Ford’s new video educates on hybrids and EVs

Posted: 04 Mar 2011 03:00 AM PST

As hybrid technologies and electric vehicles are now becoming more common in the auto market, people are becoming confused on what is best for them so Ford has released this informative, easy to follow video that explains the difference between hybrids, electric-vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

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Audi A8 L Security for those who need heavy armor

Posted: 04 Mar 2011 02:14 AM PST

Audi has launched a long-wheelbase high security vehicle called the Audi A8 L Security. This protective vehicle meets the strictest guidelines in force for civilian vehicles and adds a host of special security features alongside its heavy armored body.

The Audi A8 L Security has been officially approved by a German-government ballistics testing facility in Munich and complies with the class VR 7 ballistic protection standard. 

The Audi Security vehicle is powered by a 6.3L W12 engine that produces around 500 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It accelerates from 0-62 mph in 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h).

Audi claims that the A8 L Security is capable of withstanding an attack of a military hand grenade and that even an explosive charge during the test program did not pose a lethal threat to passengers.

This armored vehicle also comes with a host of special options to improve security including an emergency exit system (developed by Audi), an emergency fresh-air system, a smoke extractor for the passenger compartment, LED signaling system for convoy travel, flashing lights, a siren, a flag holder, permanently installed phone, an accident data recorder, an additional rearview camera, a heated windshield and partially heated side windows.

Deliveries of the Audi A8 L Security W12 will start late summer and Audi plan to introduce a new engine in 2012.

Press Release

High-security version of the Audi A8 soon to be launched

  • Audi A8 L Security meets strictest security guidelines
  • Roughly 450 hours of work go into the making of the armored luxury sedan
  • Fuel consumption reduced by three liters compared with predecessor

Audi is introducing a new, exclusive model – the A8 L Security. The long-wheelbase high-security version of the A8 meets the strictest guidelines in force for civilian vehicles, with a host of special security features available in addition to its heavy armoring. At sales launch Audi will offer the W12 engine, with another unit to follow in 2012. Both engines combine superior power with high efficiency.

At 5.27 meters (17.29 ft) in length, the Audi A8 L Security is a large, representative luxury sedan, hardly distinguishable to the eye from the production version. The LED headlights, which use light-emitting diodes for all functions, lend a striking expression to its front. They are part of the standard package in the A8 L Security W12.

When developing the basic design for the A8 model line, Audi engineers already had the high-security version in mind from the very outset. The result is a totally integrated concept far superior to any retrofit solution currently available on the market. All of the major components were analyzed with regard to their deformation properties, giving the A8 L Security an excellent crash performance that is also mindful of the other party involved.

The armored sedan's custom security modifications are performed by hand in a small, well-guarded workshop – on a production floor with specially secured doors, where the use of cellular phones is strictly prohibited. The basis for the high-security car is a previously modified aluminum production body constructed at the Neckarsulm plant as per the Audi Space Frame (ASF) principle. Specially trained technicians put in roughly 450 hours of work to incorporate the security features – in the uncompromisingly high quality Audi is known for. When this stage of the process is complete, the car returns to the factory for final assembly.

The A8 L Security has been officially certified by a German-government ballistics testing facility in Munich for compliance with the class VR 7 ballistic protection standard (tested as per BRV 2009 guidelines). The abbreviation BRV stands for Bullet Resistant Vehicles. The car's resistance to explosions was tested as per ERV 2010 guidelines (ERV = Explosion Resistant Vehicles). Class VR 7 ballistic protection imposes the strictest standards on civilian high-security sedans. The sheet metal and glazing in the passenger cell must withstand firing with NATO hard-core ammunition. In certain areas, the armoring on the Audi A8 L Security even complies with the criteria for class VR 9 and VR 10.

Integrated as a unitized component of the body, the high-security sedan's safety cell features a convergence of extremely tough, resistant materials – hot-formed armored steel, aramide fabric, ceramics, special alloyed aluminum and multilayer glass. Overlapping protective materials at the joints provide the utmost level of security throughout the occupant cell. The interior armoring weighs approximately 720 kilograms (1,587.33 lb).

The aluminum side sills have solid steel sections built in. These provide increased protection against explosive weapons – an area that has seen a marked stiffening of requirements in recent years. Made of an innovative aluminum alloy, the car's armored floor serves the same purpose. The Audi A8 L Security is capable of withstanding an attack with a military hand grenade.

