Saturday, December 15, 2012

Honda Ridgeline Sport, 2012

  •  Honda Ridgeline Sport, 2012

Honda's four-door, five-passenger pickup receives styling upgrades and improved highway fuel economy for 2012, along with a new Honda Ridgeline Sport model that provides high-value features targeted at the entry four-wheel-drive truck segment.

The 2012 Ridgeline is now in four models, including the Ridgeline RT, new Ridgeline Sport, Ridgeline RTS and Ridgeline RTL. Upgrades on all models for 2012 include a refreshed grille design, aerodynamic improvements, friction reduction measures in the engine and a new EPA fuel rating of 15/21/17 city/highway/combined mpg, up 1 mpg in the highway rating.

The new Honda Ridgeline Sport model adds the following features to the Ridgeline RT: exclusive black 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels (+1 inch from RT steel wheels); exclusive black honeycomb grille with black surround; leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; auxiliary audio input jack; fog lights; rear privacy glass; all weather floor mats and black headlight and brake light housings.

The Ridgeline represents an exclusive and innovative approach in the half-ton pickup truck segment by prioritizing its construction and features based on the capabilities that many recreational truck buyers typically need and use. The Ridgeline is built with a closed-box, unitized body structure for a unique combination of capability, interior spaciousness and comfortable ride performance from its independent front and rear suspension. It also delivers a wide range of conventional pickup capabilities with a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds and a half-ton payload rating, all while offering unique features like a large In-Bed Trunk®.

Functionally Innovative Exterior
The unit-body architecture is designed for vastly superior rigidity compared to traditional body-on-frame designs and provides the foundation for the Ridgeline's spacious interior cabin and bed, safety performance and class-leading ride and handling performance. The Ridgeline's modern and athletic design incorporates a solid, one-piece appearance with no separation between the bed and the cab. Large side mirrors compliment rear vision while towing. The windshield wipers have a heated wiper zone to enhance wiper performance in cold, winter driving conditions and minimize ice scraping.

A 5-foot-long composite cargo bed with eight tie-down locations provides a payload rating of 1,100 pounds. Four cargo area lights illuminate both the bed and the in-bed trunk. A dual-action tailgate opens down for traditional access to the cargo area or to the side for ease-of-access to the 8.5 cubic-foot In-Bed Trunk®. The Ridgeline is available with a wide variety of accessories and can conveniently accommodate motorcycles and ATVs. The cargo area measures 49.5 inches wide between the wheel wells, 20.7 inches deep and 60.0 inches long (79.0 inches with the load-supporting tailgate in the down position).

Roomy and Comfortable Interior
The interior takes advantage of Honda's unit-body packaging efficiency to deliver full-size interior space dimensions while maintaining a garage-friendly, mid-size exterior footprint. The driving position provides ergonomically comfortable access to large and easy-to-use controls.

Ridgeline's large multi-function console features a sliding armrest and sliding lower tray - each with a hidden storage area. Other console storage areas accommodate items both large and small like mobile phones, beverages, compact discs and portable digital music players.

The 60/40 lift-up rear seats feature a storage area underneath large enough to accommodate a golf bag. Plus, the rear seating area can quickly convert for cargo duty by lifting the seats up to create enough room for a full-size mountain bike with the front tire removed. The rear seat incorporates three LATCH positions for compatible child safety seats.

Strong, Versatile Performance
Ridgeline's all-aluminum, 60-degree, SOHC 3.5-liter VTEC engine produces 250 horsepower at 5,700 rpm and 247 lb-ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm. Variable valve timing enhances low rpm torque while extending high rpm horsepower for a broad power band. The 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission features Grade Logic Control to help maintain the most appropriate gear when going uphill or downhill to avoid gear "hunting." The fully automatic Variable Torque Management® 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4) provides confident operation in rain, snow, ice, sand and mud, while also improving on-road and towing performance by distributing torque to all four wheels as needed. The system operates predominately in front-wheel-drive during dry-pavement cruising conditions and continuously proportions torque to the rear wheels during acceleration and low traction situations. VTM-4 lock button located on the instrument panel allows the driver to temporarily hold engagement of both rear wheels to aid traction while in gears "1" and "2" at speeds of up to 18 mph.

Standard equipment for towing includes an integrated tow hitch, transmission and oil coolers, heavy duty brakes, dual radiator fans and a wiring harness for a seven-pin trailer hook up (pre-wiring only on RT and Sport).

Chassis Specifications
Fully independent, a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link with trailing arm rear suspension provide a smooth ride and responsive handling. A heavy-duty braking system includes 12.6-inch front and 13.1-inch rear 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. The Ridgeline RT has 17x7.5-inch steel wheels and P245/65 R17 all-season tires, while the Ridgeline RTS upgrades to 17x7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Honda Ridgeline Sport and Ridgeline RTL models are uniquely equipped with 18x7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels and all-season P245/60 R18 tires.

Committed to Safety
All Ridgelines are equipped with these standard safety features: advanced dual-state, multiple-threshold driver's and front passenger's SRS airbags; front side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS); two-row side-curtain airbags with a rollover sensor; front-seat active head restraints; a tire pressure monitoring system; and daytime running lights. Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), commonly referred to as electronic stability control, can apply braking force to a wheel with low traction and direct driving force to the wheel with more traction.

