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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hyundai Sonata 2010 Malaysia Review

Hyundai as a car brand name isn’t that strong as the Japanese’s Toyota & Honda. This applies strongly to Malaysians, but not the rest of the World. Many will be reluctant to buy Korean cars brand such as Hyundai and Kia but once you view those car personally and have a look and feel to it, your impression will changed  - especially in these recent years. Hyundai Malaysia ( Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors ) , is set to launch the 6th Generation All-New Fully Imported from Korea – Hyundai Sonata on July 2nd and they did a preview of the Sonata from last Friday until Tuesday (June 29) in their Glenmarie Showroom. We went to review the new Hyundai Sonata and did a test drive on a 2.0 liter model as well as a 2.4 liter model.

2010 Hyundai Sonata
2010 Hyundai Sonata 2010 Hyundai Sonata 2010 Hyundai Sonata

Normally with the same car name we should be able to see some inheritance from the car’s previous version. However, the new Hyundai Sonata is completely redesigned when compare to it’s predecessor.  Designed in California , the all-new Hyundai Sonata is to take on it’s competitor such as Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. With inspiration by an Orchid , we agree that the Hyundai designer team did put quite a few more daring design cue on the car’s front. As i was referring the Hyundai Sonata as the Korean CLS , aside from it’s similar bodyline and low back roof, the headlights too looks inspired by the Mercedes Benz CLS too. With projector headlight for all 3 variants available in Malaysia, which is the 2.0 low spec, the 2.0 high spec and the 2.4 high spec. Only the 2.4L model Hyundai Sonata comes with HID with auto-leveling.

2010 Hyundai Sonata
2010 Hyundai Sonata 2010 Hyundai Sonata 2010 Hyundai Sonata

From the side view, the Hyundai Sonata is sculpted with 2 body lines, one chromed, from the head lights to the rear door windows. The other body line, drews from the rear lights back to the front across the door handles. Focus on the Sonata’s rear, the sleek rear curves give the sedan a coupe-ish like the VW Passat CC and of course the Mercedes Benz CLS. With the black top by the panaroma roof, it improves the sportiness look of the new Hyundai Sonata. As the rear lights turned on, immediately the uniquely designed rear lights of this new Sonata shines. We are a big fan of the Audi A4 or R8, and a big part of it is due to it’s front headlights. Looking at the Hyundai Sonata rear lights, i can’t help to relate it as a reversed version of the Audi A4 /R8 head lights but in red.  The volcanic lava colour line surrounding main rear lights portraying the “rear eyes of the Sonata” stares at you with anger when you’re tailgating one.

2010 Hyundai Sonata
2010 Hyundai Sonata 2010 Hyundai Sonata 2010 Hyundai Sonata

The interior of the Hyundai Sonata continues the sweepy lines of exterior of the vehicle. The centre console builds together with simplicity and futuristic looking. The humanoid icon act as a guide line to see your air condition directions, an idea which ripped from Volvo. Only the 2.4 Liter Sonata gets the auto climate air conditioning system. As the interior lights turn on, the blue illuminance is everywhere giving you a futuristic ambiance. The controls are easy to use and understand, unlike the huge buttons with wordings on the latest Honda Accord. Although with great designs, the Hyundai Sonata central dash feel lacking of built quality. The air-con dials and controls does not feels that solid as compare to it’s competitors.  Audio systems are standard with cd player and mp3 capabilities. There’s a also ipod integration with USB and AUX-in too.  There’s holes on both sides of the audio inputs, one for cigarette lighter, and amother bluish one mainly for in car changers. The steering is integrate with standard audio controls too.

Friday, July 30, 2010

2002 BMW Z4 Sport Roadsters with 6 Cylinder Engines

2002 BMW Z4 - Front Side
2002 BMW Z4 - Front Side
Press Release:
When the Z4 roadster was introduced a year ago, it was a significant leap forward from its highly successful Z3 predecessor. Indeed, the Z4′s debut was much more than just ‘successor replaces predecessor,’ for the new Z4 roadster put BMW in a more elevated, sophisticated segment of the roadster market. To paint the broad strokes: Built on a longer wheelbase than that of the Z3, the Z4 is also wider and longer – while employing advanced engineering to keep any associated weight increase to a minimum. More to the point, the Z4 expresses a traditional concept – that of the two-seat sport roadster – in utterly new terms of unique design, contemporary engineering and comprehensive features.

The Z4 places BMW squarely in the field of sophisticated, full-featured sport roadsters. It comes exclusively with 6-cylinder power and offers a choice of four transmission types. Its chassis engineering is new, encompassing multi-link rear suspension, standard run-flat tires and wheel/tire diameters up to 18 inches. The Z4 offers amenities and options never before seen in a regular-production BMW roadster. Safety engineering and features have been further developed.

As was the Z3, the Z4 Series is produced at BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina factory, which employs the most advanced production equipment and processes and serves all international markets for the Z4. Two models are offered: the Z4 roadster 2.5i at $33,895 base price including destination; and the higher-performing, more extensively equipped Z4 roadster 3.0i at $41,045. As with all other 2004 BMWs, these prices include BMW Full Maintenance for 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The BMW roadster tradition

As new as it is, the Z4 represents a long-standing BMW tradition. The Bavarian automaker’s roadster lineage begins in 1935 with the 315/1 and 319/1, two versions of an energetic little two-seater powered by engines that were small, yet had 6 cylinders. (Even then, engine smoothness and sound were BMW priorities.) In 1936, the tradition became a legend with the 328 roadster, which began as a successful racing car, went on to become a beloved sports car, and finally became one of the great collectibles of its era.

Another great BMW classic was the 507, of which only about 250 were built in the mid- to late 1950s. Today, this stunningly designed, V8-powered roadster commands high six-figure prices at collector-car auctions. Elvis Presley owned one while stationed in Germany with the U.S. military.
Virtually unknown in America, yet also important to BMW’s roadster lineage, was the Z1 – conceptually amazing, with a fiberglass body and electrically retracting doors. The Z1 was expensive, built in small numbers, and offered only overseas.

In 1996, BMW introduced a roadster that would be accessible to many more customers: the Z3. Designed and engineered to be produced at moderate prices, the Z3 was an instant, international hit. Over its seven-year production span, it evolved from a single 4-cylinder model to a line of 6-cylinder roadsters and a coupe. It will be remembered as a relatively simple, elemental, fun-to-drive machine of typically high BMW quality and unique style.

With its design inspired by the classic 507, the Z8 made its debut in 2000 as BMW’s highest-performing, highest-technology roadster. It continues through 2003, completing a limited production run and commanding the respect of those who test-drove for the media and those with the means to own it. No one at BMW would be surprised if the Z8, like so many of the BMW roadsters before it, becomes a significant collector automobile.

