- World debut of new Volkswagen Bulli in Geneva
- Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 ahead of Geneva
- First Look: Spyker Squadron C8 Aileron GT for 2012
Posted: 28 Feb 2011 03:04 PM PST
The Volkswagen bus, like no other car, stands for the spirit of freedom. It debuted over 60 years ago in 1950 with a contagiously simple design. Its internal Volkswagen code name was T1 for Transporter 1. The Germans called it the Bulli, and to Americans it was the Microbus. It was driven on all continents. And the world’s first van is still appreciated by a fan base which spans the globe. Now Volkswagen is reinterpreting the compact original form of this automotive legend and sending it into the future – in the form of a concept vehicle for a new generation Bulli! It is spacious like it was in 1950, it is as inspirational as ever, and it has clean styling like never before.
In this vehicle, Volkswagen is finishing what it started in 2001: ten years ago, the vision of a new Bulli led to an unforgettable concept vehicle known as the Microbus. But some visions need to mature before they yield something new. Now, the time is right for this vision. That is because the concept was sharpened, and the necessary, sustainable technologies are now at hand. More compact and affordable than the earlier concept vehicle, it is now being shown in Geneva. The new Bulli – powered by an electric motor and fitted with six seats and infotainment control via iPad.
This concept has the potential to establish a new, fifth brand of people carrier next to the Caddy, Touran, Sharan and its large counterpart – the Caravelle. The Bulli could even become an icon like the T1 Samba that still trades at extremely high prices today – one of those few vehicles that simply do not fade with time.
Zero emissions – up to 300 km on a single battery charge
Thanks to highly advanced drive technologies, the Bulli being shown in Geneva is what is referred to as a ‘zero emissions vehicle,’ because the concept is electrically powered. Zero emissions at the tailpipe. The Bulli’s electric motor outputs 85 kW of power and an impressive 270 Newton metres of torque. As is usual with this type of drive, its maximum forces are generated from standstill. The silent motor is supplied with energy from a lithium-ion battery with a maximum storage capacity of 40 kWh. This electrifying combination enables driving ranges of up to 300 km – a high value for an electric car. When the Bulli’s battery is charged at an “electric refuelling station” specially designed for electric vehicles, the charging process takes less than one hour.
The new Bulli accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.5 seconds, and its top speed is 140 km/h (electronically limited). Its range and driving performance not only make the compact vehicle ideal for short distances; but also ideal for most commuters and recreational activities with zero tailpipe emissions.
Naturally, the concept can also incorporate Volkswagen’s extremely efficient petrol and diesel direct injection engines as alternative drives. Engines with 1.0 or 1.4 litre displacement that are fuel efficient yet strong; this is downsizing by the book. Ideal for anyone who wants to cover maximum distances with minimal fuel consumption.
Bulli – the idea goes back 64 years
Without the Dutch Volkswagen importer Ben Pon, the T1 might not have existed, and of course neither would the Bulli concept vehicle at Geneva. That is because Pon was the person who on 23 April, 1947, sketched a picture of a compact bus in his notebook. Actually, the Dutchman’s drawing was a simple side view of a radically shortened public omnibus placed over the wheelbase of a Beetle with an “m” for “motor” written on it. That was it. The world’s first van was born. Great ideas usually just take a few strokes of the pen, but then they require a dedicated effort to implement them. Volkswagen designers took this sketch and created the bus that became an automotive icon with the characteristic “V” in front.
The Bulli concept vehicle now follows in the footsteps of the original bus and demonstrates the concept of maximum space utilisation with the characteristic “V” with VW logo at the front end and the cleanest of proportions. In the process, the concept vehicle’s design follows the maxims of the new Volkswagen “design DNA.” Retro? Hardly. It is a Volkswagen! The team led by Walter de Silva, Head of Volkswagen Group Design, and Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design of the Volkswagen brand, developed the “design DNA” for the modern era based on styling principles of the bestselling Beetle, Golf I and T1.
