I will try my best to provide detailed info on various cars and what is like to live with them, I have already produced a few for Jaguar-car-forums, I will do my best to be unbiased, but it will be hard for some cars. I will re-produce press releases and copy from other motoring news.

Friday, 19 April 2013

New NSX concept draws deposits two years early.

The new NSX is already receiving unprecedented demand, so much so that Honda (UK) has opened a pre-order bank for the hotly anticipated supercar. For a deposit of £5,000 potential owners can be among the first in the UK to get behind the wheel of the brand new NSX when it hits showrooms in 2015.

Phil Crossman, Managing Director, Honda (UK), commented; “We are really pleased with the interest we’ve already seen for the new NSX. We are still two years away from the launch of the car and yet we’ve received over 20 deposits and that’s before we’ve even announced prices or seen the final production car. With this process in place we are confident demand will remain strong and early hand raisers can now visit any Honda dealership in the UK and place a deposit.”

The dynamically-styled NSX Concept was first unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show in 2012 giving an indication of the design of the next great performance vehicle from Honda.

The NSX Concept features a low and wide stance with dynamic proportions highlighted by clean, modern and simple surfacing, and edgy details that communicate supercar attitude. While the interior package boasts outstanding visibility, a strong driving position, and an intuitive “Simple Sports Interface” that minimises interior clutter, allowing the driver to focus on the driving experience. Consistent with the spirit of the original NSX, Honda’s designers have strived to deliver synergy between man and machine.

The new NSX will aim to deliver a new sports car experience that combines supercar dynamic capabilities with advanced environmental performance. The NSX will be powered by a mid-mounted, direct-injected V6 engine mated to Honda’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) system. It will also utilise a unique 2 Electric Motor Drive Unit with a bilateral torque adjustable control system so the new hybrid all-wheel-drive system can instantly generate negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering, which Honda anticipates will deliver handling performance unmatched by previous AWD systems.

The new NSX is being developed by a global R&D team led by designers and engineers at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. located in Los Angeles, California, and Raymond, Ohio. The new NSX will also be manufactured at a new production facility in central Ohio.

The news of a pre-order bank follows in the footsteps of the previous NSX which saw 25 pre-orders being taken a year ahead of its UK launch. The first generation NSX was launched in 1990 and spent 15 years in production selling 18,000 units globally with 290 being sold to customers in the UK.

Honda has created a brand new page on the official UK website www.honda.co.uk/nsx to highlight all the exciting NSX news as it’s announced.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Rolls Royce re-enacts event that gave it it's best car in the world title.

  • Alpine Trial Centenary Collection celebrates landmark moment in Rolls-Royce and automotive history – the establishment of the Silver Ghost as the ‘Best Car in the World’
  • First ever Bespoke homage to a heritage Rolls-Royce car
  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announces entry of Works Team into the centenary 20-Ghost Club reenactment of 1913 Alpine Trial

A century ago this June, four Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts embarked on the Austrian Alpine Trials, the most arduous test of automotive endurance of the time.

In performing without fault over 1820 gruelling miles of near impassable mountain terrain, the Rolls-Royce Works Team and privateer entrant James Radley helped cement the marque’s reputation for peerless reliability and mechanical excellence, a reputation the company proudly retains today. The Silver Ghosts’ performance establishing Rolls-Royce as maker of the ‘Best Car in the World’.

At Auto China 2013, the Bespoke department at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England celebrates these endeavours with the launch of the Alpine Trial Centenary Collection.

The first time a Bespoke model has taken inspiration from a heritage Rolls-Royce, this limited edition of Rolls-Royce Ghosts features exquisitely crafted design cues that pay tribute to the 1913 Alpine Trials cars. The exterior paint hue, for example takes close inspiration from Radley’s Silver Ghost, a car that will participate in this year’s reenactment of the 1913 Alpine Trial, as part of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Works Team.

The Radley car’s distinct black grille and wheels are also replicated across the collection – the first time a painted grille has adorned a contemporary Rolls-Royce motor car.

The cabin plays host to Bespoke details that elegantly tell the story of the Alpine Trial. The clock displays the stages of the rally and timings, whilst inlays to rear picnic tables and the front fascia express the topography and distances of the Alpine route. Each element is meticulously hand-crafted and researched to ensure accuracy, epitomising hallmark Rolls-Royce attention to detail.

