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  1. Hyundai Motor Group has announced that it has developed a “world-first technology” that improves gear-shift efficiency for hybrids. Developed in-house and set to go into production soon, the new technology is called Active Shift Control (ASC) and the Korean company claims that it can reduce gearshift timing by 30% , improving the driving experience and fuel ecomony at the same time. In its press release, the new ASC claims the new technology increases durability of the transmission by minimizing friction during gear shift, which in turn is montiored 500 times per second, “precisely adjusting the transmission rotation speed for faster shift times,” By aligning the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission gear shift times are reduced by up to 30 percent from 500 milliseconds to 350 milliseconds. Despite quicker shift times, ASC is said to deliver smoother gear changes as well. The first model to feature ASC will be the new Sonata Hybrid which has been launched in Korea.
  2. For safety / aesthetic reasons, what you want to see in new dashboard? what should be removed? (same for interior of cars) 1 Bigger touch screen for controls, info, etc. This will replace switches, toggles, buttons, stalks, etc which can be usightly, or dangerous in case of accidents. But currently, the centrally located touch screen takes our eyes from the road, how should the new touch screen e positioned to avoid such dangerous distraction? 2 Steer by wire ----> do away with steering wheel using a handheld control pad, or joystick (like those in video game)? 3 Redesign seating arrangement: make the 4-5 seats like a U-shape (similar to that in lounges/ktvs)? 4 Thick, soft carpet on the floors 5 Touch pad / button on doors for window / door controls? 6 Ceiling:- LED design which can change colours / patterns (clouds, blue sky, starry nite, etc) as the passengers wish? 7 With touch screen replacing conventional control switches etc on the dashboard, the new dashboard can look totally different from what we have to day ----> design built-in coffee maker, food-warmer, etc for long distance drives. 8
  3. Regan_ong

    No more red light with Audi

    Audi has an intriguing piece of driver assistance technology called Traffic Light Assist (TLA) that promises to help drivers make every green light. Using both live and predictive data beamed into the vehicle's navigation unit via onboard wifi, TLA doesn't need a single camera to tell you when the light is going to change. Local data sources provide information about traffic light patterns, and the in car system uses that data and the motion of the car to predict exactly how long it'll be until the green light goes red. In practice, the system shows a traffic light icon in the central display (a heads-up display would be a nice option), along with a countdown timer that reads the number of seconds before a light changes from red to green. Additionally, the system corrects for changing lanes and resultant changing signals; changing a straight-through traffic lane to a left-turn lane and signal, for instance. What's more, the stop/start system is integrated with the new software, as well, restarting the engine with a few seconds to go before the light in front of you changes to green. Pretty slick.
  4. You would never think that a single plant could solve most of the world's problems, well it can. Hemp has over 50,000 uses, everything from clothes, medicine, fabrics, fuel and more, hemp is definitely a large threat to a variety of corporations that control energy, health and a number of other industries. Many corporations would see a decline in profit if hemp were to be legalised. One in particular is the automobile industry. The world's most eco-friendly car, the Kestrel, was designed in Canada by Calgary-based Motive Industries Inc. Unlike the United States government, the Canadian government is open to hemp farming and actively supports the hemp industry and its potential benefit for us and our environment. The body of the car is completely impact-resistant and made entirely out of hemp. Now, when we think of cars, we think of gasoline, steel, pollution, etc. Even though we have had some innovative and visually pleasing cars on the road today, it is difficult to ignore the sheer environmental impact that modern cars create. The Kestrel’s hemp composite body shell passed its crash test in excellent form. Unlike steel, the panels bounce back into shape after impact. Hemp also has the same mechanical properties as glass but is even lighter which help to boost fuel efficiency. The Kestrel has a top speed of 90km/h and a range of approximately 160km before needing to be recharged. It’s powered by a motor made by TM4 Electrodynamic Systems, a Quebec based company. The car weighs in at approximately 1,134kg, and has a very affordable price, given the fact that hemp is very easy to grow and requires nothing but the sun. It fits four passengers and the production version of it was supposed to be available this year, but since the unveiling of it a couple of years ago, everything has become quiet.
  5. With its sights set on the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Jaguar could be planning a full range of models for its upcoming entry-level car - possibly called the XS. The XS will replace the X-Type, finally giving Jaguar a product in the highly competitive luxury compact sedan segment. According to sources, the car will also be available with coupe and wagon bodystyles (rendered images below). Jaguar's upcoming 3 Series and C-Class fighter seen testing and wearing a modified XF body is also poised to be clad in an all-aluminum monocoque body structure, similar to the XJ, to save weight. According to Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar's Global Brand Director, an aluminium monocoque is a first for this market and on this sort of scale, by the time they go on sale, the new saloon, coupe and estate will be the most efficient, refined and advanced cars in their class. Plus, the car is expected to be offered initially with Jaguar's small capacity turbocharged four and supercharged six-cylinder petrol and diesel engine. This will also mean that entry-level cars are able to emit less than 100g/km of CO2 without the need for hybrid technology. The baby Jaguar is scheduled to be due in 2015 and it sure is one exciting cat. Purr.