The Z4 not only takes its place in this illustrious historical line, but brings the design and technology of the more popular-priced BMW roadster to a level that, in many ways, is comparable with what the limited-production Z8 offers.

Aerodynamics: Outstanding for an open-bodied vehicle
It is far more challenging to achieve efficient aerodynamics with an open-body car than with a closed one; yet BMW’s designers and aerodynamicists achieved major progress. With its softtop in place, the Z4 has an aerodynamic drag coefficient (CD ) of just 0.35. And extensive development has minimized drafts around the faces and upper bodies of Z4 occupants when the top is down: In its May ’03 issue, Road & Track reported that ‘at a constant 75 mph with the side windows down, we found the wind only tugging lightly at our cars.’

Smooth, powerful 6-cylinder engines
In a sea of V-6 engines, BMW swims almost solo with its unusual – but in BMW’s opinion superior – inline-6 configuration. The Z4 roadsters are powered by two versions of the M54 6-cylinder engine family; of the 3.0-liter version powering the Z4 3.0i, Automobile Magazine (August ’03) wrote that ‘Its torquey, 3.0-liter six is always ready to respond.’

In addition to its inline six cylinders, this brilliant engine architecture features:
• Aluminum construction, contributing to vehicle performance by keeping down engine weight.
• Dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, for optimum torque and power.
• Chain camshaft drive, requiring no periodic replacement.
• Double VANOS steplessly variable valve timing, enhancing torque, power and emission control.
• Hydraulic valve adjustment for consistent sound and reduced maintenance.
• Electronic throttle system (‘drive by wire’) for smooth, precisely tuned throttle action and seamless integration of cruise control, Dynamic Stability Control and other features. This also facilitates an appealing option: Dynamic Driving Control, about which more later.
• Electronically controlled engine cooling, enabling precise and purposeful control of engine temperatures; contributes to fuel efficiency and heater effectiveness.
With all these elements of engine architecture shared, two versions of this powerplant power the two Z4 models:
Z4 2.5i. 2.5-liter, with 184 horsepower and 175 lb.-ft. of torque. This unit delivers 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 sec. (manual trans., BMW AG test results) and achieves the amazing top speed of 146 mph. Its EPA mileage ratings are impressive too: 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway with 5-speed manual transmission, 20/29 with the optional 6-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), and fully 21/28 with the available 5-speed automatic. Top speed is 137 mph with the 5-speed, 146 with SMG and 141 with the automatic.

Z4 3.0i. 3.0-liter, with 225 hp and 214 lb-ft. of torque. This version is further refined for an even more exciting sound. Motor Trend noted in its May ’03 issue that ‘It delivers an impressive amount of power, with vibration evident only by its absence…Underway, dual exhaust tips broadcast a turbine-like mechanical growl that’s wired directly to the driver’s right foot.’ This engine powers the Z4 3.0i to 60 mph in just 5.9 sec. with the standard 6-speed manual transmission or optional SMG, and reaches 60 mph in only a tick more at 6.0 sec. with automatic (BMW AG test results). Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph with the manual transmission or SMG; with the automatic it is a ‘natural’ 152 mph. With its manual transmission, the Z4 3.0i earns excellent EPA mileage ratings of 21 mpg city / 29 mpg highway; with SMG the ratings are 20/29 and with automatic 19/27.
5- and 6-speed manual transmissions

While the 2.5i model’s standard transmission is a 5-speed manual, standard in the 3.0i is a 6-speed unit. Weighing no more than the 5-speed, this ‘gearbox’ incorporates refinements for even greater driving pleasure (and BMWs are already known for excellent manual transmissions):
• Even more effective synchronization of shifting
• Sportier shifting, via a 20-mm (0.8-in.) shorter shift lever and 10-mm (0.4-in) shorter shift ‘throws’ from neutral to each gear.

Optional STEPTRONIC 5-speed automatic transmission
Available for both models is the 5-speed STEPTRONIC unit that has garnered repeated praise from auto critics. Like all other current BMW automatics, it incorporates –
• A Sport mode that programs automatic shifts at higher engine speeds
• A Manual mode, which lets the driver choose shifts manually by ‘flicking’ the lever rearward or forward. Though basically similar to the transmission offered in other BMW 6-cylinder models, it is specially tailored to the Z4 with a ‘tighter’ torque converter (thus a more direct response feel) and specific shift characteristics.

‘Third way’: The Sequential Manual Gearbox
BMW currently offers two types of Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), both of which apply electrohydraulically actuated, electronically or driver-controlled shifting to a 6-speed manual transmission. Available on the super-performance M3 models is the very elaborate DRIVELOGIC version, which offers drivers a total of 11 shift programs. The version offered as optional equipment for Z4 roadsters (and, for ’04, the 3 and 5 Series as well) is engineered for performance, convenience and (above all) driving pleasure; it offers a total of four shift programs:

• In its Automated mode, labeled D, a Normal program, and a Sport mode that executes shifts at higher engine speeds and makes the shifts themselves quicker.
• In its Manual mode, also a Normal and a Sport program; here the Sport program makes the shifts quicker, but the driver determines when the shifts occur.

In either mode, the Sport program is selected via a button on the console.
There is no clutch pedal. The driver selects the desired operating range (N, R, D, S = Sequential) with a console-mounted selector lever, and can execute manual shifts with that lever or with two ‘paddles’ on the steering wheel. After starting the engine (which requires putting the lever in N and applying the brake pedal), the driver moves the lever to the right; this selects the Sequential mode, in which each tap of the lever or paddle(s) shifts the transmission up or down one gear. Moving the lever to the right toggles the unit to its Drive mode, in which shifts occur without the driver’s intervention. To revert to Sequential shifting, the driver can toggle the lever to the right again (and simply tap it toward ‘+’ for an upshift or ‘–’ for a downshift) or toggle one of the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. By pulling either steering wheel-mounted paddle, an upshift is executed. Pushing either paddle with your thumb produces a smooth downshift.

In either the Drive or the Sequential mode, an instrument-cluster display indicates the gear currently engaged. In Drive, a ‘D’ is displayed next to the gear. When the Sport program is activated, an orange indicator light next to the Sport button illuminates.

Though SMG does offer automated shifting, it is not meant to serve as a conventional automatic transmission; that role is played by the also available STEPTRONIC automatic. Just as with a manual transmission, power is interrupted for shifts – though in hard, performance-oriented driving the shifts can be stunningly quick. SMG’s appeal lies in these considerations:

• It is a racing technology, pioneered in Formula 1 competition and predominant in that sport today.
• It offers a new kind of actively enjoyable driving, and fascinating new things for an enthusiastic driver to learn.
• Relative to a manual transmission, it entails no performance loss and minimal increase in fuel consumption. In fact, it can match or even exceed the performance achieved by an expert driver.

