Automotive Lean Production Award for Audi

Automotive Lean Production Award for Audi

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Automotive Lean Production Award for Audi

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 07:00 AM PST

Two years, two wins: As in 2009, Audi’s production processes once again impressed with the highest of quality, process reliability and ergonomics. A panel of experts from the trade journal Automobil Produktion named Audi the winner of the Automotive Lean Production Award. As last year’s winner, the company is also the host of the Automotive Lean Production Congress, during which the award was presented to AUDI AG.

“The second award in a row corroborates our production philosophy. My thanks go out to all the members of the team, who drive our continuous improvement process with their creative ideas,” said Peter Kössler, manager of Audi’s Ingolstadt plant.

The competition looks at whether the production workflows avoid waste and whether efficiency is continuously improved. Audi is the first manufacturer to beat out the competition with not just a single production area, but with a complete automobile assembly plant, specifically with the Ingolstadt assembly plant for the Audi A4, A5, and Q5.

“We are proud that we have once again established ourselves as a benchmark in the industry, reported Kössler. “We understand, however, that where we are today is only a stop along the way to an even better tomorrow.”

The panel was impressed with the numerous “Poka-Yoke” error avoidance measures that the employees can enact autonomously and in near time in workshops close to the production lines. One example is the screw dispenser: It provides the employee with the exact number of screws required for the respective work step. This saves time and helps to avoid errors.

The panel also singled out how Audi is reacting to the challenges posed by demographic change and its ergonomic efforts. Employees slide into the interior of the automobile on a seat so that they always maintain an ergonomically correct posture.

Also garnering praise was the so-called front-loading concept, which involves Production in the creation process of a model from the first stroke of a designer’s pen. This ensures from day one that the production processes are configured so as to be as lean and efficient as possible.

This year marks the fifth time that the trade journal Automobil Produktion and the business consulting firm Agamas Consult have awarded the Automotive Lean Production Award. More than 60 companies took part in the competition. Last year, Audi took first place in the “Manufacturer” category for its A3 assembly plant.

- Audi AG

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The Leon-Altea range features the 90 hp 1.6 TDI CR engine

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 06:30 AM PST

León-Altea range 1.6 TDI CR 90 hp

The 90 hp 1.6 TDI CR engine will be available in Spain on the León-Altea range starting next January 2011. By then all three of the Spanish brand’s models will include the new common rail engine in their entire Diesel line-up, which provides enhanced engine performance as well as a considerable decrease in noise levels, fuel consumption and emissions.

  • Replaces the 90 hp 1.9 TDI engine
  • CO2 emissions of only 119 g/km on the León and 126 g/km on the Altea range
  • Available in Emoción and Reference trim

The addition of the 90 hp 1.6 TDI CR power unit has become an enticing entry-level choice on the Diesel engine display of the three models, and replaces the former pump-injector fuelled 90 hp 1.9 TDI version. Mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, the new engine features the DPF particulate filter which fully complies with EU5 emissions legislation.

The engine’s performance figures are a clear testimony to the exceptional output it delivers despite requiring even lower fuel consumption and generating fewer emissions. It generates 230 Nm of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm, consumes an average of only 4.5 litres/100 km and emits 119 g/km equipped on the León, compared to 5.0 l/100 km and 135 g/km of the previous 1.9 TDI engine. These results mean that buyers of the Spanish compact are exempt from paying registration tax.

The same 1.6 TDI CR engine on the Altea range also delivers better performance compared to the previous version, with an average fuel consumption of only 4.8 l/100 km and emissions of 126 g/km against 5.4 l/100 km and 142 g/km of the outgoing 1.9 TDI unit.

All cars equipped with this engine will still feature the same full standard and optional equipment line-up as on the rest of the range, with Emoción and Reference trim available on the León and Emoción trim on the Altea. The common rail system’s greater efficiency and more advanced technology however, has not brought about any price change compared to the versions it will be replacing.


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The Oprah Winfrey Show Reveals Silhouette of All-New 2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Posted: 23 Nov 2010 05:28 AM PST

The Oprah Winfrey Show Reveals Silhouette of All-New 2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Today on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Volkswagen revealed the design silhouette of its all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, and then shocked her audience – by giving each of them a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.

The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is an automotive icon, reinvented. The all-new, completely redesigned vehicle has been dramatically revolutionized by the same engineers and designers that brought the GTI and CC to life. After 12 years, the heart and soul of Volkswagen has evolved, exemplifying Volkswagen’s engineering excellence, power, styling and sophistication.

Oprah owns and drives a New Beetle and asked Volkswagen to help her recognize the time, talents and contributions of select viewers by giving them one of her favorite things, a Volkswagen Beetle. As one of the most iconic vehicles in America, everybody, including Oprah has a Volkswagen Beetle story and this reveal kicks off the next chapter of a great saga. Volkswagen is donating two hundred seventy-five 2012 Beetles plus applicable taxes and fees, to each member of today’s studio audience.

Silhouette of All-New 2012 Volkswagen Beetle

“Oprah Winfrey and the Volkswagen Beetle are two American icons, so when the “Oprah” show approached us with this incredible opportunity  to share her Beetle experience with deserving viewers, we instantly wanted to be a part of it,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Our all-new 2012 Beetle exemplifies power, styling and sophistication, and is an automotive icon reinvented to create the new shape of performance.”

