Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
March 5, 2012
Once upon a time, the only luxury SUV you could get your hands on was the Range Rover. Now, it seems every luxury automaker aside from a few, offer an SUV.
Now, Bentley is showing their new SUV. Called the EXP 9 F (No, that isn't the license plate on the car), this concept previews what could be the third vehicle in Bentley's lineup.
Design is well... um.. unique. The front end borrows many cues from the Continental and Mulsanne. The side borrowed the doors off a Range Rover and the back end seems to be a blend of Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7.
Inside the EXP 9 F is what you would expect of a car from Crewe. The wood trim lining the doors and dash comes from a whole forest. Everything else is either trimmed in leather, chrome, and aluminum. The EXP 9 F also comes with a full picnic set, wedged in the back.
Along with the old world luxury, Bentley has fitted a lot tech into this concept. The front gets a TFT gauge-cluster screen, touch-sensitive center-stack controls, and motorized widescreen infotainment display. Back seat passengers get power-reclining seats, power footrests, and a cooled compartment. Plus, the EXP 9 F has internet connectivity.
Power comes from a 6.0L W-12 and goes through an eight-speed automatic. Bentley says the engine is producing somewhere around 600 HP. However, a hybrid powertrain and Bentley's new 4.0L twin-turbo V8 could also fit in the vehicle.
Bentley says a decision on whether to build the EXP 9 F will depend on reaction from their customers. Our guess, expect to see a Bentley SUV sometime in the next few years.
Press Release is on Page 2
BENTLEY REVEALS EXP 9 F – A PINNACLE LUXURY PERFORMANCE SUV DESIGN CONCEPT
EXP 9 F all-wheel drive luxury Sport Utility Vehicle concept revealed at Geneva Motor Show
Potential for third Bentley model-line alongside Mulsanne and Continental ranges
Bold reinterpretation of Bentley design cues in a spacious, versatile and high performance SUV
A fusion of contemporary, crafted luxury, advanced in-car technology, commanding driving position and all-terrain capability
6.0 litre, twin turbocharged W12 engine and 8 speed transmission
(Geneva, 5 March 2012) Bentley is offering a vision of the future with a dramatic new Sport Utility Vehicle concept, EXP 9 F, at the Geneva International Salon d’Auto. The Company’s designers and engineers have created a compelling new take on the Grand Touring Bentley - a vehicle that feels equally at home at an opera gala performance, on the sand dunes and the overtaking lane of the autobahn.
Unmistakably a Bentley – yet a Bentley like none before it – the EXP 9 F could herald a third Bentley model-line alongside the bespoke Mulsanne and the high performance Continental GT, GTC and Flying Spur.
Today a global luxury brand with a network of 160 dealers from Shanghai to Beverly Hills, Bentley has an increasingly diverse customer base spanning every continent. For many customers, a dramatically styled, Bentley all-wheel drive SUV which combines a spacious, versatile cabin and commanding driving position, with Bentley’s hallmark power, performance, advanced technology and hand crafted luxury, would be a natural choice both on and off-road.
“We are very excited by the potential of a high performance, ultra-luxury Bentley SUV. We know that many Bentley customers already own SUVs, admiring their style, luxury, performance and versatility. With EXP 9 F, Bentley is making a clear statement of intent that we have both the expertise and desire to meet and exceed their expectations.” Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors.
BOLD, DYNAMIC, SPORTY DESIGN
Key Bentley styling cues re-interpreted for EXP 9 F with innovative detailing
Sculptured flowing surfaces emphasise power, muscularity and robustness
From a designer’s perspective, EXP 9 F was a dream project, the chance to create a completely new type of Bentley. From the very beginning, the design team had a clear vision for the new Bentley SUV, as Dirk van Braeckel, Director of Design, explains:
“EXP 9 F had to represent the absolute pinnacle of the sport utility sector, setting a new benchmark for this type of vehicle. The style had to reflect Bentley’s sporting character despite its radically different package and purpose together with sculptured, flowing surfaces in keeping with the Bentley tradition.”
A new class of Bentley allowed the styling team to adopt a more progressive design approach. The exterior is a bold, dynamic statement, combining clean, muscular surfaces with signature character lines, while retaining the qualities of luxury and power – a pure Bentley.
Key Bentley cues such as the matrix grille, round lamps and the strong power-line and haunch along each flank are reinterpreted for EXP 9 F. The ‘hewn from solid’ design language and innovative detailing, emphasise the robust character of this high-luxury SUV.
The designers were inspired not only by the more functional nature of EXP 9 F but by the ‘visible engineering’ of the famous Blower Bentleys. For example, the day-time running lamp apertures also act as the charge cooler air intakes for the twin-turbo W12 engine, each with a dramatic, mesh-covered turbine fan design and ‘rifled’ inner surface finish.
The turbine theme continues with the stunning 23-inch alloy wheels, the design of which complements the sculptured coachwork. The multiple spokes are reminiscent of the shape of turbine fan blades while the centrally mounted wheel nut is a visual reference both to Bentley’s Le Mans racers of the 1920s with centre-lock spinner and to the single nut found on the modern-day Speed 8’s high-tech racing alloys.
At the rear, the swooping lines of the tailgate avoid utilitarian overtones in favour of a distinctly sporting profile, while the ultra-wide, two-part split tailgate offers a high level of versatility when grand touring. The bold design language of EXP 9 F is complemented by twin exhaust tailpipes with ‘rifled’ inner surfaces, their elliptical shapes echoing those of the rear light clusters.
The rear lights are inspired by the forms and details of fighter jet engines, uniquely designed so that they glow from within, spreading their light outwards.
INTERIOR – A FUSION OF LUXURY WITH UTILITY
Light, airy, contemporary cabin design with exquisite British ‘sporting’ luxury craft detailing
Contemporary use of touchscreen and tailored interface technologies
Fresh interpretation of traditional handcrafted materials with highly durable surfaces
High degree of practicality including versatile rear cabin layout and full-width, two-piece tailgate
Bentley is renowned for its fusion of extremes – technology and craftsmanship, luxury and performance – and the interior of EXP 9 F expresses the resolution of apparent opposites in its use of materials, techniques and technology, as Dirk van Braeckel explains:
“The challenge for the interior design team was to create a cabin which provides a blend of luxury and utility. The result is a light and airy environment with a commanding view of the road and a versatile layout which showcases Bentley’s craft and design language in an innovative and contemporary way.”
Traditional handcrafted elements such as wood, leather and polished metals such as aluminium, bronze and gunmetal are used to create a sense of British luxury, yet the way they are used sets a fresh and contemporary interior ambience. Soft-touch leather contrasts with highly durable surfaces with the concept car design experimenting with the use of saddle leather for the seat backs, top roll and loadspace – while analogue bezels and dials are paired with TFT ‘virtual’ instrumentation.
