Saturday, May 25, 2013

PGO Cevennes Ultimate Black, 2011

  •  PGO Cevennes Ultimate Black, 2011

The PGO Cévennes is a neo-retro style two-seater roadster with centrally mounted engine. Its three main features - An ingenious mix between a traditional line, a modern look and a sporty style. Choosing the PGO Cévennes is affirming the desire for a classic car with resolutely dynamic aesthetics.

Incited by its mechanical architecture, its lightness and its suggestive line, you discover the handling precision of an authentic roadster. Taking the wheel of a Cévennes is an invitation to drive with complete freedom and safety. The sensations you will feel also come from this harmonious distribution between reconstructed past and assumed modernity. The position close to the road preserves every element of a pleasure that was thought to be no longer attainable.

Driving the PGO Cévennes also allows to enjoy an interior where traditional instrumentation is combined with full grain leathers and varnish paint, thus creating an atmosphere to the "image" of its owner who have chosen its colours among the many colour charts.

As with any PGO, the Cévennes, through its rarity and originality, provides its owner with the certainty of possessing a unique car.

Technical Specifications
        Position: transverse mid engine
        Number of cylinders: 4 aligned
        Cubic capacity: 1997 cm3
        Bore x stroke: 85 x 88 mm
        Number of valves: 16 (twin overhead camshaft)
        Maximum power: 103 kW (140 PS; 138 hp) @ 6000 rpm
        Maximum torque: 195 Nm @ 3000 rpm
        Compression level: 10.8:1

        Gear box: manual, 5 speed + reverse (automatic gear box 4 speed in option)

    Frame and body
        Frame: multi-tubular and crash test structure
        Body: composite moulded bodyshell
        Suspension: Mc Pherson system
        Brakes: 4 ventilated discs
        Wheels: 7x17 alloy wheels
        Tyres size: 205/40 ZR 17
        Steering: assisted rack-and-pinion
        Turning circle between kerbs: 9,40 m

    Weight and dimensions
        Kerb weight: 980 kg
        Fuel tank capacity: 42 litres
        Trunk capacity: 110 dm3
        Length: 3700 mm
        Width: 1735 mm
        Height: 1320 mm
        Wheelbase: 2261 mm
        Front / rear track: 1440 mm / 1430 mm

    Performance and consumption
        Maximum speed on track: 215 km/h
        Acceleration 0-100 km/h: less than 7 s
    Fuel consumption (According to EEC directive 80/1268 modified 004/100/CE)

        Manual gear box
            Urban: 11.0 l/100km
            Extra urban: 6.5 l/100km
            Combined cycle: 8.2 l/100km

        Automatic gear box
            Urban: 11.5 l/100km
            Extra urban: 6.6 l/100km
            Combined cycle: 8.4 l/100km

    CO2 emission (according to EEC directive 80/1268 modified 2004/3/CE)
        Manual gear box: 185 g/km
        Automatic gear box: 199 g/km

  •         Leather interior trim: seats, inside of doors, dash-board and control lever
  •         Air conditioning
  •         Radio CD/MP3, 2 FOCAL loudspeakers
  •        Analogical instrumentation, retro enlightened, 8 meters (speedometer, RPM indicator, fuel gauge, water temperature gauge, oil pressure gauge, oil temperature gauge, voltmeter, clock)
  •         Electrically operated side windows
  •         Heated windscreen
  •         Remote control central locking
  •         Electrically operated outside mirrors
  •         Leather trimmed steering wheel
  •         Height adjustable steering column
  •         Aluminium trimmed gear knob and pedals
  •         Aluminium thresholds doors
  •         Matched front carpets
  •         Rolling code transponder immobiliser
  •         Varnished Paint
  •         17" Alloy wheels
  •         Dual chromed exhaust outlet

