Monday March 28th, 2011 22:48 Japanese Ultra Tuners Mugen to Unleash the CR-Z

Honda CR-Z Hybrid

From the island of Japan comes news of a performance tuned model of Honda’s CR-Z in the works, hopefully as fast and efficient as its samurai roots. Japanese ultra tuner often referred to as Mugen Power will be modifying the CR-Z to live up to the translation of their name: “Unlimited”.

Its 1.5 litre petrol hybrid engine will be perfected by the tuning masters to pump up power and torque, hopefully in a similar fashion as was achieved when Mugen mastered the Civic Type R and increased its power to 237bhp and pushed its red line to 8,600rpm, partially thanks to their extensive access and utilisation of the Honda wind tunnel. Plans for the CR-Z include bespoke brakes, suspension tuning, and some major weight loss without losing durability. This is possible due to the switch to a carbon-fibre bonnet and by introducing lightweight alloys.

Far from being an eyesore, the CR-Z will sport visual modifications to match its newfound speed capabilities, including dual bumpers and a rear spoiler.

Renowned for their racing tuned Hondas, Mugen has been closely associated with Honda since its founding by Hirotoshi Honda, son of Honda founder Soichiro Honda.

Honda made the request for this project recently, and during a press conference a Honda spokesman unleashed the truth about this car, saying it will be “one quick hybrid” and concluding with the hopeful statement that “It promises to show how hybrid cars can be even more exciting to drive.” Let’s hope to see more super tuned Honda hybrids in the near future!

Expect to see the car hitting the pavement at the Goodwood festival of speed, which occurs on the 30th of June to the 3rd of July.

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Saturday March 26th, 2011 11:25 BMW’s i3 City Car on video

Watch the BMW i3 City Car on ice

BMW’s new i3 city car is a zero emissions electric vehicle set to be released in 2013. It was caught on video recently, and it is definitely a must see. The video shows the car’s rear wheel drive architecture and large but aerodynamic wheels handling snowy roads with surprising ease for such a compact and efficient design.

The i3 city car pushes the solid yet lightweight carbon fibre reinforced frame 0-60 in about 10 seconds, getting 100 miles per charge. The video was taken in Scandinavia, which is where BMW is filming for their “Born Electric” campaign. This sharp looking vehicle is just the beginning for BMW’s new “i” sub brand which will also be featuring the release of the i8 supercar. Not just smart when it comes to quality, handling, and emissions, the i firm is investing in mobile connectivity, with the hopes of radically transforming the way people utilise and interact with transportation by providing smart navigation and parking tools that assist with all aspects of an on the move lifestyle.

This car and those released by the i sub brand are something to keep an eye on. Aside from the i3 city car being a well designed automobile worth looking into by itself, it seems that electric cars like this one will be paving the way for a smarter future on the pavement for the auto industry as a whole.

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Friday March 25th, 2011 11:41 The Earthquake in Japan and its Effect on Japanese Cars

The recent Japanese earthquake has caused substantial damage across the country. Economically, the disaster has caused many companies to halt or slow business and has left many without work for extended periods of time.

Perhaps most disturbingly, the car industry is being hit hard by the results of the Japanese earthquake. Japanese cars are some of the most prevalent in the auto industry and the disruption of engineering and production will surely cause lasting damage. Many prominent companies have closed their factories or temporarily stopped production. Many companies are attempting to repair factories and plants that have been physically damaged by the earthquake while others simply cannot maintain previous levels of production.

Japanese cars are second only to China in terms of manufacturing and prevalence. The damage to the industry will have lasting repercussions not only for Japan but also for other countries and the global economy as a whole. Monetary losses are already great, and the mounting damages may lead to economic devastation.

Many companies are still not open. Due to the massive disruption of the meticulous supply and demand structure, many others may only be able to restart production for limited periods of time and with limited staff.

This disruption of the supply chain also has lasting implications for the wider global market, as so many countries are inextricably tied to Japan and to each other. While the full extent of the damage is yet to be seen, it is undeniable that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami will have long-lasting effects on the Japanese economy and the world economy.

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Tuesday March 22nd, 2011 14:41 The Exciting Aston Martin Virage

Aston Martin Virage

The Aston Martin Virage is the true culmination of every Aston Martin auto that has come before it. It has taken all the best of the fine vehicles of the past and made a vehicle that is nearly perfect in its execution. Just standing and looking at the clean lines of this automobile is an experience like few others, and sitting in the driver’s seat is exquisite.

