Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mini Clubman Bond Street, 2013

  •  Mini Clubman Bond Street, 2013

As a one-off in the premium small car segment, the MINI has cemented its place in the street scene of modern cities in inimitable style. And now the British brand is poised to unveil the MINI Clubman Bond Street design model - and deliver an eye-catching statement of signature charisma and premium quality in the process. Generously equipped and with a searching eye for detail, this is a MINI tailor-made for style-conscious customers of the particularly discerning variety. The MINI Clubman Bond Street will step out for the first time to a public audience at the International Geneva Motor Show in March 2013.

The MINI Clubman Bond Street bears the name of the most exclusive shopping street in London, a place steeped in the tradition of classical style, the British way of life and the appreciation of quality. Setting off for a shopping trip here, in the heart of the City of Westminster, therefore is an expression of fine taste. But the MINI Clubman Bond Street doesn't just cut a fine dash in terms of looks. Its Midnight Black metallic paintwork teams up with the Cool Champagne contrast colour for the roof, exterior mirror caps, lower sections of the C-pillars and bonnet stripes to provide a striking showcase for the MINI Clubman's dynamically flowing body lines and extended wheelbase. And, like the range of high-quality equipment provided, the bespoke interior colour and materials concept - which includes exclusively designed sports seats and a leather-covered instrument panel - makes the perfect fit for the generous levels of on-board spaciousness.

The new MINI design model will go on sale worldwide in March 2013 with shoppers able to browse a collection of up to four engine variants, depending on the market: the 90 kW/122 hp MINI Cooper Clubman and MINI Cooper D Clubman with 82 kW/112 hp jostle for attention alongside the MINI Cooper S Clubman (135 kW/184 hp) and MINI Cooper SD Clubman (105 kW/143 hp). All the engines link up as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, while a six-speed automatic is available as an option.

Harmoniously coordinated design and equipment features for the exterior and interior allow the MINI Clubman Bond Street to stand out discreetly but unmistakably from the automotive crowd. The exclusive colour scheme for the exterior boasts the addition of special details which further accentuate the distinctive character of the MINI Clubman Bond Street. Its 17-inch light-alloy wheels in Twin Spoke Black design come with an exclusive trim ring in Cool Champagne, and the side indicator surrounds and door sill strips both display Bond Street lettering.

The other bespoke features of the design model are interior appointments including Lounge Leather sports seats in Carbon Black with piping and stitching in Deep Champagne, and a leather-covered instrument panel in Black/Carbon Black. These adornments blend in with interior surfaces in Deep Champagne, leather trim for the Colour Line and armrests with contrast stitching in Deep Champagne, floor mats with black piping and contrast stitching likewise in Deep Champagne, and the Chrome Line Interior package.

The stylish design of the exterior and interior is complemented by a particularly high-quality array of equipment. The MINI Clubman Bond Street will greet customers with features including front foglamps and the Chrome Line Exterior package, as well as an extra dose of driving fun and comfort thanks to options such as climate control, an onboard computer, the Sport Button, a rain sensor with automatic headlamp activation, a leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons and cruise control, and height adjustment for the front passenger seat. A storage package and lighting package are among the other items included in the exclusive specification list for the MINI Clubman Bond Street.
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Friday, March 1, 2013

Mercedes-Benz A-Class UK-Version, 2013

  • Mercedes-Benz A-Class UK-Version, 2013

Mercedes-Benz has started completely afresh for the third generation of its compact front-wheel drive A-Class. The latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class is based on all-new vehicle architecture and assembly techniques and introduces sportier and more dynamic design with greater emotional appeal. It is powered by an updated family of turbo-charged direct-injection petrol and diesel engines delivering up to 211 hp with CO2 emissions as low as 98 g/km.

The new A-Class is available with Mercedes-Benz' first double-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission (7G-DCT), and the range also advances the company's policy of ensuring that as many people as possible enjoy the protection of advanced safety features, with the innovative Collision Prevention Assist headlining a comprehensive list of active and passive protection features fitted as standard.

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is the second model in what will eventually become a family of compact front-drive cars from Mercedes-Benz, which began with the latest B-Class. But while the B-Class is focused on family usage, providing the space of a much larger saloon within a compact-car footprint, the A-Class has a more dynamic role to play, as is evident in its dramatic styling.

Mercedes-Benz has also introduced a new 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo-charged petrol engine to its Mercedes-Benz A-Class range generating 211 hp - sufficient to propel the car from zero to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds and on to a 149 mph top speed. This is standard with the exclusive range-topping Engineered by AMG specification, as is the 7G-DCT double-clutch automatic transmission, along with AMG-inspired styling, trim, equipment and chassis tuning.

Two new diesel engines also make their debut in the third-generation A-Class, giving the car potential fuel economy of 74.3 mpg with CO2 emissions down to 98 g/km.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 2.2-litre 220 CDI engine generates 170 hp and 350 Nm of torque. In conjunction with the standard 7G-DCT transmission, it accelerates the A-Class from 0-62 mph in 8.2 seconds. It meets the EU 6 emissions standard not due to come into force until 2015, while posting a combined fuel economy of 64.2 mpg and CO2 emissions of just 115 g/km, demonstrating that with the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, performance and efficiency are not mutually exclusive.
TheDesigners and engineers are rarely given the luxury of a completely blank sheet of paper when starting work on a new car, yet that is precisely the opportunity Mercedes-Benz engineers were given for the new A-Class. Longer, wider and lower than the previous two versions, the latest model is a more emotive and dynamically engaging car that's little changed from the radical Concept A-Class given a wildly enthusiastic reception at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show.

It is a progressive and highly sculpted five-door two-box model, now based on a monocoque construction rather than the sandwich floor assembly of the previous two generations. This not only dramatically reduces the overall height of the car, but it also lowers the seating position of the occupants by 174 mm, which in turn brings down the centre of gravity by 24 mm to allow much more dynamic and agile driving characteristics. These are even more emphatic in the 15 mm lower AMG Sport and specifically tuned Engineered by AMG versions.

The exterior cleverly mixes sharp edges and tautly drawn convex and concave surfaces which seem to constantly change with the angle of the light, particularly along the sides. The long, bold front leads into a pronounced V-shape, culminating in the radiator grille with the central Mercedes-Benz star between double slats, or a single slat dividing a unique diamond grille in the Engineered by AMG version. The headlamps and the light functions within them are key elements of the design concept.

The design emphasises the class-leading aerodynamics of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, with its drag coefficient of Cd 0.27. This is especially apparent in the smooth arc of the roof, which finishes in a flat edge, and a spoiler which conveniently hides the aerials. The tailgate is another interplay of convex and concave surfaces which further demonstrates the interaction between design and aerodynamics: the surface of the tail lights improves airflow around the car through defined break-away edges.

The interior of the A-Class represents a dramatic step forward in the quality of materials used, as well as the consistency of design. The front of the cabin adopts an aviation-inspired theme, with the dashboard shaped like the wing of an aircraft and the round air vents reminiscent of jet engines. Meticulous attention to detail is apparent everywhere, from the 'cool touch' real metal electroplated trim embellishers to the free-standing display screen with a black piano lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame.

The rear provides generous room for three passengers, despite looking as though it has only two individual seats. A 341-litre luggage area can be expanded to 1,157 litres with the rear seats folded. In all models the seat backrests are split 2/3:1/3.

Altogether, there are seven direct-injection turbo-charged engine options in the new A-Class, all characterised by high specific outputs, flexible performance thanks to strong torque across a wide rev range, outstanding efficiency and excellent refinement.

In addition to the new 211 hp 2.0-litre petrol unit (A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY) and the new 109 hp 1.5-litre (A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY) and 170 hp 2.2-litre (A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY) turbodiesels, there are two further petrol units (A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY and A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY) and two more diesels (A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY 7G-DCT and A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY), which were introduced with the latest B-Class. All engines feature ECO start/stop as standard.

The A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY is powered by a 1.6-litre 122 hp engine, while the A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY uses a 156 hp version. The diesel engines are 1.8-litre units; a 109 hp option is fitted in conjunction with the 7G-DCT transmission in the A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, and a 136 hp variant in the A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with the A 180, A 200, the 1.5-litre A 180 CDI and the A 200 CDI, while the A 250, the 1.8-litre A 180 CDI and the A 220 CDI have the 7G-DCT transmission. This is an option with the A 180, A 200 and A 200 CDI. Fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 35 per cent compared with the preceding models, despite considerable power increases.

The petrol engines are all-aluminium M 270 turbo-charged direct-injection 16-valve four-cylinder units. They are extremely versatile engines which are already being phased into larger Mercedes-Benz models to help bring down fuel consumption and emissions. They employ technology first introduced in 2010 with the ultra-modern BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines for the S-Class. The combustion process is based on third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct- injection technology with highly precise, multiple piezo-injections.

With the exception of the new 1.5-litre engine, now in its sixth generation and specially adapted by Mercedes-Benz for use in the A-Class, the diesel engines are developments of the OM 651 fourth-generation 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit premiered in 2008. Since then the OM 651 has been setting standards for performance, torque, economy, emissions and smooth running. It is in more widespread use than any other Mercedes-Benz diesel engine.

The instantaneous response of the engines and the slick operation of the six-speed manual and triple-mode (Economy, Sport and Manual) 7G-DCT transmissions in the new A-Class is complemented by the agile chassis, which features a four-link rear axle, electro-mechanical power steering, powerful all-round disc brakes and advanced driver assistance functions such as specially tuned ESP® Electronic Stability Control.

There are three different suspension tunings, with a comfort set-up for standard, SE and Sport models, a sportier 15 mm lower arrangement for AMG Sport variants and the ultimate AMG-tuned system in the A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY Engineered by AMG.