  •         Leather interior trim in the expanded range of colour
  •         Nappa leather interior trim
  •         Alcantara interior trim
  •         Two-tone leather interior trim
  •         Special leather interior trim
  •         Expanded leather interior trim: steering column box, dash-board under boxes
  •         Differentiated coloured overstitching
  •         Differentiated dashboard colour
  •         Embroidered matched front carpets
  •         Metallic varnished Paint
  •         Pearly varnished Paint
  •         Specific paint (except colour chart)
  •         Alpaca hood, beige or two-tone
  •         17" alloy wheels "SpeedsterII"
  •         17" alloy wheels "Cévennes"
  •         17" alloy wheels "classic"
  •         17" alloy wheels "sport"
  •         Automatic gear box
  •         Parking aid
  •         Alarm

        Luggage rack
        Chromed roll bar
        Aero Kit
        "club" exhaust (not for highway use)
        Cover of protection
        Double stripes
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Peugeot 208 R5 Rally car, 2013

  •  Peugeot 208 R5 Rally car, 2013

After the 208 R2, Peugeot Sport is opening a new chapter in the sports variants of the Peugeot 208, and not least with the 208 R5. It is a true 'competition wildcat', and will supersede the 207 Super 2000, benchmark of the S2000 category as much for its technical performance as for its sporting and commercial performance.

Its contours and its technical assets continue Peugeot's rallying tradition. 'Body built' for asphalt (tarmac) and loose-surfaces (gravel), the Peugeot 208 R5 will compete in its first rallies and go on sale in the 2nd half of 2013 in order to be able to conquer the national and international championships the following season.

In the footsteps of success
As a pioneer, the 207 Super 2000 won everything and has without doubt had the greatest record in the category. It has accumulated six Intercontinental Rally Challenge titles, many crowns in various national championships and numerous victories worldwide including San Remo, the Tour de Corse and the Monte Carlo. One hundred and seven of these vehicles have been sold, run by private customers, importers or on behalf of Peugeot subsidiaries: South Africa, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic and in the UK. Drivers like Thierry Neuville and Kris Meeke were 'discovered' and defined their skills at its wheel. So the Peugeot 208 R5 will have to demonstrate that it is a worthy successor to the 207 Super 2000.

The Peugeot 208 R5 benefits from all the expertise and experience of Peugeot Sport, acquired and recognised over many years. Under the direction of Alexis Avril, Technical Manager of Peugeot Sport, Bertrand Vallat, formerly responsible for the 207 S2000, is the Project Leader for the Peugeot 208 R5.

Performance and cost reduction
The R5 category consists of group A vehicles derived from a production model, of which at least 25,000 must have been produced. Launched for 2013 by the FIA, among its objectives is a noticeable reduction in costs, including operating expenditure. Therefore, the technical regulations will adopt the major assets of the S2000 category: four-wheel drive, five-speed sequential gearbox, no central differential and long travel suspension. This is also the case externally with widened tracks, a spoiler, the increase in the wheel arches to fit 18" wheels without forgetting the minimum weight set at 1200kg for the gravel (loose-surface) and asphalt (tarmac) version, as for the WRC.

"Based on an optimisation of costs", explains Bertrand Vallat, "the regulations impose, among other things, a maximum price for certain parts and technical limitations such as a minimum weight of components of the chassis and engine. In addition, a certain number of components of the vehicle must be similar. The hub carrier is a perfect example. All four must be identical. This makes operation considerably easier and limits costs and stocking."

Another major difference: the engine, the 2.0-litre naturally aspirated unit is replaced by the 1.6-litre turbo. The Peugeot 208 R5 will adopt the EP6 CDT as standard. "We are aiming for performance which is slightly higher than that of the S2000", emphasises Bertrand Vallat.

"We start with the 1.6-litre THP engine that is already a competition winner. We know that it is both reliable and powerful, and can achieve 280bhp. We have serious foundations with this engine as it is the same as that of the RCZ Racing Cup which currently develops 260 horsepower in its endurance version. We are also aiming for a very high level of durability and reliability in competition with a potential 5000 kilometres (according to the components and conditions), which will also reduce the operating costs." Finally, the FIA has also set the maximum price for the 'R5s' at €180,000 excluding taxes.

