Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

Mercedes developing eco-engines

Posted: 21 Oct 2012 07:00 AM PDT

Mercedes is developing a range of four-cylinder petrol engines and plug-in hybrid technology

Mercedes-Benz is predicting that its new family of four-cylinder petrol engines, being co-developed with Renault, will equal the fuel efficiency of BMW's new three-cylinder unit.

In fact the 1.2-litre petrol four and 1.5-litre diesel four will be so good that Mercedes has ruled out a three-cylinder version of the petrol to take on the BMW 1.5-litre triple.

"We won't have a three-cylinder engine. Our four-cylinder will be as good as BMW's three-cylinder," Merc's head of powertrain strategy Jurgen Doring told Autocar.

Merc's new four-cylinder engines are a key part of its strategy to moves towards the EU tailpipe emissions target of 95g/km by 2020, a 45g/km reduction on the current 140g/km figure. They will be introduced into the new MFA range of Mercedes models – including the new A-class and B-class – from 2014, as well as the core of Renault's range.

Despite this march to ever-lower carbon output, Doring says Mercedes will continue to offer large luxury cars in the range, its heartland of sales. "Even in 2020, the Mercedes customer will still be able to buy a big, powerful car," he predicted.

The secret will be plug-in hybrids, which Doring believes could eventually push tailpipe emissions of some large Mercedes models down to as low as 60g/km. "The E300 hybrid's 109g/km is just the start," he said. Doring predicts around one in four future Mercedes will have a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Mercedes is also pursuing weight reduction, by setting tougher design targets for the modules that make up the core components in its cars. "Every time we design a new module, the weight target is a reduction of 14 per cent," said Doring.

Mercedes must also get its engines through the next stage of EU exhaust emissions regs, EU7 due in 2020, which is likely to align NOx limits on petrol and diesel engines.

EU6 due in 2015 allows diesels to produce slightly more NOx.

Doring says that Merc's Bluetec diesel technology, which neutralises NOx with the ad-Blue exhaust gas treatment, can easily be re-tuned to deal with EU7 standards.

'Blue Tec is already prepared for that. We can simply adjust with the amount of ad-blue fluid we use. Manufacturers using de-NOx catalysts will need to put in more material and that will be expensive,' he said.

Porsche: Macan is not a Q5

Posted: 21 Oct 2012 02:30 AM PDT

Porsche insists that the Macan is completely different to the Audi Q5

The Porsche Macan will be a completely different dynamic proposition from the Audi Q5 on which it is based, Porsche's R&D chief has promised.

Wolfgang Hatz said that the Macan, which is due to be revealed at next year's Frankfurt show, is "not a Q5 with a Porsche hat on". 

"Everything has been modified," said Hatz. "Engines, transmissions, suspension — it's all new. Audi can't believe what we've done."

He added that "Audi should have no fears" about the Macan stealing sales from it "as the customers are so different".

Hatz confirmed that the Macan would be the first modern-day Porsche to have four-cylinder engines in its line-up. "Not from the beginning, but in the medium to longterm, for sure," he said. 

First drive review: Peugeot 208 1.6 e-HDi Feline

Posted: 21 Oct 2012 01:00 AM PDT

Range-topping 208 has a great engine and some nice interior touches, but it doesn't feel special enough to justify the outlay Ignoring the special Ice Velvet launch edition, this is the most expensive Peugeot 208 you can buy until the 208 GTI hot hatch and more luxurious 208 X&Y arrive in the UK next year.For your £17,445 (excluding the £1165 worth of options fitted to our test car) you get the most potent 114bhp version of the familiar 1.6-litre e-HDI diesel engine in top-of-the-range Feline trim, which includes sports seats wrapped in part leather-effect trim, a panoramic glass roof, stylish 17in alloys and plenty of other goodies with 'electric' or 'heated' prefixing their names.

Mercedes E63 AMG facelift for early 2013

Posted: 20 Oct 2012 08:00 AM PDT

A facelifted version of the Mercedes-Bnez E63 AMG is being developed for early next year

The Mercedes E63 AMG is in line for a series of mid-life revisions as part of the standard E-class's imminent facelift.

The changes to the E63 AMG are set to focus on the exterior styling, interior trim and the infotainment system rather than any significant engine or chassis updates.

The quad headlights will be ditched in favour of two single-element lights with integrated LEDs. The grille, rear bumper and rear lights will also be revised.

Inside, there will be new instruments, higher-quality trims and the latest version of Mercedes' Comand system.

The revised model should be unveiled early next year.

Video: McLaren MP4-12C Spider tested on road and track

Posted: 19 Oct 2012 08:27 AM PDT

Does removing the roof make the McLaren MP4-12C even better?

The McLaren MP4-12C has been criticised for a shortage of emotion, so can the MP4-12C Spider - which retains the same torsional rigidity as the coupe and gains only 40kg in weight - rectify that? Steve Sutcliffe finds out.


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