Even an explosive charge defined from the test program does not pose a lethal threat to passengers, as demonstrated by measurements taken during testing on dummies.

The side windows, windshield and rear window are all made of special glass with a polycarbonate coating in the inside to prevent spalling. Optional electromechanical window openers operate the side windows, allowing them to be lowered nearly all the way. The excess weight of the windows amounts to just over 300 kilograms (661.39 lb). A closing assist feature comes standard for the doors – which weigh an additional 360 kilograms (793.66 lb) altogether. A door-stop function holds each door open in any desired position.

A key area in the A8 L Security is the "communication box" in the luggage compartment. In addition to the control units for the vehicle and communications electronics, it holds the optional components that further enhance the passengers' safety, along with the additional battery. The heavily armored communication box is novel in another way: It has comparatively light ceramic doors, and its frames are made of aluminum. Customers can also request special protection for the battery and the fuel tank.

A standard two-way communication system allows passengers in the A8 L Security to communicate with the outside world when the windows are closed. The system makes use of a speaker in the single-frame grille as well as microphones for the cabin and exterior.

Despite the high level of security it offers, the A8 L Security is a relatively light armored car. As is always the case in an Audi, the lightweight design plays a central role here. Outfitted with the W12 engine, the A8 L Security is the lightest vehicle among its peers.

High-security features
For A8 L Security customers, a multitude of special options are available for enhanced security. Among these is the emergency exit system, a technology patented by Audi. When the driver or rear passenger presses a tamperproof switch and pulls one of the inside door handles, pyrotechnical separating screws in the hinges detach the door from the body. The door can then be knocked out with a slight push.

Another security feature is the fire extinguisher system, which is activated via heat sensors or by pushing a button. The extinguishing agent flows from two canisters installed in the luggage compartment through two tubes running along the underfloor. Nozzles spray the agent into the wheel arches, onto the underfloor, onto the tank, and into the engine compartment.

The emergency fresh-air system operates with two oxygen cartridges housed in the protected area. At the push of a button, the system supplies fresh breathing air to the interior via vents in the roof lining. The supply lasts long enough for the car to pass through a danger zone or get out of a danger zone it is currently in. The system works by generating positive pressure in the vehicle interior to prevent toxic gases from penetrating the cabin. Yet another option is what Audi calls security start – a feature that allows the driver to start the engine remotely via a radio signal.

Numerous additional solutions round out the offering: a smoke extractor for the passenger compartment, an LED signaling system for convoy travel, flashing lights, a siren, a preparation for professional mobile radio systems, a flag holder, a permanently installed telephone, an accident data recorder, an additional rearview camera and a heated windshield plus partially heated side windows. Going beyond all of this, Audi will also ensure customers' special requests are taken care of an individual basis.

The interior of the A8 L Security is captivating, with its spacious design and workmanship on a craftsman's level. The comfort on board is first class – the standard package includes a four-zone climate control system with an ionizer to freshen the air, electric rear blinds, the sonorous Bose surround sound system and a TV tuner. In the rear are two individual, seats with power adjustment. Also featuring a versatile adjustment range, the front comfort seats offer heating as well as optional massage and ventilation functions. In addition, the A8 L W12 Security comes with a standard full-leather package.

On request Audi will install the "relaxation seat" – a widely adjustable right-hand rear seat with a power-adjustable footrest, heating and massage. Also available is a full-length center console with large storage compartments, complemented by the rear seat entertainment system with two 10.2-inch displays. Optional features such as a folding table, a refrigerator and a parking heater make the time spent in the car even more pleasant.

Assistance and multimedia systems
For the high-security version of the A8 L, Audi offers virtually the entire gamut of advanced technologies available for the production version. The standard MMI Navigation plus system works with a large hard disk, a high-resolution eight-inch monitor and a fast 3D graphics processor. Its groundbreaking feature, however, is the touchpad – the MMI touch. It gives the driver intuitive control of many functions. The navigation destination, for example, can be entered by tracing the letters on the pad with a finger.

MMI navigation plus is tightly integrated with the assistance and safety systems in the Audi A8 L Security. It reads the road ahead and provides the data to the control units for the automatic transmission, the headlights and the optional adaptive cruise control with stop & go function. With their increased intelligence, these systems can recognize complex scenarios and predictively support the driver.

