Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Opel Flextreme GT-E Concept, 2010

Opel Flextreme GT-E Concept, 2010

Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept made its debut at the 80th Geneva Motor Show (March 4 - 14, 2010), it will boost the company's credentials as a leader in green technologies, offering expressive design with efficient environmental performance - and engineered with German precision.

In Opel's strategy for achieving more independence from fossil fuels, electricity plays a key role. The 4.7-meter long Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept illustrates how extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) technology can be plugged into large or mid-size vehicles, as well as compact cars such as the upcoming Opel Ampera.

Opel calls this strategy e-mobility unlimited: adapting the highly efficient E-REV drive system - which removes the limitations of battery-only power - to vehicles across all market segments. To enjoy zero CO2 driving emissions Opel-style, the Flextreme GT/E concept shows that size doesn't matter.

The purposeful design also enables the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept to achieve a projected drag co-efficient of just 0.22, which helps it reach a 200 km/h-plus top speed as well as conserve energy and extend its driving range. Stand-out visual features include a low and wide stance, wing-shaped lights front and rear, a distinctive nose and grille, floating C-pillars and muscular, sculptured bodywork.

Exterior design: expressing efficiency with emotion

The low, coupé-like proportions of the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept explore the potential for evolving Opel's new design language - sculptural artistry meets German precision - within an envelope optimized for aerodynamic efficiency.

The clean, frontal styling features a low hood line and an extended nose section, which is clasped by wing-shaped, signature LED headlamps. These are deeply carved into the front fenders and across the hood line. The new trapezoidal grille execution is slim but bold. The prominent wing-shaped chrome bar carries a large Opel emblem, which doubles as a socket for charging the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept's battery pack.

The upper section of the grille is used to admit cooling air, the lower portion being covered by a translucent panel. The absence of additional air intakes allows a low frontal area for aerodynamic efficiency and also enables the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept to meet future pedestrian protection requirements.
The sculpted hood, with an Opel signature central crease line, features narrow longitudinal vents on either side to draw air out of the engine compartment. The muscular fenders and wheel-arches sweep back into the side-body.

In profile, the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept is distinguished by innovative, stubbed C-pillars. This floating design allows the glasshouse to be extended rearwards under the arching roofline, emphasizing the flowing lines of the side body. The car's dynamic character is further underlined by a fresh expression of Opel's signature blade motif, now a swooping swage line from the base of the C-pillar into the lower front fender.

Access to the cabin is enhanced by the adoption of rear-hinged rear doors, an evolution of the Opel FlexDoors concept from the new generation Meriva monocab. To preserve the clean exterior looks, all door handles are replaced by light sensors. These trigger the doors open when covered by the driver's or passenger's hand. To reduce air turbulence, exterior front door mirrors are also absent, replaced by small camera pods in the base of the A-pillars.

At the rear, a strong shoulder line embraces sculpted wheel-arches that further emphasize the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept's wide, ground-hugging stance. The coupé look is completed by a steeply raked tailgate, carrying wing-shaped LED light units which echo the form of the front headlamps. Like that of the Insignia Sports Tourer, the tailgate has a wraparound design for improved trunk access. Its deep glass screen is slightly convex to improve airflow.
The translucency of the fixed glass panel in the center of the roof is adaptive, allowing sunlight to warm the interior in the cold of winter, but darkening for coolness in summer. A duct at the rear edge of the roof is for additional cooling of the battery and electronic components.

Managing airflow and saving weight

Integral to the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept's expressive looks is the efficiency of the design execution. The small frontal area, low roof height (1308 mm) and a flat, enclosed underbody all enable the car to cleave the air with a minimum of disturbance.
A series of measures optimize airflow management. The 21-inch alloy wheels are relatively narrow, to reduce wind resistance, and fitted with 195/45, low rolling resistance tires. Clear, flush-mounted trim inserts also minimize air turbulence.

