Friday, January 18, 2013

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, 2013

  •  Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, 2013

The new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S assumes top position in the Porsche SUV model range with its engine power of 550 hp (405 kW). With its complex active chassis, the top athlete in SUV clothing surpasses the driving performance of many sports cars. All of the basic Cayenne properties such as versatile offroad capabilities, high ride comfort and superior towing power have been preserved without exception. Its NEDC fuel consumption of 11.5 litres per 100 km is the same as that of the Cayenne Turbo, which makes it more fuel-efficient in relation to its engine power. The new Turbo S model has an extra 50 hp of power compared to the Cayenne Turbo, as well as a torque boosted from 700 Nm to 750 Newton metres, and it converts them into faster acceleration and a higher top speed. The sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes just 4.5 seconds (-0.2 seconds), and the SUV accelerates to a top speed of 283 km/h (+ 5 km/h).

The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S was systematically configured for maximum dynamic performance. Therefore, it incorporates all relevant control systems as standard equipment. From the Cayenne Turbo it takes the combination of an air suspension and active PASM damping control. Then there is Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), which reduces the roll angle in curves to practically zero, improving agility and comfort equally. Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), which is also standard, operates with torque vectoring at the rear wheels together with an electronically controlled rear differential lock, which improves traction and therefore offers more agility in every driving situation. The new Cayenne Turbo S is also equipped with the Sport Chrono package as standard.

The exterior and add-on equipment of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S live up to the high standards of a top model. Numerous exterior features such as the air inlet screens, headlight housings and mirror parts are painted in high-gloss black. The standard 21-inch 911 Turbo II wheels with coloured Porsche badges were exclusively designed for the Cayenne Turbo S; their inside surfaces are painted in high-gloss black.

Porsche designers created bi-colour leather packages in new colours and colour patterns specifically for the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. These interior features are available in black/carrera red or black/luxor beige colour combinations. The bi-colour leather packages that are reserved for the new top model were extended by adding decorative seams in the contrasting colours carrera red and luxor beige. The Carbon interior package complements the leather features and highlights the sophistication of vehicle and materials.

In Germany, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is priced at 151,702 euros including VAT and deliveries begin in January 2013.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Toyota Corolla Furia Concept, 2013

  •  Toyota Corolla Furia Concept, 2013

Toyota Corolla Furia Concept has been unveiled at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This exciting compact sedan concept hints at the styling cues consumers can expect to see on the next-generation Corolla. The concept represents an exterior styling study by Toyota designers, and it builds on the brand's product development priority to develop more dramatic, expressively designed vehicles.

"The Toyota Corolla Furia Concept is an early indicator of where our compact car design may lead in the future," said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of the Toyota Division. "It blends a heightened emphasis on dramatic design and modern elements of high technology to generate curb appeal that will surprise a lot of people."

The Furia is designed around a theme of "Iconic Dynamism," which uses pure and simple surface elements to create a confident, decisive and recognizable appearance appealing to more youthful consumers. It features a more provocative, dynamic interpretation of a compact sedan that displays a more stable, athletic stance with 19-inch allow wheels pushed to the vehicle's corners with short overhangs to help emphasize its long wheelbase.

The Toyota Corolla Furia design includes a swept windshield, with a sloped roofline and pronounced fender flares, to help communicate a sense of motion even when the car is stationary. The aggressively styled front fascia, with a blacked-out grille treatment, helps highlight a pair of sculpted front LED headlamps that combine with the rear composite LED taillight assemblies to add a sense of advanced technology to the Furia's impactful exterior. Carbon fiber accents adorn the Toyota Corolla Furia Concept's wheel wells, rocker panels, and rear valance, which includes ornate metal exhaust outlet surrounds to add a sense of modern athleticism.

Toyota Corolla Furia Concept Dimensions

    Overall Length: 4620 mm/ 181.9 inches
    Overall Width: 1805 mm / 71 inches
    Overall Height: 1425 mm / 56.1 inches
    Wheelbase: 2700 mm/ 106.3 inches
    Wheels: 19-inch aluminum alloy
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mercedes-Benz CLS550, 2012

  •  Mercedes-Benz CLS550, 2012

Outrageous proportions: a long bonnet, narrow-look windows with frameless side windows, dynamic roof sweeping back at an angle towards the rear. In 2003 the four-door Coupé was born: and the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class immediately established itself as a new style icon. The proportions have stayed the same - and yet everything is different: the second generation of this design trendsetter has adopted a completely new look.

What immediately strikes the eye is the innovative front design, which is reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. Visually, the radiator grille is not integrated into the bonnet but is formed separately. This highlights the long, sporty bonnet even further. The grille is dominated by the large central star, which underlines the car's relationship to the other coupés of the brand and strengthens the brand identity. The large, elongated dark air inlets with black grilles also add to the vehicle's athletic appearance.

Other distinguishing feature comes in the form of the LED High Performance headlamps, which are the world's first to offer all of the regular dynamic light functions using LED technology. This innovation boasts an impressive design - inside it is divided into three arrow-shaped layers from top to bottom: the upper layer contains an LED indicator, beneath which is a striking LED side light offering LED low beam functions. The side light can also be seen when the dipped beam function is switched on, thereby creating a novel and separate night-time design as a distinctive look. The lowest level of the headlamp houses the main beam and nightview functions. A total of 71 LEDs not only provide an unmistakable appearance, but also offer a significantly enhanced view of the road compared with previous systems.

The typical Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class outline, with its elegantly long proportions, is the dominating attribute of the new model. The effect of the dynamic, athletic form has been enhanced with a new interplay of lines and areas. The front edge of the structure above the wings slopes off towards the rear. This novel design feature, called the dropping line by designers, represents a new interpretation of a formal design element harking back to the uniquely rich wealth of forms present in historic Mercedes sports cars.

A distinctive and muscular sports car-like shoulder line above the rear axle highlights the athletic character of the new CLS. The flared wheel arches resemble the powerful thighs of a feline predator waiting to pounce.

The side view is rounded off with wide wrap-around tail lights featuring LED technology which are arranged in the form of a linking element to the rear of the vehicle. The shape is emphasized by the broad shoulder line, which is clearly visible from behind and supports the flat hardtop. A wide metal insert adds a further visual highlight at the rear.

The interior: Luxurious surrounds with many exclusive touches
Quite apart from its breathtaking design, the vehicle body of the new Mercedes CLS spoils all occupants with its generous interior measurements: in particular, the four-door coupé offers more elbow room (8/21 millimetres at the front/back) and more shoulder room (21/13 millimetres) than its predecessor. The starting point for this extra space was the vehicle body, which is 29 millimetres longer, 13 millimetres higher and 8 millimetres wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase has increased too, by 20 millimetres to 2874 millimetres.

