Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ford Flex, 2013

  •  Ford Flex, 2013

Fans of the Ford Flex have even more to love with an upgraded model with a sleek new look and even more technology to make driving safer, easier and more fuel-efficient.

The seven-passenger, three-row crossover - which debuts at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show - comes equipped with the new generation of MyFord Touch, rear inflatable belts, collision-avoidance technologies, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, first-row heated and cooled seats, power-fold mirrors and an optional new Appearance Package. Plus, the base 3.5-liter engine is projected to deliver 1 mpg better fuel economy on the highway and in the city, with 20 more horsepower.

Enhanced technology
The new Flex features SYNC with the new generation of MyFord Touch, making it easier to manage information, control features and adjust settings.

MyFord Touch includes two 4.2-inch screens in the instrument cluster and an eight-inch screen in the center stack. The feature pairs with the latest version of SYNC.

The base SYNC package:
  •     Hands-free, voice-activated calling via a Bluetooth®-connected mobile phone or USB-connected digital music player
  •     911 Assist™, the automated emergency calling service that is free for the life of the vehicle
  •     Vehicle Health Report, the on-demand diagnostic and maintenance information service

Enhanced safety and driver-aid technology
The new Ford Flex is equipped with the automotive world's first production rear inflatable belts to offer improved comfort and protection for rear seat passengers. Last month, this safety innovation was named a Breakthrough Product Award winner by Popular Mechanics, part of the magazine's seventh annual Breakthrough Awards.

The advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries.

Advances in airbag inflation and safety belt construction methods have enabled Ford and its suppliers to develop inflatable seat belts that are designed to deploy over a vehicle occupant's torso and shoulder in 40 milliseconds in the event of a crash.

The new second-row belts operate like traditional safety belts in everyday use and inflate when sensors indicate a collision event. Each belt's tubular airbag inflates with cold compressed gas, which flows through a specially designed buckle from a cylinder housed below the seat.

The new Ford Flex also boasts available radar-enabled adaptive cruise control (ACC) and collision warning with brake support and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert. These technologies help drivers avoid potential accidents using radar to detect the relative position of other vehicles and warn the driver with a combination of visual and audio alerts.

The ACC technology uses advanced radar to scan for vehicles in front of Flex at 20 times per second. The sensor can detect vehicles up to 150 yards away and detect speed changes as small as ¼ mph. When the system is activated, it functions like normal cruise control with the exception of being able to slow down the car when vehicles in front are detected to be slowing down. When traffic has cleared, the vehicle resumes the set speed. Four distance settings accommodate a range of driving styles and road conditions. The driver can set distance, speed and the time gap between vehicles.

Fuel economy bolstered by engines, technologies
Under the hood, Ford Flex's new base engine delivers even more efficiency and performance with the addition of twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to the 3.5-liter V6.

The upgraded 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine provides 285 horsepower - an approximate 20 horsepower increase from the previous engine - and 255 lb.-ft. of torque. The new Flex also is projected to deliver 1 mpg more fuel economy, with projected fuel economy of 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

This efficient V6 allows precise, variable control of valve overlap, or the window of time in which both the intake and exhaust valves in an engine are open at the same time. By adjusting overlap continuously, the engine can operate at optimum settings for peak fuel economy or peak power output as conditions demand.

The popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 remains on the new Ford Flex, bringing the fuel economy of V6 engines with all-wheel-drive capability and V8-like performance of 355 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque.

A key contributor to EcoBoost fuel efficiency is direct injection of gasoline. This system precisely delivers a fine mist of fuel directly into each cylinder for optimal performance, economy and emissions.

EcoBoost engines are fundamental to the Ford strategy of providing technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that deliver exceptional fuel economy and uncompromised performance for millions of drivers around the world. By 2013, more than 90 percent of Ford's North American lineup will be available with EcoBoost technology. Ford holds more than 125 patents on its EcoBoost engine technology.

Both engines are mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission.
The SelectShift advanced gearbox offers the driver a choice between fully automatic operation and manual control. With SelectShift with EcoBoost, paddle shifters are integrated into the steering wheel spokes. Intuitive to operate, a squeeze back on either paddle will deliver an upshift, while a gentle push forward on either paddle will induce a matched-rev downshift. SelectShift won't second-guess the driver with an override shift; manual control is truly manually controlled. The thumb shift is new for 2013 with the standard engine models.

Both engines also are made more efficient with EPAS (electric power-assisted steering). EPAS improves fuel economy approximately 4 percent and reduces emissions while improving steering performance primarily because the steering system is powered by an electric motor connected to the vehicle's battery, instead of engine-mounted hydraulic pump steering systems.