As revealed today, the new Beetle will feature a sportier, more aggressive stance, and features sleeker styling and a wealth of new technologies that provide a heightened driving experience. It is also customizable, with options that will offer the performance, styling, accessories and features that will appeal to everyone from the driving enthusiast to the driver motivated by value, excellent fuel economy and nostalgia.

The 2012 Beetle will be revealed in the spring of next year and will be available in showrooms next fall. U.S. pricing is not yet set, but with trim packages and unprecedented personalization and customization options, the Beetle will offer the performance, styling, accessories and features that will ensure there will be a Beetle everyone.

The new design lines draw upon the vehicle’s legacy, but the 2012 Beetle will be a true, performance driving machine perfected by German engineering, offering a wealth of technologies that will provide a heightened driving experience over the previous generation. The 2012 vehicle is sporty, aggressive and comes with Volkswagen’s carefree maintenance and known safety standards. The vehicle will offer dual exhaust, 19-inch wheels, sport seats and new, sleeker styling. New technologies, like Bluetooth, touch screen radio, branded audio speaker systems, navigation and unique ambient lighting provide a heightened driving experience.

- Volkswagen of America

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The all new 340hp Audi RS 3 Sportback

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 06:04 AM PST

The new 340hp Audi RS 3 Sportback

Gallery after the jump!

Blazing performance, compact size. Audi has added a new model to its dynamic RS series: the RS 3 Sportback. In the great tradition of the brand, its engine boasts five cylinders and turbocharging technology. From a displacement of 2.5 liters come 250 kW (340 hp) of power and 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) of torque, with an average fuel consumption of just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (25.85 US mpg).

  • Five-cylinder turbo delivering 250 kW (340 hp) and 450 Nm (331.90 lb ft) of torque
  • Zero to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds, superior pulling power
  • Seven-speed S tronic, quattro drive and 19-inch wheels

Power is transmitted to the road via a seven-speed S tronic and quattro permanent all-wheel drive. 19-inch wheels and fenders made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) underscore the Audi RS 3 Sportback’s position of distinction.

The new 340hp Audi RS 3 Sportback

Power and sound: the engine

Each Audi RS model represents the pinnacle of its model line – the RS 3 Sportback, developed by quattro GmbH, now brings this dynamic philosophy to the compact category. It rockets from a dead stop to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.6 seconds – a performance figure unrivaled by the competition. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155.34 mph). Even so the compact car, weighing in at only 1,575 kilograms (3,472.28 pounds), uses on average just 9.1 liters of fuel per 100 km (25.85 US mpg) and emits 212 g CO2 per km (341.18 g/mile). This efficiency is due in large part to a delivery-on-demand oil pump and a regenerative system that recovers energy as the car decelerates.

The 2.5-liter engine in the RS 3 Sportback will thrill passengers thanks to its tremendous pulling power and its voracious revving up to 6,800 rpm. The guttural roaring and growling, backed by the signature rhythm of the five-cylinder firing order make up the classic Audi soundtrack. A sound flap in the exhaust branch intensifies the sound even further. The flap is controlled via the standard Sport button, which also varies the engine response.

Powerful five-cylinder engines have a long legacy at Audi. In the 1980s, racing cars and production cars used them to edge out the competition. Even the first Audi RS model, the 1994 RS 2, had a five-cylinder engine. The 2.5-liter unit, already part of the TT RS specifications, now redefines the state of the art, having recently been named “International Engine of the Year” by a high-ranking jury of automotive journalists.

The 2.5 TFSI delivers 250 kW (340 hp) from a displacement of 2,480 cc: a specific power output of 100.8 kW (137.1 hp) per liter. The maximum torque of 450 Nm (331.90 lb-ft) is readily available at the low end of the rev range, around 1,600 rpm, and remains constant up to 5,300 revolutions. These general parameters yield excellent acceleration and elasticity values.

Just 49 centimeters (19.29 inches) in length, the five-cylinder unit is ultra-compact, tipping the scales at a mere 183 kilograms (403.45 pounds). The crankcase is made of vermicular-graphite cast iron, a high-strength yet lightweight material. Audi is the first car maker to use this material in a gasoline engine. Perfectly placed reinforcements further enhance the block’s loadability. The lightweight-design concept keeps the Audi RS 3 Sportback’s weight in check and pays off big in terms of axle‑load distribution and, ultimately, handling.

The large turbocharger generates up to 1.2 bar of boost pressure. The intercooler downstream achieves an efficiency rate of over 80 percent. Like all Audi gasoline turbos, the 2.5 TFSI combines turbocharging technology with FSI direct injection. The marriage of these two technologies facilitates a high compression ratio (10.0:1) along with a correspondingly high efficiency ratio. Flaps in the intake tract mix the air as it flows in. The two camshafts, each adjustable by 42 degrees of crankshaft rotation, also enhance the efficiency of the mixture formation.

The new 340hp Audi RS 3 Sportback

Speed and grip: the drivetrain

The compact seven-speed S tronic transmits power from the five-cylinder engine via three shafts: one drive shaft and two output shafts. Like all dual-clutch transmissions, it comprises two transmission structures. The shifting process is extremely smooth, taking place in hundredths of a second as the clutches switch, with no perceptible interruption of pulling power. Seventh gear is very tall – a measure that reduces fuel consumption.

