Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mercedes M-Class, 2012

  •  Mercedes M-Class, 2012

The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class sets new benchmarks in the SUV world with its leading-edge automotive technology. The new M-Class boasts optimum energy efficiency, leading standards of passive safety, outstanding ride comfort combined with superb driving dynamics, as well as a completely revamped interior design offering excellent ergonomics among its key strengths.

The low fuel consumption and exemplary emissions figures make impressive reading - on average, the entire model range burns 25 percent less fuel than the predecessor. Never before has Mercedes-Benz succeeded in cutting fuel consumption by such a huge margin with an SUV model change. An ultramodern engine line-up, a class-beating Cd value of 0.32, extensive BlueEFFICIENCY measures, as well as new development tools such as the "energy-transparent vehicle" all play their part in delivering the good energy efficiency figures. The ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC is particularly outstanding in this respect: it is 28 percent more economical than its predecessor, consumes just 6.0 l per 100 km on the NEDC driving cycle (158 g CO2/km) and can cover as much as 1500 kilometres on a single tank of fuel.

In line with the Mercedes-Benz brand philosophy, the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class represents the embodiment of the Mercedes-Benz holistic safety concept of Real Life Safety, which is derived from what happens in a real accident situation. In combination with the front and rear deformation zones, the high-strength passenger cell of the M-Class provides a highly effective foundation for the occupant protection systems. Both active safety and driver-fitness safety in the new M-Class are further improved by assistance systems that will already be familiar, primarily from the S-Class and E-Class.

All models in the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class range offer excellent comfort and dynamic handling as standard - both on the road and away from the tarmac. Besides the steel suspension with selective damping, there are also some new chassis developments and innovative dynamic handling control systems available, which are designed to make driving the new premium SUV an even more effortlessly superior experience. These include the AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS), the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM for active roll stabilisation and the ON&OFFROAD package with six driving modes. A comprehensive package of measures has also been included to ensure that the M-Class is at the forefront of its segment for acoustic and vibration comfort too.

The third generation of the highly coveted Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV combines the best of both worlds, boasting a strong off-road heritage at the same time as making its passengers feel as if they are travelling in a luxury premium saloon. Ground aluminium or exquisite woods as well as the finely detailed switches and trim highlights blend with electrifying surfaces and powerful, harmonious lines to create a high-class interior ambience and a tremendous sense of wellbeing for both the driver and passengers.

Interior design in detail: From Economy to First Class
The third generation of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class combines the best of two worlds: the much-coveted SUV not only boasts a strong off-road vehicle heritage, but its passengers also benefit from levels of comfort comparable to those of a premium saloon. Turned aluminium or high-quality wood, finely detailed switches and highlights as well as exciting surfaces and powerful, harmonious lines help to create a high-quality sense of wellbeing in the interior for both the driver and passengers.

The immediately visible design concept of the interior combines an authentic SUV experience with the sense of wellbeing of a high-quality Mercedes-Benz saloon. While an expressive dome shape embodies the power of an SUV, the gently sloping dashboard in the front passenger area affords an outstanding sense of space, thereby highlighting the vehicle's suitability for long journeys.

The evolution of the dashboard in Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles, from the early days of the G-Class through to today's new M-Class, makes it clear how much aspects of comfort and wellbeing have now come to the fore:

    In the G model dating from 1979, square-edged shapes defined the flat dashboard. The angular instrument panel was laid on top of this, while the dashboard console, also angular in shape, and the glove compartment area were hung beneath. As if pieced together from modular sections, the individual elements reflected the clear look of a commercial vehicle. Their simple practicality dispensed with any embellishments, instead giving off an air of rustic charm with a rather metallic-like effect. At the time, this was totally appropriate for an off-road vehicle.
    The dashboard in the first generation M-Class dating from 1998 was also primarily functional in nature, and made only tentative concessions to a design based around comfort. Nevertheless, the first hints of the more comfortable and friendlier interior design to be found in saloons were noticeable. Curves and sweeping lines helped to avoid an impression of austerity. Trim elements were not often incorporated into the sober visual design, however, and functionality continued to dominate.
    The design of the instrument panel in the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class is completely on a par with its counterparts found in luxury-class saloons: modern, friendly, equipped with high-quality materials and stylishly designed. At the same time, matching details reflect the superior character of a premium SUV.

SUV environment with the comfort of a luxury saloon
The modern Mercedes-Benz definition of the appropriate interior of an SUV becomes evident as soon as the pleasantly high seating position is accessed via the wide-opening doors. The spacious, bright interior provides noticeably more elbow room than its predecessor (34 mm more in the front, 25 mm more in the rear) and thus an enhanced sense of space and comfort. The driver takes to the wheel behind a 4-spoke multifunction steering wheel with twelve trapezoidal control buttons for trip computer, radio, telephone, etc. - which is also of a high saloon standard. The 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission is controlled via the DIRECT SELECT DIRECT SELECT lever as well as DIRECT SELECT shift paddles on the steering wheel.

The broad instrument panel stretches out behind the steering wheel. With its clear emphasis on width, it continues the horizontal lines from the exterior design in the interior. Exciting areas and powerful lines highlight the vehicle's sporty aspirations.

An eye-catching feature of the instrument panel is a large decorative trim element that is then continued along the doors in a very harmonious wrap-around effect. These generously proportioned trim elements, in a three-dimensional design, are available in four high-quality wood finishes, or in aluminium. The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class can thus be appointed to reflect either exclusive refinement or sporty sophistication, according to the customer's taste. The door openers and seat adjustment switches have been inset with precision craftsmanship into the side trim elements. The door centre panels feature distinctive decorative stitching, with a separate, exclusive look for the Sports package.

All clear: instruments and COMAND screen
The state-of-the-art instrument cluster with its two clear and extremely legible round dials and a large, 11.4 cm monochrome display between them, impresses with the high quality of its design. Dominating the centre of the instrument panel in the centre of the vehicle is the large colour screen for the infotainment system. There is a choice between CD radio, CD radio with integrated navigation system or the COMAND control and display system with the latest navigation system (14.7 cm screen diagonal for the CD radios, 17.8 cm for the internet-enabled COMAND Online). The control and display concept was developed specifically with user-friendly operation in mind. Infotainment, navigation and communication systems are intuitive and easy to operate using the metal Controller located on the centre console. Two buttons are used to switch the display on and off.

Vertical rectangular air intake vents either side of the large screen serve to emphasise the more functional aspects of the SUV. The outer air vents are the same shape but in this case horizontally positioned, thus giving an added design flair. The dashboard console and air intake vents feature edging with a quality Silver Shadow finish. The row of high-gloss silver switches in the dashboard console are characterised by their ergonomic design and discernible precision. The same applies to the air conditioning and ventilation setting, as already proven in Mercedes-Benz saloons.

The centre console incorporates an integrated arm and handrest, in front of which is located the Controller and various switches, such as those for the off-road programmes and AIRMATIC air suspension. All controls feature a quality, uniform look. They create a harmonious effect and the lend the interior a touch of class in the many places in which they are used.

Numerous stowage facilities, high degree of variability and temperature-controlled cup holder

Numerous, easily accessible stowage facilities in the M-Class can accommodate bottles, mugs, keys, coins and much more. Each of the four doors can also easily accommodate a large 1-litre bottle.

A light touch of the handrest in the centre console opens up a large stowage compartment which houses a 12V socket as well as easily accessible connections for mobile audio devices. To make long journeys and extensive off-road excursions more enjoyable, the centre console also features two innovative cup holders which can keep drinks either cool or warm at temperatures of between 8°C and 55°C.

