Saturday, August 24, 2013

Volkswagen CC, 2013

  •  Volkswagen CC, 2013
Market launch - starts in February
Volkswagen will first offer the new CC in February 2012 in Germany, then in stages across Europe, America, Russia, China (local version starting in 2013) and all other sales regions relevant to this vehicle class.

With new front and rear styling, the new Volkswagen CC design makes an even bolder move towards the automotive luxury class. No less is true of its extended range of standard equipment, which now includes such features as bi-xenon headlights with static cornering lights and a new LED rear lighting design. Also standard: fatigue detection, RCD 310 radio-CD system, stainless steel door sill plates and safety head restraints (front seats) with additional front-rear adjustment. In addition, new assistance systems are making their way into the CC. They include optional technologies such as Side Assist Plus including Lane Assist (warns of vehicles in blind spots and supports the driver via steering intervention to avoid an accident), Dynamic Light Assist (automatic main beam control) and a camera-based traffic sign detection system. Meanwhile, the 'climate seat' with integrated massage function optimises comfort.

140 PS to 300 PS - efficient and sporty engines
The Volkswagen CC will be powered by innovative petrol and diesel direct-injection engines; all of the diesels (TDI) are equipped with a Stop/Start system and a battery regeneration mode (which recovers braking energy) as standard equipment. All petrol engines also have battery regeneration functionality. The TDI engines output 103 kW / 140 PS and 125 kW / 170 PS. The petrol engines of the European CC versions develop an impressive 118 kW / 160 PS, 155 kW / 210 PS and 220 kW / 300 PS of power. In the USA, the Volkswagen will once again launch with 147 kW / 200 PS (TSI) and 206 kW / 280 PS (FSI) petrol engines. All engines up to 210 PS may be combined with a dual clutch gearbox (DSG) as an option. The European six-cylinder version (300 PS) is delivered with DSG and 4MOTION all-wheel drive as standard equipment. In the case of the 280 PS US-CC that also sports all-wheel drive, a torque converter automatic is used. All engines go to work with excellent efficiency: the 140 PS TDI offered in Europe, for example, together with a manual six-speed gearbox consumes just 4.7 l/100 km (equivalent to 125 g/km CO2); with DSG fuel consumption is 5.3 l/100 km. The 200 PS TSI - a popular engine in America - attains a fuel economy of 21 (City) / 33 mpg (Highway) with manual gearbox and 22 / 31 mpg in the DSG version.

Design - Volkswagen CC shifts segment boundaries
The team led by Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen Brand, reworked the front and rear body sections of the Volkswagen CC. This has given the Volkswagen an even more elegant yet dynamic overall image. New alloy wheels and car colours complement other exterior modifications.

Front end. In front, the eye is draw to the new designs of the radiator grille, bi-xenon headlights and bonnet. Optional LED daytime running lights are integrated in the headlight housings. Even more than on the previous model, the entire area of the new front bumper, headlights and radiator grille exhibits clean lines that correspond 1:1 to Volkswagen 'design DNA' styling. This DNA is marked by such characteristics as an emphasis on horizontal lines and a concise harmony of the headlights and radiator grille. The latter is no longer designed as a separate V framed by elements in the body colour, rather it forms a visually continuous, charismatic band together with the headlights. Similar to the US-Passat and the Phaeton, the new Volkswagen CC also has an extra air intake beneath the body-coloured bumper. 'Winglets' are integrated in this intake with fog lights arranged next to them.

Despite its independent design, the front end makes a clear statement that the 'comfort coupé' belongs to a global brand. Consider the radiator grille: with its 3 chrome fins it bears a stylistic resemblance to the US-Passat (produced in Chattanooga, Tennessee) and the Phaeton (produced at 'Gläserne Manufaktur' - the Transparent Factory - in Dresden). Like the previous model, the Volkswagen CC is also produced at Volkswagen's plant in Emden, Germany; this state-of-the-art factory has direct access to an overseas port from which the four-door coupé can be shipped to all regions of the world within a few days. Back to the car's design:

Side profile. Although the frameless doors of the VW CC are unmodified, its side profile shows a new look too. Several factors are at work here: in front, the more powerful design of the bonnet - in interplay with the new bumper design - sharpens the car's silhouette. Meanwhile, the much more distinctively sculpted side sills between the wheel housings stand out; they make a visual connection between the front and rear bumpers. At the rear, the bumper now has greater volume and transparency; together with the coupé-like styling of the C-pillars and the very long swept-back rear window, this generates a very special dynamic.

Rear section. As at the front of the car, designers also completely redesigned the rear bumper. This involved modifying the wrap-around chrome strip that is typical of the Volkswagen CC and of course the VW logo, which once again serves as the handle for opening the bootlid. In models with Rear Assist, a rear-view camera was integrated in the VW logo as well. The entire rear section now shows more straight-line surfaces and a greater emphasis of horizontal lines. Also fitting with this image is the new design of the rear lights; at their lower ends, the lights now finish with a horizontal sweep. In contrast to the previous model, the new rear lights have LED lighting elements that exhibit very quick response, economy and long life. The distinctive look of these lights makes the CC unmistakable from the rear, even at night. The licence plate is illuminated with LED lighting, too.

Interior - 4 or 5 seats as needed
The standard seating configuration of the Volkswagen CC includes four seating positions. In front, the car always comes with ergonomic sport seats designed for long trips. In the rear, a continuous bench seat (3 seats) is available as an alternative to the standard system with 2 individual seats. The interior exhibits a style that is as dynamic as it is elegant. The dashboard was already modified once last year; since then, the two storage drawers integrated above the centre console in the first generation CC were replaced by an analogue clock in the style of that in the Phaeton. Another new option is a brown interior; this includes the dashboard, which coordinates especially well with the also reconfigured wood accents and colours of the leather seats.

Standard features - uncompromising comfort and safety
Standard Volkswagen CC equipment has always included such features as dual tailpipes, 17-inch alloy wheels with mobility tyres, sport seats, various cupholders, chrome surrounds on switches and air vents, air conditioner, sport chassis, 'Auto-hold' function, hill start assistant, automatic control of running lights with 'Leaving home' and 'Coming home' functions, automatic bootlid opening from the interior, DCC dynamic chassis control (from 125 kW / 170 PS) and, of course, the ESP electronic stabilisation programme and 6 airbags.

