Sunday October 30th, 2011 18:00 Audi Release First Official Details of New A4

Audi has released the first official details of the latest version of the A4 saloon car. Set for release in February of next year, the new A4 has not been given a radical redesign, but it has been given a few stylistic and mechanical tweaks which should keep it competitive.

At the front of the car, changes include a tapered grille, sharper air-intakes and reshaped LED headlights. The new A4 model will feature twin-exhaust as standard across the range. The fact that the car is wider and lower than previous versions would suggest that their will be increased space inside the car.

All cars in the A4 range will have new engines, and these engines will come with stop-start, brake energy regeneration and electronic power steering as standard. Audi expects these features to reduce fuel consumption by around 10%, something that should entice buyers worried about the amount of money they are spending on fuel.

One of the versions of the A4 which should appeal to company car buyers is the 134bhp, 2.0-litre TDI. The saloon version is expected to have an emissions rate of just 112g/km of CO2.

Inside, the new version of the A4 will feature chrome and gloss inlays on the steering wheel and door panels, a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel and a starter button that is brushed aluminium. It will also have a new MMI infotainment system.

Perhaps more importantly for families, the A4′s boot space remains at 480 litres – a level that is similar to the rival BMW 3 Series.

Although there is no official price for the new Audi A4 yet, expect it to be only marginally more expensive than the current A4. A February 2012 release for the car means that it will be going up against BMW’s new 3 Series, also released that month.

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Friday October 28th, 2011 11:41 Trident Iceni: A Supercar running on Biodiesel

Trident Iceni Supercar

 

Trident Iceni, the latest name in the segment of supercars is making waves for a lot of reasons. The car comes with a V-8 diesel engine and runs on the eco friendly bio – diesel. Being run on bio – diesel does not mean that the car’s efficiency is lesser than any other super car. The car gets to 60 mph in 4 seconds and can push up to 200 mph, which is a good enough speed for any bio – diesel run car. The question that arises is, is Trident Iceni a next generation car? Well, the answer is, yes, it could be since there are many sources of bio- diesel that come from non food category and hence do not inflict any damage on food sources and their consumption and hence can be grown for the specific purpose of fuel, creating a sustainable alternative.

The car can safely be said a good competition for other supercars as it claims a top speed of 220 mph and very rapid acceleration. The maximum torque of the car is a massive 950 lb ft (1,288 Nm) at 1,800 rpm. Though the engine is pretty heavy due to the use of iron cylinder block, it also contains a common rail injection along with four valves in each cylinder.

Trident Iceni comes with new eight speed automatic gear box. In order to get good weight distribution in the car; the gear box is mounted at the rear side, just ahead of the axle gears and is controlled by a pair of paddles on the steering.

The car comes with wheels of 20 inch diameter wherein the front side tires are 255/35 ZR tires and the rear tires are 335/30 ZR. The rear side wheels look like rather wide for a front engine car, but may be that was the requirement for handling the huge torque.
Another striking feature of the car is that its frame is made up of stainless steel sheet. The frame is made up of folded and welded sheet. Trident claims that this frame is very rigid and is good enough for a supercar.

There is no doubt that the car’s performance is good but the question is how far it goes on the fuel consumption parameter? The company is making big claims that the car will give 68 mpg (Imperial) or 55 mpg (US) (4 liters/100 km) at a steady 70 mph. Though the car has a large engine, but still it is compact with an overall length of 165 inches and weighs 3,260 lb and this balance goes well for a supercar.

Undoubtedly, Trident Iceni is an excellent car and it is hoped that it will be good enough for driving across cities and for general day to day use.

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About the author: Amanda Kidd is a blogger who is also a technology freak. She loves blogging on automobiles and tech innovations. She also happens to be a nature lover and hence, is a big fan of the cars based on the concept of green design.

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Tuesday October 25th, 2011 22:55 How Cameras Are Revolutionising Reversing

Car reversing cameras are becoming one of the hottest high-tech gadgets in the automotive industry, and it’s not just families who are flocking to the technology. Empty nesters in their RVs and mobile homes, truckies and tradies alike are embracing the safety and cost benefits of either buying a vehicle with a factory fitted unit or purchasing an after market system. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a reversing camera, which have the potential to save lives and even save you from having to claim on your car insurance.

How they work and what they cost

Reversing cameras are quite simple in the way they work. A small camera is installed at the appropriate height at the back of a vehicle and is connected via wire – or even wireless – to an LCD screen, which is usually attached at a convenient spot on the windscreen or dash, or in the case of factory fitted units, built into the console. As with all technology, you get what you pay for. A basic after market camera with a small screen is going to cost just over $100, but top of the range models which can be fitted to the rear vision mirror can cost around $600. The screen comes in a range of sizes, clarity and perspective – the cameras can take some getting used to as they usually have a very wide angle lense. It will cost a few dollars to have a unit installed as well.