The boot has a capacity of 520 litres and, for the first time in the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, comes with EASY-PACK quickfold as an optional extra for the rear seat backrest which folds down in a 1/3:2/3 proportion. Up to 19 different places to store and secure objects throughout the car make it quick and easy to accommodate smaller objects. The EASY-PACK comfort box for the boot, which is an optional extra, provides even more stowage space. It is normally folded flat and stored under the parcel shelf. If the EASY-PACK comfort box is needed, it can be pulled out and folded down. Thanks to its flexible base, its volume can be varied from 7 to 55 litres. Its can bear a maximum of ten kilograms in weight. The box, which is some 530 millimetres wide, can be removed from the boot without the need for tools if its full capacity is required.

Stylish cockpit with three round dials and two colour displays
In addition to the "wrap-around effect" of the instrument panel support, the newly-designed multifunction steering wheel in the 3-spoke design in Nappa leather is particularly eye-catching. The steering wheel is available in black or almond beige; a wood-and-leather finish is also available as an optional extra. In the optional AMG Sports package there is a particularly sporty steering wheel which has a flattened wreath in the lower half. Both steering wheel options have 12 multifunction keys to control the infotainment functions.

The highlight of the exclusive CLS instrumentation is the all-colour, three-dimensional TFT display in the middle of the speedometer, measuring 109 millimetres in diameter. The mileage and trip odometer appear in the lower area of the display, the top displays - amongst other things - information from the driver assistance systems. A three-dimensional image of the vehicle appears when getting into or out of the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.

Three tube-shaped round dials in the cockpit inform the driver of the coolant temperature and fuel tank level (on the left), speed (in the middle) and engine rpm (on the right). A large colour display in 16:9 format, elegantly integrated into the upper part of the instrument panel support, gives information on all the infotainment functions. The TFT display (Active Matrix Thin Film Transistor), which is backlit with LED lights, uses so-called IPS technology. IPS stands for "in-plane switching", which describes the shift direction of the liquid crystal. The benefit of this technology is that it displays high-contrast images which stay sharp outside the direct line of vision. Depending on the specification, two versions of this cutting-edge display are available: a 14.7 cm version for the Audio 20 and Audio 50 APS systems; and a high-resolution 17.7 cm variant for COMAND APS.

The centre console fits harmoniously with the shape and colour of the instrument panel. The control unit for the infotainment system and the optional car telephone can be found underneath the analogue clock and air vents. The push-button switches for seat heating, seat ventilation, the hazard warning lamps, rear window blind and other items of equipment ordered as options are arranged below this; they have been galvanised and are backlit. The large round control knobs for the automatic climate control, which is supplied as standard, are located in the lower part of the centre console. The controller in the tunnel trim serves as the central control element for the infotainment systems and provides a quick and easy starting point for navigating the well-organised menus controlling the systems.

THERMOTRONIC climate control with three individual climate modes
The second-generation Mercedes CLS can be optionally fitted with an automatic climate control system which not only allows individual temperatures to be set for three zones - for the driver, the front passenger and the rear passengers - but additionally offers special climate modes. This means that, if the optionally available THERMOTRONIC system is fitted, the car occupants can select "Diffuse", "Medium" or "Focus" settings on the THERMOTRONIC at the push of a button and thus adjust the air quantity and air distribution to their liking without having to leave the convenient automatic mode.

In "Diffuse" mode, for example, the THERMOTRONIC system operates with a lower air speed and distributes the air over a wide area so that there are fewer draughts. This is the purpose of the automatically controlled, upwards inclined diffuse nozzle in the centre of the dashboard. In "Focus" mode, meanwhile, the air outlets in the centre area of the dashboard are used for the most part, meeting the need for a direct flow of a larger quantity of air. The standard system fitted in the CLS is the two-zone THERMATIC automatic climate control.

The ultimate in seating comfort allowing adjustments to suit individual ergonomic needs
Refined sportiness - this philosophy applies also to the seats, as they combine the ultimate in seating comfort with sporty lateral support. Four different front seat types are available to choose from:
  •     The standard seat itself meets the highest ergonomic standards. Thanks to the filled seat piping, the feeling of comfort simply when getting into the vehicle is unique. A special upholstery technology is deployed here, which inserts additional foam filling immediately beneath the cloth or leather upholstery. The front seats can be adjusted electrically as standard. The Memory package, which enables three individual settings to be saved, is available as an optional extra.
  •     The shape of the optional multicontour seat can be individually adjusted by and for the driver and passenger to fit their anatomy or to suit their personal wishes with regard to comfort. Thanks to an innovative technology for adjusting the seat side bolsters, for example, the width of the backrest can be adjusted on both sides in a stepless operation by up to 45 millimetres, i.e. by up to 90 millimetres in total. Other bonuses of the new multicontour seat include the pneumatic height adjustment facility for the seat cushion and the high-comfort head restraints.
  •     The active multicontour seat offers the same comfort functions and additionally has high-speed piezo valves in the air chambers which adjust the charging pressure and volume of the air chambers in the side bolsters of the seat backs, depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and vehicle speed, to provide both the driver and front seat passenger with even greater support. It also has the high-comfort head restraint and, additionally, a massage function.
  •     Climate comfort is further enhanced by the optionally available active climatised front seats, which are available as an optional extra. Four ventilators in the seat cushion and in the backrest extract cool air from the floor area of the interior and distribute it evenly through a ventilation tissue beneath the seat surface. The mild airflow can prevent the car's occupants from sweating, even when it is extremely hot outside. Seat heating can also be selected for all four seats as an optional extra.

Individual seats for the passengers in the rear, for the first time fitted with ISOFIX child seat attachments
Two individual seats in the rear provide a particularly comfortable experience in the second row. These seats are well-liked for their extensive lateral support which comes from the contouring. There is a roomy stowage compartment in the centre armrest between the two seats, which if desired can also contain a cup holder for a bottle. An electrically-operated rear-window blind for the rear passengers is also available as an option, which can palpably and measurably reduce sunlight streaming in at the touch of a button. It is fixed to the C-pillars, as it is in the S-Class.

For the first time Mercedes-Benz is offering the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class with ISOFIX, the international standard securing system for child seats. The mechanism is fitted as standard and comprises two retaining brackets in each rear seat position, in the gap between the back rest and seat cushion, as well as an additional third anchor point above the backrest, the so-called top tether.

Car radio, CD player and Bluetooth interface as standard
Nowadays, nobody wants to miss out on the news, the telephone, route guidance or music listening pleasure when in the car. For this reason Mercedes-Benz has equipped the new CLS with state-of-the-art infotainment facilities, which stand out for their high performance capability, but above all for their ease of use. They are called the Audio 20 CD (supplied as standard), Audio 50 APS and COMAND APS (supplied as optional extras).