This range of features was considerably extended in the new model. Standard exterior features that were added include the already mentioned bi-xenon headlights, static cornering lights, headlight washing system, LED rear lights, LED licence plate illumination and more prominent side sill flares. New interior features that are standard on all models: fatigue detection system, RCD 310 radio-CD system, front head restraints with longitudinal 'X adjustment', stainless steel door sill plates and (in Germany) the multifunction steering wheel. As an option, the driver can now see which rear seat occupants are buckled up without having to look back - via the 'seatbelt status indicator' in the multifunction display of the instrument cluster. For even better dynamic performance and comfort in fast curves there is the XDS transverse differential lock (from 125 kW). Already offered since 2011, and no less innovative, is a fuel-saving free-wheeling mode for all 100, 103 and 125 kW versions with a DSG dual clutch gearbox; it decouples the engine from the transmission during coasting phases, improving fuel economy.

Optional features - systems of the luxury class
The car's exceptional optional features include the lane-changing assistant Side Assist Plus that integrates the Lane Assist lane-keeping assistant; the combination of these two systems now implemented represents a significant functional extension and a gain in safety. Also new in the Volkswagen CC: the sensor-controlled Easy Open system for opening the bootlid by a foot movement behind the vehicle (in conjunction with Keyless Access), Dynamic Light Assist (dynamic main beam control), Park Assist 2.0 (automatic parking assist for parking spaces either perpendicular or parallel to the roadway with 360° Optical Parking System [OPS]), ACC (adaptive cruise control with Front Assist surroundings monitoring system and City Emergency Braking), DCC (dynamic chassis control), active climate seats (front) with massage function, windscreen (climate comfort window) that is heated without wires and infrared-reflecting as well as noise-insulating side windows made of laminated safety glass. Those wanting to tow a boat or horse trailer will enjoy the electrically deploying towbar that is now available.

Other options available in the new Volkswagen CC include a transparent panoramic sunroof, radio-navigation systems (optionally with integrated camera-based traffic sign detection), sound systems (such as the 'Dynaudio Confidence' with 300 Watts), hands-free telephone units, multimedia interface (MEDIA-IN), garage door opener integrated in the sun visor, ambiance lighting in the door accent panels, 17, 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels, tyre pressure monitoring system (with indicators for each individual wheel), auxiliary heating system and leather options.

Those customers who choose the automatic climate control system will immediately enjoy the benefits of the humidity sensor; this sensor - located near the rear-view mirror inside the car - measures air humidity and regulates the Climatronic system to prevent window condensation and maintain the relative humidity in the passenger compartment at a pleasant level. Another benefit: fuel consumption and emissions are reduced, since the humidity sensor permits operation of the air conditioning compressor only when needed. CO2 emissions are reduced by 1.1 g/km - that might not seem like much by itself, but it becomes significant together with numerous other fuel-saving measures.

Side Assist Plus
The CC is the first Volkswagen in which the lane-changing assistant Side Assist Plus is being offered as a pack together with the lane-keeping assistant Lane Assist. Compared to the individual systems, Side Assist and Lane Assist, the combination of these two systems represents a functional extension and - due to its reliable and urgent warning in case of a specific hazard - a gain in safety.

Here is how the two assistance systems operate as separate systems: Side Assist makes the driver aware of vehicles located in the blind spot next to the Volkswagen CC or vehicles quickly approaching from the rear by flashing LEDs in the door mirrors. Side Assist operates with radar sensors. Meanwhile, Lane Assist accesses the signals from a camera; as soon as it becomes evident that the driver is leaving the driving lane or is driving over the driving lane markings without setting the direction indicator, Lane Assist countersteers.

Here is how the new system duo operates: Side Assist Plus including Lane Assist merges the two assistance systems. If another vehicle is located in the blind spot during a lane change, the dual assistance system pack warns the CC driver via a flashing signal of the LEDs in the right or left door mirrors as well as via a steering wheel vibration, and it simultaneously assists the driver with a corrective steering intervention. These steps are taken regardless of whether or not a direction indicator is set. The combination of these two systems can make an even more effective contribution towards avoiding collisions with other vehicles in the blind spot. However, the driver still assumes responsibility for the entire process.

Fatigue detection
This system detects waning driver concentration and warns the driver with an acoustic signal lasting five seconds; a visual message also appears in the instrument cluster recommending that the driver take a break from driving. If the driver does not take a break within the next 15 minutes, the warning is repeated once. Right at the beginning of each car trip, the system analyses the driver's characteristic steering behaviour. Underway, the fatigue detection system then continually evaluates signals such as steering angle. If monitored parameters indicate a deviation from the steering behaviour recorded at the beginning of the trip, then visual and acoustic warnings are produced. Independent of this monitoring, whenever the system is activated it recommends a driving break to the driver after four hours of continuous driving.

Traffic sign detection: This system detects speed limit signs and no-passing zones via camera, and up to three of these signs are shown on the instrument cluster display in front of the driver as well as in the navigation system display. The screen output shows all additional signage text (e.g. '10 pm - 6 am' or 'When wet'), and it is presented in a logical order. The immediately relevant traffic sign (e.g. '130' km/h) is always shown in the first position, while signs that are only conditionally valid (e.g. '80' km/h 'when wet') are shown in a secondary position. Another highlight: If the rain sensor detects that it has started to rain, the now relevant traffic sign with the added text 'when wet' is shifted to first position. The system also acquires no-passing signs and municipality entrance and exit signs, and it calls the driver's attention to country-specific maximum allowable speeds in cities.

Park Assist, Generation II
In contrast to first generation systems, which only supported parking parallel to the carriageway, the latest parking assistant also assists in perpendicular parking - i.e. at right angles to the driving lane. The system is activated at speeds up to 40 km/h by pressing a button on the centre console. The driver indicates the side of the street for parking by activating the direction indicator for that side. As soon as Park Assist detects a sufficiently large parking space - utilising its ultrasonic sensors - assisted parking can begin: The driver engages reverse gear and then only needs to accelerate and brake. The Volkswagen CC handles the steering. The driver is assisted by acoustic and visual cues on the multifunction display. While parking, Park Assist reduces vehicle speed to 7 km/h. For the first time, this system can also actively brake the car if a collision is about to occur. Nonetheless, the driver remains responsible for braking, since the new braking function of Park Assist cannot guarantee that damage will be prevented in all cases. In addition, a 360° Optical Parking System (OPS) simplifies manoeuvring. OPS shows the vehicle in the colour display of the relevant radio and radio-navigation systems in a bird's eye perspective. Yellow and red signals on the display make it easier for the driver to recognise whether the CC is maintaining sufficient distance to obstacles at the front and rear. An acoustic warning is produced at the same time.