The 208: an asset
The Peugeot 208 R5 benefits from the product developments of the 208 production car, particularly in regards to the weight. The shell of the 208 has benefited from a weight reduction of approximately 40 kilos compared with its predecessor the 207. Its dimensions are an advantage for the Type R5 with its long wheelbase which provides excellent chassis stability. Also, being more compact, the 208 will be more agile and efficient as a result, key factors that are sought after in a competition car. All of these dynamic qualities of the 208 combine to give the R5 excellent road holding."

Commitments from 2013
The Peugeot 208 R5 has big ambitions. Designed and assembled in the workshops of Peugeot Sport in Vélizy, it will begin a vast test programme from the end of 2012, both on asphalt and on loose surface (gravel). This will continue throughout its life in order to constantly evolve developments for customers and subsidiaries in order to guarantee chances of victory in a very competitive sector. On sale during the second half of 2013, the 208 R5 will compete at the highest level in key championships:
    Intercontinental Rally Challenge
    European Rally Championship
    National Championships
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mitsubishi Outlander US-Version, 2014

  •  Mitsubishi Outlander US-Version, 2014

The all-new 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander compact crossover is expected to be one of the most fuel-efficient CUVs with standard 7-passenger seating in the North American marketplace (pending EPA fuel mileage rating).

What's more, the mid-grade Mitsubishi Outlander SE model will now be available with Mitsubishi's Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system - a welcome feature previously reserved exclusively for the top-flight Outlander GT model.

Joining its slightly smaller brethren, the made-in-America redesigned 5-passenger 2013 Outlander Sport, as part of Mitsubishi's revised model lineup, the all-new 2014 Outlander elevates the level of luxury, refinement and fuel economy that consumers have come to expect from the affordably-priced crossover segment.

With its smooth surfaces and crisp, modern lines, the new exterior design of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander lends the Japanese automobile manufacturer's latest head-turning creation an air of elevated status and sophistication more akin to crossover vehicles residing within in a much loftier price point.

Perhaps the most prominent new feature of the exterior sheetmetal is the new streamlined front fascia, accentuated by a more urbane design that emphasizes aerodynamic efficiency as much as eye-catching appeal - an engineering necessity in these days of high fuel prices and increased fuel economy mandates.

Greatly aiding fuel efficiency of this captivating crossover is a wind-cheating advanced aerodynamic exterior design that is 7% more aerodynamically-efficient as well as a lightweight body that is approximately 200 pounds lighter than that of the car it replaces.

Other environmentally-friendly features include a new HVAC interior heating/cooling system that minimize energy consumption and a lighter version of the available Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system.

The potent yet smooth-operating 2.4-liter 4-cylinder powerplant receives the latest edition of the company's exceptionally engineered MIVEC (Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control) system with continuously-variable valve lift timing technology for optimal fuel efficiency and power production with reduced harmful emissions (all 2014 Outlander models meet LEV II - ULEV emission standards). This 4-cylinder engine produces 166 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 162 lb.-ft. of torque at 4200 rpm.

The workhorse 4-cylinder engine is coupled to an advanced continuously-variable transmission (CVT) that mimics unique ratio patterns for improved "shift" feel as well as enhanced fuel economy. An all-new feature added to the new Mitsubishi Outlander's CVT is Acceleration Control that provides better throttle response at the early stage of acceleration and postpones upshifts until later in the rev range.

What's more, a new driver-activated ECO-mode setting that is standard on all 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander models helps to further reduce fuel consumption by slightly reducing engine power on initial acceleration as well as the airflow volume of the air conditioning. Furthermore, when Outlander models equipped with Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) are driven with 4WD engaged, the driver-activated ECO-mode will allow the vehicle to function as a 2WD vehicle until sensors instantaneously reactivate 4WD when deemed necessary.