  6. We are at the last quarter of 2013, and in a flash another year will soon be upon us. I did not realise it is the end of September until I saw Vivocity preparing for Christmas. The movies I used to watch as a kid are being remade. Cartoons nowadays lack the entertainment feel, air travel has become more affordable, with more tourist arrivals recorded. There was no Terminal 3, kinetic rain or Project Jewel when I was a kid. Things were simple, mechanical and, if I may add, fun. Cars have, over the years, shed the typical boxy designs and are adapting more fluid, dynamic aesthetics complemented by exotic materials like Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics (CFRP) or composite aluminium or light reinforced steel. Automobiles have become faster, safer and in most cases prettier. On one end of the scale we have the likes of Koenigsegg, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Pagani who are pushing the boundaries of automotive engineering by producing cars that accelerate faster, setting new records and giving fans like myself a sense of excitement. On the other end, we have cars that are greener. Hybrids, turbocharging, range extending EVs - automobiles that are trying to rectify the problem of global warming, pollution and climate change. The way I see it, there is another group - cars that are loaded with so much driver enhancement technologies that they become...boring. Nothing but just machines with wheels and an engine. These group of cars are usually loaded with more advanced cameras, radars and sensors than a F-22 Raptor and are usually decorated with features and novelties like Adaptive Cruise, Lane Departure Warnings, Cyclist Detection Systems, Full Braking and in the near future Autonomous driving and parking. So in future, what is my role as the driver ? Over the past two decades technology has evolved faster than ever with land lines almost disappearing, public phones becoming endangered, hand phones that have reduced from military grade walkie-talkies to handsome machines fashioned from a single piece of aluminium, glass and sapphire crystal. Phones have evolved from the basic purpose of communication and networking to pocket diaries, 24-hour assistants, credible portable entertainment hubs and most importantly - has shrunk the knowledge of the world to the palm of your hand. But I don't want cars of the future to do the same. There is a reason cars like the Porsche 911, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce or even BMW have been marketed with specific terms. Ultimate driving machines, carpet ride, greatest/ultimate Gran Tourers. And when the machines take over (slowly but surely they will), what will cars be called? Called me old fashioned but cars are meant to be driven and not driven in - or in this case driven by a robot. With technology replacing almost everything, including humans and their jobs, where is the novelty of living?
  7. Akram_saheed

    Ferrari goes superleggera on the 458 Italia

    Like Porsche and Lamborghini, Ferrari has the habit of releasing stripped out, track focused models based on their mid-engined supercars. Following the lineage of the F360 Challenge Stradale and the F430 Scuderia, the Prancing Horse has gone all 'Superleggera' on the 458 Italia. Sporting a different front facia, rear end body work, fins protruding before the rear axle and a more flush and slippery body to accommodate the active aerodynamic systems, the V8 equipped 458 Italia that has been given a power bump in a trimmer package of almost 1.3 tonnes. More power, lighter weight, active aerodynamics and a mid-engined V8
  8. With a long standing tradition of building compact, open top sports cars that started with the S600 and ending with the S2000, Honda seems intent to get back into the game. After seeing the success Toyota/Subaru has had with the 86/BRZ, Honda is primed to one-up its rivals. According to a source within Honda, a new affordable sports car is being seriously considered, but don't expect something as high-end as the S2000 - think small, quick and light. The car would be small, probably even smaller than the Mazda MX-5, and come equipped with either a 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre in-line four with i-VTEC. Keep your expectations low on its power output, but thanks to its light weight which is rumored to sit around 900kg, the car should have adequate acceleration along with good handling and an overall agile driving experience. There's even talk that the "S1500" may come with a mid-engine layout, in the style of the Honda Beat. As for the car's design direction, Honda would either use the Japan-only N-ONE or make it look more like the current Civic. We reckon the N-ONE's styling would do justice because it pays homage to the iconic S600. Rumours of a new Honda roadster have appeared and disappeared with tide-like regularity since the moment the S2000 died, and none of them have come to pass. The NSX revival was followed by nearly a decade of will-they, won't-they rumours and telephone-game whispers before Honda actually buckled down and built something. It seems like the same thing could be happening here. Either way, let's wait for Honda to come up with this answer to the Toyota 86 and the Mazda MX-5 in 2015 or 2016.
