Thursday, February 21, 2013

Autocar Online - News

Autocar Online - News

VW Golf plug-in hybrid launched

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 07:01 AM PST

New eco-friendly Golf set to go into production in 2014

This is the Volkswagen Golf Mk7 plug-in hybrid, which will go on sale in 2014. It uses the same drivetrain as the Audi A3 e-tron, also announced today.

This means a combination of a 148bhp 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine and a 100bhp electric motor for a combined 256lb ft of torque, a 138mph top speed and a 0-62mph sprint time of 7.6sec. According to the official EU test cycle, the Golf achieves 188mpg or a CO2 rating of just 35g/km.

The MQB platform has been engineered to have a modular rear structure into which a number of different drive systems can be fitted into the same space, including all-wheel drive, natural gas tanks and the battery packs for the hybrid version.

The hybrid transmission combines a petrol engine and electric motor with a six-speed e-S Tronic transmission. This Golf will run on petrol only, electric only and with the two motors combined.

The latter mode is called 'boosting' , while the drivetrain can also go into fuel-saving 'coasting' mode when both motors shut down. In pure electric mode, the Golf can travel up to 31 miles and has a maximum speed of 81mph.

Mercedes CLA 45 AMG revealed on PS4

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 06:32 AM PST

New PlayStation 4 video-game offers the first glimpse of the Mercedes CLA45 AMG

Mercedes has given its new Mercedes CLA45 AMG an early reveal in digital form, ahead of the hot new saloon's official debut at the New York motor show next month.

This sole image of the CLA45 AMG was revealed by Mercedes to promote its involvement in the new Driveclub racing game franchise on the upcoming PlayStation 4 games console.

Mercedes has officially confirmed the CLA45 AMG will use the same running gear as the A45 AMG hatchback, which was recently shown ahead of its Geneva motor show reveal later this month.

Power will come from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 355bhp and 332lb ft. All four wheels will be driven through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

VW Up hybrid to use XL1 tech

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 04:39 AM PST

VW outlines plans to create a 250mpg version of the Up using the XL1's running gear

VW will fit the two-cylinder plug-in hybrid drivetrain of the radical XL1 into the Up city car.

The XL1 is powered by a two-cylinder, 47bhp, TDI engine backed up by a 27bhp electric motor and 5.5kWh battery pack. Volkswagen sources say that the super-frugal Up may get an official EU economy rating of nearly 1-litre/100km — a likely 250mpg on the NEDC test cycle.

With the standard Up weighing just 925kg - only 130kg heavier than the carbonfibre bodied XL1 - the Up hybrid is likely to come in under 1000kg. This and the new drivetrain should ensure that the Up Hybrid has the best real-world economy of any conventional car. Rough estimates suggest that over 90mpg should be possible in ideal conditions.

This new hybrid system has an electric motor and a dedicated clutch that are fitted between the 800cc two-cylinder diesel engine and the 7-speed DSG gearbox. The lithium-ion battery will be mounted in the rear of the Up and can be recharged when the car is braking and coasting.

In pure electric mode - which should offer a range of around 30 miles - the engine's clutch disengages and the motor shuts down. The engine is re-started by 'pulse starting' where the electric motor spins up to high speed, accelerating the idled engine to the revolving speed required for smooth starting.

The Up hybrid is still at the engineering stage and is not expected to go on sale for another 18 months. VW sources have given no clues as to the likely pricing of the Up Hybrid.

Radical 314mpg VW XL1 revealed

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 03:00 AM PST

Revolutionary new two-seater diesel-electric hybrid has CO2 emissions of just 21g/km and real world economy of 127mpg

This is VW's radical, lightweight, VW XL1 which promises an EU-certified economy of 314mpg and 21g/km CO2 emissions when it goes into limited production later this year follow its Geneva motor show reveal next month.

Powered by a 47bhp two-cylinder 800cc TDI engine backed up by a 27bhp electric motor and 5.5kWh battery pack, the two-seat car is claimed to have a Cd rating of just 0.189.

The upshot is that the plug-in hybrid XL1 is probably the most economical and most aerodynamically efficient production car of all time.

First shown as a running concept two years ago, the carbonfibre-bodied XL1 is being built at the VW-owned Karmann factory in Osnabrück, alongside the VW Golf cabriolet and the new Porsche Boxster.