Design – visual world of a masterpiece
The new edition of the Bulli is 3.99 metres long, 1.75 metres wide and 1.70 metres tall. The T1 was somewhat longer and taller, but narrower. With a wheelbase of 2.62 metres, the Bulli utilises the overall length very well. Also striking here are the Bulli’s relatively large track widths (1.50 m front and rear) in relation to body width.
Front end: Like the Samba bus before it, the Bulli being presented in Geneva also has two-tone paint – in this case white and red. The “V” on the bonnet, is kept white. The bonnet does house the engine: instead of rear-wheel drive with a boxer engine, as on the Samba, the Bulli has an electric motor located forward of the front axle and front-wheel drive. Here it is a compact integral drive whose primary components are an E-motor, high-voltage pulse inverter and DC/DC converter for the 12-Volt electrical system.
In keeping with the Volkswagen design DNA, there is a horizontal layout of the narrow dual headlights with L-shaped LED daytime running lights and turn indicators implemented as LEDs arranged in an inverted L shape at each outer corner. Incidentally, LEDs not only exhibit tremendous luminous power and long life; due to their low energy consumption they are ideal for the electrically powered Bulli of 2011. Located between the headlights in the bonnet is, as always, the VW logo. On the level beneath, one finds – once again arranged in a horizontal line – the air intakes for the passenger compartment and for battery cooling or for cooling the alternative conventional drives.
Finally, the bumper that is seamlessly integrated in the front end completes the design. Laterally, it exhibits a large round fog light on each side, another air intake in the middle, and a front spoiler in black below. This line matches the lines of the side sills.
Side profile: The Bulli’s two-tone paint also distinguishes the sides. Treated in white is the entire area above what is known as the character line. Originating in the wings is a white stripe that runs to the distinctive D-pillars; above them, the entire roof section is painted in this colour. The continuous line of windows creates an especially striking contrast between the white sections. Here the visually slender black pillars executed in the style of the 2001 Microbus concept are visually striking. Painted in red are the door mirror housings protruding from the line of windows.
Beneath the character line is the red body area. Design elements such as the distinctive wheel housings, the additional shape modulation in the door surfaces above the side sills and the headlights that wrap around to the sides with minimal seams are details that would not have been possible to manufacture in this form and precision on a T1. Concealed in the sandwiched floor behind the sills is the 1,450 kg Bulli’s lithium-ion battery. The white door handles are practical, opening in the direction of pull. The 18-inch alloy wheels are especially attractive. At their centres are stylised chrome hubcaps – another tribute to the bus of years past. Shorter than ever are the overhangs at the front and rear.
Rear section: The Volkswagen design DNA with its horizontal lines also dominates the rear of the new Bulli. Viewed from the bottom upwards, above the body-coloured bumper (including black, stylised diffuser) there is the tailgate that extends across the entire width of the vehicle. In the tailgate, the narrow LED rear lights continue a theme from the Microbus concept of 2001. At the centre, but smaller than at the front end: the VW symbol. When all six seating locations are fully occupied, there is a 370 litre bootspace behind the tailgate.
Interior space – melding of car and iPad
Like the body design, the interior is also marked by a level of clarity whose consistent application can only be found at Volkswagen. The passenger compartment – immersed in light during the day thanks to its panoramic sunroof – also harbours some surprises.
A practical highlight: like the T1 in times past, thanks to its level floor the new Bulli is also equipped with a single bench seat in front. The van offers space for three in the rear as well.
An infotainment highlight: a removable iPad in the centre console serves as a multifunctional touchscreen. Along with Internet-based iPad applications and the media centre, it also handles control of such functions as Bluetooth hands-free telephone and a navigation system. Integrated right on the iPad mount are controls for the climate control system and the centrally located hazard warning switch.