Standard and Available Features
Standard features on the Ridgeline RT include: integrated trailer hitch; pre-wiring for seven-pin trailer wiring; trip computer with instantaneous and average fuel economy; air conditioning; tilt steering wheel; power windows and door locks; power sliding rear window; cruise control; keyless entry; automatic heated wiper zone; six-speaker, 100-watt audio system with CD player and MP3/WMA playback capability; and 60/40 split lift-up rear seat with under-seat storage.

The new Honda Ridgeline Sport model adds the following features to the Ridgeline RT: exclusive black 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels (+1 inch from RT steel wheels); exclusive black honeycomb grille with black surround; leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; auxiliary audio input jack; fog lights; rear privacy glass; all weather floor mats and black headlight and brake light housings.

The Ridgeline RTS adds the following to the RT: exclusive 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a seven-pin trailer wiring connector, body-color painted door handles, painted inner grille surfaces, a seven-speaker 160-watt audio system with subwoofer, six-disc in-dash CD system, steering wheel-mounted controls, an auxiliary audio input jack; dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support, privacy glass and all-weather floor mats.

Exclusive Ridgeline RTL features include leather-trimmed interior with heated front seats, exclusive 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, fog lights, moonroof, 115-volt power outlet, XM Radio, HomeLink remote system, carpeted floor mats and a compass in the rearview mirror.

The Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition and Zagat Survey restaurant information is available on RTL models. It includes XM Radio, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a multi-information display and a back-up camera display. The navigation system includes a compass, thus eliminating the compass in the rearview mirror.
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Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake, 2013

  •  Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake, 2013

Mercedes-AMG is once again demonstrating its qualities as a visionary, this time with the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake. The new AMG high-performance vehicle is the exciting enhancement of an innovative vehicle concept. As an attractive alternative for design-oriented car enthusiasts, the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake combines performance with style and usability in a completely new way. Synonymous with the dynamism which is typical of AMG are features such as the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine with a power output range of from 386 kW (525 hp) to 410 kW (557 hp), the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission and the AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension. The generous interior and luggage compartment with a volume of up to 1550 litres reveal the practical sides of the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake. In addition to attractive optional extras from the AMG Performance Studio to enhance the driving dynamics even further, another unique highlight is the designo wooden luggage compartment floor. And as a truly exceptional offering there is also the time-limited Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake "Edition 1" boasting an additional 24 kW (32 hp) of power and 100 Nm of torque as well as some particularly exclusive appointment features.

Mercedes-AMG is showing courage and with the new CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake is presenting a performance trendsetter in a new market segment. The CLS55 AMG already had no direct competitors back in 2004. The first four-door performance Coupé inspired other automotive manufacturers and over the years has come to be copied many times. The successor model presented in 2006, the CLS63 AMG with an AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine, and the current CLS63 AMG with the 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine available since 2011, have consistently continued this strategy.

According to Ola Källenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: "After the successes of the CLS55 AMG and CLS63 AMG, with the new CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake we are consistently pursuing the philosophy of offering our customers unrivalled, exciting high-performance cars. The Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake is establishing a completely new, small and select niche sector, and is expected to delight new customers just as much as it will existing AMG enthusiasts. The combination of performance, style and usability is unique."

AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine producing up to 410 kW (557 hp)
The AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine impresses with a combination of direct petrol injection with spray-guided combustion, piezo injectors, biturbocharging, air/water intercooling, generator management and ECO start/stop function.

The eight-cylinder engine is the embodiment of pure dynamism and high efficiency: offering power output and torque levels of 386 kW (525 hp) and 700 Nm respectively, the effortless superiority of the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake can be enjoyed by the driver over every single kilometre. In conjunction with the Edition 1 these figures are pushed to 410 kW (557 hp) and 800 Nm. Both variants offer driving performance of the highest calibre: accelerating from zero to 100 km/h takes 4.4 and 4.3 seconds respectively, and the top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited).

Effortlessly superior power delivery, low fuel consumption
Despite offering dynamism similar to that of a sports car, the consumption figures are maintained at a low level. Fuel consumption of 10.1 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC) corresponds to a CO2 output of 235 g/km and is identical for both power units. The driving experience in the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake is characterised by high levels of agility through all engine speed ranges. The absolutely effortlessly superior power delivery can also be heard by the driver too: the sports exhaust system with chrome twin tailpipes emits a sonorous eight-cylinder engine sound typical of AMG.

AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission - individual and flexible
The AMG eight-cylinder engine is not the only highlight - the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission also boasts exciting levels of performance and efficiency. Equipped with four individual transmission modes as well as automatic double declutching and RACE START functions, its power delivery is characterised by responsiveness and maximum variability. In "Controlled Efficiency" (C) mode, the ECO start/stop function is always enabled and switches the eight-cylinder engine off when the vehicle is at a standstill. In "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual) transmission modes, the engine and transmission are significantly more responsive: short, precisely defined interruptions of ignition and injection result in faster gear changes under full load.

The suspension, steering and braking system of the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake complement the high-tech drive system perfectly. The AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension, with steel suspension struts on the front axle and air suspension struts on the rear axle, as well as automatic level control, is enhanced further by an electronically controlled damping system; it automatically adjusts the damping characteristics depending on the driving conditions and reduces the roll angle of the body. The effect of this is lightning-fast adjustment between optimum driving comfort and the best possible agility. The driver can switch between the three suspension modes of "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport plus" at the press of a button. The 3-stage -ESP with SPORT Handling mode also enables three individual control strategies to be selected at the press of a button.