All benefit from the more dynamic new proportions and lower centre of gravity of the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class. During development, the engineers made intensive use of the driving simulators at the Mercedes-Benz development centre in Sindelfingen to create a digital profile of the driving dynamics of the new A-Class. This enabled them to achieve the right balance of agility, nimbleness, stability and comfort required for each version before a single prototype had been built.

In keeping with every new model introduction from Mercedes-Benz, the latest A-Class extends the protection afforded by advanced safety technology to as many people as possible by offering features that are the preserve of only the most expensive cars from some brands.

In the A-Class, this starts with an extremely robust body shell incorporating extensive areas of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels for rigidity with lightness, and includes the innovative radar-based accident warning system, Collision Prevention Assist, which is fitted as standard. This gives visual and audible warnings to alert a distracted driver to the possibility of a nose-to-tail collision, and prepares the standard Adaptive Brake Assist feature for the most effective braking response as soon as the driver hits the brake pedal.

The Attention Assist feature to recognise and alert a drowsy driver is also standard, along with Adaptive Brake Assist incorporating Hold and, on manual models, Hill-Start Assist. This primes the brakes for maximum stopping effect in a possible emergency, adds to convenience by holding a stationary car without the driver having to keep a foot on the brake pedal and prevents the car from rolling backwards when setting off on uphill gradients. Seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, and an Active Bonnet to provide additional pedestrian protection are also fitted to every Mercedes-Benz A-Class as standard.

Available features include Lane-Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist, Speed Limit Assist, Active Park Assist with Parktronic, Distronic Plus autonomous acceleration and braking to maintain a gap to the car ahead, the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Light system and the anticipatory Pre-Safe® occupant protection feature.

The new A-Class is optionally available with COMAND Online in-car internet services, and in 2013 it will be offered with seamless integration of the Apple iPhone® in conjunction with a revolutionary new user interface design. Highlights include advanced navigation software from Garmin, with internet-based real-time traffic information, online destination searches and 3-D map display.

COMAND Online provides internet access via a web-enabled mobile phone, plus various Mercedes-Benz services on the move. These include weather information, news, and a special destination search via Google, as well as the option of downloading a route previously configured on a PC using Google Maps.

Mercedes-Benz has taken a dramatically different approach to the design of the new A-Class. Where the previous two models were essentially pragmatic - ingeniously packaging the space of a large saloon into a car with the footprint of a city runabout - the new A-Class adds rewarding elements of dynamism and excitement to elevate it above its compact front-wheel-drive five-door hatchback rivals.

Radical, progressive and emotive, it brings the sculpted look and feel of the latest Mercedes-Benz design idiom to the compact car class.

The key dimensions are in themselves enough to show just how much the A-Class has changed. At 4,292 mm long, 1,780 mm wide and 1,433 mm tall, it is 409 mm longer, 16 mm wider and almost 180 mm lower than the model it replaces.

Its radical form language was first seen in the Concept A-Class at the Shanghai Auto Show of 2011. That highly acclaimed design has now been transferred to the production model - a huge challenge in a car of compact dimensions, which had to match its rakish and exciting appearance with a usable and practical five-seater interior.

Design at Mercedes-Benz always begins with an internal competition among all the company's designers. The winning entry for the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class came from Englishman Mark Fetherston, a graduate of Coventry University's School of Transport Design, who has worked at Mercedes-Benz since 1999. Fetherston has excellent design form at Mercedes-Benz - he also designed the exterior of the SLS AMG gullwing supercar.

For the flowing, sculpted shape of the A-Class, he was influenced by the patterns of sand dunes and winter landscapes - and even the sleek lines of the Concorde - and was able to take advantage of the encouragement given to the design team by the Mercedes-Benz Board to be more progressive.

The sides of the new A-Class are characterised by sharply defined edges and tautly drawn convex and concave surfaces, which seem to constantly change as the light catches them. The pronounced front end meets in a prominent V-shape, with the Mercedes-Benz star mounted in a two-louvre grille in either chrome, silver, black or body colour, depending on model.

There are three lower air intakes in the bottom section of the bumper. The A-Class Engineered by AMG has a single-louvre diamond-pattern grille and black edges around the air intakes, with a red highlight line in the central section.

The headlamp units are a key element of the frontal design. The light modules have been arranged to deliver a flare-effect for the daylight running lamps and turn indicators, creating an instantly identifiable visual signature for the new A-Class. Bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights are fitted to the A-Class Engineered by AMG.

The new A-Class has a class-leading drag co-efficient figure of Cd 0.27. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the dynamic and smooth arc of the roof, which finishes in a spoiler that neatly hides the aerials and lends structure to the whole assembly.

Along the flanks, a rising beltline in either black or chrome enhances the car's pronounced wedge profile, while another line rises from the mid-point of the front wheel arches to create powerful shoulder muscles at the rear, giving the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class a coupé-like stance. Between these two crisp lines are sensuously moulded sculptured panels.

Dynamic sills add an athletic finishing touch, particularly pronounced in the A-Class AMG Sport, which rides 15 mm lower than other models, and the A-Class Engineered by AMG with its AMG sports suspension.

The interplay of convex and concave surfaces and taut edges is repeated at the rear. The tail lights - LED units in the A-Class Engineered by AMG models - continue the line of the muscular shoulders back towards the rear. Their horizontal orientation emphasises the greater width of the new model.

The tail-light clusters are also pointers to the superior aerodynamics of the new A-Class: not only are they a design feature in themselves, but their carefully shaped break-away edges have been designed to improve airflow from the rear of the car.

The interior of the new A-Class was also inspired by two concept cars. The starting point was the Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics No 2 sculpture revealed at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. This was then incorporated into the Concept A-Class, which was created at the Mercedes-Benz Advance Styling Studio in the northern Italian city of Como in time for the Shanghai Auto Show in September of the same year.

If the dash area, vents and instruments were inspired by the world of aviation then the seating areas, space, quality and attention to detail have been designed to give the spacious feel of a far larger car.

The objective was to complement the sleek look of the exterior while giving the Mercedes-Benz A-Class a high-quality appearance and feel unique in its segment through the design and the choice of materials, colours and textures.

The sweep of the dash continues the aircraft wing-inspired theme of other recent new models from Mercedes-Benz. It incorporates five circular air vents with electro-plated outer rings on SE versions and above. Airflow through these vents is controlled by cruciform nozzles reminiscent of jet engines. In the A-Class Engineered by AMG these vents feature a red insert matching the car's front lower centre grille. The electro-plating process gives the nozzles a tactile metal finish with a cool-touch effect, and has been extended to all trim elements.

The instrumentation and control screen appear in the upper part of the dash, while a broad lower section contains the switchgear and control buttons. The production process used for the lower section allows a wide diversity of soft-touch surfaces to further emphasise the quality and attention to detail within the cabin.

The instrument cluster is made up of two large round dials, each with a smaller dial set within. The dial faces are either black or silver with a chequered flag design, depending on model. Likewise, the dial needles are red or white, according to the trim level.

To the right of the instrument panel is a free-standing 5.8-inch tablet-style colour display screen with a black piano lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame. This is linked to the Audio 20 entertainment system or the option Audio 20 system with Media interface.

The new A-Class has been configured so that an Apple iPhone® can be fully integrated into the operating and display system via the Drive Kit Plus special app.

For all its rakish looks and compact dimensions, the A-Class is a full five-seater hatchback, but the rear accommodation has cunningly designed to look like two individual seats. All models from SE have sports seats with integrated head restraints, and sports pedals with rubber studs.

A sports three-spoke multi-function steering wheel with leather trim, perforated in the grip areas, is fitted to SE and Sport versions of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, while AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG versions have a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel trimmed in nappa leather.

The rear seat backrests are split 2/3:1/3 and the two sections can be folded individually to expand the standard 341-litre luggage are to a maximum of 1,157 litres. The luggage area allows items more than a metre wide to fit between the wheel housings.

Nothing illustrates the new, more dynamic character of the latest A-Class more than the way it is constructed. In place of the sandwich-floor assembly of the previous two generations, there is now an advanced steel monocoque layout that brings about significant reductions in the height of the car and the seating positions which, in turn, lowers the centre of gravity. The outcome is sharper, more agile, nimbler handling with uncompromised passenger accommodation.

There are three all-independent suspension options which adjust the balance between sportiness and handling to suit the various model packages. All versions have fuel-saving electro-mechanical power-assisted steering, powerful all-round disc brakes incorporating the Mercedes-Benz Hold function, an electronic parking brake and the latest driver assistance systems.

The sandwich-floor body construction of the previous two generations of A-Class, which placed the engine partly in front of and partly beneath a twin-floor passenger cell, has been replaced by a sophisticated steel monocoque in the latest model. This has not only brought about a significant reduction in the car's overall height, which has been reduced by 160 mm, and seating positions, which are 174 mm lower, but it has lowered the centre of gravity by 24 mm - an ideal starting point for a car engineered to deliver more dynamic and agile handling.

This is underscored by the structural design of the body-in-white, which features 67 per cent high-strength or ultra-high-strength steels. This increases the rigidity of the chassis from a dynamic behaviour perspective and ensures the new A-Class more than meets the stringent Mercedes-Benz safety standards, which far exceed anything demanded by legislation anywhere in the world.

There is a new bulkhead and floor, an integral support frame as a deformation element, a length of 435 mm over which to dissipate crash energy and load distribution over several planes. Altogether, three longitudinal planes allow impact energy to be absorbed in a controlled manner.

The support frame is the attachment point for the front axle and steering assembly as well as the torque support for the transversely mounted engine and gearbox. It is made up of several steel plates and a hydroformed tube, and is connected by two aluminium struts to the aluminium radiator mount.

