Saturday, June 1, 2013

Skoda Octavia Combi, 2014

  • Skoda Octavia Combi, 2014

The new Škoda Octavia Combi is a new highlight in the world of compact cars. Like no other vehicle in this segment, the newest Škoda combines high levels of functionality with dynamic elegance, featuring clear lines, perfect proportions and highest precision down to the smallest detail. The Škoda Octavia Combi is a new, commanding statement by the designer team lead by Škoda design chief Jozef Kaban.

The new Škoda design is also conveyed in the new Octavia Combi. "This car is cast in one piece," says Frank Welsch, Škoda board member for technical development. "Its clear, dynamic appearance helps it stand out from the masses and is also more practical than ever before. The new Škoda Octavia Combi is the perfect interplay of form and function. A Combi that shows that even a large car can be beautiful," explains Welsch.

As with the new Škoda Octavia limousine, the new Octavia Combi concentrates on the essentials artistic lines- both inside and out. The clear, precise forms, sharp edges and distinctive proportions immediately catch the eye. "You don't need any gimmicks or excessive decorations to have an attractive car, but rather a clear style that is timeless and remains appealing over many years,", says design chief Kaban. "That is what the new Octavia Combi stands for."

The front end of the Škoda Octavia Combi - more commanding and distinctive than ever
The front end of the Škoda Octavia Combi shows class, is commanding and assertive - without appearing pretentious. Accentuating details and emphasising horizontal lines has made the front end border on the prestigious. At the same time, the 'face' of the Octavia can be recognised unmistakably as that of Škoda Combi by its characteristic shapes and the arrangement of design elements such as the radiator grille, the logo and the headlights. The front of the Combi is identical with that of the Octavia limousine.

The new Škoda logo has been placed prominently on the bonnet - the "premium location," as designers call it. At the same time, the logo is the origin of almost all the lines of the car. The logo already represents the ultimate in precision and clarity: it shows the finely detailed finned arrow in chrome on matte-black background, surrounded by a fine chrome line.

The radiator grille with its 21 vertically slats forms the centre of the vehicle's front end. In the new Octavia Combi, the grille has grown slightly and is now placed a little higher than was the case still with the second generation. In addition, to give the grille added visual emphasis, the designers separated it more clearly from the headlights. Slight curves make the outer shape more dynamic. A fine strip of chrome surrounds the radiator grille - for an elegant, distinctive finish.

Together with the grille, the distinctively shaped headlights of the Škoda Octavia Combi form a closed, characteristic front-end graphic. Completely redesigned, with their precisely worked-out, sharply cut form and horizontal arrangement, the car's completely redesigned headlights emphasise the width of the front-end of the Octavia. At the same time, the skilful design of the headlights again emphasises the subject of precision. The type of the surface finish and the working of precisely cut edges resemble that of cut glass. Deliberate variations on such crystalline design elements emphasises the roots of the vehicle in the Czech Republic, a country with a great tradition in crystal glass.

The vertical lines of the radiator grille fins continue in the vertical light lines of the bixenon headlights, including LED daytime running lights. This aesthetically pleasing continuation of the lines is reminiscent of eyelashes in their gracefulness and provides the new Octavia with a unique 'face'.

The front fog lights fulfil an important optical function as they combine with the headlights to form a cloverleaf shape. This emphasises the "likeable" appearance of the new Octavia. The air intake with its honeycomb grille is located between the front fog lights. This structural arrangement provides functional advantages and makes the new Octavia sporty, youthful and fresh.

The commanding bonnet also conveys solidity and value. Shaped three-dimensionally, it elevates the front part of the vehicle and strengthens the appearance of the overall vehicle.

Dynamic elegance
The side view of the new Octavia Combi conveys pure dynamics, featuring the finely tuned interplay of lines, surfaces, window graphics and proportion. The elongated Combi shape also benefits the car.

Compared to the previous model, the almost 11 cm longer wheelbase (2,686 mm vs. 2,578 mm) emphasizes the new model's striking proportions, as does the front overhang that is 886 mm shorter (Octavia II: 915 mm). The total length of the new Octavia Combi is 4,659 mm, which makes the third generation 90 mm longer than its predecessor. The Combi's length and width are identical to the dimensions of the Octavia limousine. In fact, with a height of 1,465 mm the Combi is 4 millimetres higher than the limousine.

The Octavia Combi appears very clear from the side - a dynamically flowing silhouette from the front to the rear window, undisturbed by any unnecessary breaks or superfluous lines. In addition, the self-contained, the sharp side profile amplifies the effect of the high tornado line. It accentuates the powerful appearance of the new Octavia, stretching the car visually. The sharp emphasis of the tornado line creates an effective contrast of light and shadow.

The window line gently slopes downward and elegantly transitions into the D-pillars, a dynamic finishing touch that enables optimal utilisation of the cargo area. The rear end of the vehicle is extremely harmonious and natural, far from looking "bolted on." The taillights extend from the rear area to the side of the vehicle and end directly at the tornado line.

The dynamic design of the new Octavia Combi does not come at the expense of the interior space. On the contrary, the third generation offers more space than ever before. Whether it is the interior length, legroom, or more headroom or elbow width, the new Octavia Combi expanded in all directions. The boot volume has increased to 610 litres - another best in class standard. The boot opening is now also wider and higher. At 631 mm x 6 mm, the loading sill is even lower than before, which makes loading extremely easier.

The rear - clear and clean style
The rear of the new Octavia Combi is clear, precise and clean. The new Škoda brand logo is located on the centre of the boot lid. The left side of the boot lid shows the Škoda company name, while the right side bears the Octavia model designation in new lettering. Everything is in its place.

The new Octavia Combi is immediately recognisable as a Škoda due to its C-shaped rear lights and the characteristic triangles on the boot lid. The taillights graphic is typical of Škoda with its distinctive C-shaped lighting contour and has been executed in the new Octavia with brilliant consistency. Like in the Octavia limousine, each taillight of the Octavia Combi now features two C-shaped light strips that enhance the graphic effect. In the top version, these strips are made from LED light strips. Crystal-like structures are visible in the taillights as well. As a supplement to the graphical arrangement of the lights, the new Octavia has two reflecting light strips. These 'cat eyes' run dynamically from the side of the vehicle into the bumper.

Another rear-view features that is characteristic of the brand are the two cubistic triangles on the left and right sides of the boot lid that are detailed with precise lines. They connect the graphics of the taillights with the boot lid. These triangles at the rear of new Škoda models are an elegant eye-catcher. A black diffuser forms the tail end, integrating technical elements such as parking assist sensors and the optionally available trailer hitch and completely the exhaust system.

Fresh interior space
Clean styling, timeless elegance and above all, lots and lots of space: these are features that are immediately evident in the interior of the new Octavia Combi. Each Škoda stands for spaciousness, especially the Combi. The designers were impressively successful in providing this space with a new definition in the Octavia. Everything is aesthetically appealing, precise and refined, whether it is control elements or air intake vents, whether dashboard, steering wheels, gear shift levers, panels, door openers or power windows. Everything is new and extremely functional, which was the motto of the interior designers.

Centrally located in the centre console, beneath the hazard warning flasher switch, is the radio infotainment system with all the necessary menu buttons and knobs. The newly developed systems feature touch displays of up to 8-inches in size with proximity sensors, depending on the model. Underneath the infotainment module are the controls for the air conditioning system. Clarity and precision are a recurring theme in all aspects of all elements of the interior. The white-backlit instrument panel has been redesigned. For the first time, the multi-function display Maxi DOT in the centre of the instrument cluster of the Octavia Combi can be ordered in colour.

The door panels in the new Octavia Combi also provide a feeling of quality. In the upper equipment packages, for example, elegant decor trims flows into the door handles. The power window controls are ergonomically easy to reach in the arms rests. On the driver's side, the electric mirror adjustment controls sit underneath the door handle.

Variety and individuality
Three equipment lines are available for the Škoda Octavia Combi: Active, Ambition and Elegance. Wheel sizes vary depending on the line (15 or 16 inch, steel or alloy) as do interior colours (ranging from black to black-grey to black-beige), decor choices, air conditioning, storage compartments, instrument clusters, infotainment or safety equipment. The options for individualisation of the new Octavia Combi are almost limitless, be it chrome strips, nine steering wheel versions with three or four spokes, nine wheel designs and four wheel sizes, from 15 to 18 inches - no desires will remain unfulfilled.

