Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mercedes-Benz A-Class AMG Sport, 2013

  •  Mercedes-Benz A-Class AMG Sport, 2013
Mercedes-Benz has started completely afresh for the third generation of its compact front-wheel drive A-Class. The latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class is based on all-new vehicle architecture and assembly techniques and introduces sportier and more dynamic design with greater emotional appeal. It is powered by an updated family of turbo-charged direct-injection petrol and diesel engines delivering up to 211 hp with CO2 emissions as low as 98 g/km.

The new A-Class is available with Mercedes-Benz' first double-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission (7G-DCT), and the range also advances the company's policy of ensuring that as many people as possible enjoy the protection of advanced safety features, with the innovative Collision Prevention Assist headlining a comprehensive list of active and passive protection features fitted as standard.

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is the second model in what will eventually become a family of compact front-drive cars from Mercedes-Benz, which began with the latest B-Class. But while the B-Class is focused on family usage, providing the space of a much larger saloon within a compact-car footprint, the A-Class has a more dynamic role to play, as is evident in its dramatic styling.

Mercedes-Benz has also introduced a new 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo-charged petrol engine to its Mercedes-Benz A-Class range generating 211 hp - sufficient to propel the car from zero to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds and on to a 149 mph top speed. This is standard with the exclusive range-topping Engineered by AMG specification, as is the 7G-DCT double-clutch automatic transmission, along with AMG-inspired styling, trim, equipment and chassis tuning.

Two new diesel engines also make their debut in the third-generation A-Class, giving the car potential fuel economy of 74.3 mpg with CO2 emissions down to 98 g/km.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 2.2-litre 220 CDI engine generates 170 hp and 350 Nm of torque. In conjunction with the standard 7G-DCT transmission, it accelerates the A-Class from 0-62 mph in 8.2 seconds. It meets the EU 6 emissions standard not due to come into force until 2015, while posting a combined fuel economy of 64.2 mpg and CO2 emissions of just 115 g/km, demonstrating that with the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, performance and efficiency are not mutually exclusive.

Designers and engineers are rarely given the luxury of a completely blank sheet of paper when starting work on a new car, yet that is precisely the opportunity Mercedes-Benz engineers were given for the new A-Class. Longer, wider and lower than the previous two versions, the latest model is a more emotive and dynamically engaging car that's little changed from the radical Concept A-Class given a wildly enthusiastic reception at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show.

It is a progressive and highly sculpted five-door two-box model, now based on a monocoque construction rather than the sandwich floor assembly of the previous two generations. This not only dramatically reduces the overall height of the car, but it also lowers the seating position of the occupants by 174 mm, which in turn brings down the centre of gravity by 24 mm to allow much more dynamic and agile driving characteristics. These are even more emphatic in the 15 mm lower AMG Sport and specifically tuned Engineered by AMG versions.

The exterior cleverly mixes sharp edges and tautly drawn convex and concave surfaces which seem to constantly change with the angle of the light, particularly along the sides. The long, bold front leads into a pronounced V-shape, culminating in the radiator grille with the central Mercedes-Benz star between double slats, or a single slat dividing a unique diamond grille in the Engineered by AMG version. The headlamps and the light functions within them are key elements of the design concept.

The design emphasises the class-leading aerodynamics of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, with its drag coefficient of Cd 0.27. This is especially apparent in the smooth arc of the roof, which finishes in a flat edge, and a spoiler which conveniently hides the aerials. The tailgate is another interplay of convex and concave surfaces which further demonstrates the interaction between design and aerodynamics: the surface of the tail lights improves airflow around the car through defined break-away edges.

The interior of the A-Class represents a dramatic step forward in the quality of materials used, as well as the consistency of design. The front of the cabin adopts an aviation-inspired theme, with the dashboard shaped like the wing of an aircraft and the round air vents reminiscent of jet engines. Meticulous attention to detail is apparent everywhere, from the 'cool touch' real metal electroplated trim embellishers to the free-standing display screen with a black piano lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame.

The rear provides generous room for three passengers, despite looking as though it has only two individual seats. A 341-litre luggage area can be expanded to 1,157 litres with the rear seats folded. In all models the seat backrests are split 2/3:1/3.

Altogether, there are seven direct-injection turbo-charged engine options in the new A-Class, all characterised by high specific outputs, flexible performance thanks to strong torque across a wide rev range, outstanding efficiency and excellent refinement.

In addition to the new 211 hp 2.0-litre petrol unit (A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY) and the new 109 hp 1.5-litre (A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY) and 170 hp 2.2-litre (A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY) turbodiesels, there are two further petrol units (A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY and A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY) and two more diesels (A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY 7G-DCT and A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY), which were introduced with the latest B-Class. All engines feature ECO start/stop as standard.

The A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY is powered by a 1.6-litre 122 hp engine, while the A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY uses a 156 hp version. The diesel engines are 1.8-litre units; a 109 hp option is fitted in conjunction with the 7G-DCT transmission in the A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, and a 136 hp variant in the A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with the A 180, A 200, the 1.5-litre A 180 CDI and the A 200 CDI, while the A 250, the 1.8-litre A 180 CDI and the A 220 CDI have the 7G-DCT transmission. This is an option with the A 180, A 200 and A 200 CDI. Fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 35 per cent compared with the preceding models, despite considerable power increases.

The petrol engines are all-aluminium M 270 turbo-charged direct-injection 16-valve four-cylinder units. They are extremely versatile engines which are already being phased into larger Mercedes-Benz models to help bring down fuel consumption and emissions. They employ technology first introduced in 2010 with the ultra-modern BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines for the S-Class. The combustion process is based on third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct- injection technology with highly precise, multiple piezo-injections.

With the exception of the new 1.5-litre engine, now in its sixth generation and specially adapted by Mercedes-Benz for use in the A-Class, the diesel engines are developments of the OM 651 fourth-generation 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit premiered in 2008. Since then the OM 651 has been setting standards for performance, torque, economy, emissions and smooth running. It is in more widespread use than any other Mercedes-Benz diesel engine.

The instantaneous response of the engines and the slick operation of the six-speed manual and triple-mode (Economy, Sport and Manual) 7G-DCT transmissions in the new A-Class is complemented by the agile chassis, which features a four-link rear axle, electro-mechanical power steering, powerful all-round disc brakes and advanced driver assistance functions such as specially tuned ESP® Electronic Stability Control.

There are three different suspension tunings, with a comfort set-up for standard, SE and Sport models, a sportier 15 mm lower arrangement for AMG Sport variants and the ultimate AMG-tuned system in the A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY Engineered by AMG.

All benefit from the more dynamic new proportions and lower centre of gravity of the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class. During development, the engineers made intensive use of the driving simulators at the Mercedes-Benz development centre in Sindelfingen to create a digital profile of the driving dynamics of the new A-Class. This enabled them to achieve the right balance of agility, nimbleness, stability and comfort required for each version before a single prototype had been built.

In keeping with every new model introduction from Mercedes-Benz, the latest A-Class extends the protection afforded by advanced safety technology to as many people as possible by offering features that are the preserve of only the most expensive cars from some brands.

In the A-Class, this starts with an extremely robust body shell incorporating extensive areas of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels for rigidity with lightness, and includes the innovative radar-based accident warning system, Collision Prevention Assist, which is fitted as standard. This gives visual and audible warnings to alert a distracted driver to the possibility of a nose-to-tail collision, and prepares the standard Adaptive Brake Assist feature for the most effective braking response as soon as the driver hits the brake pedal.