Potential life savers

It’s young families and the makers of cars aimed at this segment of the automotive market that are responsible for the boom in reversing cameras. More and more cameras are coming fitted to family cars as standard, especially as the surge in sales of SUVs shows no signs of slowing. Cameras are most often fitted to wagons and larger SUVs and 4WDs because of their height and size, meaning it is hard to see a small child behind the vehicle. Kids can dash out when drivers least expect it as well, meaning a reversing camera is going to catch them better than any rear vision mirrors. While built-in cameras are usually found in higher spec models, expect them to become more prevalent in basic models before too long.

Preventing bumps and scrapes

Despite the obvious safety benefits of a reversing camera, they can also save you embarrassment and money when it comes to backing a vehicle. Reverse parking is something we are all taught while learning to drive, but it is often a forgotten skill as drivers prefer to find a traditional parking spot which they can drive in to front on. Cameras are bringing back reverse parking, especially when they are coupled with reverse sensors. They give drivers confidence to tackle trickier parking spots by helping to eliminate the worries of hitting another car and causing damage. So it’s worth checking with an insurer if you are searching for car insurance quotes if there is any discount for a camera system.

RVs, trailers and truckies

The benefits of a reversing camera to bigger and longer vehicles far outweigh the costs of installing one. Empty nesters with their RVs, caravans and mobile homes simply couldn’t do without them as they are constantly backing into caravan sites and tight spots in town. The cameras can be mounted on trailers and caravans as well, making them invaluable for holidaymakers, truckies and tradies who are always reversing into specific spots that require precision and patience. Just remember, don’t rely only on the reversing camera. There is no substitute for a second pair of eyes outside the vehicle who can help guide you into tough spots.

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Monday October 24th, 2011 22:22 New Skoda Compact Family Saloon Car Set for 2013 Release

 

The next few years promise to be pretty busy for Skoda, as it plans to release a new model every six months from next year onwards. Although there is a good chance of a name change by the time of its release, one of these models will be the car currently known as the A-Entry.

Set for release in early 2013, the A-Entry is expected to go head to head with the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus in the compact family saloon market.

Last month Skoda displayed the MissionL concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it is this car upon which the A-Entry is supposedly based on. The new A-Entry is apparently 80% similar to the MissionL concept. At the time of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Skoda personnel were keen to stress the strong focus of the MissionL on two areas – size and affordability – so it will be interesting to see if the A-Entry has a spacious feel to it. If it is anything like the MissionL then it will have plenty of boot space and room in the back of the car.

Skoda is also hopeful of releasing a five-door hatchback version of the new model.

It is obviously far too early for any firm details about the make-up of the car, but we do know customers will have the option of an array of petrol and diesel turbos, These engines will most likely be taken from the Polo and Golf models of Skoda’s parent company. There will also be an eco-friendly version of the car available, and this will apparently emit less than 100g/km of CO2.

If Skoda is to compete in the compact family car range, then you can expect the A-Entry to have a price-tag that is reasonable and affordable for families. With the Fabia currently costing around £10,000 and the Octavia costing in the region of £14,000, it seems reasonable to expect that the A-Entry will cost somewhere around the £12,000 mark when it is finally released in 2013.

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Sunday October 23rd, 2011 20:38 Volkswagen Beetle Set for Spring 2012 Release

Next spring will see the latest version of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle hit the roads of the United Kingdom. The famous German car manufacturer has now opened orders on the new Beetle, and it will cost consumers upwards of £16,490.

In recent years, the Beetle has been regarded by many as nothing more than a fashion accessory to those who know nothing about cars. However, with a press release titled “Less Flower, More Power”, it seems that Volkswagen is looking for the car to be taken more seriously.

At the Beetle’s launch, Volkswagen is offering buyers the option of two different engines – a 1.4-litre TSI engine with a six-speed manual or a 1.2-litre TSI engine with a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

There will be three levels of trim available for the Beetle, and these are the entry-level Beetle trim, the Design trim and the Sport trim. Entry-level Beetles are fitted with air-conditioning, CD player, DAB radio and a central locking system.

Those who opt for the Design trim will also benefit from 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, Fogs, a DAB radio, as well as body-coloured dashboard trim.

Costing £21,220, the most expensive range-topping Sport model will include 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, parking sensors and fancy sports seats.