Dynamic Light Assist
Dynamic Light Assist makes manual headlight switching between dipped and main beam a thing of the past. At speeds over 65 km/h the main beam is automatically activated, and it remains permanently active. Here is how it works: in conjunction with the camera integrated behind the front windscreen, the main beam light modules of the optional top version of the bi-xenon headlights (includes LED daytime running lights and AFS) are individually dipped in specific areas in which the system has analysed potential glare to other vehicles in traffic. A masking aperture between the reflector with the mercury-free DS3 xenon filament and the lens makes this function possible. Along with intelligent, lateral swivelling of the entire module (via the cornering light function) and independent control of the left and right headlights, this additional aperture geometry is able to mask the light source. This prevents light glare to oncoming traffic or vehicles driving ahead.

Light Assist
For models whose standard equipment includes bi-xenon headlights but not dynamic cornering lights, a simpler variant of automatic main beam control is available: Light Assist. This main beam assistant is also a camera-based system that analyses the light sources actually occurring in traffic and - based on its knowledge of a wide variety of traffic situations - it outputs a dipped beam or main beam command. The main beam is automatically activated or deactivated from speeds of 60 km/h; this system also offers considerable convenience and safety benefits.

XDS transverse differential lock
The XDS electronic transverse differential lock improves traction in curves. Technically, XDS is a functional extension of the electronic differential lock (EDS) that is integrated in the ESP system. As soon as the electronics detect that the driven front wheel on the inside of the curve unloads too much, the ESP hydraulics builds up brake pressure specifically at this wheel to restore optimal traction. In this way, XDS acts as a transverse differential lock that compensates for understeering in fast driving through curves. XDS makes driving behaviour noticeably more precise and neutral, and the car's handling feels more like that of a vehicle with all-wheel drive instead of front-wheel drive. It improves driving stability and driving fun, because it reduces understeering.

Easy Open
If the new Volkswagen CC is equipped with Keyless Access (automatic locking and starting system), a specific foot motion behind the vehicle is all that is needed to open access to the boot. The human-machine interface here is a proximity sensor in the bumper area, which recognises a kick-like leg motion. Of course, the boot only opens for someone carrying the proper remote key for the CC.

Swivelling towbar
Another innovation in the Volkswagen CC is its swivelling towbar. It is electrically unlatched by pressing a button integrated in the side trim of the boot. This causes the towbar to travel out from its rest position, and then it is easy to swing it into its operating position with a press of the foot. The towbar is designed for loads up to 2.2 metric tonnes.

Remote unlatching of the rear backrest
No less practical is the new remote unlatching of the rear backrest. Levers located under the rear shelf make it easy to unlatch the left and/or right section of the 1/3 to 2/3 split backrest; then it automatically lowers.

Safety-optimised head restraints with horizontal adjustment: From now on, the front head restraints are not only height-adjustable; they can be adjusted horizontally as well - as a standard feature. In this new design, the outer part of the head restraint can be pulled forward. Because it rests closer to the head, it reduces the risk of whiplash in case of an accident.
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Vauxhall Cascada, 2013

  •  Vauxhall Cascada, 2013

The all-new Vauxhall Cascada full-size convertible launches the company into a fourth new sector in a year, following on from its Ampera, Mokka and Adam models.

At nearly 4.7 metres in length, the full size, four-seat, fabric-roof Cascada convertible is longer than an Audi A5 Convertible. It is also the first full-sized convertible designed, engineered and manufactured by Vauxhall since the 1930s.

The Cascada shares its dimensions with some full-sized convertibles, Vauxhall is positioning it in the C-sector due to its highly competitive pricing. The C-segment accounts for approximately one per cent of the total UK car market or around 21,000 units per annum and Vauxhall expects the Cascada to make up approximately ten per cent of this segment's volume per year.

Based on price, the Cascada's key competitors include the Volkswagen Eos and Golf Cabriolet, the BMW 1-Series Convertible and the Audi A3 Cabriolet. Vauxhall's latest offering is also longer than many other rival convertibles including premium offerings such as the Audi A5 Cabriolet and the BMW 3-Series Convertible.

The Vauxhall Cascada range will be priced from just £23,995 on-the-road, nearly £8,000 less than an Audi A5 Cabriolet, when it arrives in showrooms April 2013.

As with all Vauxhalls, first Cascada owners will benefit from Lifetime Warranty, lasting the life of the car or up to 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Cascada's design team, originally headed by Brit Mark Adams, has created a car with classic lines, redolent of the Grandes Routieres (luxury touring cars) of a bygone age, matched with a capacious cabin and high-quality materials.

Exterior Design
At 4696mm long and 1839mm wide (excluding mirrors), Vauxhall Cascada has a broad stance and elegant lines. With the top down, it has a perfectly clean profile with no roof-top cover or visible roll-over protection disturbing the car's silhouette aft of the steeply-raked A-pillar.

The subtle 'blade' on the Cascada's lower body side is mirrored by a sharp crease that swings upward and meets with the wraparound rear light cluster. A gently rising waistline is highlighted by a chrome strip that borders the cockpit, marking the boundary between roof-top and body.

Sculpted with a purposeful power bulge, Cascada's bonnet tops a deep front grille with bold chrome applications. The fog lights are carried in two overturned 'sharkfin' elements, which are enhanced by chrome inserts. Using LED technology, the daytime running lights in the headlamps and the rear lights incorporate Vauxhall's 'wing' signature. In the rear, the LED modules are diffused to give a solid and sharp light signal - typical of cars in the premium sector. A chrome strip linking the boot-mounted light units matches a similar bar across the front of the car.

The Cascada's fabric roof can be specified in one of three colours, which can be coordinated with one of ten body colours. Other personalisation options include an array of six different alloy wheel choices with sizes up to 20-inch.