Twelve colours are available for the exterior: three solid paints in candy white, corrida red, and Pacific blue as well as nine metallic paints, from topaz brown, race blue, platinum grey, brilliant silver, denim blue, rosso Brunello, cappuccino beige, and lava blue to Magic black with pearl effect.

Clever loadmaster
The new Škoda Octavia Combi has by far the largest boot in the compact segment. Other benchmarks include the longest interior in the segment and the most kneeroom for rear-seat passengers. In addition, occupants will have more headroom yet again in the new Octavia Combi than they did in the predecessor model, which itself was roomy to begin with.

Generous space offering for occupants and baggage
Drivers and passengers will enjoy outstanding roominess in the new Škoda Octavia Combi. The new model boasts generous measurements that even outclass competitors in higher segments. No compact car offers a longer interior or more kneeroom in the rear. Interior legnth in the new Škoda Octavia Combi has grown by 33 mm to 1,782 mm as against the predecessor model. Kneeroom in the rear grew by 26 mm to a current 73 mm. In addition, the new Combi features even more front and rear headroom (front: 983 mm instead of hitherto 981 mm; rear: 995 mm instead of 984 mm). This means occupants have even more headroom than in the new Octavia limousine. What has grown significantly is elbow room, by 39 mm to 1,454 mm in the front and by 26 mm to 1,449 mm in the rear. The Combi's shoulder room is also markedly optimised, having expanded 19 mm to 1,398 mm in the front and by 4 mm in the rear to 1,378 mm.

The new Škoda Octavia Combi's boot scores another benchmark as volume has grown by five litres to 610 litres as compared to the existing Octavia Combi, which is equivalent to 20 litres more than in the limousine. Folding down the rear seats increases the loading volume in the Combi to an impressive 1,740 litres (hitherto 1,655). The rear seat back in the new Octavia Combi can be conveniently folded down from the trunk using a drawbar. Folding down the front passenger seat permits transportation of objects even as long as 2.92 metres.

The new Škoda Octavia Combi's tailgate swings open widely, making loading extremely convenient: the boot opening is all of 1,070 mm in height, 9 mm more than in the predecessor model. The boot's width is a maximum of 1,070 (Octavia Combi II: 1,061 mm). The loading sill is a mere 631 mm, 6 mm less than hitherto.

The new Octavia Combi shows grandness in every respect, its exterior dimensions equalling those of the Octavia limousine. At almost 4.66 metres, the car has grown by 90 mm in length and, at 1.81 metres (excluding side mirrors) by 45 mm in width compared to its predecessor. At the same time, the Combi's wheelbase has expanded by 108 mm. This new grandness not only leads to an extremely assured stance, it also has an extremely positive effect on the new Octavia Combi's inner spaciousness.

A clever estate car through and through
Add to this numerous "Simply Clever" details in the new Škoda Octavia Combi. The boot is not just gigantic, it has also been thought through from A to Z. Available for the first time in a Škoda is the new Škoda Octavia Combi's variable double loading floor in the boot, enabling to partition the boot into compartments of different heights and areas, which makes for a wide variety of transport options. There is a total of six positions. In addition, the system provides storage space for the boot's removable roll cover and also the optional roof rack.

A new feature for the Octavia Combi is the coat rack underneath the boot covering, which offers space for objects which would otherwise spill out across the boot.

The rear seat back can be folded at the ratio of 60:40. An optional separating net prevents objects from being hurled forward and can be used even with the rear seats folded down.

Four folding hooks for shopping bags in the boot come as a standard. Two boot lights ensure visibility, and a 12 V plug provides convenient power, e.g. for a cooling bag.

For the first time ever, the Octavia Combi has a double-sided floor mat in the boot: during normal use, a high-quality carpet ensures comfort and provides a pleasant appearance. The mat can simply be flipped over to carry dirty hiking boots, potted plants or wet ski boots on what is then a dirt- and water-repellent top.

The so-called cargo fastening element is a new feature which can fasten cartons and boxes, among other things, securely in the boot. Nothing will ever slide around out of control. The cargo element folds away into the boot's right-hand side to save space. If needed, it can be unfolded and stood up, with velcro on the underside preventing slippage. The object to be fastened is then simply inserted between the fastening element and the boot wall.

The interior of the Škoda Octavia Combi is also "simply clever." It has all of the features familiar from the limousine. A multimedia holder in the cup holder of the centre console makes room for the mobile phone or iPod. There are rubbish bins for the storage area in the door. And there is also no lack of beverage holders. Up to eight bottles can be put into holders designed specifically for them. A 1.5 litre goes into each of the front doors, two 0.5 litre bottles into the front centre console, a 0.5 litre bottle into each of the rear doors and optionally two 0.5 litre bottles into the folded down rear central armrest.

There will be no more tedious searching on cold winter days and nor more snow spilling onto the seats on opening the door. An ice scraper is located in the fuel filler flap as a standard. It simply slides into the fuel filler flap and is at hand anytime it is needed. There is also a fixed spot for the warning vest, mandatory in many countries, in the new Octavia Combi. There is a warning vest holder underneath the driver seat. No more lengthy searching for it inside the boot, especially not when that is loaded.

Safety on the highest level
The Škoda Octavia Combi sets standards in terms of safety, too. Innovative safety systems, a comprehensive passivesafety package including up to nine airbags and the car's stable handling make this youngest offspring of Škoda's one of the safest cars in its segment.

The safety support systems for the new Škoda Octavia Combi are extremely diverse. In case of a collision, a comprehensive package of passive safety elements ensures the best possible protection for both the driver and the passengers. The new model features many innovative safety systems to increase active safety: from the Front Assistant to the proactive Crew Protect Assistant. The newly developed, precise chassis, a long wheelbase and a solid and light-weight body structure also contribute to outstandingly stable handling of the most recent Škoda model.

After a collision in traffic, there is quite often the risk of a further collision, meaning a second impact: be it with the vehicle ahead, another road user, or with obstacles (crash barriers, trees). The Multi-Collision Brake, available for the first time in a Škoda, works to prevent this. In EU countries, Škoda fits this technology as standard in its Octavia Combi. The Multi-Collision Brake automatically slows the vehicle after a detected collision - even if the driver no longer presses the brake pedal. A further collision is avoided and/or the speed at which the further collision takes place is reduced. The Multi-Collision Brake is a component of the Electronic Stability Control ESC. It slows down the car up to a residual speed of 10 km/h. Activation of the Multi-Collision Brake switches on the hazard flashers and the brake lights. The driver can override the system at any time by pressing the accelerator or initiating an emergency stop of his own volition. German automotive club ADAC recently presented the Volkswagen-developed Multi-Collision Brake with a safety innovation award.

The Front Assistant of the new Octavia Combi becomes active in case of an imminent head-to-tail collision. Just as with the Adaptive Cruise Assistant comfort feature that is also available in the Škoda Octavia Combi, the Front Assistant uses a radar sensor integrated into the front end to continuously measure the distance to the vehicle ahead. The system works in four stages: The smaller the distance to the vehicle ahead becomes, the stronger the Front Assistant acts. The first stage is a visual warning alerting to insufficient distance. The next stage warns both visually and acoustically of an approaching obstacle and prepares the braking system. As a main warning, the third stage triggers a brief jerking of the brakes and then initiates the automatic partial braking. The highest stage finally turns the braking assistant to the highest sensitivity for automatic application of the brakes. If the driver does not react at all, an emergency braking takes place. This way, the system can reduce the severity of the accident and may, depending on the situation, even prevent a collision entirely.

In a speed range of 5 to 30 km/h, the Front Assistant works in conjunction with the City Emergency Braking Function to bring the Octavia Combi to a full stop automatically if the driver does not react to an obstacle in the vehicle's path. The City Emergency Braking Function achieves a deceleration of 8 m/s2 in case of maximum risk of collision.

