Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Porsche 911 (997) Carrera

I am aware of how lucky I am to be driving a 911 every day. If any of the following observations seem churlish or spoiled, don’t hate me. The purpose of this test is to see what it’s like to live with a last- generation 911. That involves accepting that in return for a thumping saving on the price of a new car, your car won’t be the latest thing.
As previously reported, this matters less
in a car as timeless as a 911 than it might in some others. You need a second look to tell my 997 from the newer 991, and Porsche cabins are so well-made that it feels as if these cars and the cockroaches would be the only things to survive nuclear holocaust. My car laughs in the face of the 26,000 miles it endured before coming to me.

But I’m also lucky enough to get to drive the very latest kit as part of my ‘job’. I’m aware of how quickly automotive tech is moving on; just how much new car my 911’s still-considerable £43,850 would also get you, and how much you’re foregoing by going used.
Mine is a second-generation and much updated 2009 997, but the car was originally launched in 2004, and much of it was unchanged in the update. And some of it does feel a decade old. It’s not important if you just want this car for the way it drives, but may be significant if you need to use it everyday, as I do. You can spot the car’s age in the yellowy cabin lights (a £44k new car would have LEDs) and in the handbrake, which requires you to pull on an actual lever yourself.
These things are noticeable to someone used to the latest models, but not important. But the inaccurate sat-nav, clunky iPod and phone interfaces and the lack of some useful recent innovations like active cruise and digital radio remind you that five years – let alone ten – is a long time in technology.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Range Rover 2016

Range  Rover

So, Bentley Will launch its 200mps SUV in 2016 , (read our previous article about 200 mph SUV), And the Range Rover is the elephant in the errrr, road, the 4x4 it has to beat. After a year running a Range Rover Vogue SE TDV6, we know its strengths and weaknesses inside out. And its standout strength is civility.
All Range Rovers come with standard air suspension, generous body travel and a rebuttal of the premium German doctrine that customers value sportiness above comfort. The body lopes over bumps like a lilo on waves, pitching under braking, leaning into corners. It’ll be tough for Bentley to match that pillowy ride, given the conflicting goals of phenomenal power and speed.
My fellow editor at sister magazine Auto Zeitung can’t abide the Rangie’s wallow: sure, it doesn’t handle like a Cayenne, but mechanical grip is strong, and the steering stately but supremely accurate. Drivers like Volker need the effective Dynamic Response switchable anti-roll bars, only fitted to V8s.

The 254bhp V6 diesel echoes the ride refinement, murmuring at 2200rpm on the motorway, smooth under hard acceleration. Kick down and the weight rocks backwards, before surging forward like a Mississippi steamboat: with 443lb ft, it feels quick enough, punchier than its 7.9sec 0-62mph time, your instincts saying that this leviathan couldn’t, shouldn’t, be hammering along so quickly. At motorway speeds, the wind gently rushes along the sides, tyre noise is a murmur not a roar. It’s a very civilised way to travel, not unlike how I’d imagine a Rolls or Bentley SUV.
Trunk roads are where the Rangie

accumulated most of its 27,885 miles, being the default choice for long family trips. The Range Rover attended the Belgian grand prix, holidayed in Devon, the Lake District and the Dordogne, and slogged through eight months of my 130-mile daily round trip. Fuel economy improved as time wore on, with the Rangie often surpassing 500 miles on a tank and returning 31mpg, though that’s 21%
off the official figure. And, contrary to Land Rover perception, it proved a reliable, robust companion, though some things niggled. The centre console developed a muted creak, and the dual-view screen designed to allow passengers to watch TV on the move once or twice displayed nothing but darkness.

The over-zealous fuel tank cut-off made refuelling infuriatingly slow, until I dug out a plastic rod from the boot, prodded around in the tank neck and reset the flow. And the unresponsive front parking sensors typically needed manual activation. We marked two pieces of trim: cramming a heavy box onto the front seat scuffed the leather-clad dash (our fault), but getting the solid parcel shelf in and out of its unyielding moorings is awkward, causing black marks on the inner door plastic.
The boot is a mixed blessing: it’s vast but hard to access without Inspector Gadget extendable arms, due to the drop-down door keeping you at bay. The rear seats can be powered flat with in-boot buttons; a fold-up boot divider would be equally welcome.

A gashed sidewall did for one of the 275/40 R22 Continental tyres, costing £270 for the rubber alone: that – and the challenge of finding such a vast tyre in stock – is the risk of upgrading to the £3000 split-spoke alloys. The first service cost £425+VAT.

Must-have options included the £1500 glass roof and £400 headrests with fold-out wings like a business class airline seat’s. Those with kids swore by the £1500 rear- seat entertainment system, those using the clunky infotainment system just swore. In my view, the clean but bland dashboard is a step backwards over the previous generation’s, with its architectural wood: the cabin’s design is a weak spot for opulent Bentley to exploit.

