Wednesday December 7th, 2011 08:00 German Car Manufacturers – In a League of Their Own

There are a number of countries that have a prominent motor manufacturer market but few are able to compete with Germany. The cars that Germany produces are second to none, and they compete fiercely with each other for very similar markets. They don’t just compete in Germany either, as they have thriving demand throughout the rest of mainland Europe, the UK and the US too.

As the economies of India and China also develop there is an increase in demand for luxury cars where the Germans are also sitting comfortably at number one. The Americans have tried their hands at luxury cars such as Cadillac, but they have never hit the mark of quality and driving experience on the same level as their German counterparts.

The French have got a strong market share in the more affordable car sector with brands such as Peugeot, Renault and Citroen competing for affordable small, mid-sized and family cars across Europe. Citroen leasing offers remain some of the most popular in the industry. The Japanese market is also strong with brands like Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan all holding their own, targeting the Asian markets and mid-priced industries with their well-built and reliable cars. When it comes to luxury and premium marques however, it always falls back to Germany. They have 5 major brands that compete in similar markets and make some of the most desirable cars on sale today. Here they are:

BMW– One of the most recognised car manufacturers in the world. BMW make a range of premium executive saloons, 4x4s, and sports cars with great avail. They brand their cars as the ultimate driving machine as they only allow the power to be delivered through the rear wheels. The balance of their vehicles is always spot on, and they have a huge following all around the world.

Audi – Audi make a number of cars in the same category as BMW and although have a smaller market share, they are constantly growing. With the success of their Quattro rally car, they have built a reputation for attractive and well-handing models that have been inspired by this heritage. The R8 supercar has further increased their profile.

Mercedes-Benz – One of the world’s most powerful and recognised brands. There is a huge range of Mercedes models on the market, and they range from small, to executive and luxurious. They also produce a number of fast and powerful cars with their AMG tuning division and McLaren partnership. The recent retro-modern adaptation of the classic SLS has reminded us what Mercedes are capable of.

Volkswagen – VW are slightly more affordable than BMW, Mercedes and Audi, but are parallel in terms of respect and quality. The ‘car for the people’ brand image has created some highly desirable family cars and their success with the Golf GTi throughout the years has brought them much acclaim.

Porsche – The legendary cars created by Porsche have gone down as some of the greatest sports cars in history. Although not as big as their German brothers, the desirability of their models and strength of their brand has led them to become one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the world. Their racing heritage has even inspired ranges of clothes, luxury watches and baggage.

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Tuesday May 17th, 2011 00:46 Porsche Launches 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe and Cabriolet

 


In September, Porsche will be launching its highly-anticipated new Porsche 911 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In order to tide Porsche enthusiasts over until then, the German carmaker will release two new variants of the current 911 in the UK in July.

Joining the two-wheel-drive GTS that went on sale last year will be the four-wheel-drive 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe and Cabriolet.

The 911 Carrera 4 GTS is fitted with the same 402bhp, 3.8-litre, flat-six engine as the Carrera S. Porsche have managed to squeeze an additional 23bhp out of it, taking the output to 402bhp. The effect of this on the car’s performance is that at full throttle, with the standard six-speed manual transmission, the Coupe variant can sprint from 0 – 62mph in just 4.6 seconds. In contrast, the Cabriolet manages this sprint in 4.8 seconds. Those who utilise the optional PDK dual-clutch transmission will be able to cut an extra 0.2 seconds from both variants. With regards to torque, this remains at 420Nm.

In terms of its fuel consumption, with a rate of 26.9mpg, the new 911 Carrera 4 GTS is identical to the less powerful Carrera 4S. CO2 emissions come in at 247g/km.

In addition to having the model name indicated on the doors and boot lid, the Carrera 4 GTS variants will have an additional reflective stripe sitting between the taillights. On top of this, the Carrera 4 GTS will have a Sport-Design front apron, with a black painted spoiler lip, and special side skirts. Sports seats come as standard as does a rear limited slip differential and a switchable sports exhaust.

Scheduled for release in the UK in July, Porsche’s 911 Carrera 4 GTS Coupe and Cabriolet will be on sale for £83,145 and £90,024 respectively.