The AMG-specific front and rear axles with greater negative camber and optimised elastokinematics help to provide more stability at higher cornering speeds as well as better contact with the road. The front axle, with a track width which is 56 mm wider, is the optimum match for the electromechanical AMG sports parameter steering. It features a more direct ratio, variable power assistance which adapts according to the suspension mode, and also contributes towards reducing fuel consumption since the steering assistance system only draws power when the vehicle is actually being steered.

Optional AMG ceramic high-performance composite braking system
Perfect deceleration even when driving extremely briskly is provided by the AMG high-performance braking system with 360 mm ventilated and perforated brake discs all-round. Particularly resistant, motorsports-tested composite technology is used on the front axle. The optional AMG ceramic high-performance composite braking system with yet larger brake discs and specially painted brake callipers with "AMG Carbon Ceramic" lettering ensures an even higher level of braking performance as well as lower unsprung masses. Good contact with the road, meanwhile, comes courtesy of the titanium grey-painted, high-sheen AMG light-alloy wheels featuring a triple-spoke design and fitted with 255/35 R 19 tyres on the front and 285/30 R 19 tyres on the rear.

Distinctive, sporty and dominant: the sensational design
The excitingly elegant design idiom of a sensational vehicle design is combined in the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake with a distinctly sporty sense of dominance. Its high levels of performance are visibly expressed in such elements as the powerful AMG front apron with cross strut finished in high-gloss black, the AMG radiator grille with single slat and the AMG-specific design of the bonnet.

Further dynamic highlights also include the original, broader front wings with "V8 BITURBO" lettering, the AMG-specific rear apron with diffuser look and the AMG sports exhaust system with two chrome twin tailpipes. High-performance LED headlamps including Intelligent Light System and adaptive Highbeam Assist are fitted as standard.

Extensive appointments, exclusive atmosphere
From the quality of materials and workmanship through to the exclusive atmosphere, the interior of the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake meets the very highest of standards. AMG sports seats in nappa leather with multicontour seat and memory functions, AMG black piano lacquer trim and the AMG-specific analogue clock featuring an IWC design all help to create a unique aura. The driver is also kept perfectly and fully informed too thanks to the AMG instrument cluster with AMG main menu including RACETIMER and AMG start-up screen.

The transmission modes, suspension setup, ESP® functions and the AMG program can all be configured via the AMG DRIVE UNIT with E-SELECT selector lever - a special feature exclusive to AMG - which is integrated into the centre console and angled towards the driver. Visually striking, ergonomic and reassuringly tactile: the AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather features a three-spoke design with flattened top and bottom sections, a special shape, perforated leather finish and silver coloured aluminium shift paddles. A newly introduced feature on all AMG vehicles is the chrome-look electronic key with AMG emblem.

designo wooden luggage compartment floor in American cherry
A highlight among the extensive range of optional extras is the designo wooden luggage compartment floor. This luggage compartment floor is made of open-pore American cherry wood, a decorative fine wood traditionally used in superior interior design work, high-quality furniture and exclusive ship outfitting applications. Selected veneer sheets are glued and pressed together by hand in cross-bonded layers to achieve high dimensional stability. The blanks are milled into their precise shape using a CNC machine, and the surfaces sanded to a smooth finish, waterproofed and oiled to highlight the natural beauty of the wood.

Inlaid work using darker smoked oak, precisely cut into three millimetre strips using laser technology, helps to enhance the design of the wooden floor. The aluminium rails, manufactured using an extrusion moulding process, have a brushed finish as well as rubber inserts, and not only help to protect the wooden floor but also feature anti-slip properties.

Additional optional extras from designo:
  •     designo metallic paint finish available in three colours
  •     designo magno paint finish available in two colours
  •     designo leather available in ten colours
  •     designo roof lining in DINAMICA microfibre, available in three colours

The AMG Performance Studio offers products for even greater driving dynamics and exclusivity
To increase driving dynamics and exclusivity even further, customers can also opt for optional extras from the AMG Performance Studio:
  •     AMG Exterior Carbon-Fibre package
  •     AMG trim elements in carbon fibre/black piano lacquer
  •     AMG ceramic high-performance composite braking system
  •     AMG rear axle differential lock
  •     white Illuminated AMG door sill panels at the front
  •     lightweight forged AMG light-alloy wheels featuring a 5-twin-spoke design, painted in titanium grey with a high-sheen finish, and fitted with 255/35 R 19 tyres at the front and 285/30 R 19 tyres at the rear
  •     AMG light-alloy wheels in a 10-spoke design, painted in matt black with a high-sheen rim flanges, and fitted with 255/35 R 19 tyres at the front and 285/30 R 19 tyres at the rear

Also optionally available for the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake is the Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system with 16-channel DSP amplifier, ICEpower amplifier, total output of 1200 watts and 14 high-end loudspeakers.