A hand-painted coachline referencing the four Rolls-Royces that took part in the rally and headlining, colour-matched to the hood of Radley’s car, completes a beautiful homage.

“The 1913 Alpine Trial was an extraordinary moment in the rich history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.“The standards of engineering and pioneer spirit required to achieve such feats stands as inspiration to everyone associated with the marque. The Bespoke Alpine Trial Centenary Collection is a fitting tribute to these achievements. It is testament to the enduring quality of a Rolls-Royce motor car that this 2013 car will be joined by a participant in the original trials, the 1913 Radley Silver Ghost.”

An extraordinary story re-enacted…

In celebration of the centenary of the 1913 Alpine Trial, the 20-Ghost Club has organised a faithful re-enactment which will start in Vienna on 14 June 2013.

A Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Works Team comprising a 2013 Alpine Trial Centenary Collection Ghost and Radley 1913 Silver Ghost will participate in the rally.

In total, over 40 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts will traverse through Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia – taking in some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery, before returning to Vienna on 29 June.

They will converge with a parallel rally organised by the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club for a Gala at the beautiful Riva del Garda, Italy. 100 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts will stand side-by-side that evening, representing the largest gathering of its kind in history.

Mercedes showcases new GLA with concept at Shanghai

Mercedes-Benz will be showing a compact premium-class SUV at the "Auto Shanghai" motor show (21 to 29 April 2013) in the form of its Concept GLA. The Concept GLA combines dynamic styling with clear benefits for recreational use. Under the bonnet of this new concept vehicle (length/width/height: 4383/1978/1579 millimetres) sits a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine rated at 211 hp with a displacement of 1991 cc.

Its power is transmitted to the road via the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive. A new approach is taken here in the form of headlamps featuring laser technology: these not only shine more light on the road, but also function as projectors.

"The Concept GLA marks a new approach for us in the compact SUV segment – this is a sporty and more coupé-like evolution of this category of vehicle,"commentedDr Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing. "The Concept GLA is a compact SUV that combines its sporting spirit with the all-round qualities of a tough, leisure-time companion. 'Escape the everyday' is the message that this car conveys to its driver. It also makes clear the further potential of our compact vehicle architecture, which provides the basis for the A- and B-Class models that led the German market in their respective segments in the first quarter of 2013."

Clever use of SUV design cues: the exterior design

Clear evidence of the innovative thinking on the part of the designers that has gone into this concept vehicle is provided by a number of distinctive features.

These include the powerful bonnet with its powerdomes and a sporty radiator grille with a centrally positioned star. The new-style surround to the star merges elegantly into two horizontal bars.

Also new are the so-called "softcubes": these are soft, raised pads that help to give definition to the radiator grille and are also to be found on the side sill panels and alongside the exhaust tailpipes.

The distinctive door mirrors, with their twin supporting struts, are fitted with a protective grille. This, like the underride guard at the front, is very much a typical SUV feature. The striking appearance of the Concept GLA is also, not least, the result of its silver Alubeam paint finish.

Seen from the side, too, the Concept GLA conveys a sense of power and confidence. This reinforces the overall design philosophy behind the vehicle with a "dropping line" that extends from the headlamp to the rear wheel arch. The beltline trim rises slightly from the rear door towards the C-pillar. Together with the light-catching contour formed by the curvature of the vehicle flank and the line that rises from the level of the door sill towards the dropping line, this creates a unique interplay of lines that adds to the sense of elegant dynamism. The slim door handles of the five-door vehicle are fully recessed, emerging at the touch of a button. The frameless side windows also emphasise the coupé characteristics of this concept vehicle.

The 20-inch wheels, with their distinctive five-spoke turbine design, are shod in size 255/45 R 20 tyres. These have been specifically created for the Concept GLA: their tread pattern continues the lines of the spokes in an optical illusion that makes the latter appear longer.

The muscular haunches above the rear axle, accentuated by the way the C-pillar is pulled in slightly, extend to the rear over the light clusters, also emphasising the broad stance of the tail end. The outcome is a powerfully taut arc that nevertheless avoids aggression. This impression is reinforced by the curvature of the rear window and the elegant chrome strip between the rear light clusters. The large roof spoiler is a further eye-catching feature. This follows through very neatly on the structure of the rear roof panelling and provides the housing for the additional brake light.