But it won’t be able to match the Range Rover’s aluminium monocoque construction, of which I proudly bragged to Chelsea tractor-haters and which is 420kg lighter than the last TDV8 Rangie. And can Bentley’s pedigree beat the renowned off-road ability and blue-chip image built by 44 years of Range Rovers? It won’t be easy. Because the past 12 months have confirmed the Range Rover is the finest luxury SUV on the planet.

Does the world need a 200mph SUV?

Does the world need a 200mph SUV? Probably not, but you could argue Land
Rovers are equally over-engineered. Instead just stand back and hail Bentley’s behemoth

200MPH: THE HALLOWED top-speed glass ceiling, for so long broken only by exotic supercars. But next year, Bentley will unveil a 200mph car with a difference: it’s an SUV.
Sources say Crewe is striving to engineer the first 200mph off-roader; Porsche’s facelifted Cayenne Turbo tops out at ‘just’ 173mph. Imagine the engine power, airflow management, component cooling and tyre durability required to take this two-tonne beast past the double-ton. 
When the Continental GT launched back in 2004, CAR’s intrepid Georg Kacher piloted it to 206mph. He learned that axle load doubled during 155mph cornering, tyre temperature touched 70degC, and to generate every incremental km/h over 210mph (336km/h) you need an extra 8bhp, then 10bhp, then 13bhp. Staggering. 
Therefore, the next Crewe’s missile will require some serious power. Today’s 567bhp 6.0-litre W12 has a starring role: we’re not sure of the exact output, but cylinder deactivation, a 48V electrical system powering hungry ancillaries and a coasting mode will deliver a double- digit fuel economy improvement. 
Another mighty powertrain is planned, an all-new 5.0-litre V10 diesel, with 544bhp and a whopping 737lb ft of torque (enough to lift-off a jumbo?), linked to a ten-speed ’box of cogs. The V10 TDI is a pet project of VW supervisory board chairman Ferdinand Piëch, which shortens the odds of the first ever diesel Bentley. 
Wolfgang Dürheimer is making positive noises too. ‘Diesel and Bentley are not incompatible,’ says the CEO. ‘Demand for diesel engines is particularly strong in central and eastern Europe, so we’re investigating various applications. The SUV is one of them.’ Other powerplants should include a 408bhp turbodiesel V8, and a twin-turbo V8 available as a pure petrol or 500bhp plug-in hybrid. Coming in 
2017, the hybrid should offer a 30-mile EV range. 
The SUV uses the stretched version of the group’s PL73 platform, which will underpin next year’s Audi Q7, the new VW Touareg and the third-gen Cayenne. The Bentley’s body-in-white is made in Bratislava, but painstaking final assembly takes place in Crewe. VW is investing £800m in Bentley’s HQ over the next three years, creating some 140 jobs, and the SUV will swallow the lion’s share of this cash. 
The SUV ‘redefines the way Bentley treats its interiors,’ says Wolfgang Dürheimer, also claiming: ‘It sets new standards in terms of packaging, driving position, throttle response and ride comfort.’ 
And what about the design, which previewed as a 2012 concept car, provoking a similar response to an Arsenal fan in the Spurs end?  

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Merc C63 AMG thunders in With a two-cylinder deficit, BMWÕs M3 looks a bit outgunned

AMG’S V8 ENGINE chief told us to expect a surprise when the new C63 was unveiled – and we’ve got one. The 470bhp entry car is more powerful than the 
base AMG GT sports car, and good for 0-62mph in 4.1sec. Plus there’s an extra- potent C63 S model: M3, be very afraid. 
Merc C63 AMGThe engine responsible for this excitement is a wet-sump version (M177) of the AMG GT’s dry-sumped (M178) 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, complete with the same ‘hot inside V’ turbo configuration. In the standard C63 it produces 470bhp and 479lb ft 
– 14bhp and 36lb ft more than the equivalent AMG GT. 
In the C63 S it’s cranked to 503bhp and 516lb ft, snatching a tenth off the regular AMG’s 0-62mph time in the process. The S also gets an electronically controlledlimited-slipdifferential, though a mechanical LSD is standard and both variants have ‘dynamic’ engine and transmission mounts. AMG’s seven-speed auto has been ‘heavily revised’ to improve shift times. 
The M3 summons 425bhp and 406lb ft from its 3.0-litre turbo six, but is 120kg lighter than the 1715kg Mercedes. Not that this matters in pub Top Trumps – 0-62mph takes 4.1sec in the BMW at best (with a dual-clutch ’box). 
Visually, the C63 deploys the usual big bumpers and side-skirts routine, 
with quad tailpipes and boot spoiler at the rear. As with the previous C63, there are twin power domes in the bonnet and flared front wings to cover the increased track; the rear is no wider. 
The comfort-to-body control ratio is balanced by three-stage adaptive AMG Ride Control dampers, while 19-inch wheels cover 390mm front and 360mm rear brake discs; carbon-ceramics remain optional. 
Want one so bad it hurts? So might the price – saloons start at nearly £60k. It’s a grand more for an estate and an extra £6k for the S. Deliveries start in spring 2015; we simply cannot wait. 