In addition, the new Ford Flex's battery management system operates the vehicle's power supply system in a more economical manner to save fuel. The system:
    Allows the alternator and system voltage to be controlled based on battery condition, vehicle operating state and electrical load status
    Provides feedback to the vehicle regarding battery condition for active load management and battery diagnostics
    Monitors battery temperature (higher voltage in lower temperatures, lower voltage in higher temperatures), extending the battery life

Fresh new look, touches - inside and out
Ford Flex's new front end rounds out the previously boxy edges, creating more visual harmony between the front and the rest of the vehicle. The signature Ford blue oval has been removed from the front, which now solely bears the Flex badge.

In the rear, Flex now has standard dual exhaust and available rear appliqué.
Inside the Ford Flex customers will find a modern, sophisticated driver zone with new clusters, steering wheel and electronic finish panels, as well as new seat trim and foam.

Class-exclusives include the available second-row refrigerated console and the latest generation of MyFord Touch with SYNC.

Appearance Package and paint, wheel choices
Also new is an Appearance Package on Limited and SEL models that includes an available two-tone roof and mirrors, 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with painted pockets, leather seats, unique door trim panels and other interior upgrades for a truly distinctive, premium look and feel.

The new Flex comes in nine exterior colors, including three new colors for the 2013 model year: Ruby Red, Deep Impact Blue and Kodiak Brown. Customers also can choose from body-color roofs, or two-tone with white, gray or black available on the Appearance Package.
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Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner, 2013

  •  Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner, 2013

Bentley will unveil a highly distinctive and sporting interpretation of the Mulsanne at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The new Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification blends a range of striking design features including unique 21-inch alloy wheels, Bentley Flying 'B' wing vents and Diamond Quilted leather trimmed cabin with driver-selectable, sports-tuned suspension and steering, underscoring the performance credentials of Bentley's 6.75 litre V8 ultra-luxury sports saloon.

At the same time, Bentley also announces the introduction of two new options for the Mulsanne range: a large tilt-opening, tinted glass sunroof and an exquisitely designed, electrically operated bottle cooler complete with hand-blown and hand-cut lead crystal champagne flutes.

Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification
The Mulsanne is a pure example of the Grand Touring Bentley combining coach-built elegance and hand crafted luxury with immense power and sportiness that together offer the world's most exclusive driving experience. It is a luxury car that makes the joy of driving its central focus. In an era of mass production, it stands at the pinnacle of British luxury motoring.

With a 0-60 mph sprint time of just 5.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 5.3 seconds) and a top speed of 184 mph (296 km/h) the 505 bhp (512 PS/377 kw) Mulsanne has always offered thunderous levels of performance for an ultra-luxury saloon. Now, for customers seeking an even sportier look, feel and character to their Mulsanne, Bentley is introducing the Mulliner Driving Specification.

The Mulsanne's beautifully balanced proportions convey a unique sense of dynamism and movement. These are reinforced by muscular haunches and sharply sculpted, gracefully flowing lines, hinting at the phenomenal levels of power and torque that are in reserve at all times.

For the Mulliner Driving Specification, new 21-inch, light aluminium alloy wheels with race-derived, titanium fasteners, bright-finished rims and 265/40 ZR21 tyres, underscore the Mulsanne's potent yet elegant stance while providing even more dynamic handling. Available in both painted and polished finishes, the 2-piece wheels are exclusive to the Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification and are also compatible with Bentley's optional self-levelling wheel badges.

The Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification also has a unique design language which underscores its sporting character, setting it apart from other Bentleys.

The sporting motif is emphasised by a pair of sweeping wing vents made from cast, polished stainless steel. The vents cleverly emulate Bentley's iconic 'Flying B' emblem which is engraved with the Mulliner script. The flowing appearance accentuates the impression of speed and movement and the black matrix grille integrated into the design provides an attractive contrast to the polished stainless steel.

For the new sportier Mulsanne, the Drive Dynamics Control system, which allows suspension and steering systems to be tuned to a preferred driving style, now has a unique 'Sport' setting. Operated by the rotary switch mounted next to the gearshift selector, the new 'Sport' settings provide enhanced grip, body control and steering accuracy without compromising ride comfort.

Inside the Mulsanne's sumptuous cabin Bentley's styling team have created a bespoke, driver-focussed look and feel for the Mulliner Driving Specification. In keeping with the tradition of sporting Bentleys, the leather hide on the front and rear seats and door casings features an intricate Diamond Quilting pattern, complemented by an indented leather headlining.

A new and bespoke hide perforation process, developed specifically for the Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification, produces perforations in exact diamond shapes with non-perforated 'tramlines' in between. This allows Bentley's seamstresses to produce perfect stitching every time without risk of distortion and means that it can now be combined with the optional seat ventilation system.

Throughout the cabin, Crewe's craftsmen and women have ensured that even purely functional controls are beautifully executed. The unique 'knurled' or 'coined' surface finish of the cool-metal interior door handles, 'Organ Stop' air ventilation controls and gear lever provide a highly tactile experience while giving extra grip. The leather gear lever is also hand-finished with a Baseball-style cross stitch - another example of Bentley's famed attention to detail.