The Attention Assist feature to recognise and alert a drowsy driver is also standard, along with Adaptive Brake Assist incorporating Hold and, on manual models, Hill-Start Assist. This primes the brakes for maximum stopping effect in a possible emergency, adds to convenience by holding a stationary car without the driver having to keep a foot on the brake pedal and prevents the car from rolling backwards when setting off on uphill gradients. Seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, and an Active Bonnet to provide additional pedestrian protection are also fitted to every Mercedes-Benz A-Class as standard.

Available features include Lane-Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist, Speed Limit Assist, Active Park Assist with Parktronic, Distronic Plus autonomous acceleration and braking to maintain a gap to the car ahead, the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Light system and the anticipatory Pre-Safe® occupant protection feature.

The new A-Class is optionally available with COMAND Online in-car internet services, and in 2013 it will be offered with seamless integration of the Apple iPhone® in conjunction with a revolutionary new user interface design. Highlights include advanced navigation software from Garmin, with internet-based real-time traffic information, online destination searches and 3-D map display.

COMAND Online provides internet access via a web-enabled mobile phone, plus various Mercedes-Benz services on the move. These include weather information, news, and a special destination search via Google, as well as the option of downloading a route previously configured on a PC using Google Maps.

Mercedes-Benz has taken a dramatically different approach to the design of the new A-Class. Where the previous two models were essentially pragmatic - ingeniously packaging the space of a large saloon into a car with the footprint of a city runabout - the new A-Class adds rewarding elements of dynamism and excitement to elevate it above its compact front-wheel-drive five-door hatchback rivals.

Radical, progressive and emotive, it brings the sculpted look and feel of the latest Mercedes-Benz design idiom to the compact car class.

The key dimensions are in themselves enough to show just how much the A-Class has changed. At 4,292 mm long, 1,780 mm wide and 1,433 mm tall, it is 409 mm longer, 16 mm wider and almost 180 mm lower than the model it replaces.

Its radical form language was first seen in the Concept A-Class at the Shanghai Auto Show of 2011. That highly acclaimed design has now been transferred to the production model - a huge challenge in a car of compact dimensions, which had to match its rakish and exciting appearance with a usable and practical five-seater interior.

Design at Mercedes-Benz always begins with an internal competition among all the company's designers. The winning entry for the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class came from Englishman Mark Fetherston, a graduate of Coventry University's School of Transport Design, who has worked at Mercedes-Benz since 1999. Fetherston has excellent design form at Mercedes-Benz - he also designed the exterior of the SLS AMG gullwing supercar.

For the flowing, sculpted shape of the A-Class, he was influenced by the patterns of sand dunes and winter landscapes - and even the sleek lines of the Concorde - and was able to take advantage of the encouragement given to the design team by the Mercedes-Benz Board to be more progressive.

The sides of the new A-Class are characterised by sharply defined edges and tautly drawn convex and concave surfaces, which seem to constantly change as the light catches them. The pronounced front end meets in a prominent V-shape, with the Mercedes-Benz star mounted in a two-louvre grille in either chrome, silver, black or body colour, depending on model.

There are three lower air intakes in the bottom section of the bumper. The A-Class Engineered by AMG has a single-louvre diamond-pattern grille and black edges around the air intakes, with a red highlight line in the central section.

The headlamp units are a key element of the frontal design. The light modules have been arranged to deliver a flare-effect for the daylight running lamps and turn indicators, creating an instantly identifiable visual signature for the new A-Class. Bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights are fitted to the A-Class Engineered by AMG.

The new A-Class has a class-leading drag co-efficient figure of Cd 0.27. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the dynamic and smooth arc of the roof, which finishes in a spoiler that neatly hides the aerials and lends structure to the whole assembly.

Along the flanks, a rising beltline in either black or chrome enhances the car's pronounced wedge profile, while another line rises from the mid-point of the front wheel arches to create powerful shoulder muscles at the rear, giving the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class a coupé-like stance. Between these two crisp lines are sensuously moulded sculptured panels.

Dynamic sills add an athletic finishing touch, particularly pronounced in the A-Class AMG Sport, which rides 15 mm lower than other models, and the A-Class Engineered by AMG with its AMG sports suspension.

The interplay of convex and concave surfaces and taut edges is repeated at the rear. The tail lights - LED units in the A-Class Engineered by AMG models - continue the line of the muscular shoulders back towards the rear. Their horizontal orientation emphasises the greater width of the new model.

The tail-light clusters are also pointers to the superior aerodynamics of the new A-Class: not only are they a design feature in themselves, but their carefully shaped break-away edges have been designed to improve airflow from the rear of the car.

The interior of the new A-Class was also inspired by two concept cars. The starting point was the Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics No 2 sculpture revealed at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. This was then incorporated into the Concept A-Class, which was created at the Mercedes-Benz Advance Styling Studio in the northern Italian city of Como in time for the Shanghai Auto Show in September of the same year.

If the dash area, vents and instruments were inspired by the world of aviation then the seating areas, space, quality and attention to detail have been designed to give the spacious feel of a far larger car.

The objective was to complement the sleek look of the exterior while giving the Mercedes-Benz A-Class a high-quality appearance and feel unique in its segment through the design and the choice of materials, colours and textures.

The sweep of the dash continues the aircraft wing-inspired theme of other recent new models from Mercedes-Benz. It incorporates five circular air vents with electro-plated outer rings on SE versions and above. Airflow through these vents is controlled by cruciform nozzles reminiscent of jet engines. In the A-Class Engineered by AMG these vents feature a red insert matching the car's front lower centre grille. The electro-plating process gives the nozzles a tactile metal finish with a cool-touch effect, and has been extended to all trim elements.

The instrumentation and control screen appear in the upper part of the dash, while a broad lower section contains the switchgear and control buttons. The production process used for the lower section allows a wide diversity of soft-touch surfaces to further emphasise the quality and attention to detail within the cabin.

The instrument cluster is made up of two large round dials, each with a smaller dial set within. The dial faces are either black or silver with a chequered flag design, depending on model. Likewise, the dial needles are red or white, according to the trim level.

To the right of the instrument panel is a free-standing 5.8-inch tablet-style colour display screen with a black piano lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame. This is linked to the Audio 20 entertainment system or the option Audio 20 system with Media interface.

The new A-Class has been configured so that an Apple iPhone® can be fully integrated into the operating and display system via the Drive Kit Plus special app.

For all its rakish looks and compact dimensions, the A-Class is a full five-seater hatchback, but the rear accommodation has cunningly designed to look like two individual seats. All models from SE have sports seats with integrated head restraints, and sports pedals with rubber studs.

A sports three-spoke multi-function steering wheel with leather trim, perforated in the grip areas, is fitted to SE and Sport versions of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, while AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG versions have a flat-bottomed sports steering wheel trimmed in nappa leather.

The rear seat backrests are split 2/3:1/3 and the two sections can be folded individually to expand the standard 341-litre luggage are to a maximum of 1,157 litres. The luggage area allows items more than a metre wide to fit between the wheel housings.

Nothing illustrates the new, more dynamic character of the latest A-Class more than the way it is constructed. In place of the sandwich-floor assembly of the previous two generations, there is now an advanced steel monocoque layout that brings about significant reductions in the height of the car and the seating positions which, in turn, lowers the centre of gravity. The outcome is sharper, more agile, nimbler handling with uncompromised passenger accommodation.