Z4 running gear: This roadster is glued to the road
The Z4 raises enthusiasts’ expectations of how a sports car should handle. Starting with a brand-new body/chassis structure, BMW chassis engineers developed a sports-car platform that is almost literally glued to the road. The basis for this remarkable platform is a body/chassis structure with exceptional stiffness for a roadster; it achieves 21 Hertz – truly outstanding for a roadster, and close to the 25-26 Hz of today’s BMW sedans. A number of specific features contribute to this rigidity:
• Y-form front longitudinal members. Each chassis rail carrying the engine (one per side) branches into a ‘Y’ to form a side sill and half of the central tunnel. In this regard, the Z4 is similar to the Z8 roadster (though the Z8 structure is of aluminum, the Z4′s of steel).
• The side sills are configured to achieve maximum rigidity within acceptable bulk. (It’s not acceptable simply to make them huge; this would cut into passenger space or make the car too bulky.)
• The underbody (floor pan) is designed to spread its strength evenly over its entire length and width.
• The underbody is further reinforced by two thrust plates, similar to those employed in the M3 models. The front one is of aluminum, the rear of steel. Also as in M3s, there are reinforcing braces from the front suspension’s strut towers to the cowl area.
• High-strength steels are employed extensively for best strength without excess weight.
• To save additional weight, the hood is of aluminum.
In general terms, the Z4 suspension system applies concepts familiar from the 3 Series. Now, imagine a further developed system in vehicles almost 300 pounds lighter and with a significantly lower center of gravity, and you get an idea of the Z4′s potential. Here are the particulars:
Strut-type front suspension. with notable features:
• Forged aluminum lower arms, to reduce unsprung weight and thus improve ride and handling on rough road surfaces.
• Hollow strut rods, vs. solid; these weight 10% less than conventional solid rods.
• Relatively large positive caster to improve straight-line stability.
• Wide track – 58.0 in.
Central Link rear suspension, a multi-link concept. The Central Link from which the system derives its name is a large, curved longitudinal arm, pivoted directly ahead of the rear wheel’s vertical and horizontal centerpoint on a large rubber bushing of highly sophisticated design. Each wheel also has an upper and a lower lateral arm, for a total of three links per wheel. The system contributes to remarkable handling and riding comfort, yet is simpler than many multi-link concepts. Salient features include:
• Wide track, 60.0 in.
• Relatively large negative camber angles. Z4s have 2.25° negative camber at rest, visible in a slight inward tilt of the tops of the rear tires.
• Extra-firm forward bushings for the subframe that carries the suspension system.
• Aluminum upper transverse links to help reduce unsprung weight.
Overall suspension calibration. To underscore the Z4′s sporting nature, relatively firm springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll (stabilizer) bars have been adapted. This means a firm ride and very ‘flat’ cornering.

Because the standard suspension calibration is inherently sporty and the standard run-flat performance tires are relatively stiff, the available sport suspension (included in each model’s Sport Package) does not employ firmer springs, shock absorbers and anti-roll bars as is customary with BMW sport suspension. Instead, its only difference is a 15-mm (0.6-in.) lower ride height.
Every Sport Package-equipped Z4 comes with Dynamic Driving Control, which provides a Sport button on the console that selects –
• Firmer steering effort (less power assist) via the electric power steering
• Quicker accelerator response via the ‘drive by wire’ throttle system
• In vehicles with automatic transmission, an additional Sport mode beyond that selected with the shift lever.

Electric power steering: innovation with significant benefits
The Z4 incorporates an electric power steering system: the steering is assisted by an electric servo motor rather than the conventional hydraulic pump. Among the benefits of this feature are:
• Facilitates specific tuning of steering to the vehicle – shock damping, on-center feel, return to center position, overall steering feel – via software.
• Vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist (Servotronic).
• Reduced vehicle fuel consumption, because the electric motor operates only when the steering wheel is turned.
The servo motor applies its assist to the upper portion of the steering column; its control electronics are in a housing mounted directly to the motor.

Generously dimensioned brakes
The Z4 3.0i gets ventilated rear discs, and both models have larger-diameter rear discs than those of their Z3 predecessor. Equipment is as follows:
• 2.5i – Ventilated front discs of 286-mm/11.3-in. diameter; solid rear discs of 280-mm/11.0-in. diameter.
• 3.0i – Ventilated front discs of 300-mm/11.8-in. diameter; ventilated rear discs of 294-mm/11.6-in. diameter.
BMW has applied two refinements to the handbrake mechanism. One is a self-adjusting actuating cable, reducing the need for periodic adjustment; the other is a newly designed cable linkage that ensures equal handbrake force on both rear wheels.

Run-flat tires, standard
Every Z4 comes standard with BMW’s Run-Flat Combination (RFC), an important step forward in personal safety, convenience and in-vehicle space utilization.
The system consists of self-supporting tires, special wheel rims and a Flat Tire Monitor. The tires have special sidewalls that include specific inserts and highly heat-resistant rubber compounds. These features allow a deflated tire to maintain its essential shape and guidance characteristics for a considerable distance.
While maintaining the handling and safety standards of high-performance tires, the RFC system offers these advantages:
No roadside tire changes. It will be seldom, if ever, necessary to stop and change a damaged tire. When confronted with a flat (a condition revealed to the driver by the Flat Tire Monitor), the driver can continue on for up to 90 miles at speeds up to 50 mph until reaching a safe and/or convenient place to have the tire repaired or replaced.
Tire stays on rim, thanks to specially developed wheel rims.
Stability systems remain functional. All Dynamic Stability Control functions remain fully in effect, even with a deflated tire.
Increased trunk space. With RFC, no spare is needed, so the trunk can be larger.
Weight savings. The weight of a spare tire is eliminated

Price this car:
MSRP: not available yet
Invoice: not available yet
Source: BMW Press Release
Prices, Reviews, and Specifications by
Gallery of 2002 BMW Z4 Sport Roadsters with 6 Cylinder Engines
2002 BMW Z4 - Cockpit View2002 BMW Z4 - Engine View2002 BMW Z4 - Front Side2002 BMW Z4 - Rear Side
Car Images Copyright by: BMW

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2007 Mitsubishi cX Compact SUV

2007 Mitsubishi cX - Front View
2007 Mitsubishi cX - Front View

Press Release:
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and its European unit Mitsubishi Motors Europe B.V. will unveil The Mitsubishi Concept-cX at the 62nd Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA; commonly known as the Frankfurt Motor Show) in September. Held at the Frankfurt Messe Complex, the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show will be open to the public from September 15 through 23, with press and media pre-viewing September 11 through 14.