For confident, spirited driving, the accelerator and brake pedals of the Mulliner Driving Specification are made from drilled alloy. Beautifully crafted, each one of the raised grips on the pedals is individually polished. As a finishing touch to the cabin, Mulliner treadplate plaques are applied to the vertical surface of the driver and front passenger door sills.

In common with all Mulsannes, customers of the Mulliner Driving Specification have the opportunity to create a truly bespoke car from a palette of over 100 paint colours, a virtually limitless choice of unbleached premium quality veneers (with two marquetry options) and a selection of 22 leather hides.

Commenting on the new Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification, Alasdair Stewart, Bentley's Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing: "The Mulsanne represents the pinnacle of British motoring with unrivalled luxury and effortless performance. Now, the distinctly sporting accent of the new Mulliner Driving Specification provides an even greater degree of driving enjoyment without compromising the Mulsanne's legendary comfort and refinement."

Exquisite bottle cooler and sunroof options introduced for all Mulsannes
In addition to the new Mulliner Driving Specification, Bentley is announcing enhancements to the specification of the Mulsanne's optional feature specification. All Mulsanne modelsmay now be specified with an exquisitely detailed, Bentley-designed, luxury bottle cooler and rear cabin storage area with space for two full-size Champagne bottles in a canted position, allowing opened bottles to be placed back in the cooler.

With one touch of a button, the frosted glass door quietly slides open to reveal three hand-blown and hand-cut lead crystal champagne flutes, displayed beautifully by the white LED accent lighting. These flutes have been exclusively created for Bentley by the renowned British designer, David Redman of London and echo the racing spoke design of the Mulsanne's 21" 5-spoke Sports alloy wheel.

The flutes can be placed in the bespoke-design bright chrome holders that deploy from the centre seat cushion. These also adapt cleverly to work as normal cup holders when required. As is traditional at Bentley, the bottle cooler and flute holders are discreetly concealed when not in use and the elegant design of the cooling system means that no boot space is compromised.

The cabin of the Mulsanne is whisper-quiet, utilising the latest double-glazing and sound-proofing technologies to isolate it from the hectic world. However, should you want to let the outside in, there is now the option of a large tilt-opening, tinted glass sunroof in the front cabin. It floods the cabin with light and gives an extra dimension of space, providing additional ventilation while avoiding the security risk of open windows.

The ultra-slim sunroof mechanism retains the Mulsanne's fast, sweeping roof profile with negligible effect on cabin headroom. To provide welcome shade on the hottest days, a colour-matched Alcantara blind closes quietly at the touch of a button.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Lancia Delta 1.8 Di Turbo Jet, 2009

  •  Lancia Delta 1.8 Di Turbo Jet, 2009

Lancia Delta reflects perfectly the concept of "Anticrisis Luxury" as it fulfils the current requirements of prestige and mobility thanks to the logic of downsizing - i.e. it ensures high quality and performance, reducing cost, size and fuel consumption. Thanks to these winning characteristics, in March this model became the leader of its car range in Italy and is fast growing at European level.

The innovations of the 2009 range
The main innovation is represented by the 200 HP 1.8 Di TurboJet engine, the most powerful one of its range. It is an innovative petrol direct injection engine that confirms Lancia's preference for sports cars and, at the same time, its commitment to protect the environment by limiting emissions and fuel consumption.

These qualities are achieved by enhancing its brilliance, flexibility and the pleasure of driving which have always made this model stand out. This engine is produced by FPT - Fiat Powertrain Technologies - and is provided with a modern 6 speed automatic transmission. It delivers a maximum power of 200 HP (147 kw) at 5,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 320 Nm (32.6 Kgm) at 1,400 rpm. With such equipment, Lancia Delta can reach a maximum speed of 230 km/h and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in only 7.4 seconds. At the same time, the car stands out for low fuel consumption (7.8 litres per 100 km), reduced CO2 emissions (185 g/km) and a Euro 5 homologation.

The second innovation is the exclusive Executive version: a car addressed to clients who look for top luxury and comfort. The "top range" was designed to fulfil the requirements of business clients and members of the diplomatic and institutional worlds - as the attention invested in designing a comfortable passenger compartment shows. Seats are wrap around and comfortable as they are designed to business class standards. The back seats are comfortable for long trips with plenty of room for the legs. Therefore, Lancia Delta Executive offers a real, modern, in tune with the time alternative to bigger, heavier and more expensive cars. The fact this car was chosen to be the Official Car for the 9th World Summit of the Nobel Peace Prize held from 11th to 13th December 2008 in Paris - of which Lancia was the Main Sponsor - is not a coincidence. A Lancia Delta Executive fleet will also drive the international authorities to the G8 summit that will take place from the 8th to the 10th of July.

All these technological innovations - together with the self-adaptive bi-xenon headlights (Adaptive Xenon Light) and the integrated satellite navigator (Instant Nav) - were made thanks to the cooperation between the Brand and Magneti Marelli. We cannot forget that the cooperation between Fiat Group Automobiles, Magneti Marelli and Microsoft has given birth to Blue&Me™, a system complete with Telecom service functions - which Lancia Delta is the first one to offer - together with hands free, music player and navigation functions.