The premium 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT model receives a power upgrade in the form of a 24-valve 3.0-liter V-6 MIVEC engine that produces a full 224 horsepower at 6250 rpm and a plentiful 215 lb.-ft. of torque at 3750 rpm. This spirited engine utilizes low viscosity engine oil (0W-20) and iridium spark plugs to help maximize fuel efficiency. A refined 6-speed automatic transmission is a paragon of efficiency, directing power to the driven wheels with improved torque converter performance and a new final drive ratio contributes to improved fuel mileage.

Mitsubishi designers and engineers put a special emphasis in endowing their stylish all-new crossover with numerous cutting-edge advanced safety technologies (available on SE and GT models). Among these are:
  • Adaptive Cruise Control - a radar-based sensor in the vehicle's front grille constantly measures distance between the Outlander and the vehicle in front of it, allowing the driver to select three different following distance settings.
  • Forward Collision Mitigation - a radar-based system that detects obstructions in front of the Mitsubishi Outlander and automatically warns and then applies the brakes to help minimize a collision with the vehicle in front.
  • Lane Departure Warning - a camera-based system that helps to monitor lane position of the Outlander and warn the driver via visual and audio warnings should they begin to veer into the next lane.

Standard safety features include a 7 airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) including side curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag, and a completely redesigned new airbag for the driver's seat; a new Brake Pedal Recession Protection Structure to reduce driver leg injury in the event of a high-speed frontal impact; enhanced pedestrian protection with the redesigned hood and front fenders; Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS); Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control Logic (TCL); Hill Start Assist (HSA); anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD); and an all-new ultra-rigid chassis that benefits from the most advanced form of Mitsubishi's RISE (Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution) impact-absorbing safety cell technology ever.

Along with these new class-leading safety technologies, particular attention has been paid within the all-new Outlander's interior to make it not only an exceptionally quiet and comfortable cabin but also one that makes use of the highest grade materials available.

Consumers who appreciate the finer things will immediately notice the all-new premium surfaces consisting of a soft-touch instrument panel, lovely wood grain appearance trim (GT model) and attractive high-gloss black center console panel.

Additionally, all seven seating positions have been completely reconfigured for improved comfort/ergonomics as well as for ease of operation of the fold-flat seats (2nd and 3rd row seating sections) allowing up to 128.6 cubic feet of passenger room.

Other impressive upscale appointments included as standard equipment are a high-resolution meter cluster; air conditioning with micron filter; a dynamic-sounding 6 speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system; privacy glass, cruise control; tilt and telescopic steering column and a newly designed steering wheel.

The mid-level Mitsubishi Outlander SE builds on the base ES model's already expansive standard equipment package with a 6-inch touch-screen display audio system; rearview camera system; HD radio; fog lamps; 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control; heated front seats; FAST key passive entry system with push-button engine ignition on/off switch; and Mitsubishi's FUSE Handsfree Link system™ with USB that allows voice activation of iPod™ and cell phone via simple voice commands.

Among the higher grade Outlander GT standard features are the potent yet fuel-efficient 3.0-liter V-6 MIVEC engine/6-speed automatic transmission combination with steering wheel mounted paddle shifter; Mitsubishi's proven Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive system with Active Front Differential (AFD); Super wide-beam high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights; wood grain appearance trim; and the addition of SiriusXM™ satellite radio to the already excellent 6 speaker audio system.

Available luxury features (SE and GT models) include a state-of-the-art 9 speaker 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate® sound system with DTS Neural Surround, PremiDIA® Surround, HD Radio and Dolby Volume; an intuitive next-generation High-Definition navigation system with 3D mapping, expanded Point of Interest (POI) information and road speed limit display; a convenient remote power tailgate that can be activated from the driver's seat or by the FAST-key entry remote fob; and leather seating surfaces.

The all-new 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is available (SE and GT models) with the company's outstanding Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) system that has been optimized for the vehicle's new Brake Control and Electric Power Steering, allowing for even better vehicle performance and stability. Derived from similar computer management system hardware found in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, the Outlander's S-AWC system includes sensors that monitor vital vehicle dynamics including engine torque, gear ratio, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration as well as yaw rate to deliver an exceptional degree of vehicle stability, traction and safety in both adverse and every day driving conditions.