There are three all-independent suspension options which adjust the balance between sportiness and handling to suit the various model packages. All versions have fuel-saving electro-mechanical power-assisted steering, powerful all-round disc brakes incorporating the Mercedes-Benz Hold function, an electronic parking brake and the latest driver assistance systems.

The sandwich-floor body construction of the previous two generations of A-Class, which placed the engine partly in front of and partly beneath a twin-floor passenger cell, has been replaced by a sophisticated steel monocoque in the latest model. This has not only brought about a significant reduction in the car's overall height, which has been reduced by 160 mm, and seating positions, which are 174 mm lower, but it has lowered the centre of gravity by 24 mm - an ideal starting point for a car engineered to deliver more dynamic and agile handling.

This is underscored by the structural design of the body-in-white, which features 67 per cent high-strength or ultra-high-strength steels. This increases the rigidity of the chassis from a dynamic behaviour perspective and ensures the new A-Class more than meets the stringent Mercedes-Benz safety standards, which far exceed anything demanded by legislation anywhere in the world.

There is a new bulkhead and floor, an integral support frame as a deformation element, a length of 435 mm over which to dissipate crash energy and load distribution over several planes. Altogether, three longitudinal planes allow impact energy to be absorbed in a controlled manner.

The support frame is the attachment point for the front axle and steering assembly as well as the torque support for the transversely mounted engine and gearbox. It is made up of several steel plates and a hydroformed tube, and is connected by two aluminium struts to the aluminium radiator mount.

A plastic crash wedge at the rear of each front wheel arch prevents the wheel from sliding beneath the door in an impact, thus ensuring that the doors are still capable of being opened after an impact.

Mercedes-Benz has developed what it calls 'skate runners' to discharge frontal impact forces into the floor, which features four straight longitudinal members. To protect the passenger cell in a side impact there are rigid structures which include a pole support fitted diagonally between the central tunnel and the floor sidewalls. This is intended to prevent the floor being torn open even in a side impact with a tree.

High-strength steels in the upper part of the B-pillar minimise intrusion, but the lower part of the pillar is made from softer steels so that crash energy is dissipated in a controlled manner. The B-pillars also house something referred to by Mercedes-Benz engineers as 'vampire's teeth' - small tooth-like recesses which prevent the seat-belt retractor from causing cracks that might affect the body's structural integrity in a crash.

The new A-Class has all-independent suspension with three different levels of tuning to strike the ideal balance between comfort and sportiness according to the model variant. Suspension engineers made extensive use of the driving simulators at the Mercedes-Benz development centre in Sindelfingen, compiling a digital profile of the car's dynamic responses as part of the development process before a single prototype was built.

All three suspension arrangements rely on a redesigned MacPherson strut system at the front and a new four-link rear axle developed for the new Mercedes-Benz family of compact front-wheel-drive cars. This, combined with the lower centre of gravity of the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class, provides a perfect platform for excellent dynamic behaviour.

The four-link rear axle is configured so that forces are absorbed by three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel. This means that longitudinal and lateral influences on the suspension are absorbed virtually independent of each another. The wheel carriers and spring links are made of aluminium to reduce unsprung weight. The goal was to achieve high lateral agility with high straight-line stability and the minimum of slip on the rear axle.

All three suspension configurations deliver exemplary levels of comfort with precise, agile responses, low degrees of roll and low start-off pitch. The A-Class has been set up introduce mild understeer at higher degrees of lateral acceleration so that the driver can control changes in direction with low steering input but high steering precision.

Standard comfort suspension is fitted to A 180, SE and Sport models. AMG Sport versions have the Dynamic Handling Package (optional on Sport), which lowers the ride height by 15 mm and introduces firmer springs and dampers plus AMG multi-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels. Direct-Steer is also part of the Dynamic Handling Package, adding an extra element of agility and precision. Engineered by AMG models feature modified AMG sports suspension.

The latest ESP® Electronic Stability Programme includes Torque Vectoring Brake, which helps to control any tendency towards oversteer in fast cornering by applying slight brake pressure to the outer rear wheel. It has been designed to intervene gently so that skilled and experienced drivers can extract maximum enjoyment out of the car without ever reaching a potentially critical situation.

The new A-Class features redesigned electro-mechanical steering, engineered to give drivers maximum enjoyment by delivering fast, accurate responses while saving fuel by drawing power assistance from the engine only when the car is turning. A turning circle of just 11 metres adds to the practicality, especially in urban driving conditions, of the A-Class.

The electric motor, which provides servo assistance, is mounted directly on the steering gear. The steering permits various assistance functions in conjunction with the ESP® control unit. For example, it can compensate for the effect of crosswinds and cambered roads, counter the torque-steer effect found in some front-wheel-drive cars, keep the car straight when braking on surfaces where the levels of grip differ from left to right, and counter-steer should the car nudge towards oversteer.

It also makes the optional Active Park Assist with Parktronic. Active Park Assist with Parktronic measures potential parking spaces through two ultrasonic sensors on the front bumper. If the space is large enough for the car, the system operates the electro-mechanical power steering while the driver works the accelerator and brake.

AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG versions of the A-Class come as standard with Mercedes-Benz' Direct-Steer system, which provides variable hydraulic assistance that reduces as speed increases and adds a variable ratio that changes according to the steering angle.

The ratio is indirect when steering straight ahead, thus ensuring exceptional stability, but increases rapidly once a five-degree steering angle has been applied, becoming extremely direct from a steering angle of 100 degrees. As a result, the driver need make only relatively small steering movements when manoeuvring in confined areas or through a series of tight corners. The variable ratio is achieved through a steering rack with different teeth profiles.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class comes as standard with powerful all-round disc brakes. The rear calipers and brake boosters are made from aluminium to reduce unsprung weight. The Mercedes-Benz Hold function is also standard - a slightly firmer push of the brake pedal once the car comes to rest ensures it is held without the driver having to maintain pressure on the pedal. It disengages as soon as the driver touches the accelerator.

Manual versions also have Hill-Start, which momentarily maintains brake pressure while the driver's foot moves from the brake pedal to the accelerator. This ensures the car does not roll backwards when setting off on uphill gradients.

The Hill Start Assist function is incorporated into the standard-fit Adaptive Brake Assist feature, which works in conjunction with the Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) to reduce stopping distances in an emergency. Adaptive Brake Assist is linked to the ASR acceleration skid control and the active yaw control units.

Adaptive Brake Assist comes into operation as soon as the driver abruptly lifts off the accelerator pedal - the first reaction in a potential emergency. It recognises the urgency of the situation and primes the brake pads so that they come into light contact with the brake discs. If emergency braking proves to be necessary, pressure can therefore be achieved instantly. During wet weather the system dries the brake discs by maintaining gentle but imperceptible pressure between brake pads and discs.

An electronic parking brake is standard on all models, helping to free more storage space between the front seats. In models fitted with the 7G-DCT transmission it releases automatically as the car moves away so long as the driver's seat belt is fastened. If activated at speeds of more than 2 mph it also serves as an emergency brake through the ESP® system.

Engines and Transmissions
A dynamic new petrol engine, an ultra-economical new turbodiesel and a performance turbodiesel make their debuts in the new A-Class. The new petrol engine is a 2.0-litre development of the 1.6-litre unit first seen in the new B-Class, and perfectly complements the dynamic design and agile handling of the new A-Class. It develops 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque, accelerating the A-Class to 62 mph in 6.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 149 mph.