The Vauxhall Cascada's cabin mixes the well-equipped functionality of an Insignia's interior with handcrafted modules not found in any other Vauxhall.

Wrapped in a soft-touch material with high-quality stitching, the instrument cluster tops a wing-shaped panel which flows into the doors and frames the area around each front occupant. All-new, deeply contoured seats are available in a range of embossed fabrics and leathers, and customers have the option of ergonomic, Nappa-leather trimmed seats, which can be heated or ventilated. An Easy Entry system allows access to the rear seats, and electric seat belt presenters make securing front occupants less of a chore.

With a minimum load volume of 280 litres with the roof down, and up to 380 litres roof up, the Cascada is an exceptionally practical convertible. In addition, the rear seats benefit from Vauxhall's FlexFold system, which electrically releases and folds down the 50:50 split rear seats, allowing longer objects to be carried with ease.

In the cabin, several large storage spaces are available: one in each door and one under the instrument panel, and thanks to the use of a standard Electronic Park Brake across the range, a further cubby is located between the front seats.

Maximising torsional stiffness in a convertible's body is critical to maintaining a high standard of vehicle dynamics. Despite being significantly larger than Vauxhall's last convertible model, the TwinTop, by 71mm in its wheelbase and 56mm/70mm (front/rear) in its tracks, the Cascada's body is 43 per cent stiffer torsionally and 10 per cent more resistant to bending forces.

Targeted underbody strengthening helps the Cascada achieve these figures. Crossed steel bars are mounted to the Watt's link, across the B-pillars and front subframe, while high-strength tubular steel reinforcement sits inside each of the A-pillars. Collectively, these stiffen the body substantially, leading to precise handling and an exceptionally high degree of acoustic comfort.

The Chassis
Vauxhall's HiPerStrut suspension has been adapted from the 325ps Insignia VXR and employed at the front of the Cascada. The HiPerStruts combine all the benefits of a conventional MacPherson strut set-up - compact packaging and light weight - but without the drawbacks of that system, such as torque-steer and a loss of traction under hard cornering. The HiPerStrut achieves this by a reduction in kingpin inclination, meaning no loss of negative camber during cornering, and therefore greater stability overall.

At the rear, the Cascada uses a combination of compound crank and Watt's link, with the thickness of each different model's axle beam varying to cater for different kerbweights. The Watt's link rods are connected to a cross member just behind the rear wheels' centre line. Any lateral force exerted on one side is compensated for by an equal force on the opposite wheel.

Cars using a compound crank and Watt's link are rare in the industry, but it's an innovative solution which provides a unique blend of excellent packaging and strong rear-end stability during cornering.

Unique steering programme for UK drivers
Precision, feedback and confidence. These were the three target elements for the Cascada's UK-specific steering programme. The challenge was to maintain the system's ease of use at lower speeds, but dial in a greater degree of involvement and slightly more effort at higher speeds.

The Cascada uses a rack and pinion steering system with speed sensitive assistance. But in order to provide drivers with more steering feedback, the system's electric motor is mounted directly on the steering rack, as opposed to the base of the steering column.

The key benefits of using electric power steering (EPS) are well known. At low speeds, the level of power assistance is increased to minimise steering effort. At higher speeds, assistance is automatically reduced to ensure a high degree of steering feel for the driver. The second important benefit is that, because it does not require an energy consuming hydraulic pump and responds directly to the amount of power needed at any speed, fuel consumption is also reduced.

FlexRide enhances Cascada's driver appeal still further
FlexRide, Vauxhall's adaptive damping system, will be available as a £790 option across the Cascada range, complementing the significant revisions to the new model's chassis. FlexRide automatically adapts to prevailing road surfaces and driving styles, providing drivers with fully optimised handling, even in the event of an emergency situation.

At the heart of FlexRide is the Driving Mode Control (DMC) which oversees and executes the system's settings, allowing the car to react to sudden changes in driving style or emergency situations. For example, if the driver needs to avoid an obstacle while in 'Tour' mode - the softest of the three settings - chassis sensors convey this to the DMC and the dampers are adjusted in a split second.

Standard mode (the default setting) reacts in the same way as Tour, but when drivers select Sport they not only get stiffer dampers, but more steering effort, sharper throttle response and an instrument panel that's back-lit in red, rather than white. Each of these settings can be dialled in or out of Sport mode via the Cascada's configurator.

Crucially for weather-hardened UK buyers, Vauxhall Cascada feature a high-quality fabric hood, with optional superior acoustic and thermal insulation thanks to a special layer of polyester fleece between the outer and inner linings.

The key point of any convertible is the roof which on the Cascada is aerodynamically clean and refined, fits perfectly to the pillar less style of the car and disappears completely below a high quality tonneau cover when lowered. As well as reducing the vehicle weight by approximately 100kg compared to a hard top, the soft top also measurably lowers noise inside the car.

Making the Cascada a practical year-round car, the hood can be opened in just 17 seconds, at speeds up to 30mph by an interior switch, or via a button on the key fob.

The operating switch is conveniently located in the lower centre console. Operation is instinctive, the hand naturally dropping onto it, allowing the driver to keep his or her attention firmly on the road. All windows can be opened or closed and locked in just four seconds by operating the four-windows-switch.

Heavily tested by Vauxhall engineers, the electro-hydraulic mechanism for the roof has been opened and closed 15,000 times, corresponding to ten years of usage with four operations per day. The roof can be operated from -5 to +85 degrees Celsius.

Boot space of 280 litres when the roof is opened gives more flexibility to drive top-down even with big loads in the boot. Loading capacity can also be extended by 50:50 flex fold rear seats for longer and bigger objects with up to 750 litre loading capacity. This is not possible with other C Segment Hard Top rivals.

Standard Soft Top
The standard two-layer soft top has a premium class three-layer exterior fabric made of highly-resistant polyacryl, an elastomeric rubber combining film and a backing fabric. Worldwide testing at extreme temperatures has proved that it is absolutely weather proof and insulation is superior to a retractable hard top. It needs no regular impregnation and is UV resistant so that it remains long-term colour fast, keeping the car looking good. The roof is also car wash proof.

The visible inside lining is made of woven polyacryl. Between these two layers is an insulating layer of air.

