylinder on demand technology also renders it capable of up to 28 mpg, corresponding to 235 grams CO2 per kilometre.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a technology that is also employed in the A8 4.0 TFSI quattro, the A8 L W12 quattro and the A8 hybrid, ensures excellent acoustic comfort by using precise antiphase noise to combat intrusive noise in the cabin while cylinders are deactivated. Active engine mounts also dampen vibration.

At the other end of the spectrum, the overtly efficiency-focused A8 hybrid combines a 2.0 TFSI engine and electric motor to produce a system output of 245PS and system torque of 480 Nm (354.03 lb-ft). The lithium-ion battery in the rear enables purely electric driving at up to 62 mph with a range of roughly 1.9 miles. The A8 hybrid returns up to 44.8mpg and emits 147 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The new A8 is equipped as standard with a fast and smooth-shifting, eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission which transmits power to all four wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system in all six, eight and twelve-cylinder versions. A sport differential acting on the rear axle is fitted as standard to the A8 4.2 TDI quattro and the S8 and optional for all other versions bar the hybrids – it distributes power between the rear wheels as required for even greater handling adjustability.

The saloon owes its sporting character as much to its sophisticated chassis as to its responsive engines and its lightweight shell. The Audi drive select system, which adjusts the operating characteristics of various controls and functions, is standard. It also influences the standard adaptive air suspension, which is available with sport settings on request. The power steering uses an efficient electromechanical drive, and can be enhanced by a dynamic steering option which varies boost as a function of the speed driven. Carbon fibre ceramic brake discs are available for V8 models and the A8 L W12 quattro. These can also now be combined with new high-tech 20-inch alloy wheels with high-strength polymer spokes.

Hand-built character: The interior of the Audi A8

In the lavishly trimmed and very comprehensively equipped interior, customers can choose from a new range of upholstery and inlays in new colour schemes. Additions include the woods Fine grain poplar brown-silver and Fine grain ash brown-gold natural as well as the leather Unikat, which is particularly natural-looking, soft and breathable.

Particularly indulgent interior options include front seats with ventilation and massage settings, relaxation seats with powered footrests, electrically adjustable, individual rear seats, a continuous, leather-covered centre console (exclusively for A8 L models) and power-assisted door closure. The Audi exclusive personalisation range offers additional individualisation options for particularly discerning customers.

Advanced assistance systems

Improvements have also been made to the optional assistance systems. Audi active lane assist, which makes slight steering adjustments when necessary, is new to the A8, as is the park assist system with 360° display, which handles steering when parking, and the head-up display, which projects important data in the driver's field of vision on the windscreen. The night vision assistant can now also recognise larger animals in addition to pedestrians.

On the infotainment front, Audi connect is available as a supplement to MMI navigation plus. It uses an integrated UMTS module to connect the new A8 to the Internet. Passengers can surf and e-mail freely via a WLAN hotspot. For the driver, the system delivers the tailored online services from Audi connect, such as online traffic information, Google Earth, Google Street View and online news, to the car. The audio highlights are the Bang & Olufsen Advanced Sound System and the Rear Seat Entertainment system which includes two displays, Bluetooth headphones and a DVD player.

The new Audi A8 is expected to reach its first UK customers in January 2014. Full pricing and UK specification information will be announced in due course.

Latest new Skoda get world premiere at Frankfurt

  • First showroom-ready cars roll off production line
  • World premiere at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show
  • Mladá Boleslav factory adapted and expanded

The newest member of the expanding ŠKODA family, the Rapid Spaceback, has officially joined the line-up. The first customer cars have left the production line at the brand’s main factory in Mladá Boleslav in the Czech Republic.

The Rapid Spaceback will receive its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday 10 September 2013, and launch at retailers across Europe from October. The car will be on-sale in the UK early 2014.

The start of manufacturing marks ŠKODA’s eighth production launch this year. “Our whole team, from purchasing, technical development, to production and logistics as well as quality assurance, has once again done a great job to ensure that this launch of an extremely important model was carried out reliably, to the highest quality and on time,” said Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA Board Member for Production.