"Edition 1" as an aesthetic and very individual model
At the start of its market launch the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake will also be available as an "Edition 1" variant offering even more power and torque: the exceptionally exclusive appointment features of the "Edition 1" highlight the vehicle's exciting aesthetics and individuality to impressive effect. The special model includes a number of high-quality details:
  •     designo magno allanite grey paint finish
  •     increase in power output to 410 kW (557 hp) and torque to 800 Nm
  •     designo platinum white pearl leather with metallised finish for the AMG sports seats, armrests in the doors, front and rear centre console as well as the door centre panels
  •     AMG trim elements in carbon fibre/black piano lacquer
  •     designo roof lining in black DINAMICA microfibre
  •     velour floor mats with designo leather surround in platinum white pearl and designo metal badges (only in conjunction with designo platinum white pearl leather upholstery)

Also optionally available at no extra cost is the single-tone Exclusive PASSION leather upholstery in black, including dashboard and beltlines finished in nappa leather. This also includes matching designo velour floor mats in black.

The market launches of the Mercedes CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake and the CLS63 AMG Shooting Brake "Edition 1" will commence in October 2012.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Toyota Avalon, 2013

 Toyota Avalon, 2013

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. revealed the all-new 2013 Avalon premium mid-size sedan at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The new Toyota Avalon is re-conceived for the premium mid-size sedan segment with a progressive and emotionally styled exterior design.

When it arrives to dealerships in late 2012, the new Avalon will offer improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior experience with an abundance of outstanding convenience technologies.

The new 2013 Toyota Avalon is the result of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan's dramatic exterior and interior design was conceived by a youthful and talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc. facilities in Southern California and Michigan. The car's engineering development was principally led by a passionate and dedicated group based at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focused theme, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at Toyota's facility in Georgetown, Ky. True to the future product mission set forth by Toyota Motor Corporation President, Akio Toyoda, the new Avalon's more stylish, bold, sporty exterior design and luxurious interior styling are matched by an enhanced dynamic package, a combination that foreshadows the more compelling and passionate nature of future Toyota products.

Enhanced Avalon Dynamics
In addition to its stunning design, numerous structural and chassis improvements were made to the new Toyota Avalon to enhance the ride quality, straight-line stability and handling. The body structure gains improvements in torsional rigidity thanks to additional and strategically placed welds, improved body bracing, and high-strength steel in key areas in order to provide a stiffer chassis and optimize suspension performance. The new Avalon suspension relies on MacPherson struts with advanced valving and rebound springs to balance handling and agility with ride comfort. Coil spring rate and front and rear sway bar stiffness was increased from the current model to help improve body control and body roll. The Avalon's electric power steering (EPS) system has been tuned to help deliver enhanced controllability and vehicle agility while also realizing superior linear stability.

The new Toyota Avalon offers three distinct drive modes that help tailor dynamic performance to the driver's needs. The drive modes - Normal, Eco, and Sport -are made available through driver-selectable switches. In Sport mode, throttle response is enhanced and steering effort is weighted from center to offer a sportier character. Eco changes throttle response and A/C power usage to help improve fuel economy. Steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters help provide a sportier drive while in the D or S Mode, where the revised throttle helps improve shift response to help maximize engine power and vehicle performance.

Dynamic Exterior Styling
The new Avalon's dynamic exterior styling defines a sleek and expressive profile that helps communicate a sense of motion for the vehicle even when it is at rest. The beltline has been lowered to accentuate a strong stance. Compared to its predecessor, the new Avalon is a bit more compact yet displays better proportions with a longer, sloping roofline, flared front fenders, and reduced front and rear overhangs, lower vehicle height, and reduced body-to-tire gap. New 17-inch and 18-inch alloy wheel and tire combinations fill the wheel well to enhance the vehicle's dynamic exterior expression.

Key exterior design elements include the square Double-eye PES (Projector Ellipsoid System) headlamps with HID (High-Intensity Discharge)and elegant DRL (Daytime Running Lights) feature available that provide excellent night time visibility while helping define a narrower, more taut and muscular exterior expression. A wider, more assertive grille design provides a bolder front perspective. At the rear, high-performance LED combination tail lamps are adopted which are more integrated with the revised rear-body styling. The dual rear tailpipe outlets further the more cohesive design theme.

Modern Interior Experience
Design elements enhancing comfort, convenience and technology help create the luxurious experience that will prove tempting to buyers of the next Avalon. The 2013 Toyota Avalon offers a modern, spacious, premium interior highlighted by abundant rear seat legroom, while featuring a myriad of available features. Beyond mere dimensions, the new Avalon's interior design enhances the cabin's sense of spaciousness and comfort. The front seat's hip point has been lowered by 10 millimeters (0.4 inches) to help create improved headroom. The new power front seat design with increased side bolstering is more supportive and offers an expanded range of downward adjustment. In addition, the structural components of the sunroof and the headliner design have been optimized to help increase the cabin's roominess. A concave dash panel design, located in front of the passenger, helps create an expansive feeling. While the rear overhang has been reduced by 1.7 inches, the luggage compartment capacity is 16.0 cubic feet, an increase of 1.6 cubic feet as compared to the outgoing model.

The Toyota Avalon's premium interior attains a high level of refinement by reducing wind, engine and road noise inside the cabin. The resultant interior is even significantly quieter and more comfortable than the current Avalon and it creates an ideal environment to enjoy conversation, music or Toyota's available multimedia system, Entune™. Sound absorbing materials have been strategically placed around the cabin and body structure while not inhibiting a reduction in overall vehicle weight. The windshield and front side-glass panels utilize acoustic glass that helps control sound intrusion into the cabin. Reductions in wind noise have been realized by optimizing exterior shape, specifically cowl and louver sealing, outer mirror shape and position, and wiper-blade position, which have all been developed to dramatically reduce wind noise generation. Exterior gaps and steps have also been minimized to reduce wind noise around the door glass areas.