The Mitsubishi Concept-cX represents a new-generation compact SUV, realizing an ideal balance between environmental and everyday practical performance. The concept car uses a new high-output, high-efficiency 1.8-liter clean diesel engine, featuring a variable geometry (VG) turbocharger for optimum boost control and a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) with diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the exhaust system for compliance with Europe’s Euro 5 emission standards. Mitsubishi’s new Twin Clutch SST (Sport Shift Transmission) adds superior power transmission efficiency for a powertrain that delivers nimble performance alongside excellent fuel economy and low emissions. Among the number of new environmental technologies applied in the Concept-cX is the extensive use of interior trim materials made from Mitsubishi’s own Green Plastic – made from bamboo and other plant-based resins — in a step to stop global warming and slow the depletion of our oil reserves.

Mitsubishi Concept-cX offers a number of proposals for better utility and road performance. Its high seating position expands the driver’s field of view, providing the drivability expected in a SUV; the 4100 mm compact body makes for easy maneuvering around town; and the split tailgate — already well received on other Mitsubishi models — for easy loading and unloading of luggage. In the performance department, Concept-cX uses Mitsubishi’s electronically controlled 4WD system driven through large 225/45R19 tires to deliver intuitive handling and outstanding stability on all road surfaces.

 - Dual peace of mind -
Building upon 70 years of four-wheel drive expertise, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) is in a privileged position to appreciate the customer benefits of this technology, in terms of on-road active safety and off-road ability, from Lancer Evolution to Pajero.

At the occasion of the 62nd Frankfurt Motor Show, MMC will combine this dynamic fluency with the first tangible demonstration in Europe of its regionalised environmental strategy, previewing the CO2-friendly next generation Euro 5 Clean Diesel family of engines co-developed with its parent company, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

As a showcase for this dual ‘peace of mind’, Mitsubishi Motors will unveil Mitsubishi Concept-cX* in Frankfurt: an accessible, affordable, sustainable and realistic solution to today’s pressing issues. Sporty and flexible, Mitsubishi Concept-cX will follow the popular compact SUV route to carry this message right at the heart of the market.

Featuring the ‘Jet Fighter’ grille already seen with Lancer Sports Sedan and using a soft-road application of the Outlander-derived Electric control four-wheel drive drivetrain, the 4.10m long Mitsubishi Concept-cX will also intend to create a link between Mitsubishi’s passenger cars and SUVs.
Sharp in design and in dynamics, Mitsubishi Concept-cX will boast an excellent environmental performance to be seen in the low fuel consumption and emission levels achieved by its next generation 1.8-litre Clean Diesel engine, mated to an automated manual transmission. A preview of a family of powertrains to be launched in the course of 2009, it features a variable geometry diffuser (VG) turbocharger – to generate optimum boost pressure for all engine loads – and DPF technologies.
Mitsubishi Concept-cX’s further green credentials include eco-friendly ‘Green Plastics’, MMC’s proprietary plant-based resin technology, effectively used for interior trim materials.

As a reminder, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has adopted an all-embracing approach in addressing global environmental issues. Under its ‘EIP 2010′ (‘Environment Initiative Program 2010′) umbrella project, the Company is actively engaged in the development of a wide range of such technologies, covering:

o Powertrains suiting regional needs, driving patterns & infrastructures:
+ Clean Diesel Euro 5 family of engines for Europe
+ MiEV next-generation electric vehicle for Japan
+ Flexible fuel vehicle for Brazil
o Materials (plant-based ‘Green Plastic’,…)
o Processes (‘Design for Environment’ guiding principles,…).
o Manufacturing (pollution-prevention and recycling measures).
o Conservation (‘Pajero Forest & Local Mountain Restoration Initiative’ aiming to conserve and cultivate Japan’s forests and woodlands).

Price this car:
MSRP: not available yet
Invoice: not available yet
Source: Mitsubishi Press Release
Prices, Reviews, and Specifications by
Gallery of 2007 Mitsubishi cX Compact SUV
2007 Mitsubishi cX - Front View2007 Mitsubishi cX - Rear Side2007 Mitsubishi cX - Right Side2007 Mitsubishi cX - Velg and Disk Brake

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2010 Nissan Cube Review


What says
The 2010 Nissan Cube's quirky demeanor and whimsical styling make it an interesting choice for a small hatchback, but we think there are better, more practical choices available
Peppy performance, generous passenger space, easy to park, generous standard features list, unique customization opportunities.

Soggy handling, less cargo capacity and versatility than rivals, disappointing interior materials, intrusive wind noise.

What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Nissan Cube S and SL trims gain standard Bluetooth and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The S also adds two additional speakers and an iPod interface. The Krom edition gets keyless ignition/entry, a color audio display and a rearview camera. The latter two items are also options on the SL trim. Finally, last year's Ginormous package has been discontinued to the lament of those with juvenile senses of humor.

2008 Nissan Cube Vehicle Overview
Have you ever wondered: "Why can't my car's dashboard have a shag-carpet toupee on it?" Or perhaps: "Why can't my car look like a washing machine and have hot pink interior trim?" Well, if you've pondered either of the above possibilities, your boxy chariot has arrived. The 2010 Nissan Cube hatchback is an unusual form of transportation whose styling certainly lives up to its name. Such vehicles are all the rage on the other side of the Pacific, but really, the Cube almost seems like a Japanese caricature, akin to a ninja dressed in Hello Kitty pajamas riding on the back of Godzilla. We're not sure a caricature makes for the best transportation.

Under the Cube's weird exterior is essentially a Nissan Versa, a small and comfortable hatchback that unfortunately has all the personality of plain steamed rice. In that way, the Cube provides ample amounts of flavor for those who seek it, plus more maximum cargo capacity courtesy of its boxy shape. The comfortable ride, relatively strong engine and impressive available continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are shared virtues.

The Cube also provides plenty of passenger space. Of particular note is the backseat that reclines and slides. Nissan has also taken care to fill its Cube with plenty of goodies like available keyless ignition/entry, Bluetooth, a color audio display and a Rockford Fosgate stereo. Then there are the various dealer-installed accessories, including 20-color interior mood lighting, multiple choices of colored trim pieces, exterior body kit items and even that infamous shag dash topper.

Put it all together and you've got plenty of reasons to purchase a 2010 Nissan Cube. Unfortunately, this focus on style comes at the expense of some basic small hatchback attributes. The cargo area isn't a standout in terms of roominess or versatility, for instance, and the Cube's handling abilities are mediocre. In comparison, these are two things that the Honda Fit excels at. Another possibility is the Kia Soul, which also offers plenty of customization options. Still, if quirky is your thing, it's hard to think of a better car than the Cube.
For Pricing information, see our Pricing page.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Nissan Cube is a four-door hatchback available in base, S, SL and Krom Edition trim levels. The base car comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, full power accessories, keyless entry, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a reclining and sliding 60/40-split rear bench and a two-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Cube S adds cruise control, upgraded cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker stereo with an iPod interface and steering wheel controls. Going with the Cube SL gets you 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights and automatic climate control. The SL Preferred package adds a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry and a Rockford Fosgate six-speaker stereo with subwoofer, a color audio display, satellite radio and a USB audio port.