The minimal front intake improves airflow around the nose of the car and the underbody sweeps up, venturi-like, at the rear to further reduce drag.
The Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept also explores the potential for active shape shifting. At speeds above 50 km/h, a vertical panel extends along the body from the air extraction slot behind each rear wheel-arch. These 350 mm-long side spoilers guide high-speed airflow around the rear corners of the car, further reducing the amount of turbulence.

Mass reduction measures for the body include the use of lightweight, carbon composite outer panels, polycarbonate window glazing and aluminum alloy structural components. Compared to conventional materials, these offer a 40 percent weight saving which further contributes to reduced energy consumption and an increased driving range.

Innovative propulsion

The efficient concept also includes GM's ground-breaking E-REV drive system, already developed for the Opel Ampera. The Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept shows the versatility of this technology by displaying it in a larger, mid-size vehicle format.

Despite its greater size and a maximum speed of more than 200 kilometers per hour, the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept is projected to offer performance similar to that of the Ampera: a battery-powered driving range of up to 60 km - with zero CO2 tailpipe emissions - and a total range of more than 500 km. Average fuel consumption is estimated at 1.6 l/100 km, with CO2 emissions of less than 40 g/km.

Unlike a hybrid vehicle, the wheels of the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept are powered at all times by electricity. For typical journeys up to 60 km, energy is supplied by a T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack located under the floor and rear seat.

However, unlike a battery-only electric vehicle, the Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept eliminates any possibility of range anxiety through fear of being stranded without power. The small gasoline engine/generator is seamlessly engaged to provide electricity whenever the battery's supply becomes depleted. In this mode, the driving range is extended to more than 500 km, until the plug-in battery pack can be recharged or the car is refueled.

The motor in the electric drive unit delivers a substantial 370 Nm of instant torque, giving lively performance and projected zero to 100 km/h acceleration in less than nine seconds.
The Flextreme GT/E concept is a further step in Opel's unfolding strategy for the electrification of the automobile, which includes a wide portfolio of products using battery, extended-range, hybrid and fuel cell technologies.

Opel Flextreme GT/E Concept: Technical Data
    * Body style
          o Type: 5-door coupé, 4-seat upper mid-size concept vehicle
          o Co-efficient of drag: 0.22
    * Exterior dimensions
          o Overall length: 4762 mm
          o Height: 1308 mm
          o Width: 1871 mm
          o Wheelbase: 2900 mm
          o Front track: 1600 mm
          o Rear track: 1600 mm
    * Wheels/Tires
          o Wheel size: 21 inch
          o Tires: 195/45 R 21; extra low-rolling resistance
    * Powertrain
          o Type: Electric drive, front-wheel-drive
    * Battery system
          o Type: Advanced lithium-ion (manganese spinel)
          o Energy: 16 kWh
          o Nominal voltage: 350 volts
          o On-board charger: 3.3 kW
          o 100% recharge time (230V outlet): < 3.0 hours
    * Electric drive unit
          o Max. power: 120 kW
          o Torque: 370 Nm
    * Generator
          o Power: 53 kW peak output
          o Engine type: 4-cyl. 1.4l gasoline-fueled combustion engine
    * Performance
          o Pure electric mode range: 60 km
          o Full range, range extender engaged: > 500 km
          o CO2 emissions, combined cycle (est.): < 40 g/km
          o 0 - 100 km/h acceleration: < 9.0 seconds
          o Maximum speed: > 200 km/h
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Opel Corsa, 2010

Opel Corsa, 2010

The Opel Corsa range has been rejuvenated to provide more power and more driving fun with less fuel consumption. Opel engineers have given the Opel Corsa a complete make-over, introducing an enhanced powertrain line-up that reduces fuel consumption by up to 13 percent, significant chassis improvements and a new steering calibration. In addition to its agile handling and greater ride comfort, drivers will appreciate engines that give more pulling power.

The enhancements are accompanied by the introduction in Germany of several new special editions like the sporty Color Line series. The Color Race, Color Edition and Color Wave variants feature distinctive bodywork finishes and attractive 17-inch alloy wheels. Also, in celebration of 111 years of automotive tradition, Opel will release a captivating 111 Limited Edition in Europe.