Even the luxurious silk wool floormats are reversible – with one side finished in durable, ribbed saddle leather for use when the driver and passengers are dressed for the great outdoors.
The upright dashboard design features a full-width, one-piece wood veneer with a subtly negative surface and instruments with a configurable display. Traditional Bentley ‘bulls eye’ vents have a ‘rifled’ gunmetal inner surface for a more contemporary and functional appearance. The centre console is a blend of functionality and supreme ergonomics with dynamic, architectural layers which help to create a central spine to the cabin. The frame of the console is also a structural component with integrated, sculpted grab handles.
The flowing roof design with a panoramic glass panel is inspired by the roll cages of rally cars, expressing both strength and lightness.
Rear seat passengers can chose between business mode, with generous legroom complete with fold-down keyboard and full internet connectivity via an iPad or tablet or a more reclined position with powered footrest, drinks table and an infotainment screen for movies. When the rear seats are not in use, they can be powered forward to create a larger loadspace for sports equipment or luggage.
The EXP 9 F seating is 4+1, with a rear armrest lifting to reveal a cooled compartment for champagne and glasses. Seats feature a diamond-quilted ‘shoulder line’ in soft-touch leather, echoing the traditional appearance of a British field sport jacket.
At the rear, the lower section of the two-piece tailgate may be used as a viewing bench or picnic table. Bespoke picnic hampers are stowed neatly to either side of the loadspace when not in use, but are located on rails for easy access. An awning extends over the tailgate to protect those seated there; two umbrellas fit either side of the rear luggage area for when the rain clouds sweep in.
COMMANDING DRIVING POSITION AND CONTROL ARCHITECTURE
Inspired blend of traditional analogue and TFT touchscreen technology
Bespoke interface engineering – tailored to the individual with driver-selectable instrumentation modes
As befits a Bentley, the EXP 9 F design concept features a near-infinite choice of driver information and entertainment options. However the design and electrical engineering teams sought to avoid creating a cluttered or confusing driver and passenger environment, presenting only the information that each user needs, when they need it.
As a result, EXP 9 F places key driver information such as 3D navigation in a central TFT panel directly in the driver’s line of sight, where it is flanked by two analogue reverse-read dials. Meanwhile controls that are shared between driver and front seat passenger, such as cabin temperature, air vents and entertainment are presented in the central touchscreen and console. The TFT screen deploys from the full-width metal trim to provide a fully integrated extension to the glass surface of the centre console
Three different driving modes – Comfort, Sport and Off-Road – are selectable according to the road environment and type of journey. Thus the driver information TFT panel would be able to switch between satellite navigation on the motorway to a ‘sump cam’ when negotiating a bumpy track.
BENTLEY POWER AND PERFORMANCE
Although the EXP 9 F concept is based around the Bentley 6.0 litre, twin-turbocharged W12 engine with an 8-speed transmission, both the company’s recently-launched 4.0 litre, twin-turbocharged V8 or a hybrid drivetrain could meet the performance requirements of a pinnacle luxury SUV.
Whilst EXP 9 F is primarily intended to investigate new design territory – and all drivetrain options remain under consideration – any Bentley SUV would offer the thunderous performance the marque is renowned for. The W12 6.0 litre powertrain, for example, could develop 600bhp and 800 Nm of torque with key performance indicators like the top speed and 0-60mph sprint time all setting new benchmarks for the SUV sector.
EVALUATION, REFINEMENT AND FUTURE PLANNING
When the first generation Continental GT was unveiled in 2003 it represented the renaissance of Bentley as a global luxury icon, subsequent launches such as Mulsanne, Continental Flying Spur saloon and the new Continental GT have seen the Bentley brand growing from strength to strength.
EXP 9 F represents the chance to take Bentley values of design, craftsmanship and engineering excellence into what would be – literally – new terrain for the brand. Bentley’s experience with the all-wheel drive Continental range makes the concept of a Bentley SUV a natural progression for the company.
Customer and public reaction will be analysed following the unveiling of EXP 9 F at Geneva 2012, with the aim of refining the concept further. Above all, Bentley will be listening carefully to the reaction of customers and potential customers throughout the world, prior to making any definitive commitment to production.
“A Bentley Grand Tourer doesn’t necessarily have to be a coupé, a convertible or a saloon – it could equally well be an SUV. What’s important is that it should be true to Bentley’s brand values and in line with the desires and needs of our customers.” – Alasdair Stewart, Member of the Board, Sales and Marketing.
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
March 5, 2012
A day before its official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show, pictures of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class made their way onto the internet.
The pictures show the new A-Class striking the same look as the A-Class concept shown at last year's New York Auto Show. The front end of the production A-Class is almost identical to the concept, with its large grill, headlights with LED running lights, and daring character lines.
The back end is more sedate than the concept and features traditional squared off taillights with LED accents.
The new A-Class rides on Mercedes-Benz's new MFA front-wheel drive platform, which underpins the new B-Class and is expected to underpin a new compact crossover, small CLS-like sedan, and a new Infiniti compact.
Engines will be range of gas and diesel options for Europe.
As for the U.S., we'll not see the A-Class. But, we will see a few models based on the same platform.
More Information on Page 2
Only a few hours after the leak of some A-Class pictures, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new A-Class to everyone at a press event before the start of the Geneva Motor Show. We have some new information about engines and transmissions.
The A-Class will have variety of gas and diesel options for the European market. Gas engines will include a 1.6L turbocharged unit producing 121 HP, a 154 HP version of the 1.6L engine, and a 2.0L turbo-four producing 208hp. Diesel options will include a 1.8L engine churning out 108 HP and 184 lb-ft, a 134 HP, 221 lb-ft of the 1.8L, and a 2.2L turbocharged four delivering 168 HP and 258 lb-ft.
All engines are available with the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and come equipped with the ECO start/stop function standard.
There is also talk of an AMG version that will use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine possibly delivering well over 300 HP and go to all four wheels.
Press Release is on Page 3
"All set for attack"
Geneva/Stuttgart. The heartbeat of a new generation: at the centre of Mercedes-Benz's presence at the Geneva Motor Show (8 to 18 March 2012) will be the world premiere of the new A-Class. The company is opening up a whole new chapter in the compact segment: markedly emotive in design, with powerful engines ranging from 80 kW (109 hp) to 155 kW (211 hp), and extremely efficient, with emissions from just 99g/CO2/km. At the same time the new model underlines that for Mercedes-Benz safety is not a question of price - the standard specification includes, amongst other things, the radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system.
"A is for Attack: the A-Class is a clear statement of the new dynamism of the Mercedes-Benz brand", explains Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "It is completely new, down to the last detail. In automotive development, it's not often you get the chance to start with a clean sheet of paper. Our engineers and designers have made the very most of that opportunity."