That won’t be the end of things for the latest version of the Beetle though, as later in 2012 Volkswagen will be adding three new choices of engines for the car. These will be a 1.6-litre TDI Bluemotion Technology model, a 2.0-litre TDI and a 2.0-litre TSI unit. The 2.0-litre TSI unit will have an impressive 197bhp.

The Volkswagen Beetle is available to order now, with deliveries taking place in the spring of 2012.

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Sunday October 23rd, 2011 13:04 Electric Vehicle Sales Still Struggling in UK and Europe

 
Sales of electric cars in the UK are still struggling, according to new data released by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Last month, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggested that sales of electric cars in the UK were significantly poorer than had been both hoped and anticipated, and it seems that there has been little improvement since then.

The Office of Low Emission Vehicles’ data reveals that only 308 models were bought using the government’s grant scheme in the third quarter of the year.

The government’s grant scheme offers buyers of low emission vehicles a grant of £5,000, but the quarterly statistics have shown a distinct reluctance on the part of UK car consumers to switch towards green cars. In the first quarter of the year, only 465 were registered. Things were even worse in the second quarter, with only 215 EVs registered.

The electric car grant scheme has a total fund of £43 million – a figure large enough to cover 8,600 EVs – but at this slow rate it will take years to reach that full amount. At the moment, under £4 million of this grant money has been spent.

At a time when the UK’s economy is struggling, you would think that a £5,000 grant would act as a great incentive for UK drivers, but clearly more work has to be done to encourage people to switch to low emission vehicles.

The move towards universal electric car chargers is the type of thing that will hopefully assure drivers that switching to an electric vehicle will not prove to be more hassle than it’s worth.

It’s not just in the UK that electric vehicle sales are struggling. Belgians get a subsidy of just under €11,000 euros, yet only 85 electric vehicles were purchased there in the first half of 2011. In Norway, where a grant of €17,524 is offered, only 850 EVs were purchased over the same period.

Hopefully the fourth quarter will show an improvement in green car sales, but with so much economic uncertainty, people need to be made much more aware of these grants and subsidies.

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Thursday October 20th, 2011 21:55 Mercedes to Release A-Class Cabriolet Convertible

 

It has been announced that Mercedes will be releasing a convertible version of the A-Class. Although there is no date set for the release of the car, it will follow on from the release of both the three and five-door variants of the A-Class. With that in mind, expect to see the A-Class at some time next year.

It is hoped that the release of the A-Class convertible will enable Mercedes to beat off competition from its rivals to claim the number one spot in terms of sales for premium car manufacturers.

Mercedes CEO Dr Dieter Zetsche, speaking at the launch of the B-Class, announced that there would be five new compact cars in production in the near future. Joining the A-Class Cabriolet will be the B-Class, the A-Class hatchback, an SUV and a four-door coupe.

It is far too early for any performance statistics regarding the new A-Class convertible, but we do know that it will use a front-wheel-drive platform that improves handling and smoothness of drive with a multi-link rear suspension. The suspicion at the moment is that the convertible will be fitted with a lighter and more cost-effective fabric roof. In terms of look, it is expected to take inspiration from the Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class as pictured above.

Mercedes fans should also be enthused by the news that there will also be a four-wheel-drive AMG in the A-Class range. Expected to be released in 2014, the AMG version will be equipped with a 2.0-litre twin-turbo engine capable of producing in the region of 350bhp. With the release of these cars in the next few years, it is sure to be an exciting time for Mercedes enthusiasts everywhere.

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Wednesday October 19th, 2011 20:08 BMW Prepares 3 Series for 2012 Release

BMW has revealed that its new 3 Series range will be displayed in public for the first time at the Detroit Motor Show in January. However, UK customers will have to wait another month before the cars actually go on sale.

The German car manufacturers are already claiming that its direct market rival to the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class is a better drive. BMW also claims that it is not only more comfortable and spacious than its market rivals, but is also lighter.

In addition to petrol and diesel models, BMW are offering full hybrid and four-wheel-drive models for the first time.

The entry-level 316d ES will cost upwards of £24,880, while the 335i will cost customers £35,525.

All engines in the 3 series will be turbocharged, and this will make for some pretty impressive performance statistics. The 328i, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine will go from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds. The top of the range 335i, powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine, allowing it to run an impressive 302bhp. This power means that the 335i is capable of going from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 155mph.

Drivers looking to buy something more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly should perhaps look toward the 320d Efficient Dynamics. Powered by a 161bhp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, it manages 68.9mpg while emitting just 109g/km of CO2. This emissions rate means that it will be tax-free in the first year.