It powers the A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport and the A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY Engineered by AMG, driving through the Mercedes-Benz 7G-DCT seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission, which is fitted as standard to both models.

The first new diesel engine is a 1.5-litre unit that develops 109 hp and 260 Nm of torque, but of greater significance is that it allows the new A-Class to attain a combined fuel consumption figure of 74.3 mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 98 g/km. It is available in SE, Sport and AMG Sport versions.

This frugal and clean diesel powerplant is joined by the range-topping new 2,143 cc turbodiesel engine that powers the A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport. This dynamic unit develops 170 hp at 3,400-4,000 rpm and a muscular 350 Nm of torque available from 1,400-3,400 rpm, good for an 8.2 second sprint to 62 mph and a 137 mph top speed.

Only available with the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission, this lightweight engine returns 64.2 mpg on the combined cycle and posts a CO2 emissions figure of just 115 g/km. These excellent figures illustrate just how advanced this new engine is - compared with the previous generation A 200 CDI, the new A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY is 30 hp and 50 Nm more powerful, yet is 11.9 mpg more economical and 34 g/km cleaner on CO2 emissions.

These three new advanced engines join four further powerplants that made their debut in the new B-Class.

The familiar 1.6-litre 122 hp petrol engine is available in standard, SE and Sport versions of the A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY and a 156 hp version of the same engine is offered in the A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY Sport and AMG Sport. All except the standard A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY are available with the sophisticated 7G-DCT transmission as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual.

The highly economical 1.8-litre diesel unit develops 109 hp and 250 Nm of torque in the A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY SE, Sport and AMG Sport models - available with the 7G-DCT transmission. A 136 hp version of the same engine also powers the A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport and AMG Sport. This most powerful diesel engine derivative is available with manual or 7G-DCT transmission.
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Friday, April 12, 2013

McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition Concept, 2012

  •  McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition Concept, 2012

McLaren GT, the new race car manufacturing arm of the McLaren Group, is presenting a dramatic track-focused concept at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours, the McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition. The one-off design study is finished in historic McLaren Orange and satin black, and is the debut appearance of a 12C racing variant outside Europe.

The McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition is finished in striking shade of McLaren Orange, in tribute to cars of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme which were extremely successful throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The bold hue is in dramatic contrast to the roof, door and bumper sections, finished in satin black, while carbon fibre also features on the side radiator vanes, wing mirrors and engine cover. The McLaren badges on the front and rear are also finished in carbon fibre. Beneath the surface, the McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition shares the same carbon fibre MonoCell chassis as the 12C road car.

Being purely a concept at this stage, and designed as the 'ultimate track car', the McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition is not subject to the regular racing regulations, despite being based on the 12C GT3 race car. The revised version of the familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine features a unique engine calibration and optimised cooling system, which allows a power output of up to 630hp, making it the most powerful 12C derivative ever shown. The overall dry weight is just 1,200kg (2645.5lbs).

The unique aerodynamics of the McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition, as with the 12C GT3 race car, have been honed by McLaren Racing using Formula 1 technology and simulation to optimise downforce. This unique package offers an increase in downforce of 30 per cent.

The optimised aerodynamic package includes a carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre dive planes, and a carbon fibre wing which dominates the rear of the car. The wing is held in place by polished aluminium mounts. An imposing carbon fibre diffuser helps to further maximise the aerodynamic package, fitted beneath the two-tone rear bumper.

The extra power output of the McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition is kept in check with a braking system developed by Akebono. The highly efficient braking system sits behind a set of black satin-finished forged lightweight racing alloy wheels, shod with Pirelli racing slick tyres which complete the exterior revisions.

Inside the cockpit, the McLaren 12C Can-Am Edition is race ready as well. Two black race seats, complete with full six-point harnesses are mounted within the cabin, while a full race-specification rollcage has also been fitted. The steering wheel is carried over from the 12C GT3, with the shape and grip derived from that of Lewis Hamilton's MP4-24 Formula 1 car, while carbon fibre detailing also continues throughout the cabin, across the dashboard and sill panels. An integrated air conditioning system, mandatory now in a growing number of race series, is also present.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mazda 5, 2013

  •  Mazda 5, 2013

A perked-up version of the Mazda's revolutionary compact MAV has arrived: The Mazda 5 is now even more stylish, more convenient and safer.

The model that brought dual sliding back doors to the world of compact vans can now be had in three new body colours - Zeal Red, Jet Black and Meteor Grey. On the inside, meanwhile, there is new seat trim along with the dashboard panel décor in a clean, sleek looking piano black finish.

Already one of the world's safest and most driver-oriented vans, the upgraded Mazda 5 has also been given power folding side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals. And to make driving just a little easier, Mazda has added "lane change" turn signals, which are activated by simply tapping the turn signal lever and automatically shut off after blinking three times.

The tire repair kit, meanwhile, makes the Mazda 5 even lighter, which saves fuel. Newly available options include a rear parking camera and auto-dimming rear-view mirror, while a USB port, illuminated glovebox and muffler extension are all standard equipment.

Big inside and compact outside, the Mazda 5 features an award-winning design delivering class-leading aerodynamics for a smooth, quiet ride with extraordinary linear handling and stability. And that with all the practicality and superb comfort one could expect from Europe's most flexible C-MAV.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Maserati Quattroporte, 2013

  •  Maserati Quattroporte, 2013

The flagship Maserati Quattroporte is larger, lighter, more luxurious and more practical than the globally acclaimed car it replaces. With a 307km/h (191 mph) top speed, it's also as fast as most two-door supercars.

The sixth-generation Maserati Quattroporte delivers a leap forward that not only sets the high-technology tone for Maserati's upcoming new-model onslaught, but also remains faithful to Maserati's long history in luxury sports saloons.

The powerful engine and the large cabin at the core of the Maserati Quattroporte's design, dominated by a long, powerful nose and a concave Trident grille, provide a clear link to both the outgoing Quattroporte and the GranTurismo.

Even with all of its new technology, the new Quattroporte remains true to Maserati's roots. Its V8 twin turbo makes it not only the fastest four-door Maserati ever built, but also the most powerful and the most fuel efficient.

The direct-injection engine family will boast a 3.8-litre V8 and a 3.0-litre V6, both of which are all new, twin turbo charged, designed by Maserati Powertrain and assembled by Ferrari at Maranello.

The 3.8-litre V8 engine provides Maserati's new performance benchmark, reaching 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds and achieving a 307km/h (191 mph) top speed. It is 20km/h faster than the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S and delivers up to 200Nm more torque as well. The V6 twin turbo doesn't lack in performance, either, reaching 285km/h (177 mph).

With an eight-speed automatic transmission and both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations (V6 only, AWD not available in RHD markets), it is also the most secure all-weather performance car in Maserati's history.

To offset its scintillating performance, the V8 Maserati Quattroporte has lowered both its fuel consumption and emissions by 20% over the outgoing Quattroporte.

The all-new architecture retains the Maserati Quattroporte's traditionally exquisite handling thanks to its 50:50 weight distribution, a double-wishbone front suspension and a state-of-the-art five-link rear suspension. It can now deliver the added security and all-weather assurance of all-wheel drive as well.