The Opel Corsa comes in two distinct body styles, the coupé-like three-door and the family friendly five-door. Inside the cabin, the Opel Corsa continues to offer one of the roomiest and most attractive interiors in its class. True to Opel's philosophy, it also features innovative technologies at an affordable price, including halogen Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL), a heated steering wheel, active front head restraints, Hill Start Assist, a Panorama sunroof or the integrated FlexFix bicycle carrier which is unique to Opel.

The Opel Corsa is a highly popular choice throughout Europe, accounting for some 30 percent of all Opel/Vauxhall sales. In addition to its athletic dynamic styling and great driving fun, it also offers customers top class quality. Germany's DEKRA Defect Report 2010 named the Opel Corsa the overall winner, with the lowest defect rate (2.4 percent) of all the vehicles tested. DEKRA (Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein) is a full-service provider for safe and efficient mobility and Europe's leading technical expert organization.

More power with improved fuel economy

The powertrain line-up consists of a wide offer of gasoline engine from the 1-liter 3 cylinder (48 kW/65 hp ) entry level version to the turbo charged 1.6-liter on the Opel Corsa OPC (141 kW/192 hp). On the diesel side, different versions of the 1.3 and 1.7 CDTI motors offer outputs ranging from 55 kW/75 hp to 96 kW/130 hp all with fuel consumption under 5 liters per 100 kilometers. The Opel Corsa ecoFLEX 1.3 l CDTI offers exceptionally low CO2 emissions of just 98 g/km for the 3-door variant, 99 g/km for the 5-door.

Opel engineers have developed the engines to give greater torque, while at the same time reducing their appetite for fuel and lowering CO2 emissions. All gasoline engines, and the new 1.7 CDTI diesel, comply with Euro 5 emissions standards.

The most popular gasoline powertrains - 1.0, 1.2 and 1.4-liter with manual and automated Easytronic transmissions - offer combined cycle fuel consumption between just 5.0 and 5.5 l/100 km, and CO2 ratings from 117 to 129 g/km with manual transmission. With an average fuel consumption of just 5.0 l/100 km and 117 g/km CO2, the Opel Corsa 1.0 is the cleanest of all gasoline-powered entries in its segment. The 1.4 engine comes in two variants, with 64 kW/87 hp and 74 kW/100 hp and is available with full automatic transmission in its most powerful execution. The 1.2 and 1.4-liter Twinport engines are now fitted with double cam phasing to allow variable valve timing on both inlet and exhaust sides for more efficient breathing.

The 1.3 CDTI engine is also improved, giving the Opel Corsa ecoFLEX model exceptionally low CO2 emissions of just 98 g/km for the 3-door variant, 99 g/km for the 5-door. The Corsa ecoFLEX is Opel's lowest emitting car, yet it is packed with 27 percent more power and 10 percent greater fuel efficiency. A diesel particulate filter and the "shift up" indicator in the cluster are standard.
The top-of-the-line 1.7 CDTI diesel engine now offers more power and torque - increased to 96 kW/130 hp and 300 Nm - as well as a nine percent cut in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, to 118 g/km and 4.5 l/100km.

Uprated chassis and steering

Opel chassis engineers have upgraded all major suspension components and the steering system. The result is improved ride comfort, more precise steering feel and greater directional stability - without compromising Opel Corsa's acclaimed agility.

Dampers, springs, anti-roll bars, the rear axle, the electric steering gear and its calibration software all have been optimized. All the changes apply to Essentia, Enjoy and Cosmo variants, while versions equipped with the Sport chassis, GSi and ecoFLEX models benefit from additional improvements to the rear axle and steering. The Opel Corsa OPC took over the changes applied to the steering gear.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Land Rover DC100 Sport Concept, 2011

Land Rover DC100 Sport Concept, 2011

The Land Rover DC100 and DC100 Sport concepts preview a potential future direction for Land Rover. There is no doubt these concepts demonstrate that this world-famous and well-loved brand is firmly focused on the future, and is one that recognises its heritage but does not allow it to impede innovation.