In order to accommodate the Rapid Spaceback, ŠKODA has adapted its operations and expanded facilities at the Mladá Boleslav plant. The car is produced alongside the current Fabia model on one production line. The Spaceback’s sibling, the ŠKODA Rapid, is also assembled on site, plus the all-new third-generation Octavia Hatch and Estate.

Upgrades to accommodate this year’s new models have included new equipment for car body production, a fully-automated paint shop and a new ultra-modern press line. Since April, a new logistics warehouse has been in operation, ensuring the supply of parts to vehicle and powertrain production is faster, more flexible and more efficient than ever before.

The Rapid Spaceback is a ŠKODA through and through, offering owners generous interior space, the highest safety standards, low fuel consumption and great value for money. It’s also an engaging car to drive, packed with ‘Simply Clever’ solutions for modern drivers’ needs.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Vauxhall/Opel Monza Concept to take centre stage at frankfurt

  • Monza Concept previews future Opel/Vauxhall design strategy
  • Efficient use of space, lightweight design and innovative powertrains
  • Revolutionary infotainment with LED projection technology

Opel/Vauxhall’s ground-breaking Monza Concept, the first car to feature cutting-edge LED projection infotainment and an evolution of the Ampera’s revolutionary powertrain, is set for its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

“The Monza Concept represents the Opel/Vauxhall car of tomorrow,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Opel/Vauxhall CEO. “On one hand, it embodies everything that already characterises Opel/Vauxhall – precision engineering combined with innovative technologies wrapped in captivating design. In addition, it addresses the themes that will be the development-focus of the next generation of Opel/Vauxhall cars: maximum connectivity and optimum efficiency.”

“Connectivity is demonstrated by a trailblazing LED projection technology for instrument and infotainment displays. Efficiency comes in many ways, with lightweight design, optimal use of interior space, and advanced powertrain technology. The Monza Concept is based on increasing electrification of the automobile in everyday driving, from range-extender to fuel cell. And as far as styling is concerned, we are expressing pure efficiency in a new, lean and athletic interpretation of our typical sculptural shapes. The Monza Concept is nothing less than our vision of the automotive future.”


The original Monza made its world premiere at the IAA back in 1977 for Vauxhall’s sister company Opel: it was a large coupé with a silky smooth-running six-cylinder engine. It went into production as the Vauxhall Royale in the UK, and was sold until 1982.

The new Monza Concept has a beautifully shaped bonnet with the distinctive centre fold continues the tradition of the Monza front with the typical Vauxhall crease. The large boomerang-shaped air intakes in front of the wheel arches complement the elegant chrome bar that holds the Griffin badge.

With the Monza Concept, the designers in Brit, Mark Adams’ team introduce a new interpretation of the sculptural design that first went into production with the Insignia. Distinctive lines, high-precision design and perfect sweeping contours remain the core of the evolving design philosophy.

But a new, athletic allure demonstrates the car’s overall efficiency. “This is the next bold step along our journey into the future, but at the same time we show that we have established a consistent design in which people can build trust,” said Mark Adams, Head of Opel/Vauxhall Design.

The sculptural surfaces of the 4.69 metre-long, four seat Monza Concept are modelled after ocean waves lapping on the shore. These flowing surfaces give a look of lightness, dramatically underlined by the side-sills that taper off in front of the rear wheel arches. This unique styling element is inspired by the lean physique and slim waist of a greyhound dog, running as if on tip-toes with powerful elegance. The design of the Monza Concept’s body sides enables easy entry and egress for front and rear-seat passengers, while underscoring the prominent, sporty rear wheel arches, which share the same width as those at the front.

The Monza Concept’s roof line is particularly sophisticated. At first it runs in a semi-circular form like a classic coupé’s, but then just before reaching the tailgate it sweeps slightly upwards. In spite of its sporty look and flat silhouette with a height of just 1.31 metres, there is neither loss of space in the luggage compartment – 500 litres in volume – nor constrained headroom for the passengers. This is due to the fact that the whole cockpit structure is around 15 centimetres lower than in conventional models. The Monza Concept offers the same airy passenger compartment as a mid-size car.

The expansive doors provide maximum functionality with spectacular views when opening. They swing up like the outstretched wings of a condor and offer an unobstructed view of the spacious, open passenger cabin (or the surroundings from the inside) thanks to the absence of a B-pillar.