Typical Volkswagen: all cockpit details are clearly organised and designed to be intuitive. Running laterally across the entire width is a line with air vents. In front of the driver, there is a speedometer in the shape of a semicircle. A colour multifunction display, also semi-circular in shape, can be used to view and control (via multifunctional keys in the steering wheel and on it) the navigation system, telephone, trip computer and media centre – the entire unit of speedometer and multifunction display also communicates with the iPad. The key word here is sound: a system produced by legendary guitar and amplifier manufacturer Fender (USA) ensures that the music sounds as though it were being performed live. At Woodstock in 1969, Jimi Hendrix played “The Star-Spangled Banner” – the American national anthem – on a Fender Stratocaster guitar.
What is not found in the Bulli is a tachometer (unnecessary with an electric motor) or a conventional gear shift or gear selection lever (also unnecessary with an electric motor). The latter is replaced by a rotary switch to the right of the driver, which is used to activate forward and reverse gears. A pushbutton in the same switch is used to start and stop the motor. Another rotary switch to the left of the driver is used to control the lighting functions.
Seats become reclining surface in an instant
The outer and middle seat positions of the front bench seat can be folded down (2/3 split); the rear beach seat, meanwhile, can be completely stowed. When the rear bench seat is stowed, cargo capacity increases to 1,600 litres. In addition – and here the new Bulli is reminiscent of its legendary ancestor – the seat system can be transformed into a large reclining surface with just a few manual movements. This turns the compact MPV into a compact camper – the ultimate companion for a weekend trip.
At least as important for many users, however, is that the seating system should not only be versatile but also offer maximum comfort. The seat position is comfortably high and is equally relaxing. As an added benefit, it offers an optimised view forward as well. And that is how it was in the T1 too. Contributing to peace of mind aboard today’s vehicle is the fact that the new era Bulli is equipped with all conceivable safety features. And that is the crucial difference: the car has essentially been reinvented since the days of the first T1 aka the Bulli aka the Microbus.
- Volkswagen AG
Features and technical data apply to models offered in Germany. They may differ in other countries. All fuel consumption and CO2 values indicated for the new products are forecast values as of February 2011.
Posted: 28 Feb 2011 02:03 PM PST
With the Aventador LP 700-4, Automobili Lamborghini is redefining the very pinnacle of the world super sports car market – brutal power, outstanding lightweight engineering and phenomenal handling precision are combined with peerless design and the very finest equipment to deliver an unparalleled driving experience. With the Aventador, Lamborghini is taking a big step into the future – and building on the glorious history of the brand with the next automotive legend. The first customers will take delivery of the new Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 in late summer 2011.
The technology package of the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is utterly unique. It is based on an innovative monocoque made from carbon-fiber that combines exceptional lightweight engineering with the highest levels of stiffness and safety. The new twelve-cylinder with 6.5 liters’ displacement and 515 kW / 700 hp brings together the ultimate in high-revving pleasure with astonishing low-end torque. Thanks to a dry weight of only 1,575 kilograms (3,472 lb), which is extremely low for this class of vehicle, the weight-to-power ratio stands at only 2.25 kilograms per hp (4.96 lb/hp). Even the fantastic 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration figure of just 2.9 seconds and the top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph) do not fully describe the Aventador’s extreme performance. And yet, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are down by around 20 percent compared with its predecessor, despite the considerable increase in power (+8%).
The ISR transmission is unique among road-going vehicles, guaranteeing the fastest shifting time (only 50 milliseconds) and a highly emotional shift feel, while the lightweight chassis with pushrod suspension delivers absolute handling precision and competition-level performance. The expressively-designed interior offers hi-tech features ranging from the TFT cockpit display with Drive Select Mode system. The Aventador will be built to the very highest quality standards in an all-new production facility in Sant’Agata Bolognese.
“With the Aventador LP 700-4, the future of the super sports car is now part of the present. Its exceptional package of innovative technologies is unique, its performance simply overwhelming,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “The Aventador is a jump of two generations in terms of design and technology, it’s the result of an entirely new project, but at the same time it’s a direct and consistent continuation of Lamborghini’s brand values. It is extreme in its design and its performance, uncompromising in its standards and technology, and unmistakably Italian in its style and perfection. Overall, the dynamics and technical excellence of the Aventador LP 700-4 makes it unrivalled in the worldwide super sports car arena.”