The Krom edition includes the Preferred package items, plus a variety of exterior styling enhancements (different 16-inch alloy wheels, front and rear bumpers, grille, side sills and rear roof spoiler). The Krom also includes titanium-color interior trim, aluminum-trimmed pedals, 20-color ambient lighting and black/gray cloth upholstery.

The long list of accessories includes different alloy wheel designs, body kit items, interior trim pieces (available in five different colors), 20-color interior ambient lighting, bungee cord map holders, multicolor interior hooks, a portable Garmin navigation system and a piece of shag carpeting that attaches to the top of the dashboard with Velcro.
For more Style information, see our Compare Styles page.

Powertrains and Performance
Every Nissan Cube is front-wheel drive and features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 122 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. The base Cube and Cube S come standard with a six-speed manual, while a CVT is optional on the S and standard on the SL and Krom.
In performance testing, a Cube S with the CVT accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. With the manual transmission, the Cube achieves an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. The CVT improves that to 28/30/29.

For more Performance Data, see our Specifications page.

Every Cube comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes (disc front, drum rear), front side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
In government crash tests, the 2010 Nissan Cube received four out of five stars for frontal protection and five stars for side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Cube its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests. In Edmunds brake testing, the Cube S came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet – a very good performance for this class of car.
For more Safety information, see our Safety page.

Interior Design and Special Features
To go along with its head-turning cubist exterior, the Cube's basic cabin design has soft curves and shapes that are a bit different from the typical hard-edged style employed by most rivals. A "dropped pebble in a pond" effect on the headliner and speaker grilles adds some visual interest, as does the optional color illumination package. Add the toupee-like shag carpet dash topper and the ambient interior lighting and you'll think you've time-warped back to 1977.

Simple control layouts mark the Nissan Cube's cabin. The standard climate control is the old-school-but-proven three-knob style (the optional automatic system is more complicated), the no-frills stereo has large preset buttons and the cruise control has easy-to-thumb buttons on the wheel. The overstuffed front seats are comfortable during hour-long commutes, but support fades on longer drives. Unfortunately, the brownish gray plastics used to construct the interior are below average for this class.

In back, there's plenty of room for two adults -- the tall roof and multiadjustable backseat (it slides fore and aft and reclines) allow ample headroom and legroom for 6-footers in back. As with most subcompacts, though, trying to add a fifth person is ill-advised. Unlike Honda's more commodious Fit, the Cube hatchback's split rear seat doesn't fold even with the cargo floor, but lowering it reveals more than 50 cubic feet of space. With the seats up, however, there's less useful floor space than in the Fit or Kia Soul.
For more Interior Features information, see our Specifications page.

Driving Impressions
In the cut-and-thrust of city traffic or when merging and passing, the 2010 Nissan Cube is rarely caught flat-footed. Much of the credit goes to its superb CVT that makes the most of the engine's available power. Another positive is the plush ride quality, making the Cube a pleasing runabout for urban duty. On the highway, though, the Cube's blocky shape results in noticeable wind noise at higher speeds. Another downside regards its handling -- in tight corners, the Cube's slow and too-light steering and soft suspension tuning make it an uninspiring companion.
For more Driving Impressions, Recent Articles and Car Awards from our Editors, see our Road Tests page.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Infiniti M37 set to rival BMW and Mercedes

Nissan's premium brand has expanded its range of cars with the M37 executive saloon.


Infiniti M37 set to rival BMW and Mercedes
Keen pricing sees M37 undercut rival BMW by more than £2,000
Set to rival the BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-class and Audi A6, the Infiniti M37 uses the smooth 3.7-litre V6 engine featured in other Infiniti models, including the G37 Coupé and EX 37 sports utility vehicle.
The entry-level M37 model will be priced from £35,150 making it more than £2,000 cheaper than the equivalent BMW 535i, and adheres to Infiniti's ethos of offering generous amounts of equipment as standard: the M37 gets a seven-speed automatic gearbox, reversing camera, a hard disk drive sound system and xenon headlights
Other trim levels in the M37 range will be the GT (from £37,650) and S (from £38,650), the former providing heated and ventilated front seats and the latter offering four-wheel steering, sports suspension and 20in alloy wheels.

On top of this buyers can also specify Premium upgrade versions of the M37. Priced from £43,000 these include a Forest Air climate control system that is said to create stress-busting gentle breezes and subtle scents, as well as Eco Pedal, an efficiency-boosting technology that senses when the car is being driven too aggressively and pushes back the accelerator to tell the driver that fuel is being wasted.

For now buyers can only view the M37 up close at Infiniti's sole Reading dealership and must settle for the petrol V6, which delivers 317bhp, 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and 27.7mpg on the Combined cycle. CO2 emissions are 235g/km meaning that it falls into the second highest VED band.

Further Infiniti showrooms are set to open in Glasgow, Birmingham and Central London, while the petrol engine will be joined by a diesel model in October and a hybrid some time in 2011.
Price: £35,150 for M37 3.7-litre V6 to £45,000 for the M37 Premium.
Engine: 3.7-litre petrol V6

Monday, July 26, 2010

2011 Kia Sportage to start at $18,295*

2011 Kia Sportage – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2011 Kia Sportage is one great-looking crossover, and with a starting price of $18,295 (*$18,990 with destination) it's rather affordable as well. Kia announced Tuesday that its longest running nameplate will start well below the $20,000 mark while sporting standard features like a six-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, power everything, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, MP3 inputs and Bluetooth connectivity.

At $20,295 ($20,990 with destination) the mid-level LX model adds outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, keyless entry and privacy glass. Another $3,000 ($23,990 with destination) adds 18-inch alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Standard safety features include six airbags, four-wheel ABS and electronic stability control.