Design and dynamism are obvious characteristics of the new A-Class even at first glance, simply in the way it sits up to 18 centimetres closer to the road than its predecessor. The radical new design idiom that was so enthusiastically received upon its first appearance with the "Concept A-CLASS" has been rigorously applied for the series-production model. With their fresh interpretation of the classic two-box design, the Mercedes designers have created an emotive exterior with a pronounced sporty flair.
"Applying the new dynamic style of Mercedes-Benz to the compact class was a challenge that we thoroughly enjoyed", explains Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz. "The almost sculptural lines of the A-Class are very typical
for Mercedes. The feature lines, particularly along the sides of the car, then give the A-Class structure and tautness."
The objective when it came to the interior design was to complement the sporty look of the exterior. On top of this the car has a high-quality feel about it that is unique in this segment, achieved both through the design idiom as such and through the choice and combinations of the high-quality materials used. As seen in the Concept A-CLASS, there is an option allowing a smartphone to be fully integrated into the operating and display system. A special app makes it possible to use the full functionality of the iPhone®, and in due course also of other smartphones, in the car.
All trim surfaces feature an electroplated finish in "silver chrome", giving them a genuine metallic surface with "cool touch" effect.
"This is just one example of the way in which the quality of the A-Class's interior is not defined by classic trim elements but by consistent design and by the specific materials used", explains Hartmut Sinkwitz, Head of Interior Design. "The motto we used
when designing the interior was 'pure sportiness, newly interpreted'."
Particular visual highlights include, for example, the air vents, which stand out like "sparkling jewels" (Sinkwitz), so underlining the exceptional quality of the interior. The sporty character of the vehicle is further emphasised by the integral seats (optional extra) in the front. The rear seat is similarly sporty in appearance and can accommodate up to three passengers. As well as the basic specification, which can be individualised with a wide range of options, there is a choice of design and equipment lines that have been put together with the requirements of customers in mind: "Urban", "Style", and "AMG Sport".
The world premiere of the new A-Class (length/width/height: 4292/1780/1433 millimetres) will take place at the Geneva Motor Show (8 to 18 March 2012). It will be making its way to European dealers in September 2012.
Sporty exclusivity: the A-Class Sport offers a fresh definition of dynamism
For the first time, the performance specialists from AMG were involved in the development of the compact class from a very early stage. The result is the most dynamic version of the new model series - the A-Class Sport 'engineered by AMG', in which the visual affinity to the Concept A-CLASS is at its most evident - particularly in terms of the new diamond grille. The A-Class Sport features exclusive 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a 5-spoke design with 235/40 R18 tyres all round and painted high-gloss black with a high-sheen finish, together with red-painted brake callipers.
These give an indication of the particularly dynamic driving qualities of the A 250 Sport and the A 220 CDI Sport, which are differentiated, amongst other factors, by a special AMG-developed front axle and a suspension that has been configured to match.
Hints of red on the AMG front and rear aprons also serve to emphasise the expressive positioning of the new model. The contrast between black trim and additional accents in red continues in the interior: the contrasting decorative topstitching on the steering wheel and seats is in this same bright shade, as are the seat belts. The ambient lighting of the instruments and the highlight rings of the air vents are similarly red.
Drive system: new petrol and diesel-powered engines
A broad range of both petrol and diesel engines has something to suit every performance requirement, whilst also demonstrating the current state of the art in terms of efficiency: for the first time, a Mercedes-Benz will produce emissions of just 99 g of CO2 per kilometre.
The bandwidth of the new generation of petrol engines with a displacement of 1.6 and 2.0 litres ranges from 90 kW (115 hp) in the A 180 and 115 kW (156 hp) in the A 200 through to 155 kW (211 hp) in the A 250. Common to all is the combination of direct injection and exhaust gas turbocharging, a more advanced combustion process and an extended stratification range for lean-burn operation that uses fast-acting injectors for the multiple injection of the fuel as well as on-demand multi-spark ignition. CAMTRONIC is an innovation that will be celebrating its world premiere in the 1.6-litre engine: adjusting the valve lift on the intake side restricts the amount of fresh mixture used in the partial load range, so reducing consumption.
The diesel engines also offer an impressively high level of efficiency and environmental compatibility, thanks to sophisticated injection technology
and turbocharging. The A 180 CDI offers an output of 80 kW (109 hp) and a maximum torque of up to 250 Nm, while the A 200 CDI has a maximum output of 100 kW (136 hp) and torque that rises to 300 Nm. The A 220 CDI has a displacement of 2.2 litres, an output of 125 kW (170 hp) and torque of 350 Nm, delivering absolutely exceptional performance in the A-Class.
All engines in the new A-Class feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. The engines can be combined either with the new six-speed manual transmission or, as an option, with the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Further highlights: suspension, aerodynamics, safety
The dynamism promised by the design and drive system is realised by the suspension. A noticeably lower centre of gravity and a new 4-link rear axle provide the basis for this; and would also make the installation of 4MATIC all-wheel drive possible. Customers can choose between various suspension settings, among them the optional sports suspension with Direct-Steer system. The electromechanical steering in the A-Class has been completely redesigned, so that the electric motor for the power assistance now sits directly on the steering gear in the form of a compact and extremely precise Dual Pinion EPS.
Its exceptional aerodynamic performance, with a new record Cd value of 0.26, puts the A-Class at the top of its class. This is further helped by the standard roof spoiler, which hides all the unsightly aerials on the A-Class. The A-Class is the only vehicle in its class to feature as standard a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist, which lowers the risk of rear-end collisions. The COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system gives a visual and acoustic warning to alert a possibly distracted driver to identified obstacles, and prepares Brake Assist for the most precise braking response possible. This is initiated as soon as the driver steps firmly on the brake pedal.
The PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system is now available for the first time in the A-Class. This innovation, which was premiered in the S-Class in 2002, thus makes its very first appearance in the compact class. Core features of PRE-SAFE® are reversible belt tensioning, the closing of side
windows and sliding sunroof in case of critical lateral dynamics and adjustment of the fully electric front passenger seat with memory functionto an ideal position for maximum effectiveness of the restraint systems. PRE-SAFE® is always activated in response to critical longitudinal and lateral dynamics and may also be triggered upon intervention by certain assistance functions.
The democratisation of safety also encompasses an array of other assistance systems which have been adopted into the A-Class from the larger model series. These include:
ATTENTION ASSIST (standard)
Brake HOLD function (standard)
Hill-Start Assist (standard)
Adaptive Highbeam Assist
Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist
Speed Limit Assist (speed limit sign recognition)
Active Parking Assist
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
March 5, 2012
Only being introduced back in January, Mercedes-Benz is already showing a AMG version of the SL roadster. The SL 63 AMG gets AMG's M571 twin-turbo V8 engine producing 537 HP and 590 lb-ft. Want a bit more power? AMG will offer a performance
package that increases horsepower to 564 hp and torque to 664 lb-ft.