Aventador: the name of one of the most courageous of all bulls
According to its tradition, Lamborghini’s new flagship bears the name of a bull – naturally, a particularly courageous specimen from the world of the Spanish Corrida. Aventador was the name of a bull that entered into battle in October 1993 at the Saragossa Arena, earning the “Trofeo de la Peña La Madroñera” for its outstanding courage.
A sculpture of extreme dynamics
For Lamborghini, design is always the beauty of aggressive power, the elegance of breathtaking dynamics. From the very first glance, the new Aventador is unmistakably a Lamborghini, clothed in the brand’s characteristic and distinctive design language – with its extremely powerful proportions, its exact lines and precise surfaces, and with taut muscularity in every one of its details. The designers in the Centro Stile Lamborghini have carefully developed this design language to give the Aventador a significant new edge. It is an avantgarde work of art, an incredibly dynamic sculpture, from the sharply honed front end through the extremely low roofline to the distinctive rear diffuser. Every line has a clear function, every form is dictated by its need for speed, yet the overall look is nothing less than spectacular and breathtaking.
The doors open upward – of course
Truly impressive proportions come from an overall length of 4,78 meters (188.19 in.) matched with an impressive width of 2,26 meters (88.98 in.) including the exterior mirrors, and further accentuated by an extremely low height of just 1.136 mm (44.72 in.). It goes without saying that both doors of the carbon-fiber monocoque open upward – a feature that was first introduced in the now legendary Countach and then used for subsequent V12 models such as Diablo and Murciélago. However, the Aventador also evokes its immediate predecessor the Murciélago – electronically managed air intakes open depending on the outdoor temperature and the need for cooling air,ensuring maximum aerodynamic efficiency. And for those whishing to flaunt the heart of their Lamborghini, the optional transparent engine bonnet exhibits the twelve-cylinder engine like a technical work of art in a display case.
Exclusive and high-tech interior
The Aventador’s spacious interior combines the fine exclusivity of premium materials and perfect Italian craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology and generous equipment. The red switch cover on the broad center tunnel encloses the start button used to awaken the twelve-cylinder. The interior is dominated by a next-generation dashboard – as in a modern airplane, the instruments are presented on a TFT-LCD screen using innovative display concepts. A second screen is dedicated to the standard-fit multimedia and navigation system.
The new Lamborghini flagship has a full monocoque. The entire occupant cell, with tub and roof, is one single physical component. This ensures extreme rigidity and thus outstanding driving precision, as well as an extremely high level of passive safety for the driver and his passenger. The entire monocoque weighs only 147.5 kilograms (325.18 lb).
The monocoque, together with the front and rear Aluminium frames, features an impressive combination of extreme torsional stiffness of 35,000 Newton meters per degree and weighs only 229.5 kilograms (505.9 lb).
Maximum revs, amazing sound
For the Aventador LP 700-4, the engineers in Lamborghini’s R&D Department have developed a completely new high-performance power unit – an extremely powerful and high-revving, but very compact power unit. At 235 kilograms (518 lb), it is also extremely lightweight. A V12 with 515 kW (700 hp) at 8,250 rpm sets a whole new benchmark, even in the world of super sports cars. The maximum torque output is 690 Newton meters (509 lb-ft) at 5,500 rpm. The extremely well-rounded torque curve, the bull-like pulling power in every situation, the spontaneous responsiveness and, last but not least, the finely modulated but always highly emotional acoustics are what make this engine a stunning power plant of the very highest order.
Innovative transmission for maximum performance
Engineers at Lamborghini have created the perfect mate for the new twelve-cylinder engine with the highly innovative ISR (Independent Shifting Rods) transmission. The development objective was clearly formulated – to build not only the fastest robotized gearbox, but also to create the world’s most emotional gear shift. Compared with a dual-clutch transmission, not only is the ISR gearbox much lighter, it also has smaller dimensions than a conventional manual unit – both key elements in the field of lightweight engineering for super sports cars.