Driver fatigue is one of the most frequent causes of accidents. The Driver Activity Assistant (fatigue detection), available for the first time in the new Škoda Octavia Combi, can reduce this problem. Based on observed steering behaviour, the system recognises deviations from normal handling and hence a weakening of the driver's concentration. The system analyses the steering behaviour 15 minutes after the engine has been started provided speed is more than 65 km/h, and stores the result as basis for a signal. A significant deviation from the characteristic steering behaviour will indicate fatigue of the driver triggering a visual message in the cluster instrument - "fatigue detected - please take break" - recommending a pause.

In the Crew Protect Assistant pro-active occupant protection, Škoda makes another system available in the new Škoda Octavia Combi that was hitherto mainly used in luxury vehicles. The Crew Protect Assistant 'prepares' the driver and the passengers for an impending accident: In case of a detected risk - for instance, emergency braking or a driving situation rated critical - the system pre-tightens the seat belts for both the driver and the passengers. In addition, the system closes the side windows (except for a remaining gap) and the sunroof in case of critical instable driving situations such as in strong oversteering or understeering with triggering of the ESC. This is done to prevent objects from entering the car.

The Lane Assistant also considerably improves driving safety. The lane departure warning assistant lowers the risk of inadvertently leaving the lane. It supports drivers of the new Octavia Combi especially on motorways and highways with clearly visible lane markings. The system works with a camera integrated into the base of the interior rearview mirror in the windshield. The camera detects lane markings in front of the car at speeds of 65 km/h and above. The lane departure warning assistant recognises an unintended departure from the lane, providing a visual message in the cluster instrument, and initiates corrective steering. Without recognisable lane markings, the system does not work. If the turning signal is turned on prior to crossing a marking, the Lane Assistant also does not react.

Comprehensive protection in a collision
Unfortunately, not even the best safety systems can prevent each and every accident. If, despite all precautions, a collision or impact occurs, the new Škoda Octavia Combi provides the best possible protection available. For the first time, the Octavia Combi features a knee airbag for the driver (standard in EU countries) as well as two optional rear side airbags. Up to nine airbags protect the occupants from injuries. In addition, the front-seat passenger airbag can be deactivated when transporting an infant carrier.

As a rule, all occupants are secured with 3-point seat belts (height-adjustable in the front) with pre-tensioners (in the rear, optional in combination with side airbags). Integrated belt force limiters reduce forces to an occupant's chest. For increased child safety, Isofix child seats can be firmly connected to the car using apposite mounts on the backseat and also with an additional top safety belt, the so-called TopTether. Upon request, Isofix anchors can also be integrated into the front-seat passenger seat.

In all countries of the European Union, safety features such as the anti-skid program Electronic Stability Control (ESC) including the Multi-Collision Brake, seven airbags, the deactivatable front-seat passenger airbag, and Daytime Running Lights come as standard. ESC is triggered in critical driving situations and systematically prevents the vehicle from swerving in curves.

Improved axles, longer wheel base make for a modern chassis
Stable handling with high agility in curves and balanced suspension comfort were the objectives of the Škoda Octavia Combi's chassis developers. The result is remarkable: a stable, balanced chassis that optimally fulfils all safety and comfort requirements.

The chassis of the new Octavia Combi uses one of two types of rear axle. Petrol engine versions with up to 103 kW und diesel engines up to 110 kW come with a newly designed twist beam rear axle. More powerful engines such as the all-wheel-drive Combi and the future compressed natural gas (CNG) version, will use a newly developed multi-link rear axle.

The torsion beam rear axle consists of a cross-section open at the bottom in which an inlay sheet is welded in at the end, each. The inlay sheets are of different lengths so that different torsion rates can be achieved. In comparison to a welded-in tubular stabiliser, this design leads to a significant weight advantage. The twist beam rear axle weighs 38 kg that is 15 kg less than the rear axle previously used in the Octavia - with increased rigidity and improved roll-steer behaviour.

The multilink rear axle was also systematically improved, especially with an eye on the weight. Use of high-strength steel as well as structural improvements in a large number of components reduced weight by 4 kg to a current 49 kg. The underlying design principle with its systematic separation of longitudinal and transverse rigidity assures excellent comfort and handling characteristics.

At the front, the new Octavia features a MacPherson front axle (struts) with a newly developed wishbone at the bottom. High-strength steel for the wishbone and an innovative bionics design approach at the rocker pivot contribute to both weight savings and stability. The auxiliary frame mounted centrally on the front axle is designed for the highest transverse rigidity. Overall, 2.8 kg of weight have been saved in the front axle.

The wheel base of the new Škoda Octavia has grown by 108 mm in comparison to its predecessor. This significantly larger distance between the front axle and the rear axle additionally has a positive effect on the vehicle's road handling stability.

Safe and lighter-weight body due to innovative manufacturing methods

Thanks to innovative use of high-strength and highest-strength steels as well as new manufacturing methods have resulted in a body for the new Škoda Octavia Combi that is not only lighter but also sturdier than that of its predecessor model.

Approximately a quarter (26.1 per cent) of the safety architecture consists of hot formed, highest-strength steels. These components are up to six times stronger than common deep-drawing steels and are up to four times as strong as conventional high-strength steels. They are created by heating steel at high temperatures (approx. 950 degrees Celsius), forming it while it is still glowing, and then cooling it down to 180 degrees Celsius within 5.5 seconds. The advantage is that components thus manufactured be made considerably thinner than before for the same crash resistance - this saves weight and leads to fuel savings in the new Škoda Octavia Combi.
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Friday, May 31, 2013

Seat Leon, 2013

  •  Seat Leon, 2013

SEAT is entering a new era: The new Leon is a simply stunning car - with its unique, emotional design, with its dynamic sporting character, with its compelling package of innovative technologies and with its refined quality and premium elegance.

The third generation of the SEAT Leon is an all-new car developed from the ground up. Its predecessors stood for driving fun and outstanding functionality - a tradition that the new SEAT Leon will most certainly continue. Like its predecessor, the new SEAT Leon is also built at the Martorell factory near Barcelona in Spain. Since the premiere of the first-generation Leon in 1999, SEAT has sold 1.2 million vehicles from this highly successful range.

The new SEAT Leon is a strong and emotional personality - it is the most beautiful way to drive a functional car. The five-door is packed full of high-end technologies - in its infotainment, its assistance systems, its running gear and its drive. The engines combine effortless performance with exemplary efficiency.

Every single power unit, all of them state-of-the-art TDI and TSI engines, are the best in their class in fuel consumption and emissions. The highlight is the Leon 1.6 TDI with start/stop system - its average fuel consumption is just 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres, equating to 99 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

The inclusion of optional full-LED headlamps is a truly pioneering move by SEAT. Setting the pace by example, the new Leon makes this technology available in the compact segment for the very first time. The full-LED headlamps combine sleek design with outstanding illumination. Light-emitting diodes consume very little energy and are extremely long lasting. The colour temperature of 5,500 Kelvin places their light very close to daylight thus placing less strain on the eyes.

The new SEAT Leon also offers a compelling level of functionality. Within its compact dimensions it offers more usable interior space than the previous model, while the premium materials and perfect workmanship put the Leon at the forefront of the competitive field. The modern touchscreen infotainment systems mean that it is already well prepared to face the future.

It low kerb weight is one of the SEAT Leon's greatest strengths; compared with the previous model, it has been reduced by up to 90 kilograms. In its base version, the new Leon weighs in at just 1,113 kilograms.

The Design - simply stunning
The new SEAT Leon is a highly emotional automobile that cuts a fine figure from the very first glance. Inspired by the IBE, IBL and IBX concept vehicles, the new SEAT Leon brings more excitement to the road. The all-new car looks simply stunning from every angle, with an enormously appealing, sporty aesthetic.

The new Leon marks the careful development of the SEAT design identity; the execution of clear lines and taut surfaces displays vitality and precision. Even the tiniest detail expresses the high standards and the quality applied to the design and development of the new SEAT Leon - standards met by very few vehicle manufacturers. Clear, minimalistic design and precision build quality are among SEAT's core values. These are also clear for all to see in the new SEAT logo. The new Leon is the first SEAT to bear the brand's new logo; on the front end, wheels, rear end and steering wheel.