A plastic crash wedge at the rear of each front wheel arch prevents the wheel from sliding beneath the door in an impact, thus ensuring that the doors are still capable of being opened after an impact.

Mercedes-Benz has developed what it calls 'skate runners' to discharge frontal impact forces into the floor, which features four straight longitudinal members. To protect the passenger cell in a side impact there are rigid structures which include a pole support fitted diagonally between the central tunnel and the floor sidewalls. This is intended to prevent the floor being torn open even in a side impact with a tree.

High-strength steels in the upper part of the B-pillar minimise intrusion, but the lower part of the pillar is made from softer steels so that crash energy is dissipated in a controlled manner. The B-pillars also house something referred to by Mercedes-Benz engineers as 'vampire's teeth' - small tooth-like recesses which prevent the seat-belt retractor from causing cracks that might affect the body's structural integrity in a crash.

The new A-Class has all-independent suspension with three different levels of tuning to strike the ideal balance between comfort and sportiness according to the model variant. Suspension engineers made extensive use of the driving simulators at the Mercedes-Benz development centre in Sindelfingen, compiling a digital profile of the car's dynamic responses as part of the development process before a single prototype was built.

All three suspension arrangements rely on a redesigned MacPherson strut system at the front and a new four-link rear axle developed for the new Mercedes-Benz family of compact front-wheel-drive cars. This, combined with the lower centre of gravity of the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class, provides a perfect platform for excellent dynamic behaviour.

The four-link rear axle is configured so that forces are absorbed by three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel. This means that longitudinal and lateral influences on the suspension are absorbed virtually independent of each another. The wheel carriers and spring links are made of aluminium to reduce unsprung weight. The goal was to achieve high lateral agility with high straight-line stability and the minimum of slip on the rear axle.

All three suspension configurations deliver exemplary levels of comfort with precise, agile responses, low degrees of roll and low start-off pitch. The A-Class has been set up introduce mild understeer at higher degrees of lateral acceleration so that the driver can control changes in direction with low steering input but high steering precision.

Standard comfort suspension is fitted to A 180, SE and Sport models. AMG Sport versions have the Dynamic Handling Package (optional on Sport), which lowers the ride height by 15 mm and introduces firmer springs and dampers plus AMG multi-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels. Direct-Steer is also part of the Dynamic Handling Package, adding an extra element of agility and precision. Engineered by AMG models feature modified AMG sports suspension.

The latest ESP® Electronic Stability Programme includes Torque Vectoring Brake, which helps to control any tendency towards oversteer in fast cornering by applying slight brake pressure to the outer rear wheel. It has been designed to intervene gently so that skilled and experienced drivers can extract maximum enjoyment out of the car without ever reaching a potentially critical situation.

The new A-Class features redesigned electro-mechanical steering, engineered to give drivers maximum enjoyment by delivering fast, accurate responses while saving fuel by drawing power assistance from the engine only when the car is turning. A turning circle of just 11 metres adds to the practicality, especially in urban driving conditions, of the A-Class.

The electric motor, which provides servo assistance, is mounted directly on the steering gear. The steering permits various assistance functions in conjunction with the ESP® control unit. For example, it can compensate for the effect of crosswinds and cambered roads, counter the torque-steer effect found in some front-wheel-drive cars, keep the car straight when braking on surfaces where the levels of grip differ from left to right, and counter-steer should the car nudge towards oversteer.

It also makes the optional Active Park Assist with Parktronic. Active Park Assist with Parktronic measures potential parking spaces through two ultrasonic sensors on the front bumper. If the space is large enough for the car, the system operates the electro-mechanical power steering while the driver works the accelerator and brake.

AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG versions of the A-Class come as standard with Mercedes-Benz' Direct-Steer system, which provides variable hydraulic assistance that reduces as speed increases and adds a variable ratio that changes according to the steering angle.

The ratio is indirect when steering straight ahead, thus ensuring exceptional stability, but increases rapidly once a five-degree steering angle has been applied, becoming extremely direct from a steering angle of 100 degrees. As a result, the driver need make only relatively small steering movements when manoeuvring in confined areas or through a series of tight corners. The variable ratio is achieved through a steering rack with different teeth profiles.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class comes as standard with powerful all-round disc brakes. The rear calipers and brake boosters are made from aluminium to reduce unsprung weight. The Mercedes-Benz Hold function is also standard - a slightly firmer push of the brake pedal once the car comes to rest ensures it is held without the driver having to maintain pressure on the pedal. It disengages as soon as the driver touches the accelerator.

Manual versions also have Hill-Start, which momentarily maintains brake pressure while the driver's foot moves from the brake pedal to the accelerator. This ensures the car does not roll backwards when setting off on uphill gradients.

The Hill Start Assist function is incorporated into the standard-fit Adaptive Brake Assist feature, which works in conjunction with the Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) to reduce stopping distances in an emergency. Adaptive Brake Assist is linked to the ASR acceleration skid control and the active yaw control units.

Adaptive Brake Assist comes into operation as soon as the driver abruptly lifts off the accelerator pedal - the first reaction in a potential emergency. It recognises the urgency of the situation and primes the brake pads so that they come into light contact with the brake discs. If emergency braking proves to be necessary, pressure can therefore be achieved instantly. During wet weather the system dries the brake discs by maintaining gentle but imperceptible pressure between brake pads and discs.

An electronic parking brake is standard on all models, helping to free more storage space between the front seats. In models fitted with the 7G-DCT transmission it releases automatically as the car moves away so long as the driver's seat belt is fastened. If activated at speeds of more than 2 mph it also serves as an emergency brake through the ESP® system.

Engines and Transmissions
A dynamic new petrol engine, an ultra-economical new turbodiesel and a performance turbodiesel make their debuts in the new A-Class. The new petrol engine is a 2.0-litre development of the 1.6-litre unit first seen in the new B-Class, and perfectly complements the dynamic design and agile handling of the new A-Class. It develops 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque, accelerating the A-Class to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 149 mph.

It powers the A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport and the A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY Engineered by AMG, driving through the Mercedes-Benz 7G-DCT seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission, which is fitted as standard to both models.

The first new diesel engine is a 1.5-litre unit that develops 109 hp and 260 Nm of torque, but of greater significance is that it allows the new A-Class to attain a combined fuel consumption figure of 74.3 mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 98 g/km. It is available in SE, Sport and AMG Sport versions.

This frugal and clean diesel powerplant is joined by the range-topping new 2,143 cc turbodiesel engine that powers the A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport. This dynamic unit develops 170 hp at 3,400-4,000 rpm and a muscular 350 Nm of torque available from 1,400-3,400 rpm, good for an 8.2 second sprint to 62 mph and a 137 mph top speed.

Only available with the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission, this lightweight engine returns 64.2 mpg on the combined cycle and posts a CO2 emissions figure of just 115 g/km. These excellent figures illustrate just how advanced this new engine is - compared with the previous generation A 200 CDI, the new A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY is 30 hp and 50 Nm more powerful, yet is 11.9 mpg more economical and 34 g/km cleaner on CO2 emissions.

These three new advanced engines join four further powerplants that made their debut in the new B-Class.

The familiar 1.6-litre 122 hp petrol engine is available in standard, SE and Sport versions of the A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY and a 156 hp version of the same engine is offered in the A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY Sport and AMG Sport. All except the standard A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY are available with the sophisticated 7G-DCT transmission as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual.

The highly economical 1.8-litre diesel unit develops 109 hp and 250 Nm of torque in the A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY SE, Sport and AMG Sport models - available with the 7G-DCT transmission. A 136 hp version of the same engine also powers the A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport and AMG Sport. This most powerful diesel engine derivative is available with manual or 7G-DCT transmission.

The petrol engines
The all-aluminium M 270 turbo-charged direct-injection engine makes its debut in the new A-Class. This 1,991 cc unit develops 211 hp at 5,500 rpm and 350 Nm of torque from 1,200-4,000 rpm, and is the perfect match for the engaging design and dynamic handling of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

All three M 270 engines are 16-valve four-cylinder units with twin overhead camshafts. They are extremely versatile engines, which are already being phased into larger Mercedes-Benz models to successfully lower fuel consumption, emissions and production costs. Their versatility is exceptional - they can be installed both transversely (M 270) or longitudinally (M 274), combined with front, rear or 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and paired with manual, automatic torque converter or 7G-DCT dual clutch transmissions.

They employ technology first introduced in 2010 with the ultra-modern BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The combustion process is based on third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct-injection with highly precise, multiple piezo-injection technology. Mercedes-Benz is a pioneer in this field - in 2006 Mercedes-Benz was the first car manufacturer to introduce direct-injection with spray-guided combustion into series production.

Newly developed piezo-injectors allow up to five injections per power stroke. In the warm-up phase this enables particulate emissions to be reduced by more than 90 per cent. The overall result is that all emission figures, including particulates, already surpass Euro 6 emissions standards not due to be enforced until 2015.

Piezo-injectors have numerous advantages in petrol engines compared with conventional multi-hole solenoid valves. The fuel vaporises up to four times as fast, the jet of fuel penetrates less deeply into the combustion chamber, and the injectors are able to deliver minute quantities of fuel with exceptional precision. This prevents fuel from being deposited on the combustion chamber walls, resulting in significantly reduced particulate emissions.

An electrical charge is applied to the piezo-ceramic injectors, which changes their structure in microseconds, and with a precision of just a few thousandths of a millimetre. The central component of a piezo-electric injector is the piezo-stack, which directly controls the metering needle. With a response time of just 0.1 milliseconds, the injection of fuel can be sensitively and precisely adjusted to the current load and engine speed, reducing emissions, fuel consumption and combustion noise.