High-quality materials and strong colour values
The seats in the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class are designed to provide a high level of comfort on long journeys as well as excellent lateral support. All important parameters can be electrically adjusted, including height, backrest angle, seat cushion angle and reach. Generous seat adjustment travel of more than 350 millimetres lengthways and more than 90 millimetres in height ensure that drivers of all sizes will always find the ideal seating position.

A high level of variability characterises the rear seats, which are fitted with an armrest and cup holder. The angle of their backrests can be adjusted, and they can be also folded in the ratio 1/3:2/3, thus creating a through-loading feature for long objects, such as skis, without having to sacrifice all of the rear seat positions. Folding both backrests as well as the seat cushions forward creates a level load compartment with a capacity of 2010 litres up to the roof liner.

Exclusively available for the new M-Class are three seat and two sports seat variants in six different colour combinations. The sports seats reserved for the Sports package feature a different stitching pattern which is also incorporated into the door centre panels.

Four colours are available for the interior appointments: black, almond beige, alpaca grey and marron/tobacco brown. These can be combined with a wide range of materials: fabric/ARTICO man-made leather in black, ARTICO man-made leather and leather in six colour combinations, in conjunction with the Interior Sports package with DINAMICA microfibre and leather in black.

Chassis in detail: Dynamism meets comfort
All models in the new M-Class range offer excellent comfort and superb driving dynamics as standard - both on the road and away from the tarmac. Besides the steel suspension with selective damping, there are also some new chassis developments and innovative dynamic handling control systems available, which are designed to make driving the new premium SUV an even more effortlessly superior experience. These include the AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS), the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM for active roll stabilisation and the ON&OFFROAD package with six driving modes. A comprehensive package of measures has also been included to ensure that the M-Class is at the forefront of its segment for acoustic and vibration comfort too. To ensure that the driving experience continues to be a complete pleasure after hundreds of thousands of kilometres, the development engineers punish both chassis and body in practical trials staged worldwide and in series of selective laboratory tests. Some of the toughest examinations here include the body testing facility and the road-simulation test rig.

A high level of comfort, dynamic on-road handling and excellent off-road capability are ingrained into the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class as standard. The chassis of the steel-sprung M-Class now includes selective damping for the first time, meaning the shock absorbers' compensatory forces are of a flexible nature, rather than having a rigid setting. During normal driving on moderately uneven roads or off-road excursions at low speeds, the system is tuned for a gentler ride to the benefit of the occupants' sense of wellbeing and the vehicle's off-road abilities. In order to keep the occupants feeling at their ease when driving at a brisker pace or performing abrupt evasive manoeuvres, the dampers switch to a firmer setting in such circumstances for a high level of handling stability. The M-Class driver is helped here by an electric steering system that provides the optimum level of power assistance to suit the particular driving situation. The system therefore makes light work of parking or off-road manoeuvres by maximising steering assistance. The SUV also scores here with the tightest turning circle in its market segment. The 180-degree turn is negotiated within a circle diameter of just 11.8 metres. As the speed increases, however, assistance is reduced in favour of greater directional stability.

For those who want to venture off surfaced roads, the ML 350 BlueTEC 4MATIC and ML 350 BlueEFFICIENCY 4MATIC models feature an extensive off-road specification as standard, which considerably enhances their capabilities when the going gets tough. Apart from 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive and the electronic traction control system 4ETS, this also includes an off-road button that activates a special off-road driving mode:
  •     To improve traction, the wheel slip thresholds and the shift points of the 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission are raised
  •     A flatter accelerator response curve enables more sensitive throttle control
  •     Off-road ABS ensures optimum braking characteristics, especially on loose surfaces

Start-off Assist and the HOLD function furthermore come to the driver's assistance when performing a hill start, while Downhill Speed Regulation, or DSR, enables the M-Class to automatically maintain the speed set with the cruise control lever on descents.

For anyone wishing to go exploring off the beaten track even more in the new M-Class, there is the optional ON&OFFROAD package.

Comfort system: AIRMATIC air suspension with ADS
The AIRMATIC full air suspension system including the Adaptive Damping System ADS offers a soft basic suspension setup with a low natural frequency, where full spring travel is available even when the vehicle is fully laden. This provides the basis for excellent ride comfort on road combined with noticeably superior handling stability. AIRMATIC compensates for variations in vehicle load and driving state, at the same time as acting as a level control system. Away from the tarmac, the air suspension increases the vehicle's off-road prowess by offering additional ride heights. The body can be raised or lowered with the engine running at any time, either automatically or at the driver's request with a simple turn of the rotary control in the centre console. The system is speed sensitive, meaning that it lowers the body at higher speeds to minimise aerodynamic drag while increasing handling stability too. The air suspension system's basic components :
  •     Air-filled spring struts on the front axle with integral ADS dampers
  •     Air springs with separate ADS dampers on the rear axle
  •     Electric compressor with central pressure reservoir and pressure sensor
  •     Air spring valves
  •     Electronic control unit
  •     Sensors for level control and damping control

The adaptive damping system ADS II is a fully automatic, electronically controlled system, which adapts the damping force at each wheel to suit changing requirements using a skyhook algorithm. In contrast to a passive system with a constant damper setting, the vehicle's motion is controlled uniformly in all driving situations, leading to improved handling stability and a considerable reduction in body movement. The skyhook algorithm regulates the damping forces at each wheel so as to lessen the forces exerted on the body by the movement of the wheels. When there are low levels of body excitation, the Mercedes-Benz M-Class drives with damping level 1 active. Should the body speed exceed a certain threshold, however, the system will switch to the skyhook algorithm and constantly alternate between the second and third damping levels by means of fast-acting solenoid valves in order to counter the body's rolling and pitching movements. Under even more dynamic handling conditions, level 4 is engaged, and when driving in Sport mode, level 4 damping is activated at all times. Damping control at each individual wheel takes place extremely fast - depending on the control command, the valves are capable of setting one of the characteristic curves described here in less than 0.05 seconds:
  •     Level 1 Soft rebound / soft compression for comfortable ride characteristics, gentle body movements and little longitudinal and lateral acceleration
  •     Level 2 Soft rebound / firm compression (skyhook mode)
  •     Level 3 Firm rebound / soft compression (skyhook mode)
  •     Level 4 Firm rebound / firm compression: for minimising wheel load fluctuations when cornering and braking, high longitudinal and lateral acceleration for enhanced handling safety

The current driving state is determined using a steering angle sensor, 4 turning angle sensors und the road speed as derived from the ESP®signal and the brake pedal switch. Based on these signals, the control unit calculates the current damping forces required and actuates the appropriate damper characteristic curves. The driver is able to choose between Sport and Comfort modes manually by pressing a switch.

New dynamic handling control system: cornering without rolling
Active roll stabilisation in the form of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM can be optionally combined with both the AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS) and the ON&OFFROAD package. This system uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles, which it controls automatically as a function of the lateral acceleration, road speed and the ADS Comfort/Sport switch setting. The ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM compensates for the roll angle of the body through bends, greatly increasing agility and driving pleasure in the process. The system has the additional effect of increasing handing stability and therefore safety, particularly at higher speeds. Further benefits of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM include even greater ride comfort both when cornering and driving in a straight line, together with enhanced off-road abilities. The various control strategies in detail:
  •     Comfort is improved when driving straight ahead as the rotary actuators decouple the two halves of the front and rear anti-roll bars in this situation, meaning that the anti-roll bars are "open" and do not react to a stimulus on just one side, such as bumps or potholes.
  •     Increased ride comfort and more dynamic handling when cornering, because the system actively influences the anti-roll bars' torsional moments and twisting angles. The anti-roll bars' torsional moment furthermore remains constant in response to a stimulus on one side, such as is the case when driving over a pothole on the outside of the bend. Thanks to the individual control at the front and rear axles, distribution of the roll momentum can be varied, allowing the self-steering properties to be actively adapted to the prevailing driving situation. The handling characteristics are adjusted for extra agility when driving along country roads and for even greater stability on the motorway.
  •     When driving in extreme off-road conditions at low speeds, the two anti-roll bars at the front and rear axles are decoupled. This leaves the anti-roll bars "open", allowing greater axle articulation.