The new SEAT Leon is extremely well proportioned. The visual weight of the passenger cell has been shifted slightly over the rear wheels, with a very smooth transition from the front wing to the passenger cell. All of the surfaces have a strong sculptural appeal that reinforces the effects of light and shade and adds to the three-dimensional effect.

Viewed from the side, the surfaces of the new SEAT Leon are honed and precisely modelled. The characteristic, interrupted "Línea Dinámica" stretches rearwards over the wheel arches - straining under tension like a well-trained muscle. Characteristic for the Leon are the trapezoidal C-pillar and the short third window reaching up towards the rear.

The rear end of the new SEAT Leon is modelled crisply and features a large, new SEAT logo that serves to open the rear hatch. The slightly wedge-shaped rear lights underscore the breadth of the car and are also available as an option using LED technology (standard in FR trim). The Leon FR further emphasises its sporty character with a distinctive diffuser insert and two large, chromed end pipes.

At 4.24 metres, the new SEAT Leon is around five centimetres shorter than its predecessor, yet the wheelbase has grown by almost six centimetres. This improves its overall proportions and posture on the road, allowing short overhangs as well as enhancing the car's stance on its wheels. Despite its shorter length, its clever packaging means that interior space - both in the cabin and in the trunk are improved.

Typical of the new SEAT design language is the angular line of the lights, which are perfectly integrated into the Leon's sculptural form. For the first time in the compact class, full-LED lights are available. The LED headlamps illuminate the road ahead with a light that exerts virtually no strain on the eyes, while intelligent sensors avoid dazzling oncoming traffic. The new high-end headlamps are maintenance free and lend the Leon's face an unmistakable look, especially due to their distinctive LED daytime running lights.

The Interior - premium, spacious and flexible
The sporty and athletic design of the SEAT Leon's exterior continues into the interior. The select materials have an exceptionally premium look and feel - everything is clear, light and uncluttered. Because the wheelbase is 58 millimetres longer than that of the previous model, the new SEAT Leon offers even more space for driver, passengers and luggage.

Some versions of the new SEAT Leon are equipped with premium ambient lighting. In the FR version, LEDs mounted in the door panel enhance the contours of the interior design, adding even more style and elegance to the cabin. As well as providing occupants with improved orientation, the ambient lighting also creates an even more pleasant feeling of space.

The Cockpit
From the outset of the project, SEAT's designers and engineers paid particularly close attention to the expectations of customers in the Leon's segment. Recognising that the promise of the Leon's exterior design had to be continued inside, the design and, in particular, the choice of materials and the overall fit and finish of the interior were considered high priorities.

The overall ambience that greets the driver and front seat passenger is of a simple, harmonious design that is uncomplicated and minimalist.

The key feature is the broad centre console, arranged with a clear orientation towards the driver. The instrument panel is elegant, with its two-tone design making it seem almost to float. Fine details highlight the very high level of workmanship in the new SEAT Leon - such as the large air vents, the easy-to-understand air conditioning controls and the three-dimensional trim elements. All surfaces have a soft-touch finish for a satisfying tactile experience. In some versions, the premium feel is further enhanced through fine chrome and leather applications.

All the switches, buttons and controls in the new SEAT Leon are located exactly where the driver would expect them to be. The large instrument dials are easy to read and the driver information system is standard equipment in many versions. Multi-function controls are available for the finely executed steering wheel, which sports the new SEAT logo at its centre.

The display for the on-board computer is located between the two analogue instrument dials, directly in the driver's line of sight and provides information on average fuel consumption, range and speed. Depending on the model version, it also shows data from the navigation system, the driver assistance systems and a mobile phone connected via Bluetooth.

All information and entertainment systems have been designed and developed completely from scratch. The new SEAT Leon introduces the first touchscreen generation to incorporate a proximity sensor (5.8-inch screen).

In designing the new SEAT Leon, functionality and flexibility were both given a high priority. There are no less than a dozen stowage facilities and five closed storage bins in the doors and centre console, as well as in front of and between the front seats. It is always easy to find a place for those small things that are a necessary part of everyday life.

The front stowage compartment in the centre console offers plenty of space for quick and easy stowage of keys, mobile phone and other everyday items. This is also the place to find the optional points for connecting multimedia devices (via aux-in, USB, SD and an iPod cable) to the vehicle network.

Front seats
The newly developed seats are low-slung and sporty. Height adjustability comes as standard and they are extremely comfortable for people of all statures. They provide the best possible grip during dynamic driving and are very comfortable over long distances. These characteristics were achieved by ergonomic shaping of the foam contours, as well as further improvements to the spring and damping characteristics of the cold-foam cushions. A large selection of premium fabrics, leather and Alcantara provide upholstery to suit every individual preference.

Weight was saved during the development of the standard-fit driver and passenger side airbags, which are now installed without plastic housings. Instead, the folded airbags are now integrated into the seat backs. The weight saving of 25 percent is paired with a significant improvement in protection.

Reference (for fleet customers) and Style grades come with optional lumbar support for the driver. Driver seat height adjustment is standard on all trims, and passenger seat height adjustment is optional in Reference and standard in Style. All these additional long-distance comfort features are standard equipment for the FR.

The second-row seats and luggage compartment
In the rear of the new SEAT Leon, too, shoulder, knee and head room are extremely generous. The comfortable rear bench is equipped with three head restraints. In the interests of the very youngest passengers, standard equipment includes Isofix and Top Tether anchors for child seats. Thanks to systematic lightweight design, the rear bench back rest is approximately 15 percent lighter than in the previous model - without any sacrifice in comfort.

The luggage compartment of the new SEAT Leon has a capacity of 380 litres, which is exactly 39 litres more than in the previous model.

The rear bench back rest is extremely straightforward to fold forward - and comes with a 60:40 split as of the Reference line. Once folded forward, the load floor is almost completely flat and measures 1,558 millimetres in length.

The Bodyshell - lightweight and solid
Its low kerb weight is one of the great strength of the new SEAT Leon; compared with the preceding model, it is down by 90 kilograms. In its base version, the new Leon weighs just 1,113 kilograms.

High-strength and ultra-high-strength steels
A bodyshell that offers optimum safety and the best possible comfort has to be solid. An intelligent structure guarantees that the vehicle remains lightweight and efficient. Lightweight solidity - SEAT set itself this challenge and equipped the new Leon with an utterly state-of-the-art body-in-white. With an eye on optimum value for money, costly materials like magnesium and carbon fibre were avoided - instead, the bodyshell features a high proportion of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels. The hot-formed hi-tech steels alone reduce weight by 18 kilograms, while ensuring increased passenger cell stiffness.

The excellent bodyshell stiffness lays the groundwork for the high production quality, for the precise handling and for the quiet passenger cabin, virtually undisturbed by unpleasant frequencies. Thanks to careful insulation, the interior of the new SEAT Leon is as quiet as that of a car from the next class up. Its aerodynamic refinements include the underbody cladding and the airflow through the engine bay.

In total, the body-in-white of the new Leon is lighter by 25 kilograms. Systematic lightweight design extends across every one of the vehicle's sub-assemblies - many parts in the engines, running gear and interior also contribute to weight reduction.

The Drive - powerful and efficient
SEAT sends the new Leon into battle with powerful and fuel-efficient TDI and TSI power units ranging from 1.2 to 2.0 litres displacement. All engines feature direct injection with turbocharging and have been optimised for low internal friction and rapid warm-up. Sporty power and ground-breaking efficiency are what set the new engine generation in the SEAT Leon apart. Compared with their respective predecessors, fuel consumption is down by up to 22 percent.

For the first time, all engines offered at market launch are available with a start/stop system - the 1.6 TDI with 77 kW (105 PS), the 2.0 TDI with 110 kW (150 PS) and the 1.4 TSI with both 90 kW (122 PS) and 103kW (140PS).
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rolls-Royce Wraith, 2014

  •  Rolls-Royce Wraith, 2014

When Rolls-Royce Motor Cars came to update its Phantom family of models, the words of company co-founder Sir Henry Royce informed everything that designers, engineers and craftspeople set out to achieve: Take the best that exists and make it better.