The third-generation direct-injection system also features rapid multi-spark ignition (MSI). Following the first spark and a brief combustion period, the coil is recharged rapidly and there is a further spark. The MSI system enables up to four sparks within one millisecond. MSI can vary both the timing of the sparks and the combustion period to suit the current operating point. This provides scope for the best possible combustion, which further reduces fuel consumption. Fuel savings of up to 4 per cent alone are possible by the use of piezo-electric injection technology combined with MSI.

Mercedes-Benz has developed an innovation known as CAMTRONIC for its 1.6-litre engine. CAMTRONIC is a load management system which controls intake cut-off and intake valve lift adjustment, and is a first in a turbo-charged direct-injection petrol engine. It reduces throttling losses under partial load, lowering fuel consumption by three to four per cent. In day-to-day driving, which typically has a high proportion of partial load operation, the potential saving is even greater, with fuel savings of up to 10 per cent. It was developed completely in-house by the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Stuttgart and the Daimler engine plant in Berlin.

The high specific outputs of the small-capacity M 270 engines are the result of turbo-charging, which forces intake air into the combustion chambers at a pressure of up to 1.9 bar, with the turbine vanes rotating at up to 230,000 rpm.

The turbo-charger has been designed to deliver high torque even at low engine speeds. It is integrated into a newly developed manifold turbo-charger module, positioned in front of the engine for the best possible cooling. Separate exhaust ducting from the cylinders to the turbo-charger and a high exhaust temperature of up to 1,050 degrees Celsius make maximum use of the exhaust gas energy, producing a high output and outstanding responsiveness.

By using a combination of direct-injection and variable adjustment of the intake and exhaust camshafts, the engines are also able to exploit the advantages of so-called scavenging. This involves a partial overlap of the opening times of the intake and exhaust valves, causing some of the cold intake air to flush the hot exhaust gas from the cylinder into the exhaust manifold, which considerably improves charging.

At low engine speeds the turbo-charger also responds much more rapidly, significantly reducing turbo-lag when moving off. The direct-injection system ensures that the fresh gas is not yet mixed with fuel when it enters the cylinder, as would be the case in engines with manifold injection. No unburned fuel is therefore flushed into the exhaust manifold.

As a result, the 1.6-litre engine in the A-Class delivers its 200 Nm maximum torque at 1,250 rpm, maintaining that twist action through to 4,000 rpm. The 2.0-litre version posts even better results - its maximum torque of 350 Nm is available from 1,250 rpm through to 4,000 rpm, which means that it leads the field for four-cylinder engines.

A new thermal management system has also been developed for these powerplants. In cold state, a switchable water pump with flow-optimised ball valve ensures that no coolant flows through the engine, allowing the combustion chambers to heat up quickly. The thermostat is electronically controlled and the coolant temperatures are adjusted according to driving style and ambient conditions.

The variable vane oil pump operates with two pressure stages. At low engine speeds and loads the pump runs at a pressure of 2.0 bar and the oil-spray nozzles for piston cooling are switched off. The high-pressure stage is activated at higher loads and engine speeds. As a result, the lubrication and cooling of the engine requires significantly lower drive energy than with an uncontrolled pump.

The coolant ducting in the cylinder head is also new. The water mantle is a two-piece construction to improve flow. This leads to specific increases in flow speeds and heat dissipation at certain points, accompanied by a reduction in pressure losses throughout the coolant circuit. This has made it possible to reduce the power output of the water pump despite an increase in engine output.

As it warms up, the flow of coolant is regulated by a triple-phase thermal management system so that it rapidly reaches normal operating temperature. Initially the coolant remains at rest in the engine. It then circulates in the engine circuit, but bypasses the radiator. When a temperature of 105° Celsius has been reached the radiator is included in the circuit.

To ensure absolute smoothness at all times, there are two Lanchester balancer shafts in the bottom of the 2.0-litre engine block to counter the secondary inertia forces inherent in four-cylinder in-line engines. Mercedes-Benz is the first car manufacturer to use anti-friction bearings to balance these masses.

This is achieved via cylinder roller bearings, with axial forces from the gearing taken up by a ball bearing. This arrangement not only improves smoothness, but also helps to lower fuel consumption by reducing friction. Because of its more favourable connecting rod configuration, the 1.6-litre engine does not need Lanchester shafts.

Friction is also minimised by a reduction in flow through the oil and water pumps, low-friction pistons, piston rings and cylinder walls, plus the new thermal management system and chain drive.

The engine and transmission are mounted at four points - by an engine mounting, a transmission mounting and two pendulum supports. These are specially configured for the needs of the high-torque engines to minimise noise. The hydraulic damping integrated into the transmission mounting also contributes significantly to driving comfort.

The turbodiesel engines
Two new turbodiesel engines make their debut in the new A-Class. Features include sixth generation common-rail injection with a rail pressure of 1,600 bar, low-pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation and variable geometry turbo-charging.

The 1.5 litre engine in manual versions of the A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY generates 109 hp and a healthy 260 Nm available from 1,750 rpm to 2,500 rpm, and achieves CO2 figures which start at just 98 g/km, making the new A-Class among the most environmentally friendly compact diesels in its sector.

This frugal and clean diesel powerplant is joined by the range-topping new 2,143 cc turbodiesel engine that powers the A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY. This dynamic unit develops 170 hp at 3,400-4,000 rpm and a muscular 350 Nm of torque available from 1,400-3,400 rpm, good for an 8.2 second sprint to 62 mph and a 137 mph top speed.

Only available with the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission, this engine features a weight-optimised crankshaft with individual bearing covers bolted from below and four counterweights, enabling it to tip the scales at around six kilograms less than a longitudinally installed OM 651 engine of the same displacement. The single-stage turbo-charger has larger dimensions than that in the other less-powerful variants.

It returns a 64.2 mpg on the combined cycle and posts a CO2 emissions figure of just 115 g/km. These excellent figures illustrate just how advanced this new engine is - compared with the previous generation A 200 CDI, the new A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY is 30 hp and 50 Nm more powerful, yet is 11.9 mpg more economical and 34 g/km cleaner.

These two new engines join the 1.8-litre turbodiesel powerplant developed by Mercedes-Benz for the new B-Class and now available in the A-Class. The A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY in tandem with the 7G-DCT double-clutch automatic transmission employs a 109 hp version of the 1.8-litre diesel engine, while the A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY uses a 136 hp version of the engine alongside a six-speed manual gearbox or the 7G-DCT.

The new 1.5-litre engine, which has been given the in-house designation OM 607, is notable for its low weight. Components specific to Mercedes-Benz include the engine mountings of the M 270 petrol engine as well as a bespoke two-mass flywheel. The starter, the alternator and the refrigerant compressor also come from the Mercedes-Benz modular system, and are driven by a belt with six grooves. Like all Mercedes-Benz engines, the OM 607 was required to pass an extensive test programme involving bench and endurance runs.

Mercedes-Benz engineers put the engine through a rigorous schedule to improve NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) and driveability. Coordination work also went into the ECO start/stop function which is standard on all versions of the A-Class. This feature, specific to Mercedes-Benz, operates at temperatures down to minus 10 degrees Celsius so that it can make a greater contribution to fuel economy.

All three diesel engines in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class are extremely efficient thanks to state-of-the-art injection technology and turbo-charging. The 1.8-litre units are developments of the OM 651 fourth-generation 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit premiered in 2008. Downsizing for the A-Class has been achieved by shortening the piston stroke from 99 to 83 mm. They have an aluminium cylinder head and a cast-iron block.

Compared with the 2.2-litre version used in the rear-wheel-drive C-Class and E-Class models, they feature a modified belt drive and air ducting and a new turbo-charger mounting to suit transverse installation. Cylinder spacing of 94 mm and spur-gear camshaft drive make them particularly compact.

Third-generation common-rail technology, with the rail pressure increased to 1,800 bar and a maximum ignition pressure of 200 bar, allows both versions of the engine to attain their high specific outputs. This is aided by a two-piece water jacket in the cylinder head to provide optimum cooling.

A number of engineering measures further enhance fuel efficiency. The oil injector nozzles and the water pump become active only when necessary, reducing energy drain on the engine, while the oil pump reduces oil flow in a controlled manner. The two Lanchester balancer shafts which give the engines their exemplary smoothness under all loads run in low-friction roller bearings rather than conventional plain bearings. The long connecting rods also help reduce friction and therefore improve fuel economy.

Refinement is further improved by a dual-mass flywheel specifically designed to isolate crankshaft vibrations in engines developing high torque at low revolutions.

Since its world premiere in 2008 the OM 651 has been setting standards in terms of performance, torque, economy, emissions and smooth running. It is in more widespread use than any other Mercedes-Benz diesel engine and serves as a model of efficiency and power from the new A-Class right up to the S-Class.

Thanks to BlueDIRECT technology and highly precise piezo-injection, the engines easily surpass the anticipated Euro 6 emission standards coming into force from 2015. For diesel engines the regulations are particularly stringent in relation to particulate limits, but Mercedes-Benz has been able to better these requirements without recourse to additional exhaust after-treatment.
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Thursday, February 28, 2013

BMW 640i Gran Coupe, 2013

  •  BMW 640i Gran Coupe, 2013

The 2013 BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe - a new 4-door, 4+1 seat addition to the 6-Series line - successfully combines the stunning proportions, design and driving dynamics of the 6-Series Coupe with interior room and amenities for up to five passengers. Perfect proportions, precise lines and sleekly contoured surfaces give the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe the unique ability to satisfy the driver who wants a luxurious and sporty coupe yet needs a car capable of carrying four adults in comfort and luxury. The BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe will be offered as three distinct models in the US. The TwinPower Turbo 6-cylinder BMW 640i Gran Coupe is the initial model and arrives in late June 2012 with an MSRP of $76,895. Later in the summer, the TwinPower Turbo V-8 BMW 650i Gran Coupe and the all-wheel drive BMW 650i xDrive Gran Coupe will join the range. These models will be priced at $87,395 and $90,395 respectively (all prices include $895 Handling and Destination).