  9. Let me get one thing straight. Personally I am not a fan of McLaren. I have nothing against the team, its Formula One drivers or the firm's awkward behaviour of naming its cars after fax machines. It's just like Manchester United vs Liverpool or Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer or Tiger Woods vs well whoever he competes with. However there are one or two things I admire about McLaren. Firstly, its futuristic, yin-yang inspired factory at Woking, U.K. Secondly, the automaker's approach to cars and the firm's obsession with implementing technology. I have mentioned a countless number of times in the blog, as much as I like cars and the science, art and engineering behind it - I like technology, gadgets and gizmos. As such I cannot think of any other automaker in this era (perhaps besides Audi) that harnesses science, technology and cars as well as McLaren. Ferrari is a front to sell road legal Formula One cars to fund their F1 programme while Lamborghini is a German engineered Italian on steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Pagani is a new kid on the block that is all about theatricality, flamboyance and art. McLaren celebrated - with pride - their 50th anniversary as a racing team. 50 years is a long time, but the British firm has only created five road going cars thus far, and all five have been blockbusters in their own right. We have the iconic and legendary McLaren F1, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the MP4-12 and 12C and now we have the long awaited and alien looking McLaren 'Designed by Air' P1. The McLaren P1, together with the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari, welcome the next generation of hypercars and motoring in general. They are from three different countries in one continent but they share a similarity - they are all hybrids. Unlike its predecessors, the McLaren F1, Porsche Carrera GT and Enzo Ferrari, they are not purely naturally aspirated. Each feature an electric motor of some sort to boost performance to an already capable internal combustion engine. http://dai.ly/x14g7to In the case of the P1, the futuristic looking vehicle is unlike anything I have ever seen. The aesthetics have time travelled 10-15 years from the future, combined with the technical limitations of today. It is powered by a substantially revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, coupled to a single electric motor, for a combined power output of 903bhp. Top speed is electronically limited to 350km/h, with the 0-100km/h standing start acceleration taking less than three seconds. The McLaren P1 will power from rest to 200km/h in less than seven seconds, and on to 300km/h in less than 17 seconds - a full five seconds quicker than the McLaren F1. Despite this, the P1 is also efficient with CO2 emissions less than 200g/km, and the ability to cover more than 10km in emissions free electric mode. Undergoing the final stages of testing before commencing on first customer deliveries soon, fellow self-confessed automotive and collector, Jay Leno, became the first man outside the development team at Woking, and Jenson Button, to drive the McLaren P1. The 12 minute video is pretty much split into two sections, a tour of the McLaren engineering centre that looks nothing short of a cathedral while the second part is Leno thrashing the all new hypercar on what I think is the Top Gear test track - who was gleaming with excitement every single minute of course. As mentioned at the start, I am not a fan of McLaren, but does that mean I should not be jealous?
  10. Law enforcement teams, firefighters and medics across Europe are adopting the all electric Nissan Leaf as a key frontline emergency support vehicle. Emergency services in Portugal, France, U.K. and Switzerland have deployed Leafs as community support vehicles, with a number of other countries considering making the switch to battery power. The first force in the world to go electric was Portugal's PSP (Pol
  11. ST_Opinion

    Driving towards a driverless commute

    It is the 15th of June 2030, and for Sam and Sue of Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is going to be a busy day. Their daughter Sophia has a 9:00am karate match. At noon, her older sister Sally's high school graduation will begin. And, by 3:00pm, the house must be ready for Sally's graduation party. At 8:40am, Sam uses a smartphone app to order a ride from Maghicle, Ann Arbor's mobility service, which uses self-driving robotic vehicles. Within minutes, Sam, Sue, and Sophia are headed for the karate club. En route, Sophia studies videos of her opponent's past matches, while Sue catches up on e-mail and Sam orders appetisers and flowers for the party. They arrive at the club on time, and the robot proceeds to pick up someone else nearby. Sally, who must arrive at school by 10:30am, has already ordered a Maghicle ride. When she boards at 10:15am, she receives a text message from her best friend Amanda, who wants to ride with her. Sally enters Amanda's address in the Maghicle app, and the robot chooses the best route. At 11:30am, as a victorious Sophia trades her karate uniform for something better suited for her sister's graduation, Sam receives a text message confirming that a small temperature-controlled pod has delivered the appetisers for Sally's party in the secure, refrigerated drop-box at the house. When Sophia is ready, the family orders another Maghicle ride, this time to Sally's school. They take their seats and, as Sam waves to Sally sitting with her classmates, he is struck by how quickly 17 years have passed. In 2013, Sam's day would have been far more difficult, stressful, and expensive. He would have wasted far too much time in his petrol