All of the devices include speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, a colour display in the centre of the dashboard, and a Bluetooth interface to connect a mobile phone to the hands-free system wirelessly. Eight loudspeakers supplied as standard and located in the doors ensure excellent sound quality.

Features of the Audio 20 CD system, fitted as standard, include a CD player (with MP3 capability), a dual tuner for FM/MW/LW/SW, automatic station search, RDS function (FM reception) and a 4 x 20-watt amplifier.

The AUDIO 50 APS infotainment system is an all-in-one device featuring a combination of car radio, DVD player and Europe-wide navigation system with two-dimensional map display. The radio functions and the options for linking with other systems are the same as for the Audio 20 system. Mercedes customers who opt for the version with integral six-disc DVD changer also receive the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.

The COMAND APS multimedia system developed by Mercedes-Benz includes a DVD player for audio and video as well as a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a 40-gigabyte hard drive, allowing extremely fast access to the navigation data and, compared to DVD-based navigation, even faster route calculations. The high-resolution map appears on the 17.7 cm colour display in the centre of the instrument panel and excels in providing useful additional information. By way of example, the map shows the outlines of prominent buildings along the route to aid orientation.

Mercedes-Benz combines COMAND APS with the voice-operated control system LINGUATRONIC and a so-called text-to-speech function as standard. This makes it possible for route-related traffic reports, SMS messages, address book entries or radio station names to be read out to the driver. The system automatically reads out new traffic reports that are relevant to the current route.

Additional systems for the ultimate in listening pleasure and entertainment
Mercedes customers can, if desired, combine the infotainment facilities for the CLS with other systems:
  •     The Logic7 surround sound system developed by Mercedes-Benz together with the audio specialists harman/kardon® delivers an outstanding performance with three-dimensional sound as a natural 360-degree musical experience for all passengers.
  •     iPods, USB sticks or other external audio devices can link to the infotainment system of the new Mercedes CLS through a media interface in the stowage compartment in the centre console.
  •     A separate DAB tuner (DAB = Digital Audio Broadcasting) and additional aerials (optional) allow passengers on board the new CLS to receive digital radio stations in CD quality. The system switches to analogue reception automatically when the DAB signal is too weak.

The model range: Every CLS is a one-off
Individuality is written large in the new Mercedes CLS. The model range for the four-door Coupé is correspondingly extensive - it will be at first be available with rear-wheel drive and then, from September 2011 onwards, for the first time as a 4MATIC with all-wheel drive. As regards the drive system, customers will at first have a choice between four petrol and diesel engines, with four, six and eight cylinders and an output range of between 150 kW (204 hp) and 300 kW (408 hp), or 2143 to 4633 cc displacement.

A total of 12 different paint finishes, including the SHAPE manganite grey matt paintwork, can be combined with the five interior colours - black, alpaca grey, almond beige, aubergine and porcelain. Three different versions of leather upholstery are available to choose from: leather (nappa leather), PASSION leather (a fine semi-aniline leather) and Exclusive PASSION leather (where also the instrument panel and beltline are leather-covered). There are five different finishes available for the trim elements - brown high-gloss burr walnut, black high-gloss ash, satin-finish light brown poplar, black piano lacquer as well as AMG carbon fibre for the CLS Edition 1. In this way, customers purchasing a CLS can, according to their own tastes, choose to accentuate either fresh naturalness or elegant sportiness.

Countless optional extras make it possible to individualise one's Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class further - including opting for active multicontour seats, LED High Performance headlamps, Keyless Go and the harman/kardon sound system, as well as many support systems including the new Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist with brake actuation (for more information on the latter, please refer to the section "Active Safety"). Over and above this, Mercedes-Benz has put together three packages offering appropriate combinations of optional extras.

A customer opting for the Exterior Sports package will get a Mercedes CLS with visible, chromed tailpipes. The Sport CLS also has a lowered suspension with sports tuning, alloy wheels in size 18 or 19 (and, optionally, in anthracite) and a trim element in black on the rear bumper.

The AMG Sports package comprises a multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather in the 3-spoke design, with flattened bottom section, aluminium pedals, AMG bumpers to the front (with single-louvred grille) and rear, AMG alloy wheels in size 18 or 19, AMG floor mats, visible tailpipes, and in the interior, in combination with black leather seats, light-coloured felled seams on the seats, headrests and armrests. With the AMG Sports package, the automatic transmission has a third shift programme - M - which allows the gear to be selected manually using the paddles on the steering wheel. In addition to this, the adaptive suspension is more sportily tuned.

The Exclusive package combines seats in fine semi-aniline leather with nappa leather for the instrument panel, centre console and parts of the door trim. The roof lining is made of alcantara. The Exclusive package, which also includes ambient lighting, is available with all the interior colours and trim elements.

The CLS "Edition 1" will be available for a limited period of one year following market launch. The distinguishing features of this special model are the SHAPE matt paint finish in manganite grey; the leather upholstery in designo corteccia tundra brown pearl which has a metallic shimmer to it; floormats with Edition 1 lettering; a black roof liner; and aluminium pedals. For the interior trim elements in the Edition 1 there is a choice between satin-finish light brown poplar, black piano lacquer or AMG carbon fibre.

The bodywork: A first: frameless, all-aluminium doors
Intelligent lightweight construction plays a decisive role in bridging the classic conflict of objectives between low weight and high strength in the new CLS. The CLS is thus the first vehicle from Mercedes-Benz to have frameless, all-aluminium doors. These are made from deep-drawn aluminium panels with extruded sections, and in comparison with conventional steel doors, are some 24 kilograms lighter. This is not only beneficial to the environment, operating convenience is increased too: the Coupé doors can be opened and closed more easily, particularly on an incline. The new construction has called for new joining techniques: instead of welding, a combination of gluing and riveting has been used.

In order to assure quality, in the production process the doors are positioned in the frames by extremely precise robots; and the side windows are fitted with the greatest precision using laser measurement technology. As a result, this door design meets the same seal requirements as for the door frames on a saloon, which has to be demonstrated in a Mercedes internal test (one of several) in which it is subjected to high-pressure testing with water pressure at 80 bar. To put this in context: this pressure is about five times higher than the pressure needed by an espresso machine to produce a good crema.

Apart from the doors, the bonnet, front wings, boot lid, parcel shelf, various support profiles and substantial parts of the suspension and engines are all made of aluminium. The front end is a hybrid construction made of aluminium panels and plastic strengthened with fibre-glass. The one-piece aluminium crash boxes in the front area are fitted in the side members and are screwed into the side with them.

