Thursday June 9th, 2011 22:11 BMW Injects £500 Million into its UK Production

 

Earlier today, BMW announced plans to invest a further £500 million into its UK production network. This latest investment will be spread over the next three years and ensures that the next generation of MINI models will be produced in the UK. It takes the German car manufacturer’s total investment across its UK operations to more than £1.5 billion since 2000.

Much of the new investment will be used to create new production facilities at BMW’s MINI plant in Oxford, and will help to safeguard over 5,000 jobs across three of BMW’s UK facilities.

Having met Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at a meeting in 10 Downing Street this morning, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I welcome this major investment by BMW Group in UK manufacturing. The production and export of iconic British cars like the MINI is making a real contribution to the rebalancing of the economy that this government is determined to achieve.”

He added: “It’s a tremendous vote of confidence in the skills and capabilities of the company’s British workforce and in the future of UK manufacturing.”

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, described BMW’s announcement as “a real tribute to the success of British automotive manufacturing.”

BMW’s decision to locate its MINI production in the UK is based on its strategy of linking production to where the large markets for its products are. Currently, the UK is the BMW Group’s fourth-largest single market in the world for sales. In addition to MINI’s, the upcoming Coupé and Roadster models will also be produced in the UK.

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Saturday June 4th, 2011 19:17 Audi Unveils the R8 GT Spyder

 

Yesterday, Audi unveiled its latest limited edition, high-performance sports car: The R8 GT Spyder. Audi will produce just 333 copies of the left-hand drive, open-topped Spyder, and each of these will have their build number stamped into the top of the aluminium gear level.

Based on the V10 version of the R8 Spyder, the GT version boasts an increase in power from 525bhp to 552bhp. With its 5.2-litre V10 engine, the GT Spyder produces 540Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm.

This increase in power, coupled with Audi’s significant efforts to lighten the car, has resulted in a marked increase in speed for the GT Spyder. Audi claim that the new sports car can go from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, and has a top speed of just under 197mph. Even though it has less horsepower, these statistics match those of the Mercedes SLS Roadster.

Audi has managed to reduce 85kg from the weight of the car, meaning its weight now stands at 1640kg. Manufacturing the car’s body panels, front and rear spoilers and rear bumper from carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) has enabled Audi to do this. In addition to using lighter brakes, wheels and transmission, the German car manufacturer has also fitted the GT Spyder with special bucket seats that manage to save 31.5kg in weight on their own.

The R8 GT Spyder’s soft-top roof can be brought up or down in 19 seconds, and can function at speeds up to 31mph. Its glass rear window is separate from the soft top, and is nestled in the bulkhead of the car.

As far as standard equipment goes, the GT Spyder comes with LED headlights and tail lights, an automatic air conditioning system, an alarm system and a driver information system with a built-in lap timer.

Although there is no official release date for the Audi R8 GT Spyder, it is expected to be available before the end of this year, and at a cost of around £176,000.

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Friday June 3rd, 2011 14:51 Mercedes Unveils Soft-top SLS AMG Roadster

 

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new SLS AMG Roadster – the soft-top version of the SLS AMG supercar. To compensate for the introduction of the soft-top roof, Mercedes has given the Roadster conventionally hinged doors instead of the upward-opening gullwing doors of the supercar.

Removing the roof meant that Mercedes engineers had to stiffen the aluminium chassis and body, and they did this by fitting extra bracing on the sills and a-pillars, as well as behind the dashboard and seats. Despite all this reinforcement, the SLS AMG Roadster weighs only 40 more kilos than the coupé.

You may think that this additional weight would have an adverse effect on the performance of the SLS, but this does not appear to be the case. Powered by the same 6.2-litre V8 engine as the coupé, the Roadster winds out 563bhp at 6800rpm, and is capable of going from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds and reaching a top speed of 197mph. Both these statistics match those of the coupé.

The new three-layered fabric roof is made of aluminium, lightweight magnesium and steel, and has a flush-mounted glass rear window. It can be operated at speeds of up to 30mph and takes 11 seconds to either open or close. Impressively, the roof only takes up 3 litre’s of the 176-litre boot space.

The interior of the new SLS has been given an Espresso Brown finish, while buyers will have the option of Mercedes’ Airscarf system. This system blows hot air on to the necks of occupants.

Although there is no official UK price tag for the SLS AMG Roadster as of yet, it is expected to cost buyers in the region of £170,000 when it goes on sale here in November. Those looking for a closer look at the new Mercedes soft-top will need to wait until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, where the Roadster will make its official debut.

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