It also delivers new standards in quality in every area from design, development, fabrication and process controls. It is produced in a new plant that combines Maserati's traditions of craftsmanship with cutting-edge technologies that are able to guarantee outstanding quality by controlling even the tiniest details.

Traditional hand crafted detailing continues in the Quattroporte's cabin, now more spacious and featuring both four and five-seat layouts.

Cabin luxury leaps forward technically too, with features like the Maserati Touch Control screen, adjustable pedals (left hand drive only), reversing camera and the optional 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system, as well as WLAN-based WiFi and compatibility with most modern mobile phone systems.

With the original Quattroporte in 1963, Maserati invented the concept of the luxury sports saloon and the new Quattroporte continues to be the benchmark for high quality engineering, supercar performance and comfort.

Maserati has been considered a master of sports saloon design from the day the original 1963 Quattroporte became the first automobile to blend speed and luxury with four doors.

A powerful engine and a large cabin are at the core of the Maserati Quattroporte's design, dominated by a long, impressive nose with its short overhang.

"The design of the Quattroporte is inspired by Maserati's core stylistic principles: harmony of proportions, dynamic lines and Italian elegance," Head of Maserati Centro Stile, Marco Tencone explains.

"Every new model is a step into the future, but for a brand with the strong heritage of Maserati it is fundamental to bring on the most distinctive features as a signature: the contour of the air intake in the front, the three small outlets on the front wings and the strong triangular C pillar bearing the logo".

But the Maserati Quattroporte body design isn't just about looks; it has delivered a 12% improvement in drag (Cx), down to 0.31, and an enormous 24% reduction in lift. These figures reduce fuel consumption and increase high-speed stability.

A large part of the Quattroporte's aerodynamic work is out of sight, beneath the car. It has a flat floor that contains several aerodynamic features with the scope of optimising performance by lowering drag coefficient and keeping the proper cooling of all systems (engines, brakes, and transmission) at speeds over 300 km/h.

At the heart of the new Quattroporte is an entirely new engine grid, which follows recent Maserati tradition as it is designed in-house by Maserati Powertrain and manufactured under contract by Ferrari at Maranello.

The flagship 3.8-litre V8 engine is a perfect representation of Maserati's performance tradition combined with a 20% reduction in emissions.

It is almost a litre smaller in capacity than the 4.7-litre V8 in the Quattroporte Sport GT S, yet this is more than countered through twin turbo charging and direct fuel injection to deliver 18% more power and 39% more torque.

The engine produces 390kW (530 hp) of power at 6800rpm and accompanies this with 650Nm of torque from 2000rpm to 4000rpm.

The maximum normal torque figure can be overboosted to 710 Nm from 2250rpm to 3500rpm.

These figures represent the highest specific power output in the class, with 139hp/l, and the best specific torque as well, with 171Nm per litre.

It also has a considerably more powerful engine than the finely balanced 4.7-litre engine in the Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S, with a full 59kW (80hp) more power and an astonishing 200Nm more torque (on the overboosted output). The torque peak also arrives at less than half the engine speed of the Sport GT S's V8, too, peaking at 2000rpm versus 4750rpm.

In addition, its combination of a lighter body design and a stronger engine give the Quattroporte the best power-to-weight ratio in class, with just 3.6kg for each horsepower.

These engine figures help the Quattroporte reach 100km/h in just 4.7 seconds, which is 0.3 seconds faster than the previous Sport GT S, making the new Quattroporte the fastest accelerating four-door car in Maserati's history. This also makes it 0.6 seconds faster to 100km/h than the outgoing Maserati Quattroporte S and almost a second faster than the 4.2-litre Quattroporte.

The other ground-breaking figure is the Quattroporte's top speed, comfortably breaking through the 300km/h barrier to reach 307km/h (191 mph). Again, this makes it the fastest four-door Maserati in history and second amongst all Maserati production cars behind the mighty V12-powered MC12.

However, the new engine is not just about big performance numbers or high torque. Maserati engines have always been known for their incredible throttle response and that unique Maserati sound - and this engine is no different.

The new engine generation's smaller capacity does help with the Quattroporte's handling too, but Maserati's engineers concentrated mainly on delivering the brand's traditional crisp pickup and low rotational inertia.

The most technically advanced engine ever fitted to a Maserati, the 3799cc V8, uses a pair of low-inertia, twin-scroll parallel turbos to increase its output.

Its architecture retains the over-square, free-revving nature of the outgoing V8, with a bore of 86.5mm and a stroke length of 80.8mm, and it has a slightly lower compression ratio of 9.5:1.

It has been specifically designed to deliver exceptional performance at all engine speeds, combined with lower consumption and emissions. The engine diagrams show that the V8 engine's torque is very high, even at speeds as low as 1500 rpm.

It uses high-tumble cylinder heads with four cam phasers, (doubling the number of the naturally aspirated V8), in a concept refined by Maserati Powertrain for optimal combustion control to deliver high performance and low consumption.

With hydraulically adjusted roller finger followers and two continuous cam phasers for each cylinder head, it can advance or retard the inlet and exhaust valve timing independently in real time and it also reduces friction losses compared to old valvetrain systems.

Another characteristic feature of the new Maserati engine family is the 200 bar direct fuel-injection system. This very high pressure, coupled with seven holes laser drilled oriented holes injectors and multiple injection, helps atomising the fuel directly in the combustion chamber, thus improving the fuel-air mixture and the combustion process at any engine speed.

The new V8 engine is boosted by two small parallel twin-scroll turbines, (one for each bank of four cylinders), which provide the high performance expected of a Maserati engine while reducing inertia. Maserati Powertrain focused on integrating the turbine housing into the exhaust manifold for a compact, light-weight solution.

Each turbocharger is fed by its own air-to-air intercooler. The Quattroporte has two intercoolers, each mounted low and wide of the main radiators to catch a constant supply of fresh, cool air.

The engine also uses a state-of-the-art ECU, with integral high-speed processors, which handle an array of shifting functions in real time.

Maserati Powertrain has also switched to on-demand ancillaries, with a variable displacement oil pump that works under electrical control for improved consumption and performance.

It also uses an innovative, computer-controlled alternator, which monitors the vehicle's electricity consumption and manages the alternator's workload to suit.

The engine also operates in both Normal and Sport modes, along with Manual versions of either mode, operated by elongated shift paddles fixed to the steering column.

The new Quattroporte also introduces the I.C.E. (Increased Control and Efficiency) strategy, a function aimed at reducing consumption, emissions and noise.

It is a user-select strategy and delivers a softer throttle pedal response for smooth driving, cancels the turbocharger's overboost function and keeps the exhaust's Sport flaps closed until 5000rpm. It also adjusts the gearshifts to make them softer and slower and reduces torque at each gear's take-up point.

Besides delivering the Maserati Quattroporte's peak fuel efficiency figure, the I.C.E. mode is also very useful for driving on low-grip surfaces.

The Quattroporte's all-new V6 twin turbo engine is a close relation of the V8, sharing most of its core components.

With 301kW (410hp) of power at 5500rpm, it still provides a tremendously powerful driving experience, especially with 550Nm of flat torque between 1500rpm and 5000rpm. In Normal mode the torque is smoothed at 500Nm in the lower rpm range, reaching the 550Nm threshold at 5000rpm to guarantee the 301KW of maximum power.

The engine shares the V8's bore and combustion chamber design, the same valves control technology (i.e. roller finger followers and four cam phasers), the same twin turbocharging approach and direct injection-ignition system. The engine auxiliaries are identical (alternator, starter motor and power steering pump) or very similar (variable displacement oil pump).