The key componentry of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM comprises a belt-driven hydraulic pump and an oil reservoir in the engine compartment, as well as a valve block and active anti-roll bars at both the front and rear axles. In contrast to a passive anti-roll bar, the active variant is split into two in the middle, and the two halves are connected with one another by means of hydraulic rotary actuators. Using the CAN signals relayed to it by pressure sensors and a lateral acceleration sensor, the electronic control unit regulates the hydraulic pressure.

The complex workings of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM
The hydraulic pump feeds oil to the system from the oil reservoir. The pressure control valves and directional control valves integrated into the valve blocks at the front and rear axles set the desired pressure and twist the active anti-roll bars in the appropriate direction for the driving situation. Inside the hydraulic rotary actuators that are built into the active anti-roll bars there are six oil-filled chambers, three of which are pressurised for each direction of travel, i.e. a left or right-hand bend. The front valve block additionally assumes the task of distributing the oil flow between the two axles, irrespective of load.

Full programme: ON&OFFROAD package for all eventualities
The ON&OFFROAD package for the new M-Class uses six different driving modes to optimise driving dynamics and handling safety by providing the optimum drive control needed to cope with the wide spectrum of operating conditions encountered both on and off the road. The added benefit compared to the Off-Road Pro Engineering package offered previously is plain to see: whereas before there was one optimum driving mode for the road and one for off-road, drivers now have the choice of an automatic mode, as well as two specially programmed off-road and three on-road modes.

The specific driving modes for all-wheel drive resolve a conflict of objectives that has previously hampered further development of 4MATIC and the 4ETS electronic traction system as well as ESP® and ASR. To take an example: on off-road tracks, it is important that the control systems respond very gently due to the low friction coefficients, but this makes a sporty setup virtually impossible. Conversely, a sporty basic setup impairs performance abilities in off-road terrain. In the past, the engineers always succeeded in finding excellent compromises which worked brilliantly under all conditions and continue to do so. The new ON&OFFROAD package with its specific driving modes, however, enables driving dynamics and handling safety to be optimised almost as far as is physically possible under all operating conditions by maximising networking between the individual control systems.

The system is operated using a rotary control on the centre console, which adapts the AIRMATIC settings and the drivetrain to suit the specific requirements. The six driving modes in detail:
  •     Automatic - covers the wide operating spectrum of everyday driving
  •     Offroad 1 - light terrain, tracks, driving over fields
  •     Offroad 2 - challenging off-road terrain with climbs
  •     Winter - for driving in wintry conditions on roads affected by freezing rain, snow or ice, or with snow chains
  •     Sport - for serious driving along winding roads
  •     Trailer - optimises start-off, manoeuvring and braking characteristics when towing a trailer

Despite so many options, the driver is never in any doubt about mode selection: the setting is made intuitively, while the driving mode selected is visualised in the multifunction display as well as in virtually photo-realistic quality on the screen of the COMAND system. If the driver selects the Winter mode, for instance, the display shows the M-Class in snow. The Sport setting displays a racetrack with red-and-white curbs, while images of off-road terrain with different profiles appear for Offroad 1 and 2. The display is interactive too: steering input and spring travel correspond to the actual values, while the graphics include additional information on the steering, gradient and tilt angles, the AIRMATIC level, the pre-selected speed for Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), as well as the selected drivetrain settings including reduction gear and differential lock.

Irrespective of which basic mode is set, the reduction gear, differential lock, DSR and the AIRMATIC system's level control can all be adjusted individually. As with the basic settings for the ON&OFFROAD package, it is not possible for the driver to make mistakes here either. Illogical settings, which would have a negative impact on handling stability, safety or traction, are precluded. If case of doubt, the system will revert to automatic mode.

In terms of "hardware", the ON&OFFROAD package comprises an underguard, a two-stage transfer case with reduction gear, an inter-axle differential lock and enhanced AIRMATIC functionality that allows a maximum ground clearance of 285 millimetres and a fording depth of 600 millimetres.

Haven of calm: optimum vibration and acoustic comfort
The new M-Class promises relaxed and therefore safe motoring under all possible (and even impossible) conditions. By paying close attention to detail every step of the way, the development engineers in the Mercedes Technology Centre have significantly improved what they call the NVH comfort level (Noise, Vibration, Harshness). This is a decisive parameter for the general sense of wellbeing on board, whilst also contributing to driver-fitness safety, especially on long journeys.

The basis for the high level of NVH comfort is provided by the very rigid SUV bodyshell of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class. The development engineers were faced with some particular challenges here. For example, they had to make allowance for the optional panoramic glass sunroof's large aperture in the construction. The objectives set for drive comfort were no less ambitious. Substantial improvements have been achieved in this regard compared to its predecessor, thanks to features such as map-controlled, hydraulic engine bearings, a resized aluminium transmission cross member with integral vibration damper, as well as the overhauled 7G-TRONIC PLUS with twin-turbine damper and centrifugal pendulum. Potential noise penetration from the engine compartment through to the interior is minimised by a major assembly partition wall made from plastic and the intelligent use of soundproofing to suit requirements. Aero-acoustic enhancements include the vehicle glazing with its high-insulation acoustic windscreen, additional sealing in the side sections, plus the streamlined add-on parts such as the restyled exterior mirror housings.

The measures at a glance:
  •     Improved rigidity of the front end structure thanks to struts between the upper and lower levels of side members
  •     Hybrid construction of front module increases comfort at the same time as reducing weight
  •     Cockpit cross member made from particularly rigid magnesium alloy
  •     Intelligent use of soundproofing to suit requirements: In the production facilities, insulation is applied to the bodyshell very precisely by computer-controlled robots. Insulation with varying mass distribution in parts is used in the firewall area in accordance with the potential noise penetration.
  •     Aluminium transmission cross member with integrated vibration damper on the diesel models
  •     Vibration-optimised 7G-TRONIC PLUS with twin-turbine damper, plus, on the diesel models, centrifugal pendulum
  •     Map-controlled engine bearings on the diesel models
  •     Decoupled exhaust system on the diesel models
  •     Standard chassis with selective damping, as an option: AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System or AIRMATIC air suspension with Adaptive Damping System and ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM dynamic roll stabilisation
  •     Electric steering
  •     Major assembly partition wall made from plastic in order to minimise penetration of noise from engine compartment into the interior
  •     External noise minimised by acoustic encapsulation of engines
  •     High-insulation acoustic windscreen
  •     Additional aero-acoustic sealing in the side sections

Body testing facility: the M-Class on the road simulator
A totally dependable body and chassis systems that can cope with high levels of strain under even the most demanding conditions over hundreds of thousands of kilometres are particularly indispensable in an SUV such as the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, with its broad on-road and off-road performance spectrum. Besides practical tests with the prototypes, the engineers also subject the M-Class body to an exhaustive test of durability during the development phase that ranks amongst the toughest examinations in the world for body and chassis. Lasting several weeks, the load cycle covers a total of 3000 kilometres, which corresponds to an average of 300,000 kilometres of routine driving. This is because every kilometre driven on one of the state-of-the-art test rigs is 100 times more gruelling than in everyday driving. SUVs which come through this endurance test unscathed will be able to withstand the strain of a tough day's driving on and off the road in the Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

The test programme comprises various "load spectra", which the engineers refer to as virtual test tracks. The individual courses are not dreamt up by the team of testers, however. Instead, real routes were digitised, including the "Heide" test with its tortuous pothole and cobblestone sections, special off-road torsion drives with maximum torsion levels, and corrugated tracks in Africa with high-frequency excitation. Computers orchestrate the sophisticated test rigs on the basis of this data. The rigs' servo-hydraulic cylinders mercilessly knock, jerk, shake and twist the bodies, just like on a real test drive. In all, 26 actuating cylinders arranged vertically and horizontally are responsible for stimulating the body on the test rig. A hydraulic system generates a pressure of 210 bar and pumps as much as 2000 litres of oil into the cylinders every minute. This enables the formidable forces of up to 20,000 Newtons to be produced, which shake the car thoroughly in quick succession at the computer's command.