The Sportage appears to be a screaming deal – though it's starting price is $1,300 higher than the outgoing model, it's a much improved vehicle – and its 176-horsepower 2.4-liter will deliver an impressive 22 miles-per-gallon in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway. A far more powerful 270+ horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter Sportage variant will be available later in the model year. Hit the jump to read over Kia's press release.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review: 2011 Honda CR-Z

It’s now way past bedtime, and I’m driving the new Honda CR-Z in one of those neighborhoods you wouldn’t be making your evening stroll in. Heads turn, necks stretch, fingers point. Blacked out windows of blacked out SUVs are rolled down. Everybody on the street seems to approve Honda’s new creation, but no one knows it’s a hybrid.
Context, as you know, is everything. Honda says the CR-Z is a sporty hybrid, and while the world of automotive marketing is often cynical, marketing a hybrid sports car is like attempting to sell water powder. Are we expected to hold our breaths towards the 45th mpg or for the last hairpin? Let’s find out.
The CR-Z is based off the Insight, which isn’t exactly a promising start as far as sportiness is concerned. Honda assures us this wasn’t just a copy-cut-paste job: the wheelbase is 4.5 inches shorter than the bread and butter hybrid, and the car itself is shorter by some 8 inches and also considerably wider and lower.
As with most of Honda’s modern designs, the CR-Z is very much a take it or leave it affair, and yes – compared to the concept the front end looks somewhat toned down. That’s not what matters, though. When you look at the CR-Z, you get the distinct notion that the designers had a clear image of the car they wanted from the get-go: this car simply looks like nothing else on the road. From the raked rear window inspired by the CR-X, to the pointy rear lights and bulges distributed in key areas – you’ll have no trouble finding this car in a Walmart parking lot.
The first thing you notice when you sit down in the CR-Z is how close your behind is to the ground. You sit very low in here. Properly low. Female companions are thus advised to avoid wearing skirts if riding shotgun. There are even more prices to be paid for the wowing exterior design: space. Front passengers will feel pretty intimate (if not claustrophobic), storage spaces are scarce, and my European-spec tester’s rear seats will make even grocery complain about headroom. Fortunately, American car journalists will be spared this rant: US-spec cars will come with the rear bench deleted in favor of extra storage space.
Having said that, when you don’t have to consider the rear passenger’s well-being, front legroom is sufficient for a plus sized adult. The trunk isn’t especially commodious – it’s 8.2 cubic feet in size with the seats in place – and the loading bay is high due to the batteries and full-size spare wheel laying underneath.
In best hybrid fashion, the instrument panel is designed with the ultimate control freak in mind. The 3D mishmash of gauges and indicators boldly hosts the rev counter and digital speedometer in an isolated central tunnel (so your wife can’t peek). The rest of the IP is cluttered with digital gauges: a battery charge meter, a fuel consumption indicator, a gearshift indicator and a bar showing whether the battery is being charged or assists the gas motor – along with the usual array of warning lights and standard gauges. Like with the Insight, the rev counter will light up in blue shades if you’re ruining the environment and lights up in cheery green if the mammals of the rain forest are happy with your driving. The central display will also be growing flowers over time if you keep it up.
Environmentalism aside, I found the entire setup a little overwhelming and distracting, especially at night when the entire car is gleaming with bright blue, red and green lights. Unfortunately, the flashy interior doesn’t manage to conceal the mediocre quality it shares with the Insight, and while all of the surfaces feel like they’ll last long after the last iceberg melts, they’re too cheap for a far of this breed.
See that? That’s a clutch pedal in a hybrid car. They’ve existed before (in the first-generation Insight, and Civic Hybrid), but rarely has as much been made of a manual-transmission option. American consumers will also be able to choose an optional CVT gearbox – but you really shouldn’t. This manual box is a magnificent unit by any measure, with nice, short and slick shifts and a buttery clutch. When you press the third pedal, the engine comes silently into life. Together with a 1.5 four cylinder unit lifted from the Fit, Honda’s IMA hybrid system generates a modest 124 horsepower on a weight figure of 2,568 pounds – not that far off from mother Insight, and all in all, not a very convincing figure.
Initial forward movement is surprisingly swift for the pedestrian near-10 second sprint-to-sixty figure, thanks to the assistance from the electric motor. In fact, the electric engine feels more like a small turbocharger rather than a fuel saver – especially in Sport mode, where the electric spinner provides more torque to the front wheels and throttle response is sharpened. The CR-Z’s engine is a short breather compared to traditional Honda performance motors – redlining at around 6,500 rpm – but there’s been a lot of effort to make it sound the part, so there is a considerable amount of not unpleasant engine noise penetrating the cabin in higher rpms.
The problem lies outside the first two short gears, where the CR-Z runs out of breath. There’s simply not enough midrange grunt to label this car a performance coupe, and under determined driving the battery runs out, rendering the CR-Z a little more than an overweight Fit (pun unintended. Honestly).
And it’s a real shame. No, the CR-Z handles nothing like the CR-X, and it shouldn’t – the CR-X was a different car for a different generation, and expecting the 2010 car to have the 1990 driving dynamics is like expecting to get satnav in a Hyundai Excel. But the truth is that when you get it up to speed, the CR-Z can bring a naughty smile on your face.
While the steering lacks feel, it’s fairly accurate and well-weighted, and due to the low ride height and relatively short suspension travel, body roll is also relatively modest. The CR-Z responds well to steering inputs, and feels agile and capable in the corners. Gather enough speed and leave the throttle, and you’ll even manage to induce some old school back slips. Unfortunately, CR-Z doesn’t manage to shake off the braking syndromes associated with hybrids. Thanks to its variable-pressure pedal, there’s not enough feel from the pedal hampering performance braking. The captain’s and navigator’s seats also don’t provide side bolstering for key areas such as the torso and shoulders.
But these are all small niggles compared to the major design flaw. The CR-Z’s biggest problem is that there is not enough straight-line performance to let you easily discover its positive characteristics, and you can really feel the chassis aching for more power.
So the CR-Z is not really a sporty car. But is it a good hybrid? After an intensive driving session, I averaged about 25 mpg. While this, if I’m blunt, sucks – remember that this was a pedal-to-the-metal drive along some mountainous roads in Sport mode, so the CR-Z shouldn’t have much problems hitting the 31/37 city/highway EPA cycle if can hold off the child in you. That’s not bad for a pretentious sporty coupe, but not really ground breaking as far as hybrids or diesels are concerned. When you’re into economy, you can switch to Eco or Normal modes. Both make the car feel more sluggish thanks to a blunter pedal response and less assistance from the electric motor – you’d be hard pressed (ha!) to switch back into one of these modes after driving in Sport.
Honda’s IMA system is what’s referred to as a mild hybrid, which means the electric motor can’t propel the car on its own. On stops, the gas engine powers down and resumes work when the clutch is engaged. There’s no noticeable shudder as the engine coughs into life, but unfortunately for those living in warm climates – like this humble author – with the engine, gone is the air conditioning compressor until the traffic light turns green.
The CR-Z’s livability is a curious mix of good and bad. On one hand, the ride is impressive both in town and on the freeway, and – dare I say it – even better than the Insight’s. It’s also easy to drive thanks to the smooth gearbox and precise clutch, and refinement is good – you feel like you’re going around 15 mph slower than you actually are.
On the other hand, that raked rear window totally ruins rear visibility (while greatly increasing the sky view), to the extent that even the simplest parking maneuvers require an additional pair of helping hands or a good set of parking sensors, and the low ride height makes entering and exiting the CR-Z a thoroughly inelegant affair. I also hope Honda have a better answer than ‘airbags’ to the complete abundance of grip handles front and back.
Is the Honda CR-Z a sporty coupe? Not really. Is it an exceptionally good hybrid? Afraid not. After driving Honda’s newest hybrid and only real sporty car in its lineup, I returned with more questions than strict answers and criticism.
In many ways, the CR-Z is a disappointment. Aside from its exterior design, it seems to be doing all its tasks halfheartedly, and the resulting feeling is that this car has a lot of unfulfilled potential. Fifty more horses could have made it a true enthusiast’s choice in a segment rarely represented in the US. Ten more MPGs would have made it a just ambassador in the hybrid club.
But in a different sense, the CR-Z is one of those ‘first’ cars, like the first Caravan or the original Grand Cherokee. While Honda surely was not the first to toss ‘hybrid’ and ‘sport’ into the same sentence, they were the first to massively produce and market such a car. It does fall between the chairs, and in many ways is inferior to its more traditional rivals – like the VW Scirocco TDI in Europe – but it represents a future. And if that’s the future of hybrids, color me green with envy.
Honda provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review
This review courtesy of