Film stars choose Lancia Delta
Lancia Delta was engaged for the Columbia Sony Pictures "Angels and Demons" new film kolossal. This film, inspired by Dan Brown's bestseller of the same title, is on the same line of the "The Da Vinci Code" and is also directed by Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks in the role of professor Langdon. Lancia celebrates this important product placement with a Lancia Delta Special Series that enhances the double soul of this model: an angel in terms of carbon emission and a devil in terms of performances. The proof is in the two engines available for this version, the 200 HP 1.8 Di TurboJet and the 190 HP 1.9 TwinTurbo, which ensure a better CO2/HP ratio for this range - i.e. maximum power for minimum emissions. The same winning features can be found in the other two models that make up the "Première Collection": 105 HP Ypsilon 1.3 Multijet and 95 HP Musa 1.3 Multijet.

For the movie launch of "Angel and Demons" scheduled for the 15th May 2009, Lancia has decided to launch an original communication campaign that goes under the slogan "One angel, 200 demons". Actions, performance and temperament: these three concepts dominate the commercial that, thanks to an agreement with Sony Pictures, exclusively shows some of the film shots of which the new 200 HP Lancia Delta 1.8 Di TurboJet is the protagonist. The press campaign is as sensational as the film as it combines one of the most emblematic film shots with a double image of the new Lancia Delta which clearly refers to its double soul: angelic on the outside, but with 200 demons inside.

The Lancia Delta is increasingly the car chosen by stars. Since last year, this model has been the Official Car of the most prestigious film festivals sponsored by Brand: following its launch at the 65th Venice Film Festival, a fleet of Lancia Delta cars drove cinema stars to the red carpets in Rome, Milan and Turin.

The strengths of the new engine
The entire world acknowledges the fact that the Italian motoring school has always had the ability to produce gritty and temperamental engines, true "jewels" that are the result of the experience and passion of the engineers matched with their technical competencies acquired over years. The new 200 HP 1.8 Di TurboJet (Euro 5) is no exception.

The new engine is produced by FPT - Fiat Powertrain Technologies - and has a maximum power of 200 HP (147 kw) at 5,000 rpm and a maximum drive torque of 320 Nm (32.6 Kgm) at 1,400 rpm. Thanks to its combination with a 6 gear automatic/sequential transmission, the 200 HP 1.8 Di TurboJet provides an exciting and unmatchable drive: it can reach a maximum speed of 230 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds. In spite of these amazing performances, fuel consumption and emissions are surprisingly low: respectively 7.8 l/100km in the combined cycle and 185 g/km of CO2.

The innovative engines prove Lancia Automobiles' commitment to protecting the environment by containing emissions as well as reducing fuel consumption. All this is achieved by enhancing brilliance, flexibility and the pleasure of driving which have always made this model stand out. In order to achieve these extraordinary results, the 200 HP 1.8 Di TurboJet introduces petrol direct injection, turbocharging and an exhaust and intake double continuous phase transformer. The merging of these different technological solutions offers important advantages to clients such as the direct injection which means low fuel consumption for high engine performance. Furthermore, the turbocharger associated with the double phase transformer enables quick acceleration thanks to a particularly favourable drive torque curve.

Here are the details of all the innovations of the new 200 HP 1.8 Di TurboJet which was designed and developed by engineers of FPT - Fiat Powertrain Technologies, the sector of Fiat Group that provides innovation, design, plan and production activities for engines and gearboxes of all uses: from cars to industrial vehicles, from boats to agricultural machines. With about 20,000 employees, 16 plants and 11 research centres located in 9 different countries, this Sector represents a most significant presence in the field of engines at world level. In FPT, about 3,000 highly specialized engineers work on innovation technologies development and automation. The over 40 patents registered every year show quality and reliability of this group, making FPT - Fiat Powertrain Technologies - a great centre of technological excellence and constant innovation.

The Scavenging Technology
The amazing performances of this engine are a result of the application of the Scavenging technology which maximizes the drive torque at very low rpm by guaranteeing an incredible engine response speed to any driver request.

Direct injection
The direct injection reduces the temperatures in the combustion chambers through the evaporation of fuel and lowers the knock sensitivity. This enables the engine to achieve great performances even for a moderately high compression ratio (equal to 9.5) and ensures limited fuel consumption at a "partial" speed.
The direct injection system is essential in reducing emissions thanks to an advanced strategy of double injection. Furthermore, thanks to the direct control of fuel, it is possible to avoid some of the petrol getting directly to the exhaust manifold during the scavenging with negative effects on the catalytic converter's functionality. Lastly, this injection system of second generation is provided with a new high pressure pump (capable of managing petrol pressure of 150 bar) and innovative injectors with 7 holes that guarantee ideal evaporation for all operating conditions.