Acoustic Soft Top
The optional acoustic soft top offers even better noise and thermal comfort with acoustically enhanced exterior fabric and by adding a special layer of polyester fleece between the top layer and the interior lining. This improves thermal insulation and further reduces the noise level in the cabin by up to a third (-3 dB) helping to create a quieter and more relaxed interior ambience.

Detachable Windbreakers
A foldable windbreaker can be mounted behind the front seats. It is fixed on recesses in the side trim behind the rear seats and near the rear seat backrests. The upper part can be folded into vertical position to deflect wind, the horizontal part stays fixed, so the rear seats cannot be occupied when the front seat windbreaker is mounted.

A small windbreaker can be mounted between the rear head-rests to reduce drafts on the rear seats.

Both windbreakers come in a purpose-made bag that can be stored and fixed behind the rear seat backrests.

The Vauxhall Cascada come with a broad range of powerful and efficient engines. Starting the line-up is a 1.4-litre (140PS) Turbo petrol, with a manual gearbox, achieving a combined 44.8mpg and 148g/km CO2, and a 2.0-litre (165PS) diesel engine with manual and automatic transmissions, achieving up to 54.3mpg combined and 138g/km CO2. Both engines have start/stop technology.

But the highlight of Cascada's powertrain line-up is the all-new 1.6 SIDI Turbo ECOTEC petrol engine. The first production engine from Vauxhall's MGE (Mid-Size Gasoline Engine) family, the unit offers major improvements in torque, linearity and overall efficiency. It produces a maximum 170PS from 1650-3200rpm and up to 280Nm of torque, giving a 0-60 time of 9.2 seconds and top speed of 135mph. This engine will be available shortly after launch with a new, low-friction automatic six-speed gearbox that contributes towards combined fuel consumption of 39.2mpg and emissions of 168g/km.

To improve performance and refinement, one of the key engine development objectives for engineers was to lower overall levels of radiated noise and vibration, with no unusual sounds. Optimisation of the induction and exhaust systems included decoupling the cam cover from the cylinder head via specific fasteners, and a sealing system designed to resist high temperatures from the adjacent turbocharger.

With direct injection and pulsed combustion, engineers were able to substantially reduce noise levels compared to the previous engine. As a result of these 'sound-engineering' measures, customers will appreciate quiet and smooth idling, with a pleasant sound quality even at high road speeds, engine speeds and loads. The engine provides the perfect basis for gentle, smooth open-air cruising, while always keeping immediate propulsion power at the ready as needed.

A high-performance 2.0 (195PS) Bi-Turbo diesel engine with manual transmission will also be available shortly after launch. The Bi-Turbo achieves a combined 138g/km and 54.3mpg, yet accelerates from 0-60mph in just 8.9 seconds up to a top speed of 143mph.

New Generation Transmissions
In addition to impressive new engines, there are also new six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The latest generation Vauxhall manual transmissions enable even more precise and smoother gear shifting. Engineers have achieved shorter shift patterns, while at the same time reducing shift forces. To achieve this, the six-speed manual transmission was comprehensively reworked with modifications to the shift mechanism. These measures focused on increased efficiency, with further improved precision, shift forces and comfort when the transmission is cold or hot.

The focal points in the development of the second generation six-speed automatic transmission are increased efficiency and faster shift times, together with lower noise and vibration. Thanks to a small torque converter, engineers were able to reduce inertia. Optimised bearings, joint rings and friction elements also ensure a higher degree of efficiency. A further key feature is the coil spring inside the torque converter, for which the spring rate has been halved to improve vibration damping. The advanced automatic transmission is available with both the 1.6 SIDI Turbo petrol engine and the 2.0 turbo diesel.

The Vauxhall Cascada brings together all Vauxhall's latest, innovative technology as part of the UK offer. This includes options like: AFL+ (Adaptive Forward Lighting) with up to 11 automatic lighting functions; Front Camera System, including Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indication and Forward Collision Alert; rear-view camera; heated steering wheel; Hill Start Assist; Side Blind Spot Alert.

Using an extremely rigid passenger cell made mainly from high-strength steel, the Cascada is designed for the least deformation and largest possible survival space in the event of a crash. Its doors have diagonally-mounted ultra-high strength steel beams and beltline reinforcements. The A-pillars supporting the windscreen are made from press-hardened steel. And in the event of a roll-over incident, pyrotechnically activated, spring-loaded high strength bars automatically deploy behind the rear seats. These pop-ups are also triggered during other severe impacts, eg. when airbags are deployed. Front seats both benefit from two-way active headrests and double seat belt pre-tensioners; even the two rear seats benefit from seat belt pre-tensioners.

With its German rivals firmly in its sights, the Cascada offers affordability paired with outstanding levels of equipment, technology and luxury.

Adaptive Forward Lighting
AFL is optional across the Cascada range at a cost of £790, and incorporates dark-style bi-xenon lights, LED daytime running lights and high-pressure headlamp washers. It offers drivers eight unique light settings which are selected automatically depending on road and weather conditions:
  • Static Cornering: Throws light 90 degrees left or right for enhanced lateral vision
  • Dynamic Curve Light: Activated by steering angle and speed, allowing lights to swivel by up to 15 degrees
  • High Beam Assist: Automatically dips or raises headlight beam according to presence of oncoming traffic
  • Adverse Weather Light: Wiper or rain sensor activated for better vision in bad weather conditions.
  • Motorway Light: 140-metre range, higher and brighter than normal low beam
  • Country Road Light: Wider spread and brighter light than normal low beam, with 70-metre range
  • Town Light: Activated by road speed and street lighting, this has a lower and wider spread of light
  • Pedestrian Area Light: Wider spread of light by up to eight degrees to left and right.

The Cascada comes in two trims, SE and Elite. Range pricing starts from £23,995 and Elite pricing starting from £26,095.