Friday, July 23, 2010

Information on the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Alfa Romeo Giulietta
“Ahead of the car’s European market debut in May, new details of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta were released today. The five-door 147 replacement will be available with five different turbocharged four-cylinder engines when it goes on sale.

Amongst these is the 232 bhp 1750 TBi petrol powerhouse that will be featured on the Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde.  The direct-injection model has a “revolutionary scavenging control system” that reduces turbo lag.

Other petrol engines featured include a 118 bhp 1.4-liter, and a 1.4-liter Multiair that produces 168 bhp.  The two second-generation MultiJet turbodiesels include the 1.6-liter model that produces 104 bhp, and the 168 bhp 2.0-liter unit.

All engines are fitted with Start/Stop to improve fuel consumption and reduce emissions.  The engines are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, though some of the units will be available with a dual-clutch automatic.
Other features include LED daytime runners in the front headlights, rear LED light clusters, and an ergonomically-designed interior.  The car’s dashboard is a replica design of that found on the 8C Competizione.

The Giulietta has three different driving modes - All weather, Normal, and Dynamic - the driver can select through the Alfa DNA unit, which adjusts items like the suspension and electronic differential.  The car will be supplied with 16-inch rims that may be upgraded to alloys, 17-inchers, or 18-inch wheels.  Customers who buy the Quadrifoglio Verde get the 17-inch wheels standard.

When the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is released, new car buyers will be able to choose from two trim levels and two options packages.  You can read more about the car in the press release below.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2011 Subaru Outback gets in-car Wi-Fi

2011 Subaru Outback

2011 Subaru Outback

THERE are already some cars in America that offer in-car Wifi, and now Subaru can be added to that list. The Japanese automaker has put WiFi on the options list of the 2011 Subaru Outback for the fairly standard price of $499 as a dealer-installed option. You’ll receive an encrypted connection good within 150 feet of the car, and it can be used while the car is in motion. The subscription is $29 per month after that, and Subaru is gracious enough to even pick up the first three months for you. Follow the jump for the full press release.
[Source: Subaru]

Subaru Announces Mobile Wi-Fi Access Available for 2011 Outback®
CHERRY HILL, N.J., July 16 /PRNewswire/ — Subaru of America announced today that it is now offering Wi-Fi connectivity for the award-winning 2011 Outback crossover SUV model. The new Subaru Mobile Internet system creates a Wi-Fi hotspot inside the Outback giving internet access to 10 or more users for up to 150 feet around the vehicle.
The Subaru Outback redefined the SUV, and offering Wi-Fi connectivity further expands this versatile vehicle’s capability. Operating on the 3G network and working with all Wi-Fi enabled devices, Subaru Mobile Internet provides users a safe, fully encrypted connection with download speeds averaging 400kbps-1.2mbps. This uninterrupted Wi-Fi capability is designed for passenger access while the Outback is in motion.
Subaru Mobile Internet easily allows users to check email, surf the web or listen to Internet radio and even stream video and post to social networking sites. Outback passengers can check weather and traffic, download hiking trails, and even reserve a campsite while they’re on the road. Multiple passengers can simultaneously use the Wi-Fi connection for their separate devices, including Wi-Fi capable laptop computers, netbooks, smart phones, game controllers, plus the new iPad® and iPod® Touch models.
Subaru Mobile Internet technology is provided by Autonet Mobile, the world’s first in-car Internet service provider. The Wi-Fi service can be added as a port or dealer-installed accessory to any 2011 Subaru Outback for an MSRP of $499, plus a $35 activation fee. A one-year subscription at $29 per month is required, and Subaru is including the first three months of service for free. Comprehensive user support is included through joint Subaru and Autonet Mobile customer service resources. Subaru Mobile Internet is a Genuine Subaru Accessory and is covered under the Subaru of America warranty.
Starting at an MSRP of $22,995, the 2011 Subaru Outback is offered in a wide range of four- and six-cylinder models. The Outback is smart-sized compared to other two-row crossover vehicles, featuring a mid-size interior in an easy-to-maneuver and off-road capable wagon body. Equipped with the Lineartronic™ CVT (continuously variable transmission), the 2011 Outback is rated at 29 MPG in highway driving.
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru boasts the most fuel-efficient line-up of all-wheel drive products sold in the market today based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy standards. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Road Test: 2010 Audi TTS Roadster


As much as it was our wedding anniversary, I didn't think I was being totally out of line -- when daughter and wife asked what might be appropriate to celebrate such an occasion-- in replying that a sports car would do quite nicely. After all, I reasoned, I had asked for so little in previous years -- a home-cooked meal here, something for the house there. What harm would there be in upping the ante, especially since I was already testing something quite suitable -- a gleaming white Audi TTS roadster? Just call up my PR contact at Audi Canada and explain to him that he couldn't have his car back, that Dad/hubby was getting spoiled this year.
Ah, the efforts of the foolish. I received cards, a cool sport watch, some summer duds and a "get real/nice try" from spawn and spouse. And, wiping a tear from my eye, I sadly returned the TTS to its rightful owner -- but not before giving it a proper workout.