Sporting a length of 197 inches (5,007 mm) and wheelbase of 116.8 inches (2,968 mm), the Gran Coupe is 4.4 inches (111 mm) longer than its 2-door coupe sibling. A significant part of this extra length has been used to enhance seating comfort for the rear passengers. The BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe is also 74.6 inches (1,894 mm) wide and stands 54.8 inches (1,392 mm) in height. For comparison purposes, the Gran Coupe is 4.0 inches (102mm) longer, 1.3 inches (34mm) wider and 2.8 inches (72mm) lower than the BMW 550i.

The BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe, in keeping with the tradition of the 6-Series Coupe, offers a unique combination of top-class sporting dynamics, stunning design, luxurious touring comfort and a 13.0 cubic foot luggage compartment - now for four passengers. The BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe's signature driving experience is complimented by a range of innovative driver assistance systems and BMW ConnectedDrive infotainment features. The new car meets the highest expectations of driving pleasure and style in a large, premium 4-seat sports coupe.

Its unmistakable design language gives the new BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe an aura of athletic elegance. The long powerfully contoured hood, short front overhang and set-back passenger compartment team up with a 4.4 inch (111 mm) increase in body length over the 6-Series Coupe and a 4.5 inch (113 mm) longer wheelbase present a fresh take on the hallmark proportions of a BMW automobile. The Gran Coupe's distinctive profile is dominated by its four-door, elegantly stretched roof line which flows smoothly into the rear end, is a similarly eye-catching and distinctive feature of the new model's silhouette.

The innovations in the new BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe also extend to lighting technology, in the form of optional Adaptive LED Headlights. Their bright white light provides an extremely intense and evenly spread illumination of the road. This technology is unparalleled in the segment and also allows the beam of the headlights to follow the curves of the road.

Other features that set the new car apart from its rivals are the BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems and mobility services. The rear-view camera, Surround View, Parking Assistant, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, Lane Departure Warning System and Active Blind Spot Detection are joined on the list of available equipment items by the newest generation of the BMW Head-Up-Display. The latest incarnation of the system uses a full spectrum of colors to display the information projected onto the windshield. The standard BMW iDrive control system is the operating portal for the navigation, communications and infotainment functions. The high definition, trans-reflective technology Control Display is centrally mounted high on the sweeping dash and emulates a freestanding flatscreen. Finally, the optional Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System provides a feast of aural pleasure seldom experienced inside a car.

Upgraded Twin Power Turbo 6-Cylinder powers the BMW 640i Gran Coupe.
The inline 6-cylinder engine (N55HP) in the new BMW 640i Gran Coupe will impress performance-minded drivers with its effortless power, exceptionally fast-revving temperament, outstanding refinement and exceptional fuel efficiency. The N55 has been setting standards from the start, as the pioneer of a new generation of engines in which BMW Twin Power Turbo technology with High Precision Direct Injection and VALVETRONIC variable valve timing plus a twin scroll turbo made its debut.

The BMW's engineers have managed to extract additional performance from the engine while maintaining its exceptional fuel efficiency. With a maximum power rating of 315 hp (225 kW) at 5,800 to 6,000 rpm, the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine reflects the sporty personality of the BMW 640i Gran Coupe and helps this automobile deliver brilliant performance. The high peak torque of 330 lb-ft, on stream between 1,300 and 4,500 rpm, ensures that the power is effortlessly and instantly delivered.

As a result, the BMW 640i Gran Coupe can show off its prowess with a 0 to 60 mph sprint time of just 5.4 seconds. Top speed is electronically governed at 155 mph (250 km/h). All this extra performance comes with exceptional fuel economy and low emission figures. EPA fuel economy ratings will be available closer to the US on-sale date, however the estimates should be in line with those of the BMW 535i Sedan which boasts an impressive 20 mpg city/30 mpg highway/24 mpg combined.

BMW's widely lauded TwinPower Turbo V-8 engine is updated with more performance and more efficiency in the 650i Gran Coupe.

The 4.4-liter V-8 engine (N63) that powers the current 650i models receives an upgrade for the new 650i Gran Coupe. The unique "reverse-flow" engine, whose two turbochargers are positioned in the V-area between the cylinder banks is well known for producing an instantaneous and sustained wave of power, making it a delight for the enthusiast driver. This new version of the engine adds BMW's VALVETRONIC variable valve timing to the list of specifications. As a result, the new version of the engine (N63Tü) develops a maximum 445 hp between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm (a 45 hp increase), and makes peak torque of 480 lb-ft between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm (a 30 lb-ft increase).

The new BMW 650i Gran Coupe completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. This engine also boasts extraordinary efficiency for a model in its output class. EPA fuel economy ratings for this model will be available closer to the on-sale date in summer 2012.

When the V8 is combined with the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system, its power is converted into even more intense and dynamic acceleration. The electronically controlled power split between the front and rear wheels optimizes not only traction and stability, whatever the weather and road surface conditions may be, but also the agility of the Gran Coupe 650i xDrive Gran Coupe, whose sprint time from 0 to 60 mph is just 4.3 seconds.

8-speed Sport Automatic Transmission.
The 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission in the new BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe boasts a perfect combination of speed, flexibility, sportiness, and efficiency. What sets it apart are its minimal torque converter slip and rapid gear changes. An innovative gear set configuration allows this transmission to offer eight gears, maximizing acceleration at any road speed, yet allowing the driver to conserve fuel by cruising at low revs. Befitting the Gran Coupe's sporting character, the driver can choose to select gears manually via shift paddles on the standard Sport leather steering wheel.

In addition to the efficiency of the engine and 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission, an extensive range of BMW EfficientDynamics measures contribute to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Brake Energy Regeneration, engine Auto Start-Stop, on-demand operation of ancillary components, intelligent lightweight construction and extensive aerodynamic refinement collaborate to ensure maximum efficiency.

The Chassis Management and optional Integral Active Steering.
Cutting-edge chassis technology gives the new BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe the tools to provide both sporty handling and exceptional comfort. The double wishbone front suspension and the multi-link rear suspension are made predominantly from aluminum. The chassis is geared to the requirements of drivers with sporting intentions, although the dampers also respond sensitively to bumps in the road surface under high lateral acceleration. The optional Active Roll Stabilization works in concert with the standard Dynamic Damper Control to offer the driver even more precise responses and perfectly flat cornering ability. The electronically controlled shock absorbers adapt to the road surface and the driver's style to perfectly control the car's body motions.

The electronically controlled damper system in the new BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe adjusts compression and rebound settings continuously and independently. For example, a stiff chassis setting can be combined with comfortable responses to unevenness in the road surface. The control unit of the damping system processes the data supplied by sensors on the vertical motion of the wheels as well as the ride height of the car. The driving speed and the damper setting chosen by the driver are also taken into account in calculating the damping force required for each individual wheel to even out body movements. This data is fed back to the shock-absorber units at intervals of just 2.5 milliseconds.

The optional Active Roll Stabilization feature reduces body roll in corners and in sudden changes of direction, or transitions. Sensors calculate the amount of body roll based on the driving situation at hand, and this is then counteracted quickly and precisely by hydraulic rotary actuators in the front and rear anti-roll bars. The result is flatter cornering inspiring greater confidence for the driver as well as greater comfort for the passengers during spirited drives. The power steering features standard Servotronic vehicle-speed sensitive assistance, and serves up the familiar BMW recipe of precision, comfort and linear response.

The Gran Coupe is also available with Integral Active Steering. This system (also available on the 6-Series Coupe and Convertible) combines the Active Steering system for the front suspension with a steerable rear suspension. Precisely harmonized steering angle movements of both front and rear wheels create a virtual lengthening or shortening of the vehicle's wheelbase, which fosters both greater high-speed stability and enhanced maneuverability for parking and city use.

Brakes, Wheels, and Tires.
The lightweight floating-caliper brakes feature vented discs and Dynamic Stability Control. DSC brings together technology such as the Anti-lock Braking System, Dynamic Traction Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, the Start-off Assistant, the automatic Brake Drying function and Brake Fade Compensation. Standard equipment also includes 8.0 x18-inch light-alloy wheels, with all-season runflat tires (size 245/45 R18) and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Driving Dynamics Control with ECO PRO mode: From most athletic to the most fuel-efficient driving modes - at the press of a button.

The new 6-Series Gran Coupe offers impressive driving dynamics combined with new standards of comfort in the premium segment. This is a result of superbly tuned suspension which achieves an astonishing balance between dynamics and comfort. On top of this, drivers are also able to vary the overall character of the car depending on the driving situation or to suit their personal preferences. As well as sportier or more comfortable drive settings, they can also opt for extra fuel efficiency. The different modes are selected using the new Driving Dynamics Control function including ECO PRO mode, which is standard on all 6-Series models. The driver can choose settings of COMFORT+, COMFORT, SPORT, SPORT+ and ECO PRO modes using the large rocker switch on the center console. Affected parameters include the tuning of the throttle response, power steering boost assistance, shock absorbers, automatic transmission shift characteristics and - if equipped - roll stabilization and Integral Active Steering. In SPORT+ mode, the Dynamic Traction Control mode of the standard Dynamic Stability Control system is activated, raising the thresholds for stability intervention in the most sport-oriented driving circumstances.