The historic cri de coeur came to represent the significant improvements made to the marque's pinnacle cars when launched in 2012, and continues to resontate strongly from the design studios to the assembly hall at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood today.

But that was only part of Royce's famous quote. Take the best that exists and make it better: when it does not exist design it.

These words informed the development of Rolls-Royce Wraith: nothing like it existed in the Rolls-Royce portfolio, nor the wider automotive world.

The expression of when it does not exist, design it is steeped in Rolls-Royce heritage. It can be seen in the pioneering spirit and vehicles that defined the company in the early 20th century. Adventures that took place on land, sea and in the air, that once led Rolls-Royce to three consecutive world speed records.

And of course there was the company's founding forefather, the Honourable Charles Rolls, a man whose appetite for adventure drove him to success in motor racing, ballooning and aviation. He became the first man in history to cross the English Channel and return without stopping in a powered aircraft, an achievement that earned him the highest praise of King George V.

Rolls-Royce Wraith echoes the spirit of these historic endeavours, pushing the boundaries of design and engineering, challenging perceptions and delivering the most dynamic, involving driving experience in the marque's 109 year history. It didn't exist, so Rolls-Royce designed it.

Power, style, drama
In its design, Rolls-Royce Wraith presents a masterpiece of elegant simplicity, exuding poise and the promise of dynamism. There is a sense that this car is ready to move with purpose on its driver's command.

Grace and beauty define the exterior presentation. The swept lines of the fastback, a style whose origins can be found in 1930s automotive design, most clearly signal its purposeful character, one which hints gently at the noir.

Performance complements the drama of exterior styling. A shorter wheelbase, wider rear track, 624 bhp / 465kW derived from the twin turbo V12 and a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds (0-62, 4.6 seconds) give expression to the car's dynamic looks.

But Wraith is no GT bruiser; it is every inch a refined and luxurious Rolls-Royce, a car where the sense of arrival and joy of the journey are as important as the canvas upon which it is drawn.

Effortless performance, luxurious interior
Wraith debuts the most intelligent drive train ever to feature in a Rolls-Royce, including the application of ground-breaking technologies like Satellite Aided Transmission (SAT). This processes GPS data to predict the driver's next move and automatically select the right gear for the road ahead. Unnecessary gear changes are thus avoided, augmenting the famous Rolls-Royce trait of waftability and ensuring Wraith is constantly poised to deliver on its dynamic promise. Following a sweeping bend, for example, the optimum gear is always pre-selected for effortless acceleration.

Complementing Satellite Aided Transmission, Rolls-Royce Wraith's further dynamic enhancements include a more direct steering response to aid precision in corners, as well as more dynamic spring and damper settings.

Step inside Wraith's coach doors and there is the feeling of going aboard a luxury yacht. It is a serene space for four occupants, who will be cocooned in a striking and contemporary interior furnished in beautiful materials, surrounded by tactile Phantom-grade leathers.

Design details like the expansive Canadel Panelling and blood orange needle tips for speedometer and power reserve gauge hint further at agility, speed and performance. Look upwards however, and Rolls-Royce presents something more traditional - at least for the 21st century. Starlight headliner - offered for the first time beyond the Phantom range - features thousands of tiny fibre optic lamps hand-woven by craftspeople into the roof lining.

It remains one of the company's most endearing and popular features.
The Honourable Charles Rolls
Wraith is a model that draws parallels with the story of founding forefather Honourable Charles Rolls. For like the pioneering Rolls, this car pushes boundaries, taking Rolls-Royce further than it has gone before, challenging then delivering on the promise of pace and adventure.

In a similar vein, this car also embraces the very finest things in life, the elegance and refinement enjoyed by a new generation of confident gentlemen and women. It will establish a reputation as the ultimate gentleman's gran turismo - the car Charles Rolls would have chosen to drive from Paris to Madrid were he alive today. Or from New York to Washington. Or from Shanghai to Beijing. Or from...

Like a world-class athlete poised at the starting blocks, Wraith presents a picture of anticipation and quickens the pulse when viewed for the first time. Without overstatement there is drama and an immediate sense of refined power expressed by its bold fastback design. Wraith exudes effortless style and beauty... derived through elegant simplicity. A high waistline combined with low roof line and raked cabin accelerate the eye rearwards, while tension in its surfaces suggests a car set to move - quickly if necessary.

Unique in character
In terms of sheer presence Wraith is clearly cut from the same luxurious cloth as today's Phantom and Ghost models. Yet it displays cues that can be traced through past generations; effortless poise with accentuated rear overhang, elegant coach doors and, of course, the Spirit of Ecstasy adorning the grille.

But this is a very different model to those of the last century - and stands alone among Rolls-Royce models today. A wider rear track, longer bonnet, raked glass house and deeply recessed pantheon grille, unite in presenting a truly focused car, a Rolls-Royce with its own unique character.

The consummate gentleman's gran turismo, Wraith stands as a contemporary homage to the era of effortless spacious coupés and grand tourers. A time where pioneers and adventurers became legends and their masterful machines objects of desire.

The expression of power
The traditional pantheon grille design has further evolved with Wraith. The cue here is that of a more functionally derived air intake, not unlike that of a jet turbine, giving greater expression to the car's dynamic promise. The grille itself is recessed by 45mm compared with Rolls-Royce Ghost. The surround has also been lengthened by 40mm while the bumper has been designed to incorporate the number plate surround with a focused lower air dam.

Recessed and finished in black, the lower valance mesh helps create depth to echo that of the grille. Chrome blades plant the car, complementing horizontal lines that accelerate the sense of flow around the exterior.

Gentle evolution is also a theme of the 102-year-old Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. Positioned further forward on the grille and angled by five degrees, her eager position draws the eye up and along the bonnet, helping define the development of three harmonious lines: the waftability line, waist line and roof line.

Beauty in profile
In side view, it is the fastback that most clearly sets this latest Rolls-Royce design apart from its thoroughbred stable mates. There is a dramatic combination of linear tension and expressive line that bestows Wraith with such an elegant yet uniquely powerful character.

Developing from the masculine frontal architecture, the linear formality of the waist line gently dips to the rear providing a sense of stability and effortless poise. This combines with the expressive gesture of the window graphic that sweeps downwards to the coach door swage line and gives expression to that essential Rolls-Royce trait of waftability.

Frameless coach doors and the absence of a b-pillar further augment elegance and drama. Perfectly sized to complement long front wings, these are the epitome of effortless entry and egress, but also impart a sense of theatre and occasion that are so important to Rolls-Royce customers. Doors open to reveal an exquisite interior and are closed from inside at the touch of a button.

With all four windows down, the side opening adds length and a sense of waftable debonair to Wraith's character. The elegant chrome side finisher frames this graphic beautifully and pulls the eye seamlessly down onto the rear wheel. For further open view touring enjoyment, a fixed glass roof can also be specified, complete with leather sun blind.

In Rolls-Royce Wraith's design, every detail has been considered; stainless steel door handles for example conceal barrel locks maintaining clean exterior panels. Three new wheels have also been designed to fit like a tailored shoe. Confident yet understated, these include a standard 20" seven spoke design along with optional 21" seven spoke part polished and 21" five-spoke part-polished, bi-colour choices.

Architecture in two-tone
The wide rear track reinforces the promise of Wraith's athletic prowess and powerful intent. Prominent rear shoulders with powerful wheel arches nestle the tapered glasshouse, so beautifully accentuated by the raked rear screen. These design elements present the perfect three dimensional canvas for a two-tone paint scheme that further enhances the unique, architectural design qualities of Wraith and hints at a nautical theme.

The fastback
The origins of fastback design lie in the streamlined design era of the 1930s. Initially popular in America, the word fastback soon came to define the spirit of adventure and dynamism that epitomised early and mid 20th century European sporting and GT cars.

Rather than take inspiration from any one car, Wraith simply evokes the alluring pedigree of some of the most iconic designs from this influential era.

Creating a visible distinction between a sporting GT and a true Rolls-Royce was very much key to the success of Wraith's modern design statement. Whilst the striking silhouette of the long fastback hints at a sporting dynamic, Wraith is clearly a consummate gentleman's gran turismo. The perfect balance has been struck between the visual language of the fastback's heyday and a thoroughly contemporary Rolls-Royce motor car. Traditional high-seating position and Rolls-Royce proportions remain, leaving the beholder in no doubt that it is true to the marque's DNA.