Every Land Rover design starts with great proportions, and these concepts are no exception. Short front and rear overhangs, four-square stance, Command driving position and superb ground clearance are fundamental design elements that give these vehicles their unique character and capability. The exterior surface language is all about simplicity and strength, with a strong shoulder running the full length of the vehicle and defining the corners.

The interiors have been developed to have a uniquely Land Rover feel. A sense of open space is created by the low centre console and the strong chamfers on the instrument panel elegantly integrating into the A-pillar structure. The design has an inherent flexibility; for example the central instruments can be removed from the vehicle and used outside for continued 'on foot' navigation or to capture remote explorations on film, through inbuilt cameras.

The concepts are based on the same advanced mixed-alloy underpinnings - with a 100-inch wheelbase - and represent the flexibility of design and use inherent in this very capable platform. An eight-speed transmission with integrated Intelligent Stop/Start and a transfer case provides a wide spread of high and low ratios for on and off-road driving.

Also showcased is the next generation of Land Rover's world-leading, all-terrain technology. Building on the acclaimed Terrain Response system, these will work seamlessly together to reduce the workload on the driver by identifying potential hazards and advising on safe routes to avoid them. An advanced telematics programme unites the systems and allows vehicle to smartphone communication.

Land Rover has a design integrity that stretches back more than 60 years. Reinventing and reinvigorating that design ethos is a challenge that has been met - in very different ways - by the two concepts, each of which represents different points on the Land Rover spectrum.

Simplicity and Strength
The bodywork below the waist reflects the Land Rover practice of avoiding extraneous detailing by following the principle of design working in harmony with function, leading to a purposeful simplicity of surface. The sharply defined shoulder line and near vertical panels of the concepts place all four corners within sight of the driver, to create Land Rover's hallmark confidence-inspiring Command driving position.

Compact dimensions, short overhangs and 22-inch alloy wheels lend both all-terrain concepts a fittingly purposeful, four-square stance. Further detailing common to both concepts - such as the triangular vent in the front wings, the bonnet edges set into the shoulder line and the prominent handle set into the trailing edge of the doors - also reference existing Land Rovers.

Dependable Design
There is arguably no other car in the world that inspires such loyalty and affection as a Land Rover, from the original Series 1 to today's Defender. Crucial to that appeal is the front-end design and DC100 Sport and DC100 represent the latest evolution of the Defender 'face' that has retained its timeless appeal for 60 years.

The key elements were a sense of openness and honesty; as a vehicle used in the most extreme conditions, a Land Rover must exude dependability. This is seen to greatest effect in DC100 with its signature twin round headlamps and purposeful grille. DC100 Sport represents a more assertive, performance-oriented interpretation of this classic Land Rover look.

The radically different design treatments above the waist demonstrate the modularity and flexibility of the platform. The shape of DC100 is instantly recognisable to generations and, like the original Land Rover and the Defender that followed it, looks equally at home alongside an English village green as traversing an Icelandic lava field.

As a dependable all-terrain workhorse, DC100 firmly emphasises the practical side of Land Rover. The upright windscreen provides excellent visibility on and off-road while the interchangeable rear cover allows for either maximum cargo capacity or transporting additional passengers. A winch, capable of supporting the weight of the car, is neatly integrated into the front grille and towing eyes have been built into each corner of the concept.

As a further extension of its capabilities, the DC100 roof is equipped with solar panels to power on-board systems, reducing the load on the engine and lowering emissions. The DC100 exterior is painted in soft metallic silver specifically intended to reflect the sun's rays, keeping the interior cool in hot climates and reducing the demands on the climate-control system.

DC100 Sport
With DC100 Sport, Land Rover has created a unique concept that occupies its own territory. It takes its cue from the early canvas-roofed Defenders with their fold-down windscreens that still typify the Land Rover spirit of adventure and exploration.