The new ECO PRO mode, on the other hand, supports an extra-efficient and economy-conscious driving style. It does this by changing the accelerator mapping so that the same pedal travel delivers less power than in the standard mode. Also in this mode, the automatic transmission control strategy is modified so as to upshift sooner and to delay downshifts, while intelligent energy and climate management reduces the mechanical power consumption and also the consumption of electrical systems such as heated mirrors and seats. But the biggest potential for improving fuel economy comes from the driver's own personal driving habits. Special displays in the instrument cluster let the driver know by how much the driving range is being extended, show fuel consumption history, or, with reference to the specific driving situation, provide tips and incentives on how to develop a more economy-conscious driving style. ECO PRO mode allows average fuel consumption to be reduced by up to 20%, with a corresponding increase in driving range.

Design: Athletic elegance, natural sportiness.
The new BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe again heralds the arrival of an exceptionally sporty and exclusive 4-seater in the premium coupe segment. The new model's extra length and width over its 2 door model combine with its low height (2.8 inches lower than a 5-Series) to produce a strikingly low-set and powerful design. This new interpretation of the traditional BMW Coupe proportions is embellished by lines and surfaces inspired by the movement of waves. Flowing lines and harmonious curves create a feeling of athletic grace which underline the opulent character and elegant appearance of the four-door BMW.

The expressive front end is dominated by the large and slightly forward-slanting BMW kidney grille. The grille emphasizes the car's sporting pedigree with a broad, flat design, and creates a visual connection to the engine nestling behind. The kidney grille slats, angled slightly towards the top, lend additional emphasis to the front end's "shark nose" character. The contour lines of the hood converge towards the kidney grille, forming a V-shape which is continued by the contours of the headlights, kidney and wide air intake to give a road-focused look.

Powerfully flared wheel arches and the LED foglamps, placed well to the outside, accentuate the width of the front end. The lower air intake is split into three sections by model-specific L-shaped electroplated bars, which pick up the contours of the hood lines and BMW kidney grille to add extra intensity to the road-focused stance of the front end.

High-visibility innovation: Adaptive LED Headlights.
The new Gran Coupe is equipped with standard Adaptive Xenon headlights. An accentuating trim element cuts across the top of the hallmark BMW twin round headlights to produce the purposeful look familiar from other BMW models. The optional Adaptive LED Headlights, available as a stand-alone option or as part of the BMW Individual Composition Package, provide a fresh take on this established feature. In both cases, LED light rings for the parking lights and daytime running lights, which are flattened on the lower edge and overlapped at their top edge by an accent light - which also featuring LEDs. The result is a stunning, distinctively BMW showcase for the innovative light technology. In addition, they also generate the low beam and high beam light from the two light rings. The light sources are horizontal LED ribs positioned in the center of the light rings. This results in the brand's hallmark twin round headlight look being expressed even more strikingly - not only with the daytime running lights switched on, but also when the headlights are activated in the dark.

The Adaptive LED Headlights are, however, about more than just looking good; they also ensure the driver has optimum visibility. Their bright white light provides a bright and even illumination of the road ahead. From a color perspective, the light comes much closer to natural daylight than that created by conventional halogen or xenon headlights, lending even reflective objects far greater contrast. The cornering element of the Adaptive LED Headlights is also tailored to the car's speed, steering angle and yaw rate, allowing the pivot of the headlights to adapt automatically to the line of the corner. Meanwhile, a light source positioned specially in the headlight housing generates the cornering light which, at low speeds, ensures illumination of the road surface in the direction the car is turning. LED technology is also deployed for the turn signal indicators, each of which consists of eight LED units arranged in a row underneath the light rings. As well as enhancing visibility in the dark, the Adaptive LED Headlights also significantly improve the signaling effect of the car's lights.

Profile: Elegant roofline, powerfully curved surfaces.
With its long, powerfully contoured hood, set-back passenger compartment, long wheelbase and short overhangs, the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe presents a fresh take on the hallmark BMW proportions. The Gran Coupe's distinctive appearance is dominated by its four-door layout, longer wheelbase than other BMW 6-Series models and likewise longer passenger compartment. The low, elegantly stretched roof line, which flows smoothly into the rear end, is a similarly eye-catching and distinctive feature of the new model's silhouette.

The combination of sportiness, style and luxury is particularly clear when viewed from the side. Longer side window surfaces than those found on the two-door BMW 6-Series models hint at the extra space available in the rear compartment. Side windows extending far back into the C-pillar give the passenger compartment the low-slung, stretched look typical of a BMW Coupe. The more generous greenhouse also allow light to flood the interior, further enhancing the feeling of space inside and all-round visibility for the rear passengers. High-quality Chrome Line Exterior surrounds for the side windows complement the coupe style window line. The hallmark BMW Hofmeister kink at the transition to the C-pillar is given an extra touch of style in the form of etched "Gran Coupe" model lettering set against a sporty texture in the rear section of the side window.

Powerfully flowing surfaces - which open out as they extend back from the front end and stretch over the full length of the body before feeding into the muscular rear end - give the BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe a naturally sporty look. The character line streaming out from the gill on the front wheel arch takes in the door handle and runs the full length of the car, emphasizing the athletic elegance of its side view. Around the rear wheels, the surfaces below the character line push outwards, enhancing the impression of a powerful car with a strong, assured stance on the road. Plus, the light surfaces generated above the rear wheel arches draw further attention to the wide track and the power being channelled through the rear wheels.

Another character line, emerging from the curvature of the front wheel arch, drops down between the gill feature and the door, before levelling out and extending horizontally to the rear. The unbroken shadow surface above the side sill emphasises the car's muscular stance from the side.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lexus LS EU-Version, 2013

  • Lexus LS EU-Version, 2013

With over 730,000 models sold during its 23 year, four generation history (the majority of which are still on the road), the Lexus LS has grown and evolved with the times. Yet is has always remained true to four key genetic traits: The adoption of world first, cutting edge technologies; the highest levels of quality combined with a uniquely Japanese sense of style and detail; unrivalled cabin quietness; and the smooth, comfortable ride befitting a premium segment luxury sedan.

Constituting a significant evolution of the current LS, the new Lexus flagship scales new heights of product maturity through a bold blend of style and refinement.

Since its launch in 2006, the current generation Lexus LS has been subject to over 2500 ongoing improvements; at a stroke, the new LS adds another 3000 changes, including three world first, and no less than 15 Lexus first, features and technical innovations.

Responding in detail to customer feedback throughout every aspect of its development, the new LS has been conceived to raise the bar even higher in the pursuit of unprecedented refinement, comfort, driving performance, technical excellence and, above all, quality.

Representing further improvements to Lexus' already peerless standards, the new Lexus LS now lays claim to being amongst the quietest, most comfortable cars in the world.

The new LS features major changes to the exterior which reflect a further development of Lexus' unique, L-finesse design philosophy. This design represents a bold blend of refinement and evolution, with dynamic, modern, yet dignified styling giving the Lexus LS a unique sense of presence appropriate to the flagship of the brand.

At 5,090 mm overall, the new LS is just 30 mm longer than its predecessor. The wheelbase remains a generous 2,970 in length, and front and rear overhangs have increased by 10 and 20 mm respectively.

Key to the new design is an aggressive frontal treatment which gives the new LS a powerful, more commanding road presence. In a further evolution of a styling cue first developed on the new GS range, the inverted trapezoid upper grille and slanted lower grille have been combined and integrated into a single element, bridging the bumper mid-section to create a prominent 'spindle' shape.

Achieving a new-found maturity here, this bold, elegant and individual grille treatment is the focal point of the major design changes. A Lexus first for the brand flagship, it makes the LS instantly recognisable as a Lexus at first glance, and is being adopted throughout the brand to strengthen the Lexus family identity between model ranges.

By projecting the surrounding bodywork forward of a vertical grille face, the spindle had been given a strong three-dimensional form, its shape further accentuated by a blacked-out grille finish and a completely chrome plated frame which extends to the bumper openings.

Beneath a new, more muscular bonnet design, the grille is flanked by headlamp clusters clearly positioned on a higher plane than the grille itself. This is a unique characteristic of Lexus models, focusing the eye at the very apex of the vehicle to give the design a resolute look and strengthen the impression of power and agility.

The Lexus LS may be equipped with two types of headlamp; a two projector discharge design and a three projector unit featuring full-LEDs. Equipped with the latter, the LS offers Lexus first, all-LED exterior lighting.

Featuring 12-LED turn signal lamps for the first time in a Lexus, the headlamp housings are underscored by integral LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). The DRLs are of a new design, featuring a single, seamless light tube which forms an L-shaped motif, further reinforcing the unique visual signature of the new LS.

The new, deep front bumper design forms a wide, trapezoid shape which anchors muscular front wings and flared wheel arches, reinforcing the new LS's wide front track, low centre of gravity and broad, purposeful stance.

The bumper integrates sharply sculpted front foglamp housings featuring LED foglamps. Harmonising with the spindle grille design and L-shaped DRLs, the vertical lamp structure incorporates the world's smallest PES lens with a diameter of just 30 mm, combining top-level illumination with a unique Lexus design signature.

In profile, the new Lexus LS shares its predecessor's long, elegant cabin proportions. The shape of the rocker panels and below-door mouldings has been changed, continuing the sharp form of the wheel arches and accentuating an image of air flowing smoothly along the flanks of the car. New door mirrors feature chrome plated ornamentation and incorporate LED puddle lights and a new LED turn signal.

To the rear, the front spindle design is reflected in flowing lines that cut across the boot surface from the C pillars and then flare out towards the lower half of the body, once again accentuating the new LS's low centre of gravity and purposeful stance.