The entry level SE gets 18" alloy wheels, a sports chassis, LED tail lamps and aux-in/USB, all as standard. The SE trim has the following standard spec:
    18" alloy wheels
    4 airbags
    Active headrests
    Active rollover protection
    Remote roof operation
    Rear park assist
    LED tail lamps
    F & R electric windows
    Sports front seats
    Trip computer
    Air conditioning
    Cruise control
    DMB radio
    USB & Aux In
    Leather steering wheel
    Alarm system
    Electronic parking brake
    Daytime running lights
    Flexfold rear seats with remote electrical release

The up-level Elite includes leather trim, heated front seats and steering wheel and front fog lamps. Elite trim offers the following, over and above the SE:
    Dual zone climate control
    Perforated leather seat facings
    Ergonomic, heated, sports front seats
    Electric 4 way lumbar adjustment
    Heated, flat bottom, leather steering wheel
    Electro chromatic rear-view mirror
    Front fog lamps
    Electronic seatbelt presenters
    Rain sensitive wipers
    Automatic lighting

Available in ten colours, Cascada can be ordered with solid, two-coat metallic or two-coat pearlescent paint, and a choice of three roof colours, depending on exterior colour.

Advanced premium options never seen before on a Vauxhall include an electric seat belt presenter, previously only available on premium models such as the Mercedes E-Class and the Audi A5 Cabriolet. The option gives more comfortable seatbelt reach and ensures the use of seatbelt.
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Toyota RAV4 EV, 2013

  •  Toyota RAV4 EV, 2013

The Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. revealed the highly anticipated all-new Toyota RAV4 EV at the 26th annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. This all-electric SUV has an expected driving range rating of approximately 100 miles and charging time of approximately six hours on a 240V/40A charger. The Toyota RAV4 EV's driving performance, dynamics and cargo capacity are equal to or exceed the gas powered RAV4 V6. Arriving fully-equipped with an MSRP of $49,800 the Toyota RAV4 EV doesn't compromise on performance, comfort or versatility.

The Toyota RAV4 EV is the product of a unique collaboration with Tesla Motors spurred by Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation. Twenty-two months after the project announcement, Toyota and Tesla engineers have succeeded in bringing an outstanding product to market in record time.

The Toyota RAV4 EV combines a Tesla designed and produced battery and electric powertrain with Toyota's most popular SUV model. The collaborative team set its sights on refining the customer experience. From advanced charging options to interior comfort to interactive displays, the vehicle has been designed for customer ease of use and maximum vehicle range.

The front wheel drive Toyota RAV4 EV allows drivers to select from two distinctly different drive modes, Sport and Normal. In Sport mode, the vehicle reaches 0-60 mph in just 7.0 seconds and has a maximum speed of 100 mph. Normal mode achieves 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a maximum speed of 85 mph. Maximum output from the electric powertrain is 154 HP (115kW) @ 2,800 rpm.

Toyota RAV4 EV offers an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride and comfortable handling due in part to its low coefficient of drag and low center of gravity. In fact, at 0.30 Cd, RAV4 EV achieves the lowest coefficient of drag of any SUV in the world. Compared with the gas powered RAV4, Toyota re-styled the front bumper, upper and lower grill, side mirrors, rear spoiler, and under body design to maximize air flow around the vehicle. The RAV4 EV's battery pack is mounted low and to the center of the vehicle, contributing to a more sedan-like ride.
The exterior, Toyota RAV4 EV features upscale LED low beam projector headlights with halogen projector high beams. A manual leveling system allows customers to redirect the headlights when the vehicle changes significantly in pitch due to a heavy load. Five vertical LEDs make up the daytime running lights, which dim to parking lights. The rear combination lights are LEDs accented by a unique light smoke outer lens. Other exterior variations from the gasoline powered RAV4 include new exterior emblems on the front, rear and the front door panel utilizing the signature Toyota "environmental blue."

Inside, a six-way adjustable driver's seat includes variable front seat heaters, which extends heater coverage to the occupant's upper back. The split reclining rear seats with folding center arm rest fold flat for increased cargo space, with a total cargo capacity equivalent to the conventional RAV4 of 73 cu. ft. No interior space is lost in the vehicle due to EV components.

The highlight of the interior is an eight-inch capacitive touch screen with a state of the art graphic display, featuring navigation, telematics, and EV drive information and settings designed specifically for the Toyota RAV4 EV. Entune™ is standard (with three year complimentary access to Entune™ services) along with SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with 3-month trial subscription to XM Select package), AM/FM radio, Bluetooth® streaming audio, and USB port with iPod® connectivity. The dash display color illuminates red when the vehicle is operating in sport mode and blue in normal driving mode.

Toyota's approved electric vehicle supplier equipment provider is Leviton. Leviton offers multiple options for charging solutions. For the shortest charge time of approximately six hours, Leviton offers a custom 240V (Level 2), 40A, 9.6 kW output charging station. For more information visit The vehicle comes equipped with a 120V (Level 1) emergency charging cable for instances when the recommended 240V (Level 2) charging is not available.

The Toyota RAV4 EV on sale in late summer 2012 through select dealers, initially in four major California metropolitan markets including Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles/Orange County and San Diego. Sales volume is planned for approximately 2,600 units over the next three years. The battery warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles.

In July 2010, Toyota Motor Corporation and Tesla Motors jointly announced an agreement to develop an all-electric version of the RAV4, with the intent to bring the vehicle to market in 2012. Tesla contributed its EV technology expertise, daring spirit, quick decision making and flexibility. Toyota contributed design, engineering, manufacturing and production expertise. In an industry where development cycles are typically five years, Toyota and Tesla brought a dynamic product to market in less than half that time.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Subaru WRX Concept, 2013

  •  Subaru WRX Concept, 2013

The all-new Subaru WRX Concept features a new paint color, "WR Blue Pearl III", which modernizes the iconic WRX look. Fluorescent Yellow is used as an accent on the WRX badge on the front grille, the brake calipers and the exhaust tip finishers, adding character notes to the design.

Subaru of America, Inc. unveiled the Subaru WRX Concept at the 2013 New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Center. The design concept hints at the design language of the next generation WRX.

The bold and muscular design emphasizes turbocharged power and AWD grip in a more agile and athletic form. The Subaru WRX Concept blends the WRX's famous power and road-holding prowess with an even greater focus on sharp handling, steering and communicative chassis. To further improve handling dynamics, the Subaru WRX Concept features a carbon-fiber roof to enhance the already low center of gravity and reduce weight.