The new Avalon's interior utilizes premium materials and a high degree of craftsmanship to offer an upscale experience. Rich, supple leather trims the steering wheel, shift knob, and seat upholstery helping add visual and tactile appeal. Hand-crafted, decorative stitching is adopted for the steering wheel, and soft-touch materials on the dash panel and door trim elevate the vehicle's sense of tactile luxury. Smoked chrome-metallic accents are applied to the instrument panel, center console, door panel, and steering wheel surfaces to help add distinction and exceptional feel. Available push-button controlled soft white ambient lighting illuminates key regions of the interior to help convey the sense of luxury. The new Avalon's center console includes a convenient console tray that is ideal for the storage of electronic hand held devices. The new Avalon's console area is equipped with a USB port, AUX input terminal and three 12-volt power outlets to help facilitate device interface and charging.

The new Toyota Avalon will offer innovative technologies such as advanced capacitive touch switches with positioning and sensitivity that makes them ideal for vehicle system controls. Other premium in-car technologies include three color display screens that support the multi-information display, the audio/navigation interface, and the climate control panel. An easy to use Display Audio system with 6.1 inch touchscreen is standard on the new Avalon; while a JBL Synthesis Premium Audio system, HDD Premium Navigation with 7" screen, dynamic radar cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a three-zone air conditioning system are also on the list of available features and equipment.

Like all Toyota models, the new Avalon will feature Toyota's Star Safety System standard, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.

The new Toyota Avalon helps to prioritize occupant safety with a best-in-class10 airbags system. A Pre-collision system is also available that is designed to "sense" an impending frontal collision and can help mitigate damage. A variable ratio brake pedal is adopted that varies the initial and final pedal effort ratios to help realize excellent brake pedal feel.

In addition to a rearview monitor, Toyota Avalon offers an available Blind Spot Monitoring system which is designed to help detect vehicles behind the outer mirrors and to help alert drivers in addition to a new Rear Cross Traffic Alert system (RCTA) that can alert drivers of cross traffic when they are backing up.
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Honda Pilot, 2012

  • Honda Pilot, 2012
The Honda Pilot eight-passenger SUV receives a wide range of upgrades for 2012 with a sleeker front-end design, enhanced interior features and an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 25 mpg on two-wheel-drive models, an increase of 2 mpg compared to 2011 models.

The new styling for the front fascia, with its three-bar chrome-style grille, conveys a more sophisticated crossover SUV appearance. Interior styling changes focus on instrument panel refinement and a more intuitive button layout. For 2012, audio system upgrades on Honda Pilot EX and EX-L models include a 2 GB CD-Library (CD-L) and Bluetooth® Audio Streaming, along with the addition of Bluetooth HandsFreeLink® to those trim levels.

Feature upgrades on the Honda Pilot EX-L include the addition of a full-color 8-inch intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) for audio and vehicle information. Models equipped with the available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System for 2012 receive subscription-free FM Traffic, 15 GB audio hard disk drive memory (HDD), and a higher-resolution display.

The fuel economy gains for 2012 result from combined improvements to the powertrain, chassis and vehicle aerodynamics. The 250 horsepower i-VTEC V-6 engine includes additional measures for friction reduction and improved efficiency. The 2012 Pilot becomes quieter with additional noise insulation and other enhancements throughout the vehicle.

The 2012 Honda Pilot's new grille and front fascia replace the prior model's six-sided grille insert with a distinctive three-bar horizontal design. Reconfigured multi-reflector halogen headlights and turn signals contribute to the new look with a layout that relocates the turn signal from an outboard position to an inboard position within the headlight housing. A new front air dam and optimized strakes (the rectangular air deflector in front of the wheels) help reduce frontal area and unwanted air turbulence, both of which impact fuel economy. Rounding out the exterior design changes, Pilot EX and above models receive an all-new five-spoke, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheel design (plus 1-inch compared to the previous model). Honda Pilot Touring alloy wheels feature an exclusive six-spoke design with a high-contrast machined surface. Pilot LX models are equipped with 17-inch styled-steel wheels.

Exterior dimensions for 2012 are similar to 2011 with identical measurements for width (78.5 inches), height (71.0 inches for Pilot LX and 72.7 inches for Pilot EX, EX-L and Touring) wheelbase (109.2 inches) and track (front 67.7 / rear 67.5 inches). Overall length increases 0.5 inches to 191.4 inches as a result of the front styling changes. Ground clearance is basically the same at 7.97 inches, down slightly from 8.00 inches in the previous model.

Interior styling changes are designed to increase refinement throughout the cabin while also enhancing the intuitive nature of the controls. The instrument panel uses a more unified color theme with less contrast between panels. A glossy black center panel for audio controls replaces the high-contrast silver panel of the previous model. Speedometer and tachometer gauge faces incorporate a new look with distinct segments surrounding each meter's perimeter, along with white background illumination for nighttime driving instead of the previous model's aqua-blue background illumination. The redesigned center stack adds a subtle U-shaped character line and different textures to create a layered effect on the panel. Ideal for phones and audio players, a larger center storage pocket is 0.4-inches taller. A simplified layout for the climate controls replaces some of the buttons with dials for a more intuitive, easy-to-use overall design.