Double phase transformer
The two continuous phase transformers on the intake and exhaust camshafts enable phase optimisation at any speed and engine load by reducing fuel consumption and emissions as much as possible. Moreover, by combining the two transformers with the turbocharger, it is possible to manage the Scavenging strategy by defining the correct overlapping during the transitory phases. In this way it is possible to respond to a sudden driver request by maximising the engine's response speed at low rpm.

This engine is provided with a new generation turbocharger connected to an innovative "Pulse Converter"-type exhaust manifold which optimises the use of exhaust pressure waves to increment the driving torque at low speeds. Both manifold and turbine are made of microcast steel so that they can reach very high working temperatures (up to a maximum of 1020 °C). This is very important for reducing consumption while operating at medium/high speed - i.e. on a motorway.

Thermal Fluid Dynamics
The intake ducts were designed and optimised by using mono and three-dimensional calculation technologies through which it was possible to obtain a correct and high turbulence level. Even the combustion chamber was optimised by using wide squish areas and by minimising area/volume ratios with clear benefits in terms of combustion efficiency. Lastly, the exhaust ducts were designed to work in tune with the exhaust manifold and maximise its pulse converter effect.

One of the main priorities of FTP - Fiat Powertrain Technologies - engineers was to guarantee a low level of emissions together with excellent performances, in line with the Lancia Automobiles' philosophy which places the protection of the environment at the core of its products' design and improvement. Just like the Lancia Delta diesel engines (the 190 HP 1.9 Twin Turbo MultiJet, 120 HP 1.6 MultiJet and 165 HP 2.0 MultiJet), the brand new 1.8 Di Turbo Jet 200HP E5 was Euro 5 approved even before the standard enforcement date.
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lexus GS 450h, 2013

  •  Lexus GS 450h, 2013

With a five vehicle hybrid line-up, Lexus reinforces its commitment to hybrid technology with the all-new 2013 Lexus GS 450h. When it was introduced for the 2007 model year, the GS 450h was the first hybrid-powered luxury sport sedan to enter the market. Today, the Lexus GS 450h is the world's first premium performance sedan to be equipped with a V6 Atkinson cycle gas engine and two-motor hybrid system, in a front engine rear-wheel drive vehicle.

The hybrid version of the 2013 GS 350 incorporates improvements to its hybrid powertrain and is equipped with a second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive system. Lexus GS 450h engineers have aimed for reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, while providing exhilarating performance.

With a total system power output of 338 hp, the Lexus GS 450h will accelerate effortlessly from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Conversely, fuel consumption is expected to be improved by more than 30 percent. The GS 450h is targeting certification as a Super-Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle II (SULEV II). The new GS hybrid also features a Drive Mode selector. In addition to the Normal mode, the driver can customize the driving experience using Eco, Sport S, Sport S+ and EV modes.

As with all Lexus hybrid vehicles, the new Lexus GS 450h is a full hybrid capable of operating in gas-only or electric-only modes, as well as a combination of both. Its Lexus Hybrid Drive system features an ultra-smooth running, Atkinson cycle 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a compact, high-output, water-cooled permanent magnet electric motor. The two powerplants drive the rear wheels both independently and in tandem, as needed.

In addition to the gas engine and electric motor, the new GS 450h's hybrid drive system a generator; a high-performance nickel-metal hydride battery; a power split device which, via planetary reduction gears, combines and re-allocates power from the engine, electric motor and generator according to operational requirements; and a compact power control unit to govern the high speed interaction of the system components.

Adapted specifically for the hybrid powertrain and a first for premium performance sedans, the 3.5-liter V6, DOHC engine benefits from several technical improvements including the adoption of the Atkinson Cycle engine design to optimize the fuel-efficient benefits of Lexus Hybrid Drive.

Compression is delayed in an Atkinson Cycle engine, because the intake valves close late. This creates a high expansion ratio for less compression, reducing intake and exhaust energy losses and converting combustion energy to engine power more effectively.

A high compression ratio of 13:1; a new, mid-port intake tumble generator; and the adoption of the latest evolution of Lexus' four-stroke, direct injection technology, D-4S, help the Lexus GS 450h achieve better fuel consumption.

With one injector installed in the combustion chamber and a second mounted in the intake port, D-4S combines the strengths of both direct and port injection, realizing optimum engine efficiency throughout the power band and improving torque across the rev range, while minimizing fuel consumption and emissions.

The D-4S system features new slit-type injector nozzles with a modified port shape, a higher fuel pressure for more efficient combustion, and idle port injection for improved NHV characteristics.

Engine noise, vibration and friction have been lowered through the adoption of lightweight chain technology.

The cooling performance of the hybrid system's Power Control Unit (PCU) helps reduce fuel consumption and has been improved through the adoption of dual cooling paths and a single-piece, integrated AC/DC converter.