That power sits in a vehicle that is 125 Kilograms (about 276 lbs) lighter than the outgoing model.That's due in part to a aluminum bodyshell and the trunk made out of carbon fiber and plastic
That combination of weight-loss and power propels the SL 63 AMG to 62 MPH in 4.2 seconds.
An AMG performance tuned suspension, Mercedes-Benz's Active Body Control, three-state ESP (see SLS AMG), and a optional rear axle differential lock take care of the SL 63's handling.
Press Release is on Page 2
The new Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG
Enhanced performance, reduced weight and lower consumption
Affalterbach – The stage is set for the new Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG.
The new version of the high-performance Roadster impresses on several counts: systematic lightweight construction, a boost in output and driving dynamics, and 30 percent lower fuel consumption and emissions. Thanks to an all-aluminium bodyshell, similar to that of the SLS AMG super sports car, the vehicle weight has been reduced by 125 kilograms. With a kerb weight of 1845 kilograms and an output of 395 kW (537 hp) or 415 kW (564 hp), the new model has the perfect recipe for unparalleled dynamism and a superior driving experience. A further boost in performance comes courtesy of a winning combination: enhanced AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control (ABC), new AMG speed-sensitive sports steering, the AMG high-performance compound brake system and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission.
An enticing mix of stylish design, extensive standard equipment and a high safety level.
Ola Källenius, CEO at Mercedes-AMG GmbH: "The new SL 63 AMG is yet another masterpiece from Mercedes-AMG. Be it driving dynamics, lightweight construction or efficiency – the SL 63 AMG represents a giant leap forward. Following on from the SLS AMG Roadster and the SLK 55 AMG, it now makes our unrivalled roadster family practically complete."
Superior performance and high efficiency: the SL 63 AMG is available with a choice of two power outputs for the first time. The AMG 5.5-litre V8 'biturbo' (twin-turbocharged) engine delivers 395 kW (537 hp) and 800 Nm of torque.
If the AMG Performance package is specified, these figures rise to 415 kW (564 hp) and 900 Nm – more power than any other competitor in this segment. The result is high-calibre performance, as underlined by the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 or 4.2 seconds, and to 200 km/h in 12.9 or 12.6 seconds respectively. Top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited), although this rises to 300 km/h (likewise electronically limited) with the AMG Performance package on board. NEDC combined consumption comes in at 9.9 litres per 100 kilometres for both power outputs – a full 4.2 litres or 30 percent lower than for the outgoing model.
The eight-cylinder powerplant with the abbreviation M 157 features a combination of innovative high-tech components for high power output, and it delivers exemplary, low fuel consumption. In addition to spray-guided direct petrol injection, the engine boasts an all-aluminium crankcase, twin turbochargers, four valves per cylinder with camshaft adjustment, air/water intercooling, alternator management and an ECO start/stop function. The weight-optimised AMG sports exhaust system with two chromed twin tailpipes produces a distinctive engine sound.
The key data at a glance:
Displacement: 5461 cc
Bore x stroke: 98.0 x 90.5 mm
Compression ratio: 10.0 : 1
Output: 395 kW (537 hp) at 5500 rpm [415 kW (564 hp) at 5500 rpm*]
Max. torque: 800 Nm at 2000-4500 rpm [900 Nm at 2250-3750 rpm*]
Engine weight (dry): 204 kg
Vehicle weight acc. to EC: 1845 kg
Fuel consumption, NEDC combined: 9.9 l/100 km
CO2 emissions: 231 g/km
Efficiency class: F
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 4.3 s [4.2 s*]
Top speed: 250 km/h**
*With AMG Performance package
Intelligent lightweight construction with aluminium bodyshell and carbon fibre
Intelligent lightweight construction is one of the major factors behind the low fuel consumption figures. The SL 63 AMG is based on a lightweight all-aluminium bodyshell similar to that of the SLS AMG super sports car. Compared to the outgoing model, this design not only delivers a significant weight saving of around 110 kilograms, it also greatly enhances rigidity, safety and comfort. Intelligent lightweight construction also means that the components have been optimised in line with their specific purpose. Various types of processing are used for the aluminium components, for instance, which are produced as permanent mould castings or vacuum die castings before being processed into extruded sections or used as sheet aluminium with varying wall thicknesses. The result is high rigidity, high safety and improved vibration characteristics. For the cover behind the tank, the designers use even lighter magnesium material in some cases. High-strength steel tubes are integrated into the A-pillars for safety reasons.
The boot lid helps to further trim the weight. For the first time on a volume-produced model, the inner support is made from lightweight carbon-fibre composite. The extremely rigid carbon-fibre component is bonded to the plastic outer shell, resulting in a weight saving of five kilograms compared to a conventional boot lid – an innovative solution destined initially for the SL 63 AMG. This raft of innovative lightweight-design measures means that, at an EC kerb weight of 1845 kilograms, the new SL 63 AMG is 125 kilograms lighter than the model it replaces.
AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control
The lightweight-design measures are not just limited to the body of the SL 63 AMG, however, as the steering knuckles and spring links on the 4-link front suspension and almost all of the multi-link independent rear suspension components are made of aluminium. The reduction in unsprung masses enhances both agility and the response of the spring and damper components.
Mercedes-AMG is remaining faithful to the ABC active spring and damper system: the new SL 63 AMG is equipped with an enhanced version of the AMG sports suspension based on Active Body Control as standard. During the design, development and testing phases, the focus was firmly on driving dynamics and performance. Exceptionally sporty characteristics with reduced roll angles and firm body damping ("Sport") or more comfort-oriented settings for a high level of comfort on long journeys ("Comfort") can be selected at the push of a button.
To enable greater agility and faster cornering speeds, the SL 63 AMG has more negative camber all round and fully revised elastokinematics.
Equipped with the new, electro-mechanical AMG speed-sensitive sports steering, the flagship AMG model impresses with its fleet-footed, agile cornering and exceptional feedback at the critical limits. The steering has a constant and more direct ratio, and variable power assistance which adjusts in line with the suspension settings. Further standard equipment includes 3 stage ESP®, a speciality exclusive to AMG with "SPORT Handling" mode for particularly keen drivers, while options available from the AMG Performance Studio include an AMG rear axle differential lock and AMG performance suspension.