The driver can operate the seven-gear S tronic in two automatic modes and one manual mode. Gears are shifted using the paddles on the steering wheel or the selector lever. The launch control system manages the sprint from a dead stop, furnishing explosive turbo power with minimal tire slip.

Delivering power to the road with effortless ease, the quattro permanent all-wheel drive grants the RS 3 Sportback traction, dynamics, and stability. Its central component is an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, mounted at the end of the propeller shaft to achieve a favorable axle load distribution. Located in its interior is a plate package bathed in oil.

Thanks to quattro, the propulsive power can be distributed to each axle as needed. Whenever slip occurs at one of the axles, an electric pump intervenes at lightning speed to increase the oil pressure. The pump presses the clutch plates together in a continuous fashion, thereby permitting the torque to be redirected accordingly. Thanks to a powerful accumulator, this process takes just a few milliseconds.

Dynamics and safety: the chassis

The stiff body lays the cornerstone for the RS 3 Sportback’s precise handling; the chassis is what makes it happen. The four-link rear suspension – with a track measuring 1,528 millimeters (60.16 inches) – is anchored to a subframe and features high-strength-steel control arms that allow it to handle longitudinal and lateral forces separately.

Widened to a 1,564-millimeter (61.57-inch) track, the front suspension is a McPherson strut construction, also with a separate subframe. Key components of the construction are made of aluminum. Thanks to its electromechanical drive, the rack-and-pinion steering is highly efficient, with a sporty-direct gear ratio of 16.2:1.

Coil springs and redesigned shock absorbers provide the vertical support. The sports suspension lowers the body of the RS 3 Sportback by 25 millimeters (0.98 inch) compared with the A3. The new range-topping model in the A3 series boasts 19-inch cast aluminum wheels fitted with 235/35 series tires at the front and 225/35 at the rear. The wheels come standard with machine-polished titanium-look styling, but are optionally available in black with a red rim flange.

The internally ventilated disks measure 370 millimeters (14.57 inches) in diameter at the front and 310 millimeters (12.20 inches) at the rear. The front friction rings are perforated for maximum heat dissipation. They are connected by hollow pins to the aluminum brake disk covers, which are encircled by four-piston fixed calipers painted a high-gloss black and bearing RS logos. The electronic stabilization program (ESP) features a Sport mode and can be switched off entirely.

Precisely guided by its responsive steering, the RS 3 Sportback eagerly takes to curves and exits them with agility, stability, and serenity. The stability limit is extremely high, an effortless mastery that rounds off the character of this powerful compact car.

The new 340hp Audi RS 3 Sportback

Interior and exterior: dynamic styling

The new top-of-the-line model in the A3 series hints at its explosive potential from the very first glimpse. Together with the xenon plus headlights, the front apron, the anthracite single-frame grill with diamond-patterned styling and the air intakes cut a distinctive figure.

The side view is dominated by the flared front fenders made of carbon‑fiber‑reinforced plastic (CFRP), prominent sill panels, exterior-mirror casings in matt aluminum look and a large roof spoiler. A high-gloss black diffusor insert and two elliptical exhaust tailpipes on the left accentuate the styling at the rear. RS 3 badges adorn the single-frame grill and the rear hatch.

The dynamic style is matched in the interior, entirely black and sporting a number of RS 3 logos. The sports seats are upholstered in Fine Nappa leather with silver contrasting stitching; the inlays gleam in Piano finish black or the new Aluminum Race look; the leather multifunction sports steering wheel is flat-bottomed. The selector lever and instruments are specially designed. The driver information system can display the boost pressure and oil temperature as well as a lap timer.

The RS 3 Sportback comes with an array of standard equipment including the Sport button, rear parking system, climate control, chorus radio system, and xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights. Audi offers customers a range of optional features: front bucket seats, roof rails in matt aluminum look, and styling packages in black or matt aluminum. Five exterior colors are available, plus an unlimited selection of custom paint finishes.

The new top-of-the-line model in the A3 series is already the fourth Audi model to be built at Audi Hungaria in Győr, where it is rolling off the assembly line alongside the TT Coupé, the TT Roadster and the A3 Cabriolet.

Deliveries of the RS 3 Sportback will begin in early 2011. The base price in Germany will be 49,900 euros.

- Audi

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Mortara shoots for next Volkswagen victory in Macau

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 07:13 AM PST


With 280 km/h past the docks, through extremely narrow hairpins and between iron guard rails: at the Grand Prix in Macau, China (18–21 November), the world’s best junior Formula 3 drivers meet to compete with each other on one of the world’s most difficult race tracks.

Volkswagen driver Edoardo Mortara (Italy) returns to the former Portuguese colony as the title defender – albeit the Formula 3 Euro Series Champion will be pitted against extremely powerful rivals, not least from his own camp. 13 of the 30 participants in total trust the near-210 hp Volkswagen Formula 3 engine, including the British champion Jean-Eric Vergne (France), Marco Wittmann (Germany), the runner-up of the Euro Series, and Daniel Abt (Germany), the “vice” champion of the German Cup.