System control has been enhanced. The PCU boosts motor drive voltage to a maximum 650V in Sport mode and limits it to a maximum of 500V in Eco mode under normal driving conditions where maximum output is not required. The motor is driven at lower voltage to provide a more environmentally-advanced driving performance to help enhance fuel efficiency.

The electric motor features lighter mounts and reduced friction. The system's regenerative braking operation range has been expanded, contributing to further improvements in fuel efficiency. In addition, the battery layout has been redesigned. A new stacked configuration maximizing luggage space allows the 2013 GS 450h to have more cargo area than the previous generation gas model.

All second-generation GS hybrid models have a new platform that is designed to be more rigid compared to the previous models. Engineers conducted extensive platform testing, ultimately increasing the number of spot welds and adding laser welds in very specific locations. The track works in combination with a revised suspension design to assure a more solid stance and superior cornering performance.

The new suspension system is designed to help guide the 2013 GS through corners with precision. In the front, upper and lower control arms are made from aluminum and employ larger bushings. The rear subframe has been completely redesigned to accommodate an all-new multi-link rear suspension, using improved suspension geometry that retains tire cornering force and enhances rear control. With the stiffer platform and lighter components, the shocks can use lighter-viscosity oil, so they move easily and respond to small inputs more quickly.

The use of front and rear aluminum control arms helps reduce unsprung weight and results in significant improvements in agility, roll damping, ride comfort, body control and steering precision. Overall, the suspension is lighter and stronger, allowing it to react to driver input readily, and ride quietly without harshness. Ventilated disc brakes featuring four-piston aluminum front calipers includes the latest electronic enhancements to help provide braking balance and control.

The standard 17-inch alloy wheels are paired with 225/50R17 tires while the optional 18-inch alloy wheels are equipped with 235/45R18 tires. The Lexus GS 450h's Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB) system characteristics have been modified to provide greater responsiveness from the first touch of the pedal.

Safety/Security Features
Like the GS 350, the GS 450h will be standard equipped with 10 airbags, including a knee airbag for both driver and front passenger. Rear seat occupants have seat-mounted side airbags, and all four outboard occupants are equipped with side curtain airbags. Also standard are new Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats that reduce the space between the occupant's head and headrest, to help limit excessive head movement, and help decrease the severity of whiplash-type injuries in certain types of collisions. Standard seatbelts with pretensioners with force limiters used for front and outboard rear seats further assist occupant protection.

Available options to help further enhance safety include a pre-collision system, which uses the dynamic radar cruise control system to provide early warning of upcoming objects that might result in a collision. The system also uses a Lexus first infrared camera to monitor the driver's eyes to check on driver status. In the event that the driver does not appear to be looking forward when a collision appears imminent, the system will initiate the warning at an earlier threshold. If the driver still does not respond and make the appropriate maneuver, the system will initiate light braking intervention up to two seconds prior to impact, designed to help to lessen the severity of the collision.

Other available safety systems include a Night Vision System that enhances driver visibility at night; Heads Up Display (HUD); a Blind Spot Monitor that helps detect vehicles in rear/side blind spots; and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). LKA provides a small amount of active steering torque to help maintain course, while the LDW feature alerts the driver if the system detects that the vehicle is beginning to drift out of the lane.

Exterior Design
The 2013 GS expresses a new generation of Lexus' design philosophy with its precisely sculpted exterior and will lead the rest of the lineup in an entirely new direction. When designers shaped the GS they visualized the flow of air around it and, like the LFA supercar, maximized aerodynamic efficiency.

Exclusive to the hybrid model is a unique three-lamp design that aligns the turn signal and Lexus-first high and low beam LED lamps in a single horizontal row. The improved illumination and beam range provided by LED lamps offers better visibility even under low beam driving conditions. In addition, the rear bumper of the Lexus GS 450h covers the exhaust pipe apertures. The GS 450h can also be distinguished by Lexus' signature blue hybrid badging.

The GS fuses distinctive style with engineering functionality. Fins incorporated into the side of the tail lamps and the design of the trunk area all help direct air over and past the car. The rear bumper underbody area was designed for reduced wind resistance to help keep the car steady. Finally, air inlets located on the outer edges of the lower grille serve as cooling ducts.

The signature spindle grille with its trapezoidal contours evolved from current Lexus styling and fully integrates into the aggressive front bumper allowing for efficient airflow. This distinctive Lexus design feature combined with the deep-set, high-tech headlamps and L-shaped LED daytime running lamps further express the vehicle's confident and dynamic character.

From the side, the GS projects the image of a spacious sport sedan with a road-hugging wider stance. The tapered lower rocker panel and the short front overhang give the vehicle a sense of motion. Width-enhancing front and rear wheel arches adds an athletic stance enhancing the vehicle's dynamic presence.

The rear bumper features centered aero fins to help control underbody airflow. Combined with the L-shaped LED tail lamps, a Lexus design cue, these rear bumper features lend a high-performance appearance. Overall, the new GS sheet metal represents a significant extension of the Lexus L-finesse philosophy that is the core of all Lexus product design.

