Cars

Cars

Fiat Panda Drives from Cape Town to London

Two-man team drives a little Fiat across 13 countries along more than 10,000 miles to claim a new record and raise money for charity There are plenty of cars to choose from for taking a trans-continental road trip. We’re not sure a Fiat Panda would be anywhere on our list, let alone at the top, but two Brits just drove one all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, to London, England. And in the process they set a new record. The 10,300-mile journey started for Philip Young and Paul Brace on February 1 and ended on February 11, recording total time of non-stop driving at 10 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes. Over the course of that time, they averaged 1,000 miles per day at 49 miles per hour.And the little Italian hatchback never let them down. They didn’t even go with the four-wheel-drive model, opting instead for the economical 900cc two-cylinder TwinAir version. They packed it with an extra fuel tank, two spare wheels, sump guards, upgraded springs and a relocated air intake. They didn’t even stop to sleep, fitting a foam mattress across the back seat. In case you’ve never been in a Panda, trust us – there’s not a lot of room in the back seat. But somehow they managed. Along their journey, Young, Brace and Panda saw South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Italy and France before ending in London’s Hyde Park. The hourney raised funds for the Farm Africa charity that helps locals produce food more effectively in an effort to eradicate hunger. Source:Carbuzz

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BMW recalls over 500,000 cars in the U.S., cites battery cable fault

BMW is recalling nearly 570,00 cars, including its popular 3-Series models, 1-Series couples and convertibles, and the Z4 sports car. A battery cable connector in the cars could potentially fail, resulting in engine stall. One minor collision has occurred due to the fault. The 2007 through 2011 models of BMW’s popular 3-Series are affected by the cable recall.   BMW is recalling almost 570,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada because a battery cable connector can fail and cause the engines to stall. The recall affects popular 3-Series sedans, wagons, convertibles and coupes from the 2007 through 2011 model years. Also included are 1-Series coupes and convertibles from 2008 through 2012, and the Z4 sports car from 2009 through 2011. The cable connectors and a fuse box terminal in the cars can degrade over time, and that can break the electrical connection between the trunk-mounted battery and the fuse box at the front. If that happens, the cars could lose electrical power, causing the engines to stall unexpectedly, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in documents posted on its website Saturday. The company says in documents sent to NHTSA that the problem stems from movement between the battery cable and the fuse box. BMW says it knows of one minor collision in Canada due to the problem, but no injuries.

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Mazda prepares US diesel invasion

Without the soot traps or filters common in diesel engines on US roads, Mazda will have its Skyactiv-D engine ready for sale in the US for the 2014 model year Diesels at DaytonaA new diesel motor changes the game in the US. Above, Mazda 6 sedan running a diesel engine at the recent Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in Florida. (Mazda North America) Tokio Ishino, staff manager for powertrain development at Mazda, would rather the power plant not even be called a diesel, referring to it as a “new combustion mechanism”. The engine meets stringent US exhaust emissions standards – traditionally a sore spot for European and Asian automakers hoping to offer their diesels in the US. It passes EU emissions restrictions that will not be enacted for another few years. It will have other manufacturers looking at their own diesels and wondering why they have to plug up the exhaust with pricey, energy-sapping equipment to be street-legal in the US. Mazda has achieved this diesel landmark thanks to what Masaki Kodama, deputy programme manager for the vehicle development division, called a “fundamental change in engine design”. The unit achieves a remarkably low compression ratio – what Mazda said is the world’s lowest for a passenger-car diesel engine. Compression ratio is the difference between the highest volume at any given time in a combustion chamber and the lowest. Essentially, it is a function of how much room the chamber’s piston occupies at the height of its stroke. High compression is good, but only to a point. Too high and the detonations fall out of line. This leads to “knocking” in a gasoline engine. In a diesel, it means smoky, toxic exhaust gases...

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Hyundai hits redemption road in Detroit

Hyundai had a lot to answer for in Detroit. It responded with a future-shock concept car Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis Concept(Hyundai Motor America) Following a dour press conference at the Los Angeles auto show in November 2012, at which Hyundai America chief executive John Krafcik personally and summarily apologized for the company’s overstating fuel-economy claims, the mood could not have been more upbeat at the Korean automaker’s conference in Detroit on 14 January. The attraction at the Hyundai display was the HCD-14 Genesis Concept, bearing style cues that are expected to find homes on future models. “It’s not a disguised Genesis,” Krafcik said of the HCD-14, referencing the automaker’s luxury mid-size sedan, “but a guiding light for a portfolio of premium products coming”. The HCD-14 gives a brash view of the brand’s future, a future that clearly involves the Genesis – hinted at by subtle “Genesis” badging in the door sills and taillights. Like the top specification of that sedan, the HCD-14 is based on a rear-drive platform and features a big, 5-litre V8 engine and an array of gee-whiz technology. The exterior, devoid of door handles, mixes slashes with concave forms. Krafcik and North America design chief Chris Chapman, who presented the concept car, referenced the brand’s recent styling overhaul and promised “an equally bold transformation in our premium lineup”. In that category the Genesis is joined by the Equus full-size luxury sedan. The interior of the HCD-14 is almost entirely devoid of buttons and switches, given over instead to voice commands and hand-gesture controls for radio and climate systems. While these features are still in development, they may ultimately pose problems for drivers who gesticulate behind the wheel. (“Did that vertical wave mean, ‘Activate windshield wipers’ or, ‘Get out of my lane, you wastrel’?” we could hear the little algorithms asking.) Such technology would certainly benefit from some trial and error before the pie falls from the sky.