Nonetheless it has a character of its own, revving to a lower 6500rpm maximum speed and delivering its torque level of 500rpm sooner than the V8.

While its specific power output is slightly lower than that of the V8, at 137hp per litre, its specific torque is actually higher than the larger-engined car's standard specific torque, at 183Nm per litre.
It is also a lighter car, with 1860kg in its rear-wheel drive configuration (+70kg in all-wheel drive).

In rear-wheel drive mode, it accelerates to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, while the all-wheel drive V6 twin turbo manages the sprint in 4.9 seconds.
Both cars are still as fast as people would expect from the Maserati brand, with the rear-wheel drive's 285km/h (177mph) top speed matching the outgoing Sport GT S and the all-wheel drive V6 twin turbo reaching 284km/h (176mph).

The rear and all-wheel drive models are also very similar in their fuel consumption, with both cars posting 10.5 l/100km on the combined cycle, with the rear-wheel drive car claiming 244 grams of CO2/km and the all-wheel drive 246 grams.

In the best Maserati tradition, the sound and performance of the Quattroporte's exhaust system is controlled by pneumatic valves in the pipes of each bank in order to maintain the classic and rich sound characteristic of the brand.

In the default Normal mode, the bypass valves are closed up to 4,200 rpm to give a comfortable and discreet engine sound.

In Sport mode, not only does the car adjust a variety of handling parameters, but the exhaust valves are opened, giving the shortest possible high-energy route for the exhaust gases. This gives the Quattroporte its maximum engine performance and the unique Maserati engine sound.

Beneath the rear bumper, the V8 version finishes its exhaust system with trapezoidal tips with two double pipes in polished steel.

All versions of the new Maserati Quattroporte are fitted with the ZF AT8-HP70 eight-speed automatic transmission.

Pre-engineered for both rear and all-wheel drive configurations, the transmission delivers increased comfort, faster gearshifting, reduced fuel consumption and reduced NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) values compared to the six-speed automatic in the outgoing Quattroporte.

By delivering two over-driven gears, the transmission alone delivers relevant fuel economy benefit and also weighs 4kg less than the outgoing six-speed transmission.

Befitting Maserati tradition, it features five dedicated shift modes: Auto Normal, Auto Sport, Manual Normal, Manual Sport and the I.C.E. mode (Increased Control Efficiency).

Auto Normal is the Quattroporte's default setting and performs its gear changes with fluid shifts at low engine speeds to emphasise the car's comfort and minimise fuel consumption.

The Auto Sport mode sees the transmission switch character to change gears with greater alacrity at higher engine speeds and deliver a distinct gear engagement to enhance the powertrain's sporting feel.

In both of these modes, the car recognises a variety of conditions, such as whether the car is travelling up or down hill or is braking hard or driving through a corner, and selects the best gear and the best gear-shift style accordingly.

The transmission can also be controlled manually by selecting the M button on the transmission tunnel.

In Manual Normal mode, the driver can change gear with either the elongated gearshift paddles attached to the steering column or by using the transmission lever. The driver is in charge of the gear selection, though the system will intervene and change to a lower gear if the engine revs drop too low, or change to a higher gear if the engine revs climb too high.

In Manual Sport mode, however, the gearshifts are at their fastest and crispest, giving the driver full control of the powertrain. The system will not intervene, even if the driver strikes the engine's rev limiter. It will only intervene if the engine's revs drop too low to be effective in a given gear.

The I.C.E. (Increased Control Efficiency) mode is designed for remarkable fuel economy, relaxed driving and extremely low grip conditions. The transmission changes gear as softly as possible, both going up through the gears and returning back down.

All gearshift modes can be selected via buttons on the left of the gear knob.

The Maserati Quattroporte also utilises a mechanical limited-slip differential. The asymmetric locking feature offers 35 % lock-up under power and 45 % under release.

The rear differential is driven via a two-piece, 80mm diameter steel propshaft (hollowed for weight saving) with two constant velocity joints and one head rubber coupling, for comfort improvement. The propshaft runs through a cross member-mounted rubber bearing for higher comfort in respect to vibrations and harshness levels.

The completely brand new AWD transmission is compact, efficient and light weight. The all-wheel drive system is capable of switching the powertrain torque from full rear, to split axles, rear and front, almost instantly (150ms). The smart logic of the system provides the vehicle with the optimum torque split, thus guaranteeing maximum stability in all driving conditions.

From the Quattroporte AWD you can expect maximum performance and enjoy maximum traction torque and safety: the system is able to work in team with the ESP for maximum safety even on the most slippery of surfaces, but at the same time is able to operate independently, preserving driving efficacy and sportiness within limits of safety.

The sensors in the car's body and the AWD CPUs will monitor all vehicle functioning parameters, reacting to each event specifically. The driver can monitor these functions by looking at the display where the front-rear torque split is visible. When the vehicle is running at sustained high speed, the CPU sets all the torque to the rear axle for maximum efficiency and transmission longevity, but then it is always ready to react to ensure optimum safety.

In addition, the AWD system is mechanically designed to deliver the lowest level of operating noise, and maximum performance.

The chassis of the new Quattroporte has been designed to meet the performance and comfort demands of Maserati buyers, as well as all foreseeable safety regulations.

With the longest wheelbase in its class, the Quattroporte's architecture lends itself both to extreme interior comfort and an exciting handling platform.

Based around a rigid and extremely secure steel safety cell, it uses an array of different steel and aluminium alloys, each designed to maximise strength, minimise weight and retain the sports saloon's perfect weight distribution.

The front of the chassis is based around an aluminium sub frame and a reinforced cross-strut to deliver outstanding rigidity.

The choice of aluminium for the bulk of the Maserati Quattroporte's body panels guarantees the maximum occupant safety with the lowest possible weight. Accordingly, all four doors, the bonnet, the front wings and the boot lid are all made from aluminium.

Along with the freedom it allowed Maserati's designers, the choice of aluminium has also had a positive impact on reducing the Quattroporte's weight, thus lowering its fuel consumption and emissions.

Other diverse materials are also used in the Quattroporte's body, including ultra-light weight magnesium, which is used in the dashboard's cross strut.

The modifications to the Quattroporte body design aren't just about looks, but have also allowed for a 12% improvement in drag (Cx), now down to 0.31, and an enormous 24% reduction in lift. These figures reduce fuel consumption and increase high-speed stability.

The Quattroporte has gone through extensive aerodynamic work, most of which is out of sight, beneath the car. It has a flat floor that contains several aerodynamic features, including a NACA duct to help cool the differential without increasing drag and flaps on the rear suspension arms to channel airflows.

Double wishbone suspension layouts are a race-bred tradition at Maserati and the new Maserati Quattroporte continues with this heritage, also incorporating some new technology for greater driving precision.

The front suspension uses high-mounted, all-aluminium double wishbones to guarantee light and precise handling characteristics.

Aluminium is the dominant metal of the front suspension system with the shock towers, the upper and lower control arms and uprights all made from forged aluminium, while the springs are made of steel. All of these match up to constantly adaptive Skyhook dampers and an anti-roll bar.

The quadrilateral architecture of the system has enabled Maserati's handling team to deliver steering that is precise, communicative and comfortable.

The rear suspension employs a five-bar multi-link system, with four aluminium suspension arms, and has been developed to achieve the apparently conflicting goals of exceptional comfort and extreme sports performance.