The large front bumper with the integral grille with the centred star is made of polypropylene. The materials experts at Mercedes-Benz have worked together with the experts from the supplier of this part to develop the plastics formulation, which has a specific talcum content of 15 percent, in order to achieve an optimum compromise between weight and rigidity, as well as excellent thermal properties. As supporting structure for the bumper there is a front end which is a hybrid construction of aluminium sheet and plastic strengthened with fibre glass. For every CLS, special adjustable fixtures are used to ensure the front fits exactly and the gap dimensions are the same all round.

About 72 percent of all panels used for the bodyshell of the new Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class are made from rigid and ultra-rigid steel alloys. The ultra-rigid high-tech alloys, which have three to four times more tensile strength than conventional rigid types of steel, account for around eight percent of total weight. They are deployed in areas in which there could be extreme material stresses in the event of an accident - for example, in the event of a side-on collision, in the B-pillars and side frame of the roof; as well as in the rear, to create a stable crossmember.

Front-end structure: crumple zone on four levels
Compared to the previous model series, the Mercedes engineers have further enlarged the deformation zones substantially in the front and rear sections of the new CLS, as well as improving the energy flows. The front crumple zone has four independently acting impact levels, meaning that the forces can be distributed over a wide area while bypassing the passenger cell.

    Sectional panelsabove the wheel arches form the upper side-member level. From here, the impact forces are channelled into the A-pillars and, subsequently, into the roof frame.
    An aluminium crossmember connects the forward-extended side members and ensures that the forces are transferred to the side facing away from the impact. The crossmember and the forward-extended side members form the central impact zone.
    The subframe to which the engine, steering and front axle are attached also serves as an impact level in the event of a frontal collision. It is made of high-strength steel and, depending on the engine variant, can be connected to the newly developed floor side members by means of special supporting tubes. As a consequence, the subframe can deform in a predetermined manner and absorb energy in the event of a crash on the one hand and channel high impact forces straight into the vehicle floor on the other.
    The side skirts have been extended forwards to support the wheel and prevent it from entering the footwell in the event of an offset frontal collision. In order to provide specifically targeted front-wheel support and location, Mercedes-Benz has also developed special struts and additional energy-absorbing elements for the wheel arches. The struts are arranged diagonally and prevent the passenger cell from sinking in the event of an impact.

The firewall is a four-part construction. This design enables Mercedes engineers to vary the material thickness according to the level of vulnerability in an accident. As the load acting on the firewall during a frontal crash is greatest in the lower section, the sheet steel used here is almost 50 percent thicker.

As well as being a major reason behind the high level of impact resistance, this intelligently designed bodyshell not only enhances ride comfort, it also reduces noise and vibration. The Sindelfingen engineers paid particular attention to the connecting points between the suspension and the bodyshell, which are required to withstand very high forces. These were specifically reinforced to ensure that road-induced vibrations are not transferred to the body at the expense of driving enjoyment. An indicator of the excellent overall result is the static flexural strength of the bodyshell, which shows a 28 percent improvement over its predecessor. Torsional strength increased by six percent.

Passenger cell: custom-designed floor panels and robust load-bearing sections
The passenger cell of the new CLS has been shown to be a structure which is virtually immune to deformation and which keeps the occupant space intact, even at high impact speeds, regardless of whether the collision is head-on, from the rear or from the side, or whether the vehicle rolls over. The use of high-strength steel and thicker panels plays as important a role here as the installation of additional load-bearing members.

The main floor assembly thus consists of different sheet-metal plates that either undergo flexible rolling or are welded together by laser beam and subsequently shaped. Flexible means that the high-tensile steel can be processed in such a way that areas with different steel thicknesses can be produced within a single component. The middle blank forms the tunnel - the actual backbone of the passenger cell. Here the thickness of the custom-designed panels varies between 0.7 and 1.1 millimetres, and between 1.55 and 2.0 millimetres for the tunnel reinforcements, depending on the stresses and loads to which they are subjected.

The continuous floor side members, the insides of which are further reinforced with extra sections, are very important both for occupant protection and the rigidity of the bodyshell. Their front faces connect to the side members, thereby lengthening the load-bearing paths along which forces can be distributed in the event of an impact. At the rear, the floor side members extend as far as the crossmember beneath the rear seat unit to stabilise the entire floor structure.

The Mercedes engineers have also incorporated sturdy aluminium transverse sections - known as transmission tunnel braces - into the floor assembly. One is located beneath the transmission, and is designed to direct forces to the side of the vehicle facing away from the impact in the event of a side-on collision. The second forms a connection between the two side members. It likewise braces the floor assembly and is able to channel impact forces into the floor structure at an early stage following a side-on collision.

Rear-end structure: side members with specifically graduated material thicknesses

Multi-piece side members and a robust, flexible crossmember made from ultra-high-strength steel form the key components of the rear-end structure. The rear side members are continuous, closed box sections with carefully graduated material thicknesses. These are able to absorb high forces, thereby making a decisive contribution to occupant safety in the event of a rear impact. The bolt-on flexible crossmember is manufactured using a flexible rolling process which likewise allows the material thickness to be varied as required. Accordingly, the material thickness on the outside of the crossmember - where impact loads are highest - is greater than on the inside.

Active safety: New assistance for drivers

Avoiding accidents and reducing the consequences of accidents: this is the comprehensive approach adopted by Mercedes-Benz in its safety research and referred to collectively by the company as "Real Life Safety". As part of this, a variety of systems designed to reduce the burden on the driver even further will be making their debut in the new CLS. These include Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist as well as LED High Performance headlamps offering various light functions. The new features represent a further improvement of so-called "driver-fitness safety" by the company's engineers. In addition to ride and seating comfort and also quiet running, a significant role is also played by the headlamp and windscreen wiper systems, for example, as well as the easy, safe operation of the vehicle. On top of this there are also the PRE-SAFE systems which can warn, support and protect the driver when a real risk of an accident has been detected.

Premiere: LED High Performance headlamps with complete light functionality
The new CLS is the first car in the world to feature optional LED High Performance headlamps, which combine the exciting daylight colour impression of LED technology with the performance, functionality and energy efficiency of today's bi-xenon light generation. The new light system features the Intelligent Light System which has already been tried and tested in Mercedes-Benz models with bi-xenon headlamps. Its five light functions - country mode, motorway mode, enhanced fog lamps, active light function and cornering light function - have been specifically designed for typical driving or weather conditions.

In contrast to the first vehicles equipped with LED headlamps, no compromises are now necessary with respect to the functionality and performance of the lighting technology. There are further arguments for the LED-based lighting technology: the average operating life of an LED is around 10,000 hours, around five times longer than that of a xenon light; moreover, LED headlamps most closely approximate to the colour of daylight. This means that LED light is in keeping with the normal human perception patterns. Studies have shown that the closer the colour of artificial light comes to daylight, the less the strain on the eyes. With a colour temperature of 5500 kelvin, LED light is closer to daylight (6500 K) than xenon light (4200 K). The driver's experience of this effect is that colour impressions at night-time seem close to daylight colours and he or she has the feeling that there is greater brightness on the road.