Refined and safe with all-wheel drive
This kind of extreme power must be delivered reliably to the road. The driver of the Aventador LP 700-4 can depend fully on its permanent all-wheel drive – indicated by the 4 in the model designation. In the driveline, an electronically controlled Haldex coupling distributes the forces between front and rear. In a matter of milliseconds, this coupling adapts the force distribution to match the dynamic situation. A self-blocking rear differential together with a front differential electronically controlled by ESP make for even more dynamic handling. The Drive Select Mode System enables the driver to choose vehicle characteristics (engine, transmission, differential, steering and dynamic control) from three settings – Strada (road), Sport and Corsa (track) – to suit his individual preferences.
Lamborghini has equipped its new V12 super sports car with an innovative and highly sophisticated suspension concept. The pushrod spring and damper concept was inspired by Formula 1 and tuned perfectly to meet the needs of a high-performance road-going vehicle. Together with aluminum double wishbone suspension and a carbon-fiber ceramic brake system, this lightweight chassis represents a further aspect of the new flagship’s unique technology concept.
Extensive assistance and safety systems
In the hands of its driver, the Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 is a high-precision machine – spontaneous, direct and always reliable. The driver is also assisted by the latest electronic systems such as the incredibly sporty, adjustable ESP system. When it comes to passive safety, front, head-thorax and knee airbags play their part alongside the extremely stiff carbon-fiber cell.
A rich and wide-ranging individualization program
A Lamborghini should always fit perfectly with the style and preferences of its owner. To this end, the range of individualization options is virtually inexhaustible. There is a selection of 13 production paint colors to choose from, three of which are highly sophisticated matt tones. A choice of two-tone interiors are offered with the “Sportivo” and “Elegante” versions, while a premium audio system and reversing camera are among the many technology options. And of course, the “Ad Personam” individualization program knows no limits when it comes to colors and materials.
The price of the Lamborghini Aventador and market delivery
Posted: 28 Feb 2011 12:25 PM PST
Spyker Squadron, the factory racing division of luxury supercar manufacturer, Spyker, will focus its resources this year on the development of a next generation GT race car for 2012.
Based on Spyker’s new flagship C8 Aileron luxury supercar, the new GT racer will be designed and developed to the ACO’s new GTE specifications and will be ready for the start of the 2012 motorsport season. Development activities will be undertaken by Spyker Squadron’s expanded engineering team at its Zeewolde headquarters in conjunction with its long-standing technical partners.
Greater attention will also be paid to the commercial arm of the Spyker Squadron division, specifically through the sale of its new C8 Aileron GT car to customer teams. Squadron is already in discussions with a number of potential purchasers for the supply of cars and of full customer racing support packages.
Spyker Squadron Managing Director, Peter Van Erp, said: “We are taking a racing sabbatical this year to concentrate our resources on developing a new GT racer based on Spyker’s new C8 Aileron supercar, instead of continuing to spend money on a car at the end of its development cycle. For the long term future of Spyker Squadron, and for its role in the promotion and technical development of Spyker road cars, it’s a positive and strategically important step.
“We will develop the car for the new GTE class, although after its first season we will assess whether there is sufficient demand to develop a variant to FIA GT3 specifications. This would be relatively straightforward and would increase the potential customer base for the car and associated race support package. We are already attracting customer race teams wishing to buy an off-the-shelf car, with enquiries arriving from Europe and the Far East,” continues Van Erp.
“Ultimately, our fans can look forward to a very exciting long term future following Spyker in top-flight endurance racing, with both the Spyker Squadron and customer racing teams fielding C8 Aileron GT cars. And as a result, Spyker will become an even more prominent and successful name in endurance motorsport around the world in 2012 and beyond.
”The Spyker C8 Aileron GT racing car will take over from Squadron’s C8 Laviolette GT2R racer, with which Spyker’s race division enjoyed three years of competitive European GT endurance racing. In 2009, the C8 Laviolette GT2R delivered Squadron’s most successful season, claiming two second-place GT2 class finishes in the Le Mans Series, and scoring an incredible fifth place in the gruelling 24 Hours of Le Mans.
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