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Alfa Romeo Gloria concept announced for Geneva

Students at Turin’s European Design Institute (IED) worked with Alfa Romeo Style to develop the Gloria, a concept car that will bow on the Alfa Romeo stand at the Geneva Motor Show. Alfa says the four-door coupe was specifically designed for the tastes of the American and Asian markets. Alfa Romeo Gloria concept The second most problematic child in the Fiat-Chrysler Group after Lancia, is also the one with the greatest prospects for future growth – just as long as the Italians get their cards right and finally begin investing in products. Of course, we’re talking about Alfa Romeo, which is trying to tell the world that it’s slowly getting back on its feet with the presentation of a new concept model for a sharply styled sports sedan that will join the highly-anticipated production version of the 4C mid-engine coupe at next month’s Geneva Auto Salon. Named ‘Gloria’, the study is the work of the European Design Institute (IED) of Turin in collaboration with the Alfa Romeo Style Centre. It might break cover in Switzerland, but the Gloria was designed to appeal to consumers in the North American and Asian markets. “In effect, the saloon remains a symbol of elegance and prestige for these markets, associated with the idea of comfortable space both at the front and the rear, expressed by the length of the model,” said Alfa Romeo in a statement. At 4,700mm long, 1,920 mm wide, 1320mm high and with a wheelbase of 2,900mm, the four-door Gloria is very close in dimensions to the Audi A5 Sportback. Alfa said that the car was designed to be propelled by “a state-of-the-art V6 or V8 biturbo engine”, by which it means the new powerplants introduced in the Maserati Quattroporte. “We asked the students in the Master programme to give us their completely independent interpretation of a new Alfa Romeo saloon,” said Lorenzo Ramaciotti, Head of Fiat & Chrysler Design. “During development, we commented, discussed and guided the projects in order to get the most from their spontaneous expressions of creativity. The result was stimulating and marked by professional and creative excellence.” More information about the Gloria will be released at the Geneva Auto Salon.

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Winter driving in a Porsche 911 Turbo

Porsche enthusiasts can satisfy their curiosity about the 911′s handling on snow and ice on various courses and sessions at the Porsche Driving Experience. Porsche 911 snow drive At two training sites in Finland’s far north, 1,350 drivers will test the Porsche 911 in extreme weather conditions this winter. Beginners and advanced drivers can expand their car control skills under the guidance of Porsche instructors in three training steps. On snowbound tracks and ice lakes at temperatures up to minus 30° Celsius, Porsche says the rear-focused design of the all-wheel drive offers optimal support. Porsche’s Traction Management system (PTM) is said to translate the driving-performance potential optimally in all weather conditions. The power distribution between front and rear axle is controlled via a multi-plate clutch. Depending on the driving situation, this means more driving stability, more agile handling and traction even on slippery road surfaces. Porsche claims this makes the 911 the ideal vehicle for all seasons: “For me, the Carrera with all-wheel drive is the perfect everyday car. Thanks to its technology, it is safe for active driving on ice and snow; on the other hand, it always offers the self-assurance of a thoroughbred sports car. Owing to its excellent all-round visibility and the storage space behind the front seats, the car is very suitable for the city and for shopping as well,” says Walter Röhrl, twice holder of the rally world championship. Further information about the Porsche Driving Experience and other winter offers can be found at: www.porsche.de/driving-experience-winter/

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New Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo

The new Clio is powered by the Renaultsport developed 200hp, 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, as well as its performance arm’s first EDC – Efficient Dual Clutch – transmission. Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo Eric Diemert, Design Director, Renault Sport Technologies explains: “The design of a sporting car needs to speak directly to the hearts of exacting enthusiasts. New Clio Renaultsport 200 Turbo, is a compact car which is simply bursting with energy. Our objective was to produce a design which expressed not only the notion of performance but also control and agile handling. Whether the car is at a standstill or on the move, the same sensation of controllable sports performance is felt behind its steering wheel.” The first production car with hydraulic compression stops in the shock absorbers (which are usually found in rally cars), the Renaultsport 200 is available with a choice of two chassis – standard and the optional ‘Cup’ chassis which is tailored for greater performance at 3mm lower, 15 per cent stiffer and benefits from a quicker steering rack. Combine this with the ‘R.S. Drive’ button, which modifies the mapping of both the transmission (gear shift programming and shift time) and engine (response to pedal position and engine pitch) and you’ve got a nippy little sports car. Under the bonnet you’ll find a direct injection 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine which pushes out 200hp at 6,000rpm, with a quicker 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds. The new model is now cheaper to run with reduced fuel consumption and emissions, down by almost a quarter while the engine is linked to the EDC (Efficient Dual Clutch transmission) with all six gears selectable via full-sized steering column-mounted paddle shifters. On the inside there’s plenty of technology including Bluetooth, USB connectivity, 4x35W 3D Sound Arkamys audio system, R-Link multimedia system with 7″ touchscreen (Carminat TomTom Live navigation and App Store), keyless start and entry, R-Link integrated tablet with navigation and as an optional extra. As an upgrade, an R.S. Monitor is available, with an on-board telemetry system which displays real time torque, G-forces, lap times and standing starts among others and the data is downloadable to a USB stick. In contrast to the black trim, red touches for seatbelts, instrument needles, air vent surrounds, gearlever knob and gaiter can be found as well as an R.S. Sound Pipe which sends engine soundwaves directly into cabin for a ‘heightened driving experience’. Exterior styling includes 17″ or 18″ Renaultsport wheels with red brake calipers, F1 blade front bumper, Renaultsport rear spoiler and diffuser, twin exhaust, DRLs and side sills. The styling details of Renaultsport cars also play a technical role. The diffuser and rear lip spoiler, for example, were conceived for maximum aerodynamic efficiency

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