guzzling Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), stuck in traffic jams or searching for parking. Now, because he does not need to own a car, he spends far less on transportation and has more time to do as he pleases. With services like Maghicle enabling people to get around safely, affordably, conveniently and sustainably, Sam does not have to worry about his family getting into car accidents, as his parents worried about him. By contrast, today's road transportation system is inconvenient, unsustainable and dangerous. Of the nearly one billion motor vehicles worldwide - enough to circle the planet 100 times if parked end to end - some 95 percent depend on oil for energy, making car travel subject to resource geopolitics and price volatility. Furthermore, combustion engines account for more than one-fifth of the world's carbon emissions, contributing significantly to climate change. And, with more than 1.2 million people dying on the road each year, car travel remains a proven killer. Sam's world of 2030 is not mere fantasy. But achieving it will require a thorough overhaul of the existing road transportation system - and that means overcoming the complex combination of public and private elements, vested interests, ingrained business models and massive inertia that has so far impeded its development. Indeed, with certain institutions and industries benefiting when all of the system's components - vehicles, roads, fuel stations, traffic laws, regulations, vehicle standards and licensed drivers - work together, no transformational development has occurred in road transportation since Karl Benz invented the car and Henry Ford popularised it. A narrow focus on, say, developing better batteries, improving fuel efficiency or making car production more sustainable is inadequate to catalyse the needed transformation. A genuinely transformational solution is needed - one that meets the needs of consumers, businesses, and governments. An integrated network of driverless, electric vehicles that are connected, coordinated and shared should form the core of that solution. Such vehicles would be programmed to avoid crashes, leading to fewer deaths and injuries and less property damage. In order to minimise the excessive resource consumption associated with driving, the vehicles would be tailored to trip characteristics, such as the number of passengers. For example, lightweight, two passenger vehicles can be up to 10 times more energy efficient than a typical car. In the United States, where 90 percent of cars carry one or two people, reliance on such vehicles would result in a dramatic decline in carbon emissions, which would fall even further as a result of less road congestion and smoother traffic flows. Moreover, the land and infrastructure needed for parking would be significantly reduced. Under such a system, personal mobility could cost up to 80 percent less than owning and operating a car, with time efficiencies augmenting those savings further. For Americans earning a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (S$9.25), time spent driving at a speed of 30 miles (48km) an hour costs $0.24 cents a mile (S$0.31 per 1.61km). At the U.S. median hourly wage of US$25 (S$31.89), each mile costs $0.83 (S$1.06). Given that Americans drive roughly three trillion miles annually, saving just one US cent a mile implies $30 billion (S$38 billion) in annual savings. The technology needed to advance such a scheme exists. The task now is to introduce prototype systems in representative communities, in order to prove what is possible, discover consumers' preferences, determine the most attractive business models and identify and avert unexpected consequences. Once the prototypes have proved effective and practical, they should scale quickly without public incentives. As with other innovations - such as mobile phones, e-books, digital photography and music, and flat-screen televisions - large-scale deployment will occur when the new technologies reach the market tipping point, when their value to consumers exceeds the costs to businesses of supplying them. Policy makers would be responsible only for guaranteeing the expanding system's safety. A cleaner, safer, more convenient road transportation system is possible - and closer to being realised than many believe. It needs only the chance to prove itself. Picture credit: Agence France-Presse
  12. Here is the 2014 Audi A8 facelift which, despite possessing some impressive technology, looks like an offering from the early 90s. It's sharp, boxy and bland. Compared to the all new S-Class or the 7 Series, the A8 looks really boring, although the MatrixBeam LED headlights are pretty impressive. The facelifted A8 comes from the same automaker that brought us sexy machines like the Quattro concept, the RSQ, R8, RS5 and so on. It actually looks like a rejected design piece from Bentley, to be honest. Or perhaps Audi had to tone down its design just so the Bentleys could look more 'exclusive'. Built around the lightweight aluminium Audi Space Frame, the A8 has been finessed by subtle resculpting of the bonnet, the single frame grille, the front bumper and the lower edge of the headlight units. At the rear, the design of the LED taillights have been revised and the bumpers in all models - except the S8 - incorporate two rhomboid tail pipes. New chrome elements, new high gloss black window surrounds and five new colours also mark out the updated car. Measuring 5,140mm in length, sitting 1,950mm wide and standing 1,460mm tall with a 2,990mm wheelbase - the A8 remains unchanged, while the 'stretched' model provides better rear leg room thanks to a 130mm extended wheelbase. The A8 can be powered by one of seven petrol and TDI engines, the majority