- Audi RS6 first drive review
- Qoros to make Chinese debut at Shanghai
- Porsche's four-cylinder "not before 2016"
- Mexican SST-77 to revive Alpine heritage
- High-tech cabin secrets of new Mercedes-Benz S-class revealed
- Quick news: Seat Mii Toca, Mercedes A45 AMG Edition 1
Posted: 10 Apr 2013 02:30 AM PDT
The brutally fast Audi RS6 excels in many areas, but is let down by steering that lacks feedback The new Audi RS6: lighter, quicker, bigger, cleaner and more economical than it was before. But not more powerful. Where once there was a 572bhp 5.0-litre V10, there is now a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 developing 553bhp. Given the flagship model's normally brazen display of power, the slight backward step is a notable development — even if it does prove largely inconsequential given the hike in performance. That, in real-world terms, is more typical of Audi's progression. Thanks to the pair of twin-scroll turbochargers mounted within the engine's 'V', torque has grown from 479lb ft to 516lb ft. Alongside a 90kg reduction in kerb weight (credited to increased use of lightweight materials) the RS6 now manages 62mph in a supercar-fast 3.9 seconds. That makes it, unsurprisingly, the quickest-accelerating estate car in the world. Depending on how much you really want it, there's also the potential to make it the fastest overall: two levels of the optional Dynamic pack push the electronically limited top speed first to 174mph, and then to 189mph. In the real-world, however, it should prove to be a more economical car. Cylinder deactivation, which turns the RS6 into a four-cylinder car when circumstance allow, help a claimed combined score of 28.8mpg.Along with that technical first for the model comes another: adaptive air suspension is now the standard set-up, with stiffer steel springs relegated to the options list. Audi's latest all-wheel-drive system uses a self-locking centre differential to split the available torque 40 per cent front, 60 per cent rear (and all the way up to 85 per cent to the rear if required), as well as left to right courtesy of a standard sport diff on the back axle. The car arrives in the UK with an on-the-road price of £76,985, which is a marginal reduction on the sticker worn by its predecessor. Audi has also delivered an impressive 31 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, although at 229g/km the RS6 just misses out on the VED boundary between expensive K and exorbitant L.
Posted: 10 Apr 2013 02:19 AM PDT
Latest Chinese manufacturer prepares for its first domestic motor show
The entire Qoros brand made its global debut at the Geneva motor show, and Shanghai marks the first time a Qoros has been publicly shown in its home country. The Qoros 3 is due on sale in China in the second half of this year, with European sales beginning soon after.
In Britain, the 3 will be aimed at compact saloons such as the VW Jetta. It is based on a modular platform that will allow further additions to the Qoros range to be introduced frequently, with a time frame of between six and 12 months claimed.
An exhaustive testing schedule aims to ensure the 3 is competitive in Europe. Qoros is aiming for a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, and every 3 comes equipped with an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen.
Qoros's pair of concepts appear close to production. The 3 estate is clearly derived from the saloon and will feature similar running gear. Its greater load capacity will make it more popular than the saloon in Britain, where traditional four-door cars have fallen out of favour.
The 3 Cross Hybrid aims to take a share of the lucrative crossover market and features a hybrid 4WD drivetrain.
Posted: 10 Apr 2013 01:36 AM PDT
Porsche is developing a four-cylinder engine, expected to power facelifted versions of the Boxster and Cayman
Rumours suggesting Porsche is set to reveal its own four-cylinder boxer engine at the Frankfurt motor show in September have been emphatically denied by officials from the German car maker, who suggest such a move is at least three years away.
"It is no real secret that we are working on a four-cylinder engine. But it is still in an early development phase. On current planning, it will be another three years at least before we will be ready to reveal anything official on this subject," a Zuffenhausen-based Porsche official with knowledge of future product activities revealed to Autocar, adding, "It is not due before 2016."
Its first appearance is expected to be in a facelifted version of the third-generation Boxster and recently launched second-generation Cayman – both due to head into showrooms in 2016.
However, in-line four-cylinder engines will appear in Porsche models before 2016. Volkswagen-sourced turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and common rail diesel units will feature in the upcoming Porsche Macan SUV.
Posted: 10 Apr 2013 01:30 AM PDT
Forty years after the Alpine A110 ceased production in Mexico as the Dinalpin, a small coupé aims to fill the void
As well as the Lotus/Renault sports car collaboration, it appears the Alpine A110 will receive a second reincarnation in the form of the Mexican SST-77. It follows the production of the original Alpine in Mexico during the 1960s and '70s as the Dinalpin.
Rumoured to be supported by Miguel Jiminez, the SST-77 promises to be a light and agile sports car. The renderings that have been released show three different sports cars sharing common themes; all appear mid-engined with angular features and circular foglights. Two of the concepts also have slender, aerodynamic wing-mounted mirrors.
A production SST-77 could feature a body constructed from a combination of Kevlar, fibreglass and carbonfibre. Regardless of the materials used, it is likely the new sports car will be built in Sahagun City, Mexico, where the original Dinalpin was made.