To allow them to detect any damage early, the Mercedes engineers halt the test rigs after around 100 kilometres each time, or when one of the 150 or so sensors that permanently monitor the vehicle emits a signal to automatically shut down the facility. The body is then inspected meticulously for the tiniest sign of damage. The experts are highly experienced, so they know exactly where the critical points are and what they should look out for. Apart from the weld points and bonded connections, the panels along the force transmission paths between the chassis and body are also carefully scrutinised, as these areas have to withstand very high forces in an SUV when negotiating rough roads or torsion sections. The candidate is deemed to have passed the endurance test if its body shows zero signs of damage. Even the finest of cracks, which can only be spotted with the aid of special fluorescent colours and under ultraviolet light, are unacceptable.

Road-simulation test rig: an ordeal for the chassis
The road-simulation test rigs are just as punishing as the body testing facility. Applying identical load spectra over the same distance, the test engineers torture the M-Class chassis in all of its different variants here - from the basic steel suspension with selective damping to the AIRMATIC ADS air suspension to the version with the new ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM. In contrast to the body testing facility, only the chassis is installed on the test rig here. The pivot points are fixed to the solid test rig frame, while the wheel hubs are connected to the servo-hydraulic cylinders using special mounting fixtures. This test setup allows the complete chassis to be examined in isolation, producing even more exact findings.

Compared to the testing for road-going saloons, the programme for a Mercedes-Benz SUV is far more rigorous. As with the body testing facility, the chassis is also subjected to all manner of different on-road and off-road load cycles. In contrast to real-life driving with prototypes, which continues to take place too, the constant laboratory conditions on the road-simulation test rig allow the engineers to analyse individual chassis parameters more effectively, and thereby take targeted action to correct any vulnerabilities found during development. The several weeks of laboratory testing staged over a distance of 3000 kilometres would take about half a year if carried out under real-life conditions.

Engines and transmissions in detail: The SUV efficiency champion
The third-generation M-Class sets a new benchmark in the SUV segment. The low fuel consumption figures and exemplary emissions figures are particularly impressive. Compared with the outgoing model, the entire model range consumes 25 percent less fuel on average. This kind of formidable reduction in fuel consumption is unprecedented with any Mercedes-Benz SUV model changeover to date. An ultra-modern engine line-up, concerted engine downsizing, the best-in-class Cd value of 0.32, extensive BlueEFFICIENCY measures and new development tools such as the "energy-transparent vehicle" all play their part in delivering the good energy efficiency figures. The highlight comes in the guise of the ML 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC, which is 28 percent more economical than its predecessor, boasts NEDC fuel consumption of 6.0 l/100 km (158 g CO2/km) and has a range of up to 1500 kilometres on a single tank - figures that only a few years ago remained the preserve of the compact class.
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Chevrolet Malibu, 2013

  • Chevrolet Malibu, 2013

The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu made its global debut at the 2011 Auto Shanghai, with simultaneous introductions in the United States and China - two of the nearly 100 countries on six continents where it will be sold. Chevrolet's first global midsize sedan will provide customers from Shanghai to New York and Sydney to Sao Paulo with expressive design, advanced technologies, ride performance and fuel-efficient powertrains.

Expressive and efficient exterior
A wider stance, broad shoulders and an integrated rear spoiler bring a new athleticism to Malibu and give it a more aggressive appearance. The new Chevrolet Malibu has a 4.5-inch (114 mm) shorter wheelbase and 62-inch (1,574 mm) front and rear tracks that are more than 2 inches (51 mm) wider than the model it replaces.

Other exterior design cues include Chevrolet's dual-port grille, projector HID headlamps, larger Chevrolet bow-tie badges front and rear, and new Camaro-inspired LED dual-element taillamps. The look is complemented by a range of large 17-, 18- and 19-inch wheels.

The new Malibu exterior is anticipated to be SAE-certified as one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in the segment, with a coefficient of drag (Cd) rating near Chevrolet Volt's Cd of .280. Because of Chevrolet Malibu's new shape and design, engineers were able to remove 60 counts of wind drag compared to the model it replaces.

Chevrolet Malibu also has electronically controlled and integrated active aero shutters (select models in North American markets) to improve aerodynamics and enhance fuel economy without sacrificing the exterior design.

Chevrolet Malibu's active shutter system automatically closes airflow through the lower intake opening when air intake is least needed. When closed, the shutter system enhances aerodynamic performance by redirecting airflow around the front of the vehicle and down the sides, rather than through it. Whether the shutter is open or closed depends on engine coolant temperature and speed - for example, the shutters open when the car is traveling up a hill, pulling a trailer, or in hot city driving; the shutters close at highway speeds when less engine cooling is required.

Roomier, more refined interior
The new Malibu interior was designed to bring an element of sophistication to everyday driving, featuring an all-new dual cockpit design that creates an inviting, roomy and comfortable environment.

The increased width of the new Chevrolet Malibu means a more spacious cabin. Compared to the previous model, it has nearly 4 cubic feet (113 L) of additional interior volume, along with more shoulder and hip room.

The Chevrolet Malibu interior features metallic, chrome or wood accents located around the shifter, surrounding the center stack, around the instrument cluster and on doors and the steering wheel. Soft, ice blue ambient lighting reflects off of and complements chrome accents and ensures even, consistent illumination along the instrument panel and in storage pockets. Ice blue lighting on the center stack dials, exposed ice blue French contrast stitching, soft-touch and textured surfaces, and strategic applications of noise-deadening materials add to Malibu's interior refinement.

The Chevrolet Malibu also has a number of storage areas, including a radio face that articulates up and down to reveal a six-inch deep storage area behind its seven-inch touch-screen radio display - a U.S. first in a midsize car. Malibu will also offer a full range of the latest infotainment options, including new color radio systems and an available navigation system.

Malibu will include Chevrolet's new MyLink infotainment package at launch. It builds on the safety and security of OnStar and seamlessly integrates online services like Pandora® internet radio and Stitcher SmartRadio®. MyLink integrates wireless connectivity through Bluetooth to enable hands-free use of selected smart phone apps while the device remains safely stowed.

MyLink features a high-resolution, full-color touch screen display designed to manage the number of steps required to complete a task. MyLink also adds stereo audio streaming and wireless control of smart phones, building on the Bluetooth hands-free calling capability already offered in most Chevrolet vehicles.

All-new 2.5L powertrain
The 2013 Malibu features a global lineup of fuel-efficient and powerful four-cylinder engines that complements its European-inspired driving characteristics.

An all-new Ecotec 2.5L dual overhead cam, four-cylinder engine with direct injection leads Chevrolet Malibu's engine lineup in North America. It is expected to be one of the most efficient of its size in the market. New features include enhanced authority continuously variable valve timing, variable-displacement oil pump and electronic thermostat that save fuel, while delivering V-6-like performance. It is estimated the engine will be SAE-certified at more than 190 horsepower (141 kW) and 180 lb.-ft. of torque (245 Nm). The new engine has noise-reducing features such as a cast exhaust manifold, steel crank, low-noise timing chain and direct mount accessories that contribute to a quiet-cabin experience.