The light specialists at Mercedes-Benz have also been able to combine LED technology with the innovative Adaptive Highbeam Assist for the first time, leading to a completely new level of safety at night. The basic principle behind Adaptive Highbeam Assist is as follows: if the system detects an oncoming vehicle or a vehicle in front with its lights on, the system dims the headlamps and continually adjusts the headlamp range in such a way that the cone-shaped beam of headlamp light does not reach these vehicles. There is, in addition, the Night View Assist Plus system as an option.

But good visibility is not only needed at night - and can also depend on a number of seemingly irrelevant factors. So that the CLS driver's view when looking forward at an angle is not obscured - despite the angled coupé-like windscreen and A-pillars - the exterior mirrors are not mounted in the window triangle. Instead they have been given a new elevated position on the beltline. This improves all-round visibility, especially when turning into side streets, for example.

Premiere: Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist
Assistance systems are becoming increasingly important these days, providing support for drivers as they perform a complex activity. In the new Mercedes CLS, for example, proven technologies like ABS, ESP®and Brake Assist work alongside a dozen assistance systems to help prevent accidents and reduce their impact. These range from drowsiness detection to automatic full brake application on recognising that there is an acute risk of a collision, and from Adaptive Highbeam Assist to traffic sign recognition.

One new feature is the Active Blind Spot Assist. It warns the driver when changing lanes if a risk of collision is detected due to another vehicle in the neighbouring lane being in the so-called blind spot of the exterior mirror. If the driver ignores the warning and nevertheless initiates the lane-changing manoeuvre, the Active Blind Spot Assist intervenes. By applying braking force to the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle, a yaw movement is created which counteracts the collision course.

Active Lane Keeping Assistis now also linked to the ESP® for the first time. This system kicks into action if the Mercedes vehicle inadvertently drifts over a solid line to the right or left of a lane. In such a case, a warning sign in the instrument cluster and vibration of the steering wheel give the driver warning. If the driver does not heed the warning in the case of the solid line, Active Lane Keeping Assist can use the ESP® to brake the opposite wheels and thereby prevent the vehicle from crossing the solid line. You can read more about these two assist systems in the section "Under the Microscope: Assist Systems".

Premiere: Active Parking Assist including PARKTRONIC
Active Parking Assist will answer the prayers of many drivers in the chronically congested traffic areas of Europe: the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class can not only detect parking spaces, but also help with the parking itself. This is made possible thanks to a combination of the new electomechanical direct steering (see the section entitled "Suspension") and a series of ultrasonic sensors. This convenience system features the following functions:
    Measurement of the length and depth of potential parking spaces at a vehicle speed of up to 36 km/h
    Calculation of a suitable parking course based on the current position of the vehicle
    Control of the steering in order to maintain this parking course.

Parking spaces are measured using two enhanced ultrasonic sensors integrated into the right and left sides of the front bumper. Depending on the speed and driving cycle, these sensors are used to measure parking spaces and also to support the PARKTRONIC functionality.

When driving at less than 30 km/h, a "P" symbol is displayed in the instrument cluster to inform the driver that the active parking space search function is enabled. If a parking space is found, an arrow appears next to the "P" symbol. By default the arrow indicates parking spaces on the front-passenger side. If the turn indicator is set to the driver's side, parking spaces on the driver's side will be displayed. It is not necessary to switch on the parking space search function. The ultrasonic sensors only carry out a geometric assessment of the potential parking space, and do not assess whether this free space is actually a parking space. Responsibility during the parking process also remains with the driver. If the ultrasonic sensors detect a pavement then the vehicle is parked parallel to this.

Automatic steering: this is how the parking process works
The Active Parking Assist parking process begins when the vehicle is in front of the parking space indicated by the arrow, facing the direction of travel, and the driver has engaged reverse gear and confirmed an appropriate warning dialogue with the system via the instrument cluster. The driver continues to control the accelerator and brake pedals whilst manoeuvring into the parking space. The Active Parking Assist takes over lateral guidance by controlling the electric steering in accordance with the longitudinal dynamics specified by the driver and the parking course.

The maximum speed of this parking process is limited to 10 km/h. If the speed reaches 7 km/h, a warning appears in the instrument cluster - "Parking Assist only functions up to 10 km/h" - accompanied by a warning tone. The familiar PARKTRONIC function can be used without any restrictions being imposed. The system switches off as soon as the driver intervenes in the automatic steering control process, switches off the system via the PTS (Parktronic Sensor) button, both the driver's seat belt buckle is released and the driver's door opened, or a system error occurs.

The entire PARKTRONIC and Active Parking Assist system comprises the following components:
    Control unit
    Ten ultrasonic sensors, two of which have an extended range
    PTS warning elements on the dashboard and in the roof lining at the rear
    PTS button

A maximum of five manoeuvres are allowed (backwards-forwards-backwards-forwards-backwards). The wheels are then straightened out again. The final parking manoeuvre is notified in the instrument cluster with the message "Parking Assist completed", accompanied by a confirmation tone.

Wake up: ATTENTION ASSIST issues warning on detecting drowsiness
Studies have shown that around a quarter of all serious motorway accidents are caused by drowsy drivers, making this factor an even bigger cause of accidents than drink-driving. With ATTENTION ASSIST, fitted as standard in the new CLS, Mercedes-Benz is therefore making another important contribution towards helping to avoid accidents: it employs high-resolution sensors to observe driver behaviour and can recognise whether the driver is tired or not paying attention, based primarily on steering wheel movements.

The ATTENTION ASSIST system developed by Mercedes-Benz measures more than 70 parameters which are analysed to detect fatigue. This continual monitoring is important in order to recognise the gradual transition from alertness to tiredness and give the driver plenty of warning. Based on a variety of data, ATTENTION ASSIST creates an individual driver profile during the first few minutes of each journey and compares this with sensor data and the driving situation as recognised by the vehicle's electronic control unit. Alongside values such as the steering behaviour of the driver, the Mercedes-Benz system also measures driving conditions such as speed, longitudinal/lateral acceleration, indicator and pedal usage, as well as external factors such as the unevenness of the roads, for example.

DISTRONIC PLUS: now with enhanced functions
The radar-based DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control supports the driver at speeds between zero and 200 km/h by automatically adjusting the distance to the vehicles in front. In doing so it is able to apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a complete standstill and also accelerate it again. As a result, the system is also particularly convenient in stop-and-go traffic. If the system detects that the distance is being reduced too quickly, it warns the driver with both visual and audible signals.