Posted: 09 Apr 2013 05:45 PM PDT
We reveal the interior highlights of Mercedes' new luxury saloon, which has been designed with the comfort of rear-seat passengers uppermost in mind
The all-new Mercedes-Benz S-class has been launched from the inside out. The increasing importance of the Asian market for traditional luxury saloons, as the West shifts towards luxury SUVs, means that the new S-class — codenamed W222 — has been designed with an emphasis on rear-seat passengers and what Mercedes bosses call the "essence of luxury".
The first information released about W222 has centred entirely on the interior, but our spy photographer has still managed to capture its exterior undisguised. Goetz Renner, Mercedes' head of customer research, says the S-class has been conceived around the vision of "energising comfort".
Mercedes researchers say they are reacting to the global "mega-trend" for "health and fitness and the need for work/life balance" where people "need to relax to preserve their resources".
The upshot is innovations such as an on-board scent diffuser and 'energising' massage seats, as our detailed look below explains.
The instrument binnacle is made up of two 12.3-inch TFT screens. The left display shows — in digital form — conventional speedo and revcounter dials, and on the right is the control screen/multimedia/sat-nav display. Ambient lighting makes the instruments appear free-standing.
The unusual two-spoke wheel design will be unique to the S-class, says Mercedes. As in most luxury cars, the wheel can be heated, but the S-class will also have the option of heated armrests.
A new individual climate control system called Thermotronic seems optimised for polluted Chinese cities. Two combined filters feature, one for fine dust and one made from activated charcoal filters. An ionising system can filter out various viruses and spores while freshening the air.
This interior design theme was developed by Mercedes' design studio in Como, northern Italy. It was based around the theory of an 'appreciation model' where, instead of upgrading a functional interior to become more luxurious, manufacturing restraints were removed and designers tried to make creative ideas into reality.
The only plastic used in the interior is the lining of the aperture for the door release. All other materials are either wood, leather or aluminium. The shutlines between the components and trim are unusually tight, seemingly achieved by pushing the controls and trim parts through the leather facing.
The close-up view of the seat controls shows how switchgear is tightly fitted to the leather trim. The laser-etched aluminium speaker trim is fitted with the range-topping Burmester hi-fi.
Long-wheelbase models come with the option of 'Executive' reclining individual seats. The backrest on the nearside rear seat can tilt to 43.5deg, the most of any car, and the 'Chauffeur' package allows the front seat to be pushed forward. The Executive package includes a 'Business' centre console that can house two bottles in the central chiller and has cupholders that can both chill and heat.
Interior space is slightly improved over the current S-class's. Features include seatbelt holsters that rise electrically when passengers get in to aid seatbelt fastening. Rear seatbelts also have integrated airbags. Reclining seats get an airbag under the seat cushion, designed to stop a reclining passenger from sliding out under the seatbelt in an accident.
The front seats are said to be 20kg lighter, mainly thanks to a new steel and plastic construction method. They can be specified with a 'Comfort' package that mimics a hot-stone massage. Mercedes builds the E-class and S-class seats in-house. The current E-class has 300,000 possible seat specifications. The new S-class will have "considerably more".
The range-topping sound system has been designed with top-end hi-fi manufacturer Burmester. It has 24 speakers and 1540 watts of power and uses a new design of bass bin. The 3D setting is said to provide an extraordinary sound stage that makes passengers think they're surrounded by instruments playing the music.
Mercedes engineers have gone to extreme lengths to reduce the amount of interior noise that is transmitted into the S-class cabin. To that end, torsional stiffness has been increased by 14 per cent, lateral bending by 11 per cent and vertical bending by 17 per cent.
To help damp out noise, vibration and harshness from the drivetrain, the car's front chassis legs are made of extruded aluminium and cast aluminium is used as mounting points for the front structure on to the bulkhead and for the strut mounts.
A mix of sound-deadening materials, insulation and damping materials have been attached to the car's body structure. Damping foil is used on the floorpan and liners made of absorbing materials are used in the rear wheel arches to reduce noise. The sealing systems around the windows and door handles have been upgraded and the A-pillars and door mirrors redesigned to cut wind noise.
The S-class includes a built-in atomiser, which diffuses scents into the cabin. It's a £3000 option and Mercedes has worked with perfume specialist Marc vom Ende, who has developed five scents specifically for the car. The refills cost approximately £45, but they should last about 7000 miles.
Posted: 09 Apr 2013 07:12 AM PDT
Seat's city car for £79 per month, motorsport-inspired A45, Indian car sales in decline
The Seat Mii Toca is now available from £79 a month with a year's free insurance. Based on the Mii SE, the Toca adds the Seat Portable system and rear parking sensors. It is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with 59bhp and costs £9845.
Mercedes has announced the A45 AMG Edition 1. Mechanically identical to the standard A45, all Edition 1s come in Cirrus White with a rear spoiler and red detailing on the grille, wheels and brake calipers. Its price in Germany is €56,977, or £48,500 at current rates.
Car sales in India have fallen for the first time in a decade. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturer's figures show 6.7 per cent fewer cars were sold between 2012 and 2013 than in the previous year, down to 1.89 million from 2.03 million. The decline has been partially attributed to higher interest rates.
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