The 2.5L is mated to a Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed automatic with features designed to enhance powertrain efficiency. They include changes to clutch controls and hardware that improves shift response and time. These changes enabled engineers to specify higher gearing to improve cruising efficiency while maintaining acceleration performance and driveability.

Driving experience
The 2013 Chevrolet Malibu delivers precise ride and handling. It has been engineered to be best-in-class and on par with more expensive sports sedans.

Benefiting from continuous refinement of an award-winning global architecture, engineers have tested, tuned and calibrated the Chevrolet Malibu on rural roads, highways, freeways and GM validation facilities around the world.

Contributing to the Chevrolet Malibu's ride and handling characteristics are:
  • A solid body structure as stiff as any in the global midsize sedan market, allowing for precise tuning and dynamic vehicle control
  • A premium steering gear for smooth, precise responsiveness and on-center feel
  • Proven and continuously refined MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspensions
  • Large, ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes, clamped on by dual-piston front and single-piston rear aluminum calipers, which are expected to deliver segment-best stopping distance
  • An isolated engine cradle for tuned, refined feedback, without noise or vibration
  • Fuel-saving electric power rack-and-pinion variable-effort power steering, resulting in effortless low-speed maneuvers and a higher degree of steering feel at higher speeds
  • Chassis control technologies include four-channel anti-lock brakes, full-function traction control, four-corner electronic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist system, corner brake control, hydraulic brake fade assist and drag torque control.

Safety features
When it comes to safety features, the new Chevrolet Malibu will be one of the best-equipped in the segment. The Malibu will also be pedestrian protection-compliant in all markets where it is sold, and for the first time in North America. Pedestrian protection design in the front of the vehicle reduces the chance of secondary collision between the pedestrian and engine block in car-pedestrian accidents.

The Chevrolet Malibu will also offer these standard and available safety features:
  •     Dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags
  •     Driver and front passenger pelvic/thorax side-impact air bags
  •     Driver and passenger knee air bags
  •     Roof rail air bags with rollover protection
  •     Available second-row head/thorax side-impact air bags
  •     Available lane departure warning system with forward collision alert
  •     Available rearview camera system

On Star is also included in Chevrolet Malibu's safety features and includes Automatic Crash Response, as well as improved voice recognition technology, remote diagnostics, remote door unlock, Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and six months of uplevel Directions and Connections service that includes Turn-By-Turn Navigation.

The new Chevrolet Malibu comes in LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, with 10 exterior colors and four interior color combination choices in North America, depending on the model. Malibu production in the United States begins in early 2012. It will be built in multiple locations around the globe, including the Fairfax, Kan. and Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plants in the United States.
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Lancia Ypsilon, 2012

  •  Lancia Ypsilon, 2012

The 2011 Geneva Motor Show was the setting of the world premiere of the new Lancia Ypsilon, a "small flagship" that in just 3.84 metres packs the best of Italian style, innovation and eco-friendliness. For the first time it is proposed in a 5-door version designed to offer even greater convenience and comfort to devotees of Lancia charm, technological excellence and unique style.

At the heart of the Lancia Ypsilon's design is an original approach to the "premium" car concept that redefines the meaning of the word "luxury", fascinating those who seek originality and character, those who love technology and elegance, and those who admire quality and innovation. With Lancia Ypsilon, luxury becomes something unique that triggers an emotion, the pleasure of "owning" but without pretentious display, the search for uniqueness in any area, the statement of one's true personality without allowing himself to be swayed by the judgements of others.

The new Lancia Ypsilon, which on the market from June across key European markets and from September in Great Britain and Ireland with the Chrysler brand, is the fourth series of the successful model - over one and a half million vehicles currently on the road - born in 1985 when the Y10 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show. It was a miniature flagship with style and content features never seen before on an economy car of the day, marking that forerunner spirit that was to accompany the model until today. It was the Lancia Y's turn in 1996: elegant, elite, with a strong personality that reinforced the concept of "customized luxury". Hence we arrived in 2003 when the third generation, the Lancia Ypsilon, brought to the world of city-cars the technology and "class" till then exclusively reserved for models in higher segments.

Now the baton is taken up by the new Ypsilon, which confirms it is the "Fashion City-Car" par excellence that continues to charm with its personality, sophisticated style and unconventional class, but it has become more grown up and mature, with a wider appeal. And below this polished exterior bearing the prestigious "Made in Italy" label lies all the substance of a car that boasts cutting-edge technology as recently pointed out by the four awards given in occasion of the "International Engine of the Year" competition.

A refined and innovative Italian "5-door" with the look typical of a "3-door", the new Ypsilon is a very compact car, so much so that it remains in segment "B" but with high standards of roominess and comfort: although just 384 cm long, 167 cm wide and 152 cm high, with a wheelbase of 239 cm, the new Lancia Ypsilon can accommodate up to five people and in relation to its size, has one of the most spacious boots in its segment and is one of the best in class in terms of passenger room. Without increasing the size of the rear passenger area, excellent accessibility and comfort have been achieved with the use of "slim seats", a technology used here for the first time by Fiat Group Automobiles.

In this way the New Ypsilon continues its domination of the key city-car category in response both to recent market trends where the "5-door" market represents two-thirds of segment B, and to the needs of a broader target than that reached until now, including young men and young families. It is precisely regarding the quality, comfort and usability of the interiors that the new car is determined to make all the difference. Hop inside and you become aware of the refined materials and colour combinations, the attention to detail and the numerous options for customization.

At the time of the launch, the range offered over 600 possible customisations created by cross-matching 3 interior trim specifications (Silver, Gold and Platinum), all designed to offer the customer high product value, 16 Elegant liveries of which 4 are two-tone, 6 different upholstery trims, 3 types of alloy wheels and 3 engines: (69 HP 1.2 Fire EVO II and 85 HP 0.9 TwinAir, the latter also with DFN semi-automatic gearbox), a turbodiesel (95 HP 1.3 MultiJet II), all equipped with Start&Stop technology as standard. Afterwards also the 1.2 Fire EVO II Bi-fuel engine (petrol and LPG) will be available. Note that a wealth of equipment in the field of safety is standard on the entire range: electronic stability control complete with ASR and Hill Holder, ABS with EBD, from 4 to 6 airbags (front, window-bags and side), in addition to the ISOFIX attachments.

Therefore, the new car represents an evolution of the Ypsilon model in terms of technology, safety, comfort and usability, but even so it preserves its positioning of "accessible luxury" as an attractive price list demonstrates. In detail, the Silver trim level provides door opening remote control, height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, electric front windows, 50/50 split rear seat, height-adjustable driver seat, 15" steel wheels, interiors in technical fabric with fitted electro-welded seams, radio set-up and rear heated window. In terms of safety, ABS with EBD, ESP complete with ASR and Hill Holder, front and side airbags, and also the Isofix attachments are offered standard. In addition to this great quantity of equipment, the Gold version adds: manual climate control, radio with CD and MP3 player, electrically adjustable door mirrors, steering wheel and leather-trimmed gear-lever gaiter, Castiglio upholstery and Comfort Pack. Finally, the Platinum trim level offers the added rear electric windows, fog lights, 15" alloy wheels, rear seat head restraints and leather upholstery.

In addition, for those eager to customize their new Lancia Ypsilon and make it truly exclusive, an extensive range of fine, top quality accessories is available. Not only do the accessories offer great style and meticulous attention to detail, but they also go beautifully with the car, in line with the unmistakable Lancia style and in full compliance with technical, stylistic and mechanical characteristics of the new car. From exclusive 16" alloy wheels, side skirts and tinted headlights to a black kick plate with illuminated logo, a "Blue&Me-TomTom LIVE" and the Accessories Packs.