“The Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix continues to pose a true challenge – both to the drivers and teams as well as to the technology. The circuit with extremely long straights and many tight turns demands a good compromise for the set-up, a powerful engine and, last but not least, loads of courage and accomplished skills at the wheel. The line-up of drivers and teams could hardly be any better and promises to deliver a spectacular Grand Prix as everyone aims to impress here,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.

Brimming with motivation, last year’s winner Edoardo Mortara is shooting for his second consecutive win – a feat that has not been achieved by any driver in the Formula 3 era since 1983. “I’m already counting the days down to the start. Obviously, I’ve got extremely fond memories of Macau due to my victory. And since I know that our package consisting of the Signature team and the Volkswagen engine will be extremely quick again, I’m extremely confident too,” says Mortara who also holds the lap record of 2m 10.732s. “I’m not afraid of the walls and will attack as hard as possible.” But 29 other drivers will do everything they can to defeat Mortara. Like many of them Jean-Eric Vergne will be on the grid of the “Guia Circuit” for the first time – albeit with perfect preparation. “Macau is one of the most important races of all and I’m still lacking a victory there. Together with my engineer from Carlin I practised on the Red Bull driving simulator – that really paid off as now I’ve got a realistic impression of the track layout,” says the 20-year-old Frenchman.

The exquisite field of 30 drivers from 18 nations, the fascinating 6.115-km city street circuit and the special flair of the port city have made the Grand Prix a true classic in racing since its inaugural event in 1954. Subsequent Formula 1 stars like Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard have entered their names on the winners’ list here whereas others spectacularly failed.

Timetable, Macau

Thursday, 18 November 2010
10.40–11.25 Formula 3 Grand Prix, Free practice (45 min)
14.25–14.55 Formula 3 Grand Prix, 1st qualifying (30 min)

Friday, 19 November 2010
11.15–12.00 Formula 3 Grand Prix, Free practice (45 min)
15.00–15.30 Formula 3 Grand Prix, 2nd qualifying (30 min)

Saturday, 20 November 2010
13.45–14.35 Formula 3 Grand Prix, Qualification race (10 laps)

Sunday, 21 November 2010
15.30–16.30 Formula 3 Grand Prix, Race (15 laps)

TV schedule, Macau

Sunday, 21 November 2010
09.03–10.00 n-tv, Formula 3 live

Entry list

No Driver Nat Team Chassis/Engine
1 Edoardo Mortara , I, Signature, Dallara-Volkswagen
2 Marco Wittmann, D, Signature, Dallara-Volkswagen
3 Laurens Vanthoor, B, Signature, Dallara-Volkswagen
4 Daniel Abt, D, Signature, Dallara-Volkswagen
5 Jean-Eric Vergne, F, Carlin, Dallara-Volkswagen
6 James Calado, GB, Carlin, Dallara-Volkswagen
7 Jazeman Jaafar, MAL, Carlin, Dallara-Volkswagen
8 António Félix da Costa, P, Carlin, Dallara-Volkswagen
9 Yuji Kunimoto, J, Tom’s, Dallara-Toyota
10 Rafael Suzuki, BR, Tom’s, Dallara-Toyota
11 Alexander Sims, GB, Räikkönen Robertson Racing, Dallara-Mercedes
12 Felipe Nasr, BR, Räikkönen Robertson Racing, Dallara-Mercedes
13 Michael Ho, MAC, Räikkönen Robertson Racing, Dallara-Mercedes
14 Rio Haryanto, RI, Räikkönen Robertson Racing, Dallara-Mercedes
15 Daniel Juncadella, E, Prema Powerteam, Dallara-Mercedes
16 Roberto Merhi, E, Prema Powerteam, Dallara-Mercedes
17 Oliver Webb, GB, Fortec Motorsport, Dallara-Mercedes
18 Will Buller, GB, Fortec Motorsport, Dallara-Mercedes
19 Lucas Foresti, BR, Fortec Motorsport, Dallara-Mercedes
20 Alexandre Imperatori, CH, Toda Racing with KCMG, Dallara-Honda
21 Yuhi Sekiguchi, J, Three Bond Racing, Dallara-Nissan
22 Hideki Yamauchi, J, Hanashima Racing, Dallara-Toyota
23 Carlos Huertas, CO, Hitech Racing, Dallara-Volkswagen
24 Carlos Muñoz, CO, Hitech Racing, Dallara-Volkswagen
26 Renger van der Zande, NL, Motopark Academy, Dallara-Volkswagen
27 Kimiya Sato, J, Motopark Academy, Dallara-Volkswagen
28 Valtteri Bottas, FIN, Prema Powerteam, Dallara-Mercedes
29 Adderly Fong, HK, Sino Vision Racing, Dallara-Mercedes
30 Hywel Lloyd, GB, CF Racing, Dallara-Mercedes
32 Felix Rosenqvist, S, Performance Racing, Dallara-Volkswagen

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Calling all Porsche enthusiast and engineers

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 06:40 AM PST

As part of an extensive personnel recruitment campaign, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is increasing the capacities of its development centre in Weissach (Baden-Württemberg). The company’s first step will be to appoint around 100 additional engineers for the areas of research and development in the next few weeks. The company is looking for experts in the fields of electromobility, lightweight construction, energy management as well as engine and chassis design. These experts will be deployed, for example, in the further development and optimization of alternative drive concepts or will cooperate in new vehicle projects such as the 918 Spyder super sports car.