The Audi pre sense safety system can reduce the severity of accidents and their consequences in many cases. The A8 L Security comes equipped with the pre sense basic version of the system, combined with the pre sense rear feature, which is coupled with the Audi side assist lane-changing system. Other optional systems enhance safety and comfort even further. These include Audi pre sense front as a component of ACC stop & go, night vision assistant with highlighting of detected pedestrians and Audi lane assist, which detects boundary lines on the roadway.

A standard high-end feature is park assistance plus with Audi Top View – a system consisting of four cameras mounted on the car to monitor its surroundings. A computer compiles images from the cameras and presents them in various views on the onboard monitor. The Cornerview function gives the driver a glimpse of traffic crossing in front of the sedan – a practical aid when maneuvering through narrow exits, for example.

Audi also offers many attractive multimedia modules. The Audi A8 L Security is outfitted with the Bluetooth car phone online as standard.

A complete, fast connection to the Internet is established via an integrated UMTS module, and a partnership with Google endows the car with innovative, intelligent functions. Passengers can connect their mobile terminal devices to a WLAN hotspot. For discreet telephoning, separate telephone handsets are available as an option.

Audi is launching the new A8 L Security with a superb engine – the W12. The direct-injected gasoline engine owes its name to the W-shaped layout of its cylinders – four rows of three cylinders each, merged into two banks. From a displacement of 6.3 liters, the compact, lightweight W12 pumps out 368 kW (500 hp) of power and 625 Nm (460.98 lb-ft) of torque, with the latter readily available at 4,750 rpm.

The W12 is captivating, with its smooth running performance, its subtle, musical sound and its power. It accelerates the A8 L Security from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 7.3 seconds. In consideration of the tires, top speed is limited to 210 km/h (130.49 mph). The high-security sedan consumes just 13.5 liters of fuel on average per 100 km (17.42 US mpg) – by far the lowest figure among its direct competitors (performance and consumption figures are preliminary). Compared with the predecessor model generating 331 kW (450 hp), fuel consumption has dropped by 3.0 liters per 100 kilometers – that’s an improvement of 18 percent.

In the coming year, Audi will offer a second engine version, which will combine outstanding pulling power with surprising efficiency. Its average consumption of 10 to 11 liters per 100 km (23.52 to 21.38 US mpg) will earn it a best-in-class ranking in terms of fuel efficiency.

In both engine variants, power is transmitted via an eight-speed tiptronic featuring a large overall gear spread. Its control system is electronic, operated with an elegant selector lever or rocker switches at the steering wheel. The quattro permanent all-wheel drive system conducts the power from the engine to all four wheels. In the standard configuration, the sporty drive is emphasized at the rear; if the situation calls for it, the drive system redirects a majority of the torque input to the axle with the better traction.

The A8 L Security provides luxurious ride comfort. Audi developed its chassis, brake system and electronic control systems specifically for the increased weight; in the wheel control arms, for example, the tensile strengths, materials and wall thickness have all been recalibrated. The adaptive air suspension with controlled damping is integrated in the Audi drive select system, which enables fine-tuning of a number of parameters. The optional dynamic steering rounds out the range on offer.

The high-security sedan is fitted with standard 19-inch forged wheels featuring a semipolished, two-tone finish. The specially sized 255/720 tires have a high load index of 117. Synthetic rings on the rims allow the vehicle to continue traveling at speeds up to 80 km/h (49.71 mph) even after a malfunction has occurred.

A tire pressure monitoring system that continuously checks the settings is also part of the standard equipment. Audi offers a full-size spare tire as an option.

The Audi A8 L Security W12 will be ready for delivery in late summer. An additional engine will follow in 2012. Audi supports its customers with an extensive range of services and a special training course for drivers and owners.

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A look inside the 2012 Mustang Boss V8 engine

Posted: 04 Mar 2011 01:42 AM PST

The 2012 Mustang Boss 302 V8 engine is one of the most powerful naturally aspirated engines Ford has ever produced, this 5 liter monster kicks out 444 horsepower and here is look at what makes this engine special.

Unique runners-in-the-box air intake allows for additional air flow, and a fortified valve train allows the engine to run to a 7500 rpm redline. Many of the internal components have been strengthened as well, such as the pistons, connecting rods and the crankshaft.