Available in 6 striking colors - Cool Silver Metallic, Cosmic Blue Mica, Mercury Gray Metallic, Copper Metallic, Diamond White Pearl or Labrador Black Mica - the all-new 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is the perfect vehicle for environmentally-conscious, active individuals or families requiring a comfortable, well-equipped sophisticated crossover that provides the latest in advanced safety technologies, ecology and comfort.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mini Countryman John Cooper Works, 2013

  •  Mini Countryman John Cooper Works, 2013

The MINI family is constantly expanding, and new additions have also been made to the range of John Cooper Works models. For the first time, race-bred thrills can be experienced in combination with the transfer of power through all four wheels. The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works, fitted with the most powerful engine in the MINI model range and equipped as standard with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, assures the driver of extreme driving fun on any terrain. Powertrain and chassis technology underpinned by extensive motor sport expertise teams up with the vehicle concept of the first MINI with four doors, a large tailgate and up to five seats to introduce the famed handling characteristics and looks of John Cooper Works models to additional target groups in another new segment.

The MINI Countryman has displayed its sporting potential in a string of impressive performances in the World Rally Championship (WRC) - proof, were it needed, that the brand's first five-seater shares the racing genes which define the character of every MINI. Now John Cooper Works has polished these inherent talents to dazzling effect in a production model.

Unique combination: variable-usage interior, impressive output, poise and assurance in an extremely wide range of road conditions.

Within its class, the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works brings an unrivalled combination of race-focused powertrain technology, all-wheel drive, premium profile and versatile interior to the table. And its inimitable style also comes to the fore through various design features and an exclusive selection of paint finishes, light-alloy wheels and interior materials. The standard equipment of the sixth model in the John Cooper Works line-up includes an aerodynamic kit which lends extra muscle to the front and rear apron, as well as bespoke side skirts, 18-inch light-alloy wheels and the sports car cockpit ambience which has become a speciality of John Cooper Works models.

The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works captures the imagination by imbuing the traditional MINI go-kart handling characteristics with an even sharper edge. The fast and precise responses of the all-wheel-drive system allow it to demonstrate impressive poise and assurance in challenging road and weather conditions and off the beaten track. The 4,133-millimetre-long, 1,789-millimetre-wide and 1,549-millimetre-tall MINI Countryman John Cooper Works is equally adept when it comes to crossing the boundaries of urban mobility, and its generous levels of space and seating comfort encourage the driver and passengers to admire the qualities of this versatile performance athlete over longer journeys as well.

Four or five seats, up to 1,170 litres of luggage space.
With short overhangs, a high waistline and a powerful over-the-wheel stance, the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works draws its design inspiration from the time-honoured MINI template. The family ties are also emphasised by styling cues such as the characteristic contours of the radiator grille, large headlights set into the bonnet, voluminous wheel arches and vertical rear light clusters. Features particular to this model include the John Cooper Works badges on the radiator grille and tailgate, and red-backed, anthracite-coloured side indicator surrounds on the diagonal link between the A-pillars and the front wheel arches. Customers can choose from a selection of seven exterior paint shades. The contrast paint finish for the roof and exterior mirror can be ordered in the red shade exclusive to John Cooper Works models, as well as white and black. Sport Stripes in the same colours are available as an option.

The rear of the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works can be specified with either a seat bench for three passengers or - as a no-cost option - two individual seats. The rear seats can slide fore and aft in a 60 : 40 split (if the three-seat bench is specified) or individually, and their backrests can be adjusted for tilt and folded down individually or in a 40 : 20 : 40 split (three-seat bench) to increase boot capacity from 350 to as much as 1,170 litres. The Centre Rail storage and attachment system is also part of standard specification.

The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works will be built at the BMW Group's partner firm Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. Production will take place alongside the other variants of the MINI Countryman on a separate assembly line set up and operated according to the exacting standards of the BMW Group. As with all the brand's models, the high-performance powerplant for this sharpest of all MINI Countryman models will be sourced from the Hams Hall engine plant, one corner of the MINI Production Triangle in England.