The new Lancia Ypsilon has its sights set on becoming the alternative "premium" city car in Europe, designed as it is for a demanding customer who likes to stand out from the crowd but who also, at the same time, wants a car that is enjoyable and comfortable for everyday use. Without forgetting that nowadays the product itself is not the only "premium" element for enticing a potential customer. For this reason the brand has come up with important new sales and after-sales proposals to cater to the desires, needs, tastes and aspirations of many different customers. An example? The extended warranty devised by FGA Capital, a finance company specialising in the automotive sector. What's exciting about this solution is the extended duration up to 96 months, the unlimited mileage and the contents: a complete coverage for the vehicle components. And a characteristic even more innovative on the market is the same level of coverage for the entire duration chosen for the loan.

Style: tradition meets the future
Elements that recall the past are masterfully reworked in a modern vein. This is the original style of the new Lancia Ypsilon which once again reveals its feisty, unconventional character, in which the elegance and refinement inherited from its distant forebears are reworked, embracing new cross-fertilization or consolidating solutions which are by no means obvious.

While the exterior of the vehicle exudes an intriguing style, the inside provides the perfect place for elegance and innovation to join forces: on the one hand there is meticulous attention to craftsmanship in upholstery, which has always set Lancia cars apart from the competition, then there is the use of highly advanced design solutions. This union between elegance and innovation produces the unmistakable Lancia class which, like the best Italian luxury products, combines unparalleled style with cutting-edge technology. And it is precisely the Italian stylistic features that transform a product "made in Italy" into something unique. This is as true for fashion and fashion accessories as it is for a successful car. Indeed, a car's success is the result of a winning bet, of a flash of stylistic intuition mediated by research on new trends in tastes, on emerging customer needs and on forecasts relating to market trends and rival models. Therefore, it stems from a hard recipe that is tested by the most severe judge: time.

Exteriors: personality and innovation
Although it is compact, the new Lancia Ypsilon vehicle body sports a streamlined look: this time the weight proportions and graphics "play" the volumes differently, distributing them nonetheless over very similar dimensions to the previous Ypsilon. Indeed, compared to the previous model, although the wheelbase is virtually identical, there are design differences: the windscreen is further forward while the front projection has been shortened in order to increase the rear one, providing a more spacious boot. Last but not least, the important decision was taken to have five doors. In the end, this adds almost three centimetres to the overall length and trims two centimetres off the height, achieving a sleeker look.

The volume of the front, nicely connected and pointed, shows off a new grille: as in a metamorphosis, the stem of the glass moves up, embracing the logo, and leaves room for the horizontal elements, with "spear" shaped tips. On one hand the spirit and non-conformist genes of the Lancia Ypsilon, on the other, an acknowledgment of the past with the sixties/seventies style grille.

With a unique design which is independent of other elements, the headlights made by Magneti Marelli Automotive Lighting develop horizontally, highlighting the width of the front end. These Bi-Xenon headlights have rounded elliptical modules that give the car an even more aggressive and decisive "look". In addition, the ends of the headlights define the size of the wings at the side. Above these and the grille rests the bonnet, like a lid, delineating a clear horizontal division: the design is subtly reminiscent of the lines of the Lancia Ardea.

The side sports elements that hint at the car's personality and character, and these are offset by other more discreet lines: the handle of the rear door is concealed, integrated into the structure, thus emphasising the front door handle. The final effect is that of a compact 3-door city car with all the comfort of a 5-door model. The convex section of the doors is sculpted by a delicate concave section which fades on the side, dynamically enclosing the sign produced.

Viewed from the side, lastly, you note two dynamically sweeping curves: the first departs from line of the bonnet, sweeps along the waistline and up the rear pillar. The second, climbing from the bottom of the front pillar, traces the upper arch of the glass, intersecting the first curve, rising from the pillar below, and descends to delineate the outer edge of the rear window. The effect of a clear separation between the roof and the rear pillar is a familiar reference to the Lancia Delta.

The general volume of the rear is tapered for improved aerodynamics, featuring a pronounced tailgate, hollowed in the middle: the space obtained accommodates the number plate at the bottom; above this, set like a jewel, is the rear window which is delineated laterally by the lines descending from the pillar arch and from the spoiler above.

The shoulders emerge from the side panels and generate volumes which, running down the sides of the tailgate, link up with and embrace the tail lights. Their external positioning and vertical development, typical of recent Lancias, is emphasised by the layout of the functions: long LED light-guide bars for the sidelights and, below, brake lights; laterally at the bottom, a triangular space houses the indicators.

The bottom part of the bumper has a black centre band which accommodates and protects the reverse light and the rear fog light, lightening the overall volume.

The overall design of the new Lancia Ypsilon was conceived right from the outset to separate the various parts of the car in order to favour the two-tone version in the boldest, sleekest and most attractive way possible. After all, colour has never been simply a matter of aesthetics for the Lancia Ypsilon. On the contrary, it is an integral part of a product philosophy based on elegance, glamour, personality, play, creativity, style and the widest array of customisation options. And the new Ypsilon in no exception as its range of exterior shades stands to show, the widest of the category: 2 pastels, 2 three-coat hues, 4 metallic, 4 metal-flake shades with an iridescent effect and 4 two-tone colours.

Interiors: charm decked out in practicality
The new Lancia Ypsilon confirms and expands the heritage of its predecessors, adding even more elegance and innovation. The characteristics that have always distinguished Lancia's small city-cars, such as exquisite, unique upholstery for interiors, are reworked, combining class and hi-tech content. The concepts that guided the design of the compartment are rooted in the glorious past of the brand, but with the addition of a strong technological emphasis.

Right from the drawing board stage, the inspiration for the interior was an embrace. The instrument panel is embraced by the door panels which, in the back, surround the seats perfectly.

The design of the dashboard aims to highlight the contrast between the fabric insert that extends towards the occupants, with the upper part which traces the line of the windscreen, outlining it like an amphitheatre. The constructed curves create an effect of perspective, with the vanishing points positioned at the end of the dashboard in order to accentuate its width.

The passenger space is therefore created through subtraction of volumes and is represented by hollow surfaces which combine a different functional and perceptive usability with aesthetic seduction.

Analyzing the shapes, the construction is visible in the overlapped layers. The first are upholstered, covered with soft materials to enhance the impression of comfort and tactile experience, reminding the occupants of a domestic setting, as if they were sitting comfortably on their own sofa.

Sinuous lines yield in places to more technical ones which characterise the vents and the centre console. The contrast between the elements is marked by a slender black ribbon which cuts vertically across the instrument panel and links the central instrumentation to the gearbox, giving an impression of lightness highlighted at the ends by white LEDs. The console housing the radio and climate control system is a floating element resting on the central diffuser, while the metallic vents emerge from "tears" in the fabric. Lastly, the design of the door panels is simple and enveloping while the comfortable, high containment seats lend a sporty edge.

Substance: synthesis of excellence
The Lancia Ypsilon family has always been synonymous with style and motoring enjoyment. Now the new Ypsilon has "grown", enhancing its offering with the addition of a number of important new features. The most obvious are the rear passenger doors, in addition to a range of environmentally-friendly engines and a raft of features - standard and optional - designed to improve on-board comfort.

Versatility: 5 doors but with a 3-door look
The new Lancia Ypsilon is a stylish Italian "5-door" with the typical look of a "3-door". It is a very compact car, so much so that it remains in segment "B" but with high standards of roominess and comfort: although just 384 cm long, 167 cm wide and 151 cm high, with a wheelbase of 239 cm, the new Ypsilon can accommodate up to five people and in relation to its size, has one of the most spacious boots in its segment and is one of the best in class in terms of passenger room. Without increasing the size of the rear passenger area, excellent accessibility and comfort have been achieved with the use of "slim seats", a technology used here for the first time by Fiat Group Automobiles.

