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Friday, 19 December 2008

Mercedes-Benz will present its exclusive SLR Stirling Moss in Detroit

Everbody was calling this car as SLR Speedster because of the way its body looks, with big head protections integrated to the car behind the only two places the car has, but now Mercedes-Benz has decided to tell people what is the real name of this fantastic piece of engineering. It will be named after one of the greatest pilots ever to press a gas pedal, Stirling Moss. The car will surely be one of the best attractions at Detroit Auto Show next year, possibly the only one not related to environment achievements, but purely devoted to power.

SLR Stirling Moss is much more than powerful. It is also highly exclusive. Only 75 of them will be built. And it won't be anyone with 750,000 euros that will be able to buy one unit. Mercedes-Benz will select the ones that will be eligible to take one Stirling Moss to their homes. Homes, anyway, will not be the best environment for these machines. They prefer to be on tarmac, the best sort of it.

With the same powertrain used by SLR, or else, a 5.5-litre V8 supercharged engine pumping out 650 bhp managed by a 5-speed automatic transmission, Stirling Moss will be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 s and to reach a top speed of 350 km/h. Since the car has no hardtop, what would improve its aerodynamics, this is a really astonishing top speed.

Apart from its great performance, the new-born classic also has great looks. Just pay attention to its double exhaust pipes at each side of Stirling Moss, its huge air intakes, the curves of the body and the continuous lines from the head protections until the back of the car. The scissor-doors are part of this masterpiece, one that will not only feast the eyes of its beholder, but all feelings a nice car to drive provokes.

Source: Mercedes-Benz via AutoBlog

Gumpert delivers 40th Apollo and plans another 25 for 2009

When Gumpert was founded, back in 2004, it may not have expected to create such a successful car as Apollo. The first one was out of the Altenburg plant in October 2005, but it took the company a little more than three years to reach the 40th unit. Anyway, production is expected to sprint as fast as the car and another 25 units of Apollo are planned to be delivered until the end of 2009.

It may seem to be very few Apollo supercars on the streets, but when you realise this vehicle costs 301,600 euros and it handbuilt by 45 employees, numbers suddenly gain their real dimensions.

Apollo is 4.46 m long, 2 m wide, 1,11 m tall, with a wheelbase of 2.70 m and weighs less than 1,200 kg. The German supercar is powered by a 4.2-litre V8 biturbo engine produced by Audi and able to generate 650 bhp and 850 Nm of torque. It allows Apollo to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.1 s and to surpass 360 km/h of top speed. These must be the reasons Top Gear has placed it as the fastest car they have ever driven and AutoCar states it is the most exciting thing able to use plates on Earth.

Source: Gumpert

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Denmark produces its own supercar, Zenvo ST1

Scandinavians are skilled producers of supercars. Koenigsegg, for example, has created a world record breaker, CCR, a vehicle that had its very own engine. Zenvo Automotive, on the other hand, seems to be less independent and to have fewer fundings, once it has chosen to use Chevrolet Corvette Z06 powerplant, LS7, to push its car ahead, but it has added a powerful recipe to it: a turbocharger and a supercharger. The result has been named ST1 (S for supercharger, T for turbocharger and 1 because the car is Zenvo's first creation).

ST1 is 4.67 m long, 2.04 m wide, 1.20 m tall and has a wheelbase of 3.06 m. This good-looking piece of engineering also weighs 1,398 kg and has a tiny boot compartment, with only 130 l, but the real concern is the size of the fuel tank, which holds only 69 l. After all, feeding a 7 litre V8 engine that produces 1,104 bhp at 6,900 rpm and 1,430 Nm at 4.500 rpm must not be an easy task.

Zenvo's first vehicle will have a very limited production. Only 15 ST1 will be produced from 2009 on, what shall set its price and exclusiveness free to go as high as they should. All that with the promise of a gentle behavior in daily use. If you believe a car that reaches 375 km/h (top speed is electronically limited) and which sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 3 s can behave well in regular streets, you might try to buy yours and used it to take your kids to school. At least they would have as much fun as you.

Source: Zenvo Automotive

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Mercedes-Benz will present three BlueZERO concept in Detroit

Concept cars can do two things: show people the immediate future and a longer term future as well. This is exactly the case for BlueZERO concepts, from Mercedes-Benz. Created to present future electric propulsion systems from the German carmaker, they also anticipate how the future generation of A-Class and B-Class cars will look like.

Since these new cars will possibly be presented by 2010, and electric propulsion systems from Mercedes-Benz will only be offered to the public by 2015 (we hope they can shorten this deadline), the style of BlueZERO cars will reach the market before their emission-free technologies.

There will be three versions of BlueZERO. The first one, BlueZERO E-Cell, uses only lithium-ion batteries to power the car, allowing it to run up to 200 km. Able to produce up to 320 Nm of torque, batteries will ensure vigorous accelerations. Recharging takes only half an hour to run 50 km.