With this increase in staffing levels, Porsche is emphasizing the leading role of the Weissach site (3,000 employees) as a competence centre for sports cars. “Weissach is synonymous with top engineering made in Germany. Additional highly talented experts will help us to further increase our position as the innovation leader in car construction”, said Thomas Edig, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management and Director of Human Resources and Social Affairs. Research and development are traditionally some of the core competencies of Porsche. The know-how from Weissach not only sets standards in the international sports car and premium segment, but is also often used by other companies which receive advice and active support from Porsche engineers regarding their own projects.

- Porsche

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Lamborghini introduces new 700hp V12 and ISR 7 speed transmission

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 06:05 AM PST

Lamborghini introduces new 700hp V12 monster

Automobili Lamborghini is embarking on a highly innovative chapter in the company’s history with an all-new V12 power plant and a new, unique high performing seven speed transmission: The twelve-cylinder with 6.5 liters displacement, output of 525 kW (700 hp) and maximum torque of 690 Newton meters was developed with state-of-the-art technology from a white sheet of paper. The result is a synthesis of breathtaking performance, high-revving exhilaration, low weight and moderate gas emissions. The perfect complement is a completely new transmission concept for super sports cars: The “Lamborghini ISR” automated manual gearbox combines minimal shift times and everyday convenience with low weight and dimensions to guarantee the emotional gearshift that customers expect from a super sports car at the very top of the premier league. The new powertrain will enter production early 2011.

The legend of Lamborghini strongly relies on its extraordinary, unique V12 engines.“This new power unit is not only the crowning glory of our product lineup, it is also part of our enormous investment in the future of the Lamborghini brand,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “With this new V12, we are heralding a technological leap that encompasses all areas of the company and our future model range. With a unique package of innovations, Lamborghini will redefine the future of the super sports car. This 700 hp engine, together with an all-new concept gearbox, will be at the heart of the Murciélago successor next year.”

Lamborghini 700hp V12

The new V12 power unit –
The heart of Lamborghini

The twelve-cylinder is the king of the engine world and the true heart of the Lamborghini brand. The very first model created by Feruccio Lamborghini, the 350 GT, made its appearance in 1964 featuring a twelve-cylinder engine that was incredibly innovative for its day. 3.5 liter displacement and 320 hp were the vital statistics back then – they formed the basis for ongoing increases and further development over the decades that followed. Miura, Espada, Countach, Diablo and, finally, Murciélago are just a few of the super sports cars born in Sant’Agata. All of them were, and will continue to be, driven by V12 engines – and all have long since risen to the status of automotive legend.

Now the next milestone in this glorious history appears – engineers in the Lamborghini R&D Department have developed a completely new high-performance power unit. That it would be another twelve-cylinder was never in doubt – and not only because of the special magic conjured up by the number twelve. The only real choice for Lamborghini is a high-revving naturally aspirated engine – the deeply reflexive and exceptionally powerful reaction of the automobile to the tiniest movement of the driver’s right foot is, of course, a key part of the whole fascination inspired by a super sports car. Ten cylinders are ideal in the displacement class around the five liter mark, as evidenced by the highly acclaimed Gallardo engine. For the 6.5 liter displacement targeted in this case, the perfect number is twelve. A lower number of cylinders would result in larger and heavier pistons and con-rods, which would have a negative impact on the engine’s high-revving characteristics.

Starting with a clean sheet of paper

The specification for the development of the new twelve-cylinder, known internally as the L539, was written quickly – yet was highly demanding in its formulation. Naturally, it had to deliver more power and torque than its predecessor in the Murciélago, but it should also be smaller and lighter and enable a lower center of gravity. At the end of the day, low weight is just as important to the performance of a super sports car as high power output. Fuel consumption and gas emissions should also be reduced significantly.

So the R&D team started with a clean sheet of paper – metaphorically speaking, of course. Design and development in Sant’Agata is conducted using state-of-the-art systems and equipment. The outcome is a V12 with a classic cylinder bank angle of 60 degrees, and thus an amazingly compact power package – the power unit measures only 665 millimeters from top to bottom, including the intake system. Its width, including the exhaust manifold, is only 848 millimeters, while its length is a mere 784 millimeters. Its weight of 235 kilograms is also respectably low – each kilogram of engine weight corresponds to 3.0 HP maximum output.

Lamborghini introduces new 700hp V12 and ISR 7 speed transmission

Optimized for high revving and low weight

The crankcase on the new power plant is made from an aluminum-silicon alloy and has an open-deck construction with steel cylinder liners. Displacement is 6,498 cm3 and cylinder spacing 103.5 millimeters, while bore diameter measures 95 millimeters and stroke 76.4 millimeters. The short-stroke layout is especially good for high-revving characteristics and for low internal friction. Particular attention was also paid to the bearings for the forged and nitride-hardened crankshaft, which weighs in at 24.6 kilograms.