Reimagined as a performance concept for the 21st century, it features a wrap-around aero screen and cut-down side windows for exhilarating open-air motoring. Flowing back from the seats is a twin-humped fastback roofline that encloses a generous load bed that includes fittings designed to secure extreme sports equipment.
The DC100 Sport is finished in an exhilarating metallic amber that echoes the vibrant ochre hues found in Africa; eye-catching whether exploring mountain tracks, breezing along a beach or cruising through town.

Functionality and usability are two key characteristics of Land Rover interiors - the position and logic of every control should be obvious the moment the driver enters. The concepts take this premise and address it in a truly contemporary way.
The form and function of the concepts are visually integrated in the interior layout; the door structure flows into the cabin before forming an elegant beam running the width of the dash. This means that the concepts can recreate the Series 1 three-abreast seating layout.

Social Seating
This seating arrangement, as well as creating a more social vehicle, extends its versatility. The passenger seat can be folded out of the way to increase carrying capacity. The middle seat conceals a large secure storage area while in front of it is a machined aluminium tray which contains induction charging technology to power electronic devices.

This innovative layout is particularly space-efficient, allowing for integrated storage areas both above and below the central beam and for the gearlever to be mounted on the centre console. This reduces the time the driver's hand is away from the wheel while changing gear, increasing control during off-road or high-speed driving.

Multi-functional Removable Touchscreen
Like the original Land Rovers, the DC100 concepts have a central instrument binnacle mounted above the gear lever. Combining the informatics functions of an instrument panel with an intuitive touchscreen interface, the unit is backed by powerful telematics technology that co-ordinates the ground-breaking technologies to be found in these concepts.

Sustainable Materials

The cabins of both concepts have been finished with materials that share certain rugged, durable qualities. All these have been chosen for their sustainability both in terms of composition and manufacture, such as seat foam derived from castor oil - a first for a European manufacturer - and semi-structural panels and sound insulating boards made from flax and natural polymers.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pontiac Vibe, 2009

 Pontiac Vibe, 2009

The all-new 2009 Pontiac Vibe is a modern re-mix of a classic hit, infusing the functionality of a compact crossover with a bolder attitude of muscular styling, increased performance and tight handling. It arrives in dealer showrooms in early 2008.
Adding a richer harmony to the tune, the popular all-wheel-drive and GT models return to the Vibe lineup. Regardless of the model, each Vibe offers a level of athletic design, boosted performance and everyday versatility uncommon in the price range.

Engine performance

Packing more off-the-line power than ever before, the '09 Vibe delivers the type of responsive performance needed to safely navigate those unexpected everyday driving situations. A 132-horsepower (98 kW) 1.8L DOHC four-cylinder is standard on base models and delivers 128 lb.-ft. (174 Nm) of torque. The engine benefits from dual variable valve timing, optimizing both performance and efficiency, and is matched to a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic.

A 4-speed automatic transmission is standard on the AWD. Customers of the 2.4L-equipped base or GT models can choose between a standard five-speed manual transmission or a new, five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission featuring Driver Shift Control (DSC), which delivers a great combination of performance, fuel economy and smoothness. With DSC, the driver can manually select gears via tap up/tap down controls.

Fuel economy

With the 1.8L engine and the standard manual transmission, EPA fuel economy is estimated at 26 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway; with the automatic, fuel economy is estimated at 25 in the city and 31 on the highway.

The 2.4L engine on the GT is estimated at 21 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway with the manual transmission and 21 city/29 highway with the five-speed automatic. On the AWD model, the 2.4L/four-speed automatic combination delivers an estimated 20 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.

Ride and handling

Driving dynamics of the new Vibe have been refined to deliver a responsive driving experience, with a special focus on reduced noise, vibration and harshness. An array of chassis control systems enhances ride and handling, as well as safety.