With the introduction of the new generation of the CLS, the functionality of DISTRONIC PLUS has been enhanced even further. It now reacts earlier to vehicles which cut in, and the vehicle accelerates quicker when changing lanes itself and where the overtaking lane is clear. Thanks to the incorporation of information from digital maps (navigation mode), automatic control has also been further refined.

Additional assistance: from the ADAPTIVE BRAKE to the PRE-SAFE® Brake
    ADAPTIVE BRAKE: this Mercedes-Benz brake system offers assistance functions for greater safety and comfort, such as a HOLD function when waiting at traffic lights, and Hill-Start Assist which can help prevent rolling backwards when moving off on a slope.
    Adaptive Highbeam Assist:when vehicles are detected ahead of or oncoming to the vehicle, this system automatically dips the beams and adjusts the range of the headlamps appropriate to the distance.
    Brake Assist PLUS: this system is able to recognise an impending rear-end collision using radar sensors. It calculates the necessary degree of braking assistance and makes it available immediately when the driver presses the brake pedal.
    Headlamp Assist: a sensor on the windscreen detects the lighting conditions. As a result, the headlamps can be turned on automatically when darkness falls.
    Speed Limit Assist: a camera fitted behind the windscreen detects speed limit signs at the roadside and compares this data to information contained in the GPS system. The relevant speed limit is then displayed in the instrument cluster.
    Night View Assist PLUS: The display in the dashboard shows a realistic grey-scale image from an infrared camera that monitors the road ahead of the vehicle. Any pedestrians detected are additionally highlighted in the display with so-called photo corners.
    PARKTRONIC: ultrasonic sensors assist the driver when parking.
    PRE-SAFE® Brake: autonomous braking if acute danger of an accident is detected. At first the driver is given both an acoustic and an optical warning if the system identifies there is a danger of collision. If the driver does not react to this, the system brakes the vehicle autonomously. This occurs in two stages: around 1.6 seconds before the calculated impact point the system decelerates the car with around 40 percent (approx. four m/s²) of the maximum braking power, gives the driver an additional, haptic warning of the impending impact and as a precaution activates the reversible PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system. If the driver still fails to react, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking power around 0.6 seconds before the now unavoidable collision - this emergency braking can greatly reduce the severity of the impact. The system therefore acts like an "electronic crumple zone", offering the car occupants even greater protection. The PRE-SAFE® Brake is active at speeds of between 30 and 200 km/h when moving vehicles are detected in front of the car. The system also reacts if the car approaches a stationary queue of traffic, providing its speed is below 70 km/h.
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Mercury Mountaineer, 2006


 Mercury Mountaineer, 2006

The Mercury Mountaineer is a luxury SUV manufauctured by the Mercury brand name, owned by the Ford Motor Company. The Mountaineer shares many features with the Ford Explorer, and in terms of hardware, the vehicles are virtually identical. Externally, they are styled somewhat differently, and the Mountainer is positioned with a more upscale interior, with the Mountaineer's MSRP coming in at $1,000–6,000 more than the Explorer. It has been mildly redesigned for the 2006 model year due to a new frame, but looks very similar to its previous model.

For 2006, the Mountaineer was redesigned. This new Mountaineer was all new, though it closely resembles the previous model. The Mountaineer was mounted on a new frame, and it offered a more upscale interior, to make up for the cut Lincoln Aviator. This Mountaineer got new wheels and HID headlights, a feature not found on previous Mountaineers.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

McLaren MP4-12C Spider, 2013

  •  McLaren MP4-12C Spider, 2013

The new McLaren MP4-12C Spider, unveiled at the 2012 Pebble Beach weekend in California, is the second vehicle in the growing range of high performance sports cars from McLaren Automotive. This lightweight, mid-engine open-top sports car combines the astonishing performance of the 12C with the increased exhilaration of roof-down motoring. Unlike most other spiders or convertibles, the 12C Spider offers the same performance, handling and driver enjoyment as the fixed-roof coupé version.

The 12C Spider uses the industry-leading carbon fibre MonoCell as the 12C, which needs no extra strengthening to provide the necessary rigidity and strength for an open roof car. In conventional steel or aluminium chassis cars, extra strengthening - and associated weight increase - is normal during the conversion from fixed-head coupé to open-roof convertible. This can compromise performance, handling and driving enjoyment.

The composure of a sports car, the fun of a convertible
'In the new 12C Spider you get the best of both worlds,' says McLaren Automotive Managing Director Antony Sheriff. 'You get all the performance and driving integrity of the 12C, plus the thrill of open-roof motoring.

The new 12C Spider is mechanically identical to the 12C. It uses the upgraded 625PS engine, which is part of the 12C Model Year 2013 upgrade. Acceleration - 0-62mph (100 km/h) - takes just 3.1 seconds (when fitted with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres), the same as the coupé. Fuel consumption and emissions also remain the same, returning 24.2 mpg (11.7 l/100km) on the combined cycle and 279g/km. The figures are much better than most high performance convertible sports cars, in keeping with McLaren's commitment to class-leading fuel efficiency. Maximum speed is 204 mph (329 km/h).

The Retractable Hard Top (RHT) on the 12C Spider is a fully automatic two-piece design which can be raised or lowered in less than 17 seconds at speeds of up to 30 km/h (19 mph). When lowered, the roof stows beneath a body coloured hard tonneau cover which incorporates twin buttresses. With the roof raised, the area beneath the tonneau cover can be used as additional luggage space.

The 12C Spider features a heated glass rear window, which can be operated independently of the roof. With the roof down, the rear window moves automatically to an 'aero' position to minimise buffeting. Additionally, with the roof up, the window can be lowered to give direct access to the sound of the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 engine mounted directly behind the cabin.

A roll over protection system includes a steel structure within each of the rear buttresses to absorb any impact and protect occupants. An 'active' pop-up system was ruled out as it would have added weight.

The detail changes of the 12C Spider extend to both the audio and climate control systems. Audio output changes when the roof is open - to compensate for extra external noise - while the climate control adapts when the roof is lowered.

12C programme included Spider from the outset
'The 12C Spider is not a converted version of the 12C,' notes Sheriff. 'Importantly, the two were conceived and developed at the same time, and alongside each other. The 12C programme included a coupé and convertible from the outset. The carbon fibre MonoCell chassis and all other mechanical components were designed to produce maximum performance in both configurations.

'The 12C Spider fully subscribes to the McLaren overriding principle, that every single component should be 'Pure McLaren'. Each constituent part was conceived, designed and produced to McLaren specification - nothing is shared from other manufacturers. The goal is to maximise driving enjoyment, performance and efficiency. Just as important, we always seek to innovate. By producing the 12C Spider with all the performance, handling and ride quality of the 12C, we have done just that.'