This model is built on an all-aluminium frame for lightness and proven strength it is powered by Aston’s iconic V12 engine. This car is indeed a unique performance machine in 2011. The transmission is the Touchtonic 2’ automatic which comes with paddle shifters. This transmission makes the vehicle effortless to drive while leaving the joy of the road intact for the driver. Once the car gets to speed, the carbon ceramic brakes offer the absolute stopping power a discerning driver demands.

Driving this car is an adventure in sensory pleasure. Cornering is a dream and the feel of the wheel on the road is transmitted through the steering column making the driver one with the vehicle. The headlamps peer ahead like some wild animal searching for its prey. This car is sleekness personified. The rear lights let every other driver on the road that they have been passed by the best. Regardless of the colour chosen, Aston Martin’s Virage is an attention grabber on the roads.

Even in the car park the Virage demands people’s attention. This is truly the car for the person who wants the best.

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Sunday March 20th, 2011 14:09 BMW Unveils new 6 Series Coupe

BMW 6 Series coupe

BMW unveiled the new BMW 6-series coupe which will come in two models, the 640i and the 650i. These are the 2012 models and are going to hit the market following the release of the 6 series convertible. There was no 2011 model, so updates are from the 2010 model.

The 640i comes equipped with a twin turbocharged 3.0 litre while the 650i comes with a 4.4 litre twin turbo V8 engine. The 640i is capable of reaching 62 mph in 5.4 seconds and tops out at 155 mph. It boasts a fuel efficiency of 36.7 miles per gallon. In the 650i, 0 to 62 mph in 4.9 seconds with a fuel efficiency of 27.2 miles per gallon.

Standard features on both cars include an 8 speed sports auto gearbox, electric power steering, and brake energy regeneration. Both models have driving aids including brake control, stability control and traction control all designed to contribute to a safer driving experience.

Instrument dials are angled toward the driver reminiscent of the old BMW cars. Numerous options are available to make this car exactly what you want. Bang & Olufsen surround sound, DVD changer, TV module, and USB interface are just some of the extras available in these models.

Extra highlights of the car include adaptive LED lights, a rear view camera, night vision and the latest edition of the head up display by BMW. The BMW 6-series coupe is now 39mm wider, 75 mm longer, and 5 mm lower than the previous edition which contributes to an overall sportier look.

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Friday March 18th, 2011 15:11 The 10 Most Economical Eco Cars Available in the UK

Setting fuel efficiency records and producing the lowest levels of CO2 emissions, the top 10 most economical “green” eco cars available today are smart buys in today’s economy where fuel prices have been steadily rising and environmental concerns growing.

With some surpassing 80 mpg and emitting significantly less carbon dioxide than previous models, these impressive new vehicles also offer the benefits of qualifying for free road tax and “green” insurance discounts for drivers of low-emission cars. It is no surprise that these innovative diesel superminis, hybrids, and revolutionary petrol powered cars came out on top:

1. In first place is the sporty SMART Fortwo CDI touted as the most economical automobile on the market. It is capable of attaining an amazing 85.6 mpg with the lowest CO2 emissions at 88g/kg and a modest price from only £9,825. Although not the fastest, with the world’s smallest direct-injection diesel engine, it offers increased power and agility with decreased fuel consumption over its predecessor.

2. A less aerodynamic model than the Prius, the Toyota hybrid petrol-electric Auris HSD has an impressive fuel economy averaging 74.3 mpg and better performance in-town than over the long run. Priced from £19,545.

3. Another Toyota hybrid, the Prius boasts low CO2 emissions of 89g/km and can reach 76 mpg due to smaller wheels that significantly reduce drag. From £20,695.

4. The most practical and fuel-efficient of Volkswagen’s line is the classy diesel Skoda Fabia Greenline II emitting only 89g/km of CO2 and surpassing 83 mpg. Starting at £13,685.

5. Nimble on the road, the latest generation of the Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion averages 80.7 mpg and emits just 91g/km of CO2. Priced from £14,860.