of which have been revised to improve performance and efficiency. The supercharged 3.0-litre TFSI is boosted to 305bhp, while the twin-turbo 4.0-litre TFSI V8 has 429bhp. The 3.0-litre and 4.2-litre TDI oil burners, have 254bhp and 379bhp respectively. Paired with the renowned quattro all-wheel drive system, the 4.0-litre TFSI now throws the A8 from nought to 100km/h in a brisk 4.5 seconds. The power units in the facelifted A8 is not all about the Frank Martin pleasing performance though. When applicable, the Audi Cylinder-On-Demand (COD) system deactivates four of its eight cylinders to give priority to fuel economy. The most efficient diesel engine is the 3.0-litre TDI, which returns up to 20.36km/L, corresponding to 155g/km of CO2. The luxuriously equipped Audi A8 L W12 quattro is the range topper among the A8 lineup. The lightweight 6.3-litre power unit produces 493bhp. It boasts the best in-class combined fuel consumption of 10.2km/L, corresponding to 270g/km of CO2 emissions. The respectable efficiency rating is due in part to a newly adopted version of the COD system, which can deactivate the fuel injection and ignition for six cylinders. Meanwhile, the 512bhp capable S8 is powered by a 4.0-litre TFSI engine that propels the sports saloon from nought to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds. Equipped with the same COD technology, the S8 is capable of returning up to 11.9km/L and 235g/km of CO2 emissions. All A8 models are equipped with an eight-speed tiptronic automatic transmission which transmits power to all four wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive system in all six, eight and twelve-cylinder versions. The new Audi A8 is expected to reach customers here next year. Audi A8 Audi A8 L Audi S8
  13. Regan_ong

    Toyota 86 could get a new engine

    Fans of the 86 listen up. Rumour has it that Toyota is preparing a power boost for its popular 86 sports coupe. The Japanese brand has teased numerous concepts of its two-door cult car with upgraded engines, including a supercharged TRD version (above) built in the U.S.A and a twin-charged version (below) created by its in-house skunkworks Gazoo Racing. But those were designed to showcase the ability for aftermarket tuners and were not really suitable for mainstream production. Now, the Chief Engineer of the 86, Tetsuya Tada, has finally admitted that his team is developing a number of ways to increase performance of the showroom version - one of which will definitely make it to production when the 86 receives its mid-life upgrade in 2015. "I hope to make an engine upgrade at least one time with this car. We have already tried all possibilities and there are several types of 86 prototypes at the Toyota proving ground now; one is a turbocharger, one is bigger displacement and the other is a special hybrid system," said Tada. Tada did not divulge any further details, but inside sources claimed that the most likely option is an increase in displacement, bumping the 2.0-litre horizontally opposed engine up to a 2.5-litre and increasing power from 200bhp to around 260bhp. It is understood that this option would be the most cost-effective solution, which not only maintains the integrity of the lightweight concept but prevents placing additional stress on the drivetrain that a turbo charger would, or the complexity and weight penalty of a hybrid system. However, both alternatives are not being tested in vain, as they are likely to be introduced on the next generation 86. Either way, it is almost certain that the hybrid system Toyota is currently working on will make its way into the next generation 86. However, it is unlikely to be a conventional and heavy battery pack but rather a road-going development of the super capacitor system employed in its Le Mans sportscar racers, which are not only smaller and lighter but can store and deliver energy quicker for rapid bursts of acceleration. Come on Toyota! We certainly hope to see a more powerful 86.
  14. Regan_ong

    Ram's 1500 Rumble Bee Concept

    Following a teaser released earlier, Ram has introduced the 1500 Rumble Bee Concept. The concept marks the 10th anniversary of the Rumble Bee, a popular model inspired by the Super Bee muscle car of the late 1960s. This muscle truck is based on a 2013 Ram 1500 Road/Track (R/T) and has a two-door, two-wheel drive setup with a matte 'Drone Yellow' paint. Both sides of the truck feature a new 'Speed Bee' design within a glossy black stripe which fades into the honeycomb. It sits on glossy 24-inch Vellano VRH alloys and has a two-inch lowered suspension courtesy of King Suspension. The dual-exhaust tailpipes, fuel door, badging, hood vents and front grille are in glossy black, adding on to the car's aggression. Traditional Rumble/Super Bee colours and graphics spread throughout the vehicle, including the Ram R/T-based interior that features black and 'Drone Yellow' leather sport mesh seats with two-tone yellow/light-grey stitching. 'Rumble Bee' lettering and Ram logos adorn chairs, floor mats and door bolsters. Now if you look closer - there is a real amber-encased bee mounted into the rotary gear knob, which will light up to expose a honeycomb pattern background. Is that weird or cool? There are also two buttons positioned below, which make the cat-back Mopar dual-exhaust system go from loud to louder. The unique honeycomb pattern is shared with the door trim and the dash, where a milled aluminum '10th Anniversary' commemorative badge serves as the truck's ID. Powering the 2013 Ram 1500 Rumble Bee Concept is a HEMI 5.7-litre engine mated to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission delivering 395bhp and a peak torque of 551Nm. Talk about a huge-ass rumbling bee ramming your way..