As with the 12C, everything on the 12C Spider was designed for a reason. There is no unnecessary 'jewellery', no styling fripperies. It is a 'pure' sports car, designed to deliver maximum driving appeal and performance, with unmatched efficiency.

'As with all McLarens, the 12C Spider is a racing car at heart,' notes Design Director Frank Stephenson. 'That is not true of many - if any - other high performance convertibles.

'It has the same timeless elegant style that distinguishes the 12C but with the added romance of open-top driving,' adds Stephenson. 'We have tried very hard to preserve the same design purity. With the roof in place, it looks like a coupé sports car that could just as easily be at Le Mans, as in London or Los Angeles. With the roof down, it looks like it belongs on Sunset Boulevard or the Cote d'Azur.'

Retractable Hard Top (RHT)
The Retractable Hard Top (RHT) has been designed specifically for the 12C Spider. Low weight, combined with high strength, was of paramount importance - as with all areas of the 12C.

The two roof panels and tonneau are made from the same composite material used in the construction of the 12C body. This is light, strong and allows for a very high standard of paint finish. Heated rear glass completes the roof construction.

The fully automatic mechanism raises or lowers the roof in less than 17 seconds, and can be activated at speeds up to 30 km/h (19 mph). It is controlled by a two-position switch on the centre panel within the cabin.

At the end of the roof lowering cycle, the windows fully close, and the rear glass adopts an 'aero' position that also reduces cabin wind buffeting. Continuing to hold the switch after the cycle is complete fully lowers the windows and rear cabin glass.
The RHT is operated by a single hydraulic pump. It is mounted as low as possible in the vehicle to optimise the centre of gravity, and improve handling.

Dual-purpose tonneau cover
When lowered, the roof stows beneath a body coloured hard tonneau cover which incorporates twin buttresses. With the roof raised, the area beneath the tonneau cover can be used as additional luggage space. This can accommodate 52 litres of luggage in two specially designed bags, supplied as standard. This is in addition to the 144 litres of luggage space provided under the bonnet.

Retractable rear glass provides increased audible drama
The rear glass can also be operated independently of the RHT. Roof up, the rear glass can be lowered to allow more engine sound into the cabin and also allows for a semi-open driving experience even in inclement weather. Roof down, the screen acts as a wind deflector, minimising disturbance in the cabin.

Roll over protection system
A roll over protection system ensures maximum occupant safety. Each rear buttress contains a steel structure to absorb the impact energy and protect both driver and passenger. An 'active' pop-up system would have added unnecessary weight.

Carbon fibre MonoCell ideally suited for convertible use
As with the mechanically identical 12C, the 12C Spider is a mid-engine two-seat rear-drive high performance sports car. Unlike rivals, it uses a carbon fibre monocoque chassis, the MonoCell. This confers major advantages in weight, strength and torsional rigidity - all improving handling, ride comfort and performance.

The MonoCell is a unique one-piece moulded chassis that weighs just 75kgs (165lbs). It is 25 per cent stiffer than an equivalent all-metal structure and 25 per cent lighter than a comparable aluminium chassis (the difference with a steel chassis is even greater). It is also stronger and safer in a crash, acting as a safety survival cell, as it does in a Formula 1 car.

'It provides the perfect combination of occupant space, structural integrity and light weight,' explains Chief Engineer Neil Patterson. 'It is the ideal chassis to deliver groundbreaking efficiency and performance in the sports car market.'

The MonoCell is unchanged from 12C to 12C Spider, as it was originally designed for both applications. 'This is highly unusual,' notes Patterson. 'Most convertibles require a strengthened chassis to reduce flex, thus adding weight - while still not achieving the structural integrity of a coupé. This flex can compromise handling precision and reduce ride comfort; while the added weight affects performance.'

The carbon fibre MonoCell not only gives advantages in strength and weight, it also improves packaging. The one-piece moulded design has been created to provide the perfect cabin - roomy, yet compact. 'We started with the driver,' says Design Director Frank Stephenson. 'With the 12C and 12C Spider, the driver sits close to the centre line of the car, improving control and driver enjoyment. The pedals are positioned inboard, reducing wheel well intrusion. The result is the perfect driving environment- unique and uncompromised.'

The steering column is centred on the driver, and is parallel to his seat and shoulders. The brake and throttle pedals are both placed directly in line with the driver and all primary controls are within reach. The overall cabin architecture is both elegant in its design and uncluttered and intuitive to use.

As with the 12C, the 12C Spider has class-leading all-round visibility. 'Enormous emphasis was put on ensuring excellent visibility, both for safety and driving precision,' adds Stephenson.

McLaren: The carbon innovators
The carbon fibre MonoCell of the 12C and 12C Spider follows more than three decades of McLaren carbon innovation. In 1981, McLaren Racing introduced the carbon monocoque to Formula 1™. It offered an unbeatable combination of strength and weight-saving, and soon recorded the first victory for a carbon-based F1 car, at the British GP, driven by John Watson.

The legendary McLaren F1 road car, launched in 1992, was the first road car to use a carbon chassis and body. In fact, since 1981 McLaren has never built a car without a carbon chassis.

On the 12C and 12C Spider, aluminium extrusions and castings are jig welded onto front and rear structures and bolted directly to the MonoCell. Along with the carbon MonoCell, they carry the lightweight composite body panels. Apart from the roof, and the engine cover, body panels are identical to the 12C. A redesigned glass engine cover maintains an unobstructed view of the handsome twin turbo V8 engine.

'The front and rear aluminium structures are easy to repair,' adds Patterson. 'They absorb impacts and can be replaced easily. Cars with full aluminium chassis use their structure to absorb and crumple on impact, causing more damage and expense to the whole structure, including the passenger cell.'

Unique Airbrake provides active aerodynamics
As with the 12C, the 12C Spider is fitted with the unique McLaren Airbrake - an 'active' rear wing that increases its angle to boost downforce and improve stopping power and stability through corners. 'As with every other aspect of the car, we have "added lightness",' notes McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver, Chris Goodwin. 'Under heavy braking above 95 km/h, a piston operated by the transmission hydraulics raises the Airbrake to 32 degrees. Once this wing angle is set, and the Airbrake is pushed into the airflow, the centre of aerodynamic pressure forces the bottom of the wing up to 69 degrees. With the use of clever aerodynamics, rather than a bigger, heavier motor, the wing is deployed to its full and maximum angle. This weight-saving thinking has reduced the weight of the mechanism by 50 per cent.'

The 'active' aerodynamics of the McLaren Airbrake is another Formula 1™-derived innovation - although now banned, as it conferred a substantial performance advantage.