While I can't quite admit to lusting after the TT, which was first introduced in 1999, I have been an ardent admirer of its curvy inverted bathtub look. And, unlike rival BMW, which couldn't help but improve on the impetuously overstyled Z4, the second go-round of the TT didn't stray too far from the original's avant-garde sheet-metal, imbuing the two-seater with a tauter, more muscular look to go with a slight increase in size.
To further enhance the image of strength, Audi has blessed the TT with the S version (hence TTS), massaging the 2.0-litre turbocharged TFSI engine's various components (turbo, injection system, engine management, intercooler, exhaust system, etc.) to the point where the four-cylinder bench presses a hearty 265 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. While not quite the stuff of legends, this is still more than enough scoot for the 1,540-kilogram roadster to lay down some serious performance numbers, such as 5.4 seconds from standstill to 100 kilometres an hour and 4.7 seconds to drop a couple of cogs on the sweet six-speed DSG manumatic and zip to 120 km/h from 80. It's noteworthy that the TTS's turbo four is more powerful than the TT's optional 3.2L V6, not to mention faster and more fuel efficient (when not hot-footing away from stoplights).
Aiding and abetting the TTS's estimable performance is Audi's renowned quattro all-wheel drive. There's nary a whisper of wheelspin when the roadster takes off -- and take off it does, although there is a hint of initial hesitation while the turbo spools up. Run the engine up close to redline and there is a delicious turbo "pop" from the exhaust with each paddle upshift of the DSG tranny. Even dedicated manual users (including myself ) will have to admit the near-instantaneous automatic shifts are cleaner and faster than self-clutching. Besides, there's no manual box available, so you might as well embrace the technology. The lazy can just drop the shifter into drive -- the TTS is no prima donna in city traffic -- although this does exacerbate that initial hesitation at takeoff.

Said quattro, along with the magnetic ride sport suspension -- an adaptive damping system that allows the driver to select between normal comfort and sporty firm at the touch of a button -- and the tester's optional ($1,000) P255/35R19 performance rubber, combine to bestow beau-coup de grip with negligible body roll. Some quality track time might expose a few flaws in the setup, but, in everyday use, the TTS corners with an aplomb that leaves me giddy. On one occasion, after a brief but intense thunderstorm left a puddle of water across a fairly tight blind corner that I was approaching at an exaggerated rate of knots, a quick stab of the brakes (which are massively powerful and capable of hauling the Audi to a stop from 100 km/h in less than 35 metres) scrubbed off most of the speed, while the quattro system tracked the car through the turn without even a hint of wiggle (but with a most impressive wake).
Audi eschews the current trend -- some say stubbornly -- to equip its roadster with a convertible hardtop. That said, the lightweight, fully automatic soft-top with its Zfolding mechanism takes up very little space when folded, integrating seamlessly into the body contours. The top locks into place and lies flush with the body, eliminating the need for a tonneau cover. A single touch of the centre console-located button starts the al fresco process, which takes a short 12 seconds to complete. When up, the soft-top's acoustic mat keeps wind noise well muted. When driving top down, an electric, retractable mesh wind deflector lessens buffeting in the cabin.
The cabin itself is more than comfortable for two, with plenty of legroom and headroom for those more than six feet tall. The tester came with something Audi calls Madras Brown Baseball Optic leather seats ($2,900). Think of it as sitting in giant, broken-in baseball gloves. Gorgeous, and sublimely restful! The flat-bottom steering wheel is a tad Speed Racer-ish. Conversely, my long legs appreciated the extra inch or two of room. As might be expected of a sports car with a price tag on the north side of $60,000, a full suite of the usual modern conveniences are included.

Although capricious by nature when it comes to roadsters of the sporting variety, I would have to elevate the TTS to the top of my list, certainly demoting the BMW Z4 and Mercedes SLK (however, I am waffling when it comes to Porsche's Boxster). Quick, capable and stylistically extroverted, the TTS is also extremely comfortable transportation for two, which is to say it makes a superlative weekend getaway machine. But, since my wife and daughter didn't step up to the plate, I guess I will have to put my trust in lottery tickets to make this happen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

AUDI Car Model Show

Audi is certainly the top motor industry of the World. The German manufacturer of automobiles has been a part of Volkswagen since 1964 and then in 1965 launched the introduction of Audi 60 range. Now in the 21st century, they have launched the new stunning Audi R8 and if you compare this to the 1960’s Audi range you will see the difference between times and machines.

The German car manufacturers are known for producing the stunning, powerful and reliable cars. Cars link BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Opel, Porsche, Volkswagen and Smart are all German cars. Audi is reliable, consistent and economical. Audi A3, A4, Q5 and Audi A4 Saloon are the most common Audi cars driven all around the World and certainly in the UK. When buying a car what are the things people look for? Here is in my opinion are the things that people look for when buying a car:
Offers and deals certainly has to be at the top of the list. When buying a car people look for the best possible financial option, some even search for 0% finance cars.

A lot of people have a certain budget and the car needs to fit their budget. They will only buy a car that is under their budget. Reliability, speed, power doesn’t matter to some people with a certain budget. People also look at if the car is economical to run or not. What I mean is whether to see if Audi Q5 is going to be cheaper to run than Audi A4

It is important to buy a car which is reliable otherwise you shouldn’t buy a car. Most people do not realise this, they just go for something which is under there budget that looks good.

Reading feedbacks and reviews are definitely the first thing people do these days. There are many car review websites on the Internet which will help you out in reading about the car you are interested in buying. You should also read the feedbacks of people who have already drove the car, this can be very useful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

News : Toshiba, Mitsubishi Developing Battery Systems for Electric Vehicles

Toshiba Corporation (6502T) announced that it is working with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (7211.T) to develop lithium-ion battery modules for electric vehicles.
Toshiba sees its SCiB™ batteries as a large growth area for the company, and it has already secured a deal to supply the batteries for electric motorcylces being made by Honda (NYSE: HMC).
Toshiba says it has developed a new original anode material and a new electrolyte that enhances both safety and rapid recharging of lithium-ion batteries.
However the company has strong competition in Japan and abroad from companies like Panasonic (NYSE: PC), which is working with Toyota (NYSE: TM); NEC Corp (NIPNF.PK), which has partnered with Nissan (NSANF.PK); Hitachi (NYSE: HIT) and LG Chem (LGCLF.PK), both of which are supplying General Motors.
According to a Reuters report, Mitsubishi also has an arrangement with battery maker GS Yuasa Corp (GYUAF.PK), and Mitsubishi said Toshiba has not yet won a supply contract.
However, the Nikkei business daily reported that Mitsubishi will purchase Toshiba batteries for its new small electric cars to be launched by 2012.
Toshiba will produce SCiB™ for industrial applications, including EV and power storage, at Kashiwazaki Operations, a new facility in Niigata prefecture that is slated to start production in 201N1.
Last month Toshiba announced that it won a contract to supply drive motors for hybrid and electric vehicles in development by Ford (NYSE: F).

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