First introduced in the LS, the unique, L-shaped motif inside the rear lamp clusters harmonises perfectly with the new trapezoidal design. The rear lamps also adopt LED technology throughout, adding depth and crystal-like clarity. The light guide LED lamps form a clearly visible L-shaped signature whether on or off.

Human-oriented interior design is one of the fundamental tenets of the L-finesse design philosophy. Marking a significant evolution in the design history of the LS, a new instrument panel reflects this with a radical change to a more horizontally-based layout offering drivers more comfortable, ergonomically ideal interaction with the vehicle's HMI (Human Machine Interface) systems.

A clean, elegant dashboard design forms a wide horizontal plane, emphasising the overall roominess of the interior, whilst the door and centre console trim support the driver and front passenger in a secure, cocooned environment.

The dashboard is divided into two distinct zones: an upper Display Zone, with the ultra-wide, 12.3 inch, LCD multi-display screen - the industry's largest - located at an ideal distance for at-a-glance viewing, and a lower Operation Zone, which allows access to system controls such as the second generation of Lexus' award winning Remote Touch Interface (RTI).

Every aspect of the driving position has been carefully considered to create the ideal placement of controls, maximise comfort and minimise driver distraction and fatigue. Switches have been combined and their number reduced, and the centre cluster has also been made more compact.

The driver's instrument binnacle incorporates high-visibility, large diameter Optitron dials and a 5.8" TFT (Thin Film Transistor) Multi-information screen - the largest amongst Lexus vehicles - with an enhanced display ability. The new LS follows the CT and GS in adopting a Drive Mode Select system, with meter illumination and multi-information display design changing from blue to red in sports driving modes, along with the switching of the hybrid system indicator to a tachometer in the Lexus LS 600h.

The centre of the instrument panel features an analogue clock, precision machined from aluminium, with a Lexus-first GPS-based time correction function. The light-emitting hands and scale have been shaped to be as narrow as possible, accentuating the sense of fine craftsmanship. The 12 0'clock marking has been specially cut to concentrate light when the minute hand converges with it, emphasising the start of the next hour.

The driver's immediate environment has been further enhanced by a new, 3-spoke steering wheel which, at 380 mm in diameter, is 10 mm smaller than the 4-spoke design it replaces, offering owners a more sporting feel and a closer engagement with the vehicle's enhanced driving dynamics. And the aluminium, asymmetric gear shift lever has been leather-clad for a comfortable grip.

Fully described in the Refinement and Comfort chapter, both the driver and front passenger seats have been redesigned to offer improved comfort and support.

Throughout the interior, genuine materials and finishes convey a contemporary, premium look and feel, with a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail for which Lexus is globally renowned. Lexus firsts, the lower section of the instrument panel and sides of the centre console are clad in a new, highly durable material with the highest quality stitching, and - taking design cues from the interior ornamentation - the new smart key is clad in real leather and alloy for an authentic feel.

This beautifully crafted interior is complimented by the world's first Advanced Illumination System (AIS). Featuring new, Champagne White interior lamps and dynamic LED instrument panel lighting, AIS is fully described in the refinement and Comfort chapter.

Wheels, Colour Schemes and Trim
The new LS may be equipped with a choice of five wheel designs, including three newly developed aluminium wheels, one 18" and two 19". Both wheel sizes are available in a new, hollow chamber, noise reduction design which features a unique, high gloss, ultra-metallic coating. The Lexus flagship is available in a range of 10 exterior colours, of which three, Sonic Silver, Fire Agate and White Nova, are new.

Lexus engineers developed a new advanced coating process for the Sonic Silver finish. Vehicles with the Sonic Silver exterior appear more radiant as an additional metallic texture gives both strong shading and defined, sharp highlights. This metallic effect makes subtle and defined bodylines more noticeable and the surface appear finely polished.

The new interior is available in a choice of six colour schemes; Mellow White, Ivory, Light Grey, Black, Black and Saddle Tan, and a newly available Topaz Brown. The variety of ornamentation available has also been expanded, with newly developed Walnut, Black and both matt and high gloss Ashburl finishes, as well as newly available Shimamoku and Bamboo.

A Lexus first, the steering wheel and lateral dashboard ornamentation are available in a new, Shimamoku finish. An example of the very finest in traditional Japanese craftsmanship, Shimamoku - translated as 'striped wood' - involves the painstaking layering and angled cutting of dark and light shaded wood veneers in a unique process which involves 67 manufacturing steps over the course of 38 days.

Fully described in the F SPORT chapter, an F SPORT package is available for the first time on the LS model range. It includes unique exterior styling, lowered Sport air suspension, and exclusive interior features include sports seats, trim details and colour schemes.

With the launch of the first LS in 1989, the Lexus flagship immediately established a reputation for peerless levels of quietness and refinement. Its cabin combined the most advanced, technically sophisticated equipment with a luxurious environment quiet enough to enable normal conversation whilst travelling at high speed.

Successive generations of LS have consistently improved on every aspect of this unique interior environment. Cabin quietness and occupant comfort levels have been painstakingly honed, and progressive equipment refined with numerous world firsts in advanced on-board technology, to create the unparalleled comfort, convenience, discreet hospitality and carefully considered driver interaction that lie at the heart of the Lexus Ownership experience.

Representing further improvements to Lexus' already peerless standards, the new Lexus LS now lays claim to being amongst the quietest, most comfortable cars in the world.

Improved sound insulation
Comprehensive improvements have been made to the sound insulation in every area of the new LS, ensuring that it surpasses even the exemplary standards of cabin quietness already established by the current generation Lexus flagship.

Reducing engine noise, the dashboard silencer seal structure has been strengthened and insulation added to the engine cover. Both engine and road noise has been reduced through the adoption of thicker insulation to the front wheel arch liners and a revised noise insulating structure to the tibia pad.

Road noise has been reduced through the optimisation of floor silencer coverage, the addition of insulation materials under the rear seat, a change in rear wheel arch liner insulation material, an increase in the area of boot space trim sound insulation and a reinforcing of the rear partition panel hole seal structure.

Both wind and road noise have been reduced through the addition of further insulation to the door inner weather strips and service hole covers. And wind noise has been reduced through a change of insulation material for the roof trim, a smoothing of the A pillar and door frame mouldings, and the addition of aero fins to the door mirror to reduce air turbulence.

The result of these numerous enhancements is immediately noticeable aboard the new LS. Class-leading quietness is exemplified in the front seats by the lowest levels of engine noise amongst the new flagship's rivals, and in the rear seats by a level of conversation clarity which now rates at almost 100% when the new Lexus is travelling at 100 km/h.

Noise Reduction Wheels
Furthering these efforts to achieve the ultimately quiet ride, the new LS also becomes the first Lexus to adopt noise-reduction wheels. They channel resonant noise - generated by the tyres on impact with road surface imperfections - from the main air chamber within the tyre to adjacent hollow areas within the wheels, via resonator holes.

Once inside, the sympathetic vibrations generate air friction. The friction transforms the sound into kinetic energy, reducing the amount of noise. Tests reveal that, whilst driving on an uneven road, the cockpit environment in the area of the front seats is significantly quieter.

Body Structure Rigidity Enhanced for Greater Ride Comfort

High body rigidity is not only fundamental to vehicle stability and handling agility, it also plays a significant role in minimising the transmission of noise and vibration from the engine bay and road surface into the cabin, thus enhancing ride comfort.

The new LS incorporates several measures designed to further reduce vibration and improve ride comfort: A Lexus first, a new laser screw welding technique offers panel joint adhesion across entire surfaces as opposed to individual spots, increasing overall body rigidity.

The number of engine support member joints has been increased, and the engine mount characteristics improved. Both a larger tunnel brace and larger partition panel reinforcement have been adopted, along with larger front seat brackets.

Together, these measures result in a noticeable reduction in vibration, particularly in the floor area around the driver's seat, leading to a marked improvement in ride comfort.

Improved Seating Comfort and Seat Air Conditioning Control
Already renowned for their comfort, the front seats of the new Lexus LS have been further improved with a new design to minimise pressure peaks, improve support and reduce fatigue during even the longest journeys.

The upper back contact surface of the new LS front seat has been expanded, and the cushion thickness of the seat base has been increased by 20 mm for greater comfort. The addition of cushion length adjustment allows for the transfer of greater pressure under the thighs, reducing pressure on the buttocks. Improved pelvic support helps maintain correct lower body posture, reducing fatigue on long journeys.

The front passenger seat features a new, Ottoman-style, fold-out calf support which improves lower leg comfort by reducing heel pressure by 45% and thigh pressure by 10%.

Both front seats feature an improved air-conditioning system fitted as standard, the system being further incorporated within the rear seat upgrade package. The seats feature a larger heating area around the shoulder and back of the knee, and the heater output has been more than doubled, from 100 to 210 W, halving seat warm up time.

The seat also offers a larger cooling area, with twin low pressure drop heat exchangers increasing airflow by some 30%, and larger diameter seat perforations and a larger blower increasing airflow by a further 12%.

Both front and rear seat climate control may now be automatically incorporated in the operation of the new Lexus Climate Concierge air conditioning system.

Lexus Climate Concierge
A world first, the new Lexus Climate Concierge offers every LS occupant the ultimate in on-board thermal comfort. The world's most advanced climate control system, it features all the benefits of the Multi-zone Automatic Climate Control developed for the previous generation Lexus flagship, combined with automatic integration of the seat heating and cooling systems, and the steering wheel rim heater.

Guaranteeing ultimate comfort, the 4-zone independent control system goes beyond simply managing the air temperature within the cabin. Fully customisable, it also controls the temperature of all points of contact within the cabin - seats and steering wheel - to bring each occupant to their preferred temperature as quickly as possible.