Efficiency and connectivity are the main focus for development in the next generation of Vauxhall cars. The Monza Concept offers a fascinating preview of these developments. Once behind the wheel, the Monza Concept whisks you away into a completely new and unique world of instruments and infotainment.

The Monza Concept continues innovating with state-of-the-art LED projection technology. Drivers no longer find the conventional individual, separate monitors that display different information; instead, they face a wide, sculpted dashboard that sweeps from door to door, and is used as a single projection surface. Information and decorative elements are displayed on the surface, which the driver can customise according to his needs, taste or mood.

A total of 18 LED projectors create a continuous, adaptable multi-functional display – the first car in the world to feature this. Already established in the events arena, this technology has caused a sensation at major occasions such as the Queen’s Jubilee, and Opel/Vauxhall designers were first to think of implementing it in a passenger car. The 3D graphics are impressive, and reflect all important functions from precise vehicle and driver information to internet and communication options as well as decorative elements. Both the area displaying information and the background can be individually configured, and operation is via voice control and steering wheel controls.

Efficiency and clarity are also priorities here: when it came to how the displays present information, Opel/Vauxhall engineers focused on the best and most personal way to make relevant data available to the driver. The approach was “simplifying the multitude” and so details on the car, the navigation and the smartphone settings and connection only appear when necessary or desired. So drivers can use a wide range of information without being overwhelmed by text or images. This also makes the Monza Concept a model of future Human-Machine-Interface (HMI) systems, as its interior design is based on latest research findings in this field.

This also applies to the comprehensive smartphone connectivity in the Monza Concept. With three worlds of connectivity – called ME, US and ALL – drivers can focus solely on their driving experience, or get in touch with friends and family or even connect to the whole internet community. With ME the infotainment system virtually disconnects the drivers’ smartphone and prioritises the information relevant for the driving experience. US enables the passengers of the Monza Concept to connect with a group of selected people such as friends and family members: these can log-in to the car’s infotainment system with their own communication device and exchange information, music and images, chat and make appointments, etc. ALL goes beyond US. It allows the driver and virtually the whole outside world to connect. Drivers can for example spontaneously share their planned route online over a tablet or smartphone so that people can catch a ride with them along the way – enabling a new kind of instant car-sharing. With this trailblazing infotainment and connectivity technology, the Monza Concept shows how far ahead Opel/Vauxhall’s designers and engineers are thinking, so that the next generation of cars make their contribution to a harmonious, connected society.

The trendsetting sensor and connectivity technology in the Monza Concept has even more to offer: it gives a preview of the advancements in “Car-to-Car” and “Car-to-X” systems – prerequisites for future autonomous driving and areas in which the research department at Opel/Vauxhall is already intensively working. By comprehensively connecting road users, intercommunication can be enhanced, as can safety, because dangerous traffic situations are registered earlier and more accurately than before.


The Monza Concept is based on a modular design to allow highest-possible flexibility when selecting a propulsion system. A variety of sustainable powertrains based on increasing electrification of the automobile are available. For the Monza Concept set to be displayed at Frankfurt, engineers conceived an electric drive with a CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) range extender – a further development of the Ampera’s pioneering technology. The new-generation three-cylinder 1.0 SIDI turbo – which also makes its premiere at Frankfurt – takes over the task as range extender. But it does so with natural gas instead of petrol, further improving the car’s CO2 footprint. With its visionary approach, Opel/Vauxhall continues to combine the potential of electric propulsion with the benefits of the internal combustion engine.

“We have a clear vision of how Opel/Vauxhall cars will be in the future, and we have a clear strategy of how we will achieve this goal. The Monza Concept gives this strategy an unmistakable identity,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann. “It embodies what our customers can expect from us within the next years, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of efficiency and connectivity between drivers and the internet community. So it already anticipates future everyday automotive life, and serves as an important source of inspiration on the road to that destination.”

Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Hybrids launched.