Weighing just 795kg, the XL1 is some 3.8m long and 1.66m wide, which means it is only marginally smaller than a VW Polo supermini. However, it is only 1.15m high, some 129mm lower than a Boxster. VW says the XL1 has its top speed limited to 99.4mph, but that it can hit 62mph in just 12.7sec. It uses aluminium double wishbone front suspension, a semi-trailing link suspension at the rear, carbonfibre reinforced plastic anti-roll bars and ceramic brake discs.

The XL1 can travel for 31 miles just on battery power alone and has a claimed range of 310 miles on diesel and battery power combined, despite having a tiny 10-litre fuel tank.

Rough calculations suggest that the XL1 is capable of a real-world 127mpg in ideal conditions, a product of the car's 795kg kerb weight, its very slippery body and wind-cheating and low resistance narrow tyres on magnesium wheels, which measure just 115/80 at the front and 145/55 at the rear. A guide to the XL1's efficiency is that VW claims it requires just 8.3bhp to be able to maintain a steady 62mph cruise.

The hybrid system's electric motor and its dedicated clutch are fitted between the 800cc two-cylinder diesel engine and the XL1's seven-speed DSG gearbox. The lithium-ion battery is mounted in the nose of the car and can be recharged when the car is braking and coasting.

In pure electric mode, the engine's clutch disengages and the motor shuts down. The engine is brought back to life via what VW calls 'pulse starting', where the electric motor spins up to high speed and is coupled back to the engine, accelerating the idled engine to the revolving speed required for smooth starting.

The extreme weight-saving measures include using carbonfibre reinforced plastic for the body, the skin of which is just 1.2mm thick. Aluminium crash structures are used front and rear and as crash beams in the doors, to absorb impact forces. 

The windscreen is just 3.2mm thick. VW says the XL1's construction breaks down into a 227kg drivetrain (including the battery), 153kg running gear, 105kg electrical system, 80kg of on-board equipment, such as seats and instruments, and a body that weighs 230kg. Even the dashboard is made from a lightweight wood fibre material that's just 1.4mm thick.

The first production run will be of 50 cars, which are fully homologated for sale in Europe. After that, sources say the XL1 will be built to meet demand, though VW has yet to give any clue about the likely price.

Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid breaks cover

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 01:00 AM PST

The Audi A3 e-tron gets new hybrid tech to rival the Toyota Prius

Audi will preview a new 201bhp petrol-electric hybrid powered version of its third-generation Audi A3 at the Geneva motor show in early March.

The new car, pictured here officially for the first time, is the latest product of the German car maker's e-tron initiative. It aims to provide existing Audi  models with hybrid and all-electric propulsion technology at a price to rival traditional petrol, diesel and natural gas propelled models.

Having previously developed e-tron versions of its entry level A1 and R8 sportscar, only to announce they would not see production, Audi is putting a more positive spin on the newer A3 e-tron, describing it as a "realistic glimpse into the future", suggesting it will "play a deciding role in the strategy of the brand".

At the heart of the familiar looking hatchback is a modified version of Audi parent company Volkswagen's new EA211 engine. The 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct-injection petrol unit delivers 148bhp and operates in combination with an electric motor mounted in the front of the new car's six-speed dual clutch gearbox, where it develops up to 101bhp.

Together, the transversely mounted petrol engine and electric motor provide a maximum system output of 201bhp, with combined torque put at 258lb ft – figures that top the output of the new A3 1.8 TFSI's turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder direct injection petrol engine by 24bhp and 74lb ft.

The new drivetrain is capable of running in three different modes - solely in petrol mode, solely in electric mode or in hybrid mode, which sees both power sources pool their reserves for added performance.

Audi has yet to provide details to the A3 e-tron's battery pack, charge time or kerb weight, but official claims put its 0-62mph acceleration at 7.6sec and top speed at 138mph.

In electric mode the new Audi reaches a claimed top speed of 81mph and possesses a maximum range of 31 miles.

Taking advantage of loopholes in the European fuel consumption procedure that allows the new car to complete the test primarily in electric mode with energy provided through plug-in means, the German car maker quotes a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 188.3mpg, endowing the A3 e-tron with average CO2 emissions of just 35g/km.

By comparison, the A3 1.8 TFSI returns a claimed 54.3mpg and emits 130g/km of CO2.

Audi is yet to confirm when the A3 e-tron will see large scale production. However, insiders at its Ingolstadt headquarters in Germany have confirmed to Autocar that plans already exist for a limited production run of the new car for in-house testing purposes. However, a hybrid based on the MQB platform will be a production reality - a Golf hybrid is scheduled to be revealed soon.