Individuality: AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission
Power transmission can likewise be adapted to specific requirements, as the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission has four modes to select from: "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual). In "C" mode, the ECO start/stop function is active at all times and switches off the eight-cylinder engine when the vehicle is at a standstill. Plus the transmission characteristics are tangibly soft, with smooth and early gear changes. Second gear is generally used as the starting gear in this mode.
The engine and transmission are far more agile in "S", "S+" and "M" mode; in addition, the stop/start function is deactivated. Partial suppression of the cylinders proves perfect for a committed driving style: briefly and precisely interrupting ignition and injection under full load leads to even faster gearshifts than before. A welcome side effect of this is the emotive sound impression. An automatic double-declutching function for downshifting and the RACE START function are also included as standard with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission.
Newly developed AMG high-performance compound brake system
Maximum performance is also a top priority when it comes to braking: the newly developed AMG high-performance compound brake system features 390 x 36 mm compound discs with six-piston fixed callipers at the front and 360 x 26 mm integral discs with single-piston floating callipers at the rear.
An electric parking brake is fitted as standard, while options available from the AMG Performance Studio include red-painted callipers to denote the AMG Performance package and the even more high-performance, weight-optimised AMG ceramic high-performance compound brake system as seen on the SLS AMG.
The SL 63 AMG leaves the factory fitted with five-twin-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels painted titanium grey with a high-sheen finish, shod with 255/35 R 19 front and 285/30 R 19 rear tyres. Multi-spoke AMG forged wheels from the AMG Performance Studio with 255/35 R 19 front and 285/30 R 20 rear tyres – also available in matt black including a rim flange with a high-sheen finish – help to reduce the unsprung masses.
Design: stylish, superior, dynamic
SLS AMG Roadster, SLK 55 AMG and SL 63 AMG – as the latest addition to the AMG Roadster family, the flagship V8 model displays the hallmark styling elements of a superior high-performance car from Affalterbach: the dynamically distinctive AMG bodystyling comprises the front apron with large air dams, AMG-specific LED daytime running lamps and a lower cross strut in silver chrome. Among the particularly eye-catching features are the new AMG radiator grille with a double louvre in silver chrome, the side sill panels and the "V8 BITURBO" logos on the vent grilles with fins in silver chrome. At the rear, the AMG spoiler lip, the two chromed twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system and the diffuser-style rear apron with body-coloured insert draw the design to a fitting conclusion.
Vario-roof: MAGIC SKY CONTROL as an option
The sixth-generation SL retains the space-saving, electrohydraulically retractable vario-roof, enabling the SL to be transformed into a roadster or a coupé, as the mood takes the driver and depending on the weather, in under 20 seconds. In contrast to the outgoing model, there are three versions to choose from for the new SL: painted roof, glass roof or the unique panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. Its transparency can be switched to light or dark at the push of a button.
Interior: a feast for all the senses
The SL 63 AMG interior is likewise inspired by the SLS AMG and offers a feast for all the senses: the four air vents styled like jet engines, the E-SELECT lever and the AMG DRIVE UNIT are all reminiscent of the super sports car. Standard equipment includes AMG sports seats in single-tone or two-tone nappa leather with a unique V8 seat upholstery layout and AMG badges in the seat backrests, a multicontour function and seat heating as well as AMG carbon-fibre trim, AMG illuminated door sill panels, ambient lighting and an IWC-design analogue clock. One of the stand-out details on the AMG performance steering wheel is the AMG logo in the lower metal insert. The sportily designed AMG instrument cluster provides a wealth of information and includes a TFT colour monitor, AMG start-up display, AMG main menu and RACETIMER. Outstanding material quality and high-calibre workmanship underline the attention to detail paid by the Mercedes and AMG experts.
Further standard equipment for the SL 63 AMG at a glance (selection):
• ATTENTION ASSIST
• COMAND Online with 6-disc DVD changer
• Anti-theft alarm system
• Remote-unlocking boot lid incl. power closing for boot lid
• Intelligent Light System ILS
• MAGIC VISION CONTROL adaptive windscreen cleaning system
• NECK-PRO head restraints
• PRE-SAFE® system
• Automatic, pop-up roll-over bars for driver and front passenger
In keeping with tradition, the SL 63 AMG has an extensive range of optional extras (selection):
• AIRSCARF neck-level heating
• Active Parking Assist incl. PARKTRONIC
• Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG high-end surround sound system
• Driving Assistance package Plus (DISTRONIC PLUS incl. BAS PLUS, PRE SAFE® brake, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist)
• harman/kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system
• KEYLESS-GO Convenience package (incl. remote-closing boot lid and HANDS-FREE ACCESS system)
• Exclusive nappa leather
• Climatised seats
• Electric draught-stop
Even more individuality is possible with optional extras from the AMG Performance Studio:
• AMG Performance package (increase in maximum power of 20 kW (27 hp) and maximum torque of 100 Nm; AMG engine cover in genuine carbon fibre, AMG rear axle differential lock, AMG spoiler lip in genuine carbon fibre, red-painted callipers, AMG performance steering wheel in nappa leather/DINAMICA)
• AMG forged light-alloy wheels
• AMG forged light-alloy wheels, painted matt black, rim flange with a high-sheen finish
• AMG performance suspension
• AMG ceramic high-performance compound brake system
• AMG Exterior Carbon package (cross strut in front apron, exterior mirror housings and spoiler lip in genuine carbon fibre)
• AMG Performance Media with telemetry function (available from September 2012)
• AMG performance steering wheel in nappa leather/DINAMICA
The designo range for the SL 63 AMG, available ex factory, offers a wealth of tailor-made individualisation options to cater for practically any requirement. As well as being able to choose between designo magno cashmere white and designo magno alanite grey matt paintwork or designo mocha black and designo graphite metallic paintwork, customers can also opt for an expressive designo zircon red paint finish. There is a range of designo leather or Exclusive designo leather appointments in eight attractive colours to match these paint finishes.
All rounded off perfectly by a choice of designo trim, headlining and seat-belt options.
"Edition 1" with attractive appointments combination To mark the launch of the new SL 63 AMG, AMG is also offering the special "Edition 1" model. The "Edition 1" is opulently appointed and includes the following as standard:
• AIRSCARF neck-level heating
• AMG forged light-alloy wheels, painted matt black, rim flange with a high-sheen finish
• AMG Performance package
• designo Exclusive leather in classic red or deep white with contrasting topstitching
• designo headliner in black leather
• harman/kardon® Logic 7® surround sound system
• MAGIC SKY CONTROL panoramic vario-roof
Features exclusive to the "Edition 1" include special designo magno crystal silver paintwork and, if designo Exclusive leather in classic red is specified, contrasting red topstitching on the steering wheel, headliner and dashboard. A set of designo velour floor mats with edging in designo classic red leather round off this exceptional package of appointments.