Engines: power and eco-friendliness
The new Lancia Ypsilon range of engines comprises the petrol-powered 69 HP 1.2 Fire EVO II and 85 HP 0.9 TwinAir, the latter also with DFN semi-automatic gearbox; the 95 HP 1.3 MultiJet II turbo diesel; and afterwards the 1.2 Fire EVO II Bi-fuel engine (petrol and LPG).

69 HP 1.2 Fire EVO II (Euro 5)
The latest evolution in the Fire family, the 69 HP 1.2 8V is equipped standard with the Start&Stop system that ensures 5% less fuel consumption and CO2 emissions (115 g/km is the recorded value) than the present-day engine, soaring to the top of its segment. Thanks to the continuous updates and its flexible architecture, this family of engines also remains a point of reference in the category as use of the continuously variable valve timing unit shows, able as it is to optimize valve timing (opening and closing) at all engine speeds. In this way fuel consumption is on the one hand reduced since the exhaust gas recirculates at low loads with lower pumping losses, and on the other performance increases to ensure torque availability at low rpm (102 Nm at 3000 rpm) and power at high rpm (69 HP at 5500 rpm). What results is an engine that offers the best flexibility to fuel consumption ration in the category.

85 HP 0.9 TwinAir (Euro 5): "International Engine of the Year 2011"
The second engine is the ideal solution for city use but, compared to the previously mentioned 69 HP 1.2 Fire EVO II , it has more power (85 HP) and torque (145 Nm at 1900 rpm). The first of a new family of two-cylinder engines by Fiat Powertrain, delivering from 65 to 105 HP, this 85 HP Turbo delivers a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions (up to 30% less than an engine of equal performance).

In addition, for more "eco-friendly" driving and reduced fuel consumption, you can simply press the ECO button on the dashboard, which limits torque to 100 Nm at 2000 rpm. In this way you can reach CO2 levels at the top of the segment: 97 g/km with the DFN semi-automatic gearbox and 99 g/km with the mechanical gearbox. Among other things, the DFN semi-automatic gearbox, which was originally launched on the Ypsilon back in 2003, developed in conjunction with Magneti Marelli, has been updated to offer greater driving comfort and at the same time reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

A real jewel of engine design, the two-cylinder employs the revolutionary MultiAir technology developed and patented by Fiat Powertrain which was introduced in 2009. The heart of MultiAir is a new electro-hydraulic valve management system that reduces fuel consumption by controlling air directly via the inlet valves (without using the throttle). MultiAir reduces polluting emissions (thanks to combustion control) and also considerably improves performance by boosting driveability. Indeed, compared to a traditional petrol engine of equal displacement, MultiAir engines guarantee an increase in power (up to 10%) and torque (up to 15%) in addition to a significant reduction in emissions of CO2 (up to 10%).

Thanks to these features, the Twin Air engine has been awarded with four acknowledgements in the "International Engine of the Year 2011" competition, excelling over the competitors' engines in all categories in which it competed. The jury, consisting of 76 journalists and industry experts, from 36 different countries, decreed the success of the TwinAir engine in its own displacement category (less than 1,000 cm3), and elected it "International Engine of the Year 2011", assigning it the top award in the competition. The TwinAir engine by Fiat Powertrain also won the "Best New Engine 2011" and "Best Green Engine 2011" awards.

1.3 MultiJet II 95 HP (Euro5)
With a view to respect for the environment coupled with driving satisfaction, the new Ypsilon range offers the lively 1.3 MultiJet II (Euro5), with the Start&Stop system as standard, which delivers a maximum output of 95 HP at 4000 rpm and a torque of 200 Nm at just 1500 rpm.

Equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger, a new variable displacement engine oil pump and alternator with "smart charge", the 1.3 MultiJet II produces just 99 g/km of CO2 emissions in the mixed cycle and belongs to the second generation of MultiJet engines.

In detail, the MultiJet II engines ensure economy, eco-friendliness and performance levels unparalleled on the market. Compared to the first generation of MultiJet engines, the fuel supply system changes with faster injectors able to execute multiple injections close in time. In particular, it is possible to perform a main modulated injection of fuel in several distinct phases and anticipate the ones that follow. The servo valve with balanced plunger of the MultiJet II system is able to manage up to 8 injections per cycle, offering greater speed, flexibility and precision in the various phases of operation. The injector is also simpler and more reliable because its construction is less complex and it has 40% less components.
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Maserati GranTurismo Sport, 2013

  •  Maserati GranTurismo Sport, 2013

The powerful 4.7-litre V8 engine can now deliver a maximum power of 460 HP (338 kW) and a peak torque of 520 Nm, without penalising fuel consumption and emissions. These parameters, coupled with the electro actuated gearbox featuring MC Shift technology for faster gear changes (down to 100 ms), enable the Maserati GranTurismo Sport to reach an impressive top speed of 300 km/h, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds. The version with automatic transmission and MC Auto Shift management software (which is also used in the GranCabrio Sport and Quattroporte Sport GT S) also benefits from significantly enhanced performance, achieving a top speed of 298 km/h and acceleration of 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds.

With regards to the suspension, the new Maserati GranTurismo Sport is fitted with the Sport Skyhook system, an evolution of the continuous damping control system that makes the car even more reactive and fun to drive, whilst at the same time increasing passenger comfort. In SPORT mode the car is pin sharp in responding to the driver's input, while in normal mode it constantly adapts the damping to absorb the roughness of the surface for a smoother ride. All this equates to a superb handling capability that combines sports performance and comfort in all driving conditions.

The Maserati GranTurismo Sport is available with two different types of transmission: a ZF 6-speed automatic and a 6-speed electro actuated gearbox, with dry twin-plate clutch (not available in North America). The first enhances driving comfort without compromising on performance, while the second offers a more involving driving experience.

External restyling
The restyling of the bodywork has further enhanced its already sporty nature.

The front bumper has been redesigned to improve the air flow and the cooling of the front brakes, whilst at the same time to enhance the appearance of the nose of the car, thanks to a new styling element that unites the space between the new headlights and the traditional oval grille. The chromed trident with red accents takes pride of place at the centre of the grille: a detail reserved to the most powerful Maserati cars, in keeping with the tradition of the marque.

The front light cluster maintains its original profile, but it has been completely redesigned and improved thanks to the addition of DRL LED technology. The new LEDs give the headlights a further style boost as well as improving functionality and visibility, benefitting car safety.

Behind the impressive 20" Astro Design alloy wheels lies the equally impressive braking system of the new Maserati GranTurismo Sport, which employs Brembo dual-cast technology coupled with 6-piston brake calipers at the front and 4-piston brake calipers at the rear. The disc, in a slotted and perforated version, is made of two different materials, cast iron and aluminium, reducing weight by between 15% and 20% and delivering enhanced comfort, reduced corrosion and wear and superior component performance.

The caliper, meanwhile, represents a new feature for Maserati and Brembo in terms of colour, introducing a brand new oxidised blue which, thanks to its matt finish, enhances the car's ultra-sporty nature, emphasising once again the meticulous attention Maserati devotes to detail in order to ensure total customer satisfaction. This extends to even the tiniest design detail, fully embracing the "tailor made" principle.

The rear of the car has been made even sleeker than before thanks to restyled, darker light clusters that accentuate its dramatic look.

The new model introduces a brand new colour called "Blu Sofisticato" which shows off the car's lines to best advantage and frames the countless innovative stylistic features that characterise this new Maserati GranTurismo Sport.

Sporty interior
The interior of the Maserati GranTurismo Sport has been treated to a sporty makeover. Passengers can now relax in an interior where luxury, craftsmanship and attention to detail take on new forms.