6. One of the most economical diesel cars available, the SEAT Ibiza E Ecomotive, includes numerous updates that reduce fuel consumption and improve driving performance, including a stop-start system and engine redesign. It is on par with other VW “green” cars but is priced lower from £13,900.

7. The pricier Lexus CT200h SE-I hybrid, at £23,485, offers quality and sophistication, although its fuel-efficiency and performance are similar to competitors, with low CO2 emissions and 69 mpg.

8. Fiat’s revolutionary 500 TwinAir 85 which gets 69 mpg has had its two-cylinder petrol engine turbocharged to attain 85 hp without negatively impacting CO2 emissions of 95g/km. From only a meager £10,865.

9. Another bargain-priced offering from Fiat, the Punto Evo 1.3 MultiJet 85 Eco saves fuel by averaging over 78 mpg with reduced CO2 emissions of 95g/km due to diesel engine upgrades. From £12,195.

10. The Ford Fiesta Econetic also makes the grade as one of the most fuel-efficient diesel five-seaters with superior ride and handling, a modest price, exceptional mileage of 76.3 mpg and low emissions at 98g/km. From £13,895.

Other models from Peugeot, Audi, Toyota, Citroen, Volvo, and Vauxhall are close behind the pack, and new entrants in this rapidly changing market are expected such as the first eco car from Korea by Hyundai, the i10 Blue supermini, that will be the least expensive five-seater on the market meeting the 100g/km tax free threshold. So for drivers who want to make the switch to a greener and more economical mode of transportation, consider these winners when shopping around for cars that offer the best combination of environmental and fuel-efficiency features.

 

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Saturday March 12th, 2011 16:08 Aston Martin – a car with a colourful history

The Aston Martin is a well known British luxury car manufacturer which is loved by people all over the world. It is really a surprise to know that instead of originating in Germany or Italy, it is a British car.

The car got its name from one of its founders and a steep hill near Aston Clinton in United Kingdom. The company came into existence in 1913 when Martin made up his mind to manufacture his own racing cars. The first car came out in 1915, but this company was disbanded during the World War I and was again resurrected after this war. Cars were produced in 1922 for competing in the French Grand Prix where they were successful in setting new endurance and speed records. Whilst the company went bust in 1924 and but was purchased by one Lady Charnwood and was again declared bankrupt in 1926. Later in that year many investors assumed control of this company when it was renamed Aston Martin Motors.

Augustus Bertelli was its technical director between 1936-1937. The company shifted its focus to road cars in 1936 but production was again stopped in World War II.

Aston was bought by David Brown Limited in 1947 and manufactured classic series cars having initials DB. In the year 1977, the convertibles Volante and V8 Vantage came on the scene. Ford bought major stake in the company in 1987 and Virage range was launched in the market. Virage was first new model in past 20 years.

In 1991 complete control of the company shifted to Ford when DB range was again renewed with DB7. This range also included Vanquish and V12 Vantage.

In 2007, Aston Martin was sold by Ford to a consortium which was controlled by Prodrive chairman David Richards for around $850 million. Aston is still owned by Prodrive and has ambitious plans to continue manufacturing this iconic car.

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Tuesday March 8th, 2011 13:48 New Rocketman Mini is “mini”

BMW Mini RocketmanAt the Geneva Auto show, car manufacturer BMW made its debut with the new Rocketman mini concept car. The new BMW mini returns to its roots by embracing a smaller size and awesome style. The car returns to the three door hatchback of the original model while adding a new twist of carbon-fiber doors that are double hinged. The double hinge allows doors to pivot out and away from the body, allowing easy access to all internal areas of the car. Overall length of the car comes in at less than 135 inches truly making the Rocketman a true mini.

Despite the small size of this car, the BMW mini manages to have room for up to four adults in the innovative three plus one seating. By adjusting seats in the front row, adequate room for three adults plus one for “short trips” can be made. Flexibility plays a key row in design of this concept car. In addition to flexible seating, rear storage can be altered depending on needs. The tailgate is two pieces, including a pull out drawer that can be pulled away from the body depending on storage needs.
The roof surface contains optic fibres that can illuminate to recreate the Union Jack flag or when turned off provide stark contrast to the grey body with the white finish. The interior of the car centres around classic features like the over sized centre dial but brings in new features like a removable console. The removable console can be brought inside and programmed before journeys. The Rocketman concept shows mini does not have to sacrifice fun.

 

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