  • World’s first premium diesel SUV hybrids introduced by Land Rover
  • Hybrid powertrain for Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models
  • 26 per cent lower CO2 emissions (169g/km) and 44.1mpg (combined)
  • Outstanding performance with 340PS and class-leading 700Nm torque
  • Uncompromised cabin comfort and load space, with enhanced refinement  
  • Hybrid capability to be demonstrated on 16,000km Silk Trail expedition to India
  • Order books open from September 10, with first deliveries in early 2014

Land Rover is launching its first-ever hybrid models – the Range Rover Hybrid and Range Rover Sport Hybrid – which will deliver outstanding fuel economy, significantly lower CO2 emissions and retain Land Rover’s renowned capability and performance. Order books in the UK will open from September 10 with first deliveries in early 2014, the two all-aluminium models are based on Land Rover’s Premium Lightweight Architecture and share an identical powertrain.  They are the world’s first premium diesel SUV hybrids.

“We are excited to introduce the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport Hybrids, the world’s first hybrid SUVs with legendary Land Rover capability.  The addition of a smooth electric drive enhances refinement, cuts CO2 emissions and delivers staggering performance on a par with our SDV8 engine,” said John Edwards, Land Rover Global Brand Director.

To demonstrate the capabilities of the new hybrids, three Range Rover Hybrids will embark tomorrow (Thursday, August 22) on an epic trip, from the home of the Range Rover brand in Solihull to the home of the parent company Tata, in Mumbai, India.

This ‘Silk Trail 2013’ 16,000km expedition visits 12 countries and takes in some of the world’s most challenging roads, passes and trails, including part of the ancient, 4,000 mile Silk Road connecting Asia with the Mediterranean. These are the first hybrids to ever attempt this challenging route.

The new Range Rover Hybrid powertrain features three driver-selectable modes and combines Land Rover’s popular 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine with a 35kW electric motor integrated with the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission.  The hybrid system, including lithium ion battery pack, inverter and electric motor weighs less than 120kg.

The electric motor produces 170Nm torque to boost acceleration and drives the vehicle in EV Mode. The motor also acts as a generator, harvesting kinetic energy through regenerative braking, charging the battery when the vehicle is slowing.  In driver-selectable EV mode the Range Rover Hybrid can travel at speeds of up to 30mph (48km/h) for a range of up to one mile (1.6km) before the diesel engine seamlessly restarts.

Together, output of the diesel engine and electric motor is 340PS at 4,000rpm and a class-leading 700Nm torque between 1,500-3,000rpm, resulting in stunning SDV8-style performance.  Both models accelerate to 62mph (100km/h) in under seven seconds, deliver strong transient and mid-range performance with a top speed of 135mph (218km/h), combined with a 26 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions to 169g/km, equivalent to 44.1mpg on the combined cycle.

The latest generation Range Rover models have all been designed with the integration of a hybrid system in mind.  Consequently, the liquid cooled battery pack is mounted beneath the floor of the vehicle in a protective boron-steel cradle without impacting on the cabin or luggage space.  The Range Rover Hybrid has the same five-seat capacity and luggage space as the standard vehicle and retains the full-size spare wheel.  This no-compromise philosophy is echoed in the Range Rover Sport Hybrid whose interior is unchanged from the standard model, right down to the 5+2 seating.

Both hybrid Range Rover models continue to deliver a class-leading breadth of capability and versatility, enhanced by the exceptionally linear torque delivery from the powertrain and retaining Land Rover’s peerless four-wheel drive system including Terrain Response® 2, with uncompromised wading and ground clearance.

The ‘Silk Trail 2013’ expedition featuring the new Range Rover Hybrids is scheduled to visit France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and India.  The expedition will be broken into 10 separate legs, with the Range Rover Hybrid vehicles driven by teams of Land Rover development engineers and invited media – arriving in Mumbai on October 15.

94.2mpg in a Mercedes S-Class, you're having a laugh, ain't you ?


The third hybrid model of the new S-Class, the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID, sets new benchmarks with regard to efficiency as well as drive-system and climate comfort. With CO2 emissions of 69 g/km and returning 94.2 mpg the S-Class sets a new benchmark for luxury saloons that just a few years ago was thought virtually impossible. In Germany the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID is referred to as a genuine 3.0-litre car as it can cover 100 kilometres with just three litres of fuel. The 80-kW electric drive with externally rechargeable battery makes emission-free driving for about 18 miles possible. It is combined with the new 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged engine. Mercedes-Benz will present the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). The market launch will be next year.