The top of the center stack on each Pilot model contains a unique display that varies by model. Honda Pilot LX and EX models contain a three-line display. Pilot EX-L models for 2012 (without navigation) receive the new i-MID, which provides a convenient platform for integration of vehicle information and compatible personal electronics through a color LCD screen and intuitive steering wheel controls. The Pilot EX-L rearview camera display appears in the i-MID and includes guidelines for judging parking distance. The i-MID also shows HandsFreeLink® operation, user-loaded wallpaper such as photos, a fuel-economy display and an audio interface.

Available on Honda Pilot EX-L and standard on Touring, the 2012 Pilot adopts the latest version of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2. Now with 60 GB of total system memory (includes 15 GB allocated for user media) and voice recognition for three languages, this system uses multiple global positioning satellites covering all of the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. Its new FM Traffic feature provides free, continuous updates on traffic and incidents, helping drivers avoid gridlock. The hard drive can store thousands of minutes of music, which is accessible by simple voice commands using the Song By Voice™ feature. Additionally, 2012 Pilot models with navigation feature a multi-view rear camera (wide view, normal view and top-down view), with the image displayed on the navigation screen for convenient parking help when in Reverse.

Adding to the comfort level of the 2012 Honda Pilot is a reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Enhanced body seam sealing around the unit-body connection points, and re-tuned rear suspension sub-frame mounts, result in lower noise levels in the passenger cabin. Other specific NVH countermeasures include body-seam sealants to reduce air leaks, enhanced pillar separators, revised insulation materials and acoustic windshield glass on all models.

The tailgate features a lift-up glass hatch for convenient access to the rearmost cargo area. The model's 18.0 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the third row matches or exceeds the trunk space of a typical large sedan and can accommodate items as large as a mid-size cooler or a folded stroller. For maximum cargo space, the second and third rows fold flat into the floor to create 87.0 cubic feet of storage capacity, while also providing sufficient width for 4-foot-wide items.

The cargo area has a hidden storage well that provides 2.8 cu-ft. of additional space and can combine with the above floor storage area by securing the hinged cover against the seatback. The Pilot Touring also provides a load-supporting cargo net (20 lbs. maximum weight) to further subdivide the rear cargo area.

Key interior dimensions are identical to the previous Pilot model, including front headroom (40.0 in. for Pilot LX and EX, 39.3 in. for moonroof-equipped Pilot EX-L and Touring), second-row headroom (39.8 in.) and rear headroom (38.2 in.), legroom (front 41.4 in., second-row 38.5 in., and third-row 32.1 in.). Passenger volumes are likewise identical (153.7 cu-ft. for Pilot LX and EX, 152.7 cu-ft. for Pilot EX-L and Touring), as are cargo volumes (87.0 cu-ft. total, 47.7 cu-ft. behind second-row seats, and 18.0 cu-ft. behind third-row seats).

Safety technology includes the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that helps reduce the amount of crash energy reaching the passenger compartment and can enhance frontal collision compatibility. Additional safety equipment includes three-row side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor, driver's and front passenger's side airbags with passenger-side Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS), active front seat head restraints and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist. Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®), commonly referred to as Electronic Stability Control, is standard on all models. The 2012 Honda Pilot also meets new federal regulations with taller rear head restraints.

Honda has targeted the new Pilot to achieve best-in-class safety ratings, including a NHTSA 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score, and a TOP SAFETY PICK designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reflecting the institute's new procedures for Front Offset, Side Impact Collision Evaluation (SICE), Roof Crush and Head Restraint tests.

Power comes from an advanced 24-valve, all-aluminum engine with "intelligent" Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC) technology with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM). The VCM system allows the V-6 engine to operate in six-cylinder mode for power and four- or three-cylinder modes for efficiency. Fuel economy improves for 2012 with an EPA-estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy of 17/24/20 mpg on 4-wheel-drive models and 18/25/21 mpg on 2-wheel-drive models. Representing a 1-mpg increase in City, a 2-mpg increase in Highway and a 2-mpg increase in Combined, this gives the 2012 Pilot 2WD the highest fuel economy of any 8-passenger SUV and the Honda Pilot 4WD the highest fuel economy for any mid-size 4WD SUV.

Fuel-efficiency enhancements include the application of engine friction-reduction technologies including a plateau-honed engine block, low-friction piston treatments, ion-plated oil rings and a load-variable alternator. The use of dual-electrode spark plugs, 0W-20 low-friction oil and low-friction automatic transmission fluid contribute to higher efficiency. The VCM operation range has also been expanded.

The 5-speed automatic transmission features Grade Logic Control to help maintain the most appropriate gear when going uphill or downhill, thereby avoiding gear "hunting." The available VTM-4 system on Pilot 4WD models adds fully automatic 4-wheel-drive capability. VTM-4 delivers seamless, "decision-free" application of 4-wheel-drive when needed, a key benefit compared to conventional systems. The system also provides a "lock mode" - available when in first or second gears up to 18 mph and activated by a button on the instrument panel - that can deliver the maximum-possible torque transfer to the rear wheels to aid in extraction from extremely low traction or stuck conditions.

The suspension is a fully independent system with front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link with trailing arm designs that contribute to responsive driving characteristics for an SUV. The 109.2-inch wheelbase facilitates a smooth ride. A tight turning diameter of 37.9 feet aids maneuverability in tight parking situations.

Chassis improvements that directly improve fuel economy include a variable-displacement power steering pump, low-rolling-resistance tires, and low-drag front ventilated and rear disc brakes. Improved aerodynamics, the front strakes, splash shields and inner fenders, and reduced frontal area also contribute to improved fuel economy.