Cutting-edge technology delivers unbeatable performance. Engine and gearbox.

The motor sport roots of John Cooper Works are reflected in a constant thirst for new performance benchmarks. This ambition has inspired even more power from the new four-cylinder engine in the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works, as well as ensuring further gains in efficiency. The latest generation of the twin-scroll turbocharged engine benefits from both petrol direct injection and variable valve control based on the BMW Group's VALVETRONIC technology. This throttle-free load control system significantly improves both the engine's responsiveness and its efficiency. Reinforced pistons and intake valves, and further optimisation of the cooling, air supply and exhaust gas discharge system, enable additional increases in output and torque. Added to which, the 1.6-litre engine's turbocharger is given a particularly large intercooler.

Central construction principles of the four-cylinder engine and many of its technical details betray a direct link to the development of race-trim engines. Its cylinder block and bearing mounts are made from aluminium and join forces with reinforced pistons, a particularly high-strength cylinder head and low-weight crankshafts. The four valves of each cylinder are operated by two overhead camshafts, low-friction rocker arms and hydraulic valve clearance compensation elements. The exhaust valves are sodium-filled to help provide the extra cooling required by a turbocharged engine.

High output, extra torque via the overboost function, distinctive soundtrack and the option of a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works's engine develops its maximum output of 160 kW/218 hp at 6,000 rpm. Peak torque of 280 Newton metres (207 lb-ft) is on tap between 1,900 and 5,000 rpm, but can be increased to 300 Newton metres (221 lb-ft) for short and particularly sharp bursts of acceleration between 2,100 and 4,500 rpm using the overboost function.

The sports exhaust system - its slanting tailpipe embellishers providing an extra dose of the hallmark John Cooper Works design - gives this outstanding power delivery a fitting soundtrack.

As an alternative to the standard-specification six-speed manual gearbox, customers can also order a six-speed automatic as an option. Detailed tweaks have been made to both the gearboxes themselves and the clutch for the manual variant to take into account the extra engine power and ensure outstanding performance combined with optimised efficiency. The automatic's Steptronic function allows the driver to change gear manually using either the selector lever on the centre console or the steering wheel shift paddles. Pressing the standard-fitted Sport Button, located in front of the selector lever on the centre console, speeds up the gear changes in automatic mode to enable particularly rapid acceleration. The Sport Button also tweaks the engine's responses and acoustic profile, and the power assistance provided by the steering, in both automatic and manual models.

Intoxicating acceleration, impressive efficiency.
The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works needs just 7.0 seconds to dash from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) - with either the manual or the automatic gearbox. Top speed is 225 km/h (140 mph) for the manual and 223 km/h (139 mph) for its automatic sibling.

The standard-fitted MINIMALISM technology and the engine's inherent efficiency combine to provide levels of economy that are all the more remarkable given the performance available. The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works records average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 7.4 litres per 100 km / 38.2 mpg imp (automatic: 7.9 l / 35.8 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 172 (184) grams per kilometre.

These low fuel consumption and emissions figures are the result of constant additions to the suite of MINIMALISM technology. Brake Energy Regeneration, for example, focuses on generating electricity for the on-board network during periods when the car is coasting and braking. If the manual gearbox is specified, the Auto Start-Stop function switches the engine off automatically when the driver stops at junctions or in a tailback, while the Gear Shift Indicator advises the driver of the ideal time to change gear in order to maximise efficiency. Among the other components helping to give the John Cooper Works Countryman its efficiency edge are the Electric Power Steering, whose electric motor only uses energy when power assistance is actually required, a map-controlled oil pump, an on-demand coolant pump, lightweight construction elements and optimised aerodynamic properties.

Poise and assurance on the road and beyond. Power transfer and chassis.
The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works delivers extreme driving fun on any terrain through the confluence of unbridled engine power, traction optimised to the situation at hand and assured roadholding. Its new engine develops higher output than any MINI before it, the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system transfers this power to the road to maximum effect, and the John Cooper Works chassis conjures up inspirational agility with every turn of the steering wheel.