  15. Regan_ong

    Stream your video on a MINI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1xsfFT3K_Q An illuminating new project from MINI has been unleashed onto the streets of London: MINI Art Beat. Driven by your Style. Always the innovator, MINI showcases interactive and digital design with a truly one-of-a-kind MINI Countryman custom-fitted in a stunning 48,000 LEDs. The result is the most vibrant and customisable 'NOT NORMAL' ride you'll ever lay eyes on. But MINI Art Beat isn't just brightly coloured eye candy. It's your vehicle to bright fame. Stream your own live animation directly onto its glowing LED surface as the compact crossover takes nightly cruises through London. City passers-by and the entire World Wide Web will see your personalised style light up the mobile canvas. Stream your own short video direct to the MINI Art Beat car using the Facebook app, or by tweeting your Vine videos with #MINIartbeat. Then add a customised design and beat to get your face in lights. Not sure how to go about doing it? Follow the instructions in the video below. Now, if MINI picks your submission, you'll get a custom clip as a takeaway - a real piece of MINI, just for you. So grab your shades as the lights are on. If you want your style and beat on the streets of London, get on MINI Art Beat here. See the video below for a sample. As much as this funky idea looks uber cool, we reckon it wouldn't really work locally as the car would probably be stuck in the traffic jam.
  16. With 197bhp, 300Nm of torque and a top speed of 234km/h, a high performance version of the new 1.6-litre SIDI turbo engine will globally premiere in a Vauxhall Cascada at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The engine is one of the newly-designed Vauxhall four-cylinder SIDI (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) units and will join the existing 167bhp 1.6-litre SIDI turbo, available from its launch. The new power unit delivers 11 percent more power, including 300Nm maximum torque with overboost - 70Nm more than the comparable 1.6-litre turbo predecessor. At the heart of the SIDI turbo is a new engine block that can withstand a maximum combustion pressure of up to 130 bar in the cylinder. The block is made of grey cast iron with an aluminium baseplate. A different type of piston was also developed on top of a reduced compression ratio. Vauxhall engineers also achieved a high power output with exceptional refinement by optimising the car
  17. One of the greatest challenges with integrating car audio products into your car in the quest to replicate a true concert experience is the placement of speakers, interior trim materials, cabin acoustics and road noise. While installation and sound deadening will eliminate some of these issues, it is necessary to use dedicated processors and digital interfaces to correct the fundamental issues. For those who want the most out of their car audio system, a digital signal processor can help. After some slight adjustments, your system will sound like it has been professionally tuned and optimised. There have been rumours that if your speakers are good enough, you won't require a processor. Unfortunately, this isn't the case because it's the environment that creates the need for a processor, not the speakers. Digital signal processors (DSP) Most Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) factory fitted stereo systems are underwhelming in terms of quality sound. Well, they may have convenience features like iPod inputs, Bluetooth hands-free and steering wheel controls but they lack the ability to fine tune audio performance as well as add extra amplification. Most OEM stereos are also designed to compensate for low quality speakers, which is accomplished by artificially manipulating the frequency profile. When inferior original equipment speakers are replaced with high quality aftermarket units, this manipulation is often very easy to pick up on and if an amp is also installed, the problem will only get worse. That's where a DSP can come to the rescue. There are a number of uses for DSPs, but one of the most remarkable is to fix problems that have been noticed with OEM stereos. The DSP sits between the head unit and the amp, and it can literally undo the factory unit's problems. Some DSPs even have custom profiles that can be downloaded from the Internet, which will automatically fix the pre-processing issue and improve the overall listening experience by finetuning the head unit to suit the interior of the specific vehicle. Audison has released a number of digital components that make it not only easy to get great sound from factory sound systems, but also allow for a complete digital connection from processors to amplifiers. One of them is the Audison bit Ten - a DSP that will be equally at home in a modest system or a full-blown competition car audio system. Audison bit Ten The bit Ten is a multi-function DSP featuring analogue input, capable of transforming an OEM or aftermarket system into a high performance system. This processor comes with a 32 bit, 147 MHz clock speed Cirrus Logic DSP. It is a special DSP, ensuring high integration, where the main processing functions are implemented in optimised and pre-configured blocks, providing the ability to reduce the processing resources, thus ensuring top level performance. The architecture is completed with 24 bit analogue to digital (A/D) and digital to analogue (D/A) converters, as well as a powerful microcontroller to manage, supervise and connect the system to a computer. During the installation phase, where conversion of the analogue signal into a digital one is done, the bit Ten automatically reconstructs a digital full-bandwidth stereo signal and de-equalises the frequency response and, if necessary, reconstructs the central and subwoofer channels. Users can also configure the output