The S 400 HYBRID was the first car in the world to feature a standard-specification hybrid drive system with lithium-ion battery in 2009. With the new S-Class Mercedes-Benz expands the hybrid line-up in this model series to three models: the S 400 HYBRID, S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID and S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID. All second-generation hybrid drive systems share the seamless integration into the powertrain. The combustion engine can be completely decoupled from the electric motor. Further features are the second-generation recuperative braking system and the anticipatory Intelligent HYBRID energy management system.

"With the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID Mercedes-Benz sets another milestone on the road to emission-free mobility on the basis of our modular hybrid matrix", explains Prof Dr Thomas Weber, responsible on the Daimler Board of Management for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Product Engineering. "In this way the S-Class turns into a genuine three-litre car with generous space and superlative drive-system comfort."

While the batteries of the S 400 HYBRID & S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID as autonomous hybrids are charged during braking or coasting or by the combustion engine, the new high-voltage lithium-ion battery of the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID has 10 times the energy content and offers the option of being recharged from an external source with a charging socket located on the right side of the rear bumper. With the help of the electric synchronous motor (80 kW/340 Nm) the car can thus drive for up to around 18 miles on electric power alone.

Four hybrid operating modes can be selected at the push of a button:

  • E-MODE: electric power only
  • E-SAVE: fully charged battery is reserved to be able to drive on electric power alone later
  • CHARGE: battery is charged while driving

Under the conditions specified by the certification rules the S-Class as a full hybrid generates 69 g CO2 per kilometre. With consumption equivalent to 94.2 mpg the S-Class sets a new benchmark for luxury saloons that just a few years ago was thought virtually impossible. It delivers these top values without restrictions in power, passenger comfort or operating range and offers a high level of climate comfort thanks to the pre-entry climate control functions.

The most important benchmark data of the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID:

  • Power output of 245 kW of the combustion engine plus 80-kW electric motor and torque of 480 Nm of the combustion engine plus 340 Nm of the electric motor
  • Overall consumption (NEDC) 69 g CO2/km (94.2 mpg)
  • Operating range on electric power alone about 18 miles
  • Top speed 155 mph, 0-62 mph in 5.5 sec.
  • Intelligent HYBRID: anticipatory energy management system with optimal use of recuperation during deceleration
  • Individualisation possible as the result of the combination of the transmission modes with the four hybrid operating modes – HYBRID, E‑MODE, E-SAVE and CHARGE.
  • Haptic accelerator pedal for superior vehicle control: A point of resistance on the accelerator pedal provides feedback about the activation of the combustion engine and helps in metering the power output.
  • Fast external charging of the high-voltage traction battery
  • Pre-entry climate control of the interior

Intelligent HYBRID: anticipatory energy management system

The second-generation S-Class hybrids feature an anticipatory energy management system and thereby improve energy efficiency. The operating strategy of the hybrid drive system not only accounts for the current driving condition and driver input, but also adjusts to the likely route (inclines, downhill stretches, bends or speed limits) for the next five miles.  Intelligent HYBRID uses the navigation data from COMAND Online to manage the charging and discharging of the high-voltage battery. The goal is, for example, to use the energy content of the battery for propulsion ahead of a downhill stretch in order to recharge it while going downhill using recuperation.

Recuperative braking system: the electric motor as alternator

The largest potential for lowering the energy consumption of hybrid drive systems lies in maximising energy recovery during coasting and braking. Upon depressing the brake pedal the deceleration is initially effected by the electric motor and not by the disc brakes. The new S-Class is the first to use a recuperative braking system (RBS) of the second generation. It ensures an unnoticeable overlapping of the conventional mechanical brakes and the electric braking performance of the electric motor in alternator mode.

The driver's desired braking power is recorded by a pedal-travel sensor. The deceleration is dependent on the driving condition and is split into a recuperative brake-force portion and a portion to be supplied by the wheel brakes. The brake pressure on the rear axle is controlled by the RBS dependent on the current recuperation potential of the powertrain.

In addition, the combustion engine is switched off any time the vehicle is coasting and its drag torque when rolling is used by the electric motor as recuperation torque. However, without depressing the brake pedal no additional deceleration torque is provided for charging the battery and the vehicle can "sail". The combustion engine is to be used for charging the battery as little as possible and only at suitable and most efficient operating points.