Here is a series of photos showing a Boss 302 engine with cut out sections in the block allowing us to see the upgraded components.

A revised composite intake system takes inspiration from Ford’s Daytona Prototype race engines and features shorter runners for improved air flow in the higher RPM range.

The exhaust fills have been filled with sodium for improved heat dissipation.

Lightened valvetrain components provide improved performance and can easily handle the 7500 RPM redline and beyond. Ford’s extensive testing has ensured the valvetrain will hold together for 150,000+ miles.

New cylinder heads have CNC-machined ports and chambers for better air flow across the entire RPM range. High RPM air flow as been improved without sacrificing low speed torque. The machining process takes 2.5 hours to complete for each cylinder head.

New forged aluminum pistons are up to handling the 444 horsepower as well as the 7500 RPM redline and the 11.0:1 compression ratio.

Upgraded sinter-forged connecting rods are stronger than the standard units in the Mustang GT.

A new forged steel crankshaft is built to race-specification and features upgraded rod bearings for a higher load capacity and improved high-speed durability.

Revised oil pan baffling improves oil control under racing conditions and during cornering loads greater than 1.0g.

An engine oil cooler allows for improved oil pressure and longer-lasting lubrication during racing conditions.

Source: Mustangs Daily

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Ram to create Adventurer model that will allow customization

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 11:56 PM PST

Ram has recently announced that they are planning to create a new truck model that will be aimed at first time younger buyers looking for a performance vehicle that they can customize.

This customizable Ram 1500 is currently named Adventurer and like the Ram Tradesman, it will offer buyers a standard 390 hp HEMI V8 engine with a 20 mpg rating.

Ram Truck President and CEO Fred Diaz had this to say about the new truck model:

“This is going to be a great-looking, sports truck.”. “A buyer will be able to drive off in a new HEMI-powered Ram Truck with money left over for other things, like Mopar accessories. There’s nothing in the market – and that includes other trucks, as well as cars — that can compete with this truck’s blend of style, exhilarating performance and value.”

Prices for the 2011 Ram 1500 Adventurer will start at $23,830 and it should arrive at Ram dealers by the second quarter of 2011.

Press Release


Ram to Introduce New Model; Code Name: Adventurer

  • HEMI® performance and sporty appearance target younger customers and first-time buyers
  • Overwhelming response to Ram Tradesman forces launch pull ahead

February 15, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – The Ram Truck Brand today announced that it would launch a new Ram 1500 model aimed squarely at first-time buyers and owners who are looking for a vehicle with performance and style that they can customize and make their own.

The as-yet-to be-named Ram 1500 model has been developed under the code name “Adventurer,” and borrows the formula of the highly acclaimed 2011 Ram Tradesman.

The Ram Tradesman — unveiled Feb. 9, at the Chicago Auto Show — is a value-priced, HEMI®-powered Ram 1500 regular cab truck that appeals to a cost-conscious, new-vehicle buyer who doesn’t want to give up performance and capability. The unnamed new Ram 1500, like the Ram Tradesman, offers buyers a standard HEMI V8 engine with its 20 mpg rating for the same price competitors are charging for their V6 engines.

“We know we have the formula right,” said Ram Truck President and CEO Fred Diaz. “Now we just need a great name that promotes pride of ownership. This new Ram model will be an attractive alternative for a younger or first-time buyer looking for performance at an affordable price. Case in point, it will have more horsepower and a lower base price than our competitors’ entry-level performance cars with the added benefit of versatility and capability.”

Ram Truck executives had planned to introduce the new Ram 1500 model later in the 2011 calendar year, but based on an overwhelming response to the Ram Tradesman, pulled ahead launch plans and opened the dealer ordering process with only a code name – Adventurer – to work with.

Loaded with Features

In addition to the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine with 390 horsepower and 407 lb.-ft. of torque, Ram 1500 “Code Name: Adventurer” comes loaded with features that emphasize its high-performance character.

The first thing drivers will notice is the Ram’s racy, monochromatic paint scheme. A body-colored grille with black honeycomb inserts, body-colored front fascia and body-colored rear fascia with chrome-tipped dual exhausts shout “high-performance.” The new Ram model will also get fog lamps and 20-inch aluminum wheels with locking lug nuts. There’s also a locking tailgate, cargo lamp, rear-bumper step pad, 6″ x 9″ side-view mirrors and rear wheel-well liners.