The world's safest roadster
A crash-optimised aluminium structure, standard-fit PRE-SAFE® system and assistance systems on a par with those of the S-Class make the SL the world's safest roadster. The rigid aluminium bodyshell forms a robust occupant compartment as well as precisely defined deformation zones at the front and rear. If the vehicle rolls over, A-pillars made from a steel-aluminium material mix and two automatic roll-over bars help to protect the occupants.
The restraint systems, including two-stage driver and passenger airbags, have been further enhanced. A headbag extensively covers the side head-impact area. An additional thorax airbag in the backrest can protect the upper body in the event of a side impact. Further new standard features for the SL include the Mercedes-Benz-developed NECK-PRO crash-responsive head restraints. An active bonnet and a front end with a large, yielding impact area help ensure pedestrian protection.
A winning formula: the SL models made by AMG The powerful SL models from Affalterbach are among the most successful AMG models of all time: almost 5000 SL 63 AMG models with eight-cylinder naturally aspirated engine were sold between 2008 and 2011. Over 21,500 of the SL 55 AMG models with V8 supercharged engine produced between 2001 and 2007 were sold, making it the best-selling AMG model so far. The total number of SL AMG models with eight-cylinder engine sold to date stands at over 26,500.
The new Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG will be launched in May 2012.
Prices at a glance (incl. 19% VAT):
SL 63 AMG: €157,675
SL 63 AMG "Edition 1": €189,269.50
AMG Performance package: €14,280
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
March 5, 2012
At this week's Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen will unveil two vehicles. One being a concept and the other being a production model.
Let's start with the concept; Volkswagen is showing off a refreshed version of their Cross Coupe concept shown back at the Toyko Motor Show. Aside from a new paint job (two-tone red and silver exterior paint instead of silver), it features a new powertrain.
Gone is the gas engine used in Cross Coupe's plug-in hybrid system. In its place is a TDI engine which will increase horsepower from 261 to 302 and increase fuel economy to 131 MPG (US).
And For The Second Vehicle, See Page 2
Volkswagen's second showing will be a production version of the GTI Cabriolet. Shown last June at the Wörthersee gathering in Austria, the Golf GTI Cabriolet is pretty much a Golf Cabriolet fitted with all of the GTI goodies; 2.0L turbo four, six-speed gearbox (manual or DSG), VW’s XDS electronic limited slip differential, 17-inch alloy wheels, and all the visual cues.
Volkswagen says the GTI Cabriolet can do 0-60 MPH in 7.3 seconds (0.4 slower than the regular GTI) and can drop the top in 9.5 seconds at speeds up to 18 MPH.
If you're wondering when you can buy one, the answer is probably no.
Press Release is on Page 3
VOLKSWAGEN LIFTS THE LID ON NEW GOLF GTI CABRIOLET
The most powerful production Golf Cabriolet ever is set to be unveiled next week at the Geneva Motor Show.
Pictured here for the first time, the Golf GTI Cabriolet packs in all the performance and practicality of the GTI hatchback, and adds the pleasures of open-air motoring for four, thanks to an electrically powered fabric roof which can be folded away in just 9.5 seconds, even while travelling at speeds of up to 18 mph.
Visually, the Golf GTI Cabriolet has all the classic GTI design cues. The radiator grille has a honeycomb structure with red edging and the GTI badge, while the front bumper incorporates a deep honeycomb air dam and distinctive vertical fog lights. Side sill extensions help give the GTI a wide, well-planted stance, while a bespoke rear diffuser is framed by a chrome tailpipe on either side. Smoked LED tail lights complete the look. As on the GTI hatchback, standard wheels are 17-inch 'Monza' alloys.
Under the insulated fully automatic roof are four individual seats covered in the classic tartan 'Jacara' cloth upholstery; 'Vienna' leather upholstery is optional. The bespoke GTI multifunction steering wheel is wrapped in leather, as are the handbrake and gear lever gaiter, all finished with contrasting red stitching. The pedals have brushed stainless steel caps, while there are black 'Edge' decorative inlays on the doors and facia. The hood lining and roof pillar trims are all finished in black.
Under the bonnet is the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the GTI hatchback, mated to either a standard six-speed manual gearbox or optional six-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox and producing 210 PS. The benchmark zero to 62 mph sprint is covered in 7.3 seconds with either transmission (versus 6.9 seconds for the hatch), while top speed is 147 mph (146 mph for the DSG).
Maximum torque of 206 lbs ft (280 Nm) is available from just 1,700 rpm to 5,300 rpm, at which point maximum horsepower is achieved. This broad torque band helps to make the GTI an excellent cruiser – even at low revs in a high gear, the reserves of torque make the GTI's performance easy to tap in to. A standard EDS electronic differential lock and XDS transverse differential lock help to ensure that the power is easily transferred to the road.
Safety is every bit as much a priority as performance. As with all Golf Cabriolet models, the GTI comes with automatically deploying rollover protection, front and side head/thorax airbags and a driver's knee airbag as standard, all of which helped it to achieve a five-star (96 per cent) rating for adult occupancy in Euro NCAP crash tests.
The Golf GTI Cabriolet goes on sale in the UK in the second half of the year. Prices and further specification details will be announced closer to the on-sale date. For more details on this and the rest of Volkswagen's award-winning range of cars, please visit www.volkswagen.co.uk.
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
February 29, 2012
Ferrari has unveiled their most powerful vehicle, the F12 Berlinetta before its official showing at next week's Geneva Motor Show.
Succeeding the current 599, the F12 Berlinetta comes with a brand new 6.3L V-12 engine, producing 740 HP and 509 lb-ft of torque. That gives the F12 Berlinetta figures of 0-60 MPH in 3.1 seconds, a top speed of 211 MPH, and a lap time of 1:23 around the Fiorano circuit.
Despite the massive performance increase, Ferrari says the new 6.3L V12 engine will be 30% more fuel efficient than the outgoing 6.0-liter V12 in the 599.
The F12 Berlinetta's aluminum chassis is 154 lbs lighter and 20% stiffer than the outgoing 599. The chassis is also shorter which allowed Ferrari to lower the engine, dashboard and seats further in the chassis. In addition, Ferrari engineers created a new layout for the rear suspension and gearbox. Those changes give the F12 Berlinetta a 46/54 weight distribution.
Design of the F12 Berlinetta was done by the Ferrari Styling Center and Pininfarina. The front end is aggressive and pulls some cues from the 458 Italia and FF. The back end has a personality of its own with a air diffuser that is split up into three sections. The design gives the F12 Berlinetta a drag co-efficient of 0.299 and improved downforce.