Further SUV references, such as a load sill guard and a concealing underride fascia panel, are to be found in the area of the rear bumper covering. The twin-pipe exhaust system is evidence of the car's sporty aspirations.

The tailgate features a power closing system that allows it to be opened or closed at the touch of a button. Opening the tailgate with its integrated rear light cluster reveals supplementary lights to warn approaching vehicles of the open tailgate. Further light clusters are housed in the rear cross member between the roof rails.

Perfect craftsmanship: the interior

In terms of its design, the interior reflects a clear alignment with the interiors of the other new compact Mercedes models, reinterpreted here for a sophisticated and exceptionally high-quality SUV. It is dominated by an exciting juxtaposition of leather and dark galvanised aluminium. The four individual seats and the door centre panels are upholstered in natural leather in a rich shade of brown. Both colour and workmanship bring the image of a saddle to mind: all in all, the Concept GLA incorporates more than 20 metres of hand-stitched seams to hold the raw edges of the leather together. The seat cushions, which feature central inlay panels in a high-quality canvas material, display an embossed pattern that continues the saddle theme. An illuminated insert is set into the integrated head restraint of each of the four sports seats.

Grey leather with a graphically applied grain is used on the backs of the front seats, amongst other places, and continues the idea of patterns being continued over from other surfaces. The armrests and centre panels of the door linings are designed as a very clear structural unit.

The instrument panel is constructed in several layers. On top of a leather-upholstered surface sits a framework in a combination of matt and polished aluminium, which provides the necessary support for all the instruments. This is held in place by clearly visible screws, featuring a specially devised design. This unit is protected from dust and dirt by a plexiglas covering that is illuminated from behind, so adding to the impression that the different levels are free-floating. The control buttons for COMAND Online have also been crafted with meticulous technical precision. They are made of plexiglas and painted from the back in black. Pictograms are then etched into the black, also from the back, before being filled in.

The air vents in the instrument panel as well as in the rear represent a further stylistic development of the vents used in the Concept A-CLASS and Concept Style Coupé, and are likewise illuminated from behind. They change colour according to the interior temperature set by the occupants. At a temperature of 22 degrees Celsius they light up in white. If a cooler temperature is selected for the interior, they turn blue, while opting for an influx of warm air switches the illumination to red.

Fibre-optic ambient lighting in the load compartment visually extends the line drawn by the centre console all the way from the instrument panel through to the rear seats. A rectangle of lighting strip inset into the load compartment floor serves to highlight its level surface. Luggage can be secured firmly with a spring-loaded four-point harness, as used in helicopters. A simple handle is used to fold the backrests of the rear sports seats forward to create a level load compartment floor.

Laser light: new-style headlamps project light and images

Film time! The front headlamps of the Concept GLA are each fitted with a laser-beam projector. These not only provide the light to drive by, but are also capable of projecting pictures or films onto a screen or other surface. Any format that can be operated through COMAND Online can serve as a source: pictures or films from a smartphone, the internet, or from a hard drive.

Alternatively, the action can be produced live. The Concept GLA is fitted with two cameras, housed in the front roof rail. These can be used for far more than just 3D images taken as the Concept GLA drives along: the HD cameras can be removed and, for example, fitted to a mountain bike helmet. An additional lamp unit in each camera ensures that the lighting is right, whatever the situation. As an alternative to the projection option, films may also be viewed inside the car on the COMAND Online screen.

The laser-beam projectors represent far more than simply an academic exercise on the part of the engineers and designers at Mercedes-Benz. As a further enhancement of the head-up display, they could also help to improve road safety: the technology could be used, for example, to project the directional instructions from the navigation system onto the road in the form of arrows – in this way other road users, too, would be able to see where a driver is heading.

Laser and LED technology: the headlamps

It is not only the laser-beam projectors and their visible cooling system provided by rotating vents that make the shimmering blue headlamps of the Concept GLA such an interesting feature. With the "Coming home" function, the blue light begins to pulsate to indicate that the vehicle is ready and waiting for its driver.  

While the driving lights are produced here for the first time by a laser beam reflected off a mirror lens, the daytime running lamps, with their characteristic "torch" effect, as well as the indicator lights, consist of LEDs. The indicators take the form of digital chase lighting strips and, as such, represent a further development of the "Mexican wave" design used on the Concept Style Coupé.