Considerably lower, sleeker and wider, the Subaru WRX Concept delivers even more street presence than previous generations of WRX. The new grille design is larger and bolder and sets off the classic WRX hood scoop. A pronounced powerbulge provides clearance for the new turbocharged engine and intercooler. A prominent hexagonal grille form and deep lower valences with air intakes are designed to enhance aerodynamics, add downforce and aid engine cooling.

The three dimensional mesh pattern of the grille denotes the sporting nature of the Subaru WRX Concept and sets the Subaru star cluster apart, while the new hawk-eye headlights integrate the Subaru family design heritage.

A sharp character line runs from the front corner through to the taillights, intersected by the boldly flared wheel arches emphasizing the Subaru's AWD system. The compact cabin greenhouse draws attention to the power and solidity of the body and focuses attention to wide stance that provides a visual link between body and chassis.

The rear design echoes the hexagonal design motif from the front grille and features a dramatically curved trunk lid that also acts as a rear spoiler. The distinctive wide rear bumper of the Subaru WRX Concept adds to the powerful street presence of the car and is off-set by large quad tailpipes denoting the powerful turbocharged engine. The aggressive rear diffuser improves vehicles aerodynamics.

Filling out the broad fenders are BBS "RI-D" One Piece Forged Duralumin wheels and featuring 245/40ZR20 Dunlop tires with an exclusive tread pattern.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

SsangYong LIV-1 Concept, 2013

  •  SsangYong LIV-1 Concept, 2013

SsangYong LIV-1 follows several recent concept cars from SsangYong, and along with the XIV (eXciting User-Interface Vehicle) series and SIV-1 (Smart Interface Vehicle) shown at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, clearly illustrates the design direction the brand is taking and what can be expected in the future.

SsangYong has unveiled the LIV-1 Concept car at the 2013 Seoul Motor Show in South Korea. The LIV-1 (Limitless Interface Vehicle) is a large SUV (sport utility vehicle) and features an easily controlled four wheel drive system via an interface.

Designed to look robust, purposeful and sporty, the car features a sizeable body with large bumpers front and rear, yet with slim A and B pillars, a glasshouse silhouette and full length glass roof. An automated sidestep is included for safety and convenience.

Very much a car for the future, the SsangYong LIV-1 Concept is designed for driving safety and pleasure with 'limitless potential' for the driver to create a driving environment that meets his or her needs.

Flexibility is the key design concept for the interior, where lines and curves come together to create a refined and inviting environment to achieve what is described as a lounge for the future. High gloss piano black on the centre fascia and contrasting aluminium detailing imbues the interior with the premium feel appropriate for a top-line SUV.

And as you would expect, this futuristic interior features all the latest technology to meet IT needs on the move. The car's driver-vehicle communication interface is based on the 3S-Cube, the core of SsangYong's future technology. This combines the elements of Smart Link, Safe Way and Special Sense to allow the vehicle to be remote-controlled using a smart device and to provide entertainment both within and from outside the vehicle.

Smart Link is a roof-and-glass system created from nano tube technology that removes frost quickly via remote control for safe winter driving, while Safe Way ensures safe driving by actively preventing collisions in blind spots and at intersections.

Special Sense allows the driver to arrange instrument cluster items to suit personal taste, the interface controlling the sound, seats and interior lighting to create a bespoke personal driving space.

User-vehicle interaction takes place through five displays, including a 10-inch monitor in the centre fascia and a 7-inch monitor in the headrest. The touch-panel displays featured in the LIV-1 provide clear information while continuing the futuristic theme.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Skoda Yeti, 2014

  •  Skoda Yeti, 2014

Striking appearance - now in two variations
A special highlight is the first time offer of two individual design ranges: Skoda's Compact SUV is now available in an elegant, stylish city look as well as an off-road look for trips in the country. A significant differentiation: the front and rear elements, such as bumpers, underride guard, side mouldings and door sills are either in the body colour or, as with the Skoda Yeti Outdoor, remain in black plastic. This off-road Skoda Yeti has series-standard silver exterior mirrors.

The Skoda Yeti incorporates the new Skoda design language. The front and rear sections have been prominently reinterpreted and the criteria of the new product language have clearly emerged: precise edges and lines with an emphasis on the horizontal and the new vehicle logo.

The new fronts of both vehicles are now horizontally more accentuated and feature a distinctive grille and redesigned headlights, available as an option for the first time with bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights. In keeping with Skoda's new design language, the front headlights are now rectangular and are now located further under the front bumpers.

The Skoda Yeti's new rear has got a new layout. A new form of tailgate with distinctive tail lights now in a precisely moulded C-Design, optionally available with LEDs, and, in line with the new Skoda look, two cubist triangular elements alongside the new Skoda logo.

The wheel program has been expanded with four newly designed, attractive alloy wheel designs. There is now a wider selection of colours available, including four new metallic finishes - 'Moon-White', 'Jungle-Green', 'Metal-Grey' and 'Magnetic-Brown'. The latter is a Yeti L&K exclusive.

The new Yeti models have got an all-new fresh interior - with new 3-spoke steering wheels in seven variations, new fabrics and patterns for the seat covers as well as new decorative trims on the dashboard.

For the first time ever, the Czech compact-SUV will be available in two variants: as the elegant and stylish Skoda Yeti for the town, and an adventurous off-road Skoda Yeti Outdoor. Both design variations of the Skoda Yeti feature a new front and rear, new alloy wheels, fresh interiors, new "Simply Clever" ideas, the highest functionality and extended engine/gear combinations. Both new models are to be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show and by the end of 2013, both Skoda Yeti variants will have been launched on the first markets.

The first Skoda with rear-view camera
The Skoda Yeti is the brand's first model with an optional Optical Parking Assistant; a rear-view camera. Thus Skoda continues in their use of practical and safety-related assistance systems.

The first time that the Skoda Yeti will feature the latest generation of the automatic parking assistant. The new system enables the Yeti to automatically reverse and parallel park and even pull out. The new Skoda Yeti features the automatic lock and start system 'KESSY' for the first time. This system allows the car to be opened, locked and started automatically, without the key having to go into the ignition.

Spacious and functional: "Simply Clever" on the road
The revised Skoda Yeti has also received four new "Simply Clever" fittings. The double-sided floor covering in the boot is new in the Yeti but already a hit in various other Skoda models. There is also a detachable LED light in the boot, the vest holder under the driver's seat and the waste container in the side door of the Yeti.