The total weight of the new 12C Spider is 1,474 kg, an increase of only 40 kg on the 12C, less than any other car in the class. The increase is because of the added weight of the Retractable Hard Top and other small changes, including a slightly heavier (by 2 kg) exhaust system. Overall, the 12C Spider is substantially lighter than most comparable convertibles, as well as being stronger and stiffer.

The light weight philosophy does not begin and end with the body and chassis of the 12C Spider. A light structure enables the designers to save weight through the whole design process. This includes the unique 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine, which weighs just 199 kg (439lbs).

Designed by McLaren Automotive, the British-made M838T engine features dry sump lubrication and a flat plane crankshaft, both of which have helped engineers place the engine extremely low in the chassis, lowering the centre of gravity and optimising handling and agility.

'The engine in the 12C and 12C Spider offers low weight, low-rev tractability, potent mid-range performance and extensive high-rev reach,' says Richard Farquhar, Function Group Manager for Powertrain. 'It also has a level of refinement and efficiency you wouldn't normally expect from a V8.'

Power boost for 2013
The McLaren MP4-12C Spider, along with the Model Year 2013 12C, gets the latest and more powerful 625PS (616hp) version of the engine, to give even more vivid acceleration with no loss of efficiency. Fuel economy has not been affected: it is still 24.2 mpg (combined) with emissions of just 279 g/km - excellent figures for so powerful a vehicle.

Revisions have also been made to the innovative Intake Sound Generator (ISG). This system works by controlling engine intake noise within the cabin at differing levels, depending on the Powertrain mode selected for the car. Moving up through Normal, Sport and Track Powertrain modes enhances the aural drama and driving experience of the 12C, allowing more of the natural sound of the V8 engine noise to enter the cabin. This allows the 12C Spider to be dramatic and exciting when required, but then also quieter for long distance journeys. With the 2013 specification 12C and 12C Spider, the driver can select the level of engine noise delivered in each mode through an electronic menu, accessible via the instrument cluster.

The exhaust system is the only part of the engine that has been changed for the 12C Spider. To ensure the audible experience is optimised for open-top driving, the exhaust has been developed to suit the harmonics of the 12C Spider body shape. An optional sports exhaust system is available, which is both lighter and louder than the standard equipment.

The seven-speed dual clutch 'SSG' transmission used in the 12C Spider is unchanged from that used in the 12C. It utilizes the Model Year 2013 upgrades, including crisper throttle response and improved clutch control. Gear changes are now faster and smoother. Like the 12C, it is available in Normal, Sport and Track gearshift modes providing progressively faster shifts, and differing shift points when in automatic mode. These modes are selected using the 'Powertrain' dial on the Active Dynamics Panel.

The goal with the 12C and 12C Spider was to offer executive car-like ride quality and sharp, agile handling. This is a combination of abilities that has never been seen on high-performance convertibles before.

Convertibles - especially fast convertibles - tend to have compromised ride and handling and often use different suspension settings than their fixed-head counterparts. The 12C Spider is a revelation. The exceptional strength and rigidity provided by the carbon fibre MonoCell means that the 12C Spider is able to retain exactly the same suspension components and settings as the groundbreaking 12C.

ProActive Chassis Control makes anti-roll bars redundant
The 12C Spider uses the same ProActive Chassis Control that proved such a revelation with the 12C. The suspension is based on double wishbones with coil springs, like a Formula 1 car. Innovative adaptive dampers, interconnected hydraulically and linked to a gas-filled accumulator, provide pro-active responses, depending on road conditions and driver preferences. Normal, Sport and Track settings are available which operate independently of the transmission settings.

One of the advantages of ProActive Chassis Control is that it makes traditional metal anti-roll bars unnecessary. Notes Paul Burnham, McLaren Automotive Vehicle Dynamics Manager: 'An anti-roll bar is a popular and simple solution to reducing a car's roll. But the problem is that its stiffness is always there, reducing ride suppleness and comfort. The ProActive Chassis Control system, with its interconnected adaptive dampers, takes care of body roll without the need to use separate metal anti-roll bars. It is a large factor in our goal to offer the best high performance sports car handling and yet also offer executive car ride suppleness.'

Electronic sensors monitor the movement of the body and the wheels, increasing the levels of damping as and when required.

Brake Steer is another important technology that helps to boost the agility of the 12C Spider. It is yet another Formula 1™ technology that McLaren uses on the 12C. However, unlike many of those technologies, Brake Steer is now banned in Formula 1™ because it offered a clear performance advantage. This was shown by the successful implementation in 1997 on McLaren's 1997 Formula 1™ car.

The Brake Steer system offers the same benefits as a 'torque vectoring' differential, but is up to 20 kg lighter - part of the 'weight down' philosophy used on the 12C and 12C Spider. The system uses the hardware of the 12C's existing Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to apply braking forces to the inside rear wheel, improving turn-in to corners, boosting cornering speed, agility and driver confidence.

Standard brakes - forged aluminium bell and cast iron ventilated and cross-drilled discs - are optimised for weight, saving around 8 kg from standard cast iron. Optional Ceramic Composite Matrix (CCM) brake discs are also available saving a further 3.7 kg.

The McLaren MP4-12C Spider cabin design is identical to the 12C, offering a range of material and colour options allowing customers a great degree of freedom to personalise their car. This includes the, new for Model Year 2013, Semi-Aniline leather sport interior, which features a more naturally textured finish. The interior of the RHT roof panels are lined either in Carbon Black Fabric or optional Carbon Black Alcantara.

Audio and climate systems specially calibrated for the 12C Spider
Typical of McLaren attention to detail, the climate control and audio systems have been totally recalibrated, to compensate for top-down driving.

The audio system, developed specifically for the 12C Spider by Meridian, the bespoke British hi-fi specialists, optimises the music output depending whether the car is running with the top up or down. Meridian was involved in the audio system's development from the very outset of the car's design, to optimise audio quality.

The Automatic Volume Control (AVC) and Automatic Tone Control (ATC) are both recalibrated for the 12C Spider. Individual speakers are automatically adjusted to take into account increases in external sound.

The climate control system is also recalibrated to automatically adjust when the roof is lowered. Airflow to the windscreen is reduced and, instead, redirected to the lower cabin vents. Fan speed also responds to vehicle speed, to maintain the desired temperature.

When the roof is up, the climate control settings from the 12C are applied. However, even when the rear cabin glass is lowered - which can be done independently of the roof - the climate control system is automatically adjusted to ensure constant cabin temperature and occupant comfort.

The McLaren MP4-12C Spider is built at the new £40 million McLaren Production Centre (MPC) facility in Woking, Surrey, adjacent to the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC). The manufacturing facility was opened in November 2011 by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and McLaren Group Chairman Ron Dennis.
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