The two four-valve cylinder heads are likewise made from sand-cast aluminum-silicon alloy, each weighing a very light 21 kilograms. The twelve pistons and con-rods are, respectively, in forged alloy and steel. The maximum piston speed at 8,250 rpm is only 21 meters per second, which is considerably less than for the Murciélago’s previous power unit. The combustion chambers were carefully engineered to achieve optimum tumble and combustion of the fuel/air mixture. At 11.8:1, the compression ratio is extremely high. Inlet and outlet valve timing is electronically controlled.

Sophisticated thermal management, optimized oil circulation

The thermal management of this high-performance power unit was perfected with extensive detail engineering. Two switchable water circuits in the engine ensure very rapid warm-up, which minimizes friction and quickly brings the catalytic converters up to operating temperature, thus benefiting fuel consumption and emissions. The external water coolers are switched into the circuit only as required.

Absolute engine health, even under extreme racetrack conditions with high lateral acceleration, is guaranteed by oil circulation using a dry sump system. A total of eight scavenger pumps suck oil out of the lower bedplate fastened to the crankcase. Pressure and scavenging losses are thus reduced by around 50 percent. A high-pressure oil pump maintains lubrication, while an oil/water cooler and an oil/air radiator constantly keep temperatures within range even under extremely high load. A further benefit of this form of dry sump lubrication is the very low mounting position of the engine within the sports car. The new engine is mounted 60 millimeters lower than the V12 in the Murciélago – with the associated benefits in respect of center of gravity and lateral dynamics.

From the outside, the V12 is dominated by its intake system – which incorporates four individual throttle valves. Life inside the black housing is also extremely complex – the optimum intake path for any given load and engine speed is facilitated by two flaps, several channels and one bypass. The payback is an extremely well-rounded torque curve and refined pulling power throughout the rev range.

Mighty orchestra for twelve voices

The exhaust system, too, was afforded the undivided attention of Lamborghini’s engineers – the lowest possible gas emissions was just as important a target as the unmistakable, spine-tingling Lamborghini sound. The hydro-formed and thermally insulated three-into-one system incorporates four pre-catalytic converters close to the engine and two main catalytic converters shortly before the muffler. The casing incorporates two separate mufflers – one low-volume, one high-volume. Regulated by valves controlled via the engine management, they handle all the elements of the big twelve-cylinder symphony – from a moderate rumble when rolling through the city at low revs to the screaming crescendo of maxed-out gear shifts.

Electronics devised entirely by Lamborghini

Another highlight is the electronic engine management, which was developed in its entirety by engineers at Lamborghini. The system consists of the main ECU, a secondary “smart actuators” and two additional black boxes that function as “smart sensors”. Because speed is everything for an engine like this, some ECU control and connection functions are handled by the smart actuators, making the ECU faster. The two smart sensors are constantly monitoring combustion in real time – each ignition in every cylinder. The spark plugs – each is powered by an individual ignition coil – function as “sensors”; the two auxiliary control units monitor the power signal after every ignition and can immediately identify irregularities in the combustion process through ionization phenomena. This data is used to continually optimize engine management, benefiting both performance and fuel consumption.

High performance in every dimension

All these technical highlights come together to create a high-performance power unit like no other. The maximum output of 515 kW (700 hp) at 8,250 rpm is an impressive statement in itself. The maximum torque is 690 Newton meters and is available at 5,500 r/min. The extremely generous torque curve, meaty pulling power in every situation, extremely reflexive responses and, not least, the finely modulated but always highly emotional acoustics make the L539 a stunning power unit for a super sports car of the highest order. And not only was the L539 developed entirely in-house at Lamborghini, it is also built from start to finish at company headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Highly qualified specialists assemble the engines by hand, with every single unit undergoing an extensive final testing and detailed calibration program on an engine test bed.

Lamborghini ISR transmission

The new Lamborghini ISR transmission (ISR: Independent Shifting Rods) – Innovative servo-actuated mechanical gearbox for maximum performance

However, it is not the engine alone that defines the character and driving characteristics of a super sports car. Another key element is the transmission. The demands are clear – the ratios must be perfectly arrayed and enable optimum power delivery from the engine. For maximum vehicle performance, shift times should be less than the blink of an eye. Operation must be clear and straightforward, via two ergonomic shift paddles behind the steering wheel. The characteristics of the transmission must be in line with the wishes of the driver at any given point – from smooth city cruising through to tough action on the racetrack. And, not least, Lamborghini customers expect an emotional shift feeling that ensures the sports car’s reactions can always be felt and understood. Thus, the development objective was clearly formulated in this respect, too – create the world’s most emotional gear shift.

For all these reasons, the engineers in the R&D Department opted for a robotized gearbox as the “companion” of the new V12 power unit – however, in a very special iteration: the Lamborghini ISR transmission. This robotized gearbox combines extremely fast shift times, almost 50% less than dual-clutch transmission with the benefits of a manual transmission in terms of weight and compact dimensions – both always critical for super sports cars

Unique engineering for supersportscars

The new unit is laid out as a two-shaft transmission with seven forward gears and one reverse. For especially high durability, the synchronizing rings are made from carbon-fiber – a material with which Lamborghini has enormous experience. The short shift times are facilitated by the special design of the transmission, known as ISR – Independent Shifting Rod.