Volkswagen Golf GTD revealed

Posted: 20 Feb 2013 03:00 PM PST

New 181bhp diesel Volkswagen Golf GTD extends performance whilst lowering emissions

The broadening of the seventh generation Golf line-up continues apace with the unveiling of the new Volkswagen Golf GTD ahead of its planned public premiere at the Geneva motor show.

Set for UK sale from July, the top-of-the-line Golf diesel runs Volkswagen's new EA288 engine. The transversely mounted 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail unit delivers 181bhp at 3500rpm and 280lb ft of torque on a band of revs between 1750 and 3250rpm.

This represents a 13bhp and 22lb ft increase on the Mk6 GTD, which ran Volkswagen's older EA827 oil-burner of the same capacity.

Among the changes incorporated on the new engine are new lightweight pistons and valve gear aimed at lowering frictional loses and improving thermal properties, a heavily reworked exhaust and lower compression ratio (15.8:1 versus 16.5:1).

Drive continues to be channeled through a standard six-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels, with a six-speed dual-clutch DSG unit available as an option.

Volkswagen claims the new 1302kg Golf GTD reaches 62mph from standstill in 7.5sec on the way to a top speed of 143mph in six-speed manual guise. By comparison, the old sixth-generation Golf based model possessed figures of 8.1sec and 138mph respectively.

Combined cycle fuel consumption is put at 67.3mpg, giving the new performance diesel average CO2 emissions of 109g/km - an improvement of 14.0mpg and 30g/km on the previous Golf GTD.

The new GTD is distinguished from other standard seventh-generation Golf models by a series of mild styling tweaks, some of which are shared with the new GTI. Included are re-profiled bumpers, wider sills under the doors, more prominent spoiler above the tailgate, a diffuser element at the rear, chromed tailpipe and standard 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 225/45 profile rubber. It also rides on sports suspension.

Inside, the most powerful diesel powered Golf to reach series production receives sport seats, a black headlining, sports steering wheel, stainless steel pedals and foot rest as well as various GTD-themed trims.

Video: Bentley Continental GTC Speed driven

Posted: 20 Feb 2013 09:25 AM PST

We head to California to test the new Bentley Continental GTC Speed

The Bentley Continental GTC Speed is the world's fastest four-seat convertible. Andrew Frankel heads to America for a 1000 mile road trip - from snow capped mountain to Death Valley - to drive it.

Quick news: Volvo/Geely R&D tie-up, Bentley test secrets

Posted: 20 Feb 2013 07:14 AM PST

Volvo and Geely to work on a C-segment car, Continental GT Speed convertible at Nardo, and Indian buyers reject opulent Mercedes models

Volvo and its owner Geely will create a joint research and development factory in Gothenburg. It will be used to develop the modular architecture on a range of C-segment cars for both firms. The new centre is to be managed by Mats Fagerhag and employ around 200 people.

Much of the track testing for the new Bentley Continental GTC Speed, the world's fastest four-seat drop-top, took place at VW's Ehra-Lessien track in Germany and Nardo in Italy. They are two of the longest in Europe, and thus the only ones suited to sustained 200mph-plus work.

The Southern Indian market is a problem for luxury car makers as buyers are too reserved to find opulent cars appealing, believes Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche. "There is far less of a tendency to show off their success than in other parts of the world," he said.

Are insurance black boxes the solution for new drivers?

Posted: 19 Feb 2013 06:27 AM PST

Citroen's black box-equipped C1 raises interesting questions about the future of insuring teenagers' cars

I notice Citroen has become the first manufacturer to fit an insurance black box as standard to one of its new cars.

The Citroen C1 Connexion special edition will be equipped with a Trafficmaster Smartnav telematics black box. This will enable dealers to sell the model with free insurance to eligible drivers aged over 19 who fund the car through Citroen's Elect 3 or Elect 4 finance plans.

The bottom line is that a new C1 can be run for £109 per month and has free insurance, but only when drivers have two years no claims discount.

I suppose that this is a jolly good thing. I have a teenager rapidly approaching the due date for theory tests and all that. As I understand it there is no substitute for actually talking to insurance companies as the online compare shuffle really isn't that conclusive.

Round my rural parts an unsignwritten van or pick up can be easier and cheaper to insure, but then there are a lot of 16 year-olds driving little tractors. Better than some death trap moped though.

At least Citroen are doing something about insurance for nippers. There is small print and APR issues, but it is better to get them mobile in a safe and sensible car than some MOT borderline. Obviously an old Land Rover, or 190 Mercedes would be cheaper and even better, but that's not going to happen.

So any advice about how to get the lowest quote for teenagers or first time drivers?

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