The Vibe has a body-integral structure with underbody rails running from front to rear, giving the structure exceptional strength and a strong foundation on which to anchor the suspension systems. All models employ a MacPherson-strut front suspension design. The base model has a torsion-beam rear suspension that is revised for a more comfortable ride, while the AWD and GT models use a multi-link independent rear suspension for even sharper responses and enhanced driving control.

4-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard on all models, as is electronic stability control and traction control. Steering control is augmented with an electric power steering system, providing variable-effort performance and (because there is no engine-driven power steering pump) enhanced fuel economy.

Exterior design
The Vibe has the looks to back up its performance. With a lean, athletic form, the Vibe's new exterior exemplifies the future of Pontiac's design - clean, purposeful shapes and a decidedly sophisticated aesthetic. The new Vibe's appearance melds the space-enabling design of a small SUV with a forward-looking profile, furthering the groundbreaking design pioneered by the original Vibe, launched in 2002.

All of the sheet metal is new, with minimal gaps that reinforce the Vibe's tailored appearance. A faster windshield angle contributes to the sleeker look, while large wheels and minimal overhangs give the vehicle an aggressive, firmly planted stance.
Vibe's three models - base, AWD and GT - are distinguished from one another with unique styling cues. For example, the AWD features a standard roof rack perfect for outdoor activities. The GT has its own front fascia - with larger fog lamps and lower-fascia air intake - rocker moldings, roof spoiler and a bright exhaust tip. All models offer distinctive wheel options.

Interior design and features

Like the exterior, the '09 Vibe's interior is all-new and has a driver-focused cockpit design more common to sports cars. The controls and gauges were redesigned for easier use, but retain a performance-oriented look and feel; and the interior quality and craftsmanship are reflected in class-leading gap/flush tolerances.

Interior material refinement is also stepped up a notch in the new Vibe, with a combination of low-gloss materials, varied grains on the instrument panel and other trim components, and satin-metal accents. New, knit-fabric seating surfaces are durable and have a premium look, while GT models are enhanced with standard leather-trimmed seats, three-spoke steering wheel and shift knob. Seating for five is standard on all models.

The Vibe's interior also is loaded with standard amenities not typically found in other vehicles in the segment, including a steering column with telescoping/rake adjustability; a 115-volt, three-prong auxiliary power outlet, six-way adjustable driver's seat and front active headrests.
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Pontiac Solstice Coupe, 2009

 Pontiac Solstice Coupe, 2009

The making of a coupe

It is a modern sports car with classic lines. The roofline has a "fastback" shape with stylized "rails" that run from the front of the roof to the rear, culminating in a stylish and functional ducktail-style rear spoiler.
The coupe's roof is fixed aft of the B-pillars, with side windows and a rear liftglass for access to the cargo area. The roof panel is easily removed from the passenger compartment, and an optional soft roof cover stores in the cargo area.

The Engineering the design
Despite its dramatic new look, engineers made only minor structural changes to create the Pontiac Solstice coupe. The rear fenders and rear fascia are the same as those on the convertible. New taillight assemblies flow more smoothly into the tapered roofline.
The sleek lines of the new roof give the car a fresh appearance, only minimal changes were made to the body structure - it's a great example of building on an already solid foundation.

The Lightweight structure
The roof's structure was strengthened with additional support elements, including an aluminum roof bow attached with aluminum brackets. The bow and brackets are stiff, low in mass, a design feature that pervades the coupe's overall construction. The roof includes a lightweight sheet molding compound cover affixed to a rigid aluminum frame for additional lightweight support. A lightweight magnesium roof panel frame weighs just 31 pounds (14.2 kg) and can be removed by one person. The cover is also made of sheet molding compound.

The Interior additions

The coupe's interior remains the same as that of the convertible. However, the area behind the seats was redesigned for easy access to the cargo area, and a storage tray was mounted directly behind the headrests.

Removing the folding-top mechanism made way for a new, flat cargo floor and several storage compartments. The cargo area's covered bins provide secure storage for smaller items. Cargo tie-down hooks help secure irregularly shaped items.
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