The suspension package also uses anti-roll bars and steel springs damped by a faster and more accurate development of the Skyhook adaptive damping system. All four Skyhook dampers can be electronically controlled independently of one another.

One of the standout features of the new Quattroporte, the default Skyhook mode prioritises comfort and then becomes more sporting and athletic if the driver presses the suspension button. This extra stiffness transforms the Quattroporte's handling and was developed in both extreme test scenarios and on the race track. Essentially, it drastically reduces both lateral and longitudinal load transfers and minimises body roll to bring out the sportiest side of the Quattroporte's character.

The computer system in charge of the Skyhook dampers monitors an enormous array of parameters, including speed and lateral and longitudinal acceleration, individual wheel movements, body movement and damper dynamics.

Adjusting also to suit the suspension mode chosen by the driver, the system delivers the perfect damping mode for each wheel almost instantly.

Featuring 20-inch rims as standard equipment, the new Quattroporte is also available with either smaller 19-inch rims or larger 21-inch rims.

The 19" and 20" alloys are crafted from flow-forming technology which reduces the core thickness of the wheels and optimises light weight, without sacrificing stiffness and strength.

The 21" rim is a forged alloy wheel, which also emphasises light weight and weighs no more than the 20" rim.

All the Maserati Quattroporte's rims have been designed and engineered to enhance the visual design of the body and to lower the unsprung masses to improve grip and handling.

The 19" wheels, with 245/45 front tyres and 275/40 rear tyres, are geared towards reduced fuel consumption combined with low road noise and long, comfortable journeys.

The 20" wheels, with 245/40 front tyres and 285/35 rear tyres, are the perfect compromise between sportiness and comfort, while the 21" wheels, with a 245/35 front and 285/30 rear tyre combination, are focused on sports handling.

All three wheel sizes are available with Pirelli, Dunlop and Continental tyres. The 19" and 20" wheels can also be fitted with winter tyres.

Additionally, the Quattroporte continuously monitors its tyre pressure with a sensor mounted inside the rim, as part of the valve. The pressure can be read off the display on the dashboard. If a tyre punctures or its pressure changes, the system notifies the driver with visual and acoustic warnings.

The new Quattroporte has grown to set size benchmarks in its class in almost every dimension. It is bigger in every significant dimension than its predecessor including delivering 105mm more rear legroom and 80 litres more luggage capacity than the outgoing Maserati Quattroporte.

Most importantly, these increases have not created a similar rise in mass, with the Quattroporte weighing almost 100 kg less than the flagship predecessor, (1900kg in V8 form).

Another vital factor is weight distribution and consequently the Quattroporte retains perfect balance with 50:50 front-to-rear weight. This is despite the forward repositioning of the fuel tank to create greater luggage space and the addition of all-wheel drive, bigger radiators and two intercoolers beneath the bonnet.

Maserati has continued its long lasting partnership with Brembo on the new Maserati Quattroporte and all models feature fixed-caliper braking technology.

The V8-powered models feature 380mm x 34mm ventilated and cross-drilled brake discs inside the front wheels. These brake discs continue to use the technology pioneered by Maserati, which allows the weight of the cast-iron braking surface area to be offset with an alloy hat to minimise unsprung mass. As with the V6 models, the V8's front discs are slowed by six-piston fixed alloy Brembo calipers.

The rear end of the Quattroporte V8 uses 350mm x 28mm ventilated and cross-drilled brake discs, with four-piston fixed alloy Brembo calipers.

These brakes, with an enlarged swept area and highly efficient cooling, are designed for consistent performance in sports driving situations. They are also bigger in order to respond to the demands created by the extremely high performance potential of the new Quattroporte.

The brakes on the V6 twin turbo Quattroporte models are only marginally smaller than the V8 twin turbo's brakes - 360mm x 32mm ventilated and cross-drilled brake discs, with six-piston fixed alloy Brembo calipers on the front axle and carrying over the V8 twin turbo's rear braking hardware.

However, high-performance stopping power is only one measure of overall braking performance. The collaboration with Brembo has also concentrated on evolving the acoustic comfort of the Maserati Quattroporte's braking systems.

The Quattroporte also uses an electronic parking brake, which operates on all four wheels. The ergonomically placed button on the gear lever bezel activates the brake when the car is at rest.

It can also act as a safety device when driving. In this case the system communicates with the stability control ECU and decelerates the car at 0.5g in full safety until released.

The brakes also operate as part of the Quattroporte's automatic hill starting system. The on-board sensors detect the vehicle's tilt when parked facing uphill, then lock the brakes for a few seconds; this gives the driver's foot time to move from the brake to the accelerator pedal without the vehicle rolling back.

Besides their strength and effectiveness, Maserati brake calipers have also always added a significant stylistic effect.
This continues with the new Quattroporte, with the front and rear brake calipers available in the standard classic black with the Maserati name in white.
These are also available in red, blue, silver and polished aluminium.

The Maserati Quattroporte uses an all-new aluminium steering box, developed specifically for the new front-suspension geometry.

This has allowed Maserati's suspension engineers to deliver ultimate precision combined with the steering sensitivity needed for turning into corners at speed.

Its reduced steering ratio delivers an agility that is rare for this class of luxury saloon and while it is comfortable in all situations, the steering feel is geared towards driving enjoyment.

Avoiding electro-hydraulic steering systems, the Quattroporte employs a servo-powered hydraulic system that prevents artificial assistance when the driver turns the wheel quickly. The power assistance has also been reduced compared to the previous Maserati Quattroporte; the intention being to deliver more feedback to the driver for consistency at high speed, yet maintaining easy manoeuvring at low speed.

Maserati drivers have long known the benefits of the Maserati Stability Programme (MSP) and the system has evolved and improved in the new Quattroporte.

Developed in the most extreme of test circumstances, the MSP uses a wide array of sensors to detect any need to intervene on the driver's behalf.

MSP adds a layer of security on top of the new Quattroporte's inherent chassis stability which helps drivers enjoy anxiety-free handling under all driving conditions.

MSP constantly measures the Quattroporte's handling and grip and combines a host of safety and performance systems to maintain the car's ideal handling stance.

The MSP most common areas of intervention are the engine and the brakes. If skidding is detected, the MSP reduces the engine's torque output and can actuate the brakes with minute, finely varied inputs to restore the car's stability within milliseconds.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lexus LS 460 F Sport, 2013

  •  Lexus LS 460 F Sport, 2013

With its dynamic handling, bold new design and superior craftsmanship, the 2013 LS flagship models hail the future of the Lexus brand as it embarks on its third decade in the premium luxury category. While retaining many of the qualities that have defined Lexus for more than 20 years, the LS reaches new heights with an exciting blend of beautiful design, modern refinement and advanced technology.

The 2013 Lexus LS line-up includes the LS 460, LS 460L, LS 600hL hybrid, and the first-ever LS 460 F Sport. LS 460 and LS 460L are available in RWD and AWD. The LS Hybrid is available with a full-time AWD system.

The all-new Lexus LS 460 F Sport combines a more aggressive exterior with a unique sport interior featuring F Sport seats with larger bolsters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters and genuine aluminum trim. With a sport tuned air suspension that has been lowered 0.4 inches, a Torsen® limited slip rear differential (RWD model), Brembo six-piston caliper brakes, and 19" forged wheels with summer or all-season tires, the LS F Sport promises to be the most engaging LS ever.