For longer distance needs there will be BlueZERO E-Cell Plus, which uses a 1-litre three cylinder engine from smart fortwo to recharge the lithium-ion batteries, able to run up to 100 km only with their common charge. When this charge starts to end, the engine starts to operate and can make the car run 500 km more, what increases total range to 600 km.

The last one is BlueZERO F-Cell, which uses fuel cell technology to run. This system still needs to be better developed, especially due to its high costs and to the problem that exists in storing hydrogen, its only fuel. F-Cell is said to be able to run 400 km.

All BlueZERO cars use the same body, 4.22 m long, can carry five people (including the driver) and have a 500 l boot compartment, or else, they are day-to-day vehicles. The first fuel cell cars from Mercedes-Benz will reach the market, in small scale, such as Honda FCX Clarity, in 2009. All electric vehicles, on the other hand, will be offered, also as experimental cars, by 2010.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

Volvo reveals S60 Concept ahead of Detroit Auto Show presentation

In Novembre, Volvo has presented a glimpse of its new concept car, S60 Concept, a car that is itself a glimpse of the new Swedish mid-side sedan (or an almost finished version of it, let time tell us that). Detroit Auto Show is still some days ahead of us, but the company has already shown images of the car with no disguise at all, not even shadows covering it up.

As anyone can tell, the car looks much better than the current S60, already one of the most gorgeous cars Volvo has ever produced. Its profile, which resembles a coupe, is sleeker and, according to the Swedish car maker, its promises of a great handling are very true. No other current or past Volvo would ride as the S60 Concept, a legacy that shall pass on to the production series car.

There is no information on dimensions, so far, but Volvo has given out a lot of interesting data, such as the engine S60 Concept will use. It will be a 1.6-litre able to pump out 183 bhp due to its new technologies, called GTDi (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection), something similar to what Volkswagen calls FSI.

Besides this great small engine, S60 Concept will also feature another equipment Volkswagen also applies to its current vehicles, such as an automated dual-clutch manual transmission. While the German automaker calls its system DSG, Volvo will name its system Powershift.

Fuel consumption numbers are as good as 20 km/l and CO2 emissions are as low as 119 g/km. Not only due to S60 Concept's powertrain, but also to some other interesting solutions, such as a flat underbody panels, electric steering asssistance, Start/Stop system, grille shutter and lightweight materials.

Since safety has always been one of Volvo's major concerns, the company has seized S60 Concept to present a new safety feature for its cars, Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and pedestrian detection. It helps avoid damages to cars and pedestrians by decreasing the energy involved in a crash in up to 75%. It is also able to fully stop the car if it is below 20 km/h and to completely avoid a crash if the difference between the two cars in motion is lower than 25 km/h.

Most of the new equipment presented by S60 Concept, such as the engine, will be available by the end of 2009. Only Collision Warning will be presented with the new sedan, which is expected to reach the market by 2010.

Source: Volvo

BMW Z4 presents its first retractable hard top roadster, the new Z4

BMW has presented yesterday the first official images of the new generation of its roadster, Z4. With its official presentation to the public scheduled for Detroit Auto Show, the car is the first roadster from BMW to present a retractable hard top.

Z4 is 4.24 m long, 1.79 m wide, 1.29 m tall and has a 2,50 m wheelbase. It is also quite heavy: its weight goes from 1,470 kg to 1,585 kg, from the entry-level version to the most complete. Boot compartment, which holds 310 l with the hard top on its place, is reduced to 180 l when it has to accomodate the hard top inside it.

Z4's weight excess is compensated by its engines, both the traditional six-in-line 3-litre powerplants, both naturally aspirated and with twin turbochargers. The entry-level version, sDrive30i, produces 259 bhp at 6,600 rpm and 298 Nm at 2,600 rpmm, while the strongest, sDrive35i, generates 304 bhp at 5,800 rpm and 407 Nm at 1,400 Nm.

All Z4 versions come with a six-speed manual gearbox. sDrive30i has the option of a six-speed automatic transmission, while sDrive35i may have a seven-speed automated dual-clutch manual transmission, the best option when it comes to performance and lowering fuel consumption.

Handling must be close to perfect, as BMW is used to, since weight distribution is almost 50%/50% in each axle. Both the aspirated engine and the turbocharged have the same speeds: 210 km/h and 240 km/h, electronically limited, if the Sport Kit is installed. Acceleration numbers are the only ones to change. sDrive30i with manual gearbox goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 s, while sDrive30i with an automatic transmission does the same in 6.3 s. sDrive35i with a manual transmission takes 5.4 s to reach the same speed in the same conditions, while sDrive35i with the dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox accelerates to 100 km/h in 5.3 s.

Source: BMW