BMW expects to have eight versions of the 3 series on sale by March 2012 that have emissions under 120g/km of CO2. The ActiveHybrid 3 will be released towards the end of 2012. For now though, BMW enthusiasts should look towards the Detroit Motor Show for a closer look at the new 3 Series.

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Saturday October 15th, 2011 10:56 Ferrari Prepare New GT for Geneva Motor Show Debut

 

The latest news coming from Maranello is that Ferrari will unveil its latest GT supercar at the Geneva Motor Show next March. Lighter and more powerful than ever before, the replacement for the 599 GTB Fiorano is expected to be one of the fastest models in Ferrari’s stable.

The two-seater supercar’s power will come from an updated version of the 6.3-litre V12 direct-injection engine that was used in the FF. With an immense 700bhp, the new GT will have 88bhp more than the current 599 GTB Fiorano and 50bhp more than the FF, making it the most powerful car in the range.

This power will help to propel the new GT to a projected top speed of 215mph and will allow the car to go from 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds. This time puts it in a similar speed bracket as Lamborghini’s Aventador.

The new GT will also feature the FF’s seven-speed twin-clutch transmission, although unlike the FF, it will not feature four-wheel drive. Other improvements made to the car are the inclusion of adaptive dampers and a shorter wheelbase for its chassis.

Visually, the new Ferrari takes inspiration from the FF and the 458. There is a strip of LED running lights at the front, as well as a diffuser at the rear of the car. The rear window of the car has dramatic buttresses at either side.

It’s expected that the new Ferrari GT will go on sale in late 2012, and will cost buyers somewhere in the region of £225,000. Start saving those pennies, Ferrari enthusiasts.

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Friday October 14th, 2011 11:25 Survival Guide to Successfully Shipping Your Beloved Car!

Whether you’re moving to the other side of the country or abroad. Sometimes you would prefer not having to drive your car all the way to your destination, in cases such as these its wise to use a car transporter. In this article we will discuss the major factors that should be considered when trying to ship a car.

Patience: The most important factor for people to understand about the process of car shipping is that this industry is not like the postal service. Pick-up and delivery dates are estimates at best. Problems such as breakdowns, traffic, and weather all contribute to delays. A lot of patience and forward planning is required.

Finding the right Transporter: Always do your research before committing to car shipping firm. Websites such as uShip allow you to view prospective transporters feedback and reputation, so you can ensure the transporter you pick is safe and highly recommended.

Car Shipping Method: Open or Closed: 
Open trailers are either partially or fully exposed to the elements. There are many different types of open trailers, ranging from small three car carriers to the large 11 car carriers that you frequently see on the motorway. Closed trailers are protected from the elements, and your vehicle is basically shipped in a mobile garage, however, this is more expensive.

Check to see if you are properly insured: 
Your car should be insured against all the usual things by the car transporter. Everything relating to the car shipment should be in writing. It is likely that your personal car insurance policy may cover your vehicle in transit.

Before Pick-up

Steps to prepare your Car for Shipping
: Wash your car thoroughly even if will be shipped on an open trailer. You want to be able to note any chips, dings, nicks or other cosmetic damage accurately.

Don’t top off your gas tank, keep it low, in between 1/8th to 1/4th of a tank as this saves quite a bit of weight which the auto transporters appreciate.

Always transport convertibles with the top up and secured.

Make sure the battery is charged, that the tires have proper inflation and top off all of the fluids on the vehicle.

Do a Thorough Vehicle Inspection: Note its condition in order to ensure any claims of vehicle damage are accurate and can be ensured, make a complete report of any pre-existing damage your vehicle may have. You may want to go as far as taking pictures (and dating them) of the vehicle prior to shipping it.

Vehicle Pick-up

Meeting The Truck: Be On Time
Make sure you are on time to meet the driver and that your meeting spot is set well in advanced and easy to get to.

Releasing Your Car: Do the Paperwork Be sure to receive an original inspection report. This report provides pick-up and delivery information, the car’s current mileage, and most importantly documents the condition of your car at time of pick-up – pre-existing scratches and dents, cracked glass/mirrors, general paint condition, etc. Keep this report and use it when you receive your vehicle.

Vehicle Delivery

Be On Time: 
Make sure you are on time to meet the driver and that your meeting spot is clearly defined and easy to get to for both parties. Remember the size and maneuvering restrictions of the truck.

Accepting The Car: What to Look For On Delivery
When your car arrives, make sure that you do a complete inspection of the vehicle with a copy of the original inspection report in hand. Look for any damage that was not noted in the original report.

These are just a few tips to remember that helped me when I had my car shipped, and I hope they can help you.

Amar Patel

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