Hybrid pioneer in the luxury segment

The world's first standard-specification hybrid drive with lithium-ion battery debuted at Mercedes-Benz as early as 2009: the S 400 HYBRID was the most fuel-efficient petrol-powered luxury saloon for a long time. And the most successful hybrid in its segment: some 20,000 buyers worldwide opted for the S 400 HYBRID.

With the new S-Class Mercedes-Benz now continues its comprehensive hybrid offensive. In the S 400 HYBRID and S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID there are already two hybrids of the new S-Class to choose from:

  • The new S 400 HYBRID returns 44.8 mpg on the NEDC cycle (combined). This represents a reduction by 20 per cent over the predecessor. CO2 emissions of 147 grams per kilometre also represent a new record in this vehicle segment. These exemplary figures go hand in hand with outstanding performance potential: the petrol engine develops 306 hp, while the electric motor adds another 27 hp. The torque of the combustion engine is 370 Nm plus 250 Nm from the electric motor.

  • In the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID Mercedes-Benz has combined the 2.2‑litre four-cylinder diesel engine developing 204 hp with the powerful hybrid module developing 27 hp. The peak torque of 500 Nm produced by the combustion engine is overlaid by the 250 Nm of peak torque produced by the electric motor.The S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID returns 64.2 mpg on combined cycle (CO2: 115 g/km) and complies with the criteria for energy efficiency class A+. Consequently Mercedes-Benz has, over the course of ten years, nearly cut fuel consumption in the 150-kW performance class by half.

Golf R, power, looks and comfort all in one great package.

Volkswagen has released the first details of its powerful new Volkswagen Golf R, which is set to take to the stage at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.  With a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 300 PS and 380 Nm (280 lbs ft), and transferring its power to the road via the latest 4MOTION four-wheel drive system, the new Golf R is the fastest-accelerating production Golf yet, with a zero to 62 mph time of just 5.3 seconds (compared with 5.7 seconds for the previous model), or 4.9 seconds when fitted with the optional six-speed DSG gearbox.  Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The new Golf R isn’t just faster, either: with combined fuel consumption of 39.8 mpg* (40.9 mpg* for the DSG version), and CO2 emissions as low as 159 g/km it is up to 18 per cent more efficient than its predecessor.

At the heart of the R is a newly developed version of the EA888 TSI engine used in the latest Golf GTI, but in this application producing 300 PS.  Compared with the GTI’s powerplant, the Golf R’s engine has a modified cylinder head, exhaust valves, valve seats and springs, pistons, injection valves and turbocharger.

The Golf R’s four-wheel drive is the latest fifth-generation Haldex system.  Under low loads or when coasting, the rear axle is decoupled, helping to reduce fuel consumption.  It takes only fractions of a second for drive to the rear axle to be engaged via the Haldex coupling, which is actuated by an electro-hydraulic pump.  If necessary, almost 100 per cent of power can be transferred to the rear axle.

The Golf R rides on specially tuned springs and dampers, with a ride height that’s 20 mm lower than that of the standard Golf (and 5 mm lower than that of the GTI).  Adaptive Chassis Control will be available as an option.  Like the GTI and GTD, the Golf R is equipped with progressive steering, which reduces the number of turns lock to lock to just 2.1, rather than 2.75, making for an enhanced dynamic driving experience.

Visually, the Golf R is distinguished by its new front bumper design, with large air inlets, modified radiator grille with ‘R’ logo and newly developed daytime running lights that are integrated into the standard bi-xenon headlights.  At the side, there are bespoke body-colour sills, while behind the standard 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40 tyres are black-painted brake calipers with ‘R’ logos.  The brakes themselves are all ventilated discs: 30 mm by 340 mm at the front and 22 mm by 310 mm at the rear.  At the rear, there are smoked LED tail lights, an ‘R’ diffuser and four chrome-tipped exhaust pipes – two at either side.

The interior features sports seats with a cloth centre section and Alcantara bolsters, while the instrument dials are bespoke for the R, and include typical touches such as blue needles.

(* UK fuel consumption figures will be finalised closer to launch)