The entire 2013 Lexus LS lineup is refined with dynamic, fresh styling that reflects the bold new face of Lexus. The aggressive spindle grille gives the new LS a greater road presence and stronger brand identity while heralding a significant improvement in driving dynamics, responsiveness and handling.

Increased body rigidity enhances stability, and allows for a more comfortable ride. Pitch and bounce control has been enhanced by adopting new frequency dependent shock absorbers, resulting in an even flatter, road-hugging ride. Revised steering offers improvements in accuracy and turn-in response. The braking system has been adjusted for more immediate power and greater pedal feel.

Available safety enhancements include the industry's most advanced Pre-Collision Safety (A-PCS) system with Collision Avoidance Assist. This system is designed to assist the driver in avoiding or mitigating collisions with vehicles and pedestrians under a wide range of city and highway speeds. At speeds lower than 24 miles per hour, this technology helps the Lexus LS to avoid accidents by automatically bringing the LS to a full stop.

The driver-focused interior integrates modern refinement with intuitive technology. The Advanced Illumination System (AIS), an all-LED interior lighting system, illuminates to greet the approaching occupants and then fades in sequence with the vehicle starting procedure.

The new, available Lexus Climate Concierge offers maximum comfort for every LS occupant. The customizable system uses multiple sensors to automatically regulate not only the temperature of the cabin, but also the climate control seats and the heated steering wheel, quickly bringing each occupant to their preferred temperature.

The standard navigation system is displayed on a 12.3-inch, split-screen, high-resolution multi-media display which is large enough to support simultaneous viewing of a large map display and other vehicle functions.

A next-generation Remote Touch, with one-push confirmation, is standard on all models and enables smooth, intuitive control of many vehicle systems. The Remote Touch allows the user to operate the climate, audio, phone controls, navigation system and more. The screen menus are selected with a controller conveniently located within easy reach on the center console. A number of well-placed buttons on the steering wheel and instrument panel enable the direct control of frequently used functions (e.g. temperature setting, fan speed, preset audio stations, etc.)

Lexus Enform® with App Suite leverages the customers' mobile phone technology to provide a new level of connectivity and information management. Users can conduct local searches through Bing™, utilize voice-enabled apps to make restaurant reservations through Open Table®, get movie tickets via Movie, tap into internet radio, including Pandora® or iHeart Radio, search business reviews on Yelp and check in on Facebook places. A one-year trial subscription is included for the App Suite.

  •     Numerous stabilizing fins help the Lexus LS to be one of the most aerodynamically efficient cars in its segment with a coefficient drag of 0.26.
  •     Laser screw welding, body adhesives and other structural reinforcements increase rigidity and enhance stability, steering feel and handling.
  •     New standard Drive Mode Select allows the driver to choose from 3 distinct drive settings (Eco, Normal and Sport). Vehicles equipped with the available air suspension add Comfort and Sport S+ modes.
  •     The available Air Suspension with Variable Gear Ratio Steering automatically adjusts the damping force for optimal comfort and performance.
  •     The available AWD system features a central, permanently engaged, Torsen Limited Slip center Differential (LSD) to further enhance grip, traction and cornering stability.
  •     Noise-reduction wheels channel resonant noise from the main air chamber to adjacent hollow areas within the wheels via resonator holes, resulting in an incredibly quiet ride.

  •     The Advanced Pre-Collision Safety system (APCS) can detect stationary pedestrians and those moving at speeds of up to three miles per hour and stop the vehicle from a speed of 24 miles per hour if a collision with another vehicle is imminent.
  •     Available Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) constantly monitors the distance to vehicles ahead and is capable of operating at any speed. The system can bring the vehicle to a complete stop, and accelerate away once the road ahead is clear
  •     An upgraded, optional Lane-Keep Assist system (LKA) helps the driver stay in the intended lane.
  •     New to LS, the Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) uses rear millimeter-wave radar to monitor the vehicle rear side blind spots at 10 miles per hour or more. This feature includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) which automatically operates when the vehicle is in reverse, alerting drivers to the approach of other vehicles when backing out of a parking place.
  •     The Available Automatic High Beam system features a camera located in the inner mirror that detects light sources in front of the vehicle — including the headlamps of oncoming vehicles, the tail lamps of a vehicle ahead and street lighting - to automatically switch the high beams on and off accordingly.

  •     Enhancements have been made to the sound insulation for an even quieter cabin.
  •     Redesigned front seats minimize pressure peaks and increase support. Both front seats feature an improved standard heating and cooling system with larger heating and cooling areas and reduced heating and cooling times.
  •     All AWD models including the LS600hL feature a heated steering wheel and Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heating elements which warm the front cabin area quickly after vehicle start-up. Windshield de-icer and headlamp washers are standard on AWD models.
  •     The LS features a standard Lexus Premium Audio System with a nine channel amplifier, 10 speakers, CD / DVD player changer, DVD audio and video compatibility, MP3 sound enhancement, HD Radio™ with iTunes tagging, and a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio. Standard entertainment and connectivity advancements include enhanced Bluetooth® capability with automatic phonebook download and streaming audio.
  •     The optional Mark Levinson Reference Surround System provides a 5.1 home theatre surround with 7.1 architecture , discrete circuitry, 15 channel, ML3-16 Processor Power Amplifier covering a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, and 450 watts with less than 0.1% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).

Luxury Options
  •     Available Power rear seats with Climate Concierge.
  •     An available Ottoman Seating Package with Shiatsu Massage and a Rear Seat Entertainment System featuring a Blu-ray DVD player, an SD card slot and a retractable, ceiling mounted, nine-inch full-color VGA screen.

The Exterior Design
  •     The inverted trapezoidal upper grille and slanted lower grille that were first introduced on the GS sedan have been combined and integrated into a single element on the Lexus LS to create a more prominent spindle shape.
  •     When equipped with the optional three projector LED headlamp unit, the LS offers all LED exterior lighting, including turn signals an fog lamps
  •     Lexus LS 460 F Sport features a unique front fascia with an enhanced three-dimensional mesh grille, larger cooling openings, black grille surround, and round fog lamps. A chrome-plated bar running along the bottom edge of the rear bumper accentuates the lowered center of gravity. F Sport exterior badging completes the look.
  •     LS F Sport offers six exterior colors; Ultra White is exclusive to F Sport.

The Interior Design
  •     The dashboard is divided into two distinct zones: an upper Display Zone, with the large, 12.3-inch, LCD multi-display screen, and a lower Operation Zone, which allows access to system controls such as the second generation Remote Touch Interface (RTI).
  •     The driver's instrument meter cluster incorporates high-visibility, large diameter Optitron dials; a 5.8-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) Multi-information screen; and an aluminum analog clock with a GPS-based time correction function.
  •     The interior is offered in 5 color schemes: Ivory, Light Gray, Black, Black and Saddle Tan, and a newly available Topaz Brown.
  •     Optional wood includes Walnut, Shimamoku Espresso, Matte Brown Bird's Eye Maple. The Lexus LS 600h L also offers an eco- friendly Bamboo wood trim.
  •     The new, Shimamoku finish is an example of the finest traditional Japanese craftsmanship. Shimamoku, translated as "striped wood," involves the painstaking layering of angle-cut dark and light shaded wood veneers in a unique process which involves 67 manufacturing steps over the course of 38 days.
  •     The Lexus LS 460 F Sport features aluminum ornamentation and a unique interior, featuring a black Alcantara headliner.
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