Models and Features
As with the prior model year, the 2012 Pilot is available in four model choices (Pilot LX, EX, EX-L and Touring), and each is offered in either 2-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive configuration.

Honda Pilot LX

Standard comfort and convenience features on the Pilot LX include a front and rear air conditioning system with air-filtration system, keyless entry with simplified operation, tilt and telescope steering column, cruise control, power windows with auto-up/down driver's and passenger's window, power door and tailgate locks, AM/FM/CD stereo system with seven speakers including a subwoofer and Radio Data System (RDS), trip computer, heat-rejecting tinted glass, integrated Class III towing receiver, and more. For 2012, the Pilot LX adds AAC audio file playback capability from data discs to the CD player.

Honda Pilot EX
The Pilot EX adds a tri-zone automatic climate control system with humidity control and air filtration, a power driver's seat with 10-way power adjustment with lumbar support, security system, XM Radio®, body-colored side mirrors and door handles, alloy wheels, roof rails, fog lights, exterior temperature indicator, HomeLink® Remote System, and more. For 2012, the Pilot EX now also features Bluetooth HandsFreeLink (previously exclusive to EX-L with Navi and above models), Bluetooth audio streaming and a new 2 GB CD Library (CD-L) replaces the previous 6-disc CD changer.

Honda Pilot EX-L
Additional Pilot EX-L features include leather-trimmed seating surfaces, heated front seats, 4-way power front passenger's seat, one-touch power moonroof, an automatic-dimming rearview mirror and the availability of either the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ or the Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System with a 9-inch screen. The addition of either the navigation or the entertainment system also adds a 115-volt power outlet. New for 2012 is the addition of a power tailgate to the Pilot EX-L, a USB Audio Interface, and an intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) with QVGA resolution. The i-MID includes a rearview camera display, iPod album artwork display and a user-loadable wallpaper function.

Honda Pilot EX-L with Navigation
The Pilot EX-L with Navigation adds an upgraded navigation system with higher VGA resolution replacing the previous QVGA display and an internal hard drive that replaces the previous model's DVD-based system. New features include FM Traffic, Song by Voice™, rearview camera with a 3-mode display and a Multi-Information Display in the center of the gauge cluster.

Honda Pilot Touring
The top-of-the-line Pilot Touring includes the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™ with rearview camera, a Premium Audio System with 10 speakers, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink and Audio Streaming (with selected phones), the Honda DVD Rear Entertainment System, two-position memory seats, roof rails, corner and backup sensors, side-mirror integrated turn indicators and more.

Colors available for 2012 include Alabaster Silver Metallic, Bali Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Dark Cherry Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, Taffeta White, White Diamond Pearl, new Dark Amber Metallic (replaces Mocha Metallic) and new Glacier White (Pilot Touring). Fabric and leather interior color choices, which are matched to selected exterior colors, include beige, black or gray.

Awards and Accolades
From building initial quality impressions to providing fun-to-drive character with lasting durability and reliability, the Pilot carries forward the essential DNA that defines all Honda vehicles. These traits have previously earned the Pilot multiple awards, including "Best Value of the Year" from IntelliChoice,'s "Most Wanted SUV," and it was named one of Kelley Blue Book's "Top 50 Most Popular Cars." The Honda brand has also won the "Best Retained Value Award" for Non-Luxury Brands.

The Pilot is assembled from domestic and globally sourced parts at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln, Alabama. Honda R&D Americas designed and developed the Pilot in Raymond, Ohio, and Torrance, California. The 2012 model became available for sale on August 31, 2011.
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jaguar XJ Sentinel, 2011

  • Jaguar XJ Sentinel, 2011

The new Jaguar XJ Sentinel offers the ultimate in discreet protection, being virtually indistinguishable from the standard Jaguar XJ model, yet featuring a state-of-the-art armouring package which provides occupants with up to B7 levels of ballistic protection.
Benefiting from Jaguar Land Rover's extensive experience in the armoured vehicle market, the Jaguar XJ Sentinel is supplied with a full three-year 50,000 mile factory warranty, along with comprehensive after-sales support from specialised technicians.

The Jaguar XJ's aerospace-inspired lightweight aluminium body structure also makes it possible to offer a very generous 500kg payload for passengers and luggage without compromising vehicle performance.

Comprehensive Armouring System
The Jaguar XJ Sentinel is equipped with a purpose-built armouring system which has been specially developed to ensure that the vehicle offers outstanding occupant protection, while being almost impossible to detect from outside the car.

Constructed from specialised high strength steels with Kevlar backing, the armoured inner cell was engineered in partnership with Centigon, a leading global specialist in vehicle armouring. The Jaguar XJ Sentinel offers ballistic protection up to B7 level (BS EN 1522 level FB7 and BS EN 1063 BR7-), blast protection against 15kg TNT equivalent detonated within close proximity of the vehicle, and substantial under floor grenade protection.

To ensure that the armouring meets the latest national and international standards, the protection offered was certified by QinetiQ, a globally recognised independent blast and ballistic testing organisation.

Engineered Without Compromise
Just like the other models in the highly-acclaimed XJ range, the Sentinel has been engineered without compromise to deliver sophisticated performance, peerless vehicle dynamics and reassuring levels of active and passive safety.