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Saturday April 30th, 2011 14:25 Porsche’s new 911 GT3 RS 4.0

Porsche 911 GT3 4.0

Porsche has announced the release of its new limited-edition 911 GT3 RS 4.0. sports car. Available from July, the latest 911 model will be limited to just 600 vehicles worldwide, of which 40 are expected to be available for purchase within the UK.

Whereas previous models have used a 3.8 litre flat-six cylinder engine, the GT3 RS 4.0. boasts a motor sport-derived 4.0 litre engine, and this is the largest motor that has ever been fitted to a 911. With a crankshaft that has been lifted unchanged from the 911 GT3 RSR race car, titanium connecting rods and an engine that uses forged pistons, the GT3 RS 4.0. will be the closest a road-going Porsche ever gets to one of its racing car counterparts.

The 911 GT3 4.0. has a peak power of 493bhp and a maximum torque of 339lb ft. In terms of performance, it races from 0-60 in just 3.8 seconds, and with a top speed of 193mph, the new Porsche can reach 124mph in 12 seconds.

By incorporating air deflection vanes – called ‘flics’ or dive planes – on either side of the car’s redesigned front bumper, Porsche have been able to increase downforce at the front end, giving the 911 GT3 4.0. improved grip through corners and a total downforce of 190kg when at top speed.

In order to emphasize its “proximity to motor racing,” the limited edition 911 is painted Carrara White as standard with grey and red detailing. Among its signature characteristics are a wide track, a low vehicle position, a large rear wing with side plates, a central twin tailpipe, and an aerodynamically optimised body. Its interior matches the white, red and grey colour scheme of the exterior, and features seats made of Alcantara and leather.

With an asking price of £128,466, the Porsche 911 GT3 4.0. will be available in limited numbers from July.

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Sunday January 30th, 2011 19:30 Porsche Unveils the 918 RSR

Porsche 918 RSR 2011

The latest offering from Porsche was formally unveiled at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. The Porsche 918 RSR is a mid-engine concept car available as part of a limited production series.

The concept car is the first official plug-in hybrid automobile from Porsche. It was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2010. Known internally as Project XG10, the Porsche 918 RSR reaches 60 mph from a dead stop in less than 3.2 seconds and is capable of reaching over 200 miles per hour.

Although the bulk of the charge comes from energy via the plug-in socket, the batteries also builds up a charge through regenerative braking and any excess power output from the engine when the vehicle is coasting.

The Porsche 918 RSR uses a hybrid battery system rather than a traditional flywheel to allow significantly more power to be stored. The system allows the sport car to drive up to 15 miles before the engine kicks in.

The two door roadster packs a 3.4 litre V8 engine and a 7-speed PDK dual clutch transmission. The sport car has a lightweight carbon-fibre reinforced plastic single shell and a frame made almost exclusively from magnesium and aluminium.

The display car shown in Detroit has a well laid-out, closed cockpit with a jet black interior. It had bold orange stripes on top of a dazzling silver paint job. It also bore the number 22 – a tribute to the winning Porsche 917 K that obliterated the competition in Le Mans 40 years ago.

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Thursday January 13th, 2011 13:21 Baby Porsche SUV – The Cajun Arriving in 2015

Porsche, the predominant German sports car manufacturer continues to expand its line-up with models that cross lines between sports and utility. The Cayenne was the first offering from the manufacturer into the area of sports activity vehicles. Keeping with the Porsche credo of building the fastest and do anything models that are available on the market, this SUV scorched the roads and yet provided off road capabilities that rivalled other trail rated models from rival companies.

The baby SUV was recently green lighted for production by management in Stuttgart and its parent company, Volkswagen. This smaller offering will be based on other models already available in the Volkswagen and Audi lineups. The German manufacturer will add its own flair and spice up the vehicle though. Preliminarily named the Cajun, this smaller SUV is different from the other models offered by its parent company. Just as the Cayenne is a radical departure from the Touareg and the Q7 the Cajun must offer more go and more off road-ability than the Q5 and the Tiguan.
Testing is currently going on to establish vehicle dynamics. The timeline for introduction of this baby SUV from Porsche is in early 2015. The company now has over four years to put together an asphalt melting, Rubicon conquering vehicle that will maintain its supremacy in the automotive world.
For many purists the expansion of the lineup to include a second utility vehicle, after the introduction of the first four door sedan, dilutes the true mission of the company. Many, however, say that in order to survive a company has to play in every market, bring on the Cajun.

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