mode of each channel relative to the installed system. bit Ten and its advantages Audison truly sets the level when it comes to getting great sound quality in your vehicle, and with the bit Ten, they have designed a product that allows anybody to upgrade their system, no matter what vehicle they have. All of the operations on the bit Ten, from setting the parameters of each input single channel, setting the delays according to the listening position to adjusting crossovers and equalisers for each of the five output channels can be managed with or without a computer. The other great advantage of the bit Ten is that you can retain your factory fitted head unit, which is often heavily integrated with other climate and vehicle controls. The bit Ten uses advanced processors to digitally correct factory speaker placement and frequency response, providing a great one-stop solution with minimal component replacement. The bit Ten boasts a modern and flexible platform, making it possible to stay current with technological evolution.The firmware, based upon Flash memory, can be updated at any time without having to disassemble the device from the system. And to make things even better, the bit Ten has a built in AUX input, allowing you to plug in an MP3 player, or any other audio device, so if your car doesn't have an input, the bit Ten will take care of it. The bit Ten also allows for a hands-free kit and offers an audio mute as standard as well. Having amazing sound really has just got easy, thanks to this little box of tricks. Why Audison? With 34 years of experience in the audio industry, Audison is a renowned name in the audio industry. Since 1979, the founders of Audison have fuelled a long lasting passion for high quality sound, continuing to design and build tools which can produce the perfect sound. In addition, they design and select the materials, experiment and listen to the results time and time again, allowing only their emotions to let them recognise when the product was complete. Since its inception, Audison presents its products to the market only after they have fully met the requirements of their creators to ensure that the highest quality is delivered. More impressively, Audison has many awards and accolades to its name such as the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) Award, the Innovations Design and Engineering Award and many others. In Singapore, In-phone Marketing (Asia) Pte Ltd is the official distributor for the Audison bit Ten. They are located at 130 Joo Seng Road #05-05 Olivine Building Singapore 368357. For more information, please call 63822262.
  18. The Shibetsu Proving Ground (SPG) in Japan is the birthplace of the original Lexus LS 400 and has been the top secret test track for new Lexus models. Recently, Lexus offered an inside look at it. The SPG opened in 1984 after six years of planning and building. Rumour has it that the scale of the construction was so large, the Soviets mistook it for a fort being created by the Japanese. Imagine the Soviets mobilising their troops..right.. Hidden behind heavy security and tall metal fences are five circuits, each varying in size and function. The longest of these is about 10 kilometres. The tracks are surrounded with tiny villages of buildings and facilities, used to assess and maintain all kinds of vehicles, ranging from production cars to highly confidential prototype models. A high speed circuit on home soil didn't take long to bear fruit for Lexus. Firstly, the SPG helped reduce costs. It also sped up the research and development process, with the majority of testing now done in-house. When it came to the LS 400, the proving ground's biggest contribution was helping to forge superb aerodynamics and an exceptionally quiet cabin environment. More impressively, the engineers could analyse and perfect the vehicle's acceleration, movement and noise at speeds as fast as 250km/h - impossible on the shorter domestic courses previously used by Lexus. The four other circuits at Shibetsu also have their own special features - such as tree-lined country roads - to help put vehicles through their paces. To examine the effects of certain road conditions on Lexus vehicles, more than 20 road surfaces unique to different regions and countries around the world, such as the German autobahns, have been duplicated and installed on several sections of the courses at Shibetsu. We wonder if there's a mini Nurburgring in the SPG? Well all in all, SPG brims over with everything the Lexus automobile engineer - they call them takumi - needs to hone the vehicles. Is this Area 51 for Lexus? Or perhaps they have another Area 52 somewhere else? Whatever it is, this is a really rare glimpse and we hope to see more of these in the future, only if allowed of course. Photo Credits : Lexus International
  19. Garmin has introduced the company's first portable head-up display (HUD) for smartphone navigation apps. It projects directions onto a transparent film on the windshield or an attached reflector lens. By providing road guidance within the driver's line of sight, HUD helps to improve safety and reduce driver distraction. "Head-up displays currently have their place in select high end cars, but HUD makes this technology available as an aftermarket accessory for any vehicle, at an affordable price," said Dan Bartel, Garmin Vice President of Worldwide Sales. The HUD is smart enough to adjust the brightness level to ensure that projections are clearly visible in direct sunlight or at night. The system also notifies the driver when he exceeds the speed limit and informs him of the estimated time of arrival. More impressively, it also alerts the driver of the lane to be in for the next manoeuvre. Music streamed to the car stereo from the smartphone will automatically fade out during voice prompts. Garmin's HUD is priced from US$129.99 (S$166).