The GS line-up will feature three colors that are new to the Lexus color palette: Riviera Red, Meteor Blue Mica and Liquid Platinum. Vehicles in Riviera Red will benefit from glass flakes incorporated into the coating that adds a high level of brilliance to the paint. Lexus engineers developed a new advanced coating process for Liquid Platinum exteriors. The GS will be the first Lexus to adopt this new coating technology. Vehicles with the Liquid Platinum exterior will appear more radiant as an additional metallic texture gives both strong shading and defined, sharp highlights. This metallic effect makes subtle and defined bodylines more noticeable and the surface appear finely polished.

Interior Design
The Lexus GS 450h will share the same luxurious and technological amenities as its gas counterpart, including next generation Remote Touch; analog clock with LED indicators, carved from an ingot; and a new energy-saving auto climate control system called S-Flow that focuses airflow only to the front area where passengers are actually seated. A few notable differences include a bamboo-finished steering wheel which reinforces the sustainability of the GS 450h, and the hybrid monitor.
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Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude, 2012

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude, 2012

On the heels of the popular Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: MW3 and Arctic models - and in response to Wrangler enthusiasts' continued desire for limited-edition vehicles - Jeep is introducing its new, 2012 Wrangler Unlimited Altitude edition. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude is the latest Altitude model in the Jeep lineup, following the introduction of the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot Altitude models.

Based on the 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara model, the Altitude edition offers Jeep enthusiasts a Wrangler with a unique appearance that includes a body-color hardtop combined with a variety of black-gloss exterior appointments, and a distinctive black-and-red interior theme.

Jeep Wrangler sales were up 43 percent in March 2012 versus March 2011, and are up 30 percent for the year (through March). The new 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude edition arrives in Jeep showrooms in May 2012.

2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude
The new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude edition includes a body-color hardtop with matching painted center sections on the front and rear bumpers. Unique eighteen-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels with black-painted spokes and polished wheel rings combine to give the Altitude model a one-of-a-kind appearance.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude's exterior appointments are completed with the inclusion of a Mopar black fuel fill door, a matte black "Jeep" grille badge and a black tone-on-tone hood graphic.

A black-and-red theme is found inside the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude. Specifically, red accent stitching adorns black leather seats, door panels, center arm rest, floor mats and steering wheel. Vent rings, steering-wheel spokes, door pulls and passenger-side dashboard grab handle and berber floor mats all appear in black, to provide the contrasting and one-of-a-kind interior.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Altitude models are available in Deep Cherry Red, Black, Bright White and Bright Silver Metallic, and will be available at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $33,740.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Saturn Flextreme Concept, 2008

  •  Saturn Flextreme Concept, 2008

Saturn demonstrates that clean, practical transportation and stunning can go hand-in-hand with the electric-drive Saturn Flextreme concept, introduced at the 2008 North American International Auto Show. Featuring breakthrough E-Flex electric propulsion technology that provides up to 34 miles of all-electric, emissions-free range, as well as a sleek, monocab, the Flextreme looks as clean as it drives.

With multiple aesthetic and functional innovations such as cameras that replace side-view mirrors and unconventional doors that allow easy entry and exit, Flextreme signals that the distinguishing features of Saturn's portfolio will continue in future product introductions: striking, European-inspired; and a commitment to providing customers with functional, efficient vehicles that respect the environment.

A collaborative effort between Saturn and GM's European Opel brand, the Flextreme concept was developed to showcase the future design direction of both brands, which share many similar customer traits. This design partnership has resulted in several highly successful production vehicles in the U.S. and Europe such as the Saturn Aura; the Saturn Sky and Opel GT; Saturn Vue and Opel Antara; and the Saturn Astra and Opel Astra. The Flextreme concept debuted as an Opel at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show.

The Flextreme also represents Saturn's ongoing commitment to deliver vehicles that use less fuel and produce fewer emissions. Unlike conventional vehicles and gas-electric hybrids, the Saturn Flextreme concept features GM's E-Flex System that uses an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery to propel it for up to 34 miles of electric-drive-only range. The battery can be recharged at a household outlet in just three hours. On the road, a clean and efficient 1.3L turbo-diesel onboard engine generates additional electricity to replenish the battery and extend the vehicle's driving range. Fully charged, the Flextreme's 34-mile, all-electric driving range is enough for most daily commuters in the U.S. to travel without using any fuel or emitting any CO 2.

Saturn's commitment to innovation and clean transportation is further illustrated by the two high-tech electric Segway® Personal Transporters ingeniously packaged below the Flextreme's cargo floor. With a twist of the handlebar-mounted release, the handlebar retracts and rotates downward for easy loading into the rear compartment. Once docked, the batteries of these modified Segways can be charged along with the Flextreme's batteries.

Exterior design that dares to be different
The Saturn Flextreme concept highlights the new elements of Saturn design language: more sculpted surfacing molding, clear style elements such as narrow, boomerang-shaped lights and a sloping feature line in the side graphics.