Standard features also include a 160-amp alternator, 26-gallon fuel tank, 3.55 rear axle ratio, 700-amp maintenance-free battery, four and seven-pin trailer wiring harness, heavy-duty front and rear shock absorbers, front and rear stabilizer bars, power rack-and-pinion steering, halogen headlamps, heavy-duty engine and transmission cooling and a full-size spare tire.

Inside, the new truck will get a heavy-duty vinyl 40/20/40 split-bench seat, and buyers will have a choice of vinyl or carpeted floor covering. Other features include air conditioning, an instrument cluster with tachometer and 120-mph speedometer, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, four-spoke tilt steering wheel, six-speaker media center with CD and MP3 player, as well as audio jack input for mobile devices, automatic headlamps, behind-the-seat storage bins, driver and passenger assist handles, power accessory delay, rear dome lamp, rear-view day/night mirror, tinted glass windows, tip start and variable intermittent windshield wipers.

Safety features include advanced multistage front air bags, supplemental front curtain and side air bags, anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes, electronic stability control, height-adjust shoulder belts, sentry key theft deterrent system and tire pressure monitoring warning lamp.

It’s available in Bright Silver Metallic, Bright White, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl, Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl; Deep Water Blue Pearl; Flame Red, Hunter Green Pearl and Mineral Gray Metallic.

Options for Personalization

Buyers can choose their own options. In addition to a Class IV receiver hitch, Ram 1500 “Code Name: Adventurer” is available with long list of options.

Factory-installed exterior options include Mopar chrome tubular side steps, Mopar chrome steel bed rails, folding and heated trailer-tow power mirrors with supplemental signals and courtesy lamps, spray-in bedliner and under-rail bedliner.

Inside, buyers can choose a cloth 40/20/40 split-bench seat, Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, rear-view auto-dim mirror, remote USB port, sliding rear window, cruise control, instrument cluster with vehicle information center display screen, tire pressure monitoring display, power one-touch windows, remote keyless entry, Sirius Satellite Radio and either carpet or rubber floor mats

There’s also choice of two optional rear-axle ratios (3.21, 3.92), anti-spin differential, engine block heater and trailer brake controller.

Ram Truck Code Name: Adventurer comes as a regular cab, short-bed model, with a choice of 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrain. When equipped with an optional Class IV hitch, the new Ram will tow a maximum trailer weight of 10,450 lbs.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for the new truck – Code Name: Adventurer – will start at $23,830, including $975 destination charge. It will arrive in Ram Truck dealerships in second quarter 2011.

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Production starts on the 2012 Saab 9-4x

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 11:12 PM PST

Production of the new Saab 9-4X crossover is finally underway with the first unit rolling off the assembly line recently at the Saab’s Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico.

President of Saab Automobile – Jan Ake Jonsson was on hand to see the production of the 2012 Saab 9-4x start up and had this to say about the occasion.

"This is a great day for Saab. The arrival of the 9-4X is another important step in the fulfillment of our business plan. This sporty and distinctive product will significantly broaden the appeal of our brand and give us access to an important new vehicle segment that is still growing, particularly in the United States."

The 9-4X crossover is due to arrive at Saab dealers in may and prices start from$34,205.

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Porsche begins testing on electric Boxster prototypes

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 09:05 AM PST

Porsche Boxster E protoype

The development of the Porsche Boxster E has now reached the testing phase as Porsche begins trials on three electric Porsche Boxster models.

The Boxster E comes powered by a 29kWh battery that sends the juice to a pair of electric-motors which produces a combined output of 241 hp. Porsche have stated that the performance figures will be similar to the standard Porsche Boxster S, which accelerates from 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds.

We will bring you more info on the Porsche Boxster E as soon as its released.

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Sexy Nissan Juke Commercials

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 08:30 AM PST

After Nissan’s successful Nissan Juke Urban Legend commercials last year the company is now attempting something completely different and have created a new series of adverts for the crossover which can only be described as sexy.

The Nissan Juke has partnered with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and together they have created these series of commercials which compares a gorgeous model in a swimsuit with the new Crossover in a serious of pointless tests.

Watch the ads below and tell us what you think in the comments box below.

If you happened to miss the more entertaining Nissan Juke Urban Legend commercials last year then click here to watch them.

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