Of particular importance are the new front and rear seats, which not only improve and update the look, but also provide a more ergonomic design; the seats offer better support as well as optimised comfort for driver and passengers on longer journeys. The distinctive new design of the rear shell of the front seats, in leather, also frees up more space for rear seat passengers (+20 mm).

Particular attention has been devoted to enhance the dynamic yet refined spirit of the Maserati GranTurismo Sport. New details in EcoChrome grey and the Poltrona Frau leather upholstery, feature alongside sporty elements such as the gearshift paddles on the steering wheel, inspired by the design of the Trofeo race car, and the aluminium pedals.

The steering wheel is also new and is now even more ergonomic and better suited to sports driving, thanks to a flatter rim and a grip with accentuated profile.

With these characteristics, the new Maserati GranTurismo Sport follows in the footsteps of one of the most successful cars in the entire history of Maserati. Since its launch at the Geneva Motor Show, back in 2007, around 15,000 Granturismo models have been delivered to customers all over the world.

In 2011 the GranTurismo range accounted for 44% of the total Maserati sales, with over 2700 cars delivered to clients all over the world. The United States was once again the number one market, not only in terms of overall product range sales, but also sales by model, with almost 900 GranTurismos sold in 2011, followed by China and Italy.
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Opel Adam, 2013

  •  Opel Adam, 2013

With the all-new ADAM, ais entering the fashion-led A-segment with a chic, small, urban car. The Opel ADAM combines bold, powerful design with potential for almost unlimited personalization, making each ADAM totally unique. It also provides premium technologies from upper segments, including a new onboard infotainment system which integrates the owner's smartphone in the car (Android and Apple iOS) and thereby makes internet-based applications available in the cabin.

Measuring almost 3.70 meters in length (1.72 meters width excl. mirrors), the agile three-door is perfect for urban environments. Inside its cabin, the Opel ADAM offers seating for four people who will benefit from its premium-inspired atmosphere and a high degree of roominess unusual for a small car. In the A-segment, Opel already offers the Agila which impresses with its practical strengths. Now the new sporty and elegant Opel ADAM targets especially trendy urban customers who are looking for a car that expresses their personal style. Experts predict the lifestyle-orientated sub-segment to grow steadily over the next years.

The Opel ADAM will initially be offered with three efficient gasoline engines (1.2 l 51kW/70 hp, 1.4 l 64 kW/87 hp and 1.4 l 74/100 hp) combined with a five-speed manual transmission. All powertrains are available with an ecoFLEX technology pack including fuel-saving Start/Stop technology. Later on, a new generation small gasoline engine will make its premiere in the ADAM, featuring direct injection turbocharging for further enhanced efficiency and performance. This new engine will be combined with a completely new generation six-speed manual transmission.

Customize: "Almost unlimited" choices
Opel ADAM innovates and introduces a totally new trim approach. Rather than having the well-known trim hierarchies, customers can choose from three different highly individualized trim moods or worlds: JAM is unconventional, fashionable and colorful, GLAM offers a more elegant, refined and sophisticated setting and SLAM appeals to those with energetic and sporty attitudes. ADAM JAM, ADAM GLAM and ADAM SLAM: these three "mood" worlds set the stage for a virtually unlimited potential for personalization with a wide choice of exterior colors, three roof colors, different interior colors, decors and various headliners -including an LED lit "starlight" roof trim - and other premium inspired distinctive design elements.

Select: Bold exterior with iconic silhouette and premium inspired interior

ADAM introduces Opel's award-winning philosophy of "sculptural artistry meets German precision" to the fashion-led A-segment. And unlike other rivals, Opel ADAM bucks the trend of retro-based design with a modern and bold look.

Opel ADAM's striking and unique "floating" roof which is visually disconnected from the body allows a perfect execution of a two-tone color combination. The car's name badge is - unlike with most other cars - placed at the end of the chrome "signature" window molding on the rear pillar, which adds to its unique appeal. In the wide front grille, the ADAM has the new wing-shaped chrome bar with the embossed Opel emblem as introduced in the new Astra line-up. On the flanks there are design cues such as the blade shape in the lower door and the characteristic crisp "shock wave" around the door handles known from the Astra GTC. The headlamps feature wing-shaped daytime running lights (DRL) typical for Opel. For the first time in the A-segment, both the headlamps and the taillights are available with state-of-the art energy-saving LED technology.

The interior design delivers what its upmarket exterior promises: style and premium inspired ambience in a remarkably spacious environment for a small car. With sculpted, harmonious surfaces and graceful flowing lines just like its bigger brand brothers Astra, Meriva and Insignia, the ADAM rounds off Opel´s brand promise in its latest and smallest declination. The round, chronograph-style instruments and chrome bezeled switches convey an aura of sporty precision.

Connect: With upscale equipment including smartphone integration
Opel ADAM is the first car with Opel's all-new state-of-the-art infotainment system that not only brings its owner's smartphone capabilities to the vehicle but also adds further value to them, offering even more convenience and flexibility than a conventional system. The new system is exclusive to the A-segment because it not only offers smartphone connectivity for Apple iOS software but is also compatible with Android operating systems.

The new infotainment system makes selected smartphone content including internet based applications such as GPS navigation available in the cabin. It collects the content and displays it on the seven-inch, high-resolution and full-color touch screen which also provides quick and intuitive access to various user friendly control-functions via five easy to navigate menus.

In addition, new media sources such as MP3 players, iPodsTM and tablets can be brought to the Opel ADAM thanks to BluetoothTM and USB connectivity. There is a plug-in outlet for music devices that do not use USB or BluetoothTM connections. Opel ADAM owners who wish to enjoy a video or personalized slide show, can do so when the car is stationary.

Activate: Upscale advanced technologies for the first time in the A-segment
Opel ADAM introduces many upscale and innovative technologies into the A-segment that can usually only be found in higher segments. For the first time it makes the new generation Advanced Park Assist (APA II) available. Drivers engage the system with a button on the dashboard and it tells them when they pass a parallel parking space large enough to accommodate the car. The system then automatically steers them into the parking space, with the driver just controlling the brake, clutch and gears. It always comes in combination with Side Blind Spot Alert (SBSA) which also uses ultrasonic sensors. Another first in the A-segment is the heated steering wheel which adds another premium touch to Opel ADAM's cabin.

Ride: Agile and crisp chassis with ESP standard on all ADAMs
Opel ADAM's bold stance is further emphasized by its broad footprint (front track: 1485 mm/ rear track: 1478 mm). Its chassis with a wheelbase of 2311 mm is geared towards maximum active safety and comfort. MacPherson struts with a sub-frame have been fitted to the front axle. The rear axle of the Opel ADAM features a torsion beam compound crank design. Wheel sizes range from 15" to 18", and cars that are specified with 17" or 18" rims come standard with a more responsive Sports chassis and steering feeling. The Opel ADAM's Electrical Power Steering (EPS) includes a dedicated CITY mode which at the flick of a switch increases power assistance at lower speeds - particularly useful for maneuvering. The comprehensive ESP of the latest generation is also standard in all ADAMs and comes complete with many useful sub-functions such as Hill Start Assist.

A high level of passive safety is ensured by an ultra-rigid passenger cell mainly made from high-strength steel. This is complemented by front, side and head curtain airbags as well as Dual Seat Belt Pre-tensioners at the front seats which offer additional knee and leg protection. Other safety features include two sets of ISOFIX points plus top tethers in order to easily and safely attach child seats on the 50:50 split foldable rear bench.

The all-new Opel ADAM will be available to order after its official world premiere at the 2012 Paris Motor Show (September 29 - October 14, 2012). First cars will hit the showrooms in January 2013.
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