To summarize the principle – in a conventional manual gearbox, be it automated or fully manual, the gear wheels for, say, second and third gears are located side by side. When the driver wants to shift gear, the shifting sleeve with synchronizer unit is moved along the shifting rod from second gear through neutral to third gear. This requires twice the distance and twice the time – second gear has to be disengaged before third gear can be engaged.

Short distances, fast shift times

This process is significantly shortened in the Lamborghini ISR transmission – the gear wheels from the second and third gears are separate from each other and the shifting sleeves are actuated by independent shifting rods. Now the shifting process can run virtually in parallel – while one shifting rod is disengaging one gear, the second shifting rod can already engage the next gear. Because these movements partially overlap and the mechanical distances are considerably shorter, this facilitates a significant saving in shift time. Overall, the Lamborghini ISR transmission shifts around 40 percent faster than the e.gear transmission in the Gallardo. And that is already one of the world’s fastest automated manual gearboxes.

Compact construction, low weight

The new transmission has four of these independent shifting rods, with sensors constantly monitoring their exact positions. They are operated via hydraulic actuators, with an extremely high system pressure of 60 bar ensuring the necessary operating speed. The system incorporates a total of seven hydraulic valves, with pressure supplied by an electric pump. The double-plate clutch is also hydraulically actuated. All system components are contained within one casing. The total weight of the transmission is only 70 kilograms – a distinct advantage, especially compared with the significantly heavier dual-clutch transmissions from the same category

Three operating modes for all situations

Lamborghini drivers can choose between three operating modes – the Strada mode offers highly comfort-oriented shifting, with fully-automatic also an option. The Sport mode has a dynamic set-up in terms of shifting points and times, while the Corsa mode delivers the maximum shift strategy for race track driving. This mode also includes Launch Control, the automatic function for maximum acceleration from a standing start.

With the Lamborghini ISR transmission, engineers working under the sign of the bull have devised an ingenious mate for the new twelve-cylinder power unit. Their work has created an overall powertrain that is absolutely unique in the world of super sports cars.

Integrated electronic control system

The excellent performances are possible only by a fast communication architecture through the several powertrain ECU’s and considering the powertrain as ONE-system (un unico sistema) in the car.

The fully electronic controlled coupling device for the front wheels (the ‘old’ viscous coupling) is another key point of the powertrain: it is able to continuously distribute the right torque to the front wheels for always attaining the best performance aspired to by the driver. The torque distribution to the front wheels can vary continuously from 0% to 60% of the total torque available.

The history –
The twelve-cylinder at the heart of the brand with the bull

Lamborghini V12 – that means a long and glorious story. According to the history books, Ferruccio Lamborghini established a car company in the early sixties because he wanted to better the products on offer at the time from the competition, with the best possible technology and quality. The prototype for all later Lamborghini super sports cars was the 350 GTV study presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1963. It featured an all-new aluminum twelve-cylinder developed from scratch by engine designer Giotto Bizzarini and boasted performance figures that were nothing short of breathtaking by the standards of the time. The 12-cylinder V-engine with 60 degree cylinder bank angle, four overhead camshafts (at a time when single camshafts were still the norm), a six bbl carburetor and dry-sump lubrication, generated 360 hp at 8,000 rpm from a displacement of 3,497 cm3 that would take the concept car to a top speed of 280 km/h. The 350 GT series production version with conventional lubrication, launched the following year, produced 320 hp at 7,000 rpm from a displacement of 3,464 cm3.

It was exactly this engine that captured the imagination of show-goers at the 1966 Geneva Auto Salon in the Lamborghini Miura. Although its main features were already familiar from the 400 GT, this time the four-liter 60° twelve-cylinder was mounted transversely behind the cockpit, with transmission and differential in a single unit fixed directly to the frame. The 320 hp made the series production Miura that followed the fastest production car of its time with a stated top speed of more than 280 km/h – and, with that, the first true super sports car. This engine was further developed over the years, with several iterations featuring in the Miura S (370 hp at 7,000 rpm, 285 km/h) and Miura SV (385 hp, 300 km/h). In the Miura Jota, a one-off made for racing, the V12 generated 440 hp at 8,500 rpm. However, applications for the four-liter were not limited to the mid-engine Miura. In the front-engine Islero, introduced in 1968, and in the 400 GT Jarama, it produced 350 hp, while in the futuristic Espada the figure was 325 hp (later also 350 hp). In 1974, the Espada also saw an automatic transmission offered for the first time.

The generational shift from the Miura to the new LP400 Countach took place in the early seventies. 1971 brought the prototype with a breathtaking, edgy form, the genes of which would ultimately re-emerge forty years later in present-day Lamborghini super sports cars. Marcello Gandini’s design was a fitting outfit for a five-liter version of the V12. However, this engine was dropped from the series production model in 1973 in favor of a further evolution of the four-liter unit. In the 1973 Countach – still without the “wing” or spoiler of the eighties – it was longitudinally mounted behind the driver, where it generated 375 hp at an impressive 8,000 rpm and reached a top speed of 300 km/h. The years that followed saw the Countach engine undergo a series of evolutionary developments, although still based on the familiar cornerstones of the first V12 unit. It was in 1985 that the Countach Quattrovalvole took displacement over the five-liter mark for the first time (5,167 cm3) and – as the name implies – featured a four-valve cylinder head. Output was an impressive 455 hp at 7,000 rpm.