Wraith presents the perfect marriage of glamour and refinement, as well as an underlying, brooding sense that power and drama lie beneath. One can imagine that this Rolls-Royce in particular would perfectly match the inimitable lifestyle of adventure and speed enjoyed by Rolls-Royce's founding forefather the Honourable Charles Rolls.

Luxurious interior
Rolls-Royce Wraith's coach doors open to present an inviting, harmonious interior space - one with every possible comfort, delivered in a thoroughly modern way.

The eye is immediately drawn to the contemporary panelling that elegantly adorns the inside of the doors and sweeps round the entire lower space. Finished in either wood or leather, the effect draws the eye quickly around the cabin, similar in dynamic effect to the clean fastback style of the exterior.

Canadel Panelling
Wraith's mellow interior is the perfect space to present the debut of a very special new wood treatment , Canadel Panelling, a beautiful open grain wood. Tactile and with a light satin finish that retains the material's natural texture, this crafted wood contributes to the cabin's warm, contemporary ambiance, evoking the interior feel of a fine, super-luxury yacht.

In this wood configuration, the car stands as a testament to the skills of craftspeople in the wood shop at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England. Every detail has been carefully considered; the veneer gently curved to hug the contours of the doors, delighting the eye as well as increasing space for occupants. In orientation the grain is angled at 55 degrees increasing dynamic flow through the interior. Echoing the wood craftsmanship of its pinnacle stable mate Phantom, Canadel Panelling is bookmatched throughout, creating a perfect mirror image through the centre console and featuring a contemporary chevron pattern that runs through the centre of the car, adding to the sense of cutting edge dynamic.

Dynamism... and delicacy
The dynamic theme is reinforced when viewed from the driver's seat. Black chrome dials are framed by a black horseshoe sweep. Blood orange tips to gauge indicators pay homage to the marque's aviation heritage whilst the steering-wheel is thicker rimmed to build dynamic intent.

Detailed with a delicate subtlety, the interior complements Wraith's dramatic exterior aesthetic. Four individual seats cosset driver and occupants ensuring the most involving Rolls-Royce driving experience ever, whilst never compromising on pinnacle standards of comfort and contemporary elegance. Touches like the chrome bullet tips to recessed piping on the seat panels further enhances the sense of a vehicle tailored for performance.

The finest Phantom-grade natural grain leather adds to the luxury, its tactility unequalled in the motor industry. Detailing to armrests and panniers reinforce the opulence, inspired in their design by fine saddle-making.

Light from darkness
The Rolls-Royce principle of effortlessness has informed designers' thinking throughout. Perfectly appointed storage compartments for two iPads add convenience for rear seat passengers, whilst automatic door closing buttons located behind the a-pillar aid those in the front.

Warm and serene, Wraith's interior lighting bathes occupants in gentle light. Beyond this, additional ambient lighting comes on request - courtesy of reading lights above c-pillars and waterfall roof lights that deliver increased but unobtrusive illumination with a hint of Art Deco influence.

One of the marque's most popular Bespoke features is now available to complete the glamour that befits this stunning new Rolls-Royce interior. Starlight Headliner presents a starry night sky within the cabin, an effect that is achieved with 1,340 individual fibre optic lights hand-woven into the leather roof-lining by craftspeople in the Rolls-Royce Leathershop.

One hundred years ago Rolls-Royce entered the gruelling 1913 Alpine trial with four 75hp cars. It won six awards, including the Archduke Leopold Cup.

Under the stewardship of founding forefather Sir Henry Royce, engineering credentials that had been established through events like the London to Edinburgh top gear trial in 1911, were further reinforced by this astonishing achievement. A series of Alpine Eagle cars were subsequently produced by the company.

But 1913 also represented another dynamic milestone for the company, one which the Honourable Charles Rolls would have cherished, had he not tragically perished in an aircraft accident two years earlier.

For in that year, Don Carlos de Salamanca took to the wheel of a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and won the first ever Spanish Grand Prix. The victory built on racing success such as the 1906 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, where Rolls himself had triumphed in a Light Twenty.

After 190 miles of competing, the grand prix winner emerged relaxed and serene, a picture that continues to define the Rolls-Royce driving experience today. The power that underpins any modern Rolls-Royce is always delivered effortlessly, never brutally.

Rolls-Royce engineers were acutely aware that the most powerful Rolls-Royce in history would have to deliver dynamism and agility, without any hint of compromise to the famous magic carpet ride. Wraith stands as a testament to their skills, the ultimate gran turismo, and a car that remains true to values of quality, luxury and excellence in engineering.

Wraith is the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever to have played host to the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. It develops 624 bhp, from a 6.6 litre twin-turbo V12, an engine that features direct petrol injection to maximise efficiency and reduce emissions. Should they wish to take advantage of the extraordianary power at their disposal, drivers may choose to be propelled from rest to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds (0-62 mph, 4.6 seconds) and on to an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph.

Power is transmitted - effortlessly - thanks to an eight speed, automatic ZF transmission. The combination of powerful engine and sophisticated transmission leads to immediate power delivery with 800 Nm of torque available to the driver from 1,500 rpm.

The sense of scale is illustrated deftly by the power reserve gauge on the fascia. This reveals how much power is available should it be needed - or simply desired - by the driver at any time during a journey.

Rolls-Royce Wraith also features the ability to multi-shift down gears. When the accelerator is pushed rapidly, the car knows that the driver is seeking to maximise acceleration and it moves directly to an appropriate lower gear.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Renault Espace, 2013

  •  Renault Espace, 2013

Twenty-eight years after the launch of the original, New Renault Espace continues the model's success story which has seen sales exceed 1.2 million units.

New Renault Espace features Renault's new styling identity which reasserts the model's personality by ensuring an even more dynamic stance. As is the case with all the brand's new vehicles, the Renault logo is more prominent, more upright and stands out even more clearly against a broad black grille bar which is itself picked out by chrome strips.

Other details which accentuate New Espace's more dynamic, status-enhancing looks include new 'Hurlingham' wheel trims and new 'Monterey' and 'Dark Eptius' alloy wheels.

The elegantly-appointed cabin of the Initiale Paris version has been embellished with visible stitching for the model's hallmark dashboard. The sensation of comfort and wellbeing for all occupants is further emphasised by the leather and Alcantara® upholsteries.

Even greater respect for the environment: CO2 emissions reduced by 20g/km (equivalent to a fuel consumption saving of 0.8 litres/100km) for the diesel version, and by 6g/km (0.3 litres/100km) in the case of the petrol version.

Coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, the 130hp, 150hp and 175hp versions of the 2.0 dCi engine (M9R) emit just 150g of CO2/km (a saving of 20g/km), equivalent to fuel consumption of 5.7 litres/100km (down 0.8 litres/100km). The state 'eco-surtax' applicable in France has come down accordingly by €550.

Mated to automatic transmission, the same engines emit 169g of CO2/km (a saving of 20g/km), equivalent to fuel consumption of 6.4 litres/100km (down 0.8 litres/100km). Here again, the 'eco-surtax' applied by the French state has been reduced by €550.

The 175hp version with manual gearbox delivers the segment's lowest CO2 emissions for its power output.

With the 2.0 dCi engine under the bonnet, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have come down by 1.7 litres/100km and 27g/km respectively over a period of six years since this powerplant became available for Espace in 2006.

In the case of the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine (F4Rt), CO2 emissions have fallen to 198g/km (a saving of 6g/km), equivalent to fuel consumption of 8.5 litres/100km (down 0.3 litres/100km).

These results were achieved by the engineers' work on:
  •     Evolutions to the diesel engines: introduction of ESM technology (braking and deceleration energy recovery), a variable displacement oil pump, advanced cooling management and cold loop EGR (exhaust gas recirculation).
  •     Chassis and running gear improvements: a three-percent improvement in CdA thanks to revised underbody shielding, plus new low rolling resistance tyres and electro-hydraulic power steering.