For instance, in cold weather before the air conditioning system heating has reached maximum efficiency, the steering wheel heater and individual seat heaters are automatically turned on to warm up the driver and passengers quickly. Once the rapid seat heating function achieves a comfortable temperature - accomplished in half the time of the previous system - the seat heater automatically reduces temperature before switching off.

In a similar fashion, on hot days, a rapid cooling function controls seat temperature before the air conditioning system cooling has reached maximum efficiency, to quickly achieve a comfortable environment.

The Lexus Climate Concierge uses up to 13 sensors managed by a central ECU, including - part of the rear seat upgrade package on long wheelbase models - a unique, roof-mounted infra-red matrix sensor to measure climactic conditions throughout the cabin. Measuring the surface temperature of rear seat occupants enables the system to assess their specific thermal comfort, and then instigate bespoke adjustments to the air-conditioning system's independent rear zones.

No less than 20 individual outlets distribute warm or cold air throughout the cabin of the new LS. Besides B-pillar outlets, rear seat passengers benefit from generously sized Roof Climate Diffusers. Mounted above each outer rear seat, they offer unparalleled climate control around a passenger's head and neck.

The full hybrid LS 600h L further benefits from a heat exchanger with integrated PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heating elements. This system will warm the front cabin area as quickly as possible after vehicle start-up, before the engine itself has reached a sufficiently high running temperature to supply heating to the air-conditioning system.

Nanoe® Technology
The climate control system also incorporates a new Nanoe® technology system. This air cleaning technology operates automatically when the air conditioning is turned on. It releases 20 to 50Nm diameter nanoe particles - negatively charged ions wrapped in water molecules - into the cabin.

By attaching themselves to airborne particles and molecules, the nanoe ions have been said to have both an air purifying and odour eliminating effect. They also deodorise vehicle seats and ceiling to create a cleaner cabin environment.

In addition, because nanoe moisture content is approximately 1,000 times that of conventional ions, the emission of ions bonded to water molecules is said to have a moisturising effect on skin and hair, acting to enhance occupant well-being.

Advanced Illumination System (AIS)
This beautifully crafted interior is complimented by the world's first Advanced Illumination System (AIS). Featuring new, Champagne White interior lamps and dynamic LED instrument panel lighting, AIS is an LED interior lighting system which creates an atmosphere appropriate to the flagship of the Lexus model range.

Elements of the LED lighting illuminate to greet the occupants as they approach the car, even before it is unlocked, activating and fading thereafter in sequence with the vehicle starting procedure.

The numerous interior lamps of the AIS are divided by colour temperature into three illumination colours: a Warm White, for soft facial illumination from dome lamps and vanity mirrors; Champagne White, bringing elegance and serenity to the overall interior lighting to reinforce the progressive luxury inherent in the new Lexus LS interior design; and White Heat, for the clearest possible text illumination of the meters, instrument panel and clock.

Control of the timing, brightness and distribution of AIS illumination throughout the interior is fully coordinated, enabling both interior and exterior lighting ambience to be varied according to several vehicle operation and driving scenarios:

A 'Greeting' lighting sequence guides the driver to the vehicle and welcomes him on board. When the door is unlocked, the DRLs and door mirror puddle lamps illuminate. As the driver approaches the vehicle, soft light floods the footwells, and the dome lights, clock and new, full-width, instrument panel band lighting gently illuminate.

The 'Vehicle Start' sequence illuminates the meters, switches and clock to full brightness, the navigation screen opening sequence begins, and brighter instrument panel band illumination flows from the centre to both sides of the LS interior. The inside door handles and footwells are also lit.

The 'Driving' sequence dims the instrument panel band from the sides to the centre, simultaneously dimming footwell and door handle lighting, and reducing meter, switch and clock illumination to the driver's preferred level.

On switching off the LS, the 'Vehicle Parked' sequence flashes and then dims the instrument panel band lighting from each side towards the centre, before it finally concentrates to a point and extinguishes. Once the instrument panel light is off, the entire interior illuminates, including the door handles and footwells.

Second Generation RTI with 12.3" Multimedia Display
The second generation Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI) multi-function control device has been enhanced for increased user-friendliness and ease of operation.

RTI features the world's largest on-board multimedia display; a 12.3 inch, full colour, LED screen with an ultra-wide, 24:9 format. The screen's size allows for the permanent display of two types of information simultaneously, such as map/audio, Night View/map and navigation input/incoming call.

The system now incorporates the world's first slide haptic joystick mechanism - a planar slide-type controller, much like a computer mouse, that allows users to scroll quickly and easily across the display screen. The ENTER command is now accomplished by simply pushing the controller. Usability has also been improved through the addition of ambient lighting, and by minimising the difference in height between the RTI controller and the armrest.

The Lexus Navigation System
Accessed via the LS's Remote Touch control system, the Lexus Navigation System benefits from a powerful, HDD capacity, making it one of the fastest, most accurate systems on the market.

In conjunction with enhanced Remote Touch control, the multimedia system's 12.3" display now has multi-screen capability, allowing for the permanent display - and independent control - of three types of information simultaneously, from a menu including map, audio, vehicle information, navigation input, air conditioning functions and incoming call.

Incorporating automatic screen zoom at intersections, the navigation system features several new functions. They include a true 3-D view with city model and landmark graphics, the accurate replication of motorway signage, and speed limit information.

The advanced voice recognition system has been improved through an enhanced recognition capability and a reduction in operational steps. It allows users to search both phone and music databases, and facilitates one-shot navigation address input.

Via internet connection using the customer's Bluetooth mobile phone, the Lexus Navigation System provides access to an on-line Points Of Interest search facility from the Google Local Search database, and allows addresses from the Google map website to be added as destinations.

An RDS-TMC traffic information system is integrated directly within the navigation system, offering an advanced information service in nine Western European counties. This allows the most accurate information to be used in the system's route calculation, giving the driver the option of taking an alternative route to avoid traffic incidents.

In some European countries, traffic information is also transmitted on DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting), using TPEG (Transport Protocol Expert Group). This constitutes a significant improvement over RDS-TMC technology for several reasons; the digital signal can carry far more information; its pin-point accuracy allows for better navigation routing; and it offers a wider service with more precise traffic flow information, and parking availability.

Premium Surround Sound System
The new Lexus LS is fitted as standard with a Premium Surround Sound System. Featuring a 9 channel amplifier and 10 speakers, and now equipped with a digital radio tuner, it offers a class-leading standard audio system specification.

The system has been upgraded in the new LS, with the adoption of a new digital amplifier. Full digital processing and newly developed power integrated circuitry brings enhanced clarity to the sound. The system's surround sound effect has been strengthened through the use of new DSP processing technology.

New, compressed audio enhancement technology has also improved the recovery of high frequency components and tones lost from compressed audio sources such as an iPod®. iPod functionality and interface quality has been enhanced; via USB port connectivity, the iPod menu can now be driven from the vehicle's RTI control system and album cover art displayed on the 12.3" multimedia screen.

The system utilises no less than 10 individual speakers, including front and rear door mounted tweeters, upper rear door mid-range units, a large, 250mm subwoofer for powerful, deep bass notes and a newly adopted 87mm front centre speaker for improved definition and mid-range clarity. The carefully considered disposition of speakers within the Lexus LS interior ensures the highest possible quality of sound reproduction throughout the entire cabin.

Mark Levinson® Reference Surround System
The LS may be equipped with a state-of-the-art Mark Levinson® Reference Surround System offering quite simply the finest in-car audio experience available today. Over 2,000 hours of laboratory and on-road voicing have optimised the system for the specific acoustic characteristics of the new Lexus LS passenger cabin.

In conjunction with the 12.3" display screen, the Mark Levinson® Reference Surround System introduces LS owners to a complete, discrete 5.1 home theatre entertainment experience.

The discrete circuitry, 15 channel, ML3-16 Processor Power Amplifier covers a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, producing up to 450 Watt with less than 0.1% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).

Through 7.1 channel surround speaker architecture, separate, full-range side and surround channels provide an extraordinary sense of musical envelopment and depth for all passengers. In particular, rear seat passengers do not merely experience sound from behind as with other automotive 5.1 systems.

Key to the superlative performance of the new Mark Levinson® Reference Surround System are no less than 19 loudspeakers (12 of which are unique to this system alone), each one custom engineered for the particular acoustic characteristics of its location. The system comprises seven 25 mm tweeters, seven 100 mm midrange units, two 150 mm x 230 mm woofers, two 165 mm woofers and one 250 mm subwoofer.

Mark Levinson® loudspeakers use a variety of advanced materials, construction techniques and geometry to reduce distortion and coloration while increasing the dynamic capability of the system to achieve truly superior results.

Blu-Ray® Rear Seat Entertainment System
The Lexus LS Rear Seat Entertainment System features a separate DVD/CD player and a 9" VGA screen for the 5.1 home theatre entertainment experience of the Mark Levinson Reference Surround System.

The system has been upgraded in the new LS, offering occupants an SD card slot and, a Lexus first; the high contrast, high definition Blu-ray player. The system remote control has also been made smaller, and the controls more intuitive.

In addition to a rear screen-dedicated Blu-ray® player, the rear centre console houses a storage compartment for DVDs, CDs and headphones, a refrigerated cool-box, cup holders, a retractable table, remote controls for both the massage programme and entertainment system, and a control panel for the operation of the air-conditioning, seats and sunshades.

The system also incorporates an additional input for the connection of various portable devices such as a games console or video camera. Furthermore, two sets of headphones may be connected to the system simultaneously, allowing rear seat passengers to enjoy the full breadth of rear seat entertainment available aboard the LS without distraction to the driver or front seat passenger.
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