Press Release is on Page 2
Announcing the F12berlinetta: the fastest Ferrari ever built
The first in a new generation of V12 cars unveiled exclusively on www.ferrari.com
Maranello, 29th February 2012 – Today's on-line unveiling of the F12berlinetta ushers in a new generation of Ferrari 12-cylinders in the form of a car that delivers unprecedented performance from an exceptional new engine, combined with innovative design that redefines classic themes along with extreme aerodynamics.
Revealed to the world for the first time on Ferrari.com in preparation for its official debut at the Geneva International Motor Show, the F12berlinetta, finished in an attractive new Rosso Berlinetta three-layer colour, represents the very cutting-edge of mid-front-engined sports cars.
This is, in fact, the most powerful and high-performance Ferrari road car ever launched thanks to the incredibly efficient engine – in terms of mechanical, combustion and fluid-dynamics efficiency – which, together with advanced vehicle architecture, aerodynamics, components and electronic controls, guarantee unsurpassed driving involvement whatever the road or track.
Ferrari's traditional transaxle layout has been revolutionised to match the more extreme performance of the car. The wheelbase has been shortened and the engine, dashboard and seats have been lowered in the chassis, while the new layout of the rear suspension and gearbox enabled Ferrari's engineers to make the rear volume of the car smaller. The overall result is a very compact car with a lower centre of gravity that is further back in the chassis, and a level of aerodynamic efficiency that sets new standards.
Scaglietti, renowned for its expertise in aluminium materials and construction, designed an all-new spaceframe chassis and bodyshell using 12 different kinds of alloys, some of which have been used here for the first time in the automotive sector, and employing new assembly and joining techniques. This has resulted in a 20 per cent increase in structural rigidity while reducing weight to just 1525 kg (70 kg less than the previous V12 coupé) with an ideal distribution between the axles (54 per cent over the rear).
The F12berlinetta's 6262cc 65° V12 engine delivers unprecedented performance and revs for a naturally-aspirated 12-cylinder. Its maximum power output is 740 CV which translates to a specific output of 118 CV/l. Torque reaches a peak of 690 Nm, 80 per cent of which is already available at just 2,500 rpm, and which provides an unrelenting surge of acceleration all the way to the 8,700 rpm limit. The engine is mated to the F1 dual-clutch transmission, which has closer gear ratios developed specifically for this car's performance. The F12berlinetta boasts a weight-to-power ratio of just 2.1 kg/CV .
Fuel consumption has been reduced by 30%, with CO2 emissions of just 350 g/km – figures which put the F12berlinetta at the top of the high-performance league. These results have been obtained by extensive research and development which focused on efficiencies of the whole vehicle: engine, aerodynamics, tyres and weights.
Similarly excellent results have been obtained with the car's aerodynamic development, thanks to the integration of the design process with extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and lengthy testing in the wind tunnel. Downforce has been boosted by 76 per cent (123 kg at 200 km/h) while drag has been significantly reduced (the Cd is just 0.299). These results come courtesy of two new solutions. The first of these is the Aero Bridge which uses the bonnet to generate downforce by channelling air away from the upper part of the car to its flanks where it interacts with the wake from the wheel wells to decrease drag. The second is Active Brake Cooling, a system that opens guide vanes to the brake cooling ducts only at high operating temperatures, again reducing drag.
The F12berlinetta's impressive technical specifications are completed by Ferrari's latest generation carbon-ceramic brakes (CCM3) and the evolution of the magnetorheological suspension control system (SCM-E). As is now traditional with all Ferraris, its control systems (E-Diff, ESP Premium, F1-Trac, and high-performance ABS) are all fully integrated.
The result is that the new Prancing Horse 12-cylinder accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.1 seconds and from 0 to 200 km/h in 8.5 seconds. It also completes a lap of the Fiorano circuit in 1'23", faster than any other Ferrari road car. Benchmark performance and maximum driving involvement are guaranteed by immediate turn-in, with smaller steering wheel angles, and increased cornering speed. Stopping distances have also been drastically reduced.
The design of the F12berlinetta is a result of the collaboration between the Ferrari Styling Centre and Pininfarina and is a perfect balance of uncompromising aerodynamics with harmonious proportions interpreting the typical elements of Ferrari's front-engined V12 cars in an original and innovative way. A coupé with sleek, aggressive lines whose compact exterior dimensions conceal exceptional in-car space and comfort. The all-new Frau leather interior highlights the balance of advanced technology and sophisticated, handcrafted detailing. In the middle of the light and lean dashboard, there are new carbon fibre and aluminium air vents clearly inspired by the aeronautic field.
The cabin has been optimised to ensure maximum usability of the interior space with additional luggage capacity behind the seats, which can also be easily reached thanks to the large aperture offered by the tail-gate. With the cockpit designed around the driver, typical of all Ferraris, the Human Machine Interface approach is emphasised, grouping all the major commands within immediate reach to guarantee maximum ergonomics for the most involving driving experience.
Type 65-degree V12
Total displacement 6262 cc
Maximum power output 740 CV at 8500 rpm
Maximum torque 690 Nm at 6000 rpm
Dimensions and weight
Length 4618 mm
Width 1942 mm
Height 1273 mm
Dry weight* 1525 kg
Weight distribution 46% front, 58% rear
Weight-power ratio 2,1 kg/CV
Maximum speed over 340 km/h
0-100 km/h 3.1 seconds
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
February 29, 2012
At next week’s Geneva Motor Show, Mini will unveil their most powerful vehicle, the Countryman John Cooper Works.
Power comes from a tuned version of Mini’s 1.6L inline-four producing 211 HP and 207 lb-ft of torque (221 lb-ft on overboost). The power goes through either a six-speed manual or automatic and Mini’s All4 all-wheel drive system to propel the Countryman JCW from 0 to 62 MPH in 7.1 seconds.
The Countryman JCW also gets some tweaks in the suspension with stiffer spring and damper settings, stronger anti-roll bars and a 0.4-inch lower ride height. A bigger brake package lies behind a set of lightweight 18 or 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
Aside from all the of performance bits, the Countryman JCW also gets a number of visual tweaks. The Countryman JCW comes with reworked aero and is available with a “chili” red roof and mirror caps, among other exclusive paint colors.
Press Release is on Page 2
Extreme driving fun on any terrain:
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – February 28, 2012… MINI The MINI family is constantly expanding, and new additions have also been made to the range of John Cooper Works models available to customers. For the first time, MINI racing-inspired thrills can be experienced in combination with all-wheel drive. The global introduction of the MINI John Cooper Works will get under way in autumn 2012.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, will be fitted as standard with the all-wheel-drive system known as ALL4, and powered by a newly developed four-cylinder turbocharged engine producing 211 hp. This new combination assures the driver of extreme driving fun on any terrain. The John Cooper Works Countryman is also the first John Cooper Works model available for order with a six-speed automatic gearbox as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual.