The MPV's pioneer continues to be perfected
All the strengths that have helped forge Renault Espace's success have been carried over to the latest version, including vast cabin space and a modular layout, as well as a level of comfort and visibility that all occupants will appreciate.

New Renault Espace continues to propose the large seven-seat MPV segment's most occupant-friendly cabin, including seven real seats and a brightly lit interior thanks to a large opening sunroof.

New Renault Espace's upholstery features an innovative textile which repels water- and oil-based liquids. Renault is the first carmaker to propose Teflon® Automotive High Protection textile which protects individual fibres without affecting their appearance, comfort or feel. This innovation is particularly ideal for family vehicles since it prevents stains from becoming incrusted and facilitates the cleaning of upholsteries to ensure they maintain their 'new' feel durably.

To facilitate manoeuvring and parking, New Renault Espace is available with a reversing camera. The driver benefits from precise indications thanks to a graphic overlay of the vehicle's volumes on the colour image displayed on the screen of the navigation system's screen which is positioned centrally and high up on the dashboard.

Available for Espace, irrespective of equipment level, is a DVD player complete with two seven-inch screens built into the back of the front head rests. This multimedia feature will delight children and is a factory-fitment in order to ensure an irreproachable quality finish and less risk of theft.

New Renault Espace's equipment list continues with a range of technologies designed to take the stress out of motoring and make life easier for occupants. Standard features for all versions include connected Carminat TomTom Live® navigation system, a hands-free card, an electronic parking brake and comprehensive connectivity (Bluetooth® audio streaming, AUX and USB sockets).

Last but not least, New Renault Espace's cabin layout is as modular as ever thanks to seat rails which enable the seats to be positioned exactly according to the needs of the moment. New Renault Espace's interior can be rearranged at will to guarantee the highest level of comfort for up to seven occupants.

New Renault Espace, which is manufactured at Renault's Sandouville factory (France), comes with the guarantee of Renault's design, build and dynamic quality, as well as carefully selected materials to maintain the model's status as a modern incarnation of French-made, high-end luxury.

In the course of a career which has so far spanned 28 years, Renault Espace has won over an extremely high number of loyal customers, with sales of the model exceeding 1.2 million units in Europe.

At the time of its launch in 1984, Renault Espace established the revolutionary MPV concept which was the fruit of cooperation between Renault and Matra.

1984 - Espace 1: Espace was revealed to the media in April before going on sale the following July. Its modular layout took the automotive world by surprise, since it was possible to remove the five rear seats altogether or even create a cosy 'lounge' feel by swivelling the front seats to face rearwards. The model epitomised Renault's 'Les Voitures à Vivre' ('cars for living') slogan.

1991 - Espace II: the second-generation Espace was even more dynamic and its lines were softer. The extremely slim windscreen pillars were concealed by the side windows, while the mirrors were a fluid extension of the bodywork. The car was even more user-friendly thanks to the introduction of rails to fix the rear seats. The combination of a V6 powerplant and automatic transmission underpinned Espace high-end status.

1996 - Espace III: the third generation of the model saw an increase in Espace's overall dimensions. An extended version, Grand Espace (27cm longer), was introduced in January 1998. Espace III marked the end of the collaboration between Renault and Matra with regard to this model.

2002 - Espace IV: the latest-generation version is made entirely by Renault at the firm's Sandouville plant, in northern France. It is built on the same platform as Laguna 2 and Vel Satis. Its assertive personality is expressed by tauter, more modern lines which confirm its high-end status in the large MPV segment. The most prominent innovation was the fact that its bodywork is now made from steel and no longer from composite materials. Another innovation was the moving of the climate control unit from the engine bay to beneath the cabin floor.

2012 - The story continues… Invented 28 years ago, Espace continues to be stand out as a model ahead of its time thanks to a succession of detail changes which have merely served to confirm its original DNA.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Qoros 3 Sedan, 2014

  •  Qoros 3 Sedan, 2014

At its global debut at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show in 2013, new automotive brand, Qoros, gives a world premiere to its first series production car, the Qoros 3 Sedan.

The elegant compact (C-segment) car will be launched in China in the second half of 2013, with first sales in Europe starting later in the year. The vehicle is entering a pre-production development phase after two summers and two winters of extensive testing at key locations around the world.

The styling of the Qoros 3 Sedan draws heavily on contemporary German-influenced automotive design and introduces a distinctive brand identity. A unique, advanced eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, developed in-house by Qoros, will be fitted as standard across the Qoros 3 Sedan range.

The compact Qoros 3 Sedan offers class-leading interior space for maximum passenger comfort. A primary objective from the earliest stages of the vehicle engineering programme was to achieve high scores in both Chinese and European crash assessments. Qoros employs modern safety technology and has put the Qoros 3 Sedan through a rigorous testing regime in helping it meet this objective.

Two efficient four-cylinder 1.6-litre gasoline engines will be available at the launch of the Qoros 3 Sedan in China, both of which feature VVT (variable valve timing), and which will challenge for class-leadership in China in terms of performance and efficiency.

The naturally-aspirated unit delivers an output of 93 kW (126 bhp) and 155 Nm maximum torque. The turbocharged version offers 115 kW (156 bhp) and 210 Nm maximum torque. Both engines are combined with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with an optional six-speed dual clutch transmission available for both. A stop-start system will also be available.

Elegant design with class-leading interior space
The styling of the Qoros 3 Sedan was undertaken from a clean sheet by the Qoros design teams in Munich and Shanghai under the direction of Executive Director of Design, Gert Volker Hildebrand. It establishes the design direction for the entire Qoros model family and draws on contemporary German-influenced automotive design to exhibit a timeless, desirable elegance.

Driven by the theme 'Creating Future History', Gert Hildebrand's team set out to ensure that every model in the Qoros family is instantly recognisable as a Qoros. Key elements introduced with the Qoros 3 Sedan include an athletic, elegant profile, short overhangs, a coupé-like silhouette and a roof which flows smoothly into the strong rear quarters.

The Qoros engineering team established from the earliest stages of the development programme that the compact platform's design should incorporate a long wheelbase and generous proportions. At 4,615 mm long, 1,839 mm wide and 1,445 mm high, the sedan's athletic, elegant styling also presents a solid, well-planted profile. It features horizontal styling themes along and across the body that highlight its length and width.

The Qoros 3 Sedan has one of the longest wheelbases in the compact segment, at 2,690 mm. A striking contour edge running continuously from the headlamps to the door handles and on to the rear light clusters emphasises the seamless, cleanly sculptured bodysides. In conjunction with the striking accentuation strip in matt aluminium that runs above the side sill between the wheel arches, this contour edge visually stretches the silhouette even further.

At the front, the contours of the bonnet form a dynamic curve, and the front section is designed to meet the highest standards of crash safety and pedestrian protection.

The rear doors feature a 'hockey-stick' rear window line that extends into the C-pillar to allow easier access for occupants into the rear seats. Subtly flared wheel arches reflect the overall elegant styling theme without overtly interrupting the bodyside's lateral flow.

Wheel sizes start at 16 inches, compared to the 15-inch entry-level wheel size for most compact segment cars, and the Qoros 3 Sedan can be specified with wheels up to 18 inches, highlighting the car's unusually wide track, once again conveying solidity. Several alloy wheel design and size combinations will be available at launch. The bespoke-designed triple-split eight-spoke alloy wheel, with gloss black inner and matt silver outer surfaces are highly distinctive and are destined to become a hallmark Qoros feature.

Unmistakable "brand face"
The Qoros 3 Sedan introduces a characteristic "brand face", refined in its proportions and surface finishes, that will become familiar on future models in the Qoros family.

The top of the dual-section radiator grille is at the same height as the headlamp units and creates a striking contrast with the overall horizontal orientation of the car's face. The radiator grille forms an equal-sided trapezoid with a wide chrome bar as its upper edge and a second chrome bar at the bottom edge of the lower air intake. The grille itself has also been carefully designed with a mesh of matt black 'clouds' to hide the radiator fans behind - another neat styling finish.

The Qoros logo - also developed under the direction of Gert Volker Hildebrand - proudly occupies a central point within the upper contour line of the radiator grille. The horizontally stretched Q incorporates the full 'Qoros' brand name in uppercase letters in a tactile three-dimensional chrome and gloss-black arrangement.