2015 Merc C63 AMG
AMG’S V8 ENGINE chief told us to expect a surprise when the new C63 was unveiled – and we’ve got one. The 470bhp entry car is more powerful than the base AMG GT sports car, and good for 0-62mph in 4.1sec.. (...)

Color: White

Number of gears: 7

Engine: 2 cylinder
Number of airbags: 11

  2015 Merc C63 AMG Review Dubai, UAE”/>
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Review:  5 -    "Merc C63 AMG"  by  , written on  Nov 14, 2015   I really enjoyed this car

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Miura spirit in hybrid Lambo

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Miura Lamborghini Dubai

Forget everything you know about Lamborghini: here comes its first hybrid, with electric-only front-wheel drive (a Lambo first), wrapped in a grand tourer body evoking the iconic Miura’s.

The car is the Asterion, a concept that mounts the Huracan’s 5.2-litre V10 (with its standard 602bhp and 413lb ft of torque) behind the two-seat cockpit. Unlike in the Huracan, power is sent to the rear wheels only: its mechanical four-wheel-drive system makes way for two 150bhp electric motors, with torque- vectoring, driving the front wheels.

Lamborghini Miura 
You know about Lamborghini: here comes its first hybrid, with electric-only front-wheel drive (a Lambo first), wrapped in a grand tourer body evoking the iconic Miura’s.
Color: Black and Blue
Number of gears: 5
Engine:       60° 12-cylinder-V engine (four-stroke), mid-mounted      
Number of airbags: 2

The system’s combined output is 910PS (902bhp), hence the Asterion name’s suffix: LPI 910-4. That in theory delivers a 3.0 sec blast from stand still to 62mph, two-tenths superior to a Huracan, despite an extra 250kg of batteries and electric motors. The Asterion uses the Aventador’s carbon fibre construction to offset the heavy plug-in components, and the batteries are located centrally to ensure a low centre of gravity and boost safety.

The plug-in hybrid system offers two driving modes: 31 miles of electric-only range at up to 78mph, and ‘hybrid’, which combines the V10 and electric motors for permanent four-wheel drive.
Asterion is an ancient Greek name for the Minotaur, a mythical half-man, half-bull, helping the concept meet Lambo’s bovine naming convention.

Bull also applies to the 67.2mpg and 98g/km of CO2 figures: blame the daft NEDC cycle, biased to urban speeds taken in EV mode by the Lambo. The Asterion is a ‘technology demonstrator,’ says R&D chief Maurizio Reggiani. ‘It’s the way we think a car which is a plug-in hybrid could possibly have the Lamborghini name on it.’ Sources suggest the first application could be in the Urus SUV, although that will depend if Bentley is thinking along similar hybrid lines: VW surely won’t allow the brands to engineer two competing hybrids for the pooled SUV. Reggiani emphasized this was an in-house project with no input from other VW outposts; only the batteries have been with an unnamed outside partner. ‘[The system] is really innovative and the best for us in terms of packaging, power and stored energy.’

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Miura Lamborghini Review

The softer, more curvaceous design is a step away from extreme, angular Lambos, and there are hints of the Miura in the rear view and its character: Asterion’s more upright windscreen gives the GT concept an extra 100mm over a low-slung Aventador (or Miura!).
‘Asterion has the look of a more comfortable car with a higher seating position, more head clearance and better front

view which is suitable for a car that is driveable every day. It’s a Gran Turismo

rather than for someone who measures a car by the best lap time.’ The doors open like ‘wings’ to optimise access too.
Aventador push-rod suspension is combined with the Huracan’s Magneride damping system, but tuned more for ride comfort than out-and-out handling. The carbon-ceramic brakes are also from the Aventador.
The two-seater interior is finished in ivory and brown leather with aluminium and forged carbon fibre features, as well as titanium inserts on the Miura-inspired three-spoke wheel. This houses buttons for selecting full electric (‘zero’), I for ‘ibrido’ and ‘T’ for ‘termico’ or thermal (engine power).
‘We have to find a balance between upcoming emissions for the group, and what the Lamborghini brand is all about,’ concludes Reggiani. How can he square that circle? Turbocharged engines that ‘don’t jeopardise the sound and emotions of a naturally aspirated engine’ are one option. And Asterion shows that, if the weight and cost issues can be solved, hybridisation will play a role in Sant’Agata’s future model range.