With powertrain and chassis technology developed calling on the brand’s vast motor sport expertise built into the first MINI with five doors and four/five seats, MINI will deliver its John Cooper Works presence in another new segment… complete with all of the customary handling characteristics and sporty appearance the brand is known for.
The Countryman, MINI’s first five-seater, already shares the racing genes which define the character of every MINI, and now the John Cooper Works polishes these inherent talents to really shine. The new engine brings another hike in output, transferred onto the road with impressive style by the MINI ALL4 all-wheel-drive system. The John Cooper Works suspension ensures every change in direction is imbued with addictive agility. The MINI John Cooper Works sprints from 0 to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds. While U.S. fuel economy figures are not yet available, average fuel consumption of 7.2 liters per 100 kilometers / 39.2 mpg imp in the EU test cycle represents an outstanding return when you consider the performance on offer (automatic transmission: 8.0 liters/100 km and 35.3 mpg imp).
Note: performance and fuel consumption figures are provisional.
The distinctive style of the sixth John Cooper Works model in the MINI line-up is also expressed through the car’s design, including the exclusive selection of paint finishes, light-alloy wheels and interior materials available for order. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is equipped as standard with an aerodynamic kit, 18-inch light-alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system with chrome tailpipes and door sills bearing the John Cooper Works logo. The color Chili Red can be specified as a contrasting paint finish for the roof and exterior mirrors. And Chili Red flourishes for the interior, such as in the exclusive design of the sports seats, also add a distinctive flavor to the sports car ambience carried over from the other John Cooper Works models.
The most powerful member of a new generation: the engine in the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman.
The motor sport roots of John Cooper Works are reflected in a constant thirst for new performance benchmarks. This ambition has inspired even more power from the new four-cylinder engine in the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, as well as ensuring further gains in efficiency. The latest generation of the twin-scroll turbocharged engines benefit from both direct injection and a variable valve control system based on the BMW Group’s VALVETRONIC technology. This throttle-free load control development significantly improves both the engine’s responsiveness and its efficiency. Reinforced pistons and intake valves, and further optimization of the cooling, air supply and exhaust gas discharge system, enable further increases in output and torque. Added to which, the 1.6-liter engine’s turbocharger is given a particularly large intercooler.
The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman’s engine reaches its maximum output of 211 hp at 6,000 rpm and generates peak torque of 207 lb-ft between 2,000 and 5,600 rpm. The Overboost function briefly pushes this figure up to 221 lb-ft between 2,100 and 5,200 rpm. The sports exhaust system – its slanting tailpipe embellishers providing an extra dose of the hallmark John Cooper Works design – gives this outstanding power delivery the one-of-a-kind soundtrack it deserves.
All-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are both offered for a John Cooper Works model for the first time in this vehicle. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is the first model to send the extreme output from its motor sport-inspired engine through all four wheels.
The new car’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system uses an electromagnetic center differential to distribute drive seamlessly between the front and rear axles. This ensures the engine’s power always finds its way to where it can be converted most effectively into forward motion. In normal driving conditions, the MINI’s intelligent ALL4 system directs all of the engine’s power to the front tires, and up to 50 percent of its power can be diverted automatically to the rear wheels when driving conditions require it. This provides a traction-led expression of the handling talents for which MINI is famed, ensuring maximum directional stability and dynamic performance whatever the weather and road conditions. Together, the engine’s imposing power and the added John Cooper Works technology employ to harness it lay on a full-blooded brand of driving fun.
The market launch of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman is complemented by another MINI powertrain premiere, the introduction of an optional six-speed automatic gearbox for John Cooper Works customers as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual. Detailed tweaks have been made to both the gearboxes themselves and the clutch for the manual variant to take into account the extra engine power, and ensure outstanding performance and efficiency. The manual and automatic versions of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 7.1 and 7.5 seconds respectively on the way to a top speed of 127 mph.
Sporting flair, John Cooper Works style: chassis, aerodynamics, design and interior.
Chassis technology including a front axle with MacPherson struts, central-arm rear axle, Electric Power Steering and a model-specific, exceptionally high-performance braking system is also in keeping with the sporty character of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman. The standard sports suspension includes particularly stiff spring and damper settings, strengthened anti-roll bars and a 10-millimeter drop in ride height. The standard-fitted DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) includes DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) mode.
Pressing the likewise standard Sport Button tweaks the engine responses, the character of its soundtrack and adjusts the power assistance provided by the steering.
18-inch Twin Spoke light-alloy wheels with polished spoke fronts and black rim wells are fitted as standard. 19-inch light-alloy wheels – also designed exclusively for the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman – can be ordered as an option.
The muscular front and rear aprons and bespoke side skirts of the standard specification aerodynamic kit ensure visual impact and optimized airflow. Customers can choose from seven colors for the exterior paintwork. A contrasting paint finish can be specified for the roof and exterior mirror caps – in the Chili Red shade exclusive to John Cooper Works models, as well as Light White and Jet Black. Also available as an option are Sport Stripes in the same colors. The John Cooper Works logo on the radiator grille, tailgate and door sill strips and near the side indicators highlight the car’s identity even more clearly.
The interior of the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman also comes with additional sporting touches as standard. Sports seats in Diagonal Track Carbon Black cloth trim with red contrast stitching have been designed specifically for the new model; while options such as the similarly exclusive sports seats with Lounge Leather trim in Carbon Black Championship Red can also be ordered. The trim strips around the cockpit, door panels and center console come in Piano Black as standard. The optional Chili Red trim elements, meanwhile, are exclusive to the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman and include red flourishes for the cockpit and doors, and red stripes for the black trim elements on the center console. Added to this are the sports steering wheel with red contrast stitching and John Cooper Works logo, the dark speedometer and rev counter dials, anthracite-colored roof liner, gearshift lever with red shift pattern lettering, red contrast stitching for the gearshift lever gaiter and floor mats with red stitching add further depth to the sports car ambience.
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
February 19, 2012
Back in January, we reported that Bentley was considering a new SUV for their lineup and that decision would be made sometime in the first quarter. Well it seems a decision has been made since Automotive News Europe is reporting the SUV could be making an appearance at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.
The Bentley SUV will use the platform that underpins the current Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. Power will come from twelve-cylinder powerplant. The SUV will go on sale sometime in 2014.
Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
What does styling changes from generation to generation have to do with brand loyal customers thinking a general consensus "ugly" vehicle is not "ugly"?
There is nothing wrong with completely changing your styling from generation to generation, it's how the styling turns out that matters.
From my understanding, the people that genuinely "like" the ugly styling of a certain brand tend to be very heavily brand loyal.. When there's a general consensus that a vehicle is ugly, the people that try and talk it up are the ones that would buy it no matter what it looks like because they're obsessed with the brand.