The front and rear lamp clusters were another defining feature on which Gert Hildebrand's team paid painstaking attention to detail. The distinctive daytime running lights are horizontally positioned LED bars at the upper edge of the headlamp modules. The same applies to the three horizontal LED light bars in the wide rear lamp clusters that dominate the rear quarter flanks.

The Interior: class-leading space
The Qoros 3 Sedan offers its five passengers remarkably generous interior space for a compact segment car, and is again dominated by a horizontally-oriented design theme that emphasises the length and width of the cabin. The elegance of the exterior continues inside. The steering wheel, which features a flat lower edge, sits in front of a 'floating' instrument panel and centre console that maximises the feeling of interior spaciousness.

The combination of thin red LED light strips along each edge of the central console and discreet red LED lighting in the door handles create a warm, welcoming interior ambience. This, as well as the instrument cluster displays that illuminate immediately when any one of the car doors is opened, emphasises the feeling of passenger cabin quality.

A high-resolution TFT display at the centre of the instrument cluster provides crucial information to the driver, including vehicle range and next-turn directions from the navigation system.

The Qoros 3 Sedan boasts a luggage compartment of 450 litres. The 60:40 split rear seatbacks fold down individually to optimise cargo carrying flexibility and incorporate a ski-hatch allowing the car to accommodate long items.

As well as a 2.8-litre glovebox (which will be air conditioned on top specification models), there are nine further storage compartments, including in the front centre console, front arm rest, as well as wide door pockets in all four doors, and rigid front seatback pockets for rear seat passengers. There are bottle holders in the front door pockets, two large cupholders in the front centre console, and two cupholders in the rear centre armrest.

Advanced touchscreen infotainment system as standard across the range
The Qoros 3 Sedan is fitted as standard with an innovative eight-inch capacitive touchscreen infotainment system that represents an automotive industry first and occupies a prominent position in the central console.

The advanced software, technology and graphics were designed and developed in-house to safely manage information displays for minimal driver distraction and to optimise ease-of-use while on the move. The intelligent and powerful package was created specifically with the young, aspirational, 'always-connected' target Qoros customer firmly in mind.

The innovative user-interface is based on the finger 'swipe' concept of modern smartphones and is unique in responding to multi-touch gestures. Replacing the array of switches and buttons that blights many modern car interiors, the capacitive touchscreen enables users to manage entertainment, navigation, 'Cloud' networking connectivity and vehicle settings with intuitive finger 'swipe' inputs (full functionality will be model dependent).

The system's user-interface is highly intuitive and is designed to fully exploit touchscreen technology. For example, an incoming phone call can be answered with a simple swipe anywhere on the screen towards the driver, or can be rejected and forwarded to voicemail with a swipe away. Audio balance (right-left) and fade (front-rear) settings for the speakers are shown on the touchscreen as a single focus point on an overhead view of the vehicle and can be adapted by moving the point with a finger.

Selected versions of the system allows drivers to book dealer service appointments, features an automatic emergency services alert in the event of an accident, and supports usage-based car insurance services. The state-of-the-art navigation system includes best-in-class traffic information and an advanced points-of-interest search. Integrated networking - enabled through 'Cloud' connectivity - enables drivers to share their driving experiences, points-of-interest, favourite trips and photos via social media channels.

Mobile phones on the most popular operating systems (Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone) and external music players can be integrated via Bluetooth, USB and AUX-IN connections.

Powerful engines with optional dual clutch transmission
Two engines developed in collaboration with leading powertrain engineering specialist, AVL, will be available for the launch of the Qoros 3 Sedan in China. Both are four-cylinder 1.6-litre units featuring variable valve control technology to optimise performance and efficiency.

The naturally-aspirated version delivers 93 kW (126 bhp) and 155 Nm maximum torque at 3,900 rpm. With this engine, the Qoros 3 Sedan accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 11.0 seconds (provisional target, not yet verified).

With the turbocharged engine, which offers 115kW (156 bhp) and 210 Nm maximum torque at 2,500 rpm, acceleration from zero to 100 km/h is achieved in a brisk 9.0 seconds (provisional target, not yet verified).

Both power units are combined with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. A six-speed dual clutch transmission is available as an option for both engines, offering the driver automated gear selection as well as a manual shift mode.

Depending on model and market, the Qoros 3 Sedan will be fitted with an automatic start-stop system for increased efficiency, and manual models will also feature an optimal gearshift point display.

Other engine families are under development with the support of AVL. These will include a three-cylinder 1.2-litre turbocharged gasoline engine with 97 kW (130 bhp), and a brand new four-cylinder 1.6-litre turbocharged gasoline engine with 136 kW (160 bhp), both featuring GDI (gasoline direct injection) and VVT (variable valve timing).

These will be mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission available as an option, which will offer the driver automated gear selection as well as a manual shift mode.

The 1.2-litre and all-new 1.6-litre powertrain units will meet the EU6 emissions standard which comes into effect in Europe in 2014, and will be highly competitive in the compact segment in terms of power, torque, fuel economy and emissions.

Ride and handling developed to European standards
The vehicle dynamics of the Qoros 3 Sedan have been tailored to European customer expectations. The sedan features McPherson struts at the front and twist-beam suspension at the rear to provide an ideal balance of responsive handling and a compliant ride. Rack-and-pinion steering with electronic power assistance delivers precise direction changes.

Stopping power is provided by 320mm disc brakes at the front and 285mm disc brakes at the rear. Braking performance and stability is enhanced by anti-lock braking (ABS) and electronic stability control systems developed in conjunction with TRW specifically for the Qoros 3 Sedan.

Qoros' first production model has undergone an extensive development and testing regime under the direction of Klaus Schmidt, Executive Director of Vehicle Engineering, formerly head of the technology and driving dynamics department at BMW's M-Sport division.

Solid body structure and high safety standards
The highly sophisticated safety technology of the Qoros 3 Sedan is engineered to achieve top scores in European and Chinese new-car independent crash tests. Its body architecture is based on the very latest insights in the field of accident safety and occupant protection. A precise arrangement of impact-bearing structures and generously-sized deformation zones ensure that the passenger cell is protected from the most diverse types of collision events.

Furthermore, there is an extensive package of safety features for occupant protection:
    Highly effective load-limiting safety belts with dual pre-tensioners to ensure the effective restraint of front seat occupants
    Optimised seat structures, providing robust occupant restraint in frontal impact and good whiplash protection in the event of a rear impact
    Suite of front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags and roof-mounted curtain airbags which deploy to cover the front and rear window apertures
    Seat belt reminder functions for all seating positions

Comprehensive equipment as standard
The Qoros 3 Sedan meets the needs and expectations of modern motorists who demand generous features and infotainment, and who also prefer options to individually configure their vehicle.

The Qoros 3 Sedan offers three specification levels.
Six exterior paint finishes (solid Crystal White and solid Midnight Black, and metallic Macadamia Brown, Starlight Black, Diamond Silver and Shimmer Grey) and two interior colours (Lava Black and Sand Dune Beige) will be available for the Qoros 3 Sedan at launch in China. The interior upholstery can be specified in fabric, a fabric-leatherette combination, or in full leather.

Depending on the specification level, the Qoros 3 Sedan features interior décor finishes in various high-grade materials, as well as 16-, 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels in various designs.

Standard features on all versions of the Qoros 3 Sedan include the innovative touchscreen infotainment system, air conditioning, remote control central locking, all-round electric windows, electric exterior mirrors, and a four-speaker, 100-watt audio system. These can be supplemented by options that include a rear view camera with parking distance control, xenon headlamps, cruise control, electrically adjustable front seats, an automatic anti-dazzle interior mirror, and an upgraded six-speaker audio system. An extensive accessories list offers further customisation options.

All-new production facility for quality, efficiency and sustainability
The Qoros 3 Sedan will be produced in an all-new manufacturing facility in Changshu. Construction of the facility - occupying 250,000 square metres adjacent to the company's headquarters - is nearly complete, and it will include a bodyshop, assembly line and paintshop.

The factory - and its production processes - exceeds legal requirements in both China and Europe in terms of the recyclability of end-of-life vehicles, components and materials.
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