Aerodynamic details and lightweight materials help enhance the fuel savings of the electric-drive system. For example, the bottom edge of the windshield is pulled far forward so that the hood, with its characteristic crease, is very short. The integrated power socket is in the cowl panel.

The front grille and rims are covered by lightweight, polycarbonate transparent trim, which improves aerodynamics while maintaining visual aesthetics. Special light alloy wheels look like conventional wheels, yet are designed to avoid energy-robbing air turbulence.

Like the wheel design, the large, boomerang-like curved front light units are visually deceptive, and continue a theme that began with the Opel GTC Concept at the Geneva Motor Show. The vertically oriented front lights "slice up" the front end in an unusual manner. The LED headlamp unit houses a lightweight crossbeam, fog lamps and air intake for brake cooling, which are comparatively small. The curved rear lights are completely integrated into the tailgate and hidden beneath rear glass. If one of the tailgate doors is opened, an additional parking light switches on so that the Flextreme can be easily seen in the dark.

All windows, including the windshield, are made of lightweight polycarbonate, as is a large part of the roof. The Flextreme's panoramic windshield provides a bright and spacious interior and stretches over most of the roof, which is reinforced by a spine-like composite structure that extends to the rear floor.

Innovative doors open up new possibilities
In keeping with Saturn's philosophy of challenging conventional thinking, the Flextreme concept design team set out to create a vehicle that combined GM's E-Flex chassis with a body style that is dynamic, yet efficiently makes the best use of space. To do so, it uses the FlexDoors® and FlexLoad® systems, two innovative, customer-focused solutions that enhance the Flextreme's functionality.

With the FlexDoors system, access to the rear cargo area is throug h two butterfly-style rear tailgate doors that individually swing open upward along the central axis of the vehicle. This thoughtful feature allows the Flextreme's trunk to be accessible from the side when parked tightly against a wall or another vehicle, or when a bicycle rack is fitted on the rear.

The rear doors are another key distinguishing feature of the Flextreme. While the front doors open in the conventional manner, the rear doors are rear-hinged. And as there is no center roof pillar (B-pillar), opening both doors on one side creates a large opening for easy entry. For families, this feature is especially useful when securing child seats and children into the rear seating positions.

High-tech interior features enhance convenience
The FlexLoad underfloor luggage compartment may be the Flextreme's most customer-friendly feature. A practical yet flexible stowage option that extends and retracts electronically, it eliminates having to lift luggage up, over and into a trunk. In the Flextreme concept on display, the rechargeable Segway® Personal Transporters are docked in this underfloor luggage compartment.

Also inside the Flextreme concept are honeycomb structures that offer low weight and high rigidity. These functional, geometric structures can be found in the instrument panel's lower portion, cabin floor, cargo floor and above the center tunnel where the lithium-ion batteries are located.

The seats use lightweight construction and are anchored to the car's floor by a single track rather than the usual two, creating more foot space in the rear. Refined upholstery gives the seats a light and elegant look, with some parts in fabric/mesh and corners made of especially soft material. The steering wheel hub houses another high-tech feature: a full-size driver air bag packaged with a special vacuum technique that reduces its overall volume.

Large, panoramic, configurable displays are set directly under the windshield. They can show a complete, all-around view of the car's surroundings, using the two side cameras (one front-facing, one rear-facing) that replace the conventional side mirrors. The displays can also show information about vehicle systems such as the audio system, phone and other equipment.

All the right touches
A second display on the center console features touch-screen operation. At the top, the programmable, one-touch buttons are designed like computer shortcuts. They provide easy access to various intuitive menus, including air conditioning, communication/infotainment and navigation functions. The buttons can be freely programmed and adapted to new infotainment systems. Further down is the Flextreme's touch-screen drive selector gate, with three driving positions: D, P and R (drive, park and reverse). The gears can also be comfortably selected via touch-screen control.

A clever storage system at the front and back of the center tunnel allows front and rear passengers to stow items such as mobile phones, MP3 players, iPods and PDAs in two drawers. The best part about this system is that the electrical devices can be recharged in the drawers by induction, and Bluetooth-capable systems can transmit their data to the onboard infotainment system.

E-Flex System reduces emissions, trips to the gas station
The Saturn Flextreme concept is part of GM's ongoing commitment to develop vehicles that reduce emissions and the automobile's dependency on petroleum. Unlike conventional vehicles and gas-electric hybrids, GM's E-Flex System uses an electric motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery, to propel the Flextreme for up to 34 miles of all-electric and emissions-free range. The onboard engine creates additional electricity to extend the vehicle's driving range to a total of 444 miles (715 km).

GM has initiated production engineering for the E-Flex System. Production timing depends on continued advancement of key enabling technologies; specifically, the development of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicle applications.

While the featured fuel in Saturn Flextreme concept is diesel, GM's E-Flex System has previously been shown in gasoline and hydrogen fuel cell concepts.
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