In 1986, the five-liter V12 was presented with a completely new application – the Lamborghini LM002 may also have had the 450 hp engine mounted up front, but the 2.7 ton automobile was the first and only SUV produced by the brand, a four-door all-terrain vehicle. The late eighties saw the amazingly long career of the Countach near its end with the Countach Anniversario. The Diablo followed as its rightful heir, clad in a distinctly nineties outfit. By 1990, the V12 had grown to almost six liters and produced 492 hp. One year later, the Diablo VT was the brand’s first four-wheel drive sports car. Over the next few years, output grew steadily to 520 hp (1993 Diablo SE). The Diablo GT with 575 hp and the radical GTR with 590 hp both appeared in 1999. The Diablo 6.0 was the first model to feature the V12 with displacement expanded to six liters, its output ultimately reaching 550 hp.

The Murciélago was launched in 2001 as the first Lamborghini of the new era. It boasted a new 6.2 liter alloy V12 with a crankshaft running on seven bearings and dry-sump lubrication. It generated 580 hp at 7,500 rpm and took the super sports car weighing just 1,650 kilograms to a top speed of 330 km/h. The maximum torque of 650 Nm was reached at just 5,400 rpm. At the 2006 Geneva Motor Show, Lamborghini unveiled the Murciélago LP 640, which produces 640 hp from the V12 unit that had been expanded to 6,496 cm3. In the strictly limited Lamborghini Reventón, the twelve-cylinder that is the very heart of the brand generated 650 hp. The grand finale came with the Murciélago LP 670-4 Superveloce with its 670 hp. However, 2011 will mark the start of a new chapter in this glorious story…

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Audi A8 wins the Euro Car Body Award

Posted: 19 Nov 2010 05:34 AM PST

Audi A8 wins the Euro Car Body Award

Audi has once again raised the bar with regard to body manufacturing. In the scope of the 12th International Car-Body Benchmarking Conference, the Audi A8 surged ahead to win the Euro Car Body Award – the world’s most distinguished award for innovations in body manufacturing. Over 500 experts and a jury of specialists gave top scores to Audi’s top-of-the-range model.

  • Audi’s flagship honored for innovative body manufacturing
  • Audi wins this award for the fourth time
  • Intelligent lightweight design remains a core topic for Audi

Leading body-manufacturing experts convene once a year in Bad Nauheim, Germany. Here they discuss trends as well as scrutinize numerous body shells and series-production vehicles prior to the conference highlight: selecting the world’s most innovative series-built body. In late October, 520 specialists from 22 countries attended this year’s event, organized by the Automotive Circle International. Along with a jury of specialists, they evaluated 14 of the latest series-production vehicles. The result? The Audi A8 was not only victorious, but also set a new record by earning 41.11 out of a possible 50 points to secure first place with ease.

This luxury-class model manufactured in Neckarsulm dazzles thanks in large part to its stiffness/weight ratio: the relationship between torsional rigidity and the body’s weight. At a weight of just 231 kilograms (509.27 lbs), the aluminum body is about 40 percent lighter than a comparable version made of steel. In addition, it weighs nearly 30 kilograms (66.14 lbs) less than its predecessor; at the same time, its stiffness/weight ratio has increased by 20 percent. As a special feature, the body as per the Aluminum Space Frame method utilizes bionic principles. Like the bones of a human skeleton, all components combine optimal function with low weight. In fact, 13 different grades of aluminum are used – always in accordance with a simple rule: “The right material in the right place!”

In addition to impressive body properties, the Euro Car Body Award recognizes pioneering concepts regarding processes, production, and manufacturing as well as Audi’s know-how concerning materials technology and joining techniques. At its Precision Body-Manufacturing Shop in Neckarsulm, Audi uses various mechanical and thermal joining techniques: 1,847 punch rivets, 632 self-tapping screws, 202 spot welds, 25 MIG welds, six meters (19.69 ft) of laser welds, and 44 meters (144.36 ft) of bonded seams ensure that the body is a highly functional unit.

In addition, first-hand customer benefits play a key role in the evaluation process. The outstanding crash-test results achieved by the Audi A8 as well as the car’s excellent aerodynamic and acoustic properties are important. The repair concept and the collision and comprehensive insurance rating are also considered. The model’s first-place finish thus reflects its high quality and the comprehensive approach pursued with respect to the development of vehicle bodies.

The sought-after award was won by an earlier generation of the Audi A8 as long ago as 2003. Ingolstadt also took the trophy in 2006 and 2008 – first for the Audi TT and then for the Audi Q5. This fourth triumph makes Audi one of this field’s trailblazing manufacturers.

Yet another example of Audi’s body-manufacturing excellence: the first-generation A8 unveiled in 1994, which was the first luxury sedan to feature an aluminum body. And models such as the Audi R8 Spyder, boasting considerable quantities of CFRP, are ahead of the competition. Audi will continue enhancing these approaches and emphasizing lightweight design and composite construction. Last but not least, surprising topics and pioneering technologies are in store.

- Audi AG

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