The racing expertise of John Cooper Works, built up over many years of competition experience, is also reflected in the precise interplay of engine, power transfer systems and chassis. Spirited acceleration, enthralling handling and variable power distribution between the front and rear wheels combine to imbue the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works with a fresh take on the classic racing feeling.

MINI ALL4: the key to extreme driving fun on and off the beaten track.
The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works is the first model from the fold to send the imposing output from its motor sport-inspired engine through all four wheels. The new car's ALL4 all-wheel-drive system uses an electromagnetic centre differential to distribute drive seamlessly between the front and rear axles. This ensures the engine's power always finds its way to where it can be converted most effectively into forward motion.

In normal driving situations ALL4 diverts 50 per cent of the engine's power to the rear wheels, rising to as much as 100 per cent in extreme conditions, such as on ice and snow-covered surfaces. This provides a traction-led expression of the handling talents for which MINI is famed, whatever the weather and road conditions.

The control electronics of the MINI ALL4 system are integrated directly into the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) management unit, which gives ALL4 response times of less than a tenth of a second. The system examines the data collected by DSC precisely and uses it to carry out pre-emptive adjustments in the distribution of power. And that means the driver enjoys outstanding agility combined with surefooted - in other words, typically MINI - driving characteristics. The MINI ALL4 system's proactive interventions optimise stability and traction through dynamically taken corners, for example, by distributing drive as required and therefore delaying the moment when DSC has to step in to prevent spinning wheels.

Sports suspension, including lower ride height, as standard.
Another central element in defining the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works's elite sporting character is its chassis technology, which includes a single-joint MacPherson spring strut front axle and forged cross members, a central-arm rear axle, Electric Power Steering with speed-sensitive power assistance, and extremely effective brakes with red callipers. The front brake discs are 307 millimetres in diameter and 24 millimetres thick, while the rear discs measure 296 x 10 millimetres. The standard sports suspension includes extremely firm tuning for the springs and dampers, strengthened anti-roll bars and a 10-millimetre drop in ride height.

18-inch Twin Spoke light-alloy wheels with polished spoke fronts and black rim wells are fitted as standard and come with 225/45 R18 format tyres. 19-inch light-alloy wheels designed exclusively for the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works are also available as an option.

The standard DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system also comprises DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) mode, which allows a degree of wheel spin to help the driver pull away on loose sand or snow, for example. In DSC Off mode, an electronic locking function for the front axle differential comes into play. In tight corners it brakes a spinning wheel as required to improve handling. Known as Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC), this system enhances the car's traction without adversely affecting its steering properties.

The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works's assured road manners are complemented by a comprehensive array of safety equipment. The car's high-strength body structure teams up with standard safety features that include front and side airbags, side curtain airbags for the front and rear seats, three-point inertia-reel seat belts for all occupants, belt tensioners and belt force limiters for the front seats, and ISOFIX child seat attachments in the rear to provide outstanding occupant protection all-round. The MINI Countryman was awarded the maximum five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash testing.

That racing feeling - with an individual touch. Equipment and accessories.
Exclusive equipment features underline both the premium character of the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works and its unmistakable racing focus. The all-wheel-drive performance model matches its distinctive exterior details with a bespoke interior that conjures up a full-blooded sports car ambience. Also included in standard specification are front foglamps, air conditioning, a run-flat indicator, electric windows front and rear, remote control central locking, the Centre Rail storage and attachment system, and the radio MINI Boost CD. Customers can also order their cars with all the comfort, functionality and individuality-enhancing options available for the other MINI Countryman models, a full complement of MINI Connected features and bespoke John Cooper Works accessories.

Racing ambience for the cockpit.
Sports seats in Diagonal Track John Cooper Works Carbon Black cloth trim with red contrast stitching have been designed specially for the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works, while similarly exclusive options such as the sports seats with Lounge Leather trim in Carbon Black Championship Red can also be ordered. The trim strips around the cockpit, door panels and centre console come in Piano Black as standard. The optional Chili Red trim elements, meanwhile, are exclusive to the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works and include red flourishes for the cockpit and doors, and a red stripe for the black trim elements on the centre console.