In addition to the new features, the updated Skoda Yeti offers some familiar comfort features. These include the huge panoramic glass sunroof, the modern dual-zone air conditioning 'Climatronic', heated seats, cruise control, a heated windscreen and the power-adjustable driver's seat.

One highlight is, and remains, the Skoda Yeti's VarioFlex rear seat system, offering unique interior versatility. The three rear seats can be individually folded or removed. The outer seats can be shifted across or down with the middle seat removed. In an instant, the Yeti is transformed from a five to a four seater, making more space for the rear passengers.

There are also the carried-over fittings, such as the fold-down passenger seat, folding tables on the backs of the front seats, various storage compartments and practical bottle holders. Functionality is a top priority in the boot, featuring among other things, fastening points and fold-down hooks.

Generous space is once again confirmed in the Yeti. In no other compact SUV do the rear passengers have as much headroom as in the Skoda Yeti - 1027 millimetres. The boot capacity is at least 405 litres. Pushing the rear seats forward will increase the size to 510 litres and removing the rear seats completely will increase the volume to a fantastic 1,760 litres.

Seven modern engines; front and all-wheel drive, manual transmission and DSG

There is a selection of four diesel and three petrol engines for the all-new Skoda Yeti - all turbocharged and with direct injection. The performance spectrum ranges from the 1.2 TSI with 77 kW and 105 hp to the 2.0 TDI with 125 kW/170 hp. The fifth generation front or all-wheel drive with Haldex coupling is fitted depending on the engine specs. With an automatic transmission, the Skoda Yeti exclusively uses the modern six or seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DSG).

The GreenLine version 1.6 TDI/77kW, front wheel drive and a manual gearbox, produces CO2 emissions of just 119 g/km. That corresponds to a consumption of 4.6 litres of diesel per 100 km (61 MPG). Additionally, there are three Green tec engine variants: the 2.0 TDI/103 kW with manual six-speed gearbox, and 1.6 TDI/77 kW with seven-speed DSG. The front-wheel drive 1.4 TSI/90 kW petrol engine with manual transmission is available exclusively in the fuel-efficient Green tec variant. The Green tec package includes the Start-Stop System, brake energy recovery (recuperation) and low rolling resistance tyres.

The diesel engine 2.0 TDI with 125 kW is now available with the fantastic combination of all-wheel drive and automatic six-speed dual clutch transmission. The front-wheel drive Yeti 1.6 TDI 77 kW is available with automatic seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Safety without compromise
The Skoda Yeti is uncompromised in terms of safety, for which the compact SUV received the maximum 5-star rating in the 2009 Euro NCAP Crashtest.

Active safety is increased through ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and ABS (Anti-lock Breaking System) with Break Assist, which are fitted as standard in EU countries. The front fog lights can be optionally equipped with Corner Function. New bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights increase the visibility of the vehicle and the illumination of the road in the dark. Upon request, there are electronic assistants for up and down hill driving. Other options include the electronic tyre pressure monitoring system.

With electronically controlled all-wheel drive (fifth generation Haldex coupling), and a ground clearance of 180 mm, the compact SUV is ready for any terrain. The electronic differential lock EDS enables a smooth and comfortable start and grip on various road surfaces.

In terms of passive safety, the Skoda Yeti boasts up to nine airbags. Isofix points securely fasten child seats. Three-point seat belts in the front with belt tensioners and height adjustment and height-adjustable headrests complete the safety package.
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Seat Leon Cup Racer Concept, 2013

  •  Seat Leon Cup Racer Concept, 2013

Maximum control, perfect safety
The interior of the SEAT Leon Cup Racer is also ready for the track. Systematic weight reduction and a carefully minimalist approach define the inside of the car, which is protected by a high-strength roll cage. The bucket seat with HANS head-protection system also offers optimum safety. It is upholstered with specially developed leather that is exceptionally good at regulating moisture. The base form of the series-production cockpit is retained, although the race car's driver information and controls are concentrated firmly on the multi-function steering wheel and the high-resolution TFT display behind it, ensuring that the driver always maintains maximum control over his racing machine.

SEAT is stating its unequivocal commitment to motorsport and to its customers racing teams at the legendary 2013 Wörthersee GTI meet in the Austrian region of Kärnten. The undeniable hero on the SEAT stand in the town of Reifnitz on the south bank of the Wörthersee is the new Leon Cup Racer. It already gives a very clear indication of what a SEAT touring car racer might look like, prepared for a wide range of racing series worldwide. The 330 hp / 243 kW SEAT Leon Cup Racer forms the basis for the development work and test drives to be undertaken over the coming months.

Unmistakeable design DNA, outstanding aerodynamics
The Cup Racer, which is based on the five-door Leon and painted in metallic matte grey with orange accents, cuts a visually stunning figure. It's incredibly powerful stance on 18-inch racing wheels comes from a track that is no less than 40 centimetres wider than that of the series-production model.

The new front end is laid out for optimum aerodynamic efficiency and maximum airflow to the engine and brake system; while the mighty wheel arches with their openings on the trailing edge aid the cooling effect on the four-piston brake system. The sills are heavily flared and, together with the front spoiler, the smooth under body, the rear diffuser and the two-phase roof spoiler mounted on a support, achieve maximum down force for high-speed cornering.

Yet, even in the Cup Racer, the design DNA of the Leon remains fully intact: the distinctive full-LED headlamps with the highly individual signature of their daytime running lights have been carried over from the series-production model, as have the LED rear lights. The roofline contour is also the same as on the series-production model, just like the characteristic lines and precise blisters of the side view.

Full performance for the very best lap times
The mighty drive in the SEAT Leon Cup Racer is supplied by a two-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine. It boasts a maximum output of 330 hp / 243 kW and maximum torque of 350 Newton metres. Power transmission to the front axle is handled by a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox controlled from the steering wheel and an electronically controlled differential lock. A special variant of the Cup Racer for endurance racing can be equipped with a sequential racing transmission with a shift lever on the centre console and a mechanical differential lock.

A preliminary price for the Leon Cup Racer has already been defined - the version with DSG transmission will cost €70,000 (excl. VAT), while the endurance version with a sequential transmission and mechanical differential lock is priced at €95,000 (also excl. VAT).
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