  20. Mercedes-Benz claims that the 2014 S-Class is the best car in the world. AutoExpress took the brand new German flagship sedan for a spin in Canada to see if the claim is justified. Since the S-Class is supposed to pamper its occupants, the review begins with the reviewer taking a back seat and enjoying the executive seat package. Well, I was pretty amazed by the hot stone massage function, pull-up table from the centre arm rest and air conditioning system which included five different fragrances. The reviewer proceeds to take over the helm and he was impressed by the way the magic body control scans the road conditions and sets up the suspension accordingly. Speed bumps are soaked up very well and the occupants would barely feel them. Taking into account the price and level of engineering and technology, the reviewer concludes by saying that the new S-Class could just be the best car in world. However, everyone has a different set of judging criteria. Perhaps, it would be more appropriate to say that the S-Class could be the best "towkay" car in the world.
  21. Back in the late 50s and early 60's, a Bluebird K7, essentially a turbo jet engined hydroplane was used by Britain's Donald Campbell, to set seven world water speed records. The hull was built by Samlesbury Engineering - now merged into BAE systems with the engine built by Metropolitan-Vickers. Now, they are back and will officially launch a Sports Car dubbed DC50 and the Bluebird GTL Formula E race car at the upcoming Sustainable MotoExpo on Saturday 28th September at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, U.K. At the Expo, Don Wales, nephew of Donald Campbell will launch the Bluebird DC50 electric sports car. They are limited to just 50 units to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell's land and water speed records in 2014. With peak power of up to 360bhp and acceleration to match a Porsche, the Bluebird DC50 is a two-door coupe with electrically operated 'scissor' doors. It has a range of up to 321km, depending on specification, and will be available in only one body colour
  22. From the originator of daylight running LED brings you the new Matrix LED headlights. The new technology, which projects the high beam more precisely, will debut on the 2014 facelifted Audi A8. Audi's latest innovation consists of LED high beam headlights that are split into numerous individual, small diodes working in conjunction with lenses or reflectors connected in series. They are activated or dimmed separately. The new headlights work in tandem with a camera to block out light aimed at oncoming and preceding vehicles while continuing to light up other zones. The optional 'marker lights' flashes at pedestrians in the critical range in front of the car three times in succession. Lastly, the lights also have a cornering function that targets the emphasis of the beam towards the direction of the bend. When the auto headlights function is on, the system is activated from 30km/h on highways and from 60km/h on city streets. According to Audi, the light that the driver sees is always bright, homogeneous and much more effective than that produced by competitors' mechanical dipping systems.
  23. Although the Jaguar C-X75 did not receive the green light for production, its twincharged 1.6-litre engine is still being developed and could make it to production. The power plant, developed by Cosworth, is conceived initially as an F1 engine. On the adaptation of the engine for a road-going model, Cosworth's principal engineer, Andy Ball, said, "We've being doing development engines. We're still partnering on this. As a road-going engine it could have similar specific power as a Formula One engine of 300bhp per litre
  24. Here is a new supercar maker to take note of - Icona from Italy. Well they are not exactly new, having been around since 2010, with the launch of the electric concept car - the Fuselage. The Fuselage was a finalist at the 27th Festival Automobile International in Paris in the World's Most Beautiful Concept Car competition. The Italian firm was founded by Italian members and is led by an Italian director. The headquarters for the automaker is in Shanghai while the car is made in Italy. Icona has recently developed their second car - the pretty wicked looking Vulcano - which will make its U.K. debut in September at Salon Prive. The Vulcano coupe seats two and was unveiled in Shanghai earlier this year. The one-off is powered by a V12 Hybrid reaching up to 950bhp, capable of a top speed of 350km/h and a quick century sprint timing of nine seconds. The Vulcano was engineered by world famous former Scuderia Ferrari technical director Claudio Lombardi. Sales Director, David Bagley commented, "Icona is a very exciting new brand and we are delighted that it has chosen Salon Priv
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