The door sills come with special John Cooper Works lettering. Added to which, the sports steering wheel with red contrast stitching and John Cooper Works logo, the dark 260 km/h (162 mph) speedometer and rev counter dials, an anthracite-coloured roof liner, a gearshift lever with red shift pattern lettering, red contrast stitching for the gearshift lever gaiter, and floor mats with red stitching add further depth to the cockpit's racing ambience.

High-quality options for enhanced comfort, functionality and individuality; innovative MINI Connected functions.

The John Cooper Works model can also be ordered with all the options offered for its MINI Countryman siblings. Highlights include xenon Adaptive Headlights with black headlight housing, Comfort Access, automatic climate control, heated seats, Park Distance Control, multifunction buttons for the steering wheel (including cruise control), an electrically operated tilting/sliding glass sunroof, a rain sensor with automatic headlamp activation, and automatically dimming rear-view mirror and exterior mirrors. Among the features available to further enhance the car's functionality are a storage package, a level load compartment floor with removable cover and a luggage compartment partition net.

As alternatives to the standard radio MINI Boost CD, options such as the harman/kardon hi-fi loudspeaker system, radio MINI Visual Boost and MINI navigation system are on hand to take care of entertainment and navigation requirements. They are joined on the options list by a voice control system, a hands-free system/mobile phone preparation and a DAB tuner for receiving digital radio programmes.

The MINI Connected option also gives John Cooper Works Countryman owners access to a wide range of infotainment, communications and driving experience-related services, and allows full Apple iPhone integration. Specially developed apps enable numerous functions to be accessed inside the car, such as web radio, Facebook and Twitter usage, Dynamic Music, Driving Excitement, Mission Control and the MINIMALISM Analyser.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MG TF, 2010

  •  MG TF, 2010

In the summer of 2009, two new MGs were being launched to join the highly successful MG TF LE500; the affordable MG TF 135 and a unique new MG that is being produced to mark the 85th Anniversary of the brand, the MG TF 85th Anniversary.

New Entry Level MG TF 135
The greatly anticipated MG TF 135 will be launched shortly and is sure to appeal to motorists who want sports car fun at a highly competitive price. Good levels of trim and equipment including a Clarion ICE system, combine with a price tag that will broaden its appeal and bring it within the budget of many more people. The TF 135 will hit showrooms shortly, offering all the fun and appeal of a convertible sports car at a highly affordable £13,511 OTR.

Unique Anniversary Car
A unique MG TF is being launched to mark the 85th Anniversary of the MG brand. The MGTF 85th Anniversary will be a great looking car with fantastic handling.

Available in three special colours overlaid with striking graphics and a new design of alloy wheel, from the outside the car looks sensational. The cabin is stunning too as the specialist graphics continue with monogrammed sill finishers and gear knob which complement new stylish Aubergine leather trim and a high quality ICE system.

Apart from the stunning look, the new TF 85th Anniversary model also benefits from a ride and handling package that's tuned to make this car unique to drive. Bilstein suspension, Eibach anti roll system, lower ride height, an all new anti torsion pack and a modified wheel set up on Rimstock 'Twisted Pepper' style wheels give the 85th Anniversary edition a grown up feel and very precise handling at high speeds.

The car launched at £15,664 on the road which, again, after the Government's scrappage scheme deduction will make the TF 85th a competitive £13,664.

The New MG Family
With the fully loaded and highly specified MG TF LE500, the extremely affordable MG TF 135 and the tightly handling MG 85th Anniversary, MG now offers a family of cars that give existing owners looking for something new, as well as prospective customers who just want to enjoy British mid engined, top down sports car driving, some real choices.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Mercedes-Benz A-Class UK-Version, 2013

  •  Mercedes-Benz A-Class UK-Version, 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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