The Sentinel is based on the long wheelbase Jaguar XJ saloon powered by the refined and responsive 5.0-litre 385PS AJ-V8 Gen III naturally aspirated direct-injection V8 petrol engine, which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

This powerful and sophisticated powertrain ensures that the Jaguar XJ Sentinel is capable of swift and agile performance, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds and achieving a top speed of 195km/h.

The Sentinel's chassis, which features the advanced Adaptive Dynamics system with continuously variable dampers, has been comprehensively uprated to cope with its increased body weight. Jaguar's dynamics specialists have tuned the suspension and steering to ensure that the armoured model offers the same qualities of poise and agility found in the standard XJ.

Impressive stopping power is provided by a new high performance braking system which has been sourced from the formidable 510PS Supercharged non-armoured XJ model, while active safety is further improved by the XJ's full array of advanced traction and stability systems.

To enhance passive safety, the Sentinel retains full functionality of the standard XJ restraint system, including dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags, side thorax airbags and side curtain airbags.

Total Luxury and Real-World Usability
The comprehensive occupant protection offered by the Jaguar XJ Sentinel has not been achieved at the expense of comfort or practicality. Jaguar engineers have ensured that the armoured model retains the supreme luxury and real-world usability which are core features of the standard car.

The design of the armoured inner cell has been optimised to maintain the extremely spacious interior package of the long wheelbase XJ, which provides rear seat passengers with a full metre of legroom.
With its elegant and contemporary style, the cabin surrounds occupants with beautifully-crafted leather and veneer surfaces, creating a supremely relaxing, comfortable and luxurious environment.

A generous 500kg payload - maximised by the XJ's lightweight aluminium body structure - means that the Sentinel is comfortably able to accommodate four occupants along with their luggage and additional security equipment.
This day-to-day practicality provides government organisations, security forces, businesses or high net worth individuals with a discreet yet highly desirable form of armoured transportation.

Complete Support Package
Jaguar XJ Sentinel customers benefit from a comprehensive support programme, both before and after purchase.
A dedicated security consultant works closely with the customer during the sales process, to ensure their full requirements are met. A wide range of specialised optional security and vehicle features are available and can be tailored to meet individual requirements.

Once the vehicle is in service, the customer has access to a full support package including driver training and on-site servicing from dedicated specialists when required.
The Jaguar XJ Sentinel has been carefully developed to allow regular servicing and repair to be carried out at Jaguar dealers, using standard diagnostic equipment, and is covered by a full three-year 50,000 mile factory warranty.

        5.0-litre V8 Petrol AJ-V8 GEN III
        Maximum power: 385 PS (283 kW)
        Maximum torque: 515 Nm (380 lb ft)
        Transmission: 6-speed automatic

        Acceleration 0-100km/h: 9.7 sec
        Top Speed: 195 km/h

        Weight: 3,300 kg
        Gross vehicle weight: 3,800 kg

        Up-rated suspension with active dampers front and rear.
        Jaguar High Performance Braking System.
    Strengthened 19" Aleutian Alloy Wheels with 245/45 19" Dunlop Self Supporting Technology.
        Run on Flat tyres (RoF)
        An extensive range of exterior paint colours, interior colours themes and optional equipment is available.
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TVR Sagaris, 2006

  • TVR Sagaris, 2006

The TVR Sagaris is a sports car designed and built by the British manufacturer TVR in their factory in Lancashire.

Featuring an all-new design, the TVR Sagaris made its debut appearance at the MPH03 Auto Show in 2003. The pre-production model was then shown at the 2004 Birmingham Motorshow. In 2005 the production model was released for public sale at TVR dealerships around the world. Based on the TVR T350, the TVR Sagaris was designed with endurance racing in mind. Several design features of the production model lend themselves to TVR's intentions to use the car for such racing. The multitude of air vents, intake openings and other features on the bodywork allow the car to be driven for extended periods of time on race tracks with no modifications required for cooling and ventilation. The final production model came with several variations from the pre-production show models eg the vents on the wings are filled in not open, different wing mirrors, location of the fuel filler and bonnet hinges. There are other subtle differences as well.

As with all modern TVRs the Sagaris ignores the European Union guideline that all new cars should be fitted with ABS and at least front airbags. It also eschews electronic driver's aids (such as traction control or electronic stability control).

The car's name comes from the sagaris, the Greek name of a lightweight battle-axe used by the Scythians which was feared for its ability to penetrate the armor of their enemies. The car was intitally designed by ex-TVR Chief Designer Damien McTaggart and further developed by his successor Graham Browne.


        Engine: TVR Speed Six engine, Straight-6
        Displacement: 3996 cc (4.0L)
        Power Output: 380 bhp (283 kW/385 PS) @ 7,000-7,500 rpm
        Torque Output: 349 ft·lbf (473 N·m) @ 5,000 rpm
        Valvetrain setup: 4 valves per cylinder, Dual Overhead Cam

        Transmission: 5-speed manual

        Front: Independent, double wishbones, coil-over gas dampers, sway bars
        Rear: Independent, double wishbones, coil-over gas dampers, sway bars

        Front: 322 mm (12.7 in) ventilated disc brakes
        Rear: 298 mm (11.7 in) ventilated disc brakes

        Wheels: 18 in aluminum alloy Spider wheels

        Body Panels: Glass Reinforced Plastic
        Weight: 2371 lb (1078 kg)

        Top speed: 190 mph (310 km/h)
        0-60 mph. 3.7 seconds
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